Monday, August 31, 2009

Start Of A New School Year!

We woke to a crisp cold morning. Its the one time during the School year that I don't have to drag anyone's booty out of bed. They were up dressed and ready for their breakfast by 6:15 this morning. DK is off to 1st grade, Rocker 4th & Shaggy 5th. My morning is now silent and a bit peaceful. I must go pray for my guys that the Lord would truly bless them this year. Happy Back-2-School everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bumpaholics: Addicted to Pregnancy

This is a Good Morning America News feed about Bumpaholics. Basically it is a interview about how some believe there is a growing addiction to pregnancy. The births rates across America have increased and therefore it must alarm some. I laughed at some of their thought process but some were thought provoking not in the sense that I agree with them. It more or less made me realize that China's 2 child law isn't that hard to see becoming a reality in our own country.

In the end I wonder what they believe about women years ago when large families were the norm. Were they too addicted to pregnancy? I just can't believe we have come to this place. Go watch and tell me what you think. I am still a little speechless over the whole thing.

Bumpaholics: Addicted to Pregnancy

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Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Found Treasure

Last Thursday my dear friend Natalie sent me an email letting me
know that her husbands parents had a small loom in their garage
they were trying to find a home for. My heart started to pound with
excitement. I talked to my husband about taking the loom and to my
hearts joy he said yes. So Friday Natalie and her In-Laws dropped
the newly found treasure off. Here it is.

It needs some TLC but my Knight and I have been busily
repairing it. My Knight had to grind down some of the metal
parts that were rusting and I have placed an order for some
replacement parts already. The best thing is the history behind this treasure.

This was made by a relative of Natalie's on her husbands side. A man
named George W. Martin. I so wished I had met him. He hand made this
lovely creation. My Knight and I were fascinated by his workmanship
and ingenuity as we unpacked the pieces and put it together. The man
was a a genius. Each part painstakingly hand made for Kent University
of Ohio. This particular loom was made in a batch of looms to be delivered
to their Arts Department. Some how this one did not make it. I am ever
so grateful it did not. :)

Here it is some what set up. Again we are still working on restoring
some of the parts and waiting on some replacement parts. I can't tell you
how much this loom means to me. It may stay at our home or travel
some where else but it takes me back to my childhood. The thrill
and excitement of learning to weave on my first 4 harness loom.
It has reignited my passion for weaving and brought me
back to the reason I first fell in love with it. I feel like a kid.
This loom is beautiful in design and history. I hope that many a young
person will learn to weave using this amazing piece of work. I hope
to be honored to have the ability to teach many of those young people with
this loom.

I know, just something so simple and old brings me such joy.
I have fallen in love with this treasure. I will post later about
it's development and where it travels to later.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PPD - Postpartum Depression Discussion #2

PPD seems to be a very big area of discussion on the Internet right now. All I have to do is google PPD and sites, information, diagnosis and blogs clutter my screen. But how come in all our technology and thrust towards immediate information are we still struggling with making people aware of PPD?

Maybe one conclusion could be that women dealing with PPD at the time are less likely to go to the Internet and actually google their symptoms? Maybe they feel afraid of what they would find? I know when I was struggling with PPD googling my symptoms was not even a thought in my head. I hardly could get out of bed let alone think about using the computer.

The biggest thrust behind trying to reengage this H.R:20 Act is the idea we need more education, support & research out there. I agree but what I don't agree is the use of federally funded monies and programs. Let's just talk for a minute...what does education really do? It's important, I agree, but it just provides us with information. Great, now I know I have PPD but what do I do? Now lets look at support programs, would a new mother struggling with PPD really go to a support group for PPD? In my own personal opinion I don't think they would. I know personally I would never have agreed to go to a group with women I don't know dealing with something so personal.

Doctors are also not a help. When I finally hit my wall with my third child I remember driving myself into the doctors office with all three of my children. I had no one to help me at the time. I had a 2 month old, 2 year old and 3 year old sitting with me in the office. The doctor came in asked me what's wrong and then proceed to tell me "I hope your husband is getting fixed right now. The only way you are going to get better is stop having all these kids. You just can't have kids and you and your husband should know better." After that she prescribed me Zoloft and sent me home. I was only 25 at the time. Not only did I have the devastating reality of being diagnosed with PPD but also the humiliation from the doctor who was supposed to be helping me. So what type of support really works?

I see this as the opportune time for the Body of Christ to rise up and become Christ's hands and feet, to be Him with flesh on. PPD studies show that women who have had depression in their past will typically have PPD. I know that my PPD was caused by underlying issues in my life that had gone untouched for years. Yes the medication helped to stabilize my emotional state at the time but it was not really taking care of the problem. With each pregnancy my PPD got worse. The medication never helped it go away it just masked the pain for me.

I finally went to our Church for counseling and they introduced me to Inner Healing or Presence Driven Ministry. Basically someone prays for you and asks the Lord to heal you of your emotional wounds. I can say Jesus touched my life and brought such healing to me. I continue to recommend those struggling with PPD to seek out Inner Healing Ministry but I believe we as the Body can also help on a more interpersonal level. What if we just offer to pray for those new moms? Send them meals, make phone calls, stop them in the church hallways and really ask if they are OK. People who are going to make the biggest impact with new moms dealing with PPD are those who they are familiar with, those people and other women they have relationship with. I believe the Church and mom groups should talk and educate each other about PPD but don't stop there. Be the Body we are called to be. I can't tell you how many times I was struggling and my husband just offered to pray for me. It wasn't eloquent or memorized it was just him asking the Lord to meet me and carry me at that time. Those times of prayer brought refreshing and hope to me. Can we not offer the same to the new moms we know?

Education, programs, research are great tools to have but that's exactly what they are tools. We as the Body of Christ have the one thing no one else can offer and that's Jesus the Hope of Glory. Jesus can heal, set free, break the bonds of depression and set us unto a road of hope. Ladies if you know someone who is dealing with PPD don't shirk away from them but see how you can help. Be willing to listen and then offer to pray. Make sure they have meals being delivered to them for 2 weeks or more. Make sure they have ways to get to church or functions outside of their homes. Make sure they have people contacting them and checking in on them daily. That is how we will win the battle over PPD. I believe strongly that government will not help but it is the community and the Body who will overcome. We need to reach out. If each of us reaches out to those in our spheres of influence and community then the jobs won't be so overwhelming.

So what about you? Do you have some good ideas how to reach women with PPD? Have you had a person reach out to you in your time of need that really changed your battle for you? Does your church have any programs for new moms? What worked for you? Any thoughts getting stirred up about PPD as you read?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Discussion of PPD -Postpartum Depression

PPD is a subject that is close to my heart. After giving birth to my three amazingly beautiful boys I struggled with Postpartum Depression. PPD awareness is beginning to emerge but to get women fully talking about this issue is still hard. PPD comes with so many stigmas and judgments that women who have faced it or are facing it typically stay quiet. I know, I have felt the brutality of women who didn't understand the effects of PPD and judged me severely for it. They just want you to shake it off or just get over it but what they don't understand is the severity of PPD, the hold it has on your life. PPD is not "Baby Blues" which typically effects 70-80% of new mothers and typically runs only a few days. Here is a list of symptoms of Baby Blues, PPD & a more serious diagnosis called Postpartum Psychosis from the Mayo Clinic...

Baby blues
Signs and symptoms of the baby blues — which last only a few days or weeks — may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Crying
  • Decreased concentration
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum depression
Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

Postpartum psychosis
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first two weeks after delivery — the signs and symptoms are even more severe. Signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis may include:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Attempts to harm yourself or the baby

I was stirred to write and open up a discussion on my blog about PPD because of a Times Magazine (July 20 2009) article I read today in the dentist office. It was describing a new legislation a group is trying to pass about PPD called H.R.20:Melanie Blocker Stokes Mothers Act. I am not a Lawyer and to say I thoroughly reviewed this Act would be absurd but I did read it. In my research it seems that this bill has passed several layers of legislation but I was not sure if it has fully passed. Someone with greater legislative knowledge would have to confirm this for me. To me this seems to be a well meaning attempt by Melanie Blocker Stokes family to help others. Melanie Stokes Blocker is a mother who took her life after giving birth only a few months prior. The family feels if there had been sufficient help and screening their daughter would have been saved. I believe they are trying to get at the main underlying issue here that there isn't enough talk and discussion among mothers about PPD but to put into law another piece of legislation would be, I feel completely unnescarry. This act does seem to be leaving the door open for the government to mandate pre-screening for PPD which I think would be completely wrong. So what do you do?

I believe we need to talk. We need to make women realize that struggling with Baby Blues or any form of PPD is OK. It doesn't make us less of a mother or a women. Stop labeling one another. If you haven't walked in their shoes don't assume to know what to do just be willing to listen and help if you can. We need to embrace each other in this time of need not place labels on already struggling women. I could have used someone to talk to. Thankfully, I was given the amazing gift from God of my husband who stood by me and held me when no others would, but what about those out there who don't have anyone? They said in much of the research that I read that the numbers of teens having PPD are rising. Who is there for these young women? These women may already feel labeled and judged, why attempt to get help when more will just be put on them?

So what's going through your mind right now? Have you faced PPD to some degree or known someone who has? If you did experience PPD did you feel the effects of labels and judgments? Have you been quiet because of how others have made you feel? Do you think it would be good to speak to new moms or mom groups out their about PPD and bring an awareness to others?

Tomorrow I would like to share my testimony of God's faithfulness to heal and discuss how we as the Body of Christ hold the Light of Hope for others. Legislation will not bring an answer for those struggling with PPD only Jesus can, so as a Body lets start talking and sharing the Hope we carry with us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back 2 School

School starts here officially August 31st. We are gearing up to head back. Our teacher assignments have not come in but we have prayerfully sought the Lord out for teachers that would be a blessing and encouragement to the boys. DK is now a 1st grader and has really taken off physically this summer. He no longer has the preschooler look to him any more...snif*snif*. Shaggy welcomes his last year as an Elementary student as he enters 5th grade. We joke at our house about him being the Big Dog on campus this year just to turn around next year and become the peon again. I have my beef with middle school but that's another post. :) Rocker is hot on his heels entering 4th. Wow!! I just don't think I am ready for all of this. I just got used to the transition of everyone being in school and now I will soon transition into the middle school years.

The boys are ready for school. They are ready to have their friends back and schedules to return too. I know they may say they want to stay home a little longer but I can see it in their behavior. They did a great job this summer hanging with one another. We rarely have sibling rivalry here. It's been a blessing and something I pour hours of prayer into but you can tell they come to a point where they are ready for their space.

Every year we prayerfully consider where they should go to school. We don't put God in a box saying this is the only way to school or that is the only option. God has a plan and purpose for each child and He knows the best training ground for each of them. For our boys it's public school. Believe me there are days I would love to keep them home or send them to a awesome private school but I know the best place for the boys is in God's will and that for us is public school. So on that note I want to tell everyone that I hope your school year starts off with success in whatever way the Lord has you teaching your children. I will be praying for many of you this year, homeschoolers, CCA'ers(private schoolers) & public schoolers. Let's train up our children in the way the Lord would have them each be trained and see them thrive in the Lord!! Have a great beginning to a new school year everyone!!!

I want to leave you with a great group the boys and I have come to love called Reilly. If you haven't heard of them go listen. Its an awesome mix of Rock with what they have lovingly called Violin Rock! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How To Climb Walls

For those of you who didn't get to see it on fb have a good laugh!!!

When we get bored we really get bored!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Brand New Journey For Me

It is now three weeks and counting until I start my brand new journey. I have finished our church's School of Ministry and the opportunity to take an internship opened up for my husband and I this fall. For the most part our church funnels interns into various areas of ministry with in the church but a different door opened for Scott and I. One of the ministries that works closely with our church and various other church's in our region offered to take us on as interns for the year. This is something brand spanking new for our School of Ministry and for Scott and I. We have never worked outside of our church through ministry before.

Teaching The Word Ministry is located in Lancaster, Pa an hour away from our home. After much prayer on both sides we came together two weeks ago to confirm the Lords hand in this new endeavor. Wow, what a new journey this will be unfolding for us. Scott will be still working a full time job so TTWM has offered to incorporate him in evening functions and weekend seminars. For me however, I will be traveling twice a week to their office and working from there. Then the other two days I will be working from home.

This is very exciting but at the same time it is rocking my world. You see I did not work in a corporate setting before I got married. I never even stepped into an office before that. I was a Nurses Aide in nursing homes before I became pregnant and stayed home with the boys. I guess you can say I traded in adult size diapers for little ones when I transferred over to motherhood. Working in a Nursing Home is nothing like office work either. Basically your left on your own to care for patients. Other then your patients you don't have much interaction with people. Especially on the floors I worked on because it was an intensive care/dementia unit. Most of the people I worked with were either in a vegetative state or trapped deep within the recesses of their minds. Not much difference then working with newborns, toddlers or preschoolers just on a larger scale.:)

So I am nervous. I am scared a bit. I am unsure of my own abilities and giftings. I think to myself "Are we certain everyone heard correctly from the Lord. Remember now I am just a mom." I have realized even though I never meant for my identity to get wrapped up in my daily duties of a mom it has. It is hard for me to see past myself as a mother but I know God did not just make me to be a mom. Its not my identity. Right now I am seeing that I need an identity upgrade and perhaps this internship is a tool the Lord is going to use to do that. We sat with the team at TTWM and they showed us an outline of everything we will be trained to do this year. Wow, talk about intense!

The amazing thing was their take on my participation. They explained that for each step I will be trained and then released into each of those areas of ministry. What??? You mean I actually have to do stuff other then organize the supply closet?? Are you kidding me?? As you can see I am a little overwhelmed at this whole new journey. I am definitely ready and willing to obey the Lord and take on this internship but it doesn't mean my knees won't be a knocking. It's time for me to take the plunge. It's time for me to learn new things and go on a new and exciting adventure. I have to come up with an "Internship Expectation" list. So far all I can come up with is 1) I survive the internship!!! So if you think of me this fall pray for me. I am interested in seeing what the Lord is going to do in and through Scott and I both and our children. So here we go!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's Praying For You!

We had this interesting critter show up three days ago at our kitchen window. He hasn't left yet. It's so funny to wake up and grab a cup of coffee and in the morning and peer out your window to see this insect praying. He folds his little hands as if he is saying a prayer for us. Any way the boys have gotten a kick out of him and for some reason it just makes my day better knowing "someone" or something is praying for us. The Bible does say all creation declares Gods glory and if we don't cry out with praise to the Lord the rocks and trees will. Maybe he does pray in his on little buggy way.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Work In Progres

We were blessed 4 years ago with this patio set. It has been
used frequently throughout the years and has gotten to the
point we needed to do something about it. Of course with a
tight family budget buying a new patio set is out of the question.
So what to do?????

First evaluate. How much rust is on the chairs? Are they savable?
Can we restore them or are they on their last leg?

Thankfully they are in good condition and can be restored
with a little tender loving care and a whole lot of Rustoleum
spray paint. Since it took 1 can per chair it costs us only $6.79
per chair. That seems very reasonable compared to purchasing
an entirely new set.

So we spread out the old faithful tarp and started spraying.
Right now we only have three chairs partially finished because
I ran out of spray. I realized now it takes one can per chair.

So we are doing with what we got as an old Disney movie put it years ago. I think with even the amount we have done they are looking great. The goal is to finish the chairs, hit the table and umbrella stand and buy a new umbrella for next year. Or we may just not get a new umbrella. All depends where we are next summer. So any projects you are all working on before the summer is over??? I will try to get pictures of the finished project.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" -Charles Dickens

I know I used this title for my face book status line but that's where we are right now. Dickens is another highly favorite author of mine. I just broke down and took the Tale of Two Cities out of the library to read again. I love this quote.

As a parent you can be your child's hero and enemy all in the same moment. You get the smiles and laughs and then 'poof' the tears start flowing and they hate you. I thought for some naive reason we would escape some of the pre-teen/teenage drama because we have boys but was I completely mistaken.

Don't get me wrong we have been experiencing some great things in our home surrounding our boys. Rocker and Shaggy have been devouring the Bible at night on their own. They have been stepping up more in boldness and confidence about their beliefs. Just this past weekend our church had the Alter Team Ministry pray for those who wanted to be filled with the Holy Spirit and/or speaking in tongues and all three of the boys (who are filled with both) got up and ministered with us. It was awesome!!

The boys are actually excited about my internship I will be starting in Sept. and want to participate as much as they can. I mean last night our 10 & 9 year old asked to participate in the Ministries Staff Bible Study that Scott and I were asked to join in on. We did not even think about asking them but they volunteered on their own. Wow, God is moving.

Then you have the moments as a mom or dad where you could literally beat your head against a wall for 2 hours. Brothers picking on each other and irritating the crap out one another. The constant needs of a family always lurking in the shadows of your day. I don't think walking in fullness of Christ means that life will be perfect but as Charles Dickens so aptly put it you will experience "...the best of times [and] the worst of times". I no longer live in survival mode but I feel as though I have broken into "thrivival" mode (if Shakespeare can make up words so can I). My family and I are thriving in the Lord.

If I let my expectations of what "thriving" looks like get in the way, then I will kick back into striving and surviving. I was asking the Father about that very thing yesterday. I have been talking to some moms in the early years of parenting and everyone of them are struggling with survival. I asked the Father "Can even moms of young ones thrive in God? Or will we always just survive?" The answer was interesting...He asked me some questions.

  • Did you thrive or survive as a young mom?
  • What helps you thrive now, what's the key now?
  • What do you expect or think of when you hear the word thrive?
Hmmmmmmmm? As a young mom I believe I walked the line of survival and thriving constantly. I never really got my foot on one side of the fence for too long. I can see looking back it had to do personally with my healing. When I was seeking the Lord and moving forward with His truth I could plant my feet firmly on the "thrivival" side, but when I began to depend on my own understanding and my own expectations of how I felt things should look I jumped back onto the barren wastelands of survival. I see now that when my views and thoughts are constantly being taken before the Lord for truth I can peacefully live and thrive as a mom. That doesn't mean at all that my life is perfect. I just have come to that truth and peace it doesn't have to, to thrive in Christ. The key is dependence on God and His view of life.

Right now I take each moment as it comes. I wish I had done that more when my kids were younger. I got so caught up at times in the years to come or the ministry of the future that I missed what was staring me right in the I don't have a 5 year plan. God can do whatever He wants with me whenever He wants me too. For example I have peace about taking on this internship for a year but God is in control so after this year I will find out what He wants me to do then.

Shaggy and Rocker are both hitting puberty right now and with it, it brings many ups and downs to our family but we are learning to ride the ride. It's hard for young boys (and girls I just don't have any) to become adults. We have great days and then there are those days we completely crash and burn into a fiery wreckage. Does it mean we are not thriving? No! We are because I know this is just the process of a boy becoming a man and we are to patiently walk with them through this. Some days we can just sit back and enjoy watching these guys become the men of God they were created to be and other days we pray a lot and wipe away the tears.

If you feel as though right now you are in survival mode I encourage you to begin to ask the Lord about you expectations of life right now. Ask Him to show you ways in which you and your entire family can thrive. It may come at a cost. Maybe you have to give up so extra things you are involved in to make sure you are not too stretched. Too many things on the calendar can bring on survival mode very quickly. Maybe you just need a picture from the Lord about how He sees your life. Thriving depends solely on your dependence on God where as Survival is all about dependence on self. Believe me ladies I did survival mode and dependence on self, its not any fun at all. Choose to depend on God and begin to thrive, just realize and accept in the midst of even thriving you will still have the good, the bad and the ugly but you get to see it all through the eyes of the Father.