Tag Archives: Miscarriage

Counting it as garbage.

From Mia’s Jesus Calling book today, assuming I’m on the right day because, let’s face it–I’m a little scatter-brained when it comes to days. And dates. Or what time it is. What holiday it is or isn’t. And where my keys are (in my hand). And where my necklace is (around my neck).

Anyways:

Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ. –Philippians 3:8

Okay, so actually that’s from the Bible. And it’s pretty straight forward. Nothing here on earth even compares to the awesomeness of knowing God’s son. I get it.

He can take away my sweet new shoes. He can take away the Kia that I love so much and replace it with my old Saturn. He can scrap plans to this new house we’re building. He can make Caleb lose his job and all the things that we own.

I talk a big game. But there has not been one day that has gone by since April that I don’t ask God why He took my baby. I struggle with it. I can’t move past it. I maybe even feel a touch angry about it.

I really feel like God gives me a little taste of heaven when I sit on the couch at night curled up with my kids reading a book. Or when I’m driving down the road and they’re singing songs together in the back seat. Or when Cheyenne keeps the jokes rolling for hours on end. Or when I’ve had a bad day and I check my phone and see a million selfies of Mia. Or when Merrick insists that I take a walk with him to see the sunset because it is so beautiful, and I do, and it really is beautiful.

I can’t count those things as garbage. I can’t count my baby as garbage.

I can’t even wrap my head around the comparison. My family is no way, shape, or form, garbage.

So I skipped ahead to tomorrow’s devotion:

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. –Psalm 29:11

The harder things get, the more I help,” the book says. “See your challenges as chances–chances to depend on Me more than usual.

Easier said than done, I guess. Still doesn’t explain much, but it is encouraging nonetheless.

Did God give me strength? Because I feel weak. Did He bless me with peace? I am tormented. Do I depend on Him more than usual? I did for about 30 days.

Admittedly, I’ve been in “Toni’s-got-it-all-figured-out” mode for a while now. But just like my confusion and hurt, my need for God doesn’t just go away after a certain allotted time has passed. And though I learned so many lessons this past spring, maybe now–when the rest of the world has continued to turn; when no one else is crying with me–maybe now is my time to truly lean on Him and Him alone.

My kids aren’t garbage, but I know now that these moments with them are fleeting and not guaranteed. My family is precious to me but God loves them even more than I do. And He loves me, too. I may not ever understand why it happened; but this is an opportunity for me to just trust Him. And though I can’t grasp the concept, the most wonderful parts of life here on earth are nothing compared to the glory of God in heaven.

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welcome to the suck.

I had the *best* week ever.

It started off right with a baby-less due date. Things did take a very promising turn when my friends snagged me away for a morning of pedicures, lunch, coffee, and window shopping.

And then.

Then.

Then I pissed off my husband in such a way that it’s a wonder he acknowledges my presence.

I don’t say that because I want sympathy or I want to talk about why our fight started. I say that because married people mess up. They hurt each other sometimes. And they argue. And they don’t always see eye to eye. And they make mistakes–or in my case, failures. And they lose their tempers. And they get annoyed and upset and sad, and every other emotion that you can think of.

Being married is not always fun or romantic. It’s really, really hard to be a godly wife or husband when you’re seething mad at one another. It’s even harder when you have to put on a smiley face and go out into the world and be around people together, or worse–out into the living room and be in front of your kids together.

We’re going on day 6 of crankiness, snappy-attitudes, frowny-faces, and crossed arms. But God has a wicked sense of humor–I know for a fact that He has fun jacking with me and Caleb. Case in point: yesterday afternoon we discovered that we had lice all up in my house–specifically on me and one of my children. And also the dogs got sprayed by a skunk. Again.

Awesome.

So guess who stayed up until 2:30 a.m. greasing and de-licing my head? Through his anger, straight through his disappointment and irritation–Caleb tenderly and patiently picked nits and bugs out of my slimy hair for 3 hours. You know–kind of how Christ loves the church and stuff.

Pretty sure God is laughing so hard He shot Cherry Coke out of his nose. I’m also pretty sure God drinks Cherry Coke.

It is purely by His grace that the two of us are still married. The short version of our life together so far? 5 horrible years of an alcohol-fueled hell, followed by weight gain and weight loss, anxiety and depression, craniosynostosis and skull surgeries, medical bills and layoffs, 2 lost babies and several royal screw-ups by yours truly.

We are here.

Sometimes it feels like we are out in the deep, deep ocean and the waves are slamming us down under the surface and we’re getting saltwater shoved up our noses and our eyes sting, and whenever we’re able to come up for air, rain is coming down as hard as it can, and we can barely breathe or stay afloat.

Sometimes the waves are just choppy enough to be adventurous and fun.

And sometimes the ocean is calm and glass-like and we can see our toes underwater and enjoy the sunset.

Our marriage is always changing. We are always changing. I can’t say I don’t hope the worst is behind us. Hard times suck. But we don’t call it quits when we’re in a storm–we hold onto each other tighter.

For better or for worse.

….

So to recap, my husband is aggravated with me, my parents will be here in a week, I have lice, and my house smells like skunk. This is real life. One day, when the water is calm again, I’ll laugh my head off about it.


My Dog and Art Students and A Visitor

Today Merrick stood at the back door yelling out Darcy’s name about 3 times before he realized she wasn’t out there. When it him, his shoulders slumped and his eyes filled with tears, and we’re going on day 3, folks.

We had to put sweet Darcy down. In the 5 days it took for the vet to get back to us with her initial test results, Darcy went from a vague health issue, to complete and total shutdown mode. Her lymph nodes were rock-hard and ridiculously swollen. Poor little thing couldn’t bark, couldn’t eat, couldn’t go to the bathroom. She didn’t feel like moving much and it was getting tougher and tougher for her to breathe. Her cancer just ate her up. I was doubtful that she’d make it through the weekend. So we took pictures:

Our best friend.

Our best friend.

The sweetest dog in the world.

The sweetest dog in the world.

Our family dog.

Part of our family.

So fluffy and beautiful! So loving and wise!

So fluffy and beautiful! So loving and wise!

Definitive proof that Noah came from outer space.

Also, definitive proof that Noah is a freaking alien.

And we said our good-byes.

Darcy, in happier, healthier times--in front of the house that didn't exist yet.

Darcy, in happier, healthier times–in front of the house that didn’t exist yet.

Wednesday night was hellacious. Merrick was beside himself: “I can’t sleep when Darcy’s not alive!” This morning he insisted on paying tribute to Darcy, in the form of vocalized song. “Okay,” I said. “What song shall we sing?” thinking he’d choose something amazing, like Kenny Loggin’s “Meet Me Halfway”, his current favorite.

Instead we sang 50 choruses of “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” to our dead dog.

It was less than epic.

Other than us adjusting to life without Darcy, things around here are good. Caleb and Mia are at camp. Cheyenne is still in Maryland. And I am giving art lessons like a fiend:

This little thunderbolt forced me to learn how to draw sharks.

This little thunderbolt forced me to learn how to draw sharks.

IMG_1387 These cousins were dead set on trees and sunsets.

And I’m having a blast. I hope the kids are, too. My Thursday girls went home and put on an impromptu painting party of their own:

Behold these gems: the kids in my town are going to put me out of business.

Just look at these gems. The kids in my town are going to put me out of business.

I love it. This was my wildest dream: kids spreading art around. They did it! It happened! It worked!

Shut up.

Nobody will ever know how much these children bless me.

And speaking of being blessed, I had the privilege of spending time with a beautiful young woman who came to stay with me yesterday. This girl had a sparkle in her eye and a permanent smile on her face, even though this year has been so tough for her. We talked about loneliness and making mistakes and helping others and loving God. Her take on these things brought tears to my eyes; I tried to come up with advice but everything I said felt miserably short of anything remotely wise. I searched for words of encouragement, but my mind mostly drew blanks. I had paid my dues in high school, but maybe I was just too old and too far removed from the life of a modern teenage girl to be able to relate much.

Last night, I read this in Angie Smith’s I Will Carry You:

“We aren’t going to feel whole in this life, and we will long for something we don’t have. Something that will fill the nagging void that intermittently stings and knocks us to our knees. And all the while, Satan taunts us, telling us our faith is small. To hurt so deeply is a sign that we live in a fallen world, not that we serve a small God.”

…and I almost leaped out of bed at 11:30 p.m. to share it with her. But I didn’t because I am restrained like that, so I’m sharing it now.

I’m still reading books about miscarriage and death. That’s my pain right now. I am so, so lonely for my baby and it still hurts. I have so many questions. I doubt myself. But I do serve a God who is big and in charge; I’ve got to remember to turn to Him in my loneliness.

We might think we’re oddly matched up with random people for no apparent reason, but there’s always a purpose. This sweet girl did much for me yesterday, and I hope that she realizes how special she is and how much God loves her.


bravery

Here:

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement. 2 Timothy 1:7

Love it, right? It’s been encouraging and empowering all week to hear this, but today I got the in-depth scoop and I just have to share it with you fine people. I’m so about to straight plagiarise from my pastor’s sermon.

Those words were written by Paul to his preacher-buddy Timothy, encouraging him to keep on keepin’ on. My first impression of this verse was “don’t be afraid at all ever”. But apparently the word Paul actually used for “fearfulness” is translated into something more like “cowardice”.

While I’ve never been completely under the impression that life would be totally easy when you follow Christ, there have been times where I have felt a little short-changed. (cough cough MISCARRIAGE cough cough ANXIETY, ALCOHOLISM, (literally) CRAZY FAMILY MEMBERS, FIGHTS WITH MY HUSBAND, cough cough.) But I guess that’s all just life here in an imperfect world.

I’ve heard it said that fear is a lack of faith, but I wonder if that’s completely true. Is it possible to experience bravery and fear at the same time? Here’s my confession: I’m a human and I get scared. I don’t smile through all my disappointments. I cry when I’m hurt. I’m not a huge fan of “the unknown”.

But I love God and I know that He sees these things coming, and like any good father, He’s there, with His hand held out so that I can hold onto Him no matter what I go through.

I think it’s important to know (which I did not, before today) that Paul was on death row in a prison cell in Rome when he wrote this letter, and Timothy was dealing with a church that had gone straight crazy with all kinds of bad behavior. The very word “cowardice” means a lack of courage in facing danger, pain, or difficulty. 2 Timothy 1:7 clearly says we will still encounter hard things–and we will be able to move forward through said hard things with love, power, and sound judgement.

Because if we put our trust and our faith in God, He instills His spirit in us, and this spirit enables us to face fears, accept challenges, and fight battles–all the while being kind, loving, giving, gracious, and humble. Sweet.

The end.


Slap Wore Out, Part 947.

Nothing breaks my heart more than staring at $5000 in medical bills and not having a baby to show for it. Miscarriage: killing me slowly since the Spring of 2013. Miscarriage: can suck it. And what’s up with the hundred-million pregnant people this summer? Is everybody giving birth in the fall except for me?

That’s it for my wallowing today. I attribute my exhaustion and moody behavior to late-night softball games and early-morning vacation bible school. It’s all been a lot of fun, but my kids are plum tired. I actually sent them to their beds for a nap about 10 minutes ago…and it’s quiet back there. They just might be sleeping.

Temperatures have officially reached the triple-digits, just as it does every year at some point during the summer. I’m thankful that it’s taken this long–here we are at the tail end of June and we’re just now experiencing this kind of heat? Thank you God, for the lovely 6 weeks of mild weather that we didn’t get last year, or the year before that. (I say “mild weather” like we didn’t have 500 tornados or anything.)

I sold the painting of the Emerald City in a field of poppies:

I call it, "The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies".

I call it, “The Emerald City In A Field Of Poppies”.

 

Contrary to what I assumed would happen, this puppy is hanging in someone else’s dining room, rather than on the bubble-gum pink wall above some 4-year-old little girl’s bed. Either way, I’m thrilled; and I’m always shocked that people like my art enough to buy it at all.

Our church is looking at throwing a community/church-wide art show in August. Already, Mia and I have been tossing around ideas. Okay, well, Mia has actually finished her contribution:

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Mia’s “City of Angels”, before the final touches.

Nothing is cooler than having a kid who shares my enthusiasm for cityscapes.

Tomorrow, me and my husband, and my bff and her husband, are going to see World War Z. I’ve read the book and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the movie based on the previews of sprinting zombies (THEY’RE DEAD! HOW FAST CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE?!!) but I’m all for checking it out, because A) I’m a sucker for apocalyptic scenarios, and B) there’s a good to excellent chance I’m gonna get some dinner nachos out of this.

And as it turns out, the kids are not quite asleep. And I care not. Because I’m cutting out to go take my own nap. Have a great weekend, computer people!


This Is My June

If you catch me around town around town jamming to the musical stylings of Ross Lynch and Bridgit Mendler, don’t judge–Merrick and Mia become absolute rockstars to Disney pop and I am not ashamed! I am not afraid to admit it! Any song that makes my son sing things like “Cause you got my flow and we blowin’ it UP!” whilst popping and locking in the backseat is a song that I LOVE.

I’m still on a diet, which means lots of green tea:

Kill me.

Kill me.

Kill me.

Kill me now.

Kill me now.

Make me die.

And just lots of green stuff in general, which is a total suckfest since I so enjoy things that are the color of, um, any cookie.

My home is infested with little black bugs that appear to be materializing out of thin air and placing their crunchy, annoying thoraxes strategically all over my living space, so that every 2 steps I take: suddenly, bug guts. My dogs do nothing to stop the invasion. It’s like they know it’s summer vacation and they’re not about to participate in a damn thing unless it involves peeing on something I dearly love.

Speaking of peeing, this happened: Merrick calls me into his room one night at 11:00, 3 HOURS after I put him to bed, and says: “Hey mom, could you get that thing over there?”

“What thing over where?”

“That thing–over there! Up there!”

“Wha…?”

So there’s real live pee-soaked underwear resting comfortably atop his bedroom door. I can’t even tell you how long it had been there. I shouldn’t admit that I don’t even know.

I am learning so, so much from having a son. Like, what baby oak toads eat:

Internet, meet Frida. Frida, meet the internet.

Internet, meet Frida.

We rescued/surprise adopted/kidnapped 3 baby toads from a parking lot puddle last week–and they’re still alive 7 days later. That’s got to be some kind of record, right? And FYI, they eat teeny tiny worms that have to be kept in the refrigerator: they must remain cold or they’ll turn into beetles.

So basically I’m keeping a container full of potential beetles inches away from the food that I put in my mouth.

My life is so grossballs sometimes.

Fact: a moth the size of Ohio is trying to break through the glass window that’s right next to me this very second.

Other fact: I have black hair and it looks cool. Explanation: My hair gurl blonded it for me a few months ago, and then I regretted it 4 weeks later when fierce rootage predictably occurred…so I asked to be brunette again, even though I know how my hair acts sometimes. I risked it anyway. And bless the hair dresser–because she always does a good job–the hair on this head? Went full-on goth quickly and unexpectedly. I know it will fade–though I am really digging the black since it makes me look more artsy and tormented. Because really–what sunny blonde paints rubber Mexican gang-bangers and encourages this type of behavior? :

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As you can see, we had another African body paint day (pictures of the first one here)–this time in my garage out of the wind, which–shocker–has been blowing hard here in Oklahoma. I am now officially done with the Spring set of classes, and it has been a crrrrazy ride–interruptions from winter weather, miscarriage, softball and t-ball, and tornado season have made what should have been 6 weeks last for almost 4 months. I hate that we have dragged out the session like this, but it’s been worth the wait. We’ve studied Chinese watercolor, Greek pottery, and stained glass from the Middle Ages of Europe; we’ve painted little houses similar to what we learned about in American Folk art; we even covered Mexico’s obscure “Night of the Radishes” festival by painting with vegetables. Plus, we made nifty African masks right before we moved on to the covering of our entire bodies with all the colors of the rainbow.

Best. Session. Ever. I have loved every minute of it.

If you’re local and you’re interested, our gallery night will be held this Friday at 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the community room at our town’s library. Everyone is welcome to come support these talented artists! *Also, there will be cupcakes.*


Smorgasbord.

Is it just my kids, or does Wednesday night church bring everybody’s children to a level of insanity of which this world has never before seen?

Merrick’s class turns into 4-and-5 year old psychopaths as soon as they walk in the door, just in time for my friend to teach them about missionaries. I usually cower over in a corner somewhere. And yes, psychopath is a strong word. But many nights, it’s called for. And it doesn’t stop there: the crazy continues right on to the house. Merrick and Mia run around going bonkers while they put on pajamas, going bonkers while they brush their teeth…all the way up until actual bedtime and even afterwards.

WHAT does my church FEED my kids on Wednesday nights?

I got this stupid book from the library about miscarriage. It’s informative, oh yes; but I really only got it so I could try to semi-understand all the genetic testing stuff that I know nothing about. Here’s my doctor last week: “The testing will biology, science, blah blah blah blah blah, cells, and another big giant term you don’t know. Blah blah blah. Some medical stuff. Blah.”

The library book did nothing to help, but as I stood in the kitchen staring cross-eyed at the pages, Cheyenne stepped in with all her science-y knowledge. She straight laid it out in Toni-talk (“Say this little cell dude doesn’t divide right, and then all the dudes that it makes are crap.”) and drew diagrams on post-its until she was blue in the face. I’m telling you this girl–with all her genetic conferences and AP classes–is making me so proud. Even if she only ever uses her expertise to explain things in kid terms to me. Plus now I know a little more about nucleuses and stuff.

Kind of a sidenote–the people who say a life is not a life until a certain point in a  pregnancy? Never had a miscarriage at 13 weeks. Every moment that my baby’s heart was beating (and even before) was nothing but sweet, precious, God-given life to me. I’d give just about anything to have it back. Next week would have been the day of  THE ultrasound where they tell you all kinds of developmental information about your baby but mostly you’re just there to see if you’re having a boy or a girl. That’s when stuff gets real and your baby is totally making it and you’re halfway there. We were so close.

Kind of not a sidenote: I’ve been painting like a madman. My house is trashed and I forget to shower and the kids eat cereal for dinner. And not even the healthy kind–I’m talking 2 bowls each of generic-brand Crunch Berries. My personal diet has primarily consisted of coffee and iced animal cookies.

Some of my paintings I’m ready to get rid of. I painted them just to paint them and I’m tired of looking at them. Other paintings I poured my heart and soul into, and though the subject matter doesn’t appear to be very deep, each brush stroke was heavenly therapy. I know I cannot keep them but I hate to see them go.

If you’re bored Saturday and don’t want to go all the way into Oklahoma City for the art festival there, come out to Norman and check out Dustbowl. It will be right on Main Street and after you’ve looked at all the artwork and jewelry and t-shirts and handbags, you can mosey on over to the Norman Music Festival where there are bands galore and also delicious food. If anything, you can just come to people watch, which is highly entertaining to say the least.

But make sure to stop and chat with me and my friend Stephanie first because we are always cool.

Here is a peek at a painting that I should name “Wee Willy Winky except with a ninja”, but I’ve been calling it “Bed Intruder”:

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So much for making kid-friendly art.


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