Today is my baby’s birthday

Sweet 16. Although I suppose that description is reserved for girls turning 16.

Sixteen. I remember telling My Man we were expecting #3, 5 years after #2. I headed out the door to get into the car. I was running over to have a pregnancy test since my home test was negative in the morning but when I walked by the trash can after work, it was flashing blue positive. So after a call to the doc, who said, “come on by now cuz your old” *not really, but I was 34, and 35 is “you are officially a high-risk mommy.”* I remember the man standing in the garden weeding with a spade. He asked me where I was going and I replied, “off to see Doc R for a pregnancy test.” It was the first he had heard of it. Not so surprisingly, he had no reply. When I returned from the doc, 40 minutes later, he was still weeding with the spade. In the same row. He looked up when I bounced toward the door, “well?” he said. “Positive!” said I. I should preface by saying we had discussed actually having a discussion about #3 and, in my mind, it was then a done deal.

And it was.

The Wild Boy was an easy pregnancy. I had little of the troubles I had with the first two. I don’t think we even made a single midnight pre-term labor hospital run with him, after about 12 with My Girl. He was born one day before my 35th birthday.

Brett’s birthday brings to mind tons of memories. BFF, Beth was working on the maternity ward back in those days. And she was sooooo excited about Wild Boy’s impending birth. She had the staff there on notice that we would be coming in at anytime and we were to get The Special Treatment. Did we ever. We had the corner labor and delivery room, aka The Bowling Alley. It was huge. It looked over the helipad. When I finally got to my room, I was the only one on the wing and they put me in the room farthest away from the nursery which was on the other wing. No sense opening up an entire nursery for my little 6 pounder. They could have placed me closer to the working nursery, but I was getting The Special Treatment. The nurses were told I was a third time mommy and if I needed anything… would ask. Otherwise…I was on vaca so leave me alone. It. Was. Heaven. I know that they regretted my room location right away as The Wild Boy arrived hollering and didn’t stop hollering the entire time he was in the hospital. He was never satisfied and they were dragging him back and forth to me every two hours to eat. They said they tried everything. Believe me, so did we when we got him home. He continued hollering non-stop for the next three years. The only time he wasn’t hollering was when he was eating.

Lots of memories of that day and those first days. But I’ll spare you the rest, today. My just shy of 7 pounds chunky baby has grown into a 6’3″ Wild Boy. He was definitely Momma’s Boy; the only one I was home full-time with. He denies it with the typical teenage boy flippancy, but he is still Momma’s Boy and I pray always will be.

All of our children are compassionate and sensitive, but he is much more so. And tries to hide it with his tough guy, smart-aleck exterior. But a Momma knows.

Thankful for you, Brett. Blessed beyond measure to be your Momma, and Sarah’s, and Shawn’s.

Love y’all.


How much proof before you believe?

If I haven’t run y’all off yet…this will surely do it.

*not that I’m trying to run you off*

I have a confession to make:

I am an unbeliever.

Feels good to finally get that out.

I am writing this at 6:00 pm on Monday, January 23. There are some things going on in our family right now that I’ll share eventually, but I can share the one thing going on with me. Tomorrow, at 2:00 I have my annual mammogram, which I haven’t had for two years. Taking care of everyone else sort of took priority over taking care of myself. I’m not complaining about that. I don’t regret that. One day, I will share the blessing that is “taking care of everyone else.” And it is a blessing.

As a rule, I get worked up about this particular exam. I won’t go into details but I’m usually a “see you back in six months for a re-check” kind of girl. I know going in that I will have the heavy duty “exam” and it will be followed up with a sonogram. That’s been SOP *standard operating procedure for you non-military brats* for years. When I made tomorrow’s appointment, the receptionist kind of freaked out when she pulled up my records. “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO COME BACK FOR A SIX-MONTH RECHECK IN TWO-THOUSAND-TEN!!!!!!”

*which in turn had everyone in the place turn to look at us, thankyouverymuch*

I just smiled and said, “really? cuz I could have sworn the last time I was in (whenever that was) I was good for a year.” I knew a couple of things she didn’t know:

  1. I couldn’t even tell her when my last appointment was. The last two years have been a blur (see above to know that is a blur of blessing); 
  2. my God doesn’t go by “six-month rechecks” or as several of my friends immediately stated, “six months or two years…it doesn’t really matter to Him;” and
  3. it is what it is

Oh, and there is a number 4. Remember my last post about the color Green? God doesn’t just speak to me/confirm for me through the color Green. He also uses scripture and music. In particular the verses, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God almighty” and one song in particular, “Be Unto Your Name.” It’s just the way He blesses me beyond measure when I need it.

And I have been needing it. Because I have been freaking out the last week over some things going on in our life and especially since the radiology receptionist hollered at me about my six-month recheck that was due back in 2010. *exclamation point*

This past Sunday, Pastor Wayne’s sermon scripture was this: Isaiah 6:3. The same service, Cheryl chose songs that caught my attention (as in, “God…is that You speaking to me, Susan?”) and then slammed me with the last song…you guessed it, “Be Unto Your Name.” Poor Kim sitting next to me. I kept the sobbing to a minimum, but she knows me so well…her hand rested on my shoulder for the next 15 minutes just to let me know she was there and that she gets it.

This week, He constantly reminded me of all of the times He has allowed me a glimpse into a situation, aka discernment; aka “trusting my gut”; aka “Susan’s Spidey-sense.” He even reminded me that He has never been unfaithful.  

Ever. When He has allowed me some discernment into a situation, it has always proven to be true.  


It will be the same tomorrow. *Or, today, actually, when I post this.

How much proof do I need to overcome my unbelief?

I’m still struggling with it as I type this. Even reading and re-reading this post; remembering every single thing He has done this last week to assure me that it is All Good.

I know what the problem is. I am listening to my physical world of the the last two years and not the spiritual world I have lived in my entire life, although I didn’t seriously embrace it until December 10, 1986. Twenty-five years of consciously living as one of His…as a believer. And I’m responding to the last two years only.

How much proof do I need to overcome my unbelief?

We will get confirmations tomorrow (Tuesday…or today, actually when I’m posting this) that it is All Good. And not that I believe that God wants us to make deals with Him, but there will be some consequences for my unbelief.

I will definitely be posting about those. *not that that is part of our Deal or anything…ahem*

Love y’all.

*****updated before I post on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 something. It is All Good. And yup…”see ya back in six-months!****

Lots in the works.

I will be blogging next week, for sure. Waiting for a few things to play out. But it is going to be Good. He has assured me it is so.

If you see me, and I’m by myself and my lips are moving and I’m totally unaware of your presence, it is because He has firmly planted this in my thoughts, my heart, on my lips:

Holy. Holy. Holy. IS the Lord God, Almighty.
Who Was. And Is. And Is to come.

Love y’all.

What day is it, anyway?

Seriously, it is hard to remember when all the days seem to run into each other as one big NCIS-watching-box-unpacking-marathon.

So here’s the deal. The last couple of days have been really hard. I vacillate between silence, rage, sobs, and need-to-kill. My poor husband has certainly been the recipient of all these emotions this week. He is incredible. He’s still speaking to me. He is the least deserving target but is truly the only one that can take it. I’ve apologized more to that man in the last month than the entire span of our marriage (date of which was September 10, 1983…don’t try to do the math…I was a child bride.)

So, I finally put into perspective what is driving this psychotic emotional roller coaster. I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I want to get back to some semblance of normal (I know, I know, I know…that word…normal.) I want to be able to laugh and joke and smile and do things and be happy and joyful and to stop crying and to stop raging and to stop aching and…just be me.

But I keep stopping myself from doing that, being that, because it feels wrong. Oh I totally hear Andy saying to me, “Doo-Doo…seriously? Get on with it.” But I just haven’t been able to let myself do it yet.

Which has caused, I’m guessing, all of this all-over-the-place emotional stuff. Last night, after serving a crowd of hungry youth at DNow, a couple of my sweet friends chatted with me about all of this. I think I’m also struggling with just wanting to stop being the girl that everything keeps happening to and go back to being me. It’s hard to separate from all of that stuff. When life around me is chatty and happy and celebratory, I’m thinking…it was like that before Andy; before Katie; before Beth. I suppose it is a form of self-pity. And I hate that. I’m not that girl anymore; I don’t want to be that girl anymore.

Yesterday, when I was really struggling, I clicked on my iTunes and cranked it up to my Worship play list…”Mom’s Worship.” *original, I know* First song up? At Your Feet by Casting Crowns. Lord have mercy, if you don’t know that song, you need to know that song.

And I remembered… “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 6:24).  “…knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3.)

I need to lay it all at His feet. Verbally, physically, spiritually.

So I’ve been trying to do that today. I don’t know how my baby sister is going to get through this. But I’m going to have to be strong in order to help her.

I’ve resented having to be the strong one. Please forgive me, Lord, for that. You put me here at such a time as this to be the strong one. I can do it. I have been doing it for the last 3 years. I can continue doing it…here at your feet.

Love y’all. Thanks for loving me back.

What About Me?

***Update…had a great day. Spent some time listening to Travis sing some of my all-time favorite worship songs…Be Unto Your Name; Mercy Seat; Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; Jesus Saves; In Christ Alone. Music speaks to me. He speaks to me through music. I did a bunch of laundry. I emptied three boxes and boxed up my Christmas dishes. Shawn and I worked on our Christmas break puzzle…as in opened the box and started working on it today. Shawn made an awesome dinner. Russell came home from a quick trip to JFK. We made a Baskin-Robbins run. And now My Man and I are watching last night’s NCIS. *Shhhh…Sarah Wolfe, don’t spoil it!* Tomorrow I need to pop into the office for a bit and push some paper, work on the announcements and then I will come home and help Shawn finish packing. He heads back to Farmville Friday after we go to lunch for Thai food. Anyway, just wanted y’all to not worry. I’m clawing my way back out of the pit…with some Help.***

As a former, “it is ALL about me” girl who has spent the last 20 years trying to make it not about her, I really fought against writing this post.

However, the entire point of writing is to express who I am. And this is who I am right now:

  • lost
  • overwhelmed
  • angry
  • sad
  • weary

Those are the first five words that popped into my head. Here are the next five:

  • blessed
  • blessed
  • blessed
  • blessed
  • blessed

Seriously. I could not think of another word. I find this hilarious. Especially when a good friend had just texted me: “friend that sounds like depression.”

I know depression. I know she is right. But I hadn’t said it out loud.

But she just threw it out there like it was nothing.

Denial is a wonderful world to live in.

It is true that I have not taken good care of myself. I’m two years past a physical and all that entails at my age. I haven’t been eating well, drinking well and certainly not exercising regularly anymore. My sleep is whack. My quiet time is still pretty much me sitting here staring into space.

So. What about me?
What is my responsibility toward taking care of myself?

I could quote a bunch of scripture, but we are all pretty familiar with them. Honestly, God does talk about us taking care of ourselves. Especially in order to worship Him properly and take care of those around me. I want to do both. I need to do both.

So, I’m taking a few days to chill. I need to help Shawn get ready for this semester. Which might, or might not be his last semester. He can graduate this Spring with his Liberal Arts degree and finish up his minor, Outdoor Education, after the summer session, but won’t have his teaching certs. Although he can get them after graduating. We’ve left the decision up to him. However, I do want to help him get packed up, get his Winter gear washed up, etc. He heads back to Longwood in two days.

And while I’ve said I’ve wanted to get back to real life, eating well, exercising, pumping up my spiritual life again…I haven’t really committed to it nor done anything serious about it. I’ve been pretty content in my cushy little pit; have it all decorated nice and cozy-like; and I’ve just wanted to be left alone.

So again, I ask for some prayer from y’all, my three dedicated readers. For me this time.

Love you guys. Thankful for you on this Journey.

Retreat Post #1.

Keep forgetting to mention that my 2012 word is Focus. Oh how this made me LOL and say to God, “really? Are You sure?” Cuz seriously. Although one year, let me think when…oh yes, it was during a marriage seminar thingy and we each had to go around and say one word to describe our spouse. My word for my husband was “selfless.” I said it with such piety. And I turned to him to hear his wonderful, humble word for me: “focused.” What the heck? FOCUSED? That might as well have been DRIVEN; or…or…or…NAGGING…or…PERSISTENT; or UNRELENTING…you get the point. Focused. Really? After that we never went back. Seriously. We didn’t. But not because of the word “focused.” *it was the weekend after this changing point in our marriage that Beth collapsed in her bathroom and the marriage seminar just was not the important thing happening in our lives*

Where was I…oh yes. Focus.

It’s really not what you think. It’s not so much “focus on the important things” or “you really need to focus at work” although I do need to do both of these things after 2011. No…it really means “turn your focus to Me.”

Because my focus has definitely not been on God.

It has been on me; my woes; my troubles; my issues; my weight; my eating habits; my family; my grief; my family’s grief; my my my…me me me.

Funny how turning my focus on Him takes all the focus off of me and my. That has always been a problem of mine. Focusing on me and how everything else, everyone else impacts me. That is a huge part of the life of That Girl. The selfish one. The self-absorbed one. Not to say I still don’t turn the focus on me. Clearly. That has been a problem lately. *see the first sentence of the first paragraph of this post*

Anyhoo, today was definitely a “turn inward and focus on me” day. I was angry; hurt; in pain; did I mention angry? When I feel this way, and really allow myself to wallow in it…danger, danger, danger.

Difference now? I recognize the path to danger. While my head was splitting from a migraine, and I struggled with some serious anger, I started cleaning. My go to comfort fix these days. I threw out tons of stuff, dumped my junk drawer on the counter and ditched 3/4 of it, vacuumed, dusted, etc. I should have been at Small Group. Trust me…they were better off without me this morning. But My Girl did shame me into keeping our scheduled pedi appointment and that was the best decision I made today. Sure…I griped and complained the entire 2 mile drive there and she clucked and nodded and sympathized with me and then we got there and settled into the vibrating chairs that nearly knocked us into the foot bath, and it was good. All good. Exactly what I needed. We laughed; we cried; we sat and reflected. And we got the same nail color on our toes.

Focus. I think I’m going to like this word. With all of its meanings.

Love you guys.

My Choice.

As our world continues to spin out of control, we have two choices…give in and crash and burn, or pick ourselves back up and keep going.

There was a time, during the life of That Girl, where the choice was always the former. But now, now I find, after the initial shock, anger, sadness, whatever…I pick myself up and keep going and the rest of the family does, too.

I have yet to blog about my mini-retreat yesterday (January 3). I was up before 5 am and I knew the afternoon would be a brutal trial of trying to stay awake, so I settled into my living room with a big steaming cup of Christmas Blend, a new journal (a one subject spiral bound, college rule notebook with a dark green cover), a couple of purple pens and my Stormie Omartian The Power of a Praying Woman bible (I haven’t used it since October, apparently, because I found a tithing check from October tucked in there). I also gave a copy of this bible to bff, Beth and always pull it out when I feel girlie. Check it out here.

I really didn’t have much of a plan for my retreat. I had hoped to just get a refilling of the emptiness I’ve been feeling; that emptiness that is left after the life is sucked right out of you from grieving (yourself) and attempting (and often failing) to be strong for everyone else. It’s what the mom does. I wouldn’t change that part; I’m not complaining about that part; it is what it is.

Five minutes into my retreat I knew, without a doubt, the following: *you knew there would be bullets…admit it*

  • I had forsaken my God. He had definitely not forsaken me.
  • Psalm 139, the entire chapter, is my scripture for 2012. I need to and will become very familiar with Psalm 139 this year, in many translations. 
  • I will not give into evil and evil will not defeat me. Even *especially* the evil that is in human form. And there is plenty of it in my life.

After 14 pages of notes and a diagram (I’m a visual person) I thought I was ready for the year 2012. I mean, I am ready for the year 2012. Even with the hit we are taking this week of losing Andy’s dog, Hurley Boo James. Initially reeling from the shock of it, I now see it for what it is…Andy misses Hurley; Hurley misses Andy. They belong together. It was all part of The Plan, as painful as it is. 

I expect that I will be blogging, over the coming weeks, some of the notes from my retreat. I’ll let you know how it’s all going.

As always, I covet your prayers for my family and I am praying for you.

Love you guys. See y’all soon.

Happy New Year!

I really didn’t think I’d have a moment to blog before the New Year, but here I am. I thought a blog in bullet format was in order, so here we go:

  • Home alone. Me. Home. Alone. At 6:30pm on New Year’s Eve. Oh, they will be back. Sooner than later. But for now…it’s just me, Her Evil Highness and LJG. Oh, and cheese and crackers and a glass of good Chianti for dinner. *hey, it’s New Year’s Eve…cheese and crackers and Chianti are perfect*
  • I am mentally and physically Done. Kaput. Zapped. Over It. Russell’s dad is officially moved in. Next week for a few days Russell, Shawn and I will be cleaning his house in Dumfries and Saturday it goes on the market. 
  • For a change, I drew a line in the sand and pronounced that we, the five of us, are taking a break today and tomorrow. The kids can play, do whatever, but there will be no packing; no moving; no running back and forth to Prince William County; nor even back and forth to Greensprings, as far as I’m concerned. We need a break to just hang out.
  • I immediately followed this hang out and chill directive with the following: I, personally, am going to take the tree down, and retake possession of my home. Cleaning and baking and laundry in MY OWN HOME FOR MY OWN FAMILY. Woo-hoo! I can hardly wait! The rest of ’em can determine what stand down and chill means to them, but I am sooooooo looking forward to this! I am practically giddy!
  • On Tuesday, January 2, I am taking a break from even all of them (love them though I do!) and I am going on a mini-retreat. Just me, God, my bible, my journal (I think a brand-spankin’-new-one), some brand new purple pens that fit wonderfully in my hand, and my iPod. I’m not taking my phone so don’t call or text. I’m not taking my computer. I believe that there will be mass quantities of coffee consumed and only one person will know where I am…my husband *in case of emergency*
  • Surprisingly enough, I am going to miss the tree in the living room. It brings warmth *oh! guess what?! the gas log people sent us the wrong part for the gas fireplace. I was not the least bit surprised because it is, after all, 2011. If we had waited until 2012…they would have sent the correct piece. I’m convinced* (not really, but I like to think it might be true)
  • Back to the Christmas Tree…it was not our prettiest; nor our fullest; nor our smelliest. However, I am going to miss it all the same. I can’t explain it. I just feel it.
  • I saw on Mama Beth’s blog, LPM, that she was asking us to provide three words to describe 2011. Interestingly enough, I had already been thinking on several words to describe 2011. I kept coming back to these three:
    • Pain
    • Joy
    • Redemption
  • I think pain needs no explanation for my three committed readers.
  • The second word, Joy, may be a tad surprising; even to me. I have chosen to find the Joy every where I can; every time I can. I think the pain has done that to me. I have to escape the pain at times and go straight to Joy. Deep, warm, all-consuming Joy.
  • Redemption. Ahhhhh…to be redeemed. Have I ever mentioned that I love words? I love typing them, writing them and looking up their “official” definition(s). And this word, redeem, is a whopper of a word. According to 1a : to buy back : repurchase b : to get or win back; 2: to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : clear d : to free from the consequences of sin; 3: to change for the better : reform; 4: repair, restore;…5a :… c : to make good : fulfill 6a : to atone for : expiate <redeem an error> b (1) : to offset the bad effect of (2) : to make worthwhile : retrieve.
  • See? Whopper. Applies so many stinkin’ ways to me…I can’t even begin to go into it all. But I will. On Tuesday. During my retreat. I’ll probably share some of it. Or not. Don’t know yet. In any case, y’all be safe this New Year’s Eve. I love you guys.