Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clean house here I come!!!

I'm so excited. Just got off the phone with our new housekeeper Rosalinda! She is going to be coming to our house so that it actually gets clean once in a while. WOOHOO!!!

Thanks for sharing Molly! And thanks to everyone else for the references.


I'm a natural extravert. Honest. I crave to be involved in large social gatherings and chat away with others. I need it. I want it. Oh baby oh. (five points for the reference)

But sometimes people don't see that in me. Sometimes people see me as introverted. Quiet. Shy. Not willing to speak up. (ok, well, maybe that's a about...keeps to myself). Sometimes people think I'm exclusionary because I don't jump in there and ask how you are doing right away.

Its funny how perception can really impact the way you see the world and others around you. For example...someone says hi to you in the line at the grocery or uncool? Depends on how you grew up. For us transplants to Texas this is a primary example of how different Texas can be. In Texas, you are crazy (or rude, or weird...insert your adjective) if you don't say hi to people in line at the grocery store and strike up a conversation. If you make eye contact with someone and they look away you might find yourself thinking "what's wrong with that person?". Where I was raised though, if you spoke to the people in line at the grocery store, on occasion you would find a generous sole willing to smile and talk back, but for the most part the thought is "what is wrong with that person"...why do they feel they have the right to talk to me. It's not an arrogant thing, its a self preservation thing. You don't know who to trust and so you tend to avoid talking to people you don't know...or making eye contact with just go about your business with your friends and family and live life that way. The idea is that there are "too many crazies in the world". I think it grew out of the whole stranger danger thing...who knows.

Personally, because i'm an extravert, I prefer Texas in that sense because I can smile and bring up a conversation or joke around with the cashier or whatever, and they may think I'm crazy but its not because I said hello to someone I didn't know...that's expected behavior.

Nevertheless my point is that right or wrong here is a matter of perspective. I think too often people jump to conclusions about what someone's behavior means without really trying to get to know the person and understand them. Personally, I know this (certified to teach on the subject), and so I try to apply it in two ways. 1) "Forgive" others when I think they've wronged me somehow, imagining that they probably didn't know they did anything to hurt me. 2) Work hard to communicate about myself and my intentions so that I'm not misunderstood. Of course, I'm never really fully successful at both 100% of the time.

So I find myself writing about rejection and my natural tendency for extraversion and the behaviors people might see in me that would lead them to think otherwise.

Like I said, sometimes people think I'm shy or quiet or arrogant or think I'm better than others or not interested in you because I tend to keep to myself. (There may be other reasons why you think that too...but I've heard at least these in the past). Something interesting...I'm only like this with larger groups where the people are going to be in my life for a while. With one person, or two people, whether I know them well or not, I'm my normal outgoing talkative self. With my family and closest friends...not really shy or quiet at all. In fact, I can be a bit overbearing at times. With large groups of people I know that I will never see again (conferences, etc.) I am my normal outgoing self, talking to anyone. Its just those groups of people that I don't know well but know that will be in my life for a while (or who I really want to accept me) that I'm quiet. I'm afraid I'll make a bad impression or that I'll say something that didn't come out right or I'll be misunderstood and those people won't like me. Not because of something I meant to do (I typically won't apologize for saying something I feel strongly about)...its not like I mean to apologize for my beliefs or am wishy washy, but because of something I did unintentionally or was misunderstood.

I guess time is the key factor. With family or close friends, you've had time to build a relationship and I'm confident that either I won't be misunderstood because they know me well or that because they know me well they will give me a little grace if I do something wrong because they know my heart. With large groups like conferences or whatever where I won't see people again, I don't worry about it. If they like me great, maybe we'll form a lasting friendship. If they don't, oh well, I'll never see them again anyway. But that middle group is what is hard. With people I don't know well but want them to accept me, I know that anything I do now could leave a lasting impression on them that will ruin my chance of being friends with them, on accident, because of a misunderstanding and because of the length of the relationship (probably long-term), its important to me to have a good relationship with that person.

So I choose to stay quiet. It is a very intentional thing on my part that goes against what I am naturally. If I was naturally quiet, then it wouldn't be a problem! But, I'm not. I need those conversations and relationships with others. I thrive when I'm in those relationships. Nevertheless, its pretty hard to build those relationships when you sit in a corner and don't talk to anyone because you are afraid you'll make the wrong impression.

My friends, I fear I've made the wrong impression. Don't know why. Don't know what I did. I can promise you that whatever I did I probably didn't mean to and can honestly say I have no idea what it was. Nevertheless, I've gotten the distinct impression recently that I won't fit in with you. I'm not part of the group. I'm an outsider and am not welcome in the inner circle.

I'm not stupid. I can tell when I was intentionally not selected to help with things. I can see when I wasn't invited to bday parties or playdates. I can tell when I'm intentionally excluded from access to a newly restricted blog. I know when I walk into a meeting when I'm wanted and when I'm not. I can tell when people choose not to come to my house but always go to everyone else's. (Of course, I know when these things aren't intentional too...and, more importantly, I try to pretend that none of it is intentional and I'm always playing the devils advocate...maybe they are busy...maybe they are tired...maybe something came up at home...oh God, I hope they didn't get hurt on the way over!....I don't like to be misunderstood so I try not to misunderstand).

I'm not sure what it is. Is it that I'm a working mom? Is it my beliefs on childbirth and parenting? Is it that "quiet" tendency I have? Is it the fact that my husband and I don't have a normal home schedule? Is it the challenges we've faced? Is it that we aren't native Texans? Is it that I take my son with me everywhere I go? What is it? Obviously I have no idea, but after the few incidents that happened over the last few days I'm saddened by it all. I feel rejected and there is nothing I can do about it (other than try to be cheery on my front) because I don't understand it.

Thankfully, I know that I do have a few friends or people who accept me and try to go out of their way to make me feel loved and valued. My family is always there and my husband is wonderful. And, how can you deny the wonderful little guy I have in my son who gets so excited to see me and hang out with me.

So, any feedback would be nice to help me understand.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Need a Wii Fit?

Who actually needs one I say. I guess I should have titled this who wants a Wii Fit?

Believe me, my last post wasn't the more sad one that I could have posted this morning. I have one so painful to me that I'm not ready to write it because I know if I did at this point it wouldn't be out of love...more of pain...and it would be misunderstood and I would offend some people unnecesarily. Needless to say we're rethinking our friendships and where we decide to be planted.

So, as to not end on THAT note, or on the note of my last post, I decided to post about a completely frivolous yet wonderfully enjoyable thing we've found called the Wii Fit.

We've loved the Wii since we found one about a year ago. Its truely innovative and has been one place for our family to interact in those brief moments we get to spend together. Wii have a blast with it (get it...wii...hahaha)

About a month ago we were lucky enough to find a wii fit. We plugged it in and I've been enjoying it ever since. Of course, I was horribly sick for the past 2 weeks, which ended my daily use of it, but I plan to completely dive right back into it this week, school permitting.

I'll post sometime about why I love it.

But for now (since I need to head to a meeting...), I'm offering to look for one for you.

They are hard to find...very hard if you've been looking for one you know! But over the last several weeks we've found them at the WalMart near our house three times. Everytime I go (about once a week) and everytime Jason goes (about the same amount of time), we check to see if they have any. We've managed to find several for several friends, so if you want us to pick one up on your behalf if we see it, let us know and we'll look for one for you. I'll just pick it up when I see it and you can pay me back, regular price. No guarantees, but just offering to be your scope for you since we have one of our own and have had so much luck finding them.

Technically Infertile

The day has come my friends.

We can technically be put on the infertile list. Of course, I choose to say that we are fertility challenged. We have one beautiful, wonderful son that we were blessed with. I can't seriously say that we are "infertile". But, as we've known, fertility isn't our strong suit.

Nevertheless the technical definition of infertility is well-timed intercourse for a year with no conception.

And we've done that now. Late last night light bleeding ended an otherwise less-than-pleasant day. A day in which I spent at least an hour sobbing over something completely different.

Here are the stats:

Time without b/c: 3 1/2 years.
# of children: 1
# of pregnancies: 2
Time since last birth: 23 months
# of pregnancies since then: 0

So, depending on how you look at it, we've been trying:

23 months (since #1 was born)
17 months (since we really wanted to get pregnant)
12 months (since cycle #1 after Logan was born)
4 months (since Logan stopped breastfeeding completely)

Take it for what its worth. Technically we're infertile.

Not sure what to do with that. This month I was sure we'd get pregnant. Kind of (I have a $300+ prescription waiting for me at Target that I can't take while pregnant. I knew if I bought it then I'd get pregnant, if I didn't, I wouldn't. I didn't buy it but will head there today). But, I didn't think we'd actually make it to the 1 year mark after my cycle came back before getting pregnant again. Of course, I didn't think I'd make it to the 1 year mark after Logan was born before becoming pregnant again. And, I didn't think I'd make it until my annual in January last year before getting pregnant again. There she said to come back in the summer, and I didn't think I'd make it to the summer before becoming pregnant. Now, I'm looking to Logan's 2nd bday in a month and way I won't be pregnant before then. And then I'm looking at my next annual in Dec/Jan thinking...of course I'll be pregnant by then.

They call it secondary infertility...when you have one child and have difficulty conceiving another one. They say its just as painful than primary infertility. I don't know. Again, I'm still considering us fertility challenged and not actually infertile.

And again, not sure what to do from here. Should I go to the doctor to get help? I don't know. I've never been one to be against fertility interventions. I'm all for help in that area. But over the last couple years I've had to reconsider how I feel about fertility and providence. I am almost certainly against b/c for our family. Not ready to say for ANY family...but might lean that way. (another debate for another time). We just don't need it! Part of the reason is that I've learned how much fertility if valued in women who can't have babies and I'm leaning toward the position that God knows more than we do about what our family should look like. (Again...don't flame me on this...I haven't made up my mind on this and I'm not condemning anyone for using bc). But, if I believe that God knows what our family should look like...don't I believe that he knows what MY family should look like? Don't I believe that he could and would let us have a baby in His timing? Now, maybe one way that he would do that is through medical intervention. Like I said, I've always been all for that.

But what if there is a reason God isn't letting us have a baby yet? I've been thinking that maybe He's made us wait because I have to go to school for a full year, full-time, and right now with a 2 year old and working full-time that is difficult on its own without a newborn baby. (So now, if we get pregnant next cycle we'd be having a baby in Junish so I'd be done with that full-time part of school and can coast a little more). Or maybe He knows what's in store with our next family addition. Maybe he knows that Logan needs this extra time as an only. Or, maybe he thinks our next set should be multiples and He is making us wait until we take meds and, by chance, end up with multiples. Maybe he wants us to adopt. Maybe he wants us to have a girl next and, since I'm not completely comfortable with the idea of having a daughter he's holding back for me to get accustomed to that idea. Or, maybe he only wants us to have one child.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't pretend to know why this is all happening. But I do know that God knows more than me. And because of that, I'm afraid that if I take a step toward help getting pregnant, then I would be somehow interfering with something God wants me to stay out of for now. I love control. Maybe God is saying "let me be in control with this"...and if I, out of my disobedience and haste to have another child don't, my life (and the life of those in my family) will not be what God intended it to be. There are several examples of that in the Bible...where the woman was not patient enough and sought help and it didn't turn out well. One can only imagine what would have happened if she was patient just a little bit longer. Of course, back then they gave their maidservants to their husbands to procreate, and that is not going to happen, but in any case those examples are in there for a reason and one of the lessons we can learn is that when we choose to take our life into our own hands rather than wait on God, things don't turn out as well as they could have.

So that's where I am right now. Not sure what step to take next. Except to just keep moving with what I have in life...extremely grateful for the life I've been given and those around me.

I think where I am is to wait on my husband's direction. He is pretty laid back about this whole thing and feels the same way as I do about bc and fertility support. So, at this point, I think I'll just pray for God's will, making it known that I would like more children..."a quiver full"...but that more importantly I want his will in our life and for him to lead my husband on the matter and when my husband is ready to seek help, then I will follow. And, maybe in a month or two we'll have a change in heart and be ready to seek help. Maybe it will take longer, maybe it will never happen. I don't know. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It was bound to happen...

I haven't been pulled over since I've been married. Even then, I've only been pulled over twice. As much as those two incidences were ridiculous (making a u-turn in front of a fire station anyone?) I'm sure I've deserved to be pulled over many more times than I have.

This morning was another one of those times where, I guess I deserved it, but I really didn't know I did. It is normally a 45 zone, but I guess because their is construction it goes down to 30. Apparently, even at 7am when there is no one working. But, truth be told, I've driven that stretch of roadway 4-5 times a week for the past year and didn't realize the speed limit slowed down through that area. Of course I told the police officer that and I got the look of "yeah, right...".

Unfortunately, police officers get so used to hearing excuses and hanging out with the people who do wrong in society and don't care that they get a little hardened to the real stories people have and can tend to be motivated to "stick it to them" whenever they start hearing someone come up with an "excuse". Trust me when I say I've experienced this, both as someone getting pulled over and someone close to a few officers. The inpatience for excuses is obvious. As it was today when I got pulled over.

Wouldn't you know it, I gave him my license but didn't give hm my insurance. He had to remind me. I'm sure it didn't look good that when I finally did go to get out my insurance the one I gave him was expired. And...he wanted to know if I have "another one". Oops.

Thankfully this was my out. See, I know that there is a slightly better chance of leniency if you know the officer, or, if you know an officer. It gives slightly better credibility to you when you say that you didn't know. Or, maybe it just makes the officer able to relate to you a little more. All I can tell you is that I've seen it happen, several times, where a police officer is "let go" because they are a police officer. Now, police officers in many cases have the choice whether or not to give anyone a ticket, so its not completely unethical. But it still doesn't sit completely well with me.

Anyway, back to my way out. I told the officer "Sir, I do have insurance. If I didn't my husband would kill me...he's a p.o. too". Then came the 3rd degree. Is his last name the same as yours? Where does he work? (followed up by...which station?). Whats the phone number to that station. ( the way...isn't something I've doesn't make sense to try and call a beat officer at the station because he isn't there. nevertheless I thankfully had it in my cell phone under his work number). Is this your car or his? After I successfully made it through the gauntlet, he gave me back my license and expired insurance and let me go with a warning to find the insurance and slow down. Will do sir...much obliged! Very grateful!

I've wrestled with the question of what to do if I get pulled over for the past 4 years. With the exception of the expired insurance (I DO have valid insurance, I promise!), I think this instance went particularly well. (Except, maybe, for the officer whose glasses were fogged up the entire time and made the whole thing a bit comical). I've never wanted to be the one who says "I know so and so police officer can't you let me off with a warning?" or "But I'm married to a p.o., I know you don't have to write me a ticket". That would be pretty presumptious of me. And arrogant. And just wrong. That's not who I am. If I deserve a ticket then give it to me. But on the other hand, J tells me a lot that I should let the officer know. I did get a warning ticket for not having my train pass once (I have an annual pass, just forgot it at home or work or in the car or something). J asked me if I told him that I was a p.o. spouse. In that situation, I didn't. It didn't fit into the conversation and I certainly wasn't going to yell, over the person sitting next to me, in an otherwise quite train, "YOU KNOW...MY HUSBAND IS A POLICE OFFICER". I don't want to be that kind of person, and I don't want police in general to have a bad reputation.

I guess I was grateful I couldn't find my this case, I guess it could be said, that not having my insurance helped me keep my insurance cost low. hehe. Thank you mr. police officer, for going easy on me even though I didn't deserve it.

I can't help but to mention the interesting correlation with grace. (I haven't thought through this completelyfrom a theological perpsective, so bear with me). I guess in a mini way this has taught me something about salvation. I am guilty. Sometimes I am guilty and know I'm guilty. Sometimes I'm guilty even though I wasn't aware I was doing something wrong. "For all have sinned...". I deserve the punishment. And yet, not of anything I did or could do, I was given grace because of who I knew and because of the mercy of the one in authority. I will be held accountable one day, but I will also be able to call out "I KNOW THE KING" and be covered in his purifying blood, washed clean, made whole, forgiven.

Monday, August 04, 2008

How can life go on...

And this is why I say I'm a little on the excessive side when it comes to empathy... but then again...maybe I'm not. Maybe we are meant to be this tuned into each other and yet the world draws us apart and culture expects us to be hardened.

Thanks to Sara, I was able to read about a wonderful, brave little boy named Thomas. You can do the same, if you haven't already, by viewing his website.

My heart is in wrenching pain from reading this story...mostly because I realize its not a story. I realize there is a family now that is burying their son. In an hour and a half. There is a mom nearby, someone I could have easily walked by in a grocery store or at the mall just weeks ago, who is grieving the loss of her baby boy.

Nothing seems important. Not my stupid job or education or car. Not our bills or dirty blinds or whether or not my hair looks good today. I have a beautiful, smart, intelligent son who is as healthy as can be. My husband came home from work last night.

Why am I so fortunate? Why am I so selfish that I take these things, the important things, for granted? From what I can tell, never having met this family to my knowledge, they want to feel free to remember their son and the joy of loving him. And yet how many of us are guilty of scolding our kids because they wanted another hug before bedtime or because they decided to "help" us fold the clothes (that were already folded)?

And in my stops. The sorrow is enormous. I can't get myself motivated to move on and continue with the life I have in front of me. All I want to do is to go back to my son and husband and spend another day laughing and playing and loving.

Yet in a short period, the reality is that I will be distracted with the things of this life enough to continue on with the life we have together. Knowing that by grace alone I have my life and that of my family and friends. At any moment any of it can be taken away and life as I know it can change.

I ask that today you comfort the Bickle family. Teach others around them to let them grieve. Teach others how to support them and let them laugh when they are ready. Bring peace in their home and restore the joy only you can bring. Allow the memory of sweet Thomas to beam through their hearts and minds in a way that brings abundant joy.

I ask that you teach us all how to love like you do, with the Bickle's and within our own families and within Your family. Thank you for making us all stop and realize that our days are numbered and yet you are still in control. Thank you for allowing me to share, if only a tiny bit, in the life of Thomas Bickle through the openness of his parents in this world wide web. Thank you for letting me experience a tiny bit of what someone in their shoes may feel so that I can be grateful for what I have and remember what is important in this world. Forgive me for taking your gifts for granted.