Monday, May 21, 2012

The Battle: Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

  I left off in Part 2 talking about the medication that my doctor prescribed for me.  The medicine really did and still does help.  A lot.  When we were all sick with the stomach bug last week, I couldn't take it because I couldn't keep it down and then with all the craziness, I forgot two other nights.  By the third night that I had not taken it, I could feel the ball of weight starting to pull me down again.  In a way, it was frustrating in and of itself because I had hoped that I was getting ready to be off of this medicine  But it did answer the question of, "Is it time?" for me, so that was good.
  There was another huge factor in seeing me through those first really hard weeks - God, Jacob, and my friends.  Jacob has been amazing through all of this.  He has been so very supportive and patient, asking me how I am feeling and listening while I talk, picking up the slack when I've had bad days - on top of everything else he does around here and at work.  I absolutely could not have gone through this without him.
  God also perfectly lined up some super-amazing, Christian friends who walked with me every single step.  I only told a few friends what was going on.  I knew that I needed the support.  I knew that I needed people I could call in the middle of a really bad day, who would offer me nothing but love and encouragement.  And free childcare if I needed it. 
  In those first few weeks, each friend that I shared my battle with called or texted me every day.  I knew that when they said, "How are you doing?" - they wanted my real answer.  I was so thankful to be able to give it to them without fear of judgment or harsh words.  As my medicine began to help and after I had met with Lea a couple of times, I was slowly starting to feel better and my friends could tell.  It was great to be able to have regular, girl-talk conversations again.
  But in true fashion of God's great love for me (and for all of us!), every morning that I woke up feeling bad or every day that left me feeling worse as they day went least one of them called, texted, or showed up with a Starbucks just to check on me, to really ask how I was, to tell me I had been on their heart that morning and they had prayed for me.  Y'all, that's no "coincidence".  That is God intervening on my behalf, putting in place exactly what He knew I needed that moment of that day.  Every time. 
  From the moment that I finally stopped believing the "you're weak" lies and everything and said out loud what I was going through to Jacob, I never spent a hard or even semi-hard day alone, without love, encouragement, and support from my husband and friends.  Even on the darkest and deepest days, I did not feel alone for a second.  I knew in my head and my heart that God was with me through all of this - because that is what He promises me (and all of us!) in His Word.  Every single day I felt His presence with me.  Every single day that I needed that call, text, or hug...He gave it to me through Jacob and my friends. 
  Every day.  I was never...ever...alone in this.

Part 4

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making Change for Orphans

  I'm so excited to share with you what our church's preschool ministry is doing - we're making change for orphans!!  Show Hope is Christian singer, Stephen Curtis Chapman's, adoption and orphan care ministry.  It's an Ah. Ma. Zing. ministry.  They do all kinds of great stuff for the cause of the fatherless.
  Right now, they are trying to mobilize - get people to MOVE - for orphans by encouraging individuals, churches, and communities to do their own fundraisers to send in to Show Hope.  It's a great way to get everyone involved in adoption and orphan care.  So, our preschoolers are collecting loose change for the months of May and June to send in.  Guess what the goal is?  $2,000!! And I totally believe we will pass that!!
  I'm so excited about this because 1) it's advocating for and helping babies, children, and teenagers who don't have a mommy and daddy & 2) because it's teaching our young, moldable children how to show God's love to others.
  So how is this impacting my family? Well, given that my kids are 3, 2, and 7 months...we have 3 prechoolers in our churches ministry!! So, we made a change bucket that we keep on our kitchen counter.  We'll toss in our loose change and I'm encouraging the girls to keep a lookout for pennies in the parking lot and stuff (but I'm picking them up!!). 
  But I also want our girls to "own" this project for themselves.  I don't want Jacob and I to do all of the change collecting and then just hand it to them to put in the bucket at church.  I want them to learn during this ministry project.  I want them to learn how to work to help others, how to sacrifice a little bit of their time for someone in need. 
  Even at 3 and 2, our girls have things they are responsible for...they put their dirty clothes in the hamper after bath, pick up their toys, and put their dishes in the sink after each meal.  These are not hard tasks.  But we're also giving them the opportunity to earn some change for their bucket by doing extra stuff...if they pick up Creek's toy - they get a handful of change; if they put the clean tupperware away - they get a handful of change; if they help me fold the towels - they get a handful of change.  Today I went to mow the yard, but first about two dozen toys had to be picked up.  So, they ran around the yard picking them up so I could mow - and they got a handful of change. (I don't usually mow, but things have been crazy busy again and I needed a workout!)  We let them get a handful of change because, well, their hands are really small and we don't want to be stingy with the change! Plus, it was too confusing to come up with a "this task gets this amount of change" system. 
  We've talked to our girls about orphans and the reality of the lives they live.  And how they need our help, our love, our home, and to be part of our family.  We've shown them pictures of friends who have adopted children and watched "coming home" videos over and over again.  My heart leaps with joy when I hear them pray "for the orphans that their mommy and daddy will find them real soon."
  So, I guess another reason why I love this ministry project is that it is getting our family involved together for the cause of the fatherless. 
  What about you? Could you collect your loose change for the months of May and June and send it in to Show Hope?  You could play a very real part in there being one less orphan in the world - forever united and home with their mommy and daddy. Visit to find out more!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You've Got Mail

  As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was check the mail.  Rarely was there every anything for me...unless it was my birthday.  Mail is so much fun! A surprise card in the mail can make someone happy for days.  It's like a little present.  Now, going to the mailbox is not so much fun.  And it's no longer free, really, since its full of monthly bills that must be paid.  Or junk mail and I despise junk mail.  If a business sends me junk mail, it's a surefire way to never have me as a consumer.  Can't. Stand. Junk. Mail.
  However, last Thursday I went to the mailbox.  Thursday was, well, really stinky.  It was Day 5, victim 5 of the stomach bug in our house.  And going to the mailbox was a little relief just to get out of the house!
  There were a couple of junk mail items...ugh...and a brown envelope. Ooohhhh, I just love packages! I first looked to see who it was addressed simply said Colemans. Then I looked to see who it was return address. Weird. As I walked back to the house I started thinking about movies I had seen where people get random, no return address mail from stalkers. Shivers! Impatient as I am, I started opening it. Inside there was a regular white envelope, sealed, and nothing written on it. Kinda, slightly, nervously laughing. I open the envelope and there is a folded paper inside. As I opened it, I could tell it was a printed note and there was something folded inside the paper. This is getting weirder...
  And then tears completely filled and poured from my eyes. I saw these words... To START YOUR ADOPTION FUND
  And there was a sacrficial amount of money in there. I mean, seriously! Anyone who has known us for more than five minutes knows that we want to adopt, but they also know that it is in our future and not happening immediately...God's timing, not ours, and His timing is perfect (I have to repeat this to myself, um, daily.) And yes we have started sslloowwllyy saving what we consider "surprise" money, or money that we get that we hadn't counted on. I cannot even tell you how amazing this is. It was completely a gift from the Lord in more ways than just a monetary gift.
  It was a way God said, "I've got this. Follow me. Wait for me. I will complete your family with the child I have chosen for you." I hope to write a little bit more about what had been going on in regards to our talks about adoption and all that God had shown me that week in the future, but not yet.
  So, whoever you are...a million and one thank you's. You will forever be a part of completing our family. Please give yourself a ginormous hug from us!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Little Pixie's

  I've been out of town for a few days for my baby sister's college graduation and graduation celebration.  After all of the craziness last week with Coleman after Coleman falling out with the stomach bug - among other things - I was ready to get back to my family and a little bit of normalcy.  Well, Coleman normalcy, anyways.
  But we had to have a little fun first.  I don't usually let my kids eat straight sugar at 9:30 in the morning, but it was a celebration of our first normal day in....several days.  And I kinda hoped this would induce a sugar coma around naptime. So, the girls enjoyed their very first Pixie Stix!! Who doesn't love pretty colored straws with sweet, powdery, sugar goodness inside?  But we couldn't stop at a normal size pixie...we had the giant pixie stix.  They were part of a Movie Bucket birthday present my aunt and uncle put together for the girls...we're saving the rest of the bucket (the movie, popcorn, juice boxes, and more candy) for a rainy day :)

The Battle: Part 2

 Part 1

  It was time to get help and this is where I started...
  Since everything came out on a Friday night and through the weekend, I couldn't do much for a few days.  I had talked with my friend and she gave me the name of the Christian counselor she had gone to the previous year.  I called her first thing on Monday and left a message.  I called another close friend, whose husband is my pastor, and asked her who they would recommend as a counselor.  I also called my ob-gyn and left her nurse a message telling her what was going on and asking if they could help me or point to a doctor who could.
  My doctor's nurse called me back a few minutes later and asked me if I could come in later that day.  I went in that afternoon and told her everything that I had been feeling and thinking.  She diagnosed me with PPD.  She gave me a prescription for anxiety and depression and referred me to a counselor who dealt specifically with PPD.
  I weighed the pros and cons of the three counselors that had been recommended.  They were all female - which was a must for me.  One specialized in PPD, but I didn't know if she was a Christian or not and therefore I didn't know if she would share or understand the same values as me.  Another was a Christian counselor.  And the last one was a Christian, who was a counselor, but didn't do "Christian counseling". 
  I have no doubt that the counselor my doctor recommended was a great counselor, but I just couldn't find a peace about seeing her. I chose to try the counselor who was a Christian first, but she was not taking new clients.  Then I got an appointment scheduled with the Christian counselor my friend had gone to, waited a month for that appointment, and found out the day before that there were problems with her not being certified through my insurance.  So, what to do...
  I called our Director of Preschool Ministries at church.  I knew she did a little bit of counseling and I just asked her if I could talk to her at church that night (by now, it was a Wednesday night...over month after I'd started looking for a counselor.)  She said, "Absolutely."
  I met with Lea that night and just poured my heart out to her.  She offered to meet with me on Wednesday nights during church.  It was a great arrangement.  I didn't have to worry about a co-pay or childcare.  I knew that she would give me godly wisdom and guidance and support.  I met with her for about 6 weeks.  I can't explain enough how much this helped.  I could pour my heart out in confidence and she would listen, share her experiences with me, encourage me, remind me that I was God's child and I was exactly how He made me.  She helped me to see the good in myself and helped me come up with ways to cope and stay positive. 
  And now for the prescription meds part.  To be honest, I struggled with it at first.  I knew there was nothing wrong with me taking them and that they would help me.  And, yet, the thought kept running through my mind, "But I'm a Christian - what would people think?"  I thought people would either a) doubt my faith because a true Christian shouldn't battle depression (Wrong.) or b) tell me I hadn't prayed enough (And wrong again).  I decided I couldn't worry about what people said or thought (because if they said or thought those things about me, they would be wrong) and I began taking my medication.  And I prayed.  A lot.  A whole, whole lot.  I never ever underestimate God's work and His ability in my life or anyone else's.  He could very well take care of all of this without medication.  He pulled me out it in a lot of ways that my medication did not.  But, my medication was necessary, as well.
  I wanted so badly for it to work immediately.  But it didn't.  It took several weeks to fully kick in.  I'm really not good at taking medicine on a regular basis, so I asked Jacob to remind me every night to take it and he did.  And you know what - it helped.  Here's what I think about it...I do not have 20/20 vision.  I can only see things that are near to me (does that make me nearsighted?) Now, I can pray all day long for God to correct my vision and I fully believe that He can, but I don't walk around blind until He does.  I wear my contacts or my glasses.  Make sense?
  Depression is a real, medical issue.  And medicine can definitely help.

Part 3

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Battle: Part 1

This is for you, sweet friend and reader, who is being crushed by something you can't understand and never invited into your life.  You are not alone in this - you do have friends and family who love you and want to walk with you.  Let them.  And you have a Heavenly Father who cherishes you and who has not abandoned you.  I pray my story helps you to believe these things...

  For the first time on my blog, I think, I am sharing something super personal about myself.  Something I've only talked with a few people about.  But I know that when I am going through something - anything - if I know of others who have been in a similar situation, it helps me.  A whole lot.  Writing also helps me. I want to share with you this battle I am in with Postpartum Depression (PPD)...
  At the beginning of December, I was not feeling "right" in any area of my life.  I had felt this way for several weeks.  I was unmotivated.  I was tired.  I was angry.  I was irritable.  I couldn't sleep.  I would lay down and it would literally feel like someone was laying on top me.  I didn't want to smile.  I couldn't smile.  I didn't enjoy being a wife or mother.  I would have served my family slices of bread and glasses of milk if I'd thought that would have been acceptable on any level.  I did not care. My mind was foggy and jumbled.  I could not focus. Life took energy. 
  I knew something was going on with me and I even suspected it was PPD, but I thought I was "stronger" than that.  But, then, one Friday at lunchtime, my 3 year old asked for some more milk.  And that infuriated me.  To this day, I give all of the praise and glory to God for keeping me calm and getting me to take deep breaths while I slowly got up and fixed an innocent glass of milk for my thirsty little girl.  Then I stood over the kitchen sink trying to regain composure while Anna Beth asked me if I was going to throw up.
  That was all I needed.  I realized that how I had just felt could have turned bad without God's protection.  Something had to be done. I knew, from past social work experience and classes, that I needed support.  Of course, I immediately called Jacob at work.  He was headed home soon, but he made me promise him that I would hang up and call my good friend who had recently dealt with depression.  I promised and I followed through with it. (More about friends support later) I talked with my mom and she encouraged me, too, to continue talking with Jacob and to my doctor.
  That night, after attempting to fake my way through enjoying our SS Christmas party, Jacob and I talked for two hours.  He asked me the hard questions, "Do you want to hurt yourself?" No; "Are our kids safe here with you during the day?" Yes.; "Are you finally going to deal with this?" Yes.  Can you imagine how hard it was for him to look me in the eye and ask me if our children were safe with me?  He said it was one of the hardest things he's ever had to say.  But I thanked him for it - because it needed to be asked. 
  I told him about how months earlier, I laid curled up in a ball on our bed, sobbing my eyes out. I didn't want to die, but I fully believed that he and the kids would be better off without me.  And how I tried to figure out if our kids could deal with a mom who had abandoned them.
  So this is where I was that day and night.  And that is when I finally, FINALLY decided that I needed help.
  My story continues in the next 3 parts....
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

The Slacker That I Am

It's true.  I've been a slacker lately...totally neglecting my blog.  I did a random post in mid-March to try to play catch-up, but that was it.  Sorry.  Let's try it again!

So, what have we been up to....we'll start with what's fresh on my mind - we've all, except Jacob, had the stomach bug this week.  Yay.  So fun.  We survived, though.  I was reminded that, while I love each of my 3 children and would give my life for them...I do not miss being pregnant and the sickness that came with it for me!  I was also reminded how completely awesome my husband is.  He completely took over while I lounged laid curled up in a ball in bed for 24 hours...and by took over, I mean he took care of all the kids while they recovered or came down with the stomach bug, Lysoled anyone who came within a 6 foot radius of himself, cleaned, cooked, took kiddos to the doctor, filled meds, and did major chicken soup and Gatorade runs.  Thanks, babe - I love you.  Probably the worst part, was that our too sweet neighbor GAVE our children a huge, wooden, swing set/jungle gym.  His grandson had outgrown it, so he passed it along.  The girls watched Jacob put it all together on Monday and waited so patiently to play on it Tuesday.  But all they could do was stare at it out the window since they were sick.  And then today it's rained all day.  But, hey, when you've got a new toy in the backyard and you were an all-star through the stomach bug, you get to play in the rain so you can enjoy your new toy.  So that's what we did this morning.

We finally bought zoo memberships last week and made a last minute day of it.  The girls loved it.  They rode around in their wagon that their Mawmaw and Pawpaw got them for Christmas especially for the zoo.  Creek enjoyed strolling all day and dozing in and out of sleep as he wished.  What a life! 
I guess I could confess a little why I've neglected to write much lately.  God has really laid a subject on my heart that I have personally experienced and I really believe I should write about it.  I even have the first post's been saved for a couple of months.  I'm just a little scared to post it.  Oh, did I mention that "obedience" seems to be the theme in my life right now? Not just in teaching it to my kids, but in being obedient to God in every aspect of my life...not just the small things.  So, yeah, that's kinda been going on, too.

Speaking of blog series, do you remember the Gilbert's?  Cole wrote a guest post in November when I was featuring adoption on favorite subject of all time outside of God and my family.  Anyway, there have been some exciting things going on in their adoption and she's doing a great series right now.  Please check it out with open hearts/minds/eyes/ears, share with others, and keep praying for them!  And buy a t-shirt, too - they're great and super soft!

What else, what else?  OH - we had Creek and Lynnsie's baby dedication at church.  This is where we promised God and our church family that we would raise our children in the way of the Lord and our church family promised us that they would walk along beside us, supporting and encouraging us as we did. 

And we got family pictures made!! Oh my goodness, they are sooooo good! Christy Murphy, from Christy Murphy Photography here in Slidell, did them and they are amazing!  I'm very tempted to buy some of the digital images...or maybe the whole cd...and let my baby sister and newest graduate from the University of Tennessee at Martin use her awesome graphic design skills to redo my blog page and import some of these great pictures.  Whatcha think, Maley? Are you up for it? I"ll pay you :)  And if you're interested, too, I"ll get you in touch with her to revamp your blog!

I guess that's it, for now.  Here's to being obedient and getting ready to finish the blog series God laid on my heart and actually clicking "post" this time!  And go read about Easton Gilbert!!  And to prove we still's some pictures for your enjoyment :) (Gram, Papa, Mawmaw, &'re welcome! I know you miss their sweet faces!!)

Enjoying her first blue Snoball of the year!

Yummy red Snoball!

No Snoball for Creek, but look at that face!