Lyrical Sparrow

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.41.39 PM


1 Comment

I Can’t Find The Words for this Post Title

Last week I was talking with a friend, and as my mind started thinking about the words it would say next, I began some inner dialogue that went a little something like this…oh there is a word coming up in my sentence…I think it starts with an a and has a few syllables…oh I hope the word comes to me in time…what if I forget the word? I will sound like an idiot..oh please come to me in time. Thankfully when the time came for the word, it easily rolled off of my tongue, “Advocate.” Hallelujah, I was able to recall the word.

It sounds a little silly, but lately I feel like words escape me so easily. I will be in the middle of a conversation with my hubby and stop mid-sentence, look at him, and say…I can’t think of the word that I am trying to say. I will then tell him what I think the word sounds like, or what letter I think the word starts with. He tries to help sometimes, providing a few different words. Sometimes he finds the word that I was looking for and sometimes he says a different, more fitting word, that I end up liking better and using to finish my sentence.

I hate that feeling that comes over me when a word just disappears mid-thought…it is like this cloudy, foggy feeling in which I feel the word is right there floating around me, but I can’t seem to get my brain and mouth to connect. It is that “on the tip of my tongue” feeling, but amplified.

Now I know that this is a common phenomenon, as is walking into a room and forgetting why you entered, or sometimes completely forgetting the name of your child, or calling him his sibling’s name instead (All things that I also do very often). However, when I lose words lately, it causes me to have a brief panic, because at that moment I remind myself of my mom.

Last month I turned 36 years old, and ever since I entered my 30’s, there has been this lingering worry that I will someday be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 50 years, and the average age of onset is approximately 34 years. My mom was 39 when she was diagnosed. For me, that is just 3 years away. While having a parent with MS does significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease, that risk is a small 2 – 5%. This is a fact that I have to remind myself of often.

I do think sometimes about starting memory books for my kids, just in case I am diagnosed someday, just in case my memory fades, like my mom’s has….Just in case my kids or grandkids want to know more about me someday and I am unable to share.

I think about how I waste so many days just lounging around the house, when I could be out exploring, running, walking, hiking, riding a bike. I think about how I should be doing those things more often, while I can, just in case I am diagnosed someday….Just in case I am confined to a wheelchair and spend most of my time on a recliner or in bed, like my mom does.

I think about how disconnected my mom is from my life and the life of my kids. I honestly think, due to her mental state, that she doesn’t fully grasp or understand the severity of it. It isn’t something that she grieves or mourns over. I think for her, that is a good thing. My mom truly lives in the moment. If she watches a television show, she enjoys it minute by minute, but at the end of each scene, she will typically forget what she just watched. If she talks with me on the phone, in that moment she is aware that she is talking with me and elated and adorable and we laugh and have a good conversation, but as soon as we hang up the phone, she has no recollection of the conversation. She will forget that I was even a part of her day.

I often hope that I won’t live my life in a daze like that, although it would be wonderful to truly live in the moment, I can’t imagine not being there for my kids as they get older and have kids of their own. I can’t imagine a disconnect when holding my grandbabies for the first time..to not fully understand that experience and to forget it all in seconds.

Sometimes my hand, leg or foot will get tingly. I don’t pay attention to those times when they naturally fall asleep, I am referring to times when they shouldn’t be getting tingly. Each time that happens, I try to shrug it off, but I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t immediately think about MS. It is hard when that is one of the common first symptoms of the disease and one of my mom’s first symptoms.

I know that this concern that I have is normal. I am sure that anyone who has lost a parent, or who has watched their parent live with a disease, has the same thoughts from time to time.

This growing concern isn’t something that I will allow to negatively impact my life. I do feel, that if anything, I should take that fear and that desire to enjoy each moment and have it provide me with a new outlook on life. I should, more than anything, strive to make the most of each day I have with my family…and like my mom, truly live in the moment.

Amy Schumer has recently been in the news speaking publicly about her dad’s battle with MS. I have found myself reading a lot of her interviews lately, because she gets it…and I relate so much to her words…

“Some days he’s really good and he’s with it and we’re joking around. And some days I go to visit my dad and it’s so painful. I can’t believe it…..It’s the most painful thing in the world to just watch this person that you love ultimately just digress and kind of decompose. And it’s too heavy and you have to find a way to laugh at it…..I love to laugh. I seek laughter all the time. I think that’s something that also comes with having a sick parent is you don’t know what’s going to happen and so I’ll be, like, I’m psyched my legs still work, and I want to, like, experience all I can and make as many memories as I can.”

– Amy Schumer

 


1 Comment

International Day of the Midwife

It is International Day of the Midwife. In recognition of the day, I wanted to share my home birth story from March 23, 2008, in honor of my midwife, Merrie.

Well, I had the baby at 2:57 Easter Morning. And the experience was amazing and wonderful. Everything went so well. And it wasn’t as painful as I worried it would be.

This was my first experience with a completely natural birth at home, and really, it was by far the best birth of the three that I have had.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and just knew that I was going to be in labor. I have no idea how I knew, but I did. I went into nesting mode and cleaned up the house like crazy, which I am so glad that I did.

I also started having contractions. They were irregular throughout the day, but they stayed put no matter what activity I did, sitting, standing, laying down. So, I really thought that this could be it. I didn’t call my midwife, however, until 8:00 that night, after I had more consistent contractions. She had me time them for awhile and call her back. At 9:30 P.M., my midwife, my friend and doula, Tiffany, and my other friend, Sara, came over to be with me during my labor and delivery. At around that time, I was checked and was 5 centimeters, so my contractions throughout the day had made progress, which was nice to know.

Wearing Tiff’s hat and being silly.

For the entire labor, my contractions stayed about 4-5 minutes apart and lasted about a minute, and were very manageable.

It was fun having my friends around, because it was very social. We were constantly cracking jokes and having a good time.

Eating a snack before starting to walk up and down the stairs sideways to help the baby move down.

I also spent some time on an exercise ball, which actually felt really good during contractions. That gal in the picture with me, is Merrie, my midwife.

It was so wonderful being at home. I got to eat if wanted to, and drink fluids. I got to hang out in an environment that was relaxed. And I felt safe the entire time. And I became a big fan of the pool. It felt so relaxing to be in the warm water.

The gals all kept talking about how calm and peaceful I was during contractions. Sometimes, they couldn’t even tell I was having one. In fact, my friend, Sara, took several pictures of me in the middle of a contraction, so that I could see how peaceful I looked.

3

4

5

From past experience, I kept waiting for my contractions to get really intense or right on top of each other. I began to think that maybe I wasn’t progressing. My contractions seemed to be easy, although they did hurt.

I even joked at one point that I was bored. My midwife found that comment to be rather funny. She mentioned that she had never heard anyone in labor say that before.

After making that comment, however, we decided I should be checked again. And we found that I was 9 centimeters dialated and fully effaced. The only thing keeping me from 10, was my bag of waters keeping the baby up a bit. I couldn’t believe that I was at 9 and not feeling miserable. So we headed back to the pool to work on trying to push and break my waters.

I can’t remember how many pushes it was, but I know it went fast. It did hurt, but it wasn’t as painful as I had thought that it was going to be. And if you had told me as he was coming out, that he was 9 lbs., I wouldn’t have believed you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was such an amazing experience! I am so thankful for those who helped me bring Christian into the world that day! Midwives Rock!

lovefinalpost


2 Comments

Teaching LOVE (1 Corinthians) to the Kiddos – Love Does Not Envy, it Does Not Boast

lovefinalpostWe have started on an adventure in 1 Corinthians with our kids, in hopes to encourage them to love one another better. Our plan is to go through portions of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, have discussions over each portion and take part in some fun games, activities and crafts to make it fun. Be sure to check out my previous post on “Love is patient, Love is kind,” which includes kindness heart buckets and patience rock candy.

After dinner last night we took some time to discuss the next portion of the love verses; “It does not envy, it does not boast.” We chose to teach these verses by focusing on contentment.

You see, it is easier to want what others have when we aren’t content with what God has blessed us with in our lives. Also, when we are constantly focused on our possessions, finding happiness in things, and continually wanting more, more, more, it is harder for us to let go of what we have, to give to others and to not feel the urge to boast about what we own.

Before we got started with our discussion, I took out a large, covered bowl. I told the kids that I was going to go around the table and pass something out to each of them. Without knowing what they were going to get, I asked them if they wanted a lot of what I was passing out, or if they wanted just a little bit. Four kiddos asked for “a lot” and one kiddo asked for” just a little bit.” I then gave each kiddo, who had asked for “a lot,” a pile of cooked spaghetti, making sure that their portions were very tangled. The kiddo that asked for “just a little bit” received just a few strands of  tangled spaghetti. I then revealed a bucket of cotton candy. I told the kids that as soon as they neatly untangled all of their noodles, careful not to break them, they could then receive some cotton candy as a reward.

Of course the kiddo that only had a few strands to untangle was delighted. She was done very quickly and was soon enjoying her cotton candy, while the other kids worked diligently to untangle their spaghetti. Eventually all 5 kiddos had earned cotton candy. I should mention that one child ended up breaking her noodles, ripping them into pieces, to make them easier to untangle.

As they enjoyed their treat, I talked to them a bit about the noodles, relating the noodles to “stuff” in our lives. You see, the more stuff we have in our lives, the more we get consumed with it and the harder it is for us to disentangle ourselves from all that we own. The noodles were sticky and at times plastered themselves to the kiddos’ hands. Sometimes when we have a lot of things, we can even get into a habit of hoarding items, having more than we’d ever need, becoming stuck to our things. And sometimes when we have a lot of stuff, we are so caught up in it, that we don’t take time to enjoy the little things in our lives. Finally, when we are consumed with stuff, we end up appreciating what we have less. We end up mistreating our things or easily discarding our things for the next big thing. In our example, one kiddo quickly ripped up her spaghetti to get her hands on the cotton candy.

We talked about the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-27. We also discussed Solomon and the knowledge that he shares in Ecclesiastes. He was very wealthy. He had all of the money and possessions that he could possibly want, yet he soon discovered that it did not make him happy. In fact, having everything he wanted actually made his life hard and miserable. We read through Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, replacing the words “money” and “wealth” with things like Ninja Turtles, Monster High dolls and stuffed animals.

There was some insightful conversation, as we asked the kids what toys or things they want more of? How would they feel if they couldn’t have those things? Would they rather have gladness of heart or frustration? How would they feel if they had a yard filled with their favorite toy and all of the kids in the neighborhood came over and played with everything of theirs in the yard? Would that make them happy or sad? Would they be able to part with or give away their most favorite toy?

All in all, it was a great lesson and the discussion was fun. If you would like to study this topic for yourself or with your family, here are some other great focus verses: James 3:15-17, Proverbs 14:30, Luke 12:22, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Proverbs 21:25-26, 1 John 3:17-18.


2 Comments

His Peace

I woke up reluctantly this morning. The temperatures here are so frigid, that I had a hunch last night that schools would close once again today. I stayed up late, probably too late, trying to get ahead with work, so that I could spend the day enjoying the kids at home, and not filled with too much stress about work deadlines. Unfortunately, staying up late meant that I did not get enough sleep. Getting out of bed this morning was very difficult. The kids were filled with excitement with the news of another day off from school, while I moved around the family room and kitchen like a zombie, planting myself on the couch, zoning into space…most likely still asleep.

The kids made their breakfast, finished it up quietly and began playing with one another. They were enjoying each other’s company, getting along swimmingly and making each other laugh. It warmed my heart a bit. I made some coffee in an attempt to finally wake up.

When you are home all day long with 4 kiddos, it is important that they do not realize just how tired and out of energy you are. They will use that information to their advantage. I contemplated making myself an entire pot of coffee. I knew that I needed ammunition.

With a warm cup of coffee in hand, I headed into the office and took in the beauty of the freshly fallen snow. The ground covered in a glittery powder. The majestic mountain crowned in white. Everything so still, so peaceful, so quiet. I let it sink in, filling me up. In that moment, I was filled with peace, with contentment, with a quiet joy.

snowtoday

I prayed that God would keep me filled with that peace, keep me consumed with that contentment. I knew that it was only a matter of time before a whining 5-year-old would begin to argue with me,  young ears would forget how to listen to me and tiny hearts would forget how to be kind to one another. I prayed that I would be so filled with the Spirit and filled with energy, patience, love and grace.

You see, I needed more than just a cup (or pot) of coffee this morning. That isn’t enough to get me through my day. And while this day is quite an easy one compared to what other’s days are like…even on easy days…I can’t do it without HIM! Remembering that on the easy days, makes it easier to go to Him on the hard days.

And every single day calls for His love, joy and PEACE!

May you enjoy His peace today, my friends.

“…Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”  Romans 8:6

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

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

 siggiemedfinal

lovepatient


1 Comment

Teaching LOVE (1 Corinthians) to the Kiddos – Love is Patient and Kind

There are 5 kids in our blended family. Their ages are  10, 7, 6, 5 and 4. We have been a family for a little over one year. I have learned that a blended family definitely comes with its challenges. It is important to remember that each kiddo has come from a broken family and because of this, there is already emotional damage that they, as young kids, are trying to understand and deal with. They go back and forth from each family environment, deal with missing the other parent while away from them, and find themselves upset and questioning why their original family fell apart in the first place. Their hearts are fragile and tender and some of what they are feeling emotionally, they aren’t even mature enough to fully understand. On top of that, they now have a new family, new siblings and they have to learn to grow and come together, while only spending half of their time within that new family environment. This definitely is something that takes time.

The biggest challenge that we have been facing this past year, while becoming a family, has been in the love department. It has been a struggle having the kids show love to one another. As parents and step-parents there can sometimes be challenges as well. How do you deal with your own kids’ fragile hearts, while also connecting with and loving the step children with full compassion and empathy as well?

It has been difficult and my hubby and I decided that it is time to focus on LOVE! We wanted to do more than just lecture the kids. They are encouraged all of the time to share,  love, be kind. We decided to use 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as our guide and  go over each separate section with the kids over a period of time. This would include discussing each section or verse, having specific prayers to coincide with each section or verse and using games and activities to also help teach the particular character traits to the kids.

ImageFirst, we found this free printable of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. (There are several colors and designs to choose from) We liked the chalkboard subway art version.  We ordered a 16X20 print at Walgreens and plan on hanging it up  in the family room where it can easily be seen.

Tonight we went over the verses with the kids. We read through all of them together and then chose to have tonight’s discussion and activities center around “Love is patient, Love is kind.”

Here’s what we did!

Love is Patient! First,  we went around the table and gave examples of what it means to be patient. We also shared some examples of what it is like to not be patient.

We then each said a quiet prayer, in which we focused on a family member who we felt that we were having a hard time with. Maybe we found ourselves angry with or bothered by that family member. Praying to ourselves, we asked for God to help us to be more patient with that particular family member.

We then discussed an argument all of the kids recently had. We discussed why the argument happened and how it could have turned out differently if everyone had been patient and kind instead.

rockcandyI then introduced to them the patience project that we are all going to do together the next weekend that they are here with us. We are going to make rock candy/sugar crystals…or as I like to call it, “Patience Candy.” This is a project that requires patience, as it takes several days for the sugar crystals to form. I found this idea on the Kids of Integrity website. AWESOME site. I also found an example with tons of pictures on the Jojobei Designs blog!

We then moved on to “Love is kind.” We discussed what it means to be kind and how we can show kindness to one another. I then introduced them to the story, How Full is Your Bucket? I was able to find the story on YouTube, so we all sat and watched it. The story focuses on how we all have an “invisible bucket” that is filled up when others are kind to us. This same bucket becomes empty as others are mean to us. When our buckets are empty, we become sad and angry. It can be hard to show kindness to others when our buckets are empty. The good thing is that we can help to fill up our buckets as well. When we are kind to others, that kind deed also helps to fill up our bucket. For example, when we share with our brother,  we add a drop into our brother’s bucket while also adding a drop into our own bucket.

I then gave each child an empty plastic container and showed them a giant ziploc bag filled with conversation hearts. The container represents their bucket. Each time they are kind to a family member, one heart is dropped into their bucket. This helps to emphasize that being kind to others, helps us to feel good as well. The goal is to fill up their container with hearts, each heart representing a kind deed, word, gesture. They will be able to compare their containers with one another and I am sure that it will become a bit of a competition to see who can fill up their container the fastest. Hopefully in the meantime, kindness will become a habit!

I plan on posting on each individual section or verse that we go over and share with all of you links to the sites I used for discussion, prayer and activities.

I would also love to know if you have done any sort of lesson or activity dealing with the love section in scripture. I would love your ideas.

siggiemedfinal


3 Comments

Happiness Is……

Happiness is the sound of a 3-year-old’s prayer at bedtime.
(Sorry for the dark video, I recorded it for the sound only)

Happiness is the love between a daddy and his daughter.
dadlove

Happiness is a silly family of pirates. Arrrrrrr!
pirates

Happiness is goofy faces.
goofy

Happiness is His Word.

verse

What is happiness to you? Head on over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting to add your Happiness is… post.

siggiemedfinal