Saturday, January 10, 2015

Juggling Life is Not a One Woman Act

 Quickly, I am writing in between lunch and feedings and things that need to get done. The blog has suffered during this time  but it is on the  bottom of the list of importance. I am tempted to write that our life is chaos right now but the other day as I was driving, I turned on the radio and heard Alistair Begg say, "In Christ, you can never think life is out of control or that it ever will get out of control." So, yeh...I will not say that our life is chaos; I will say that our life is being controlled by an infinitely sovereign, merciful God who understands why things are the way they are at this moment. 

 And at this moment, we are dealing with the death of someone very dear in our family. My husband is going to the funeral nine hours away but I cannot attend because I have a congested foster baby with lots of upcoming appointments AND we have our mini farm of animals that have to be cared for everyday. 

 Admittedly, there is a tad bit of frustration in me. 

 Also, my very dear friend was told that her baby only has a short time left on this earth due to the spread of his cancer. Everything in me wants to do something, be more of a friend somehow but my brain is at a loss and I have a congested, fussy baby and a house full of chores. 

 My house is turning into a dust bunny retreat with clutters of papers and dishes because I have not been able to do much but hold and feed my little jellybean. I am thankful the mucus is moving and there is no fever, and it is not affecting his feedings  but I cannot say that I have not had moments where I just want to get done what needs to be done. What's a girl to do?

 It is good that I am older and I can remind myself that this is a very short season and all I need to do is focus on what gives glory to God. In this moment of clarity, a genius "baby-raising life hack" came to me. God is so good to give us those light bulb moments just when we need them. 

 My heart's desire at the moment was to just clean my bathroom so I put the congested baby in a vibrating bouncy seat in the bathroom, I steamed it up and put some eucalyptus and lemon essential oil in a bowl in the bottom of the shower to help the congestion and kill germs. I showered in the steamy shower with my lavender soap which relaxed my tired old bones then I scrubbed down the shower with the essential oils. It smelled great and I hopped out and started wiping down as much as I could because I only had 20 minutes before the jellybean's next feeding. The floor and toilet still need to be cleaned but the shower, tub and sinks are sparkling and the jellybean's breathing was much quieter which made him happier which made me happier plus I was clean, too. Ahhhh! Rejoice!

 Still...there is not much I can do about having to stay home from the funeral and there is not much I can do to help a baby with cancer but I can remember that it is not a 10-ring circus that I must orchestrate and run. I can remember that the God of the universe does care that I am feeling overwhelmed and that I care for my friends and family and want to minister to them. More importantly, I can remember that none of it is out of control, no matter what I think about it. I mean, where was I when He formed the earth??? 

 This is what I know and can take comfort in even if the dust bunnies rise up and take over my house: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved byhis life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.    - Romans 5:6-11

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Frogs and Laundry and Other Weighty Subjects

 If you had told me years ago that I would be caring for a medically fragile child, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed and then directed you to my wonderful sister who is compassionate enough to shave the armpits of someone she barely knows. This. Is. Not. Me. 

 I was going to be an artist who did ballet and played Annie then I was going to own my own restaurant which for some reason was to have a stream out front with a bridge you had to cross to get to the entrance. Notice the lack of anything about caring for others as the main requirement. Funny that God has me here now. 

 We just finished another stay at the children's hospital. This time for a virus that was probably picked up from our first stay. Opportunities arose to discuss foster care with staff and dispel some of the myths plus encourage others to consider doing it themselves. Usually this elicits the usual "I am just too sensitive" at which I laugh. Being a heartless, unfeeling zombie is not one of the qualifications to be a foster parent. You will get hurt and you will love and lose. It is still worth it. Trust me.

 While in the hospital the first go-round, we acquired a Frederick T. Frog. It is a weighted bean bag used as a positioning aid or, in my little jellybean's case, to anchor a Wubbanub pacifier so that someone did not have to stand next to his bed all night holding it in his mouth. (Thank you nurse!) It has produced the added benefit of calming him down and helping him fall asleep. 
The Wubbanub on top of a Frog

 Unfortunately, this necessary item was not grabbed in our mad dash to the emergency room the day after Christmas and we had a rough night. Our new nurse scraped up another frog for us. (Thank you new nurse) Now we have a spare that I will keep in my new hospital bag that will be kept in my car. 

 Right now, we are settling in to life with a g-tube and feeding pump which really translates to "doing lots of laundry from all the mishaps with the syringe, forgetting to clamp the tube, and pouring formula into the bag in the middle of the night." One would think that squirting one's self with someone else's stomach contents would produce a quick lesson in doing things right the next time. One would think. Of course that one probably had more sleep than I. 

 On a quick day running errands, I went to the post office early thinking that I could sneak in unscathed with the baby in his carrier safely hidden under his special car seat cover. Nope. An older man made a joke about mailing the baby then promptly reached down and pulled open the cover before I could scream like the shower scene in Psycho. Funny thing is, he must have been shocked by my deliciously chocolate-colored jellybean because he quickly dropped his hand and turned away, never speaking to us the rest of the time. I have learned that people with the most hang-ups are usually the ones to infringe upon another's personal space without politely asking and are also the most easily offended. If only I could come up with something clever to say in response or even better, use it as a way to bring up Jesus. Again, my poor sleep-deprived brain fails me. 

 So, I am trying to catch up on the ordinary dealings of life and I think I have given up on trying to do classes for natural health studies for the time being. There is just never a moment to do the reading and when I do try, my eyelids have this terrible habit of closing and not opening back up for an hour or two. This proves difficult when trying to write a research paper. It is a little discouraging but this is just season I keep telling myself. 

 My hubby and I have been discussing the possibility of what would happen if something should happen to one of us. This came about because I fell down the stairs on Christmas Eve and had to lay in the floor for a while before I could move. Thankfully it was just a bad twisted ankle but it is giving me fits and my hubby was scared into thinking how he would take care of everything if it had been worse. Obviously, I am not worried about what will happen to me if I die. I know the answer to that thanks to my relationship with Christ. Of course, my hubby was thinking more along the lines of the things I do that he knows nothing about and would have to take over doing - like providing all the care for the little jellybean or dealing with our daughter's health issues. I had never thought about the fact that no one else really knows what all I do. Not that I think I am irreplaceable or that I do an incredible amount. It just seems weird that I might be getting close to what the Proverbs 31 woman does - quietly running a household that brings her husband respect and glorifies God. Am I at least facing the right direction? 

 I think the answer is more closely tied to how I ended up caring for others when it was not my inclination to do so - God has done a work and He is not finished yet. Come lengthy hospital stays, clutzy shenanigans, or discouragements, God is using every moment and always working for His glory. For that I am grateful and rest in that Truth. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The End...Sort of

 Home at last! Praise the Lord! After 10 days in the hospital, my sweet little foster baby was released. It was a roller coaster ride but that is the way it goes with babies born so early. Even though he is 7 months old now, he has lots going on being a micro preemie weighing only 1lb 4 oz at birth. One minute they can be fine and the next in the ICU. Somewhere in the middle of it all, my bout to maintain my emotions ended as well and I cried twice. Okay, almost 3 times but that third does not count because it was being provoked by the long goodbye of one our sweet nurses.

  The surgery on my jellybean's esophagus and placement of a g-tube went well but being on the ventilator was hard and took a while to safely remove. After that we battled strangling congestion which required more suction than I could count but feedings went great once they put him on a pump with a slow rate and so ends the hospital stay and almost constant acid reflux. 

 This is also the end of putting any food or medicine or anything into his mouth, at least for now. It should probably not bother me so much but it makes me sad since I love to feed people - it could be the Baptist part of me. Maybe the dysphagia will end soon. 

 As I try to catch up on housework, Christmas, and sleep, I realize that we are also about to end another year. I will be ending my stint as a home school mom this coming Summer as my last child at home graduates which will most likely end my season of staying at home. But only God knows what will come of that. The season with this set of chickens will come to an end as well since they are at an age of laying less and less eggs. Hopefully, this will also be a year of ending our losing streak with beekeeping as well. Apparently, I have come to the end of looking young because I have been asked if I was the grandmother of this little jellybean several times. Sigh. 

 So many endings and yet each one is also a beginning. No one can predict what the Lord will do this new year and the only course of action I have is to rest in His care knowing that He planned it all before creation. 

 Merry Christmas all! Happy New Year! May your endings and beginnings be filled with Christ.