Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You Don't Get One Without the Other

 Traveling the road of life, it would be great to have a map that shows what is ahead. In some respects, the Bible is that but it is not picture of what will specifically happen in your life next week. Sometimes that is hard if you are going through struggles. 

  You want answers. You want direction. You want to know when you will get to the end of the tunnel and come out on the other side. 

 As humans, we like to map out our lives from a past perspective showing where we have been. That alone should make us realize that our maps of joy and our maps of sorrow are the same map. Instead, I think we look at them separately...or at least I do that on occasion. This month has given me a clearer view of how entangled these two elements are in life. God does not remove one or the other. He weaves them together.

 It is like Fall. You get the beautiful colors of the leaves and relief from the sweltering summer but with that you get nippy winds biting your cheeks, shorter daylight hours, and eventually everything turning brown. 

  We don't get to compartmentalize joys over here and sorrows over there or try to avoid sorrows altogether. The two intermingle. Joys sweeten sorrows and sorrows highlight joy. I learned that even more this month. 

  Jellybean lost weight during August and September from vomiting and a nasty cold. Despite feeding him more calories and more volume of food, he is not gaining anything. In fact, he lost a few ounces. I am worried and discouraged and blaming myself. His unrelated surgery next month is quickly approaching and how he will fare without some extra weight? On top of this, it seems he will linger in the system a while because his case is a mess. My daughter is dealing with some strange anxiety and fatigue from her chronic disease. My son has been sick a lot lately and we fear that he may need to be tested for tick-borne illness as well. 


  In the past month, Jellybean has also been able to sit for 15 minutes and, not only can he sit, he can play with toys while he is sitting. He has rolled from his tummy to his back twice. Much to our delight he has been reaching for us and even learned to sign "up." Just the other day, he picked up on how awesome it is to give high fives. So fun! My daughter is making really good grades in her first semester of college. She has become an ace paper-writer even though she was the most afraid of writing college papers. My son is on track to graduate college in a few semesters and will probably do it with honors. 


 But even if I did not have any of that, joy and sorrow still exists as a Christian. Sorrow for a world that does not acknowledge God. Joy for a God that is unchanging, righteous, just, and merciful. Sorrow for the effects of sin. Joy for the Savior that overcomes sin. Sorrow for death. Joy for Jesus who can bring us victory over death. 

 One day, those who belong to Christ will live without sorrow but for now, our lives are woven into a picture of Him using both and there is a way to glorify God in it all. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Eat My Vinegar with a Spoon

 Uh heard me. A big glob of vinegar on a real big spoon, straight shot.

 Vinegar is something I take for a lot of reasons but it is a cringe-worthy event. This past week was a lot like taking vinegar - it had some benefits but it was hard to swallow.

 Jellybean's medical test results were surprisingly discouraging. When the doctor came in, I was smiling, prepared to hear, "Everything looks good." Nope. Instead I heard, "More intervention is required." I think I needed a hit of O2 at that moment. Another surgery????

 Today we saw the ENT and she is very hesitant to take the other doctor's recommendation. She feels the risk of complications is too high. So we are scheduled for surgery before Thanksgiving and we will see what has to happen once she takes a look around. One more surgery no matter which direction she decides to go. My heart aches even though I know something has to be done.

 And ending that week, our oldest dog died. A lot of times, I get up first in the morning but on this particular morning I was sleeping extremely sound so the hubby got up first. The routine is always start coffee, let dogs out, open chicken coop, then let pig out and dogs in to eat. On this brisk day when my husband opened the laundry room door, our old dog lay snuggled on his blanket instead of getting up and he continued to lay there after several attempts to call him. The hubby scooped him up and carried him outside where I would not see him.

 Once I drug myself out of bed, my mind realized that it was terribly quiet in the house and that no dogs were inside. I kept thinking that maybe the hubby had taken the old dog out back with him for some reason, even though he never did  that because the old dog just could not walk that far. 

 It is funny how my mind will allow me to be happily unaware that something could be wrong. I naively sat drinking a cup of coffee until my hubby came walking up from the back with a troubled look on his face. That is when I cried. 

 So maybe you are wondering what the benefit was in that week. Well...God is infinitely wise and merciful and some  benefits are not noticeable right away but I can say that in spite of it all, I managed to help out a friend (just being able to be useful to someone is a big deal for me right now) and Jellybean's current issues have caused DCS to finally decide that he is officially "medically fragile" which means that for anyone to get custody of him, they will have to prove themselves to be sufficiently competent. Of  course, I would much rather prefer him to be healthy but since he has so many issues, I am glad that some measure of insurance is in place to ensure that he will be cared for properly should he be moved from our home. On that note, at the end of last week we celebrated one year with Jellybean. Oh yea!

 If God deems that vinegar must be part of my days then I will take it and trust that He is in control and knows what is best. Hopefully, I will not cringe in the process. God is good all the time - sometimes we just need to be reminded because we are not. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Not a Food Fight...A Food War!

  The food war is on. Every day battles are waged. Some are won. Some are lost but the war continues.

  Jellybean has been cleared to start practicing eating but we have one problem that cropped up just a few weeks ago. After my boasting that Jellybean had no oral aversions, I am kicking myself. Technically, I guess I was sort of right. It is more like a food-in-the-back-of-his-mouth aversion. Anything that squirts or squeezes food into his mouth can bring on a gag attack.

  At first, I was despairing because I love to feed people and how could a baby in my house not want to eat???? Apparently, it is very easy. Google "tube weaning" and you will find story after story of children who struggle to eat by mouth, not to mention the scads of websites that claim they can help.

  My goal is to offer as many interactions with food as I possibly can throughout the day but that makes it impossible to go anywhere and even harder to keep the house clean. Baby  food is on my coffee table. It is on the baby and his seat. It is on his toys and blankets. It is on just about every dish towel I own. It is on this laptop screen and for reasons I wish not to explain right now, it is on the ceiling. It. Is. Everywhere.

  Are we making progress? Um. Maybe.   

  Jellybean is a tough cookie to crack (no pun intended). He is not motivated by many things. Usually, we have two choices if we want him to do something - make him do it or forget the whole thing. Forgetting it is just not an option so everyday I am offering food in some way. 

 Two days in a row he took food into his mouth using the sponge brushes we use to clean his mouth then the OT came and he refused to use them and hasn't since. Yesterday he sucked a teething biscuit in a mesh eating utensil. He refuses to use it if you put fruit into it. He has rejected every bottle and sippy cup we own except to chew on the underside or handles which pose no threat of putting liquid into his mouth. 

  Sometimes, I admit, it is frustrating and in my head I am yelling, "Eat, just eat! It's a necessary thing and will be good for you to come off this feeding pump!" He would not understand if I did yell it out and there is a reason that he does not want to do it. Part of it is that he still cannot maneuver food with this tongue correctly and he just freaks out if something gets too far back. It is hard to watch and not be able to do anything except keep trying. 

  I realize that I do not do a lot things that I should for a lot more silly reasons and this helps to keep me patiently persistent. Sometimes I wonder how God is so patient with me or how godly friends are so gracious...or wait, are they just not doing something they should do? 

  We have things that we battle against as we follow Christ and many of us struggle with doing things we should do, we know we are commanded to do, and that honor God. Making disciples is a big one. I have heard every excuse in the book from women on this one yet, Jesus commands us to do it. Correcting a straying brother or sister is another. That one causes a gagging fit of words from us because we "aren't qualified," we "are sinful," and we "don't know how to do it." 

  Now, I am shaking the finger at myself when I say these things. There are really no good excuses. IF we are taking in spiritual food, we have plenty to give, plenty of resources to use, and plenty of qualification. I think we just prefer the spiritual tube feeding. It is a whole lot easier to sit back and just take it in. Easier for day we will have to explain before God why we did not do what we should have and I think that will be the time that we get choked up without excuse. 

  So, to the battle in the armor given us by God! (It does sound easy blogging it but let us hold each other accountable) If you eat an elephant one bite at a time then we can serve God one step at a time. What does it look like to do that right at this moment?