Monday, September 26, 2011

It hurts like $!&%!!!

What is it about being a mom that makes us feel guilty about every darn thing? Or is it just something about being a woman? Today I have been fretting over whether or not I want to continue nursing my sweet, precious baby. This is not the first time I have visited my options. Before she was born I questioned whether I wanted to breastfeed at all. It has never been my favorite thing. But I decided to give it a month both for the benefit of my baby and for the special one on one time it gives me with her.

After that first month, I again decided to keep going. This time my dilemma was that I was struggling to finish my work assignments in a timely manner and to balance all of my responsibilities. I chose to continue breastfeeding because it FORCES me to slow down. While work isn't an option, I am blessed to work from home on my own timetable. I decided that in ten years I won't miss whatever project I am currently working on and I won't care so much that my house wasn't perfect. I will, however, miss this precious baby time that speeds by much too quickly.

Today (she's now 4 months) I am again at a crossroads. I am in such horrible pain - maybe thrush, maybe mastitis... I don't know - that I honestly do not know if I can bear to continue on. Feeding my baby is a tearful, very painful ordeal that has only been getting worse for the last couple of weeks. Expressing the milk with a pump now hurts horrendously as well. It's even getting difficult to hold my sweet baby because of the excruciating pain. I'm not sure that breastfeeding is worth that or my shortness (caused by pain) with my older kids.

I made a doctor's appointment (later today) to assess the issue, but the point is... why do we have to guilt ourselves so much when things aren't absolutely perfect?  Personally, I feel very strongly that "the right way" of doing things looks very different for each of us. Yet, we still feel the need to compare ourselves to some golden standard of SuperWoman.

In the end, I'd rather make the decision myself than have some illness determine whether or not I continue nursing.That being said, I don't see how torturing myself makes me a better mom. I'll let you know how it goes.


Update: The doctor says it's mastitis. I started the meds and nursed again on the ouchie side (insert swear word of choice --- yes, it hurts that bad). Still on the fence about my "options". We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adjusting and catching up...

It's been a busy few months in our house as we've transitioned from a family of 6 to a family of 7. I think that actually might say it all! Our new baby girl was born exactly one week before the last day of school. Needless to say, the summer has flown by and we're all starting to adjust to life with a baby. The four older  kids started back to school just a couple of weeks ago - so it's just baby and me during the day. I'm relishing every moment and learning how to work from home with a newborn. It will be a journey to say the least ... and I'll be sure to document it and share all that I'm learning moving forward.

In the meantime, I'll be catching up on our summer adventures with some pictures and random thoughts.

Stay in touch!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moving on up...

A couple of weeks ago The Showoff and I got to go tour his soon-to-be new school. I can hardly believe he will be starting junior high. He, of course, is very excited. His school is new - it just opened up for this school year and only has 7th and 8th graders. It's also HUGE! The Showoff was a little overwhelmed by it all and sure he was going to get lost. I'm sure he'll get used to it fast! Me, on the other hand, could do without all of the stairs!! This school was definitely not made for pregnant girls! Uggh...

I'm definitely not looking forward to all of the school fees. On top of all the standard fees (which I still don't know exactly how much to expect), Showoff signed up for band. Did you know that the oboe is one of more expensive instruments? Neither did I... until it was too late. If only I was more musically inclined....

Stay posted... I'm sure junior high will be a whole new adventure with lots of fun, crazy stories. EEEK... I'm really scared!

Monday, March 21, 2011

To my mom

I'm writing this post for my mom, who has been struggling with the recent loss of her mom. I can't say that I know what she is going through, but I can empathize. I don't think it's ever easy to lose a mom... even when she has lived a long and full life. Death is always hard for the ones who are left behind - no matter when or how it occurs.

I think the only thing that makes such a loss harder is when your support system crumbles with it. You would think that death would be a time for families to come together in remembrance, love and support. After all, who could possibly understand the loss of mother more than one's own siblings? But sometimes death brings blame, fighting and selfishness. This has been the case for my mom who has increasingly felt like the load is too much to bear.

Over the past several weeks, I've thought a lot about what I could possibly say to her to lift her spirits. I am a woman of faith. My faith has sustained me through many great trials and is the backbone of all that I am. I don't believe that God will ever give us more than we can bear - but that doesn't mean that our trials won't be hard at times. Sometimes, He allows us to suffer in the hopes that we will turn to Him and learn that we need Him and that we must rely on Him always. It isn't enough to say, "Why Lord?" Instead we must learn to ask, "What am I to learn from this?" and "What is thy will, Lord?" I've learned that I have to admit that sometimes things surpass my understanding and I have to hand my will and my sorrows over to Him and then trust that He can make more of my life than I can on my own.

My greatest trial in life was most definitely when I lost my dad to violence. I was just barely 21and it almost ruined me. There were so many times that I thought it was more than I could bear and that I couldn't possibly go on. Things only started to turn around when I finally fell to my knees and handed it over to a loving Father in Heaven. I didn't understand why I was given such a horrendous trial, I only knew that it was time for me to start feeling happy again. I asked for help to find that. The answers came... but only when I was ready for them.

Bit by bit ... piece by piece. ... Over several years. But the despair was lifted much sooner... little by little, more and more as I continued to rely on Him and trust in His will and in His love for me.

I've decided - in honor of my family and my dad as well as for future generations and anyone else who might benefit from it - to write about my journey to forgiveness and what I learned and how I overcame the murder of my father. I don't talk about it often, but it is very much a part of who I am today - partially the loss but mostly the journey and what I have learned along the way.

In the meantime, I am posting the lyrics to a song that I love by JJ Heller. It is a piece of contemporary Christian music that speaks to how He IS there through our trials. I hope that it will bring comfort to my mom - who I love dearly - and anyone else who may need it.

Your Hands - JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand

How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking

Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth

You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking

Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands

Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking

Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking

Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands 

Michelle Rene
Share the love --- Comments are much appreciated!

Monday, January 3, 2011

In His Service - Lessons Learned in My Service as a Relief Society President

Lesson 5: His love is greater, deeper and sweeter than anything we can imagine

Before I got called to serve, I already felt love the women in my ward. In fact, I loved the whole ward in general. I do have an amazing ward. But once I recieved this assignment and had Priesthood hands laid upon my head to officially set me apart, the love grew immediately. I came in with my own love for these women in tact and I had the Savior's love added on to that.
I was priveleged to feel His love for the women served on so many many occasions. Once as I sat in the front of the Relief Society room and looked out upon these amazing women, I was completely overcome with this love. It took over and brought me to tears. I know those powerful feelings were the Lord telling me, "These are my precious daughters and I LOVE them."

I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything. NOTHING is sweeter than His love. Whenever I was on His errand, I felt that love in such powerful ways. If you ever question His love for you, just kneel down and ask Him. And serve Him. I promise that it is greater, deeper and sweeter than anything you can imagine. And you will never want to lose it. He LOVES His children.

Friday, December 31, 2010

In His Service - Lessons Learned in My Service as a Relief Society President

Lesson 4: When I offer my life and whole heart to the Lord… He makes of me something much better than I could ever make of myself

The year before I got called to serve as a Relief Society president was a hard one for me. I had been struggling with some personal issues that stemmed from tragedies that were out of my control. Somewhere in the ensuing years, I had lost bits and pieces of myself - so much so that I could hardly recognize myself anymore.
Somewhere I had heard that service was the best cure for depression and though I didn't consider myself "depressed", I definitely wasn't happy. I decided that I was going to give a portion of my time to meaningful service. I believe that conscious decision was the first step leading to this calling. And it was a decision that has changed my life.

I was scared when I got this assignment, but I believe that the call came from my Father in Heaven and how could I possibly say no to Him? I knew that it would take a lot of my time, focus and energy, but again, I could not say no. I didn't realize then how much the Lord would give me in return.

Somewhere in all of the challenges, frustrations and time spent over the last three years I FOUND MYSELF. I can recognize the girl that I was so many years ago (with some added maturity and wisdom) and I can look to the future with hopefulness and purpose. I'm a better wife, mom and friend because of it. 

When I accepted the call to serve I, in essence, handed over my life, my heart, my time and resources to the Lord. And He has made me into something better. And here's the amazing part -- it doesn't have to end. I can continue handing my life and heart over to Him. I can continue to serve Him. Maybe not in the same capacity, but I can go on serving and He will go on molding me into something better and better than I could ever make of myself.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In His Service - Lessons Learned in My Service as a Relief Society President

Lesson 3: The Greatest Challenges Bring the Greatest Rewards

When I got called to be the Relief Society president I was TERRIFIED! More so than I can remember being in a long, long time. I felt completely inadequate and I was certain that the Bishop was going to call me and tell me that he had made a mistake.... He didn't.

I think I worried about every imaginable thing... people were going to judge me, look at me, need me to have the right answers and expect me to be perfect. I was sure that I was going to let everyone down. Then e that very first Sunday. I had to sit up in the front of the Relief Society room so that everyone could see me. I must have been shaking and I felt like I was going to vomit. My 2nd counselor, Liz Kirkby, came and sat down beside me. And she put her arm around me. I literally felt buoyed up. I don't know that she knows how much that affected me and lifted me when I really needed it, but for the first time I felt like it was going to be okay.

I definitely did not raise my hand and volunteer for this assignment, but it has literally changed my life. Doing the hard things has given me renewed confidence in myself and taught me how to rely on my Father in Heaven.

Sometimes we are required to say things that seem to be out of our nature and to put ourselves in situations that are uncomfortable for us. But the hardest, most challenging things bring the greatest and deepest rewards. It was hard for me to be in charge. I didn't want it to seem as if I put myself on top of others or thought of myself as better. I didn't. Making decisions that affect others is scary, but I developed some of the greatest friendships I have ever had and I have seen lives change. That is so rewarding and sustaining and faith-building.