7 Quick Takes: Love Really Does Make Everything Better.

This post got really long and eclectic, then I remembered, Ah! I have a format for this! Thanks Jen!

~ ~ 1 ~ ~

I am thankful for how practical a teacher God is.

Even though I have a (theoretical) capacity to understand things just by thinking about them–

Hey, would that count as a super power?

— He usually explains things in a more tangible way.

What do I mean?

Well, in the last week there’s been the reminder of my insufficiency– which I can’t even take full credit for, because I had help noticing that; there was missing my family; there was understanding my Migraines; and there was getting the hull of my emotional boat to stop scraping along the rocky river bottom of confusion.

~ ~ 2 ~ ~

I remember almost 5 years ago, when I told the ladies of my Bible study how maxed I was with my Dear Husband gone a month. I was in my exhausted sludge of a first trimester, with two children under the age of three, and attempting function at 15-below (-15 F) while people asked me if I was worried about my husband in Antarctica.

After all, he had to attend the required SURVIVAL classes. Camping outdoors. Alone. At approximately 31-degrees. That would be above zero, folks.

Oh, and that would be while enjoying the gorgeous, non-stop *light* we were missing on our side of the world in November.

When I was afraid this wasn’t making enough of an impression I added that I slept on a bed I couldn’t even change the sheets of.

“I know God’s supposed to be my sufficiency and all that,” I said (in a defensive effort to preempt any platitudes I was afraid were headed my way), “But right now what I really need is someone with skin.”

And to my own humbling, the next morning started with a phone call that resulted in one of those women inviting herself over “to be skin.”

~ ~ 3 ~ ~

Jay and I will have been married 10 years in August.  We have always included talk and questions about “back at the beginning” in our conversations, so it caught me off-guard this week when Jay said, “That was ten years ago. Tell me what makes you feel loved, now.”

And, bless God, enough specific things had happened recently I knew exactly what to say.

It was no small thing to watch Return to Me with Jay a couple nights ago, and see him devastated by the first ten minutes that take away the leading man’s wife. It was a heavy measure of value to me for Jay to bring it back up and use it to emphasize how important I am to him.

So I was already thinking about how nice it was to be taken care of, and I could say specific things. That’s when I understood something.

Feeling loved goes a long way to lifting my emotional boat off the rocks of what’s going on around me.

I was pretty thoroughly marooned a week ago, unraveling with too much stress and unmeetable expectations. And Jay noticed.

I like to imagine I’m an easy read.

Between him and Mom (but mostly him) they took over with the housework and the kids for the next four days.

Loads of water poured in (if you can visualize one of the locks at the Erie canal), but I had felt so dry I was still scraping bottom in a lot of places.

Anyway, I was only supposed to have “off” until dinner time Sunday night, but I didn’t sleep at all Saturday, and so crashed before 6 on Sunday. Monday morning I was supposed to take the kids to a doctor appointment (on my own), but not far into the (perfectly paced) morning, I realized I was having a migraine.

Because we were already going to be on time, Jay met us at the doctor’s office and ran herd while I sat quietly with my head against the wall.

Jay was the one who held the children for their highly-traumatic shots, then took them to choose ice cream and candy mix-ins from the grocery store, making “Cold Stone” style ice cream at home because the shop itself didn’t open before 11am.

Then, because of the migraine went to bed *early* again.

And heard no complaints.

~ ~ 4 ~ ~

Back when my niece was born, almost 14 years ago, a saying began in our family.

Somebody said something about this darling child getting spoiled by being the only baby for 6 adults (give or take a couple teenagers). I think it was my mom who firmly contradicted that spoiling wasn’t healthy for any child; that *our* baby was, simply, Well Taken Care Of.

Jay was not around yet, but because the phrase was established it entered his vocabulary, and my heart swelled the day he picked up our crying firstborn (because I begged, not because he wanted to) and told her seriously, nose-to-nose, “I think you’re Well Taken Care Of.”

~ ~ 5 ~ ~

I now say (frequently) that I’m well taken care of, but– and maybe this is the way babies feel too– I am thankful this is the baseline. Because I need this level of care.

I’m still confused as all get out about some of the stuff that threw me into a tailspin last week, but having a buffer that keeps me off the rocks has made it all a *lot* less threatening.

~ ~6~ ~

The challenge I’m being reminded of now is maintenance.

The word by itself makes me think of *all* the things I’d like to maintain, so I’m trying to narrow my focus.

For highest-functioning health it looks like I need to actively work with my sources (God, my husband, my friends) to make sure I’m maintaining that magical ballance that fills my lock without overloading my introvert wiring.

I’m still figuring out this ratio.

It also makes me look at my kids’ meltdowns in a more blatantly relational context.

Though sleep is a close second: and one of three highly-correlated elements in my migraines.

Eggs is another.

~ ~ 7 ~ ~

I’m having my first massage Friday.

No idea what to expect, other than I hope to come out of it de-tensed in my body.

Back when I made the appointment I wasn’t quite off the rocks yet, and the intangible issues felt overwhelming. All I could think of to ease my load was to get the tension out of my body at least.

Now that I feel better all around I’m looking forward to the massage even more–  thinking, in my improved state of mind, that it should be even more useful.

Family Quick-Takes (Vol. 2)

Another brain-dump thanks to Jenn’s lovely idea at Conversion Diary.

Enough on my mind I did two this week (another one at UntanglingTales)

~ ~ 1 ~ ~

Elisha broke 3 last month (I had a sprained knee the day of his annual check-up and missed it– still haven’t rescheduled), and he is decidedly no longer a toddler.  He is a little boy, becoming increasingly verbal, and increasingly understandable at that.

He’s stacking blocks right now, and he loves playing in the dirt (right now our trouble is getting him and his sisters to play in the garden and not in what was last year’s dirt-pile and this year’s dog yard.

~ ~ 2 ~ ~

I love being married to an engineer.  I love that he includes me in his world (that he imagines parts of our vastly different worlds to be related enough that inquires for and values my opinion.  And it’s really good for getting me outside myself when he calls in the middle of the day with, say, a question about embroidery hoops.

~ ~ 3 ~ ~

I’ve been playing piano again (in bits) and Natasha said this week she wanted to do a song together (me and her) for the church some day.

She sat next to me for the next half hour as we sang her choice and more, then asked for directions about playing one of the songs herself.  She’s grown since the last time, or gotten stronger, because she can play both the A and D cords now.  Not quickly, but deliberately.

~ ~ 4 ~ ~

How do you be friends with someone you have nothing in common with– other than wanting to be friends?  I keep digging for new things and it only highlights what opposites we are.

And I’m not talking in the “opposites attract” way that some people believe in.

We’re talkin’:

music vs. no music
My movies vs. “scary”
reading and writing (self) vs. “not really interested in that stuff”

She has a very sweet spirit and she’s been homeschooling *years* longer than I… I just have no idea how to build relationship without similarities.

Suggestions? Advice?

~ ~ 5 ~ ~

I pick what parks the kids and I visit based on whether they allow dogs.

I’m sure 10 years ago I would have thought this was weird, but now I feel it’s not really fair to leave the dog indoors while we go play outside– and kind of counter-productive too, since I’d just be needing to exercise her later or deal with wired-dog all evening.

~ ~ 6 ~ ~

Natasha has a tooth coming in behind her lower teeth.  She’s wiggling the one in front, and has hurt herself several times biting wrong, but nothing’s ready yet to come out.

~ ~ 7 ~ ~

Melody is so close to reading.

When we left Forget-me-Not bookstore on Monday each of the kids was reading their own books and Melody looked up and asked, “What’s an enemy?”

And that is one of the words in her new book (a Dinosaur adaptation).

I am *so* thankful for that bookstore.  I love having the chance to own so many neat books.

I try not to be scared or sad about how devastated I’d be to lose them in a fire or something.  So many were unique finds I can’t imagine replacing them all  (certainly not for the amount they were collected originally…).