Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Bearing #5

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 8, 2012 by charleecat

Every pregnancy has been hard for me.  This pregnancy seems to have been especially hard.  And this time, not just physically (which unfortunately has been worse, too), but also emotionally.  I have had two moments of actually being excited about the about the baby coming.  I have been grateful for his/her life, accepting that I will be happy to hold him/her in my arms, thrilled to feel like God has named this baby whether boy or girl, but actual personal excitement…anticipation….twice.  In 35 weeks.

My other 4 children and husband have definitely carried me on this one.  They are all VERY excited.  They kiss my belly, talk to the baby, tell me how excited they are and can’t wait to meet him or her.  Ask how much longer it will be.  I enjoy them enjoying the new baby stuff.

I’ve realized tonight that I’m feeling emotionally disconnected in so many areas.  So many times I want to enjoy my kids and end up feeling frustrated with them.  I have moments of feeling proud of them, and then feeling totally drained and wishing I could be by myself.

And it’s not just my kids.  I feel like I have failed “being there” for the people closest to me.  All I have wanted to do these past 8 months is to shut myself up away from everybody and SLEEP through this pregnancy.  Not because I’m that tired, but because I want to escape.  And right now, I’m feeling like that will never end.  I’m afraid that when this is all said and done, and I have my baby to hold, nothing else will be left for me to come back to because I have invested so little, and failed so much.

I can’t sleep through life.  And I can’t sleep through the experience God is allowing me to have.  I told my youngest boy tonight as we were cleaning out a nasty wound that sometimes, God allows bad things to happen to us so that we have the opportunity to grow in our responses.  Perhaps my pregnancies are hard so that I have the opportunity to fight and come alive.

God help me to LIVE, not just exist for the next 3-5 weeks.  I don’t want to be shut down emotionally anymore.  I want to love, pray, and ask how other people are doing.  I want the sphere of my mind to be expanded to more than just how I can make it through the day, but to include others who are still living, too!  I’m ok with uncomfortable, as long as it’s where You want me to be.  Help me to live outside of my comfort zone.

Called to be a Mom

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 by charleecat

I just found this among some stuff I had written years ago.  Thought it might encourage someone, so I am posting it here:

I have the tendency to have huge dreams for my future, and the audacity to believe they will actually come true.

 

I am a person who can be inspired by things I see and hear, assimilate them into my mindset and philosophy, make it a part of my vision, mull over the vision and begin to see a path to follow so that I can see that dream become reality, and then put myself to the task to see it through.  In fact, I am so project completion oriented, that I joke my husband would be calling me back from plunging toward a cliff and I would yell back, “I have to finish what I started!”

 

I considered being an astronaut and a ballerina when I was very young.  The thought of traveling to the moon was (and still is!) an exhilarating thought, and I loved to dance, and believed that if I could dance gracefully and poetically like a ballerina, I would have the beauty of one as well.  I decided to be a writer at an early age, so I could tell all the stories swirling around in my very imaginative mind.  As I got older, my dreams became more refined: I wanted to be a Christian music star!  I dreamed of traveling to lands across the world, and being immersed in various cultures, seeing beauty and the exotic in everything I beheld.  I dreamed of being rich and living in a castle.  I dreamed of being poor and having the only weight of responsibility be that I follow my heart and God’s plan for my day.  I dreamed of being a photographer that required me to go to the deepest, most beautiful and untouched parts of the world, and that somehow my allergic reaction to mosquitoes would not be a factor in the jungles, and I would never come across a snake or alligator.  You may laugh, but this is the reality of my world… I am full of dreams, and I am determined that God could make anything happen!

 

I went through a bit of shell shock when I married my husband and found that his dreams were not exactly like mine.  He loved music, but didn’t feel called to be a musician.  He is open to travel, but preferred to build up his life in one place and not be continually on the move.  I questioned for a few years why God had wanted me to marry this man and relinquish my dreams, for it did not seem that I could have both.  I finally came to the assurance that I had heard God correctly to marry him, and determined to trust God with the rest though I did not understand why God would have filled my heart with dreams only to live an uneventful life.

 

After I had my first child, I was brimming with the joy and ecstasy of being part of a new life that had previously not existed, and was now here as a result of both my husband and I.  A perfectly beautiful and wonderful child that could never destroy my love and good thoughts towards him no matter what terrible things he did.  After a while, however, it became even more apparent that any strand of hope I was still clinging to of seeing my dreams fulfilled had now been completely stripped away.  I could never leave my child in the care of someone else so that I could pursue my dreams with the focus it would require.  I loved my husband and my son too much to push them to the side.

 

It wasn’t until after I had my third son that I remember talking to my mom matter-of-factly about not having the life I had always dreamed of.  I told her, “I know you always felt called to be a mom, and had the greatest fulfillment in seeing me and my sisters grow up as you taught us the things that were closest to your heart.  I’ve always appreciated that.  But I don’t feel called to be a mom.  I’ve always felt called to do other things…  things that I can’t see doing now that I am a mom.  I’ve had to grieve the loss of my calling.”

 

She looked at straight at me and under the authority of the Holy Spirit spoke words that changed my life.  “Charlotte, you are called to be a mom.  You are a mom, and therefore, God has called you to be a mom.  You are a wife, and therefore, God has called you to be a wife.  You do have a calling to be a mom.  Perhaps you never felt that call before, but because you are now in this role, this is what God is calling you to.”

 

I was suddenly filled with such hope and purpose.  I’ve always wanted to live the life God called me to.  And I had been going through my days feeling such a deep love and also a sense of duty toward my husband and children – deep enough that I never wanted to shirk it, though it meant to the loss of the ultimate fulfillment of most of the dreams I’d had.  But while I felt so strongly toward my family, I felt grieved that I wasn’t doing the things God had called me to in my teenage years.  I felt that in a way, I had failed myself and God because I’d given up those things to have a husband and family… something I would not want to give up because they were so wonderful, but still something that I hadn’t heard God call me to.

 

When my mom told me that God called me to be a wife and mom because I was a wife and mother, I felt such a release of freedom to move into that role fully and trust that God’s timing was perfect for every dream and calling He’d given me.  I could suddenly see the point of putting my entire self into being a mother and teaching my children to pursue God with everything in them so that they would be prepared for the incredible lives God called them to.

 

And I also realized that God was big enough to make my dreams come true at any point in my life, and I wasn’t kicked out of the game because I hadn’t done those things in my youth.

 

As you embark on the journey of parenthood, I know that your heart yearns to see God’s best fulfilled in the life of your child.  Let me speak this word prophetically into your life as it was spoken into mine:  God has placed a specific call on your life to be a mother.  You are called to be a mom.  No matter what your life has consisted of before coming to this place in your life, the destiny God has for you is to be a mother who leads her children into God’s truth and love.  Your children depend on you to walk out this incredible calling.

Holiday Check-Up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 4, 2011 by charleecat

Hi Friends,

The last post that I wrote about intentionally making this season was written write at the crux of a real change in my mindset about a lot of things. I feel I have grown up so much the past few weeks and am really being able to be my own person, Mike’s wife, and my children’s mother without trying to make myself look or act in a way that I think would please others. It’s amazing!

Because of this change, I have had a challenging season so far in not “being there” at various functions/events/opportunities but Mike and I have been growing closer than ever. We are communicating more than we ever really have. And have been becoming better partners, and parents (interesting those words are spelled with the same letters).

How are you doing with your intentional choices for this season? Are you taking on what’s right for your family, in agreement with your spouse? Or are ending up letting life rule you?

I don’t even pretend to have arrived… but I’m making a good start!

Beautiful Anguish

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 by charleecat

Cradling a small baby boy; dancing around the living room as possible final farewells were sung and whispered.  Tears mixed with kisses on his tiny face.  Celine Dion’s song “Miracle” played in the background over and over again as a mother’s heart reconciled itself to the possibility of losing a son.  The procedure looming was a minor one; but required using anesthetic.  Thus far, no diagnosis had been found; it was still in the discovery stage.  I don’t know why, but for some reason the thought of my baby boy being anesthetized really shook me.  I had to come to the realization – whether it seemed an exaggerated response or not – that I may lose my baby and never hold him again.  Yet, the possibilities of whatever was causing his problem were frightening enough to make me feel like there was no other option.  And so I sang to my baby and wept.  To this day, remembering the sorrow I already felt brings tears to my eyes and begins to strangle my throat.  My anguish was real.  This moment in time, one mother’s worst fears were not realized.

Another mother suffers the loss of her baby without getting the chance to hold him.  Sometimes, time and time again she must experience the tentative, yes, fearful joy of discovering pregnancy, only to have the fragility of the blossom seemingly wisp away with the wind.  Her joy never fully realized.  I observed the pain etching it’s furtive way into her heart.  Rachel mourning for her children (Jer 31:15).

Yet a third mother I’ve watched carried her baby full term, then upon the ecstasy of birth, her baby was shuttled away to the NICU to care for his needs which his body was not able to sustain on it’s own.  A shock to her system as she is faced with dreaded possibilities after carrying him within for 9 months and only held him to her breast for seconds before the fear of the worst moves in.  Tears come in waves upon the beaches of both hope and fear.

As I watered my garden today, I thought of these three instances and the words “Beautiful Anguish” came to my mind.  Beyond the fact that I can slip into melancholy fairly easily, I knew there was a reason for those words.  I felt God whisper to my heart a remembrance of the times my heart has hurt beyond normal hurting and I have tried to bury myself in my husband’s chest.  The times my children have been miserably sick and have yearned for me to hold them hours on end to give them some comfort and hope of relief.  The times I have prayed unceasing because of the hurt.  And I saw beauty.  There is deep love in pain.  Uncategorized beauty in anguish.  How does God view us as we sometimes feel we are drowning in sorrow, grief, or pain…yet instead of allowing it to become a bitter fruit that begins to dry and harden, we allow a crushing squeeze and God is able to create a new wine that can deepen our relationship with Him and also bless others.  Whom do we trust more?  The friend who is good for laughs and lighthearted fun?  Or the friend who is willing to be leaned on in times of trouble?  In these precious moments of anguish He allows us to deepen our trust with Him.

He whispers to us, tears mingling with kisses: “Trust in me with all your heart.  Don’t lean on your own understanding.  Choose to look for me in every circumstance, and I will direct you on the path you are on.” (Ps 3:4-6)

Love is Sad

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28, 2010 by charleecat

Two days ago, one of our sweet kittens (born to Frog’s cat) had to be put down due to birth defects.  His name was Lucky.  His life was a small miracle, and the message he brought to our family was invaluable.

When Frog got his kitten Lia, he made it very clear that he really, really wanted her to have her own kittens.  He has such a soft spot for baby kittens and frequently has pretended that he is one.  We made it equally clear that Lia wasn’t to be allowed to have kittens because even if she did we’d not be able to keep them.  Still he hoped.  And his parents procrastinated.  And Lia became pregnant.

Watching Lia give birth to her 4 kittens was an amazing thing!  Her kittens were so sweet, and we loved them all.  Lia was immediately a doting and attentive mom.  We were quite proud of her!  One of her babies, though, was born with some problems we could immediately see.  He was born with a lesion on his rump, and his back feet were curled in.  We didn’t know what the problem was, but knew something was wrong.  He had a difficult time figuring out how to suckle, where his brother and sisters latched on right away.  But he fought for life, and made it past the first couple days.  We named him Lucky.  He was always the most vivacious of the 4 kittens.  Ready to tackle his siblings in play.  The first one out of the box to explore.  His heart was made for adventure, and he didn’t seem to realize that his back legs would get all in a tangle.  Our family watched as he struggled with a merry attitude, and admired his tenacity.  Yet we wondered who would love such a crippled kitty.  Because he would need to be cared for as an inside-only kitten, we couldn’t offer a home to him ourselves.

Several days ago, I started to feel like his life would, of necessity, need to be shortened.  I wasn’t sure why I got that feeling… now I believe it was the Holy Spirit preparing me for what lay ahead.  On Wednesday, we had to take him to a vet and found out that the struggle on the outside was only an indicator to his struggle internally.  His organs were not functioning properly.  It was only a matter of time.  The decision was made.  Lucky fell asleep.

Our children understood in various stages.  Frog took it the hardest as his comprehension was the clearest.  Alligator seemed to vary between insensitivity (saying to Frog, “it’s ok.  There are 3 others.”) and sorrow.  Monkey was aware of what was transpiring, but stated everything in fact and void of emotion.  Dove has no clue.

We took the opportunity to teach our children a lesson in the fragility of life, and the responsibility we have to love and care for all living things.  And yet, at the same time, pointed out to them that human life is still more valuable.  I grieved with my children.  Prayed with them.  Prayed for Lucky.  Prayed for my boys’ hearts.

Last night, after burying Lucky next to our other family pets, Frog and Alligator wanted to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room.  They were so sad and lonely after such a loss.  I sang a special song to Lucky that is a song I sing to each of my children and they are very familiar with the love they feel when I sing it to them.  In fact, it is a song I made up for them.  It is unique to my precious children.  But I wanted to help them mourn and love the memory of their small friend.  That song seemed to really open their hearts to a reality of love and the finality of loss.

Alligator whispered to me, “Mommy, I feel love… but I feel so sad.”   Oh, my precious Alligator!  Your heart is so like mine.  I understand that feeling more than you know.  In fact, it may have been after a loss like this of my own as a child that I decided to forego the feeling of love because the pain accompanying it was too much to bear.  For years, my heart didn’t let anyone in – including the family I trusted.  Until finally, I realized that while I had successfully shut out the pain, I was also shut out from joy.  I only watched as though through a window as everyone I cared about lived in such happiness and cried together in sorrow.  I made the conscious choice after living years in painless emptiness, that to feel the joy of love was worth the grief of love.  And my mom was so relieved to have my heart back.

I prayed for Alligator then that his sensitive heart would not be turned off to love because of its pain.  I don’t want to lose his heart even for a second.

As I left my room, I saw Alligator grieving his loss.  And I saw Frog, in his own sadness, reaching over to comfort his brother.  These brothers will be forever bonded in their love.  I am privileged to be a part.

Angry Brother vs. Strong Champion

Posted in Growing Leaders, Parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2010 by charleecat

The conversation with my son “Frog” started with intense frustration, desperation, and a good amount of anger.  Yes, I know… a key indicator that you are not in a place to handle a situation with your kid is when you are angry.  The thought did, in fact, cross my mind that I should have him sit down somewhere and I go somewhere else and calm down and pray.  But I didn’t.  And while he explained his reasoning for why he hit his brother (again), I was so incredibly frustrated because we’ve had this converation over and over and over and over!

GOD!  WHAT IS WRONG?  WHY ISN’T HE GETTING IT?  WHAT DO I SAY TO HIM TO MAKE HIM SEE THE NEED TO CHANGE, AND THEN REMEMBER IT WHEN HE’S IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS OWN FRUSTRATION??? HELP!!

Barely holding on to my ability to listen to him, I try to also have the ability to listen to the Holy Spirit so I can catch on to any new idea He brings my way (don’t tell me you don’t have those days that you have been pushed so far you can hardly even think anymore… nothing seems to work anyway!)  HELP, GOD!  HELP!  My prayers were not well thought out… nothing super-spiritual about it.  But He heard my heart, and the inner groaning of a mother’s despair at getting through to her treasured child.  And unaware that He was already at work, I started explaining to Frog that he and his brother “Monkey” are different.

I’ve never had this conversation with any of my kids before.  I don’t know why… I guess it’s just never come up.  But I visually explained to him with gestures, big facial expressions that made him laugh, and words that he apparently understood that Monkey’s feelings are a lot bigger than his.  Monkey’s feelings are so big, in fact, that it’s hard for him to contain them in his little body.  He has been learning his whole life to have some measure of control, but when his feelings get too strong, he can hardly contain them within his frame and they start shooting out in ways he doesn’t probably even intend.  Monkey has been learning so much in the last few months, and is really doing so much better at trying to communicate with reasonable conversation.  But I tell you what, you ignore him, and those emotions go into hyper-overload.  I am not exaggerating.  HYPER-overload.

Monkey is the sweetest, most lovable little guy you could meet.  My little cuddle-bear!  His love drips from his lips as he compliments and esteems us all day long.  But you cross that little boy, and tell him something that he doesn’t want to hear and his little Me-Monster jumps into overdrive and he can barrel down almost any unsuspecting adult.  He brings one of the greatest adventures to our lives!

Frog has a tendency to feel like he can always do what he wants.  Many times, his ideas are the most fun, and with his persuasive personality he typically finds it easy to direct the flow of events.  Monkey, however, sometimes has a mind of his own and when Frog tries to manipulate by ignoring little Monkey and proceeding with his plans… well… you can imagine the fallout.

So back to my conversation… I explained to Frog how God made no mistake by putting such a capable, understanding loving boy as the oldest of our troup.  God knew that Frog would be fully able to come alongside Monkey and help him.  Help Monkey learn to control his feelings and to channel them in a productive way.  The ways he can help, are to listen to Monkey;  let Monkey know that his feelings are important;  look for ways to teach him new things;  include him.  Frog seemed to understand.  If my brain was not too addled at the time, I believe I even remember Frog thanking me for explaining all this to him.  So after instructing him to go apologize to  Monkey for ignoring him, Frog spent the rest of the day bringing peace to our home.

Yes, peace.  My sweet Frog now had a motivation for being a true friend and brother to Monkey, because the Holy Spirit revealed to him that his brother is not only different than himself, but also containing extreme emotions that neither he nor I fully understand.  But it is what it is.  And as Frog has been championing Monkey (and even helping me to deal with him better), Monkey has started championing Frog.  What a delight for this Mommy to see!

And I have to admit – the visual explanation I gave Frog has also been helping me to see Monkey differently as well.  But having Frog on my side has been the most tremendous help of all.

THANK YOU, GOD!  I REALLY NEEDED YOU TODAY.

Treasure in the Mail

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags on April 13, 2010 by charleecat

I was so excited that I actually checked the mail!  Two days earlier, I received word from Christa (designer and seamstress of Amazing Gracie) that she had finished my Dove’s new designer outfit and it was in the mail!  I had a feeling it would arrive that day, and no sooner had the mailman stopped at our box, I was out there with 3 of my kids trailing me and Voila!  the beautiful outfit had arrived!

Excitedly, I unwrapped the parcel and was initially in love – well, admittedly I had fallen in love on the website.  (Yes, I was so entranced, I had to take pictures of each stage of the process.  Bear with me, as I take you with  me reliving the fun!)

First, I donned the underdress on my baby girl.   Next, she modeled the adorable checkered pants.


I realized that this precious outfit is reminiscent of the dresses of old that seem so modestly becoming.  Yet, Amazing Gracie takes the antique and Naartjie-fies it!  So sweet!  Not all of Amazing Gracie’s outfits have the old-fashioned apron, but I have a weakness for such things.

And the finished product:

Yes, “cute” hardly does justice to my little Dove!

The size I requested was 18-24 months, which is right where my Dove is: 18 months.  The pants seemed a tad snug in the rear with her diaper, and the bodice was snug as well.  My hope, is that with the elastic fittings, the snugness won’t become too tight for her to wear all summer and into fall.

(The beautiful “pretties” in her hair are by Violets in Bloom!)

I also love the fact that there are different variations I can use with this outfit (though I didn’t put her through all the changes for pictures – she was more in the mood to play!).  I can remove the underdress for a sleeveless, tank-top type version, or keep the underdress and rid the pants for a cool summer dress look.  If I had other AG apron tops, I could vary those over the underdress (but I might be able to use current stuff for that, as well… maybe a sweet sweater for the spring).  And if I have a dress or shirt that is cute enough, I could match it with the pants.  Versatility!  Right up my alley.

Having a girl is…addicting.