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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Resolved to Resolve

I am consistently inconsistent.

I would love to be on an even keel. Are there people out there that really are, or do they just look like they are? I can't fake it.

As much as I try to focus on my faith and pray and do all the things I know I should, I find myself questioning where I am in life and what I'm doing. Maybe it's a New Year's thing. And then I feel guilty because maybe I'm not trusting God the way I should.

I always have the best of intentions. I want to get in shape. I want to further my experience in my field. I want to become a better volunteer, better cook, better wife, etc. but I rarely follow through for long periods. My attention span has me jumping from idea to idea when one of them does not satisfy. But will anything satisfy if I'm working towards the wrong thing?

I'm now menopausal and severely lacking in energy. I'm heavier than I've ever been. I've heard of women going through all of this but never thought it would affect me the way it has. But, is this truly the problem?

I started reading a book last year, I think it was called The Happiness Project, and the main idea is finishing what you start and you will be happier. I really think I could benefit from this, but I haven't finished the book. See a trend?

My heart feels pulled in different directions. My dad passed last year and my mom is still struggling, and my grandson was born last Sept. They're all in GA. I always thought when I had a grandchild that I would be able to keep him or her while Ashley works. I love my husband and my home, but I also want to be three hours away.

All of this leaves me feeling ambivalent about my life. I'm unsettled and uninspired when I want to be filled with joy and working towards a goal. I want to know that I'm doing what I was meant to do. I'm almost 52 and it doesn't feel like I am.

My (thankfully extremely supportive) husband and I have talked and he feels that I take on too much of the stress of others. I worry for my mom, for my daughter and her family, and for my own life here. It just becomes too much.

So, if I'm supposed to be at peace and not worry and put everything in God's hands, then how come it is so hard for me? There are times that I feel close to God and others when I feel so far away. This makes me anxious and depressed at the same time.

So, this week I am taking a step back. So far, I've done very little and have tried to read and pray and get my thoughts in order. Ashley and Brooks are coming for a visit and I hope this will lift my spirits.

I read something at the beginning of the week that makes a lot of sense: "Honor God. Serve that single objective and everything else will fall into place". So, that's my only resolution this year - since that one should take care of all of the above.

Lord, I pray for clarity in my thoughts and peace in my heart. Help me to see what I can do each day to honor You, so that You will point my footsteps in the right direction. Amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ramblings from the Heart

I've never been a secure person, especially when I was younger. I might have looked sure of myself, but it was only a fa├žade. Behind it, I was scared to death. I put up a shield of protection and was very aloof. This shield and my fear kept me apart from others. I had difficulty making friends.

Part of my anxiety is that there is a part of my body that is different from anyone I've ever known. Because this difference was pointed out by school mates, "friends", and even in disgust by my paternal grandmother (as if it was something I had any control over), this only intensified my insecurity. It's exhausting living life trying to hide a part of your body.

I looked for attention in all the wrong ways. I felt shame and didn't like myself very much as a young adult.

As I got older, I focused on advancing in my career. I thought this is what I needed to help me to feel better about myself. I would puff up with all of my accomplishments and tried to find my worth in what I did, when I needed to find it in who I am.

It's only been in recent years that I've truly been able to understand my true worth is based on. It is not my job, the shape my body is in, how I dress or how my hair looks, who my friends are or how much money I have. My worth comes from my relationship with Christ.

I've learned that God loves me no matter what. I don't have to do anything to earn this love. I am His child and He loves me, and that will never change. When I sin (I am human - it's inevitable), He doesn't love the sin but still loves ME.

I've had a hard time accepting this because I haven't always felt lovable. I've made mistakes in the past and didn't understand how God could love me. I used to think He sat in constant judgment of me and rained down punishment for my past sins.

Instead, I'm learning that we worship a merciful God. A never changing God who I believe is GOOD, and I believe the promises that He has made to all of us.

1. He promises to supply every need we have.

This does not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs. We have to learn to be happy with what He provides, and allow Him to work in our lives and bless us with more if this is what He desires for us.

2. He promises that His grace is sufficient for us.

He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. It is through obedient faith that we have access into the grace of God.

3. God promises that His children will not be overtaken with temptation.

He assures us a way of escape will be provided. No matter what situation you might be in, there will be a way out. Save yourself heartache and look for it. Put your relationship with God and what He wants for you above immediate gratification.

4. God has promised us victory over death.

He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection.

5. God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, for instance when I watch my mom suffer over the death of my dad, or how two of my friends are watching their grandchildren suffer with cancer. But only HE knows what lies ahead. We only see the here and now. He sees the big picture. He promised it, and He will deliver.

6. God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved.

Baptism is the outward expression of our inward transformation.

7. God has promised His people eternal life.

This life is only temporary. I believe our real home is in Heaven.

I'm 51 years old and I'm still a work in progress. My emotional self is learning to be submissive to the spiritual.

I'm still insecure, but not as much. I reach out to people more easily now. I try not to focus on what is wrong, but what is right within me. I still have bad moments but they don't last as long as they used to.

Being a Christ follower doesn't always make life easier. Bad stuff still happens. For me, at least, it makes the inconsistencies of life easier to handle when you put Him in charge. In the spirit of the season, I am thankful for this most of all.

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.
Psalms 86:5

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just call me Mimi

Brooks Harold Gillespie
9 pounds, 8 ounces
20 3/4 inches

Proud mommy and baby Brooks.
Isn't she gorgeous within hours of a C section?
Well, life since 9/23 hasn't been the same!
I feel like I'm in a constant state of flux, wanting to be at home with my husband yet wanting to be with my daughter and grandson, too. There is such a draw to be with them, but they are three hours away. He's six weeks old now and so far I've been maintaining an every 2-3 week schedule. I'm SO looking forward to being with them again tomorrow!
The past couple of weeks have been a little rough. We thought at first he just had gas, then reflux, but I believe now it's full blown colic. I hope the newest remedy he started yesterday will be effective. Ashley and JG are quite the parenting team, although their confidence wanes when Brooks is inconsolable. Between me, the in laws, my mom and my sister, they have lots of support around. Even so, I know Ashley prefers her mama, and I love that.
From what I understand, he's starting to smile and coo a lot. Until now, he's been such a serious little guy.  
Here are more pictures through the weeks:

Everyone thinks he looks just like his daddy, but I see his mommy in him, too.
Mimi to the rescue!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Waiting for Brooks

When a child is born, so are grandmothers  ~ Judith Levy

So, on Monday I will finally be a Gramma!

Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, TJ Maxx, Ross and WalMart have benefitted greatly from this status change.

Ashley and JG have been married for seven years, so we've been waiting a while for this.

His name is Brooks. We've seen him on 3D ultrasound so we have an idea of his little face, but I'm so anxious to see what/who he really looks like. And we're all anxious to know how much he weighs. Ashley jokingly says there's likely a betting pool between the doctor, midwife, and sonographer since he's been estimated at everything between 6.9 lbs. - 10 lbs. I think it will be toward the 10.

I fully expect him to be a little chunk just like his mama was.

I'm excited about seeing my daughter and son in law become parents. It took Ashley's maternal instincts a while to kick in, while JG has wanted to be a daddy since year one of their marriage. They are both going to be awesome. I have enjoyed watching my daughter blossom into the nurturer I knew she would be, and I love hearing her call her baby boy "buddy".

Ashley is having a C-section. This has been expected all along so it was no surprise.
She is small boned, and her pelvis is much too narrow to birth even an average sized baby. A couple of her friends have had them so she's been getting lots of advice.

I told her when I was in labor with her and on my way to the hospital, it occurred to me that I hadn't given much thought about HOW they were going to get her out of me! I must have had pregnancy brain and never really focused on how the baby would actually get here. And in 1982, there just wasn't as much information as there is now so other than what my mom told me, I didn't have much to go on. I was SCARED! (And btw, I had her naturally with NO drugs! GO me!)

Well, Ashley has reached that point now and is starting to get nervous. The one thing about it being a C-section is that I won't be in there with her. JG has a weak stomach, so I hope he'll be able to remain upright :) I know there will be lots of tears (and not just from the baby!)

I'll be staying with her for at least a week after she gets home, and I know those are going to be the best days ever. We live three hours away so I won't be able to be with her constantly after that. We'll be doing a lot of Facetime on our iPhones, but I'm sure we'll both be back and forth a lot.

Life as we know it is going to change. I'm ready!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Believing a Lie

Don't believe the lie that YOU can't make a difference - Perry Noble

For almost a year, I volunteered in our church office working with the production crew. I was responsible for inputting the words to the songs to be projected on the big screens every Sunday morning, and I loved it. I was able to hang out with a lot of the really young and creative people there and it made me feel good to contribute with the gifts God has blessed me with.

But, there was always that voice in the back of my head that said I wasn't needed and wasn't appreciated. Even at the age of 51, I still fall victim to Satan and his tricks. I was believing the lie. This made it easy for me to back off when my dad died, and I told them I just wasn't going to be available regularly anymore in order to do this.

This wasn't all together true. There was a three-week period of time that I was wrapped up in helping my mom, but lately it's been more sporadic and something I can schedule. It should still allow me to do something I love for my church. But, I was afraid to ask if they wanted me back.

I know in my heart and head that if I put these things in God's hands, He will take care of it. As it turns out, the person who was supposed to take my place never showed, and a busy production employee was handling the task. When I finally got the nerve to ask about it, I was told they would "love" me to come back.

I've just felt all along that this volunteer assignment was for me. At my former church was where I first learned about production. I had hoped it would lead to an opportunity at NewSpring (my current church) and it did. And as much as I loved doing it, I still became discouraged. I think they understood when my dad died that it threw me into a tailspin. But still, that wasn't 100% of the reason.

I'm thankful to be back to my Tuesday volunteer routine, and I pray that I can learn from this experience and not listen to the negative whispers of the enemy. I know if I persevere, God can use me in more ways than one to accomplish His purposes through this.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Summer of Change

I wrote my last post in June but somehow missed publishing it. So much has happened since then. When I wrote it, I had no idea that just 10 short days later my father would pass away.

It was June 13, 2013. My dad had been sick for the past couple of years with COPD and emphysema, but no one in my family expected it to end his life so quickly. It was such a strange turn of events. He was healthy enough to help my mom through her back surgeries in late 2012 and early 2013, although it stressed his system a lot. And then, a new heart doctor thought he had a right heart valve leak that was exacerbating his breathing issues, and he put him on a new medication for that. Unfortunately, it was the wrong diagnosis and the wrong type of medication, and it ended up sending him to the hospital for a week in April. After that, he got better for a very short period and then started going We knew he was sick, but we just couldn't accept to what extent. He passed away after struggling to breathe while getting up that morning. It has been devastating for my family, especially my mom, but God is merciful in not allowing him to suffer any longer.

He was a handsome, cool dude

So, the past seven weeks have been spent helping my mom continuously with everything from changing names on accounts to balancing her checkbook to encouraging her daily and allowing her to grieve. All in all, she is doing much better this week. I am thankful for our faith, and knowing that God is with her (and me!) every step of the way.

Then, on July 27, we returned home from an overnight trip to my mom's and couldn't find my 16 year old kitty, Mason. He ended up being stuck in the litter box because he couldn't move his back legs. It was a Saturday evening, so we had to take him to the emergency vet. We were told that he "threw a clot" (evidently something older kitties do) and they could fix him but it would likely happen again and we needed to consider his quality of life. Going to the vet has always been a traumatic experience for him and we didn't want him to suffer any longer. My husband and I had an hour or so waiting for the vet to discuss our options, and we thought it best to let him go. We had the opportunity to spend time with him and tell him what a good boy he was and how much we loved him. They gave him a shot to relax him and we stayed with him throughout the procedure. There were many tears. That little guy had been with me through so many life changes and it was hard to imagine what life would be like without him. But, we knew he'd been in pain with arthritis and mild kidney failure and it wouldn't have been fair to make him suffer anymore just for our sakes. We had him cremated alone, and now have his ashes. The emergency vet was wonderful and compassionate, and they also made paw prints in clay for us.

Rest in peace, my angel kitty

We had no idea that Mason's absence would have such an effect on our 11-year-old kitty, Maddy. She and Mason had not been close for quite some time. Mason was crotchety as he got older, and Maddy was always too spunky for him. They ignored each other for the most part for the past several years. But there was obviously a stronger bond than I realized, as Maddy is now grieving him terribly. It took her about 5-6 days to realize he was really gone, and then she started to get sick. I took her to the vet yesterday to make sure it wasn't anything physical and they did blood work, treated her for dehydration, and wormed her just in case she had a parasite since she had, to put it nicely, bowel issues and has been making a mess with it around the house for the past few days. As it turns out, the blood work came back normal and it's just the grieving process that she's going through. I wish there was more I could do for her other than love on her and then give her space when she wants it. She did finally eat this morning but is still very withdrawn. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Miss Boo sleeping on my desk

It is my hope that the rest of this summer will be non-eventful. We have a much needed long weekend trip to the beach coming up, and our first grandbaby will be here soon after in Sept. A season of joy and calm in my favorite time of the year, fall, would be ideal, but I know I'm not in control. I just continue to pray for patience and trust as God shapes us into who He wants us to be.

Reminiscing and projecting

Originally written June 3, 2013 but not posted...

I find myself lately thinking a lot about the past and when I was raising my daughter alone. They were hard days mostly, but I loved it, too, especially as she got older.

I listen to Pandora radio while I'm working, and a lot of the songs she used to listen to as a teenager often come across my playlist. I can see her getting ready for school in the morning, music blaring, and hearing her singing along to Madonna and The Dixie Chicks (this was in the 90s, y'all). My sweet girl.

She's pregnant now and expecting my first grandbaby, a boy whose name is Brooks. She's been married for almost seven years, so we've waited a long time for him! The thought of what it will be like to see her and JG as parents, and the thought of Chuck and I being grandparents fills me with joy...and makes me want to be closer to them.

We live three hours away - and it's not an easy drive having to go through Atlanta traffic to get to them. An ideal location for them would be farther north, closer to both sets of grandparents. And I don't think either of them disagree, even as much as JG loves his job. He's a golf course superintendent in a very nice golf community and, aside from the very hot, dry summers, he's got a great job. But, the prospect of moving closer to his family, I think, makes him happy, as well as having Ashley closer to me. It might be worth looking for some other greens to tend to.

And Ashley's job is very stressful, and I think it's not something that is going to mean as much when there's a little one to take care of. It would be nice to get her away from the anger and frustration she experiences daily.

Our children may grow older and create lives for themselves, but for me anyway, there is always that draw to be with her. I know God has us here for a reason, and I have to trust that He will make things work for all of us.