Three and fabulous

Happy birthday, Darcy

In some ways, I cannot believe that Darcy will be three tomorrow. That she has been earth side for three whole years–the most life-changing three years of my life. Parents, you understand this feeling. These children drop into your life and consume it so completely. Don’t get me wrong, you still have your own things going on, but nearly every single activity is impacted by this new, tiny person. And it stays that way, I think forever. So in that way, I can totally believe it’s been three years because sometimes the days are freaking long, man. This past Sunday lasted approximately 92 years, of this I am certain. I thought about writing Ben a “Goodbye, Good luck, and Godspeed” note because it should have been bedtime, but it was actually 11:00 a.m., and I just could not mom anymore. And in the same moment, I remember this night, the night before you were born, so very clearly.

Darcy. Girl, you are unique. I know everyone says that about their child, but you really are. You make expressions with your face that you just shouldn’t make out loud. If you don’t think something is funny, you aren’t going to laugh or fake laugh. You can glare and mean-mug like a champion, and it can be so embarrassing, but you are you, girl. You also belly laugh and smile so big that your eyes close. You love to run and play with your friends. You are O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D with Shabbat. You love it so much, and Friday is your favorite day of the week, fo sho. You demand the Hamotzi before every meal, and you cover your eyes when we light candles, even if they’re just scented candles because Libby stinks. Also, you love bossing Libby around–to any new readers, Libby is my “single girl” Westie that is now almost 9 years old. You are in love with the color blue, and want blue everything. You were so sweet the other night and asked me to make blue waffles. I felt like a superior, fun mom, and I made my baby girl some blue waffles.  Then you threw up blue waffles all over my couch. Fun times. 😑

You love baby Clark so much.  You call him “baby Cwark” or “my baby.” The other day I heard him crying (rare) and saw that you were dragging him by his legs to your room to “pway wif me.” I mean, obviously I had to rescue him, but the sentiment was truly precious. You love him and defend him so well. You love to read him books and make up new stories and songs for him. Your daddy has always sung a special goodnight song and good morning song, and now you sing them to Clark at ear-splitting decibels. It’s got to be a rough way to wake up, but he is so in love with you and lights up when he sees you.

You. Are. Sassy. The other day I told you that you were not listening to me and you hissed, “I IZ yistening!” You totally weren’t, and you got reprimanded for back-talking, but inwardly I laughed a lot.

This morning after Daddy left for work, you looked at me and said, “Mama, Daddy picked this out” while pointing to your dress.

Me: “Yes, he sure did.”

You: “Daddy. Picked. This. Out.”

Me: “Oh. I see. You want to change?”

You: “Yes. I not yike this.”

You tell me to “hear it up” when you want the volume to the radio louder. You call lemonade “lemma-lade.” You love to bake, and turn into such a little hostess when the cookies are ready. You want to serve and serve (and serve) all of the cookies before you start eating one. “Chicken filly A” (Chik-fil-a), waffles, and anything chocolate are your favorite foods. Sack is still your main man when it comes to lovies, and you love to read books and run.

You have been so excited to turn three, and you’re going to have a big, blue cookie monster party this weekend. We are going to start your birthday tomorrow with “benny-yays” at Coffee Call, and I just cannot wait to celebrate you, my Darcela.

Darcy-girl, I just love your toddler-speak. I love your sass. I love your sweet heart. I love you. I will never recover from falling in love with you, and I cannot wait to see what’s up ahead. Happy birthday, baby.

 

 

I dropped my basket, and it feels pretty good

A baby Clark update

In early December, I was feeling pretty great about life. I had finished the semester with A’s and survived the hardest months of my life. I had run the St. Jude 10K, celebrated Clark’s first birthday, and relaxed for a few days. At the end of that week, I took both Darcy and Clark to the doctor. Darcy had been diagnosed with an ear infection 2 weeks earlier and needed her follow-up appointment to ensure that the infection cleared.  I had also scheduled Clark’s hearing screen since he got new tubes in his ears. So, it should have gone 1)hearing screen 2) doctors appointment. It’s all in the same building, so whatever. Needless to say, we barely made it on time, and then had to pay our entire balance before we could see anyone, even though we were on a payment plan. Alrighty then, that sucked, moving on to the hearing screen! Clark failed. “After 3 failed screenings and previously failed ABR, it could be that he just has conductive hearing loss. It may be permanent and we need another ABR test to confirm because early intervention is necessary if he is in fact, deaf.”

Y’all. I started crying right then. I was just so upset that after multiple tests and two sets of tubes that Clark might actually be deaf to some degree. It just seemed too much. But we still had a full morning, so I went downstairs to his pediatrician’s office. Darcy’s ear infection had not cleared. 10 more days of antibiotics. I had some concerns about Clark’s chest wall and requested imaging. The doctor agreed that his chest deformity was not looking like the pectus excavatum we originally thought he had. So we went to x-ray and waited an hour for them to say the physician never put in the order. Waited 30 more minutes, and got the x-ray.

Holy shit. It was an effing nightmare. Clark has multiple fused vertebrae, fused ribs, and significant deformities. If you’ll remember…in the NICU after Clark was born we had a similar x-ray result followed by an MRI that was “normal.” I questioned it and the neonatologist at the time. He reiterated that the MRI was conclusive, that it was normal, and no follow-up was needed. If I ever see him again I will “accidentally” trip him, help him up, and stick a “Kick me” sign on his back because he is an idiot. We truly believed Clark had been healed. But he wasn’t. 

I won’t even try to tell you what kind of shape I was in because it was ugly. Ever since we had Clark’s 20-week ultrasound back in August of 2017, I’ve felt like I was holding this giant, heavy basket full of stuff. As time went on, and we got bad labs or missed developmental milestones, I would readjust the load and occasionally drop an item causing me to lament my ineptitude. On this day, though? I dropped the whole damn thing. I was so angry that everything I had prayed for and believed was wrong. What was the point of it all? Why believe, why trust in God when it doesn’t even make a difference? When it doesn’t change the one thing I would die to make better?

And that’s how I learned my hardest lesson I’ve learned so far. My faith was weak. It was dependent on the outcome. And when that outcome wasn’t what I wanted, my faith was crushed and my hope disappeared. Luckily, I had supportive friends and family members that dropped some truth bombs, “Our Lord is so much more than a being that is there to help life go right….when evil causes something terrible in our life, God promises ultimate good for those who love him and keep his commands. But this is not a promise for those without faith.”

And…I’m better. I am enjoying life more than I have in over a year because I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop–it already did.  I am still apprehensive of the future, but for the first time since August 2017, I’ve stopped actively fighting this thing because it’s a fight that cannot be won. We have a genetics appointment scheduled for Clark at the end of this month, and the bigger, stronger part of me knows that the only way I can help Clark at all is to have all the information. And that requires stepping out into the really bright light, so that no thing is left in the dark. It may mean that we get a diagnosis that’s hard to accept, or  it could just raise new questions. Either way, I know it will be okay because Clark will be who he is meant to be.

On another note, Clark’s ABR testing was normal and he can hear, and I will straight up refuse another hearing screen because they are useless and upsetting. His neurosurgery appointment and ENT appointments have been uneventful and “good.” He’s getting stronger and making some really great progress with therapy. Darcy is sassy and funny and sweet and sour. School is hard, but I graduate in December and it is my motivation to keep on, keeping on. We are truly living our best lives these days. It may be a while between updates because life is busy. As always, we are thankful for your prayers as we continue on the journey towards a diagnosis. Love to all ❤️

 

 

Clark is one!

Happy birthday, my baby.

This time a year ago, my legs were itching. Unbearably itching. You see, I had shaved my legs prior to my scheduled C-section, and when I got to the hospital, I had to wipe my legs down with antiseptic wipes. This caused my legs to burn and itch like none other for the next 30 minutes or so. Isn’t it funny the things you remember?? If you haven’t already, you can read more about baby Clark’s birth and the immediate aftermath here and here.

Oh my baby Clark. Today is your first birthday!! You are so precious. You smile all the time, laugh this delicious belly laugh, and irritate your sister by grabbing her toys. You love books and bath time and your mama and daddy. You have red hair and crystal blue eyes framed by the longest eyelashes known to man. You are SO loud! You babble nonstop and happily screech all day long. You are truly all of God’s grace wrapped up in one tiny body!

It has been one of the hardest years of my life, hands down. In the beginning, you were evaluated by eight separate physicians. Only two were positive when discussing your “outcome.” Had you not been the absolute light that you are, I could have let negative thoughts steal every inch of my joy. To be honest, I did allow them to steal more joy than I should have.  But then again, those fears led me to my knees. All the nights I spent praying, all the tears I have shed–you, sweet boy, are worth them all. My God has healed you, sustained you, and has held us close during the dark valley of hard surgeries, “suspected” diagnoses, and just plain fear. When my anxiety, fear, and lack of faith have rendered me utterly useless to the kingdom of God, He has given me hope through your laugh and smile. Over the last year, I have discovered that when I spend time praying to my Jesus, and I focus on your (always) smiling face, I can experience both peace and joy. By meditating on the goodness of His promises, I can be thankful for the now instead of becoming sick with anxiety for the future. My faith may be small, little one, but God has allowed it to move mountains. I will move all the mountains for you, my baby. And if I can’t, I will climb them with you. I am so thankful that we’ll never have to go back to life before you ❤ 

Pill-eating, picture forgetting, and lice hunting

This is my circus and those are my monkeys

Hello people! I have been absent in the blog world lately because of grad school. My life has not slowed down even a little bit and really nothing has changed. We are still a messy bunch of people struggling to not live in absolute filth while getting exercise occasionally. A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to go to Friday services  while Ben was handling Clark, and I was on the phone with my mother-in-law. All of a sudden, Darcy bounces into the living room and says, “One more!” as she pops something into her mouth.

Ben: “Darcy! What is that? Spit it out! Oh God, Beka. I think it’s a pill.”

That’s when Darcy reveals the topless pill bottle clasped in her sticky little hand. I race over and fish the pill out of her mouth and look at the pill bottle. It’s my thyroid medication and the bottle is empty. I run back to my bedroom to see if she spilled the bottle and by chance did NOT eat the pills. They are nowhere to be found.

Me (quite calmly, actually): “Darcy. Did you eat all these pills?”

Darcy: “…”

Darcy finally slowly nods her head.

Me (losing all chill):”WE NEVER EAT PILLS, DARCY!!!”

We throw her and Clark in the car and start driving to the emergency room while I frantically call Poison Control. To their everlasting credit, they were SO nice and quick to alleviate my fears. I estimated she had eaten about 10 of my pills which was only about 500mcg of levothyroxine.They basically said she was going to be fine and the ER trip was unnecessary, but to “watch her for signs of hyperactivity.” I laughed because this kid lives hyper. So anyway, I am #momgoals for overdosing my child. And yes, they were sitting on my night stand, so it was my fault and I suck. I know, I know. Because I want all of you mamas to feel awesome I’ll tell you another story featuring my crappy mom brain.

So, mornings at our house are challenging, okay? Ben leaves for work at 6:45 and is largely unhelpful with the kids in the morning. It’s not his fault–he has a commute and has to leave, but that basically means I take morning shift by myself. In the mornings, I am running around getting them up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at daycare, so I can bust my tail to get to clinical on time. Halfway through this particularly busy clinic morning, I get a call from daycare. I groan internally because I know they’re calling to tell me that Clark is sick because he always is. I’m immediately stressed because I’ll have to miss clinical and go get him, and I really don’t need to miss any more clinical days.

Daycare: “Hey, Mrs. Rebekah. So, today was picture day…”

Y ‘all, I laughed so hard! Today was freaking picture day and in my haste to get the hell out of the house, I dressed my kids like homeless Bob who lives under the interstate bridge.

Me: “Omg, I dressed my kids like hobos, today.”

Daycare: “We figured you forgot, don’t worry, there’s a makeup day on Thursday…”

So we get the proofs yesterday and Darcy’s expression looks like someone put cow dung on a spoon and held it under her nose. I’d post it, but we only have the proofs, and I’m pretty sure the GIANT watermark means I shouldn’t post it.

What can I say? We are #familygoals. I can laugh at that stuff for the most part because it’s par for the course around here, and we are just not normal. I can admit that stuff was pretty funny, but the lice scare of this past week was NOT. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have anxiety. My anxiety is SO weird though. Like I can drive 6.8 miles to the gas station even though I only have 7 miles to empty and I feel no anxiety. Cool as a cucumber, yo. But I get a letter saying there’ve been cases of lice in my kid’s classroom, and my head immediately starts itching, I psycho-dial my mom, and I spend the next 2 hours examining my hairline with a flashlight yelling, “IS THAT A DANDRUFF OR A NIT????!!!!” over and over to myself. Clearly, I am very stable and I’m #personalgoals.

But you know what? My people still love me so well. Just a couple of weeks ago, a sweet friend brought over the most delicious dinner. Ben had been working so late, and it was kind and helpful. Thank you, Ellen. That week was followed by one of the best weekends ever!  One of my best friends married the love of her life, and I got to be there as a bridesmaid. Tyler and Matt made the perfect couple, and I had the best time catching up with all of my gloriously imperfect friends. We are an unusual blend of backgrounds, religions, political views, and even geographic locations–they live everywhere from small Mississippi towns to Houston, Washington D.C., Oahu, and Sydney.  But they’re my people and we love each other so well. The very next weekend my husband surprised me with a beach trip to my parents beach house in Fort Morgan, AL. When I got there, I was so thrilled to spend time with my parents. An hour later, I answered the door and my brother and his family were standing there. My heart could have just burst! They drove from St. Pete Beach, FL to be there, and we made the most of our short weekend.

You might be like me. You drip sauce on whatever shirt you’re wearing, accidentally overdose your kid, smack your kids head on the car door putting them into the car seat, or walk around with crap in your teeth all day.  You might struggle everyday to keep your patience. Or hey, you might not. You might have it together on all the outside things which is also cool (I salute you, you unicorn). But I’m telling you now, if you don’t have a group of weirdos, both friend and family, you’re missing out. Because when all the bad happens and life is just hard, you need those people to fall back on. They’ll embrace you, faults and all. In that circle of love thing, I truly am #goals. Love to all ❤

The sun shines, and the light blinds

Things are looking up 😎

1.I did well on my first exam of the semester! Cue the praise hands! It was one test over 30ish chapters and I’m just thankful it’s over with. Considering how the semester began (a total crap storm), I am thankful that I was able to learn and regurgitate any information at all.

2. Ben and I got a great date night complete with steak and wine and no children. That’s a triple win right there, and I am still rejoicing over that. We even took a picture! Sure, it was in the parking lot, but that’s as good as it gets for us.

3. Clark has slept through the night more in the last week than he has in 8 weeks. Thank you Jesus. Shame that probably won’t continue after his surgery on Thursday. Oh well. Take your wins when you get them, however brief they may be.

4. I forgot an ingredient in the chocolate chip scones I made this morning, and they still turned out well.  I rarely have baking fails, but the past two times I’ve made these scones that I have made approximately 75 times before, I have forgotten main ingredients like a total idiot. The first time I forgot to add the leavening agents because who the hell does that?! That is so damn elementary, and the beautiful scones were basically trash biscuits. It’s probably one of the worst cooking fails I’ve ever had other than a casserole thing I attempted when Ben and I first got married. Y’all. I won’t even try to describe that bad boy. It was so sad and Ben kept saying, “It’s not that bad.” Oh, but it was.  Anyway, this time, I forgot the sour cream that makes them all moist and stuff, but the Lord hath shineth on me today, and it made no difference and they were still fabulous.

5. We finally changed the lightbulbs in our kitchen. Look y’all, I can be picky AF about lighting. It can be about where the visors are placed in the car because I’m short-ish and the sun comes blaring in and I can’t see and I will wreck the car and die if they are not placed appropriately. Hate that stupid sun. It can also be about lighting in the house. I mean, how can I be expected to remember essential ingredients in meals when I CANNOT EVEN SEE INGREDIENTS?! Ugh. Ben hates the kitchen lights and I almost cannot blame him because they are industrial fluorescent lights. Yes. They are. The kind you had at your high school that buzz for the first 20 minutes after you turn them on. The woman who originally owned this house thought that 8-foot-long florescent lights were perfect for the kitchen. Anyway, they’ve been slowly dying on us, and we finally made the trip to Lowes to replace them. We found what we thought was right, bought them, somehow managed to fit them into our car, and brought them home. It was soon obvious that it was going to take both of us to snap them into place because of their very convenient size 🙄. I had to stand on a step-stool, but we managed to replace all four bulbs and then flipped the switch.

O

M

G

 I was BLIND. I could not see anything except black spots, and bursts of brightness that could only be the Lord himself. I think I screamed. About a minute later, when my eyes decide not to hate me for exposing them to the Sun, I could finally see again. I’m glad we changed them out, but next time maybe not all four at once.

6. Darcy is refusing to potty train. She was SO into it a few months ago, and has now completely lost interest. Her teacher keeps telling me that all the other girls in her class are using the potty. So I say, “Darcy, do you want to use the potty?! It’s so fun! I’ll give you chocolate chips.” “No. I not use potty.” “But Darcy, you can wear big girl panties!” “I not.” “Ok, cool.” 😐

7. Darcy is currently in the middle of her toddler food strike. She eats like one chicken nugget a day. “Darcy are you going to finish this macaroni and cheese, or not?” “Not.” Whatever. I don’t think she’ll voluntarily starve.

8. Clark is getting new tubes and his adenoids removed on Thursday. It’s a small surgery compared to neurosurgery, but I am always a bit cray when my kids are in the hospital. Hospitals are dangerous, yo, and I feel like I have to be both mother and nurse in there, watching and questioning everything, so they make it out alive. Thankfully there are scripts for that 😂

9. Clark is officially a thumb sucker and it is precious. See below..

10. As always, I’m thankful for my God, my faith, and my people. Live is genuinely hard, and sometimes it just sucks. But thankfully, God is always good, and the sun will come out eventually. Love God, love people, and never stand on a stepstool, two inches away from the florescent lights you’re changing out. That’s all for now. Love to all ❤

It’s been a while now

The exhausting chronicles of the poop show we call our lives

Hey all. I’ve been kind of absent lately because my life is a massive poop show. For real, y’all. Lots of poop. I digress.

Okay, so it started at the beginning of July when I decided for sure I was going back to grad school to finish my MSN for Family Nurse Practitioner. Since I am returning to that god-forsaken program, and I only have three semesters left, I cannot work 5 days a week nursing the preschool children of EBR Parish. Sooo that means I had to quit my beloved school nurse job, which was just tragical–Side note: if things can be magical they can be tragical–Now because I loved my job so much, I told them I would stay on for a few weeks to set up the preschool for the start of the school year. It helped them out and until my semester started, I was free to help. School prep starts at the end of July and of course Clark gets sick and can’t go to daycare. It’s the usual–fever, snot everywhere, basic cold symptoms, etc. He can’t go to daycare, and Ben couldn’t take off work, so I have to miss some of those days. The other days he just had to suck it up and come to the school with me. Instead of healing, he gets worse, so I miss work again. Turns out he has an ear infection. Mom/Nurse of the year, y’all. He gets put on a 10 day course of antibiotics. When he goes back to get his ears rechecked, the infection is still there, because of course it is. He gets a new 10 day course of antibiotics.  He gets better only to be immediately followed by a new fever. After 20 days of antibiotics he ought not have a single damn bacteria anywhere, so we go BACK to the doctor. Oh, its just a virus and after 4 days of sporadic fever he gets better…again. So basically, I struggled to finish my commitment to my job. I felt like such a jerk calling in on my last two weeks but what can you do? Anyway, I start the Fall semester and my clinical rotations. Then Clark gets another virus consisting of constant diarrhea and his worst diaper rash ever. It was seriously worse than some chemo diaper rashes I saw when I worked at the Jude. I pulled out all of my nurse tricks and that rash just got worse. He screamed when anyone touched him or if his bottom touched anything–so I had to miss several days of studying, and even worse, my scheduled clinical days. At this point in the second week of the semester, I was already feeling WAY behind in school work AND clinical hours. Finally his stomach calmed down. His rash got better. Then, I-kid-you-the-eff-not, he gets the cold symptoms AGAIN. WTF?!! This has been six weeks of hell at this point. I just know he has an ear infection, because he’s fussy as hell and his ears aren’t draining like they should be (he has tubes). So I skip the pediatrician and go see his ENT this past Monday. Yep. His tubes are nonfunctional and his eardrums are bulging with trapped fluid. Homeboy needs new tubes AND his adenoids removed. Le sigh.

Y’all. I haven’t even wanted to update my blog because I swear these past 6ish weeks, I have struggled. STRUGGLED. I have not been living in “the joy!” I have been consumed by stress and anxiety and just plain exhaustion. Clark is still not sleeping through the night, the kids’ daycare has been sporadically closed for holidays, and any days I should have “off” for studying, I haven’t had.

Now all you women who love to say “Oh but you’ll miss these days!” Don’t. Just don’t. Don’t be annoying and tell me how much I’ll miss having sick kids that need more surgery with money we don’t have on energy I lost a long time ago. Oh yeah, ENERGY. I now have hypothyroidism! Hahaha! Life literally killed my thyroid gland. Well, that and genetics. That little pearl of a diagnosis also happened during the 6 week period where our pets heads’ were falling off.

Y’all. I’m tired. I’m hanging in there, but I’m tired. And, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for anything other than to tell any readers out there that life can be hard sometimes. And not, “There’s a greater meaning to this struggle” kind of hard. More the “What fresh hell is this?!” kind of hard. So, even if you saw my cute beach pictures with my kids, know that Clark has woken up twice a night for about 2 months now, and no one gets sleep. Know that I was that crazy mama at the Crab Trap very publicly spanking my kid for trying to run into traffic. Know that I’ve gained like 15 pounds in 2 months because of my totally useless thyroid gland. Know that I occasionally want to drop out of school, leave a “Dear John” note for my husband, skip this joint altogether, and head to Aruba: Vacation for one, please. I’ve doubted that God has good things for us, and I’ve felt like Job.

It’s okay to say it sucks. You don’t have to use qualifiers, or say the strong-person things. You can say, “This sucks.” And I’ll nod and offer you a hug and a stiff drink to better enjoy your pity party. You’re entitled to it because you know that eventually it will get better. That’s why we hold on to little nuggets of hope here and there. Still sucks, though. Anyway, may your storms be brief, your blessings many, and may you be kind always. You never know when someone is struggling to stay upright much less survive Baton Rouge traffic with a shred of her religion intact. Love to all ❤

 

Twenty-fine?

I took a blog vacation for a little bit, mostly because life was too busy to stop and blog. It’s true. In a nutshell, I was struggling with the greatest level of discontent I have ever experienced, coupled with big life choices, and employment decisions. And I was feeling antisocial in a way that extended to the blog world. I’ll touch on some of those details while I explore my thoughts on last year, and what I hope for this next year.

So, yesterday was my birthday, and I honestly haven’t ever wanted to celebrate it less. Seriously. For someone who has always loved birthdays, I just was not feeling it this year. “Twenty-fine” is really an appropriate play on words. Because while it could totally refer to my feeling oh-so-fine, it really relates more to my answering, “Fine” when someone asks me how I’ve been. You know, “not that fine,” but still breathing. This time last year, I started my “twenty-great” year with high hopes and dreams, but life’s circumstances just about crushed me. Clark’s pregnancy, health concerns, graduate school, work, finishing Ben’s degree, etc. It was truly an exhausting journey and honestly just a pretty shit year. One that squished out so much of my sparkle and has made me feel very old and very tired. I know, I know, people who have lived longer say, “Oh, but you’re so young! Life is just hard.” And I kill them. Well, in my head I kill them. In real life, I just give them a tight smile and say “Yep. It sure is…”

I’m feeling anxious because I was given the choice to choose an easier life and continue to be a nurse at my sweet little preschool; an easy and happy job with great hours and a steady paycheck. Or, I could finish my masters degree program and become the nurse practitioner I set out to be when I first began my nursing journey. Surely after this year, no one would begrudge me taking an easier route. But, because of who I am, I cannot. I am looking at all of the possibilities and responsibilities and MAN–the struggle! Yet, I am willingly, albeit hesitantly, choosing that harder path. The persistently nagging feeling about finishing this degree has shown me that despite my feeling puny and beaten down, I still have some fight in these tired bones.

So, for the last month, I have searched for preceptors (took about 18 different rejections to find an OB/GYN preceptor), paid off tuition, registered for classes, quit my sweet job, and just about lost my mind with these sick kids. Seriously Clark and Darcy have been sick forever and I’m about to give them away because if I get puked on one more time I will lose what’s left of my mind completely. It has been a busy month, but until I had preceptors lined up and tuition money paid, I didn’t know if I could quit my job or not. It took a while for everything to cooperate and fall fully into place. 

This past year, I have prayed, cried, rejoiced, and trembled in fear more than I have ever thought myself capable of in an entire lifetime. I have heard the phrase–paraphrased from Isaiah 61:3-that, ‘God makes beauty from ashes’ and mistakenly thought that the ashes were what I was dealing with when the ultrasound was bad, when the assessments were scary, or when the doctors speculated, but  I was wrong. It was then that I was in the flames, and it is NOW that I am looking at the remaining ashes wondering just what in the hell I am supposed to do with them at this point. I mean, how do you heal from the trauma of sustained, high-level stress? But I start with this. I need to finish this program. I need to rediscover my hobbies and passions, and renew old friendships. I mean I should probably take a yoga class, and spend more time on things that I enjoy. Hell, I need to try to remember *what* I enjoy.  I gotta water these ugly ashes and plant some seeds, so that there is at least a glimmer of hope that something beautiful can grow out of the scars of this past year. I AM thankful for surviving this past year. But I hope my twenty-ninth year is the year in which I thrive. Love to all.