Thoughts on baby Clark, Jesus, and how I’m a demon lady

To spare some of you from reading through a long blog, I’m going to address a few things up front. Soooo, first things first: There’s not an update on Clark, yet. Our next appointment with maternal fetal medicine is in a couple of weeks. Next, if you can’t handle Jesus-talk and cursing, my blog really isn’t for you. I’ve already fully admitted that I am a flawed person. I mean, I sniff hamburger meat a few days after the expiration date to determine whether or not it’s really expired or just kinda expired. And then, because I also live dangerously, I cook it up and eat it if it’s of the kinda variety. You see? Flawed. And I have reason to talk about Jesus, and I have reason to cuss. And don’t expect to get a spiritual or theological awakening, either. It’s mostly a confession of my own terribleness. I digress. 

Okay, so I was raised in the church of Christ. Only COC’ers will appreciate the capitalization consideration I took in that last sentence, by the way. I don’t necessarily identify by that church of Christ label. I’m a sinful woman who happens to love and want Jesus, and yet I have some major struggles with this faith. You see, I’m a doubter as well as a sinner. I get a lot of anxiety when people discuss the day they were saved. Because I can’t really pinpoint when I was. Oh, I can tell you when I was baptized, but I can’t tell you for sure that I was saved then. I was straight up told that if I wasn’t baptized, then I would burn in the lakes of fiery sulfur for all eternity. As an eleven year old, I was motivated, man. No fiery pits for me. But there was no big change in my life. I was still an eleven-year-old punk doing punkish crap, and I started to doubt my salvation. Like, “Am I safe from sulfuric fires?” This fear was further spurned on by the old, “If you don’t know whether or not you’re going to heaven or hell, you’re going to hell. When you’re saved you’re given blessed assurance of your salvation.” Well, shit. Blessed assurance I did not have. Now after all this time, I was back in hell’s corner. From there I have battled throughout all of my Christian life. I’ve grown a lot, and felt God’s presence, His goodness, and His blessings, but a lot of the time, I’ve felt like God’s stepchild instead of one of God’s chosen. I believe in Jesus. I know He exists. I know He can heal baby Clark, but I doubt that He will. I hope He will, but I doubt He will. I know that He has done crazy cool miracles in this world since He created it. I know He sent His only Son to die for all people in this world. And yet, I doubt He will heal my son for the same reason I’ve always felt just a * little * on the outside of God’s unending love; His miracles aren’t…well…for me. The pain and growing and just enough spiritual growth are for me. And I know that so many of you want to pray for me to deepen my faith and change my mind, but you won’t. I think it’s going to be my lifelong struggle. A couple of years ago, I confessed this to a minister of a church I was desperately trying with. I told him basically what I just wrote, “I KNOW and truly believe God exists, I just don’t put my full faith in Him, and I know that’s wrong.” His response, “Yes. Well, Beka even Satan’s demons believe in God. That’s not enough.” Damn. So, I’m stepchild status because I’m basically on par with the demons. I really am effed. It’s okay you can laugh at that, I don’t seriously think I’m on par with Satan’s minions. And, I also totally realize his answer was un-therapeutic at best, but I won’t lie, it occasionally concerns me on a spiritual level. Especially when this demon-Christian woman really wants her son to be healed. So that he won’t have to suffer. And if I’m being honest, so I won’t have to watch him suffer through big surgeries or handicaps. This leads me into the “non-update-baby-Clark” part of the blog. We don’t have concrete answers. We have confirmation of one defect (clubfoot) and strong suspicion of another (skull deformity/craniosynostosis), and therefore the possibility/probability of some type of chromosomal abnormality. So, the obvious questions in most people’s heads include something along the way of, “Wasn’t that what Darcy had?” or “So there’s probably a genetic reason, right?” and “Are y’all going to get an amniocentesis?” or “Are y’all going to try to have more children after this?!” Or maybe because all of these questions ran/run through my head, I just feel like they’re running through yours, too. I’ll share what I feel comfortable with as I feel comfortable sharing it. But to answer these 4 questions—Yes. We don’t know. No. Who the hell knows at this point?

 You know what I am thankful for? I’m thankful to my sweet husband Ben who brought me coffee this morning at work because I had a bad morning and initially failed my first test of the semester. I’m thankful that the other students in my class were my equal in dumb and missed the same questions I did on this morning’s test because the teacher threw those questions out—I now pass! And I am deeply thankful for an amazing tribe of friends who love this old demon-woman so well. Your thoughts and prayers and sweet gestures of love are so appreciated.

So that pretty much concludes the crazy faith-related storm inside my brain a lot of the day. I am not all doom and gloom. I feel lucky to be this little one’s mama, and I cherish each kick and flutter. I don’t constantly meditate on the bad or possible bad. Rather, I plan his nursery and tiny blue outfits. I plan on how to keep him safe from Darcy, who is a tyrant and tiny, yet strong, bully. Mostly though, Ben and I pray for baby Clark, laugh at our daughter, and love this life we’re in.




“It’s not supposed to be this way…right??”

What does it mean to you when your world gets rocked? How do you react? Are you angry? Devastated? Maybe just numb? You could even be like me and experience all of those big feelings in a predictable, repetitive, and exhausting movie reel. Up until recently, I’ve had three such occasions where the floor has lurched beneath my feet, and I’ve fallen on my face. You know, the situation or moment where the image of life as you had planned it is irrevocably blown into ash. Whether or not I directly influenced these world-rocking experiences, I thought I was as low as I could possibly go each time they occurred. And yet, each experience has brought me lower still.

When I was young, I was very much in love with a boy until I wasn’t. Telling him I didn’t love him anymore, and I couldn’t marry him was the hardest thing I had done in my life at that point. Like any decision you make in life, it causes ripples and the effects were felt for months. Cold shoulders, hurtful gossip, and some really awkward encounters in my small town were a few of the mainstays for the months to come. During that period, I felt lonely and abandoned by friends and family alike. It was the most alone I had felt in my life. I thought I would rather disappear than keep going, and I naively thought that it was probably the worst thing that would happen to me. Yeah, I was 21 and knew nothing.

We had a perfect ultrasound at 8 weeks. The doctor told Ben and me that the baby looked amazing, and that we should tell our family and friends the great news. “After seeing a healthy heartbeat on ultrasound, the chance of miscarriage is only 1-3%.” We told our families. And then, four weeks later after our next appointment, we had to un-tell them because during that ultrasound my doctor said, “I’m so sorry, dear. I just don’t see a heartbeat. There is no heartbeat.” For unknown reasons, our baby died, and my body hadn’t realized it yet. I was still sick and throwing up because my body was supporting a baby that had died 2 weeks earlier. It could be another month before my body caught up with what we already knew; our baby was long gone. I remember being aware of a strange, high-pitched noise. It took me a solid minute before I realized that it was me. I was the thing making the painful noise, because I was in inexplicable pain. We scheduled the procedure for the following morning, and I took a week off of work. The worst of the aftershocks came in the immediate weeks to follow although now and again, I feel the emptiness of that loss almost as acutely as I did that day.

“Her forehead is very prominent, and I feel the ridge you mentioned. We need a stat CT scan.” And there went my “peaceful” introduction to parenthood. Darcy was 5 weeks old, and at her first real well-baby check-up when our pediatrician made the aforementioned statement. She was diagnosed with craniosynostosis less than 2 hours later, and we left the “well-baby” appointment with a new appointment with a neurosurgeon in 2 days time. My beautiful baby girl was going to have her scalp peeled back, skull removed, bones cut into pieces, and then jigsaw-puzzled back together with plates and screws. It was devastating. I, like any new parent, felt like my daughter was beautiful and perfect, and yet I was hearing that her forehead was too prominent, head too narrow, and it was all caused by an eventually brain-damaging birth defect. Unless, that is, she got her skull cut into pieces and put back together in a better, less brain-damaging way.

This isn’t some cutesy post to tell you how much “God grew me through each scenario” and “How grateful I am.” Now, I AM grateful for these experiences, I did experience growth, but if there had been another way, I would have taken it. I would taken that other, easier, gentler way in a heartbeat. I have experienced deep and real and life-changing hurt in my life. Hurting or being hurt by others, experiencing great loss, or being given more than you can possibly handle isn’t some right of passage to get awarded a “Hey! You made it!” medal. I don’t really think God works like that. I do believe that God makes good out of bad. I know God makes good out of bad. I just don’t think he causes the bad. God didn’t turn everyone against me or abandon me. God didn’t take my baby. He didn’t “give” my daughter craniosynostosis, either. But He did bring beauty out of our suffering. He met me in my suffering, and when I felt like my world collapsed around me, He was unchanged. He was still good.

Romans 5:3-5 states, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Now, I straight-up struggle with the “rejoice” part. Maybe when Jesus comes back and I’m all sanctified, I’ll rejoice at my past sufferings. But, I won’t be fully sanctified until Jesus comes back, so for this life-time, I’ll probably just have to be content to struggle with that. Anyway, throughout my life and my “big experiences,” I have grown in perseverance, and character, and hope. I’ve been blessed by such incredible people who have crawled down to my low, crumpled state and just loved me and stayed with me, especially when I felt utterly unlovable and unworthy. I have had the opportunity to offer comfort to other mamas who have experienced loss through miscarriage. I’ve been able to reach out to mamas of craniosynostosis babies and tell them that there is light and life on the other side of that scary diagnosis. It’s a goal of mine to reach and help as many as I can. In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 sums it up rather well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Because of my suffering, I can be a tool of God to help others who are suffering. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I too can experience the comfort of those who have battled the “ugly” before I’ve had to. I’m thankful because I’m going to need their comfort in the weeks and months to come. Unfortunately, I’ve been given more than I can handle once again, and once again I’m scared and I’m angry and I’m numb. As you can see, I’m really not all that original in my feelings. One day, I wake up and I’m okayish and I think it will all be okayish. The next day, I’m a rollercoaster of all the big feelings. It’s actually annoying how regular my emotions are. Anyway, we’ve named our baby boy Clark Elliott Rayner. Baby Clark has some issues that have become apparent through our ultrasounds. While we don’t have all the answers yet, he has two ultrasound anomalies that make an underlying chromosomal abnormality more likely than not. Today, our new high-risk physician confirmed the findings; club foot and skull deformity. The skull deformity could be craniosynostosis, or maybe not. Our high risk doctor couldn’t say for sure. I won’t lie. It’s been very, very hard to hear that something is wrong…again. I am prayerful and hopeful that God will heal my baby. I know that He can. But I also know that He may not. He. May. Not. And that’s going to have to be okay. Ben and I have so many things to think about right now, and are learning as much as we can in an effort to anticipate Clark’s medical needs. I will update as I can. Until then, love to all. ❤️ 

Why the internet is stoopid

And airing out a diaper rash is a bad idea found on the internet

Stop reading now if you aren’t into reading about potty stuff. Just stop and wait for a post that details the other parts of my life. If you’re game to read on…

Darcy came back from the beach with a pretty horrific diaper rash. To be fair, she arrived at the beach with the start of one, but it only got worse with sand, wet bathing suits, and the heat. I was trying everything; A&D ointment, Desitin, a concoction of an anti-fungal, Desitin, and Aquaphor. Nope. This rash wasn’t budging and poor baby D was uncomfortably tugging at all of her diapers. Now, if you ever even Google anything about diaper rashes, “they” tell you that you should simply “let it air out.” This basically means letting your un-housebroken toddler run around naked and hope for the best. After exhausting all of my ointments, powders, and creams I decided to give it a try.

Ben was out of town for a wedding (how convenient for him), and I had the Darce-bird all to myself for all of Saturday. The day started off innocently enough. We went to return some maternity clothes at Old Navy, we went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We went to eat lunch at a cute little Italian café where Darcy refused the food and stared directly at an older couple for the entirety of the lunch date. Not awkward at all, Darcy. We went to Trader Joes for groceries—insert heart emoji—I freaking love that store. Then, we went home, fed Darcy a lunch she deemed worthy (Easymac-whatever, Darcy) changed a poopy diaper (this is important), and put the Darcy to bed. When she woke up, I had decided it would be naked time. This rash was out of hand, and she had already pooped, so the un-diapered Darcy show was a safer option now.

About an hour and a half later, she woke up laughing and with a heavy, heavy diaper. Perfect! She’d peed recently. It should be safe. I took off her diaper and brought her to the living room. I turned around to put up the baby gate to the back hallway, and when I turned back around, she was gleefully splashing in a puddle of her own urine. Awesome. I grabbed her and took her to the bathroom to clean her up, pulled out the Clorox wipes and thought, “Well, we’re probably ok now.”  Within 15 minutes she peed the floor again. What in tarnation? How often does someone pee? I mean I’m pregnant, so I totally get a bye on the every 15-minute thing, but seriously? So, I cleaned her up again and we moved to our outside porch. Safer this way. Hotter this way, too. Kind of a pick your poison thing, and I was over wiping up pee.

Darcy is such an adorable exhibitionist. She was toddling around like the emperor who lost his clothes. I definitely sent a booty picture to her daddy. She walked over to the ottoman of one of our outside chairs, looked at me and giggled, squatted and shot out three poop balls in a span of about 5 seconds. Now, I am a nurse. I have seen patients’ chests’ cracked open at bedside, I have been inside OR rooms, I have cleaned up all kinds of poop, but I have never seen poop balls fly out of a tiny booty at that velocity in my life. It took me a minute to get my wits about me. In that minute Darcy straightened up and firmly planted one of her chubby feet right in IT.

*Mental scream*

I finally snap into action and grab her, booty facing out, foot firmly held at a distance, and carry her football style into the bathroom for a quick scrub up. Inwardly I was thinking, “How do people DO this?! It’s only been like 45-” looks at clock-“30 minutes?!” After a very quick scrub up, I grab paper towels and head back out to the porch to clean IT up. But it’s gone. The poop balls have disappeared. No. Oh God, please no. NO! I hear Libby smacking her lips from somewhere behind me, and my suspicions are immediately confirmed. Libby ate the freaking poop. What fresh hell is this? I’m not even sure which small creature is more disgusting. The pee-puddle-splasher/poop-ball-shooter, or the poop-ball-eater. At this point, I was done. If Desitin could not fix this rash, then Darcy could just keep it forever. Sorry, not sorry. Diaper back on baby. This diaper stayed dry until bedtime, by the way. Imagine that *eyeroll*

The moral of the story is that the people on the world wide web are idiots. Do not follow the crunchy, holistic, craptastic (see what I did there?) advice “they” spout on internet forums. They are idiots, and obviously have investments in the Clorox wipe business. Darcy’s butt is perfect now, and basically all I did was change diaper brands, and slather it with every cream known to man, including the dangerous and awful Talc-containing power. OoOoOo-arrest me now. May your parenting endeavors leave you with great stories and funny memories. And may you have dog-breath freshening treats on hand. Until next time, love to all.

Beaching, Not sleeping, and rocking family T-shirts

A couple of months ago, Ben and I decided that after our summer school classes, we really needed a break. Like a beach-trip break. So, I scheduled it for the second week in August and we booked a 1-room condo on the beach. We talked it out and decided to stay only Monday-Friday, so that we had a weekend to get our life together before the following Monday. We figured we needed at least 1 bedroom, so that after Darcy went to bed at 7:00pm, we would be able to enjoy time together and watch movies, etc. So, the magical Monday comes and off we go to the beach! No work, no school, no extra stress.

We stopped to get a few groceries once we got into town, so that we wouldn’t have to come back to the store after we checked in and got settled. Darcy was pretty good on the way, but was pretty over it by the time we got to the condo. We decided to just eat a frozen pizza the first night because putting Darcy back in the car to go out to eat was going to be miz for everyone, other restaurant patrons included. That night, we put her to bed, made cookies (I brought homemade cookie dough—it’s the best, I’ll post a recipe later) and sat on the balcony listening to the waves.

Then we went to bed. Not sleep. Bed. Oh and it’s not what you’re thinking. Get your head out of the gutter. It’s because sharing a room with Darcy is something I have not done since she was 2 weeks old with very good reason. I kind of remembered it was awful, but I was also knee-deep in postpartum blues/overwhelming “omg”-ness, so I didn’t REALLY remember. My memory has now been refreshed. She is so freaking loud when she sleeps, and is pretty much the crappiest roommate ever. I swear. See, she sleeps all soundly, but MY GOD she moves constantly. You know what movement in a pack-and-play sounds like? Do you? Allow me to enlighten you if you don’t know. It’s like this. Swish, swish, swish. SWISH, SWISH, SWISH. Scratch Scratch. SWISH SCRATCH SWISH. On top of that we have typical Darcy noise. So to mix it up a little it was: Swish, Cough, cough, sniffle, Scratch, SWISH, ALL THE NIGHT LONG. Oy vey.

The following morning, she woke up laughing at 5:20am, ready to tackle the day. Thank god for Ben. He grabbed her and took her away, so I could sleep until 6:00am. Sleeping didn’t improve (for us), but luckily Darcy really did enjoy the beach. She got worn out after about 2 hours and needed an indoor break, but did well overall. Except the following night at the restaurant when she ran away. Yes. My 16-month old hit the deck and speed-crawled under 4 tables stopping only under some random lady’s chair. She then screamed as Ben pulled her out from under the chair. It was very special, and we totally flew under the radar at that restaurant *snort *.

We got loads of people-watching in from our balcony, which is awesome and my favorite. Ben and I mostly made fun of all the families that dressed in all white for beach pictures with their kids. They were trying SO hard, and the children wouldn’t look at the photographer, threw sand at each other, cried, etc. It was hilarious. I’ve already written of my disdain for constant photography, and I just feel like beach pictures for the annual Christmas cards are so DONE. I also don’t send Christmas cards. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you either. Sorry, not sorry. Don’t take it personally if you love white beach pictures. Most people throughout the South think they’re adorable and totally get you because they do the SAME thing. I don’t get you at all, but I’m just a person with weird thoughts and a blog to discuss them. Ignore me and carry on with your white-linen ways. You see, Ben and I love to make fun of ourselves, because we have more fun like that. We totally want to be uncool and Griswoldy. So, as a part of a new vacation tradition, we had custom airbrush T-shirts made for our family. Oh yeah. Complete with a sunset background, palm trees, and dolphins. Hell. Yes. We got baby Darcy a matching airbrushed onesie, and it is just hysterical.IMG_4860-2

Here are the rules to the family T-shirt:

  1. It must have “Rayner Family Vacation” written on it.
  2. It must be tacky and scream, “I am absolutely a tourist in this city!”
  3. It must include the name of the city in which it was bought.
  4. It must be worn proudly all day. Even to restaurants.
  5. You must not tell anyone that it is a joke, so if someone says, “Nice shirts,” In a total, “That’s a lame shirt,” kind of way, you have to brightly respond, “Thank you!” Refer to #4.

I guarantee you our family beach pic in our airbrush shirts are way cooler than the white linen crew. Also, there was a gorgeous rainbow that appeared just before we took pictures, so I’m fairly certain that Jesus loved those bad boys, too. I’m so proud, I may have to do a Christmas card after all just to show them off. Love to all. Even all you classy linen people 😉

The B-word that stole my necklace

So this particular instance occurred in my very own neighborhood about a year ago. This woman, who shall remain nameless, has recently vacated her home and moved to a new location. If you meet a woman meeting the description to follow, then be forewarned that she is a necklace-stealing harpy. For the record, I am not mocking anyone with a disability or physical impairment. I am simply relaying one of the stranger encounters in my life. Anywhooo–

For my birthday last year, my mom asked me what I wanted. I honestly have such a hard time with telling people what to give me. It’s rare that I have something I feel like I need or want. Last year though, I thought immediately, “I’d like a simple Kendra Scott necklace.” I knew they were around $50 and were something I could wear daily. I told my mom and she said to pick it out, and let her know which one so she could order it. I picked the rose-quartz colored stone with a gold chain. Simple. My mom filled out the order form and happy birthday to me!

2 weeks later, I remembered I hadn’t received my necklace. I checked my email (my mom used my email, so I would get updates), and it said the package had been delivered 5 days prior. I investigated further and saw that my mom accidentally reversed the last 2 numbers when inputting my address. That address didn’t even exist. I called the postal service and sat an obnoxious amount of time on hold pressing different numbers to be directed to a new robot, ad nauseum. Finally, I spoke with someone who said the necklace had been delivered to a different address since the address my mom put in didn’t exist. The following conversation followed:

  • Me: “Hmm. So you saw the phone number listed, couldn’t find the address, and just delivered the package to a random house with some of the same numbers listed on the address label without ever calling to verify?”
  • Postal worker person: “Uh…yeah…I think that’s what happened. You can file a claim if you want. Or, like knock on their door.”

“Or, like knock on their door.” Okay, then. So, I decided that since I was dealing with these amaze-balls employees who really cared when I filed my claim, that I was never going to see that necklace unless I went rogue. Like knocking on the door and getting that Kendra Scott back. Unfortunately said individual WAS NEVER HOME! Seriously. Every morning on my morning run (I was training for a ½ marathon at the time), I would stop at the address (containing some of the numbers in a different order of the delivery address) and knock. And knock. This continued for like two weeks. The postal service would not budge my “pending” status of my claim. I had been left with no options, and now I was on a mission. Then one morning, I struck gold! I thought. More like striking pyrite…

A white Altima was in the driveway! SOMEONE was there. I pushed the running stroller up to the door and knocked. And waited. I rang the doorbell and immediately heard the startled yapping of a small dog. “Yesss! She can’t ignore that!” But nothing happened. I rang the doorbell again, setting off a renewed barrage of incessant, little-dog yapping. “Shut the F@#$ UP!,” I heard from within. “Uhh…okay. Think positively, Beka,” I told myself.

Nothing could prepare me. The door swung open and this woman filled the doorway. She was wearing a white, see-through, floral-printed muumuu that was dangerously close to releasing her boobs. This was not helped by the leaping, now snarling, ugly little dog in her arms. “What”—dog lunges at me—“do”—dog lunges and boob almost exposed—“you need?!,” she halfway growled. At this point I decided I didn’t want to know what was going to happen to the boob situation and focused on her face. Mistake. She had one eye. Like empty socket on the left, squinty eye on the right. I cannot make this up, and now I don’t know where to look. “Um, my necklace was delivered here almost a month ago by mistake,” I said, completely transfixed by her empty eye-socket. “I ain’t got no necklace. I been outta town, and my son picked up my mail, but no necklace.” “It was delivered here,” I said, standing my ground in this ridiculous scenario. “Was it…uh…worth much?” she questioned, fixing her eye on me. “It’s a birthday present from my mom, and I’d like to get it.” “Well, I’ll let you know if I see it,” she said backing into her doorway with her rabid, still growling dog. “Do you need my number? Or my address? I live right down the street,” I said quickly, realizing my chances to get my present were about the same as her eye re-growing. “I know where you live,” she said. And then she shut the door in my face.

I went back 2 or 3 more times, but she either ignored me (I could hear her yelling and cussing at her dog), or answered and said she, “ain’t seen no necklace.” It was really special.


Thank you U.S. Postal service for that delightful encounter. Thank you for delivering the necklace to an address of your choice. Thank you lady for being dishonest and for the general frightening experience of meeting you and your tiny, growling minion.

My mom just laughed and bought me another necklace.

The hard stuff is HARD, man. Life in 2017, so far

And why I’m making some changes so the rest of 2017 looks different.

So, the last few months have been HARD. In fact, I talked to one of my very best friends yesterday for 20 minutes, and so much of my bluster just falls away in the first few seconds talking to her because I can tell her anything. She is really a jewel, y’all. We haven’t caught up in a while, but it was refreshing to just say, “Life has sucked, Meg. I’m a mess,” and she’s all “Yeah, I’ve been worrying about you, and here’s my junk, too.” And I am so thankful for friends like that because they are the best. So, in the effort of being transparent without being a total over-sharer, here’s what my life has looked like recently, and why I have made the decisions that I have.

Ever since I started this grad school program, my life has been so rushed and unpleasant. I know that it’s the hard that makes the pay-off great, but I have felt miserable, overwhelmed, and even depressed more times than is healthy. My daughter didn’t even want me to hold her because I was such a stranger to her due to my insane work/study/adult schedule. See, I worked my required three-in-a-row, 12-hour shifts every other weekend, which meant I didn’t see Darcy at all for three solid days. The rest of the week and my weekend “off” I spent immersed in my pharmacology book to cover 16 weeks of material in a 7-week summer school class. Darcy would actually scream when I picked her up, tried to feed her, or god-forbid take her out of daddy’s immediate radius. Consistently she did this. Like for weeks. It was a combination of frustrating and heartbreaking, and it was MY fault. So on top of insane stress, I now could pile up buckets of resentment combined with a nasty dose of guilt.

A change was needed. Because on top of the crap scheduling of 12-hour shifts and working/giving up EVERY OTHER DAMN WEEKEND, working while short-staffed with hard assignments was exhausting. After one shift in particular, I came home and my husband said, “That’s it. You’re done. Apply now.” I did, and now I have my weekdays after 3:30pm, every weekend, every holiday, AND every summer. Thank the LORD! I will miss my awesome coworkers, but I cannot change the fact my husband is in engineering school, that I must work full-time to keep insurance and a paycheck coming in, that I have a busy 16 month old who needs her mama, that I am in grad school, and that I am pregnant. Those things that do add to my overall crazy can’t really change and I wouldn’t want them to (except the school). Lets make that clear. But my job could change and did.

At this point I want to say how THANKFUL I am for my husband. He is under a lot of stress with school, his internship, and being a daddy and husband. He has been a solid rock of amazingness the past few months while I’ve taken on what feels like the world (I’m dramatic, so sue me).

Ben really is amazing, though. He cooks, is an incredible hands-on dad, and he says really sexy things like, “Good morning, beautiful. I made coffee, and my mom is watching Darcy tonight, so we can go on a date,” or, “I didn’t cook tonight, but the pizza will be here in 20 minutes. Go take a bath.” Swoon. Just like that and once again I’m a goner for this man. To any un-marrieds reading this: marry someone kind. I can promise you that it is the most important quality in the entire world when choosing a spouse. I know that some would tell you that finding a man who is a Christian and loves Jesus is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER, but as I am married to a Jewish man, I can tell you from my experience that it is not true. Yep, controversial words for a Christian woman to say, but I grew up hearing that your marriage is “doomed” without Christ, and that you will suffer great despair if you are “unequally yoked.” I will further address this on a future blog, and I know it will be met with some pushback, but I can only write with complete honesty if I’m writing from my perspective and experiences. It’s not my intention to offend anyone, but I wish to offer authenticity and a worldview blog-readers can respect if not agree with. Love to all.

Thoughts on turning twenty-great

Yep. As of tomorrow, it’s here once again. My birthday! I used to be such a firm believer in birthday weeks and celebrating every last minute of the 24 hours of my birthday. This year, well, I can’t say I’ve even noticed it creeping up. This summer I’ve been super busy with school, and a new job, and Darcy, and getting food poisoning, and being pregnant, blah blah blah.

So, I only get two more years in my twenties. I’m not particularly sad about that, but it has made me somewhat reflective on where I thought I would be 10 years ago at the ripe age of 18. If I look back 10 years when I was about to start my freshman year at Delta State, I can honestly say that my life IS different than what I had expected, but also not. I figured or hoped I would be successful and finished with any schooling, happily married to the man of my dreams with child(ren?). So okay, 2/3 ain’t that bad. I had also hoped I would be living in a city bigger than my small hometown and have my own dog. Check! Check! Oh and I *really* hoped there would be lots of money. Let’s just take a minute to laugh about that one. LOL

So as you can see, my goals have kind of been checked off, but I never really thought about the journey I would take to see these things to fruition. I didn’t think that choosing to major in nursing would impact my life as much as it has. That it would wholly influence my perspective and outlook on life. For instance, if you have ever witnessed a child dying of cancer and seen the absolute devastation experienced by her parents, the important things in your life will forever be exponentially highlighted. Small stuff is small stuff, and it’s usually stupid, too. Nursing has changed my life. Before I married my husband, I never considered the hearts I would break, or even my own heartache I would experience along the way. *Sidenote–he was totally the cause of a lot of my distress at one point* Just putting that out there. I never knew that having a miscarriage would be one of the most heartbreaking experiences I would face thus far in my life. I didn’t know the JOY a healthy baby could bring into my life, either! I didn’t know that the traffic associated with “city bigger than my small hometown” would steal large amounts of my time and happiness, THANK YOU FOR THAT, BATON ROUGE. Anddd I never anticipated the amount of “inedible” crap my dog could eat and survive. I have a sudden vision of Libby dressed in camouflage, running to the sounds of Destiny’s Child “Survivor”. She’s eaten: 2-3 pair of underwear, too many to count socks, a bottle of ibuprofen, a tube of mascara, an entire bag of Hershey kisses, at least three roaches that were poisoned, and god knows what else. She’s seven and never looked so good, although I wouldn’t recommend this tried and true anti-aging diet of hers to anyone else.

The point of my ramblings is that I’ve already “met” the goals that I think mattered most to my 18 year-old-self. My sweet family is everything to me, and adding my husband and his family and our daughter to my list of people to love on has been one of life’s biggest blessings. I say blessings because considering this gift an accomplishment of mine just seems so wrong. God so lovingly sent my husband to me, and has continued to bless and grow our family. School and career and money are all important things, but they pale in comparison to the Big Stuff. And one day I think I’ll have all that other stuff, too. But without them, my life still feels full and exciting. Without my family and the loves in my life, I don’t think I could get out of bed.

So at the end of the next ten years when I’m pushing forty (now that kind of hurts), I have a few different goals in mind; some material, some not. I want us to build our forever dream home. Where? I’m not sure yet. I want to be DONE with school. Whether I finish NP school or not, I just want to be done. I want to finish up my family. I have no idea what that means at this point. I want to grow in spiritual maturity and live a life reflective of loving Jesus. Maybe that will mean less cursing or more praying or not honking at people who ruin my chances of catching a green light or because they are just generally stupid drivers. Or maybe not. Honking is rather satisfying, after all. Love to all you people out there.