Tax Returns, Stomach Bugs and Secretariat

Ahh, the glamorous life we lead.
My husband likes to get a headstart on our tax returns…in June. I am not kidding. He has a little spreadsheet that he messes with for 6 months, trying to project the outcome of our day of reckoning with the IRS. Then, in January, the phone calls begin. He will call me at 2:00 in the afternoon everyday beginning January 4, “Have you checked the mail yet?” If so, “Anything?” The anything he is referring to would be W2’s, 1090 forms, anything that might have the least little bit to do with taxes. And when they come – it is a party with the tax software! This year he beat his previous record and finished before the end of January.  I just love this man.

So, taxes is what Richard did this weekend while I was laid up with yet another case of the stomach bug.  That’s all I will say about that, except, when my children are grown, this is something I will NEVER, EVER miss.  Pitter-pattering feet at 6:30 am, handprints on the walls, hotwheels in my bed…yes, I will miss these things someday.  But NOT the stomach bug that seems to get dragged through someone in the family every 6 months or so.  Blech.

(small tangent interjected here – do I mention hotwheels a lot?  If so, there is good reason for that.  I have a 2 1/2 year old boy, and in half that time these little cars have completely invaded every nook and cranny of our lives. literally.  There must be a landfill somewhere devoted just to hotwheels, because otherwise I don’t know how our homes and neighborhoods are not overflowing with the things!  Okay,  moving on…) 

Sunday evening we finished off the weekend with a family viewing of Secretariat.  The weekend improved 1000%.  I loved this movie.  Richard loved this movie.  Caroline, Marfy and Will loved this movie.  We had family involved in the making of the film, which makes it special to us personally(and, my stepdad is an extra in the golf scene – go, Papa!).  The story is so well told, and even though you know the ending, it keeps you totally engrossed.  In the last race of the triple crown, Secretariat rounds the last curve, and Martha Claire blurted out, “I can’t believe my eyes!” at the way Secretariat was racing.  About that time the song “Oh Happy Day” breaks out.  You might be familiar with it if you haven’t seen the movie, “Oh happy day, Oh happy day, When Jesus washed, He washed my sins away!”  Picture, if you will, swaying people, choir robes, hands clapping.  It’s that kind of song.  My spirit was lifted so high.  It seems like an odd place for a gospel song in a movie that doesn’t have a focused Christian message, but one of the verses is, “Ah, it’s a happy day, he taught me how to watch, fight and pray, and he’ll rejoice in things we say everyday.  Oh happy day.”  So, I guess it could be about the fight to win the race.  Regardless of Disney’s soundtrack motivation, it was the perfect ending for me.  After what seemed like a totally mundane weekend, I was convicted about the fact that every day IS a happy day.  We are blessed beyond measure in God’s grace.  All of these little passing things are just part of the race God has intended for each of our lives.  The Light of the World shines for us.  Everyday I want Him to rejoice in the things I say.  Stomach bugs, taxes, whatever comes our way.  Oh happy day!

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Shout Out

I just want to give a shout out to all of you for following along with me in this blog. I started it as an outlet for “grown-up” talk when there are no grown-ups around, and it has also turned into a place where I can talk about life in general, journal what God is doing in my life and all around me, and record some memories for my children. I hope someday they look back and get a small view into their mom’s heart during these years.  I think it would be wonderful if we all had that opportunity to travel back and see into our parents’ minds during our youths.  I honestly thought that just writing would be enough for me, but truth is, if I didn’t know that you were reading it, I wouldn’t write anything a lot of the time.  It’s been such a great way to connect with my family who lives far away, my new friends here in Colorado, and my old friends from other seasons of life.  Sometimes I attempt to wax theological, other times it’s just moments of our lives, and often it is meaningless fluff that is floating around in my brain (please, no comments on the vastness of the space where the fluff is floating), but whatever it is, I appreciate you sticking with it.  The good, the bad, the “what was she thinking.”  It means so much to me.

“Top” Dream

Top Chef is one of my favorite shows of all time.  Currently it is one of the two shows I actually watch on a regular basis, and the only one that would inspire me to break the speed limit in order to not miss the first five minutes.  ‘Cause I always TRY to go the speed limit.  So, it is my “top” dream to make it to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen someday.  I would love to do a little hob-nobbing with my favoritest chef-testants and try their delicious fare amidst the beautiful backdrop of Aspen.  It is as close to being on the show as I could get, unless someday my meatloaf is discovered by a Top Chef scout whom I unknowingly invite to dinner.  But, that’s about as likely to happen as me obeying the speed limit everyday for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, I thought I might plan a little weekend foodie trip for our anniversary this summer.  Unfortunately, I came across a few roadblocks:

#1 – no one under the age of 21 is permitted at this event no matter what, no exceptions except the womb.

#2 – roadblock #1 could possibly be addressed by babysitters or friends, but the tickets cost over $1000 apiece.  Yikes!  This doesn’t include lodging or anything, it would cost us about $2200 just to hang out and gorge ourselves for a couple of days.  And, sleep in our car.

#3 – don’t even need #3, roadblock #2 stopped the discussion.  It’s one thing to spend thousands of dollars to travel to fascinating places, make memories and visit with family, etc.  But, to eat for 2 days?  I don’t think so.  Especially considering how many hours I’d have to log on the Wii Fit to work off those 2 days. 

So, I have a new project.  I am enrolling in every contest I can find to try and win 2 tickets to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 2011.  Last night we ate in a restaurant that is sponsoring one of these contests specifically just to enter the contest.  I can’t justify thousands of dollars, but if the trip is free (plus the cost of eating dinner in that restaurant), then I would happily log 1000 Wii fit hours in one weekend (I’m sure it’s possible), sleep in my car, braid Gail Simmons hair (for those of you baffled, she works for Food & Wine magazine and is a judge on Top Chef), whatever.  So, if you learn of any opportunities, please send me the info.  Help turn my dream into a reality:-)

Disclaimer:  The term “top” dream is used solely for the sake of levity.  Sharing God’s love with the masses, ending world hunger, curing cancer, etc. would all qualify well above the aforementioned “top” dream.

Which one is the real turkey - the one who could "totally" be on Top Chef!!

Parental Desensitization

Perhaps some of you might relate to a few of the following.

Things I Have Become Desensitized to As a Parent:

1. Snot (belonging to my children)

2. Eating off the kitchen floor (ahem, the kids, that is)

3. Crushed up crackers ground into the car floormat

4. 120 decibels of noise coming from the adjacent seat on an airplane or the backseat of a car

5. Hair pulling

6. Hand prints on the inside of every single window in the car, every french door in the house, and most of the mirrors…not to mention on door jams, bannisters, walls, …

7. High-pitched screaming in grocery stores, Target, or Wal-Mart (whether originating from my cart or others)

8. Digging through a purse full of hotwheels, fruit snacks, hair bows, and the occasional board book to find chapstick.

                  8b. Wearing chapstick instead of lipstick.

9. Eating 70% of meals while standing, walking, or driving

10. The first five minutes of constant interrupting when I am on the phone or in the restroom

Things I Remain Sensitive to, even as a Parent:

1. Snot (belonging to children that are not my own)

2. When you pop a cheerio or goldfish in your mouth and realize too  late that it is soggy because someone has already licked or sucked on it

(this could apply to french fries, as well, especially when the perpetrator has discovered they are a very useful salt and ketchup delivery system)

3. Eating off the movie theater floor

4. Whining

5. Barney the Purple Dinosaur

6. The sixth minute of constant interrupting when I am on the phone or in the restroom.

7. Hugs and hearing “I love you, Mommy.” there is no equal.

Looking back, I certainly have experienced “growth” in areas I never thought possible.  I think parenthood might be the unrecognized cure for OCD, as well as for organization, a clean house, and perfect hair.

Rocky Mountain High

We spent the day up at Winter Park, and got to enjoy some breathtaking views in Berthoud Pass on the way up.  God’s creativity is endless.  I am so thankful that He gave us hearts and souls that get uplifted at the beauty of His creation. 

 

 

“By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: …the mystery of his divine being.”  Romans 1:20 (MSG)

Just some Little Tucker action to finish it off- 

And, yes, we did some jammin’ to John Denver on the way home.  Maybe not the same kind of high, John, but we love you nonetheless!

Interrupted

When is the last time your life was interrupted?  Big or small, we’ve all had moments of interruption.  In my current bible study, we are being pushed to consider these interruptions from the perspective of divine intervention.  More often than not, this is easier said than done.  Especially for the small interruptions.  Big interruptions like the opportunity to move to Colorado from Georgia tend to have clear marks of divine control, and for me it required totally trusting God’s plan for my family.  Sometimes smaller interruptions are hard to discern at all, and maybe feel like more of an inconvenience at the time instead of a divine intervention.  And then there are the tragic, wonderful or frightening interruptions.  What to do with those…

I was hanging out at home with William on Thursday morning, when all of a sudden I lost about 70% of the vision in my left eye.  To try and describe it,  when I held my hand up in front of my face and it was like a couple of my fingers had disappeared, but the rest of my hand was still there.  So, I drank some water and sat down to rest.  I had experienced this vision loss a couple of times over the last few weeks, and had assumed it was a result of dehydration, not eating my breakfast, having a head cold at the time, just not taking care of myself.  After about 30 minutes my vision returned, but then I began to experience numbness moving from my left hand to my nose and my face around the left side of my mouth to my gums and tongue and then down my throat.  It was a pretty terrifying sensation.  I tried calling Richard and he didn’t answer, and then a friend of mine who lives in Georgia called me.  I was having a difficult time speaking because it felt like the left side of my mouth had been shot up with a double dose of novacaine.  I described my symptoms to her best I could, and she told me to hang up immediately and get in touch with my husband, which I did.  He called the doctor’s office, they told us to go to the hospital, and that’s what we did.  By the time we got to the emergency room, my symptoms were gone and I had regained all my normal sensations, but I was scared to death.  Aneurysm, stroke, tumor, what was going on?  Between the admitting doctor and the neurologist (as well as a CT scan, EKG, MRI with contrast, and EEG) they ruled out the possibility of Multiple Sclerosis or Transient Ischemic Attacks (mini strokes).  By this point I felt like I was living through an episode of House.  After my brain waves didn’t show any abnormal spikes, which lowered the possibility that this was a seizure, the neurologist came to the conclusion that this was most likely a Complex or Complicated Migraine, which does not manifest itself in a “headache” form but instead in these other bizarre symptoms.  The neurologist gave me the option of treating the migraines with medication or the choice of deferring that treatment for the time being and monitoring myself to see if these neurological “events” will continue, get worse, better, the same…also, perhaps I can recognize possible triggers and conditions that contribute to their occurence.  I chose the latter, and I go back in for a consult with him in a couple of weeks unless I have another “event” before then.

I puzzled the doctors as a healthy woman in her mid-30’s presenting with very unusual neurological symptoms that didn’t automatically point to a diagnosis.  As a result I experienced almost every medical test I have heard of.  I still can’t believe that after this frightening interruption we were blessed to leave the hospital Friday afternoon with a diagnosis of what I am deeming a Very Confused Headache.  (not an official medical term…yet)  I am so thankful.  Life is so frail.  While waiting for the diagnosis, my thoughts were racing to conclusions of what this might be, and I experienced the peace of having my life in God’s hands, but I also knew how much I want to be a wife to Richard and mom to Caroline, Marfy and Will, here on earth.  I know that I might be overdramatizing it, but when you’re scared, you’re scared.  I’m a girl.  I’m a wife.  I’m a mom.  I’m a daughter and a sister.  I can get a little crazy about this stuff.  I considered how much my life would change if I had a brain tumor, a heart condition, needed major invasive surgery.  Yet, in this world, wives and husbands, moms and dads, daughters and sons are experiencing those major interruptions every day.  I am so blessed.  I have so much to be thankful for.  God is so good.  Even if these unknown things occur, here is what I do know: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6

What can I take away from this week’s “interruption”?  Relief that I have Very Confused Headaches and not a hole in my heart or a life altering condition.  Resolution to take better care of myself, not skip my breakfast and limit my caffeine intake in the morning.  Conviction to take advantage of my time with my family and friends.  Recognition that each day I wake up and get to live life completely unrestricted physically is a wonderful gift.  Gratitude to my amazing husband, family, friends and precious prayer warriors who took such good care of us during this time.  Acknowledgement that God is in control, our loving God is in control.  Joy and hope, because whatever the day brings, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)