I have no words for today....well, apparently that is a lie. 'Cause here I am, about to put a couple hundred here, trying to describe it all.
It started pretty well. Normal, almost. After getting ready to go to school and actually leaving within 5 minutes of the desired departure time (truly amazing after getting 4 kids up and ready to go), I drove to the babysitter's feeling a little empty. I never really knew what that meant when someone said it. Today, it all came together for me. I sat numbly driving to her house while Gabriel's mantra of "I miss Pappaw" began. He only does this when his brothers have said it or cried about it or he is really tired. He must have been tired because I don't remember any of the boys speaking of Dad this morning. Don't get me wrong, Gabriel was not crying as the chant began. It was a very matter-of-fact tone he used. Almost without feeling. Almost like he was just talking to be talking. Before I realized it, I was pulling in to her driveway when I finally remembered that he will repeat himself until you just acknowlege it. So I quietly matched his tone and said, "Me too, buddy." That's how it began for me.
I got to school, got busy. Things began to seem almost normal again. I went about my breakfast duty without any catastrophes. I taught my classes, I went to lunch duty. Then something happened to snap me back out of the "fog," which reminds me more of mud than fog. Two little boogers from first grade were flipping their green beans across the room in the cafeteria. No big deal, right? Just address the problem, correct it, move on. Well, you would think. One little boy went right up to the mess he'd help make and started gathering the beans from the floor. The other little boy refused, stating that he didn't want to touch them after they had been in Ethan's mouth. My surprisingly calm answer was that THAT was part of the reason he shouldn't have flipped them in the first place. I told Austin that it was no big deal. Just pick them up, sit back down, finish your lunch, and all would be well. My voice was calm. My face wasn't condemning. But something snapped in that 7-year-old's head. It was enough to snap me back from the mud...He began yelling at me and crying, flinging his arms about, wringing his hands, screaming, drawing back to hit me. I was okay with the reaction as I've seen them before, until the draw back. No child would hit me. I took him as firmly by the arm as my professionalism would let me and guided him to the side of the room behind a wall where I could still see the rest of the kids but they could not see Austin because as it would normally be, a scene like this sparked some interest. My assistance was unappreciated, however, and Austin's physical responses esculated. I was working very hard not to show anger. That didn't last long. When he had interrupted me for about the twentieth time and drawn back to hit me (never actually landing a punch) for about the fourth time, I let that boy have it. I informed him that he would go to the office after lunch (I couldn't leave the other 110 kids there alone unsupervised), he would go quietly to his place and eat his food so his brain would have enough energy to finish the day, and he would do it without complaining or talking back to me. Apparently, Austin had other intentions. This is when he informed me that he knew exactly where he lived and would be walking there promptly. He took off around the corner, and I reacted, again pulling him as firmly as my professionalism would allow (all the while thinking "Your butt needs a spanking!!!!!!"), and he was not happy. I finally got him back to his table where he shoved his tray across. I caught it before the entire thing toppled but not before some of the chicken and noodles sloshed out on to my hand and the individual portion of honey landed on top of my other hand. And that was pretty much it for me. He was still screaming about Ethan's spit being on those dang green beans, and now I was fuming. The cafeteria manager came up at this point and said I needed to get him out of here. I turned and asked, "You think?!?!" That probably wasn't the most professional thing to do at that point, but better to do that than spank that child, I suppose. I had resolved myself to the fact that he probably wasn't going to leave quietly or on his own feet. I had put my things in my pocket (that were now sticky because I had no napkins) and visualized all the possible ways to contain this child and move him out of the area. I had also resolved myself that I was going to get bruised in the process. I contemplated taking off my glasses but was afraid my blindness would hinder my way up the stairs....or should I take the ramp? All of these thoughts happened in probably 2 seconds while Austin screamed away. Anyway, Austin's teacher came in to pick up her class at about the same time. When she saw the disruption, she marched over and began escorting him. It was rough. She got him to the stairs I had contemplated when the principal just happened to come around the corner. After dismissing the rest of the classes with their teachers, I went to the office to explain the situation to my superior and wash my hands. And thus began my afternoon.
After my blood pressure returned to normal, my day joined and followed suit. My lessons went fairly well. The third graders loved playing all the instruments. The second graders loved hearing their favorite songs from the school year so far. It was turning out to be a decent day.
After school I went to a shopping party, and finished three people's Christmas gifts (already, I know!). Got some good deals.
Got in the van to return home and it set in again. I don't know when it comes, why it comes, or how I get there. But I get home and think, "Did I have a conversation with my kids or did I just ignore them all the way home? Did I take 600 all the way or cut over to 850?" By the time I got home we were in full fledged busy mode. Homework. Football game. Wait -- supper first! Etc. Etc.
After all that, I am still hazy...I find myself zoning out. When I'm around public, I don't do it. But at home, it's like I slowly, without even realizing it's happening, and sometimes over the course of several hours, I slowly and distinctly get swallowed back up in this thought world where there are no thoughts. Sometimes my brain feels like a hand that has gone to sleep...hating the current state and desperately wanting something to smack it really hard so the initial shock of the pain will just get here and get over with so things can go back to normal. So I can feel again...
So to answer your question, I don't know, Mom, where I would fly away to. Probably somewhere where I could be alone for a while with absolutely no schedule to keep, no person or thing depending on me for anything...a place where there was no stimulus. No outside. No reminders. Somewhere that it's just okay to be, well, empty. If you know where that is, let me know. I want the first ticket available.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I have no words for today....well, apparently that is a lie. 'Cause here I am, about to put a couple hundred here, trying to describe it all.
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
...that there truly IS more than corn in Indiana.
This picture could never do any justice for the rainbow that literally seemed to form before my eyes this morning on the way to work. Then as I drove on, it doubled! One end appeared to be in my home town, and the other end was by my school, so I enjoyed it all the way to work this morning. I actually stopped on the road twice this morning to take the pictures I got. It was sooooo bright! It almost seemed neon in the sky! I wish this picture was a fraction of how beautiful it really was.
Posted by mi*chelle at 5:37 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2007
1. So on Monday, I bought about a gallon (combined) of bubble bath for the boys. On Wednesday there was none left. Never again will I buy it. This was the last warning.
2. My dog is precious. I love him. Rotten...but precious. The best dog I've ever had, I think....besides Belle, of course!!!!!! (The twin with him is Drew. He wanted his picture taken with him the other day.)
3. I found a picture of my dad that I haven't seen in a while. It was one when he was sick. It kind of startled me. They said that I would eventually not see him first in my mind as I saw him the last few times, and I guess that has started to happen. Maybe that is a good thing.
4. I have found T & T to be pretty good friends. I mean, I knew they were...but just lately, it seems as if they haven't forgotten me. It feels good.
5. Gave my kids haircuts tonight. They're all still alive. This is a good thing. I didn't yell at them at all. I was proud of my self-control.
6. I wish I was a bird...so I could fly...far, far away....
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:53 PM
Monday, September 17, 2007
1. Christians should not give the world any more ammunition against the church.
2. Christians should not be defaming, slandering, or gossiping about fellow Christians.
3. Christians should not throw fits if they don't get their way.
4. Christians should not tell all the truths they know if they can be hurtful.
5. Christians should not hurt other Christians.
6. Christians should be quick to forgive.
7. Christians should be joyful and loyal.
8. Christians should love the unlovable - not BE the unlovable.
9. Christians should not be entangled by the Deceiver's lies and trickery.
10. Christians should know better. We have the Ultimate Source of Wisdom in His Word.
Have I done these things? I'm ashamed that I have. But I can say that those things are past. God has been using some pretty sharp iron to mold me...sure, it's taken a while, and I'm no where near perfect. But I'm learning. And that's all I can do. I am so tired of the division in the church. I'm so tired of the deceit and back stabbing. I hate not knowing who to trust. I should be able to trust them all! We paint a pretty good picture for the world, huh? NO! God must look down with disgust and rage. We are a wicked people, Church.
It's time. Time to stop all the bickering and complaining. For Heaven's sake, think of SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOUR SELF FOR A CHANGE. God not only expects it because it's a nice thing to do, He demands it!
Stop all the cowardly anonymous letters. It's ridiculous. God isn't in that. You are NOT doing the church a favor, regardless of what you think. You are DIVIDING it. You are CUTTING OFF your own arms and legs and hands. The Body cannot function this way.
I will no longer be silent if you mock my friends and lie about them. I will no longer tolerate the lies and gossip. I will no longer be hurt by your selfishness, your immaturity, your lies, and your childish fits. One way or another, God is going to reveal the truth.
Heavenly, Merciful Father,
I pray that any time I slip and sin in these ways that You will reveal it immediately to me and make it disgusting and vile to me. So horrible and wicked that I must instantly set it straight according to Your Word. I pray that when I'm the victim of these sins that You will give me the grace and humility to handle it just as Your Son did. Make me the same in the attitude of Christ Jesus. Convict me, convict my friends, convict my acquaintances, convict my enemies of these things. May I have the strength and integrity to resist the temptation to gossip and whine and complain. Make my only focus You and being Your servant. I don't want any other thing. Only You, Lord. Forgive me when I have not seen this own sin in my life. Forgive me, God. I see it now as so ugly and hateful. Control my tongue for me, God. I can't do it on my own. I want to flee from this evil. Help me to have the wisdom to know what to do in all these things. All these situations are so gross and wrong, Lord. If I find myself in the middle, may I be Your Salt and Light. Give me discernment. Give me wisdom. Give me love in my rebuke. Give me self-control. Give me patience with the ones who offend me every day. Lord, You know how tired I am. Give me strength. I wait on You. You are holy, Abba Father. Don't just be my Savior and Friend. Be my Lord. Be LORD of my life - in all things. I give all of this evil and all this hurt to you. Give me Jesus. I don't want any of the other stuff. I'm sick of letting myself get hurt by them. Help me to only hold myself to Your Standards. Men's don't count. God, keep me from EVER hurting them in my anger. Cool my anger, Lord. Where there is anger, give me self-control. Where there are tears, give me strength. Where there is doubt, give me confidence in You, God. You promise to help, and I'm counting on it. I need You, God. I love You. Always and forever, Amen.
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:54 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I love Gabriel's innocence. I was scrolling on my blog, to see the hit counter....I wasn't planning on posting anything. As I scrolled, the bottom entry had the pictures of my newest tattoo on my foot. (This post will probably move it to the archives....) Anyway, as he saw the foot on the screen, he got really excited and said, "Mommy!! That foot is like you!!!" I said, "You're right. That's MY foot honey. It's a picture! I put it there." He very matter-of-factly said, "Oh." Then I scrolled back to the top, he asked (like he does every day) "Pappaw Died?" I answered it for the millionth time. He finished with "He up in Heaben?" "Yep...." It's the same question every night. He even still prays for him sometimes, asking God to take care of him. Sweet.
Posted by mi*chelle at 7:55 PM
Sunday, September 09, 2007
For those of you inclined to pray, I'm a single mom for the week because Chad went to Arizona - Show Low - to work with Thy Will Ministries. He's working with Apache children and doing jail ministry among other things. Pray that he will be used by God, that his walk will be strengthened, and that I won't have fewer children upon his return! :)
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:33 PM
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
We had a great weekend away camping. I can't believe I used the words "great" and "camping" in the same sentence....but I did. It wasn't without it's ups and downs, however. But as strange as this may seem I had some good "Downs."
I started the weekend not feeling too well. So I was slightly cranky...regardless of what Chad would say, I emphasize the word slightly. When we arrived after the two hour drive to Indiana Dunes State Park, we checked in and began setting up the camp. We haven't been able to delve in to the world of pop-up (or better) so the tent has to do. We began all the tasks of unloading, instructing children, setting up tents, etc. I remember wanting to sleep. That night when we got the kids ready for bed, I didn't join the others at the fire. I actually went to sleep. That was the best night of the three I had as far as sleep went. I didn't wake up at all. The air wasn't damp (as it would be the next two nights - thus my cold now). The air was crisp and cool. Under three blankets and two layers of clothing it was just right. We all pretty much crashed that night. The next day brought the sand dunes, the breaking of my flip flops....and general crankiness. I was truly stressed because of the flip flop. What would I wear in the shower????? Luckily, before I headed to the outlet mall the next day, I borrowed one from Betsy. Yes, that's right. I said outlet mall. We graced those stores with our presence - all six of us - on Sunday.
I won't bore you with every last detail of our agenda, but I'll highlight the weekend with the fact that...
a. Luke made a friend named Josh who will be emailing back and forth. Luke's excited. Josh was 6 years old and about 20 pounds bigger than our biggest!! That's impressive considering Luke's pretty tall and big for his age. They hit it off well.
b. I had to chase down a thief. Evan's bike was stolen. Turns out that the boy had a bike just like Evan and Drew's bikes - except ours don't have kick stands...and that was the determining factor in the alleged theft.
c. Gabriel walked off the first night, but luckily we had bought all the kids LED headlights for their heads, and it was easy to see a 2.5 foot bobbing light across the campground....thanks to Michelle, also from our church, for scooping him up.
d. Drew was lost....oh, let's see...about a million times. He kept getting turned around...poor guy. Got my sense of direction! Once, some kind gentleman returned a bawling 5 year old to us asking if he was our son.
e. Camp showers with four boys in tow...an interesting and lengthy process. One that will have the people waiting on you outside the stalls laughing at you.
f. Sunday morning service...well, it deserves more than a highlight. Here goes.
Since I coordinate music for church, it was natural that the coordinator of this camping trip would ask Chad and I to coordinate/lead/prepare the worship time on Sunday morning. I chose two kid friendly songs (Trading My Sorrows, My Redeemer Lives) and two other very familiar songs (The Wonderful Cross, You Are My King) for the beginning of the service. I knew when I received my agenda for the camping weekend earlier in the week that God was going to do some heartstring tugging....the theme was James 1:12...persevering through trials. I even knew some of the people going, so when I heard they were opening the main part of the service for testimonies, I knew some of the stories I might hear. I have to admit that singing the four songs at the beginning, I was really thinking to myself that I wanted to keep level headed that morning. I was sitting behind the main "speakers" just by sheer positioning. It didn't take long. The first testimony I was okay through. The next two? Both about cancer....one was a cancer survivor, and the other was about a family member who was battling cancer right now.
I have to pause to tell you that on Saturday, I spent about 3 hours reading (total) the Bible. I started to read some in Isaiah before reading all of James, some of Psalms, and much of Genesis. (I've decided I want to read the Bible in a year...) In Isaiah, I read the 40th chapter. I have used the Message for a long time. I love the ease of reading it. As I read, I came across the end of the chapter when the author asked why we complain saying God has lost track of us. It hit me square between the eyes on Saturday afternoon. I KNOW, as I've said before, what to say. I KNOW the right answers, but making my heart feel the same is a task I've battled since my dad got sick. I've got to admit, I've felt a little like God had lost track of me. After all, I had prayed...I have believed...I have trusted...but I didn't "get" what I wanted. (And I totally know that's not what prayer is about...but again, we're dealing with emotions here. Not reality or logic or knowledge.) I literally stopped before reading on, thinking how that is REALLY what I was feeling. The passage went on to say something along these lines: Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God LASTS. Again, none of these words were knew concepts to me. But somehow it all connected.
I can't help but think about how my father lost his mom when I was one year old. I imagine he dealt with the same emotions I deal with. Will my kids remember their grandparent? What about the times when I need to ask a question? What will life be like without? Who will help when...? Why did this have to....?
I also can't help but believe that my dad's prayers were similar to what I pray now. God, help me to follow in the footsteps of my wonderful parent. Reunite me. Help me feel peace and comfort. Give me joy again...
And then I thought, after reading, that God didn't come and go on Dad. He lasted. And at the end of Dad's life, Dad got the answers to those prayers. He sees his mother like it was just moments ago that he lost her. He understands real joy and peace and comfort.
Just like Dad's God lasted for him, the SAME God that I trust and have for a very long time, will LAST for me....and for my boys....
Suddenly, sitting there in that camp ground listening to Susie tell her cancer story, wondering why she survived and Dad didn't....being asked by Matt if we believe in answered prayers and (for a split second) cringing inside before my head put my heart in its place and answered "yes" - sitting there among all those people, feeling all those emotions, I felt God start tugging. I can't remember feeling so LED to give a testimony. I had been blubbering for quite some time. Partly at what I was hearing, and mostly because of the inner battle going on. I was a mess. Here's how it went.
Me: Come on, God. Not now. I can't bare myself like this. Not now. I've done so well starting to build the walls that I've been working on for the last two months.
God: You need to let go of these words. I might just use them in someone's life. And I think it will be good for you.
Me: No one needs to hear from me. My battle isn't over. The theme of this meeting is succeeding after a long trial. This trial is just beginning.
God: Trust me.
Me: I want to, but it hurts. I hurt.
God: Michelle, trust me.
Me: I am trying to. I just don't want to be embarrassed...opened...
God: TRUST me.
I battled long enough that the time for testimonies closed. I was somewhat relieved. I took it as a brief sign that all of this was just in my head, and I didn't need to say anything. It was almost time for the closing song.
The closing song?!?! WHAT? I had totally forgotten. With tears still streaming and a clenched throat, I knew I couldn't sing. Chad asked me if I could, and too proud to admit it, I said that I could. After all, I had a few more minutes to gain composure.
It didn't take much longer before I remembered my dad walking forward just two or three Sundays before he had the first stroke and asking that God's Will be done in his life...even through the excruciating back pain he was going through. I talked with him afterward. He said that when God tells you to speak, you do it.
So instead of starting the last song, "Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone," I looked at a friend and announced that I was too emotional to sing the last song and asked if he would do it. Right in front of everyone. He agreed, of course. And before he did, I bared my soul to 70 + people of my community. I laid it all out. I told them I felt God was asking me to speak. I told them of the battle of KNOWING what I'm supposed to feel and actually feeling it. I told them of the passage in Isaiah, read it to them, and actually went through each thought it invoked.
I remember not being able to look at anyone because they were all crying, too. Grown men and women, teenagers....many of them emotional. I just starred at the trees. The leaves were gently rustling in the warming breeze. If the people there took away anything among the open sobs and heart wrenching breakthrough I was experiencing in front of them all, I hope that they took away that GOD LASTS.
God, thank You for speaking through Your Word and through my father and through those testimonies this weekend. I want more than anything to please You. Along the way, if You see fit to use me to reach others, I would be humbled and honored. God, thank You for breaking me down (again) and allowing some of the rebuilding to take place. You ARE good all the time. Amen.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:25 PM