Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for April, 2016

I’m Not Even Kidding. This Happened.

I’ve been approaching this blog post  from every angle.  I want to say something.  I need to say something.  I’m pretty sure I’m SUPPOSED to say something.  But, there’s a decent chance that thing I say might not be said well.  I SO want to say this thing well.

I need to tell my blog friends a story.  When I witness goodness, faith and generosity, I feel compelled to share the story.  I was born to tell stories.  The reason for my pause is this: I don’t want you to misunderstand. This is not a story about me.  It’s not a story about my family.  It’s not a story about me asking you for sympathy for my family. This is a story about other people.  This is a story about faith.  This is a story about prayer, and answered prayer.  This is a story about witnessing the God of the Universe responding to real time requests.  This is a good story.  So, I’m tellin’ it:

Chapter One

Iowa

Long, long ago…back when Scott and I were just past being kids ourselves, Scott was a teacher and coach at a tiny school in Iowa.  About 50 kids per grade.  We LOVED this school, and this community.   After 8 years in this community, we got an idea that we were meant to leave.  So, we did.  We moved to Wisconsin, and it broke our hearts.

We built our lives, and raised our kids in Wisconsin, and life is good.  But, we never lost contact with our Iowa friends.

Chapter Two

Eddie Gets Sick

When we moved to Wisconsin, we had some struggles.  Eddie became ill.  His life wasn’t turning out like we expected.  Not at all.  Eddie battled a debilitating illness that kept him from school, and just life, really.  We told little Eddie that we would spend every spare moment and resource we had available to us to find a way to help him feel better. So, we did.

Chapter Three

Eddie Gets Better

I guess Eddie’s illness just had to run its course.  Its 12 year course.  Towards the end of high school, Eddie got up on his feet a bit more.  His life started to look a bit normal. We can’t actually tell you what made him better, or even what was wrong with him.  We just know that thousands of mouths petitioned Eddie’s cause to our God in Heaven.  God answered with a miracle.

Eddie IS better.  But, he has some things he missed.  Like, school and working.

Truthfully, he still has some ground to cover.  Staying upright and healthy for more than a week is something he is looking forward to achieving.

Chapter Four

Eddie Goes to College

Eddie has a unique spirit.  His spirit is both strong and flexible.  The spirit God gave Eddie allowed Eddie to find  a way to pursue his high school athletic dreams, while also carrying a  burden.  It was quite a display of courage.

Eddie is going to wrestle in college too.  He says he isn’t finished.  He wants a chance to fight to the top.

Chapter Five

Paying for Eddie’s College

When we were spending money on doctors and miracle cures, we weren’t thinking about college.  We were just fighting for the POSSIBLITY of college.  College is now possible.

When people have asked Eddie what he’d like to do after college, he hasn’t had an answer.  He told us the only thing he can really see himself doing is helping people.  He sees himself in an impoverished country, doing what he can to offer some relief.

Hear me now, it isn’t that I’m not proud. That’s a sweet thing to hear your teenage boy say. I mean,  I’m the one who told the little tiger in Kindergarten that we were lucky to be poor (relative to the kids Eddie knew).  I followed that statement up with proof.  I said that we couldn’t possibly enjoy everything we had as much as we did, if we had more than we needed.   I guess the little sucker chose that one moment to listen to me too.

I don’t know if Eddie will do this impoverished country thing.  We all have big ideas when we’re young, don’t we?  I was going to be a children’s author and missionary, oh, and a Ninja in my spare time.   But, I guess, based on what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be so surprised if Eddie didn’t do just as he plans.  He can be like that.

Chapter Six

Today

I have been praying this college thing over.  I have been attempting to turn every overwhelming wave of fear into a prayer.  On this very day, I told God I was going to fast and pray. I was going to ask him to help us figure things out.  Like, how Eddie can find money for college, without money for college.  And, how we could responsibly take out loans with Eddie’s extravagant plans to earn millions feeding the poor.  So, I fasted and prayed.

I know.  Telling people you’re fasting is breaking the rules.  No one likes a bragger, especially God.  But, I’m breaking the rules, because the story must be told.

I told God I thought he meant for Eddie to go to college, and I was asking for some direction.  I told God I would fast and pray today, and seek a sign of peace.

Chapter Seven

God’s Answer in the Mail

After a day of fasting and prayer, asking God for peace that we could afford to send Eddie to college, I came home and got the mail.  In the mail was a fat white envelope.  In the envelope was a long, long letter with pictures of some beautiful families, and faces from our past.  In the envelope was a check.

God used Scott’s former athletes and students to deliver a bright bolt of encouragement and confirmation into the lives of my family.  These beautiful families explained what it meant for them to have a teacher and a coach like Scott to invest in their lives when they were young.  They told us that Scott was a guy who was used  to help spur them on to their own great stories as husbands, dads and employers and employees.

These guys explained they wanted to express their appreciation with a check.  And, by the way, maybe we could use it for Eddie’s college.

I cried.  I cried a lot.

I know that in this story, I’m making God sound like a big magic Genie.  He’s not. That’s not how it goes. But, then, sometimes that’s just how it goes.  Sometimes we get to see the hand of God moving in our immediate atmosphere. Often he moves through Humanity.  I’m a witness.

 

 

Chapter 8

Scott is Weird

Poor Scott.  The kid takes a compliment kinda hard.  He can’t face it.  He really can’t.  He loved seeing pictures of his former student athletes, and their families, and acknowledging what awesome lives these guys are living now.  He’s so genuinely happy for them.

Scott will strongly protest any  compliments sent in his general direction.  He will stand firmly in his belief that it was NOT anything special on his part that helped any of these boys.  He has a sincere belief that it was, in fact, these boys, and the community that was special.  I agreed.  This community was special.   I also agreed with Scott that he was in NO WAY special.  Sometimes you just tell a guy what he needs to hear.

Chapter 9

To Whom Much is Given…

Do you know that verse in the Gospel of Luke?  “To whom much is given, much will be required”.  That is us. That is our family.  We have been given much.

We are rich.

We are rich in friends and family.  We are rich in faith.  We have been given much.  So, I guess that means much of us is required.   I’ll take that trade.

I pray we recognize what is required. Even if what’s required is impoverished, and in another country.

May God bless these boys, and their families.

 

ed co wrestlers

 

Vacation Lessons

I’m evolving.  I mean, my thoughts are evolving. I am coming to the conclusion that it may not be possible for me to hold a permanent position on most things.  There’s so much to consider.

My blogging is changing.  As in, slowing down.  Possibly, close to coming to a halt.  It’s hard to tell exactly when.  I don’t know if blogging is necessary now.  It used to feel necessary.     I’m not surprised. Isn’t that life?  We change and grow.  We can only live the chapter we’re in today.  The next chapter always holds changes in our story line. It’s fun to look back.  It’s fun to see how previous chapters build a plot, and create a context for what happens next. What happens next isn’t possible without all of the what happened before. I think I’m getting it.

In the past, I have blogged detailed recaps of our spring break trips.  Gosh. That was fun. This year, I will condense our spring break into the lessons I learned.  Gosh, you know I love a good lesson. Gosh, I love the word Gosh.

We spent the week of spring break in a few ways:  visiting a college in Kentucky for Eddie.  Reuniting with my oldest friend at her home in North Carolina, and a few days on the beach.  It was a happy week.

Here’s what I learned:

1.Hillbillies are not visible from the interstate.  It’s quite a source of pride for my children and their cousins to know that their descendants on my mom’s side are Kentucky hill people.  My mom has a picture of our kids’ great, great, great grandpa. He is a tall, handsome black man.  He and his white wife,  helped raised my grandma in the hills of Kentucky for a few years of her life, until she moved to Wisconsin with her parents.  I would give a great deal to go back and talk to these great grandparents of mine.  We thought that maybe we could get a glimpse of our history driving through the Appalachians.   Didn’t happen. Unless the hill people are residing in truck stops, Walmarts and sports stadiums, we didn’t spot anything that looked quite like Kentucky Hill People.  After one stop in Kentucky, Scott told me he thought someone at the gas station  looked like me.  He said maybe we were related.  Scott’s a sport.

2. Some college kids prefer to get drunk on fun.  Eddie visited a super cool college in Kentucky.  He has a wrestling friend there who kept Eddie up all night with his wrestling buddies.  They had crazy adventures that included long boarding down the hills of Kentucky (they didn’t see Grandpa either), and eating at a Waffle House at 3 am.  These guys have thought of a hundred ways to have fun, and it’s the kind of fun they remember in the morning.   I liked this school very much.

3. Flat tires. Boys become men.  I was skeptical that our ol’ van could make a long trip like the one we took. Scott had confidence in the “Blue Bullet”. Scott was right. The van served us well.  I really love that vehicle.  We did have one flat tire.  In the middle of nowhere.  Late at night.  In the middle of nowhere. Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere?  We heard a bad noise.  I applied my solution for car trouble. I turned up the radio.  Scott got all picky about it though, and made us pull over.  When we realized we had a flat, I instantly went into parental problem solving mode. But then I quickly saw how my two teenage boys-becoming-men were all over this problem with their Dad.  I noticed none of the guys expected Olivia and I to get out of the car.  It seemed like the boys were kind of operating on instinct, and I am not ashamed to say that my heart swelled.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m about partnerships.  I’m all about how women can run the world, and run it well.  But, I’m not gonna lie.  I like knowing the men in my life feel a little protective sometimes.  I’m not even going to try to reason that out with ya’.  It’s a bit primal, but there you have it.  The truth is out, and that’s how I feel.

4.  Liking your kids + modeling kindness + correction = nice kids.  My oldest friend has triplet boys, and a daughter.  Her kids are so sweet and well behaved. We fell in love with them. I wasn’t surprised at all.  My friend is a few years behind me in the parenting game.  She’s at that stage where you have to referee and correct a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, her children were golden.  I mean, these kids had the best manners EVER.  I just happened to come around the corner in the morning to see my friend settling an argument her kids were having between themselves while playing a game in the yard.  I know. Huge shock, ’cause that almost never happens with siblings.  It made me chuckle to see the serious looks on the kids’ faces, and what a good job my friend was doing of reminding them to be nice, and could they promise to remember to be nice before she let them go play again?   It reminded me of how hard it is to be a good parent.  I wish I could go back, and offer my younger parental self some reassurance.  I’d say, “Hey Mik, these boys aren’t going to be beating the crap out of each other forever. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. Keep up the silly lectures, and handing out the consequences,  because some day you’ll be glad you did. Some day, you’ll see that all your man  hours weren’t completely for nothing; those wildly aggressive puppies will some day become more like your friends.”

5. I’m easily influenced – After 24 hours in the South, I had a Southern accent.  I thought it to be quite authentic, and I felt it couldn’t be helped.  My kids begged me to stop.  Again, if I could help it, I would.

6. I’d rather eat better food than more food – My super awesome family indulged me on this.  I asked them if we could skip fast food, in favor of spending more money on higher quality food. They agreed.  The plan was a success.  We had some delicious meals made with local ingredients.  See, that’s another thing you couldn’t get  away with when your kids are young.  I like teenagers.

7. Vacationing with teenagers does not improve your self esteem.  We were in some close quarters on the road.  Someone always had to share a bed.  I made a joke about me sharing a bed with Eddie. Before I even got the joke out of my mouth, Eddie hollered in utter disgust.  Like I stabbed him.  It was obvious that this notion was the MOST disgusting event Eddie could conceive of in his mind. And, let me remind you, Eddie wears ripped sweats, that  you could crack in half from all the attached crust.  Really?  I’m THAT disgusting?

beach spring break 2016

8. Vacationing with teenagers will not improve your marriage.  It is best to have a strong relationship before you attempt to vacation with teenagers.  Teenagers will not abide any interaction between their parents that looks a bit like love, affection or fondness.  I believe at one point when we were driving,  I tried putting my hand on Scott’s neck, and I received a swift slap on the arm with an unopened Gogurt from one of the teenage ingrates.  I’m sorry. I lost my head.  I forgot that Scott and I were merely tour guides.  I didn’t let it happen again.

 

9. Families from Wisconsin can enjoy the beach in most weather – Zeke and Olivia had never seen an ocean. Eddie had been to the ocean once.  The temperature was in the 60’s,  and we had the best darn day at the beach.  We had the sunburn to prove it.

miki beach

Here I am in my Wisconsin Bikini.  It’s racy.

10. Trapped in a van for days with my teenagers, who at times find me disgusting, and who will not accept that I am in a non-platonic relationship with their father, is my favorite place to be on Earth. Seriously.  For real. This is the truth.  I had moments on this trip when we were laughing and talking with these teenagers, and my heart was so full.  I couldn’t express the love in my heart, because teenagers aren’t always up for hearing about how a mother loves.  But, let it be known.  I am keenly aware that my family is at the end of the time in our lives when our trips look like this trip looked.  These five people are likely to expand and grow.  Additions to the family will be a blessing, and additions will be loved. But, additions will be the next chapter.  I’m going to appreciate every word and moment in the pages of this chapter we are in now.  I LOVE this chapter!!!

 

kids spring break 2016

 

 

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