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Walking Kateastrophe » In all Seriousness

Off to a Good Start

January 3rd, 2012 by Kateastrophe

It’s the new year!  Thank freaking goodness!  I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before but I have never been more ready for a new beginning than I am right now.

I realized as I started writing this that I should really include some pictures from our Christmas and New Year…but they’re at home and I’m not and so no pictures for now.  Maybe tonight I’ll do a post that’s entirely made up of pictures…hmmm interesting concept.

My birthday this year was really mellow and really nice.  It was a rough year for babysitters so there were only six people who were able to make it to my party, but it was actually really, really fun.  We sat around the table eating and talking and laughing until midnight, when we realized we had one minute to get out the noise makers and fake champagne, so we hurried and did that and then we played Minute to Win It games until almost two.  It. Was.  Hilarious.  Whoever came up with some of those games deserves a medal.  If I happen to do my picture post tonight I’ll also include a video of the Bobble Head game.  I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard.   As for gifts, I got some really fun trinkets and games from friends and family, Matt’s parents got me the most awesome professional style popcorn popper  I’ve already used it like five times, just for myself.  It’s awesomsauce.  Finally, Matt dialed in with a sweet surprise of two day park hopper passes to Disneyland, which I am SO EXCITED about.  I love me some Disneyland.  All in all, my birthday was a huge hit and helped end a pretty crappy year on a really high note.

New Year’s Day was spent being extraordinarily lazy.  We woke up at eleven and then didn’t leave the couch until three at which point we decided we needed some food before crashing back on the couch until bedtime.  It was an awesome day of sluggishness.

Yesterday, we decided we were done being lazy and we packed up the Jeep for a four wheeling adventure to Box Canyon, which is about and hour and a half south-east of our house, near a tiny town called Florence.  It was an amazingly beautiful 80 degree day and the trail was awesome.  There were only a few times I thought my brain was going to bounce out of my head and I stepped on a cactus branch in my flip-flops while trying to pee in the wilderness, so that was…interesting, but we really had a great time.  I love having our Jeep and we high fived yesterday on never selling it.  Go us.  We ended the day with delicious Cafe Rio (oh how I wish there were one closer to our house) and drove home.  It was such a fun day, I’m glad we decided to kick the laziness and go do something.

Today I’m back to work after two weeks of blah - I mean I worked during those two weeks but it was all from the couch..  It was rough getting started but nice to be back in a routine that didn’t involve hours of Netflix, pajamas and my couch blanket - aka Snuggie.  I’m sure poor Matt thought he’d never see me with make-up or normal clothes on again.  I guess I had to wash my sweat pants at SOME point.

I’ve joined a lot of people in skipping New Year’s resolutions this year.  I really just want to focus on loving my life and being happy, so I’m not making any specific goals, I just really want to keep my chin up and have a positive attitude all year long, no matter what happens.  It might be the hardest thing I’ve ever set out to do, honestly, but I’m determined to make it happen.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

No matter what your beliefs, may we all have the true meaning of the season in our hearts.  As Ebeneezer Scrooge so beautifully says in ‘A Christmas Carol:’

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

For me, the center of Christmas is the Savior.  I cannot say what I feel for Him and what He has done for my life better than Thomas S. Monson, the prophet of my church did in his Christmas Devotional earlier this month:

“Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.

Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.

Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life…

May His precious Spirit be with us, and may He ever be the center of our celebrations and indeed of our very lives”

Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope your day is filled with love, family and laughter.

Almost There

December 17th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

Matt was expressing his irritation at my getting flour all over his iPad the other day while I was using it to cook (happens a lot and it’s covered like Fort Knox so it’s not like I’m going to DO anything to it) and then he said something that for some reason struck me as Hi-larious.

“Shouldn’t we have won an extra iPad by now?  I mean, COME ON.  We haven’t won anything or had any great news in a long time.  This year has been crappy with a capital S-H and I THINK WE DESERVE TO WIN AN IPAD.”

I just started laughing and couldn’t stop for about ten minutes.  It was funny for so many reasons, the first being we haven’t entered to win an iPad so unless someone is delivering them door to door, it’s not happening.  Second, we HAVE an iPad and I’m absolutely certain we don’t need two.  I mean, I wouldn’t say NO to one but it’s not like I have this great urge to go out and drop the cash on a second one.  Third, Matt having a burst of emotion such as that is just plain funny.  I think, however, that I was laughing mostly out of 2011 exhaustion.  It’s that slap happiness that hits you at 3 am at a sleepover and you know you’ve passed the point of no return and all you can do is laugh.  That’s where I’m at with 2011.  It’s the 3am of the year, two weeks left, and I can’t do anything but laugh until I pass out from exhaustion and wake up in 2012.

I remember so vividly writing this post on the eve of my 30th birthday last year.  I was so very certain that 2011 was going to be the greatest year ever.  And frankly, it started off that way.  I got a new job, I spent an amazing few days with awesome friends in Disneyworld, I found out we were pregnant again and carried that little baby past 12 weeks and into what seemed like the safe zone…then around April everything just sort of fell apart.  The baby didn’t make it, the new job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, I was a huge ball of stress and I had a good three months of invasive poking and prodding only to find out there wasn’t much wrong and we had no idea why my babies weren’t making it.  Then, in September it all sort of culminated in the official loss of my job, still not being pregnant and having a lot of spare anger and emotions to top it all off.  We are all very lucky I had proactively started on anti-depressants in April because BOY HOWDY was September rough.  Now, complete in fairness to 2011, the last three months haven’t been bad at all with two trips home to Utah, a wonderful Thanksgiving with my brothers and sister and a contract job that seems to be working out really well.  So all things told, five months of the year were the crappiest in memory, three months were not so bad and three were some of the best of my life.  It’s been a roller coaster for sure.

As always, the love and support I’ve had through all of this has been greater than I could ever explain.  In general, people have been SO kind and SO understanding.  There have been the random letters and statements telling me to “suck it up” but I think the people saying those things really hadn’t taken the time to hear and understand the entire story, and I know they were just trying - in their weird way - to be helpful.    I try not to hold it against anyone just as I hope that they won’t hold my recent strange behavior and attitude issues against me.  As I said, almost everyone has been fantastic.  Supportive, thoughtful, kind and willing to be there for me in whatever way I need.  I am so unbelievably grateful to have the friends and family I do and I wish that I could do more for them.

I’m still not quite to that point that people claim you get to where you can look back on your troubles and say you were grateful for what you learned.  I still struggle every day with trying to figure out how to be OK with some of the things that happened.  I’m struggling with finding happiness for others who have the things I’ve been denied.  I’m struggling with some feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy due to the job failure.   I’m struggling to find peace with the things that happened and move on.  In some cases the painful things were absolutely no fault of my own and in others, there are lots of things I need to think on to determine what I may have done to contribute and make sure I prevent that behavior in the future.   It’s a daily battle but I’m working so hard and I really think I’m almost there.

I’m looking forward to turning the page on this year.  I’m counting on a fantastic 2012, whatever it brings.  That might mean a baby, a new job, a promotion for Matt, a new house, a big vacation (Australia, anyone?!?!) or just a happier outlook.  At the very least I’m aiming for that last one.  I’m going to be happy in 2012…even if it means upping my medication dose.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Maybe.

(Un)Happy (Un)Mother’s Day

May 9th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

I’m not going to beat around the bush here.  Mother’s Day when you’re supposed to have either a three month old, be three weeks from your due date or be four months pregnant but you’re none of those three things sucks a big old pile of crap.  Let’s just say I’ve cried a lot the last few days.

I think maybe the hardest part is that I AM a mother, I just don’t have proof for the world to see.  I don’t have pictures of a newborn adorning my desktop and Facebook profile and I don’t have videos of the first smile or bath or haircut.  I have six months of being exhausted, six more of being hormonally imbalanced and three sets of ultrasound pictures of the babies that were mine and Matt’s for only a short while.  Wanna see?

We have Alien v1.o who was with us for 10 weeks.

We have Alien v2.0 who was a little Houdini and didn’t show up then did and then left us two days later at 7.5 weeks.

Finally we have our little fighter, Version 3.0 who stuck with us the longest at 14.5 weeks and even gave us a wave during the ultrasound (second picture).   It was nice to finally see human-esque parts even if they were still a little more like a strange amphibian than a human but we thought it was cute.

Someday we’ll have a living, breathing part of us walking around, it just seems that someday is a little (a lot) further out than we expected.  We have an excellent doctor and as of today, we have a plan for figuring out what’s going on.  We have the world’s best insurance that will 100% cover ANY treatment we may need to get our little offspring here.   We have supportive friends and family who make it known every day that we are loved and thought about and prayed for.

All of those things are awesome but it doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.   Mother’s Day might be hard next year, too.  And I suppose it’s possible that it might be hard for the rest of my life, as may the due dates of  these babies.  I’m working through it, struggling some days, excelling others.  Life goes on.  People are announcing pregnancies and having babies and I’m watching the world turn around me and trying to keep up.  Today it didn’t feel like I was succeeding but then I got a mani/pedi and my husband made dinner and I remembered there are lots and lots of reasons to smile.  So I did.

So You Know I Didn’t Die or Something…

April 28th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

Just a quick update so you guys don’t think I’ve jumped off a cliff or something…

I’m doing really well, all things considered.

This miscarriage was hard, and will probably continue to be so but I’m finding some small bits of silver lining.  My maternity benefits increase substantially after a full year on the job.  I get six weeks 100% paid leave, FMLA leave AND short-term disability.  Also, the VP over our department just announced she is expecting around the same time I would have been and another girl on my small three person team is getting married the same week.  Had all of us been out at the same time I sort of can’t imagine what would have happened.  Now I just have to get up to speed by October and ready to take over some extra work.  I was DREADING being in my third trimester during the hottest months of the Phoenix summer so it’s nice that I can try to avoid that.

The recovery from my D&E has been a total breeze.  I was tired for a few days but back at work the next Monday.  I got a recommendation for one of the best fertility specialists in the state and I have my first consultation a week from Monday.  He won’t start testing right away but  at least we can get a plan of action together to figure out what is going on and how to fix it.  I’m an action person and I’m really anxious to have a plan and a list of things I need to do in order to try to find out what’s causing these issues.  Even if it’s not great news, at least then I’ll KNOW and be able to process my options with all the information in place.

Work has been a big factor in keeping my mind off of things.  I’m getting busier every day and I love not having time to sit and think about what’s going on with me.  I have things like average order size to increase so I can increase my quarterly bonus.  It’s a great incentive to not wallow.

I’ve also started on an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication.  You guys, it’s awesome.  I know that there’s still a stigma around mood elevating medication but within 24 hours I had stopped crying on my 30 minute commute to and from work, at lunch and anytime I was alone.  I am sleeping well,  my appetite has stayed decent, my energy is up and I feel like my coping skills have improved significantly.  I asked for the medication because I know I suffered from some postpartum depression after the last miscarriage and I wanted to avoid that crash when it inevitably happens in a month or so.  I did not expect to feel so much better so quickly and I’m so grateful that I am.  I still feel sadness and loss and all the things that I should be feeling but they aren’t dragging me down with them.  I can process them and move past the waves of sadness without feeling like I’m drowning or trapped.  I don’t want to sound like a pill-pusher but I am truly a believer in recognizing when your body knows it’s not doing OK and doing what you need to do to get back to good.   This time I knew that was help in the form of meds.

My other form of help comes from my wonderful girlfriends.  They have truly saved me.  I can’t even begin to list the kindnesses that have taken place over the last week and a half.  I’m so so so so so lucky to have such wonderful friends all over the world.  I’ve received visits, flowers, cards and emails from friends in Virginia, Rhode Island, Canada, Australia, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Nevada, Utah and probably ten other places I can think of  and of course here in Phoenix.  One of my oldest friends called right after she woke up with a start one morning to tell me that she felt she needed to make sure I knew that I had a circle of women with me every step of this process, supporting me, suffering with me and pulling me through my darkest moments - even if they couldn’t be there in person, their prayers, light and spirits were with me.  I believe this with all my heart.   I have been blessed with the most wonderful friends in the world and I just want every single one of you to know how much I appreciate you.

My family has again been so wonderful through all of this.  My sister was once again with me every second, making sure I had everything I needed…including bowls of Easter candy waiting out for me when I got back from the clinic.  My mom, dad, brothers, stepmother and grandparents have all been checking on my daily, all with with offers to drop everything to come to my side if needed.  And of course my husband…he is my rock solid foundation and I know with him by my side I can get through anything.

Despite feeling like life kicked me in the gut again, I know that I’m one of the luckiest girls alive because of the people that surround me and love me in spite of my huge list of flaws.  I don’t ever have to worry about falling because I have so many wonderful people willing to hold me up and carry me if necessary to help keep me upright.  I cannot thank the Lord enough for sending all of you (and many not reading) into my life.  I cannot feel sorry for myself when I have such a blessed life.  Thank you for being part of it.

Glad I Never Thought Life Was Fair

April 14th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

So I had this big surprise post all ready to unveil to the world on Tuesday.  It was written and everything, it was just missing one word.

Boy or Girl.

Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to fill in that word because once again, for the third time in a row, we lost our baby.  I’d made it so much further this time.  I was 14.5 weeks today.  We had a ten week ultrasound and that baby was hopping around and practically doing flips.  I got to twelve weeks and realized we were pretty much out of the woods and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops but I knew at our next appointment we’d most likely find out what we were having so I wanted to wait.   And then yesterday the gush of blood came yet again.  I kept hoping that it was just one of those weird things that happens where I would just bleed a lot and the baby would be fine but my luck with pregnancy does not seem to be taking a turn for the better.  Our baby stopped growing a week ago and, to add icing to this deliciously sucky cake, it’s too big for a traditional miscarriage or D&C.  I’m getting the choice between admitting myself to the hospital and inducing labor or getting a D&E (do yourselves a favor and don’t look it up) which is the surgical option for a second trimester miscarriage.  It’s like someone just offered to let me shoot myself in the face or break my own femur.  Both totally suck.  We think we’re going to go with the D&E because the thought of having to essentially give birth to my dead child is probably the hardest thing I can imagine ever having to do.  The D&E is fairly barbaric sounding but it’s over quickly and it’s common for miscarriages this late and there are studies that show that it has less complications than inducing labor.

It’s ironic because just two days ago a friend posted on her blog that she had a miscarriage and I shared my experience of losing two and said it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but not to worry, it gets better.  I seem to be eating my words.  That day it was better because for all I knew I had a healthy baby inside of me and was planning which stroller and crib I wanted and getting excited to decorate the nursery in the coming months.  Today it feels like the whole world has imploded on me and I’m once again hollow and broken and devoid of the power of womanhood.  I realize those things are not actually true but I cannot explain the feelings of inadequacy and failure that are hitting me like bricks.  Something in me is killing these babies.  Something in me is wrong and will never be right.

Now that I’ve had the “required” three miscarriages, the barrage of infertility tests start.  Now I will be poked and prodded and hopefully we will find a solution but right now the thought of trying this again and the possibility of going through this again is more than I can bear.  I want to say I’m throwing in the towel and adopting a Chinese baby but I’m pretty sure that will change in a few months.

I’m struggling to stay positive with these things because all around me I see people who are doing it “wrong” when we, at least on paper, did things so “right.”  Now, I get that my right and someone else’s right are SO not the same thing and I understand that each person decides what is right for themselves.  But allow me to wax judgemental for just a second.  I knew a couple who pretty much had nothing.  They could barely afford rent on a tiny 350 square foot apartment in a town where rent is not notoriously expensive.  She was working, barely making minimum wage and he  was up to his eyeballs in school debt and trying to finish his degree racking up even more of it when they got pregnant.  Upon finding out they were expecting she immediately quit her job and he quit school and started working for minimum wage and they relied of welfare and the charity of others to pay for everything they needed.  Now that their baby is born they are still relying on welfare and charity and not even close to making ends meet.  They have a happy, healthy baby and I agree that is never “wrong” because having a baby and raising a family is a wonderful thing to do, and being well off financially isn’t the only way to do it, but in my opinion it certainly isn’t a smart way to go about it.  There is a list of people having babies who maybe shouldn’t be just yet or those who might not deserve them and it’s a mile long.  I know it sounds horrible but I’m mad at all of them.  And I get it.  It’s not my call to make.  It’s not my family, not my uterus, not my money and obviously not my charity because I’ve very openly run the hell out of that, in case you couldn’t tell.  I guess I just want to be mad at someone right now and that group seems to be the easiest target right now.

So there’s the third most depressing post I’ve ever written.  I’m going to be fine, I know I am, I just hate waiting around for that to happen.  Tomorrow, instead of going to Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday I’m going to be mourning the loss of another baby that I will never hold.  So those of you who have babies, hold them a little closer for me and maybe send some happy thoughts our way.  We could really use them right now.

Together Forever

November 15th, 2010 by Kateastrophe

My husband has a brother named Mike whom I’ve never met.  He passed away in a car accident a long time ago.  Today would have been his 33rd birthday.  It’s a tragic story for so many reasons.  He was young and in the prime of his life.  He had been called to serve a mission for our church in Brazil, the same place my husband had just returned from serving his two year mission.  They were excited to both speak Portuguese and Matt was already planning a trip to go pick Mike up when he was done with his mission.  Mike was fun and joyful and wonderful.  And now, as long as they live, their family has a hole in it.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to be there for Matt and his family because I didn’t know Mike.  I only have pictures and stories and sometimes they evoke pain instead of happiness.  I try hard to be respectful of any feelings and emotions this time of year and I try to help in any way I can but I’m sure I fail.  I’ve started some traditions to help remember Mike on his birthday.  Matt and I have sent flowers to his parents every year since we’ve been married.  It’s not much but I feel like it shows his parents that we are thinking of them and that we will never forget. This year I had a little “Remember Mike” birthday party.  I served his favorite food (pizza and chocolate cake) and we looked at pictures Matt’s Mom sent to us and talked about the memories behind them.  It was hard and it was fun all at the same time.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Matt’s family to think about the days when Mike was still here but I hope that somehow talking about the good times helps keep his memory alive.  Besides, I love learning about some of the things that Mike and I have in common because as it turns out, there are quite a lot of those things.  I also love learning about how we were different and about the things that he struggled with.  It makes him much more real to me.

It’s hard to understand why God would take such a wonderful, vibrant young man from his family.  Sometimes I think it’s maddening and infuriating and just downright unfair - something I feel like I’m saying a lot lately.  (I maybe have some pent up rage??)  However, as unfair as life sometimes is, as I’ve also been saying a lot lately, I believe that God gives us hard experiences to make us stronger.  I also believe that sometimes the lesson we are supposed to learn or the reason for a trial or difficult life challenge may not be made known in this lifetime. Yes, sometimes that makes me mad.  Sometimes I think we deserve explanations for why we suffer. Most of the time, much to my dismay, I don’t get my way.  Life is hard and it’s hard for a reason.  None of us can grow and progress unless we are stretched to our limits.  I’m grateful to believe in a God who is well aware of what those limits are and who will never, ever give us more than we can handle or stretch us too far.

Today I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that families are forever - Mike will be with his family again someday and I will have a chance to meet him and got get to know him. I believe he is in heaven with my future children and grandchildren, preparing them for this wild Earth ride.  I don’t think the LDS Church is alone in the belief of being with our loved ones in Heaven but I do believe that the focus we put on the eternal nature of families makes us unique and gives so much comfort when hard things like this happen.  We speak often about the Plan of Happiness and why we believe the Lord sent us to Earth.  Worthy members of the Church are sealed together for time and all eternity in our marriage ceremony…not just until death do we part.  Our entire focus is on keeping families together.  I love that.  That is my truth.  I’m so grateful for a God who has a plan (he must have known that I’m a big fan of plans) to help us all return to live with Him with the relationships we’ve formed on Earth intact.  As hard as it is that Mike isn’t here, I’m so glad to know without a doubt that he’s alive and well watching over our family every single day.

————-

***If you’d like to learn more about what my family and other Mormons believe, you can visit the new and improved Mormon.orgThere is a whole section of questions and answers, a live chat feature (ooooh, aaaaah) and a way to find the testimonies of people just like you.  You can also request a free Book of Mormon here and even schedule an appointment with the missionaries if you would like.  I try hard not to be preachy and I truly respect the beliefs of all so please understand that I would never force this on anyone.  Despite being raised in a heavily Mormon society, I did my best to study other beliefs and religions and after much soul searching and prayer, THIS is what I believe and know to be true. The comfort and peace as well as miracles and blessings my beliefs have brought to me over the years are undeniable.  If you’re searching for something more, do me a favor and just look into it.  If you’re curious, look into it.  Either way you can learn something new and maybe help people understand that Mormons REALLY don’t have horns and we REALLY aren’t all polygamists.  And yes, I’ve seriously been asked both questions before.  Also, I’m also always here to answer any questions you might have.  You can email me anytime at kateastrophe(at)cox(dot)net***

The Truth Shall Set You Free

November 14th, 2010 by Kateastrophe

Today I am grateful for people of honesty and integrity.  I think I naively assumed for most of my life that everyone was doing their best to be honest and do what was right.  Sadly, as I’ve grown up I’ve encountered more and more dishonestly and selfishness in the world. 

I try my very best to be truthful with those around me and to be exactly who I am, good or bad.  I’m nowhere near perfect in that respect but I do make a conscious effort every day.  I believe very strongly that others are trying to do the same thing.  Most people are good at heart.  Most people are trying to live their lives the best way they know how.  I’m grateful that I’ve encountered enough good people in my life to still believe that. I’m also sad to have encountered my fair share of dishonesty as well.

A passage from the book “The Kite Runner” jumped off the pages at me when I read it a few years ago.  Baba is speaking to his son Amir and says:

“Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness… There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir.”

Reading this passage was a “holy crap” kind of moment for me.  I had to stop reading to process it.  When I lie to someone, I am stealing their ability to make a decision about the situation based on the reality.  I mean, a little white lie doesn’t seem so bad until you call it stealing!  I would never STEAL!  But I have. And I continue to do so more often than I’d like to admit and I wish more people could understand this concept.  I wish a husband and father who decides to cheat and lie about it could realize that he’s stealing his wife’s ability to make a decision about her life and her family and that in the end, he may have robbed his children of a normal life and caused more damage and hurt than he could ever know.  I wish that corrupt executive staff members lying about their company’s financial state to make themselves look good or to take home a huge salary and bonus are robbing their employees out of the chance to work for a stable company or earn that huge stock bonus they were promised…and many times, rob them right out of a job when the bottom falls out.  I wish our government officials would stop thinking only of themselves and where the money is coming from and start being honest with the people that voted them in so that we might have a chance to vote based on something other than an image and a fancy ad campaign.  I wish so many things could be so much more honest.

While it seems that as I get older my faith in honesty dwindles, if I pay attention there are people all around me showing me what it is to be better and honorable.  I’ve had so many wonderful examples of telling the truth even when the consequences might be grave.  People like my high school friend Katy who, when we’d come in at 4 am and her Mom would be awake and ask us if we were just waking up or just going to sleep, would look her in the eye and tell her without blinking that we were just coming in.  And her Mom trusted her - and us - more because of it.  Like my brother Sean who tells it how he sees it no matter what.  Like my friends Alissa, Anne and Sheila who all have special needs kids and they are willing to talk honestly and openly about how very difficult and frustrating it really is but still fight every single day to give their children the best life possible. Like the woman in front of me at the store the other day who came back to give the cashier a dollar he’d accidentally given her in change.  If I stop focusing on the negative, there are examples everywhere of honest people doing the right thing.  I am grateful that they are there and that sometimes I remember to look for them.  I just hope I can someday be one of those examples instead of the person looking for them.

That Hurt a Little, But I’m OK.

November 9th, 2010 by Kateastrophe

I’m almost scared to say what I’m about to say “out loud” but here goes nothing.

Today I am grateful for my trials and hardships.  Let me be clear.  I don’t particularly want more of them…at least right now, but I am truly thankful for not having had an easy life.  I think I’m also grateful that there’s really not anyone who has an easy life.  That in itself makes me feel a little less picked on when I’m not feeling so grateful.  Just saying.

So here’s the deal.  It’s not that I’ve had the HARDEST LIFE EVER, but the last 30 years haven’t been anywhere close to a cake walk.  I hesitate to make a list but sometimes it almost makes me laugh to see some of the things I’m comfortable talking about lumped together.  My parents had a rough, ROUGH marriage that ended in divorce after the fourth child was born.  The details are sordid and disturbing but it’s probably as bad as you can imagine unless you imagine physical abuse because luckily there was none of that.  My baby brother was just a few months old and my Mom had lost half the blood in her body after he was born and basically died but came back and THEN she and my Dad split up for the final time.  And that’s just the first six years of my life.  And it got worse before it got better.  Much worse.

Through all of it, despite odds stacked against us, my siblings and I became some pretty amazing people.  We all still struggle with our demons, but I can see that the trials we suffered (or even brought upon ourselves) were truly for our good.  I can’t speak for my brothers and sister, but I can tell you that I have a faith in so many things that no one will ever be able to shake and that is because of the hard things I went through.  I know who I am.  I know what I want.  I know what I believe.  No one can ever take those things away from me.

I know there are people who look at my life now and think I’ve got it made.  In some ways I do, but there aren’t free passes through life and I definitely haven’t found a way around that rule.  However, I’m grateful for that.  I’m (begrudgingly, at the moment, but I’ll get over that) grateful that I’ve had miscarriages because I now have a greater appreciation for the miracle that is bringing a life into this world and I have much  empathy for those who struggle to do so.  I can’t say that I will appreciate my children more than anyone else alive once I have them, but I can say that I will personally appreciate them more than I would have if this process had just been easy.  As someone who has struggled with the sacrifices I have to make to be a Mother, there could not have been a more valuable lesson for me to learn.  Where there used to be doubt, now there is a firm resolve.  Where there was fear, there is longing and excitement.  Those feelings make it worth it.

Allow me to wax religious for a moment.

A dear friend of mine recently shared with me some things he’d been pondering and researching related to trials.  The conclusions he’d come to resounded with me.  He said he’d realized that of course the Lord is conscious of our trials and weaknesses and that every single “bad” thing that happens to us is tailored for our personal growth.  Also, for the most part, our trials are physical issues that will eventually be left behind when we die.  As we move on to the next life the lessons we learned from the physical trial stay with us forever but the phsycial portion of that trial is gone.  So, trials are necessary but temporary, even though that’s hard to remember at the moment of hardship. 

On top of it all, because the Lord is conscious of us and our weaknesses and strengths, he doesn’t allow a trial to enter our lives until we are ready to deal with it.  What this means is that the Lord isn’t giving us trials to be mean or just do do it.  It means that He trusts us enough to make life hard.  When you look at it that way, it becomes a whole new ballgame.

I think I’ve used this quote before, but I come back to it again and again:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

If God is building a palace in which to dwell and I need some more work before that’s a possibility, I will be thankful for the free, even if painful, remodel.

Put on a Happy Face

November 2nd, 2010 by Kateastrophe

As of Saturday, my mood has improved by 1000% (though I’m still on the side of grouchy fo sho but I’m doing much much better).  I’m thanking the makers of chocolate, Diet Coke, Starbucks hot chocolate with toffee mocha syrup and whoever invented the concept of best friends.  Oh and Dexter.

I went to the doctor this morning and things have taken care of themselves without invasive surgery or that hefty medical deductible.  I still have a large cyst hanging out on my left ovary and it appears I do have a slightly heart shaped uterus, but that shouldn’t be a problem unless any future babies decide to burrow in right at the crease.  It might cause problems with delivery since sometimes babies get stuck in a breech position, but other than that, I appear good to go.  It doesn’t look like I have a hostile environment for growing a baby and so these miscarriages APPEAR to have just been natural happenstance.  I might need the help of extra hormones in the future, but we won’t know that until we know that.  The doc said if I miscarry again (oh for the love, please no) that they’ll start running gazillions of tests but he doubts it will get to that point.  Overall it was a good appointment and bonus, none of that no pants dance stuff AND I made my doctor laugh pretty hard.  I think making an OB/GYN laugh takes talent so I’m pretty proud of myself.

So now that we’re through that, what the crap happened to October?  I seriously cannot believe it’s November.  I’ve started my Christmas shopping and we’re trying to decide what to do for Thanksgiving.  Part of me REALLY wants to just go into debt and go on a trip to Mexico or a Caribbean cruise or something equally spontaneous.  But then we realize if we spend money on that, it takes money away from Europe and that is no good at all.  Also, there might be a family trip to China in my future so I should probably save up for that as well.  Yay for exotic vacations.  Boo for limited vacation and cash flowage. 

In the spirit of being thankful, every time I post in November I’m going to try to remember to say something I’m thankful for.  Despite a pretty crappy few months I still have a lot of things that are right so I think it’s high time I focus on those.

Today I am thankful for a sense of humor that helps me get through hard times.  Finding something in a tragic situation to laugh at sometimes makes the world keep spinning and I’m so glad that either myself or someone around me has the wherewithal to help me find humor in life.  The Ladies of Saturday Night Live that was on NBC last night helped too.  I don’t care who you are, you have to admit that Kristin Wiig as the weird sister with the tiny doll hands is some funny crap, Gilda Radner was the queen of all comedy and Amy Poehler does a freaking awesome and hilarious impression of Christopher Walken.  To sum it up: Yay for laughter!

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