Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I don't know what happened.

Actually, I know exactly what happened, but I didn't really see this sneaking up on me the way I feel it did.

Over the past week or so, lots of things which had been accumulating in my heart built up and built up...and exploded. On Friday, I began unraveling.

Picture a woven grass mat, in the shape of yours truly. Someone was slowly removing the horizontal threads, one by one, beginning at the very top, and getting as far as somewhere around my heart. With the stabilizing threads gone, the vertical ones began peeling away like fine layers of tissue paper....and I began to fall apart.

It's not a midlife crisis, because I'm not at midlife yet. (I hope I'm not at midlife yet!) It's not a complete mental breakdown, because I'm pretty sure I don't need a psych ward just yet. I don't feel suicidal or homicidal, thanks be to God. It's not the people around me who are at the core of this--it's me. It's all internal. I just really need to sort it out inside.

I'm pretty sure this is exactly what's meant by postpartum depression.

I got to nearly four months out from my Snuggle Bug's birth, and I just lost it. My composure, that is.

In my heart: Losing Gabriel, and not fully grieving. My mom not being present to me pretty much at all, ever, even through losing one baby and having another. My dear friend losing her seven-week-old son when my sweet baby was but three days old, and the complete and total shock, grief, panic and anxiety which ensued (and continues). The big, fat drop in hormones following the first three months of baby-moon. My Grandma not doing so well. The complete and utter dysfunction of my birth family.

So on Friday, I called my Knight in Shining Armor, My Darling. He rushed to my rescue, good man that he is, and whisked me to my midwife's house. (The house in question was purchased as a health care facility right smack in the middle of the Amish area north of here.) I was seen by the good doctor who lives in residence on Friday, and then by the counselor who is on site on Saturday. Each began her session with me with prayer...a very good start! The doctor began by letting me know that it is not she who heals, but the Lord who provides healing.

The medication I'm now on will, God willing, help me level things out and begin to heal. I have a lot of work to do, and a lot of things to sort out in my heart and mind. I'm clinging to Philippians 4:6-7 and waiting quietly, if not patiently, for Him to work this for good, as He promises He will with all things.

In His time, I know that He will reveal to me the purpose He has for this dark time. For now, I am squinting in my mind's eye, trying to keep His light in focus.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just give it ten minutes. It'll change.

Uh, the weather, that is. To recap, here's the crab apple tree on Sunday afternoon:


Same tree, yesterday afternoon:


And now the very same tree, only moments ago:

Votes on your favorite?

In this part of the country, we are fond of quipping, "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes." On Sunday, we had highs in the low thirties, we had rain, sleet, and snow. Yesterday, the highs were in the mid forties and gorgeous sunshine cast periwinkle shadows over the gleaming surface of the snow from Sunday. The snow melted and dripped, and the puddles grew huge. Today, it drips some more, and the sky is gunmetal grey. Highs are supposed to get into the fifties, and tonight we're under both a wind advisory (which means I'm NOT driving Bucky to choir!), and a winter storm watch.

In like a lion, out like a......lioness? I realize it's only mid-March, but if this pattern continues, we may have a whole pride on our hands.

I like this little crab apple tree. I think I'll make it a complete study in seasons, and I'll update with pictures as the season wears on. I think you'll grow to like it as much as I do.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I've got my love to keep me warm

First, click on this and listen. Then read.

Yep. When you live in the midwest, it's pretty likely that balmy temperatures in late February and early March won't last just yet.

There's pretty much a blizzard going on.

It rained on and off yesterday...mostly on, but it was a gentle rain. It was warm enough that the earthy scent of damp leaves and moldy moss wafted across the fields to us, inducing my Frog to remark, "Mom, it smells like spring!"

I didn't have the heart to tell her it's not even close.

This morning when we left for Mass (and we were even on time, despite the time change!), it was raining in earnest. But overnight, the temperature had dropped, so the damp air seemed to permeate the walls and chill us as we dressed.

My Darling let us off at the door, and brought the van from the parking lot (about a block away) afterward so we weren't soaked.

We took the Frog out to Denny's for her birthday treat, and afterward to Target to hit the dollar section. She and I took the Monkey in with us (Snuggle Bug was sleeping peacefully in her carseat, and the Pickle and Reepicheep were reading, so My Darling stayed behind with them). We spent about 20 minutes in the store, and by the time we emerged, the rain had turned to something between sleet and hail. (I think the technical term is drizzle, which just makes me laugh. What the heck kind of technical term is drizzle? It's what one does with icing over a cinnamon roll or a bundt cake. But I digress.)

On the journey home, My Darling wisely stayed on the interstate as little as possible. Indeed, we exited far earlier than usual and took a country road home, knowing full well that Bucky does not perform well on freshly iced roads. (There again is the image of a nice, hot, sweet cinnamon roll. Blasted Lent!)

Bucky? Did you say Bucky? I did, actually. And here he is:

Yep. We're in the Big Van Club now. In fact, if we wanted to fill every seat, we could have five more babies. :) Just sayin'.

Anywho, there we were, tooling along at 30 miles per hour, working our way toward home, and the roads grew worse and worse. Wet slop turned into icy slick stretches...and in a van with rear-wheel-drive, for Pete's sake, this does not bode well. Thanks be to God, My Darling was driving, so we all arrived home safely. Had I been the one in the driver's seat, we would still be idling on the shoulder, emergency flashers employed, huddling and slurping juice boxes for nourishment. (I don't do so well on the roads in questionable weather.)

About a half hour after we settled Monkey and Snuggle Bug down for their naps, I snapped this:

This is my little crab apple tree, right outside my north living room window. We're supposed to have around 7 inches of fresh snow when all's said and done. You know, just in time for Spring Break.

I don't think I'll be seeing crab apples anytime soon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In reference to this (and the promise of apologetics already...), please read this, then this, followed by this, and then this and cap it with this. I could never achieve the completeness of Fr. Dwight's explanation; therefore, I humbly direct you to his wisdom and access to Church documents, for Pete's sake.

Happy reading!

The desert, and other unexpected locations...

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes now that I'm a Mama. I was warned that this would happen, and for some reason I supposed I thought I'd be immune to it. I was always one of those kids for whom time seemed to creep by, and never go fast enough.

Remember the night before the first day of school? If you were like me, you would wake up every 30 minutes, panicked because you thought you were running late, and then try to get back to sleep. It seemed to take forever. Or waiting for..........well, anything. It just always seemed that time sat on the back of a giant tortoise, crawling along at its own slow speed, not giving two whits for anyone's anxieties.

It wasn't growing older that seemed to light a fire under the tortoise's rump roast; in college, time did the same slow dance it had always done.

Then I had children.

If you have children, you understand. Even if you don't have children, you'll understand. When they're your own, you turn around for mere seconds...and when you look back, you're suddenly faced with a child seemingly years older than you last remember. When they're the children of your friends, or nieces, nephews or Godchildren, you see them once, and the next time it's just the same--they seem to have aged by months or years at a time.

And so it is: in two short days, my eldest, my Frog, will be a teenager, for Pete's sake.

I promise you that just last week I found out I was carrying her. Only a few days ago, I found myself holding a squiggling pink newborn baby. And it was only yesterday that My Darling so graciously adopted her as his own daughter. And even last night was her first day of school.

Now it seems time is as elusive as an eel. It slips away so quickly it cannot be followed closely, cannot be caught, and cannot be contained. I turned around yesterday and she was taller than I by three inches. She carries herself with grace and conducts herself with dignity.

And the others are right in line behind her....


Last night was the Vigil for First Friday. Adoration and prayer were led by Fr. B., whose continuing growth in wisdom belies his youthful years.

He talked about the desert we sometimes enter into in our faith. He spoke to us from his heart, which was profoundly moving. I think all too often we hold priests in such high esteem that we forget their humanity. It is right and good to respect and obey them, but it is a tragedy to forget that they experience much of the same spiritual tides that we do.

Fr. B began with the Israelites in the desert. They hungered, they thirsted--but was it righteous? Did they truly hunger for obedience to God's law? Or did they hunger for the freedom to make their own laws, forsaking the God who had brought them out of slavery? The Lord humbled His people by allowing them to hunger, and then fed them the bread of Angels.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 15b-16a: "Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (15b)He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good."

Frequently, we take our faith for granted: God lavishes His blessings upon us, and so we tend to lean on our faith, expecting it to be there perpetually. But what happens when it isn't? What happens when we become lax in our prayer life, forgetting to thank Him for every little thing, for every breath, for every morsel, for every word? Does He then allow us a desert of our own?


And so how willing are we to seek Him? How long will we wait for Him to allow us the manna of faith? Scripture tells us that the Israelites were in the literal desert for forty years. Imagine the suffering. Imagine the sand in the eyes, in every breath. Imagine the dryness of the skin. Imagine the grit in every bite--so that even the blessing of manna becomes a challenge. And imagine having no hint of what was to come.

We have a hint--we know of heaven, the promised land, the paradise which awaits--pending the judgement of the Lord.

And still, we so often find ourselves lacking, wandering as though alone, even though we are not. We go to Mass, we hear the ancient words spoken through the readings, through the invocations, through the Institution and Consecration, and still there are times when our humanity overrides our faith. Fr. B said to us, "We are sensory, and the senses fool us." What we see is bread and wine. What we taste is bread and wine. But our faith and the truth of the Church tells us that the mystery which comes to us is the Institution of the Eucharist--that we are made present at Calvary, and that we are given the Body and Precious Blood of our Savior.

This truth should certainly be hard; it was so hard that some of His followers left His side. They still do.

What I learned last night was not shocking nor surprising, but rather comforting. The Lord allows us spiritual deserts and waits patiently for us to know again in our hearts that what we desire is truly Him and His laws, and not our own.

This Lent, may we emerge from the desert into the fullness of the gifts of Faith and Grace.