Done Dating

Yes, you heard me right. I am done with dating and finished looking for Mr. Right. I trust that God knows who I am meant to be with and for all I know we both still need some major work in our lives.

Who am I to mess with His plan? I have had an online dating profile for sometime on a free site. The quality of men is…umm…well; you get what you pay for.

The other day after some big heart to God conversations (similar to heart-to-heart but at least one side knows what they are doing) I removed my profile completely. I finally deleted it for good. I used to set it to invisible but would always find myself back there looking, searching.

I never had any success as I knew that every one of the people who contacted me were wrong on so many levels and it never took more than a quick conversation to shake my head in disappointment or more often disgust.

One of the wonderful outcomes of last weekend’s retreat was the complete security in God. My health, my finances, my children, my future. My mate.

If and when the time is right for me to be matched with a man for the remainder of my days; God knows where to find me. God will bring us together. Finally I get it.

Finally I am free.

I am free from dating, I am free from loneliness, I am free from questioning. I just know and I am so filled with this sense of love and security and everything that goes with those things!  #DoneDating

Lord,

I have so much appreciation for Your love, for Your guidance, for everything.
I am so thankful that this realization has finally been settled in my heart for once and for all.
I am humbled by those who surround me and have be supporting me through all the good and less good days.
Continue to guide my path and help me be light for those searching in the darkness.
You know my needs, and I continue my daily prayers for my needs and the needs of others, both known and unknown.
Thank You Lord…just thank You. I am so blessed.

Amen

I wish you could all see the 100 pound rock that was just lifted off my shoulders and the smile on my face…ear to ear.

WOW

This past weekend I attended a Single Mom’s Retreat through an organization called Bridging the Gap. My girlfriend Katie knew of the conference/retreat and insisted a few months ago that I go. I tried to back out of it; it was my weekend to have the boys, the cost of the ticket ($69) plus gas there and back was out of my budget…anything I could think of. Of course, she was hearing none of it and took care of the cost because she believed I needed to be there.

I am working on writing about all that happened throughout the weekend and words are jumbled and have escaped me somewhat. This morning she texted saying she wanted to post on Facebook but had no words and kept checking if I had posted anything as I tend to be better than her with words. I told her I had refrained from posting after we got home last night because there were no words. She replied that sometimes God is just too big for words. #NailedIt

The ongoing ‘joke’ throughout the weekend, and even before we arrived, was that not only will I be back next year; I will be one of their speakers.

I have already contacted them to request a guest blogger opportunity. Right now, I am praying for that. I have hope, I have a calling…and I am listening intently.

As they request all submissions to be original, I will refrain from posting about my weekend here for the time being so that I can share the experience with their audience as well.

Faith Filled Friday

I just found this on my Facebook from June 24, 2007 (my seventh wedding anniversary). I am leaving it unedited:

Well everybody, I have good news and bad news…GOOD NEWS FIRST: I am still pregnant…
the BAD NEWS is:
-I had hemmorhaging this past week
-I had premature preterm rupture of membranes
-It has been determined that I have a low lying placenta.

The doctor in the ER has said there was a prognosis of ZERO…I was heart broken (as you can imagine).

Jay had just left that day for a fairly long trip and was parked for the night when I called him with the news. I knew there was nothing he could do and told him I would keep him up to date through the night.

After several calls in the middle of the night (Jay, my parents, and Kara) I was finally taken upstairs to a room at 1:30am.

The next morning I was scheduled for an ultrasound after being counselled on the probability that Stickers was already dead…the nurses were great…I could not have done this on my own.

The doctors were very shocked when they did an ultrasound and found Stickers in there with a strong heartbeat… Then the attitude was that we would be waiting for the baby to die so they could perform a D&C…There was no way Stickers would make it through these complications.

Jay was turned around and on his way home when he had to stop and gather himself after I called with the great news.

I spent one night in the hospital and was sent home with the advice to prepare for “fetal demise”…why can’t they just say go home and wait for your kid to die…then come back and we will rip it from your body.

As you can all imagine, I have done a TON of research on everything that has happened and none of it was very promising. After the membranes rupture, approximately 50% deliver within the first week, and another 50% everyweek thereafter. I have done the numbers and have discovered that we have a 5% (yep…FIVE PERCENT) chance of carrying this child to the age of viability (24 weeks)…and even at 24 weeks, it would mean weeks or months in a neonatal intensive care unit with a survival rate of about 50%. Everyday inside me after the 24th week increases the chance of survival.

We sat down, discussed the options, statistics, and everything we could think of. My biggest fear is delivering too early and having a baby so small that it could fit in the palm of my hand. We had had a routine ultrasound only five days before this all happened and saw that Stickers was growing big, and had a strong heartbeat. This little being had two arms and legs, eyes, ears, fingers and toes…perfect in every sense of the word.

That was Tuesday night and Wednesday…it is now Sunday and I am still carrying this miracle. Jay and I keep saying that obviously nobody explained the rules to this kid so we are going to think positive.

Friday Funny

I am so excited to start my day. It is the last day of school and after work I am leaving for a two day Single Mom’s retreat. My first retreat ever and it looks like it is going to be amazing.

I woke up feeling rested and just all around awesome. In my head, the verse “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” is spinning through my head as the song my children once sang in church.

I grab my phone and look at the time.

5:45 A.M.

The song stops with a record scratching sound; and my brain thinks, “I’m pretty sure He didn’t plan it to start this early.”

My work day starts at 10:15.

I guess I will get out of bed though because the song has started again and I still have to pack and finish cleaning out my vehicle. One of the boys was in trouble the other day and as a way to work off part of his sentence, he had to start cleaning out the van. (I’m all about rehabilitative justice and sentence to serve.)

Here is the website for the retreat I am attending. I am so stinking excited! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

http://mnbtg.org/retreat/

 

Princess Kiwi

My girlfriend gave birth last week to a baby girl at 23 weeks 5 days gestation…16 weeks 2 days short of full term. Four months early…FOUR MONTHS EARLY.

Jessa had open heart surgery today to close two holes in her heart which are common in micro-preemies. After surgery they are going to keep her sedated for a couple days to allow her tiny body to heal. Mom and dad have been warned that after surgery can be a time of turmoil for babies and that she may have a decline in the next couple days. Knowing it ahead of time is not going to make any of it easier…knowing is not going to lessen the stress felt by all the people who are already so in love with this little miracle.

The first thing I did when I found about the baby I asked Mom what she needed of me and offered tangible things. I could start a Caringbridge page, I could be the go-to person for people to contact with information, could I please start a fundraising page…

I am the main contributor to the Caringbridge page, Mom and dad call me with updates and I post and share on social media. I started a YouCaring fundraiser. I am organizing a supply drive for the Ronald McDonald House where they are staying while their baby is in the hospital.

…and yet I still feel so helpless…

And yet I know I wish somebody had done all of that for me…somewhat.

I posted all my own caring bridge entries. Mostly because I wanted it to be an accurate recording from my perspective of cancer. I do know that there were days I wish my family was here so my sister could post just exactly how sick I was and how desperately I needed people to be praying and loving on me. Those were the things I could not ask for. I could not ask for people to make sure I had food in my house…because I couldn’t eat much anyway. I couldn’t ask for people to clean my house because it was a disaster before I had cancer so I didn’t feel like I deserved  help in that area.

I wish I had even one friend here I was close enough with to just show up and do things. Nobody knew me well enough to know that I would never ask. They just figured that if I needed something that I would ask.

I know that Jessa’s parents don’t even know where to begin when it comes to asking for help. The early part of any crisis is the time when you don’t even know what you don’t know. You have no idea what your needs are. That’s where they are right now.

Little Jessa Dawn needs continued prayers and support. Her parents need financial support as their home and family is just over two hours away from the hospital they are in.

I pray every day, several times a day for this little princess. The boys and I have had times where we just drop everything and pray for the baby, for the family, for the doctors, and for everybody else involved.

If you are interested in following her journey, you can join us at:

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/princesskiwi

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After heart surgery and sedated.
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Mommy fixing her bedding

Dear Lord,

We see a miracle with Jessa’s every breath. We are so thankful for the opportunity to watch You show up and show off. We know it’s You…only You could get us this far. 

Help us help Mom and Dad along this roller coaster of a journey. Speak to us and tell us their needs, help us meet their needs. 

Continue to wrap them in love and grace and mercy throughout this journey as we all praise your great name. 

Amen

Daydreaming

I am once again babysitting in the mornings before work. This little munchkin is so much fun. Now that we have cats here, it is hilarious. He will find anything the boys have with a cord and pull it around for the cats to chase him. To hear him giggle is the most magical sound.

I am trying to write a piece about my security in knowing I am a child of God. The words are just not flowing on to the page as they should or as I would like them to.

Partially because the I try to write, the kitten (only 9 weeks old) sits on the corner of my lap top…she is a cuddle so is almost always in contact with a piece of somebody’s body. Right now she is leaned up against my hand as I try to type. each time I reach for a letter, she scoots over a bit more.

I am daydreaming about a time when I can fully immerse myself in public speaking. When I can stop ‘going to work’ if I choose to.

I’m dreaming about being the face of hope, a light in the darkness. I am just one candle yet with my flame I have the ability to light an infinite number of other candles.

How awesome is that…with the light of just one candle, you can literally light up the world. My candle lights 10 candles, who each light another 10 candles…and it goes on and on.

Now I’m just thinking about small little birthday cake-type candles. Imagine if they were huge pillar candles? How many could be lit with them? And really, a birthday candle can even light a pillar candle…a tiny candle can light the olympic torch.

I guess you just really never know who you are going to influence.

Be the light. Show your flame.

Merry Christmas

Christmas growing up was not much about Christ’s birth as it was about spending time with family time. We had a small nativity set that was set out every year, and we knew the story so it is not as if we were blind to the season we were celebrating.

As an adult, the most important part of Christmas is the time spent with loved ones and the absolute joy of Christmas morning watching faces, young and old, light up around the room as their new treasures are uncovered.

The givers are just as joyous as the receivers, if not more so.

Not unlike that first Christmas so many years ago.

Everybody was gathered to see the new born King. They all brought gifts; gifts they anticipated being exactly what was wanted and needed, even if it was a little over the top.

In my family, we gather to see each other. The miles keep us so far apart; jobs, finances, and local obligations mean there is so little opportunity to spend time together. My parents have seven children, six whom no longer live at home. All six of us have children who live in four other cities (five including the city where my parents live). To have six of the seven kids home seems to be the norm, usually either the youngest (my sister in Saskatchewan) or myself (in Minnesota) are the one missing, this year it is my sister’s year as her husband’s days off work were changed last minute and they could not make it.

Even though our family was financially comfortable growing up our every whim was not indulged thought the year. How my mom kept track of the wants of all seven of us I will never know. I can hardly keep the boys and my daughter straight!

Christmas morning was filled with cheer and wonder because it seemed like we got everything we had ever asked for. Years later I asked my mom how they could afford to spoil us every year like they did and she laughed as she told me that we were very much not spoiled and that we generally only ever got two or three gifts each; one from Santa, and a couple smaller gifts.

She also said that buying things we wanted was pretty limited throughout the year and for the most part we only received wants on birthdays and Christmas. As fleeting as wants are, I can now see how this was a brilliant game plan.

My kids rarely get wants other than birthdays and Christmas as well, usually out of financial necessity but also because they are learning wants versus needs and budgeting. They can usually see beyond instant gratification and make smart spending decisions.

This year, I had planned to spoil a little bit. Gifts a little above the price range we can usually afford, things the kids would be super excited about.

Then life happened.

In November we went to spend two days with my niece in the hospital, an unexpected but well needed dip into the emergency fund and savings. Then a week later, the place we are moving to required the deposit paid immediately. There goes another $800 (of which I had to borrow some of). Suddenly Christmas is looking pretty bare again.

I was not too bothered though because I was going home for the holidays and it was going to be my first Christmas at home in about five years, we would make the most of our time off work and school no matter what gifts we had.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the parent of a child I coached two years ago (my first year) came up to me and wished me a Merry Christmas and as he hugged me, stuffed a  gift in my jacket pocket to, “…help with the holidays.”

He had no way of knowing that because of that, I was able to purchase my older son’s birthday gift before he came back to my house instead of making him wait until my payday which was six days after his birthday. I sent a thank you text and explained how he had been the answer to my prayer.

Two weeks later and I was shopping two days before we were set to leave town, trying to figure out exactly how I could still get a gift close to what I had been planning on getting plus still having enough gas money to drive the 600+ miles home.

While walking around the store trying to figure out how I was going to make it work, I received a message from a friend…she and her husband wanted to help with Christmas. I left the store because I was crying too hard to shop. As I am sitting in the parking lot of the store, trying to compose myself, another friend messages me that she needs to see me before I leave town. I tell her I’ll stop over after work and have coffee the next afternoon.

These three people answered my prayers to be able to give gifts to my daughter and her boyfriend’s three children (he brought two children into the relationship) and for my boys to not have to smile through their disappointment that they again did not get the latest greatest gifts. We al

Each time I asked the boys to make me a wish list I was met with barely perceptible, “Oh, I dunno. Maybe a movie.” Or some similar response. They know we are just getting back on our feet and that living in a one income household with an upcoming move we do not always get the things we want but God will always make sure we get everything we need.

My older boy received a drone that comes with a camera. He is still searching for his calling and I want to offer him every opportunity to explore various areas. Remote controlled vehicles may lead to electronics, remote controlled vehicles, models, movies…who knows. The younger boy received clothing from the hockey association we belong to. I had purchased them with the fall order. Santa brought the boys a set of “Battle Drones” it is a set of two smaller drones that actually battle each other…watching them learn how to control them through my parents busy house, clipping Uncle N in the ear once, slamming against the wall and sliding down to the floor other times.

The day before Christmas my mom had asked what they want and the older boy gave her some ver inexpensive options, like a gift card or a book. Then the younger one sheepishly giggled, “Haha, an xbox One.” We all laughed as it had been an ongoing joke because he knew it was a BIG ASK that was not ever going to happen.

Little man also got new hockey socks, hockey tape, tennis balls, a book, Hot Wheels, a MN Wild ornament, and a game controller.

My older boy got a book, Hot Wheels, a MN Twins ornament, a game, and a cast iron pan for cooking steaks.

After all their gifts were opened (minus the controller and game) it was time to open a gift with no name tag on it…with so many grandchildren missing and other siblings to come later in the day there were several unopened gifts so this gift had not stood out.

Everything was cleared away and I got ready with my video camera and they sat down together to open their final gift from Grandma and Grandpa…and Xbox One.

To  see them light up was amazing…they truly got everything they had asked for this year.

The day after Christmas my dad got these two old Yamaha Bravo snowmobiles running and the boys have free reign around the campground…their own private winter wonderland. I am so blessed to be home this holiday season. Tomorrow Grandpa is leading us on a longer ride.

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God.

Each prayer that we prayed this year has been heard and answered. Every need has been met. Our faithfulness has been rewarded with grace and mercy.

God has spoken to those who surround us and they have listened and been the hands and feet of the Lord in answering each prayer.

Lord,

The amazing power of Your love is humbling. I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who trust You as I do. They trust when they hear you whisper and they follow your calling.

Thank you for putting each of us exactly where we needed to be and for giving us all the life lessons we have used to be better people.

It is such a blessing to be around such faithful men and women who are a wonderful example of your love.

Continue to speak Lord, we are listening!!

Amen