Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby Humans are so... fascinating!

(Blogger doesn't rotate pictures - sorry)

There's nothing like watching a baby find his feet. Shaky efforts to stand morph into tentative steps, then the classic toddle.

Last night John and I watched Kyle find his feet, We stared slack-jawed as the Booger experimented with trotting, running and hopping - all at once! Every now and then he'd list to the right or left and topple with a giggle. I can't recall a time where I laughed so hard for so long.

Watching him try to walk while bare-butt naked is hands-down, the funniest thing I've seen since the flying cats (scroll down to March 8,2006)! With diaper removed, the awkward mechanics of emergent ambulation are revealed. Knees point outward, thighs reach heights parallel to the ground, and tiny toes cushion the impact all while the Booger squeals, growls and flaps his arms.

I wish I had a video camera.

It struck me how in a few days, this crazy baby-walk will be gone forever. Kyle will move with smooth balance and steady steps. I didn't want him to stop. I didn't want the moment to end.

Joy flooded my litterbox as I watched my baby turn into a toddler.

Today I took him out in the Burley (bike trailer). We stopped at the pond by the Stone House park and watched ducks swim in the glassy water. Kyle kept saying, "Duck! Duck!" and learned how to quack.

Closer to home, we stopped at Bear Creek and threw pebbles in the current. He sat,hiny planted firmly in the mud, on the bank imitating my tossing motion. "Plop!" I'd say.

"Plop!" He'd squeak as his pebble dropped two inches from his hand. The helmeted little head turned to me and the little nose wrinkled in classic Kyle Smile Style.

Being a mom is the best part of my life. As I let go of my dreams of achieving Something Big, I realize I'm doing the most important job in the world. Writing a hundred NYT bestseller novels doesn't hold a candle to growing a baby boy.

God gave John and I the gift of Kyle. He wasn't a random act. We didn't even choose him. God chose him for us. That's the beauty of adoption. Anyway, given this gift, I have the responsibility to love, train and teach this amazing little boy, helping him develop into the man God wants him to be.

There's no doubt in my mind. Kyle has a special calling on his life. His mere existence is a miracle. John and I have the privilege of being part of that.

Mom is my job title. It doesn't pay the bills, but the rewards are beyond anything money could ever buy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Voice of Truth

Perception. So subjective. So inacurate. So misleading.

My last post probably left you thinking I've gone off and hurled myself into some deep mountain crevasse. I'd love to be deep in the mountains right now, but not lying in a crumpled heap sprinkled with scree. Jesus doesn't like it when we take our life/death timing into our own hands. I promise you all, that's not an option for me. Ever. Hope does exist in this litterbox of a world. Faith is what carries us when we dig and dig and can't find it.

Anyway, God's been revealing things to me. Spooky, huh?

I haven't heard any voices in babbling streams or wind-tossed trees (yes, I have been hiking to get away from the 'noise' of Denver), but I have been reading words of truth. Everywhere I turn, I read/hear words that speak directly to my heart and situation. It's creeping me out.

The day after I wrote my last post, Beth Moore rocked my world even more. I even dialed my mom b/c lesson 5, week 5 seemed to have been written for me.

I thought the previous lesson on betrayal was enlightening. It helped me figure out what I was feeling. Lesson 5 blasted all the soil off the roots of my pain leaving them exposed. "Hearts broken by loss". I've lost a lot. So much, I didn't think anyone, anywhere could possibly understand. I've done hundreds of Bible studies, but not one has affected me in such a powerful way. Beth shares her losses. One after another, after another, after another. Like Job. Like me. No breathing room. In fact, she admits she's still healing from some of them!

Tears splashed onto the page smearing the vibrant orange highlighter marks. I found someone whose been on this road. Maybe even more painful than mine. She spoke to the raw places. She focused on the pains in my heart. She knows. She's experienced them. She's also allowed Jesus to do his thing. I've been mad at him. I've kept him at arm's distance.

By the end of the lesson I realized the TRUTH of my mental/spiritual bondage - I'm stuck in the grief cycle. I got hung up on anger years ago and never moved on. I've let circumstance feed the anger, fanning the flames higher and higher until they consumed me. Destroying me.

The scripture given was John 11:1-44. It's about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Take time and read it.

The freaky thing is, I've read this a gazillion times. Made popsicle stick mummies in Sunday School as a kid to play act, "Lazarus, come out!"

Never before had I focused on what Jesus did and said before he brought the poor man back to life.

Jesus knew his buddy was gonna die. He knew Mary and Martha would be beside themselves with grief. He knew they'd be horked off at him.

Jesus didn't keep his motives hidden. He was overt. Verse 4: This will be an occasion to show God's glory, Verse 15: You're about to be given new grounds for believing. (From the Message)

You see, it was about The Big Plan. Lazarus had to die. Mary and Martha had to grieve, so Jesus could perform the mother of all miracles - and foreshadow his own death and resurrection.

This is where Jesus identifies himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Without death, he can't resurrect.

Back to Beth. I'm just gonna throw some quotes out. They speak for themselves. Let them hit you as they hit me.

"Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes."

"Any kind of 'death' is an invitation to resurrection life to the believer."

"Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes its course, but those who allow their broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again."

"When our hearts have been shattered by loss, we hyyave an opportunity to welcome a supernatural power to our lives."

"Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is liing through something we thought would kill us. And not just living, but living abundantly and effectively - raised from living death to a new life."

"When our hearts are hemorrhaging with grief and loss, never forget that Christ binds and compresses it with a nail-scarred hand."


It hit me that my losses happened so Jesus could do his thing. I haven't let him. I've been mad. My losses/needs are great - beyond human repair. God knows that. I need to step away from the "poop" and let Jesus scoop it up with his scarred hands.

Beth wasn't the only one who honed in on my hurt over the weekend. Writer's Digest, had some quotes about perseverence. I've been seriously thinking about giving up on the whole writing thing.

"I know so many writers who are a hundred times better than me and have longer, greater ideas than mine, but they gave up; they stopped. The biggest talkent you can have is determination." Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club author

"The writers who succeed are the ones who refuse to buckle under the failures that are heaped upon them; who reject the notion that they aren't as mediocre as industry professionals say they are." Jodi Picoult, NYT Bestselling author

One more thing - on Sunday, a special music was done "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. I've heard this song hundreds of times on the radio. For some reason, on Sunday, I felt I'd never heard the lyrics. Here are some below

Oh,what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story

the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

- Casting Crowns, Facing the Giants

For decades I've been listening to the wrong voice. I know that now. Really, really know it now. So, out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Big 'Ol Wrestling Match with God

I'm in a funk. Have been for a long time.

Life hasn't been kind to me or my family for the past five years.

I prayed and prayed. Had other people with "direct connect" pray... and the trials, pain and suffering continue.

God hasn't been on my list of favorite people lately.

Throughout the summer, I've been going through Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study with my BFF Stinky. Beth sure digs in the ickiest places, bringing up memories, habits and behavior I'd rather forget.

Yesterday's study was about betrayal. She posed the question, "Have you ever been betrayed by someone you believed loved you?" Chewing on my pen top, I dove into the sewage sloshing around in my skull. I couldn't think of a person... except...


Flashes of me lying on the floor of my bedroom sobbing over devastating news or lying in a hospital bed, victim of stupid trauma flickered behind my eyelids. "I have tried to do what's right since I was six years old! I chose to obey you and be tormented and teased through school. I stayed pure, I (fill in the blank)... and this is how you reward me? Why am I a Christian? God, I feel betrayed!"

Nothing hurts more than feeling betrayed by God. Not even a dislocated elbow with a triple fraction.

Before you judge me and call me a whiny butt, let me point out this is how I felt. Feeling and truth are NOT the same. Betrayal was my human explanation for what God was/is allowing in my life. Yesterday I discovered I still feel that way!

Lighning flashed over the eastern plains, and the trees dripped with recently fallen rain as I shuffled through my neighborhood under the cover of darkness. Settling on a playground swing, I opened up and let God have it. No holding back. No trying to be a "nice little Christian."

I told God I felt he didn't give a damn about me. Such language is very un-Darcie-like. But it was the pain of my soul speaking.

As I cried, yelled, did a flip-de-do on the swing, I realized how much in bondage I am to this sense of betrayal and fear of attempting, well, anything for fear of failure.

Rabbits scuttled in the grass underneath the huge pines. It hit me. Dreams. Almost every dream I've ever dreamt for myself has gone down in a blaze of humiliation and crushing sense of failure.

Since age five I dreamed about being a doctor. Made it through two years of pre-med before I failed. Literally. Failed math and chemistry. Had to make sudden course change w/ no time to think.

Dreamed of becoming cinical psychologist. Completed a whole new major and minor in four semesters with a 3.7 GPA. Planned to go to Wheaton for my PsyD. Failed. Got rejected b/c of GRE scores.

Dreamed of becoming a teacher. Wracked up 56K in student loans. Dreamed of making a difference in kids' lives. Couldn't succeed in broken system. Had to bail b/c of heath. Failure.

Uncovered dream of wanting to be a writer... four years later I have $7 in my business account and few paid assignments, lots of rejection letters. Failed.

And I'm only highlighting the major ones. The root of my betrayal lies with my belief that everything I touch or attempt fails or breaks (don't get me started on the breakage thing...).

Faced with having to find a "real job" - one that actually pays money, so I can pay back the $56K I borrowed in pursuit of failure, I panic. I CAN'T see myself doing anything BUT fail.

Add to that the dynamic of being a wife and mother... how badly can I ruin all that?

I've begged God for answers. Silence.

All around me folks speak of answered prayers. Big prayers. Like, thousands of dollars showing up in their mail box to pay off a debt. Healing from some bizarre medical condition. Needs being met month after month after month. Instead of rejoicing with them, I get mad. I feel betrayed. By God.

I know Jesus said that life will be rough, especially when we follow him, but won't a little relief make the ick easier to swallow? Ya think?

Big Picture.

What next? I need to let it go. All of it. But this part me of clings with whitened knuckles to this crap. Yes, crap. Why? What is it about human nature that makes us cling to the things that render us ineffective and impotent?

Beth Moore says the hallmark of the work of Satan is guilt. Satan attacks us to send us to the bottom of the ocean, or make our testimony benign. After all, he can't take us to hell with him.

I wish I could tell you I had an epiphany. That I'm pullin' myself up by the bootstraps (spit-TING!) and gettin' back on dat dere hoss.

Rather, I'm tired. Clueless. Wondering if He'll ever answer. Hanging on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Joy From the Litterbox

iMacs come with a handy-dandy built in camera and a photobooth feature that's fun to play with.
I captured some crazy shots of the cats (the dog wouldn't cooroperate, plus, he's easily embarassed). Every time I look at these, I laugh so hard tears run down my face!

With out much adieu straight from the Litterbox...

We just gotta have some fun every now and then don't we?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Emotional Fatigue and Tiny Tantrums


Water oozes across the parquet floor soaking everything in its path. Including a cat, magazine and baby boy.

"Kyle!" I jump out of the chair in front of my computer to discover numbers 1,3,4 and 5 floating in the animals' water dish. Kyle, sitting in the middle of the ever expanding puddle, flashes me a toothy grin. "Don't play in the water." I say bending to pick him up so I can clean the mess before something else 'drowns'.

Kyle claps in glee over his new found ability to create lakes where none existed - that is until I plop him down on the living room floor.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAH! He rolls onto his stomach, scrunches his legs underneath and plows the carpet with his fuzzy little head. Kyle looks more like a doodlebug than a baby.

A toy cement mixer sits idle. I lunge for it, pressing the sound button. "Here. Play with this."

The tiny ball of boy explodes into a swarming tangle of arms, legs and loud screeches. The water is soaking into the wood floor as I watch in horror.

"You'll get over it." I shrug my shoulders and set off in hunt of a super-absorbent paper towel.

He got over it, all right.

The moment I knelt to sop up Lake Gudger, Kyle came scuttling across the floor on all fours landing with a belly flop into the lake. Spattering me. Great. Now I have to clean the floor, the baby, and now myself. How's a mom to get anything done around here?

An emergent walker takes full advantage of his newfound freedom. Freedom for him means more work for me. Every task I set out to accomplish takes five or six times longer than BMB (before mobile baby). Oh, I could shake open the pack'n play and drop the baby inside for a few hours of uninterrupted write time, but I don't.


Kyle needs to learn boundaries. He needs to know tantrums get him nowhere and there are certain objects in the house that are not his to play with. It would be so easy to pen him up, but being a mom is my primary job. I don't regret that one bit.

But it's emotionally exhausting! Mothers of toddlers should be given free year passes to a local spa for the hyper-vigilent watch we must keep on our wee ones while working and doing boring house stuff.

Living in a constant state of emotional fatigue is hard. Good thing it's only for a season.


Pardon me while I go remove Kyle's fingers from Esau's nose...

"Kyle! Don't pick the kitty's nose... Don't. Pick..."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Virtual Vacation

The fatal flaw of vacation is that it ends.

Coming off two weeks of band camp (marching band, colorguard), I'm having a tough time getting back in the groove or my writerly life. Here are some images from Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glenn State Park.