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Posts tagged ‘The Power of Pain’

Life Hacks

You uproot me from ruin and You plant me to blossom – A. Geddert/A. Ellsworth

There are the rare and beautiful treasures that grow when it’s coldest, when nobody’s watching – Christy Nockels


A little-known Meredith-fam fact:

We reaaaalllllly like crazy road trips.

Wait –

Most of you know that.

But what you might not know is that we do them because


mostly –

like the gobs of time together.

Once our girls were old enough to survive long hours in the car, these kinds of climbing-mountains-while-crossing-a-megametre (ask Dr. Dave about that one) in-a-day sorts of trips became our favourites.

And it used to be that, yeah, we’d be those parents.

You know, the ones where the car DVD player reallly does the parenting.

And it used to be that, yeah, with the girls tuned out, or tuned in, or whatever iGen is calling it these days,

their parents

would listen to podcasts

or audiobooks

or music

or one of us would sleep while the other drove,

and all of those were good things.

But lately, that’s not how its gone.

Lately, we’ve done some of our best creative work – quite literally – on the road.

Take last year, for example.

We drove to Disney in record time (and with record frugality),

and I can barely remember a podcast we listened to.

Sure, there were bouts of rocking-out-via-air-bass-guitar to crazy playlists of eclectic music

because who doesn’t like doing THAT?!?

Come on. You know you love it.

Also. If you do do this, have any of you figured out the bass line to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”? If so, please teach us. It seems to be in its own time signature.

But back to the long road trip hours.

Mostly, we spent them just … talking.

Sometimes it was only David and I; other times, the four of us; other times, a combination of the two.

And the conversations that happened were incredible.

I guess in some seasons, life happens while you’re driving.

Take the first road trip of this summer.

We were headed to a family wedding through the Rockies. I was feeling a bit…. erhm…


There were situations external to me that somehow involved me yet didn’t truly impact me but still roped me in. All of them ramped up and weighed a little heavier leading up to the big day.

By the time we pulled in to a little hole-in-the-wall burger joint we found just off the Crows Nest,

My stress level was nearing epic proportions.

My intuitive husband sensed the shift and asked what he could do for me.

And in the interest of being more honest, because real friends deserve real answers,

and, if anyone is – even in the years we were ‘not-dating-but-arguing-in-the-cafeteria-over-whose-country-of-origin-is-best,’

or when I confidently asserted that I could safely promise ‘never to marry David Meredith,’

(you can see why one of our friends fell over when she found out we were dating)

he is a real friend.

So he got a real answer:

And as one who’s witnessed more than his fair share of labour stories and prenatal class prep-and-debriefs,

he knew exactly what to do:

Distract, distract, distract.

– Have you ever watched those Life Hack channels on YouTube?

I hadn’t.

– I’ve always thought someone should do a parody of them. You know, like a channel of really, really terrible advice,

from someone who’s completely clueless,

but acting like an expert,

with really … erhm… creative logic.

I paused and turned the thought over in my head.

I stopped thinking about all the things that were causing me to hyperventilate.

And asked for more.

Like, I don’t know, using Peppermint oil for eye drops – because it keeps them… moist.

He gives me a deadpan sideways glance to guage my reaction.

I double over.

You’ve used peppermint oil, right?

It makes everything burn. Or go numb. Or both, at the same time.

Achieving his goal, he keeps going:

– Or, like, using sriracha sauce for lip balm, because, it like, mimics blood or something.

All of a sudden I notice the girls have turned off their movie.

The little one pipes in first.

Ohhhhhhhhh. Can I be your fashion consultant? You need a realllly terrible outfit.

The almost-four-teen-ager has a more serious goal:

I am sooooo helping you write those scripts.

And, before we know it, Life Hacks with Dr. Dave is born.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to know that it is



craziest. thing.

we have evvvvvvvverrrrrr come up with.

So, of course, we did what anyone would do:

We tell our friends.

We must have realllllly great friends,

or maybe? a really great idea,

or – here’s hoping? – a combination of the two,

because they love it.

And immediately want in.

So, on a dreary, rainy, greyest-of-summer-Sundays-you-can-imagine, we shoot the first two episodes.

And, on the week before his 40th birthday,

YouTube gets to see

what I have always known:

My husband is one of the goofiest men alive.

For the rest of our car trip, Dr-Dave-brainstorming does what it’s supposed to:

Distract me from the real-life crazy.

The problem is, as I’ve been learning lately:

distraction only takes you so far.

Anyone who’s heard me talk about labour and delivery for longer than five minutes will probably have heard me explain the brain-chemistry-theory that shows us that


(aka. refocusing our attention)

might be the most powerful labour support tool we have.

And – for the first stage – the stage where we are getting ready to push the baby out –

it is.

But different stages of labour demand different things from us.

The first stage requires us to learn to let the pain come and do its thing.

And the best way to do that is to think about anything but the pain.

Allllllll the things that make us happy are preferable.

But once its time to push, distraction no longer cuts it.

I remember this moment verrrry clearly with my second.

I knew it was time to push.

I turned over from my hanging-over-the-top-of-the-bed-with-laughing-gas-in-hand-thank-you-very-much-position

and told my co-worker-nurse:

It’s time.

She checked me and confirmed my suspicion.

The problem was – I wouldn’t let go of the laughing gas.

My nurse tugged gently at the cord I was gripping with the strength of ten-thousand Amazonian armies to release it,

and – through gritted teeth – I told her:

no. don’t. even. think. about. it.

I wasn’t ready to let go of the thing that got me through the first stage.

A couple of years ago, I was in a similar place:

Not in labour, but in life.

Around that time, I wrote about how the labour pains in our lives seemed to be lasting longer, feeling stronger, and coming closer together.

Paul warned us that’s how it would be:

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now.

And we know that because we see that, yes?

This week alone, the weight of sheer tragedies and joys-amidst-tragedies that I’ve witnessed in family, friends, acquaintances, our city and community,

-not to mention the ones our own family lives day-to-day-

is staggering.

The depth of pain hitting those who seem to have everything to live for astounds me.

Suffering is no respecter of persons, friends.

It hits the young, the healthy, the bold, the prosperous.

Those who’ve done everything right


those who’ve done very little right.

It hits those of us who think we’ve already been hit more than our fair share, too.

And it often seems to be horribly, frustratingly random.

We’d love for it to be cause-and-effect; for bad things to happen to bad people, for pain to come only from stupid choices or ill intents.

We’d love that because we’d all like to think that we are good people who don’t deserve bad things and that those who get bad things somehow earned them.

Of course, if that’s true, then as long as we do all the right things, we can escape tragedy.

But it doesn’t work like that.

I was in the best shape of my life when I got leukemia.

Once our family learned to adjust to the new normal, though we didn’t realize it at the time,  we each made an unspoken, unconscious deal with God:

Fine, we’ll do this. But no more.

And there was so, so, so much more to come.

Longer trials, each feeling stronger than the one before, and coming much closer together.

Each were heartbreaks of a different sort that made the little white pills I have (get!) to take every day seem like child’s play.

The biggest ones have come in the last five years.

I remember the first hitting like a ton of bricks.

At the beginning, my eyes could only see the things I’d lost.

It shook some of the unconscious fundamental beliefs of my life:

at least I know _____ will never happen

only holds up as long as

that thing doesn’t happen.

If and when it actually does,

(and its usually when)

we are left to find firm ground in the earthquake.

Sometimes – many times – we reach out and grab whatever seems to not be moving around us.

Those early days of 2015, that’s what I did.

I see it now for the poor choice it was, but at the time it was all I knew to do.

Of course, it slipped through my fingers.

I didn’t see my mistake right away, though.

I reached out for the next firmest thing and hung on.

It, too, slid away.

And so on, and so on, one thing after another.

Until about two years ago.

The summer of 2017 something else started to shift.

Deep within me, I knew these labour supports I’d previously reached out for were no longer cutting it.

I no longer wanted to be distracted.

Instead, I wanted to know what the pain was for.

I wanted to use it,


I didn’t know how.

I just knew change was coming, and I didn’t want to start it.

So – I fought it. I told myself it didn’t have to happen, that I could keep things the way they always had been and still press on to new ground.

And then it came anyways:

Ugly and

horrible and

leaving a gaping hole in its wake.

And for the rest of that year, I was left to wonder how it all happened.

While 2018 is sometimes jokingly referred to in our house as ‘The Lana Sleep,’ in reality, I didn’t do so much sleeping as feeling.

And while it didn’t feel good, the beauty of that horrible gaping hole was that

there was really no way to fully distract myself from the pain.

I didn’t need distraction.

I needed to feel. it.

So I did.

Like that moment when my co-worker-nurse-friend tried to tug the laughing gas away from me, so I could meet my second daughter,

I didn’t want to.

I tried to hang on to my gas.

Even if I couldn’t use it, I just held on.

And I pushed.

Or, so I thought.

Fifteen minutes later, I asked my nurse how I was doing.

Her face said it all:

I hadn’t done much of anything.

I’d been too afraid of the pain.

But then one of my co-worker-friends got in my face and said,

come on, now. let’s be done with this.


I knew she was right.

It’s just that the closer you get to the finish line, the more it hurts.

The closer you are to delivery, the more your body stretches to make room for the new life coming.

But it doesn’t feel like stretching.

It feels like burning.

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of us pull back when we feel the burn.

And that’s what I’d been doing.

With Elliana’s labour.

And – before the gaping hole.

Of course, after the hole came anyways –

as we knew, deep down, it would –

I had nowhere to go but to sit in it.

To push into the burn.

And for the rest of 2018, I did.

I didn’t know what birth was coming.

Truthfully, I didn’t expect a birth at all.

It just seemed like death, and more death.

It wasn’t until the waning daylight hours of the first day of the new year that I realized

maybe death was not all there was.

Funnily enough, it was in the midst of sharing gut-wrenching pieces of the pressing-through-the-burn journey with some of those who’d witnessed it and asked to be invited in,

that the tears were interrupted

with the spark of new life.

It was about my kids, of course.

And for the next eight weeks, I mulled over all the things that happened in the first twenty-four hours of the year

and let my head swim

with possibility.

I started to pay attention.

In some ways, I saw my children for the first time.

I saw their wounds, gaps, and vulnerabilities: places I could step into and help them heal.

But I also saw, in each of them,

New Life.




And I thought, seriously.

Where have I been?

Though I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, or why, I pulled each of them in closer, one day at a time.

Layers began to fall off.

There was so much I’d missed out on.

They could feel it too.

Some where around mid-May, my oldest said to me:

you know, Mom, I really liked you when I was little.

Like, really liked you.

I would have loved it if you had played Barbies with me more.

I get why you didn‘t.

But that’s what I wished you’d done.

A wave of … something … washed over me – regret, sure.

Repentance for being distracted by my own stuff, that, in light of her gentle truth, seemed so insignificant.

And after that, something like … hope.

I could still play Barbies with her.

It wasn’t about the Barbies, after all.

It was about stepping into her life and being present.

So, I did.

And. Wow.

She’s in a labour of sorts too. The tension between child and adult pulls at her in ten thousand directions and I hardly know which one is going to pull harder or when the other side will show up.

But she doesn’t need me to have all the answers.

She just needs me to be there.

She needs to know that even if all the things that make her happy right now come crashing down, I’ll still be there.





Doesn’t matter.

She just wants me to be there.

At least for now.

So as long as she wants that,

I don’t want to miss it.

And while I’m far from figuring this all out,

this is the most fun I’ve ever had as a parent.

It’s why I went into labour and delivery to begin with. The privilege of witnessing a woman’s transformation to motherhood is, frankly, breathtaking.

Its not always pleasant, of course.

I’ve been yelled at, sworn at, kicked, pressured, lashed out at, and blamed for all sorts of things that had nothing to do with me.

I’ve seen things most people would never even imagine could be a part of my job.

But I also get to be there for a baby’s first cry.

I get to tell women, yes, they’re real and yes, they’re here.

And while I flirt with other job opportunities from time to time, I can’t imagine missing out on those moments.

They really are breathtaking.

The problem is, I think we, as a community – even as a culture – are so afraid of the pain involved, that not only are we afraid to go through labour ourselves,

we’re even more afraid to walk through it with others.

Which is heart-breaking,

because we all know the labours of life tend to come when we least expect it

and we also all know

that women in labour shouldn’t be left alone.

I mean – I get it.

Stepping into the mess is risky.

Sometimes we have great reasons for our hesitance. Sometimes we’ve been in unhealthy spaces not-too-long before, places where boundaries blurred and hearts broke and our minds and hearts lost the ability to tell real connection from a pretend closeness.

Or sometimes we have so much of our own things to carry that we think we have nothing left over or nothing worthwhile to offer.

I’ve been there.

A few years ago, my youngest tugged on my shirt sleeves

– and on my heart strings –

and begged me to have over her new friend and her family.

And I remember thinking at the time,

I don’t have time for this. I don’t have the gift of hospitality. I don’t have a big house. I’m not that much of a cook and my living room is never as clean as I’d like it to be.

I’m not really someone who knows how to make new people feel comfortable.

This is gonna be awkward

and oh my, what if they bring their boys?

I don’t know what to do with boys!

Over the next few weeks, of course, it became absolutely clear this inviting this new family over was what we were supposed to do.


I squeezed my eyes shut,

asked for Help,

and sent the text.

Set the table.

Made the food.

Opened the door.

And said, hey there.




A little more than two years later, I can’t imagine if we hadn’t.

We all would have missed out on so, so much

not the least of which

is a lights-out,




testimony to the Writer of all great stories

Who heals the brokenness of anyone who realizes the mess they’re in and asks.

I tell you this


it was something I almost didn‘t do,

and I think there might be a few of you

in the same place I was.

Someone around you might be in labour,

and they’re willing to let you in,

and while you have a stirring to be in it with them

you’re afraid to take the risk.

Friends, please.

For your sake and theirs,

Do. It.

As our pastor said this morning –

if you do, you’ll see strangers become family.

And praise God, we have.


In the middle of a season where our life was far from what we wished it was,

we more clearly saw the gaps in the lives of those around us.

Some of those brave souls invited us in.

Without even really knowing what we were doing,

fumbling and guessing as we went,

we managed to step into their stuff and say,

you’re not a stranger here.

We’ll walk with you.

Of course,

when we first sent that text,

we had no idea

that they’d step into our stuff too.

And I guess that’s the real life hack.

We have very little control over making our life the way we want it to be.

But experiencing the gap between what we have and what we wish was

enables us

to see with a little more clarity


who are also walking in that gap.

And, sometimes, we have a bit of what they need

to make the gap a bit smaller.

Or less traumatic.

Or less… lonely.


that’s what people who have known what its like to be on the outside do.

They welcome in.

Even – especially –

when it feels awkward, unpleasant, or impossible.

And that doesn’t depend on how clean our houses are, or what kind of food we’re making, or

how big our house is.

But I’ll say more about that –


I’ve got people coming over who haven’t been here before.

Because that’s what we do now.

We send the invite.

We set the table.

We open the door, ask for Help, and say

hey there.

We press right into the burn

and know now

we will see new life.

Friends – I hope you’ll try it.

I think – no, I know – you’ll be blown away.

After all, it’s the only Life Hack I know.

For the rest, there’s Dr. Dave.







Big Bang Theory


You beast.

You fair-weather friend.

You bring your endless promises of lengthy goodness and shorter nights.

You smile your bounty of good food and island smells.

You remind me that I live in paradise.

But then you sneak in your underhanded jabs.

Your bugs.

Your overgrown, dead-weight, yellow-jacket drones.

Your rat-blasted mosquitoes.

And your lies that you will last forever.

Your illusions that the horrible winter chill will never return.

That we will never wear sweaters again.

Truth be told, I’d never seen a summer like you.

(At least, not in Beautiful Meterogically-Unreliable British Columbia.)

Gone were Vancouverite’s genetic adaptation we like to call Sun-Induced Panic.

Rants of rain in July were nowhere to be found.

We got so used to the good weather we started to trust it.

Expect it.

Forget that we were not Southern California – and that rain was not optional.

I confess.

It lulled me a bit.

I began to rest in the certainty of goodness.

I should know better.

For as all labour and delivery nurses will tell you, unless you have a surplus of vacation hours,

Summer’s last laugh is the ever-exploding birth rates at your local hospital.

People, please. Allow me a pause for a PSA of the birthing kind.

Not all of you must have babies in the summer.

I’m sure you all think it’s a great idea back in October and November. It’s cold out now, there’s nothing much to do, we were going to try anyways, and wouldn’t it be best for everyone’s schedule if we had a baby in July or August? Or, failing that, September?

I can give you your answer right now:


In fact, I can tell you exactly who it would NOT be good for.

That’s right.

Your local, loyal, overly-protective, slightly-delirious mat nurse.

Those people you see laughing maniacally every day about 8 pm? Or, if they’re on nights, 8 am?

The ones wearing alien green scrubs? Or blue, or purple, or dark taupe, or the warmed over color of vomit, or whatever it is that your local hospital has provided for them to douse themselves in preparation for the bodily fluids threatening to cover them at any moment, either yours or your baby’s or, well, their own.

Because, contrary to popular belief,

Maternity is not the happiest place ever.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s beautiful. It’s the best, and hardest, and most challenging, most rewarding thing I have ever done – besides raise my own children.

When it goes well, it goes very, very well. There is no other feeling like helping a new life into the world – nestling it into its mother’s arms, take pictures for the new little grouping of three, or four, or five, or in Abbotsford, ten.

(Nope. Not judging. Just tired.)

Because when it doesn’t go well…

It goes very, very wrong.

That’s the only word that makes sense. It’s wrong to see good people struggle to have healthy babies. It’s wrong to have new life bathed in uncertainty. It’s just plain not right that we can’t expect perfection and ease in the welcoming of new little ones into this messed-up, but also incredibly beautiful world.

Confession: I’ve never been a clean person.

No, truly.

Anyone who has been to my house knows this.

I am friends with clean people.

They show me grace when they agree to come to my house, because, while I am by no means easy-going (seriously, stop laughing. I can hear you.) I am often too busy or too tired to care what my house looks like, at least to the point where I realize that I don’t actually employ a maid to read my mind and put things where I want them, and my pent up irritation at something else boils over to the point of

an explosion

of erhm…order.

I call it my personal Big Bang Theory.

This developing theory measures how messy my house – or my life – must be in order for me to explode in Big Bang Proportions,

in which I make my house look

the way it should have in the beginning.

In other words, it is a furious force of change

in which I attempt to

Impose order on chaos.

Filter out redundancies, stupidities, and irrelevancies.

And if it feels like rolling a giant sleeping bear up the side of Whistler Mountain, I know its because I’m

Fighting the Law of Entropy

In which

(as Wikipedia will tell you)

nature guides all things into a slowly descending state of disorder.

The Law of Entropy is curious, see. At least to scientists. And it both supports and challenges our history of origins in the most bizarre way. It supports the principle of death and decay; it challenges the theory that all we see around us exists because the untamed forces in the pre-existing universe’s matter combined together

to make everything

more ordered

more complex

and, well…


But I sometimes have a hard time with that piece,


at least when it comes to human soul evolution

– at least to this human’s soul evolution –

if an outside force doesn’t act on it, it just gets more chaotic.

And just like no mess in the history of the world has ever called a convention to say, hey, maybe lets clean ourselves up. 

But rather collides with itself and says, hey, aren’t I great? I should make more of me. 

(And it does.)

So it is with personal growth.

Because, if I’ve learned anything about soul change, it’s that it doesn’t usually begin with an internal prompt.

Oh, maybe that little wise voice is there – our inner angel, perhaps, or a spiritual guide, if that’s something you believe in – gently suggesting the higher path to take or the rougher edge to smooth.

But if you’re anything like me, it takes the external force of a hurricane

– or maybe the horrific thud of a collision –

to make me actually listen.

If I can get away with not listening, I will.

If my current course of action does not seem to be directly harming anyone or anything, especially if it seems not to be harming me, then I see no need to change it.


Some people Most of us have to learn the hard way.

The sludgy, stenchy, convulsion-inducing, painful way.

Most of us need our comfortably traveling vehicle to come to a sudden stop for us to realize we are headed in a wrong direction or have a part or two missing.

Sometimes its just that we’ve relied on one thing for too long.

And so we crash, headlong into

ourselves, really.

But the initial hit is usually external.

And it’s fortunate, really, because

Anything left to itself for too long gets worse.

Parents of toddlers know this.

Long periods of silence are rarely a sign of peace.

Short periods, maybe.

But long periods of ease usually end in disaster.

So, summer, I love you.

You’ve been wonderful.

Magical, even.

You’ve changed our lives with your blissful kisses of sunshine.

You’ve left your marks of joy and bubbles of laughter around sunset campfires in the company of those we love the most.

But its good that all good things come to an end.

Because anything left to itself for too long gets worse.

It’s entropy.

It’s humanity.

And it’s time we embraced that.

So, friends,

while my inner child is screaming that summer is over

my grown up is so, so relieved

that the season of change is here.

Because while we live in the Law of Uncertainty that is the British Columbia School System,

this home school momma

is so thankful

for that external force

so many years ago

that threw me off my path toward the last thing I wanted to do.

I’m thankful my family and friends pushed me to the point of decision.

I’m thankful my life circumstances made it clear that this was the path for our family.

I’m thankful for the pain that made me listen.

And while homeschooling is in no means the best or the perfect education option for every or even any family,

the chaos I watch around me right now

reminds me in the moments I’m tempted to whine that I have to start school tomorrow,

to instead be thankful

that I can start school tomorrow,

that I get to spend this much time with my girls

while they still want me to.

So, friends –

No matter what tomorrow holds for you,

I urge you to wake up thankful for whatever apparent life-derailment led you to the chaos of this morning,

for the uncertainty that perhaps allows some of you an extended summer,

more time with your kids,

more time to figure things out,

a push to be creative with your usual modas operandi.

I say this as one

who knows exactly how frustrating

and life-changing

(and in this house, frequent)

those moments are.

(It’s all we’ve lived these last six years, really.)

And while the pain of loss and uncertainty may not be good by itself,

its smoothing results on a restless soul are priceless.

Who knows?

If we each embrace our own crises for the bends in the roads they were meant to be,

we might all come out of this week more ready

to be that external force of change

the world so desperately needs

in order to get better.

Home school moms: Don’t believe that inner devil. You can do this.

Private school moms:  Good on you for recognizing where your kids needed to be and making the sacrifices to get them there.

Public school moms: You’re doing the right thing. You are the plumbline of the new generation. You are the warriors of our children. You are champions for change. You are the ones who insist that all our kids can grow up, get better, be more, and find success.

Teachers: You know what you sacrifice for your kids. Most of us with half a brain know too. Breathe in. Breathe deep. No truly great work is ever easy.

To all of you:

You are amazing, beautiful people.

Your children – at home and at school – desperately need you in whatever capacity you feel called and able to give.

You are not alone,

Which is a good thing.

Because we know


All things left alone for too long only get worse.




The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a problem – with word art.

Last week I went to IGA and almost walked out with five – count em, five, pieces of word art. I slapped my own hand before I got to the register and restrained myself to one. It said:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

For heaven’s sake.

The worst part is, I. Loved. It.

If I get the opportunity to grow old, I will be the crazy cat lady with no cats and one thousand pieces of ridiculous word art. (It could be a Saturday Night Live sketch, if I was clever enough to write it.) At the very least, my kids will tell stories about their barmy mother who never saw a cheesy inspirational quote-on-stretched-canvas she didn’t like.

At least they’ll always know what to get me for Mother’s Day.

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Contemporary middle-class women seem prone to feelings of inadequacy. We worry that we do not measure up to some undefined level, some mythical idealized female standard. When we see some women juggling with apparent ease, we suspect that we are grossly inadequate for our own obvious struggles.” – Faye J. Crosby

Increment: something added or gained; addition; increase; profit; gain; the act or process of increasing; one of a series of regular additions; growth.” –

If any of you have been looking for me, I’ve moved to Home Depot.

Such lovely people at Home Depot.  Such kind souls in their orange aprons. This is what you need, right here, and Make sure you don’t forget to do this.

My house – nay, my marriage – is forever indebted to you, Home Depot.

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Over, Overcome

Art begins with resistance – at the point where the resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor. – Andre Gide

Confession: It is 3 pm and I’ve opened a bottle of wine.

I’m not a big drinker, for obvious reasons. I’m a nurse, I like my liver, and that liver is already working overtime to deal with Sprycel.

You know, the drug that’s saving my life.

But, occasionally, I have a glass of wine. Red, white, I’ll even have a – decent – glass of rose. Just one. With friends. On a Friday. To beef about an erhm, interesting week.

Like today.

My feet are wet. My eyes are propped open with toothpicks. My fingers are freezing.

I am trying to bring said fingers back to life by typing.

(So far, I’ve had to rewrite these 150 words three times, so I’m not sure it’s working.)

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I am tired.

No. Tired is inadequate; exhausted is overused.

Perhaps spent is more appropriate.

Those who know us know our lives are rather… erhm, full. Some seasons, full is oppressive; others, it’s beautiful – satisfying, even.

Last year we lived the first; this year we’ve seen glimpses of the second.

The difference? What we’ve chosen as our… fillers.

Seven years ago this month, I was counting down the weeks till Noelle’s birth, anxious to be delivered of the extra weight, anxious to get my body back.

I was tired of sharing my heart, my blood, my kidneys, my uterus. I was tired of being host to an ever-growing parasite. I wanted my parts back. I wanted to support my own life functions, and not anyone else’s.

I know. The naivete is crushingly hilarious.

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Keep Calm and Carry On

Have you ever really, realllllly wanted – even needed – something to happen… and it didn’t?

Of course you have. We wouldn’t be human if we got everything we ever wanted.

But sometimes, it seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it?

I’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the girls. I loved this book – and its sequel – as a child. I thought it rather silly as a twenty-year-old ‘grown-up’. Now, as an almost thirty-two-year-old mother, I think it borders on profound.

In my eyes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a treatise on the evils of greed, gluttony, and selfishness. The hero is none of those things; the other children are all of those things. The hero survives; the others are destroyed by their impulsiveness, obnoxiousness, and covetousness.

They see something, they need to have it, they go out and get it.

They’re not much different than you and I.

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Be Not Yourself

He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. – Lao Tzu

You all know I love Glee.

Well, I don’t love everything on that show. I don’t love the occasional schizophrenic character changes or the wheel of revolving relationships. I also don’t love the defense of every minority except one (those of you in that one know exactly what I’m talking about).

But I love the music.

They also know how to deal with bullies.

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No Guarantees

I’m just trying not to hang on too tight.

A friend of ours said these words as we celebrated with them this week. After years of hard work and manifold bends in the road, they are in a positive, hopeful, great place. So great, in fact, they can’t bear to think that right now might not last for the rest of their lives.

But they’re old enough to know better.

These past few days I’ve wondered if I have a stamp on my forehead that says, my life’s a little intense right now, so please make it harder, if you can. I’m so sure this sign exists – perhaps even has blinking lights around it – that the edginess of a few weeks ago looks happy in comparison to the feisty, cynical bark escaping me now.

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Career Motherhood

Source: via Morgan on Pinterest

My childhood aspirations didn’t include motherhood.

No, that’s not accurate. My plans included motherhood.

But that was just it. I thought I would do all of these really great things, and tuck my children in there somewhere, like something you check off a to-do list.

Is that such a terrible idea? First-time parents – particularly those career-oriented individuals who’ve waited to start a family – might understand what I mean. Actors bring their children to movie sets. Lawyers spend their lunches at playgrounds. Doctors build offices next to their houses and see their children between patients.

Surely I could manage that, right?

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