Monday, October 6, 2014

The Clothes

Of the many, many things (MANY) that have surprised me about parenting, one of the things that I simply never ever thought about as being emotional, and yet is something I cry about frequently is this:

The clothes.

It began the year before our adoption was complete.  My friend, Wendy, called one day and said she knew we were waiting for our baby boy's adoption to go through and she wondered if I needed any clothes or toys.  I am never one to miss out on getting used items (this is why my kids ask me every Saturday if the garage sales are calling my name- they've heard me say that a lot!), so I said "sure!" to Wendy. We set up a time and I went to her house.  In her garage were four large, carefully labeled Rubbermaid totes, full of boy clothes that her kids had outgrown.  I asked her how much she wanted for them.  She said, "If you'll take them out of here, they're free!"  I protested, but she insisted.  I was thrilled.

I took the totes home and spent hours carefully inspecting and sorting them by size, season, and type (The only thing I love more than getting things cheap or free is organizing things!). I put them back in totes to have them ready to go when it was time. So after we finally got our son, I happily pulled out my totes and he had an entire wardrobe!

I added items to the totes as people gave us gifts. After he outgrew things, I carefully saved the ones that weren't damaged or stained, in case we had another baby someday.

In between Son 1 and Mr. Boo, I had a friend who had a son.  We discussed swapping clothes, and so I got out my totes again.  I labelled each item with our last initial on the tag, and gave them to her.  She used them, put them back in totes, and gave them back.  Thus began a process of passing around clothes within our circle of friends.  "Who has the 6 month boy stuff?" we'd ask.  Or "I think he will need the 12 month stuff this fall- do you have that?"  Everyone had their own totes and labels on their clothes.  It was amazing. We would sigh with happy delight when we saw someone wearing "our kid's" clothes at church.  We took really good care of the clothes. We also all understood that kids' clothes get ruined easily, so we kept those few sentimental items out, and if something got ruined, so be it.

This has saved us all thousands of dollars, I am sure, which makes our husbands happy to go "pull out the totes" from storage when we need them.

For over 7 years now, I've had totes upon totes in my storage room.  "0-3 Month Boys: fall/winter" they would say.  Sometimes I'd work ahead and put "For Mr. Boo next fall" on a tote.

The first inkling that this process could be emotional came the very first time I "put away" clothes that Son 1 had outgrown in his totes.  What mother hasn't stood and cleaned out a closet in tears? My first baby was already growing so fast.  What a physical, tangible reminder of that.  There were outfits he never even got to wear before it was time to put them away.  How does this happen, this dressing a baby in a precious outfit, holding them close, and then blinking and they can no longer squeeze into that onesie? But in the beginning, there was a little respite in knowing that another one of my babies might wear the clothes.  There was only a temporary finality to putting them in the totes.

But now?  Yep, this is it.  The 0-3 month boy tote is no longer in existence.  After Sammy Brown wore that size, I donated some (some that I'd had for 7 years) and then stashed the best clothes away for my sister. I did make sure to save certain outfits that reminded me of each kid in their keepsake boxes.  But I am now down to one tub that says "0-9 month boy clothes to pass on." It's ready to leave this house and never come back. And my baby girl clothes had such a temporary stay here.

I can't believe it.  I can't believe there will be a day that there won't be tubs full of clothes in my basement.  All the time organizing, managing and sorting them.  All the "oh I remember that outfit!" when you pull out a new tub.  That will slowly be done as the years go on.  The tubs will leave and won't come back.

This has been such a sweet way for our community of friends to support each other and to delight in each other's kids.  It has been a visual reminder of our kids' temporary status as babies, toddlers, preschoolers and on.  I can look at a photo of someone and know how old they are based on what outfit they are wearing.

I never dreamed that something that had never even crossed my mind before would mean so much to me. I can't get used to this- this time marching forward and not waiting. Don't get me wrong- I am so happy to see my kids growing- they are becoming wonderful people who I genuinely love spending time with.  But I have this crazy hope that one thing I will get to do in eternity is sit and hold my babies again at that young age.  And maybe they will be dressed in whatever outfit I most remember at that stage.  A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To Celebrate the Twins' First Birthday

I really want to sit down and write a nice, neat blog post about the twins turning one.  I want to frame our last year for you in neat life lessons and tell you ways we've all grown and how wonderful it is.  I can do some of that- but here's the truth: It is hard to remember.  :-) This year has flown by in some ways, dragged in others.  I am not quite sure I even know what year it is.  Yesterday I was out walking, and it got dark earlier than I expected.  I realized it's fall.  I have to think really hard about the date each time I write it.  There is chaos, noise, mess and joy constantly. But my brain is done.

So I'll just post some cute pictures and a summary of what the babies are like, because that's about the most I can manage.

***But first, I want to ask you if you can help with a fundraiser I have committed to.  Instead of gifts for the twins, our family wanted to do something meaningful.  They really don't need anything (except diapers!) and we felt like we've been so blessed this year by so many people.  So we found a neat fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is an international non-profit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children's health issues. As you know, our kids have experienced care at two different children's hospitals and it's quite amazing how much we've been helped.  Read Erin's blog post here about her experience going to a children's hospital. 

Here's what I want to say.  My kids are in no way the sickest kids around.  But we have way more experience with children's hospitals than I'd want.  We are constantly struck by the number of families who just walk around with healthy kids who've never seen the inside of a children's hospital for any reason.  I don't know why this has been what we've had.  It never gets easier, it never gets more comfortable.  Most parents I know stress when their kid gets a fever or a bad virus.  So do I.  But for us, we can visualize and remember what the next steps can be if your kid doesn't get better.  We still hate it.  But we are so grateful for children's hospitals.  

Do you know that there is entirely different protocol for treating babies and kids than adults? Without children's hospitals, we wouldn't know the difference.  And when it's your baby- your precious one- who you are carrying half-dead into the hospital, you want people who KNOW KIDS to treat them.  You want people who know that your very heart is laying there on the bed, and you want them to do everything they can to make them better.  They get it.  They have the tools to do that. And the desire.  
As I have said before- we are confident that without the medical care our kids have gotten, at least two of our kids wouldn't be around today.  And our life would've been way worse on a daily basis. 

My personal fundraiser is The Miracle Marathon- to walk the equivalent of a marathon in about a month- and to raise $10 for every mile.  My support goes to Children's Hospital of Omaha, where all three of our youngest go to the GI clinic and have had procedures. We have asked friends and family to donate.  Can you give even a dollar to help celebrate the twins' first birthday? This means a lot to us.  

Go here to donate and read more.  Thank you for considering helping.***

Here's a summary of who these babies are:

Sammy Brown (as he's called on here): 

I have asked my husband to verify many times over that this was the baby that he saw come out of me when he was born.  That blond hair! Those blue eyes! He doesn't look like us- except his little face looks just like Baby Boo when he was younger.  Just the wrong coloring.  Since the beginning we've noticed Sammy Brown is a sweet, sensitive kid.  However, he's also turned into a bit of a bully.  No one told these guys they are twins, and they'd like to be the only child in the family.  So they fight a lot.  But Sammy will crawl over to me and want to be held and to snuggle all the time.  He's been slightly ahead of Honey Bunny on motor skills, but not by much.  He did sit, crawl and stand first. But he has also decided he hates most solid food.  He'd like us to feed him bottles and baby food forever.  With the exception of rice cakes.  He gets super excited when we get those out. He loves to talk and make noise.He is very social- he actually made great eye contact with me instantly after he was born and he just loves to go places and be with people. A friend has called him "the ultimate frat boy" and said he has such a "joie de vivre".  He is a smiley kid and loves to play.  He's busy. I can't wait for this next phase- when he starts to turn into a real person.

Honey Bunny (as she's called on here): 

You guys, no one told me about this girl thing.  I am far from a "girly girl" but sheesh! This is fun! So many cute dresses, shoes, hairbows! I've been stuck in boy land for far too long.  I remember going to buy a coat for Son #1- the choices were a black puffy coat or a camo coat.  That's it.  So I am LOVING this! Thank goodness for garage sales and second-hand stores or we'd be in the poor house from my buying habits.  Honey Bunny is just a wonderful girl. She coos and sings and we call her the Happiest Girl in the World.  She just loves everyone and everything.  For the longest time, Big Brother Bully Sammy Brown would steal her toys and she'd just allow it.  She is finally figuring out not to do that.  She cries and/or hits him, but at least she's asserting herself.  I am overwhelmed by her preciousness.  She's dainty and sweet.

We are learning what it means to be a family of 6.  It's still taking a lot every day to make our life work.  But I am super glad we have these two.  So this week we celebrate that we all survived the first year (party pics to come after) and that these guys are with us.

Happy Birthday, you Two Babies! We love you!
***all the good pics of the babies- Photo Credit Becca Whitsell

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Twins: That's TWO Babies

A lot of people have asked me what it's like having the twins now.  And while I should be doing 5,724 other things (like picking up my filthy house or creating wonderful, organic lunches for my kids), I am going to let you in to the secret world we live in. See how nice I am now? Twins make you a wonderful, loving, generous person.  Ha Ha.

My husband works with a friend who has twins who are grown. He recently advised my husband to stop saying, "Last year we had twins."  He said to say, "Last year, we had two babies at the same time." See, when we tell people we had twins, they usually react like, "Oh that's awesome! How fun!" The word "Twins" sounds like a neat little package of sweet baby awesomeness.  When you say, "Two babies at the same time", it can kind of hit people.  I also recently ran into a friend who hadn't seen the twins.  I whipped out my phone to show him some cute pictures, expecting the same delighted reaction.  The first one I pulled up was this one:

Cute, right? This friend didn't react like that.  He let out a huge groan and said, "Oh my gosh." I was surprised, "What?" I said. "Oh man. I remember meal times with ONE baby. It was a nightmare.  How do you do that with two???"

I felt like someone finally got it.  He didn't look at the picture and see the two smiling sweeties.  He instantly saw the reality behind the picture.  So let me share some of the reality.
Two babies. At the same time.  At the doctor.  Think about that.

Oh man I love these guys.  They are super sweet and they are really really good babies.  They are happy, funny and generally good at everything.  Good eaters, good sleepers, very flexible with life.

But it's still two babies, which takes a lot of coordinating.  Add in two big kids, and you have absolute chaos if there's no plan. Those of you who know me know that CHAOS is not really a thing I can adapt to.  It goes against my very being.  Early on, we had to make plans.  Here's a brief look at how we run things.

1.  I have tons of help.  When I was in my delirious pregnant state, I thought I was Super Woman and could handle 4 kids, including two babies, all by myself every day.  That went out the window quickly.  I have a wonderful saint of a woman who has helped me with the babies every week since they were about 4 weeks old, at least two days a week.  I won't name her here because she's also a most humble, "don't thank me" kind of person.  Really I don't even think she's real- she is an angel who appears at my door to step in and do anything and never complains.  She loves my babies like they are her own. In addition to my Angel Lady, I have two other good friends who have come over weekly and helped a ton.  I have family and friends who have come over for a few hours at a time here and there. I have people who help with my big kids.  At any given time, there is usually another adult in this house to help me.. Not always. But a good portion of the time.  I am not sure how I'll ever thank these people, but I will try. Any pride I had about asking for help simply melted away when faced with the reality of my life. There is no other way to handle multiples and additional big kids.
Super Nana- my mom who helps a ton

Sara- a reliable friend who's also a nurse, so bonus.

Karen- not afraid to cuddle a sweet  baby all morning.
2. Systems.  We have plans and systems.
------>First, we work almost round the clock.  There is very little sleep.  We think of our day as starting in the evening when the babies go to bed.  My husband and I get their clothes ready for the next day, wash all the bottles and make the bottles for the next day and put them in the fridge, check to make sure we have diapers and wipes stocked, think about who's coming in and out of the house and when, pick up all the toys/books/food on the floor, and try to have a conversation with each other in there somewhere.
------->We write everything down.  Who woke up when, when they ate, who had a messy diapers, etc. No way could I remember who was doing what.  They are basically on the same schedule now (Thank you, Jesus!), but until about 2 months ago, no matter how hard I tried, they did their own things.  I had to have it in black and white because I could.not.remember.
------->We have a nighttime plan.  In the beginning, we were each assigned a baby who was "ours" through the night.  (To further help us feel good, we called them our "Cuddle Buddy") Now that they mostly sleep through the night (AHEM- Mr. Sammy Brown- I am looking at you with the MOSTLY. Let's fix that, ok? Honey Bunny is a perfect sleeper! And you aren't supposed to compare your twins, you know- it does things to their psyche. I will try not to do that when they can understand what I am saying. But for now, Baby Sister is an A+ sleeper, while Mr. Man gets up in the night still.) Anyway, now we take shifts.  I take the "first shift" from bedtime to about 2 AM, and my husband takes the rest of the night.  If we are lucky and no one gets up during our shift, great.  If not, we know someone's going to back us up so we can get a little sleep.  I would recommend always having a nighttime plan.  No one jumps happily out of bed to get a baby. It saves us from middle-of-the-night arguments.
Cuddle Buddies

------->Now that they're mobile, we have a rule: Either they have to be in a completely safe environment, or they have to have eyes on them at all times.  If I have to step out of the room to go to the bathroom, deal with a big kid, or take a phone call, they MUST go in a play pen or high chair or jumper or something where they are confined.  I can't just pick them up and put them on my hip.  Not with two.  I can't be somewhat distracted on the phone and watching two at once.  They are FAST. And they are MONKEYS.  They are INTO everything and ON everything and UNDER everything and TRYING TO EAT everything. There is no safe place really, but if I am fully with them, I can handle that.
Literally climbing the walls.  With utensils in hand. 

------->The big kids HELP.  I mean, really help.  They have jobs that actually help our family, like swiffering the kitchen floor and cleaning up after their own meals.  They play with the babies when it's "fussy time".  They are learning responsibility and becoming contributors to the household instead of just consumers.  They  love it right now.  I am teaching them that just because they are young boys doesn't make them unable to do housework, cook, do laundry, or play with babies.  They are smart and strong, and helping gives them confidence, and helps me to not drown under the clutter.

3. Vision for our family.  This may seem like a strange one, but I am so incredibly type A, I could get up every day and stress about all the things I should be teaching every one of them.  I stress about not taking the big kids to the Farmer's Market, or that they babies don't have enough sensory toys.  "I haven't made them homemade musical instruments yet! They are probably going to start robbing liquor stores soon.  I am a terrible mother."  See how it goes? Early on,  I asked my husband to help me create a focused list of values for our family that will guide us as we parent these kids.  It helps focus my heart and keeps me from freaking out a ton (I do still freak out, of course. They can't do baby sign language yet! AAAHHH!! They'll never get into college!). With the help of my talented friend Sarah we created a poster that actually lists our family values.  I will do a whole other post about this because I want you to see how cool it is. But this is about me not focusing on the details ("they can't speak spanish!!! AAAH!") and focusing instead on the big stuff ("Are my kids learning to use kind words?")
The reality of meal time.

So that's basically where we are.  There is craziness and clutter, there is laughter and tears.  There is usually someone crying here, and sometimes it's me. Lots of praying.  But I feel like we are moving from surviving to thriving, and I am grateful.  I know we will look back and wonder how we made it.  People always say, "I can't even imagine..."  Yes you can, that's why you say that.  You CAN imagine, and what you're imagining is probably true.  It's tough. And I haven't handled it gracefully.  To quote my favorite artist, Andrew Peterson, "Though I kick and scream, love is leading me. Every step of the way, His grace is making me." I never envisioned myself as a mom to four kids, but that's who He is making me.  I think I'll be better for it. But for now, I'd really like a nap.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just a Hobby

I am a words person.  Not just that I like to use a lot of them (ha ha), but I am fascinated by their origins, meanings, and the way they work together in certain phrases.  My degree is in Vocal Music Education, and while I love all kinds of music, I always tell people that if you are singing a song with words, you better get the words right.  The composer used words for a reason- otherwise they would've let the instrumental music communicate all they intended.

As life goes on, I realize that until something happens to you, the weight of some words can't be fully felt. In a recent sermon, our pastor stated that "prayers aren't powerful until they have a name."  You see, when you are young and you hear someone say, "Please pray for my son- he is very sick", you think "Ok, sure.  I can pray for this random kid."  But when you become a parent, and you have a Real Son, and he has a Name, those prayers are desperate and you hope every person praying knows that.

This week, as I sat in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with our Sammy Brown, I realized that we let words just fall into our ears and move past our hearts all the time.  I need to listen better.

It is almost laughable, our life as it pertains to crazy health situations.  None of our kids, or my husband or me, have actual serious health conditions.  My 3 biological kids all have ongoing GI issues, which have resulted in multiple tests, specialist visits, procedures and hospitalizations.  But they don't have anything MAJOR.  So for kids who are relatively healthy, we are have come to experience a lot of medical STUFF.
At our Omaha GI specialist's office with my three crazy GI kids
We've learned the words.  We've learned how to speak in medical terms.  So much so that two different doctors at the PICU asked my husband and me if either of us were in the medical field.  We laughed.  No, we said, this is just a hobby for us.  I used to say that Boo didn't get to go to college- he just gets to go to the hospital.
Mr. Boo having yet another gastric emptying study

Most of our friends have never had a kid in the hospital, let alone 3 kids, with a total of 8 in-patient stays in 3 years.  Again, without any real serious health conditions to justify this.  We don't ASK to go to the hospital.  No, our doctors have PUT our kids in the hospital to care for them when it's not possible elsewhere. I seriously dislike the hospital -there is nothing fun about being there.  We go there because we've had to.

Mr. Boo at the start of his first serious bout with gastroparesis that resulted in a 6-day hospital stay, his third hospital stay at that point. 

We are grateful to live in a country with awesome medical care. And we've always walked out of the hospital with Our Kids who have Real Names. 

Mr. Boo has given us plenty of medical experience.  But this past week, Sammy Brown had to show that he is here to give Boo a run for his money in the "let's scare mom and dad" department.  

Boo at 6 weeks with RSV. Sammy Brown at 5 months with Rhino-Entero Virus
The twins both had pneumonia about a month ago.  That stunk anyway, but we were able to care for them at home with breathing treatments, antibiotics, and daily trips to let the doctor listen to their lungs to make sure they weren't worse.  They got better in about 10 days.  A week later, Sammy Brown got a runny nose and cough again.  Well, everyone and their brother has been sick this winter, so we thought it was probably just a little virus.  But he got worse. And worse. A nurse friend of mine listened to his lungs on Tuesday morning and suggested I take him back to the doctor.  I did, she said he his lungs were full of gunk, and sent him for another chest x-ray.  It was negative for pneumonia, so she said to do breathing treatments and call her if he got any worse.  

He got worse.  

He started coughing so hard he vomited.  He was wheezing and sucking air really hard to breathe.  Finally at 10:30 my husband insisted we call the doctor.  She admitted him to the hospital and told us to go straight there.  

I didn't want to go.  I was tired. I have 3 other kids at home.  But I knew we had to. 

When we first arrived at Heartland
When we got there, I though we'd have a quick overnight stay for him to get some oxygen and then go home in the morning. I sent my husband home to relieve my mom and stay with our other kids through the night.  Me and Sammy Brown settled in.  I held him as he dozed.  He began to wake and cry and then fall back asleep.  He got more and more distressed. His fever rose. They upped his oxygen and started an IV and took blood. They hooked him to a monitor to track his blood oxygen saturation. I held him for 10 hours straight without really sleeping.  Daytime came and he'd get better, then worse, and back and forth. It seemed like we might be staying another night. A few people came to visit us, but around 6:00 everyone left, and my husband was at home getting ready to come back up. Our pediatrician came and suggested we might want to go to Children's Mercy.  I told her I'd rather stay at Heartland (our local hospital) if we could. She agreed but said she'd be in contact with our nurses and would send him if he got any worse.

He got worse. 

About 18 hours later...
Around 6:30 he was struggling really hard to breathe.  They had changed him to a high-flow oxygen system that forced the air into his lungs.  At that time, the nurses came to suction his lungs out, which usually helped him.  But this time, after they did it, his oxygen saturation dropped and dropped and his lips started turning blue. They turned up his oxygen flow and he started breathing again quickly, but then would take a few breaths and stop again.  One of the nurses quickly said she was going to call our doctor, and when I laid Sammy Brown down on the bed, he just laid very quietly while we watched his chest heave up and down and his heart race and his head  bob up and down as he struggled.  The nurse returned to say our doctor was calling for a transfer to Children's Mercy and they called in the respiratory therapist to stay with him every minute until he was sent.  

Through all of this, I was mostly calm.  He was very sick, but still.  As he continued to struggle, I could tell our favorite nurse was getting more and more upset on the inside.  She tried to hide it.  Finally, she left once and came back.  I asked her, "So how does this work- the ambulance comes here? Do I ride with him?" She, in her forced calm voice said, "They might send the ambulance.  But they are probably sending the helicopter." 

Helicopter.  A word I know.  But my son? My 5 month-old, going on a helicopter to another hospital...what? My heart hit the floor.  I had no idea it was that serious.  I said her name- I know this girl, we've had her numerous times as our nurse and I really like her- I searched her eyes for reassurance. She told me it was just a precaution- that they wanted him to get there fast before he got any worse. I still saw the panic behind her eyes. 

The hour and a half or so between first hearing the word helicopter and when the helicopter team arrived were the worst (someone asked why it took so long- everyone who has been in hospitals much knows everything takes longer than you'd think- it's sorta crazy but they have procedures to follow.  Plus, he was very sick but he was still being cared for and not on his death bed, so I suspect they could be much faster if it was that bad). When the team got there, I immediately felt better.  We had the best of the best pediatric people in the area caring for our son.  Our Son with a Name. They loaded him up and put him on a crazy- looking stretcher and we walked with them as they rushed him down the hall and out the door to the helicopter.  He was going on a helicopter, without us, at 5 months old.  But I knew they'd take care of him.  They told us to go straight to the PICU when we got there to meet them. 
The Best of the Best pediatric people in the area- The Transport Team

Yah. My 5 month-old son is in there. Without me.
So there it was.  Craziest moment of my life so far. Watching my very sick baby lift off the ground in a helicopter without me and trusting he would be alive the next time I saw him. I've heard of other kids having to do this- kids I didn't know- but watching it happen and writing about it with our Real Kid is crazy. 

But the story goes on.  We spent the next 3 days in Intensive Care with him- experiencing some things I've only heard about- Ronald McDonald rooms for us to sleep in and eat, high flow oxygen systems, chest xrays, oxygen saturation and infection markers on blood work, sleeping less than 8 hours over 72 hours time, ICU doctors and nurses who monitor constantly, etc. It felt like an eternity. 

But he got better, and we were home within the week.  We walked out of the hospital with our healthy child.  
It just still feels surreal to write some of these words about us- our family. Our Child with a Name. And even more so, we heard other parents talking there with words we hope to never say. But we might have to. "No- she was in a car seat, but the car seat flew out of the car."  "No, we aren't sure how long he was without oxygen."  "The brain damage looks pretty bad. We don't know anything else yet." "The surgery wasn't successful.  It isn't looking good."  These words about their Real Children with Names.  

Real words matter to me.  I know that's why the truth of the Bible speaks to my heart so clearly. We've selected Life Verses for each of our children, and we pray these things over them.  One day you or I may be the ones hearing even more scary, sad, devastating, heart-wrenching words said about our kids or others we love.  And we may be the ones making a "hobby" of medical experiences, so much that we know those words too well.  In those days, what will our words to ourselves be? 

Sammy Brown's Life Verse is Philippians 4:4-7: "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything,  but through everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which  transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  I could write seventeen blog posts about those words alone.  But the main thing is having The Words inside of you that can quiet the noise and the fear and the anxiety and the devastation that other words we hear will bring. 

Our life is a song, and The Composer of our life is putting those words into us for a reason.  Otherwise it would just be a life of background music.  We must know the words. We must keep saying them.  Prayers aren't powerful until they have a name.  What are the words that stick?

There are words that we will hear spoken that will knock us to our knees and take our breath and want to steal our soul. Before that happens, now is the time to find The Words that will stay forever.  

You see for me, my faith isn't just a hobby.  It is real.  It is something I believe in to my very core, and while I am shaken up through the storms of life, I hold on to the Words and The Name that are the ones that will never change.  "In the beginning was The Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 

Don't get me wrong. Please. Please. I know hearing some of those words other parents have heard would knock me out- cold- deep.  I am not making light of that. The stuff that we've dealt with is simple compared to that. I am just working to make myself listen to the right voice, the right words, and to make the song of my life about something that is eternal, no matter what the external is. Easier said than done, and maybe that's what I've learned this week and what I want to ponder and take into my heart to change. 

My personal life verse is this- Lamentations 3:19-23: "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 

We are not consumed. Great is Your Faithfulness. Amen. 

What are your words you are building your life on, that you will stand on when harsh, upsetting external melodies are rocking you? Leave comments here to tell others.