Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Diagnosis and hard days.

This just plain sucks (sorry, Mom). I’m not really sure how else to put it. Ida is having a difficult time right now because it’s changing of the seasons and she is either currently fighting a cold virus or allergies. To be honest, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like I’m crying without tears because I feel like I’ve cried myself dry.
I’ve not written here in a really long time but to be honest, I am a multi-colored yarn ball of emotions and I’m all over the place with a need to let it out somewhere, so here we are. 
Ida was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), polyarticular rheumatoid factor negative on August 17th. Mouthful isn’t it? Try explaining it to people and then feel like an idiot because the words run together. I guess that will eventually get easier because we are just two weeks into a disease that is likely going to last Ida a lifetime. JIA is an autoimmune disease where Ida’s super power immune system has decided to fight not only the bad guys but the good guys. Her initial symptom was waking up in the mornings limping and favoring her left side. Eventually the limping progressed and didn’t go away. She had a few bad weeks of an eye infection (not related in this case) and strep throat. She got to the point she couldn’t stand up in the mornings and we took her in. That was July; this is August and we are 11 days into a diagnosis with two shots under our belts. You read that correctly, our 20-month old has to be given weekly methotrexate shots and is concurrently taking Naproxen twice daily.
Let me get something straight before I go down some emotional black hole. Even on our worst days, we truly believe the God of the universe is in control of this. Does that make it easier to handle? Honestly, some days it does and some days it doesn’t. Does it hurt me to my core on days, like today, when I see Ida in pain or not feeling well or struggling to fight something? Absolutely. Does the fact that I hate this make me think He is less in control on the days she doesn’t feel well? Absolutely not. To be truthful, as difficult as this is, He has been gracious to show us His presence in every part of this. He has shown his hand in a helicopter mom’s observations, a dad who trusts said helicopter mom’s observations, a pediatrician both up front and in the wings who has fought and advocated, the door slam shut on the wrong provider and swing open for the right one, good blood flow on lab days, daycare that has loved on her when this mama couldn’t, nurses who are family and “framily” that are willing to support and teach, and the list just goes on. 
Does this suck? Again, yes. (Sorry, Mom!) There is a bigger picture here. God has plans for Ida Jayne and right now this is a season of growth and faith and enduring (hello, Brian Lowe) for our family. Growing pains hurt, developing stamina for endurance hurts, faith can often be hard. This isn’t going to be easy but even on the days Ida hurts too much to walk and I’ve cried myself dry, He is STILL in control and He does NOT falter. 
“Even the darkness is NOT dark to you; the night is as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12

Monday, May 30, 2016

Crushing idols.

Wow. Sometimes lessons are hard to learn and even harder to swallow. Sometimes contentment leads way to pain because the only way the light can be shed on darkness is for something to break or crack. I've been learning this lesson the hard way for the last few days. Sometimes (well, more often than not) good things are our worst idols because they are sneaky. Good things should not be bad and sinful, right? Well, not when held in their right place but when they take over the spot in your heart that is God shaped that is when the trouble starts and the idol begins to take root and eventually take over. 
Idols can certainly take various shapes in our lives; idols can be contentment, idols can be perceptions, idols can be people, idols can be money, and the list can go on and on. Often times we think of sin as lying and cheating and blatant defiance of God's word. We don't often think of sin being the way we long for our children to behave like angels in Target or for our husbands to take out the trash like Susan's does. It's easy to look at our sin when it's obvious; like feeling bitterness towards a coworker or stealing that Range Rover you've had your eye on since you were 16. I'm telling you though, ya'll, from experience that the sneaky sins are exactly how they are described. 
God is growing me in hard heart times right now and it's really hard sometimes to see the light breaking through the cracks. It's hard not to just hid my eyes from the truth that is breaking in before me, calling me to repentance and to growth; calling something deeper and more pure to root in my heart instead of the idols and the sin that seems to fester just below the surface. 
Man, is this hard as most lessons tend to be. It's hard right now and sometimes there are tears shed but I can see those glimmers of light coming in and I long for the joy that will eventually come when it breaks through entirely.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Swarming thoughts.

Random thoughts swarming in my mind and heart currently:

Can I tell you how much I hate the term "it's just a phase"? I hate it so much because it holds a lot of truth. I've learned over the years that after a phase of life is over for me, I grieve it. Sometimes I grieve the last phase right into the middle of the next one. Friendship is something I've been struggling with lately. Friendship and phases. I focus so much on the past and the what ifs and the whys and the why nots that I can occasionally miss out on the amazing group of friends I have in the here and now. None of the friendships have ended angrily or abruptly and this is probably why I think of them often and wonder what we would be had life not gotten in the way. Something I need to work on is remembering the good times and not focusing on the times we won't likely have in the future. Life happens. I've been given amazing friends through every walk of my life; some have loved me well, some I've loved well, and some have challenged me something fierce. Now, it's time to stop looking back and to look forward and into what I have with the same passion that I used to look back.

Raising girls is hard. Raising girls that have my personality and my husband's strong will (well, maybe some of mine too) is even harder. Raising these girls shows me all my faults but it shows me great examples of grace. Mornings are the toughest for us. Getting myself ready (you would think scrubs would make life at least a LITTLE quicker), getting two girls ready, and getting out the door at a reasonable hour is SO MUCH HARDER than it seems. Somedays, most mornings, I want to pull out my hair, scream and cry and then run away...far away. Somedays I mess up so badly because I let their behaviors frustrate me to the point I yell; sometimes far louder and angrier than I even imagined I could. It's those times that grace wins. It's those moments that I realize what just came out of my mouth and how it came out was no example I want them to ever follow. It's in those moments that by grace I get down to eye level, pull them tight, and apologize. I come to them humbly and seeking forgiveness. You know what? They always give it, without question. I am so thankful that more often than not I feel like I am shown grace through my mistakes than I get it.

I miss running. I took some time off after my marathon and my crazy, rack up the hospital bills, sickness. I thought my body needed and deserved a rest. I've been doing a lot of high interval training (which I LOVE) and it works well but there is something about a long run day with my favorite music that just calms my spirit. I do believe my running shoes are about to bite the dust though, so that probably needs to be taken care of first...

I have reached a point in my career where I don't know which way is up. I'm learning what I like about my job, what I don't like about my job, what I wish my job could look like, and where I potentially want to go with it. This is a really crappy position to be in to be frank. I feel like I have experience but I don't feel like I have enough, well, I know I don't have enough. This lesson is currently on the topic of contentment. I've not been very content lately and that is a heart issue. This has convicted me a lot over the last several weeks; where am I seeking this contentment? why am I not feeling content? why am I doubting this place I've been placed? So many questions.

I miss blogging, I miss writing, I miss sketching. This is sometime I want to make time to do more of.

I would like to go out and get dressed up. The kind of dressed up where Josh has to wear a suit or tux. The kind where I get help with my hair and make up and a I wear heels that give me legs for days and make me almost as tall as my 6'2" husband. It seems though that these places don't exist anymore unless you're strutting down the red carpet...sad.

I don't like chocolate very much. I do however love to put a packet of hot chocolate in my coffee...it's pretty much my new favorite thing.

I think that might be all for now...Until next time!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Stress is a funny opponent.

Okay, so more often than not I spend a good bit of my day laughing, or whistling-I whistle a lot too. Sometimes it's laughing at something so funny it brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes I have to laugh to keep from crying. Sometimes I laugh because I really just don't know what other response to have.
Stress is a funny opponent. Stress tends to twirl you around on the dance floor, dip you romantically, and then drop you like a hot plate. Currently stress has me out on the dance floor but seems to be dipping me, dropping me, and picking me back up for round after round.  To be honest, I'm not really sure what to do with this. My brain is going a thousand miles a minute and I feel like I can't grab a hold of a single thought.
It's times like this that show me just how reliant I can become on myself and the people around me.  How often I count on a work out or a rant to friends to fix it or feel better.  How often I seek worldly things to calm me or comfort me. It takes me some time to allow my spirit to calm and heart to remember that it's not about me and I am not the one who can change my unsettled being to calm. Sometimes the Lord lets me fall on my butt one more time before he picks me up and escorts me off the dance floor for some quiet time with Him to refresh and reboot. One of these days I'm going to ask to be escorted off the floor and sit out a dance...until then I'm thankful for the grace that my Lord extends to me on a frequent and sometimes daily basis.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Timing and little things.

Isn't it funny how certain people, places, and things come to our lives at just the right time? Even when the time is not necessarily by our choosing? How certain songs come on the radio when you've held in a much needed cry for several days and you hear that song that always brings tears but at this moment opens the floodgates and you almost feel 5 emotional pounds lighter? How you watch a movie for the thousandth time but this time it catches you the right way and you laugh so hard you can't catch your breath- the kind of laugh that you've not been able to manage in a while because of how hard and heavy life has seemed. 
I've had a few of those moments over the last several weeks. Did it fix everything and wrap it up in a pretty bow? No, of course not. Did it fix all the problems I've been focused on in normal everyday life? Not really. Did it cause me to stop? Yes. Did it cause me to appreciate that solitary moment in time that my life was overtaken by an emotion I was forced to feel because I'd been too busy, or stubborn, or something up until that moment? Yes, it did. 
Funny story coming 'atcha- I really just have one large vice in life. That happens to be coffee somebody else makes. I'm not necessarily a loyalist but yeah, Starbucks and Dunkin (mortal enemies, I know) typically top the list. My husband and I are really trying hard to buckle down and meet some financial goals this year. So, for me, my coffee routine has obviously taken a hit...mostly because we have two children we need to feed but that's really the only reason...Now, coffee is not something I prayed about giving up. I did not give my coffee treat guilt over to the Lord. I thought it minuscule in the scheme of things and just decided to suck it up for a while. However, no less than 3 weeks after trying hard to contribute to our new goal I was gifted a rather nice gift card and then another one for Starbucks and Dunkin. I know it sounds trite y'all but it's the little things. I remember sending my mom a message almost in tears, she did cry, about how the Lord has control and cares about the big things like my heart and my salvation but he knows the ins and outs of my wants and needs all the way down to coffee. Honestly y'all, that is one of those "oh, how he loves me" moments that might not seem like a big deal to anybody else but boy did it rock my world. 
That being said, it's the little things. The song on the radio, the movie, the 6 minutes in the shower without interruption instead of 4, the meal a friend randomly brings, the random text with a thank you or encouragement, a cup of coffee. Don't discount the seemingly small life things. It's in those moments that our Creator shows his difference and his intimate and his personal. Don't miss it y'all because if we look over it, there might be a song on the radio with your name on it...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Not stuck in a box.

For those of you who have read this blog or followed me on any sort of media, ever, you'll know that I've never hidden the fact that I struggled with an eating disorder for several years. Struggled to the point my husband, who was my fiancé at the time, told me we needed to get me help before I needed to even think about getting married. For me that was the deal breaker. It was either a marriage and a family or me by myself wasting away and being miserable and eventually dead. By God's grace the path of marriage and family was wide enough to encompass my insecurities and after a long process I was healed.
These days healthy and strong is my workout motto. I feel better now than I probably ever have in my life. I love the fact that i am strong and not skinny. I enjoy seeing my muscles become more defined and I am no longer scared of the numbers going up on a lousy scale.
I have had a lot of unfortunate happenings with my health over the last 8-9 months. Happenings that almost cost me running across the finish line at the Thunder Road Marathon that I'd trained so hard for, again.  Happenings that meant a LOT of medical testing and blood giving and video camera pill swallowing and several almost hospital admissions.  Thankfully those problems have gone away with an explanation I haven't decided if I'm going to share yet or not but I'm alive and well and back at it!
Most recently I have given myself a break from running (my knees are screaming thank you) and I've gotten into weight training and HIIT workouts. Whew! Are those toughies but awesome! I'm definitely new to those kind of workouts and I'm learning all I can. I plan to start sharing some of my journey here from now on. This blog has kind of adapted and morphed over the years into more of a smorgasbord that anything else and I think I'm okay with that. I thought for the longest time that I needed to fit this blog into a tiny little "mommy blog" and I got stuck in that and eventually it wore on me because anytime I stepped out of that box it felt wrong. No more I say!
So, all that being said, the plan is to just blog. Some days it will be about the girls and others it will be about how many jumping jacks I did that day and some times it might be about how the Lord convicted my heart to tears…You never know what you're going to get! And boy am I excited!

*Also, I do a lot of posting on Instagram (who doesn't, right?) so feel free to follow me there too! @RiCiReid *

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tell the guards to open up the gate!

How often do you come drive home, pull into the garage, and then shut the door? How often is the only time you come out of your house it's to walk straight to the mailbox or on the sit back deck where you are surrounded by your fenced in backyard? How often have you nodded your head to the neighbor that lives in the white house, oh you know, the one that has the black jeep and two teenagers? How many times have you started a conversation with the owner of the black jeep? Do you even know his or her name?
We are so guilty of this. We is talking about my husband and I. We know one set of our neighbors well enough to walk into their house without thinking twice about knocking.  We've lived in the same house for 8 years. It's beyond sad. 
We are called to live in community and our church family lives this out better than most churches I've known or interacted with. We are blessed by it but with this blessing comes a sense of contentment. A sense of contentment that needs shaken up a bit. Because contentment is often a slippery slope.  I talked about needing a neon sign that flashes sometimes to get the point across? Well, that neon flashing sign came by way of a for sale sign in the neighbors yard. You know, the neighbors that I nodded my head to the other day? The neighbors whose names I don't even know? 
Something that has been convicting this family of ours here lately is our comfortably in community. We have been blessed with such a tight community that we consider them family. But we've become comfortable. It's easy and amazing and a blessing to send a quick message and instantly have dinner guests (not guests, companions is more like it) and just spend the evening laughing and loving on one another with ease. 
It's time to open the gate of our fence and perhaps linger a little longer at our mailbox. Or perhaps it's an intentional walk across the road and a knock on the door and an invitation to a cup of coffee or some hotdogs on the grill. It's time for the garage door to not come down with such ease so quickly after we get home. 

1 John 4:11 "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (ESV)