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Faith. Food. (In)Fertility.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Humble Beginnings

I tear up when I hear "The Little Drummer Boy." Since I was a child, that song has gotten to me, right down to my core. I never understood why, having been a pretty-much-non-practicing-Jew until I was 27.  I used to hear that song, and the tears welled up, and something deep inside stirred and moved and nagged. It meant nothing to me spiritually, not on any conscious level- I was my own version of the Anti-Christ.  But... I can't explain how it made me feel. Of course, I also saw the face of Christ in wet pool deck as a teenager, and in mussed-up sofa microfiber as an adult. Oh, and on a cocktail napkin at a bar, once, though that one could easily be explained by the state of my brain at the time (it was so crazy.) I snapped a picture of it on an archaic mobile phone, which is long gone. I wish I still had it, I'd show you.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

"I am a poor boy, too," offers the child. He plays his drum. The baby smiles. I see it when I hear it: a poverty-stricken, dirty child with a drum. The King of Kings in meager surroundings. A humble offering. The miracles of grace and love.

I imagine the once bereft child in the song to have carried the smile from that baby King with him throughout his life, as he herded his sheep, as he prayed with his family before meals, as he rested his head before sleep. And then, how rich that boy who became a man must have felt inside, knowing the Savior smiled at him. He had nothing before that smile, nothing but a modest drum.  He was ordinary, and he became extraordinary, because of his offering and because of that smile.

Neither do we have anything to offer Christ but ourselves. Without him, we are poverty-stricken, spiritually destitute children with tattered drums.  So, play your best for Him, and accept the richness in His smile.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


It's hard being an adult and seeing the big picture of a whole scenario when they can't. I have a good instinct, and I'm usually right. It's hard to put myself back to age 17 to relate to what kids go through. I don't want to. I don't want to excuse behavior I know is inappropriate just because I was a kid once and I know what kids do and how they think and how they behave.  I know more now, I have wisdom and experience and morals and a totally different world view. I wish I could implant WHAT I KNOW into others.  Not "what I think" or "what I suspect." What I know. I am unable and unwilling to go back in time, to put myself in that neurologically immature place of teen-aged  ignorance just to be able to "lighten up" and "relate" so "they like me." I wish I could spare them the agony they will inevitably cause themselves. I can't. And I'm frustrated.

If you're a teenager and you're reading this, no disrespect. The truth is that you really have no clue, but you think the evil grownups have no clue. You think that you are smarter and more clever than we are. You think we're idiots. You think you are entitled to whatever you want.  You think you are sneaky and you think you escape discovery.  You think you are immortal. The hard reality is that you do not have the capacity to understand adults because you lack what we have: a lifetime twice or three or four times the length of yours.  You lack empathy, experience, and quite frankly, the neural connections to wrap your minds around how we love you, and what a mess you are going to make of things when you disrespect us, because you are convinced that we are the idiots, and you are the geniuses.  You just don't get it.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I won't even charge you for this one, it's on me: You have no hindsight. But we do. Or maybe you have a little bit, but ours is miles long, while yours is mere inches.  You're totally myopic, in fact.  Again, no disrespect.  You don't get it, and you won't get it until you are an old person (you know, like 30 or 40) or have your own children.  Here's another freebie: I have a sneaking suspicion that grandparents know even more than parents.

OK, rant to teens done. You are all excused. Let the pity party commence.

I feel a wee bit of bitterness today.  I'm stewing in pathetic self-loathing. I feel used and disrespected and totally unimportant.  My heart loves and aches at the same time.  I'm an afterthought.  It's wretched.  I could be over-reacting, but my head is a noisy place.  Please, listen to me.  Please, understand that I know what's best! Please, understand what I've done for you!  Please, let me love you!  It's all I want. Let me love you! Let my love be enough for you! How can the love of brief, fleeting pleasures and material things be more important and special that what I have to give you?! How do you not see it or feel it, in everything I've done and would do for you!?

Just over 2000 years ago, the fundamental event of Christianity happened, and tomorrow we rejoice in it.  Sadly, in the wake of the celebration of Christ's resurrection, I'm having difficulty focusing on anything but myself!  Could I be feeling, on some minuscule level, what our Heavenly Father feels for us, His children? For me?  Does His heart ache for me and love me at the same time? Does He want what's best for me and to bless me, despite that I continuously err and live in my own nearsighted ignorance?  Does the Lord feel like the afterthought?

Forgive me, Lord. 2000 years ago, You suffered and died, even knowing that You would be the afterthought.  For me. For me, You bled and died so I could be free. You knew I would repeatedly be a disrespectful, disobedient teenager and reject you again and again. And yet, You suffered and died for me, and love me unconditionally.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you, that 2000 years ago, give or take, You never made me an afterthought.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Game Changers

The iron is out, and the cat is in.  Never mind that cats don't move me, (though nor do irons, as a rule,) but I liked the iron game piece in the classic Monopoly game. It had a flat surface that made cruising towards "GO" easier, especially for those slightly OCD people that want their game pieces to stand upright. I wonder how much time we idiosyncratic Monopoly players will waste trying to keep the cat upright? The Battleship better watch its back. I hear the Apache helicopter is waiting in the wings.

The post office announced that they are no longer delivering Saturday mail, except for important packages. Is this sad to anyone else? It seems to be just one more step in the slow decline of everything that seems good and right.  Soon, will all be obese, sitting in chairs all day, living and working completely via our gadgets and remote controls, like in Wall-E? Push a button for this, beam that. I don't know why, but it hits me in a weird place in my gut.

Topping out the list of the Top 5 biggest game changers of my life is my salvation through faith in Christ.  The other four things rotate in their importance.  Always there, usually around 2nd or 3rd place, is my inability to have children. The one year anniversary of my hysterectomy came and went, uneventfully. Of course I thought of  it, but I didn't cry or wallow, or post it on Facebook.  I've reevaluated my attention seeking behaviors.  Everyone moves on, as have I. Mostly.  Today, it's on my mind, but not in a bad way.

Not unlike having to play Monopoly with a *GASP* cat on the board, or *FAINT* no mail on Saturdays, living without the possibility of giving birth, while severely traumatic for a time, is just another blip. I've grown used to it, and have tremendous gratitude for all of the blessings since one of the worst days of my life.  No more physical pain. No worrying about planning vacations around pain and blood loss.  Not having to see my husband's distraught face when he couldn't console me and sat helplessly while I'd scream and writhe in agony for hours, several days per month. Instead, sex doesn't hurt, now, I have significantly less mood swings and lost work. I'm not stuck anymore, emotionally, in "woe is me" land.  Mike and I can come and go as we please, and are not bound by day care, diapers, croup, ear infections, or heaven forbid, Radio Disney.  I can't even say that I'd trade it all for a baby at this point. How's that for honest?

I'm at that place, post-hysterectomy, where I can live.  God knows what's best for me, and I thank Him for that.

Blessings! ~ Laura Story

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's not me. It's you.

I totally went off the deep end for a while. Have I mentioned that? Depending on your true presence in my life-oh, sometime between February and July 4th, 2012- you may or may have not noticed. You may or may have not been exposed to my hormonal (or lack thereof) (or, which dose will I take today?) (or, I hate this pill! I want another!) fluctuations or my generally dysfunctional recovery. But if you would have noticed (and not many people did, or if they did, they didn't typically bother to acknowledge it) you probably would have gotten an earful. And it probably would have been your fault.

I guess I hit a bottom of sorts that I didn't know I was plummeting towards until I did a face-plant. It totally sucked. Some things were good, if not better than ever. Other aspects of life were painfully severe and heavy. It was hard to get through a day without rage or tears. I took aim and fired at the easiest targets. July 4th marked the day of an awakening of sorts. I was that crazy person that needed the intervention, and I got it.  

I'd like to give a hearty thanks to a barrage of supplements, as well as months of a consistent level of (fake) estrogen  in my body, for a slow and steady wave of stability that I've attempted to surf since the end of July. I'd also like to thank my husband, who was kind and loving enough to hit me with the truth after several rocky months.  I only saw what I wanted to see: him retreating and our marriage suffering.  While I never doubted we would endure, and God would see us through the hard times, the ugly reality was that I wasn't right, and I pushed him and pushed him away until he gave it to me.  I needed it. 

July 4th has a special meaning for me.  Particularly, July 4th, 2004.  It was the day after I took a break from my ex-husband, as the marriage was about to fall apart. It was the day a wise man told me with certainty that a year from that day, I would be with a man who loved me more than anything.  He was right, and every July 4th since that one, I have driven down that old road in my mind, and thanked God for sending me Mike. 

When Mike and I went out to watch fireworks this year, I was in a particularly foul mood and blaming him for the distance between us. I was so frustrated by him, and by what I perceived as his intolerance of poor old me and my suffering. He'd never pulled so far from me. One certainty: no matter how much I hated myself or how unhappy I was, I knew Mike and I would be fine.  I knew God had his hands on our relationship.  I didn't like where we were at, but I knew it would be a short trip.  My head knew, had known all along,  in that place in your mind that just "knows" and believes, but my heart wasn't able to feel it. 

So, I picked a fight with him this past July 4th, for the bazillionth time since my surgery, sitting in our car, watching fireworks on the side of the road. I spewed anger, cried, the works.  Mike told me something then, and it rocked me. He told me he was sorry. He told me that he was sorry, but that it wasn't him, and that it was me. I pushed him away. I rejected him. I was not ok.  I was hit by a brick, a surreal jolt of the truth. I can't explain how instantly I understood the weight of what he said.  It was a flood of unbelievable acknowledgment, insight, shame, and deep remorse for how I'd treated him for months. Instant. And now, I had to pray that he'd forgive me.

Five months have gone by since then, and ten months since my surgery.  Mike and I? We're solid.  And I'm much more solid.   Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I think I thought I was better when I wrote my last blog post, but I was still in sufficient pain.   I'll likely look back 6 months from now, God willing, and be even stronger. There is damage that lingers in another relationship that took a nose dive. My marriage is what matters, though. Sometimes, attempting to make amends and repent is unsuccessful.  Sometimes, you do what you can do, and it's not enough. Sometimes, there are people that cannot empathize or even sympathize, can't or wont forgive. It's heartbreaking, but it is a work that has to be left up to God.

I have a beautiful new infant client I was treating the other day and I completely zoned out holding him. I mean, I was just lost in his smell, his eyes, his sweet noises, even fussing he was just beautiful. I snapped back to the present, hoped no one noticed that I went to my own little fantasy land for a bit, and gave the baby back to his mommy.  In about 6 months, I have to give my exchange student back to her  parents, too.  I already know I'll miss her terribly. I think I may be getting more out of her time with us than she. In the mean time, a part of the hole in my heart has been filled by that blessing, and I'll treasure it as long as I can.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fake it 'til you make it!

My heart is healing, and this is good. I suppose setbacks are normal, especially considering changes in hormones (or lack thereof?)  I'm still finding a balance on these pills. My choices seem to be: hot flashes and severe mood swings, or headaches, weight gain, mood swings, and stupid acne. I mean, worse-than-teenager acne. As if this whole thing wasn't a drag, I get giant, hard, painful zits, 2 to 5 at a time: groups of monstrosities my face never saw, even as a high-school girl.  I call foul! I OBJECT! I strenuously OBJECT!

I dreamed the other night that I went to the doctor for my tooth, and he prescribed me an anti-depressant/ anti-anxiety.  I wonder.....


My poor niece. I only half-honestly wanted to steal her chubby, blue-eyed 5-month-old when we visited my family recently.  Smiley, beautiful bundle of love. Setbacks. Yea, they happen. 

And then I go to Walmart and see someone's unattended toddler playing in the bulk pinto beans and think to myself "Thank you, Lord, for making the best decision for me."

Often, lately, I am walking through the motions of gratitude.  I pretty much fake it,  but it's working, little by little. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful. Grateful for the screaming infants in restaurants and grocery stores.  Grateful for the entitled teenagers. Grateful for this terrible, horrible sin infested world that I do NOT have to raise a baby in.  Grateful that I won't have to confront birth control or TV parental controls or any other controls. The compounding and overwhelming negatives (zeitgeist, cough, cough) are affording me a positive.  Thank you, Lord!

I am soooooo believable!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Sam's Club Receipt Checker by Any Other Name

I have little melt-downs about once a day, but it's getting better. I need to stay away from "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant" reruns during my recovery from the hysterectomy. Those shows in no way, shape, or form contribute anything positive to my recovery. In fact, they do nothing more than contribute to my pity party. They are the downfall of society in general, but I digress. Sometimes I don't need provocation to cry. I just cry.

Last summer, when we were going to adopt the baby (that was not to meant to be ours) we spent a good amount of time on names, of course. Well, I did. I would throw them out by the dozen to my husband, who primarily hated all of them. We had a few that we thought were "meh" but we finally settled on one. It was indeed a process. The baby had Mexican parents, but we didn't choose a name based on ethnicity. We chose a name that was sweet, cheerful, and not common. It was a nice name, not one of those weird, rare, attention-getting names, nor was it trendy. It was not an ethnic name, just a decent name that we were quite confident she would not share with many peers, especially not with peers of Mexican decent.

Imagine my shock when, upon having our receipt checked exiting Sam's last summer, I saw the name tag of this beautiful Hispanic girl in her teens with the same name we were going to give our baby girl.  Didn't we just choose this name? We got a good laugh at the time.  Since then, though, since the whole thing fell apart, seeing her has incited some pretty intense emotion.  I flash back to the first time we saw this girl, how strange it all was! How coincidental! Would our baby be pretty like this girl? Did her friends think her name was fitting or odd? Did she like her name?

I've seen her several times since the bad news in September. Now it's the "it wasn't meant to be" that I deal with, that I keep having to deal with.  The anger. The emptiness. The bitterness. She's so innocent in all this. I see her about every other time we go to Sam' Club, politely doing her job, making sure we weren't unloading any unpaid for electronics or what have you. She has no idea.  Her name. No idea.  I tear up, breathe, and move on. It's brief, over before we unload the cart.

I saw her yesterday.  I don't look for her when we go. We only go about twice a month. I'm not 3 weeks post op yet, so outings are still brief and a bit uncomfortable, but very much anticipated. We were headed towards that area between the bakery and the gourmet cheeses and the rotisserie chickens. And there she was, heading towards the back of the store. Probably for a break. It doesn't matter. I see her and it all floods back. This girl really has no idea.

Insert tearful breakdown here. Look at the bread. Act like you care about the bread.  Let's not freak out the customers. What ingredients does this loaf have? No one sees you cry. GET IT TOGETHER! Why does gluten have to be in everything?  You are pretending to shop for bread that you don't eat until you can regain control of yourself. Your husband wonders why you are looking at bread. You ask him "Did you see her?"  and he instantly knows why the bread has become important. Breathe. Look at the bread. Pretend to care about the bread. FOCUS. Pray for some peace in the moment.  Go get the rest of your groceries. Move on.

And get out before her break is over and she checks your receipt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You Fought the Good Fight

I was supposed to evaluate a new client, a baby, last week. The family had something come up and we rescheduled for today. They needed to change it again, so we moved the appointment to Monday.  This morning at about 6:45 I got a call from the social worker that the baby passed away last night. This is the second time in my career that a baby passed away before I got to meet the family. The first time it happened, I lost 4 clients in about the same amount of weeks; one I had never met, one I had evaluated and was waiting for it to get healthy and out of the hospital to begin ongoing services, and two I'd seen a handful of times each.  I'm not sure why I'm sharing this exactly. Parents should never outlive their babies.  What a cruel and terrible thing to endure.

Loss is vicious, weather it's the loss of something you held in your arms, or the loss of something you will never have the opportunity to hold at all. I don't know which is worse.

Yesterday, my doctor said "You fought the good fight." This was after a very messy ultrasound to determine why I've been bleeding for 2 weeks, and a review of the volumes of history in my charts. I honestly thought he'd tell me it was another bad period.  A fibroid? Yea, I've had them before. Not a shock. They come, they go, they get burned off in surgery.  This one, about the size of a golf ball, is causing me to bleed, among other things.  For some reason, I never thought a fibroid would be the final straw.  Well, that, and "I can't find your right ovary. It probably shrunk because it's non-functional. That happens to women after menopause."

I thought I'd get to hold onto my parts for at least another 6 months before I had to contemplate this decision, and that my decision would be based on how much pain the endometriosis that is sure to rear its ugly head again was causing, and if I wanted to bother with yet another laparoscopy.  There is no time for that, since the bleeding will likely not stop, per the doc. The fibroid is likely calcifying and would be medication-resistant. It will continue to cause painful cycles, painful intercourse, stupid crazy bleeding, bowel and bladder issues, and block any minute chance that my questionable left ovary, assuming again, a miracle happens, could do its job (there are cysts in the lefty, anyway, so who knows if eggs exist, and if it would matter.)  And if it were to do its job, it would be fruitless anyway, since this particular golf ball that's taken up residence in my pelvic cavity would mess up any opportunity for a cozy 9-month nesting place.

Let's face it, I just turned 35.  I was hoping that a miracle would happen sometime before summer, since it's happened for so many of my friends at this very age. But, alas. No such miracle is in store for me. I've officially been smacked upside the head.  I will never conceive, nor give birth.  Perhaps another miracle is in the works, perhaps something amazing. Or perhaps the lesson is "This life is rough, and the next will be better. Hold onto that!"

Hold on, I shall!