Going to Heaven

So many people have asked me this question:
Why would a good God punish me when I’ve been a good person? Why would He keep my young child out of heaven?

Now, I don’t know what God’s exact rules for children are. I don’t know when the legal age is in his eyes. I am not here to debate the finer policy on standards of behavior.

What I have come to realize is that it isn’t God keeping you out of heaven because of what you have done. He is holding a $1,000,000,000,000,000 a plate banquet. He has the cash in his hand. All you have to do is RSVP and he will pay for your plate. But there is a time limit. You can only RSVP now, here on Earth. Once you have died, it is time to enter the banquet hall, and nothing you do can change that if you missed your chance.

Many people think this is unfair. I wonder if they are the same people who think it is unfair that Donald Trump has a separate limousine for every day of the week, or that Bill Gates has a personal doctor at his beck and call for every moment of his life.

Imagine if Mr. Trump showed up at your doorstep and offered for you to come live in his vacation home. What would you say? Free of charge… Servants, food, and plane fare included. Sounds too good to be true… Lets just say that you get a lawyer to look over the contract. What does the lawyer say? He says that you are free to do so. There is nothing that will come back to bite you if you take the offer. Taxes are covered, everything you could wish for is included. You would love this offer!! You would jump at the chance… Except for the possibility of not seeing your friends anymore. Ok… When you die, you will DEFINITELY not see your friends anymore. You are going to dissolve to dust and your spirit is going to go to either Heaven or Hell. Jesus has extended you an offer to come live in his vacation home: Heaven. The only other place you CAN live is in the sewer: Hell. Why would you choose the sewer when you could have the mansion? But the problem is that when your spirit leaves the body and goes to the other side, it crosses a bridge that you CANNOT change your mind. It is physically too late. All you have to do is sign the contract here, on earth, during this lifetime.

Not only did Jesus write you a generic invitation, but He is always standing on your doorstep waiting for you to accept. Imagine if Mr. Trump were outside your door every morning, knocking to wake you up and asking you if you would please come to live in his home. That is the glory and amazement of the King of Kings coming to knock on your heart’s door. How could you say no?

This gets even more amazing when Jesus says to you that your friends are invited, too. Won’t you please tell them so they can come. Once you know that this is where you are going, don’t you want to have your friends along? You are all getting kicked out of your home one day. You all have the sewer/mansion choice. But the choice has to be made while you are a homeowner. After that, either the street cleaners come get you or you jump in the limo to the mansion. No alternatives. You can’t simply say that you were nice. You have to have accepted the offer. But that is the ONLY requirement.

So is this unfair? Is it unfair that you have to say yes? Do you think you could get into a $1000/per plate dinner with $999 on the day of the banquet? Do you think it is unfair that as long as you were a homeowner, Mr. Trump was offering to upgrade you to a mansion, but when you moved out, he left you on the street? Well, maybe it is unfair… In the same way that it is unfair that my friend got her child oranges for his Christmas stocking while I gave my kid toys… Or that my kid got Pajamas while another kid got Wii games. But that doesn’t mean that that parent has any obligation to share their money with me. They worked hard for it, and they deserve to keep it.

The fact that God set a time limit doesn’t make it unfair. Unjust, yes. After all… Justice dictates that only perfect people get into heaven. People who have never told a lie or untruth, had a bad thought, or hurt anyone for any reason other than justice. Tell me a brother who has never pulled his sister’s hair. Tell me a child who has never stolen a piece of candy. Tell me a mom who has never felt like yelling at their child. Tell me a baby who has never screamed when they didn’t get their way. These are all examples of minor sins. They are offensive to God. They take the money out of your pocket, and cause you to have even less money. You start out with the money for that plate, and you cannot get any more. All you can do is try to hold on to what you have. But instead of trying to pay for your own plate, why WOULDN’T you take Jesus up on his offer? Take his grace and mercy and go to the banquet stained and torn. He has a new outfit for you. He has a ticket. Just say yes before the limo pulls out. The plane won’t turn around for you. The langoliers are going to get you. All you have to do is be on the plane.


Defensive Cleaning

I’m not a clean person. My house is a mess. When I say mess, I mean that I can’t even find a clean cup if I haven’t washed them this week. I have tried out several “methods” or “systems” to getting my housekeeping skills improved. None of them helped me. Most of the time, I had to battle the stress of not having enough energy. And once I fail at the infallible system, I have discovered that it only makes the system that much harder to try again.

Of course, not every system claims perfection. Not every system claims that it will work for me no matter what my situation. I needed to find something that works for me, with my peculiar handicaps. I found something that was common to ALL of the systems I tried. The starting point.

One started with the kitchen sink. One started at the door and moved clockwise through the room… another started with the car and moved into the house. Either way, they all focused on maintaining that starting point. And if you failed, you started back over from that point. Of course, none of them implied or stated that you failed. They say things like:

You’re not behind–just jump in where you are! ~ FlyLady

These all work for most people. In fact, there are very few exceptions for their methods. But there are a few of us who have extenuating circumstances. I think these moguls are great mentors. I find them encouraging and love their great ideas. I think that some are arrogant and some are overgentle. Some are too frugal, some are too expensive. That isn’t such a bad thing. It just isn’t what I need. I need something that is customized. Something that fits my family, where we are now, and where we will be in the future.

I had to look for my own starting point. What inspires me? Where do I feel stressed if there is clutter? What makes me feel crowded? What makes me feel free?

Most of the systems advocate getting rid of extras. I thought I’d get rid of a few boxes of clothes. I have donated over 20 boxes! That is no small feat! I have a box ready to go to my MIL, partially filled with dishes that she gave us years ago… that I never really loved.

Step two is finding that “starting point.” This is the most important space in YOUR life. For some people, it is the kitchen. In fact, for most women, it is the kitchen. So, many of the methods start there. With the sink. They either call it shining the sink, or emptying the sink, or just daily washing. But they focus on the most valuable part of the kitchen. You can microwave without the stove. You can wash dishes without the dishwasher. You can cook with no microwave. But you have to be able to run water for almost EVERYthing. You have to be able to wash your dishes, add water to noodle soup, etc. So that makes sense.

Except that my kitchen (and, indeed, most kitchens!) TERRIFIES me. I can’t stand it. I have a panic attack about having to go in there. I feel gross and frightened. It is odd, ridiculous. But it is truth. So every time I try to apply their systems, I get to the kitchen and blanch. I can’t keep going.

So what is my starting point? I started with my desk. If it is clean, I can use my computer. I can start getting things labeled, I can start playing Bingo, and I can start communicating with my FLYfriends. Of course, I am no longer a FlyBaby. I no longer subscribe to the emails, or follow the babysteps. I no longer strive for a new step every day. I cannot. And I know it. I am content to stay where I am until I can move on. I have a clean desk. I do extra chores as I can. But I don’t follow anyone’s rules. I follow all of them.

I began to feel like I was constantly at war with my house. I would clean my living room, then I would find the bedrooms a mess. So I clean them, and the playroom is a nightmare. So I clean it, and the living room smells foul. So I clean it, find the stench, and then I can’t get to bed at night. So I clean my room, and then the kids have all of their toys out!

I decided that I needed a safe zone to start my war. I needed a Last Line of Defense. Somewhere where the nightmare would never cross. Something that I would do every night, that would make a difference. The shiny sink never helped. I hate the kitchen. I have a panic attack about it! So no, that doesn’t work for me.

I began searching for a space. A trench that I could hold against the bombardments of life. A grenade-proof zone that would make me feel good when I entered it. Safe. Secure. Clean.

When I decided on my desk, I wasn’t really thinking in terms of war. I was thinking in terms of being fed up. But I started with my desk. I cleaned it off, and cleaned it a little more every day. I evicted the junk that had piled up, and I organized the things I needed to keep. I developed my own system for it. In fact, even though there were other things on my bedtime bingo, I set the desk as MOST important. I take the trash, dishes, and books to their homes at night. I set the pencils, pens, and letter opener back int he pencil holder. And I put away the bills. My desk looks ok. The next morning, I can wake up refreshed and alive. I boot up my computer and look at my plan for the day. I play a game of Bingo, even if it is only with myself. Then I move on to bigger tasks. But my desk is important. I maintain it.

This is my trench. This is my Line of Defense. This is my safety. This is my peace.

And this is my life.

How can I help?

Many people struggle with Depression. In fact, unless you are a hermit, there is a good chance that you know three people who do. When someone is frustrated, depression tweaks their perspective inward to their failures. Many people, in an honest attempt to cheer us up, immediately try to turn our perspective outward. It sounds logical: if others could come from worse situations, and turn around and thrive, I know you can too!!!

Except that we don’t hear it that way. Turn that sentence around to an “I” perspective, and it sounds more like this: Hey! Other people have it so much worse! You’re whining about a tiny thing! Suck it up and get off your butt and get something done.

Doesn’t that make me even worse than I was already thinking I am? We need encouragement. Don’t compare us to others. Don’t make jokes about our failures, real or perceived.

Husbands lovingly tell their wives that Mom did it all with 17 kids, two crippled dogs, and five full-time jobs. So since I can’t, does that make me bad? No, the husband just wanted to be encouraging. But he didn’t understand.

So enough about what you can’t do: compare.

“What CAN I do?” You might ask. Thank you for asking!! First, pray. Encouragement comes best from God. Second, listen. It is amazing how much better I feel just having someone who listens when I’m down. Don’t take anything that they say personally. One of the expressions of depression is attack. We attack to protect ourselves. YOU should have been here! YOU should have… If its your fault, it isn’t mine.

Don’t reply. Don’t be hurt. Listen and understand. This isn’t how we truly feel. This is the enormity of our pain. By letting the words roll off you, you can show us the greatest love in the best language.

I know that those hurtful things are hard to hear. I know that sometimes they WILL be personal. If you cannot tune them out, or if you can’t avoid being hurt, here is another suggestion: send them an email. Again, you have to watch what you say. Don’t compare to others. Only point them to God, or be encouraging that the darkness will end. They will be ok.

Another VERY helpful thing is to take some of the burden. This is tricky, though, because, depending on the source of their frustration, you could rub salt in an open wound.

If they are frustrated with the kids, don’t take the kids away. That will just make them feel like a worse parent. Just be there with the kids… AND them. If it is housework, don’t do it for them. Just do it with them.

Take the whole family to McD’s to let the kids play. Bring over a picnic lunch with coffee or tea. Use all paper plates so there is very little cleanup. Just stress that you just didn’t want the hassle of dishes. Make it about you. I know that it is easy to say “I didn’t want you to have to do dishes.” But hear that through the D mask, and it becomes: “I knew you wouldn’t be able to do dishes.” I know that it is ridiculous, but thinking becomes warped. And it is the same as telling a person in a wheelchair that they should not do something because it is too hard with no legs. We have no emotional strength when D hits.

The best thing you can do is pray. That will always help.

Postpartum depression… Is it worth the risk?

So after MacKenzie was born, I struggled with REALLY bad postpartum depression. I ended up staying in the hospital for a week. At that time, many nasty things were said to me, by hospital staff, by random strangers, and even by close friends and family. Things like “You can’t have any more children… Just look at how much trouble you caused after the last one!!” Or “You need to just get over whatever religious problems you have [with birth control pills] and take a pill already! You obviously can’t keep from getting pregnant, and you don’t want to end up here again, do you?”

Of course, they are right. I don’t want to go down that dark road again. I don’t want to be separated from my children because of my incompetence as a childbearing woman. I do want another baby. I want another child to pour my heart into.

No. Before you state the “logical” side, please tell me when the last time “Logic” dictated whether you had a crush on that cute jock in the front row, or cried over that movie that had a sad ending, or… Well, you get the idea. I KNOW that it isn’t logical. I know that it probably isn’t a good idea. What I can’t get over is the pain of knowing that I can’t do it because I’m not a good enough woman to hold myself together when the big D comes knocking.

I want another baby. I really do. No, this has nothing to do with all the other babies I’ve been seeing lately, or with anything else I could mention. I wanted another baby the day MacK was born. I knew I wasn’t done. But my husband is… So I am.

My Love Life
Holding her in your arms for the first time
Counting her tiny fingers and toes,
This little piggy, peek-a-boo

Changing his diaper and cooing
Laying cheek to cheek before bed
Skin to skin, nursing sounds

Changing sheets in the middle of the night
Emptying the potty training chair
Washing three loads if clothes

Forgetting the dishes to play with Legos
Hanging the kids on the line in your shirt
Jumping on the trampoline

Homework at the kitchen table
Burning your hand on the stove
Eating out instead of burnt food,

Handing over the car keys
Debating politics
Crying over a boyfriend

College exams time. No more emails
Checking Facebook every day
Care packages

Wedding gown and rented tux
A ring handed down for vows exchanged
Giving her away

Moving him to a bigger place
His wife is expecting a baby
Showering with gifts

Hospital beds with flowers from friends
The grand kids in your arms for the last time
Counting heads and saying goodbye

What a day

It has been an interesting day. These 3-hour naps are gonna drive me crazy!!! I will set up an appointment for Friday afternoon, so I can go to work first. Hope that I can get it worked out that way, at least.
My doctor says my situation is weird. I need to look up narcolepsy and figure out what I can about it. Well, that’s all for now, folks!