a whale of a tale

Yesterday was uneventful like most days are ( thank goodness! ) and the morning started as it always does…grumpy baby, sleepy mama and a movie.  Corrigan is at the age where he will sit and watch a little bit of an intriguing movie but because most of the movies I have recently found for him are old VHS tapes there are a lot of movie previews that have to be sat through before the actual “feature presentation” begins.  I know, I know…there is such a thing as fast-forward but when I pop in a movie it is because Mama needs ten minutes to brew a strong pot of coffee and get at least in ounce in her tummy before she can properly function. So the tape goes in…the previews begin…and ten minutes later Corrigan comes toddling out.

I am still searching for that movie. The one that he will watch 4 gajillion times and not blink.  Connor’s favorite was The Lion King. To this day I know every single line, every single inflection of that entire movie.  I am incredibly thankful it was Lion King and not a Barney movie.  I thought we had hit pay dirt when Corrigan managed to watch 30 minutes of Finding Nemo one day but from that day since he shows no interest.  

I know it sounds kind of bad…wanting a movie that your kid will zombie-stare at for 90 minutes but we do not have television and Corrigan does not sit in front of the television nearly as much as Connor did at his age.  It has been really nice to watch Cor play independently and for longer and longer periods of time as he matures. However, there are just some days that I need him to sit still for a bit longer than normal. 

Connor loved Veggie Tales movies when he was a toddler.  I still have his old VHS Veggie Tales tapes and Corrigan doesnt pay them much attention but will stop and dance when they break into song.  I have had much pleasure finding shows that I have been missing on a website called  Hulu (  http://www.hulu.com/ ) and I thought maybe there were some kid-friendly shows on there as well.  I was delighted to find the full length feature film from Veggie Tales titled Jonah.

We settled in front of the laptop and he was really excited when he saw/heard the theme song begin and actually sat through nearly 20 minutes of the movie before he got bored.   I added that movie to my queue so that we could try and watch it again soon and went on with our day.

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(insert awkward transition to new topic here..ha!)

I will admit that I have not been a happy camper lately. I have let some things get out of hand in my life…anxiety being the major issue right now…and found myself slipping further and further away from God.  I read many blogs in a day, catching up on other families that struggle with sick children, husbands with cancer and job loss and I see how these Godly families draw closer to God when things get rough.  When Corrigan was first diagnosed and so critically ill the same thing happened for me.  I literally felt the presence of the Lord near Corrigan when he was in the PICU.  So many miracles took place that first week of his life..and to suggest coincidence rather than miracle would require a greater leap than accepting that the hand of God was guiding everything.  

This past summer, to put it plainly, stunk.  There were huge chunks of time that Mark and I did not have a single dollar between us.  When he first was out of work I refused to get too emotional about it. I wanted to prove that I could handle the really hard stuff…I mean, we have a child with a frightening disorder for cryin’ out loud…I can handle something as simple as NO MONEY.  ( you can laugh now, go ahead )

…and I think I did pretty awesome (boastful! need to work on that!).  I think I got truly scared and cried twice in the last four months over money.  For the most part it has been incredibly freeing whittling down our life to the barest of essentials.  I can now look at my calendar and see SIX bills each month.  There are no debits coming from my checking account…there are no meals out…there are no frivolous purchases…buying the good diaper wipes makes me dance a happy dance on the way to the checkout counter.  We have been helped by family, friends and our church. We never have to worry about being hungry.  We are warm. We are safe. We are sheltered.

But what I found is that while I was being totally cool about our finances…I was slowly losing my mind over the baby. Which makes zero sense since he will have had nearly three MONTHS of good metabolic health on October 3rd.   I worry and fret over every bite of food that goes into his mouth. I spend a lot of time in the Food Values book trying to figure out the maximum nutrition I can get into him while also making sure his protein needs are met (and not a tenth of a gram more than that) and his calories are high.  I read article after article about vegan diets and stress over his lack of Omega-3 and Omega-6 because he does not consume meat or eggs.

I began over-analyzing every rash on his body, every extra half-hour of naptime…God forbid he should cough I wouldnt sleep right for days.  And worst of all I stopped talking to God.   At night I would close my eyes and pray only to find that my mind was drifting away, sometimes actually falling asleep mid-prayer.  I could not FOCUS.  I had so much to be thankful for but I felt like I couldn’t find an inch of happiness.  I would read the blogs of those that were suffering and whereas, in months past, if I said “I will pray for you” I prayed. Sometimes, right there at the computer before I moved to another webpage.

Then, slowly, I found I was offering prayer but was not praying.  I meant to pray.  I never say “I will pray for you” and not mean it. I just didn’t remember…my mind just felt so jumpy.  I knew that the anxiety was taking over and felt helpless against that.

I’ve begun to really recognize my behaviors this past week.   I have done a lot of thinking and really trying to be better.  Last week was not a pretty week for me.  I was awful to my husband, I was short-tempered with Connor, I was rude and used foul language when talking to friends. I was not in a good place.  It didn’t feel pretty. 

(awkward transition back to Jonah and the whale)

After Corrigan and I watched some of Jonah we went on with our day.  A few hours later the mail came and it was mostly junk mail.  We get a lot of random religious publications and at first glance I thought that the pamphlet I was about to throw into the trash was a Watchtower publication (which I enjoy reading even though I am clearly not Jehovah’s Witness) but in my current frame of mind I thought it best to keep my mind and reading on Biblical literature that was closest to my Baptist beliefs.  However, upon quick second glance I realized that this was not a Watchtower publication and opened it out of curiosity.

 I was pleasantly surprised that the focus of the entire edition was on, you guess it, the book of Jonah.   As I mentioned above, I am not a believer in coincidences.  Clearly, God wanted me to read the book of Jonah.  So I did.

I have to tell you, that Jonah dude is nowhere near the Jonah of Bible School class.  I really found myself struggling to relate at ALL to this man.  He was of poor attitude, he was full of himself, jealous of others and he directly disobeyed God!  Even after the whale, Jonah was stubborn and awful…and as I read, and did some online studying I realized that I had a lot to learn from Jonah.

I am not a teacher of the Bible. I have a LOT to learn…but I appreciate that God takes the time to show me things. No coincidences.

Jonah had a sour attitude , so do I.  I am not proud of the disrespecting tones I have used with Mark lately. The topics have been heavy and need great thought and prayer…and I was angry and wanted him to answer FOR me..make my decisions. When he told me to pray about it, I became angrier.

Jonah was full of himself, so am I.   The world does not revolve around ME and my anxiety.  The world does not revolve around ME and my lack of self-confidence.  This family can get along fine without me…who am I to publicly declare that they couldn’t?   This family does not revolve around ME.

Jonah was jealous, and so am I.  I am jealous that other people can go out and buy new clothes, new technology…that they have running cars and retirement accounts and healthy children and a house that doesn’t always smell like a dog no matter how much I clean.

Jonah disobeyed God and so have I.   I stopped praying. I stopped PRAISING.  I stopped spreading the Word.  I stopped being a helpmeet to Mark.  I became bullheaded and unagreeable. I let sin take over my thoughts. Worry is a sin…and sin is dark and damaging but it does not stop the love of God.  That love isn’t new but is eternal.

I know that the book of Jonah is about disobedience and also about not loving all as God loves us. I know that what I have taken from Jonah is probably not the main point of the book but the man that I could not understand upon first real reading (Jonah) became clearer to me as I applied his behavior to my own life.  My behavior, my sour attitude and worries and fears were causing problems in our home.

I identified with the sailors as they tossed Jonah into the sea. The storm that God sent while Jonah was on their boat frightened them and when they realized that Jonah was the reason they got rid of him.  Nothing would stop the storm until they cast him from their sight.  Has sin ever entered your ship and brought trouble to your life? My anxiety has become that sin…and it will rage until I throw Jonah out of my life and heart.  “Keey thy heart with all dillgence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23)

The best part though is that God is patient. Jonah was not a nice man…God had to punish him several times…I think that Jonah probably converted more people to the Lord than any other prophet but was highly unlikeable..but God is patient with the weaknesses and complaints of his people!

There is a lot of work to be done. I need to re-focus, re-group and listen to what God wants for me. I know that God does not want me to live my life as I have for the past 4 months. He did not give me this life to squander it on fear and worry.  I have a lot to testify for in the name of God, our blessings are nearly too many to count.  Thank you Jonah for your lesson.

(insert awkward transition to super cute, amazingly squishy photos of my little waterbug)

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Yes, I am aware of the news involving the poor family that had their children taken away because they tried to have photos of their nude children, innocently playing in the tub, printed at Walmart.  It is probably an entire new post to rant and rave over how I feel about that. I assume that because news outlets would not print most of the photos that they probably were fully nude shots.  If I went to my cedar chest, right now, and opened an old album from my childhood I know I can find at least three photos of my sister, or myself, innocently playing without clothing.  What this world has become has stolen what was once a beautiful reminder of the fleeting innocence of childhood.

How sick perverted people have tarnished the innocence of childhood. How what used to be in every single photo album will never make it in future albums because of the twisted minds and fears.   I have taken care to make sure that these photos show nothing more than they would were Corrigan in a baby pool.  I will not be fully censored because society is unable to realize the wonder and beauty of childhood innocence. 

I think that a naked baby is one of the sweetest things to behold.  They have not a care in the world, not a single hang-up about their bodies, they are fully enjoying everything that their new bodies can do and learning more everyday.   Corrigan is never happier than when he is in the tub.  If, God forbid, he were not here tomorrow I would draw upon the memories I have of the joy he had each and every single time he took a bath. The way he stops playing and looks up at me and then smiles so big, as if to say, “Can you BELIEVE this, mom?” touches me and I think that you can see that joy in his eyes from these photos.

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