If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Friday, December 16, 2011

Forty....and other 'F' Words.


I'm forty.

Yep, I said it. And so far, the earth hasn't stopped rotating, people aren't gasping and none of my body parts are hanging any lower than they were the last day I was 39.....so far.

You may remember, the approach to my birthday last year was riddled with self-imposed misery that culminated into a pity party of colossal proportions. Good times.

With that in mind, I was nervous as to how I would handle the transition into the digits beginning with the big 'F.'

As with any birthday, there's a natural tendency to look back and ponder. I do that every year, but especially whenever I cross over into a whole new decade. It was during those retrospective thoughts recently that it occurred to me that Forty isn't the only F-word used to describe my journey.

My 20's:
Frantic: excessively agitated marked by uncontrolled excitement or emotion

I married Chuckles when I was 21. Z was born when I was 22. A was born when I was 24. K was born two months premature when I was 27 and I suffered a post-vasectomy miscarriage when I was 28. Toss in a boat load of insecurity, self doubt and a young mom of 3 young kids who was trying to hold it all together or at least appear that she was, and you've got a hot mess on your hands.....Frantic.

My 30's:
Forge: to move ahead slowly and steadily

I entered my 30's weighing 250 pounds....254 if you want to be exact. I'll never forget the day my Mamaw Putter said to me, "You're too young to be that fat." (May she rest in peace.) I remember thinking, "I'm not fat. I just have giant bone structures." It wasn't until I dragged myself into a Ladies Fitness Center and stepped onto the scale that my eyes were finally opened to what had gradually been happening. That was when I Forged into my journey of exercise and a healthier lifestyle that ultimately led me to go back to school to become a Massage Therapist a year later. Halfway through this Forging adventure, my husband had his vasectomy reversed and we welcomed C into our family when I was 35.

Then God revealed the next thing on my To-Do List. And when God reveals something to you, He doesn't leave a doubt in your mind, and the 2nd half of my 30's was spent doing studies by Beth Moore that required me to come face to face with some hard core identity issues in my life. Tough stuff but I survived.

I turned 39 thinking that my To-Do list was under control. BIG mistake, because out of the blue, God allowed the next one to slap me upside the head....My approach to relationships. I had a pattern in my life that I kept repeating without even realizing it and it became clear that I needed to break the vicious cycle. It was time to stop trying to please people because where in the heck does that end?!? Somebody is always going to be mad at you. It's reality. You may as well accept it.

Beth Moore gives an awesome visual to how to approach people. Picture the Cross between you and each person in your life. The horizontal line represents the connection between you and the vertical line represents boundaries. That's where I always screwed up. I would walk on eggshells with their boundaries but in my desperate need for the connection, I would always forget to put up my own. Then when I would try later, it would come as a shock, people would get offended and the vicious cycle repeats. Can you say insanity?!?

So my 39th year was spent instilling some crosses. The installation of crosses always begins with forgiveness. I had to forgive myself. I had to forgive others. And I had to move forward with the new changes and the determination to ignore hostile repercussions that always accompany things that people don't understand. These were my mistakes that I had to take full responsibility for and with that comes the responsibility to clean it up and stop the cycle in it's tracks. Some people stay. Some people don't.

Good riddance 39!

Six days into my 40's:
Free: Not under the control or in the power of another

I turned 40 weighing exactly 100 pounds less than I did at 30.
Food does not control me.

I am the child of my Heavenly Father. I am in the Royal bloodline. My identity lies in Him. Therefore, I throw all of my insecurities and doubts about my self-worth into the pit with the enemy where they belong, because that's who they're coming from.
My thoughts do not control me.

My life is full of amazing people who know me well and choose to be a part of my life anyway. A solid cross stands between each of us. They are not responsible for my happiness, nor are they to blame for my unhappiness. Just as I am not responsible or to blame for theirs.
My fear of relationships does not control me.

Now I prepare myself for God to reveal the next thing on my list. I'm holding my breath here, because I know it's coming sooner or later. Joyce Meyer says, "If God hasn't told you what He wants you to do next, just keep doing the last thing He told you until He does." So I will.

You might notice, none of the things on my list can be checked off and considered accomplished. They're a daily battle filled with choices.

In the meantime, I'm passing these lessons onto my kids so that maybe one day when they look back at their 20's and beyond, their 'F' word can be 'Free' and save themselves some of the pain that comes with the 'Frantic Forge.'

Friday, December 9, 2011

The People's Court-ers

My husband doesn't choose too many battles and as far as I can tell, there's no rhyme or reason to his method of choosing. Sometimes they're obviously justifiable. Then there are times I raise my eyebrows and wonder what the heck just happened.

The latest battle he chose landed us in court. This time, he took on the local hospital. More specifically, the surgical center. And eventually, even more specifically, the anesthesiologists.

The problem? A bill for a surgery I had last year. The remainder of the bill, not covered by insurance, was a sum of $600. According to the itemized statement, that total came from 3 separate recovery room charges for roughly $200 each. They were broken down like this: "Recovery Phase I, 30 minutes. Recovery Phase II, 30 minutes. Recovery Phase III, 15 minutes."

It was "Recovery Phase III" that sent him over the edge and suddenly we were going to battle over the injustice of duplicate billing.

When he gets like this, I've learned to just go along for the ride.

So last month when I woke up to a voice mail telling me to meet him at the courthouse and instructing me to show cleavage, I thought "Here we go."

My hope was that it would be quickly decided one way or another that day and we could move on with our lives. And I think we stood a chance of that happening, until my husband got a little carried away in his closing argument and may or may not have accused the hospital of telling the anesthesiologist to put me into a deeper sleep so that I would need an extra 15 minutes of recovery time as part of a master plan to make an extra buck.

Holy crap, he did not just say that.

And on that note, our trial was set for December 8th.

So yesterday, we sat in the courtroom waiting to begin. I was shaking with nerves while my husband sat there repeatedly making the sounds from the opening of "The People's Court".....du nu du.

"The Plaintiffs" arrived. aka; the sleezy collections lawyer and the spokespeople he was ordered to bring from the hospital. I was a little surprised at the appearance of the spokespeople. I was expecting men in suits. So I was taken aback to see 2 elderly women dressed in slacks and festive holiday sweaters.

My husband leaned over and loudly whispered "I bet he asked his grandmas to come pretend to work at the hospital."

Let's keep that little accusation to ourselves, okay Chuckles?

The lawyer approached us and asked if we wanted to talk.
Me: "About what?"
Him: "Your reaction."
Me: "My reaction to what?"
Him: "You became extremely ill after your surgery and started profusely vomiting."
Me: "I did?"
Him: "Yes."
Me: "Well, this conversation is over. Now I want to ask the judge why neither of us were informed that I became so violently ill after surgery."
My husband: "Maybe it was because she was given too much anesthesia."

Quiet, Chuckles.

The trial itself was uneventful. One of the grandmas took the stand and the lawyer questioned her. I was proud of my husband when he leaned over and whispered, "Leading the witness" rather than dramatically standing up shouting while pointing his finger and he never once yelled "OBJECTION" and pounded the table with his fist as he'd planned in the van on the way.

The court was very patient with him. When we were shown "Exhibit A", my signed consent form, he sat there reading every word and then dramatically asked me if that was my signature. (Sigh) When it was his turn to swear to tell the truth and was told to raise his right hand, he abruptly raised his left and sat there staring at the judge until the judge finally had to tell him to please raise his other hand.

Grandma explained that the 3rd Recovery Room charge was because I became nauseous after the surgery and needed some medication. Turns out there was no profuse vomiting. Shocker.

When it was my turn to speak, I began to tell the judge what happened with the lawyer before the trial. The lawyer interrupted with an objection and claimed it was irrelevant. The judge overruled him and allowed me to speak and then scolded the lawyer for his inappropriate behavior while I sat there fighting the urge to stick my tongue out at him.

When it was all said and done, we wrote out a check for $600 plus court costs.

Lesson learned: In the court of law, Grandma always trumps Cleavage.