Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things I've Overheard While Hanging at the Hospital

To be honest, I am bored senseless.  Hopefully, now that things are "moving" [at this point, the man truly doesn't care that you know anything about his bowels...he is proud] we get to leave at some point today. He is ready to be home.  I am ready to be home.  Send us home!!

I have been all over this hospital these last four days.  I am a people watcher. Nowadays, because of cell phones, people just talk all the time. [And I have been listening...]

On the morning of surgery [at approximately 6ish] I overhear this one:
Well, they are gonna bust up them stones and clean his prostrate [that would be prostate but I'm no doctor] out.  You know, he's been peeing too much for a while now.

In the cafeteria:
Girl 1:  Well I told him he better take me out to dinner tonight since tomorrow is our anniversary.  He has to work tomorrow night on a 24 hour shift.
Girl 2: Are ya'll still together?  
Girl 1: Yes, we are still married. He is working on it and I think he means it this time.  He better mean it.
[None of my business but since you weren't trying to hide the conversation maybe if she'd stop demanding that "he better" she'd be a little more content.]

Girl 3: How was this weekend?  Are you engaged?
Girl 4: It was great.  Yes and no to the engagement.
[I don't mean to go tellin' tales out of school but you are either engaged or not engaged aren't you?]

On our floor:
Doctor in another room as we walked in the hall:  Well it seems your urine is growing something new this time.
[I am sad their urine is growing something but that one made me chuckle.]

Woman from housekeeping to another housekeeping person:  Yeah.  I was on time this morning.  I at 5am.  And you know, when I got here a "person" [complete with quotes in the air] was all holed up in that nurses lounge with that little computer.  But, you know, to each their own.

Girl in the hall with her phone on speaker: Well you know how she is...she loves to cause problems and make everything about her.  
[Unfortunately we had to turn so I couldn't hear the response from the phone. I am terrible.  Being bored will do these things to a person.]

My personal favorite...the elevator:
Woman [speaking to me]: It feels so much better in this elevator.  It is freezing in my room.  Tomorrow I will bring pants to wear.
[Side note:  I walked behind her from the cafeteria. Her shorts were so low that I saw a good 2 inches of crack.  It does kill.  Crack kills.]
Me [speaking to her, as she exited the elevator]: Don't forget your belt....


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Because I Am...

I am currently spending night number three in the hospital with an ailing husband.  What started out Monday morning as a "routine" laparoscopic appendectomy [I feel so smart using those big words] has turned into, well, a cluster of sorts.  

[I am sharing details that you will either find fascinating or just plain gross. You've been warned.]

First, the surgeon, upon ballooning up poor Mr. Short's abdomen to perform the procedure figured out his appendix was very stubborn.  The calcification [again, who but a Short, gets a useless stone in a useless organ] basically cemented the appendix to the the WRONG direction!!  He even tried an extra port to see if he could get the appendix out.  Nadda. Zip. Wasn't happening.

Next, he had to make an incision to get to the appendix.  So, in addition to 4 "bullet holes" Short also has a nice zipper.  The appendix, in the words of the surgeon, "did not look right", so he called in pathology. Holy guacamole!  We went from "You'll be home by tonight" to "There was a question of a malignancy in his intestines."  

Last, [but certainly not least as the Short summer has gone] the man had a hernia that repaired itself with the incision to the abdomen. [I told Craig he got a free surgery.  He has yet to see the humor.]

Two days out [slowly moving into day number three] after the surgery day we are still here at the hospital. 

To say Craig is disgusted is an understatement.  
He is so ready to be home. 
We are ready for him to be home.

It has been quite the summer at the Short house.

Yet, through each mountaintop experience and the valleys, God has shown us that he is holding us up and sustaining us with his grace and mercy.  

Today, talking with one of the many folks that have called to check on us, a friend said, "We find the joy in every situation." 

I could seriously shout that from the roof right now! [Of course, if I do, they will find me and then I'll be breaking news on many channels and the Shelby Star's crappy website.]

Craig is going to be OK.  There was not a malignancy.  Yes, he will be in pain for a while and recovery will be a bit longer BUT he will recover. 

How many folks are still facing days, weeks, months in the hospital?   
How many people are facing things they will NEVER recover from like illness or addiction or abuse?

Finding the joy in our situation is SUPER easy.  This is just a bump in the road [even for bad as he feels right now, I know he would agree] and all will end well. 

Countless numbers of friends and family have called, visited, texted, and emailed to check on all six of us.  I have been overwhelmed with all the well wishes, offers to help us with the kids, meals, and prayers.  Our church family has also been such a blessing, watching over our children, getting meals together, and just being faithful prayer warriors.

Finding the joy, even in the midst of trials.

I will say that our experience here at the hospital, though not how we intended to spend this last week in July, has been OK.  Everyone has been excellent [I heard that was the buzz word around these parts] and very kind to my sweet husband. 

Finding the joy that others bring to us when we can't find it ourselves.

[This next part of this post is just me simply pouring out my heart about a situation that really bothered me, but needed to bother me.  It is something that I have been working on for the better part of this week, between all the commotion.  I am in no way, shape, or form looking for sympathy.  The truth hurts. I am choosing to find the joy and change my circumstances.]

The title of this post is "Because I Am...".  Allow me to finish the sentence:

Because I am overweight...

  • feet hurt.  Doesn't matter the shoes...they hurt.
  • ....I can't wear decent clothes.  I am constantly trying to hide it all.
  • ....I don't want to be in ANY pictures.  I hate pictures. Despise them. Avoid them like the plague.
  • ....I get uncomfortable in social situations.  I am embarassed at how I look and my mind lets me focus on that so much when I am around others.
  • ....Mirrors are not my friend.  I barely look in one to get ready.
Because I am overweight, I could not get on a ride while at Dollywood.  I was actually on the ride but the operator couldn't get the shoulder harness pushed down all the way so I had to exit the ride. In front of everyone on the ride.
That was my moment.  That was the moment that defined it all for me.  

Wake. Up. Call.

I am the only one...THE ONLY ONE...who can fix this for me.  There isn't a magic pill or shake or whatever that is going to make me healthy.  Getting healthy and staying healthy is up to me.  

I do make an effort but that isn't enough.  It is called change. 

I've wrestled with this for a couple of weeks and I go from discouraged to hopeful and back and forth.

Society says women are only "beautiful" when they are thin.  Thin as in skinny all the way to thin as in fit..but either way you look at it, that is what others see.  

I will use a perfect example that has been in the news recently.  A Boston radio show announcer made the comment [that ultimately resulted in the station he worked for being dropped by Fox Sports] that if Erin Andrews were 15 pounds heavier she wouldn't be reporting for Fox Sports but waitressing at a Perkin's. I guess that means I should really be doubling as an iceberg in the Antarctic. Seriously.  

I have listened to it at my job for years [from students and employees] when people are talking about others.  I heard a student this year say that he didn't like _____ [yes, he called her by name] because she was one of those fat girls. [I promptly told him that heavy, skinny as a rail, or in the middle that it really didn't matter because none of them were stupid enough to like him anyway so all was good.  Idiot.] I've overheard one teacher tell another male teacher that he liked driving field trips for a particular female teacher because she was, and a I quote, "hot" and "good to look at".  If he said it loud enough for me to hear, I know the kids heard it too. Idiot. Yes, it does happen in the opposite way too.  

I've listened to people describe others as "heavy set" or "that bigger girl or guy".  Why can't she be described as the girl with the amazing singing voice or the guy with the awesome sense of humor?  

Women don't help themselves at all. Social media has created the idea that the smaller my bathing suit, the more my boobs hang out, and the darker my tan that I will get "liked".  [This is a whole other rant for another night.] Any boy [or man for that matter] that is giving you his seal of approval on your pictures is NOT doing so because they like who you are...the only like what they see. [And by the looks of many of them, they get to see ALOT.]  This type of "let it all hang out then post it on Twitter and Instagram" mentality leads to this idea that we, as women, are just something to look at [or in my case, turn away from]. 

Being overweight is a struggle and one that I never saw coming on until I was here.  I do intend to be healthy.  I know that this is not an easy fix and one that is going to take a lot of will power, dedication, and change on my part.  I know that I have to...
...drink water.
...put down the diet Sundrop [&^%$#&&#]. healthier.
I actually started changing last week, by adding some new things to the menu rotation. [This was more to try it out on the Shorties that were at home to make sure we all eat healthy.]  I liked the new meals. [They liked the meals.] I felt good after those few changes.  This week I wanted to try that 9Round place....but Craig's appendix had a mind of its own [and apparently its own zipcode] and I've been stuck here all week. 

HOWEVER, I will not give up.  I am going to use a running plan that worked for me last time to get moving again. I know I can do Zumba just right up the road.

Because I am a Jesus girl I know that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  

Because I know longer want to hate the mirror, my closet, or myself in pictures I will get healthy.

As always, even when the struggles are hanging on, life as a Short is awesome. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

Kitchen Nightmares

So...this is what happens when you put water on a grease fire:

Thankfully, by the absolute grace of God [if grace is an ocean we're all sinking], my sweet girl walked away with only 2nd degree burns on one hand.  I say only because this could have been SO. MUCH. WORSE.  As we were sitting at urgent care the night it happened I looked over to see an area behind her left ear with several hairs that were singed. 

I am not good in a crisis. [Ask anyone that knows me well. I get upset, jump to conclusions, lose it, cry....I'm no good at all. One time a student had a seizure in the room next to me.  Incidentally, they were watching the dreaded "puberty video".  I freaked out. Absolutely freaked out.  I thought they were going to take me to the hospital instead of him.]  Yet, even when I pulled into the driveway to a huge fireball coming out the door, I didn't get upset. [In a sense that I fell apart. I was upset just not in the mom-has-lost-it kind of upset.] I got the kiddos calmed down [Gabe and Emma were both in the far reaches of the back yard, wailing as if they were on fire] and quickly assessed the damage to Molly's hand - she didn't even know she was severely burned.  We threw open all the windows and headed to urgent care.  

And I never, ever lost control.  Score one for staying cool.

But, I'd be lying if I didn't tell the rest of the story....

Things always happen when Craig isn't here.  The next night, in the midst of a late night conversation about what happened, I lost it.  I screamed, head in the pillow, at the thought of what could have happened.  [Never think about what could happen....] 
  • Her entire head and body could have been engulfed in flames.
  • Emma and/or Gabe could have been engulfed in flames.
When I allowed myself to think about what could have happened it scared me senseless.  For that few minutes I let all of that just hit the ceiling while my sweet husband just listened.  I sobbed "thank you" to God over and over and over again. 

I lost it. Completely and utterly lost it. 

Molly was upset about the damage to the kitchen.  My response to her? "Damn the kitchen.  You are OK." [Yes. I cursed. Sorry.] I didn't even bat an eye at the damage.  Who cares?  It is stuff. I'm not defined by my stuff or lack of stuff.  I can get more stuff or I can throw away the damaged stuff and not worry about it.  That doesn't matter to me one bit. Times like this are why you have insurance. 

I already have the check in hand.

American Restoration is working on getting everything back in order [and I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs any restoration work done for fire, smoke, or water damage]. 

Molly's hand is healing.  [Just a side note here: I know people who have cried over fender benders in parking lots...because of damage to their car!  Really? I don't want to be remembered as a person who drove a nice car or one who decorated really well.  (And honestly, there isn't any chance I'll be remembered for either of those things....)]

My daughter is alive.  My children are OK. My house is livable. 

God is good. 
God is so gracious. 
God will always do more than we could ever imagine. 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

This Moment is Enough

"Show me Your Glory"
Third Day
I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I've ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I'll never be the same
Show me Your glory
Send down Your presence
I want to see Your face
Show me Your glory
Majesty shines about You
I can't go on without You, Lord
When I climb down the mountain
And get back to my life
I won't settle for ordinary things
I'm gonna follow You forever
And for all of my days
I won't rest 'til I see You again
Show me Your glory
Show me Your glory 
I can't live without You

Tomorrow morning, at 4:45am, I will leave my 15 year old son with a group of virtual strangers and send him 1754.56 miles [I looked it up....just saying "a lot" was not enough] on a mission trip in a foreign country. 

And at this moment in my life I am so very proud of the man he is becoming.  [Now, for those of you that know Coop you also realize that he is quite the goofball in most situations and to say he is worse at home is an understatement.]  He has grown into this man [Affectionately nicknamed Gigantor] that realizes that God has so much more planned for his life that he could ever, possibly imagine.  He was given the opportunity to take this trip after visiting my parents one weekend and going to their church.  The lady teaching his Sunday school class casually mentioned to my mom that he would be a great addition to their team, my parents talked to her husband [team leader], and God created a way for Cooper to be a part of this trip. [My dad, who has the heart of Jesus, graciously paid the expenses for Cooper to go on this trip.  How did I get so lucky to have such an amazing set of parents that are way cool grandparents?]  

He is nervous.  Phone contact will be limited for him.
I am nervous.  He will be in a third world country that he had to get vaccinations to visit...who wouldn't be nervous?

Yet, with all the anxiety about things that I have no control over, I have this inner peace that God is doing something so wonderful with my son.  God is giving him an opportunity to be speak the gospel and to let others witness Jesus in his life.  My prayer is that he puts aside the anxiety and allows God to just move.  

Next Wednesday, while Coop is winding down his first international mission trip, Molly and Craig will be boarding a plane for Honduras for 9 days.  [Poor old Emma and Gabe - stuck with mommy for 3 straight weeks...]  Once again, I get to be anxious about sending my favorite coach and sweet girl to a foreign land.  BUT, once again, what a grand opportunity God has given to my family.  Craig and Molly will get to lead vacation Bible schools, give out much needed school supplies, and best of all, be Jesus.  

It is moments like these that make me realize that my God is so much bigger than anything I could do for my family. I can't cook enough or wash enough [#truetweet] or buy enough to ever be all that they need.  Now don't get me wrong, we love each other unconditionally, but we can't ever fill that God sized hole for each other that, ultimately, is enough.  It is these moments that are presented to each of us [the Shorties, you, everyone] that give us "enough". 

Trust me.  I have tried to fill that God sized hole with other, money, career, things, food...and NOTHING fills it except God.  When I stopped trying to cram all that other in there and just allowed Jesus to fill me up then it was enough.  

As my family prepares to take Jesus to the neighborhoods and the nations, I am challenged to do more.  I spoke about my "yes" a few posts ago.  I am excited about what God has challenged me to do, right here in Kings Mountain.  It has nothing to do with me but what God is doing to help some folks right here in my town.  

Jesus doesn't expect all of us to go to foreign lands. 

He simply desires our heart and He will do the rest.  That might be here and it might be a world away.  Wherever He leads us it up to us to allow Him to fill us up.  

Fill that God sized hole in your life. 

Listen when God speaks and allow Him to work in you. 

Romans 5:5 says,  "And hope does not put us to shame, 
because God's love has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

My sweet girl has a favorite verse that she has shared, numerous times, with me, her friends, her siblings, just anyone:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 
Ephesians 3:20

As I prepare for bed [only to get up at 3:45 am] this moment is enough. 

This life is enough. 

Jesus is enough.

[At the beginning of this post I put the words to "Show Me Your Glory" by Third Day. Besides the fact that this is one of my favorite songs it is also my prayer tonight. I don't want my children to settle for ordinary things that are not in the will of what God wants for their lives. I don't want to Craig and I to settle for ordinary things either. I pray that these next few weeks, and beyond, are moments that are enough as Molly, Cooper, and Craig see His Glory.]  


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Everest Intervention, Married to Rocky, and Musings from the Outsiders

Gabe is obsessed with Expedition Everest.  

When I say obsessed I mean that he will not stop talking about  it, watching videos on YouTube of the ride, and searching the Disney website for information.

He rode the ride twice.  

He was TERRIFIED both times. [As in he hid his head, shut his eyes, and almost puked terrified.] 

But now that we are home and a month away from the trip to Disney he is absolutely, 100% OBSESSED with this ride.  Not only is he obsessed with the ride he is obsessed with the Yeti that is on the ride. [Even though he had his eyes closed both times and he never saw the Yeti he won't quit talking about the thing that doesn't exist.]

If you are in search of a reason to ride Expedition Everest please ask Gabe before you go.  He can tell you every turn, small hill, big hill, when the track takes you backwards, when you get to the broken part [which, FYI, hasn't always looked like it does now....through his research he learned that the track has changed since the ride has been opened], and how long the ride lasts.  

He has even researched the Himalayas [or Himilayan as he says it] and he has decided that we need to go there as a family.  Every single mountain we see gets compared to Everest: 
Is Crowder's Mountain as tall as Everest?
We walked to the top of Kings Mountain.  That's as high as Everest right?
I bet Everest looks like Grandfather Mountain.

In fact, he can tell you all about the Matterhorn Ride at Disneyland [the west coast version of Expedition Everest] and he's never, ever been to Disneyland.

The boy is driving us nuts. [And it doesn't take much to make the semi-crazy a little crazier.]  Please do us a favor and DON'T ask him anything about his favorite Disney ride. [Or if you must just be prepared for a complete doctoral dissertation on Everest, the Himilayans, and the Yeti.  You've been warned.]

I am married to a man that is a marvel. 

He makes rocks. [Sometimes I think his head is full of rocks.  Sometimes I want to throw rocks at his head.  Sometimes he wants to throw rocks at my head.  Ours is a complicated love affair.]  

Rewind 10 years ago....he had the Summer of the Stones [and I don't mean Rolling] with 9 trips to the hospital [which ain't cheap], 2 rounds of lithotripsy [which is even less cheap than the hospital], and 3 surgeries [which by all accounts is the least cheapest of the aformentioned options].  This would also be the summer after Flossie was born and when Coop broke his arm. [That new surgery pavilion at CRMC?  Yep...the Shorties made that possible.]

We learned then that Craig's body makes stones.  Lots and lots of stones. 

He recently had a kidney stone. During the this ordeal we discovered that he also has a stone in his appendix. So let me get this straight...He has this useless tube in his body that has a useless stone trapped inside of it? What the heck?  The surgeon told us that he will, at some point in his life, have appendicitis so he might as well have his appendix removed.  So having it removed is what he'll be doing at the end of July.  [Do they chisel it out? Use a rock hammer? The doctor thought it fitting after the last surgery of 2004 to hand us the stones he took out...maybe we'll get this one too...we could display them.]

Bless him...he is really disgusted.  While this isn't life threatening [can I get an amen on that one] its right at the beginning of football season.  He will be out of commission for a few weeks at a time when he really needs to be able to participate in practice.  Say a prayer for him.

Ever just feel totally left out and you can't explain why?  In some ways, be excluded is OK.  I mean if you don't want me around then that is isn't about me and I shouldn't make it a big deal.  But in other ways, when you exclude my children and they recognize it then it bothers me.  I suspect that leaving them [us] out is never done intentionally but that is what keeps me wondering....I think it might be me.  [I truly am not saying any of this for anyone to feel sorry for me.  I'm a big girl and I can handle it if I am the reason for the exclusion.]

I have prayed about this situation.  I have asked God to help me let it go. There are so many other things in this life to worry about and at 41, being left out shouldn't be one of them. I just keep hanging on to tiny threads and slivers of guilt and frustration and that makes me mad at myself.  

I will be the first to tell you that I ain't perfect, [I know some of you are upset to read those words] that I've done some stupid things, and that I am weird [nerdy, geeky, quirky, etc.].  I do try. I want to fit in and I want to feel good about my place in this situation.  I just can't seem to figure it out and it bugs me. 

It bothers me for my kids. They are good kids [the best if you ask me] and I would hate for them to feel unwanted because of something I have done or haven't done.  I just wish I understood...that is the part that really bugs me. [Not tragic and I hope I don't sound like a whiner.  I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I promise.]  I am truly at a crossroads with this issue.  Please pray for me about this issue.

As always, even with strange obsessions and that stone-filled man of mine, life as a Shortie couldn't be better.  Happy Fourth of July!!