Sunday, September 19, 2010

Prepare Yourself...and Don't Look Back.

(Random pictures are just inserted so that I can prove I have these oh so big and beautiful kids!!!)

In the silence, my head spins...and spins and spins and spins.  Actually, its spinning even in the noise.

I don't really know how to put my right now into words.  A lot is going on with in (as usual) and I feel like more days than not, I don't know who I am anymore.  I keep blaming it on some type of post pardum imbalance mixed with stress, loneliness, and being in a different state than everything I've known for my entire having 2 little kids and very little to do...its a lot.  Little by little I try to sort through everything, figure out what I am missing...but the sorting continues and the piles just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Will and I, we try to "partner up" in parenting and marriage and household running, but we constantly seen to be missing each other...or taking out the stresses of life on one another.  Bickering about the stupidest crap.  I think I speak for both of us that instead of meeting in the middle to lean on one another, we are like butting heads and beating the crap (not literally haha) out of the other because it is just SUCH a stress reliever...I miss him when he is gone and I know he misses me...but the second we see eachother we just start picking on each other.  It is not a good strategy by any means!! haha.  WE have been trying to come together each night and at least have a few minutes of conversation, but its hard.  By 8 pm when he gets home, Im tired and want to go to bed...and then when he doesn't work, sometimes we just get so caught up with the kids that he and I just fade to the background...sounds like a great plan huh? ha.  We're working on it.  Its hard for me to really turn my heart inside out to him in a lot of ways...I feel like its terribly hard for him to understand struggling with depression and anxiety and the intense case of "perfection-itis" that I have.  He lets things roll off of him and holds him self at a very reasonable standard...where as I, who is clearly a little batty, have this outrageous unrealistic standards for myself and others, and its a HUGE reason why I feel to low a lot of the time.  Knowing that I can't just lower my expectations is just a whole other guilty street that I drive down daily...I hate guilt sucks here.

My kids...oh my kids.  They, well, they are cute. haha.  I see so much in the world that I want to give them and teach them and then again, driving down guilty street, well, I fall so short everyday.  Recently the yelling and voice raising has apparently become my new hobby.  Its ugly.  I hate it.  And I really hate when either they look scared or scream back at me.  I was so much more calm with Solomon.  Low calm Im like a freaking hyena!!!!

The leaves are changing here.  I have a full blown panic attack here because I HATE WINTER.  At least I think I do.  Last winter was so horribly traumatic for me that I fear I wont live through another one.  But with the season change comes MY SISTER!!!!!!!!!  I actually leave in a few days to fly back to California alone and get here.  We are driving back, with my mom...and then we are moving to a bigger house. woohoo/omg I can't believe we are moving AGAIN!!!  The next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind...Im a little scared but I am soooo thankful that April is going to live here, with us...AND that we get more space in out house.

Im trying to figure out what happened to me.  I know A LOT has changed in the last 2 years.  My world has sorta been rocked.  And I know that I have been so resistant to change, because, well, it hurts sometimes.  Accepting what is is NOT fun.  And I am struggling.  Deeply.  Since I stopped nursing, I have put on some of the weight that I worked my butt off to lose and I am so angry about that.  I am not who I want to be, and I am angry about that.  I have lost sight of the person I want to be...and I think that is where the problem may lie.  Why did I lose sight?  My focus was so steady at some point...until its not.  Why does this happen?  I keep wanting to "go back to a place" where I had it...but that is WRONG.  And honestly, I am just figuring this out as I type it.  I cannot go back.  I cannot go back to living in Uganda and finding that spiritual fulfillment.  I cannot go back to having tea every night with Sophie, Adam and Moses.  I cannot go back to a time where I live in California surrounded in all my familiarness.  I cannot go back to having the body of a woman who didn't have two children (dammit!!!).  I have GOT to move forward...I HAVE TO. 

On my dads birthday (the 16th), everything really just ruptured.  It hurt so deeply that I couldn't breathe.  The news we got was just earth shattering and Im having difficulty "staying positive" as they say.  I couldn't sleep and I was up, just powering through the panic so I got on blogger and I blog, but couldn't.  So I read Angie's Blog

Live Simply or Simply Live (links have been disabled, sorry)
Saturday night we went to church and we were just so glad that we went. We are doing a Sermon On The Mount (The End Of Religion) study that has been extremely heart piercing and life changing. Saturday's study was titled "Hands Free" (which was very appropriate in many ways. Here in California, since July 1st, it is now illegal to use your cell phone while driving without a hands free devise, which is pretty much the most ridiculous law I have ever heard of BUT that is another blog entirely).
He talked about about money, living simply, taking care of those around us, not being so stressed out about tomorrow and living in today, knowing that the God of all is taking care of us. Of course I cannot do it justice, even in the least. So go and listen to it here.

It got Will and I thinking about a lot. We have so much. Now, the world might see us as living off of school loans, just being able to pay our bills most months, living in my mom's guest house, BUT WOW, we have SO much! Todd (one of the pastors at Rock Harbor) read an email about a really young couple who decided that they wanted to live on only 50-60% of their income, and find ways to give the rest away. It was really a challenging thing to think about, much less to even consider. How many of us could do that? Well, all of us really. It requires an immeasurable sacrifice, or so it seems from a normal middle class American. We are in the upper 5% of the richest people in the world. How's that for sobering...I really implore you to take 40 minutes and listen to this service. (and if you are one of those over-achievers, start fromt he beginning)

My life was completely changed after my first visit to Uganda in 1999. Flying over the continent of Africa in itself was just about the MOST sobering thing that I thought could ever happen to me...until the plane landed. I road in the back of a cattle lorrie for two and half hours atop my luggage and saw things I never imagined were real. I saw little children running, jumping, yelling "hello muzungu" (foreigner) just because they saw me. I remember seeing a little boy about 7 with his little baby brother/sister strapped to his back, no adult in sight for miles, carrying a heavy jerrycan full of water up a pretty steep incline on Bombo Road. I was 17 years old and I was really scared and lonely and I cried my self to sleep for about 6 nights. But then... I fell in love. I got out of myself, I got out of my brainwashed American mind, and I fell in love. I fell in love with simplicity, with joy in spite of pain, with tender souls who had been through/seen things that you and I can only imagine. Yet, despite it all, they had a joy, a light shining from within that I had never in my life seen before...and I wanted more...
I returned to Uganda in 2001 where I stayed from March until September. I assisted a nurse in the on site clinic at the orphanage that I worked with. I taught math for a primary 4 class at the school on site. It was a tremendous experience. I made life long friends. I felt God closer than I have ever felt Him before. I experienced things that, in a lifetime, I cannot adequately express to anyone. I truly thought I would go there and just really, you know, "help" people...ha...what do I have to give? I was given more that I have ever even understood...and I will never ever forget my time there. My life was simple. No electricity, no running water, no entertaining outside of little ones, and friends I had made there. We'd play cards, have tea and talk, go for a walk or a bike ride, and that was about it in ways of entertaining ourselves. Simplicity... It allowed for genuine relationships, with friends, with children, with God. Simplicity... I came home, not wearing make up, not buying all kinds of unnecessary things, just, being simple... and then I slowly forgot all about it...

I went back a third time, where I also got to visit the war torn and slowly recovering Rwanda. I got to visit Sudanese refugee camps, and again, I was back in my Uganda. My heart skipped several beats as the plane landed. I stepped out on the stair case pushed up to the plane, I tipped my face toward the sun, tears streaming down my cheeks and I breathed in a breath of that Ugandan air that I had ached for for over a year... "Oh Uganda", I swore to myself, "I will never forget your simple beauty, this time, I will truly take you home with me, forever..."

(please stay with me...there is a point)

Today, I cleaned out (for about the forth time this year) Solomon's toys. I weeded through all the madness. Will and I always promised (before we had ever had children...I was pregnant) that Solomon would have one medium sized basket of toys...and if it didn't fit inside the basket, we didn't need it...well that didn't happen. I filled up another huge garbage bag of things that he has acquired over the last month or two since I last did this...just of things that he doesn't need. Oh gosh... I cried. I just got so sad. We have so much, too much, Solomon probably has 30 shirts...WHY? Why do I have that many shirts? Why do I have so many pairs of shoes?

I forgot you, Uganda...I forgot you, simplicity. I forgot all about you. In wanting to give my husband and my son "the life" I forgot all about the true and lasting joy that IS simplicity. I lost sight of what is most important...

I have a friend, Sennyonjo, and his wife and three little sons, who work to care for orphans. Sennyonjo, an orphan himself, watched his family be killed by rebels in the genocide of the 90's. He has three kids who probably have very few toys. I have a friend April who is Canadian. Her and her husband live in Uganda ministering to broken people. They have three little ones, who do not have a lot. I know many people like this. Happy children, happy people, living with very little. I talked to April today via email and she said they would be SO happy to receive some DVD's for her and her husband, and the kids, and toys or whatever fun treats we wanted to send their way. I am going to do a good bit of this...hoping that I can cut our family's belongings in half, while giving to people around us who need it.

The city of Lira is in Uganda...kind of northern/central-ish. A new city official was elected not too long ago. He had this great vision for this desolate, abandoned, broken, war torn, yes, he had this huge vision for this place. In three years...he wanted every person to...are you ready...?

To own 2 shirts...

How do I go about my day, living in this sad, over consuming world? In my heart, I would sell everything I have, cars, clothes, take my family and go back to Uganda... Unfortunately, that isn't where God has us, as a family, now. My ministry is my husband, my son, the people around me, here, now.

I am working hard at being content here. But because of this entire study I am learning how to live out what is in my heart, even if buried deep down, here, now, with what I have been given.

Our new goals, as a family, is to really get ride of many many many things. We want to start giving ourselves away more. We want to do more for the people in our lives who need things more than we do. It's a start...and tiny tiny tiny start...but it is a living simply.


KelliAnn Christensen said...

Oh, Amber. I feel for you. I am glad that your sister is coming and that you at least have that to look forward to as winter comes again. It was kind of "interesting" (not really sure what the correct word should be) to read how you and Will interact. I have been thinking similar things with my Will. I know I love him, but it seems like I automatically jump to this frame of mind where I am defensive and irritated when he says something that may or may not have been combative. I hate it! And like you, I am just not sure how to change.

jennainthesky said...

You are a strong woman, dear friend.

Corin said...

In all reality, you are so very "normal". I don't think there is any mother who has not felt at least somewhat like you do at some point in there mothering career. Although, I don't think but 20% of our society has the insight you do as too how much "stuff" we really have and how "complicated" we make our lives. However, I hope it brings you comfort to know that feeling stressed, and like you're suffocating and not good enough and oh all the's normal. Just a part of growing as a woman I think. I hope you find clarity soon. And I especially hope you and Will find your balancing act. Davey and I went through the same exact crazy routine for years. Having kids in HARD on a marriage! If you've never heard of it, you should check out this ministry...

It's AMAZING! Davey and I went through the course through our church and it literally changed our marriage and our lives.

God Bless your heart Amber. So glad your sister will be there with you soon.