Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's my blog and I'll be gooey if I want to.

It's no secret. I love this man.

Don't get me wrong. We've been married almost 15 years. We aren't newlyweds. I'm not oblivious to his humanity, nor are we floating on clouds of fluffiness, rainbows, and lollipops about reality.

He is odd. In at least three dozen ways. At least. He also does things that drive me insane. These things include, but are not limited to: leaving clean dishrags in the kitchen sink with cracked egg shells. Saying, "That's a good question," when he doesn't know the answer to the question. Leaving his shoes under the kitchen table. The boat that is sitting in our garage.

But he has good taste in food, in music, in movies, and certainly in a wife.

(And trust me- he puts up with WAY more than his fair share of things that get on his nerves about me. But this is MY blog and I don't want to write about those things... heehee.)

Anyway. Tomorrow (March 31), is my husbands 46th birthday. Yessir. 46. As in 4 away from 50. (I ain't gonna lie... I think it's smoking hot that I'll almost be 38when he hits the big 50. Yep, you do the math.)

I love to celebrate. St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, the 100th day of school, National Pink Bracelet Day, you name it. But my family's birthdays?

Those are the days I live for.

And since it's the single most important person in my life's turn, I can be as dad-gum gushy and ooey as I want to be. It's MY blog. :-)

What makes this man so great? I'm so glad you asked.

He's not perfect. And he knows it. I like that.

He has NO problem admitting he's wrong. Unlike his hard-headed woman.

He can fix ANYthing. ANYthing. For real.

He doesn't try to hug me when he's sweating.

He's stronger than a team of Swedish bodybuilders all named Sven.

He grew his beard out really thick for me because I like the way it feels against my face and I LOVE the gray patches.

He makes me laugh until I snort.

He's brutally honest.

He loves my parents and shows them.

He has let me work through my "I need a dog" phases. With patience and mercy.

He knows when enough is enough.

He trusts my leadership as the mother of his child.

He follows my lead on walking through the emotional landfields of raising a girl since I am one.

He holds my hand alot.

He wakes up and prays for me throughout the night. And I often fall asleep with his hand on my back. That's my favorite way to sleep.

He warms my van up on cold Florida winter mornings.

He stopped complaining about the three thousand bottles of Ranch dressing in the fridge.

He loves people. Geuninely loves them.

He created our "family punch" in a fishbowl with giant straws for family nights.

He has the best smile lines around his eyes.

He thinks he's a cowboy. And I'm pretty sure he's right.

He spent three weeks in Africa, sleeping in a tent and eating whatever he could get... and he plans on doing it again and again.

He knows me better than any other soul on this planet. He's the only one who sees the really real me. And he chooses to love me still.

He looks into Abi's eyes everyday and affirms her as a person. Affirms her beauty. Affirms her girlhood. Affirms his love for her.

He won't let Abi talk smack to me. Not even a little bit.

He's cute. Like a rugged teddy bear with an Elmo t-shirt and a holster on.

He writes the best birthday/Valentine's Day/anniversary cards EVER.

He's spontaneous.

His laughter is ear-rupturingly loud. It comes from his toes.

He cries when he talks about Jesus. Or hears a beautiful song. Or sees someone's life changed.

He loves to hear me sing.

He saved my life. Literally.

He listens. And remembers. Most of the time.

He knows I am his equal, and he is mine. We are partners. In every way.

Oh, there's more. But I can't tell it all on here, can I? That would be so unlady-like of me! ;-)

Rodrick Avery Paul Windham, this little girl loves you. With all my heart and soul and mind. My life began the day I met you, and I didn't even know it yet.

But I know it now. And I'll always know it.

Happy birthday, sweet Rodrick. The world is a better place because of you. And believe me... no one could ever love you more than me and a certain little freckle-faced green-eyed princess do. You're our sun, moon, and stars.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rules for Abi's Boyfriends.

As parents, we are rule makers. We are also rule enforcers, rule adapters, and rule explainers. We have rules for inside behavior, outside behavior, school behavior, and car behavior. We make rules for roadtrips, field trips, and errand trips. In our house, the rules are pretty crystal clear for just about everything.

I was just sitting here, thinking about Abi. My romantically bent, idealistic, ooey gooey love child. She is constantly thinking about romance- how it feels to be in love. How people kiss. Flowers. Holding hands. Fairy tales. Being nurtured by a man. Letting him carry her backpack and put his arm around her as she walks down the sidewalk. It's an innate need in her, to be cherished and adored.

Granted, her Daddy has fed this in her.

He is loving, doting, affectionate, kind, and thoughtful- with both Abi and me. He is big and strong, scruffy and rugged. Yet his heart is tender and squishy. He rarely calls either one of us by name... we answer instead to "Babe," "My Sweet," and "Love." We are his girls, and he treats us well.

Back to the rules.

Abi's poor boyfriends. Poor, poor fellas. Not only will they have a giant uncle with gauged ears and tattoos to step around, a grandpa who looks pretty imposing even with his white hair and white beard, and Abi's big, strong daddy to watch their every move... they will also have "THE RULES" to abide by. Isn't it a little early to make these rules? Nope. I need all the time I can get to build the fence around my little baby rabbit, because the wolves will circle. Not that the wolves are bad... they're just wolves.

Here's some of the "rules" that will be in place for CinderAbi and her Prince(s) Charmings as I see life right now. I am very aware that they are subject to change and that we'll cross these bridges as we get there. But I'm a planner. So here they are.


1. You are a boy. Not a man. You will not be a man until you are holding a steady job, pay the majority of your living expenses, and are able to provide for our daughter emotionally and physically.

2. We are watching how you treat your mother and sisters. If we don't like it, you're out the door.

3. If we don't like your language, your attitude, or your friends, you're out the door.

4. We are not Abi's friend, therefore we are not your friends.

5. We do not trust you. That's just the way it is.

6. We MIGHT trust you, if you earn trust. You can earn it by hanging out in our house, being genuinely interested in our lives, being responsible, and acting like you have common sense.

7. If we would not let you drive my car, we will not let you drive our daughter. So be aware that your driving record is very much my business. And God help you if we find out you speed through school zones.

8. My daughter's body belongs to God. And in all honesty, she belongs to me and her Dad. So keep that in mind.

9. We will not allow our daughter to dress in a way that would keep you from being able to honor her body. We promise.

10. If church isn't a part of your life, it better become one. Period. This is what we call a "non-negotiable."

11. You will not be alone with our daughter until you can put a ring on her finger and marry her (and not one of those three year engagements that kids do in tenth grade). And even if you're engaged to her, be aware that both her Daddy and I are SUPER aware that you aren't married and we will not treat you like you are until you are.

12. You won't be spending the night at our house. If your parents are suddenly injured, sick, or suddenly relocating to Panama and the rare need arises for you to need lodging at our abode, I will be rooming with Abi, and her daddy will be rooming with you. And we will have alarms on the doors and windows. You'll have to check out a hall pass for the bathroom and have an escort. You think I'm joking, I can tell. But I'm not.

13. If you want to score brownie points, help us around the house sometimes.

14. You have a place at our dining room table anytime you want a good meal. We will also welcome any chance we can get to play games with you, watch movies with you, and hang out with you as much as possible. We are actually alot of fun to be with.

15. If we don't have a good feeling about any given night's activities, Abigail will not be going. It's that simple.

16. Manners are HUGE to us. Answers like, "Huh," "Yeah," and "Whatever" will guarantee you a tougher time gaining access to our daughter.

17. I will know more about you than you could ever imagine possible. And I won't have to ask you a single question. I have friends every where. In low and high places.

18. I will also ask you endless amounts of questions, and welcome you to do the same to us.

19. Break curfew, break what little trust we have in you.

20. That little girl is priority number ONE to us. Not priority two, not even number one and a half. NUMBER ONE. Be aware that we may act irrational at times. We will not apologize for the great love we have for her. She is fragile, she is small, and she is beautiful. But she is fierce, fiercely loved, and there is a mighty woman inside her. Our main objective is to guard her, protect her from herself, but at the same time, to equip her for the world she will live in. You cannot imagine what we see when we look at her, nor can you ever love her the way we do. She is her Daddy's princess, her Paw's heartbeat, and her Uncle Seth's best girl ever. You're not on the same playing field with us, little man. So if you value ANY time spent in her presence (which you should), you will print out, memorize, and live by these rules.

21. Oh yeah. We reserve the right to make new rules whenever we choose. And both of you will abide by them.

Poor guy. But oh the joys if he abides by our rules well! I laugh when I think of him. Somewhere, on this planet... unaware that I'm preparing myself for him.

He better be gettin' prepared for ME! ;-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Close Call.

If you know me, you've probably heard the story by now. Or at least pieces of it.

If you don't "know" me, you probably have no idea. And as many times as I've relived this story, it never stops getting to me. So, to kinda explain my most recent absence from blogland, I'm reliving it again. But mainly to tell you about the healing power of a magnificent God.

I recently lost almost 90 pounds. Pretty big accomplishment, and I'm pretty stinkin' happy about it. However, what no one tells you (or rather, what I didn't want to hear) is that rapid weight loss can cause gallbladder issues. So, off and on for the last six months or so, any time I would eat a greasier meal than usual, I would have stomach and back pain. I'm a quasi-nurse kind of mom, and I've known enough to diagnose myself with gallstones.

I had no idea they were going to wreak the havoc they ended up wreaking.

On Valentine's Day, we went for wings as a family, as we do every single Monday night. I went home, and my stomach was hurting mildly. I finally went to sleep and woke up at 4:00 am with pain that was becoming more and more uncomfortable. When it was time to get Abi up for school, I couldn't move. Rod got her dressed, took her to school, and came back to find my condition deteriorating rapidly. (I'm not being overly dramatic... it really was bad.) All day, I lay in bed, pain intensifying, nausea building, and so my sweet husband comes home with the ingredients to begin a gallbladder flush for me. The first step was eating boiled potatoes. I did.

Then it ALL fell apart.

I am going to spare you the not-so-lovely details of what happened next. But, suffice it to say, it was ugly and it involved a toilet and a girl on her knees. Yall, I was wishing for childbirth. Labor. A house to fall on my head. ANY pain but this pain.

At 4:00 pm, Rodrick brings Abi home. I am weeping in the fetal position in bed. My calm-as-can-be husband takes one look at me and says, "Get dressed. We're going to the hospital. Now." I will also spare you the details of the next few minutes, which involved many tears and pleading.

So, there I was. Always healthy, rarely even sick with a cold, NEVER been a patient in an emergency room in my life- sitting in triage. Then on a ER cot, IV line in place. Ultrasounds. CT scans. Endless amounts of bloodwork. The diagnosis- pancreatitis and a gallbladder four times the size it should have been. Liver enzymes and pancreatic enzymes through the roof. White blood cells elevated. Not going home for 4-5 days.


I pouted. I cried. I bargained. I begged.

But I wasn't leaving, and that was certain.

See, this wouldn't have been as big of a deal, but most of you know, I'm on pastoral staff at our church. A week later, we were having our biggest, most anticipated event of the year- a three day ministers' conference, where men and women literally come from all over the world to attend. I would have a house FULL of people for the week, and I was scheduled to lead worship for our band (which is an awesome rock band... not the typical church band, I promise. We're tattooed, pierced, gauged ears, etc.). This was the absolute WORST time to have a health crisis. Seriously. The worst.

All week, I was in that hospital. You name the test and I had it done. They starved me for a few days, as my pancreas had to rest to heal. Then came the great news (sarcasm) that I would not be leaving unless my gallbladder was removed, and it had to be done within the next two days. (More tears and fit pitching ensued). So, Friday, February 18, my gallbladder was removed, full of stones and severely inflamed.

I got home on Saturday. On Sunday, my family talked to a family friend who is an ICU nurse, and she couldn't believe how incredibly close I was to developing sepsis with the enzymes out of control like they were. In fact, she couldn't believe I was not admitted into ICU upon my arrival.

This knowledge hit me like a ton of bricks.

Here's the deal. Every day, we are a day closer to eternity. Every breath a breath we won't retrieve. But to actually know you were possibly headed for Heaven? Well, it's sobering to say the least.

I've had alot of time to ponder in the last few weeks. I got the flu while I was healing (not recommended), and spent much time in my recliner, coughing and thinking, thinking and coughing. And I've settled on three things that I know for sure.

1. Nothing matters to me as much as my family. NOTHING. Those guys pulled me through the scariest days of my life.

2. Very few things really, really matter.

3. God is able to undo great damage, even damage caused by our own hard headedness and stupidity.

I'd like to say I grew a new gallbladder and walked out with all my organs intact. I didn't. But I walked out. And I cannot praise God enough for medical science. For doctors and nurses and technicians who were Jesus with skin on to me while I was injured and frail. Healing is healing, regardless how it comes- and anyone who tells you otherwise has never been sick enough to see this truth.

Oh, and that conference? I led worship the whole time, had 7 people in my house, and crashed like a beast after it was over. That week, I was proof the grace of God is real.

Who needs their gallbladder anyway? Geesh!