Being a Mom Makes You Tough // more thoughts on healthcare

I’m a klutz.  Certified, tried and true — I am reliably injuring myself in some emergency room-worthy way at least once a year.  Someday, if you should hear I have tragically died, be sure to get the story because it’s bound to be something dumb like me running into a doorway or something silly like that (of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but let’s just say if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised).

So today, in an effort to take an epic photo of the baby in a pumpkin (thank you, Pinterest, for raising the standard so high that this was my #1 priority today), I sliced my left index finger nice and deep.  [sidenote: I’m currently marveling at my ability to type with 9 fingers… outstanding!]  I realized a few things over the past few hours that seem blog-worthy:

  1. Being a mom has made me way less of a wimp than I used to be.  Having been a life-long klutz, this is not the first time I’ve sliced my finger with a knife.  Every other time something like this has happened, I have been a hysterical mess.  The reality is, it’s usually not the pain that sends me into hysterics, it’s the shock of seeing my body opened up and bleeding.  When I was 19, I got stitches for a similar cut and cried for nearly a day over the ordeal.  This time, however, I haven’t shed a tear and handled it like a pro – a big step for me.  This calm rationale has swept over me telling me, “The body heals.  You’ve been through way worse than this and have come out just fine.  It looks bad now, but this is the worst it will be.”  I guess after healing from childbirth, a cut just seems like no big deal.  Cool.
  2. I probably need stitches, but I’m not getting them.  For me to go to the ER and get stitches will mean at minimum a couple hundred bucks, and that’s with our terrible private insurance.  So, I went to the CVS on the corner and bought some butterfly closures and first aid tape, cleaned the wound and closed it up.  I chose to avoid the hospital in order to save the money.  In this case, probably not a big deal – if the wound doesn’t start looking better in a couple of days, I’ll go to the doctor… but I think decisions like this are the motivation behind healthcare reform, but on a much bigger level.  When someone like me, who could probably find the money to pay the outrageous bill for a few stitches, chooses to avoid seeking medical care because of an exorbitant expense, this is the system failing.  Why should stitches cost hundreds of dollars to get?  Why should health care ever be cost-prohibitive?  Doesn’t that seem evil and wrong?  Shouldn’t we place such a high value on human life that health care is something we just get as citizens?  If a privatized system is resulting in people choosing less-than-adequate healthcare in order to avoid financial collapse, we have a big problem.  (For more of my thoughts on this, read my post about my friend Ron).

Anyway, I hope that when the baby wakes from her nap I can ultimately get that epic pumpkin photo, but for now I feel tough and a little bit angry.

EDIT: Totally not worth it, but the photo is hilarious.

hysterical, but not worth it.
hysterical, but not worth it.

Grateful // remember these things

New, clean, fresh cloth diapers. Definitely the best they will ever look/smell!


I’ve been feeling down the last few days.  Pregnancy has been getting harder on my body – I’m past the point of “cute baby bump” and into the “are you sure there’s only one in there?”-swollen feet-waddle-walk phase where everyone thinks I’ll go into labor at the drop of a pin (sidebar: why do random strangers think it’s ever okay to comment on how large a pregnant woman’s belly is!?).  Additionally, we still have not closed on our house which we were supposed to close on over a month ago.  As a ticking time bomb, so to speak, this has been very frustrating to me and my nesting urges are misplaced in this apartment which is too small, but we may still be living in primarily when Baby Girl makes her appearance.

Yesterday was especially rough – I have been pushing myself harder at work because of the impending leave to be more productive.  I’ve been working extra hours before and after trying to get ahead and be prepared for the baby whenever she shows up.  And we’ve had a lot of shows and events lately that have kept me on my feet on the weekends when I could normally be resting.  So yesterday, I had the day off and I had this mental list of things I wanted to do to prepare the apartment in case the baby arrives early, but I had absolutely no energy to do those things.

I did not communicate this well to my husband, who went to visit his family yesterday after work.  I was particularly and inappropriately cranky with him when he got home because I couldn’t do the things I wanted to and he hadn’t been home to help me.  I knew there was a lot of exhaustion and hormones behind what I was expressing, and so did he, but that doesn’t make it easier on the receiving end.

So this morning when I woke up, several of the items I had listed off to him were done.  When I went to bed at 9:45 last night, he stayed up until 1 am pre-washing cloth diapers and other baby items, doing our laundry, and cleaning up our house.  I woke up so refreshed and thankful for such a caring husband who understood my heart and was so willing to take the load off of me.  I bragged on him all day.

A friend from college had her baby shower today about 45 minutes away from where we live, so my bestie and I spent the afternoon out there and I just walked back into my house.  It was wildly therapeutic to have a little girl time away from the house with her, and in the company of a bunch of other young mommas and soon-to-be-mommas, where I didn’t feel the looming pressure of “where on earth are we going to put this kid” every time I looked around our apartment.

When I walked in the door I noticed some of the furniture boxes were missing out of the living room, so I walked up to the second bedroom which as been the hoarding/storage area for baby stuff.  My sweet, kind, wonderful man spent this day off putting together baby furniture and putting together a make-do nursery to ease my heart.  I don’t even have words for how much this means to me.  The last 24 hours needs to replay in my memory anytime I’m feeling down.  I am so hugely blessed by how well my husband loves me, what a wonderful parent he is already, and how hard he works to settle my heart.  Truly, our daughter will have a very high standard for any man who would ever entertain the thought of being her husband, because she has an incredible dad.

In Giving, We Receive

Yesterday, I came across this article about this 77-year old homeless man who donated $250 to charity.  The man donated what he had begged off the street to give back to a ministry that had been feeding him for nearly two decades.  Stories like this make you think.

As you may already know, my job is in development, which is a non-profit’s way of saying “fundraising.”  I am responsible for the contributed income of my organization through a myriad of methods and campaigns.  Fundraising is about people.  It’s about getting to know people, building relationships, and helping people to know your organization well enough that they realize that what your organization does is important.  When a person attributes value to what you do, they can express that value through becoming a part of what you do.  That can mean volunteering their time, skills, resources… but it can also mean investing financially in what you do.

Mike and I give regularly to several organizations and ministries, despite the fact that our means are limited.  One of the best things about my job is that I get to see the other end of that spectrum: generosity from people who value our organization and have the means to do big things.  This is a huge motivation for achieving financial stability – being able to make a huge impact.

Stories like the one about this man, however, remind me that anytime someone places value on what you do and gives back, it is meaningful and important.

Some lessons I’ve learned about giving:

People give because they value what you do.

People give because they want to be a part of the good work you’re doing.

When someone is motivated to give, it doesn’t always matter what their means are – they will find a way to be a part of something they value.

People don’t give to get – they receive a greater reward from giving (read: In Giving, We Receive).

People are motivated to give when others are giving.  (I bet the charity that received this $250 donation has experienced a major bump in larger gifts after this story hit the press.  When we see someone of lesser means giving more than we are, it convicts us to remember what’s important).

If people aren’t giving, it’s likely because your organization/ministry has not done their job to communicate why it’s valuable, essential, and important.

{{do tell!}}

Why do you give?  Why don’t you give in some cases?

We’re Moving!

OHIO!This week’s lesson: Your entire life can change on a dime.

On Friday, one of my best friends told me about a job at a place I’ve been hoping to work for someday.  So, I put my application materials in that day, and here we are, it’s Wednesday and after a crazy 14 hour round trip to Ohio…

I got the job!

I will be the new Assistant Director of Development at the BEAUTIFUL Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio.

I’ve long been a fan of this place, having attended several performances there, and have frequently joked with Mike that if they ever offered me a job, we’d drop everything and move home.  For those readers that don’t know, Mike grew up in Mansfield, we met in the town right next to it, Ashland, when we were both in college there, and it’s where the Cooks all live and the Fieldings are only about 90 minutes down the road. 

It’s home.

This job is very much what I hoped to be doing, and I had expected it to take several years to work my way up the ranks and pay my dues before a job like this would come along… yet God provides for our hopes, our dreams, our wants, and our needs.  We have been praying for the opportunity to move to Mansfield for quite awhile, and expecting that could happen as soon as a year from now, but never guessed so soon.  This is a HUGE answer to prayers for our long-term.  While we hadn’t at all expected to move quite so soon, this is a huge opportunity for us and we’re very excited.  I will change some of my plans for school, but still plan to finish my master’s degree in Arts Management in spring of 2013.

It’s going to be incredibly hard to leave all the people we love and care about here in Virginia.  We have said a million times how ridiculously lucky we’ve been to have such a wonderful group of friends, a church we love, and a school that has been so outstanding… it will be very hard to say goodbye to all of this.  I don’t know how to begin to thank you all for the wonderful memories, laughs and tears, and the deep friendships we’ve formed.

If you’re one of those people we’re going to be saying goodbye to very soon, or saying hello again to soon, and I haven’t had a chance to call you yet to tell you what’s going on- please forgive me.  This has all happened extremely quickly, and I am doing my best, but I know there are several people I hoped to talk to personally before posting online…  We’ll talk soon.

{{Can you help us?}}

If you’re not busy on Saturday, July 28th, live in either the Winchester or Ashland area and would be willing to help us load/unload the truck… we can desperately use your help and will provide food and beverage!  Or, if you’re around the Winchester area in the next few weeks and would be game to help us pack, we’d really love that.  (We’re going to definitely need some boxes ASAP!) If you’re available, please shoot me a quick email and let me know if you’re free.  Or if you hate helping people move, and just want to be sure to see us before we go, we’ll plan some sort of large gathering soon.

The 5 Things You Learn on a Roller Coaster in a Tornado

That’s what the last few weeks have felt like.  So much has happened and changed over the last few weeks that, honestly, I’m not sure if my feet have even hit the ground yet.

Rather than list out the tedious details and relive the highs and lows and twists and turns of the past few weeks, I’ll list the 5 things I’ve learned over these past few weeks:

1. Every human will disappoint you; recognize and accept it, and then move on.

Someone I respect and have a relationship with did something that really disappointed me over the past two weeks, and I was angry… and then I was hurt.  At the same time, I was surrounded by a person who had not accepted this lesson and held grudges about every disappointment in his/her life.  This was exhausting!  It is natural to hold grudges about disappointments, but it is not easier.

2. Professionalism is 70% social and 30% politics.

The past 3 weeks have included more highly “professional” experiences than any other concentrated time in my life.  When you think of the factors that make up professionalism, one thinks of suits, formalities,  business cards, etc.  But if I learned nothing else, I realized that people are people are people.  And, if you really want to win someone over to your way of thinking, you’ll be nice, ask them about themselves, and you’ll play their game.

3. Your entire life and everything you call normal can change in a single breath.  Be thankful when those changes are minor, and treasure the breaths they don’t.

In the past three weeks, several of my friends have suddenly and unexpectedly lost people they loved due to preventable acts.  In total contrast, I was up for a job that would would have required a complete and total change of our daily life and we were doubled over with anxiety.  Change is the only constant… keep it in perspective and expect that it will come.

4. You aren’t actually more productive if you don’t take a break, you’re just leading up to a crash.

I haven’t had a lot of choice over the past few weeks about whether or not to take a break.  So, when I sprained my ankle right before I got two days off, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Nor should I be shocked when looking over what I’ve actually accomplished over the past two weeks: I’ve alienated a few people I care about, I’ve given several projects I’m committed to less attention than they deserved, and I’ve been an absentee wife to the greatest husband in the world.  Stupid.

And most importantly…

5. Being obedient to God can be tough, but it’s way tougher to be outside of his blessing.

Since I wrote about our obedience financially in my first blog post, 3 separate full-time jobs have been put in my path.  One of the concerns before we started our budget was that we wouldn’t have enough money long term to sustain.  And the next day, job offer #1 came in.  God is waiting to bless us- we just need to position ourselves under the faucet of his blessing.  This is about obedience, repentance, and submission.  While it’s way more fun to spend as we want and worry about it later, it is not more fun to be outside of His blessing.

{do tell!}

What are your 5 lessons of the last month?  What has been your greatest lesson from stressful times?

The Day You Grow Up

On the day I turned 18, I wept all day.  I can remember driving around in my little tiny Isuzu, listening to Eva Cassidy, and mourning my childhood.  I believed that was the day I grew up, the day I had to become an adult.

Later, as major milestones were achieved, I continued to expect the switch to flip, awaiting the moment when I’d officially be a complete adult.  Surely, it would happen by the time I had my own apartment? When I became a teacher? Or when I got married? Yet, I haven’t felt the push into true adulthood despite all those major life steps.

My life is currently under the header of DISCIPLINE. 

Since my first post about starting to budget our expenses, we have been overwhelmed by the encouragement, advice and feedback we’ve received (and we’re still open to more).  As I’ve been praying and thinking about it, though, I’m realizing that THE SWITCH HAS FLIPPED I’m no longer interested in being an indulgent and selfish human being, I’m longing to live under discipline.

This discipline certainly doesn’t end with finance, it pours over into every other area of my life: home, work, school, diet, relationships, personal care… the list goes on and on. By positioning myself under the heading of discipline, and not simply indulging myself because I want something, I will actually be happier and not require the passing pleasure of a simple indulgence.

{do tell!}

What is the header for your life right now?  What lessons have you learned about discipline?