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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Wow.

We’ve been on the road lately.

And folks (thankfully) have been on the road to see us.

It’s been a busy month. Let’s see if I can recount it.

Father’s Day weekend we traveled to Savannah for Barry’s grandparents anniversary

ImageWe visited the brand new Children’s Museum of Savannah which is all outdoors. It was so cool!

I left for a short trip to TX for the CBF General Assembly. I had a great time catching up with friends but I missed my guys!

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The Mackey family made a quick trip from Atlanta on what I think was the hottest day of the year. How do you survive 106 degrees with three toddlers and a newborn?

WATER DAY!

We headed to Florida on the 4th of July where Parker saw fireworks from the beach. He did such a great job keeping his eyes open but just didn’t make it for the finale. He was hard and fast asleep in my arms. It was a busy week but we enjoyed good food, beach time, and lots of playing with family. Barry and I slipped over to Seagrove Beach for the afternoon/evening one day to hang out with his boss and his wife. It was a fun night.

We arrived back home and headed straight into a week of Vacation Bible School. Whew! It was fun but busy. I taught the 5th and 6th grade class and brought home two girls from our church each day afterwards. I was worn out when the week ended.

Last week, we got a call that Kalli wanted to come stay with us for several days. We said, “of course!” and I headed out the next day to get her. We are always happy to have Kalli stay with us! She was a great help to me because Parker has been teething. She helped distract him when he was really fussy. She always helped without complaining. She’s a trooper!

The afternoon that Kalli left, Mrs. Pam came for a visit. We always love visits from Mrs. Pam. She eats popsicles, reads books, and plays baseball while wearing a dress!

 

Where will our adventures take us next?

 

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We have had the opportunity to spend the last two weekends with P’s grandparents. The first weekend we made a quick trip to Savannah to see Barry’s grandparents who have had some health complications. It was a quick visit and we had lots of fun. The highlights for Parker included playing in his great grandparents BIG yard where he could run all he wanted. The other highlight was visiting the Savannah mall and riding the carousel. He also got a pair of new shoes he loves very much!

May 2012

August 2011

It’s so hard to believe the comparison. He is growing up so fast!

This weekend we enjoyed Memorial Day with “Ranny” (Parker has dropped the “G”) and Big Daddy. We went to Atlanta for the Braves game and met up with Aunt Morgan and Uncle Jared. On Sunday, we went to Bass Pro and Dickey’s for some ice cream. There was lots of “bees ball” (baseball) and “bball” (basketball) played in our house this weekend too.

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Shred…

Today on NPR I heard this story about Good Riddance Day 2011 happening in 2011. Folks were lining up for a chance to shred something from 2011 in a symbolic attempt to say goodbye to bad things in 2011 and allow space for good things in 2012. There were humorous things like a wrist brace a woman had to wear after spraining her wrist or the woman who brought things from 6 boyfriends she had this year. There were certainly more serious ones like the woman whose husband and multiple family members spent most of 2011 deployed in Iraq. She was throwing things that represented their deployment into the industrial sized shredder in hopes to have everyone home in 2012.

I got to thinking, “What would I shred of 2011?” I don’t know but perhaps as I work towards my goals for 2012, I should consider the things I need to get rid of to allow room for new improvements.

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To My Mother…

My mom starts a new job tomorrow. She’s a little nervous. When I moved away from home for college, I cried the first night. As I was crying, I reached under my pillow and pulled out a letter my mom had put there earlier in the day. Tonight, in an email, I wrote a letter I wish I could have placed under her pillow.

Here’s an excerpt of what I emailed to her earlier tonight:

Several years ago, I can’t remember exactly when, I started imagining the women I’ve come from. I’m from a family of strong women. This is nothing to discount Dad or his side of the family but there is something innate in a woman that is passed down through her maternal side. I know I have it. I come from a line of strong women.
I know you and Gran didn’t always get along. (to say the least) I wish more than anything she could have talked about her alcoholism and ultimately, what she did to stop drinking. As I imagine that time in her life and the moments for the rest of her life, I can’t imagine that was an easy decision. I know too many friends in recovery and making the commitment each and every day to remain clean and sober. As I think about that strength and what it must have required of her– I know she was a strong woman.
I don’t have many memories of you being sick when I was a little girl. I remember visiting you in the hospital lobby but mostly, I’ve heard your stories and the stories of those who helped care for us while you were sick. There have been so many times when I think about how strong you had to have been to fight that battle… both physically and emotionally. You are a strong woman.
Where does the strength come from? I think faith and trust in our God who is greater than we are… and reminding ourselves that we don’t know the bigger picture. I think faith and trust in our God who we know LOVES us and wants the BEST for us.
You will start your job on P’s 9 month birthday. 9 months! I’m simply too overwhelmed at times to think it’s possible true. Dang, I’d like to say it’s been a bed of roses but we both know I’d be lying. Thankfully, God blessed me with a baby boy who is as resilent as he can be. I simply could NOT have made it through the first two months of his life without you… as my cheerleader, my nurse, but most of all my mother.
I got through that time because God surrounded me with a great cloud of witnesses that included you standing beside me and cheering me on. Even when the physical pain was gone and I was left sorting through the emotional pain of it all, you let me cry. You let me be your child and show you my fear. You let me grieve what i had missed and was missing out on.
And, through faith, prayers, and rallying that good ole’ Chesnut, Newsome, etc. strength, I got through it.
I never intended on posting on this on my blog. However, as I wrote it, I felt like it needed to be a testimony for other’s to see. Indeed, I come from a long line of strong women. Thanks be to God!
If you are the praying type, please pray for my mom as she begins her new job tomorrow.

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The last few years of ministry, I have found myself working with people living with a mental illness. The first time I was assigned to the mental health unit of Atlanta’s women’s prison, I was surprised. Perhaps, the greatest surprise for me was the sense of peace I had when working alongside these women struggling to make sense of God, their illness, their world, and incarceration. Then there was Gloria Jean, the homeless woman who wandered the halls of our church & made her presence known in worship. She challenged my own faith and belief systems while sharing her revelations. During my CPE residency, I was invited as the chaplain to lead a spirituality group with our veterans struggling with severe mental illness. I developed a study guide (which I hear is somewhat still used today) for our veteran population in incorporating spirituality into their recovery process.

Why? Why have I been so drawn to this work?

Is it because of my own personal history of the struggle to find balance in health & wellness? For me, at various points in my life, it involved seeing a therapist regularly, exercise, and meditation. When I finally realized I needed to find someone (therapist) to talk to about life, I had to overcome a lot of personal stigma about folks who sought out therapy. Is my attraction connected to helping break down the walls of stigma? maybe.

Does it have to do with the connection between spirituality and a mental health diagnosis? There seems to be a fine line. In the religious community, we freely talk about “hearing God’s voice” yet when we talk about people hearing voices they need help. Do you see the difficulty in this?

I have often wondered if there was more to this story in my past history that I had yet to discover. In a recent conversation with my grandmother, I realized that my great grandmother lived with some significant mental illness throughout her life. The therapy for her was treatment centers where “shock” therapy was often used. It’s painful for me to even think about this but it’s true. The other family truth is that most of us considered her a really mean woman. I wonder today how much her the personality we knew of her was related to her illness or more importantly, how she had been treated for the illness.

I know that the month of May is almost over. But, will you take the time to look through some of these websites to find information, resources that might be helpful to you or your family members? The statistics show that 1 in 4 people struggle with mental illness & 1 in 17 struggle with severe mental illness.

What are ways you can help:

– Read about information & resources available

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help & don’t judge others who ask for help

– Watch your language. We throw around the word “crazy” and “schizophrenic” in every language. Be mindful of the words you use.

– A person may live with a disease or an illness but they are NOT the disease and illness. There is a difference.

Websites to check out:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may

www.nami.org

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Our Preschool Minister at church recently asked me to write an article for our church newsletter on the lessons of motherhood and what Parker is teaching me. Several of you (mostly Pam!) saw comments about it on facebook and so I thought I’d post it over here too.

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This month, we’ll celebrate six months since Parker drew his first breath of life into this world. The last six months have radically changed my life. These moments have been full of blessings & joys. We’ve also faced (and conquered) unexpected illnesses. I’m remembering the college habit of what it means to function on very little sleep. I’ve learned that multi-tasking with a baby at your side requires extra skills. My growing son is teaching me something new about myself each day.

Being Parker’s mom has been another lesson in relinquishing control, a life lesson that I find difficult. It’s also encouraged me to let my own high achieving expectations go. In the midst of these lessons, we struggle to find a common ground from which to understand each other. Most recently, during a particularly fitful crying episode that I’d like to blame on teething (simply because that seems to work when all other causes are eliminated) I decided we’d load up in the car and go for a drive. My mostly mild mannered child who loves to ride in the car screamed louder while resisting and fighting me to get strapped in his seat. Exhausted and frustrated that I could not meet his needs, I collapsed into the floor in front of him in a tear-filled moment of my own. I thought to myself, “What kind of mother am I?”

In spite of my doubts that day and others that follow, each night Parker confirms I’m the right mother for him as he curls up into my arms. It’s in these moments as he settles down to snuggle before drifting off to sleep, that God quietly reminds me that in His grace I am enough. I’m not perfect (someone remove this from the archives so Parker can’t remind me of this when he’s a teenager) but I am the mother for Parker. And in each new discovery, the promises of God and His love for me are displayed through my growing baby boy.

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Hooked Up

Tonight is the last night I will spend hooked up to IV medication at home for what I hope is the rest of my life. I received word today from my doctor that everything is looking great. Tomorrow I will take my last dose of medicine and have this line taken out of my arm. I cannot express the pure excitement I feel in preparing for tomorrow.

It feels like a new beginning for me.

Yes, it has been two months since the events of my last post. My son was born two months ago today. One of the most joyous moments of my life.

About a month ago, one of the most difficult moments of my life began. Tomorrow, I’m unhooking the medicine and continuing the process of healing. I’m going to try to write about it here. Why? Because in addition to the physical toll this illness took on me, it took an emotional and spiritual toll on me too.

I need to write about it. And, here’s the warning: you may not like what you read. But, please know it’s me, trying to be honest and on my way to healing.

It’s my story… of being unhooked and wanting to be healed.

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