Crossing the Jordan

I’m almost afraid to type today.  Afraid too much of the truth might come out.  Such a difficult time of my life.  I feel terribly alone and scared and sad.  Trying to cling to the Lord.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to breathe.

My marriage has seen better days.  Toby and Dana.  Two peas.  We’ve been together since we’ve met, less the one week it took me to lure him away from his long-time girlfriend.  Best friends.  Able to do pretty much anything together.  Despite everything against us – dysfunctional childhood homes, divorced parents, financial distress, health issues, and the regular chaos of life – we made it 12 years, or so.  That’s amazing in this society.  They should give out big trophies to people who make it to another anniversary.  People like trophies.  Maybe people would like marriage if there was a trophy incentive.

Most men do not hang around when the lady is sick.  It’s a fact.  Right now a lot has fallen on Toby’s shoulders.  I am unable to keep up with the kids and stuff.  Tears fall off my cheeks as I type today.  Heartbreaking in black and white.  I think all of the little stresses in life have just added up and completely overwhelmed me – to the point that my plate is overflowing and I’m dropping oranges to pick up grapes, ya know?  A constant juggling act.

I think the biggest issue at the core of all of this, is the inability to schedule – from one day to the next to one hour to the next!  If you’re up all night in pain, you’re less likely to want to be busy in the morning and the morning is typically your best time… and you don’t always have a rhyme or reason to what is causing that pain to stop it.  Once it gets out of control, it’s more difficult to calm down.  In addition – there are other symptoms besides pain – I’m having cognitive issues – speech, speaking, short-term memory, inability to do regular tasks – I have to write down every step to complete a day of chores.  I’m emotionally different.  I’m withdrawn, irritable, and sensitive, at times I feel no emotion where I know I should feel something.  The fatigue is really intense right now.  I went out to shovel a bit in my garden a few days ago.  I got two scoops tossed and my arms and legs were done.  I cried.  Yesterday I was able to get a few more licks in and that made me happy.  I feel so restless.  So much I want to do.  I suck at this.

I suck at trying to deal with this and I’m a terrible wife.  Trust me.  Toby feels so unloved and unappreciated.  I complain, whine, and feel sad all the time that he wants to be out living.  I am constantly asking him to be home because I need him here to help with kids or so that I can go to work or because I’m just fed up and past my threshold for the day.  I am jealous of jiu jitsu.  I know, I’m a brat, huh?  I am very selfish and somehow make everything about me.  If I don’t change, and allow him to escape for training and his life in Boise, I’ll probably lose him forever, because he is at a loss of what to do.  Our marriage is very fragile right now.  He is a fix it person.  How do you help someone so lost as me?  I’m not fixable on this earth, I don’t think.

I am dealing with so many issues past and present – my dad, my mom, excessive self-loathing, a disease I don’t know how to fight, how to run a business, educate my kids, keep a home, and raise a husband with his own life and hopes and dreams.  It’s hard not to feel so stuck.  Wanting to go run and play and work hard and make my way, but only physically being up to rest on the couch.

If you know me, you know the person I am right now, is not the person I am.  Please, please, please know that I am not myself.  I don’t know how to get through this.  I’m going to go visit with my primary today and get some anxiety medication that should help settle things down up in my brain so I can get some rest in the other parts of my body.  I am uncertain if the diet is helping, and I’m at day 27.  I do not feel any change in energy level or pain this week.  I got a monster flu-bug and spent most of Wednesday night on the floor of the bathroom.  Haven’t done that since my early 20’s.  Ugh.  I’ve had a couple of other infections come up since doing this clean eating, healing diet.  They discourage me in the sense that my body should be able to easily fight them, but my immune system is super shot down.  Wondering if it’s worth it.  I’m pursuing medical specialists, but it all takes time.

Still unsure what to do with my business.  There are employees there relying on income, but I am just so tired of spending all of my energy there when that is what I am doing – getting my employees paid.  It does give us a lot of financial freedom.  I am able to purchase groceries, help with a bill here or there, and it’s my source of my personal money.  The money we do get from it is not worth the stress and headache of it all right now.  I went down there a bit last night, paperwork stacked up, chores to do, open house to prepare for, weddings, funerals, prom in a few weeks, Mother’s Day without my mama, graduation, Memorial weekend, Fiddle Week…  I came home and felt like I was going to have a nervous break down.  I told Toby I would rather just close the store than go through the Jordan… because it feels so big.

Please, please, please pray for me.  I need God to do a big work in me.



Warts and colon cleansers – in no particular order.

My family is gone.  It’s me and Texas.  The dog.  Not the state, silly.

They went to visit family and attend the celebration of life for Toby’s late Grandma Betty.  At one point we owned guinea pigs and I named them after her two ex-husbands, Gil and Ori.  Probably not an appropriate time to mention that.

I’ve been busy with my new found liberation.  

  • Picked up the house.
  • Vacuumed.  
  • Rug doctored.  
  • Upholstery attachment’ified the couch.  
  • Laundry.  Sock basket nearly empty.  Victory!
  • Almost finished listening to a book.
  • Made a flyer.
  • Went to work and actually worked.  I finished paperwork!
  • Re-organized, categorized, and listed four seasons of our family’s “Psych Pineapple Hunt of 2014”
  • Took a bath with mineral salts.
  • Made some more garbanzo bean breadish cakelike stuff.
  • Played some mad candy crush.
  • Baked some of the cutest little mini-cookies I’ve ever seen in my life.
  • Dishes.

I have yet to finish a few things:

  • Laundry.
  • Washing the windows.
  • Dusting.
  • Fixing a shelf.
  • Fixing Q’s dress form.
  • Repainting the interior doors.
  • Planning more details to the shop’s spring open house.
  • Bathroom’s.
  • Homeskool lesson plans for the next two weeks.
  • Dinner with mom and sister.
  • Garden beds.
  • Getting rid of kids winter clothes and old toys.

I’m burning daylight.  I have roughly 2.5 days to get my stuff done.  Prolly not going to happen, but I dream big.

Toby has commented that he has noticed a change in me since doing my diet.  He’s not sure what it is.  Energy or spunk or what.  I’ve noticed a change in me, too, but I can’t put a finger on it.  Or a thumb.  A warty thumb.

The diet and Bible study I’m working on both started within days of each other.  I think it’s God using both things to help me.  I’ve really detached myself from the shop.  More so than my staff would probably like, but the stress is going to ruin me.  My threshold is already so low, just because of my health.  The excessive stress turns me into someone I don’t like and someone I don’t want to be for 50 more years.  I’ve decided I need to figure out how to deal with said stress or proceed with trying to sell the shop.  For now, I really want to rebuild my health and give my body the best chance to heal.  Being able to rest when I need to rest.  Not having to force myself to follow a schedule I can’t be expected to follow right now.  There are have been lot of tears over the last several weeks.  Good tears.  

People have asked how my body has responded to this diet.  I, honestly, am not sure how to answer that.  I still feel pretty worn out.  At this point, I’m doing A LOT and keeping busy.  But, I’m exhausted.  I take frequent breaks.  I try not to nap so I’ll sleep better at night, but when that heavy fog of fatigue lays on you thick and you’re too tired to talk…  you get to take a nap then.  =)

I have noticed obvious improvements in my digestive tract.  My husband and I have, in the past, done a colon cleansing program.  I found it YEARS ago online.  We have tried to do it every few years since then, but I haven’t been able to do it as frequently as Toby because of my pregnancies.  We love this product, Colonix.  It will freak you out, it is that good.  I started my diet March 2, 2014 with these Acai detox pills.  We did ten days of the Acai WITH ten days of no sugar, dairy, caffeine, or gluten.  We also did a lot of juicing and ate primarily vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains like brown rice.  I started taking a multi-vitamin, 1,000mg Vitamin C, and an omega-3 oil supplement at this time.  In addition, I have drunk (drank? drunken?) more water in the past three weeks than I have in the whole year.

After the first super strict 10 days, we switched from the Acai detox pills to the Colonix.  The Colonix is a 30-day program.  It can be more, but I’m just doing 30.   Following that, I will go back to the Acai pills as continual maintenance.  Toby and I both feel that the “prep” we did in the ten days before starting the colon cleanse made a big difference.

Here I am 21 days into this diet.  I am shifting the diet to avoid saturated fats, yeast, sugar, gluten, and dairy.  I have also added a few more supplements to my daily cocktail:  I am taking a high-potency probiotic, a high dose of Vitamin D3, and a liquid Vitamin B-complex.  I have tried to maintain a regular sleep schedule.  I am also committed to building my spiritual foundation in Christ.  I think all of these things, all of these little changes, are adding up.

I regret that I can’t say, “This diet has changed my life!  Do it!”  I don’t feel that, yet.  But, I’m willing to give it time.  I’m willing.  I want to keep eating this way.  That should say something, because it is not glamorous, or easy, or always tasty.  I don’t have a big testimony yet, but I do have a super tiny one.

It’s a wart.  Was a wart.  This is the grossest blog post I’ve ever written on:  colon cleansing and warts.  No, not venereal warts.  The regular kind.  I’ve had one on my thumb. For probably a year.  I’ve treated it with stuff, but found ignoring it worked best for me.  I’m so gross, huh?  Don’t judge me.  Please.  Every once in awhile, I’d hit it or if it got pushed it would hurt.  But, we mostly just did our own things, me in my world and thumb wart in hers.  I noticed last week, thumb wart is almost gone.   So…  in one year my body can’t conquer this little virus.  But, in two weeks + of clean eating, detoxing, and supplementing it goes away on it’s own.  This is a miracle.  I’m so thankful for it.  This tells me that my immune system is kicking in.  And, even though it may take more time before my body beats up the rest of the bad stuff, I think it’s working.  I’ll take what I can get!

My 1K

Several weeks ago I started digging for a women’s Bible study.  I wanted to lead a small group with some amazing, kick your butt with Jesus, kind of material.  I found “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann with no ‘e’.  I think this book, this study, this author, her writing, her words – I listen to her on audio, have changed my life.

It hasn’t been an instant process, but I want to “stack some stones” today and remember where I was.  When this study started, I was obedient to the Lord to chase after Jesus.  I’ve really tried to embrace this study as an opportunity.  I’ve done the reading, writing, journal-ling, praying, and practicing.  I have learned how to physically open my hands to the gifts of God.  I have learned that with God, everything can be made beautiful.  Everything.  He is here, he is now.  It is my responsibility to choose to believe in His presence.  

I’m a bit trapped in this stupid, tired body right now.  Life doesn’t stop.  I’ve really had to take some big sacrifices to the altar in the past few weeks.  I actually sent out an offer to sell the flower shop.  I can’t do mom, and teacher, and flower girl in one day anymore.  The stress of the kids and their natural, innocent needs on top of business needs and our home and finally myself…  it makes for a long day.  I can barely keep up with just the kids and the house.  I’ve decided to make some shift changes at work and suck up the extra payroll until I can get feeling better, consistently, for a few months.  Toby and I are moving forward as though my disease process is MS or a variant thereof, because otherwise, we are waiting for another major attack, more lesions on my brain, or a bad spinal tap.  Instead of waiting and responding, I want to fight now.  

I have completely overhauled my diet.  I am on my  17th day of being dairy, sugar, and gluten free.  It’s been a difficult process.  One that I wouldn’t have been able to commit to in year’s past.  But, the thing of it is, I am feeling so bad that I am desperate.  The sacrifice of food that I adore is less painful to me than what I am dealing with on a daily basis with my health.  

It’s been very difficult to schedule much of anything.  Toby and I are on a week by week basis!  Seriously.  I never know from one day to the next how I will feel, how tired I will be, or how much pain I will be in.  I cannot read a short story out loud to Tate without taking two or three breaks because my throat tightens up while talking.  I cannot fold a basket of laundry in one shot or vacuum all at once.  I grieve, daily, for the stuff I want to do but am not able to.  My garden sits unattended Mid-March.  New record for me.  My flower shop sits, projects unfinished throughout.  Dreams are building up, the potential makes me giddy.  The reality of never getting to that full potential because of circumstances haunts me.  I’m willing to let go, now.  Hopeful I won’t have to.  Hope.  

The thing I love most about this one thousand gift thing, is the process in which the author shares how to find the joy of the Lord – the hope – in all circumstances.  Her theory is to approach life with this strategy:  at all times give thanks.  When we have thankful hearts, we have thankful eyes.  With thankful eyes you can see God’s beauty in bigger and bolder ways.  When you are in this grace of God, seeing all the amazing things He has done, His gifts for you, you find true joy.  That joy clings to you, enlightens you, lifts you, supports you, and gives you hope.  I need hope.

I’ve decided to share my list of hope.  My list of gifts.  My list of God’s grace on my life.  I’m not to 1,000 – far from it.  But, I look forward to adding this to my blog and hope that you’ll join me with your own journal of eucharisteo.  

  1. Toby – his strong arms around me.
  2. My mom’s curly, dark hair.
  3. Playing at the flower shop after hours.
  4. Kids playing.  Outside.
  5. Toys scattered on the floor, left behind by healthy, happy kids.
  6. Our square coffee table.  It’s been everywhere we’ve been.  Re-surfaced.  So many memories in the scratches.  Sticky goo.  Never clean.  Fingerprints.  Perfect.
  7. Houseplants to care for.  Or kill.
  8. Squishy, soft playful Texi dog.
  9. My gift of creativity/design.
  10. The change in Tripp’s cry – baby to boy.
  11. Family pictures taken by family friends.
  12. Watching my kids relationship grow with their Aunty Yanna.
  13. Japanication.
  14. Heating pad.  Instant comfort.
  15. Fruit scented lotion.
  16. Hoodies.
  17. Kids finding each other in hide-n-seek.  Thrill & shrill.
  18. Freezer full of meat.
  19. Pen, paper, and hands to write with.
  20. Decorating my house.
  21. My so-perfectly-made-for-me bed.
  22. Falling asleep easy.
  23. Getting a nap when you need one.
  24. Getting a nap when you need one with a baby boy snug beside you.
  25. The endurance to stick with a difficult diet.
  26. Hamilton’s grace on our home.
  27. McCall memories.
  28. Toby’s victories and defeats in MMA and BJJ.
  29. Forever friends, Shawna, Kim, and Samantha.
  30. Tripp’s twoism’s:  endless jabbering to three piece sentences, personality, easy excitement.  Curiosity and the courage to go ahead and do it.
  31. Morning messy hear of baby boy.
  32. The NFL.
  33. That my husband’s hot.  Super hot.
  34. Feeling better.  Pain-free days.
  35. Feeling up to going out.  Wanting to go.  Gaining momentum.
  36. Beautiful girls grateful for what they have.
  37. Brand new dish sponges.
  38. Tripp mumbling prayers “ay-meh!”
  39. My husband’s financial support of our family and flower shop.  
  40. The guts to sell the shop.  Opening my hands to God’s will.
  41. Warm morning glow through the windows.
  42. Not letting food or drink control me.
  43. Organized house.
  44. Key chains.
  45. My Barbara.
  46. Emilie, Carla, Shane, Autumn, Kelsie, Alexa, Tricia, Donna, Greg…  along the way at the flower shop.  ❤
  47. Jeans – almost too small for my little blonde Tate.  Knees split almost clear through. Memories.  Growth.  Play hard.
  48. Abundance of clothing.  Laundry.
  49. Transfiguration of my lenses to see beauty and glory and peace and joy and hope every day in all circumstances.
  50. Baby boy yawns.
  51. Being still long enough at the lunch table to sit, talk, play, and giggle big with my three.
  52. Springtime – new hopes for the garden, veggies, herbs, fruit, flowers, nature.  Excited.
  53. Homeskool – this additional experience with my girls.  Time.  Meaningful time.
  54. Softest baby boy skin, warm against mine.
  55. Carpet freshener with fragrance that is nicer than puppy pee.
  56. Carpet.
  57. 1st world problems.
  58. Africa!  To Liberia and beyond!
  59. Kindle – audiobooks, games, ease of use.
  60. Stretchy pants.
  61. Second chances.
  62. Third chances.
  63. Gift certificate for a massage in the mail.  I love you, smiley face!
  64. Church family.  


This is as far as I am right now.  My list makes me smile and makes me feel good.  I want to find more things to add.  That is the mindset we must be in with each new morning!  I need a lot more practice, but I think that this meaningful and intentional act of slowing down to see God is changing me.  I do feel a bit more gentle with my kids and less rushed to get through life.  Crazy, huh?  I think the biggest challenge I have is recognizing God’s gifts are here, right now.  In the stress of life, we don’t feel them, not because they aren’t there, but because we choose to focus on the stress and that’s when life feels unbearable.  I don’t want that life anymore.  My heart is changing.  ❤


Happy Healing


It’s been awhile.  I’ve been, I don’t know, really.  Absent.  Down but not out, I tell you.

I didn’t realize it until today, but I guess God’s been re-working my heart a little bit.  Heart healing is sucky.  I’ve been chasing Jesus.  Earbuds with Max Maclean.  I’ve been working on a few ministries – leading a few teens and a small women’s group.  I’m posturing up for Africa – my missionary adventure.  November is far away, but in a few shakes of my cute new puppy’s tail, it’ll be here.

I admired this little puppy today.  Not as an amazing breed of dog or because of exemplary skill.  But, because it was.  Black nose and face dusted into a tan so soft coat of short puppy dog hair.  Puppy breath.  Compact.  A chihuahua.  This naughty little puppy that chews and whines and barks me up at 5:00am.  Her tiny palm sized presence prompted us to name her appropriately:  Texas.  We call her Texi.  She poops all over my house.  I am a terrible dog trainer.  I get frustrated.  Over dog poop!  Seriously.  I get so frustrated, not just at the dog, but at the other people in my home who don’t see the dog poop.  Or take the dog out for more than 15 seconds.  Will I enjoy this darling little dog or let it frustrate me into anger.  I think of clenched fists I’ve been discussing with a few different people.

The picture of a tightly gripped fist prompts thoughts of strength, victory, perhaps fighting.  We focused on the frustration and trials in life that cause us to clench our fists to the grace of God in my ladies group yesterday.  The author, Ann with no “e”, has so far prompted us that in order to find joy in the present, we must open our fists, open our hands to God.  How do you open your hands?  Her solution:  thanksgiving.  She started to keep a list of 1,000 ways the Lord had already blessed her.  In doing that intentional act of thanksgiving, she began opening her hands from her past hurts and began receiving the overflowing love of the Lord.  After she saw His perfect grace, she finally felt His perfect joy.  I want that.  I want to be there.

I’m totally working on it.  Body, mind, and spirit.

I’m doing this super insane diet right now.  I had to try something.  My leg pain and swallowing/choking feelings are waxing and waning but mostly waxing.  Does that even make sense?  Waxing?  Sure it does.  So, I’ve eaten the healthiest that my body has ever eaten for five whole days in a row.  Five.  No coffee.  No Diet Dr. Pepper.  No dairy.  No sugar.  No animal products until today – I had a cup of homemade beef broth.  I’ve done a drastic dietary change just to start, there’s no way this could be a lifestyle for me.  I’m moving into the next stage of my self-designed diet and I’m pretty excited.  The focus is intentional:  healing.

I don’t want to be angry and disappointed all the time.  I am tired of being in a hurry and always busy, but never fulfilled.  I am tired of being tired.  I want to get excited about living.  Excited to wake up and play in this life.  I’m learning to let others help.  I’ve hired a great staff at the store.  I have a lot more flexibility in my job right now and I am so, completely thankful.  Toby is supportive and helpful.  He’s doing this crazy diet with me.  Not because he has to or needs to but because he loves me.

I love him, too.