Rest – part 1

My church is preparing for our 2nd annual women’s conference / retreat and the theme is rest.

I’ve known for about a month that I would absolutely not be able to go because it’s about 48 hours after I get home from my next knee surgery. I’ve suspected I’d miss it since last May when I learned that I needed new knees.

I’ve pouted.

I’ve tried to figure out if I could push surgery out and squeeze the women’s conference in… giving me 3 short weeks until thanksgiving. I even contemplated if I could squeeze in making the thanksgiving food in advance. While I was at it, I could prep for Christmas too.

My “get the house ready for post op recovery” checklist is 3 pages long already. Typed. Single spaced.

The theme is rest.

Yesterday, my brain went there.

Huh. I really wish I could be there. I could tell them a thing or two about rest. I could even be a keynote speaker on the subject!

I was sitting in church at the time, but even that didn’t stop me from grabbing my notepad and pen.

Oooh… I’ve been wondering what to write about. I can’t be a speaker this year but I can still show them what they’re missing out on.

(Side note to my RLM friends – I’m not even remotely serious about the speaking thing. I’m not dropping hints and I promise I’ll communicate directly if I change my mind. Honest.)

I proceeded to write down a list of the major “rest lessons” in my life. Because that’s what sermon time is for, right? (No susan, it’s not.)

There’s scripture about rest.

Being the experienced blogger and social media junkie that I am, I decided to look a few of them up and get a head start on my “amazing upcoming masterpiece” that had somehow spun out of control in my head… and was now morphed into an international best seller with lecture tour.

(It’s ok to roll your eyes and think “oh honey, no…” at this point. I certainly am.)

And, because I was feeling so super spiritual thinking about the life changing lessons about rest I was going to share, I wanted to find some obscure scripture references instead of the common ones.


I got put in my place.

Yet they would not hear.


Right there on the back pew, God put me in my place. My grand dreams went *poof* and I was left to face the truth.

I stink at rest.

I can tell you a LOT about not resting.

I’m an expert on avoiding rest, on pushing myself beyond my own limits, and on being super busy preparing to rest.

I’m the adult equivalent of a toddler who refuses to nap and then has an epic meltdown by 3pm.

I’ve repeatedly pulled the spiritual equivalent of running around like a toddler yelling “I’m not tired” right up to the point I fall face first onto the floor.

I can tell you just one thing about rest.

Don’t fight it.

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The least bad thing

Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this.

the backstory

On August 27 2018 I had a partial knee replacement on my right knee. It wasn’t my first knee surgery and I had used the months prior to make sure I was well prepared. I had meals in the freezer, my house was clean, and I’d spent time praying. I even continued to strengthen my body with regular leg days all summer.

Not my first surgery. More like the 5th in 5 years. Plus two colonoscopies and a needle biopsy.

Partial knee replacement leaves the ACL alone, a full replacement doesn’t. For my medical friends, mine is the medial compartment.  But it does involve “messing with bones” and bone pain is THE WORST.

(You May need a cute kitten at this point)

To help control the pain, I was given a nerve block for the leg that was being worked on. The plan was to send me home to recover.

the nerve block failed.

it was the worst thing.

After a surgery, they take you to a recovery room. It’s generally a pretty calm space with very nurturing nurses. Based on my previous experiences, the surgical pain is always at a 3 to 4 on a pain scale, and quickly drops to a 2.

Five surgeries, remember? Plus:

  • 6 months of plantar fasciitis.
  • a broken foot.
  • 6 years of arthritis.
  • 2 separate class 3 sprains.
  • 5 days of active labor.
  • 2 c-sections, one was unplanned.
  • 2 torn meniscus
  • 2 bone bruises


And until five weeks ago not once have I ever rated my pain as a 10.

I have no cartilage left in my knees and walked around all summer (ok hobbled) with my bones bashing together and I generally rated my pain as a 7.

I saw 10. It took 3 hours to control the pain.

(before you get freaked, I’m allergic to some pain meds. It wasn’t an easy task for them.)

(and I figure you need a kitten)

it. Was. Bad.

It was the kind of bad that lingers in the brain and in the soul.

Fear. Anxiety. Flashbacks. Depression. Anger. Powerlessness. Vulnerability. Frailty. Guilt.

Harder still, hiding from friends because I wasn’t strong enough to tell them how awful it was in my head.


im getting better.

Last week, I was finally strong enough to face the ugliest part.

god, why did you let this happen?

God, I’m angry at you… this wasn’t supposed to be how it happened.

There is something miraculous that happened as I began to pour out my heart to God and tell Him all the dark and ugly mess that was tangled deep inside me.

For the first time since surgery, I found peace.

I still don’t understand the why. But I know there is one. I’m certain.

God makes beauty from my ashes.

every single time.

It was the best thing

I will never view my failed nerve block as something I’m eager to repeat. It’s not going to get celebrated with an annual party.

But I’ve begun to see it as the “best bad thing.”

Of all the scary and life threatening risks from surgery, it’s the one I’d pick again.

It was just pain. It wasn’t life threatening. It didn’t leave me paralyzed. It didn’t require blood transfusions or months of antibiotics or an attorney.

God protected me from all of the truly horrible things. He only handed me one hard thing. Pain.

I’ll pick hard over horrible every time.

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If I don’t do this now… I never will.

Honestly, returning to writing after a 3 year gap is weird. I can’t ignore the gap. I can’t write a single post and play catch up. But what exactly can I do?

It’s like that silly “hello world” post that new word press sites come preloaded with.

Hello world.


Here’s a kitten to distract you.

[Read more…]

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Dear Beginning Blogger – Be Awesome

Six weeks ago, I wrote to you and shared most the things I wish I’d known as a beginning blogger.

One of the things I told you was

“for the first month or two, just focus on writing.”

It’s been a month or two. I figured it was time to check in and give you a wee bit more advice.

(Hint: If I could have squeezed in in, the full title of today’s post is “Dear Beginning Blogger: How to be awesome at social media and get lots of comments on your blog posts.”)

[Read more…]

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Summer in Idaho – Part of my vacation

Remember I said we took the entire month of June for a family vacation?  Part of our time was spent with family in Idaho.  We were in a small (300 square foot) cabin on the edge of McCall and it was amazing.  We loved the time we spent with family and all of the outdoor stuff we could do that you can’t exactly DO in suburban Houston. [Read more…]

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Our first day of homeschool and what happened all summer

It was with a great sigh of relief that I started our school year last Friday.  Granted, Friday seems like an odd day to start the school year, but for us it made sense.  In the midst of July boredom, my younger son asked me when we could start school. [Read more…]

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How NOT to take a shower

Based on recent experience, I can tell you how NOT to take a shower.   It was one of those “if it can go wrong, it did” kind of experiences that should form the basis for a really funny scene in a romantic comedy.

Only, I wasn’t laughing.

The background.

We spent the better part of a week in a small cabin in McCall, Idaho.  I’m not sure what their normal June weather is like, but the week we were there they had a low close to freezing and a high around 45.

My ideal range of temperature is 60-80.  If it’s cooler than 60, I normally want a sweater… and a hat… and a scarf.   Unfortunately, I had packed my summer wardrobe. I had ONE long sleeved shirt and a thin (see through) sweater.

My husband’s ideal temperature is 40-70.  When we stay in hotels, he cranks the air conditioner all the way down and sleeps on top of the covers.  The boys and I are under all the blankets and shivering by morning.

In the cabin, hubby opened all the windows and griped every time I turned on the heater.

I spent the week wearing my entire wardrobe at once.

I was sporting a hot pink long sleeved t-shirt, a teal blouse, and an orchid sweater all at once and I didn’t even care.  They all coordinated with the floral comforter I stole off the bed and wore like a giant poncho.

On our final day, I had had enough. I decided to take a shower and try to warm up.

The shower started with promise.

I closed the bathroom door and sealed up the crack under the door with an extra towel. I wanted every ounce of warm steam that I could capture.

For about five minutes, it was pure bliss.  I could feel the warm shower soaking in and I knew I would FINALLY be warm.    I lathered up my hair for a good shampoo and was actually looking forward to shaving my legs.

That’s when disaster struck.

Without warning, my beautiful warm shower turned ice cold.   It was about 40 degrees outside, and I swear the water was colder.

I shut the water off and yelled for my husband.

I’m standing there with shampoo horns on my head and rapidly cooling water dripping everywhere.

The first thing he does is open the door and let all my lovely steam out.

Hubby: Did you holler?

Me: I’m out of hot water.  I was in the shower for five minutes.  Did the cabin run out of propane?

Hubby: I’ll check.

He wanders off to check, leaving the door open for the cold air to rush into the bathroom.  I’m still standing there with cold shampoo bubble dripping EVERYWHERE.

Hubby: Nope, the propane is fine.

Me:  Well, turn the heater on please?

Hubby: What good will that do?

Me:  Um… I won’t be as cold when I get out?

He turns the heat on and proceeds to grumble about how stuffy the cabin is.  I know this because he was standing outside the OPEN BATHROOM WINDOW griping about it.

Me:  Hey…

Hubby:  What.

Me: I still don’t have hot water.

Hubby:  Oh, I turned the dishwasher on.  I don’t think there’s enough water for the shower and the dishwasher.

I’m still standing there with shampoo dripping.  I have goosebumps everywhere, and the smell of my shampoo has started to really annoy me.  It’s lavender, and I’m not a big fan of lavender at the best of times.  This is NOT the best of times.

Me:  Hey!

Hubby:  Yes?

Me: So are you going to turn the dishwasher off?

Hubby: It’s almost done.  Just give it a few minutes and you should have hot water again.

The shampoo smells like a cross between wet dog and old lady house.  I’m starting to shiver.  I check the time.  Ten minutes pass.  I still don’t have hot water.

Me:  Hello?

Hubby:  Now what?

Me:  Um… I’m still in the shower.

Hubby:  I’m going fishing.

I count to 100.  The smell of old lady and wet dog has put me off anything with a purple label.  I give up.  I rinse the shampoo out of my hair with cold water.

By the time I get out, the rest of the cabin was a toasty warm.  Only the bathroom was still cold.  Unfortunately, the entire place smelled like lavender to me.  As soon as I could pull clothes on, I ended up opening windows just to get the smell of wet dog out of the place.

That’s when I remember…

… I don’t have a blow dryer.

Needless to say, I didn’t shave my legs.  Hubby didn’t notice, but if he had actually had the nerve to say something, I was going to tell them it was goosebumps.

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Life on the Road – part 2

It’s day 20 of life on the road. We’re still not done with our road trip.

(In honor of the iffy wifi, I’m skipping a graphic today. Sorry.)

But here’s what I know so far:

10 things about life on the road

  1.   WIFI is underrated.  Quality WIFI – the kind where you can actually see all the photos in your Facebook stream without cussing – is hard to come by in hotels.  Since I hit 50% of my phone’s data plan in the first week of our trip, I haven’t even had the luxury of 4G most of the time.  Sigh.
  2. Insomnia is ten times harder in a hotel room.  You know how when you have a really bad case of insomnia you just give up and go watch TV on the couch (or get some soothing chamomile tea)?  Yeah. That doesn’t work so well in a hotel room.  It’s more a case of laying still listening to the rest of the family snore. [Read more…]

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Vacations are a time for worship

Vacations don’t always leave room for God. With two kids in tow, mine quickly are filled with frantic activity, drama, and way more junk food than I care to admit.

But yesterday… [Read more…]

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this boy. oh my.

This boy.

Right now he’s laying half on top of me. His limbs twitch in his sleep and he likes to snore in my ear.  But I wouldn’t miss this.

Yesterday was hard. His legs are short and the mountain air was thin. He struggled to keep up. The food was strange. The air is dry. He tried hard to hide behind his handheld screen.

There were tears…

I love this boy


…and laughter.

He fights me on everything.

Not out of dark rebellion, but more as a sparring partner. He is strong willed and quick witted. Our battles are more a way for him to measure his strength. He is like a young lion cub practicing his fighting moves against the elder of the pack.

He questions.

He obsesses.

He demands perfection and struggles to comprehend Grace.

And then this.

Sprawled in the darkness of a hotel room, he slumbers in peace. Sweetness. Gentleness. A calm before another storm.

I breathe deeply and remember.

This boy. He calls me mom.

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