Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tics and The Power Of Prayer

I know there are plenty of people that think I'm nuts for counting on God or prayer to stave off Tourette's and its spectrum of manifestations.  Truth be told, if anyone had told be prior to 2005 that I'd really be counting on this kind of faith to counter "real life" issues that don't seem spiritual?  I probably would have thought they were nuts.  But here we are.  And here I am.  Too much direct intervention from God has happened in my life for me to turn back now.

Blah blah blah.

I just find it very interesting that, since my February 19th post, Pokemon Boy came home - almost the next day - telling me how he has felt more tics at school.  Here's a Feb 23rd email I sent to my closest friends and family asking for prayer.  Just easier to copy it here than to try to remember it all.

[PokemonBoy] has been having some facial tics develop over the last few weeks.  Most are pretty minor and unnoticeable.  But he told me tonight that he thinks he had some tics at school (most of his tics are under control while at school).  I asked him to show me.  They are all facial tics involving the mouth and cheek muscles.  The three he showed me today would be pretty noticeable but nothing too bad.  They are all hard to describe without seeing them.  But the main one I see lately is just a quick upper lip thing that exposes the top teeth very quickly.  It's usually combined with a quick crinkle of the nose too.  The other three all involved opening his mouth real wide, clinching his facial muscles and touching the sides of his face.  He told me the sides of his face felt hot (which they didn't to me).

Anyway, [PokemonBoy] has been virtually tic-free for a long time.  Since the 2006 diagnosis, I have really put this in God's hands and continue to do so.  I'm coming to you guys as my prayer warriors.  You have prayed [PokemonBoy] through his kidney stuff.  You've prayed me through my divorce.  I know you'll pray with me on this one.  Pray how you're lead but I have been asking God for the following: 
  • total healing of the Tourette's
  • [PokemonBoy] to be able to control his body
  • peace so [PokemonBoy] doesn't worry about this
  • good true friends that will always accept [PokemonBoy] no matter what
As you know, [PokemonBoy]'s Tourette's is amazing in how mild it is.  Please pray with me that it remains that way and actually completely goes away.  Most of the documentation shows that the majority of Tourette's cases are diagnosed around the ages of 8 or 9 - mostly because this is when it escalates enough for people to say, ok, this isn't just normal.  I'm trying not to pay into that belief but I will admit that it scares me with him being 8 1/2.  So prayer against giving in to that fear would help, too.

After sending out that email, I also started praying against it all with him.  Our nightly prayers usually consist of me putting my hands on him and addressing anything on our minds.  When it's prayer for healing, I always make sure my hands are on him.  I'm lucky that he also takes this very seriously.

So here we are on the 26th.  And I haven't seen any of the facial tics today.  Not even the most common one where he bares his top teeth.

I'm still all over this.  I don't believe in fast-food prayer.  Well, that's not true.  I do it all the time.  The quick once or twice prayer and then I forget.  But certain things, I am persistent.  This will be one.  This has been one.  And God will get the glory.  I have no doubt.

Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Five Year Old's Take On Death

So Lil'Bro was upset the other night. I don't even recall how the subject came up. It could have started as innocently as speculating what all will be in heaven. However it came about, Lil'Bro became very withdrawn and upset about dying.

It was after bath time and the boys were freshly dried and pajama'd. They were lying in my bed enjoying time under my ginormous comforter. But Lil'Bro was anxious. Pokemon Boy and I asked what was wrong and he just kept saying, "I just don't want to die." At moments like these, I always mentally slap my head and think, "Why did we take this avenue of discussion?" I brought up all of the usual things that never seem to lift the fears:
  • It won't happen for a long long time. You don't need to worry about it now. [Which is akin to "Think about something else," an equally useless statement.]
  • It's only the end to this physical life and the beginning of our new life forever with God!
  • We finally get to meet Jesus and ask him anything!
  • We get to meet everyone who has gone before us (and start listing cool people from history and the bible).
  • God has a plan for you and that includes a long life.
  • [Insert feeble attempt to put a positive spin on death for a 5 yr old here]
I just couldn't reach back far enough into the dark recesses of my dusty childhood memory to recall the exact source of anxiety surrounding the concept of death.

I tried, "Is it because you'll miss all the people that you'll leave here?" A weak nod. Pokemon Boy cheerfully offered, "Well, mom will go before you so she'll already BE there!" True, albeit morbid. But that's the plan, anyway.

We went on like this for a few minutes and real tears were forming in Lil'Bro's eyes. It was killing me. I hate moments like this. Finally, between sniffs, Lil'Bro said, "I just don't want to leave Buddy [his favorite stuffed animal]." Oh. Now I get it. Man, it broke my heart. I was flooded with those feelings of absolute love and loyalty I had as a kid to certain stuffed animals, blankets and, later, pets. Oh yah. I get it. I couldn't imagine the fear he felt at the thought of having to leave Buddy behind.

"You know," I started, "God can do anything. And I bet he could even make sure Buddy was in heaven with you. I bet God will make sure heaven is so wonderful for you. And if he thinks you need Buddy there with you, God can get Buddy in heaven for you." He smiled. And hugged Buddy closer.

Now, I have no idea what heaven will be like. Much to the dismay of my boys. They pepper me with questions about it all the time. I'm not Paul. I'm not privy to what heaven will be like. I just know it will rock beyond anything I can come up with. So while God might not have Buddy up in heaven? It will be so awesome, we won't care. But I also know that what I said wasn't a lie. If God can poof the entire cosmos into being with a single word, I have no doubt he could have Buddy in heaven for Lil'Bro. Either way, I'm not worried about it. And I didn't want Lil'Bro to worry about it. Just know God will make it rock so much we won't know what to DO with it all.

Anyway, thought I'd just share this because it seriously was one of the sweetest and most heart-rending moments I've had lately.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's This Blog About Again?

Oh that's right. I have a son with Tourette's.

You know, I have to smile when I realize I hardly ever post about Tourette's. This means that Pokemon Boy hasn't been manifesting TS much. At least, not in a physical way. And most of his issues related to his anxiety disorder are the kind of anxious foibles most 8 yr olds are dealing with. Maybe his are a smidge higher up on the drama scale because of personality, living with divorce, having a bad day. It's hard to say. And I am loathe to chalk every action or reaction up to "Oh, that must be the Tourette's."

But I thought I'd give you an update on how he's doing.

Pokemon Boy (aka: The Litigator, Mr. Attitude, The Certified Genius - all depending on the day and who you ask) has been having some physical tic-like things lately. God rocks. And I say this because his tics are nothing in the spectrum of what could be. I think I mentioned this in an earlier post. He has most of his repetitive actions happening in the face. The mouth, mostly. Right now he does this thing with his lower lip that I can't even do. Like, have you ever flipped your lower lip way down (I have to use my hand to do it) so that the inner part of the lip is showing? Does that make sense? Well, PB can do it by sticking the lower lip out and doing a smiling motion. And it just flips his lip down. Then he pops it back into place. It all happens in just a few seconds. But he usually does this quite a few times in succession. Maybe 3 or 4 times in a row, just a second or two apart. The other mouth thing has been less this week. Man, it's really hard to describe these things in words. And you know what? I can't. I'd have to post a video showing you and I don't feel like doing that in case he looks at this. But it's almost like he quickly bites the insides of both cheeks and then slowly pulls the cheek muscles back to normal. It's very quick and repeated a few times in a row.

Those are really the only things I notice. I actually think the lower lip thing resulted from some bad winter chapping of the skin right below his lower lip. I think it morphed into a repetitive motion for him. Last night he did it quite a few times in front of me and it was rather noticeable. So I just asked, "Hey, what's with the mouth? Anything going on?" He just said no and that was it. Sometimes he'll take that opportunity to tell me how it feels or if it bothers him. So this must not bother him. And that's great.

That's the physical. Like I said, not much. By itself, it's nothing you'd even really think about. So thank you, God!

Emotionally, I'm not really sure. He has a lot of anger lately. Some of his recent behavior reminds me of kids I've known that are more like 12. You know, that surly preteen stuff that signals, "Oh boy, here it comes." I told my mom, man, if this is any indication, the teen years are gonna be a LOT of work. But I refuse to pay into self-fullfilling prophecies. Nothing HAS to be. So my mom and I have started attacking this with prayer. I'm just asking God to show me what the anger is from. Show me what he needs. Show me how I can give him what he needs. I don't know if he just needs a guy around. He really thrives when men visit and spend time with him. I don't know if he just needs to be outside running himself ragged more. He and Lil'Bro are rather addicted to screens (TV, computer, friend's video games). But even when they're not doing screen time, they love indoor play. And as a single mom who is usually working, it's hard for me to take time out to get them outside. Our area is safe but not enough for me to send two little boys outside by themselves to play in the neighborhood. Or maybe it's the whole divorce thing. You just never know when and how that hits. So often he seems fine with it. And if that IS his issue? He's not saying so.

The good thing here is, last month, he asked to see his play therapist. Since I just got my severance check, 'tis time to make an appointment.

My never ending question remains: When do you chalk behavior up to a kid being a kid and when is it their bigger diagnosis at play? Thankfully, I don't really need to know. I just keep asking God to show me.

Oh, and here's a nice little example of Mr. Surley Pants: yesterday, I took some of my savings and bought an iPod Touch. It's not the phone. It plays music, videos, accesses the internet and has a ton of fun free games you an download. So I brought it home and downloaded lots of kids' games. When PB got home, I said, hey I have a surprise for you. And I showed him the iPod and told him I'd share it with him and Lil'Bro as long as it didn't get fought over and they asked permission, etc. He immediately set about learning it (faster than I did). He loved it. But suddenly he was calling it HIS iPod. Asking, "Where's my iPod?" There were comments made about how he wouldn't be sharing. It was really really odd. At first I thought he was just joking. But he was dead serious. At one point, after a particularly snotty exchange, I told him, "You know, I have 30 days to return this for a full refund. If we butt heads over this, it will go back and I won't even bat an EYE!" He was mellow for the rest of the night. But this morning, our school-ride buddy showed up and he said, "My mom gave me an iPod." I was all, "Excuse me?" So at this point, I really am thinking I don't need such a decadent toy and I might just return it. And this is definitely making me rethink the possibility of getting him a Nintendo DS hand-held gaming system for the end of the school year (if he gets all A's the whole year, which he's on track to do).

This is an interesting ride.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jane Austen: Is She Ruining My Dating Chances?

For years, girlfriends of mine swooned and pined over Jane Austen stories.  Or more, her characters.  I never understood the allure of stories like 'Pride & Prejudice'.  I was too busy being a tom boy.  Too busy trying to be hip in the music scene.  Too busy trying never to be a dainty frail female that can't open her own doors or her own pickle jars.  I couldn't stand that image and worked very hard to be the exact opposite.

So while my friends read 'Wuthering Heights' and the like, I stuck with my science fiction and fantasy.  No dainties there, thank you very much.

[A note: my tact above is very useful if you'd like to be best friends with every guy you know yet never have them give you a second look as a dating option.  Knock yourselves out, girls.]

So many of my Awesome Blogger Chicks are fans of Jane Austen.  I silently rolled my eyes as they all discussed and compared and related.  A Boston friend insisted I just had to watch 'Pride & Prejudice' with her. thanks.  I had seen some of the recent Hollywood work-ups of Ms. Austen's stories.  Which is probably the first problem right there.  If it's cast with a bunch of mincing Americans doing HORRID British accents, I'm going to have trouble with it.  If it's also edited to fit the general western attention span (or maybe it's our bladder size), you will miss some very important detail that explains why everyone seemed to be in an uproar when so and so had done such and such.

Enter NetFlix.

In trying to fill my queue with an alternating list of movies that my young boys and I might enjoy (one week a kid's movie, the next week a mom movie), I decided maybe it was time to check out Mr. Colin Firth and all of his swoon-inducing work.

I had been sternly informed that any version of 'Pride & Prejudice' that didn't have Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy was pure poo.  I've only seen two versions.  First, I tried the 2005 Hollywood one with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.  Then, I obeyed my friends and got the 1995 BBC TV miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

Now, the 2005 version is visually stunning.  Knightly's Elizabeth is just a bit too...snotty.  Yes, I get the that the title rather implies this might be her issue in life.  But for the time period, she is way too bold.  And while I love her in certain roles, I had trouble buying her as her character.  I kept going, "Oh, there's Keira Knightly in a bad dye job."  But then Macfadyen's Mr. Darcy, I have to say I loved him.  I can see how some might say that he was just way too sad-puppy-ish in his facial expressions.  But this worked for me.  I see Darcy as much more saddened by his shortfalls rather than all pissed off.  At times, however, this sadness played a bit wimpy for me.  There needs to be a balance between the sadness and smoldering anger.  Initially, I also found this actor "not good looking enough."  Because I am an American and am totally hung up on beauty.  However, I loved that he totally made me believe the character.  So I'd watch and think, "Oh poor Mr. Darcy is in love with Keira Knightly in a bad dye job!"

My other issue with the 2005 version is the editing they did to keep theater-goers happy.  It's like trying to squeeze 'Lawrence of Arabia' or 'Ghandi' into a 2 hr movie.  You're going to miss some very vital character or situation development.  I remember watching this 2005 version first thinking, "Why is everyone in such an uproar over Lydia Bennet's doings?"  I also didn't really get the whole back story that made Wickham such a scoundrel.  It wasn't very clear.

In the 1995 mini series, Ehle's Elizabeth is appropriately beautiful, but not too.  She is also appropriately indignant at life's injustices relating to social and sexual differences.  But she's not rude.  She's amusingly and intelligently impertinent, which is what I would expect Ms. Austen to be going for.  I did have a problem with the actress playing the "beautiful" Jane.  She was pretty.  But really not all that much.  In the costume and hair of the period, she was a bit...well, it just fell short of inspiring the launch of all of Troy's ships, you know?  But I got over it because her acting was spot on.  Colin Firth as Darcy was visually perfect.  I felt his anger could have been mixed with a bit more sadness.  He just always seemed all pissed off.  How is that endearing?  Anyway, Mr. Firth can act however he wants and I will still adore him.  When he shows love or empathy on screen, I buy it.  Hook, line and sinker.  No matter what movie.  I prefer the 2005 Bingley to the 1995 one.  But again, it still worked for me.

The 1995 version also gives you the whole back story of everyone.  It shows all of the inappropriate missteps of poor Elizabeth's mother and younger sisters.  It gave all the details of why Wickham sucks eggs.  I got all the innuendo.  All in all, I loved it.  And then I called my Boston friend to apologize for ever having turned my nose up at it!

Last night, I watched 'Sense & Sensibility'.  It's the 2008 BBC miniseries.  I loved it.  I think I'd still like to see a version of this with someone else as Col. Brandon (perhaps Mr. Firth?).

Anyway, this has turned into A Former Tomboy Reviews 'Pride & Prejudice' posting.  Which wasn't my intent.

I have to tell you that, any version of Pride & Prejudice that I see, I am left with an empty pining feeling.  Pining for the elusive and imaginary Mr. Darcy.  I don't believe he exists.  And if he does, it's only for a year or two.  I so desperately want to believe in true love but, having only experience fake versions, I doubt it's existence.  I can lose myself in the movie and smile and get all teary eyed.  But then I think how sorry I feel for any man that crosses my path now.  How will he ever live up to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy?  I don't for a minute believe that a man of 2009 will climb any mountain, swim any ocean, crawl across any dessert.  I don't see many men of today steal a glance at their girlfriend/wife with that "How did I get so lucky?" sappy look.  I don't see many men treating marriage as anything more than Extreme Dating.

So Jane Austen has ruined my chances at dating.  Mr. Darcy and Edward Ferrars don't exist.  So God's miracle will be either A) create a Mr. Darcy for me or B) shake me into reality and help me live there.

We'll see.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reason #42 Why BK Beats McDs

I know way too much about fast food in my area.  When you have a major life tragedy and you have kids, one thing you might do (I mean, I've read that people do this) is do take out.  All the time.  For a long time.

It's disgusting.  But it's a coping mechanism I utilized for the better part of 2007 and a good part of 2008.  Until finances started running dry and I did the math on how much I spent even on cheap fast food.  And nearly threw up.

Blah blah blah fast food is evil and I'm just lucky my kids weren't already fat little porkers and could handle lots of it.  Lately, I have been making food at home.  Fast food or eating out at all is back to being a luxury or treat (thank you mom, dad, BigSis and her TallHubby).

So last Tuesday, I was having a day with Lil'Bro at home (he's home from preschool this month so we can have living money until the severance check comes).  For lunch, I thought, let's splurge and head to our local Burger King.  It's right around the corner.  Dangerous proximity.  But they have a great little game room and it would give him some fun time out of the house.  I knew it wasn't the best use of my tight expenses but went anyway.

As I ordered my big splurge of a meal, it rang up to $7 and change.  No biggie.  I was about to swipe my card when the manager walked over saying, "Hold on," to the cashier.  He pushed some buttons and told her, "She comes here all the time.  I want to take care of her."  Lil'Bro and I had a nice lunch to the tune of $3.00.  This guy didn't know I had been laid off.  He may have surmised my single motherhood over the months.  But still.  I thought that was pretty cool.  As I sat there eating my spicy chicken wrap, I kept asking God to bless that guy.  Just give him some kind of huge blessing that he'd know was totally from God.

I just love things like that.  Just random acts of kindness.  Reminds me that there are lots of people out there who know how to show God's love.  Even in little things like cutting a junk food meal's price in half for a laid off single mom.

So not only is their meat better quality, but their workers consistently take care of me and my kids.  From bringing a dancing Lil'Bro a crown because he was the king of dancing, to letting my kids trade their Kids Meal toy because "I already have this one," to letting my boys substitute Chicken Fries as a Big Kids Meal.  BK beats McDs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Financial Peace University

My church is offering a 13 week class called Financial Peace University.  When I first heard the name, I admit, I thought it a bit schmarmy.  When I first heard the accompanying acronym FPU, I giggled because, inside, I'm 4.  Anything with PU in it will forever be funny to me.

Given the timing of the class, the fact that it's being facilitated by one of our church members, and that the premise makes complete sense, I signed up.  The fact that I didn't have the money for the materials (workbook, book, forms, lots of DVDs and other stuff) didn't matter.  It's important enough to my church that they fronted me until I have the cash.  They provide child care, too.  So all obstacles removed, I went tonight for the first class.

I am SO jazzed right now.  If I could, I would pay to have the kit sent to everyone I know.  And I would beg them to do the course online or at home or at any local offering.  The courses teach you everything from how to pay off your debt, how to build up an emergency savings fund (and defines that "emergency" does not mean things like pizza cravings or a new boat), how to talk to creditors, how to invest, shopping for mortgages, insurance, etc.  It covers the gambit of finances.  It teaches you a new discipline - a life change - away from that "buy now, pay later" mentality most of us are in.

It sounded a little weird.  You go and watch videos of Dave Ramsey speak.  Ok...and I can't do this from home...why?  Well, you can.  And some friends of mine are actually going to do it that way.  But I'm going to a group class.  We all talk and share experiences, thoughts, questions.  It's all confidential.  I actually joked that ok, I guess I won't blog about anyone's guilty secrets.  But maybe I will share some of mine some day.  I'm sure my story is not as bad as some.  And I'm sure it would make some squirm.  Either way, in my book?  It ain't good.

The goal is to teach us how to take control of our finances.  How to stop throwing our money away.  How to have a plan for down the road.  I used to feel that kind of stuff was against the Christian ideals I had.  It seemed greedy.  It seemed gluttonous.  It seemed lacking in faith.  Well, I've been reading the old testament these last few months.  And I was surprised (even before this class) to read how many times the old testament basically comes out and says, hey, don't owe anyone and don't lend to anyone.  Don't put yourself at the mercy of a lender.  Store up your resources for those bad times like famines and lean times.

Well, let's see...personally, I have been a slave to the credit card companies since I was in my 20s.  Almost every time I get a positive savings balance, I piss it away on some ridiculous excuse for an "emergency".  If my car dies tomorrow, I actually have no way to pay for the fix because my credit cards are all maxed and have been shut off.  If I have a huge illness, same deal.  I'm a single mother of two, people!  This is not the way to live.  And all of the leeway you can cut me because of the divorce?  That doesn't count for all the stupid debt I've accrued.  The divorce itself - the lawyer fees?  That accounts for maybe about...let me think...maybe 1/3 of my current debt.  Maybe.  The rest is my own stupidity.

Now, let me tell you this: even though it's bible based?  I don't think it would really offend anyone's sensibilities.  My ex isn't a huge fan of "Christianity" as a whole.  Looking around, I don't really blame him.  But I sat in the class tonight thinking, I bet the ex would actually LIKE this class.  Dave Ramsey is spot on.  There wasn't anything he said that was off.  The bible scriptures are in the work book for reference.  They're not screamed at you.  He's not preaching hellfire and brimstone.  He's just pointing out truths that everyone there could own.  We all sat there nodding our heads and going, "Oh man, that's me!"  And this guy is FUNNY.  He has lived the hell himself.  He talks about it some.  He's not some greedy rich guy trying to make money off of you.  He has walked it and he lives it and he lays out a plan that anyone can follow.  It will look different for everyone.  It will take me longer than my friend who sat next to me.  But it will work.

So I'm taking it by the horns.  I will take this course and put it into action.  And when all is said and done?  I will have 3 to 6 months of living expenses in a true emergency savings account.  I will have all my debt paid off except my mortgage.  And that I will be working to pay off early.  I will buy things in cash.  I will no longer be slave to Visa and Master Card.  I will live like our grandparents most likely did.  And their parents.  I will SAVE up and THEN buy something.  I have about 25 years of habit to unlearn there, folks.

This won't happen over night.  It probably won't be completed this year.  I don't care.  I'm on a mission to undo this mess.  And God is already showing me how he's on my side on this one.  If this interests you in the SLIGHTEST, check out the link I gave above.  I'm not getting any kickback.  I'm not advertising.  I'm just thinking that now is a good time to take some hard steps.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

God Rockin' Some Extra Cash

I wish I had the time to blog every single day.  Because this post is really much more significant if you could see the financial balancing act I've been doing (poorly).  It's my own fault, really.  I'm one of those "poor American victims" that is tight financially.  And when I use those quotation marks, I'm being sarcastic.  I'm one of the majority of Americans (or westerners in general) that has lived in the Buy Now/Pay Later mode.  It's stupidity in action, yet the majority of us live this way.  We buy ourselves into a large debt corner and then our politicians stroke this to get elected by calling us "victims of Wall Street" or some other large financial entity.

Whatever.  That's a whole other rant I could fill an entire blog site with.

Suffice it to say - when the ex left, I hardly had any debt.  Once he left, I used any excuse to rationalize pulling out the credit cards again.  Lots of guilt purchases to make the boys feel better when they're sad.  Lots of purchases to get things ahead of time - before I needed them - you be "prepared".  Lots of purchases just to sooth my addiction.  I have discovered that buying things - and not even huge things - makes me feel good.  Like, just walking through a store and picking up stuff...I don't know how to describe it.  It's a comfort thing.  And then there is the trap of everyone who has been emotionally hurt.  What's your go-to thing?  Food?  Mine can be.  But not as much as "you deserve something nice after having your heart dragged through 952 miles of poo."  And then of course I made the actual necessary or obligatory payments (like lawyer fees, food, clothes, GAS).  Those are the ones that would have been ok, had I made ONLY those.

So over the last almost two years, I have wracked up my credit to stupid levels.  I went back to living paycheck to paycheck.  I drained my savings.  Then I started doing the old, let's see...which card do I not pay THIS month?  Oh it's just so HORRID if you realize that in 2002, the ex and I already bailed ourselves out of the same situation and swore NEVER AGAIN.

Lately, I have been working very hard to not ask for a bailout from anyone (ie - my parents).  In mid 2008, when I started feeling that a layoff was closer to reality than not, my main prayer was, "God, if I have to be laid off, PLEASE let there be a severance package."  In Oct 2008, I got the layoff news.  With a severance package.  And it's a good package for someone with 22 yrs under her belt.  So that was a huge relief and man, I have been thanking God for that one, big time!  Unfortunately, the severance package doesn't come immediately.  And as you keep pushing debt back into the dark recesses of your mental store room, it grows.  Exponentially.  I feel like I am living to just squeak my way to that severance check.  Which blows in and of itself.

A while ago, I stopped just going, "Help!" when praying.  I decided to own up.  I said, Ok God, I totally screwed up.  I admit it.  I got myself into this mess and I'm sorry.  Now I need your help to get out of it.  As you've seen in this blog, he has provided free fridge repair.  He has made my checking account miraculously stretch when I had plane ticket snafus.  He just keeps coming through.  So when it got worse recently and I started having to ignore all phone calls from numbers I didn't recognize?  That was when I owned up.  And I just said, "God help me do this.  Help me fix this."  I didn't even know what that would look like.  I just knew he'd come through.

Last Friday was my last paycheck from Big Ol' Financial Company.  Yesterday, I grudgingly sat down to decide which bills to pay and which to ignore.  It's a nauseating feeling when you sit down to face your own financial stupidity.  So with a sigh, I sat down at the computer.  First thing I did was check my checking account.  Get that balanced to see how much I actually had to work with.  I opened it up and the balance was WAY bigger than it should have been.  Wha...?  My first thought was, oh great.  That's all I need is to deal with my now former-company because they overpaid me.  So I pulled up the pay stub and saw that this paycheck contained my compensation for all of the vacation days from 2008 that I hadn't taken!  I thought that would have been in the severance payment!  Can you believe that?  And let me tell you, this is not just a couple extra dollars.  Not even a couple hundred.  This was more than $1000 more than I was expecting!!!!  Seriously, I had to call my mom and my sister to freak out about how God provided this unexpected extra cash right NOW - at THIS particularly bleak moment.  Does that not ROCK people???

Chalk it up to coincidence.  Dismiss it if you want.  But the timing of it...just when I finally 'fess up and really give it up to God without any expectations.  THAT is God, my friends.

So yesterday, I sat down and paid all of my utilities, my car payment, and I paid all of my credit cards up to date.  I didn't pay anything off.  But that's ok.  I paid them all current.  And on a couple of them, that is like 3 months worth.  I have been thanking God ever since!

I know this country (and dare I say world) is going to be roughing it this next year.  And a lot of people are jumping on the fear band wagon.  Sadly, many of them are Christians - the ones that talk all the talk about living in daily faith, trusting in God.  Well, I'll tell you what these last two years of struggle have done for me: they have shown me what it looks like to wake up and live each day believing God will get you through it.  That part in the Lord's prayer where it says, "Give us this day, our daily bread..." - it's saying "Give me what I need to make it through today."  It's not saying, give me a lottery winning.  It's not saying set me up for life.  It's saying I trust you to provide what I need today.  And I'll trust you'll do it again tomorrow.

That's how I'm gonna live.  Because if I buy into the fear, I'll be back on the anxiety meds in no time.  I like the calm of knowing God totally ROCKS.