Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Postpartum Cabin Fever, Teaching Addiction, and Ballerina Complex

I don't believe I ever experienced postpartum depression.  I had extreme gestational crankiness which was usually followed by extatic joyfullness of holding my precious snuggly newborn and FINALLY not being pregnant anymore.  Then....about two months down the road, the real sickness would start.  And boy would I get it bad. 

Let me digress for a paragraph. I was a very involved single woman for the Lord.  I'm not bragging, you just need to get through this paragraph to get the whole point of this profound blog that is going to change your life forever and ever.  I lead the children's worship, I was on the adult worship team, taught Sunday School, taught a young girl's Bible study, and went on every mission trip.  On top of all that, I taught ballet all week in a christian studio.  I was an active, visible, genuine, servant of my gracious and loving Savior.

And then I had a baby girl.  ALL of those things stopped. The 200 eyes that were on me for teaching and guiding and mentoring and example getting became just those 2 sweet little eyes of baby girl.  No depression came just joy over my lovely little one but OH MY GRACIOUS the lesson the Lord wanted me to learned for the next five years was a hard one to swallow and OH how excited I am to share it now that I see the Lord's gracious plan from beggining to end. 

Isn't that what we need so often? Someone just a few miles ahead of us to look back and smile and say. Keep walking....the Lord has a plan....and it is a good one.

I went through such a dry time in my walk with the Lord in that first year of mothering.  It was the same feeling that consumed me when I lived in Peru. Complete Isolation. There was actually a short while that I felt like I must be backslidden because I just wasn't feeling that vibrant firely love for the Lord that I had in my single years.  I blamed it on not having that constant motivation of so many young eyes looking to me for spiritual guidance.  I thought starting back into teaching right away would solve that empty pain.  Yes, my heart really was feeling pain.  My wonderful pastor encouraged me that my family was my new ministry now and yes my head knew this and my heart knew that but neither were fully submitting it all.  I continued to really feel the dry pain and really missing that fire that kept me in such perfect peace.  One Biblestudy evening, I was walking a noisy little baby girl in the very back of the back room of the church when one of the ladies walked in to go to the service.  She cooed at the baby and then smiled at me and said, "After you have a baby you go from the front of the church to the back of the church."....


And then it hit me....foolish foolish foolish Rachel...oh silly little lamb of little faith. Oh poor little woman overcome with postpartum cabin fever, consumed with teaching addiction, and lover of great attention due to your ballerina complex and yes even that thing that's starts with "S" and ends with "N" and has an "I" in the middle...oh foolish Rachel.  Do I need people to watch me love You so that I can fully love You?  Can't it just be You and me hanging out and stuff? As the Lord is opening those teaching doors back up now that my children are older I rejoice that He taught me that loving Him privatly is just as honoring as loving Him publicly. 

Jesus wanted to meet with me in my new role as mother but I wanted to meet with him in my old role as single teacher girl.  It was no wonder I kept missing our meetings.  It was no wonder I thought that I could only love Him completly if I put the baby girl-less me back in place with the new mother me when He just wanted to work through me in a new and glorious way.  

My baby girl is a Christian now.  That makes her my sister in Christ.  That makes her my fellowship.  As the Lord is opening those teaching doors back up now that my children are older I rejoice that He taught me that loving Him privatly is just as honoring as loving Him publicly. The cabin fever is gone most of the time and I admit I am still hopelessly addicted to teaching and yes I still have a bit of a "Hey look, I'm on stage!" stuck in my ballerina brain....but please dear friends...go forth in your isolation and just let the Lord love you...He really wants to just love you.  And love Him back whether 200 people are watching or maybe just one little baby girl. 

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yeehaw! I'm TWENTY NINE!

I'm 29 today.

And...so is my dad.  Well, sarcastically speaking.

Let me explain how deep sarcasm runs in my family.

In 1929 Carl Herman married a farm girl named Nellie and some how the combination of Kansas, German, farm boy marries farm girl, depression era stolwartness created this...

The most Sarcastic Hilarious family every known to mankind.

When I was a little girl  I would just sit and watch my great grandma, planted in her designated great grandma chair at Hume Lake, just busting up a storm of hilarity with the family just crowded around her with their sides busting.  She was wonderful.  She died just recently at the ripe old age of 102. She had been married over eighty years folks.

Exactly 25 years after Carl and Nellie married, thier daughter Aleta married Kenneth Rees and yet another delightful combination was begot. My Grandpa Ken brought a whole new meaning to the delightful title of The Storyteller and my Grandma is a firecracker set in the same mold of her firecracker mother.

So now you see that sarcasm begot hilarity which beget firecrackers which begot my dad.

My wonderful dad. Exactly 25 years after his parents, he married some extremely smart college girl who really liked him, despite the fact that the first date he invited her on was to go bug collecting!  They up and got married.

Every year on his birthday...I mean EVERY year the convorsation would go like this...

"Hey Dad, how old are you?"

"I'm TWENTY NINE."  (When you read that please use your best sarcastic Rees voice)

Five years later...

"Dad, how old are you?"

"I'm TWENTY NINE." (Read in the same Rees voice but make it sound older)

You see my Dad has always been 29 because he is a Rees that came from the most Sarcastic, Hilarious Storytelling, side busting, firecracker family of ALL mankind.

Exactly 25 years after my parents married Richard Cook became my husband.  And you know what? The Cook family almost has the Reeses beat with the whole sarcasm thing.

So now you see, my children have no way of escape.

The scientific conclusion of the matter is thus...Sarcasm gives you a very long and happy life with a very wonderful marriage that could quite possibly pass 80 years. I do believe somehow the exact distanst of 25 years in the marriages have emphasised the sarcasm.  I choose sarcasm people and that is why I would like to anounce that next year I will yet again be...

Twenty nine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Black Cherry Ice Cream, Oxygen, and THE PAUSE

I love black cherry ice cream.

I would mow lawns and scour shower stalls for black cherry ice cream.

I really want you to love it too.  Come on.  Take a bite.  It really is good.  No one should be without black cherry ice cream.

I like oxygen too.  I kind of need it.  No one should be deprived of oxygen. 
I love homeschooling my kids.  Even more than I love black cherry ice cream.  Everything about homeschooling delights me. 

I really want you to love it too.  But more like I really want you to love black cherry ice cream and not like I think you are being deprived of oxygen. 

Wow. Step aside C. S. Lewis.  I own metaphors now.

If I smash my black cherry ice cream in your face it’s just because I’m super excited for you to try it.  Sorry about that.  I just love homeschooling so much. 

We desperately don’t want to screw up our kids, huh?  As Richard and I have moved from newborns to kindergarteners I have been desperately aware of how desperately no godly parent wants to screw up their kids. 

God is good.  Isn’t He?  He gave me such a sweet comfort today through His Word and through my memories of the families that I grew up with. 

Parents the power is in the PAUSE….

I’ve had my bespectacled face in Dueteronomy 6 all day, especially verse 7.  You go read the whole chapter yourself but I’ll tell you the gist of that verse.  God is telling the Israelites to teach their children about the Lord…

…“When you sit in your house
When you walk by the way
When you lie down
And when you rise up”…

The power is in the PAUSE.

I could tell you a pile of families that I grew up with that used those pauses.  They were home schooled, public schooled, private schooled, or whatever and I would be hanging out with them and they would just be talking about the Lord and life and what the Lord feels about this and that part of your life.  Those Dueteronomy 6 kids grew up and the love of the Lord radiates out of their faces. 

It’s a sight to behold. 

I thank my parents for homeschooling me but much more than that, I thank them for using the pauses. 

Don’t rush guys.  You’ll get rotten miracles.

You want some of my black cherry ice cream?


I don’t mind if you prefer lemon flavored (craziness)

But you do need oxygen and that’s found in Dueteronomy 6
God has so many blessings for Dueteronomy 6 kids….

Just watch and see. 

Just PAUSE….

If Q Didn't Marry U

If Q didn't marry U
No one could be quiet

If Q didn't marry U
No king would have a queen

If Q didn't marry U
Nothing would be quite the same

I'm glad those words need those two
Just like this Q needs U

Sunday, September 11, 2011

No seriously, I would have such an ashmazing garden if I only had the TIME.  My house would look ashmazing and you would want to come put it in The Ashmazing Houses of the World magazine.

 On the front page. 

Or maybe I could pay somebody to do it for me and then I would have more TIME but then I would have less MONEY.  I could also pay somebody to clean my house and then I’ll have more TIME in my garden.  But that still leaves me with less MONEY, dog gone it. 
AND if I went out to clean somebody elses house and tend to someone elses garden so that I could have more MONEY for my house and garden then I would have no TIME to do it!

King Solomon… Dude.  Why did you ask for wisdom when you could have asked for more TIME and MONEY?  I would have said, “Lord, everyone seems to always be whining about running out of TIME and MONEY.  Sooooo….I’ll take two endless piles of both of those please.” 

But no.  You had to ask for wisdom and make all the rest of us look bad.  Thanks a lot Solomon.

I really never wanted to be a rich girl.  I’ve read too many books to want to be rich (book readers have gobs of character and they know that the rich girl in every book doesn’t have any…that’s why).  But oh boy, would I love more TIME and don’t think I haven’t thought of the fact that MONEY can be turned into TIME.  I end all the conversations I have with myself with, “This problem would be solved if I only had more TIME” or “This problem would be completely gone if I only had the MONEY.” 

For crying out loud.  What a lame way to end conversations with myself.  What a lame way to end conversations with the Lord!  I have been so convicted by this lately.  Jesus knows my hours and my minutes and He knows my dollars and my cents…He knows EVERYTHING.  So many things in my life really would go smoother if I had more TIME or more MONEY or more of both but how lame of me to think that the Lord would want me to rely on those and not Jesus.

Solomon, you just had to ask for WISDOM. 

I am now prayerfully and trustingly, and faithfully knowing that God will answer, turning my whines for more TIME and MONEY into Solomon’s prayer.

Jesus, I ask for WISDOM. 

After all…Solomon says “it is better than rubies”
Who needs a stinkin’ ruby when you have the Lord?  Not me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mommy Brain Sensitive Juice

There is a part of the mommy’s brain that holds the Sensitive Mommy Brain Juice.  The concoction is made up of 1 part guilt, 1 part defensive, and 1 part sheer terror.  The juice will always be there whether it’s working at a very high level or maybe you’ve gotten pretty laid back by your fourth kid and the juice is barely noticeable . But you will always have it.  New moms have the most sensitive levels and I know this because six years ago my brain juice was almost always in an active, exploding, confused, defensive, guilty state!
I have such a burden and heavy heart for new pregnant moms.  I know what it’s like to walk in those shoes.  I know the size, the feel, and every bump and bend of those prego flip flops.   SO MANY CHOICES.  Natural childbirth or medically influenced, breastfeed or bottle feed, schedule or cue feed, vaccinations or none, space the siblings or just get it all done, chemical birth control or other means, baby sleep on the back or the belly…so…many…choices.  We each really want to get this mommy thing RIGHT.  And when you pick a side and you happen to be talking to a mom from the other side…oh dear…the mommy brain juice brings on that three part concoction and it is not fun.  Guilt, defensive, and sheer terror.  So overwhelming. 

How about we settle this right now?   
I’m right and you’re wrong.  Okay bye

I’m SO funny….

Dear new mommies, if I could just gather you all up and tell you just three specials things this is what they would be…
1.  1.  Individual, Individual, Individual. How amazing that God chose that man, out of millions of options in this world, to be your man.  And how amazing that God has chose YOU to be your child’s mommy and none other.  This means that He will work individually and uniquely with your family.  Do what works for YOUR family.  Everyone has unique circumstances.  That’s the glory of God’s love for us.
2..        2. Research, research, research.  Why did I choose the things that I did?  Because of research.  Don’t treat childbirth or chemical birth control like it’s just another day or it’s just another drug.  Research, research, research. Read books, internet research, talk to women you respect.  Get perspective and then some more perspective and then some more perspective. Pray and research, pray and research.
3.      3.   Find your special level.  Every choice does not mean you have to go to the extreme.  Think of every choice as having two sides, one side starts at 1 and the other side ends at 10.  Take scheduling vs. cue feeding as an example.  I would say I’m about a 3 towards cue feeding.  Just because I chose to cue feed does not mean I have to go to the extreme stereotype that I always pictured with my child nursing until he’s 8 at any hour of the day.  That’s someone who’s at a 1 (or maybe a -3).  Every choice does not mean you need to go the extreme side.  That was a huge eye opener for me with my first baby.  Find what number on the scale works for you.

Be intentional in your choices and gracious with the choices of others.  Dear friends, be so extremely gracious when sharing your choices.  I have found such joy in sharing and teaching others the wonderful blessings that have come from my childbirth, breast feeding, co sleeping, and ext choices!  It really has blessed me!  It is so encouraging how God has used my own mother’s choices and that of other people that influenced me to have such good experiences!  I have also learned and I’m still learning when to shut my mouth because I KNOW my words will activate that Sensitive Mommy Brain Juice and for goodness sake, I know how that feels.  Forgive me if I have every made your brain explode.  I truly am sorry. 

I love mommies.  They are one of my most favorite things on earth.  We take care of these little people and our nurturing arms know that they depend on every one of our choices.  They will for their whole lives.  New mommies, the choices don’t stop.  Soon you will have to choose how to discipline; home school or public/private school, video games or no video games, boxed processed foods or some organic farmer the writer knows…the choices don’t end. 

But praise God and His great love for each of us!  His brain juice never stops loving us!  Amen?  Of course amen!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Faces of Terrible Twos

My fourth child is now showing some signs that the flood gates of the terrible twos shall spring forth in all there glory.  I don't see how something so sweet and cuddly can turn into something so....not.  One day they are giggles and smiles and the next day they are....not.  BUT something kind of helpful came out of something kind of fun which we started with our first and continued to do with all four of these little angels turned...not angels.  I would take little baby Anna in my lap and teach her "make a happy face".  I would smile real big and dorky (more than I usually do thank you very much) and over her babyhood she would smile all big and dorky right back at me. We made many faces like mad face, sad face, surprised face (always very cute one with babies), bored face, sleepy face, and we even had a debonair face which would kind of turn out to be a cross between superman and lunatic.  This little gem of a game, we did all the time.  Lo and behold this came in VERY handy as each baby blossomed into toddlerhood.  Caleb was so classy when he did it.  Anna would wrong him in some way and he would walk into the kitchen and look at me with a down turned mouth and Groucho eyebrows and say...."mad"...and then walk away.  At any point of our day I could just all of a sudden say "surprise" and my kids would take in the most perfect mock gasp that would get them a starring role on any novella in the world.  I could have put us all on vaudeville. And then my cute babies....turned two. 
They say two years olds often have tantrums because they get so frustrated when they can't tell you what they want.  So they scream.  Whatever.  My two year olds could tell me very well want they wanted.  It was when I did not GIVE them what they wanted did they then get frustrated and then thus scream. 
BUT....I think I've got them figured out.  You see, I put my self in their shoes.  I'm always tripping on their shoes so might as well put them on for a minute so here it goes.  It's not that they get frustrated about not being able to express themselves...no no no...it's that they have all of these emotions or faces inside of them that they wish to express BUT they just don't know how to control the volume or when that emotion should really just be on mute.  The mad face is turned REALLY REALLY HIGH when they are mad and holy mole wouldn't it be nice if they could just do the debonair face once in a while.  So....YOU yes YOU need to teach them how to switch faces and I truly believe the face controls the volume when it comes to toddlers. Scenario please!
Ben screams and puts on the Mad Face.
I start the counter attack with "Benjamin, you are mad and you are going to your room until you have a happy face."
Between 30seconds to 5minutes later he is back wearing a Happy Face (which of course is a very strained happy face which looks more like "Oh Mother dear, I am greatly constipated" but by golly, I'll take it)
This really does work for my kids BUT start when they are babies and if that's not an option start now!
Okay, good luck out there.  Remember you're the parent and that's the two year old.  You feed it, wash it, love it to death, now put the right face on it.  Do Not run from it or it will sense your feelings of inadequacy and make you have a "when will he be in college? face"  As we say in my house, "I'm the mom and you're the two year old."  Now go be the mom!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Who is this fellow named Anonymous
Who writes these poems so hilarious
Poems of all sorts and kinds
That talk of love and speak in rhymes
Is it a first name or a last
Is it boy or girl
Does his mother call her Any
Or does she prefer to call him Nony
I wish he would come out from shyness
And stop his forever slyness
And see all the royalties he has ensued
I would pat him on the back
And maybe give his face a slap
For keeping us in the dark this way
Please tell me when and how
This person 
or maybe cow
Could and will
Forever be