Timeout with Tricia

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No one knows March 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 1:18 pm

No one knows how difficult it is to get random comments about your kid’s small stature when you tell an onlooker his age.

No one knows how stressful it is when your kid doesn’t finish his meal and all you can see on that plate are uneaten calories.

No knows how weary it is to watch your kid eat and eat and eat, only to see that scale inch higher at such a slow pace.

No one knows the weariness you feel from battling insurance on coverage for a treatment or a medicine that is pertinent to his well-being.

No one knows the anxiety you feel every time your kid is weighed at the doctor’s office.

No one knows how you cringe when someone around your kid coughs and you worry about him getting that same cold. Because it’s never just a cold for your kid.

No one knows how much you miss church in the fall and winter because it’s just not worth going and taking your kid because of his weakened immune system.

No one knows how many times you say, “Jesus, help me to not be anxious about ______.”

No one knows how often you beat yourself up because you wrestle with anxiety about your kid even though you know Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

No one knows.

 

God made a promise October 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 8:45 pm

I’d been having miscarriage-like symptoms for a couple weeks as I neared the end of my first trimester. During a visit to see my doctor I learned that something was happening in my body that “should correct itself.” I was encouraged not to worry, but telling ME not to worry?! Hmmm.

One day in October, 2013, Adam and I decided it was time to make my pregnancy “Facebook official.” Family and close friends had known for weeks, but we’d been keeping the secret long enough. So at the end of my first trimester we were ready to make our news known.

Just minutes before I planned to hit “post” on Facebook I ran to the restroom at work. Imagine my fear when I realized this particular symptom had returned.

Really, God? How can we make this pregnancy known when we don’t even know the outcome? Is everything going to be okay?

I cried silent tears in the bathroom stall.

Your baby will be okay. 

I heard the words so clearly I thought someone had entered the bathroom and actually said them to me.

It didn’t take long to realize Who had whispered those words in my ear.

God spoke to me, as loudly and tenderly as He’s ever spoken to me in all the years I’ve known Him.

I remembered that promise as my difficult pregnancy continued. Whether it was the three fainting spells in December 2013, an ER visit later that month because of extreme swelling, or another ER visit in January for pre-term contractions. Or my water breaking in the middle of the night at the start of my 27th week of gestation.

Little did I know what that promise truly meant until that day and the three weeks of bed rest that followed. In my darkest days while camping out in that hospital room, I recalled that promise from God.

“Your baby will be okay.”

When Andrew was born 10 weeks early with his birth defect, which had never shown up on the MANY ultrasounds I received, I panicked. Talk about SCARED. Adam and I were so scared. Then I remembered God’s promise.

“Your baby will be okay.”

And that promise stayed with me throughout his three-month NICU stay, especially on the hardest days.

“Your baby will be okay.”

Weeks ago Andrew made a piece of artwork at church, complete with his name at the top left, star stickers stuck throughout the blue, rectangular-shaped blue construction paper, and the words “God made a promise” written at the bottom (by a class volunteer). It’s been hanging on our fridge since then and as I’ve looked at the words, “God made a promise,” I’ve thought that could mean various things: God’s promise to never flood the earth again, God’s promise of eternal life through Jesus, etc.

On October 9, the light bulb brightened.

It doesn’t matter what the lesson was that morning in Andrew’s 2 and 3’s class. What matters is that that piece of artwork holds a special meaning for me.

You see, October 9 was the day I planned to make my pregnancy public on Facebook in 2013. Late at night on October 9 this year, I viewed that artwork like I have plenty of times since Andrew brought it home weeks prior. But it didn’t hit me until October 9 what it meant.

“God made a promise.”

“Your baby will be okay.”

You better believe I’m framing this star-studded construction paper artwork. img_0930

 

Little red wagon April 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 2:21 pm

Growing up, some family friends had this license plate with an interesting graphic.

I never really knew much about the little kid sitting in the red wagon–just that it was a “special plate” outside of the regular Indiana plates my family always purchased for our vehicles.

I later learned those friends had a “Riley baby,” their son, who was treated years ago at that faraway-from-Vincennes hospital in Indianapolis. Riley Hospital for Children is the children’s hospital in Indiana and one of the best in the country.

I married into a family of “Riley plates.” My in-laws and my husband’s grandparents all had Riley plates when Adam and I began dating. So did Adam. After we married, we just naturally kept those same Riley plates and I thought, “Oh, cool. Yeah, I’m happy to support such a phenomenal hospital.”

Little did I know just what those plates would come to represent for my little family.

Two years into marriage, I became a Riley mom. Our little boy, Andrew, was born 10 weeks early with a very serious birth defect–an unconnected esophagus. Even though we live in Indianapolis, he was born in Evansville and had to be life-lined to Riley within hours of his birth. (It’s a long story as to why he was born in southern Indiana. Read about it here.) 

Riley.

That word has become a common one in our language. Not only did we pretty much live there for three months in 2014 during Andrew’s NICU stay, we have also returned regularly for surgeries, procedures, and doctor/clinic appointments. Although the visits have lessened in two years’ time, Riley is where doctors and nurses saved our baby’s life.

It’s where I learned not to take life for granted.

It’s where I spent most of the first few months of my son’s life, grieving at what I wished had been a different start for him, for us.

It’s where I learned to be grateful because I left there with my son, who survived–and some other NICU parents did not.

It’s where I met some pretty amazing doctors, nurses, and support staff who are still in our lives today and celebrate alongside me just how well Andrew is doing.

It’s where I had to strap on my “brave girl pants” and choose to believe God when he kept reminding me of his earlier promise to me that my baby would be okay.

It’s where my mama heart belongs because I’ll never, never forget the phenomenal experiences we’ve had there with such talented and caring personnel within the medical field. Many of these people are like family to us.

Riley, a second home to me.

I’ll always be a Riley mom, and my boy will always be a Riley baby. As long as we live, I will forever be a champion of this hospital because it gave me my greatest gift as a mom.

To learn more about how you can give back by having Riley plates, click here.

 

Lettuce and shrapnel September 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 6:03 pm

The side hit felt like the kind you’d encounter if you were in a bumper car at an amusement park or fair.

But I wasn’t at either establishment. I was driving 60 MPH on a Monday morning just when the sun began making its entrance. Next thing I knew, after that “bump,” I was spinning out of control across three lanes of northbound traffic on Indianapolis’ bypass during rush hour traffic.

I remember screaming for what felt like minutes (when in reality it was only seconds) and saying something like, “OH MY GOSH, WHAT’S HAPPENING!?!” and thinking, I’m going to go into southbound traffic! and I’m going to die!, while my body bobbled to and fro.

And just like that, it stopped. Cars whizzed past me and the sound of side airbags deploying, along with glass shattering, filled my ears. My car had stopped within about three feet of the concrete divider that separated north and south bound traffic. I was alive. I was breathing. I had no cuts or bruises–just a sore neck and back. A seatbelt undoubtedly had a hand in saving my life–or least preventing major injuries.

Shaking, I called my husband, waking him from sleep. Surprisingly, my cell phone only moved mere inches from within the open console where it lay when I left home.

I surveyed the damage, at first from my front seat. My white diamond-colored SUV was in bad shape, and I suspected it was totaled (it was). My purse had dumped in the floorboard and so had my lunch. Lettuce for the salad I planned to eat that day was strewn everywhere, the bag upside down.

A fellow driver walked up to see if I was okay. When I slowly exited my vehicle, I saw four cars jammed together like puzzle pieces about 100 feet from me. None of us had caused the accident. We were victims of what another driver said was a flatbed truck that initially struck me. A driver that never stopped and fled the scene. The Indiana State Police officer asked me what happened. All I knew was that I was driving along where 465 East and I-70 merge. I saw a driver to my right in one of the merging lanes, minding his own business and probably driving to work like me. Right behind that vehicle, I spotted a left turn signal flashing from another vehicle and briefly though, I hope that driver waits to merge because he has nowhere to go!

And boom. That was it. I was hit. The seemingly impatient driver sped up and merged into my right side. He hadn’t waited.

And then he drove off.

Surprisingly, I’m not that angry. Do I wish he had stopped? Absolutely. He has caused a lot of grief, where medical bills, increased insurance rates, loss of work wages, and emotional tears are concerns for five drivers. (Thankfully, my insurance has said it’s been proven that I am not responsible, so that’s a plus.) He has caused me to be fearful to drive again even though I know it must do it. He caused fear in the lives of our family members and some friends who have expressed their deepest thankfulness that I wasn’t further injured–or killed. (Can you imagine if a semi had slammed into me while I spun out of control? I shudder just thinking about it.)

But that driver who didn’t stop has also given me a gift. Unexpectedly, of course. I have become aware of some incredible gifts of grace in the past few days.

  • My husband has been amazing in his care for me and the way he’s taken care of the paperwork to clear up this major inconvenience. He has been rock steady, which is true to his usual character.
  • Our son wasn’t with me in that car. The right side my car was pretty banged up and Andrew’s car seat sits on that same side.
  • I made the drive again to work this week and arrived safely with only a slight stomachache of nerves.
  • I’ve received many sweet texts, messages, calls, and in-person greetings from loved ones who simply say, “I’ve been praying for you, and I’m glad you’re okay.”

I noticed another gift while soaking up some sunshine at work this week. As I mentioned, lettuce was strewn everywhere in the front seat of my car. Small pieces even landed on my sunglasses, which were sitting near my phone in the console when I wrecked.

As I took a walk recently, I noticed a small, green dot on the side of my sunglasses. I moved to take it off then stopped. As long as that lettuce shred stays on my sunglasses, I’m leaving it there. That piece of spinach mix reminds me of a God who gives endless grace and unrelenting faithfulness. His hand of protection on my life that day is extremely evident. So the lettuce will remain. Every time I look at that tiny piece of lettuce, I’ll remember just what He did that day.

And that I’m still here to talk about it.

 

Generous wisdom September 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 10:01 am

[I originally wrote this blog post for a work publication.]

The second week of July was a rough one with my toddler. Three straight days of vomit or spit-up after one of his bottles each day.

What could this mean? Should I call his pediatrician? Or, more importantly, his surgeon? As I asked myself these questions, I mentally pleaded with the Lord that it wouldn’t happen again. For days, every bottle I gave Andrew was met with trepidation, pleading with him not to spit up as I attempted to keep the worry at bay.

For most parents, a little spit-up or vomit isn’t a big deal. But we have to be more conscientious with Andrew.

Many of you know my son’s story, but if you don’t, here’s a quick synopsis: He was born 9 ½ weeks early in February 2014 with a gap in his esophagus. A surgeon’s hands connected the two ends of the esophagus, and he now eats orally after being fed his first six months through a G-tube that was surgically placed in his stomach.

Because Andrew’s esophagus didn’t form correctly, the inner workings and muscles may not operate like yours or mine. Most everyone with this condition deals with many issues, including reflux or food getting stuck as it goes down. Lots of spit up or vomiting can also mean other complications, like narrowing of the esophagus at the point it was surgically connected. Thus, my unease as to why this kept happening in July.

After a call to his pediatrician we determined the vomit was likely due to Andrew’s new mode of transportation (crawling), which caused his reflux to flare up.

In those anxious moments I’m learning to ask God for wisdom instead of “tanking” emotionally with worry. One day, months prior to July, we were dealing with some of the same issues, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

Tricia, why don’t you ask me for wisdom first before you begin to worry? I promise to answer if you ask, and I will give generous wisdom without judging you (James 1:5, paraphrased)

So, today, in those fearful moments when something seems awry with Andrew, I am learning to simply say, “Lord, please give me wisdom.” And he answers. Every time.

 

 

It’s tough being a woman September 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 7:59 pm

For the first time in over three years I am in a women’s Bible study!

A friend invited me to the study, which is held at her church, and when my sister-in-law heard me talking about the study, she became interested too. All three of us are enjoying the time so far in the midst of about 30 other women.

The study is on Beth Moore’s Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. I began the study in 2008, just a week or so after I moved to the Indianapolis area. At that time, I was living in a new state, was single, and without kids. So even though it’s a study I’ve already completed, I knew God would have something new for me seven years later, especially in light of this new season of life.

We are only two weeks into the study, and I’m excited to see where God takes me on this journey of studying His Word. But I’ve been wrestling with something for a while now and the study has kind of brought more of that up in my heart. Part of our Bible study time together includes Beth Moore reading (via pre-recorded video) some real-life, anonymous responses from some women who completed this statement: It’s tough being a woman [fill in the blank]. You name it, women have written it. From serious to funny, responses include things like:

It’s tough being a woman and having to wear panty hose.

It’s tough being a woman and wondering if I’m being the role model my daughter needs me to be.

It’s tough being a woman because of the hormones.

The list goes on and on.

Our Bible study facilitator at the church had us write down our own list during our first session. One of the items on my list was this:

It’s tough being a woman and struggling with friendships that are changing because of distance, time, seasons, or other circumstances.

That one came easily to mind during our exercise.

I am in a season where some friendships are really, really hard for me. I’m dealing with friendship that are changing. Friendships that are long-distance. Friendships that aren’t what they used to be. Friendships were we aren’t as close as we once were. Watching some friends become closer while I feel like I’m watching on the sidelines. (The saying is true: “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.”) Friendships where I feel like I’m the only one who initiates. Not having many friends on my side of town. And many of my closest friends living outside Indianapolis OR the entire state.

You name it I’m struggling in regards to the change in friendships. I haven’t seen some of my closest friends in all the world since my wedding day in April 2012. And one of those friends just moved miles upon miles away. Another friend has spent most of the last few years living in another country.

Three of the biggest tensions I feel?

1. I don’t have many friends at church. I didn’t take Andrew to church last fall or winter to keep him from getting sick, and we are JUST now feeling comfortable taking him to church apart from a morning nap schedule, which hits during service time. Hence, I don’t know many women there and sometimes going feel intimidating.

2. I hate the phone. I mean hate it. That doesn’t bode well when MANY of my friends don’t live near me. Plus, the best time for me to talk is during my drive home from work. When I get home, I am in wife and mom mode and have VERY LITTLE energy left to talk at 9:00 p.m.

3.I’m struggling to relate to friends whose circumstances aren’t the same as mine. Because I have a husband and little boy, I pridefully admit that I think my time is more limited than others, that I don’t have as much freedom to talk at certain times of the day, and that others surely aren’t as busy as me.

A couple friendships feel like they’re fading. Some friendships that I think will die off if I stop initiating. And as hard as I’ve tried to hold those friendships tight by initiating, I really, really sense God telling me to let those friendships go. As hard as that is (and it is REALLY hard), there is a sense of freedom in letting a friendship go that has caused hurt and pain. I’m not sure where to go from here with some friends, but I continue to pray that God will lead me. And that has to be enough for now, no matter the outcome with certain friends. No matter how tough it is to simply let these friendships go. He will lead me, and I’ve got to trust He’ll heal the gross stuff that rears its ugly head as some friendship change–whether for a season or forever.

 

Defeating dread with joy August 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tricia @ 11:13 am

I wrote this blog last week, and it took a week to post.

Monday morning’s alarm went off, and I inwardly groaned.

I pushed snooze about three times and woke up tired. Like I’d just run a race tired. We’d spent a good amount of time at the Indiana State Fair both Saturday and Sunday, and my body definitely felt it. I honestly felt like I’d just spent a week walking the four parks at Walt Disney World.

Not to mention there are a couple things I’m dreading this week.

I began to think about the week ahead while driving to work. (A 40-minute commute leaves much time for prayer and contemplation.) Unfortunately, I am a glass half empty person by nature, who is slowly trying to change that mentality. I wanted to complain to myself about the week and the Holy Spirit stopped me dead in my tracks.

I remembered being 22 and new to the world of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). My internship with Athletes in Action at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., taught me many things about the gospel and ministry. I remember one day, specifically, as I sat down for training with my assigned discipler.

This church kid fully knew the gospel–or so I thought I did. As my discipler began walking through the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet, so I’d be prepared to share it with someone else, John 10:10 stuck out to me: “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 3:16 also stayed with me: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Eternal Life. Sure, I knew that. I had a relationship with Jesus so I knew I’d go to heaven when I died.

But I didn’t realize that that eternal life was still a gift for me while I lived on earth. A free gift! That I could experience a full life today because Jesus lived in me. That reality deeply changed me that day in September 2002.

So as I drove to work Monday morning, I realized that I could choose joy and hope this week and replace the dread–because I walk with and know the One who gives those two things today, in total abundance. I began to see the week differently with that attitude shift.

I can have life today and approach the week with joy and hope simply because I have eternal life.

Note: I haven’t blogged on this site (clearly!) in a very long time. All of my blogging effort has been spent here in the last year-and-a-half.