Tuesday, May 25, 2010

15 Random Facts

Welp, my dear (and sorely missed) friend, Brad challenged me and some of his other blogrollers to list 15 random facts about ourselves. (You can read Brad's facts here on his blog I (Heart) Brad.) So, Bradley - this one is for you!
  1. As I've gotten older, my cuticles have taken a turn for the worse. I use cuticle cream, hand lotion, and all kinds of stuff trying to make them look nice. But the truth of the matter is, if there is something to pick, I pick it. And that includes my cuticles.
  2. I miss my dad so much that I could cry every time I think about him. (He passed away when I was 8 years old. That was 29 years ago, folks. It just goes to show that time does not heal all wounds.)
  3. I drink close to a gallon of water every day. No, I don't have diabetes. I'm nursing. Nursing makes me thirsty.
  4. I love getting up with the sun - especially in the summer time.
  5. I love being out in my garden barefoot pulling weeds and digging in the dirt. There's something so earthy and organic about getting dirty this way.
  6. Music makes me happy.
  7. I love to dance - to just about anything. I can two-step, swing, cha-cha, waltz and just about anything else as long as I have a good lead to follow.
  8. Pineapple is my favorite fruit.
  9. Blueberries are my favorite berry.
  10. I love being a wife (first) and mom (second) more than anything else on this earth.
  11. My hair refuses to grow much past my shoulders. It's so baby-fine, it breaks off after that. I've always been envious of women with long, luxurious locks.
  12. I laugh a lot - and surprisingly not because it's a defense mechanism. I actually find most things at least somewhat humorous.
  13. The only thing I truly fear is losing my husband or my children to an untimely death. I honestly don't know if I could handle it.
  14. I'm allergic to daisies.
  15. I have a list of 4 dream jobs (other than wife & mom). I'm doing one of them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Simple math

You would think this would be simple enough. But... I think I've reached that point in my age when things just become a bit blurry.

For the last several months, when asked (or when it came up in conversation, which is surprisingly frequent), I've been saying I'm 38.

Today, as I reviewed all my lab work I had done recently, I noticed my birthdate of 1973. I suddenly realized I'm 37. Simple math? You'd think so. 

Someone please tell me why any woman would accidentally make herself a year older. I mean, don't most women around 29 (and holding) or 30-something start to lie about their age and accidentally make themselves just ever-so-slightly younger?

Age means very little to me. (Although, secretly, I take great joy in saying I'm 38... (well, 37) and hearing, "You're kidding! I thought you were 28 or 29!" in response.) I'm annoyed at all the plastic surgery and gimics to try to make you look and feel younger, because a) those things rarely work, and 2) there is something to be said about aging gracefully. And by "gracefully" I don't mean "the years have been kind" like you look younger than you are. I mean "gracefully" by accepting the "you" you are - lines, wrinkles, liver spots, varicose veins, spider veins, gray hair, stretch marks, saggy skin, floppy winglets, swollen ankles, wisdom and all - the good, the bad, and all the inbetween.  I look at older women (and men) and just love what I see in their faces. That, to me, is beauty. I reject whatever the world (specifically, Hollywood) says is beautiful. They (whoever "they" are) are wrong. Beauty is not looking youthfully plump. Besides, I find that the more people fight their age, the older they look.

So, all this to say, I'm 37, not 38. I don't feel any different. I'm just as happy being 37 as I was being 38. This just gives me an extra year to tell everyone I'm 38. Lucky me! I should celebrate.


Hold on to your lugnuts, it's time for an overhaul!

Lugnuts is a funny word. (I should add it to my list.)  I also remembered a couple of other funny words recently, but not long enough to put them on the list. I've forgotten them. (You youngsters just don't understand....)  I'll try to remember to at least text myself when I come across a funny word. Because, really, these are worth sharing. I love funny words. Anything that can put a smile on my face just by thinking of it makes for a great day.

So, where I was really heading with this is not towards funny words (although I'm always happy to make that detour; case in point). What I meant to write about is, holy cow, things are moving fast! I feel kind of like I've entered the part of the rollercoaster ride when you've clinked and slugged to the top of highest point, and then you plunge 400 feet at 95 mph - all your hair is whipped back, your cheeks are flapping in the wind and you have to decide whether you're going to scream in terror or pure delight. I haven't quite decided where I will land on that one, but probably a mixture of both. I'm terrified and yet strangely delighted. Go figure.

In a pretty short period of time, plans are becoming even more clear for us. Funny how you take a step of faith and how God uses that to bless you.... We at least have a general (semi-specific) direction. Kind of like God pointed His finger and said, "Go THAT way!" Well... ok... I guess we'll go that way. But it's taking every ounce of our energy to just keep up. It's pretty exhausting, especially when you see all the details that haven't been given much attention. Gratefully, I've not had to worry about that up to this point, and I don't really plan on worrying about it going forward. I know that God has it all under control, so I've just let Him take the helm.

On another note, we completely forgot we had an open house on Sunday. We got up Sunday morning, I did my usual morning cleaning, making beds, wiping down counters, etc., and then we packed up the kids and went to Mamasan's. I was even boasting, "I think I made record time getting out of the house today!" We returned home around 4:30, and I saw a pile of flyers sitting on my credenza in the kitchen... I thought, "Hmmm.... I know those weren't there before we left." So I walked over to them... and I realized someone had been in the house. Then my thoughts turned to, "Hmmm, I wonder if I missed a text or call about someone wanting to come see the house?" So, I looked around the kitchen and found a note from a realtor that said, "Scott & Kyra, Your house is a delight! We picked a terrible weather day for an open house...."

Open house? Oh, CRAP!  OPEN HOUSE!!!!

I immediately, wandered around the house seeing what all I had left out, forgotten to wipe up, didn't clean, didn't put away, etc.  I didn't vaccuum before we left. I left a wet sweater out on a drying rack in the master bedroom (which I would have NEVER done for an open house). I left Jeffrey's gate out in the hallway (which I would have normally put in the garage). There was a knife in the sink (accompanied by a few little food scraps - awesome). I left my pot pourri pot on the stove full of boiled orange peels and cinnamon (thank God I boiled that in the morning before we left).  There was a pile of laundry in the laundry basket (on top of the washer). There were a handful of other things left undone, but for the most part, the house was clean and straightened before we left. I am SO glad we did what we did. I would have been SO embarrassed if we left everything in total disarray assuming (as sometimes we do) that we'll not likely have a showing, so why bother. While it wasn't show-ready to my standards, it certainly was much cleaner than most open houses we've been to, so I'm seriously grateful for that! It could have been so much worse... Oh my goodness! I texted my realtor to share our oversight and invite her to make fun of us. Hilarious.

Luckily (or perhaps unluckily) due to the weather (and the fact that I still think open houses are a big waste of time), only 1 couple came through. So, in that way, I'm actually really glad I didn't kill myself trying to shine and polish every square inch of the house. No one would have noticed anyway. It was clean and fresh and that's all that matters.

**sigh**  This is what happens when stuff doesn't make it on to my calendar.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I believe what I believe

My eyes are burning! I can't tell if it's due to lack of sleep... or an abundance of emotion... or... the smog-smuggered sky ("The Lorax").

On Monday this week, I took a step of obedience and put in my resignation at the church. I've been here for almost exactly 3 years.... My last day is scheduled for June 4th (3 weeks).

I've been asked a few times now how I feel about it. The short answer is, "I feel good!" I know with all certaintly that this is what God was asking of me.

The longer answer is much more complicated. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit neatly into a God-shaped box, because as we all (hopefully) have learned, God doesn't like to be in a box. And just when we think we've found a box big enough to put Him into it, He shows us another piece of Himself that doesn't quite fit in there. And He isn't like clothes. You can't stamp or stomp or push or shove or cram Him enough to make Him fit.

I mentioned in several posts that God is up to something. We've known it for quite some time now. We've felt the ground beneath us begin to shake a little which was a sign to us that He was on the move. Unfortunately, we haven't had the privilege of knowing exactly how that will play out. What I do know is that for the last 4+ months or so (basically since the news that Scott lost his job, although, if I'm being honest, it was a few weeks prior to that) God asked us to enter into a special season of trust. His plan began to unfold just a tad, little by little. So that by the time we heard that Scott's position was being eliminated, we thought, "Well now... Isn't this interesting." (That story is here.) We both felt that God was asking us to completely unplug from pretty much everything. We stopped going to Bible Study... We didn't plan anything social. We didn't even attend church (except maybe twice). We just went into a time of focused prayer. Just us and God. Part of that was out of necessity... I mean, all we really had left was each other and Jesus. And part of that was out of desire to see God's Kingdom unfold - something we always talk about, and something that is so cliché in Christian circles, but isn't really lived out like we mean it (or that it was meant to be).

God presented us with a door... And we entered.

The last few months have been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Only a few people know the details of what has been happening, and even fewer have prayed with us and for us, and faithfully (and dutifully) invoked the power of God on our behalf.

I've been thinking about this a lot these last few days as I knew I would be turning in my resignation, and I knew the questions would come about where we are headed, what's next, etc. I knew that we weren't going to be sharing much, but I was really curious why. I didn't want our not sharing to be out of personal vendetta. So I asked God why...

Now, I don't know if you do this. But sometimes when you ask God a question, do you ever say to yourself, "I shouldn't ask that" for fear of the answer? Well... as you probably well know, my stupid mouth gets me in trouble all the time. And that was pretty much God's answer. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that He just needs me to SHUT UP long enough for Him to finish what He started.

Ouch. Really? Shut up? God, I don't think that's appropriate. Just sayin'.

Ok... yes it is. And the reason why is because I'm the kind of person that likes to (perhaps needs to) talk about everything constantly.... (I know, you're shocked, right?) And what God has shown me is that all that talkin' and all the comments that brings from others is a huge distraction for me. It makes me focus on others... on myself... on anything but God. And when He wants to do something radical, sometimes He just wants the focus on Him - not to mention all the glory going to Him. So, He simply asked Scott (and demanded me) to focus on Him, keep our mouths shut and allow Him to do what He does so well. We were (and will continue to be) very discerning about who we let into this part of our lives right now. We chose people whom we know to be wise and trustworthy servants, who could go to the cross on our behalf, seek God's will for us, and provide godly counsel, encouragement, affirmation, and accountability. (You know who you are! THANK YOU!)

He hasn't yet released us from this season. So there still isn't much we'll share about where God is taking us or what our next steps are. What I can say is that much of that is still unknown. We are still in very uncertain times. But one thing is for certain. God is providing for us. He is meeting our needs. He is giving us the desires of our hearts. And He is blessing us beyond measure.

Our prayer for the last year almost has been from Matthew 6:25-34:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
It's so easy to worry... Worry about money. Worry about how we'll make our mortgage payment. Worry about how we'll afford healthcare for a toddler who has incessant ear troubles, for a newborn baby whose health is still forming, for a husband and father who has high blood pressure that must be medicated, and (now) for a wife and mom who needs thyroid medication... Worry about how we'll sell our house. Worry about jobs. Worry about being loved and accepted... Worry worry worry. But... God tells us not to worry. Why? Because He loves us and will take care of us if we seek Him.

The part that really gets me is the "O you of little faith." Seriously... I don't ever want to be one of those people.

I'm suddenly reminded of Bill Engvall's bit on stupid signs... Specifically the one when he's talking about hemorrhoids and reading the directions on a tube of Preparation H. (Basically, he's making a joke about how the directions say where to apply the cream... as if you needed directions for that.) He said, "Dear Preparation H, I ate this whole dang tube, I still have these hemorrhoids. Man my mouth's so small... I cant even eat a jelly bean anymore. But I can whistle really good..."

How is this relevant? I have no idea. But here's the connection I made in my head (cuz this is how I roll, like it or not). "Man, my faith's so small...." It all goes back to putting God in a box. I don't like to put Him in a box, because He doesn't a) like to be in a box; and 2) belong in a box. But if I don't put Him in a box, shouldn't my faith be much bigger? (You should be nodding your head right now.) YES! It should be bigger.

And so... just like the old Onceler in The Lorax, I'm figgering on biggering and biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING my faith.

There's so much more to it, but I'm pretty much spent for the moment. What I want to leave you with is this. God has us on a wonderful journey of faith biggering. His Kingdom is being rolled out before us on a red carpet and it has been so fun and exciting (and painful) to walk so closely with Him during this season. I (we) will never, ever be the same. (Thank God for that!) And while there are no guarantees for our immediate future, and we've had to take steps of faith - anticipating that God will meet our needs in the coming weeks and months - we are completely at peace, full of hope and joy, and resting under the wings of the Almighty God, maker of Heaven and Earth!

If you're reading this and you haven't been one of the chosen few who know the ins and outs of the Matkovich family over the last several months, don't take it personally. Just rejoice with us in the good work that the Lord is doing! This season is not about us. It's about HIM. As we focus on Him, I pray that this, too, would be your story.

"It is the very truth of God and not the invention of man." Thank you, Third Day, for those lyrics.

Regarding my resignation, it is with a pure, joyful, happy, hopeful heart that I step down from my position. There is no bitterness, anger or resentment. The last three years have been a blessing to me and my family. God is just changing our path and we are determined to follow Him.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oregon flabbery

Have you ever had those moments that you look forward to and then when they happen, they are both exciting and sad at the same time? I just had one of those moments today.  More about that in a few days....

I've been having some "medical" issues. Not really "issues" but I don't know what else to call them. Not procedures. Through a routine physical (like, my first complete physical from head to toe), I was told that my thyroid is "large". Hilarious. I can see this now:

Me: "Honey, do these jeans make me look fat?"
Scott: "No, but your thyroid does."

So, I made a follow up appointment with my doc to get the thyroid checked out. He poked and squeezed (which is never really a good feeling - to have your thyroid squeezed. I mean, they might as well just choke you.), followed by a, "Uh....huh... O... K..." as if to say, "Well... I don't see what the big deal is." But, just to be on the safe side, he sent me for some blood work to check, specifically, my thyroid function.

Today, I got a call from the first doc with the results of my blood work. Everything looks great! Except (**dun-dun-DUN**) my liver enzymes are low - most likely due to nursing (gee, ya think?), and I may need a measels booster. I didn't test positive or negative for measels. Um... how is this possible? I mean, I can't "maybe have measels", right? That's kind of like being a little bit pregnant. Either you are or you aren't. Either you have measels or you don't. So I might have to get a booster... but that, too, will have to be followed up with by my regular doc. Weird.

Then, 10 minutes later my phone rings again and this time it is my regular doc's nurse, who tells me they got the results back from the thyroid test. Seems whatever it is they test for is low... and doc wants me on a medication and then to come back in 10-12 weeks for another test. I asked if this medication is safe to take while nursing. The response? "Um... I don't know. Let me call the doctor and give you a call back." That was 2 hours ago, and I still haven't heard. Just for the record, I won't take anything that isn't safe to take while nursing. And I'm not going to stop nursing just to take a medication that isn't going to have life or death consequences. I mean, really....

Oh, the jokes that fly in my household with this type of news. So, not only do I have a fat thyroid, but now it may be retarded, and maybe I have measels on top of that. Brilliant! (Just soes ya knows, I don't have measels... I'm being facetious. It just makes me laugh to think that one wouldn't test neither positive nor negative. It would seem to me that it would be one or the other.)

Several years ago when I was getting all kinds of headaches, I ended up with a CT scan and MRI, which showed that I had a few blown discs, that may be causing some nerve damage. Since that time, my adoring husband has been calling me Nerve Damage. It's all very endearing. (Oh, and to avoid the cliff hanger on this story, it turns out that the one has nothing to do with the other, and I, like so many others, have the privilege of living with migraines. Oh, happy joy.)

I can't even imagine what he'll come up with now. But I assure you, you'll be amongst the first to know.

The good news is that since my thyroid levels are low, and assuming that whatever drug they want me on will fix it, I may see a weight loss... (And it may also stop my hair from falling out, which is normal after a birth of a baby, but this is riduculous!)  That'd be nice. I'm never one to blame weight gain on anything other than my own choices, but if I can blame 5-10 pounds on a stupid thyroid, then I'm all for it!

On a related front, when I weighed in last Monday (a week ago), I was 3 pounds lighter than when I first got preggers with Jeffrey (which is 13 pounds lighter than I was when I got preggers with Eden). Then, three days later when I had my thyroid follow up, I was down another 2 pounds. So, at least I'm moving in the right direction. It helps to be nursing. It also helps to be on vacation and enjoying sunshine. (The sun and I are good friends.)  Good thing I kept my skinny-skinny (pre-Oregon flabbery) jeans, huh? Ya never know. Someday, just someday, I may actually fit into them again... 40 pounds lighter. And I mean a true fit. Not a forced, lay on the bed sucking in my tummy and forcing the zipper up, then barely being able to stand and looking as if my lower half had been melted down and poured into the jean mold kind of fit. (In case you're getting a mental image, that's REALLY tight. And we all have seen women do this. Seriously. Not only is that completely unflattering to every body part lower than the shoulder, it's just wrong to think it looks good. Tight jeans like that do NOT make you look skinny (unless you actually are). Stop kidding yourself and embrace the poundage that has become a part of you.)

Ahh, that would be a good day. It has been at least 7 years since I've fit into anything even resembling my pre-Oregon skinny jeans.

All this to say, Oregon has not been good for my health. I've gotten fat. My thyroid is rebelling and going into hibernation. And I'm on the cusp of a measels outbreak. Not to mention nerve damage.


**shaking fists at the sky**


Ok. I'm over it.

But I still need a drink. These last few months have been over the top stressful and frankly, I just want a martini which I have denied myself for far too long.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart. I laid in bed just contemplating the goodness of God, and was moved to tears as I looked back over these last several months and how God has blessed us in amazing ways. I am overcome and overwhelmed. 

I can't wait to share all of the stories, and how every single prayer that we prayed (and didn't pray) has been answered. But for now, God is still asking us to be in silent communion with Him. There are a precious few who have been walking with us through this journey, faithfully praying for us, mourning with us, and celebrating with us. Just trust me when I say I have seen the Glory of the Lord - His Kingdom come, His will done on this earth! 

I had the wonderful privilege of visiting some wonderful friends in Colorado this past week. We haven't all been together since a wedding five years ago! Only now, instead of couples, we were families. We were Scott and the Picklebean shy of being complete. 

On Friday, we all came together to observe Shabbat. I held it together pretty well, but was on the verge of tears so many times as we took turns reading scripture, sharing in a beautiful Jewish tradition of observing the Holy Sabbath. I looked around the table and saw the faces of our community... the people we've been missing all these years since moving to Oregon - all of us gone our separate ways, to different parts of the country, reunited here in this place. My rants of the past just don't do it justice. I felt whole again - loved and accepted, cared for, welcomed and a part of something far bigger than myself. This is the Body of Christ. This is loving your neighbor as yourself. 

These are the people - our family, our precious friends - who know intimately all the details of our sufferings and our shortcomings, and yet still love us and accept us. We enjoy fellowship, brotherhood and sisterhood together. The husbands all went to school together, all participated in Shawn & Gretchen's wedding, and have built such a strong bond with one another - intellectually and beyond. Few men can hang with my husband on that level, but these are the guys who come together and equally challenge one another. And we, the wives, all similar (as apparently there is a special breed who date and marry men like this), loving each other just as deeply as the men. Truly a community. A village. There we were. Together again.

We knew a year and a half ago that God was about to move. He simply asked us to be faithful and follow him. We didn't know how or why or when. We just knew that we needed to keep our eyes open. Then, the hammering started. We were pruned and pricked and prodded and burned and bruised, but through it all we kept our eyes on Jesus. Then in January when Scott lost his job, God's plan for us began to be revealed. I said it here, just watch what God can do. We knew that God had a plan for Scott and the gifts that he has been given. God's plan will not be thwarted, even when others get in the way. Sometimes for us in our limited abilities the obstacles seem insurmountable. But not for God. He can make life with a single breath. Our troubles are nothing for the One who created the heavens and the earth.

Suffice it to say, Scott will be used. God hasn't revealed His entire plan, but He has revealed a portion. For the rest, we wait patiently, eagerly, joyfully. 

Our lives have never been so bathed in prayer - by us or by so many. I can only describe it as maybe we've showered our lives in prayer. Showering is good. But we've learned to bathe in prayer - to sink ourselves deep below the surface. Every moment. Every decision. Every day. Every blessing. Every request. On our faces before the throne of God, at the foot of the cross, allowing the blood of Christ to wash over us.

God is moving. He's holding our hands as we walk with Him in His Kingdom. This isn't some far-off notion that is saved for after our last breath on this earth is taken. It's for the here and now. And it's a beautiful place to be. Totally at peace. Full of expectation. Full of joy and hope. Awaiting with great anticipation.

In the past, when God called me, I would respond, "Is that you, Lord?" It was. Always. Just recently, when I heard God calling me, I didn't hear myself respond, "Is that you, Lord?" I responded, "Yes, Lord? I'm here." 

And so is He.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Only in Colorado

I've never seen anything quite like this. Awesome. Only in Colorado....