Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with 2009, In with 2010

As I reflect back on the year that has passed, I can't help but be glad it is over. I am not a pessimistic person, but when I think about all we've experienced this year, mostly the bad stuff sticks out in my mind. This year has felt like a roller coaster ride that I just couldn't get off, with a few highs and so many lows.

  1. There are two new babies in the Boyd clan. We welcomed Zoey (my first niece!) and Gabriel (my godson!).
  2. My younger brother was able to come home from serving in Iraq for the birth of his baby girl.
  3. We went to two Carolina games and the North Carolina Tarheels went on to win the 2009 NCAA National Championship ~ GO HEELS!!!
  4. Boyd Family Beach Trip ~ so much fun!!!!
  5. October scrapbook retreat... need I say more?


  1. We learned that my youngest son is still allergic to peanuts, peanut butter and all tree nuts. In fact, his allergies have gotten more severe over the last three years.
  2. My oldest son is still suffering from moderate to severe eczema. They keep telling me he is going to outgrow it, but he has yet to be free of this pain.
  3. Both of my boys spent a month battling impetigo, a very painful and very contagious skin infection.
  4. We all contracted H1N1, right at the time of my nephew's birth. Therefore, we weren't able to see him until he was almost one month old.
  5. My younger brother has had to spend the entire year away from his family and home with only a brief two week break.
  6. I have personally struggled with ongoing anxiety attacks.
  7. Keith's job has been soooo stressful this year.
  8. My MOPS group, which was once the highlight of my month, has faced too many challenges.

I realized as I am writing this that I sound like the man in the "Footprints" poem. Thankfully, I know that God has been carrying me this year. I am sad to say that I have not thanked Him enough. (Thank You GOD for carrying me through this year!)

Now, I refuse to leave this blog with all that negativity, because I plan to be more optimistic in 2010. So let me put a positive note to all those lows.

  1. At least we know what we are dealing with in terms of his allergies, especially as he starts school next August.
  2. While just as bad, his eczema "flare-ups" are not as often as they once were.
  3. It could have been much worse. Thankfully, it was not MRSA.
  4. He won't remember that I wasn't there for his birth. The important thing is that I'm there for him when he needs me now.
  5. He is coming home VERY soon.
  6. I have successfully weaned off of zoloft (the devil in pill-form).
  7. They did hire someone to help lighten Keith's workload.
  8. I have formed friendships that I know will last a lifetime.

I know that 2010 is going to be a better year. I don't doubt that Satan will throw obstacles in our way, just as he has in 2009. But I am becoming a stronger person. God is making me a stronger person. As I've said in previous blogs, I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Pleasure

I took a long hard look into a mirror that shows my outer and my inner self, and I don't like what I see. The first thing I notice is my dramatic weight gain over the last few months. The second is the lack of sparkle in my eye and the forced smile upon my face. The third is the flood of tears constantly ready to flow freely from my eyes. I realized that while I enjoy my life, I am not happy with myself. Why am I not happy?

Maybe it's the fact that I never really lost all the baby weight I put on six years ago, and I can no longer use recent childbirth as an excuse. Maybe it's the fact that my house is rarely as clean and organized as I would like. Maybe it's the fact that I have all these great ideas of various projects I would like to do with my children, but I never seem to find the time to do them. Maybe it's the fact that my husband is so overwhelmed with his work responsibilities that he rarely comes home in a relaxed, uplifting mood. Maybe it's the fact that I live in Denton, and let's face it, there's not much to do in Denton. Maybe it's the fact that I know my parents are getting older and I worry about their health and finances. Maybe it's the fact that my brother is currently serving in Iraq and when he comes home, the military has politely told him that his job is not longer available.

If I am honest with myself, I think the reason that I am not happy is because I have spent my entire life trying to please those around me, but I've never really taken the time to understand what truly pleases me.

I spent my entire high school career trying to do what I thought would make my parents happy ~ graduate first in my class. I spent my college career doing what I thought would make my boyfriend/future husband happy ~ just graduate and find a job. I spent my first five years of marriage doing what I thought would make my husband happy ~ working a part-time job, while keeping the house orderly and having supper on the table every night. I have spent the last seven years doing what I hope will make my children happy ~ pretty much whatever they need for me to do.

Please note, I am not complaining about this. As I said earlier, I have enjoyed my life. And I am not blaming my parents, my husband or my children for my current state of mind. I am not even blaming myself. I've done nothing wrong. But now that I'm beginning to realize what I want, and what I believe will make me happy, I am eager to do these things.

I want to stay-at-home, and take care of my family.
I want to focus on my kids, not my house.
I want to take care of my body.
I want to exercise.
I want to have creative freedom in my home.
I want to spend time with my family and my friends.
I want to go out on a date with my husband.
I want to go out with the girls.
I want to laugh.
I want to cry.
I want to stop worrying about what everyone thinks.
I want to look in the mirror and like what I see.

So that's my New Year's Resolution. Instead of spending this year doing what I think will make others happy, I am going to spend this year doing what pleases me. Hopefully, my family and friends will still like me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Lost my Friend, and I Don't Know How to Find Her

My circle of high school friends consisted of eight girls ~ Melissa C., Wendy, Heather, Beth, Crystal, Melissa G., Kim and me. We did everything together from studying to sleepovers. We had soooo much fun. Still, within our circle, we developed stronger bonds with some. Wendy and I complemented each other so well that everyone said we shared a brain. As we progressed through high school, we pretty much became inseperable. We finished each other's sentences and had conversations that no one else understood. We developed a bond that we both knew would last forever. We were closer than sisters, we were best friends.
Our college days forced us to become more independent, a thought that thrilled Wendy, but scared me to death! That was when Melissa G. (another friend from our high school circle) became extremely close. Melissa and I went to the same university, while Wendy attended one about a half hour away. Since we were the only people at the University we knew, Melissa and I registered for those Freshman classes hoping to be on the same schedule. We did share a few classes, but as we were both reluctant to become to socially interactive with the other students, we pretty much spent all our spare time together. We served as each other's home away from home. It was weird that we spent all those years in high school together but only became really close in college.
I kept in touch with all the girls in my high school circle of friends for those first few years after high school. But eventually time, distance, various life decisions, and even death, put us on different paths. Kim was killed in a car accident. Crystal got married and has not contacted any of us since then. Heather moved away. Beth and Melissa C. simply moved on. So that left Wendy, Melissa and me. Our trio of friendship became even stronger as the years passed.
I got married first. Melissa and Wendy were in my wedding. Thankfully, my marriage didn't seem to have any effect on our friendship.
Then Wendy got married. Melissa and I were her bridesmaids. Wendy's husband moved her to Arizona, allowing Melissa and I to see her only twice a year. We were devastated. I think we cried at her wedding more than her mother did. As Wendy drove off with her new "best" friend, Melissa and I stood there hugging in the parking lot, figuring things would never be the same. Thankfully, we were wrong. Though much more time passed in between our get togethers, when Wendy came home, it was like she'd never left. We still finished each others sentences. It was obvious that we still shared a brain. And I felt closer to her than I'd ever felt before.
Two years later, Melissa got married. Wendy and I were in her wedding. The three of us had a ball at the reception. As we helped Melissa change out of her gown so she could wear normal clothes to the hotel, we embraced in a meaningful hug.
A few moments later, Melissa and her husband rode off in the limo. Wendy and her husband left to head back to Arizona. And I was in the car with my husband crying a flood of tears because something in my gut told me things would never be the same.
I was wrong. Wendy and I have only become closer and closer over the years. We make time for each other. Every time she comes home, she makes sure to make time for me. I've driven seventeen hours with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old to see her. Even though she is hundreds of miles away, she knows exactly what is going on in my life. Wendy was the only one who even realized I was suffering from post-partum depression after the birth of my second son. She is still my best friend.
However, I was also right. With Melissa, things have never been the same. I can't quite figure out why. I've tried to make them the same. And sometimes when we're together, it's just like old times. But the gap between phone calls/visits/emails has continued to expand. It has now been twelve months since I last heard from her. I've emailed, I've called, I've sent cards. (My husband says I'm stalking her.) I've gotten no response.
I recently learned that she is expecting her second child in March. She and Wendy and I were once a trio of best friends, and I had no idea she was even pregnant.
What does this mean? Does this mean she doesn't want to be my friend anymore? If so, then why not? How can she possibly justify ending a friendship that carried us through some of the hardest times in our lives? I wonder about these things.
At the same time, I wonder why am I trying so hard to hold on to the way things used to be? Why can't I accept that our season of friendship has passed? Why can't I just let go?
The only reason I can come up with is... because I don't want to.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Married My High School Sweetheart

Twelve years ago today, I married my high school sweetheart.

I remember telling my parents when they thought we were getting too serious, "We're just dating! It's not like I'm going to marry him!" We were so different, I just couldn't see myself spending the rest of my life with him. Those differences manifested themselves, until I thought it was obvious we weren't meant to be together. So I tried to break up with him. It was then that I realized we weren't just dating. We were falling in love. And it felt so good. I just couldn't let go.

Following is a poem I wrote in the fall of 1994, about six months after we started dating.

Dazed and Confused
by Marci Boyd (Bray)

Dazed and confused
about what is right and wrong
Trying to accept
what I've been denying all along
Never planning to see you
as more than just a friend
Realizing what we have
and not wanting it to end
Frightened by the emotions
my fragile heart implies
Seeing those same feelings
when you look into my eyes
Trying to scream for help
unable to make a sound
Hoping not to fall too hard
but I've already hit the ground
Thinking I could walk away
and forget about me and you
But caring so much more
than I ever intended to
Denying it in my mind
but knowing in my heart it is true
Not being what I planned
I've fallen in love with you

All these years later, he's still the love of my life. Happy Anniversary my handsome!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wrestling with the Devil

As a result of the events that have transpired in my physical body over the last six weeks, I have determined that zoloft is the devil.

Shockingly enough, I have stress in my life. For some reason, probably the radiation that killed my thyroid, my body can no longer handle stress very well. This is so ironic because, prior to having my thyroid nuked, my daily motto was... "I have to do this, this, this, this, this and this. But that's okay! I can handle it!"
You won't hear me say that anymore. I can't handle it. The slightest confrontation, the mere increase in my workload, the tiniest hint of unwellness in my body sends my heart into palpitations. Before you know it, I'm having panic attacks, and crying uncontrollably. My doctor's solution... zoloft.
In the beginning, I absolutely refused. In my mind, zoloft was for depression. I did not feel depressed. I felt overwhelmed. There was so much to be done, and I didn't have the strength or motivation to do it. Still, I truly believed that I could overcome my physical weakness with my spiritual strength. I fought my doctors on the necessity of taking this drug for three years. But over time, my spirit weakened also.
Then, I hit my all-time low, and in January of this year, I gave in. I began taking zoloft at the lowest possible dosage and noticed changes immediately. It was awesome!!!! I felt like myself again. But that only lasted a few weeks. So my doctor doubled my dosage. The same thing happened. I felt great for a few weeks, then started getting overwhelmed again. So she doubled my dosage again. I stayed on this dosage for four months. In that time, I felt much more able to handle all that comes along with being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, MOPS Coordinator... Yet I was still having panic attacks daily, sometimes up to 12 times a day.
The doctor recommended switching to Paxil, not realizing she should first wean me off of zoloft. So within a week's time of quitting zoloft and starting paxil (while recuperating from having h1n1), I began suffering from withdrawal syndrome, which, in my opinion, was ten times worse than the flu. I suffered from hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, hot sweats, blackouts, uncontrollable sobbing... I ended up in the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack.
Now, I am in my sixth (and supposedly final) week of the "weaning off" process. In the midst of weaning off, you still suffer from withdrawal syndrome, but at a much lesser level. It is misery at times. I wake up in the middle of the night with my muscles twitching. By the time I get out of bed in the morning, I feel like I've run a marathon. Every muscle aches nonstop throughout the day.

This is why I've come to believe that zoloft is the devil. Weaning off of zoloft is like wrestling with the devil. I figure paxil is just the devil in a different pill, so I have no intention of ever again using an anti-anxiety medication to deal with the overwhelming nature of my life.

The positive of having experienced this ordeal...
After much prayer and meditation, and with the help of my family and friends, I feel spiritually, emotionally and mentally stronger. Yes, I still have to do this, this, this, this and this. And honestly, I CAN'T HANDLE IT. But that's okay! I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Than a Blanket

My mother became really interested in quilting just before my first son was born. I tried to share her interest, but became immediately intimidated by the time and accuracy required to create a beautiful quilt. Rather than disappoint myself, and my mother, I turned my ambition to another hobby ~ SCRAPBOOKING!
I love to scrapbook. Since the birth of my firstborn, this has become more than a hobby for me. It has become an addiction. I could spend all day, every day, gazing at those pictures of my handsome little boys and figuring out ways to embellish the pages in just the right way that will complement their countenance. I thoroughly enjoy the instant gratification of completing a page layout. Success comes much quicker with scrapbooking than it does with a quilt.
Over the past seven years, my mom's quilting has become more than a hobby for her as well. She has made beautiful creations out of the smallest squares of fabric. And she loves to show them to me. She gets so excited as we pull the four corners apart revealing her intricate handiwork. She is truly talented.
She has continued to invite me to quilt with her, but I have continued to turn her down, offering excuse after excuse as two why it is "not my thing". I don't have the patience. I don't have the time. I'd much rather scrapbook.
A few weeks ago, my mother took me into her quilting room to show me her most recent endeavor. I must reiterate, she is very gifted. As I stood their envying her talent, she offered me a novel. (She knows in addition to scrapbooking, I LOVE to read.) This was the first in a series of novels about a young woman who is learning to quilt. It didn't sound like the kind of novel I would normally read, but I couldn't bear to disappoint my mother. So I reluctantly agreed to take it with me.
The novel started off rather slow, and I debated giving it back to her, but I just couldn't let her down. She was sure I would like it. So I carried on. Before I knew it, I became quite enthralled with the storyline. I looked forward to spending some quiet time engrossed in the tale of this young woman's apprenticeship as a quiltmaker. The author did an excellent job of not only incorporating the basics of quilting into the story, but also revealing that learning to quilt is more than just making a blanket.
Thanks to this novel, my eyes have been opened to what my mother's true desire has been since she started beckoning me to quilt with her ~ to spend time with me.
Quilting is a time consuming task. I realized that is why my mother wants me to join her in it. It's not just about creating a meaningful bundle of warmth; it's also about sharing tender moments, creating memories and passing on one's passion. I am ashamed that I did not see this sooner.
My mother is picking me up in just a few moments so that we can have breakfast together. I'm going to tell her that I would like for her to teach me to quilt. AND I am very much looking forward to it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My child is a genius!!!!

It was April 2008. I remember sitting in the lobby of the gymnasium waiting for the assessment lady to return with my son and tell me that he is in fact ready for kindergarten. I felt certain that he was, but I was eager to hear how well he did on his assessment. They came through the door, both beaming. I figured that was a good sign. Her smile was actually bigger than his, and she rushed over to me exclaiming that he scored 100%! He got every single question correct! In fact, she went on to describe him as “an overachiever” who, when asked how high he could count, was forced to stop after reaching 100. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness! My child is a genius!”
I wish that I could take full credit for this “genius” child of mine. However, I cannot. I must give credit where credit is due. I am so thankful to the Smart Start School Readiness Specialist Program and Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center’s Preschool Program for making sure my son was ready for Kindergarten.
Let me explain further…
From 1998-2000, I worked as an evaluation consultant to the Davidson County Partnership for Children, a nonprofit organization responsible for the disbursement of Smart Start funds in our county. The program I was most impressed with was the School Readiness Program. In fact, I was so impressed with the services available to parents with children ages 0-5 in this area, that when my husband and I decided to relocate, I insisted on moving to Davidson County. I knew our family could benefit from these services. I contacted the School Readiness Specialist (SRS) Coordinator within weeks of moving into our new home. She put me in touch with our SRS, who began visits immediately.
When my son’s pediatrician later suggested that I enroll him in a preschool program to increase his social development, I knew without a doubt which local child development center I would trust. I had evaluated a number of children attending the Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center, all of whom were very impressive. I contacted the Center’s director that same day, and my son began preschool there the next week.
I can honestly say that had it not been for these two programs, my son would NOT have been ready for kindergarten. Not that I would not have worked with him at home to learn his numbers, colors, alphabet and shapes. However, I never would have been aware of what is expected of them when they now enter kindergarten. I had no idea that they should know how to write their name. They should be able to identify the author’s name on a book cover. They should be able to draw a stick person with at least three body parts. His SRS and preschool teacher know what he needs to know. Even better, they know how to teach it to him. Thankfully, the SRS program is set up to pass that knowledge onto me. Therefore, my son appeared to be a “genius” at his kindergarten assessment.
My second son will enter kindergarten next year. I have no doubt that he will be ready.
Thank you School Readiness Specialist Program and Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center.

His Wife, My Hero

My brother, Jason, is currently serving in the Army National Guard. His unit was called to duty last December. Shortly after reporting for duty, his wife discovered that she was with child. This, of course, was very exciting for all of us, as this would be Jason's firstborn. Sadly, he would miss the entire pregnancy. He was deployed to Iraq in February. So he did not have the pleasure of witnessing the morning sickness, the ever-expanding baby bump, the never-ending exhaustion and the ultimate cravings that coincide with a woman's pregnancy. However, he was blessed to be able to come home on leave long enough to participate in the birthing process and welcome his new baby girl, Zoey Faith, into the world on August 17th. A few days later, he had to resume his service in Iraq.
Zoey is now 2 months old. Jason has missed her gorgeous smile, her adorable cooing, her late-night feedings and her stinky diapers. She will be five months old the next time he holds her. I'm heartbroken for him.
Even sadder, he's not the only one missing out. Little Zoey doesn't have the joy of knowing her father as of yet. And Zoey's brother, Lucas, who is three years old, misses the man who has stepped up to be his father. Lucas calls Jason "Daddy". He was just getting used to having a man consistently present in his life when Jason had to leave. It has been a very confusing time for little Lucas.
Perhaps what saddens me the most is imagining what Celeste what must be feeling. When I put myself in her shoes, I imagine I would feel quite overwhelmed. She is carrying this family on her own for 12 months! In Jason's absence, she is solely responsible for meeting her children's every need. She feeds them. She bathes them. She dresses them. She buys for them. She cleans for them. She plays with them. She tucks them in at night. And then she goes to bed alone.
You would think she might buckle under the pressure, feel sorry herself and become angry at the world for the roller coaster her life is now on. But no. Every time I see her, she does seem exhausted, yet she has a smile on her face. She's not sitting at home, crying into a pillow. She's living her life, and she is not afraid to do it alone. She has taken her children to visit family, to the zoo, to Wal-Mart, to the inflatable playground, to Chick-fil-a, to the mall, etc. She has retiled the kitchen floor, refurnished the bedroom, painted most every wall in the house, handcrafted the curtains, shopped for a new vehicle... the list goes on. While she patiently awaits my brother's return, she has taken her life by the horns and is enjoying the ride.
I am honored that my brother is a member of the Army National Guard sacrificing time with his family to protect our country. I am proud to be his sister.
I am also proud to be a sister-in-law to his wife. I am amazed by her boldness, and I envy her fearlessness. SHE is my hero.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not So Inspiring First Words

Last week I had lunch with a dear friend of mine, a fellow blogger, who is also fairly new to the blogging scene. I've been so impressed with her writings. I hoped to gain valuable insight into her "process". How does she decide what to write about? I was shocked by her response - "I write about what inspires me." Of course! It's so simple. I expected to rush home and begin writing right away. I mean, my life is filled with inspiration. I have a loving husband, two handsome little boys, a beautiful home, healthy parents, four siblings with wonderful spouses and adorable children, lots of friends... Most importantly, I have JESUS.
As soon as I got home, I sat at my computer prepared for the words to just pour out of me. But nothing came. I was so disappointed. I am so blessed. Surely I can come up with SOMETHING to write about. But no. Nothing came to me. And still nothing has come to me, even after I've racked my brain all weekend.
Bound and determined to post my first blog, I just sat down and started typing. So this is it ~ my first blog. It is not very inspiring, I know. I'm hoping that writing this uninspiring post is the first step in overcoming my initial case of "blogger's block".
We shall see....