Seven Quick Takes on Being Sick, Long Drives, and Moving

I figured that, after dropping my little bombshell last week, I probably ought to take a moment to update you on the few little things that are going on in the Engelman family.  Sure, there’s a baby on the way.  What’s that in the midst of a new church, a new school, moving, starting a business, and (hopefully) getting your first book published?

— 1 —

So, first, let me focus on what’s most important… me. Just kidding. But this one is about me. And I’m probably going to whine. You see, through four children, I’ve proudly declared that my body seems to be made to carry children. Sure, I’d get a little tired during the first trimester, but I never felt sick, and didn’t experience the swelling, sleepness nights, or other discomforts that most women experience. It was one of the reasons why I felt I should have more children. If God made it so lovely for me to carry babies, surely He wants me to have more?

I guess God felt that it was high time I got a taste of what most women go through. No, I never actually had to hug the porcelain throne. But I did spend innumerable days feeling sick from ten a.m. until bedtime.

I’m not a person who gets sick often, and I learned something about myself. I’m terrible at being sick. I grouched at my kids, I complained to anyone who would listen, and I spent countless hours laying in bed bemoaning my fate. My family survived on take out food and frozen meals because I couldn’t bear the thought of cooking anything, and didn’t have the energy even if it didn’t make me want to vomit.

Then one day I ordered a Prenatal Pilates video on the Kindle and did the first few workouts. My energy level went up and the sickness decreased.  Maybe it was just a coincidence, but that was the best $10 I’ve spent in a while.

— 2 —

At the same time, we were trying to get the house ready to put on the market. Feeling sick does not go well with painting, mulch-spreading, and closet reorganizing. But I did it. The house isn’t officially “on the market,” since we’re too cheap to pay a realtor, but there’s a sign in the yard. A young man stopped by one night and asked Ray if we’d consider renting. And apparently we would. Papers aren’t signed yet, but it looks like it’s probably going to happen and we’ll be moving in the next thirty days. Which isn’t stressful at all.

— 3 —

IMG_7919.JPGThe kids have been at their new school for just over a week, and they are settling in beautifully. They don’t act anxious about going in the mornings, and they are happy when I pick them up each night. Super-social Bonita already has a play date scheduled. The boys might take a little longer, but the Dude already has his cousins there, and Bear – quite frankly – received very few invitations to play with any friends from kindergarten, anyways. (Which was odd because he is the sweetest kid on earth, and when we invited kids to our house to play, they jumped all over it. But that was one of those little idiosyncrasies of that community, it seems, and something that I pray will be different at the new school.)

— 4 —

The drive to school is long, but somehow it does seem to get shorter the more I do it. We try to leave 40 minutes before school starts. If we’re successful, the kids are there ten+ minutes early. If we leave seven minutes later, they may very well be late, and they’ve already had a tardy. If there’s ever an accident on the way, there’s just no hope.

— 5 —

The drive home from school is almost as bad, though free from the stress of having to arrive at a certain time. School’s out at 3:15 and we get home around 4.  Poor Dude has to turn around and leave for football at 5:30, which doesn’t provide a whole lot of downtime. He gets home around 8:30 and still has to eat dinner and shower. Burning the candle at both ends has already led to a sick day for him yesterday.

— 6 —

All of which has contributed to our willingness to take this guy’s offer to rent the house. I just want to get closer to the school, closer to this new community into which we need to integrate (though I’m sad to leave the “old” community!), and stop spending a fortune on gas.

— 7 —

Now I’ve gotten to number seven and haven’t even talked about my new business or the progress on the book! Well, the new business is a freelance writing service and already has a couple of clients. It’s keeping me busy. Ray developed a beautiful logo, which you can see here:  As you can see, we’ve done nothing more with the website, having been too busy with all the other craziness of life!

As for the book, there is a publisher who is “pursuing a formal acquisitions process,” which doesn’t mean that they’ll publish the book, but that they liked it and are going to do some investigation to determine whether they can actually make any money off of it. I remain cautiously optimistic!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!








An Honest Reaction to “Joyful” News

My hands shook and my knee jumped frantically of its own accord as I sat on my shiny throne.

God, please, no.  You can’t do this to me.

No, no, no.  That’s not what I’m supposed to say.

Not my will, but Thy will be done, Lord.

It can’t be true.  Please, don’t let it be true.

No, that’s not right, either.

I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.

And so the inner struggle began, in the early morning hours, as my husband slept just twenty feet away, blissfully unaware of the turmoil I was experiencing, which he would soon share.

And the thoughts came back again, of their own accord.

God, please, don’t let it be true.

But it was.  The little blue “plus” sign was clearly visible in the light from the single overhead fixture.

I was pregnant.

This would be number five.  When we got married, my husband and I had agreed that three was the perfect number.  But that was before…

Before I converted to Catholicism.

Before I became a different person.

Before I said, “I don’t always understand the Church’s teachings, but I was called into the Church, and I have to believe God wants me to follow all of the teachings.  I can’t just pick and choose.”

And, anyways, I get this one.  Every child is a gift.  How can I say, “Thanks God, for the four wonderful gifts you’ve given me, but I’ve got enough now.  I don’t want this gift you’d like to give me, so I’m going to prevent you from giving it.”?

And yet, here I was now, thinking, God, please, no.

Funny enough, I desperately wanted another child.  Only a few weeks before, I’d held a friend’s baby, lamenting the fact that my child-bearing days were over.

And how do I explain that – a Catholic, trying to follow Church teachings, wanting to accept another life from God, yet resigning myself to being “done”?

Well, that’s a long story, or at least one that I can’t tell and feel that I’ve done justice to all parties involved.  Essentially, there were many, many reasons why my husband had made it very clear that we needed to be DONE. Valid reasons.

I waited a day to tell my husband.  I took the test on our four-year-old’s birthday.  Unsure of how he would respond, I didn’t want to ruin her day.  So I waited.

He was shocked.  But I had underestimated him.  Ultimately, he came to me, gave me a hug, and said,

“We’re gonna have a baby.”

And so we are.

Thanks be to God.