caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

ok…maybe i’m a mustard gal after all

so…have you ever thought something should go one way…like, you are pretty sure it should….it makes sense…you have planned on it…mentally prepared for it…and then WHAMMO, nope, sorry, not so much. plans change. and you are left standing there (or, in my case, lying there) saying to yourself, hey, now…what just a minute…what just happened here?

ya, that has happened a few times to me and i am sure a few times to you as well, friend.

in high school, i was kind of a popular kid. i mean, not like completely the most popular girl in school, but most people knew me. and i am pretty sure they liked me, for the most part. anyway, we had this formal event every year at my school called “legacy”. it was a big deal. it was sort of a “suped up” awards ceremony. (and yes, i just spent like 5 minutes online looking up how to spell “suped up”…weird that i have never, ever spelled that word. i thought it was spelled “souped up”, but hmm, what d’ya know!? now i want to eat some soup though, fyi) anyway….this was the only truly formal event for all grades, since prom was only for seniors and homecoming (see other post for more details about that:) was more casual. but not legacy, it was full out girls wearing long beaded gowns, boys in tuxedos, rolling up in limos if you could swing it, etc. it was a big deal. for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors you could be nominated for only three categories: most beautiful/handsome, class favorite and then there was the other one, i forget the name, but it was the one for the smarter kiddos (ironic that i forgot the name of that one, eh?) anyway…that was it. those were the only three categories for the non-seniors.

now, i went to pretty big school. each class had about 800 kids or so, i think. and only about 7 or 8 girls and 7 or 8 boys got nominated for each category from each class. so being nominated was a pretty big deal. and i got nominated every year. i never actually won, but i always got nominated, which was pretty cool. and then my senior year came. my popularity had wavered a bit because i wasn’t partying like most everyone was at this point. but i was still in varsity athletics, honor choir, etc and overall a outgoing friendly gal, so for the most part, people liked me. anyway…legacy time came around again and i was actually excited this time because i thought maybe i could actually win. there were like 15 categories for seniors. most likely to succeed, most athletic, most courteous, i mean, name it, there was a category. and although i had never won before, i thought the odds might actually be in my favor this time around because i might have fit better into some of these other categories.

so…nomination day came around, and the way they did it, was pretty cool. well, looking back, i can see now that it was pretty cool, if you were nominated. not so much if you weren’t. all nominees got a free ticket to legacy and so what happened is that the student council people came around and handed out your formal invitation to you in class. that’s right, they were permitted to stop class, interrupt the teacher and say “excuse me, but i have an invitation here for ____________ to legacy” and then obviously everyone in the class would know they were nominated for something. it was pretty cool. it was. my freshman year. and my sophomore year. and my junior year. all, very cool. why? because i was nominated, that’s why. so, naturally, i kinda liked the process. but there i was, my senior year…and i can’t tell you what class i was in…or what i was wearing…but i can tell you what i felt. excited, when i saw the stuco kids come in. patient, as they called a couple different of my buddies names. then utterly mortified when they said, “ok, that’s it, thanks.” and turned and walked away. i imagine my face looked like it was in total shock. i know my few friends in there looked at me in confusion, (pity) knowing that they too, thought i might be nominated. but i wasn’t. all the years when there were just three categories, sure. now, my senior year, when there were like 15 categories…nope. not so much. i felt like such a loser. this was not at all how i had pictured my senior year legacy to be. not at all.

then, sometimes it happens in waves.

fast forward almost exactly 12 years. same me. a bit older. a bit more mature. a lot fatter. 🙂 well, i was eight months pregnant after all, with our third child. and, friend, if there is anything i am great at, it is puttin’ on that baby weight. hmmm…just weight in general, really. i shouldn’t limit it to baby weight, i did, after all hit some high digits in college. some go for the typical “freshman 15″…i pushed through for the “sophomore 40”. hey, anything worth doin’ is worth overdoin’, eh? 🙂 anyway… at this point, ryan and i have two precious little boys: jacob, age 4 1/2 and benjamin, age 2 1/2 and here we are awaiting our third little blessing. we didn’t know what gender we were having, we just LOVED the surprise waaay too much. although, i will admit that ryan almost “cracked” at the sonogram, but he changed his mind. he wanted the surprise as much as i did! anyway..this had been the hardest pregnancy, by far. i had been on partial bedrest for a while now, thanks to this little darling “dropping” waaay too early and putting a WHOLE lotta pressure on my pubic bone. it was awful! i couldn’t walk without awful pain! ugh! i dilated early, thinned early, all of it. but, thankfully, the little one stayed in and “cooked” as long as needed. so, here we were preparing for an induction, mainly to just put me out of my bloomin’ misery. my doc had said that if i could just get to 38 weeks, then she would induce me and we’d be fine. oh, those weeks d.r.i.p.p.e.d. by like the slowest leaky faucet on the face of the planet. but, finally we got there. fiiiinallly.

now, my back had been through quite a bit of trauma in the year prior to that. viral meningitis and the awful SIX pricks for that spinal tap and then therefore two blood patch procedures to repair that damage. and yes, that is the reason i am down and out right now. same condition, just reoccurring now all over again, all this time later, again. so, before i was pregnant with this little baby, i had had major issues with my back, numbness, pain, etc. doc had suggested i call ahead and speak to the anesthesiologists and make sure they knew my history before i went in for labor. no problem. i called and spoke with a very kind doctor…told him my story….and explained all my concerns about this labor and the option of an epidural. he assured me that an epidural would be fine and nothing to worry about. whew! thank you, God!

so, march 14th came. and so did the induction. it went very smoothly at first. i had been induced with my second baby as well, so i was familiar with the whole deal. in fact, with sweet benjamin, it all went so quickly, i got to have him and then order lunch. it was great! especially since my darling first child’s labor took four days. that’s right, four days. and yes, jacob will hear all about that his entire life. 🙂 anyway…so, here i am in very active labor and in quite a bit of pain. but, mentally i know i will be ok, because the epidural is coming. they call for the anesthesiologist on call and she comes in, looks over my chart and says “um, ya….looking over your history, i don’t feel comfortable doing an epidural on you.” WHAT!?!? i’m sorry. you don’t feel comfortable!?! well, i don’t feel comfortable right now either, but that is because i am about to push something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon(love that line from the old classic movie “look who’s talking!”)….and YOU can help a sister out with that!! well, apparently, no she couldn’t. she wouldn’t agree to do it. i was. in hard labor. freaking out with pain. and now having to come to terms with the fact that this was ONLY going to get worse. and worse. and worse. and, friend… did.

the pain was awful. don’t let anyone tell you different. i was about at the point where i was fine with them just cutting off my legs and calling it even. either that or sew me up and forget the whole thing. the kid had its chance. but then i had to push. i mean, had to! it wasn’t time to, but i had to. they tried to stop me, but they couldn’t. i couldn’t. i don’t think anything could have. and then, our miracle baby came out, and the nurse said joyfully, “it’s a girl!” ryan and i looked at each other and both said simultaneously “are you sure!?!” and they held her up and we wept. flat. out. wept. we couldn’t believe we had a girl. not what we had pictured. but, oh, thank you, God. but then i kept bleeding. and bleeding. they didn’t know why. ryan said he’ll never forget the look on the nurses faces as they rolled me off to emergency surgery. he was holding his precious little girl and afraid he was about to lose hie wife. not at all what he expected.

i ended up being ok. thank you, God. but, abigail had jaundice, somethin’ fierce. so, after only a few hours of really getting to enjoy her, she had to go to NICU and stay there. what a little orange beauty she was. she slept there and stayed there. all we could do was visit and i could nurse her. that’s it. even when we took her home, she had to spend three extra days in that little “baby tanning bed” and we couldn’t even take her out to love on her. (yes, of course, i whispered to her that she better soak it up now cause that was the only tanning bed mommy would ever approve of!) but all of it…ALL of it, wasn’t at all what we expected. not at all what we pictured in our heads. not at all.

and now, i’m kind of there again. i just heard that the mayo clinic has denied me again! again!?! really?? what is it? do i smell funny? am i not cute enough? did they find out that i didn’t get nominated for legacy my senior year???

i had gotten myself all pumped up and mentally prepared to make that 15 hour drive. i had pictured it. prepared myself for what it would be like to leave my babies, go there, be poked and proded all over again. all. over. again. and now what?? they say no to me, again. not at all what i expected. not at all.

it has taken me a few days to recover from this. partly because i got bronchitis and couldn’t focus much on it for a bit. partly because i didn’t want to. not sure which part is bigger. well, ya i do. i am…mentally preparing myself that i don’t get to be a mayo gal now. i guess that means, i gotta go for mustard. in case you haven’t read any of my previous posts. i don’t really care for either one, really. (see post titled “hold the mayo”) but, that’s ok. God is good. and in this time in my life, maybe that’s what i need, is a little bit more willingness to try some mayo, and some mustard. or both. or neither. i don’t know. but, i know Who does.

i am sure your life is full of times when you have thought it would go one way and then, WHAMMO, it goes the other way. some of us are wired to handle that better than others. SOOOO much of it is about our attitude, friend.

i am reading an amazing book for our home group at church right now, titled “in a pit with a lion on a snowy day” by mark batterson. it is the most random of titles, i know. but, once you read it, you get it. and lately i have been trying to focus on praising God no matter what!

trust me, i know it is not always easy. but, it is always worth it!! mark batterson wrote about how he had inherited this small group of people when he started the National Community Church in Washington D.C. and he describes his first Sunday as lead pastor. it wasn’t a record setting week. well, actually, it was, but not the “good” kind of record setting. only three people made it to church that Sunday; his wife, his son, and himself. you see, that weekend was the same weekend of the awful blizzard of ’96 that dumped record amounts of snow on the area. how defeating. probably not at all what he pictured in his head. not at all what he planned for, for sure. not at all. but i love what he wrote next!! “the upside of that, of course, was that we experienced a 633% growth in attendance in just ONE week, when we had 19 people show up the next weekend!”

how cool is that!?! what a great attitude to have. how many churches can say they had a 633% growth in just ONE week?!? how many churches would choose to look at it that way? or would they say, ah, man, we only had 19 people show up. hmmm??

how many of us would choose to look at it that way??

a fascinating study was done by professor vicki medvec that revealed the importance of one’s subjective attitude over and above objective circumstances. she studied olympic medalists and discovered that bronze medalists were quantifiably happier than silver medalists. here’s why: silver medalists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold, so they weren’t satisfied with silver. but, bronze medalists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all, so they were just happy to be on the medal stand!


see? how we feel isn’t due to just our objective circumstances. if it were, then silver medalists would always be happier because silver is better than bronze, right? our feelings are determined by how we react to these things. how you react. how i react.

so, here i am. lying on my couch for the, who knows, how many number of days in a row now. but it doesn’t matter. I AM IN CHARGE of how i will react to that. me and only me. is this how i pictured my month of november, back when i was in pain and having a hard july. nope. not at all, actually. because at least i was able to be upright in july. i thought by november i’d be much better, not worse. surely not worse.

but, i’ll tell you what, friend. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!! and like mark batterson says in his book, “maybe we should stop asking God to GET US OUT of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what HE WANTS US TO GET OUT of those difficult circumstances.”

amen to that!

this isn’t what i pictured. this isn’t what i planned. but i trust the One who will never, ever forsake me. deut 31:8 tells us that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” so, even if it isn’t what i thought would happen, even if it isn’t what i pictured. He says He’ll go before me. so, i trust that. and i choose to obey what He tells me to do in 1 thess 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

so..bring on the mayo. or the mustard. who knows…i might just turn out to be a relish gal. we will just have to wait and see, my friend. wait and see. 🙂

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