Okay, it's time for me to fess up on a couple of things.  I've been keeping a couple of secrets from y'all and I think it is time for them to be shared. This is really hard for me to do but bear with me here. First, last week was a horrible week for me physically.  Last Friday night, I went to bed at six p.m. literally shaking from chills.  During the night, I woke up just sweating all over.  Saturday morning, I knew something wasn't right so I headed to a local clinic here in Montgomery to see the doctor.  Turns out I wasn't the only sick person in this city because at eight o'clock there were already twenty people ahead of me in line.  Finally, it was my turn to see the doctor.  I was checked for the flu, had blood drawn, and had to take a urine sample before they realized that my little stomach problem was actually a bladder infection.  Earlier in the week, I thought I just had a bad stomach bug or that it was the food I was eating with the fast, but it was a bladder infection all along.  I had never had a bladder infection before and I don't wish to have another one anytime soon.  After getting my prescription filled, I went home and ate some pasta so I could take the medicine with food, as it said on the label.  The doctor and pharmacist had warned me that the three medications that I would be taking would cause dizziness and drowsiness.  About two hours after lunch, I had to lie down because I felt so nauseous from the medicine.  My body just can't handle large doses of medicine; I'm made to take two Tylenol and call it a night.  Sunday, I woke up feeling much worse but made myself go to church because we were having baby dedication that Sunday and I wanted the girls to be apart of it.  I was miserable.  The remainder of the day I spent with my head in the toilet.  I felt like I was pregnant again but didn't have that reward of knowing I was sick for a good reason :)  It was really not very fun.

Saying all of this, I broke down and asked Raleigh to get me a turkey sandwich from Subway.  I felt so bad breaking the fast but by this point I knew I needed some substantial food in my stomach.  He brought the sandwich back and also got me two chocolate chip cookies, which was a nice surprise because Subway cookies are some of my favorite to eat.  It was weird eating normal food again.  My body was confused but it welcomed that sandwich like a long-lost friend.  After that, I knew that the fast was officially over for me.  Not making it the full three weeks was really disappointing because that was the goal I set out to do.  It has also been hard because Raleigh has stuck to it; so I feel guilty when I am eating regular food around him.

Okay, the next confession I have to make might seem really stupid but it was a big deal to me.  Recently, I went to the dentist for my six month check-up.  I usually don't mind going to the dentist because my teeth are something that I have been quite proud of over the years.  Other than braces, I haven't had any major dental issues - no cavities, crowns, or caps - just pretty good teeth.  It is an ongoing joke around our house about how my teeth are better than Raleigh's...I guess it has been my bragging rights you could say.  He is missing two teeth (long story, but they had to be taken out to help his teeth stay aligned) so I always say that I know he wishes he could have teeth like mine.  For twenty-six years, I have had a perfect record and I will openly admit that I give myself a pat on the shoulder for that.  Well, wouldn't you know that this time I would have a cavity.  My first.  When I heard the words, I nearly had a stroke. I look at the doctor and want to ask, "Really?  Are you sure?  Because, you always tell me that I have great teeth?  Maybe you need to check again."  But, I begrudgingly set up my appointment for this week to come back in and get it filled (or whatever they do, I'm too bummed out to care!).  That particular day it was rainy and when I got back in my car, I just started to cry.  Driving home, I was pouting and talking to myself saying stuff like, "Everything is changing!!!!  I'm getting old....my teeth are bad, my jeans feel too tight....I drive a VAN.....everything is going downhill."

Finally, the third confession I have to make involves the babies.   We had a little incident this past month that made me feel like THE worst mother on the face of this planet.  Part of our morning routine is that I feed the babies first and then lay them on our bed to take a nap while I eat my breakfast, read my devotional/bible, etc.   It has been that way for months now and they have been just fine on the bed.  Usually, the girls will coo and babble for a bit then drift off to sleep.  It is a very nice way for us to start the day.   We just got a king size bed so on that particular morning, I placed the girls closer to the right side of the bed.  Since they had started getting a little wiggly, I made sure that a little pillow barricade had been formed on that side of the bed to keep them in place.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!  As I was eating my breakfast, all of a sudden I heard this thud come from the bedroom.  Friends, instantly I knew what that thud was.  Racing into the room, I found sweet Adeline lying on the floor on the LEFT side of the room.  She had started doing this head scoot thing while she is on her back and I guess she somehow managed to scoot ALL the way across the bed and onto the floor.  I wrapped her up in my arms and just held her for the longest so she could calm down.  Checking her up and down, all I saw was a little red spot where she hit the floor but other than that she seemed okay.  I called Raleigh and asked him if he thought she was bleeding internally and needed to go to the hospital.  He reassured me that she was probably fine, but for me to do some of our normal exercises to test out her limbs for any injuries.  Looking down at my baby, I couldn't believe that I had let this happen to her.  I was embarrassed and felt like kicking myself for not being more careful.

These incidents have got me to thinking about myself.  So often, I, like many other women, strive for perfection.    We want to be the best and we want others to think we are the best.  Really, it's true.  We want to be the ones that accomplish our goals, have the perfect record, and wear the gold-star for being named mother of the year.  Wait, the century.  We put on these masks of smiling faces and happy words like "Things are going GREAT!  The girls are WONDERFUL!  I couldn't be HAPPIER with my life!"  While, these things are true and accurate they are also an easy way for us to gloss over the not-so-good parts and just focus on the pretty portrait we have painted to the world.  Friends, I'm tired of wearing the mask.  I want people to know the real me, cavities and all, so they feel like I'm just like them.  It is good to know that others are struggling to survive so you don't feel so alone in this crazy world.  After thinking about this, I began to remember that my husband loves me for me - imperfections and all.  He doesn't want this perfect wife that never messes up.  He wants the girl who does her best and laughs about the rest.  As for the growing old stuff - I just can't be all sulky about it.  Yes, things are changing but it really is okay.  I finally feel like things are falling into place and I'm right where God wants me to be.  Even though I broke the fast, God knows that I tried and He appreciates that.  Friends, we are meant to be imperfect so we can rely on Jesus Christ for perfection.  He is it.  That's what we should strive to be but we have to know we will never be him.  So, we have to quit acting like we won the perfection prize and just be real, humble servants to our gracious Savior and Friend.  Jesus is right there, wanting us to reveal it all so we recognize that only in Him can we delight in our imperfections.

Yea, it's a daunting task to take off that mask.  It's not very easy telling others that you aren't as perfect as they thought you were.  But, guess what?  You just made their day a whole lot easier.  Thank God today for the way He created us because we are truly marvelous in His sight!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen