Friday, May 11, 2007

100 Things

When I first started blogging and reading blogs I noticed this common phrase, 100 Things, though I didn't know when or why one was supposed to post it. Then one day I came across the actual posting of someone's 100 Things and discovered, at least for her, the occasion for the subject was the 100th post. So following her lead, here for you is my 100th post, consisting of things about me - some random, some interesting(?), some thoughtful, some funny - totaling 100 and telling my story.
By the way, I know there are some of you who are lurking around my blog. That is, you read, but you have never left a comment. How about, in celebration of my 100th post, you at least say Hi in the comments and let me know you're out there. Please???

OK, introduction and begging complete. Here we go with my 100 Things!

1. I was born in Lansing, MI, September 22, 1971.
2. I grew up with my mom and dad, two brothers and a sister.
3. We also had a dog.
4. I attended Western Michigan University from 1989-1993.
5. At first, I was a music major with dreams of “making it” on Broadway someday.
6. After nine weeks I started to hate music.
7. I was only a music major for that first semester.
8. During that first semester I met a really cute guy in my dorm.
9. He asked me if I went to church.
10. I said, “Yes.” (Well, I did. I hadn’t since I was at college, but that wasn’t what he asked.)
11. He asked if I’d like to go with him sometime.
12. I thought, “Uh, you’re cute! You want me to go somewhere with you?”
13. I said, “Sure!”
14. I’d always considered myself to be a Christian.
15. This guy talked to me about Jesus.
16. I began to understand I wasn’t a Christian.
17. I needed to confess my sin and ask for Jesus’ forgiveness.
18. I needed to receive the gift of salvation He offers.
19. During my freshman year of college, that’s just what I did.
20. A few months after I graduated from WMU, I married that guy!
21. Now we have three children.
22. One girl and two boys.
23. I don’t understand boys.
24. My kids want a pet dog.
25. I don’t.
26. We’ve settled on mice for now.
27. Mice are small and caged.
28. I can handle that.
29. My daughter is trying to talk me into a rat.
30. I am not ready to go there.
31. I might go for a dog before I buy a rat.
32. Please don’t tell my daughter I just said that!
33. I used to have long hair.
34. I also used to have a whole brain.
35. That all changed in February, 2003 because…
36. When I was 13, on occasion, I started getting a funny feeling and weird pictures in my head.
37. I never said anything about it, because I was afraid people would think I’m weird.
38. When I was 23, I finally mentioned it to my doctor because the episodes were beginning to interrupt my ability to concentrate.
39. Turns out I was having seizures.
40. I started taking anti-convulsants.
41. Tegratol didn’t control the seizures and gave me arthritis.
42. Dilantin didn’t control them and made me very sleepy.
43. Lamictal didn’t bother me, but it didn’t control the seizures.
44. Keppra wasn’t helpful either.
45. After eight years of trying different drugs in various doses, with no success of seizure control, my neurologist recommended brain surgery.
46. I went through lots of testing and monitoring to find the part of my brain from where the seizures originated.
47. One of the tests involved putting one half of my brain “to sleep” at a time, to see how I would function without it.
48. That was kind of cool!
49. Finally, I had electrodes surgically implanted on my brain and was monitored in the hospital for 13 days.
50. I had to have my whole head shaved for the surgery.
51. I had a really bad reaction to the anesthesia.
52. The area around my right eye got really swollen and purple.
53. Looking at the swollenness in the mirror, along with hair stubble along the edge of the bandages, was depressing.
54. In spite of the nausea and things that depressed me, I was encouraged by many prayers, cards, and phone calls from family and friends – and some people I’d never met before.
55. Satisfied he knew where the “problem” was, the surgeon opened me back up and took out a portion of my brain about as big as the tip of your finger.
56. I haven’t missed it.
57. I’m seizure-free now.
58. For awhile, whenever I did something stupid I would say, “Hey, give me a break! I’m missing part of my brain!”
59. That excuse doesn’t work anymore.
60. I have realized the whole ordeal wasn’t about me or my seizures.
61. It was all about God being glorified.
62. I was able to share my faith with, and pray for, a lot of people I wouldn’t have encountered were it not for the tests and hospitalizations through which I had to go.
63. My family and I were able to experience His goodness through the care and love of many, many people who helped us.
64. At a time when I was very depressed, feeling bald and ugly, Jesus met me in a sweet way I’ll never, ever, ever forget.
65. I know I wouldn’t have had that experience with Him if I hadn’t gone through that trial.
66. God has taught me He uses trials in our lives for His good purposes.
67. Struggles with my children are the trials He uses most significantly in my life now.
68. For quite some time, my son told me I was the Meanest Mom in the World.
69. Loving him was hard for me to do.
70. We butted heads over and over. Daily.
71. I usually ended up yelling, and getting mad at myself for it.
72. I wanted to be a good mom, but I felt so frustrated.
73. I was often overwhelmed, wishing I could just run away.
74. Once, I sat in tears and honestly questioned God’s wisdom in giving me children.
75. Then God changed my heart.
76. He gave me the desire to change – to be more like Him.
77. But I kept getting angry and frustrated with my kids.
78. I didn’t understand how I could become more Christ-like while I was dealing with my kids.
79. I thought they were keeping me from becoming the woman I want to be – the woman God wants me to be.
80. Then God opened my eyes.
81. God showed me He uses adversity to shape us.
82. I began to understand God is using my children and my struggles as a mother to make me into the woman He wants me to be.
83. This understanding didn’t make the hard times easier, but it gave me a whole lot of HOPE!
84. I am able to look at my children now with more hope, and less hostility.
85. You can read all about this journey in my book, Confessions of an Irritable Mother.
86. Now I am a speaker for moms groups.
87. I love sharing honestly about my struggles as a mom and the hope God has given me.
88. More than that, I love hearing from other moms how God has used my sharing to give them hope and encouragement.
89. I wish we, as moms, would take our masks off and just be real with each other.
90. I don’t have things all together.
91. I am a broken, imperfect woman.
92. I am desperate.
93. I cannot “do” this mothering thing, or any of life, without God!
94. I know God is good.
95. All the time.
96. I believe He knows perfectly what is necessary in my life to refine me.
97. Though I don’t like going through the hard times,
98. I choose to trust God.
99. I am so glad He loves me.
100. I know He loves you, too!

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Anonymous said...

Karen, in all honesty, that was the most meaninful 100 things post I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing it! You have certainly had your share of difficulties, and it is wonderful to see your understanding of how these trials work in your life. By the way, I am certainly an imperfect mother as well. It is nice to know I am not alone in the "I strive to do my best but fall short" club! Thanks for sharing this!

momteacherfriend said...

WooHoo! Celebrating your 100th post with you as well as God's provision and protection in your life.

And just so you have always been beautiful even in your baldness.

Renee Blain said...

WOW! Thanks for sharing again and allowing God to use you! God is good and your story is a testament to that! Thanks for your encouragement to those of us who are facing trials today! I can see how God carried you through and I am encouraged to see that he is carrying me as well! Thanks again!

annie said...

Wow, it is interesting how God uses our adversities to bring us to new heights, this is so evident in your words. I'm so glad that you met Jesus and how cool is it that your husband was a part of that? I knew you were special from the start of our blog friendship and I love seeing more pieces of the puzzle that makes you complete. Thanks for sharing yourself.
ps Happy Mother's Day!
pss I'm in dallas until Sunday (using my laptop on dial up ugh :o))

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

I love it!!

And you can't be the meanest mom in the world... i am... :)

I loved your book... and am planning on reading it again.. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen, I stumbled on your blog a few months ago, and now I read/lurk every day! Thank you for being such an encouragement, and for being real and vulnerable about the difficult things in motherhood. In sharing, you direct me back to the love and faithfulness of God.

Irritable Mother said...

Lauren ~ Thank you. God is good, and I love that He uses everything in our lives for good.
Glad to know who's in the club with me! :)

Mom ~ Yeah, but I still remember Joshua's first comment when he saw me bald..."I was like, are you a boy???"

Renee ~ Hi!!! Yes, He is carrying you and Allie and your whole family. And He will never leave you. Ever.

Annie ~ I love telling the story of how I came to know Jesus - especially when Brian is with me.

Heather ~ No, no, no. I'm sure I'M the meanest mom. Really, the award has been given to me too many times for anyone else to be the title-holder. *wink*

Anon ~ Thank you so much! You have no idea how much your words have encouraged me.

irrationallove said...

Karen - This helped me get to know you better...thanks! And congrats on your 100th post!
Thankful for you,

B said...

Lurker here ... happy 100th post =)
I agree we need to take our masks off more.
Your story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

hossinkb said...

#8 and #12 are my personal favorites!

I'm glad I could share the last 96 'things' with you.

Ladies, she WASN'T pretty in the hospital... but as momteacherfriend said, you have always been beautiful.

Now, get off that computer and give me a big wet kiss!

Corrie said...

I loved reading this! I marvel at the wonder of technology and modern medicine. I can't believe that they could remove a tiny part of the brain and actually stop your seizures. Praise the Lord! Also, I really related to your comments on motherhood...being in a state of frustration with yourself. I feel that constantly. It was an encouragement to read your 100 things. I was thinking, "Man, she should speak to groups of women!" Then, a couple of lines later, I thought, "Oh, she does!" I am new to your blog or I surely would have already known that! Ha ha. Anyway, I thank you for your transparency. I plan to continue reading your blog. Thanks for visiting mine too =). Hope you have a great day and congrats on blogging 100 whole times!

Irritable Mother said...

Jen ~ Now that you know me better, I hope you still like me! *wink*

B ~ Thanks for de-lurking! :)
And thanks for your encouraging words.


Corrie ~ Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you continue to visit. I love that, through blogging, we moms can be friends and encourage one another through our hard times, even though we may be miles and miles apart.
See ya at your blog!

CoachJ said...

Well, that was one big wet kiss!! :)
I enjoyed reading this, and I had no idea you had had brain surgery!! I also like the idea that we should take our masks off--we'd be so much happier if we did, and more approachable!! Who wants to be "friends" with perfection if you'll never live up to the expectations, ya know? Not me, I don't have the time or the want-to for that!!

JennaG said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to write your 100 things. I love reading these. It is amazing about the brain surgery--simply amazing. I'm so glad that you were healed through surgery.

Karen said...

I had just clicked on your blog via Annie's blog, and was just about to read this post when I got distracted, thinking about my 6 year old son and some of his behaviour that hasn't been too appropriate of late at School. Wondering how to deal with him/it and seeking God. I sighed and then read on and it was like - wow - before my eyes you talking on how God changed you, worked in your life and helped you with parenting. I would like to get hold of your book, but I think the website is only set up for US shipping and handling right now. Isn't God amazing with his timing!

Jenileigh said...

I'm NEW to blogging and haven't read very many at all. I do believe yours was the first 100 things post I have read. It was so good I cried! Thank-you for sharing so openly all that you have been through and learned with God. How awesome is He! I'm adding you to my blog roll! :)
Love In Christ,

Carolanne said...

Congratulations on your 100th post.

Thanks for sharing your 100 things - it was challenging and meaningful to read and see how God has worked in your life.

Sweet Mummy said...

Hi Karen! I'm not a lurker, but a newbie to your blog. Praying Karen introduced me to your blog, and I'm glad to have visited! This 100 things post is GREAT! I hope to stop by more often. ~Blessings!!

Ann Kroeker said...

Karen, I'm playing catch up, visiting your blog and checking out your 100 Things.


I love the flow--it's smooth and logical--but the content is what rocks! Well, actually, it's God who rocks. Your 100 Things glorify Him.


How amazing that the doctor could pinpoint and cut out a fingertip area of the brain and eliminate your symptoms. You've got a big, powerful brain that has obviously more than compensated for your tiny loss.

Thanks for opening up so much of your life to your readers.

O Mom said...

Finally got to read your 100 things, and I love it! What an amazing story. I love how you used the 100 things to tell a story, your testimony. I am coming up on my 100th post and will think about using the 100 things about me to somehow tell my testimony too. Might be some shockers in there but I know that it will bring the glory right back to Him and what He has done in my life.