Finally!

I’m doing my happy dance friends! I finally got my manuscript for my second book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Love Story, to the publisher!! I feel so free…and then I remember I still have four kids and I’m supposed to be working on my third book lol😊

I still love this life though, y’all. I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do all along and even though it’s hard and there are many weeks I get run over by my Traveling Circus, I’m so grateful to be in this place.

I have had a busy and awesome week. Date night with my handsome Mr. Wonderful- 

 (Photo cred random stranger who used my phone to take our pic at dinner!)

We took our Bigs to the #TobyMac concert–it was the best show! Capital Kings, Hollyn, Building 429, and more great bands were there. We partied like rock stars! 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

I also got to go to our first ever Writer’s Club lunch–I’m so blessed to have these ladies to hold me accountable! 

 (photo cred another random stranger who generously agreed to take our pic)

Mr. Wonderful continued being wonderful 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016💗)

And finally, I capped off the weekend by speaking at a ladies retreat. I was so blessed to be with the beautiful ladies of Lost Creek! Thank you to all of my new friends for opening your doors and hearts to me!!! 

 (photo cred Diann Rudd)  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016-don’t ask, what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat!)

I am enjoying a bit of quiet after church while everyone is either playing outside on this gorgeous day or napping. Hope y’all have a blessed, well-spent Sunday as well!💗❤️💗

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Crazy Town

My Traveling Circus has been a little crazier than usual so far this year. Mr. Wonderful has been having these weird seizure-ish episodes and we’re still learning how to combat the ADHD and I missed my second book’s deadline by a mile–let’s just say I’m turning it in this week no matter what! (Fingers crossed😁) 

 (Photo cred quoteistan.com)

Despite the crazy and weird, I have to look at my life and be pretty grateful. 

 
  (Photo cred lifelistlust.tumblr.com) 
I am so happy to have Mr. Wonderful at home, my kids are thriving and growing and eating me out of house and home. I won’t even have a teenager til later this year and it’s already happening…I may need another job….

I am getting some wonderful opportunities to speak to ladies groups and tell our story. Can I just tell you how much this blesses my socks off? I spoke to a gorgeous ladies group last week and I am leading a ladies’ retreat in two weekends and though it takes up my time, somehow I get so much more out of these events than I have to put towards them. God’s math and time and blessings are crazy that way. 

All this to say it’s been nuts, I’ve missed y’all and hopefully after I turn in this manuscript (this week dangit!) I will be spending more time with my blog friends doing some catching up.
No promises though, my job as Mayor Crazy Town is very demanding….

Peace, love and blessings to y’all today!💗❤️💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

So Late!

Happy 💗 Day–late!

We are behind on things around here as usual but make no mistake, we partied like it was 1999 on Valentine’s Day!

My Mr. Wonderful knows me so well– 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

And we think alike– 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Good times, great memories, I’m happy to say I have gotten to celebrate with my five funny Valentine’s–I’m so grateful for each of them! Even though VDay only comes once a year be sure to celebrate and tell your loved ones how special they are as much as possible!

  (Photo cred richesforrags.tumblr.com)
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Health Care

I have to be careful that I don’t go on too big of a rant here–no one’s got time for that!

We’re currently at the VA to get an MRI on Mr. Wonderful’s shoulder. Even though I’ve been working since November to get him scheduled with a neurologist for the seizure-like episodes he’s been having. We aren’t doing an MRI on his brain but his shoulder.

This makes no sense to me at all. The shoulder is not the emergency in our house. A 6’6″, 330 pound man falling on the ground while I, the smaller human in this equation, try to break his fall–this feels like more of an emergency in my book. We’re now up to daily episodes, sometimes multiple times per day. But we gotta get that shoulder looked at.

I made multiple calls to the VAChoice program, which is supposed to help if your appointment is more than 45 days out, which ours was back in late December/early January. I’ve made calls to neurologists. I know he is one veteran in the grand scheme but he’s my vet and I can’t break his fall very well. You should see us–we’re hilarious when this happens.

It looks like we are going to end up keeping our appointment with the VA neurologist in a few weeks.

I already want a second opinion. 

I’m getting all wrapped around the axle on something I can’t fix or change or speed up. I want Mr. Wonderful to see a civilian neurologist last month. I want his crazy scary seizure thingys to stop. I want to be at home on a Tuesday night with my family instead of waiting in a lonely hallway by myself for a late-scheduled MRI that ran even later. 

  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

But what I really want is for God’s plan, his destiny for my family, to come to fruition. I want him to use us–even in the VA–to spread light and hope. God knows they need it here.

I only want what he wants for us. So I will unwind. I’m relaxing. I’m taking a little me-time right here in the VA. And we’ll go get some fried chicken and have a little Date Night on our way back to our family. And I will trust and believe that God works all things for our good. Even if it’s not my time or my plan or my way.

I have enough faith to trust that he’s got this. 

 (photo credit Meredith Shafer 2016)

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Monday Madness

By 8:03 a.m. today I lost my mind and frankly, my will to do anything. Everyone at my house was off their game. 

Everyone.

The twelve year old left everything everywhere as if the magic cleaning fairy would be arriving soon to clean up after him. 

 (Photo cred thefunnybeaver.com)

The eight year old woke up late, moved slow, worked my last nerve with talk back and outbursts. I also found out why I keep getting a bill from the school cafeteria: despite making and taking his lunch every day, he was getting a tray instead of eating his lunch. So I do indeed owe the school $16.47.

The Little Sister of the bunch spilled her milk, threw a fit, spilled more milk. I still hadn’t lost it yet though. I was still slogging through getting the oldest two out on the bus at two different times and then getting the two littles ready while the baby was spilling yet more milk and the dog was drinking out of the toilet and I had so much work to get done today and it was time to cautiously wake up Mr. Wonderful (cautiously because he has the PTSD, we have a process) when I realized: 

This is my life. For realsies. 

 (Photo cred curiano)

Confession: I’ve been a fraud. Faking it with optimism and gratitude til I make it but never really making it up that hill. Working three jobs to make ends meet. Raising four kids, sometimes by myself. Caregiving for Mr. Wonderful. Waiting for someone else to come and claim the life they lost because this can’t be mine.

A few short years ago I had a working husband who was able to help a lot with our busy household. I only had three kids and two jobs. There was no VA battle, no PTSD, no ADHD, no running around constantly like a crazy woman. I only had to run around like a crazy woman sometimes back then.

I’m so tired of pushing and straining and striving to try to make changes and have nothing budge. I’m exhausted from not seeing more progress to spur me on. I’m tired of being tired and worried and unable to sleep or find time for working out or finding joy in time spent with my kids instead of hauling them from point A to point B just hoping I get them there on time.

I’m sick of fighting the VA to get my soldier the care and benefits he deserves. I’m afraid I don’t have any fight left and the battle’s not done yet. 

I’m weary today. And overwhelmed. And claustrophobic by the walls of responsibility closing in. I’m ready for the spring of my life and it feels like the winter winds have just begun.

The one thing I have going for me right now is that in my hardest moments of realness and raw honesty God meets me where I am. He comes to me with comfort, hope and peace, somehow knowing that this Monday, when I’m on the edge of losing my mind and my hope I need his steadying hand more than ever. He changes me from the inside out, even while He upholds me. 

I find great comfort in knowing that the orchestrator of the chaos of the universe cares about each hair on my head, on each worry and heartbreak and tear and breath of little ol’ me.

I remind myself that things can’t be too bad if I am loved, both by God and by my tribe. That I have a life that some others would trade me for in an instant. That as hard as things are today, today is only temporary. 

 (photo cred Instapray.com)

And the God of my today is the God of my yesterday and tomorrow. He will see me through. He has gone before me, walks beside me and is behind me.

I just have to get out of the way of myself, surrender to his scandalous grace, and remember it’s not over yet.

He’s not finished with me. 

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Grace Today

  (Photo cred Annevoskamp.com)

Grace has been on my mind a lot lately. My words for the year are scandalous grace, words that I’m just barely starting to grasp, much less put into practice.

I’m trying this at home with my children. They need scandalous grace from me to cover all the mistakes and missteps and bad decisions that already have been and that are to come. 

I’m also working on scandalous grace towards my soulmate, my love, my Mr. Wonderful. The fault line between lover and caregiver is ever shifting, and I’m trying to rain down wifely-ness more often than caregiver-ness, because that’s what I was first. With a spouse I’m finding that scandalous grace matters almost as much in the little, everyday moments as it does in the big earth-shattering ones.

And to the world at large: I’m going to try my best to offer scandalous grace to you as well. To the friend who has cut me out of her life, to the woman who has cut me off and driven slowly in front of me, to those who have hurt me and those who will: the world says I should get even. Take revenge. Trash your car or at the very least, you’re good name.

But I no longer live by the world’s standards. I live by the scandalous grace of the One who has loved me more in this second than I could love my whole family for my whole life plus a thousand lifetimes.

Scandalous grace is so hard. It means forgiveness, even when they don’t want or ask for it. It means showing kindness when I’d really rather throw a temper tantrum and slash their tires. It means having a strength that the world deems weak, getting past the past, moving on and letting go. 

 (Photo cred Lifehack)

Scandalous grace is also something I have to give myself: when I fail, when I don’t live up to mine or others’ expectations, when I make a bad call. Every day is a chance to practice scandalous grace on myself or someone else. Every day is the opportunity to try again, even if I missed the mark the day or hour or minute before.

Scandalous grace is very simple, but it is so hard.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Choosing Joy

  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2015)
This guy.

He reminds me to choose joy in all situations. You wouldn’t know it from this pic but we’re on our third round of meds for an ear infection. This means he’s had ear troubles and pain for at least six weeks.

And he’s happy. He’s not defined by his circumstances and he certainly doesn’t let them get him down. He just chooses happy. All the time.

He reminds me that life is good. That there is always something to be joyful about. That even if you’re aren’t at 100% for whatever reason, you can still choose happiness.

He’s my little hug from heaven most days. He brings joy to all around him, even his daddy, who suffers from the darkness of PTSD. But Mr. Wonderful can’t stay in the dark too long when this sweetie swoops in with his light and belly laughs and silliness and games of hide-and-seek.

Pure bliss.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Oh Happy Day!

When working with the Veterans Administation, persistence is the key. We have been fighting for my veteran to be medically retired and have all the benefits that includes for oh, about two years now. Maybe longer. I lose track because I have four kids and I can’t even remember where I parked my car or left my keys or what I ate (or forgot to eat) for breakfast. I do pretty well just to remember which kid goes where each day.

And finally, hallelujah and praise Jesus, we got his paperwork approved! I probably shouldn’t be celebrating that the VA agrees with me that my vet is disabled but I do because that means he gets rewarded for his sacrifice. That bill for America’s freedom that each wounded veteran’s family pays every day will now be recognized and rewarded by the VA, despite the fact that my vet’s wounds are invisible. Of course there are stipulations and regulations (it wouldn’t be a government entity if there weren’t) yada yada yada but thank God almighty we are free at last.

We are freed from having to prove his conditions over and over. Do you know how bad things have to get to prove an invisible condition like PTSD? Let’s just say go past unbearable, turn right at untenable and you’re there. We’re freed from having to worry about choosing his health or a job that won’t help his health at all. There is freedom from explaining our situation to the thirty-seventh person at the VA and sending and resending information and filling out the small file cabinet and three boxes of paperwork that it took to make this happen.

We are beyond grateful that I have a job and we have healthy kids and that we have great friends and family surrounding us. Now Mr. Wonderful is going to have the opportunity to focus on getting better, trying new and different therapies. We’ve already begun working out and eating right and we will continue doing our part to make his health one of our top priorities.

And thanks to some bulldoggedness on our parts, we are finally finished, at least for now, with this part of our battle. It’s a good thing, because we are weary and bone-tired.

But we’re still standing.

(photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Anniversary

At 10:00 am on a random Wednesday, I made some serious promises to Mr. Wonderful. I had two beautiful little boys to walk me down the aisle for a second chance at “I do.”

We had no idea the amount of wonderful, weird, amazing, profound, painful, hard, surprising and sweet moments we would share over the next five years. We had no idea we could pack decades of marriage events into only 1,825 days together.

We jumped in. 

All in. 

Not knowing what was ahead but believing that our love for God and each other would hold us together.

Happy anniversary to my love, my Mr. Wonderful-you’re still my favorite person. 

We look so young! (Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015)
#wedding #anniversary #husbandandwifeforlife #gratitude #letsdosixtymore

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Thanks!

Gratitude is a game changer. It doesn’t matter what kind of day you may be having, if you can be grateful for something it will make a bad day better and a good day great.

Here are just a few of my favorite things…

My daughter doing push-ups with her Daddy this morning

My 19 month old dancing in the toy box

All of you wonderful bloggers who have become friends and encouragers to me

A husband who powers through a rough day

Two big kids who weren’t born from my belly but from my heart

A family of red birds in my backyard

Charlie, the service dog and peace bringer to our family

Music, sno cones and lightning bugs.

Today is a good day!

  
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at MyPinkChampagneLife or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!