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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Proposal

All day long my friends avoided me.

They would be around me for 10 minutes max...
then make up an excuse to leave.

I didn't really notice it the first half of the day because Kolby was hanging out with me a ton...
and not acting much weirder than usual.

But around 6pm I thought, "WHERE are all of my friends?!? I've been with Kolby all day. PLEASE - can we do something fun, somebody!?!?!"




It was October of 2009 at Brewton-Parker College.

Hanging out in the BCM building, skipping class, laying out in the front lawn, blasting music in our dorm rooms...

 I. loved. every. single. second. of. college.
Hanging with my peeps 24/7 was what I did. Loved it.




So I was pumped that night when some my punk friends finally stopped ignoring me and suggested "sneaking out."

Brewton-Parker College is a Southern Baptist college that has rules for students that include a curfew. Curfew is for losers. I can't share here what exactly my friends and I used to sneak out and do... but if you ask me in person I just may share. ;)

This particular night Kolby and I joined up and snuck out around 2am. Our friends were texting him to let us know where to meet up at.

I am terrified of the dark. My imagination starts taking off and going places it shouldn't. I'm always certain a giant man, who has been stalking me for 45 minutes, is going to chase after me every time I walk into the darkness. Being afraid of the dark isn't a completely irrational fear, but it does make you feel kinda silly when you're in college sneaking out and your friends are like "What's your deal???"

So here we are in the dark looking for our friends at the meet up spot.

Nobody's there.

Kolby gets a text.

Hey, we're not going to blah blah blah tonight. Let's meet up at the soccer field.


"Nope. I'm not walking down there, Kolby. It's creepy and dark out here. Let's just go back. Who knows what they are doing out there anyways!"

"No, no, this will be fun! Come on, you'll be fine!"



So creepy. So dark. I hate it.



We get to the soccer field.

Nobody's there.

Kolby gets a text.

Hey, meet us at the field  down behind the baseball field.

"What the heck? NO WAY. I'm NOT going out there. It's even darker and scarier down there Kolby. They're going to do something to us if we go down there. They wouldn't have dragged us out here like this if they were really going to meet up with us. Something is going on. I'm NOT going out there. Let's just go back to our dorms now. For real."

"No, no, we'll be fine! They won't do anything to us... for real. We'll be fine. Just stay close to me, babe. I've got you. Don't worry."
I still melt when he calls me babe...

So as you can imagine, I went with him.


We turn the corner around the baseball field to get to the open field and my nerves are going wild...

What on earth are they going to do to us out here???


As I walk around the corner...


There's music. There are 2 trucks parked parallel to each other and there's a huge white sheet hanging between them. There is a slideshow of pictures of Kolby and I shining onto the sheet, and there is a couch in the middle of the field facing the slideshow. Two of our best friends walk up seemingly out of nowhere, hand us glasses with sparkling grape juice in them, and tell us to take a seat.

I look at Kolby. "What is going on?"

"Just sit, babe."


The whole experience became a fog of music, anticipation, and giggling.

"Is this what I think it is???"

The music ends and the slideshow stops.


Kolby gets on his knee, places his purity ring on my finger, and asks THAT question.

"Will you marry me?"

"Of course! YES!"

As soon as I say yes a crazy loud celebrating group (close to 50 of our friends) burst out of the bushes that were around the field! They'd all been watching us (like the creepers they are).

It was so exciting!

Some people were crying, some people were taking pictures, and some were yelling.

Someone drove up in my car that had "SHE SAID YES" written all over it.

It was the BEST moment EVER.

Four and a half years later and I still couldn't have imagined a better proposal scene for myself. Kolby is still just as creative and unique in his approach to our marriage and our lives today. I'm still just as much of a spaz. I'm so thankful I said "YES!" to my Kolby and the journey of life he offered to me. Enjoy these pics from that special night. :)




"YES!"
 
"AH! People!"
 
Overwhelmed and happy! Obviously. :)
 
"Hey Mom... I'm engaged!"

 Yep. Now I was riding around like a cool kid. ;)

 <3 <3 <3



 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Medicine for the Blind

I went to the eye doctor for the first time in about 4 1/2 years. Yep.


The eye doctor was amazed at how awful my eyes are/have become since my former prescription.

She light heartedly, yet seriously, told me I'd been driving illegally because I'd been driving BLIND. Oh my...

She also told me my astigmatism is on the severe end of the spectrum now. That's nice...

She gave me sample contacts of the new prescription to try out and...

y'all... I feel like a new person.

I can see so much!!! It's amazing! I've been thanking Jesus for giving me true sight again! I had no idea how bad it was until I put these new contacts in! I can't wait to go back in 2 weeks and buy contacts and glasses with my prescription. I'm a new woman!


This whole eye event seems like a mini picture of what I've been going through the past 2 years.

As a word I've used to describe my depression before... things have felt "foggy."

I felt stuck, angry, hopeless, and scared of the future. So blinded by the fog... I couldn't see the hand of God holding out things like joy, peace, and patience...

knew He was holding out in His hand with wonderful things for me... and I continued in faith to believe that He was there and that those things were real. But it was so hard to see when the fog was so thick. And I was so tired of the mental fight. I failed often.

I really struggled with taking medication for my depression. I didn't want people to know, and I didn't want to admit, that I couldn't handle things on my own. I didn't want people to think I was crazy... I didn't want to think of myself as crazy. I wanted to STOP thinking those awful things and start DOING the things I knew I should be doing. But I just couldn't. The heaviness was too much for me to bear. I remember thinking, "Paige... taking depression medicine is just another way you're failing. You're failing to trust in God to heal you." When I finally let go of tiny piece of my pride and admitted this to Kolby he said something profound that I will never forget, "What if this medicine is the healing that God wants to bring to you?" And the same way I thank God for benedryll when I take it because I'm having an allergy attack and need to rest, I thank God for creating depression medicine to lift the fog out of my mind so I can really process the world I'm in.

I'm seeing hope again. I can feel the reality of the story of Jesus using mud (dirt and His own spit) to make a blind man see.

Jesus is taking that nastiness and saying "Look. I can make you see again, Paige. Your dirt, your hurt, your depression - it's not too big for Me. Nothing is impossible with Me. Not even your depression."


 

love your neighbor(hood)

 
Something I've always wanted to do, but have never lived anywhere long enough in our marriage to be able to do until now, is make friends with the neighbors.

I love being able to walk up and down our street and not only know who lives in the houses around mine, but be able to say "Hey! How's your baby boy doing?" or "Hey! Sorry our girls' lawn umbrella flew into your yard again!" or "Hey, umm... I need some eggs...".

 Although I haven't met everyone on the whole street yet, I'm working on it. It's a new goal of mine. :)

One of our neighbors is a Mexican family who doesn't speak much English. I don't speak much Spanish, so Sanquena (the wife) and I mainly communicate by pointing and smiling and shaking our heads. I've been trying to teach Hadi and Rebecca to say "Ola" and "Adios" to this family's baby boy who is about a year old. Rebecca is usually too shy and doesn't say anything at all, but Hadi usually repeats over and over "OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA OLA." until she decides to choke hug the little boy who doesn't receive well the overwhelming affection.

Yesterday we were at WinnDixie with some friends and Rebecca saw our Hispanic neighbors before any of us did.

She yelled, "HEY! Y'ALL!" at them and turned to her little friend with her and said, "That's Ola... I know her. Her name is Ola."

Not exactly, babe...



I'm just glad she's getting over her fear of talking to the neighbors...



Because investing in others is important. Not just because my husband is the pastor of the church that basically sits in most of our neighbor's backyards. But because people matter. We were all made in the image of God and relationships are something God designed because WE need them.

Relationships were designed to point us to Him.


And what better way is there to share the gospel and be disciple ourselves than with the people who live next to you? These are the people who see our REAL lives. The people who see your overgrown grass, hear you yell at your kids to come inside, bring your trash cans back up for you, give you advice for how to get rid of weeds, nag you to join the city civic association, and let you borrow endless amounts of ice and eggs (Michelle I'm giving you a shout out here!).


Because when we help each other, cry together, eat meals in each other's houses, talk about our kids, and simply live life together... We learn, we grow, we change. It's community.


Yes, on a certain level this takes vulnerability - instead of getting home from work and keeping to yourself, you go outside when you see your neighbor watering his plants and you start a conversation with him.

And on another level it takes changing your perspective - instead of being grumpy towards your neighbors who have that crazy dog who never stops barking... you see THEM as people... more than people who just have a psycho dog.


I hope this is something I can teach my children. To love their neighbor. Just as Jesus commanded us to.

Because even though it's uncomfortable sometimes and it causes me to step out of my comfort zone... I can truly see the enormous amount of blessings!


 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Bathroom

Bathrooms are gross and I HATE cleaning them!!!


Poop, pee, mold, leftover toothpaste, TILE... oh that terrible-to-clean tile...

I always put cleaning the bathroom off wayyyy longer than I should.

It doesn't matter if you have the sleekest, most chic bathroom that the owners of HGTV themselves came and installed in your house complete with a shower head that gives you a professional massage and a toilet that flushes itself while rinsing your bum...

OR if you're a lower-middle class mom of 5 kids who like to keep things gross for the fun of it (yes, I've caught Miss Hadi swirling toilet paper around in the toilet bowl... more than once).


Your bathroom WILL be gross at some point.

I hate to break it to ya if you didn't know this already, but there WILL be poop and pee in your bathroom (and unfortunately, if you're in the 2nd group mentioned above, poop and pee are probably making their presence known in other rooms as well). And if you live in ridiculously humid areas such as Thessaloniki or New Orleans... you simply can't win the Great Mold Battle. Sure you can attack it with bleach or essential oils or whatever weapon you choose to serve you and your family, but do not be fooled friend...

It WILL return.

So gross.
 
 
 
And this is what I probably look like cleaning the nasty bathroom... Just pathetic. Look at this poor woman who is clearly beginning to pass out from the energy she's used scrubbing mold and the dizzy feeling she's getting from the bleach. You can subtract a bra from this picture and it would be even an even more accurate depiction of me.

 
"If I have to tell my kids ONE MORE TIME to GET OUT OF HERE WHILE I'M CLEANING THIS CRAP..."


And if you do belong to the elite group of lower-middle class women who refuse to pay someone to clean their house for them, then while you're scrubbing the satanic mold off the tile from hell you're also yelling every 5 seconds at your littles to "STAY BACK! It's nasty in here and this chemical stuff that's making me dizzy will hurt you! ("But WHYYYY Mama?") JUST DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!", because somehow they keep sneaking back in and getting their dirty feet all over the toddler potty seat (that also functions as a stool) that you JUST cleaned.


It's worth it though right? Because when I'm done cleaning the stank room I know I've achieved something great and I feel like this...

 
"I'm amazing. My bathroom is clean and the world really is a better place."
(Note the bra is on now because I've showered in the finally clean shower)


So what am I getting at here? I don't see what I'm getting at, because I don't really have a point.

Bathrooms are just gross. And I hate cleaning them.



 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hadi's birth story

While she's not my oldest, she is my first.


The first baby I knew I would be able to mother forever.
The first child I knew I didn't have to hand back over at the end of the day.
The first child to poop all over my shirt.
The first child I breastfed.
The first girlie-girl to put pink cloth diapers on.
The first sweet baby to give me the title "Mama."

I vividly remember finding out that we were having a girl at our gender reveal party. I had wanted a little girl to love on so bad! What a gift from God!

Hadassah Kolbie DePratter <3

I've always been attracted to different names that stick out in the crowd. But more than that I wanted her name to be meaningful and filled with the weight of a story from the Word.

So one day, when I was (extremelymorning sick  all day sick in bed, sucking on peppermints because that was all I could keep down, watching movie after movie by myself while Kolby was working 2 jobs  so we could keep a roof over our heads... I popped into the DVD player the movie One Night With the King. And that's when I decided we would name her Hadassah. Watch the movie if you haven't seen it before, it is a great interpretation of the story of Esther.

And her middle name was pretty obvious for us. She's named after her daddy. Although I altered the spelling some because I love Colbie Caillat (and probably because I'm one of those people who tend to make things more complicated than they have to be. :P)

Hadi's due date, April 4th, came and went.

I ate pineapple non-stop, walked until I lost about 5lbs, and stomped up the stairs to our apartment. Nothing.

On Monday afternoon, at 40 + 5, I went to the doctor for a checkup hoping to find that things were finally moving along. Kolby had brought home from work a piece of chocolate covered cheesecake and a brownie from a fancy chocolate store because all women who go past their due date need something fattening to make them happier decent people. I demolished the chocolate covered cheesecake in the car on the ride to the doctor's office and shoved the brownie in my purse for later. Disappointed to find out I was still only at 3cm (I had been for about 3 weeks)... we decided to schedule an induction for Thursday morning.

And just to be sure Hadi-boo was doing ok, I was sent to the labor and delivery unit for some monitoring.

"Do you feel that?"

The nurse was seeing some contractions on the monitor.

"I guess so. But I didn't think that was a contraction.... My stomach just feels kind of tight."

"That's a contraction and they're coming pretty consistently. Let's see what's going on..."

4 cm dilated.... hmmm....

"I think you're in labor!"


Although a little in shock, I knew it was my last chance to get a bite in before the big show. I let the nurse walk away before I grabbed the brownie out of my purse and shoved it in my mouth. In birthing classes they told us "No food while in labor and delivery!" Well, I just can't let a fancy brownie go bad...

So they check me into the hospital, I'm in the L&D room, it's about 6:30PM and they say something about starting some Pitocin.

 I may be the biggest baby you'll ever meet when it comes to pain.  Getting an epidural wasn't ever something I questioned. Pass out because of contractions? Uh, no thanks. Give me the needle.

But Kolby needed to run home and get our stuff.

So I told them I knew how rough Pitocin could be... and even though Kolby couldn't be in the room during the epidural... I really wanted Kolby there for when they started either one of those things. Just in case something went wrong or something crazy happened, I wanted my man there.

So during the next hour, while Kolby is running back to get our stuff, I start really feeling the contractions. And they were coming FAST and STRONG for this big baby (<--- me, not Hadi).


"Ummm... I really want the epidural now. Can I get that NOW?"

I had the sweetest nurse who basically let me lay on her while they did the epidural. The contractions were strong and hard during the procedure but she talked me through them.

They finished just as Kolby returned and he joined me in the room again.

Epidural + My Man = Relief


I couldn't feel anything in my legs besides this weird pain that would move back and forth from my right side to my left side. The nurses said that sometimes epidurals don't cover errrrthang and sometimes there are little "hot spots" that will still hurt.

It was just enough to wake me up during my napping through labor...

Yeah you read that right. I went to sleep soon after the epidural kicked in and woke up occasionally because of nurses checking on me and the "hot spot" bothering me. I slept through labor. Around 6-ish Tuesday morning I was dilated to around 8 cm and the on call doctor called my personal OBGYN to let her know what was going on so she could come in to work a little early just in case things picked up speed.


My OB got to my room at 7AM.

She checked to see progress....

BAM. Water broke while she was checking me.

Gross... yeah, kind of embarrassing. (And yet I'm sharing it here... hmm... I guess I'm thinking if you're reading this and gotten this far you must be cool with hearing the whole sha-bang.)

"Whoa. It's time to push! She's ready. Wait... um... dad? What are you doing?"

"Oh I'm on facebook! I've got to tell the world what's going on!"
"Well you've gotta get off of there or you're gonna miss this! It's time!"

Two pushes and Hadi was out by 7:15AM Tuesday, April 10th 2012.

I remember Kolby holding her and singing Shane & Shane to her. I remember not being able to get up and pee 4 hours later because epidurals take for-eva for their effect to wear off of me for some strange reason. I remember them wheel chairing on down to a room. I remember some friends visiting, but not too many (Which is nice... I don't like a lot of people visiting me in the hospital. I'm just too disgusting and tired to be around other humans). The rest is a big blur of exhaustion up until she was about 4 months old and I finally got some sleep again.

 
And that's how Hadi joined us. :)







 
 
 


 




 







 

Monday, May 12, 2014

My perfect escape

I needed an escape.

Wiping behinds, listening to middle school drama, dealing with toddler tantrums, constantly picking random stuff that wasn't mine up off the floor, potty training, planning what's for dinner....

Every day. All day. This is my life.

Yes it's full, it's good, it's meaningful... but y'all...

I needed SOME KIND of escape.



My darling, dearest, sweet, precious, caring husband of mine suggested exercising as an escape.

"Go for a jog!" He says! "Do that weird Wii dance game!" He tells me!

What's wrong with him? Doesn't he know who he married?


Yeah, no. Maybe one day I'll enjoy sweating and pain... but not today, boo.



So I took the better route of staying miserable and wishing I had an escape. Clearly the better choice. :/


Well one day, as I was escaping on social media and scrolling away on Facebook, I came across a link to a site called "Noonday Collection."

A friend of mine who I'd met in South Korea a few years ago had started working with this company and since I thought she was super cool I decided to check it out.


I stayed up all night long
really really late
until 11 (hey, that's really late for this old lady)
reading story after story and completely gawking at the products.

handmade accessories + made by people all over the world + giving sustainable income + opportunities to share Jesus + caring for the orphan + an income for Ambassadors who create a marketplace for the product + a huge network of like-minded women to work with =

I HAVE TO DO THIS.

All of my passions mixed together?!!? AND I could make money doing this!?!?!?! WHATTTT?!
I knew I had to do it. I prayed about it and really felt like this was something I could do. Something healthy that I could focus my attention on, and also something that would have REAL impact on the world around me. After all, if I'm going to be leaving my 5 crazy youngins with my hubby for several hours a few times every month it better be meaningful.

But the startup fee was a little steep for me....

At the time there was only 1 start-up fee option and unfortunately we aren't the kind of family that just has $500 laying around... We living on a prayer around here y'all.

So that's what I did... I started praying.

And that week God not only provided financially, but gave me other confirmation! I met with 2 women who were starting their own businesses similar to Noonday (selling jewelry to help the vulnerable have an income). I'd NEVER met anyone who did anything similar to this before. The Lord was moving and I was ready to join up with what He was doing.

So I took the dive and became a Noonday Ambassador!

I get to have girl parties all the stinking time. It is SO awesome. I get to share my heart for the vulnerable and oppressed. I get to wear INCREDIBLE jewelry that fits my funky style and I carry around bags that make me feel like a fashionista.

This is seriously my dream job (I have another dream job... but it's weird and hard to explain and I'm not sure that it actually exists... maybe one day I'll ramble about it in a post). I couldn't ask for a more incredible opportunity. It's the PERFECT escape.


Are you interested in becoming an Ambassador for Noonday? (Noonday Ambs are ROCK STARS!)

 
 
 
 
 
Are you interested in hosting a trunk show? (The hostess benefits are amazing. FREE JEWELRY PEOPLE!)
 

 
 
 
 
 
Want to buy some gorgeous accessories that can and IS changing lives?
 
 
 
 
 
 I've never done direct sales before Noonday, so it's definitely been a challenge that is stretching me.
 
Talking in front of people is what my man is good at... not me!
 
But I'm learning a lot through Noonday and I'm (clearly) excited to share what I learn with you all. Please let me know if you're interested in more information about Noonday Collection!
 
We can plan a trunk show together and have a "ladies night" (AKA "a little escape for Paige").    ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Depression & Love


As I was pulling up to the drive thru window at Walgreens to pick up my prescription of generic Zoloft, just before I drove off to week 30-something of counseling, I thought...

"This isn't exactly where I thought I'd be at the age of 22."

Sometimes I look at my 14 year old and remember the (about) 9 year difference between us, and wonder, "What will she be doing 9 years from now? I hope not what I'm doing."

Don't get me wrong. I'm living a life of purpose. A life of meaning. A Called life. I'm RARELY bored. And good thing because when I do get bored I google things like Redneck Pool Time...

But life's thrown a lot at me in a short amount of time and it's hard. I don't wish this for my kids.

Maybe one day I will, but right now I don't. I want them to live a Called life that doesn't include depression medicine and processing through traumatic experiences. I want them to love on orphan babies in Africa, counsel 4th graders in a public school, be a nurse in Mexico, or teach nutrition and sex-ed classes in India.

Oh wait.

Those things can get pretty depressing and traumatic.

I read Hosea this week. And being really REAL for a minute, I'll admit that this pastor's wife hasn't been great about getting into the Word lately. When you feel punished for being obedient to the Lord, sometimes it's hard to talk to or hear from Him. Am I getting too real for ya?

But yeah... So I read Hosea this week. If you don't know the story it's basically about this guy who was really dedicated to God (he was a prophet) and God tells him to marry a hoe harlot. GOD TELLS HIM TO MARRY SOMEONE WHO WILL CHEAT ON HIM AND RUN AWAY TO FORMER LOVERS.

 That sounds depressing and traumatic.

And in my study bible it has a little commentary at the bottom of each page to help slow people like me understand the passage. The little commentary said something that made me think. It said, "Would you be obedient if God called you to do something hard? Even if you couldn't see the good that would come out of it all immediately? Even if you NEVER saw the good that would come out of it all? What if your obedience will effect people generations from now, but YOU will never see the fruit? Will you still be obedient?"

Woa.

In the story of Hosea, he ends up BUYING her back. And it was a pitiful amount (or atleast that's what my commentary told me). Can you imagine how humiliating it would be to have to buy your spouse from someone that he or she chose to run to in the first place? I mean Hosea's wife ABANDONED him. She thought the grass looked greener on the other side and it wasn't even grass... it was straight up poop over there.  She wasn't worth much of anything to the people who owned her anymore... but Hosea saw her worth as his wife. He loved her.

This isn't the only story you'll find in the Word where things get depressing and traumatic. But although the characters and situations change... there is one constant. God's love for us.

That love doesn't make things easier. It can actually make things harder. I believe it was His love that compelled us to make the crazy life changes we made... so, that love is actually to blame for my suffering! That same love is what held Christ to the cross. I have a really hard time understanding and grasping this love, but it's the love that changed my life and heart.

 For some reason I'm programmed to trust in lies and hate over truth and love, so in counseling I'm working on accepting what God wants to pour out on me. The generic Zoloft is helping clear my brain (ahem... and hormones) to process and GET RID OF those lies and hate. The Holy Spirit is pouring the truth and love in.

If you're struggling with depression please reach out. There are so many people who want to share God's love with you and get you the help you need. Living a Called life can be depressing but God freely gives out faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love. I've made the choice to not see my situation as being punished for obedience. Something greater will come for me and my children. God clearly loves us. He's fought so hard for us already.