Monday, September 30, 2013


I am an extreme person. You probably wouldn't know it from meeting me once. I'm working on moderation.

In the past, it's been that I was either partying hard with a hangover the next day, or swearing off alcohol. Being a vegetarian, or eating meat every meal. I actually used to make a plate of sausage for breakfast, put syrup on it, and eat it. That's like ten pieces of sausage - had to go with a nice even number. Then I watched a documentary, and wabam. I was a vegetarian. In college, I'd be depressed and not showering or going to class, or getting out of bed, then see my butt in the mirror and, poof. I was doing a million trillion squats and crying.

Slowly I become a little more moderate in my thinking, and Tyler becomes a little more open to "weird stuff" as we go along. God certainly uses specific people to change us, and praise Him, I married as good of a sinful man that one can find. We've been together over eight years. We will probably start to look like each other soon. Last night we said the same exact corny phrase at the same time, looked at each other, and then did it again. I wish I could remember what it was. But then he said, "STOP IT!" And we changed out of our matching navy shirts and khaki pants. Just kidding. Kind of.

Back to extremes though.

Sometimes I want to quit facebook so bad. I want to do a home birth, be a raw-vegan, use cloth diapers, make my own soap (it never works), do a million cleanses, and the list goes on. But eventually that list is a bunch of "don'ts" and "cut out"(s). And in the end, all I am is this person adhering to a list of things I don't do. And certainly, for sure, God made things good and wants us to enjoy them - and humans pollute them with their obsessions. I told my friend the other day, who is very much like me, that our whole lives will be this awkward balance between our extreme to-do list and falling into God's grace. The coolest part is to look back at the last five years and not see how much better I am, but how much more aware I am of God's presence in my life, my need for Him, and the way the Gospel is continuing to become, more and more, my brain-lens. The Gospel being that my sin is much darker and deeper than I can know, and that God loves me still, so much more than I can imagine.

Anyway. I have two hours to plan a killer sequence for my Yogis Unite class. Lately, I can hardly bend over, so I literally do not do a yoga pose in class. I just talk them through it. It's nice. I like being bossy, and then not having to hold myself to the same standard. So fun!

My week is full! It's crazy. The most exciting things I'll be doing: some volunteering at Connections on Thursday and babysitting my nephew all day on Friday. Good practice.

PS. my ribs and my cervix are taking a beating from this baby. Good gracious. We hit a bump in the car on the way home from Oklahoma, I let out a grunt, and said "I think my baby came out a little." Yikes.

Well, sometimes I write stuff like this and don't post it, because I'm scared you will be like "she is so annoying!" I am. Ask Tyler.

Love to you all, whoever you are. Pretty sure my sister Amanda is the only one who reads this.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 4 of being a stay-at-home lady

Yesterday I started drawing this fox with chalk in the baby room, lost track of time, missed yoga, didn't brush my teeth until 3... it was a lazy day. I definitely need to get out of the house first thing in the morning. It helps.

I had counseling today. It was good. I wasn't a sobbing mess like last time. I expressed my expectations, which I think helped. Like, I want homework, and to be heard, yes, but to get less of an emotional response, because it makes me want to run away. Turns out my counselor and I have the exact same Meyers Briggs. We are both EMOTIONAL people. I wonder if she likes to use all caps sometimes, as a means of being obnoxious.

She asked how I was doing, emotions-wise, with pregnancy and stress. I said, "I actually feel more like myself. I haven't cried in... well, actually last night I wanted to other side of the bed and Tyler wouldn't give it to me, and I got so mad that I cried." It's the truth. I rearranged the bedroom and all day had this beautiful vision of me sleeping on the other side of the bed in my clean room. When that expectation was not met, I... was angry-sad. But we worked it out and stayed married.

Third trimester starts on Saturday. I have two names picked out now - a boy and a girl name. Just waiting for Tyler's 100%. You guys, you're going to love them!!

Ha. You might not. But I think you will.

Sadly, people get these rockin' badass middle names, and then no one ever hears them. I have a good boy middle name, but... you'll hear it once and then it'll be used up and gone. My friend Allison doesn't have a middle name, which I think is awesome.

It's almost 2 pm, which is the time my body shuts down for a nap. I should prepare myself.

Life is hard, but I will say that I am in a very cush phase. When will this vacation end?! Oh. Babies. But still, it's really nice right now. Really. Nice.
update on day 5 - I had a terrible nightmare last night. For those of you who don't know, I've had some bad ones since as long as I can remember. But the sleepwalking/screaming began when I was about 4 or 5 I think. I used to look up verses on fear in the concordance of my bible and read a few before bed. I got mad when I still had nightmares. My poor tormented little brain.

Last night I dreamed that there was a bunch of hype over this spell/game/hoax/stupid thing. It was something silly, like going into a dark bathroom and doing Bloody Mary - anybody? But in the dream people kept saying, "Have you done The Stacy?" I did it to prove that everyone was an idiot, like I usually do things. Well two hours later, I lay in bed with the dogs, and Tyler had been gone all night. There is a knock at the door. I knew the knock was someone there to tell me he was dead. And then when I opened the door I was handed a newborn baby with a 3-D ultrasound face. It was glowing. And it was just understood that Tyler was dead.

It was terrifying. Never have I felt a more real battle over my mind than in my dreams. I pray my kids do not have night terrors.

Heading to Owasso today... after some oatmeal and tea by the river with Lauren.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What is next...

Two years ago I was attending a class at Connections to Success (where I did my college internship) called WIN (which stood for What Is Next?). It was a very diverse group of people - some convicted felons, some fresh out of prison, some struggling moms just looking for a place to gain skills, people on disability, me, high school dropouts, people with degrees, people living out of their cars, etc. Every Monday we would "check in" and talk about What Is Next. I wrote down goals I didn't know that I had. During that time is when I became a Store Manager. I shared my frustration with the group about being an Assistant Manager and getting paid to be an Assistant Manager, while I was actually running the store. In the group, we can ask for or decline feedback. I asked for it. People said, "why don't you express this frustration to your boss?" So I did the next morning. By that afternoon I had a dollar amount written on a piece of paper handed to me, mafia style. What can I say, my boss was freaking weird.

Also in WIN, I wrote down that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. A year later I was in training.

If we express our expectations and our hopes, it's like "whoa, I'm doing it."

So last night, after two years of being out of contact with most people at Connections, I went back. I thought the group facilitator was going to cry or fall out of his chair. I shared my short story with the group. The facilitator was pumped to see someone come back as proof that "it worked."

Prayer also works. I blogged about the Racial Reconcilitation discussion we went to a few weeks ago. The speaker said "pray for opportunity." Well, here I am in the midst of a homeless guy who walked in off the street because "he was tired of walking," a woman struggling to keeps her lights on, a Social Worker who was in prison for 12 years, someone else who wanted to take their life until they found community at Connections, etc. Such a diverse group again, different races, and all with stories that really put things into perspective for me.

What's even cooler is that I used to view attending this group as a volunteer thing, like "I don't have these problems, I'm just here to help these lesser peoples." I would have never said that, but I certainly felt superior. It's like a support group though, for anyone. It's the weirdest thing I've ever done - seriously.

One of the things we talked about was our "mantra." What if someone walked up to you and said, "What's your Mantra?" and you had to give an answer? It's weird. I said, "Love God, love others, and be willing to accept love from both... it starts with the 3rd thing.... is that a mantra?" Before that moment, I did not have a mantra. But that's kind of where my head is right now.

Anyway, it's good stuff. I'm excited for the way my brain got stirred last night. I need it. Tyler came home from class and said, "You look happy." I love hearing people say that. I've heard it a lot lately.

Day two of being a stay-at-home pregnant lady started off with a lovely yoga class, coffee with my yoga friend Angie, and soon lunch with my mother-in-law and Brittany. I'm making acorn squash tonight.

Please keep praying for my friend Kristi, and her family.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stay-at-home Monday

I made a list last night. I've spray painted some outlet covers, and a knife block. I told someone from my Community Group how crafty and pinteresty I was feeling and she said, "But you don't have that much time." And I thought, "Ah! DO NOT speak the truth to me!" I have 13 weeks until this baby is due. It's enough time to take on some minor decorating/crafting, but you will not catch me sanding or reupholstering.

I organized our kitchen cabinets so that they would actually look pretty if I took the cabinet doors off. The same person who told me I didn't have enough time told me I would have to fill the screw holes, paint over them, and sand something. My heart fell, but honestly, she saved me at least a half hour (the amount of time it would take to realize it was a terrible idea) and maybe a couple of curse words (save those for later).

My schedule is oddly full. Haven't quite hit the third trimester, but it's starting to get less fun. Just a little. I don't say this out loud to anyone, because I know I'm not huge, but I feel huge. Getting off the couch is a big show of grunts, rolling over in bed is painful sometimes. I fart all the time and Tyler is disgusted, but I don't care. Boys are way disgusting. I am allowed to be disgusting a little bit. Being pregnant is like turning into a Mama Bear. It's beautiful in a wild animal type of way, but if you're looking for prim and hot, look away.

My fear: I'll stay on this couch all day. I won't. I know I won't, but I have such a hard time leaving the house sometimes. I even have a grocery list! I loathe going to the store alone. Mostly because I am indecisive. But I'm going to start fresh and do things today.

Starting now.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Driving home from Kentucky

Well, Wednesday was my last day of work. It was sweet. I taught a great group of people some yoga that night, and came home to watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire... Only to discover we don't like that show anymore. Which is fine. It's vile. 

I dream of not having a TV. But then I think of Tyler's friends coming over and not being able to watch a game. And sometimes numb unwinding is needed? I don't know if that's true. Hence my question mark. 

Anyway, we left Thursday morning for Kentucky. Tyler's Granny passed away and the viewing was Thursday evening. She wore the same teal, sweater dress that she got married in. Classy is almost a disrespectful way to describe her. She was so much more than that. Probably the best host ever. I told Tyler yesterday that if she ever did get angry, it only could have been righteous anger. We laughed about that, but I think it's true. She was such a sneaky card player. So prim and sweet during the game, and then BAM. She'd win, without a smirk. And act like "well, how did that happen?" Tyler's mom told me she got awards for drama in high school. Most of all, she loved Tyler and I a lot. It meant a lot to me to be accepted into the family by her when things were not so easy at the time of our marriage with the rest of his family. She would let us lay in her bed at night and talk with her. She battled cancer for 28 years, but you'd only guess that from her many stylish wigs :) we love her and will miss her. 

This morning we planned to wake upand leave around 9. But I knew this would happen. I knew Tyler would wake up at 6 and say "Shanny! Let's go!" He calls me Shanny when he's hyper and crazy. So we left before his family woke up. Now we are driving. 

Side note: as we sat in the funeral and the casket was closed, my baby was kicking, and Brittany was holding baby Landon next to me, my brain and heart were happy to be reminded about life and death. It's everywhere. But it felt so final to look at the clay in the ground under the casket. Almost a sense of panic in my chest, like "no, Granny cannot go in there! She was too good of a lady!" But then the gentle reminder came that the man Jesus Christ laid death in his grave. Death is not forever. And if it is, what's our purpose here? Let's just do crack. Like, if the end goal is to just be good... WHY. 

Death is a sad, but good reminder of life. 

We're heading home to hug our poor dogs, which I pray will never have to be kenneled as much as they have this weekend. Also, I have a list in my head. On that list is a great point to remember -McDonalds makes me feel like poop. 

My friend Kristi was diagnosed with a tumor in her head. Please pray for her. She is a lioness, and I swear strong people get tested the most. My first response was heart break, and then the overwhelming feeling that she will beat it. I have no doubts about it. But still, it's another reminder that things aren't the way they're supposed to be. And one day bodies will be clean and healthy. 
Send some baby names our way. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My last Saturday

Yesterday was my last Saturday. We had a staff meeting and I announced to most of the staff (a few already knew) that my last day would be Wednesday. I told them thank you for the learning and growing experience and that it was awesome working with them for the last four years, or two years, or two weeks (we just hired a new guy, who was probably like "What the heck, my boss just quit"). I kept it short and sweet. My boss was there, and he thanked me for the last four and a half years and everyone clapped. One guy said, "I'm not clapping for this! I unclap this!" and started reverse clapping, if you can picture it. It was funny and sweet. He later gave me a big hug. It's good to know when you're loved.

Another one of my girls got teary during the meeting, and during the day later she said, "I don't want you to go! It's going to suck here without you," to which I told her she would get used to it in one day. Change is weird, but it happens.

There was a water line break, or something, in the St. Charles area, so all of the water we ingest has to be boiled for 3 minutes. I was thinking while in the shower this morning about how your skin is the largest organ (am I right?) and it absorbs whatever gets on it into the bloodstream, yeah? So, I hope my baby is ok. It was a long shower. And then I brushed my teeth like normal and let out a small scream when I was done, realizing I had not used the boiled water. They say Missouri has the best water, but the Missouri River... I wouldn't let my dog swim in it, and I dare say, drowing in it would be unfortunate for several reasons. One being that it smells like sheol.

I cannot find a good boy name! I love old names, and names of authors that I love. The first name can't end in ER, because Tyler Wheeler, who would name their kid that. Haha. Kidding, but also, it can't end in ES because if the middle name is James, which it will be, then... and it can't be single syllable because that's boring? Is it? I don't know. Last night I fell asleep with my phone in my hand looking at a baby name list. Guess how many names were on it? 1,000. That was just for boys. Then I read the girl list.

As far as a girl names, I feel like I'm settling for the middle name being Marie since that's my middle name, and all my cousins middle names, and some of my aunts middle names... It's a fine name, but someone even made a joke to me not knowing it was a family name... "It's not Marie is it? Hehe..." and I said, "Uh well, actually..." so, learn this lesson if you haven't yet... wait until you hear their name choices before bashing some. I wasn't offended. Marie is... marie. It's my name and I love it. But do you stick with something just because that's the way it was done before? That isn't very like me.

I have asked people what they picture when they see the name Shannon. A middle aged black man? A Mean girl? A boring person with not much personality? A quiet business man with four kids wearing a suit? These are all Shannon's I've met, or used to be (I have been mean before... none of the others).

There's a lot to a name. I'm not out to freak people out and name my kid Bookshelf. But goodness.

PS. yesterday a woman was telling me how much she loved bright colors, and to explain herself she raised up her shirt completely and showed me her pink sports bra. Later she said, out of nowhere, "When are you having a baby?!" in shock, as if I had just said to her that I was having a baby, but I hadn't. And she was staring at my belly. I told her December. She said, "What?! You don't even look pregnant. You just look like you have a fat belly!" Thankfully her boyfriend was sane and nice. He told me I was patient, and that I would be a good mom. I don't care if a stranger says it, it's meaningful.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Imposter

Yesterday I got to hear my baby's heartbeat and hiccups. It was cute. Then it kicked the stethoscope a few times. I'm in love.

I started cleaning out my office a bit today. I went through years of birthday cards from my staff, and thank you cards from customers. I did shed a tear. I told two of my full-time girls that I was leaving in a week, because I didn't want them to find out at the staff meeting for the first time. One of them said she would have screamed. Haha. We cried a little and hugged.

I found a thank you/google review that my boss printed for me and hung on my board a while back. It was a woman I had helped find shoes. Long google review short, she was an overweight woman who had not been treated worthy in the past. She said I treated her with respect, and made her feel like she was "worth it" more than anyone else ever had. More than she had done for herself. I cried when I read it. It was behind a bunch of other papers on my board, and the paper was dried out and starting to roll up on the edges. Similar to my memory of how I got into doing this job of managing - not because of a business degree or lots of fantastic managerial skills, but because I really do love people. You wouldn't think so based on this blog where I vent all my frustrations about the world being so wrecked and broken, and feeling hopeless sometimes. I'm sorry about that. But, it was good to remember that the last four years haven't been terrible. It's been a phase, and I'm this Shannon because of it.

I started reading Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. He also wrote The Ragamuffin Gospel, which I'm sure many of you have read/heard of. It's also fantastic. I've only read a bit of Abba's Child, but it is seriously what I need right now. My friend Charlsey suggested it to me, and it turns out it was written specifically for me. Family, it's on the Kindle. Read it.

But I do that - what the google reviewer said. I treat myself like worthless poop sometimes. Truly. The way I talk to myself, punish myself, view myself, and then project that view onto God and other people. Brennan Manning calls it The Imposter. It's this self inside of you that says you aren't worthy of love or God's approval or acceptance. This goes against everything in my brain, but you do have to love yourself in order to love people. To love myself, I have to accept God's love. Does that strike a nerve with you? Does it make you cringe when people say, "Oh, your story... it's heart breaking. That's not right." Do you want someone to tell you to suck it up and get thicker skin? I do, because I think I should. But, God says "Oh, sweet girl. Rest. Cry. Grieve. I love you."

I told my friend Charlsey, who is my new pen pal (we were home schooled together, and her mom prayed over my wart and it was healed a few days later. I thought she was crazy. Turns out God heals things), that I feel like a deadbeat dad who wants to come home and sober up and take care of his family, but is too scared of rejection. What if God says, "Gross. You're a really selfish girl," and I'm stuck a dragon and The Imposter gets bigger until I am gone and my friends don't know me anymore?

The part of the story where Eustace is a dragon and Aslan painfully removes his scales... I think it's happening right now. It starts with saying it out loud I guess.

I emailed my old supervisor from Connections to Success, where I did my Social Work internship. When I'm done at NB, I'm going to go back there and volunteer until the baby comes. I miss building relationships with people that I wouldn't normally socialize with without having to sell them an insole. I'm excited for my time there.

Tyler and I went to a discussion on Racial Reconciliation at our church the other night. The speaker is an African American Dr. who teaches at Lindenwood, where I went to school. Someone asked about "white privilege" and if he could expound on it. He goes, "Yeah. Band aids." And then my mind opened up (he said a lot of other smart things, but that thing stuck out because it's so simple, yet I've never considered it once). I am so disconnected from any racial issues, except for what I see on the news... which I try not to watch. As a church, our goal isn't to go out and make Black friends, because then "ooooh, gold star." It's as simple as the fact that Jesus told us to love others. It's tough find reconciliation between races when you aren't aware of any issue to reconcile in the first place. The Dr. told us to pray for it, to get to know other cultures, to not over think it, and to use white privilege (which is a real thing) to take the gospel to other places, and to just love others. It was a great talk. And if you didn't get it, band aids are made for white people.

Comfort. It's my big idol, and that's what keeps me in my house with AC and netflix, and away from things that are uncomfortable, like poverty and the fact that there are problems bigger than mine going on.


And, here's a new belly photo. There's a boy in there, I know it. He is active and a punk, just like Tyler, but sweet too. He has no name. Boy names are so tough. I'd love to not have to deal with a penis, but I cannot wait to meet this thing. This sweet, sweet baby thing.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I went to counseling on Thursday night. My mind has been rethinking the things we talked about. She asked me what made me want to see a counselor. I think I said this a few posts ago, but basically, since I got pregnant, things have popped up from my life that are old... but they are upsetting. Yes, I am pregnant and emotional, but I don't think it's fair to stamp "crazy pregnant" on me and move on. These are real things that happened. They still hurt a little, and perhaps there wasn't much closure there. I'm still mad at some people for not giving me that. But maybe they did and I just didn't notice.

Two things that came up. I did not like it when she responded to a story of mine with a gasp and a hand-to-heart or eyes or mouth. I wanted her to stare at me and say, "Hm. Interesting. How did that make you feel?"

Second, I kept exclaiming, "I have a good life! I don't know why I am here!" and it made me feel selfish.

I know it will be good for me. I've always felt misunderstood. I remember when I was four, our totally cool awesome rad youth pastor came over to eat with all of us home schooled kids. Mind you, I was four. But I wanted to be the same age as my sisters. I wanted to be in the youth group. I wanted that youth pastor to think I was cool. I WAS FOUR. He brought us Taco Bueno. I was chowing down my party burrito and I let out a loud burp. I was four. His eyes got big, he stopped talking, and stared at me like I was the filth of the earth. I still burp like that, but only around people who love me. What does this have to do with being misunderstood? I don't know. You can have your own thoughts about this.

Perhaps this is why I already feel defensive about having a home-birth... because I assume people will look at me like they did when I was home schooled, and think they have a better way... and God, please don't let them tell me their better way, or just give me a nice dose of grace. It's so much more normal to be home schooled now, I think. Even revered, as long as you have all your teeth.

So, I'm processing these things. What's real, what's made up in my head... and why did I make it up. What do I assume. How do I move on from things that I have no control over. How can I forgive people who aren't sorry.

Some of this may not make sense. But, I said it. I had originally titled this "Adults Scarred Me," but I wanted you to know my heart rather than just be put off by me. 

I worked with 13 of these 4-yr-olds today and it showed me how dark my heart is. I think I have been in a slump this afternoon because I don't want to impact them the way so many "we'll-meaning" adults did me. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Well, friends. Guess what.

I quit my job. Sharing details doesn't feel good, or right. I will just say that had I stayed until Thanksgiving and kept working my behind off, I couldn't have left on a good note because of the toxic atmosphere that I work in. I think we can all think of a place where grown ups act like very mean, immature children on a playground, and lie, and throw rocks. I don't want to leave anyone with that yucky feeling in their belly, so I will leave it at that.

Yesterday I came home from work, shared more drama with Tyler, and said "All day, I dreamed of quitting my job and subbing as many yoga classes as possible." He responded, "Do it," with the most firm face I have ever seen on him. He said he was so angry, and that he didn't like people treating me this way. It made him want to fight... and then he asked when my boss would be in the store next. Haha. Then we prayed for my boss before dinner. No one is going to fight.

Tyler helped my write my short and sweet letter of resignation and made me hit the send button. Once it was done, my organs stopped jittering. We watched Madmen, I relaxed on the couch like I haven't done in weeks. My mind is free. I slept without worrying. I got a response this morning that said, "Thank you for your email." So it's done. I haven't told anyone else in my company, and don't really plan to.

One of the things I said to my boss originally before all this stuff went down was that it was my intention to work through Thanksgiving and leave on a positive note, unlike any other manager has ever done since I've been with the company. Truly. Even if they left on a "goot note," as soon as they were gone their name got shat on. So at this point, I quietly walk away. My name will soon be Shannon Shitty Wheeler at that company, but I still feel like I'm in a better position. Even with the new middle name.

It's so strange. I really have experienced this type of situation several times, and it always leads to huge change. Different stages of my life are darkened with this story. My parents would never let me quit something. Or, if I did, I had better have a good reason and walk away with a clear conscience. I am. And every dark story like this has a bright ending/new beginning of change and growth.

On an even brighter note, before all of this came about I was thinking about my next job (the one after raising a kid). I have thought to myself recently that I will never do something for the money. Not that running a shoe store is really rolling in it, but going forward I will only do what I love, agree with, and am passionate about. Sure, in college it's like OMG WE HAVE TO EAT. It feels kind of like that now. Tyler was looking at our budget spreadsheet last night like he was about to cry. Then he started looking for a small place to rent for us so we could rent out this house! At that point I started laughing. He's cute. We're not moving.

I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with my sweet baby and explore my next step. This time in my life is so INTERESTING. I use that word way too often. It has 1,000 meanings for me. Tyler said, "What are you going to do with your time?" I said, "Oh, gosh, I'm going to teach so much yoga, keep our house clean, start cooking dinner, read books... maybe become a doctor."

It feels like the last day of school. Yesterday afternoon I really thought, "I can't do this one more day," and God said, "I know, sweet girl."

And, here are some pictures from our Kentucky trip to see Granny.

Brittany holding her boy Landon, and Katie (Tyler's cousin-in-law) holding Harper Kate. And me, holding a lot of BBQ and sweet tea. 

the whole gang - Scott is Olivia's (Tyler's little sister) boyfriend, and Gracie is the dog. Tyler's dad is in love with that dog like I'm in love with Charlotte. Tyler and I, Brittany (Tyler's older sister) and her husband Dustin. Cousin Korey Beth (We call her Korney Beth), Jodi and is wife Katie. 

That's it. I'm a stay at home pregnant lady (starting September 18th). 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I quit yoga training before it even started. Tyler asked me not to do it, because I'm too stressed as it is, but also because I would be missing so much church. To some, that might seem small. But it's kind of huge.

Then I emailed a counselor. I did it. After all these years. 

And I cried most of the day during work, with my door shut. Things are not good there. I wish I could just bury every memory of that place and move on. I am hurt. But that story is for another day, perhaps. Probably not.

And, that's all. I cried a lot over quitting the yoga training. I know it will be better in the long run.

Prayers are appreciated.