Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Step back and give it a little space...


Some of my very first memories were in the garden.  Growing up on Kingsway Drive, my parents had a huge garden-strawberries, green beans, onions, squash and several peach trees!  Shortly after Ted and I married we dabbled with a couple of tomato plants in front of the rental we lived in.  Something about the earth and growing your own food was very appealing to both of us!  So when we purchased a home of our own, a garden seemed a natural fit!

We actually have two gardens.  My Garden-which I love and adore seen above.  It is close to my rainbarrels.  I have even created an Excel "map" of every square foot so I can lovingly pour over seed catalogs and books to determine the best configuration of plants.  Early in the spring I begin my seedlings in anticipation of transforming this space to my magical place of refuge.  Like so many who find themselves a member of the "sandwich" generation, my day to day life is often interrupted by chaos; my garden is my place of order and serenity.  It's not huge, it's not fancy but it's absolutely a crazy blessing to me!

My "lesser garden" is small, a mere 10 foot X 10 foot.  It was our first on Apple Harvest.  We tried everything-simple raised beds, the Rubbermaid tote self watering container gardening, strawberries and even hay bale gardening.  I can't quite describe my feelings for this garden but they really have not resembled anything positive.  I've even asked Ted if we could just take it out.  Then a couple of years ago this garden redeemed itself.

Above I mentioned trying hay bale gardening, right?  Well who knew that when you place hay bales on top of a garden, water and add a little manure to them  it does amazing things to the earth underneath.  When the bales were moved there was rich, dark soil.  Even seeing the beautiful soil I was skeptical, something that had failed me time and again; I just wasn't sure if I was up to the effort of creating a beautiful space.  So I didn't.

In this "lesser garden", I planted some asparagus thinking it was a low to no maintenance crop I could plant and ignore.  I had tried potatoes in the hay bales but had changed my diet and no longer ate many potatoes but sweet potatoes were another story.  I did some research and purchased some "slips" and lovingly placed them into the soil.  Magic began to happen.  These things began to grow!  The vines took over and covered almost every inch of "lesser garden."  What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

**Flashback** to the year of the hay bale garden I received a free package of yellow pear tomato seeds.  I planted a couple in those hay bales.  They were really good tomatoes unfortunately I don't remember where they came from and I failed to save the package.  One day in the midst of those beautiful sweet potato vines a volunteer tomato seedling poked its little head up.  It was small, didn't look like much but I decided to leave it.  That lone tomato soon had a couple of friends and "lesser garden" became filled with volunteer tomato and sweet potatoes!

Here we are today two years after the experimental hay bales.  My sweet potato vines are growing like crazy, there are still a couple of hay bales working to convert the soil under them but most important are those incredible volunteer tomatoes providing me with the end of summer bounty of golden nuggets of goodness!!  It's not much to look at it but it gives me wonderful things to eat with little to no effort.  I've only watered it ONCE this year!

But this post isn't really about my garden, it's about a correlation noticed just this morning.  In my life I've come across people who are much like my garden.  I put time, effort and love into the relationship/friendship and it seems like a waste of my time-I don't seem to get anything from it.  But sometimes just when I'm ready to throw in the hat something beautiful emerges.  Now mind you I'm not suggesting that every relationship can turn into something beautiful because every garden has weeds but I would caution you to not cut all ties going crazy with the Round Up!  Maybe you just need to gently pull the weeds, step back-I repeat STEP BACK-then give it a little space to see if something grows.  If it does, you'll be crazy blessed with a beautiful thing; if not at least you'll know that you gave them the opportunity!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I *LIKE* that!

When my folks moved here back in December 2012, I had the bright idea that Facebook would be a fabulous idea for Mom.  She would be able to see pictures, status updates, etc. from her friends and family living in Oklahoma and beyond!  Once she got the swing of it, because face it we all have to re-get it every time Facebook has an update, she was liking and commenting along with the rest of us.

I've never really given much thought to the *like* button until this morning when I saw a comment on a picture, "Because I'm on a "like" button fast. I wanted to let you know I like this and appreciate your daily words of scripture and mini sermons. Have a blessed day..."  

Those simple words got me to thinking about how we have become defined by *like* on Facebook.  I know the other day when I posted two videos-one of Melissa and one of Jessica, they both cheered over every like and when one would get ahead look out!  But seriously what do those likes mean?  Is one child really *liked* more than the other or did one just show up in a newsfeed when the other didn't or perhaps someone was distracted or just didn't scroll that far.

Being an occasional blogger, *like* is something I really worry about.  It is so disheartening when I pour my heart and soul into a blog entry and get no likes.  I often wonder does no one read my blog then I look at my stats and know it's being viewed if not actually read so perhaps my blog is really bad and that is why no one likes it.

Do we realize the damage that can so easily be done by the *like* button or lack of clicking it?  Why have we allowed ourselves to become judged by whether people *like* us or not.   Perhaps we need to do away with the instant gratification of the *like* button and instead slow down and take the extra few seconds of effort to write a genuine comment showing a person they are worth our time.

I'd like to challenge you to join me on a *like* fast for a week, who knows we might even *like* it so much we decide to keep it up even longer!  

PS Mom please do not join this like fast-you are probably the only person I know on Facebook who has lots of love, thought and prayer in every single click of the *like* button so LIKE on!!!

PPS To the "stranger" who posted the comment above, I feel like I know you because we have so many friends in common-perhaps one day our paths will cross.  Bless you for being my inspiration today!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The importance of being purple...

These sweet girls in 2012 lost their Papaw James.  Wait, I hate that expression because to lose something implies it can be found and held tight again so they didn't just lose him, he died.  Yes that sounds harsh and insensitive because it is.  When someone we love dies it hurts!  It hurts bad.

Anna was barely 18, in her freshman year at college, thankfully she had a great counselor at Cottey who helped her deal with the emotional stress of not just "losing" her papaw but coping with the few short months of his brief illness, the effect it had on her Dad and the pressures of college life.

Melissa was 10, old enough to kind of understand what was happening yet still too young to really process.  I see her doing little things to keep her Papaw here-the verbally reminding us about things he did or said to the the cammo bandana sometimes tied in her hair.

Then there is Jess who was only 7.  Such a short time to make memories and so young it's hard to hold on to much.  She tells me she is forgetting-his voice, things about him...I know it's normal but it upsets her.  Her "cope" has been purple.  Purple is the color for Pancreatic Cancer awareness, the awful disease that took her Papaw away.  Purple has come to signify her "lost" Papaw.

Most of you know how much Jessica adores growing sunflowers.  So when I saw a purple "Evening Sun Sunflower" at the store I knew they were perfect!  Today she came running in, "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!!!  My Purple Evening sunflower has BLOOMED!!!"

 The joy on her face is real.  I know that even though she may forget his voice, his face, the gestures he used...he will live on because of the importance of being purple.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

... and the thunder rolls

College girl came home from her job last night bubbling and talking non stop because it was her last night at the local grocery in Bentonville.   She was telling about saying bye to her friends and who all came through her line that evening.   She was also proud that she had gotten boxes for her other job because they needed them for a craft today.   In the back of my very weary mind I recalled the very slim chance of rain, thinking perhaps I should have her put the boxes in the garage.  *Yawn* She was on to something else and I was really tired.

About 4 a.m. I heard the crash of thunder and the flashes of lightening that jolted me to attention.   My first thought was great,  her boxes will be soaked!   Then I laid there thinking how thankful I was for the rain because my garden loves those long, natural drinks.  I worried about my greenhouse because I could hear the plastic. My mind quickly turned to my trees,  hoping they would make it through the storm.

Funny how all those things ran through my mind then an unusually loud clap of Thunder turned my groggy mind to my children.   Anna who has come full circle in our home,  sleeping again in the room upstairs;  I hear her breathe deeply,  perhaps I imagined it but I smiled quietly, feeling a tiny victory that my once frightened easily child just might be okay facing a storm in the not to distant future in her own place.   Wow,  talk about a crazy blessed realization!

The thunder and lightening continued and I felt sorry for myself.   Handsome sleeping soundly,  breathing deeply beside me and all three girls tucked safely in their beds sleeping through the storm.   I was actually missing them running in,  needing me to protect them from another storm.   Just then another huge thunder,  Handsome puts an arm reassuringly around me when I look up to see Jessica.   I threw the covers back and welcomed her,  I whispered words of love and reassurance in her ear; then I actually uttered a soft "thank you" because this old mom needed one more storm to make her feel needed and important.

A few more thunders later,  Melissa was joining our safe haven and I felt strangely at peace.   I laid there almost 2 hours listening to their steady breathing,  confident that mom and dad would keep them safe and I whispered prayers for all three of them that they grow up strong and confident and that the storms of life never get them down!  And that somehow they remember the feeling of safety they felt being sheltered from the storm nestled in my bed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What if?

>>>WARNING<<<  This is not my normal blog post.  It's not going to make you feel good or give you a warm fuzzy.  If you're my Facebook friend and read this, I challenge you to like or comment on my posting of this blog entry.  Thanks!

Social media is a powerful tool.  If you're reading this, you likely have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram account-seriously though you probably have all of them!  You probably know more about what you 500+ friends are doing than what is really going on in the world around you.  The news you see or read is what appears in your newsfeed or the little video clip you clicked on.  You don't have the time or the inclination to really dig for the truth, you take whatever "they" feed you.  You have plenty of time to like the delicious looking plate of food your friend posted, the clothes she just bought her daughter for back to school and the pillow another friends dog shredded all over the house.  Let's not forget the cute videos of the cat saying "hey, hey, he-e-e-ey," the giggling baby or the stupid human tricks.  All these things are easy.  They don't require any deep thought or even consideration.  However social media can be so much more, it can be a tool, a means to educate and a way to bring about change.  What if you used social media differently?

Last year "Fifty Shades of Grey" burst onto the book scene, it was whispered about in book clubs, knowingly chuckled about at the park as we referred to it as "Mom Porn."  I have to admit I read the first book, opened the second but never read more than the first few pages.  It just didn't seem like the kind of thing I wanted to spend my time on.  Plus having a college daughter, I kept envisioning some worldly, savvy Christian shattering the world of my innocent Anna.  What if she was your daughter?

Several months ago the powers that be began casting for the movie version of the book and social media was again all buzzing with who would make the perfect Christian and Annastasia.  Then last week my newsfeed was again blown up with friends anticipating the movie trailer.  The other day when it was released, it was too steamy for television.  I felt uncomfortable because I KNOW what the book was like and I can't even imagine the movie.  I know I certainly do not want my daughters seeing what is bound to be in the movie or even in the trailer. 

So yesterday when a sweet friend posted a link to a blog from Broken Girl called Fifty Shades of Confusion  I in turn reposted it.  Go ahead, take a couple of minutes and go read her blog.  I'll wait here for you....

So did you read it?  Are you still excited about the movie or do you have a new perspective?  How about you transfer that excitement to awareness?  Between 14,500 and 17,500 are trafficked right here in the good old US of A each year!  It's real!  Girls are disappearing, children are disappearing, women are disappearing but it's not feel good, it's not cute and no one is "liking" the posts informing about it.  The picture of my okra from dinner got more likes!  What if your child was sold?

Women need feminism, we need to speak up and be heard.  Quit letting Hollywood shame us into thinking we are less than, even if we joke about it, it is real to so many.  We don't know who has been a victim, who knows a victim or whose husband, father or boyfriend is making them feel less than.  Take some time to educate yourself about trafficking here in America, post an article, share a statistic, let your girls know they don't have to be used.  You my friend may have the crazy blessed life but there are thousands out there who do not.  Do something to make a difference today.  11 Facts about Human Trafficking can be found at DoSomething.orgWhat if you did something today?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bricks, sticks and memories

You know that summer, that summer between your first childs sophomore and junior year in college?  The one where they come home cranky, full of attitude because they are adults but then quickly mellow and you have a fabulous time?!  Well that's this summer for us.  Deep in my heart of hearts, that place no mamma really wants to go because that's where the stone cold hard truth lies.  The truth that this is the last magical summer you'll likely have with said college child.  I've been pondering this blog entry for sometime now but occasionally events happen that just force it to erupt a little sooner than anticipated.  (Yes, tears are streaming down my face as I type this afternoon.)

Anna-wow, what can I say?  She is my first born.  She and I have a relationship that few people get to experience with their children for a variety of reasons.  First, when she was 3 we moved four hours away from family so she got me (she got her Dad, too but he was at work all day).  Second, when she was 5 we began our homeschool life. And lastly, she is just Anna-those of you who know her know what I mean.  There is just something about her that is unique and special.  I love all my kids deeply, they are all three unique and special so don't get me wrong; they are all different they all have some similar traits but deep inside, they are very different people.

Yesterday morning Anna was preparing for work when she noticed she had a wet spot in her floor.  Not just any wet spot but one that was super squishy.  I went in and began to move boxes that had overtaken her room when she moved home in May which she has been struggling to go through in preparation of moving into her condo in Fayetteville in just a few short weeks.  I quickly realized this was more than just a spilled bottle of water or heaven forbid another kitty no-no accident this sloshy mess was a full blown L-E-A-K!!

We immediately deduced that it was the pipe to our outdoor faucet.  I quickly called our plumber and
he assured me he'd send his guys as soon as they could come.  So I began the packing.  Oh my, no one prepared me for this.  She has lived in this room for eleven years.  The memories flooded like the water from the pipe.  But I had a task so I continued.

The plumbers came and fixed the leak.  The restoration guys came and evaluated the best way to dry the inside of the wall and told me to empty her room as much as possible.  When she arrived home, the packing really began.

While Anna packed, I headed upstairs to make that room ready for an unexpected tenant.  I prepared a place for her bed and the boxes.  When we got her bed up there, she laid on her bed and sobbed.  That did it for me and I've been a blubbering mess ever since.  You see, we knew she was going to be leaving in August, we had talked about the fact that we would be moving one of her sisters into her room and preparing upstairs as a room she could use when she came for a visit.  But those were just words, empty meaningless words...

We headed downstairs to finish dismantling her loft bed, move her bookshelf and couch.  We began looking around her room at all the things that make it so uniquely Anna.

The cow skull on the wall and Mardi Gras mask.

The voodoo doll from our trip to New Orleans, her Georgia O'Keefe inspired painting completed with Crystal Featherson, and her bad dream catcher she bought at a neighbors garage sale when she was a little girl to keep the bad dreams away.

Some roses from a forgotten performance-ballet or theatre, there were so many!!

The shelf high on the wall at the head of her bed.  Special books, journals, her bible and of course her beloved-Miss Kitty.

Her ceiling fan pull littered with treasures-beads, monkey from softball, bow tie and twirly thing.

The peace symbol shoestring she wore in her tie dye Converse shoes.
The gut wrencher-her door!  Her first sign-Beware of Cats, the Mardi Gras decoration with important ribbons, picture of some amazing young ladies that are dear to our family-love you Kambanis family, comics from the paper, stickers and a picture of Junior her cat who passed years ago.

The wonderful restoration company, Paul Davis (who I highly recommend) is owned locally by a great guy, Jim Ford.  When he came in yesterday, he saw a very frazzled mom, afraid of the unknown, feeling like this was just another bus running over me and he said, "Ma'am, it's just sticks and bricks we'll fix her right up.  You're going to be just fine."  It is just sticks and bricks and I am going to be just fine but today I'm going to cry a little bit more and feel a little sorry for myself because now Anna's room is gone.  Sure she may move her mattress back in there for a few nights but the magic that makes it hers won't ever again be there.

As a Mom whose first is preparing to go, my heart feels like it is exploding.  So many things I wish I had done better, so many times I wish I had listened more closely, so many times I wish I had just been...a better mother.  As I expressed this to her last night she said, "but mom you still have two more."

"Yes, my dear I'm crazy blessed to have three amazing daughters but you will always be the one (who made me a mom)."

Sweet Anna, go into this word and leave your mark.  Remember how deeply, deeply loved you are and continue on confidently knowing how much your parents believe in you and that more prayers are whispered, yelled and cried on your behalf that you can ever imagine.  And even if your room isn't yours anymore, know you always have a place in our home and in our hearts.

I love you!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dirty, dirty dishrag.

In my kitchen I have lots of dish rags.  I've got red and white ones, thick red ones with scrubbie stuff on the back, super old stained-dirty, dirty dishrags I've had since we got married.  This morning when I was fixing Handsome some breakfast I had an epiphany of sorts.  Let me try to explain...

I love the way the pretty red and white ones look laying across the divider between the sinks.  They're a bit prissy though and I don't want to get them too messy.  Almost like I'm trying to protect them from the grime of everyday life. The red ones with scrubbie are great for cleaning a messy stove top but they don't really absorb so they kind of just slosh around if you have a spill or very much liquid.  But when I have a really messy job I go for my old faithful dishrag.  It's been there for me all these years without much appreciation.

As a newly wed learning to find my way around the kitchen that dishrag was bright and new.  It didn't have a choice about staying in the drawer because it was the only one.  It had to dig right in to those boil overs, the pot-of-crap beans that I never could boil without scorching and dishes that sometimes didn't get washed right away.

Then the kids started to arrive.  That dishrag got a workout because there was no dishwasher!  High chairs, spilled juice, baby food, and all those meals that were prepared because as a one income family trying to finish college there was no eating out.  Sure there were some new dishrags but old faithful, he felt like a friend.

So here I am 22 years later and I don't know how to throw it away.  And I realize, I'm a lot like that dirty, dirty dishrag.  I'm here, I'm faithful, I clean up messes.  I'm not beautiful or new.  But over time I'm the proven go-to and I'm always ready to step in and do what I can for the good of my family.

My bet is you just might be a dirty, dirty dishrag also.  If so please know you are appreciated and loved even if it seems to go unnoticed.  If you're not a dirty, dirty dishrag then please look around you and find the dishrag in your life and let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate the way they are there faithful, true waiting to help you out even though they're a little worn!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Proud Mamma Post :)

Our kids aren't perfect.  They're just normal kids-they fight, argue, "forget" to do chores, don't feed the pets, don't empty the litter box, don't clean their room.  You get the picture.  They're ordinary average kids.

But wait, they're something more and that's what I want to tell you about today.  Our kids are regular members of our house, as such they are expected to do awful things like empty and load the dishwasher, clean their bathroom, scoop the cats box daily, pooper-scoop the dog mess in the yard, take out the trash and other mundane tasks that have to be done for any household to work.  They do not receive an allowance (I know all the arguments for giving allowance so please don't use this as a debate starter).  I don't believe in paying kids to do household tasks.  If they don't want to eat then they don't have to do dishes.  If they want to get rid of their cats they don't have to scoop.  You get the picture.  But in exchange they get a home complete with a comfy bed, three meals a day-most days, television with cable, internet access, bicycles, trampoline, traveling volleyball, soccer, swimming, tap, archery, countless 4-H events and trips and to top it all off they are loved deeply and prayed for constantly.  We purchase all their necessary items: clothing, shoes, hair cuts, school supplies, etc.  They really don't want for anything but they know as members of our family there are the above expectations in exchange for their "stuff."

A year and a half ago, my parents moved caddy-wompus across the street from us.  I'm proud to say that our kids have stepped up many times they don't even realize the importance of what they are doing.  At least once a day I hear a kid shout, "Mom, I'm going to Grandma's" and the door slams as they run around the corner.  What do they do at Grandma and Papaw's house you might ask, well sometimes they just pop in and say hi!  Other times they get out ingredients and make a batch of cookies-always cleaning up their mess when they're finished.  They might vacuum the carpets or mop the floor.  Sometimes one of them creates a masterpiece on Grandma's embroidery machine.  And sometimes they just go hang out-play on the laptop or watch some TV.  They just are there, being with their grandparents.  (Let me clarify-in the year and a half they've lived here I can count the times on one hand we've used them as a babysitter-Grandma has been surprised at how we always take care of our kids and make arrangements with friends to help when we need it-I guess that comes from living 4 hours away for so many years.)

With the recent rains, another responsibility pops up, lovely sodded bermuda yards!   Two of them and our yard has the equivalent of two yards by itself!  Again, the kids are expected to help-age appropriately of course.  Melissa is a whiz on the riding lawn mower, she does an amazing job!  Anna and I use the push mower and Jessica empties the bags for me while Ted edges and weed eats.  We work well together, almost like a well orchestrated symphony.  Okay, I lie.  They often complain especially when it is H-O-T outside about mowing OUR yard!  But you know what they never grumble about going and doing it for Grandma and Papaw!  They don't get paid unless you count the love and cookies.  The girls do it because they have been taught love and respect is important.  We have shown them that caring for others is simply a way of life and we are simply crazy blessed to have the ability to do for them. 

I guess what I want to impart this morning is whether our kids are perfect or not, they are always learning.  They pay attention to every action and reaction we have and in turn imitate it.  I don't know if we're doing this parent thing right or wrong but I do know we are crazy blessed to have three young ladies who care deeply about others and are always willing to go that extra mile.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What's in a name?

At the moment of conception, a title is placed upon the woman-she is forever more a Mother but what she does with that title is a different story.

When I was a child, I loved Mother's Day because it was a chance to make fancy crafts at school to show just how much I loved my Mom.  There was no way I could even begin to understand how much she loved me, those trinkets could never repay exactly what she gave up for me.  Once I became a Mom I accepted the title with pride and the same hard work and determination with which I'd been raised.

You see one can brush of the title, ignore it and never really become or they can do as my Mom and embrace.

With every breath there has been a prayer whispered from her lips-first for her husband, then each of her children and eventually her grandchildren along with numerous family members and friends.  I saw my Mom give up a nursing career to be a full time mom-there to see us off in the mornings, act as home room mother and welcome us home after school.  She drove us around to our activities, cheered on the sidelines, was our 4-H leader, Sunday School teacher but most of all she was our constant moral compass.

I have seen her heart break for each of us-she never stopped loving us, only expressed disappointment or dissatisfaction with a decision we had made.  I see her continue to pray and believe in healing-not a physical healing but a true healing where forgiveness can occur and love can again flow freely.

So today is Mother's Day-what will you do with it?  Will you simply give your Mom another card or trinket?  Will you give her a 2 minute call?  Or will you really have a conversation with her, let her know how much you appreciate her rising to the challenge and being the kind of Mother that every kid needs.

I want to say thank you to my Mom-she has humbled me on more than one occasion.  She has loved me when I was truly unlovable, she has prayed for me, she has believed in me when no one else would.  She has lifted me up more times than you can imagine.  She has done all of this for no monetary compensation, she has done this for nothing in return, she has done this because she loves.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!!!  And may you know how crazy blessed I am to have had you as a living example of how to love deeply!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Giving credit where it's due...

Those of you who know me have heard me talk about "sprinkling" my children.  I work hard to give them sprinkles along the way instead of flooding them with demands and rules.  (Back in 2011, I wrote this entry Mama's Treasures that explains a little about it just in case you're not familiar.)

As a wife, mother, daughter and friend, I'm a frequent prayer (pray-er not prayer).  From the moment the alarm jolts me to reality at 6 a.m. there is a constant whisper from my heart to Gods ear.  There are some days I wake up and someone is on my heart/mind and I whisper an extra little prayer for them.  You never know who needs it!

Okay, perhaps now I can get to the point.  My A #1 Angel Girl graduates with her associates degree next Sunday.  Wow, the last two years have completely flown and I have to say I'm really proud of the woman she is becoming.  But that's not without a lot of sprinkles and prayers.  The sprinkles are a little harder to share these days because not having her here makes it more difficult to start some of those conversations.  I'm afraid that all too often they come out sounding more like nags, complaints or heaven forbid overbearing.  The last two years have been chock full of things like-
  • don't take 8:00 classes your first semester
  • don't take 18 hours your first semester
  • logic will eat your lunch
  • make good choices, you never know how the bad ones will come back to haunt you
Then there were the personal sprinkles that are just between her and I.  Some she heard, some she cried about later as she realized that Mom isn't so far removed that she doesn't know.

Most recently we've been working through helping Anna work toward moving into an apartment (or other rental property) this fall when she begins her new journey at the University of Arkansas.  There has been a virtual flood of sprinkles and prayers flying so swiftly on her behalf I'm surprised I haven't developed whiplash!  Then a few days ago, I was having a rare moment cooking dinner when there wasn't a thought in my head other than guacamole and tortillas for Cinco de Mayo when suddenly my phone chimed.  I reached for my phone thinking "oh Anna" and saw a Facebook message from God.

Now before you go thinking I'm crazy let me explain.  I mentioned that I've been saying just a couple of prayers for Anna and her transition to a more independent life-well God answered in the way He does when we take time to listen and more importantly give credit where credit is due!!  This message was disguised as being from a friend, not just any friend but a friend of our family that I can not remember a time I didn't know them.  A family whose face was right there with my family at church every Sunday growing up, my mom taught their kids in Sunday school and she has been like a proud mamma watching them grow hearing stories about their lives and the people they have become.  We weren't the "see each other often" kind of friends as we both moved from that magical town but there were weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, memories and prayers; then Facebook came along.  I saw the name, friend requested and said a little prayer of thankfulness that this sweet family that had been in my heart all these years could now blossom with friendship rekindled.

The message simply began with "Hey, we've got a 2 bedroom...." and from there it was apparent that all those sprinkles, all those prayers were answered.  The talks I've been crazy blessed to have the last few days with Anna have been true treasures.  Listening to a new found maturity and her feelings of empowerment that yes she can do this have been awesome.

For now, I'm going to keep on sprinkling and praying because so far I have loved the beautiful woman that is blossoming and I so look forward to the incredible woman she will be....complete with strong roots!!  (The picture below is a photograph I took of my Mother praying at the rail after communion on Living Waters Children's Sunday 2013.)  I'm so crazy blessed to have a Mother who prayed for me, thank you Momma!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Some days are diamonds...

some days are stone.

This week, I feel like I've been run through the wringer on the repeat cycle.  I've never had the flu and let me tell you this has been a doozy!  Me, the person who never vomits made a spectacle of myself in front of all the doctors and nurses at my clinic; they had to get a wheelchair and everything.  My doctor actually called me personally later that day to see if I was feeling any better.  Thankfully I have an amazing husband who saw how sick I was, insisted I visit the doctor and took off work to care for the kids and me for two days!  How lucky can a girl get?

Bottom line is I'm still a care giver.  While I may not be there in person while I'm sick, I'm still in touch by phone listening and trying to help.  Well this morning it all went in the toilet.  This morning I said the wrong words and my mother cried.  She cried because she thought I had said words against her.  She cried because I told her I'd never say those things.  She cried because I said I was going to go and we could talk later because things were digressing.  She sounded so frail and small...then she hung up on me.  There was nothing I could do except break down and cry.  I feel like a failure. 

When you see that newsclip about the mom who drove her van in the ocean or closed the garage and started the car with her babies inside...don't judge her.  You have no idea how much weight she is carrying.  You have no idea if she tried to reach out and was ignored or made fun of.  You have no idea if she felt she had to hide it to be strong for the world.  The hopelessness, the fear, the feeling that everyone and everything is depending on you is terrifying.

We need help.  

We are not invincible.  

We are not almighty.

I'm so crazy blessed and thankful first and foremost to have a husband who is my rock.  I know I can cling to him and he will shelter me from the world.  I'm so crazy blessed to have friends, ones who text me when I'm worried about my College Girl...ones who drop surprises on my porch when I'm sick...ones who drop cards in the mail offering words of encouragement...ones who see the struggle and take my kids for a day but sometimes, sometimes I still feel alone.  Because it's not okay to admit I need help, it's not okay to admit sometimes I think I've bitten off w-a-a-ay more than I can chew, it's just not okay.

My plea to you today is reach out to a mom you know.  Reach out to that friend with kids and offer a hand.  No, don't just offer just DO IT!  We'll turn down help every time you offer.  We'll deny that we're swamped and feeling like we'll collapse.  We'll deny that another straw on our plate will cause our world to disintegrate.  So just call us up and say, let me take the kids tomorrow...go visit with our parents for a bit...take our kids on a sleepover so it can just be a night for us as a couple...drop us a note in the mail that you're thinking of us...leave a bar of chocolate on our doorstep.  But don't ignore us.  Don't look at us with those eyes.  Because today is a stone for me, I'm asking for help but will the next person?