Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

So, it's been a little bit since I last blogged.  I had so wanted wanted to pour out my feelings on a regular basis here, but I have discovered that some of the feels that I feel aren't really ready to pour out yet!

So I've just been quietly busy, behind the scenes....  attempting to fill her shoes!

As you can see I've done a little redecorating here.  I think Mom would like it!  But Mom would be the first to tell you that whenever I have something to do, I will use every stall tactic in the world ...  mostly reorganizing and redecorating!

She always compared me to the comic strip, Cathy, because of that very thing!
Every time she would call and ask what I was doing, the answer always seemed to be the same...  "Organizing"

One would think with as much organizing as I was doing, my house would be immaculately sorted.  Unfortunately, it's not, and the worst part is now Mom can see my house at any point she choosed to peek down and check on us.  Yikes!  

So, I've been "organzing" to prepare to get ready to post in the blog after way too long...  So prepare to be inundated with the feels I've been feeling!

Today is Mother's Day and there are a couple of things that I think would make her day!  I realize we have to work very hard to make anything as glorious as what she is experiencing now, but these things I think add to the stuff of Heaven around her now...

First, Mom made it clear that she loved me at all times...  but if there was one thing she would change about me it would be my weight.  And not for any reason other than she wanted me to be healthy.  Especially when she became ill, my health, and the way my weight was affecting it became even more of a cause for her.  

I don't know what happened to me.  I never had an issue with my weight, (except if you count pregnancy weight, but an 11 pound baby tends to come with baggage!)  I can't blame my current weight on babies though, because I lost all my baby weight quickly.  All I know, is at some point, my metabolism packed up and left..  probably for a quieter stress free life on the beach.  And all I was left with was sneaking pounds that latched on and wouldn't leave.  

Mom used to bribe me..  "If you lose weight, I will take you shopping for new clothes!"  And that was my carrot that was dangled in front of me for years!  Had I ever put down the chocolate and grabbed that carrot, Mom could have actually seen me achieve her goal for me!  

January  2012.  Mom had just left for her Heavenly home, and I was committed to losing weight for her.  But you know, grief affects people differently, and apparently it causes me to expand, so instead of losing weight in honor of my mom, I gained.  Wrong Direction.  

Take 2..  January 2013.  My brothers and I made a pact on New Year's Eve.  We all downloaded My Fitness Pal onto our phones and became Fitness Friends.  We were in this together.  My brother's took off, never missing a day of entering their stats.  Mike was the first to see amazing results.  Mark did as well.  I was organizing.

But eventually, I stopped organizing and started working.  With the help of my health conscience and exercise addicted son, Dillon I am well on my way to where mom wanted me to be.  Healthy!  As of today, (Mother's Day)  I have lost almost 24 pounds!  

And as for Mom's bribe...I don't know if I've ever mentioned her taste in clothes!  FABULOUS!  And she left me a whole closet... A whole wardrobe!  Of course everything was at least 2 sizes too small, but yesterday, for the first time, I wore a pair of her skinny jeans!!!  Happy Mother's Day Momma!

And while I know that makes her happy, the next thing makes her heart melt.

Daddy told me that one thing my mom said about her illness was that if it makes all her kids closer, then it was worth it.  Not that we were ever NOT close, but we were all just very busy with our own very busy different lives.  We would all see each other at holidays and a few days in between, but for the most part our paths were just different and didn't connect all that much.  

When Mom got sick, our paths converged.  We spoke regularly, checked up on each other, made sure we were all up to minute in news...  we became closer.  And Mom saw it.  And it was good.  

When Mom knew that we were good to take care of each other and of Daddy, she was able to leave her chains here and went on to experience complete healing...  And my brothers and I became even closer.  

I will never forget sitting at the funeral home with my friends during visitation while a video I had made for Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary played.  I heard Mark telling several people how I had put the video together and what a good job I had done, and it struck me.  I had always thought that he thought I was just a goofy, flighty girl.  But he seemed kind of proud of me.    I know mom saw that too... and she was proud.

Since then we have all worked together, taking care of Daddy, and each other.   Now that the economy has hit us hard, Mark has helped my little family by bragging about Jim's skills and getting him hired for several projects. And here are many stories I could tell, but this is a blog after all, and not a novel.  But I have to share this most recent story.

This past week, we had reached the point where, despite scrimping and saving and tightening the belt to the point that it was cutting off circulation, we had ran out of paycheck before we ran out of bills.  I made a lighthearted quip about it on facebook which Gina pressed me on.  The next thing I knew, Mike was at my door, with money to pay the bill to keep the lights on.  He told me that it from him and Mark and they were just helping their little sister.

And I know that lights are brilliant in Heaven in a way that we can't imagine here, but I'm sure that in that moment, all Heaven turned towards Mom because she was beaming brightest of all.  

You did a great job Mom!  It's difficult but I am going to do my best to fill your shoes!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Lights

It’s that time of year.  It’s hard to tell by the light of day, but once the sun sets, you can’t miss it.  Hundreds, Thousands and in some places , millions of tiny little lights twinkle and dance and generally take your breath away. 

These radiant little bulbs remind me quite a bit of this past year.

Life used to be easy.  I usually got what I wanted, and even if I didn't know it at the time, as I look back I realize I never really wanted for anything.  I don’t think my dad or my brothers would argue the fact that I may have been a tad bit spoiled.   As I grew up, life didn't really change in that respect.  I married an amazing guy that was all too willing to continue spoiling me and make my life as perfect as possible. 
But things happen.  Economies fail.  Jobs are in short supply.  Times get tough.  For the past several years our feast has slowly turned to famine.  And all the things I thought were important fell by the wayside.   I learned the obvious lesson that things are just things.  And I honestly never missed “things”.  I had my family and that was all I needed.

But I've now lost so much more than things.  Still reeling from the loss of my lovely mother in law, and devastated from the untimely passing of my brother in law, this past year I lost my role model, my best friend, my sounding board, my advice columnist… I lost my mom. 

And my world turned dark.  I cried until there were no more tears, and then I cried tearless sobs.  And then my beautiful little grandmother went to be with my mom.   And no amount of begging and pleading could right what was so wrong.  Begging and pleading had always been so effective in my younger years, but not so much in this case. 

Next, my husband’s new job fell victim to the economy and we fell off the fiscal cliff long before many knew it even existed.    And it was even darker at the bottom of that cliff than I could have imagined.
It was then that I started to notice things, things that I took for granted before.   Much like Christmas lights in the daylight.  You are aware they are there, but it is impossible to appreciate how truly beautiful they are, without the darkness surrounding them.

I noticed how desperately my husband adores me and the kids.  I noticed how my boys make me laugh every day, and not just a giggle here, a giggle there, but sidesplitting, fall to the floor bouts of laughter.   I noticed how amazing my brothers are and I noticed how strong my Daddy is, even when he doesn’t see it himself, which I think is part of his strength.   I noticed how blessed I am to have the friends I have and I realized with a new understanding of just how faithful God is to me in every little thing. 

And in the darkness that my world had become, tiny little beams of light began to shine bright.  Don’t get me wrong.  Those lights were always there, but they were lost in the brightness of everything else.  Things that would barely catch my attention before, now catch me off guard and make my heart swell with joy.    And I now know that I would rather have great joy over little things, than have little joy over great things.

I used to think I was God’s favorite… everything went my way.  Then my world fell apart.  And now I know that I’m a favorite child because He allowed me to see things in a new light.  He made a way for me to feel His love and experience His faithfulness in a way I never have before.  And if life is measured by happiness instead of things, I’m terrifically rich, just like good ol’ George Bailey.   

Even while we wait patiently for my husband to find a job, we are blessed with miracle after miracle that keeps the bills paid.  Beautiful white lights shine.

Even though we miss Mom more than words can say, we find comfort in each other and continue to grow closer than we have ever been.  Crimson lights beam.

And this Christmas might be light on gifts but it will be heavy on memories.. like dancing in the kitchen while we make cookies; like singing a Christmas carol for a group of people who are experiencing their own darkness…  and getting stuck in an elevator while doing it; like putting up a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree this year because that just seemed so appropriate.  Indigo blue radiates through the dark.
All the colors..  green and purple and yellow and pink…  a rainbow of dancing hues that seem to shine brighter the darker it gets.

And so I focus on the light, and never the darkness.  And one day, when one of my loved ones find themselves in the dark, I pray that I can be a light to them as so many are to me right now.

It only takes a tiny light to pierce the darkness but there can never be enough darkness to snuff out the light.

Merry Christmas!  And may your New Year be filled with a glow of a million little lights you never noticed before!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Boys

It's so very close to Thanksgiving and there is so much work that needs to be happening in my kitchen right now, but I have to take a second and write about how much I am thankful for these two guys!  They are my world!

If life had gone according to my plans, I would be writing and producing films..  maybe even  have a couple of Oscars by now....  but I am so thankful that I wasn't calling the shots on this one.

These two you see pictured above are by far the best things I could ever have "produced"!  They are my masterpiece productions!

Cody, my oldest, is amazing.  He is my Shooter Jennings look-alike, but even with all his rebel long hair and bushy beard.. (remember, this is No Shave November)  he has the most gentle and compassionate spirit of anyone I have ever met.

Cody and I serve at Chat Hosts at LifeChurch.TV Church Online.  I love when someone comes to the chat room with really heavy questions and he answers them with wisdom that defies his 19 years.  Others will come to chat to stir up trouble and he is able to deal with them in a kind way that let's them know that while their antics aren't appreciated they are more than welcome!  He has changed lives by allowing himself to be used by God!

Cody has taught me that life isn't about what you can't do, but what you can do!  He is a program director at a wonderfully innovative new school called Element.  He is passionate about not allowing kids to be limited by their "labels" but rather celebrating what they do best.  He knows from experience.  His own autism spectrum diagnosis never limited him.  He is a gifted writer and a budding musician and has an inner joy that can't be contained.  I want to be like him when I grow up!

Dillon is my baby but sometimes he just seems older and wiser than me.  He certainly bosses me around in the kitchen...  (Maybe I should just set him loose with all the baking that must be done before tomorrow and I will take it easy!)

I always speak about Dillon being a present day King David.  He is a deep thinker and has the emotional range you see when you read the Psalms.  He is a man after God's own heart and has a heart for worship.  True worship.  He doesn't want to perform for man, he wants to worship God and when he does, the Spirit falls and it's palpable.

Dillon's only weakness, well, besides being allergic to dogs, which he loves, is he is a perfectionist.  He gets frustrated easily when he is not the best at what he sets out to do..  Fortunately, he has channeled this into a positive, and as a result plays several musical instruments and, even as we speak, he is working on perfecting his sketching techniques.

My boys can make the worst days better, and the best days brilliant.  They make me collapse in laughter and beam with pride.

I will be forever thankful and amazed that God trusted Jim and I with these two!  

This is what I was meant to do!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I have posted many things I am thankful for this month,although not as many as I had planned to due to the fact that trying to survive what must have been the Spanish Flu strain of the Bubonic Plague tends to give one writer's block.

I have waited until today to write of he whom I am most especially thankful for, not because he wasn't the first one I thought of, but because today is his birthday, so it seemed appropriate!

Today my groom turns 52, and he has been my groom for over 20 years now.

We have been through so much together...  from the highest highs and victorious victories to the lowest of lows facing unimaginable loss.  He has been by my side through thick and thin, and I will stay by his side for whatever is coming next.

He is my very best friend.

He is an amazing father.

He is quite possibly the hardest worker I have ever known.

He refuses to ever do anything the easy way.

He thinks so far outside the box, I am not sure he is aware that the box exists.

He makes music.  And he makes songs.  And he makes the things that make music.  And when he sings one of his songs to me, playing a guitar that he has built, I admit that I swoon a little.

And although I swoon when he sings to me, I get positively weepy when he sings to God.  He has a heart for worship and there is nothing he wants to do more than praise God with every breathe of his day.  And he has passed that on to our boys.

I can't imagine that God could ever have created a better man for me to spend the rest of my life with.

I am thankful that he was born 52 years ago today, and that he found his way to me.  And I'm thankful that I get to spend the rest of my days looking into his blue eyes, hearing him sing,and  laughing at his quirky sense of humor.

It may be his birthday, but I'm the one who got the gift!

I love you Sweetie!  Happy Birthday! I love you!  Always!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


First of all, I am thankful to be back in the blogging seat after being entirely to sick to even lift my fingertips to type! I am thankful for NyQuil and Antibiotics and cough syrup with a touch of codeine!  And I am most thankful for having a nearly cough free day today!

But that's not the subject of this Thankful post.  Today I am thankful for the amazing marriage my parents had that I have been able to use as a model for what I want my marriage to be.

Yesterday, November 14th, was their anniversary.  And it was the first anniversary they have spent apart, but Mom did make an appearance!

We ordered a pizza and spent the evening with Daddy watching old home movies.   My beautiful Mom was smiling and young and healthy, probably very much like she looks right now in Heaven.  Daddy did very well, although his eyes tend to leak when he sees his bride.  He has always adored her!  

It got closer to bedtime and we were saying our goodbyes on the front lawn.  The air was chilly, the skies were clear and stars were amazingly bright.  

Daddy, Jim, the boys and I were all staring at the Big Dipper, discussing the how north the North Star really was when all of the sudden a huge, unmistakable, brilliant shooting star soared across the sky.. right where we were all looking.  

And so that was how Mom wished Daddy a Happy Anniversary!

I wrote the following after Mom's first cancer battle.   It is a wonderful picture of the marriage I witnessed growing up and for that, I will be forever thankful!

The Dance

They were teenagers in the 50’s, the decade of sock hops and dance marathons. They married and started their family in the 60’s, the decade of dancing to the beat of your own drum. They have probably danced hundreds of thousands of dances together, but it was one dance that caught my heart. It was one dance that showed me what love was.

I don’t remember mom and dad being terribly demonstrative when I was growing up. I take that back, Daddy was. I remember vividly the whoosh of his recliner as it returned to its upright position. I remember him displaying his most exaggerated pucker lips as he left his chair and crawled on his hands and knees to where my mom was napping on the couch. He would smooch the air, until she woke up, took one look at him, and playfully demanded that he leave her alone. He was comically flirty, she fittingly coy. And this was their dance.

` They knew each other so well, they could anticipate each other’s steps. Mom instinctively knew just how Daddy would lead, and she would follow. They danced through life, having children, watching them grow and giving them up to new dance partners. Grandchildren came and with them came even more dancing - Goofy grandparent dancing. Their music was the joys of life. Sometimes the beat was slow and steady… sometimes a bit frantic and overwhelming but they always danced with grace no matter what life’s soundtrack brought.

To tell the truth I never really caught on that their life, their love was a dance. It wasn’t until a new more sinister beat began to echo. My dad heard it first. The doctor told him it was prostate cancer that had spread to the bone. The pain was unimaginable, and it stilled him for a bit. Mom put all her energy into taking care of him and it worked. He was soon crawling across the floor to the couch where she lay resting; blowing exaggerated kisses until she woke up and the dancing began again.

But just like a bad song on the radio, the sinister music hadn’t played out. And this time my mom was caught up in the beat. Multiple Myeloma brought more unimaginable pain. And it was then that I began to understand the dance.

Mom was truly in so much pain that she could hardly breathe, let alone move, but she had to move. As she stood up, pain hit her body so hard she couldn’t go anymore. She stood there weeping, unable to take another step and unable to sit back down. Daddy wrapped his arms around her. I thought he was simply going to help her get moving again, but he just stood there holding her. And after a few minutes, I realized he wasn’t just holding her… he was swaying with her. She relaxed and followed his lead. For several minutes they danced to some sweet melody that only they could hear. He had danced this dance before.. He knew the pain. And he was taking the lead now, holding her tight and not allowing death to cut in. He knew there was more dancing to be done and he was not willing to give up his dance partner.

I cherish the memory of this moment, and I thank God that I got to witness it. It was true love and true romance and true fight, this love that dances no matter the music.

Monday, November 5, 2012


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything"  ~ James 1:2-4

James pretty much lays it on the line here!  We are to be thankful when we encounter troubles and so I'm being obedient to scripture today and announcing to all how thankful I am for Mondays!

I am particularly thankful that this is Monday evening and it is almost over!  Whew!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's been a  long week.  Cody is teaching, and Dillon is doing school outside the home for the first time ever.  I am constantly on the move, between teaching at Element, and working for our landlord.  Friday afternoons is the time to relax and say...  oh, wait.. yeah, there is no relaxing..  Turns out the weekends are just as busy as the weekdays.

Saturday is filled with all those chores that didn't get done through the week, followed by an evening of great music at Harmonic Souls...   Then Sunday morning is spent at Driven where Jim and Dillon are on the worship team.  Sunday afternoon is spent at LifeChurch Broken Arrow Campus where Cody and I serve on the Host team.    It's a busy, busy weekend but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

On this first weekend of Thankful November, I am thankful for weekends.  Because it's when I get to see my guys do this..... .