Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day!

I absolutely LOVE snow days.  I don't know if it's a throw back to being a kid, but I get just giddy when I hear the words "school closure."  Likely I still love snow days for the same reason as I did when I was a kid -- there is nothing like being able to punch off the alarm and bury myself back into my warm bed.  Sigh.  I actually did snow angels in my bed this morning out of sheer joy.  Ahhh...the simple things.  

The kids were thrilled, too.  Ben kept stalking the windows last night, grumbling at the clear skies.  He was desperate for a day off.  I think we all were.  Life has been a series of scrambles for two years.  This week represents the first lull in activity we have had.  The snow day seemed to usher in a whole new sense of calm in our lives.  A welcome relief to crammed schedules and details to work out.

We finally finished fixing up the rental and officially have renters.  We are really excited about the family that decided to rent from us.  It's a lovely young couple with a very sweet baby.  We feel so blessed to have them!  Hopefully we can be a blessing back to them.  What a relief and answer to prayer this has been. 

So, now without the house to fix up, we find ourselves with (gasp) free time.  We are all looking forward to getting some rest and enjoying doing some things we want to do...rather than have to do.  For me that means catching up on my reading list, getting back into my work out routine, and breaking out my cookbooks (the last two things go together).  My poor kids have been subject to way too many meals that are thrown together last minute.   If it weren't for Lil, my mom, and Debbie Mayer, my kids would have thought scrambled eggs and broiled meat were the new norm.  Thank you for spoiling us! 

Well, I'm off.  I've actually got a real dinner in the oven and a movie to watch with the kids.   Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.   We are so blessed by all of you!

With love and gratitude...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Remembering

I woke up Saturday morning to familiar sounds coming from the kitchen.  It was the sound of muffled footsteps.  The water was boiling, the cupboard where the coffee is kept was opened and closed,  and then mugs coming out of another cupboard.  These are all normal sounds that used to come from my kitchen on a weekend morning.  I wasn't completely awake -- somewhere in that state where you hover between the real world and the dream world -- where reality hasn't quite made a complete upload into the brain.  For a few blissful moments I was listening with contentment to my husband trying to be quiet as he made coffee on Saturday morning.  I startled awake at that point.  For another second I wondered if the last two years of my life were simply a nightmare....a very long nightmare....from which I was finally waking up.  Could it be that it was all a horrible dream and that at that moment Marc was in the kitchen doing his usual morning routine?

No.

As I fully awoke I remembered my brother and sister-in-law had spent the night to help the kids with a project.  Paul was up and making tea for himself.  I was back in the real world.  I sighed and rolled over, irritated with myself for forgetting the reality of my life. What a let down.  I looked outside.  The weather reflected my emotions -- foggy, gray, dreary.  Sigh. 

It's been a hard couple of weeks.  I hate days and weeks that I can remember exactly where I was a year ago.  Two years ago.  This week is not my favorite.  Marc was diagnosed two years ago this week.  A year ago we were in Washington D.C., hearing that Marc was not a candidate for surgery.  Our  hopes were dashed and our options diminishing.  I can remember all the emotions and anguish so clearly.  Remembering is hard.  I don't like it.

I heard this week from a dear friend.  His wife has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  As I read his email I just sat and cried.  Another, "Why Lord?"  moment.  I don't get it.  I wrestled with that question all night, knowing my friends were likely asking the same question.  The next day I had a chance to talk with my friend.  Listening to him talk was like hearing an echo of myself two years ago.  Every horrid emotion came rushing back.  One would think after enduring Marc's cancer and losing him to that monster that I would have something helpful to say.  I didn't.  There are no words.  I was suddenly in that position that so many of you have been in with us -- wanting to DO something.  Wanting to say something, anything, that would bring comfort.  There is nothing I can do to fix it.  It made me mad.  I have learned the difficult art of empathy.  My heart hurts for my friends.  It isn't fair.

Would you pray for them?  I am not going to share their names.  God knows who they are.   Like Marc and myself, they are private people.  They will need time to process all of this and to figure out when and how they will share their news.  It isn't mine to share.  But, I know many of you that visit us here have been praying for my family for months and years.  Many of you often ask how you can be praying for me.  Well, could you include them in your prayers for me?  Please pray for her as she battles this cancer.  Let her be an amazing statistic!  Pray for her husband as he walks with her through this.  Pray strength, grace, courage, and peace, for both of them.   I know that they will shine in all of this.  Pray for their kids.  Draw them all closer.

While I am somewhat resentful of this week and all of its bad news and memories, I am hopeful that the gloom will pass.  I wish I could go back and tell myself two years ago that I wouldn't always be hysterically crying on the bathroom floor.  I would tell that girl that God is faithful and he provides more than she could imagine.  I would explain that He would provide strength and courage when needed in the darkest of hours.   I would name her friends and family and how they all would help carry her burden through that dark valley.  She would not be forsaken.  I would tell her she would find joy and peace again.  No, she would still have moments of fear and anguish, but that there would be hope for tomorrow.  I would tell myself not to give up and to keep fighting.  Marc will need her to keep fighting.  The fight will be so worth it.  I don't know that I would tell her how it ends.  Only God knew that at the time.  He doesn't play odds or statistics.  He knows how the story goes and has it all under control.  I would tell her that she simply needs to trust...It will be okay.

Thanks again to all of you that continue to support and encourage us.  We have needed it this week.  You are all an amazing blessing to us.

With love and gratitude....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beauties!

Julia the Fairy and Sophie the Butterfly
Flowers courtesy of Uncle Paul and Uncle Jim --
Way to make the girls feel special, guys!  Thanks!


My girls were recently in the play, Alice in Wonderland.  They performed with their ballet classes.  While January was quite hectic, this was a nice way to top off the month.  The girls did a great job, as did all of the kids in the production.  Of course, I forgot to put the memory card in my camera for the occasion.  Ugh.  My sister-in-law, Ofelia, was nice enough to take some fun photos.  Thanks, Sis!

Me and my girly-girls.  I don't know where they get it from :)

Back off!  Don't mess with a girl and her flowers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Humility 101

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

Julia's teacher had brought to my attention last week that Julia was picking up the habit of exaggerating during their class news time.  This is when the children get to share what is going on in their lives outside of school and she was sharing some pretty interesting stories!  I talked to Julia about it and required her to apologize to the teacher for telling tall tales in class, threatening that if she continued she would have to apologize to the entire class.

I stopped into Mrs. Phillip's class on Thursday to check in and make sure the situation was resolved.  Come to find out, no, she hadn't apologized AND she had told another whopper!  Needless to say I was mortified that my sweet girl was persisting in lying.  Little did I know, I was about to be a lot more embarrassed. 

The following conversation went something like this....

"So, Julia shared in class that you were doing some work at the rental house this weekend and that you got frustrated and were using really bad language.  I brought her up to my desk to talk to her about exaggerating, but she was adamant that it was true." 

At this point I didn't know if I should start laughing or go hide.  "Well..." I sheepishly replied, "no....actually....this time she was telling the truth." 

I was flattered that Mrs. Phillips didn't think I was capable of such a horrible thing and thought that my daughter was telling a fib.  Once again, there is no denying it....I'm a far, far cry from perfect :) A little more tarnish on the ol' reputation!

Well, of course I used "bad" language.  I was at the rental house hanging blinds!  If you have ever hung mini blinds, you have sworn, too.  I'm sure of it.  After a day of doing yard work, and several repairs, I started hanging the blinds.  How hard could it be?  I mean it's just six screws.  After all the things I have figured out how to fix, mounting three brackets in a window and putting in six screws seemed like a cake walk.  Not so much. 

After two hours of dropping screws, dropping brackets, consulting directions written by someone that speaks English as a fifth language, and dropping the drill, I was finally finishing up the fourth of ten blinds I needed to hang.  As I went to pop the blind into place, I listened for that satisfying "click" that indicates that the blind is in place.  Instead, I heard a big twang followed by a clinking sound.  The last metal bracket had broken.  At that point I was done and I was mad.  My shoulder hurt, I was tired, and I was sooooo frustrated.  I uttered a loud "D--n it!"  and stomped into the kitchen.   Now, I have never uttered a true expletive in front of my children.  Despite how mad I was, I shouldn't have done it; however, even I wasn't prepared for the firestorm that ignited.

 Adam was in hysterics.

"Mom!  how could you?  I can't believe you said a swear word!"  This was all screamed at the top of his lungs, followed by lots of tears.  I felt terrible and apologized, asking for forgiveness.  Bad mommy moment #926,845.  Ugh.  I got him calmed down and then apologized to my other kids that were wide eyed, not sure what they should do.  I explained that mom is human and that I was so sorry.  I would try not to ever do it again.  They all forgave me and we packed it in for the day, realizing that unless I wanted to start cussing like a sailor that I should probably NEVER be dumb enough to try hanging mini blinds again.  (Dave was kind enough to rescue me this week and hung the rest of them....much to the relief of my kids.)

I thought that was the end of the story and the whole affair was behind me, but no.  My sweet daughter obviously hadn't forgotten the entire episode and thought it dramatic and worthy of sharing with her friends during news time at school.  Oh, joy.   Nothing like having children to keep you honest and accountable.  I guess every now and again we need a good lesson in humility.  I got mine this week :)

With love and gratitude....