Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I love it when...

Quite often the little things in life are frustrating. Sometimes sarcasm helps...

I love it when I make muffins and the kids say they don't taste right. I insist that they are fine. And, after breakfast, I find the butter in the microwave.
I guess muffins that call for melted butter in the recipe don't taste the same without the butter.

I love it when I recognize someone when I am out but I only recognize them because they are a friend of a friend of mine on Facebook. I'm guessing it would really freak them out if I started talking to them. Most definitely, they would think I am strange.  It is kind of fun to imagine talking to them like I know them. Maybe I am strange.

I love it when I go out to the garage at 11 p.m only to discover the car door didn't shut correctly and the lights that go off automatically when the door shuts are just barely dim. It's best when the car battery is dead when my spouse is out of town. I guess I can call myself spontaneous. My reaction is certainly unpremeditated.

I love it when I realize that a person that I thought was quite a bit older than me is only 2 years older me. This has been happening more and more. I guess I am not as young as I think I am.

I love it when teachers do art projects with glitter. It's oh-so-pretty when the glitter is all over the counter and floor. It's extra special when it's a Christmas gift because you get to enjoy that glitter for a long, long time. I guess it is just the gift that keeps on giving.

I love it when people plan birthday parties during the Super Bowl. It's best when it's a kindergarten age party because those kids really don't understand why parents would want to watch the game instead of go to a place to play arcade games. With tears running down her beautiful face, my daughter said, "But, but, friends are more important than a show...friends are more important than a game." I keep checking the invitation and reconfirming that the party is in the middle of the game, at a local arcade. I guess I am not going to get a 'you're the best mom in the planet' compliment for a while.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sweet words

I have a box of letters that my husband wrote to me when we were dating. The letters are precious to me.  Texting has ruined changed that for kids today.

...except when you are in 3rd grade and you don't text.

My son doesn't care about the letter, doesn't think it is necessary to write back and didn't say anything to the girl at school. I told him he should at least tell her he liked the letter.

Such sweet words! Such a sweet age.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

But how do I know it's safe?

On Saturday, we took the family to Tahoe to go sledding. I went for a run first thing in the morning and my husband packed up what we would need for the trip. In retrospect, we should have packed the night before. It took us a while to get everything together and we got a later start than we planned. As a result, instead of bringing packed lunches, we decided to grab some lunch after we arrived in Tahoe City.

We pulled into a parking spot, with hungry kids raring to go sledding. My husband was hungry. I was hungry. We all jumped out of the car. Okay, getting out of the car was a medley of energy levels and emotions. I was standing outside of the car explaining what we needed to do before we could sled when I heard my husband say, "Grab that!" As I looked up across the car in his direction, I was vaguely aware that the automatic van door was closing. Sure enough, our keys were locked in the car. Safe inside our locked car were our gloves, my boots, my daughter's ponytail holder, my son's medical bag, my daughter's coat, chapstick and more.

My husband started the process of getting a locksmith (thank you, AAA) and I took the kids into the cafĂ© to see what we could get for lunch. Much of the menu was Mexican fanfare. There were also hotdogs, chili dogs and a few other items as choices. My husband darted in and out, obviously wanting to make sure that everything was in order. Then, he ordered food for the kids. My ten year old son who has a peanut allergy wanted a bowl of chili (he hates hotdogs).

"But how do I know it's safe?"

My husband talked to the lady at the counter. She said she thought it was fine but that she would call the kitchen. She called the kitchen. They determined it was safe for someone with a peanut allergy. She told my husband that there were no peanuts or peanut products in the chili. They do use peanuts in the kitchen but they are not near the chili.

My husband ordered my son the chili.

He then went back outside to wait for the locksmith to arrive to unlock the car. When the kids' food arrived, I picked it up at the counter and got the kids what they needed.

My son wasn't eating.

 "But how do I know it's safe?"

I wasn't a part of the conversation about the peanut products so I relayed that Daddy had checked about the chili being safe. He still wouldn't eat. When my husband came in for a few minutes, I asked him to talk to my son about the chili. He told him the whole story, including the part about them having peanuts for some desserts in the kitchen.

My son wanted to know how that was different than eating something that is made on the same equipment as peanuts.

Before my husband went back out to the car, he tried to assure my son that he felt comfortable letting him eat the chili.

My son didn't feel comfortable.

"But, Momma, how do I know it's safe?

So, I set the chili aside. I went to the counter. We ordered a bean and rice burrito, which was made to order, on the front grill, behind the counter. Again, I asked about peanuts. I asked about the beans being used in the burrito. Again, the lady called the kitchen.

My peanut allergic son had a bean and rice burrito for lunch. After a minute or two, he said, "This is really good."

My husband and I exchanged a look when he came back in the diner. It was a knowing look.

I couldn't tell my son the chili was safe. In truth, I never know if something we are getting when we are out to eat is safe for him to eat. After all, just the other day, I discovered that a can of beans that I had previously bought had a peanut warning on them.

But, while I can't say with certainty a food is safe. I can be extra careful. I can be vigilant. I have spent the last 8 years teaching him to take every precaution. If he feels unsure, if there is any doubt, if he isn't comfortable... he shouldn't eat the food.

"But, how do I know it's safe?"

I cannot tell him his food is safe. There are too many unknowns (like allergen labeling not being required on food labels). I will continue to teach him to take every precaution and to trust his instinct. As such, I am thankful I didn't force him to eat food that I bought when he was not comfortable. I am thankful for the experience. He continues to be vigilant. I continue to learn.

Oh ya, and that Epipen in locked in the car? We would have broken the window to get it if it was need. My husband and I discussed that before we ordered.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Unexpected worship

Last Sunday, the stained glass cross at the front of the church was vibrant with the light from outside. It struck me as beautiful. The large opened Bible placed on a podium was lit with color from the light shining through the stained glass windows on the other wall of the church. It was striking. It caused me to pause and appreciate the beauty.

It was beautiful. I realized that even as the tears of heartache were in my eyes.

My experience at church wasn't what I expected that day. I had longed to be there. It felt like it had been too long. So much had happened during the week. The last few days I truly looked forward to church.

And then when I got there, I felt a surge of emotion I didn't expect feel. It wasn't sadness. But, it was. It wasn't happiness. But, it was.

All week I prayed. I have prayed on my knees. And I don't even know what I think about being like that, but I was at that very point of desperation. The place where getting on my knees just happened. I would venture to say that I haven't prayed this hard since my dad had his stroke 10 years ago. We just really didn't know if my brother-in-law would make it. He "isn't out of the woods" yet.

Anyway, at church, I expected to feel invigorated. I expected to feel filled.
I didn't expect to feel the emotion that I felt. It was all I could do not to cry. I cried. But the tears didn't slip away from my eyes.

All week I have asked and begged and pleaded for God to heal Josh.

Josh is in ICU after having a pulmonary embolism. The long of it is that he had sepsis from some infection he probably contracted from an appendectomy he had a couple of months ago. The infection caused blood to coagulate and he had bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms. He has kidney problems that probably stem from the sepsis. He's strong but he's been struggling to live.

I've been in this continual pleading stage with God. And being in church on Sunday, I found it both difficult and amazing to worship. It was a different kind of worship.

I believe God is in control and all powerful.
He knows my heart.
To worship him when my current heart's desire is outstanding was difficult. It was also right.

And so I found a way to worship. I found I way to focus on God, his creation and how amazing life is.

This life is so precious. So fragile. Fleeting.  It's incomprehensible how we are- how we all exist in the first place. I cannot stop myself from marveling at all that life is.

Worship was not what I expected but it was the most heart-wrenching worship I have experienced in long time.  And that makes it beautiful.

Perhaps the best worship isn't what we expect. It isn't the music or an emotion filled elation. Worship is when we adore God. That can happen at the best of times and at the darkest of times. It can happen in our neediest hour. Sometimes adoration becomes deeper when heartache is present.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

A New Year's Tree

This year, I surprised the kids with a New Year's Tree. It was such a fun way to celebrate.

On the eve of New Year's Eve, my husband and I took everything off of the Christmas tree and redecorated it.

Our Christmas tree became our New Year's tree. It was a New Year's Eve surprise for the kids.

The kids had no idea that that balloons had surprises inside. After dinner, we told each child to get a balloon. To make it simple, I had 4 of each color and I knew what was inside each color of balloons. So, the first time I told them to grab a white balloon, I knew they would all get jokes.

Some of the balloons had jokes. Some of the balloons had money. We opened balloons throughout the night.

They loved it.

A couple of my kids do not like popping balloons. To get around that, my husband had them throw up their balloon and he would pop it with a pin.

All four kids thought the New Year's tree was fantastic. It was a fun (not to mention cheap) way to celebrate with the kids at home. It also made taking off the ornaments a lot less sad. We will be doing this year after year.

Happy 2014!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Thursday Thanks Tank #200

Well, this #200 Thanks Tank has been a long time coming.

Today I am thankful for my brother-in-law, Josh.

I most certainly met Josh in Kindergarten. It's possible we met at church before that but I can't remember that far back. Besides, I have a picture from Kindergarten:

Weren't we cute? It's hard to imagine that I was sharing crayons with my future husband's brother. 

We were also in 1st grade together. (The picture says 2nd grade but so does the next year's picture. They mislabeled this one- or I skipped first grade and repeated 2nd grade twice.)

We went through school together. We went to the same church. We went to youth group together and on youth church trips. 

In fact, it wasn't until I was a senior in high school that I noticed his little brother. 

A week ago, Josh almost died. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and he has been in ICU all week.
While he isn't awake yet, he is improving every day.

I am thankful that Josh is alive- So very, very thankful.
I am thankful that his parents (my in-laws) drove out to see him when they heard he wasn't well. They literally saved his life by being there and calling for an ambulance. They drove from TN to CO because they felt like they needed to be there. They were so right.
I am thankful for Josh being such a great dad to his boys (age 12, 10, and 7). He is essentially a single dad. While he shares custody with his ex-wife, he has the boys M-F. He is such an involved, caring dad.
I am thankful for Josh being a good big brother to my husband and their other 3 siblings. I love listening to family stories. Those kids had a lot of fun growing up together.
I am thankful for the doctors that have been working and with Josh.
I am thankful for the nurses who have been taking care of Josh.
I am thankful that my husband and his other 3 siblings could all travel to be with Josh.
I am thankful for the many people who are praying for Josh.
I am thankful for the prayer. So many people are praying for Josh. I pray longingly and with deep heartache but I have to say, I am touched by the simple, sweet prayers that my children offer each night for Josh.
I am thankful for Josh.
I am so very thankful he is alive. If you will, be praying for him

Monday, January 06, 2014

Run happy

At the beginning of 2013 I set some fitness goals for myself. One of my goals was to run a 5k race.

On March 17, 2013, I ran my first 5k race. It felt amazing.
I proceeded to become enamored with running.
I love running now. It is my favorite hobby. In fact, "rest" days are hard. I miss running. My husband thinks I am a bit addicted. I am. It's crazy.

On October 13, 2013, I ran my first half marathon.
It felt amazing. Really.
I couldn't believe I did it.

Running has become a pastime of mine. I feel good- great- after a run.The more I run, the better I feel. I enjoy running. It isn't about speed, although, I love improving my time. I can't even explain it to myself. I don't know why I am enjoying it so much, but I am. Running feels good. The better I feel, the more I want to run. I feel better about myself than I have felt in years.

My 12 year old took up running this year, too. After a race or two of mine, he asked if he could start running. We began running together. He ran his first 5k in June. We ran that race together. We ran several races together this year. He race five 5ks between June and the end of the year. He ran a 5k when I was running my half marathon. It was special to have him there with me at the end of the race. He ran cross-country at his middle school in the fall. He loved it. I don't know which 2013 race was my favorite but I can tell you, I love running with my 12 year old. We have a connection that we didn't have before. The best part- the part that warms my heart- is after each run we do together, he talks. He talks and talks and talks- he talks to me. My 12 year old is my quietest child. We have many conversations where I am asking questions and he is simply answering me. Except after a run. After a run, for some reason, he just talks. And I love it.

I love running.
I love the connection it has created between me and my pre-adolescent son.
It makes me happy.

Here we are during our on 4 mile New Year's Eve run- our last run of 2013.

Friday, January 03, 2014

A Mighty Mammogram

I had my first mammogram on New Year's Eve 2013. My mom has told me numerous times that you should start getting mammograms when you are 40. I wish I could say that I was that on top of it and that's why I had a mammogram. I am never, ever, ever prompt. I did not decide to get a mammogram because I turned 40. I had a concern and it is was the kind of concern that required a mammogram.
I was very nervous. I googled mammograms and had some idea of what to expect.
They did the mammogram. Numerous images of my smashed girls.
Then they did an ultra sound.
I waited in a really nicely decorated room compared to everything else in the breast center. I waited to talk to a doctor.
And then... the nurse came in and said the doctor wanted to do a few more mammogram images.
My nerves latched on to some kind of invisible ping pong ball and bounced out of control.
The images were taken.
The doctor talked to me.
All is well.
I will have a recheck in six months.

The mammogram wasn't as bad (painful) as I expected. There were a few takes that were very uncomfortable. The experience that was the most unnerving was imagining going through it and getting bad news like several of my friends have. I couldn't stop imagining their heartache. It tore me up inside.

It was mighty unnerving- the whole process of getting a mammogram to determine if there is a problem.
The mammogram machine was mighty. I looked at that thing with mutual distain and respect.
I am grateful for the people that work in clinics like that. I don't know how they do it. I know how I felt. They were professional and kind. Mighty kind.

40 just happened to be the time I needed to get a mammogram. I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't needed to. I will go again in 6 months.
The experience left me wanting to take care of myself and stay on top of my health (medical check ups and what-not's).

My two cents- If you haven't had a mammogram, go ahead and do it. Don't wait until you are really nervous about the results. Don't wait and never do it. Take care of your health (checkups included). That's something I am going to do this year.  Looking forward to that oh-so-enjoyable pap smear next week...

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Journal: Jan 1, 2014

This year I am going to journal.  From time to time, I may share an entry. For no good reason, of course.

January 1, 2014

Josh is in the ICU after having two pulmonary embolisms. We do not know if he will make it. It has been a long, worrisome day. Seth flew to Colorado tonight to be with Josh and the family. It was the worst kind of New Year's Day. On the way to the airport, Seth and I discussed our fears and sadness. We verbally recognized how fragile life is.

I had already decided that 2014 needed to be different than 2013 with regards to my commitment to God and being faithful. This awareness of life and the possibility of death chills me to the bone.

I also want to make the most of every moment. Not only do I want to be real with others; I want to be more thankful. I lost sight of this in 2013.

Tonight I am thankful for:
  • family. specifically, my in-love family. that is the family I gained when I married. My best friend calls her in-laws her in-loves. It's perfect.
  • prayer and those who pray. It is a time for prayer- intercession. Prayer is comforting and hopeful.
What else am I thankful for? It seems like I should have a list of significant, powerful items.
Everything matters.
*texts from my sister *a fire in the fireplace *a weeks' groceries bought *the love of a mother *a dishwasher *a phone call *a safe flight *chocolate *no commitments in the morning *doctors *hospitals *intuition and *Josh

Josh was in my kindergarten class. I married his younger brother. I know how brothers are. I am thankful he is my husband's older brother.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A New Year. A New Day. A New Song

Last night, I had a festive family celebration planned for New Year's Eve. But in the middle of the family movie we were watching, we received word that my husband's brother was in the ICU and had two pulmonary embolisms. My children were laughing and giddy. My husband's eyes were intermittently filling with tears. It was surreal. Somehow, we managed to let the kids stay up late and countdown the final countdown to the new year. I got the kids in bed while my husband communicated with family back east.

I do not know what this year holds. A new year. Full of promise. Full of unknowns.

I was reminded that I do not know what tomorrow holds. A new day. Full of unknowns.

I have many wishes and desires for this 2014 year.
But today my heart is full of concern for my family. I am prayerful that my brother-in-law will pull through and heal. I am praying for my husband who left to be with the family. I am praying for my mom-in-law and father-in-law and sister-in-law and other brothers-in-law. I am longing for this to be over and for everything to be alright. I am hoping. I am praying.

I have hope.
I am trying to be patient and the only way I know to do that is to continue in constant prayer.
Romans 12:12 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

 A new year has come. This year, I am going to give God the glory for everything good in my life. Like hope. And prayer. And family.
I am going to be authentic, open, and real with everyone as I consistently fill my days with thanksgiving. I will sing a new song.

Psalm 96:1-2
 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.