Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A new resident in heaven

Absent from the body, present with the Lord. 
Tonight there is a new resident in heaven. Bittersweet. I find comfort in hearing she didn't appear to be in pain. Knowing that she was surrounded by some of the people who love her most. And in knowing that the whole process was relatively quick. I mean, as far as life being taken by cancer goes. 

But my heart grieves for her family left behind. Like it's breaking in two. And for all those who love her. And as tears slide down my cheeks, I wonder at how God's perfect plan allowed me to get to know her. 

I remember back when I didn't even know her name. But we often sat behind her and her family in church. One Sunday she turned around and told us that she just loved sitting in front of us because she loved to hear our voices as we sang.  Now, as singing voices go, I was in the high school choir, but my sister is the one that always got the compliments. Mine is more of an extra voice to tentatively add to many others. Except in Ellen's opinion. She loved to hear us sing. 

Then a year ago, we were approached about starting a multigenerational small group. We said okay. But I was never envisioning a couple in their 70's and another in their 80's. That was a bit more multigenerational than I was thinking. God had another plan though. Through this small group, I got to know Ellen and her family. I got to hear the wisdom from all these other couples with more life experience that me. And I realized what a gift the group was. When space opened up in a small group filled only with families of young children, I wasn't even interested in switching. How far I'd come. 

Then just a couple short weeks ago, we heard the news: the cancer was back and it looked bad. I was blessed with the opportunity to stop by last Thursday to chat for a few minutes and drop off some brightly colored flowers. Her outlook was so cheery. She was happy to report hospice would start the next day and she felt really good about that decision. Part of me wanted to believe hospice would help her hold on a bit longer, comfortably. But most of me didn't really see how that was possible. 

A year ago when I heard that two of the women in our small group were battling cancer and their husbands would need support when the battles ended, I didn't see how I would have time for such a group as a young mom. Now, I feel so fortunate to have been given the blessing of knowing Ellen. I'm humbled knowing that she really enjoying being in a small group with me. And I will do whatever I can to support her family in spite of being a busy young mom.

 Oh, how God has worked on my heart this past year without me even realizing it. And I know it will continue. I'm thankful for the lessons learned when I'm open to what God has planned rather than just my own agenda. 

Mother's Day in kindergarten

Mother's Day takes on a whole new dimension with Honey Girl in school. I got invited to my first ever Mother's Day lunch! And since Honey Girl has one of the best kindergarten teachers around, it was pretty special. 

Invitations were sent home. 
Honey Girl made sure I could come. 
As each mom arrived, the corresponding child jumped up from the rug to greet their mama. 
We each were given a beautiful (made by the teacher!) tissue paper corsage that our child taped around our wrists. 
The class sung an adorable song about how much they love their moms, complete with hand motions. 
Each mom received a photo of their child holding a bouquet of flowers, that the teacher took earlier in the week. 
I was also given an info sheet on myself- always entertaining.  
And the most precious- a book titled "The Top 10 Things I Love About my Mom."
Plus of course we got to squeeze ourselves between kids at their tables and eat the peanut butter sandwiches we had all packed. 

Honestly, eating a peanut butter sandwich off my lap, cramped for space, it was still the best lunch of the week for me. What a treat to have lunch at school with my big girl. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sleep baby, sleep

It feels like so long since this has happened. In reality, probably only a month or so. But it used to happen every night. And I loved it. 

Nursing my babies to sleep has been so wondrous. I love being able to comfort them and help them relax. I love looking into their eyes, holding heir hands, rubbing their backs, snuggling them close. I know our days are becoming numbered and it's bittersweet. Somewhere in the last month, nursing after naptime has pretty much gone to the wayside. Gracie Girl will ask occasionally, or I will offer if she is wildly out of sorts, but most days, one milky snuggle is all that's left. 

It's easy to spend the time one-handedly checking email and Facebook on my iPhone, but one of these days, she'll be done and I will miss it. Tonight, I took the time to cherish the moments. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

In sickness

Oh. My. Word. What is this incredible nastiness that has infected my house?? Let me tell you- it's been rough. If you can dream it up, in the last three weeks we have had it. 
Fevers- check. 
Vomiting- check
Diarrhea- check
Sinus congestion, loss of taste and smell, fatigue- check, check, and check. 
And sadly, the list could continue. See, I told you it's been bad! 

It started the night before March 19th (our 10th wedding anniversary!).  So forget the 7 year itch...it's the 10 year illnesses that will getcha!  And it's amazing how all consuming the illnesses can be. As you fight to get one person well and care for them, it's so discouraging when another bites the dust. Clorox wipes start to feel pointless. 

But to be honest, my sweet momma sent me an email with the perfect verse: Romans 12:12. Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and persistent in prayer. 

Such a great reminder. Boy, it's hard to be patient when the mama IS the patient! I want to have been better yesterday! Or before that preferably! I don't want to STILL be sick. But that verse keeps coming back to me. Be patient in affliction. Really, my afflictions are minimal. Sinus pressure so intense my jaw feels like it might explode and I for sure can't chew? Not able to breathe through my nose? Well, at least I'm not in the hospital. No one in my family has anything life threatening. In the grand scheme of things, we aren't doing so bad. And be persistent in prayer. Hmmm. Such an important reminder.  It comes so easy when we need something: "place your healing hands on my child/me." "Heal me by the time I wake up in the morning." "Don't allow anyone else to get anything else...I can't take another sickness!"  When things are going well, it's easy to forget how vital prayer really is. It's a lifeline. But it should be where we turn FIRST. Not last. 

So although those are some very real prayers, I want to be thankful for what we have. "Thank you that we usually have good health."  "Thank you that my children have survived just fine even though I haven't been functioning very well." "Thank you for grandparents close by who have helped out when I can't do it on my own anymore." "And thank you for being a God who hears and listens on the good days and the tough days, when all I can eek out is a desperate cry to feel normal again!"

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Then and Now

10 years ago today
I got up early after a good night of sleep and sequestered myself away for some quiet time with the LORD to start off my day.
I don't remember what I ate for breakfast, but I'm sure I ate just fine.
I was excited for what the day held!

I got dressed with care, surrounded by family and friends (all female of course!). And enjoyed a quick lunch in the church kitchen before the ceremony was to start.  The day wasn't without a few snafu's, but overall, it was joy-filled and wonderful! The start of a new journey.

Fast forward 10 years:
Today I woke up to my alarm at 6:30, exhausted after having been up multiple times during the night with a sick, puking child.  Due to the demands of various children, I didn't eat breakfast until 10:15. And even that was interrupted by various requests.  No quiet time...that will hopefully happen at some point after all children are in bed for the night, but before my eyelids succumb to the heaviness of sleep.  I dressed at some point, much later than preferred, with my youngest 2 associates at my feet.  One, tired from a restless night and tummy ache.  The other doing her best to get out everything from every nook and cranny in the bathroom! Yes, the hair is in a pony tail today!

Gracie girl dumped a full cup of water someone left out and drenched a bunch of Honeygirl's latest projects.  I know I will be dealing with the aftermath of that when the school bus returns this afternoon.  I think the laundry count is up to 6 loads now, due to last night.  The nice dinner I had planned is being replaced with left-overs. Sometimes you just have to survive.

But when I reflect on the day, full of tears, melt-downs, and snotty noses, I still love the journey.  It is joy-filled because I have been blessed with 3 beautiful children.  Because I get to do everyday life with my best friend.  And because God is still in charge.  The day may not look perfect (or even remotely close!), but life is still good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Peace and snuggles

Isaiah 66:12-13

For this is what the LORD says, "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carrier on her arm and dandled on her knee. 
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. 

This was part of my devotions last night and it totally struck a chord for me. Isaiah doesn't do that incredibly often, but the verses about motherhood really hit me last night. See, Gracie girl has been super clingy lately. She's needed lots of comforting and reassurance. We have been on a trip and away from home. Lots of things are different. But mama is the same. Even at 18 months old, she needs that reassurance that something hasn't changed. So she has wanted to be held. A lot. And she has wanted extra milky snuggles. To know that all will be okay. And once she gets those things, life IS okay. She gains the ability to go off and play again. 

God does the same for us. He promises to extend peace like a river for us. And compares it to nursing and being held by your mama. Right now in my life, that makes total sense to me. How incredibly comforting! Gracie girl snuggles in, latches on, and her body relaxes. She looks up at me, then closes her eyes. She is at peace. And totally trusts that I have her. 

Wow. What a great God we have. 

Full circle

Life is coming full circle. Recently I found myself filling out a character reference for our babysitter who is applying to the same school and program I went to. She is my mini-me. I felt like I should have been able to write on the reference, "since you were willing to take a chance on me, you should also take a chance on her!" 
An amazing babysitter, loved by children and parents alike. Hard worker. Diligent with school work. Involved in church. A heart for others. Wants to be a nurse. First choice school is TWU. Pretty sure someone would easily have said all this to describe me when I was applying. And now I can say it about her too. I'm totally bummed that my dream babysitter will be  moving away, but I hope it's to pursue her dreams exactly where God wants her.