Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Threads of Thankfulness

Usually this time each year, I write some "random thoughts of thankfulness."

This is appropriate because all of my thoughts, thankful or not, do tend to be somewhat random.

(no big surprise if you visit me here often)

But this year, I am calling these thoughts "threads."

Here we go:

Obviously....these kids....who are quickly growing up to be not-so-much kids.

The one on the left, hiding behind the shades, is my baby.  Still and always a reminder that life is moving faster than I would like, but so blessed to be a main character in her story.  Tookie is a unique combination of all of the characters she gets to look up to.  Feisty, sweet and conscientious.  Fun, a worry-wart and she takes things quite literally.  (a challenge for those of us who like to talk in figures-of-speech) 

And she is a tree climber.

The next little sweetheart is the one with her tongue sticking out.

I tolerate this in photos from her.
Because I know it could be worse.

 She LOVES girl scouts, church camp and the Miracles Can Happen Boys Ranch.

This photo is from the boys ranch.  She left there and told me that someday she would like to work at a place like that.

Here she is at Church camp.
When I look at this girl, I see someone who represents everything I see in myself.  Good and Bad.
I am humbled, grateful and reminded, again, how time does not stand still.  I can be an influence on this kid...good and bad.  Humbling.

This girl is the combination of brains


 and heart.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Adding all of that up...these 4 are worth 4000 words.

And the writer in me is having trouble coming up with any that would actually do justice the the heart, attitude, beauty and brains that are all wrapped up in this one sweet young lady.

My sweet sweet sweet first-born girl.
Another reminder of how life keeps on moving whether I am ready or not.

Speaking of life and the speed of it....This young man looks exactly like his uncle.

And he has characteristic traits just like him as well.

Conscientiousness and a little bit afraid....
but not to the point of letting any of that stop him
From being who God made him to be.

 Football photo:  An example of calling plays, executing them and being a leader.
That is who he is.

 Football photo:  And example of what we thought was a concussion.  But it wasn't .  Feel free to visit the blog archives to read the full story.
But the story behind the story
Which is often the difference between what the world sees and what is really going on
(a theme for, like, everyone...I'm guessing)
Is that there were some major medical issues going on behind the scenes.
Phone calls.
Blood transfusion.
Bone marrow biopsy.
A few days of tests enough to scare us to death
And scare us to life.  

Because there is something about being scared to death (or about death) that makes every day of life there-on-after so much more meaningful.

And fortunately for us, we are all reminding of how fragile and fleeting life on earth is.

As my Wildcat would say:  "YOLO."  (you only live once)

His story this last year is a direct reminder that "YOLO" is true.  We all only live once.  A reminder to me that I want to make each day...each moment count.  For eternity.

Because we may only live once while we are here.

But we will all live forever in heaven.

Other things of SUPREME importance of the threads of thankfulness:

This kid.

 Brian's first born, Ty.
In his Junior year at Upper Iowa University.
An excellent student.
An inspirational camp counselor.
A football player.

A man that I am so glad that my younger kids look up to.

   Brady.....moved to college this fall.
I've always been a fan of this kid.
(oops....I mean young man)
He moved the farthest away from home.
And is doing work.
In the classroom and in the weight room.

I feel like I have watched this kid grow up over the last year.
A weird and surreal feeling.
Maturity does that to people.

I remember when he graduated from jr. high.

another weird feeling.
And a reminder of how this thread of my life is inspired, grows and intertwines with all of the other threads.

Brinn:  Brian's daughter.
I've loved her since I first met her in kindergarten as a classmate of Marisa's.

They were best friends.

This picture represents something else that I am thankful for, and apparently a lesson that God is working on with me:

Love no matter what.

It is okay if this girl does not love me back.
Because I love her, no matter what.

 It is love without response
Love without pretending
Just because.

I am hoping that this story will change in the next near future.  But even if it doesn't, it is another reminder from above of what I need to know about love and thankfulness this year:     I love this kid, am thankful for her and it is okay if that is the way it has to be.

Because that is how God has and continues to be with me.

The ultimate definition of love.

Then there is this guy.  Admittedly, it is not the best picture of us this year.  But is is us....together this year.
We have been together....through tons of ups and tons of downs for almost 5 years.

We've seen the best and we have seen the worst in each other.

We belong more and more to each other and our life together as each day, each chapter and each story unfolds.

And we continue to hold on to each other's hands and hearts  in both of our stories.

Stories that seem to weave together like threads.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for each and every thread that is a part of my life.....and
I am finding that how I braid and re-braid each thread of family, love, and adventure all seem to work together in the story that God has let me be a character in.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Speed of Life

I can sometimes give the illusion that I am keeping up with the Speed of Life.
On a normal day.

But there has not been anything normal about the last month.

Or maybe it is our new normal.

And I am not only NOT keeping up, but I can't even manage to look like I am halfway keeping up.

Perhaps it is time to hang up the imaginary super-hero cape that I like to bring out on those good days where I am managing motherhood faster than the speed of life.

But I can't find it.
I know it is lost up there somewhere in the recesses of my mind, all mixed up and lost with the bajillion other things that I can't seem to keep up with.

Oh well, I never did like that old cape anyway.
I should have donated it to goodwill while I was trying to potty train my 3rd-born child.
Or at the very least, when I was teaching my two oldest about the birds and the bees.  (Because after that talk, I know for certain that no mama-honoring award should ever be bestowed upon me.)

I'm over it.

But I'm not over being totally thankful that I get to be a character in a story that includes all four of my kids, Brian and his kids, and a community of friends and family that bless me in ways that I do not even think I deserve.

It's a great story.  And I am trying really hard to keep up with this current speed of life and all of the twists and turns in each chapter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We Don't Share...

...except when it comes to germs.

Then we apparently have NO PROBLEM sharing.  

2 girls
Who, on the surface, it would appear, 
do not ever

Except when it comes to germs.

Fortunately for me it all sort of happened on my day off.  

And by "day off" I mean the day that other people are not paying me to show up.  

(I apologize for the newspaper interview appointment by phone that I was not able to keep today)

Days like today
And SEVERAL other days in the last 3 weeks
Have made me so grateful for everyone who helps me out and is flexible with me and all of these crazy circumstances.  

Thank You.  

I owe you.  

And one of these girls woke up from a nap and was crying for her brother:

Sibling medicine seems to be working.

....even when sharing things like germs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"We" Voted

I voted last night.  When I say that "I voted," what I really mean is that "we" voted.

And by "we" I mean me AND my 15-year-old son and my 14-year-old daughter.

I had to wait until after school, work and basketball practice so that these two could join me.

They both have been following the political race with more interest and smarter questions than many adult voters I know.

And if you know the Wildcat at all, then you already know his political views.
And you probably aren't surprised that when he was a kid, he chose to dress up like a president for Halloween.
And yesterday at the sophomore career fair, he was disappointed that there were not any representatives from the political world.

He follows this stuff...intently.
He knows more about it than me.
He stood in line with me last night long enough to go over the sample ballot with me.
And "instructed" me in how I should vote.
And he learned that there is a back side of the ballot, something he didn't understand last night....

but he told me in no uncertain terms that by the next presidential election....
he will know and will vote on the back side of the ballot with just as much knowledge as he votes on the front side.

As mama to these two...I am simultaneously filled with pride at their enthusiasm for wanting to be a voice and vote on issues...
....and I cried when I typed the sentence above about my kids being old enough to vote next time.

Where did the time go?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Random Poem

That's my kid
Just up ahead
In the back of the ambulance
under lights blue and red.
I'm keeping up
Not far behind
Keeping cool, making calls
Not losing my mind.
Fainting, ER rooms
A morning of tests
Admissions, procedures
No time to rest.
"It's time to go home"
I think in my head
But doctors say different
And a word every mama dreads
"We need some more tests
to rule in or rule out..."
A cancer diagnosis
may be coming about.
We transfer hospitals
We test and we wait
Discussing all possible
Outcomes and debate.
We don't know
What the tests may show.
We talk about the positve
We snuggle and we share
Life, stories, friends
And unanswered prayers.
We recognize the best
possible outcome of this
and joke that this all
is probably a miss.
It's Friday and you
have football on your mind
I indulge you, cuz I'm mama
And I can do that, I find. 
But normal has changed
as we wait for these tests
Normal is no longer
the "normal" requests.
As they took your bone marrow
To test for diagnosis
I knew in my heart
What Should be the prognosis.
And yes, I was there
Through the entire test
Because deep down in my heart
I knew I was blessed.
A long time ago
Before you were born
I thought I was loosing you
And I made a promise duley sworn.
"Dear God "I prayed
And I begged without end
"Please give me this child and 
I promise to spend
Each day as his mom
Teaching him about You
And your love that abounds
Every day is anew."
Lo and Behold
(cheesey words for a rhyme)
I was reminded today
of this prayer of mine.
And here I am
Watching what I'm told is your fate
And I know that my prayers
Have not been too late.
Because no matter what
the tests tell me
I know that you are the Nathan
The Lord made you to be.
We  have since found out
That your medical tests show
Your story does not
Include cancer
I renewed my promise
Made 16 years ago
And as your mama
I want you to know
that no matter what life
Happens to hand to you
That you are uniquely chosen
To be the the one
to follow through
God has a plan for your life
my sweet and only son
Walk the path
laid out for you by the One
Who is the giver of life
and every breath we take
And every day is a test
from the minute we awake.
Your story is one
that inspires me
To be the best
That I can be.
And today that means
being a mama to you
And your three sisters
IN all that you do.
I'm right here beside you
All as you continue to grow
And for ever after
Because one thing we know
We were given to each other
To live this life
For one day at a time
In good times and strife. 

So whether our tests include doctors
schools and other things
Don't forget that I'm here for you
In all that life brings.