Sunday, January 4, 2015

I remember it like it was yesterday...

It was yesterday 
that I found out that I was expecting my first child.
That I was panicked because the situation wasn't ideal.
Definitely not perfect.
A day that I resolved that I would try to do better.
To be better.
For my child.

It was yesterday
that I was starting to show.
That I first knew the meaning of true love.
A love that would do anything to save the life that I thought I was going to lose
The one closest to my heart
In my womb.
A love that was revealed by your footprint through
my skin.

It was yesterday
that I begged God to please let me have you
to not lose you
And I promised to raise you
To love and know HIM.
If He let me have you,
I promised to give you back to Him.

It was yesterday
that you were born
In such a traumatic way
That I was told it was a miracle
That you survived.

It was yesterday
that the first glimpse of you I had
Was from across a crowded room
I saw your fat little thigh
Through a bunch of white coats
And heard nothing but garbled voices
Until one
Finally broke through.
Your cry.

It was yesterday
That I walked around a small apartment
Carrying you in my arms
Singing to you
Because you hated it
When I sat down.

It was yesterday
That I walked you in to your first day of school.
Your sister cried.
She didn't know what to do without you.
And I cried too.

It was yesterday
That a teacher and principal called me in to the school
Because they didn't know what to do with you.
You were acting up
And out.
I blamed myself.
But I understood that you needed
to walk when you talked.

It was yesterday
that you taught yourself how to ride your bike.
You waited and waited for me to be done taking care of your sisters
And I looked out the window
And you were getting ready to balance on your bike
And you yelled at God
to stop the you could ride your bike.
And you rode your bike while
yelling at God.

It was yesterday
that I sat through a parent-teacher conference
And your teacher told me how they loved
having you in their classroom
But you tended to
I was reminded of your first days of you being way more calm when I walked and talked with you in my arms.

It was yesterday
That I thought I was losing you
A rare blood disorder
That mimicked
Threatened my every dream.
Until you proved it wrong.

It was yesterday
That I thought I lost you again
When a police officer showed up at my door
Explaining that there was a roll-over car accident
They thought you were involved in
But had not located you yet.

It was yesterday
That you decided to not let any bad circumstances
Dictate what you did with your life.
You went from QB on the high school football team
To Kicker
Because that was your only option
And you
Made it work.
Because that was the team you wanted to be on.

It was yesterday
That you started to apply for scholarships
And leadership conferences.
You won a local position
You went on to the national conference
And it was yesterday 
that you won the highest honor at that national level.

It was yesterday 
That you applied for a position at our State's Capitol.
And you got it.

It was yesterday
That I prayed for you
And prayed for you
Through all of your days.
Days before you were born
And every day since.
Days that I thought I would lose you
And days that I saw you thrive
Days that I held on to you
And days that I knew I had to let you go.

It is today
That I know that I have to let you go
for real.
The Day
that I knew that no matter what
I had to give you back
to God
and to the world
to do what God has planned for you.

You are a leader.
You are an encourager.
You are who God made you to be.
The person I prayed for before I ever saw your face.
The person who has already overcome so many odds.
The person who has already inspired so many others.

The Bible says that Children are a heritage from the Lord. A gift.

You are the first of THE GREATEST gifts
I have ever known.
You have been and continue to be
Big Brother.
And a son....
You are a "heritage from the Lord."

And it feels like it was
Just yesterday
that we just met.

And now it is like practically tomorrow 
that I have to let you go.

I really don't want to.
But I know
Just yesterday
I promised to give you back.

And I do so
that you have the tools
stand strong
and be courageous
and live each day
With the purpose
That God has had for your life
Since before you were born.

When if feels like people are against you
Remember that nothing is impossible
When you have God on your side.

When it feels like you are not enough,
Remember that God is. 

Remember that God Hand-Picked you 
You were chosen
By Him
to live with purpose and passion. 
Live it like an adventure.
Acts 26:16
Isaiah 41:10

And it is okay if you don't always get it.
For real.

I did not know everything when I first knew of you.
But intuitively
I knew
That one of the greatest things in this world that I would ever do
Wouldn't be something that I did myself
But be in the
People I raised.


I have loved you with my life.
And my heart.
And my soul.

It is not because you are an adult that I let you go.
And I really do not even let you go.

I give you back.
To God
To Bless the World
To leave your footprint on the world
The same way you left your footprint on my skin
From the inside

To go
And Make Your Mark
On this world that you 
Live in
A world that is better
Because you are here.

I thank God for all of these yesterdays.
And I pray for every day
And every tomorrow
That God will continue to bless
Through you.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Mama Math

So math isn't something I love. Not something I am good at. As a matter of fact, it is officially documented as to how un-good I am when it comes to math.

I had to take a compass test before I enrolled in college courses some 20-ish (see, I can't come up with the number) years after I would be considered a traditional college student.

As it turns out, I am pretty good when it comes to words, grammar and style.

But when it comes to math, I have to take a math course in order to get in to a math course.

But there is some math that I totally get. And specific equations seem to make perfect sense.

For example, there are:

13 days until Nathan turns 18,
21 days until he starts his first day as a senate page

And that adds up to:

6,570 days that I have cared for him
6,840 days that I have prayed for him

I'm not for certain if this is called inverse proportion, but it seems to work that way.

The less days I have with these kids adds up to that many more days that I have prayed for and loved them.

That's what I call, Mama Math.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's how I make like Mary in the busyness of all the days...

So I am doing this advent-like devotional using my you-version bible app. I love this. These are just short and sweet snippets of bible and devotion that help me get into the right mindset about the Christmas season.

Anyways, today I read a few verses out of Luke chapter 2 where the shepherds had come to see then new baby Jesus (I remind myself of "Ricky Bobby" from Talladega Nights when I say the words baby Jesus out loud.) and then they went out to tell everyone about Him before returning and praising God for everything they had "heard and seen." (See Luke 2:17-20 if you want to read it.)

There was one thing that jumped out at me in the middle of these few verses.
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
verse 19

With all the things going on, Mary just quietly treasured it all and reflected on these things in her heart.  

That made me think of why I take pictures. Lots of them. 

First of all, I love it. There is something about capturing the moment and not realizing that it was the moment until I get to go back and ponder and reflect on it.

It is how I like to remember things. Words, yes; but images too. 

Taking pictures is my way of freezing a moment (my superpower) in time that I never want to forget so I can pull it out later and remind myself. Of all the things. Not just the fancy things. The posed for pictures. But the random moments that make up each day.

I wonder if Mary knew in those first moments that she would have to give her baby up to the world. 
If she later went back to those moments she tucked away in her heart for comfort.

I know it's different, but I'm pretty sure I am already getting pretty sentimental about sending my babies out in to the world. 

I'm glad for the moments I took time to treasure up.

How do you take time in your busy life to reflect and treasure up? Do you take pictures? Journal? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Random Thoughts of Thankfulness

It's my Thanksgiving tradition to post my list of random thoughts of thankfulness. If I were really good about this sort of thing, I would put in writing something that I am thankful for every day.

But I'm not. Good at this.

I am, however, extremely thankful for the many wonderful and wild and weird blessings God has given me.

So, in no particular order, my annual list of things I am thankful for:

My job. Actually, jobs. All of them. At times I get overwhelmed feeling like I am going in so many different directions. And this year my jobs have all evolved a little. At the chiro clinic where I work as an LMT, I took on a new role there doing some secretarial things. By "secretarial," I mean I mostly chat with patients in the waiting room. And other things. But I love it and the additional hours there have actually brought me some more massage work.

As far as writing goes, I still freelance for the QC Times. I have also taken some sports photos for the Tipton Conservative. AND....I signed a contract over the summer to ghostwrite a book. I am still working on this project. It's probably the biggest writing project I have ever done. Definitely a learning experience. I can't wait to tell you all about it. But for now, I have to keep things kinda quiet! 

Nathan's Shower Playlist: I love it that my son plays his music and sings real loud in the shower every morning. I love it even more that his playlist sounds equal parts like a high school dance and a sunday morning worship service. #heartwarming

Sports: The kids are all involved in sports. And I get to watch them all. All the time. In the past, I might have complained about this, but now that we are starting to experience some "lasts" like senior night and things like that, it is so real how quickly the time goes by. How blessed I am to be able to enjoy this now. 

Traveling: For the short road-trips that I have been able to take with and for my kids and Brian's kids. 

Cheese. Because I love cheese. And it's what you say when you take a picture. 

Photography. Because it is how I like to journal my memories. 

This Crew: who I feel like I just don't deserve. But they all call me "mom." I'm so glad God gave them to me.

Energy Drinks: Specifically the Passion drink from Yoli. If you didn't gather this, we are pretty busy.  A little healthy energy drink goes a long way in my day. 

Other Things I am Thankful For:

The Big Things
The Little Things
Middle School Kids Who Wear Deodorant.
Marz who loves to sing and is always a good friend
Claire who works hard in quiet ways
Tookie who lets me baby her in ways that she is too old for
Nathan who is decided to grow up and move out next month. (Actually he has a job working at the state capitol, which is so cool. and awful.)
Brian who works full time, takes college classes and still makes time to attend things for all of our kids.
Ty who works at the college he graduated from. Making a difference in students' lives.
Brady who moved to K-State, is probably homesick, but does his thing on the track team and in classes. He is going places.
Brinn who is rocking her classes, and the volleyball court. 
Christmas lights.
Hallmark Movies.
The Real Housewives.
The kids' teachers.
Holly the secretary.
Dove Chocolate.
Red Wine.
New Friends.
Old Friends.
Pretty Chandeliers. 

You. If you are reading this then I want to say that I am thankful for you. I know you don't have to. But you still take the time to follow me here. That's actually an honor to have you here. Thank you.

So my list is not complete and completely random. But that is okay. God says to give thanks in all things ( 1 Thessalonians  5:8)....and that is what this is all about. 

How about any random thoughts of thankfulness you would like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mom/Travel Agent

I remember the first time I let the kids walk to the library by themselves. We used the "Dora the Explorer" method for remembering the route.  You know how she would list the landmarks she would see on her way to her destination? We did the same thing.

Go past Grandma's
Past the school
and right at the library!
Say it with me now:
Grandmas, School, Library!

If you have no idea what I am talking about when I mention geography according to Dora, then I may sort of envy you. But it was an effective way for the kids to remember the directions to the library. And other than looking both ways before crossing the street, there wasn't really too much to worry about in letting the kids walk to the library by themselves.

Tomorrow I'll be sending Nathan off an another adventure of his own. It's a little bit farther than going to the library.

I'm writing this blogpost from a hotel that is just across the street from the St. Louis International Airport. Nathan has an awards banquet tonight for the National Council on Youth Leadership here in St. Louis. And tomorrow morning I will put him on an airplane, so he can make an interview that he has tomorrow in Des Moines. He has a change-over in Chicago.

Somehow the Dora method for giving directions for airport security and flying and changing planes isn't quite the same as walking past grandma's house and turning at the elementary school.

We sort of had to put all these plans together at the last minute. When he won a scholarship for this trip to St. Louis, he didn't know that he would be granted an interview for the Page Program the next day. So I've been playing the role of travel agent in trying to coordinate all of the details and make it as simple as it possibly can be.  Since for much of it, I won't actually be there with him.  

I suppose I always have been sort of a travel agent with my kids. 

I've spent their entire lives helping them to prepare for a world outside of our home and for experiences that are new. 

I've tried to warn them of hazards that may come about. Potential detours. Things they may encounter. 

Up until now, the world outside of our home still included the comfort of our school and community. Home outside of our home was still home. 

And I'm not waving and watching the kids ride their bikes down the block. I'll be seeing them off at the security check-points at an airport and waving goodbye as they fly away to the next adventure. 

Hopefully, through the years, I've been a decent enough travel agent. We are a long way past grandmas and the library.

Monday, October 13, 2014

He Cared

Growing up in and living in a small town has it's strengths and has it's drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is small-town gossip. People seem to think they know more about you than they do, because they heard something from so-and-so who had such-and-such thing to say and then an opinion based on the so and such.

The strength that can come from this drawback is that every once in a while, a friend, neighbor or acquaintance will come alongside you when life is rough, even though you did not say anything to ask for that help.

I have found both of these things to be true in my church and in my community. But when the negative side happens in the church, it speaks louder than when it happens in the community. The same can be said for when the positive happens in the community. It tends to speak louder than the church.

A wonderful man in the community that I live in passed away last night.

I have known who he was for years. I wrote for the local paper and he would always tell me how he would clip and share my columns with others. When we ran into each other around town somewhere, he would ask what the next story I was working on was. He would encourage me to keep sharing these stories.

When I divorced, I moved my family into a small condominium that was located in the same neighborhood. When the weather was good for the windows to be open, not a day went by when I did not hear him singing or whistling.  And when I would see him, he would ask me if everything was ok.

And he always asked when he would be reading the next article or column that I wrote.

I had stopped writing for the local paper when I was going through my divorce. I believed it would be a temporary thing. But in the end, it turned out to be permanent. But that did not stop my neighbor from encouraging me to write.

So I did.

As it turned out, he followed the things I wrote in the larger paper that I had freelanced for. His comments always came in between a song he was singing whenever he ran in to me. And they always came with a question about how I was doing.

Not because he was a nosey neighbor, but because he cared.

I never got the impression that he thought any different of me from when I was married to when I was divorced. That was not the norm for the impression I got from people in my community who knew me pre and post marriage.

Whatever he may have been thinking, I could tell without a doubt, that he cared. That is why he asked. That is why he wanted to continue reading things I wrote. Because he cared.

My heart goes out to his family today as they mourn the loss of a great man. My prayers are with you.

I know his legacy will go far beyond what I say in the two little words here, but to me, I will always remember how:

He Cared.

R.I.P. Leo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

14 Reasons Why I Love my Claire-Bear

Happy Happy Birthday my sweet Claire Bear!

When I asked you what you wanted to do and what you wanted for your birthday, you were very specific.

But not in a demanding way at all. You know what you like to eat, you know what you are saving up money for, you know who your favorite super-hero is, and you know that you wanted to have a conversation with me under the influence of helium.

So, in honor of your 14th birthday, I'd like to share 14 reason why I LOVE LOVE LOVE you.

1.  You are funny AND practical. See the note above about wanting helium-filled balloons. I can't wait to smurf-chat with you later tonight.

2.  You are not afraid to be who you are. You are at an age where so many try so hard to blend in with others around them. Not you. You don't care if you are a leader or a follower. You are you. And that is good enough. I could really really do better in life if I followed this example more.

3.  You are a young lady of few words. But the words you do want to say mean something. You are funny in a quiet way. You share your thoughts in words in a quiet way. The BEST birthday gift I ever received from you was a free pass to ask you any question I wanted and you would answer in the time it took me to pick you up from track practice to get home. Needless to say, I took a few extra left turns. You really do make me dig for information from you. But I still love that about you.

4.  You challenge me to dig deeper. I sometimes do have to wonder what you are thinking and feeling. (as opposed to some of your siblings!)Those thoughts and feelings are important. You challenge me to dig deeper than I would have to with your siblings in order to get to the bottom of your day. I am a better mom because of that. I am a better person because of that.

5.  You build other people up. Your siblings may think that your natural bent is to....i don't know...take advantage of them. It's funny, really. Because I know that your natural bent is really that you see the good and the talent in those around you and you don't try to out-shine them. You recognize them for the good and the talent you see. You know that deep down, it makes others feel good about themselves to be able to showcase their own strengths.

6.  I hear about you showcasing your talents from others...And this is never in a show-y way. I love how you humbly accept recognition from others.

7.  You are not afraid of hard work. You don't pretend to like it...but you are not afraid of it. You go to the school with your brother to shoot hoops and get in extra practice. During the summer, you would run while I tried to keep up with my bike. I think you like blending the family time with the extra work it takes to get better at what you do. I like it too.

8.  Speaking of hard are not afraid to come in second.  Last year you played the B-squad on your basketball team. And you did great. You worked hard. And at the awards ceremony, you were  awarded with both the "most points scored" and the "most breakaways." You beat everyone. But you were only trying to beat your own standards.

9.  Speaking of your own standards...that is what I love about you being in cross country. You are not trying to compete with your own teammates. You are trying to do better on the course this year than you did last year. You are happy when you improve your own time. You are happy when your teammates improve theirs.

10.  I love your eyes. Your heart doesn't always want to tell me what's up, but your eyes give you away every time. Your beauty and intelligence and heart can be revealed through your eyes if anyone were to take the chance to see into them.

11.  Your insecurities. Yes...I love even those things.  Probably because  you try to hide them from the rest of the world. But I see them. I see how you have been studying for the last 364 days for your permit test. I see how you sometimes hesitate.

12.  Your heart for those around you. Even mine. You are sensitive to the feelings of those around you. Like last night, when I asked you to go in to my room to get something I needed....forgetting that  your b-day gift was like RIGHT came out and said nothing. Of course I knew right away that you had seen your gift. But you pretended it was okay. You had a heart for the surprise.

13.  Your dreams for the future.  You are not unlike anyone else your age with hopes and dreams and ideas about what you want to be when you grow up.

14.  Your future.  From this moment forward.  I love that the only thing that you care about for making your dreams come true is whether or not God has those same hopes and dreams. You are a better example of this to me than anyone else in the world that I know.