Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Treasure Chest

I wrote and read the following at the memorial service for my Grandma, Beth Gean.

I, along with ten others, am honored to call this remarkable woman "grandma". I have an old trunk that I inherited, passed down from my grandma down to my mother and then on to me. Today, it resides in my living room and I refer to it as my treasure chest. This treasure chest is different than others as inside you will not find gold, silver or even jewels and yet it possesses treasures of mine. When I look at the old brown and black box I can remember every detail of our cabin--the way it smelled when the wall heaters came on, the sounds of creaks in the the floor, the hours of games played and the sweet smell of roasted marshmallows and hot cocoa.

This old box holds memories I treasure.

On Mother's day 2007, I gave my grandma a gift, a purple notebook. On the inside cover I inscribed, "To my grandmother, whose legacy I treasure". The day after her passing I sat in her chair holding the same purple notebook and in the midst of tears, I read her words and learned something new. Grandma had filled the blank pages of the purple notebook for many months and had entitled each day, "A Good Thing". A simple phone call, a chance to help a family member, a card arrived in the mail, "I love you" from her great grand-daughter, her sons working together to help each other through a painful situation, a hug, getting her hands dirty gardening, her son taking her hand in his, an invitation to a holiday dinner, RAIN.

These are just some of the "things" that she treasured.

If you could see my treasure chest today, you would find that it does not latch properly and it is not in immaculate condition. This old trunk is special to me and it will always be a reminder to me that my Grandma did not value possessions but she looked for the "good things" in each day and in each person in her life.

This is my grandmother, whose legacy I will treasure.

To my Grandpa--As I watch you in your heart break, I can't help but say "thank you for loving Grandma so well. It has been the greatest gift you could have given to your children, grandchildren and all these precious great grandchildren.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

just show up...

the other day, my husband said that he is 'amazed at my "ability" to quickly form a friendship with anyone that i meet and can not believe that acquaintances open up to me so easily'. i've never thought of myself as a wise relationship "guru" and yet i began to ponder his thoughts further......

it is possible that i inherited or learned these skills from my parents. growing up i was very aware that my parents knew how to love others, even if it hurt them in the end. they loved with their whole hearts, unconditionally. everyone always felt at home around them and quickly became family. it should be noted that my parents' contagious love for God is what led me to fall in love with my Father and to begin to grasp His affections for me .

i do love people, i love to entertain, and to just be together. over the last few years, i have observed that most people are truly lonely and desire real, intimate relationships. the only thing we, as a family, do intentionally is to make ourselves available. we choose not to believe the lie that 'to be more religious is to be busy'. we are very active in our community and with our kids' activities but always have time to have dinner, to play a little longer at the park or to help someone in need. everyone we meet has needs, pains and struggles in life. at heart, people desperately desire to know the love of their Father, our Father who pursues us, knows us and does not seek to conform us.

'Stop trying to save him. Just be his friend and show up'. - The Soloist

i loved the message in this movie. all too often we spend too much energy finding ways to better someone's life which usually means, making them more like ourselves.

before i gave birth to my children, i was a "mother" to seven foster girls at a group home, this was my job. i loved each and every one of them (no names or favorites since a few of them might be reading this) and wanted the very best for them. our goals were to change their current behaviors/habits to be more "acceptable"--we had a laundry list of rules. now, don't get me wrong here, i do think kids need and even crave the boundaries parents give in order to feel safe. personally, my goal was never to change who they were but i definitely wanted to "save" them from where they were headed. over time they began to emulate the adult role models in the house. we took them to church and taught them right from wrong. i can't speak for them in how my love for them changed each of them, or if i spent too much time changing them into who i thought they should be that they did not see Father's love. i only wish that i would have 'just shown up' more often.

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." John 13:34 (The Message)

Monday, April 6, 2009

the one in the middle....

you are our Superman

you are a loyal brother

your first name means "one who tames, subdues"

you have a quick temper ;)

you eyes are green just like your Dad

your middle name means "man warrior"

you are a true warrior in every way

you love your bow n arrow

you play hard and have holes in the knees of all your pants

you are stubborn and strong

you are a loving son, a true gentleman

your smile melts my heart

you are loved

you are my one in the middle

Happy 8th Birthday Damon!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

counting my blessings...

we are under a tremendous time of anxiety and stress in our world today. my family is struggling in a way that i never imagined, we are forced into making decisions that i never wanted to make, our almost perfect credit score is declining--we are facing an uncertain future.

i choose joy......

every one i talk to is struggling financially or at least anxious about their future. i am certain of only one thing--even in the "worst case scenario" where the bank takes my house, my car , etc--Father will provide for all our needs for each day.

i am counting my blessings......

Take some time to read the stories of this mother with a sick baby, this family missing their wife & mother, this mom & dad, this Cystic Fibrosis family, or Camryn & Wyatt -- you will shed tears, you will hold your children and spouses tighter, you may even reach out to show love to another family in a way you wouldn't have before. These stories have changed my perception of the sadness and pain of this world. I live each day with hope and joy because of the ones who have lived in these shoes, that I would not ever want to step in to, that continue to give the glory to our Father for the good AND the bad.

Friday, February 27, 2009

whispers of my heart....

exactly two years ago was my mom's last day on earth. on that day i wrote this post titled, "the day my heart was broken". february 27, 2007--seems like a bad dream i had last night and a million years ago all at the same time. i miss her more every year, every birthday, every holiday, every time a friend speaks of her mother, and every time i hear my daughter laugh so hard that she cries--just like mom.

i ache to hear her calming voice or her contagious laughter. i will never forget the smell of her perfume or her sweet, soft skin as we embrace. i want to feel the gentle touch of her hand in mine or her fingernails down my back as she "tickles me slow". i long to see her in our pictures, sitting across the dinner table and playing with her grand kids.

the days leading up to her death are still so vivid in my mind.

the privilege of caring for her every need was not without the heart breaking knowledge that she would soon leave us. as i watched her gasp for every breath, i remember hyperventilating as if i was taking on her pain. she was unable to communicate with us. was she in pain? did i administer enough pain medication? there was a medical log and frantic phone calls made to the hospice nurse---and then i recall calmly saying, "i'm giving her more morphine". i couldn't stand next to her, hold her hand and "hope" that she wasn't experiencing pain. i felt a tremendous peace as we laid with her on her bed into the early hours of that morning. Jesus was very present throughout that last evening. i begged Him to take her home and heal her fully.

He did.

that morning, i leaned over her still body, to say “goodbye”. i kissed her cheek and fell, with the full weight of my body, onto her body and wept loudly. i so deeply wanted her to hold me once more as a mother embraces her daughter to make her feel safe. my husband had to physically lift my body up to stand again. i didn’t realize until recently how traumatic losing my mom really was for me.

recently, while having a massage, i was experiencing physical pain when trying to inhale. i struggled to breathe in and breathe out. as she placed her left hand onto my chest and her right hand under my back, she gently and quietly held my heart in her hands…

He held my heart in His i heard the thunderous sound of a wet tear drop fall onto my pillow, i felt Him speak to me in a gentle Father’s voice....and i wept. i can’t fully explain the experience but the pain that I felt in my heart that day was physically released.

exactly two years ago my heart was broken into a million tiny pieces. today He is putting the pieces of my heart together again, as I learn to let go and give words to my pain.

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~William Shakespeare

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

wordless wednesday....

well, technically there are WORDS in this post. anyone who knows my daughter will understand the humor in this picture---it needs no more words. Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

every woman was once a little girl....

i am certain that i was there and yet i have no memories of the day i was born. apparently in the 70's, fathers were in the waiting room instead of the delivery room, at least my father was. he remembers what sporting event he was watching though! my mother shared a few of her memories over the years of my birth day. she was at a doctor appointment for my older sister when she went into labor and she walked across the street to the hospital to deliver me. i was born with club feet but was an otherwise fat, healthy baby.

once upon a time i was a little girl....i remember my mom making my favorite foods, angel cake, and one year a very special strawberry roll cake for my Strawberry Shortcake themed party. i loved helping her bake the cake and stood in amazement as she "rolled" it into something extra special just for me. she had a simple way of making every birthday something grand.
three times a year i have the privilege of planning birthday celebrations for my precious children. i absolutely love throwing a good party; a treasure hunt, a tea party, batman (turned my garage into a bat cave), ice skating, lady bugs, "1st" birthdays, rock band, superman, a nature hike and many more. although my all time favorite party was my husband's 30th Casino Night at our house in Vegas. i am sure that i inherited my mom's love for birthdays!

my "sweet 16" was an entire surprise day planned by both my mom and dad. i spent time doing something with different family members and friends all throughout the day. i was chauffeured around by dad in an old convertible car to each unknown destination. i got my first lesson in flying a private airplane, manicures, extravagant meals, etc. at the end of the day all my friends surprised me at my house for a big birthday party.

the sleepovers, pajamas, pillow fights and girls talking into the morning hours--these were the good old days!

as i grew up to be a woman, my birthday celebrations have been a big party with many friends, or sometimes a quiet night out with my husband, occasionally a girls' night out, or a simple dinner with my family. two years ago, i choose to spend a quiet take out dinner at home with my husband, my three kids, mom, dad and mother-in-law. that particular year, my mom was living next door to us and was not well enough to go out to dinner. she was so beautiful that night, her skin glowed and she played games and laughed--it was everything i wished for as i blew out my candles. unknowingly to me, it would be my last birthday celebrated with my mom.

today is my birthday. today i awake with aches and pains, a few new wrinkles and will limp through my day as usual. today my physical body is aging. today i am thankful for my mother who gave me life. each day i choose to celebrate life and hope to be more in love with my Father and bring glory to Him in all that i do.