Wednesday, May 27, 2015

No more pencils, no more books... Day 1

Today was Awards Day at school. It lasted an hour, and then - boom - it was summer. Hooray! I know some moms dread 24 hours with their kids for 3 months, but I revel in it. At least for the first week or two. This summer will be a little different since we're trying to sell the house. I was really hoping it would be off the market by now so we'd have more freedom to make messes, but no such luck. So I've been thinking up ways to keep us all busy and out of the house without spending a whole lot of money.
I've come up with a tentative schedule of activities in the morning, lunch and rest time at home, then an afternoon of some sort of clean/quiet-ish activity. Today, we went swimming at the in-laws' pool, then came home and had hot dogs, then rested for an hour (I was the only one to fall asleep... haha). I wasn't sure what we were going to do this afternoon, but then - a saving grace - grandma called and wanted to see if the kids wanted to come over and spend the night. Hallelujah! Tomorrow after we pick them up, we're going to pick peaches and then come home and bake stuff with them.
I thought I'd document this summer so I could look back and see the slow gradual descent into insanity. At what point will I start spouting gibberish and let the kids watch 14 hours straight of Inspector Gadget while I hide under the blankets and weep for school to start again? We'll see!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas Break

We're starting to freshen up the house with the end goal of putting it on the market. Today's highlight was painting the trim in the living room: on the front door, the baseboards, and the doorways. The kids are still home for Christmas Break, so I spent my morning freaking out if they even shifted on the couch -- "DON'T TOUCH THE WALL!! JUST SIT STILL!" Mama's a little cray-cray. Speaking of which, cray-cray is Nathan's favorite word. He even introduced it to the four year olds in my preschool class. You're welcome, parents. Why does preparing to move make me hate all of my furniture? We're having a garage sale before we put the house up for sale, but I have to resist the urge to take down my curtains and throw my couch in the sale pile, along with a couple of lamps and the table and, oh, every single other thing I own. I forget that I will have to have something to sit on if we ever get into another place to live. It's all crap, but it doesn't make sense to buy anything new for the kids to ruin. College football playoffs are on and I'm bingeing because I know the drought is coming. I hate January through August. I watched football for 10 hours straight on Wednesday. My youngest participated in our annual family Bowl Pick 'Em for the first time this year and has absolutely annihilated everybody. With 7 games left, no one can catch him. Shawn says we need to take him to Vegas, stat. Also, go Hokies! I know we only played Cincinnati, but with the way the season went, that's a huge victory. School starts back on Monday. I have so enjoyed having my kids home with me for two weeks. Seriously. It's been really nice. I like the idea of going back to our routine school days too, though. We're headed to Orlando next Friday, so it's only a week of normal before we get to have fun again. Harry Potter, here we come!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fix My Eyes

I was in a mood this morning. Bitter, resentful, and just sad. I was feeling victimized, as I have had to deal with some consequences of someone else's bad decisions. I picked up my Bible and didn't even know what I was looking for. I didn't necessarily want to be comforted, or even reassured that it would be okay. I flipped open to random page in Daniel and read this (Chapter 12): "At that time Michael (the archangel), the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then, But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." I stopped. Stopped reading and stopped my little pity party. God had renewed my sense of self -- it's not about me. This life is so short and I don't want to spend it wallowing in feeling sorry for myself. I want to rejoice in His love and grace and share that with everyone I come into contact with. I can't do that if I'm focusing on myself and whining about things I can't change. I love the song "Fix My Eyes" by King and Country... this line is just what I need repeating in my head: The things of Earth are dimming In the light of Your glory and grace. I'll set my sights upon Heaven, I'm fixing my eyes on you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Grief and Thankfulness

I miss my mama. Every day, my heart feels the brokenness of her death and then I feel the joy, leaping up, so full I think I will burst, of knowing she is with her Savior and nothing else matters. I realized something today, as I was reading a story about Brittany Maynard and an open letter to her from a favorite blogger of mine . I was given an incredible gift: to experience grieving my mother's death WITH my mother while she was dying. It's a common refrain from those who are left to deal with unexpected deaths: I wish I had one more day. Well, I did get another day. 23 of them, to be exact, 23 days between confirmation and my mama's passing. What a gift. Reading these two women's stories and seeing the different ways that they are dealing with their impending deaths made me realize that the scariness of death and pain is nothing compared to giving those you love one more day by your side. I think my mother was brave, but I think she would disagree. I never saw a hint of fear - she knew where she was going and couldn't wait to see her Jesus - but I think she would say that she was just following the natural end of a fatal disease. To me, choosing to accept that end and all the unknowns that come along with it IS brave. And letting us walk the painful journey with her was a blessing that I am thankful for every day. My mama loved me with her whole heart for her whole life, and that didn't change at the end. She chose to let us grieve alongside her and to suffer through the pain, knowing what was on the other side. I am so thankful.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It is exhausting, this traveling back and forth. I am home for 2 days this week and then I go again, a 4 hour trip (one way) that I think I could do with my eyes closed. And probably have, come to think of it. Being away from the claustrophobic atmosphere gives me time to reflect, although I also worry every second that I am not there. Let's find some joy in the midst of the most demanding and grueling of circumstances: - My mom tenderly trying to slip her wedding band on over her gnarled and mostly useless finger a couple of days ago. - My sister and I struggling to lift mom's body back into the bed after a toilet visit and catching her eye as we're huffing and puffing, making me want to giggle. - Seeing her mouth lift up at the corners as my husband tries his best to lighten the mood and make her laugh. - Hearing time and time again how my mom touched someone's life for the better, simply by caring and being kind. - The security of spending her last days at home, surrounded by her most beloved family, who are honoring her wishes to keep her out of the hospital. - The hope and assurance of our faith that we will see mom again in Heaven, where she will be healthy and happy. - The many, many, many people who are showing how much they love our family with their prayers, food, money, and anything else they have to offer. I'm slowly grasping that my mom is extraordinary. People from all stages of her life are contacting her and letting her know how much she means to them. It is astounding. She has received hundreds of cards, dozens of flower arrangements, enough food to feed an army, and countless offers of, "Let me know if there's ANYTHING I can do." Many people die alone with no one who cares. My mom is surrounded by loved ones near and far who are supporting us all in this journey and I am overwhelmed by their generosity and my thankfulness. My sister and I are also caught up by people who love us: they watch our children, feed us when we can't summon the energy to cook, and make sure we have gas. They are just there, letting us know that they are praying for us and thinking of us. I am thankful for every word written, every hug given, every thoughtful gesture that lets me know you are there, carrying the load with me. This experience is going to get even harder, and I'm thankful that I am not alone. We are not alone.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Secret Agent Mom

My mom is a snooper. Not a secret one, and not apologetic, either. She'll come into our house, or when we were younger, our rooms, and snoop away. She calls it being curious. While I applaud these maneuvers as a mom myself (although maybe a little less in depth), I HATED them when I was younger. I was a good kid -- I didn't really have any secrets, but I wanted some thoughts to remain private. I remember one time in high school, I found my journal in her closet in a box of "things to keep." I was mortified and horrified, and also I hadn't even FINISHED the journal yet. She saved notes that boys wrote to me after she found them in my desk, and one time she found a Harlequin Romance book I sneaked in and kept under my bed. I got in trouble for that one. Due to her excellent sleuthing skills, my mom knows pretty much everything about me. And that's okay. I keep thinking, "I have the perfect opportunity that people always talk about. I know my mom is dying, and I should let her know NOW anything important." But I don't have anything. I have always kept in frequent contact with her and shared my everyday with her. And I am thankful. I have no regrets. This verse has been on my mind today: "Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14 I like the picture of my mama getting close to the finish line. I am so excited for what awaits her!

Monday, May 20, 2013


We sit by her bed, one at a time, a seemingly endless vigil that we don't really want to end. She snaps her good eye open to peer at whoever happens to be there, then rolls over and goes back to sleep. Every noise seems to irritate her, hence the one at a time rule. When Holly and I whisper, the eye whips open and glares at us. At other times, though, she softly whispers something that we usually have to ask her to repeat: an "I love you," which means so much right now. A funny statement that must have to do with whatever she's dreaming: "Plaid. I think the plaid one." Or sometimes, my favorite: a purse of the lips and a kiss noise. Mom seems so soft and fragile. Her face is worry-free and, unless the morphine is wearing off, she seems okay. She says repeatedly that she thinks she'll die tonight, whatever night it happens to be, and I feel bad that just because you want something to happen doesn't mean it will. She is certainly deteriorating, though, and it really could be any moment, I guess. Her color is good and her heart sounds strong, but her breathing is deep and very slow. I can't imagine what it'll be like without her here.