Friday, May 16, 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten

A dear friend told me something today that as a Christian I know, but as a fallible human being, I have difficulty acknowledging:

I am worthy. I am loved. I am forgiven.

Even so, as I write those words, it makes me cry to write them, to see them, to accept them.

I am worthy. I am loved.  I am forgiven.

Why? Why is it so hard for me to believe these few simple phrases?  When I was in my 20s, it was so easily believed.  I lived every day feeling all of those things.  I spent a great deal of my time telling other people that they should feel that too!   Now, as I near 40, the concept is as foreign to me as diving out of an airplane at 70,000 feet, with only a nylon tether, piece of cloth and God to keep me alive.

I am worthy. I am loved. I am forgiven.

Really?  Am I?  I wonder where, in my world of wife, mother and daughter, I somehow lost me.  More importantly, somehow, while I continued to worship Him, I forgot that the Lord has always had my back.  He honored my requests for forgiveness.  He loved me when no one else did (or at least when I felt as no one did.) And he forgave me when my sins seemed so unforgivable.

I am worthy. I am loved. I am forgiven.

Even as I wrote this yesterday, it distressed me so much that I had to step away from it and couldn’t write anymore.  I had to separate myself from the “good news”.  Does that even make sense?  I mean really!  If Ed McMahon had come to my house and said, “You just won 5 million dollars in the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!” would I just close the door in his face and step back?  Um. Duuuhhhhh. No.  

Yet yesterday it stressed me so that I literally had a weepy meltdown in the middle of my office.  Then I felt better.  Then I went and got a pedicure.  Because I don’t do that.  But yesterday I did.  Because something as simple as having my nails painted by someone who isn’t grossed out by feet is not something I have allowed myself over the years.  But yesterday I did!  (And they look maaahhhvallous!) 

Funny- reading back over all of this ramble, I see that I have no real end in sight.  There’s no real purpose to my writing this time- or as they teach our children, no A-B-C. (Beginning, middle, end.. or.. whatever). 

Or was there purpose?  I’ll be forty in two months.  My writing may not have the perfect opening paragraph and there may be no bridge from the main purpose to the closing paragraph, but for the first time in a very long time, I am reminded-

I am worthy. I am loved. I am forgiven.

Thank you P.H., my friend.  Your words were invaluable.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Moment of Clarity

(Written yesterday While at Vanderbilt with my son.)

Jake and I came to Children's Hospital in Nashville today.A routine visit for him; we come relatively often.  So I've become relatively numb to the process.  Numb from the other parents, bedraggled from days with no sleep, few showers, and feelings of unknown tomorrows.  Numb to undetermined illnesses and children who are just starting their journey here.

It was a beautiful day today.  Sunny, but not too hot.  There was a slight breeze, whispering whatever you wanted to hear.

As Jacob and I walked outside to the rotunda, I heard a desperate cry and deep, deep, painful sobbing.  I looked over to see a young woman sitting in a wheelchair, rocking back and forth repeatedly.  A man, I assumed to be her father, gingerly touched her shoulder, simply letting her feel.  An older woman sitting on the bench in front of them, leaned over and whispered and waited.  I tried to tear my eyes away, but I had to know what was hurting this woman so deeply to her soul.  At that moment, she dried her eyes and sat up in her wheelchair.  It was then, as she stilled, that she slowly looked down to the crook of her arm.  It was then that I saw the baby.  I stop even now as I write this, recalling to be sure I saw it correctly.  But there's no question.  The child that she held had a head covered in hair as black as night that was barely bigger than a baseball.

The baby did not move. The baby did not cry.

Again, the mother yelled out in desperation.  This time, her father ran into the hospital, returning moments later with a nurse who swiftly wheeled mother and child inside.  I don't know what was happening.  I created so many scenarios in my mind.  I don't know if the child was even alive. But I know there was pain.  There was feeling.  And my numbness to it all was subsiding.

I could suddenly see all that I'd walked by just moments before: a man, sitting in the waiting room, trying to stay awake, but losing the battle again and again; a woman crying in a corner, comforted with prayer by a hospital volunteer; the child in a hospital robe, still connected to an IV & pole, out for her one walk of the day- choosing to see the train instead of the fish this time; the family of five, strolling slowly through the common areas for the first time, as the hospital volunteers show them the "nice" aspects of this place of uncertainty.

I could suddenly see that what was a routine visit for me, still stirred fear in my child.  My "strong, little boy" was actually frail and unsure.  The last time he'd been here, they'd drawn 4 vials of blood without warning, setting off a chain of events that included vomiting in the car throughout the four hour ride home, and a midnight trip to the ER.  The last time he'd been here, his neurologist said he'd have to do it all over again in three months. 

Today is three months.

And here we are. 

For us though, the news is good this time.  His surgery was successful.  He is sleeping through the night, in his own room.  He's not having seizures, not sleep walking, not suffering from leg cramps and is still gaining weight.  The next step is to start backing off of some of his medications over the next year.  Good news.  So good that even though it's been three months, we won't be drawing blood.

And Jake is thanking God.


No. Really.  As the elevator began its descent, Jacob started searching the list of floor assignments.  When I asked what he was looking for, he explained, "The Chapel."  

"The Chapel"

"Yup.  I want to go to the Chapel."

So we went to the chapel.

When we got to the chapel, I asked if he wanted to pray for the good news.  He shrugged and said, "Sure."  I thought that was an odd reaction, considering that he asked me to go there.  Still, we prayed quietly together, thanking God for the good news.  When I got up to leave though, Jacob walked to the front of the room, to a stand that held forms to complete with prayer requests.  I thought that, as he grabbed a pencil, he would write his name and information down and ask for prayer to himself.  He wrote for only a moment before asking me how to spell the last name of a church member who had been in  surgery just that morning.

Now, it's at this point in my writing that I usually try and tie it all together and say something wise and fitting.  But today, I'm at a loss for how to put it all together because the emotion is so overwhelming.   As we walk out of the hospital and into the parking garage, I notice that the woman in the corner has fallen asleep, the young patient with the IV has returned to her room and the mother in the wheel chair is being wheeled out - with arms empty.  And I am sad.  And I look at my "healthy" son, and I am happy.  And I am guilty. And in that moment of conflicting emotions, I am glad.  Glad not to be numb.  Glad to be feeling.

For my moment of clarity.

Monday, March 19, 2012

When I couldn't sleep last night, at 2 o'clock in the morning, I sat up and read my old blog posts. It's funny to see that I started in 2006, when my first son was barely 3 years old. What a new mom I was; so scared of everything that entailed. I'd like to say I wrote religiously, but the posts speak for themselves. I was less than perfect about keeping up with them. I wrote when the mood struck. When my second son was born, I wrote again. Now he's three. My lack of writing is simply indicative of how busy my life has gotten. Work, church, school, sports. It seems like it never ends. A lot has been going on in my life. Suffice it to say, as I read my posts this morning, I realized how much I'd missed writing. There's something so gratifying for me to put my thoughts into story.. to just say it like it is. Whether anyone even reads it isn't important in the moment. It's just being able to say exactly how you feel in the very moment.

I've got a lot of emotion in my life right now. Oddly enough I'm having difficulty sorting it out. I've come to realize in the last couple of weeks though, how absolutely blessed I am. I have two beautiful children and a loving husband. And while our lives have included a few bumps along the way,we still manage to surface again and again. When it gets quiet, I realize how lucky I am; how many don't have what I have. I stare at my boys and get lost in them. And I try to remind myself of that when things get busy and the kids are screaming. When groceries haven't been bought, laundry hasn't been done and there's a layer of dust an inch thick on the furniture. These are the moments I live for.

An old acquaintance from high school, who has recently become a new father and is a professional photographer, will often post photos of his daughter in various stages of her life. Whether she's sitting in a basket of laundry, or covered from head to toe in bubbles- one minute jubilant and the next scowling, he seems to capture each moment perfectly in his photos. I feel as though I'm living in the moment with his child. Sharing in the moment as though I was there. For the longest time I was jealous of his ability to do that. But it occurred to me today that while I'm not the photographer he is, I can capture our moments in my words. I can bring to life event the most tense of moments and paint a picture so vivid that my reader will too, feel as though they lived it.

So, starting today, I'll be keeping journals. One for Jacob and one for James. My hope for them is that when they are grown they can open the pages and relive their childhood. As though a visitor peering through the window... And I hope I do it justice. That I tell their stories in such a way that they can feel the love and joy that even penetrated our lives even in the difficult times.

I encourage any of you with children to do the same. In this digital world, leave your children something tangible. Where they can sit, with book in hand and get lost in your words, turning page after page. Fill the pages with love. Fill the pages with memories- good and bad. Fill them with the memories that make them the adults they will become. Show them the journey that you took together. Paint the picture with your words. And remind yourself, as you write each day, how very, very blessed you are to love and be loved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Littlest Boy

It's hard to believe that it was 3 years ago when I sat to post of my nervousness as my oldest started Kindergarten. Now, I'm writing of my youngest, only 2 years old and how quickly my baby is growing.

Just yesterday, for the second time this year, we took James to the emergency room because he was in respiratory distress. The first time this happened, he was actually turning blue. This time it wasn't quite so drastic, but I will, nonetheless, never get used to the helpless feeling that comes with thinking my child's life is.. um.. well... temporary.

But I digress...

That evening, sitting beside James' bed before his breathing became a real issue, I determined that I should try to relieve his coughing by administering a breathing treatment. James has asthma, so this sometimes helps. Anyway, I lifted him out of his bed, put the mask over his mouth and nose and sat in the floor with him as he breathed in the pharmacological remedy. Understand that not a word was passed between us during this process. It was 2am, and all was quiet in the house. When the breathing treatment was over though, I switched off the nebulizer, and James said so quietly, "Thank you, Mommy."

It was hard to lay him back down after that.

My two year old.

By 5:30am, James' breathing was rough (thanks to a bad case of croup and agitated asthma.) So we decided that waiting for the doctor's office to open wasn't an option and took him to Children's Hospital. As I carried him through the early morning chill of downtown Knoxville (the parking lot is on the other side of the building from the emergency room entrance), I paused to wait for passing cars before crossing the road. James, improving with the cool air, lifted his head, took in his surroundings, and said very matter -of- factly, "You better be careful Mommy. There are many cars out here."

My two year old.

Today, I stayed home with James, and fresh off of a dose of steroids, he is not only eating me out of house and home, but I've now dubbed him the Tazmanian Devil! He has been all over the place dancing, laughing.. oh and eating! This is my sick child! So it really should have come as no surprise when I heard him screaming and ran to find that he had toppled head first into his rather large toy box. I pulled him out by the ankles and cradled him as though a new born.

My two year old.

A short while later, James was returning a remote control truck downstairs to his playroom. It's the kind where the vehicle is attached to the remote console with a long wire (you know, so it's not really .. um.. remote). Anyway, I stopped James to help rearrange his armload, concerned that the wire would trip him up on the way down. Once everything was adjusted to my satisfaction, I said "Are you sure you've got it? I can help you. I'm worried you might trip, James." By that time, he was already half way down the stairs. He paused, turned his head ever so slightly toward me, and said,
"It's OK, Mom. I won't trip. I love you!"

My two year old.

I guess my whole point to this long diatribe is that this week, my 2 year old, my precious baby, has been such a little man. Maybe I'm just really tired from lack of sleep over the last two nights or maybe it's just because I can't have any more babies that I'm so nostalgic. That I can so easily picture him headed for college, turning to me saying, "It's OK, Mom. I'll be fine. I love you!" And I wonder where the time goes. I wonder how, in this short 2 years, he knows so much. How he feels so much. I wonder if, on that late summer day when he heads off on his own, I'll remember moments like these. I sure hope so. Because I don't ever want to forget what it was like when he was, well...

My two year old.!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Another Day

Every year on my birthday I say how it's just another day, then I squeal in delight when the next person wishes me felicitations. This morning I awoke to a wall full of well wishes from friends I haven't seen in years (yes, I really did check FB first thing this morning!), but I can honestly say that each one made me stop, smile, recall a memory with them, and appreciate that they took a moment out of their day to wish me well. At work, my colleagues offered cards and cake and even garnished my workspace with balloons. My oldest son, who is visiting my parents, called to wish me a happy day. My husband and I shared our favorite Chinese dinner together (even though all of the fortune cookies were clearly meant for him!) It has all been so extraordinary and has meant more this year than any other.

So, back to my original point- "just another day". Now, I love birthdays. I think that there should be celebration and lots of excess. But I've never (well, not as an adult anyway) really gotten caught up in the age game. I am the age I am, and it's .. well.. just another day.

Until this year.

This year, I am a year older.
This year, I have learned for 365 days.
This year, I've been a daughter, wife, mom and friend to those I love for 52 weeks.

And this year, I have, once again, taken it all for granted.

As many of you know, I am currently undergoing tests to determine whether or not I have lymphoma. I am waiting for the results of those tests as we speak.


I keep saying it over and over as though to become comfortable with the word will help me come closer to a possible reality.


While I know that confirmation of this illness is not a death sentence, I am still frightened by the what-ifs. (bear with me.. there really is a point to all of this.)

What if it is lymphoma?
More importantly, what if it's not?

Will I sigh after receiving the news?
Will I tell the nurse 'thank you' and just turn back to the monitor, where I spend 8 hours every day and simply move on with relief?

Or will I stop what I'm doing and say a prayer, thanking God for all that I have. Will I remember what I learned during this brief moment of fear?

To trust in the Lord more.
To love with more passion.
To work harder.
To be a better friend to those who have invested so much in me.
To hold my husband and children every day- remembering that there is no promise of tomorrow.

This year, my 36th year on this Earth, I will not take it for granted.
Because it is not just another day.
It is my day and I have cherished every moment!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I have a letter. It's an old letter, and it's one that I haven't looked at for a very long time, but it hides in the pages of Ecclesiastes 3:1-7. It changed a man's life. Because of it, I changed a man's life.

When I first received the letter, I didn't know what to do with it. I read it, and reread it. Ultimately, when all was said and done, I put it in my desk and moved on with my life, but not before letting it persuade me to take actions against another. You want to know what the letter said, but I won't tell you. It is private. I am not trying to be cryptic, but I will simply say that it was heartfelt and tearful, and I believed it. I believed in the power that I felt when I read it and I let it define me in that moment as someone who would not tolerate an injustice against her.

As I got older, I would run across it now and again and for reasons I cannot explain, I kept it. I aged. It aged, yet that old letter still moved me. Its meaning changed for me over the years and as I got older, I realized that the power I felt at that time I first received it was misplaced. The drama of the moment led me to take actions that now seem so unnecessary. In other words, I realized that I had been wrong. I had made a decision that seemed so simple at the time, but was in fact complicated beyond even my own understanding.

So, as I got older and wiser, I decided that the old letter needed a new home. I placed it in my bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes. Here, on the pages of my old bible, it reads,

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.

Understand that I placed my old letter there for a reason. This was before the days of MySpace and Facebook. Before you could just IM an old "friend". In my heart I hoped that there would be a time when I would be able to face the man who never even knew that the letter existed. The man who never knew what really drove me to do the things that I did. I believed that I would have the chance to ask for forgiveness and to help heal wounds that I had dug deep. So I placed the letter there. And I waited.

It's been 13 years and I have been blessed (dare I say, blessed) by the invention of Facebook, where I have had the opportunity to speak with the man whose life I changed so many years ago. We have talked. I have cried. He has asked why? I have explained about the letter and I have given answers as best I know how. He has given forgiveness without condition.

Someday, I'll take that old letter out of my bible and put it away. For now though, I choose to leave it there, adding my own page to depict a new chapter of my life. This time the letter being written comes from me. The life that it's changed is mine.

Thank you for your forgiveness R.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Well, I've decided to write another blog that will, in all likelihood, offend at least one of you.

Let me first start by saying how happy I was to see that my last blog initiated the discussion that it did. I appreciate all of the feedback that I received from my friends. I especially appreciate those of you who responded specifically to my dilemma of how to address the topic with my 6 year old. I will say only that I took the advice given by one of you and the conversation was a good one. My son was surprisingly open to the concept presented to him, and ultimately reminded me that what is important is that Christ died for our sins so that we can live.

So, to my point of this post. While I was pleased to see what a wonderful conversation is possible on this world of Facebook, I was very disappointed to see how quickly it could turn into something laden with off topic banter and disrespect. Keep in mind that I love to learn, so I actually enjoyed the tidbits of information that, while not really helping with my situation, were none-the-less peaking my interest. I did not however, appreciate that my friends were disrespected and called insolent names for simply expressing their opinion of my situation and offering insight through other knowledge. Whether or not that knowledge was always correct, is really irrelevant. No one knows everything. To correct misinformation is a simple action. To insult someone in process of doing so is unnecessary and immature. And it is especially my opinion that to do so through a social networking tool such as Facebook, to someone you know nothing about, shows not your greater knowledge, but your ignorance.

Let me lay it out like this: I choose my "friends" on Facebook very carefully. I like to believe that all of them are either true friends or good acquaintances. In other words, I care about their feelings. I care about whether they have a good day or bad day, whether their children and families are happy and healthy and whether they believe that I treat them with respect that they deserve. Why is this important in the scheme of this blog? Simply put, while I believe that my "friends" deserve respect from me, I in turn believe that if you are writing to them or in response to them on my Facebook page, that you should treat them with that same respect. Anything else, is not only disrespectful to them, but also to me. I take it personally. It is personal. Please understand that.

Dale Carnegie once said, "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."

'Nuf said.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Personal Perrogative

Well, now I've seen it all. Perhaps I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but I saw something today that just didn't set well with me. Maybe you've seen it. I have to warn you that not everyone will agree with my view on this. Anyway:

So there it is. I was in the Food City parking lot, running in to quickly pick up some comfort food for my youngest when I passed a Suburban with this decal posted in the middle of the rear window. I had exactly 16 minutes to make it inside, complete my purchase, run back to the car and drive to my eldest son's daycare, which is at best 10 minutes away. I took 3 minutes of that very narrow window of time to stand perfectly still, staring at this decal. I turned away, took two steps, then stepped back and just stood and stared. I guess I was making sure that it really did mean what I originally thought it meant.

Yes, no doubt. I definitely understood the message.

In the next moment I wondered if my 6 year old would have been able to read it. I believe he would. And I believe in that moment of excellence in education, my 6 year old would have been absolutely and utterly confused. "You mean Jesus had his body pierced?"

ME: Well, yes, actually.
SON: What part?
ME: What?
SON: What part?
ME: Um..
SON: I mean was his tongue pierced? Or his ears? Did he have one of those thingies in his nose?

I have taught my son, when asked why someone has a ball sticking out of their tongue, a gauge hanging through their ear, or a stud in their nose, that people make different choices in life. And that when he's older, the choice will be his. I chose to pierce my ears he would point out. Could he? Again, I teach that it is a personal choice. I explain the process one must go through to have a piercing. Understand, whether or not you believe that piercing your tongue is attractive, or whether you think a belly button ring is the sexiest thing on earth, the point remains- how in the world can you even remotely begin to compare this to putting a nail into a man's hand with the sole purpose of inflicting pain and ultimately death?

Now let me say that I fully believe in freedom of speech. I do of course believe that there are times some idiots should really shut their mouths, but I still think they have the right to spew their stupidity if they so desire. I also believe in the freedom of expressing one's religious beliefs. I, too believe that Christ died on the cross for my sins. I believe that his pain was excruciating. I have taught my son how and why this all occurred, and I have watched his anguish year after year as he takes it all in at the reenactment of the crucifixion that is so magnificently portrayed at The Living Christmas Tree. Never once have I tried to explain why Christ suffered through the pain of being nailed to a cross by comparing it to mutilating one's body with piercings.

In my mind there is simply no comparison and while I think it's fantastic to see the life of Christ alive now more than ever, I do not agree with this slogan campaign and was grateful that for this afternoon at least, I do not have to explain to my child why someone is rejoicing over Christ's "body piercing". I do not have to clarify that he doesn't have a nose ring, earrings, or ear gauges.

My husband points out that perhaps I'm missing the message or that I'm doing a poor job of expressing what really bothered me the most about this slogan. Listen, I got the point of the slogan. I just don't like having to explain to my youngster why body piercing as he knows it is being compared to the crucifixion of Christ. But then again, the decal on a Suburban, stuck to the back window, in the Food City parking lot has my family talking about the crucifixion of Christ.

God works in mysterious ways.

I still don't like the decal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Cheat or Not to Cheat- That is the question!

B, Hope you don't mind that I copied my comment from your blog!
(Her blog can be found at . What you read below is my response to an "interview" that she posted where she asked one of her friends for his opinion about cheating) Men should take note!

B- I am fascinated by your blog. My first visit here, and I am moved to leave this comment: Cheating is a choice. Period. It is not something that your body does without your mind’s permission. To cheat, your mind makes a choice. It’s obvious that at this stage in his life anyway, Kweku has made that choice. Relationships take work. Constant upkeep. Women want awareness from their loved ones; notice and validation that their emotions and needs are seen and matter. Even the fact that these needs aren’t necessarily met or that their significant other doesn’t agree with them isn’t as important as that they’re recognized. When, in the rat race of today’s society, we begin to move so quickly in our lives, we fail to be aware of those people we love, we risk the loss of them. We risk that they look elsewhere for that awareness- for that one person who doesn’t take them for granted. Then, the choice is ours. It is my true belief that if you keep that awareness in your relationship or marriage and work to maintain that respect and communication, neither of you will ever want for more. Women should always remember this. It’s what each and every one of us deserve.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Moose

Clara Ortega once wrote, "To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time."

Today is my sister's birthday. She would be 36.

I turn 35 this summer. But in my mind, Amy is still 10 and I'm 9, and we're rollerskating down the driveway, singing the latest McDonald's jingle, laughing like there's no tomorrow.

In my mind, Amy is 13 and I am 12. Amy is playing the piano, singing alto, and I'm singing soprano. Our voices blend perfectly. We're on stage, performing at our school talent contest. We're happy. In my mind.

In my mind, Amy is 15 and I am 14. Amy is much larger than me. But we laugh. She calls me Mouse. I call her Moose. She's still beautiful. In my mind.

In my mind, time has not touched us. Amy is not really gone, and today will just be the day we always dreamed of. Today we'll be grown women, spending our days together, watching our children play. She's happy. She's beautiful. And in my mind, she always will be.

Happy Birthday, Moose. I love you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Boys

Well, I simply couldn't pass up the chance to put these two pics side by side. The left is Jacob, almost 6 years ago. The right is James, 2 months ago. Aren't they beautiful?
It's amazing how far they've come in such a short time. Jacob is about to "graduate" from Kindergarten! It seems like just yesterday that I wrote the blog, scared out of my wits that he had an interview with the principal! And James is already 6 months old; I can't believe it!
Things have been so busy- Jacob started baseball season, though it feels like his heart's just not in it this year. He had a bad experience in the fall season, and I think it's scared him off a bit. Rob is also an assistant coach on the team. Even though school's not out yet, they have 2 or more games every week. Then they usually have another game on Saturday. Fun fun!

James' MRI is scheduled for next Friday. Please pray for us. I have all the confidence in the world that it will all work itself out- no matter what the doctors find, but I still have to admit that every now and then, out of the blue, I just lose myself in a bout of tears. I can't stop it.

Work has been, well, an experience all its own. I won't go into details, but let's just say it's been a rough road lately, and it really just feels like I can't get anything right. I must say, though, that our team really works well together, and I'm lucky to have the job that I do.

So, reading this, can you tell that my heart's not in my post? I really did just want to post the two pictures- I get such a kick looking at them side by side and thought that you might too. Enjoy!

As I'm signing off, the news is reporting that another local soldier has been killed in Iraq. So, I'll just take this opportunity to say thanks to those of you who serve our country every day. Thank you for keeping us and our country safe. To mothers and fathers, thank you for loaning out your loved ones so that we can all sleep a little better at night. On the Country Music Awards a few nights ago, an injured soldier said, "You don't have to support the war, just support the warrior." I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Beginning of the End

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. ~Author Unknown

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Warm Monday

Wow. It's beautiful outside. And I love it! I really don't have much at all to write about- it's a Monday. So I'll do exactly as JMS' blog title suggests and randomly ramble. (thanks for letting me borrow that, JMS!)

I spent last night, late into the night, catching up with old friends on Facebook. We all talked about (and made fun of) many of our antics of days long ago.

One friend, whom I've not seen for well over 20 years, has a 14 year old. I said, "My gosh. Are we that old?" Ha. I don't feel that old. Another friend, who I hurt every time I had the chance back in college, accepted my own apologies, but then spent forever rehashing his own stories of mistreating those he was with. He really worried about it too.

But you know what, if there's one thing I believe it's that I love my life. And if anything had changed- any one thing had been done differently in my life- I might not have any of what I do today. That means good and bad. The traumatic experiences contributed as much as, if not more to the life I have today and I wouldn't trade it for anything!
Two movies come to mind, and if you've not seen them, you should check them out. Both are based on the premise that if one thing changed, there would be a chain reaction like non other and every detail would likely change. Both are rather old: Sliding Doors and Frequency. Neither are worthy of award nominations, but they both really get you to stop and think.

Here's how I see it:
Maybe you were mean to people. Maybe you played with their emotions, maybe you just downright mistreated them. You know, they probably remember you. Chance are, they weren't scarred for life, but I bet they remember you. So take a minute to find them and apologize. You don't have to rock their world, just let them know that now, today, you remember too. And you're sorry. Not that you would change it if you could, but just that you're sorry. And I'm sure, even after all this time, they'll thank you for it.

Oh and on a side note- if you're reading this Jon, it's March. And I know it's March. And what it means to you. I just wanted you to know I remembered.
Now, on to bigger and brighter- here are a few recent pics. Just last Saturday, I took my little ones to JMS' birthday celebration for her youngest. What a time they had! Thanks for the invite!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm writing today because someone was kind to me. The sad thing is that I'm writing because this type of kindness is so rare that I believe it deserves to be recognized. So, humor me, and read my short little story:
I drive a Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van. I got new tires for the van not so very long ago, but I noticed recently (and by recently, I mean over the last 6 weeks) that my back left tire wasn't holding air. I mean, it wasn't going flat, but it was clearly not holding air quite like it should. So, for the past 5 weeks, about once a week, I've been driving to the local grocery/gas station, who has air for free (I know, what a novel idea, huh? Free Air) and airing my tire. Over the last week though, I've had to air my tire ever other day. And then today, the air that I had just put in last night was clearly gone by mid-day. Now, my tire looks flat. So, my husband called around and got what sounded like a good quote for a tire from a well known shop (umm... twist my arm... Firestone- where we bought the original tires). And the guy says $68. Good price, huh? Yeah. I called the guy back and asked him to specify the price of the tire after they charged to place it on my vehicle. New price- $102.00 before tax. Nice. They close at 8pm, and he advised that if I hurry over right then (5:50pm), they might be able to fit me in. The guy was pleasant, but unfazed by the fact that I was a lone woman with 2 children, who would have to sit for an unknown amount of time waiting for them to "fit me in". So, with my infant son and my 6 year old son in my car, I headed toward said care repair place, ticked that they get so much for a hmm.... tire.

On the way, I remembered a little place 2 streets from my house, where I had received excellent service many years before (and for a reasonable price). They had recently changed management, and I've not had the opportunity to experience their new service. They are a mom and pop shop, independently owned and 1/4 the size of the big shops. I pulled in their parking lot just as the clock on my radio changed from 5:59pm to 6pm. I saw that the sign on their door showed closing time to be 6pm, but the phone number was just so large on the side of the building that I decided to call and check on the price of a tire anyway- just in case I could air up and come back the next day.
The man that answered (yes, they really did answer at closing time) was very pleasant. I apologized for calling at closing time, but explained that I was in the parking lot, my tire was quite flat and that I was hoping he would quote me a new tire. Instead, with no hesitation he offered to come out to the parking lot and look at the tire. Once there, he said, "Why don't you let us just take it back real quick and take a look - just see what we can do." Of course I agreed. By then, my husband had arrived from work, and I unloaded the children into his truck. The gentlemen (and I purposefully used that term, as they were, in fact, true gentlemen) pulled my car back, having opened a bay that was closed for the day. A mechanic, who had already packed up for the day and was on his way out the door, sat on the ground and determined that there was a screw embedded in my tire. The head of the screw had long since disappeared (no doubt from weeks of my driving on it..) but he was still able (and willing) to take it out and plug it. All without complaint. All without grunting, groaning, or grimace. All for $10.

It could have been $100 for all I cared. I would have paid it. They did me a favor and never once acted like they were doing so. And when I asked for a business card, because, I said "With the service you've given me, I'd like to bring some more business your way (my hubby needs new tires)." He said, thank you ma'am. I really appreciate that." And he meant it. As though I'd done him a favor- at 6:30pm on a Wednesday night.

So, if you ever find yourself at 4724 Western Avenue in Knoxville, TN (865)558-6911, stop and say hello. Because if more people ran their businesses like Automotive Tire and Service, maybe our economy wouldn't be hurting quite as badly as it is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My dearest Jacob,
You turned 6 years old today. I am so proud of you, and all that you are. I'm proud of all that you're yet to be.
I remember the day you were born as though it were yesterday. Your Daddy looked at me and said, with tears in his eyes, "how is it possible to love someone so much, who we've never known at all?" How indeed. And today, as you turn yet another year older, I ask myself how it's possible to love you any more today, than I did yesterday. Yet I do. You simply fill my heart with all that is good.
Tonight we sat at your favorite restaurant and laughed. And again I thought of when you were born. I looked in your eyes then and tried to imagine you as a little boy, then, as a grown man. Tonight you looked at me with those eyes and smiled. Without a single word, you smiled and hugged me. Then you said, "Thanks, Mom."
I looked at our family, sitting at the table. There was Daddy, Little Brother James, and you.
I sighed contently and thought, "How blessed am I?"
And I just looked back at you, hugged you and said, "No, Jacob. Thank you."

So, my boy, in the years ahead, when the hustle and bustle of life has you down, I hope you can take these words and be reminded of how very much you are loved. Remember Son, that when God gave you to me, my life changed forever. I became a mom that day. Not just any mom; your mom. And that may very well have been the best day of my life.

Happy Birthday, Jacob. I love you.