Monthly Archives: September 2012

prepare to MAKE IT BETTER

Happy 20th Anniversary to my wonderful husband – “I DO” was the smartest words I have ever spoken.  With the 5 years of dating prior to marriage we have accumulated 25 years together!  What an amazing man.

So I need to reflect where how did we get here… how did I become so blessed?

Our first date was September 27, 1987… we met at work.  He called my house and my dad answered, which is the first miracle – lol!  I wasn’t home and wasn’t even sure who he was because we only met once briefly.  Thankfully my boss called to see if he called because I am not sure I would have called back, since I didn’t even recognize the name.  Plus, I had to give him credit to even talk to my dad, who has a very deep kinda scary voice.  So it was a date.  He asked me to go dancing, please note, I can’t dance!  But, I still said sure and we went an under 21 club on Route 21.  My best friend Lynn came and helped pick out my outfit for the evening – she still has a better fashion sense than me!  Peach shirt and grey pants – I even ironed it.  So, he arrives and comes to the door and is dressed in the same colors.  Back to not knowing who he was… I am a talker and apparently he was impressed with my “personality” at work.  I also am NOT a visual person – someone could change the color of their hair, wear a crazy outfit, etc.. and I would honestly not notice (maybe because I am too busy talking – LOL!)  So, when he picked me up, I finally put a face to the name.  Handsome, a gentleman, and daring.  What I mean by daring is I also believe in honesty, so on date one, I spilled out the plans for my life (college degree before marriage), family obligations, etc.  I didn’t want to waste his time or mine… well, date two happened, date three happened… and twenty five laters we have experienced every piece of the wedding vows: richer/poorer, sickness/health, better/worse. 

So, how did we get where we are today.  I must say, that one of the first things we started doing together within the first month of dating was going to church together every Sunday.  He came to my church since he wasn’t really active in one.  We developed deep friendships with some great Christian couples.  Attended Sunday School and Bible Studies.  That truly was our foundation to our relationship.  I went to work every weekend and that ended our going to church together for about seven years.    At the time I wouldn’t say it did make a difference, but looking back it did.  When I was able to switch shifts on weekends, I told him we as a family would go to any church he would attend.  We have found our little country church and are so blessed.  We go to church every Sunday we can as a family.

We had incredible role models of marriage.  His parents are still together and enforced early on that divorce is not an option.  My parents were also a picture of unconditional love.  I don’t recall fighting as an option to solve problems.  We went to church together as a family.  When things got bad, they got closed. I have said before what a hero my dad is to me.  Many men would walk out on the responsibility and care with my mom, but leaving is not an option.  Real men step up to bat and love unconditionally and do not walk out!  Jim and I have had health issues.. within 3 months of our wedding, I broke three vertebras in my back and was on bedrest and therapy for over a year.   We then had a miscarriage.  Followed by years of infertility treatments and timing our :”love life” only to be told we would never conceive naturally.  We wanted children and Jim could have walked out, but he didn’t and we have been blessed!  Then we had two high risk pregnancies with long bedrests, where he had to deal without an income and he had to pick up the slack at the house.  I have also been aggressively worked up for what they believed to be breast cancer and endometrial cancer.  Jim was diagnosed with diabetes and his levels at the time were life-threatening.  Let’s not forget my scare with what they believed for me to be either a stroke or multiple sclerosis.  Yep, we have endured.. my list is much longer than his, but leaving was never an option. He was given many reasons to walk out, but he is a real man and stepped up and not stepped out!

Communication is key.  I can honestly recall two big differences of opinions/arguments in 20 years.  But, as things come up we talk.  I respect his space and he respects mine.  I honor his commitment to being a firefighter and respect him even more for what it represents.  We let each other know our plans (of note that was the 2 disagreements – although one became a little more complicated than that, but the root was that).  If we are late, we call.  If we need something for the family, we talk about it.  If we need something, we let the other one know.   If you can’t tell your husband, who can you tell? But we also believe that our problems stay within our house.  We are the opposites when it comes to talking (except if he is with his firefighter or hunting friends).  I talk all the time and he doesn’t.  I also respect that he isn’t a ‘gossip” even though it drives me crazy.  His true motto is not to get involved in things that do not affect him.  We don’t sweat the small stuff and work out the big stuff.

Family is important.  As in Lilo and Stitch – family means no one gets left behind.  I must say, I have an interesting family.  Jim has embraced all the issues with an interesting family, even when he should have run the other way – lol.  But, I can tell you, his children, our immediate family unit, means everything to him.  He believes in protecting them and defending them when the enemies attack.  He is a good role model and stresses the importance of giving back to the community.  We love to do things as a family, and have really focused more on that this past year. If they are in events, he attends them to watch.  Again, when he chose a church to attend, he thought of the family.  He has given up the dreams of the typical boy and embraces the differences of Sam.  He loves to attend concerts with Mary and have her help him at fireman events.  He is a great father!

 So as I reflect on the past 20 years, it is evident that I am blessed.  I also think about what can I do to make the marriage even better for the days, months, and years to come.  One things for sure, we are in this till “death do us part” … I prepare for our future – and plan to make it even better!

prepare to JUST BREATH

Sam has this saying when we hug him tight “I like to breathe”  and you have to hear him say it because he says it so different from his normal voice.  (NOTE: any new phrase or one where you can tell it is an attempt to sound like someone else,  you can ask what movie – this one is from Open Season 3).  It makes me smile when I hear him say it… but there are days, like today, that is exactly how I feel… but maybe more like I NEED TO BREATHE!  

One of my many faults is attempting to multi-task.  I could be doing the dishes and think of a few more things and start on them.  I have been known to burn stuff on the stove forgetting that I put it on and going off to get one more thing done.  I try to remember to set the timer for things as short as 3 minutes for fries.  How sad is that though that I feel like I need to fill that 3 minutes with another activity instead of just taking a moment to breathe?  I am not sure if I can even be still for 3 minutes anymore.

There are many articles on the benefits of just deep breathing… simply taking a deep breath.  I know when I do pause and take a deep breath it clears my head.  It slows me down.  It helps me to refocus.  Unfortunately, I am often too busy running from item to item whether mentally or physically that pausing is not in my vocabulary.  I think of all the patents with kids in sports and the family runs from school to sport to homework to bed and start over again the next day.  I use to do that with Mary in dance a couple nights a week and we adapted. But, it wasn’t easy, so Kudos to those of you who still function despite all the running.  Growing up, it was never like that.  We came from school and played and helped on the farm and got jobs as soon as we were old enough.  We had home-cooked meals everyday.  About the only traveling we did was to a church event.  We didn’t participate in organized sports if they had them, but even if they did, they were not on a weekend.  The weekends were sacred for family. 

Our kids are much more the low running, need space and time to breathe, kind of kids.  Sam likes to go to town for a toy, but as soon as the task is accomplished he wants to go home.  Mary is very similar.  She may go shopping and a movie, but just as content staying home listening to her music.  We love special vacations together, but are always ready to come home.  Sam has a new love for playing outside for long periods of time, which is huge because bugs would have once kept him inside.  I am not a mom of routine – which has its plus/minus.  For instance, last night I knew Sam and I would be doing our school in the evening today, so I let him stay up until he was tired (I will NOT disclose the time as I would get a bad mom award).  But he got his sleep in, will finish getting his school in, and no harm done.  I really don’t stress about them and their pace.  In fact, we joke that Sam has one pace – HIS!  I can say hurry up all I want and the pace will stay the same.  If I know we have to be somewhere at a certain time, I must calculate Sam’s pace and Mary’s pace into the plan.  I have to calculate the time for Sam to choose toys to take and then get to the car and realize he forgets something.  Others will say just make him go without it, and I would prefer to be late getting somewhere, only because the melt down will take more time than looking for the one thing he wants to take.  Mary is one who has to have her downtime where nothing is planned for her.  I could not even begin to describe that intense need for that in this blog (=   So two children low key, go with the flow, needing down time… then there is ME!

It is not unusual for me to work two jobs in one day, plus a commute to Morgantown for at least one of them.  I have put almost enough miles on one day between Uniontown and Morgantown trips to make it to Virginia Beach.  Even as I sit and type this blog, I am thinking of the other thousand things I need to do after I am done.  Last night, I talked on the phone, loaded the dishwasher, while cleaning out the fridge in preparation for garbage day today.  Today, I had to run to Morgantown and had a mini list to accomplish.  Jim asking me for lunch threw a wrench in some of the plans, but I have over the past year realized it is okay to slow down for what’s important – my marriage is important.  Home schooling has also forced me to slow down and the structure is much different than anticipated on my part.  I thought while Sam is doing his school, I could be working on projects, etc… However, I quickly realized that Sam and I would be learning together, which means there is limited multi-tasking.  I will admit, I often sit and ponder all the things that need accomplished while helping him.  I should be a professional juggler because on any given day that is exactly what I do, but even better, I am called mom!

As I wrote this blog, I stopped writing to do several things as I thought of them – Sam’s math and reading, picked up toys and vacuumed the living room (huge task). I started supper and moved clothes from washer to dryer, and then got sidetracked when I say the toilet needed cleaned.  Not once, did I stop to do the one thing I needed most – just to breathe!  Why is that so hard to do?  Why do I feel like my day has to be constantly filled and at the end of the day I look back and think of all the things yet to be done.  It is constant and crazy.  Yesterday when I started a blog, I knew I had to change it to the list I posted instead.  It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy life and forget my desire to overcome.  It’s easy to focus on the bad, yet my riches are so much more. It is easy to let out a sigh (one of my trademarks), but that just releases and doesn’t take new breath in. It’s easy to complain about being tired and not be thankful for the family to take care of and the jobs I have that make me tired.  It’s easy to just keep going along in this crazy life, and just forget to breathe!  I prepare to JUST BREATHE!

“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” – William Holden

 I found this very interesting article: http://www.womentowomen.com/fatigueandstress/deepbreathing.aspx

prepare to MAKE DECISIONS

Another week flew by.    Tuesday was one of the most incredible days as I got to help a friend through a bad moment in life.  I got to finally meet a Facebook friend in person for a spur of the moment breakfast and it was though we have known each other forever.   I caught up with a friend over the phone that I haven’t really talked to in months and picked up right where we left off.  Three doses of strong friendships were just what I needed that day, for the week, for the month.  I have noticed the power of positive influences in your life can sustain you through the rougher moments in life.  So blessed…

 This week, I squeezed in a dayshift of work and figured out a way to still get home schooling done. Mary demonstrated once again her responsibility in doing her classes without me here.  It was great to have some alone time with Jim in our commute to work to discuss some big decisions – future family trip, repair or purchasing of a new furnace, future anniversary.   Mary received a surprising text of apology this week, something she never expected, but definitely deserved.  Samuel and Shadow, our crazy dog, can play in the yard very well together.  Unfortunately, when they run through the house and a screen door is shut, the crazy dog did not see it and knocked it completely out of the sliding glass door.  All things in the life of a chaotic family…

 Now, I feel like I am in a season of decisions and I needed this past week to “ground” me to what to do.  I think my to do list this week is going to become replaced with the “LIST OF DECISIONS” to make.  They are some small and some big decisions.  Some can be life altering and some just to add to the moment of life.  Decisions are not always easy for me. 

* I tend to be a people pleaser, so often my decisions will be what is best for someone else and not necessarily what would be best for me.  Actually, this rules my life unfortunately.  If I know a decision will make my husband or children happy, the answer is yes and come hell or high water, I will try to make it happen.   If I really want something, I will justify out why I shouldn’t purchase it and continue to use the old in most situations.  I also am a pleaser in the sense of work and will do whatever it takes, giving up sleep, me time, etc. to cover a shift.  When I have to choose between reading a book I have been wanting to read, or watch a show I wanted to see, etc.. and allowing someone else have the choice – they win!

* I also am an over analyzer.  I try to assess each situation and then rationalize each one out until I make a decision.  I even did this on multiple-choice tests at school.  They always said go with your first choice because that was usually correct.  I could justify every answer in some way in my head. UGH!

* I like to avoid conflict.  So, if I can make a decision with the least harm done and least number impacted, count me in to that choice. I am willing to rock my boat if I am the only passenger, but not the boat that may capsize with many passengers. 

* I feel guilty.  When I make decisions that don’t put others first, often makes me feel guilty.  If I leave the kids I feel guilty.  I would love to occasionally escape to a hotel room to read, but I feel guilty.  If I go out on a date with my husband, I feel guilty (and sometimes the kids make me feel guilty for going without them).  But, realistically, I am not teaching them anything by not putting my marriage and myself first.

* I am still a procrastinator.  Although my word prepare has definitely changed pieces of that for me this year.  I have become more observant and made more decisions.  I confess, if I can put off the decision until tomorrow, which never comes, I will. 

* I value others opinions too much sometimes.  Sometimes I will delay decisions to get the opinions of others.  I may go with their decision over mine.  Problem it stems back to the people-pleaser issue.  Also, I will avoid talking about a decision with someone because I also don’t want their opinion; because I know it will change mine.  Which is fine if the decision only impacts me, unfortunately, that is not always the case.

* I often don’t pray hard enough about it OR trust enough.  I really try to hand over big decisions to God, but sometimes I just don’t.  Often I have one-way conversation with him.  I talk about everything, but don’t wait for the answer and sometimes not hearing the answer because I have turned a deaf ear.   It’s about control, not wanting to wait for the answer, not trusting, etc.  Sometimes He gives me the answer loud and clear in opportunities He opens and I still doubt and won’t go through the door He opens. Or, I rationalize out the open door and question myself (and Him).

So, I prepare to make some decisions.  I think now that I have really reflected my list of “issues” with decisions, it may make them easier to conquer. I guess at the end of the day, I just want peace of mind knowing that what I have decided was the best decision. If only I could find a crystal ball – LOL!!!

 James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

prepare to OPEN WINDOWS

I started watching Parenthood show, and am now addicted and watching the full episodes on Amazon instant movies – one of the many perks of my Amazon Prime account.  I believe I have seen an episode here and there before and vaguely remember that the one character, Max, has Aspergers (just as Samuel does).   My friend Renee had mentioned to me prior and I may have blocked this out because we live the story and I didn’t need to watch it too. But then I read a comment on Facebook about the show, and thought why not.  I was definitely not prepared for this observation, in some ways.  I started with Season 1 the Pilot and have worked my way through the first season.  I wept, and I mean weeped (and tears are still coming to my eyes), the day they got the diagnosis.  I remember that day… It broke my heart when Max asked the teacher to turn down the bubbles in the fish tank and they disregarded him and he broke the tank and HE got in trouble.  Or the time when kids called him names and he fought back and HE got in trouble.  In both instances, Max could not describe what happened to him.  I wondered… how many times similar things have happened for Sam!  I laughed when they were in the aisle at the store and they were searching for the chips in the one color of bag.  The father suggested saving an old bag and just pouring different chips in, and the mom said he knows.  I chuckled because I have tried that and it doesn’t work.   The list goes on – in fact, I may have to re-watch season one thru the end and write the list.  There have been moments in the show where I see Max do something and never realized the pattern in Sam because we see it everyday.  Being an outsider of that family, but sitting back looking in, has been awakening.  It is hard to realize that is very much like your family and that is what other people see when they see us.  It is hard to hear the mom talk about her worries and cry because they are the same as mine.  It is hard to watch the dad realize that he doesn’t have the typical son and slowly mourn that loss.  But it is empowering to watch techniques they use and go “oh my goodness, I never thought of that”.  It is empowering to watch the older sister’s relationship with her brother and realize that very inseparable relationship exists with Mary and Sam.  It is empowering to see the family have their problems, but in the end they are family and form an unbreakable bond.  I am an OUTSIDER looking IN at our family…

I went to pick up supper for work the other night and as I stood and waited for our meals, I observed a family of 4 – assuming it was Mom and Dad and two sons.  I was the OUTSIDER looking IN at a family.  The boys were rattling on about their day at school to each other.  They then started discussing games and Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Avengers.  I just smiled because I could only think that Sam would love to hang out with them.  Mom, was nicely dressed, possibly just coming from work.  Dad also was business casual.  Mom and Dad sat and literally focused on their food on their plates.  I only saw eye contact once to their boys, only because they asked at least 5 times for rice (every time politely) before ever acknowledging their requests.  They then gave small scoops of rice after saying next time to ask more quietly.  The boys resume talking to each other.  Mom and Dad do not talk to each other and do not engage in conversation with their children. I really want to scream at them and say, your boys have so much to say! Be thankful they can talk to you about their day!  Children with so much to say and no one to listen.  Fast forward their lives 10 years and their parents will wonder why they never talk to them.  For these parents, I will say it was not phones distracting them – which is often the issue in society and sometimes even in our home (sad but true).  But they still were definitely distracted and NOT engaged in their children’s lives.  I was an OUTSIDER looking IN and praying no one ever sees our family like that!

There are many stories like this.  Everyone has a life where an outsider is looking in, making judgments.  I think of many people in my life that on the outside they look like they have it all together on the surface.  But, I know them and are amazed that they are able to hold it all together!  They are truly my heros!   Some have said to me “they don’t know how I do it”.  I think it is because I am living the life and do not sit back and pretend to be an outsider and look into my life.  I think my life is “normal”.  Maybe that is something I need to do more often to my life.. sit back and look into it as an outsider.  What do people see?   I could easily look at my life simply by going back through my blog and Facebook posts. 

I believe as a Christian, the magnifying glass is even larger.  When people look at my life do they see Christ shine through?  My life is on display everyday. I never know who is sitting back looking at my family, like I observed the family at the restaurant.  Facebook is another place where we are constantly watched.  What do I put out there for people to judge me?  I truly believe that Facebook (and my blog), open a window to my life and invites people to be the OUTSIDER looking IN.  I try to think of that before I post things.  I may ask for prayer and say we have the flu, etc… Christians do have bad days, but in honor of being an overcomer, I need to change the open window.  I believe I can ask for prayers on bad days, but follow up with my belief that I will overcome either with a scripture or a quote.  Do I complain everyday about life not going as planned, or do people read my posts and feel blessed (not drained).  I am to be the light that OUTSIDERS look in and see.  Yes, I will have melt downs (i.e. my post the day that Samuel was bullied and we had to leave BK).  But, my intent was not only to voice my anger, but also for prayers for Sam, and to bring attention to a very big issue in society.  There are times I look into the Windows of people’s lives through Facebook and truly would say, if that is what a Christian’s life is like, full of woe and worry and feeling down, I don’t want that life!  I do not want to be the family of the people at the restaurant.  And when I look inside the Parenthood show, I see things I can do to improve our lives and things to totally to avoid.  I prepare to open the window of my life – through encounters in a restaurant, at work, on Facebook, etc… for the OUTSIDER to look IN.  What will they see?  I need be careful of the windows I open (and maybe need to clean a few)…

 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16

prepare to be an OVERCOMER

Recently our pastor completed a series of messages on being Overcomers.  I so need to become an OVERCOMER.  By definition, to overcome is to * get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat (to overcome the enemy) * to prevail over; surmount; (to overcome one’s weaknesses). 

I don’t want to be overcome (overpowered or overwhelmed in body or mind by exertion or emotion (or liquor or drug).  It seems lately like I could easily be overcome with emotion – crying at the drop of a hat because I can’t do it all anymore.  There have been times when liquor would seem a realistic choice to help me relax or numb me from the feeling.

Get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat (to overcome the enemy) –  I want to prepare to be the OVERCOMER – the one who wins the struggle, who conquers the enemy, and defeats the negative.  So what is the struggle and enemy?  Honestly, it is usually myself.  When something that does not go as planned in my self-centered mind, I begin to become “my own worst enemy” as some would say.  I start to wallow in a big trough of “self-pity”.  I feel like the powerless person on the T.V. Commercial that says “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”   The interesting thing is that the woman in the commercial has a lifeline (thanks to Life Alert).  I have that same life line – I have friends I could call.  I have a heavenly Father I could cry out to.  I have family that would assist me.  But, instead, I lay there and say I just can’t get up.

To prevail over; surmount; (to overcome one’s weaknesses). Oh, do I have a list of weaknesses that I need to prepare to OVERCOME.   These haven’t always been weaknesses, but what happens when one gets out of control, they all get encompassed. I have all the knowledge in my mind and I can give great advice to help others out.  However, when it comes to my life, our home, our children, I feel inadequate.  I know what I bring to the family should be so much more.  I can completely understand how someone can become so overwhelmed with everything life throws at them that they sink into a deep depression.  I cannot imagine taking my life, thankfully, but unfortunately many see it the only way to overcome the circumstances drowning them. 

I am a pretty easy spirit by nature.  It takes quite a bit to rattle me… or at least that is the persona I live to the outside world.  While, internally, I feel weak and overcome by all I need to do, all I want to change, and all I need to improve.  I feel overcome by all my “failures”.  Oh, and the other thing with me is I hate to argue.  It is definitely easier for me to give in then to take on a battle. VERY Dangerous in some circumstances. I also think that is why it is easy to be overcome… because it is easier to give in then not take on the battle…

I have mentioned before the amazing women in my life.  My mom was one of them and though she had an illness that eventually consumed her, she rarely let it the situation overcome her (and like me, when it did, it was the inward battle and the world didn’t hear about it).  I have friends that have been through more than they could ever possibly deserve.  I am inspired at how they have overcome the situations they have been given and for the gracefulness in which they overcame.  I am so blessed that they come to me to share their pains and allow me the opportunity to know so I can know how to pray for them.   I am blessed that they trust me with their secret struggles. They are OVERCOMERS (unfortunately, like me, they don’t see that when they look in the mirror –  they still see themselves as overcome).

I read a blog earlier tonight that caught my eye “I’m maxed out” and want to quit and need a break… that is exactly why I read it, because I could post that on some / many / every day. The interesting scripture that was mentioned, 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”    — So this scripture says boast about my weaknesses – I thought, are you crazy.  I want everyone to believe I am strong and I will put on the everything is okay face.   But, if I don’t let others know of my weaknesses – God, friends, family – how can they pray for me? How can they help me?  I can be an OVERCOMER by letting others help and especially relying on Christ’s power to sustain me!  I am able to help others because they trust me to tell me their need and I can help them be an OVERCOMER.  Why do I always feel I need to do it alone?  (answer – stubborn, resisting admitting weakness, etc..)

One of the scriptures I am sure that was mentioned at church (i.e. I am sure the notes from the sermon are somewhere – LOL)… I remembered the messages, but at the time, I am sure I sat in the pew convinced Mark, our pastor, was talking to someone else – LOL!!! Amazing how things are pulled out of my brain exactly when need.  John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart: I have overcome the world.”  Another aha moment – Christ has OVERCOME the whole world – guess where I live – in the world.  He can help me be an OVERCOMER and then I will have peace.  Peace… now that is the reward I want…

 

Isaiah 43:2    NLT “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”   (which means I will be an OVERCOMER!)

“…I will cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed.” Psalm 61:2

prepare to REMEMBER

Wow, eleven years, and I still remember it like yesterday.  I was in Pittsburgh at work, right next to the PittsburghAirport, actually, I was walking up the front stairs when Jim called me.  It still takes my breath away!  I sat on the steps in disbelief.  I talked to him several times that day as there was a chance with HazMat that he would be going to Shanksville.  I was in Pittsburgh, a couple hours from Jim and Mary.  Mary was with the sitter, Gina.  They told us we could leave and go home, but the streets were packed getting away from the airport.  Here I was right next to it – the airplanes always flew over the office.  It became an eerie silence.  I stayed till after lunch to avoid the traffic coming home.  It was one of the longest drives ever.  The radio stations were broadcasting story after story and I think I cried for the 2 hours coming home.  Life did change that day…

Fast forward that about 5 years when Mary would be seven and going to school.  She asked about 9/11 because it was on the news.  It wasn’t really in the history books yet – although it should have been.  But then again, maybe not, because then it would be portrayed as “politically correct” as much as possible.  So, Jim and I did what we always try to do – tell her the truth!  Tell her about the victims, the survivors, the heroes, the medical personnel, the firemen, the paramedics/EMT, the hospitals, etc…  We told her that terrorist hijacked planes and chose to change America forever.  There was no “politically correctness” in our descriptions.  We watched actual videos of that day that were accurate and not skewed.  And every anniversary since that day, we talk about that day.  I would dare to say, in our home, it is more a day we remember then MLK Day, etc.  Innocent people died that day.  We believe in community service and had we lived in New York, it could have been Jim as a firefighter, me as a nurse, or Mary in one of the daycares.  They were people just like us….

Fast forward to last year – the 10th anniversary.  We talked about how there was NOT room at the New York Memorial for the first responders and their families because the politicians were in town.  Appalling… to say the least!   It was a very hot topic in our family.     John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” — those rescuers laid down their lives for strangers… and politicians couldn’t even give up their seat.  But in our home, we did not forget that day, the victims, the families, the heroes….

Fast forward to today – the 11th anniversary.  AgoraCyberSchool talked about 9/11 during Mary’s classes.   In Samuel’s I know they paused for the moment that was paused around the world.   However, NBC channel did not pause to remember – they continued their interview with a Kardashien.  I can’t believe they missed a moment to at least capture the President.  Anyway, that too was a conversation in our home with Mary.  We are patriotic in our home and Mary definitely has that spark that flows through her too – so we discussed how disgusting and disrespectful.  So, we have never talked about it to Samuel, mostly because he has never asked, which may mean it hasn’t been a topic at school (or at least not one he remembered).  Today, as they showed the fireman picture raising the flag on the site during the moment of silence, he said, they are just like my dad.  I said you are right Samuel.  And he continued, and we have a flag on our house. And I said you are right Samuel.  He paused… I wanted to cry… He looked at the picture again and said it looks like big buildings fell.  I said you are right Samuel.  He asked what happened.  I have to remember that he doesn’t think like Mary, but he does get very angry when good guys get hurt.  So, I said some bad people wrecked into buildings on purpose (I avoided saying a plane, because then he would NEVER go in one).  He paused… his wheels turning… and said but the firemen and nurses like you helped the people that were hurt.  And I said yes… And some of the people went to Heaven.  And I said yes… He goes I will be both when I grow up – a fireman like daddy and a nurse like you, so I can help people too… 

I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going.  But, we do believe in being honest.  We can be a little more graphic for Mary and scale it down for Samuel.  I am sure that every year, in this house, we will remember.  Some things are just too important to forget….

 “No matter how hard we try words simply cannot express the horror, the shock, and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September 11 will go down in our history as a day to remember.” – Billy Graham

prepare to UPLIFT

Well, from what I know, the devil has been exceptionally busy this week… causing havoc, broken hearts and families, lies/deceit, doubts, insecurities, and chaos to overcome hearts, minds, and souls.  I am not talking about weak people, but strong  people, some even strong Christians. Some I have talked to, some I have read on facebook, and at times it has been me or my family personally.  And to be honest, I just don’t understand and honestly, my prayers have changed to help me understand to “just get me through it Lord”.

I mowed the grass earlier this week and it really made me think about an analogy of life, and this week, I believe it to be extra applicable.  There were places in our yard that were very high and as I mowed through those areas, I could see where I had been.  There was a clear path and I could see what swipe to take next in the yard.  In the areas of the fine grass, I know I went over the area more than once because I couldn’t tell if I had got it before.  After this week, I truly believe, just like the taller grass – the deeper the problem once I get through it, I can look back and see * where I have been * what I have survived * what Christ has brought me through.  I think sometimes, for me, when it is a small problem, I keep repeating it or going through it again and again because I can’t see where I have been.   There is a Christian song by MikesChair called Let the Waters Rise.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2RP6DRVWpU.  I need to remind myself that no matter the depth of the water, it can be parted for me to walk through (like the Red Sea).  And if the water is not parted, Christ can walk upon it and carry me no matter how deep!

The other image that comes to mind is from Finding Nemo – just keep swimming, just keep swimming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmyUkm2qlhA.  As the waters of troubles rise, I really only have a few choices * do nothing and drown, * just keep swimming and will eventually make it through, or * reach out my hand to a friend to help pull me out, and * cry out to my Savior so He can save me!  Swimming and reaching and crying out require ACTION on my part. I can’t sit back and act like nothing is going on – I will drown! 

 I have some really amazing women in my life that are going through things I hope to never experience (broken marriages, troubled children, employment issues, health issues), but no one is immune to problems.  I am so blessed that they have been placed in my life as I can look at my “problems” and * realize their waters are so much higher, * I can throw a life preserver out by being a listening ear * I can send for help from the Heavenly Father by praying for them * I can lift them up when their legs are too weak to stand on their own. * I can be Dorey from Finding Nemo and give them the words of encouragement (just keep swimming).

 I know I have some * extra praying to do for my friends * extra blessings to count that they are in my life and I can be there for them * extra gratitude that my problems are so insignificant in comparison * extra listening to do so I can hear their cries for help!  I need to prepare to UPLIFT!

 “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ~ Hellen Keller

 “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” ~ Earl Shoaf