Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Bump In The Road

A little disappointed as I log on this evening, or rather in the wee hours of the morning, to see that it has been almost nine months since my last post. I mean that's a pregnancy. No, I haven't been pregnant, nor do I plan to or have the ability to ever again, but that is a long time. Though I wish I could say that I was birthing new ideas or words or something inspirational, motivational or visionary....I can't. I think I just got too busy again to hear my own thoughts. All this talk about birthing is pretty ironic considering the inspiration for this post...

A Bump In The Road...

Tonight, I am driving home on a quiet, country road with my kids riding along in the back seat. They are probably doing something completely un-Norman-Rockwell-painting-like as sisters constantly do when fighting over who has song choice privileges, who's being mean to who and who started it. I am in the mommy moment where I have apparently completely blocked them out as I replay and reflect over the burdens of the day, as it was one of those that leave you heavy hearted for all of those things in life that are completely out of our control and you are only left with the "why" questions. Suddenly, I spot a bunny rabbit begin to run onto the road on my left side, I hit the brakes in a quick and responsible fashion to avoid hitting it, but yet not so much as to risk losing control of the car and putting my girls and myself in danger of an accident. (Yes, you can alert the ASPCA or any other animal rights group now, that while I love animals, I hold humans in higher regard. Sorry if this offends you, but that's just the way it is.) As I slow the car and and approach the crossing point of the bunny, I seem to watch it in slow motion as it darts back toward the edge of the road only to turn around again in the direction of my car. It darts back and forth in this whirlwind state of confusion until I am so much upon it that I can not see the final direction the creature decided upon. But then I hear and feel this small bump beneath my car and instantly know the outcome and feel the ache within knowing that I have hit and killed it. I wait for the questions from my bunny loving daughters as to what the bump or noise was, and am relieved when I realized that they were completely oblivious to what had happened.

I continued driving home, now watching every edge of the road as I am on heightened animal alert for the rest of my treck, but continually replaying the bunny suicide in my mind. Here this bunny took a gamble and as danger approached and panic set in, that same panic caused him to make the wrong decision and head straight into impending death. Suddenly, I wondered how often I, or we, do the same. How often do we step out in chance, guided by faith and courage, only to panic when danger comes into view and that state of panic drive us right into the danger we so want to avoid?  How many times have I committed emotional or situational suicide with the opportunities given to me only because I made the next decision of the journey too quickly, out of reactionary panic, or not of sound mind and emotional state? The answer for myself is far too many, but next time I see the headlights of the approaching danger, I am hoping that tonight's Bump In The Road will remind me to take my time and get out of the road.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mommy-Score: Dr.'s Office Activity

After having one of those nights of being up half to most of the night worried and catering to a sick child, we left the house Wednesday morning to take one child to school and the other to the doctor's office. As we are walking out the door McKenna says, "Wait, we're going to the doctor Mom. I have to get something to draw with, remember?" She re-enters the room with a fist full of crayons and a zip lock baggie in the other. I open the baggie and place the crayons inside thinking to myself "Mommy-Score!" It's one of those few second moments of the day where you just have to commend yourself as a mommy for creating a tradition, teaching your child, or winning in some way as a parent. We parents need these scores to help offset the many times where we lose a battle, fall short and wonder how we are ever going to make it through this thing called parenting when we are still growing up in so many ways ourselves. Maybe it's just me that needs the Mommy-Scores to suffice my competitive nature and build parenting self esteem, or maybe other parents out there do the same, but call it different names. I'm not sure, but it works for me and that's good enough.
So getting back to the crayons, let me encourage you to always have a stash of crayons when you go to the doctor's office. Of course crayons are great for coloring and activity books during the endless hours in the waiting room, but the real fun begins when you get to the exam room. If and when you ever do get called from the whining of the snot, cough and germ infested Purgatory of the waiting room, let your child decorate the paper liner of the exam room table. Suddenly, you become the cool mom (or dad) for letting you child color and draw on something other than a coloring page and it keeps them entertained for the second edition of the doctor's office waiting cycle. I'm not sure where I got this idea from, if I came up with it on my own or stole it long ago, but we've been using it for our girls for years and it works! I almost think the little people think they are getting to break the rules because they're sick, but we all know that the doctor's office has to throw the paper away anyway, so for us parents, it's a win, or for me a Mommy-Score.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Trust Me

Having received a phone call from the school principal to make an appointment to discuss testing for my daughter, I was reminded of a couple of blogs I had written a few years ago. Sometimes we have to just remind ourself to trust Him:

Monday, September 21, 2009

I used to think that premature babies were fine once they made it home from the hospital.  That is until I became a parent of a premature baby myself and have learned that this is a huge misconception.  After a complicated pregnancy and months of bed-rest, McKenzie was born at 33 weeks weighing just a mere pound and a half and measuring twelve and a half inches long.  She spent 67 days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit before coming home at 3 pounds 13 ounces.  They were hard days in the NICU and I was on an emotional roller coaster.  When she came home I thought our worries were over and she would catch up like doctors said most premies would by the time they turned 2.  This however was not the case for us.   She has had physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, daily growth hormone shots, various genetic tests and diagnosis, surgery for tongue tie, hearing loss, ear surgeries, and scoliosis.  She has been to orthopedic specialists, gastroenterologists, geneticists, endocrinologists, ear, nose and throat doctor, and we have even taken her cross country to see specialists.  After all this, school decisions seem a small thing, but are still a big deal when you are in the midst of them.

After a great year in preschool, McKenzie’s grades fell dramatically in Kindergarten, and it was not until the end of the school year that we realized she had lost her hearing.  She had surgery to put tubes in her ears, and her hearing was restored.  We realized she had missed a lot of her schooling due to the hearing loss and worked hard with her to catch her up.  She struggled through first grade and again lost her hearing and had to have surgery for tubes.  This year we changed schools from the private school that we were sending our girls, to public school because of our concerns for McKenzie needing extra help that the private school could not offer.  We started McKenzie in Second grade and worked hard with her again.  Every night we were spending two and three hours completing homework and doing extra work to help her to catch up and keep up with her class.  We had one parent teacher conference after two weeks of school and another during the fourth week.  We thought we were going in the second time to begin evaluations for McKenzie to start a special education program, but instead decided to do what had been my worst fear, my worst case scenario, hold her back into the first grade.  We had already started McKenzie to school a year late due to size and development, and now she would be two years older than others in her class.  It had been the decision we had run from and fought so long to avoid, and now we were making it and I yet in the midst of it, I had the peace about it being the right decision for her.  Breaking it to McKenzie was painful.  She did not want to leave her friends, and we both ended up crying and I had to tell her “McKenzie, you have to trust me, you have to trust me and your daddy that we are making the right decision for you.”  As I said these words, it was like God highlighted the “Trust Me” and echoed back to me that I had to Trust Him with the decisions he has made as well, this was not just our decision, but His, and I can trust Him that while we do not know what the future brings, He does.  We have trusted Him for years and he has never failed us.  His word says “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” As parents, we try to make the best decisions for our children, though we may not always succeed in doing so.  As our Daddy God, He is making the best decisions for us and he never fails.  I am thankful that in my uncertainty and my unknowns, I can trust Him and his certainty and all knowing power.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My last blog was entitled “Trust Me” and was about Trusting God.  My husband and I had struggled in the past and fought the decision to hold our daughter back in school which ultimately did hold her back.  We worked long hours after school on homework and extra studies to help her keep up in such a way that exhausted the whole family and was beginning to cause her to resent school as a whole.  It was a month ago that we finally made the decision to hold her back into the previous grade. We urged our heartbroken daughter to trust us in the decision as we trusted God in leading us to that decision.  Once again, He hasn’t failed us.  Since changing classes she is getting good grades and reading so well that she has moved up in reading groups.  She is now excelling and has a new found confidence in herself.  What happens when we trust and follow God?  I answer myself with the fact that life gets easier!  It’s one of those answers where I just want to smack myself and say “Duh”.  Why am I surprised?  Why did we fight this so long?  As emotional humans it can sometimes be scary, painful, humbling and just plain hard for us to give in and trust God.  Of course, we may not want to admit that with the fear of sounding unspiritual, but it is the truth.  However, no matter how scary it may be, we have to allow our faith to guide us rather than our emotions.  Do we honestly believe that God would lead us somewhere to hurt us or for us to fail?  Again, His word says “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  So no, He isn’t going to lead us into harm.  Even when it’s scary, risky, and painful, we have to step out and sometimes jump out in full fledged faith that we know his plans are for us and not against us.  As a parent, I love my children and want the best for my children.  Part of my love is protecting my children and I would never lead them into danger.  As our Daddy God, He loves us even more and holds us in the palm of His hand.  He protects us even when we are unaware of the danger around us.  When we can’t trust in anything else around us, we can trust in Him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm currently boycotting Pinterest

So now on top of facebook, twitter, Linked In, Google + and an old myspace account I forgot I had until writing this sentence, the world of Pinterest has overcome the mainstream social media scene. But is it even social media? Right now I am considering it a social nightmare. I stumbled onto it a week or so while suffering an insomniac episode. Well I guess you really can't consider actually setting up an account complete with log in and password "stumbling" can you? Okay, I admit it, I did it because there was nothing else to do at that time of the night and the Pinterest craze had me a little curious about what I could be missing out on. So I set it up, browsed until the Tylenol PM kicked in and that was it. I haven't been on since.

So all through the past week I am getting emails that "So-and-so is following you on Pinterest," another "So-and-so is following you on Pinterest." I would open my email to find a couple more and more "followers" each day. I kind of wanted to send them apologetic emails "I'm sorry you are following me, let me apologize now that you aren't following much. There's not going to be much I have to offer you on Pinterest, but I appreciate the thought." While I understand the concept of Pinterest, which I think is to share useful, creative, little tidbits, it's personal concept to me is to further confirm my inadequacies as a wife, mother and person in general.

Yes, I said inadequacies. You see I like crafts and such, but I keep pretty busy on my own to need Pinterest to give me ideas on things I could do, make and so on. I find that I have little time for my self as it is, all I need is a Pinterest project that I want to do and can't find the time for and with my personality type I would just use that failure to achieve as ammunition to fling at myself when I feel like I'm just not making the cut. My Pinterest board is going to have to wait until some things come off my reality board that is full of to-dos that never seem to get to-done.

In another insomniac episode last night, I happened to log onto Pinterest as I was writing this and found I have twenty something followers. I have twenty something followers on a website I have logged onto once, and at the moment could care less about, while I have had this blog for a few months, care about it and have a total of seven followers. I am ecstatically happy about my seven followers and my insecurities and shallow ego like that my "stats" show me that there are far more than the seven actually reading.  I don't blog for "followers" but it does make a person feel good to know that people are reading and I love the "likes" and comments when they are posted. I started this blog because it was on my personal fulfillment board to stir up the writer I once considered myself to be. If you read yesterday's post, writing is definetly one of those personal passions I had forgotten in my pocket. So as for now I continue here, this is my "board", my posts are my "pins" and I am humbled and grateful to those of you who are following me here. Happy Pinning!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's in your pocket?

A few nights ago I sat to dinner with my step-mom and daughters when I barely heard music playing in the background. I hushed my girls and tuned my ear to hear it playing ever so faintly, but could not pinpoint it's source. I muted the tv in the adjoining room to help direct me to the location of where the music was coming from, but still could not locate it, nor could anyone else hear it. I began to question my sanity as I heard what sounded like a music box playing. Finally, one of my daughters agreed that she could hear what sounded like a jack-in-the-box playing. Yes, I'm not going mad, or at least if I am, my daughter is going to join me in our own private world of LaLa Land. As my step-mom and other daughter sat in bewilderment, I jumped up and quietly tip toed in and out of rooms of the house trying to follow the direction of this music playing. Here I was with pictures of haunted house movie scenes playing in my mind as I searched each room, pausing in further wonder as I opened and shut closet doors. Donna joined me on my search as I came down the stairs and we stood there quietly listening again when she asked me,"it's not your phone, is it?" Not thinking it was the source, I pulled my phone from my pocket to find that a game had somehow turned itself on and it was the background music I had been hearing all along. Here I had spent all this time looking for something that was in my pocket....yes, we all have idiotic moments, and this was just one incidence in my very long list. We laughed off the moment, went back to our meal and I had put the whole thing out of my mind.

This morning I thought about the music box search and laughed at myself once again as I reminded myself that it was in my pocket the whole time. While my search lasted only a few minutes, I thought of how many other things we go on searching for that we forgot we had in our pockets. No, I'm not talking about spare change, keys or pocket lint, what I mean is our hopes, dreams and happiness that we have the ability to access anytime, but we are too busy spending our time looking and chasing other peoples dreams, desires and expectations that we forget, it's in our own pocket. In opening and shutting doors, we forget all about reaching in our own pocket to pull out what hurt, rejection, insecurity, enemies and other oppositions caused us to hide our vision and dreams in our pocket. The thought made me question myself and what things I have placed in my pocket and forgotten about, what do I need to reach into and bring back to light in my life? The thoughts have be rolling and repeating in my mind and there are a few things that I am trying to pull back out and let breath and live in my life. Now, what's in your pocket? Think on it, let it roll over in your mind. There are plenty of "fulfilling your dreams" and "determining your purpose" books out there, I'm not writing one, I only had a few minutes on my lunch break to jot down this thought. But what is it, What's in your pocket?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When did I become that person?

Well if you know me by now, you know that I have a tendency to over think EVERYTHING. Upon the arrival of my newly found gray hair my thought was: when did this happen? Not ceasing the thought, when did a lot of things happen? Well a lot of changes in my life have happened because of kids...they have this tendency to change everything about your world, your opinions, actions and well, absolutely everything. Whenever you read those "what I didn't know about having kids" stories, the most popular statement among women seems to be "I didn't know I would have to forever brace myself before sneezing." Well this isn't one of those lists but it one of those "when did I become that person" thoughts.

  • I grew up in the dawning era of MTV. When MTV was cool, had music videos all day, your parents hated it and it's content and only your mom watched and listened to VH1. I now begin each morning routine turning on the TV to listen to VH1 videos as I get ready. When did that happen?
  • A few months ago I got a text that asked "what are you doing?" My reply was "I'm sitting here in the mom's section of gymnastic practice reading through a Better Homes & Gardens magazine." I reread my words thinking all I needed was a pair of high waisted, pleated jeans. When did I become that person?

  • We are riding in the car listening to the radio when a song comes on the radio and my girls exclaim that they love this new song. I explain to them that while it may be new, it's a remake of an old song and I remember when it first came out. Yeah, my mom used to say the same thing to me.
  • Much like my parent's stories of remembering when televisions first entered society and their childhood homes, I recall when my parents purchased our first VCR. The first rented movie we watched from our VCR was Dirty Dancing. VCRs are now outdated and replaced with DVD and BluRay, Dirty Dancing is considered a "classic" movie and two of it's lead actors have passed away. This is what happens when we age.

  •  Another monumental home addition of my youth was our Commodore 64. For anyone younger than 30, the Commodore 64 was basically the first home computer marketed to the public. I don't remember even having an office in our house until the state-of-the-art computer was purchased and then an office was added to our basement for the Commodore, monitor and printer. The paper was the continuously fed paper you had to tear along the perforations to separate one page from another and the printer edges away from the sides. I now type upon a laptop as I sit in bed watching TV, it's one of three computers in our house at this time. I was reminded of the old Commodore a few weeks ago when I saw one on an episode of Pawn Stars and made the statement that I remembered when they first came out. 

  • I also remember telephone communication before the age of caller id, call waiting, three-way and conference calling. When my mom got her first mobile phone in came in it's own carry-on case of a bag. I now text constantly and we live in the age of Skype and iphone Facetime. My smart phone was charging at my side until a few moments ago when my daughter took it to play games. Yes, being that person does have it's privileges. 

Okay, I'm going to stop at six points for now to avoid becoming one of those "I remember when I had to walk 5 miles in the snow to get to school" people. That said, I DO remember walking in the snow to Squaw Creek Elementary School with my mom and I heavily clad in a snow suit and moon boots. We even cross-country skiied to church in the winter carrying our dress shoes in a back pack. While the trip to church was pretty short, the trek to school was pretty long for short legs. Ok, I guess I'll stop at seven points for now. The fun thing about these moments is they give us memories, stories and material to bore our children with. I'm sure you have your own "When did I become that person?" moments...I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Friday, February 10, 2012

When did this happen?

If you read a few months ago, you might remember that I found my first gray hair. As I pulled it, I thought of the metaphor it represented as I was going through a particular situation in a relationship and found lesson in the sporadic gray hair. Well, this week I found another...and another and... well forget it, apparently there's either a lot of metaphors I'm missing or my hair is turning gray. Not that there is anything wrong with gray hair, but I'm 34, and I was thinking about maybe getting it in my forties or fifties instead. Obviously what I thought and reality are on different ends of the spectum and I'm getting gray in my thirties. So in the early morning routine in front of the bathroom mirror I find myself looking at this extremely long, bright, shiny gray hair wondering what to do with it. Do I pull it and every other strand that comes up? Do I color it and forever be a hair-colorer-to-cover-the-gray person? Do I welcome it and allow these unfamiliar strands to speckle my brunette hair? Maybe with a little gray hair people would think I was a bit more out of my twenties and not speak to me like I'm a ramen noodle eating college student. 
Thus far, all the strands I have found seem to be coming in a streak, which would be my preference. A Stacey London streak would be cool, dramatic and quite my style. Yeah, "I'll take the Stacey London streak please," which got me thinking of maybe just going ahead and dying the streak in there to be done with it. 

Well there isn't a lot of time in my morning routine, nor my afternoon or evening routine for that matter, so the gray little stragglers are taking residence. I'm not sure what I will do in the future, but as for now I guess I will let myself be surprised every morning with each newly found addition on this journey of adolescent adulthood. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tattoo Taboo

After yet another conversation with people talking about tattooed people, I am reminded of a quote I read on good ol' facebook a few weeks ago: "The difference between tattooed people and untattoed people is that tattooed people don't care if you're not tattooed." Yes, this is a completely accurate statement, not only do tattooed people not care if you don't have a tattoo, they don't talk about you badly for the absence of tattoos either. I say this is true, because I have tattoos and I have never had conversations judging untattooed people like I have with clear skinned people judging and degrading us with tattoos. It's quite the debate, isn't it, even in our day and time. I sat there quietly in this conversation, but I have tattoos and this is my blog so I would like to step up on my soap box for a minute and give you my two cents. My disclaimer here is that these are my opinions, you don't have to agree, you don't have to disagree, but if you are against tattooing, you don't have to be arrogantly rude when judging the rest of the population.

"Tattooing is a sin, it says so in the Bible": I agree, it does say not to tattoo your bodies and it's found in Leviticus.  However, the scripture this is in is within the Levitical law and is referring to not marking your body for idols, as in idol worship. Such is the same with piercings and I'm sure if you're against tattoos you are against those awful piercings the Bible talks about too, right?  Yes, EAR  piercings were a sign of idol worship too. Are your ears pierced ladies, are your wives's ears pierced? What makes it relevant for tattoos, but not for ear piercings? Contained within the same chapter, you will also find strict laws against eating meat with blood in it and cutting your hair...I hope you like your steak well done, or you may be just as sacrilegious as us tattooed folks. Now I'm no Bible scholar, but I am just not convinced that I am out of the will of God because I like ink and art upon my skin. Besides that, my God is much more loving than peoples' judgements against people with tattoos.

"They're degrading and tacky": I agree, tattoos can be degrading and tacky if the said art is not the kind of art you like. Anything can be tacky: cars, clothes, hairstyles and etc, for that matter, some peoples' faces can be tacky (sorry, just had to add that). I dare you to approach a service man or woman who has a patriotic tattoo to memorialize their service of the battles they have fought for the freedoms of our country and tell them their tattoo is degrading or tacky. I dare you to approach the person with a memorial tattoo of a passed love one and tell them you are offended by the ink upon their skin. I dare you to judge my tattoo artist as being out of the will of God with his tattoos when I dare to say 100% of his tattoos are his depiction of Jesus, scriptures and milestones of his walk with Christ forever memorized upon his skin. I would even venture to say that his artwork has probably opened more conversations of evangelism than most Christians in their everyday life, if that's tacky and degrading, so be it.

...and exhale. I'm done, for now that is or until someone else has the audacity to be rude again about my personal preferences. I said I was only going to get on my soapbox for a minute, so I am stepping down now. Whether you are for, against, or could care less about the topic, use respect regardless for words penetrate just as deep as permanent ink.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kristi's Journal

I didn't even know that Kristi kept a journal until a few months ago. Kristi is my husband's little sister, my sister-in-law and this week marks the anniversary of her death a year ago. A few months ago, my husband came home from his parent's house and told me that Kristi had written a journal during her fight with cancer and when we wanted to read it, we could. I wasn't sure at first if I even wanted to, it was her's, her journal, her words and most intimate thoughts. Did she even want this passed around for the family to read as was happening now? But as December drew on and January approached, I wanted to. Her death was a struggle for all of us and in some way, I hoped reading her words would give comfort and clarity to the meaning of a life taken so early and in such a torturous way as cancer.

My husband and I began the new year with Kristi's journal. Fifty something handwritten pages of Kristi's words pinned together with a paperclip in a simple file folder. We decided to read it together and memorialize her words in a keepsake for her closest of family members. While I began with apprehension of disrespecting her privacy, her so called journal was more of a testimony. She did not write it for herself, she wrote it for others to know about God's sufficient grace and unfailing faithfulness. My husband read and I typed for a few days until all of her words were within a document on my computer. Some periods of this process were shortened by tears and cracked voices as we read her words aloud. While it did not take that long, the emotions involved made it a tiresome project, but one that we felt was necessary. Maybe not for those family members we planned to distribute the booklets too, but maybe necessary for us. Her fifty plus pages became twenty five typed pages that I embellished with pictures of Kristi, her husband, children, parents and other family members. While I have a second job in marketing which involves graphic design and publications, this project was by far the most important publication I have ever worked on. It was beyond close to my heart, beyond necessary and I felt a huge responsibility to Kristi to do it in a way that she would hand and to handle her words with care.

It took three weeks to complete, two issues of reformatting to meet my perfectionist and specific desires and we finally took Kristi's Journal to the printer this past weekend. After additional edits to the format and a reprint due to the printer's errors, we finally left the retail chain with seven copies of Kristi's Journal; seven copies of her words, her thoughts, favorite scriptures and prayers. I wanted to distribute the copies to her husband, parents, children and other brother before the 26th. I don't know what is customary on the anniversary of someones death as Kristi is the closest family member I have had to endure the loss of. I know some families gather around a gravestone and change out flowers, but I felt like memorializing her words in a keepsake were a better way to pay tribute to her and pass on to her future generations. I hope that her children, grandchildren and others will find comfort in the words she left for us, the words that I found comfort in, that remind me of her voice, her smile and the light that she held in her eyes. Though she is not here with us, she will live forever in our hearts, our memories and the words of her testimony.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Still Waters, Warm Sun & A Lunch Break

I meant to post this picture a month ago. I even saved the title in my blog list so that I would do it, but I never got around to it. Thankfully I have a quiet day here to find the time to catch up. I was having "one of those weeks" back in December where I couldn't get my head above water. No, I am not under water in this picture, I was speaking figuratively, not literally. Just having one of those weeks so I went to the river boardwalk to gather my thoughts and get away from the world as best I could in an hour's worth of time. The only reason I took my phone was to keep track of the time so as to not return to work late from lunch. It was unseasonably warm and I sat and eventually laid there in my business clothes, soaking up the sun and enjoying the peace. I highly recommend it!

"Oh God, this is it"

Some dates just ingrain themselves in your memory, January 13th is one of those dates. Not because I am superstitious about the number 13, but because on January 13, 1994, I totaled my first car. Not intentionally of course, but completely totaled nonetheless and almost totaled myself in the process. I was sixteen and driving my little red Pontiac Fiero to school one Thursday morning when I suddenly lost control around a curve in a roller coaster of a road. I wasn't speeding and don't know the cause of the control loss, but I found myself turning to the left and then after over correcting my steering wheel to the right I saw the edge of the pavement before me in slow motion and remember saying to myself "Oh God, this is it!"

I woke up alone and cold with the car still and the only sound coming from a cassette tape still playing in the radio. I looked around me taking in account what had happened to realize I was in the confines of a broken and mangled corpse of a car. I knew that my parents would kill me if they heard the music I was listening to and in severe pain I leaned forward in a desperate and thankfully successful attempt to press the eject button to silence it. I then reached to my door handle to open it and emerge from the car, but the door didn't move and I looked down to see that though I thought I felt my attempt, my arm had never moved from my lap. I was trapped and couldn't move my left arm or legs.

I woke up next to a woman's voice asking me my name, asking me my phone number and telling me it would be okay.

I woke up again to sirens, lights flashing up above me, the sound of my mom's voice and several people talking all around me. The cold was getting colder and pain was overcoming my body. I still could not move within the confines of my car. I began yelling for someone to get me out of this car. I'm going to blame the expletives I was using on pain and shock and finally calmed after my mom instructed me to calm down and hold still. The firemen and paramedics were working to get me out of the car and did not want me moving my neck as they did not know the severity of my injuries. I fell in and out of consciousness as they worked. My sunroof was already broken from the accident, so they cut and pried the roof more and in protection covered me with a sheet to raise me up through the roof.

I woke up again on a hard and even more cold surface and my neck immobilized in a brace. A woman's voice told me she was going to have to cut my clothes off to determine the extent and give aid to my injuries. I pleaded with her in my modesty to keep me covered, still hearing numerous voices all around me. Sixteen and selfishly upset that my brand new jeans and the popular at the time flannel shirt I had gotten only the night before were being cut off my body and ruined.

I woke looking at the ceiling of a hospital room with voices of my mom and friends around me. My neck still immobilized in a brace, I could not see anyone unless they leaned directly over my face. Begging for something for the pain, my mom explained that they would not yet give me anything as the doctors wanted me to be able to tell them where my pain was. It was all over!

Time would determine that I had broken my left arm, left leg and pelvis and the before mentioned shattered sunroof had cut my head causing a substantial loss of blood. A six hour surgery with two of our town's best orthopedic surgeons repaired my arm and leg with rods in both preventing me from having to wear any casts. Yet the combined breaks put me in a wheelchair for a period of about six months. The hospital therapist taught me to walk with one crutch under my right arm within the parallel bars of the therapy unit which I was able to do for short distances. Though my blood levels were low, medicine did not know what we know now about AIDS and blood transfusion, and the decision was made to allow my body to build back it's own blood supply. It was a long process that kept me very tired and just the exertion to take a shower and get ready in the morning would cause me to pass out.

I don't know if I slid on the morning's wet road or if I blew a tire (I had four blown tires at the end of it) causing my wreck. Beyond my mind's distinct picture of the edge of the asphalt my car went over a twenty foot embankment which would have been more if it had not been caught in by the trees in Brenda's yard. Brenda was the woman who I woke to asking me my name and phone number who's schedule never had her home on Thursday mornings ever, except for this particular morning. She was getting ready when she heard the collision outside and instantly called 911, knowing with the landscape whatever had happened would be bad.

I eventually got another little red car, a Nissan Pulsar that time, that I could easily sling my wheelchair in the hatchback of and hobble around the car to the driver's seat. My head healed, my bones healed and through another surgery the following October, I got the rods taken out and as high school senior, I began to play a few sports I had never had the courage to try out for before. After the wreck I had a new sense of trying new things, pushing myself and not allowing intimidation to stop me, I realized the quickness that life could be swept away. I learned about being temporarily handicapped and overcoming obstacles. I learned first hand about divinely appointed timing and the miracle of life.

Yesterday was eighteen years since my wreck. Maybe I am a little superstitious now as I have always picked the number 13 as my lucky number being that it marked the day I beat the odds of living through a wreck the emergency responders said I shouldn't have. I am reminded of it when my little bit of arthritis kicks in after excessive exercise and periods of cold and rain. I still have minuscule splinters of glass that make their way to the surface of the skin on scar of my forehead and my daughters have questioned the surgical scar on my shoulder and the longer one on my leg.  I am thankful that I was wrong when I saw the edge of the pavement, wrong when I said "Oh God, this is it," or was I? Maybe I was wrong in the fact that the pavement's edge was not the end of my life, but right all along "Oh God, this is it," as the edge marked the beginning of my life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I never thought I would get sentimental over a tank of all things...

I'm not a military enthusiast, a war history buff or anything like that. To be honest, I feel like I am being a little punished when my husband chooses a military show on the history channel. I know it's important to our history and I do appreciate the education, but I still find little interest in it. That said, I was a little shocked at myself this week when an old army green tank had me with teary eyes. The local newspaper specified it as an M47 Patton, though I didn't know or really care what kind of tank it was, it was one that sat in the front yard of a neighbor's house for decades. It was something of a landmark in the neighborhood as it aided in giving directions, "you're going to go past a house with a tank in the front yard," and was a definite topic of conversation for anyone that wondered about such a large and unique lawn ornament.  I didn't know anything specific about the tank, I never climbed upon it or sat in it's turret, but I did sit in the company of it's owner many times and for that I am very grateful.

What makes this particular tank special is that it was Harry's. Harry McCauley was one of my dad's best friends which gave me the opportunity to sit in his presence many times to enjoy intellectual conversation and debate. Just having a tank in his front yard should be evidence enough that Harry was a one-of-a kind man. To know him and have the blessing to be part of his life only confirmed that fact. Against social faux pas, many of our discussions centered around religion and politics. Both of which he had solid and unashamed stands on and would substantiate his opinions with innumerable historical and biblical references. He wasn't someone who just talked to hear himself or waste his breath, his words had literal and figurative meaning reaching varying degrees of perspective. His words made you think, ponder, study and even question yourself at times. He had a great and unique sense of humor which only colored conversations brighter. As much as Harry could talk, he would listen too and no matter how much more knowledge he had about a subject, he never educated with arrogance or condescension. That is what I loved about our talks, they seemed to just mean something and I always walked away knowing a little more than I did upon sitting down.

Harry passed away last March. While we know that death is inevitable, he was as I said, my dad's closest of friends and to witness my father's quiet grief was a new experience for me and hard in itself. When my dad told me last week that the tank had been sold and he was helping oversee it's move off the property, I was upset. I wanted to be there to see it's move and to somewhat commemorate the day, but I really didn't think that a tank transportation day would constitute a sick day in my employer's eyes or understanding. It's monumental presence seemed like a lasting reminder of Harry and was an emotional link to him. However, the tank was moving to a museum which was in my opinion the most honorable place for it as more people could enjoy and appreciate it than just neighborhood passersby. When people view it in the museum it went to or the the next place it will move in it's journey, they will not see the man I see when I would pass through the neighborhood or will see in it's pictures. They will see a relic of history, of wars fought and battles won and monetary worth. But Harry will be there too, just a piece of him forever memorialized in this tank, forever a part or our personal history and now rightfully displayed in a museum of valued history.   

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A second gray hair, a rite of passage and a metaphor.

I found and pulled my first gray hair about a year ago, thankfully it took a year to find another one at at 34. I was getting ready this morning, did a final spray of my hair and was just having the "this is a good hair day" thought going through my head when I saw this gray hair emerging from the part in my hair. The light hit it just right and the "good hair day" thought fleeted fast as the gray hair seemed to exclaim itself brighter and brighter amongst my dark brown hair. I grabbed the tweezers and plucked the strand from my hair wondering how I had not noticed it before as it was now a little over an inch in length.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a gray hair bashing person, I am not fearful of age or the changing of my skin, hair and overall appearance as I age. Though I pulled out this morning's gray hair, I at the same time felt a sense of a rite of passage in this thing called adulthood. Like maybe this gray hair was that of a lesson learned, an obstacle conquered or a hinderance plucked away from my life and I was instantly given the explanation of where this gray hair came from and what it represented. You see I've had a conflict with someone for a few months now and yesterday, we sat down and had a time of reconnection and resolve to work things out. We equally agreed that the longer we had let the conflict go on without addressing it, the worse it had gotten. Ignoring conflict did not make it go or fade away, ignoring the hurts and offenses had only made them grow in substance and grow the distance between us. Our time together yesterday was long overdue, much needed and well served and all parties walked away from the conversation with offenses dropped, hurts extinguished and a fresh and positive outlook on the restored relationship. With the conflict gone, things can return back to normal with no residual evidence...such is the case with my unwelcomed gray hair.

My gray strand was not something that just came up overnight, the longer I overlooked it the longer it grew. The longer I thought about the hair and the metaphor that had been revealed to me in my bathroom mirror, I wondered how fast hair grows. Being the googler I am, I googled it to find that hair grows at a rate of about half an inch per month. How's that for confirmation? At an inch long, my gray hair had been growing the entire time of this conflict. Yet as quickly as I noticed and plucked it away, my hair had once again returned to normal with no indication of it ever being there. It is the same with resolved conflict and forgiveness in the relationships with those we love. Unlike a head full of gray hair, we can not cover offenses and conflict in a relationship with a bottle of hair dye. We have to address conflicts that come up at the first inclination, indication and instance to prohibit them to grow into something bigger and unmanagable. That way relationships can return to what they once were and grow in beauty.

What I learned in 2011

My Top 10 List of What I Learned in 2011

1. Ignorance judges, experience understands.
2. Sometimes we have to separate from the world to remember who we are.
3. Take time off to enjoy the day instead of working it all away.
4. Summer river days are necessary to my well being and peace of mind.
5. Give myself permission to say no to others, so I could say yes to myself and my needs.
6. Somethings can not be fixed, somethings just are.
7. Sometimes there are no words for the situation, other than a sincere "I love you".
8. Being a good person does not mean being a doormat.
9. I alone dictate how I let others treat me.
10. Death is not just, fair or explainable and grief resonates in different ways to different people.

What I learned in 2010

I'm not one to make new year's resolutions for a few reasons:
1: Part of it just seems too cliche to stick with.
2: The rebel in me just doesn't want to follow the crowd into making goals that for the most part people don't stick with past the second week of January.
3: If your resolution is something you really need to focus on or change, you should do it as soon as you see it necessary, not wait until a specific date to start, thus delaying the goal in the first place.
4: I'm already changes needed! Ha Ha...that was a joke people. I am far from perfect and realize the gap to perfection widens more with the passing of each day.

So instead of making resolutions, last year I ended my year by making a list of the things I had learned in 2010, instead of focusing on what I might do for the next. I thought I had only saved this list in a facebook post, but after rummaging through months of status updates, I finally found it in a must easier referenced note. I am posting it here, not only for any readers I might have, but for my own reasons of having an quicker retrieval method in the future and to pass the time while I reflect back over the past year to compile a new list for 2011.

My Top 10 list of what I learned in 2010
1. zumba
2. when you don't fit in, be comfortable standing out.
3. family isn't defined by bloodlines, but instead by heartstrings.
4. some of the best times can be around a fire or in a closet.
5. we are all busy, but real friends always find the time.
6. to stop expecting from people what they will never give.
7. I may be at the bottom of some people's lists, but I am at the top of others.
8. to walk the red carpet without tripping in heels.
9. to be comfortable in my own skin, even when others don't approve.
10. to embrace my role as the crazy, eccentric aunt....cause it's a lot of fun.