Unblinded

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Today, after experiencing a lot of emotions at a recent writer’s conference, I clicked the button to unhide my blog. Being so transparent with my life can leave me feeling somewhat bare. I’ve deleted a certain social media account, simple to clear some of the static in my brain. I miss getting to see how the teens in my life are doing (campers from a couple of recent summers as a counselor and FCA kids). I miss some of the uplifting posts from friends, but I have learned, life is just fine without it.

I do not believe that life is just fine without writing, though. I know I’m a hack and I know that my early posts drone on with too many unnecessary words, but I love to write. I am deeply in awe of fiction writers. Anneliese and I attended a conference called Wordcrafters. Seriously, good writers are artists and a good story is crafted, like a fine sculpture. Even though I’m not that kind of writer, I learned so much and realized that writing is in my heart.

I will be writing ABC’s for Anna and will most likely trash the earlier drafts. It’s basically going to be short chapters of words of advice on life to my daughter. It’s not profound or fancy, but hopefully something she will hold onto as she goes off on her journey.

Anneliese is the reason went to the conference, but we both gained much. It was an incredible time of learning and laughing (Introvert’s Ball). I will always remember dancing to YMCA with her to close an evening of sharing the dance floor with some marvelous best selling authors and their spouses. We know why Terry Brooks fell in love with Judine. We met some incredible people and Anna got 15 minutes with a lovely author for some advice. She heard first hand and second hand that the author really liked what she read from Anna’s YA historical fiction, Remnants. The work on her Senior project continues, to secure a publisher or agent and also to self publish.) She would like to present at Senior Boards WITH a printed book.

Terry Brook Anna Jami

Thank you for reading and being part of my journey. I will be getting back to posts about my graduating seniors, college stuff, and birdies leaving the nest news. To keep up with news on Remnants, you can like it on Facebook.

I will leave you with this quote and encourage you-all 7 of you-tell your stories.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

AKA: {God’s Flight School}

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I’ve almost ditched this blog more times than I can count. Today I’m just changing the name. I am an okay writer, I love writing, but have used FAR TOO MANY words (sorry, Friends, for any pain suffered) in all previous posts to date. Seriously. This blog was for me…to cathartically endure seeing my baby birdies take off and out of our nest. No one really cares about all that. We all have lives and things going on. Life is hard…for everybody. Life is also beautiful.

I just want my life to be about God and what He has to teach me about flying.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I want to soar, but I am more like a chicken…semi productive, lovable, and mostly a ground dweller with a few gloriously awkward fits of flight. With God I have seen miracles in my life and in the lives of those I love, but no matter how often I see His faithfulness, sometimes I still feel fear and lack courage. I’m pretty much just a chicken. Sometimes I go out to our little flock to bring them treats. I’m always kind, gentle, and give them good gifts (bread, veggies, sprouted wheat). SOMETIMES they completely freak out over the sound of the plastic bag I bring the bread out in, even though I’ve never let the plastic bag attack or harm them. It makes me think of me and how even though I’ve seen the goodness of God in my life over and over…I’m still a ground dwelling, derpy fowl, not an eagle.

So for now, I’m not deleting the blog, I don’t have time to save the things I might like to keep for family historical records. Until these pages come down, I want to just point people to God. This life, my life…is about God. He is everything and I am nothing special, just another mom loving her family like crazy! HE is amazing and I hope you will enjoy getting to know Him better in your life. That’s all I want to do.

Losing {Mom}

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Goodness…what a surreal days have passed. As I wrote the last post, I could hear the words to Gloria Estefan’s “Coming out of the Dark” ringing in my heart. Now it’s back again to surreal~ville.

My mom’s been sick for a long time with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia…and on oxygen (with interstitial lung disease) for about 5 years. She went into the hospital a week ago last Friday with a rash on her legs and was kept to investigate it. She was in good spirits, smiling and joking with family. Sunday morning, the unexpected occurred and she coded while in the arms of her sister and my sister. It just went quickly down hill from there. We all sat together, shocked, wide-eyed and feeling broken hearted. After Monday, she never regained full consciousness and she passed on to her heavenly home by Thursday evening. Stunned. That’s how I felt. So much sadness and longing for one more conversation so we could say a proper farewell. Those clichéd things people say about “always say I love you, just in case you never get another chance” rang true in my thoughts. I always did that, but if I’d known that last hug would be the last time I’d feel her arms around me oh, what I’d done differently.
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I would also add to the clichés, linger over those hugs; I wish I had. I studied Mom’s hands for hours last week, holding them and trying to will her to squeeze my hand back. It felt like we were living out one of those beautiful and gut wrenching hospital room scenes from a movie, filled with loved ones saying their goodbyes, and a strong desire to keep pinching myself to see if it was real. My sister spent the night before Mom was intubated with her, helping her as she wrote notes since her words would not get through the face mask rapidly blowing air into her lungs. One of Mom’s notes asked, “Is this real?”

I am so thankful my mom took 3 of my kiddos on a belated birthday date the evening before she was admitted and they had a wonderful time with her. They will always remember her smiling and happy, even though she was in a lot of pain that evening and had to use her walker. It was such a gift. She was an amazing grandmother and we all loved her so much.

My sister and I took different nights to spend with her and on the last one, stayed together. We played so much music for her throughout the long nights. Elivs gospel, Elvis hits, Johnny Matthis, Phillips Craig, and Dean, Tom Jones, and Carrie Underwood…oh, what bittersweet memories, praying, crying, and thanking God. So many emotions all smashed together. I kept hoping if she could hear the music, that she was enjoying it and not annoyed by it. We got no indication from her. There were quiet moments, in the dark, too, with only the sound of the respirator and nearly silent movements of incredible nurses constantly fussing with the tubes and making sure she was comfortable.

I think this is all I can say at present, I’m fairly certain there will be a part 2. My siblings and I had to breach my Mom’s private domain in the last couple of days to start clearing out her apartment…we are far from done packing her up, but today we feel we’ve had almost all we can take emotionally and mentally as we prep for the Celebration of her life on Saturday.

Life is so beautiful! I’m trusting God to help us remember that as we ride this rollercoaster, knowing that our mom/grandma/sister/friend/daughter/cousin/co-worker/neighbor is perfectly and wonderfully HAPPY, singing and dancing her way across Heaven.

We’re having pink balloons on Saturday, she always said she didn’t want flowers when she died because she would be celebrating and we should, too. It sort of blows my mind a little that a couple of weeks ago when I updated my blog “theme”, I’d chosen this one. I’ve seriously had balloons on the brain since last Thursday. Hug your moms and dads my friends. I wrote a note on Facebook saying, there WILL be a day when all the hard stuff or relational challenges just disappear like vapor in those moments of gripping sadness and all you think about is the good stuff. Quite possibly some of the silly or embarrassing things parents do are the very things you might find endearing and precious when you realize you will never experience them again down here…like hearing a full on rendition of “I Just Called to Say I Love You” on your answering machine. MOM, I love you, too!!!

mom and me

Thank You, Father in Heaven, for being so near to us and holding us. <3

Psalms 116:15 – Precious in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints.

John 11:25 – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Romans 8:18 – For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

{4} SENIORS

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The last first day of school occurred a couple of days ago. I decided after many months of contemplation to continue the blog and ride (or write!) out what I began several years ago. I don’t like not finishing, plus the cathartic nature of blogging through something that is both sad and wonderful will be good for me.

Our kids grow up and away from us and since I began this blog, it began happening at near light speed. I am reminded for the billionth time to just CHERISH each day we’re given. Life is beautiful and despite the agony that’s kept me away from writing here (see Moms Who Ache Blog link above). I never dreamed that one of my babies would spend their senior year apart from the family. I have envisioned since they were toddlers, all of them in caps and gowns, graduating together. I’m really trusting God to keep me together and not to become the “crying mom” for the next 9 months! Even if Andrew was still living here, I have always dreaded that this year would come and I would be destined alternate from sobbing to crying to pouting in some manner. :) Now that it’s here, I really think I can do this.

It’s time to come out again-and blog again. I’m really ready to crawl out from under my shelter and celebrate all the goodness and blessings that God has given me. I feel like the weighty fog of deep sadness has lifted and we’ve found a new normal.

Oh, and yes, I have accepted hair dye back into my life again (see last post). I didn’t give up on the silver, I just took a long time considering whether I was truly ready or not as it grew out. I decided I wasn’t really ready yet. I’d like to look like a mom in our crew’s grad pics, not their grandmother. tee hee

Second grade or senior year (high school or college)…here we go, Moms!!!

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Teen Drivers Cause Gray Hair

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J hair progress 2 5 13It’s been difficult to make myself write on this blog since last May. I guess it just shines the light on the fact that we are missing a birdy from our nest. It makes me sad. They are all half way through their Junior year…one is just 5 hours away from the home flock.

Well, a huge milestone has brought me back to the Mom’s Flight School blog with 2 of our boys taking their driving test tomorrow.

They took driver’s ed with an amazing teacher last fall, Mr. Bob Jones, so thankfully, I have the peace of mind of all they learned during the course. Somewhere within the timeline of that class I decided that I was finished dying my gray/silver/white roots. Done! Out of the blue, just like that!

I like to think that I’ve earned each and every one. :)  I finally got tired of feeling the pressure to keep the roots covered up. Every 3 weeks of having a 2 hour date with a box of L’Oreal was just such a pain. Also, my “post 40″ hair thinning has REALLY decreased with several months of not using dye. It’s too bad the body doesn’t get thinner and the hair fuller as we age.

So, back to my drivers. I’m proud of them and happy for them, but it does make me sad. It’s more evidence that my babies are strengthening their wings and will be doing a lot more solo flights in the coming months before they fly out of the nest for good. *sniff* Yes, it makes me sad for how quickly this has gone by and makes me wish their brother was here, too, contributing to my high blood pressure while I sit in the passenger side of their car. They bought their own and I have to say, I really enjoy the drives back from school-when they take turns driving there, I get to drive it home. I’m pretty sure the stereo (with woofers) was the deciding factor on the little 1990 4-door Nissan.

Thankfully, our daughter is more hesitant…enough that we’ve set their birthday as a deadline for her to get hers. Sometimes we actually have to nudge those sweet birdies into the solo flights…all for love.

On a Rock with Some Women on a Sunny Day

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“As I look back on my own life, I recognize this simple truth: The greatest opportunities were the scariest lions.  Part of me has wanted to play it safe, but I’ve learned that taking no risks is the greatest risk of all.” 

Mark Batterson,  In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars

I chased a lion to get up at 3:45 this morning to meet some great ladies to hike Table Rock! I wanted to go, but I certainly did not want to get up at that time and I almost bailed while getting ready. I’m so glad I didn’t! There is nothing like praying on a mountain exactly when the sun rises. It feels pretty magical once you’re up there. The journey to that place was less than enjoyable. I have quarter sized blisters and heart palpatations to prove it. Isn’t that how life often goes?

I have been listening to the book mentioned above this week for the second time. God is using it to open up my mind to how I have viewed trials throughout my life. I love this book. It’s a life changer in terms of the way I will forever look at adversity.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I bought the audio version, but wish I had the hard copy too, as I want to go crazy with a highlighter in it.

Getting up early isn’t REALLY scary, but it’s HARD. It’s a baby lion. I have faced much fiercer lions, for sure. One thing is true, there is always blessing on the other end of it. We come away stronger, leaner, or smarter.

I wish you joy on your journey, wherever you find yourself today. You are not alone!

What lion do you want to chase this week?

[You can download the first chapter for free from the chasethelion.com!]

102 Saturdays

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While I was waiting with MJ to get his left eye checked out (he ended up with a biopsy), we looked at the available magazine selection. I opted for the large print Reader’s Digest (have to say I dig the large print) and Matthew read about Manny Pacquiao in Sports Illustrated. Manny has an amazing testimony!

Anyway, I found a review of a book entitled No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids. The author tells it like it is…940 Saturdays, that’s what we have with our kids. (If we are so blessed, many parents in some manner or another may not have so many of them.)

I have not read the book, but love what I do know about it. Oh, these days are to be cherished…even the long, mundane ones. Especially those, really. I just did the math and the number I came up with shocked me. I know I’ve dreaded the thought of an empty nest for quite some time and you’ve heard me say, it’s gone too fast!!!  Actually counting out the Saturdays, though, wowzer, that is impacting. Especially when you look at Saturdays in particular…they are supposed to be fun days for the most part. Wow, seeing the number REALLY makes me want them to REALLY count!!! Really.

We have already had a birdie depart the nest, in an abrupt manner that was a shock. As much as I’ve always concentrated on cherishing having my kids home, this deepens my resolve even further. Just as I wish to live for God with more of Him and less of me…I want to do that with my mommy time too, less “for me” and “more for them”. One day far too soon I will have a LOT of time on my hands! Life is a vapor, our kids are a gift, and we cannot regain even 1 yesterday.

The average year has 52 Saturdays, how many Saturdays do you have left? (I sort of felt like a cheater only having to do the math once for multiple kids!)

Meet the Incredible {Tumor Hater}, Kelly Sullivan

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I met this amazing girl a few days ago.  I feel like I’ve known her far longer.  She is one of those people who is radiant.  It’s not because she looks like an angel, it’s her heart.I want to introduce you to Kelly.  I know she will bless your life, as she has mine already!  She has over 1000 tumors because of Neurofibromatosis Type 1.  She has begun a non profit called Tumor Hater (also her blog address) to raise money for other people who suffer from tumors.  In her pain, she is determined to help others, financially, and also by writing the story of her life.  I believe she is a (bit reluctant) future speaker who will one day reach thousands with her message of hope, just as Nick Vujicic has done.  Kelly is far more than a tumor hater and I look forward to learning more about her life and all that God has brought her through.

Never have I met anyone with so many (over a thousand!) reasons to complain…and she doesn’t.  She is real, jokes about being a superhero (Super Tumor Hater), has many pain-filled days, but loves God so much and her hope is in Him.  She also has a pretty wonderful boyfriend, family, and friends.  I love this girl already…she is a FIGHTER!

{She is on the path to publish her book with a good agent. Please consider helping her on that road by subscribing to her blog and maybe sharing her link with friends. The more readers she has, the more a publisher will love her! :) Thank you!}

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