Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Month of Thanks

I never have been good with writing every day, and counting down.  So screw it, I will just write when I can!  Afterall, it is MY blog, I can do what I damn well please!!!  :-)

Today, I am thankful for Allie, my dear daughter.  Jack really wanted to know the sex of our first baby, but I said NO!  So to compromise, we found out early the sex of our second child.  We were going to have a girl.  I was so very excited and scared.  Jack had named Stephen after someone special in his life, so I got to name the second child after someone special in my life.  For that reason, I was very excited to have a girl, because I wanted to name her after my grandmother Eads.  But, I realized even before I held her in my arms, that I would have such a huge responsibility to this little girl.  I would need to be a woman she could look up to.  I would need to exhibit the qualities I wanted her to have.  The problem was, I didn't possess all those qualities.  The transformation began while she was still inside me.  I started making small changes in my life that were huge.  My confidence grew in many areas.

The moment they placed her in my arms, I found out that your heart really can grow in an instant.  My fears of not being able to love another child went out the window.  My heart grew and took her in.  It was a peaceful time too.  Her delivery was easy and smooth, and she did not have to be whisked away like Stephen.  So we had her first few minutes alone together.  She also became hungry almost immediately!  She has been hungry for life ever since.

This little girl was almost everything I was not.  She was girly from the moment she could move on her own.  Dolls, dress-up, PINK, and kitchens were her obsessions.  She did not really enjoy being outside and sweating or getting dirty.  She was strong.  She knew her mind and was not shy about letting everyone know it.  She was smart and witty.  Yes, all of this showed up by the age of 3!  I was in awe.  I adored this little ball of pink.

My daughter is the bravest person I know.  She was born with a facial assymetry, and a discoloration on the left side of her body.  When she was little, we encountered many stupid, mean people.  As she has grown, the differences are much less noticeable, yet she still encounters stupid people occasionally.  Where many teen girls would wear their hair over their face, slouch, and not hold their head high, my daughter stands tall, holds her head high and walks with a confidence I can only dream of.  I am amazed by her.  She inspires me daily to be my best me.  She inspires me to be brave in the face of stupidity.

Yes, we have our teen-mom moments.  Yes, sometimes she makes me so mad I want to scream, and vice-versa I am sure.  But this girl, I would not trade her for all the gold in China.  She was a miracle baby.  I should not have gotten pregnant, but God had different plans.  God knew that this little girl and I needed each other.  God knew I needed her to teach me.

Allie, I love you more than the sky is blue, more than the mountain is tall, more than the sun is bright.  Thank you for teaching me all that you have so far.  I look forward to watching you grow and seeing where life takes you.  Just know that I am here.  that I love you.  that you are special.  mom

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Month of Thanks - Day 5,6, and 7

So, it turn out writing daily didn't go so well.  But, I am not going to stop, I will keep trying.

Today I am thankful for my son.  He is my first-born.  He was longed for and dreamed of for many years.  I will never forget hearing those words after hours of labor, "It's a boy!"  In that second, my life changed forever.  I promised him that I would be the best mom I could be.  He and I have a remarkable open relationship.  We can talk to each other easily, we get each other.  He has had to be patient with me as he made each transition in life.  It has been hard for me to let go of each stage.  But he has taught me to embrace the future and not live out of fear.  I can sit and tell him what I fear, and he will patiently listen and then just hug me.  He never makes promises that it won't happen, he just listens and hugs me.  Wow!  What maturity.

I have always felt bad that he has to be the one to usher in each new transition.  Allie has it a bit easier because he has already "broken us in".  We are in one of those times now.  I am trying to transition to the mother of an adult.  Legally, I have no more rights as his parent.  He is now out there having to make his own way and reap those rewards and pay those consequences.  I still want to shield him.  I still want to bring him home under my wing.  But that is not what he wants.  Nor is it what he needs.  He needs me to be here and listen and hug him.  Just like he has been teaching me all along.  I can't make any promises to him.  I can't fix anything for him.  But I can be here.  I can listen.  And you better believe I will hug him.  (afterall, he gives the best hugs....some girl one day will be VERY lucky!!)

Stephen, I love you.  It is such a privilege to be your mom.  You have taught me so very much during your 18 years with me.  I know you are going to go on to do so much good in this world.  Your loving spirit is needed in our world.  As you go, know that I am here.  I will listen.  And I will hug you.  I will not make promises, and I will not try to fix you or the situation.  Of course, as in the past, I will probably screw up some, so please be patient and gently remind me again and again.
I love you,

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Month of Thanks - Day 4

Today I am thankful for my new job.  I am enjoying this very much.  Since many have asked, I'll describe it briefly here.  I am a Prescreener for The New Teacher Project.  I look at the applications coming in and using the TNTP model, determine whether the applicant gets an interview or not.  This is work that can be done at home on my computer.  In fact, I couldn't sleep last night and so I screened two files.  It is quite nice to be able to log on when I am able and make money.  Jack is doing this as well while his business builds up. It has given us something new to talk about and bond over.  It has been cool.

I love feeling like I am contributing again to my family, and that I am still having some minor role in education.  

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Month of Thanks Day 3

I knew by taking on this challenge of writing about my blessings and what I am thankful for I would encounter obstacles.  I just didn't realize they would come so soon.  Election time is hard.  Our society has made it out to be a "do or die" situation.  Every election it feels as if the future of our country rests on this very election.  It then causes a panic when the election doesn't go your way.  People get worried that everything will change and of course for the worse.  I get tired of it.  I get tired of the name calling on the TV ads.  I am tired of "Us vs. Them".  It doesn't work.  We learned that in kindergarten but forgot it somewhere along the way.  So this is my obstacle today.  Negativity.  But I will overcome it and look toward what I am thankful for today.  I hope you are reading this and thinking as well, since no one but Joy is sharing your blessings.  ~hint hint~

Today I want to focus on my husband.  I met Jack when I was only 18 years old.  He did not make the best impression on me, but there was always something....something I couldn't put my finger on.  He dressed atrociously, which back then counted a lot...okay, still does, and he stood me up for a "prayer meeting".  (We were prayer partners in BSU)  After a year of being aware of him and him being aware of me, he made his move.  Thank goodness I was smart enough to not let his painter's overalls and torn slippers influence my decision.  I said yes, and the rest as they say is history.

We married at 21.  Now stop a minute and remember yourself at 21.......really stop and see any resemblance to who you are today?  Not me!  Well, yes, of course there are some similarities, but many of the big things have changed in my life.  The same is true of Jack.  He is VERY different than he was back then.  But we have changed together.

I give Jack a lot of credit for us being together today and still so in love.  He pushed us to go out on dates, to go away for weekends, to stay connected.  When we had children, he was able to see into the future how we needed to stay strong, so he fought for time away from the babies.  He was right.  I am so grateful that he had that insight.

Jack knew from the beginning that I was sick.  But neither he nor I had any idea what lay in store for me.  Some men would have left, it would have been too much for them.  There were years where I had many more sick days than good days.  But he hung in there.  He was always there for me.  He learned how to be my advocate and get me what I needed before I could even articulate it myself.  In those times, I can relax and know that it is all okay in his hands.  That is a blessing.  To not have to worry about the kids, what is going on at home or keep up with the meds and what drs. are saying, but to just rest and heal.  Then he stepped up again and took the entire burden of earning for our family on himself.  He saw that I needed to quit working and made it possible.

Jack has always seen the best in me.  He sees things in me that I don't always see, and he tells me.  Miraculously, I often live up to just that.  I am a better person being with him.

He makes me laugh.  His humor has gotten us through many, many, many dark days.  He is witty and even though I don't always get his jokes, I so appreciate the effort.

He has embraced all my quirkiness and learned to love, or at least tolerate, my weirdness.  He just goes along with me at night when I make up the bed to then turn down the covers to crawl in.  He just lets me crawl up on his lap and holds me when the world just seems like to much.  He enjoys my silliness, and praises my attempts at crafts.  He knows I need order and plans.  He tries to accommodate but also helps me see that plans and order aren't the most important things in life.

He has been the best partner in parenting.  He has helped to soften my edginess and my strictness.  He values me and my intuition with the kids.  He makes a conscious effort to be a part of both kid's lives.  And again, his humor in parenting has saved us many times.

I love Jack.  He is my best friend.  He is the one I want to tell all my secrets, my sorrows and all my joys.  His hand is the one I want to hold when I am scared, sad, or joyful.  His face is the one I look for in crowds.  He is the one that makes my heart go pitter patter even after 25 years.

Before everyone is throwing up, I realize that many of you aren't at the same place as I am in your marriage.  I would like to make a couple of points which lead to the main thing I am thankful for in Jack McKinney.

One, it has not always been like it is now.  We have had some really rough patches.  Being chronically ill causes a strain on even the best marriages.  Having children and being a minister causes ENORMOUS strains on our marriage.  All the changes we have grown through have caused some difficult discussions and difficult times in our marriage.

Two, Jack is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  But we are both committed to make this marriage work.  So, we have done some very hard work in our marriage.  It has not been all hearts and happy.  It is hard work, and we have done our share.

But here is the most important thing about Jack McKinney, he has never given up on me or us.  I am so thankful that 26 years ago, he was brave enough to ask me out and I was smart enough to say yes.

I love you, Jack and am so very thankful for everything.

What are you thankful for today?  Will you be brave enough to share?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Month of Thanks Day 2

I have been truly blessed with many friends over my lifetime thus far.  I wish I could name each and every one and list the many ways in which they have blessed my life.  In doing so, I would invariably leave off someone and I just couldn't do that.  So I am going to speak in generalizations.

I have friends with whom I have recently reconnected with from way back in my past, all the way back to middle school days!  I have so enjoyed catching up and seeing what they are up to these days and where their lives have taken them.  They have brought me a sense of "home" with all the memories they bring.  I am thankful for that look in the mirror to see just how far I have come.  Plus the whole feeling like a young girl again...kind of nice!

I have friends who I can count on to tell me the truth.  They will listen to me and console me and when they think I am ready to listen, whether I think I am or not, they will tell me the truth.  How I cherish those friends.  It takes a lot of guts to do that with a friend.  I am so glad they feel safe enough with me to take that chance.  Often in my life, a friend has stepped forward to speak the truth and has helped me from taking fatal steps in the wrong direction.  I am grateful.

I have friends who make me laugh.  I don't mean chuckle.  I mean squeeze your legs together or you will pee laughter.  The laugh that comes from deep in your belly and soul and cleanses.  I meet with three of these women once a month.  But there are others as well.  Thank you for helping keep my sense of humor when I have lost sight of it myself.

I have friends who have loved me through some pretty unloveable times.  I have had moments in my life where I was not the friend I should have been, have been too consumed with my own drama to see yours, yet you stayed by my side.  You waited, silently, with words of love every once in a while to remind me you were still here.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  You know who you are.

I have friends that I don't see regularly.  In fact, rarely at all.  Yet there is a sister-soul bond that unites us.  When we do see each other or talk on the phone it is as if no time has passed.  You know me better than I know myself at times.  You love me for who I am not what I do.  I know that each of you is on the other end of the phone, and all I have to do is pick it up and you will be there.  That is such a safe feeling.  How blessed I am.

I have friends who push me.  They see my potential when I don't and they push me to step out of my comfort zone.  When I fall, they are there, and when I succeed, they are cheering the loudest.  I so appreciate you.

I have friends who are just a safe place to go.  In their hugs I feel the worries of the world melt away, much like when I am in my mom's arms.  I know I am safe to say whatever I need to.  I know I can cuss, cry, yell or whatever and you will not look down on me, judge me, or be offended by me.  You will just love me.

I am truly a blessed woman today.  Thinking about all of you has made me lonesome for each one of you.  I wish I could fly you all here and spend a week with each one of you.  But alas, I cannot.  So feel my warm hug, hear my loud cackle, and know in your soul, I love you.

Now it is your turn.  Tell me about a friend who has blessed your life.  I just love stories!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November - A Month of Thanks

I did many things right in raising my children.  But I do have regrets.  One of those regrets is not putting more emphasis on Thanksgiving.  I wish I had spent some time adopting traditions around this holiday like I did Christmas.  It is probably too late with my kids, but not too late for me and Jack.  I will be sharing what new traditions we come up with this month.

I would like to post this month about things/people/places that I am grateful for.  I would like to spend some time really expressing that thanks.  For really, I am truly blessed and have many, many things to be grateful for.  So we will start today.

On Mondays it always strikes me how lucky I am.  See, Mondays are my "Home Day"  I clean the kitchen well, sometimes even mop~gasp~, vacuum, dust, change sheets, do laundry, clean bathrooms and any other cleaning chores I have.  By having all day Monday to do this, I can spend my weekend with my family, and I am not mad at them for not helping me.  They are busy on Mondays, and not around.  I get annoyed when I am busy and people are laying around.  This way, I am happy.  I am getting my house organized and clean which really brings me joy!

This blessing came at great cost to me.  I love having time to do what I need to do.  But the flip side of that is that I can no longer do what I love, what I was born to do, what I am quite gifted at doing - teaching.  Isn't that often the case with blessings?  They often come at a price.  I guess, we eventually see the blessing in that cost.  I am finally there.  It has taken me many years to get here.  But, now?  Wow!  I am so thankful.  I hear how stressed all my friends are, how tired they all are, how they long for more "me" time, and it makes me thankful, no matter how it came to be.

So now I have my weekdays to do as I wish.  I fill them or not.  Sometimes I sit and catch up on DVR'd shows, read or knit.  Sometimes I fill them with volunteering, errands, lunches with friends, appointments.  Sometimes I spend them resting.  It is such a luxury to allow my gut and joints to dictate what and how much I do.  I am a lucky girl!

Now, I want this to be interactive.  You can comment here on the blog, or on facebook, your choice.  Do you have a blessing which cost you?  Would you share it?

Go now and be thankful.  Look for things to be thankful for, you never know what I might ask you to share tomorrow!