Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That All Consuming Name

Tears streamed down my face as I was driving home this evening. The thought of what this past weekend should have/would have held just overwhelmed me. It seems to be getting more difficult seeing the blooming pregnancies around my school knowing that soon they will have a little one to hold and one day call them mama. Questions fill my mind, the main one being will I ever get to hear that word? Mama...what an all consuming name.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Silence in the House

This week was a tough one. I lost my little Maltese, Harmony. She was a gift from my parents (who have both passed) 14 years ago. She held out as long as she could but it was time to let her go. I held her for the 30 minutes before the vet came in to help her pass. I cried and cried knowing the one thing that knew me the best was going away and not returning.

Bow season started this week and my husband and stepson went away. Without Harmony the silence was deafening. Several times I thought I should walk her, feed her, or hurry home to see her...then I would realize I was by myself.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friendship...Know My Heart

Lately the topic of friendship has been on my mind. The loss of friendship or lets say the move from friendship to acquaintance is part of the reason my mind is on this topic.

Looking back at my life at all the friendships over the years, some are here for a season, some God has placed in your life forever, some because they want something from you, and others just by circumstance. We all have friends that fall into one of these categories. But whatever the reason I have always stuck by my friends no matter what was going on in their lives or mine.

My mother, in her thirties, found probably what became her closest and dearest friends. No matter what was going on, where they were located, through thick and thin they were friends. Friendship based on a christian foundation. They took the time to know her heart. This was true friendship. That I think is what we all long for. That friendship, centered on Christ, getting to know each other, not easily influenced because you know the other person's heart.

We can all work at being better friends to each other. I know that it is something that I strive to be. A friend that is there, waiting until needed or wanted. After talking to a longtime friend of mine about another friendship situation, she gave me some advice. She said, "They don't know you. If they truly knew you and they were your friend, they would know the truth of your heart." She was right.

Last Christmas, I had a small group of women, who have touched my life, over for brunch. They were women who inspired me professionally and spiritually, prayed for me, made me want to be a better person, and I was looking forward to many years of friendship with all of them. The sad thing is that this group may be even smaller this year...it will be those who took the time to know my heart and allowed for me to know theirs.

No one has greater love than to lay down his own life for his friends. John 15:13

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Blessings and the Downfalls

Sitting here listening to the rain pound on the roof of the house I begin to reflect on this past week. So much has happened both good and bad and many lessons have been learned. So I begin...

The week started with promise, so much promise.

  • My husband finally had a day off and all we did was spend it together! We went and had lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant and then went to the three dollar theatre and chose to see two movies. We so needed that time together.

  • I actually mailed my nieces birthday cards on time for their 9th birthday. And one of the highlights was getting to skype them to hear all about their birthdays.

  • Greeting my students at the door each morning is a highlight of my day. I laugh when they try to sneak by me and see if I catch it to tell them good morning.

  • Scheduled many activities for my students to learn this week, from cooking rice and talking about cultures to playing Sink or Save to review for a test. Then we play on Fridays, What's the Best Part of Your Week. They love it!

Then the walls came a tumblin down...

  • The tension at work can't be cut even with a knife. And me... I was told I could no longer be in no man's land. Take a stand is what I was told. You see, part of my grade level team is negative on the professional learning that is going on at school. I don't agree with them but I can see their point. This has resulted in people who I felt where my friends no longer wanting to speak with me except in passing. I was told I lost their trust and they felt I was siding with my teammates. I just want to be there for my students. I love teaching but hate the politics. I want to be the best I can be for my students and if that takes a few extra hours a week then so be it. The loss of these close relationships though hurts my heart to the core.

  • Friday brought news of sadness. My Maltese, Harmony, has fallen ill. Dehydration, some kidney dysfunction, and congestive heart failure. I have had her since she was 6 months old (she is now 14 years), a gift from my now deceased parents. The vet has given her about 6 months. My heart is grieving for this upcoming loss.

As a dear friend said to me, just yesterday, God must really like me because He's given me all this and believes I can handle it. I'm not to sure I'm this strong so I asked Him to wrap me in his arms for awhile and help me through not only the blessings but the downfalls as well.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sure Hope He Was Listening

Drivers on the road probably thought I was some road raged driver as they passed me on the highway this morning. I was on my way to have lunch with one of my best girlfriends when I decided I was angry. Not at the people around me but at my mama and God. You see, today marks her first anniversary in Heaven.

So in between the tears I continued to pour out my thoughts to God. Telling him that even though I love him that I was tired of having all this loss in my life. That it was now the season for light not darkness, life not loss. I felt a bit like Job crying out to God for help. Sure hope He was listening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Little Prayer Goes Along Way

I confess I have found my days going much smoother this week. Inspired by a friend of mine who has been seeking a relationship with God I have renewed my prayer life. After I drop my stepson off for school I find myself praying for those closest in my life starting with him, then moving on to those in my family, followed by my friends and then my coworkers. I then take a moment to name each of my students and lift them up to God.

This takes me back to a conversation my mama and I had before she passed. We were talking about ministry and she felt mine was in music. I won't deny that God has allowed for me to sing for his glory but I feel my ministry lies with my students. This week proved it. One little girl came up to me and asked me if I was a christian and because she opened the door for this conversation I was allowed to answer with a yes. I also play praise music in my classroom and received an email from a parent telling me her daughter told her I was playing a christian station in my room. At first I was a bit afraid until this parent said she was so happy to hear that I was playing the praise music. All I can say this is the power of prayer.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Confessionals ~ Roller Coaster of Emotions

I confess... this has been a very emotional week.
I confess... seeing the two pregnant teachers at my school made me burst into tears in front of them.
I confess... that talking to them helped my heart to start healing. They both had wanted to talk to me too to make sure I was okay.
I confess... I was so busy on the phone that I passed the road to my stepson's school this morning and almost took him to work with me.
I confess... my frustration level with my team teachers was about to be explosive during the training today. It's really hard to train people when they can't shut their mouths long enough to listen!
I confess... my grief is still strong over the loss of my mama and the baby. See first confession.
I confess... I am extremely proud of my brother, who is a chaplain in the Navy. He had an article written about him in the AGTS Rapport and he was promoted to lieutenant commander.
I confess... I am nervous to see what class I get this year. Sure would like a great crop of kids this year.
I confess... that I am praying for an emotional healing.
I confess... that lately the footprints in the sand are not mine but the One who is carrying me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Mama!

Today is my Mama's birthday. This is the first of many that will be celebrated in Heaven. She is getting the best gift ever...sitting at the feet of Jesus. August 18th, however, marks a sadness here on earth. I think this day is the hardest for me because last year we had her over for dinner and cake at our house. It was a great time of fellowship. I picture her sitting on the floor of my living room playing with the dog she just received from my stepdad surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and sister.

This year my family is going to the Olive Garden. For birthdays we always seemed to end up there so in honor of Mama's birthday that is where dinner will be on August 18th. My brother's family in Hawaii is baking her a cake in remembrance of this day. I wish with all my heart I could be with them to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Mama! We miss and love you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dear God...

Four days late...hopes rose only to be dashed on day five. The next day I find out that two other teachers at my school are pregnant. I really felt I had moved on and could handle situations like this only to find my emotions whirl up inside me and tears pour out my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for my fellow teachers and finding out before I saw them was best but the grief is still fresh in my heart.

You know my heart, my grief, my hurt, my anger, my confusion. I don't know why you chose to answer our prayers with taking our little one home to you. From my close upbringing in you I know there is a reason but I still don't understand. My heart is longing for this little one that from the beginning I gave back to you. Help my heart and head to heal from the hurt of this loss. Give me strength to make it through each day. Hold me when I cry, carry me when I can't go on, and place your arms around me when I am hurting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blessed to Know Her

This week out of the blue a former student of mine contacted me. She said she had been looking for me for years. She is one that I have thought about often and one that made me want to be a better teacher. Here is her story:

KB (for privacy reasons) stood out in my fourth grade class. Tall, dark haired, very shy, and a year older than everyone else KB struggled with school. She should have been in fifth grade but the year before in the middle of her original fourth grade year she was sent back to third grade and told by another teacher that she was stupid. This part angered me greatly. KB was a D and F student. This was not because she wasn't capable but because no one seemed to want to see her potential. We worked together to bring up her grades, technically she did the work and I had the fun job of praising her which came easy to such a sweet child. By the end of the year she was making D's and C's.

The following year I had the pleasure of teaching her fifth grade class. Excited with the possibilities of getting to teach her again I couldn't wait to see the results of her hard work mixed with encouragement. Before the year was out she was making B's and C's. Her doing, not mine.

In sixth grade she moved onto middle school. I was worried that her self esteem would fail her but instead she showed up in my room with an elite group of A & B students to share about middle school. I was beaming with pride.

This year she is a junior in high school, a Principal's honor roll student, taking honor's classes, and is a part of the A+ program. When she emailed me to let me know this and I was speechless.

When she found me she wrote to me the following:

I have been trying to find you forever and I am glad I did. I want to thank you for everything you did for me. I sure do miss you, You were/are the only teacher that meant so much to me. You really cared about us and you helped me in my dyslexia, shyness, and learning. You always had a hug and a smile for each of us. As you can see my spelling is getting better and my lexile reading score is the highest in my class. I think a lot of this is because of you.

This is a success story, her success, not mine. The system started to fail her at a young age and all I did was offer words of encouragement. I am the one that is blessed to know her.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Laughter Despite the Tears

Memories flood in as things fly off the table. This is what is happening as I help my aunt with her yard sale. She doesn't want to leave her nieces and nephews with the mess that our parents left us when they passed away. I personally appreciate the thought.

I feel like the lucky one of the nieces and nephews because I get to hear the family stories as items get set out on to the tables. Tears have been shed and laughter at the silly things that she, my other aunt, and my mom did as kids makes me smile. We both needed this...I needed this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Give Yourself Permission

Yesterday I went to my aunt's house to help her get ready for her yard sale next week. When I arrived there she was well on her way to organizing and going through items. I sat there watching her go through each box and give me an explanation of the contents and what was going to happen to them. Occasionally there was hesitation on an item and she would look at me, explain, and then ask what I thought. It was as though she was wanting permission to get rid of the item. You see a lot of the items were given by family members or had memories attached.

I understand this reaction quite well as I go through my own things for a yard sale. Things I love (or like) that were given to me or have a fond memory are hard to let go of but if I don't then my house becomes full and I feel like a hoarder. Like my aunt, I don't want to leave a mess behind for others to go through (my mama was like this) so we are going through and dispersing items that we don't use or need.

The hardest part of all of this is giving yourself permission to let go. I told my aunt its okay to give ourselves this permission to let go of the item but keep the memory attached. I have to admit I think she is much better at it than me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Heart is Full

As I reflect on yesterday memories have been added to my mind. The house was brimming with the people I love as we celebrated my husbands 40th birthday. We haven't had a big cookout since Labor Day (the last one before mama passed away) and hearing the talking and laughing made my heart burst with joy. Connections were made between family members and friendships forged even deeper making them part of the family.

Thank you Lord for reminding me that even in the dark times I am truly blessed with loved ones. Thank you for the joy and children's laughter as it rang through my house. Thank you for a loving husband and bless him with many more happy birthdays.

Thank you Lord because my heart is full.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrating a Milestone

Once upon a time, (45 years ago today to be exact) a young man in the Army and a young teenage girl met up at Fort Leonardwood to tie the knot. This was not a marriage of convenience or chased by a shotgun but a marriage of young love. Their journey started out even a few years before when they met while attending the local high school.

Once married the young military man was sent to fight overseas leaving a wife and baby son behind to be looked after by relatives. They exchanged many a love letter through out this time apart leaving each letter behind for future generations to read. After returning from war, the young couple settled in together and bore two more children completing their small family.

Throughout their married life they endured many trials even divorcing for a short time only to find their way back to each other. They realized each other was not perfect but it was their faith in God that kept them together. They displayed this faith for their three children so that they would learn to survive both the good and bad in life.

Thirty eight years into their marriage the man was taken from the woman in an instant. It was unexpected throwing the woman into years of grieving for the love she had lost. She was given the opportunity to love again but it was short lived. For last year her broken heart finally gave out. She loved her second husband but it was time to join her life mate in Heaven.

Even though these two amazing people, my parents, were not perfect they tried their best to show that with God all things are possible. Today would have been their 45 anniversary. Mama just had to celebrate that milestone with Daddy this year. You both are deeply loved and missed by all your children and grandchildren but I know that you are together with our Heavenly Father celebrating love.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Unexpected Moments

For a week now I have known that my husband and stepson were headed out camping. It was the topic of conversation many a time because my husband wanted to "Duel Survival" during his camping trip. For those of you who don't know this is a television show that we watch where two men go out in certain situations and show you how you can survive. Of course their duel survival week wouldn't be as drastic of a situation.

What I didn't know was how I would feel once they left. Now mind you I know that they are coming home but the anxiety was building up. Both were told to charge cell phones and I would expect a daily call from one of them. Last night I called my husband only for the phone to go to voice mail. I will admit a bit of panic set in and I was getting upset (typically if he doesn't answer I get an immediate call back, this did not happen). When my husband finally called (about 20 minutes later) I burst into tears and was visibly upset with him. This was an unexpected moment for me. I did not think this would be my reaction.

We talked about even though I was used to him being gone for hunting, etc. this time was different. This past year has been a year of loss with my Mama and then the recent loss of our little baby boy. I know that my anxiety stems from these losses. I was afraid to lose my husband and if I lost him I would also lose my stepson. This did not set right with me.

There are many things a person can do when feeling this way. I am glad that I was taught to pray and that if I couldn't pray myself call someone who could. Of course the second choice isn't great if its 10:30 at night. However, even though I don't like them being far away I called my sister-in-law in Hawaii (the military just transferred them there). She is amazing and got my mind off of what was happening and I know that even though she was busy she would take the time to pray. When we hung up a calmness came over me and I was able to sleep.

I know that this feeling of loss will not always go away but how I deal with it makes a difference.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Daddy...You Are Missed

It has been approximately seven years since I last celebrated Father's Day with the man who helped bring me into this world. He was not perfect but he was a great dad. So today I want to share what I miss most about him in honor of Father's Day...

Love of family. He would do anything for a family member with no thought to himself. He believed in that in laws, steps, and halves were not a title but just family.

Love of his grandbabies. He will never know any of these from me with the exception of the one who joined him in Heaven last week. My dad was made to be a Papa. His eyes lit up when any of his grandbabies entered the room.

His generous and kind heart. I remember when visiting him on a job site in Vegas I overheard a conversation between him and his worker. His worker thanked my dad for helping get his son out of jail and then for giving the same son a job. My heart was very proud of my dad.

Love of cars. He would take even us girls to the car shows with him. He usually picked most of the cars I drove. My favorite to drive was the 1960's era Tornado.

There is so much more I love about him that I would be writing for days. But for now the memories are flooding in and my heart aches to see my daddy again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

He May Not Be Mine

My spirits are lifted and I hope they stay this way for a bit. After two weeks at his mom's my stepson has returned and oddly I find myself in a good mood despite what happened last week.

I really lucked out when I married my husband. You see it was a two for one deal. He had custody of his son so T would be living with us. He is a great kid once we got through the "your not my mom" stage. I feel as a stepmother I am blessed.

However, he was hoping I would have entered his cave and cleaned it up a bit before he got home. So I compromised and by the end of the day we had a floor we could see and a smell we could tolerate. We even had a great conversation about the baby when we went to Walmart. He shared with me his relief of not having a little brother with a disability or that we would have had a still birth. It touched me when he told me it made him sad to see us hurt and that we lost his baby brother.

He may not be mine but he has intertwined himself into my heart as if he were my own flesh and blood.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Long Road But Not Traveled Alone

After a much difficult weekend of too much thinking I felt myself headed down into the valley. Not a place I want to go since my family has a history of depression and lack of overcoming without being medicated. When I feel this way I start looking for alternate solutions. It's not that I don't want to grieve or wallow in my pain but it is the fact I am afraid of not coming out of it, of staying in the depths and drowning.

So after much looking on the Internet and calling the doctor's office for more information I have located a few support groups that help with the grief over losing an unborn child. One of those groups is called MEND or Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death. I talked to the person in charge and felt a relief that I have a place to go to grieve with others who understand.

My husband and I will also attend another support group for neonatal death that I found through the doctors office so this will give us choices to find what is comfortable for us. As my sister-in-law said to me go more than once, don't judge the group based on one visit. I am in full agreement with her especially when it comes to the healing process.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What We Hold So Dear

Wednesday is a blur. Up at 4:30, the hospital by 5:30, home by 10. My husband took amazing care of me and didn't even complain when he bought me a $3.50 cup of coffee. I slept most of the day due to medicine.

Thursday was a much different story. Physically I am sore but emotionally I was numb. That is until one of my dear friends brought me a gift. The gift was the Angel's Embrace by Willow Tree. This angel represents what we hold so dear. As you can see in the picture the angel is embracing a little boy. I know my friend bought this particular angel to represent the little boy I was pregnant with that is now in God's hands being loved. I broke down in tears and found myself reaching down to my stomach wishing our little one had lived.

I realize that I have some rough days ahead. Little things will set my emotions whirling and longing for a different outcome. But today... today I want to curl up and embrace what I hold so dear.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weary and Burdened But God Will Give Us Rest

Come to me, all ye who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:25-30

I am weary but this reminds me in a time of sorrow that I am not alone. Yesterday we received the news that at 17 weeks we lost our little boy. Our hearts are breaking but we will take our rest in God.

Tomorrow morning I will enter the hospital pregnant but will leave empty handed because the Lord decided to keep our little one with him. I just need to remember that God has a plan for this time of sorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Difficult Week ~ Friday Confessional

I confess...I am at a loss with my students.
I confess...Frontier Theatre is my most hated field trip especially when it is storming all day.
I confess...I wish parents would discipline their children instead of leaving it up to the school system.
I confess...This year I have the most difficult, non producing classroom.
I confess...Success is all I want for them.
I confess...Frustration is my middle name. This goes back to "I'm at a loss with my students."
I confess...I was told on Field Day that my class was the worse class.
I confess...That my students wait until I go to the bathroom to start a fist fight even though other teachers and parent volunteers are watching them.
I confess...I had my students evaluate me after I gave them pizza. :o)
I confess...Despite a bad week I do love each and everyone of them and wouldn't change it for the world.
I confess...I am counting the days until next Friday when school is finished for the year.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Difficulty in Counting the Blessings

I haven't posted in awhile because I feel as though I am just barely keeping my head above water. So much has happened and as much as I am trying to count my blessings it seems they are few an far between lately. I keep telling myself two more weeks and I have the summer to rejuvenate and grieve. Several of my friends including my boss have commended me for keeping a positive outlook and not letting it effect my work. The truth is I am falling apart inside.

As a teacher I sometimes look at my year starting in August and ending in July. So you can say that my year started off pretty rough, not with my students, but with my personal life. My 40th year has not been the best.

My Momma passed away at the beginning of September. I have pushed down my feelings until I have enough time to focus on them. The blessings I can count from this is that my Momma is with my Daddy in Heaven and they are the happiest they have ever been in their life. Me? I grieve.

In October we were informed of the possibility of my husband losing his teaching job which was confirmed this past April. He is burnt out from teaching and is unsure of what he wants to do. This also has us changing my stepsons school during his second year of high school. The blessing from this we have his income throughout the summer.

In March we found out that we were expecting our first child. This is truly a blessing until we were informed on May 4th that our child has a birth defect. One that will take its life either in the womb or as soon as it is born. My husband was speechless as we listened to the specialist break this devastating news. The only hope we have is that God performs a miracle on this little one. I'll be honest...I have no blessing to count here.

My brother, a chaplain, said to me yesterday "I'm sorry that you can't seem to catch a break.". I know they are praying for us and the baby but I agree with him. So Lord, please let us catch a break because I am at my breaking point.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Exhausted...Could Someone Send Me Some Energy?

If anyone had told me being pregnant would make you this exhausted I probably would have not gotten pregnant. I miss my energy! Then I heard that this only happens during the first trimester and the last trimester and that during my second trimester I would feel energetic. There is one problem with that...the two trimesters I am or going to be exhausted are the two that I will be working! Being a teacher I have the summers off and that is when I have been told that I will rebound and my life will not be exhausting.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much because thank the Lord I have had absolutely no morning sickness.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Changes...A Never Ending Revolving Door

The past few months have been a never ending revolving door of changes. This is why I haven't written in awhile. First change...we moved. We moved for many reasons and I hate where we moved too. The house has many problems including a landlord who is non flexible in taking care of a home. Change number 2...I'm pregnant! This is a change that Hunny Bunny and I are happy about. Two months along and (knock on wood) no morning sickness! Now we just leave it in God's hands and pray for a healthy little one. Change three... Hunny Bunny's contract was not renewed for another school year. I am the worrier of the two of us especially with a baby on the way. Now he is on the job hunt and isn't even sure he wants to continue teaching. They say that when God closes one door he opens another one. What if it is continually revolving?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Did I Make An Impact?

What will I leave behind? Will people remember me? Did I make an impact? These questions have really been on my mind a lot lately.

When my Daddy passed away unexpectedly I was impressed and blessed by the outpouring of people that came to his funeral and the cards of condolence's. One in particular stands out to me. My Mama received a letter from a gentleman who had made acquaintances with my Daddy in a phone store. The letter told us of this meeting and how my Daddy took the time to visit with him about various things. After reading about my Daddy's untimely death this man felt he should write to us and let us know that my Daddy had touched his life.

This past September after losing my Mama unexpectedly I received a phone call from a cousin that I hadn't seen or heard from in a long time. Her father had disowned us after my daddy died so I never expected to hear from any of them again. My cousins message simply said that she had been going through some things recently and my Mama had reached out to her. She felt blessed to have that time and godly advice from my Mama and I was blessed to know this.
Both of my parents funerals were standing room only.
Packed from wall to wall. There were many that were there just to support the family but most were there because my parents had made a difference.

We all have a desire to be loved and to know we are loved. It is sad that most people never know while they are alive how many lives they have touched even in passing. I guess I will know the answers to my questions when I get to Heaven.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011, May It Be Better Than The Last

As the old year closes and the new one begins so many memories flood my brain. So I thought a a short recap was in order.

I started this year the same way I started last year. The only difference is that I was with my Mama and PaPa C last year. As last year approached its final hours, my Hunny Bunny and I had dinner out and then went to my Mama's to play Hand and Foot. Teaching my near deaf stepdad how to play was hilarious and somehow, by the grace of God, he and I beat the socks off my Mama and husband.

Last night I was playing the same game but with different players, my mother-in-law, niece, and brother-in-law. This time I lost. It made me miss Mama even more.

2011 holds many changes from last year. 2010 was the last year my Mama would ever bake me a birthday cake, play with her grandchildren, send me a mother's day card (it was also the first year), or spend any type of holiday with us. The year started out with promises of many moments of family fun and ended with me losing my Mama. But I know that life goes on and loved ones are missed.

When looking to the year ahead, my brother's facebook email to me sums up all I am feeling today: "Love you all. Happy New Year! May it be better than the last."