Just me over-thinking…

Anyone who meets my son Luke will quickly learn he is bold and he has an answer for everything. He is a very knowledgeable kid for his age. He loves facts and he loves things done correctly (or what he believes to be correct). I love this about him and can see him finding a career in teaching of some sort. I believe his personality will steer him in the right direction in life.

But, I see these same characteristics causing struggles as well, if not channeled properly. In life, you simply cannot go around correcting everybody all the time. He is only five, so I am just taking a glimpse into the future. Once he is older he will learn social rights and wrongs, but I can be pretty certain he will have to remind himself of when not to correct someone…because it is the strongest part of his personality. I know I will have to help him with that.

This part of Luke is very entertaining. I cannot get enough of it. Sunday in church during the children’s message he was hilarious. I wish I would have recorded it. Many times they will use props to get the kids attentions. It was as if Luke was part of the lesson, he was right on cue. The two pastors were playing catch (doing it incorrectly as part of the lesson). Luke corrected them and then finally just stood up to show them how to correctly play catch. When they did it the right way Luke said, “Nice one.” My explaining this isn’t doing it justice. I’ll just say I had multiple people tell me how it made their day.

All of this has me thinking about how we are all equipped with strengths and they can also be weaknesses. For me, being introverted has always been the same. I see it as mostly a strength but there are times when it weakens me. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable around people and so it is hard to start something new that brings me around people I do not know. But this part of me also has always given me the strength of observation. Observation has given me the strength to feel and see a person clearly. I often know when someone is hurting or feeling whatever emotion without them saying it out loud, and this has helped me a lot in life.

I really don’t have a point to all of this, except maybe it shows no one is without weakness. You just have to hold onto your individuality, accept yourself, and also not give up when a part of you weakens the rest of you. Remember to do the same for others––because you may be what helps them get through their hard moments.

My December

December, what a month. The beginning was wonderful, almost even magical. I was in the Christmas spirit and so were my kids. Luke and Oliver were full of excitement. I believe I saw Luke bouncing off the walls, literally. Ok not literally but close to it. I had a hope for this Christmas to be one of the best and one I would look back on and remember. Well it was not the best, it was easily the worst Christmas in my life. It was however, one I will always remember.

I am having a hard time with my grandma’s passing. I could go into the specifics of why, but I will not. I believe some things, like the pain I am feeling, are personal. Instead, I will share the light of it. I am blessed to have had her as a grandma and I will forever be a better person because of her.

My grandma’s funeral service was the most beautiful I have ever seen. Everything about it reflected my grandma and the type of person she was. The songs were carefully chosen and were all moving. Amazing Grace was played by a violinist. If You Could See Me Now, reminded us that she is in a better place. Then, Homesick was played. Homesick is a powerful song that always brings tears to my eyes and now has even more meaning to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3k1rJOQPdY

I have never received that much peace at a funeral. From the words spoken by my cousins to the words of the two pastors, one could have no doubt of what an amazing person she was. She touched so many lives.

I don’t want to choose a favorite part or compare the greatness of all who spoke, but to be able to hear my very first pastor again just did something to me. I was taken back to a time when I was just a little girl sitting in the pew listening to him. My child-like faith was revived. I felt a lightness in my soul, stronger than any lightness I have felt in a very long time. I cannot describe it without saying it was the Holy Spirit. I wanted to hold onto the feeling. But one cannot feel that all the time, at least not in this life. I can think of it as a glimpse of what’s to come, or a glimpse of what my grandma is feeling right now and for eternity.

2014 had many downs but I never lost sight of the light or of what really matters. I believe I can face any challenge 2015 will bring. I can face 2015 with hope and with the faith of a child.

My Grandma Scott

Two things come to mind when I think of my Grandma Scott––God and church. She truly walked the walk and did not need words to show others what God meant to her. Everyone just knew she was a godly woman.

I am still processing all of this. My Grandma Scott passed away yesterday and it is a lot to take in. My mom is in the hospital and hoping to get discharged today so her and my dad can make it up here in the next couple of days. I am heavy hearted for many reasons. It was unexpected and so it is hard to fully grasp. I think about my dad being so far away. I think about my aunt and cousin who worked with her and the heartache they are experiencing. I think about the rest of my family and how she touched everyone’s life differently. Then of course, there is my own grief. I am reminded of my other grandma who I was extremely close to and my great grandmas who have also passed. All my grandmothers are now gone and each of them shaped me in some way.

Without her knowing, my Grandma Scott saved me from completely losing my faith. I went through a period where I stopped going to church. It is hard to put all of this into words, but I will try. There are other things that helped bring me back as well, but having a foundation of christians in my family was the reminder I needed during those years. I just cannot imagine how my life could have turned out. I believe she was the foundation for the entire family. She was the rock without even knowing it. I never even told her what she did for me.

Walking into my grandma’s house, there was always peace and comfort. The presence of God was always felt there. When I needed it the most, when my faith had faltered, I would go there for family gatherings and I felt God. I remember leaving her house feeling empty––because I knew I was being stupid by not following what was in my heart and by not going to church. I was reminded every time I left their house that I knew better.

My grandma never said anything to me about my life, she didn’t have to. God spoke through her actions and through her lifestyle. I thank God for her quiet strength because He knows I wouldn’t have listened if she tried to talk to me…I was too stubborn.

I know my grandma is in heaven and I will see her again one day. I will thank her for showing me what it means to be a godly woman. I hope and pray that one day I can have the same quiet strength as her.

The Magic of Christmas

Last night, Matt and I were watching a show after we put the boys to bed…or so I thought they were in bed. I heard a little voice shouting, “Ho ho ho.” I walked down the hall to find Oliver in our bed pretending to be Santa. See, our bed is Santa’s sleigh. To properly play his new favorite game he had to go to our room. It was adorable.

Oliver and his blossoming imagination will make this Christmas awesome. Not just Oliver but Luke as well. He is always watching out for his little brother, making sure he is behaving so Santa will bring him presents. Both my boys are very different…I love how their differences balance me and each other. Luke takes the Santa thing very serious, whereas Oliver is all about the fun of Santa. My two boys have my heart. Gosh, I love them and I love the magic of Christmas.

Today Luke’s class had a Pancake and Pajama party, Oliver and I went to it. Luke was proud to hold his brother’s hand to show him around the classroom. Oliver had fun being in a big kid class. He made himself at home, but, became upset anytime he wanted to be close to his brother and there were other kids around. “They in my way. I want Luke.” I guess he isn’t used to having to share his big brother. It was a great morning, you should have seen Luke’s smile when I walked in the room. It brought me back to my days in school and how happy and comforted I was when my mom was in the classroom.

Either this weekend or on Monday we are making my Grandma Cloum’s christmas cookies. I will probably shed a couple tears as I roll the dough, I miss her around the holidays. Something so simple as a cookie recipe being passed down is yet another magical part of Christmas. I remember helping my mom make my grandma’s cookies every year…and I never realized how special it was until I became an adult.

There are many traditions I remember as a kid, some we had throughout my entire childhood and others came and went as our families grew or whatever else the cause. I will always remember my Great Grandma Scott’s party. We would get together with my Dad’s cousins, aunts and uncles, and all their kids a couple weeks before Christmas. Needless to say the house was packed. My Great Grandma Scott would always buy everyone presents, usually clothes. The clothes were always the wrong size. As funny as that sounds, I loved it. It was a tradition for me…I never expected to get anything I could actually wear and I still looked forward to opening her present every year. I loved going there. After she died, we stopped having the Christmas party. I guess everyone knew it would never be the same without her. What great memories…

I wonder what traditions my kids will hold onto when they have a family of their own?

Little Reminders

This week I was not feeling well. I had some sort of sinus thing going on. It brought on a dull headache that lasted about four days. My energy was on strike as well. On Tuesday, my in-laws picked up Oliver for the night. I was beyond thankful. (I promise this post is not all whining about being tired with little headache.)

Wednesday, Oliver was still over their house. It was a much needed day for me to be lazy. I do not remember the last time I was able to do as I pleased. What did I do? I watched television, I went out to lunch with my husband, I read, and then I wrote––all my favorite things in one day.

You know what? I got bored. I kept thinking, what did I do with my time before kids? It was a little reminder of my two blessings, Luke and Oliver. I realize I need time to myself more often, but I love having my kids to pass the time with. My kids bring me peace, chaos, love, stress, joy, worry…all these conflicting things they bring…I don’t ever want it to end. I know no matter how old they are they will always be my children. But, when Luke says he never wants to move out, I feel the same. I would love for him to stay young and live with us forever.

These days will pass though. Luke will change his thoughts and say he cannot wait to move out. I, of course, will encourage and help him to transition into his new life outside of our home. But these will be the days I will cherish the most. These are the days that will help shape my kids into who they will become.

I pray I will continue to make the most out of them. I pray life never gets the best of me. I pray life never gets the best of my husband, or my children. I pray for these little reminders of how truly blessed I am. I pray for all these things for you as well. The end!

Slow Down Christmas Spirit

Usually I hold out until after Thanksgiving but I cannot control the urge this year. I am in the Christmas spirit. I programmed 100.3 in my radio and am jamming out to Christmas tunes. I am trying to stop myself from putting on my Santa hat and baking cookies.

Last Christmas we were in the midst of packing, moving, and selling our old house and maybe that’s why. Or maybe I am turning into my mom the older I get. If I pull out a leopard coat and start singing Rod Stewart, please smack me. Kidding, I love my mom…just not her love of animal print. I do kinda like Rod, though.

But in the spirit of Thanksgiving that is coming up, I need to slow down to recognize all I have to be thankful for—before I pull out all my Christmas decorations. I do something similar every year around Thanksgiving so I apologize for the repetition…but not really because I need to recognize my blessings more often than that.

My husband, my best friend, Matt. He is an amazing husband and I don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate him. More importantly, he is an amazing father. Our two boys look up to him and follow him around like he is a superhero. He doesn’t brag and he has reason to, but he chooses to be humble. It is all the little things he does. And I can’t forget to mention his blue eyes still make my heart palpitate. I love that he checks my blog a lot, nothing makes me feel more special. I know he’s my biggest fan and supporter, and I am his.
Oliver is my baby. I cannot feel down for long in his presence. He has brown eyes that are just like mine. He bounces around and is easily amused. He smiles, I smile. He laughs, I laugh. He connects with people. He eases the seriousness of this life. He has so much of me in him that I am brought back to myself through him.

Luke has always been his own person and I don’t think he will ever be easily influenced. He asks questions. He has to know the reasons, and that inspires me. He gives without thinking. At his birthday party he received a fart blaster (yes that is a real thing) and naturally it was his favorite. One of his cousin’s had a rough moment and was in tears. Luke handed his cousin the fart blaster and said to take it home for the night. What five year old hands over his favorite gift that he just received? Luke does.

I also have to mention how thankful I am that my sister in law is cancer free. I know she isn’t fully back to herself yet, but she is getting there…whether she realizes it or not. I see her smile more. I hear her more of her loud laugh that fills a room (she has a great laugh). All in all, I see her coming back little by little. I am crying happy tears just thinking of it. Thank you God for this and everything else in my life.

The Cross and Bearing of It

Yesterday in a bible study we discussed the crosses we bear. It made me remember my cross, that is sometimes too heavy and slows me down, is meant to get me to the other side. Without my cross I cannot get there.

I struggle and there will never be a day that I don’t have some struggle. We all struggle, that is a part of this life. Our struggles are all a part of the cross we bear. Many times I don’t feel I am strong enough to bear the load but God knows best, not me, so I place it on my back and carry on, sometimes grudgingly.

I think about bad things that have happened in the last two years. It started with my grandma dying and has continued through a few more heartbreaking instances––I don’t have the answers for why my grandma was prescribed medicine that caused her massive stroke. I don’t have answers for most things in life but I know there is a reason.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people for the greater purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to bring people closer to God. I was shown this by a dying 90 something year old lady. Working long term care and hospice for so many years taught me a lot about life…and death.

Gertie (not her real name) had a son who visited frequently. The things he said about his mother were beautiful and it was evident that she raised her kids with strong christian beliefs. All he talked about was God and his mother. Gertie was one whose life lingered on and you couldn’t help but wonder how she was still alive. The day she finally passed her son and I were at bedside talking about life and God. He said, “We may not understand why my mom has lived the end of her life like this. But everything happens for a reason. Even my mom dying is happening for a reason. Maybe it is to teach the staff something about God.” (Now I don’t remember the exact words he said but they were pretty close to that.) How right he was. That was over ten years ago and his words still move me to tears. The faith he had…

Knowing why I bear my cross may not make the load lighter but it gives me hope. It also makes me more understanding of others and the crosses they bear. So remember mine and I will remember yours. Together we can help carry the load in times when our strength falters.

Through His Eyes

Through his eyes, he knew no difference. He was born with poor vision.

Through his eyes, he was a good soccer player and was excited to be on a team. That was until he played with other kids and realized he had a hard time seeing.

Through my eyes, I will never truly know what it is like to see through his eyes and that will always trouble me.

Through my eyes he is an amazing, smart, funny, thoughtful, and beautiful kid. I can only pray when he looks at his reflection that he sees the same.

The other day at soccer practice Luke was running and bumped heads with his friend. They were both hurt and crying. The collide must have been bad. The coach realized Luke’s glasses broke and sent him over to see me. Luke climbed on my lap and once I took his glasses off I realized the cracked frame cut his face as well.

Things can happen in sports to any kid, but this time it was because Luke couldn’t see well enough. Matt had noticed in previous practices and games that Luke had bumped into kids from not seeing well. Also, after Luke’s last game he cried after he told me he had a hard time seeing on the field. We told Luke he could take a break and he did last week. This week he said he wanted to go back. After what happened it isn’t surprising he doesn’t want to go back again.

I hope Luke doesn’t lose his eagerness to try new things now that he is older and realizes some things are harder for him. He has a natural ease when it comes to trying things. He doesn’t cling to me in fear––he just goes for it. I admire that in him. I believe with an attitude like his he can do amazing things in life. I will never stop encouraging him, but when things happen it is heartbreaking.

The most important thing I can show him from this is that sometimes it is ok to quit. Whoa, what a hard thing to think of these days. It is ok to quit sometimes. It takes a strong person to honor their limits. It doesn’t make him weak. There are countless other things he can do well.

I can tell him everyone has things in life that they have a hard time with. All that matters is that he tried. It doesn’t make him a failure. It just means soccer isn’t his thing. Karate on the other hand…he is a rockstar in karate. He loves it even when it is hard. It is funny because I am thinking of things in my life where I need to take my own advice. Yet another thing I love about parenting––learning and reminding myself of important lessons as I guide my kids to the same.

Letting Go

I wish time would slow down. I wish Luke was still my little guy and I could carry him in my arms for longer than two minutes. I remember carrying him around the house, his eyes would dart from thing to thing––the microwave, ceiling fan, mirror, light switch––I would say the name of the object as his eyes asked what it was. He always loved knowing what things were and how they worked. As soon as he learned the word “why” it stuck with him. He still has not and probably will never grow out of the why phase. I love that about him and I was always very careful not to say the famous “because I told you so” response. I don’t think there is anything wrong with those words, but I just knew from the first time he asked “why” that his curiosity was a big part of him. The way he would study things, even as an infant, showed me that.

Luke had his first day in kindergarten yesterday and I am still trying to catch up to how I feel…

“I am going to set my alarm an hour earlier than yours so I can help you get ready for your first day,” I said to Luke as I tucked him in bed.

“No. I want my alarm set before yours,” Luke said.

“How about if we wake up at the same time?” I asked.

“Ok, Mommy,” Luke said.

After I tucked him in and gave him a kiss goodnight I went in my own bed. I chuckled as I set my alarm an hour earlier although I told Luke we were going to wake up at the same time. I knew I would be calmer and more collected if I had time to wake up before the rest of the house did––especially on a big day.

I cannot say I slept much. I popped out of bed as soon as my alarm went off. I made my coffee and settled in the couch to prepare myself for the day. I reminisced of Luke’s younger days as I finished my coffee and waited for his alarm to sound. I heard the beeping and by the third beep the alarm was shut off and I heard Luke open his door. I rushed down the hall to meet him. His smile was huge and at that moment I knew his first day was going to be great. Everyone got ready and we headed out to wait for the bus.

Our neighborhood is not on flat land so it was neat to watch the yellow slowly appear as it drove into the sub and up the street. Luke’s eyes got big and he looked a little nervous but when the bus stopped and the doors opened his nervousness turned into determination and he walked up the steps and didn’t look back. It was harder for me than it was for him. I got on my tip toes and tried to see him. I could only see the top of his head and then the doors shut and we watched as the bus drove off. Just like that my Luke was off to his new adventures in school.
I was glad my husband took the day off. We actually had a great day and Oliver soaked up all the attention. He was happy and giggly the entire day.

We went outside a little early to let Oliver play while we waited for Luke’s bus at the end of the day. We were sitting in chairs watching Oliver play on his firetruck. We heard a sound that sounded like the bus. Matt and I both jumped up to realize it was not the bus…it was a truck. We laughed at ourselves but we never sat back down. We paced around our yard until it was time to go to the corner and wait for the arrival.

The bus finally arrived and Luke got off with a smile on his face. His first day was great! Here are a few things he said about it:

When asked what was his favorite part about school: “Everything!”

“The bus was fun. It was a long ride…but it was also a short ride…it was medium.”

“I liked going to school but I really don’t know why you packed me two water bottles.” (Oops, I don’t know why I did either.)

My nerves are a little on edge today but I am relieved everything went well. I believe it will get easier everyday to let go. I hope.

Summer Plans

I remember the days of summer as a kid filled with fun and feeling magical. Summer camps, dance recitals, being out in our boat, playing with friends, and of course family vacations. Now as an adult, it is my turn to mold memories for Luke and Oliver.

Luke is at the prime age to start discovering his likes so here is what I am thinking. Karate is a given, he loves it and will be continuing through the summer. He is signed up for Vacation Bible School, which is also a given. Swimming lessons are a must, he still is not comfortable in the water. I am also looking into horse riding lessons (maybe for both Luke and me). I am extremely excited for this, as is Luke.

We will be taking our family vacation in August, the destination is not yet set. We usually do a few weekend trips as well.

Then there are the days in between (my favorite). Exploring our new area by going to new restaurants and farmers markets, finding parks and ice cream shops, hanging out in our yard, and spontaneous trips to the zoo or museum. I cannot express how excited I am.