Thursday, October 23, 2014

Holding a Rainbow

Have you ever held a rainbow?  I have.  I did yesterday.  In the Bible, the rainbow is God's symbol that He will not destroy the world after 40 days of rain and storms.  The rainbow I held was a gift to his parents for not giving up when times were tough in years past.

If you missed the story of Rainbow's parents, here is the link to that post.  

Holding a newborn baby is a gift.  I soaked it up yesterday.  They are newborn for such a short time and yet so incredibly sweet.  You can't spoil them when they are newborn.  You just can't.  They are so fresh and new and they have only basic needs.  Those little smiles you get so early on when you talk to them is so special.  
Gas pains some say, but I believe they are true acknowledgements of happiness from a tiny little gift.  As I held this gift and talked to him I wondered if he realized how special he was.
  Does he realize how cherished he is?  Does he know how wanted he is?  Does he know what a true treasure he is? 
 Of course he doesn't, but he will be able to live life finding out just how treasured he is.  

Rainbow's brother knows how special he is.  During the pregnancy, random commentary came from time to time about how life will change after the baby arrives.  Naturally, the parents made provisions and preparations to make sure Brother still knew he was the first.  How loved and special he is.  That there is love to share.  Once Rainbow arrived, Brother learned that love grows exponentially.  
The love was instant.  It was strong.  It was unwavering.  For Brother, it instantly became a sacrificing love.  Because of the age difference, there was no adjustment phase.  It was just immediate care and concern for another human being that is his brother.  Oh the fun these two will share.  The legos they will build.  The thought of a brother teaching a brother to walk.  To talk, to sing, to dig in dirt, to climb a jungle gym.  The built in protection big brother will provide selflessly.  They have a lifetime to be best friends.  Brothers. 

As a mother of older children, I would like to remind moms of small children that the days are long but the years are short.  You won't understand this until your children are teens or leaving home.  I didn't.  But now there are days that I cry for my oldest daughter.  She is in college.  It isn't the big things that you miss.  It is the day to day.  Your child being there on the couch to watch a tv show.  Your child being there to throw their clothes on the floor or leave their toys out all over the bonus room.  There was a time that I had toys strewn all over the house.  Pieces of toys everywhere.  Now, this Christmas, we will not purchase a single toy.  We don't have a single toy in the house.  Not one.  Not one little lego sitting on a chest.  Not one toy box with plastic action figures and barbies in it.  Not one.  There was a time I would have given anything for a clean house.  My house is clean now.  But I miss my children.  Now granted, they aren't all gone, and I still have clothes on the floor but because my oldest is now out of the house, I appreciate clothes all over the place.  It means my children are home.  I shut the door to my daughter's room because it is so clean that it makes me sad.  A clean room means my child isn't at home.  

To mothers of small children, appreciate the toys all over the floor.  For it means your children are home.  The days are long when they are little, but the years are very very short.  In a flash they will be gone.  So hold your rainbow today.  Just like real rainbows in the sky, our children are gone in a flash so look while they are there.

Have a great day!  Thanks for reading my blog.  And don't forget to grab a rainbow today.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

In Sickness and In Health

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. 

When we marry, we may take our vows very seriously, I know I did, but do we really think about what that may mean?  Taking care of your military husband who is now legless due to a roadside bomb?  Caring for your wife as she dies of cancer?  Living in poverty?  Having more money than you know what to do with and the problems that can come from that?  Dealing with a child with a learning disability?  Day to day taxing work of taking care of a special needs child?  Do we really consider these scenarios as we say these vows in our wedding?  I am suggesting that we don't truly consider the magnitude of what may be coming our way down the road.  

When we marry we have dreams.  Dreams to have children, to travel, to retire with enough money to enjoy life and our elder years.  Sometimes life throws us a curveball.  Sometimes we have to readjust our plans for better or worse.  

I come from a long line of love.  I realize how unusual my life is and I thank God daily that I live in the somewhat of a utopia that I live in.  Both sets of our parents(my husband and mine) have been married a total of over 100 years.  Our sibling is happily married and so is our sister in law's parents.  Even my children realize that this much love in one family is unusual since many of their friends come from broken homes.  We have great family all the way around.  Today I would like to focus on one part of the family and the love that they share.

My husband's parents are wonderful, God fearing people.  They, like most, took their vows and made their plans and dreams.  From the time I came on the scene in 1989, I have heard them discuss their plans for retirement and plans to travel and enjoy their life together.  Their plans never did really pan out the way they planned.  From the time of their retirement, my mother in law had health problems that prevented them from really taking any trips or doing anything outside of ordinary life.  Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.  Although the Alzheimer's was not the cause of the lack of ability to travel early on, it is our life now.  She went to the hospital last November 2013 with chest pains.  She walked into the hospital of her own free will and abilities and yet, she never returned home.  This hospital stay gave my father in law the poetic license to really be honest about the fact that he no longer could care for her they way that he wanted to.  He needed help.  She went to assisted living from the hospital and is now in a skilled nursing facility.  She is quite happy in spite of the fact that we can't really recall the last coherent thing she said or the last time she actually knew who we were.  Many people are in this situation and I would like to address the topic of the caregiver.  It is harder on the caregiver than the patient.  Enter, my father in law.  I love him.  

I love him for the example that he shows us daily of taking care of your spouse in sickness and in health.  For being with them even when they have no idea who you are after 55 years of marriage.  For talking to them in spite of the fact that she doesn't have any recollection of their life together.  When she lived in assisted living, he stayed with her around the clock.  He made sure she had what she needed and that the nurses were taking care of her they way he would.  He sacrificed everything because this was the life that they were dealt.  While some were traveling and seeing the world during their retirement, they were in an assisted living facility going through photo albums to try to jog some memory of a life well lived.  My father in law took care of them financially and now in addition to that, he takes care of his wife physically.  Now that she is in a skilled nursing facility, she has to be fed.  He feeds her three meals a day.  He wipes her mouth.  He adjusts her bed.  He combs her hair.  He strokes her hand.  He adjusts her clothes.  He loves her.  And I love him for it.  What an amazing example he is to all of us.  Tirelessly, he cares for her, sacrificing his time and energy to care for her.  Yes, the nurses could feed her but he wants to.  In sickness and in health.  In memory and not.  I know it makes him sad if he were to think long about the fact that although she may call his name, she doesn't know him or their life together.  But he continues to serve.  Serving God through his vows.  I see what he does.  I respect him for his devotion and example.  I love him.  I love him for showing us what true love really is.  What sacrifice means.  What devotion looks like.  In our home, we don't have to watch the movie The Notebook.  We live it.  
                                 Image result for image of caregiver
                                                 (stock photo)
May we all be cognizant of the caregivers and their tireless efforts to care for their spouses and families.  Diagnoses are not just for the patient, the entire family is diagnosed and affected.  Do something nice for a caregiver in your circle today.  Send them a note of appreciation.  Let them know that you see what they do.  I know it will give them strength for another day.

Hug a caregiver today!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seize the Moment

I find that when I talk with young people, teens, children, young adults, they are always looking forward to something.  Looking forward to the next grade, middle school, high school, getting into a bigger car seat, booster, getting married, being able to get a phone, having a baby, when the kids are out of the house, etc.  Always looking forward to something, having their life ahead of them.  I have the honor of being around many elderly people also and when I speak with them, they are always looking back to times past.  Their childhood, their early years of marriage, their kids being little, etc.

What have we lost somewhere in the middle?  As a person who is rapidly considered middle aged, I wonder what we can learn from talking to both young people and old people.  I believe we can glean many things from both perspectives and be better people for considering the options.  We can learn contentment in the current state we are in.  Young people looking forward, old people looking back, possibly we all need to be living in the present more often than in the future or past.  From surveying young and old, we find no one embracing the moment.  Maybe the moment is the secret to life.  One day at a time.  For mistakes of the past, remember it was what you wanted at the time and learn from bad decisions and good decisions alike.  Your decisions are what has molded you into the person of today.  

Yesterday I ran the Murfreesboro Half Marathon.  Somewhere around mile 9 I ended up beside a man and we struck up a conversation as we ran.  He said, "Every street we run on reminds me of the past mistakes I made while I was in college." We were running around Middle Tennessee State University which is where this man graduated from.  We discussed how those memories are what made him into the man he is today.  He is happily married with children and has a nice life it seemed.  Contentment is something that is not easily achieved here in our society as it exists these days.  Bigger better more expensive seems to be our philosophy.  

My husband and I were just discussing how content we are with life the way it is at this moment.  We live an ordinary life, finding joy in the little things.  Our kids are not over involved in things, we are not running all over creation to provide taxi service,  our weekends are uneventful filled with things we want to do and not things we have to do.  It is a good life.  A content life.  

I think many times in our younger years up until elderly years, we live in a whirlwind, feeling like we need to keep up with other people who are vacationing here or going there or their kids do this or that.  With the addition of social media to our lives, we are more aware of what others are doing and it only makes it worse on some people feeling like they must be inadequate if their kids aren't in karate or they are missing out if their kids aren't in dance.  Some feel less important if they are "late" getting married when their friends are all getting married.  Then suddenly, we are married, have kids, the kids grew up, we are retired, then we are elderly and all we have are memories.  If you are young and reading this you may not understand.  What I am saying is we constantly look forward to the next phase of life and all of a sudden we are elderly.  Life is but a vapor.  Here and gone in a breath.  Let us learn from the elderly that we should embrace the current phase of life and not worry about the next phase for in a snap it will all be gone.

Carpe Diem.  Seize the Day.  Grab life by the horns and love it.  Love every little thing along the way.  I recently read a book that interviewed hospice patients about what was their definition of the meaning of life.  Their answers were all the same whether they were children dying of cancer or elderly people who were gravely ill-family and friends were most important.  No one said they wished they worked extra days or more overtime, none said they wished they had more money.  What they all wanted was to spend every moment with their friends and family while they were still here.  Content.  Living in the moment.  Embracing the present.  

May we all live in the present.  For before we know it, all we will have is the past.  

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Thursday, October 9, 2014


I love frosting. In fact, I could do without the cake and just eat the frosting. The sweeter the better. Frosting goes on last when making a cake. It is the best part, the sweetest, it is the part that completes the cake and makes it pretty. My youngest daughter is our Frosting. She is the sweetest, the part that completes our family, and the part that makes us pretty. 

Tomorrow is Frosting's birthday. Today we made her cake together. She asked me how I learned to decorate cakes and I told her that her Nannie taught me. I told her that Nannie made my birthday cakes and when I grew up she gave me her bag of cake decorating stuff and now I am making our birthday cakes. Frosting was dazzled and said we had been making cakes for generations :) Yes, Precious, we have. Then she said she would be able to make cakes for her children one day with the bag of stuff handed down. 

When we were discussing which decorating tip makes what shape for a cake, it was pointed out by Frosting that most of the tips don't look like what they are intended to produce when frosting is squirted through them. We are like God's decorating tips. We are walking around here on earth looking like one thing when we were made to make another when God squirts His frosting through us. Do we lay dormant in the bag because we don't know what we make?  Or do we take a leap of faith and realize that if we allow God to make us uncomfortable and squeeze His frosting through us that we will make beautiful things in His time and His plan. 

Happy Birthday Frosting!  You are my sweet!  The Icing on our family cake!

Thank you so much for reading my blog! Don't forget to hire me to speak at your next event!  I would love to be there!