Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sacred Ground…

Today was the day. I didn’t think it would come this soon.  I was getting ready for work when a call came through from the nurse that helped me deliver Madison.  She called to let me know that the room was available if there was any way that I could come to the hospital right then.  Thankfully I have a flexible job and I was able to get my things together and head right for the hospital.  I first called my husband to let him know that I could wait until Friday and he would be able to come with me…but our nurse would not be able to be there with us.  Or, I could go today by myself and she would be there.  He thought it was really important that I get to see her, so I went alone.  I could not hold back the tears and my heart raced with fear.

I met Debbie just outside the elevators on the second floor and we walked to the Labor & Delivery unit.  She asked if the spur of the moment was better than having too much time to think about it and I agreed.   We chatted small talk as we walked slowly toward room 225.  I just walked in…I have only stood outside that room since the day I left the hospital empty handed, without my baby girl.  Just a small green memory box in my hands…I wanted to throw that box.  That room has been a source of fear for me all these years…the subject of countless recurring nightmares, and the cause of some very difficult emotional and mental problems that led to deeper psychiatric problems.  Without going into detail, I didn’t even think of returning to that room EVER until her 16th birthday.  The timing has just not been right until now.

Until today…I walked in and set my things on the counter.  I turned and faced the bed and swiftly dissolved into tears.  This room…the very place where I lost my biggest dream, my biggest hope, where the very worst day of my life occurred. It was surreal to be there again.  I sobbed and could hardly catch my breath.  The door was closed and Debbie stood nearby in silence.  Then I just started talking.  We shared memories back and forth for the next 30 minutes.  I pointed around the room to various spots and remarked about what happened there.  The corner where they took her to weigh, bathe, and dress her.  The window spot where my Daddy carefully carried his 9th grandchild to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to her like he did every other grandchild.  The bathroom where I stood in the shower the morning of her birth, sobbing and staring at a very pregnant belly that now held a dead child.  The bed…that I was confined to most of my time there because of the meds taken to relieve the pain of back labor, and the pain of the damage to my body afterwards.  A chair in the same spot where I woke to find Debbie praying for me when everyone had left the room for a lunch break.

After our time of talking I asked if I could take some pictures.  Debbie said she would leave me alone to do that, and she left and closed the door.  There I was…left to face my biggest fear…alone.  I covered every inch of that room with my camera.  What memories are not forever etched on my mind, I will be able to see in pictures.  There have been changes…but it’s the same place.  The only place my sweet girl touched.  The place where I got to hold her and love on her for a few glorious hours.  I wept and laid my hands on the end of the bed…that spot where we laid her to undress her to her diaper and prepare her to leave us.  We counted toes and fingers, planted enough kisses to last a lifetime (is that even possible?), wrapped her in a new blanket and watched in utter despair and heartache as she was wheeled out of our room and we got our last glimpse of her.

When I was done taking pictures, Debbie came back in and one of the aids took a picture of us together.  It is the one I will share with you.  This angel of mercy who cared for me and prayed over me in my time of need.  This sister in Christ who didn’t normally work afternoons, and “just happened to be there” that day. This sweet lady who remembers that day like it was yesterday…just like I do.  This one who made this incredible visit possible for me.

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Before we left the room, we both laid our hands on the end of the bed, and Debbie prayed over me again.  We made our way down the hall and visited the room where we got the news that our dear little girl had died.  I did not need to stay there long.  That room was somewhat “redeemed” to me when our little niece Athena was born there almost to the day eleven years after that horrible night. On our way back through Labor & Delivery I stopped to take a picture of the room number.

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Then Debbie walked me down to the front entrance of the hospital, we shared one last hug, and I left.

I walked on sacred ground today.  A very special little girl darted in and out of our lives in that room and I will never forget.  We celebrate her and remember her pretty much alone these days…as a family.  There is no mention of her or remembrance of her to us by either side of our extended families.  It has hurt me deeply for years, but I am ready to let that go.  We are happy to have her all to ourselves and celebrate her life the way we want to.  I have a dear friend that makes jewelry and she made me a special pair of peridot earrings (August birthstone) to honor this year that Madison would have graduated, and her 18th birthday.  I put them on this morning before I even got the call to go to the hospital.  God knew…

I am so blessed to have had this opportunity today, and I’m so grateful to Debbie for making it possible for me.  It is not a scary place to me anymore.  I don’t think I’ll have those dreams anymore.  Today the sunbeams were shining through the windows, and it was a place of peace for this Mama.  It was a time for remembering the beautiful moments of that day and how God worked it all out for our good.  I’m so grateful…

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Winds of Change Are Blowing…

Here it is nearly the end of summer and I have not posted! It’s been a busy summer.  There is a lot of change going on in our household.  Some of it has been tough…that refining type of change I mentioned in a post some months ago.  God continuously works on our hearts weeding out those things that don’t belong in our lives.  We have watched circumstances in our lives change all around us.  My job at church has changed, my husband’s job has changed, relationships have changed…and sometimes those changes are the hardest to take.  I’m not personally a fan of change…I like my little routine and I like to stick to it.  God has shown us this year that some change is good no matter how painful it is.  Often we don’t see that until much later and are able to look back on the ways God has worked for our good.

Here we are three weeks from the start of school.  That is one area in which there will hopefully be no change this year.  The kids will be part of the virtual online academy again.  They enjoyed it last year and did really well.  I liked being less hands on though I was still right here with them as they did their studies.  I just didn’t feel equipped to take on high school being the principle teacher, so this has been a very good experience for us.  The kids had a phenomenal mentor teacher, and really great content teachers as well.  I especially adored the English teachers.  It was a joy for me to watch them make writers out of my Lovies.  There was some pretty amazing writing going on in this household this past year. I was so proud because I did not emphasize that particular skill while I was teaching the kids…I concentrated more on their actual handwriting and making sure they kept up the penmanship as they both have beautiful penmanship. So I was glad to see them embrace the writing assignments this year, though difficult, and do really well on them.  Both children got 100% on their final writing projects which count as their final exams.  I was a pretty proud Mama.

Probably the biggest change coming up for us is going to be a dietary change.  I’ve been researching wheat and its effects on our diet and our health.  I have several health issues including diabetes and high blood pressure.  For quite some time I have had full body joint pain and headaches.  As I researched wheat and read testimonials of people who have eliminated it from their diets, people just like me were testifying that the same symptoms I’m struggling with were disappearing within weeks of eliminating wheat from their diets.  Some lost high numbers in pounds, others went off all medications pertaining to diabetes and high blood pressure.  Well…that was enough for me to really want to go for it.  I’m tired of not having energy and feeling crummy most of the time.  And I HATE doing insulin shots…four a day people! I also have to stick my fingers four times a day to check my blood sugar.  I’d do almost anything not to have to do that anymore! My mom gave me a copy of the book “Wheat Belly” and I’m furiously reading it and getting ready to purge my house of all things wheat.  I’ve already collected some recipes, and I’m looking forward to planning my first menu and doing our first wheat free grocery shop! I’m hoping this blog will evolve into one where I can share some great new recipes and meal plans and how the elimination of wheat (possibly dairy and sugar as well) are going for our family.  We’re all on board and excited to get started.

As always, August is a tough month for me.  This one has been more difficult than past years as this one holds a couple big milestones for us.  Madison would have graduated with the class of 2014, and she would have turned 18.  To honor those milestones we took some special photos in the cemetery.  We borrowed a friend’s lovely white cap/gown to do our special photo shoot, and it was just between my husband and me.  I will make copies to hang in our home…but it was really just for my Mama’s heart and the fact that I’ll never have a senior picture of her to hang here.  It was a very emotional time for me, but we were able to capture exactly what I wanted and I’m very pleased with the results.  I’ll share one with you…I could not keep my composure, so the emotion is written all over my face, but I love this shot and how the sun was shining on the beautiful gown hanging in her tree. I nearly fell to my knees when my husband hung it there because it was just so extraordinarily beautiful. Here it is…

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Ok…one more…this is the beautiful blanket she was wrapped in when she was born.  The hospital let us keep anything that touched her, so this is one of my most precious possessions…

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I have recently been in contact with one of the nurses that was with me when I delivered Madison.  She is arranging for me to go visit the room where I had her.  I’ve never been back and I’m certain it will be an emotional visit, but I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be in that room where I met her and held her for the most precious hours of my life.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hopefully I’ll have time to post more often as our family gets back into a routine soon, and life is lived out in our home for the glory of God!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

End of School Year and Another Mini Trip

My Lovies are finishing up their coursework this weekend, and are preparing to take finals next week. After that, summer break will be upon us. I’m hoping to have more time to blog over the summer, and more time to take pictures with my new camera.  I got a Canon Rebel for Christmas, and so far taking pictures with it has been really fun!

My nephew got married last weekend, so we got to spend some time on Lake Michigan, one of our favorite places on earth.  I will NEVER need an ocean.  I’d take Lake Michigan over the ocean any day.  There is just something about it…it’s so special to us. We were able to take a walk on the beach, stick our feet in the water, walk on a pier with a light house, watch the boats come in off of the lake, and experience our first sunburn of 2014. Smile  It was a great weekend, and we got some nice pictures.  I’ll share them with you…

My three Loves outside of our hotel…

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My Lovies at the boat marina that was next to our hotel…

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My Love at the marina…

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Me at the marina…I loved the white adirondack chairs!

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My Love and I at the marina…

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        My Lovies on the beach…       

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A walk on the pier to the lighthouse. You can see Morgan in the dark outfit at the back of the group…

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Sticking our feet in the water…super cold!

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So….after this coming week I will officially have a junior and sophomore in high school! Time is going way too quickly.  The kids are growing up way too fast.  I love these moments we get to spend together in places we love.  There is no one on earth I’d rather spend time with than these three people God has given to me to live life with!

I’ll be back soon to post our summer shenanigans!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring Has Sprung…

I don’t know about you, but I was SO ready for spring this year.  We had one of the worst winters imaginable, and it seemed to go on FOREVER. Finally spring seems to be here.  Soon my lilacs will be blooming, the lawns will need to be cut again, and warmer weather will be here.  I can’t wait!

Life gets a bit busy in the spring.  The kids are in the final weeks of school and are preparing final papers and getting ready to take final exams.  This will be the first year in a LONG time that we get to take a whole summer vacation.  Since the kids are participating in the virtual academy this year, I don’t have to catch up on anything over the summer! WOOHOO! They have gotten great grades this year and have worked hard.  It took some getting used to for me to just be a supervisor, but I was still able to weigh in on some brainstorming for essays and helping with subjects that were difficult.  I actually wish we had done this sooner.  I love that I can still have the kids home, but I’m grateful that the burden of teaching is off of me. Smile

A few weeks ago we went on a mini spring break to one of our favorite places on earth.  While we were there we broke out our new camera and took a little family photo shoot.  We got some fun shots, and I thought I’d share them here.  Morgan took a couple with her camera as well.  She took a photography class this year, and really enjoyed it.  She is becoming quite the little photographer!

Let’s look at some pictures! My darling Lovies!

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My man and his silly kids in the background…

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My Love and I strolling along the river (Morgan took these!) Her photo shoots always include a kissing shot, and she says things like, “That’s great! Keep it going! How about another one!” So funny…

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Another shot of my precious children…

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One of my favorites….I love him!

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A pretty pine cone…

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My Lovies again…

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And a family shot taken on Morgan’s camera with the timer…Parker is leaning over.  He is really over 6’ tall now, and has passed his dad up!

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One more of my Love and I…

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Lots going on in the next few weeks, so hopefully I’ll get a chance soon to post! Hope you all have a wonderful spring/summer!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Date Day??

We’ve never really been fans of “Date Night.”  We’re usually tired in the evenings, and don’t feel like standing in lines for dinner.  I’ve never been one of those moms that felt like I needed a break from my kids…I LOVE being with them. Sincerely. We have pretty much included the kids when we’ve gone out, except on our anniversary celebrations.  We just love spending time together all four of us. 

Andy and I talked this week about the concept of a breakfast date, as we would both really prefer that.  I LOVE breakfast, so does he, and we are rested and refreshed that time of day.  It would most likely occur on a weekend, so neither of us will have to work that day.  We talked to the kids also about feeling like we need a date time especially for us more regularly.  It would not be to get away from them or take a break from them, rather to just have the private time to talk through anything we need to, and just be together as a couple.

We decided to start today! I had to drive Andy to his office to prepare some things for a trip next week.  Afterwards we decided to find a place for “brunch.”  There was a place a few minutes away that we had heard about.  We had tried to go there another time, but it was closed.  The restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch, so they close early.  Today they were open.  When we walked in, I was surprised to see white tablecloths on the tables, and it being a bit more “fancy” than I expected.  We made our menu choices and waited for our meals to come.  While we waited, I had a cup of the BEST coffee. Yum!

I ordered Seafood Eggs Benedict, and this is how it was presented!

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It was served with salmon, spuds, and a side of cinnamon apple sauce.  It was so delicious.  The eggs were poached perfectly, the salmon was moist and yummy, and the hollandaise was so good!

Andy had a dish called “The Bandito”, and this is how his was presented…

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It had chorizo sausage, salsa, spuds, chives, cheese, and green chili peppers in it, with two sunny side up eggs on top.  It was also served with an order of rye toast.  Andy had a small glass of citrus peach juice!

We loved our breakfast date, and plan on doing this one Saturday every month, maybe more if we can swing it.  We have a couple suggestions from friends/family for other great breakfast spots.  I’ll let you know if we find any other good places!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Very Scary Night…

My husband was on his way home from a business trip last night. He called just as I was getting myself ready for bed.  My daughter answered the phone, and when she brought the phone to me, she simply told me that Daddy needed to talk to me. I knew right away something was wrong.  His voice sounded agitated and scared. He proceeded to tell me that he drove into a white out (sudden flurry of snow that makes visibility impossible), lost control of his car, and rolled into the median of the highway….Panic ensued.

“When you say roll, do you mean you actually rolled the car?” The answer was yes. By this time I was screaming, wondering if he was ok, where he was, if police had been called, and how I could get to him.

When he hit the white out he could not see the road.  He drifted onto the rumble strip that signifies you are going onto the shoulder of the freeway.  He jerked the wheel back to the left causing his car to spin out of control  He crossed three lanes of freeway, narrowly missed a guardrail, and then rolled over into the median.  He couldn’t tell if he had rolled into oncoming traffic, so he began to panic.  Within seconds, a trucker who was going the opposite way on the freeway and witnessed the accident, banged on his window asking if he was ok.  When Andy said he thought he was ok, the guy busted the right passenger window out, and Andy had to crawl between the front seats on the roof of the car and out the window. 

The kids and I jumped in the van and took off for the accident site.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken the kids with me.  I knew Andy was out of the car and safe, but coming up on the accident scene was one of the most horrific things I have ever experienced.  I could see the silhouette of his car in the oncoming headlights, and all four wheels were straight up in the air.  I FREAKED, and my poor girl got hysterical.  I couldn’t believe he survived this. Thank the Lord he was wearing his seatbelt.

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EMS had come, but Andy thought he was ok, so declined an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital.  Given his recent health history, I was having none of that, so I drove him straight to the hospital once we had taken care of the car details.  He was put in a spinal collar right away.  They were not amused, given his history, that he was not brought by ambulance. They did an immediate chest x-ray because his airbag didn’t deploy.  He had a CT scan and other tests and everything came out fine.  He had some wounds they needed to clean up, but I was able to bring him home very early this morning.

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This afternoon the trauma has hit all of us. What a scary night.  Tears have been shed, gratitude has been expressed to God for sparing his life once again, and we are very grateful to still be together the four of us.

We were told this afternoon that the car will probably be totaled. We’ll go take a look at it tomorrow and get all of Andy’s things out of it.  I’m very sad, as he LOVED that car.  But I love his life more, and I’m so glad he’s still with me.

Please pray for Andy as he deals with this trauma, experiences the impact pain, and is now dealing with a nasty sinus infection on top of it all. 

I can handle a sinus infection…so grateful I’m not planning his funeral…

I’ve shared this all on Facebook, but thought there might be those here that aren’t on my friends list there, and might want to know what has happened.  So I thought I’d share it here as well.  I’ll keep you posted on how he’s doing, and what happens with his car…

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Getting Out The Pretties…

I went to a tea party last night.  I haven’t been to a tea party in AGES.  It was great fun! It was to welcome a darling girl from the Ukraine to her new family here in the states.  A bunch of us brought our beloved teacup sets and all had a lovely tea party together.  The young lady was even given her own teacup and saucer to start her collection.

I have a collection of nearly 40 teacup sets. Both of my grandmothers had “teacup showers” when they got married, so when they passed away my sisters and I inherited their teacup sets. Two of my sisters didn’t want theirs, so I took their share too.  I LOVE these teacups.  They are so beautiful.  In cleaning up after this party, I even found my grandma’s initials written on tape on the bottom of one of the cups we didn’t use.  I thought that was so cool!

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Here are a few of the sets that I inherited…

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When I got home from the tea party, I was SO sad to put these all away again.  I have started storing them in a beautiful teacart that we inherited from Andy’s Grandma, but there is a cupboard on it and no windows for display. I really want to be able to see them.  So I decided to display three teacup sets at a time on top of the teacart.  Only two of these current sets belonged to my Grandmothers. The pink set closest to the camera came from the hospital gift shop where my dad had his heart valve replaced.  It is the only one I have purchased myself. The cup and saucer are both in the shape of a heart, and when you pour your tea it is heart shaped also.  I saw it in the window and HAD to have it.  I bought a lighter pink version for a friend who is very dear to my heart. Get it?

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Closer shot of the pink heart set and inside the cup…so pretty!

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When it came time to put the teacups away today, I decided to make a change.  I moved all of the Christmas dishes out of my china cabinet, and into the cupboard on the tea cart that used to hold the teacup sets. I only use them one season out of the year, and don’t really need to display them.  Now all of my teacup sets (besides the three on top of the tea cart) are on the bottom shelf of my china cabinet, and I can see them EVERY time I walk by.  With the Christmas dishes moved to the tea cart, I also had room to spread out my wedding china collection. As I was doing that I realized that I just don’t use my china enough.

When I was young and we were attending a bridal shower, my favorite thing was to look at the bride’s registry and see what china pattern she had picked out.  I even picked out a pattern when I was in my late teens for my “hope chest.” I didn’t end up getting married until my late twenties, so the original pattern I had picked out was discontinued.  It was fine, because the pattern I ended up picking is SO much more beautiful, and is named after a place that is very dear to my heart. I thought that was much more fitting. I couldn’t wait to register for china, and was SO SURPRISED when I got every piece I registered for, and then some.  I ended up returning several place settings and still ended up with 13! It was crazy.  I got the lovely tea/coffee pot and several serving dishes in my pattern as well.

As I said I just don’t use my china enough.  I’ve decided to change that. Once a month I’m going to cook a special meal, and I’m going to serve it with a nice tablecloth, candles, and my good china.  I think it will make some beautiful memories for the kids, and will make Morgan want to have some china of her own someday. I hope so….

The top shelf of my china cabinet (matches the tea cart and was also inherited from Andy’s Grandma) hold my good crystal goblets,  the coffee/tea pot and my china tea cups…Our German wedding cup is also there. Isn’t the pattern so pretty? It’s called “Ontario.” I love the shape of the teacups as well.

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The middle shelf holds all of my plates, serving dishes, cream/sugar dishes, salt/pepper, and two gravy boats I received…

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And now the bottom shelf holds all of my beloved teacup sets. I just can’t stop walking by and looking at them.  I can’t wait to have some friends over for tea sometime. Smile I only had to stack a few cups, otherwise they were all able to fit on one level.  The plates are all stacked at the other end of the shelf. 

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I am so excited about this change today! I don’t know about you, but every time I rearrange like this, I feel like I have something new.  I found a few things I don’t need/want anymore, and that will all be going out in the next purge. So it was a good change in many ways….the main way being I can see my teacup collection any time I walk into my living room now. Smile The second way is that I’ve remembered how much my china means to me and I want to use it more.  I’ll post pictures the first time we have a fancy dinner!