Friday, November 20, 2009

My Dear Jamie

When I say, BEST FRIEND, who comes to your mind? If you are like me, you run through life and think of the many, many best friends you are surrounded by. Someone that I work for once said, "Oh that's your other 5th best friend." I have so many wonderful women in my life whose friendship I adore and treasure.

However, if I say, "CHILDOOD BEST FRIEND," I bet only one name pops into your mind. My childhood best friend, high school partner in crime, and maid of honor in my wedding was Jamie. She was the person that first caused milk to come out of my nose because I laughed so hard. She is the person that cried with me over my first broken heart, the person that sang off-key with me in my first car that had no radio, she was my friend when my mom first had cancer, she was my childhood best friend, and she is still the smartest person I have encountered on this earth.

When mom passed away this year she wrote pages of memories about her time at our house with mom. When important life events happen, we always reconnect and say we need to see more of each other, and then life moves forward and we lose touch again.

Well, today I am heading back to our hometown to be there as she buries her son, Jake. He was only able to grace this earth for a few short days. Why is it that life has to be so damn hard? Why is it that hurt cannot be spared from anyone? I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know that if it were not for friendship this world would be a lonely horrible place.

I ask anyone reading this blog to say a prayer for my sweet, sweet friend. She and her husband Tim are going to need extraordinary strength that can only come from the Lord to make it through these next few weeks, holidays, years and life.

I ached to see, hug and comfort my friend. I wish more than anything she could be spared from this grief. As another great friend of mine says, friendship helps multiply the love and divides the grief. I hope that is in someway true.

If I have learned anything through the many sorrows I have witnessed in my adult life, it is that we are never promised tomorrow. We must embrace the day, love those in our path, and live each day to glorify our Lord and Savior because everything else just doesn't matter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Reason To Smile

It's a BOY.

Twice today I received that news. My cousin, Shannon is going to have a boy. From what I understand his name will be Colin. HOW EXCITING! He is looking healthy and active, and Shannon told me via text that he was very active. He will be here in April, and our family needs a little added smile.

My one wish is that Mom could have been around to tell Aunt Vicki, "I told you so." Even Vicki was a little shocked by how crazy my parents became about their grandchildren. No two people have ever morphed into crazy loons like my parents morphed when I gave birth. However, I think when Shannon's little Colin arrives, we will see several people go insanely crazy with pampering and spoiling.

Second, I heard that Lindy gave birth to healthy Chase Ryan. My eyes filled with tears as I praised God for a wonderful delivery. My heart lept for joy as I cannot begin to imagine the incredible emotion that surrounded their family today. (One year ago, Lindy was on her honeymoon when she heard the news that she had lost her sister, niece[age 1] and nephew[age 3] to car accident -- they were hit by a drunk driver)

Life goes on. It is a hard reality. Yet, it also makes you treasure and choose more wisely. Today I am so grateful for the joy that is available if we just open up enough to enjoy it.

I cannot wait to meet Colin. I will have to take my mom's role in spoiling. Hmmmm, hard task, I think not!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Advent Calendar

Today was a fun day. It started with Nate buying a circular saw and helping the boys build a make-shift fort for their nerf gun wars. It continued with both boys playing outside all afternoon since it was an unseasonably beautiful day, and in the meantime Nate squeezed in one of the last rounds of golf of the year.

After working, I decided it would probably be the best day to get a lot of Christmas decorating done. Carder helped me unpack many of the knick-knacks, wreaths, lights and garland. As I placed mom's picture with some sentimental items around it, Carder said, "You can't put that there, where will we put our thing with all the drawers and prizes?"

He was referring to our advent calendar. Every year, mom lovingly fills the boxes with toys, money, etc. Also each year at Thanksgiving she delivers it quietly to me without the boys knowing. As I looked at those sweet little eyes, my eyes filled with tears.

There are just so many things that I took for granted. So many memories that I cherish and yet to think of creating new memories without her causes unbelievable anguish. It will be a new type of Christmas. Each day as the boys open those drawers it will remind me of her smile.

My promise to mom was that I would live a great life. Some of the last words that I whispered to her, "I will be happy, I promise." As we enter the Holiday season my promise seems very hard to keep, and yet it is that very promise that causes me to embrace each day, memory and new tradition with joy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Weekend Of Fun

Carder, Seth, Kaden, Ella, Drew, Riley and Whittaker!
Whew! What a GREAT group of kids, and fun for our
Ferguson Thanksgiving!

Cousins Carder and Ella are excited for Whittaker's dedication!

Kaden and Seth....hmmm...Who is the bigger boy?

Ferguson Family Bingo.....Drew WINS!

Grandpa Charlie and Drew

Grandma Missy and Whittaker

It was definitely a fun-filled, relaxing weekend. The kids have us hopping, and they are sweet, sweet, sweet. Puzzles, bingo, soccer, s'mores, turkey, church, chili, sunshine................LIFE IS FULL OF BLESSINGS!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shocking Wave

Today is one of those shocking wave days. Living life, working, talking, texting--Then it hits. That shocking wave of grief that comes like a mountain crashing on your chest. It isn't a choice whether or not to feel it. The choice comes in how you handle the wave.

I could hold my breath and wait for it to pass. Pretend that the wave was a rarity that won't occur again in regular intervals.

I could try to ignore it and continue on like life is normal. Of course that would be like being in the ocean and opening my mouth and refusing to swim as the wave hit. Ignoring a wave of grief could just as easily kill my spirit.

Sometimes in grief, just when you think you have a handle on somethings, a big wave comes through. Today I REALLY miss mom. I want to talk to her about everything. I want to discuss my business, my marriage, my kids, my turkey dinner, my LIFE. I wish we could just have one more really long talk. She was my core of strength, and my very best friend.

Instead, I have to learn to tread water as this wave comes. It does not mean I do not experience joy or stop living. But it does mean, that I have to take the time to remember, cry and grieve. I have learned to embrace the shocking waves, because another is coming as sure as the sun rises in the east.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Holiday of Gratefulness

I love November. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday all year long. I love it because it is about thanking God for our many blessings. It is a time to gather with family to reconnect and laugh and love.

I have so much to be thankful for, and so many reasons to celebrate this wonderful life.

It will be hard on our hearts this year. I am cooking a turkey for Nate's family this weekend. So many times I have wanted to call mom in the last few days just so that she could laugh at me trying to cook. I am determined to enjoy this holiday as that is what she would desire for me. Her love and her life is to precious to be the constant reason for tears.

As I prepare for our first guests of the season to arrive tonight I am really making every effort to be "in the mood" for celebrating life. Just like the title of this blog, "Choosing To Live A Great Life," every situation is a choice. I can choose to be sad and have difficult holidays, or I can choose to celebrate the blessings that are here and now. I'm not blind to the fact that there will be piercing memories and shocking waves of grief, but it is my choice to make those the rare moments rather than the entirity of the holiday.

So, with that, I am off to put away groceries, turn on the music and wait for my nieces, nephews and wonderful family to arrive.

Life is not fair, but God is SOOOOOOOO Good!