Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life, Death, and Other Antonyms

Faith. Doubt.
Helpful. Helpless.
Past. Present.
Is. Was.
Unreal. Too real.
Having all the right answers. Having no answers at all.

These are all the things we've experienced this week as my brother-in-law, Jay, died tragically on Sunday. I have begged God to go before us and been unable to pray at all. I have had faith that God is with us and doubted Him all the same. I have seen such helpfulness in the midst of helplessness. I have said was instead of is. I have wished for the past instead of the present. I have known that even though this is unreal, it is all too real. And I have known all the right answers, but really have had none at all.

I have watched my sister-in-law lose her best friend and my nieces lose their father. I have seen grown men and women reduced to sobs and I've seen expressions of tenderness from people who never struck me as tender. I have watched preachers cry and admit that it is okay to ask God why. And even though I have spent my last few days finding clothes for a funeral, ordering flowers and saying goodbye, I have yet to believe that Jay is really gone.

To know Jay was to love him. He was infectiously funny, caring and talented. He loved God and his family and his heart was at least as big as he was. Jay was one of the most talented singers I've ever heard, and as a music minister could put together some of the best productions I've ever seen churches do. It struck me the day after he died that not only had we lost our loved one, but that the world lost talent I cannot describe. His former pastor pointed out that Jay could pull off big musical productions in his church that took countless people and hours, because people wanted to be around Jay so they would do what he was doing. Pretty neat way to remember somebody, I thought.

Please pray for us. I know God works ALL things for his good, but right now all is a hard word to stomach. I know God knew this was coming and is not shaken to his core the way we are. I know God will never leave us nor forsake us. I know my sweet family will learn to laugh again. I know that love for each other will see them through. I know more good times will come. I know these things because God said them and I'm going to believe them. But it's hard all the same...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've Waited Years for This

Friday morning at some point before sunrise(ish), I realized Allie was in the bed with us, BETWEEN us. The between us part is not that significant considering anytime anyone has crawled in the bed, it has been between us. What was significant, was that I could remember how she got there. I was only slightly puzzled and certainly not bothered enough to lose my last few minutes of sleep worrying about it. When I woke her to get ready for school, I told her that I didn't remember her coming to our bed. She said, "That's because I went in Daddy's di-wection" (she can't say her r's). I think in ten years of being a mother, no one has ever gone "in Daddy's direction." When we moved 2 1/2 years ago, I threatened to sleep on the opposite side of the bed, just to see if they'd walk all the way around to get me. Then I realized that I knew the answer to that and better not upset the laws of nature by sleeping on the wrong side of the bed when I've slept on the right side for all these years. I know every mom has her stories about kids waking her instead of their dad, so here's some encouragement - once a decade they might go in his direction!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

At long last

I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a month. There is, however, good reason. My computer was stolen. Ok, stolen is not the word I'm looking for - more like hijacked. The suspects are 10,7, and 4 and have been known to disguise themselves like this. Don't let the cuteness of the sock hop girl fool ya. She was in on it too.

We have been on Spring Break for 3 1/2 wonderful weeks. Not many people can say that, but we get that luxury thanks to their year round school. It was fun, relaxing, and a great time together. The weather was PERFECT! Not one day was it too cold to play outside. Usually we make a trip to visit family during our breaks, but this time we stayed home. I thought it would make our break seem long and boring, but it really was nice. I took a thousand pictures, but I'll just a share a small portion of them.

For starters, the older two both had friends spend the night, and they really enjoyed that. I have to admit having sleepovers is not my favorite thing to do. I am a little bit selfish there. I figure during the school week they spend more time with their friends than with me, so when they're not in school, I like to spend time with them. But I have to put aside that about once a break and endure. I know...I'm quite the party pooper. Allie's friend joined us the next day, so she wasn't left out. We went McDonald's and let them play along with the younger two and my friend and her two. Yep, eight kids, two adults - we got some strange looks.

Hannah and her friend - a self portrait!

Corey and his bud on the trampoline. While it looks like they are jumping, they were actually doing karate they'd learned at school. Go figure.

Allie and her friend did a puppet show. So cute!

Jon Tyler tackled the park!

We also did the park, a shopping day, a visit from Grandmommmy, bike riding and LOTS of trampoline jumping. Corey learned to ride his bike after much threatening persuasion. That was very exciting accomplishment because even though we took off his training wheels last fall, he had no interest in riding. zero, zilch. I kept telling him how much he'd enjoy it if he could ride without training wheels. Now I can't keep him off of it.

Riding off into the sunset.

There was also the spring consignment sale mixed in there which took a few days of my time, but it was much less painful that this last one. There is just something refreshing about spring clothing and the fact that it takes up WAY less space in the drawers and closets, not to mention the laundry hamper. And miraculously this year it did not freeze after I got all the winter stuff put away.

Of course there was Easter egg hunts, egg dyeing and Easter baskets.

I celebrated another birthday and had a great time with my family. Donnie asked me what I wanted for my birthday and rather than name something just to say I did, I decided I wanted shrubs for my yard. Last year we pulled up these hideously large holly bushed that had been there forever, or at least as long as we've owned this house and never replanted anything. We are about 75% done with that. Pics will follow, I promise because I have found out landscaping is not for wimps and I fully intend on showing off our hard work.

I think that having my computer hijacked was kinda nice. It gave me time with my kids to enjoy this beautiful break - when I could pry them away from Club Penguin and, of all things, ebay. (window shopping, of course) Now they are back in school, but we are dreaming of carefree summer days in the not too distant (42 school days to be exact) future.