Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My family grieves...

Some families are born out of marriage... others are born out of remarriage after divorce... and yet others are born after death.  Our family happens to be a cross of the latter two.  I married a man who lost his wife to cancer.  They were together for many years, raised two boys to adulthood and had two young sons.  Since I never knew Micheel, I really cannot say much about her.  But, I'd like to share about the family she left behind.

Scott was a faithful husband to her.  He would have never left her or been unfaithful.  He cared for her very much.  Sometimes I am envious at their communication... Scott tells me that they talked and talked and talked... about everything.  I could learn from Micheel about that.  Some days I ask, "Scott, do you sometimes walk through the house and just miss Micheel?"  And he says yes.  It's so important for him to know that it is okay to miss her... to remember her. 

Chris is her oldest son who has missed his mom so much that I have seen heartbreak in his eyes.  He stayed by her side day and night for weeks on end, caring for all her needs.  He and Sonia have wished so much that they could share their son, Christopher with her.  There is still a whole in their lives and I pray for peace, as they continue to grieve.  I am proud of them.  They are wonderful parents.  I enjoy it when we get little chances to visit, knowing that it is difficult for them.

Corey is an amazing young man.  He is approaching his 21st birthday and is one of the most responsible guys I have ever met.  His mother's passing came as he was preparing for graduation.  I cannot imagine the empty pain he must have felt on graduation day, just weeks later.  And he moved forward, bravely.  He has worked full time and attended college full time, paying his own way.  I am amazed at this guy!  I love to hear him laugh.

Clayton and Cody are now 13 and 11.  On sunny summer days I ask, "What is a favorite summer memory with your mom?" They tell me with happy eyes about something special.  And sometimes at bedtime I get to hear another memory, but their eyes are not happy... they are sad... and they pause and think of her, tears on their cheeks.  We look at pictures and I hear a little bit more. 

I haven't been able to share memories of Micheel with other family members... but I know how much Micheel loved them, because I've found little things that she wrote and left behind.  She adored her niece, Taylor, wanted the best life possible for her and loved helping with Taylor's baby, Noah.  There are many friends she left behind at church.  Once in a while I get to talk with one of those friends and I hear how much they loved her. 

Each year I buy flowers for remembering Micheel.  I have the boys write a note to her.  The last couple of years those notes were attached to balloons and we let them go from the church, after praying together and thanking God for her.  I also take pictures so that the boys will have a yearly memoir of these times... to stay connected. 

When I married Scott, I did not take Micheel's place.  Another family began... a different family.  Not a better family... just a different one.  And to Micheel's boys, Scott, Chris, Corey, Clayton and Cody I say I love you and I am so sorry for your loss.  May God's peace fill your hearts.





Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering Desi

Once there was a young girl named Desirae Mooney. She went by Desi and was a vibrant person. Her parents and sisters loved her.... and she did not know her Aunt Betty. She might have known that her dad had a sister named Betty and that Aunt Betty lived far away with a lot of children, but didn't stay in close contact with her extended family. But, honestly, I doubt she ever thought of me. I didn't know her... she didn't know me.

And one day Desi's short life of 18 years came to a tragic end in a car crash.

I'll never forget the look on my brother's face. Painfully etched in my memory is him standing there, shaking his head, distraught. I'll never forget the feel of hugging him while he wept. Some memories we wish just wouldn't have happened. We'd rather not have that experience. I'll never forget seeing Desi's mom, Diana, eyes puffed and swollen from grief, holding her loved daughter's shirt in her arms.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of Desi's death.

Please pray for Dan, Diana, Denise and Dari as they grieve today.

And learn along with me a very important lesson. My niece, were she here, would not be able to say, "Aunt Betty taught me......" And that is tragic, too. How many of us don't stay in touch with loved ones out there? It would not have taken me long to write a note once in a while and send it to my niece. But, life was busy and I never did. Please don't do that. Take a moment and contact someone that hasn't heard from you lately. When I left the services held for my niece I promised myself that I would stay in contact with family.... even if means sending a card at holiday time or little goodies sent by mail. I want my nieces and nephews to know Aunt Betty. Who needs to know you?

On getting new clothes and finding treasures...

We've heard it many times. Our words are powerful. As mentioned in a previous post, while having a great time skating and hearing a favorite "teen" song begin to play, my face lit up and I announced to Scott and his son, Chris, "I told the kids that for Mother's Day this year I want to get gangster clothes, straighten my hair and do a video lip sincing to this song!" (Ima Be) Now, Chris laughed and said I should, that it would be "hecka funny". And Scott had an odd look on his face. He loves my curly hair, but I don't think it was the hair part that bothered him. I didn't know at the time if it was the gangster clothes or lip sincing to such a song as he'd never really listened to...
All I know now is, he went out and bought me a lovely, feminine spring outfit!!! I didn't ask about gangster clothes...


Yesterday while out running errands and waiting for Stephen to meet with his boss, I stopped in at a thrift store and found these:


Aren't they so happy looking? Shasta and Julie claimed them, so I am still looking for that special coffee cup for me. But, since it's a bit dreary with rain and chilly temps, I think I'll wash out Julie's cup from this morning and use it. It'll be just the thing to combat the dismal weather. Now, to find just the right lap blanket and a good book...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's been one of those days...

You know, those days where you are ready to reach for a glass of merlot and sink into a hot bath...

I woke up and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee...
helped prepare breakfast and pack lunches and make sure boys brushed their teeth...
headed out to take kids to school... dropped of two boys at middle school and two at the elementary school...
came home and started washing up some dishes, instructed Cody on some homeschooling, started a load of laundry and then ran Shasta to work.
After that I took Stephen to his classes and came home to do more homeschooling and prepare some art supplies for Joseph's project...
and then went to pick up Stephen.
When we got home we realized that it was a minimum day and Zoey was waiting for a pick up.
As soon as we got in and I swapped laundry loads, it was time to go get the young boys because they always get out early on Wednesdays... this makes it extra wonderful for those moms who love to keep getting in and out of a car.
We were now home and could relax a bit... yep... Joseph and I built a paper mache mountain range on top of a shoe box for his Alaska project. That was fun. I like art. It really was fun.
A couple of boys began to play chess. I worked on an email. Zoey asked if she could go to Barnes and Noble and Joseph wanted to meet friends at the school park, so we headed out and dropped them off. After swapping the laundry and getting a glass of water it was time to pick up Joseph. He is still too young to have longer "hang out at the park" days, so he played about 45 minutes and his friends were with him.
We got in from picking him up and decided to start the grill. Stephen is my go-to guy for grilling. He let me know that the briquets were locked up in the storage shed and Scott has the keys and is out of town today. SO, we got back into the mini-van and went to the store.
This is where is gets really fun.
We bought briquets. I DID ask Stephen if we needed lighter fluid. He said we had some at home.
We came home. Stephen tells me that the lighter fluid is locked up in the shed, too.
We drove back to the store and bought lighter fluid and matches... just in case we needed matches.
We got home and Stephen successfully started the grill. He came in, happily getting the brats and heading to the back yard. He opens the brats.
He puts them on the table at the patio.
He decides to come inside to get tongs.
AND the Jack Russell Terrier gets onto the table and knocks down the brats.
The brats are consumed by one happy little dog and Baloo... the big queensland.
Stephen and I happily get back into the car and drive to the store to buy brats.
And this great guy tells me, "God has something to teach us in this."

Stephen has now grilled the brats.
I would eat and take a bath and climb into bed, but then I'd have to get up and get into the mini-van one last time today to pick up Shasta from work.

Oh, and somewhere in all of that the tops of the mountain range were painted white for snow...
and little birch trees were painted... maybe in between eating dinner and picking up Shasta the trees will be mounted.

And then...


off to sleep.

Friday, April 9, 2010

According to Victor...

"I got to cheer up an old man at school today... I think old people have lost some of their humor."

"I love Fridays. Because when you wake up in the middle of the night (what mom calls "morning") and see the lights on, you don't have to get up. It's Saturday morning and you can stretch."

"I had a runny nose at school today. I was in class and it started raining inside my nose."

Have a happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Busy, beautiful days...

This past week had so many treasures in it...

For months I've been planning on taking Zoey to get her nails done and we finally did it! You know that your words mean something, right? Well, when Zoey was born I held her and said, "You're gonna be my little shopping buddy!" She heard me. She has reminded me several times that I said that to her. She is all girl. Those who know me know that I am NOT a high maintenance gal. I go for comfort and time. Life is all about what to do next... not about looking in a mirror. So, Zoey did not get this from me! She loves to work on hair and makeup. When she was 8 she would go through department stores and point out which outfits would look good with different purses, handbags and shoes. I knew. This is her, through and through. She made me get a pedicure while she got her nails done. Totally forced me. My arm was twisted behind my back. Well... Anyway, nothing says pretty to me like a french manicure on my toesies!!

Sooo many choices for Zoey to make:


And if a french manicure on the toes says pretty... peace at church says beautiful!


Good Friday was a beautiful day. In the morning after I'd served the children breakfast, we gathered around the living room and I read several chapters from Matthew. There were some pauses here and there, as we took in what was being read and pondered... how would it have felt to deny being a friend of Jesus... how would it have felt to be one of the soldiers who at one time was mocking and participating in the crucifixion and another moment in time realizes, "Surely this is the Son of God"!

Then we went straight to church. The sanctuary was dimly lit. All was quiet. What a great feeling to walk in with most of the children... Stephen went to the balcony to pray... Zoey and Nathan went straight to the front steps, wanted to get as close to the cross as possible... Victor stood at the floor, right in the center... Joseph sat quietly in a pew... Each one of them stayed quiet and prayed on their own. We sat for about 10 minutes, then I motioned for them to leave with me. As we walked back to the car I was asked, "Is that all we came to church for?" Yep. That was it. To sit and ponder the cross and pray. To thank God for Jesus. Some day they will look back and they will remember. They will appreciate going to church to "just pray".

That evening our church choir gathered and rehearsed for our Good Friday Service. We sang a few songs. Stephen had been asked by Karla, our choir director and the pastor's wife, if he'd take some photos with her camera. After agreeing and following through, he stayed seated in that center, front row, next to the pastor. Zoey had joined him, too. I confess, I was singing with the choir and silently praying, "God, please don't let my teens start texting in front of the pastor during the service!"

As it worked out, we broke into prayer groups. Who did Stephen and Zoey gather with to pray? The pastor and his wife! I love it. Here is a church of 3,000. It's not that the pastor and his wife are unreachable, but in a church that size, they don't get to talk to everybody. And they shared the evening with my son and daughter. I have to share a bit of the humor now. See, Zoey isn't just a girly-girl... she is as honest and straight shooting as it comes... and she doesn't change or "play a part" for anyone... she simply is who she is. So, the pastor had passed her, asking, "Are you here to praise God and pray?" And she looked up at him, replying, "I sure am, how about you?" Lol. The pastor chuckled and said yes, that was what he was here for.

I will try to post the video of the choir singing "Oh, Sacred Head Now Wounded", but I make no promises... I am technologically challenged at best... and I haven't viewed it to see how it turned out yet. But, it was amazing.

What a beautiful start to our family weekend.