Posts Tagged ‘perspective’
We are coming out of Christmas and my head is spinning. Not because of big family meals, gifts galore or touching church services (though I did experience all of the above), but because the whole holiday feels insignificant. My mom fell, broke her femur, and I thought I would be planning her funeral through Christmas.
Because she is still alive and slowly coming out of her 10 day medically induced coma as I’m typing this post.
Late on the 19th she fell off a curb after her Bible Study Christmas Party (oh how us Bible Thumpers can get wild) and her femur snapped like a twig. She was rushed in an ambulance to the ER where one of my High School friends happened to be the doctor to admit her. That was cool. My mom was happy-loopy on pain meds in preparation for the next day’s surgery. The surgeon attached a steel plate with 10 pins into her leg and ended up having to do a second surgery right after the first to to drain her leg of fluid with a vacuum. My sweet mom, who already has all sorts of health issues, now had three open 10” incisions on one leg. When I visited her the next day she was ventilated, restrained (because she wanted to pull out the terrible breathing machine from her throat) and terrified. We were surrounding her bed weeping and when she heard our voices her back would arch, her eyes would bulge and she radiated fear.
That’s when I knew she would die.
She would be moved for 24 hour dialysis. She would be put farther under for sedation into a medically induced coma. She would end up going through 5 surgeries in the days to come. Her organs would shut down and technology would be keeping air in her lungs and poison from her blood.
We rearranged Christmas with extended family (which was met with very little compassion… which was totally lame), but we felt like we couldn’t rearrange Christmas morning with the kids. No matter what happened. On the eve of Christmas Eve we had to go to the store for a gift for Eli. We had just left the hospital and I was stifling sobs. I was watching the other people in a daze. Shoppers were frantically looking for last minute gifts or coveting things on their wish lists or laughing at novelty items. It was surreal. And I wanted to get on the loud speaker and scream at anyone who would listen, “Don’t you see how trivial this is? Can’t you understand that this ‘holiday’ is a joke? Did you know that the most wonderful person ever is dying while you are shopping for that aunt you only see once a decade? A light is fading from this earth and it will be gone forever!!!! I would trade every Christmas if she could survive this. And you would too, if you met her. Because she’s amazing. And she’s mine. And she’s dying. I want you to wail and shout ‘UNFAIR’ with me. And most of all I don’t want you to be happy.”
Dramatic. I wasn’t in the best place and I didn’t come out of that place till yesterday, when I was truly sure she would live.
She is happy-loopy on pain medication again. But she’s alive!
She’ll have to be in an extended care facility for about two months before she can put ANY weight on her leg. But she’s alive.
She is alive.
And I’m going to go visit her right now.
I GIANT thank you to YOU! My friends, followers, pastors, prayers warriors. Without you she would be dead. And something precious would be gone. Of that I’m certain.
(Picture of my mom this Halloween with Cinderella.)
I can’t stop thinking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown. Eli is in kindergarten, and the same age as most of the victims.
20 Elis are dead.
Friday, the day of the shooting, I had started a post in my head reflecting on my children and about cherishing all of our little moments. But this isn’t about me, or my kids, or about being grateful for the simplicity of daily life. The reality is 20 moms in Newton will never have those “little moments” with their kids again. 20 families have carefully picked presents wrapped under their Christmas tree that will not be opened. 20 dads have to walk past their child’s empty bedroom. Little siblings are wondering where their big siblings went. Big siblings are trying to make sense of injustice. A whole community has been changed.
20 moms have to watch as their fearfully and wonderfully made child gets closed up into a box and buried in the ground. Gone forever. Always wondering how life would have been different if their child was still alive. What if we had stayed home sick from school… what if we bought that house in a different district… what if Adam Lanza had a friend to talk him out of shooting children. When did shooting children become a way to express your hurt and anger and sadness and bitterness at the world. My God! My God, Why?
I would be scared of forgetting the feeling of Eli in my arms, the sound of his voice and his laugh. Fearful of watching an old home video and wondering if that time was ever really real. What will it be like for the Newton moms to fold the next load of laundry and find a tee shirt her child wore days ago but will never wear again? Everyday your heart breaking all over again. Weeping, screaming and hoping to wake up from this nightmare.
Across the country people are doing 20 acts of kindness in honor of the each murdered child. (Some are doing 26 to include the murdered adults.) I think it’s a great idea. If I was one of the 20 moms I would like to hear that thousands of people were doing good in honor of my precious lost child. But, of course, I would really just want my child back.
But the most comforting passage for me when anything happens to children is Matthew 18 6-7 (The Message version). “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do.”
Which basically shows what a jerk I am. God throwing evil people into the ocean with a giant stone tied around their neck and the word doomsday… yep, that about sums up my thoughts. I should probably work on that. But most likely I won’t.
I’m trying to decide how we are going to do the 26 acts of kindness. Maybe we’ll combine it with the Christmas sacrifices we are already doing. I don’t think you need to be legalistic about it, but making a list of 26 things you can do with your kids to comfort/help/serve others is an awesome start.
I’d love to know your ideas for the list or your thoughts about the shooting. Leave a comment, and if you’ve written a post, leave the link.
Over the Summer, we were in the car and Eli was having an award winning fit because Cora Jane wouldn’t let him hold her glow stick.
He shrieked, ”This is the worst day of my whole life!”
Really? The day your sister doesn’t share a dollar store glow stick is the worst day of your life. First world problem.
So in a “shining” parenting moment I said, “REALLY!?!?!?!?!????? The day your little sister doesn’t share a 10 cent glow stick is the WORST day of your LIFE!!?!?! Did you know some kids don’t have toys to play with, or a place to sleep, or a mommy and daddy to take care of them… just like little Henry who we have been praying for!!!!!”
Eli – “I thought Henry had parents who are trying to bring him home?” (UPDATE: Henry is home. Post coming!)
Me – “Yes, that’s true… but that’s not the point, the point is… (deep breath and in a calmer voice) today is not the worst day of your life. When someone doesn’t share with you, it’s not the worst day of your life. In our family, we don’t let tiny problems control our attitude or behavior.”
Eli – “Well, it’s a big deal to me.”
We talked more that day, but as the months have passed I’ve often thought of this conversation. I’ve brainstormed how I will teach my children to identify the difference between little life problems, and real world problems. Such as global hunger, sex trafficking and corrupt governments. How do I tell my child their problems aren’t “real?” Especially when it really isn’t age appropriate to be talking about child prostitutes.
I want my children to have perspective about their difficulties in relation to the community around us, our nation and the globe. And I truly think children are smart enough to start learning early about many of the real world issues. I feel like the best way to teach our children anything is to show them. Show them to be passionately angry about kids starving, not dollar store glow sticks. Ultimately, resulting in their own desire to create a positive impact.
Now, we are in the midst of the season of excess. Kids around the world are hoping for a bit of Hollywood Holiday Magic to get the “perfect” gift under their tree, families are in a rush to send out their clever holiday cards and solidify plans with extended family. It’s oh-so-easy for me to get caught up in a matching pajama frenzy. I love it. But I’m choosing to give up things to show my kids how to serve others.
I know it’s silly, but it’s a sacrifice for me to give up the magical Christmas extras. I’m not being a martyr. I’m being selfish, and I hope my kids see that unbecoming quality in me. Then I hope they see me fighting against my selfish nature and being content. Not just content, brimming with joy. The feeling you get when you realize you made a difference but also recognizing you are a small part of something bigger. Instead of buying a live Christmas tree we are putting up our broke-a&$ fake one and buying two goats. Instead of prepping a full spread for Christmas party guests we’ll be doing a potluck and asking for donations to the chicken fund. We are baking cookies for neighbors, babysitting at the local ESL class, volunteering at a Christmas store for locals in need, Meals On Wheels gifts, letters to soldiers overseas… Oh how we are going to give till it hurts.
My children will learn that giving is addicting.
And maybe they will learn to share a freaking glow stick.
I turned 32 last week. I’ve never been one of those folks who gets hot and bothered with getting older. I’ve looked 30 since jr high so it’s pretty satisfying for my looks to finally match my age. Unless I look 50 now – and if that’s the case, please don’t tell me. I had a bit of a reflection on my 29th birthday (and continued the story on my 30th) and I feel the same way. I’m happy and comfortable with the way my life has turned out. Maybe a little too comfortable.
My birthday was perfection. One of my favorite type of days – productive and playful. My hubby had to work, but got up while the house was sleeping, to make me chocolate chip waffles and left 10 love notes hidden around the house. I liked it. A lot. The children and I ate waffles in bed and chatted about my birthday. They were excited to help me find the notes and had no concept of my age. I asked them if they had unlimited resources, what would they would get me for my birthday. Eli said he would get me “an expensive LEGO set.” Shocker. Cora Jane said she would get me 100 stars. One hundred stars?? “Oh yes, Mommy! I would fly into space and capture you 100 stars.” That girl. She oozes awesome.
She thinks big.
The kids and I did loads of errands and I was able to do all sorts of prep for an epic pinterest party I threw last weekend. (I can’t wait to share about it!!! You will flip. Flip!) I treated myself to Golden Spoon for lunch and the kiddos to Jack in the Box mini pancakes. They love those mini circles of fluff and it’s only a buck for 8… or is it 6? Doesn’t matter. They’re good. We ate in the backyard under the shade tree. Sigh. The good life.
With full bellies, we were enjoying our time together in the sunshine. I love to use these moments to talk with my kids. Really talk with them, not “at” them or “to” them, “with” them. This moment we talked about birthday presents. We talked about getting a gift the birthday person would like, not something you like (ahem “expensive LEGO set” above). We talked about gifts that you don’t have to buy. Some people (like me) love the gift of a love note, a dinner out or something handmade from the heart, more than something that costs a lot of money. We talked about our favorite shows (I said Shaun the Sheep) and about the things the kids were learning in VBS (no matter what, you can trust God).
At some point Eli disappeared inside to play with LEGO bricks, while the rest of us were lounging. He came back outside a little later with a sheep he made from his imagination. A gift for me, for my birthday. He understood from our conversation that I probably didn’t want a LEGO set for my birthday, so he had asked me my favorite show so he could make me something from the heart. I liked it. A lot.
We took the big kids to VBS then my hubby took me to sushi dinner with the littlest littles. A perfect day. The kind of day that gives you some perspective.
I have a good life. Nope, a GREAT life. I’m comfortable. I could live like this forever. I could. But knowing what I know (what we all know) about the world out there, what should my life look like? We have full hearts, full bellies and a full home. But I want to think big. I’m trying to think big, like Cora Jane.
I’m switching things up at Eli’s Lids. (I still can’t tell you everything yet because I’m a jerk like that.)
This blog is a business blog but I’ve always been pretty personal. Now, I’m officially turning it into a personal blog.
So what’s going to change?
Nothing really. I’ll probably be more opinioned.
I’ll be launching an exclusively business blog soon. But since Eli’s Lids is such a huge part of our life, you’ll get all that here as well.
This was the first 4th of July in our new house. It was alright. Usually it’s “my” hosting holiday in the family but everyone was out of town and my hubby had to work. We stayed in our jammies all day and I worked a bit (on something really cool that could be happening THIS weekend – details if it goes through). We ate dinner but the only cute thing I did was raspberries and black berries in those little white bowls I used for the back to school feast. And I didn’t even take a picture. My holiday loving self was feeling like a failure.
I did make brownies.
As I was getting the brownies out of the oven it dawned on me that while my kiddos love when I do cute-sie things for them, the cute-sie things aren’t what makes whatever we are doing fun. I reminded myself that being ‘fun’ doesn’t always mean decorations and a fancy meal. It means something… anything… different that’s F-U-N. Make sense? So we ate our brownies.
Outside on a picnic blanket.
Out of the baking dish.
As much as anyone wanted to eat.
And it was FUN!
Just a reminder that making the everyday magical is as simples as making brownies from a mix.
As in very simple.
Maybe a reminder for you too?
I’ll tell you what’s not simple. Taking a family picture after the fireworks.
Here’s the best one… of me…
And the kid picture. Oh my…
Lets try them on the couch…
Geesh. All I wanted to do was show off the tees my mom made for the girls.
You’ll need: a tee, ric rac, blue polkadot ribbon and fabric glue.
Decide how wide you want the flag to be on the tee and cut 3 pieces of ric rac to that length. Cut 2 more pieces (or 3 for the bigger tee) a bit smaller. Tie a bow with the blue ribbon. Place on the tee and glue everything on. Done. I’m not sure if my mom or my Aunt Patti made up this craft or if they found it on Pinterest. I searched and couldn’t find it. I do know that it’s adorable…
If you are looking for other fun 4th of July crafts to pin, how about a few I did last year?