Saturday, April 15, 2017

the tears, they are a falling...

...but He will wipe every tear from every eye, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All of these are gone forever...He will remove this cloud of doom...He will swallow up death forever!
As far as weeks go, this has been a hard one. Notwithstanding the normal day to day balancing act-which I barely managed to do this week anyway-there has also been bitter reminders. The week started off with an email from Jacob's teacher. There had been a play about a time machine they viewed and a teacher asked if the kids could go back in time, what would they do? Jacob's answer had been to lock up all the guns so Daniel would still be alive. His teacher was told this by another and then had remembered another time he had mentioned briefly about another brother. Knowing I needed to make a phone call instead of replying back to the email, I spoke with his teacher and shared that it was truth. Ryan had thought I had already mentioned it when school started, but I hadn't. Maybe I thought the information would get passed along by a previous teacher? Maybe I didn't want to begin a semester with the awkward introduction of, "this is Jacob. Oh, by the way, his oldest brother died 5 years ago"? Whatever the reason was, it was not mentioned and I found myself having to go back.  Jacob is ok. Of course he can get sad missing Daniel-and I will speak to a million people if needed to ensure Jacob never feels like he needs to censor his feelings-but he's never questioned the  "unfairness" of it all. He and I did speak about Heaven later that night. Which led to a discussion about the Holy Spirit and Jacob questioning that He didn't know if he had it and that prompted a talk about the Holy Spirit and this Holy week. Raising Jake at 2,3,4,5 was HARD. Raising Jacob as an almost 8 year old who will start to have questions is such uncharted territory, and there is the added veil of grieving questions that may occur. This was a reminder of knowing our story will always be our story and it going to be intertwined with everything we are and do. The reminder can still suck...
I got through that moment in the week, though. Then yesterday was a whole new beast. One that I hadn't encountered in a while. I learned someone-whom we do not know at all-was sharing our story to make an example of carelessness. For reasons that I am still working through currently, I am not going to share the details, but know that it feels like the most personal intrusion of privacy. At this point, I don't shy away from what happened. There has been so so so much growth and peace that has presented itself from nothing but the cloak of security from God, that I would be failing in my walk with God to hide it; and I have been using it to reach out to others that have suffering-and will always do so-but the ugly side needs to be shared, too. My heart hurt again for the second time this week. I have been feeling an emotional exhaustion I have not in awhile. It's taking a little more time to build back from it, but it happening. In all of this, that is what's important. I am coming back from this. I have always come back from this. I will always come back from this.
Something else occurred this week. The dandelions are in full "bloom" right now. All of the kids like them, but I have two that seem to enjoy them a little more. Daniel, and now Emma. Wednesday, I had to carry her away from them all in the morning to get into the car for daycare. I stopped for a moment while I had a dandelion in my hand and blew on it, too. New dandelion growth be damned from doing so, I watched them blow away and thought of my boy. Later that day, I had an old friend stop by work and presented a gift for myself and Emma. It was a necklace encasing a dandelion seed. In honor of my boy.
God's providence shines through this all. In my tears-soooooo many this week. In my children. In the gifts a friend presents and in my blubbering of explanation as to why it was perfectly timed. In a hug that lasts for a moment longer because it was needed. In having people understand and GET why all of this hurts. In being reminded in real time of His sacrifice and the hurt He held for me-and the ultimate promise that He died and He conquered Death and rose for me. I don't get a lot right; I stutter and stumble and cuss and sneer. BUT, through it all, I have never faltered at the promise of calvary. If there is anything that redirects my focus and attempts, it's his grace and love. I am making the decision, much like at the cross roads 5.5 years ago, to choose Him. To choose Joy. To choose Life.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: A year in review

I missed doing one of these for the 2015 year; this is the first of my "resolutions" this year, writing more. It's no use trying to think I can arrange all of my thoughts in my head. Plus, I have always felt more grounded writing. Whether this becomes an outlet or a journal, I am not sure, but starting out, it's a review.

As with most January's, this month always feels a bit anticlimactic after the holiday and colder weather setting in. This year proved no different. In fact, for me, it may have been worse. I literally woke up in the first day and felt a deep despair. It lasted well into March before I admitted it and asked for help. The kids played with new toys, celebrated the twin's birthday and Sophia's. Jake learned checkers and chess and actually beat myself and Ryan a few times. Emma learned more "real" play and Andrew practiced skating and Ryan worked 3-11, which may not have helped how I felt.

This month had warmer than normal temperatures and a special bridal party for the bride to be, my best friend. It was so exciting officially beginning full scale preparations for the wedding. While also stressful-as most weddings are-still memorable. I continued working out in the gym and the kids played outside when able. Jake had some issues within the classroom, similar to last year, and we worked with his teacher. Still with our understanding of how bright he was and tying to accommodate  circumstances for him within a public school setting. We all managed, but I would be lying if I wasn't thankful when the school year ended.

This month brought tee ball! Finally, a sport I understood. Soccer just is not our thing. Andrew ended up getting to play a year before he was technically able due to the need for players-small town for the win-and was even on Jake's team. In addition to learning baseball, Jake also practiced cooking with Ryan. Ryan worked with him on making eggs and a whole fish. Emma showed her love for baby dolls and played like a little Momma-sometimes even showing her multitasking skills by playing and eating. Easter was also celebrated this month and we got together with family. It's always so much fun with the littles get together. I took one of my favorite pictures of the kids and Emma looked especially adorable in pink shoes.

The wedding party preparations began again and we celebrated with a shower. Looking over 19 years of friendship while making the party games brought back a lot of memories. The boy's had their first tee ball game and looked absolutely adorable and like little boys. Those games were so much better to watch and I recorded many an at bat for Ryan. 3-11 shift interfered with him seeing a lot of games, but like any police family, we made it work. I also started a journey on digging more into God's word. I finally allowed myself to accept help and not think of medication as a crutch and it started helping with healing-by allowing my mind to settle and my heart to grow. 5 years of a half full cup had finally taken enough of a toll on me that I hated where I was at and asked for help. It came with such abundance.

Wedding month was this month and it was so much fun! Seeing your best friend since 7th grade walk down the aisle to her new life brought a lot of happy tears and answered prayers-and initiated new ones. Prayers for joy and companionship and to grow together as one in any and all circumstances. Ryan and I celebrated 9 years early that month and I had the chance to think back on where we started and where we were. Surprisingly, our biggest challenges as a married couple occurred this year. However, when love is strong and prayer stronger, the challenges become just a blip in our lives. I grew to love that man even more this year. And become more humbled by his role in our life. Jake turned 7 this year and started a growth in himself. He is becoming such an empathic child-and his yearning for learning grew exponentially. If it's math or science or gaming, the kid is all over it. It may have been this month I promised to take him to see Pompeii when he gets older. Andrew also graduated PreK and the boys got to experience their first Card's game with Ryan and Grom.

Andrew turned 5 and had a whole month for a practice run before starting Kindergarten-and he loved it. From riding the school bus to getting to go to Explorer's club with Jake after school, he grew into a school ager before our eyes. Grandma "Fishsticks' also came into town and we got to spend some times with her. The last visit was when Emmy was an infant, so she had a lot of time to catch up on. I am so proud of the boys for always jumping in to show love-even when there have been long periods of absences.

Oh this month. It started off pretty crappy, honestly. At some point at work, I threw my headset down and had to walk out to regroup. Our patient population was not my favorite at that point in time. I desperately needed a vacation from work and life-and thankfully, we had one planned. We got to visit  family in Ohio. Well, most of us. Emma ended up getting hand-foot-mouth and had a staycation with Grandma. It ended up being totally fine; Grandma got special time with Em and we got to spend some time with the twins. And also catch up on GOT :) The drive was great, the kids behaved, and I got to finally try Jeni's ice cream. Nomnomnom. (Seeing family was great, too ;)

This month carried summer vacation into it and Ryan and I made the most of it. We took the kids to the Zoo and enjoyed quality time at home. For my birthday, I got my newest tattoo. It showcases a heart Jake drew for Daniel with my favorite verse. I still look at it in reverence. The boy's started school officially and I enjoyed driving to work with my lady only. I was so excited to have Andrew off and becoming a school ager. Any that know Andrew know why LOL.  Emma turned 2 this month and has continued to grow into quite the firecracker. She is so independent and smart and funny. We honestly would have missed out on so much life without her. Such a far cry from the trepidation we initially felt when we learned of her. I say it often, but she is God's promise personified. She has such a special hold on my heart and Ryan's. The look in his eye when he watches her; that in itself is priceless.

This month we painted with a twist and enjoyed girl company. The woman never did say she liked me painting...All in all, it was pretty low key and that was quite all right with me.

Crazy. That's the word for this month. The election process had everyone on edge. The one other post I did this year touched down on my thoughts to that. We managed to get in one pumpkin patch as a family-during a warm 80 degree day. I also had a Mommy-Andrew day. It was so needed. In one week, I had a melt down from Andrew for stirring his oatmeal and then not stirring his oatmeal the next day because "he didn't know how", among other things that I know I blocked out for self preservation. Halloween was also warmer than normal and the kids made out. Emma was a trooper and girl held her own for most of the houses.

Emma saw her very first movie this month, Trolls. I was just as excited to see it. I love me some JT. I also managed to get family pictures out of Ryan-it went as expected. The boys were crazy, Emma was clingy and Ryan had met his time limit-thankfully at the right time. I will treasure these images always. The election votes were cast and for yet another period of time, I worried about Ryan as a Police Officer. I could write a whole other blog about the ill effects of this nation and the lack of respect for law enforcement. Really, the law of respect for human life.

If I thought the end of the year was going to be quiet, I would have been dead wrong. Ryan developed pneumonia and is still recovering. We also had a medical scare that ended up being ok-praise God-but  what a witness to seeing a larger than life husband become humbled himself. However, like most big life experiences, there are lessons to be gleaned from it and Ryan is getting the slowed down recovery time he needs. And in the midst of a holiday. Family was in and it was beautiful. It always is. The cousin chaos seriously warms my heart. I love each person in my family. Above it all though, I learned so much about this reason for the season. I think back to those times of searching within my life, and I am so so grateful for Jesus-and His fight for me. Who I am now, I love so much more than who I ever was. Suffering, hard moments and all.

2017 is going to bring about so much growth. And travel. And family. All the things that make my life. If there is anything I learned from 2016, it's to settle in. There is nothing more important than those in my house.