Archive | July, 2010

Some Friday updates for you.

30 Jul

*Kamryn is nearly potty trained! She does pretty well all day wearing big girl panties. Still working on the evening hours, but we are getting there. Totally helps that the school she goes to focuses on this in her current class! Also, she had her well-check at the doc recently and is a healthy, growing girl…in the 90% percentile on height and weight. Gonna be tall like Ryan, no doubt! The pic above is her at the doctor’s office…she used to be A LOT smaller on that table. Such a sweethearted, sensitive child…she melts our hearts.

*Addi’s coloring skills are getting to be SO good! She is really starting to stay within the lines more and becoming quite the artist. She starts preschool in a couple of weeks (tear). Which means she’ll start Kindergarten next year…what?! She is such a unique child – incredibly smart, a perfectionist, and always thinking. She definitely keeps us all in line! I can’t believe both my babies are growing up so fast!

*I’m going to the “Girls Night In” Conference at our church this evening and am pumped about it. Hoping to really absorb a lot and and maybe experience a sense of peace during this chaotic time. To be honest, over past several weeks…well since June 4th really, I haven’t prayed much and I haven’t read my Bible (so yes, my “read the Bible in one year plan” is slacking). I don’t feel angry at God nor do I feel distant from God…I just feel like during this period of grief, I am simply sitting in his lap while I hurt. Like a child does after they get a boo boo. And I’m fairly certain God is OK with that.

*Running has been H-A-R-D lately. This heat mixed with this humidity is killer. Definitely starting to yearn for Fall temps. But I will say, even though its not the most enjoyable thing right now, we are doing it. Ryan and I alternate days and get ‘er done. We are officially training now…speed work, long runs on the weekends, tempo runs, the works. We have a goal to run 3 half marathons this Fall – one in October, one in November, and one in December. That counts as a full, right?

*Our cruise is in 18 weeks and counting…

*Ryan and I are seriously pondering about some ministry ideas & opportunities. We feel like God is stirring in us in some specific areas. We have a huge desire to be “difference makers” (as my Dad would say) here in Tyler, a city that we are really growing to love more and more.

The “Anger” Phase.

24 Jul

I’m mad. There, I said it.

I guess over the past week, I have officially stepped into the anger phase of grief. I have to say, I don’t like this phase one bit. In fact, I hate it. The angry phase itself makes me angry. Denial is much easier. And I’m the type that cries when I get mad, so I’ve cried more this week than I have in a while. Its exhausting.

What am I mad at? Well, the grief books will tell you that typically people are angry at God or at the deceased. I am not mad at anyone – just mad at everything…not at Dad or at God, I guess just more at the circumstance. I am mad that Dad is considered “the deceased.”

What started these feelings? On our way back home from vacation last Sunday, I began to think about Addi’s 4th birthday coming up next month. Which led me to think about the fact that Poppy won’t be there. Then, I started thinking about all of the happenings that take place over the Fall/Winter timeframe that he wouldn’t be at…his 10 mile birthday run, all of my siblings birthdays, Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot, White Rock Half, Christmas, football season, etc. Thinking about this as we drove down the road made me burst into tears and then…anger arrived. He physically won’t be at anything ever again. Ugh. It just all feels very unfair and very unbalanced.

Why am I telling you this? The grief books also say that you shouldn’t suppress your anger, because it could be worse in the long run if you do. Hence the reason I’m blogging about it now & telling friends about it.  For one – I don’t want anyone to ever think I’m being rude or cranky or short. Second, I am trying to be open and honest about this, like I strive hard to do in everything, because I don’t do fake. I am truly thankful for friends that allow me to be transparent and continue to love me.

Gosh, I just realized how selfish this post sounds. Looking back I see there are a ton of “I’s”. There are so many people grieving my Dad, not just ME. See, even this post makes me mad. But, let me go ahead and continue to be selfish and ask you….please pray for me right now. I don’t like to be angry.

Really? Wow.

19 Jul

I had my first dream (that I remember) about my Dad last night since he passed away. Passed away…gosh, its still so weird to say that. Anyways, so here’s how it went…

We were in an empty classroom at a school. Maybe I was a teacher? I was standing near a desk and Dad walked in and said he was here for a short while…like a “lunch break” or something. I, of course, hugged him forever and was completely filled with joy. Tears were flowing nonstop. Definitely a different cry than the cries over the past six weeks. So we started to talk and catch up. Weird because he didn’t really talk much – it was as though he really couldn’t speak, but was so eager to listen to me. He spoke mostly with his eyes, which had a very obvious sparkle in them. I filled him in on everything he’s missed since he’s been gone…stuff I knew he’d want to know and love to hear about. I told him all about his funeral service. About all the comments on his Facebook page and how people still post to it almost daily. How people have sent letters from all over expressing how he had impacted their lives. After each new thing I would tell him, he would have this amazed look on his face and just simply say, “Really? Wow.” I told him specific things…like how our dear friend Gena texted me just yesterday morning to tell me she had ran/walked 3 miles because she has decided to train for a half marathon and get a shirt printed with Dad’s name on the front for the race in January. I told him how Kamryn calls “Hoppy” on her pink play phone. I told him about Addi crying one night because she missed him and was sad. He teared up when I told him about that. I was just going on and on…and then I woke up. Unfortunately. It was way too soon, I was so not ready for it to be over. But I guess I’ll always feel that way about this whole deal. It was neat to see his expressions…he looked very satisfied and genuinely happy. The twinkle in his eye made me smile.

It was a good dream.

Vacation through pictures.

18 Jul

Ame’s Caramel Yummies

14 Jul

Got this recipe from my friend Ame and it is delish! Baking some tonight to take on our road trip…always get a sweet tooth while traveling!

Ame’s Caramel Yummies

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

3/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
3 T. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350. For bars, combine butter and sugar in large bowl; mix well. Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt; mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove half of the oat mixture; set aside. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of greased 9 inch square pan. Bake 10 min; sprinkle with choco chips and nuts. For topping combine caramel topping and flour in a small bowl; drizzle over chips & pecans. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Bake 15 min. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy:)

We’re outta here.

13 Jul

This week, we will be heading to the mountains to go on vacation & I COULD NOT BE MORE READY. Ryan’s parents graciously booked us a resort a few months back. Little did we know what was going to be taking place with my Dad & how badly we would NEED this time away.

Our plan is this. To not have any schedules or obligations, love on our kids as much as possible, read, lay by the pool, hike, run, sleep, cook some new recipes, and rest. Truly rest. Hoping and praying for continued healing during this time away and maybe even some restoration.

Addi and Kamryn are SO excited…this is their first official vacation. Up until now, Ryan and I have left them with Grandma and gone places alone…which is also very important and we will do this later on in the year on our cruise (yay!). So, we’ve been talking to the girls about “our family vacation” for months now and being that its just a few days away, they are pumped! Addi has been telling her teacher every day, “In _ days we will be going on vacation!” Of course she also feels the need to tell her sweet teacher and her friends, “YOU are not going…just me, Mommy, Daddy, and Kamryn.” Side note: We are working on our manners and the way we talk to people right now with this one especially. But needless to say, they are excited! And so are we. Happy to have time away, alone together – just our little family.

How are you doing?

6 Jul

How are you doing? This is the question I get a lot recently & honestly don’t know how to answer most days. The grieving process is very strange. I don’t know exactly how I’m supposed to feel really. Some days I cry a lot, some days I feel as though I can’t squeeze out one single tear. Some days, I somehow am able to push the thought out of my mind for short periods of time to fully focus on work, my girls, my husband, etc. Other days, I can’t focus on anything but the fact that he’s gone. Running has become more of a necessity than just a fun hobby. I yearn to go out for a run. It helps me to release the tension and anxiety I feel…however, I hardly can run without crying because my heart hurts continuously. Ending each run with a high five to the sky, I know there will never be a run that I don’t think about my Dad. Some days, I feel as though my sadness has turned into motivation – motivation to make the most of the day, be a good parent, and strive to be a difference maker. Other days, I feel like I’m drowning in my sadness and can hardly breathe. Strange, this whole death thing.

Today has actually been a decent day. I haven’t cried, until now at least, and I got a lot accomplished. I felt OK today. Got a lot done at work, enjoyed seeing my sister play with the new toys she bought the girls, had a nice dinner provided by good friends. Now, as I sit here and type my thoughts, I’m thinking tons about my Dad. Memories flood my mind. Thankful that I have over 10,000 photos (literally) in my iPhoto to look back on and remember all of the good times. Thinking it is so strange that he’s not here.

I gave this frame below to my Dad a few years ago as a gift and recently took it back home. It has two pictures of us on from one of our six Mexico Mission Trips. I love these two pictures and how they really express so much about our relationship. My Dad loved these pictures too…I remember how neat he thought this gift was when I gave it to him. The first pic is of him showing me how to hammer in the roof nails correctly, as we built a house for a family in need. He was always willing to help – whatever it was. Big or small, I was his little girl and he always took care of me. The second pic is of us when the job was done. My Dad used to always get teary eyed when we completed another house together, he was always so proud. And I was too. I love that we have these memories, along with so many others. I am missing him tonight and so very sad that there won’t be any more memory makers. But, I am so incredibly thankful for the ones we have made. Now, more than ever, I understand why they were so important to Dad to make them.

Beautiful One, I Love You.

5 Jul

Last night, we were at some friends’ house for the 4th and this conversation came up…”What do you guys do as parents to introduce your kids to the gospel?” Great question! It really made me think – what do we do?

Ryan & I shared that we try to read stories out of their Children’s Bible at night before bed. We pray with them often and bring Jesus into our conversations whenever possible…especially in those very trying & patience-building teaching moments. Also, we sometimes listen to worship music in the car when we are out and about. Either that or Micky Mouse Clubhouse or Owl City – their other faves. Lately, the girls’ have loved listening to Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp and Glory to God Forever by Fee – both awesome songs. It fills my heart with joy to hear their sweet little voices singing…especially when its a song to the Lord. Even when they don’t get the words right and are off key – its beautiful.

After some conversation, we determined that really…the hugest and most impactful way you can introduce them to the gospel is with your own life. Its not all about what you tell your kids, its about what you ARE in front of them. Challenging for sure. Something I need to work on daily & remind myself often…and honestly fail at frequently. Teaching my kids to live a life of worship and devotion to their creator can be done most successfully when I live a life of worship and devotion to my creator.

God has entrusted me & Ryan with these two little cuties and we certainly want to do whatever we can as their parents to assist them along their spiritual journey. We can’t wait to see how God uses each of their lives in great ways!

Thankful Board

2 Jul

This morning, I went out for a run. With tear filled eyes and a heavy heart, I logged 6 miles in the rain. Physically, it was a great run. Emotionally, it was hard. A lot went through my mind this morning. Today marks one month since my Dad passed. Crazy that its been that long already when it still feels so very fresh to me. The past few weeks have been the hardest of my life and those in my family’s lives. But through this tragedy, I have also seen some very neat things taking place. Blessings.

My friend (and co-worker) Sarah had the idea to make the huge chalkboard wall in our office our “Thankful Board.” Every day we try to write five things we are thankful for on the board to keep our minds focused on positive things and give God glory that is due for everything He has blessed us with daily. From small things to big things. Its been helpful to see some rays of sunshine during a dark time. So as I ran this morning, I tried to focus on things that I have to be thankful for & here are five, out of probably twenty, that I came up with.

So pretend the following is on a chalkboard that has “Thankful Board” written in huge pink letters at the top…

1. The friends and family that have completely wrapped their arms around us and loved & prayed us through this painful time, provided food for us for weeks, have allowed us to cry on their shoulders, and sometimes just came and sat with us – your presence means the world. We are thankful for each of you & the sense of genuine community we have here.

2. The way my Dad’s life is motivating us to make the most of our own lives. Ryan posted an awesome blog about this very thing, you can read it here. Dad used to tell us to always leave a place better than the way you found it. That’s inspirational to me on so many levels! It is overwhelmingly obvious to us that Dad definitely left this world a better place than the way he found it. Now its our turn. I am thankful for my Dad’s LIFE.

3. My Mom, brothers and sister. We are in constant contact throughout each day – phone calls, texts, emails, dinners, etc. Its much needed and somehow produces strength. My grandmother, mostly known as Memaw, told me just the other day that there is strength in numbers & gosh, that is so very true!

4. Ryan, Addi & Kam. There are no words. I LOVE my family with all that I am.

5. The song “Blessed Be Your Name” & the memory that goes with it. For those of you that were with us on the Mexico Mission Trip when my Dad’s truck got stolen – you know the depth & meaning behind this. And now during this time…even though the road is marked with suffering & there is definitely so much pain in the offering, we still continue to say – blessed be your name.