Saturday, December 31, 2011


i find this post hard to's no secret this has been a tough year...for many it seems.  i feel like i should at least acknowledge the events, but honestly don't see the point.  i don't want to recap it happened...i spent enough time on it all at the time...and now i just want to look forward.  life happens.  each time we think we have it all together, that life just can't get any better, we are hit with a curveball of reality.  or, at least for me, that's how it seems to happen.
i don't make resolutions.  never have.  i refuse to set myself up for failure right off the bat.  i find that the year always throws enough at me on its own without me just handing it something to work with.  last year the only thing i promised myself i would do is live each day with pupose...i'm not certain i did that...unless you count simply surviving on many days as a "purpose".  this year wasn't what i expected...things i was certain would happen did not, yet things i never would have anticipated have.

i learned a lot this year.  some knowledge is hard-earned, but i think that's what makes it so valuable.

every loss, every gain is relative.  some more significant than others for sure, but each monumental only to those experiencing them.  it's how we handle the moment, what we learn, how we move through them that counts.

i remember wishing desperately for this year to get over.  to either go back to 2010 or forward to 2012.  well, forward it is!  the first hour of 2012 was a good one...spent with friends, dancing, laughing, and having a great time!  i am excited about the next 12 months!  good-bye won't be missed, but you will be remembered. 

here's to 2012...may you be everything we need you to be...full of promise and hope.  let us not forget the lessons of the past, but look to the future with anticipation, never to repeat the mistakes but to learn from them and gain wisdom and empathy, sharing in each other's joys and carrying each other's burdens.  here's looking forward to stronger friendships, even more fantastic memories, and the incredible ride we call life!

happy new year everyone!        

Thursday, December 29, 2011

christmas week

christmas came and went with little drama or excitement.  m left for texas earlier in the week so i spent my first christmas ever without seeing her at all on the holiday.  i did pretty well, considering.  the drive to dad's on christmas eve (while listening to sappy christmas music, i might add) gave me lots of time to think and, ultimately, miss her.  a phone call as i was driving into town was a much needed distraction so the lonliness passed without much damage. 

the time with dad, my sisters, and their kiddos was as close to perfect as it could have been.  it's funny, there we the house we grew up in...each with our own stories, our own situations, and our own blessings...and it was like time hadn't passed.  we each resumed our predetermined roles within our little family - three sisters, each dynamic and unique in our own ways yet well aware that our shared past is the tie that binds us in spite of our differences.  we share so much, the three of us...yet, there are moments in time we simply can't share, burdens we can't bear for one another and that is hard to accept.  but, in those moments we stepped back in time...teased and laughed, reminded of things that are only relevent this time of how sarah hates anything having to do with peanut brittle so of course, becca and i each took great pleasure in eating the biggest pieces we could on either side of her!  or, how sarah always thought her picture ornament should go front and center on the tree so becca all sneaky-like took it and hung it high on the kitchen cabinets just out of sarah's reach!  little things, silly things, moments that remind us of where we came from; who we are when the drama of our real lives is stripped away.  dad sat back at watched...i wonder if he saw us as we are now or as we were all those years ago.  if he more often thinks of us as we are now or at whatever point in our lives was his favorite.  we haven't had christmas at his house in years, and it was comforting in many ways to be there like that. 

mom came down for the weekend...wanted to see us for christmas and make sure i wasn't too lonely with m gone.  it was nice to have her here.  we spent saturday afternoon together...ate lunch, did a little shopping...normal mom/daughter things...things we haven't done in years...literally.  see, we lost her a few years ago...she got sick and retreated somewhere deep within herself.  she closed herself off from all of us, and we lost the most precious of life's gifts...time.  i don't blame her.  she couldn't help it, and i get that...but, that didn't make it much easier to deal with.  but, at thanksgiving, we saw her again...our mom, as we remember her...funny and warm with a genuine smile and light in her eyes.  i don't think i realized it at the time, but in that moment i finally stopped holding my breath.  i knew she was going to be okay...that i could let my guard down a little and allow myself to be the daughter again. 

i've been thinking all week about what christmas meant to me this year...the focus isn't exactly where it should be...while i try, i'm a bit off track right now and probably have been for quite some time.  i have struggled for a long time with figuring out where m and i are supposed to be church-wise which is what i use as my excuse.  i know, i know, church isn't supposed to be what you get out of's what you put into it...and that makes perfect sense, but i'm having a hard time committing to anything.  it's all part of my struggle to be a "real" adult i think.  no permanence, no real commitments, no one depending on me for anything...simply show up and take from the experience each week...well, that's not how it's designed to work and maybe that's my problem.

this christmas week has also been full of time with friends...a few i rarely see, but who mean the world to me.  we laughed a lot, shed a couple tears, and were reminded of everything that's important.  we see the future in our children...watching the next generation of "us" play together is incredible!  it's cliche to say this, but it's hard to believe how much you miss someone without even realizing it...until you're in the same space with them for a couple hours.  time goes too quickly and before you know it you're saying good-bye again for what you know will be months.  so, those visits were a gift in and of themselves.  no bows, no wrapping but definitely the most loved, most treasured.

i have spent time with people who matter to me...maybe that's what christmas was supposed to be about for me this year...holes filled in ways i never expected.  little moments...each full of meaning, joy, love.  i think maybe that's all that matters.   

Sunday, December 18, 2011

and then the tree fell over

*read the previous post to fully understand the full impact of this little doozy.

after all the less than fun that had filled the earlier part of my day, the christmas tree just went ahead and fell right on over.  loud, crashing sound...i initially blamed the dog, but upon further inspection, the stand broke.  the tree is in pieces, right along with a few ornaments, and i kinda fell apart (emotional breakdown was due, just needed a final justification i guess) right next to it.  (cue pity party.) 

after tucking morgan back in bed, and having a sufficient cry, i took all the ornaments off and contemplated taking the tree right on down to the dumpster, but just didn't have the energy to do it tonight.  so much for a tree this year.  i guess it's good m is going to texas tuesday.  at least she will have a decent tree there.  and...i don't have to worry about the dog and cat chasing around it anymore or look at its non-working lights (remember the shocked dog story from here?) that have been driving me crazy yet i was just too lazy to take off the crap strand and put on new ones.  *sigh*  looking for the bright side here. 

there were so many good things that happened this weekend!  i will get around to posting about them, but tonight my mind was a bit one-tracked so this is what you're stuck with.  i'm about done with my pity party and my venting.  i haven't even finished my glass of wine!  sheesh.   

in an instant

i held a hand today...she was a stranger, someone i've never met, someone i'll never see again, someone who's path crossed mine in the most devastating of ways...yet, the impact those moments had on me will be felt likely forever...

the gas pump had just started.  i was watching for katie and morgan to come back out of the store, and i heard crashing have a very distinct sound - loud and intense laced with fear, frustration, and pain - but there it was and as i turned around i watched the car slide to a halt just inches from the sidewalk in front of me.  it was a busy intersection, yet with all the people around i made eye contact with the random employee who also happened to see the same thing i just had and we both ran towards the car.  smoke was pouring out of both vehicles, and in the car closest to me there were two women...the passenger slumped out the window and the driver laying across her lap.  i'm not trained...i'm not a nurse or a paramedic, or anything special...i was just there.  cell phones were already in use so i went to the car...the passenger was conscious, but barely responsive...her arm was extended out the window so i reached out and took her hand...i prayed she could hear me, prayed she knew she wasn't alone as her friend...sister...mother...lay bleeding and unresponsive across her lap.  i stayed there with her until the paramedics came.  she didn't know me, didn't need to.  she tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come.  my heart shattered in those moments...they had simply been driving...something we all do, all the time, and their lives were changed in an instant. 

there are more details, but i've shared enough and those don't really matter...the other driver was an older woman who thankfully was able to walk away, even with her van on fire.  no doubt she is carrying burdens i don't want to imagine tonight, but at least she appeared physically ok. 

i most likely won't know the outcome of this incident...not that i need to i suppose.  these things happen all the time; i know that.  accidents happen.  lives are changed.  there were many lives changed in those few moments today...including mine...i will continue to pray for these strangers, continue to see the images i wish i could forget...continue to wonder about their story...and continue to be thankful for everything, everyone in my life...every blessing, every trial...all of it.  and all because i held a stranger's hand...   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

colin james...

"i think we should name him colin matthew, " four year old morgan said when becca asked her what she thought we (because this, of course was a WE decision) thought the coming baby's name should be.

that moment was a few months earlier...september maybe...we were in our old back yard, playing on the swingset, and i remember it like it was yesterday.  becca and i looked at each other and said something to the effect of "not bad...that might just work..." and a few months later, colin james (after your daddy) was born!

close, morgan, so close.

you came at the end of a long, cold day.  we had waited and waited for you...your parents wanted privacy and no matter how hard it was for all of us (or how much grief we gave them about it later) we gave it to them.  you came as a surprise to everyone, not planned, yet loved more than you can imagine.  you were quiet and calm...the perfect stole our hearts instantly and gave us the boy we had been longing for since carter.  you won't remember this, but we were living together at the, your mommy, your daddy, morgan, and a house that, while kinda tight, was home for all of us at a time when we needed it.  i wouldn't trade that year and a half with you for anything!  you are much more than a nephew to me, much more than a cousin to morgan...perhaps the closest thing to a sibling she will ever have.  she is fiercely protective of you, had the ability to get you to do things no one else could, wanted nothing more than to hold you that first night in her little dance outfit, and loved you beyond measure the first time your eyes met. 

you are an incredible little boy!  full of life, yet gentle and kind, curious and inquisitive, funny and sweet...the best mix of traits for any little boy to have.  you have been such a blessing to us all these past three years...patched holes and mended hearts in ways you will never know.  you came at a time when we all needed you, even if we didn't know why at the time.  your mommy and daddy have taken you to art museums, on photo shoots and road are one of the most well-rounded little guys around!  you prefer Thai over your mom's amazing cupcakes and you have the best little laugh.  i dread the day you call her "morgan" rather than "morgie" and love that, to you, i'm "fe".  i pray we will always be close even though my days of being able to hold you are numbered.

happy third birthday, colin james!  i love you so very much!         

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

things that would only happen to me

go ahead, prepare to shake your head or laugh or sigh or simply wonder just how on earth i make it on a daily basis (trust me, i wonder that all the time!)...these stories are all true, not at all embellished, and all mine...

the one with the guinea pig(s)...
earlier this year morgan convinced me that she NEEDED a guinea pig...she saved her money and wrote a very convincing letter so we went to the local pet store and bought a young, male guinea pig.  he was a good little guy...nothing exciting, made all kinds of squeaky sounds and even purred when pet just the right way.  he loved carrots and was growing quickly in fact that one night morgan said, "mom, sam is getting fat.  we should lay off the carrots."  i checked him out and didn't see anything unusual, but he was a bit round.  i just figured he was growing.  morgan left that next day for her dad's wedding and i was left in charge of sam for the weekend....on friday morning, i woke up and went upstairs to feed sam and found what i thought was (dead) sam shriveled up between his little house and the wall of the cage.  i yelled for fred (we were still living there then) and was afraid i had somehow killed him in one night.  he came up and we both looked at the little creature, trying to figure out what it was/what had happened when the little wooden house started shaking!  i may have shrieked and finally opened the cage, lifting the wooden house up to find...two more guinea pigs!  there were a lot of "what is that?  are those...babies?  how did that happen?" being yelled in those moments.  disbelief.  absolute disbelief.  i mean, sam was a BOY...and a very young one at that.  baby boy guinea pigs don't have babies!!!  well...sam was clearly a samantha and she had clearly been pregnant when we bought her...and we were the proud "parents" of two baby girl guinea pigs!  guinea pig facts...1) it is VERY difficult to tell the sex of guinea pigs...2) guinea pigs nurse for four weeks but...3) can start reproducing at three weeks!!!  YIKES!!!  needless to say, i was beyond shocked (think of the line in Christmas Vacation where chevy chase says "i wouldn't be more surprised if i woke up tomorrow morning and my head was sewn to the carpet").  i will say, baby guinea pigs are adorable...they are born looking just as they do when they are full grown; complete with teeth and fur.  they are sweet and cuddly, but i didn't need three so we did eventually find homes for the babies and now we're back to just "sam"...or "samantha"...only in my world, seriously.

the one with the fall...
i went on a first date not long ago...come on, you know ANY story that starts like that has to be not only decent, but fairly embarrassing, right?  okay, so we went to the plaza to see the lights and after a long walk we got hot chocolate and decided to take one of those carriage rides (my only stipulation was that we NOT end up in the cinderella coach).  the ride was good...but, when it came time to get out; he was tipping the driver and independent me decided to go ahead and climb down (it's not like it's a long ways up and there are steps!)...well, picture chocolate in my left hand and as i stepped on the final step, the heel of my boot got caught in the grate of the get the idea.  no matter what i did, i couldn't get it out and in an instant i was on the ground - still holding my hot chocolate, i might add!  but my right hand and right knee took the brunt of the fall and i am embarrassed to admit it was tough not to cry but i held it together as my date watched in horror...yes, he wanted to catch me, but how on earth could he have done that???  that would have probably made things worse.  my hand was bleeding pretty bad and it hurt even worse...i was really thankful for the emergency band-aids i carry in my purse (you know, for morgan - ha!).  i won't lie...i was mortified.  thankfully it was late enough that there wasn't much of a crowd, but still...i had fallen.  in public.  out of a carriage.  on a first date.  but, i hadn't cried and didn't pass out from the blood...which is something i have a tendency to do.  and, yes, he was a total gentleman...he helped me up, apologized profusely for not catching me (as i reassured him there was no way he could have prevented it and that i'm naturally a total clutz), and then helped me put my band-aid on.  who else does this?  who else falls out of a carriage on a date???  again, only me.

the one where the puppy gets electricuted...
we adopted a puppy a couple months ago.  a decision i have both loved and regretted, but i think that's part of it.  he is the sweetest little guy, but 100% puppy.  anyway, he is very curious...into everything right now, including the christmas tree.  he crawls behind it constantly, hiding from kitty, chasing kitty, pretending to lay low when he is really trying to be sneaky...often nibbling on the string of lights (i keep thinking about that cat in Christmas Vacation).  i try very hard to stop him, but he's a puppy and sometimes i just don't catch him.  anyway, fast forward to tonight...i was in the kitchen starting dinner when in the span of about .5 seconds little charlie was under the tree and began making a horrific sound which, in turn, made morgan scream...let me say, that to this point, i have no idea what is happening or causing all this noise nor do i know how to stop it.  it was clear charlie was hurt, but i couldn't get to him to figure out how or why...he appeared stuck, but again i couldn't figure out how or where...he simply kept making this awful sound (somewhere between a bark, a cry, and a yelp) and morgan kept screaming at me to help know, cuz i was simply ignoring the situation!  i finally got him out from behind the tree and he wouldn't let either of us touch him...he ran for the patio door and i let him out...he crawled behind the bikes and that was where he stayed until morgan somehow coaxed his little shivering body out and back inside.  i honestly don't know what happened...the lights were still on, there was no spark, no smoke...but, there was also nowhere he could have been stuck that would have hurt him like that.  i'm guessing that he got shocked and now i'm wondering about the safety of my lights and tree???  the good thing is, after about an hour of him curled up in a little ball, he made a full recovery!  he is back to normal, and and strangely...back to sniffing around under the tree...yet again, only in my world do these things happen.

there are more of these stories...and many more to come, i have no doubt!  i know we all have crazy things that happen in our lives...most of the time they are funny only to us (or way funnier to everyone else because it didn't happen to THEM!!!)...but, they help us keep life in perspective, that's for sure!  do you have stories like this?