Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fog and more fog...week three and four

I thought I had kicked it in the face.  After arriving home from Texas late on Sunday, and struggling through the entire week in an exhausted/grieving fog, I hit Friday and started feeling like the fog was lifting.

I was so relieved.

I busied myself with Hallie's volleyball tournament, and Kannon's golf tournament, and just put the grief in the past...where it belongs.

Then all week went by, and I was dragging, dragging, more pain, thinking of Laynie, missing Laynie, seeing pictures of Austin, missing Austin...

Seeing his precious parents this weekend, and being "On", so I could love them and comfort them, and make them laugh and feel ok.

Then........crash, bang, boom.....sadness enters.

I remember in "The Shack", how the man describes his daughter's death, as "The Great Sadness".  It really does sum it up.

But the promise that is given, is that you are never alone in your pain.  Yes, you are going to hurt, and yes, you are going to grieve, but the promise and beauty of it all, is...

You are Never Alone.

He is there to comfort and hold you, and as I felt so utterly lost today, I still felt God with me every second.  He brought goofy dentists and hygienists through my path, to make me crack up at them.  He let me work with a wonderful friend, and KLOVE kept me lifted at my desk, when nothing else makes sense.

One foot in front of the other.  Breathing in and out.  Knowing that there is a big plan that will be revealed to us, and that peace is right there, for the taking.

And of course....this picture that Lacey put on Laynie's page about 3:00, which started my heart beating again.

  And this one, which made me laugh out loud, at Austin's "fro" head, which he was so proud!

Life is a gift.  Not a pleasure cruise.  Use it wisely, for when it is done, how will you be remembered?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Living through Loss...week 2

Loss is hard.


Trying to find your way through the day, and some of those days, simply breathing is all you can do.  I slowed down enough this week to realize I've lost my precious "nephew".  I won't get to listen to him tell me about guns (yawn), or torturing me chasing me through his house carrying his snake, Shakesphere.  He thought that was so funny.   I won't get to gaze on his curly red hair, and see how his youth freckles were fading, and he was growing tall into a man.

I won't get to listen to him recite the many benefits of "Funyuns" and why they should have their own food group.  We won't get to paint his toenails, and watch him flex his weird toes.  I won't get to talk "poop" with him, and even though he always acted freaked out that I brought up the subject, he would join right in.

Hallie's foot is NOT connected to the hairy leg.  

His "Superman" pose at the Icicle 5k in 2011

He was awesome...

The 5k will be hard this year.  Instead of running and running and running for Laynie, we will have a new member in our Team Hope memories.  His smile.  His precious heart.  I have never met a child more loving and respectful than that kid.
This year at Team Hope run..

As we sat as his memorial service, kid after kid came to the microphone to share how special he was to them.  It was fantastic.  We bought a leather bound journal, and his friend took it to school to have his other friends sign it, and the love letters in that journal are fantastic.

I read the first one, and it gave me more peace than anything else about that mindless week.  It was from one of his friends, and it said how he loved how Austin had never judged him, even with Austin knowing this friend was an atheist.  His friend wrote, "You never gave me crap about my choice.  You just talked to me and told me about how you believed."  That made me happy...but this made me even happier... "After you died, Austin, I prayed for the first time.  I have to believe there is more than this life, and I want to be with a God that will take me to be reunited with you."

The kid had skills.  Kind, gentle, goofy, a friend to many... he had it all.

And now he's gone.

Friends, I cannot stress enough, that life isn't guaranteed.  If you get nothing out of this blog, it's this one thing...Love God with all your heart and all your mind.  If you don't think you are saved, it's not rocket science... ask yourself this question... "Do you believe that God sent his son, Jesus, to die for your sins on the cross?", if that answer is YES...then are halfway there.  People are under the misguided notion that being a Christian is too hard to attain.  Especially if their choices haven't been the best... and that's crap.  Jesus didn't hang out with the temple leaders, the elite "christians", he found the prostitutes, the lepers, the blind, the people that needed to be loved the most.  Don't think you can't be saved, God LONGS for you.

In Austin's memorial service, the speaker (HE was just fabulous) said that people's natural inclination is to NOT seek God.  That it takes a mindset, a desire to want to have a relationship with God.  If you believe that God sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross... then just say a prayer to God to forgive you of your sins.  Do it now.  Ask for forgiveness.   Feel that burden lift?   God is just waiting.  Patiently waiting for you to come to Him and ask Him in your heart.  Said that prayer??  Now tell someone.  Declare it to the world.  Even better, find a lifechurch and get baptized.  (We are doing one in MWC on Sunday....woohoo, my favorite time)...  Being baptized is a way to show obedience to God's calling.   And then the bible says that Jesus told the prostitute, after saving her from being stoned from the outraged "Christian" citizens , "Go from here and sin no more".   He didn't say dwell on your past indiscretions, and worry about all the times you screwed up, he said, "Go from here and sin NO MORE."

It's how you live from here that will make all the difference.  You may have screwed up 1, 111 times in the last 6 months, but ask for forgiveness, and Sin No More.

Am I sinless?  Bahahahahaha.  What I am is quick to recognize my sin now.  As soon as it happens, I'm like, CRAP A MONKEY, I did it again.  And I quickly make amends.  Sorry, Hallie, didn't mean to be a wanker.  Sorry, big ole grandma in front of me at the light, I didn't mean to curse 3 months of Sunday at you, and oops, sorry kid with your pants hanging to your ankles, I didn't mean to judge.  Be quick to say I'm sorry, and don't repeat your past mistakes.  Live differently.

I want Austin's life to have made a difference.  If he changes the course of one person's life with his passing, then his life made a difference.  If he changes 100

Think about when you pass away....what will they say at your funeral?  "She made a difference"   "She could party like a rock star"   "She loved unconditionally"   "He could curse in 3 different languages"   "He adored his family" .   Where do you fit?

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Don't let another minute pass.   

Monday, September 10, 2012

When life doesn't make sense

Do you have someone in your family that just lights the room up when they enter?  So entertaining and magnanimous, they change a dynamic of a group?  That is my baby cousin, Austin.

His mom is my first cousin.  She feels more like a sister to me, and we've always been close and weird like that.  So when Austin started calling me Aunt Laura, no matter how many times we tried to tell him I wasn't his aunt, he just ignored us and kept calling me that.  I loved it.

His parents were Navy people, so they moved a ton.  I didn't get to spend much time with him growing up, but the wonderful thing about family, is, the minute you are all back together, not one bit of time has passed.

They had moved back to Texas a few years back, and I made the drive to Corpus Christi to see them as much as I could.  It was always a good time waiting to happen.

Then they moved to Rowlett, just outside of Dallas, and I got to see more of them.

Austin came and spent spring break last year at my house.  It was a blast.  He allowed Hallie and her friends to paint his toenails, watched chick flicks with them (even though he said he hated them, I know he didn't), helped me work in my yard (I called him my slave labor) and be with his grandpa,  and just taught me that boys are so great.

I always kid and say I don't get boy humans, but I do.  If they were all like Austin, this world would be easy.    He had bright ginger hair, and was so proud of that curly mess.  I'll never forget one time I hadn't seen him for awhile and he let that stuff grow out into a fro and I was just cracked totally up.  The kid had some hair now.   Then he began growing tall (along with Hallie) and they both have gotten quite out of control.
This year at Laynie's run

At Kip's homecoming....our babies are growing up.

One of my most favorite memories, was last memorial day.  We all got together to remember my uncle (his grandpa) and our cousins from California had flown in to be with us too.  It was a party.  Austin and his brother Paul, played some soccer with the little bros from California, Severin and Camden, and fun was had by all.  Those little boys will NEVER forget the fun they had with those "Big brothers".

I love this picture....You can see the joy on all their faces.  

I write a lot about finding joy and overcoming disappointment.  Here's when the rubber meets the road.  When you face a tragedy that is senseless and incomprehensible and try to make sense out of it.  An athletic, in perfect shape kid, goes in the lake with his sister to swim across.  This is nothing they haven't done, he is a strong swimmer.  Something goes very wrong across the way and he panics.  His sister was a hero, trying valiantly to calm him and to get him to relax and let her pull him on across.  Something has happened though, and we will never know.  He can't be calmed.  By the time a canoe in the distant sees their distress and makes it to them, it's too late.  Megan dives and dives looking for him.  People from the shore dive in to look for him.  

He is gone.

I still sit here with tears streaming down my face because I cannot believe life can end so quickly.  I have lost my dad, I have lost my granddaughter, and this, this is one of the most painful things I have ever dealt with, because this life had just begun.  I have no words for the grieving family, who is my family, that I love so desperately and completely.  I have always been the fixer of the family, and I can't FIX this for anyone.  I can only love and sit with them, and eat.  and eat.  and eat.  and clean ceiling fans, and carry a notebook and make arrangements.  

Friends, I cannot stress enough to you to love your family.  Love them hard, and tell them everyday that you love them.  Love the Lord with all your heart and strength and mind.  You never KNOW when your last day is.  This brought it screaming back to me that every second of life is a gift.  Live your life as if this were your last day.  Every day.  Don't waste time on things that don't matter.  Live intentionally.  and mainly, love and share your love.  

You never know when it will be gone.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I found out yesterday, late, that I wasn't going to be getting our 4 year old girl.  I had already taken a day off work, re-assembled her room, gotten out every female toy, enrolled her in school, and bought her a new toothbrush and toothpaste.

Yes. I did.

When the call came that the caseworker had dropped a couple of "Balls" and I wouldn't get to keep our 4 year old, I was disappointed, and a wee bit heartbroken.

So I strapped on my big girl panties, went on a date with two of three of my favorite hotties in the world, and proceeded to have a wonderful, laughter filled evening.  Then as I walked out of the movie theatre, I listened to my voicemail, and another caseworker had left a message.."Would you be willing to take brothers for the weekend?  We have a foster mom that needs to go out of state, and needs some respite help."  Well, duh.  Of course I will.

Then I stared in my brand newly organized and arranged little girl in heaven room and knew I was going to have to get to work.

Here's the deal.  Boys are easy.

I posted on facebook about ideas for boys, and I was overwhelmed with responses.  Give them balls, water, dirt and food, and you are good.

Everyone was right.

My two princes are 10 and 8.  The oldest is disabled, and precious and his little brother is his warrior.  They were so polite in the first 10 minutes of having them, that I almost swallowed my teeth.  Then the youngest started getting braver, and asking me things like, "What is your earthquake plan?" and "Sweet tea is my most favorite drink on the planet."

He had me at earthquake plan.

I asked him about his earthquake plan, and he said the time he felt it, he yelled at his foster mom, that he was too young to die, and he hadn't even seen New York.   What ??  He might be my little soulmate.

His big brother, chimes in about every other word parroting what little bro is saying, and never stops smiling.

I've never been more charmed in my life.

Even when they were hosing me down with their brand new water guns.
My dogs have never been in more bliss.

They didn't like my wheat bread on grilled cheese.  Major fail.

They loved the teddy grahams, and the watermelon, and the fruit snacks, and the grapes.  That was easy.

Big bro waters my tree leaves. and then turns around and waters me.  Sweet.

Hallie came home shortly after these pictures and my polite, sweet little polite boy humans, became pre-teens.  Acting snarky and smart mouthed.  To impress a girl.  My girl.  My four heads taller girl that was relatively unimpressed by them.  It only made them try that much harder.  Snarkier, and snarkier.  I was cracked up.

We fed ducks at the OU duck pond, and played at the splash pad.  Older brother is very cautious, while younger brother runs like a crazy man to and fro.  Have I mentioned, it is charming?.

I thought all kids liked the idea of pizza, so I threw it out, and lo and behold, my prince charmings asked for meatloaf and smashed taters.  Well, sure, then.  Meatloaf it is.   They ate everything not nailed down.  Apparently playing in the heat for 4 hours makes hearty eaters.   No leftover all.  Cool.

Tomorrow we are going to church, and tanking up at CiCi's pizza.  We're going to go see a movie (not sure what yet) and then come home and eat dinner and play with glowsticks and badminton sets.

Then Monday, I'll pack them up about noon and take them back to their rested foster mom, then I will return home and go directly to bed, and try to rest before I go back to work on Tuesday.

After discussing plans, and weeding through the dollar store "treasures" I had bought each of them, younger prince charming declared, "This is our best weekend EVER in our lives".

I'm pretty sure it's top of mine too.

I guess my very most favorite part was mealtime prayers, when big bro hit about every third word, and enthusiastically yelled.... "AMEN".

Yep, I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Wish you'd consider it too.