Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dear Bear

I miss you!  Well, that's pretty obvious.  I can't begin to tell you how much.  Who would have known all those years ago when you came into our life that you would stake such a claim!

I miss you for all the obvious reasons.  I miss your fur.  I miss your welcoming when I came in the door.  I miss the way you waited for me when I left the house.  I miss the way you would lick me to death each time I came home, even though sometimes I'd only been gone a few minutes.  I miss so many many things about you.

My Mom told me that my gift was to write.  She told me that the best way to show the world what you meant was to put it into words.  She told me, "Sandy, you need to write it down."  She knows how much I love you and how much I miss you.  She knows how much I am struggling and she just wants to help.  She's right...but she's also wrong.

Writing is my therapy.  It's always been.  But, where she is wrong is that I can't seem to put into words how I feel or what you meant.  There aren't enough words in the English language to describe it.  You defy logic and language.  There are no words to what you meant.

If you were here, if you could understand everything I want to say, if you were here I would say this...

I'm sorry!  I'm sorry I put you down.  I will never ever get out of my head the look on your face as the life left you. Did I do the right thing?  Did I make the right decision?  Did I do right by you?  I question that every single day!  You gave NOTHING but love.  Nothing but care.  Nothing but comfort.  Did I do that for you?  Or were you willing and ready to do more?  Did I give up on you or did I do right by you?

There are some out there who think this is the silliest thing ever to worry so much over a "pet".  You were so much more.

You came to us when we didn't really want a dog.  We didn't have the right house or home for you.  We didn't have the right yard for what you needed.  We were so not the right family for you at the time.  But at the same time were were exactly what you needed.  You were exactly what we needed.  There were times when you were a pup that I thought we'd surely bit off more than what we could chew.  You had so much more energy and craziness than what we were prepared for.

Shannon wanted to take you back.  She thought we weren't the right fit for you.  She thought someone else would be better.  Maybe she was the time.  But I knew, I don't know how, but I knew you were meant for us.  You were difficult and challenging.  You were not easy as a pup.  You had those Husky attributes that made you want to run like the wind.  We confined you.  But we loved you.

You took everything we were and did in stride.  You acclimated to our life, our home, our family.  I remember so many times you running out the front door, even up until we put you down, and running like you had just been set free.  But I also saw you take care of my babies.  Were you happy?

People would come to our home and feel scared upon meeting you.  You were large and in charge.  Everyone knew it, maybe that's why they were scared.  But you couldn't hurt a flea.  You greeted everyone who came over by jumping up and licking their faces.  Truly, that's how people were welcomed into our home.  You were our welcoming committee of one.  You also knew who to welcome.

You took care of your family, protected us, stood up for us...when you needed to.  You just knew when that needed to happen.  How did you know?  Why did you?

More than all of the "standard" things you were so much more.  You were my best friend.  I have friends, even best friends.  I have a husband, your alpha, that I know loves me. I have friends, best friends, who I depend on day in and day out.  But I don't have a you.

You gave me something nobody else could.  You were there in the darkest of days and the sunniest of nights.  You and only you were there when I needed a someone to not say a thing but just snuggle.  I leaned on you more than anyone.  It didn't matter what I did, what I said, who I was at the moment, you loved me.  You still were so excited when I came home.

Last year I went through my darkest of days, each one of those I came home to your excited face, wagging tail, and licking face to tell me all was going to be ok.  Who knew a dog could be so many things to so many people.

I sit here talking about all that you did for me but that doesn't even compare to what you did for my family, my babies.  They were always safe.  They were always loved.  They were always ok because they always had you.

Why did you have to leave?  Why did I have to make that decision?  Why are you gone?

Bear, I miss you so much!  I want you back.  I want you home.  I want you with us.

All I know for sure is that we tried to give you the best life we could.  We loved you unconditionally as you did to us.  I am angry.  I'm angry that you are gone.  I'm angry that you got cancer.  No, I'm pissed off.  You were not suppose to leave.  We had a deal!!!

I miss you.  So, so, so much!  I hope you left this world feeling like you had a good life.  I hope you sit there now and say "dang, I was loved.  Look at my family, they miss me and they love me."

Today we said our final good byes.  We put the last pieces of you up in a cupboard.  This is what prompted me to write this.  I want you to know you are never in a cupboard for us.  I will never forget you.  I will never have another you.  Thank you!

Thank you Bear!  Thank you for taking such good care of my babies!  Thank you for taking such good care of my family.  Thank you for taking such good care of me!  I love you!  I love you! I love you!  Oh how much I love you!  I am going to say good bye to you.  But I am not ever never ever going to forget you.  Thank you!

You left this world as you started it, licking and loving.  I hope you heard me as you left.  I hope you knew.  I watched the life leave you.  I cried, I loved, I recited over and over and over again as you left this world.  "I love you!  I love you!  I love you!"  I am putting away the pieces of you but I am not putting away you.  I love you!  I love you!  I love you!

So, I say good bye my sweet Bear.  Good bye and good dog sweet boy.  I have no doubt that is what you heard on the other side as you left us.  Take care of Louis and Grace.

Oh how I want you back...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Little Liz Taylor

This week has been....crazy, emotional, best!  I sat tonight with my boss.  He is faced with some really hard decisions on when to say enough is enough and let his wife go.  I CANNOT even imagine being faced with that.  I just don't even know how to wrap my brain around that.  I've had to say goodbye to a number of monumental people in my life but this is different.  This is his partner in life, the person he's spent a whole lifetime with, had children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren with.  How does one say goodbye to that.

I went to his house today in hopes of being a source of comfort for him.  Well, let's just put it out there and say it.  I SUCK!!!!  I couldn't help it!  I spent a few short minutes with them and the tears started flowing. So, I tried my best and held my composure as best I could.  Well not really but at least I tried.  I started this post out to talk about Max but as I write I think this post is going to be dedicated to Max's "Little Liz Taylor".

I met Max, and Donna, about 14 years ago.  I started working at GHBA, my first real job after getting married and moving to Texas.  Max was my boss, the coolest boss ever.  Someone who became so much more than that later but initially he was just that, my boss.  I remember a conversation shortly after I started working there.  Keep in mind I was a newlywed.  Everything in my world and my marriage was nothing but roses and sunshine.  And then I met Max.

Max and Donna at that point had been together for 45 years, I think.  When I asked him about his wife I will never forget what he said that day.  "Well Sandy, what can I say.  She's my Little Liz Taylor".  I didn't understand fully what he meant at that point as I'd not met her yet.  Then I did.  Little being the key word there, Donna was this very petite, little thing.  Keep in mind I'm a full 5'10" so everyone under 5'7" is little.  But Donna, I'm guessing wasl 5'0" if that.  Full of life, love, spunk, fire, loyalty, and love.  Never with a hair out of place, dressed to the 9's, and her makeup always a picture of perfection, she was amazing.  Did I mention she was a gourmet cook as well?  Yeah, she had that going for her to.  Oh, she's also an amazing and sought after interior designer.  Yeah!  All of that rolled into this tiny little thing named Donna Hoyt.

As I got to know Max and Donna I learned more and more about them.  They had this amazing marriage of give and take, mutual admiration for each other, and this insanely beautiful love.  As a newlywed myself I thought WOW I want that 50 years from now.

Fast forward 14 years, a few jobs in between, and I find myself back in the Max and Donna fold of employment.  But it's different this time.  I'm not this newlywed anymore.  I'm married almost 15 years, 3 kids, a few too many moves in between, a few too many heartaches, and a lotta laughs too.  I look at them different than I did 14 years ago when I was all roses and sunshine.  I sooo admire their love and admiration for eachother.

Life wasn't always roses and sunshine for them either.  They had to endure the loss of a child, something I can't imagine experiencing and pray I never do.  They went through a few too many moves, a few too many heartaches, a few too many challenges, and a whole lotta laughs too.

Tonight however, was not a night of laughs.  It was a night of challenges, probably the greatest their marriage has had to endure.  The challenge of separation.  Still though, true to form, Max taught me something.  We were sitting there together just the two of us and he spoke of the challenges of marriage.  He said "We had a good life.  But, there were times.  Times when we disagreed, times when we argued, times when I came home from work frustrated and took it out on her.  I would give get those days back."  Makes you think.  Little Liz Taylor and Mr. Max taught me a few things.  hmmmm,  just think about it.

I sit here tonight finishing this post, Donna has past, and I don't know how to make him smile again.  There are very few people in my life that I respect unconditionally.  Max is one of those people.  He is not perfect but he's perfect enough for me.  Leslie, his daughter and my boss, has become so much more than both those things I just said.  She has become such a great friend.  My mind takes me back to loosing my precious Grandma.  Such a hard time, much like they are experiencing now.  Little Liz Taylor, aka Donna Hoyt, you left your mark on this world and in those who were blessed enough to know you.

Rest in Peace sweet Donna.  Nous Vous Aimons!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving Up

It's been awhile since I've "blogged".  (still struggling with that term by the way)  But, if you follow me at all you know that I write when inspired to do so.  Tonight...I'm inspired.  So...the subject matter is about giving up.

So, OK here's the deal.  As you know...well, if anyone really reads my blog, I am a wife and Mom of three kids.  My kids are growing up, growing up far faster than I'd like really but unfortunately I can't stop it.  I find lately that my husband (G) and I are floating into uncharted territory.  We have absolutely NO idea what we are doing.  I remember back in the days when our first was entering Kindergarten and the tears that followed dropping her off that first day.  I am a control freak so sending my child, my sweet baby girl, off in to this harsh cruel kindergarten was a major event.  She screamed as I left.  I still remember walking down the hall back towards the front door and hearing her screaming the whole way.  It tore. my. heart. out.  The jury is still out on who exactly shed more tears on that day, her or me.  That first day was brutal.  I question now looking back what my boss was thinking.  Did he really think I was worth it?  I think not, if you base it on that first day of work because I was literally good for nothing.

I was fortunate, more than most, in that "A's" first day of kindergarten was at a work funded school...attached to our office...where I could look out my office window at her playing on the playground.  But, traumatic none the less.  For me of course.  For her?  Yes.  She had prior to this day been only cared for by us, her grandparents, and occasionally Aunts and Uncles.  But, never ever ever was she left with anyone outside our family.  But now I could only hope we were leaving her with a teacher that would care for her, protect her as we would.  Yeah right?  As I walked down that hall away from her listening to her cries, my womb hurt.  And, as I said I am a Mom of three, she being the oldest, so I've been through this scene THREE times.  All of them painful.

But now fast forward.  Now A is 12 and in middle school, N is in 5th, and my baby B is in 3rd.  Now, we find ourselves tackling a whole new set of worries.  We are no longer in charge of who their play dates are with or who their friends are.  I am here to tell you there are some that we wish, pray, and beg will leave their lives.

I am not a blind parent.  I am not one who thinks my children are "perfect" and everyone else's kids are evil.  In fact, I know full well my kids are faaaar from perfect.  They don't always do the right thing.  They make really bad choices sometimes.  They have to be "raised".  They have to be reminded.  They have to be reprimanded.  They embarrass the crap out of me sometimes and other times they make me feel taller than the 5 foot 11 inches that I am because they actually did the right thing.  They make me crazy, they make me laugh, they make me loose my cool, they make me frustrated, they make me smile, they make me gain at least one gray hair a day, and they make me love them more with each and every single day of their existence.  I tell them often how much I love them.  I am their Mommy.  Nobody, I mean nobody, in this world will ever love them as much as I do.  Spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends, none of them will ever even come close to loving them as much as I do.  My womb still hurts when they do.

So, letting up.  That was the title of this post.  I would never give up on them.  Never, ever.  It doesn't matter what they do or how many mistakes they make.  It doesn't matter how much they don't like me or don't appreciate me.  They will always be the most amazing people I've ever met.  They will always be the smartest, because they have the potential to be so.  They will always be the nicest, because they have the potential to be so.  And when they don't like's likely because I'm "cramping their style", "killing their mo-jo", have too many rules, or see the road block ahead of them that they don't because I've been there.

BUT, no matter what they do, where they go, who their friends are, or what they become I will never, ever, ever, ever give up on them.  I will never be afraid to say I'm sorry if I've made a mistake, I will never stop trying, stop mothering, stop caring.  I will never not care.  I will never get turned away too much.  I will never not love them when they needed to spread their wings and fly.  I will never be offended so much so that I stop caring.  I will never not be the person they can always count on to answer the phone when they call.  I will never think it's too late, too early, or too much.  I will always cry with them and for them.  I will always be their biggest cheerleader.  I will always be the person they don't want to disappoint but will call me when they do because they will know I will cast no judgement but will guide them through.  And for the record, my womb will always hurt when they do.  And...I will never, ever, ever, ever give up on them. Not once, not ever.

I don't understand giving up on your children, even if they've given up on you.  I love them...with every fiber of my being.  Sometimes it might be "tough love" but the key word in that is LOVE.  I hope they know that about their Mom, I hope they always know how much I love them, I hope they always know I will never give up on them  And, I hope they never have to feel this.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Uncle -the last Great Cowboy

I remember when I was in college my roommate needing to do this project.  She was an art major so her "projects:" were very different from mine.  Anyway, she had to do this project where she created a piece of artwork while listening to one single song.  I did my part to support her, I provided the song.

So I was thinking about this tonight and how a song can inspire so so so much!  I have friends who are incredibly creative and can make those songs.  Kudos to you all!  We, in the writing world, appreciate your inspiration.  It is your songs that can inspire us "artists of the written word" to write.

Tonight I am inspired to write and I won't tell you which song inspired my just have to guess.

I was thinking about life today, thinking about how I feel about it all.  So often we mess it all up in our minds and make it so incredibly complicated that at the end of the day we can't see the forest for the trees. Or maybe that's just me that does that.  Yeah right!  You know you are right there with me.

So....we complicate things.  Yep.  We work ourselves all up with some insane and incredible thing that is going on and we can't function.  I am reminded of something my Dad said FAR TO OFTEN to me in my life...Don't sweat the small stuff and at the end of the day it's ALL small stuff".  I hated him for that.  But, as long as you promise not to tell him I will admit...under diress...he was right.  Shhhhhh!  Seriously, I'll take down you and your lineage if you tell him I said he was right!  Test me!  Go ahead and try.  I will plead the 5th!

There is someone that has been on my mind alot today who knew just how to keep it simple and not complicate everything.  He focused on the things that were important to him.

Yesterday I was reminded of what time of year it was.  Tomorrow will be 3 whole years since I lost my Uncle.  A quiet man and a quiet goodbye.  I have never once put into words what he meant to me...until now.  He didn't have the greatest "reputation", I don't mean that people thought he was an awful person or anything - he just lived by a different set of rules than most.  He didn't own a thing beyond what he could fit in his car.  He certainly didn't leave this huge trust to his kids or family.  What he left us was his sweat stained hats, worn out boots, a trunk load of stuffed animals he won at the crane game, some pictures of his kids which were golden to him, and some clothes.  If I was describing just a Joe Schmo you wouldn't think much of him.  But, because you are reading this you are someone who loves me and know that I loved him so you think more.

So, take a minute, and learn about a person who didn't have a pot to piss in BUT he had a fire in him that was like kindling to his

I was ALWAYS soooooo proud to call him my Uncle.  I was surrounded throughout my life with wanna-be's.  Not my Uncle.  I was so so proud to tell people that MY Uncle was a REAL cowboy.  He never once lived by anybody else's rules, he lived by his own.  Money?  That was never his motivator.  Things?  Didn't care about those either.

I was maybe 5 or 6.  It was a typical Sunday afternoon.  We went to church and my Mom had my hair all up in curls to look pretty. We always went to Grandpa and Grandma's farm for Sunday Dinner.  My Uncle Lou showed up so proud to show off the two new colts he bought.  The adult in me now understands how big of a deal that was for him and how come he wanted to show off those beautiful colts.  I...took one look at those colts and would not be happy unless I was on the back of one of them. He bought them as a proud Papa for his boy but he had to get through me, his niece, first.  I wouldn't take NO for an answer.

He put me on that colt, my parents and grandparents all in a worry as that colt wasn't broken in.  But me?  I can't explain it but I wasn't worried....not even just a little.   I willingly jumped on the bare back of that colt...ready to ride.  I can still feel it as if it just happened.  My legs, albeit small at that age, wrapped around that colt.  True to form, he was not as excited for the introduction as I was.  As soon as my legs wrapped around him he started bucking, and bucking hard.  It didn't take much and I was airborne.  My Uncle, who was so proud of his purchase and what he brought to his parents' house let that colt go as soon as I hit the air and I was the only thing that mattered.  Why wasn't I worried to get on that colt?  Safety.  I KNEW he'd catch me if I fell.

My Uncle Lou was a real cowboy.  He had hard livin written all over his face.  He was a shot of Whiskey and a beer on Sunday.  A roll-your-own filterless cigarette smokin, hard drinkin, lovin your family, horse breakin kind of guy.  He had a Sunday Church hat and an everyday sweat-on-your-brow hat.  These weren't baseball caps...these were cowboy hats and he wore the strength of our ancestors in those hats.

I remember the last time I saw him.  He was the same sense of soft-spoken strength that I'd always known.  It was my Grandma's funeral.  He was the same as he'd always been to me and we could communicate without saying much at all.  See I was one of the oldest of the grandkids, my brother only older than me.  I am forever thankful to be so because as we have lost so many family members I enjoy that I got to know them as a kid and as an adult.  I drove with him, Uncle Jim, me and Mark...the smokers.  I think now three years later how special that moment was since I have now lost both those uncles.  I wouldn't trade that moment for all the money in the world!!!

I have been sooo incredibly blessed!  I never lacked for anything - that was important!  I am a strong, stable, to-it-myself girl today because of where I come from.  My Uncle Lou came into this world weak and feeble.  He left this world strong, weathered, and loved!

I have a display on my mantle today.  It is his sweat stained workin cowboy hat, his big belt buckle, and some seriously worn in boots.  I look at them daily and am reminded of where I come from, who's strength I need to stack up to, where I've been, and what I want to raise my kids to be.

A shot of whiskey and a beer...a strength when there was none, a constant that would always been there, a weathered and worn face, but always, always, always one that had time for others.

So, what's the song that inspired my thoughts tonight?  Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You

I an still sooo soooo sooo PROUD to tell people that YOU are MY Uncle.  You were the sun at the end of a storm in so many ways for me.  So humbly lived, so incredibly admired, so very missed!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Natural Childbirth Debate

So I was on facebook early this morning and came across a discussion, well more of an argument, regarding "natural childbirth".  The poster of this "discussion" was talking about how she's had seven kids.  The first three she had au naturale and the last four she opted for whatever and however many drugs they could pump in her to eliminate the pain and then wondered why on earth she chose natural with her first three.  She was also implying that there is a great deal of judgement from others for not having all her kids natural.  There is when the argument started.  Pro-natural birthers gave their opinions and experiences, as well as citing the dangers of drugs during birth.  Anti-natural birthers chose to focus on the belief that it didn't really matter as that's not what made them a mother, and then bashed the pro-natural birthers for making them feel bad about their decision.  So, I thought about this discussion, my views on it, and where I stand in the debate.  I did not participate in their banter back and forth and chose to blog about it myself.  Ha!

So, here's my take.  For those of you reading this who have not yet had your first child and tangle with this decision yourself here's one mother's opinion.  For the record, whether it's my opinion or someone else's I have a firm belief that, and I will make this the G rated version, "opinions are like butts, everyone has one and they all stink.

I have three kids.  I love all three of my babies and am so thankful everyday that I was given the opportunity to carry each one of them for 9+ months in my womb under my heart.  Yes, that is right - 9+ months since none of mine were on time.  I made the decision while pregnant with my first to go the "non-traditional" route in birthing my kids.  I say non-traditional because in this day and age with modern medicine it is not considered normal to WANT to birth your kids au naturale.  All three of my very big babies were born in a birth center, not a hospital.  I didn't have a doctor, I had a midwife and a doula.  My kids were water babies and it was excruciatingly painful!  I have honestly basked in the comments I get from other moms like "you are amazing", "you are quite the woman", or "you are insane".  But, to be fair had I had my kids in a hospital I would have caved and went for the drugs I am sure of it.  However, being in a birth center drugs were not available so therefor not an option for me.  I should also tell you that my babies were huge.  8'8", 10'5", and 8'14".  Can you tell which birth weight belonged to my son?  Yes, I am shewoman hear me roar!

But here's the thing about where I stand on this debate.  I had my kids natural.  I HATE hospitals and I HATE someone standing over me telling me what to do or how to do it, or not allowing me to do what I want - ie. walk around vs laying in a bed.  I am thankful that I did what I did and chose how I chose.  Am I proud of my accomplishment in doing "natural childbirth"?  Hell yes I am !!!  I am always happy to share my experience with soon-to-be moms who ask and want to know how that experience was for me and why I chose it.  But, I do not think less of any other mom out there who chose different than me.  I do not think I'm more of a mom for my way but I also do not think that they are better than I because they chose modern medicine.  Now, I will say this.  My stance on the drug labor is that it doesn't give us women a chance to see how strong we really are.  Those that have said to me "I could never do that" my response is always the same.  "yes you could, you just don't know it because you didn't do it".  We women are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Having said all that now, why in the H-E-double hockey sticks are we debating on it?  We debate on how to birth children, we debate on how to potty train them, we debate on how to punish our children, we debate on homeschooling vs. public school vs. private school, we debate on bottle vs. breast - which for the record is a HUGE hot button for me since I come from a family of women who simply don't produce enough milk to feed our children and I chose not to starve mine, kind of tired of people making me feel bad for that choice.  But why are we debating?  Are you a Mom?  Did your child/children come out of your womb made by you?  Did you make that noble, yes noble, decision to adopt someone else's child and make them your own?  If yes to any or all of these questions is yes then dammit YOU'RE the M-O-M!  Who cares what other people think and who cares that they chose different than you or that you chose different than them.  Those babies are yours, nobody else's so it is YOUR decision!!!!  You do what's best for you and your baby and I'll do the same for me and mine.  I had my kids natural because that was what worked best FOR ME.  But I will never condemn anyone else for making a decision different than mine because...well, it's their decision and they aren't me.  Nor am I them.  Let's celebrate each other not make each other feel bad for the decisions that we make regarding our children.  Good Lord, we will feel bad enough throughout raising them for the mistakes we make.

At the end of the day I am reminded of something I said right after my first child was born.  I had just finished 23 hours of "natural childbirth", my husband and I were in the water together and I was holding her for the first time right after my husband's hands were the first ones to touch her and help her out of me.  I looked at him with nothing but love in my eyes and in my heart and I said, "She's perfect.  God made her absolutely beautiful and perfect.  It's only us that can screw her up now."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Swim lesson by my 10 yr old

Hi my name is Sandy and I am a Swim Team Mom.  That is a title that I wear and love.  It carries alot of emotion with it, far more than I am willing to get in to now so we'll just leave it with the title of Swim Team Mom.

So, as a swim team mom I spend every night poolside while my kids are in practice.  Every Saturday morning my husband and I get up at the crack of dawn to cheer on our 3 little munchkins in their swim meets.   We celebrate the little wins with them and are blissfully happy with being the obnoxious parents on the sidelines screaming at the top of our lungs "PULL" and running along the side with them as the swim.  All the while, by the way, thinking that these kids can actually hear us...which they can't...but we don't care.  We are "those" parents.

So today, like any other day, I was sitting poolside watching my kids in practice.  One of their coaches asked me yesterday if the kids could stay for the following practice as well as doing their own practice.  I, of course, said YES.  My kids have some amazing coaches who have helped them reach a potential, a confidence, and a skill set that I've not seen them achieve until this year.  As a result I am more than willing to accept any additional instruction they can get.  So the kids swam during their practice, 45 minutes, and then swam with the older kids during their practice, another 45 minutes.  It is here that I learned a lesson from my 10 yr old. do I describe her.  She is our oldest, so our first.  She gave us the biggest lesson in what it really meant to be a parent and care about someone else more than yourself straight out of the shoot by spending her first week of life in the NICU.  Since then she has had eye surgery, she has lazy eye, she will have surgery again soon, her eyes don't work together so she has confidence issues, she is shy and introverted by nature, and she is dyslexic.  Oft times she will ask me "why did God pick me for this".  She has to fight, claw, and dig deep for everything she does and accomplishes.  We enrolled her in swim team because it gave her a "level" playing field.  It was the one sport that didn't depend so much on her eye sight nor "on land" coordination, which she struggles with because her eyes don't want to work together.

The kids swam, with the two practice sessions, I figured out a total of about 1800 yards.  I watched Ariana practicing.  She got tired, real tired.  She could have quit...but she didn't.  She had a moment of "oh crap, I can't do that" and at that moment her coach (who must have seen the look in her eyes) said, "Ariana, you can do this, I know you can"  So she did.  She is not the fastest swimmer, she's not the best swimmer.  Heck, her dive pretty much sucks, she's not great at the turns, BUT she doesn't quit.  She knows she's probably not going to be #1 but she doesn't care.  She still works just as hard as if she might just win this time.

Even in school, this child has to work 10 times harder than any other student for every grade, trying to make up for how her dyslexia complicates things.  Her teacher told me the other day that even on days that you can tell Ariana doesn't want to be there she still gives 100% every single day.  That impresses the heck out of me.  Not to mention, she's pulling all A's and only one B.  She would have every reason in the book to quit, give up, slack off because she's got an excuse to do so.  But, she doesn't.  She works harder and smarter and loves to learn.

So I thought about that.  So often we can feel defeated or that we can't win.  Does that mean we quit?  NO!!!!  Take a lesson from my 10 yr old.  When your hurdles are greater than others and you are not the best of the best, don't quit!  When there's boulders in your path that seem so big, keep fighting and keep going.  You may not be the fastest but what matters most is that you finish.

Ariana, because of her personality, is afraid of every new thing.  But she willingly accepts each new challenge and takes it on head first.  She's not afraid to work.  Even if she won't "win" she will still give 100% effort.  THAT, my friends, is winning.

Point is, we all have hurdles.  We all have challenges.  Don't quit dammit!  If my 10 yr old can keep going so can we!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Eastertide...what does that mean?

I really can't believe that I am posting about Easter Season!  I started this blog back in January, right after the holidays, which does not seem like that long ago.  Time is just rolling on by, which I could really expand upon but that is for a whole different blog post.  This one, this one is about something that is at the root of my  existence.  My foundation.  My life.  My faith.

What is Easter to you?  What does it mean?  I know for most, myself included, it means family time.  A ham dinner at a nicely decorated spring table with family and friends seated around.  It means pretty little girls all dressed up in the most beautiful dresses us Mommies can find to compliment our, of course, already beautiful girls.  Their hair all done up with bows, curls, and maybe even pigtails.  Little white gloves, new spring dress shoes, tights, and purses to match their new dress.  Our boys, well they cannot be forgotten on this day either.  I love seeing my boy on Easter with a new Easter outfit.  (boys hate it when you call it an outfit by the way)  We get them new church shoes and a "set" complete with khakis pants, a freshly pressed button down collared shirt, a sweater vest, and a tie to complete the ensemble.  Here in Texas it's actually warm at Easter so my son tends to prefer the sets that come with shorts vs. khakis.  But, you get the point.  It's a time to get dressed up in our Easter best and then send our kids outside in the dirt to hunt for eggs that the Easter Bunny has left out in the yard.  Kind of funny when you think about it, dress them all up, in light colored clothes no less, and then send them out to dirt and grass.  Not the smartest activity we parents have created.

But, is that what this season is all about?  In more recent years, I think we've done a better job of remembering "the reason for the season" and I think in large part to the commercial success of a certain Easter movie called "The Passions of the Christ".  I know soooo many people that make a point of watching that movie at this time of year.  If you don't believe me on this, just try to go to your local video store (if there are still any) or order on Netflix and see if you have any luck finding one in stock.  Walk through your local department store.  This time of year they always have a newly displayed section right in the front of the DVD department with multiple copies of the movie for purchase.  Not to be a downer but it is really kind of sad when you think about it that it's the success of a movie that has spawned people to at least watch it to remember what really happened to create this season, this holiday.  But, we can also look at it as a positive that people ARE really taking the time to remember.

I hope I don't offend anyone here and I certainly don't mean to but just think about it for a minute.  People won't go to church all year, not any given Sunday....except Christmas and Easter.  It is nice to see that with all the changes we've made, all the Politically Correctness we feel we need to have, the removal of God from so much that was the foundation of this great country, at least we least somewhat...give God, and Jesus, their days...twice a year.

This season, the season of Easter, is soooo emotional.  Or is that just me?  Christmas is a beautiful time of year when we remember the birth of Jesus.  Who can't be happy celebrating a birth right!?  But Easter, now that's the time when we remember that he died.  For us.  Jesus had to be a man, made of flesh and blood.  He had to go through unspeakable pain and suffering in his final days leading up to his death.  For us.  For me Easter is a reminder each time I go to church and take that communion wafer, the body and blood of Christ.  Think about what...that...means.  I've been known to get a bit teary eyed on Easter Sunday in taking my communion wafer because I am reminded of all that he had to endure.  I often think about, now as a mom myself, how Mary must have felt.  I cannot even imagine how heart wrenching it must have been for her to watch her son hanging there.  Yes, he is the Son of God.  Yes, she knew that.  But yes, he still grew in her womb and she still raised and protected him, as any mother would do, as he grew up into the man that now hung on a cross with a crown of thorns piercing into his flesh.  Yikes!!!  It gets me emotional just to type these words now.

My point here is this.  I am not saying that we shouldn't decorate eggs, wait for the Easter Bunny to arrive, celebrate a happy family time, or enjoy our day off on Good Friday.  (that's if your company allows you to have that day off)  We should enjoy all of that.  But, let's also not forget why we are celebrating this time either.  Don't forget he's the reason for the season.  He went through all of that pain, all of that suffering, all of that anguish for each and every one of us.  The least we can do is take the time to remember him for it.  And thank him.