A few pictures taken from the preschool program the other night. Drew is the wiseman in a crown, and Evan has the collar on. The other picture is of Luke and his Uncle Todd! I'm so glad they are home! :)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I reunited with Todd, Micah, and Grace today. It was awesome! I can't believe her cheeks!!! Grace is quite the ADORABLE chunk! She's such a happy baby.
I got a good cry out with Todd today, too....I guess. This next week is going to be so bittersweet. Bitter for the loss I've suffered, but sweet for seeing them again and getting to spend time with them.
The twins were in a preschool Christmas program. Drew and Evan were both wise men. :) It was so sweet. Today as we were talking about what the wise men did in the whole Christmas story, the conversation went something like this:
Me: So tell me what you are doing in the program tonight.
Drew/Evan: We are wise men.
Me: What do the wise men do?
Evan: They follow the star.
Drew: Drew G. is the star. We walk around in the song Walking to Bethlehem. It's the most important part of the whole story.
Me: That's a big responsibility. You must be important. Why do they follow the star? Where are they going?
Drew: To see Jesus.
Now, realizing that they know the Christmas story and have been told all about it....my next question comes.
Me: What do the wise men bring?
Evan: Just cookies for after the program.
HYSTERICAL! I love it. I'll try to get pictures up soon! :)
Posted by mi*chelle at 1:12 AM
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I got a funny email today...one that I thought I'd pass on. As I was scrolling through the list of email addresses from the contacts list, I came across a name and thought, "Oh he'd like it." I clicked on my dad's email address before realizing...
When does that stop?
Posted by mi*chelle at 4:13 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Drop everything you are doing and go buy a ticket to this A-MA-ZING movie.
Seriously, drop it.
Why are you still reading? Shouldn't you be looking up show times?
You won't be disappointed.
My #1 Movie of ALL TIME as of now.
Girl can S-I-N-G. :) Will steal your heart in about 1.5.
I think it's because I love music and I love Freddie Highmore. He's so pure, innocent. This movie had like 2 bad words. No joke. Actually, now that I think of it, I can only remember one. I'll probably own the soundtrack...and I KNOW I'll own the movie. It's so good. Don't wait for the DVD. Go. Now.
Some other movies I can't wait to see:
I AM LEGEND.
THE BUCKET LIST.
MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER IMPORIUM
Posted by mi*chelle at 12:14 AM
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'm sure this next month will be full of new emotions I hadn't counted on...new feelings...but I'll work through it, I guess.
We actually put up our Christmas stuff early this year. We got in the mood last weekend. So Saturday night we got to decorate our new home for the first time. It was fun. Well, it was fun AFTER a few fiascos, but that's ok. :)
Our new Christmas tree:
My new Christmas gift, Chad bought me a fireplace! :) Of course, it's not real, but it is nice to have it. Thanks, Honey!
Posted by mi*chelle at 1:34 PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So today, Gabriel grew up in front of my eyes. He asked me why I didn't have a weener (a term Luke has brought to our household from school or his dad, I'm not sure which...). I answered that girls don't have pee pees and I am a girl. His answer? "No you're not. You're a mommy!"
Posted by mi*chelle at 10:55 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
Well, I would not advise using dish soap to "teach your children a lesson..." Last week, after several days of picking up the kids to find out that they had been been talking back and calling names such as "poopy," I decided that the previous consequences weren't quite enough. I have often used a medicine dropper full of vinegar to each them that their mouth can say ugly things, but apparently vinegar didn't make the shopping list, so dish soap it was. Now I can remember eating soap as a child. I've heard stories of many - no, countless parents who have used it. So I thought nothing of lining up Drew, Evan, and Gabriel in the kitchen and squirting the soap in their mouth. Twenty seconds later I would have a completely different viewpoint...They were vomitting everywhere in that kitchen. Twenty minutes later they were still vomiting. They didn't bend over. They didn't attempt to move to the trash can. They didn't even aim for it when I brought it to them. They just let the vomit splat all over their clothes, shoes, and the kitchen floor. So who was really punished in all this??? I think I should put vinegar back on top of the grocery list.
I popped my collar bone last Wednesday. Now pain shoots up my neck in to my left ear and around the back to the base of my head. I can hardly stand it, so tomorrow I head to the doctor. It keeps getting worse.
Despite the shore collar bone/neck/shoulder, I shopped this weekend with 22 people from church. We left Friday morning and returned Saturday night. Wanna be completely green with envy? I'm done Christmas shopping except for 3 gifts!! YAY!!!
So that should have just caught you up on the last week and a half. Have a great week.
Posted by mi*chelle at 3:12 PM
Saturday, November 03, 2007
In less than 24 hours, I'll be dreading the workweek again. ew.
Took the kids to see Bee Movie. It was not as good as I anticipated. I was sadly disappointed. There were funny one-liners and many places where the humor was for mom and dad, but I don't see what all the buzz is about. (ha. get it? um. yeah.) Okay, so that said, it was nice to leave the cleaning regimine today aside and take a break. Oh there is still more to clean, more to launder, yada yada yada, but sometimes you just have to take a break and do something with the kids for a change. So that's what I did. And everything will be fine whether it's all in its place by bedtime or not.
Also watched this movie again tonight. This picture makes the evening grand... :) Between Brad Pitt and Matthew McConna-hotty....man, if they teamed up, I'd be pretty happy about it.
There. I've done it. I just made your day brighter, too. Happy weekend!
Posted by mi*chelle at 10:28 PM
Monday, October 29, 2007
1. Is "randomness" a word?
2. I was told to shut up and was spit at by an 8 year old at school today. He's lucky to remain attached to the rest of his body.
3. Last Thursday, I decided since the weather was fairly decent that I would take the boys (who had been asking about the whole thing) to my dad's grave site. Despite a rocky beginning, the kids probably had more fun than anything else asking who was burried here and there. It was actually pretty good. I had dreaded the day. Luke, of course, was much more aware of WHY we were there, but he did very well.
4. Later that night, we had to watch Casey the bunny die. Ok, God, horrible timing. It's like Luke was okay at the cemetery, but when that bunny was dying, he was almost hysterical. I ached for him. He and the twins helped Chad bury her. We don't know what happened. But we watched the painful death. She was quiet but in much pain.
5. So, meet OREO:
Luke is in better spirits now about it, but last night had a relapse of crying hysterically for the first bunny and even had a bad dream that Oreo died. I chalk it up to being normal for his grieving process. Seriously, God. Bad timing....
6. This is a picture I took at Dad's the last Sunday we spent there...Drew and Luke were chilling. Dad was sitting on the couch to my right, or rather on the floor propped up against the couch with a vibrating massager thing on his lower back trying to gain relief.
7. A definite highlight to his birthday party: he got a Jeep (it was given to us by some pretty awesome people, we just bought the batteries). THANKS T & T!
Gabriel and Ava opening presents. Ava is practically a neice.
Also a highlight, Mom and Jon sent him this big play tent. It can either be a school bus or fire truck. He enjoys it. He's the king in there!
Some new clothes Gabriel got.
8. The story of my "Pretty Awesome Son Shirt." Since Dad's illness was so close to Luke's and the twins' birthdays, Mom got to be home during that time frame, and she was able to take them shopping for their birthdays. This is pretty rare since she lives in Montana. When shopping, Luke told my mom that I was pretty said and he thought they should get me something to cheer me up. As if that wasn't sweet enough, when Mom explained that if she got me a shirt, he would have one less present because she had a certain amount of money to spend, Luke picked out not one, but two shirts for me. So now, every time I wear either shirt, if someone compliments either of them, I am sure to tell them it's my "Pretty Awesome Son Shirt." I share it with you today, because I wore the maroon one today, so I got to tell the story 4 times. You make 5.
9. Drew is having a little bit of trouble with his mouth lately. I wouldn't say any of my kids are rude, but Drew and Evan seem to be testing to see what they can say and can't. More often Drew doesn't get the hint as quickly as Evan. I don't want you to think they are brats because I don't think they are....maybe I'm biased, but we get a lot of compliments on our kids, so I hope people are not lying. Anyway, Drew got in trouble tonight, and it's one of those things that made me chuckle AFTER the fact, and had he not done this on the same day as my random thought #1, his punishment may have been quicker. He got in trouble at the babysitter's today, and they do spank occasionally. Today he did something...now I don't even remember what...and he got a spanking. In the middle of the spanking he looked at the lady and said "You hitted me enough times already!" So he got in more trouble. I'm not sure at this point what they did for punishment or if they just saved it for me. Either way, he was not allowed in the toy room or in front of the TV at all tonight. He went to bed early (even though it was only 15 minutes), and he had to do chore after chore after chore once he got home. Hopefully he will think twice before spouting off to them tomorrow.
10. On the other hand, you won't find more loving and serving kids than Luke, Drew, Evan, and Gabriel. I mean, the shirt story is enough to put Luke's tender heart right up there with the best of them. Drew and Evan are constantly looking for ways to serve others, a "chore" on their charts that they want to do well in. Evan swept Luke and Gabriel's room tonight, for example. Gabriel will bring you endless "totes" from the refrigerator, regardless of the fact that you just opened the can he just brought you 2 minutes ago. I couldn't ask for better kids. If they didn't test the waters some, I'd wonder about them. Plus I wouldn't feel as fortunate when I see the 8 year old who looked at me with such hate in his eyes today.
11. Normally I'd give you the whole rundown about the events (however insignificant they were) leading up to today's meltdown in class for that little boy...but somehow tonight, even though they sometimes exasperate me or push my buttons...somehow, it doesn't seem like a story I want to tell. It is obvious he doesn't have the kind of home my kids do - however chaotic it may feel sometimes. Lately I've been pretty consumed with the Poor-Me-Spirit (an equally evil form of PMS). I'd apologize for it, but I think it's supposed to be normal for this stage in the game. But tonight? Tonight, I feel blessed. Yeah, Dad was taken from me and my family a little early by our standards, and yeah, it still hurts. It may always hurt - despite the promise by people who have gone through similar situations that it "gets better." But I did have 31 years with a man who loved me just as much as I love my kids. It's weird to think that I pushed his buttons. I did things that in light of his day at work were dealt with differently. I wanted to serve him and love him by bringing him a diet coke. No matter how crazy it got, he came in and tucked me in, said a prayer, and gave me a kiss each night. Yeah, he thought about me growing up and not knowing his mother. Maybe he even took me to her grave site and let me walk through asking questions. He held my sobbing body close to him when my black bunny died in the garage, when my golden cat was smashed on the highway. He looked at me and smiled his half-smile at the supper table while I ate "Bert and Ernie Noses" (peas and limas). You're right, everybody. He does live on inside of me. That's pretty great.
12. I have been blessed.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:12 PM
Monday, October 22, 2007
Read it and weep!!! I'm so proud of my little guy!!! This is his first report card...well, the first one with more than check marks!! This one had real grades on it, and I have to say, I'm REALLY happy with Luke's accomplishments!!
I have fall break this weekend, and I need it. That's a plus. Big time.
Gabriel turned 3 yesterday!! He's such a big kid now. On Saturday night when I carried him to bed after falling asleep on the couch, I was pretty bummed that it was the last time I may put a baby to bed. It is exciting to see him grow up and get his own (slightly bossy, a little spoiled) personality.
The spunky little three year old dumped his entire plate at dinner not once...no, not even twice....3 STINKIN' TIMES!!! I was so mad! It's hard to stay calm - especially with repeat offenders. Green beans, mashed potatoes, yogurt - all caked to the floor. THREE TIMES. The entire kitchen was moved to the living room for that "clean up in Aisle 4." The other night Drew did the same thing with chocolate milk. It literally spanned the entire width of the kitchen.
Dad wasn't at the birthday party last night. I was okay while it was happening...and even later that night. Even when Jenny was trying to talk to me about Dad. I was trying not to get emotional then. (Jen, sorry. I guess maybe I didn't really want to talk about it - looking back at last night. Hope I didn't upset you...) Today - hit me like a ton of bricks at school. I was on my prep period, thank God. The image of my dad opening gifts with Gabriel last year while we snapped pictures kept coming to me today. Then the realization that he not only didn't get ot help Gabriel, or see the amazing Bears come back last night or eat cake and laugh with us, or hug me goodbye...it just still stings. A lot. So today? Today was pretty crappy. Maybe the rain and gloominess of the sky didn't help. Either way, I was pretty sad today.
A friend from church is battling some medical issues. I called him in his hospital room and prayed with him during my prep today (and before the breakdown I just mentioned). It's scary to hear dooming medical terms as possibilities. But you know his response? In my anxiety for him, he said that my dad taught him how to handle it no matter what the real outcomes are. How amazing. I was blessed. I guess the last half of this paragraph may belong in the "ups".
Thanks for letting me get it out, once again.
Posted by mi*chelle at 6:16 PM
Friday, October 12, 2007
You know when you find out months after a conversation happened that you may have hurt someone's feelings? And the way you find out was told to you "in confidence" so you have no idea how to fix it because you aren't even supposed to know.
I'm there now. Pray for wisdom.
Posted by mi*chelle at 1:46 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
A new hairstyle can make. My spirits were lifted today....just a simple haircut and highlight, but it did me good.
Luke QB'ed his flag football game tonight and threw a touchdown pass on his second play!!!!!!! Needless to say, our section was quite rowdy over that one. It was fun.
And now I am going to do something I haven't done in....ages....
It's not even 9 PM and I'm going to bed. Hopefully TONIGHT will be different and I can get some sleep.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:45 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
While I was teaching yesterday, my classroom door was open. I'm on the end of the building (they tend to keep the noisy ones away from others), so I usually leave the door open unless it's lunch time because the noise from the cafeteria and my classroom tend to compete if the door isn't shut. I was teaching fourth grade, and I glanced up because something caught my eye by the door. I was so sure. I saw my dad. He was walking by with his white t-shirt that had some baseball reference and the big scripted word "Sacrifice" across the front. That split second was more than wonderful. I had that urge to call out to him and call him back in the room. And then in that flash of a moment, it all fell apart. The flood of reality came crashing back in. So this makes the 3rd time something like this has happened.
I saw him standing in line at the viewing, waiting to see himself, apparently.
Last Saturday, I was relaxing in the sand. Gabriel and Chad were trying to doze in the sun. The other boys were off playing with Tony and LuAnn, Chad's parents. My eyes were shut. My head tilted back against the chair. I was trying to doze off myself when I heard Dad off to my left. But it wasn't him. He was talking...but no, he wasn't.
A friend at church had told me she sees her dad (who died when I was a little girl) walking down the streets of Greentown....or in the grocery store.
I hate these tricks my mind plays. It makes the devastation that he's gone choke me.
This week at school is grandparent's week, as if one day wouldn't have been bad enough. My schedule actually managed to avoid the times with the grade levels involved (all but tomorrow morning for about one hour). But today...I had a hard time. I was walking back from another classroom getting ready for my fourth grade Music class when I saw another teacher come out from around a corner calling out that we needed the nurse and someone to call 911. Apparently, a grandfather (with a very recent history of 2 open heart surgeries and a few heart attacks) had gone down, bashing a hole in to the wall about the size of a grapefruit. With the fall came lots of blood. This teacher was followed by the grandson, a third grader, crying hysterically for his grandparent. The images of these visitors in the hallways have stirred up several emotions already....When does Luke have to deal with this? Will he be able to keep his mind off of Dad or will it be a horrible day for him? Dad only got to go to one for Luke. He'll never go to Drew and Evan's grandparents day (other than the one at preschool last year). Gabriel didn't even get a chance....but seeing Erik cry. It mortified me. I wanted to fix it so badly for him. I saw Luke standing there in front of the casket all over again. I heard his cries with each of Erik's sobs. It was horrible.
I know all my posts are so dark....I don't mean them to be. But I do feel better after it's "out" - so I guess for now, please bear with me.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:52 PM
The kids, Chad, and I went to Lake Michigan to spend the day on the "beach" with Tony and LuAnn (Chad's parents). It was good to get away. Enjoy the pictures.
It's constant. They NEVER stop wrestling. I'm sure it's just the boy in them all.>
Drew (Left) and Evan
More Drew and Evan
I asked Gabriel to say cheese. This is the result.
They had a lot of fun feeding the birds!! Probably a little too much fun. After all the Captain Crunch cereal, the birds wouldn't go away! They got most of Evan's sandwich at lunch.
Gabriel wasn't afraid of the birds at all. I would have been. I kept my distance!
It looks like Luke is actually holding this bird, but he wasn't.
Evan's sand angel
Luke and his daddy fishing: probably both of their favorite things....
Gabriel riding Evan through the sand.
Gabriel and his grandma Lu
The Boys: Drew and Luke are in the back. Evan and Gabriel are in the front.
Drew strikes a pose.
Evan's pose. Neither of the twins are camera shy! That's for sure!
Evan and Chad's Mom, LuAnn
And this was the sunset over Lake Michigan. It was a very peaceful night. I'm glad we went.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:27 PM
Monday, October 08, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
It's really becoming a bad habit...a costly habit...but I didn't want to be home tonight, thinking...about 2 months ago...so we went to IHOP.
Gabriel was too cute eating the Kids' "Funny Face Meal" which was one large buttermilk pancake with chocolate chips, whipped cream smile and cherry eyes. He had a blast eating it. What kid wouldn't?
So the trip worked. I felt like a normal family for the first time in a long time. Every one of us was in a good mood. We laughed together over Gabriel's silliness, Luke's growing sense of humor, Drew's uniqueness, and Evan's constant chatter. We learned far too much from the (how do I say this the nice way??) mentally challenged family across from us. Luke held in the laughter (better than my husband did) when they stood to leave and the son's butt-crack was hanging out of his pants. He didn't seem to mind it, as if it were a normal thing for him. We got in the van after paying, and Chad thanked Luke for being mature enough not to giggle at the man whose butt was hanging out. That sparked an entirely new and equally funny conversation. (Side note: Evan is so going to be that kid. The one that crosses right over the line....the funny but gross comments. You know the kind...hopefully it will just linger around ornery and not dirty.)
Later, we headed to the pet store to hook up Tuck the Turtle with a new filter. His was broken and making his tank quite stinky. He is extremely happy with his new set up, swimming through the new floating log with ease. The kids and I watched him for about an hour tonight. Luke even did his homework in front of the tank in Drew and Evan's room on the floor while we watched. It may be a rough morning because they stayed up late, but I won't regret it because it was a near perfect evening for me and the family. There were no arguments, no whining. It was just nice.
...seriously, their butter pecan pancake syrup is delicious...
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:21 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I have no words for today....well, apparently that is a lie. 'Cause here I am, about to put a couple hundred here, trying to describe it all.
It started pretty well. Normal, almost. After getting ready to go to school and actually leaving within 5 minutes of the desired departure time (truly amazing after getting 4 kids up and ready to go), I drove to the babysitter's feeling a little empty. I never really knew what that meant when someone said it. Today, it all came together for me. I sat numbly driving to her house while Gabriel's mantra of "I miss Pappaw" began. He only does this when his brothers have said it or cried about it or he is really tired. He must have been tired because I don't remember any of the boys speaking of Dad this morning. Don't get me wrong, Gabriel was not crying as the chant began. It was a very matter-of-fact tone he used. Almost without feeling. Almost like he was just talking to be talking. Before I realized it, I was pulling in to her driveway when I finally remembered that he will repeat himself until you just acknowlege it. So I quietly matched his tone and said, "Me too, buddy." That's how it began for me.
I got to school, got busy. Things began to seem almost normal again. I went about my breakfast duty without any catastrophes. I taught my classes, I went to lunch duty. Then something happened to snap me back out of the "fog," which reminds me more of mud than fog. Two little boogers from first grade were flipping their green beans across the room in the cafeteria. No big deal, right? Just address the problem, correct it, move on. Well, you would think. One little boy went right up to the mess he'd help make and started gathering the beans from the floor. The other little boy refused, stating that he didn't want to touch them after they had been in Ethan's mouth. My surprisingly calm answer was that THAT was part of the reason he shouldn't have flipped them in the first place. I told Austin that it was no big deal. Just pick them up, sit back down, finish your lunch, and all would be well. My voice was calm. My face wasn't condemning. But something snapped in that 7-year-old's head. It was enough to snap me back from the mud...He began yelling at me and crying, flinging his arms about, wringing his hands, screaming, drawing back to hit me. I was okay with the reaction as I've seen them before, until the draw back. No child would hit me. I took him as firmly by the arm as my professionalism would let me and guided him to the side of the room behind a wall where I could still see the rest of the kids but they could not see Austin because as it would normally be, a scene like this sparked some interest. My assistance was unappreciated, however, and Austin's physical responses esculated. I was working very hard not to show anger. That didn't last long. When he had interrupted me for about the twentieth time and drawn back to hit me (never actually landing a punch) for about the fourth time, I let that boy have it. I informed him that he would go to the office after lunch (I couldn't leave the other 110 kids there alone unsupervised), he would go quietly to his place and eat his food so his brain would have enough energy to finish the day, and he would do it without complaining or talking back to me. Apparently, Austin had other intentions. This is when he informed me that he knew exactly where he lived and would be walking there promptly. He took off around the corner, and I reacted, again pulling him as firmly as my professionalism would allow (all the while thinking "Your butt needs a spanking!!!!!!"), and he was not happy. I finally got him back to his table where he shoved his tray across. I caught it before the entire thing toppled but not before some of the chicken and noodles sloshed out on to my hand and the individual portion of honey landed on top of my other hand. And that was pretty much it for me. He was still screaming about Ethan's spit being on those dang green beans, and now I was fuming. The cafeteria manager came up at this point and said I needed to get him out of here. I turned and asked, "You think?!?!" That probably wasn't the most professional thing to do at that point, but better to do that than spank that child, I suppose. I had resolved myself to the fact that he probably wasn't going to leave quietly or on his own feet. I had put my things in my pocket (that were now sticky because I had no napkins) and visualized all the possible ways to contain this child and move him out of the area. I had also resolved myself that I was going to get bruised in the process. I contemplated taking off my glasses but was afraid my blindness would hinder my way up the stairs....or should I take the ramp? All of these thoughts happened in probably 2 seconds while Austin screamed away. Anyway, Austin's teacher came in to pick up her class at about the same time. When she saw the disruption, she marched over and began escorting him. It was rough. She got him to the stairs I had contemplated when the principal just happened to come around the corner. After dismissing the rest of the classes with their teachers, I went to the office to explain the situation to my superior and wash my hands. And thus began my afternoon.
After my blood pressure returned to normal, my day joined and followed suit. My lessons went fairly well. The third graders loved playing all the instruments. The second graders loved hearing their favorite songs from the school year so far. It was turning out to be a decent day.
After school I went to a shopping party, and finished three people's Christmas gifts (already, I know!). Got some good deals.
Got in the van to return home and it set in again. I don't know when it comes, why it comes, or how I get there. But I get home and think, "Did I have a conversation with my kids or did I just ignore them all the way home? Did I take 600 all the way or cut over to 850?" By the time I got home we were in full fledged busy mode. Homework. Football game. Wait -- supper first! Etc. Etc.
After all that, I am still hazy...I find myself zoning out. When I'm around public, I don't do it. But at home, it's like I slowly, without even realizing it's happening, and sometimes over the course of several hours, I slowly and distinctly get swallowed back up in this thought world where there are no thoughts. Sometimes my brain feels like a hand that has gone to sleep...hating the current state and desperately wanting something to smack it really hard so the initial shock of the pain will just get here and get over with so things can go back to normal. So I can feel again...
So to answer your question, I don't know, Mom, where I would fly away to. Probably somewhere where I could be alone for a while with absolutely no schedule to keep, no person or thing depending on me for anything...a place where there was no stimulus. No outside. No reminders. Somewhere that it's just okay to be, well, empty. If you know where that is, let me know. I want the first ticket available.
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:59 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
...that there truly IS more than corn in Indiana.
This picture could never do any justice for the rainbow that literally seemed to form before my eyes this morning on the way to work. Then as I drove on, it doubled! One end appeared to be in my home town, and the other end was by my school, so I enjoyed it all the way to work this morning. I actually stopped on the road twice this morning to take the pictures I got. It was sooooo bright! It almost seemed neon in the sky! I wish this picture was a fraction of how beautiful it really was.
Posted by mi*chelle at 5:37 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2007
1. So on Monday, I bought about a gallon (combined) of bubble bath for the boys. On Wednesday there was none left. Never again will I buy it. This was the last warning.
2. My dog is precious. I love him. Rotten...but precious. The best dog I've ever had, I think....besides Belle, of course!!!!!! (The twin with him is Drew. He wanted his picture taken with him the other day.)
3. I found a picture of my dad that I haven't seen in a while. It was one when he was sick. It kind of startled me. They said that I would eventually not see him first in my mind as I saw him the last few times, and I guess that has started to happen. Maybe that is a good thing.
4. I have found T & T to be pretty good friends. I mean, I knew they were...but just lately, it seems as if they haven't forgotten me. It feels good.
5. Gave my kids haircuts tonight. They're all still alive. This is a good thing. I didn't yell at them at all. I was proud of my self-control.
6. I wish I was a bird...so I could fly...far, far away....
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:53 PM
Monday, September 17, 2007
1. Christians should not give the world any more ammunition against the church.
2. Christians should not be defaming, slandering, or gossiping about fellow Christians.
3. Christians should not throw fits if they don't get their way.
4. Christians should not tell all the truths they know if they can be hurtful.
5. Christians should not hurt other Christians.
6. Christians should be quick to forgive.
7. Christians should be joyful and loyal.
8. Christians should love the unlovable - not BE the unlovable.
9. Christians should not be entangled by the Deceiver's lies and trickery.
10. Christians should know better. We have the Ultimate Source of Wisdom in His Word.
Have I done these things? I'm ashamed that I have. But I can say that those things are past. God has been using some pretty sharp iron to mold me...sure, it's taken a while, and I'm no where near perfect. But I'm learning. And that's all I can do. I am so tired of the division in the church. I'm so tired of the deceit and back stabbing. I hate not knowing who to trust. I should be able to trust them all! We paint a pretty good picture for the world, huh? NO! God must look down with disgust and rage. We are a wicked people, Church.
It's time. Time to stop all the bickering and complaining. For Heaven's sake, think of SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOUR SELF FOR A CHANGE. God not only expects it because it's a nice thing to do, He demands it!
Stop all the cowardly anonymous letters. It's ridiculous. God isn't in that. You are NOT doing the church a favor, regardless of what you think. You are DIVIDING it. You are CUTTING OFF your own arms and legs and hands. The Body cannot function this way.
I will no longer be silent if you mock my friends and lie about them. I will no longer tolerate the lies and gossip. I will no longer be hurt by your selfishness, your immaturity, your lies, and your childish fits. One way or another, God is going to reveal the truth.
Heavenly, Merciful Father,
I pray that any time I slip and sin in these ways that You will reveal it immediately to me and make it disgusting and vile to me. So horrible and wicked that I must instantly set it straight according to Your Word. I pray that when I'm the victim of these sins that You will give me the grace and humility to handle it just as Your Son did. Make me the same in the attitude of Christ Jesus. Convict me, convict my friends, convict my acquaintances, convict my enemies of these things. May I have the strength and integrity to resist the temptation to gossip and whine and complain. Make my only focus You and being Your servant. I don't want any other thing. Only You, Lord. Forgive me when I have not seen this own sin in my life. Forgive me, God. I see it now as so ugly and hateful. Control my tongue for me, God. I can't do it on my own. I want to flee from this evil. Help me to have the wisdom to know what to do in all these things. All these situations are so gross and wrong, Lord. If I find myself in the middle, may I be Your Salt and Light. Give me discernment. Give me wisdom. Give me love in my rebuke. Give me self-control. Give me patience with the ones who offend me every day. Lord, You know how tired I am. Give me strength. I wait on You. You are holy, Abba Father. Don't just be my Savior and Friend. Be my Lord. Be LORD of my life - in all things. I give all of this evil and all this hurt to you. Give me Jesus. I don't want any of the other stuff. I'm sick of letting myself get hurt by them. Help me to only hold myself to Your Standards. Men's don't count. God, keep me from EVER hurting them in my anger. Cool my anger, Lord. Where there is anger, give me self-control. Where there are tears, give me strength. Where there is doubt, give me confidence in You, God. You promise to help, and I'm counting on it. I need You, God. I love You. Always and forever, Amen.
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:54 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I love Gabriel's innocence. I was scrolling on my blog, to see the hit counter....I wasn't planning on posting anything. As I scrolled, the bottom entry had the pictures of my newest tattoo on my foot. (This post will probably move it to the archives....) Anyway, as he saw the foot on the screen, he got really excited and said, "Mommy!! That foot is like you!!!" I said, "You're right. That's MY foot honey. It's a picture! I put it there." He very matter-of-factly said, "Oh." Then I scrolled back to the top, he asked (like he does every day) "Pappaw Died?" I answered it for the millionth time. He finished with "He up in Heaben?" "Yep...." It's the same question every night. He even still prays for him sometimes, asking God to take care of him. Sweet.
Posted by mi*chelle at 7:55 PM
Sunday, September 09, 2007
For those of you inclined to pray, I'm a single mom for the week because Chad went to Arizona - Show Low - to work with Thy Will Ministries. He's working with Apache children and doing jail ministry among other things. Pray that he will be used by God, that his walk will be strengthened, and that I won't have fewer children upon his return! :)
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:33 PM
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
We had a great weekend away camping. I can't believe I used the words "great" and "camping" in the same sentence....but I did. It wasn't without it's ups and downs, however. But as strange as this may seem I had some good "Downs."
I started the weekend not feeling too well. So I was slightly cranky...regardless of what Chad would say, I emphasize the word slightly. When we arrived after the two hour drive to Indiana Dunes State Park, we checked in and began setting up the camp. We haven't been able to delve in to the world of pop-up (or better) so the tent has to do. We began all the tasks of unloading, instructing children, setting up tents, etc. I remember wanting to sleep. That night when we got the kids ready for bed, I didn't join the others at the fire. I actually went to sleep. That was the best night of the three I had as far as sleep went. I didn't wake up at all. The air wasn't damp (as it would be the next two nights - thus my cold now). The air was crisp and cool. Under three blankets and two layers of clothing it was just right. We all pretty much crashed that night. The next day brought the sand dunes, the breaking of my flip flops....and general crankiness. I was truly stressed because of the flip flop. What would I wear in the shower????? Luckily, before I headed to the outlet mall the next day, I borrowed one from Betsy. Yes, that's right. I said outlet mall. We graced those stores with our presence - all six of us - on Sunday.
I won't bore you with every last detail of our agenda, but I'll highlight the weekend with the fact that...
a. Luke made a friend named Josh who will be emailing back and forth. Luke's excited. Josh was 6 years old and about 20 pounds bigger than our biggest!! That's impressive considering Luke's pretty tall and big for his age. They hit it off well.
b. I had to chase down a thief. Evan's bike was stolen. Turns out that the boy had a bike just like Evan and Drew's bikes - except ours don't have kick stands...and that was the determining factor in the alleged theft.
c. Gabriel walked off the first night, but luckily we had bought all the kids LED headlights for their heads, and it was easy to see a 2.5 foot bobbing light across the campground....thanks to Michelle, also from our church, for scooping him up.
d. Drew was lost....oh, let's see...about a million times. He kept getting turned around...poor guy. Got my sense of direction! Once, some kind gentleman returned a bawling 5 year old to us asking if he was our son.
e. Camp showers with four boys in tow...an interesting and lengthy process. One that will have the people waiting on you outside the stalls laughing at you.
f. Sunday morning service...well, it deserves more than a highlight. Here goes.
Since I coordinate music for church, it was natural that the coordinator of this camping trip would ask Chad and I to coordinate/lead/prepare the worship time on Sunday morning. I chose two kid friendly songs (Trading My Sorrows, My Redeemer Lives) and two other very familiar songs (The Wonderful Cross, You Are My King) for the beginning of the service. I knew when I received my agenda for the camping weekend earlier in the week that God was going to do some heartstring tugging....the theme was James 1:12...persevering through trials. I even knew some of the people going, so when I heard they were opening the main part of the service for testimonies, I knew some of the stories I might hear. I have to admit that singing the four songs at the beginning, I was really thinking to myself that I wanted to keep level headed that morning. I was sitting behind the main "speakers" just by sheer positioning. It didn't take long. The first testimony I was okay through. The next two? Both about cancer....one was a cancer survivor, and the other was about a family member who was battling cancer right now.
I have to pause to tell you that on Saturday, I spent about 3 hours reading (total) the Bible. I started to read some in Isaiah before reading all of James, some of Psalms, and much of Genesis. (I've decided I want to read the Bible in a year...) In Isaiah, I read the 40th chapter. I have used the Message for a long time. I love the ease of reading it. As I read, I came across the end of the chapter when the author asked why we complain saying God has lost track of us. It hit me square between the eyes on Saturday afternoon. I KNOW, as I've said before, what to say. I KNOW the right answers, but making my heart feel the same is a task I've battled since my dad got sick. I've got to admit, I've felt a little like God had lost track of me. After all, I had prayed...I have believed...I have trusted...but I didn't "get" what I wanted. (And I totally know that's not what prayer is about...but again, we're dealing with emotions here. Not reality or logic or knowledge.) I literally stopped before reading on, thinking how that is REALLY what I was feeling. The passage went on to say something along these lines: Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God LASTS. Again, none of these words were knew concepts to me. But somehow it all connected.
I can't help but think about how my father lost his mom when I was one year old. I imagine he dealt with the same emotions I deal with. Will my kids remember their grandparent? What about the times when I need to ask a question? What will life be like without? Who will help when...? Why did this have to....?
I also can't help but believe that my dad's prayers were similar to what I pray now. God, help me to follow in the footsteps of my wonderful parent. Reunite me. Help me feel peace and comfort. Give me joy again...
And then I thought, after reading, that God didn't come and go on Dad. He lasted. And at the end of Dad's life, Dad got the answers to those prayers. He sees his mother like it was just moments ago that he lost her. He understands real joy and peace and comfort.
Just like Dad's God lasted for him, the SAME God that I trust and have for a very long time, will LAST for me....and for my boys....
Suddenly, sitting there in that camp ground listening to Susie tell her cancer story, wondering why she survived and Dad didn't....being asked by Matt if we believe in answered prayers and (for a split second) cringing inside before my head put my heart in its place and answered "yes" - sitting there among all those people, feeling all those emotions, I felt God start tugging. I can't remember feeling so LED to give a testimony. I had been blubbering for quite some time. Partly at what I was hearing, and mostly because of the inner battle going on. I was a mess. Here's how it went.
Me: Come on, God. Not now. I can't bare myself like this. Not now. I've done so well starting to build the walls that I've been working on for the last two months.
God: You need to let go of these words. I might just use them in someone's life. And I think it will be good for you.
Me: No one needs to hear from me. My battle isn't over. The theme of this meeting is succeeding after a long trial. This trial is just beginning.
God: Trust me.
Me: I want to, but it hurts. I hurt.
God: Michelle, trust me.
Me: I am trying to. I just don't want to be embarrassed...opened...
God: TRUST me.
I battled long enough that the time for testimonies closed. I was somewhat relieved. I took it as a brief sign that all of this was just in my head, and I didn't need to say anything. It was almost time for the closing song.
The closing song?!?! WHAT? I had totally forgotten. With tears still streaming and a clenched throat, I knew I couldn't sing. Chad asked me if I could, and too proud to admit it, I said that I could. After all, I had a few more minutes to gain composure.
It didn't take much longer before I remembered my dad walking forward just two or three Sundays before he had the first stroke and asking that God's Will be done in his life...even through the excruciating back pain he was going through. I talked with him afterward. He said that when God tells you to speak, you do it.
So instead of starting the last song, "Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone," I looked at a friend and announced that I was too emotional to sing the last song and asked if he would do it. Right in front of everyone. He agreed, of course. And before he did, I bared my soul to 70 + people of my community. I laid it all out. I told them I felt God was asking me to speak. I told them of the battle of KNOWING what I'm supposed to feel and actually feeling it. I told them of the passage in Isaiah, read it to them, and actually went through each thought it invoked.
I remember not being able to look at anyone because they were all crying, too. Grown men and women, teenagers....many of them emotional. I just starred at the trees. The leaves were gently rustling in the warming breeze. If the people there took away anything among the open sobs and heart wrenching breakthrough I was experiencing in front of them all, I hope that they took away that GOD LASTS.
God, thank You for speaking through Your Word and through my father and through those testimonies this weekend. I want more than anything to please You. Along the way, if You see fit to use me to reach others, I would be humbled and honored. God, thank You for breaking me down (again) and allowing some of the rebuilding to take place. You ARE good all the time. Amen.
Posted by mi*chelle at 8:25 PM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Ok...my last post was dark, I know. I've gotten several emails checking in. Here's my standard answer: I KNOW in my HEAD that I'm going to be okay because my Father promises...I just don't always know how to tell my HEART that little tidbit of information.
4 weeks ago tonight was the last time I saw him breathing. So yeah, it's tough.
I just keep plugging away....pushing it back out of my mind until I can no longer hold it. Then I let it out. Unfortunately for you all, I've always been one to get the negatives out by putting them in to words. That's where this blog has been helpful - but probably scary from the reader's standpoint.
I'm not suicidal. I'm not cursing God. I'm not abandoning my life or my family. I'm coping. I'm doing that the best I know how. Some days I succeed and some days I fail. It's a process....and unfortunately for me, it's a process I'm fighting within my self with every breath. So that makes some moments harder than others.
I know what the right answers are. I've said that before. I know that I need to rely on God and my family and my friends. I know I have to stay active. I know I need to grieve. I know I need to blah blah blah....There's only one thing that I can do consistently and successfully right now.
I just breathe.
Posted by mi*chelle at 11:06 PM
Sometimes the grief is overwhelming
...and sometimes manageable.
Sometimes I want to scream in the cornfield behind my house
...and other times that seems so futile and insignificant.
Sometimes I want the pain to go away
...and most of the time I'm grief-stricken.
Many times tears sting my eyes fighting for a chance to release
...all the time I want him back.
I find this more and more surreal as time passes. I forget - is that possible - that he's not here. I find myself picking up the phone to CALL him. We're buying his truck for Chad. I see it in my driveway and rejoice at being able to see him...and then I'm snapped back to reality. Instantly.
I find myself not remembering what he looked like. How can that be? All I see are the images of the last 10 days. They are forever burned in my mind.
I call his house when I know Jenny's not there to listen to the answering machine. Then, feeling stupid, I hang up before leaving a message.
I'm tired of calming my children at night amidst their cries for Pappaw. I find myself angry at them for crying (but I try not to let them realize it). What kind of a mother does that make me? Pretty awful, if you ask me.
I hate when the world asks me if I'm okay, and I hate when they don't.
I despise little elementary "Daddy's angel" and "Daddy's little girl" shirts.
My head says it's normal to be sad, angry, depressed, lost - that I should not take out frustration on other people. But my heart doesn't get the memo.
I think I can't think about it. But if I don't think about it constantly I feel guilty. I make no sense.
Tomorrow is the four week mark....no it's too late for that. TODAY is the four week mark. Don't tell me that I'm four weeks closer to seeing him. I'm four weeks FARTHER from him.
I think about who was in that room. I see myself out of my body reacting to his breathing...crying out to him...clutching to him as he took his last breath - feeling so helpless and alone and scared and panicked...it's unbearable.
When I do have memories of him that aren't of the sickness, it always reverts back. I think about painting this house...oh yeah, he had cancer then amd we didn't know. I think about Christmas...oh yeah, he was GETTING cancer then. I think about him holding Gabriel on his lap...I don't know the last time he saw Gabriel or Drew or Evan, for that matter. I think it was July 1. He wasn't feeling good that day. He was in a lot of pain. I slept through most of that day. The last time I would not know he was sick - and I wasted it sleeping!
He was such a better person than I am.
I know it does no good, but I ask Why? all the time.
No answers come.
Posted by mi*chelle at 12:41 AM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So I had planned to get a tattoo in "honor" or "memory" of my dad. It was a decision I made when the "c" word was introduced. I didn't know what I'd get at the time, I just knew that if he ended up dying that I wanted something that I would always see and remember him by. So, as time passed, the details became clearer. Chad and I went in on the day of Luke's 7th birthday to look at some designs - just to get ideas. I saw one that I immediately knew would be a part of the final product....and then I saw another. So I combined the two and went on from there. This is the original picture hanging up:
Now, if you aren't a fan of tattoos, then I'm gonna blow your mind when I say that I knew I didn't want the butterfly part because the first tattoo I got nine years ago is of a butterfly. I don't see the need for two.
The reason this one stuck out to me was because we had chosen orange lilies for his casket spray. Orange for Chicago Bears. So the accent color was a blue flower, of course. The main part of the arrangement were gerber daisies because they are "such a happy little flower." Dad liked them. I toyed with the idea of replacing the butterfly with the daisy, but decided against it in the end, thinking if I wanted the daisy, I could add it later. Better safe then sorry, right?
So the next thought was "Where?" My foot. An immediate answer came to mind. I wanted to symbolize that he had left some great footsteps to follow, and having it on my foot would remind me of the path he took and the one I should take. So I knew where, and I almost knew what.
I knew in the hospital that Isaiah 41:10 would be a part of it. It was Dad's life verse. When it came down to it, we abbreviated it to "Is. 41:10" just to be smaller and to eliminate a fraction of the pain.
I really wanted a cross, so I decided to turn the tribal vine-looking thing from the original into a tribal cross of some sorts. What color? Blue. Now the Chicago Bears were part of it. (#34 all the way! - by the way, is it a little odd that Sweetness died of liver cancer and Dad had pancreatic and liver cancer??? hm.)
After the artist got back from vacation, I went in last Thursday (8-16-07) and saw a sketch of what he thought I wanted. This is what I saw:
It was almost complete. I had instantly fallen in love with wanting to use a symbol - whether sanscrit, arabic, japanese, whatever - for the word "Father." I toyed with the idea of "Heaven," but in the end went with the former. So we set the date. August 23, 2007 at 5 PM. Now I just needed company to go.
I talked with Jenny and a few others...and all in all I had 4 people with me and 2 others text messaging me throughout the process. I ended up needing Chad and Jenny to answer the texts because I had to REALLY concentrate on not moving. I'll definitely say that of the two tattoos, this one was MUCH more painful. But Chad was right, the pain is temporary, and now I have something beautiful to think of my wonderful father all the time.
So here is the process. (And please excuse the mosquito bites....we went camping last weekend on a much-needed break with some really good friends who were pretty much exactly what I needed...and the bugs bit one part of me. My feet!! I was NOT happy, but trust me when I say that the RIGHT foot was much worse, so at least there's that.)
I chose my left foot because dad was left handed, and VERY proud of it.
First they drew it on. It's a little smeared because we had the verse reference in about 3 or 4 spots before deciding on Chad's suggestion. The small Japanese "Father" is in the largest leaf of the lily. It's very difficult to see on here.
Then came the black outline and the navy blue tribal cross. This was painful more toward the meaty part of my foot...the bonier parts were surprisingly not as bad.
Color was next - orange. This took about 3 - 5 minutes. (From start to finish it was only 30, once he got everything set.) The color actually hurt more. I remembered that from the first tattoo, so I wasn't surprised. I wonder how much of that is because they use 3 - 4 needles for color at the same time and how much of that is that you are really tender already. Here are a couple different angles of the finished product. The verse is on the right hand side as you see it here, but it can be read from in front of me. It's very small and follows the horizontal part of the cross.
I'm really happy with it. I may go back later and add a third color to accent....but I'm going to see how this is for a while. What do you think?
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:39 PM