Archive for February 2009

Priorities or a lack thereof

Thursday, February 26, 2009

After six short months since my foray into the working mom's world, I now find myself in the unemployment line. When I started my new job I found it brought out a side of me that hadn't been tapped into for, well, about 12 years. I loved the adult conversation, completing a task, closing a deal, meeting a new customer, launching a product line. And I was getting a paycheck. It was pretty gratifying but in the last month, the balancing act was proving to be more and more difficult. Yet, I knew there was a reason I needed to stick with it so I kept plugging away. Then the decision was made for me. Ouch.

I kept asking "what was that all about?" This opportunity came to me and seemed ideal. And now it's all over? As I've recounted the circumstances in my mind, I can see one of many lessons that needed to be learned. And far be it from me to learn them any way other than the hard way.

I sent an email to a dear friend whom I've known for close to 20 years. We catch up with one another 4 or 5 times a year. I was filling her in on the latest happenings and it dawned on me that I had answered my own question.

Me: "Working outside the home, put me in a position where I absolutely had to say 'no' to everything outside of my family-- which I now realize is something I've never done. I was everybody's 'go-to-girl' and for years it filled a huge sense of worth in me. All one had to do was start her request with a compliment or two such as, 'Your house is the only one he feels comfortable at...... You're such a good organizer...... You're the queen of rallying people together...... You're so much more creative than I am......' and I was putty in her hands. Saying 'no' wasn't an option. I was needed!!! I always gave lip service to the idea that my family came first but, in reality, my husband and kiddos were always getting the leftovers. I finally began asking myself why I had been giving my best to those I wasn't called to serve. Now having the responsibility and demands of a job resulted in my unhealthy behavior rearing its ugly head and staring me in the face. I served the ones I loved the most with annoyance, not joy. It makes me sad to think about how much I missed because I needed everyone else, who didn't matter, to be OK with me. I'm so thankful God has opened my eyes. I'm praying he will continue to show me what it looks like to really and truly make my family of five a priority."

Girlfriend: "That is so honest, Dana. I know I have been guilty of that too. I was kind of trained that way in that my mom gave more both of her time & finances to others most of my life. It seemed the more “righteous” thing to do, so I followed suit. But, like you, I know I (and my mom) were getting some “strokes” that way versus sacrificing more for our closest folks… I have a dear friend who told me about her sojourn to making her family a REAL priority. That spoke to me because as a “doer”, I was able to get a lot done …and frankly “outsiders” are more grateful!! But, God only gives us one mom, one dad, & one nuclear family. Why should my best go to others??? I was even praying more for others than my own family! Jeepers! May God help us both to be wise in HOW we sacrifice….as women we will for someone….but who will reap that reward the most?"


More cute boy-isms

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The other night Ian was on my computer working on his Power Point presentation (ask me if I even know how to do one of these and the kid makes it look like a breeze) about past U.S. Presidents. He chose five whom he thought to be the most inspirational: George Washington; John Adams; Abraham Lincoln; George Bush, Sr. and George Bush, Jr. He asked me to read the facts while he put the information on each slide. We started with the Date of Birth followed by Date of Death. After I gave him the dates for Mr. Washington, he stared at me with an incredulous look of panic and said: "He died ???" Um, yes, honey about 200 years ago. :)

Ben and I were sharing our regular weeknight bedtime routine of reading when he blurted out, "Do we know ANYONE in Hawaii?" (he's been regularly trying to concoct a way back to visit in spite of the current lack of funds)

Me: Yes, Kathleen lives on the main island.
Ben: Who is she?
Me: Auntie Carolyn's daughter
Ben: Oh, well how old is she? (probably hoping she was seven)
Me: Forty-two
Ben: Oh, just one age older than you!

One more Ben-ism................

He, Ian and I were snuggled in on Friday night watching High School Musical 3. If you haven't seen it (and you need to) there is a scene where Troy has discovered that Gabriella had been offered a freshman fast track option at Stanford. She had been mulling it over and leaning toward not going because it would mean leaving high school early and missing the prom and graduation. Troy encourages her to go and she explains: (I'm probably butchering the lines but it's the best I can remember) "I feel like my life is always in fast forward and I just want it to slow down. My heart doesn't know it's in high school." Ben pipes up and announces: "My heart is in first grade!"

Yes, Ben it is and lately I wish it could stay there.

1 Comment »

Waterbugs, Dragonflies and one special little boy

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can't think of an experience more sobering than attending the funeral of an eight-year-old. But the service we were a part of yesterday was by no means a funeral but a true "Celebration of Life". And what an amazing life this little man lived. He packed more into 96 months than most of us have done with the gift of much more time.

When I walked into the church, the foyer was filled with countless momentos of Kyle's personality. Life sized pictures of him with those he loved. His collections of everything from seashells to coins to Pokemon cards. His honorary badge and membership from the police department. The Snohomish County fire department honor guard was there to escort the family. Some friends had organized a room called "Tiles for Kyle" where his classmates and friends could decorate a blank tile using his favorite colors of blue and pink. His classmates had made pictures of dragonflies that were hung with ribbon on the walls. The stage of the church's auditorium was decked out with Valentine's hung on huge ficus trees-- also made by his classmates. A friend and fellow second grader, who had started a campaign last year to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research, set up a great display where one had the opportunity to donate to his cause, buy a blue "ooh-um-gawa" bracelet and share memories of Kyle in a guestbook. The love in this room was palpable. The impact this child had on his community was unbelievable. Although there was truly sadness in the air, you could also feel hope. Hope that Kyle's spirit would live on. Hope that his life was not in vain. And it wasn't. Not for a minute. I was a bucket of tears from the moment I laid eyes on the photos of his smiling face and I thought "this is how he wants to be remembered." Laughing. Smiling. Loving others. Really loving. Living life. Really living.

The morning Kyle passed away, his mom posted a wonderful story on his blog called "Waterbugs and Dragonflies". (hence the dragonfly pictures) I loved the symbolism and reminder of, not only our journey to Heaven, but how it shows concern and explanation for those left behind. It's my prayer that all who were loved by Kyle, and loved him in return, will draw comfort from knowing that he has landed at his final destination and is flying happily in his wonderful new world of sun and air.
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more."
Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...
"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea". The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why." "We promise", they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body.
His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings...The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.
The dragonfly remembered the promise: "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why." Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...
"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.......


May He Rest In Peace

Monday, February 9, 2009

A while back I posted about our 8 year old friend who was battling a "brain bump". The journey his family has been on was inspiring to us all. I'm so sad to report that "Kylie Wiley" went to his heavenly home on Saturday morning. I've been reading the posts on his blog and am amazed at the impact this young boy had on our community and around the world. As of this afternoon there were 138 comments left for his family. Aside from the general condolences and offers of continued prayer, 90% of them made reference to how his life changed theirs. Isn't that what we all hope for? Isn't that what we want said about us when we are gone?

I don't think there is anything more sobering than seeing a life cut short--way too short. We all say "I can't imagine going through...."(you fill in the blank). Yet I've come to believe that God doesn't give us what we need until the moment in which we so desperately need it. I'm sure Kyle's parents never could have imagined saying goodbye to their precious son after eight brief years. Yet if you read Christin's journal entries or blog posts you can see where God gave her the grace and strength she needed exactly when it was necessary. I know she will need it more than ever in the coming days and beyond. Please pray for this precious family that they will receive exceedingly more than they could ever ask for.

A Seattle P.I. sports reporter wrote a beautifully heartfelt article about Kyle's story in yesterday's paper. Click here to read it.

Goodbye sweet Kyle. You are healed, precious one.



Friday, February 6, 2009

On Monday morning I heard this new song while driving to see a customer. I came home that afternoon and "Googled" it. I wanted to be certain I heard and read every line. I felt like it could have been penned by my husband and I couldn't wait to share it with him. He has longed to lead our family in the way we should go and over the years there haven't been many times where the path he's walked us down has resulted in the way he (or we) had hoped. Even though I'm convinced God's hand is always at work, it's still hard to have confidence in your decisions when the pattern seems more familiar than you'd like it to be.

Oftentimes in my life, God has worked through the lyrics of songs to speak to me. Especially when I or someone I love is in a place of desperation or confusion. I am so thankful for the words to this song. They are a perfect description of our current heart's cry. Enjoy.


Gotta Love Those Boys

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Well, I love girls too but God just didn't see fit to give me one of my own. So I embrace what I have been given. These kids make me smile simply by being themselves.

A couple nights ago Quinn was taking forever with his bedtime routine. You know how they seem to stretch what should take five minutes into thirty?? He was stalling and stalling and my temper was escalating. The final straw was him deciding to "jump around" in the kitchen with the dog at 10:00 p.m.! I yelled (more like screamed at the top of my lungs): "What are you doing???! GO! TO! BED!!!!" A minute or so later he walks in my room with his arms open wide and says "Goodnight ticked off Mommy" followed by a kiss and a hug. If that had been me as a 12-year-old I would have slammed my bedroom door and laid in the bed stewing about it. And I probably would have still been mad at my mom the next morning. It always amazes me at how quickly they can get over these little spats. They're such forgiving little lads.

This afternoon I was registering Ben for the upcoming spring soccer season. We had discussed the possibility of trying baseball this year so I asked him what his preference was.

Me: "Ben, do you want to do baseball or soccer this spring?"

Ben: "Hmmmm. Baseball. Yeah. Baseball."

Me: "Are you sure?"

Ben: "Well, no, I'm actually going to do soccer. I've been warming up my feet forever."



Girl Time

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In spite of the pure craziness that life brought in January, I somehow managed to fit in two girlfriend weekends. Both were planned prior to knowing what the month had in store and I'm convinced that was the hand of God knowing just what was needed. I have no pictures from the first one except of this precious little babe. Four of us went to the Hood Canal to celebrate a dear friend's 40th birthday. One of the four had just given birth 3 weeks prior so leaving her nursing baby wasn't an option. I can't remember the last time I held a newborn--much less one of the female persuasion. It was so yummy. I guess I didn't snap many photos because I was so busy relaxing or holding Maddie. No, it didn't make me want another one-especially when Maddie's mom announced she'd been up for most of the night while I snoozed away for 9 hours.

This picture is from this past weekend on Lummi Island at my friend Tracey's cabin. The three of us have been meeting weekly for the past 4 years through a group called Moms In Touch International. MITI's original purpose was gathering Christian moms together to pray for their children attending public schools. Our group began with 7 of us and in the past year has dwindled to 3 and an occasional 4. It has become a lifeline to me and a commitment that stays on the calendar no matter what.
The funny (and so not a woman thing) about it is that this is the very first time we have done anything socially together. We rarely see or talk to one another outside of the group. None of our kids are friends with each other. Our husbands don't really know one another. We don't attend the same church. We don't celebrate anyone's birthday. It used to truly baffle me. And yet, in spite of it all, the bond we have from praying together year after year is undeniable. The love and concern we have for each woman and her family is never doubted. The weekend solidified that as we truly enjoyed one another and knew when we parted ways and said "see ya next week" it would be enough.