Saturday, April 22, 2017

No Regrets When The Clothes Are Clean

Expectations
Anticipation
Worry
Regret
Celebration

We all live with the looking forward to the next moment. Worrying about what we should have accomplished but didn't. Things we put off or things we let go of too soon fill our thoughts.
Wouldn't it be glorious if we could forgive ourselves as easily as we forgive others.
Not only forgiving but moving past of missteps is healing.

The saying that we need to look out the windshield of life and not the rear view mirror is spot on.
Baby steps into the future.
Avoiding the pile of laundry doesn't get the clothes clean
However
Dwelling on how gigantic the pile was after it is all folded and fresh in the drawers and closet 
Seems pointless.
Just be glad the task is complete and let go of how you waited a really long time before completing it.

Looking forward
Moving forward
Forgiving ourselves along the way.

In Him,
Joyful
4-22-17

Sunday, April 9, 2017

My First, Last and Most Precious Birthday Greeting

The past few years have been a struggle for my son Tanner. If only he knew how precious his words are to me. My sweet son woke me up at 4:30 am to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. Then at moments before midnight he made sure he was the last to wish me a special day. I adore my son and have confidence that his journey is just beginning.

His texts.

Just wanted to be the first one to wish you a happy birthday so I set my alarm for 4:30. Happy birthday my wonderful mother. I could not ask for a better person to have raised me and allowed me to get to be a part of your life. You have raised a wonderful young man because your best attributes were passed on to me. I am patient and kind and a wonderful listener because  you taught me how to be. You showed me compassion and love when I didn't deserve it. You showed me what unconditional love truly means. You have such a big heart and couldn't be more kind and giving with everything you have. I hope that I am half the person you are. I love you so, so, so much mother and I am so proud to be your son. Ryan wishes you a happy birthday as well and wants you to be happy on this day. Live every day as if it were your last. He is watching down on us and smiling. He loves his mother so deeply and taught me how to love without judgement. You truly are the best mother a boy could ask for. I hope you have a wonderful day Mommy. I am going back to sleep now. I will call you later on.  T

My family is a chosen family. Adoption brought us all together but our hearts wove us into a family. Tanner knows that each year my birthday is bittersweet. Losing our Ryan the day after my birthday seven years ago was the most difficult time of our lives. As the years go past we brace ourselves for the grief that still sweeps us off our feet at this time of year. These words from my too generous son are the most precious gift I could receive.

Thank you T for waking me up so early and ending my day with a warm hug from you.

In Him,
Joyful
4-9-17


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Life is full of choices each and everyday. Some are small, inconsequential that don't have a big impact on our lives while others are life changing or at least season changing. Last year I made a decision to retire. I wanted to leave teaching at the middle school while I still loved it. Better to mourn a career than to stay until I dreaded going to work everyday. That decision and prayer led me to my next path of working with developmentally delayed babies.

This job is a perfect fit and I love my families, their kiddos and my coworkers. Unfortunately, or fortunately I am considering leaving this position while I still love it. The truth is my life has changed. Our brilliant grandgirl came to live with us this Spring. She is working on an online public school and I need to be home with her more. So, I am prayerfully considering shifting gears again. It may be time to become an online special ed teacher. That seems to be my next step. But as I know from past experiences God will slam doors on wrong situations and open the one that is the best fit. My job is to knock on doors to see which one will lead to my path forward.

For now I think I will make one of those not so life changing decisions and choose a new nail polish for my toes. Hmmmmm. Wonder what to wear to my pedicure?

In Him,
Joyful
4-8-17


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bittersweet Week

I am thankful others know.
This week is bittersweet.
This is the week~
Ron and I 
Celebrate my birthday
Found out we couldn't conceive
Lost our first chosen son Logan
Lost my dad's dad.
Blessed with our daughter Natalie
And
Painfully said goodbye to our son Ryan.

Natalie is and was my birthday present. We found out about her the day after my birthday at my grandfather's funeral. She was born the next day. God's timing is impeccable. 
My heart aches that she had to be in such pain on her 20th birthday. That each birthday week we share for the rest of our lives are bittersweet with the heartache of missing Ryan.

One of our most precious gifts is we share the joy and pain of life.
That others wish us happy birthday knowing that it is a mix of celebration of life and 
a heartbreak of death.

Losing our son, their brother, nephew, grandson, her father, and friend was a defining time in our lives. It brought us together in grief, memory and connected us with each other.
I love this week and I dread this week.
My Natalie
My Ryan
My family and friends
Are my most treasured gifts.

In Him,
Joyful
4-6-17

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shed or Surround Yourself

Peace
Joy
Encouragement
Acceptance
Community

Each of us needs to feel included, accepted by those around us. If we are not being encouraged to be our best by our community or if we feel left out/ put down/ unaccepted, our hearts wilt. I feel so blessed to have others in my life that lift me up, stretch me to be the best me. Toxic relationships contaminate our lives if we don't move ourselves away from them. Supportive relationships fill our lives with joy and grow us to be our best. 

Make sure your community, your people are lifting you not dragging you down. Some animals shed their skin so their new self can shine. Some of us need to shed a few relationships so our self can be brilliant.

In Him,
Joyful
2-19-17

Friday, February 17, 2017

Grandgirl, Passports, and a New Room

My heart is full and my home is a bit fuller too. Our twelve year old grand girl has come to live with us for middle school. We are enrolling her in an online public school to give us flexibility with her schedule and so we can have more hands-on with her learning. She is the one who asked to come live with us and her parents supported her decision. She and I have been busy de~Natalie~ing her room and Lissa~izing it.

Ron and I have a little plaque on our mantel that says 'We love our birdhouse full of birds.' That is how we feel about having Lis here. As wonderful as an empty nest is it is fabulous to have a young one here to love and encourage. The truth is Lissa brings a new life to our home. Her curious enthusiasm to learn and be involved encourages us to learn and be involved.

We all sat down and came up with the dos and don'ts list. She has spent summers with us, so she knows how we live and what we value. There may be bumps in the future but as long as we all let each other know what drives us nuts and what makes us smile, we will be okay.

Wednesday is Thrive aka youth group so Wednesday night will now be date night for Noni and Papa. Lis already got her first mail at our house from her loving cousin, McKayla. It not only made Lis smile but she wrote back immediately. I love that my grands are sending each other snail mail. When they were younger I tried to write a couple times a month to each of them. This is another thing that makes me smile.

Grandparents raising grandkids is happening more and more. It used to be that we all lived close enough so the grandparents as well as aunts and uncles all raised kids as a community~family. The hardest part of raising grandkids is that something is broken in our kids or we wouldn't be. As you know, we lost Lissa's dad to suicide almost seven years ago. We love that this opportunity to love on his daughter is here. Ryan would be so thrilled with the young lady that Lis is becoming. She has his love for others and adventurous heart. When I look into her brown eyes I see her dad's heart. She is her own person but got a good bit of the best of both her parents. Having her here gives us the chance to steer her away from the pitfalls her parents made and toward the opportunities that will give her the biggest world possible. Drugs and alcohol and the shame of them took her dad. Our hope is to provide Lis with successes that keep her from repeating his missteps.

She asked for a passport for Christmas so she could see the world. Guess Ron and I need to get out the map and dust off our own passports. World here we come with Lissa in the seat next to us.

In Him,
Joyful
2-17-17

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Courage and Patience is what Moms are made of

I had the pleasure yesterday of having lunch and attending a school conference with two incredible moms. These amazing ladies both homeschool their 5 kids. When they get together on Wednesdays for Social Studies their are 10 enthusiastic kids running around. It is a marvel to see how they get them settled, motivated, educated, and fed, all with smiles on their faces. The cleanup is quick with so many hands and then one piles her mob into the minivan to go home for more learning.

Yesteday, we had transition conferences to see if their almost 3 year olds will qualify for the districts preschool program. This was a tough meeting on many levels. These protective moms like to have a hand in their kiddos learning at all times. Even with that they both came to sit down and hear what the district could offer. Because doing what is right for their kids is greater than their hearts for keeping them home. The meeting didn't show the district in the best light. They didn't have the paperwork we had delivered before Christmas. Hadn't looked closely at their own calendar and didn't realize they had a meeting for the second kiddo until they double checked their own calendar. What a poor impression! When asked a question the director of special ed had to back track her first answer when confronted with the facts. I was sad that these two moms who worked up the courage to come to this meeting and consider trusting their precious littles to our school district were subjected to such haphazard attitudes.

Needless to say, it was not a pleasant conversation when we got back out into the fresh air. But the truth is, these moms both love their kids more than they dislike the district employees we met with today. I know that they will prayerfully consider what is best for each of their kiddos and make the decision that is best for each of them.  After all, courage and patience are what moms are made of.


In Him,
Joyful
2-2-17