Friday, April 29, 2011

Another First

Today I washed the car in a self-service car wash bay. My son has been begging me to use one because he thinks it's cool…I have been putting him off because I didn't know how to do it…I always sat inside the car. I tried it today by myself…too much pressure to have a 7 year old – bursting-with-excitement-cause-he-wants-to-help-and-you-don't –have-a-clue-as-to-what-you-are-doing. I managed to put my money in and follow the directions. I don't think I took off too much paint with the power rinse. It is so funny the things that make you feel accomplished.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kind Neighbors and Good Crys

One thing I didn't mention but really should have...all my sweet neighbors got out (and one set of visiting grandparents too) and moved the crumpled trampoline back to my yard and picked up all the debris. So nice of them to do this for me...especially since I was very busy having my melt down. I'm okay with the trampoline situation now--I still have all those precious memories of Todd and the kids--they can't be blown away by the wind.

By the way, if you ever witness a grieving person having a really ugly cry, don't be too unnerved. I think it is one of the most healing mechanisms we have for dealing with releases all that stored up tension. There is really no predicting what situations or events will be catalysts for the surge of release. Some pretty big situations or events, I seem to be able to emotionally handle pretty easily, and some seemingly insignificant events trigger a major flood of emotion. It is okay though, because after the chaos of the release, my body is able to organize itself and move forward...I think it is probably similar to a baby's developmental progress being marked by meltdowns and disorganization just before a major developmental milestone is reached. We really are "marvelously made." (Psalm 139:14)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Go Jump

Some pretty strong storms passed through last night, and I am so glad that the damage around us was minimal. I am sad too, though. The trampoline that Todd bought and put together for Caley is destroyed. I am not sad for the "thing" that the trampoline is, but for what it represents to me/us. It was Todd's idea to get it for her when she had to have an out-patient procedure done when she was almost 3 years old. He bought it and put it together in the back yard the evening before we went to Memphis to have the procedure done. He wanted to be able to tell her there was a big surprise waiting for her when she got home…he wanted it ready to go so she could start jumping right away. The safety net was a BEAR to get on…but he did it…and it was the best net in the neighborhood ;-)

My children have enjoyed that trampoline more than I could have imagined. It could share many stories if it could talk…like when Gran got on the trampoline for the first time (at 75 years old), and jumping with the aunts and uncles and cousins or when a few too many children were jumping and playing a game and laughing…until someone got hurt…or the time one little girl came flying out of the net entrance as I was talking to her mom on the phone and asking "are you okay with your children jumping on the trampoline with all the neighborhood children?" But the favorite stories would be how Todd would almost always jump with them when they asked him to…even after a long day at work. They would say "please daddy, please come jump with us." They had such fun, and it was my joy to watch them (although I confess to being a bit nervous from time to time seeing him bounce them to the top of the net). They would jump and play games…he would bounce them like a piece of popcorn…and they would take turns doing tricks. So you see…it is not the trampoline, but the memories that I am mourning right now. This is also his birthday week, and my son's too. So emotions are high, and tears have seemed to flow very easily this month. I pretty much had a complete meltdown this evening…seeing the trampoline in a crumpled heap (the wind had wrapped it around a telephone pole in a neighbor's yard) and remembering all those special times that will never be again…I just felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.

I am better than I was a few hours ago, but the ache inside is still very real. A friend came by who knew both Todd and I well, and we cried together, and she is the one who reminded me, "it was the best net in the neighborhood"-- and we both laughed a little. I know that the only important memory Todd would care about would be that his children remember how much he loved them…but I think *I* need him to be remembered…I don't want people to forget what an awesome husband and father and friend he was—not perfect (for that thought would make him gag) but damn awesome. I want to yell at the people around me "don't let petty crap and BUSYness get in the way of your relationships with your spouse and your children!" WAKE-UP NOW! Don't wake up one day in the future to see that you valued all the wrong things…evident by how you lived your life and how you treated those who are supposed to be most special/precious to you. My heart aches for Todd, but it also aches for this world in which marriages are disposable and children are lost in the shuffle of so many activities. It is my prayer that everyone reading this would let those most precious to them *know* they are precious through their slowing down enough to enjoy their company. Please go jump on your trampoline…and don't hesitate to remind me to do the same.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I thought this fit perfectly with Nikki's comment on April Showers

"And in the presence of these reminders, I have two alternatives. I can dwell on the fact that she has been taken away, and dissolve in remorse that all of this is gone forever. Or, focusing on the wonder that she was ever given at all, I can resolve to be grateful that we shared life, even for an all-too-short ten years. There are only two choices here, but believe me, the best way out for me is the way of gratitude. The way of remorse does not alter the stark reality one whit and only makes matters worse. The way of gratitude does not alleviate the pain, but it somehow puts some light around the darkness and creates strength to begin to move on."

John Claypool (on the loss of his ten year old daughter)

Tracks of a Fellow Struggler
pg 65

Monday, April 4, 2011

High Winds

I think I read somewhere (or maybe I just made it up because it sounds beautiful to me) that when the wind bends a tree and its limbs, the wind is actually helping to make the tree stronger. This morning, I was watching heavy rain and storm winds buffet my blooming trees, and the furious beauty of it struck me. Almost at once, I thought about how we are all buffeted by life's strong winds…and that God's presence in these very strong winds allow us to bend in ways that make us stronger. I know the truth in it at this moment…but I suspect I will have to be reminded again before too long.

Earlier this morning during my quiet time, God managed to do it YET again. He was able to comfort me and set me straight about a few things—He never forces me to walk away from the edge of that pit of despair, but He makes the Light so beautiful that I cannot help myself but to join Him in It. I usually have quiet time and reading/reflecting in the mornings, but yesterday I woke up too late. Hearing the scripture read in church is wonderful, but it does not replace my one-on-one time with only supplements it. As those yuk feelings continued to build, I should have run straight to my room and made time for that. I know that for me, reading scripture soothes the savage beast inside, but I repeatedly refuse to read it when I need it most. What is up with that? Can you say rebellious? And what does it get me? Oh, yeah, hopelessness, self-pity, anger and bitterness…those are real helpful qualities, aren't they? Now, some of you may be thinking "That is so crazy—her missing that one-on-one time couldn't make that much difference." Well, all I can say is I was hopeless, pitiful, angry and bitter before…and I was changed after.

Writing this post reminded me of something else I had read (but of course couldn't remember where), so I went digging around to see if I could find it. Here is the fruit of my labor.

"But the painting selected by the judges for the first prize was very different from all the others. It depicted the height of a raging storm. Trees bent low under lashing wind and driving rain. Lightning zigzagged across a lowering, threatening sky. In the center of the fury the artist had painted a bird's nest in the crotch of a gigantic tree. There a mother bird spread her wings over her little brood, waiting and serene and unruffled until the storm would pass. The painting was entitled very simply, Peace.

"'That,' Peter [Marshall] would point out, ' is a perfect picture of the peace God has promised us.'"

The Helper -- Catherine Marshall

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Showers

The loneliness is the worst part, I think...I can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely because I do not know, and I am not known, in that way that Todd and I knew one another...and *that* is what makes this sometimes feel hopeless...that I will never know or be known in this way again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

True, Kind, Necessary?

My kids and I are trying to intentionally practice asking these 3 questions (which we borrowed from the Atrium) before we say something:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary?


The other day I heard Luke in the back seat sort of muttering to himself "Well, It *is* true,…and…wait, I better think about that one..." He ended up correcting his sister about whatever it was…he struggled with the "is it necessary" part ;-) But he didn't say it unkindly, and it was true ;-)


I often realize too late that I have failed to go through the checklist before I have made a hasty comment. Oh, the trouble I could save myself if I could learn to do this automatically. What can I say? In this house, we are all a work in progress.