Tuesday, May 31, 2011

someone is pressing my fast forward button...

It seems I can't keep up with time these days. Somehow, days, weeks, and months have gone by and I just can't keep it straight. I'm starting to be worn down more (it alwasy seems to happen in the summer months), and I'm just exhausted - all of the time! Work piles up, Miriam wants to play, and daddy is traveling a good bit. But, nonetheless, we are still enjoying our time with sweet Miriam. I haven't recorded much since her last month day, but here we are - almost at the 11th month day - YIKES!!!
Over these last weeks, dear Miriam, you have:
- grown an even larger affection for your duckies. if you're ever sad or angry, a ducky is sure to remedy the problem
- finally come along with 2 teeth on the bottom. the first one popped through 2 days before your 10th month day, and the second has just happened in the last week.
- started eating more and more "real" food (forget purees!) and you can even handle whole milk - woohoo!! your favorite snack food is ritz circle crackers
- learned how to pull yourself up (of course with some help) and stand at the coffee table
- seen the animals on the farm (preschool field trip) and at the zoo (family day on Memorial Day)
- taken a dip in the pool with your friend Taylor and LOVED it!

We are still working on:
- rolling over
- crawling
- sitting up from a lying down position
Soon, you'll be meeting a new friend to help you with these things so that you can continue to grow and move like your other baby friends. I'm so grateful for your "teacher" that will help you do these things.

I can't believe that I started really planning your 1st birthday party today - I can't believe our little sugar bag is going to be a whole 12 months old!! I'm loving this life and instead of fastforward, I wish someone would press pause!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

another Debbie in heaven

A few months back, I wrote this post about a dear friend's mother who had passed away. Today, I write about another dear friend who has left her daughers and husband.  These two ladies, as special as they were to me and to many others, have now joined mom in the glorious dancing with Jesus. As exciting as that is, it doesn't discount the sadness that the Leathers family is experiencing this day, 2 days after her death, and the day of the service of worship to remember her.

We left for the beach leaving some dear friends on the brink of ultimate grieving. Their mother and wife was lying in a hospice bed, unresponsive, and suffering from ALS in the last days of her earthly life. We knew the end was near, but surely thought it would be later in the week. We had spent some time by her bed the week prior and even made a late night visit to her on Sunday to say some last "good byes."  Sadly, she passed early Tuesday morning, and arrangements were made for visitation to be Wednesday and a service for Thursday.

Debbie was such a servant in the church, especially when it came to the children. She was always willing to help in the Sunday school classes, with the nurseries, and even taught in the preschool when I was first hired at the church.  Even after she was diagnosed, she continued to serve in these capacities in some form or fashion up until only about 2 or 3 months ago. She made the trek out to my house to visit with us right after Miriam was born, and we weren't venturing out too much and she loved it when Miriam and I visited after she got to be less mobile.

The life story of the Leathers' was so familiar to us, especially for their oldest daughter. I felt as if I had been reliving the 22 months of mom's illness and death all over again through her. Katie got married in June 2009 with her mom proudly walking down the aisle before her arrival. Less than a year later, her mom began showing signs of serious issues, and was later diagnosed with ALS. In the same way, Jeremy and I were only married for 6 months before the diagnosis of the deadly brain tumor was given to momma.Katie was by her mother's side in the year that followed as often as she could be and cared for her so her father and younger sister could rest. I had done just that for momma too. Katie and her husband Ryan do not have children yet (although I know for certain that soon Ryan will come around, and Katie will be such a wonderful mother!), nor did Jeremy and I during mom's illness or before her death.

With all of these similiarities, I knew the feeling of losing someone so close. And these are some good friends of ours who have given us a lot: numerous tickets to Panther games, their family refrigerator for our first newlywed apartment, and a hamper for Miriam's nursery, and some wonderful food are just a few of the tangible things that they offered graciously, but their time, love, and servant lives have been an inspiration to Jeremy and me over the past 6 years. We just couldn't miss out on an opportunity to be there during such a sad, yet joyful time for them, as their dear mother and wife is no longer suffering and is now a dear dancing partner with momma.  So we cut our vacation short and left after a short 45 hours at the beach to be by their side as they entered in to a new season of grieving.

Please pray for Jamey, her husband, as he returns to work and life without a helper and partner in crime.  Pray for her oldest daughter Katie, as she returns to life with her husband and begins to see what her "normal" life looks like.  Pray for the youngest daughter Laura, as she begins a rigorous 40-hr week 4 week job in a local pharmacy and returns back to her school work (she just completed her first year of pharmacy school). Such a dear family who has been saddened, but praise the Lord they know the Truth and have joy for the no longer suffering of Debbie.

Vacation, not so much.

I live for May each year. Not only does the weather turn promising for warmer climates meaning shorts, flip flops and sun, but it's also the month that we take our annual "summer vacation." Since the summer is such a busy time in the church, and we don't get "spring break" or the wonderful 8 weeks off in the summer, Jeremy and I have always found the week just before Memorial Day to be our token vacation week. After our numerous experiences at Myrtle Beach during this said week (which just so happens to be "Brotha and Sista Biker Week), we decided that this year, with Miriam, we'd have to do something different.

Our wonderful church friends, the Logans, agreed to lend us their home in Edisto for the week, and we anticipated our trip since Christmas! We decided to go earlier in May this year, because of Dad's wedding festivities and all and finally the dates were set:  From Friday, May 6 - Monday, May 16. 10 full days of restful bliss with my husband and my daughter. It was going to be great!  I desire nothing more each year than to spend a week away from my home, office, and relationships - so that I can regroup, revive, and fall in love with my family and creation.

Unfortunately, not so much.  As a series of events unfolded, our 10 day vacation hasn't been so much of a vacation after all, but rather an odd way the Lord has chosen to teach us a great lesson.

Instead of being selfish and only thinking to appease my yearly desire for laziness, this year we were put in situations to put that aside and think of others...something that has left us in a more rewarding state than the relaxation in the sun.

Instead of going early to the beach, we gave up time to be with dad at his bride and groom party (which was a great time to celebrate, although the worst time as it fell on the eve before Mothers Day). Then we took time out of our travel to do the rehearsal dinner invites for his festivities in just TWO WEEKS! Instead of staying down at the beach, we had an early return to support our friends The Leathers at the death of a dear wife/mother (another post to follow).  Instead of going back down, we're taking a detour and going the opposite way to be with Jeremy's family as we celebrate Joshua's 1 year birthday and his dedication. After it's said and done, we'll have spent almost 20 hours in the car, at least $125 on gas, some $50 on meals on the road, and $75 for groceries (most of which were wasted and still down at the beach house). 

It doesn't really matter that I didn't get to waste time away in the sun and get burnt to a crisp, or really even get pictures of Miriam on her first beach trip, or avoid work (because when folks saw that I was back for the funeral, they assumed I was working)....instead, we got the fulfillment of bringing joy, encouragement, peace and comfort, support, and celebration to our family and dear friends and that's all that really matters.

It's funny how the Lord uses 10 days of vacation to teach you more than you've learned in a whole year of real life.