Sunday, April 22, 2012

Difficult Day Ahead

These past few days have been both physically and emotionally exhausting. The day after I wrote my last post, hospice was asked to come alongside Gram for this next stage of her journey. It's a journey we all must take one day, yet our hearts kinda just wished Gram would somehow be an exception and just keep adding an ongoing sweetness to our lives. Oh, she has touched us in ways that have changed us forever and her sweetness will always live on in our hearts and the lives we live.  Yet, I will never again get a sweet unexpected email from her again, like I did last Saturday. Our holiday cards from her will stop brightening my mailbox. I will not get to sit lakeside with her this summer and sip lemonade while both talking about memories of years gone by and making new ones. She's lived a lifetime and a half in her 94 years and she has lived them well.

Today is our last day to see her before we begin our 17 hour drive back home. She is still able to fully comprehend all we have to share with her, but she can no longer use her words to speak back. She now only communicates with her eyes - and her gestures. And since it's been said that one's eyes are the windows to their soul, it's good to still be able to connect with her so deeply. But how do you say goodbye to one you love so dearly? Well, for me, it will be 'see you later' - knowing that 'cuz she loves Jesus - I will see her again on the other side of this journey. And though there has been nothing we've been able to do to help her - I hope she has only felt love poured into her these past few days as her family has gathered near her as she finds the courage to journey on. We still wish for a miracle, that her brain will remember how to speak and swallow food and water again - we hate that it might end like this for her, but it is not our miracle to give. We can only love.

Gram has loved well, and thus, taught us through her example, how to live well. Her beautiful legacy is made up of a million moments in the routine of days - of simply loving well, being generous, forgiving, thinking of others, spreading kindness, and brightening this world with handmade quilts and beautiful smiles. I'm so thankful that through knowing Mike, I got to know and love this beautiful soul these past 20 years, and that she chose to be my "Gram" too. I love her very much!
Summer 2010

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Sometimes on this journey of life, you meet amazing people. And then sometimes you're really lucky and get the joy of calling them family. Thus, my good fortune of being able to love Mike's Gram all these years.

(Mike's Brother, Ken, took this picture of her last Thanksgiving. She is 93 in the picture, and 94 now.)
We are feeling a bit sad right now because she took a big tumble this past Sunday and could really use some prayers for healing! We've got a family gathering this summer and are looking forward to spending some time with her! 

Gram, we love you! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My EEEK moment!

So, it all began last week, when I'm glancing through my facebook posts and I see a 'request' of sorts from the Springfield News-Leader. They are starting a new outdoor section, 'GO: Get Outdoors' and looking for articles or essays for it.  Instantly I think of these random thoughts I jotted in some notebook, last Spring, while on a visit to Roaring River State Park and know it's perfect for this! :) So, I literally spent an hour looking for every 3-ring notebook I've ever scribbled anything in - apparently I have this bad habit of not writing my stuff in one nice little journal - oh no, I have to scribble it wherever, whenever I feel inspired! But I digress, I finally find these scribbled notes in one of the journals! So I type them up, revise them a bit, and click 'send' to the editor at 10pm! 

And the next morning, I get an email saying "Cathy, this is great. I'm sure I will use it – maybe for our first one!" -- thus, I let out my first EEK! They like it! They are going to use it! Okay, I know it's just the newspaper, not a publishing company - but to me, it's big. Someone else (besides just friends and family) likes my writing! This makes me smile. And I wonder all week, will they really put it in the paper? (Yay, I lack a bit of confidence! In fact, Mike even said to me something like, "I'm glad they like it - maybe this will give you the confidence you need!") 

So I woke up this morning, half asleep, checked email, FB on my phone -the usual. Then I bolted upright! The article - I almost forgot the article! I ran to get my laptop (literally!) and dared to look - and sure enough, they did publish it! Thus, my 2nd EEK!!  

Here's the article if you'd like to read it: The Treasure of Roaring River State Park.

I then woke up the girls and told them about it - they smiled big for me (awww!) - and then they were mad at me when I told them their picture was in the paper. But I told them to hurry and get ready so we could stop and buy a paper on the way to school. Then we get to school - and Morgan is like, "Can I show my teacher I'm in the paper?" I'm like, "I thought you were mad you were in the paper?" Morgan, "I am, but I still want her to see!" (She's a bit like me, never wanting the spotlight!)  It also made me smile that Sarah wanted to take the time to read the article in it's entirety.

And it has inspired me a bit. I've wrote a couple more articles this week. I've typed up some letters to editors, and polished up a few drafts to send off to some publishers. Now I just need to find some time to finalize them and send them off!

My writing may never be famous - but I hope that it will encourage as many lives and God needs it to on this brief journey of life I get to live! That it makes people smile, think about God, and encourages them to live deeper, fuller lives.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Blessings

We celebrate Easter because Easter changed everything for all of history! It's a joy we celebrate everyday, although I appreciate Easter because it is a significant pausing to celebrate the One who loved us enough to give us Easter!

These sweet girls...are our sweet Easter Blessings!

And even though our Easter Weekend has been packed with fun, it is these prayers that I treasure the most from the weekend.  Last night, Morgan's Bedtime Prayer went something like this: "God, thank you for learning at church tonight (well, even though I already knew), but Thank You that you are stronger than anything God, even death!"  I LOVE others pouring truth into her heart too!

And then this morning, here is how my conversation with Sarah went, "You know the first thing I did this morning?!" "No, what?" "When I woke up, I prayed!" "What did you pray?" "I thanked God for sending his son, for him dying on a cross and rising again!"  I'm so glad she woke up celebrating what this day is really all about!

These past 3 days we've also crammed in - coloring Easter eggs, watching 2 movies, an overnight trip to Indoor Waterpark, that included an egg hunt, shopping, Lamberts, church, treasure hunt for Easter baskets, emptying of said Easter baskets, learning cat's cradle, a hike, geocaching, a picnic and a backyard campfire! I love sharing life with Mike and the girls!
Intensely learning Cat's Cradle
My view from my picnic blanket today. Beautiful day to celebrate Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pure Randomness

I was just looking at my girls this past weekend. Staring at them really. In awe of the beautiful people who were sitting on the other side of the window. I couldn't help but think about how I could still see the little babies I use to hold in my arms, and all the while I could also see the women they will one day become. What a journey to experience! I love my sweet life I get to share alongside Mike being a part of their growing up!

Oh the things I do for my daughter. I am running again. Not because I want to. At all. But she wants me to. She wants to run the 5k race with me. So here I am trying to get in shape...again. If only I'd stay in shape and stop quitting, it would be so much easier. I need some accountability here. I'm glad she wants to do it with me, and that she is motivating me to get back in shape again. It's feeling good.

April Fool's Day was yesterday. We put colored Easter egg dye tablets in the faucet of their bathroom and the kitchen sink. At first Morgan was worried...and I played along, "I'll have dad come look at it as soon as he's out of the shower!" Then she remembered it was April Fool's Day - so she convinced herself that the city was playing an April Fool's Trick on us by changing our water colors...hilarious! :) Oh and the girls helped make some french fries (out of sugar cookie dough) for our friends who came over Sunday evening - we tricked a few of the littler kids with the fries! :) (I might add a picture on Wednesday when I have more time to upload them!)

I've set a personal goal of submitting a few of my ideas to publishers by the end of the school year. And there's only 34 more days of school left! I never know unless I try! So I may as well go for it! What do I have to lose? A little time, a few stamps. And what do I have to gain? The hope of encouraging others with my words...yep, definitely going for it!