Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Cousins’

I Saw Something Beautiful

I saw something beautiful last night.  I didn’t sleep well, and I woke up early because of it. I am feeling a compulsive urge to capture what I saw in words.  The sun won’t be up for a while, but I need to write this now.

Is this how real artists feel?  I always told people I was an artist; they should stop treating me like a normal person.  Artists shouldn’t be expected to do the dishes and go to work is what I have been saying.  Do you think Picasso had to get his own coffee?  It’s hard when you’re the only one who really “gets it”.

Last night we celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s 55th wedding anniversary.  A lot of years ago, my Dad’s sister, Peggy,  went to a movie with a tall skinny guy she met, named Stan.  These two kids hit it off.  They got married: 3 daughters, 7 grandkids and 55 years later, seemed like a good time to celebrate,

stan peg inviate

My cousins hosted this celebration for their parents in one of my cousin’s backyards last night.  This party was a Pinterest explosion.  My cousins are like that.  If these ladies lived in a cardboard box, the cardboard box would have walls covered in a faux finish; there would cozy lighting and shabby chic pillows cast artfully about so that you’d be jealous of their cardboard box.  You’d wish you could live in a cardboard box too, instead of a dumb ol’ house.

That’s just my cousins; they can’t help it.  They’re not trying to make you feel badly about how every time you attempt style in your house, it looks like you hired a 9-year- old decorator.  Trust me.  These women aren’t doing this on purpose. At least,  that’s what my therapist told me to think about that.

But, we can dig into your insecurities later.  Right now, I want to capture this beautiful thing I was telling you about.

First, I have to go backwards.  My Aunt and Uncle live 2 hours away.  We had 2 hours for Scott (and Zeke)  to hear all the important stuff my brain has been storing.  My family must love our car rides.

I was telling Scott and Zeke about some folks I’ve been reading about in the press lately.  These folks are semi famous for one reason or another.  These folks have always claimed to be hard core Christians.  I mean, from what they’ve told us, this being a Christian thing is their main message in life, and the main thing we should learn about from them.  They’ve spoken about their Christianness with authority.

Recently,  it has come to light, that while these famous Christian people are using fame to convince us of their upstanding Christianness, they are simultaneously orchestrating a heinous private life.  I don’t know why I’m surprised by this stuff anymore.  It’s not a new thing.  I can’t help it though.  I always take it hard.

It isn’t the heinous private life that troubles me.  I’m not in charge of other people.  We are all responsible for our own choices, and the resulting consequences.  What makes it hard for me to recover is the big, fancy, public display of Christian faith.

Do you want to know what super unchristian thought I have when I hear these stories?  I’m going to tell you, because I need Jesus, and here’s how I know it.  When I hear these stories, I think about these people, and I want to say, “Just SHUT UP!  Please.  Stop talking.   Just stop.  Not another word.”

This is what I was telling Scott and Zeke on the way up to my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary celebration.  I told my family that I was starting to come to the conclusion that people should just quit talking about their faith completely.  Maybe talking about Jesus is the easiest thing in the world to do.  Because, literally, anybody can do it.

I said that I felt like in a world with everyone yammering on (guilty) about how you should live, and what you should believe, there’s nothing new to hear.  I told my family that in a world like this, my actions are my testimony.  My life is my testimony.  I feel disillusioned by all the speeches.

That’s where my mind was at when we parked in front of my cousin’s house.

After we ate dinner, my cousins had a short little program lined up.  My Aunt and Uncle played, “The Newlywed Game”.  That was fun to watch.  Then, my cousins told the crowd what their parents’ happy marriage meant to them in their lives. Everything.

My cousins then asked the five grandkids if they would like to share a few words about their Grandparents.  You could tell this was a surprise request.

stand and peg anniversary

And, this is the beautiful thing I saw.

All five of these grandkids are young adults:  married for a short time, getting married, or going to college.  That sums up where these kids are at in life.  One by one, while holding back tears,  these kids told all of us sitting there how much their Grandparents meant to them.

Each grandchild told their Grandparents that they appreciated all their physical support.  The grand kids said thank you for all the meals they ate  with Grandma and Grandpa,  for the golf games with Grandpa, and for the luxury of knowing Grandma and Grandpa would be there to support them with whatever they chose to do.

The other thing that every single one of these grandkids thanked Grandma and Grandpa for was their faith in Jesus Christ.  These kids explained that Grandma and Grandpa helped them understand that no matter how difficult life became, their faith could carry them.

That’s it.  That’s the beautiful thing I saw.

I saw two young kids who committed themselves to God and to each other 55 years ago.  I saw an imperfect couple who spoke to God privately, daily, asking God for help, asking God  to show them how to raise a family, because they couldn’t do it on their own.  I saw a couple who endured heartache, trauma and their share of disappointment over a lifetime.  I saw a couple who’s faith allowed their hearts to resist bitterness, and to remain content.

I saw a couple who didn’t give grand public speeches about how people should live.  I saw a couple who, in the privacy of their own home,  fell on their knees before God;  Praying to a God they believe is  intimately invested and concerned with the well being of their family and the world.

I saw a couple who  woke up early, without witnesses, and read God’s Word; believing God’s promises were meant for them.

I saw a couple who practiced generosity and kindness every day.  A couple who said they were sorry, who asked for forgiveness.

I saw a couple who’s Grandkids have been watching and listening to their Grandparents.  Those Grandkids received an inheritance from their Grandparents worth more than any amount of money on Earth.

Grandma and Grandpa are towards the end of their lives now.  There will come a day when Grandma and Grandpa will not be physically available to offer comfort and support to the people they love.  But, Grandma and Grandpa’s hearts can be at peace.  Their private lives have been a testimony with impact.  Their grandkids were watching, learning and receiving instruction.  Their grandkids are now claiming their Grandparents’  faith as their own. These grandkids told their Grandparents, thank you.  We will not be shaken.

To me, it’s beautiful.  I can’t know if that’s the life I’m living, but that’s the life I desire.  I can say just about anything to anyone.  But, my family is watching what I do.  I really, really, don’t want to mess that up.

My cousin, Jodi, told me last night that shortly after each Grandchild was born, Grandpa Stan would take the grandchild in his arms and go for a little walk.  On their walk Grandpa would whisper his prayer to God,   committing his new grandchild to the Lord, asking for God’s blessing to cover this new grandchild. Grandpa Stan would also ask God for the favor of building a true and genuine faith in the heart of this new little human.  So that this precious, fragile life would feel security and peace despite what trials may come.

Grandpa Stan performed this meaningful, divine, life altering ritual privately.  Grandpa Stan followed where God led his heart, for the sake of his and his Grandchild’s spiritual lives.  Without an audience, and in front of no one.

It was beautiful.

.

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It’s a Wrap

I already like 2015.  I have a good feeling about it.  Maybe it’s because 2014 was quacktastic.  And, by that I mean 2014 was really good. We’ve got some mo jo going.

I am on my last day of Christmas vacation.  Which is sad for me.  I have enjoyed every single minute of this sucker.  Even the minutes when I was coughing until I threw up.  Just in case you wanted to know about that.  There was some sickness somewhere in those vacation days.  But, who could really notice with all the fun?

I think I can honestly say that this was one of the best holiday seasons I’ve had.  And the reason almost for sure is because Eddie feels healthy.  We’ve had lots of Christmas and New Years when Scott and I  have had to make a mental note to smile in front of all the people we love.  Because, that’s what you’re supposed to do at Christmas. You’re happy.

No one wants to sit around feeling sad when there are presents to be opened, and carols to be sung.  Putting on a fake smile works.  Just, for the record.  You can trick yourself into having a better time by pretending to be happy.  You can’t give in to how you really feel when you’re sad; sad sacks NEVER have a good time.

My family celebrated Christmas on New Years.  My sister, Gail, and her husband and son from Colorado have been visiting.  There has been lots of laughing, game playing, eating, movie watching, fire building and teasing.

I thought that some day my kids could put all the pages of my blog together into a book.  If my grandkids (cross your fingers) and great grandkids want to know more about who they are, and where they came from, their parents can give them my blog to read.  That is, if my kids are not ashamed of me.  That’s a big “if”.      Maybe when I’m gone, my kids will want to erase all traces of me.  It could go either way.

Because I have this vision for my blog, I want to add a lot of our holiday photos.  Too many to interest you, and I’m sorry for that.  But, if you could just do this thing for my great grandkids, I’d be grateful.

Here was our Christmas: We played lots of games.  The girls like to play cards.  I’m okay with “Old Maid” and “Gold Fish”, but these girls like longer games that involve a little thinking.  I definitely try to stay away from thinking whenever possible.

cards

Grandpa and the boys almost always play Monopoly when they’re together. I hate Monopoly,  but I love Grandpa and these boys.

monopolyThe day turned into evening.  The sparking cider came out, and let’s just say some things happened that are better off not being remembered.  But, my camera was rolling.  So, we have no choice but to relive these things.

Some of my sisters and I leg wrestled.  Surprise! The one sister with long, beautiful legs, ALSO was the leg wrestling champ.  So, thanks, God.  Give her long, thin legs AND make her good at leg wrestling.  Because, she needs more good luck.  I would think that the least I could get in return for having legs shaped like cement blocks, is some strength. And, some kind of championship.

leg wrestling

We also played a game that I found a bit boring, at first.  One person had to go into a closet.  Then, we appointed someone in the circle to be the leader.  The leader had to make subtle motions.  Everyone copied the leader’s motions. The person who was in the closet, now stood in the middle of the circle.  That middle person had to guess who the leader was.  I know.  It’s complicated.  I was getting a little tired of the game until Scott came out of the closet in a headdress:

scott's headdress

The closet we had to wait in was filled with dress up clothes.  Finally.  The game seemed more interesting to me.  We made a new rule that whoever was in the closet had to put on dress up clothes before they came out.  Suddenly, I couldn’t wait for my turn.  I didn’t have much to work with.  A wig, a hat and a sweater.  I came out singing, “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my rag time gal…”  And, of course, there was dancing.

hello my dollyScott seemed like he was repulsed by me in this costume.  So, that for sure made me want to be closer to him:

scott's lap

It’s me, Sweetheart. Just give me a kiss.

We ended the night with a hilarious gift card swap game.  And, Grandma and Grandpa gave everyone some gifts too.  Grandma gave her nesting dolls to Olivia and my niece, Naomi.  Olivia and Naomi love to play with these dolls when they come to Grandma’s.

naomi and olivia new years

Olivia and Naomi

I drove the girls home after our party.  The girls agreed that opening the nesting dolls made them happy, but it also made them sad.  They decided they’re going to sneak the dolls back into Grandmas and leave a note with the dolls.  The girls are going to say this: “Grandma, thanks for the nesting dolls.  We like playing with them at your house.  We know we’re going to have many more years to play with them at your house, so we’ll keep them with you for now.”

I knew exactly what they meant.

After the presents we sang a few carols.  We also sang my nephew, Ryan’s, favorite song, “Love Like a Hurricane.”  We shed some tears too; we miss Ryan.  My niece, Libby, said a prayer, thanking God for reminding us of His love for us through the blessing of family.  Then, then we went home.

A lot of the kids ended up in our living room:

cousins sleeping

As far as I can tell, the only bad thing about hanging out with Scott and my families, is that it eventually has to end.  My kids always HATE getting to that part.  Seriously, Zeke and Olivia go through quite a low point after every good bye.  It’s hard for them.

THAT was our New Year’s/Christmas celebration.  I hope you enjoyed your Holiday, and that you can easily recall all your blessings in this world.  I know I’ve told you this, but for sure one of my greatest blessings are the folks who spend a few moments of their lives reading my blog.  I’m so very grateful for that.

Happy, Happy New Year!  Let’s make lots more happy memories this year.

Thanksgiving Rehash and Scott’s Singing Career

How was your Thanksgiving? We enjoyed ours.  I can’t really remember what we did, but I definitely remember there was something fun about it.

Thanksgiving is a lot about food.  I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom.  I was so much better at food then.  I had actual recipes with fairly long lists of ingredients I liked to make.  I remember a pumpkin torte that involved multiple layers.  I also made this fruit salad that Scott liked.  The fruit was covered in a homemade custard sauce that involved tempering egg yolks.   I tempered eggs?  I did. Or, maybe that was just a dream.

This year, I worked late the night before Thanksgiving.  Scott came through for me, and bought a cheese tray, hard salami and a veggie platter for his side of the family’s celebration.  I did manage to make some cookies Thanksgiving morning, but that’s it.  That’s all I got.

For my side of the family, I brought nothing.  You’re welcome guys.  Hope you liked it.

Olivia had her heart set on Black Friday shopping this year.  My mom and two sisters and niece and I all decided we’d spend a few hours joining the fun on Friday morning.  And, it definitely was fun.  Especially, if you think fun is like jumping off the high dive into a pool of sharp knives.  It was definitely THAT kind of fun.

I don’t know why people do it.

I felt so overwhelmed.  I just kept giving myself small goals.  Like,  looking for the closest open chair.  One time I just sat right down on the carpeting while Olivia sorted through a giant trash heap of items on sale.  Another time, I sat on a pile of jeans.

My mom wandered off on her own. She told us she got side tracked picking up after a tornado that must have gone through the Boston Store’s shoe department.  She couldn’t help herself.  It looked like those workers needed some disaster relief volunteers.   My mom also found an empty beer bottle in one of the dressing rooms, among all the other wrappers, discarded clothing and empty soda cups.  Black Friday is just a classy thing.

Olivia found a couple of good deals during our shopping trip, and she probably could have shopped all day, but she knew the rest of us were getting weak.  We lasted until lunch.

black friday

Eddie, Zeke and their cousin, Caleb, went out for Black Friday shopping on Thursday night.  Caleb asked my boys to do this with him. Caleb thought it might be fun.  I told Caleb his cousins are really bad shoppers, and I couldn’t really remember Eddie ever shopping on purpose before.  Caleb had confidence they would have fun. So, I believed him.  I gave my boys money, and I told them to pick up some Christmas presents.

They didn’t.

Their first stop was McDonald’s.  Eddie asked the McDonald’s employee if they had any Black Friday specials on chicken.  The guy said he was sorry, but everything was just regularly priced.  He did offer Eddie this special grocery bag.  So, that’s really nice.

blackfriday bag

Here’s a Black Friday Special…Sorry, Eddie got to it first.

Friday night, the cousins played “Pit”.  Do you remember that game?  We used to love playing it when I was a teenager, now my kids do too. “3,3,3”, “2,2,2”!!!

20141128_183145

Saturday, Zeke and Eddie and the other wrestlers on their team, scrimmaged some other wrestling teams.  Some of us parents went and watched, because we’re sick like that.  Zeke, Eddie and Scott are all on the same team now. This has never happened before. I’m excited to watch these boys I love do what they love this winter.

After the scrimmage, we went to see a dog at the humane society. This dog was a precious little thing that someone posted a picture of on my Facebook timeline.  We loved this dog right away.  We’ve never been to the humane society.  Olivia, Zeke and I were super excited to go, because we just love dogs about more than anything else I can think of.  But, guess what?  The humane society isn’t a happy place.  We couldn’t get the dog we saw, because Reggie needs to be neutered.  I know. I know.  You’re going to tell me we should have done that already.  Let’s talk about that later.

Right now, I want to tell you that if you think going to the humane society sounds like a neat thing to do some time, you need to know it isn’t.  I’m not sure why I didn’t know that.  The humane society, by definition, is a place for dogs without homes.  Each dog is contained in a little pen, and they bark and bark and bark.  Olivia and I made the mistake of going back and seeing these dogs.  We couldn’t talk for an hour after we saw these dogs.  We were both so sad.

Olivia’s channeling her sadness by making plans for a her future.  She’s going to start her own shelter where the dogs have much more comfortable accommodations.  She said she is going to also provide care and activities for kids with special needs to interact with these dogs.  She seems really passionate and certain.  I asked her if I could come work for her, and she said she was already planning on it.  Maybe that trip to the humane society wasn’t wasted after all.

Saturday night, the boys were gone, and Scott built a fire for Olivia and me.  Do you know how lazy I am in the evenings?  Really, really lazy.  I have a lot of friends who get very productive in the late evenings.  I don’t.

We sat by the fire and watched, “Nebraska”.  Have you seen that movie?  The whole thing is in black and white.  I thought it would annoy me, but it didn’t.  We really liked this movie.  Even Scott said it was very good.  I don’t remember the last time Scott gave a movie a favorable review.  The main character in “Nebraska” was a nice guy, and he did nice things without expecting anything nice in return.  What’s not to like about that?  It was really nice.

I was thinking that after the movie I should probably try to be productive, but then I decided I’d better lay on the couch some more.  I read my book, and I watched Olivia and Scott perform.  They were dancing to, and singing “Fancy”, by Ziggy Azalea.  They wouldn’t stop, even when I asked them to, and that’s why I think they deserve to have me post part of their performance. I wish you could have seen the whole thing.

I know you’re going to tell me you didn’t know Scott was such a good singer.  Well, he is. He’s thought about pursuing a singing career.  It’s just that we kind of need his insurance.

Sunday we went to church, watched Olivia play basketball, and Zeke and Olivia decorated the tree.  Eddie and Scott are the world’s worst at celebrating holidays.  I don’t know how to make them care, because the really just don’t.  I’m not sure if that’s something they can take medicine for, or if they just are going to live the rest of their lives like that, but they seem happy enough.

20141130_173208

So, I guess that’s that.  You know Christmas is coming at us like a freakin’ freight train.   I think someone should embroider THAT saying on a holiday pillow.  I’d totally buy one of those.

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