Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas: Doing it up BIG!

So, the holidays are upon us again. As usual, There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week to get everything done that is neccesary before Christmas day. One of the reasons I'm struggling with this is because I just keep adding to an already impossible list of things to do. Why do I do (over-do) this? That begs the question why do I over-do EVERYTHING? I think that's another blog post in and of itself!

I was daydreaming this morning about how it would feel to pull the 'ol Nancy Reagan and 'just say no' to some of the stuff I am taking on these days. What would happen? The world would stop spinning? Elephants would fall from the sky, perhaps? My kids would be scarred for life? Nope. Of course not. And yet for some reason, around this time of year, silly things seem to take on an urgency and importance that I can't explain. I'll give you an example: Recently I was working with a team of other parents to make a parade float for our community Christmas Parade. Now, those of you who know me are well aware of the fact that I am a bit of a perfectionist (putting it mildly) and that I am very detail-oriented. Well, I took it to a whole new level with this float. On the last day, we were putting up a little wooden cross (which I had naturally blinged-out with glitter) on the back of the train as a finishing touch. One of the dads helping out with the float put it on and when I looked up and saw it, it looked a little off center and not exactly where I would have put it. Now right here is where an ordinary person (who is not afflicted with a bad case of decorating OCD) would have shrugged their shoulders and said "looks fine, let's cross that off the list." But not me. It bugged me and I actually mentioned it (more than once, if I'm honest) to the sweet dad who was working so hard to help us finish! Silly! Really...who cares? Not my finest hour. The good news is that eventually I let it go, the float was a huge success, the kids had a wonderful time hamming it up during the parade and our float won! My only regret is that I chose to let something so minor become such a big deal to me. Even for a moment.

So here's my point. Nobody cares if the garland isn't perfectly symmetrically placed or the Christmas tree has too many ornaments crowded at the bottom (okay...I care but I'm trying to ignore it!) or if you haven't raked all the leaves out of the yard, etc. So many moms that I know are just barely keeping their heads above water between Christmas shopping and baking and school field trips and pajama day and holiday parties and getting the house ready for company (and in my case, Patrick's birthday party) that some of the joy is gone and it all becomes about just checking things off the to-do list.

I am taking a stand right now and saying 'enough'! I resolve to enjoy the rest of the holidays without stressing out over the little things that don't really matter. Not only that, I'm not going to take on any new projects, either. And another thing...I'm going to take more time to count my blessings and give God glory for sending His son to save me.

While I'm at it, I'm going to take a hot bath every night and relax with a good book before bed and I'll take long leisurely walks whenever the mood strikes me and put my feet up the moment I get tired of standing and sing Christmas carols and drink apple cider around the tree every evening and while away the hours in quiet solitude and.....whoa! Where am I? *shakes head* Whew...I got carried away there for a second!

The holidays will always be hectic and I will always go over the top in preparation for Christmas and New Year's Eve. That's what I do. I do it up BIG. Our kids will be little for such a short time and these memories will last a lifetime. Hopefully they will remember how much fun we had and all of the magic and joyful laughter will stay with them as they get older. That is my Christmas wish. Let there be Peace on Earth.
And let it begin with me.

Blessings and Warmest Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Holy Roller?

So here I am again sitting at my computer trying to figure out how to encapsulate the last few months without boring you to tears. You know what? I'm going to give you the super-abbreviated version. Summer was great. We went to Dallas, went to Colorado, built the mother of all treehouses, hung out and watched countless reruns on the Disney Channel, went to Schlitterbahn in Galveston and then school started. There you go...you're all up to date now.

Getting the kids back into the routine of school has been a lot easier than I thought (okay, worried) it would be. The kids are back to bed at 8:30 which means that I am in bed earlier and that is definitely going to be better for me. I have been too much of a night owl lately and I really need more rest. I've been singing more often on the worship team at church which I absolutely love and am still trying to get it down on the inside that I really do get to serve at Lakewood in this capacity. It will never become 'routine' to step out on that platform with people I love and do what I know I was born to do. It still blows me away. I just love it!! I'm so grateful.

Speaking of Lakewood, I was talking with someone recently and when she found out we attend Lakewood she said "So, I guess you're one of those holy rollers." I busted out laughing. This just struck me funny because I don't think anyone has ever referred to me as 'holy' anything. It got me thinking...

Webster defines holy this way: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. So right there I'm out of the running because I'm not perfect, period. I'm especially not perfect in goodness and righteousness. Don't get me wrong, I do aspire to goodness and righteousness, but let's be honest...I'm nowhere near perfect. Yes I'm aware that God is really the one most people refer to as holy. For Him...the definition certainly fits. It's just that it got me thinking about the things that are patently un-holy (I think I just invented a word) that I have done in my life and if I'm honest, continue to do even now. I like to think that I am pursuing a life of righteousness but then
something like this will happen: someone in the car rider line cut right in front of me (just yesterday) and I began thinking some pretty un-holy thoughts. "What's with you, lady?" "Can't you see the rest of us sitting here patiently waiting our turn?" Really, the nerve of some people, who does she think she is?" etc. etc. I really had to catch myself before I let her totally ruin my mood. If I am to pursue a holy and more righteous mindset, shouldn't I be able to look at this same woman and say "Oh, well...I'm sure she's just distracted" "She must be new at this and is probably not aware of what she's doing." "It's not like I'm in a huge hurry or anything...who cares if she cuts in front?" I did get to that point eventually, but it wasn't my first reaction.

I really do try to give grace to others where it's needed. I do try to see the best in others. I do try to be friendly and accepting whenever possible. I'll even go as far as to say that I actually go out of my way most of the time to make people feel welcome or comfortable or included...whatever the situation requires. I find it's a lot easier and takes less energy to be kind and loving to people. All people. Even the annoying ones! Isn't that what we're called to do as Christians? But...every now and then someone rubs me the wrong way and holy goes right out the window and righteousness goes along for the ride. Of course I'll regret it and ask for forgiveness but I wish I were just a little more holy in certain situations, you know? There's my confession. Sometimes I let things get the best of me and occasionally I behave in less than holy ways. I guess we all do. I realize there is much, much more to holiness than I am describing here but am using this example to illustrate my point. I just don't think I can quite live up to holy roller status but it's good to be goal-oriented, right? Maybe someday...(heehee).

"Holy roller" sort of insinuates that one is a fanatic. I'm certainly not a religious fanatic. But I am crazy about Jesus. I guess I'm so grateful for salvation because I so desperately needed saving. I have no problem singing about Him or talking about Him (or at Lakewood, shouting about Him!) and I figure if you knew where I came from and what I've been through and the things I have overcome and have been liberated from...you'd probably be shouting, too.
You can call me a holy roller if you want to, I don't mind. It would be more accurate to say that I am a Christian walking through a journey of faith and learning, who is actively in pursuit of righteousness and goodness. That's just how I roll.


Thursday, May 13, 2010


I know it's been a while but I'm going to jump right in, here. Am I the only one who's noticed that EVERYTHING is becoming impossible to get into? Case in point: Remember the days when opening a box of cereal was not an exercise in frustration? (I don't really want to know if you can't remember those days!) The other day, I was trying to open my Cranberry Nut cereal and I'm glad I was alone because I'm sure the entire episode would have been quite funny to an outside observer. First of all, after very carefully trying to loosen the cardboard tab and open the box, it ripped anyway. So I tried very gingerly to open the little slot that is supposed to hold the tab which is designed (by complete boneheads) to hold the box closed. That ripped too. Okaay, so on to the wrapper inside which is made out of some sort of space age material that must have been originally created as industrial strength indestructible plastic for the purpose of which I cannot even begin to guess. As if that's not difficult enough to deal with, they seal it with what appears to be something along the lines of Krazy Glue. I pulled it apart gently. Nothing. I pulled a little more firmly. Nada. So, I gritted my teeth and pulled harder. Didn't budge. So then frustration set in, I grabbed the bag with my fists clenched and pulled with everything I had. Bag ripped and cereal went everywhere. AARRGGHH! I'm a pretty even tempered person with a good sense of humor but there are limits! What a waste of cereal. Which, by the way, wasn't even full to begin with...product settles during shipping, my left foot! Seriously?! You've got to be kidding.

Oh, and another thing...toys. What is the deal with the way they are packaging toys? What exactly are they afraid is going to happen to Barbie if they don't connect her with (practically invisible) rubber bands to a piece of cardboard in about twenty (apparently very strategically placed) locations? And sewing the hair to a piece of plastic? Seriously?! Is that really necessary? I grew up playing with Barbies and I don't remember them being packaged with such intense security measures. Do they think she's going to try to make a run for it during the trip from the factory to the toy store? What's up with that? I sure don't get it. I even have a scar on my right hand from the time I was trying to cut a thick plastic zip-tie to remove a water blaster from the box with a steak knife (I know...not smart...totally my fault) and ended up in the ER with 6 stitches. Seriously.

Mattie and Michael had a birthday recently and their friends (parents) were very generous and giving. They had a huge pile of presents when it was all said and done and they were really excited to start playing with them. Well it's been almost a week and there is still a significant pile in my room of stuff we haven't gotten around to opening yet. Just last night we worked on opening a remote control truck (that was really cool, by the way), but it was pretty big and trying to get it out was like trying to get gold bars out of Fort Knox! We had to use force, imagination and a even a couple of tools to get the job done. The truck was literally screwed into a big piece of plastic in several places with these tiny screws that no regular screwdriver was designed to turn. Sheer determination, ingenuity and plenty of patience come into play when your kids are next to you saying 'Now is it ready?'...'Now?'...'Mom, when will it be OUT?' Whew! And then you have to pull out the instructions, find them in your language of choice, and start the process of assembling the darn thing! It's all become a little silly, in my opinion, but it is what it is....

There are some notable exceptions, however. Like soup with pull top lids. I like those. And ketchup that is already upside down so you don't have to shake it. And frozen food with zip-lock openings. (Why can't the cereal manufacturers catch on to that?) And squeezable jelly? Brilliant. Oh, and pre-packaged apple slices are pretty convenient, too.

I hate to sound like I'm complaining (which I am) but I don't see the need to add stress where it can be avoided. I am grateful for the blessings we can sometimes take for granted and for such a bounty of products to choose from and enjoy. But do they have to make them so hard to get into? Anybody with me? I thought so. That's all I have for now. Seriously.

Be blessed,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heartbreak, Hormones and Other Common Housewife Hazards

Hello...it's been a while. I was told as a child "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Really it's not that I don't have anything nice to say...just that I've been dealing with a lot and really just didn't feel like talking about it. Life has a funny way of throwing in curves and potholes just when we are settling into a smooth open road. As I have posted earlier, our family suffered the losses of four very special women in a span of seven months. The first anniversary of my Nana's death was in March. Got through it. With the anniversary of my Mom's passing just around the corner, I am feeling pretty sad and am realizing that I have not really been dealing with my grief as well as I could be. So many losses piling up one after the other didn't leave much time for the natural processes of grieving to take hold. I'm realizing now that I have been pushing down my feelings (of which there are many) in order to move forward and not be a 'downer' around my family and friends. This is not healthy and I know it. So I am going to throw my shoulders back, roll up my sleeves and dive in to the murky pond of issues I have with my mom and her passing, and believe that God's grace is sufficient and will see me through to the other side.

And then there were HORMONES! Men, don't slink away here and escape to your 'happy place.' You can handle a discussion about hormones and who knows, maybe you just might learn something. I am going to say it out loud to anyone who is within hearing distance. I am 'at an age' (not telling) where hormones are becoming a big factor in my life. In fact, some days, they are kicking my butt. I have been besieged with any number of random, annoying and sometimes downright scary symptoms and was seriously wondering if I was just going to wake up one morning in pieces. Heart palpitations, having a cycle every three weeks, random bouts of unexplained anxiety, ocular migraines...just to name the few I can mention in polite conversation! The bottom line? I am perimenopausal. Sounds horrible to say it out loud. I'll say it again, though...I am perimenopausal. Ugh! I'm too young for all of this, aren't I? As it turns out, I am right on schedule. It can last anywhere from 3-15 years. WHAT???? Oh, man. I hope I am not one of the unfortunate ones who are in it for 15 years. Lord, help me. So anyway, now that I know what's going on, I have made an appointment with my Doc to see where we go from here. The good news? I'm in good company. Every woman deals with this transition in life and if they can do it, so can I. Hopefully with dignity, grace, patience, wisdom and the occasional temper tantrum where I get to throw something and break it. (Nothing of value and never in front of the kids, of course). So if I seem a little out of sorts, don't take it personally and say a little prayer for me. Then say a big one for my sweet husband who's gonna need it!

I wish the road of life wasn't quite so bumpy. I understand why it is, though. Any journey has moments of stress and frustration and moments of awesome beauty and belly laughs and unexpected terrain. I know God's plan for me is still on track and that He will go before me and straighten out my crooked places and smooth out the rough patches. He always does. I've got to keep a firm grip on the wheel and my eyes on the horizon and trust in His divine navigation.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two Rights Don't Make a Wrong


Something's bugging me. It has been for a while now. I normally try to shake it off but just can't seem to lately. There has been a lot of political wrangling and there are some pretty serious events unfolding in the world recently. It feels like there's quite a bit of of verbal flak whizzing around and it's almost impossible to avoid being caught in the crossfire. I want to, though. Avoid it, that is.

Don't misunderstand that statement as a lack of interest or concern about important issues. I care deeply about healthcare and about the environment and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am affected by the same issues as everyone else. I am concerned about the future of our country and I am very compassionate to the needs of others. I love being an American. I love free speech and I know everyone has the right to express their opinions and feelings, as do I.

Here's what's bothering me: I am witnessing a growing lack of tolerance, decorum, courtesy and respect for the opinions and feelings of others when it comes to publically expressing our views or opinions or when we are asserting the facts as we know them. It almost seems like everybody is talking and few seem to be listening. I'm not just talking about the media...it's everywhere. I have received some emails lately from both sides of the healthcare issue that would curl your hair! I mean, wow!!

Listen, I understand about passion. I understand about conviction. I understand about determination. I understand outrage and frustration. I really do. I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that it is not always a simple matter of "I'm right, therefore YOU are wrong." What is right for you may not be right for me. And vice versa. I'm okay with that. Since we are all able to see the world differently based on our own knowledge, experiences, situations and beliefs, it stands to reason that we would have differing views and opinions and I think it's healthy to remember that. I'm not out to debate any particular issue here. That is not my intention. I am only trying to bring to light the fact that there are times when we become so inflamed with passion and conviction and the need to turn the tide and 'set things right' that we forget that we are not the only ones in the boat.

Am I saying that speaking out is wrong? Absolutely not. Those of you who know me are well aware that I have NO problem with speaking out! Healthy debate is something I have great respect for. It's the manner and the tone that I have an issue with. If someone is speaking angrily or using insults to make a point, I tend to shut down. Maybe it doesn't bother you...and that's great. For me...the disrespect, name-calling, accusatory statements and personal insults and attacks are a turn-off. Maybe it's just me. But I don't think so. Don't get me wrong. I'm not perfect. I very recently got sucked into an exchange of words with someone that didn't go very well. I could have handled it better and I wish things had gone differently. The thing is, I know I can do better and I intend to.

I know people are fed up...I am too. I am annoyed and aggravated and perturbed just like everybody else. There's something else I am, though. Grateful. Profoundly grateful to live in a free society where I can say what's on my mind when I feel like it. Grateful that my computer isn't censored. Grateful that my kids are in school and not working in a factory to help support the family. Grateful that I can go to church and worship my God freely. Grateful that I can get in the car and drive around without worrying a bomb will go off while I'm stopped at an intersection. Grateful that if disaster strikes, there is a plan in place to make help available for me and my family. Grateful that as a woman I am free to make decisions concerning the provision and care for my kids. Could things be better? Oh yeah...no doubt about that. Could they be worse? We all know the answer to that one. Right now...I am just grateful be an American. Period.

Here is my wish list for the future. What I'm daring to dream for: I wish poverty was extinct. I wish peace was prevalent. I wish our environment and it's well-being was a priority for everyone. I wish civility was the norm. I wish chivalry was alive and well. I wish dignity and respect in our communication with each other was something we just took for granted. I wish honesty and integrity were examples of characteristics set by our leaders. I wish higher education was available to everyone. I wish politeness and kindness were practiced as a general rule. I wish the service men and women in our country were held up with the honor and appreciation they are due and were compensated appropriately for their sacrifice. I wish our children were able to play freely and without fear in our neighborhoods. I wish our rich diversity was celebrated with a sense of national pride. I wish that in disagreement, people would take a step back and give each other the respect and freedom that is their right. I wish our leaders would be impeccable with their word and would speak less often and listen more carefully. I wish our country would embrace the fact that 'God' is not a bad word and that we need Him more than ever right now! I wish people would hug more and yell less. I wish eveyone would kiss a puppy every day and that kittens and unicorns would freely cavort in the spring meadows, and that rainbows and happiness and sunshine....gotcha. Just wanted to see if you were still with me.

Am I idealistic? Sure. Naive? Probably. Wishing for too much? Maybe, but I don't think so. My beliefs tell me that God is in control. I try to let Him handle the big stuff. Of course, I have to do my part. It starts with me, as they say. I'm willing. I know that I'm capable of changing for the better. We all are. I believe that most people are really trying to do their best. I'm hoping we can level up our definition of 'best' when it comes to relating to each other as we move forward. I know that with God ALL things are possible. You might think I'm wrong about that. But I believe I'm right.

Be Blessed,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Making a Joyful Noise

This past Wednesday was a day I will never forget. It marked a new beginning for me that has been a long time coming. To really understand why, I'll need to give you a little background.

When I was a little girl I was always singing. I know a lot of people say that but when I say always...I mean always! I know I drove everyone crazy.
When I wasn't singing out loud, I was more than likely humming to myself in my head. It's like I was born with theme music. For me, music has been a constant companion that could always be depended upon. I come from a family of musical people. My great-grandmother taught herself to play the piano and could really rock out the 'ragtime' when she was feeling playful. My grandmother (her daughter) actually sang on her own radio show in Dallas when she was in her early years. My dad was a lounge singer at one time and had a great voice reminiscent of the Rat Pack days. Musicality is just in our genes and I'm so glad of that. A love for music is alive and well in my kids, too. We have big musical productions, complete with costumes and make-up, pretty often around here.

I sang in my school choirs, did church choir tours, and sang to anyone who was willing to listen (and those who weren't so willing, probably) whenever the opportunity would arise. I just loved to sing. All the time.
As result of all of this 'exposure' I was encouraged very often in my young life that I should be a singer. In fact, back in those days, I believed it was inevitable that I would be a famous singer (typical of me) and that it was only a matter of time before I would be discovered, adored and elevated immediately to celebrity status and that I would fall in love with a handsome movie star and would live fabulously ever after in blissful harmony. Yeah...well as you might have guessed, that's not exactly what happened.

As a teen who lived life in the midst of instability and uncertainty, I was searching to find myself and was most often looking in all the wrong places. In the middle of some intense family drama, my path became unclear and I started meandering around with little or no direction. I was pretty much 'on my own' since the age of sixteen. Of course I know now that Jesus never left my side during those times but I was not spiritually mature enough to call on him to direct my steps. Though I was saved I did not seek out the guidance required to grow in my faith until several years later. During this time, singing and waiting tables at Denny's paid the bills. I have such a long list of vocational skills from all of the odd jobs I have held in my life it is astounding. I was constantly dreaming of making it big and proving myself worthy through singing. At the time, I felt it was all I had to offer.

Since then, I have been fortunate to sing in some pretty remarkable places. I've toured all over the southern United States. I've sung in front of crowds of thousands at sporting events and air shows. I've performed in musical theatre productions. Always so much fun but sort of like eating nothing but salad. Nothing against salad, but it's just not quite satsifying enough when you really get down to it. Something was missing. Couldn't put my finger on it though. There were always people to tell me I was talented and should keep pursuing a career in music. Eventually, life happened and I just stopped dreaming as big. Then I became a wife and a mom and my priorities changed (as they should) so my focus was on my husband and kids and I let my dream take a back seat.

Fast forward to our move to Houston. At the time of our move I was not exactly happy about leaving the east coast and coming home to Texas. Too many old ghosts, I guess. I was not as trusting of God's plan and timing as I should have been and went through some pretty intense trials and testing as a result. We were searching and praying for a church to call home and one day David suggested we should give Lakewood Church a try.
That first Sunday at Lakewood would be the first day in a journey that has been, in my view, nothing short of miraculous. That Sunday God gave me a vision of myself singing on the stage with the worship team. A few weeks later, I went online to check service times at church and a window popped up extending an invitation to audition for Voices of Lakewood. I prayed and felt like I was led to try out for the choir. I felt my prayers had been answered and was so excited to be welcomed warmly into the choir. I was inspired by the commitment and love for the Lord in the music ministry and leadership. I have learned so much in my walk with the Lord from the amazing people I have served with in the choir. It has been an awesome experience to say the least. A couple of years later I auditioned for the ensemble and have had the honor of serving and worshiping on the mic with my choir family.

A few months ago I auditioned for the worship team and God made a way for me there as well. All I can say is WOW!! God resurrected a childhood dream for me in a way that has far exceeded my expectations for myself. My daddy always said I would end up singing for Jesus and he was so right! On Wednesday night I walked onto the platform to serve on the worship team for the first time. There was a peace and joy in my spirit that I can't put into words. It was like coming home. As a singer, there is a sense of completeness that only comes when I sing in praise and worship. It's meat and potatoes after a long period of salad only. It's all I want to do. To exalt Jesus and not myself. I am aspiring to lift up the name of the Lord. I'm making my joyful noise! How wonderful is that? God is so Good.

My dreams for myself have been gently and lovingly unraveled and reworked into the perfect plan for my life by my heavenly Father. I did marry a handsome man (thankfully not a movie star) and have the family I have always prayed for. I am living fabulously,(but not always blissfully), ever after, after all. There is harmony at last. Makes me feel like singing!

Be blessed,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sister Mary Sunshine

There's something you should know about me. I might as well come clean right now. I have a chronic condition that makes some people uncomfortable. No, really. It can actually be downright annoying to some people. They have even told me so. To my face. What is it? Okay...I'll just say it right now. I have...OPTIMISM. (You, gasping, "Nooo..say it isn't...what? Optimism? Is that all?") Yes. I am an optimist. You wouldn't think that would be a bad thing, would you? Well, some people don't enjoy being around optimism. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that a lot of folks try to squash it immediately if you are optimistic in their presence. It's true and I have proof. Take this story for example:

When I was expecting Mattie and Michael, we had just moved to Chesapeake, VA. In fact, I found out I was pregnant the day the movers were packing us up in Massachussetts. The nurse from Baystate IVF called and said "Catherine, honey...you're pregnant. According to your numbers, you are VERY pregnant." My articulate response was something along the lines of "Whoa." I had to go sit down for a minute. Then I called David, gave him the news and then got back to the business of moving. I remember thinking 'Wow...ok...well, this is going to be a great adventure for our little family.' And it was. Then we got to Chesapeake, settled into our temporary residence and the morning sickness hit. And some very scary and emotional medical issues (too involved to go into) came along. Oh, and Patrick got really sick. Still, we persevered and had fun where we could and managed to be excited about the blessings coming our way. We were building a house at this time (right smack in the middle of the holidays) and I was going back and forth from our apartment to the building site with Patrick on my hip and two babies in my rapidly expanding belly. So one day the contractor met me at the new house and we were discussing the sprinkler system. It was pouring rain and he said "What a horrible day. I hate the rain." I told him I was grateful for the rain because it would be good for the new sod they were laying. He sort of snorted and said "Sod isn't going to grow in the winter, lady. I don't know why the builders even put it in when it's this time of year." I told him I believed they knew what they were doing and that I was believing for grass in the spring, thank you very much! He said, smirking, "We'll just have to see, won't we?" So he asked me when my baby was due and I told him we were expecting twins in May and that I was really getting excited. Now this guy had many responses to choose from but this is what he decided to say to me in that moment: "Well, I had a sister who was pregnant with twins. She went into premature labor and both of the babies died." Umm...are you kidding me? Now don't get me wrong...I sincerely feel compassion that his family has had to deal with that kind of pain. But was that the appropriate time to pull that particular piece of history out of his family laundry basket? I would answer that with a resounding 'no'.
It's a wierd phenomenon. There are people who will, for some unknown reason, just drop a bomb of negativity on you when you least expect it. It happens a LOT when women are expecting. Never have I heard more pregnancy and childbirth horror stories than when I was expecting. So strange...I just don't get it!

So anyway, I'm an eternal optimist. I'm even optimistic about eternity. I have always believed that things would turn out all right if I would just stay in faith and keep moving forward. Have I ever been discouraged? Of course. Fearful? You bet. Angry? Yes. The thing is that I don't dwell in those dark places for very long. I don't like the dark. When I was a kid and things at home were at their worst, I would be imagining how great it would be when I was older and could make better choices for myself. It's just the way I'm wired. A beloved family member has joked to me on occasion; "Well, aren't we Sister Mary Sunshine today?" Same person refers to me as a 'Pollyanna' sometimes. Well why not? I choose to trust that the Lord is in control and that no matter how deep the sorrow, "joy comes with the morning." God's answer may not come in the way or at the time we expect it but I've found His answers always make perfect sense when they do come.

Yes, I'll admit it right now. I am happy. I am optimistic. I believe in miracles. I really try to see the good in people. I don't hate anyone. I trust Jesus. I can't hold a grudge. If you tell me your troubles I will probably tell you that everything will be all right. Because it will, one way or another. Nope, there's nothing to be done for it...I have incurable hope. Oh, I almost forgot. The grass grew in perfectly and right on time just as expected. Never doubted it for a second.

Be blessed.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Thumbsucking Karma

Karma is the only word I can think of to describe what's going on at my house these days. It's funny...I'm pretty sure I tuned my mother out a lot when I was a kid but certain things she said have been popping into my head (and out of my mouth) lately. The other day I caught myself saying "Michael, put that down! You could poke someone in the eye with that!" And he reacted the same way all kids do when mothers say that (including myself when I was little, I'm sure): That's right, the old heavy sigh/eye roll combination. He was so comical I had to turn the other way so he wouldn't catch me laughing. He really has a future in stand-up if he decides to take that route. (I pray that he doesn't). While doing Mattie's hair one morning recently I heard myself quote Mom word for word. "Little girl," I said, "this hair is just like a bird's nest...what am I supposed to do with all of this crazy hair?" She said "I guess you're just gonna have to deal with it, Mama." Too cute.
Anyway, one thing my mother used to say that has been bouncing around in my memory is this..."Catherine Elizabeth, someday you'll have a child just like you and then you'll see why I get so frustrated sometimes! I swear, you bring me such joy and then such aggravation!" Of course, I would think to myself..."Ha! I should be so lucky to have a child as cool and funny as I am and if I did, I would never, ever yell at them and never make them clean their room or clean out the catbox or do anything at all that they don't like to do and I wouldn't even send them to school because I would want to play with them all day and they could eat all the candy and ice cream they want and they could suck their thumbs whenever they felt like it because I would be the COOLEST MOM EVER!" You know the drill.

This brings me to the subject of thumbsucking. Many of you have strong opinions about this. I know that because COMPLETE STRANGERS have approached (or should I say reproached) me in public when the twins were little to weigh in on the issue. Listen, I get it. Of course, I wish my children would stop sucking their thumbs. I know it's bad for their teeth. I know they are carrying around germs on their thumbs and that it is not exactly a hygenic thing to do. But as a mother of a very busy 2 1/2 year old and newborn twin babies with no family around...I gotta tell ya...it was great when they were little. Never had to run around trying to find their 'binky'. They barely cried and could soothe themselves to sleep. That was priceless to me! These days, they don't really suck their thumbs in public and don't do it at school at all so we are making steady progress.
I'm sure I would be more distressed over all of this if it weren't for the fact that I was an epic thumbsucker myself. So I understand. I know why they do it and why they don't want to let go of it. They were sucking their thumbs in every ultrasound picture and immediately after they were born. I did the same thing when I was little. It was a comfort to me and yes, it became a habit that was pretty tough to break. (I'm happy to report that I did eventually stop and am -in my humble opinion- pretty well-adjusted and healthy). Well, I did have to wear a retainer, but no braces. We probably won't be that lucky.
Here is what we won't be doing: Shaming them or embarrassing them or making them feel defective. This is unfortuately what my parents chose to do. Tabasco sauce, Nail-biter, bitters and jalapeno juice didn't work. Band-aids and tape and even making me wear a pacifier around my neck to school didn't work. Like most kids, the more they harrassed me about it, the more stressed I was and the more I sucked my thumb. It's just not worth it.
Someday I will remember these times and wish I could turn back the hands of time. When their little voices were so sweet and their giggles would float down the stairs and cover me with a warmth like no other. I'm treasuring every moment. They are young for such a short time. Pretty soon, the thumbs and blankets will be replaced with footballs and pom-poms and cell phones and I-pods. Call me crazy...but I will miss the thumbsucking days...frustrating as they can be sometimes...I will surely miss them.
I did end up with a kid just like me. Mattie is a little mini-me. Sometimes she frustrates me but mostly she is an unbelievable joy. I'll bet my mom is in heaven looking down and laughing it up at my expense. I know she's also crying tears of happiness and pride over her precious grandchildren. So...just for you Mom...the thing you most loved hearing me say: "You were right, Mom."
Miss you mucho!


Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Making My Head Spin

Is it just me or is anyone else in total shock that March is already here? Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies these days. Weren't my children just crawling and babbling and smiling at me through toothless grins? Now they are toothless again but for completely different reasons. The tooth fairy is racking up major frequent flyer miles these days making trips to our house. Patrick and Mattie each lost a tooth last week (Mattie's first) and now Michael's got a couple of wiggly ones, too. I just can't get over how fast it all goes by. Makes my head spin.

I'm going to be completely honest here...Sometimes I just can't seem to keep up with it all. There are days it feels like I'm playing an endless game of Whack a Mole. I am swinging all over the place and getting in some good hits but things just keep popping up. Anybody else experiencing this? Yes? Well...I'm glad I'm not the only one. At least I'm in good company!

The message in church this week was a timely one for me. I'll boil it down this way: our pastor was explaining that we need to start making relaxation and fun a priority in our lives. To just ratchet down the furious pace of our lives so that we can enjoy our families and friends and the simple things in life. I couldn't agree more. I am usually pretty good at making time for fun and family but there are also times when I get distracted, lose focus, and then I'm right back on the head-spinning merry-go-round of life again.

I am trying to find a more healthy balance in my life. As with everything else, I know the first step is to pray for God to guide me through this process. The next step is to revisit my list of priorities and see if any adjustments can be made there. I mean what is REALLY important. I'm finally beginning to get it that having my house picked up every day is not actually a priority. Yes, you heard me right...it isn't! I am trying to de-program myself from the misconception that perfection (or at least the appearance of perfection) must be maintained at all times. Perfection is not possible and pursuing it can be exhausting and frustrating. If you already know this and are living your lives accordingly... my hat's off to you. I have had my share of struggles with the need to do everything 'right' or perfectly and at times this has added unneccesary stress to my life. Not just mine, either. My stress trickles down into the lives of my husband and kids, too. I have to be mindful of that. I'm taking it easier on myself these days. Am I completely transformed into a laid-back, easy going, messy version of my former self? Nope. Probably never will be, either...but that's okay. I'm a work in progress, and God will be faithful to complete the work He has begun in me. I really believe that.

So why don't you join me in making a new list of priorities. Here are some things I am determined to do more of in the coming days:

~Spend more of my prayer time praising and listening.
~Work out every day. No excuses!
~Spend more time with my kids that has nothing to do with homework or school.
~Stop EVERYTHING when my husband walks in the door and greet him with all of the attention he deserves!
~Take 10 minutes out of my day to play with and cuddle the dog.
~Fill the birdfeeder every day and take time outside to really enjoy the beautiful setting we are blessed with.
~STOP and listen ( with undivided attention) when my kids are trying to tell me something that's important to them.

I think that's a great place for me to start!

Time will continue to fly by and the kids will keep experiencing new milestones that I can barely keep up with. I know it's impossible to stop the merry-go-round of life. What I'm learning is that I can hop off once in a while and just be a spectator while others enjoy the ride. At least until my head stops spinning.

Thanks so much for visiting this site. I'd love to know you were here and to hear your stories, too. Please leave your comments below. Be blessed ~Cat

Friday, February 26, 2010

National Pancake Day!

Yes, folks, this past Tuesday was National Pancake Day. For many of you, this 'holiday' came and went without you even being aware of it's existence. At the Kingsbury's, however, this day was marked with elation and celebration. Especially by one particular family member. Patrick. To say Patrick loves pancakes is like saying Lance Armstrong likes riding his bicycle. If it were left up to Patrick, he would eat pancakes morning, noon and night. Seriously. Every day for breakfast he eats pancakes.
At this point, some of you may be asking yourselves why seemingly responsible parents would permit such an eating habit to be established. Well, the parents are wondering that, too. In all fairness this came about over a long period of time during which the main objective was this: Find something...ANYTHING...that this child will eat.
Patrick started out like any other healthy baby. He nursed like a champ. He started on rice cereal and then finger foods at the appropriate ages. The only thing that could have indicated the battles to come was that unlike every other baby in the free world...Patrick REFUSED to eat Cheerios. I can actually count for you how many Cheerios my son has ingested in his eight years of life. One. Just one Cheerio. And really, technically, we shouldn't even count that one. After a visit to the Pediatrician (not his regular one) we came home armed with determination that we were not going to be manipulated by an 18 month old little person who drooled and walked around in a droopy diaper. Not gonna happen. Yeah, right!! So, following this Dr.'s advice...we sat Patrick in his booster chair and told him firmly that he needed to eat some Cheerios before he ate his lunch. It went like this:(Mommy) "Patrick, just eat some Cheerios for Mommy". (Patrick, vigorously shaking his head) "Noooo" (Mommy) "Come on, Buddy...just try one" (Patrick, still shaking his head) "Nooo"! It went on like this for some time until Patrick finally fell asleep in his chair.
(We decided that the Dr. was a complete wacko and never went to see him again!) David was so frustrated with the situation that he put a Cheerio in Patrick's open mouth while he was sleeping and took a picture. "There", he said. "Looks like he ate it to me". So, you see, we can't really claim that he ate the Cheerio but beleaguered parents will take what they can get, won't they?
At about 13 months old Patrick ate pretty much everything we put in front of him. (Except Cheerios, obviously). Then one fateful day I got it in my head to feed him some oatmeal flavored with maple syrup. And he loved it. Even asked for a second bowl. And then asked for oatmeal for dinner. "Great!" I was thinking. "He loves oatmeal". "I'm such a good mommy". But then Patrick refused to eat anything but oatmeal the next morning. And the next day. Aside from a few vegetable baby foods, my child would literally eat NOTHING but oatmeal for the next 6 months of his life. (At least he was 'regular'!) Then one morning I was making pancakes and bacon and Patrick said the words that are music to the ears of every mother of a picky eater. "Some of that, Mommy?"
I gave him the pancakes and bacon and he loved it. And wouldn't you know, he has never eaten oatmeal since that day! But he has eaten pancakes. A lot of pancakes. We have grown creative and add a lot of secret ingredients to his pancakes which include, but are not limited to, oats, wheat germ, milled flax seed, and granola.
These days Patrick's repertoire of foods has increased to grilled cheese, broccoli, Dino chicken, yogurt, apple slices, an occasional banana and various meats and cheese pizza. This may not seem like much variety but we are very satisfied with his (slow) progress. I remember being judgemental of a friend who fed her toddler fish sticks and ketchup exclusively. (This was before I had kids of my own). I would say "I'll bet if she didn't have the option to eat those fish sticks she'd get hungry enough to eat something else!" I have since called and sincerely apologized to my friend and begged her forgiveness. Having a picky eater has humbled me and revealed that I have NO BUSINESS judging other parents or thinking I have all the right answers. Because for the most part we are all doing the best that we can with what we are dealt with. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Which is why I took my son to Cracker Barrel on Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day. We had a wonderful time playing checkers in front of the fire. Patrick knows that eating pancakes every day is pretty quirky. He also knows that his mother loves him anyway and embraces his quirkiness along with all of his finer points.
By the way, to my knowledge there is no National Cheerio Day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Do Yo Think You Are...Goofy?

"Be All That You Can Be" That slogan shouldn't end there. It should read: Be all that you can be, but don't be something (someone) you're not. I consider myself qualified to speak about this because some of the most boneheaded things I've ever done came about as a result of not following that simple rule. I won't bore you here with embarrassing examples of aforementioned boneheaded-ness, (is that a word? Well, it is now) just take my word for it.
The trick is...or was for me...finding and identifying our authentic selves. There was a serious shortage of role models when I was growing up. Not blaming anyone...just stating a fact. Thank heavens for grandparents and aunts and uncles. My point is, that many of us didn't have healthy, emotionally intact, spiritually fit grown ups around when we were children. So we looked outside of the family circle to help us define who we are. For the longest time, I wanted to be just like Carol Burnett when I grew up. If you're too young to remember Carol Burnett, I don't want to hear about it! Just kidding. She was a comedian with a TV variety show that we watched as a family when I was a little kid. I loved that she made people laugh. But it goes deeper that that. I really identified with her all-out goofiness. She wasn't too dignified to try anything and really put herself out there just for laughs. I liked that she would start out the show dressed in an evening gown and would take personal questions from the audience and then next thing you know, she would be made up like an old lady or with her front teeth blacked out for a comedy sketch. She didn't take herself too seriously. Neither do I. (Take myself too seriously, that is).
There were times in my young adult life when I forgot all about Carol Burnett. When I did take myself too seriously. Or not seriously enough. I was all over the place trying to be like this pop-star or that movie star or a popular friend. Trying to please everyone or to be what a boyfriend thought I should be. A lot of young girls (and boys) do this. It is unfortunate and it can be trouble. By the grace of God, I made it through.
I am happy to report that deep down when I was very young, a little seed had been planted by my daddy that finally sent down roots and began to grow. Slowly at first but it is now flourishing in my spirit. What seed? When I was really young we saw my dad pretty infrequently but when he was around he was fun, silly and bigger than life. He used to whisper in my ear sometimes: "You are going to do great things in your life" and "you are special...you have everything it takes to make it big in this life." I don't really know what he was referring to exactly and frankly, it doesn't really matter to me. When I was a little older he used to say "You are a living child of the living God. Your Daddy created this planet and don't you forget it!" He would remind me constantly to stay close to Jesus. He said someday I would use my voice to 'sing for Jesus'. The important part of this story is that I BELIEVED HIM! Deep down I really believed he was right.
You may not think you are much of a role model. Neither was my dad. But there is something in you that you can share...a seed you can plant that may make all the difference in the life of someone close to you. Something as simple as a whisper into a child's ear.
As for me...I am special. I feel like I have made it 'big' in this life. I have done great things in my life (and I've only just scratched the surface). And Daddy, I am singing for Jesus and loving every minute of it. I am putting myself out there, I am silly, I'll do almost anything for a laugh and most would agree that I am certainly goofy!
I think Carol Burnett would be proud!

Where'd Everybody Go?

I will always remember 2009 as the year of peaks and valleys. Elation and then deflation. In March of 2009 my maternal grandmother, Nana passed away after suffering from Alzheimers for many years. It was so sad but I felt that she had been released from the prison that her own body had become. I had missed her for a long time and had already made peace with her being 'gone'.
One day in June I was in the laundry room, sorting socks, when the phone rang. It was my eldest sister. "Cathy, I'm so sorry...I have to tell you something....Mom died this morning. Words are so powerful. Before that phone call it was business as usual. My mom had already passed but the words had not been spoken and my life had not been altered. And then the phone rang. It was so surreal. I was not ready. I will never be ready. And just like that, my mother was gone, too.
During that time I was living with an almost unbearable pain in my stomach. I had been to the GI specialist and had been diagnosed with gallstones. Not fun. I had been praying for healing and for wisdom about what to do in this situation. Of course, surgery was recommended but I had heard from others that it might not even solve my problem and I was looking for a way to avoid it, chicken that I am. I recall feeling very raw and vulnerable at this time. I told a friend recently that I felt very small in this big, big world without my mom and dad. Not that they were such great and supportive parents...they weren't. Sorry, but they weren't. I'm pretty sure if you could ask them they would agree completely. They divorced when I was 2 years old and I can only remember a handful of times when we were all in the same room together. Sad, but true. Oh, I've wandered off topic, haven't? I do that sometimes. You'll get used to it!!
So it's the end of June, my mom has just passed away, and I am struggling with gallstones. Oh, and we are about to take a family vacation to Maine. I decided to buck up and go to Maine and then have surgery when we got back home. I have to throw one more thing into the mix, here. I have been a member of the Lakewood Church Choir for over 2 years now. A week after Mom's passing they held auditions for Voices of Lakewood which is a group of singers that helps to lead worship during church services. I had been feeling a tug in my spirit that I should audition but with everything that was going on I thought maybe I should put it off. I prayed very fervently and very often and felt that my mom would have wanted me to go for it and that the time was right. So I did and found out a few months later that I was selected for the worship team, praise God.
We went on our vacation to Maine and I was determined not to be the proverbial 'wet blanket'. I put a smile on my face and soldiered on through the gallbladder pain and the pain in my spirit. And I had genuine fun with my family. Until July 6th. That's the day I checked my messages and heard the news my Aunt Elayne had passed away after a valiant battle against breast cancer on the 4th of July. Ugh! Talk about feeling hard pressed on every side...I prayed so much in those days just for strength. Supernatural strength. My reserves were all used up. And just like that, my aunt was gone, too.
After returning from Maine, I know the Lord really lifted me up. I felt His hand firmly guiding me through the process of scheduling the surgery. On a Thursday I was in excruciating pain and was laying in the bed being miserable. The Dr's office said the surgeon wouldn't be available to see me until Monday. As I was laying there, I felt compelled to just call the surgeon's office directly. The receptionist said "Oh, my goodness, I happened to run into the nurse from your GI's office in the cafeteria. She told me about your situation. Then, when I walked in from lunch we had a cancellation. Can you be here by 2:00?" I said I would be right over. I was praying the whole way over there for God to step in and make a way for me to have the surgery ASAP! As I walked into the surgeon's office the receptionist greeted me and said "you are the luckiest person I have ever met". Apparently while I was racing over there someone called to cancel their pre-op visit and I was put on the schedule for the following day. I said "that is not luck it's a huge blessing!" So I had the surgery, made a freakishly quick and complete recovery and was released from almost two years of chronic pain. Halleluia!
In October my Grandmother, Mattie had a stroke and I was so blessed to be able to go to Dallas and sing to her and love on her and whisper words of thanks and comfort in her ear. On a Monday morning I came into her hospital room and told her she was safe and that she had done a good job. That we were all so proud of her. That if Jesus was calling her it was okay to go. I wrenched myself away from her and tearfully headed home to make it back to Houston in time to get the kids after school. She passed away peacefully an hour after I left. All I can say is what an honor and a privelege it was to be with her in that time. As Forrest Gump would say: 'That's all I've got to say about that'.
One of my friends said jokingly the other day; " Man...the women in your family are dropping like flies." I had to laugh. What else can you do? At family gatherings it will be strange. Like...'Where'd everybody go'? But we will adjust. At no other time in my life have I become more acutely aware of the "peace that passes understanding". Or that "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me". He does. Without a doubt. Regardless of what came to pass in 2009...I am so grateful to God for the grace and mercy and miracles that came along with the heartbreak. It is when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable that we seek Him most earnestly. God is good all the time. Even when we are too miserable to notice. The blessings are always there. It's only a matter of looking up to see them. Be blessed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Christmas Miracle: From Tears to Cheers in just a year!

Okay...I said I would introduce you my family. So here goes: For starters, I thought I'd give you some background info. My husband David and I were married May 24, 1997. He was the perfect answer to a very fervent prayer that God would not send me any more 'frogs' to kiss. I wanted my prince and nothing less! Well I got him! David is the smartest, sweetest, most conscientious and fiercely loyal man I have ever met. He accepts me for who I am and shows me such love and affection. I could go on and on but I'll spare you any more sappy sentimentality for now. We decided we wanted to start a family but knew we had some obstacles to overcome first. I had a pregnancy that ended in a life-threatening ectopic rupture. (When the embryo implants and then grows in the fallopian tube which in my case, lead to a rupture causing a hemorrage and ending in miscarriage). So I only had one tube to work with but was in faith that it would be functional and that I would conceive and have the babies I was praying for. Well...God had other plans for us!
After lots of tests I ended up in the operating room for a laparoscopy to check out and repair any possible damage to my remaining tube. As I was coming out of the anesthesia, I overheard the surgeon saying this to my husband: "I'm so sorry...it just doesn't look good." Certainly not what we wanted to hear. It turned out that my remaining tube had actually twisted completely and there was a lot of scar tissue as a result. He speculated that this was what had happened to the other tube and that was why I had the ectopic. Final diagnosis? We had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally. Not good. At all. The surgery was on December 23rd and I went home to recuperate and 'celebrate' Christmas. I had been praying for a Christmas miracle...that we would be able to fix my problem and get on with trying for a baby so this news was pretty devastating for me. Christmas came and went and I was feeling better after the surgery but still pretty bummed. While I was putting some things away in David's closet, I saw a wrapped package up on a shelf that appeared to be a Christmas present. When he came home from work that evening I asked him about it and he said that the package was for me but that he was 'not ready' to give it to me yet. Of course I wanted to know when he would 'be ready' because I have a hard time waiting in suspense for anything! So he said "I'll let you know when the time is right." Very mysterious. After a while, I just put it out of my mind.
The Monday after Christmas I woke up with a feeling of resolve and determination. I had been praying about my infertility issues and just did not feel that I should take 'no' for an answer. So I called my OBGYN and said "okay, so now we know what we're dealing with...what are my options?" As it turned out I didn't have option(s) just one option. In Vitro Fertilization. Our only hope. A very expensive option. But all I heard was that there was hope! I began to feverishly (sometimes obsessively) research in-vitro on the internet. I joined an online support group. I investigated success rates and clinics. One obstacle we were facing was the lack of a clinic in Corpus Christi, TX at that time. The closest one was in San Antonio and our insurance didn't cover any of the costs associated with in-vitro. So one night I felt led to check out if there were any states with mandated coverage for infertility treatments. Turns out, there are. Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Massachussetts to name a few. One night David and I were talking about what we were going to do about having a baby and I said "Well...all we need to do is move to Massachussetts and then we can have a baby and it won't cost us anything!" (I cannot stress to you enough how 'out there' this statement was at the time). But God loves to go 'out there' when he answers prayers. A few weeks later, David called me at work and said "are you sitting down?" I sat down. He went on to say he had just received a call from a headhunter who had an interesting employment opportunity but it was in (you guessed it) Massachussetts!! Simply amazing.
The night before David left for Mass. for the job interview, I was helping him pack and he asked me if I wanted him to get this job. I said yes and he said (I'll never forget this) "then it's in the bag!" At that time he went into the closet and brought out that Christmas present he had been waiting to give me. The note on it read "Cathy, this is not to make you feel pressured. Just to let you know that when our hearts are united toward a similar goal there is nothing we can't do." I was already crying before I even opened it! Inside...a baby boy outfit with little lambs all over it!
So David went to Massachussetts and landed the job. We moved into a beautiful house at the foot of a mountain covered with apple and peach orchards. God sent us to the best Reproductive Endocrinologist around and our procedure was completely covered by insurance. On December 13, 2001...Patrick, our little Christmas miracle was born and we brought him home from the hospital in that baby outfit with the little lambs on it. God is so faithful!
2 1/2 years later we did another cycle of in-vitro which resulted in our beautiful and healthy twin babies; Mattie and Michael! Never give up on your dreams. Pray with your whole heart and then give God the gift of your faith. Trust Him to know what the perfect timing is to answer you and be obedient to follow his lead in all things. Surrender, trust, and then wait. That is all that's required. My children are living proof. Be blessed.

Thanks for visiting this site. Keep checking back in...I'd love to see your comments and hear your stories, too. Post comments/feedback below. Thanks!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Something New To Do

Well, here is the beginning of something new. It is absurdly late and I am attempting to set up a blog to capture the essence of my life in words. I'll bet I know what your'e thinking. (You, yawning) What essence? How many words are we talking about here? Oh, nooo...another 'mommy blog'. So, okay...you've got me there. I am a mommy. And a wife. And a writer. And a singer. I'm also a lot of other things which we will get into later. (As interest permits).

You may be wondering what my motivation for doing this might be. Well, so am I. Actually I have had some friends and family members suggest that I give it a try. I have been wanting to chronicle my family life so my kids will have an insight into their childhood from my perspective. I am fully aware that this might not be particularly interesting to them, especially during their teenage years, but maybe someday they will read it and have a few laughs. There...I've just discovered what I want this blog to be. A collection of thoughts and memories to make us laugh. Or cry. Or feel proud. Or shake our heads in disbelief. Whatever. We'll take it as it comes.

One other thing. I can't really leave it there without mentioning that in this process you will hear me refer to God and Jesus a LOT! Why? Because my faith is a huge part of who I am. My love of God is the glue that holds me together and keeps me intact. So be aware that I will talk about God and His mercy and grace which never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Can you handle that? Yea...I figured you could.

So, more later. I'm excited to see where this goes. Next time, I'll introduce you to my family. They're great. And I'm not just saying that.