when words don't work

December 19, 2007. couldn't breathe. the weight of the awful reality that my brother was gone forever choked all thoughts from my head and left my heart in mangled mess.

July 20, 2000. an umbilical cord tying her to me cut off all response...the first time that i was to feel this pure, unadulterated feeling of being permanently attached to someone who had never asked for my love in return.

August 9, 2001. alas, it can happen twice in a lifetime! this squirming little mess of body fluid and new life gasped his first breath...and with it stole my ability to speak. the only reponse to this rush of fierce, protective love were my tears.

April 22, 2004. the sense of soul shattering disbelief that my mother was gone left me feeling weak and weary with life's ability to steal my voice and replace it with salty, stinging tears.

these are moments in my life that take your breath away. these are moments in which there were no words can describe a feeling. the only response that a body can allow are tears...or breathlessness. seconds....minutes....hours....sometimes days and months of mind numbing FEELING.

in moments like these, (if you're lucky) you learn what life is all about.

life is about love and loss. life is about learning to appreciate what is there, when it is there. it's in the gentle curve of my children's cheeks...the whisper of their breath as I watch them sleep. it's in the laughter that seeps beneath their bedroom door. it's when i hang the phone up after talking to my dad. it's when i watch my brother's truck drive away. it's when i see my father in law take a tumble or have a seizure. it's when i watch my mother in law smile even when i know she has been hurt by someone she loves. it's sitting on the couch piled up with my family watching TV and doing nothing.

it's falling asleep each night knowing how much I love...and how much I am loved in return.

When words don't work... Those are moments that speak the most to me...

and those are the ones worth speaking about.


Part 2

Ohh, I am so lucky.

Have I said this already?

See, I have a best friend. Her name is Lori.

To be honest, I have a few best friends...each one of them special and important to me in their own right. I can count them on one hand...and still have a finger left over, but I feel that perhaps that it just about right.

But Lori.....she is my soul mate. Truly the Yin to my Yang. I am loud, she is quiet. I am bossy and over bearing, she is submissive(but not in a bad way!!) and humble. I tend to change my mind quite often, while she is steadfast and sure of what she believes in. I have very little patience, hers is endless. I am judgemental and intolerable of other people's stupidities, she is kind hearted and sympathetic to the plights of others (even sometimes before they even realize there IS a plight...lol!)

See? In so many ways we are opposites. Sometimes I sit and wonder how on earth someone as incredible as Lori could have chosen me (ME!) to be her best friend...her sister in every word of the definition, except for the small fact that we don't share the same parents. Why? How on earth could I have been so lucky to stumble upon this woman who has taught me so much about....life?

From Lori I have learned that being a mom doesn't mean that I have to be perfect...nor should I expect my children to be. She has ABSOLUTE! endless patience with Cody and Courtney. From Lori I have learned that not everyone is going to like me...and I really shouldn't let that bother me because those who DO like me, will like me for the right reasons. Because I am being ME and not the person someone else wants me to be. From Lori I have learned that I shouldn't be swift to judge. {{The lady who just cut me off and nearly ran me over with her car very well may have just heard that her son is dying}} Slow to anger...slow to wrath because we never know what someone else is going through.

Her ability to see just beneath the surface and know what someone needs even before they know what they need...well, it makes me jealous (and because she is MY best friend, I can say that and know that she loves me even though I am jealous of her!) But in being jealous, it also makes me strive to be more like her. I WANT to be more intuitive of someone else's needs, but I am so darn selfish that it makes it very hard. Lo reminds me (much like my mum did) that life is not all about me (some of the time anyhow).

She is an amazing cook, a tolerant and loving wife, a loyal friend, a caring daughter,and an astounding mom. I don't think the people around her tell her this enough because she IS so quiet and steadfast...never demanding attention or recognition. But she is all of this and so much more.

But she is the most beautiful friend....person...that I have ever known. Her heart beats pure gold:) For as long as I live, I know that I am truly the lucky one in our relationship. I have learned so much about life, love, friendship, and FAMILY from Lori. She keeps me learning and ever vigliant in making myself a better person because I never want her to think poorly of me, her best friend. Knowing her has made me a better person and I am forever thankful that God saw fit to place her in my life at a time when I really needed her.

When I found Lori, we'd just moved to South Carolina. I was in a new town and started a playgroup on a whim...from sheer boredom to be honest. I've never had a problem meeting people, in fact I love meeting new people. But I'd never been able to form a bond like you read about in novels. The one where you can tell someone anything and everything (and I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G to the point that it's gross and scary sometimes...haha!), the kind that you can share ALL of who you are and they don't run screaming for the door. To that point, I'd had childhood friends who knew the superficial me, and the me from younger years. But they were all moved away or married with their own lives. After my brother died, I started to cut relationships much like one would do a stray thread. I felt that I didn't NEED anyone, and letting people know ME was too much trouble and not worth the effort. Even in starting the playgroup, I just wanted those aquaintance type friendships that didn't require much work and would provide my kids with a few playmates. To put it very bluntly, when I met Lori....I had NO friends. No one. No one to call just to laugh with. No one to call just to fuss or cry about things with. No one to swap recipes with. No one to just sit in comfortable silence with.....no one.

In Lo, I have found that life is not neccesarily better on my own. I've found that it is nice to have someone to not have to hide your dirty little secrets from. I've found that it's the best feeling in the world when you lay your eyes on them for the first time in two years and have them look back at you with that some happiness. I've found that it is actually quite wonderful to have them cry as you leave...and laugh at you crying too. From Lo I have learned that family doesn't have to share your blood...they just have to share your life and love you for all that you are.

Lori has rounded out my life in ways that she may never understand. I love her beyond words. She owns a piece of my heart. I thank her for the lessons:)


Underpaid and Overloved: part 1

By now you have noticed that life is not made up of one choice that sort of spreads itself out over many years. No one is given a hand written map that guides you through life, directing you away from every hurt and tear. The delivery room nurses aren't sending babies home with "Life:For Dummies" manuals. Most of us don't have life coaches that may help steer us in the direction of a right decision. No one has a little white angel sitting on their shoulder telling them the right thing to do.

But I....(yes, I!) am a very lucky girl.

Here is why I am lucky:)

I've had a small handful of role models in my wee bit of time on the planet.

I don't find my inspiration in great speakers. I don't have life altering moments thanks to Nobel Prize winners. I don't lie in bed at night thanking God for something Oprah said.

I am lucky to know, and to have known, some very inspring women during my wee
little lifetime.

From them I have been taught life is a series of choices {good and bad} strung together like dazzling christmas lights flashing off of pristine white snow, each one distinct in it's own right, but when strung together they make up a breathtaking display of beauty. From them I have learned how to love unselfishly. From them I have learned that a lie is the most viscious thing you can tell someone you love. From them I have learned that to judge swiftly and harshly is not only cruel, but also causes me to become like a bitter lemon. From them I have learned that sometimes life doesn't turn out quite the way we envisioned, but it is still LIFE....precious life, worth savoring every single creamy, tart, bitter, sweet, spicy moment!

Thank you for reading this blog today and sharing in my quiet thoughts~ and I hope you bear with me as I thank each of the 4 {{four}} people that inspire me every single day.

Beginnning with....

my mother.

Life was not easy for this woman. Her mother was murdered when she was a child of 12 years old. From that time on, she was tossed from house to house, not really wanted in any of them. She was abandoned by her father. She spent time in an orphanage when no one else wanted her. She was abused mentally, physically and emotionally by an exhusband. Her life was raked across the dirt before it really even started.

By all accounts, she should have been either a drug pushing whore or a cold, bitter hearted woman who blamed the world and everyone in it for her misfortune.

but she wasn't.
and she didn't.

My mother raised three kids in a single parent home for the better part of my life. She was told she couldn't (or perhaps shouldn't) do it on her own. But she did it:) I am not saying that she was perfect, nor am I saying that she didn't have moments when she WAS bitter or angry at the way her life turned out. She was human and I know she MUST have felt this way a lot of the time. I remember very few times when she did things that weren't very "mother like" and perhaps selfish. In those time I imagine that she was frustrated or angry that her life wasn't "fair" or that it hadn't turned out quite the way she had planned. She had every right to feel that and more, but my mom chose not to. She chose to be a stong woman even though life had not offered her much to hold on to.

:I learned from her life:

NO ONE and NOTHING determines your destiny. You make the most of what you have been given. Making crumb cake from crumbs. Lemaonade from lemons. The secret is finding the butter and sugar~then mixing them in just right.

This memory I share now is personal and pains to even write it.

I spent the last week of my mothers life with her in a hospital room. She moaned in pain most of the week, crying out during the night. I spent the week telling her she would get better, not wanting to admit to myself that she was dying. Somehow, in the stupor of being fed morphine to ease her pain, to this day I believe she held on to life that week so I woulnd't have to SEE her die. You see, I'd been there every single minute of her last week. But I left the hospital that afternoon and ten minutes (TEN) later, we were called back because she was gone. I believe in my heart that my mom's last act of love...of unselfish love...was holding on until I was gone before she let go of her life. Perhaps on some level she knew that I was not capable watching her take that last breath?

:I learned from her death:

how to love unselfishly and....
that life isn't always (or really...EVER) all about me. There are people in this world that I truly love more than I love myself and I hope that if there is ever a time to prove it...I will be as strong as my mother and love them as unselfishly as I know she did for me.

what a breathtaking LADY she was. and I am so lucky she was mine.

PART 2: to be continued tomorrow:) this is all I can handle for one night!


Big Scare

Brooke felt sick on Thursday morning so I let her stay home from school. B was home with her, but sleeping since he had to work that night. I had to take a class at Gulf Coast that morning, so I went on into work thinking she would be ok with dad for a few hours. Around 11, Brooke called me saying that she couldn't feel anything. I called her Nana, Nana went over to check on her....Nana called me back and I hear Brooke screaming in the background in pain. I call her Dr and get her in to be seen...while in the waiting room, Brooke's hands curve inward, stiff as wood...all pliability is gone from her hands. You can't even feel the soft tissue on her hands. Her thumbs are pressed to her palms, and I can not pry them back into place. After we show the Dr what is going on, and after which I have become increasingly freaked out and panicky, Brooke doubles over in pain and clenches her entire body against mine as she holds on to her ear. I scream for MaryJo ,*my MIL, who also has fear written all over her face*, to go get the Dr again. He says that he has called ahead and wants to have her admitted to the hospital for some neuro tests.

??? moment of inner freak out

Brooke holds her hand to her ear and screams again in pain....I have never heard her scream like this. I've never seen either of my children in this much pain and the sound rips at my heart, my lungs, my stomach...my very soul.

She then holds her hand out and screams, "IT'S A BUG!"

A tee tiny water bug that has fallen from her ear.

She and her brother had been swimming in the backyard the night before. What we thought was swimmers ear turns out to be a bug that had been stuck inside her ear for nearly 24 hours. (OMG and ewww...there, I said it for all of you) It left numerous scratches and was apparently causing her little nervous system to react very strongly to the fact that something foreign was inside biting and scratching her ear.

CT scans and blood work up later, we know that she is perfectly fine. Thank God:) We did spend the better portion of the night in the hospital before her neurologist came by and told us we were free to leave....and to wear ear plugs next time in the pool! The kids did have fun in the hospital though....Brooke said she felt like a princess having her meals delivered, eating on a "fancy table" in her bed, and watching TV in her bed.

Both kids put in their orders for hospital beds and pull out table for their own rooms.

I'm assuming they also expect room service.

We were both super tired by this point.

Brooke tried to look very sick....but instead looks very mad:)

Thank God Brandon went in with her to have the IV put in....I'd heard in screaming in pain more than enough for one day!...more than enough for a lifetime!

This is the life...well, minus the IV, the cold hospital floors...the wailing of the fire alarms going off on our corrider...the weird hospital food...
Thank you God for watching out for my baby girl:)


pumpkin patch

I took the kids to a Halloween fest at the church on Transmitter the weekend before Halloween. They were the only kids there NOT in costume:) They really don't like dressing up...i'm not sure why? They had a lot of fun doing a stuffed animal walk *like a cake walk, only you win stuffed animals instead* and sliding down the boundy slide. Before leaving the fest, we stopped in the lot in front of the church to pick out our pumpkins. We never did get around to carving them this year.....
These pics aren't that fantastic because I was having trouble adjusting the color/ISO feature on the camera, but since I am documenting our lives...they will have to do!

smashingly incredible~~

I took these pics of the kids on the way to Boo at the Zoo....they were taken in the backseat of the car! I can't believe how great they all turned out....and YES, I am having a few of them enlarged and framed.

Look at those freckles...POP!

She has the angelic look down pat!

Practicing her ballerina moves in the backseat~

Kiddos Halloween

The kids didn't want to go trick or treating this year...they instead wanted to go to a fall fest with their Nana in Wewa. So on Halloween night I went to dinner at Outback with Dawn, Leann, and some new people that I'd never met before, then came home to watch a movie (Atonement). Bub came home after the fest so I wasn't alone on Halloween night:) After spending the day in 6 inch boots at work, I was exhausted!!! The day after Halloween Zoo World hosted Boo at the Zoo and the kids wanted to go out to see what all the fuss was about. I was worried that the place would be a mob house jammed with greedy idiots, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was chaos free, well organized, and the kids were given loads of good candy and cool stuff. We had a blast and I plan on making a trip out there again next year!


The Halloween party was a little Humane Society benefit as well....I met a few new people and had a blast with Resa as my "goddess" date! I thought I would stick to something I knew very well...and dressed up as a hot nurse:) Weird thing though...when I walked in the door, the first person I saw was one of the doctor's the I work with...it was kind of awkward but he and his wife both looked cute in their gangsta and flapper outfits:) I am looking forward to next year's gala!!!

vanessa, resa, me
a nurse, peter pan, a greek goddess, and captain hook.

daniel and vanessa
the party has arrived!!

Little Black Dress~ October

We skipped November because everyone was busy or simply too tired to get dressed up to go....but here are pics from October's Little Black Dress party at Boatyard. Dawn, Resa, Leann, and I met up early for dinner *note to self and anyone else who cares to know: never waste your money on the sushi at Boatyard. it sucks.* Be sure to zoom in on my shoes....they ROCK! I got a spicy little deal on them at Envy.

Labor Day

The kids and I went to Vicki's for Labor Day and had a nice time laughing over the way Brooke ate her corn...she'd just lost a tooth and another was extremely loose, so she would gnaw on it with her BACK teeth, if you can possibly imagine that. The girls had fun trying to catch the fish that Jamie had recently stocked the pond with, while Bub was content to hang out on the back porch with me. I also managed to shoot a few pics of the kids with their Nana.....I played around with the color saturation and this is what I came up with. I love love loooove the pics!