This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

About Last Night...


Let's talk about the storm last night.

It was loud.
It was windy.
It was strobe-light-esque.
It was violent.
It was yucky.

In my fishbowl home there are two large (and by large I mean 4 ft by 5 ft) curved windows on our staircase landing.

These windows are actually made of some kind of plexi-glass...although I'm ashamed to admit that it took me seven six several a few months to realize this.

So when plexi-glass meets a hard hard does this wavy-reverberation thing.

(think of a sound effect where someone waves a huge piece of flimsy sheet metal in the air as fast as they can to create the sound of a water buffalo stampede)

Enter 60-70 mph gusts.

Pretty much sounds like it's thundering inside.

Add to that the fact that when the wind blows horizontally the rain actually comes IN these windows and swamps the landing.

Add to that the fact the indoor windstorm makes all of the pocket doors in the house (and trust me....there are bunches of those) especially the one to our bedroom rattle rattle RATTLE in their pockets.

Add to that our copper roof which is DIRECTLY over the upstairs rooms (think: no attic space at all) and imagine how gi-normous raindrops and various twigs and branches and possibly sad little squirrels and raccoons sound when they CRASH onto it right over your head.

End result?

A beautiful indoor concert featuring the sounds of hell's gates.

In my humble opinion, anyway.

So the heavy winds started a little before 8 o'clock.

Carolyn passed out like a frat daddy at Mardi Gras went to sleep peacefully around then....and I cranked up her sound machine hoping she'd sleep through the noise.

The boys turned their lights out around 8:30.

Then our little game of "Whack-a-Mole" began.

8:39:  Ethan.  Complains of lumps and itches in head.  RH removes 2 ticks.  That's a whole different layer of yuck.

8:53:  Ethan.  Complains that he fell asleep (in the 2 minutes he was in there) and woke up and can't sleep.  Sent back to room with sheep-counting instructions.

9:09:  Bennett.  Requests 10 more minutes of reading time because he's not tired.  Request granted.

9:11:  Ethan.  Requests more reading time because Bennett is reading.  Request granted.

9:20:  Ethan.  Can't sleep.  Sheep instructions repeated in a louder voice.

9:29:  Bennett.  Can't sleep because Ethan is counting too loudly.  Sent back to room with "pillow-over-head" instructions.

9:49:  Bennett and Ethan:  "Can we PLEASE PLEASE read for a few more minutes because we are SOOOO not tired and we both want to read and we just can't sleep and we really can't fall asleep PLEASE can we just have ten minutes?"  Sent to bed with apples and 10 minute reprieve BUT accompanied with instructions that unless they're bleeding or puking I don't want to see them until morning.

As they went back to bed Ethan looks over his shoulder and says, "If you need me I'll be in my bottom bunk tonight....not my top."
(note:  running along side his top bunk is an enormous (6 ft by 2.5 ft) window)

Me:  "Why not the top where you always sleep?"

(sounds of winds roaring and whipping in background)

Ethan:  "I just think the bottom is a better place for me tonight."

(more wind)

Me: (pause) "Are you nervous about the storm?"

Ethan: "NO!  NO!  I just like that bunk tonight."

And they ran off to their room.

And I imagined Ethan looking out of that huge window and the trees bending over in the gusts while the motion lights flick on and off and quietly climbing down the ladder to the "view-less" bottom bunk.

And yeah...
I teared up.

When I went in to check on them after 10 minutes and they were both asleep....cuddled up with all of their childhood animal friends.

So I turned their sound machine way up and headed for my bed.

And my phone buzzed with a severe weather warning.

And the TV began reporting possible tornadoes in Lebanon, Missouri.

And RH and decided that if the sirens went off I would grab Carolyn and he would get the boys.

And my phone buzzed again.

And more warnings came across the local news.

And I cracked a window so I could hear the siren if it sounded.

And the windows rattled.

And both dogs (who never come upstairs) circled our bed over and over again.

And Joplin came under a tornado watch.

And RH fell asleep...confident in my ability to neurotically and psychotically keep tabs on the weather situation and awaken him in time to lead him to safety...exhausted after a 11 hour day at work.

And I checked facebook where so many of my Joplin friends were posting about very sleepless their nights were proving to be
...and how many of them had shaking kids in their beds
...and how some of them had kids AND dogs in their beds
...and how some were thinking about how awful this spring was going to be
...and how some were mad that they couldn't enjoy thunderstorms anymore
...and how the ones in the FEMA trailers felt like they were in shaking tin cans.

And I watched TV/checked my phone/observed facebook until the storms finally passed over around midnight.

Then I checked the kids one more time, mopped up the small lake on my landing, and fell asleep.

But here's the deal.

I wasn't really scared of being hit by a tornado.

(No....I don't so much want that to happen...but that wasn't what kept me wide-eyed and rigidly awake.)

It was more that I didn't want to MISS THE WARNING.

I didn't want to "not hear" a siren because the sound was masked by the storm outside (or noise inside) of my house.

I didn't want to miss that "freight train" noise because I'd drifted off.

I wanted to be READY.

(Cocked, locked and ready to my RH says...)

You see...if the watch became a warning,
if the noise got constant and louder,
if I myself saw a "hook" in the storm pattern...

Then I could take control of the situation.
Wake up RH and scoop up kids and head to the basement.

But if I missed the warning....


You see....

I know that God kept us safe last May.
He has a plan for us....and that plan is good.

I fully believe that He can and will keep us safe should we face another tornado.
I don't doubt His power....not even the tiniest bit.

But maybe I put too much stock in my control?

I mean....if He's going to keep us on this side of eternity for a while...
Then it doesn't really make a difference if I hear the train-a-comin' or not.




I know how it felt to not be able to physically keep my babies safe (see this blog)...
And that was sickening.

But I also know how amazing it felt to turn my baby completely over to God...
And that was beautiful.

Control, let go.  Grab it up, put it down.

Tug-of-war between my faith and my human-ness.

And I'm embarrassed to say that last mortal self won.

Do I think it's wrong to be prepared and on alert?

Absolutely NOT.

God gave us early warning systems and radar for a REASON.

But being so scared that I won't be able to save my children that I manically scroll between 4 forms of technology (as well as staring out of various windows while I am praying) for several hours until I notice that my shoulders actually hurt because I'm so tense?

Maybe a little?

I'm not sure about this.

Even the Israelites set guards up around their camps to warn of invasions, right?
( I think I've read that somewhere...)

Maybe it's my mind-set that was the problem.

I was genuinely bona-fide-ly truly freakishly worried about not being able to help my kids.

I think that maybe if I work on being prepared WHILE AT THE SAME TIME finding a peace that He is in control of the whole situation (not just whether or not we're going to get whacked) might bring me to the correct mental compromise.

I'm going to work on that.

It's not that I mind being the sole sentry while my husband and kids sleep peacefully (and how in the Sam heck they do that with that NOISE is beyond me) trusting in me to alert them to any dangers....

It's not that I mind getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep...

It's not even that I mind cleaning up a swamp on my stairs.

But I could do without the adrenaline rush from such a heightened sense of worry.
(That rush will keep you awake long after the storm is over,  I tell you.)

God loves my children even more than I can possibly imagine loving them.

He has plans for them....GOOD PLANS.

I am not privy to those plans....but I gotta trust that.

God gave me the job of looking after these kids while they're here on earth....however long that may be.

So I will do the best I can.

And I will trust Him to do the rest.

And I will probably keep on watching the radar on stormy nights...
And stay signed up for weather alerts on my phone....
And keep my emergency box in the basement well stocked.

But I will turn off facebook.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Different Kind of Same...

So I guess that yesterday was the 9 month "anniversary" of May 22nd.

Strange that I didn't realize that until this morning.

To be fair...things have been pretty busy around here...

All of the males have been sick and are on antibiotics...
I spent Tuesday traveling to Kansas City for my follow up (all good thank you God!)...
I couldn't carry a bag of groceries by myself until yesterday...
The dog impaled himself on a wire fence...
Homework and tests...
Basketball and tennis...
Coordinating a visit from Watoto....
Life blah blah life blah life.....

But I guess, in the healing sense, it's good I was able to "miss" the date and not focus on it.

But you know what's interesting?

(To me, anyways...)

Yesterday after I dropped the kids off at school I decided to take a drive around our old neighborhood.

I hadn't been there for at least a month...and my friend told me that the house going up on "our" lot was making some serious progress.

So I thought I'd scope it out.

The 'hood looks 231 billion times better than it did on May 23rd.
Or June 30th.
Or even August 2nd.

Compared to a "normal" neighborhood though.....
It still looks like it's been through some hideous traumatic event.

(imagine that)

Yes...there are quite a few houses that are finished and beautiful...
But they sit next to dirt-filled lots scattered with home-remains.

And the trees...
That's just sad.

So many are gone....and so many of the remaining ones are...well....

I think a lot of us have learned to identify a tree that has been through a tornado.
It's easy to tell if they're laying on the ground or have beautiful metal garland (made from bumpers or stair railings or only the dear Lord knows what) laced through them....

But even the "undecorated" ones aren't "normal" looking.

They are standing, but many be leaning weirdly.
They have some branches, but they are cut off close to the trunk.
There may be some "twigs" coming off, but they are obviously new

I don't know if I'm describing this very well....but if you've seen these trees, you know what I mean.
They are a very obvious sign that  MR. EF-5 WAS HERE!!!!

Anyway...that's what my the old neighborhood is full of.

Then there's "my" lot.

They are building it on the concrete footprint of our it's sort of similar in shape...almost.
And it's in the same yard...almost.
And it's in the same neighborhood.....almost.

In other's ALMOST the same, but it's some kind of weird alternate reality where things are similar enough to the original that you can recognize them...but different enough that you know it's NOT the same so you end up feeling...



It's like when I walked into the "new" (and by new I mean completely rebuilt after the original was completely destroyed) Chick-Fil-A or the "new" Walmart.

It was was the same store....but it wasn't the same place.

The flowers were on the tables....but they were different colors.
The greeter was at the door...but the door had moved to the right a few feet.
The produce section aisles were slanted...but in the opposite direction.


So as I sat in my car and stalked took a quick peek at the house going up....
...I felt unsettled.

Where Bennett's windows should have been was only a roof...
....but the garage windows were the same.
Where our big bay window used to be was a blank wall....
....but the walk-out door was the same.
Where Ethan's whole room should have been was obvious attic-only space....
...but the front steps were still there.
Where the 3-trunked birch tree stood was now a 2-trunked tree....
....but it was in the right spot.
Where we once had a great backyard was mud and trash and no fence....
...but the deck door still opened up right to it.

And then there were the neighbors houses.

The ones that are completely gone....well...I'm almost used to that look.

But the ones that have been "repaired"...


They are almost the same, but they are not.
They are half siding instead of all brick...
or they are black instead of tan...
or they are stone instead of stucco.

It's the "almost-sameness" of them in the background of the "almost-mine" house that just completely throws me off.

I mean....
My exact same mailbox is there.
My house isn't.
My forsythia are blooming.
My entire garden is missing.

I will tell you that it IS a comfort to see A structure on that once-razed lot.
And I am sure it will be a beautiful house enjoyed by a wonderful family.

But I guess it was just a little bit of a shock to my system to see it be so similar/different to ours.

Maybe when we have our "forever home" that I can work on making into a real
HOME for us I won't have that "unsettled" feeling.

I know and feel and believe that our family is rooted in Christ...and that (as the song says):

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.

I do know this.

But I also have realized that I like making an earthly HOME for my family.

And since we aren't investing (financially emotionally time-wise) into our temporary place....I can't do that now.

Haven't been able to for a while.
(9 months and a day, in fact)

And that's ok.

But I am seriously looking forward to settling somewhere.

I would be such a bad wandering gypsy.

So...after all this rambling....I still think it's kind of interesting:

That I went back to the house on the 9 month anniversary.
That I came away feeling comforted and unsettled.
That I didn't drive straight to Shake's.

And maybe that's I was driving past the ponds in front of our old neighborhood yesterday and saw all the yellow and orange-vested people cleaning out the tornado debris from the water...I didn't cry.

And maybe that's I drove down 20th street today and saw strips of sheet metal wrapped around a tree....I did cry.

Healing is an up-and-down journey.
Make sure your seat belt is cinched tightly.

Moments and anniversaries and reminders will happen....
And they may surprise you.

You may find yourself crying when you find a piece of insulation-mixed-with-leaves in your jewelry box.
You may discover that you're unable to sleep when the winds are gusting.
You may decline buying a new purse and throw your friends into complete shock because you've discovered that you only need one.
You may realize that YOU can't sleep at night without giving your kids "one more hug".
You may find you have to leave a conversation in tears when someone re-tells a tornado story.
You may find you have to leave a conversation in tears when someone complains about stupid trivial issues.
You may find yourself sobbing at The Incredibles (see this blog post) or Star Wars movies (or this post).

It's ok, I guess.

Learning how to handle these completely random and unexpected emotional "slaps" will certainly help us learn how to deal with our teenagers one day.....right?

Healing and growing, I think, happen together.

And they are both good things.

Ad I don't think it's wrong to want to be settled in our "earthly" life....
as long as my root reaches a lot lot lot deeper.

And I think that Shake's was meant for anniversaries...
and since I kind of missed yesterday....
I can go have some tonight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Salted Popcorn...

One of the earliest childhood "crushes" I can remember having was Luke Skywalker.

(I think he was second only behind Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons.)

I didn't care about the actor who played him (because I still actually have absolutely no idea who it was)...but really really liked Luke himself.

In fact, when I played Barbies I never allowed "Ken" to come around.

Just my barbie doll sized weirdly floppy plastic esque Luke.

When my boys started getting into Star Wars the old Luke Skywalker figures were pretty hard to find.
They were THRILLED when I remembered that I had one tucked away in a box of mementos my mom had sent me.

They were so beyond totally disgusted not quite as thrilled when Luke showed up in a light blue tuxedo top, bell bottom pants and long white boots from his last date with Skipper 30ish years before.

Back in the box went poor Mr Skywalker....but my kids (all 3 of them) continue to obsessively love Star Wars.

Therefore... when it came out on the big screen this was basically a mandatory event.

RH* wasn't feeling super well so I decided it would be my first post-op solo outing with the young ones.

After we'd gotten properly arranged with a booster seat and our contraband bottled waters (which I realize may give an example of rule "breaking" but seriously...$5.50 for a WATER?  And that's after we had to pay 4 "upgrade to 3-D" fees of $3 a piece for the overly priced tickets anyway?  Dude.  Call me a rebel....) I told the kids we'd splurge for a big popcorn.

When I returned the movie had started.

(I knew this because I didn't have my 3-D glasses on and everything was so blurry and dark and loud that I narrowly avoided tripping over something on my way down to the 4th row which was the only place we could find 4 seats together. )


I passed out cups of popcorn and we settled in.

Now.  You know the part in the movie when little Anakin has to leave home?

(He and his mom were slaves, but the good Jedi master (Qui Gon Gin???) wins the little boy's freedom but can't free the mom.  So the mother asks the Jedi's to take her son with them to give him a better life....a chance to be something.)

Well Anakin is probably 9ish years old.  He's walking away with the Jedi dudes, SO excited to be going up into the stars and fulfilling his dream....when he stops. 

He turns around and looks at his mom, and goes running back to throw himself into her arms.

He's crying and says he can't leave her....
She's trying not to cry and telling him to be brave....
He asks if he'll ever see her again....
She swallows hard and give some bogus answer to make him leave....

And there you go.

I'm bawling again.

In the middle of the stupid Star Wars Movie.

Now I'll admit....
The 27 times I've seen this movie before I always get a little misty at this part.

But not like this.

Give me a break.

I've got one arm around Carolyn, the other around Ethan holding onto Bennett's arm and I'm literally crying into my flippin' popcorn.

(And FYI....trying to move your 3-D glasses enough to clean the tears off without making yourself dizzy and simultaneously keeping the popcorn bucket from tumbling to the depths of scary-theater-floor-land is a quite an impressive feat.)

Sure it's sad that Anakin is leaving home.
Sure it's sad the mom's still a slave.
Sure it's sad that Luke Skywalker isn't even IN this movie.

But my issue wasn't so much the sadness.... was the gratefulness.

I was honestly and completely overcome by gratefulness.

I had ALL THREE of my beautiful children with me.
I was physically able to take them to the movie.
I was blessed enough to provide tickets AND popcorn.

Truly....I was-- I AM---the most blessed of all women.

A long time ago and in a galaxy far far away... life was different.

Have I enjoyed all of the things that have happened to me in the last 81/2 months?

Not really.

If I could go back and make everything the same as it was on May 21st of 2011 for myself, would I?

Not really.

You see....I got to experience a PROFOUND perspective change....
without anything truly horrifically awful happening to me.

And I don't EVER
want to go back to the placid-take-things-for-granted-more-superficial mindset I had before this last season of my life.

I feel like I've spent some time standing on the edge of some pretty scary situations....
and walked away relatively unscathed.

Thank God that unscathed doesn't mean unchanged.

9 months ago I certainly would have enjoyed taking my family to a movie.
Enjoyed ...yes. 
Been happy we could do it....sure.
But been deeply fully wholly aware of HOW blessed I was to do it?
I don't think so.

I don't want to loose that feeling of "Blessed Awareness" as time marches on.
I hope I don't.
I don't think I will.
I'm going to prayerfully try not to.

I wouldn't mind if I could stop with the random outbreaks of public tears and can just have "theoretical reminder tears" .....

But luckily I kept my 3-D glasses so I can slip them on to cover-up my running mascara if I need to.

Hey...I paid 3 bucks for those dang glasses.
I can do what I want with 'em.

*RH is Redneck Husband....just clarifying for those who are more recent readers.  When the muddy hunting boot fits....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Prayers for Charlotte

My sister-in-law's close friend Sara just had a baby girl last week.

Before their daughter was born....
Sara and her family knew that baby Charlotte would face many health issues.

They chose to move forward on faith and put her in God's hands, and today that tiny baby made it through her second surgery.

She is not "ok" yet.

In fact, her mom eloquently described their situation as:
"Not out of the woods yet, but we have at least cleared a path that we can try and follow."

Here is a link to her blog.

She has requested that it be passed along to have as many people praying for her as possible.

Will you please pray?

And pass along the story?

Thank you.

And hug your babies tonight.

Baby Charlotte's Link

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time Wise....

In my oh-so-humble opinion, there are two types of people in this world:

Ones who DO worry about being on time...
and ones who DON'T.

In other words.....

There exists one group of people who believe that a given time is an actual commitment, and if they are supposed to be/see/do something at a committed time....they do everything possible BY PLANNING AHEAD to make sure that happens.

Then there exists the other group of people.
They see time as a loosely arranged set of possible parameters into which they may or may not conform their schedule irregardless of who/what might be expecting them.

Since I am sure that it's impossible to tell which group I might consider myself to be in....I'll just go ahead and tell you.
I like to be on time.

I try really hard to be where I'm supposed to be at the time I promised someone I'd be there.

Do I always make it??

Not so much.

Do I often get uptight and frustrated and annoyed (at myself and the other people who are RUNING my punctuality goal)?

Sorta yes.

(which gives credit to the theory that the "other group" of people tend to be a lot more fun and laid-back and enjoyable then people like me.....but that's another post for another day.....)

I certainly don't believe that being on time is a bad thing.
In fact....I think it shows respect, ability to plan well, and follow-through.

But I've also realized this....
That most times in life, an extra 30 20 15 10 5 or so minutes of waiting probably isn't going to make an eternal impact on anyone's life.

And the other thing I just so happen to know.....
My timing is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT God's timing.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten my 3 punctuality ruining terrors sweet kiddos out the door in a timely fashion for school JUST to be stalled by somebody driving 9 mph or a stopped train or who knows WHAT blocking our carefully planned route out to school.

Do I give into road rage and smack the dashboard?
Do I mutter choice words under my breath?
Do I holler at the kids so I have someone to take my anger out on?
Do I give up the drive and go to breakfast at Shake's?

Not usually.

I take a deep breath and say.....

"Hey.  There is a reason we can't go down this street.  There's a reason why we are going slow.  There is a reason why the train stopped us.   How do we know that God isn't protecting us from something further down this road?  Maybe we should thank Him for the delay....huh?"

(See...I know I have neuroses....but I really do try not to pass them on to my kids.  And even when I am not overly thrilled about something....I try to only let OUT things that will help them react in the way I know that I should react...and then hopefully I can learn from them as I re-train my way of thinking.  I am so beyond imperfect....but efforts ARE being made...)

This morning I received this email from my dad.

         Me (in a tizzy) : God, can I ask you something?
         GOD: Sure.

Me: Promise you won't get mad?
GOD: I promise.
Me (frustrated): Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?
GOD: What do you mean?
Me: Well I woke up late,
GOD: Yes
Me: My car took forever to start,
GOD: Okay....
Me (growling): At lunch, they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait
GOD: Hmmmm..
Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call
GOD: All right
Me (loudly): And to top it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work. Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?
GOD: Well let me see..... the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me (humbled): Oh...
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that might have hit you if you were on the road.
Me (ashamed): ............
GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
Me (embarrassed): Oh.....
GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give a false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered
Me (softly): I see God
GOD: Oh and that foot massager, it had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
           Me:  I'm sorry, God.
          GOD: Don't be sorry, just learn to trust all things, the good and the bad
          Me: I WILL trust you God
          GOD: And don't doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan
          Me: I won't God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
          GOD: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love 
                 looking after my children.

I read it to the kids while they ate breakfast.  
They liked it.

Then my mother-in-law came to drive them to school and I told them to

Oh well.
Work in progress.

God's timing isn't just about "being on time" though.

It's also about His will in general.
His plan.

You see we might ask things like:
Why did that train stop on the tracks and block us???
Why didn't I get elected student body vice-president???
Why didn't that guy take our offer on the lot???
Why did our home get destroyed in the tornado???
Why didn't our home get destroyed in the tornado???
Why doesn't he/she want to be my partner anymore???
Why did my computer totally die???
Why didn't I get the job???

They are all good questions.
God isn't ever mad when we ask any of them.

It's just that....
His timing,
His will and
His plan 
may not be things we can see or understand.

Now sometimes...after these event have occurred....we may be lucky enough to understand the WHY.
Sometimes not.

Honestly though.....I really love it when I can.  
I love when (on the rare occasion!) I can gracefully make it through a thanks the whole way....and then later REALLY get why it happened.

That's so awesome.

Like when your email goes down and you have tried and tried and tried to send something and it WON'T go and you're so irritated because now everything is late and blah blah blah.......
....then you realize you had addressed it to the WRONG person.

Or you are late to something no matter HOW hard you tried nothing (and nobody) cooperated and you're frustrated because you thought you had it all planned out....
....then you bump into a person (who is also late) with whom you've been trying to make contact and could never reach.

Or you make it through a terribly sad and heart wrenching experience that seriously made you question God and whether or not you could go on.....
....and you meet someone who is going through the same thing and you can talk to them and hold their hand and counsel them and let them know that they CAN make it.

My surprisingly wise little brother responded to my dad's email with this scripture:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

I am not saying that God causes all of these trials.
No no no.

I am saying that He does do things to protect us...
and that every bad thing has something good that comes out of it.

We may or may not get the chance to see that "good".....
But trust me.
It's there.

So a summary.......

Being on time is good.
Being on God's time is better.

And being luck enough to see the "Why's" .....
is a really cool thing.

And did I mention?

Being on time is good.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Storm Damage...

There is no other way to start this post than by saying:

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

To all of my friends, family, and precious people I have never even met who have sent sweet messages and prayers.....

Thank you.
I truly can't adequately express how very much all of this support has meant to me,
and how truly humbled I feel by all of the caring.

I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooo
beyond blessed.


That being said....


Let's avoid THAT particular kind of episode in the future, if you don't mind.

Really, I had an amazing medical team and some seriously fabulous big and burly bodyguards (RH, my dad and my brother) watching over me.

In fact, the surgeon thanked US for asking them to pray with us before the surgery.....that was pretty cool.

And they let me stay awake enough to watch the screen that was showing pictures from this tiny little "camera" they had INSIDE of my heart.

(Which...looking back...seems kind of bizarre and freaky....but apparently I had enough drugs in me that it was just plain cool at that point.)

And now I'm the proud owner of a 29mm bow-tie shaped nickel alloy "plug" in my heart.

They say it won't set off metal detectors.

It is a little weird to think of it in there right now.
I'm glad it's there and all...but it's strange.

Oh well.

I'll get used to it.

Just hug me gently until it's firmly anchored in place, please.'s my random thought for the day.

During this experience quite a few people mentioned how crazy our last 8 months have been
(and yeah....that thought crossed my mind, too).

Some people have asked us
how our "strength" was holding up...
how we could "deal with so many crises"...
how we weren't "angry".

Here's the deal.

I feel that over the last 8 months and 2 weeks(ish),
I have been LITERALLY

the most blessed person in God's kingdom.

When you think of the things that my family has gone through...

direct hit by an EF-5 tornado
with kids out in a truck
and loosing a house
then having a stroke
while our hospitals aren't really functioning well
then having a heart surgery procedure....


Seriously....there is no greater blessing.

I truly mean what I've just written.

Completely and truly and honestly.

But  (and I know you were just waiting for the "but" in all of this)....
that doesn't mean there haven't been effects from these events.

Just flip back through my blogs.
Just check my purchase record at Shake's.

Indulge me for a moment while I share a little quote with you
(paraphrased by me from Matthew 7: 24-27):

"Therefore, whoever hears God and does what he says 
will be like a man who built his house on the rock; 
and the rain descended, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house; 
and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
But whoever hears what God says and chooses  NOT to abide in Him 
will be like a fool who built his house on the sand; 
and the rain descended, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house; 
and it fell.  And great was its fall."

Bottom line:
In order to still be gotta have God for your foundation.

I'm pretty lucky.
I have an awesome foundation.

Now listen.

This scripture says that WITH God as your "rock"
your "house" will not fall no matter how strong the storm might be.

It doesn't say your house won't be damaged.

That your roof won't be torn off...
your memory scattered...
your chest hurt...
your contents be blown to smithereens...
your fears bubble over...
your control lost...
your legs bruised...
your underwear be full of insulation...
your heart aching....

It just says that in the end....
you will not fall.

When the foundation is firm and sturdy enough...
A new house can be built upon it.

But you know what else?
God isn't just there in the base of your "house".

He is standing guard around your broken walls.

He cares about your bad dreams.
He cares about your breathlessness when you see a piece of twisted metal still in a tree.
He cares about your sorrow over lost precious family heirlooms.
He cares about your anxiety when in thunders.
He cares about your fear of leaving your kids when they are so young.

And he will help you rebuild the parts of your life that have been damaged by the storms.

You know....
strokes tornados life happens.

It doesn't always happen nicely.

But I know that if I can keep myself rooted where I should be....
I'll stay standing.

I may be leaning a little crookedly...
But I'll be standing.