Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nine

To the one who birthed me into motherhood and has held my heart close for the last nine years, I adore you.  Over these last few weeks we've been on an adventure of a lifetime, discovering the land of our ancestors, the land of the rising sun.  I've marveled at how much of a man you are becoming.  You are after all half way to 18, half grown, but sometimes I forget that your hands are almost as big as mine.  On this trip you wouldn't let me forget.  You were respectful always and thought constantly about other people.  It made me smile, seeing you pay attention to the details, even in such a strange place, remembering what you've been taught.  I love that about you, how detailed you are.

You asked to go to the zoo and so we did.  It was a very fun day.

You are named Man of the Woods and live up to that name so well.  We were in Japan at the busiest time of year for them during the 'Golden Week', an entire week of holidays.  We saw the Imperial Palace, and giant statues of Buddha, we went up to the top of the tallest tower in the world, we saw kites that were the size of a standard room, but your favorite part of the whole trip was the few hours we spent at the Pacific Ocean.  It's the natural and the simple that bring you the most joy.  I hope you never grown out of that.

At the Pacific Ocean.


Over the last 12 days I got to glimpse the man you are becoming.  You walked like a man, never needing to hold my hand.  Even though the places we visited were shoulder to shoulder packed, you never needed the security of it.  You ate everything I put on your plate and asked to try what wasn't initially offered to you.  You remembered all your manners.  I realized that, in our small town, it's good to always expect you to let grown ups go first, but when in a busy train station, I needed to let you know it was okay to cut in front of them sometimes.  I'm proud of the glimpse I saw.  You're going to be a good man full of respect for others.

You are a pro with chopsticks.  Every meal we used them and you conquered them.

This coming year you are going to enter the fourth grade and I suspect will continue to do Cub Scouts.  I bet you'll keep fiddling around with your uke making music just for fun. Lego's will be your favorite past time as they have been this year.  As you're Momma I'll pray that you keep making good choices.  I'll focus on teaching you more of the why it's important to do what's right.  We'll keep plugging away at your reading skills and you'll keep blowing my mind with your math smarts.


My prayer for you this year is this: May you stay strong and learn to focus especially on the things that bore you such as school work.  May you use the knowledge you have in a wise way.  May you always put others first for the sake of love.  May you continue to be your unique self, loving life to it's fullest and constantly wanting to learn.

You are proud of this photo you took of Mount Fuji.  It's the one photo you insist everybody sees.

I love you more than life.  There are no words to tell you how proud I am of the man you are becoming. Here's an interview with your nine year old self.


What is your favorite color? Dark Blue
What is something very special to you? God
What is your favorite word or saying? "Guess what, in Minecraft..."
What is your favorite thing to do? Climb, run, and play outside.
What is your favorite memory from this past year? Japan, all of it.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I don't know

Thursday, April 13, 2017

You started this whole journey and I kind of love it this way.

Dearest Man of the Woods,


About six months ago you walked into the living room to have a deep conversation with me.  I'm not sure why you were thinking about it, but it's been life changing for me.  It was short and you were to the point.  I wanted to share it with you because your words went straight to my heart.  Here it is:


You: Mom, there are kids that don't have parents to love them right?
Me: Yes that's true.
You: But you're a good mom and Dad is a good dad so why don't you love them?
Me: Wow I don't have a good answer.  That's a very deep thought.  I'll think about it.


You see since your brother was a little over one I have wanted a daughter.  As you know my pregnancies were hard so your Dad and I decided not to have any more children.  We had talked about adopting.  I had even done research into it, but the cost of a private adoption is more then we can afford.  I had just decided that some dreams weren't meant to be.  The only thing we hadn't looked into was adoption through the state.  Dad was open to foster care, but I had always been against it.  That is until you and I had this conversation.


Your opinion means a lot to me so when you suggested that I loved you well and should share some of that love with another child.  It made me stop and question my motives, why if I was so open to a private adoption I wouldn't be open to an adoption through the state.  After a few months of thinking and praying it over I decided you were right.  Now six months after you and I had this conversation I don't just think this is a good idea I'm over joyed at the idea.


Thank you for asking questions and giving me your thoughts on life.  You are a good man with a good heart.  I'm looking forward to walking this road with you where ever it takes us.  I love you my son.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I feel in color

I never knew it until that morning I woke up to find myself surrounded by grey walls.  The wall that had the night before been a soft yellow in the morning was grey.  That was the day my search for joy began and my first realization that I was sick had begun to sink in.  Since the beginning I have taken the time to capture color. To soak it in for those days I cannot see.


I have learned that joy is the color of dandelion yellow.





Sadness is wet river rock grey.




Peace is yellow color that reflects off the lazy river water on a sunny day.



Excitement is the white of a bubbling brook.



Happiness is the garden green.



 Thankfullness is the red that signals fall.


 Grace is snow white.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A new journey, a deeper life

I bought her first book before she was a guest on the morning show.  It sat in the store under the sign new authors.  It was shortly after I woke up that morning to a grey world beginning my search for joy.  A friend had recommend it to me.  She said it was about this woman's search for joy and maybe I would enjoy the read.  I bought it.  She was right.  It is because of One Thousand Gifts that I started counting.  On those dark days when I couldn't feel joy I saw it and recorded it for a good read later on when I could feel it, for a hope I could hold onto for that moment.

About six months ago my personal demon caught me off guard sending me into a short lived but an intense mania.  Since then I've been fighting for joy and hoping for balance to return.  Shortly there after she wrote another book, The Broken Way.  I tried to buy but it was sold out.  Once I finally got my hands on a copy I sat snuggle under my quilt ready to read.  I couldn't make it through the first page.  She has a way of painting with her words cutting straight to the soul.  I had to write so I could remember (Read it here).  Turns out that's the challenge of her book remember your brokenness.  Something I'm already doing as I have been revisited first by Mania and more recently by Depression.

Here's to a new journey, a challenge, a deeper life.


That time I sat in the dark on the edge of the tub

I remember that day with the kind of clarity that you have when someone close to you dies or two airplanes are flown into the twin towers.  My husband was fishing as I sat on the edge of the tub begging God to protect me from myself.  The numbness was too much.  I just wanted to feel anything even if that was pain.  Actually pain was what I wanted.  If I just made one cut then I could feel pain for at least a few days.  If it scarred I could see it always never forgetting the feeling of pain it brought.  Then the numbness would have to go.  I sat in that dark bathroom while my boys slept trapped in the house begging God to protect me.

Never before had I felt like this.  Never before these "miracle" pills were prescribed.  My razor was so close and I longed to see the red flowing down my arms.  I only wanted to a few cuts nothing life threatening.  I begged some more as tears of hopelessness rolled down my cheeks burning hot reminding me I was broken.

I finally settled on a hair band, hopefully snapping it hard enough would bring the pain I longed for or at least distract me long enough for my doctor to call me back.  The band broke flying across the room.  Again I reached for a band, no two bands this time.  The phone rang.  The pills were flushed as the drug was added to my critical list never to be prescribed again.

A day or two passed my husband loved me and never have I wanted such pain again, but I remember the fear, the hopelessness, and the numbness.  I said thank you.  God heard me.  No scars, no being committed into the psych ward, just strong arms to hold me tight while I waited for the pain of depression to return, a pain I preferred to the numbness of those pills.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sometimes...

Sometimes I tell stories of shepherds and angels while we drink hot chocolate.
Sometimes we get messy, making snowmen out of old Mason jars while listening to Bing Crosby sing about white Christmases.
Sometimes our hearts are merry and warm, bursting with joy.


And sometimes short stories take thirty minutes because little boys need drinks, are annoying there brother, and can't stop making strange noises.
And sometimes we get messy and complain the entire time even though we know a little soap and water will take care of the stick on our fingers.
And sometimes we never get around to making that hot chocolate because Mom's feeling a little frazzled.
And sometimes little boys are so shocked that Mom is yelling that they jump right out of there chairs, because Mom rarely yells.


In the end sometimes all you can do is search for the joy in the midst of all the chaos, breathe deep, and keep it real.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our vows

This year marks our tenth year of marriage.  That day you were dressed in black and me in white as you held my hands fumbling for my ring you spoke our promise to each other with such confidence.  As I am sitting here now reading our vows and flipping through photos I am impressed by how well you live out these words.  I am humbled and honored by it. Thank you.


My vows all those years ago to you, my dear Strong Man:

Do you, Shandy, take Charlie, to be your husband?

To give your hand, your heart, and your promise that your love will always be a safe haven for him.

To give in the presence of God and these witnesses your sacred promise to be his in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph.

Do you promise to love without reservation, to respect him, to care for him and to protect him, to comfort him in times of distress, to encourage him, to laugh with him, and to cry with him, to grow with him in mind and spirit, and to cherish him for all eternity?


We tied the unity braid, a symbol that our marriage was three part.  First centered on Jesus, our foundation weaving ourselves in making the braid strong, complete, a new thing.


With this ring I pledge my faith and trust.  Receive it as a symbol of our endless union and our unbroken love. 


I love you more now then I did that day.  While I meant every word of it ten years ago I am more confident in our promise to each other today.  We have walked the easy and we have walked the hard and we have conquered them both.  You are my best friend.  I look forward to the next ten years with you.  Then to the ten after that and again the ten after that.  I dream about when we celebrate our 50th together.  You'll be completely bald and my hair will have only known the color grey for the thirty years before and our hearts will beat as one, and these promises will still be as steadfast as they were in 2006.


I love you.  Thank you for asking.