Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Escape…

This past week marked five years of marriage for James and I.  As all marriages, it hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world, but in reflecting on the past five years, I’ve come to the realization that those years have been good and that I love him more now than I could have ever imagined.  We fight and bicker, sometimes I think more than the “average” couple.  (I’m going to blame it on both of us being independent, stubborn, opinionate and strong in personality.  There’s no way we’re going to be quiet lambs around here with that combo.)  We’d been hoping to get away for the week but had to cut it down to a long weekend because of my work schedule.  We found an awesome Groupon and escaped to Santa Fe.  An entire weekend of doing nothing, no stress, no deadlines, no pressure was amazing.  I haven’t been that relaxed, calm and happy in so long.

During our weekend escape, I began thinking about how grateful I am and how blessed I am to have James.  He is my escape on a daily basis.  He’s the one person I know will always be there to embrace me and listen to my troubles, offer some advice and encourage me to let things go.  Our marriage isn’t perfect and I could easily spend all day ranting and raving about how it’s his fault for this reason or that but….   often, it’s my fault.  Being totally raw and honest, I have a terrible time controlling my impulses to react negatively with words and thoughts to anything contrary to what I want.  Things that don’t matter but change my plans derail me into a steamy mess that spews out nasty things.  I have such a terrible time just keeping my mouth shut and not getting that last dig in.  Awful, awful ugliness.  And I hate it, and I have such a terrible time controlling it.  I can be so awful and temperamental and yet…  he stays.  Not only does he stay, but he stands firm and yet gentle.  He gives me the space I need, chastises gently and is still there waiting to give me the hug I so desperately need.  I don’t know why he stays, sometime I think he’s crazy for it.  I asked him why while we were away this weekend.  First he blinked at me like I was crazy for asking.  Then he smiled, told me how much he loves me and gave me hug.

I am so grateful and so blessed that I have this patient, gentle and kind man as my husband. Thank you.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Joy of the Heart

It’s been almost two months since my dad passed away.  I’ve sat in front of my computer so many times since he passed trying to come up with a cohesive post only to walk away without saying anything.  So much has happened since then.

My heart aches for my little brother.  I’m not sure what happened when my dad passed but my brother snapped.  Like went crazy snapped, like took a head long plunge of the cliff of all things rational snapped.  I have never seen an angrier, more hatred filled person, e.v.e.r.  Unfortunately for whatever reason, I am the target of the anger and hatred.  I’ve tried yelling back and I’ve tried apologizing for everything I can think of all to no avail.  I’ve been told he never wants to speak to me again and am never to have any contact with his family again.  I can’t even begin to explain how much my heart is breaking over this gapping wound in my family.  I’m baffled by the transpiring and timing of it as well.  Family was huge to my dad.  Every holiday, every birthday, every anniversary was family time and my dad made sure he found a time when everyone could come together to celebrate each special or not-so-special occasion.  Dad would be beyond distraught to see what we’ve become.

About a month before my dad passed, a good friend of my mom’s gave her a book called Jesus Calling.  It’s a daily devotional book.  My dad’s faith strengthened tenfold shortly before he passed.  He would have my mom read each daily devotion to him several times throughout the day.  My mom has continued reading it faithfully since his passing.  She has also purchased a copy of the book for each of her kids and grandkids.  I’m not going to lie, I’ve taken one peek into it.  It’s the gut-wrenching, hit you where it counts, Word of God kind of book.  I’m terrified of it.  Yep, terrified.  Why?  Because, dang it, I’m kinda ticked off right now.  I’m ticked off at my brother for what he’s doing, I’m ticked off at my mom and sister for continuing to maintain whatever semblance of a relationship with him that they can and most of all, I’m really ticked off at God for taking my dad.  I’ve always felt that we are all here for a specific purpose and when we’ve fulfilled our purpose, it’s time for us to go home.  This applies to my dad as well.  So then, why so ticked off?  Because the timing wasn’t right for me.  I’m (obviously!) still processing this but it feels good to put something down concretely about how I feel.  My mom keeps encouraging me to read the book I mentioned above.  She’s talked a lot about the strong theme in the book that encourages us to give our problems completed to God.  I think I’m still cradling mine in my cupped hands, whimpering and guarding it, kinda like that crazy ugly guy from the Lord of the Rings that refers to the ring as “My Precious”.  (Ugh… not so impressed with myself after puttin’ that one on paper!)

So why title this post “The Joy of the Heart”?  Because there’s something else going on at our house right now.  I’ve written before about our inability to get pregnant and the sorrow this has caused us.  What if that was the plan all along?  What if I needed to have my heart open for something else? … hmmm …   Meet Max, sorry no picture yet, the little man that is currently filling our spare bedroom and more importantly filling our hearts with joy.  He’s about one and a half and is the sweetest and easiest going kiddo ever.  We don’t know if we have him for ever yet but I’m pretty sure that while I’m stroking “My Precious”, God is working in bigger and better ways to help me find the joy of my heart.



Monday, March 26, 2012


Time is such a crazy thing. It's something we so rarely truely think about. I run around crazy from day to day, never really stopping to notice the little things. Most of the time I don't even really stop to notice the big things either. Now that we're facing the very intense reality of my dad's passing becoming more and more imminent, I'm really struggling with how I've chosen to use my time lately. As my dad is slipping closer and closer into a state of no longer being able to communicate, each of the present family members has taken a few moments in private to say our good-byes. We've talked with him as a family and know when he passes he will be embraced by the arms of Christ. But I homestly think none of us feels completely at peace because of time. My dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma one month and three days ago. 34 days that have felt like they disappeared faster than the blink of an eye. Although we'll never know, supposedly the cancer has been invading his body for more like three years. I so desperately wish a few things had been different to give my family back some time. I wish that the dermatologist my dad went to see one year ago about the spot on his chin that was probably the start of all of this, had paid more attention to him. I wish so desperately that he had taken that little spot seriously and done a biopsy, even if only "to be on the safe side". A year ago would have given us the ability to take a family trip, truly carry out some family traditions and just spend more time together laughing. I desperately wish that his oncologist hadn't strung us out on hope for some treatment one month ago. I wish in addition to talking about the treatments he was hoping my dad would qualify for, he would have truly explained the gravity and seriousness of his disease and its progression and his true life expectancy to us. One month ago would have given us the ability to take another set of family pictures, record my dad reading a story for each of the grandgirls and make every second of the last 34 days count for a lifetime. As I watched my dad slip in out of consciousness tonight, I felt my heart breaking and mourning. Not so much for him passing and deparating this world but for the loss of time. For the memories we never had the chance to make. For losing out on the opportunities to record his face in a picture and his voice in a recording. For losing out on the ability to give my dad one last deep and emotional hug. I can't tell you what I would give to have him be able to sit up, wrap his arms around me and just hold me one more time. Andrea

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Hope of a Star

As Katie and I were heading home last night, she mentioned that she wanted to see a shooting star.  “Momma, I want to see a shooting star.  If I’m see one, I’m gonna wish on it with all my heart for my papa to get better from this awful cancer.  I’ve only had seven years with him and that’s not enough.  I need him to live until he’s 100.”  I, in my ever so practical and ridiculous ways, told her that I didn’t think a shooting star would help papa at this point.  I quickly realized my mistake and how callous and crushing I had been.  I quickly followed up with something along the lines of “but we should absolutely give it a try.”

When we got home a few minutes later, I started trying to fuss with putting the back seat in the car up.  It dawned on me how tired I was, that I could fix the seats in the morning and gave up.  I moved around to the other side of the car to help Katie get out and gather her things.  She and I have been watching Jupiter and Mercury move around in the sky off to the west of our house.  She noticed that the clouds had parted, they were visible and called out to me about it.  As I turned my eyes heavenward, I watched in amazement as the most brilliant and beautiful shooting star streaked its way above the sky.  It b-r-o-u-g-h-t me to my knees. The tears I had held all day came pouring forth and completely overwhelmed me.  I have never seen anything more beautiful or truly amazing and awe inspiring.

Upon first seeing the star, I was filled with an unbearable sense of grief and panic.   I grabbed my phone and frantically dialed my sister’s cell phone.  I was utterly convinced my dad had just passed and the star was his sign to me.  I had to ask her three or four times if anything had happened at that exact moment.  After being reassured repeatedly that he had not passed, nothing had happened and they were still waiting for him to be moved to a patient room at the hospital, I quietly hung up my phone and buried my head, tears and aching heart in my daughter’s hair.

As I’ve thought about these events throughout the day today, I’ve decided the star was a sign. Not a sign of sadness, but a sign of hope.  A lesson to me that just as we are told to have the faith of children, perhaps we are also to take cue from them on hoping.  That perhaps there is a miracle waiting for my dad.  That even if there isn’t and his time left with us is really as short as they say, that we can cling to the hope and knowledge of seeing him again. 

Baby Girl of mine, you keep hoping and wishing on those stars…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Letter

Dad -

Another thing I remember and will always cherish is your passion in the kitchen.  I know you haven’t enjoyed it the same way since your brain injury but I need to remember it the way it was during my childhood.  I loved watching you decorate cakes with your expert precision.  It still makes me chuckle thinking about you telling the story of making a perfect meringue with salt instead of sugar.  I don’t think you know but you inspired my love of all things cooking related.  Today, you are my favorite helper in the kitchen when James and I host family dinners.  While everyone else drives me crazy standing around my island and right in front of the sink and stove, you quietly pick up whatever needs done and effortlessly make it happen.  I love you so much for not complaining about peeling potatoes. Open-mouthed smile

I feel like we’re losing you so fast.  Please wait… I’m not done making memories. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

To my Dad -

As I watched you struggle and grapple with your pain tonight, my heart started breaking.  For what was, for what is and for what I fear will never be.  You have been my rock for so long.  Our times together haven’t always been perfect, but they are all treasured.  I love your sense of humor, the way you used to get us every April Fools’ Day with a new practical joke.  I love the way you attract people to you and your charismatic personality. 

Some of my most cherished memories are of you sitting in the burgundy arm chair, listening to me play the piano.  I can never express how deeply grateful I am to you for pushing me and creating within me a love of music.  For the way you taught me to truly feel music instead of plunking down notes.  I wish, for you, I had pursued this passion you helped build further.  Know that I always play with you in mind. 

I found a new song that speaks so deeply to my heart.  I think you would like it too. The Fray - Be Still

I so desperately need you to fight this terrible disease.  I need you here to listen to me.  I don’t want to play to the empty burgundy chair.

I love you now and forever and always.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011



Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

This little quote was waiting for me in my inbox when I got to work this morning. I’m thinking it was slightly miraculous that I noticed it at all. It was at the bottom of a very, very long e-mail filled with pictures of dogs. Not.my.favorite.email.to.get.in.my.work.inbox, like at all, like completely and totally find annoying.  Getting past that(!), the quote has stuck with me all day.

I have a fantastic job. I work as a paralegal at a national law firm. Instead of the typical things you would think of a paralegal doing, I do title work. Want to know who has owned that land your house in on since the beginning of time? I can help you with that! Sometimes I think it would be cool to go to court and other such fancy schmancy things that other paralegals do but it wasn’t meant to be. The job I have offers me a lot of flexibility with my schedule, hello to working from home when I need to, an decent amount of respect and all the over-time I could possibly want, or maybe, more likely, my bank account wants. So what’s the problem? Uh…. me. Me and my most unbecoming gripey, whiney attitude that I’ve had of late. Point blank, I don’t want to work. I thought I had this banked but as life tends to do, it threw me a pretty crazy curve ball, and it’s not in the cards right now. I haven’t figured out how to dance in the rain of the work storm just yet. I think I’m satisfied with just analyzing it for now. I did figure out a few other ways to dance today though…

Money. Oy… we got troubles ‘round here. That story can be for another day. The dancing comes from my love affair with coffee. I love me some coffee. Not normal hot drippitty-drip coffee mind you. I’m talkin’ the largest iced, I just drank how many calories (!!!), deliciousness coffee. I know you know the kind I’m talkin’ about. It’s the four dollars a gulp kind of coffee. The, holy crap I spent thirty bucks on coffee this week, coffee. Ok… pretty sure you’ve got the point. Anywho’s… I was perusing around on the Pioneer Woman’s blog a few weeks back and came across a recipe for iced coffee. (thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/) (Hopefully I got that right and sorry if I didn’t give credit correctly. Had a blog for awhile but still have no idea how to use it!)  Um… you must try this. No really, really must try it. I haven’t been in a coffee shop in three weeks. My husband almost fell over when I told him that. I find it to be most delicious with plenty of sugar-free vanilla syrup, half-and-half and a couple good sized teaspoons (they might be more equivalent to tablespoon size, but I'm in denial about it right now) of sweetened condensed milk. Go, go right now, get the ingredients you don’t have, and make yourself some coffee concentrate. You will dance in the rain of your coffee money woes. I promise.

As a side note, I took some pictures of my coffee fun tonight but can’t post them. I can’t post them because I have no stinkin’ idea where the cord for my camera is. I have no idea where that cord is because my hubs moved it. I suppose since he moved it on account of his diligent cleaning of his desk that I’ve been begging him to tackle for some time, I really can’t complain, at least not too much. Besides, the Pioneer Woman takes much prettier pictures than I do.

I danced in the rain of life today by making cupcakes as well. I was coerced, ahem, I mean, asked to make cupcakes for a co-worker's baby shower luncheon on Friday. I love making cupcakes. They’re perdy and yummy and stress killing. I have the funniest mental picture ever right now, cupcakes with monster faces… the stress killing monster face cupcakes. Oy… the things that dance in my head. Tonight’s variety were of delicious chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream and bittersweet ganache. Oh me oh my…. so much for my work out this morning! I took pictures of the cupcakes too, but for stated reasons… perhaps I’ll post ‘em tomorrow. Perhaps also the chocolate cake recipe I use. I stole it from my cousin and you wouldn’t believe the things sour cream and pudding mix can do for a boxed cake mix!

This is how I danced today… how do you dance in the middle of the storms of your life?

Good Night!