Thursday, January 31, 2013

To be 13 again

SCARED out of my ever-loving mind at first, being a nurse in a junior high is fun.  Confession: I kinda like it.

In fact, this nursing job is turning out not only to be a fun job with an amazing schedule, but also a source of comedy.... the kid who, when asked if he had any allergies, told me that "I'm only allergic to mucous.  Mucous makes me throw up."   Hmmmm.  Then he proceeded to talk incessantly until his mom came to take the fever-laden kid home.

....what about the boys who were convinced they got "tipsy" from the rum cake brought to the holiday celebration?  Some mean girl told them she put real rum in the icing instead of rum extract.  (she did, in fact, use the extract, confirmed when we called the parent)  Those poor boys came back many times that day to make sure their feelings were not because they were drunk.  Perhaps just too many sweets?

....a frequent flyer coming in around the same time every day, right after he helped out in the front office.  After talking with the counselor, come to find out he's kind of over the class he's trying to dodge, and his life goal is to be in the Naval Men's Chorus that travels around singing for special things.  Didn't even know people had that as a life goal.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

....better than the girl whose life goal is to run a fruit stand.

Oh, to be 13 again.  A whole different set of stresses, that's for sure.
Even so, glad I'm an adult this go around in junior high.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Steel Magnolia

Some may call it micro-managing, others controlling.  In my mind, it's "this-is-the-only-way-I-know-to-hold-it-together."  Truly, a survival mode. The mode of everyone has clean clothes to wear, we have food to eat and everyone has their daily meds.  After those are taken care of, that's when we add other things.  There is a person in this house who has no control over how his body treats him and he deals with that every day.  So, that may explain what makes me want to tighten my reigns a little more, to feel like I have some control.  This flu stuff that came in and demanded the reigns loosen a bit this week really threw my mind for a loop (unless that was just fever...).

Another reminder from up above, making me aware that we are not, in any way, form, or fashion, in control.
A life lesson to be learned...over and over and over again...

Many life lessons have been shared with me by my many of you can relate, I'm sure.  Over these busy holiday months, she hosted her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  Used to having a house full of 20-40 people, this year we had 10 around her table.  During this season, she also remembered her life mate, whose birthday was the week prior to Christmas.  Four birthdays for four of her kids, and her own birthday this last week.

This lady has taught me, by example, just what it takes to be a "Steel Magnolia." A Southern lady with strength, determination, grace, all while looking calm and collected. You know those "Keep Calm and..." signs?  That's her lifestyle.  The duck gliding smoothly across the pond, with the feet moving constantly to get the job done.

"How does she do this?" you may ask.  Does she quote the movie? (no, that's me and my friends)  Does she tease her hair to make it look like a brown football helmet?  Not anymore.
Might she believe in the power of the ability to accessorize?  Of course.  Here are some other list form, of the woman I am blessed to call mom is made of steel but gentle and beautiful as the magnolia.

1)  Self-sacrifice.   Mom decided to forgo college and raise a family.  Let it be known, she is one of the smartest individuals I know.  The number of hours this lady has volunteered at schools, churches, nursing homes, at her sewing machine, medical alliance, delivering meals on wheels...the hours are countless.

2)  Strength.  This lady helped her husband through pharmacy school, and then, with 6 kids (one in diapers), moved to Kansas City, where she knew not a soul, so dad could fulfill his dream to go to medical school.  She kept other people's kids, typed notes for the note pool, and did what she needed to do to keep the family going, all while being on the PTA board, of course.  Then, she had a 7th kid.  (thank goodness!)  :)

3)  Determination.  When this woman puts her mind to something, she gets it done.  Don't ever doubt that she won't.

4)  Serving with a smile.  Mom has a servant's heart.  One of her gifts...making magic in the kitchen.  That lady can go to her kitchen and whip out an incredible home-cooked meal for 20 in an hour if needed!  Everything will taste great and all be warm and done at the same time.  I don't know how it happens, but it does.  And mom has used this gift to serve at church and on mission trips many times.

5)  Grace and humility.  Sweet mom will not take recognition.  When it is bestowed upon her, she takes it with grace and humility.

6)  Superhero.  Even now, when I'm desperate and cry for help, mom will come in and with one easy swoop, watch the kids, bake with them, fold the clean laundry, and never once say "look what I did for you".

7)  Friend.  The fact that I can call my mom a friend, who I can call and share anything with, is an incredible blessing.  (and even if what I'm saying is a bit "tacky", she listens with a loving heart)

8)  You know how they say "Behind every great man is an even greater woman?"  Knowing Dad would agree, mom was always a great support for Dad in their 53 years of marriage.  Together their example of a Christ-centered marriage was evident.

9)  Devotion.  To God, her husband, her children, her parents, God's matter size, age, race...

All of this...even as she has faced struggles and adversities along life's path, as we all do.  Bringing home child #5, when her house held already 4 children ages  1, 2, 3, and 4 years old.  Facing the doctor telling you that maybe you shouldn't bring your next child into the world...because they may be born handicapped.  Watching children ache with broken hearts.  Walking alongside a child whose child had cancer.   Battling and surviving breast cancer.

This strong, beautiful, Southern steel magnolia of a lady is precious to my heart.  Praying that as age continues to grow in number, I am able to give back to her a small part of what she has given me.

Mom with her 7 children, at the dedication of an educational center in Dad's honor at the hospital where he served for almost 30 years.  (2009)

Tiaras, books, and the rest of the story

She wore a tiara as we sat down at the table.  Not a fancy dinner or a special occasion, but still, the tiara was in place.  She offered to say the prayer.  We obliged, knowing that her little self didn't care to pray out loud much.  Four of us at the table bowed our heads.  The tiara-clad pint-sized beauty swiftly stood up on a step stool that she had placed by her seat, and proceeded to belt out one heck of a version of "God is Great."  Brought a smile to my face.  It felt like we were smack dab in the middle of a "Fancy Nancy" book .

Books have always been friends to me. During nursing school that changed a bit, and after nursing school I didn't want to look at another book for a long time.  It took a broken leg and 12 weeks on crutches to get me back to reading more than children's books (which, in fact, are still my favorite).

Whenever reading through a novel I love to be able to look ahead and make sure that in fact, my two favorite characters will end up together.  Or that a certain character will still be alive at the end of the book.  Or just get a glimpse of what the future of the story holds.  To find out the rest of the story before it's acutally been told.   Chad and the kids surprised me with a Nook when I turned 35.  I love my Nook, but it makes it very difficult to look ahead and create "spoilers."

Too bad life's not like that, I have thought to myself sometimes.  Can't I just see ahead and have the assurance that everything will be okay?  That things will turn out the way I WANT them to?!?!

This particular discussion came up one Sunday morning in Bible class.  One of my wise friends said something that has stuck with me...."If I had known what the future was going to be, I would have lived that last two years of my husband's life in great sadness instead of enjoying the days we were given."

Yesterday we learned that my handsome, always-smiling, friendly cousin fell asleep and then woke up in heaven. He was 41.  If we had known how his story was going to turn out, how would we have lived life differently?  My heart hurts for his boys and his parents and sisters.

So the realization is this: we don't get the assurance that life will turn out the way WE WANT it to turn out.  We don't get to look ahead and reveal to ourselves that everything will be just as we please. 

We ARE given the assurance that God is with us, that by His grace we are given hope and a future.  Whatever that holds for our family, whatever weird and strange things go on with Chad's health, I must know that He is in control, and I must be willing to let Him take that control.

He needs to light my path on this journey of life.  What I have to accept is that He is and will continue to do that, just one step at a time.  And THAT'S what needs to be in my book.  Along with the tiara-clad praying girl keeping me grounded along the way.  :)

David Crowder Band, "Let Me Feel You Shine":
This place is trying to break my belief
But my faith is bigger than all I can see
What I need is redemption
What I need is for You for to put me back on my feet