Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.

My daughter Sage called me yesterday to tell me that she and Saxton were both informed that there is no Santa Clause.  Immediately tears sprang to my eyes and I was sad that they had been told such a thing.  What a disappointment to divulge to a child your opinion, that the magic of Santa Clause does not exist at the very heart of the season.  I was sorry that I was not physically there to discuss it in person, but I quickly remembered this letter and I read it to them:

As Written in Newseum

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York'sSun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

After reading the letter, I added my own examples of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Clause.  If he didn't exist I told them, then the joy in giving, seeing the Christmas trees lit for the first time and watching their baby brother cry out in utter glee at the sight of Christmas lights wouldn't either.  All these things are part of the spirit of St. Nicholas.  I reminded them they they can not see God nor the angels, but that they have faith that they are still there.  Santa Clause embodies the whole meaning of Christmas and Christ's birthday as well as the hope for peace, love, wonderment and the power of a wish.

Friday, my husband's brother, wife, and my niece and nephew arrived from California.  It was my first meeting with my new brother and sister in law and I have really loved getting to know them over the past few days.  They are wonderful people and easy to be around.  On Saturday we were in Seattle and standing in line at the Original Starbucks.  It was cold and the wind was brisk, but the environment was warm (Pike's Place Market was all decked out for Christmas) and the positive energy was palpable.  Accentuating all of this was a quartet singing by the door.  They were amazing and believable when they sang of Jesus and praying for miracles.  My brother-in-law, a devout Christian, really helped to bring their lyrics to my attention when he began to clap along to their song.  The positive energy was contagious and led me to believe in my quest for miracles and the spirit of Christmas. 

The last few days I biked and ran in the rain.  Something about the quiet and serenity of the mist in the air caused me to reflect on what my Christmas wish would be and I realized that it was simple, happiness for everyone.  Maybe it sound's silly and maybe it's for selfish reasons, but none-the-less, I wish for even those who have hurt me to be truly happy.  My hope is that if another is content and satisfied with life, if their heart is smiling, then they will reflect that back into the world.  Pain turned to love.  Hurt to healing.  It's a miracle that I pray for everyday.  I don't wish for anyone to be punished, I pray instead that they be repaired in anyway they need in order to be at peace.  This peace includes the ability to reconcile with others, which in some cases, includes myself.

Last night after a wonderful evening with family and a full house for Christmas Eve dinner, Jerry, Brayden, Max and I went for a walk around our neighborhood.  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors and their Christmas spirit was in full force with over half the houses decked out with lights and decorations.  As I watched Max's face light up for the hundredth time, I too smiled and got excited.  His ability to find full joy in the simplest of things, is the very essence of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Clause. 
Yes Savannah, Sam, Sage, Saxton, Brayden and Max, there is a Santa Clause, his love is as real as mine.  When you feel that extra warmth in your heart during Christmas or think you hear someone whispering love in your ear, that is Santa Clause.  When you ask Max what Santa Clause says, and see him smile and say, "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" you know that he does exist.  Don't give up on magic, don't give up on faith, don't give up on Santa or the belief in all things Christmas.  Hold on to that belief and the spirit of Christmas will live in your hearts forever.  I love you my babies, to the moon and stars and back.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There goes my heart.

I don't know if I knew what true heartache was until I had my children. The feeling I have right now as I sit and stare at a plane that carries two pieces of my heart must be heartbreak. I bite my lip and blink back tears, feeling pain in my chest and in my heart. I hate this part, after the good-byes (they were quick today, the steward took the girls right away), when I have to wait for the plane to take off. I know these beautiful little people, my joys, are on that plane, but I can't get to them. I always imagine breaking through the door and running to them, holding tight and not letting go. I wonder if the gate attendant would think I was crazy if I asked him to tell them, "mom loves you," one more time. I know I'll see them soon and God willing, I'll see Savannah and Sam a week from today. But right now it just hurts and makes me hate the fact that my family is split up. Divorce sucks. Split parenting sucks. I never imagined how hard this would be, these heart wrenching goodbyes at an airport. I still remember hugging (clinging for dear life might be more accurate) Savannah and Sam this summer, I just didn't want to let go. I don't think I will ever get used to watching my babies walk away. I know my heart will ever accept their leaving. So right now I let the tears fall and just pray to God and all the angels in heaven to keep each and everyone of my babies safe. I watch your plane leave the gate and I just feel so lost. Please know my loves... I love you. I miss you. I can't wait to hold you again soon! Love, momma.

Monday, December 17, 2012

There is beauty in the world; my five am wake up call and my continued reflection (as well as the President's) on the tragedy in Newtown, CT.

Right about five am this morning I woke with a start to an alert binging from Jerry's phone. Apparently there was a blizzard warning in the mountains, and it startled me to the point where I knew I wouldn't be falling back to sleep.  So I quickly jumped out of bed and rushed to make the 5:30 am Zumba class at the YMCA.  I had always wanted to go ( I love the instructors who teach it) and today was the perfect opportunity.  

I loved it.  It was kind of exhilarating being up and exercising so early, especially with the aid of up beat music and dancing.  At the end of the class, the cool down song was "Beauty in The World" As I listened to the words my mind went back to the Newtown CT tragedy.  I, like probably most the world, can not get those babies out of my mind.  Over the last few days as their sweet little faces started to appear on the news, via Facebook and on the internet sites, it has just torn at my heart the idea that they are gone.  What their families must be going through is unfathomable. 

However, as the song reminded me the little ones who were taken are the beauty in the world.  Their smiles and beautiful little souls represent the very best of what we are.  We can not forget that and in honor of them, we need to spread that beauty.  

Last night I watched as President Obama addressed Newtown.  I have to say no matter your political views,  he was wonderful and his words spoke directly to my heart.  Below is a portion of his speech:

"...You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.
With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t -- that we can’t always be there for them.
They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.
It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation... 
...We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.

We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.

The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.

We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth..." 1

Last night the girls couldn't sleep. (My Jerry is wonderful in this department and often thinks of just the right thing to say.)  Tomorrow they travel to Indiana and they are both nervous about the flight and I think a little sad about leaving their momma.  I know that I am very sad to be saying good-bye to my babies, even if  it is just for two weeks.  They are my heart. Each and everyone of my babies are the best of me and what I am most proud of.  

Christmas Day will be very bittersweet for me.  I fly to Albuquerque for my sister's wedding and will meet my Savannah and Sam there on Christmas night.  (I am already imaging hugging and kissing them in the most wonderful fashion!)  However two littles will be in Indiana and two more in Washington. (Max and Brayden are staying back)  As President Obama said, we can't do this alone and I have to trust that they will be safe and loved where they are and that come January 2nd we will all be together.

Over the last few days, I have also dealt with a battle of emotions concerning the joy of the holiday season and the sadness and heartbreak of Newtown.  Part of me wonders how we can all smile and go about our Christmas, while those in Newtown grieve.  I believe this is where the children come in.  In my heart I know that they would want the whole world to celebrate for them, to enjoy the holidays for each and everyone of them, to cherish all the joys of the season as they would have done.  In their honor I am trying to see and appreciate Christmas through the eyes and heart of a child.  Please Read 

I also believe that the girls have carried some of the heartbreak of the Newtown tragedy.  They have seen some of the children who have been lost and the idea that such a thing happened is so sad and scary to them.  I can't negate their feelings and I can only try and comfort them by stating the fact that each and everyone went straight to heaven as fast as God could carry them.  I believe this is true.  Most were just first graders, full of faith, hope and light.  Drawing on that faith in all things good, I am going to picture them in heaven and do what I can on earth to love my own precious blessings and leave what I can't control in the hands of God.   
“... Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home..." 1
1 President Obama The Washington Post

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas through the eyes of a child, a Holiday Lights at Wild Waves.

When we pulled into the parking lot at Wild Waves on Friday night Max gasped, put his hands to his mouth and exclaimed, "Oh my Gosh!  Look at the Christmas lights!" Then started to scream out in delight.  Instantly tears sprang to my eyes at the reaction of my two year old and how awesome it is to be able to see Christmas through a child's eyes.

Friday night Jerry, Sage, Saxton, Max and I headed to Wild Waves for the inaugural night of Holiday Lights.  It was a cold, but dry night, so we bundled up and set out to ride some rides and see some lights.  The kids had a wonderful time and so did we.  It was one of those special nights, made of one of a kind memories. 

Our evening started off with a bang when we ran across a local radio station, 94.1 KMPS and Sage won us tickets to their HO HO HO Down to see Big & Rich and Love & Theft last night.  They were awesome and we had a great time! Thank you Ms. Sage for our early Christmas gift!

We then headed to the center of the park just in time to see Santa arrive and the lighting of the Christmas Tree.  The girls rode one of their favorite rides and then we headed over to the new Zip Line.  We had gotten a coupon for one free ride with our season passes and had waited until now to use them.  Saxton and I went first and it was a lot of fun.  They whisk you across the park and back and give you an awesome birds eye view of the lights and everything that is going on.  When we got back we talked Sage into riding, she was a bit hesitant, but agreed to go.  She loved it!  I was very proud of her for deciding to take a chance, face her fear and just do it! I love this picture because you can see Sage's big smile and Saxton as she takes note of her sister's reaction after the ride.  My two peas in a pod.

After a little warm up and snack in the heater tent we headed out to see the rest of the park and give Max some opportunities to ride some rides.  Saxton was sweet enough to ride the jungle cars with him not once, but twice.  The entire park was done up in some really spectacular lights and Christmas scenes and it was just so cool to see the smiles on their faces and ours as well.  Wild Waves is always one of our favorite things to do and this event didn't disappoint. 

Another highlight of my night was riding the Timber Hawk, a neat wooden roller coaster that is set back in the woods.  Saxton and I raced up the stairs and were able to get on right away.  I just loved seeing her big smile as we climbed the first big hill in the dark.  You could see the stars and all the Christmas lights, making the moment even more magical.  I took a quick picture and put my camera away just in time, because soon we were careening in the dark while holding each other's hands up in the air.  I laughed and screamed  in delight right along with my daughter.  I loved and cherished every second of it.  As her and I headed back to the others, I held her hand and thanked God for this special Christmas moment.

We ended the night with a ride on the Carousel, which is always a favorite of everyone in our family.  The 1906 Parker Carousel is a historic gem beloved by children and adults alike.  From up on the horses you can see out over the park and on Friday that meant a beautiful view of all the Christmas lights.  It was a perfect end to a perfect evening.

On Tuesday my two littlest girls head off to their dad's in Indiana and I will sadly have to spend Christmas without them for the first time.  However, I will hold close to my heart all of the special holiday memories we have shared over the last few weeks, including our enchanting night at Wild Waves.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

The tragedy in Newtown Connecticut adds to my changing perspective on life and heartbreak.

The line to pick up our babies was a little longer today at school. I am sure many parents were like me,  watching the clock until it was finally time to pick up and maybe even called to request it today vs the bus.  As I pulled up, there stood two of my loves, wearing Christmas themed headbands and smiles on their faces.  I felt so lucky, so grateful at that moment.

Today I have heard many opinions, thoughts and perspectives on what happened today.  It really started to hit home for me when I watched our President lose his words and wipe tears from his eyes and finally say;  "Our hearts are broken today...The majority of those who died were children-beautiful, little kids... "  The words, "Unimaginable," "Horrendous," "Heartbreaking" and "Unbelievable" don't even begin to describe the actions of such a sick, sick person.  I can't even begin to try and comprehend how such a thing could happen, let alone why.  All I can do is pray like crazy for the families of those little angels and that nothing like this ever happens again.

These last few weeks have brought me to a new perspective on life.  Going to the funeral for the baby lost and watching two parents hearts break right in front of my eyes, really brought home the fact that life is so fragile and precious.  Over the last few months I have also been brought to light about the horrors of Childhood Cancer.  Through the words of Ronan's mom, and her blog posts I have begun to hug my littles a little tighter and not think twice about that "one last song" Max requests at bedtime.  

Did you know that 7 children will die today of Cancer and 46 will be diagnosed.  I don't say this to be depressing, but to bring such facts to the forefront.  Last night I received one of Maya's (Ronan's Mom) blog posts where she told us of another little one lost, Teddy Berger-Greer.  My husband questioned why I read about such things before bed.  (He has really taken the loss of the baby hard.) I told him I want to give life to these little ones by knowing of their existence, by holding the images of their smiles in my heart and by doing what I can so that their deaths are not in vain.  

This week the flu came through our house and I was one of it's victims.  I became sick in the early morning Wednesday and sadly watched Jerry leave for work (He was short staffed and Christmas time is his busiest at work).  Being sick with a two year old is never easy, especially when you have the stomach flu.  As we watched Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse for the umpteenth time and Max made a trampoline out of me, I actually said a thankful prayer that Max was better and that all I had was the flu.  I knew it could be so much worse and that in a few days we all would be better and life would go on and I knew that others were not as lucky.  

Tonight I imagine many of us will say a prayer for all those mourning the loss of a loved one.  We will hug our babies a little tighter and not let them go quite as quick.  I know for me I am already feeling sad because I have to say good-bye to my Sage and Saxton next Tuesday as they fly across the country to see their dad.  This will be our first Christmas apart and even as I type the tears begin to fall.  I remind myself that I will get to see Savannah and Sam on Christmas night and  that on January  2nd we will all be together again.  I remind myself that I am so very lucky to still have them in my life and that my good-byes are not forever.  I remind myself it could be worse.  Then I make myself another promise to put everything in perspective and to not let the loss of these angels be for nothing.  I promise in memory of them to love a little harder and try a little more to be a better person, a better friend and a better mom.  

My prayers and thoughts with all those in Connecticut, with the family of little Teddy and all who have lost someone to the horrible evil called Cancer.  I look up to the heavens and know that God is sadly welcoming some new little angels tonight.   

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."*

*This poem is not my own.   

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's been one of those days.

After a great night last night at the Point Defiance Zoo Lights (the kids loved it!), today started off pretty uneventful.  My husband's snooze alarm went off at 5:30 and he only re-snoozed it a few times.  His current wake up song, "Don't you wanna stay," will never be the same for me again, right now it's my nemisis.  I just don't have his talent of falling back to sleep in a micro second after hitting snooze.*

Time to get up, dress Max and drive the kiddos to school.  Today I was able to get a circuit class in at the YMCA before Max's swimming class.  I guess I should say I was able to get my behind kicked.  Then Max actually rocked swimming this morning and is now trying to solely swim under water.  He is amazing and just loves it.  One of my favorite things is to watch him stand with his little toes on the edge, count to three with me and then launch himself several feet into the water.  We even got a few minutes in the toddler pool where he makes me a nervous wreck because he has no fear and just dives into and now under the water.

After showering we headed home.  I didn't have any change today for fruit snacks, which I am actually thankful for now. (You'll see why soon.)  Anyway, when I walked in the house I smelled something awful and very recognizable... poop.  Puppy had gotten into one of Max's raunchier diapers and torn it into pieces in the the kitchen by the back door.  There was poop diaper all over and pooped smeared onto the rug.  Nice puppy, nice.  So I cleaned that up, and sent Puppy outside.  When she came back in I leaned down to wipe her off and smelled... poop.  She had rubbed her neck all over the diaper and had crusty baby poo on her.  So off to give her a bath.  Max helped and made sure to scold her for making a mess.

After nap time, Max and I headed to get the girls from school.  We were a few minutes into our drive to go get Brayden when Saxton exclaimed, "Max threw up everywhere!"  Sage confirmed it and I pulled over so I could assess the situation.  Just as I turned around to look at him he started to puke some more and was officially completely covered in yuck.  Poor baby.  (Here's where the lack of fruit snacks in the mix comes in.)  I quickly called Jerry at work to let him know I couldn't get Brayden and drove home with Saxton's face out the window (she was in her seat belt) and a little boy with a sad lip puckered out.

When we got home, I took Max carseat and all, out of my car and onto the driveway where I pealed him out of his seat, stripped him and brought him inside for a bath.  There was such a mess that I just left his clothes outside. (The girls were kind enough to hose both his seat and clothes off.  The gross part was seeing the birds eating it later.  Sorry, maybe tmi?)

The rest of the afternoon and evening went by in a blur and I had to watch everything Max ate and drank after he snuck some juice and threw up again.  At least I was smart and he was wearing a bib, so I didn't have to completely change him again.  Must note funny quote of the night, Max had several icky diapers and Brayden went to go smell Max's butt to see if he had produced again.  He looked at me and said, "I can't tell, it smells like butt rash."  (He meant the diaper rash ointment)  I had to laugh.

Now I sit and wait.  I took everything but his blankets and one bear out of his bed (he had many friends in there.) and prepared for bed changes in case he got sick again.  My prayer is that he is better in the morning and the buck stops there.  That's my hope and prayer.  We'll see if it's my reality, especially since now my stomach is talking to me.  It just might end up being one of those days.

*Side note, my honey has now changed his song to "Ho Hey!" by the Lumineers as a back lash for knocking his snooze alarm.  I just looked at him and said, "I love that song."  He laughed and said, "not for long."  Touché

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Love is Love: My view on Same Sex Marriage

I grew up in the Midwest in a conservative household in Northern Indiana.  My parents raised me Catholic and made sure we went to church every Saturday or Sunday.  If you are going by the definition of traditional marriage my parents fit the bill.  However, if you want to discuss the "sanctity" of marriage, this same traditional marriage included the terms; infidelity, disfunction and ultimately divorce.  Unfortunately, at that point, as well as during my own divorce, any argument that there is some special sanctity between men and women is ludicrous to me. 

Today in Washington Same Sex Couples were able to legally marry.  On the news tonight they showed one couple had been together for sixteen years and were finally able to become newly-weds.  In my opinion, good for them, they deserved for this day to finally come to fruition.  As I continued to watch the segment, I couldn't help but think of a few of my friends back in New Mexico who have also been with their partners for many years.  They have been one of my favorite examples for love, loyalty and true partnership.  

Love is love in my eyes.  This is my opinion.  I have found that both true heartache and true love do exist, I just don't think it is for any of us to define, nor put stipulations on it.  Just allow it to be.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's like riding a bike...

It's like riding a bike.  That's what I thought of while taking a spin class at the YMCA yesterday. At one point I closed my eyes and I felt like I was back at the Fort Collins Club getting my ass handed to me.  The instructor was great and the music choices were perfect.  I hadn't taken one in quite a while and I loved it!  

A few nights ago, while Jerry was massaging me (no funny business... promise) I began to do something almost subconsciously, I imagined the bike ride from my old house in Colorado to school (CSU).  Along the path and over the bridge and past the firehouse I went.  My mind has come here before, several times, almost in a meditative state.  Those bike rides were my saving grace during my last semester and throughout my months in Fort Collins.  I found my sanity on that path and It is funny that is where my mind goes sometimes when I am relaxed.    

When I moved to Washington, one of the "things" left behind that I truly mourned, was my bike.  Jerry knew this and Christmas 2010 he bought me a one, although now I must admit I take his when I am able to bike alone, his bike rocks!  In the warmer months I pull Max in a buggy and even get the kids to come along sometimes for a trip to the store or as alternative transportation to school.    

Anyway, last year about this time I began to bike again, and now one of my favorite things to do is to jump on my bike and just go for a ride.  I listen to my music and take the opportunity to think, about everything and anything.  Often times while I am biking I come up with blog posts, unfortunately most of them don't come to fruition, it's hard to type and bike after all.  And at least once during a ride, I stop and take pictures, trying to capture the sky, the changing trees or recently I took a shot of a trash can.  It was  placed at the merge of two paths and the symbolism that jumped out at me was the opportunity to dump your "garbage" before moving on in a new direction. 

For me exercising is a necessity.  The ability to get outside or at least get my heart rate up, allows for me to relax and have the ability to listen to what my heart and mind are trying to say.  I think I have made most of my major decisions while walking, hiking, biking, running or roller-blading.  Maybe God has easier access to me or the trees whisper the answers while I go by, I am not sure.  But if you are struggling with something or your heart is aching, go outside and allow God to make a rainbow from your tears.  


"If you're sexy and you know it clap your hands!"  I looked around my Zumba Class at the YMCA and all hands on deck were clapping, including mine. 

This blog is dedicated to all the ladies (and gents) who choose to lay it all out there and shake what their Mommas gave them.  I am also dedicating it to one lady in particular, who reminded me today to not take life too seriously, that age is just a number and sexy isn't held only in the body of a size four, twenty year old.  Instead, I believe that sexy comes in all ages, shapes and sizes.  Hey! After all, it takes a little junk in the trunk to make a booty shake!  

This dedicated lady was probably in her early seventies, wearing a pink polo and loose fitting blue Capri's and blue socks. She knew nothing of rump hugging yoga pants or fancy sports bras, and she didn't care to! She whooped and hollered more than anyone and the smile on her face was so contagious.  Near the end of class she became my hero for the day when she even gave a few of us knuckles.  God bless her positive energy and youthful spirit.

These days our looks are becoming the sol definer of who we are.  There are more creams and procedures then I can count to "fix us" and make us look younger than we are and prettier than our peers.  Even I am guilty of worrying about my body.  After five babies and six years if nursing, my hardware is definitely showing some wear and tear.  However, after today and my Saturday Zumba experience, I pledge to love myself more and judge my body less.  My bridesmaid dress may or may not zip up in a few weeks, but hey! that's what safety pins are for.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Witnessing a true heartbreak.

Today as I watched a mother and father bury their beautiful nine month old baby, I became a witness to the worst kind of heartache. The most wrenching part, was being helpless to do anything about it.

It doesn't matter if you know someone well, or just in passing, watching another mother have to close a casket and say goodbye to her baby, is to truly witness a heart break. Such a tragedy is any parent's worse nightmare and I just wanted to take away all her agony and somehow bring her baby back.

Throughout the entire service, burial and reception, I tried to think of the right thing to say. Instead, while words eluded, the tears did not. The service was a full Catholic Mass and included beautiful songs and readings that made an attempt to give guidance.

However, the part that really struck me, was during Mass, on two different occasions, the sun came through the window and shined bright and warm on the little one's picture that was on the program. I had it laying on the pew next to me and looked at it several times throughout the service. But during those occasions, when the sun hit his face just right I could see the sparkle in his eyes and something told me he was alright, happy and already safe in heaven. On the inside of the program were the words to "You are my Sunshine," and because those words are special to me as well, I believe that this message, via sunshine, truly did mean something.

Throughout the remainder of the afternoon, as the clouds won their battle and the rain began to fall, I wished there was someway to give them their sunshine back, I wished more than anything for such a miracle. After all, I am a mother and the love you have for your babies is like nothing else. The most I could do was to take all the emotion of the day and bring it home, to find appreciation in the fragility of life and to hug my own little ones until they made me stop.

All my love and prayers for the family and friends of the angel laid to rest today.