Friday, July 23, 2010

My Artists

Creativity can
sometimes be
I'm sure that's why it's always so much fun.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekend With Papa

Growing up, my Dad often worked two or more jobs while
going to college and then graduate school. My brother
and I didn't see a lot of him, but when we
did he was always a lot of fun. He made our time together special.
He and Mom took us to McDonald's on Friday nights, after
he'd finished cleaning at an elementary school (he was a janitor).
When we grew older, he'd take us for candy, or let us
watch horror movies that my Mom would never have allowed.
Dad is just a whole lot of fun. I love seeing him
have fun with the kids.
Last weekend, Doodles and I took a trip to visit Dad.
We went with him to an eye doctor appointment at a
local mall.
In the parking lot, there was a carnival going on.
After the appointment, Dad said,
"You want to take Doodles to the fair?"
Of course I did. What fun we had.
Dad bought her lots of tickets for rides.
A HUGE treat. Then, because she
was scared to go on things alone, he went with her on
He tickled her, fooled around with her, laughed with her,
and loved her. He's a really terrific grandfather.
He even went with her into this "rock star" ride.
I watched them as they laughed and fooled around together.
I couldn't help but think, four years ago, my daughter was living
with a single foster mother. She had no strong male influences
in her life. She was described as "boy crazy", because she was
always trying to get the little boys in her class to hold her
hand and kiss her. God not only brought her a father, but
He brought her a grandfather, a Papa.
A Papa who loves her no matter what, who loves spending
time with her and having fun with her.
A Papa that will go on all of the rides with her, laugh
with her, and hold her hand when she reaches for it.
Thank you Dad for being not only the wonderful and
Godly father that you are, but also for being such a
terrific Papa. Thank you for the fun weekend at the fair.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Have Found....

that grief is like the ocean, the tides
coming in and out.
There are days that are so hard, I feel
the crushing weight of the loss of you.
There are
days when I laugh, I feel great,
I look forward to the future.
Then there are days,
when the tide comes crashing in. The smallest
things can make me cry. The scent of your perfume
makes me long for you.
This is what I hope:
I hope I will be to my children what you are to me.
I hope that when I face death, I can say I lived
with no regrets.
I hope that I make you proud.
I hope that my children will never
forget you.
I hope that in times of crisis, sadness, grief, I will
never lose my faith.

I hope that I will be everything that you raised me to be.

Mom, I love you. I miss you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Life is
just a bowl of
cherries. Don't take
it serious. So live,
and laugh as you learn.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I believe that running has saved my life.
Not because I'm 300lbs and running
helped me lose weight, no I love to eat
too much to lose any weight from running.
It saved me because it gave me a focus,
an outlet for my grief.
A year and a half ago, when my Mom was diagnosed
with cancer, I quit running. I just couldn't get motivated.
I was traveling so much to help her, and I was dealing
so much with my own shock that I just
couldn't find the time to run.
Shortly after she died, I started running again.
All of the grief literature talked about the importance of
exercise. The literature was right.
Every morning I would lace up my shoes and
run. Gradually I increased my distance.
Sunday I finished a 15k road race.
It was the tenth time that I've run that race.
It was the first time that I ran it without my Mom.
Without my Mom cheering me on at the finish line, or waiting
for me at home. It was the first time I couldn't share with
her how much fun I had. I was able to share the joy of my race
with my husband and children.
Cheryl brought our four children to the race course.
She waited with them for over an hour so that I could
see them for only a minute. She waited with them
so that I could hug them, kiss them, love on them.
She waited with them so that they could see me run,
so that at the end of the day, when they asked me what my favorite
part of the whole race was, I could say, "Seeing you guys. Hugging and
kissing you guys. Having you guys there to cheer me on."
That was my favorite part of the whole race.
Thank you Cheryl. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Soap Box

When our older two children came to live with us,
they were four and five years old. We were
their eighth home. They had been removed
from a family member who chose to lock them in a room,
and not feed them.
She neglected them. Doodles left her home, at the age of four with a
black eye. The Big K. left her house at the age of
three unable to talk or walk properly.
Both children were dirty, underfed, and had
never seen a doctor. They were abused.
A nasty ugly word. Despite this fact, the court granted their
relative, the woman that abused them, once yearly visitation.
Because they were not legally ours for the first three years
that they lived with us, we had to take them for a visit with
their relative. It was a strained and difficult visit. We had to drive
our children for almost eight hours, so that they could spend two hours
with a woman that abused them. Once they were adopted, we were told
that visitation was at our discretion. After that visit, our children were
distressed. They were scared they would be hurt, they would have to move again,
that they would be abused.
After their adoption was finalized, we made the decision not to allow any
more visits. At least not yet. Not until the kids are a little older.
This week, we received a phone call, from a lawyer. Apparently, our children's relative
has decided to go to court to gain access to our children. She wants to see them.
The lawyer called me. She called the wrong mother. I don't care that my children
are adopted, they are my children, and I WILL NOT put them in harms way.
I will not have them victimized again, by the same system that
victimized them the first eight years of their lives.
Social Services needs to change. Laws need to be changed. Children matter.
Children should not be forced to maintain contact with a person that
abused them. If you or I was in an abusive relationship, no judge would
tell us we HAD to visit the individual that abused us. If a stranger
had done the things that this woman did to my children, they would
be in jail. But our screwed up system deems visits appropriate.
Children are victimized again and again in the name of
connection, family, history, blood.
The fight is on. NO ONE will hurt, scare, injure, or
victimize my children again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday USA!

God bless America, land that I
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Thru the night, with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
to the oceans white with foam,
God bless America my home sweet
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
This weekend, we enjoyed cook outs,
fire works, parades,
swimming, time with our family.
We enjoyed all of these things because somewhere,
someone made a sacrifice so that
we could be free.
Someones son, daughter, mother, father,
brother, sister went to fight a war
for us, for our country.
Brave men in history fought so that we could
celebrate the fourth of July.
Thank you to every
veteran who has served our country.
Thank you to all of the families of veterans who
sacrificed just as much.
Thank you for fighting for my freedom, for my children's freedom,
for my country.
Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Fun

One warm and sunny day, plus
one water hose, plus

one slip and slide,
equals one very fun summer

Friday, July 2, 2010


My boys are rough and tumble. From the moment
they wake up, until the moment they go to bed,
life is an adventure.
Currently, I am the most important woman in
their lives. They can't wait to tell
I love that.
I know, without a doubt, the God chose
my boys, made them my sons, and
has given me the awesome responsibility
of raising them.
It's a job that I love.
I wonder daily what type of
men they will become, what
their lives will be like.
I pray for them, their future wives,
their future children.
I cherish their childhood.
I thank God every day for
bringing them to me.
My boys make my life an adventure.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I was born on the day of my baby shower.
My Mom hated all things social, and so she started
praying that something would happen so that she wouldn't have to
go to her shower. Something did happen, me,
three weeks early.
Every year, on my birthday, my Mom would tell me that story.
Every year, on my birthday, my Mom would make me a cake.
She took a cake decorating class when my brother
and I were small, so that she could decorate any type of cake for us.
One year, there was a merry-go round cake.
One year she made me a doll cake, a Raggedy Ann cake,
and when I turned 16, she made me a giant hamburger cake.
I had the privilege of spending almost every one of my birthdays
with my Mom. Last year, while she was undergoing chemo,
she made a point of making sure her chemo schedule would allow
her to spend my birthday with me. She wanted to make me a cake.
As she said, a birthday is a way that you tell someone you're happy
that they were born.
My Mom always made sure that we knew she was happy
we were born.
This year, I had been dreading my birthday.
I couldn't think of the day without my Mom.
Dad would ask me what I wanted, what I wanted to do, and
I just couldn't think of it. I hated the idea of celebrating the day without my
My birthday is also our older kids moving in anniversary.
Every year, on my birthday morning, they get a cupcake, with a candle,
and the privilege of hearing their parents sing
"Happy Anniversary" to them.
This year, on my birthday, they celebrated their four
year anniversary in our family.
They also celebrated the fact that they have a Mommy.
I knew, that for them, it was important that I celebrate my birthday.
I knew that my Mom would have wanted me to do that.
So I did. I woke up, thought of my Mom. Went for a run, thought of my
Mom. Sang Happy Anniversary, thought of my Mom.
Went out for breakfast with my Dad, Jon, and the kids
and thought of my Mom.
Missed my Mom, thought of last year with my Mom.
Was so thankful for my Mom.

A few months ago, my Dad asked someone to marry him.
I haven't written about it here, because I wasn't sure
how I felt about it. No, that's not true, I was sure.
I hated the idea. I hated the idea that life had to move
forward. To me, it seemed like life should have stopped
when my Mom left. She deserved that.
She wouldn't have wanted that.
Cheryl, my Dad's fiance, is one of the sweetest and kindest people
that I have had the privilege of knowing. She loves
my Dad, loves my kids, and loves me.
She makes my Dad laugh. Something that
he hasn't done in a LONG time.
She makes him happy, something my Mom would
have wanted.
Yesterday, on my first birthday without my Mom,
she made me a cake. She knew that my Mom
made me one every year, she wanted to be sure that I had a birthday cake.
She helped to make my birthday so special. She cared enough about
my Dad, to care about me, and for that I am truly grateful.
Last year, I blew out my birthday candles, and I wished with
all of my heart that my Mom would be here this year. She wasn't.
This year, I blew out my candles. I didn't have the heart to make a wish,
because I had everything that I could want seated around my dining
room table. I have a family that loves me. That cared enough
about me to carry me through a birthday without my Mom.
I have a family that was happy I was born and wanted
to let me know it.
Thank you Dad, Cheryl, Jon, Big K.,
Doodle Bug, P. and J.
Thank you for making my birthday so special.
I love you all more than you will ever know.