Thursday, October 29, 2009

the one where I realize I have too much to do to be posting right now...

On Fridays I link up with the Company Girls for a weekly bloggie chat.

Hi Girls--Diet Coke and cinnamon bread in hand, I'm ready to catch up with you. Here's a bit of my life since we last linked up:

1) Friday night we had our small group meeting for the first time in over a month. It was so good to be together with the "groupies" at our home. It was nutso leading up to the evening (read my mishaps of the weekend here), but so great to be together, I just had to blog about them on Tuesday.

2) We've had SNOW. We had a two hour school delay on Monday, schools were closed on Wednesday and Thursday. And today, another two hour delay. There is a new element to snow days at our house these days--and that is that my hubby's job now requires him to make the call on snow days for the private school he works at. That means if there is a chance of weather issues, he has to get up at 4 am and begin a several hour process of phone calls, decisions and notifying news agencies. He has been so tired from all the early mornings! The weather is supposed to improve for the weekend, and the sun is out this morning...

3) A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were excited to have a candidate for Senior Pastor in town for the weekend. I am thrilled to say that the church board decided to call him (offer him the job) and he has accepted! It's been 1o months without a pastor so far, and by the new year we will have a Senior Pastor again! I will have a boss, and our church will have a leader. We are so thankful!! God is good.

4) This weekend we are welcoming my in laws for a month long visit...they aren't staying with us, but we hope to see them often. This kids spent part of snow day #2 cleaning their rooms and today I'm going to try and catch up on some cleaning in preparation for their arrival. In my dream world, my home is in a constant state of clean...but in reality....not so much.

5) Confession: I'm a bit of a fuddy-duddy when it comes to Halloween. It is not my favorite holiday for a couple of personal reasons. I am not one who thinks about costumes for my kids way in advance...nor do I get into the whole scary-spooky thing. I do have an appreciation for all of the creativity that abounds at this time of year, but regardless, I procrastinate and am often scrambling for quick and easy costumes. SO, today (after school!) we are pulling together a costume for my daughter who has a costume party tonight. She is going to be an artist, at least we know that. I'll post a pic when we figure it out. And I suppose we should buy some candy...

6) Besides all of that, Bubba's 9th birthday is on Monday! His birthday party is next weekend and I have got to get invitations in the mail today. Hubby and I still need to decide what his gifts will be (he wants everything, so that should be easy) and shop for them before Monday.

Yikes! Lots to do...better get on with I go! If all I have to do is stressing you out like it is me, you may need a laugh. Read a classic dawn story here--hope it makes you chuckle. Have a great Friday everyone!

it happened. seriously. to me. uber-talented friend Cathy just posted some B-E-A-utiful pictures on her blog from her recent trip to Clearwater Beach. Started me thinking about all the time we have spent there over the years. My hubby's folks live not-too-far from this beach in FL and we have visited many times. The kids both had their first beach days there. And you know, your first beach day is very important, even if you spend the whole day in a stroller under a blanket. And don't even know you were there.

Pickle at Clearwater Beach--1997

Anyway. It also got me thinking about one of the famous "dawn stories" in our family that took place at Clearwater Beach. I figured I would share it for your bloggie enjoyment. There is a wonderful restaurant at the beach called Frenchy's. (Yummmm...grouper sandwiches and buffalo shrimp. And apparently if you are so inclined, the she-crab soup is to die for. ) One 1994 I believe...we were waiting outside for our table at Frenchy's. It was a lovely day, and my sister-in-law Deb and I were reclining on the sand and chatting while we waited. Our hubbies were playing frisbee or something a little ways off. I was leaning back, eyes closed, and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face, listening to the waves and seagulls, smelling the salt water and suntan lotion. Aaaah...wish I was there now...

I was talking (no surprise there) when all of a sudden I felt a glob of wet sand land in my mouth! I abruptly sat up to tell my hubby it wasn't funny to throw sand...and caught the look of absolute horror on Deb's face. Apparently it wasn't sand. Hubby hadn't thrown anything my way. Then the realization hit me...

Seagull poop. What had landed in my mouth was none other than seagull poop. SEAGULL POOP!!!!

I mean...what is the chance of that? My mouth isn't that big. What did I do, you ask? Spit! and again...Spit! Spit! Deb, being resourceful and trying not to throw up or laugh at me, handed me her daughter's baby bottle of diluted apple juice. I quickly filled my mouth, swished and spit a few more times. I am sure I made a bit of a scene.

Later at the table, as we awaited the arrival of our buffalo shrimp, my bro-in-law asked--so dawn, what did it taste like? I told him the only thing I remembered.

Warm. And gritty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Small Group, Growth Group, Community Group, Cell Group, Home Group. If your church is like mine and many others, it encourages deeper relationships and connectedness through smaller groups of people...whatever they call them.

We have participated in several groups over the years, and have grown and benefitted from all of them. Usually we have studied a book together, and prayed together and ate together (food is important). We have been a part of the groups that met weekly and those that met monthly; those that had a covenant together, and those that are more casual. We have been both half-hearted members and sometimes the leaders. We have had groups that have walked us through baby parenthood, celebrations, difficult decisions, depression, marriage issues, job loss and grief over the years. We have celebrated with others as they rejoiced and sat with group members struggling with infertility, with crisis, with emotional challenges, and with faith struggles.

I'll never forget the privilege of being with a friend from small group in the delivery room when she unexpectedly delivered twins at 24 weeks...while her husband was out of the country. It was intense--I was one of the only people to see her precious daughter alive. We prayed her little son through months in the NICU and on to a healthy strong life. We grieved and celebrated together over the years. And as we walked through our own NICU experience years later...that same couple (who we lived states away from at that point) were such an encouragement and practical help to us. They even sent us rolls of quarters for the hospital vending machines! We will always have a special place in our heart for Jack and Janet--and we wouldn't know them if it wasn't for small group.

There have been times when we haven't felt like being in a group, and still were. There were times when we weren't in a group at all and probably should have been. And there were times where we LOVED our group and still had weeks where we had to force ourselves to go. We were always glad we did.

We were created to be in community. We need it. Yet it isn't always easy to find. Last year, after we had a family crisis of sorts (that I affectionately call The Big Mess) we knew we needed support, and people to be connected with at a deeper level. Hubby and I talked about what we wanted and needed in a group at that point in our lives. We needed intimate relationships, we needed people we could be real with and who would be real back. We needed accountability, and prayer support, and we wanted to offer the same to others. We wanted people we could laugh with. Even though this phrase is overused, we wanted folks to "do life with". We didn't feel like we needed another Bible Study (we both had those types of groups). We needed some peeps, you know? So, we started our own group of folks we thought were looking for the same thing...

I affectionately call them the groupies. We are 6 couples (now 7) that meet bi-weekly at our home. We have been taking turns each telling our "story"--one a week and we haven't finished yet. I LOVE hearing how God has worked in people's lives. So many different paths, yet God has creatively called each one to Himself. We also share prayer requests. We are pretty open with each other...we have had group members struggling with some pretty tough stuff, and I SO appreciate how they are willing to let us in to pray and support. We also talk about unimportant stuff. There is lots of that. And laugh. I laugh so hard in this group. We have a hard time staying on track and I think it's safe to say some would think we are obnoxious. We don't care. We are able to be ourselves. We care about and for each other. We point each other to Christ. Isn't that what community is for?

Some of the groupie girls. Yup, taken the same day as the photo in this post, thanks for noticing. I need to take pics of our group!

I am so thankful today for our groupies. We just met this past Friday after illness had us take too long of a break...and we had a wonderful time. Obnoxious, yes. Laughter, yes. Tangential, yes. A God-story, yes. Community, YES. What a gift.

I'm unwrapping that gift over at Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky. Pop over to see what gifts others are unwrapping today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Today I am participating in Not Me! Monday inspired by McKmama's site, where we are brutally honest and live to tell about it. I'd like to tell you what I didn't do this weekend.

I did not procrastinate away too many hours doing nothing important Friday morning and leave all of my busy day stuff until the afternoon. Not me!

I did not go shopping for my sister and friend's birthdays on the day of and the day after said birthdays. Nope--not me, I plan ahead.

my sweet friend Beth, whose birthday I did not shop a day late for

I did not leave my house messy for a full week after our bout with swine flu--even though I was feeling better. I was not overwhelmed by the disaster left in the piggy's wake.

In the mad rush to get our house somewhat presentable for friends to come over Friday night (after I did not cause myself to be in a rush by the nothing-doing in the morning and did not leave my house a disaster for no good reason), I did not, I repeat did NOT, scoop up the mess and put it all in a rubbermaid tub in my bedroom rather than putting things away. I did not forget to run the dishwasher the night before and this did not cause me to take a bucket of dirty dishes upstairs and put them in my tub (a first, honestly!) right before friends came over. Not me! I am more together than that.

I did not tell our guests what I had done with the dishes. :) That would be embarrassing.

I did not laugh until my sides hurt with my friends on Friday night. I did not get such a kick out what some would describe as jr. high humor. Not me--I'm too mature.

On Sunday morning, I did not get to church (where I work) 10 minutes later than I require my teachers to be there--even though I planned to be there 45 minutes earlier. I did not try to make it seem like my daughter was solely responsible for my being late. That would be exaggerating. Not me.

I did not forget to take attendance, or make arrangements for the church's older kids to join in the missions children's church, or check on the nurseries cause my nursery director had a death in the family. Not me--I am on top of things.

I did not forget to refill my prescription until I was completely out of pills...necessitating a last minute trip to the store. While I was there, I did not buy tissue paper for my sister's gift on the way to her party because my storage room is so messy I couldn't get to the tissue paper I have there. Not me--that would be ridiculous.

Whew! I feel better now. As my 3 year old nephew says, "oh well, maybe next time".

What didn't you do this weekend???

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random list of happiness

There are lots of amazing people and things in my life I enjoy---many meaningful, eternally valuable gifts I've been given. I'm not talking about those today. Today I'm talking about the meaningless stuff that adds joy to my life.

In the spirit of randomness, I thought I would list 10 of those things for your reading pleasure. (feel free to thank me in whatever way you deem appropriate).

I can't even call it a top ten list...cause that would mean I thought about it for more than three seconds. I didn't. I promise.

My not necessarily top ten unimportant yet happy things in no order whatsoever:

1. Candy: Oh yes, I love candy. Always have. There are many different categories of candy-love in my heart. Chewy & Fruity--like jelly beans and gummy peaches. Candy bars--Milky Ways, Twix and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups top the list. And the sugary type that only kids are supposed to like--bottle caps, fun dip and runts just hit the spot sometimes. Oh, and M & Ms--they are their own category--peanut, plain, and my new fav--strawberried peanut butter. I almost always have candy out when folks come over, and almost always have some in my pantry at home and my desk drawer at work.

2. Diet Coke: This is a well-established love of mine. It's an addiction and is probably even worse for me than I realize. I prefer it over ice, and McDonalds diet coke is the best. Nuff said there.

3. Our gas fireplace: I know it's not a real fire in a real fireplace (you know, with wood and everything), but what I love about it is that it goes on with a flip of a switch...and therefore we use it often. I sit right on the hearth and let my back warm up and then go plop on the couch and enjoy the warmth. Yeah baby.

4. Dansko shoes: These are fairly ugly and honestly THE best things I have ever put on my feet. They are SO supportive (best arch support ever) and last forever. I bought my first pair when I was substitute teaching and on my feet all was love at first wear. Such a wonderful feeling to slip them on my feet and know my feet and legs are all set for the day.

5. Colored pens: I really, really like to write in a color other than black or blue. I mean, to fill out forms and to write a quick note normal pens are fine, but to make lists, journal, and take notes, I fine a colored pen so much happier. Most often I use the colored Flair pens, but am always looking for something I like better. Suggestions?

6. Scented Candles: I heart scents in my home. (Good scents, that is. The unidentified smell in the fridge...not so much.) I use candles for scent the most. My favorite for this time of year is Mulled Cider from Gold Canyon Candles, but I also am liking the Leaves scent from Bath and Body Works.
7. My pink sheep slippers--I got them for Christmas a few years ago. I wanted Haflinger slippers cause they have arch support (sensing a little theme here?) and my hubby found these:

Aren't they cute?

8. My pandora charm bracelet--have you seen these in your parts? Only a few stores here carry them...but I think they are super cute. Hubby and kids have been adding to mine slowly. I tried to get a picture...but I stink at photography.

9. Homemade rice bags--my mom makes us these from hand towels that she folds in half, fills with (uncooked) rice and sews closed. You can then heat it in the microwave. It is great for sore muscles, headaches, tummy aches, and most aches and pains. It's very comforting, and I find it can calm my kids when they are having trouble settling down. LOVE these.

10. Our bed. My hubby thinks ours is old and needs to be replaced, but I still love it. Besides the obvious, I love to read, write, surf the net, watch TV and relax in our bed. Just about every time I get in, I think...aah, I love bed. I have one of those memory foam contour pillows, and a heated mattress pad (awesome) that make it extra wonderful.

I hope you enjoyed my random list of happiness. I'd love to hear some of your favorite things...

Linking up with Company Girl Coffee today--if you want to read something from my week, check out my new project here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

busy hands

Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't picked one up since I was a teenager.

A crochet hook.

Lately I've noticed that I am not content to just sit and watch TV or sit and watch soccer practice. I need to be doing something. (perhaps I need some relaxation classes or something, but that's another topic). Often that need finds me on the computer or reading, which distracts me to the point of missing the TV show or the conversation in the room or the potential conversation with a fellow soccer mom. Not good.

So, when a group of women from church decided their quarterly craft project would be to crochet chemo caps for a local cancer center...I knew it was a perfect solution for me. Something to keep my hands busy. And Pickle wanted to learn and help too. (smile) I bought some hooks and cheap yarn to learn on and I re-taught myself how to crochet. I even made this in the midst of the flu:

It's a flower in case you can't tell. I want to put a few seed beads in the middle and put a pin on the back and wear it on my coat or purse or something. (My husband asked me if I had turned into an old lady. Maybe. But he obviously doesn't follow trends or shop on etsy...just sayin'.)

I started to teach Pickle too. She didn't really want to learn the stitches so she made this super long chain...

Tonight we went to the meeting to get the patterns and the yarn info to make the caps. A friend of mine sat with Pickle and taught her the stitches. (Amazing how willing she was to learn from someone else.) She's doing great. We both came home with the beginning of our first caps--and we hope to make many.

Here is Pickle's beginning of a cap...

It feels good to keep my hands busy. To feel like I am creating something useful. To feel the soft yarn, the smooth hook. It's so tactile. To get in a rhythm of knotting and hooking. The patterns are calming. To be working on something like this with my daughter. Sharing a joint purpose that can be hard to find sometimes.

As we make these caps we will be praying for the person who will receive the cap one day. In that way we are not only giving the gift of warmth and cover for a smooth head, but also the gift of our prayers for healing, for comfort, and for true peace that comes from a relationship with God.

It feels good. So simple and so meaningful.

If you are interested, you can go to the Knots of Love website and find out how you can help too.

Linking up with Tuesdays Unwrapped, and celebrating this little gift of yarn and hook and cap and prayer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

who has time for laundry?

On Fridays I link up with the Company Girl Coffee Chat over at Home Sanctuary--a favorite blog.

Hello girls--having my diet coke and ready to chat it up with you. This week has been spent recovering and resurfacing from the H1N1 virus at our house. It hit us all, starting with hubby a week ago Wednesday and finishing up this past Wednesday with Pickle finally fever free. At one point in the weekend we had two comfy bean bag chairs on our small family room floor for the kiddos, while hubby and I each took a couch...everyone had to be comfy and we wanted to be together. Misery loves company I guess.

You might like to read about my burst of energy here and my subsequent crash here for a good glimpse of my week.

And can I just be random and say I loved, loved, loved The Office wedding episode. It was hysterical and sweet and ridiculous and painful in the way only The Office can be. It's not everyday you can see a high kick to the maid of honor's jaw...or a man wearing kleenex boxes on his feet. I might have watched it more than once this week. I might have.

In other news, Bubba had a half day at school today, and Pickle had the day off--so we lunched at the mall and shopped a bit, and arrived home a bit ago with two pumpkins to add to our fall decor. It was an afternoon filled with nothing special but was the kind of wonderful that comes from being together. (and out of the house!!)

The other hoopla around here is that our church (that has been without a pastor for 10 months) has a pastor candidate in town this weekend. Since I am on the church staff, we got to meet him a few weekends ago and so far, think he is awesome. Pickle is looking forward to meeting his daughters that are one year older and one year younger than she is. She's mentioned it approximately 372 times today. :) I'm excited too--to think our leaderless months might come to an end soon, and more importantly that God seems to be providing a guy that was worth the wait. We are praying for God to guide and lead us all.

Well, I'm off to Vietnamese food with the fam (yum...), and then a weekend filled with soccer games and churchy-type-stuff. And I guess I better fit the laundry in there somewhere. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

my post sounded really hopeful yesterday, huh?

The happy-burst didn't last.

Just being honest here, bloggies.

Something you may not know about me is that I currently have a little friend in the shape of a small pill. The name of this particular daily pill begins with a "Z", ends with a "T" and has "OLOF"in the middle. Better living through chemistry, my husband says...yes, antidepressents are a part of my life these days.

We have faced a number of trials in our family over the years--not many compared to some folks--but one recent trial I call The Big Mess. (It deserves those capital letters). The Big Mess happened in the summer of 2008. It was a collision of events and mistakes and affected most areas of our lives. During The Big Mess, I sought counseling. Actually, sought sounds too passive--I RAN to counseling. My counselor, who is a gift from above for sure, was the first to mention my depression. Mahuh? In my life I have lived with depressed people, I have referred people to counseling, I have had my own bout with a bit of post-partum depression. Yet, I didn't realize I was depressed at that point. After consulting with those who love me and with my doctor, I was prescribed Zoloft. We guess at this point that this state is circumstantial and temporary and hopefully my brain will heal completely and I be able to stop taking it. For now, they are working wonderfully and I'm thankful for those little happy pills.

OK, so I may not know much, but I do know that when you are taking these types of meds, and you want to go off of them, you DON'T STOP COLD TURKEY. Unfortunately, that is what I did inadvertantly this week while I battled the flu. I totally forgot to take it. Yikes!

So part way through yesterday I started noticing the little burst of energy and happiness F.A.D.I.N.G....and started noticing the mess, and the deadlines, and the schoolwork piling up for my kids, and the things we forgot about while we were sick, and the MESS! and I felt myself being buried by it all. I was overwhelmed. I don't know about you but when I get overwhelmed I get sort of immobilized--unable to attack the things that are overwhelming me with enough focus to make a difference. I found myself getting frustrated that the kids needed me so much (hello? ...they are sick!!) and that I wasn't making any measurable progress...

And then I saw it. My pill container. (I use one of those grandma days of the week pill things--so hip, I know). In the pill container were my forgotten pills for Tuesday, and Monday, and Sunday and Saturday. Craft! No wonder I was feeling the way I was. So I quickly popped Tuesday's pill...and gathered the kids for a little impromptu family prayer.

I said something like this, "Okay guys, I'm not doing too well at the moment. I'm feeling anxious and overwhelmed and cranky. You might have noticed." (yep, they had). I explained the things that were overwhelming me, and that I had forgotten my pill. I then told them, "OK, I realize I have some choices right now. I could call Daddy and complain about how overwhelmed I am and how much there is to do. I could call Grandma and end up crying about the way I feel. I could keep yelling at you guys. OR I could go the Person who actually has the power to help me right now." I humbly asked my children to pray for me. And they did.

In full disclosure, part of each of their prayers included "please help mom not to be mad at us." Ouch.

In the middle of the prayer, the phone rang. It was my sister wanting to stop by with some goodies for my sickies. I told her fine--but the place was a mess and I was cranky--come on over. She did. And we hung out for a while. Talked about nothing too important...she fixed my email problems...we shopped around etsy for a bit...looked at some pics on facebook together. She didn't stay too long, and I didn't get anything done while she was there...but as she left I realized that I was beginning to feel better. I think taking my mind off of my circumstances for a moment provided a glimmer of peace.

I am reminded of the story of Abraham's servant who was sent to find Isaac a wife. When he got to the land of Abraham's forefathers, the servant stopped and prayed for God to provide a wife. Then the scriptures say that before he had finished praying...God sent Rebekah. God was answering before the prayer was finished! (Read it for yourself in Genesis story.)

God was answering our prayers for help before we finished praying as well. Kerry called and was on her way over before we finished asking. She was used by God to change the emotional course of my day...the answer to our prayer. Isn't God cool like that??

And it's never wasted on me when God reminds me how fragile and dependent on Him I am...and that He is ready and willing to come to my aid.

He's cool like that too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

post-oink happiness

That little burst of energy. You know the one. The one that comes after you've been sitting around sick for days, letting the mess happen, letting all disciplines go by the wayside, barely caring for the other sickies around you, seeing things you'd like to do but lacking the energy to move a muscle to do them. That little burst of energy that is more than just normalcy--it's like being given a new lease on life. You can DO things and you have a fresh appreciation of the fact. It doesn't matter if those things are're just overjoyed you can physically do them.

I had that little burst of energy yesterday. The family has been (and one still is) down with H1N1. Hubby got it first, and in was inevitable the rest of us followed. It wasn't the worst any of us has ever felt...but we didn't feel good, that's for sure. Oink, oink.

poor Pickle--still oinking

But yesterday...there was a significant lack of fever in my body. I knew I had turned the corner as soon as I woke up. There was that burst of energy, return of appetite and desire to accomplish. Unfortunately, Pickle was at her worst, so the day started with getting her settled and cooled down (103.7 to start the day--yikes!). But then the post-sick high kicked in. I picked up some of the house. (what a bunch of slobs!) I made lists. I did a bit of work on the computer. I colored my hair (yes, once every few weeks I treat my locks to the luxury of a box of hair color so that my roots don't betray my immaturity and confirm my age). I took a shower...that good shower that comes after a few days of not caring to. I fished our fall decorations out of the storage room and started getting inspired to be creative. I commented on some blogs. I stuck Bubba in a nice warm bubble bath--to soak the sick off of him. Later, I took him to the park to collect acorns for our decorating. I went to Stuff-mart and bought something to fix dinner. I was even ambitious enough to buy the ingredients for this. Yum.

(Now, in all honesty, I ran out of steam after Stuffmart...I think the burst of energy is more mental than physical. So as I start Tuesday, my fall decorations are spread out on the floor, my yummy dessert is still waiting to be made, and the house is pretty messy again.)

BUT, this morning the newfound energy is back and I'm anxious to get caught up around here. The stinky dog WILL be bathed. The house will get fall-i-fied. Cause I can. I have the ability to move my body, think (relatively) clearly and go more than 10 minutes without a coughing fit. This is a gift very worthy of unwrapping--the appreciation of health that only seems to come after illness, and the burst of energy that comes with it.

Hope I can hang onto the perspective for a few more days...

**This post is linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky--where finding the gift in the ordinary is celebrated each Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

perfect for God's purposes

His imperfections were obvious. He wore some right on his crooked face. Those features were just the tip of the iceberg however, as his biggest struggles came from the problems within his 4 pound body.

one of the first pictures taken of Aidan

Usually when someone hears my short version of Aidan's story, they want to know what was wrong with him. Specifically. So if you are wondering the same thing, here you go--

Before he was born, at our routine find-out-the gender-ultrasound we learned that Aidan had a cleft lip and palate and an omphalocele. Don't worry, I had never heard of an omphalocele either. An omphalocele is when the abdomen doesn't close during development and part of the insides are outside. In Aidan's case it was his liver. Believe it or not, this is usually fixable--they put what is out back in. (It's a bit more complicated than that...but it is done.)

When Aidan was born by emergency c-section, I remember hubby leaning over to me in the operating room and gently saying..."he only has one ear". I didn't care about the ear--I just wanted him. However, finding something else wrong with him confirmed our worst suspicions--we didn't know the whole story yet.

After tests and xrays--the neonatologist looked at the reports and pictures and just shook her head. He was a mystery. The other struggles that surfaced over the next hours and days:

* his larynx and/or trachea was in not in the right position--
they had an extremely difficult time putting in his breathing tube.
* his right lung smaller than his left
* his spine had vertebrae anomalies--spine in an S curve
* one side of his rib cage was not formed properly
* he had a major heart defect (five things wrong with his heart!)

Everything that was wrong with him was "fixable" or he could live with. So, we began the journey of "fixing" him. Of course, fixing one thing impacted another...nothing was isolated. It was rather overwhelming, to say the least.

Through all sorts of tests and examinations by genetic specialists, we never got a diagnosis. He didn't fit any condition they knew of. The doctors used the word "fluke". yuck.

When we first learned of Aidan's issues in utero, my mom cried out to God--"God, why is this happening?? From the moment Dawn was pregnant, I prayed for a healthy, perfect baby." She says it was one of those rare times when God seemed to speak audibly into her ear. She heard "He is perfect for My purposes." We hung on to that word from God. God would redeem the terrible circumstances of Aidan's life. And He has. It looks different than we would have picked, but He has.

thank you bloggies for encouraging me to write more about Aidan--more to come

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

she rocks the purple bowtie

I was shocked.

Pickle was in 5th grade and went to "instrument selection night" at the middle school she would attend the following year. She went with hubby, cause I had something else going on. She went early to be one of the lucky ones who was able to play percussion. She had the prerequisite years of piano...and we figured one instrument to practice daily was enough. (you don't have to practice drums, right???)

On the way in to the school, a friend's mom told her to keep an open mind and try all the instruments. So, she tried every single one. At the end the band instructors are supposed to make an instrument recommendation. They told Pickle she could pick whatever instrument she wanted, because she was a rare child who was a natural at almost all of them. All of them except percussion. :)

So she chose. When I came home she had me guess...I guessed every instrument I could think of...the girly flute? (she is quite the girly-girl) the clarinet? The oboe? The trumpet? The saxophone? All wrong. She mind you, she had her CHOICE of them all...the baritone. "What is a baritone again?", I asked. "You know mom, the instrument that looks kind of like a tuba only a bit smaller." Oh. Really???

When she started summer band and brought home her first baritone (named Tony of course) she could barely lift the case. It was more than half her size. She practiced and it sounded a bit like (ahem) a dying cow. But before long the suffering bovine moans turned to a happy buhm, buhm, buhm, that sounded pretty good. By the beginning of 7th grade she had earned first chair and has remained first chair since. (a little mama-pride coming at apologies).

Pickle playing Tonya (baritone #2) in December 2007.
I need to take a new picture.

Tonight we went to her fall concert. It was terrific once again. All of the kids sporting their white shirts, black bottoms, and purple bowties put on a great show. Her band teachers LOVE their job (not to be taken for granted!), and the kids are disciplined and talented. They sound great! Pickle has had such a positive experience playing that humongous thing. She loves to play and it seems to come naturally to her. She told me that when she plays the national anthem, she gets chills. Wow. That's pretty cool.

Pickle walking into a band concert--Spring 2009

So tonight I am unwrapping the gift of band for my musical daughter. And I celebrate the unique part of her that chose the baritone of all things. Music is a gift to all. Musical talent is a gift for some, and it is to be cherished. Play your heart out my low-brass girl! We are proud of you!

Tuesdays Unwrapped is a practice of unwrapping the gifts we find in the everyday. Click here to read other Tuesday Unwrapped posts at Chatting at the Sky.

Friday, October 2, 2009


It's Friday, and time to link up with my bloggie friends over at Home Sanctuary. Hi girls! I'm sipping my diet coke with you on the run, excuse me for rattling off a few things in list format..that is the best I can do today!

1. Last weekend I went to the Women of Faith conference with my mom and sister. We had a terrific time. I laughed a lot and shed a few tears. I feel like I gulped in some encouragement and some things to think about as well. I imagine some of these thoughts might make their way into my blog as I have a moment to process them. If you have a chance to go to WOF--I recommend it!

2. This weekend (starting tonight!) I have a women's connection weekend at my church. It should be a great chance to connect (hence the name, huh?) with friends and make some new ones too. I also have some other church-busyness before and after the connections weekend--so imagine by Sunday evening when all is done I'm gonna be wiped!

3. This week was an emotionally distracting one as well--as we had some anniversaries to face. On Tuesday, we remembered both my niece and nephew who both were born into heaven before they made it to our arms. Earl Steven--17 years ago Tuesday--son of hubby's dear sister. And Sadie Grace--5 months ago Tuesday--daughter of my sweet sister. They each have affected my life profoundly even in their absence. Then, Wednesday was the 10 year anniversary of my son Aidan's death. That's a loaded week! I found myself reflective, but not sad. I mostly found myself in awe of all God has done in my life in the decade since Aidan died. I went for it and began blogging about Aidan--I'm sure there will be more.

4. With all that said, throw in a knee problem for Pickle requiring medical appointments and decisions about dance school, and a school project for Bubba that he needs some BIG help with...and I feel just a bit not-on-top-of-things and desperately need a day (or five) to catch up. I feel like maybe I should run and catch up with myself to see how I'm doing...know what I mean?

5. I did get to have dinner last night with a friend who I don't get to spend enough time with...and that was refreshing. My running-at-100-miles-an-hour heart got a chance to slow down, and enjoy some conversation with my friend. She entrusted me with some things that were awkward for her to share, which I completely appreciate. I love you, friend!

My life is full. Full of busyness and messiness, full of joy, full of running around, full of parenting, full of relationships, full of humbling (yikes), full of ministry, full of family, full of God's grace. I love what my life is full of...and I need to remember that as I feel the weight of it's fullness.

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