Thursday, September 30, 2010

scarred, but whole

It's been a year since I first shared about Aidan in this post.  I thought I would write tons more about him and our journey, but for some reason, it's taking me a while.  But as we arrive on the anniversary of his heavenly homegoing again (11 years!) I have more to say.

People often ask me if you can ever heal from the pain of losing a child.  Just to be clear, I don't claim that losing a child is the worst pain you could ever suffer.  I don't know what it's like to get a terminal diagnosis, to lose a parent or spouse, or to be abused in any way...I know what it is like to lose a 4 month old child.  It absolutely sucks.  (pardon my french, but it fits).

I remember the day Aidan died, we felt a sense of relief at first.  Sadness, yes.  But oddly enough, relief.  We finally weren't worried about him, and he was no longer suffering or facing a long list of surgeries and repairs.  But as we entered our home without the hope of ever bringing him home...the deep pain of grief overwhelmed us.  It actually physically hurt.  We cried like we never have before or since.  We held each other and sobbed the deepest sobs I've ever heard.

It was like a piece of my heart had been torn away,  physically ripped from my body.  What was left was a heart with a gaping wound, one that bled and oozed with each beat.  I know that is a little dramatic, but that is the way I can best describe it.  In the days that followed, I explained it that way several times to kind, listening ears.

Months passed, years passed.  We grieved.  We journeyed some rough roads.  We healed.  God's grace proved sufficient, just as He promised. 

Yet, I did not return to the person I was before I was Aidan's mom.  I never will.  I am more ways than I could begin to describe, or even comprehend.  And I am whole.  WHOLE.  Really.  My heart has healed completely.  The gaping wound no longer bleeds.

Nor is my heart the same as it was before.  You see, it has a scar.  The evidence of it's wound is there, but it is not at all hindered.  The scar is actually a beautiful part of my heart, and in a way only God could accomplish, the scar has made my heart stronger.

I must admit the scar is a tender spot though, and if it gets hit just right, the pain returns for a time.  The tears flow, and the wound aches.  Yet even in the ache, even in the remembering, my heart is whole.  God has healed me and redeemed the pain.

I wouldn't trade my scarred heart.  It's a gift.  And I'm grateful.  

Perhaps your heart is scarred from pain that God has healed...if so, thank God with me today for His redeeming grace.  If your heart is still bleeding, I ache for you.  Yet I trust (even if you can't at this point) that if you cooperate with God's touch in your life, in His timing, He will knit you a beautiful, strong, scar.

happy 11th anniversary in heaven, sweet aidan. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

lingering glimpses of the little girl

Her first homecoming dance.  She is going with her girlfriends  (yay...she has friends! new girl no more!).  We shopped tirelessly (not really--we got pretty tired) over the course of several days for just the right dress and accessories  (read here:  modest and pretty and not bank-breaking!).  She knows what she likes and what she doesn't.  The days of mommy picking the special outfit are long gone.  She's so grown up.

My little girl.  The one who used to wear nothing but a tutu and a diaper as she twirled around performing little shows for daddy.


The big day arrives.  I unexpectedly found myself wielding curling irons and hairspray.  She wants her straight locks to be curly, and even big girls need help with the back.  As I spray and curl, I find myself glad she still needs a little help.  She's not too big for that.

Or for dancing with her daddy on the lawn.

In one moment, I glimpse the woman she is becoming and the little girl I knew first.   
How I love all she is.

Celebrating with emily and others at chatting at the sky today.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Friday, September 24, 2010

company girl catch-up

It's Friday again.  I love Fridays, but not how quickly they come!  Boy, the weeks fly!

I am finding the days very full lately.  I find myself running out of steam a bit.  I think I'm using more mental energy than my old brain can handle.  And I find myself not getting around to reading blogs or taking much time myself to blog--which I love to do.

Here are a few of the mental activities I'm guessing are a big part:

1)  24/24 challenge.  I am striving to spend an hour a day with God for 24 days.  This sounded easier than it turns out to be, and I think I was wrong about how much time I actually do spend with God.  Such a valuable venture--I'm sticking it out and not obsessing over the two saturdays and one thursday that I barely got 5 minutes with God.  I hope to post more on all that soon.

2) New kids program at church:  Two weeks ago we kicked off our fall schedule at church which included a new format for our kids.  It takes more weekly planning and coordination on my part--which I enjoy--but am finding myself working Saturdays some, and stretching some brain muscles on making it all work.  I love what we are doing though--and am sure God led me to it.

3)  Weight Watchers:  My mom and sis have had great success with weight watchers.  With my sister trying to take off baby pounds again, they are re-upping their efforts and I have decided to join them.  I would like to get rid of the 12 pounds that showed up over the last few months.  Uninvited, I might add.  And my normal ways of shedding the results of an overindulgent week or two weren't working.  Those pounds were not taking the hint and inviting others to come and hang out with them.  I think it's an age thing, which is not encouraging.  I lost three pounds during week one.  I am not used to thinking about everything I eat, or even thinking about eating in general very much.  So, it's a mental shift that I am sure is taking it's toll on my brain power.  Cause now my eating involves math.  Too bad you don't burn calories doing math and keeping track of what you eat!

4)  New Bible Study:  Started Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild in our women's Bible Study.  It is a "thought closet makeover".  I am working to listen to the things I say to myself, my internal soundtrack.  It's interesting, but you can imagine that my soundtrack is quite wordy!

5)  Medical Stuff:  Hubby's back, Pickle's migraines, my neck stuff.  Bills.  Best ways to treat.  What works, what doesn't.  Research. Appointments. Watching them suffer. Exhausting.

So what?  I have plenty to think about.  Who doesn't?  I just need to keep relying on God to help me spend my mental energy on things that are most important.  Trust Him to supply all my needs as He promises to.  And listen to Him, so He can guide and shape and teach me the way to go.

It's been unseasonably warm here in CO--hit 90 a few times recently.  However, there is a crispness to the morning air that is reminding me fall really is coming.  I can see yellow on the mountains as the Aspens begin to turn.  It's rejuvenating to think of a new season--my favorite at that.  I think I'll try to steal some time today to fall-i-fy my home.  Light an apple candle and let it's smell remind me that seasons come and go, but God's faithfulness remains.

And now I'm off to get Pickle to the doctor--hoping this three day migraine does not prevent her from going to her first homecoming tomorrow!

Linking up with the Company Girls today! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

on being maisie's aunt

Baby feet.  Tiny toes.
Floppy, snuggly, warmth of her little body on mine.
The smell of new life.
Peaceful slumber in my arms.
Little smiles, not fully practiced, but there.
Big baby eyes trying to take in the world.
Velvety soft cheeks, and yummy neck--perfect for kissing.

Learning to change the new and improved cloth diapers.
Remembering how to calm the fussies.
(It's been almost a decade since this mama rocked a newborn.)

She is growing too fast, so I'm grabbing this tiny baby loveliness while I can.
I will love her her entire life, yet I treasure these moments.
I know too well how quickly they are gone.
I could let her little self sleep on me forever.
I love every part of being an aunt to this sweet girl.

Maisie Jane.
You make me happy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

little by little

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

When I thought about what to celebrate today with emily, my first thought was of the little 3-pound weight loss I measured this morning after a week of trying the weight watchers system. I've been counting points, doing math, eating well.  I am very happy with my 3 pounds--especially since I'm only going for 12 pounds total--I'm a quarter of the way there!  I must admit, however, that somewhere deep inside my fantasizing self, I hoped for a bigger change.  Cmon, I watch The Biggest Loser--the first week is always the biggest loss.

And then God reminded me.  Like He does.  He takes an ordinary situation and speaks to me.  He said lasting change is like that most of the time.  Little by little.  Almost undiscernable at times.  And He wasn't just talking about weight at that moment... How many times have I struggled with the same issue over and over in my faith walk?

I remember many years ago God showing me an image of a telephone cord as I asked Him why I never change.  I always end up in the same place! (now go with me bloggies, to the old coiled telephone cords that let you walk several feet away from the phone and still be on it--I told you it was MANY years ago!) He said it only looked to me like I was in the same place...but from His perspective I had moved along the cord, and was a bit closer to his perfect will for me.  As I continue to seek Him and let Him work in me, I will continue to move along the "cord".  I will continue to find my self at the front of the coil (looks like the same old place....) but I need to remember that from His perspective I have come a long way.   He is working.  He is shaping me.  I will continue to grow and change.

Little by little, Dawn.  Don't give up.

So, today, I am thankful to say goodbye to 3 pounds, and to remember that lesson of long ago.  Tiny little changes in the right direction--will eventually add up to moving closer and closer to Him.  He has redeemed me, He is changing me.  Little by little.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the wise bathroom owl

I definitely don't have of those crafty DIY blogs that I love to look at.  I don't post about that kind of stuff.  Oh wait, that's cause I don't really do that type of stuff--just admire what others have done, and imagine having the time, creativity and talent to do the same.

Every now and then you need to shake things up a bit though.  And guess what?  I made something.

You see, we painted our kids' bathroom and got a new shower curtain in an attempt to make it a bit more fun.  I liked the direction we were heading but could not think of ANYTHING to put on the wall in there.  I kinda wanted some super casual artwork--but finding something in the right colors and price range?  I might as well have been trying to like sushi--it wasn't gonna happen.

So in a rare moment of DIY ambition I took a leftover canvas my daughter had and painted my own little picture.  The kids like owls these days, so we went with that.  They really like the finished product:

The word "clean" is made from chipboard letters I had, painted the color of the bathroom walls.  I coined the clever phrase myself (pretty profound, huh?)  I bet owls think that, though.  At least the bathroom owls...

For more creativity, visit Gitz (one of my favorite blog-people).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Project Simple Pleasures2

My bloggie friend Dayle has encouraged us to stop and notice the small things, the simple pleasures of life.  I think it's a great idea, and goes a long way toward being grateful.  Feel free to join in at A Collection of This and That.

OK, I like birds.  No real reason, but I find them fun to watch.   And sometimes they are cute.    I have had three pet parakeets in my life, and each one has been funny in it's own way, so maybe that is where the fascination started.

Last year I put out a little bird feeder.  I can see it from the window above my kitchen sink.  And as long as Patch isn't out there barking them away, I get to watch various birdies visit and flit about in my yard.

Just the other day I tried my hand and getting some pictures through my window--and got a few that capture that morning's seed-feeding frenzy.

I think he's posing in this one...
As they would fly in and out, they would get that feeder spinning and they would take a little carousel ride.

hang on, little birdies!
Watching birds is a simple pleasure, and I'm grateful for it.  (Even if it makes me sound a bit like an old lady...)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Patch resting on my bed this morning...and yes, he does have eyes in there!
Last week my little pup was sick.  Some sort of stomach bug.  Poor guy didn't seem to know what was going on, and wasn't able to make it outside for any of the "events" the illness caused.  I even gave a moment's thought to fashioning some sort of doggie diaper to handle things on that end.  We settled on keeping him in one place, surrounded by towels.

There was plenty of carpet cleaning, and towel washing.  But, when all was said and done, I knew I faced the worst task.  Washing the ick off of him.  I knew his fur was covered with all of the mess he didn't want to make.  He had been sitting in it.  It was stuck to him.  He smelled, and no one in the family wanted to touch him or give him his regular attention.  The yuck isolated him.

So, I gently carried his nervous, shaky body to the tub (he hates baths...).  And I washed him.  I didn't want to think about all that I was getting on my hands as I scrubbed ALL of him.  But I love him and I knew he couldn't stay dirty.  If he did, he would not be able to be near us (that was FOR SURE!).

As I scrubbed the grossness, I heard the Father say to me:

I do this to you all the time...

There is plenty of ick in your life I'd rather not deal with.  But I love you.  I want to be in relationship with you.  I wash it away.  I love to wash it away. I make you clean again.

Who ever thought washing a dog could be a visit to the Holy of Holies?

Celebrating this everyday moment made divine with emily and others at chatting at the sky.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I posted this a year ago today.  I have a full day today, but I have to remember.  I promised myself I'd never forget.

(written 9/11/2009)

Last night, Bubba innocently asked me,
"Mom, what is the big deal about 9/11 anyway?"

How do you answer that? He was an infant at the time and has grown up in the post 9/11 world. So as I tried to explain it to him...I remembered once again:

waking up that morning thinking it was a regular day

seeing the second plane hit as we watched the TV and realizing this was not an accident

the jaw-dropping shock that we were "under attack"

the feeling of confusion as events unfurled

yelling OHNO! as my car radio announced the first tower fell as we drove to school

dropping off my daughter at kindergarten and wondering if I was nuts to leave her somewhere other than home that day.

meeting a mom in the kindergarten line who hadn't heard what was happening and telling her

meeting another mom who was trying to keep it together in front of her kids because her husband was at the pentagon and she hadn't heard from him yet

seeing people at school in tears

the overwhelming feeling of vulnerability

the need to call everyone I loved

the amazing footage and images

being glued to the TV for days and days

the connection I felt to my New York heritage

the heartbreak of seeing all the flyers posted of people looking for loved ones

my daughter asking that afternoon if we could please watch something else...

the patriotism I saw demonstrated all around me

the patriotism I felt (maybe for the first time)

the flags...everywhere

being moved by the inspiring story of those who crashed their own plane in PA to save others

feeling so angry that there were those who thought of this plan and were able to carry it out

the lingering feeling that we are not as safe in America as we thought we were...

feeling SO grateful for the service of firefighters, police officers, good samaritans and our military

wishing I could do more...

I am remembering all of that and then some today. I try to explain it to my kids. They can understand the facts--but the feelings of it all are hard to pass on. I'm realizing now why former generations can be frustrated why we don't "understand" the Great Depression, the country-wide war effort during WWII, the emotions of the Vietnam War crisis...we get the facts, but it's hard to feel it. We are the on the other side of it all.

My kids live on the other side of 9/11.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Caffeine Time

It's Friday again.  I love Fridays, they are my day off from work at church. The kids and hubby are out of the house.  And it's quiet.  I catch up on stuff.  Do crazy things--like, you know, laundry.  And, I catch up with some bloggie friends at Home Sanctuary and have some virtual coffee diet coke with them.

This week has been about two main things for me:

First, this Sunday is our fall kick-off for our children's ministry.  We are changing things up a bit and I am really excited.  I have been recruiting and training staff, learning songs, thinking about the environment I plan to create, preparing this Sunday's lesson, etc. etc.  I have LOTS left to do.  But God has led clearly and provided all along, and He will get me to Sunday as ready as He wants me to be.  He has been teaching me to be still and let Him do the fighting.  So I am doing just that.

Second, my friend Carly has challenged her girlfriends to spend an hour a day over 24 days with God with a 24over24 challenge.  I thought that would be manageable, I can easily spend an hour or two with God when I make a point of it--and do that a few times a week.  So I joined in and invited my bloggies to join in too. (I have been thrilled with the handful of gals who are going for it...God is working!)  What surprised me, is that while I love to spend time alone with God--finding an hour every single day is tricky.  It's worth it though, I can already tell. It's not too late to join us--find out the scoop here.

This Friday finds me a little busy.  I spent the morning helping in Bubba's class.  The house has suffered the results of a mom-with-brain-overload week, a sick daughter, a sick dog (yuck!!), and some assorted laziness and distraction.  So I am in the midst of catch-up (as usual) so that I can stand to be here.  Aaah, it will be good to find the counters again...

Just for fun, let me show you what I came home to last night.  Dave and I were at church for meetings.  Bubba who normally isn't much of a sports watcher, has decided to embrace dad's team, the Minnesota Vikings in full force.  We came home to find him in front of the TV--all decked out in purple and yellow with signs he made to set the tone.  We just cracked up.

it's good with the shorts, huh?
see the signs on either side of the TV?
Dave says this is a beautiful thing.
And this morning we told him the bad news.  They lost.  He wore his vikings sweatshirt today anyway.

Off to get-ready-for-but-not-worry-about Sunday, to make my surroundings peaceful again, and to sit and listen to God for an hour.  Have a beautiful day, bloggies.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

be still, part one

First of all, I'm so excited that some of you have decided to join the 24over24 challenge.  It's not too late...join us!

When I won credit to Lisa Leonard Designs, I thought I'd have a hard time choosing.  And at first I certainly did...cause I have many MANY, favorites.  But once I thought about it, I knew exactly which one I had to choose.

Be Still
It's the Be Still necklace.  I knew because God has been teaching me to be still in so many ways lately.  Because He knows me.  And He knows I want to be anything but still.  I want to be fixing.  I want to be leading.  I want to be helping.  I want to be planning, researching, discussing, solving.

back of necklace
For my hubby (and therefore, for me too) this has been a hard summer.  There have been challenges that no matter how hard we try, we can't conquer.  They are beyond us.  Stress, frustration and discouragement have been regular visitors to our home.  Hopelessness and fear have even stopped by a few times.  These are not the houseguests we wanted.

In the midst of one tough week, God had me read the account of the Israelites being led out of Egypt.  As they came upon the Red Sea, with the Egyptians on their tails...things looked pretty hopeless.  There was no way out.  I'm sure they despaired.  But through the night, God was blowing back the water.  I have to think they may not have been able to see it happening, so the despair continued while God was already making a way.

I have never been trapped against a sea with an army pursuing me--but I have felt the despair and defeat they must have felt.  I have wondered why God wasn't answering my prayers.  I have felt stupid for having hope.  Yet God was working, even when I couldn't see it.  He was making a way--even if it wasn't a way I would have ever considered.

Do you know what God had Moses tell the Israelites while they despaired on the shore of the sea?  He said, "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." (Ex. 14:14)

But how?  Be still.  Can I help?  Be still.  Should I make a plan?  Be still.  What if?  Be still.

I don't know what Red Sea you are up against, or the army that might be pursuing you, but I know this...

The Lord will fight for you.

Be still.

Learn with me, bloggies.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My dear friend Carly is a woman who loves and pursues God.  She also is fun and sassy--which makes her a truly delightful person to know.  She has invited and challenged the women in her life to spending an hour a day with God over the next 24 days  (Sept. 7 - Sept. 30).  Here is what she says, 

"While I love my time with God, I have struggled over the last couple months to meet with Him as much as I'd like to.  I've let life's distractions steal my time with Jesus. What came to mind was to commit to spend at least 1 hour a day alone with God for 24 days.  While I don't believe there is any "cookie-cutter" right way to spend time with God (amount of time, time of day, etc.) and there isn't any magic in the 1hour/day equation, I needed a solid & well-defined commitment to jump start and build momentum in this area of my life and 24over24 is what God laid on my heart."

Don't you just love her?!?  

Carly and me.
I have decided to join in--even though I am not an-hour-a-day-quiet-time sort of gal.  I tend to be a two/three hours once or twice a week, twenty minutes other days, and some days a quickly muttered prayer of desperation as I run out the door to my day.  So, at Carly's invitation, I am going to try this whole consistency thing.

I would sincerely like to invite you to join us!  

Seriously, this invitation is for you whether you are a regular reader of theGoodlife (bless you faithful few!) or just have found yourself here by way of chatting at the sky, or other haphazard clicking.  If you have stumbled on this post, consider this an invitation from God and me.  If it's no longer September 7, so what?  Do less than 24 days...or extend it past September.  As Carly says, there is no magic formula.  

If you would like to join in the 24over24 challenge--let me know it the comments.  It will bless Carly's socks off to know you've hopped on board with us! I will follow up with you all in some way, and maybe even have a linky party in a week or so to hear about your experiences.

Perhaps you have never spent time with God, or not much, but you are interested.  What do you do?  Again, no magic formula, now am I an expert, but I can make a few suggestions: 

1) Be intentional.  Pick a time, pick a place as my pastor says.  It can be a different time on different days if need be...but figure it out before each day begins or it will slip away.

2) Pray.  Simply talk to God and ask Him to lead  you through your time with Him.  Tell Him your concerns and fears.  No special words needed--He's just glad you are talking with Him.

3) Read God's Word--the Bible.  You can find a reading plan online, or you can try reading 5 Psalms a day.  ( I start with the Psalm that coordinates with today's date and then keep reading every 30th Psalm until you read 5.  For example, today I would read Psalm 7, Psalm 37, Psalm 67, Psalm 97, Psalm 127.  You can read them all in a month that way.)  You could also read the chapter of Proverbs that correspond with the date.  If you are brand new to God's Word, you could start by reading one of the Gospels that tell about Jesus' life:  Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

4) You could also read a devotional.  There are many wonderful devotionals out there.  My current favorite is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It is SO good, and deserves it's own post one of these days.

5) Journal your thoughts, your prayers, what you think God is saying to you.  I NEED to journal.  It's the external processor in me.  You might not.  You might draw or sit quietly or sing in response.  It's your time with God.

6)  Listen.  This is a difficult discipline for me, but one I am working on, and will specifically work on during 24over24.  God wants to speak to me, and I look forward to what He has to say.

7) Don't give up.  Miss a day?  Not quite get to an hour?  Don't stop.  Don't stop!  Perfection is not the goal.  Hanging out with God is.

Today, I am joining emily at chatting at the sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped where we celebrate everyday gifts.  Today I am celebrating that God has given me friends like Carly to challenge and encourage me.

Again, I invite you to join in 24over24!  I am excited to see how God will work in our lives as we do.  Just let me know you are going for it in the comments, and leave your email if it isn't attached to your profile.  This way, I can include you in any follow up info.  I'll be in touch!

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Yesterday the mail held this exciting package for me:

Know why it was so exciting?  Because it was from:

and inside was this:

and inside that was this:

and inside that was this!

I am now wearing my new Lisa Leonard necklace that I won on Robin's blog.  Wahoo!

Just needed to share my little celebration with you.
You are very welcome.

Friday, September 3, 2010

moments of the week

Weeks are made of days, days made of moments.  Here are some moments from my week.

Informative moment of the week:  Attending Pickle's high school back-to-school night allowed me to picture all she experiences each day.  I wrote more about it here.

Frustrating moment (s) of the week:  Hubby's back pain has been dominating his days this week.  He has missed more work than he has been able to be at.  Poor guy.  We all get frustrated for him.  The doc keeps trying things.  We keep praying...

Encouraging moment of the week:  While checking facebook this morning, I saw that Pickle's status yesterday said "I think I just might like my school..."  {huge smile on my face}.

Creepy moment of the week: We had a large house fly in our house driving us crazy.  I eventually hit it with a rolled up magazine and it fell to our counter.  I walked away to take care of something else, and within a few minutes pickle was screaming that the fly had babies!  I came over and looked at it, and sure enough, there were tiny white string-like things squirming all around it!  I quickly and thoroughly cleaned it up at that point.  I don't think flies have live births, so I am not sure what it was exactly.  Did a little research, got progressively more grossed out, and decided to stop thinking about it... yikes.

Meaningful moment of the week:  Our pastor called us to a day of fasting and prayer on Wednesday to intercede for some serious health needs in our church that have recently arisen.  I must admit, I have fasted from meals, but very rarely for a whole day.  I fasted from food and media.  I found it very difficult, particularly the media part--which is quite telling, and served it's purposed of calling my focus to God.  After a day of fasting, as many as could came together for a prayer meeting.  We had a very encouraging turn out of people ready and willing to pray.  Many were prayed for, for all sorts of needs.  People prayed alone, in pairs, in families, and in groups.  I was touched by a group of high schoolers surrounding their friend facing surgery this week to pray.  I was moved when another high schooler wept through prayer with our elders for his needs.  My husband  also had the elders pray for him and his back.  I am trusting that God can heal him, and I wait.

Mundane moment(s) of the week:  Driving back and forth to the kids' school--about 20 minutes each way.  Since my hubby works there, he normally does the majority of the driving. Since he is laid up, I'm doing my share of playing school bus driver.  I'm trying to enjoy the time in the car.  Yesterday, Bubba wasn't feeling well when he woke up. The cold he's been fighting seemed to have done him in, so he stayed home with dad.  I drove pickle to school.  Returned 45 minutes later to find a perky, much better boy.  So, he hopped in the car and we went back.  :0)  I had to laugh at myself thinking I would rarely have to drive them--and here I was doing it twice in one morning.  And of course again in the afternoon...

Many moments.  Some wonderful, some hard, some neither.  All part of the Good life.  

Linking up with my friends the Company Girls today.

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