Tag Archives: Thankful

Lucye is 1

I write this post with anxious anticipation that my lost posts will be renewed and hope that countless other new beginnings are on the horizon.  Today is sweet Lucye Jane’s first birthday.  She was 365 days old yesterday, but thanks to Leap Year we have two days to celebrate her sweet life.  As do most celebrations with me and my sisters there is always a twinge of sadness for our mother.  Lucye shares the name and birth month of our mother’s mother and she has such a strong resemblance to the women on that side of the family it is almost unbelievable.

Lucye’s Maternal Grandmother, Patti (Left) and Lucye’s Maternal Great Grandmother, Lucye (Right).

Weekly Day of Service

This blog has been a catalyst to so many wonderful things in my life.  It started as a venue to share the small victories in life as I became a parent, then it literally got me out of bed to do something creative so I could post during the darkest point in my life thus far, now it has inspired me to take the time to organize my life in such a way that all of my passions can be lived out.  I have so many amazing readers and the ones I hold most dear to my heart are those who choose to share their lives with me through comments and email.

My last post was about the Pomodoro Technique.  You might have noticed that things got a little quiet around here shortly after that post went live.  Well, thanks to a comment by a reader and now close friend, I have put into play both a rotational meal plan and most exciting…..a new weekly schedule.  I am still tweaking things, but so far so good.  Here is what it looks like….

Monday — Home Related Chores/Shopping

Tuesday — Work

Wednesday — A DAY OF SERVICE

Thursday — Work

Friday — Finish things up and time to myself

Weekend — Hang with friends and family…..be spontaneous

 I will need an entire post to cover each of these days…..especially “Work” since I do not work in the conventional sense of the word…..i.e. I am unemployed/ I do not receive monetary compensation for anything that I do in my life unless you count the birthday checks I receive each year.  🙂

I figure I will start with the day that I am most excited about.  Wednesday – A Day of Service.  Homelessness, hunger, illiteracy, preventative health care….basically all issues dealing with those living in poverty is where my heart pulled me in college, graduate school and in my career.  I am a HUGE fan of Ruby Payne and one of the things in my life I am most proud of is the Literacy Program that I used to run was the first Faith Based Organization to receive an AmeriCorps Grant in the state of Oklahoma.  I am a huge advocate for finding ways that faith based organizations can contribute to eliminating issues of poverty in a non-judgmental and non-coercive way.  Why faith based?….I live in Oklahoma….there are a lot of people of faith and this is what God calls us to do…..take care of God’s Children.

This passion is not something that I have completely neglected, but it has been on the back burner since I stopped working.  Now, instead of daily putting myself out as a voice for the voiceless, advocating for literacy and equal education for all of our children, I provide more of a whisper.  I tutor at the local Public School where my children attend.  Tutor reading because that is where I feel I can make the biggest contribution.  Public School because, although they are not perfect, I do believe in them and more than anything I want a society that is committed to educating all of OUR children.

My whisper also comes through collecting canned goods with my children for various food drives, caring for our toys and books and then giving them away in the best condition possible to those who do not have them, driving my kids all over the OKC metro area to purchase gifts for kids at Christmas, delivering food and gifts to the homebound, serving on the Mission Team at my church and then being asked to resign when I would not settle for anything less than a comprehensive approach to reach all of the needs of those struggling with poverty in our community.  This passion has remained steadfast through much joy and  much dissapointment.

Although I am committed to these things, there is a voice in my head that says, “you would be much more influential if you went back to non-profit work.”  And, “who is going to take you seriously as a stay at home mom?”  Regardless, I press on and now I have a day, every week that I will commit to this passion.  Now, every time that I find out about an opportunity or I am asked to commit to something that deals with these issues, I have a day that week that I can say “yes”.  I am not sure how this will evolve, but I am excited to find out.  I will let you know.

***The pictures in this post are just two of the many I took at the OKC Martin Luther King Parade a couple of weeks ago.  The boys went for the first time and had a glimpse of what MLK did for us and celebrated A Day of Service.

Passions Can be Passions Without Seeking Profit….shhhh don’t tell

Sometimes I just want to keep my passions a passion not a paycheck.  I have come close to biting my tongue completely off when I get comments such as

  1. “You knit, do you ever sell your work?”
  2. “What great parties you throw, have you considered becoming a party planner?”
  3. “I can hardly imagine what it is like to wake up every morning and have nothing that I just have to do for work.”
  4. “With all your talent, surely you can find someway to market it and make some money.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Making money is good and some day I may even find my way back into the work force.  I made a very conscious decision not to work after I had Little Guy.  I did not come to this conclusion because I wanted to be there for every possible need my children and Law Man had from then to eternity.  I made the decision that life was about relationships and experiences and that I have a finite amount of time to be a mother to these sweet (often very ornery) kids and Law Man and I were in a financial position we could manage it.

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to stay home with my boys and I know that it is not for everyone.  It took me several years to learn that I can say no just like the mom who has a 60 hours a week career.  Not only can I say no, I must say no sometimes.  I have learned, over time, that I can be in the moment when the weather is perfect and all of our obligations are met and the boys and I spend the whole day at the park with nothing on our minds but the warm sun on our faces.  I am also in the moment when I have failed to meet expectation, boys are ill and the world seems to judge me for allowing balls to fall since “all I do is stay home with the kids.”

Just like the days when I was a working mom, I take the good with the bad.  I pat myself on the back during those “I can do it all” days and give myself a bit of grace when it is clear I cannot.  I spend time with those I love.  I enjoy the company of myself.  I laugh when I make mistakes that I know my mother tried to teach me to avoid.  And, I will continue to bite my tongue when very well intentioned people try to turn my passions into profit.  I have more than I could ever want or need and when I knit or party plan or paint or create it is out of love for that person who will receive it and often it is just for me.

I was asked once after a snarky remark, if I saw myself as a pessimist or a realist.  I guess in the same vain one could ask if I am selfish or self actualized.  Perhaps it is in the eye of the beholder.  I know that those who love me see me more as the latter in both accounts.

….your sisters closer

My sisters are some of my favorite people on this earth.  We have an unusually close relationship.  As in, we have tried to talk our husbands into all moving in together and raise our children like in a commune…..I am only sort of joking.  We look out for each other, prepare meals for each other, party together, cry together….the list goes on and on.  It is a relationship on which people frequently comment.

However, with the good comes the bad.  I am pretty sure my sister Tracy, would agree that our ploy to deliver Lucye ASAP was one of the worst.  We were somewhere between excited to meet that sweet girl and VERY nervous about Tracy’s insistance to have a VBAC.  She was forced into a c-cection when the twins had complications and ever since she has insisted that she would not do that again.  Now, I will not go into details about childbirth on this blog but let’s just say we have had some major drama in the delivery room for three of the five kiddos.  Luckily two were delivered together.

We decided that Friday, February 25th was the day that little Lulu should be born.  Friday, was the day of the week my mom and both of my sisters were born.  Again, without going into details, Tracy was clearly approaching time to deliver the baby.  The plan began on the 24th.  We all invited ourselves over to Tracy’s house to *watch* HER make US dinner.

I was sure that after working all day and then preparing a big family style meal, Lucye would make an appearance.  No such luck.

So, the next day, we had planned to all be together oohing and awing over the new baby.  Plan B.  A family game of charades with a few special rules.

  1. No mention of the words Baby/Lucye/Pregnancy….you get the picture.
  2. DO NOT ask Tracy how she is feeling
  3. In fact, just all together pretend she is not pregnate at all.

The game started off pretty slow and the new dad was really not into it.  However, the more we went on doing the silliest things possible to not be on the losing team, the more we all got into it

.

Finally, the new dad was into it as much as the rest of us.  

Tracy was up and down and even on the floor.  We were laughing so hard I thought the baby might just pop out on the floor.  Four rounds and hours later, no baby.  Finally, we gave up.  But not before Law Man had his first heart to heart with is newest niece.

Lucye was not born that night.  I think the only effect was the mom to be was exhausted and a little bit sore.  We tried.  Now, we will always remember “keep your friends close and your sisters closer.”

Letter to Lucye

 

 The first week of 2012 has been full of reflection and resolution.  In cleaning up my computer to speed things up a bit, I came across a letter I wrote to my niece who was born last March.  I have a special place in my heart for each of my children and all of my nieces and nephews, but it is a strange thing to look at this little girl and see so much of my mother and grandmother.  Little LuLu has brought us all so much joy!

February 24, 2011 (Eleven days after I spent the day praying for sweet Jude Eli and two days after we spent all evening playing family charades trying to cajole Little LJ out….I just realized I never posted about this.  Tomorrow!!!  I promise.)

Dear Lucye,

I am sitting down to write you a letter because you and your mom are all I can think about this morning.  We are so excited about your arrival, but your mom is being stubborn and is insisting that she stay with her 5th grade class until you are “really ready” to be born.

There are several reasons I am so excited for your arrival….the pink, the bows, the shopping….although I am not a big shopper…..and our future trips to New York and Paris.  I am also excited about what your birth will represent.  The past few years have been so painful for your mom, Aunt Mary and me.  We loved our mother, your grandmother so much, but it became clear that we could not save her and she finally gave up the fight.  That was one of the biggest defeats of my life and I am sure my sisters would say the same.

Your birth feels like a new start.  Not a complete do over, just a new bud on a tree that has been dormant for awhile.  I love your brother’s name, Jesse.  Every time I hear it I am reminded of the verse in the Bible that is included to trace the genealogy of Christ.  “There shall come a shoot from the stump of Jesse…”  Isaiah 11.  You represent what is left.  Not just the memory of your grandmother, but a legacy.  A legacy that although went through a dormant phase, is still present.  It is a legacy that came from generations of love and struggle, from both you mother’s family and the family of your father.  It gives us permission to take our family story and go on to create another chapter.  This is the chapter where we can decide the ending and can heal from the past.

Your name and gender are such clear signs of this transformation, but your brothers and cousins are equally a part of the destiny of this family.  Your aunts and uncles, mom and dad, will do our best to lead you in a way that allows you to find peace and happiness, but as you get older, the hard part will be up to you.  You alone can decide what God’s plans are for your life.

Your mother is one of the strongest people I know….in fact, at times this is her weakness.  My prayer for you is that you find strength in your relationships with others and let them hold you up when you feel weak.  Your mother is also stubborn, she willed your brothers into this world and she is willing you into being as well.  I anticipate you will inherit this characteristic too.  Use it wisely, it can either lift you up or hold you down.

I know in my heart your grandma Patti is holding you right now, ready to hand you into our care; we are ready.  Kiss her for us….it is time for you to arrive.

We will love you forever!  Please let her know that it is her love and devotion that will be our family legacy.

Aunt Amy