Life’s Ripple Effect

Update: It seems that the death has been ruled an accident this morning. We don’t know any details, but regardless, my thoughts are still the same on the matter.

This weekend Dan and I came upon one of those moments when it feels like your life has just completely stopped.

We have been following our dear friends’ struggle as their tiny daughter fights for her life at Duke hospital. (http://www.ellastouch.com) For two months it’s been completely touch and go. We’re never sure what the next day will bring for her or them. She’s just two months old and has already overcome amazing odds. It’s inspiring to see how badly she wants to live and to see all the people who love their family coming together to pray and fast for her.

On Saturday night our other dear friends’ son decided his life was not worth living for and shot himself.

These two precious children, both so dear and so loved by so many. One fighting for this life and one giving it up completely. It makes you stop and think…. have I told the ones I love just how much I love them? Have I lived my life to the fullest and in the best way I know how? Have I made sure that my children know that this life is full of hardships but that all along the way there are beauties and evidences that we have a loving Father in heaven who is mindful of us and knows us each individually? and that each of us has a lasting impact on all of those we come into contact with? That our very existence changes those around us for good or ill?

I think the most ironic part of all of this is that even though we hadn’t seen Chase in two years and he probably doesn’t remember us very well, we both wept for him last night, and for his family. We felt the loss and grief and pain that comes when this kind of loss – any child who feels alone enough in the world to take their own life and has no idea of the many many people who remember them, and know and loved him. There are so many people fasting and praying and coming together for his family now, I wish he could have seen that when he was alive.

Fight on little Ella, and rest in peace sweet Chase. The rest of us, let’s not take any moment of this life for granted. And never forget that the choices you make, both small and large, spread like a ripple through the people around you, touching the lives of those you may not even realize. Make them good choices. Spread love and hope. And please keep these families in your prayers.

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No Resolve At All

So I’m a terrible blogger. Wait.. scratch that. I’m a sporadic, hit or miss, acutely ADD blogger. The Fall was splendid, the winter is dragging it’s feet. The holidays were blissful and while there were some funny bits and pieces here and there, there was nothing as dramatic as emergency runs to the ER with ghost snakes to write about. It was all quite boring in a very WONDERFUL way. We all need some boredom in our lives now and then eh?

I guess I could tell you about all the battles we had with our 1st grader over the importance of homework (a struggle my heart was definitely not in, I’m not sure I can remember doing more than a few nights worth of homework in all my years in school.) Or we could chit chat about how I had set my mind and made a firm decision NOT to make fudge this year, thus avoiding the 500 calorie per square inch siren that hales from my kitchen each year. That lasted until the exact point I saw ginormous bags of chocolate chips on sale at Costco. Five pans later I’ve gone up a few pounds. Eh hem.

There was also that one point where I decided that come hell or high water we would have lights on our house this year. I had cleared out Target’s Christmas sale last January and got a steal of a deal on all the coolest LED lights that the big box has to offer. They were amazing. They were big and bright rainbow colors (no plain white twinkly themes for my pad!) and looked exactly like the lights we had on my tree when I was a kid, only SPARKLY!! Yah.. I was getting those puppies up there. Of course I waited until a hurricane was coming through. No lie here. You know the calm before the storm they always talk about. Well it looked like great light hanging weather to me. So I got out my HUGE pole and plastic gutter clips and stretched all the lights out. It was at least 20 degrees or less outside. Well, maybe not quite that cold, the grass was still soaking wet from the last deluge of rain and hail. (Don’t let the bright green grass fool you, it’s FREEZING here. It’s some sort of alien breed that never turns brown unless you absolutely bake it for two weeks at 100 degrees) And I proceeded to clip and clop my way along the house.

The first half is always easy. The little pole reaches easily to the gutter in front of my dining room and living room and I don’t need it at all at the front porch, just a chair. But then we hit the split. Yes, I live in one of those glamorous 60’s split level creations. It’s actually quite pretty compared to some of it’s contemporaries and it’s a palace next to most track homes you see squashed like cockroaches on tiny plots of land, but that upper roof is a monster to hang lights on.

The year before I used the small lights. They were light weight and while it was tough on the arms, I got them up pretty quickly. Well, my giant super sparkle earth friendly LED lights were like trying to hoist an elephant onto the roof. I tried and tried to get them up there from the ground but the clips wouldn’t hold, the wind was picking up, it was sprinkling rain and my back and neck were starting to kill me. Plus, at one point, while hefting the 20 foot pole with 50lb lights stuck to the end of it, I looked beyond the roof line to the dark and dangerous sky above. Hmmm, I thought, this sort of reminds me of a cartoon. One where the silly person on the ground gets struck by lightening and the whole house lights up in it’s glorious Christmas wonder while their skeleton is exposed. Then an anvil falls on their head.

Anyway. I decided to bag the pole and like any sane mother of three who really doesn’t want to go back in the house and face the kids or leave a half strung house for the neighbors to complain about, I climbed up on the roof. Brilliant, I know.

Some of you may not realize that I am not only pretty clumsy, but I’m also deathly afraid of falling. Heights are not a problem, but knowing my own clumsiness, if I’m up high and it’s not a secure location with harnesses, railings or plate glass, I’m definitely going to pass out and fall to my death. So you can see by this turn of events that I was beyond determined to ignore my kids. Er… I mean .. string up those lights!

The profound idiocy of this choice wouldn’t strike me until I was latched to the roof like a barnacle on my side, one shoe having already met it’s death in the bushes 30 feet below. I was terrified to the point of muttering daily affirmations to myself but also pretty proud of the fact that without the shoe I’d figured out how to hold one end of the string of lights in my death grip back where it was safe and then hook the cord onto the plastic clips with my toes, where it was NOT safe. The wind was howling, it was raining, my neighbors were having a party and I just hoped and prayed that they wouldn’t see me and call the police (Mad woman on the roof in a hurricane! We think she’s going to jump!) I was inching along praying and promising in between swearing and slapping myself in the forehead mentally when my husband pulls up and comes to a stop in front of our house. He leans out his car window and in a very jolly voice booms “What are you doing!!? HAHA!” he then precedes to drive into the carport and go in the house. Thanks honey.

Well I finally get everything secured, it’s looking really good. I scramble my way back to solid ground and thank the Lord for saving me from myself again. I’m soaked through and through, I’m freezing and I’m exhausted. The kids have completely ransacked the house and it’s past dinner time, but I strung the lights and they look BEAUTIFUL! (from the roof..)

I run back out the to the front yard to see my handy work and rescue my lost shoe and to my horror and dismay, at some point between me fastening the last light all snug and flush with the gutter and dragging myself back inside to check the damage there, something had come loose and all the lights were sagging and hanging in strange swags here and there and bopping in the wind. Which had picked up considerably now.

The good of this? We made every other house in the neighborhood look like paid professionals had spent hours perfecting their displays. Plus the constant tapping on the roof line and scratching on the windows of the loose lights helped our kids get over their fear of strangers trying to get into their rooms at night. I’d open the sash to show them it was just mommy’s awesome Christmas lights saying goodnight. Bad news is that now if some creepy crawly does come scratching on their windows they will smile and think of Christmas.

At least I lived to tell about it!

And now we are in the new year. A new decade even! But I’m so worn out from my “vacation” (which really was wonderful.. I swear) that I have no desire to set any new year’s goals. None. No resolve, no resolution, no reservations. Nothing. I’m feeling pretty good to be sitting here looking 2010 head on.

The problem is that it’s a tradition and we have so very few traditions in our sad Western flavor of culture that I hate to let one pass without some sort of acknowledgment. So out of a spirit of … something.. I don’t know.. I decided I’m going to enter some writing contests (like this one: Kidlit Contest )and to resolve to wear more make up this year. This was also my excuse for buying the cute sparkly eye make up kit that was on sale at Target. But that is neither here nor there. I have no babies in diapers, I should be wearing make up, right? But along with that goes the old “take more showers” resolution. Gross, I know, but as a busy mom, sometimes I’d just rather sleep than be clean. End of story. But you can’t successfully apply glittery creme eye shadow if your skin is so greasy you could serve it up with biscuits.

This idea was also fueled by a very interesting dinner party I found myself at with a friend. We two are in our early 30’s and the rest of the ladies are in their late 60’s +. The older lovelies were remarking on the fact that they see women in the grocery store all the time in their pajamas (I mentally raised my hand and said.. that would be me!)with no make up and dirty hair. How could they go out in public like that? To my great relief, my dear friend of like generation actually raised her hand at that point and said.. That would be me! I had to laugh and nod in agreement. Sometimes I’d rather sleep than shower and I’d rather not EVER go to the grocery store, but I have to buy food at some point and I’ve already caught my prince charming and my little darlings all have colds and are constantly wiping boogers on me, so why get all gussied up just for milk and bananas? Still, I felt like I was betraying all those women I looked up to as a girl. Wonder Woman, Samantha on Bewitched, Lucile Ball, and even my mom and Grandma. Has anyone ever seen Linda Carter without mascara on.. ever???

So that’s it. I’m going to try to not be a complete slob this year. I’m going to shower at least every other day and apply make up in the car at every stop light I get the chance to. So far so good. I think Wonder Woman would be proud 🙂