But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

1 Cor 15:10 (Emphasis mine. As always.)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Take off Your Shoes

Take off your shoes.  Go ahead, do it.  Come on....Ok.  Now, take off your socks.  Pull your right foot up into your lap and look at it.  Ignore the fact that you miiiight just need a pedicure and take a good look at your sweet feet.  On my right foot, I have a scar in the arch.  When I was about 7 I was climbing in my closet and stepped down on the corner of my wood-framed chalkboard.  It's about an inch long and has been part of me for over 20 years.  Now, take a second and do the same with your left foot.  On my left big toe I have a scar from my first set of stitches.  I was 20 and cut my toe at the lake while throwing the ball for our water-loving lab Wiley.  I have scars on the backs of both heels from a lifetime of blisters.  This tender-footed girl gets a blister from even the most comfortable shoes.  Do you have any marks on your feet like I do?  Now how about your shoes?  Do your shoes tell a story?  On the heel of these great suede red pumps I have is a gash where the sidewalk took a piece out as I walked to see Dirty Dancing downtown at the Hobby Center.  On my rain boots I have some imbedded mud from my time in the wilderness.  On the outside heel of every right shoe I own is a spot that is worn down from having my foot on a gas pedal.  Driving kids back and forth and back again.  On my black Reefs is paint from working on furniture in my garage.

Only I know the story of the marks on my feet and shoes.  Only I know where each little blemish came from.  Each tear, each sore.  Each imperfection.  No one else can tell that story but me.  Not even the people who are closest to me know all of these things.  Since you don't know the story of my feet....and I don't know the story of yours....how bout we not judge each other's walk.  Let's not pick apart our friends and loved ones because of decisions they have made that we don't understand. Because, after all, we don't know what scars others have on the bottoms of their feet that have made them walk the way we do.

Monday, November 24, 2014

One Lady's Retreat

If you have been hitting the "next blog" link, please stop for a second.  Just a second.  Sit a minute with me and take a breather.  Read what I have written here, even if it doesn't seem to make sense to you.  And if you know me and have just come to see what I have to say....please do the same.  Take a breather and just rest and see what the next few minutes of reading might have for you.

What does it mean today, in 2014, to be a Christian? A lot of things, depending on who you ask. Exclusivity. Inclusiveness. Intolerance. Tolerance. Love. Judgement. Truth. Ignorance. Blind faith. Educated trust.  And the thing is, there's at least a tiny grain of truth in most of these descriptions. That's why an unbeliever, someone who hasn't accepted Christ as their personal Savior, can get so confused about what true Christianity is. That's why, at least in part anyway, that in 2014 fewer people than ever are dedicating their lives to Christ in America. Well, let me tell you about one lady's retreat. One woman's encounter with God in the wilderness. And maybe it can shed some light on what it means to be a Christian. How you can spend eternity in Heaven. And a joyful life in this broken world serving a loving God.

"The wilderness" is talked about all throughout Scripture, usually in a literal sense.  God takes [Insert Bible Character/Civilization Here] out into the wilderness and teaches him to rely solely on Him rather than his flesh.  I mean even Jesus, the pinnacle of all Bible characters, spent time in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. Dun Dun DUNNN!! (Side note:  In my head when I think of Jesus being tempted by Satan, I always hear that in my head.  Dun Dun DUNNN!!  So I thought it only appropriate to include it here, in this highly theological interpretation of wilderness experiences.  Ahem....I digress.) 40 days in the wilderness.  Hungry and thirsty and tired, all the while knowing he was about to embark on the final three years of His life.  Jesus experienced the ultimate tempting by the enemy, so that we could read about Him later and know that he felt everything that we feel.  He, when He became flesh, endured all of the hardships that we would have to endure in our time here on Earth.  (For more on Jesus' time in the wilderness, see Matthew 4:1-11.)  God takes each of us through the wilderness in our lives.  The times I have described above were literal wilderness experiences, like when God took the Israelites wandering for 40 years.  Many of us in today's time experience figurative wilderness experiences.  We are in a time of desert in our lives, where we feel like God has forsaken us.  Times when we are hurting and sad and lonely and seem farther from Him than we have ever been.  But is that true?  During desert times are we farther from God, or is he right there next to us?  A friend holding our hand, someone catching us when we stumble backwards. A waitress smiling at us from across a cafe counter.  A loving stranger handing us a hot cup of coffee. Isn't it true that he's there, even stronger  Even closer?

I'm a wife and a mom.  I've carried those titles for 8 1/2 and 7 years, respectively.  Not too long in the grand scheme of things.  But what I also am is a woman.  A woman who is not ashamed to say that I needed a break.  I don't think there's any shame in me telling you that over the last decade or so, I have gradually come in and out of myself.  I like to think of myself as a strong, confident, self assured woman of God.  But sometimes....well, I'm human.  And sometimes I just get lost.  No matter how strong I am, how hard I try....sometimes a girl just finds herself a little lost.  Lost in the people she loves and spends so much beautiful time taking care of.  Lost in the lists of things she has to do. Just lost.  And my sweet God whispered in my ear and told me I needed to take a break.  I needed to go and be alone and listen to Him, listen to what purpose He had for me.  Purpose I had lost sight of. So I did.  Last weekend I packed my bag and headed to a hotel.  All by myself on a road trip for the first time in my life.  Waiting expectantly for the things God would show me on this weekend alone with Him.

My time in the (literal) wilderness this weekend was a little different than Jesus' and the Israelites.  For one, I wasn't hungry.  I had just had the complimentary breakfast at the Hampton, and I had packed myself a little shack for the trail.  I wasn't thirsty. I carried a conveniently bottled Dasani water in my Adidas backpack....which, I should add, had padded shoulder straps for comfort in my wandering and super cute pink and purple piping around the edges.  And I wasn't tired.  I had just had a pretty good night's sleep at my hotel, complete with freshly washed sheets and duvet cover.  But I was spiritually hungry.  And thirsty.  And tired.  So I listened intently and asked what he wanted of me.  I knew that He wanted me to be outdoors.  I could feel that deep in my soul.  So I drove north where I knew I could find some hiking trails on what promised to be a weekend of absolutely atrocious weather.  Torrential Texas thunderstorms and tornado chances, to be exact.  But I was obedient.  I bought rain boots and a poncho to keep myself dry and set out.  It rained my entire drive to the trailhead.  I was listening to the songs on my phone as I drove, and in my shuffle came the song Washed by the Water.  (Please take a few minutes to listen.  Here are lyrics if you're a better reader than a listener.)  I was suddenly so thankful for the rain, for how it was washing everything so clean.  And I was also thankful for that song, that in a way describes a lot of how I've been feeling and how I had come to that place, on that road into the wilderness. When I parked my car the rain had slowed to a drizzle.  I put on my backpack, strapped on my mace (because let's be real, I'm a blonde girl alone in the woods), and donned a red poncho.  After about half a mile the trail split.  The North Wilderness Trail continued straight, and the Lone Star Trail turned to the left.  The day before and that morning as I studied the trail maps, I had the distinct feeling that I was supposed to go straight at this intersection.  But on Saturday when it was decision time, I went left.  I walked about 40 feet and turned around in my tracks.  I was going the wrong way...I was supposed to go straight.  I went back to the intersection and headed the direction I was supposed to have gone in the first place. I walked and prayed, asking Him to open my eyes and my heard to what he wanted me to learn from this time alone with Him.  I was getting tired (I'm still just 7 weeks or so out of surgery) and needed a clearing to stop and rest.  I came to the top of a little hill and saw a bunch of fallen trees below me in a dry creek bed...the perfect place to have my snack and write in my journal.  And mind you, this entire time I had been walking (about an hour by this point) there was still minimal rain on a day that was supposed to be a soaker.  I sat down and ate my snack and then took out my journal and poured out my heart to God.  Told Him where I was, what I needed.  Asked Him what He needed from me. What He wanted me to keep the same and how He wanted me to change to become the type of woman that He needs me to be. [Side note: I want to take a second to make mention of this:  there is a lot more I could tell you.  I could bare my soul and lay it all out there.  All the details of my struggle and what's in my heart.  But then, what does it become?  Is it still a story of one woman's walk with God, or has it turned into a place for you to read my dirty laundry.  The details aren't important, because we all have our own unique details.  What is important is that the solution is the same.....the answer to all of these unique details is in one unique God.]  As I sat and wrote I listened to the sounds around me, the sounds of nature that are hard to hear in the loud suburban world I live in.  At one point I heard the wind pick up behind me, bringing big fat rain drops.  The rain hit the autumn leaves and knocked them off the trees as it approached my back.  I felt two of these fat drops hit the top of my hat and then they stopped.  I breathed a sigh of relief that my journal and I would stay dry.  I kept writing, and as I did this same thing happened two more times.  The rain would approach and then stop right before it got to me.  I said a prayer of thanks as I packed up my backpack and began to walk back to my car.  I was so thankful for the day, for the beauty of the wilderness I was in despite the clouds.  I took off my hat so I could see even more of the beauty around me and enjoyed each minute of that walk in a way that I can't describe in words.  I felt light and free and even sang a little as I walked. When I came to the intersection of the two trails, I decided that I wanted to keep walking.  I wasn't ready to go back to the car, so I went down the Lone Star Trail that I had left so quickly earlier.  About .25 miles down the trail I noticed puddles.  It was so wet.  Much more wet than the trail I had been on most of the day.  And then I realized....all of the rain that had been behind my back, it had been falling on that trail.  The trail I had turned around from, the one God had guided me away from.  When I realized this I stopped and smiled and a tear came to my eye when I remembered this scripture:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Just like the scripture says, I wasn't supposed to turn left.  I was supposed to go straight.  But when I turned I heard Him.  I heard him tell me to turn around and go back the way he had been telling me for two days to go.  Almost like He said "Come on K.  Listen to me girl.  I'm trying to meet you here. Trying to guide you.  Just let me."  And when I did, when I listened and let him guide me, he protected me.  He kept me dry and warm and he spoke to me.  He talked to me in that clearing in a way that he may not have if I had kept going left.  He let me feel guidance and protection and direction that I hadn't felt in a long time.  And because he loves me (Isaiah 43:4), he was patient with me and nudged me back in the right direction when I turned off course.  Just like I (try my best) do with my kids because I love them.

So after all this....all this that I've told you....what is a Christian?  A Christian is a person.  A person who has a personal relationship with a living God.  A God who speaks to your heart.  A God who lives deep inside your soul.  A God who absolutely adores you as if you are the only person in the world and wants nothing more than for you to love and serve Him with all your heart.  Have you ever experienced that kind of love?  Well, I can tell you how to get it.  I can help you find it.  Just ask me.  I would be so so happy to tell you how.  Because something this sweet, I just can't keep to myself.

Taking this all into consideration, for the sake of transparency, I will tell you that my retreat into the wilderness didn't cure all of my problems.  I am still hungry and thirsty and tired.  But I know that there is an end to my wandering.  He promises me there will be an end.  I just have to keep walking with Him a little longer until I get there.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  1 Peter 5:10

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

'He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

Here are a few pictures from my weekend.

What does a city girl wear hiking?  Well lemme showya.  Comfy knee high socks, rain boots with a gold zipper up the back (eeeek so so cute), some Nike Pros and a Columbia vest.  Done.

Some of the scenery

The creek bed where I stopped for my quiet time.

The famous intersection.  Rain to the left, but dry as a bone straight ahead.

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Life in Fresh Jammies, Part 2

Apparently, it's generational. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Life in Fresh Jammies

The Forward

One day I would just love to write a book (hence my snazzy little section titles to this post).  I'm not even sure yet what it would be about, but I would just love to do it.  I have loved writing and reading since I was a little girl and always feel like I have so dang much to say.  It seems like the natural next step.  That's why this blog has been such an outlet for me lately.  I can talk and talk wether I have an audience of 1 or 1 million.  I don't care...it's just a chance to talk out all of these things I've got flying around in my brain.  And for a few years I have been thinking about this book, and what it would be about (no idea still....) along with what I would call it.  What would the best title be, something that gives whoever might read it a glimpse of my personality, my humor, and my philosophy on life.  (Now it may seem like I'm switching gears, but I'm not.  Just bare with me.)

The Chapters

I have always been a girl who just loves comfy clothes.  My holy goodness do I love me some old ratty LL Bean moccasins, sweatpants, and soft, broken in, 15 year old long sleeved tshirts.  If you stop by my house on any given day, at any given time, I will be scrubbed out.  And, chances are, I will offer you some of my comfy attire so you can wear the same uniform as me.  I mean I don't want to be sitting there all relaxed while you're still crammed into your skinnies.  It just doesn't seem fair. Since I was an embryo, as long as I was at home I was in sweats.  I'm with the people who know and love me the best, just for who I am.  So why do I need to live a June Cleaver kinda life?  I'll dress up and be all girly for work or to go out, but when I'm at home, I don the uniform of comfort.

The Afterward

One morning after my surgery I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day.  My friend was about to stop by, so I told her that I was going to take a quick shower and put on fresh jammies and I would  be ready.  After I typed those words in my text I looked at them for a long second and smiled.  Fresh jammies.  That is how I spend my life, back and forth between the cuteness of being in public and the comfort of being at home.  So that, most certainly, would be the title of my book.  My Life in Fresh Jammies.  Seeing as right now I just have this blog and no book, the blog will carry the name of the book that I may someday write.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brought to You by the App

I have been an off and on blogger at best for the last 8 years or so. As life has gotten fuller or harder, I have dropped off of social media in general to preserve my sanity. Then when life seemed to level out and I had all of my balls in the air again, I would pick the blog back up, dust it off, and begin typing. Another hindrance to the blog for me for so long was pictures. Ahhhh pictures. The obligatory part of a blog when you have young children. Because lawwwwwd knows that most people who visited my blog in it's infancy did it for just that....to see my infants. Which I can't blame them. I mean let's be real, I visited my friend's blogs for the same reason all those years ago. Just to see ultrasound or baby pictures. And it used to work in follower's favor that I had a camera with me whereverrrrr I went. I wore my Nikon like a purse over my shoulder when Jack was younger. But add another kid, a diaper bag and an infant car seat to the mix and I no longer had a shoulder free for my camera. So my camera sits unused in a cabinet, still holding precious moments on it's tiny memory card. And now, at this point in my life, my blog has become more of an outlet for my thoughts and memories than a captioned photo album. All that being said, I still do love to show you my family and my friends. Let you have a little picture walk through my life. And thanks to the Blogger app for iPhone I can post the thousands of pictures I take on my phone, since my back pocket always holds the camera I use these days. So, here it is. A picture walk through my last few months. Brought to you by the app.

In early September we took the kids to Dallas for the air races at Texas Motor Speedway. Such a cool thing, watching those tiny plans buzz around in such a tiny space. It actually in a weird way reminded me a lot of my old waterski days. I tried my best for a good family selfie. And this is what I got...... I kind of love pictures like this though, because it shows each of the kid's individual personalities.

On the way home from the air races we stopped for gas at Buccee's. And if you have ever been to Buccee's, you know it's the Mecca for all  roadtrippers in Texas...loaded down with tons of food and drinks and souvenirs and even home decor items. Not to mention the cleanest gas station bathrooms in the state. Well, when we pulled up to our pump I noticed a woman approaching my car pretty quickly, which can be a startling feeling when you're with your babies at a packed gas station (I'm talking like 100 cars, easy). I could tell she was shorter than me even though I only saw her approaching in my peripheral vision. My thought: "This could go one of two ways. This is either about to be awesome, or this lady is gonna get beat if she tries to get in my car." Result: AWESOME. Turns out the woman was our old friend Liz of the duo David and Liz from our days in the waterski team. They were heading the from the Aggie game and had pulled into Buccee's for a fill-up too. So fun it was to catch up for a few minuses and love on some old friends. Buccee's brings people together. :) Note:  I look sliiiiightly pregnant in this picture, but I assure you I am not.  Haha.

Then in mid September I was in Dallas again, this time with these to great women. This is my closest friend Katelyn and her sweet mamma, who have so graciously made me one of their own...an adopted sister/daughter....the tall one in the family.  They are two women who chase after The Lord, so who better to go to a Women of Faith conference with?? It is such a great weekend full of powerful speakers that spur you on in your faith walk. I left feeling recharged and excited about my walk with God and so grateful for these beautiful women. If you ever have the chance to attend one of these conferences, please don't hesitate. And, get me a ticket and I'll go with you. I'm a fun girl, we'll have a good time. 

Oh my gosh. My pretty pretty girl. I adore being a boy mom and a girl mom for such unique reasons. I love that I get to spend times like this with my girl. A girl who, not unlike her mamma, knows what she wants. Pink cheetah nails, to be exact. Spending the morning at the nail salon and then having lunch with this girl can just make a mamma's day. Done. 

Also in September we made the drive to east Texas to attend the funeral of our dear friend Andrew's dad who lost his battle with cancer. George was such a loving, sweet, happy man of God and it was a blessing to be able to be there as everyone paid their respects. And it was also so great to get to spend some time with our friends and their kiddos. After the funeral we went with Andrew and Kelly back to their hotel room and let our kids run amuck while we caught up over wine and Coke...Miller Lite and pita chips. At one point I started to grin to myself and got up and snapped this picture, because I realized what a different spot we were all in in our lives since we had first met a dozen years ago. Our time in a hotel room with Andrew and Kelly today looks much different than it did during our waterski team days.

Here's an idea of what our hotel rooms used to look like. Picture these 13 people in one room with two beds. Ahhhh college days (circa 2002 if memory serves)....

Sarah and Aiden, just two weeks apart. Ah-dorable. 

I didn't take many pictures when I was in the hospital.  Because I mean, who really does that??  My surgery was on October 8th and I came home on the 12th.  Here I am after they got me all dressed, with my sexy stockings and hospital socks on.  I took this at about 6 am and sent it to my girls so they could be jealous. 

I mentioned that I'm a preschool teacher in a previous post.  For the last two years I've taught Transition Kindergarden and I just absolutely l-o-v-e my job.  Love it.  I love the people I work with, I love what we do there, I love that I've been able to take my kids to work with me...I just love it all.  My friend and her sweet mamma that I showed you before are two of the women I work with. They made me this sweet poster from my kids at school and brought it up to me at the hospital.  Isn't it just so sweet??  Then when Jack, Sarah, and Makenzie came up and colored me a bunch of pictures.  I gotta brag...I had the best decorated hospital room on my hall. I'm a lucky lady.  :)

Couldn't post hospital pictures without the one of George....
(If you're not sure who George is, scroll down a bit more.)

As you can probably tell from all the stuff I did in September, I was really trying to cram a bunch of things in before I had surgery because I knew I'd be out of commission for a while afterward.  It was an abdominal surgery and they weren't able to do it laparascopically, so I had to be opened all the way, making the recovery a little longer.  One thing I did not cram into my schedule before surgery, however, was a hair appointment.  Because, wellllll....despite what you may believe, blonde is not my natural hair color.  I know...shocker right??  So once I was home and up for a field trip, Katelyn came and got me and we both had a touch up from my sweet hairdresser Kristina.  What a fun, girly hour and a half that was!!

I had to add this picture because it is just so cute.  Sarah really loves to "practice" school while she's home, and she is SO very proud when she finishes her work, gets it all right, and didn't have to ask for help. Proof that everything Sarah packs in her brain during the week doesn't fall out over the weekend. 

Jason has recently gotten current and begun flying again.  He got his pilot's license long ago, before we were married, but hadn't been flying in a quite a while. Part of his motivation for getting current was to be able to take his grandpa flying. I just love the sweetness of that, and how much he loves his grandpa.  Phil is just such a wonderful man, and Jason has always wanted to take him up.  So he and Jack flew him to Brenham where there is a 50s themed diner on the airfield.  The guys had lunch together and then flew home.  All three of them really loved it, and it's a sweet little memory that they will all be able to treasure. (Look real close.  This picture kinda cracks me up because it looks like Jason has three arms.  See it now??  Haha.  And my gosh.  Could Jack be more of a spaz in pictures? Geez, show us a tooth kid.)

The kids and Andrew, the last warm weekend of the year probably.  They had to give the pool a proper farewell.  L to R is Maddie, Jack and Sarah, and Makenzie.  They love swimming with him because he will just launch them from one end of the pool to the other.  He's basically a full grown 7 year old. 

I feel kinda lucky....like my neighbors!! For the most part they are really pretty fun.  On Halloween they put on a block party and we all went trick or treating together.  It was nice to sit in the driveway with a glass of wine and watch all the kids run off their sugar high before going in to bed.

Sarah's Frozen hair and bow.  She was pretty happy about it....my goodness am I glad all that Frozen costume drama is behind us.  That's a story for anther post, my gosh....

Here are our beauty and our beast, 2013 and 2014 (That is Jack in those pictures, I promise).

Best I could get......

Jason and Jack just love planes, and the first weekend of this month we took the kids to the Wings Over Houston air show.  I like planes a lot too considering I grew up with a pilot dad and brother and now have a pilot husband, so it was a fun way to spend a Saturday.  Our house is really close to the air field where they hold the show, and here Jack and Jason are on Sunday watching the show again in our backyard, this time for free. In the first picture you can see a tiny black speck in a blue break of the clouds.  That'd be a Blue Angel.  Haha.

This just cracks me up.  Last weekend we went to I Stand Sunday, a gathering of Christians at a local church.  It was right before election day and we were joining with fellow believers against some of the moves that local officials have tried to make in our city government, as well as against the general moral decline in our country and the pull of the government away from Christianity and towards political correctness.  This kind of thing you guys....it's my cup of tea.  If I hadn't been a teacher, I would have been a Poli Sci major, 100%.  There were tons of pastors there, along with Fox news anchors, Mike Huckabee, Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty...I mean this thing was legit.  It was a very charged event full of Republican Evangelicals.....and we took our kids.  :) Sarah caught the Baptist fever immediately, and she would stand and applaud every single time there was an ovation.  I just couldn't get enough.  My little Sarah Palin in the making.  Be still my conservative heart.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crying and Breathing

Warning: I'm about to step onto my soap box.  Ahem....

I am a self-diagnosed highly sensitive and highly emotional individual.  All of the women in my family are.  We cry and are tender hearted and wear our hearts on our sleeves.  If we're frustrated, sad, annoyed, angry, or hormonal...we cry.  Some people get angry, others withdraw.  Some drink or smoke when they're tense or struggling.  We cry.  All of us, from Gramma down to my little girl.  And people just DO NOT know how to handle that.  I mean for real, when I start to cry in public or in front of the wrong person, I might as well have just instantly contracted mad cow disease.  The general public just can't handle a girl who cries.  They stumble over their words and get a look on their face like they would rather run lightning fast in the other direction leaving a trail of dust behind them.   Just to get away from the awkwardness of the crier.  Well, my friends.  I am here to tell you that us criers, we are not crazy.  We don't need to be coddled or treated like we're fragile.  We don't need to be feared.  And being a crier is not contagious!!  We just leak.  We show our emotions for everyone to see, rather than bottling them up or throwing them across the room in a fit of anger.  So for goodness sakes, just grab our hand and look us in the eye and talk to us like you would if we were dry-eyed.  Thankyouverymuch.

Now, I know this might be a lot to ask :) ....but click on these links for me.  Listen to these songs. These are two songs that make me leak.  And for those who don't know me or haven't seen me in a while, maybe they'll give you a little insight into my mind right now, the joy and love and sadness that are all wrapped up in there.  A beautiful combination that, right now anyway, make me...well....me.

This song I heard tonight on the news.  I cried listening to it.  Cried when I found it on YouTube.  It's exactly what I want after I'm gone.  I want Him to tell me "Well done my sweet girl.  Well done."

And this one.  This song is a pretty dark and twisty (to quote Grey's Anatomy).  I'm a happy, optimistic, glass half full kinda girl.  But sometimes I think really deep and get introspective.  And this morning while I was doing my hair for church I listened to the lyrics of this song for the first time.  It made me think of how my mind is sometimes.....how it fills with things the enemy is trying to tempt me with and just feels so full and clouded.  And it made me think of this blog and my prayer journal, and how they're the outlet for all of those dark and twisty thoughts, so I can keep being my glass half full self. (And as a disclaimer...don't listen to this and start any dumb rumors girls.  Haha.  It's not an autobiography of my thoughts, except for her verse about songwriting.)

Breathe (2 am)

2 am and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it down on paper, its no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand
and breathe, just breathe.

So to my criers out there, you've got a friend in me.  Toy Story style.  :)  Just call me up if you need somebody to hold your hand and talk to you like you're dry eyed.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Have you ever been a George?

My health isn't exactly what you'd call stellar (to use one of my sister's favorite words).  Since 2009 I have been up and down on a roller coaster of doctor visits, surgeries, and hospital stays.  I have heard the words "You are way to young for this" come out of the mouth of a doctor or a nurse more times than I would like to count.  But what I can say is that my body has never let me down.  During this roller coaster time period of almost 6 years, I have also done several triathlons, two half marathons, and a lot of running around after two really fast kids.  Some days I feel just so old because of what my body has been through, but other days I feel like I could be 26 forever.  It's really the perfect combination of being reminded of my human frailty and feeling 10' tall and bullet proof.  (I will keep to myself which of those scenarios I feel like more often than the other.)

Last month I had my 5th surgery in 5 years and was in the hospital for a few days recovering.  I went into the surgery thinking that I would just be this stoic statue of a woman, been there, done that.  Totally unaffected  emotionally by it all and on my way to a record breaking recovery.  Back to my normal life, work, and activities in just a few short days.  (So if you guessed 10' tall and bullet proof above, you're the winner!!)  But when I woke up in recovery, I was in more pain than I can remember feeling in a long time. (God has this way of erasing, or at least easing, our memory of physical pain.  Have you ever noticed that?  My mom always used to say that He does that so that women will have more than one child.  Because if we remembered how bad it hurt the first time, we'd all stop after one.  How true is that?  It's His way of preserving the human race.  But I digress.)  I was completely shocked by the level of pain.  I instantly began to cry and tell the nurse how bad it was and that I needed some medicine.  I closed my eyes tight to withstand it until the medicine began to take effect and I felt so desperately alone.  (Because it was at the Women's Hospital, they don't allow men into the recovery room to preserve privacy, so Jason was still out in the waiting room.) Hot tears ran down my cheeks.  I needed somebody I knew.  I needed a familiar face.  I needed to hold someone's hand for just a second.  I needed somebody I knew to tell me it was going to be ok.  Then I heard a voice I recognized.  A few beds away, tending to another woman, I heard George.  George, the witty, kind, outgoing, personable anesthesia specialist that I had met that morning.  He had prepped me for my surgery 6 or 7 hours before.  We had laughed and exchanged a few stories and his was the last voice I heard as I laid in the operating room waiting for the IV and the medicine flowing through my mask to make me fall asleep.   I opened my eyes and said to my nurse "Is that George?  Do I hear George?  Can you please tell him to come here?  I need to talk to George."

Instantly George was at my bedside.  He comforted me, held my hand...or maybe my arm.  Said he only had a second, he couldn't stay long.  Told me how strong..or maybe brave...he thought I was (the grogginess of anesthesia has effected my elephant memory a bit).  And that's the last thing I remember for a while.  The medicine made me fall asleep.  When I woke back up George was gone, but there was something so soft toughing my arm.  I reached for it...a stuffed frog wearing a tiny hospital gown that said "bounce back soon" on the front.  And something shiny was floating over my head...a mylar "Get Well Soon" balloon was tied to my bedrail.  I was still in recovery, and my nurse told me that my little gift was from George.  Again I began to cry.  How selfless and kind it was for that sweet man to go and get me a gift to make me feel comforted and loved before I was able to get to see any of my family and friends.  My family and friends who were so nervous for me because my surgery had taken quite a while, and because I was in recovery for longer than normal and no one had been able to see me yet.

Have you ever been a George?  Have you ever helped a mom whose little girl got hurt at the park, or helped an old lady get something heavy out of her trunk?  Have you ever handed a meal to a man on the side of the road?  Handed a kleenex to a stranger you see crying?  Prayed for someone in the aisle of the grocery store?  Taken over doing the laundry and the cooking because it hurts your wife to do it and wears her out?  Arranged meals to be taken to a friend in need?  Had a loving, mother-daughter talk with someone you're not related to?  Driven your friend's kid to and from school every day because she can't do it, and then a week longer than is necessary so she can rest longer in the mornings?  The world would be so much sweeter with a few more Georges in it.  Take it from a girl who knows.  And....if you already are a George.  Never underestimate what your kindness could mean to a Kelsey.  It can leave an impression that will last a lifetime, and encourage her to be a George more often to the Kelseys she meet along the way.

George and I, the day before I was released.  Jason and I were on one of my required 8 daily walks and ran into him as he was coming out of the surgery area.  So glad I got to take a picture with my  sweet friend.  Thank you, George, for everything. :)