Monday, June 18, 2012

who knows

So, I know this is old news to most people by now, but Cullen fried my laptop in May by sprinkling it with his sippy cup.  More than a year's worth of photos are gone forever, so although we really did have a busy spring.... I can't prove it!  So why haven't I blogged since February?  Well, I guess I haven't really felt up to it.  You know those wonderfully inspiring blogs where every post is an "in the moment" glimpse of the trial they're going through?  Apparently, that is not this blog.  Objectively, (is that even possible?) I think I'm dealing quite healthily with losing my mom.  And while I certainly do not suppress my grief, I have found I don't want to write about it much because it makes me so sad.  The grief is palpable, always right under the surface, threatening to well up at any moment.  I've had a really great spring, and enjoyed my life in so many ways, but grief doesn't go away so quickly, you just learn to make room for it, too.  I have been so thankful for the continued words of comfort and encouragement that I get.  Alright, enough waxing philosophical.... here's a few pics of what we've done recently...

We found a ginormous grub in our garden!  Apparently they become rhinoceros beetles and are good for your garden.

Ruckus giving his "I'm incredibly impressive" look.  He also gives this look sometimes while chunking things off the porch and saying "I'm being naughty, I'm not allowed to do this!"  Stinker.
Sarah and Jarrod Dyer came down for the first half of Spring Break and we have been friends with them since our freshman year.  We had such a good time!  And they are wonderful friends because they  helped me put my garden in.  Kyle built me a stone raised bed that runs the length of the porch, and Jarrod and I and the bigger kids filled it with a dump truck load of dirt while Sarah watched the littles, and then she helped me plant everything.  Kyle was in shock when he got home from work and it was all done! 
We got enough rain one day that we could actually tube our creek!  The water had actually receded several inches when I took this pic.  We had a blast!  

I got to go with Kyle to his conference in Austin in May while Chuck bravely and successfully watched the boys one night for us.  We had so much fun and ate at the food trucks and I got to sleep in.
 Even more fun, Kyle and I spent the night at the Hotel Havana on the Riverwalk for our 13th anniversary and we had a blast.  I am definitely a happily married woman, but getting to spend a whole 24 hours with just him and no responsibilities (or conference for him to go to) was like "Oh yeah, this is why I fell in love with you!"

 I also got to go to Pink Impact in Grapevine this year with some of my dearest friends.  The conference was AMAZING and I will try to go every year.  Kari Jobe led worship, Beth Moore and many other wonderful people spoke, and it was so Spirit filled!  Here I am with Crystal Brashear, Stefanie Reese, and Debbie Ray.  I miss these girls!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Banana Boy

Once upon a time there was a Boy named Blake.  He looked like this:

One morning for breakfast he was sitting at the table eating a banana when his dad came in and noticed this on the counter:
 "Blake," Dad said, "You should not tear apart an entire bunch of bananas so they can't hang on the hanger anymore.  That's wasteful."  Blake said, "Dad, I lined them up because that's the order I'm going to eat them in."  And he did.  For breakfast.  And he was still hungry by snack time.

Here's Ruckus.  This is what his hair looks like if he gets out of the tub and we don't comb it down.  Seriously.  I keep growing it out thinking it will lay down if it's just a little longer.  I'm not sure that's going to work!  

 Blake caught a spiny swift this week because Sukie, our cat, had attacked it and it was hiding on the porch trying to die peacefully.  No such luck.  That poor lizard was found by Blake who loved it right to its grave, and he bawled brokenheartedly when I insisted he simply could not keep a dead lizard as a pet.  Mean mom.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christmas and New Year's

This year we had Christmas with the Stringer's and we had a great time.  For about 30 seconds we considered just staying home because we were so tired from all the travel but I knew if we just powered through we would be glad we did.  On the Monday before Christmas we were in Chappell Hill, then on Wednesday we were in College Station for the funeral.  We drove down to Corpus for the memorial service Wed. night and drove back to Bulverde Thursday night afterwards.  Fri. morning we had our own little Christmas, then Kyle worked one day while I hurriedly washed and repacked and loaded the truck.  Then we stuffed our family into the truck, not the comfortable minivan, and traveled 7 hours to Winnsboro (it should take 6, but not with kids).  We arrived at 2:30 a.m.  Whew!  Needless to say, I took a couple of naps while I was there.  Christmas Eve held the annual Henson (Kyle's mom's family) Christmas party, which was as entertaining as ever.  This year was a redneck theme:

And no, she's not really pregnant.  Pretty realistic for a towel, though!

Cullen had such fun with his cousin, Chaney.

And Jitterbug was a huge hit, of course!!  He's the reason we took the truck!  He rode in the back in a hog pen.  We might have gotten some funny looks.

New boots and toy guns.  Happiness.  It was a great trip, even if it took us 10 hours to get home because of traffic.  It's always worth it to see family.

For New Year's we had a big college party planned, but for one reason or another, everyone cancelled except the Porter's, some of our dearest and oldest friends.  The best man in our wedding.  I think it was just what we needed.  We had a blast, caught up, and just talked and talked.  I never even bothered to take a single picture, which is a shame, the kids had a blast together.  We did find a cool snake, a patch nosed snake.  He looked like a fat striped garter snake with a cool nose.

The kids all took turns holding him, and since Amy was taking a nap, we decided the snake could help wake her up:

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dreaded Post

Yes, it's been a long time since I've posted. It's because I've been procrastinating.  Seriously, who wants to blog about their mom dying?  Not this girl.  So I've been putting it off, but I do miss blogging and have lots to share, so I think it's time to bite the bullet and get it over with.  Mom died on December 19th of colon cancer.  She was diagnosed in May.  We remained hopeful of recovery until the fall.  It was a long grueling battle and she won.  She got the ultimate prize: rest with Jesus; complete sanctification.  To live is Christ, to die is gain.  She told me at Thanksgiving that she had tried her best to teach me how to live and now she was going to do her best to teach me how to die honorably.  And she did.  This is the last picture I took of her:

Yes, the photo is a little photoshopped.  I softened things up.  Mom was all for wrinkle softening...

Know what she's doing?  She's reading a book to Seth about dying.  She made it through without crying through only the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm sure.  What an amazing woman!  Seth seemed to think it was normal book time with Grammy.  Kids are so blissfully unaware sometimes.  On the other hand, his faith amazes me in its simplicity.  I have been a little concerned over his lack of reaction to Grammy's death.  He gets frustrated easily, but other than at the funeral, he hasn't cried.  So I was worried he was bottling things up.  The other day I talked to him and said, "Seth, you know it's okay to be sad that she's gone.  It's okay to cry or have bad days."  He looked at me, truly confused, and said, "Why would I be sad?  She's in heaven.  That's totally awesome!  She's with Jesus and Samuel, and Grandpa Bennett, and Grandear..." and he just went on and on about the adventures she was probably having.  And while I understand that the duality of  grieving her and being happy for her is fine and logical, his attitude really impressed me.

I saw people I hadn't seen in years at the services - so many people who love us and have impacted our lives.  It was wonderful to see them and such a shame that the only time all those people come together are weddings and funerals, and the family doesn't have enough time to visit with everyone at either!  It has been great to see so much of my family too.  What a blessing, and a rarity (and great parenting) that we all are healthy (emotionally), have healthy marriages and kids and all genuinely enjoy each other's company.  We love Chuck and are so grateful for him.  Things could have been really tense over Thanksgiving and the last 2 weeks when we were all there on and off.  But everything went smoothly and I was able to stay with her until the end.  I was asleep when she passed and so was Chuck.  Hospice told us that is the way people usually go - they want a little privacy at the end and tend to slip away when people leave the room!

I have so so so many flaws which I could list, but questioning God is not usually one of them.  But I am sorry to say I did that a little the day before she passed.  In a nutshell, we expected her to pass sooner than she did, and the thought that she was hanging on suffering was more than I thought I could bear.  So I had a little talk with God, and here's how it went down, very paraphrased (I couldn't remember an exact quote to save my life...):

me: Lord, Please take her.  Why haven't you taken her?  What can the purpose be?  I mean, I'm not questioning you...
Holy Spirit: Aren't you, though?
me: Just because I question doesn't mean I don't have faith
Holy Spirit: doesn't it?
me: Dang it! (because I know it's true).  I just don't understand...
Holy Spirit:  His ways are not your ways...
me:  But I can't do this!  It's too much!  I can't take it anymore!
Holy Spirit:  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness... (in the tune of the Accapella song, if you must know)
me: Dang it!
Holy Spirit:  Trust His timing
me:  Fine! (sulkily).  Okay, okay, I'm trusting you.

And then I did.  I actively chose to put my faith in Him on this matter.  It's an action verb, not a state of being.  And then I was filled with his peace.  I felt soooo much better after my "Come to Jesus" talk.  Why do I think I know anything about anything?  Of course God had a plan.  He hadn't forgotten her.  And he took her home less than a day later.  And I was filled with such a profound sense of relief.  I am grieving.  I miss her and I have some bad days and feel pretty sorry for myself.  But mostly, I am relieved.  She's happy and healthy.  I'm not sure what prompted me to share that with you, it's confession time I guess!  Thank you for all the cards, flowers, text, phone calls, and love you have sent my way.  I really appreciate it.  I love the encouragement and have sorely needed it!  Many update posts coming soon!