Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven...." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Be prepared for a long post-there is a lot rotating through my mind about the seasons of life.

The last 4 years of life have turned over a lot of seasons. I've thought about this analogy a lot, as we've moved back to Ohio, where we watch the seasons take place every year.

In 4 years we have moved, I've started a job full time, Michael has changed jobs, we lived with my parents, sold our home in Florida (barely escaping foreclosure), kids have grown up, experienced extreme financial struggles, moved into an apartment, watched mom's cancer unfold and eventually take her life....I could list on and on. What else have we seen? We watched Michael's mom be diagnosed with cancer also in that time frame, but have also seen the joy of her remission. We escaped foreclosure. We found a new home in a church family. We've watched God provide miraculously. Our seasons have changed drastically. A lot of the time, I've felt like it's winter-I've felt cold and dead at times. Sad and dreary. But there has been breaks in teh clouds and  I could see the sun shining through. There are moments that I have seen God work, and if I take the time to really evaluate and look back, I can understand more what a certain season meant.

I'm about to turn over a new leaf. I will be leaving my job at Starbucks next week. It almost feels unreal. I have been there 4 years. It's been my first real job, to be honest. The first place I had to prove I could perform. The first place of working "in the world" so to speak. People who knew me 4 years ago woudl probably be surprised by some of the characteristics I've discovered through working a full time job, and becoming a shift supervisor. I prayed hard about this decision. It did not come lightly. But as the door of opportunity opened in the last few weeks, it became clear that it was the one through which I need to step. It will be a new season, going to a new job. But it feels more like "summer"right now. The sun is clearly shining down in this time. I will have a consistent schedule, I will have paid holidays off, I will have really good benefits, I will have less stress and some freedom to express my creativity and business ideas. It will be a place for me to expand myself a little. It will be a way for me to regain some confidence (hopefully). Starting from scratch. I want to share more of all I've learned about myself and life through the last 4 years of working at Starbucks, but that'll come in another blog. I am sad to say goodbye to certain people, but I also know they will stay close....you guys know who you are.

I reflected on seasons of life as I stood in Dad's kitchen tonight, cooking for him. I can remember the days growing up when dinner time was completely at an unexpected hour. We lived on a farm. Dad was often out planting, harvesting, or tending to the animals, depending on the season. but Dinner was a priority to mom and dad for us to have together. I really never thought much of how strange our dinner schedule was. It just was family time and it happened when dad was done working. The days of eating dinner at 8 never really phased me much. I was reflecting on this tonight, as I cooked. It struck me as to what I was doing, standing in mom's place, reaching for the tea pitcher to make dad tea, and stirring the spagetti sauce, just as mom would have, using her old pots that have been around a long time. Mom's kitchen has a very nice window at the sink, and as you stand at the sink you can look out and see farmland, and trees moving and people driving by. It's relaxing. I LOVE being out at the farm. Anyway, tonight, as I was wondeirng what time dad would be home exactly to eat, I  remembered those odd hours. Joseph kept saying, "It's 6:32....it's 6:36...." He was my time clock, I guess. It didn't bother me....it reminded me of growing up and seasons past. Dad called to tell me where he was. I answered, "Hello, Fergusons" (This is how we always answered growing up.) "Linda..." dad started to say. what a habit....he half laughed and corrected himself. I didn't mind. I smiled over it.....he proceeded to say when he'd be home. I finished up cooking and got it on the table, just as mom used to do for dad all the time. I'm not saying this to tell you all I"m doing. I'm just saying this, really to tell how amazing my mom was. And how odd it was to be the one doing that tonight. I stood in the kitchen and talked to mom tonight, as if she were sitting at her desk as usual. That may sound strange to most. But to anyone who has lost someone....I think you can understand that statement.  It is a season that i hold closely in my heart. It felt good tonight to reflect on those days. Yes, I cried a little in the process. but I'm pretty sure that's ok.

I have more thoughts rolling around on this season of life thing. I'll write more tomorrow.
 To be continued on the seasons of my life.....

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Have you ever been stuck? Like...stuck in the mud? Or stuck in a traffic jam? Or stuck in a crappy life situation and you don't know how to fix it? It's rather frustrating. It's about waiting, really. Patiently pulling the foot out of the shoe to get out of the mud, then pulling the shoe out of the mud. Or patiently having to wait behind the car in front of you......because pretty much there is nothing else you can do. Or patiently wait on God to show you the next step of life.
 I'm stuck. I won't lie or try to hide it. It's a vulnerable statement to make, especially considering I really do not know who all my readers are. I'm just stuck. I'll elaborate on some and keep some of the other details to myself. I'm stuck in grief. I'm worn out and tired. And I really know that it's the beginning process of it, seeing as how it's been only 2 months since mom passed. Relay for Life was an amazing event for me, personally. It gave me purpose. It felt good to be doing something-not only in memory of mom, but to help those currently fighting the battle. Now that has passed, and while planning will begin soon for next year's event, I'm stuck facing the grief again without an event in front of my face driving me to keep going. Monday was Joseph's birthday. Another first in life without mom. The first birthday celebration. I cried when dad left. It's simple things, really.things most people would stare at me and think ..."What is her problem?" It was the simple fact of how mom loved shopping for the kids' birthdays and this time it was up to dad. He did it-he's very brave, quietly walking through this in his own way, too, as I'm sure shopping for a 7 year old's gift was not natural to him- mom always did it. He came with the present wrapped in blue tissue paper (coincidentally mom's favorite color) with the words "from Papa" written on it. Even not having "NaNa" on the gift was hard. Shoot, I am teary eyed just thinking about it now. It was a nice little celebration, though. Just different, as really everything in life is these days.
 I'm stuck figuring out the next step sometimes. Sometimes I am so tired from work, or crying, or grief, or just plain out life in general that taking the next step is something hard. But by God's grace, I manage to keep going. Just sometimes I"m taking baby steps-like crawling out of bed when the alarm rings. Sometimes it's more of a giant step, like walking 20 miles and hours on end at Relay for Life. It really depends on the day.
 I'm stuck trying desperately to figure out a new running schedule. I'm managing to get in 3 runs a week, but they are not as long as I'd like. They are quite therapeutic, though. I guess that's what matters. Running is my happy hour.....that is a very true statement for me. (I even own a shirt to publicize that!)
 I'm kind of stuck trying to understand who I am even right now. That sounds silly, but as an author of a book I am currently reading stated, "I (am) irrevocably aware that the person who loved me most in the world (is) gone." No one loves like a mother-if you examine your own life, that love is different from a spouses love or a best friend's love. It's hard to know who to call when I am having a day of feeling like a complete failure. Mom was that one, usually. She listened. And never judged or made me feel stupid. In fact, she always managed to encourage me. This is where God is teaching me that He is the One to fill that gap. It's different than sitting face to face with my mom over coffee, but it is true, whether you believe it or not. I feel it. God is the  One who understands my pain and my confusion in life right now. yes, there are friends I call on frequently. But the pain and awareness of not having my mom to talk to about every single detail of life is very evident every day. I'm just being brutally honest with you.
 So, Yep, I feel stuck. But I'm hoping that one baby step at a time....one precious day at a time, one smile at a time, I will eventually move forward-I will finish the race being given to me. And maybe be used somehow in the process. Mom took every little thing out of life and used it. She was quiet about it-she didn't publicize it. But I watched her write countless cards to people. and I listened to her pray wholeheartedly. And I experienced her grace, her patience, her love. I remember mom being pretty involved with March for Dimes, which is something involving infants-i should know more, but like I said, mom didn't publicize it. She didn't do it for her own glory. She did it with a  servants heart. So if she was ever stuck....I never knew it. I'm pretty sure that my kids know I'm stuck. Whoops....but then again, I'm just being me. Maybe we can all learn together from it. Who knows? It's all about One day at a time.
 some tell me that I may not be giving enough. Or that I am not myself. That is a fine line...it's hard to find that balance between all that. That has been an emotional battle I have fought lately-warring with myself that I should just be normal. I have no idea what normal is right now. So I just try to give each day everything I have. And as long as it's the best I have in that day, in that moment, I should not feel defeated. Easier said than done for me, but I am trying to embrace what I wrote in a previous blog- that sometimes just surviving a task or a day is the best I have. Like I said, One day at a time.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Walking in Memory of Mom

I have to write about this tonight. I am really at a point of pure exhaustion, but my mind will rest better if I put some thoughts to my blog.
 Tomorrow is  Relay for Life. I have been preparing for this event for months. When I signed up my team, I knew that the liklihood of mom being here for the event was going to be slim. The reality of that punch is deep in my gut tonight. I am doing this for my mom. She was quite the warrior. Now I will try to portray her spirit and maybe make a small difference by walking all night and raising a few dollars. I don't say that for others to be saying "Yay, Rachael!" I say it because it's a very minor thing I can do for others battling cancer.
 The journey to this day and event has been long and exhausting. Tomorrow will be full of emotions. Our team got shirts made up and the back of mine says "Walking in memory of mom" . The sight of that is unreal almost. I'm doing this in memory,  not in honor of. That is a tough pill to swallow. Duh, right? I mean, as of today, mom has been gone 3 months. So I have known she wouldn't be here for the event. But it's a new reality with the event actually being here.
 This month has held a lot of "firsts" for me. First Easter, first mothers day, now the cancer walk and next week will be Joseph's birthday. It's a lot of emotion packed into a short period of time. It's exhausted me. Again, I say , grief is not something anyone can understand unless they themselves have walked the journey. And most people don't understand me right now. But that's ok. (At least I tell myself it's ok, but deep down, it's a tough thing to explain.) but I'm tired. Most of my grief is private. Though I post thoughts on here, I have a lot of moments alone that just wear me out. Not to mention the day to day things of life that are tiring, too. But as I call my post...I just take it one day at a time.
 I will have a lot of friends coming out for the event tomorrow. And I have several who will be walking with me. One of my mom's all night nurses right before she passed will be there, too, and I look forward to seeing her. For not knowing someone,(such as this nurse) and having to walk such a painful journey in front of her, watching my mom pass into the hours, she has become a good friend. She was there in some of the hardest hours of my life, even if her presence was quiet. Others will be there-some who are just supportive....Kris,Rob,Janet,Sami,Mike,Judy,Kim....many who have been a strong support system for me. My team members will be there-Valerie,Kevin,Ryan,Jamie,Katie.....So it will be a lot of fun. A bittersweet time, most likely.
 I will think of mom with every step i take. And I will likely talk about her a lot, too. Walking this journey of grief and losing mom is shaping me in new ways. Some ways I haven't figured out yet. Other ways are coming into a clearer picture.
 So tomorrow I will press on through one more day, by God's strength alone.Trust me, I would not be making it through this day by day journey without Him. It will be tiring, but it will be fun, too. I'm sure it'll also be sad some moments. My mom was always my biggest cheerleader in life. I will miss her there tomorrow. But she's close in my heart. And hopefully I'm representing her well. I miss you, mom!! but I will keep fighting in your memory!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Surviving certain tasks

I have been doing a study in the book of Esther by Beth Moore for months. Not because I'm really detailed. It was supposed to only be a 10 week study. It's because it fell in during the time that mom was in her last weeks and I just didn't have the energy to always put into it. Now, I'm finally almost finished. There have been many simple statements in the study. There is one, however, that really has stuck out to me. It was in relation to Esther approaching the King and feeling inadequate. It says...."just surviving certain tasks without falling apart is our best and in those times God is not ashamed of our performance.He's proud of us for fighting overwhelming human emotions to do His will.God isn't interested in our stellar performance but in our hearts. He loves our willingness and obedience despite our insecurities."
 I'll be honest here. I'm my worst critic. I take things that people say and take them to a deeper level. Call it feeling with my heart. Call it low self esteem. Call it whatever you want. But it is a fault of mine sometimes. So if someone says I'm not doing my job, or I messed up, or i'm inadequate,  I have 3 responses. Either I loathe in it and feel bad about myself for days; or I choose to rise above it and brush it off because it's not true; or I evaluate and take it to make me better. I suppose it depends on the circumstances. But often in the last 6 months, sometimes seen and sometimes not, I feel like surviving a task without falling apart is an accomplishment. But others don't always see it that way, so it's sometimes a hard emotion to overcome. That quote from the Esther study sticks with me often. I am still grieving my mom's absence. I don't talk about it openly often anymore. Most people don't really want to hear about it anymore. It's part of why I started this blog. As scary as it is for me to air out some of the emotions, maybe it will also help others to understand my position in life without making them feel awkward as I candidly speak about it.
 Many days are still a task for me. I miss my mom terribly. She was my best friend. Last week I had fun for the first time in...well, in months. It's hard to say that, as many don't understand grief. I still ahve 2 beautiful kids who bring a lot of joy. And my husband is working hard to help me, too. But grief is a funny thing. It's very hard to understand unless you are the one in it. or have experienced it yourself. This week it's kind of back to it full force as I prepare for the cancer walk. Talk about having some emotions...I'm excited about Relay for Life, but I'm also pretty emotional over the event this year, too. And some tasks are just that...HUGE tasks to undertake in the process of doing it in mom's memory. It's a bittersweet event of sorts. But I believe that it is what God would have me do. I became involved in Relay last year, and mom was there with me. She talked so much of beating the disease. And let me tell you, she fought to the very end. Doing the walk with her was really emotional. I did it as healthy outlet to fight cancer, as I really could not do much else. And it quickly became a solid passion of mine. This year I am with a different relay, one being held in my county. And though it is much smaller than what I did last year, I am very excited about it. In fact, they have asked me to chair the event next year, which is a huge undertaking, but one about which I am really excited. And I cannot do a single step of it without thinking of mom. I wouldn't be passionate about it if I hadn't experienced it first hand. Unfortunately, I saw teh ugly disease unfold. The day before mom died, she was non responsive when we talked. It's pretty heartbreaking, really, to even sit and write about it. It's not how I want people to think of my mom. but as I sat with her, taking turns with my brother, sister, and dad, in mom's last 24 hours, sometimes I sat there quietly. Sometimes I sang to her. And sometimes I talked. I talked about Relay a lot. How I was going to keep fighting in mom's honor. At that time, I was up to somewhere around 1,000$ or so. Now, I think I'm at around $1,700 or so. I remember telling her that last day where my fundraising was and what my ideas were. And that I'd keep fighting for her. I do relay for mom. And I do it for every survivor out there . I should mention that my mother in law, is also a cancer survivor. She had breast cancer, and hers was caught fairly early, so she is in remission today . She will walk the survivor lap.
 But if you start talking to me about Relay, I will naturally talk about my mom. And I am passionate about it. Only in the last few years have I discovered new passions. Relay and fighting cancer is one. Running is another. I could talk about running forever. I am not the greatest. Or the fastest (in fact, I'm pretty slow.) But I love it and plan to do it forever. I combined those passions into a tattoo a year ago. It's  a running shoe with wings. And it has the cancer ribbon in the middle of it. I was the last person to think I'd ever get a tattoo.
Purple for the cancer color. and green is my favorite color. The shoe is for running. The ribbon in honor of my mom and fighting cancer. And the wings represent God carrying me through the hard times.

I didn't plan on that tangent in this blog, but...you got it anyway. I'm sure I'll blog a lot about relay this week. and mom . They go hand in hand. In the meantime, I'll keep trying my best. Even if that means "just surviving certain tasks without falling apart."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed Memories

My mind is so full, that I could write pages today. I'll not subject you to that, I'll try to limit myself.

For the first time in months, this past week, I had a blast. It was Rachel's wedding, and I was the maid of honor. Rachel refused to call me "matron", as she said that sounded too "old lady." While it was packed full of things to do, it was a reprieve from grief, and it was all a lot of fun. On Wednesday of last week, we had her bridal shower. It was simple, but it was fun. After the shower, we had the bachelorette party, which consisted of dinner, and some shopping. We laughed so hard at dinner as we played silly games, sat outside in the warmth, talked about life, reminisced over old times, talked about hopes for the future and just had girl time. Let me just tell you, it had been a very long time since I'd gone out with girls for an evening. And I do believe that girl time is important. Rachel stayed with me Wednesday night. On Friday, it was the day of rehearsal. My buddy, Travis, who was also in the wedding, drove me up to where rehearsal was. We grabbed some lunch and had some time, so we wandered the art museum and had some Starbucks. That was also a really fun time . It was like a mini vacation, having a day away and just relaxing. 
  That evening we had a blast laughing at the rehearsal and then eating at the dinner and then the girls all shared a hotel room. It was good times. Saturday was wedding day, and while there were a couple of minor mishaps, we were able to fix them and things ran smoothly. The wedding was beautiful and lots of fun. and the reception was a blast! Let me tell you, I am far from being a dancer of any sorts, but I'd determined to have fun, and I danced the entire reception. I had a blast!!!
 Rachel is a very special friend to me, and I enjoyed time with her again. Travis is also one of my closer friends, and it was fun hanging out with him in a non work environment. Savannah and Wendy were there, too, and we all had a great time laughing together. And dancing together . 
 Sometimes you can decide what your attitude will be. I do believe that. But sometimes there are underlying conditions that make it harder just to choose an attitude. Things like...depression or other medical conditions. For Rachel's wedding, I'd determined for months that it was going to be my fun time. And I succeeded in that! Other moments, I determine that I am going to have a good attitude and well, it is just so much harder. Yesterday I returned back to reality and work. And there were moments that choosing a good attitude was really hard.  I managed to kind of escape my grief for a week. It was a really fun distraction. But during the week of fun, I did have a few minor moments....Probably last October, about when I had to go buy my dress for the wedding, my mom had left some money for me wrapped in a paper that said "for the bridesmaid dress". I found that paper this week, and it was hard to think she couldn't see me in my dress that she helped buy, or I couldn't call her to share about all the fun we were having. Mom loved weddings. So I talked to dad about it instead (lucky dad.) And I shared everything with my friend Janet, who is the best listener and has become my best friend. Of course Michael was a big part of it, too, so he already knew all about it.  Needless to say, I've discovered there probably won't be a moment that goes by that I don't think about mom or wish I could call her. Just some moments, I handle it better. 
 It was a great week with lots of great memories and lots of great pictures....which I'll post when I get my camera back (I left it at the reception). 
 This week is also a very busy week, full of things to do for the Relay for LIfe cancer walk this weekend. Tomorrow I will blog more about that. I will close by saying this.....
 In the book of James, which is my favorite book of the Bible, it says "count it pure joy when you go through trials...." I'm pretty sure I have not yet been able to do that. But it is a good goal for which to strive daily. As I launch into a new day, I hold onto that. And I hold onto my fun memories created this past weekend.  And I hold onto the beautiful memories of my mom and how I want to strive to be more like her. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


In case you haven't figured it out yet, change is one of the few constants you can count on in life.
 Once, I was a huge planner. I'm seriously talking like months out I'd be planning crazy stuff. Or simple stuff.I'd say things like , "What are you going to do for ------" and it would be months out. It used to drive Michael crazy. He's a spur of the moment guy. Anyway, over the last 6 months of watching mom deteriorate and then pass, I learned great value in taking life one day at a time. I don't always succeed at it, but I am sure better at it than I used to be. In fact, when someone calls me and asks about birthdays or a holiday approaching, my answer is now, "I can't even think to the end of this week. I have no idea what to tell you about that day." What a role reversal for me. Of course, there is a balance to it all. Planning isn't bad. It's just I used to be excessive and when something didn't go as planned, don't even think about talking to me about it....the day was ruined. Like I said, I've come a long way with that. I'm still not crazy on plans changing, but I'm learning...just have to deal with it.
 Anyway, what is spurring these thoughts today is that my day did not go at all as planned. See, even trying to live one day at a time, plans can still change. The long story short is that I was scheduled to work at 6:30, so I got up at 4:30 to run beforehand. Short version: I ended up opening and all plans of a run before work went down the drain. I could've been angry. That would've been me 6 months ago, honestly. I won't say I wasn't annoyed at all, because a tiny bit of me was, but I just laughed about it. In fact, I laughed out loud at myself even ! I was dressed in my running clothes still, in order to hurry up to open on time, and that was a bit awkward. I made a joke about it and moved on (and quickly got my work attire on.) And then I was kind of frenzied, looking for something, and I tripped over a bucket of water. I laughed really hard. It could have been awkward...but we laughed instead. And it became fun.
 I do not like running after an 8 hour shift. Probably most people are tired after work. Duh. But I just get worn out. I get tired being on my feet sometimes and moving all the time and pleasing all the time. It's not bad-it's an aspect of my job. But I  am tired when I am done. (And I'll be honest, I'm still a little bit drained physically from the emotions I had over mothers day.) So I don't enjoy running after a shift. Hence my being up early today to go before. BUT I needed the run, so I went out after work. Probably one of my worst ones ever because I was tired, but I still did it. I need it . Running is a part of me. It's part of working through my grief of losing mom. It's a bit of my identity. And it's one of the very few things I can claim as "mine." The sun felt good. And I was glad I did it. So, the day changed. But it didn't end. And it really wasn't all that bad. Just different than I'd planned. I'm learning to adjust to change because, like I said, change is a constant.
 Not having mom is a huge change. One that will take me a long time to figure out and process. I made it through Easter, though. And now I've made it through mother's day. I'm not sure exactly how to adapt to this change. It's a constant ache. It doesn't just go away by saying "oh well, such is life." or "it's just one day, it'll be fine." It's a new, every day change. It's a change in childcare. It's a change in friendships. It's a change in my relationship with my dad, who is becoming more and more of a friend. It's a change in my outlook on life all together. It's a HUGE life change. Not just a minor, "can you do this differently?" change.  It's definitly a "take one day at a time " change.
 And so that's what I continue to do. I made it through the chaos of changing my plans for today.And I made it through the bittersweet sadness of mothers day. And now I will savor the quiet of this evening (after the kids are in bed, that is)
 The good news is that this week I am in a wedding!!! It's chaotic, thrown between mothers day and my huge relay for life event coming up next week, but it's going to be fun. I plan on dancing. And laughing. And enjoying some girl time. Michael will join me the day of the wedding, but as there are festivities tomorrow and Friday, I will enjoy them. And savor those moments, too.
 I want to share all about relay for life....it's a passion of mine. But it'll have to wait until tomorrow , I suppose. For now, I will go on with my day and see whtt else comes my way!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom

I don't want to blog about anything but mom today. The problem is, it's hard to know what to say or where to begin. When asked my favorite memory of mom, i have so many, I can't name just one. So we'll just see where this leads. Also, when asked the biggest thing mom taught me, I also can't choose one. Mom taught me a lot....even in her very last days.
 We had a lot of fun growing up. we didn't have a lot of money, but I never cared. Mom made everything fun. she had a song for EVERYTHING (and I'm beginning to find myself doing that , too.) Mom told stories all the time or read books to us. She installed in all 4 of us a love for reading- we all love to pick up and read for hours. Mom had silly jokes. And she was always laughing. She was the life of the party  and the center of attention without really knowing she was or trying to be. People Just gravitated towards her.
 I can recall a few mothers days. Again, I never really had much money to do much for mom. One year I made her a collage of a bunch of words that described her, all cut out of letters from magazines. When looking through mom's things, I found that. She kept it all these years.Wow. One year, me, my sister, and mom had "girl time." I remember taking silly pictures. We played games, just the 3 of us. We all did eachother's hair in pigtails and took pictures. (I have them in storage somewhere.) We ate food. We laughed. It was a good time. That was our mothers day with her that year. Last year mom came to church with me. Surprised me , actually. She and dad showed up unexpectedly. That was fun. This year dad will join me. I'll miss my mom more than words can say.
 Mom used to joke a little that her initials sounded out to "LAF" because she was always laughing (Linda Ann Ferguson). And it's so true....she ALWAYS had a smile. always. Here's a funny description. Have you ever seen Mary Poppins? Remember the old man at the bank who dies in the end because he laughs so hard? He was wheezing while laughing. Anyway, we used to kid mom and tell her she had the old man laugh. It was called that because  when she got to laughing, usually during a game or something of the sort, she would laugh so hard, she'd wheeze. And then we'd all start laughing just as hard. it was contagious. But we'd say she had the old man's laugh, and one day she may die of laughing too. That seems strange to type that. But you know what? one of the precious things I can call to mind now is that mom IS laughing again. She has no more pain. And she is laughing again.
 Mom was positive about everything. Seriously. I hope that I learn to have that same quality someday. I am certainly trying, but like I said in the last blog...it's hard for me sometimes. Mom was patient. She always listened. She very rarely yelled. She loved life. It was that simple.
 When mom was diagnosed, she was continually talking about how she'd beat it. And that it was ok. I remember the first time she told me she had cancer. We were sitting in Tim Hortons. And she was the one reassuring me! Even in her last months, she really did not complain about the pain or the suffering she was enduring. What an example she was to me. I think I cried more and I complained more about her cancer than she did.
 Mom loved songs. I spent hours  in the last months singing hymns with her. On trips, we would sing silly songs. Sometimes dad hated it, though he never verbalized it. He'd roll his eyes though. songs like..." there's a hole in my bucket" or "one dark night" or "i'm being swallowed by a boa constricter". Many, many times, I remember mom sitting at my bedside at night singing "I have decided to follow Jesus." Now I sing that to my kids. And think of mom every time. In fact, the kids did a recording of that song for the video for mom's funeral. It was precious.
 I could literally fill pages and pages on my mom. I miss her so much. This mothers day is a tough one. But I'm trying to celebrate her memory and carry out her legacy. Yes, there are many tears that go with this day, but she really would want me celebrating. So I am trying. She was my best friend. And I can only hope to be such a good of mom as she was. She was there for me for everything. When I had a miscarriage, mom was the one to understand the best, as she had lost a child herself after a full term pregnancy and giving birth. Now, this mothers day, Mom is with her son again. And she is with  the grandchild she (nor I ) ever met due to the miscarriage. And she is with her mom. One day I will be with her again too. But in the meantime, I am just trying to continue life one day at a time.
 So what else about my mom? she loved God with all her heart and lived it out fully. There are lots of hypocrits in this world. And many people who are judgemental. Mom was neither. You talk about faith being shown in ones life.... she lived it. and showed it. And was completely a definition of a true servant.
Mom loved rhubarb. And strawberry cake. And spaghetti. She loved doing crafts with the grandkids.
We lived with her for 9 months when we moved from Florida to here. I didn't understand one tiny bit why at first, God was moving us to a place I said I'd never move back to....but I am so glad He did. I had 3.5 wonderful years these last years with mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Living with mom and dad gave my kids some wonderful memories of mom, too. Mom spent hours and hours taking care of my kids. She didn't care if they were sick. Or if it was early or late at night. She just loved it. And so did my kids.
 Like I said, I could fill pages. I loved...and still love....my mom. It's a bond I will never have like that with any other person. And I miss her very much. Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

some days don't go as planned

Well, today has been "one of those days". You know what I'm talking about....everything just does not go as planned. We all have them. There is a part of me that has learned that there are much bigger things in life to be upset about than  broken machines, spilled drinks, long lines, airheaded people, and a non-functioning computer system. It's just that the other part of me that still gets upset about those things sometimes gets in the way. That was today.
 I knew it was going to be a rough day when I got a text last night at midnight telling me of all the broken things I would be coming into at work. Oh well, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Determined to have a good day when I woke up.....it didn't really go that way. But you know what? By the end of my shift today I was literally laughing at all the broken things. I could have cried when I totally spilled an iced grande mocha all over the counter today, with only half an hour to go. But I chose to laugh. I apologized to Megan, Carlos, Jerry , and well...everyone who had to wait due to my mistake. I laughed. And I moved on. I believe it's due to the many prayers of those I asked to pray when the day started out so badly and the aspect of learning to laugh instead of get mad. And the fact that little by little, as I get older, I'm learning it's true...there's no use crying over spilled milk...or broken machines....or , well, all those other things that went wrong in the day.
 Some other things don't go as planned. I haven't done my exercise yet today. I felt the desperate need for a nap when i got home, so I slept for 30 minutes. The day isn't over yet. I WILL get it in. It won't be running today, but it'll still happen. I knew it would be challenging some days to fit it in. Today is one of them.
  Other things don't go as planned. I never thought as a little girl that I'd ever lose my mom. This blog has become a place I can talk about that a little. People (you) can choose to read it or skip it. But I"m going to write it. I'll blog a lot about my mom tomorrow. It's mother's day, so she's on my mind even more than usual. I miss her. She learned many years ago that there are bigger things in life-that many things don't go as planned. I watched her over 28 years always just kind of take life as it came. Sure, there were hard days . Many of them. But she always viewed the glass half full. My brothers tell me, and they are right, I tend to look at it half empty. I'm trying to change that. I really want to change that. I'll be honest, some days it just isn't that easy. I started today feeling that way. Some call it a pity party. I just say I needed to change the view of my "glass". It's just coffee. It's just one day. IN the scheme of life, how much do those little things matter? It's really the eternal things that count. Mom was great at living that. I want to live out that truth, too.
 when the clock turned to 1:30 this afternoon, I was ready to leave. I will say I had some bright spots in the shift....Lynne, Tony, Deb, Jerry, and Judy all brought some fantastic smiles to my face today. MIchael came in for his doppio. And Chelsea came to visit me today, too. All of those moments were some good ones. So, hindsight, who really cares if there were things wrong and the day didn't go as planned. It builds character, right?
 I will now get my 30 min exercise in and then go spend some time with my kids and my dad tonight. It's going to be a good evening!Stay tuned tomorrow if you are so willing , to learn a little bit about my mom and all she instilled in me. It'll be my mother's day tribute to her. My way of remembering and trying to look at the holiday as "half full" instead of "half empty." wish me luck on that, because it's a tough one.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Encouraging others

I just typed an entire blog and then somehow lost it....that's annoying. So I'll try to remember all I said. Today I got some encouraging feedback on my blog. Rob A, a good friend and fellow runner ( a way better runner, I must say), gave me some really positive words about it. That was really nice, seeing as how this is a bit of a scary endeavor for me. Janet encouraged it. Valerie encouraged it. Jenny encouraged it. I got some really neat feedback. So...I've decided to keep up with it. I felt encouraged. So I'll keep going with it. That's usually all it takes to keep going with any new thing, isn't it? just a little encouragement.
  Recently I've been encouraging my friend, Bekah, to go running. It started because she told me she'd gone out on her own . I was so proud of her, and we got to talking about doing a 5K. Now she's locked and committed to doing that, so I'm trying to help her with her running. She started by saying she could never do 3 miles without stopping. I told her she could . So today she showed up at my door at 5:30 am and out we went. We did 30 minutes of jog/walk, and she did great! we did 2.25 miles. I was so excited for her/ so proud of her! And we will be doing a 5 K together in October. She may not learn to love running like I do, but I think she will finish the 5K. It was great to have a running partner this morning. And it was a great way to start the day. And it was fun helping her begin her journey.
  Speaking of encouraging others, I cannot write this blog without talking about my mom. She was one of my biggest encouragers in life...with everything I did, really. But with my running, too. Mom always believed in me like no one else. I miss her support. But I will never forget many of the wonderful encouraging words she spoke to me . Anyway, once she mentioned that of her 4 kids, she never thought that I  would become the one to run half marathon races. HA! neither did I :) but we had some good conversations over that. And she had many encouraging words to offer me following those words. Mom never made it to any of my races. Each time one came around, mom was too sick from treatments or recovering from surgery or too tired from teh cancer to make it out for one. But that's ok. She never failed to call me and ask about it.She always enjoyed more than anyone looking through my pictures and  admiring my medals. And she ALWAYS made me feel like I'd won first place.Back in November, soon after mom took a really bad turn, I talked with her about my desire to do a full marathon in September. Mom couldn't speak, but as I talked about it, she nodded her head and made head motions and when she regained some speech she told me "you can do it". So for her I will do the full marathon in September.She always believed in me. And encouraged me. I do hope i can encourage others as she did for me. and as Rob and Janet and Rob and Becky have done for me with my blog. One day at a time.
 I'm attempting to include some pictures on this blog from my last race. I ran a half marathon 2 weeks to the day after mom died. It was one of the hardest races I've ever done, since my training hadn't been quiete up to par. And I was pretty emotionally spent. But also one of the most meaningful. I could have backed out. No one would've thought twice about that.. But it was good therapy for me. And mom would've wanted me to do it. So I wore a shirt in her memory.
 I hope that maybe this blog will encourage you today to not give up. Or that maybe your words mean more to someone than you think. Like I said yesterday, writing is not my gift. But I guess I'll keep going with it, due to some encouraging words.
 ps, today was day 2 of my 21 days straight of exercising. I am tired due to a long day, but my body feels good. I look forward to a run tomorrow. AND to having a day off from work.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trial Blog

As if I don't have enough things in my life, or enough pages to check when I'm on the internet, I decided for some unknown reason to try out a blog. Sometimes I may blog something silly. Or something that no one else may care about. Some days I might get really personal.
 A blog is a tricky thing, because it is the beginning of allowing people I may not even know all that well into the cracks of my life. But it also something that could be used by God to help someone. So, I'm giving it a shot. I am no writer by any means. BUT i am on quite a journey, and maybe something I have to say may be helpful to someone. Or make someone laugh. Or maybe I'll learn to laugh at myself in the process.
 I guess we'll see how long this lasts. Seriously, I work full time at Starbucks. I am a mother of 2 children. I'm a wife. I am a runner. I am grieving and trying to figure life out now with having just lost my mom. So....it goes without saying that I have a lot of things in life. I journal on my own...and I probably won't get quite as personal here as I do in my own journal. That's between me and God mostly. But, I'll try this out.
 Today I started a 21 day adventure of sorts, inspired by my friend, Jenny. She is someone I've known for 10 years. And she is a gift to me. We lost touch for a bit-she lives in Florida and I in Ohio. But through running and through God's amazing ways, we've reconnected and she means so much to me. Anyway, the 21 day adventure mostly is about doing 21 days straight of exercise for 30 minutes straight. I am a runner, but i take days off. So this will be an interesting test for me. But i'm excited for it. It's a very healthy outlet for me.  Not to mention it will help not only my waistline, but more so, my spirits-emotionally and physically. Anyway, Jenny is my partner in this. Today was day 1. Since I plan to run my first full marathon in September, today was the start to start that training. (i've done half marathons, so it's not like i'm starting from nothing.) So for today I took the kids and the dogs to an empty parking lot nearby and I did a sprint workout . Basically 60 sec. sprints, 30 sec slowdown and so forth.It's not the technical way of doing speed workouts, but having both the kids and the dogs there, it worked for today for a 30 minute workout. It felt good to be outside. Felt good to sprint til my head hurt. Felt good to watch the kids participating in their own way without knowing it. Good start.
 My blog url title Java Jogger comes from a title I came up with for my team at Relay for Life...the American Cancer Society's event to raise money to fight cancer. I started a team last year. This year I have a team again, and the meaning is even stronger after losing my mom to the ugly disease. And next year I'll have a team there again, but I'll also be chairing the event. That's another story for another day. For now, I close with a verse that was always read off to me as a runner, but has truly taken on a totally new meaning to me and one that I now count as a "life verse" and true goal
 1 Corinthians 9:24-26
 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?Run in such a way that you may obtain it.And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. NOw they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty.Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring int into subjection lest, when I have preached to others , I myself should become disqualified."