To read the story that goes with this picture, click here!
Have you ever heard a story that sounded as bad as this picture looks? You know one of those tragic true stories where just thinking about it makes you cringe? It seems I have heard of several of those heart breaking, life-altering, teeth grinding, heart peircing situations lately. Seems like there is lots of hurt in the world.
In most of these situations I don't know the people that well but my heart hurts for them. I have blogged about my confusion over the heart felt, right Christian response to tragedy. It's something I struggle with, balancing compassion and sympathy with a positve outlook.
However, other peoples tragedies serve to remind to me that my life is good and I am blessed. They remind me that we all, every last human on the planet, NEED God. We all NEED to serve him. We live in a fallen imperfect world. The only perfection any of us will ever know is through the blood of Christ. The closest to perfect I will ever be is when I bow before him.
All my life I have heard that death is the great leveler, meaning all are equal in the face of death. I have not found that to be true, at least from this side of death. I have known people who died terrible deaths while others seemed to die with ease and peace. I think Christ is the great leveler.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God ~ the rich, the poor, the strong, the weak, the smart, the dumb, the big and the small...ALL All need Christ. I love that thought. It comforts me when I feel unworthy, encourages me when I feel down, inspires me when I feel drab, and it humbles me when I feel boastful. We ALL need God. ALL!
On a somewhat seperate note, the baby I talked about Sunday is doing better. They are slowly weaning her off the respirator and the oxygen and hoping she will be home in a week or so. My friends parents are back from their cruise. I think my friend went home from the hospital yesterday... I can't imagine how hard it would be to go home with out your baby! But overall, things are looking better.
These precious little babies are all miracles! We forget that don't we? As a parent you don't ever want to hear that anything is wrong with your baby, not even temporarily. Being a parent has done more to show me my complete dependence on God than anyother thing in my life. Heaven help all who venture into the wonderful but sometimes heart wrenching world of parenthood!
There is a mother/daughter girls night out at church tonight. Kolby is so excited. NO ONE enjoys a party more than my little girl!Wonder where she gets that? :)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I just returned from the Texas State PTA Summer Seminar in Austin. It was a great weekend but a very tiring weekend. I was privileged to go to five outstanding classes. Three on parenting, one on dyslexia/ADD, and one on appreciation. I also got to spend a few hours in the Exhibits hall talking to all sorts of vendors, promoters, child advocacy groups, educational product salesmen and fundraiser. Our group collected quite a stash of samples and brochures...much to weed through. We were also given all sorts of free stuff! I have an entire bag of cool stuff!
Conventions like that are fun to me. It's a bit of a high. I love to watch all the people and get into the speaker sessions. It's a little like camp was for me when I was younger. I drove back today with my head spinning with new ideas for our PTA and for Rob and I to try with the kids.
The parenting classes were so good. My favorite was led by a man named Dennis Mitchell. He was funny and straight forward. None of that pie in the sky parent theory junk. Just practical, logical, easy to implement parenting patterns. He was an excellent presenter. He had everyone in the room (about 300) in stitches! I'll talk more about this later.
Besides the conference being so good, it was just fun to get away and get to know some of my fellow PTA buddies better. Last night five of us ate at PF Changs. YUM!!! It was so fun because we all ordered something different and shared. It was so good. So many laughs! Good, food, good friends, good times. Our PTA pays for the board ( or whoever wants to go from the board) seminar fee, and gives us enough for lunch. I think that is generous! I almost feel guilty because most of my sessions were about parenting issues...but really that is part of what PTA is for, to provide parents with resources to be better parents.
I learned that the state of Texas estimates the value of an hour of volunteer work to be $18. Based on that figure it is estimated that volunteers donate 20 million dollars worth of volunteer time to Texas schools every year. That number is thought to only be half of its' real value since only 46 present of all Texas school districts track their volunteer hours. This also does not include volunteer hours from private schools. I makes me feel better about the world to know so many parents and community members volunteer in our schools.
Back on the home front... Rob held down the fort with the kids. They had a great weekend that included buying a clearanced Star Wars Slip-n-Slide from Target, renting movies and dinner at the ever popular Chuck E Cheese! WHAT A DAD! It is so nice to be able to go away for the weekend and not worry for a minute about my kids. Rob has never once acted as if keeping the kids was a burden. I don't have to leave written instructions, ask my Mom to help him, lay out clothes, or leave pre-cooked meals in the frig. I just get myself ready, leave, and call at bedtime. Rob can handle it! Sadly I have friends whose husbands can't. I think that is just sad. LOVE YA' HONEY!!!
Must unpack and do laundry. This week we are going to start trying to do all those things we want to get done before school starts. (Only three more weeks! YIKES!!!...deep breathes....) Tomorrow we are off to the Children's Museum after Kolby's camp. Then we have a birthday/swim party tomorrow night. The rest of the week is pretty busy with activities every day and night... but for the first time in 6 weeks none of us plan to leave town... Of course the week is young! Have a great week blog world!
P.S. I have a friend in Plano who delivered a little girl two weeks early last night. From what I understand, the baby has had lots of breathing problems and as of late this afternoon was put on a breathing machine (a vent I think)to help slow her respirations per minute and let her lungs rest and finish developing. No one has said the baby won't be ok, but it is so hard to watch a tiny baby have to go through all this when you just want them to be ok and go home! PLEASE pray for them. I am not comfortable posting their names as I know they have not yet been able to reach all their family. (My friends parents are on an Alaskan cruise!) So just pray for K, C and baby L. I think God will know who you are talking about! Thank you!!!
Friday, July 22, 2005
I seem to be surrounded by pregnant people or people who have just had a baby. Talking with them has taken me back to when Kolby and Rhett were born. I feel very sentimental about my children's baby days...and its hard to admit that they are over. One of my pregnant cousins is going to be induced next week. Talking to her last night reminded me of those precious moments after Kolby was born. They were so full of anticipation, emotion, and honestly a little fear.
The minute I saw Kolby I expected to feel instantly bonded. Truthfully, I didn't... though I was completely amazed by her! It was overwhelming to know that the bundle of pink baby girl in my arms had formed and grown inside me. It sounds sorta silly I guess, but most of my pregnancy with Kolby I just felt sick, swollen, and fat. It wasn't until Kolby was born that I truly appreciated my pregnancy. It's strange to say, but I remember finding it hard to believe she was mine. Yes, I was right there and witnessed her coming out of my body, but still it took some time to absorb.
Kolby's eyes were wide open the minute after she was born. She really didn't cry much. Her face was all squishy and her nose looked huge because it was flat to her face. Her whole face was a little swollen and puffy. My mother kept saying how pretty she was.. I kept very quiet. I remember everyone coming in and holding her. I remember thinking it all didn't feel real and I kept wondering if I would wake up to find it had all been a dream(it was only 5am).
But what I remember most were those tiny baby blue eyes looking back at me. Kolby looked at me as if she understood the miracle that had just occurred better than any of us, and she was waiting for us to catch up. Kolby was born looking confident. I know that sounds crazy, but if you know her, it isn't much of a stretch.
When it was time to feed her, the room cleared and it was just me, Rob, Kolby and the nurse. I was panicked at the thought of nursing, but the nurse and the baby knew just what to do! About ten minutes later Kolby drifted off to sleep and Rob took her off to the nursery to get all cleaned up. When they left I sat in bed and cried. I can't tell you why I cried, hormones I think, but I cried until I feel asleep.
An hour or so later Rob brought Kolby back in. If he hadn't been with her the whole time I would have sworn they switched babies! This time she really did look beautiful! Her face wasn't swollen. Her little head had already started to look more round and less squished.. and her nose wasn't so big after all.
It suddenly hit me that I was a Mommy. Her Mommy. I cried again. Rob just laughed at me. We slowly started making phone calls letting everyone know "It's a girl!" I think we woke up many that morning, but no one griped!
Baby Kolby, just four hours old!
Fast forward 7 years, 5 months and 9 days.... Kolby is watching Kim Possible and eating jelly toast that she made herself. She is wearing light pink Pj's with hot pink feathery cuffs. She talks a mile a minute about everything. She still has that confident gleam in her eye. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?
Rob mentioned that Kolby would be going to college in ten years the other night. I can't even think about that. My mind can not reach that far. But it made me realize that everyday with Kolby and Rhett is a gift. There are no days to waist. It will all be over way too soon!
So on that note I am off to make some memories with my two precious gifts from God. I hope you too make a memory with your blessings today!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The kids and I rolled in to Waco yesterday evening around 6:30pm. Isn't it funny how just four or so days away can make you look at your little world differently? Last night as we drove in our driveway I was pleasantly surprised by the red brick house before me. For months I have only seen the grass in the beds and trim that needed painting. But yesterday when I drove in I just saw my home ... and it looked good.
We went to Arkansas last Thursday to visit my good friend Susan and family who moved to Arkansas almost two years ago. We had never been to their neck of the woods and it was way past "our turn"!!! Susan was sweet enough to send us passes on Southwest so we could fly instead of drive. This was my kids first time to fly and one of their few trips out of Texas. Despite the three hour delay on our flight Thursday, both kids loved the airplane. Rhett complained that his "ears weren't normal" during our decent, but over all they did great!
Arkansas (or at least the Conway/Little Rock area) is so pretty to me. I love the trees and the hills. It rained every day we were there. Susan's husband was working from Friday to Monday and was not home. (He is a pilot.) So what did we do with four kids with four straight days of on and off rain storms? We re-decorated and reorganized several rooms in Susan's house!
That wasn't the plan at all, but that is what happened. We mainly focused on converting their playroom to an office. We decided we would pull a "while you were out" thing for Susan's husband Mark. Several late nights and a few hundred dollars later, we stood quite proudly in the new office. It is almost weird to me how much I actually enjoy decorating and organizing other peoples homes! It seems so much easier than doing my own. Am I the only one who feels that way?
I would post before and afters pictures ...but I'll leave that to Susan since it is her house. Go over to her blog and bug her to post pictures if you want. I wish I could have seen the look on Mark's face when he walked in late Monday night to see what all we had done. He told me himself that he loved it. Susan said he even mentioned something about a spa weekend.... Mark if you read this....I'm all over that idea!
And what were the children doing while the decorating divas did their thing? Miracle of miracles I have never seen four kids play so well for so long together. Susan and I were both amazed and very grateful. We did make it to the pool one day and we ate out a lot. Rhett loved playing with boys and with big boy toys. I think Kolby loved being the only girl, and therefore Queen. It was a great visit.
Meanwhile back in Waco, we are un packing and continuing the "clean and organize" campaign I began several weeks ago. It has been a slow go since three of the four of us have been out of town every weekend for over a month now, but we are trying.
In other Grosz news, Kolby let me pull her loose tooth today. That's tooth number 10 if anyone is keeping track. The tooth fairy is going to have to rob a bank to keep up with Miss Kolby. We all go to the dentist next week. I have a feeling he will soon refer my small mouthed, extra toothed child over to an orthodontist...and yes, she is only seven!
I guess that about covers it. Ever had one of those times when you are constantly doing things and going but it doesn't seem like much is going on? That is where I am.. Perhaps it's denial... Anyway good to be back and wish me luck with the projects... Less than one month until school starts. You don't know the panic fear and dread that sentence just produced in me!!! Take care blog world! :)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
A year ago today my distant cousin Nicholas Whitaker died in a Dallas hospital while waiting for a second liver transplant. His heart couldn't take the strain and it stopped. He has been memorialized many times since then. I talked about him on this blog a lot last year so I won't repeat all the details. I just couldn't let this anniversary go by with out recognizing him and the loss of his precious life. He died way too soon. He is missed by all who loved and knew him. We'll never forget you Nick!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Usually when I take a break from blog world it's because I can't think of anything to say. This week it has been the complete opposite! Too much to say... Every time I sit down to blog, I don't know where to start and have to get up and go again.. Today has been a bit slower paced.
I've said before I love the lazy days of summer but am not to fond of the heat... I think I need to move to Canada. Do they have heat index of 106 in Canada? Actually it is a bit cloudy today and a little less furnace-like.
Kolby has completed three days of Camp Success and loves it. She is very proud to be a Baylor student telling a new little friend who asked where she goes to school "Right now I go to Baylor but normally I just go to Spring Valley." That girl! She always makes me smile... In between the times she makes me see red and want to pull my hair out! :) I have had many a weepy mommy moment in the past few weeks realizing how much my baby girl has grown up. I would swear she was just learning to walk yesterday...Where does the time go?
As far as the Rhett report goes.. He is happy as a clam! He loves Mothers Day Out, swimming, movies and all the time he gets to spend with his big sister. He is also acting so big lately! Today he called me from my Moms house on the phone by himself. He talked for a minute before I realized it was Rhett not Kolby! They sound just alike on the phone but I clued in when he asked me to bring his trains over. Rhett currently has a black eye. We have no idea how/when he got it. He is such a rough and tumble little guy that it could have happened a dozen different ways! This summer Rhett has fallen in love with traveling! We will take our fourth trip in four weeks this weekend... That is more than we usually average in six months!
Last weekend we went to our big Fort Worth reunion. Saturday night we ate with 6 other families who we met at church when we first moved to Fort Worth. These people became the core of our Fort Worth friends. When we met, our group consisted of 7 couples, a 3 year old, and a new born. Now our group has grown to 7 couples and 18 children- 17 of those are 8 or under! Though some of us had not been together in three years, there were no awkward moments or strange silences. We all just picked up where we left off. It is truly a blessing to have friends like that! Below is a picture of most of the kids (4 are missing).
As I sat there with my best Fort Worth friends I felt like I was home. These ladies and I became mommies together. We were young married career girls when we met. In less than a year we were all stay home Moms. (OK, one friend had a 3 year old when we met but she worked full time. When we were having our first babies, she had her second and stayed home from then on.) Our husbands became daddies and the sole bread winners of our households at the same time. Our kids played together in their cribs and were each others first little friends. I get all teary-eyed just thinking about it.
We weathered pregnancy, playgroups, baby showers, Gymboree sales, photo ops, bunco, BIRTHDAY PARTIES, carnivals, church splits, miscarriages, second babies, and Bible Studies together. When we celebrated, when we mourned, or when life was just ho-hum normal, these friends were there. Our families did guy's nights, date nights, girls nights and family outings together. Four of our families had no family in the Fort Worth area so we were all like a family to each other. It was a very special time in our lives.
I don't think I will ever have another group of friends like that again. Not to say that I don't have great friends now because I do and the circle widens every year we live here. It's just that the Fort Worth group formed at such a formative time in my marriage, my adulthood, my parenthood and in my spiritual walk. I think of Fort Worth as my own private Bethlehem, the place my family was born. We were so blessed to have such a great group of Christian friends at that very unique time in our lives.
And even though we don't live down the road, or get together like we once did, these friends continue to be so important to me. We e-mail and call each other. We pray for each other and marvel at how fast our kids are growing. If I have a deep deep concern I know I can pick up the phone and call one of these friends and they will listen and be there. We keep up with each other through each other. I have no doubt that we will always be connected because of all that we shared and continue to share... Not just in life experience but through Christ. Godly friends. What a blessing!
Lord, Thank you for bringing friends in to my life and planting them firmly in my heart. Thank you for the example and encouragement they are to me. I pray our children will be friends and have the type of friendships we share. May we bring each other closer to you as the years bring us closer to each other! And thank you for all my old and new blog friends. What a blessing they are to me as well! It is so exciting and comforting to think that someday we will all be at home with you!
That's all the time I have for now. Starting tomorrow I'll be out of town again for a few days.. Have a great weekend blog world!
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
This picture is from Destin Florida. It was in an AP story about the damage in Florida from Dennis. It reminds me of a comment Mike Cope made on his blog about the Cof C signs you see on the outskirts of so many towns. Wonder how the church faired in the storm?
Monday, July 11, 2005
Last year I shared this picture from our Fort Worth friends reunion here in Waco.
Here are the FW friends one year later at our reunion this past weekend in Fort Worth. Baby Brooke made her reunion debut! We had an incredible time and loved seeing these precious friends. Honestly I feel more like they are our Fort Worth Family More later!
PS I just finished un-installing HELLO from my computer! The new blogger photo thing is too cool! Last month I learned to download pictures from the camera. This month the blogger photo thing...my pictures feel so liberated! :)
Friday, July 08, 2005
I wrote this Thursday after watching all the coverage n the London Bombings... I wasn't going to publish it as it is a little more opinionated and darker than my normal Mommy post. However, I decided that I would post this because I plan to publish this blog into a book for my family someday. I want those who come after me to know how pointless I think all this violence is and how ticked off I get when I see people hurt for no reason!
To the terrorist:
I don't get it. I must be really slow. Somehow I don't see how bombing subways and buses in London, Spain and Moscow further your cause. Who are you and really, what was your point? If you were trying to make a political statement...All you have said is that you are ruthless killers who have have no regard for life. Not too PC a statement to make if you are trying to get the world to see you as anything other than crazy.
If you were trying to wage war, who were you waging war against? The single Mom of three who had just dropped her kids off at a daycare and who was going to work to be able to feed them that night? Did you you think you would get the worlds respect by killing a 79 year old man who was on his way to see his wife in the hospital? All you have gained is more of the worlds disdain. You blew-up some trains and a bus and made a big mess. Now what? Do you truly think the world is going to listen to you and meet whatever selfish demands you make? Yeah right.
You only created a greater rift. You only further alienated yourself from anyone who values life. You may have killed a lot of people and hurt even more, but in the end you have hurt your cause more and sealed your fate as murders who must be hunted down and stopped. If you were aiming for the sympathy of the world and attention to your cause...You sorely miscalculated. Really, what did you think this would accomplish?
AS to the big bad USA hype that you like to promote these days.. No nation is perfect. All nations are under God, not just ours. No nation is going to be able to please everyone in the world. As Americans we have things in our past that we are ashamed of...What people/nation doesn't? Your childrens children will bear the burden of what you did today. You will be their shame. Does the USA have a great responsibility to the world? Yes! But it is a responsibility shared by all peoples and nations of the world. How are you handling that responsibility?
It is clearly wrong to plant bombs in trains to kill people who have no idea who you are or what it is that you want. It is really stupid to think that this terror thing will work for long. Yes, you will hurt lots of people. You will kill innocent people all over the world. You will bathe your request in the blood of people you do not know. In doing so your message, or whatever it was, will be completely lost.
All that will be seen is the blood of our loved ones and allies, the blood of people you did not know and who had never personally done anything to you. You are giving the world cause to despise you. You are ruining any bit of credibility you might have had. By committing wrongs worse than any committed towards you, you have become that which you say you are against.
No God would condone your actions. No civilized people will tolerate it. A hundred years from now, if you have not come to your senses, changed your ways, and realized the value of each human soul predestined to walk this earth, your people will be hated, despised, and if there is hope for our world, eradicated. You will kill yourselves and whatever message you had will die with you.
Hate begets hate, so I will not let myself hate you. I pray that your hearts will be touchedand you will stop using acts of terror as a mode of communication. I pray for your sakes, and ours, you will find a new voice and a new method... For the choice you have made is just madness.
Thank God that this is not all there is! Heaven is a promise I cling to during times such as these. But God did not put us on this planet to die, he put us here to live. While we are here we all have the charge to love each other and help those who need help. Loving each soul, even the souls of those who have gone mad and who have hurt us, is our lifes work and goal. God help us all to reach that goal!
May God show you more mercy than you have shown today. May we all work and pray towards an end to this madness!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I can do that in my kitchen now without feeling like I am in a bar. Everything now has that ozone clean almost chlorine like smell...but we're not complaining. It amazes me that there is an invention that can scrub the air. I wonder why we don't have skyscraper size machines like this to scrub the air in our environment?
"Breathe" is also my favorite Michael W Smith song. Still wish Zoe would "do " that one! It is amazing to think of salvation as the air we breathe. Must go find that CD!
Well that's it for now. Short and sweet. Makes up for yesterdays long winded post. Happy Wednesday!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Happy 4th of July everyone!
Hope all of you had a great Independence Day! As a tradition, our family descended on my aunt and uncles house and pool, in China Spring for the afternoon. As is also our custom, there was lots of good food. I took my potato salad. We had a fun day of cannonballs, diving, and cousins drenching each other in the pool. After we ate and watched a little Star Wars ( yes we are all SW geeks) we drove in towards the Lake and watched the fireworks. There was a bigger display downtown at the river (where we usually go) but, the Lake fireworks seemed enough this year. We had a great 4th!
Oh and about that potato salad...My cousin Ashley told me to just go buy some at HEB in the tub already made. I should have listened to her, but no, late Sunday afternoon I put a huge pot of potatoes on to boil so I could make home-made potato salad for Monday. Sunday evening we went to a cookout at our neighbors down the street. My potatoes weren't done so I set the alarm on my cell and planned to walk back down and turn the potatoes off in 30 minutes.
We had a great time at the cook out! We have great neighbors who we always enjoy visiting. Rhett and Kolby had a blast in the pool with all the neighborhood kids. About 9pm we wandered back down the street. I heard Rob yell something as he opened our front door but, I wasn't sure what he said as he was a ways in front of me. Then I noticed the smoke billowing out the door. Still it did not register. Finally Kolby ran out of the house and informed me I had forgotten the potatoes. OOoopps!
Luckily nothing burned but the potatoes and the pot. I am very VERY grateful that I did not burn down the house making potato salad!!! We have some smoke damage, but nothing too terrible. But, OH what a smell!!! Evidently cigarettes and potatoes give off the same aroma when burned because our house smells like a bar at midnight...
I am typing this from across the street at my parent's while two big ozone machines from my Uncle's restoration business work to scrub the air in our house. Ozone is great for scrubbing the air but, not so good for lungs. We are to stay out the house for the rest of the day. I am hoping that the smell is gone by the time we come home from Rob's softball games tonight. Never a dull moment!
I was totally disgusted at having to stay away from the house today because, as I mentioned last week, I am in full closet clean-out mode. I have tackled two closets and a mountain of items have been hauled off to Good Will and such... But there are still four or five more closets/areas to go. I had planned on getting a lot accomplished during this last day of MDO before Kolby goes to Camp Success next week. I was really grumpy about it all.
When dropping my kids off at Mother's Day Out this morning, I ran into a friend who just hung up her cell from a call from her husband telling her he had been laid off. They have three kids and had just come home from a 9 day vacation. She was beyond shock. Please pray for my friend if you get a chance. I feel so bad for her and for her family! Her awful news put my day into perspective.
This morning I woke up and grumped around because my house smells and I have to stay way from it all day. How dare I? I am blessed way beyond what I deserve to even have a house as nice as ours. The fact that I only made it stink and did not burn it down is another great blessing! We have so much. All this reminded me to give thanks for all we have and to choose to live happily in this moment because today is a gift! We don't know what will happen tomorrow, but there is usually more to rejoice and give thanks for than there is to mourn. In my down time out of the house this blessed day I am going to take time to give thanks and rejoice for all the good in my life. Anyone care to join me?
Happy 5th of July everyone!
Friday, July 01, 2005
For the first time in over two years I have had the house to myself overnight. Yesterday and today are the hottest days of the year to date with a heat index of 102. Last night, while in full closet clean out mode, the air conditioner's fan motor died! It was a balmy 87 degrees in here by 10 o'clock. I called the air condtioner people this morning and they had the air up and working by noon today...but still, I can't help but wonder if I should take all this as a sign to stop cleaning? :)