8 month old Eleanor

My Dearest Little Elly,

This letter is very delayed, as we have lost a very special person to us. Your Grandy, my mom, passed away on October 5, and we buried her on your 8 month birthday October 8th. Your momma has been overwhelmed with sadness, questions, and busyness and although I have never forgotten about you for one second, it has been hard to find the time to write you a letter. Your Grandy called you Elly. She would say I have my Emmy and my Elly and she loved you so, so much. You will grow up not knowing her, but I will try to keep her memory alive for you. She was a spit fire, much like you. She was loud, much like you. She was fearless, much like you. She loved big, and she loved people, much like you. She was so happy you were here. She had prayed for you and prayed for you, that’s what she told me. And in fact, the very last voicemail I have saved from her on my phone, is her calling to check on you when you were sick last month. When you’re older, I’ll show you a video of you and her. I’ll show you a video of when I told her I was pregnant with you. I’ll let you hear her voice as she called to check on you. But for now, we carry on. That’s the cycle of life. We lose life and we gain new life and it is truly a beautiful thing that we experience while we are here on this earth. It’s not something we ever want to think about, but you will experience losing your mom too. Hopefully it will be a long, long, very long time. Having you at my age does make our time together much shorter, it’s just our reality, but we are going to embrace it, live it up, and relish every day we have together! That’s what we’re doing so far and we will keep on finding the happiness, joy and love on this side of Heaven. I’m so happy you are here. You and your sister keep me going. You both are who I live for, and you occupy my mind and my time during this season of grief.

This month, you gained 2 new teeth on top. You learned how to crawl properly. You began eating table food mostly. Your hair sticks straight up and you kinda remind me of a Fraggle, haha. You’ll have to look that up someday. You give the best expressions ever and you are absolutely the cutest! You have the chunkiest little legs and you are healthy and happy, and I think God for that.

You are still such a busy little girl. A full time job. Full of life. You are not afraid to be heard. You let people know what you need. You are observant and very smart. You are a grabby little thing and your dad said you would make a good pickpocket you are so sneaky and fast about it! You are pulling up and trying to navigate around the furniture, but you are so wobbly someone has to be with you constantly. You do not sleep as you must be afraid you’ll miss out on something. You hurt yourself numerous times a day and you must have the hardest head of anybody around by now. God bless you. You’ve taken 2 really big tumbles and you usually have a bruise on your head or face. You are a bit overambitious, trying new stuff before you are ready. You have learned to point your little finger, click your tongue, and now clap and patty cake. You think it’s great to learn new things and you practice them for several days and then just stop and find something else to do. You absolutely love your bath time and when I lay you down, you kick and kick and kick until your face is covered from the splashes jumping up on you. Outside is one of your favorite activities and you are usually very pleasant when you are outside.

You are just a joy, my little love. You will keep me young that’s for sure. You are here for a reason and a purpose and I can’t wait to see who you grow into. I am looking forward to so many fun adventures with you, my darling. New memories are to be made. I love you more than you could ever know.

Love,

Mama

xoxo

7 month old Eleanor

You’ve been blessing our lives for more than 7 months Eleanor and we think you hung the moon! This month has been quite an adventure for you. Unfortunately, you had your first really bad sick spell and got Covid. It really knocked you back for several days and had us very worried. We were all sick and if you weren’t sleeping, you were crying and it was just so, so hard. So hard. I had just decided that was how it was going to be from there on out. That you were a miserable grouch and there wasn’t anything to do but tolerate it. That I would just have an unhappy child who grew into an unhappy adult. I was sure glad I didn’t name you Joy, because you were anything but. You’ve got a real optimistic mom, don’t you? It was the virus, it just zapped us all.

But you finally got over your fever, pulled through the old nasty virus, and lo and behold, a smile reemerged on that sweet face of yours and it hasn’t left it yet. We were all relieved when you turned the corner and it helped us all get better. You have the sweetest smile, and you have the cutest little smirks too. You have a twinkle in your eyes and a mischievous disposition.

You pay attention to everything and are observant to your surroundings, whether it’s watching someone walk through the room, hearing a car pass by while outside, or listening to the clock chime. You usually stop what you are doing to check it all out with your big eyes.

You are not crawling yet; this month has been spent with lots of love and snuggle time, but you sure are wanting to stand up. You are trying your best to grab our legs and pull yourself up and if we are holding you, you are standing in our laps. I can’t wait to watch you grow and learn.

You have the sweetest little laugh that’s more like a cough than a laugh and you are super grabby, taking hold of everything and anything you want before we even know what’s happening. You had your 7 month sticker pulled off and wadded up in your mouth faster than I could say licketysplit. You are starting to eat more and lately are loving avocados and potatoes.

You’re a little busy body, but man we are so glad you are and are so happy to have you back to your old self. I can’t believe you’re already 7 months and these next few months are going to be so fun, I can hardly wait! We love you so very much, little one. Thanks for coming and choosing us!

May be an image of baby and indoor

6 month old Eleanor

Dearest Little El–

You are now six months old! What fun you are! You are growing by leaps and bounds too. At your doctor’s appointment, here were your stats: you weighed in at 16 lbs 13 oz. They said that is about the 70th percentile in weight. And you measured 27 inches long. You know what they said? They said you were kind of tall. That you are in the 90th percentile for height. I laughed and asked them if they have seen your parents? I’m really feeling there was an error here somewhere, but I’ve been wrong before. If you turn out tall, it will be an unexpected surprise for sure! Time will tell, and you are uniquely you.

No matter, you are truly perfect in every way and are bringing everyone around you such joy. You went on a trip this month. It was your first really long car ride. You didn’t really love traveling and got awfully tired of your car seat. We went to visit your aunt, uncle and cousins up in Farmington NM. We took a little trip to Durango, CO where you took your first hike in the mountains. You absolutely loved that mountain air and the beauty around you, especially when you got out of the carrier and rode on your dad’s shoulders. You like it when you are bigger than everyone. You do love outside, that’s for sure. Each day we go out and sit in the shade so you can watch the world moving around you. You also made your first visit to the waterpark with your sister and some friends. It was fun to sit in the kiddie pool and let you splash. Next year, I might not be able to keep up. You do enjoy the water and bath time is one of your favorite activities.

What else is new with you? You have 2 pearly whites on the bottom, you are sitting alone, you are scooching backwards when you are on your tummy and turning a full 360 learning to move around. Crawling is right around the corner. You love to stand up so we got you one of those Johnny Jumparoo things that hang in the doorway. You jump and jump and jump in that thing. We also put you in a walker since you love to stand and you jump in that too. You just might be part jackrabbit.

This isn’t new, but you truly love your hands. You have the cutest mannerisms of holding onto your left thumb or putting your thumb down on a surface and twisting your hand back and forth, you bite the tip of your little thumb, press your little thumbs together, and this isn’t new, but you are practicing your pageant wave. It is so cute how you wave at everything and everyone! Side to side, like a little beauty queen. You reach, grab, hold, and pull on everything. Your hands work hard all day long.

You get really excited for your books and this makes your momma’s heart happy, because I love books too! I am trying to raise you as a reader because the sky is the limit then. You love when I sing Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, one named Jack and one named Jill. Fly away Jack, Fly away Jill. Come back Jack, come back Jill. Sometimes you use your little sweet fingers and fly them away too. You are trying out new foods now. You like dinnertime with the family and are learning how to open up and we are practicing drinking from a glass, which is not going so well I might add. But you’ll get it! You are enjoying pumpkin, squash, and bananas the most for now.

Your hair still stands straight up in a fuzzy little halo and is the most darling, comical thing I’ve ever seen. You are just a doll baby and are a happy girl. You laugh out loud and smile. You have a funny sense of humor and aren’t a bit inhibited in your movements or your voice at all. You like to move and you like to be heard. You talk, yell, and cry loudly. You are a little busy body and you love life while learning and exploring all the things your body can do and the world around you.

You are loved so much. The English language does not hold the words adequate enough to express how loved you are by your family. You are keeping us on our toes and reminding us about fun. Emma said you are discovering goofball island (from the movie Inside Out). It’s a fun place to visit. We needed you to take us there again. It’s good for us. You are good for us. We are so glad you are here!

Much love until next month,

XOXO

Mommy

Eleanor Beth 5 months old!

Dear Ella Beth,

Another month has come and gone and you are still fabulous! Listen kid, time is flying. I will tell you from experience, that most of your life, it will seem like the seconds, hours, months, and even years are passing at a snail’s pace, but when you get to be my age, you better hold on to your hat because there is no holding on to time. It is a beautiful thing actually, and such a gift. Some people say time is a thief. But don’t believe that. It is really how you look at it. Just cherish each moment that you are given, sweet girl. Make memories and recognize that beauty is in the everyday, ordinary doings of life.

We sure are cherishing each moment with you because we know how quickly you grow, and growing you are! You are a bundle of JOY! You smile at practically everyone, and laugh very easily. I have the feeling you already love life and I hope you always will! You are not always sunshine and unicorns, though. You can flip a switch and be as mad as the dickens and we’re usually caught saying “what happened?” There’s also times, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Like when we lay you down and you don’t want to be put down, so you start to cry, and then you see our face and it makes you happy, so you start to laugh and then it’s all very confusing to you. Emotions can be tricky. And you have some big ones already. You also have a very serious face you wear, and it seems like you are always thinking. You are a very observant baby, watching and looking and studying.

You really enjoy outside, and the weather is so nice this summer that we spend a lot of time out there. I take your little bouncer seat out and set it under the oak tree in the backyard. You love to watch the leaves dance in the breeze and you study the shadows jumping around. Some of your other favorite activities are your bath where you splash and play and get a little bit out of control at times, and you love to lay on your changing pad and get your diaper changed. It’s like your happy place.

You’re super cute too! Most people say you look like your daddy. Your eyes are definitely turning brown and your hair is the best! It is fuzzy and super short and you look like a model for a 4 year old’s drawing. The way they just put a bunch of spikes on top of the head for the hair. That’s how you look! You even have about 3 longer hairs right up on top that love to stand at attention. It’s adorable.

This month you found your little piggies and they are so fascinating to you and you learned to roll from back to tummy. But you can’t get yourself back the other way yet. It’s a little bit out of order, but you go ahead and do it your way baby girl! You are wanting to get places on your tummy and your using your legs and pushing off to try to get going. You are practicing sitting up with support and can sometimes last as long as a bull rider, the one who drew the rankest bull out there. All these skills are keeping you busy, but not enough to wear you out. You still think sleep is overrated, and you love to nap for about 30-40 minutes and then you’re ready to go again. We won’t even talk about nighttime sleep. Let’s just say it’s not your favorite. I have to remind myself that “this too shall pass”. That’s good advice about a lot of situations in life, sweet girl, so remember that!

You’re doing big things, baby! We love you so much and are so very happy you are here reminding us how precious time is and how BIG love can be!

xoxo,

Mama

Eleanor Beth 4 months

Hey Eleanor Beth!!!!

Happy 4 months to you my precious second born baby girl! Time is flying by and you are keeping your mama very busy. Wow, what a game changer you have been in our lives….in the best way possible. Sometimes in life you can’t really know what you’re missing or how badly you might need something (or someone) until they come crying into the world on a cold Monday morning in February. You were born smack dab during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the whole world to lose their minds. You were a scheduled C-Section and due to hospital protocols, your daddy wasn’t going to be able to be in the OR and was going to have to watch your birth via IPAD from the hospital room. But just a few days before you were scheduled to be born, they pulled that requirement and he was able to be right by my side and there when you sounded your first cry. The doctor pulled you out and said “We have a strong one”, but I already knew that! You had been a mover and a shaker inside me the entire pregnancy and you have not stopped since. As a matter of fact, at your 20 week scan, the technicians remarked right away that you were going to be a hard one to take pictures of. During the scan, you were all over the place. You are a very active baby, super alert, always looking around with those big eyes, which by the way are a bizarre color right now. They started out as a dark gray and are just now beginning to get some more color to them. I’m sure you’ll be a brown eyed beauty, but time will tell. They might be hazel, or an lighter shade of brown.

Your hair is dark, and very short! You lost most of your hair in the past few months and were a cute little baldie for a while. Now, it’s beginning to fuzz back out, and it looks like it may have a bit of auburn to it. You have skin as white as cream. My first reaction to you was that I couldn’t believe how white you were! And still are. Your grandy said she wants to call you Snow and asked if that was okay. I told her it was a lot better than tub o’ lard which she had just called you minutes before. You are not a tiny thing anymore. You were just a little sprite when you were born at 6 lbs 12 oz. Everyone remarked about how tiny you were. You looked like a little baby doll with the most perfect head and creamy white skin, sleeping soundly most of the time with your little eyelashes resting on your cheeks, but boy did you catch up quick. I think you’re weighing in around 14 pounds right now, wearing 3-6 months, which is just perfect! Shortly after birth, we discovered that you had a tongue tie so you had that corrected at 3 weeks old. Immediately afterwards, you found your voice and haven’t stopped hollering since. Another nickname you affectionately have been given by me is Yellin’ Ellen. Oh man, you love to talk. You coo, sing, growl, yell, and loudly at that! You are so happy most of the time. You are all smiles to everyone, and you have begun to laugh and giggle. No one can get you to laugh as much as your sister Emma Kate. Sometime all it takes is a look, and your eyes crinkle up and out comes a great giggle.

What are you up to these days? Let’s see. You rolled over a few times from tummy to back and then decided that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and haven’t rolled since. You love to work your legs though and try to stand with help of course, whenever someone is holding you. You suck on your hands all the time and you’re beginning to love that thumb a little too much. The binky is not your favorite and you thrust it right out. You have begun rolling on your side when your on your back. You can hold onto things for a little while before dropping them and are starting to just reach for things some. You love your bath and lying on your changing pad. You can end up nearly across the room when lying on the floor on your back. You arch your back and straighten your legs and scoot backwards a pretty good distance. And you have a remarkable talent of pooping right when it’s time to leave to go somewhere and I’m running late already.

You have many nicknames. So don’t you dare get in trouble with the law, because your aliases will take up most of your rap sheet. Some people call you Eleanor or Ellie or Ella or Ellie B. Grandy wants to call you Snow. A friend of Emma’s wants to call you Little Fawn because your birthmark on your forehead is shaped like a deer head. Sometimes you just go by Baby, and I like to call you Joy. You are the joy in our life, the joy in our hearts, you are bringing Joy to everyone around you and you are filled with Joy. You are heaven sent, little one, there is no doubt that God is playing a hand in this one. You arrived to us after 2 miscarriages and at the ripe old ages of 45 and 47. You are nothing short of a miracle. I may not know your purpose for coming. I may not ever know your reason for joining us, but we are so joyfully blessed to have you and are loving every loud, active second we spend with you!

This was a lot to cover I know. There is probably not many things stronger than mom guilt and I have felt real bad that I haven’t written a letter to you yet, like I did Emma. I wrote each month of her first year and then every year after that on her birthday, up until this year, since I was eleven days shy of birthing you, and I found myself not doing what I’d intended to do. You see, I was the fourth born of four kids and I know what’s it’s like to have an empty baby book. So even though as your mom, I will fail you many times, please don’t ever ever equate my failure with a lack of love for you. You are loved more than you can ever know.

We have an unspoken agreement that you may not be aware of yet. And that, dear one, is that you’ve got to go easy on your old mom. I can’t wait for our fun and adventures and each day I get to spend loving you!

XOXO,

Mommy

Big, yet simple

Trying to live big. Trying to live simply. Can we do it? For us, this is what it looks like the past few days. Me with a warm cup of creamy coffee. Jason with a glass of nice dry wine. Emma with a Gatorade, Glacier Freeze. Blankets and pillows loaded up. We drive west a few miles. It doesn’t take long until we find wide, open spaces. There’s no trees. No buildings to block our view. Just a vast expanse of blue sky at dusk. We park, facing west and watch the sunset. Good music coming from the speakers and we just be. We just are. We just observe.

Afterward, EK drives sitting in my lap. It takes a lot of convincing from us. She doesn’t dance near the fire. Mostly, she stands back and watches the flames. But she trusts us and we convince her that she will not be doing it alone. We are right here. We will always be right here. There is nothing to fear. The sunroof is open. Above us, a black abyss of stars. She’s a good driver and keeps us on the road. Music wafts upward and outward and inward to our souls. And we drive on dirt roads in the dark. Living big. Living simply.

Another day instead of blankets, pillows and drinks it’s two very excited wagging, panting dogs we load up. We drive East, it doesn’t take long until we find a small pond. The day is cool. We are wearing jeans and hoodies. The wind is strong and cold. The dogs are panting. Their tongues loll about. We stroll around the water. Ducks swim undisturbed. Clouds sail across the sky. Cows in the next field are curious. They come to the fence. They’re excited. The dogs are excited. Even J-Dub is excited. He walks right to the fence and sits with them reaching through the barbed wire. Their nostrils flare trying to get a better scent of him. They crowd into one another. The dogs whimper and prance wanting to take chase, but knowing better. Every creature is curious of the others. For a little while.

The dogs walk the water’s edge. Dipping their tongue as the walk. Their paws are muddy. Their legs are wet. They venture out further. Then without warning they sink up to their shoulders. EK finds it hilarious. So we all do. Laughter is contagious. We walk a bit more. It is quiet. It is just us. We are still, yet moving.

Afterwards, we have two tired, still panting, sopping wet, and now very smelly dogs to load back up until their next adventure. Everyone likes to go every once in a while. Living big. Living simply.

I sit on my patio in the morning. My coffee is full and hot. The sun is full and hot. It beats down on my face, legs, and arms. Spring is bursting. I only need to look around and observe. Cycles of life continue. The world has not stopped just because the people have. How little we are in control of. The sun does not rise at our command. The birds build nests, not because we say so, but because they know that’s what they were put here to do. The spider weaves his web every day, knowing he’ll have to make repairs. The flowers bloom. The cows calve. The gigantic pink full moon casts its healing light on our planet. We cannot stop it. We can not force it or make it cease. We think we have so much power, we think we are in control. We must only open our eyes to see how foolish we are.

I close mine. I breathe deeply. I feel my body relax. My thoughts slow. I am still. I just be. I just am. I hear the words come to me.

I am right here. I am always right here. There is nothing to fear. I smile. Is God a poet? Of course He is. He is in all things. He is all things. Big. So Big. Yet, so simple.

Finding Gratitude in Challenging Times

Many years ago, back when I had cable TV and I liked Oprah Winfrey, she had a guest on her show who first introduced me to the idea of a gratitude journal. I can’t remember why I jumped onboard with that, probably the guest said it would change my life and it did. I quickly found a nice little hardbound journal that was given to me as a college graduation gift (I did say it was many years ago) which remained blank, so I began each day to write down 3-5 things I was grateful for. My gratitude journal has been such a meaningful part of my sanity, growth, and getting me through difficult times, that I feel that the practice may benefit you as well.

We are certainly going through difficult times as humankind right now, and if you are feeling any amount of anxiety, worry, fear, or stress, I honestly believe getting a nice journal to begin this process of appreciation will help you get through it. And we will get through it. We ARE getting through it.

I have attempted to keep a gratitude journal throughout my life. Of course, my energy towards it wanes and surges, but I use it as one of my coping methods in the very hard times. I have filled up a few journals with basically lists of goodness in my life.

What has this accomplished for me?
1. It has forced me to look for the silver lining in the midst of the storms of life.
2. It makes me feel better. Instantly my mood improves. We cannot think of two things at once. We are either thinking of something good or something bad, but not both at the same time. Try it. You can only focus on one or the other.
3. It is a blessing to look back over the years and see how far I’ve come, and to remember special times and people.
4. It gets my mind off things I have no control over and helps me revisit how blessed I am.

When you first begin, it’s super easy. We all start with the  big things we can think of. Our family, our health, our religion, etc. And that’s fine. The more days you do it, it forces you to dig deep. You begin to live in a posture of appreciating.  Instead of thinking of general ideas, you begin to get very specific and will find that all day long,  you are appreciating your experiences and the people you are surrounded by.

When I look back over my old journals, I find a menagerie of things. For example, I am grateful that I am in control of my own feelings and thoughts. Or, I am grateful to have the ability to put together a meal without a recipe. For Ashlynn improving in her driving. When I look back into my very first Gratitude Journal in 1998, it says things like I am grateful for $50 my mom gave me to clean the house. Or, the job I applied for today. It is humbling and refreshing to read them all. For being able to visit my 6th grade Sunday school kids. In 2009, I wrote I am grateful for getting the bathroom redone. Free time to read and relax. Having money to tithe.

There are pages and pages filled and I could get lost retracing the steps of my life. But automatically I feel better. I mean right now. Finding those examples for you has caused me to realize how very blessed I am.

I encourage you to try this for yourself. Get yourself a nice journal, something that makes you smile. Journals always make me smile, anyone else? Set aside a time each day that you will write down 3-5 things to appreciate in your life. Do it for 30 days. Watch your life change!

In Philipians 4:8, we are told to think on the good things, y’all.  I would bet it is taught in all religions/spiritual circles in some form or fashion. What better way than to do so in a gratitude journal everyday? So go count your blessings, name them one by one. Leave me a comment if you plan on doing it or already do this. I would love to hear from you.

Here’s my 5 today if you need a tee off:
I am grateful:

  • For sitting outside and feeling the sun on my face and hearing the birdsong.
  • For healthy meals I can prepare and the abundance of food
  • For the promise of new beginnings as I watch spring unfold before my eyes
  • For the ability to work remotely.
  • For the bond of human connection.

 

 

Living, Loving, Healing, Hoping Day 2 and Cake for Breakfast

Today we had cake for breakfast. It wasn’t the first time, and it’s not going to be the last. A couple weeks ago I had to buy some buttermilk because I was craving this lemon blueberry cake that is so delicious. We don’t use much buttermilk here, as I assume most don’t, and because I was partially raised by a Grannie who lived through the Great Depression, I honor the waste not, want not mindset. Therefore, I needed another reason to use the buttermilk. I announced that I was going to make a chocolate cake. “Two cakes in one week, mom?” My little conscientious child wanted to know. She was right, two cakes in one week was possibly excessive, so I put it off.  A couple of days ago, I noticed that the buttermilk had expired. But does buttermilk expire? How does sour milk sour? I threw caution to the wind and I made a Texas chocolate sheet cake with it. Lord a mercy! It was so good. It had this moist chocolate cake and this fudgy icing which so reminded me of my mama and how she would make us something she called Spoon fudge when I was a kid.

Spoon fudge is basically fudge made on the stove, brought to a boil, then poured into cereal bowls and put in the freezer to cool. You don’t freeze them completely, but instead just let them cool. Everyone has their own cereal bowl of fudge. You pile up on the couch and dig your spoon in and pull it out in a long, glorious tail of delicious chocolate, wrap it around your spoon, and shove it in your mouth. It’s okay if some thin trails hang off the spoon and drip down your chin. That just enhances the experience. Of course, you’re not supposed to eat the entire bowl in one setting, it’s so rich you can barely handle it, so back in the freezer it goes until maybe 10 minutes later when you realize how decadent that was and go for more. This is repeated throughout the day, until your bowl is scraped clean. If your siblings have any left in their bowl, you might swipe a spoonful of theirs when they aren’t looking. This is a great childhood memory of mine, and the icing on the sheet cake brought all of that back to me.

I digress. But I couldn’t leave you wondering about spoon fudge. Back to my cake. When a family of three has a whole Texas chocolate sheet cake to eat, do you know how much cake one needs to consume in order to honor the waste not, want not mindset? I’ll tell you. Exactly a third of it! Which is a lot of cake. It is made in a rimmed baking sheet, for crying out loud. My husband did help us out by taking some to work, but we still had an entire half a sheet left.

At the time that I made the lemon berry cake, I decided to have a slice one morning with my coffee. Delicious right? Lemon berry cake and coffee. My little EK was horrified that I was eating cake for breakfast. What is the deal with this? Cake is basically a sliced muffin.  I was eating a lemon berry muffin for breakfast, and my child was horrified. I don’t know who is teaching her these things.
“I can’t believe you’re eating cake for breakfast.”
I mean who is the parent here?
“Oh EK, you’re such a square, ” I said.
She stared at me, her mind working over-time, “What does that mean?”
Realizing I had possibly just insulted her, I quickly covered it up. “It doesn’t mean anything bad. It just means you like to follow the rules. You do the right thing. It’s good to be square.” She cataloged this. I watched as she filed it away to be used later.

Yesterday, when I saw there was a half sheet of chocolate cake left, I sliced off a piece to have with my coffee.
“Oh mom, you are so NOT a square,” my kid (who has self-imposed screen times, not dictated by her parents) informed me matter-of-factly.  Then, after analyzing the situation, decided that cake for breakfast maybe isn’t the worst thing in the world and she decided to slice her a piece as well. I’m not being the best influence.
“You’re having cake for breakfast too?” I questioned.
She set it on her plate, “But this is only the second time I’m going to do it,” she said, as if that exonerates her. Then after a pause she added, “this year.”

This morning, she was up and at ’em before me. I heard her in the kitchen. I assumed she was making her “healthy” breakfast of Nutella toast. Instead, she’d had cake for breakfast again.
When I learned this, I playfully chided her. “I thought you were only going to do that two times this year.”
She looked directly at me. “Well. I lied.”

Okay then. Our morality is gone. Out the window. How are we holding up during our “social distancing”? We are eating cake for breakfast. And lying. And as I type this, she is on a screen right now. Her self imposed screen times are gone. This pandemic may make us better people, or we may turn into complete heathens by the time this is over. There is no telling what we may emerge as when this is over, but be assured of one thing…….we will weigh more!

 

Status of C-word epidemic: Yesterday, 2 confirmed cases were in Amarillo, about an hour away from my town. Schools extended spring break by one week, and my church cancelled services and transitioned to online. I sank into deep sadness. This whole thing that’s going on has shaken me up. I didn’t think I was a person to get so easily shaken. I’ve had to deal with that. Today, I am so much better. Not sure why, it’s like a switch was flipped. Nevertheless, I am grateful for where I am in this moment. Who knows about tomorrow or later today, but now I will appreciate the feeling of well-being I have. I’m so grateful for friends who have checked on me. We are not alone in this. We can’t all be strong all the time, but in our moments of strength is when we can help uplift the others who are scared and sad. This is effecting everyone. Today, I’ve been pulled from the pit and am renewed spiritually and emotionally. If there’s anything you need, let me know. Much love to all.

 

Living, Loving, Hoping, Healing day 1

It’s spring break here, and quite honestly the first one where I’m not completely relaxing. It’s hard to relax right now. Planet Earth is sick. All we hear about is the C-word. Yes, I hope your mind thought of any number of different C-words; that would reassure me that we are still ourselves. It is also the first spring break where I want to return to work on Monday. Normally, I would be wishing for more time to be home, now I am wishing for things to be normal.

I decided to blog my experience during this pandemic because quite honestly I never dreamed I would live through something like this. I don’t have cable or any form of news. My information comes strictly from facebook, so you can imagine the amount of fear, panic, and misinformation I am receiving. For that reason, I have put myself on a strict limit from that form of social media. Instead of social distancing, I am social media distancing and life has improved. I will enjoy looking back and reading this when all of it is said and done. I wanted to leave something in writing for those in years to come too. Can you imagine my great, great grandchildren reading about this in history books and having a written record from me? Will it come to that? I so often wished I had the experiences of my grandmother during the Great Depression and I don’t, so this will hopefully serve as a reference for later down the line. You know—well maybe you don’t— but I always have book ideas floating around in my head, and one involves the Great Depression era. Her writing would have been valuable. She told me stories and I wish I had remembered better. And cared, but quite honestly I was a twit and didn’t think it mattered.

The sun is shining today and I am sitting on my back patio soaking it up. It feels so good. Rain has been abundant and there are some tulips in the yard that are awaiting their moment of splendor. Birds still sing and as I sit, some are making a nest in a watering can that is hanging from my back patio. I receive great solace from this. Nature has not been interrupted at all. They cycles of the earth continue. The sun rises and sets. Clouds dump their moisture, just to soak it back up again for the next round. Soft green buds are on the trees. The Creator is still in control. It’s a beautiful world.

As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Texas Panhandle. This is the status of my small Texas town. Our schools are on spring break, and are monitoring closely to see if we return on Monday or extend our spring break time. The stores are very busy, with people stocking up. Yes, of course toilet paper is hard to find. Limits have been placed on items such as tp, paper towels, sanitizers, hand soaps etc.  I haven’t been to the store in a few days, but I heard there is a limit now on meat (2 per person I believe). Walmart has cut their hours of operation so that employees can stock at night without interruption. I will continue to believe there is enough in this world.

We are living day to day as normally as possible. J-Dub and EK went to Amarillo yesterday for wine of all things. My husband does love his wine, and is tired of the selection here. He also splurged and picked up filet and lamb chops. It makes me laugh. The Raman noodles are cleared out, but the opportunity for delicious fine food still remains. We shall feast this week! He said some restaurants had closed for take out only and the one they chose to eat in had a limit of 50 people and tables were 3 feet apart. I had lunch out at the coffee shop yesterday here in our town with a friend. It is refreshing to see our town continuing to support business and remaining calm for the most part.

I will take this inconvenience of life and see it as a time of rest and slowing down. Appreciating all that we have and have been given. A time to hope and trust that we can return to “normal”. A time to not take for granted the freedoms we have. A time of an awakening, I hope. I choose to remain steadfast and calm in this time of uncertainty. I realize that the situation is out of my hands, but how I react to it is completely in my power. Ultimately, I know that my trust is in God and in Him alone. Psalm 91 is a great reminder right now. I also am eager to write about life, just the beautiful simplicity of the life we’ve been given. Writing is a salve and helps me heal.

Until next time,

Angel

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 8th Birthday

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Another year has come and gone and it’s all I can do to to keep my head from spinning. I can’t help but realize that we only have 10 more to go before you strap on your wings and soar.

I read one of the most profound statements that said something along the lines of, “the greatest tragedy of motherhood is for her to love her children so much, that she must teach them to not need her.” That wasn’t it exactly, but it was very close, albeit, expressed much better than that. But in essence, that’s what we’re doing, you and I. I am trying my best to allow you to grow independent of me. I want that very much for you and at the same time, I don’t want that at all. What a paradox it is.

For eight years you have been the light of my life, the sun my world revolves around. “They”, you know who they are…..the so called experts…..say it isn’t healthy to make your child the center of your universe, but I can’t see how knowing you are the Big Kahuna in my life could be bad for you. You are my greatest work. Like Charlotte when she referred to her egg sac, My Magnum Opus. You, quite possibly, could be my purpose on this earth. When I think of my purpose, I imagine I should do something outstanding. Something that could impact mankind. It’s very possible that you are my something outstanding. You are to me, anyway.

I often remember our past. The last few years that have gone by in a blink. It is fun to watch videos of us and see photos and remember the feelings of fun and curiosity and growth that enveloped that time.

I often think of our future together. The trips we’ll take and the experiences we are to share. I hope we always have a strong relationship and that you can come to me for anything knowing I will always love you, no matter what.

I try very hard to just be present in our present. This is all we have. I find myself getting through “tasks” just to move on to the next “task”, when I should be relishing our moments.

At eight years old, here’s how you are: you are nice to be around, simply put. You have a great wit to you.  You are generally always in a good mood. You are not demanding or pouty in any way. You are curious beyond anything I’ve ever known and I have been exposed to more random, useless facts because of you. Your dad and I call you Cliff Clavin (look it up) and just shake our heads with your sudden announcements of “Did you know………”. You love learning, like you always have, and you are very interested in maps and places, as well as science. As long as the science doesn’t involve the body. Anything bodily gives you the willies and causes some sort of physical discomfort for you to read or hear about it.  You must get it from your Grandy, who can’t stand anything gross. Or maybe from me a little bit too, as I’ve nearly fainted at the sight of blood before. It’s actually quite hilarious how just reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Body makes your hips hurt. I’ve known all along that you weren’t possibly cut out for a career in medicine, when as a toddler you used to gag at the smell of your own poop!

You are mostly quiet still– unless you’re around your parents–an observer of people and things, who doesn’t like the spotlight or to be the center of attention. You still enjoy dance and gymnastics, but you’re not afraid to stay at home and do nothing either. You are fiercely independent, but never rude. You are truly the greatest kid. Your dad and I say it often. “She’s such a great kid.” I’m super proud of you and always will be. May you be surrounded by goodness and love and guidance all the days, my dear sweet child. You are loved.

Love,

Mama
XOXO

 

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