Monday, December 30, 2013

My Prayer for 2014

I've written and re-written a New Years post at least 3 times now.

I have so much I want to say about all the good that happened last year and all that I hope will happen next year.  I have loosely formed resolution that include running another half marathon, getting involved with volunteer activities again and making smarter financial decisions.

But hanging over my head is a cloud that I can't shake. It's a realization that life is so fleeting and 2014 will bring happiness and sadness, just like 2013 did. There will be things that will happen in 2014 that we will not anticipate. We didn't expect to lose my father-in-law this year, but we did. There will be times when we will be thrown for a loop and will have to adjust our lives and carry on.

The fact is, life is short. And we don't know how long any of us have here. I often wonder, if I were gone tomorrow what kind of mark would I leave? Would people know I loved God and I loved them? What would they say about the legacy I left?

I'm not trying to put a morbid twist on celebrationg a wonderful start to a New Year, but rather I'm taking a deep look at the life I'm living and how I can live it better.

So, I'm going to welcome 2014 with a prayer: 

I pray that 2014 will be a year that I live my life the way God would have me live it. That it be less about me and more about Him. I pray that my marriage matures because I have completely devoted myself to making it stronger than ever. I pray that my daughter and stepsons continue to grow happy and healthy because I have poured myself into ensuring they are cared for and fully loved. I pray that I bring nothing but positivity, happiness and joy to everyone I meet. I pray that I keep the insignificant things in this life just that and that I acknowledge daily what truly is important. I pray that I continue growing in a healthy lifestyle: mentally, emotionally, spitirutally and physically. I pray for guidance and wisdom in all that I do. I pray for God to show me the way to share the blessings I've received and the talents He has given me with others, especially those in need.  I pray that 2014 is the year I flourish because I am being everything I have been created to be. I pray that I find peace in the bittersweet memories of 2013. I am thankful for all I was given and taught this past year.  I welcome 2014 with arms wide open, ready to learn, ready to serve, ready to give.

Thank you God for my many, many blessings. 



Monday, December 16, 2013

Francesca Battistelli - Heaven Everywhere

It's a little hard to believe that Christmas is next week! The shopping is done (at least I hope so!), the house is decorated, and the holiday festivities are in full swing. I'm looking forward to some time off to spend with Randy, Emily, and extended family. We took Emily riding around the neighborhood last night to admire the  Christmas lights. She was all "ooohs" and "ahhhs." Seeing this time of year through the eyes of a child is so magical!

In addition to the lights, Emily loves Christmas music (well, pretty much all music). We have an ornament of a snow covered church that lights up and plays "Silent Night." She carries that thing all over the house pressing the button. :)

Like Emily, I love Christmas music and have the radio in my office and car tuned to a local station that is playing holiday music 24/7.  Today, I heard one of my all time favorite songs that was just released last year. I think it perfectly captures this time of year, what it is and what it should be.

I hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Papa Ralph

Today we said goodbye to my father-in-law, Papa Ralph.  After receiving a new pacemaker at the end of September we learned that he had several lesions in his brain. The doctors told us that radiation was an option but even then we might only have six months left with him. Sadly, they were right. Despite a round of radiation the tumors grew and Ralph peacefully entered Heaven early this morning.

My heart breaks knowing that Janet has lost her husband of almost 8 years, my husband and siblings-in-law have lost a stepfather (also after losing their dad to cancer), Emily and Reagan have lost a fantastic grandfather and Ralph's kids, grandkids and great grandkids have lost the patriarch of their family.

We spent the first part of the day at the hospital with Janet and then home with her in the afternoon. I have to say, our family rallies like no other. We have been through some of the worst times with each other and consistently pull together to take care of each other. We cook, clean, hug, laugh and cry together. I think we do an amazing job in this most awful of situations.

I picked Emily up early from daycare and took her over to see everyone. She walked in and to the empty backroom where Ralph usually sits in his recliner. She peeked her little head around the corner and said "hi" and waved her hand. She did it twice. I knew she was expecting to hear him say "hey baby" and it just broke my heart knowing that she would never hear that again.  In true, sweet Emily fashion she then proceeded to hug pretty much everyone there (most people she has never met before). That little girl is something else and she has one proud mommy.

I am incredibly thankful that Emily did have special moments to spend with him, even if they were too short. When we had to switch day cares, I was stressed about what to do with Emily for the few weeks until we could get her into a new one. Janet and Ralph took care of her during most of that time. Ralph would play her the harmonica, read with her and Janet would find them asleep together on the recliner. Ralph was one of the few people that Emily would sit still with for an extended period of time. And when she was first starting to walk, she would always find her way over to him (ignoring the rest of us). That put a smile on his face like no other.  There's no doubt that they had a special connection and that will never go away.

I'm so thankful for the time and memories and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven. We love you, Papa Ralph!