Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Ever since being diagnosed with heart disease in 2001 I have pretty much educated myself, in between doctor appointments, online with the American Heart Association or the AHA. If you want true facts and statistics that is the site to find it. No mumbo jumbo.....This Friday will be the first time I have actively participated in the GO RED FOR WOMEN DAY. This day is observed nationwide to create awareness of the # 1 KILLER of women ( and men too ) which is heart disease. One in every 3 women will die from HEART DISEASE. Isn't that unbelivable? If it can happen to me ~ it can happen to you. Do whatever you can to prevent it! After suffering 2 massive heart attacks I am arming myself with information, education, healthy eating habits, exercise, and educating everyone I know and love. And that is you! On Friday, February 2nd find something in your closet red. A t - shirt, a dress, a jacket, a hat, a tie.......anything. Support this cause by wearing red that day. Get mad about heart disease.....SEE RED!
Take a minute. Close your eyes. Put your hand over your heart and think about each beat of life. The power of life beating under your hand. Do you realize how important your heart is? HELLO.......... I do know! I know you are only a heartbeat away from finding out yourself, so, make yourself a promise today to do something for yourself and your heart. Eat smart. Exercise. Don't smoke. Have regular well check appointments. Know your cholosterol numbers and your blood pressure. LOVE YOUR HEART. Wearing red is only the beginning of a healthy lifestyle for all of us.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
1976 - Being maternal and all I was worried about having another baby. I couldn't believe how much I had loved another human being as I did FAVORITE FIRST CHILD, from here on out referred to as FD1. To be real honest, I was afraid that I wouldn't or couldn't love another baby as much as I loved my FD1. She was such an easy child. Well mannered, smart, and beautiful. Our life had been almost complete it seemed. But I always knew I never wanted an only child so there were no choices to make. Little did I know how much we had been missing. How could I have ever doubted what joy that little gorgeous brunette could bring us. Ash.....AshieBoo.....Baby Ashley......Hornet........ When Ashley entered the world on that Thursday night so long ago ( well 30 years is a long time ago! ) no one was ready! I still had much to do to get ready for her. Her daddy was still at work. My FD1 and I had had a busy week at our church's VBS. I was trying to finish my Vacation Bible School awards for the next day. Even Dr. B was inconvenienced. He said he had just sat down to a fried chicken dinner. Nothing stopped her then and nothing has stopped her since. She arrived on the scene in about 4 hours with those big brown eyes wide open. Her dark eyelashes drooped almost on her cheeks. I gasped. I knew I was a goner. She had dark olive skin and jet black hair. She had a very fine downy covering of baby hair on her shoulders that soon went away but at first I called her my little monkey. I'm not lying or bragging but I make beautiful babies. Ashley was no exception to FD1. She was beautiful and her big sister adored her. Years passed so quickly and FD2 learned everything in one try. She followed right behind her sister and never missed a beat. They were buds for sure. FD2 started out early exhibiting her one of a kind personality, temper, humor, expressions and talents. Rarely, could we get mad at her because she, even at 18 months, knew how to get out of anything with her quick wit and expressions. Nothing has changed in 30 years in that respect! She had an answer for everything. She still does. There were times when we would quarrel that I would tell her that she made me madder than anyone could make me . That was how we loved each other too. More than anyone could! There was always a herd of little girls giggling our house. Ashley never did anything alone. She always had a large following. As she grew, little children were mesmerized by her. She babysat so much she almost had to have a secretary. When she used to cheer at games little girls would sit all around the fence rails and on the ground by her so they could watch her every move and mimic her. She was a wonderful role model.
It wasn't long until the boys started watching too. She hadn't been at college long when we started to hear, "B.A. this and B.A. that." "B.A. is so sweet." Now, B.A. has been in our lives for 10 years. I told him when they got married to make it work because I didn't want her back! I love that boy to pieces. He is a wonderful husband. He is a precious son to us. He is kind, hardworking, compassionate, and sensitive. All qualities that are hard to find in one guy. Big guys do cry. I love that in a man.
Her love for children has never stopped but her journey to being a mother has been a difficult and hard road. Soon after they married they were told that they would be lucky if they could ever conceive. Ashley was diagnosed with a condition called polycystic ovaries and pregnancy was rare. She was heartbroken but decided to pursue all the options she had at the time. Our entire family learned alot about infertility. Actually, more than I ever wanted to know. We learned about drugs you could take, shots you had to have, ovulation, egg follicles, eggs being harvested, invitro, hospitalizations after hospitalizations. She took a beating literally. There were lots of complications to her little body. B.A. stood by her and honored every dream she ever had. Then one day we were ecstatic to learn that she had indeed gotton pregnant. Then we learned it was twins. Then we learned it was boys. Then we learned they were identical. Then at 24 weeks we lost them. They were beautiful and precious little brothers who I will never forget holding. One of the hardest and most traumatizing experiences I have ever had was watching my beautiful daughter lie weeping in the arms of her big, strong, and weeping husband. How do you tell your child it will be okay? You don't. They grieve. You grieve too. And it hurts so deep.
And then God smiled on Ashley and B.A. and all of us. With no magic pills, no harvesting, no egg follicle counts, she was pregnant. At first, we said it quietly almost whispering among ourselves. We kept it very quiet. Careful to not show any excitement or emotion. Cautious. Very cautious. No one mentioned April 2007. No one mentioned maternity clothes to borrow or a nursery to paint. We had done all that before. To use Ashley's own words to me......"Mom, I'm scared. I am scared to be excited. I am scared of sympathy cards and little caskets." I knew she what she meant. 26 weeks have now gone by and we have marked each one off and thanked God everyday. It's a girl. She's healthy. There is a new twinkle in Ashley's big brown eyes and B.A. calls the baby Little Princess. We know we have a ways to go but we are talking paint colors for the walls. We are looking at strollers. Life is good.
It's amazing as a mother to step back and look at your daughters after they are grown. I sometimes stare at them and wonder who they are. And then I remember those little girls. Then I remember......oh yeah. They are my best friends.
***P.S. I tried for hours, honestly, to upload a picture and blogger won't let me. Check back for a picture later.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
But, I can tell you that they each possess different talents and personalities. They were disciplined differently because what worked for one didn't for the other. They learned differently. They reacted to situations differently. What might cause one to burst into tears didn't affect the others at all. And vice and versa. They all were athletes in some way or another. The girls both actively pursued cheerleading and dance from Jr. High on through college cheerleading scholarships. They all are gifted speakers and used to represent their clubs and classes. Our son kept us in the bleachers for every sport for at least 12 years. Rain or shine....we were there. He led the prayer at his high school graduation. They were active with youth groups in church and very popular at school. They stood up for God and what they believed in and their friends respected them for that. But, they were still fun, happy, and energetic. None of them had a shy bone in their bodies! Ashley used to have a poster in her room with the bird from the Peanuts cartoon that had flocks of birds all over him and it said..."You can never have too many friends." That is how they all were. They never met a stranger and were all friends to everyone.....it didn't matter who you were or where you came from. I was always so proud of that trait in them all. They never judged others. Everyone looked the same to them. They are all 3 as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside too.
But today, I want to tell you about my oldest favorite. Her name is Heather and she is 33 years old. She is my most sensitive. She cares what everyone thinks about her. It bothers her if she thinks anyone is upset or mad at her. Her tears flow easily when moved by a word or a story. She believes everything! She finds the good in all people. She is so compassionate. When she was just a baby, she couldn't stand to be reprimanded. She would cry and some of her first words were, "Don't be mad for me " if you told her no no. Her spirit now is that of a Godly woman with a quiet and serving spirit. She is constantly studying and learning what God has planned for her life. Her children are being raised with loving parents who are consistent disciplinarians. If you are a parent you know how important consistency is. I look at her and hear her discussing life and wonder how she turned out so wonderful with me for a mother! Honestly. Miracles do happen.
For the past year she has been training to run in the Houston Marathon. In high school, Heather didn't play sports. She used to say it made her sweat. And that messed up her hair and make up. She stayed busy enough with cheerleading and dance team. She was in band and kept her grades up. When she was 14 she was in love with the high school quarterback. Who was a senior. Who didn't date and she couldn't yet. Who rode his bike 5 miles to our house to see her. Who was content to sit on our couch for 2 years until she was 16, or dating age. Who we loved dearly. Who is now her husband and the father of our precious grandchildren. Anyway, when Heather decided to start training to run the marathon we were all a little suprised but excited for her. As she likes to remind us, ".....one day she started running and couldn't stop." The famous words of Forrest Gump! All year she has faithfully trained with a group in the Bay area and today was their day. The large group ( I think about 300 ) was broken up into teams. She and 2 of her close friends were on the same team. The teams are ability grouped basically. The were training to run the 1/2 marathon this year which was 13 miles. They were NOT in the marathon to win or break a record. They were not in to prove something or to impress anyone. They were in to finish something they started. On Friday night she joined some of her team members for a carb buffet and a "Blessing of the Feet." Then this morning at 4:45 AM the same girls met with a large group at the site of the race and had church services before they lined up for the race to begin. One of the runners who had run there before told Heather that when she got to the top of the first hill to look back and see the amazing throng of runners behind. She was too scared she'd fall and get trampled! Around 20,000 runners lined up. We were able to track her online ( don't ask me how it worked ) and see her location/speed/and predicted finish time. Her husband and kids were there and would call Ashley every little bit to see where she was so they could drive up to the spot and catch a glimpse of her running by in the crowd of participants! Close to 11AM, Troy called Ashley for one final update and hurried to the spot where the finish line was. Ashley told him she should be coming down the hill any minute. Sure enough, here she came. Heather told me that she and her friends paced to join together for that finish line and held hands while they crossed it to the cheers of their husbands and children! Then they all burst into a heap of sobs! Victory cries. Overwhelming, exhausted, and happy tears.
I am big into analogies and could tell you how that reminds me of the race of life and our finish line at the feet of our Heavenly Father. But, I won't. But, it does. Overwhelming, exhausted and happy tears. And I don't even run.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I have not ever really worked for a principal that professed openly to being a Christian. One that tried to use God and prayer in the school setting, in decisions and the way she handles parents, children and staff. An administrator that encouraged us to treat others as we like to be treated. She actually has helped in my decision to continue to work for a few more years. I was about ready to throw in the "rag". I have worked under administrations that were ruthless, let me tell you. I take things very personally. I enjoy my job and have alot of fun. More than I should sometimes but I am very responsible and proud of the work ethic and the reputation that I have as a dedicated employee that knows the school laws, the curriculum, the TEKS, the TAKS and the tests! I know the individual families. I know almost every child's phone number by memory! All 500 or so of them. It is a "Rain Man" trait. But, I have to say that if the office staff isn't happy, "ain't nobody happy". There is nothing more ruthless than a mean woman principal. I would much rather work for a man!
So, this morning when approached to pray openly I did not hesitate. I was not nervous but I did precede my prayer with a statement that I saw met friendly glances around the room. I told them that I was honored to pray with them. That they all knew me well and knew that I did not always feel worthy to pray. But, as a commandment I did. A commandment that I pray to a Father to guide me and forgive me. To lead me and help me be a better person. We don't have to be perfect to pray. I am NOT perfect but I know someone WHO IS. It is to Him I prayed this morning. I know that God heard it and I pray that the children, parents and fellow friends of my school will be blessed in 2007.