Independence Day

I love watching fireworks. I think they are so beautiful and I’m amazed by the variety. However, watching them on July 4th is bittersweet for me.

If you have ever heard me tell our families cancer story, it begins on July 4th, 1999 (15 years ago tonight). We lived just outside Washington DC, and watched the fireworks display at the capital. It was an incredible experience. Just a few days later we were told that Ryan had cancer. That night was the final story in that chapter of our lives. July 8th we started the next chapter and life has been different ever since.

As I’ve said a million times, I miss Ryan more than I can explain. Nearly everything reminds me of him, and tonight was no exception.

Dear God,
All across the country Americans are celebrating our independence. We are remembering how lucky we are to have so much freedom. As we celebrate, help us to remember and pray for those who aren’t as fortunate, who live in fear of their government. May we all be able to enjoy freedom someday.
Thank you for all you give us. Thank you for my family and friends. And thank you for the memories I have of those I’ve lost.
Amen

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The gift of knowledge.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Confucius

I am amazed that the older I get, the less I seem to know. When I was younger I thought I was a pretty intelligent person. Time has proven me wrong. The more I try to learn, the more I realize that I know very little. Does everyone feel that way?

I have been wanting to (re)learn Spanish.  I took some classes in high school, but have of course forgotten most of it.  Now I think that it would good to know how to at least be able to converse in the language.  More people on this planet speak Spanish than English.  I have tried to find a way to learn it again, but my middle-aged brain doesn’t seem to want to comprehend a new language.  Some days I have trouble with my first language.

To have another language is to possess a second soul.Charlemagne

So my mid-year resolution is to learn more Spanish.  I am going to continue to work on improving myself and using more of the brain that God blessed me with.  I challenge you to spend this summer improving yourself.

Dear God,
Thank you for blessing us with such the incredible ability to continue improving ourselves throughout our lives.  Help us to use that gift to make the world a better place.
Amen

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A prayer for the children

This week, Kirby and I were on vacation. Actually, I was on vacation at a resort where Kirby was attending a board meeting and convention. Early in the week I got a cold and by our trip home today, I was miserable. I was so angry about my week being disrupted by ANOTHER cold. Seems like every time we go somewhere, I get sick. I know, poor me.

Listening to the radio shortly after we got in the car this morning, we heard another story about a small child that lost his life in a hot car. All day my heart has been breaking for another family that lost a future, another family that has to grieve for a life that ended too soon, another family that will never be the same. Suddenly, my cold wasn’t such a big deal. Suddenly, wining about a disrupted vacation felt foolish.

We are living in a society where we can start our car from inside our house. We can use our phone to find a route to anywhere in the world. Nearly everything in our world can be controlled by pushing some button. And yet, since 1998, 619 kids have died from heatstroke after being left in closed cars. There have been 619 families that have had to deal with a death that should have been avoidable. My heart is broken.

We need to find a way to stop it from happening again. There is an app for everything else, why can’t there be an app to remind parents to check the car seat? Maybe an alarm in the car that sounds if there is weight in the car seat after the car is shut off? Or even something as simple as putting a stuffed animal in the car seat that they move to the front seat when they strap their child in. Maybe something different in the front seat will help them to remember the precious cargo sleeping in the back.

Dear God,
Please help us to save any children from suffering an unnecessary death. Please be with those families who have suffered through that loss. And please give a hug to those children who are with you.
Amen

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A picture is worth a thousand words.

If you know me, you know that I often have my camera with me.  I have BOXES of pictures of my kids from the days before digital.  I have thousands of digital pictures on an exterior drive.  I love to take pictures of family, friends, vacation spots and of course all my flowers.  The sad thing is, I don’t like having picture of myself.  Today I read this blog post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/teresa-s-porter/so-youre-feeling-too-fat-to-be-photographed_b_4351360.html

I can’t believe how this spoke to me.  I know that I will never be younger than I am today, and I think about how I looked 10 years ago when I didn’t think I look good enough for pictures.  Now I am ten years older, a few pounds heavier and quite a bit grayer.  Will I someday look back at today and wish I looked this young?  Will Mallory have enough pictures of me to share with her kids?  What am I waiting for?

So this summer, I won’t hide from the camera.  When we travel, I will make sure I am in the pictures too.  I hope you do the same.

Dear God,
I am sorry that I do not appreciate the shell that you gave me for this life.  I don’t always like what I see, but I don’t work to change the view.  Help me to be more thankful for what I have.
Amen

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Graduation

(This was my graduation post from last year.  I have had an emotional evening, so I just thought I would repost. )

Tonight was high school graduation here in Sun Prairie. For those of you not from around here, we are a small town with only one high school. So graduation is a big deal. Everyone in town knows someone graduating. You need a ticket to get into the ceremony and its a hard ticket to get. It’s a big deal, and it should be. Graduation is the just the beginning though, the start of something new.

This weekend families all over town are celebrating the start of summer. School is out. Some of the kids are just on a break, and others have finished their formal education. Some will continue their education, some will go straight to jobs, and some are still unsure. But for right now, for today, they are celebrating the end of high school. They are moving on. They are growing up.

Did you know that we only use a small percentage of our brain? God could have made us already equipped with all the knowledge we might ever need for life. But instead of creating us perfect, he created us with the ability to learn and the curiosity needed to learn. We want to learn and we need others to teach us.

Life is all about learning.

So today, dear God, I pray for our high school graduates. The “next” generation. This group of individuals that will someday lead our businesses, our communities and our country. I pray for their wisdom, strength and integrity. I pray that they know you, and lean on you in all they do.

Amen

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Things we can’t control.

 

Today started out like any other day.  Actually, most of the day was great.  I went to lunch with a friend and we worked on Relay for Life preparations, I went to a beautiful nursery and looked at flowers, I drove through the Wisconsin countryside on a picture perfect day, and then I worked in my garden.  I was enjoying the day and couldn’t imagine anything changing that.  Then I walked to the mailbox and got todays mail.  One simple piece of junk mail changed my mood.  We got a credit card application for Ryan, and just seeing his name was like a kick in the gut.  Darn you Discover Card.

“Because someone we love is in heaven, we feel heaven in our home.” — Author unknown

Ryan should be finishing his junior year of college.  We should be missing him because he is too busy for us.  We should be paying for his school and complaining about how expensive it is.  But, as we all know, life never goes as we plan.

So tonight I will say a little prayer for Ryan, as I always do.  I will probably shed a few tears, as I often do.  I will ask him to visit me in my dreams, just as I do every night as I fall asleep.   And I will thnk about the joy that he brought to our lives.  I will thank God for that time we had together and look forward to the day we are together again.

Dear God,
I have gotten very lazy about talking to you, and for that I am sorry.  Thank you for another beautiful day.  Thank you for the beauty in the flowers I enjoyed today, the smile of a friend and sound of a singing bird.  Especially tonight, I thank you again for my family.  I am lucky to know the love of a wonderful husband, the joy of 2 incredible children, and the support and love of my parents and siblings.  I wish tonight that everyone could be as fortunate as me.
Amen

 

 

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Heaven is waiting.

This weekend was nearly perfect. The temperature was in the upper 70′s with a nice breeze. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. I was able to enjoy time in the garden, and even had Mallory and Kirby outside with me for a some of the time. If that is what heaven is like, I will be very happy there.

Of course, heaven will be much better. We will get to spend time with our loved ones that have gone before us. We will get to spend time with all our brothers and sisters in Christ that we haven’t met yet, and we will know them by name. And I am sure that the beauty of what we have experienced here on earth will be squelched by the beauty we see there.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

We are all created in the image of God.  We are all loved by Him, and invited to join him in Heaven.  None of us are worthy of the gift that awaits us when we leave this world, we just have to know Jesus and follow him the best we can.  I plan to follow him to a garden.

Amen

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