Ladybug Secrets

Ladybug Secrets:
Don't let the small stuff bug you. And Spot new opportunities.

Monday, December 30, 2013

When a Gift is More Than You Ever Expected....

Growing up, my mom and dad always reminded us Christmas is more. It is more than the gifts, food, and festivities. And I always looked forward to the moment on Christmas morning when Mom would find the little baby Jesus and place it in the Manger. As a kid it just meant there was now a baby in the manger and it was not weird that all the other statues were staring at nothing. But as I grew, it meant a completion. A completion of another year, a special time of celebration, and a plan starting. I could see the hope and expectation of what was ahead, around the corner. And this realization made Christmas more than the gifts under the tree.

Honestly the past few Christmas' have been really hard. Three years ago Brooke had her surgery and was waiting for her next one. Two years ago we were far from family and Tim lost his job. And last year, I had surgery and was in horrible pain. Financially all these years were hard too. We understood what the "true" meaning was. Our kids learned to be excited with golden books and little toys. They figured out it was more important to be together. Yet every Christmas I laid out plans in my mind for the next year. It would be better. I mean it had to be better, right? I even remember saying,"Well it can't get worse!" But it can, and normally it did. For 3 years, I kept begging God for this next year to be easier. And for 3 years my answer was no. Something in me kept asking though....holding out hope. Smiling through the heartache.

I do not always write or share the hardships we have faced. Part of it is probably pride. But part of it is my inner voice saying, "Suck it up you poor American girl! You have got it good compared to most of the world!" And I know this is true!! But that does not make the $5 bank account balance any less scary. It does not make deciding to have your daughter's cavity filled or groceries for the week easier. The reality is you either have or you do not. And most weeks I have to make crazy decisions and then live with that. It means when I go get my hair cut twice a year, I have guilt for days. It means when I buy healthy food I contemplate who is watching me and scolding me for over indulgence. Or if my Dr Pepper addiction costs our family more than it should. We kind of have a family joke about the revolving door in our home. We hold very loosely to possessions because when groceries, gas, or doctor bills need attention...I start selling off our stuff. The kids now think it is a game.

This Christmas approached like the last few. The added issue this year....I can barely grocery shop and have any strength leftover. How could I possibly deal with crowds and all that shopping? Just as it always does it all fell into place. Friends stepped in and shopped for me. Others gave us generous gift cards. One friend continues to show up with groceries for us. I received encouragement in notes and phone conversations. Aidan received his amazing Wishes Can Happen Wish that spilled over into Christmas gifts. An amazing church in the area adopted our fam and provided special things for the kiddos and our family. I was able to do a little online shopping and never leave the house for gift shopping! Thankfully I had enough strength to enjoy Christmas Eve at my parents. Christmas Day I was not feeling well, but I stayed home and was able to enjoy just being US. I was reminded over and over it is not the amount of gifts but the love.

I am continuing to pray for a more gentle year. I am continuing to hope for a small amount of peace and healing. One thing I do know is whatever the answer, we will figure it out. I am continually amazed by my husband and children...the way they adapt and take it all in stride. I am overwhelmed by the love of my parents, never stopping the care for their daughter. I am blessed by so many friends...friends I have known almost my whole life, and those I barely know outside of the internet. Some financially support us, some care for my babies, and many just send me so much love and encouragement. I wish I had the ability to thank everyone, one by one, with real words of gratitude. I am in awe at how many care for us year after year and continue to pray for us. A gift is so much more for us.....we have seen it in so many forms. Each form the gift takes in our life makes us realize how much we are loved, and it really does not matter if the answer is "yes" or "no".

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Girl and a Piano

Since I was little I have always loved music. I love the feeling music rises inside me. I have never been very particular. I like so many kinds of music. If you were to look through my very limited CD collection, you would probably think it belonged to several people. You can skip through to see classical, jazz, 80's rock, 90's rock, even some 70's in there, show tunes, christian, country, folk, and of course some hair bands. I always dreamed of playing music. As a young child, I tried several times. I first tried claranet in 4th grade. Sadly the band instructor asked me to stop. I then tried guitar, but struggled to even learn one song. In college, I again tried my hand at music. I took an Intro to Music class. My professor was a lovely lady who was so kind in telling me I had no rhythm. But she helped me to get through the class because she saw the love I had for the music. She even recommended I take World Music the following semester. I devoured this course, as it not only spoke to me through the music but the history and culture. If you have ever heard me sing, you know American Idol was never in my future. But that has never kept me from singing! I was a dancer, though, and some how I managed to excel at this. I never counted the beats as it did not make sense to me. So I came up with ways to memorize where the steps went to the sound of the music.

I always hoped one of my children would want to play an instrument. When Brooke asked to play piano, I might have squealed and jumped up and down a bit. I love to sit in her room and listen to her practice. She is so determined about it, and even the simplest songs make me smile. I am so proud of her and thankful I have music gracing the insides of our home. It gives warmth even from little 7 year old fingers. I was over the moon about her piano recital. See I am not a sports fan. I have learned to find joy in watching Aidan play. I am also amazed by what athletes can do, but long games have never been exciting to me. When Aidan gave up Irish dance and we found out Brooke could not dance, my heart sank a little. I grew up dancing and doing gymnastics. For me it was a part of daily life. Dance gave me joy and I so wanted Brooke to find something that would do the same for her.

Today I woke up in awful pain. These weather changes cause huge issues in my body. I try to put on the "I am fine face" but time is showing I am not. I can barely walk most days, and Hubby has picked up almost all of the household chores. Even the simplest things like lifting a cup, or writing a note is very painful. The pain meds do not work well, and I am not able to see the pain specialist until March. A trip out means at least one or two days down in bed. And when I say a trip out I mean the grocery. So I knew this morning even getting out of bed would be a struggle. I laid there trying to figure out what to do. I called Brooke in and told her I could not make it to the recital. Before I could even tell her I was proud of her big crocodile tears streamed down her face. My heart broke. I wiped those tears and pulled her into the bed next to me. We laid for a minute crying. Then I prayed....prayed for strength to just get to this recital. I knew going would mean I would have to be completely humbled. My hair had not been washed in days. I could not risk a shower or bath because they exhaust me. I had to pull the hair up and pray no one noticed. My clothes looked like I slept in them, and I knew I would have to use the cane. And once again my mama and papa would have to come to my rescue and drive us.

I try to be ok with my illness, to make light of a very bad situation. I try most days to find the silver lining. But sometimes I just get angry. Angry at all these illnesses taking time from my kids. Angry my kids suffer. Angry my hubby can't have hobbies and a life. Angry we will always be in medical debt. Angry that I am 36 and have to use a cane, and even with it walk very slow. Then someone prays for us...someone loves on us...someone reminds me life is still full of hope. I pushed aside pride and anger to be blessed by my daughter. She played beautiful...and no one cared her mama had ugly hair and a cane. To blessed even more her teacher's family showered us with love, and tells me I look beautiful. May seem silly but to quote a friend of mine...I was a "hot mess". Sitting there listening to all those kids play beautiful Christmas music was wonderful. To hear a 14 year old sing music which literally made me cry was a little Christmas gift. For me music is beauty and life. Many crave words, or art. For me music can make me feel closer to heaven than anything else. Once again my sweet bug helped me be hopeful. She held my hand, smiled, kissed me, and shared her heart.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Wish Come True

This is a long overdue post! I have not been doing so great health wise. Typing, reading, and writing are pretty painful these days. But something pretty awesome happened for Aidan and I need to share! Our sweet boy had Christmas come early this year. I was asked by a friend if Aidan could be nominated for a wish through Wishes can Happen. At first I was very hesitant. Although he does have Chiari and EDS I felt strange having 2 wishes for our family.(even if for different kiddos) Then I was contacted by the amazing Madelyn Sweeney. She assured me Aidan would be getting a wish no matter how I felt about it. :) She of course thought big as all wish dreamers do. Sadly though I needed to stay close to home. I just could not travel right now. Our awesome friend Lisa, who planned Brooke's wish, took the lead for Aidan's wish. She was so kind and knew I could not do much in helping her. Lisa just asked for a few ideas. Of course my little wish list for Aidan was blown up times 100! Wishes can Happen can't do anything small! A few weeks ago, Aidan began to receive special packages. It was a fun week of opening boxes not sure what would be inside. He loved every moment! Now me being the mama wanted to make sure he got something he truly needed. :) So I asked for a nice comfy mattress and pillow. I knew this would help with his sleeping and EDS. He was actually looked forward to the comfy bed. Tim and I also decided to pull a few things out for Christmas. He was receiving so many awesome things, and did not figure it would hurt to hold back a few. I will post pictures of what he has received. After Christmas I will post some updates! Aidan has not only been a trooper through his sister's illness and surgeries, but mine too. He is in pain sometimes and does not even complain. Aidan is a gentle heart wrapped up in a responsible little man. I love watching him grow, and am sad when his pain gets in the way of regular boy activities. He does not complain, just takes it all in stride. God has blessed us with him and I am so thankful that he was granted this Wish! Thank you so much Wishes Can Happen!!! We love you guys so much! You have provided endless smiles. Here are just a few of the awesome things he received: Mattress and pillow, Alienware Laptop, 2 basketballs and a hoop, Jabba Lego set (He opened this and I did not see him until it was complete!), 2 Minecraft Lego sets, Bow and Arrow set,