Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The importance of words

Ever since Jeff and I have been married (back in Sept. '11), Jeff made it a point to tell R "I love you Princess" every night as part of the good-night ritual. He also tells her the same thing when it's rest/nap time in the afternoon (and yes, she still goes to sleep in the afternoons). Lately, I've noticed what kind of effect that these words have had on R. Even before Donovan died, she didn't play with Barbie's much or dress up as a Princess. She would dress up for a fancy tea party or as a fairy or something but, she didn't hear those words on a daily basis from anyone. If there is a Princess movie out (like Barbie's MANY Princess movies), she'd watch it maybe once and that would be it. Since she hears those words on a daily basis, I believe it's also raised her self esteem. She's more confident of herself. She's more open and that little spark of joy that left after Donovan passed is coming back - stronger each day and I love seeing that. Like I told Jeff a few nights ago, God KNOWS what He's doing and He knew exactly what each member of this family needed so, in His time, He provided. It's both humbling and inspiring to see and experience. Depression and grief and sap the life out of someone if they allow it to and Satan is rubbing his hands in glee when this is accomplished. Grief can leave you with a feeling of "I deserve this" or, "It's my fault my life is like this" when, in reality, life's experiences were beyond our control anyway but, we are left with feelings of guilt, depression, resentment, anger, etc.... God has a way of changing that by the people who come into our lives and help us become stronger. He has everything perfectly timed for smooth transitions that we only notice in hindsight. The thing is, we HAVE to let HIM have His way and on His time. Life can be a very challenging and scary roller coaster ride. The tie breaker is if we keep getting back up, shake the dust off, keep our faith alive, and keep trusting in Him. More to follow......

Monday, July 16, 2012

The records

Over the past few weeks, Jeff has started cataloging Donovan's records that I held back. Jeff has been wanting to go thru them and see exactly what we have but, it's kinda hard to do when there's about 2 or 3,000 of them and most are not in alphabetical order. So, Jeff has now gone thru two boxes and put all of the info into a database that he will be using later when we get some shelves up for the records. Donovan was a "makes-no-sense" kind of collector. He and his dad would look through record bins at different thrift stores or, I would find something that I thought he might find interesting at estate sales in the DFW area. Mostly, Donovan went for 70's and 80's type of music and then throw some jazz, classical, and anything else. Luckily, Jeff has found some records that he initially took with him to boot camp (but didn't walk out with them) and then some that he just liked the sound. It's kinda nice hearing the music again but, it's different. Neither one of the guys listened to the same type of music so, we'll see what's left standing when Jeff gets through it all (and that will take a while). The kids seem to enjoy hearing the records as well (especially when Jeff throws in a black light and a lava lamp). R REALLY enjoys that aspect and isn't upset when somethings playing. Not sure if it's just because of the effects of the room or that she hasn't recognized anything that's been played yet. She just happy to have some music appreciation time with her daddy. It seems that every week, she's opening up more to Jeff. There have been some times that she just wants to cuddle on his lap and not share with J (even though he won't let that rest until he has his spot on Jeff's lap). Makes me smile. More to follow........

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Father's Day weekend/week

A few days before Father's Day, Jeff and I decided to go to Garland, Tx and spend Father's day/K's B-day with them. As a result, it ended up being much more than just a trip to see family. We left home on Friday and got in rather late Thursday night. I also found out that one of my dear friends (who was facing her 2nd round of chemotherapy) was having a "wig party" on Saturday night and if we could come.... Only stipulation was that everyone HAD to wear a wig. Babysitters/food provided. So, (with G's help) we managed to find some hair pieces for Jeff and I (and yes, I have pic's). Got there kinda late due to Jeff having stomach issues (that had developed on Thursday on the way down) and J managing to get a nice cut on his chin from hitting the kitchen table (little 3 yr old boys... 'nuff said). Vince and Jerra have set a HUGE example for me in many aspects. They agreed to both shave their heads to 3" of hair. The reason, I learned later was that, if you are taking chemo and completely shave your head before your hair starts falling out, the hair follicles don't like it and cause the muscles in your head to hurt (A LOT). Jerra is a fun-loving lady who has tried to see the positive aspect of facing breast cancer. They have 3 adopted children (who are originally from Russia - the two youngest - sisters - they adopted a year ago) and have gone thru a lot of hurdles to help their children.... Such an inspiration! Anywho, Vince got his head shaved first and their son didn't handle that transition very well but, thankfully they have a little pool in the back yard that the kids were taking full advantage of. Jerra went next and it took a little longer because they had to cut her hair first before shaving it down. She looked like Demi Moore from GI Jane! Beautiful! It was sooo good to see so many of my friends that had rallied around me after Donovan died now, rallying around Jerra! When I first learned that Jerra had breast cancer, I bawled so, I wasn't sure if I would cry when she got her hair shaved or not but, everyone kept the atmosphere in a good mode and that makes all the difference sometimes. :) The rest of the time that we were in Garland was pretty much spent with K and G. K and G's mom (Margie) have their birthday's pretty close so the kids went to celebrate (K and Margie) birthday at the nursing home that Margie is at. Good times! G also took the kids to the science museum and Jeff and I were able to have some "Us" time for a change.... Soooo nice to find a book store/Starbucks and just slow down a bit. On Sunday, it was good to see everyone at Centerville Road C of C and how people reacted to how much the kids have grown and changed (especially R who- as the Bible school teacher put it - is blossoming). We've noticed some small changes with R in that she's opening up more with Jeff and not constantly running to me for answers/questions... Etc. One thing that I noticed on this trip was that she was more on edge when we were over at K and G's house. She seemed relaxed elsewhere but not at their house. Not sure if it's because she sees the same pictures of Donovan everywhere (they haven't changed anything as far as pictures goes since he died) or if she doesn't quite know how to act around them. Ideas??? One thing for sure was that she was much more relaxed and at peace when we got back home and that makes all the difference to me. She doesn't feel under stress at home which is as it should be. The kids also did a hand-printed shirt for Jeff for Father's day. On it, it says, To the best Dad... Hands down. Brilliant me didn't realize that the kid's hand prints wouldn't be dried before going to Tx. So, we did the hand prints on Thursday evening while Jeff was ministering at the prison. I let the kids stay up extra late so that they could show it to him when he got home.... Reaction, priceless! The kids were sooo excited about their handiwork and being able to give something to their dad.... :) More to follow.......