Monday, May 27

Wha 'da week!

It's been a week. 
And I'm glad it's over!
Tommy went from sitting and playing at a playground in Fairhaven on Sunday, to a struggling and frightened child trying to breathe on Wednesday night.
How does that happen?
Liam came into our bedroom Wednesday night at 2am saying Tommy was coughing and needed help.  So when we walked into the twins' room I saw in the darkness Tommy sitting in a tripod stance with the most remarkable stridor and retractions on the inhales and seal like sounds.
I scooped him up with one arm
And headed downstairs and we decided to call for emergency help
Because last time, I drove myself and him to the hospital, he was blue when I got there and seizing
So long ago, Colin and I decided we wouldn't let either of us drive ourselves if he had breathing issues
Because this little guy's lungs will always be compromised
Long story short, got to the hospital at 2:30 and home again by 6am
And Tommy could breathe again after injectable steroids and a nebulizer
And his woody doll for comfort

Hannah has continued to work a strong program in AA and participate on a softball coed team with all sober and hilarious friends from her program.  I haven't missed a game.
And while she is finishing her freshman year at Western and seeking summer employment she struggled this last week a lot with her mental health challenges.  So therapies and medications happened and we just talked and laughed.
Because it's the realization that we all are fairly broken folks that helps one pick yourself up by your boot straps and keep on walking.
She is fiercely independent and strikingly resourceful
But I needed to remind her that in the end she needs to talk and share and be open.  If not to me and her friends, then to her Lord
Somedays, I recognize that eternity will be so much better than this world.  And addressing mental health issues in a world that says you should just be fine, is one of those recurring moments for her and I to focus again on eternity.

Liam is loving the increasingly warmer weather and has spent so much time outdoors he is starting to tan!  We've addressed some not so good attitudes and word choices that as he is blossoming at school, soccer and church he is starting to acquire, ahem, and we remind him that he is a good kid and doesn't need some of those 'attention getting' words/sayings/actions.  Parenting as a verb is well worth it in the end.  He is such a gem.  I'm creating a summer curriculum for him and Tommy and will share this next week with all of you!

Nate has the worse case of senioritis that I have yet to see.  He graduates 6/17.  And although he hasn't actually been in a high school setting for two years, he is ready to be done with this.  He has taken online classes and Running Start at our local community college.  High school education just didn't work for Nate and I'm thankful that there was more of a challenging education for Nate at our local college.  He finished his senior "culminating project".  This is him presenting to our family for the fifth or so time (but who was counting, lol).  We projected his slide show on our tv and he practiced the 15 minute presentation.  Some kids did stream restoration, Nate's senior project was on the clean needle exchange for opiate users in Whatcom county, "The Syringe Swap".  And his presentation was amazing on the public health issues of dirty needles, mental health and homelessness of IV drug users.  Did you know it's a near epidemic in Whatcom County? 

Just wanted to show you all how the week ended, with Hannah and I doing crazy photo shoot laughing sessions.  Because that's all we need, to laugh at life.

A granny and the Bee Gees song "Staying Alive"

This past week has been quite the week. 

With a series of really low, tough stuff, just one issue after the other non stop...

And only a few good high spots, well, at least 'normal' spots.

Have you ever had those stretches of just wading thru mud yukky stuff o' life?  It's like I was totally minding my own business, comfy and just enjoying life.  And then I was dropped into a giant mud puddle with miles until a safe shore. 

I'll share in a different post the "stuff", but really it doesn't matter.  It's just stuff.  Some small things and some so large I'm not sure they will ever be resolved and I just need to learn how to live with.  I love everyone involved but in the end it's just life and everyone survives.  After all that's the goal here in life, survive.  Ah, let's take a moment to sing the Bee Gee's "staying alive".   Andy Gibb I loved you!

So when Nate and I went to Cornwall church yesterday morning for early service I was really looking to God for inspiration, encouragement .... just a bit of the Holy Spirit offering me a nudge in the right direction.   Dealing with this last week really got me down.  And when I was handed the sermon notes and saw the title of the sermon would be "Granny".... I just about walked outta that church and drove home to bed.  What a lame sermon.  Granny?  Are you serious?  Really?  Heaven isn't even going to help me after this week of nail biting and clawing my way along barely scraping bottom.  Ahhhh.  Well, I decided I could always stay for the sermon and just get some of their delicious coffee afterwards and talk to friends, maybe it's the fellowship I need today, totally writing off the sermon.  I'll just stand her alongside Nate and enjoy just being here.

I was wrong.

The sermon had everything to do with me.  Everything.  I wasn't just nudged, I was practically shoved off my chair with the sermon "Granny". 

Jesus continually elevates the unexpected.  

The pastor shared about the story of the widow who probably was greatly disadvantaged in life.  And although the bible doesn't illustrate her life "stuff" or "specifics" we know in Mark that she was a poor widow.  And that Jesus is always watching over us, especially in the small unexpected moments of "staying alive" parts of life.  So the pastor said that Jesus had sat beside the large coffers where believers would bring their monetary offerings.  And he saw the widow put in two mites (less than a penny). 

"Jesus sat down.... and watched the crowd... Many rich people threw in large amounts.... this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others."  Mark 12:41,43

Hmmm, I work with numbers day in and day out, less than a penny isn't "... more.. than all the others".  Slightly confused.  But then the sermon expanded.

The widow loved her Lord and gave "her all".

Stay with me, don't turn the channel because I started talking about money.   It's not about money.  It's not about tithing, or offerings of money.  That only happens to be sure that our hearts are pointed to him and not to possessions and comforts of this world. 

The story of the "granny" (the widow) is about being set apart and called to give our ALL. 

Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength.  Mark 12:30

Eternity should have my attention.  I should give each day my ALL.  All of my mind.  All of my strength.  All of my soul.

But the truth is I haven't been.  I get tired.  Really, really tired and just plain exhausted.  And not just physically, but in some conversations I just hear the topic and want to turn and walk away.  Ugh, too big of a topic for me to address.  Or sometimes I feel, gee whiz we have discussed this ten times already and I can't talk about it again.  But I need to give it my ALL *especially* when I have had enough.

"Staying alive" in this life really is about keeping my eyes on eternity.  Consecrated so that I can give my ALL.  Not being weighted down by the choices of what beautiful clothes to wear during the day, but rather, I really need to call this person today and have that tuff conversation.  To purpose to do the work that I know I have been called to do.  Mostly around kids with special needs (mental and physical challenges) but in a larger context of helping their families.  Volunteering more as a helping parent.  Spending more time collaborating on system supports and solutions for families.

Because it's not a pattern for giving (offering, tithing) but a pattern for my living (giving my ALL).

I've been holding onto a few things too tightly that have been preventing me from giving it my all.  I've been keeping my small amount of evening personal/free time sacred. I've been a bit bitter.  I've resented that issues and life stuff keep popping up in front of me.  And my feet are just stuck in the mud of life.  But during the "granny" sermon I was shoved off my seat to try again to do more. 

At the end of the sermon the pastor shared that their unfinished gym will soon be made into more classrooms for children's church and teenagers.  And I realized I'm meant to be involved in how those new spaces will address a continual "life stuff struggle" for lots of families to attend this church.... they struggle with their children like Tommy.  A runner.  A silent, yet God filled child, who wants to learn more about God alongside his friends. 

So.  As I shake the mud from my feet, I'll talk to the church and see if I could collaborate on strengthening a special needs children's ministry with them.  And on a separate issue, I'll make a few phone calls to some parents of life skills students this week who might also be stuck in bitterness and resentment about issues and just "life stuff" and ask them if they want to be part of a solution and get over the easy to feel bitterness.  Because the "granny" sermon reminded me that I need to give my ALL. 

Friday, May 17

Nate is graduating from high school

Not sure where the past 18 years have gone. 

My oldest son is graduating from high school next month. 
And as we are working on his culminating project, and he is finishing up running start (a program where high school students have the opportunity to take community college courses)  he is making plans to attend college in the fall. 
At Santa Barbara.
That's in California.
That's a long....long... way from Ferndale, Washington. 
*heavy sigh*

Nate is my easy going, very smart, incredibly athletic, fun loving, prankster, well read, centered, son. 

And he is going to do *so* well in college in the fall.  He has amazing interests and already a list for what to do when he gets to Santa Barbara..... top on the list is purchase a surf board.

So as he is wrapping up the last few weeks of school, I'm praying every day that God will make the sea smooth in this transition and that Nate will make the transition from high school to college well.  Which I believe he has the skills to do with ease! 

Nate I'm missing you tons already!  We love you SO much and are always in your cheering section. 

Monday, May 13

A very happy mother's day

I feel closest to God when I am with my family.  My hubby, kids, sisters and their families and my sweet parents.  A blessed life for sure!
I was served breakfast in bed by four of my guys, my daughter celebrated one year sober, and I spent all day with my parents and sisters.An amazing memory for sure.

Friday, May 10

Fire station field trip

Today was almost 80 degrees!  Beautiful sunshine and a kindergarten field trip to the fire station.

I spent the morning in Liam's classroom and still had plenty of time to catch up with the paraeducators in Tommy's class.  Very fun morning!

Then in the afternoon we took 70ish kindergarteners on a walking field trip to the fire station.  It was one of the best field trips!  Ever!

Tommy and I have riden unfortunately in the ambulance a few years ago....and I wanted to "give thanks" to the emts and fire fighters so we made fire truck shaped cookies!  They enjoyed them.  Of course Liam was so proud of his cookie creations.

Friday, May 3

The creamery is open again

Once again we are milking goats and with all that fresh daily goats milk we are crafting tasty and gorgeous cheeses.  Nothing better than having a home creamery.  Although the work involved is a bit much at times, I'm trying to focus on the fact that we are only milking in the evenings and it is afterall only about five months out of the year that we do this.

We have added two lovely gals to our herd this year which we were given as "retirees" from the national show circuit.  So they have found greener pastures here and have settled so nicely in with the other does.  We raise purebred registered nubian goats.  We love their high butterfat milk!  And their long ears and loud personalities add to the fun.

Our cheese making has included feta, chevre and will soon expand to farmhouse cheddars this weekend.  The feta keeps for nearly a month in it's sea salt brine and we have been enjoying ontop of a marinated cucumber salad.  I've been enjoying more than anyone else I think, shy grin. 

The neatest aspect of homestead farming is involving your family in the whole thing.  Tommy, scoops grain from a sight word that he is barely starting to recognize "goat food".  Nate can easily milk for me on nights after he finishes crossfit class.  Colin does all the morning chores for our family.  Hmmm, I guess I need more of Liam in this equation!  Hannah has even relandscaped our front flower bed recently.  Farming is a family affair.  Running a creamery brings us just a lil' bit closer.

Where do you work?

Last week I was in the sunny and warm state of Georgia.  Getting an opportunity to learn from some amazing folks in Public Health.  Folks from over fourty states were there to learn about performance measurements and quality improvement.  I was blown away by the opportunity to work alongside folks from the Centers of Disease Control as well as public health staff from around the nation.  Such an opportunity!  My head is full and spinning with great ideas for my local work here. 

Occasionally some of you have asked me "where do you work?" and what do you do exactly?  I'm excited to share with you a recently posted document that best describes local public health efforts.  It's a long document but chalked full of information that effects your daily life!

On a personal note, I really enjoyed some "time away" and especially in 75 degree weather!  The light rail system in Atlanta is wonderful, for $2.50 I got to ride all day if needed to get to sightsee and explore.  Although I was traveling by myself, I really enjoy getting out and seeing places that I might not get back to again.  Call me a girl scout! 

I tried "Chick-fil-A" for the first time, ate tooooo much fried chicken with waffles, enjoyed Georgia grown pecans, ate the most tasty ham from homegrown pigs that were only fed a mash of acorns (might try that one year as our homegrown hogs from a couple years ago were so tasty), and a little too much sweet tea.

I got caught up on my movie watching on the airplane rides.  While watching "Lincoln" I had one of the ugliest cries thru about half of that movie.  I just want to take a moment to say sorry to that Delta flight passengers.  Gee Whiz I lost it in emotions while watching that movie.  Nothing sadder than seeing the soldiers spontaneously reciting the Gettysburg address to Lincoln and having a black soldier finish the parts that they had forgotten.  I cried so hard I actually was using my cuff sleeves of my sweater to wipe my eyes..... and my nose!  I told you it was a big long ugly cry. 

Glad to be back home though.  Thanks to Grandma Dorothy!  My sweet hubby, our awesome after school babysitter and "big brother" Nate for holding the home front down while I was gone.  Just to give you an idea of how bad it was at home while I was gone..... three of them were on antibiotics, two of them only made it to school for two days of the entire week, the dog was even on antibiotics too.  Ahhhh.  But Grandma Dorothy always seems to keep things running and so naturally steps into my shoes when I need to be gone, best mom-in-love award for sure!  She even made a pie while she was here.  Thank you!

Tommy Adventures