Sunday, January 2, 2011

To my Helen LeAnn

Anyone who knows me, knows that my life as a Mom is all I ever wanted and on January 3, 1980 that dream was fulfilled with the birth of our first child, Helen LeAnn. As every mother says, I never thought it was possible to love a little person so much. With Helen's birth, not only was I given this beautiful baby girl but also a little person who would grow with me and who loved me unconditionally.
Today, as my beautiful baby hits the big 3-1, I can't help but become choked up as I think about the young woman she has become.  The joy and pride that I feel when I think about our life as mother and daughter, is overwhelming. That said....I want to wish my little dream a Happy Birthday.
Helen, no matter where you are. No matter the distance or the time, my love is always with you. I pray that 2011 will bring you an abundance of happiness, love and joy and that today, this special day, is filled with love and laughter.
Happy Birthday Sweetie. I love you to infinity and beyond.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Moms Strays

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I seem to be getting more and more sentimental. Thoughts of wishing I could have all my little ducklings under one roof. I know I should be thankful to have 6 out 7 with me but still, it just isn't the same without them all. Missing my sweet Mama bossing me around her kitchen and then complaining about how she did all the work and that she wasn't going to do it again only to do it time and time again for many more years. Childhood Thanksgivings at Grandpa Graves house, climbing on haystacks in the barn with my cousins and realizing that my brothers and I weren't the only animals in the family. I can't help but wonder what it is my own children are going to think of and if their memories will bring a smile to their face as mine have done for me. What, if anything, have I taught them or have shown them of being thankful not only at this time of the year but throughout the entire year.
One of my fondest memories at Thanksgiving is of my Mother and her open and giving heart. She never failed to not only prepare an amazing dinner but also had this unique ability to find & invite someone that didn't have anywhere to go at Thanksgiving and make them feel as if they were one of her own. We affectionately referred to the extra chair at the table as the seat for Mom's Stray.
Mom's strays ranged from my brother's roommate that couldn't make it home for the holidays to a young couple from church whose family couldn't make into town to see them. We once had a young man that was a complete stranger to us all but Mom had heard that he & his parents were having difficulties and was asked to leave the home. The idea of that young man not having a home cooked meal at Thanksgiving was more than Mom could bare. Of course though, being the woman she was she called this boys parents to clear it with them. She never wanted to rock the boat. We had extended family members that while not related by blood were family as far as my Mother was concerned. Mom, in her quiet way, never missed an opportunity to reach out to others and give them a sense of family. The amazing thing is, after Thanksgiving and for many years down the road, Mom would continue to hear from her special invites and they often thanked her for the day she had made them feel apart of her family.
So as I sit and get misty and emotional about Thanksgiving & of what I feel I am missing out on, I have to say I have so much more to be Thankful for. I have a lifetime of wonderful memories of my Mother and of her example of giving, graciousness and love that she not only gave my family and I but also to her special strays throughout the years. God blessed her with the gift of giving and it is during this time that I am thankful that I was a witness to her faithfulness to her Lord and to hear family.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm amazed at how our brain can cover-up a horrible incident that took place in our life and tuck it away until it knows that you are strong enough to deal with it. Even then, it only offers up bits and pieces so to not overwhelm you. It's our minds way of keeping us safe and making sure we can make it through what it feels we need to remember. The memory flashes are quick, sometimes shocking and most times, cause you to question as to whether it was real, if not, question your sanity. It's at these times that we need someone reliable to turn to that can hold us up, take our hand and assure us that we can and will make it through the nightmares of our past.

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ~Isaiah 41:13

Monday, November 8, 2010

Create a Memory a Day

As adults we often like to refer back to our childhood to teach our children a lesson. We share our memories or certain events in our lives to prove to them that we too, were young once. It's the thing parents do. It's our way to prove to our children and to ourselves that we actually had a life before them! I though, do not have those memories.

I have struggled for most of my adult life, trying to figure out why it is I don't remember my childhood. I know I had one! At least that's what my brothers tell me. I do have glimpses or flashes as some call it but nothing that seems real to me. In fact, there have been times that I have called my brother Kevin, knowing he must think that I was crazy, just to ask him, if something I THOUGHT happened, actually happened. It is Kevin that, without knowing it, has helped to put some pieces of my puzzle together.

While I can recall my elementary school friends, school activities and such, it is life at home that I have struggled with and for me, that has been the toughest part. You see, we lost our mother in 2001 and it was at that time that regaining these memories became more and more important to me. So many questions run through my mind. Why don't I remember? Why don't the stories that my brothers share sound familiar? It's as if they are talking about someone else's life. Not mine. Not me but another little girl.

Now, let me set the record straight, I do have a few memories. For example: The clock I gave my brothers for Christmas one year. I wanted to see if it worked SO I wound it up and THEN wrapped it. The boys, as usual, were giving me a hard time, they heard the box ticking, said "We know what it is!" to which my response was "IT'S NOT A CLOCK!" To this day, they still tease me about that. I also remember a HORRIBLE babysitter we had. Actually, I think she was probably a pretty good babysitter and we were HORRIBLE children. We were terrible one day, my brother Kevin especially (sorry Kev). To teach Kevin a lesson for not listening to her, she locked him out of the house. Exactly what he wanted to happen I might add. To this day, I still can see Kevin's head bobbing up and down outside the kitchen window taunting this poor young woman as she pulled her hair out trying to deal with us, (excuse me a minute while I laugh). I remember the house I grew up in. I remember the day my mother married our step dad but that is where it stops. All I know is that my memories, with my family, stop at 5 years old.

This for me, while it may not sound like a problem to you, has been heartbreaking for me. While Craig and I have sat at the dinner table with the children, there have been many times Craig has told the children about his childhood adventures and I have to say, I have been envious. At the same time though, not remembering has made me purposely create lasting memories for our children.  In our family we say, "Everyday is a day of memories" and it is because of that attitude and my lack of my own memories that the children, one by one, can share what their favorite time, thus far, has been.

Our oldest daughter Helen has said that her favorite memory is she and I, digging through the couch cushions for extra change so that we could drive down to 'Hot n Now' for a large Pepsi and large french fry that we would later share. While that might sound sad, it's nothing but smiles for us. Our son CJ will tell you, that his favorite memory is walking through the front door after school, the first week after I quit my job to stay home and take care of he and his sisters, and smelled chocolate chip cookies baking. His first words to me as he ran into the house was "So this is what it's like to have a Mom waiting for you at home." Still makes me cry. Melissa will tell you that she loves thinking about hiding in grandma's azalea bushes, sitting in the dirt with a bucket digging a hole. Simple but it makes her smile. Candace, well, her memory would be of Daddy scaring her has she sat on the potty. She wet her pants that night and we have never seen Craig laugh as hard since. Nicholas, he has a wonderful memory of laying in bed with grandma sharing a package of Starbursts. It's a picture that I will never get out of my head. Deborah and Matthew, even as young as they are, will tell you that their favorite is the day they got to see Lucy, our beagle, have her first litter of puppies. They sat and watched every last puppy come into this world. It was an amazing night.

There are many, many others and so many more memories to create but it is because we purposely create a memory a day that I have been able to let go of what I don't recall and concentrate on what I have now. The loss of my past still haunts me. I still wonder why and wish that it weren't this way but what Craig and I have created with our children makes what could have been, not so important anymore.

If you are a parent with children still in the home or even a grandparent, aunt uncle or guardian, make a point of, creating a memory a day, if not for you, for the children. I promise you, the rewards you receive in turn, will make it worth it all.
                                  The Traditional, making of Dad's Thanksgiving stuffing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Older!? Me!?

Recently my beautiful niece, Stacey posted something on her Facebook page that gave me a laugh. She shared how she had gone to church that Sunday morning where they were announcing a young girls 16th birthday. Stacey shared that she could help but feel 'old' when she realized that she had taught this girl in Sunday School when this now 16 yr old was 11. Old? Stacey is a mere 25 yrs old.  She has so much to learn about 'feeling' old.

I will share with you what I shared with Stacey...Having our first child at 18 years old, I was always the youngest mother, the youngest wife and the youngest it seemed, at any event I attended. I remember not enjoying it at the time because the 'Older' women always had some sort of words of wisdom for me. It was as if they felt I didn't know anything about life. At the time, it was very irritating. Now the child I had at 18 yrs old is thirty and there have been six children added to our family since her birth. I haven't been able to figure out if it was Me that was older or my children getting older....Until recently.

I have been helping out at our church babysitting for the MOPS group in our area. For those that don't know, MOPS stands for 'Mothers of Pre-Schoolers'. They are a national group of Moms that meet once a month to share and compare notes about their lives, loves and children. Recently, a friend came to me and asked me to be a mentor to these Moms of Pre-Schoolers. What you need to know is, a couple of these 'young' mothers are actually my friends. So, that being said, I thought to myself, "Wow! What a great idea!" I figured I could hang with my 'girlfriends' and really enjoy the time spent. WELL! I really need to stop talking to myself and shutting out the things that people are trying to tell me because I seem to have missed one important part of this friends sentence. What I was actually asked was "We would like you to be a mentor to the MOPS. I think you would be a great addition. (patting myself on the back) They really need OLDER WOMEN that have had life experiences like you." WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?!?!?! DID YOU JUST USE THE WORDS 'OLDER WOMAN' TO DESCRIBE ME?! In my head......I heard the brakes of a cartoon bus going off. An alarm started ringing in my head and suddenly, I felt the need to drink a bottle of Geritol! Older Woman? When did that happen?

I have always been told that I don't act my age and I have always taken it as a compliment. I am always the person that the 20 something crowd navigates to and thought it was just because I was so young at heart. Now though, since this eye opening event, I realize that it isn't my young at heart attitude and the fact that I relate to them,that the Young One's come to me, it's because they see me as an Older Woman! Someone with Experience! Someone that can share events in her life that may be able to direct these people of the YOUNGER GENERATION down the right path! LOL When did this happen and why didn't anyone tell me?!?!?!

I'm looking at turning 50 this next year. It doesn't bother me in the least. I have actually been looking forward to it. I feel that after everything I have been through in the last last several years, I deserve 50! 50, for me, says that I have a right to be just who I am with no excuses needed. I may be 50 chronologically but mentally, I still felt 30. Yes, I said FELT, LOL I was fine up until the point that it was made painfully obvious that I was OLD. I ask again....WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

I will admit, I have seen the deeper lines along my eyes. I have chalked them up to having a happy life. The gray hair, well, It has been something inherited from my fathers side of the family. Not being able to keep up with my kids just meant that they were growing and getting faster. Looks like now, I have been trying to ignore the fact that I have been getting older! 'Yes Lynn, the aging fairy has pounded you with her old age wand and there is no going back' LOL

Well, I guess I'm not the only one in this boat. In fact, if I am not mistaken, I have a Facebook page full of friends that will all be turning 50 this next year and correct me if I am wrong, but I think there are a couple that are already there! The things is, I don't see any of them as old! There are a few that I wish I could squeeze the staying young gene out of them and mix it in my coffee every morning.I'm just thankful I'm not the only one in this boat. I'm happy to see that there are those among me that feel 30 but are hitting 50. It also comforts me to know that I do have friends that are considered 'Older' and what a blessing it is to be able to become wiser, more experienced and happier as the years go on, together.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Does the battle sport a such contour?

What time is the Right time?

When I first started writing my blog, I imagined it being a way for me to share our families antics with loved ones. I never thought it would be a place to share my heart but recently, my heart is all I seem to be able write about. My heart, today, is heavy, for many reasons. Not all I wish to share. There is one burden in particular, that I feel led to write about. I guess you could say it is something that the Lord has asked me to write on His behalf. So, as you read, know that this is not from me but from the the Father who loves us all, more than could ever be imagined. Only He knows who it is written for...
We put God off saying "I still have time" but your time is in HIS Hands. You have no control over 'your time'. Imagine this being the last day of the rest of your life...Where would your eternity be spent? Would you be celebrating in Heaven with your loved ones that have gone on before you? Why jeopardize that celebration? Make today, the start of a new life in HIM.