Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thankful for good days


Today has been a good day so far. My moms good friend, Gayle, stayed the night sitting up with her, so we could all get some rest. We still ran up through out the night to check on her, but we were able to rest knowing that someone who loved her was watching her...what a blessing that was to us! 

Mom was in so much pain, that we had to give her morphine last night, but this morning she was rested and decided that she would like to sit up :) 

She is now snuggled warmly into my fathers large,dark blue, leather chair, covered up with a quilted blanket I made her years ago, that is covered in pictures of her grandchildren.  

She is surrounded by pictures of our family, cards, items that dad had given to her....things that make her happy and comfortable....things that make her feel loved. 

The girls bought her balloons the other day and they are starting to droop, but every time mom sees them, her face lights up with a smile.

She has been calling each of her grandchildren in to the room to tell them how much the mean to her and how dearly she loves them. 

It's so sweet to watch her the kids climb into bed with their Memaw/Gugu/Papa (each child has a special name they call her) and snuggle in for a few mins here and there with mom. They will look back on these moments and know how much they were loved. 
 
I am sitting here, in her room..looking at the pictures on the wall, her knick knacks, little reminders through out the room of mine and my sisters' child hood, and  each item holds a precious memory for my mom. 

Memories and items that will carry on with us after she is gone. 

Our days are not guaranteed and going through this process,  has made that even more clear to our family...each moment, each breath is precious...each "I love you" will forever be remembered. 

And even though this is so hard.....one of the hardest things we will go through...I am thankful for these moments...for the things we get to do for her...even if  it's just putting lotion on for her, or grabbing her a diet coke when she is thirsty...sitting in the room so she isn't alone. 

 Just seeing her sweet smile makes everything seem ok.....even if we know it's not. 

wouldn't wish this on anyone, but I also wouldn't trade these moments with her for the world, and so for now, we are thankful for the good days.  


















Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Having to say Goodbye

Saying good bye to someone is never easy, especially if you know that it may be the Last time you may ever see them, hug them, whisper that you Love them.

You want to hold on to them forever and never let go......and then you have to leave...with that doubt in your mind, the whispered lies floating through your mind, taking root, that you were not there enough, that you didn't hug, kiss, or say you loved them enough.

It's enough to crush you...enough to make you want to hide away from everyone.....even yourself.

This is where we are...my Beautiful Mom is on hospice..and I am trying to wrap my head around that word..

Hospice......such a scary word....its  the knowledge that the end is near, but never knowing when that final day will come.

 The past few months we have been making every opportunity to be with her, we knew this was coming, and we were going to make as many memories with her as we could, but there will always be more memories we want to share with her.

We will always  think "what if we did this differently" or "maybe if we spent more time with her".

Today has be filled with packing, Making sure I have packed enough clothes for me and my daughter, grabbing chargers, my Bible, things  to keep Olivia  busy, and trying to pick up the house so my husband has a somewhat clean house to come home to after a long day of work and relax in.

I am sure I will forget something.I will get to my sisters and realize that something I need, is sitting on the table, or in the bathroom...It will probably, be exactly where I left it unmoved, when I get home, as if nothing has changed....but no mater how normal and unchanged everything looks when we go home...it will be different...we will have changed.

Our lives will no longer be the same.....

The next few days and weeks will not only take a toll on me, but on my whole family, and those who are like family to my Mom. We are watching our Mom, Grandmother, Mother in Law,  and best friend, slip from this world, and it will change each of us.

 I'm not even going to pretend that I'm "fine"

I'm not...

I am sure at sometime in the future I will be OK, but I don't expect it to happen over night, and it shouldn't. When you love someone so much, and are loved the same in return, your loss is sometimes greater then what you can ever imagine.

This is hard...so hard, and yet we find peace and comfort in knowing that she is ready, and at Peace with what is coming.

She knows that she is in Gods hands, and whatever the outcome, that He is holding her hand.  We rest in the knowledge that this is not Goodbye forever, but just for awhile, until we meet her on the other side.

 So, for however long we have left with Mom, we will hold her hand, tell her how much we LOVE her, read her Bible to her, sing to her,  and just "be" with her. She will not be alone, she will be surrounded by people who love and cherish her. 
































Friday, December 25, 2015

Making Christmas Count



Christmas comes and goes, and I often look back and say " I missed Christmas"

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way... we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday that we forget to slow down and enjoy the memories being made.

When I was growing up Christmas was THE holiday for our house!! my mom went all out. we had tons of gifts, a HUGE tree, put up on black Friday (earlier if she could talk my father into letting her put it up). it was a magical time in our house. I love the memories I have from my childhood Christmases.

My parents would wake us up at 5am and we would run downstairs, in our new jammies to see the living room lighted only by the Christmas tree and all the presents seemed like they were glowing under it. I have two sisters and we each   had our own place for gifts under the tree, and right in front of our gifts would be the unopened gifts from Santa!! They were the 1st thing we would see, and although I knew they were from our parents it was still one of my favorite parts of our Christmas traditions. to sit down and look through what "Santa" had left for us, opening our stockings and finally after mom brought out the different muffins and breads for breakfast, her and dad would have a cup of Diet coke and Pepsi (lol no coffee for them) and we would settle in and one by one we would open our gifts.
we were not rich by any means, but there was always an abundance of gifts. my mom would buy throughout the year when she found deals and she even found things that we really wanted at thrift stores on occasion. we never cared where it came from, we just knew that our parents loved us and bought things for us that they knew we would love.

I miss those Christmases, and I strive to make my daughters the same way, but I still felt like I  was "missing  Christmas"...

Until I actually did miss a Christmas! 

 Two years ago when my father passed away on December 2nd. and our family truly felt what it meant to "miss Christmas"

My families life was shattered, we were struggling just to get day to day not even thinking about Christmas. My daughter kept asking if we were going to put up a tree, and I couldn't.. I couldn't even think about getting through the month, let alone dealing with gifts, parties and putting up a tree. I just didn't care!

I did come to my senses and 3 days before Christmas we put up our tree and wrapped the gifts I had bought before he passed, ad sent my hubby out to buy a few stocking stuffers and we were good to go....but my heart wasn't in it. we didn't play music all December, we didn't bake a ton of cookies, or spend time looking for gifts for all of our loved ones.

I missed the Joy of Christmas...
I missed the fellowship with family and friends..
I missed Christmas...


I made a HUGE effort to not do that again...to make every holiday count. to make memories that we can laugh over in the years to come, like we do about the memories we have with my father.

Christmas isn't just about the gifts and the lighted tree, its about spending time with your loved ones and making memories that will last a life time.

It is for sharing your faith and celebrating the birth of our Lord...it is for rejoicing that even in our grief, we are reassured that we will be with my father again one sweet day. 

So for now I will make memories, I will live in the moment, I will slow down , and I will be present, and most importantly I will NOT miss another Christmas.

Christmas tree photo from www.inspiringwallpapers.net


 



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Closing The Door On Fear


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 That foggy feeling you get when you have been woken up from a deep sleep and you CAN'T fall back to sleep....yep its been that kind of morning..

A little before 6am, I was woken up with an earth shattering (OK maybe not earth shattering, but it was loud) thunder, followed closely by a bright light that lit up my bed room...displaying all the shadows on my wall.

Its amazing that even at 36-years-old, I can still get scared of shadows on my wall.

I laid there quietly (cause you know that "shadows" can hear you, right) trying to rationalize what I saw.

"It's just the bookcase standing in the corner....not some blood sucking creature that is lurking in my room waiting for my eyes to close so it can move closer"

"It's the clothes in the closet that are strangely looking like a group of ghost"

"That thing hiding and shaking under my blanket at the end of my feet is just my toy Yorkie....not a toe biting fiend"


Yes I know those are silly thoughts for me, a Christian, who does not believe in ghost, vampires and  any of the creepy, scary  things that Hollywood is famous for....but  those were my thoughts this morning...And as CRAZY as they sound...for a moment in time I felt scared...not just scared...terrified...Icy fingers on my spine, terrified.

I know that God is not a giver of fear..

 The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."


So my fear this morning was not of Him....it was from something and someone I LET into my house.


"Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat "(Oxford Dictionaries )

I was a syfy/supernatural/charmed/anything that was interesting kind of show type of girl....I loved  (past tense)watching things that would allow me to escape into an  alternate reality where anything was possible...there is nothing wrong with watching a good show, but when they go against everything you have been taught and believe in, that is when they become a problem.

I will not lie when I say I justified what I watched.

"there is no bad language or scenes in it"

"its just make believe, I KNOW the difference "

"its not a big deal, EVERYONE watches these types of shows"

The list could go on and on....and it did.

One night my daughter woke up SCREAMING....or at least I thought she was awake...Olivia was in the middle of a Night Terror and we couldn't wake her up from her dream.  And she continued to have one every night for a week.

we took her to the Doctor, who had us wake her up every night at 2 am,  to help her not get into too deep of a sleep. We were told never to wake her up, but to hold her, so she wouldn't hurt herself.

Nothing we did stopped her night terrors...she had them for months and she was waking up with dark circles under her eyes, and would need to rest throughout the day because she was so tired. thankfully she never remembered the night terrors. I hate to think about what type of dream she was having, that had her screaming and kicking :( it broke my heart.

My Pastors wife, told me that what we allow in our house, even though we don't let the children see it (Olivia was never in the room when I watched "my shows" because I didn't want to scare her), that there is still a spirit that comes in the house with it, and that we are the keepers of our home and it is our job to guard our homes and those inside it.

I had never thought about that....I was thinking that I was protecting her from it because  I wasn't allowing her to actually see/hear it.
  

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After months of night terrors, we did what we should have done first. We had her prayed for.
Our Pastor gave her his Bible to take home with her to put under her pillow at night. She has never had another night terror since.

I believe in the POWER of prayer, and I also believe that when God answers  a prayer you shouldn't take it for granted.

Because of that conversation with my Pastors wife, I began to look at what I allowed in to my home, my life and my family's life.

I wanted to make sure that I wasn't letting anything into my home that would affect my daughter.Anything that I thought would trigger a night terror was thrown out, even cartoons like scooby-doo were off limits, because I thought she would be scared by the "monsters".

We had always been strict on what we allowed her to watch, but now we took that same strictness into consideration each time we brought something into the house for us to watch.

I didn't want the spirit of fear in my home... Much less that it had been brought into my home by me....the person who was supposed to guard our home and make it a safe place.

I wanted to reflect Christ in everything I did...and what I was allowing in our home was not a reflection of God...it was a reflection of fear and the master of fear.

It has been a constant battle of "what if I just watched it once" or "maybe it wasn't that bad after all"

 But that type of thinking is why I MUST hold firm...I can't allow something that may hold my interest for a moment, but will leave a lasting impression in our lives, into my home and heart.

I was afraid this morning, laying in the dark room, whispering prayers that God "would take  away my fear."

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A FEAR that I brought on myself...something that I has seen years ago, was laying dormant in my subconscious, and this morning it was dusted off and came out of hiding to scare me.

This is why I see closing the "Door on Fear" as a HUGE responsibility. Something I take seriously. So when people ask me why I don't watch certain things, or wont allow my daughter to see certain "kids" shows, this is why. I am guarding our hearts and minds. I am not allowing something into my home that can take root and grow and morph into something else.

I am Closing the Door

:) 







 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Snow....Snow...Snow




Snow.......Snow.......Snow......

Its nowhere to be found!

Christmas is 8 days away and, while it is cold outside, it doesn't really feel like Christmas in the good old state of Ill.

Every morning my 10 year old daughter runs to the front window to see if the snow has started to fall,and every morning she looks at me with a small frown and tells me its "Still not snowing."

She is disappointed.....but only for a  few minutes....Soon she is running around the house making plans for the day, she is talking a mile a minute, and trying her best to get her tiny dog Diego, to sit still, so she can take him out for his morning walk. Its not long before her mind turns to all the things that she can do "When" it starts to snow.

"Can we go sledding, and then stop for hot chocolate and donuts, like last time"

"Can we have a snowball fight,mom"?

"I love the snow, don't you love the snow,mom"

"Do you think I can build a snowman taller then me"?

"Do you know what would be fun??? A snow FORT"!!!

"Can we build a snow fort, mom"?

The list goes on and on.....and I'm just sitting there thinking "come on snow...how can I do all this stuff with my sweet girl with out you?" 

I'm going to let you in on a little secret........I HATE snow!!

I love my flip flops and I cant wear them in the snow...although I have tried :)

I love the cooler weather where I can get away with a light jacket and my beloved flip flops, but I cant stand being cold, and I really hate having to wear heavy coats and closed toed shoes!

I would be perfectly happy if it snowed one day a year...just on Christmas day...Because then we could have a White Christmas. But I would love it, if the next morning I woke up, and all the snow was gone...that would be perfect for me.

So why do you ask am I WISHING for the snow to come???

Because my daughter LOVES it...she LOVES playing in the snow with me and her daddy. She wants to make forts and have snow ball fights, she wants to see me screaming for my life as I go full speed down a hill covered in snow,While her and her daddy laugh uncontrollably at me.

Because even though my toes and fingers will be numb, my heart will be happy and my daughters smile will be worth all the freezing I will go through these cold winter months!


So, even though I cant stand you snow....HURRY UP AND GET HERE!!

I want to go play in the snow with my family :)








Thursday, December 17, 2015

Exciting News:)



I am so EXCITED to announce that I will be guest posting on one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE blogs, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/  this coming Monday! I will be posting a link when it goes live...Make sure to check out her blog and read my post on "Making Christmas Count!"

Merry Christmas

Shanna:) 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Whispered Prayers



It has been a hectic few weeks....I have been back and forth to see my mom, spent some long days sitting by her bedside in a hospital room and felt, what I can only describe as, complete and utter exhaustion, creep up on me and grab hold of every aspect of my life. 

 My house is a mess.

Our car looks like I have been living in it for weeks.

I haven't unpacked.

My poor family has lived off of fast food for the last week, and I'm pretty sure they have forgotten what a home cooked meal tastes like.

I was drained, but I was also blessed.

We all have those moments when we say something, or argue about something small and then immediately regret it. Usually we can call and fix it by saying I'm sorry the next day. I had such a conversation with my mom, and unfortunately for me, when I called the next day, she was unable to carry on a conversation, and didn't know what I was talking about due to her medications. 

I was heartbroken.....I went around the house for days crying, because the last coherent conversation between me and my mom ended in an argument over something, that in retrospect, was so small.

We went to see her and it was the same...she was repeating herself and sleeping all day. I sat in her room just hoping that she would look at me with clear eyes and start talking to me.....It didn't happen. So on the day I left to come home, I hugged her and just cried telling her how much I loved her, not knowing if she understood what I was saying. 

Sunday Morning, we got the call that mom was rushed by ambulance to the ER, where she was eventually admitted to the Hospital..the whole way there, all I could think about was how I "Needed" to be able to speak to my mom and have her understand me. 

At this point, let me remind you that even prayers whispered out of  despair and grief, the ones that your heart whispers, because you are so emotionally raw that you cant speak them....these are the prayers that God hears.

My heart was so hurt, so heavy, that I couldn't even cry out what I needed, all I could do was whisper it over and over again in my heart and mind...

And My God heard my inner most fears, my doubt and my hurt, and He answered them. 

My mom was sleeping when I walked in to the ER, but when I bent down to give her a hug, she woke up and said "hi Shan!"

At first I didn't think anything of it....I started putting my purse down, pulling up a seat and settling in...then she asked me where Olivia and Dallas were, then she asked me how I was feeling, and  how she was sorry that we had to come back to see her.

I just looked at her and started crying... She laughed when I told her I was "SO glad she could talk to me"...

So in that tiny ER room we talked, and talked, and talked, and I LOVED every minuet of it.

 I got to tell her I was sorry for the argument,I  was able to hold her hand, pray for her, and have conversations that left us both laughing. We were able to "clear the air" on some issues. to put behind us past hurts. It was precious  to me, to hold her hand as she slept and to hear her say "I love you" when she woke up. 

Shes is finally home from the hospital, and is very tired, but with her medications adjusted, she is still able to talk to us, and to carry on conversations, that we didn't think she would ever be able to do again.

We still have a long road ahead of us, but if God is willing to answer a prayer that was whispered from my heart, I KNOW that He will be with us, whatever road he asks us to take. 

My house is STILL a mess...

My car STILL looks like a tornado went off in it...

and I STILL need to cook for my family...

But.....none of that matters....What matters are the smiles, the hugs, the kisses, and the conversations we are able to have with the ones we love. 

And the Peace we have in knowing that our steps are ordered by the Lord and that He has this situation under control. 

:) Shanna