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Not Goodbye…..Until we meet again.

Today is going to be a hard day for me my friends. Three years ago we lost my nephew. He was one of the most special people I have ever had the honor of knowing and loving. He was born with SMA – a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy.

He taught me so much and I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken; but mostly how to love without boundaries.

Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.

I miss him with a fierce ache this morning. But I sent my kids off to school and his mother can only cry today in remembrance of the days she did the same. And so it is with humble gratitude that I remember him today and his mother and father as well as our family.

RIP my sweet angel, take care of everyone until we meet again.

 

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For about eight years this day has meant to me what it means now to all Americans. A day of remembrance for the greatest sorrow my generation and those behind me have born witness to. A day when the Nation’s heart broke as one, where our anger and disbelief flared as one, we bled together and shed tears as one. A day when we all stood shoulder to shoulder, division lines gone. It has changed our lives forever.

A year ago today, this day took on a whole new meaning. Hearts broke and tears shed for a great grief once again that could not be contained. For on this day the Lord took my nephew Garrett Allen Buthe, who had turned 10 the week before, into his loving arms and welcomed him home. I could not be at his side though I wanted to badly. We left when my son was 5 1/2 and peanut was just 2 1/2. I had promised my son we would be back to visit, and then four and a half long years had passed and life had gotten away from me, I hadn’t visited like I wish I had. I think they only made it back there once. I inadvertently broke a promise to my son and we both know it. I was able to attend his funeral thanks to the great generosity of a woman I didn’t know, but consider a friend now. She knew Garrett, had been one of his paras in school, and everyone who met him and knew him, couldn’t help but love him. It was the least she could do she said.

I remember this day so clearly….

They were very nearly brothers. Born into a close family and born with a mere 8 month difference in their age. Their fathers were brothers and they grew up as close cousins. I have such fond memories of them all. There was not a single bit of difference between any of them and they all loved each other mightily as children are so capable of doing. Want to play tag? Sure thing. Garrett tears out on his ‘hog’ and Ean and Alexandria join in on their bikes. See, not a bit of trouble. Down Uncle Cory and Aunt Lana’s driveway. The three of them were glorious together.

Ean, baby Alex, and GAB
 Watching them tear into Christmas presents together, or playing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Going up to the cabin with the family for the weekend in Fall River, where they would swim, and jet ski and boat. Where we would watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. We would lay on rugs and blankets in the living room of the cabin and watch movies and nap together. And there were always card games. Those days are filled with love and laughter. True they held their own trouble and stresses but there are things I would give anything to have back for even just a day. I will never again hear the sweet melody of the three voices raised in laughter together over something silly. There are things you miss so much and they are the little things that tear holes in your soul and let you feel the lonely wind whistle through.
His parents were and still are fabulous. Not a day went by that they didn’t make every wish or dream of his come true. In his short life he accomplished so much. From bagging a deer with his daddy, to scuba diving, to his Muscular Dystrophy involvement and the sweet love of his mother; there wasn’t anything I can see that Garrett ever lacked in his life. They filled it with all the love and excitement a child could desire. With more patience and endurance than I feel like I could do – they worked every day with him. Every Halloween came with an amazing, well thought out costume to include his ‘hog’. They would all head out together to collect the sweet treats in their grandparent’s sub-division. They parented in a way I wish I could always do. In a way that I will always admire and strive to emulate. And we all love with a desperation born of the knowledge that life is so fleeting and unfair at times.
Ten years ago, I dropped my baby off at the sitter and went into my college classes for the day. I was in school for Journalism at the time and we were in the first class of the day, which happened to be Reporting 101. We heard the commotion as it began, the professor stepped out and got some basic information. The whole class was begging to be let out to go into our press room. Then we laid the argument down that if something of great importance was happening, better than sitting in class reading a book, would be to be out there doing what it was we were meant to do, report. Finally after what seemed like forever we were out and staring at the T.V. The first tower had been hit, and the great dark plume of smoke froze our hearts in our chests. Not a sound was going on in the room. We all stood, eyes locked on the screen, hearts in our throats.
When the second tower was hit, the great torrent of tears poured out as we learned what our fellow brothers and sisters were going through. We watched the fire burn so hot that many chose to leap from the burning towers. We watched their bodies fall. And we cried, we raged, we demanded retribution from the ones who had struck at our souls. On our own soil. Then even more horrible than before, we witnessed the collapses of the towers and when we thought we couldn’t be more shocked or grief stricken, again the tears flowed unchecked down our faces.
The thought crossed my mind that people who were alive for the JFK assassination or the Challenger explosion had stood as a Nation united and grieved. Still somehow I guess I never thought something like that would happen in my lifetime, and you hope not in your children’s either. Yet here it was, that moment for our generation and theirs. We stood united again in grief and confusion trying to sort the pain. The professor in charge of the Journalism program called us to attention and said. This is your moment, you can’t stand here and do nothing. You are journalists, get yourselves together and get out there and get the news.
So we mopped our faces, sucked it up and did. But we also grieved. I sat at a bench watching a group pray around me and the flagpole. I felt a solidarity with them, though I did not physically join them. I thought of a good friend, who I knew was a fireman in New York. He had been an engine chaser when he was a kid, then a volunteer fireman when he was old enough. I knew he was there. And I prayed for him as well as all touched this day. We brought back the news. It was my honor to collaborate with a fantastic editor of The Lantern on the feature article. We cranked it out through tears and sweat. It was a one headline day, a triumph in the journalistic sense, and yet there was no joy in it. For one word was all that was needed to speak the depth of this atrocity.
My son was too young to know at the time, just barely approaching 2. But he was overwrought by it this year, when they talked about it in school for the 10th anniversary. I spoke quietly to him about it, while I held him on my lap, his head close to my heart; and I ached. A decade has passed. A year has passed. It still hurts with a burn that won’t stop. I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken. Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.
In Loving Memory
Where were you? I hope you are safe and blessed my friends.

The truth has always been there, waiting…

Joker's wild

Strange how when you come to the place you feel as though you could not be lower, you realize that is what it takes to clear your eyes and let you understand something deeper; if you let it. It is that silent sudden moment where things seem to shift and you are looking at it from a completely different perspective. Last night’s run in with my ‘step-dad’ (long story) made me think. I felt cast adrift because a lot of people who I depended on when I was young and as I grew, had in some way let me down or disappointed me in some profound way. A memory of a moments when my innocence fled and I learned things far too old for such a young girl. I raised myself ~ listening closely to the truth in my heart and in my faith (as I grew to understand it, and as it evolved over time). I learned to be a fighter, because that is what it took to take the hits. The story has been edited with what I’ve learned from the situation with her (my mom)  ex-husband. *shrug* Every experience, I’ve found can always teach you something. It is the card you are dealt and you are in control of how it is played. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and misjudgements.

I’ve lost several people who were very close and dear to me. Some were important foundation stones in my life and some I’m afraid to admit are only fully realized and appreciated now that death has parted us. I can be incredibly insecure – yes the brash mouthy chic has a weakness. I’m terrified secretly that no one likes me because of all the rejection I have dealt with in my life. Betrayal and lies teach you not to fully trust anyone but yourself and even then you can let yourself down. I’ve hurt others by withholding certain parts of myself (not of malice but of ingrained reflexive habit). It is way too vulnerable a place to let anyone have those things. Yeah you risk getting really hurt but do you cheat yourself by doing so? Will I look back at places in my life and think if only I hadn’t been so damn stubborn. I refused to admit or see certain things about how I really feel/think about something and it directed my behavior in ways I am not proud of. Can’t change the past but am I brave enough to change the future?

There are several people who I have always felt a connection to, but was too insecure to pursue a closer friendship with, that have stepped up and profoundly changed my life. My sister Shawnee has been the yin to my yang, my calming influence, the one to keep me grounded; and yes she hates to admit – the peacekeeper. We were and remain as close as twins even if we don’t talk as much as we like. And as much as it pains both of us to raise our kids apart from one another. My cousins and I share something special that has kept the childhood memories we share and as adults, allowed us to slip comfortably into that same connection and build from it seamlessly. We also are united in grief from the loss of the gentle woman who taught us all that very lesson. I don’t know how but I am thankful for the why. I prayed for the support and acceptance without saying a word and it came when I needed it the most. I’ve missed badly the friendships I’ve left behind and been unable to remain a physical part of. I feel cheated of my ‘roots’. But I am blessed with a plethora of people who honestly care and show it. Had I not experienced the loss could I fully appreciate what I do have? Because I feel a great joy in that realization right now, even though life still pretty much sucks. And somehow life feels a little less heavy.

Perspective is a powerful thing. A tiny rudder steers the mighty ship – and so it is with how we approach a situation. It can suck but you can still power through if you set your mind to it. Cuz, let’s be honest, how far has bitching ever gotten anyone? Time to buckle down and figure it out. This is my life, this is my choice – I can choose to bitch and moan or I can choose to live it fully. Which will you choose?

Joker's wild

Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my friends.

 

A Light In The Darkness – No Ordinary Love

She is still in the hospital – Aley has been on the phone via text with her constantly through the day. There was a bit of an issue yesterday afternoon. For some reason a doctor decided to run a test on her heart in order to “see if it could recover from an shock” so they gave her an adrenaline shot, K suffered a mini seizure and now has amnesia. I SWEAR I am not making this up – is it real life fairytale people…She remembers bits and pieces.

Aley has faithfully spent all yesterday talking her through it, reminding her of things, telling her stories. Bit by bit she is building a picture. Aley told me about the afternoon: her mom took a picture of her sleeping and sent it to him saying she was dreaming of him. When she woke up, they were chatting and she asked him if it was weird for him that she didn’t remember. He told her not really, that she remembered some and that mattered. He said I love you and when she said it back, he asked her if it was weird for her to say that not knowing why. She told him a little but that she knew it was true because she could feel it. She told him she had dreamed of him. And when he asked her about it she told of the memory of how it felt the last day she saw him and had to leave him.

I have talked with Aley and he realizes that he has ‘stumbled’ into something that most people spend their whole lives searching for. I told him in all seriousness to hold onto it, because it was something precious. I have never been prouder of him than I am now. His character is shining through loud and clear. After the initial shock has worn off, he has been responsible, strong, patient and very supportive to her through this whole thing. Most definitely I see that he has become a man.

I am honored that he is sharing with me. He has come once or twice to give us updates about how she is doing and what is going on. My husband and I were in the kitchen and he stopped briefly to ask if we happened to have money for a round trip…. he didn’t get much further before we had to say no we did not, much as we wished we did and could send him to be at her side. I see him in a bright light, standing at the side of the maiden fair, in shining armor. I wish so bad we could, I know that he could help. If she came home after four days in a coma to him, and he has been there to help her how he can and been doing so admirably – then being there to hold her hand or touch her face would light the darkness for her.

Lost in the shadows she can feel this powerful love that they share. She knows that he is the one for her and as much as it going on – that love keeps them connected through the miles. I cannot do justice to the way it feels in a parent’s heart to see and recognize that their child has found true love. Their soul mate. Aley is, and always has been the steady one. He is logical and methodical in his life. He is a strong tower that stands amid the storms for her. I haven’t given him enough credit for that. I’ve known it was there, but it has never shined so brightly before.

You have to stand back and watch them go. You prepare them their whole lives for this moment, and much as it hurts, you know it is time. I don’ worry as much as I used to. I see how wonderful they are, yes we all have our faults, but now I am seeing their strengths. I am encouraging them to use those and by example now, teaching them how to fly with them. Cameron has shared some private plans with me that make me bust with pride as well.

Where once I saw children in all three of these young people, I see it changing. I see a man and a woman, in love, one that will transcend time and space – one that we can help them take proper care of. Especially by leading through our newly transformed relationship. I see a young man, who used to be a little Emo, turned into a confidant businessman who is off soon to compete in National Competitions all across the country this summer for FBLA as well as TSA doing web design. He has already taken first in State Competitions. He is seriously, and always has, considering where his goals are set and what he can do to get there.

I am humbled by how clearly things have come into view. I understand a lot of what was going on, what was going wrong and how we can still make it there. Nothing is ever hopeless with faith and love. Don’t ever give up, though the night is long and your heart is weary that last step could be the one that takes you into the light of the sun.

Stay safe and be blessed my friends.

True love and Brotherhood

“The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.”

Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation.
~Elbert Hubbard

I have never been the type to sit dreaming of some fairytale ending. I am a dreamer, but also a cynic; which in and of itself is an oddity.  The title is from one of my quotes, Albert Schweitzer says it best. It has a nice macabre sound doesn’t it? Hooray we can all be martyrs now right? Life is one great big Greek Tragedy or a cosmic joke if you prefer. I know it sounds like I have no faith at all but I really do believe in God. I just think his sense of timing and humor leaves something to be desired at times. Honestly, I’m kinda pissed at him right now, I told him I couldn’t handle anything else and lo and behold a 2 ton load was laid in my lap. I’m cracking and the whole God never gives you anymore than you can handle isn’t holding water at the moment. I think at this point I have earned the right to a little resentment. I also believe that he understands when we get that way and doesn’t judge us or hold it against us, that is the whole grace thing. At some point I always come to the end, understanding where and why and maybe even appreciating the complexities of how our prayers, hope or dreams are answered; but the getting there SUCKS!!

We women are put into ‘competition’ almost from birth. We are barraged with visual, written and spoken evidence of our flaws and inadequacies. It is difficult to form genuine friendships with other women because secretly someone is usually comparing or competing and you don’t know who you can trust when your back is turned. There was a time when it wasn’t that way, but I know among my group of friends there are a lot of us that say the same thing; I don’t have a lot of female friends because I don’t like the catty BS. So we don’t play games and are able to relate in an open and supportive way to one another. Birds of a feather and all that jazz….

People hold themselves back from one another in defense and protection. It’s a cruel and harsh world out there. It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of doubt and failing. The hardest thing is sticking to what you believe is true and honest while still being able to assess whether or not it is something that requires a shift in those same beliefs. How do you filter the voices? Every time you let someone sway you from what your core beliefs are, a little piece of who you are dies. How do you stop placing your faith in others and take the reins back yourself?

The insecurities rear their heads in our friendships, relationships, jobs, homes and even in our parenting. We doubt ourselves, we question ourselves, we accept blame for things we have no control of. When my own strength fails me, I know I can count on someone always being there. I feel an odd emptiness right now though. One that dries up my words as well as my desire to do anything about what is going on. Yep, good ol depression is setting in. Yet deep within my soul that voice still whispers words of strength and wisdom to me, though I might sit in my anger trying not to hear.

He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

The voice says to me: Listen well my child

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;

 

 

 

Sometimes, I even resent that little voice. Because if I could pretend for just ONE moment that I was a person lacking any depth, it wouldn’t hurt so badly. It brings me back to the here and now and I just want the voice to go away and leave me in my misery. Is it really too much to ask that I not be a warrior for one day? Why don’t I get to enjoy being a newlywed?

And I'm done hoping that we can work it out,
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around.
And ohhh
I'm done thinking, that you could ever change.
I know my heart will never be the same,
but I'm telling myself I'll be okay.
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

I may not see it or even feel it right now, but I will come through this. I just don’t know how right now, LOL.

 

Sunday Reflections ~ To Each of Us A Path

It has been my great pleasure to connect with some extremely good blogs. I have been letting the nudges in my heart tell me which ones.  In doings so, after the storm and all the damage, I came across this blog: Sleeping Through the Storm . I was struck deeply by something she wrote and she has graciously given me permission to share with you  my friends. Directly quoted from her post (please go and check out her blog. She had a striking way of writing.)

“I know I have areas in which I need to improve, habits I want to correct so that I’ll leave this Earth with no regrets. But I also believe that when I leave this world, I’ll enter another where I’ll meet my God. And when I see Him face-to-face, I will tell Him, “I tried to prepare, but I have done nothing that can make me worthy to enter into your presence, nothing except for one preparation–to love your Son who thought me worthy to die in my place.”

We all face the same end. The end of the story is not a surprise–it’s just the journey that’s different for all of us. So are you prepared? Do you know what you believe? And if not, when do you plan to prepare? The storm is coming while you sleep, and there is no guarantee that there will be time to get ready when you wake up.”

I had tried to ignore the voice in my heart. Her post and perspective pushed a beam of light directly into that shadowy place. These are my thoughts after pondering deeply what these words had to teach me. For the whisper had spoken in a loud, firm voice. A voice I could no longer ignore. I have to know where I stand.

Life has taught me lately that it exists in an extremely fragile state. We always remain but a breathe away from sinking into the depths of the unknown. Or being swept away by the tide.
I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about my personal beliefs. Not because I don’t feel strongly about them, or because I don’t have them or understand them. But because I grew up where it was kind of just how it was. We didn’t question and it was just what we learned. I guess when I was a teenager, I really resented it – later I went seeking for the answers myself. Often I find myself once again going back over what I have learned and prodding at what my beliefs are and where they stand in relation to where the world is headed right now.
It seems like there are so many terrible things that are occurring at once, that are of a magnitude we haven’t seen before. I’m not spouting any specific ‘end time’ theory in particular, but I feel something stirring. Lots of people are struggling. Times are hard and money is tight. It adds extra stresses to the ones we already carry  daily. Each day I try to figure out where I fit into the grand scheme of things and where my journey may ultimately lead. I don’t want to talk specific politics or anything like that, but we are in three different wars right now; under a president who was given a Nobel Peace Prize for absolutely nothing. And he bypassed Congress and got us involved in a ‘kinetic military action’, whatever that euphemism is supposed to mean. As our gas prices rise, the American people are pinched unmercifully; while we send millions to Brazil for offshore drilling. Wait, what? Why aren’t we doing this for our country?
All that has transpired in the world, including the Royal Wedding – which seems to have inspired the British as well as the world in general, as a welcome breathe of fresh air. It is very reminiscent of his mother Dianna. Then to be so close to the devastation that occurred during the storms recently, it leaves you wanting to make those connections, to refresh the ties that root us in our lives. Whatever those beliefs are because no matter what, each of us has a different interpretation because we are each unique.
I haven’t actively been part of a church since I left Kansas in 2006. I have missed it once or twice and sometimes with a deep ache that surprises me. I have a close walk that is based in Christianity. My family has been generations of Christians – Catholics and my Grandfather instilled a faith in his children which they in turn passed on to us. Even though I stepped away and back in a different light I feel as though I have traveled the path intended. Because some of my deepest understandings have come from my mistakes.
Try as I might to deny it at times I am a person of deep reflection. I always have been. Sensitive to things that may exist beyond our understanding and in my own private way I have a serious and deep faith. It has changed and morphed and grown since I was young, since I was in my 20’s even. Each layer of truth revealed by the fires that change us, teaches us more, expands our view more. Allows us to lead richer lives.
I believe that at the end of our time on this earth, we will be responsible for an accounting of our lives. Each choice, each action, each hidden truth. I find myself seeking the answer to the question, “What will I say, when asked?”. For every hidden place will be seen, every shadow banished and every door we lock tight thrown wide open for inspection. Yep, it makes me as uncomfortable as you are thinking about that right now…… In light of the disaster I find myself asking if I would be ready right now, and if not, why?
We each need to choose where that truth lies. I try to be open to God no matter what guise he might appear in, or where it may happen. In keeping the gates open, I allow more to pass into my life that can teach and strengthen me. What do you believe? Where is your truth? Even the lack of choice is a decision about where you stand. If the floodgates opened and you were faced with the wall of water rushing at you, what would you tell yourself in those last moments? Where would your regrets lie?
It can happen in the blink of an eye, will you be ready? Sometimes on my journey I feel certain, sometimes I know I’m not as ready as I should be.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this my friends. Until we see each other again; stay safe and be blessed my friends.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. ~Isaiah 43:2~