Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lots of Kids, Lots of Love

I am home alone for a bit having left my job for another that is closer to home and will allow me the opportunity to spend more time with my family. I find myself comparing in contrast quiet and chaos. Parenthood is such a blessing. Isn't it awesome the tidal wave of love that washes over you the moment you hear your child's first cry and feel that soul next to yours? It's a forever love that does not diminish, no matter the circumstance. I cannot think of or imagine anything that compares to the feeling other than how God feels for His children, only I know mine is not a perfect love. I would say 9 out of 10 times, when people see or learn I have 4 kids, they are taken aback and look upon me with wide eyes or pity, and often comments follow that reflect apparent doubts about my sanity, probably because they are thinking of all the messes, quarrels, and chaos - all valid thoughts. I feel like we may never catch up on housework, and a quiet home is a rare experience.  Yet peace and joy are ever present, even amidst the chaos. Unconditional love brings peace and joy with it that, if you let it, supersedes any negative thoughts or emotions. We do not usually pity or question the sanity of those with lots of grandchildren & great grandchildren. We smile and think how blessed they are, and it seems most grandparents relish being surrounded by grandchildren in abundance which, by the way, you only get if you have kids of your own.  One may suppose this is because they have the option of brief encounters. Enjoy them for a while, spoil them shamelessly, then give them back! However, I believe maturing brings wisdom and the realization, in retrospect, that love is all that matters in life and worth anything that challenges us and that grandparents spoil with love, affection, and sometimes things because they feel like they didn't bask in the love their children offered freely when they had the chance. Why wait until then to delight in such bounty? And how many people actually look back and regret having children even if raising them was a long, rocky road? There is no need to pity us who have lots of kids. Rather think of that feeling when you first embraced your sweet baby or the way you felt larger than yourself after you said, "I do." Now multiply it by 2, 4, 10. The more people you love and allow to love you, the more love resides in your heart. Think of it this way, and you will get a glimpse of our great fortune.  I am sitting here right now surrounded by stillness and quiet where maybe I should feel peace and tranquility, but I find myself missing and longing for the noise and chaos.  For me, that is where the love is.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Legacy of Love

My Uncle Colby passed on Tuesday. I've known him all my life. We spent almost if not every Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families growing up at Nanny & PePa's, whether it was at the house in Baytown or on Lake Livingston. But I did not know Colby very well. He was a quiet man, not boisterous like my dad, Uncle Mark, and even sometimes Nanny. But if he had something to say, he would say it. What I do know is that he loved his family very much. When I heard of his passing, I could not help but remember my dad's death, also at such a young age. Dad was 50; Colby was 53. So young. I feel great empathy for Terri, Brent & Amie, and little Gracie. I cannot imagine how PePa feels, to have lost his son.

I woke up on Wednesday from a dream, grabbed some paper immediately, and words just flowed from my mind, my heart, and my pen. It wasn't a dream with people or events but rather an intense peaceful feeling, as if I were in the arms of my Father where I felt warm and loved. I did not know until the day of the funeral, that Colby had recently come to love the Lord deeply and accept Christ as his Savior. I was so sure after I wrote the poem that it was God speaking through me to comfort broken hearts. I am certain of it now. As I wrote, I knew the words were spoken from my own dad's heart and spirit, but I felt as if it had to be something Colby's heart would say also. It's gushy, definitely not something either of them would say, but I believe some of the most macho of men have the softest, most loving hearts and feel much more than they express aloud. The dream brought me peace and comfort from the sadness I was feeling for Colby's family and remembering the loss of my own daddy, and the words just poured from my heart, so they must have been given to me by the Spirit. I hope they brought comfort to everyone who Colby loved and who loved him. I felt great joy hearing the story of Colby's last days with his family and with God. Colby, his family, and all who were fortunate to know him, we are very blessed.

Legacy of Love

How do I know I have lived a full life?
One I could be proud to have shared with my family, my wife?
Life should not be measured in terms of its length,
But rather let's measure the love and its strength.

Love is an awesome, powerful entity.
It transcends life and death, goes on for infinity.
Our beautiful family shares memories and love.
That is my legacy, and what I'm most proud of.

If I had to revisit my life in a mirror
Looking at myself from farther to nearer,
I would see that the good stuff outweighs the bad
And that our many happy times overshadow the sad.

I wish I said, "I love you," more than I had, too.
But I tried always to show it, and I hope that you knew.
I loved you more than my life, more than can ever be measured.
I am right there in your heart, a deeply buried treasure.

Although I am gone, and my body will disappear.
My love will never die; I will always be near.

Love always,

I have to end this with a lighthearted story because that is how I remember Colby, lighthearted, always with a grin, ready to laugh. Mom told me this story a long time ago, and it has stuck with me. Nanny liked to tell it, too. I have written before about how I thought my dad was Superman. I wonder if Brent or Amie ever thought their dad was Superman? Well, Colby thought he was Superman! When he was very young, he was so sure that he could fly like Superman, he climbed to the roof of his house, and my mom and Uncle Mark watched in disbelief, unable to stop him. Colby spread his arms like wings and dove off the house. I bet he felt free like a bird, as if he could really fly, for at least a moment before realizing he was plunging towards the ground. He broke his leg, but his spirit was never broken. After his last breath, I imagine Colby spread his arms again. Only this time, he did fly.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Texas Bluebonnets

We were snapping pictures of each other in the bluebonnets on a spectacular spring day and were fortunate a fellow picture taker passed by and asked us if we wanted a photo of all of us together. Bluebonnet photos have been a tradition since before the kids were born. My love for wildflowers started my freshman year in college when I was attending Texas Woman's University in Denton, far from home. Classes were Mon/Wed - Tues/Thurs, so we had 3 day weekends which would ordinarily be awesome. But all my friends went home for the weekend, and I didn't have a car. The campus was dead, and I was very bored. So I was either studying (I got 4.0 that year), playing golf on our 9 hole course, tennis with the wall, or walking around town. There was a lovely garden near the chapel on campus, and I spent a lot of time there. In the spring, wildflowers were bountiful and beautiful. I bought a wildflower nature guide from the bookstore. I found out TWU had a wildflower course in the spring, and I would have loved to take that class except I did not attend TWU the next year. I met a fellow student from Houston who made trips home and took me along for the ride. She was taking the class, and one of their assignments was to collect and take pictures of various wildflowers. They are plentiful on Texas highways, so we made many stops on the drive there and back. I was hooked! The next year, when I went to Sam Houston in Huntsville, I took my friend Kelly with me to go flower hunting, and we took pictures of each other in the Bluebonnets. That's when the tradition began. I met Dan during wildflower season; our first date was on April 7th, 1994. (He took me country western dancing at the Jolly Fox). So for our anniversary the next year, we took pictures of each other in the Bluebonnets and then again the next year, the year we got married. We missed a couple of years but then started back up again when Dallas and Noah were toddlers. Those were the pre-digital years, so I need to scan them in. How much they have all changed! Here's the last four years of Bluebonnet photos. This is an extensive collection, so you might want to grab a snack or a cup of tea while you peruse the pictures...

April 18, 2004

Savanna was 3 weeks old.

This is one of my favorites:

March 25, 2005

Bailey is an embryo. I did not even know I was pregnant here!

Savanna is 1.

Dallas is 9.

Noah is 8.

I'm thinking 2006, if we took pictures (I can't remember), might be on disk because our old computer was getting very full from all the picture files.

April 1, 2007

This was a long day for us. We took these pictures after having gone to the Capitol in Austin, up Mt. Bonnell, and to the "Round Rock" that our town is named after. Naturally, Bailey does not look very pleased to be taking pictures.

Noah is 9.

We took Flat Stanley with us that day. I like the detail on the flowers in this picture.

Dallas is 10.

Savanna is 3, & Bailey is 1.

April 8, 2008

UPDATE: We had to skip pictures in 2009 It was a bad year for Bluebonnets in 2009. There were only sporadic blooms, =-( not enough for good pictures. But we got amazing pictures in 2008 and 2010 to make up for it. Check out the October post for a great group shot of my beautiful family!

Bailey is 2; Savanna just turned 4.

We took over 100 shots! Lots of good ones, too.

I love the kissing pictures. So precious!

My babes.

Dallas is 11.

Noah turns 10 on April 12th.

It wasn't easy getting posed for this shot. Bailey was done taking group pictures on cue.

Bailey said, "Pow!" His hand is a five-shooter. He likes to shoot us and has says, "Pow!" or "Pow-pow!" for a double whammy. We did it once a few weeks ago, and it has become his favorite game to play. When he shoots you, you have to moan, "Oh!" and then play dead. If you shoot him back, he will fall to the ground wounded. It's hilarious. He can't get enough of this game!

A sweet moment between Dallas and Savanna - so very rare!

I love this picture of Dan and the kids.

Look! A bird!

Dan and the boys. Pow! Bailey got you - Oh!

Daddy kissing sandwich.

Noah and his silly face. Bailey is shooting again.

Savanna loves her sunglasses. Bailey loves sunglasses also (he wears mine a lot), but he breaks them. He needs the Flexons!

Dog pile! Dan rough houses with the kids all the time, so we have dog piles pretty often. If you count the feet, you can see they're all in there. Bailey's usually on top, but he got sandwiched in this time!

Bailey caught on that we were posing for pictures, so copped a squat right in a pretty patch of flowers. So cute!!

But after I took the picture, he was right back up again!

Uh-oh. Ummmm. Bailey's breaking the law here!

Seriously though, it is actually not illegal to pick bluebonnets, but it is highly discouraged because Bluebonnets only grow back if the seeds drop after the flowers are done blooming. Bluebonnet patches only grow a little bit each year when they re-seed, so if everyone were to pick the flowers, the numbers would dwindle. It is devastating if they get mowed down. We should do like Miss Rumphius (a really good picture book); she's the "lupine lady" and spreads lupine seeds all around to make the world a more beautiful place. Indian Paintbrushes are pretty lupines as well. I especially love when there are a few Indian Paintbrushes sprinkled about in a huge Bluebonnet field. I've only found those along the highways so far. Here's my bunch scattered about the Bluebonnets.

Noah took pictures for us here.

Bailey decided to join us.

Noah snapped a pic of Savanna, a good shot, I think.

Then Savanna came over to join us.

And then she left.

Bailey is bringing me a flower. How sweet =-)

Dallas is taking pictures now.

Bailey decided to join us again. The kid can't stay in one place for more than 2 seconds!

Noah and Mama.

Dallas and Mama.

That's all, folks! Until next Spring, that is....