What Shall It Be?

nell and dee skipping kauai

What does a person need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? ”

― Sterling Hayden

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Sixty

60 sized

This sweet mama is 60 today!  This is certainly a day worth celebrating.  One thing I will never do is take her life for granted.  I will celebrate it and what better time to do it than today.  Join with me in a big celebration of this amazing lady’s life, God’s miracles and grace all around.  She is my miracle mama and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for her life.  She is truly a blessing to all of us.  Happy birthday, mama!  I’m so glad you are here bringing us your sweetness and that beautiful smile each and every day.

Scary Close Book Review

Scary-Close-by-Donald-Miller

Scary Close is a genuine book that takes you on a real life journey with Donald Miller as he seeks to break down the walls, take off the masks and find true intimacy.  Most of us go through life putting on a front (mask) in order to impress people.  This book talks about how to be you; really be yourself.  Until you become honest with yourself and reach the point of being the person you really are at the core, you cannot have true intimacy with others.  Donald really makes you think and take step back to assess yourself; are you being truly you or are you putting on a mask?

Below are some of my highlights, notes and “a-ha” moments from the book.  

What if we are designed as sensitive antennas, receptors to receive love, a longing we often mistake as a need to be impressive?

What if some of the most successful people in the world got that way because their success was fueled by a misappropriated need for love?

Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us.

Let’s face it, most of us wear our jobs like a costume.

I began to wonder what life would be like if I dropped the act and began to trust that being myself would be enough to get the love I needed.

Somewhere along the line I think many of us buy into a lie that we only matter if . . . We only matter if we are strong or smart or attractive or whatever.

She and her husband had done their work, both physically and emotionally, and it was as though they’d finally woken up to the fact we were meant to enjoy life, not be drowned by it.

Somewhere along the line I think many of us buy into a lie that we only matter if . . . We only matter if we are strong or smart or attractive or whatever.

She and her husband had done their work, both physically and emotionally, and it was as though they’d finally woken up to the fact we were meant to enjoy life, not be drowned by it.

In the next five years we will become a conglomerate of the people we hang out with.

90 percent of people’s problems could be prevented if they’d choose healthier people to give their hearts to.

THE ROOT OF sin is the desire for control.

The root of control is fear.

Not even God controls people’s stories and he’s the only one who actually can.

Nobody’s self-worth lives inside of another person.

You can’t have a true, intimate relationship with people you control. Control is about fear. Intimacy is about risk.

It’s a beautiful moment when somebody wakes up to this reality, when they realize God created them so other people could enjoy them, not just endure them.

Life is more about connecting with people than it is about competing with them.

The most common regret of the dying was this: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.

Makes me wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn’t wasted because the most powerful, most attractive person we can be is who we already are.

If we live behind a mask we can impress but we can’t connect.

Codependency happens when too much of your sense of validation or security comes from somebody else.

What goes on in the other person’s soul is none of your business.

All you’re responsible for is your soul, nobody else’s.

Know who you are and know what you want in a relationship, and give people the freedom to be themselves.

I’m responsible for my own health and happiness.

I’m convinced every person has a longing that will never be fulfilled and it’s our job to let it live and breathe and suffer within it as a way of developing our character.

Jesus never offers that completion here on earth.

I don’t know if there’s a healthier way for two people to stay in love than to stop using each other to resolve their unfulfilled longings and, instead, start holding each other closely as they experience them.

Tear a little hole in the fabric of reality so something on the other side shines through, exposing the darkness of our routine existence.

Children learn what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for by the stories they watch us live.

What’s in a Decade?

Last Day in 30s

Today is the last day to be in my 30’s. Overall, this decade was pretty good to me. I was much wiser, made better decisions and accomplished more goals than in my 20’s. My 20’s was a decade of navigating a new marriage, having babies, finishing college and starting a career.  They were years of indecisiveness and uncertainty but they were the building blocks for what was to come.  My 30’s was a decade of accomplishment; moving 1,000 miles, pushing the career envelope and it paying off (thank God!), raising one child successfully to adulthood, getting another to a successful place in high school and establishing a very happy marriage.  The 30’s was also a decade that drew me much closer to God which has made all the difference in my life.

I have been told that the 40’s are even better; that life begins at 40. Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to take it on. I’m excited to see what this next decade will bring.

A Christmas Celebration

I first want to acknowledge that it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here.  As you all can probably understand, this season has been quite busy.  But more importantly, I’ve been spending time focusing on the things that truly matter most; my family and the multitudes of blessings in my life.

This Christmas was quite a bit better than last.  Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of good things to be better than last year.  Last year was spent in a trauma ICU room with my mom fighting for her life.  I am happy to say that this Christmas wasn’t just a little bit better than last Christmas; it was leaps and bounds better than last year.  My mom’s amazing recovery resulting from miracle after miracle (see the one year update here) which meant that she was with us this Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, opening many presents and eating delicious food.  My daughter was home from college and we enjoyed some great family time with her and with my husband and with my son watching movies, shopping, opening presents, laughing and enjoying life.  And if that wasn’t enough, we had some very exciting Christmas news that was icing on the cake.  My brother proposed to his girlfriend!  I helped him pick out the ring weeks earlier.  He proposed on Christmas morning but my parents had no idea.  He surprised them on Christmas day with the proposal.  We absolutely love her and are beyond excited that she will be joining the family.  I am finally getting a sister!

So this Christmas was a celebration of life; recovered life, renewed life, and new life to come.  It was a Christmas of hopes and dreams and pure joy and happiness.  We are truly blessed!

Merry Christmas to you and yours during this wonderful season!

Nell and Steve RestaurantBanana with Bow Candelight Christmas Service Earl and Joanna  Nana and Papa on Boat Nana Many Presents Nana Papa Earl Bunny Ears Nell and Joanna Nell Dee Trey Restaurant Papa Hammock Papa Leezo  Papp Driving Boat Steve Fried TurkeTrey on the Boat

I’m on a Boat

Boat - Mom and NellBoat - SteveBoat - Trey DrivingBoat - Mom BundledBoat - PapaBoat - Joanna and KonaBoat - Steve 2Boat - Mom and DadBoat - Nell and SteveBoat - Earl Cast NetBoat - Trey DrivingBoat - Nell Lighthouse

My dad has worked so very hard for over 40 years; selflessly, tirelessly and wholeheartedly giving everything he has. The only thing that he’s ever wanted is a nice salt water fishing boat. Because of my mom’s accident (11 months ago today!), he had to retire suddenly and much earlier than he expected.  Because of this, he didn’t think he would be able to ever have his dream boat. Well, I’m excited to say that after all his hard work and the horrible year that he’s had (that none of us can ever imagine) he got his dream boat this past weekend. The entire family went out on the boat on Sunday. Dad’s favorite thing is to have all of his family together, but this time he had all of his family on his dream boat. He was in heaven. I cry tears of joy every time I tell this story. He so greatly deserves this gift. He is the most amazing man and I am beyond excited for him. I foresee many more days with family in the boat enjoying the water and each other. God is totally in the process of taking something that was a tragic and absolutely horrific situation and right before our eyes is turning it into something good. Just to be a part of this story has been so amazing; a true privilege. You just never know how things are going to turn out in any situation. Life is certainly not easy for mom and dad. But we are starting to see so much positivity and blessing in their lives. I can’t think of any two people more deserving of a blessed life.  Now, let’s hit the water!

High School

Trey Permit First Highway Drive Trey First Day of School First Game Number 47 First Varsity Game
First Game Take a Knee

My not so little boy has made it to high school.  He practiced football and conditioned hard all summer in the 95 degree heat with 80% humidity to make the varsity team at a local private prep school.  I am proud to say that as a freshman, he is playing second string linebacker (#47).  This means Friday night lights for this family every week, and man, we are loving it.  He also got her permit and is driving.  I have to be totally honest and say that he’s already driving better than me but that’s really not saying too much (I’m not the best driver in the world).  He has signed up for some exciting, yet hard classes at his new school.  Classes are underway and he is tackling them head on.  We are beyond excited and thankful to God for the amazing opportunity that our son has at this new school.  The sky is the limit and we are beyond proud of is dedication, hard work and passion.  I have no doubt that he will go very far.  Football, driving, and a brand new school; it’s going to be a great year!

Reflection

Reflection

I apologize in advance for this deep post as well as for not posting here in a while.  What is reflected (no pun intended) below is the reason behind the lack of activity here on my blog.

As I lay here, I look over at the clock and its 1 am. This is quite unusual for me. See, I am never one to have trouble sleeping. This year has been different. 2015 was expected to be a monumental year for me without my moms tragic accident and without losing my precious grandmother. As we creep into the eighth month of the year, I am tired. I am worn out. I am stressed. I feel my body breaking down. I feel like I’m getting sick. And the big stuff this month hasn’t yet begun. Four days from now, I help my daughter move out of my house for the very first time and into a new college life. My son transitions in two weeks into to a brand new high school. Later this month, I launch the largest work project of my entire life (three years in the making) and definitely the largest project my company has ever seen. I am losing my boss and mentor at the end of this month which means a transition to a new boss. I am tired and there is more to come. I have worked tirelessly this year to balance my life but seem to fall short nearly every time.  All I can say is that God must be doing something pretty darn big, but I don’t know what exactly.  What I do know is that this year has been a character building year for me. Other than that, I have no idea what the future holds.  All I do know is that some things have to change.  The burdens must become lighter as I move toward the end of this year and into next.  My goal at this point is to hang in and hang on to see what God has in store.

Celebrations All Around

Angels Trumpet Danica with Tongue Out Earl and JoAnna with Kona Kona and Earl on Float Mom and Earl Sweet Moment mom smelling the flower Nana and Papa Throwing Frisbee Steve Waving papa in the pool full Papa Grilling Nell Jumping in Pool Nell Flower Crown Nell and Mom Flower Crowns

America’s birthday is certainly a reason to pull the family together and celebrate but for us, even more important than that is my dad’s birthday.  Well, technically his birthday falls on July 5th, but we celebrated on the 4th to enjoy the fireworks as well.  We celebrated by having a pool party and grilling out for lunch and dinner; ribs, chicken, fish and duck. Of course, as always with our family, there was a ridiculous amount of food with dad cooking every last bit. He is the grill master.

I haven’t mentioned my mom’s progress here in a while, but man, is she doing well.  She hit the 6 month mark and something just clicked; her short term memory is much better, she’s more alert, more aware and is just simply more like Brenda (mom and nana). So, at the celebration, she did really well the entire day. She even got in a swimsuit and dipped a little in the pool, which was a first since the car accident. At the end of the evening there were fireworks going off all around the house, so we went out back by the pool to watch.  I stood there arm in arm between my sweet mother and my amazing daughter; three generations looking up at the sky watching the magical fireworks all around.  It couldn’t have ended any better.

Happy 59 to my dad!  You are the superhero of this crazy story.  I’m so grateful and blessed to have such an amazing father and so very glad that you had a good day.  You deserve this times a million.  I love you to the moon and back!

Last of Lasts

I find myself sitting in a meeting on a Friday afternoon.  I get a text from my daughter that reads, “Just walked out of my last full day of high school”.  Then flood of emotions begin.  How are we here already?  I remember bringing you to your very first day of school, I think to myself.  This is the last of lasts for Dee; the last day of the last year of high school.  It is the first of lasts for me.  This is the first time I’m experiencing a child moving through this phase of life.  It is surreal; difficult to wrap my head around.  No matter what crazy and mixed emotions I may feel about this phase and transition for my first born, there is one thing that I do know.  I am proud.  I am incredibly proud of the strong, beautiful and smart young lady my daughter has become.  She has worked so hard and has accomplished so much already.

Since the day she was born, there were two main things I wanted.  First, was for her to know Jesus in a real and intimate way. Second, was for she and I to have a close relationship (eventually to become best friends).  The exciting thing about this next phase of her life, becoming an adult, is that we can become even better friends.  This alone makes me smile.  This brings me joy.  Happy end of high school, Dee!  You’re amazing!

* Sorry for the fuzzy photos.  It was early and bad lighting.

Danica - Last Day - Aggrevated Face Danica - Last Day - Sideways Look Danica - Last Day - Smile