Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flower Power

My front flower beds have been somewhat problematic for me. When we had our house built four years ago, we thought the landscaping looked fine enough. But when we went to dig in and plant a few extra perennials, we discovered that there was no top soil! Just the hard, red, Oklahoma clay with a little mulch scattered on top of it to make it look nice. Ugh! So over the last few years, we have been slowly adding good, dark, rich soil in layers to hopefully encourage better growth in our plants. It has been slow progress, but finally we are seeing some results. I love walking out my front door to see so many colorful things growing!

Front flowerbed
Hello, Daisies
And how do you do, Miss Marigold?
My regal red Princess Lily
But my favorite flower of the day, by far, is this bright, yellow one picked out of a weedy field especially for me by a special six year old girl I know. She thought it would brighten my day. Yep, this one is definitely my favorite. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day and a BIG thanks to all of our military men and women, both retired and currently serving! I just wanted to give a small shout out to two of my cousins: Phil Gant (Army) and Steve Gant (Air Force). I am proud of both of you and the amazing way you serve our country!! I am honored to be related to guys!

In addition, I want to honor and remember those who are no longer with us, like my Grandpa, Colonel Wesley F. Gant, U.S. Army. I only knew him for eight years, but I am very proud to be his granddaughter.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Open Road

I love this photo of my mom. It is one of my very favorites. She looks so young and healthy. Key Word: HEALTHY. This was before cancer. Before that horrible, evil villain came and stole my mom away from me. Because if you trace back all of her health problems, they all lead to that awful, five letter word.

Early on in their marriage, my dad took this photo of my mom during one of their bike rides together. I love the long open road ahead of them. Or maybe it is the road where they came from. Either way, it represents an open road of possibility. I remember being newly married and the excitement of the limitless possibilities ahead. We could live anywhere, do anything, and make plans on a whim! I like to imagine my parents during this season of their lives. Young. Wide-eyed. Eager. The road they traveled down helped them make some amazing memories. I'm so glad they traveled it together with grace and humor and a sense of adventure.

All this talk of open roads reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Frost poems. I grew up listening to my dad read aloud much of Frost's work. I'm sure you know it too, and I think it is appropriate.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Splash

Is there a better way to cool down on a hot, humid, 93 degree May afternoon than to run through the sprinkler? I think not. That is exactly what my little ones did for hours this afternoon, each time through the water squealing with delight. They ran and played and raced and splashed until they were nearly delirious with exhaustion. After dinner, they fell into their beds and went right to sleep. What did I do while the kiddos played? I sat in a chair, chatted with my friend, and felt the sweat drip down my face. Next time I think I'm bringing my swimsuit too. Bring on Summer!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flowers for Mom

Today was kind of a hard day. Some days, I'm finding, are just like that. Because grief is a funny thing. Sometimes you feel fine, and other times grief comes and delivers a blow that takes your breath away. Today started out heavy. I'm not sure why in particular, but I think it might have had something to do with the fact that my dad and Aunt Lindell and I were going to go back to my mom's grave for the first time since the funeral. We wanted to place some flowers on it and reflect for a moment. At the last minute, I decided to take my girls along (while Mike stayed home with a sleeping Lucas). I thought they should be a part of the process. And I'm glad they came.

When we arrived in the cemetery, they asked a lot of questions. They wanted to know what the headstones said and if we were walking on dead people (remember, they are only six!). We tried to respect each question and answer each one as best as possible. They also had lots of questions about Heaven and we were able to talk about that as well. After choosing which flowers to place near the gravesite, we sat in the grass and all shared some memories of my mom. The girls talked about how much they loved it when Grandma read books to them. And they brought up how much fun we had at Robbers Cave last summer. I talked about how I would miss cooking with my mom and the blueberry-walnut cake with lemon icing that she made me every year on my birthday. My mom's sister said she would miss planning all the family gatherings together. The two of them always planned out who would cook what; they made each holiday memorable (and delicious!). I teared up several times, but I held it together more than I thought I would. In the end, I'm really glad I went. In fact, the heaviness of the day lifted, as if I could breathe easier again.
Enjoy your flowers, Mom.
I love you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Storm HOPE

Yesterday I mentioned that the town of Piedmont, OK was ravaged by the May 24th tornado. Piedmont is located just a few miles west of Oklahoma City and is an incredible little town. People move there to be near the city, but still have a little country living. You can buy houses with a few acres, put up a barn, own a few horses, etc. The school district is excellent and is another reason why people desire to live there. I can fully attest to the excellent school system because it is where I taught for eight years. I remember being hired to teach sixth grade language arts just a month after I graduated from college. I was a bit nervous about teaching middle school since my degree is in Elementary Education with an endorsement to teach English in 6th-8th grades. I figured I could try it for a year, and then if I didn't enjoy it, I could move somewhere else. But guess what happened during that first year? I fell in love with middle schoolers. Sure they can be crazy and hormonal, but overall, they are incredibly thoughtful, intelligent, and funny! Not only were the kids great, but the staff at the middle school where I worked was simply amazing. I worked closely with the other sixth grade teachers and feel honored to call them my friends. If I ever go back to work full time, I will high tail it back to that middle school in a heartbeat.

One of my friends, Sharla, taught sixth grade science next door to me for the entire eight years I worked there. She is an amazing teacher, loves her kids, and was so fun to work with. On May 24th her entire house and her barn were completely destroyed. And then today, she received word that her father (who lives near Tulsa) died unexpectedly. I cannot imagine the trauma of losing your home and your father in a matter of two days. Please keep Sharla and her two boys in your prayers.

Another story to surface out of this tragedy is of the Hamil family. This is a Piedmont family I did not personally know, but have enormous sympathy and compassion for. Mrs. Hamil was home alone when the tornado violently blew through. She had three of her children in the bathtub in the central part of her home (like we are all told to do), but the winds were too strong and literally stole her three year old out of her hands. After a two day search, his little body was found. He did not survive. In addition, Mrs. Hamil's other young son received life-threatening injuries during the storm and died at the hospital. I cannot imagine her grief. It is just too much. Please keep the Hamil family in your prayers as well. You can go here to read more of their heart-wrenching story.

If you would like more information on how to help the victims and survivors in Piedmont, a community I dearly love, please visit this website: www.piedmont.stormhope.org

Thanks blogger friends. And hug your kiddos tightly today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day of School, First Day of Summer

Yesterday was my girls' last day of kindergarten. They had such a great year! It seems like just yesterday they were posing for their photos on the first day. They both loved their teachers, learned a lot, and made some great friends. I cannot believe they will be in first grade next year!
Hannah and Leah (and Lucas) on the last day of kindergarten.

After the girls got home yesterday, the Oklahoma weather turned severe and we experienced an outbreak of violent tornadoes in and around Oklahoma City. There was a constant grumbling sound of thunder in the air, like the growl of an unseen beast. The sky was an eerie greenish-gray color and the clouds looked ominous. Our local weathermen were all giving out warnings and nearly shouting through the screen to "Take Cover Now!" So we did. We got all the kids' bicycle helmets fastened on their heads and grabbed pillows and blankets to cover up with in the bathtub. Thankfully, the tornadoes turned their course a little bit north of us and missed us completely. Unfortunately, the town of Piedmont (where I taught school for eight years) was in the direct path of the storm. Several of my friends there lost their homes. I am devastated for them, and will post soon with some information about how we could perhaps all come together to help.

Today, we woke up to start our first full day of summer. It was a busy day! It started out with me taking the kids to the gym for my cardio/strength training class. Afterwards we headed to a nearby playground to run off some energy until lunch. After a quick lunch of pb&j sandwiches, I left to go pick up Mike's aunt from an outpatient surgery she had done this morning. I made sure she got home and in bed to rest, then came home to put Lucas down for a nap. While Lucas slept, Mike took the girls to a doctor's appointment and later we headed to another park to meet up with some friends to celebrate a birthday! It is our friend, Reed's 39th, so we had a picnic complete with lemon cake and sliced watermelon. The kids ran and played their little hearts out while the adults chatted. The only thing that put a dent in the evening was the wind. It was wicked windy out. In fact, several times our picnic nearly blew away.

Several of the kids at the top of the "spiderweb"
Lucas in the spinning wheel
Yay for Summertime and Good Friends!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Back!

Oh. My. Goodness. I had such a great time on my trip to Wyoming! I saw beautiful scenery, ate delicious food, strolled through some awesome art galleries, and caught up on some sleep. But more than any of those things, I most enjoyed the company of my friend Maria (and her sweet family too!). From the moment she met me at the airport holding a sign with my name on it to the moment we said good-bye, we talked and laughed and acted goofy just like old friends. Keep in mind this was the first time for Maria and I to actually meet face to face! We've been blog friends for years, but know we can officially drop the "blog" part of that sentence. We are friends--lifelong friends, I am sure of it. Now sit back and get ready for an onslaught of fantastic photos outlining my extended weekend in Wyoming!

Maria and I enjoying a class of wine and a basket of fries (awesome combo I might add).
At an art gallery. The exhibit featured contemporary interactive art.
Ride like the wind!
Looking at a photography exhibit
We also spent lots of time outdoors! The scenery was amazing. Everyone should make a trip to the Great American West. I still want to come back and go to Yellowstone one day.
Just me.
Me beholding nature.
Pelicans in the Mist
Maria, Cordy, and Me. Oh and a gorgeous waterfall too!
It is now time for "Deep Thoughts" with Maria and Emily.

Maria, thank you so much for hosting me this weekend. You were incredibly gracious and kind and accommodating (and funny and generous and considerate....the list could go on!). We are kindred spirits in deed! And I am already looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Go West, Young Woman!

Anyone remember the song "Go West, Young Man!" by Michael W. Smith? I think that album of his was on repeat for the entire week that I was at church camp back in 1990. Anywho.... I mention this because early tomorrow morning I am boarding an airplane and flying to the great American West. Specifically to the state of....

This is a much anticipated trip for me because I am going to finally meet my friend, Maria Rose! She is a dear friend of mine, but we have never actually met face to face. For nearly three years our friendship has developed through the blogosphere like modern day pen pals. And now, we are finally going to meet face to face! I am so excited to get away (I'm flying on my own, so I'm relieved of mom duty for a few days), and to explore a part of the country that I've never been to before. But more than anything, I am most excited to spend some time with my friend (and her family!!). I can't wait to make some awesome memories! Oh and check out Maria's blog and her mom's blog. They are both such amazing writers, artists, and crafters!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baby Book

One of the tasks that I will help my dad with this summer is going through my mom's things-- her clothes, jewelry, sewing/crafting supplies, photos, etc. It will be a monumental task because 1. She has a lot of things to go through and 2. I fear my heart might break as I have to decide what to do with each thing. I have a fear that as I let go of her "stuff" I will be letting go of her. The logical part of my brain says, "That's ridiculous!" but my heart says, "I don't know if I can do it!" I know that going through everything is all part of the healing process, and hope I will be ready for the challenge. Thankfully, we are in no rush, so we can take our time and move at whatever pace we can handle.

A few days ago, my dad and I walked from room to room surveying all the things that needed to be done. As I opened a cabinet door in the guest room, I discovered my baby book. I sat down on the floor, opened it up, and instantly felt my heart tightening in my chest. My mom had not only recorded all the details of my first year, but had written paragraphs about the first time she held me and what happened the day they brought me home from the hospital. There on the pages, in her neat cursive handwriting, were her words written just for me. How I wish I could sit down with her on the couch and listen to her tell me all about my first year in her own words. But since I can't, I am so thankful I found this book-- I will cherish it forever.
My baby book

Me on my birthday

My favorite passage from the book was a two paragraph description that my mom wrote about her "first impressions and reactions" after giving birth to me. It reads:

"It's a girl! She is so big, and has so much hair! In the delivery room, hearing her cry for the first time was about the greatest thing I've ever heard. My comment, upon seeing her in the delivery room, was that her hands were blue. The nurses remarked that Dwight was so proud that he was beaming. Holding her for the first time was really something. She is so small and soft and cuddly. Her hair is dark brown, and straight as a stick. Her eyes are blue, and she has a double chin! Her fingers are long and tapered, and her nails need to be cut already. She opens her eyes and looks out on her new world with questions-- we want so much for her. She was born facing up rather than down-- maybe that's a good sign."

Thank you, Mom, for leaving me with some of your words.
I think being born to you was the best gift of all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At The End

At the end of a long day,
full of cleaning,
and errands,
and sweating in the garden,
and occasional tears,
At the end of the day, when I see these faces,

I can't help but smile.

I smile because they run to hug me,
grabbing my hands as we walk to the car,
chatting busily about their day.
I smile because their eyes light up when they see me,
because my heart swells with love for them.

Because my Mom loved them too.

At the end of the day, these little ones of mine bring so much joy into my life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

And the Name is.....

Woodrow "Woody" Galloway

After considering all the many options, we all agreed that Woody just fits this little guy. Personally, I like Woodrow better, but either way is just fine. This marks the second time Mike's parents have come to Oklahoma in May and returned to New Jersey with a new puppy. Last May, they got this guy.

May 2010
Gus came into the Galloway clan one year ago and is now a big, strong, friendly young guy.

I love being a part of an animal loving family!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two Sided Coin

Back in 1993, I remember watching a movie called Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. The movie tells the tale of love, loss, grief, and return to joy in the life of C.S. Lewis. Lewis fell in love with Joy Gresham later in life, and was married to her for a short time before she died of bone cancer. He later wrote a book entitled A Grief Observed which I plan to read as I go through my own journey with grief.

I mention this movie because I had a great conversation with my mother-in-law this evening about grief and love and loss. She brought up the film because of a specific quote. "We can't have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today." She went on to use the metaphor of a coin. Like a coin, life has two sides-- love and loss. I thought about this for awhile, and it is true. At some point, you can't have one without the other. Love is risky and it costs us something. It costs us sleepless nights, our vulnerability, and sometimes the cost is loss. You could choose not to love anyone and then never lose anyone and never risk anything. But what a boring, lonely, selfish life that would be!

If God had laid out a map for me at the beginning of my life and had asked for my opinion, "Do you want to have only thirty-four years with your mom or not know your mom at all so that you would never have to grieve her death?" I would choose my mom every time. I wouldn't change these last thirty-four years with my mom that were so full of abundant, vibrant life for anything. Even though I am experiencing the pain of losing a parent at a young age, I would go through it again to experience her love one more time.

And I know that in the end, after all the pain that we experience here on this earth, God will save the day when Love Wins.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Puppy Needs a Name

Mike's parents are here and today they added a new member to their family. One of the canine variety. Excuse the blurry photo (I'll try again tomorrow). Isn't he cute? This little 4 month old Westie is now a Galloway. But we can't decide on a name. Right now the contenders are Woodrow and Ziggy. Feel free to list any other suggestions!

Friday, May 13, 2011


My sister-in-law Rachel has been here with us this week. She is just awesome. Not only does she help out with things like laundry or dishes, but she is so easy to talk to and has been a shoulder to cry on as well. I remember when I first met her back in 1996. Mike and I had only been dating for three months and I flew up to New Jersey over Christmas break to meet his family. Rachel was only 16 years old. My first impression of her was that she was very pretty and had a beautiful smile. Over the next fifteen years, I have watched her grow into a lovely , mature, compassionate woman. She is a perfect partner to her husband, Juan, and an amazing mother to their daughter, Velda. She writes a great blog too. Check it out here.
Rach and me yesterday evening.

Rach and me tonight. Notice her super cute new haircut!

Thank you, Rachel, for helping me through this tough week.

PS--I had trouble getting on to Blogger last night. Just relieving the panic that I'm sure you all felt when I didn't have a post yesterday. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


When Oklahoma City finally got an NBA team a little over two years ago, I thought it was nice, but I've never been one to watch professional basketball, so I didn't get too excited. But during those years, I have officially become a fan. Tonight my dad, my sister-in-law, as well as Mike and myself are all watching our home team hopefully take down Memphis in game 5 of our second round playoff game. Rachel has been helping me fold a mountain of laundry while we watch, so I really consider this a multi-tasking event. Something as little as a basketball game can do wonders to take your mind off of things.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Valleys of Sorrow and Rivers of Joy

We are all dealing with grief differently around here. But thankfully, we are all doing so quite respectfully. Leah is my peacemaker. She wants everyone to just "be happy and think of all the good things about Grandma" while Hannah is more of an internal processor. She remains quiet on the outside, but on the inside she is thinking through things and occasionally she will let a few tears through. Mike is my rock. He is doing an awesome job taking over a lot of the responsibilities of the house, but is also a shoulder for me to cry on. He is grieving in his own way because he too lost someone close. My dad and I are talkers. I want to talk things out, share stories, laugh, cry, and reflect. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and it feels good for me to cry when I need to!

I met a very dear friend tonight at a local coffee shop-- a friend who just two years ago lost her dad to pancreatic cancer. I needed to talk to her, to hear about her process of saying good-bye to a parent. I needed to know that life will go on, that there will be joy again. She let me talk and cry and show all of my emotions, and she empathized with me because she has been there. She warned me that there is no road map for grief. Everyone's journey will be different, and that I shouldn't rush the process. Meeting with her was a definite bright spot in my day.

Another sweet friend emailed me the lyrics to a song that have spoken volumes to my soul as I've listened to it and reflected on the words these last few days. It is called "The Valley Song" and the chorus says, "I will sing of your mercy that leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy." I know that this season of mourning and walking through the darkest valley I have ever known is just that-- a season. I will always miss my mom, but my pain will eventually ease and change shape. It will not be such an open wound, but rather a faded scar. And eventually, as God heals my heart, I can experience a river of joy.

Oh Lord, I know that this valley of sorrow will be followed by a river of joy one day. Thank you for walking with me down this long, twisty road. I know I am not alone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dad's Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. We went to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate. My dad's sister is a fabulous cook and we had a yummy dinner followed by some delicious rum cake. My cousins and their wives both came and my mom's sister too. (excuse the blurry camera phone photo. my good camera is still at the lake house, remember?)

In the midst of such a difficult time (reality hasn't truly set in yet), it was good to celebrate a little bit. Because my dad is certainly worth celebrating! He and I are a team now.

Here are some reasons I love my dad:

1. He is a terrific Papa to my kids. He is patient with them and loves to play with them.

2. He loved my mom. During these last six months he was by her side every day taking care of her in a very tender and compassionate way.

3. He is smart. Super smart. I can ask him about anything and he will have an answer.

4. He is my Words With Friends partner.

5. My dad is a hard worker. He will get a job done!

6. He loves nature. Some of our favorite memories as a family are of taking walks together.

7. My dad can recite Robert Burns poetry in a spot on Scottish accent.

8. He tells great stories. My favorite (and now my kids' favorite) is the story of Rip the Horse. Ask him about it next time you see him. :)

9. He makes amazing whole wheat cinnamon rolls. They are his specialty.

10. He is my dad, and that reason alone makes him pretty cool in my book. I am so grateful to be his daughter.

Love you, Dad! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
I love you and miss you so much.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Goodbye Sweet Wife

*My dad read this yesterday. It was simply amazing.

It is 10:00 p.m. in the early 1990’s at our home at 11101 N. Ann Arbor. The telephone: RING, RING, RING.

I was working in the oilfields in Liberal, KS. We did not like being separated, but Barbara was determined to pursue her career as an elementary school librarian. She loved books. She loved children. She loved children’s books. Working for an oilfield service company, you weren’t going to be home much anyway. She had decided not move to Kansas, but stayed at home and became one of the kindest, most dedicated school librarians ever. The library at Eastside Elementary was in poor shape; not enough books, old worn out books, little organization and no inspiration for reading. The school was in a poor neighborhood. Barbara applied for grants to buy books, poured over book reviews, set up reading programs and arranged visits by celebrity guest readers and authors. But most of all through taking a loving interest in the children, she turned that little library around. Not a glamorous job, but one that needed to be done. Barbara always did what needed to be done. That library was her source of inner pride. She could have moved to a school closer to home, but that was her library. It wasn’t about the Barbara who had always followed her big sister. It wasn’t about the Barbara who had always followed her husband. It was about the Barbara who always followed her Jesus.

So I worked away from home. At that time, 15 days on and 5 days off, 24 hour call.

The last day on - we went off call at 12:00 p.m. If I was not on a service call that last day, you can believe at 11:00 p.m. I was on the road for the 4 hour drive home. I could not wait - for morning to get home to that sweet, gentle lady.

We were separated this way for several years. We made up for time apart on my days off by taking short trips - often to such exotic places as Canadian, Texas to see the certified largest cottonwood tree in Texas and drive 20 miles down the caliche south river road to visit the old Mobeatie jailhouse museum, or to the beautiful Kansas flint hills to see the Cottenwood Falls courthouse and its spiral staircase allegedly carved from a single walnut tree and visit the Knute Rockne plane crash museum.

We went bird watching together. Not too exiciting? Well have you ever seen a male painted bunting singing from the top of a hack berry tree in the morning sun. One of gods purest singers in a most dazzling feathered array of purple head, red orange breast and iridescent green back or the brilliant crimson flash on the head of the tiny ruby crowned kinglet. We shared and cherished those moments. She loved God’s beauty on display.

We had been dating for a short time when she invited me to her parents house for a dinner. She made a from scratch, roll your own crust, peel your own apples pie. Fruit pies were my favorite dessert and this was the best I had ever had. My mind was set, a pretty girl with the fringe benefit of those pies for life.

Did my best to charm that girl; even took her and her little brothers Richard and John to the Rush Springs watermelon festival.

Barbara, like eating those pies, our life together has been delicious, but now the plate is empty.

You are not - here; no more pies, but I just can’t wait to see you again.

Oh, yes the telephone. We would call and talk on the phone to stay in touch, but we couldn’t seem to limit our conversations and in the time before cell phones and unlimited long distance we didn’t think we could afford the extra charges every night, so most nights I would call and let the phone ring 3 times, hang up, wait a minute and Barbara would call back and let my phone ring three times. RING, RING, RING. Our signal.

I , LOVE, YOU! Good night - my dear, sweet wife.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Eulogy

*My sister-in-law, Tracy, read this out loud for me today at my mom's memorial service because I didn't think I could physically do it without crying. She did a fantastic job.


It is a word that I hear many times a day from the mouths of my three young children as they call out for my help, or tattle on a sibling, or say,“I love you.” It is a word I took for granted until now because I can’t use it anymore. Yes, I can tell you about my mom and I can share stories about her, but I won’t be able to pick up the phone and say, “Hey, Mom! How is your day going?” I have found myself whispering the word “Mom” in quiet moments over these last two days. I am thinking that the word “Mom” is one of the most important words in our language, and I am going to miss saying it.

For such a short word, “Mom” can describe so many things. When I think about my mom, my brain instantly fires out a list of adjectives: gentle, compassionate, tender, kind, loving, gracious, faithful, and pure. When I close my eyes and remember her, many different images flash across my mind.

  • I remember when I was sick. She would sit next to me on the couch, cover me with an afghan, and scratch my back. And she would make me a “pink cranberry smoothie” when my throat was sore.

  • I remember the feel of her hand in mine. Her hands were so soft and her fingers long and elegant. She never liked the veins on her hands, but to me her hands were beautiful.

  • I remember many lunch hours at our favorite restaurant. We would sit and chat about anything and everything. She was my best friend and confidant. We would always split a piece of our favorite dessert—ribbon cake with fresh strawberries.

  • I remember cooking together in the kitchen. She was a fantastic cook! My mom could multi-task like no one’s business, her movements to the stove or refrigerator all choreographed like a graceful ballet.

  • I remember reading the Little House on the Prairie books together while snuggled up cozy in my bed. She instilled in me a love of reading at a young age.

  • I remember the smile of pride on her face as she held my newborn babies in the hospital. She gazed at them as if beholding the most beautiful thing on earth. And for the last six years she poured into their lives by spending quality time with each of them. They knew Grandma loved them very much.

  • I remember finding her sitting at the kitchen table intently reading her Bible or working on her Sunday School lesson. God’s Words were living and active to her, and she allowed them to fully impact her life. What an example she set for me!

  • I remember the comfort I found in her hugs, and the cheerful tone of her voice. She was always happy to see me and seemed genuinely interested in whatever I wanted to tell her. She was my advice-giver, my listening ear, my rock, my constant.

Yes, the word “Mom” is too short for all the amazing qualities my mom displayed in her life. Books couldn’t contain all of her stories and her acts of kindness. She left giant shoes for me to fill. I pray that I become the kind of wife and mother she was.

Proverbs 31:29-31 says,

“Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,

And let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Mom, in my opinion, you have surpassed them all. It is my honor to be your daughter, and I thank God every day that he gave me the gift of you as my mother.

Good-bye, my precious Mom. I love you, and I will see you again one day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


It has been a long day-- emotional, tough and yet so full of memories and reflection. I just wanted to share a link with you so you can view my mom's obituary. My dad and aunt and I wrote it yesterday and I think it is a fitting way to remember my mom. She truly was incredible. I am going to go to bed and get ready for another difficult day tomorrow. We have her Memorial Service at 11:00 and lots of family to see and visit. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Go here to check it out.

Good night!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


You know in a movie when a bomb goes off or there is a big explosion of some sort and the people who survive sort of stumble around with dazed expressions, ears ringing and with an overall look that says, "What just happened here?" That is the best way to describe the last 24 hours for me. Only the explosion was in my heart-- it took my breath away and brought me to my knees. I feel like I have moved in slow-motion, constantly asking myself Is this really happening? Am I really having to choose an outfit from my mom's closet for her to wear or a casket for her to be buried in? My eyes are puffy and red from the tears that have been freely falling. I have decided that I will not be able to wear eye makeup for awhile. During the day today, the grief has come in waves that at one minute bring peace and another bring a punch to the gut of sorrow. I told God earlier, "This is too hard! It is too painful!" But then I remembered a verse, one that my mom had on the wall of her hospital room, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Cor. 9:13)." Oh Lord, I am weak. Thank you for your grace. It is carrying me through.

And then I get something like this to lift my spirits:

These are from my sweet blog friend. Oh how these as well as the many emails and texts I have received have helped me in the midst of the aftermath of my mom's passing. It is hard. It will be hard. We will get through. Slowly, we will recover. So thank you in advance for helping me walk down this road. I know I am not alone.

PS-- A Memorial Service for my mom will be at 11:00 this Friday, May 6th at Putnam City Baptist Church, 11401 N. Rockwell in Oklahoma City.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



These are only a few words that describe my wonderful Mom.

Today she went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am sure he said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Goodbye, my sweet Mom.

Even though my heart is breaking, I know I will see you again one day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Backwards and Forwards

Looking Backwards: This photo is from May 2010. One year ago. Look at how much my baby boy has changed! Even the girls look older now.

Looking Forwards: My mom came home today! I hope that we are moving in the right direction now, and I am looking forward to chatting with her comfortably in her own living room while the kiddos play outside.

Today has been one busy day. The kind of day where I need toothpicks to hold my eyelids up! It started with taking Lucas to the doctor (He's fine! Just a two week follow-up to make sure his recent ear infection is gone.) Then I ran home to eat lunch and change before work. Next I tutored my five different groups of second graders, then I ran to the grocery store, then picked the girls up from school. We went through their folders and helped them complete their reading homework. This was followed by the chaos of dinner, brushing teeth, bedtime stories, and kitchen clean-up. I wasn't able to see my mom today with all the craziness, so I am headed over tomorrow for sure.

So with that, sweet dreams and good night!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Home Again

We're home! We were able to take a wonderful, quick weekend getaway to my aunt and uncle's house on Lake Tenkiller. Usually we go every fall, but this year we were able to work out a weekend in the spring. We had great weather on Friday and Saturday, then winter decided to return today with rainstorms and very chilly temperatures. No matter though. Whether we were outside enjoying the sun or inside watching the rain fall in the woods, it was beautiful either way.

And guess what I did? I left my camera there! I was so irritated with myself when I got home and discovered it missing. I know exactly where I left it, but can't just drive the three hours out to get it again. Oh well. I know my aunt and uncle will get it to me sometime. And when they do, all those wonderful photos I took will be like a little surprise gift to myself.

In the mean time, you can enjoy the ONE photo I snapped on my phone while we were there. It's Leah Bee sitting in front of the fire pit just before we made some s'mores. She and Hannah and Lucas had a wonderful time playing outside from the second they woke up to the moment they had to come inside for bed.

Between the kids and the adults that went this weekend, our outdoor activities included:
* Tag
* Simon Says
* Mother May I?
* Playing in the rocks
* Making a home for a little frog found on the front porch
* Reading
* Talking
* Relaxing in front of the chiminea
* Telling stories
* Laughing
* Running with wild abandon
* Making s'mores
* Evening walks to watch the sunset
* Eating, eating, eating
* Building things with twigs
* Soccer
* Riding the Mule to the lake
* Playing games like Pit and Bananagrams
* Watching three tiny baby birds poke their heads up from their nest on the front porch
* Listening to the wind swirl around in the trees
* Enjoying a weekend away from schedules and to-do lists

Now we are home, rested, and ready to face the week ahead. I promise to post some photos when I get my camera back. Until then, I'm sure you can use your imagination. :)