I have spent most of yesterday and all of today at the computer on my special kneeling chair getting the iFamily website ready for next semester. My back is aching, my shoulders keep popping in and out of place, and I am ready for some delicious food brought by the Lamoreaux family and some snuggle time with my children. I listened to Christmas music all day. I love Christmas music that speaks to my soul…it has to have messages of love, service, and Jesus, most of all Jesus. I don’t really like the loud, crazy Santa stuff, but give me some Jesus music and I will bawl my eyes out.
Which is exactly what I have been doing. I can’t stop these tears from running down my face and getting my collar wet and gooey. My children keep walking by and asking why I am crying. All I can say is “The goodness, there is so much goodness in this world.”
Moola For Muscles has been active for about 48 hours and there has already been $2200 donated. Oh my goodness, I am tickled pink and overwhelmed and full of warm fuzzies all at the same time.
I have heard from old friends and new friends, complete strangers, and so many dear loved ones have written me beautiful notes of encouragement. It is such a privilege to be loved this much. I wish I could have every single donator over for a delicious cup of hot chocolate and some of my favorite Christmas stories. Wouldn’t that be fun!
This is one of my favorite sayings. I try to live by it. I try really hard to both Be The Good and Believe In The Good. You guys make it easy-peasy to believe in the good because you surround me with it every day. Thank you for all your loving kindness. May God pour blessings down upon you and your families.
Katherine, Jessica, Jennifer, and Tami have all been pushing me to allow them to do a Physical Therapy fundraiser. I have fought it and fought it, but they finally convinced me with the following arguments (all paraphrased a bit, but you’ll get the essence of what they said).
Kat – “Trace, your family needs you to function. Your husband and children need you. They have been taking care of you for the past two years and if there is a way that you can heal, you owe it to them.”
Jess – “Trace, I KNOW. I KNOW you don’t want this to happen, but it needs to. You need to let us do this.”
Tami – “What do we need to do! Let’s do it. Come on Trace! Let the hundreds of people who love you help you. Do I need to come over from Australia to do this? Come on, I’m booking a flight!”
Jen – “Tracy, I love you so much. If you need physical therapy, you need physical therapy. Let us help you. We love you.”
Kat again – “Trace, the truth of the matter is, it takes a lot of people to take care of you and it is getting more all the time. All of us are taking time away from our families to help you and we love doing it, but it is a lot. We will do WHATEVER YOU NEED FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. But, if you can heal, then let’s make that happen.
All those arguments sunk deep in my heart and I have been pondering them for over a month. Especially Kat’s. It is true. I have asked a lot of my friends. They have driven me all over Timbuctoo, taken me to umpteen doctor’s appointments, held my hand and listened to me scream during the awful Prolozone injections, have lovingly listened to my crazy ranting when I am ready to throw in the towel and go live in a hole, and have picked me up off the floor over and over again when I collapse. They have been the best save-my-sanity-and-heal-my-hip friends a girl could ever ask for. I thought of dear Sheri who has been with me a lot lately during the passing out episodes and how many hours she has taken away from her family to sit with me while I am unconscious. I thought of how her poor body has had to pick me up and support my dead weight and how much that must have hurt her. I thought of the people at church who have carried me out of the building and loaded me up in my car while drool is running down my face and my dress is all skiwampus. I thought of my dear, dear husband who has left work repeatedly, dropped everything he is doing to come and find me in a heap on the floor. I thought of all the sleep he has lost, the worry lines that have etched themselves permanently onto his face, and how his needs have been on the back burner for oh, so long. I thought of all the money, time, and effort our family has given to get me better.
So, I finally said yes.
I need to see Dr. Jones every week and the only way for that to happen is to allow others to bless me with their hard-earned cash. If you would like to join these dear friends of mine in making a difference in my life, go check out the fundraiser at Moola For Muscles.
Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart and clear down to my little toes, thank you for serving, supporting, and loving me. Thank you for making this miracle happen.
Now to wipe the tears away and read a book to Annesley.
I forgot to mention my little Annes celebrated a birthday last week while we were at Grandma’s. She has jumped from 5 1/2 (what she has been telling everyone for months when they say she is five – “NO! I am five AND A HALF!) to the ripe ol’ age of six.
Oh my goodness.
We opened presents that were hidden all over Grandma’s house. Just wait till you see the blue-haired crocheted doll I found for her! She is darling as can be and Miss Annes loves her and has named her Mar-a-dell. I actually have no idea how to spell it, but that is how she says it…with emphasis on each syllable. She designed a mint chocolate ice cream cake with a giant six made out of Oreos on top.
She has been such a silly kissy, cuddly, snugglebug lately. In the past few weeks, as her warm body has lain against mine, I have been brought to tears quite a few times. My little girl is growing right up and I almost can’t bear it. It looks like I will never be a mother of a five year old again. Or a four year old. Or a three year old. Or a two year old. Or a one year old. Or a tiny precious newborn.
I want to savor these moments that are slipping past me ever so quickly – these long days of reading and teaching and cooking and cleaning and repeating myself five gazillion times. I remember the day Blythe was born in crystal clear clarity. And now I hardly see the girl. She is so busy with her studies and music lessons and performances. It is wonderful to see her blossom and grow into herself as a young adult, but boy howdy, is it hard.
And not just because I know our time with her under our roof is coming to an end…but because I can see what the future holds. All of my little babies are going to grow up and get busy and move on. There isn’t any way around it.
It IS a beautiful thing. Mothering these children has been the work I have dedicated myself to for the past eighteen years. My goal has always been to raise happy, capable, emotionally healthy adults who love God and serve His children.
I just thought it would last longer. I thought I would have babies forever and ever.
And now there are no more babies. And no more toddlers. And no more preschoolers. Good grief, I have graduated out of three whole phases of mothering! I really didn’t see it coming. I somehow thought I would always have a baby on my back, a little one in my bed, and a toddler asserting his independence each moment of the day.
But those days are gone. And it is good, it really is, but it is also bittersweet. I can’t help but cry every time I am shopping for clothes for my children and realize I don’t need to go down the baby and toddler aisles. Sometimes I hold up a little romper and hold it close to my heart trying to remember what my children felt like when they fit into that size.
My little one has been six for over a week and she seems so much older. Bigger. More capable.
All I can do is let her fly and become the person God created her to be.
And cheer her on.
p.s. Someday I will find my camera so you can see these little cuties. I lost it the night of the one-inch undoing and am desperately hoping it turns up somewhere!
I have loads of great news today.
1. I haven’t passed out for 2 1/2 weeks! Big WAHOO!
2. I entered the Big Room at physical therapy last week. THE BIG ROOM! The room with all the exercise equipment. AND I TOUCHED THE EQUIPMENT WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS AND WORKED MY TAIL END OFF! I can’t even tell you how exciting this is! I haven’t been able to do a lick of exercise without starting to shake and then pass out for months and months and months.
3. The snow has arrived…and I as I walked through it today on a quick run to the grocery store I was nearly brought to tears of gratitude when I realized I was walking on my own two feet without a walking boot. Being in a boot in this weather would be nothing but miserable. I am so thankful to be out of it!
4. My Annesley was able to have a cavity repaired yesterday! Wahoo! I have needed to get her down to Utah to see the dentist for quite a while, but have been unable to do so because of the ridiculous unconscious episodes that keep happening. Since we were coming home from Thanksgiving through Utah, our awesome dentist worked a miracle and worked on her during his lunch break and around other patients so we don’t have to make the drive down again.
5. I can ignore the marks on the walls and the grime on the floors for an unbelievably long time and then one day I notice and clean it up…today was that day. I cleaned out my laundry room…not done, but much improved. I scrubbed walls, cleaned out the gunk in my garbage can, scrubbed the wood on my banisters, and made a big thrift store pile. There is still a TON to do, but progress was made and I feel great about it.
6. We are behind on the whole December thing. I like to have my tree up and my Christmas books out and my Advent Calendar hung by December 1, but I didn’t even get home from Thanksgiving at my mom’s until December 3, so no chance for it to be done yet. And I am okay with it. That is what I am happy with it. I am not grumpy or stressed or freaking out.
7. Tomorrow is the last day of iFamily for the semester. I LOVE iFamily to pieces, but the winter break is heavenly. I love having the time off to focus on what I want to teach my children instead of what they are doing in their classes. I love not having to go anywhere during the week. I love having my children with me more. By the end of January we are definitely ready for the interaction and intellectual stimulation of iFamily, but right now it feels glorious to have seven weeks off.
Pretty good list, eh?
Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove.
November 20 marks the anniversary of both of our parents. Yes, both sets of parents were married on the same date. Not the same year though.
I have long found it humorous and one of those interesting coincidences of dates that seems to mean something, but may not mean anything at all. For those of you that don’t know, I am obsessed with dates, times, price per ounce, measurements, anything to do with numbers (except differentials – I never understood what we were doing with all that calculus jazz), but especially dates, I love dates.
But today I have been filled with gratitude that these four people made the choice to get married. Two of them are still married and will be celebrating their fiftieth anniversary next year. Two of them have been divorced for almost thirty years. Regardless of the state of their marriages now, they birthed, loved, and raised the two of us and I think we turned out pretty fabulous. Now we get our turn at birthing, loving, and raising their grandchildren.
My heart is filled to bursting with love for these four people. I am so grateful to be alive – to have been given the opportunity to have two parents who love me and did the best they could to provide me with opportunities to learn and succeed. I am deeply grateful for the wonderful man my husband is and that his parents raised him to be kind, honest, hard-working, faithful, patient, capable, and most of all, loving. They created a man who is full of love and whose love has transformed my life.
I have been heartbroken about my parents’ divorce for a long, long time. The depths of my soul have ached with longing for the family of my childhood to be returned to me. I have only seen my father eight times since he left our family back in 1986. Eight times in 27 years. It is simply not enough.
But I still have life. I still have heritage. I still have a father and a mother and a father-in-law and a mother-in-law. And today I am going to savor the beauty of my life and the love I am surrounded with.
Thank you four for getting married. Thank you for risking your hearts and giving it your best and letting us be born. Thank you for trying.
I have this daughter that loves running. She started running on her 10-month birthday and hasn’t stopped since. She began entering triathlons at about age 8, loved the experience and started dreaming of being a runner. Unfortunately she has a mother who hates running. But that same mother finally decided to become a runner so she could run with her daughter every day since she was too young to run by herself. A mother who ran in the cold and the snow and the wind because she loved her daughter so much.
And then the mother got injured and has had her whole life turned upside down, inside out, and everything in between.
This daughter has really struggled to be able to develop as a runner without me and has ebbed and flowed in her determination to run. She flat out refused to run in any 5Ks this past year. I think she was working it all out in her mind and figuring out who she was and what was important to her. Perhaps my injury scared her or gave her guilt or something. I don’t know what was going on inside her heart, but we felt we should give her the space and time to work it out.
But now she is running again. She loves it. She ran cross-country this fall and can’t wait for next year. Miss Keziah is strong and smart and I am excited to see where this running passion takes her. Last night was her award ceremony. The coaches call the oldest group the Big Dogs, the younger group the Little Dogs, and the little twelve and thirteen year olds the Pups. Last night at the ceremony, the coach told about how a small group of these young kids would not stop running and always chose the longer distances and the harder workouts. He decided they were not Pups any longer, they were Little Zulus – like the South African people who ran long distances and then fought a battle.
I should say she is a Little Zulu! We have always thought she is like an Energizer Bunny – she keeps going, going, going.
Now it is time for the winter workouts to begin!
Last night was our big iFamily Fall Showcase – an opportunity for all of our members to get together for dinner, listen to our Orchestra and Choirs perform, and for students to display their projects from this semester. It is always lots of fun.
Unfortunately I missed it.
Well, I didn’t miss all of it. I was present, but I didn’t see any of the performances or get to visit with friends or take any pictures of my cute kiddos. Minutes after I got there, I twisted my ankle (my right ankle so my hip rolled out as well, drat it all!) on a teesy-weensy, itty-bitty ramp and fell to the floor. I kid you not, this incline is the tiniest thing ever and yet it still threw me off kilter. It seems I have little ability to stay upright once I get off-balance these days. Then the stupid sympathetic nervous system response started. The racing heart, the shaking, the passing out. I tried to fight it and even tried to stand up by crawling up the wall, but I could tell it was a no-go and I wasn’t going to stay conscious. My body was already in freak out mode. I called out in a whisper for someone to get Sheri and amazingly enough, Sheri was already right behind me ready to help. Thank goodness! She is an absolute pro at dealing with my body when I am unconscious. She took care of me for the next several hours. I am so, so grateful for her loving, expert care.
The whole debacle happened at the doorway into the gym right before the event got underway, so all our attendees had to walk past me and see me lying there with my limbs shaking, drool on my face, and clothing all skewampus. Not a pretty sight for anyone and especially not for all my little friends in the ten and under crowd. I hope none of them are too scared from the whole thing.
I missed hearing most of the Orchestra performance, but was able to hear quite a bit of the Choir while I laid in the hallway covered in ice packs and blankets. Then, my Annesley sang her heart out for Sheri’s “We Are Amazing” choir and I could hear her voice loud and clear.
This morning my ankle is pretty sore, my hip is really sore and my plan is to stay in bed and read all day long. The five batches of laundry I needed to get done today can wait, right?
I really, really, REALLY wish this would stop happening. It is starting to impact so much of my life. I never know when it is going to happen or how long it will last or who will be with me when I go down. It is absolutely amazing to me that every single time it has happened wonderful, caring, knowledgeable people have been with me. I have never been left alone to shake by myself. I think God keeps sending the right people at the right time to be by my side. Sometimes I desperately want Him to stop it from happening when what I really need to focus on is how He is taking care of me when it does.
A big thanks to everyone who took care of me last night. Lots of different people kneeled down and rubbed the charley-horses out of my neck, arms, and thighs. Others took care of my children. Others helped Richard get me out to the car. I’m sure many people prayed for me.
I am surrounded by goodness. Heaps of it.
A few months back a friend brought me over this delicious smoothie and I forgot to ever post the recipe. I have never had a smoothie with grains in it and didn’t think I would like it, but boy, howdy, I LOVED it and I’ll bet you will too.
Banana Apple Oatmeal Smoothie
1 C. Water
1/4 C. Vanilla Yogurt (she used Greek…why would anyone use anything else? Greek is the best)
1/2 Banana, peeled
2 TBS. Uncooked Quick Oats
1/2 Medium Apple
1/4 C. Dried Cranberries
1/8 Cinnamon, ground
Place all ingredients into blender and blend for at least 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
Thank you to Natalie for sharing your creation with me. I think I’ll have another one tomorrow!
I have a confession to make. I make mistakes moving my body and often times I end up paying for it. I have trained myself to be careful – to not twist at the hips, to check myself for alignment and balance before I do something, to be aware of what is going on around me – but it is not enough. I still make mistakes. It takes quite a bit of brain power to be aware of my body and sometimes I forget to turn on that brain power. Friday was such a day. I was at gym and had my arms full of a delicious casserole one of my students brought me, so I did what I would have done in my pre-injured life and opened the doorknob with my foot. Yea, that’s right. I kicked my right leg (the injured one) up in the air, twisted it at a 90 degree angle, put my foot through the doorknob, and pulled the door open.
Lots of ice.
A few tears.
Many hours in bed.
Still a lot of pain…and then the whole Sunday debacle.
So today I went into Jeremy and got put back together again. I had no idea how bad I was out of place till he looked at me and sighed in exasperation at the state of my pelvis. Every bone and muscle were in the wrong place. He helped all the muscles relax, the bones shift, and nerves to calm down.
And now I can walk again without wincing!
It amazes me what I can do when I feel good. I washed dishes tonight, Windexed the back windows, and did a couple batches of laundry. When my hip is out of place, I don’t want to do anything. But as soon as I feel a bit better I am up and trying my darndest to live my life.
Enough hip, connective tissue, and passing out talk! Let’s talk books! Anyone who knows me at all knows I am book lover. We have found some fabulous gems at the library recently. Annesley and I are loving our FIAR books and yet, I haven’t taken the time to blog our adventures. Along with all the reading with the children, I am in the middle of choosing books for next year’s colloquia group and trying to make them all dovetail with the books I am reading for the scholar class I will be mentoring at iFamily next semester.
Here are some of our recent library finds. Alphasaurs is absolutely delightful! Each page sports a dinosaur made up of the first letter of its name.
Scattered around the page are facts about the dinosaur’s size, weight, eating habits, and other behaviors. Fisher and Annesley love, love, love this book.
Fisher and Annes love this cute little book, Little Owl Lost.
It is a similar story to Are You My Mother, but the illustrations are much more adorable and have my kids giggling the whole way through.
The Circus Ship is super cute as well.
It is a rhyming story about a mean circus owner and his animals that escape his violent temper in a storm off the coast of Maine. They find refuge in the town and the townfolk hide the animals when he comes looking for them. The finding of the disguised animals is fun, especially for Annesley. She cracks up every time she sees the monkey in the baby carriage.
I have been mentoring a WWII class this fall. It has been loads of work and loads of fun. Some of the fun has been learning more about the stories of men and women who did what had to be done. We Die Alone is fabulous!
I am not done with it yet, but I am amazed at the human spirit. We have more courage than we know.
My co-mentor, Jenn, read Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon in preparation for her lecture on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and she has been raving about it. It is definitely on my must-read list.
Last night we discussed the story of Tito Momen, a man who was imprisoned for 15 years in Cairo for converting from Islam to Christianity. We read this fascinating news article and are looking forward to reading his book, My Name Used To Be Mohammed.
We discussed taking Christ’s name upon us and how that doesn’t always look the same in different parts of the world and different eras of time. We talked about having enough conviction of your Savior to be willing to give up your whole world and even your life if state publicly that you believe in Him. Doesn’t the book sound amazing? I definitely want to read this one in my adult book discussion group.
In my scholar class next semester we are studying John Brown, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther, and we would like to study a great woman, but don’t have her selected yet. We need to read one biography and study one document about each of these people. Do any of you have any suggestions?
Any suggestions for my adult group? I have an eensy-weensy amount of time to get all twelve books selected for next year and I want them to be powerful, inspiring, though-provoking reads.