Brandon, Sammy & I returned from camp on Friday June 11th. After several loads of laundry, several power outages, a video, a Sunday Morning Church Service (one of the best I have ever been a part of) and lunch we were on the road to Texas-----Waxahachie, Texas to be exact where our 2 little ones had spent the week with Nana. It was now June 13th. We arrived late that night. K was extremly excited to see us! T gave us the cold shoulder for awhile but finally gave us hugs & kisses. Monday morning found us up early. We had b-fast with Nana and then on the road again to Tulsa. The kids learned many new things at Nana's one of their favorite being a new song. We heard the "Eyes of Texas are upon us" loudly for many, many miles. When I informed Nana she was quite proud. This proved to be somewhat of a hard trip for me. The last time we had traveled this Highway was on Christmas Eve. Trevor was still with us and I was still so excited about what 2010 would bring. Now, almost 6 months later so much has changed but it still seemed like only yesterday. We were riding down that exact highway (headed for the blizzard of 2010) with Trevor in tow in his mommy's belly (just how it should be). As we passed the various landmarks, memories of that day flooded my mind. Sometimes I wish my memory were not so good or that I wasn't so sentimental. At one point tears streamed down my face, I quickly looked out the window in hopes that no one would notice. Hours later we arrived at our destination----Aunt Sue's house (as my kids call it). Uncle Brett does live there too! The next morning June 15th found us up early again. We did some last minute shopping with daddy. We took him back to Aunt Sue's house and said our goodbyes. The kids and I were trying to make it back to Bucklin, KS so K could play in her t-ball game that night. As we drove away, I was deep in thought about what the next 2 weeks might hold. I was praying again for safety for B and the team. A few minutes had passed when I realized there were sobs in the van. Sobs that were not mine, they were coming from the middle seat. As I looked back, Kailey just bursts into tears, "I want daddy", she proclaimed! It was at that moment I realized she probably didn't remember Brandon's last mission trip. He went to Africa in June of 2007 when she was only 2 and T was just 3 months old. Sammy has been through several mission trips now and she was doing ok, T still didn't realize exactly what was happening. I told her I wanted daddy too but God needed daddy right now, God needed daddy to go far away and tell people that Jesus loves them and we needed to pray that God would keep him safe. So we did and she felt better. That night the questions from T began: "Is daddy at Aunt Sue's house?" I said yes, but tomorrow he will be leaving on an airplane. T said "Why?" To which I answered, he will be going far, far away to tell people that Jesus loves them. He said ok, Less than 2 minutes later. T asked: "Is daddy at aunt Sue's?" Again, I go through the most simple of explanantions I can. He responds with ok. Not 2 minutes later he asks the same question again. Boy, is this going to be a LONG 2 weeks.
If on January 1st 2010 you would have told me that in June I would be taking a group of kids to camp, I would have thought you to be crazy! Number 1, my plan was to be having a baby in June not sweating at kids camp. Number 2, kids over age 6 scare me-lol-no I am serious God has wired me to be quite comfortable with children 5 & under. Well, guess what, sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zones. You know what happens when you go, he meets you there and that is just what happened. I guess it was about March when B received the info on kids camp. Lora W. had been as a CSM (Cross Seekers Missionary) in prior years, her sister, now old enough to attend as a camper wanted to go too. I thought to myself that could be fun (but way out of my cz) and decided to go. I knew S would want to go and we gave her the ok to invite friends. Fast forward to June. One rented green van, 7 excited kids, insufficient directions from Mapquest and away we went. What an incredible week! So much time spent in prayer and with our focus on the One who truly matters. No ipods, computers, tv or any of the other distractions that occupy so much of our time. On Tuesday night during the first invitation of the week, three of the kids in our group gave their lives to Christ. What an incredible night to be a part of! We were all so excited! Tears of joy all around! Late that night as I laid in bed, I realized had I been 9 months prego I would not have been at camp. I would not have been a part of that night. I thanked God for allowing me to be there. What an Awesome experience, what a blessing! I still get excited thinking about it! The rest of the week was wonderful! We could not have asked for a better group of kids to take to camp. Now, I don't ever want to miss Kids Camp Again. I am hooked! I have been Twisted by Jesus!
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord....." Jeremiah 29:11
I think T is scarred for life or at least the time being. Wednesday evening found us at K's t-ball party at the Protection Pool. Every speck of dirt was bothersome as it could be poo.
Yesterday after K's t-ball tournament in Greensberg, the kids & I headed to Pratt. We ate lunch and then visited a pool there. We were swimming and having a great time. Then T began to move as fast as he could to me, shear panic covered his face. There's poo poo he loudly proclaimed! I looked to see a Snickers Candy Wrapper floating by----not the candy bar (which I would have understood the concern)-----just the wrapper. After I completely freaked the child out by picking it up and taking it to the trash, he was swimming nervously again. Looking twice at every speck of dirt, leaf, etc. just in case. Our days at the Poo, I mean pool will never be the same. Happy Swimming all!
The beginning of June meant the beginning of baby season for my extended family. My sister is expecting her first baby in August, My cousin & his wife are expecting their third baby in August within days of my sister & another cousin & his wife are expecting their third baby in October. We had planned on 4 new babies to celebrate Christmas this year. June marked the beginning of the baby showers. Two showers for the babies due in August were planned for June 5th & June 6th so my Nana from Texas would be able to attend both. I was a little concerned as I prepared for that weekend. I was only going to be able to attend my sister's shower since the other would be on Sunday but needed to shop for both. I always LOVE shopping for new babies. I am so excited about my new niece and my two new little cousins to be (both boys)! Yet there were moments when I was still sad for me. I talked to God about it often and I think that I am able to be happy for them and sad for me all at the same time and HE understands. After all, HE gave up his one & only son to die for us. If anyone understands the pain of loosing a child HE surely does! Anyway, as the day of the shower approached I was really nervous about my emotions. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I did not want the pain of my loss there that day. I did not want anything to be in the way of my sister having a wonderful shower. Again, I prayed and prayed. As I was getting ready that morning I was approached by a family member. She too has lost two precious children so I know she understands my pain. I will NEVER forget the kind words she spoke. She said: "before this day gets started I want you to know I have been praying for you". As we made eye contact, that was all she needed to say. I walked away and a HUGE burden was lifted. I knew I was going to be ok. I was going to make it through and I did. We had a wonderful day with family and friends. My sister had an incredible shower. Little Shelby is so blessed to have her for a mommy. And of course she has the best Aunt ever! lol. I am so thankful for the prayers of so many.
Evening and morning, and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice. Psalm 55:17
The kids & I have been so busy since daddy has been gone. It has surely helped the time pass a little quicker. This past Monday we were invited to be guests for a dinner at a friend's home. The kids & I were really looking forward to spending time there. We had a wonderful meal and then were invited to tour the farm. My city kids (still adjusting to country life) loved every minute. T loved all of the animals except their dog. lol. In fact, he got in the pig pen where he would have loved to stay the rest of the evening because he knew the dog was on the outside of the pen. He quickly bonded with "Kurb" (not his real name but the name T gave him). He knew Kurb would keep him safe from the dog. I loved being around this family and seeing the animals they care for each day. What a learning experience! Kurb was at work most of the time we were there. He cared for animals, then he & T picked tomatoes in the garden. I have a greater appreciation and respect for the farm families in our community and the sacrifices they make each day. As the men work from sun-up to sun-down, their wives are also busy taking care of their children and homes. What a wonderful evening we had! What a wonderful learning experience for my kids and I. T can't wait to tell daddy about Kurb, his wife and all of their animals. Thanks for a wonderful evening!
Raising T is an adventure everyday, everywhere we go. As I sit here typing, he just ran in completely nude. Anyway, for those of you who read about our day at "the beach". I told you that there were a group of mommies who were glad to see us leave the kiddie pool. My concern of him still being fearful of the water was quickly replaced by my concern of the well-being of the other children in the water with him. I have NEVER wanted to be the mom of THAT kid. The bully kid. However, all too often with T, I have been that mom. He will take down the biggest of kids. I don't understand it! Why won't they stand up to him? He is 3 years old and weighs in at all of 23lbs soaking wet. He fell off the growth chart months ago. Brandon & I often joke that he is the chihuahua taking down the dobermans. Anyway, the kiddie pool had a "steering wheel" it controlled a big sprinkler. And guess who wanted to control it at all times? Anyone who even looked at it was taken down in the water immediately. He had taken down several boys before I realized what all the moms were looking at. I was completely mortified (remember this is before the chair incident) as I had to remove my screaming bully son from the steering wheel. I had to pry his little fingers off one by one as he flailed like a fish out of water. As we walked away I could see relief on many faces.
Just minutes later in the big pool. T sits on the side and sings the B-I-B-L-E yes that's the book for me. Over & over. To any passers by he politely says hi & Jesus loves you. He introduces himself to people & asks them their names. He befriends a girl his age. He hugs her and is as gentle as I have ever seen him be. Her mom goes on and on about his gentle nature and how polite he is. I just kept thinking about the kiddie pool. If she could have only seen. Although, I was glad she didn't. I am trying hard to understand my son. I think God shows me glimpses of his gentle side to help me forget the chihuahua side. I am just amazed how he can go from one extreme to another in an instant. I pray continually for wisdom to raise him to be the Godly man that God wants him to be. I just pray I will still have my sanity when he gets there.
Saturday morning the kids woke up really missing daddy. I decided that it would be a good day to get out of Protection for a little while. I decided on a whim (not like me) to take the kids to Crystal Beach Water Park in Woodward. I told the kiddos to get their swimsuits on we were going for a ride. After the cheers subsided I looked up to see three smiling faces in their swimsuits with towels in hand. After a quick stop at Don's for donuts and a few chores at the daycare we were on the road. We arrived at Crystal Beach around noon. It wasn't too crowded. We went on in. Last year T was afraid of the water. This year we have already been playing in the sprinkler & small pool at home & he has loved it. When we walked in, he immediately insisted I hold him for he was afraid he might fall in. I showed him that there was plenty of sidewalk everywhere for us to walk on and he could hold my hand and I would make sure he did not fall in. He was good with that. He immediately went for my left hand (the one away from any water), he grasped it tightly and away we went. I told the girls we would start in the kiddie area so T could get used to things. We went over & found a place to sit our things. K was quick to get in the water. S asked if she could go over & check out the water slide. So she was on her way. T walked around the outside of the pool for a few moments checking everything out. I got in and encouraged him to do the same. He did and it wasn't long before he was sliding down the slide. Boy, was I relieved-could have been a long day otherwise. The two of them were having so much fun. S came back and she was loving the big slides. We decided to venture over to the medium slides & sprinkler area. T was reluctant at first, he was loving the kiddie pool. I know some mommies were very glad to see him go I will share that story at another time. Anyway, we made it over to the deeper water. We were all having a great time. Almost 3 hours had passed. All of a sudden every life guard in the place was blowing their whistle & yelling for everyone to get out of the pools. I grabbed my kids and we got out & stood nearby. T was screaming he wasn't ready to get out. I explained that none of us wanted to get out but the life guards told us to and we needed to obey the rules that the life guards tell us. I told him to listen for all of their whistles & he did. There was chaos all around us. A nearby dad told his family that someone was missing and they were looking for them. My heart sank. My mind raced back to my PICU days. For I had seen, far too often the result of a missing child near water. I remembered that sweet 10 year old, flown to us one Friday evening via Life Flight. Her & her family had been enjoying a wonderful day at a Water Park in Enid when she went missing. She was found at the bottom of a pool. About 3am on that Saturday morning there in our PICU, her blood pressure dropped & her little heart beat it's last time. I will never forget the screams from her family coming from that room. What started as a wonderful day, ended in a nightmare! I held my 3 kids closer. I wondered what I should do. Should I take my 3 kids and leave? I did not want to be there to see them pull a lifeless body from the bottom of a pool. I sure did not want my kids to see that. I began to pray. I prayed as hard as I could for a miracle to happen. As I looked around the whole water park had become quiet. eerily quiet. The staff had turned off all of the sprinkler systems, pumps etc. I hear a young boy yelling at his mom. "I didn't do it." At this point I realize that we seem to be surrounded by life guards. They are all focused on an area under the medium size slides. I become concerned that there might be a small child trapped underneath. There were nets all around it. Then I see what the life guards are looking at. There just down from the sprinkler area, someone had done number 2 all in the pool. There were several piles. This was just inches away from where my children were swimming before the whistles were blown. And no, it wasn't one of my children. When my kids & I realized what had happened we were just grossed completely out, we couldn't believe it. The manager came out all gloved up and picked it all up and put it in a big bucket. She left & immediately returned with chemicals. The life guards quickly informed us that it would be at least 2 hours before anyone would be allowed back in the water. As the people were all rushing to leave, the kids & I went & sat down. I needed to decide what we were going to do. I knew if we left with that big crowd, we would just be sitting in traffic anyway. So we decided to get a snack at the snack bar. The kiddie pool was still open (it was not attached to the others). But it was crazy. The big kids were going wild over there now. So we decided to take a break on the beach chairs. We all laid down on the chairs and the questions began. A nice family of 3 had entered the park after "the incident". They had been told what had happened and were waiting like we were. They were a couple probably in their late forties. They had a 10 year old son. Both mom & dad quickly pulled out their books & sat on their beach chairs & read. Their son was quietly watching the life guards every move. Meanwhile, my 2 youngest asked question after question about the poo. The questions went on & on. Oh how I envied the quiet family next to me. T was in constant motion and I was worn out trying to keep up with his locale. It wasn't long before K needed a bathroom. S got up to take her. While they were gone, T decided he needed his googles aka goggles. Anyway, I noticed that they were underneath the beach chair S had been sitting on. As I pointed them out to him, I had shifted my weight too much toward the top of the chair and up I went. I had been in a laying postion. Now, I was standing on my head still in the beach chair, my legs completely in the air. I began to crack up, I couldn't quite figure out how I was going to get myself out of this situation. T is yelling at me. Momma whatcha doing? over & over. I am afraid to look over at the prim & proper family but I do. I see the man look away from his book from behind his sunglasses. He notices me just as we make eye contact but is quick to look away. I then decided to do a backwards somersault out of the chair at which point I look up at a life guard (about age 16) with his hand out saying mam do you need some assistance. I tell him I am fine and thank you. He tries to make me feel better by telling me that it happens all the time. By the time the girls get back, I am in tears laughing at myself. I try to tell S and she cracks up too. We spent the rest of our time waiting & laughing. S wished daddy could have been there to see it. I wished he were too because I knew he would have got me out of my mess before my swimsuit skirt was completely over my head. They tested the water periodically & 2 hours later, the whistles were blown once again telling everyone the water was safe to get back in. I was still a little leery of that spot so we went over by the big slides to swim and we watched S come down over & over & over again. It was a great day. One none of us will soon forget.
"This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
I think out of all of the things we celebrate Father's Day was the hardest for me for many years. It's the one holiday that always reminded me of the one thing that I did not have. My Dad. My dad left when I was an infant. As a child I had no memories of him. From a very early age I was invited to my paternal grandparents home a couple of times a year. While there I often saw a man. He rarely spoke to me and it wasn't until I was about 9 that I even knew that he was my dad. Once I knew who he was I wanted to spend time with him. Unfortunately he didn't want the same thing that I did. Many of my very Best friends were daddies girls. I wanted what they had with their dads more than anything. Unfortunately I never got that from my earthly dad. As I grew I learned to rely more and more on my Heavenly dad. He will never reject me and I can always be his girl. I cannot say that the pain is gone for there are many tears as I write this. There are many things I may never understand about my earthly father. He lives in Texas and I have not heard from him in over 9 years. I continue to pray for him often as I do still have hope that he will one day have the desire to meet my children, his grand-children. I have also learned to accept that if that never happens, it was by his choice, not mine. I do still love him with all my heart & acknowledge him as my dad every year on Father's Day. I am so thankful that God has blessed my kids with the best daddy ever. I am thankful every day that they will never have the pain of not knowing their dad. We all tell him all the time that he is the best daddy ever! Happy Father's Day Brandon. We love you!
Well, June came in a blur as I knew it would. I blinked and the month is more than half over. I believe this is all part of God's plan to get me through it. From baby showers, to kids camp, to Texas, to Tulsa, to saying good by to Brandon, to Kansas, to ball games, to daycare and everything in between. I have so many stories to share and I will try to get some of them on here this week. Being a single mom is no easy task and I truly admire those who are out there living it every day. I am thankful I am normally not one of them. For those who have wondered I am making it. One day at time with the help of my sweet Jesus. He carries me through when I cannot go it alone. I thank you all again for your many prayers for me & my family. They are felt & appreciated more than you may ever know. Love you all.
Brandon is the most wonderful husband & daddy anyone could ask for! I am so thankful that in God's sovereign plan he brought the two of us together. I am so thankful for every day with him and we joke all the time about how we can't wait to grow old together! He is my Best Friend!
My husband Brandon & I live in Protection, Kansas where he was called by God to pastor a church in July 2008. We have a wonderful family including Samantha 13 years old & loves sports, Kailey who is 7 years old & loves to cheer & dance ALL THE TIME, Trenton who is 5 years old & loves John Deere Tractors & Trevor who went to Heaven on January 4, 2010 when I was 17 weeks & 2 days pregnant. I love my family & I love my life in Kansas.
The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am, and all that He wants me to be.-Elisabeth Elliot
"Every good & perfect gift is from above" James 1:17