Thursday, November 26, 2015

An Open Letter of Thanksgiving

My children with their father

Dear C and family,

I grew up with a very involved father. When I married, I gained another prime example of fatherhood in my father-in-law. And, I married a man who turned into an amazing father. Basically, I have been blessed in the father department. But, this letter is not about me, or really even fathers. It's a letter about forgiveness and the change it can bring.

I mention my wonderful experience with fathers because when I met you, your parents had just divorced. The time that I knew you, your father was not involved in your life. I never had to experience that, and your family's reaction to this is what I'm writing about today.

You spent many years without a father in your life. It was hard. I remember how hard it was on you. But when he asked to come back into your lives, you all let him. It couldn't have been easy. You must have been scared. You did it anyway. And because you forgave him and welcomed him back into your lives, you had him for 20 more years. I don't know why he was gone. It doesn't matter. I just know that he loved you immeasurably. 

Several years ago, I began to read small comments on Facebook about your father. Wonderful comments that showed without a doubt what an amazing man he was, the sort of woman I desperately want to be.  Over the past few weeks, I've read about your father slipping away from you. The pain and joy that you've felt as you watched a great man pass from our realm. I've mourned with you, although I only met him once. And I've been incredibly thankful that you got to spend all those years with your father. I am so very sorry for your loss of your Daddy.

I was lucky to have had a father who was engaged all the time I was growing up. But, I think I am also very lucky to call you friend and your mother an influence in my life. I want to say thank you for teaching me what it means to forgive. Thank you for showing me how forgiveness can change your life for the better. I hope that I will always forgive.

This Thanksgiving Day, I am so thankful that I got to be part of your family for such a short time, and that I get to see the way your family interacts with the world. This is the kind of family I want to be, and I am glad for the privilege of watching yours.

With much love,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It Was Worth It

We had a busy afternoon planned today, and I knew I needed to leave early to vote, but completely forgot until I was already an hour away from my polling place.

I had planned to stay at our destination for several hours, but had to leave after about an hour and a half to be able to vote.

Shortly after leaving our friend's house, we witnessed a hit and run. So, we turned around to provide witnesses for the victims (no one was injured, just vehicle damage.) 

As we drove away, I was concerned that I would miss voting, but as Xavier said, we did the right thing. I definitely would have felt guilty had I not turned around.

About 15 minutes later, we barely missed being side swiped at 60 miles an hour. It was close enough that the other car's mirror got pushed in. Xavier just about had a heart attack.

We got to the polling place at 5:43, 17 minutes before the polls closed. All the stress was worth it. Also, maybe remembering to vote early would help.

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Ironing Board Cover and Nanowrimo 2015

It's probably not the most exciting subject, but when Nanowrimo hits, I start doing other things besides writing. It helps my brain think. Yesterday, I decided I was going to work on a quilt I've been working on for quite some time. But, I needed to iron some fabric pieces, and my ironing board was in desperate need of some TLC. 
So, instead of working on my quilt, I made myself a new ironing board cover. 
I used this beautiful fabric Gary brought back from Africa for me. I still have about 5 yards, so I imagine it will show up in bits and pieces in many projects.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hello. I miss you.

I don't know who's in this picture with her, but love this early picture.

My Nonnie gave me the nickname Tissy-Teenie. From this the prevailing names of my childhood came, Krissi and Teenie. She taught me to bake bread, and made the most amazing biscuits. She was truly kind. She once canned green beans while a tornado went by. When asked what she was thinking, she said, "If the Lord wanted to take me, he'd take me. In the meantime, those beans weren't going to can themselves."

Nonnie with her brothers and sisters, and my mom photobombing

It was about this age when my Nonnie was sure that my  Uncle Phillip couldn't tell the difference between the front and back yards.

With her baby brother

She read to my older brother and me more than she probably wanted to. She introduced us to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Little Princess, and A Secret Garden. 

I always wanted to be just like her. 

When they went to pick up one of my aunts. I think this is Ruth Ann.

I'm sure I got my sense of style from her. I'm going to start calling my head scarves 'Nonnies.'

I called my Nonnie long distance for the first time when I was barely 18, just out of boot camp, from A school in San Diego, California. Prior to that, our phone conversations had consisted of,"Hi, Nonnie. Can I come over?"

Redneck camping

The first picture I found of us together

The pay phone was across the hall from my room, and while my mom got my drunken, homesick, middle of the night phone calls whose only purpose was to say goodnight, Nonnie got the occasional phone call to just chat. 

With her brother, my Uncle Bill


San Diego was followed by Norfolk, Virginia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Florida, and Maine. We would talk until my pre-paid calling card ran out. When unlimited long distance came into my life in Maine, we would talk for as long as we had time. 

Nonnie had a stroke right after Dominic was born. She didn't die for another 3 years, but talking on the phone was hard. I miss her. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

San Andreas Review

Some of the members of our family abandoned us for cooler climes, so Xavier and I are on our own this week. That means we get to do what we want. Eat where we want. Watch what we want. Last night that meant San Andreas.

First, it is important that you understand that I LOVE disaster movies. The only movies I like better are superhero movies. That's my disclaimer before I start gushing. Also, there may be a couple spoilers, but I'll try to keep them from actually spoiling anything for you. I mean, really, what is there to spoil? It's a disaster movie. We know what happens in those.

So, first, I'm really impressed with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's improved acting skills. Either I'm just becoming a fan of big, tough guys (not likely), or The Rock's going to have to find a new stage name. The man is starting to loosen up and act well, showing feelings and stuff. If he keeps going like this, he'll soon be able to expand out of the action genre, but no one wants that. He's too perfect for the action genre. (I don't know. It might be fun to see him as a goofy professor type.)

This movie contained all the great disaster tropes: explosions, buildings falling... I don't want to spoil it too much. The trope I enjoyed the most was when the one they flipped on its head. (Spoiler alert! Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want a little foreknowledge.) I loved that instead of having a beautiful woman that needed saving, they had a beautiful, intelligent woman who saved a pretty man with a gorgeous accent. That's not to say the man didn't deserve saving, or pull his weight in saving the woman, just that his was not the main saving role.

They killed off the bad guy at just the right time, in just the right way. A smart guy was a hero. Humor abounds. Disasters and rescues come one right after another. So... Where does that get us?

Armageddon Rating: 5 stars
I'm not sure how they could have put any other disasters in the movie.

Bechdel Rating: 4 stars
I have a bit of a problem with the Bechdel Test. I like the concept, but it can be hard to place in a movie like this. Does the test have to be completely about conversation? What if the movie has little conversation? In this movie, most of the conversation takes place *between* the sexes, versus between members of the same sex, so I've decided that counts. Plus, there's that whole strong woman doing strong woman things aspect. Sure, the star is a man, but we're getting somewhere.

Star Wars Rating: 3 warnings
This is a special rating we have for movies at our house. Is it worse than Star Wars in terms of violence? If not, the kids can see it, since they've been watching Star Wars since Xavier was born.
I give this 3 warnings because a lot of people die in this movie. It's a disaster movie, after all. Some of the deaths are up close and personal, although none of them are exceptionally graphic (blood and guts kind of thing).

Sensitivity Warning: 3 warnings
We don't see children die, and only a few prominent characters die. It does talk about the death of a child, prior to the movie timeline, and how it impacted the family, so has an emotional component for sensitive children. Also, due to the nature of disaster movies, this could cause nightmares, and anxieties involving high buildings and stairwells. Also, I'm not sure any child going to San Francisco should see this before the vacation.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Then and Now- School

This was supposed to be a post with first day of kindergarten and last day of high school pictures. Then, Gabriel made the point that he started learning the day he was born, and never planned to stop, that life is his school. So, I included a gratuitous first day of life in the NICU. He's such a homeschooler.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

*This post was first posted on BlogHer in 2013.

Did you know that the flag is only flown at half-staff on Memorial Day until noon? After that, it is raised to full staff to represent the hope we have for the future. So what can that tell us about how we should observe Memorial Day?

Raising the Flag

First, of course, there are customs to be observed, like visiting cemeteries to place flags on graves, visiting memorials, attending ceremonies, and flying the flag at half-staff until noon. These things remind us of our duty to honor our fallen soldiers. These customs remind us to take care of the families of our fallen soldiers. They remind us that there are disabled veterans who need our help slogging through the mess that is the VA. They remind us to appreciate our freedom just a little bit more.

Then, there is the celebration. You see, to me, watching that flag being raised to full-staff is a signal to celebrate. It tells me that our lives should not be spent lamenting the lost. It tells me that we should spend our lives honoring and celebrating the lives of those no longer with us, and part of the way we do that is to find joy in our own lives. Even in the midst of our struggles, we can find joy.

 So, today, as you go about your life. Remember the fallen. Remember the great sacrifice they made. Remember why they made it. Take a moment to find out what you can do to help the families of fallen soldiers. Then, celebrate their sacrifice by living as full a life as you can. Do not just walk through your life. Dance, baby, dance.

If you would like to donate to or volunteer with some great organizations that help military families, I would like to recommend the following. If you have a suggestion of a great military charity, please leave it in the comments. These just happen to be the organizations I am most familiar with, or have a special place in my heart.

Our Military Kids provides grants to allow children of National Guard members and Reservists to participate in extra activities while their parents are deployed, and for the children of wounded warriors. They provide support and recognition to military children to reduce the emotional impact of deployments. My family has directly benefited from this organization. They helped send Gabriel to Montpelier for his first archaeological dig, Xavier to Space Camp, and got Dominic started in dance.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation- According to their website “The Special Operations Warrior Foundation ensures full scholarship grants as well as educational and family counseling to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty and immediate financial assistance for severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.” This organization is one that is close to my heart, because it provides assistance that the larger, better known, and better funded organizations do not.

Fisher House- Another lesser known organization, at least among civilians. Fisher House provides housing, meals, and transportation for military families to be close to their soldiers during hospitalization for an illness, disease, or injury.


Related Posts with Thumbnails