Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wrights Visit Nashville

Our (very small) Kyrgyz community had the blessing of having John, Julie, Bekah and Emma Wright to visit this week to share stories of life in Kyrgyzstan as well as their work there. It was such a blessing to get to see them as we had not seen them since our first trip to Kyrgyzstan in June 2008.

We met at the Howell's church for dinner and play time for the kiddos and the Wright's presentation. There were four sweet kiddos present from Kyrgyzstan, two sweet kiddos from China and one sweet kiddo from Russia. It was such a fun night.

We were so happy to have Allison, Hotdog and Pudding to come visit and spend the night too. Ellie can never get enough of her two friends!

The next morning we had a nice brunch at Cracker Barrel and then got to visit a little more with the Wrights at the Howell's home.

STAY TUNED for a new cool venture I've agreed to help the Wrights with that include two of my favorite things: shopping and Kyrgyzstan!!

In the meantime, here are some GREAT, FUN photos of our adventures!

Kat was the "opening act":

Followed by John:

John & Julie sharing information:

Julie brought some COOL hats that the kiddos had a great time trying on:

We had the GREAT idea of taking photos of the kids with the Wrights. It was a combination of trying to herd cats and nail Jello to the wall -- unsuccessful in all areas!

This was my favorite photo of the night!

Although I'm really fond of this one too!

Josh had more fun than should have been allowed!

But it seems like Allison and group were having the most laughs!

We have decided to take lots of pictures of Ellie and Pudding together because then when they grow up and get married we will have plenty of pictures to put up at the reception. I have never seen two kids more alike in so many ways. It's frightning!

After we got home, Ellie REALLY wanted to play dress up, but it had to wait until the next morning:

Hotdog and Ellie in their "reverse" matching outfits.

This is Ellie "hugging" Hotdog. HA!

We tried REALLY hard to get a photo of the three of them -- this is the best I came up with. BOY three two-year-olds are hard to get a photo of!

They were all rewarded for their hard work by getting suckers!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dentist and Hair Cuts

It was a big day Wednesday! We had dentist appointments and hair cut appointments and THEN we were going to get together with our Kyrgyz friends to meet John, Julie, Bekah and Emma Wright for a fun night.

Ellie has been to the dentist before but I haven't gotten any photos. She was a "big girl" and sat up in the chair but was not really happy about opening her mouth for Dr. Higgs.

Ellie got a balloon for being good!

Josh, however, is an old pro and did great at getting his teeth cleaned. Next week he gets braces -- wow!!

Then Ellie got her second (ever) hair cut. I dare not even call it a cut because it was just trimming up the ends and evening it out all over. I SO wish her hair would grow! At least she's a cute little bug with short hair!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My two little loves ...

My two little loves got a special Valentine donut for breakfast this morning. One looked like she was barely functioning as she piled up on the couch with ALL her blankies and was watching Barney.

The other little love couldn't even get his eyes open to look at the donut. Later in the morning he asked me, "When is Valentine's?" Uh -- today, that's why you got the Valentine's donut in bed. :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In The Spirit Of...

In the spirit of celebrating Valentine's I wanted to share a few cutie photos of Ellie that I snapped the other day. I'd love to share some cutie photos of Josh, but I'd have to ply his hands from the off the Xbox controller and drag him from his room. It didn't quite seem worth the fight. :-) Love that boy, though!! You'll soon start seeing lots more of him as he starts soccer this week!

I hope everyone will remember to show some love to those who are important to you! Even more importantly, show some random love to someone you don't know, who you don't think deserves it or who desperately needs it.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Saturday evening: I started the post below two weeks ago and left it sitting. I now feel "up" to finishing it.


Webster defines grief as a deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. Bereavement is further defined as the state or fact of being bereaved or deprived of something or someone, especially the loss of a loved one by death. An example is a period of grief after bereavement.

A "period" of grief.

Can anyone define what that period is? I'm told it's "different for everyone".

I found a website called the Centre for the Grief Journey. I like the term journey -- it makes it sound less like something you HAVE to do and more like something that might have a pleasant outcome.

I don't foresee my grief having a pleasant outcome, but I would certainly like to come out from it. The website indicates that the way out of grief is to go through it I'm reminded of the words of David who wrote, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me." I wonder if David wrote that after having lost someone special (I'll research that one later). I used to think it was about preparing for death and not being afraid. Now, re-reading it, I'm not so sure.

Another point made in the article I was reading was that Grief is Hard Work. Really? And, I don't mean to be smart in that statement. It's just so shocking how hard it really is to work through feelings you never have had and don't know exactly what to do with. I find myself extremely tired -- after having done nothing of worth all day. One of the statements from this article indicates that this may be compouded by other people's expectations that we "pull ourselves together" or to "get on with life." Especially when we all grieve differently.

Today I told my friend Susan that I thought I would have been "over" this by now. Not that I will ever truly be "over" it, but I thought I'd be pretty much back together and moving along with life after three weeks. She reminded me that you don't love someone as deeply and as long as I did my daddy and get over it right away. The article from this site indicates that your grief will take longer than most people think.

The paragraph that is written from this article that states that grief is unpredictable is certainly on target. I think I'm good one day and then the next day I feel melancholy, empty, lack a sense of direction or have the strangest dreams or thoughts. Apparently, it is very much part of the process and will eventually lead toward healing.

The emotions involved in grief ride like a roller-coaster. Some of the emotions include numbness, shock, confusion, disbelief, anxiety, absent-mindedness, restlessness, fatigue, sleep disorders and depression. I think I have covered every single one of them in the last three weeks.


And now it's been a month -- on Thursday it was a month since my daddy died. The actual "month" day was not such a hard day. The actual month of living was super hard. Added on top of that month of grief has been the subsequent sickness of Ellie who developed pneumonia, me who developed a serious case of bronchitis, my grandmother who ended up in the hospital and you start to see the picture of my life.

Yesterday was a really hard day. I can never figure what it is that triggers these days. It has snowed a lot here and we've been inside a lot. The kids have missed a lot of school. The days aren't exactly filled with glee. But Friday I went out to work and the sun was shining and I had a full day to myself with no worries other than to work.

And, for the first time in a long, long, long time, I hated my job. I hated working. I counted the hours. Each minute seemed an hour long. There was WAY too much time in the car for thinking. I felt absolutely lost with my own self. The day and thoughts wandered into how my children's lives will be different without their DeeDee. I realized, consciously, I suppose, for the first time that they will no longer have any older male, grandfather figures in their lives. Who will be that older man who represents unconditional love for them, who pesters them, who teaches them to play checkers or to fish, who has TIME for them? Who can fill that void? I know lots of people don't have those people in their lives, but I'm feeling a bit self-centered and selfish and only care about my kids and their loss. I am going to allow myself to feel that way. There was so much more TIME that they needed from him, so much more LOVE that wasn't finished yet. It just seems WRONG.

And, no, I'm not questioning God. This isn't about God for me. I don't feel God has wronged me or us I just am so sad and empty that I don't get it. And, I'm selfish. I am H.U.M.A.N. It's a hard thing to be.

I think I'm also depressed. There. That's out there. I'm having trouble "picking myself up" by those proverbial "bootstraps" to get back up on that pony and ride. Things that normally would excite me or interest me -- don't. I can't seem to dig up anything that will make me really happy. I go through the motions of the day, but I don't really care. I'm not depressed in a bad sense, just an apathetic sense and I absolutely HATE IT. I don't want to be this way. I want my "real" life back. I don't want to feel so many feelings.

I suppose to look at me, from the outside, I seem to be handling it all rather well. I'm sure folks typically think the same of others who grieve. But, inside, my heart still breaks frequently.

Today I spent the day with my mom helping her get things ready for the consignment sale that I do. It was a nice day and we got lots of things cleared out and ready to donate and ready for consignment. Afterwards, we met up with Kevin's mom and did our family Valentine's dinner.

And it was not the same.

It wasn't bad. Don't get me wrong. There was just someone missing. It was the "new normal". I don't want a new normal. And I have no control over that.

After dinner, we took a flower arrangement by the graveside and cleared it off from the flowers that had died from the funeral. It stunk. That's the best way I can describe it. Yes, I KNOW my father isn't there, but his body is. The hands that held mine and rubbed my back to put me to sleep are in that ground. The lips that kissed me goodnight for years, they are there. The arm that hooked into mine and walked me down the aisle -- there. The arms that held my babies as they entered our lives -- right there. NOT HERE WITH US. Stinking wrong.

So, I guess I'm progressing normally. Whatever the heck that is. None to worry when I feel like I'm moving along too quickly or have moved past it or didn't grieve enough. I don't have to worry because another day or two and it will hit like a ton of bricks and I'm literally begging God to lift that day from me and give me a better one the next day.

It is through this process that God will prepare me for the next thing He has in my life -- whatever it is. It is all building blocks. I heard a line in a song today that took on an entirely new meaning, "He would rather die -- than to ever live without me." I can fully understand the love Jesus Christ had on the cross to take on our sin. He could not imagine eternity without me. The same kind of love I have for my earthly father is magnified 10,000 times by my heavenly father. I would have died so that my father and I would never be separated (eternally speaking). I know he would have for me as well. That is the gift of love that Jesus offers -- an opportunity to never live without us. Most days it is all that gets me through -- it is the hope that I'm unable to muster myself. It is the promise that tomorrow WILL be better.

I heard one other song on the radio on Friday. It was as if God had LITERALLY written the song and had the group sing it DIRECTLY to me in the car. Here are the lyrics.

"I Won't Let Go" - Rascal Flatts

It’s like a storm
That cuts a path
It breaks your will
It feels like that

You think your lost
But your not lost on your own
Your not alone
I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
If you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I wont let go

It hurts my heart
To see you cry
I know it’s dark
This part of life
Oh it finds us all
And we’re too small
To stop the rain
Oh but when it rains

I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight

And I won't let you fall
Don’t be afraid to fall
I’m right here to catch you
I wont let you down
It wont get you down
You're gonna make it
Yea I know you can make it

Cause I will stand by you
I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do
And you can’t cope
And I will dry your eyes
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
And I won't let go
Oh I’m gonna hold you
And I won't let go
Wont let you go
No I won't.

Here's the group performing on Letterman. While it's written, I'm sure, as a love song, it was a love song from God for me. I know He is my hope. I need Him to help me find my way back to a happy place.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ellie's Closet - Virtual Consignment Sale is OPEN!!

For those who have asked if they can pre-shop the things I take to consignment, I have gotten all of Ellie's things uploaded to a virtual consignment and priced all the items. It is now OPEN to shop. I have approximately a week to leave it open before I'll need to start tagging items for sale. Of course, I'd love to pre-sell in all and not have to tag at all! :-)

Click on each photo to get description and price. Email me a list of the items you'd like to buy. If you are local, I'll deliver. Otherwise, I will ship and just add the cost of shipping to your total. Paypal is acceptable if you are out of town.

Items are sold first come/first served and I will mark them SOLD as soon as I get your email. We are a non-smoking home. Items have no stains that I've seen and I look carefully and pull those items. Shoes might have some scuffs, but that is described in the description and shown in the photo.

Enjoy shopping! The link to the site is HERE.