Steffen who is participating in track and field this year at the high school, fell hard on his first meet on the 100m hurdles. He had only been practicing two weeks and with the shorter 300m height. Needless to say, the extra three inches did him in and he tripped. I heard a collective "gasp" come from the spectators in the stand as he tripped, then made a graceful tuck and roll onto the track. He then stood up, dusted himself off and began to run again, but because he had lost his momentum, he fought to clear those remaining hurdles; however, he finished the race. His follow teammates congratulated him, even though he had come in dead last. They were impressed with his 'can do' attitude and willingness to finish. His coach approached him, first asking if he was okay, and then congratulated him for finishing the race. She then proceeded to tell him about her first race and how after she had tripped, she did not finish the race, but had stepped off the track. He looked at her, blinked a few times, and asked, "Was that an option?"
Lying on the exam table, I overheard my cardiologist apologize for the large scar across my upper chest. I shrugged my shoulders. Both emotional and physical trauma can leave scars. These blemishes are a part of life, and even though the scars remain, we carry on. They are a passage of time, a road map of where we have been, and who we are.
I received my first scar when I was five-years old. I had been lying under the coffee table and tired to stand up, but instead, I hit the corner of the table, resulting in a small gash on my forehead. My parents rushed me to the emergency room where I was stitched up. My grandmother fussed over me, complaining about the scar I would have above my right eye. In my young mind I heard star and I thought it was neat I had a ‘star’ on my forehead. I have other childhood scars, lumps, bumps and bruises from falls off bicycles, skateboards, and rollerskates, smallpox pockmark, acne, and chickenpox. Scars from multiple surgeries, scars from being a klutz; including unfortunate accidents with a glue gun and a pocketknife. (I received the Boo-Boo award at Girl’s Camp for the pocketknife incident). A scar from a staph infection where surgeons had to cut into my throat, below my jawbone, to remove the dead skin tissue because of a staph infection, and a scar on my lower belly where surgeons had to perform an emergency Cesarean section to save my youngest son’s life.
These marks can be seen as disfigurements, stains, or imperfections, but they are my badge of honor and I am not ashamed of my scars.
Yes, it’s been one of those weeks – a rollercoaster of emotions, with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns, stops and starts, and it seems even the littlest of things are getting to me. I feel the turns, I feel the pull, I feel the wind on my face, I feel the lump in my throat, I feel the pit in my stomach, but I throw up my hands high in the air, hang on, and enjoy the ride.
This was a letter I wrote to a friend of mine after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer back in 2008. By God's grace, she kicked cancer to the curb, and has been cancer-free for close to three years now.
Snuggled next to my husband in bed late one evening, I heard him mumble, “How much overtime do you have?”
“Huh?” I asked, jolting him awake in the process.
“Sorry, I was talking in my sleep. I do that.”
“Yes, I know,” I answered back, trying to settle back to sleep. However, he got me thinking about how much ‘overtime’ we really do have?
Exactly sixteen years ago today, I l was lying in a hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center, on a respirator, with machines monitoring my vitals. I was literary knocking at death’s door. A nurse held my hand, and spoke to me. “Hello, Anne, you’re in the hospital. Your family is worried about you.” Or so I had been told, I have no memory of my stay at the hospital. The night before, I had stopped breathing and went into sudden cardiac arrest. The doctor’s never determined what caused my heart to stop beating, all I know is God was not ready for me, and gave me some ‘overtime.’ How much, I can’t say? It’s God’s timepiece, not mine.
Jan, I want you to know you are continually in my thoughts and prayers, and hoping our Heavenly Father continues to give you lots and lots of overtime.
1. I don't care for ice cream. Never have. In addition, I rather eat pie then cake on my birthday. When growing up in Portland, Oregon, my favorite place to go for my birthday was the Plush Pippin Pie Restaurant. Oh, how I miss that place and those pies.
2. I am a meat and potatoes kind of gal, but if forced to only eat one thing for two weeks, I would choose pizza. My favorite pizza is beef, mushrooms, onions, and olives.
3. Dolls were evil when I was growing up. Refused to play with them. I did not own a doll, not even a Barbie. Stuffed animals, Lego's, and action figures were okay. Yes, I was a Tomboy. I loved to camp, hike, play sports, and ride my bike or skateboard.
4. My favorite television show growing up was of course Scarecrow and Mrs. King, but I also loved Emergency, Little House on the Prairie, Brady Bunch, Super Friends, Hardy Boys, Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica (classic), Bionic Woman, and CHIP's.
5. I am a total sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, X-Flies, Quantum Leap, Firefly, Chuck, and the original Star Wars movies before Lucas made all those changes. Episodes 1,2, and 3 have forever ruined Star Wars for me. Ugh, George, whatever were you thinking?
6. I was born in California, grew up in Oregon, and have spent my whole married life here in Washington state. We joke with the progressions of moving north, we'll retire to Alaska.
7. I met my husband at a movie theater. He did not like me - thought I was a spy.
8. My very first kiss was a stage kiss. Talk about pressure!
9. I am a huge Mariners fan, and Lord, it's hard to be a Seattle Mariners fan.
10. I have been involved in drama since I was five years old and played the 'mouse' in Twas the Night Before Christmas. I 'lettered' in drama in high school. I have a Master's degree in Theatre, with an emphasis in directing. I love to direct community theatre, so if any one needs a director for a local theatre production anywhere around Tacoma, Olympia, Bremerton, Port Orchard, or Shelton area, I am available. Lately, my main focus has been on writing.
Ever had one of those weeks where everything goes wrong and your usual cheery dispensation has gone sour? Where every little thing sets you off, and you wonder why bother to get out of bed, let alone out of your pajamas?
The kind of week where I second-guess myself, and the seeds of doubt run amok in my head. Why bother writing? Very few read my stories, and even fewer read my blog.
The kind of week where none of my children listen. Whether, trying to give counsel (i.e. the oldest auditioning for a musical – "Come on, Mom, what do you know about theatre?") or teaching (i.e. my youngest dragged his feet all week on all his lessons. Focus is a four-letter word in his vocabulary). My children at each other’s throats, fighting over XBOX games and who did not do their chores.
Did I mention it is raining and the arthritis in my lower back in flaring up? And I have a pimple on my chin and one on my cheek.
The Roadshow that is supposed to be performed the following Saturday is not ready. No set, no costumes, big problems.
Nothing checked off hubby’s "honey do" list this week and the list just keeps getting longer.
Paid $425 dollars to the plumper who searched for an elusive leak that was never found.
I had to take the oldest to the dentist. I think I might have to call the people over at the Guinness Book of World Records for I am sure he must have broken the record for most cavities. . . ever!
My visiting teachers came by for a visit and after noticing a sink full of dishes, volunteered to wash them. I don’t know why I was insulted—did this reflect my housekeeping skills?
I lost a day – how did I lose a whole day? I was supposed to take my homeschooler to the science fair on Tuesday and next thing I know—it’s Wednesday. I looked all over for Tuesday—it must be under my oldest son’s bed.
Yes, we have all had those kinds of weeks. So what do we do?
Step back, take a deep cleansing breath, and put things in perspective.
I write because I love to write.
I’m grateful for working with my two older boys and the youth in the church. The improvisation of the rehearsals has made me laugh so hard my sides ached.
I live in Washington state—it rains.
At least Ed and the boys cleaned the garage last weekend.
The dishes got done.
Not much we can do about the water leak except begin digging in areas where the plumper thinks are suspect (Thank goodness waterline is not under the asphalt driveway, as we thought).
We have dental insurance.
And finally, I still love my family.
When I was younger, I believed I had no talent. Zip, zero, nada, nothing. Like Jan on the Brady Bunch, I also thought I was a "no talent loser." Both my younger sisters played the violin and when others asked what instrument I played, my dad lightheartedly replied, “The stereo.”
I was lousy at sports, although tall for a girl. I just had no skill. I tried out for cheerleading, tried to learn a foreign language, and even tired to learn to play drums. However, just like Jan I didn’t quit, I just keep trying. I discovered a real love of theatre, and I did not realize until just a few years ago, I had a talent for writing and enjoy doing it.
Then earlier this afternoon, while walking down the juice aisle at the local super market, I saw woman struggling to reach the cranberry juice on the top shelf. I reached behind her, grabbed the item and handed it to her. My second talent. Not all talents require an audience. I am tall and I can reach those serving bowls or juice containers on the top shelf. I can grab items that others would require a step stool to reach..
I used my talent in a small way, and for that she was grateful.
Lee: Just walk with me.
One of my favorite lines from Scarecrow and Mrs. King is “walk with me” because it implies so much. The first words Lee said to Amanda and turned out to mean much more then he ever thought. Neither knew how much both their lives would change after she agreed to walk with him, sticking by him through thick and thin.
No ones path is without hardship and heartache. It is often an uphill climb. In addition, we can’t predict what our challenges will be, because our moves are not scripted like a television show. Our journey is made up of many steps, yet we can heed the warning signs: rough road ahead, slow down, watch for falling rock, the path will be straight and narrow.
Last summer, my eldest son participated in Trek, a four-day, 28-mile reenactment of the trip west made by some of the early Mormon pioneers pushing handcarts. The purpose of Trek is for the youth to gain a deeper appreciation of the principles of faith, obedience, and sacrifice. Dressed in pioneer garb they pushed and pulled handcarts over dusty trails in sweltering heat with no modern conveniences. Their theme this year was Walk with Me.
“Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.” (Moses 6:34)
The same is true when we choose to walk with the Savior. One of my favorite passages is the enduring poem, Footprints in the Sand, because it gives me hope and touches my heart. The Lord carries each of our burdens, pain and disappointments upon Himself. It is nice to know when our burdens are too great the Lord is carrying us and our burdens will be light if we choose to just walk with Him.
This has been a week full of anger, frustration, and lots of drama. The kind of week where most people would want to pack up their bags and run away from it all. Unfortunately, I have let the drama get the best of me. However, I know running never solves anything.
When I was a little girl, growing up in California, we lived in a housing cooperative. And when I got angry, I would pack my little red wagon with a blanket, my clothes, and my favorite stuffed animals, walk down past the row of townhouses, until I reached the tiny front lawn, where I would set up camp, and never look back, until either the streetlights came on or my mom called me for dinner.
That is how life is, because sooner then later, someone or something brings you back to where you belong, and eventually you have to face what it is you’re running away from and deal with it.
Just shy of my fifth birthday, my mother led me into the Kindergarten classroom at the local grade school for the first day of school. Being away from my mother and my two younger sisters for the first time scared me, and it did not help I was unsure of myself and very shy. After my mom left, I paced the room like a caged animal—the fight or flight mode had kicked in. Then the opportunity presented itself when someone opened the classroom door and I bolted out the entrance, dashing past the main building of the schoolhouse, and ran and ran until I came to an intersection, then stopped to catch my breath. There I sat down on the curb of the sidewalk, because I was not allowed to cross the street by myself and this is where my mother found me a few minutes later. She calmly walked me back to the Kindergarten room. The teacher told me if I wanted to be a baby, I could go home. Well! Nonetheless, that was all it took for me to stay. My sisters were babies—I certainly was not! I stayed, faced my fears, made friends, and had a successful year in Kindergarten—no longer feeling the need to run away.
It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer, the daffodils have begun to push up from the hard soil, and the dreaded science fair is right around the corner.
I can’t even begin to describe how much I loathe science fair projects. Talk science to me and my eyes glaze over like a Krispy Krème doughnut. I struggled in science in all grades and barely got away with the bare minimum to finish high school and college, so do you really think I care or want to know; if you shake up different kinds or brands of soft drinks will they all spew the same amount? Or how many beans can a student stick up his or her nose? (From what I understand, the answer is three). Or how to stop a nuclear bomb with chewing gum and a paper clip (MacGyver, I am not).
Yes, the dreaded science fair—thrusting parents into projects we know nothing about. Most parents aren’t any more science literate then their school age kids. (Raising my hand here). Googling ideas until your eyes cross. The pressure is awful. Then there is the whole guessing game of finding the perfect project (one that will not only interest the child, but also not require the parental role model to run to four different electrics stores looking for the correct type of copper wiring). Think about the dozen or so eggs which lost their lives all in the name of science. Or the time I had to pour out a full bottle of extra virgin olive oil because the glass bottle was the perfect size for someone’s experiment. The sacrifices we make for our children. Followed by all the time required working on the experiment or model, the results, the report, the visual aids, and then having to stop at three different box stores looking for the 3-fold display board (true story, because every store was sold out of them). As a parent, I feel I put as much work into the project as the kid.
Science fairs are just not fair.
Once a month my mother drags me along with her to a ladies lunch group, sometimes we meet at someone’s house and other times we meet at a restaurant. Hey, free food, and I don’t have to cook, so always a bonus!
Last week, we had lunch at a neighbor’s house with all the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. A new sister from the Ward, who had just moved to the area, introduced herself and her chubby-cheeked six-month-old son, then asked me about my boys. “They must keep you busy,” she queried.
I smiled, and then after taking in a slow deep breath, I relied, “Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Young Men/Young Woman activities, Sea Cadets, gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling meets, swimming lessons, basketball, doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments, Drivers Ed, voice lessons, choir, band, guitar lessons, concerts, drama productions, and Seminary. I’m not a stay-at-home mom; I’m a stay-in-the car mom.”
"Hey. . . it's me."
I live in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains, in the State of Washington and I love camping, boating, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, our three boys, and two Bernese Mountain dogs.