If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Friday, November 30, 2012

And Then (Almost) Everything Changed.

Wednesday evening before we left the house with our 2 youngest daughters to drop K off at her tumbling class, our biggest concern was that my husband and I had inadvertently chosen to wear our matching 5k t-shirts.  How embarrassing, we both said.  But no one will see us.

Looking back, you question every choice you made.  Why did I change from my flannel pajama bottoms into my swishy workout pants?  Why did I throw on a bra?  Why did C and I decide to wear shoes and jackets?  These choices, while funny, are normally unheard of for us for a quick errand out of the house.

Why did I suggest we try a new route?  Why did we end up taking our usual route instead?  Why did we see the house decorated like a face with Christmas lights that got us laughing and debating whether or not to stop and take a picture?  Why didn't we?  And why, did that guy run the stop sign....

Why do I remember every detail of the accident?  I thought I was supposed to forget the moment the car appeared out of nowhere in the dark of night.  I wish I could forget what it felt like when my head crashed against the side window or the moment of impact when my face hit the airbag or reaching out to grab the front of my husband's shirt in panic.  The relentless sound of the horn blaring when we came to a stop, the sight of my husband repeatedly punching the center of the steering wheel as hard as he could until it stopped.  The smell of smoke and thinking we were on fire and the terrifying sound of C quietly saying, "My neck..."

We did the quick check.  My husband and K had minor bumps and bruises.  C and I took the brunt of the injuries, but we were all alive and that's all that mattered.  Then my husband broke the silence..."Where's my hat?"  (Whew.  A moment of normalcy amidst the wreckage.)  A policeman leaned his head into my husband's window and asked, "How is everyone?"  And my husband said...."Well, I can't find my hat."  (Dude, let it go.)

We started hearing the approaching sirens and C and I were surrounded by paramedics.  If you've never been in this situation, and I pray you haven't, these comforting and gentle men become your immediate heroes.  So when I heard a voice ask, "What size does she need?" and the man holding my neck said, "She's a small," I remember thanking him.  I don't care if he was referring to my neck.  He called me a "small" and he became my personal favorite.

I remember demanding that my family ride in the same ambulance.  I remember being strapped to a board and carried through the dark cold and slid into the bright warm ambulance.  And then I remember the rising claustrophobia-induced panic working it's way to the surface and the paramedic's face appearing in front of mine as he talked me down.  That's when I heard my husband's voice say, "I got your Tough Mudder bandana off the mirror" and God (once again) used that darn event in my favor and I mentally put myself back into the underground tunnels where all I could hear was my teammate saying, "I can see the light so we're almost out"  and I turned my focus onto the ambulance lights and mentally ran that statement through my head on a loop.

Then I remember lying side by side with C in a trauma room, unable to look at each other and depending on the comfort of holding hands, which is how we sleep on the nights she climbs into bed with us.

And I remember her tiny voice saying she has to go potty and realizing that I did too.  Oh gosh.

Many x-rays later, we were both cut loose from our restraints and released with pain medication, instructions to rest and warnings that the following day we would feel like we've been hit by a car.  They were correct.

The healing has begun.  We're starting to recover physically.  Some PTS symptoms have arisen in C.  She needs to sleep with us every night.  She has nightmares.  She was initially refusing to eat, then required me to feed her and then her awesome big brother Z, worked his bribery charm with a Happy Meal & milkshake. Her response to returning to Kindergarten is, "I better not" which is heartbreaking considering the battle we went through weening her into all-day-every-day Kindergarten and she's only been full-time for a little over a month.

Besides that, we need to focus on the basics of dealing with police reports, insurance claims and replacing our van.  

There are a lot of "Why's" in this.  I think it's normal to ask the hard questions and that's okay.  What I don't think is okay is to stay in the why's.  I completely trusted God with every aspect of my life when I walked out the front door, (dressed like my husband), on Wednesday evening.  Despite the many circumstances in my life that changed that night, my God remains the same.  Not only did He protect and spare my family from tragedy, but He surrounded us with friends and family who prayed, came to the hospital and sent messages of support and offers of help.

And those of you who heard me speak at the Women's Conference a couple weeks ago won't be surprised to hear this:  When we left the hospital in our friend Mandi's car to go home that night, the song "Redeemed" started on the radio...and I said,
"Ssshhhh....God's hugging me right now...."

He loves me and I trust Him.
And that, my friends, will never change.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Timing Is Everything

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday because it's the one that has nothing to do with getting anything, but rather giving thanks for everything that you've already received. 

And maybe even more importantly, it's the one with the feast of my favorite comfort foods, most of which evoke warm fuzzy memories of my Mamaw Putter.

But as life goes, memories, for good or for bad, have a way of accumulating as the years pass.

Take for instance the time 10 years ago when my husband decided to install a Jet Tub a mere 4 days before we were scheduled to host Thanksgiving at our house.  It took him less than 3 hours to gut the entire bathroom and another 3 hours to try to figure out what to do next. Two days later, we had no running water and just 24 hours before everyone was scheduled to arrive, each time you turned on the bathtub jets, the microwave would kick on, a fuse would blow and we'd lose power in the kitchen.

Tim the Tool Man had nothing on my husband.

Since then, he has faithfully kept his promise not to begin any home improvement projects in the months of November or December.  So this past Tuesday when he excitedly said, "Go see what I did in the kitchen!" it didn't cross my mind to be concerned until I flipped on the light switch and thought a nuclear bomb detonated.  When the spots in my eyes cleared, I realized he installed eight T8 fluorescent bulbs around the ceiling of the kitchen.  Then I realized how badly our kitchen walls need repainted and 19 people were eating dinner at our house the next day. 

Thanks a lot, Clark Griswold.  You not only exposed our nasty walls, but our kitchen can now be seen from the Space Station.

Despite the messed up walls and the need for sunglasses in my kitchen, this was by far my most stress-free Thanksgiving ever.  Much of that has to do with the season of life God has graciously blessed me with right now.  A season of health and strength, both physically and emotionally. 

But on top of that, this year, I learned the big secret.  The key to solving the unspoken dread of every woman who has ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, was handed to me on a silver platter and now I'm going to pass it on to you.

Everyone knows that the turkey, although the star of the show, is also the biggest pain in the a**.  You have to time the entire dinner around it, trying to strike that delicate balance between cooking it early enough to use that precious broth for your side dishes, but not so early that you're serving a cold and dry turkey to your guests.  The carving of the turkey is never as glamorous as they make it appear on tv and then you're stuck with the unsightly carcass sitting on your counter top the rest of the evening.

If any of that sounds familiar, read on. 

1.  Cook your turkey the day before and save that precious broth to be used at your convenience. 
2.  Carve the turkey, place all the meat in a large aluminum pan and then happily rid your house of those dead bones.
3.  Pour 2 cans of turkey broth over the meat and then cover the pan with foil.  Refrigerate and marinate overnight.  (I used Bowman Landess broth from Kroger.)
4.  An hour before your meal, pop that covered pan of meat into a 350 degree oven.
5.  Remove the meat from the broth, platter it up and serve.

Be prepared to bite into the moistest most delicious turkey you've ever eaten.  A huge shout-out to my good friends, Dave & Mindy for sharing that with me.

So there's one holiday problem solved for ya.  As for the family member who arrives to dinner carrying a sweater clad Persian cat wrapped in a baby blanket....well, you're on your own with that one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jesus Take The Wheel

When I started this blog, I made a promise to each of my family members that I would never publish a post about them without their permission.  Worst mistake of my life.  Believe it or not, there's so much more I could tell you.

Our daughter, A, in particular has a tendency to be on the private reserved side and doesn't always agree with the things the rest of our family thinks is hilarious, therefore rarely grants me permission with events pertaining to her.

All of that being said, I assumed this post would never happen, but then she approached me and negotiated a deal.  Now let's take a peek back at Monday November 5th, shall we?

K goes to a junior high bible study on Monday evenings.  My friend Mandi and I, who live the furthest away, worked out a carpool arrangement.  Last Monday, the arrangement required that K be picked up at Mandi's afterward.  My schedule was crazy that week, so I let A take my van to pick her up and C went along for the ride.

Shortly after they arrived home, I received a text from Mandi that said, "Is there any chance that A hit our car in our driveway?"  My response:  "WHAT?!?!"  Don't get me wrong. As some of you might remember, the front corner of our van is still dented from the time she hit our light pole in our driveway.  So it's not that she's incapable of the occasional driveway hit, but hit and run?!

My husband and I called her from upstairs and everyone, sensing big excitement, came running.  We all met in the foyer where my husband said, "Did you run into Mandi's car in their driveway?"  She immediately said, "No" but our focus turned when C said, "Yes she did."  We turned back to A, "Did you?!" who answered, "No" followed again by C who said, "Yeah she did.  I told her she just hit that car."  My husband stormed outside to check the van and lo and behold, our back fender was scraped up. 

Here's where the chaos began.  I started the interrogation process of trying to get her to admit what she did while she stood there convinced that her rear view mirrors wouldn't lie, but that her younger sister would.  My husband was on the phone with Mandi's husband, George, apologizing profusely.  And C stood at the top of the foyer stairs, with her arms crossed, calmly repeating, "Let's call the police."  
She does not like to be called a liar.

By the end of the evening the crisis had passed.  A's punishment was handed down, plans for retribution were made and we all went to bed.  By morning, 5 of our 6 family members were laughing about the situation.  We call it coping skills.  I approached A and as sweetly as I could asked if I had her permission to blog it.  I didn't even get my sentence out before she screamed, "NO!"  I guess I should have seen that coming.   

So I didn't blog it.  But she never said anything about not writing a song.  Since she finally agreed to allow me to blog this, I wonder if she'd be on board for a music video spoof on YouTube?  Z could wear a blond wig and star as A, my husband could play Jesus in the passenger seat and we could throw in a little auto-tuning of C saying, "Let's call the police"...aaahhh...the possibilities are endless. 

To the tune:  Jesus Take The Wheel

 She was driving on a Monday it was cold and partly sunny
and she didn’t take her CRV.
Going south to George & Mandi’s in my favorite mini-vanny
With her sister in the backseat

No more miles to go, she was safely stowed
in their driveway.
But don’t speak too soon...

She had nothin on her mind but she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew what she was doing she was going in reverse
when she scraped my mini’s ass.

She didn’t bat an eye or take the time to cry,
she simply drove away.
She wasn’t even scared.
I think her hands were in the air

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from her hands
Cause she can't do this on her own
She keeps letting go
and bashing up my van!
on every single driveway she’s on
Jesus, take the wheel

We were none the wiser when I got the text from Mandi,
“Did your daughter hit our car?”
She had a blank stare when we asked her and she quickly gave an answer,
“From my mirror it looked afar.”

Who’s this girl of mine right before my eyes,
and did she never hear?
That objects in the mirror,
are always closer than they appear....

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from her hands
Cause she can't do this on her own
She keeps letting go
and bashing up my van!
on every single driveway she’s on...
Oh Jesus, take the wheel
Oh, take it, take it from her.
Oh, why, ooh