Sometimes there is no over, under, or around there is only though the terrible through.

There are times in life, things in life we would all like to avoid. Death, illness, loss. Today I was thinking about my Mom, it would have been her 72nd birthday on Friday. She has been gone for almost 9 years this year and it is less hard than it was, on most days. There are moments I wish I could talk to her, just for five minutes. She could help me unpack things no one else could.

I was thinking of my Mom because I recently read a post by Carin Towne, the mother of the late Ben Towne. Ben Towne died of cancer at the age of 3 and Carin was brave enough to share about losing him and I was reminded of losing my mother. While in no way does it compare with the loss of child, it is the closest I have come to that pain. All I could think of when she wrote about the howling, scorching pain, was how sometimes there is no over, under or around, only through, the terrible through.

For the days you wake up and for a moment, have forgotten the pain, only to have it come screaming back. How only after losing my mother-in-law in December, my favorite grandfather in January and my husband’s uncle in February did it all seem like too much. So after I had to cancel something I had committed to, telling them what was going on, and got “And?” as a response I knew I needed to start saying “No.”

So I did, I started saying “No” to playdates, “No” to volunteering, “No” to time with friends, “No” to NPR because even the radio just made me mad. I kept going until all I was taking care of was me, my two boys and my marriage. Only then did I even start to heal.

And the magical gift which appeared were the people who were still there, patient and loving, waiting for me to return. What I gained from saying “No” for so long, was the power of “Yes.”

The power of “Yes” is making sure every time I say “Yes” to something I support it 100%. No regrets, no complaints, just “Yes.”

This is a lesson I would never have learned without visiting that dark place, where “No” was the only word that helped.

I do not wish a horrible loss on anyone, but that kind of pain changes you and helps clarify what is truly important, it helps you find your “Yes.” And so, for that, I miss my Mom, Nikki, Grandpa and David, but if it weren’t for them, I would have failed to know the true power of “flexing my “No” muscle.”

Without “No” there can be no room for “Yes.”

For the love of a dentist…

Of all the people I expected to mourn in my lifetime, I never expected it to be our dentist.

Dr. Jeffrey Files was our dentist for almost 10 years. His office was where our family visited two or more times a year from when my youngest was 4 1/2 until when he was 15. For our younger son, it was the only dentist he knew. His office was always a happy, safe place to go, no matter why we were visiting.

The dentist I grew up with, I thought he was a vampire and so I was determined to find someone my boys would not fear, the universe delivered Dr. Files. Little did I know he would become like one of those amazing teachers- never to be rivaled again.

We are grieving, for a friend, for someone who cared for our family, intimately and with so much love for over 10 years. His care saw us through many seasons of our life, little did we know we would be part of the last season of his, but not completely.

Once Dr. Files stopped treating patients he deteriorated quickly and we did not see him during his last year. Lou Gehrig’s disease is one which normally takes its time, not with Dr. Files. It seemed such a cruel diagnosis for someone who had given so much for so long.

We still cannot believe he is gone and I regularly cry with my youngest because we did not get to say goodbye and we simply miss seeing him. He loved his patients like family. How could someone who poured SO much love into his patients and his life be taken? He deserved to stay! The thought of the his kids he loved so much, say nothing of his wonderful wife, continuing without him. I can only imagine the chasm they are left with if we still grieve like this.

The scent of fire


The scent of fire,

Beach fire, burning, hissing,

wet and hot all at the same time.

Water boils from the logs,      images-1

they heat up and burn all at once.

The scent of the ocean,

the sound of the dogs dragging rocks around the beach.

Airplane fuel, halting laugh,

the sting of the sand as the helicopter lands on the beach.

Watching the fire get doused by the incoming tide,

safe in a blanket on grandma’s deck.

Squirrels bombing us with green pinecones

as we played in the woods, on the way to John’s Beach, so far away.

Concrete tube on the beach, half hidden in the sand, coated on the inside with mussels, play ’til the tide comes back in.

Singing by the beach fire,

laughing and playing as the sun goes down,  it’s 1 a.m.

in July the sun doesn’t go down for long…

 

 

Ghosts in my house

Our house is full of many memories, of our mothers, now gone, of joy of a new baby, excitement in finding a place to call ours with a climbing tree!

These memories on some days, feel like Ghosts- here are a few I notice often…

Ghost 1-Image

My mom- though she doesn’t haunt our house in the way people think of ghosts her presence is in so many things. Her influence on me to keep our house neat and tidy so we can live here without effort, her emphasis on tradition and doing things together, dining together. All of these things- and my great-grandmother’s dishes- which my mom always used to say it would upset my great-grandmother more to see them unused than chipped or broken in regular use!

Ghost 2-Image

My mother-in-law, her laugh and joy of reading permeate everything in our house. She loved sharing stories and being with our boys. Some of our favorite furniture pieces are from her home- a blue loveseat which makes me smile every time I look at it and a small side table which she laughed when I told her I used it in a garage sale to put our lemonade stand on- and had more people offer to buy it than anything in the garage sale!

Ghost 3-Image

The layers of our past residing here- from our youngest’s first steps to our eldest’s mural- each is a layer of how we have left our mark on this home. I strive to ensure our memories here have a resting place, a photo album or story written down so we can relive them again and again and add to them as we go. As well as a way to look back on them again when we do move.

While our house may be full of “ghosts” I feel blessed with all we have been able to create here, the parties, the gatherings, the guests, every one a fantastic blessing of being-a placeholder in our memories of the joy we have shared here together so far- may we have many more!

Fashion, Fun and Finishing a Marathon

Fashion:I went to the Ruby Room fundraiser on Saturday night, only to find the designer I had just clipped her photo from a magazine because I loved what she was doing and wanted to meet her, featured in the show!

Tina’s Gowns on the Ruby Room Runway

Tina Witherspoon is so talented. Her design concepts are full of whimsy and absolutely feminine! I love her work and all she is doing with using recycled materials. A woman after my heart- I made my first gown recycled gown in 1985- and I am now motivated to step back into designing again- all thanks to Tina Witherspoon and the Ruby Room. http://glamspoon.typepad.com/

You see I used to have a reason to make myself and my friends formal gowns regularly, my husband was in the military and there were one or two formal dress occasions a year and it was heaven for me. I always had a reason to sew. Well, he is no longer in the military and we live in Seattle the town known for its causal attire. However, Prom and homecoming live on as does the fashion scene. So my goal is to get my gowns on the Ruby Room runway for their fundraiser next year.

I will post gown photos as they progress, have a LOT of work to do between now and even the first gown, but putting it down here is exciting.

Fun: Ruby Room Runway- filling my mind with ideas, designs and models…..

Finishing a Marathon:Back in July I put up my goal to run a marathon and I was going to run the Portland Marathon for the Ben Towne foundation. Well, the week before the Portland Marathon I was going online to print up what I needed for the next weekend, only to discover my registration never went through!

At the finish line!

So, I scrambled and found that there was a marathon the next day where I went to school, Bellingham, so I grabbed my kids and we raced to Bellingham, praying the race wasn’t full.

We didn’t know where we would sleep (though we have family and friends we couldn’t reach them before we were on the road North) or if I was even running the race the next day. We got there at 4:30 p.m., registration closing at 6 p.m. and I got registration # 590. I found out later that the marathon was limited to 600 registrants and they filled it- so I was 10 slots from not running. So that was it- I was signed up for the Bellingham Bay Marathon.

We ended up staying with Papa and Wendy, and it was wonderful!

The next day I went down to the race, it was cold waiting and I had what I hoped was all I needed. When I got on the bus to go to the start the song “Fireflies” was playing- this is one of my songs with the boys so it was like a small hello from them. I sat and talked to a nice gal who was working on qualifying for Boston that day.

When we got to the Lummi Community Center I took my time walking around, going to the bathroom, then settled down with a group, on the edge, and listened. Their shirts all read “Marathon Maniacs” and they were amazing. What a fun group to sit by, they were all talking about doing “50 by 50” or how many they had done this year, how many were left in the season and if they were planning on traveling to any. When I shared this was my first run and my story of reorganizing a the last-minute they laughed with me and wished me luck, saying I had chosen a great race anyway, with the prayer ceremony at the start and it wasn’t too big.

The race started, me with my trash bag around my shoulders for warmth I had to ask one of the other trash bag wearing runners what the etiquette was on ditching the bags.. he filled me in he always kept it until a water station- so that’s what I did- what a fun look I had going with it tied around my waist for a mile or two! Anyway I used tights for arm warmers, had my blue hat and my Ben Towne shirt on- I decided at the last-minute not to wear the tutu- though I will next time!

The weather was gorgeous and the run starting along the water was just what I wanted. We met up with the half-marathon runners at our mile 17 and their mile 4- and I promptly lost all the people I had been pacing in the crowd! Lucky for me I was still feeling GREAT. I had done so much reading about mile 20 being a bit of a magic number- where you are going to be hurting or good. I felt wonderful. So the fun part for me, you see I am a middle of the pack runner and most of the time when I run a race I set my pace and stay there. So I rarely pass anyone after the race settles in.

This race was different, as we met the half-marthon group at mile 4, the people who had not trained well were starting to slow down, so those were the ones I met. I got to spend the REST of the RACE PASSING PEOPLE! This, outside of feeling wonderful, was the best part of the race for me!

I ended up coming in at 4:26- faster than I expected- because I had figured I would slow down. I maintained a perfect 10 minute pace for the whole race! I was so blessed and my first race was perfect. The only flaw was I told my mum to meet me at the finish line at 5 hours, and I missed them by finishing early!

I will run another marathon, not sure when, will spend my winter designing, and going to the gym. Next fitness goal is placing in my age group- probably in the Snoqualmie St. Patrick’s Day 5K- hopefully it won’t snow in 2013 for that race like it did this year!

My Tough Mudder Training Week #4

Hello again and here we are in week Four of my Tough Mudder Training!

Here is how the week went:

Monday- Kids had the day off so enjoyed relaxing at home!

Tuesday- Did a full round of Belton’s Medicine Ball workout.

Wednesday- Ran 3.5 miles and did set of 10 TRX pushup/mountainclimbers

Thursday- Rand 3.5 miles again and did abs.

Friday- CRAZY DAY, just did Yoga in the evening

Saturday- SO much fun, did Zumba today- that is a whole other post….

Sunday- Ran in Birch Bay, in the SNOW with my sister and sister-in-law, totally struggled today fighting a head cold and not having full lung capacity or enough clothes for running in the snow! Beautiful day though and great chance to run with family!

On to next week.

Will you be remembered?

Do we get second chances? How do you know when you fall asleep you will wake up? Faith? Hope? Foolish assumption? Officer Chapin died this week in his sleep. He, like most of us, will have no idea which day is our last until it happens. The flowers and memories pouring out in this community are moving and powerful. There are not many people who leave that kind of an impact.

What impact will you leave? Will you leave a wake of goodness, or a mere ripple? My mother’s church was full, full of family, friends, and many, many students. She was a good teacher and changed many lives with her gifts. She gave and they received, not always knowing what she gave until much later.

As I drove by and saw the flowers for our local officer I hope he knew how much this community cared about him. I never met him, but often saw his familiar face by the high school, watching, patient and pleasant. His job couldn’t have been easy. High school is not many of our best times, but I am sure, as I see in my own growing son, he saw the beauty and preciousness of his charges.

I learned via Facebook after he died that he once dressed up as Hannah Montana for the fun of it and could enjoy the fun moment in front of the school. That is someone who truly lived his life with a servant’s heart. He touched so many more people than he realized. He has left a wake, which will leave waves crashing on many shores for years to come. I am left wondering, will I leave a wake or a ripple?