September 28, 2012

Ms Mary

Mary and Madeline Rolling Silverware

There are people that come into your life and for whatever reason, make a lasting impression.  In the summer of 2009, we moved to Key Largo for just a short time.  During that time, we became very familiar with Doc's Diner and their wonderful staff.  It would be "Doc" that would eventually help us to return to the Keys in 2011.  In January 2011, we made the long move to Florida and we began a family tradition.  We would wake up on Saturday mornings and go eat our breakfast at Doc's.  It was just something we did as a family and we enjoyed the food, the atmosphere but most importantly - the people.  Gina is Doc's daughter and manages the restaurant. She has since become a dear friend to us.  Patty became our favorite waitress ever and one we looked forward to seeing every week.  She knew what we wanted to drink before we walked into the door.  She was always witty and was quick to come back with a sarcastic but funny comment.  We also fell in love with Vicky, Anna and Joel too!  But, then there was Mary!  She was the first person that greeted us when we walked in the place.  She was usually behind the register and making sure things ran smoothly.  She always made sure the waitresses were being taken care of but it was her goal to make sure the customers were served and enjoyed their experience. 

Doc's Diner has these fabulous bar stools that spin and it was like a ride at Disney World for my girls.  When Mary was not behind the register, she could be found on the left side of the diner, on one of those cool stools, rolling silverware.  For whatever reason, my girls was so interested in what Mary was doing and wanted to learn the trade.  Mary was so patient with them and taught them carefully how to make the perfect silverware roll.  She would also let them spin on the stools until they got dizzy while Mom was trying to make them stop.  She was such a fun person and gave the best hugs and kisses and always seem to have a special treat for them.  My girls absolutely LOVE Mary and miss her terribly.  The staff at Doc's became like family to us and we would hang out there not just on Saturdays but would find ourselves going in during the week just to see our friends. 

 On Tuesday afternoon, Mary collapsed at home.  No one could figure out what had happened but she was rushed to a nearby hospital.  Her daughter, Patty and I were in contact via text and they were running tests.  She was still unconscious and on a breathing machine so it was hard to determine right away the cause of the collapse.  Through a variety of tests, it was determined that Mary had suffered a heart attack and was without oxygen for 30 minutes.  The family was told it would take a miracle for her to live.  My girls and I immediately started praying and even Madeline said "Mom, don't cry, maybe Ms. Mary is just resting."  Molly was certain that God would perform a miracle and prayed accordingly.  Patty and I continued to communicate and I, too, was praying for a miracle.  I know that God can turn things around in an instant and I was begging Him to do so. 

But, late last night, Mary took her last breath.  She is no longer attached to tubes and breathing with the help of a machine.  She is gone.  The sting of pain is there in our home as we mourn this precious grandmother-like figure in our lives.  My girls are sad knowing that when we visit the Keys and Doc's Diner, we won't be seeing Ms Mary.  But, its been a great teachable  moment about death and why God chooses to take those away from us.  God is Sovereign and He chooses the breaths of His people.  We can not add or take away any days of our life.  He will take us home when He sees fit.  So, what it has done is make us re-evaluate our lives and how we choose to live the breaths that He has given us.  May this be a moment where my girls and myself will reflect on what we do with the time we are given and how we are glorifying God.  I pray that my girls will remember Ms Mary through their pain but only remember those Saturdays sitting next to her and rolling silverware.  I pray that they will remember her precious smile and sweet disposition and how much she loved them. 

Join me in praying for Mary's family and especially our sweet, favorite waitress, Patty.  I can't imagine losing my mom and I've don't even want to think about it!  But, it has made me evaluate my life and how I treat and honor my mother.  I pray and ask for the strength to be the daughter God has created me to be and also to be the Mom to my girls that Mary was to her children!

We love and miss you, Ms Mary!  You were a ray of sunshine to our family and you will be missed greatly!  Doc's will never be the same without you! 


New Beginnings

Our life has been quite eventful in 2012 and there are times when I wonder if life will ever slow down.  But, if you know me, you know that I actually like change.  Most people I know are not fans of change but that's just not the case with me, it must be the gypsy in me (thanks, Mom).  We always seem to be changing.  Some of those changes this year have been coupled with excruciating pain, some with jaw-dropping awe, and some with unspeakable joy.  But, in all these changes, we have grown as individuals and as a family.

As most of you know, 2012 didn't start with such a great beginning.  Our 12 year old adopted daughter went to respite care and eventually placed with a wonderful family in another state.  She is doing good and our family is thriving as well.  We have received quite a bit of opposition from family and friends but in the end, we are here to please only one person and that's our Heavenly Father.  Some felt as though we were not doing the "godly" thing by placing her with another family but in the end, it was God who led us to them and God who had it planned from the beginning of time.  Not very many people know the pain of a disruption and I would not wish that on anyone, so I can't expect people to understand our situation that have never walked in our shoes.  I have let go of that chapter in my life and can't worry about what people think or how they feel about us and the decisions we have made in our life and our family.  I trust that God will and I've seen glimpses that He already has turned something evil into good.  For, He is ALWAYS faithful!

In May of this year, Craig lost his job with the bank.  The bank was struggling and sold the investment division of its operation.  This left Craig jobless and with an internal struggle of whether or not to walk away from financial planning.  He even got his US Coast Guard Captain's License and started to pursue life on the water - full time.  When things weren't happening and he needed to provide for our family, he chose to pursue what he knows best and took a job with Charles Schwab.  However, that job would not be in our beloved Florida Keys but on the West Coast of Florida.  Once again, we would pick up and move.  This was much harder on the adults in the family than our precious kids.  They were so excited to be going to a "big city" with lots of things to do, homeschooling adventures, museums, art, horseback riding, gymnastics and much more.  I don't think any of them shed tears but believe me, I cried enough for my entire family x 100.  Leaving the Keys was extremely hard for me and there are days when I wish I were back on my island. 

But, that brings me to the good news of this post!  I am blessed beyond I can even imagine.  I quickly have connected with some wonderful homeschool moms!  I am overwhelmed at the like mindedness of many other homeschool families and I am learning so much about myself, my children, their learning styles, my teaching style and so on.  There is so much to do and so many resources up here that there's not possibly enough time in the day to do all of it.  The girls have met some incredible friends and things are going a lot better than I would have ever anticipated.  I wake up some mornings and want to pinch myself.  God has blessed us more than we deserve and it amazes me that the blessings are new every day! 

I am amazed at the tapestry that God continues to weave in my family and in my own personal life.  I don't know why I find myself amazed because after all, we are talking about the Creator of the Universe.  He is so Creative and His ways are perfect.  I am doing things I said I'd never do and I'm content!  I'm finally at a place in my life (and its been a painful process) where I can honestly be thankful in the good and the bad.  10 months ago my life was unraveling and I felt like I was in a downward spiral.  There was no joy, no contentment, and definitely NO thankfulness.  I was at a place where I was questioning God and was so angry at Him that I couldn't see any of the good He was doing in my life.  All I could do was complain, throw my fist in the air and scream "NOT FAIR!" Little did I know that He had never stepped away from my tapestry.  He continued to weave.  He heard my cries, saw my fists, watched me stomp my feet in defiance but He never left my tapestry, He never left my side.  I'm sure He stood there saying, "Child, I will work all of this out for good.  You are mine and I've got this all in the palm of MY hand."  I am thankful for the rough year we've had because it makes this time of blessing so much sweeter.  I can't type those words without tears streaming down my face.  For now, its a time of sweetness, a time of new beginnings, almost as if Spring is just around the corner. 

I don't know what God has for us in the year to come but I do know that He holds the future just as He has held me this year.  I'm sure we will still face pain and even as I type this, I mourn the passing of a dear friend who took her last breath this evening.  There will be hardships, there will be questions, there will be tears but I will count it all as joy and be thankful for it all.  I've been reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and I am learning to be thankful in the hard as well as the easy.  And, that's impossible without the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.  My prayer is that I will wake up each morning and recognize things throughout my day that God has given that I may see a glimpse of His Glory. 

I'm thankful for each of you.  I'm not sure how many of you still read my blog.  I hope that it can offer some encouragement and hopefully some laughter!

Be blessed!