Thursday, December 31, 2009

About the picture

Today is December 31, 2009. New York City JUST flipped into 2010. The time zones have always been a mystery to me. My niece in Virginia just celebrated the New Year, while her sister in Texas has another hour to do so. Just seems weird.

So, as my last entry for 2009, I want to explain the picture I've chosen to put on my blog. Yes, that's me, and yes, I'm laying in the snow. This is AFTER turning over. I originally landed face down.

Peer pressure is a funny thing, especially when it comes from your 21 year old daughter. At the top of Motherlode, one of our favorite runs, I ask AnnMarie, "Okay, do we want to go left? Can we still get to the sign that says 'Motherlode Flats' to take a picture?"

She says, "Yeah, sure you can."

Mike, my escort for the day to keep me safe since Richard's back at the house sick, says, "Are you sure, AnnMarie? Sure we can get to the sign?"

"YEAH, JUST FOLLOW ME!!!" she says and off she goes.

Okay, my first hint should have been how fast she went down the run. This is our last run of not only the day, but the trip. We just about ran over a lady that fell getting off the lift in front of us to beat the guy taking the rope across to close the backside of the mountain. So, this is it for another year. The last run down the backside of our precious Ski Cooper, and our favorite run, Motherlode. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. There isn't a square inch of my body that doesn't hurt. My ankles are begging my mind to tell me to quit. The mind replies to the ankles, "Listen, guys, I'm sorry. I've been trying to talk sense into the old woman for 2 1/2 days now...she's just not hearing me."

So, here I go, after her. Mike is behind me. I think his thighs are talking to his brain, too, begging him to stop. I'm not sure just exactly what part of us old people it is that tells us to keep going. One more run, hurry, get there...make it happen!!! It's nothing with a muscle, that's for sure. By the third day, the muscles just give up and go with the flow. No, it's the competitive side, the side that refuses to admit age is limiting the body. It's the competitive side that says, "One more run, come on! The kids aren't quitting. You can't let them out do you, right? Come on, you're NOT old! You're in your prime.....GO!!! FASTER!!!! Push it with everything you've got left!"

The body gives up and just goes.......down and to the left.

As I get to the bottom, I look and she's turned right, sharply, but BACK THERE! "Ooops," the brain says, "Missed that turn. Well, maybe if you turn right here, you'll be okay....oh wait, NO I SAID WAIT FEET!!! DON'T TURN....NO DON'T!!!"

Too late. The feet have turned. And now, the eyes are involved. They scream!! "HOLY CRAP!!! HOLY CRAP, LORI!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU'VE JUST TURNED IN TO? THIS POWDER HAS GOT TO BE AT LEAST....."

The eyes don't get to finish their sentence. Next, it's the back, inbetween the shoulder blades that speak up....."OUCH!!!! OH, I MEAN SERIOUSLY, OUCH, THAT HURT BIG TIME! I think a ski just whacked me, what did I ever do to that ski? OUCH, CHARLIE, THAT REALLY HURT!"

The eyes are active again. "HEAD....COME ON...Lift up! It's cold here....come on, lift up, move, get us OUT OF THE SNOW before it gets all behind the goggles!!! HURRY! UP!"

Now, the hands are involved. "Uh, excuse me, but I'm not really sure where we are. We managed to hold onto these stupid poles, but hmmm, the problem is we can't find the bottom. We are sorry, but we are going to be absolutely no help in getting you up."

At this point, I hear a real voice. "MMMMOOOOMMMM, ARE YOU OKAY?????"

How would you reply? I followed her and am face down in what might be 12 feet of powdered snow after getting whacked in the back by a, I'm wondering how on earth I managed to hit myself in the back with a ski? I'm NOT that limber...did something maybe come disconnected down there? Oh, that wouldn't be good. So, I start trying to move different parts of the body....some refuse to reply..."This will teach her! We'll just pretend we aren't here!!!"

I can tell my skis are crossed behind me. As I lift up my head, I assume Mike is somewhere behind me coming to my rescue as any good escort would. So, I call out to him. "Mike.....are you where you can help me?"

"Yeah, as soon as I get the pictures!" is the reply!!!!!

Thus, where this picture came from. He took one of me face down, as you can see here. I rolled over right after this for the next picture. I might add that I didn't sink at all when I rolled over. I felt like I was floating on nothing was under me.

He put his camera away, and came in to help me. I've clicked my skis off by now, and he's helping me get them set so I can get back in them. In the distance, we can hear the ski patrol yelling "CLOSING" trying to get the old fat women off the know the ones that followed their 21 year old daughter down the left into the nothingness of powder!

I seriously can't lift my legs up high enough to get into the skis again. I'm standing up straight, and am not feeling anything really solid under me. When I wiggle at all, the snow around me just gets deeper. I don't feel like I'm sinking, but I have to be. White quicksand! I quickly vision myself sinking so deep that all I can see all around me is white. "Would I suffocate?" I wonder to myself. The brain and wisdom kick in, "You're on a controlled ski slope, stupid, and they are yelling behind you. They'd dig you out just so they could go home!"

I click back into reality and realize what needs to be done. We, Mike and I both, have to try to get to more solid ground. There is a huge chance that Mike is going to get stuck too, so I'm telling him to be careful. That would be sight....two beached whales in the powder on the mountain for the ski patrol to dig out!

So, I trudge through the powder as Mike moves my skis to more solid ground. "CLOSING!!!!" we hear again.....

"YOU ARE MAKING ME NERVOUS!" I yell back as I fall deeper into the powder as I try to walk. It's like what I would imagine walking on the moon would be like....there's really nothing solid underneath you to affirm that you are making progress. I go forward, hoping that solid ground isn't much further. I've spent about all the energy storage I had left BEFORE I followed her and headed left, so there's not a large reserve here to get me out of this mess before I just pass out.

I finally get a foot hold on something solid, make it to the skis and get out. I yell over to AnnMarie, "NOT GETTING A PICTURE BY THAT SIGN THIS YEAR! GOING THIS WAY!"

When I caught up to her, what do you think she said? Do you think it was, "Are you okay, Mom?" OR "Did you hurt anything, Mom?" OR EVEN, "Wow, Mom, great fall, I'd give that one a ten!" NOPE, NONE OF THOSE!!!

Instead, she says, simply, "You didn't follow me!"

Uh, yes, I did follow her, but she zipped so quickly past me that I missed EXACTLY where she decided to turn right and cut I just went having NO clue what was ahead of me.

Isn't life like that sometimes? You follow someone down a path and while the path works for them, you take a little bit of a different turn and end up down. You end up in a mess that's knee deep and difficult to get out of. You have to move, not knowing if you're making motion or not, but you move in the direction that you think will get you on solid ground.

My solid ground is Jesus Christ. He's the solid rock on which I stand for my life. He's not fluff and powder that will leave you not knowing what is under your feet and how you're going to make progress forward. He promises to guide you and protect you. He will help you know what path to take that will lead to Him. Finding Him means finding a lifetime of knowing that when life on this earth is done, that there's a wonderful mansion awaiting you that is on streets of gold - solid, bright, shiney gold. Not powder, not doubt, not fear, but solid knowledge of a love and joy that this life can't comprehend.

So, while I would still trust and follow my daughter, next time, I might try to ask her to slow down for her old tired mother, or I might just try to get in shape (standard New Year's resolution, right? After all, in just 20 minutes, it's going to be 2010), and keep up with her. I might try a little prayer next time, though, to ask for an extra angel to keep me on the solid path in the snow! Seriously, though, I know God protects me from more than I realize and I'm thankful for that. As I end this year and head into the new one, I know that 2010 is going to bring me closer to Him. 2009 has ended strong as He has put some wonderful people in my life and strengthened some relationships with people already in my life. He has great plans for me, this I know.

"On Christ, the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand"...(or snow!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Today was such a great day! Alexa was just priceless all day long. Richard woke up in a great mood. He was able to get some relief last night and got some sleep. The lesson learned today was that each day is new and separate from the day before. You can't use yesterday to judge how today is going to be, period. God has a new day planned for us everyday, and we need to take that day and make the most of it each and every day.

We leave for Leadville, Colorado in just hours, so tomorrow promises to be another new and exciting day as the roads might be a little icy and could even be closed depending on when we make our way through. We'll see how it goes. The Captains log could be interesting leaving this year. It's usually the trip home that is the adventure, might be a little different this year.

Alexa's toy of the day, I'd say, was a laundry basket that I filled with 150 round multicolored balls. She just giggled and laughed and played. Of course, she's just so easy going and easy to please that she even seemed to enjoy her clothes and showed them off to everyone. Crystal and Jason came over this morning and watched her open everything. It was truly a Christmas to remember as the innocense of youth so filled the room.

AnnMarie got two right boots - that wasn't fun - but she seemed to take it in stride. It irritated me, but again, you have to take things as they are given to you and make the best of them, even if it's two right boots.

I got a new camera. I love it. I wasn't expecting it. I've wanted one just to get a faster shutter speed so I don't miss anything with Alexa. I'll read the book on how to work it on the way to Colorado. Hopefully, I'll have it mastered before we get home.

Hopefully, when we get home, I'll be able to post some pictures.

Thank you, God, for sending your only begotten Son to this earth, to walk in the shoes we walk in, to face the trials and tribulations, to understand, Lord. Thank you for allowing Him to take away the sins of the world. Happy are those of us that believe in You and worship your name for it's truly a season of Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and a wonderful chance for another New Year of loving you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rough Day

Today was a very rough day. I knew the email was going to come, or a text message or a phone call. But it was the email. Janis let us all know through email that Julie passed away early this morning. Here one minute, gone the next. I am at a loss for words. She was such a blessing to those she met. I can see her face, smiling. I never knew her with another look on her face, just a beautiful smile. Lord, please send more angels to her family and help them understand, grow closer to you, and cope with the tremendous loss. I know that our loss is both yours and Julie's gain as she's beside you know singing with the heavenly hosts. What a joy to both of you that must be.

Richard had his follow up doctor's visit this afternoon. He seemed to be doing very well tonight, but when down quickly once the sun set. The doctor changed his medications and doubled the flowmax intake. I'm worried about the trip.

I'm so very tired. There is so much to do to get ready for Christmas that it's overwhelming for me. I'm going to go to bed and hopefully work on this later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Heavy Heart

I have a heavy heart tonight. It is almost morning. I understand that a dear woman, a faithful child of God, might be called home when the hour crosses over into the next day. My niece is in Virginia and her very best childhood friend lost her mother on this day, December 22, 2009. I pray for Aimee and her family as they go through the loss of a mother, it must be hard. Lord, send extra angels to them at this time to give them a spirit of peace. Aimee is such a sweet girl. I know she will get through this. It's just such a hard time.

Loosing Julie is going to put a huge void in this world. One that it will take several to fill. Several of us are going to have to step up to the doorstep of God and knock and ask to be a small part of what it will take to replace Julie on this earth. She was such a faithful servant. Her service to the Lord will be magnified as she joins Him in Heaven. I'm sure it will be an unbelievable experience for everyone there as she enters the gates of her Father. But here, there will be a huge hole left in His service. I asked Him earlier today to please make me but a small part of that which might attempt to replace her. I don't look forward to the message that she has moved on, but know that it will come any minute, any second.

My problems, or what pitiful little things I would call problems, are nothing when compared to the loses and the pain that these families are classmate Christy, as well. I am so very weak in my cries out to God when I am in pain of any kind, for I know not pain, not really. The losses in my life have been minimal, and several after many good years with those I loved. Some aren't that fortunate. I'm an ingrateful little snot sometimes with the requests that I lay before my God. I hope that I learn just a small piece of the lesson that He's attempting to teach me here.

I am sorry, God, when I fail you. I thank you for the lives of these women and how they've touched the very hearts and souls of every one that they met, knew and loved. May I be just a little bit of the testament that each of these were and still are to your love and witness while I am here on this earth. Send love and peace to these families Lord, and comfort them as only you can do.

Three things I'm thankful for

So, I read today in my daily devotional that I have should have a gratitude journal. Everyday, I should write in my journal about three things that I'm thankful for. I can get pretty creative with this, but I think to start, the list should be fairly simple. God blesses me everyday and is spending a great amount of time lately showing me those things that He has provided for me that I should be thankful for. Of course, if I didn't know God, I wouldn't have salvation, so to me, that's a given. Without that, I wouldn't be thankful to my Heavenly Father because I wouldn't know him. So, that being the most obvious, I won't state that on my list.

1. My health. Two friends of mine are dying from cancer. This is very hard. I was diagnosed with cancer this year, but it was such a light brush on my life, that it's hard to believe it was even there. God showed me how in control he is of my life in an amazing way with this brush with the "c" word. Right now, Julie Atnip might not make it through to wake up tomorrow as she battles pancreatic cancer. I've know Julie for many years through North Park Baptist Church. We were all just floored when we found out just how sick she was just a very short time ago. Christy Calhoun Shulte is a lady I graduated from high school with and she's been fighting ovarian cancer for a year now. While Julie may not see Christmas to celebrate another year of the birth of her dear precious Saviour, I think that Christy might. The pain Christy has had to endure for the last several years is just beyond my comprehension.
The health of my husband hasn't been too great as of late. I guess sometime in mid-November, he experienced what he thought might be a kidney stone. CT Scan showed no stones, but the symptoms reoccured on December 6 and it's been a horrible battle ever since. He's not slept much just dealing with the pain. We go see the urologist for a follow up tomorrow. We'll see what he says.
I am very thankful that I am healthy. I need to take better care of my body as it ages so that I can prepare for the upcoming days. Lord, while I'm thankful for my health, I need your loving guidance to help you out and take care of me better.

2. My marriage. Oh my, marriages are so hard to maintain these days. I prayed for my husband when I was just 7 years old, asking God to keep him safe, guide him to me...even before I realized it was okay to pray like that, I was doing it. I made some mistakes during my teenage years, but God stayed true to me and made sure that Richard and I met and that we were one and have been ever since. We have a wonderful relationship that I wouldn't trade for anything. I wish he would find it in his heart to take better care of himself, though, so that he doesn't shorten his days on this earth. Perhaps this last stint of illness will do just that. Let's pray...God, please direct Richard and convict his heart of hearts to take better care of himself. Send the same loving guidance that I asked you for to him so he will take care of him better.

3. My friendships. I'll tell you what, I don't think I've ever had a time in my life when I've had better, stronger friendships than I have right now. I don't make friends easily, I guess. I've never really figured out why, but it has to do with my lack of self-confidence and being shy, and yet coming across as arrogant and proud. I am not real sure how that happens, but I know it does. It's very hard to control when I'm not real sure how it happens. And yet, my God is faithful to me and is beginning to surround me with friends - many from my past, as strange as that sounds - and some from my present.

I had lunch with Beth today. Such a true special soul in God's kingdom. She is just amazing. I emailed with Debi today and Kerry, both whom I would call high school friends, but Kerry, like Beth, was someone that I didn't really "run" with after school or anything. Now I wish I had. Debi and I were closer, but allowed distance to stop the friendship and never let it grow into our adult years. Now, through email, that friendship is growing and I love every minute of it.

Janis is another dear soul God has brought back into my life. I have known Janis for years through church, but just recently have started to really get to know her and confide in her and pray for her and work with her.

There are others - Vicki is a friend from my present. She understands a side of me others don't get to see very often and accepts it. She's my crafting partner and I love every minute of being with her and creating something from nothing. Suzette is another friend...always there to lift me up. I'd call her a friend of my present. Derrick would fall into this category as well. Like Suzette, we don't talk everyday, but I know that when I need either of them, they are here, ready to love me, ready to help me. Ready to be God on this earth to me. By being friends of my present, they started to be my friend several years ago and our friendship has stayed true and only grown stronger.

Lifelong friends are hard to come by, really, but I would say that I have three lifelong friends to add to my list. They haven't always been my friend, but the relationship was based from the very beginning on the premis that they would love and respect me enough to call me friend when they were old enough to be able to do so. This would be my three children. I can talk to them about anything, and they talk to me as well. We can spend time together and laugh and have fun and just enjoy life. I hope my children are always my friend now that they are old enough to be. I am very thankful for that relationship. It's special and rare.

So, God, thank you so very much for all these wonderful blessings of friendships that you have bestowed upon me. I must admit that I am a little frightened sometimes when I think of the "why" of this - why and how could I deserve such wonderful people in my life. I try not to think about that as I am pretty sure it's the devil telling me that you are going to take something away from me, so you're putting people in my life to be there for me to help me through it. Only the devil would think that way, so I ask you to bind him and cast his ugly carcass out of my thoughts and just let me enjoy these wonderful friends!!! Thank you so very much.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First post in my new blog

So, 2 million pounds of colored ice, sculpted and shaped like the Grinch and all the little guys from Whoville. Did you know that the Grinch was born in 1957? He's not a whole lot older than I am. The cartoon came out in 1967. Hard to believe when you think about it, really. We went to ICE twice this year. Once with Jeff, Valery and Alexa and then again with AnnMarie and Kyle. It's a display worth seeing. Be ready to stand in line though. You get your tickets for a specific time and get in line, stand there, and get in more lines. It's 9 degrees inside. There's a slide, but there's a line for that. I hope there aren't any lines in Heaven, and if there are, I hope there's something cool do to while you stand in line - like listen to the Heavenly choir sing - or listen to Jesus share a parable - or maybe John the Baptist tell of Jesus and his life on earth - yeah, that would be worth standing in line for.

Richard was in a good mood and feeling pretty spry here. He enjoyed watching Alexa marvel at the sights.