Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

We were oblivious to what was about to happen.

On Saturday, we pulled out the sprinkler for the first time this spring. The boys were in heaven. Henry didn't even take time out to change into his swim trunks. He just jumped right in.

And when his cotton shorts got too water heavy, he shed them.

Then on Sunday, we collected rollie pollies in the front yard before church. Henry was disappointed that I wouldn't let them ride with us in the car.

Later that night and the following day... 
(photos courtesy of Google Images)
It started in Carney, Oklahoma on Sunday evening...
Then, a second deadly outbreak happened the following afternoon. The 2013 Moore tornado occurred on the afternoon of Monday, May 20. The EF5 tornado, with peak winds estimated at 210 miles per hour, killed 24 people, including 10 children, and injured 377 others. The tornado was 1.3 miles wide at its peak. 
The tornadoes left a wake of disaster.
Within minutes, homes, businesses, schools, and lives were destroyed. But with the hearts of lions, resilience at its best, volunteers lined up for miles. So many came out to help that they had to turn some away. Schools and churches opened doors for those who lost their homes. Its what our heartland state does.
I can't begin to imagine the nightmare the Plaza Towers Elementary parents experienced that day. To be separated from your child and fear the worst. That your child is trapped and fighting for their life...and you can't get to them. You can't save them.
How were parents supposed to know that when they said goodbye that morning, their baby wasn't coming home. I've hugged my boys a little tighter every day since the storms.
The storms definitely put things in perspective. Things. Stuff. None of it matters much, and all of it could be gone tomorrow. For me, the tornadoes served as a powerful reminder to invest more time and resources in people, in my family, in my friends, and in those I'm called to serve.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk

While I worked in the flower beds, thoughtful Henry drew each family member a picture and spelled their name on the driveway.

For Daddy, he drew a T-Rex. ROAR!

I received a beautiful flower. "Because you love flowers," Henry told me.

Sam got a teddy bear. Because he's a cuddle bug...when he's still.

Henry even drew himself a picture. Thunder. Not only does he have artistic ability, but Henry can see the unseen.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

On my birthday (May 13), I treated myself to a picnic with my boys at the Botanical Gardens and pictures with our friend, Lauren Clark. I snuck out of work 30 minutes early to grab dinner and a blanket, picked the boys up from school, and surprised them with a picnic at the gardens. And Wade surprised me by taking off early and joining us. It was a treat, and the perfect way to spend a birthday. We found a great shady spot under a giant pine, and lounged until Lauren joined us.

Lauren has taken the boys' pictures for the last three years and she's moving to Kansas City in June. NO! We will miss her friendship, her sweet spirit and, of course, her beautiful pictures.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Letter

Dear Henry,

I've been intending to write to you since the first time I felt you kick, before you were even born. When you were just "a twinkle in my eye", as Grandma would say. And now you're five. Today was your last day of PreK. Next year you'll be in Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN. Where has the time gone?

Maybe I've been putting off writing because it's hard to find words to express just how much I love you. From the day your dad and I learned we were pregnant with you, I knew I would love you...I just didn't realize how much and how deeply. The first time I held you in my arms I knew there would be nothing you could ever do to make me love you any more, or any less. 

I'll never forget the first time I saw you. You were perfect. Perfectly you in every way. And we were perfect for each other. A match ordained by God. You were almost one-year-old before I could bare spending a night apart from you. Even though there was never a doubt in my mind that your daddy would take excellent care of you while I was away, I's what mom's do.

Reflecting on these last five years, I recall each milestone, each chapter sweeter than the last. When you turned three months old, after we made it through my nursing woes, sleepless nights and reflux, I was confident three months was my favorite stage (as if I'd experienced so many stages)...then, when you turned six months, "this HAS to be the best age"...and yet again at 9 months, 1 year, and so on, and so on. The pattern continues to this day. And I've concluded very simply that I will love every stage. Watching you grow and learn is a delight and brings me great joy.


Thank you for being my partner in adventure and for reminding me daily to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. I am a better person because of you, and my hope and prayer is that you will never doubt my love, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am proud of you and know God created you for greatness. You bless my socks off, Henry Ward Shaw.