Tuesday, January 27, 2009

20 things I hope you never get to experience in life

1. Having to leave your home and not knowing if it will be there when you get back because the area where you live is under a mandatory evacuation.

2. Traveling in the car with your dog and cat at a snail's pace because the traffic is bumper to bumper for 17 hours straight at night during an extreme Texas heat wave. (Sept. 2005)

3. Staying at a relative's house and watching the weather channel and the news to see when and where the hurricane is expected to make landfall.

4. Staying up all night watching Geraldo Rivera get knocked off his feet by the wind and sprayed by the waves on Galveston Beach.

5. Calling your friends to see how high the water is getting now and if it's possible to get to your house.

6. Having your friend tell you to "expect the worst" before you come home.

7. Driving home "expecting the worst" and smelling "the worst" for miles before you get there.

8. Finding your outside cat traumatized under your pick-up truck and buried in soggy marsh reeds.

9. Not being able to open your front door because it's swollen shut and the lock doesn't work from being submerged under water.

10. Finding dead fish and mud in your house or a live alligator in your next door neighbor's yard.

11. Having all your furniture and appliances turned topsy turvy.

12. Climbing over your mattress and feeling it squish even though it's not a water bed.

13. Wearing a mask to clean out your house as you watch the white mold turning to black.

14. Throwing all your earthly belongings, including the love letters your husband wrote you before you married, in the middle of your front yard.

15. Having to watch your children go through all your stuff BEFORE you are dead and gone.

16. Losing 30 years worth of pictures, baby and wedding albums.

17. Tearing out the walls of your house and spraying it with bleach to kill the mold and mildew.

18. Living in a single hotel room with your family of four for more than 2 weeks.

19. Looking for a place to stay close to home and finding NOTHING is available. Absolutely nothing.

20. Getting a call in the middle of the night from a friend saying "I think your house may be on fire."

The list may sound somewhat morbid to some, but I have found writing about my experiences to be somewhat healing. It's all part of a grieving process that we go through. I have been told that anytime we experience a loss we must also take the time to grieve our losses. I am not trying to seek pity here, I only want to share from my heart and remind others to appreciate and enjoy what you have while you have it. I know I am alot more thankful for what God has given me and realize that I can live with alot less "stuff" than all the things I had accumulated over the years. I am thankful that I have my life and a strong family of faith who is so supportive of me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

God shows his sense of humor

In the days and weeks following Hurricane Ike the Lord reminded me how thankful I was to have my daughter Lawren still living at home with us. Losing all her cherished momentos from her schooldays and her bedroom furniture that she picked out the previous Christmas was a real challenge for her as well as the rest of us. She was so patient and ready to help out in any way during those tough times and I really saw her grow and mature tremendously.

After we got settled in our new temporary "home", Lawren seemed to become somewhat withdrawn. We were all beginning to think about building our home again, we had something to look forward to and to hope for better days ahead. I realized that Lawren needed to have something to look forward to as well. So.... since Lawren had never flown before we decided to send her somewhere. Her birthday is in Dec. so combining her birthday and Christmas seemed like a good plan. So ..... where do you want to go, Lawren? New York!!! All right, so we get online and start trying to find out about making a trip to NY. The only way she could possibly go would be if a friend went with her and she had a friend who had made the trip on several occasions so it was decided that the 2 girls would go.

Later, as the actual trip to the airport drew near, I thought "I must have been crazy to ever think she could do this on her own." But this trip was about so much more, it was about achieveing independence, and it was about living out your dreams. And it was about giving a gift to our only daughter who brings so much happiness to our family. Well, now to the sense of humor part...... As Lawren was packing to get ready to leave, she marched in the kitchen and announced "Just so you know ..... if I happen to see Mario Lopez, AND IF he asks me to marry him...... then I am not coming back home ..... just to let you know." We all had a good laugh and off she went to New York. That was on Friday.

On Saturday was Lawren's 22nd birthday. We were at a Lamar basketball game when I get a text message at the same time her dad gets a phone call. It was Lawren. She was at a restaurant in NY and guess who was sitting 4 chairs in front of her? You guessed it! MARIO LOPEZ Needless to say she was beside herself. She was texting me like crazy and saying "OMG, I think I'm about to throw up .... I can't believe it, he's sitting right in front of me." Despite all my encouragement, insisting, coaxing, pleading, she refused to go over to him and ask for a picture. She didn't want him to think she was one of those crazy stalker people. Her friend ordered dessert just so they could stay longer, but Lawren was so mesmerized by Mario that she was glued to her chair. She said "Mom, this is absolutely the best birthday I've ever had!"

Jack and I laughed so much that it made the gift all the more worth it for us. What is funny is the fact that the whole weekend they were in NY they did not see one other celebrity. Only Mario.

You know I think God has a wonderful sense of humor. I would have liked to have taken credit for the Mario sighting, and said, Yes, we planned that for your birthday, but you know I think our heavenly Father should get all the credit for this amazing, funny, memorable, birthday gift to a very special young lady. I am reminded of the verse that says that if we as earthly parents know how to give good gifts to our children, HOW MUCH MORE does our heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to us. We are so blessed.