Tag Archives: family

The Best Medicine

Nearly two months ago, our family was struck by tragedy that left us feeling alone and scared.  I tweeted about our struggles and was astonished by the kindness of several amazing people.

Lori was one of those people.  She reached out and truly threw us a life-preserver that that kept us afloat for days.

Within moments of my tweet, she had sent me her personal email address and phone number and encouraged me to call her.  I would have never felt that I could actually impose upon her by making that call, but at her insistence, I did, and she was calm, encouraging, and educated–exactly what we needed.  During our calls, she provided me with information, advice, and compassion.  She empowered us and helped us to feel as though we could keep going.

My family will be forever grateful to her for the role she played in one of the most difficult times we’ve experienced.

And on top of being one of the kindest and calmest people I know?  Lori is also beyond funny and is beautifully self-deprecating.  Her blog, In Pursuit of Martha Points is truly unique and between her stories, photos, and graphics, there’s never a dull moment.  Her blog honestly reflects who I have come to know her to be–funny one minute, tender the next.

Thank you, Lori, for being there for my family when we didn’t know which way to turn.  Thank you for making me laugh when I need it and for inspiring me to pursue my goals.

When we meet next month, to show you just how much I love you, I will be certain that I know exactly how to make your coffee.

And now, finally, I share with you Lori’s lovely contribution to Small Moments Mondays

The Best Medicine — by Lori

Dinner.

As a family. All five of us with serving dishes and salt and pepper shakers, placemats and a chipped butter dish.

I stepped into the kitchen to get something…a serving spoon, perhaps. And asked, as I stood up, why the coffee table was in the wrong place. The answer, which I already knew, came from Child B: “I guess I forgot to put it back after we rehearsed.”

When I said, as I sat back down, that I’d been hoping for something more interesting, the following conversation ensued.

“There was a herd of wildebeest…”

“No, it was space aliens.”

“… And the aliens knocked the table over. We were so busy cleaning up the from the rest of the havoc they wreaked that we totally forgot to put the table back.”

“From a metaphysical standpoint, the table could be anywhere.”

“Quantum physics says that the table both is and is not in the right location.”

“Or, it says that if you’re not looking at the table the probability that the table is and is not in the right place is exactly equal.”

“Zen furniture: the table is still a table in whatever location. Embrace the table.”

“In Soviet Russia, table locates YOU!”

“Ask the table about its mother.”

“Then the table would need to lie on the couch.”

“If a table gets moved in a living room and no one is around to hear it, is it still a coffee table?”

“Life is like a coffee table…”

I ate my dinner, I chuckled. And I loved my kids with all my heart.

They are smart and funny. Making each other laugh is important. When they do the dishes after dinner, I hear laughter. When they’re all stuffed in the back of the car when we go anywhere, they make each other laugh.

They make me laugh. They make Himself laugh.

It would be so easy, in a house of five people and two bathrooms, in a home of step-parents and step-siblings, to let friction percolate and let small irritations grow into arguments and discord.

Yet I hear laughter more than anything else.  More than disagreement, more than tension and more than rivalry.

Life is so large some days – with work and grades, talk about college, talk about the world. We worry about the news, we worry about our children learning about the news. We think about retirement, our investments and the value of our house. We wonder if we are giving our children every tool they need to build the life they want in the world. Each brick in our lives feels so weighty it seems as if we are in perpetual need of pulleys and crowbars.

But when I sit down for the evening meal and hear my kids teasing each other and laughing at jokes with punchlines only they can understand, life becomes my dinner table. Small, intimate…and my very own. With serving dishes and placemats and salt and pepper shakers.

And a chipped butter dish.

Now quickly grab a pad of paper and a pencil, head on over to Lori’s place, and be sure to read So what are “Martha Points?”,  where Lori explains her ingenious point system.  And don’t miss my some of my favorites, A Polite Request, Shopping for Points, and The Princess and the Pain.

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Filed under Guest Post, Small Moments Monday

Going Home

Kicking off Small Moments Mondays, a series of guest posts focusing on the little moments in life, the moments that can be so easily taken for granted if we don’t slow down to savor them, is Kris from Pretty All True.

If you’re really lucky, you meet a handful of people in life with whom you feel an immediate connection.  These people are a gift, whether it’s because they make you feel comfortable, encourage you to stretch yourself, help you to laugh, or offer you tremendous kindness that simply envelopes you.  Kris embodies all of these qualities and I can’t believe my good fortune for having met her.

One of the things that I admire most about Kris is the way that she fully embraces each moment of life.  Perhaps as a result of a childhood that offered her far more than her share of heartache or because of the beautiful little family that she has built, Kris savors life in a way that I truly admire.  When I was in the early stages of brainstorming this idea, she immediately came to mind, as she, though sarcastic and quick witted, appreciates the beauty in her life.

Though the first thing I noticed about Kris was her amazing sense of humor and her ability to tell stories that pull you in and make you feel as though you are somehow a part her world, she has a quiet tenderness and ability to make you feel as though you are important and loved that continually surprise me.

Thank you, Kris—for guest posting, for sharing your story, and for being my friend.  I am grateful for you.

Here’s her reflection on a small moment from her life…

Going Home – by Kris

Some of my saddest memories from childhood are of going home.

My home was broken and jagged and filled with sharp shattered bits of unexpected pain and sorrow. It was my reality. And most of the time? There was just acceptance.

And so, at the end of the school day . . . at the end of a trip to the grocery store . . . at the end of a trip to the library . . . I would just go home. There was sadness and fear, but also a sense of inevitability. Resignation. This was my life. This was my family. This was my home.

I would go home.

There were a few times in my childhood when I left our home for more than just a day. It didn’t matter where I had gone . . . the contrast between this other place and my home sometimes seemed more than I could bear. My heart would ache with longing for this other that I could not have.

Then, always, there was a going home.

And as I stared out of the window on the journey back home? My throat would clench so that I couldn’t breathe. The pain was so tight and jagged it felt as though I was swallowing glass. The increasingly familiar landmarks would blur before my eyes.

Going home.

Sigh.

A long time ago.

Today? I drove my daughters to a nearby state park and we rode our bicycles through the luscious humid green. Rode until we were exhausted and sweaty . . . in an enormous loop back to where we had parked the car.

Climbed in.

“Daddy’s making lunch for us, right?” asks my older daughter as she clicks her seatbelt.

My younger daughter answers happily, “Yes! He said he was going to make hamburgers on the grill!”

I start the car. I crank the air conditioning. I switch on the radio.

I drive down the tree-lined path out of the park.

We haven’t lived in Oregon very long, and I still get confused about directions. So I sit at the park exit, trying to remember if I am supposed to turn to the right or the left. Honestly? I have no idea. Everywhere I look, everything is just green.

Hmmmmm.

The GPS in our car? I love it. My favorite thing? There is this helpful touch-screen prompt, and when you select it? The car will give you directions home from wherever you happen to be at that moment.

And so I push it. The little prompt that says GO HOME.

I love going home. Every single time.

And that GO HOME prompt. It makes me smile. Every single time.

So I turn to the right.

“Ready for lunch, girls?”

“Yes!” My daughters yell in unison, “Let’s go home!”

It’s a small thing, really . . . it’s just going home.

But for me? Every single time?

I love to go home.

Stop by and visit Kris at Pretty All True.  Take some time to poke around, read a little of this and a little of that, and wait, some of this too.

Sprinkled in here, and here, and there are posts that take your breath away and stay with you, challenging you to truly think and appreciate life.

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Filed under Guest Post, Small Moments Monday

Gratitude for Miles

Tonight I am thankful that when my husband’s mother died last evening, she was in his arms, as he so desperately hoped and prayed that she’d be.

I am grateful to two amazing women, Lori and Adrienne, who offered us information and comfort at a time when we felt lost and scared. Through numerous phone calls and emails, they each offered their extensive knowledge and kindness.

I am grateful to my dear friends, Andrea, Kris, and Loni, who checked in on us regularly and repeatedly offered shoulders to cry on and kind words when we truly needed them and Chris, Corey, Ana, and Briana, who took such amazing care of our children so that we could be by Craig’s mother’s side.

I will be ever thankful to the hospice nurses who cared for Craig’s mother in her last days; Jan and Arlene helped to ease our worries and provided us a comforting presence through their tender care and compassion. There is a special place in Heaven for these two beautiful women.

I am grateful for the nurses who carried out the hospice care–Cora, Jemma, Maggie, and Nathan. These nurses ensured that she remained pain-free and peaceful. They also put up with our constant questions. We were able to get a few hours of sleep each night and slip out for quick meals because we knew that they were keeping an eye on her. Despite the stressful environment that these nurses work in, with demands and cries coming from every direction, each of these kind souls paused time to kiss her on the forehead, whisper in her ear, pray for her, or tenderly wash her hair. Compassion is a truly beautiful thing to witness.

I truly appreciate each and every one of the phone calls, emails, texts, notes, and direct messages we received, as each message felt like a huge hug.

Craig’s brother, Sean, and his wife, Janelle, were always just a phone call away and their daily emails, calls, and words of appreciation kept us going through the darkest moments.  We are blessed to call them family–we treasure them and value them beyond words.

And lastly, I am thankful to have had a mother-in-law who raised such a beautiful son–a son who wouldn’t leave her side, who brushed her hair and read to her, who reminded her, until she took her last breath, that he loved her dearly.

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