Doing hard things – laughing

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Later tonight I will do my Wednesday remix. It’s a story I wrote about my grandma ten years ago. I had already selected it as something I wanted to share not knowing all this was going to happen…

But since writing is cathartic for me and my heart is straining with pain, I wished to share a tiny bright spot this morning.

Today was the first day of school for two of my OS. Aaron begins his senior year, Ike entered ninth grade. The orange hair, freckle face OS was crestfallen last night as he was trying on some pants for his school uniform. “Do these pants look too big?” he inquired, already knowing the answer. 

Since we do not encourage lying, I had no choice but to be completely honest. “Yes,” I erupted, then exhaled and released the giggle that had been developing from the moment he had slipped on the pants.

Starting your first day in high school as a freshman with big pants is hardly ideal so with the prospect that all the pants in his wardrobe were similarly sized, Ike went to bed grouchy and nervous.

As you can clearly see, Ike is not a chunky monkey. 

This morning, however, the Lord gave Ike (and me) an unexpected blessing. My youngest OS awakened me with good news. “I found a pair of slim pants!” he announced as he hugged me good morning. “I was afraid I was going to have to go to school looking like Chris Farley!” I breathed in the fresh dash of cologne around his neck. My mouth guards were still in place, my sleeping mask attractively matted to my forehead (lovely visual) but none of that prevented me from bursting into laughter! He was right, he did look like Chris Farley and if you know my orange hair, freckle face OS, that’s quite a stretch considering he has 0% body fat.

He has right,
he did kind of look like Chris Farley

It felt so nice to laugh because I also know my day will contain sadness. In fact, I was still in bed when I began crying and that’s how it’s going to be for a while, I guess. Later today, my sister will place the phone up to my grandma’s ear for me to speak to her. She is now in hospice. I do not expect to have a back and forth conversation with my beloved grandma and it’s quite possibly the final time I will say something to her this side of heaven. 

The ancient truths found in the chapter three of the book of Ecclesiastes still possess wisdom. 

“For everything there is a season, 
and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die; 
a time to weep and a time to laugh; 
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
a time to seek, and a time to lose
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak…” 
Aaron, my grandma and I at one of Isaac’s basketball games.
It was like an NBA game for her!

As many of you know, grief is a gritty process. This morning, however; I praise the Lord for the moments where I can feel His presence breaking through my sorrow. Today my joy came from a child named Isaac whose name means laughter. 

Doing hard things – out of love

This is for you, dear grandma
We like each other…a lot

After Friday’s heartbreaking news, I’ve been afraid to return to the pool. Though I may look the same, my sentiments in almost every regard are altered. My grandma will not be getting better this side of heaven. I am not sure what to do. So I cry, I think about crying, I dry my face after crying and repeat. Feelings of overwhelming sorrow are mixed with tremendous gratefulness. My grandma has been in my life for nearly half a century, that is such a blessing. But gosh, I’m going to miss her. I will miss everything about her. Even the things that were less than perfect, she meant the world to me.

If only I could stay in that moment

My OS start school on Wednesday. Prior to the phone call about my grandma; days before, in fact, tears flowed thinking about them not being home. Now the impending loss of my grandmother looms near. I wanted to herald this summer as one of incredible memories. Difficulties pervade on where to put this latest news into my epic summer scenery.

Yet despite my heartache, the Hubs and I went to the pool. My spunky, kick-in-the-pants grandma would want this. 

So to honor her, I plunged into the water. As I came up for air, tears poured into my swim goggles which was a new experience…The salty pool water matched my salty tears. I had to empty the goggles out several times. The Hubs held me tight as I fell into his arms. I’m pretty sure I was the only person weeping in the water. 

As I see it, I have three options:
1. quit = give up (my grandma has always been a spitfire)
2. stagnate = no more progress (my grandma moved forward despite great losses)
3. keep at it = trust in the Lord (my grandma would be proud of me)

A force, greater than myself (which I know to be my Savior), allowed me to do another thing today. Previously, as my orange hair, freckle face OS informed me, I frolicked off the diving board. But with the Hubs’ encouragement, I pushed myself off the surface and into the air with greater vigor. And I touched the bottom of the nine foot pool. That was also a first. And then, of course, I cried.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Keep doing your own Hard Things, dear friends, even when it hurts.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3

Doing hard things – an unexpected immensely hard thing


Today was the first day I could return to the pool following elbow surgery. I awoke this morning and went straight from pajamas to bathing suit. Without too much grumbling, so did my orange hair, freckle face OS. Ike has become a trusty companion through this process even though he would drop me like a hot potato if one of his buddies wanted to hang out. I am blessed by his encouragement and company. 

Today was also the first day I jumped into the pool and my bottom touched the bottom of the pool. Ike demonstrated the technique and instead of mulling it over and fretting, I released caution to the wind and capered into the water. The next thing I knew my “biscuit” made contact with the pool floor. It was rather exciting, another accomplishment. Everything is new to me, I am treasuring each effort, taking nothing for granted.

I also did my ceremonious ten jumps into the deep end of the pool. A trace of fear wafted over me and I gulped a far amount of salty water. For an instant, my land tortoise ways were calling me back but I persevered. 

See that crazy lady in the middle?
That’s my grandma doing YMCA!

Being in the water, using my right arm, hoisting myself back to the poolside reassured me I was where I needed to be. I was doing my Hard Thing and I was pleased to get back to conquering this fear.

One of my first days as a grand-daughter,
it felt good right from the start. 

But a greater fear waited me at home. It was one that I wasn’t expecting but it has always loomed in the back of my mind. A message was waiting on my voicemail. It was from my sister and I immediately called her back to learn that our grandma is seriously ill. She was found in her apartment on the floor, motionless and disoriented. Grandma was quickly transported to the hospital. My precious grandma, one of my dearest friends, has dementia and lately her mental status has been deteriorating. She has also had a seizure while in the hospital. They are transporting her to another hospital, she is heavily sedated and although no one is saying she cannot recover as of yet, things are not looking promising. 

We took Grams to see The Sound of Music,
I loved hearing her humming the tunes.

For many years, I have been known as Cindy, a wife, mom, sister, aunt, niece, daughter, writer, friend and Christ-believer. For nearly half a century, I’ve also been Cindy, the non-swimmer who still had her grandma. I am ready to discard only one of these descriptions. The Lord knows I want to lose the non-swimmer label. It is the only description that has weighed me down. All the others lift me up and I have worn “Grand-daughter” as a badge of honor and joy. I am trusting in Him, whose ways are perfect but the tears still fall. My beloved grandma should not linger and suffer, but selfishly I wonder, what am I going to do? Suddenly swimming became easier than this…

Wednesday remix – lizard licking good

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In a box of old pictures, I found one that hearkened back to a sweet memory…

You can’t be in a bad mood when you eat ice cream. It’s impossible to stay grumpy with a mouthful of frozen deliciousness. Probably when people go to heaven, they are given a complimentary pint of their favorite kind as a welcome home present. Maybe God created ice cream to compensate for the ticks He made. Just another one of my deep thoughts, free of charge. 😉

One hot mess that I can’t live without

It was during a trip with my OS to Florida, however; I was given an ice cream memory for my heart.

My OS had accomplished the superhuman feat of peacefully sharing one fishing pole between the three of them. Out on Bradenton Beach Pier, Grandma and I watched the guys catch five fish and we left the pier salty, wind-blown and proud. 

Good thing Grandma was getting her hair set the next day. It had been partly cloudy and drizzle had sprinkled our heads and flattened our coifs. We were a frightful sight but the OS were thrilled. Each one had his own fish story to tell.

After lunch Grams recommended we go out for ice cream. We entered The Orange Dipper and glanced at the 50 flavors of gourmet ice cream pondering which one to choose. The answer was easy for Aaron and Ike. One flavor beckoned them. Every dimension of the ice cream screamed to be picked. The name of that ice cream…Lizard Lips. Perfect. Neon green ice cream was scooped into their waffle cones. 

Yep, that’s right, we’re eating Lizard Lips!

As we licked away at our individual ice cream selected, I observed that all of us ate with personality. Aaron and Ike grinned as bright green covered their mouths. Ike looked like a tiny salamander as his tongue slithered out to grab a bite. Aaron’s t-shirt bespoke volumes about his day. Smeared fish goo, ketchup and mustard from his burger heartily welcomed new plops of Lizard Lips.

Cerebral Nate, as my oldest OS, he chomped away at his Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough the same way he does books! He devours them! As we chatted about the day’s highlights, suddenly in the midst of all the confabulation a little dot of ice cream appeared directly on Nate’s nose. I grabbed the camera and clicked. (I wish I could find that picture now!)

Three generations scooped every last drop of flavor from that day. Lizard Lips and ice cream dips were the perfect topping to our time together…

Here’s Grandma back in the day
seriously working that one-piece. You go, girl!

It is a blessed thing to have a great-grandma

So, after reading this post, do you have an ice cream memory you’d care to share?

In the meantime…

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So many blog posts I have started and been unable to finish. I love to write and this is a wonderful vehicle of self-expression; however, I have begun to receive really gross comments on my posts.  There’s nothing that creates writer’s block more than pornographic comments on a seemingly innocent message. I have since made changes on my blog to prevent this from happening…I hope. I can’t even imagine typing some of the words I have seen on my comments, we live in a really sick world. What is up with some people!

And I recently had dental surgery which, when combined with lingering health issues, makes writing even more challenging. An extraction of a molar and then a dental implant on a pre-molar the same day on the same side of my mouth do not top my favorite things to do list. I have felt like a pork roast and that is something I never thought I would say. How does one feel like a pork roast? You know how the butcher ties pieces of meat together with string? Well, that is how my mouth has felt and yes, that is icky. The surgical strings my mouth are gone since last Sunday and I was thrilled and revolted all at the same time. And because I know it feels to have people describe things you’d rather not read about, I will spare you graphic details about the clove-dipped gauze I experienced on Monday. It’s fair statement to now say I have also felt like a ham. I haven’t had any complications, praise the Lord but as the doctor stated, my mouth is reminding me I’m not 18 anymore and recovery takes longer.

My grandma is settling into her new home but the transition is draining for all involved. If I want to make myself burst into tears while simultaneously feeling like a pork roast or a ham, (do not try that at home!), I can focus on the sad aspects of my grandma’s move. But I am consciously choosing to not dwell on the things that cannot change and be attentive to the blessings. My sister has poured herself out to my grandma and given sacrificially of her time and talents. My aunt and uncle have bravely loved Grandma even when she is angry, bitter and confused about why the change was necessary. My grandma looks beautiful and has moments of lucidity. There are good things that are coming out of this even if it isn’t easy.

In my next post I will share the cool things my cadet has been doing lately. He comes home tomorrow for Spring Break and I can’t wait to have our five-piece puzzle intact again!

More soon!

Lost and found


It is strange and curious thing to do a google search of your grandma’s name and see a bunch of “hits” appear. Prior to Saturday, the only time I had ever googled my grandma’s name was um, never. In fact, it was only because of a frightening set of circumstances that I thought about ever doing it and here’s why.

Saturday evening around 7, the phone rang. When I saw the area code of the person calling, I got nervous. I don’t get a lot of phone calls from this area code and this time my anxiety was justified. The phone call was from my sister informing me that my grandma who lives in Florida was missing. My sister called many states away from both of Grandma and me and she said that Grandma had been missing for several hours at that time. As I hung up the phone, I almost couldn’t feel and horrible things came popping into my head. Our family gathered around to pray as I crumpled in a heap of despair.

The police had been notified and were looking for her. Grandma’s friends had called my aunt after she hadn’t arrived at a friend’s house as planned. Unbeknownst to me at the time; my almost 90 year old grandma had recently gotten lost in the daytime. When her friends opened the key to my grandma’s house, she was gone and the car keys were gone. The cell phone was left on the table and the Life Alert my aunt insisted on her using was still in the box.

I put prayer requests out on facebook and for all the pain that facebook can cause and wow, let me just say, it has caused A LOT of pain for me recently, I was comforted by the outpouring of love and prayers said all over the country for a person many fb friends do not know.

Watching tv was like looking at a blank screen so I reached for the thing of hope that is 100% reliable. My Bible.

I began doing my Teen CBS lesson and admit that I had trouble concentrating. I opened my Bible and did as the lesson prompted which meant reading a Scripture verse I desperately needed.

Philippians 4:6

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

By then my grandma had been missing for five hours. She has a bad knee and I pictured her hobbling in the dark. I thought of her being scared and because of an active imagination or too much tv, (never CSI, praise the Lord!), many other horrible pictures came to mind.

In the small space provided, here’s what I wrote in my lesson

10:07 pm – Grandma missing for five hours. Father, you want me to read this – you know my heart, my sadness and fears – I am so weak – do not be anxious about anything – seriously!?


Around 2 am the phone rang again. The Hubs quickly removed his C-Pap machine and scrambled for the phone. My grandma was found! She had driven all the way to Naples, Florida which is about 2 1/2 hours away. She had been driving for NINE hours without stopping. Confused, Grandma entered a convenient store and the only thing she recalled was that she had a business card of my uncle’s. The clerk called and soon my grandma was located, stayed at a nearby hotel and life will never be the same.

Since that fateful night, I have cried so much that on Sunday the sides of my eyes were sore from the salt in my tears. My grandma left on a plane to Chicago where my aunt lives and she will never return to her home. She had wet herself and needed a shower and doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

I fear other posts about this situation and about dementia or Alzheimer’s but for now, let me focus on the comfort I had in leaning on the Lord. I am afraid and sad beyond words but the words I read on Saturday night were not an accident. Though they were hard to put in practice, they are true.

Googling your grandma is not a good thing. Seeing a Breaking News story about one of your dearest, best friends who just happens to be nearly 90 and a close relative is yucky. My grandma has been very private about her age and now everyone will know she’s almost a nonagerian! The good thing though is the Good News – both the literal one that my grandma was found and the spiritual one I found and find in Jesus.