Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring Break: Grad School Edition

Spring Break for Seminary is next week. I was planning on taking that week to dig through the piles of toys and clothes that the kids have scattered throughout the house and toss them.  But no. 

 I have 2 take home midterms, full of LONG essays, I'm talking 5 pages per question, to complete. I have an online lecture to watch and an extra article to read and research to do. On TOP of the normal class reading and research that must be completed by the Monday following Spring Break.

Can someone please tell me what the purpose of a spring break in Grad School is?  Because it is obviously not for a break.  "Hey, you're not coming into class so you will have an extra 17 hrs in your week"   How kind of my professors to make sure those hours of freedom are filled for me. I wouldn't want to get bored.  I mean, seriously, being married to a minister, raising 2 children, and working a part time job while going to grad school can REALLY be boring.  I'm tellin' you. I am beyond thankful for their thoughtfullness.

Okay.  Vent over.  I must get back to typing. I gotta get all this "normal" class work done before the spring break fun begins.

Good thing I turned down those Panama City tickets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Voice of Grief: Two Years Later

Sunday night, while searching old documents on my laptop, I came across a folder that read "journal." Sometime in 2013 I decided that keeping a paper journal was no longer the thing to do and began typing my entries. In the end I went back to the old fashioned pen and notebook, forgetting the 3 months worth of entries.

Yesterday, Feb 23rd, was the 2nd anniversary of what is known in our family as "the tragedy." The day that 19year old Kody accidentally shot and killed his older brother Kyle, then in shock and sadness turned the shot gun on himself.

Sunday night while reading through the 3 months of journal entries, I came across this, one of the nightmares that I had shortly after the deaths.

Journal entry from 2013:
              Last night I had an awful dream about Kyle and Kody. I was at their funeral and kyle, in the coffin, had blood seeping from his eye. He then got up out of the coffin, took a seat beside me, and began asking questions.

What happened?
Where am I?
How is Mawmaw?

               In the dream I couldn't take it any more so I ran out of the funeral home. But wherever I went I was met with a TV that was playing the funeral. I woke up in a cold sweat and had Roger turn the lights on. I sat up in bed praying until I was comfortable enough to go back to sleep.

A few weeks after the tragedy Roger was working a shift as the on-call chaplain at the local hospital and was asked to come in because of a deadly wreck on 65. A family of four on their way home from vacation had been involved in a fiery crash. The parents were burned alive. The small children were the only survivors. When Roger arrived in the trauma room the nurses were prepping the kids to be flown to the university hospital. Roger prayed with the children, listened to their concerns, and helped explain what was going on. He told me of his heart break when the little boy asked prayer for his parents. Being that the boy was not yet in stable condition that information had been withheld from him. Roger, taking the little boys hand, lead them in prayer, knowing that the parents had not even made it to the hospital.

That story sticks with me because it helped bring me out of the "poor me" funk. When bad stuff happens loneliness sets in. We begin to feel that we must be the only people in the entire world to feel loss and heartbreak. Though our loss is unique to us, it is not unique to experience loss.  To be willing to love is to be willing to experience loss.

I do not think God took Kyle and Kody to teach our family a lesson, or test us, or punish us.  The God of my understanding doesn't do stuff like that. We humans have free will. Things just happen. Sometimes bad decisions are made and people get hurt . . . even killed. For me, the beauty of being a Christian is not that bad stuff doesn't happen to us, but that we are given the ability to see goodness even in the midst of despair. We have these things called church communities that consist of people willing to weep with us, pray with us, listen to our doubts and anger, and guide us through the rough terrain of grief. We have scripture to encourage us, as well as give voice to our pain. 

Though it might not be immediate, eventually the fog will lift, the face of God will be visible again, and we will learn that He was there all along, holding our hand through the tender care of others. 

In the hours, weeks, and months after the tragedy I feared another one would follow. How does father, a mother, a brother, a friend, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a grandparent, go on living after such a death? We all make choices in life. We can choose to stay stuck in the "poor me" rut, or we can choose to face grief head on. My family chose to face grief head on.

It is now two years later and we are still grieving, some of us more than others. Grief never goes away. We just learn to face it. Some days it knocks us down. Other days we knock it down. But it is always there.

 Keith, Kyle's twin and Kody's other brother,  has since gotten married to his high school sweet heart. He and his wife Lacey are expecting a little girl in June.

My brother, Jacob, and his wife Shannon are expecting a little girl this summer too!   I'm going to be an AUNT!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Anna gets her ears pierced

I have bizarre parenting techniques . . . according to my mother. 

Today I took Anna (age 6) to get her ears pierced. 

My philosophy on the whole ear piercing thing is that I wanted her to make her own decision about it.  
I guess that is where my mother thinks my parenting is a bit bizarre.  

You see, my Mother  did not allow me to make that decision, nor the decision when to shave my legs. While all my friends were reaching the ear piercing milestone and the shave your legs milestone, I was stuck behind. It didn't feel so good. I would occasionally sneak to shave my legs, and yes, I ended up piercing my own ears. I was one determined little chick. I am sure it was rough to raise such a strong headed little girl. But I like to think that today, as a 30yr, I have channeled that stubbornness into a healthy assertiveness.    (I also ripped my braces off with needle-nose-pliers. But that is another story for another time.)

For Anna, I wanted to take the opportunity to teach her about making informed decisions. She, like me, is quite assertive.  

"Mom, will it hurt?"  

"How bad?" 

"What do they do?" 
They punch a hole in your ear with a gun. 

Yes, you are allowing them to punch some of your skin out.  

"umm. okay. Never mind. I don't think I am old enough."
alright, well let me know when you are.

For the past 2years now Anna has been back and forth about whether or not to partake in this female tribal tradition. Over these 2 years I have helped teach her how one goes about getting information in order to aid in the decision making. We have interviewed friends, watched youtube videos, googled ear piercing websites,  and discussed mother to daughter about the pros and cons of piercing. We have also researched how long the earrings must remain in and the work it takes to keep the earlobe from getting infected. 

So, when she said this past weekend that it was time, we set a date.

We both decided that Friday would be a good day so that she would have the weekend with them before heading back to school. 
She also decided, since she knew she would be a bit nervous, to take her special blanket with her for the piercing. 

her little neighborhood friend gives her a thumb up but still doesn't know why someone would get a hole in their ear

She did wonderful!  And the girl is so proud of herself for following through with the first big decision she has ever made.

When Anna called her Granny I could tell that Granny was not pleased. To help ease things with my Mother I expressed my desire to get a tattoo . . . on my FACE.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Overflowing With Personality: Our Daughter Anna

Anna, at the age of 6 1/2, is a character.  

Currently her favorite show is Good Luck Charlie. The main character in the show has a video diary that the  show is created around. 

One particular evening Anna decided that she too wanted to make a video diary. She asked me to curl her hair like the main character's and I agreed to film her. However, in her video diary she just made a bunch of stuff up. So no, I do not walk around the house drinking soda and eating popcorn, and Paul does not watch TV like crazy.

I asked her permission to post this video on my blog and she said yes. That is a BIG deal for her because  she is typically a private child. 

Because I like to encourage my children to do what they are passionate about, I asked her if she would be interested in trying out for the local play of Rapunzel.  Her response?  "But mommy, I don't like doing things in front of people. I'm too shy."

Fair enough.

So, for now, I will enjoy the mini glimpses of her performances that I eye as I walk through the house.   

Though she sometimes allows me to sit down and watch her "show," most of the time she becomes embarrassed when she sees anyone watching her.

It is such a treat to watch this little person's personality blossom.


Paul's Exercise Video

Last night I taught Paul how to do a plank. I told him that it works all the muscles in the body. 

I guess I might have exaggerated with the ALL statement.  

He promptly informed me that it did not work your eye lid muscles and would not put that to rest.

I sent a text to some friends about this child's need to always be right. One friend sent back that he should move his tongue in and out because the planks do not work the tongue muscle. Another friend sent back that he should breathe in and out through his nose while doing planks in order to work his nose muscles. 

Well, Paul being Paul, he did just that.  

Another friend sent message that she would need a video of Paul doing said exercise. 

Paul was more than willing to shoot a video showing how he can infact work every single muscle in his body at the SAME time.



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Living Fully In The Moment

“Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one.
And this, this is the only way to slow time: Fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all your attention, you slow the torrent with the weight of being all here." - Ann Voskamp



Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Our Year in Pictures

This  past year (2014) I was intentional about keeping our photos in order. Because of that, when New Years Eve came around I had an easier time of reflecting on our past year. Boy was it a year. I didn't realize all the stuff that we had done until I looked over all the photos.



New Years Eve of 2013 was spent with our friends Colt and Ashley in South Carolina.  We stopped to stay the night at their house on our way to North Caroline.  

We spent the first week of 2014 at a beach house with Roger's Family.

While in North Carolina we took the kids to see the Medieval Times Dinner Theater


In February a  big snow storm came rolling through which caused the kids to miss an entire week of school. We had the neighborhood kids over for smoothies and dance parties.


In March my mom came up to spend the day with us and Anna got her first (and only this far) manicure.

Layla (Roger's sister) also came up in march for a visit and we went exploring in the woods because the weather was unusually warm.


In April a Jasper Family meeting was called to order. My mother-in-law Scarlette had been accepted as a CBF Missionary and needed help brainstorming for the upcoming year.

We also had more warm weather and took advantage of it by going to the Zoo with friends.


May was an incredible month. I turned 30!  My cardiology team celebrated this milestone with me at the clinic. 

In May Roger and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We celebrated this 1st decade by spending a week alone in the Big Apple . . .  New York City.

my favorite spot in NYC

the house we stayed at on 19th street

We attended our 1st Broadway Musical. Wicked


In June our youngest, Anna Catherine, graduated from Kindergarten.

We traveled to Georgia to watch Roger's mother, Scarlette,  commissioned as CBF Field Personnel.

And took part in the wedding ceremony of our dear friends Kelsey and Tyler

Roger trying his best to direct the rehearsal in the rain.


In July we took Paul and Anna to the Frazier History Museum. Paul was insanely excited to see all the armor.

We also spend many lazy summer days with friends and around the house in our own wonderland of a backyard.

In July we also said "goodbye for now" to Roger's sister Layla and her husband Aaron. Shortly after this picture they got on an airplane for Micronesia. They are currently teaching High School there.


In August our friends Colt and Ashley, who we visited at the first of the year in South Carolina, came back to Kentucky to get married. Roger was asked to officiate the beautiful wedding. 

Anna started gymnastics for the first time.  Which, it turns out, she is awesome at!

And the kids started 3rd and 1st grade. Can you tell little Paul is not excited about summer being over?  Can you tell that I am totally ready for a break from parenting all day long?


 In September Paul started back his soccer season.

In July Paul turned 9 but we were unable to have a big party for him until September. He requested a Scottish themed party. My friend Rachel made him a bagpipe cake and my father in law brought his DJ equipment out to pump Scottish music into our backyard.

We also took mini getaways into Louisville for ice cream and cake at the Pie Kitchen.


In October Roger, the kids, and I traveled to Pennsylvania where we stayed in a condo in the Pocono Mountains.

Days were spent sipping coffee, playing in the backyard and hiking down the Delaware.


 Because we were so close to New York City we opted to take the kids there for a day trip. 
traveling to see Lady Liberty

Exploring Ellis Island

People watching in Time Square
At the end of October we celebrated Halloween back in Kentucky with our neighbors. Our street REALLY gets into Halloween which makes it fun for all ages.



November was a crazy month. I was trying to finish out my semester strong and the kids were getting very much ready for winter break.The long nights of homework, followed by the hours spent working in the ER, as well as the hours spent traveling on the road (6hrs a week), were wearing me down. But we tried to take breaks when we could and spend as much time together as possible.


We were out to dinner and Anna convinced us that we NEEDED to take a carriage ride.

Took time to visit my grandma Beaulah in Northern Kentucky.


Like for most people, December for us is a bit busy, but not nearly as the previous month. However, I should not speak for Roger. Pastors always have a rough December. Any and everything seems to take place during advent.

Christmas Dinner at the church
 While Roger was busy with his pastoral duties, the kids and I spent cold lazy days binge watching Christmas movies.

Oh, and sometime during the month of December Paul had to have tests run on his heart. This was just a precaustion because of my heart history. However, he was super excited to have his heart looked at and requested that I go with him and take photos. He told the nurse "you don't need to call a chaplain in for me. I already have one. My mom is a chaplain."   It is sweet to see my child proud of what I do.

This year Roger and I opted to celebrate Christmas with the kids on the morning of Christmas Eve. We had all day to lay around, open presents, laugh, sip coffee, and eat candy, before he had to head into work to prepare for the Christmas Eve service. Now that the kids are older it is important to me to start our own family traditions.

The simple kid got his magic tree house journal.

She begged for high heel leather boots and that is what she got.
New Years Eve was low key this year. Rog and I let the kids stay up late ( they barely made it to midnight), we munched on left over food, played board games and watched movies.  When the year rolled over to 2015 I stood on the front porch and blew this little horn that Anna had gotten from a friend. It embarrassed the kids which made me stand out there even longer and blow even harder.

We attempted to take a New Year selfie but Paul was still mad at me for standing on the front porch blowing a horn.   The poor dog is probably thinking 2015 is going to be another rough year for him.

 Happy 2015!!!