Category Archives: Gratitude

Forever Marked: Memories of 9/11

In the last day or so, I have noticed many people posting/tweeting about 9/11/01. As a nation, we don’t want to forget, and we shouldn’t. People are sharing where they were, who they were with, and encouraging all to always remember the thousands of people that lost their lives that day. I remember my mother telling me that there would be several days in my lifetime that I will forever remember, in addition to the “big” days like graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my children. She said that these days will undoubtedly make an indelible mark on my memory– I would always remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and how I was feeling. Among her significant days were the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. 9/11 is one of those days for  me.

A particularly significant event in my life happened at the exact time a plane hit one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. I was with my husband at my OB/GYN. I was several months pregnant with our second child, and the purpose of that day’s visit was to hear the heartbeat of my baby for the first time. The doppler was on my belly when the door of my exam room opened and a nurse leaned inside. The fast-paced thump thump thump thump of my sweet daughter’s heart echoed through the room at the exact time the nurse said, with a look of horror in her eyes, “an airplane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” Fear and disbelief along with excitement and joy raced through me at the same moment. The memory and the  juxtaposition of these two events will be with me forever.

I believe that most everyone knows someone or knows of someone that has some connection with 9/11. In today’s world, six degrees of separation is several too many. I think it is more like two to three degrees. Whether they once worked at the twin towers, Pentagon, or the airlines, knew someone that did, or were connected with one of the people that worked to rescue victims or clean up the rubble for the many months following, I believe most everyone has a connection to that day in one way or another. My husband worked at a law firm in one of the towers years ago, my sister-in-law lost a relative and friend, one of the flight attendants was from my area, and a friend lost her next door neighbor. My list could go on and on. I’m sure yours could as well.

9/11 is one of those days my mother told me about. I will never forget that moment. That day. The loss of life and the beginning of life. Each year I pause, as many of us do, and remember. I give thanks for the gift of life and mourn the sacrifice of life. I appreciate the fragility of life, and am pulled back to the place of remembering the importance of each and every day. Both the big things and the little things that make up the fullness of life. Remembering our most precious commodity, time. Time doing the things that matter. Time with those we love. Time. Embrace it, and never forget.

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Filed under Gratitude, Something to think about

Really, Where Did the Time Go?

The new school year is in full swing.  My daughter is now a middle schooler and my son is a high schooler.  Both of them have entered their new realms with enthusiasm.  They were ready for new challenges and eager to move on to the next level of their education and social development.  Looking at them, I can’t believe they are already at this stage.  In my mind, I can instantly be transported back to their infancy, toddler years, or early elementary days.  Those days truly don’t seem that long ago.  Where did the time go?  Really, where did it go?

I have never been a parent that wished for either of my children to hurry along a particular stage of childhood, no matter how difficult it may have seemed at the time.  I have known many parents throughout the years to say how they couldn’t wait until their child got through the “terrible twos” or couldn’t wait until their child finally started school so they could have a life again.  I am sure that deep down these parents weren’t wishing this time away, but merely wanting to get through a challenging period and on to one that wasn’t as taxing from a parenting standpoint.

I remember when my son was a baby, many friends and acquaintances would tell me to treasure each day because the years go by so fast.  “In a blink of an eye, he will be going to college,” they would say.  Of course, at the time I could hardly imagine that happening.  I also felt a little annoyed each time I heard that, thinking these parents were exaggerating and had it wrong .  I was immersed in the world of diapers, no sleep, and adjusting to my new role as mom.  Now, as I begin the new phase of parenting a middle and high schooler,  I realize these parents are right.  I can see the time of being an empty nester right around the corner.

I know many friends and family members that have now joined the empty nester community.  Some have handled the transition well, and others have had a difficult time.  If parenting during the teenage years were particularly challenging, this time can be a welcomed change.  I have heard some people say that God made teenagers with all their challenging ways and ideas to help prepare parents for the time when they leave the nest.  Even though I am only in the early stages of the teenage years, I can see how that is true.

I admit, I cried like a baby when my son “graduated” from middle school.  He had been at his school for twelve years (he started as a toddler at a Montessori school), and it was hard to imagine him not being there any longer.  I can only imagine how hard it will be for me when he graduates from high school.  My children (and husband) already tease me about how much of a mess I will be when that day arrives.  So, bets are on that I will be in the camp of having a harder time when my “baby” leaves the nest.

Author Gretchen Rubin has a wonderful 2 minute video on her website (www.happiness-project.com) that captures the essence of my sentiments.  I really love her books  and all that she shares with the world.  Check out the video, but make sure you have a tissue or two in hand–  http://theyearsareshort.com.  After watching, I am sure you will definitely understand what I am feeling (if you didn’t already) and possibly shift your perspective and attitude towards parenting.  Hold on and cherish each moment.  It is such a short time.

I have two special announcements…

-Freckles, the main character in my books, now has a Facebook page!  I invite you to check it out– http://www.facebook.com/funwithfreckles.

Also, FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue will soon be available as an eBook!  I am so excited!  I will keep everyone posted!

What we are reading:

Me:  Five Lessons- The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan (hoping it will help!)

My son:  The Rush for Gold by John Feinstein

My daughter:  Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler

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Filed under Gratitude, Parenting, Something to think about, Uncategorized

When Lightning Strikes… Literally

Our house was struck by lightning this week.  A typical summer thunderstorm popped up one afternoon, only this one seemed unusually strong.  In literally a flash, many things in our house were changed, and not for the better.  Initially, the strike appeared to have only hit the AV equipment in our media room.  My husband saw an arch of light shoot from the cable box, followed by sparks and smoke emitting from all the speakers.  To say it was a little scary is an understatement.  A visit from the fire department  assured us that no immediate fire/issues remained in the walls, but they recommended an electrician thoroughly check our entire system to assess all the damage.

Upon further exploration, we discovered that the lightning actually affected many other things in our house…  both cable boxes (the one downstairs as well), alarm system, wireless router booster, landscape lighting, all our phones, the phone box, a phone jack, and two sofas (they have motors so they can recline).  This is all on top of the real possibility that our main television and all the stereo components are ruined.  I feel sure other things we aren’t even aware of were affected as well.

This experience brought to mind the phrase things can change in an instant.  This holds true for many things.  A tragedy, death, award, diagnosis, winning the lottery, natural disaster, book contract, or invitation are a few examples of things that can all alter the course of our lives forever.  It is our reaction to these events that determine whether the course has a positive or negative impact on our lives.  While some events cause immediate pain or hurt, I have always wanted to believe that there is a silver lining.  Sometime that lining is challenging to find or takes its time to surface, but I honestly believe that it does always exist.

Although this event impacted our lives to a degree, it was minor in the big picture.  It did, however, make me think about others that aren’t as fortunate in similar situations.  I do believe there is even a silver lining in our story, although I haven’t quite figured it out yet.  On a superficial level,  the silver lining might be an opportunity to get a new television and stereo equipment, or that our new cable boxes have more DVR storage.  I do know that I was very thankful we were home when it happened so we could disconnect the power and prevent further damage.  I am also thankful we live close to a fire station that responded quickly and was thorough in making sure all was safe in our home.  But most of all, I realized that the situation could have been much worse, and I was thankful that my little family of four was safe, minus a few frazzled nerves.  On second thought, that is the silver lining and what really matters.

What we are reading:

Me:  Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander

My son (14):  The Kill Order by James Dashner (Prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy)

My daughter (11):  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Filed under Gratitude, Something to think about