Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Missing: One Heart and So Thankful

All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mom.

There are no words big enough, strong enough or fancy enough to express the depth of my love for the ones who made that dream come true.

I lost my heart with the birth of my first child and haven't seen it since.

She held it firmly in her tiny fist only letting go of it to share it with her brother and sister.

The three of them have had complete possession of each heartbeat.
The three of them have been the reason for each breath.

It is frightening to lose one's heart so completely.
So irrevocably. 

I used to believe that life would be a little less frightening when they got a little bit older. 

I used to believe that when they reached that first birthday I would be able to sleep without first watching for the rise and fall of their breath. 
I used to believe that when they learned to talk and could tell me what was wrong or where it hurt I would be able to relax and assume all was well. 
I used to believe that when they were old enough to take care of themselves I would be able to stop worrying about them. 

I have found that motherhood doesn't work that way. 
Once those tiny hands close around your heart you are theirs forever. 
You belong to them in a way that you belong to no other. 

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Just sayin'............

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thank you Mrs. Butler

My First Grade teacher was named Mrs. Butler.

I loved her very much
and when asked to name
my favorite teacher or 
the one who has had the 
most impact on my life,
I always, 
with no hesitation
speak her name.

You see, Mrs. Butler taught me to read.
She introduced me to the power of words.

I distinctly remember two things about First Grade...
how kind my teacher was to me on the day I was stung by a bee
and the moment I read my first words.

Both of these memories have colored the tone of my
classroom and while I have too often failed miserably in 
the kindness department I still continue to strive to be the same
soft shoulder for my students that Mrs. Butler was for me. 

And just as she must have,
I live for those days when the 
eyes of a five year old meet mine 
as they gasp a little
and grin a lot because 
"Oh snap! 
I just read that all by myself!

Mrs. Butler opened a magic door for me and sent
me through it to worlds that began with
Sally, Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff then continued on
with Meg and Charles Wallace and on and on.
(100 bonus points to those who know Meg and Charles Wallace)

I was never far from a book and was frequently instructed
to get my nose out of said book because I chose to read over
almost any other activity. 

I read then (and still do) as if my mind was as hungry for words
as a stray dog is for food and it makes sense that
my word hunger would evolve into the need to create
my own stories.

My own words have never flowed as freely as I imagine
they do for other people who feel compelled to tell their
stories. I search hard for that perfect combination of words
that will recreate a moment. It has never come easy for me. 

I write. 
And re-write.
And re-write again.

My life is different now. I am still re-learning to walk up and down
stairs. My balance is iffy and my gait feels awkward. My hands
are weak and don't want to function some days. 

I now find myself searching harder for those just right words.
They have become elusive and as hard to hold on to as the 
mist that rises from the lake behind my house on these cold

This post alone has taken days and days and days to write. 
I have no idea how many hours I have spent typing and 
re-typing these words. Each time I return to these words 
I find and correct errors and complete unfinished sentences.

As I slowly emerged from my coma I do not recall being frightened.
Not until I was aware enough to realize that my
words were hiding from me and that the 
words of others had to swim sluggishly upstream
through a brain that just did not translate as it once did.

Just today, I could not recall the words
'birthday card'. 

It is frustrating and scary. 

There are good days and bad days.

Sometimes I have to wipe tears away 
in order to see the keyboard but I am determined to use
that stubborn, hard headed attitude my husband loves
so much to find and keep my words.

I have more to say now than ever before.

Just sayin'..........................

PS. Mrs. Butler-

I wish I could find you and thank you in person. 
I still love you. 

Ann Marie

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Woke Up This Morning...Thankful

I love the Facebook trend of thankfulness
in which many participate during the month of November. 

It blesses me to see into the hearts of both friends and
acquaintances as they share the things for which they
are thankful. 

Giving thanks is a habit I acquired
many, many years ago
during a particularly 
dark and stressful season of life. 
It was a time filled with self-doubt
and negativity.

God showed me then
that a grateful attitude is an effective defense
against anxiety and the process of searching
for new things to thank Him for every day takes
your mind to places of peace.

I began by keeping a journal. Each night I wrote
three positive statements about myself and three
new things for which I was thankful. 

Over time, I developed a habit of praying myself to sleep
each night by thanking the One who provided
every blessing that graced my life. 

As I read the many thankful status updates
today it occurred to me that there is power
in the act of sharing gratefulness with others.

So I sat down a few moments ago
and placed my fingers on the keys
just as I was taught so many a few years ago
in typing class at Baldwin High School. 

Still peeking at the keys,
just as I did then, 
I began to make my first
giving of thanks Facebook status posting. 

I quickly realized that a status post
is just too... 
for me
in this season of my life. 

Hence, the blog post. Just sayin'....

On this first day of the traditional
season of giving thanks
I am thankful for 
the gift of life. 

I am thankful that mine was 
given back to me. 

It isn't the same life I had
before. It is a life with new

But each morning is another chance
to get it right.

Each day is an opportunity to
extend Grace to another
just as Grace has been extended
to me. 

I am thankful for each day 
that I wake up for each day 
is a gift, people.

Just sayin'............................