Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On friends - a shout out

I don't know if this is a normal thing, but I think about relationships all.the.time. I am constantly trying to figure out how to hang out with friends, how to bless friends, how to love friends - life gets busy and I'm always trying to make awesome things happen with awesome people. 

I value my friendships a lot. When I was growing up I didn't have many friends and this makes me see friendships like gold. Losing friendships over the years has taught me how much work friendships are, and the good lasting relationships have taught me that that work is worth it. 

Now I am in a place where I have a lot of friends. More than I can reasonably spend time with - and yet my lost relationships still haunt me. Not much makes me sadder than that distance. I am so thankful for the relationships I have now - I am so abundantly blessed. It's actually ridiculous - ridiculously amazing. And despite how awesome my friends are now, I still grieve the loss of other friendships. 

This weekend was a weekend for friendships and for healing. I was away at a wedding (more on that later) in Portland. On my way there I stayed with a summer camp friend - Heather. I met Heather when I was 18, the summer after graduation in Washington at Lake Retreat. We clicked immediately. There have been years where the physical distance between us made a big difference - seeing as I lived on the island, there was an expensive 2 hour ferry ride, a four hour drive and a border between us. At one point she lived in Australia for a few years, and the distance stretched even further - since this was the time before facebook, the distance seemed impenetrable. But thankfully when I moved over to Vancouver she had moved back to Washington and the distance was much closer! I got to be in her wedding and she and her husband, Mark (now also my friend), came to our wedding in Canada. We visit them often and I am so thankful for that. 

Me and Madeleine - she's the baby that was in Heather's tummy in the above photo

I got to spent Thursday night and Friday with her - we stayed up talking. What a gift to have a friendship that you can pick up so quickly. We may live in different countries and have fairly different lives but there is a foundation of friendship and sameness that covers that. It is such a blessing to get to talk and laugh and know this friendship has lasted over time and will last over the years to come. Thank you Heather for your generosity and constant support. 

I left Heather's house and headed down to Portland where I would be staying with Rachelle Lazenby (and her husband Adam). Rachelle and I met quite randomely - in fact I'd heard briefly of her husband a year earlier without knowing who he was. Rachelle and Adam were a part of our Every Nation church in Calgary, U Church and at one point they were planning to move to Vancouver. Paul had met Adam a year prior at Harvest Institute in Calgary and since they were both from the same small area outside of Portland Paul had told me about him. Then Rachelle came to check out ENVancouver in summer 2011 when they were moving here - she came into the church, I met her right away and I decided we should be friends. I invited her to join us for dinner at the picnic at the park (I always have extra food) and that began our friendship. Rachelle and Adam didn't end up moving to Vancouver after all, they're based in Portland now but I have had the pleasure of having Rachelle or both of them stay with us now many times. I love that they just call to say they need a place to stay and of course they are always welcome. We have had hangouts in Calgary, Vancouver, Gresham and Portland. I love that!

[This is where I would insert a photo of Rachelle and I - but apparently we have none! Terrible]

Rachelle and Adam were so great to spend time with - we alternated between laughing and playing board games, and talking and having deep conversations. Rachelle and I always have the most amazing conversations - we talk about life and relationships and marriage and family and God and church and I love that we have never really lived in the same place and yet our friendship is so authentic and real. She always speaks truth and encouragement to me and always leaves me feeling like she was so glad to spend time with me. Looking forward to many years ahead, friend!

Next up is the reason for my Portland visit - my dear friend Stephanie. I love Stephanie for many reasons - one of the more silly reasons is that so often we will go to parties and end up there in the same basic outfit. This has happened many many times. It never ceases to put a smile on my face. When I first came to Vancouver and met Stephanie back in 2006 (!) I thought she was so cool and like such a good dresser. To think that we dress the same now, can only be a compliment. Stephanie is a strong, supportive, listening friend. I constantly feel blessed to get to know her and this was never more true than Saturday at her wedding to Nathan. 

Stephanie is now married to Nathan. She met him through her best friend (and Paul's cousin) Louanne, when Louanne was marrying his Dad. Their wedding was beautiful - it was a moment for everyone to hear a bit more about these two great people. Her amazing bridal party was filled with women I really like - Megan and Louanne did an AMAZING job of sharing about who Stephanie is and was - they gave such great insight and shared great stories. It was a blast to be a part of their big day and to get to know her even better through the stories of others. A year and a half before her wedding, we were in the same hotel for Louanne's wedding and afterwards Steph and I sat outside in the hot tub with Paul's family and the two of us got to chat. For some reason this final chat with a close friend before embarking on our big USA adventure meant so much to me, and I'm tickled that her wedding in the same spot was just as meaningful. Thank you for letting me be a part of this special moment, dear friend. Congrats, to the Miles'.

And lastly, for today, my dear dear friend Emily. Emily and I also met back in '06 and she quickly moved up the friendship ranks to become my best friend. Emily and I spent countless hours driving to and from church events together, we threw parties together, we had T&E dates where we ate junk food and watched movies and we loved people together. She is the first friend I ever had that would come to my house before I got home (she had a key) and do my dishes! She helped my sister and great friend Lyndsay throw me a surprise 25th birthday party and she loved me in so many ways. We have had many adventures together - rope course climbing, kayaking, skiing (I taught her how!), and so much more. 

I can't tell if Paul looks HUGE in this photo or if we all look tiny, but it's ridiculous either way

5 years ago we stopped being as close. Our friendship changed and while we remained friends we were never the same. This has been one of the biggest regrets for me - Emily is an amazing women and I missed our closeness over the years, especially at both of our weddings. This weekend at the wedding Emily and her husband Rob were also there - after the wedding they opened up their hotel room for a bunch of us to go hang out in - and we did, until 3am! During that time though Emily and I FINALLY talked about friendship and discovered that our lack of closeness was all a misunderstanding. We were both shocked when we understood what had kept us apart all this time - and how joyful we were to discover we both still cared about each other so deeply. I felt, in a moment, that I had my friend back. I can't shake the feeling that God gave us a gift this weekend - the truth and our friendship. I have my Emily back. I can hardly express how much this means to me. Emily is the sort of person you are lucky to have in your life and I have missed that. Ems I know you'll read this - thank you for being you, and thank you for being my friend. 

And this brings us to the end of todays post "Tara's awesome friends." But a post about these women wouldn't be complete without first issuing a sincere thank you to each of their husbands. My friends have married well. Their husbands are men who love and support them. Their husbands are men who become friends to their wives friends. I am thankful to see men who support and love their wives in a way that allows each of my friends to be all that they were meant to be. I know you don't do it for me (obviously) but I see it as such a gift in my life that my friends have rad husbands - thank you to Mark, Adam, Nathan and Rob for being who you are and loving my friends. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Octoberfest - Part 1 - Menu Plan "Monday"

Wow - it has officially been 19 days since I last blogged. 19 days! Tragic. Probably no but me finds this to be tragic, but honestly it has made my heart sad. Especially as the last 19 days have been BURSTING with life - hence the lack of blogging, and hence the giant list of things to blog about! 1 amazeballs project, 2 weddings, 1 great shower/stagette, Thanksgiving rundown and a few other tidbits has made this a very full couple weeks and I can't wait to tell you about it all. But first, some menu planning - because while exciting things come and go, the day to day continues. And we have definitely been eating well this last while. 

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Indian take out
We have out of town guests who stay with us quite regularly and they wanted to thank us by bringing us a tasty meal and drink and watching a movie together. It was an awesome night!

Tuesday: Harvest Party!
Last time I went to the states I found a few fun discoveries - Pumpkin Flavored baking kits in all sorts of types, including some pumpkin shaped marshmallows! I decided then and there that our lifegroup would be having a Harvest Party! Since I was away all weekend and am in need of easy food I shopped Costco USA/Canada for easy party ideas.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (mix)
Pumpkin Brownies (mix)
Apple Cider (premade)
Coffee & Hot Chocolate with pumpkin marshmallows
Chicken Wings (not sure on flavor yet - Honey Garlic?)
Cocktail Wienies
Hummus and Pita
Easy Rotel Queso with chips
Mini Pizza's (from Costco)
Pork Bites (Costco)
Shrimp Nests (Costco)
Mozza Sticks (Costco)

And BAM - you have a party!
At this party we'll also be doing Pumpkin Carving and having a fire out back with s'mores! I am actually so excited for this! It's going to be awesome. 

Wednesday: Taco's - Hard shells with ground beef & the fixings - just like childhood.
Wednesday will be our first night in a while to be at home together and rest - I picked an easy festive dinner / made even more easy by the fact that when I got home from grocery shopping Monday I threw a huge amount of beef into the crockpot with taco seasoning since we had two meals this week that needed it and a third in a week. It's waiting in the fridge to be reheated and my work load just got lighter. Then Paul and I will catch up on some SNL and if all goes according to plan, will be in bed by 9pm - please Lord let everything go according to plan - so very tired. 

Thursday (Halloween): Crockpot Meatball Stroganoff
Halloween is this Thursday - and normally I go hang out with Lims and the Maxwell's and join them in trick or treating with their kids - but the Maxwell's are going out earlier than I can make from work, and this is our first year in a real home so I assume we will get some kids. I'm going to bring our portable fire pit to the front yard - have warmth and some drinks and hand out candy to kids - hopefully a friend or two will join me. Therefore an easy easy dinner is extra important - something that I can eat as soon as I walk in the door from work since kids are usually out trick or treating by the time I arrive home. 

Friday: Appie Night 
Friday is my day off - I have plans with two friends (What up Shannon! and Kayla!) and will stop at Costco - they were out of Diva crisps this week and I need some for dinner. We have the Froese's coming over and as couples one of our favorite traditions has been appie night and board games. Therefore we continue in that style! This time Laura picked the appies - she's been to enough parties at my house to have requests to put in. 
Nacho's (loaded with the works and served with homeade salsa, guacamole and sour cream.)
StuffedMushrooms (Laura has these are our housewarming and requested them!)
Boursin & Crackers (A classic)
Wings (Honey Garlic and Thai Curry)

Saturday: YOYO (You're On Your Own) 
Saturday we get to have a lazy day at home after a month of busy weekends and 3 week of travelling. To say we are excited to sleep in and do nothing productive is an understastement. After a day of rest and relaxation we will head over for a visit and possible dinner with a couple down the road from us and their family. We know the Montroy's from Camp but also are lucky enough to live near them. We're very excited to get to hang out with them finally!

Sunday: Taco Salad
Sunday will be another day of resting and possible a bit of work around the house - then it's time to set up coffee in the new church building for the first time - we will do that, finally get to be at church after a month of travelling and missing church and then will come home where we will eat taco salad, mmmm. Knowing the meat is already cooked will put a HUGE smile on my face. Thanks Monday's Tara, you rock!

Dorothy from church snapped this photo of me serving dinner at a church function.
Seemed appropriate for a food post!

Reviews from last week:
Since I haven't posted a Menu Plan Monday in a while I can't really review from last week - with busy times our schedule has been all over the place. But here are the new recipes I've tried lately.

Thai Coconut Curry: Next time I would go heavier on the spices - it wasn't super flavorful, but the flavors you could taste were good - I think the noodles and coconut milk just mellowed it out to much. But this will stay on the roster for sure. 

Crockpot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta: This was a very simple and easy recipe that tasted great. I will definitely make this one again.   

Pumpkin Gnocchi: I needed waaaaay more flour than they suggested, but it was a fun meal and I would like to try it again. It was fun to do with kids, though messy. It made me want to try making standard gnocchi as well. 

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie: I already know I love this recipe, I used leftover turkey and roasted veg from thanksgiving instead and our LG LOVED it. Great use of leftovers and easy with the store made pie crusts. 

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili: This is a nice meal to leave for my house - I whip up the rice while making lunches the night before and then put the chili into the crockpot overnight. In the morning I can put it in the fridge with the rice and BAM a meal. It also works to leave in the morning before work for my crew to find when I'm travelling - it's a great meal and tastes good too!

Crockpot Creamy Chicken Taco's: We have had this dinner a million times but every time it remains so easy, so tasty and a real crowd pleaser. And best of all I get to put it in the crockpot in the morning and walk away! That's a winner.

And that, as they say, is that. Next up: Thanksgiving 2013 by the numbers. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I recently read this post and LOVED it. It reminded me of a concept that my husband Paul has been teaching me about. Paul hates to give generic compliments. He doesn't want to just say "you look pretty" or "good sermon" - he wants to tell you why you look good or why your sermon was awesome. He wants the compliment to be specific and helpful. 

This often gets him into trouble - in his attempts to explain why he likes something he will try to be creative - and this can lead to awkward compliments like "You look great, like a pirate" or "Your hair is cool, like a chia pet" or "You look like you get dressed in a clown car and still look good". His intentions are good, but his delivery....not so much. 

However I see how he does this well often and it's inspiring. When Paul compliments me I know why what I am doing is valuable and can then focus on that. If he likes my outfit "because the boots are cool" then I know he likes my boots and I should wear them again. Rather than just saying, "you look good" leaving me with no idea of what he likes. Now these are more shallow examples but that's where it starts. 

I think, though, that this is super important as we get into the realm of more important topics. When someone tells me they like my house or decorating, I'm like, "cool." It's nice that they like my house, and yes I did decorate my house so I like receiving compliments but I'm not sure why they like my house or if I've achieved the goals I have for decorating my home. However if someone says "I love how you have decorated your home, it feels homey and inviting, and also like you are expecting people to have a good time there" - now THAT helps me. Not only does that feel good to hear (duh) but it also helps me know if I reached my goal. (My goal being that people would feel my home is inviting and comfortable. That it would look like I wanted it to be welcoming and pulled together, without being intimidating. I want it to be polished and attractive, yet homey and functional).

When someone shares a testimony or preaches I don't say to them, "You were awesome", I say "You were awesome - you managed to get me engaged at the start of your sermon, and then kept me wanting to follow along all the way." That way it can help them know if they are on route to reaching their goals.

And BONUS, this means I have to think about why I like things. Why did I like your sermon? Am I programmed to tell you you were good? Or was there something I really liked, and what was that? 

For example, on Sunday Pastor Greg was talking on Revelation and End Times. He does a great lesson on this in Kingdom Life Ministry School. When he does that talk at KLMS it's a talk, not a sermon. It's about teaching us something that related to God or Christianity  but isn't necessarily about the state of our heart before God. His talk is great though and it's something we needed to hear. So what he did for Sunday, was take a great talk, and find a way to explain it in a way that points us to faith, and shows us our need for Jesus. He makes a good lesson into a great Christ-Cenetered Sermon. So when I texted him to tell him that his sermon was AMAZING, I explained the above info and how thankful I was he took the time to craft such a powerful sermon. I didn't just say "Good job" or "You were great".

Paul and I are so used to talking this way that we don't even think about it that much anymore - and we find it confusing to receive compliments that aren't in this format. The other day someone at church texted Paul and myself randomly and separately and said to both of us "You're awesome." Apparently we both texted him back right away with, "why?". We didn't even know how to receive the compliment because we didn't know what we were being complimented for or why! The person told us it was obvious we had been married to each other for a while now. 

I think we can help boost the confidence of those around us and help them grow if we can be specific in our compliments. We have constructive criticism already as a goal - what about constructive compliments? 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Mitchell's

So the other day I wrote a post about my mom and what's been going on in my heart and in our lives in regards to her Alzheimers lately. I've written about this before here and here. The support my family received from you all was AMAZING. I mean, truly humbling. Not only does writting out how I'm feeling help - it's cathartic  but it also lets people get a glimpse into our lives as we live with this disease. As a family, it is obvious that we are supported and that other people have gone through such similar things - it's heartbreaking to hear that other people have had to work through these same feelings - Of course they do, and it's obvious they would, but I hate to hear that they have to. 

I wrote the post about my mom on Tuesday after a particularly hard day for my parents the day before. By Wednesday my mom's physical health was actually doing better and by the time I saw her on Thursday evening she was in great spirits. Now she is still in the same boat, but she was no longer in a lot of physical pain. Praise the Lord. Thursday night I picked my mom up and we went to hang out at my sister's. On our way I reminded my mom of a story - she laughed and laughed at the punch line.  

Then Friday I met up with Jenna and Austin, and my mom and her 2 day a week caregiver and friend Leanne. We spent the morning floating and swimming at the pool and then grabbed coffee with a family friend, Alice. It was so nice to spend the time with my ladies without having to care for my mom. I am so thankful for Leanne. This way I got to enjoy my mom and enjoy Jenna and enjoy Alice without struggling to know how to care for mom. What a blessing. While we were together I reminded mom about the story I'd told the day before, and she laughed and laughed like she'd never heard it before. 

Friday afternoon we were having our big family photo shoot - on our way to do so I was telling my dad that same story and when mom heard it she laughed and laughed and laughed. Our wonderful friends, Nick and Laura Froese, were our photographers for the day (thank you to both of them for being the best). Laura was asking me if we had any tricks planned for making my mom laugh and smile like we did the last time we did a photo shoot with them. It made me think - maybe the same story I'd been telling all week to mom with great success? Well let me tell you - I told that same story/joke with punch line to my mom during our photo shoot at least 8 times - and since she knows the story so well (since she was a part of it originally when it happened) I could usually get away with telling just the punchline and she would laugh and laugh and laugh. Almost every laughing shot of her in the photo shoot is because I'd just told that story. Thank you Alzheimers for the help :)

So before I show you the shots - I should probably tell you the story: We have had various cats over the years who have all died. Very sad. We used to have Callie, or "Prince Callie, marvellous he, Callie of our house" as he was mostly known after Alladin came out. When I was young (somewhere under 10) my Dad was backing out of the driveway on a raining day to pick us kids and Mom up at a rehearsal across town. He was watching for Callie and made sure Callie got out of the way before backing up, but sadly Callie ran right back under the car and was killed. My Dad was so sad. He wrapped Callie up in a garbage bag and left her in the garage. He came to get us and on the way home they shared the very bad news. This day is the only day I have seen my Dad cry. We all cried. We gathered around Callie in the garage and cried together. We came inside and told Callie stories. We were a sad little group. 

My mom wanted to cheer us up after a while, so she said there was a saying, "It is better to have loved...." At this point I interrupted  excited to know the saying she was about to say! "Mom, I know this one, can I say it?" She was happy to let me fill in. 

Side note: I recognized this saying from a joke book my parents had given me at Valentines Day. I was under 10, so that explains why a) I didn't think it was weird my mom was going to quote a joke book at our little funeral or b) why what I was about to say made no sense to the situation at all. 

The quote should be: "It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all"

or as my joke book states: "It is better to have loved a short man, than to never have loved a tall"

Cue uproarious laughter from the little group of us - it was unexpected, and in our grief it was funnier than it should have been. To this day we still laugh at it regularly, and it's a story I can tell my mom many times and always get a good belly laugh out of her. 

We have been trying for 6 months to make these happen and wanted to get them before my Mom's disease progressed further. Something has come up every time and now we're in rainy season, which delayed our last shoot. It is a miracle that the timing and weather came through for this, just in time for my mom to be feeling better. God is truly a great God. So without further ado: here are some of our family photos.

Mom & Dad

The original Mitchell's

The Mitchell, Morgan's and Maxwell's

Mitchell's with the grandkids

Grandpa love

The lot of us

Dad with his daughters

Dad with his "sons"

Maxwell's with Mitchell's

Classic Maxwell's

With the boys running; as in real life

Mom with boys

Morgan's with the Mitchell's

Classic P&T photo


With our special guys

We love a good piggy back shot!

Here's us at our engagement, Fall 2009 and now, Fall 2013

And of course, I'll leave you with the best...

**These photos are all by Paraphrase Productions - they are AMAZING to work with and captured our family so well. 
Thank you Nick and Laura for making this a wonderful expereince**

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Chicken sausage, Zucchini and Orzo scramble
Busy work day after weekend away - Deacon's meeting at 7pm - fast and easy is the name of the game! 

This is always a crowd favorite! I made it two weeks ago and froze it, and now it's defrosting in my frist

Wednesday: French Toast with Bacon
I will be out so Paul is making dinner - he gets to pick - and other than Chili this is his other specialty. . 

Thursday: YOYO (You're On Your Own) 
I have a work function and will be cooking every day of the weekend, so we've moved YOYO to Thursday.

We will have our nephews over for the weekend. I'll be making this Friday during the day, so it's ready to pop in when they are over. No fuss for me while they're visiting!

Saturday: Friends Thanksgiving Dinner - 10 people
Paul and I are having friends over who don't have homes to go to. Our menu is awesome:
Turkey & Gravy (Turkey cooked in an oven bag)
Ham (in the oven rather than the slow cooker)
Boursin & Crackers
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Carrots & Asparagus served with Lemon Dill Sauce
Roasted vegetables
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Wine / Beer

Sunday: Morgan Family Thanksgiving Dinner - 15 people
Sunday Paul's family is coming over - I am making the meats and one side dish, his family is bringing the rest. 
Turkey & Gravy (Turkey cooked in an oven bag)
Ham (in the oven rather than the slow cooker)
Rolls / Biscuits
Sparkling Juice
Roasted Veg
Mashed Potatoes
Red Cabbage

Monday: Mitchell Family Thanksgiving Dinner - 25 people
Monday my family is coming over - I am making the meats (2 turkeys and a ham) and one side dish, his family is bringing the rest. 
Turkey & Gravy (Turkey cooked in an oven bag)
Ham (in the oven rather than the slow cooker)
Boursin & Crackers
Rolls / Biscuits
Roasted Veg
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli & Grape Salad
Jellied Salad
Wine / Beer


Reviews from last week:
Monday: Sun dried Tomato Pasta with roasted chicken and veggies 
I know I didn't make this meal as planned but for the life of me I can't remember why. Hmmmm....ah yes, I was running late and only got home in time to throw something together and then race out to a meeting. Paul picked up his own dinner and I have no idea what I cooked for Jessie and I. I know it involved roasted chicken. 

Lifegroup Leaders meeting that night was amazing! Almost no one showed up but God sure did. Wow. I am so glad we made the meeting a priority and went. And afterwards my sister and I headed over to my Dads to visit him and Mom and it was a lovely night. 

Tuesday: Costco Lasagna and Salad
Dinner was easy and tasty! Lifegroup was also really good - I'm so thankful for these people being in our home each week. Gabe led worship, which was awesome. 

Loved this! It went over really well. And I went to bed by 9:30pm as I had a personal training appointment scheduled for 6:30 the next morning. 

Finally got to make this and it was good - next time I'll use more of the seasonings as it was a bit bland but it was very tasty! Then I went over to Jenna's and hung out with her and mom. Nice night. 

Friday: Chicken Sausage, Orzo bake and roasted veggies
So that was the plan but THEN we managed to have our family photo shoot changed to this afternoon. We planned to have dinner at my place afterwards for the family and our photographers, Nick and Laura. My Dad cooked a ham, my sister brought some veggies - we steamed carrots and roasted broccoli. Mmmm.  I made a salad and whipped up some garlic potatoes and a batch of sundried tomato pesto pasta. Mmmmmm. Jenna brought dessert, we all had some wine and it was a lovely night. We stayed up late chatting and laughing. I love my family and friends. 

Saturday: YOYO (You're On Your Own) 
Paul and I were away on the Island for Crystal and John's respective Stagette and Stag. We caught the 8:30am ferry - when we got to the Island Paul headed straight to the Stag and I headed to Crystal's. More on the festivities to come this was gooood.

Sunday: YOYO (You're On Your Own) 
Sunday was amazing - again I'll follow up on this more in my recap! We caught the 3:10 ferry and were home by 5:40. With so little sleep (we were up until 4am!) I felt gross and so I took a nap for a couple hours after we got home and felt much better. Paul made dinner while I napped, and then I got up and made lunches. Back in bed by 10. I love sleeping. 

It was a wonderful weekend, can't wait to tell you more about it. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A "perfect" reality

Someone asked me the other day how I was doing - I told them that the sun was shining and that my heart was at peace. I talked about the joy of having a house full of wonderful students and the joy of having a wonderful marriage to a man I like, love and respect. I talked about loving the home we have been blessed with and having a lot of fun decorating. I talked about projects and plans. I told her about the church I'm involved in and the wonderful, beautiful community I get to be family with. I raved about my nephews and my sister. 

She said, "I'm glad your life is so perfect". By the way, she said that sincerely. She was happy to hear my life was perfect. 

But it caught me off guard. Perfect? My life isn't perfect. And I'm not talking about my inability to be on time for work, or the struggles I have getting to the gym - those are normal things. My life isn't perfect because there are sucky things in my life. My mom is dying. Like actually. It's no longer true that my mom will die sometime in the future because of Alzheimer's - it is now true that she is currently dying from this disease. And this sucks. It's heartbreaking. 

It's funny though - daily I walk in a tension of seeing the joy and the beauty and the goodness of life around me - and yet I experience the sadness and the fear and the sheer panic of the truth of this situation. I am grateful to Christ that I can see the good - and that He has given me so much good. It is the first thing I think about when I think about my life. But next up is my mom and the truth of the sadness of this situation. 

So how am I doing? What I talked about at the start is all true. My relationships are in order - I am at peace with friends and family and coworkers to the best of my ability. Life is good. But every day I face the reality of my Mom's decline. Every time I see her, I know she is dying. I watch my Dad care for her in the face of this slow death. I watch my Dad tired. I watch my sister spend time and effort and love on both of our parents and I watch the reality of the situation affect her as well. 

Some days I am at peace with this. Death is inevitable. My mom turns 60 in December and that is a long life! She has done wonderful things - she has made a family and had a fulfilling career - she has loved her God and served Him. She has been a loving wife and has been loved by a wonderful husband. Death comes, but her life was good. 

Some days I am not at peace with this. This disease is stealing my mom's dignity. It has already stolen her personality. It is wearing my Dad down. Alzheimer's is a shit disease. It's crap. 

I am torn - I want my mom's pain and indignity to end. I want relief for my Dad. And then I feel terrible for wishing this would end for her, because the end is undoubtedly death. How can I wish for that? Some would say there is heaven and peace that comes after death - and I do truly believe that is the case and yet....I only know earth. I only know life. My mom will go to this unknown place before me and I don't know how to feel about her going there - even though the Bible I believe in is clear that it's a good place. But something in me - maybe it's culture, maybe it's TV, maybe it's just humanity....but I fear her leaving life. 

Disease is a lonely thing. It isolates. Disease has separated my mom into the world of the unwell. It has added division or stumbling blocks to relationship. Mom's disease makes me feel isolated at times - I can feel distant from my family - I feel like my Dad and my sister are doing so much and I feel like I could never contribute to her care what they do. And yet they are both thankful for me and say I am doing enough - but it never feels that way. These situations lie to us - it's too hard to see reality and so we hide behind feelings, even wrong ones. I feel distant from those around us - we need more help! And yet even I as her daughter can't help her more, how could others? 

And at the same time I am closer to my family and those around than I have ever been. I have deep, strong relationships that I am truly grateful for. I wouldn't know how to survive this without them - without God. And I have both. 

I don't think there was a point to writing this - but today I am struggling. That's what's on my heart. Big changes are happening for my parents - big pain is around the corner. Big pain is happening now. In all of this I have faith - God is indeed a good God, I have seen His hand on my mothers life a thousand times and I don't believe He would stop being a good God because of one diagnosis. 

I love my mom. She has actively loved me my entire life - and even now when nothing about her is active, I know without a shadow of a doubt that she loves me as much as she is able. I am so thankful to have had a mom like that - even if she is different than other mom's. Always has been. So we will keep going - we will keep visiting, of course - we will keep praying. We will keep finding stories to tell to remind her of our lives together. We will pull facebook up on the iPad and show her all of your photos - "look mom, here is this childhood friend married - look how beautiful they look - here is another one, here is this persons baby. Look, these people moved to someplace neat". And we will believe that God is in this, because He is. Of that I am certain. 

And if you are a praying person we could certainly use your prayers - for my mom (for relief, for God's will to move in her life), for my Dad (for peace and help and for strength and for everything a full time caregiver needs), for my sister and I (that we would know how in the world to be a part of this whole thing and love my parents well - for peace for our hearts), and for doctors and government programs (that things would work in good time, and for my Mom's good). 

Love, T

Photo by Paraphrase Productions

*I've written about the topic of my Mom's Alzheimers here and here before*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...