Saturday, October 27, 2007

too pooped to POP

My parents would say they were too pooped to POP when we were little - meaning they were VERY TIRED.

That's how I'm feeling now. I"m about to take my hiney to bed and read.

Friday was dinner out and shopping at Target with a friend while the kids did things with their friends.

Saturday morning I was up at 8 and went for coffee at the neighbors. She had her grandbabies and it was so nice to see them. The parents came to pick them up so it was like a family reunion. Ahh, they grow way too fast. So cute! I remember those days well. They passed too quickly.

I ran to sister in laws to bring the kids their goodies since I wouldn't be seeing them later. They were preparing for a H'ween party. I'm sure they had a wonderful time.

Home to rest, shower, dress and head to church.

After church was Trunk R Treat.. lots of fun was had by all! We passed out candy to all the lil ones. How sweet they are.

Then we zoomed into town to pick up supper.

now.. i'm too pooped to POP!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

150 M W

Let me just say that I love my husband. I love him so much that it hurts! As a matter of fact, today at 3 I called him just to hear his voice. He got a good chuckle out of that, but I noticed he stepped away from the noise so he could tell me he knew how I felt. Then it was 3 minutes of giggles and saying "say something so I can hear your voice" followed by all the sappy words of adornment for each other.

Often my husband goes to bed at 8 or 9. When you get up at 3 a.m. .. well.. need I say more? When he gets in bed he usually texts me so I can go snuggle until he falls asleep. I'm usually cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry or yacking online. Lemme tell ya, for a man who saw NO need for a cell phone just a meer 3 years ago... he sure knows his stuff!

Tonight I noticed no text. Hmm. Strange. Did he fall? Was he hurt? Did he pass out??? No. He was asleep with his hand holding the cell phone. Aww.. he was gonna text and fell asleep. And when he is sleeping.. there is practically NO waking him.

Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see just what juicy message he was about to send me!

Oh, here is our conversation from earlier today (as I scroll through the messages)

Hmm.. what this? WHAT??? I love you??

Wait.. was this TO him or FROM him? At 7:40 this morning?? No.. no texts from him this morning - he usually texts me after the kids get in the bus to see how my day is going.

Wait.. it's I love you TO someone. What number is this??? AND it's a reply with I love u 2, r u okay? WHAT???

So whoever he is texting is pretty versed at texting too.. and WHO the hell is texting my man when he is supposed to be texting me???

At this point I can no longer hear.. I can barely remember to breath. I'm scrolling like a madd woman through the phone book section to match the number.. NOTHING.

Wait? What's this number? What's the time? What 's the date????


It seems as though my wonderful husband has not yet mastered texting as well as I thought. Apparently he was texting his little brother, who was very confused about the "codes" hubby and I use when we text - saves times and it's mysterious because only we know what it means :) And no, it's not THAT kinda code.

Ohoo, I'm sure lil brother in law is gonna have a field day with this! LOL

Friday, October 19, 2007

and that was it

I have to make this quick as I need to hop into the tub - I have a date! Rich is gone to the camp and I"m going to dinner with..... his mom :)

Lemme tell you, it's WONDERFUL to have such a wonderful MIL. Of course, Rich is exactly like her!

Speaking of... the point to my post... one day this week was 21 years that we met. My husband can remember that date over any other - wedding, birthdays, births of our children - I kid you not. He takes that date very seriously. He says that is the day we started or lives together. The wedding part was God sealing it solid! AWww.. I know. That man!

THAT man has put up with me for 21 years!

Each year we retell the story to each other of the night we met. It's neat to hear the man's version. Women are so full of details and men are just basic facts. He'll get into detail if I question and he's learning I NEED to hear those details.

He brought me home a bouquet of flowers, a card and some cupcakes home.

I'm pretty sure God knew what he was doing 21 years ago ;) I thank him often for nudging us together that night. We both were dating people we really didn't want to be with forever.. searching for that special someone. After that night I never looked back. That night I met Richard I told him something I had only uttered once before to a man:

--arms around each others waists as we walk along side by side ----

Me: What would you say if I told you I loved you? Would you think I was crazy?
Him: No, I'd say you just made me the happiest man on earth.

WHAT? How do you say I love you at all, much less on the first night you meet someone? But that's how I felt and always have felt since we met. I feel like I have known Richard forever. I was instantly comfortable with him and could say or do anything and not worry he was gonna run for the hills.

And 21 years.... really don't feel like it. It's been one helluva ride, and I seriously could not have done it without him by my side. I tell him often I love him.. then I follow that with asking if he feels it.. really feels it deep in his heart. I know he hears me.. but it's more import that he feel it. That I'm showing him with everything I do how much I love him.

PS - May 2008 will be 20 years married!

I *heart* my husband.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thank you, Jesus

After work yesterday I was napping in my chair when the news station broke in to say a bus had been in an accident at an intersection near me. I jumped out of my chair, took one look at Jessica and said, "Your brother may be on that bus!"

A quick grab of my purse and keys and we darted out the door. Jessica hopped in her car and was about to pull out when I rolled down the window to find out where she was going. Uhm.. same place I was! GET IN MY TRUCK!!

At the highway corner it was already blocked off. We were told to wait in the church parking lot until they gave the clear for us to drive down to the intersection. Lots of parents showed up. I kept asking what bus number it was and nobody knew. Several frantic phone calls to various cell phones of Daniel's friends were all met with voice mail. CRAP!

The officer let us drive to the intersection. The school bus was on its side, nose first in the ditch! We drove to the ambulance area. I met up with a friend who gave me the bus number.


There were 12 kids on the bus from preK to 5th grade. Our local college football players were on their way to practice when they saw the wreck. They helped the kids off the bus. The bus driver had to be extracated from the bus. Someone ran the red light, clipping the back of the bus on the passenger side sending the bus into a circle and into the ditch.

The news so far is that everyone is okay!! Miraculous.

I'm giving praise today.

If you get a moment, I'd also appreciate a prayer for Kayla who is having heart surgery today. She was born with a heart defect and is having another surgery on it today. She and her husband have a 1-year-old. I know they'd all appreciate it too. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Daylight savings time

Okay, whoever messed with the time change.. STOP IT.

Here is a snippit I found on the web:

"Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

The change to Daylight Saving Time allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes by taking advantage of the longer and later daylight hours."

All I know is that when the kid were young it totally messed up their naps and eating schedules.

I have now figured out why I am so dang tired! The time change. It's not supposed to change until November 4, but that's a week later then normal. My internal clock is anticipating the change already and is really gonna be messed up by the time the change happens. AFter afternoon I'm pooped. Yesterday I slept from 3 to 6! AND went to bed at a decent hour.

I popped out the bed this morning at 5.. and I'm regretting it now. I"m sure I'll need another nap this afternoon. I have a lot to do and don't want to sleep. I know if I don't sleep I'll be in an icky mood and just wanna lounge. I don't have time for that today. I really need to make my weekly menu plan... but I just haven't had time to sit down with the grocery flier and coupons and make one up. Tomorrow the new sales come out.. so I think I'll just wait until then.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I spoke to Rich today while he was at the camp and gave him the rundown of my day, wished him luck in hunting, whispered sweet nothings in his ear and hung up the phone.

Off we went to town. And yes, "to town" is what we say when we are going INTO town to shop or whatever. Going "to town" is a big deal - or we treat it as such. Back-in-the-day (as my kids called it) going "to town" was more of a social event. Families saw other families while they were in town and did the usual catchup chatter. Now we have cell phones and fast-food joints for our hustle-bustle lifestyles. Crazy how the world is now.

So we get back home, grab and snack and spread out doing each our own thing. My MIL calls and I talk to her about the weekend, telling her Rich is coming home on Monday. I can hear a rumble of a big truck but assume it's at the neighbor's.


He came home early ... because... HE MISSED ME!!! Boy, do I feel loved! I really was not expecting him home until lunch tomorrow. AWwww.

Off to snuggle again with hubby! I love surprises like that!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Please, don't bugg me.

I thought I was feeling better. Yesterday was the pits! So glad work was slow. I lounged on and off and was just feeling icky. Tummy gurgling, upset, churning, aching.

Today I feel better - but that's what I thought the other day! All I can think of is I caught some bug and it did not get to settle in and really make me sick as a dawg because I take my probiotics along with a multivitamin. I really need to get back to taking my Ambratose. It's just so icky tasting, but it really does work. I have so much energy and feel so alive. It just tastes THAT bad it makes me not want to take it. Ever chew a vitamin? EWWW. Yes, that's the taste. icky poo!

Sarah has had tummy troubles since she was born. She's not lactose intollerant, she just has a lot of stomach problems. I started her on the probiotics and guess what? We are on day 4 of no tummy troubles! My mom kept suggesting it was IBS. NO. It's NOT. Nervous stomach? Not really. It comes and goes and has nothing to do with what's going on in her life. It just happens now and then. Mostly in the morning. I think her GI tract is waking up and getting moving and she's feeling it. Since starting the probiotics.. normal kid! Amazing how something so simple as taking a probiotic could help. My kids were never sick. Seriously. By the time they would need to see the doctor their chart had been filed away in the inactive files. They each may have taken the "pink stuff" or "purple stuff" twice in their whole lives. No kidding. They get a cold now and again, but no severe sore throats and no earaches. Never have. Now, hopefully I can get them started on a multivitamin. Winter is coming you know :)

Speaking of winter.. the past few days have been incredible weather days! This morning I was down right CHILLY in my bed. I slept in my lounge pants and was chilly! I'm sure it got down to the very low 50s. Beautiful weather. I hope we have a few weeks of weather like this. I have some boxes in storage I need to go through and it's just too hot to be in there digging around and moving stuff.

Rich is at the camp hunting; muzzle loading season started. Hopefully he can snag a deer on this trip.

I'm resting and getting caught up on laundry and some odds and ends around the house. I may have to sit on the patio this evening and have Daniel start up the fire pit, have some wine while the kids roast hot dogs and gobble up s'mores! MMMM We shall see! Fall is my favorite time of the year. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

surfing time

How do you spend your internet time? Favorite blogs, web pages, email, or just surfing google to see where it takes you?

I have been online for oh... 15+ years. So much has changed. My kids cannot recall a time without the internet. Or cell phones. Or cable for that matter!

I like to read blogs. It gives a snippit into a person's life and you can tell a lot about what a person devulges. I'm not drawn to anything in particular about blogs. All ages, children/childless, all religions, areas of the world. It's kinda neat to see what other people are doing in their lives. Pretty much the same as me - living life!

I have found some new blogs to read recently. Funny how before the age of the internet I never would have met these people or known anything about their lifestyles or their part of the world. I can check-in at my leisure and see what they've been up to. I can comment, email or just be a silent reader. There are some pretty interesting folks out there.

Who says the internet is all bad?? All depends on how YOU are using it :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Feeling better

This weekend I was sick. Being the mom and being sick just a few days can throw the entire household out of wack. Amazing.

I finally made it to the grocery store on Sunday evening and that wore me out. I've had on time to make my menu for the week. But I have had lots of lounging time and reading time - that is always good.

Odds and ends around the house need to be put back in their place. Why is it nobody else sees this?? PICK IT UP when you pass by it and take it back where it belongs. ARGH.

That is what frustrates me most - I spend more time picking and putting things back instead of cleaning. I have one section of the cabinet filled with stuff that does not belong in the living room/kitchen/dining room.

Obviously, I must be feeling better because I'm griping LOL Off to do some picking and putting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Spanx wrestling

Sorry for the delay. Life has a way of needing attention.

I leave the mall and zip back to my hotel room to get ready for the services. I'm stoked to have finally gotten some Spanx and cannot wait to wear them.

A quick strip of the clothes and a dash of powder. Time to get those puppies on. I had heard so much about Spanx and was so excited to have finally found a reason to treat myself. Nervously I grab the package, not sure what to expect. Dumping it out on the bed I'm shocked. THIS? is gonna gonna fit?????? What? I kid you not, the width was about as wide as my hand. Seriously.

"No time for games," I keep telling myself. Surely the Spanx people know what they are doing. One leg in. Good to go. I have to lift my other leg at the ankle as my Spanx won't stretch far enough away from the right leg they are currently wrapped around. What? No higher? WAit? Are these panties??? Wait.. whatever they are they gotta go ON the hips.

Slip them off. No way. There is NO way that is gonna fit. Take a swig of water because now my mouth is dry from the panting!

One more try. OH OH. All the way to the upper thighs.. here we go. What? How the HELL am I supposed to get this over my hips and ass... AND STILL BREATHE??? Surely they are the wrong size???

Slipped them off, determined they MUST be the wrong size in the wrong package. A quick reference to the back of the package at the sizing chart. Okay.. height, weight.. go across. Okay.. yes. This IS supposed to fit.

Now I'm nervous. Time is ticking and time has been wasted on these things. I decided to forgo the Spanx and catch them another time. Pulled my dress pants on and slipped my OH.SO.CUTE shoes onto my newly pedicured toes. Next comes the shell and the button up shirt I brought along. nice! I'm hunting for the jewelry and catch a glimpse in the mirror. HUH? I look good. But I could be looking better. I mean... didn't I BUY the Spanx to make me look/feel better??? When was I gonna wear them again if not now?? Why would they sell them if nobody could fit in them? Oprah raved about them. The woman who designed them said there was a need for them. Well, I NEED them now!

Take off ALL my clothes and vow to try once more! I know they will go to at least my upper thighs. I get them that far and roll back onto the bed. I'm wriggling and struggling and rolling around. I'm huffing and puffing and down right determined to get them ON. I stand. OH! I SQUAT! It's working. I'm pulling and tugging and squating.

Ahhh.. I stand erect with my new Spanx firmly (and I mean firmly) in place! Ta-dah!! ON! YES! I won! I'm also sweating, my hair is a mess and heck, I'm pooped! But I have them suckers on!

Now, they were snug. They reminded me of sucking in without having to do the work of holding it in. They reminded me. well.. very much like when you bought pantyhose that were a size too small.. but with a bit more give in them. I don't like my stuff tight and these are definitely tight. But they do hold everything in place and give a more slimming appearance.

Jump back into my clothes. Nice! Find my jewelry. Fix my hair. Touchup the makeup and out the door I dash, feeling as if I know a secret that nobody else knows, and make it to the services on time.

While they were nice and make you feel pulled together, I cannot imagine having to potty. I'm certain I would have pulled the entire stall down by the time I had them back in place. haha. KIDDING! I was glad to get them off and probably would only wear them for special functions. Not my everyday kinda undies.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Friday/Saturday Morning

I had planned to leave by noon on Friday. As usual, didn't happen. Oh well.

The drive up was really nice. My best friend moved up there over 20 years ago. When she moved they were beginning work on Hwy 171. Uh, still not finished. We are talking over 20 years people!! There are just a few places that the roads are really bad. And it seems you are always slowing down and speeding up due to the many towns that dot the highway. Guess everyone is feeling the gas crunch because for long stretches at a time I was the only one on the highway. Which is good.. I guess. But my morbid fear kept saying if I went off the road NOBODY was gonna ever find me. I was able to sing along with the radio and get all into it.. hands in the air and clamping.. all that jazz! Really feeling it. LOL Brought back those feelings of being young and cruising around. Except,,, I'm older, have a better vehicle and well.. I can drink legally HAHAHA

Friday night I was able to meet up with my best friend. She's still just a crazy and fun as she was back in the day (as my kids call it). Its insane to see her as a mom. A single mom doing all the stuff it takes Rich and I to do.. and she does it and makes it look so effortless! She's an amazing mom and rightly so she has two amazing kids. She has done a wonderful job raising her kids. They are funny, respectful, smart, beautiful and handsome.. I could go on and on.

We caught up on things and I think I left around 11p.m.? I didn't bunk with her because she had been sick.. like really sick and I don't want to be that sick. No thanks! It was kinda nice having my own place to come and go like I wanted and not worry I was waking people up.

When I get to the hotel I noticed two cop cars along side each other talking. Hmm.. good thing or bad thing to have two cops in your hotel parking lot? At least they could see me and I felt safer. I drove round and round trying to find a blasted parking space. All the slots in front of my room were taken. All the slots behind the front office/bar/casino were taken. I'm sure the cops thought I was drunk for all the backing up and driving round and round the lot I did. Finally, I had to go inside and ask where was I allowed to park.

The clerk is one of those "honey, sweetie, love, baby" kinda people. And it would be fine if she was a motherly-looking woman. But she was not. She wasn't uglee.. but NOT the kind who needed to be saying those things. She insisted there were slots behind the bar. Oh? Show me. She had that look of distain on her face as she led me out the back door. That face quickly turned to dismay as she discovered I was correct. Then she mentioned the bar was having a few bday parties. Well.. HELLO, Hunny, suga, baby, cutie pie, ya think that could be the problem??? She suggested I make a new row on the end of the cars behind the bar. Hmm.. and when they all leave the bar my truck will then be sitting out in the lane?? Don't think so. Finally I opted to park further down from my room. It was pretty late and if anyone was rolling up at this time they were just gonna have to do like I did and drive around until they found something.

After checking email and yacking to a few people online - yes, gotta have my internet fix even away from home! - I crashed. Hard.

The next morning my eyes formed tiny slits to peek and see what time it was. 8:30. A quick text message to Rich and I was up and getting ready. I wasn't hungry and opted to ride around seeing how much had changed since we had evacuated there for the hurricane in 2005.

Now, you have to understand something about me. I'm really not sure why I'm gonna confess this. Oh yah, I know. So that you can understand why the next part of my story is such a big deal to me. Some will be rolling your eyes, but for me it's a major accomplishment.

I have a fear. A fear of the unknown. I am deathly afraid of going alone to places I have never been. Seriously. Funny? Not really. You know that nervousness you get when you are not sure what door to enter or where you are supposed to be going? Magnify that like a bazillion. Seriously. A wave of heat sweeps over me and I cannot hear anything but silence - deafening silence ringing in my ears. I'm looking around but my brain will not register what I am seeing. I don't see the details like the desk I need to be walking to or the door I need to be looking for.. I just see a wall and people. People who are looking at me as I stand there frozen with this deer in the headlights look on my face and unable to form coherent sentences. This is a far cry from how I was at say 18 through 20. Once I was married I stayed home and started a family. I had no reason to go out and .. no money to go places so I just stayed home. Once I had kids it was better. They were my excuse. I could walk in adjust the baby or the stroller or fiddle with a diaper bag as I desperately tried to look around quickly and see the surroundings. I know, I know. It's crazy! After years and years of doing this I just prefered my safe little web and rarely ventured out. I do my best not to have my children repeat this. I encourage them that they CAN do it and give that mommie nudge when needed. If only they knew their mother was so afraid herself. YIKES!

Showered and dressed, I have decided I will drive around and see what has all changed. I will venture out! And I did. I cruised around and saw all kinds of neat shops being built. Blah. None to shop at. I can see cars turning off onto a detour ahead. GULP. Where were they going? They may know, but I have no clue! Follow them! They lead the way and I followed through a subdivision and an apartment complex. I'd never find my way back now. It really didn't matter. I'm not nervous nelly when it comes to navigating. Granted, normally Rich does the driving and I tell him where to go. This is almost the same, right? Driving, looking... not many cars.. weather is beautiful... I see.. what's that?? A mall!

Just recently I have entered the world of shopping. I hated shopping before. Now? Step aside! Found some really cute shoes at Dillard's. Worked my way down the first corridor and ended up at Lane Bryant. Ohoo.. I dunno where my sense of fear went, but it wasn't there and I could have cared less. I'm sure it's because I felt the security of the mall and most malls are the same with the shops all lined up. You are supposed to look like you are taking it all in - and I was. In the dressing from for the 3rd time and my phone is ringing. Who could that be??

ahh.. best friend.

BF: Where ya at?
ME: Girl, I dunno where in the world I am, but I'm trying on some clothes in a mall I stumbled on! :::squeeling with delight::::
BF: Uhm... are you at BP Mall?
ME: Why. yes. I am!
BF: Well, ::chuckle:: That is across from your hotel. It's behind the Burger King.

WHAT??? Seems my little detour took me around the back side of the mall and it sure seemed like I was way down yonder and nowhere near my room with all the driving I had done. A good chuckle with a very red face indeed. Live and learn! Here I thought I had discovered some hidden mall that even my BF didn't know existed after living there for 20 years.

After plunking down 75 well-spent dollars I made bee-line for the hotel! It was time for the services and I needed to put on my dress clothes.

To be continued..... trust me when I say you don't wanna miss it!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Everybody needs a little time a way....

And that's just what I got this weekend. As much sorrow as there was, there was double the joy! Confused? My kids love when I share a story with them. They say I'm very animated. I'm gonna try and write it out, so hopefully I'll be able to paint the picture with my words since you cannot see my hands waving around as I describe things.

Today I'll tell you about the main reason I headed north.

Early last week I got a call.. well.. lemme go back a little more. Say.. I dunno, a few yrs back. I met a girl, Karen, online and we instantly hit it off. The reason I cannot remember when we met is because it seems like I have known Karen for most of my life. I know a good bit of her life now.. and some of her past but I don't know her family. I don't know the family dynamics and all that jazz. That vital history that tells you how a person got to be where they are today.

Karen is that kind of person who will do anything for you. I mean.. she'll send you anything.. well, just because. Because that's the kind of person she is. I could tell instantly that she is very loyal to her friends and cares deeply about them. Soon I learned first hand how she works LOL She has sent me things over the years. Just because things. She sees this or that and it made her think of me and so.. well. she sent it. No big deal. She wanted to and she did. I'm forever thankful for those gifts which always seemed to come just at the right time. Thanks, Karen.

Then one time she came back home for a visit. She drove from North Louisiana to South Louisiana on her way to Texas and swung by and saw me! I was tickled!! I could see how much the kids loved her and how much she loved her kids. I already knew how much she loved her family - heck, she drove all the way from California to come home and see her family! What a woman!!

Even though we may not have talked or emailed or instant messaged for a few weeks.. we just pick up where we left off. She always had time to stop and listen to me moan or complain or share in a joy or celebration. She's a great listener. Everyone would tell me I was a great listener and I never understood what they meant. I mean.. I like to listen to people. I'm easy to talk to, etc. But I now know what they mean.

Karen shared me with the deep love she has for her dad. Oh yeah, she is a daddy's girl to the core! I could hear her smiling even when she TYPED about her daddy. And she'd tell me how much her daddy loved her children and how much they enjoyed spending time with him. What wonderful memories and what a special bond to help shape. We all know teens and preteens often don't want to be around family much less spend vacation time. But hers did. And by the pictures I saw they really, honestly enjoyed that time.

Karen's daddy got sick. Really sick. She came home to help her mother take him to the doctor in Florida. There he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease .

Time passed and it brought us to last week. Karen emailed to say her daddy had passed away. I knew she was going to be in the state. If the funeral was during the week there was no way I could go. I found out the services were to be over the weekend and I let Karen know I'd be headed north.

Packed my bags and early afternoon I hit the road. Checked into the hotel and headed to the funeral home.

When I walked in I could feel all eyes on me. YIKES! Looking around I didn't see anyone I knew. Hmm.. lemme meander around some. Everyone went back to talking, assuming I was supposed to be there and that I knew what I was doing.

Then I saw Karen. Aww.. Karen with her Sassy hair and outfit!! You know the girl drill - hugs and tears!! She showed me the display of items they had chosen to show bits and pieces of her dad's life. Some patches and drawings, a scrap book she made, things the grandkid's had given him, the clock he made, the medal, the flag. Then I saw the video. Little snippits of his life. The love he had for his family and the passion for living life was very evident.

She introduced me to her family and their spouses and their children, her mother, her best friend and her family, and close personal friends.. I was trying to remember who went with who and trying to remember names but the response was always the same. Karen would introduce me as her friend from down south and they would immediately smile and extend a hand or open arms for a hug. Some seemed surprised that I had drive that they considered "all that way" for a friend. My reply was how I truly felt. "It was the least I could do." And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. HOW do you show someone you care about them? How do you express it? Sometimes actions are louder than words.

Normally, I'm the type who loves to make people smile and keep them entertained. That day and the following day I was an observer. You can learn a lot about people from just watching. And so I did just that.

I stepped back and watched this family come to gripes with the fact that their Daddy, husband and rock was now gone. He was no longer in pain. He was free. Instead, they were left with the pain of his absence, trying to fill the gap he once filled, to never forget him and all he had done. Afterall, he had helped shape them. He had a hand in their lives.

I watched a son hold his mother. His arm a shield of protection as if to say "you are not alone. I am here for you" knowing that it just will never be same for her. I watched spouses cling to each other. Their grief so deep that a sqeeze of the hand was all that was needed. I watched siblings console each other, young and old. I saw teenaged siblings hold each other. A teenaged boy held his sister as she could no longer hold back her tears. He smoothed her hair and kissed her forehead as she cried her heart out. Best friends, arms entangled in the pew behind the children, trying to gain strength as they helped each other come to terms with the passing of one father and reliving the passing of the others' dad years back. You never forget. And another funeral is a reminder of what you've been through. A best friend knowing what the other was going to have to go through. Knowing the hard road and willing to be there to support her. I saw the widow face a day no one ever wants to face. She's a strong woman. I know she will be okay. I know she will be so lost. So empty. I sat behind two young girls with small children and watched them constantly wipe their tear-stained faces. Their young children were still and quiet. Unsure of what was really going on, but nobody had to tell tell them it was serious.

After the service they released balloons into the air. I hope they were able to release some of their grief with those balloons. Their daddy is living BIG in Heaven! He is with the Lord, watching over them and awaiting their arrival to join him.

In the meantime, I have no doubt that this family will continue their strong bond. And I found that strong bond often envelops complete strangers - myself. Karen's brother hugged me and said, "We were glad to have you."

And I was glad to be there, to witness where my friend comes from and how she became the woman, mom and friend she is today!

I love you, Karen. I hope you know now how much our friendship really means to me. I will continue to keep your family in my prayers.