Monday, April 22, 2013

My Closet

For some reason, in my house....the master bedroom has the smallest closet in the house.  Cra....zy.  I'm not one of those people that store all my winter things during the summer, and vice versa in the winter.  I like all my "stuff" in the same place.  Especially living in Arkansas.....We go from Uggs to flip flops in 2.5 seconds. 

Sydney and I can now share most things.  So that said.....I can never find a thing I'm looking for.  Drives me bananas.  So yesterday....I started organizing.  From the top to the bottom....I was determined to find everything and get this mess straightened out.  Windows open....KLove on the radio.  Here we go.......

I guess you can tell ALOT about a person by what you find "in their closet".  I certainly didn't realize what an emotional ride it was going to take me on.....

I started out aggrivated.....Folks, I had a mess.  Was forced to start at the bottom so I could even get in the door.  Pulled everything out....Boots on one side.....flats on the other.....pumps......flip get the idea.  Brought in a large tub with the intent of getting rid of some things. 

Started pulling out sweaters.....lack of space is forcing me to separate my "stuff".....and hoodies....and jackets.....etc.  Soon my bed was a mile high with all my stacks. 

As I began my journey.....I found it hard to part with so many things.  And soon I was up and down with emotion.

*  Ran across my momma's jewelry box. Yellowed with age.  Nothing in it of monitary value.  (my dad's 2nd wife made sure of that....note anger here.)  But so many things she had kept.  I peeked in and saw a couple of costume things....a newpaper article of when I was in the Miss Arkansas pageant and another of when I announced my engagement......also a picture of my little brother when he got his black belt in Taekwondo.  A cigar that says "Its a boy" from when my little brother was born.....just things.  I didn't dwell too long....or I wouldn't have gotten anything done. I miss her so very much.

* I was pulling things out....I saw things with tags on it.  SCORE!!!!  New outfit for free! know that feeling.  :)  Then I checked the tag.  Small.  Yea right!!!  I'm sure many of you know THAT feeling as well.  I went from happy to ticked faster than the speed of light.  Gotta get the weight off....Gotta get the weight off....Gotta get the weight off......I'll start Monday. 

* That feeling held on a while as I was finding all my pretty spring tops and dresses from last year.  Pre-surgery.....Pre "Put on 20 lbs"......sigh.  Yep.  Gonna start Monday.  One of these days, after I get this weight off....I may pull out my boobs....:)  Yes....literally.  For they are now located in a box in the top left corner on the top shelf.  I love these clothes.

*  Kept on pressing on and found all my "Cubs Blue" hoodies, tshirts and such.  (Sam's USSSA tournament team he played on for years)  What memories.  I sat and played over in my mind a few memories of all the wonderful times from our "cubs days".  Some of the best and parents.....that have and will stand the test of time.  Even though now.....Cubs blue becomes "Bryant blue" hence, I will never have it on my body....hehehe  (To my Bryant friends....I love ya...BUT!)   Just couldn't part with it. 

* I now come across all the "Panther" stuff.  I now have a whole drawer dedicated to that.  From baseball, basketball, football, dance.....I have a complete wardrobe.  I am however....the biggest fan to a couple of special kiddos.  Memories memories.

* My fire safe.....that holds absolutley nothing except a few important papers, my mother's journal,  and all of my prescription meds.  I look at it and giggle to myself that I have a safe but not much of monitary value to put IN the safe.  Then I kinda go back to aggrivated that we live in a world where sick people have to lock up their meds.  Grrrrrr.......

* My underwear drawer.  Yep....getting personal here.  14 bras.  Perfectly good Victoria Secret/Jockey bras.  I looked at that empty tub.  Nope.  Can't do it.  Just folded them neatly and placed right back in the drawer.  Not ready for that just yet.  or ever.....

* I then found my "hat basket"....So many....86 to be exact....that I had to get a "bigger" basket.  I touched each and every one.  Most were gifts.  I don't have to tell you how special they are to me.  They take me to the roughest battle I've ever faced.  Only had a wig on my head a time or two....I was a hat girl.  Brings to mind those close to me who are in the midst of their fight.....Hallie, Mr. David, Amy C.'s mom, Amy B. and  so many others that are where I have been.  I stopped right then.....with my dogs barking at my window to come in.....the mower next door going.....the chainsaw noise across the street.....and my two wonderful kiddos arguing in the next room.....and prayed for each by name.  I then felt peace because I know that God is going to bring them to this place.  The place I am now.  Tuesday of this week will have been a year since my diagnosis.  Boy what can happen in a year.  For the record.....I plan to wear some hats this week.  I think they are a "crutch" of sorts.  Not ONE of them are going into the tub......which is still empty at this point!  lol

* Next.....I came across my bridesmaid dress for Gina's wedding.  I am hosting her shower at my house next weekend which first prompted the spring cleaning idea.  (My peeps are Oh so thrilled....) I am so happy that she found love and said a little prayer for them.  Also threw a prayer up there that I can somehow look decent in this dress beside my beautiful friends.  I'm a sight right now.  Picture a twelve year old with bleach blonde spikey hair with a hind end as big as Texas.  That's me! day.  Also....sent a text to hairdresser.  Gotta tone down the hair.

*  Tshirts.  Lordy.  I should just chunk them all!  right????  wrong.  I came across 13 "something for the cure" shirts that others have sent to me where they have "walked, ran, pledged, donated, done "something" in my honor.  Awesome.  They are now folded neatly on my shelf.  Along with many other BC awareness shirts.  On top is my personal favorite....."Team Terri" shirt from the Race for the cure.  Another memory that I will never forget.  Over 100 members joined me in walking for their hero. And our team walked among thousands. 

* I found my 20 year reunion Tshirt from the "Class of 89" at Newport High.  Made me miss my Sandy and all my Newport buds.  Then I sat for a second remembering Newport.  How so many reached out to me over the past year.  And how I can't wait to attend our 25....our 30......Yep.  Diet starts Monday!   hehehe

* I came across my "cruise clothes" from spring break last year.  The best family vacation ever!  With the best of old friends.....and the making of new ones.  Was diagnosed a week later.  I think the Lord provided that week....because he KNEW what fight I was about to start.  Memories. Memories!

*  On the front are my "fat clothes".....Thank GOD for pikos.  They are "boxy" and hide everything!  This little section will get me through.  Soon THESE clothes will be too big.   :)

I ended this "closet extravaganza" which lasted about 4 hours......exhausted.  Alot of memories in that little space.  I also ended it with an empty tub.   lol  That will have to be for another day.  It is neat as a pin....and got dressed for church this morning in record time.  As I look at each little shelf.....up and the right and left.....I smiled to myself.  Because that space is all mine.  To others...its just an ordinary closet with "stuff".  To me?  It's much more.  Thank you God!  :)

 Luke 2:19:  "But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."

In Him,

Monday, April 15, 2013

Reason I'm standing.....

Wow....what a perfect perfect weekend.  Baseball Friday night.  Lotsa fun outdoors with David and the kiddos.....enjoyed the company of friends I haven't seen in a while.  Great church service today.  What a way to start the week!  :)
I find myself feeling a little wierd tonight.  Its like the good Lord is sitting right next to me.  I so feel his presence.  I don't deserve such goodness.  At all.  Its almost been a year since my diagnosis.  In fact, the anniversary date of that is just 9 days away.  I go back to my onocologist tomorrow for a checkup.  To make sure nothing "not right" is going on in the 3 months since I was last there. 
This is where the "weirdness" comes in.  I am overcome with peace. Not scared at all.  Last week and the week before, and even a couple of days ago, I was feeling anxious.  But today?  right now? I'm perfectly ok with whatever happens.  I know its God's plan.  I have felt the best Ive felt in a year this past week.  I don't have to nap the second I get home.  I've enjoyed my kids and been a more active part of their lives.
I've visited my brother and his family last weekend and worshipped at his church with my dad and kiddos.  He and I have planned a vacation in June to the beach with our families.  First time ever we have have taken a vacation together.  Our kids are SOOO excited.....and so are we adults!  :)  Can I afford it?  Absolutely not. lol  But I don't care.  I'm making the most of every second I can. 
Reminds me of last year about this time.  I took my kids on their first cruise.  Not knowing at the time what was ahead of me.  That I was about to start the fight of my life.  I was about to move into our new was so good.  I took my income tax refund and we had such a wonderful time.  A couple of weeks later, I found out about the "Big C".   Being a single mom, I immediately kicked myself in the hiney for taking that trip and not "saving for a rainy day."  Then it hit me.....God had HIS hand in me that time with them.  Giving us those memories knowing that I would be out of commission for a bit.  I wouldn't have changed a thing.
Same with my upcoming trip to the beach with Jay.  I am so excited to make those memories with him and his family.  For our children to have a week to enjoy each other.  God has blessed us today and we need to enjoy today.
As good as I have felt lately.  As wonderful as things seem to be going....I can't help but think there is a possibility that I may not get the most desirable news tomorrow.  Who knows?  I'm not scared. Satan isn't going to take the natural human weakness to be afraid of medical results and shake my faith.  So get back, Jack!   That darned devil has crept into my brain and said...."this is just how it happened last year.....Bam! out of nowhere....Cancer."  He can kiss my hiney.  I've been given and accepted His amazing grace.  I have two healthy and happy children who know Jesus. Almost as importantly.....They also know Satan.  And know the difference!!   I've been redeemed and am forever in His arms.  Whatever He decides to do with the rest of my days I am pretty ok with it.
My little brother knows just how to share a verse, a song, or a thought with me at the times when I need it.  He sent this video to me this week......
Verbatum.....I can share this with you about how I I'm at peace about my appointment tomorrow.  I do not have to say another word. 
Of course, I hope my next update is "Still Cancer Free".....and if so to Him be the glory!  If not.....I will Praise HIM in my storm.  Either way.....The reason that I'm standing....Stands in Front of me. 

I have stood for the Gospel
When it seemed I stood alone
And through the heartaches and frustration
I kept my focus on the Throne
So many times I have recalled
The Savior's words so true
"If you won't be ashamed of me
Then I won't be of you"

So I'll proudly stand until I see
The face of the One who gave
Everything for me

When the reason that I'm standing
Stands in front of me
Every battle that I've fought
Will fade from memory
I'll bow before His mighty throne
And fall down on my knees
When the reason that I'm standing
Stands in front of me

The road has not been easy
At times I lost my way
So often I have stumbled
Searching for the light of day
Circumstances all around me
I thought I'd surely fall
When the whispering of doubt fear
Told me "You will lose it all"

But He kept me with His Amazing Grace
And someday soon I'll have the chance
To thank Him face to face


We will join the millions
Every kindred tongue and race
Every child of God that day
Will look upon His face
And the heroes and the martyrs
Who died on the pagan sword
We'll all stand together
And declare, "JESUS IS LORD"

When the reason that I'm standing
Stands in front of me
I challenge everyone to share in my "reason".....:)
I was very touched an honored to be sitting next to my mom at Newport's Relay for Life Friday night......I know she was smiling too......
In Him,

Friday, April 5, 2013

5, 6, 7, 8!!!

Just got my kiddos tucked in and asleep.....Sambo tucked in and sleeping soundly beside me.  And Syd is finally down.

What. a. week.  I'm past exhaustion and all I have done is been a "James".  In other words, I've been the chauffer.  Practice.....Feed the the house for homework....back to the arena for "open gym".....and then elsewhere to practice until "who knows when" before heading "Home James" to study, shower, and catch a few hours of shuteye before doing it all again. 

I've spent the week with Syd and her sweet friends, Abby and Haven.  I am so proud of these girls and their friendships.  Being "Veterans".....and in their second year of tryouts, nerves aren't quite as on edge as last year.  But that doesn't stop them from their determination to get better and working hard.  We have shared a lot of laughs in our time together this week.  Shared some tears during discouraging times.  Shared some giggles when the "second wind" hits and the caffiene kicks in way past bedtime.  And I've watched these girls truly support each other like sisters. 

They are real.  They are honest. They point out each other's unpointed toes, "funky feet", goofy faces, and sloppy turns. They can turn a grumpy attitude into smiles in a moment's notice.  In turn....they compliment each other and truly care and lift each other up during the dark moments. They exhibit kindness to the younger girls and guidance to help them makes my heart smile.  I have sat quietly in a corner watching them all week....and my heart just smiles.  Sweet sweet girls. 

I'm so grateful for Amber Bohannon....who has been with them for weeks.....and taking time from her sweet girls to help us.  She is so uplifting and tough at the same time.  I hope her family knows what a blessing it has been to let us "borrow" her for so many weeks and evenings this particular week.  God bless Amber!  Also, very appreciative of Angela for allowing us to have a space in which to practice.  It really is a group effort behind every dancer! 

Today was mock tryouts.....the girls came out feeling confident but certainly not complacent.  Their bodies are tired, legs are bruised, muscles are strained.  Lord, just get us through one more day.

I made Syd a little basket today of her favorite candies, flowers, balloons and even Children's liquid ibuprofen.  The kid is 14 and can't swallow a pill!  In the basket, I included this prayer that we will pray together tomorrow before tryouts.  No matter the outcome....we will keep our eyes on our heavenly Father. 

This time tomorrow night.....the results will be in.....sigh.  Whatever the outcome, I'm so proud of these girls and am praying for them and all of those trying out tomorrow.  As in all things, there will be both celebration and disappointment.  The extreme in both emotions.  I'm comforted in knowing that our God is present in all outcomes.
"Let us praise HIS name in the dance...."   Psalm 149:3
I love you Sydney Clare!!!! <3
In Him,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dance Mom....

For many Benton moms....this is "the week from Hades...." Pardon the French.  Dance tryout week.  Where our "dance daughters" are invaded by aliens who allow their bodies no rest, little food, zero sleep and quite frankly make it possible for their attitudes, however UNacceptable, to be tolerated by their parents....because its "Tryout Week."

During tryout week...
Anything and everything can fly out of their mouths.....and we let it.  "Its Tryout Week.". 
We, as family, tip toe around her and walk on eggshells....."It's Tryout Week."
Whatever she wants....she gets.  "It's Tryout Week..."
We run her wherever she wants to go....Get her whatever she wants to matter the time of day OR night......"It's Tryout Week."
We turn off all TVs, and let that SAME song blare throughout the house....over and over and over....for her to practice.....because "Its Tryout Week."
We take maroon soffee shorts and plain white tees to the cleaners for pressing....because ....."It's Tryout Week."
You take every single unreasonable request, and make it happen..........."It's Tryout Week."
Hair ribbons ....the perfect hair ribbon becomes almost as important as "The Coming of the Lord"........."It's Tryout Week."
We might even do 8th grade homework this week for her.........."It's Tryout Week."
We feed her Ibuprofen like candy and video-tape her every move with exception of behind the bathroom door.....because guessed it...."It's Tryout WEEK!!"

Yes, I am poking fun.....but I am really....DEAD serious.

If you are not from Benton, this may mean little to you.  Cheer moms suffered this week a few weeks ago.  Now our turn.  Spirit groups from Benton are the best.  The Elite.  State and National Champions.  The Best of the Best.  And let me tell ya.....these uniforms aren't given freely.  They are earned at a price.  I don't mean money....well, let me take that back.  Yes, even that a huge price.

The girls you see on these squads work work work and many don't see how much these dancers hard or harder than any sport out there. It all boils down to one day.  About 10 minutes in front of a panel of judges.  In that 10 minutes.....that you share with 4 or so other have to perform the required elements flawlessly, remember the 4 dances they are taught in 2 days.....not only remember, but perfect them......and show this panel all they have done to prepare for this day.

I can't speak for all....but my Sydney started dancing at 3.  She doesn't play sports.  She doesn't tumble.  She loves to dance.  All of her eggs are right here in one basket...because she. loves. to. dance.  Dancing competitively for all of these years....traveling from state to state......all the hours of dance classes, all the costumes, all the private lessons.... all of it....prepared her for ....THESE. 10. MINUTES.  What advice do you tell a child???

Last year, I dreaded it like the plague.  To my suprise, Sydney was calm, worked hard, picked up the dances easily, was confident in her skills and was just fine.  UNTIL the day before tryouts.  She pulled a hamstring. The breakdown happened.  For the BOTH of us.   Luckily, we had hours of video tape which we were able to submit for the skills she was unable to do on tryout day.  Like....splits, turns, kicks, leaps, jumps......only everything a dancer is required to do!  :) 

It turned out ok....because she made the team....and her fondest memories and great friendships came from this last year on the Dance Team.  All of it is at stake....once again....Friday afternoon.  For her "10 minutes to shine".  As a mom, as a family.....we prepare. Its a place your child's happiness in the hands of others.  I KNOW what she can do.  She KNOWS what she can do.  She just has to show THEM what she can do!

May be silly to pray for such things.  But we pray for everything.  In most other can show up, put on a jersey, and even though you may not "play" are a part of the team.  This isn't the case.  We have to make it count.  We are a slave to dance.....and the whole year ahead -- comes down to this week.  I've seen heartbroken, disappointed little girls and parents so often.  I know mine isn't exempt.  Important life's lessons are learned at such young ages these days. 

I pray that Sydney use her chance as a Veteran Dancer to be a light to the new girls.  To help and encourage and guide.  To always show grace and kindness to everyone around her.  To be a positive role model and still have that "uniform" on and represent it as if it were truly on her physically.  Whether or not her outcome...that she still charges onward and dances.  Be it for her school....or herself......that she understands that while this is a big deal today.....and a big week.....her happiness lives within herself.

I pray for her safety, and the safety of the others around her.  That she always takes proper care of her body and protects her talents that God has given her.  I pray that she pushes herself to do her very best but to also realize that her best IS enough.
I pray for all of the veteran dancers....the ones moving on to high school....all of them, that their spirits are high and that they are ready to give it their all this week. I pray for their families and for each girl to have the support systems they need to be successful.

When you see a Benton uniform. It means something. Mrs. Hilburn is tough. She demands the most of her girls. She oversees the best teams and her success is nationally known. She and all of those under her are charged with not only building competitive squads, but respectful young women. They are leaders. They are athletes. They smile. They are kind. They are Benton.

That uniform has a lot behind it. Blood, sweat, tears, training, sacrifices....from both the girls and their loved ones....hard work, determination and teamwork. Not just this week....but for years prior to and to come.

Break a leg, babygirl. I'm so glad God chose me to be YOUR "Dance Mom!" Many prayers are going out for you!!

In Him,