The Meaning of Love and a Baby Warrior Named Cyrus the Brave

I won’t pretend to say I have a complete understanding of the true definition of the word love and its meaning. Sure, I have had many experiences in my almost 52 years of living that I have defined as love. Growing up and “feeling the love” of a good family, accepting and receiving the love of my Savior, participating in authentic friendships, marrying my ‘soul mate”, becoming a mother nine times, and a grandmother now five- all manifestations of love that have been joyous and deep. And while those categories of love have been positive, I know I have felt what I would describe as love in the negative. Those dark, deep moments in the crevices – the cracks on the journey. The neverlife of my unborn children who died in my womb, the passing on of treasured friends and relatives, the gut punch heartache of my dad’s death, the shock and toll of illnesses and accidents, misfires and begin agains, all devastating yet beautiful and tender.

Comprehending love alludes me in many ways but just when I thought I could not grasp endearments in my life any richer nor any more crushing, along came a tiny babe named Cyrus. And his magnificent existence has taught me to walk a balance beam labeled love and grief with every step. With each movement as my hips aid in rotating my leg to place my foot gently in front of the other, I strive to strike the perfect balance. We move forward each day. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot- don’t look down-right foot- don’t look to the side- left foot, right foot, straight ahead.

Eight months old today and he lives up to every inch of his moniker, “Cyrus the Brave” – I cherish him. He is a warrior like his Momma, Phoebe. He is defying all the odds. We were told to expect and prepare for the very worse, life without him. Cyrus was delivered by cesarean section at 37 weeks and four days. In utero, our family was given his diagnosis of B.O.O. (Bladder Outlet Obstruction) at 26 weeks. Life living in the hospital began for Phoebe at 30 weeks until his entry into our world. And home became the NICU for his first six weeks and three days ( but who’s counting?) that began the days of ventilators, breathing tubes, chest tubes, surgeries, two steps forward and one step back, and yet he pressed on. Often as I rocked him, I envisioned him on a beautiful golden Palomino or a brown and white Pinto, sitting tall and erect, bow and arrow in hand, storming the machines and diagnosis. And no, I am not completely crazy. I recognize that is quite an outlandish image, a baby warrior- but warrior he stands. Okay, he sits, but he will stand!

And so we live each day watching him grow, appreciating all of the moments with a presence where we are mesmerized by everything he does. We take nothing for granted and celebrate each accomplishment, every milestone, with cheers and marching parades around the house. All of us know there are no guarantees in life, no absolutes of first and last breath, but most of us find a way to trick our minds into not dwelling on the uncertainties. This balance beam my family is walking is because we know Cyrus has kidney disease and bladder issues and small but healthy lungs, yet he defies. We are not so naive as to discount different days await him, await us all. Though all it takes is one look into his clear blue eyes and catching his contagious smile and I literally shake the ominous prognosis from my thoughts and CHOOSE to be present in the moment given. So it is the balance beam we walk- ever so grateful for his miraculous days, playing hide and seek from the medical jargon, falling hard into a love, so precious. And while I have more to share about the days we have walked and the catapult that will vault us into the land of the predicted, yet unknown- I know this one truth.

Today, in this beloved moment as I write- there is a little grandson of mine named Cyrus, and he is fondly my “little puppy” and I am his “Mamie Bird”.IMG_8643

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Love and the Delayed Flight

Sitting at the airport last evening waiting to pick up our daughter Lilly gave David and I an opportunity to people watch. Lilly’s travel plans had been delayed all day due to inclement weather occurring in the connection city for her flight home. We arrived at the airport on time but found ourselves waiting about an extra hour.

We spent about 15 minutes idling in the car curbside until we realized her flight was delayed. We were parked in front of a woman in her late 50s to early 60s. She had a big quilt wrapped around her and no less than five bags of large luggage. A game of guess her story ensued between David and I. As we were in the middle of our elaborate tales for her life, a car pulled in front of us, narrowly missing the front driver’s side of our vehicle. His haphazard driving focused all our attention on him.

A man with a wedding ring in his 60s got out of the car, popped his trunk lid, walked toward the blanket waiting lady and began picking up her bags. She pulled herself up wearily from the bench, grabbed a small bag and began to what appeared be a painful and difficult walk to their car. She mustered the energy to make the journey for another bag one more time before landing in the passenger front seat. He finished loading, slid into the driver’s seat and pulled off. Not ONCE did this pair make eye contact or utter ONE WORD to one another.

David and I sat in a stupor. Make- believe of their story and lives and who they might be no longer had the same appeal. I mean before he arrived, she was a wonderful Grandmom who had travelled far off to help a daughter with a new born bundle of joy as her son-in-law was stationed in another country fighting for the good ole USA. Or she was a tired, selfless daughter who had travelled to care for an aging parent. But the sadness, the emptiness in their lack of exchange only conjured up stories of deep pain-too deep to even fathom. “Guess my life” was over for them.

David popped in the airport to check Lilly’s flight and we decided to park and wait inside. I have been struggling through sinus/allergy issues for weeks after a virus so I schlepped into the airport and plopped down on a cozy leather couch. After parking the car, David joined me. He offered his arm around me for a shoulder to lean into and between discussing the bands and solo artist from the fantastic music playing from the cafe speaker, our “game” began again. 

It didn’t have the same gusto and flair. We were silenced and saddened by the couple from the curb. We couldn’t begin to guess exactly what was going on in their lives, let alone really know the nature of their relationship. Life can be hard, we know it personally, we’ve weathered it together through tough seasons. But I have to be honest, as I sat curled up next to my life mate, relaxing in the wait, our silly game gave us both a subtle reminder. Let’s never stop touching, let’s never stop looking, let’s never stop talking. Let’s always remember we are a gift for one another and it is in the mundane moments we betray or I should say, display our affections.

Make sure you stop from the dishes, or the bills, your devices, from this post, to look up and really make eye contact and SAY goodbye or hello! Better yet throw in a hug and a kiss. These small little acts may be the very foundation that one day journey your relationship through hard times. I really DON’T know their story and pain, but I KNOW I don’t ever want to feel the interchange they portrayed.

Show your love today and show it often.

Happy Mother’s Day- spread the love

Happy Mother’s Day- spread the love around

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. It is all about the heart, so if you are a mother to the motherless, to your special four-legged creatures, to those in need around you, to your own mix of eclectic offspring, Happy Mother’s Day!

To my friends who have shared the love of their mother with me, thank you!
( miss you Betty Ann, love you Jeanne Rapp)

To my wonderful mother-in -law, Rainy, thank you for always being so supportive and willing to have a good chat, I love you!

To my mother, Phyllis, thank you for being a wonderful mother and friend. You always have my back. You have been such a fantastic mother of modeling unconditional love, support and selflessness. Love you more! 😉

Make sure you take time to appreciate those people in your life today who mean so much to you. And remember, if you stop at the grocery or pet store or somewhere else today and a woman is waiting on you-don’t tell her Happy Mother’s Day right off ( she may not be a mother)- just stop and take the time to say, ” You look beautiful or thanks for helping me today or your smile just helped brighten my day!”

Feeling the love, spread it around.

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Me and my beautiful Mom

You are worthy

As I sat in church for Easter Sunday, I was overwhelmed with God’s love for
me. I sat in awe of the fact that I am made worthy by His love-His
sacrifice.

Many of us walk around feeling unworthy. We have allowed the stress of
life, the lies others speak about us or to us, the negative thoughts we tell
ourselves, our fears, our guilt and so many other life situations to keep us
in a state of striving and struggling.

But guess what? We don’t need to try harder. I already know tomorrow, I
will make mistakes. I quite possibly will utter a curse word under my
breath that matches the new puppy’s present on the kitchen floor. I may
forget a child’s dentist appointment, someone’s birthday or not have my
dinner menu planned out. Hey, it could be a day where I secretly think,
“Really, do they have to eat again?” But, I am still worthy.

I am worthy because by grace through faith, I have trusted and accepted
Jesus as my Savior. He paid the price for my unworthiness. Nothing can
keep me from the love of Christ.

So often we walk around trying to be a better person and then, maybe we will
feel worthy, be worthy. We strive so hard to get the muck and the mire of
life’s stains washed from our hearts and minds. But scrub away, we will
never, ever feel like we are good enough.

And we don’t have to be good enough. The One who is truly good – Jesus, the
sacrificial Lamb -paid the price, and He lives! Rest in Him. Take your
guilt, your fears, your inadequacies and sit down at His feet.

Worthy is the Lamb, and in Him you are worthy.

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