Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Taking A Moment to Remember

This picture popped up on my time-hop this morning, and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was the last photo that I ever took with my grandfather before he passed away.  I feel like I should at least have a slight twinge of pain when I see this image as I grieve what “once was,” but instead, I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I stop to remember my Papaw.

I am grateful to have been loved by such an incredible man of God.  Never have I known someone who loved the Lord so purely, so passionately, so fiercely and so completely.

I am grateful that his legacy lives in me.  I am grateful for the example he set, and I strive daily to imitate his walk with Lord in my own life. 

I am grateful for the memories he gave me – summer vacations, family holidays, snuggles in his office, Wednesday dinners followed by Awana at church.

I am grateful for the stories he told me and the sense of belonging that came from them.  I will always feel a deep connection to the hills of Eastern Kentucky if for no other reason than the stories he shared.

I am grateful for his strength.  So many times throughout the past year when I’ve felt like my own strength has been completely depleted, I have remembered the incredible resilience of my grandfather and that the same strength runs through my veins.  I, of course, know that it’s the Lord who gives strength, but my grandfather was a living testimony to that truth.

I am grateful for his wisdom. So many times, I have longed to seek his advice or to have him pray over me.  He sought the Lord in every decision he made, so I know that he would have guidance for the hard stuff.

I am grateful that he was there the day I got married.  I am grateful that he held both of my sweet babies, and that I heard him speak their names.

I am grateful that even though they will never know him, my children are a part of his legacy.  I want so desperately for them to love the Lord the way HE loved the Lord.  He’s not here to show them, so it’s my turn to be the example.  

Those are some impossibly big shoes to fill, but I am so grateful for a man who set the bar so high.  I am grateful for the opportunity to keep his legacy alive.  I am grateful that in the middle of an ordinary Tuesday, one photo can stop my in my tracks and force me to take a moment to celebrate the life of one of the greatest men I have ever known. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Been A Monday

You know those days when you just laugh because you just can't believe how ridiculous your life really is?  That was me today.  Seriously, sometimes I think that I should just write a book because I just can't make up this stuff.

As we were leaving for school this morning (late because I forgot that it was picture day) I got a "Remind" message from Eli's teacher that today was flashlight reading day.  I'm not sure how it happens but I ALWAYS miss these little memos.  I'm starting to think that it's not just me and that Eli has my organizational skills, thus he regularly misplaces important documents.

In any case, I had to stop the chirping alarm, sit down the 263 bags I was carrying and start rummaging through drawers looking for one of our dozen flashlights/headlamps.  Of course they were nowhere to be found.  I ended up locating a pretty sorry looking pocket-size flashlight...but naturally it wasn't work.

Luckily, the batteries were actually where they should have been, so I grabbed a handful and decided to change them out while driving.  So, out the door I went with both kids, three bags, two backpacks, and some baseball equipment for practice tonight.  When I got to the car, I realized that we were missing Eli's chest protecter. Our family motto is "safety first," so you can image how well that went over.  Ha!

I guess the chaos got to Ellie because she was crying and clinging to my leg when I dropped her off at daycare, which was just barrels of fun before I had to drive on the interstate during a torrential downpour.

Work went well until Eric called to say that our dog had escaped and he had to go pick him up from down the road where someone had caught him and called the number on his collar.

Round two of the storms came through as I was getting off of work, so I had another pleasant commute on the interstate and thoroughly enjoyed getting drenched getting children in and out of the car when my umbrella was destroyed from the high winds.  Hahaha!

The icing on the cake was when Eli informed me that he had forgotten to wear underpants today.  How does that even happen?

We're spending the evening recovering from today's events by eating pizza and popcorn, playing hot wheels, watching TV and putting the kids to bed early.

The days are crazy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sick of Being Sick

Saturday marks exactly one month since illness struck the Watson home, and someone has been sick ever since.  Seriously, we were just at the pediatrician's office this afternoon.  It's almost comical at this point, and because of that,  I want to document this whole saga for my own sake.  I'm pretty sure that 20 years from now, I'll still be talking about it.  HA!

February 19 - Ellie is diagnosed with a respiratory infection: x-rays and labs are drawn

February 21 - Eli tests positive for the flu

February 24 - Ellie is still sick, and we find out that she has bronchitis, double ear infection, sinus infection and the flu: gets injection to speed up recovery

February 28 - I am diagnosed with the flu (it is more like a mild cold but whatever)

March 7 - Eli tests positive for strep

March 10 - Eli starts complaining of leg cramps

March 11 - Eli has blood tests that reveal white blood cells are 50% below what they should be

March 13 - Eli has more lab drawn because of the abnormality mentioned above

March 14 - Eli's white blood cells are better, but his creatine levels are off.  They should be around 177 and his were just under 10,000!!

March 15 - Eli has more labs drawn, including tests for kidney function due to high creatine

March 16 - final set of labs drawn on Eli (Lord willing)

This looks super dramatic, but basically Eli's body is slowly recovering from having two viral infections (strep and flu) back-to-back.    Nonetheless, anytime your child is sick without a reason, it's emotionally draining to wait for answers.  I am TIRED, ya'll!  Not sleepy tired, but weary tired.  Bone tired...the kind that sleep doesn't help.

I refuse to wallow in this, however.  The Lord has worked on my heart so much throughout the past year and has stretched me in ways that I never knew was possible.  Because of that, I am learning that I have a choice in how I respond to all of this craziness.

I am choosing to see that I am blessed with two healthy babies. And despite a run of bad luck with a string of viruses, they are healthy. What a blessing!!  I'm not complaining about the extra snuggles either.

I also learned that Ellie is a super whiney and dramatic patient but rocks medical procedures.  Eli is just the opposite.  He's a sweet and charming patient but tends to lose his ever-loving mind when there's any mention of shots, swabs, needles, or medical tests.  I'm not joking about this.  Bless him!

Now, let's put all of this nonsense behind us and get on with life!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Let's Hear It for the Boy

I feel so honored to be raising a little boy.  They are the craziest, sweetest, silliest little creatures on the planet, and mine just keeps me on my toes all the time.  Tonight was no exception, and I just had to document this before I forget.

After dinner, Eli innocently asked me to give him a high-five, so naturally I agreed.  He then started laughing hysterically and said, "I just had that hand down my pants!"

Ugh...so gross and so funny all at the same time!  We're clearly knocking it out of the park by raising such a charming little guy with excellent hygiene. Ha!  I think we may need to work on his manners before the dating years. Oh, and don't worry...we made him wash his hands immediately!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Happy Birthday, Ellie

My Sweet Ellie Girl,

Today you are four years old, and I know that I should say I don’t know where the time has gone, but the truth is that I can hardly remember what life was like without you.  It’s as if you have always been apart of me, and I am so grateful that the Lord chose me to be your Momma.

You are everything that a little girl should be.  You’re sweet and sassy; silly and giggly. You spin and twirl until you wrap us up in your charm, and you captivate our hearts with your precious spirit.  

You have exceeded my every dream of what it would be like to have a daughter, and I cherish these fleeting moments of childhood innocence. As we spend countless hours painting our nails, playing dress up, giving each other make-overs, and pampering ourselves, I can’t help but wonder what the future will hold as you grow into a young woman. 

Will these childhood pastimes turn into teenage drama as we trade our little nail-painting parties for mother-daughter dates with real manicure chairs to wash away a broken heart?

Will we pack up your Texas-sized bows, plastic crowns, and cheap jewelry only to replace them with trendy fashions, designer shoes, and the perfect accessories?  Will those tiny princess dresses give away to homecoming dresses and prom dresses?

Will we continue to take time to indulge ourselves in pampering until we are sitting side-by-side getting prepared for you to walk down the aisle on your wedding day? 

Will I be able to let you go with the confidence of knowing that I have succeeded in giving you both roots and wings?

I have no way of knowing what the future will hold for you, Sweet Girl, but I can rest in the blessed assurance that Christ knows every precious moment that awaits.  When you were born, I started praying Proverbs 4:23 over your life.  “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life.”

Four years later, that verse has a completely new meaning to me for reasons that you couldn’t possibly understand right now. So more than ever before, I pray that you will hold on to that truth tucked into the Proverbs. This world will try to steal your innocence.  Our culture will want you to believe that you aren’t enough.  The messages you will read and the images you will see will try to tell you that you should be something else, something more, something different, something that is impossible to achieve. 

Boys will break your heart.  Friends will come and go.  People will let you down, and sometimes it’s the very ones we love the most who can leave us with greatest wounds.  But don’t let this scare you…you just be brave, Ellie girl.   Guard your heart, and keep twirling through this life with the truth of who you really are tucked deep inside your heart. 

 Because no matter what this world may tell you - you are created in the image of an amazing God.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and the King in enthralled by your beauty.  You are loved with an everlasting, never failing, always perfect love that can never be replaced.  No one – not me, not your daddy, not some silly boy, not even your future husband can come close to matching the depth of your Father’s love for you.

I will remind you of this truth through every season of your life, until the days of princess dresses and plastic crowns give way to wedding dresses and veils. That’s my job as your momma.  You just keep doing your part by guarding your heart and always remembering who you are, and WHOSE you are.

I will always love you sweet, precious, sassy, silly, and ever-so prissy, four year-old Ellie.




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Looking For Lovely

Last fall, the Women's Group at my church did a study called "Looking for Lovely."  Never in my life has the Word of God been as tangible to me as it was during the weeks of that study.  It came during a season where I was desperate for truth to be spoken into my heart and into my life.  I needed encouragement and hope, and every day the Lord spoke to me through the pages of that study in a way that I have never known before.  It was true intimacy with Him, and I am so grateful for that time of maturing in my faith, although the growing pains seemed unbearable at times.

Today I'm in a completely different place for the most part, but I've asked the Lord to never let me forget the truths he spoke over me during that time.  Never.  Humble me flat on my face if you need to, God, but let me not forget that your strength was made perfect in my weakness.

The quote above more or less sums up the study, and I try to continue practicing this discipline daily.  Lately, I have had plenty of opportunities to look for the lovely moments since we've had an almost two week stretch with someone in our house being sick with the flu.  The flu - it is so NOT a big deal at all, but it's super inconvenient and annoying.  After missing work most of last week, and as I sit at home for the THIRD straight day this week, here are my lovelies:

1. It's Just the Flu - there is so much sickness and suffering in this world.  I am so grateful to have two healthy kids who can bounce back from this illness quickly and who have access to excellent health care.

2. I Can Afford To Take Care of My Children - being sick is stinking expensive.  You have to buy medicine, special foods cause sickies have weird cravings, cleaning products to disinfect the house, and there's a lot of eating out because there's just no time to cook when you're caring for kids around the clock.  How nice that we can eat fast food for two weeks and not feel a financial strain...although my waistband feels the strain!  I well remember the days early in our marriage when this would not have been the case and would have negatively impacted our monthly budget in a big way, so the gift of financial stability is not lost on me.

3. Wonderful Jobs - Eric and I have both been blessed with employers who have accommodated our need to be home.  Enough said - we are so, so grateful for the understanding and support!

4. An Amazing Spouse - Eric and I are really a good team.  Even when we are super stressed and getting on each other's nerves, we are strong teammates.  We have amazing families, but they are too far away to be at our beck and call when someone starts puking at 4:00 am or when we have to readjust schedules at the last minute, so from the very beginning, we've had to learn to depend on each other.  We don't do some things as well as we should in marriage, but this is one of our strengths.  Last week was so wonky, and I'm not sure we spoke more than two words to each other that didn't pertain to the kids. But we were in the trenches together, and I am so grateful for a husband who will take temperatures, snuggle sick babies, and research every prescription known to mankind. 

5. Extra Time With The Kiddos - being a working mom is not for the faint of heart.  Ok, being a mom is not for the faint of heart!  But sometimes I feel like we fall into a rut of go to school, go to work, pick up kids, eat dinner, do homework, take baths, go to bed, repeat.  Being able to sit with Ellie and watch one princess movie after another was precious time, even if she was burning up with fever. And getting to snuggle with Eli was so good for my heart because that hyper little guy never sits still for more than two minutes.

6. More Time In The Word - I think sometimes the Lord needs us to "be still" so that he can speak to us.  Naturally, our pace the past two has been a bit slower.  I've read two books in two weeks and both were full of words that my soul needed.  

7. Playing Catch-Up - yesterday I spent almost two hours talking to my college roommate while vegging out on the couch.  Our schedules never jive, so it was amazing to catchup with her.  We had a very stimulating conversation and determined that 30 somethings are a lot like "tweens."  We're too young to be seasoned vets at parenting and marriage, but we're too old to hang with the younger folks.  It's kinda like being an adult middle-schooler.  Ha!  I think the topic will be a future blog post - we are just trying to find a fitting label that will stick - like "tweens."

The past two weeks have been crazy, and I am so ready to be back among the land of the living.  I'm behind at work, my house is in chaos, and I'm itching for the stability of a predictable routine.  But if I learned anything last fall, it was to look for the lovely moments in the less than lovely situations - so here is my short list of gratitude from the Watson Flu Epidemic of 2017.  I think it ranks up there with the bubonic plague of the mid-evil times...just saying. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Said Yes!

Nine years ago today Eric asked me to marry him.  When I tell people this, they almost always ask why February 15th and not February 14th.  The answer is pretty simple…we’re really not big Valentine’s Day people.  We usually don’t even do presents. Instead we save our money and take a trip together, which is the best tradition ever and gives us something to look forward to every year. 
Enough about that, let’s get to the story.  Eric and I had a bit of a whirlwind romance.  We met in May, started dating in October and were already talking about marriage by Christmas.  By the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, I knew that a proposal was coming because we had looked at rings, talked about a date, and my parents were acting weird, so I was pretty sure that Eric had already asked for their permission. He kept telling me that he wasn’t going to do it on Valentine’s Day, so I was sorta anticipating something the following weekend.  

February 15, 2008 rolled around on a Friday, so I was hoping for a surprise date that evening and maybe even a proposal.  Ok, ok…I was dying for that to happen!  Anyway, I was working as a reporter for WBKO at that time and was finishing my story for the 5:00 show when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  When I turned around, there was Eric.  I knew what was happening but at the same time, I was so confused and maybe even a little scared to let myself go there.  After what seemed like an eternity, he got down on one knee and popped the question…and I said yes!

The best part of the whole story is that the entire thing was caught on camera (by no accident), and was aired on the 10:00 news!  How cool is that?  I have the video, but it’s in some weird format, so I am trying to get it converted to an MP4 file so that I can share it on here. After all the excitement, I actually had another assignment that evening, so Eric went with me to cover the event before we could celebrate.  On our way back to his apartment we stopped by a local hotel to show off the ring to a family friend who just happen to be passing through town.  This was back in the day before everyone had an iphone, and my family was dying to see the ring.  Since she would see my parents before I could get home again, she took some pictures before leaving Bowling Green, which is where this photo came from…thanks Misty!

So, here’s where it gets gushy because I have a lot I want to say.

I said “yes” on February 15, 2008 to a lifetime with Eric. Nine years later, I’m learning that while marriage is sometimes about saying “yes” when times are wonderful and you want to share it with the world on the 10:00 news, it’s also about saying “yes” when things aren’t as rosy as you had hoped.

It’s about saying “yes” when God surprises you with parenthood, and you’re forced walk through the murky waters of depression hand in hand.

It’s about saying yes when there’s too much month and not enough money, and your stupid van breaks down for the thousandth time.

It’s about saying “yes” when it seems that your only conversations revolve around who’s picking up the kids and whose turn it is to change the diaper, bathe the dirty children or get up for the billionth time that night.

It’s about saying “yes” when you’re existence is rooted in balancing careers, doing laundry, cooking dinner, wiping bottoms, and doing homework…sometimes all at once!

It’s about saying “yes” when you fail each other miserably, and when you break each other’s hearts - and this will happen.  Just keep saying "yes."

It’s about saying “yes” when your world is turned upside, and you’re not sure why the answer is “yes,” you just know that it has to be “yes.”

The answer is always “yes.”

“Yes,” I choose you.  I may not have chosen the path, the circumstances or the chaos. But I choose you.  

“Yes” I will walk this road with you when the sun is shining. And “yes” I will walk by your side when the shadows come.  I will keep saying “yes” because what the Lord has tethered cannot be separated.

Nine years ago I said, “yes” to Eric, and it was the best decision of my life. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s just the beginning of our story.  Come what may, my answer will always be “yes” because I’m head over heels in love with this man and all the craziness we walk through in this wonderful thing called marriage.