Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The power of an old man...

I'm a pretty tough girl most of the time.  Or at least, I act like it!  I think as mothers, we just kind of have to. Dwelling on disappointment, trials, heartache--there just isn't a lot of time for it!  And then I'm just cranky, which makes it all worse, because cranky mom means cranky kids.  Besides that, my kids love reading the blog, so it's just not the place for being negative.

But let me just say, that life is hard.

This morning as I was driving to the hospital to switch off with Jeremy, I was a little too focused on all of those hard things.  When I let myself "go there" I can find plenty of reasons to be anxious, depressed, frustrated, tired, hopeless, angry,  sad, overwhelmed... You get the idea.  Usually I end up focusing on the injustices that many of my kids face, and that's what gets me more than anything.  As I was dwelling on how it wasn't fair that Sophi's poor little legs are so uneven, (I mean, really--isn't it enough that she doesn't have arms?!) I was suddenly awakened from my thoughts by a speeding driver who didn't see me and nearly ran me off the freeway as he went to change lanes.  I mean, it was really close.  It took quite awhile for the adrenaline to wear off.  I could have been killed, and he just sped off in oblivion.    So now I had those feelings to add to the others.  I was not in my happiest state.  I exited the freeway and found myself at a stoplight.

Then I saw him.  An older gentleman, standing at the corner with a cardboard sign, obviously asking for money.  I reached for my purse and got all the cash I could-- a measly four dollars.  I rolled down the window and gestured to him, he came and took the money and said the typical, "God bless," and then he walked back to his corner. The light turned green and I drove away.   And all of a sudden I realized that every negative feeling I had been nurturing was completely gone.  It sounds like a little thing, but it actually felt quite extraordinary to me.  I was happy!

My mind and heart immediately went to my sweet Jeremy.  He is the one who taught me never to pass by someone on the street asking for money.  Somewhere in college, I had been taught that it is only enabling "the beggar" to give them money.  That they will probably just misuse the money anyway.  That it would be a better use of your money to give it to a charitable organization instead, who can make sure the funds are used properly.  But I couldn't convince Jeremy of this.  He gave to our church and to charities, but he also gave to every single person he met asking for help, oftentimes more generously than we could afford.  He's been known to quietly help strangers in many different ways, and I can't tell you how many times I've received the call, " um, hon?  Could we spare "x amount" of money?" for someone we've never met.  (ok, he's probably not going to love that I'm sharing this).  He reasons (and now I do, too) that we never know another person's story, and that if we assume everyone that is "begging" is using the money for drugs, or just doesn't want to work, or whatever other reason we find not to give, that we will miss beautiful opportunities to help the truly needy.  And that it shouldn't matter what they do with the money, it just matters that we give it.  He even wrote a song about it, years ago, when we were first married.  That song,  'The Bus Stop" started playing in my head as I continued my drive to the hospital:

At the bus stop on seventh in Denver
Nothing but them and the cold
A family with two ragged children
No more than seven years old
Father looked up, shame in his face
Trying to do what was right
Said, "Sir, could you spare me a dollar?
Wanna buy my kids dinner tonight."

At the bus stop downtown
My peaceful world stopped
And I thought of a lesson Mama had taught
Right from the Good Book
Time couldn't dim
When you're helping His children
You're just helping Him
And you won't have to look far to find Him around
He could be at the bus stop downtown

Standing alone on the sidewalk
Watching the crowd pass on by
I wondered how often I'd done the same
Caught up in the hurry of life
I started to reach for a dollar
The youngest one lifted his head
I saw my own son in those innocent eyes
And pulled out a twenty instead

Please don't think I am tooting my own horn, or even Jeremy's!  That is so far from why I'm sharing this.  Rather I am just so grateful for the opportunity that my Heavenly Father gave me today to stop putting the focus on myself, in such a small,  insignificant way, and in so doing, turn my thoughts to HIM.  Heaven knows I am so often on the receiving end (people are so, so good to our family) and that sometimes, I need to be on the giving end.  I am so grateful for the opportunities we are given each day to serve.

 I love the quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley: "The best cure for weariness is helping someone who is even more tired.  One of the great ironies in life is this;  He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.'  That was so true today.  I can almost guarantee that that four dollars meant more to me today than to that sweet man.  It renewed my spirit, turned my thoughts heavenward, rekindled a love for my husband, put a smile on my face before walking into the hospital to be with my son so that I could put a smile on his, and even helped me notice the beautiful creations and cute old homes that lined my drive.  

It was money well spent!

And I am happy to report that Xander is not only doing well, but just drifted off to sleep, which means that I can take a little nap myself-- woo hoo!  (:


Monday, July 30, 2012

Out of Surgery

Xander is out of surgery and everything went ok.  His surgeon came and spoke with us and showed us some pretty insane pictures of his leg completely opened and pretty much sitting in two pieces.  I would share the photos, but I'm sure most of you wouldn't be as fascinated by it as I was!  I quite like stuff that makes most people want to throw up.  (:

There are some potential issues that the surgeons are worried about, so we could still use some prayers.  It's anticipated that he will be here longer than originally planned-- probably about a week or so.  Not the best news ever, but we're glad he's ok.  Jeremy was just called to come back and see him, and I should be able to follow soon.

We'll keep posting...


Ramblings from the waiting room...

We're sitting in the parents' waiting room here at Primary Children's Hospital.  Xander is in surgery right now to "debulk" his leg.   He will have an incision down the entire length of his calf, and the surgeons will be removing as much as the lymphatic tissue as possible, with a goal to make his right leg approximately the same size as his left.  We scheduled this surgery months ago, trying to pick the perfect time between vacations and school starting.  His surgeon estimates he will be here for 3-5 days, with an at-home recovery time of about a month.

Cute Xander is such a trooper.  He is so easy going and has been looking forward to this surgery for months so he "won't have to do any chores and can eat whatever he wants."  (:    Last night, he said, "I'm really going to miss my big leg!"  I told him that I would, too!  (And it's honestly hard for me that it's going to look different!)  Then I asked him why he would miss it, and he said, "Because everyone likes my big leg!"  I can't tell you how happy that made me!  Though he has been teased a few times, apparently the "cool" factor has prevailed, and I am so glad that his perception is that people like him exactly how he is.

Of course, we would love prayers in his behalf.  It will be a tough week for him, I'm sure.  We'll keep you posted on his recovery.  They are going to attempt an epidural to help him with his pain, and I'm really hoping that it works!  Graci had an epidural after her spinal cord surgery and it helped tremendously...

Speaking of Graci, she was off bright and early this morning to go to Oakcrest.  It's a special church camp for girls entering 8th and 9th grades, and it is supposedly just "awesome!"  I'm really excited for her, and really sad for me!  She is such a great help at home, and the younger kids are kind of lost when she is gone.  She'll get home on Friday, then is off two days later for a two-week long Chinese Immersion camp.  We are thrilled for her!  It will be held in Idaho, and they accepted 20 students, including Graci and her cousin, Alissa.  I don't know that I've ever seen Graci so excited about an event before.  Ok, maybe her Disney Cruise from Make-a-Wish, but this is a close second!!!

Taylor just came home from a week at scout camp.  Parker and Jeremy were able to join him for the last couple of days.  They had such a good time.  Taylor is really growing up lately.  Like, literally.  He is now taller than me.  I thought that was pretty cool until Jeremy decided that having Taylor taller than me made me seem short!  (;  Taylor was asked to give a talk in church yesterday about how the Scout Oath helps boys prepare to serve missions.  He put his talk together that morning before church and did such a good job.  I'm so proud of the young man he is and is becoming.  I really, truly couldn't ask for better young men than our Taylor and Parker.

Our community put on the play "Annie" a couple of weeks ago.  It was AMAZING.  I have never seen a more professional community play.  Such great talent!!  Our cute little neighbor, Kara, was in it and was easily the cutest orphan there!  We took most of the kids to see it.  Lexi loved it.  There's only one problem.  She has fallen in love with the song, "It's a Hard-Knock Life."  Cute song, until you hear your former-orphan daaughter singing it (think, "no one cares for you a smidge when you're in an orphanage.")  Luckily, Lexi doesn't know all of the words, so she just sings, "It's a hard-knock life for us" over and over and then just makes up the words to fit the rest of the melody.  Elli's starting to sing it now, too!  I've been trying as hard as I can to switch over to "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow," but it's just not sticking.   LOL

Jesi has turned into quite the mother lately.  Her new thing is getting breakfast every morning for Sophi and Lexi, often while I'm getting a bit of extra sleep!   Sometimes she even bathes and dresses them and does their hair.  She is also known to clean quite a bit without being asked.  After a couple weeks of doing this, she came up to Jeremy and said, "So, aren't you going to pay me for all this help?!"  We laughed and decided that she is indeed worth some money, and we have since been paying her a dollar a day for all of her morning help. She has earned $35 since this began.  Last night she told me, "Mom, so you know my birthday is coming in about a week, right?  So you better start shopping!"  I asked her what she wanted, and she reminded me that she wanted a car for her doll.  Then she said, "And if you don't want to spend your own money on me, I do have $35 that I can give you to buy the car!"  (:  

Well... X-Man's been in surgery for overtwo hours now.  Hoping to hear an update soon.  I'll try to post again tonight and let you know how it all went...


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pictures from my phone!

July 4th hike up Rose Canyon

Sophi falls asleep in Grandpa Green's arms.

The kids loved this giant chair at the beach house.

Sophi with Aunt Jenny

It's amazing how much joy a quarter can buy.

The Seaside Carousel:

BYU Sandcastle

 Two brave boys in a VERY cold ocean:

Xander stuffs a blanket in his costume and says, "I'm Santa Claus!"  I asked, "Are you Batman Santa Claus?"  He thought for a couple of seconds and said, "Pretend this costume is red and white!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Missing Friends!

First of all, TOFW asked if they could feature another post from us, so I wrote about my feelings for Graci's birthmother.  You can click HERE to read it.  TOFW is such a great organization that has uplifted and strengthened me many times in the last few years!

Remember cute little Annie that we've blogged about so many times?  She and her darling family have moved 20 minutes away.  You would think that I'm a grown woman and wouldn't be so affected by having a neighbor move, but let me tell you-- I've been a mess!  Annie and Levi practically lived here so much of the time, and they were such perfect friends for Lexi, Sophi, Xander and Jesi.  Gracie Star and Jesi were really beginning to click.  And of course Daisy, Alli, and Seth are among our favorite kids ever-- and are being missed by Graci, Taylor, and Parker especially.  What are we going to do???

We've already been to their new home for a BBQ, which only solidified how much we need them in our lives.  So I'm doing my best to get them to move back.  Bribery.  Tricks.  Flat out begging.  We'll see if it works.  (:

Here are Jesi and Graci at one of their many "tea parties."  Cracks me up.

I'm so grateful for the blessing of living next to this family for almost five years.  They have been so perfect for our family.  We love you, Schellenbergs!  THANK YOU.

 And... I thought I'd give you a sneak peek from our family photo session:

I LOVE this picture of our feet!  So much fun.  Got the idea from a very talented photographer-- thanks, Kim!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Yearning for Sight

Dear Lexi.  Sweet wonderful Lexi.  She is such a special child.  As I compose this post, she is in a  nearby room singing at the top of her lungs.  Sometimes she sings along with her iPod.  Sometimes she sings without it.  The melodies are generally spot on.  The pronunciation of the words is unique:)  She has the intuitive ability to drop an octave when the song goes too high for her range.  Her singing is one of the many things that make us think, "What would we do without her?"

Lexi yearns for sight.  She often says, "I don't like blind!  I don't want blind!"  She is constantly telling us about things she sees.  The other day (after I drove all of the kids to Oregon on my own so Christi could have 36 hours by herself at home and then fly up, not that I deserve any accolades or anything:) I had all 8 kids in the van as we pulled into the airport to get Christi.  I told everyone to look for mom, and of course Lexi was the first to say, "I see her!" (a bit earlier than she actually came into view.)  A couple of days ago I was driving with Lexi, Jesi and Graci.  I pointed out a train that was running parallel to us.  Lexi asked, "Can I roll down the window so I can see it?"  She rolled the window down about an inch and said, "Oh that's so cool!" and then rolled the window back up.

These poignant little moments occur often.  I wish I had more to give her.  I wish I could explain things better so she could envision them more fully.  Despite the frustration that her blindness sometimes causes her, dear Lexi is a bright, optimistic soul.  She finds the joy in so many of life's experiences.  She is a great example of looking at the bright side of life!

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

I love the way Sophi pronounces certain words.  One of those words is "girl."  In order to get her to say it, this morning I asked her:  "Sophi, are you a boy or a girl."  She replied, "I a giwl.  I not 'posed to take a shower!"  Evidently she has learned the importance of baths in a girl's life at an early age:)

P.S.  Since "shower" is another word I like to hear her say (she has a bit of a hard time with an "r" sound at the end of words), I tried to get her to say it again.  After she said "I not 'posed to take a shower!", I said, "Say shower." 

Sophi (VERY emphatically):  "I aweady DID!!!"  She has a delightfully strong little personality:)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oregon Coast 2012

family reunion at the Lind cabin
pushing each other into the very cold water
kids meeting relatives for the first time
strolls down the Seaside Boardwalk
clam chowder
making homemade ice cream
watching Lexi's excitement at being included in Guesstures games
a beautiful day at Hug Point
Y Sandcastles
a trip to the emergency room
laying in bed with Grandma and Grandpa
traditional Thai feast
Bunny Bunny Bunny Bunny
The Candyman
The Juice Pot
Lewis and Clark Museum
curlers with Aunt Jenny
watching Ben catch a frog
Grandma's granola
Astoria's Tower
endless hours of Munchkin Radio on the drive
Jeremy picking me up and throwing me into the freezing cold ocean
hot dogs and s'mores on the beach
playing the Wii with Steven
runs along the coast
Pass the Pigs
lots of ping pong
having Lexi giggle and exclaim, "Who keeps doing that?" as the waves wash over her feet
Fruits, Veggies, Dessert!
Elli's beachfront tent
sneaking away to watch girlie shows
the bunk room
broken ovens/burned cookies
the Carousel
Mini Golf
watching elk walk in the beautiful meadow off the coast
accidentally tying the bait on the wrong side of the net
a very slow motorboat

..These are our memories of this year's Green family reunion.  It was a perfect vacation.  Jen, you were AMAZING-- you made it all work!  Thank you, and please come and move into our house!!!