Thursday, October 25, 2012

rest for the weary

I went home for a long weekend. Took a day of vacation. I packed up on Thursday after work and decided to drive home that night.

I needed to breath.

The city was getting suffocating. I needed to escape from the people, the traffic, work, the pressure of the busyness, etc. It was a rainy and windy drive so not exactly a relaxing one. And as soon as I stepped out of my car, the gust of wind almost took my breath away. But it was almost refreshing.

And I was home.

I carried my bags and suitcase into the house and up the stairs to my bedroom. (Yes, I've been out of the house for 8 years and it is still my room. Benefit of being one of the youngest kids. :)) And then I went to my twin bed...with my bright turquoise walls that I painted in high school...snuggled up in sweats...and felt relief at being home.

It was wonderful to not have a packed agenda while being home. No rush or pressure to get from one person to another...and that was great.

During my weekend I did the following:
-visited two of my siblings at work and my brother took us out for lunch :)
-picked up my niece and nephew from school (it was so crazy to go back to the elementary school that I attended!); the excitement on my niece's face when she saw me filled my heart with joy and love
-attended the HS football game
-watched my niece in the band halftime show
-relaxed at home with my sister
-saw a couple of very dear friends
-used a power tool to make some art
-walked around my parents' property
-felt God's peace and presence and healing power
-went to my "growing up" church (feels great when you can walk into a place and know you will see plenty of familiar faces- I don't ever have that experience in Mpls- people that know you and love you)
-visited my dear Grandma at the nursing home and while she makes silly comments (brr, that's hot!!) that make us all laugh; it is pretty sad to see how confused she is and how much her memory is failing her.
-watched a movie in the middle of the afternoon...just because I could!

I took some time on Saturday morning to just wander around and take in the beauty that is in the world around us. I used that time to let God pour His love over me as I soaked up the quiet and stillness. It was so healing for me.
There were definitely moments through out my weekend when I thought about a certain boy...and he did come to mind more than I thought he would. But God took care of me. And my heart is doing much better than last week.

I did miss my Dad's "welcome home" and "goodbye" bear hugs and my Mom's home cooking. It was pretty strange being home without them there.

But the weekend was exactly what I needed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a thankful heart

Despite all the turmoil in my head and the ache in my heart...I am reminded to be thankful.

I have some pretty great friends and lately, I've been reminded of how blessed I am to have them.
-they listen to my rambles and rants and fears and crazy dreams and hurts
-they shower me with their love
-they let me cry
-they don't make me feel guilty for my feelings and thoughts
-they gently remind that they know God has a greater plan
-they make me laugh
-they tell me that someday someone will fight for me... and that he will be better than what I hope for and dream about...because again, God knows what is best for me
-they know me and what makes me tick
-they pray for me
-and although some of them are miles and miles away...I know they are always there for me.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I've been thinking about death and life lately. And how for most of those big moments, I remember where I was when I got the "news".

October 1995, 4th grade, green monkey bars at the OC Elem School: my mom came to tell me that my niece Jenna was born. (She is now did that happen??)

September 1997, 6th grade, Mr. Hupke's math class: breaking down in tears because I didn't get my homework done because my Grandma died the night before. He told me it was the best excuse he had ever heard.

March 1999, 7th grade, Mr. Yaw's math class: bragging to him that my nephew Grant was born.

September 2006, basement of my sister's house: pacing while my mom told me that Sharon spent her last moments surrounded by her family.

April 5, 2007, at my sister's house in the "mudroom": text from my BIL- Kennedy Grace was born! About an hour later- a call from my friend: I'm engaged!!!

September 2007, day after Labor Day: my apartment in St. Anthony: phone call from my mom...Bob & Rhonda were visiting Grandpa and left to grab food and came back...Grandpa was gone.

December 2010, parking lot of Pump It Up with my nanny girls: returning a missed phone call from my little sister and I knew in the back of my head what was coming....Grandpa didn't make it through the night.

I wonder more about death...mostly because I wonder how I want my last days to be...

My Grandma Niemeyer was "knock on wood healthy" a day or two before dying from a heart attack. No time for goodbyes. Guilt and regret flooded my 12 year old mind. Why didn't I spend more time with her when they came to visit us at the campground? I should have "loved her more" even though she didn't have the candy dish like Grandma Netten. Both of my Grandpas really suffered...but we got to say goodbye.

My only living Grandma will never walk again. She is now confined to a wheelchair. And it breaks my heart.
I last saw her on Labor Day on my way from the campground. I was wearing a baseball cap, hospital gown and gloves. She called me Dawn and when I gently corrected her, she felt so bad.
But then said, "you are not married and don't have kids, right?"
"That's right Grandma."
"I just hate it that I can't keep everything straight."
"There are a lot of us Grandma to keep track of!"
"I know, but I want to remember. It's embarrassing."
I almost started crying for her. The thought of losing her is so painful to me. I know I cry easily, but tears run down my face. And even though I know without a doubt in my mind the place she will be going is so much heart still hurts. And she is not dying, but my mind goes there.

And I wish I knew how to grieve better or that I felt like I was "allowed" to grieve. I saw a counselor a couple years ago and she told me I had never properly grieved for the losses I had experienced. It was all bottled up inside. So I need to remember that crying is good. Talking about the people we miss is good.
It is healing. 

I've been going through a book called, "Grace for the Good Girl." Last night I was reading it and the following struck me strongly:

"The fact that I needed healing did not mean I was horrible; it meant I was human. We all share a common frailty, but the good girl won't let me take part. She has both held me back from facing weakness and shoved me forward to fake strong."

I wish I could have read that back in 2006...again in 2007...and so on. So much healing was missed because I was wearing a mask of "yes, I am strong and everything is okay."
Until I could hold on no longer.
I fell. And I fell hard.
And then I tried to wear the mask again and was pretty "successful" at it.
Until I broke it.

June 2008: my bedroom at my sister's house, Finals Week. There was no way I was going to get my project done. I broke down. I couldn't do it -LIFE- anymore. But I didn't know what to do. Or who to admit my failures/ weaknesses/ fears/ etc to. I couldn't imagine putting that burden on anyone else.
And I had forgotten there is One who wants my burdens and asks for it all.

The mask stays in my closet.....because I am the "good girl".
I long for it to be destoyed.
But my "need" for control keeps it there.
My fear of disappointing others.
My fear of failure.
My pride.
My lack of trust.

The list goes on and on. But I know my God covers this list. His grace extends so far it is beyond me.
It is so unbelievable that you have to believe.