Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Friendship Factor

Let me introduce you to Team Crossfit Maui---a motley but disciplined group.

For months we worked out together five days a week-- stretching, sweating, running, rowing, and whining our way to fitness (actually only a few of us whined, and you know who you are). Under Drew and Jaime's strict coaching, we pushed ourselves to do things we never thought possible. In my case, that was lifting 125 lbs, and doing 100 sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and pull-ups at a time. I even ran my first 5K on Mother's Day last year. There's a surprising amount of bonding in sweat, and it was an exuberant time for all of us.

Two weeks after the Mother's Day run our world crashed. Our son suddenly went to Heaven, and in turn triggered a jolting chain reaction of losses. Our Crossfit Team lost its coaches, location, and equipment as our grieving daughter and her husband left Maui for VA. Our exercise regimen scattered to various garages and our smoothly rolling routine disintegrated as we bumped our way thru a series of unwelcome changes. It hurt... a lot. Disappointment on top of disappointment.
But this morning we all gathered together again, an accidental reunion created by an unrushed Saturday morning on Maui. How special to once again share a workout and then share a delicious gourmet breakfast around a common table. Friends who've been so crucially faithful in our sad season, though we've been preoccupied and absent, are still friends, still there, still encouraging us. In our chain of losses, our friendship wasn't among them.
To see pictures of our workout and breakfast go to

The Farm House

For those of you who have asked, I've jumped the gun a bit and that picture in the header above is our farmhouse-to-be. It's still in escrow, and if the Lord wills, it will be ours in April...the land, the trees, the creek, the house and the barn (without the parked motor home). If not, I guess I'll find a new picture for my header!!! He's the Rock and we'll Roll where He wants us to go!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Hockey Player Who Gives Till It Hurts

My Hockeyplayer has done an amazing thing and I want EVERYONE to be inspired by the difference one AWESOME 14-year old can make in the world. One of his hockey friends has cancer. Our Hockeyplayer donated his X-box to the oncology ward where his friend is receiving treatment.
If you know adolescent boys, you know this is no small sacrifice. They are tethered to their X-boxes with an invisible's the activity of choice in any spare moment, the constant topic of conversation, and the place where every spare dime is invested. It would be hard to find anything that would be more of a sacrifice for him, except maybe hockey itself.
Now pan to the cancer ward: it's not difficult to imagine what that joystick of normalcy and pain distraction will mean to those kids living in an inhospitable hospital ward--whose lives have been turned upside-down.
I am incredibly proud of my grandson. He's making the world a better place for someone besides himself. We've got the makings of a true man in him.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys...they make us laugh, think, warn, holler, hold our breath, run, applaud, and cheer. One's big and one's little and they are the best show in town! Like the sun, these boys pulse with life and energy, and add blazing warmth and light to our lives. The Hockeyplayer and the Sidekick...they are the manliest combination of sweet and tough you'll ever find, they give great hugs, and they are going to be absolutely amazing men like their dads. I ADORE every little thing about them!!
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My Classified Heroes

So one day my daughters were my little girls and the next day they became wives. And on that day, these two amazing men became part of our family. Now I can't say much about them on this public blog, but I will tell you they are my heroes, they are incredibly brave and they have sacrificed for their country. How's that to pique your curiosity. (Okay, so there are only so many occupations that meet the criteria, and you can fill in the blank anyway you like.) To me, they are AWESOME!!

They have steadied our rocky boat since the loss of Joey, even in the midst of some deep personal losses of their own. 2008 was a hard year, but their strength has helped get us through. I love, respect and admire these two more than words can say.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Favorite Little Women

These three girls make my life more than interesting---rich and gratifying. I am just happy to be in their presence and breathe their air. The IPod Girl, the Teacher's Dream, and the Actress. Actually they are more than that...multi-layered, complex, exuberant, process of becoming world-changers. I love them with my whole being.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Favorite Women

These are my favorite women--the Happy Hostess, the Awesome Artist, the Dancing Queen, and me. I like being pictured with them, and love sharing life with them. The four of us are honored to be Joey's favorite women too. He had a way of loving each of us and making us feel special and appreciated and enjoyed. What a gift he gave us.
Our brave faces belie our sad hearts...our first Thanksgiving without Joey.

Bittersweet Memories

I don't intend to write a sad blog, but our loss is still fresh and there are memories of Joey everywhere. He is still a part of us and we want his story to endure. During Joey's college years, his summer job was working for Trilogy Excursions on Maui. His job was sailing eager tourists to dazzling snorkel spots around the islands, and coaching them into the water with mask and fins. He fed them, humored them, and protected them from harm. Here he is one day when he was 20 years old, posing with his dad---gotta love those radiant smiles.
Goodbye to that sweet time, goodbye sweet Maui life, goodbye sweet beautiful son---Aloha till we meet again on Another Shore. Till then we will love you and remember you, and trust that God has a plan to bring good out of tragedy.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Dirt Roads and Well Water

Off the grid. Going GREEN... kind of. No water bills---we've got three gushing wells for water. Heat: a gorgeous red wood-burning stove that will keep us warm in the frostiest weather, if only My Farmer is willing to go outside to get the wood. And we can cook on it, and even hang-to-dry wet boots and mittens when needed. Oh, and one unreliable electric power line stretching down our long dirt driveway. At the top of our shopping list: a generator for the frequent power failures caused by hurricane level winds. Small carbon footprint. Decently independent of civilization. Sounds simple and comfy...except the fine print about computers and dvd players not working. One step too far. Primitive.

Green Pastures, Still Waters

Why a farm? We don't know for sure. Maybe it has something to do with peace, quiet, simplicity, space to grieve and reflect. Dirt to work with our hands, long uncrowded vistas of fields and trees, a new kind of life. A happy place for our grandkids, with horses, goats, chickens, a veggie garden, a flower garden, a canoe in the creek, a tractor, and a wagon.

I guess we'll watch to see what grows on this beautiful farm land.

Our New Life

Life has changed for us. With the passing of our beloved son, Joey, our old life doesn't fit us anymore. And what a life it was. We lived on the ocean in Maui, waking up to sunshine, sparkling waters, and canoers paddling by every single morning. The visual parade outside our window was a travel poster for "The Good Life". We had loving friends, a nourishing church and fulfilling work. We even had our daughter and her family on island for two years---3 adorable grandchildren who made even the most mundane activities fun. It's no stretch to say we had a perfect life---as perfect a life as can be had on this dangerous blue ball spinning in space.

Then tragedy and heartbreak and crushing loss struck us. It broke us and ravaged our comfortable existence and reshaped our lives permanently. And now, nine months later we're different and our old life simply doesn't fit us anymore. Jesus said you can't put new wine in old wine skins. I guess for us that means we will have to change the outside to match our new insides. Our need to be next to our daughters and their families has become a demanding imperative. We just need the comfort of togetherness as we learn a life without Joey. So we are making the move to Virginia Beach....a little farm community called Pungo, to be precise. Pungo, the Strawberry Capital of Virginia, where farmland meets tall trees, and black water quiets your soul.
From Paradise to Pungo.