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A Mother’s Love

A few weeks ago, my friend Peter Pollock hosted a blog carnival on Grief. My friend Annie had sent me a guest post entitled The Winter Trail which I thought was perfect for the topic. This week’s carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley on the topic is Love, and Annie’s follow up to that post is fitting as well. Here’s Annie:

For over five weeks I had avoided going into her room but I knew sooner or later I was going to have to face the daunting task of packing up the things she left behind.

I looked around the room and took in the few items left hanging in the closet, mainly the old clothes she didn’t wear anymore. The desk held a few nick knacks, school supplies and stuffed animals. The walls had been left mostly bare except for the remnants of her high school volleyball days and a random tack here and there.

I climbed up on the bunk bed and began taking down the volleyball shirts one-by-one. Player number on the front, name across the back. One shirt had the words ‘Team Captain’ boldly printed across the chest, and I had a flashback to the moment she told me she’d made captain. There were bags she had hung that had been decorated by her ‘secret bear pal’ and given to her on the days we played our cross town rival. Pictures of her with the team, the saying, ‘you wish you could hit like a girl’ and the ’10 Reasons I Play Volleyball’, all came down one at a time along with the memories I had of her volleyball days.

I climbed down from the bunk bed and began going through the items on her desk. There was an Angel jewelry holder that she had painted at a little pottery studio we had visited and I carefully wrapped it up and put it into a box. I gently tucked the stuffed animals into the box along with jewelry, pictures, old cell phone chargers, books, and school projects that she had worked so diligently on.

As I cleaned off her desk, I noticed the tiny white Christmas lights that she had strung around her desk and up the bunk bed. I plugged them in and continued working.

I went to the closet and began opening the drawers of her dresser, a hand-me-down from when I was a little girl. As I opened the top drawer I smiled at the mismatched socks in it. We had always laughed about the fact that she never wore matching socks. And there was not a match in the drawer. I closed the drawer and left the socks as they were.

Other drawers held old high school sweatshirts that I packed along with the volleyball shirts into a box. The jewelry box she’d had as a girl that was tucked safely away in the third drawer down was just going to stay put. For now.

As I surveyed the room, I hadn’t realized how late it had gotten and the room was becoming dark except for the white Christmas lights. I glanced over at her desk and my eyes landed on the blue dolphin lamp sitting there. Blue was her favorite color and she’d always loved dolphins. I reached over to turn the lamp on and it lit up as mini lightning bolts raced through the dolphin. I stood there for a moment watching the lightning show…and then the tear fell.

And it fell for the emptiness of the room.

And then another fell for the hurt and sadness of my daughter walking out the door and not looking back.

And another fell, for not seeing her in those mismatched socks.

And then the tears came.

For wondering how the dreams for ones child could go so wrong somewhere along the way and for feeling like I was packing up all the memories I had of her 17 years into a few boxes.

And for missing the hugs, the kisses and the ‘I love yous’, the laughter, the quiet moments, singing Lady Gaga in the car, being goofy, baking cookies and watching movies.

And they fell because I won’t watch her graduate from my old alma mater, and because don’t want to miss out on her future.

And they fell because I’m afraid she doesn’t know how much I miss her.


As I sat there letting the tears fall I knew it was only the beginning. There will be many more tears in the coming weeks, and who knows, maybe months because there is a lot of healing in our relationship that needs to happen, for both of us. But, there is one thing that I am certain of where my daughter and I are concerned. And that is no matter what the differences are, or what trials we face, or how mad and disappointed we are with each other, she knows I love her and I know she loves me.


Be sure to check out the rest of the entries in the blog carnival over at my friend Bridget’s blog, One Word at a Time.

The Winter Trail

This week, my friend Peter Pollock is hosting a blog carnival on the topic of Grief. Truth be told, while I have experienced grief, I was really struggling to come up with a post. Then my friend Annie asked if I was still looking for guest posts. When she sent me this story, and I knew I had my post. A very special thank you to Annie for sharing her story.

Photo by Annie K

There was a light covering of snow on the ground as I made my way along the river trail. Two weeks had passed since I’d been there and I noticed that a lot had changed in that short amount of time.

I dressed for the elements, knowing that a storm had blown through the day before and unsure of how much snow I’d be traversing. Luckily there wasn’t much snow, but what there was had already been trampled by enough hikers to make the trail somewhat slippery.

I’d forgotten that as treacherous as each uphill is in the snow, it’s the downhill that I had to worry about. I began to question why I picked the hilliest part of the trail to hike and not just because of the conditions, but because I’d been sick for well over a week and my lungs were making sure I remembered that.

The last time I hiked the trail there were still some remnants of falls colors, with what leaves remained were clinging to their branches as if unwilling to succumb to their fate of spending winter on the cold hard ground. The squirrels were chattering and scurrying about and the birds were extremely vocal, especially when Boz encroached in their space.

Today, the woods were still except the lone crow who was flushed out of his hiding space and made no secret of his irritation with the rogue Boz-dog on the trail. The squirrels and birds were eerily silent and nowhere to be seen. The trees were completely bare and not a single leaf was spared, with the last ones to fall being scattered along the trail. I came upon a fallen aspen tree that a few weeks ago had been the picture of vibrance with all of it’s leaves in full fall color. Now, the leaves were gone and it was left laying on the ground, never to produce leaves again.

As I walked the trail and took in all the change that happens from spring, to summer, to fall and finally winter, I realized that my life in the past week resembled the trail that was preparing for winter.

You see, it wasn’t being sick that took the life out of me and brought on the season of winter, it was watching my daughter walk out the door without looking back. It was seeing her dark brown eyes turn nearly black as she spit out the words, ‘you need me…’ as she packed up her belongings. She said those words more than once and in several different ways in the time it took her to pack her worldly possesions.

You. Need. Me.

There was a moment where it hit me , and I don’t know who she was trying to convince. I’m not sure if she was saying that over and over to convince herself that yes, she was needed, or trying to convince me that letting her go was going to be the biggest mistake of my life. All I know is that two people were feeling dead inside as she walked past me and uttered, ‘whatever,’ as she walked out the door.

I have refused to cry or feel anything but anger and indifference. I don’t want to talk about what led up to my daughter leaving her home or why she screamed she hated me. I don’t want to let go of the anger because I know when I do that the hurt will come and it is going to be worse than anything I’ve ever felt. And, I know that once the tears start they won’t stop.

For now, the trail understands my pain. It is colorless, cold, empty of life and waiting. Waiting for the next season to bring hope of new life.


To read more posts on the topic of Grief, please visit the blog carnival at Rediscovering the Church

The Beauty of the Trail (by Annie K)

Today’s guest post was written by my friend Annie K, who can write AND take amazing photographs. I happen to think she’s combined both talents here beautifully. Enjoy.

I grew up surrounded by the forest, mountains, lakes and a river that flows through the town I call home. I always loved spending time out in the wilderness and the older I get the more I feel drawn to the winding trails and the solitude of what I consider one of the most peaceful places I know.

This time of year there are very few people on the trail and the stillness that surrounds me is incredibly comforting. The only sounds I hear are the faint jingle of Boz’s collar, the occasional chattering of a squirrel that was most likely disturbed by said dog, the wind rustling through the trees and the sound of my footsteps as I make my way along the trail that is covered with fallen pine needles and Aspen leaves.

The leaves from the Aspens fall all around me as if they are being dropped from the heavens, and for a few hours, I watch the lazy river flow by, breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the colors of fall as if they were put there especially for me.

Yesterday, I made my way around one corner of the trail and I saw a flash of incredible color that went from red to orange, to gold and green. As I inspected it more closely, I realized that it was a part of an aspen tree that was in full fall color and had fallen. Recently.

Curiosity got the better of me and so I made my way down the steep rocky slope to get a better view. The moment I laid eyes on the base of the tree a smile crept over my face and two words escaped my lips as I looked down at Boz. “Dang beaver.”

It’s a shame to see this aspen lying on the ground, knowing that it is the last time it’s going to produce such beauty, and all because some beaver thinks he’s going to dam the Deschutes. But that is nature and I would never have enjoyed being so close to these brilliant colors had the tree still been standing.

I could walk this trail a hundred times an see it a thousand different ways. All because God instilled in me a passion for the outdoors.

As I walked and drank in the surroundings I thought about how this trail is a lot like my life. There are uphills and downhills, mountains and valleys, calm waters and rapids, twist and turns, rocky paths and clear paths, dark places and places full of light. I see the trail in black and white and astounding color. I can think I’ve got it all figured out, turn a corner and see the trail from a different angle and realize I’m seeing something I didn’t notice before. I can find beauty in all of it because I know that God was the creator of this incredible place and He gave me a passion, a deep desire to be out on this trail enjoying his creation.

And that is how I should see my life. No matter what mountain I’m on or valley I’m in, or how dark the day may be, or what twists and turns I’m facing I should be able to see the beauty in the trail God is leading me down because that is the plan He has for my life. I should walk down the path with my eyes wide open, so as not to miss what it is I have to see while embracing life in color and the contrast of black and white. The rocky path needs to be faced with a spirit of determination and the dark places maneuvered by His light on the path.

I believe we find incredible beauty in whatever we are passionate about. Our lives, no matter what the situation should be lived with the same passion for fear we’ll miss what’s around the next turn in the trail.

To read more from Annie, visit her at Buzz by Annie’s, her photography blog, Annie’s Daily Picture, and follow her on the twitter at @buzzbyannies.

This Day in History

1862: Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeat troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla.
1865: The 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery.
1917: Eugene Jacques Bullard becomes the first African-American aviator when he earns a flying certificate with the French Air Service.
1935: American Jesse Owens sets the long jump record.
1945: Holland and Denmark are liberated from Nazi control.
1961: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.

Some pretty cool things happened on May 5, and some fairly awesome people were born on this day, too. But I’m not going to mention any of them save one. Because compared to this one, for me, the rest sort of pale in comparison. I’m referring to my kick butt bloggity gal pal, Annie K.

There’s so many things I love about Annie. She’s one of the original Magnificent 7 and even coined the name. I suppose what I love about Annie the most has much to do with how our relationship came into being in the first place.

Someone left a rather snarky comment directed at Sherri, another one of the original 7, about linking their blogs in the comments section on Stuff Christians Like. Annie and I both ended up on Sherri’s blog because we wanted to support and defend her. In that way we are much alike – defenders of the underdog. Not that Sherri is an underdog. She was just being unfairly picked on. On a sidenote, I would just like to let you know that no one unfairly picks on Sherri anymore. Well, I do, and Steph, and Annie, Beth, Nick, Marni, Helen, Mare, Candy, Shark Bait, and…okay we all pick on her sometimes. It’s our love language.

Back to Annie. I suppose I could give you a run down of all things fabulous about her, but I’ll just suggest you go read through her blog. You’ll figure it out. But in a nutshell, I think I can sum up why I heart Annie with a brief snippet from a ridiculously long email extravaganza where many of us were hitting “reply” fast and furious. (And you thought we just left comments on each other’s blogs!) So, without further adieu, I give you Annie’s reply, “Just a freaking minute…”:

Here’s the deal..

My husband takes me out to a nice dinner at my fav restaurant tonight and I come back to a gazzzillion emails.

1. I want everyone’s freaking shirt size.

Don’t give me crap about sparklies and unicorns. I will make you look fabulous no matter what you are wearing beause that is the kind of gal I am. Just give me the damn shirt size.

2. It will say No Fair Wear somewhere on it.
3. You will look fabulous.
4. I hate K-MArt. I am a Dillards snob. Get over it. Just give me your damn shirt size.
5. I love you gals.
6. I’m taking my husband to bed. I’d better have shirt sizes by the time I wake up in the morning. Period.

annie k

Quiet, demure Annie. Oh, how I love her so!

Happy Birthday, my friend!

P. S. – She also has the cutest dog EVER, Boz. Hi Boz!

Buddy Love also says “Happy Birthday”. But as you know, he’s kind of lame: