Monthly Archives: June 2014

A life-long relationship

I was 8 years old when I met Nicki. Oh, I’d seen her around; knew others who knew her, but we hadn’t officially met. As with most relationships, there have been times when we’ve been very close and other times, not at all. They say that great relationships can withstand the test of time; true friends can go a long while without talking or spending any time together…. and when they do get together? Well, it’s as comfortable and easy as it’s always been.

I think the same can be said of bad relationships.

My relationship with Nicki has been like that. Some saw her as just a good time; someone to have a coffee with now and then.  That’s how we got close.  I found that she was always there when I needed her to be. Nonjudgmental…..she made me feel better, calmed me down even.  There were things about her I didn’t care for, but I looked past those and focused on what I got out of the relationship.

My folks didn’t like that I spent time with her; few did.  Not everyone who met her liked her. Many had only terrible, nasty things to say.  There were pictures of her ugly side….some of them would literally scream warnings at me about what spending time with her might do to me.

Though I knew the warnings were true, I chose time and again not to heed them. I didn’t care. My desire for her was, well, addictive and as troublesome as that was, what over time became even more so was the secrecy of our relationship.

I wasn’t addicted to cigarettes at 8, but it was at that young age that my life-long, on-again, off-again, relationship with smoking started. Over a span of 41 years I have “quit” more times than I can count. I’ve bought and thrown packs of them out the window, only to turn around and pick them up again.  I’ve confessed my guilty pleasure to a few people, some of whom I asked to hold me accountable, but accountability only works when I’m honest. Eventually, bound by the shackles of my own shame, I would do what I do really well; I would hide.

It’s been 5 weeks to the day since I decided I’d had enough of the sneaking around and hiding. I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite some time and something I read today provided the motivation:

“There is healing in admitting that we don’t have it all together. There is restoration in hearing that someone else struggles, too. It brings us together to lean into each other’s uncertainty and encourage one another.”  Melissa Wilcox 

So this is me, leaning.  Fighting to be free from the hidden struggles that keep me bound up and unhealthy in more ways than just physical.  I don’t have it all together; none of us do, but as long as I keep quiet, keep to myself and continue hiding, there is no room for healing.

Smoking kills; so do secrets.

Crystal Ball….or Rear View Mirror???

259676_10150640914070556_3037032_oI remember while pregnant with Meagan, friends of ours were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and I was thinking “wow, 10 years….that’s a long time”.

28 years. That’s a long time….relative to the 10, of course! It’s certainly not been an uneventful 28 years!

We met at Peterson & Peterson, the first law firm we both worked for. When Brad’s secretary went on maternity leave, I was her fortunate replacement. It was while chatting one day that I noticed a bible in his office; well, turns out we had more than just work in common. When I was baptized, Brad came. When he left Peterson’s for a partnership with Don Orazietti, I left with him. Apparently, when a young woman leaves paid employment to work for someone without the promise of payment, that’s an indication of something. Who knew?

It wasn’t long after we made the switch that we began spending more time together outside of the office; not long after that we were engaged and a few months later, married.

We spent our first two weeks together on the west coast of this beautiful Country. As a gift to me, Brad planned every detail of our honeymoon and what a fabulous job he did. We flew into Vancouver, picked up our rental car and spent the first week or so venturing North. We stayed in Squamish, drove through the beautiful town of Whistler and then onto Williams Lake where we were to go white water rafting. Our guides never showed up, but not one to be deterred, Brad found another rafting company in Prince George who were taking out a large group, actually they were on a family reunion, and were happy to include the honeymooners on their excursion.

Seems appropriate, doesn’t it?

We put up with a bit of teasing on the bus ride, as the photo albums of past excursions were passed around. I’d never been white water rafting, and was somewhat nervous….especially after those pictures. It was a blast, though; a beautiful evening raft down the Fraser River, followed by laughs and a huge outdoor buffet around a big bonfire. We stayed at Esther’s Inn and have often recalled that hotel over the years and its courtyard filled with palm trees, hot tubs and the like. It was paradise.

Smithers, BC with it’s alpine facade main street and on to Prince Rupert where we boarded a ferry and cruised down to Port Hardy at the top of Vancouver Island. From Port Hardy we drove through Campbell River and then on to Victoria where we stayed a couple nights at the beautiful, brand new Abigail’s Hotel, just a short walk from the inner harbour where we enjoyed all the sites that Victoria had to offer.

We ended our time away with a 3 day tour of the world….the World’s Exposition was in Vancouver that year and we experienced the tastes, sights and sounds Expo 86 had to offer during the day and then ferried back to the quietness of Vancouver Island at night. Our first Canada Day as husband and wife was spent in Victoria; the fireworks have never been as enjoyable.

It was a beautiful time. We lived not knowing what our future held, but enjoying every moment of the present.

Six weeks later my new husband, father and sister were involved in a head on car crash.

9.5 months later, we welcomed, with great joy, our first child; the first of many.

We’ve lived in 9 different villages/towns/cities, on two Islands, in one province and one territory. We’ve called 15 places “home” (home IS where the heart is)….a couple of them twice. This morning as I’ve recalled those precious first two weeks….and many of life’s moments since, I am thankful that instead of a crystal ball by which to see the future, we have the gift of a rear view mirror by which to recall our past.

I believe that’s another of God’s graces to us. ‘Cause if that naive girl of 21 had of known what the future held….well, she just may not have said “I do”.

Happy Anniversary, babe. I’m thankful to have lived these past 28 years alongside you. Here’s to our next book full of memories.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:34

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Cor 12:9

Happy Birthday, Cam

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You were delivered to us on a beautiful June day, 22 years ago.  When you left my body, I shivered and they piled on warm blankets.  I laid there listening to the doctor and nurses guess your weight. 10lbs 12oz.  I thought you looked like a baby sumo wrestler!

 

 

As a young boy in a large body, you were 20120211_150135often thought to be older than you were.  Many a time I had to remind myself!  You were so affectionate; gentle and tender hearted. 31792_10150192936930556_6491803_n     You would have been about 6 When the Principal of the little Christian school you went to in Yellowknife told us how much she loved your hugs…..and then asked us if we would ask you NOT to lift her off the floor!

You have always given the best hugs. 129_11705100555_4458_n It’s virtually impossible to ignore your size, but those you got to know you also knew that your stature was outmatched by the size of your heart, by your compassion and care of others.  As you’ve grown, we’ve watched how you love people, without discrimination.  You don’t see age, race, gender or disability and that is a rare and beautiful quality, my son.  When company came, you greeted them at the door.  If they had suitcases, you carried them to their room.  I remember when poppa brought John down for a few days before he passed away.  You’d never met the man, but you spent real time with him; you took a genuine interest in him and that’s not common in one as young as you were.  I know he appreciated that.

That protective instinct we saw in you became a passion of yours that has been played out in the game you love.  It is impossible to think of you and NOT think of football.  You were 7 when dad first took you for tryouts where he was told you were….seriously?  He’s too BIG for football??35825_10150201797755556_6958895_n

“Bring him back next year” said the men in charge.

“Do you think he’s going to get smaller??  Look, I’ll pay the full fare; just let him practice with the kids.  You don’t even have to give him a helmet….”

I think you and dad did the trek to the football sign ups 3 times; Tyke football was just not part of the plan. At 12 you told your dad you were going to lose the 40 lbs necessary to play football at the Pee Wee level.   That’s a lotta’ weight for one so young, but you did it.

It was brutal.

And it didn’t get any easier the following year after growing several inches, but you were determined to play your last year with your team at the Pee Wee level.  You had the support and encouragement of your family and coaches….well, most of your coaches.  There was Hobbs.

His name became akin to a four letter word in our house.  Men like Hobbs ought not to be coaching children; they should be drill sergeants or….border guards.  Rather than encourage you, the man-with-a- Napoleonic-complex-if-ever-there-was-one told you to quit, more than once.  You had to learn to drown out the negative noise that fell from that man’s mouth.

It was brutal. 31792_10150192948355556_2624728_n Despite the difficulties, challenges and setbacks you encountered, sometimes at your own hand, you pulled it out and lost the weight.  Don’t think it could have been any closer; wish I had a picture of you with that shirt made of netting that you and your dad bought prior to weigh in!  I don’t expect you’ll ever forget the cheer that arose from your mates, their parents and the other coaches.   31792_10150192963220556_4415880_n

 

 

 

Your dream became to play in the NFL.  There’s no easy path to getting there; no guarantees or golden tickets.  When we moved you to Ogdensburg so you could play American high school football, 5 minutes from a border you couldn`t cross for 10 months, you were 1 of about 1,000,000 athletes to play high school football in the US.  To get to Division 1 football from there, you had to overcome odds of about 1 in 1,000.  AND YET you are currently 1 of about 12,000 athletes who play Division 1 College football.  23600_10150163537375556_4913802_n

Your position as an Offensive Lineman is reserved for the biggest players.  Thanks to stats 297097_10152152553580618_1656310790_nyour dad has kept, WE KNOW that you are 1 of roughly 2,400 Offensive Line athletes currently on the rosters at 128 Division 1 teams across the U.S.  When considering both size AND weight, in comparison to the other 2,400 OL athletes in Division 1 football, you rank in the top 27 guys returning this fall.

Or roughly 1%.

Going to games and watching you pace the sidelines last year; that was tough and at the end of a long and difficult season, you considered leaving Eastern.  You didn’t WANT to, but you found yourself in a place where you were forced to consider your options.

One was to allow your name to stand in the CFL draft held this spring.  Had you done so, you would NOT have returned to EMU for your senior year. IMG_2012However, any thoughts about leaving Eastern for the CFL were shut down last fall when the CFL amended a long-standing draft rule to eliminate as draft prospects all Canadian-born athletes playing Division 1 football in the U.S. and currently in their Junior year.

That one rule change affected only 5 athletes on the face of the planet; you were one of them.

That rule change eliminated your chance to leave Eastern before your senior year, and without that change you very likely would have never played for the new coaching staff at Eastern.  Now you are being guided and assisted by a completely new staff of coaches at Eastern, many of whom are Christians.     Tyler Allen

You’ve lived away from your family since you were 15.  You’ve battled with negativity; that of others as well as your own.  You’ve enjoyed great relationships with coaches and have learned how to be a team player.  You’ve known winning, and you’ve also known loss:  games, seasons, Coaches and, most tragically, a team mate. 050

Every step gets you closer. 

Every lesson makes you wiser. 

Every battle makes you stronger.

 

 

Today you’re 22, and though we aren’t able to gather around a table and eat cake, we will be thinking of you and celebrating the young man that you are.  I’m thankful, Cam, to have been able to walk through this life with you; thankful to be your mom.  I’m thankful to have witnessed the disappointments and celebrated the accomplishments; you have challenged me.  Whatever lay ahead, I am so very proud of you; the compassionate, encouraging, loving man that you are.

Don’t ever stop.

Don’t ever stop believing in yourself.

Don’t ever stop working hard and doing your very best. (Col 3:23)

Don’t ever stop believing in our God who is well able to do abundantly more than you could ever think or ask.549925_10152569213695618_800471341_n (640x449)