Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Ashlee’ Category

25 Years Ago Today

25 years ago today we were blessed with a baby girl, 7lbs 10oz – and we called her Ashlee Renee.

We have been so blessed by this little bundle of energy – and although 25 years ago we were living in a completely different place and were much younger things have not really changed that much.  We are still the same people we always were – except that this little baby changed our lives – forever.

We thought we were prepared for a baby.  No one is prepared – even with the planning and waiting (we waited 6 years), the financial security (or lack of it) and the books on babies and parenthood.  A baby simply changes your life.

We dressed her up – put pretty bows on her once bald head and tried to make every moment count.

But along with the joy of having a little doll to dress up – what most people don’t plan for is sickness, long nights and days with no sleep, a fussy eater, a baby who won’t sleep anywhere except her own bed and trips to the ER for croup.  At 10 months old Ashlee had complications from the flu with a high fever reaching 105 and had to be in the hospital.  These were the tough times of having a baby.

Still she has been a light and joy in our lives. Stealing away any sense of privacy and sanity – babies are the best things in life.

Here’s to you Ashlee – you’re not a baby anymore – but I still remember you as one. One of my favorite memories of you as a little girl was when you were a flower girl at age 3.

Now you are a grown woman with a wonderful husband and home of your own. And you still continue to bless us.

You are loved and always in our prayers.

Priceless “In The Moment” Moments

The city of Burbank, CA looking east from Univ...

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This month marks the 30th anniversary of the last time I was single and living at home.  I went right from my parent’s home at 20 years of age to another way of life – without ever have lived on my own.

And although it worked out for me – I also see great benefits to living on your own before being married.

Both of my children have had opportunities to live on their own after finishing high school.  And although this can be hard, financially – I believe the lessons learned while living on your own are very valuable.  Some things just can’t be taught while living at home.

With our daughter – she was so determined that she would make it – and it took two jobs for her to do so – she’s been very proud of herself that she was completely self sufficient by the time she was 20 years old.  She learned a lot of about room-mates and finances that she’s never forgotten – and when it came time for her to get married – she was already very disciplined with money and her work ethic.  She’s one of the hardest working young women I know.

Shawn, who will be 20 in October – has moved to California to pursue a music education and hopefully a career with his music training.  He lives with room-mates in Burbank and has struggled to maintain his rent with only a part-time job.  We are grateful he got a job, when so few are available.  And we’re also thankful that his loan money will cover his tuition AND his housing this fall.  But it’s still tough to make the rent and pay for things like food – until then.

Experiences like this are so valuable.  And he will look back on these times as “the good old days” before real bills, a wife and children to support.  All of this – priceless in the big scheme of things to come.

As I chatted on the phone with him last night – I reminded him that this too shall pass – and his present circumstance is what great songs and writings are made of  🙂  Maybe not while he’s struggling – but sometime after as he looks back…

Living “in the moment” – trying to be present – even during hard times of struggle. Being available in the mind.  On purpose and on task.  Learning to get by on very little – to be engaged and still positive about life.  This is what living “in the moment” is all about.

Are you alway “in the moment”?  Does your mind wander to “better times” either in the past – or somewhere in the future?  Can you be content and very present?  Now – today?  Especially when things are not ideal?  And you may be struggling?  Can you find the priceless of the here and now?  Knowing this moment will pass you by – and be no more?

Did you live on your own before you were married?  What did you do without during those years?  What’s your story?

 

God Bless

24 Years Ago

I remember where I was 24 years ago tonight.  I was in a room in a hospital in New Castle, PA – getting ready for 5 hours of hard labor to have my first-born child – Ashlee Renee.  I went into labor on her due date of August 5th and she was born at 2:27 am on August 6, 1987.

So much has changed since I was 26 years old.  We’ve lived an entire lifetime since then – crisscrossed the country a couple of times and have finally wound up back in the Pacific Northwest.

Everything about life changes when you have a baby – our doctor told Greg and me that we would enter the hospital as two people – and  leave as three.  Our life really changed and we discovered that Ashlee was the new boss of our home – deciding when she would eat and sleep – and most often in those first few months – she was at an opposite schedule – so NO ONE slept much.  I remember not minding – she was precious and I had prayed for a girl and she was PERFECT.

Happy Birthday, Ashlee – you will be 24 in 6 hours!

Where were you 24 years ago today?

God Bless!

We Are NOT Broken

Broken Heart

Image by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr

The other day while teaching a piano lesson – I fell out of my chair in my office.  I’m not kidding.  I have a new office chair with a really high center of gravity – and I was innocently leaning over to my right to pick something up off the floor – when all of a sudden – my chair slipped on the hardwood slippery floor – right from underneath me.  My natural instinct was to put out my hand to stop my fall – unfortunately it was my THUMB that took all the impact.  I heard a nasty ‘popping’ sound like a knuckle cracking – and thought to myself, “That can’t be good”  – but I was really in no pain so I kept on teaching the rest of the afternoon – even playing the piano for a few more voice students.

My 19-year-old son LAUGHED AND LAUGHED when he heard about it later that day.  And it would’ve been really funny to me too – if I did not have to use my thumb to play the piano.  But like any injury – it creates great drama – and a wonderful story for later.  My daughter Ashlee used to love  the saying, “It’s not funny until someone gets hurt – and then it’s HILARIOUS!”

Because there was no real pain – but was quite swollen – even turning black and blue yesterday – I kept icing it and then Greg fashioned a bandage to keep it immobile while I was teaching.  Last night it looked worse – so we called our 24 hour nurse hot line and explained the injury to a nurse.  She was very thorough and asked me a lot of questions about my thumb – the type of swelling – where it was sore – if any place.  By the time I was off the phone with her – I was confident that I had just sprained it.  I slept with a bandage on it last night – and this morning there is hardly any swelling at all!  So relieved!  The things we do to ourselves, right?  Nothing like self-induced injuries!

I also tried Acupuncture on my back for the first time yesterday and really liked it!  I’m going to go again – as well as keep my regular chiropractic  and massage appointments.  Getting older is not very fun.  And tomorrow I enter into a new decade.

Injured but NOT broken. Kind of like – life.

God Bless

What’s Your Name Again?

Beatles, The - 28 - 1966 - Michelle

Image by Affendaddy via Flickr

I hate to admit this – but I can’t remember your name.  Actually – if I’m really honest about it – it has always been this way with me.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I know everyone loves the sound of their name spoken by another person.  I just don’t think that person will be me.  Sorry.  I like to think of it this way:  I have a lot of other ‘stuff’ floating around up here – so I cannot be saddled down with a lot of trivial information, like phone numbers and names.

I think it’s a hereditary trait – I really do.  My maternal grandmother could never remember any of her grandchildren’s names.  I was somewhere in the middle of the bunch – therefore most forgettable, I’m sure.  She would go down the list, ‘Phyllis, Cora, Wendy, Joanne, David – WHO ARE YOU???’  Yes – I was even called, ‘David’.  Nice.  My cousin Joanne recalls being referred to as, ‘Wendy, Cindy, Joanne’ for most of her life.

Well – now that I’m of a ‘certain age’ I can identify with my grandmother and know how hard she struggled with our names.  I have found myself calling after my children – getting it horribly wrong and wondering why I CAN’T REMEMBER THEIR NAMES!  And like Bill Cosby said of his own father, ‘You live here and I’ll find out your name!!’  *Sigh*  It is so true.  I have called, Shawn – ‘Greg’  –  and Greg – ‘Shawn’.  I have even called Ashlee both ‘Shawn’ and ‘Greg’ before her own name.  One time Ashlee looked right at me and said incredulously, ‘Did you just call me Greg?’   Uh…maybe.

We recently started attending a new church.  There are only about 50 people on a Sunday morning – and do you think I can remember everyone’s name?  Of course not.  It’s a HUGE struggle – I’ve never been good at face and name association.  You know the kind – try to find something that they remind you of – or repeat their name like three times during a conversation and you’ll be set!  Not me.  Even after that – I usually repeat their name WRONG.  Good grief.  One very friendly and understanding lady – who has forgiven me and is in fact in our small group doing life with us every week – was Michelle Oakes.  I could NOT remember her name – even after about 3 weeks!  How embarrassing.  Well she was really sweet and said to me – ‘just think of the Beatles song’ – and that did it for me!  I never forgot it after that.  I just think of the song.

What if there is NO SONG that goes with their name?  Oh my.  That can’t be good for me.  And what if they don’t look like anything that you can do a word association with?  Names are a funny thing.  And over time – everyone starts to look the same.  It’s really bad.  I have this horrible fear that someone from my past will walk up to me and say, ‘Hi!  Remember me?’  and I will have NO IDEA.  My only hope is that I will not look familiar to anyone either.  Or that they will just keep talking and I will eventually figure it out.  Oh my husband will come up to me and save me – and then I can introduce him by saying, ‘Oh have you met my husband, Greg?’  And then they will be FORCED to say their name.

We just finished reading, for the 10th time or so, ‘The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable’ by the late Jaime Buckingham.  He told about a childhood friend from the mountains of North Carolina where he had spent his boyhood.  The boy’s name was Kenneth Sumi.  He said that being back in those hills was like reliving his past and reminded him of his old friend with red hair.   Even though it had been 50 years – every man with red hair reminded him of that boy.  And so every one that would approach him with red hair would invariably walk right into the ‘Well if it isn’t Kenneth Sumi!’ – it wasn’t of course – it never was.  But that’s what he could recall from his past and it wouldn’t let him go.

I’m afraid I do that too.  I see people from my past – and the way they looked back then – and then try to make it work for the people around me.  It is not based on anything real – only memories.  It’s a scary slippery slope of constant embarrassment.  I think of all the times I was sure of whom I was talking to – only to find out that I was completely wrong. And I dread someone saying, ‘You don’t remember me, do you?’    Uh – actually…..No.

Here’s to reality and things coming back to bite – BIG TIME!

What’s your name again?

God Bless

Birthday Girl

I remember 23 years ago today very well.  I had my first baby – a baby girl we named Ashlee Renee.

It’s funny how some events in our lives we never forget no matter how much time goes by – or things happen to us – good and bad – as a mom – I will never forget the day I delivered both of my babies.  And the first baby is very special.  I remember feeling very ill prepared for the task ahead.  I remember being very emotional.  And I know that was normal – and still today I feel the same when I think about those days.

My labor was not text-book at all.  I was admitted to the hospital because I was a favorite of my doctor – and I think he took pity on me not having any air conditioning in our home.  We lived in New Castle, PA – a VERY hot a muggy summer!  And since it was cool and comfortable in the hospital – and I was having some signs of labor – he let me check in.  At first I was happy – in no real pain and left to watch TV or play games with Greg – talk on the phone to relatives and just relax.  My sister thought it was really unfair that I had no pains and was dilated – but I was pretty happy about it ☺  My mother told her, “they will come”  and so they did – after they had to break my water.

5 hours of labor later – our baby girl was born – 7 lbs 10 oz.  And they put me in a room to try to get some sleep – she was born at 2:27am – and I did not sleep the rest of the night.  I had sent Greg home to get some rest – but then called him back first thing in the morning – and tired though he was – he actually came back!

That very day Greg locked his keys in the car – he’s never done that before or since – so I know how befuddled he was!  Being a first time parent was certainly taking its toil – and the excitement was more than he could handle!

We look back at those early days of parenthood and laugh at some of the silly, crazy things we did – and poor Ashlee was our experimental child – so I know we did many things wrong with her – I’m just so glad she didn’t hold it against us – and in spite of us – she turned out beautifully!

Blessings on my married daughter of 23 – may the next 23 be even more wonderful – filled with parenthood and many other precious memories!

To Drew

You will graduate from University today

I remember when you first walked into our home

Shy and bashful

your eyes dancing with fun

it was like a peaceful wind had blown in our place

and never left

I remember the way you looked at my daughter

eyes fixed on her face

taking in every word she said

and you still do

I remember every conversation

the times we had to be tough

the rules and limitations we imposed on you

to protect our only daughter

who still lived at home then

And you were always gracious

never a harsh word

never an attitude or tone

the perfect gentleman

ready to take blame for any mistake

I remember when you came to be with Ashlee

when she was sick

you had to take two buses to get here

but you did

I remember Valentine’s Day

you were sick

and you still came

to be with her

I remember when Greg said,

“He’s the real deal” Ash.

“Guys vote with their feet”

and so you did

After that – we couldn’t get rid of you

you were always hanging around

and when Ashlee moved out on her own

we knew you would watch out for her

and you did

When you proposed

it was special and romantic

and you went to great lengths

to prove that you meant it

and you did

And then your wedding day came

you never changed

you were always the same

steady and true

unmovable and constant

it was just what Ashlee needed

and still does

You have worked hard – even after being married

this whole last school year

that nothing would interfere with your studies

and nothing did

You’re a hard worker

a finisher

slow and steady

with excellent follow through

and you did it

I am very proud of you today

I am anxious to see what the next step will be

in your career path

in your marriage

and in your life

Many blessings on you today

Lots of love  ♥♥♥

And Congratulations!

Coffee and Other Things That Go Squish In The Night

All the humorous things in our lives seem to center around two things: Our children – or coffee.

I’m not sure why coffee is funny. We really love to drink coffee – and it should be a serious subject – one of reverence and awe – but instead we have so many stories while drinking (or spilling) it that make this impossible.

Years ago – when our children were quite small – I think Shawn was about 4 or 5 and Ashlee about 9 or 10 – we were on an airplane coming back from Fairbanks, Alaska and airplanes being what they are – split our family up into two groups – Greg and Shawn directly across the aisle from Ashlee and me – with Greg and me on the aisle.

Pretty soon – the beverage service came by and filled our drink orders. Greg had to have coffee (of course) and very proudly set the HOT beverage on his pull down tray in front of him – with a 4 year old next to him in the seat. You will need to use your imagination next – to see 4 year old Shawn having a ‘kick fest’ next to Greg’s tray. He was being a normal little active boy 🙂 After a few minutes I was zoning out – even dozing a little when I felt a tap on my shoulder from across the aisle. It was Greg. And instead of telling me his issue – he pointed to the spilled coffee on his tray – and the nice little puddle that was accumulating from the tray down his pant leg and into his sock and tennis shoe. Yes – the coffee was steaming HOT and so all he could do from his present position was look at me and mouth “Ow”. It was HILARIOUS!

But that was years ago right? And Greg has had many opportunities over the years for getting me back – for laughing at him (remember the Ashlee throw-up story?) so many times. A few years ago Greg decided to buy for himself a little Chevy truck – an S-10 to be exact. It’s cute – (Greg says sexy – how can a truck be sexy?) and little and I hate it. I hate it because it does not like me and bounces all over the road like a little puppy all eager to just go!! The suspension in that vehicle is HIDEOUS and I really hate driving in it ESPECIALLY when drinking anything! We will go through a drive thru coffee place and get a coffee and then because of all the bumps and the truck being so sensitive to those bumps – my coffee goes ALL OVER THE PLACE – usually all over my clothes. I hate it. I hate the truck. And I hate him. Yup. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So the other night – Greg was working late in Seattle with a buddy in the truck – and they decided to stop for coffee to keep them going into the ‘wee hours’. They ordered their coffee and then drove off into the dark Seattle night. Because both guys had their hands full – they did not see the need for putting their coffee in the ‘cup holders’ nicely provided in the cab of the truck for them. No – they are MANLY and decided to hold onto them. Well like I said – it WAS dark and Greg couldn’t see the shape of the road in front of him and pretty soon they found themselves on the bumpiest road EVER!! And with each little ‘bump’ the coffee from Greg’s cup came spurting out of his cup and onto his ‘lily-white’ hand. Can you say, “Ouch”? I knew you could. (tee hee) It made me smile in some weird twisted pleasured way – just to hear about HOT coffee spilling out and cascading down his hand – when he has had NO sympathy for me! In fact – he always insinuates that it’s NOT his precious truck’s fault – but MINE! So I took great delight in coffee spilling on him too ☺ Yes – I’m a brat – but a very sweet and loving brat ♥

It’s so lovely when things like this happen. It validates me and makes me smile ☺

Have a wonderful day – and try not to spill any coffee ☺

Laughter, Throw up and Other Mysteries

Today is the 30th anniversary of Mt. St. Helen’s blowing its top – and it got me thinking about ‘back in the day’. Different events that ‘mark’ our lives and the passage of time.

Nothing does that quite like your own children. Parents have that wonderful ability to ‘remember’ all the important ‘rites of passage’ and the other mysteries that go with raising children. When your children are little it is hard to see that ‘one day’ you will look back with fondness and even get a few wonderful and juicy little stories out of the experience. We’ve had several for both our children – but none quite like our daughter. I suppose it is because she is our first-born and our ‘experimental’ child – but she just seems to have WAY more hilarious stories than our son does. I think it may have something to do with her black and white personality and her feisty sense of humor – even as a small child she would have me in fits of laughter – so much so that I would literally have to pull the car over on more than one occasion to just ROAR with laughter!

But for years there was so much more than just laughter with our children. We had a span of about 5 years where we couldn’t go ANYWHERE without one or both of our children sick on a trip – especially the airplane – and I mean SICK – you know the ‘throw up’ sick. We really felt that we were cursed on more than one occasion.

It started when Ashlee was a year old and we had just resigned a youth pastor position in New Castle PA – and were moving to Seattle temporarily while looking for another ministry position. We decided it would be easier on Ashlee and me if the two of us flew and Daddy drove the moving van cross-country alone. He could go faster without a wife and baby holding him back – and I could get the baby there in a matter of hours rather than days. It seemed the perfect plan. But we drove from New Castle into Ohio and couldn’t find the airport – and we were running late. In fact when we did find the airport – Greg had to let us out at the curb and watch us go running in to the gate and had to RUN down a long corridor (with a carry on bag and a baby) to catch the small plane that was outside engines started and ready to go. Well I’m afraid little Ashlee couldn’t take the “jostling” around too much and when we were safely up in the air she proceeded to throw up all over ME. Well it was lovely.  And when we got off in Chicago to change planes – I again had to almost RUN to catch the flight – barely had time to take Ashlee into the bathroom and try to clean up the mess.  Oh my – it was something – and I smelled like throw up for the next 5 hours or so on the plane to Seattle.  Luckily Ashlee slept almost the entire way.  I don’t ever want to relive that experience.  When we got there – I just remember handing Ashlee to my Mom and collapsing.

When Ashlee was about 18 months or so – we were pastoring a small church in Fortuna, CA  – and we were at the mall in Eureka.  We had just fed her a cookie and she was smiling and riding on her Daddy’s shoulders.  All of a sudden Greg said he heard a BURP coming from Ashlee and before he knew what that really meant – it was too late and she threw up all over him – in a descending pattern – down the top of his head and pouring down over his shoulders and chest.  It was lovely. We were in a public place.  Greg hates any attention being drawn to him – especially attention like THAT.  Now you aren’t going to believe this – because after all – I AM a nurturer by nature – a huggy, kissy sort of person – for all of you who know me.  But at that moment in time seeing this scene unfold before me – I thought it was the most HILARIOUS  thing I had ever seen!!  I couldn’t control myself for laughing HYSTERICALLY!!!  Needless to say, Greg didn’t appreciate my humor – sometimes he still doesn’t get it – but hey – it was funny.  Some wonderful ladies in a hair salon saw his distress and my laughter – and quickly came out with several towels to help poor Greg – with the throw up all over his face.  Oh my.  I wish I had had my camera on me – my iPhone would have come in very handy back then.  Those kind of moments are priceless.

I wish I could say that was the only time Ashlee ever threw up on me or her Dad – but sadly – it is not.  She had projectile vomiting as an infant too – so you think you have ‘throw up’ stories?  HA!  I don’t think so!  I will challenge you on it for sure!

Have a wonderful day!

God Bless

My Greatest Achievement

My life really began when I became a Mom.  I was 26 years old when our daughter Ashlee Renee was born – on a hot and sticky day (August 6th, 1987) in New Castle, PA.  I will never forget the experience of being pregnant in the heat – or seeing my once flat tummy get bigger and bigger.  There were so many “firsts” with that baby – and I remember each and every one.  Ashlee has always been a very beautiful girl – inside and out.  She has been given some great gifts – the greatest is her ability to work and create with her hands – and her awesome sense of humor.  She is loved by all she comes in contact with.

Ashlee was 4 years old when our son, Shawn Tyler was born on a fall evening (October 5th, 1991) in Fortuna, CA.  He was and still is a very special child with his peaceful and tranquil personality.  God has gifted him with many gifts – athletic and musical – and he has a natural way with people – gets along with the young and old – he is greatly admired and loved by all.

I feel honored to be the “Mom” to these incredible “gifts”.  My life is richer because of them.  I love you Ashlee and Shawn.  You are my life.  ♥

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