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In February I wrote a blogpost about my grandma, which you can find here. Soon, she will be with the Lord…. I can’t sleep….so I write. 


Dear Mimi,

 You will never know what you mean to me. As your time here on earth is coming to an end, I find it hard for me to tell you what’s on my heart. The only thing I can muster is I love you…which I do to the moon and back..but there’s so much more I want to say.  So, forgive me for my random thoughts…but I know this will make me feel closer to you.  
I will always long for your arms to reach around me like they did when I was younger. I want to hang out around your kitchen table and make you laugh so hard you pee your pants. I want you to be able to make macaroni and cheese and pickle chip dip sandwiches. I can see your kitchen drawer full of pencils (I can smell them!) and Avon catalogs…no, I don’t want anymore skin so soft. Now I understand why I made you so mad when I messed up the curtains in your “good room”.  Do you remember all the forts I made in your backyard and how I always requested (yelled for) the green girl cup at lunch? Sometimes you would get stuck in your stupid glider chair from Kroger and I would have to pull you out..that’s what we get for buying furniture at the front of a grocery store.  Thank you for always buying me silver dollar ice cream bars from the schwan’s man, I realize now how expensive they were.  I never liked it when you wore a wig, I could always tell.  I’m sorry I whined and bugged you until you gave in and gave me what I wanted, I was a brat.  I wish I could grow plants in my house like you did.  Who is going to inherit the big Christmas stocking? Do we still have it somewhere?  When you were watching tv, I would sneak in your bedroom and put your jewelry on my head and pretend I was a princess…I’m pretty sure you knew though.  Why in the world did you put contact paper all over your fridge?.. it still looked like an ugly fridge.  I can still smell the musty smell of the closet beside your kitchen and the little wooden fold up stool.  Remember when I saw a mouse and jumped on your table? Remember when I broke out in hives from penicillin and you gave me more of it because you thought it would help?, lol…I looked like violet from willy wonka..but at least you held me in your lap until my mom came to get me.  You always gave out the best Halloween candy (I was mad at you when you said I was too old to get my own special basket of candy).  Thank you for always going to my dance recitals, sporting events, and special moments in my life. I always put my fingers in that ugly oil/string lamp that you had in your living room…it was rather mesmerizing.  I will never be able to iron like you, I never understood how you could put an iron pleat in jeans.  I felt so bad when you fell on one of those moving floors at the airport and broke your front teeth..but I couldn’t help but laugh because you looked like a hillbilly…so glad you got those fixed.  I still laugh so hard about the time when aunt Vick kept shutting the camper door in your face when you were trying to get out of the bathroom because she didn’t know you were in it.  You were always there for me…to lean on, to hug, to love. Life will not be the same without you in it. I won’t be able to go to mom and dad’s without expecting to see you in your chair. Why didn’t I come over everyday just to say hi? I know you are tired, and I want you to know it’s ok to go home. Jesus has a much better place prepared for you, I’m sure it even has the Hallmark channel (every movie is the same, yet we both sit there in your room and watch them over and over..). You will have a perfect body, you will have no pain, and know no sadness. I will cry when you leave, but I know you are saving me a place beside you. When you get there, tell Aunt Sis and grandpa that I miss them everyday. You are an amazing woman and if I can only be half the grandma you were to me, I will be honored.  I will carry you in my heart forever. I love you the mostest infinity. 

love, Colie
This is the smile I will always remember…

Lately I’ve been suffering from a terrible thing, which I self diagnosed as W.I.M. otherwise known as Woe Is Me syndrome!  It seems I can’t go two seconds without complaining about something and feeling sorry for myself. Since the birth of my fourth child, my hair has been falling out around my forehead and sides and I swear I’m going to go bald…woe is me. I’ve wasted hours looking online for magical cures and natural aides to help it grow back, and have let it consume too many of my thoughts…woe is me. I’m pretty sure no one notices anything until I point it out..because of course I have to point it out so they don’t notice it first….makes sense right?! As if having my hair fall out isn’t bad enough, my face looks like a teenager going through puberty…woe is me. I’ve had nice skin my entire life, now in my thirties, I break out all over…woe is me. My breasts and my belly button now share the same horizontal plane…woe is me. I get startled when I walk by the mirror and think I have a spider on my back, but then realize it’s the lovely tramp stamp I got in college…woe is me. My kids tear the house apart after I just spent two hours cleaning..woe is me. I spend too many hours looking up recipes on pinterest only to get overwhelmed and call in and order a pizza…woe is me. The laundry keeps piling up and I don’t know if the kids are wearing clean or dirty underwear…woe is me. I’m pretty sure there is a tiny orchestra of people with white gloves playing their little violins around me…I think I hear them now…woe is me. I know my family is sick of my disease of self pity…and quite frankly I am too. It seems that many times I get so caught up in my own little life bubble that I forget to look around me and be thankful for all I have…To look around me and see there are others who are sick and hurting… To look around me and simply smile at a stranger….to just look around ME! I find I’m a much happier person when I take the focus off myself and focus on others. I’m much happier when I take a step back from the mirror and see myself the way others do (not with a magnifying glass). I’m much happier when I stop complaining and start thanking. Do you suffer from W.I.M.? If you don’t know, I’m sure a friend or family member can tell you if you do!! If you do suffer from this highly contagious disease, take a deep breath and start thanking God for all you have in your life…the only side effect is becoming happier!
Leave a comment on how you cure yourself from Woe Is Me syndrome, I’d love to hear from you.

Love your life,
Nicole

I’m pretty sure I would get kicked out of my house if I lived in a subdivision where you had to have a weed free lawn.  My husband hasn’t sprayed the yard yet, and the dandelions seem to have found a new mating ground.  Although dandelions are now considered “a weed”, as I watched my sons playing in them today, I was swept away by their yellow beauty.  How many times as a child did I pick bouquets of dandelions and put them in a mason jar for my mom? It’s awesome to watch my boys do the same thing for me.  When I hear, “Mom, mom! I picked you some flowers”, it warms my heart.  Who decided it was a weed anyway? Did you know that it used to be considered a wondrous plant with amazing healing properties? Check out this excerpt from THE TEETH OF THE LION, by Anita Sanchez:
“Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables in your garden. They were named after lions because their lion-toothed leaves healed so many ailments, great and small: baldness, dandruff, toothache, sores, fevers, rotting gums, weakness, lethargy and depression. Not until the twentieth century was the underlying cause of many of these symptoms realized: vitamin deficiencies. In eras when vitamin pills were unknown, vitamin deficiencies killed millions. In its time, “scurvy” was as dreaded a word as AIDS is today. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal how dandelions probably helped alleviate many ailments: They have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse of iron, calcium and potassium. ” (Read Anita Sanchez’s article here)
……so, until my dandelions meet their unfortunate fate with weed spray, I will enjoy them for all of their wondrous color, beauty, and their ability to bring back the child in me…..

chopping down the dandelions….and yes, I lost the wardrobe battle awhile ago. 

I’m a picker, yep, you heard me….a picker. A wedgie picker, a nose picker, and a face picker.  A week ago, I looked in the mirror and the pores on my face looked like the skin of a grapefruit and I thought..whoa, where did those come from? Were they always there? Were they always that big? For the last three days, I have picked and PICKED at my face which has left it red, bruised, dry, and just plain gross.  I know it probably looks worse to me since it’s my face, but I thought for a moment, no one will recognize me because of all the picking I just did….and during my pouting episode, Jesus’ battered face came into my mind. Jesus, who was beaten so badly, the skin of his face and body were literally ripped off, He was barely recognizable. As I stood there, I almost wept. How selfish I have been to care so much about my stupid pores, when Jesus endured so much pain I can’t even fathom. It’s so easy to get caught up in myself, to be busy with getting Easter dinner and desserts prepared, that I forget to stop and really ponder what Jesus went through.  He died on the cross for you and me…He picked us! Thank you Lord for your reminder!

“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, “Life will never be the same.” Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.” 
Dear Lane, I loved reading “On the Night You Were Born” to you when you were little.  On the first page, there is a picture of a baby in a bassinet and to this day, you believe it’s you…along with the footprints in the back of the book. Oh, the innocence, I hope to keep you that way as long as possible. You are eight years old now, I can hardly believe it. You are losing your childish features and turning into a young boy….it’s hard for me to see you grow so fast.  Right now you are into Legos, you build some amazing creations… you want to be a Lego designer when you grow up. And of course there are your 100 million Pokemon cards that you can somehow remember each name and know if your brothers took one. 
                            
There are probably some things I do that aggravate you…like when I tell you to stop making your high pitched whistle because it hurts my ears, or when I tell you to share your Legos with your brothers….but I tell (unfortunately, many times yell) you these things because I love you so much and want to see you grow into the amazing man that God has destined you to be. 
When I yell at you to sit correctly on the couch (because you’ve ruined the cushion), it’s not because I don’t want you to be comfortable, it’s because I want to teach you how to respect things….(especially “mommy’s things”)
On a typical day, I can find you wearing sweat pants and gym shoes with the laces sprawled on the floor….(shoes that were just purchased not even two months ago, but look like they’ve been worn through five marathons).  When I yell at you ten million times to tie your shoes, it’s not because I’m trying to be mean or annoy you, but it’s because I don’t want you to trip and fall and get hurt or cause someone else to trip and fall. 
When you sneak food and leave the wrapper on the couch (usually stuffed in between the cushions), it aggravates the living daylights out of me (seriously, if I had a dollar for every wrapper I found, I could retire next year). When I tell you to throw your trash away, it’s not because I don’t want to help you out and throw it away for you, but it’s because I don’t want you to be lazy and expect everyone else to do your job for you (a mindset too many in this world have adopted..).
You see, I tell you these things to grow your character, to help shape you into who you will be. Although, I pick on you quite a bit for the stuff you do that drives me crazy….I see the things you do that make me a super proud mom. For instance, I have never had to work with you on your school academics…you are smart, very smart and you work hard.  You are a leader. I see you when you play nicely with your brothers and little sister, you have a gentle side to you. I love that you think about them when we are at the store…and you want to buy them things they would like. I love how you are so logical in your thinking and are always trying to figure out how things work and why.  I see you when you are brave, like tonight when we had to get your blood drawn for an allergy test…your lip puckered up as they felt for your vein, but you kept your arm still. I can go on and on about the ways you amaze me everyday and I want you to know I will always love and cherish you. You are a gift from God.

I had to bribe you (yes, I bribe my kids too) to wear jeans and a nice shirt for some pictures…and it was totally worth it. You are such a handsome guy!
 “For never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a you, my friend, and it never will, not ever again….Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.” -On the night you were born, Nancy Tillman
Love, Mom