Unexpectedly, and without the chance to say "goodbye for now" one last time.
A lady that I have known since I was a child.
After much internal debate based upon weather reports and kid arrangements, I made a whirlwind trip to Chicago to attend her funeral on a Thursday morning.
I was kind of a headcase about it, because I really don't like to drive far if the weather could be sketchy, or worry that the kids will get to where they need to be.
But, I really wanted to see my sister, my niece and nephews, my family…so I went. Case closed.
The drive was a bit white knuckled for a stretch along the lake heading south, as is usually the case, and I was in constant conversation with God. I passed red and blue swirling lights on the side of the road, and I again questioned whether I made the right decision.
As I approached the section of highway that always makes me tense up a bit in the winter, after going in the ditch there Christmas Eve 1995 while driving home from college in a snow storm...the sun came out.
I know it's just natural, as there are certain areas where there are always squals along the lake, but to me when those clouds parted and the sun popped out, it was as if God was telling me everything was going to be ok.
And in that moment, I knew I made the right decision to come.
Sitting in a pew near the front of the church that I grew up in, listening to stories of the past, funny memories, testimonies of her impact on former students, memories of the person she was ...her legacy....I was once again convicted to my core to be intentional with my life, my time, my relationships.
Life is short.
I spent a bit of time after lunch peering through all the posterboards of smiling faces, marking wonderful life moments. The births of babies, family trips to so many great places, cheesy grins while baking cookies, staged birthday party pics, sporting events...my niece and nephews aging a little bit in each pic.
It was evident by the picture display that they spent alot of time together, enjoying a variety of things and places. But posterboards only capture the kodak moment events of life. While those pics showcase some amazing memories, there is so much more. All the simple, sweet, "real" moments, void of a clicking camera, are tucked away in their memories now, and those moments are what will carry them forward.
Funerals have a way of making you realize how blessed you are.
How precious life is.
How important it is to make the most of every encounter, opportunity... moment.
Because you may not get another chance.
Tho our eyes are fixed on spring over here, I always cherish winter, and what it means for our family.
Winter is the gift of time.
And it has been pretty fantastic so far... filled with intentional moments, meaningful conversations, getting house projects and some business checked off the list, watching sports, playing so, so, so many board games, trying new things, spending time with family and old friends, and plenty of the adventure that I'm accepting we crave.
As the kids get older and are turning into real people, my van still seems to drive west most days and nights to pick someone up from somewhere, but it's been good. Just the right amount of everything, it seems.
I've been on more dates with Tim in the last 2 months than all of 2008-2010 combined!
We are an adventurous bunch, so moving forward, I want to continue to try new things and explore new places together, make new traditions and hold dear to our established ones, continue to challenge and push ourselves and the kids to make each moment count.
Spend our family time well, and be intentional even when life gets crazy, because it will.
Ok, ok, less sappy nat and more "that time Dylan asked what a g-string was" stories coming soon :)
A few pics from our winter for the memory books…
In January, Tim went to Arkansas with the boys to hunt for a long weekend. They had a great time together, tho I understand there could have been more ducks.
We ski'd for the first time of the season...
We went to see Annie on Broadway. Sydney and I secretly followed the score of the Packers football game on my phone during the performance. And it was in that moment that I realized that I have become one of them.
We ski'd a whole bunch this winter, actually!Poor Dylan started puking as soon as we walked into the ski lodge and bought our lift tickets on our second trip, and spent the night in the truck with one of us. Third times a charm...
Sydney played basketball…
We celebrated Opa and Oma's 63rd wedding anniversary! Such a blessing...
We thoroughly enjoyed the SuperBowl this year. Lots of noise coming from our house when the Patriots won it in those final seconds. Dyl took home the cash....
We celebrated Dylan's 10th birthday!!
Ten, the "year of the iPod"
The little girls mastered the chairlift...
I went to CaberFe for the day with the big 3 to ski with friends. It.was.COLD. "Mom! You have a booger icicle again!!"
But yeah for a 4 person chair lift and no broken bones...
Oh, just two 38 year olds conquering Black Diamonds...yeah, I fell.
Stella turned 7!
She got her ears pierced!
We went to a Griffins game, and they tied it up in the last 0.4 seconds and went on to win! A win, free t-shirts, free tickets to the next game, and a pic with the bird makes for a pretty fantastic night.
So we went again....
We drove out to explore frozen Lake Michigan on a Saturday afternoon...
Budgeting and beers is always a good combo on a Friday night :)
Sydney turned 12!
The year of horseback riding lessons...
Happy weekend, friends.