Saturday, July 26, 2008

WHAT A WEEK - Thoughts on Blessings and Tragedies

Some weeks leave me almost speechless...they are so wrapped in conflicting emotions. This week was one of those weeks for me. The learnings are still trickling in...a bit overwhelming in their magnitude. Here are some of the events, hard and wonderful, in no particular order:

1) As a communications consultant I work with many organization, more than 500 over the 32 years I have had my own company. Some of these organizations, like Boeing and Microsoft, have taught me about how large corporations operate. Others like the Spokane Police department and Fire Department have taught me about a culture of service where people put their lives on the line.

This week the owners and employees at Dorian Studios taught me about GUTS and TEAMWORK. If you live in Spokane you probably heard about the huge downtown fire that gutted a building. That building belonged to my clients at Dorian. They watched as their lifetime of work went up in flames. I went down there to see if I could help this amazing family, who are not just clients, they are my friends. I felt helpless as I watched the building burn and the flames roll out the front doors I had often frequented.

What was so amazing in this moment of tragedy was the teamwork and "What Can I Do To Help?" attitude coming from everyone there. I went to a store, got a milk carton. filled it with ice, water, and pop and circulated through the staff. I made meals, and I'm doing some free grief counseling with those who request it...but it feels like so little.

NOTES TO MYSELF: There are times that we all experience life tragedies, and we are left with the will I re-build my life, or will I? Once we sort through the grief, and those grief stages often take awhile to go through, we find out who we are and as my Dad said, "what you are made of." It's easy to have platitudes and cliches about life when things are easy, but when it all falls apart, who you really are is there for all to see. In the midst of great loss, I saw a company made of wonderful and giving people. I am proud to know them.

2) In high contrast to the tragedy at Dorian, I had one of the most amazing weeks of grandparenting in my life!!!

To put this in perspective you need to understand something. First, I loved, and love, being a parent! I adore my daughters with all of my heart! When they lived with us, I gave parenting a heart and soul effort...every day! I was the kind of parent who showed up at their events, knew all of their friends, supported their activities, and watched their boyfriends like a hawk. :) I am so, so proud of my wonderful and talented daughters. Parenting was lots of work, but it was also SO rewarding and fun!

And then there's grandparenting...drum roll please!!!!!!

BITSY (aka Jenna, Jenna Benna)...

Well that adorable baby has stolen our hearts. She stayed at our house most of the day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week since her beloved Mama (my daughter Amy) was taking a three day intensive class in her Masters Program at Gonzaga. The class went from early morning until late at night for three straight days.

Since Jenna's Papa (Ryan) had the three older children (Zac, Kayla, and Jacob) at the lake, we had the sweetest, most fun baby at our house. Did I say she stole our hearts? Yup, big time!
I've decided that if I'm upset about anything, large or small, being around Jenna changes my perspective. She is SO cute, and SO friendly that a trip to Safeway becomes a major event where she says "Hi!" waves and grins at everyone. You could see hearts opening up down every aisle. I took her to the store all three days and the employees who know me well (especially in floral and balloons) fell in LOVE with her. When I came back on Thursday without her, one gal said, "She just wraps you around her heart..and we miss her not being with you!"

Talk about missing her...Boppa could hardly stand it when she left Wednesday night..Jenna LOVES her Boppa, calls out to him, and loves to give him "fish kisses"! (You have to see this to believe cute!!!) We also had her for a bit on Friday night so Amy and Ryan could go to a wedding rehearsal dinner! Every minute with Bitsey increases our life expectancy.

JACOB (aka Pookey)...

Jacob is the most amazing 6 year old boy. His heart is as big as all outdoors, and he loves God, his family, and his sister Bitsy. This summer has been so busy that I haven't had as much one-on-one time with Jacob as I would like. So Friday of this week I picked him up in the afternoon, we went to lunch, and then just Jacob and Nana went to a 3-D movie, "Journey To The Center of The Earth!"

We had a blast and then went to one of those photography booths and got our pictures taken with our 3-D glasses on! What a hoot! The feeling I get being with Jacob is "coming home!"

Jacob is very artisic and during this last Montessori year hand-made a quilt, purse and wallet, all beautifully crafted. To show you Jacob's heart...he gave the purse, and some of his treasures, to Emma this weekend! Really touching to see his love for her.

Jacob is so giving and he deeply loves his Nana and Boppa...he then stayed overnight Friday night for the "slumber party of all time!" He slept with Boppa and I slept with we'd all be ready for the "Kids' Trifusion Triathlon" on Saturday! :)

EMMA (aka "Baby Emma" who is no longer a baby:))...

Since Jessi and Rog are moving into their new house this week, and were planning a kids' triathlon besides, I came and got Emma on Friday so we could have time with her and take her to the triathlon on Saturday morning! One of the real joys for me of having a "summer schedule" is having more time with sweet Emma! We always have such great "Emma and Nana" times. We met at the new house so I could see her "new room", played a bit there, and then headed down to our house where we watched movies and had fun...with Jacob!

I love Emma's take on life, her genuine enthusiasm and spirit, and her great manners! When Emma got the purse from Jacob she grinned and announced" I have ALWAYS wanted one of these!" She was so happy to be with us, talked about her pre-race jitters, and her thoughts about the new house!

What a slumber party! The next morning we all went out to watch Emma (and Anna Seppa) do the Kids' Triathlon! The pre-race conversation between Jacob and Emma on the way to the race was much mutual caring and support!

KAYLA and ZAC...

It was so fun on Thursday to have some time with Kayla and Zac. Since Amy was sick, Zac, Jacob, Jenna and I picked Kayla up at soccer practice, had ice cream afterwards, and later in the week went to a wedding together! They are amazing young people... so smart, caring, and well-mannered. I am proud beyond words at who they are!

At the wedding I saw them both, all on their own, go up to Lucy's Mom, a woman in her 80's from England, and introduce themselves! Yikes! Talk about adult skills! Huge kudos to Ryan and Amy for raising such amazing young adults!!

It has been a busy week full of wonderful grandkid moments!! Life just doesn't get better than this!

NOTES TO MYSELF: Treasure every moment I have with my 12 grandchildren...they grow up so quickly! Make the time to just do the smallest activity to I know what's in their minds and hearts today!

3) And finally, on a sad note, Randy Pausch, the teacher from Carnegy Mellon who gave the "Last Lecture" and wrote a book by that title, died this week at age 47. His life and message are a reminder to "Live Every Day As If It Was Your Last!"

NOTES TO MYSELF: Treasure my life..and learn from everything, good and bad, that happens to me! It is ALL a gift!

I feel so blessed as I write this, tired ..yes...but truly blessed! I am so grateful to God for all of His love and for the life lessons I learn everyday...from fires, death, and life renewed in my grandchildren.

Life is such a MIRACLE! I don't want to waste a moment of mine!

God Bless! Love and hugs to all who read this!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


WOW! What an amazing summer we are having! I absolutely LOVE having a more relaxed schedule and more time for fun, frolic, and family! Here are some summer highlights!
1) After school got out, and I had a crazy week of TONS of consulting, I started to get into the summer time mode. Part of this is our tradition of celebrating the 4th of July at the lake...decorating the boat (see picture above:)), fireworks, and fun! This year Chris and Nancy's crew (from Austin Texas) joined us over the 4th! We also had a chance to see Jessi, Rog, and Emma and share lots of laughs! An amazing weekend!
2) One of the highlights of my summer time has been time with grandchildren! Emma and I have had some fun outings (getting some new clothes for kindergarten, shopping for the rug for her room, playing in their pool) Mommy and Daddy could work on the new house! What a blast! She is an amazing 5 year old with a go-get 'em spirit! It was also fun to go to her swim class and see her amazing new swim skills!
I've also had some amazing times with Jenna...we babysat her for several days while Amy and Ryan worked on Jessi and Rog's new house and again this week as Amy has a class at Gonzaga. No baby could be sweeter or cuter! :) When she says"Please", and does the sign language sign for please, my heart melts!!!!
3) We have been so blessed to have time at the lake with Amy and Ryan and their family and we are AMAZED and grateful for ALL of their help up there...with the Chris and Nancy visit they bought the food, cleaned the house, did the yard, and besides all of that really helped when the Texas kids and their folks arrived! Amazing!
On top of all of that...they re-did ALL of the decks at the lake...a HUGE, HUGE project!! Thank you guys!
4) It has been a blast to participate with Jessi and Rog in their new home projects! I LOVE decorating and picking colors etc...and working with Jessi and Rog on this has been SO much fun for me! It's a HUGE job just to move, but to renovate a home and then move in is a daunting task! Fun,fun, fun to be included and to see all the progress! Their new home looks great! :)
5) Then on to Seattle and Cannon Beach! In Seattle I visited with Grandma Elaine and then Sharon and I went to Cannon Beach for a week long Spiritual Retreat! As always being by the ocean, talking, laughing and walking the beach was amazing!! Sharing that time with God has always been a source of love and renewal for me!
The summer memories continue, and I look forward to even more FUN!!!
Hope you are having an awesome summer too!
God Bless and loves to all who read this!
Love Linda

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