Monday, August 24, 2009

Olivia's Birthday Party

cousins, Ethan, and grandma Lou

Yeah, she was hyper after this

before she dug in

With Daddy, opening gifts. He did not have to show her how to do this! She just dug right in!

Ethan and Cousin Paige

Cousin Cole

birthday girl!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the first day of school

It was our Oldest Ethan's first day of school today. We were all anxious as we piled into the car to drive him over to the school building. Ethan himself was a little grumpy, an outward cover for his inner nerves. As we pulled up to the school it was raining and we parked as quickly as we could and scurried through the steady rain to the single story brick building. Ethan bobbed and weaved in his camaflauge raincoat just in front of us as we ran down the path and Olivia put her hands into the air, palm up, to catch as many droplets as she could.We waited at the cafeteria door to get buzzed in as Ethan will participate in the before and after school program in leui of going to a day car center before and after classes.When we got into the cafeteria, all the other children were coloring or playing games at the tables. Ethan was too shy to walk over himself, so i offered to hold his hand and walk him over to a table. Cliff held onto the little ones while I walked with Ethan to the tables and he finally settled on joining a group of children that were building with legos. He turned and gave me a big hug and then sat at the table and didn't give me a second glance. Then I took a turn holding the baby so that Cliff could walk over and say a few words to Ethan and take a first day photo before we left.Olivia was totally enraptured with all the kids and the bustle of activity and very quietly looked around at the room.Faith was a buzz of activity, her red curls flying behind her as she tried to dart between the tables as only a two year old can do.......except that Faith wasn't part of this family moment with us... not physcially anyways... just the bit of her I carry around in my heart.After we dropped Ethan off I decided I wasnt ready to go in to work, even though I had a strategy meeting in the Metro. Cliff, Olivia, and I went to breakfast and talked about what we thought Ethan's first day would be like.I teared up a few times as I talked about how proud I am of my growing boy and how anxious I was for him to enjoy school and make friends.I dropped Cliff and Olivia at home and hit the road for Oklahoma City and it was along the way that I really began to cry....only, I wasnt crying for my little boy who was starting school... I was crying for my little girl who didnt get to experience that moment with us... for my little girl that would never have a first day of school of her own. Crying my eyes out for my little shadow, Faith Constance, who overshadows every event in our lives. Everything and anything STILL relates back to her and her absence.I try not to let myself wonder too often what all these firsts would have been like for her becuase it hurts so much in the most tender place of my heart. I am not angry she is gone, just sad not to know her better, hold her longer, see her grow and change and become a little person. The hardest moments are the happiest moments. The moments I am joyous for my other children, the moments we gather as a family and make memories..but memories without her.I wonder to myself... does this bittersweet feeling every change?And I think the answer is probably no. For every beaming smile and belly laugh, there will be moments later to come that include a tear, a dull ache.Life is bittersweet.

-Micayla, mom to faith, 9 days old on earth, 2 years old in heaven,and growing up in my heart

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Gain vs. Loss

We got into an interesting discussing during work yesterday. I was attending a training class in Oklahoma City about coaching and we were talking about conversations that we have to have about good or bad behavior.
The question was raised, " Do we learn more from a loss conversation or a gain? Or can we learn from a loss conversation as much as a gain conversation?" In other words, do we learn more when we are told what we are doing right or experiencing praise, or do we learn more from failures or being told what we do wrong. Or do we learn from them both?
At first, the answer seemed obvious- we learn best from being praised or told what we do right. But it only took me a moment to see the truth for myself.
Yes I can learn from them both, but the truth is that I think I learn more from a loss. After all, when I look back over my career- some of the moments that I can state that I learned the most are the moments that were difficult situations or interactions. I learned more about communication and professionalism from one conversation with a co-worker that turned sour and out of control than I ever learned from hundreds of happy conversations. I can say that I learned way more about driving on the ice the day I slide my T-bird into the ditch than I ever learned from lectures and directions time and again from my stepfather during our Oklahoma winter storms. And who could forget the time I busted open my head while on vacation at Turner Falls after my Father told me repeatedly not to run on the slick pavement at the top of the hill? It was becuase of that moment in time that I learned to listen and obey my Father's voice and instruction.
And one would think after all this time that I could apply these earthly lessons and learn to listen and obey my Heavenly Father's voice.
And at times I think I am finally learning.
I am not saying that a loss is easy or even wanted.... but when I look back over my life, I see that God has taught me so much more, changed me in more extravagent ways, through loss. With that glaring reality staring me in the face, I have to ask myself " Why then would I believe that I should be exempt from loss?" If loss is part of what shapes me into being a more loving, compassionate, wiser person- a person who seeks to know the heart of God more after these experiences- can I dare to say that I want my life to be absent of loss?
I dont want for it becuase it is an incredibly painful experience, but can I say that there is not loss without gain?
What about you? Do you learn from loss...... or gain......... or both?