Wednesday, March 30, 2011

going on a bear hunt

The day before we found out the twins were gone, the Lord whispered some precious words to me through a sweet lady.  She couldn't have known what these words would mean to me over the next few days.

Mrs. Daisy is an amazing woman who is helping us do some important educational work with Wubba.

When I took him in for his weekly appointment she was reading him a book that I have always loved, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt."  Do you all remember that?  When I was a kiddo I remember teachers doing fun activities in circle time with that story.

The beautifully illustrated pages show a Daddy taking his four children on an exciting adventure.

It goes like this...

"We're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not afraid."

Mrs. Daisy pointed out that the children weren't afraid because their Daddy was with them. 

The children would often meet with obstacles.  For example, high grass, a deep river, oozy mud, a dark forest, a snowstorm, a narrow and gloomy cave.

When they faced these difficulties the books says...

"We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
We've got to go through it!"

Mrs. Daisy pointed out this is true of life sometimes.

I cannot tell you how many times over the last 13 days I have heard those words run through my head.

I do not have to be afraid. 

My father is with me. 

There will be obstacles I have to face head on. 

I can't avoid them. 

I will have to walk right through the middle of them.

What peace it brings to my heart to know that my Father is with me!

Do you know what I noticed this week as she read the book to him?  One of the lines is, "What a beautiful day!"

I praise you Lord!  Even in the midst of trials you give me so much beauty.  I can honestly say...

It is a beautiful day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Twilight saga at FSF...

One night after we had the boys tucked safely in bed, we heard the biggest cat fight outside. At the time we had our two cats and about 4-5 barn cats...they usually got along, and we had NEVER heard something this loud and crazy.

I quickly got up and headed out the front door, along the way I grabbed a flashlight because it was very dark out. By the time I got to the side of the porch I saw my two cats scurrying up to the front of the house getting away from whatever was causing the commotion. Unfortunately it was a very foggy evening making it difficult to see clearly to the back of the house from the front. I headed to the back to see if I could figure out what was going on. Our house is about 30 yards from the garage. As I was about get to the garage I was looking to my right trying to see through the fog with my flashlight. I saw several beady eyes of cats hiding after the fracas that had just happened...none were moving and willing to give me any clues as to what or who caused this disturbance.

Just then a thought went through my head..."what if a vampire had gotten hungry and flew to our barn to have a cat snack?...NO vampires aren't real!" I thought.

Almost immediately I spotted in the distance about 50 yards away (across the corral in the barn yard) I saw two green eyes at MY EYE LEVEL! There are NO hills causing a cat or raccoon to be at my eye level.

"HOWEVER THERE COULD BE WEREWOLVES!" I thought! Just then the eyes started moving as if they were walking to their right, all the while staring at me!

AAAARRRRHHHHHGGGG!!!! Instant heart racing and adrenaline! I ran to the house to the back door and tried to barge through the back door!



Farm Chick OPEN THE DOOR!!!

She was totally confused to why I would be so out of sorts. She casually came and opened the door; all the while the culprit could have easily leaped and bounded and closed the distance between us. I busted through the door and slammed it and locked it in one smooth motion! I quickly turned off all the lights in the house and with a safe one pane of glass between me and the outdoors I stared out with my flashlight trying to see what I had conjured up in my head!


I told Farm Chick what had happened and she laughed at me the rest of the night thinking that I was as crazy as a loon!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

sweet words of comfort

Bubba had been playing outside one afternoon.  He came running in the house with a handful of flowers.

Bubba: "Mommy, these are for you!"
Me: "Wow, buddy!  Thank you so much."
Bubba: "They are for you because the babies died."
Me: "Bubba, it blesses my heart that you were thinking of me.  These flowers make me so happy!"

After EJ and I returned home from the doctor's office, little Wubba met me at the door.

Wubba: "Mommy!  You are home!  Are you all better now?"
Me: "I am starting to feel better!"

Later Wubba was snuggling with me on the couch.  He looked at me, touched my face with both his little hands and said, "Mommy, your face is cool.  I like your face.  Your face is beautiful!"

Be still my heart.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

pitching a fit vs. patience and faith

Mr. Q loves his bottle aka "ba ba".  He still gets a couple bottles a day...nap time and bedtime.  So, he cherishes them.  Big time.

Sometimes he gets impatient while I am making his bottle.  Okay, pretty much every time.  He can see that just out of his reach is the thing he wants so much but he can't get to it.  Often times he will pitch a fit.  The weeping and wailing and flopping seems like a little much to me.  After all, since he was born I have lovingly provided for his needs.  Sometimes not in his perfect timing but always in time.

I want to say, "Get a hold of yourself, little man!  This fit is a waste of your energy.  I am almost done.  Be patient."

This got me to thinking...

Is this how I act with God?  Do I flop around and weep and wail?  Do I pitch a fit when I don't get what I want the instant I want it?

God has always provided for my needs.  Why would I think he would suddenly change and decide not to be there.  The word is clear that he is an unchanging, perfect God.  Perhaps next time I am tempted to pitch a fit I should get a hold of myself and have some faith and patience instead.

Hebrews 13:8 
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Friday, March 25, 2011

moments of joy

Let me tell you something. 

It tickles me that when you open my blog the picture you currently see at the top is this one.
I cannot see this picture without cracking up.

I chose to keep this picture at the top while I have dealt with the miscarriage on purpose.

The reality is, that silly picture describes my life most of the time.  I find great satisfaction in the life God has given me.  I laugh a lot.  I have more joy than I deserve.

We have been doing the work of mourning but he has allowed a lot of fun breaks right smack dab in the middle of it all.

I found moments of joy and honestly just a big 'ol smile on my face when...

Grammy, the cowboys and I had to chase half of the chickens back into the coop.  We looked ridiculous.  By the end of it we were flapping our arms and clucking and laughing our heads off!

Pop mentioned that a ride on the go-cart is proven to lift a persons spirits.  He and Grammy watched the cowboys for a few minutes while I took EJ for a spin.  Pop was right, by the end of our ride, I had a grin from ear to ear.

I have had numerous moments of joy with dear friends and family who have stopped by just to be with us.  As we sit and visit (or take a walk to the pond) we cannot help but have a good time.  Scripture does say that laughter is good medicine!

The sweet boys.  Just their presence is enough.  How can you not smile when you are experiencing life with three boys!  The way they grin and laugh.  The way they run and play.  The way they squeeze me and say, "I love you Mom."  (Well, Q can't say that yet but he does say, "Up Mama" when he wants me to hold him.  I'd say that's pretty close!)

When EJ hands me a perfect up of coffee just the way I like it first thing in the morning and says, "I love you.  Have a good day."  I cannot help but feel joy.  I may not smile much.  I'm not a morning person.  But I do feel loved!

 "Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you" 
Psalm 86:4

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home feels safe

I feel an urgency to get more thoughts written down.  I want to record what I am feeling and how I am dealing with it.  I'm not sure why it seems so important.  It is cathartic for me but I also believe others will find it useful at some point.

Hang in there with me.  Walk with me through it.  I promise the joyful blog posts will be back soon.  My life has a lot of joy in it even when I am hurting. 

Since Friday (when I learned the babies had died), the desire to be home has been strong.  I told EJ I feel so vulnerable when I am out. 

He said, "You feel like you have it written on your face, don't you?" 

"Yes, I feel like it is all over me." I said.

Home feels safe.

Being away from home feels loud and overwhelming.

I'm not sure how long this will last.  I sort of think God is allowing me to feel this way so I will be still and allow him to heal me. 

Unfortunately, there are some outings that are not negotiable...

My doctor's office told us that I needed to come in for a blood test.  I didn't want to go.  I didn't want to leave my safe place.

EJ came and got me and we headed to the doctor's office.

I tried to pretend we were on a lunch date in the middle of the day.  The kiddos were home with Grammy and we were alone.  Pretending didn't work. 

When we got to the Dr.'s office a woman with newborn twins literally walked in the door right before us. 

"REALLY GOD???  REALLY???  I am trying so hard.  What are the chances?  I am NOT strong enough for this!"

I felt a response in my spirit, "I AM STRONG ENOUGH.  Now walk through that door."

EJ and I headed in.

The twins were parked right where I needed to go.  No side stepping this one.  As I walked past them I looked at their sweet faces.  They were so precious.  Their Momma looked tired but happy. 

I headed upstairs to have my blood work done.  By the time I returned the little twins were gone.

I was glad to get back in the car...back home...back to my safe place.

God was right though. 

He is strong enough and he has promised to strengthen me.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The lies that come

Sunday was a good day. 

I felt strong. 

I felt blessed. 

Friends and family came with love, food, flowers and cards. 

It was a beautiful day.

Then it turned into night.

It got quiet.

That's when it started.  All the lies.  I layed next to EJ sobbing.  I told him of the thoughts I was having.  Awful attacks from the enemy.

As I told EJ the lies, he held my hand and replaced each lie with truth from scripture. 

Simple truth.

The kind that sets you free.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wusification part one (gotta lighten the mood...Mondays with EJ)

I have a theory that when you wear sun glasses too much you "wusify" your eyes!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Rock

There is no easy way to say it.  When I learned the babies were gone I knew I would have to experience the physical pain of their loss soon.  My doctor gave me the option of a D&C but he would be out of town for a week.  I wanted to avoid being "put under" for the procedure and also I only wanted my Dr. to do it.  So, we made a plan.  If I didn't miscarry the babies by the time he was back from vacation we would do a D&C.  I asked for pain meds so I would have something to help with the pain.  (When I miscarried before it was incredibly painful.  I remember it well.) 

Friday, I cried a lot.  Off and on.  I was glad to be home and told EJ I didn't want to leave home until I miscarried.  I didn't want to risk being away from home when the pains started.

Our sweet little boys had lots of questions, "Why did the babies die?"  "Why did God want to see them?"  "Are you sad Mommy?"  We hugged them tight and answered all their questions.  We told them the story of the baby we lost between Bubba and Wubba.  We reminded them that we trust God and we know he will take care of us.

Friday night I slept well. 

This morning when I woke up I had a feeling it would be a tough day.  The reality of the news felt like a weight sitting on my chest.  EJ got up with the boys and let me sleep in.  I couldn't sleep very long.  I got up and ate a tasty breakfast EJ made.  Then he handed me a cup of REAL coffee.  I haven't had good (read strong fully caffeinated) coffee since I got pregnant.  I put it in a "to-go" cup and headed outside with the big boys.  Little man was down for a morning nap and EJ stayed inside to listen for him.

I needed the fresh air.  I needed to watch my big boys run and play.

The day kept passing.

I cried some more.

Rock Star stopped by with some items I requested.  She helped EJ do a couple things around the house and read a story or two to the boys. 

Pop and Grammy stayed close by all day.  They helped with the boys when we needed it. 

Early this evening, I just felt overcome.  I went to our bedroom to weep.  I cried so hard I felt like I could hardly breathe.  EJ came in to comfort me.   I told him I needed to go out for a walk.  He said he had everything under control.

I put on a jacket and stuffed the pockets with tissues.  As I walked, the tears continued to flow.  I headed toward the pond.  I wanted to just sit there and be with my God.  I sat on a rock right by the water. 

I prayed. 
I praised. 
I cried. 
I felt peace.
I felt comfort.

It wasn't until I uploaded this picture that I realized it...

I was standing on the rock. 

Psalm 62:6-7
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

When I prayed I asked God to bring the miscarriage quickly.  I asked him to make the pain manageable.

As I headed back towards the house, I felt the pains begin.

I labored through the pains for the next few hours.  EJ prayed over me.  Soon it was all over. 

We got to see them.

They were perfect tiny little babies.

I praised God for answering my prayers.

I felt joy.  I can't explain it.  It could only come from God.  He is gracious and loving to me.

I am tired now.  It is late but I needed to testify while it was still fresh.

I will lay my head down next to my husband who loves me.

My babies are safe in the arms of God.

Friday, March 18, 2011

to comfort all who mourn

Today we went for a routine OB appointment.  Our Dr. decided to do a sonogram to check on the twins.  The minute he started the sonogram I knew something was wrong.  I didn't see the little flicker of a heart beat for either baby.

Dr. K. looked at us and said, "I have terrible news."

I said, "Their hearts aren't beating."

Dr. K. "No, their hearts aren't beating."

There are really no words to describe how it feels to hear those words.

One baby died first, then the other one a few days later.  He could tell by their rate of growth.  One was bigger than the other. 
EJ and I took it all in.

Dr. K and Nurse T were so kind.  They were sincerely sympathetic.  They have known us for years.  They have shared in our joy when we welcomed Bubba and Wubba into the world.  They shared in our sorrow when we lost our baby in 2006.  When Baby Q came home I sent a baby announcement to them that said, "the only thing that would have been better is if you had delivered him!" 

The plan this time was to have them share in our joy as we delivered healthy, happy twins.

That will not be the case.

We will not meet these little ones here on earth. 

We so wanted to hold them here.  We had begun the process of preparing for their arrival.  What joy and anticipation we felt!  Two babies.  I mean, how crazy is that?  What an amazing challenge and blessing all rolled into one. 

I'm not sure how to describe the peace and calm I have felt today.  Laying on the sonogram table.  I even said, "It's okay."  Maybe to make myself feel better and maybe to let EJ know I still had my wits about me.  The reality is...

It is okay.  God is still in control.  He has thrilled me beyond belief with the blessings he has so graciously given to me.  I will include in those blessings getting to be the twins momma.  No matter how short the time I got to have them with me.

My advice to my friends who have miscarried has always been..."allow yourself to mourn for this little one."

Now it is my turn.  It is my time to mourn.  I do not mourn alone.  Not only do I have EJ and the cowboys at my side but I am also blessed to have so many people around me who love me and love my babies.  I am in good company.  I am grateful to be loved so much.

I will have to walk through this.  I know I can.  God has held my hand my whole life and I can feel him here now.  He makes me sweet promises and I believe him.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Recently one of my facebook friends asked this question, "What did you wish your name was as a kid?" 

This question hits home with me. 

As a child, I was sure that my name was supposed to be Samantha.  Everyone would call me Sam or Sami.  I think it had something to do with the show "Who's the Boss?"  Remember that one? 

I LOVED that show.  I also LOVED Tony Danza.  I still do.  He had a short lived talk show a few years ago.  I thought it was brilliant because it was Tony Danza, of course.

How about you?  What was your dream name as a kid?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Captain Underpants

EJ took the boys to the library last week.  They got to pick out a bunch of new books and some new movies.  They were pumped.  Especially, Bubba, because Daddy let him get the book "Captain Underpants."  I have yet to read about this underwear clad super hero but Daddy loves to read it to him.  Complete with all kinds of voices.  I understand there are things like "wedgie power" and "shooting underwear" happening.  Interesting. 

Here he is in case you are not familiar...

I am now surrounded by three little boys in their underwear (well, one in a diaper) and capes.  I wonder how long this super fun stage will last.  Thank you Daddy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cell phones hide in terror...

Well I've had a cell phone since the beginning of 1999...I've been through lots of them...not really by choice though. I'm going to share with you about some of the ways that I have destroyed the phones that I've had!

One of the first ways was when I was in the process of stepping into my Geo Prism (I know you're probably jealous!) at college.  The phone popped off the clip on my left hip. And because I do things swiftly and usually do several things all in one motion...the door was already slamming shut. Well I had perfect timing and the phone got smashed between the door and the car.  It was completely smashed!

Another time I was on a cruise and had an I-phone that I rented for $17 for the week so that Farm Chick and I could communicate on that big ship. Well I'm not used to having a phone in my pocket, I've always had it on my belt clip...well I walked right into a pool with it.  That cost me $1000!!!! STUPID CRUISE SHIPS AND THEIR STUPID I-PHONES!!!! Oh I didn't even get to keep it...I should have for all the money I paid for it! (FYI this story is much longer and many more details, but that's just just of it!)

I of course dropped a phone in the pot! NEVER a good moment when you realize you have to make a choice to either commit and save your technology by thrusting you hand into waters that could rival the filthiness of the Ganga or just see if your porcelain throne can successfully alleviate your problem by taking the phone to poo heaven! Either way there are consequences!

We live on a farm, and I had a really neat Palm Treo when it first came out. Well, one of the things that I learned was that when I'm doing work outside, there's really no need (nor want) to have a cell phone on my person.  I had to learn this the hard way. I was driving our tractor pulling our bush-hog doing some mowing; when I realized I couldn't locate my phone. I quickly looked down and back and noticed (thankfully) it resting on the ground...this can't be good I thought. I shut everything down and hopped down and assessed the situation. I HAD DRIVEN OVER MY PHONE WITH THE TRACTOR! The amazing thing was that it hadn't smashed it to smithereens! It was all in one piece, however it had a horrible crack down the middle of the touch screen impairing the view of the information that it showed!

So when Farm Chick and I decided to get our new Droid X and Droid 2 phones this last year I decided that I would pull out all the stops and make sure to protect our investments. I bought "Otter boxes" for them. For Farm Chick I got the commuter, and for me I got the defender. The commuter is the middle level of protection, and the defender is the highest level of protection. So Droid X, rest easy knowing that if for some reason I throw you out the window going 55 mph, you're safe!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do You Get Me?

Lately, I've had a series of events (or should I say, missed events) that have made me stop and think. There are people in my life I love. A lot. I would die for them if the opportunity presented itself. I certainly hope you know who you are...if not, I'm failing even more miserably than I suspect.

We have lived in quite a few different places and made friends in each location, have a fairly large family (that continues to grow, of course) as well as large extended families on Pop's side and mine, and have precious friends from early on in our lives with whom we still try to stay in some form of contact.

Facebook is a wonderful tool and my "friend list" keeps growing but I've noticed that the larger it grows, the less intimate the contact becomes. I'll keep at it because just hearing what folks are doing and seeing pictures of them and their families is important to me. Besides family, I have elementary through high school chums I see there, friends from churches we've attended in various places, cousins I haven't seen in years, and the list goes on. It's all good stuff.

But...I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. I've let birthdays, anniversaries, and expressions of sympathy go unattended; meaning I haven't sent cards or letters or made arrangements for memorials or flowers to be sent. Then there are what I call the "Hallmark-Generated Holidays" like Valentines Day, etc. It's overwhelming! I feel like a "deadbeat" mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, niece, and cousin.

I remember feeling this same angst some years ago as I tried so very hard to pray for everyone I know. I also remember the sweet relief that came when I realized I can rely on the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind the people God wants me to pray for - when He wants me to pray for them. Then, I learned I could focus intently on one person (or couple/family) at a time.

I just finished reading "The Forgotten God" by Francis Chan about our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit residing in His children. I guess that is why this is so fresh on my mind that I felt compelled to share how I'm feeling today.

While I'm not giving up recognizing life events of those I love, I need to actively release the people I love from the trappings of expressions that we feel compelled to be bound by...and I seek to be released as well. My heart's desire is to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. How about you? Do you get me?

2 Corinthians 13:14 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

he's wild in his sorrow

Little Q has all of a sudden developed a sassy attitude.  He is hooting and hollering anytime he feels he got the raw end of the deal.  We think we need to teach him some more baby sign language to fill in the gaps until he can verbalize.  It is all part of growing up and I remember two other little toddlers who hooted and hollered from time to time.  I have to remember that we will get past this stage and my little man will be pleasant again soon.

Pop takes the Willie Nelson approach and sings him a little song...

"Don't cross him, don't boss him
He's wild in his sorrow
He's ridin' and hidin' his pain
Don't fight him, don't spite him
Just wait til tomorrow
Maybe he'll ride on again"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gotta love the cowboys

Wubba and Bubba were fighting over something.  Wubba got super upset and was pleading his case with high-pitched, unclear words.  Bubba looks at Wubba and shouts, "Wubba you are speaking Spanish!"

After another scuffle between the two big boys I heard this, "Mom, Wubba doesn't think God wants us to share!"

Recently when Bubba was running a fever EJ said,  "Oh Buddy you're burnin' up!"
Bubba as serious as he could be said, "Are there flames???"

Bubba (Looking at the breakfast I am preparing) "Mom, my tongue won't think this is good."

Wubba, "Mom, there is a bee in my foot."
Me, "What do you mean?"
Wubba, "It says BUZZZZZ"
Me, "Oh your foot is asleep.  Does it feel all tingly?"
Wubba, "Yes."

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Homely" what does it mean...?

def: adj. to look in appearance as just plain.

This is my definition of Homely. I have held this to be true for years until FC put the smack down on me because apparently I was insulting some poor lady. In my defense she looked plain. However my wife informed me that I was in fact saying she looked UGLY! Well that was not what I had meant or the outcome that I had desired. So I just usually don't use that word anymore for fear of using it incorrectly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Witness to the Extraordinary

Grammy and I have a niece, “Wonder Woman” and a nephew, “Big Mac” who are physical specimens and incredible athletes. They are the youngest of a generation of cousins and our whole family likes to follow their accomplishments. Wonder Woman is a two-sport college athlete and a genuinely beautiful soul. She is a beautiful woman of grace and style with a gentle spirit when she is not competing. When she steps on to the field of play, she is a force to be feared. I think she is a very nice blend of her parents and the Four Sisters Farm family swells up a little when we brag about her.

Big Mac is a high school junior and a truly fine young man. He is humble, courteous, kind, and a marvelous athlete. We are talking about the whole package here. Mac is a great looking guy with the heart of a warrior who is built like Adonis (if Adonis was on a little better weight-lifting program). It is a rare thing in this day to find a man so blessed and gifted that doesn’t seem to feel the need to, in some manner, scream “Hey look at me, I’m all that”. Instead, there is a quiet confidence about our nephew which seems to speak for him. No arrogance, no conscious effort to promote himself or diminish those around him. Instead, there is just something completely unspoken that causes you to pause and take notice.

Last weekend, Grammy and I had the privilege of watching Big Mac perform on the State’s most prestigious stage for Kansas high school wrestlers, the Kansas State High School Wrestling Tournament. It was an opportunity for Mac to measure himself against the best of the best the State had to offer. Even more importantly it was a chance to fulfill a dream and realize his full potential in the sport. The state wrestling tournament is truly a magnificent event filled with glorious victories and heart breaking defeats. And while they keep team stats and recognize the teams that score the most overall points, it is at its very core a measure of one’s individual ability, heart, and determination. There is nowhere to hide on the wrestling mat and no one to make up for your mistakes and vulnerabilities. I truly admire the young men who choose to test themselves in such a manner.

As fate (and the bracket) would have it, Big Mac and the guy presumed to be his toughest opponent (blog name = Gladiator; kid looked a little like a young Russell Crowe) wound up on the same side of the bracket. This story is not about Gladiator, so I will not spend a great deal of time describing him. Big Mac’s father said it best when he said, “Looks like twins”. Suffice it to say he was a big, strong, confident opponent and he was ranked #1 in the State of Kansas. The bracket tragedy made it obvious to many that the state’s two best wrestlers would not meet in the championship round of the 215 lb weight class. It also made it clear from the start that one of these highly skilled young men was in for a huge disappointment.

In Big Mac’s first match, he walked out onto the mat with a sense of purpose, shook his opponent’s hand and pinned him in 39 seconds. The two graciously shook hands and what was destined to be became history. Big Mac’s opponent did not seem overly upset and it was my perception that he was simply overmatched and he knew it. Not the arrogance of a proud uncle but the simple truth. Gladiator’s first match was an unsettling copy of Mac’s. He simply strode confidently out to the center of the mat and pinned his opponent in 56 seconds. I have to admit I had a little wave of nausea that passed through me and it was only forced away by my determination to be unfaltering in my belief in Big Mac. It concerned me that Big Mac might have seen what Gladiator had done and let the shadow of doubt creep into some recess of his mind. To the contrary, he seemed to expect the result and be comfortable that things were stacking up in a predictable manner. The second match for both wrestlers went substantially the same. Both out pointed their opponent by a comfortable margin setting the stage for a terrific showdown.

It also set the stage for a long and tense quiet before the storm. It was a terrific privilege to witness the story first hand and sit in the presence of such a great family. The fan club was made up of Big Mac’s parents, Wonder Woman, Grandma Mac, Grammy, and me. Grandpa, (the original Big Mac) was not able to be present in person but he was certainly never far from my conscious thoughts. You see he is maybe the biggest supporter of Big Mac and they share a special relationship and bond. I could not help but wonder how hard it must be for Grandpa to stand by waiting for news. In addition to those present on this day there were many more in the family waiting for any information that could be relayed. Grammy is a bit of a computer nerd and she was faithfully keeping the world updated via social networking. The information flow was much appreciated by the Four Sisters Farm family and beyond.

By now the whole arena knew Big Mac and Gladiator were going to meet to determine who advanced to the championship round and who would be relegated to the consolation bracket where the best you could possibly do was third place. Not that third place is anything to be ashamed of but champions do not think like other people or there would be more champions in this world. Maybe worst of all, the loser would have to endure well meaning consolation like “You had a great year.”, “You did your best and should be proud.”, and the classic, “You set the stage for next year". Don’t get me wrong, these are all legitimate statements and certainly I have said them on occasion. But, I have been involved in enough athletics, training and competitions to know they are a poor substitute for reaching your goals and fulfilling your dreams. To settle for less than your dream can only be considered and entertained after you have come up short and had time to grieve for what might have been. There was not one fiber in my body that could bear the thought of Big Mac having to grieve for what might have been. He had worked too hard, endured too much pain and done things “too right” to come up short.

Now, I am a man who believes in an all powerful God. I firmly believe nothing is impossible for the God of the Universe. I am, however, inclined to believe God does not view winning and losing the same as man. I am further inclined to think God may have better things to do with His time than to watch ESPN. That being said, I am also persuaded that God loves his children and cares about each of us beyond our understanding. So, this may give you just a little insight into the theological struggle I was having as Big Mac prepared to face Gladiator. I must admit I even thought about asking Grammy to whisper a little prayer and have a brief chat with God. (Grammy is a loving and generous soul and I got to thinking her chance of a positive response might be a tad better that mine.) However, in the end, I was afraid the enormity of the importance of this outcome might somehow slip past a gentle soul who would prefer we all win. So I simply reminded God he made some to be warriors and asked him to protect both young men and give them the strength and fortitude to handle the outcome. I also casually mentioned in passing that Gladiator was ranked #1 in the state because somewhere in my personal theology I believe God loves a good upset.

The time moved in slow motion. Big Mac sat in comfortable silence with his dad. There was no need for words. They had faced such moments together many times before and an unspoken and maybe unconscious routine had developed. After all, they had been at the wrestling game since Big Mac was a Tiny Mac. Big Mac’s dad is a quiet man who feels no need for meaningless conversation. He is comfortable with himself and like many of the good men I know, he is comfortable with silence. I suspect he is responsible for much of the quiet confidence present in Big Mac’s personality. He is also a man who hates crowds and needs space. I would guess he is most comfortable in the field walking behind a good bird dog. The truth is the only visual evidence of anxiety came in the form of his left leg bobbing up and down like a piston. So there they sat, Big Mac with ear buds listening to music and dad with seemingly calm composure betrayed only by the nervous leg bob. It occurred to me that Big Mac could have chosen any number of ways to pass the time waiting for the moment of truth. He chose to sit right there in silence next to his father. I cannot begin to describe the flood of emotions I felt watching this interaction between father and son. I think my brother-in-law is a blessed man who has earned the love and respect of his son. The truth is there was so much at stake that each man had to be somewhat lost in his own thoughts. The father worried his son would have to know the agony of coming up short; the son wanting to fulfill a dream and make his family proud.

As the time grew near, Big Mac got up and disappeared. I got up to stretch and use the restroom. On my way into the men’s room, I encountered Big Mac. I gave him a hug, told him I loved him, wished him luck and waited for some memorable response. He told me he loved me too and shared what was on his mind, “Man these singlets are a pain; ya have to take em down every time ya have to pee.” Now, this is information a 52 year old man is probably never going to use but I could not have been more pleased with his response. Clearly my nephew was unshaken by the enormity of the moment.

Big Mac made his way down to the arena floor and began the ritual of preparing to go into battle. He began getting warmed up, stretching and shaking out his muscles. Across the way Gladiator had made his way down to the floor and was following a similar ritual. They paced back and forth and stole looks at each other out of the corner of their eyes. Each taking stock of the other and measuring each other as only men can do. There was no glaring or sign of disrespect. Just two finely tuned athletes on the verge of competition with nervous energy releasing in the form of shoulder shrugs and pacing. They were literally like two big cats pacing back and forth and both wishing to get on with it. Totally focused and in the mental zone where warriors go for final preparation.

They met in the center of the mat and it occurred to me they were both probably relieved the waiting was over. They shook hands, the referee blew the whistle and that which we had all waited for was upon us. They circled each other and immediately it was apparent they would wrestle each other with a different strategy than the previous opponents. There was a caution in both of them which was not present in the earlier matches. There was no fear. Each was unafraid but determined to be smart and wait for the other to make a mistake. Both were looking for some opportunity to gain a position of advantage and both were unwilling to be the first to risk being too aggressive. There was hand-fighting and feigning efforts to shoot the others legs for a take-down. When they did lock up it was like two evenly matched bulls with neither having enough of a strength advantage to control the other. The first period ended with no points scored and the excitement level on the rise.

In the second period, Gladiator ended up in the down position. Now I don’t know much about wrestling but I know it seems pretty certain that the man in the down position is likely to escape the other man and gain a point. This is exactly what happened and Gladiator did just as expected and earned the first point. This probably was no big deal but it caused real panic in my soul. I don’t know wrestling but I do know fighting and I know what real speed, quickness and strength looks like. I am familiar with how small the margin for error is in such contests and how quickly momentum can change. All day long we had watched wrestlers get beat by the slightest of margins and now Big Mac was behind to an experienced and dangerous opponent.

The third and final period began with Big Mac down a point. Even so, he seemed unaffected and maybe even a little more confident. Although he had not scored yet, he was beginning to be more effective with making contact and maneuvering Gladiator. Again, I know little of wrestling and I am often not sure why the referee stops action and resets the wrestlers. All I know is this happened again and Big Mac ended up in the down position and promptly returned the favor and earned a point for an escape. Tied now, Big Mac suddenly became much more aggressive and made several attempts at take downs. This concerned me because he was obviously much more comfortable waiting for opponents to act and then countering their move. Likewise this seemed to be Gladiators strength and this made for a scary final period. It dawned on me that Big Mac had made up his mind to go for it. He was not going to be content to let the time run out and go to overtime. So he upped the ante and got very aggressive. Time and again Big Mac was the aggressor and they would lock up and end up off the mat, both men heaving with their hands on their knees. Twice he almost managed to accomplish a take-down but the time ran out and we found ourselves in overtime. Nothing could have been more fitting. The two men were evenly matched and it seemed tragic for either to fall. The crowd had waited all day and now their endurance would be rewarded with the high drama that should be attached to such battles.

Now if I had understood the overtime rules, I would have needed another trip to the men’s room. It completely escaped me that the first points scored in overtime win the match. They went at each other just like you would expect from two men used to using their will to win. Each determined to triumph, neither willing to even consider the alternative to winning. They banged into each other, struggled for any slight advantage and ended up off the mat time and time again. With only seconds left on the clock, the referee reset them one last time, blew the whistle and got out of the way. Big Mac wasted no time and risked everything on a take-down move. This time he got just enough of an advantage to make it happen and scored a two point take down. Our crowd went wild but while I was happy for the two points I was still worried about the 15 seconds left on the clock. Big Mac’s dad was hugging me and I said something really stupid like “Is it over?” He kind of gave me a weird look and then realized I did not understand the first to score, wins. He cleared it up by giving me a high five and telling me, “It’s over, he did it.” All I know is when I finally became conscious of my reaction, I was yelling “YES!!!!!, Yes!!!!, Yes!!! at the top of my voice, pumping my fist in the air and jumping up and down like a school girl.

It was in this moment that I saw Big Mac look up at his family and point at all of us. I could clearly read the look on his face. It expressed enormous relief, joy, happiness, gratitude, and above all release of all the emotions that must be kept in check to perform at such a level. My eyes might have leaked a little right here, and my chest might have heaved some at that moment but frankly it’s none of your business. In that precious moment, I have never been more proud to be a part of this family. That being said, I knew full well that Mac’s finger point was an acknowledgment of and tribute to his mom and dad. It was an unspoken thank you for their sacrifice and support and an outward sign of his inward appreciation of their love. I am not a romantic. In fact, I am pretty much a realist. I say this so you will understand I know the difference between a romantic view of an event and reality. The real truth is we got to watch an extraordinary young man accomplish an extraordinary feat. He earned it and he deserved it. As Grammy said, “It was the sweetest sweaty hug I have ever gotten.” Big Mac gave us all a hug; cause that’s just who he is and that is what you do when you do things right!!

The next day Big Mac won the Kansas High School Wrestling championship in the 215 lb weight class. It was a close and hard fought match against a worthy opponent. I cannot say it was anticlimactic; but the truth is, it was expected. Big Mac did what champions do and he stayed focused and finished the job. It was the kind of ending that was fitting of a Great Quest. In the end we got another sweaty hug. Grammy was right, it was perhaps the best sweaty hug I have ever experienced. So, here’s to you Big Mac!! I am proud of you. You took on all comers and in the end you were the last man standing. You are a worthy Champion and I love you. Thanks for the extraordinary experience.

=== === === NOTE=== === ===

Thanks for the epic battle. I expect to see you next year!! (Gladiator stormed through the consolation bracket like a man on fire and pinned his opponent for 3rd place.)

=== === === === === === ===

PS: Grammy and I now have ten Grandchildren and seven are boys. I could not help but think of them as we shared this experience with Big Mac and his family. It reminded me how important it is to love and support our children. It reinforced for me the importance of the father-son relationship. Our grandsons are blessed with fine fathers and they do not need me for that role. This frees me up to concentrate on being their number one fan. Maybe Big Mac and his dad will sit beside me some day cheering for one of the young men from Four Sisters Farm as he strives to be the best in some arena of life. I can tell you this, I am happy some of the genetics of Big Mac are in the gene pool shared by the children of Four Sisters Farm. Even more importantly, I'm glad to be a part of a family that knows how to love. I mean a really deep love that endures and produces all kinds of different champions.

(Special thanks go to Rock Star - she came and snapped some pictures and helped corral four of the Four Sisters Farm grandchildren who came with us to the Championship rounds - Rock Star, your love for family is evident in your actions.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shoulda been at the zoo

We are tired of being stuck at home.

The Super Heroes were at the Zoo today and we were WAY jealous.

The good news...the boys seem to be ready to rock and roll.  No fevers today!

The bad news...I am still exhausted.  At this point, I've realized it may not be the virus.  It may be the two little bitty babies growing in my belly. 

Word is the babies are the size of kidney beans this week.  I bet they are super cute little beans. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And the hits just keep on coming

We are still sick around here. 

EJ was down for about a day or so but he is one tough cookie and is now back to his normal routine.

I am still weak and tired.  My voice is starting to return but my throat is still a bit sore.  The good news is that I have been fever free for a couple of days.

Bubba still had a fever and a sore throat this evening.

Mr. Q is nearly done with his new antibiotic and seems to be on the mend.

Wubba woke up with a fever this morning.  He even put himself down for a nap this afternoon.  He complained that his tummy hurt all day.  Late this afternoon he asked me to hold him and tickle his back.  I grabbed a "barf bucket" and put it near us.

It's a good thing I did.

That's all I'm going to say about that.

We are ready to be healthy again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toot Etiquette

Bubba: "Wubba, when you toot on me you have to say sorry!"

Wubba: "Sowwy"

Bubba: "It's okay."