Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day holds a special meaning for me. It reminds me of the times that I have spent with my grandfather Gene. He has had the biggest impact on my growth from a boy to a man. When I grew up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I remember almost everyday during the summer once he got home from work we would grab our gloves and go outside behind their house and he would hit baseballs to me. He would hit some at me to start with and then once my arm was warm he would run me all over the yard with pop-flies and grounders. And in the fall we would go out back and throw the football around. Anyway, he was always there for my games. No matter what sport or what the weather was he would always be there. I am not sure if I ever told him just how special he is to me. Even in school after I was informed that I was LD (learning disabled) he never let me fall back on that and use it as a crutch. He made sure that I knew how smart I was but he he also made sure that I pushed myself. Even now after Lisa and the kids the next person that I what to make sure that I do not disappoint is my Grandfather, Gene.

Another person that has meant lot to me is my dad, Joe. He is my step-dad, but who would ever be able to guess that with the love and attention that he has put into our relationship. He is a great husband to my mom and a great dad to myself and my brother Dylan. What I think that I will always remember most about my dad is that he is a fighter. I don't mean that he would hit us or anything, but he is a fighter (after all he is married to my mom, sorry mom). I remember several years back I was at a friend's house watching TV and stuff. I got a call from my mom. She sounded like she had been crying which was out of the norm for her. She explained that Joe had been diagnosed with skin cancer that had spread. The doctors gave him very little time to live. If I remember correctly it was like a 12% chance to live two - five years. That night I did not go home but I did cry myself to sleep. I have never been good with bad news or situations (just ask Lisa), so while my dad spent a long time in different hospitals I think that I saw him twice. It was not that I did not want to see him or that I did not have time for him, but I guess that I thought that the less time I spent with him then his situation would not be real and he would be okay. After he was transferred back to a hospital in Lafayette I went to see him one day and we talked for about an hour. Even though I did not want to go I did and it was worth it. I remember later my mom telling me how much that meant to him that I went to see him.

The next time my mom called with the same tone as that night. It was to tell me of my dad's heart attack. He had been out mowing their yard when he felt weird. He has told me since that he knew what was happening to him. He put the mower away and called 911. While they were on their way to get him he put the dogs away and unlocked the door so that they could come right in and take care of him. He said that he put the mower away and the dogs up so that my mom would not have to do that later (what a guy, he is having a heart attack and he is thinking about making sure that my mom or brother do not have to do any more work). My mom told me that as he was getting on the life line shuttle to the heart hospital that he told her that he did not think that he would survive this. So she promptly told him that, "you better make it through or I will kill you." Well he is still alive today. What did I tell you - a fighter.

I could go on and on with stories about both my dad and my grandfather (for those of you that know me know that he is my Gene, and that I have never said grandfather this many times ever). But now that I have kids of my own I worry. If I could ever be even a quarter of the people that Gene or Joe are then my kids will be truly blessed. But I worry that instead of these two real men in my life that I will be more like my real father. As you see I have no stories of him. Not even a little joke to let you know a little about him. This is because I have never met him. And the fact that I have his dna in me scares me. I see my kids growing so fast even Brady. Lisa tells me that I am here with them and for them and this already makes me a better dad than my biological father. So here I sit with two earthly examples of a good dad and the greatest example of all our heavenly Father, but I still feel uneasy. I do know that this Father's day that I am truly blessed, I have three kids that seem to hang on my every word. How much more could I ask for? To all the dads out there happy Father's day. I hope that your live is as full and blessed as mine.

And to our Father in heaven, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Man

Well, today has been a tough day for our family. Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my beloved grandfather, Edward Brady. I still miss him so badly it is painful at times. So much so that it is a struggle to breathe. I dream of him frequently and talk of him with my children almost daily. My grandfather was the epitome of strength. He never disappointed me. NEVER! I mean, seriously, how many people can you say that about in a lifetime? There is so much more I could write as my head is swarming with a lifetime of memories right now. But all I can really do is share a couple of pictures. My grandfather didn't like to have his picture taken very often, but when you did catch him you could usually see him there-his mischievousness, his love for life and family. He knew what was important. And so I share him with you. You're the man, Papaw! Oh how I miss you.

Papaw and Madison (4 days old)-well, Papaw may have been a little older here!

One of Madison's favorite spots!


Papaw's Kids

Papaw spoiling his kids-out for breakfast at IHOP-or as Noah calls it "My Hop"

Come on, all together now, awwwww!!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Fascinatin' Epsteens"

Hi all! When we started this blog a couple of months ago, the purpose was to keep friends and family informed as to what is going on in our lives. My sister and I always joke about how there is very little "drama" in my life. And I like it that way. But, because of that fact, I often have trouble coming up with things to write.

Rick and I get Netflix and we have recently been watching past episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. Somewhere in the first season there is an episode called "Fascinatin' Debra". It is a funny episode (duh!) where Debra calls into a talk radio psychologist who is so interested in her that she later calls and asks if she can come to their home for a personal interview. When she gets there, she is of course, not only greeted by Debra, but her quirky husband and crazy in-laws. Debra ends up getting upset because they basically steal her limelight and she thinks she is boring.

Well, some may look at my life and consider it mundane and boring. I wake up everyday-usually to the sounds of a baby crying or someone calling "Mommy" in the far reaches of our house. I make breakfast and am faced with such life-altering decisions as cereal or pancakes? Milk or juice? Do I get dressed or stay in my pajamas? Like, I said, very little drama. Next comes our morning activities, which include Bible study, playing Chutes and Ladders and Barbies, and maybe watching a movie or playing outside. Then again for lunch I must decide peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and jelly (we like peanut butter here). Then it is time for naps and we all lay down. Even I get the chance to catch some Zzzs every once in a while if there isn't too much laundry to fold or a floor to mop or an e-mail to write. Stick with me here, it will get much more exciting soon. After nap, there is usually a poopy diaper that needs changing and a nose that needs wiping and a dinner that needs cooking. I live quite the glamorous life you know.

Maybe you got the point from my last post that I have been contemplating my blessings lately. Well, a friend of mine recently posted a link on her blog that made me think a little more about this life I lead. Here's the link http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/. This is a blog written by Angie Smith, who is wife of Todd Smith who sings for Selah. For those of you who do not know their story you can check out their blog. It is the story of the pregnancy, birth, and loss of their darling baby girl. Within the last couple of weeks, Angie's sister-in-law Nicol, went to check on her two-month old son to find him not breathing. The tears were freely flowing as I read their heart-wrenching stories. As I was reading, I just had to fall on my knees last night in prayer to my God. I had to thank him for my three little blessings, and my one in heaven. Read the blog. I am sure you will be moved to tears with me and probably take a moment to question whether you are appreciating your blessings or complaining about them.

Last night, after reading the blog, I went upstairs and hugged and kissed each of my children. I called my husband who was working to tell him good-night. As I settled down in bed (at about 2 am), my youngest awoke and proceeded to scream for the next two hours. This is very uncharacteristic. I finally got him back to sleep and my middle child awoke calling for Daddy. Normally, I would have been annoyed or angry. But not last night. Instead, I went to bed at 4 am, praising God for a night filled with crying babies. I know there are some mothers out there who long to hear their babies' cries. So, here I am praising God for my blessing tonight. And my mundane life. No, it's not glamorous. But it is glorious. No, it's not dramatic. But it is divine. And it is mine. I know I don't deserve it but I praise God for it. So, if you are reading this, I encourage you to stop and get on your knees and praise the God who made you for your blessings which He freely gives. He wants your praise. That's what He made you for. He gives you these blessings so you will see Him and turn your heart to Him and praise Him for who He is and what He has done. I am not whining about a blessing anymore. I choose to praise Him! Won't you join me?

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100