Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better than no place

"Mom, do you know where there is a pond around here?"
That was the question this morning before school.  Apparently Audra needed to take pond water to science class today. So we found a pond  and trespassed through someone's back yard so that Audra could lay down on their dock and scoop up pond water.  Mission accomplished!

"Mom, are you busy?"
That was the phone call I got this afternoon.  Audra  forgot that track team pictures were today and her uniform was at home.  Unfortunately for her, it was also in the washing machine.  Mom to the rescue again!  I took the uniform out of the washer and had the bright idea of hanging it out the window of the car while I drove.  This worked for a little while until it started raining.  So I tried turning up the heat and holding the uniform in front of the vents.  This would have worked if the school was farther from our house.  It got so hot and steamy in the car that Will and I had to crack the windows--which let the rain in.  When we got to school, it was pouring down and for some unknown reason, there were orange cones blocking the circle drive.  What to do???
"Will, get out and move those cones."
Hopefully Audra will be able to smile pretty while wearing wet shorts...

"Just finish"
At Audra's first track meet she ran the mile.  We didn't know what to expect because she had never raced before.  She came in last.  As I was walking her around the track to cool down, she showed me the words she had written on her hand, "Just finish."  That was her goal.  She didn't care if she won.  She just didn't want to be a quitter.

That incident reminded me of one of the many wise things Anna said.  We were one of two boats entered in a 4th of July boat parade.  We had a great time riding around the lake.  Anna wore her blue swimsuit and her pink cowgirl boots and waved to the people on the shore.  When I told her that our boat came in 2nd, she said, "Well, second place is better than last place.  And last place is better than no place."

In this race called "life," finishing is my goal too.   I don't care if I am first.  I don't care if I'm the best.  I just want to finish strong and hear my "coach" say, "Well done."  That's what pressing on is all about.
Keep going.
Don't quit.
Just finish.
And remember that last place is better than no place.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mail for Anna

A couple of days ago there were two clothing catalogs in the mailbox.  I usually just throw those type of things away, but a shirt on the back of one caught my eye.  It looked like something I would wear.  Then I looked at the cover of the other one and there was a lime green skirt--just my style.  I had never heard of either of the companies before so I looked to see who the catalogs were addressed to.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that they were addressed to Anna Salamy.    How would Anna's name get on a mailing list 3 1/2 years after she died to an address where she never lived???????  I like to think that Anna knew what I would like and she sent the catalogs for me to pick something out from her.  Well, that's what I'll tell Richard if I decide to spend $95 on a lime green skirt...

Today is my birthday and it has been a good day.  I had a nice birthday breakfast with the kids.
Then Richard's parents and I met him at the Lewis Ginter Gardens for lunch.  I wouldn't recommend the Team Room unless you happen to like Crawdad Curry, but the gardens were beautiful.

44 is going to be a good year!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Holiday From Grief

He is not here: for He is risen. (Matt. 28:6)

"May this Easter be full of blessing and comfort unutterable to all whose hearts are bereaved!  'He is not here, He is risen,' is as true today of our precious dead as of Him whom Mary and the disciples mourned so hopelessly, but who broke the bonds of the grave, and flung wide the doors of the great prison house to show us that the abode of the dead is really a place of light and life and joy."

O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths damp with dew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God's eternal blue!

It is not time for bitterness or sadness;
Throughout the world, the glad tidings tell;
Let you souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.

If Christ were still within the grave's low prison,
A captive of the enemy we dread;
If from the dark and gloomy cell He had not risen,
Who then could dry the bitter tears you shed?

If Christ were dead, there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen, and death no longer has the final say;
Hush, then, your sigh, if only till the morrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
                                                                                        --May Riley Smith

(This is from one of my favorite books, Consolation, by Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman, c. 1944.)  

Easter is my new favorite holiday.  It used to be Christmas, of course, followed closely by my birthday.   But after Anna died, those days lost their appeal.  The gifts and the parties were lacking something.  They were lacking someone.  But Easter was different.  After Anna died, I longed for Easter.  I needed to celebrate that Jesus had the power over death.  I needed to celebrate that there was a place prepared for me for eternity.  I needed to celebrate that there was more to life than what I could see. 
Today give your grief a holiday and celebrate.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A time to mourn...

Today is Good Friday. Today is a day to focus on the suffering and death of Jesus. I hate suffering and death!  I would like to skip today and go straight to Sunday.Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything--including a time to die, a time to weep, and a time to mourn. 
Today is that time. 
I don't like it. 
I want to get past it. 
I want to "fast forward". 
Praise God that there is also a time to be born, a time to laugh, and a time to dance. Can you have one without the other? Can you have joy if you have never felt pain? 
I don't think so. 
So today we focus on the sadness and grief of Christ's death, so that on Sunday we can fully appreciate the time for joyful celebration.

Friday, April 15, 2011

You can't always get what you want...

Awareness fuels discontent.  Do you agree?   I am content with my car until a newer model drives by.  I am content with my cell phone until my friend shows me what her iphone can do.  We are content with what we have as long as we aren't aware that something better/newer/flatter/bigger/smaller is out there.  I saw this played out in my house today.  This morning Will was so happy because Spring Break starts today.  He was content with not having school.  He never asked one time what we would be doing.  He didn't care.  But when he got off the bus today his face was downcast.
"Mom, EVERYONE is going somewhere for Spring Break.  One kid is going on a cruise, and one kid is going to the beach, and another kids is going to the Great Wolf Lodge.  When the teacher asked who was going on a trip this week, everyone raised their hand--except me!"
It didn't help that the lady at the bus stop had been telling me about her upcoming trip to Paris and Switzerland.  My first thought was that we need to move because we cannot keep up with the "Joneses" around here ... but I really like the Joneses.
Then I remembered that not only am I aware of the people around me who have more.  I am also aware of the people who have less.  I know about Japanese refugees, the Haitian orphans, and the African AIDS victims.  I know about the neighborhoods in East Richmond and South Oklahoma City.  I've had tea in a mud hut.   I've met boys who can't go to school because they don't have any shoes.  I know that I have more than 90% of the world's population.
So I can choose to let my awareness fuel my discontent or I can choose to let my awareness spur me on to share what I have with those who have less.  Hopefully my children will choose to look at what they have rather than what they don't have--either that or we will have to move...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What makes you happy?

Going to Walmart does not usually make me happy.  In fact, it usually makes me unhappy, but it's the only place I know where I can buy hay and horseradish at the same time.  Today while I was shopping, I thought of things that make me happy...
The little Irish man at the front of the store telling me "Have a good day 'Shug'" makes me happy.  (I will admit that sometimes these terms of endearment from strangers are annoying, but today it made me smile.)
A freezer full of popsicles ready to share with friends makes me happy.
Needing a brisket and finding one that has been marked down makes me happy.
Remembering to take my re-usable bags that I usually leave in the car makes me happy.
71 degrees makes me happy.
Birds singing makes me happy.
Being able to walk to my doctor's appointment this morning makes me happy.
Reading my friend Michelle's adoption blog as she brings her daughter home from China makes me happy.
Will getting a hit last night in his baseball game makes me happy--even though they lost.
Audra getting 5th place instead of last place in her race yesterday makes me happy, but not as happy as seeing the note she wrote on her hand...."Just finish!"
The neighbor asking Jacob to dog sit this weekend makes me happy since he is raising money to go on a mission trip this summer (Jacob not the neighbor).
Richard getting his Virginia Bar license makes me happy.  (That's the legal kind of Bar license. Richard has not taken up bar tending.  That would make me unhappy.)
A warm bed, a soft breeze, a coconut covered marshmallow, and not being allergic to the pollen that is covering everything in Richmond--all those things make me happy.
What makes you happy????
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thank you for the thank you encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25)
Last week I received a thank-you note from someone who slept in Anna's Room two years ago.   For those of you who don't know, Anna's Room is part of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OU Children's Hospital.  Three years ago we raised $12,000 to fund the room which is used by parents whose children are being treated in the hospital.   (You can see pictures of the room at  Many of you donated money towards the room and I wanted you to see what it meant to one person.  Then think about the hundreds of people who have used that room.  Your donation made a difference.

Anna made a difference.


I just can't tell you how much Anna's Room means to me and my husband. I've been wanting to write you to let you know for nearly two years now, so I'm so glad to get in touch with you.

When I was 27 weeks pregnant with my twin girls, my ob/gyn sent me to Children's Hospital to see a specialist. I had a placental chorioangioma that was restricting the blood supply of one of the babies. Two days after we arrived in OKC, our baby girls were delivered. We had only packed a bag with clothes and things in it to last for a couple of days... We ended up staying in OKC for three months until my girls were able to leave the NICU.

About three days after my girls were born, it was time for me to leave the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House was full, so we expected we would have to stay in a hotel for awhile. Our doctor had heard of some special rooms in the hospital and inquired about us being able to stay there until a room at the McDonald House opened up. I was skeptical about staying in a room at the hospital. Not knowing what to expect, we opened the door to Anna's Room. I felt so much peace in that beautiful room. We were far away from home and had just been thrown into this new world of the NICU, doctors, etc., but for those first three days we stayed there, I felt peace that everything was going to be okay. We had Anna's Room packed with tons of flower arrangements, cookie bouquets, etc. We were made to feel like we could relax...that this would be our temporary home. I will never forget those first few days of my girls' lives... I would get up a few times in the night to pump breastmilk for the girls, then my husband would carry it down to the NICU. While I was pumping, I would pray for my girls and also think about Anna. I knew she was a special girl and that she was deeply loved by her family. I didn't know you, but I also thought about you, Marlo, and wondered what you would think about total strangers being so touched by Anna's legacy.

When a room became available at the McDonald House, we moved in. But, the last month our girls were in the NICU, they had been transferred to an area they call The Village, where parents can room in with their babies. It's a nice idea in theory, but it was a difficult time for us. Most other parents were at least able go home to take a shower and change clothes. Since we weren't able to do so, we again began staying in Anna's Room, using it as a respite for days when we needed to rest or take a shower. Again, I felt such peace everytime we walked through the door. Those days will always be in my heart and mind. I remember all the little details, like the pretty stationery on the desk, the coat hooks, the shabby chic basket beside the sink with nice lotion and soap, the sweet little books on the bookshelf and butterflies. Butterflies everywhere.

Shortly before we went back home to Tulsa, I asked the Family Room manager about Anna. We were actually standing in Anna's Room when she told me about Anna's life. She told me that you were a remarkable mother, a mom who loved her daughter so passionately. We both cried, and I felt so blessed to hear part of Anna's story. I prayed that day, right there in Anna's Room, that Anna would know how grateful we were to have been touched by her life.

Marlo, I want you to know how grateful we are to your family that you provided such a comfortable, calming and inspirational place for parents to stay. I know many, many other families have also been touched by Anna's Room and, more importantly, by Anna's life. My girls will be 2 next month, and they're doing very well. When they are older, I plan on showing them Anna's Room and telling them about your sweet girl.

Lots of love to you and your family.

What a blessing to receive this note.  What an encouragement to know that Anna's life continues to touch people.
Who can you send an encouraging word to this week?  Who do you need to thank?  It's never too late.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Got Fruit?

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.  Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.  If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”  (Luke 13:6-9)

How often do we just 'take up space'?  How many chances do we get to bear fruit?    Do we disappoint God when he comes looking for fruit in our lives?  What 'special attention' do we need?  What fertilizer do we need to add to our lives so that we will bear fruit?

Got fruit? 
Why not?

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. (John 15:16)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Get Well Soon

Yesterday I surprised my sister by flying to Wichita for my brother-in-law's bday weekend.  He is home recovering from his bike accident 6 weeks ago.  I wanted to share a couple of the notes he received while he was in the hospital.  They made his day!

Dear Mr. Haught,
What is your favorite movie?  What is your favorite animal?  What is your favorite River?  What is your favorite state?  I like to eat donuts.  I have a DS.
Love, K
Dear Mr. Haught,
I hope it dose'nt happen again.  You should look both ways before you cross.  And you can buy a light for your bicycle.  Do you like sports?  I like sports.  My favorite sport is football.  I am the Quarter Back.  I like to play the keyboard, guitar, and the drums.  I have two dogs.  My dad was in the Airforce but he retired.
Love, A