Step Aerobics

I love step aerobics.

Don’t judge me, I know its a early 90’s way to exercise but it has always been one of my favorites. I like how challenging the choreography can be and I like how high impact the exercise is. I really love how quickly an hour flies by.

Today, I took my seventeen year old, Josie, with me. When we walked in the instructor excitedly thanked me for bringing a friend. She told my “friend” that I was one of the best steppers in the class. She found out it was her first time ever stepping and gave her encouragement, “If you get lost you just go back to the basic step”.

That last bit of direction proved unnecessary. Josie has been taking ballet and performing since she turned 4 years old. Hearing choreography directions shouted over loud music is a normal experience for her. For her first time stepping she rocked it. Her kicks up to her ears and even adding in choreography to challenge the moves and increase the workout level. Exercising to her left I maintained my usual pace but had to keep my eyes on the instructor since Jo seemed to know how to alter the moves and make them look good.

By the end of class I had been dethroned as the best stepper.

I love that my daughters are growing up to be my friends. I love that I got the chance to pour into their lives, educate & encourage them and now I watch as they surpass me at so many things. I can’t help but feel it is a way God blesses my life, getting to watch them soar, while stepping at my own pace right beside them.

Finally, Front of the Line

I have a special super power….I’m visionary.

I can see a project done the moment I get the idea. I see the plan, I see the steps to take to get to completion and I like to push myself and everyone around me hard to execute it RIGHT NOW.

I like Right Now.

It works for me.
I am not patient, I do not like waiting, I would rather do a ton of research and use my knowledge and education to skip the line.

Newsflash to me….

Grief has rules, it is emotional and it ebbs and flows on its own timeline. It won’t let you cut in line.

I know, I tried.

I really thought if I read the books, knew the steps then I could fast forward myself through the grief line.

It didn’t work.

Here I am four years later and I’ve made it to the front of the line.
I think I may have stalled my own progress in my desire to fast forward.
I ran across this last unpublished post….It speaks of the hazy life waiting in that line.

I’m in an upside down world. My voice, the tone and inflection, lilt and resonance is forever changed. I am forever changed and I am trying to understand the girl that exists today.
She has found joy in the journey. She is grateful for every moment her earthly Daddy was here. She relates in a knew way with her Momma and her Brother. They are all learning new steps to the daily dance without a key dancer.
She laughs a lot and then crawls to a secret place to cry for her broken heart. Her God is doing something. When she writes it’s choppy and disjointed but life is full of good stuff. Both ends of the emotional spectrum own her heart at the same time.
Every day is a veiled gift. Her children and her man are digging deep. They are going to love and do it well. They are going to serve. They are going to do hard things. Her focus on these things leaves her feeling dizzy. She gets lost on the highway. She can’t write a cohesive sentence with pen and paper but she hugs a lot. She drops her world to just be with folks. Folks are precious. People are precious. This life, her life, it feels priceless.
She has asked God to reorder, well reorder her. He’s true to his word and she attributes all the confusion to what her God is up to.

God had some crazy work to do with this girl and her stubborn clay. I’m seeing the sun again and I remember how to laugh, how to be me. It’s nice to be back. Thanks for being patient with me.

Kelly

One Year

One Year.

So much can happen in one year.

Life happens in One Year.

We change in One Year.

Today is the Anniversary of our One Year.

I’ve been dreading this Anniversary.

For One Year it has loomed large on the horizon.

And, for One Whole Year I’ve been wishing for a fast forward button.

Damn, where is that fast forward button.

Why don’t emotions respond to direct commands.

I’ve lived this One Year.

I have felt it all, all for One Year.

I don’t stuff emotion well, I eat them.

I don’t connect well in the tumult of emotion, I hide.

I don’t sort emotion well, I explode.

But as I live this dreaded One Year Anniversary and I gaze back at the path to this day I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, We’ve (the little family that lost this Husband and Dad and Papa) accomplished.

We’re not as big a mess as I thought we’d be.

I’ve hid from my blog this One Year.

I felt you could only take so much of my wrestle with this One Year. Feel free to embrace the assumption based on my above comment, the real reason for silence, “She doesn’t connect well in a tumult of emotions, She Hides”.

You’d be right to make such an assumption.

I can be such a coward.

I’m back now.

Today I mourn.

The deepest, heart wrenching type of mourning. If you saw the  state of my heart you would weep too. Maybe you’ve already caught a glimpse in the words tear typed on the screen.

But Tomorrow.

Hope for a new horizon.

Tomorrow, I’m past this Anniversary and my heart senses the warmth of the sun on that new horizon.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

It’s been quite a Year.

Kelly

Rainbow Cake

A piece of cake.

Not how I would describe homeschooling and travel for work.

I used this sentence as a focus for a recent presentation. I used this rainbow cake as a key analogy in my presentation.

I loved creating the presentation, traveling to give the presentation and blessing them with little details.

I do love the tiny details.

In this case I decided it would be fun to make tiny cake magnets to give as awards at the completion of my presentation. All the family pitched in to help me make my mini magnet cakes.

I’m one of five fantastic Negveskys and my team loves the details too. 

He dropped me at the airport Sunday and The Man headed to chaperone cotillion class with our two beautifully dressed daughters. I would travel for work and he would teach young men to properly knot a tie. My exit left a lot of details. The remaining four Negveskys oversaw meals, completed school, made it to dance and piano lessons and completed daily chores. They did it well so I could go.

I got home and the house looked great, so great that it showed no sign of a baking bonanza to produce a full size 6 layer version of my rainbow cake magnets. They just whipped it up as a special way to welcome me home. Just a little detail.

I traveled far from home but with the help of a rainbow cake my little family made themselves a living, breathing participant in my journey.  

Gratefully Eating Cake and Counting:

  1. For a Family that does neat things to say how much they love me
  2. Meeting Him on the airplane and feeling so blessed because of it.
  3. That the Fantastic Four is safe and has electricity today
  4. A Mom that still loves digging in to insane craft projects with me.
  5. That I held my own in spades.
  6. Sweet little dimpled face chatting away as I put on my make up.

  
 

 

In it With You

The cursor blinks on this electronic diary. It’s been seven months since my last visit. I gladly stayed far away from this blank white space. At my exit of the funeral home last March I had two things facing me, a life I had put on hold that now demanded my attention and a future forever changed. I decided to wake up every day and tackle that day with a fist full of vitamins and a Gratitude Journal.

The vitamins have worked wonders.
And, daily choosing joy with 10 simple gratitude’s has made the journey to this 7 month mark,
This visiting again,
Here…
In this white space,
Well…
It’s made it all possible.

I have amazing days.

Then there are the days when my heart feels like a melted puddle in my chest and I can’t clean it up. I wish I was nicer on those days. I wish I didn’t miss him so on those days. On those days, I wish the world would stop and feel my loss. But it’s a busy world. It doesn’t have time to stop for my broken heart.

I have days that start great, I’ll plan a normal event and I forgot that he had been a natural part of that normal. I don’t know why, at times, I forget my loss. When memory jolts me to the change… it’s hard.

The jolt is 100,000 wattage to the heart. And I’m standing in a once normal event and I want to run from my memory, my loss. I am proud to say I’ve learned to stand and face the future minus Dad, this new normal, and hold the tears. It’s not until later that I crash in a quiet room and sob.

I have learned the emotional release in a sigh. It gets me through the grocery store music that surfaces memories of childhood. Through the inside jokes that bubble so naturally to my lips, but zap my heart because it’s an inside joke to me alone now.

I’m dripping my tears and ragged heart for you here. I guess I could apologize for a sad post, but I won’t. I think there is too much hurt that life barrels right past. Too many times I’ve run right past you and your broken heart and I am sorry for that.

Repeatedly my gratitude’s in that aforementioned journal are for the people who see the red rimmed watery eyes and offer me a look…. the one of compassion and knowing. I am grateful for the understanding human who pats my shoulder in remembrance, offers words of encouragement. These nurses of pain pull me through the jolted moments. I appreciate them.

I don’t know what’s left your heart in a pulped mess but let me be that for you today. Let me offer you a ragged watery grin, a pat on the shoulder with a loving embrace. I know it hurts, I’m in there with you.

Jolted Gratefulness:

1444. Seeing a motorcycle like Dad’s and remembering how much he loved to ride.

1445. Going to Amazing Glaze and reminiscing with the lovely women there about Dad and his pottery painting antics.

1446. The Scroll Saw coming to my house because it seems Dad made sure EVERYONE knew he had bought that for me.

1447. When she drops two laundry baskets of his clothing, that smells like him, at my house and I remember Dad in those clothes and I can’t not cry.

1448. That The Boy wants to hunt, fish, carry a pocket knife and that he is the kindred spirit to his Papa.

1449. A younger brother with a video camera asking hard questions about grief and he interviews me with tears pouring and my tears are pouring and we nurse each other in our pain.

1450. A Backyard Birthday Party for one of Dad’s Grand babies and the water balloon fight would have been started by him. His antics were missed but his spirit hovered in the fun.

Remarkable?

My Dad
It’s been weeks I’ve thought about what I would say on this day. How do you take the whole of a man’s life and impact the listener with the fullness of it in just a few minutes. I made a list of words, is there just one word that would describe the life of My Dad? 

It’s hard not to turn him into a saint and if you knew him you knew he was no saint. As a matter of fact, Dad was a transparent sinner. He sinned out in the open, for all to see. This was hard on the today’s American church. Dad just didn’t look like the common picture of that edifice. He was loud, he was politically incorrect, he told off color jokes, he hunted and rode a motorcycle and he came to church every Sunday with his wife and children, often sleeping soundly through the sermon.

So, as all the good is running through my mind coupled with the memory of this transparent sinner I grasped for a word to describe him. For days I’ve tossed around the thought, 

“What makes a man remarkable?” 

 Is he remarkable when he drops out of high school and finds a career he loves? 
When he goes on his knees in prayer to save the life of his unborn child? 
And, when that life is safe he joyfully marries and loves the mother, child and her little brother as well? 
Then he loves and pursues his wife for 38 years. 

Do we call this remarkable? 

And if he works the night shift and brings a paycheck home faithfully for his family those same 38 years? 
What if he makes it known to his wife and children that they are his favorite people to be with. Because he always wants to be with them, building a house, doing yard work, vacationing, stocking shelves late at night in the grocery store, or just running to 7-11? 

And, when he slips a disk in his back and refuses immediate surgery to bring relief from the pain because he won’t be able to walk his girl down the aisle on her wedding day?
Then delays that surgery again because he can’t let her drive an 8 hour trip alone on a new engine?

What if he gives his free time, every weekend, many hunting opportunities, to be with his son in prison on visiting day? If he does this for 6 solid years, 

is that remarkable?

And when his face is the picture of sheer delight each time he lays eyes on a new grandchild?
Do we count him remarkable when he will drive 45 minutes just to kiss them goodnight?
And what if I told you I have found picture after picture of his face turned away, turned toward a crying little one that he is comforting,

Remarkable?

Finally, when he is diagnosed with cancer and given a short time to live he embraces his family, friends and begins to talk, like never before. 
 He tells of his love, his faith to all who listen. 
He demonstrates that faith more wholly to his family by his subdued anger, perseverance. 
When he holds on for 3 years in unspeakable pain because he wants to be with them, be part of the party, not miss a minute,

Is this remarkable?


These are just a few of the memories I’ve mulled for weeks now. You have to be careful though because if you’re not paying attention you’ll miss the hidden hand in this picture of my Dad’s life.

Dad steamed through life, often getting it wrong before he got it right. The moments I listed are Dad getting it right. He often told me that he loved to hunt because God met him there amongst creation. I know God did because Dad had to be meeting God somewhere effecting the change in Dad so he could get it right.

There were many hard times with my Dad but what I think made him remarkable is how God met him and in  these encounters, he was changed.Dad went to heaven Monday evening and God was glad to bring home his transparent sinner.
I will miss my Dad, 

He was a man made remarkable by a remarkable God. 

You should know such a God.


I am grateful for all the remarkable moments:

1151.
That others miss him too and share in my loss.

1152.
A church where I can freely worship.

1153.
Quiet talks with The Man late in the eve.

1154.
A childhood friend who comes and is compassion and love and friendship.

1155.
Cool March day full of sun and wind.

1157. 
Kids running in and out full of life and laughter.

1158.
Amazing members of the church body of Christ who open their homes, bring food, love and serve. I am overwhelmed by the love.

1159. 
Family with stories that make me laugh and warm my bruised and battered heart.

1160.
Children who keep my electronics charged and up to date. A simple act of love in serving.
 

Confounding Question

“How Are You?”

Three little words.
They confound me.

My mind races to grasp what to say. My Dad is dying. Right now he lays in bed, eyes sunken, half lidded and we think he’s already seeing glimpses of heaven. His arms reach round like holding a beach ball, extending a hug to the unseen, maybe loved ones already on the other side.

“How Are You?”

Puzzled every time I’m asked. Three little words. I assume asked in reference to this life altering event, the dying of this integral man to my life. My mind filters through files and files of memories, moments and my face is frozen as my mind reaches to respond. I am lost how to respond.

“How Are You?”

And I am suspended in thought because I am well. The whole experience is beautiful. My own mind shocks at such a response. Loosing Dad is real. For days I’ve done mental cartwheels to understand how my response can be such. But what brings the tears? Why do I feel so overwhelmed that my chest is about to explode with it all?

“How Are You?”

I wrestle to put my finger on the factor, what is that one factor that does me in? What leaves me wracking with tears and gasping for breath?

And then I see it.
It’s Crystal clear.
This God, this creator, He keeps showing up. In a million tiny ways He keeps showing up to care and provide. And not just for me but for my children, my brother, our neighbors and I watch as this God gently loves The Man, tenderly cradles my broken Mom and this kind of love, it does me in.

I am in the midst of loss and the creator of the whole world keeps stepping in and caring for all these little people experiencing this loss.
It is overwhelming.
It is beautiful.
It is breathtaking.

This God, who gave His Son so I can dwell with my Dad on the other side. This swells in my chest and creates sobbing, wrenching tears. How can a being love me so much? How can he give so much so I can have so much? He just never stops giving.

“How Are You?”

It’s Ash Wednesday and the reality of mortality is nose to nose. So, I’m loading up my babies and we’re heading to church to worship this amazing God. It’s the least I can do as He carries me through this hard, hard life. I am honored to do it.

“How Are you?”

And now I ask my question of you. You see, I’ll be there one day. I’ll be reaching arms to hug Dad on the other side. I’ll rejoice as I enter God’s gates. I’ll worship at God’s feet holding tight to Dad’s hand. Yes, that’s going to happen one day.

Will you be there with me?

So, really, “How are you?”

Think on that question, the one that has confounded me for days, but first scroll to the bottom, pause the music then press play on the video and join me in processing the question:

Spilling

DSC_0380
Dad is a silent.
Mom is sad.
Hospice is amazing.
People who follow Jesus,
true disciples of Him,
they make me cry,
heal my heart,
make me long to deeper know my God and His Son.
My breaths come sharp.
Tears spill in odd places.
Children play and laugh and then hide in corners with silent tears streaming.
My even, steady Man has a fuzzy red that rims his deep, brown eyes.
I make meals to comfort souls.
I write words to capture the amazing beauty of this family,
on this journey.
We celebrate an 8 year old birthday and play with the newest family member.
We have journeyed to a cemetery to make arrangements.
We drank coffee afterwards,
so normal.
Normal will soon, forever change.
Soon my father will be past tense.
Oh, how I need the heavenly one to face the loss of the earthly one.
My God remains faithful.
His strong arm supports,
He is not shy to show His face.
My writing rhythm is shot.
My words won’t flow.
I’m focused on a family rhythm for now.
Cancer altered the lens.
Joy spills with the tears.
God is so good.

Impending Loss

Every thing makes me weepy. That’s the nature of loss. You feel it. Impending loss is cruel. It lingers in the foreground and in our case there is no arrival date. For 3 years now we’ve carried the best guess of this or that doctor.

I rejoice that the first declarations of our impending loss were way off base. That doctor gave us weeks. God responded with years. Blessed years so The Boy got to know my Dad, his Papa, better. Time spent together sharing things Dad wanted us all to know. He has told me so many wonderful things, he has spoken those kind of words we think in quiet moments but the joy of living finds few windows to speak them.

I come from a messy family. We sin and we sin hard. We love and we love deep. These are drastic spikes on the emotional scale. Is it any wonder we all struggle a bit with depression. You won’t find us coasting, we just don’t coast. My Dad never coasted. I love the story of his pursuit of my Mom. It was all in, hard pursuit. He’s told me many times how he loved her from minute one. He always told me he was a “one woman man” and he didn’t want anyone but her. Their 39 years have been hard fought. My brother and I have had box seats. It was war. I never cheered for a war more than I have on the sidelines of that marriage. They did it. The battleground they gained paved a path for my own marriage.

When Daddy realized the nature of his cancer he went about telling us all what he wanted us to know. One day he sat me down to tell me the story of my birth. Now, I have heard the story of my near abortion. My mom has shared over and over again the divine intervention that occurred in an abortion clinic while lying on a sterile metal table. The voice that she heard, almost assuredly audible, telling her if she had this baby God would take care of her. It changed Mom’s life forever and her faith, in that moment, gave me a chance at life. Yes, this story I had been told but I had never heard it from my Dad’s point of view.
 
It was a bright sunny day and Dad still looked like himself. He had lost a lot of weight but he was his usual rugged handsome, wearing his favorite levis and standard harley shirt. He sported his signature mustache and on his neck a bandage covering where he had recently had a port inserted under his skin for upcoming treatments. He wanted to have a heart to heart talk. We were just facing the reality of cancer. I was full of hope yet the impending loss already dangled large in our future. The hope side of me longed to silence his words. They felt like goodbyes. He was insistent so I sat across from him on the couch to listen.

“Honey, I want to tell you about your birth. I have never told you my side and I want you to know.”

I wish with all my heart I had gotten the video camera out. I regret I didn’t put him on hold and do just that. He proceeded to again share his love for Mom. How it was the summer before her senior year of high school when she told him she was pregnant. He responded with great joy. He told me how excited it made him. He wanted to get married. She didn’t think they could actually do this family thing. She was certain it was better to save a child from teenage parents.

 
He agreed to help her however she needed him. She made an appointment but he said it pained him greatly. He felt it was wrong and he didn’t know where to go with it all. A new follower of Christ he decided to go on his knees. He shared the facts with his mother and she joined him in prayer. He told me he wanted me from day one and he prayed with all he had that God would work to save my life. He drove her to that clinic and he watched her walk down the corridor always petitioning God on my behalf.

“I prayed like I had never prayed before. I just knew if there was a way to change this outcome that God could do it. When your mother came out of the room and told me she wanted to marry me and have this baby I couldn’t usher her fast enough out of that place. God answered my prayer.”

Daddy went on to tell me things he had told me over and over in my lifetime. He loved me. He wanted me. He adored me. He treasured all our days together. My Daddy has been all a knight in shining armor should be. He fought for me, he protected me, he treasured me as a helper. I have spent 38 years toiling at all kinds of tasks joyfully at his side.

Now I will help him rest comfortable until God calls him home. I am so grateful for all his prayers that day to usher my life into this world. It’s  just way too soon to be sitting at his side praying for him as we wait for the doors of eternity to open and usher him home.

How to Drive a Stake Part 2: Just Go!

Granted, she said it quite a bit ago, and her yearly digits were smaller, but it shocked me all the same. It seems a sense of entitlement flows steady and fast through the veins of my children. I’m not proud of it. I’m just stating the facts. The day she said it was the day my eyes opened wide to the reality of the path my American Babies were walking. It needed redirection.

I read World Magazine faithfully. I love that magazine. It often covers news that no one, I really mean no one else is covering. And the news that everyone is covering….Well, it just gives a different perspective. Isn’t that what America is all about, the freedom to see it all from a different perspective. My dedication to a new issue’s arrival peaked the curiosities of resident children. Thus, they began to pick it up and read.

World

In the kitchen, assembling lunch, she assisted me in various directed ways. We were chatting and in the midst of our discussions she commented, “Mom, people don’t really live like those pictures in the magazine. That’s all just staged for the picture right?” I had to stop and clarify what she was saying and indeed I had heard her correctly.

This incredibly blessed, American born, healthy girl had convinced herself that folks don’t live that way. Those photographs of cardboard box homes, babies with bellies swollen from malnourishment and shoeless feet from lack of resources….  well, she convinced herself it all staged to pull at her heartstrings. In her mind, at the end of the photo shoot, they went home to dwellings much like the one she called  home. I immediately had a pow-wow  with her Daddy.

It didn’t require a lot of prayer, or even thought, to decide we would find a place to serve and just go. The original plan included one child and one Dad but as we mined deeper into the hearts of her siblings we found similar veins of entitlement and our trip became a family affair.

So, June 25th we’ll load our Party of 5! onto a plane for the Dominican Republic. Working alongside  missionaries who live there we will serve. The local church has a dirt floor and the walls are crumbling. The native pastor’s home has electrical wires dangling dangerously from his walls and we know what to do about that. We have bought up shoes and plan to teach Sunday School. We’re preparing our hearts  and our minds with resources like  Foreign to Familiar written by Sarah A. Lanier. It’s helping us better understand other cultures so we can be good guests in their country.

Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot - And Cold - Climate Cultures

We’re  hard workers and we plan to push ourselves and serve well. I’m praying children’s hearts are changed, eyes opened wide to see the world the way their God sees it.  I’m praying for a life changing trip. I’m praying our hearts are forever moved so the next time we see the depravity on the glossy pages of a magazine we will immediately be drawn to prayer. That those prayers include asking God how we can be the hands and feet to those in need.

Oh, how I’d  appreciate your company down here on my knees. You could pray for our team as we travel. Our group is full of families, like us, learning to serve together. The photo below shows all the teams serving this summer from our home church. We’re the Yellow Team and we’re 23 members in all! We will be traveling at the end of June and we thank you so much for encouraging us as you lift us up to our heavenly father.

Blessings to you all!