Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grandma Mary

Mary Jeanette Neidig Jeude
9-11-1918 to 3-31-2009
The whole family from G-ma's 90th b-day celebration last summer. My cousin Dave couldn't make it so we photo shopped him in! It's not a perfect fit but it works!It's interesting now to see that just 11 days before Gma passed away, Laura prayed for her leg to grow back. What a great opportunity to talk about how her prayer was answered! We talked about the new body she gets in Heaven and how she got her leg back!
Laura really enjoyed that and it was a great reminder to have the right perspective!
We are sad she's gone but so thankful that her pain and suffering are over!
I am so thankful for the whole experience, or rather the way the experience has played out. Gpa's death last year was a completely different experience. I don't know if that's because he was the closest relative I'd ever had die, or perhaps because we spent every day with him for over a week up until he was gone. John and I were even present for his last breath.
A moment I'm sure I'll never, ever forget.
Mom had been praying that when it was Gma's time that it would be quick and that God would be merciful. On a snowy Thurs. morning mom went in to wake Gma and couldn't get her to respond. This moment for mom was preceded by a conversation with me on the phone. I was driving to visit a friend that had had a baby and lost signal when I pulled into the parking garage. I was so excited to see and hold Zeke that I forgot to call mom back and let her know all was well. Did I mention the snow? Mom got hysterical thinking that not only had something happened to Gma but now I was gone in some snowy car crash. It wasn't until about 45 min. later that I realized I had put my phone on vibrate and didn't have it on me. I think I had missed 5-6 calls from mom. What a loser daughter! I'll spare you all the details but let me add here that I have a very forgiving and gracious mother! I got in touch with her just as they were taking Gma by ambulance to the hospital. Because of the snow, a 20min drive took 2 hours. I picked up John at home and we drove to the hospital.
What happened next was the long drawn out discovery of Gma's massive stoke, on the right side of her brain. She couldn't speak, other than a few choice words, like Kleenex and "I love you". She couldn't swallow or move her arm or leg on the left side. What a painful road to go down when someone has decided "enough". Maybe this is where it was easier than with Gpa. Gpa had almost a "second wind" at the end. Putting him in a place he hadn't been in years. It gave us a much needed reminder of happier days before he left us. His last year was long and trying for him. He wasn't happy, except for his last few coherent days.
Gma on the other hand was just a shadow of her former self at this point.
In contrast, Gma was always happy in her last months. Sure, she had her sad moments after Gpa was gone. And certainly while in the hospital dealing with her amputation so soon after Gpa's death. But once she "broke" out of rehab, her positive outlook on life returned. There was much laughter once Gma was home. And much shopping. I think shopping might have been Gma's greatest passion!
Back to the present, I am compelled to mention some of the neat God moments from the last week. Moments where you see God's hand so clearly working. At one point John and I were scheduled to be in Israel, we would have been there on March 31st., that trip got cancelled the end of last year. On the day of her stroke, Mom was going to go with me to a dermatologist appt. but because of a virus on her work computer, stayed home to catch up. On the day Gma passed, I was going to bring the kids over to mom's for one last good-bye. We had gotten many different dates over the past few days from Hospice and I thought I should take this morning to finish up all my work to free me up for long days at mom's with Gma. After Gpa, we were expecting it to take longer. Instead, Mom's prayers were answered and Gma went quickly. Mom called to let me know it was close and I left immediately for her house, without the kids. I missed Gma's last breath but was so thankful that the Lord spared that memory for the kids.
We all would have been there had I not been delayed with work.
Some could argue that it was all coincidence, I beg to differ.
God is ever present in each of our lives, if we choose to see Him residing there.
His joy in times of sadness can't be explained away, it can only be reflected through our lives, for others to see. We may have brief moments of sadness still,
but He is there, wiping our tears and carrying us through.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dear God...

About once a month my Mom & David take one of the kids. They and the kids love this special one on one time. Last night was Laura's turn. Mom gave Laura a bath and while tucking her in, asked if she had any prayer requests. Here was Laura's answer:

1) That she would have a good nights sleep
2) That her family would be safe
3) That Grandma Mary's leg would grow back
Ahh, to have faith like a child!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More and more and more running

Man, I don't really like running when I HAVE to! The days are unusually warm here, in the 70's today! I did have a lovely 2 mile run in the snow last week, it was 14 outside! I actually prefer the cold to the heat! Sat., John and I both set out to run our 5 miles! This is the most I've ever run, I think imapmyrun said it was 5.25 miles. Yikes! I really didn't think I'd make it! We did, John a bit faster than I, and then drank water. Lots and lots of water! I realized on this run that it's time to take a water bottle with me. I don't really like running while holding onto something but this was too far to not have water. Parts of my face were actually numb and once I was home I felt like I had been fasting for a week. Granted, I did only have 1/2 a cup of juice and some water before my run. Oopsie, won't do that again! I'm still struggling with my foot. I can run it's just sore. We know we don't want to spend the money on the orthotics but beyond that I'm not really sure what to do. Oh well, hopefully the Lord will show me. John is also dealing with shin splints. At least I can roll my foot out to take the pressure off of my arch, he can't do anything about it. Today was run either 2 miles or cross train. I opted for a quick run and John opted for moving bags of quickcrete! Loading, unloading, mixing and pouring. Sounds like cross training to me!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From the Husband of a first time wedding photographer.

Just in case you didn't know, She's Nuts! She was so worried and as usual, she did great! Check out the pictures she posted on Facebook and I think you'll agree.

Nightmares of a first time wedding photographer

Well, in case you didn't know it, I'm a little crazy! I over think and re-think and dream about situations that I often times have absolutely NO control over! The wedding John and I photographed was really no exception! It wasn't something I EVER wanted to do, Holly, the bride, talked me into it with her sweet talking and compliment riddled emails. Thanks as well to John and a couple other people oozing with confidence in me. Everyone seemed to be sure of the fact that I could in fact accomplish this feat, except myself.

So, after I prayed about it and pinched myself to make sure I wasn't just in some crazy nightmare, I agreed to be the wedding photographer. Wow! Seriously, I lost sleep for about the first week after I said yes. I was dreaming about photos and layouts and catastrophes. I had major second thoughts. But, after the first week of craziness, it stopped and normal life resumed. Well, granted, this was probably because my more current fear was playing guitar and leading the Women's Study worship in January! God was very gracious in comforting me and giving me strength and taking away my fears. It was an awesome experience because knowing how I am, I knew the peace could only be from Him!

I poured over websites, friends photos, and books from the library. Sometimes leaving encouraged and sometimes overwhelmed. There is SO much information out there, I think that sometimes it can be to our detriment!

January came and went and while I did get nervous in the 30 minutes before I led worship, I still felt His peace. His all surpassing, encompassing peace. It was wonderful! Then, February arrived. I was pondering the wedding more but not excessively, yet. I think it wasn't until John's birthday weekend that I started pondering the magnitude of what I was about to do, the very next weekend. I felt the heavy weight of fear upon my shoulders again. We were killing time before our movie, Paul Blart Mall Cop - VERY FUNNY!, in a Barnes & Noble and looking at, surprise - surprise, photography books. Tons & tons of photography books! Did this ease my mind? Make me feel excited about my upcoming endeavor? NO! It added immensely to the weight already resting upon my shoulders. And, proceeded to leave me with an upset stomach the rest of the day. At this point, I was once again asking myself why I had succumbed to Holly's plea. In case you don't know this about me, I'm a sucker for a compliment, or a kind word, or any inclination that you like who I am or what I can do. I've read Psalm 139 over and over and I know the value He puts on my life. I, to a great fault, tend to value the opinions of others above His opinion. I'm trying tirelessly to change this in my own children so they will be confident in who He made them. Not who someone else thinks they are. Anyhow, back to the story...

The next couple days were spent getting the bathroom ready for a long awaited remodel job. A wonderful distraction to what was looming in my mind. It's amazing how the excitement of a new bathroom and disorienting lack of a toilet where you're used to having one can distract you from tons of worry! However, Thursday we looked over our list of photos and must haves for our camera bag and it brought everything to the forefront of my mind. Oh no, WHAT am I doing?!?!? In just TWO days I was going to be responsible for the failure or success of someones wedding photos. I'd already been having some itching issues but these quadrupled Thurs. and still remain with me today, now 3 days after the wedding! I hardly slept at all Thurs. night and Friday night. You wouldn't believe the thoughts and dreams that passed through my consciousness. Thus, the title for this blog! Let me fill you in on the ones that have lingered for me to remember...

No memory card in the camera

Batteries die

Miss THE first kiss

Sleep in too late and miss the wedding

We get murdered in our sleep and because the kids were sleeping over at a friends, no one knows to tell Holly & Paul

ALL the pictures suck

I trip in front of everyone AND break the camera

The memory card malfunctions and loses all the pics

The memory card is stolen - don't laugh, this has really happened, to us!

Our equipment is stolen, John read me a story about how common this is, thanks John, I needed to have more to worry about!

Holly hates the pictures and yells at me, if you knew Holly, you'd know this would NEVER happen!

Someone in the wedding party is a wedding photographer and they roll their eyes at me and/or take over and show me "how it's done"

I end up in the wrong spot at the wrong time

I split my pants

What if I wear the wrong thing?

I end up not having a bag that will work to carry around my "what if" supplies and HAVE to use a fanny pack! GASP!

What if I get the stomach flu?

Ok, this is all I remember but there were two full, sleepless nights filled to the brim with all these exasperating situations! The only one that actually proved to be useful was the one about the memory card. One of our back-up cameras actually didn't have a memory card in it AND, the batteries were almost dead! But, we would have discovered this when we were checking our bags Friday night.

Friday was our 16th wedding anniversary. We asked if we could attend the rehearsal to get a better idea of where to stand etc. I was too big a chicken though to actually jump in and figure it all out. John messed with some things but knowing that the lighting was going to be totally different the next day, it was hard to have a genuine idea of what it would be like. We came home, had a nice dinner with just the two of us and then checked our bags and equipment.

Saturday morning we got up early and had time for a quick breakfast out, my favorite, before we took showers and got dressed for the wedding. This was mostly uneventful, unless you factor in the near panic attack on the drive to the church. Oh my, I don't think I've ever been so nervous! Except for the one time we had to do a skit in my English class to showcase a portion of a book we were reading. I went to the office and had them call my G-ma to excuse me from school. My G-ma, trusting me, did just that and I was home free! I got out of being a part of it I was so nervous! I wanted to default to John and just have him do it. I knew I couldn't do that though! We arrived on time, even a little early, and got to work. Once I started, I hated to admit it but, it was kind of fun! The lighting was kind of stinky inside. Plus a little pink, they had these pinkish filters on most of the spots that gave a lot of the pictures this nice pink hue. Thankfully it's nothing too difficult for our photo program. Just pull a little red out of each picture!

Once the ceremony started the nerves picked back up. I ended up sitting on the bottom step of the stage to get the shots of the processional. We decided this was better than the back and forth squatting. The aisle runner had already been tripped on and ripped, not by me, and I didn't want that nightmare to come true! Once again, the nerves subsided and it became almost fun! The rest of the day went smoothly. We each only needed our one battery and memory card. Neither of us even had to consider what was in our "just in case" bag. The only thing that I frequently turned to was my list. I almost brought a pen so I could check off the shots Holly wanted as I took them. Despite my STRONG allegiance to being a list person - especially the checking off part, I didn't bring a pen. It was ok though. I knew I could always check them off at home!

The reception proceeded along just fine as well. Whew!

The only camera malfunction came when John's froze during their exit through the bubbles! That's why you have two photographers! I got the pictures so it was all good! Had we just had one camera, we would have missed it! By the time he got his back on they were in their car.

They were on a time crunch to avoid extra costs and the reception ended earlier than we had anticipated. That gave us extra time to go to Starbucks and use, yep, you guessed it, another gift card, and upload the photos. Imagine my relief when I realized they weren't half bad! Ahhh, finally, the weight lifted and I knew that I could rest in Him and the gifts that He's given me! God is so good to come through for us! It's even sweeter when we can acknowledge that the gift is from Him!

We finished looking at the pics and met up with some friends for a wonderful evening! I celebrated with a Coke at dinner! For those of you that already knew how crazy and psychotic I was, thanks for your prayers, I surely wouldn't have made it through without them!
I've had this birthday card sitting on my desk,
I couldn't bear to put it away so
instead I thought I'd just share it here...