“Honey, Are You Crying?”

That’s what Matt asked me last night as I was reading this weeks chapters from The Girls From Ames.

“No,” I replied as a wiped the tears and snot on the sleeve of my oversized night shirt.

“Yes you are. Why are you crying?”

“It’s just so sad!”

This weeks reading made me think a lot about my beautiful Wish Kid Gabi. And it made me think about her gorgeous mom…and her dad and all three of her adorable sisters. I’ve only met them all a handful of times, but they all have an amazing, unmistakable presence about them. They all seem so positive, even with that evil cancer invading their lives. They all seem so grateful…grateful for Gabi’s good days, grateful for their good health, grateful for their blessings, but especially grateful for their families’, their friends’, and perfect strangers’ prayers for Gabi.

While I have had the opportunity to be a part of Gabi’s wish experience, I have thought  lot about what it would be like in her mother’s shoes. Then, reading the chapters Their First Child and Tears in the Ladies’ Room, I thought even more about being a mother. Maybe it’s because of my age, maybe it’s because many of my friends are having babies soon, or maybe I just have a bad case of baby fever, but I worry more now about something happening to my future children than something happening to me. I guess that’s just a mother’s instinct. If only I had a nickel for every time my mom said, “Just wait…when you have your own kids someday you’ll understand why I worry,” I’d be a rich girl right now.

So when I hear these stories of daughters being diagnosed with cancer, yes my prayers and thoughts go out to these girls, but my heart just breaks for these mothers. I’m sure the only thing they want to do is just take all the pain out of their child. Gosh, I want to take the pain out of their daughters so that they won’t have to feel that burden!

My heart goes out so much to Karla and to Gabi’s mother. I truly can only imagine their pain…and I’m sure that doesn’t even come close to the reality.

As for these two amazing girls, Gabi and Christie, their courage is outstanding and beyond admirable.

As Zaslow writes about Christie’s positive outlook, I can’t help but read in disbelief. How could she be going through so much, yet always find the silver lining. I was touched when I read one of her quotes from her Caring Bridge site, “Life is good, and you just need to take it day by day. Be thankful to see the sun rise and set each day.”

Honestly, there is probably not a better piece of advice in the world.

And then I think back to a quote from Gabi on her Caring Bridge site. Let me back up a bit and give you a small history on Gabi. She is a ten year old girl who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her leg earlier this year. After much consideration, Gabi and her family chose to have rotationplasty, a rare surgery to cut out the tumor and to give her the best chance to continue to do the things she loves (she’s a little dancer). This is not a small decision for a ten year old girl, and her mother was worried about her self esteem, how other children might take it, and how Gabi would feel about it in the future. Gabi’s reasoning (as quoted from her Caring Bridge site),

“That looks really weird, and it will probably take me a year to get used to it.  But at least I will be able to dance again.”

Courage.Out.Of.This.World.

So during times of my own trials and when I feel like I’m being tested, I will try to remind myself that life is good, and at least I can dance.

ang

Rest in peace Christie Rae Blackwood, and to all those who read this, please keep precious Gabi in your prayers during her recovery!

 

Advertisements

Book Club Post…Five Hundred and Thirteen Pages

Finally…book club is back (like, four years later)! And since nearly half a decade has passed since I have written about my girlies from Ames, I have four whole chapters to recap (yikes!) So, I’ve decided to do this post a little differently so that I don’t end up writing a nine-hundred and seventy-three page book report!

For each chapter, I will pick out my favorite quote, and then write about what that quote means to me…then you can do the same (if you want to)!

The Intervention

Studies suggest that the average girl today is likely to grow up to be a lifelong dieter, to have a distorted body image, and to be emotionally scarred by cliques.”

Poor Sally to have to go through that. It takes a very strong person to come out of such a devastating situation with so much forgiveness.

And, of course I’d pick this quote in this chapter. The most disturbing word here is “likely”…the average girl is likely. A couple paragraphs later this “likeliness” is referred to as a “national crisis”. A national crisis indeed!

When did we (girls, women, media, people) become so mean…so comparing…so judgmental?! I’m not saying I’m innocent either, although I like to think that I keep other peoples’ feelings in mind before I speak. But again, I’m not innocent. I catch myself making comments about people on television, about people I see in a store, about myself. Then I feel like a hypocrite for preaching about owning your beauty here on my blog.

However, I do think if we all (as in everyone in this world!) could make a conscious effort to change the way we talk about other people, change the way we talk to ourselves, and stop comparing ourselves to other people (easier said than done, I know), then we could change this “likeliness”.

I read a quote from Lolly on twitter today that read,

When you know who you are~you are more accepting of others.”

This sentence is so true. Live it…..and remember that you are deserving and beautiful and admirable…and you will see those traits in others, too!

FBB and Other Secrets

There were times when they felt humiliated or ashamed and kept it to themselves.”

I chose this quote because it is so me. I definitely find it hard to talk about the difficult things in life, and I’d rather people view me as a happy person! But I have learned to keeping up a happy face is not always possible…..and that’s okay! The funny thing about it is, whenever I actually have talked to someone about my problems, I always feel better afterward…then I can actually go back to being happy!

Defining Love

“‘I think we’re meant to truly love one person, to have a life partner.'” 

Okay…so I loved this chapter!!! (Of course this sappy, lovey-dovey chapter would be my favorite!) I feel like I can relate so much to Karla in this chapter. I feel incredibly lucky to have found my life partner…my soul mate…my one true love! I agree with Karla in that I believe God put two people in this world who are just meant for each other!

And I can partly agree with Kelly. I don’t necessarily agree that a person should have a new love with every stage of their life. But, witnessing my mother get married last year to a man that is not my dad has made me believe that it is possible to love more than once in a lifetime. I know that my parents loved each other, and without that love, my sister and I wouldn’t be here. But I also know that after so long, my parents were not right for each other. Now my mom is happy in love again (and I’m working on my dad…anyone know any lovely, single 40-50 year olds?! Hehe!)

And although I don’t have children yet, I admire Karla’s love for her daughter, too. I believe when I am a mother I will feel that same way. I also loved the quote in this chapter, “The girls watched her snuggle with her baby, partly envying her and partly wondering about the ways in which loving feelings would swell inside them when their time came to be mothers.” I feel the same way when I watch other people with their babies, and I just cannot wait to be a mother someday!

“If Not for You”

Women need other women.Dare I say…sometimes women just understand better than men. I adore my husband, and I will always tell him everything, but I will always need some lovely lady to rely on. I’ve always had my mom and sister there for me if I ever needed anything, and now I feel like I have a strong core of girlfriends that are always there for me, as well. I know that my mom feels a lot of the time that I am grown up and don’t need her anymore…but mom, I will always need you. (And you too, Maggie, and all my girlies!) Always.

Sorry…this did end up pretty close to a five hundred and thirteen page book report! What were your favorite quotes of these chapters? If you aren’t that far, or just aren’t reading the book, what do these quotes mean to you?

ang

Marilyn and Karla

This past week I went back out to Borders and bought The Girls From Ames so that I could highlight and write in it. I don’t think the library would appreciate it if I did that in their book!This week we read about Marilyn and Karla. I must admit, I ended up highlighting a lot of Marilyn’s chapter…I feel like in a lot of ways I relate to her (although in a lot of ways I am very different), and her and Jane’s friendship have a lot of parallels with the friendship I had with my best friend in elementary school.

I, like Marilyn, had a fear of disappointing my parents. I also have a very guilty conscious that doesn’t allow for sneakiness.  An example comes to mind…

The first time I remember lying to my mom, my sister and I were grounded from using the computer (for reasons I don’t remember). While my mom was gone, I got on the computer to chat with my friends. I remember shutting the computer off and leaving the computer room just how I had found it when I was done…but when my mom got home, she knew someone had been on it (it must’ve been her mom-magical-powers). She asked my sister and I who had been on the computer, and at first I said that I hadn’t. Then I immediately burst into tears and exclaimed how sorry I was. To this day my sister (back then a non-Goody Two-shoes) tells me that I just shouldn’t have said anything and mom would never have known. She is probably right.

Especially after that incident, I was afraid to do anything at all scandalous. I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t drink, and I didn’t try to lie…I had nothing to lie about. I’m sure that people thought of me as a “Goody Two-shoes” like Marilyn, and back then I desperately wanted to fit in somewhere…somewhere more popular…but now that I have grown into an adult girl, I am thankful for my Goody Two-shoesness. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that and my Goody Two-shoes friend.

Megan and I…we were two Goody Two-shoes in a pod. We spent so much time together as kids that even our moms became best friends. Like Marilyn and Jane, we were at ease in each others’ houses and with each others’ moms. We have a plethora of memories together, and were been a part of each others’ lives through good times and through some really difficult times.

Personally, I don’t have as much of a connection with Karla. Well, maybe I do, but as soon as she was described as “cranky” (i.e., the very first sentence of her chapter), I think I dismissed that chance. Having acquired the nickname “Happy” at a young age, I tend to go through life trying to be happy every chance I get. However, I feel I can understand her longing to stay close to her children, especially after her own experiences with being adopted, even though I don’t have kids of my own yet.

Even though I have changed my career path a few times in my life, the one thing I have always known that I was meant to be was a mom. I know that God put me on this earth to be a wife and mom. I know it. In that way, I can relate with Karla wanting to be close to her children at all times.

The one line that stuck out the me the most in this reading was in a conversation that Marilyn had with her dad:

For some reason, I always have this fear of losing people. I remember shopping with my mom when I was a little girl, and I would get scared if I couldn’t find her. Now as an adult, I am afraid of losing my friends. My hubby and I just moved a little ways away, and I fear that the distance will literally take them away from me.

I know that is silly, because our friendship means more than a few extra miles…but the fear still lingers there. I know I don’t see my mom or dad or sister nearly enough…and that fear lingers there, as well. However, like Dr. McCormack described…I know if I ever need anything, I can give them a tug and they’s be here for me in an instant…all of them.

ang