Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lord, hear our prayer, ease our hearts

I normally try to only post about things that bring me joy or make me laugh. But today I feel I must share a tragic event.

Today, DearHusband, DaughterA and I did something we and close to a hundred other people should never, ever have to do.

We attended the memorial service for a former teammate of my daughters', a bubbly, sparkly and joyful young woman whom my husband enjoyed coaching, and we had the privilege of sharing ten years of our life with when it revolved around tournament softball.

Chrystal Anne Hansen, age 22, engaged to be married and six weeks pregnant was killed in a car accident, only 3 minutes from her home, by a drunk driver who blew through a red light and t-boned her in an intersection with such force that it pushed her car through the intersection and into the roadside ditch. Her fiancee later suffered a brain aneurysm. The drunk who committed double-murder with a ton of moving metal, walked away without a scratch.

If so moved, you can read the newspapers articles here.

The service was a wonderful gathering of friends and family, and I feel we were again privileged to be in the company of those who loved her, to listen as they shared stories of laughter and adventures enjoyed by Chrystal. I thanked her father for having the service and for giving us the opportunity to share in the obvious love that abounded in the room full of people.

It must be true, that God gives you the strength when you need it. I don't know how her parents were able to be there, dry eyed and calm, actually giving comfort to others as well as, hopefully, gaining comfort from those around them.

Her father said something, while we stood near the table that held lovingly made posters and collages of photos taken throughout Chrystal's life, that continues to reduce me to tears each time I think of it. It a quiet voice, he said to my husband, "I was going to be a Grandpa..."

All I can say of the man who killed Chrystal and her unborn child, injured her beloved and forever changed the lives of their families, May God have mercy on his soul. Because, believe me I certainly would not, do not, will not ever. In my humble opinion, I believe we should bring back public floggings for people who deliberately get behind the wheel after drinking and cause the death of another person. It wasn't an accident that he drank and drove, you cannot accidentally get behind the wheel while impaired. It was a conscious choice he made, and now others will continue to suffer for it. The current slap on the wrist these criminals get isn't sufficient. They should be flogged, and perhaps, if they survive the shock and injury of having the flesh stripped from their backs, the memory of the pain and humiliation will keep them from drinking and driving again.

Please forgive me if I sound hateful, if my words injure you, my innocent readers, but justice needs to be served and examples set.

An example DearHusband and I have set for our children, friends and family is a zero tolerance for alcohol consumption in relation to the privilege of driving motor vehicles. Knowing the alcohol impairs judgement, we have removed the danger of inaccurately judging our level of impairment by making it a HARD AND FAST RULE, if we have even so much as a sip of alcohol, we do not get behind the wheel! Is that an inconvenience? You bet it is! It means only one of us can imbibe when we are out to dinner by ourselves, as we live too far out into the county to take a cab. But let me tell you, I and my beloved, will never take the chance of injuring ourselves, or worse yet, someone else by a poor decision that might forever change the lives of those we come in contact with.

I know this is, what some may think, an extreme attitude, but once again, a drunk driver has taken a life, two lives actually this time, and I hope my children will remember this event and our family rule when they are out for the evening and choose to have a drink. Honor the memories they have of Chrystal, remember the terrible impact on the lives of all who knew her, step up and be responsible for their own decisions, and put the car keys away when the alcoholic beverages come out.

I pray God give comfort and strength to the families and friends of Chrystal, may they find comfort in shared memories, may time ease the pain of separation, and the promise of seeing her again, restored and in heaven give us peace.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We didn't get a picture...

Yesterday, we continued to work on the pond along the front walkway and decided we needed some more rocks to set on the ledge that runs along the inside of the pond. So off to the stone landscaping place. In search of the perfect size and just the right color to match the small boulders that create the small waterfall.

After turning off of our street, we head out on a little wooded roaded that winds to the state highway. We come upon a van stopped in our lane. Before we get too close, we can see under the van that something brown was in the middle of the lane, in front of the van. We thought, oh no, he's hit something. But no, they didn't. A doe and her very young fawn had jumped out onto the road and when the fawn saw the approaching van, instinct took over and he dropped down as flat as he could, thinking he was hiding. Unfortunately, there's not alot of cover in the middle of an asphalt road. The man driving the van didn't know what to do, he didn't want to just drive around and away fearing that it was injured or that someone else might come along and hit it.

Having raised an orphaned fawn when I was a child and living on a ranch in the middle of 40 acres, I knew that he wasn't injured, only doing as Mother Nature dictated and was "hiding from predators" by not moving and letting the spots on his coat serve as a camoflague so he would blend into the underbrush. I knew it could be a long time before he moved, and might not until his mama came back to nudge him. I decided to pick him up and move him to the edge of the ditch in hopes that he would bound off, but he didn't, he just continued to stay frozen. While I backed off, the two young teen girls from the van decided they wanted to hold him, too and get pictures on their phones. DearHusband let them finish, urging them to do it quickly, then he took the fawn away from the girls and waded across the ditch and put the fawn on the woods side of the ditch and this time, he bounded away and in a flash, we couldn't see him anymore. I am sure his mama was close by, as he had bleated for her when I first picked him up. I've watched deer before, they cross this road frequently, and I've seen the does wait in the edge of the foliage and call to the fawns to encourage them to jump the ditch.

I was a nice brush with our local wildlife that ended with an experience those girls will never forget. I won't either, as spotting our local deer is one of the things we enjoy about living out in the county!

We are going to finish the pond area today. I want to finish the rockery and get the plants back into the ground, add the new ones we purchased and get some mulch down in hopes of choking out some of the pernicious weeds. I will post pictures of the project, as soon as I have the final product ready to photograph!

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, I have enjoyed a cup of coffee while perched on a huge pile of pillows in the corner of the couch so I can can see the pond and the bird feeders. I have been enjoying the song of the goldfinches at the thistle feeder and have been thoroughly entertained by the hummingbirds chasing each other away from the feeder on the front porch next to the hanging baskets of red petunias. Time to get outside myself and get busy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

The biggest joys in my life have been the blessing of our three children.

To our children I say Thank You. You gave my life purpose and direction, and brought us both laughter and tears!

My life has truly been blessed with all I wished for.

I have experienced the deep contentment of holding my newborn babes at my breast while falling ever more deeply in love with each of you while gazing into your bright and wondering new eyes. I have experienced the wonderful ups and downs of everyday life, the exhaustion of having three kids under age 5, of seeming to never again have an unbroken night of sleep.

Then to the hustle and bustle of preschool and gymnastics, ballet, kindergarden and elementry school, choir and music concerts, grade school and middle school, plays and talent shows, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and from tball to baseball and tournament softball , and tae kwon do, high school with all it's dramas of teenage life, now college and higher education, summer jobs to full time jobs.

Now, we step back as you all step forward into life.

These past twenty two years have gone by so quickly, each phase quietly sliding into the next almost without me realizing it was happening.

Now I marvel at the responsible young adults you have each become and we continue to be blessed by witnessing your steps into adulthood, to see your lives open with possibilities before you and watch you each forge your seperate paths into life. It is an exciting time for all of you.

Again, today, I say a hearfelt prayer of thanks. I have thanked God for each of you everyday of the past and will continue to throughout the future.

To all my sisters, both those born into my life and those whose threads of life have become part of the tapestry of mine, I wish for you all the joys of motherhood and wish you all a very Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mama always said, "Pretty is as pretty does"

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. --Audrey Hepburn