Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Letters...

Anyone whose been reading here for any length of time may remember the post I wrote about Christmas letters and my family finding an imaginary one back when I was in high school! Well, I still love a good Christmas letter! But this year it just isn't happening. Plus with blogs, Facebook and just generally knowing too much about everyone we know  this information  isn't really news anyways. For those recipients on my Christmas list who don't have access to the social media out there, I may actually  keep it old school and  hand write a note to them. Can you even imagine?

Merry Christmas from the Simpson Family! Another year seems to have flown by! We’ve all been keeping busy with our various activities. Matthew is seven and in first grade. He is a good student but it has been an adjustment for him being in school all day. He can’t imagine twelve more years of thisJ We haven’t mentioned this doesn’t include college. Matthew is playing hockey and loves it! He is all boy and loves to play street hockey with the neighbors! Caroline is six and in kindergarten. She is also a good student but Caroline is our chatty girl. We’re working on talking when appropriate and using our best listening ears. Caroline is a talented artist and when she is home she can be found coloring or creating some kind of crafty masterpiece. She played soccer this fall and loved it. Caroline was in her first dance recital last year and is doing tap/ballet combo class this year. Miss Ellie is three and our little firecracker. She certainly keeps us on our toes being busy and sometimes a little bit naughtyJ Ellie is in a special preschool for children with speech delays four mornings a week. She is doing wonderfully and her speech and language skills have greatly increased since September. Ellie also goes to daycare three days a week and has lots of friends. Susan is in the homestretch of her graduate Masters of Social work program at Western Michigan University. This year her internship is at the Child Trauma Assessment Center. She assesses children who are in the foster care system who are struggling with various issues including fetal alcohol syndrome. It has been a challenging internship but she is learning so much. Susan graduates in April, one day after Jeff and Susan’s ten year wedding anniversary. It is big Spring for the Simpson’s! She is eager to complete her schooling and Jeff is eager for her to get a job J Speaking of Jeff, he continues to work at Borgess Medical Center. He continues to coach the kid’s sports teams as well. The Simpson family wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Friday, November 16, 2012

To be thankful

This year for Thanksgiving I will be thankful that I don't have breast cancer. In the last few months I have gone through the horrible process of trying to figure out whether or not I had breast cancer. Incredibly long story short, it all began with a mammogram and several mammorgrams/ultrasounds, doctors appointments and finally a biopsy. I got the call today that there are no cancer cells present in the suspicious area. 1. Praise God and 2. Good gravy what a ride it has been. I never would have thought it would take so long to find out if you have a life threatening illness. I guess I always thought it would be abrupt and horrific and maybe it is when you really do have cancer.
The upside to all this time was it gave me time to think about what being diagnosed with breast cancer would look like for me and my family. I think it would look somewhat scary and definitely inconvienient. But no one really can pick a time when a cancer diagnosis would be convenient. I know I would be supported. I know the community in which we live and do this thing called life would rally around me and my family. This knowledge has provided me much solace in these last few weeks. I have a few friends who have endured the harsh realities of facing breast cancer themselves. I am so grateful that I was able to email them or call them with the millions of questions that would go through my head at any given time.
I feel like I have dodged a bullet. I feel like I always dodge bullets. Sometimes I wonder what that's all about? I know some people who seem to take more bullets than is fair in a lifetime of living. Instead of dwelling in that guilt, I choose instead to celebrate my clean breast bill of health with a grateful heart. To live each healthy day I have to the fullest. Whether that means to put down the donut and get my butt outside for a walk, hug on my little lovies, give 110% to the children I am privledged to serve at my internship that have suffered so much and yet are trying to survive, I will be thankful for the health I have. I have realized in these past months how very easily we take our health for granted. I promise to honor my health more in these final months of 2012 and to embrace it with gusto in 2013! Here is my annual Thankful list 2012
10. Ellie's sweet little voice, especially when she says, "Me big now!"
9. t/v shows, because sometimes looking forward to a mindless hour of t/v gets you through the day
8. Coffee
7. A home that provides us shelter and a place to create memories
6. My MSW friends, I have made some wonderful friends in the program and am grateful for the influence they have had in my life.
5. Sweet Caroline. Her spunk and sass keeps me honest and praying!
4. Matthew. He is becoming quite the young man and I love having a son.
3. Jeff, I could not do life without him
2. Friends. Lifelong, new, and somewhere in the middle. They get you through it all and make it more fun!
1. Jesus. Because His grace and strength can help me conquer anything, even cancer.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Monday, November 05, 2012


I have been thinking a lot lately about the kind of legacy I am leaving my children. Maybe it has to do with recollecting all my Grandma Satterfield taught me, maybe it is my internship at the Children's trauma assessment center, maybe it is my course work for my MSW program, who knows? What has weighed heavy on my soul is how your legacy can be for good or for very bad. I think of people I have known throughout the years, who have been taught through their family's example, how to be very destructive and evil. Thankfully, I have also known families whose legacy it has been to be loving, giving and faithful. I have read things lately around the blogesphere that have shown how sometimes people don't even know they are living an unrighteous legacy. They truly believe they are loving God and others but their actions and words exhibit such a different reality. It struck me how once a "bad" legacy gets started, the people involved in it seem to draw others into their lives that value and act in similar ways, thereby spreading the ugliness.
I am not perfect. I fall short in nearly every way possible. I like to think that I am pretty aware of my shortcomings however. I pray that I am always able to check myself and my motives. I pray that my friends and family continue to do this as well. I don't ever want to live a life that doesn't reflect a heart that is right.
I pray that my children are able to see me for my attributes but also for my faults. I hope they believe me when I apologize and see me honestly attempting to make it right.  That they see me living differently. One of the most valuable gifts my MSW program has given me is the ability to see myself in new and different ways. Sometimes this has been great. I see where I am strong, where I have worked through some of the ugliness that is in me. Other times I realize that I am always a work in progress. I am a very raw material. I pray that I never get too cocky or complacent about my shortcomings.  I  want to continue striving to be the best me person I can be. I want to lead by example to all I am blessed to be in family, community and relationship with.