Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dear Ellie..

This week Ellie is star of the week. She has been looking forward to this all week! We were able to write a special letter to our littlest and I thought since it did a pretty good recap of my baby at five and a half that I would make it a post. Because God knows I will lose the hard copy:)

Dear Ellie,
HAPPY STAR OF THE WEEK! We know you’ve been looking forward to having this special week all year!  Daddy and I wanted to share some things that we think make you special and unique and why we are so glad God blessed us with you! I know that you love to hear the story of how we came up with your name so I thought I would let you share it with your class! When Ellie was born we thought we were going to name her Emma Jane Simpson. The whole time she was growing in her mom’s belly we called her baby Emma. But, when she arrived she just didn’t look like an Emma or a Molly, our second choice name for a little girl.  It took her mommy and daddy two whole days to come up with her name, Elizabeth Jane.  Ellie is named after her grandma Betsy and her grandma Barb.
Ellie, there are so many things that make you special. You have the most creative imagination. You love to pretend that you are a teenager or a mommy or a teacher. You can play for hours and hours with common household items that most five year olds would never consider playing with. You are a good friend. You are considerate and you always remember details about what your friends like and hate to hurt anyone’s feelings.  You love your stuffed animals and only Daddy can do your special tuck ins at bedtime with your “zooms” with your special lovies turtle, twigs and spikey. You love to eat and will usually try any food. Your favorites are hot dogs and you are an asparagus nut! I think you would eat asparagus for every meal if we gave it to you!  You crack us up at the things you say to us. Your active imagination also means you “speak your mind” and “tell it like you see it.” You are usually a good sibling. Sometimes you fight with your sister but you also have lots of times when you spend hours and hours playing nicely together. You adore Matthew and he’s a good sport about letting you tag along! You are a big daddy’s girl and you get very sad if Daddy leaves before you wake up in the morning. You love to snuggle both mommy and daddy! We are so proud of how hard you have worked this year at school. Some of what you’ve been taught has been hard for you, like reading. You’ve worked hard to do your best and Ms. Rantz says she seen a lot of growth in you too this year! We know that you will do awesome in first grade!  We love you so much Ellie Jane Simpson. Daddy and I say all the time that we can’t imagine our family without your spunk, your sass and your sweet spirit.
Love, Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


During this past week I have heard a friend talk about her recovery from a brain stem stroke and another lost her husband to ALS. Suffering is all around me. But, so too is real examples of faith and perseverance and living your life with the hope that you are investing in something real. Hope that this world full of suffering and loss and sin is all too temporary.  Last weekend I heard my friend, who had a brain stem stroke, husband ask us what we were investing in? What do we spend our days and hours here on Earth doing? He made the point and I whole heartedly agree, that when you are faced with a crisis you will quickly learn exactly what you have invested in. Am I investing in things that are worthy? I have talked here before that in many ways, yes.  I don't feel like I am messing up 100% of my life. But, when it comes to investing in my relationship with Christ? No. I always throw it to the back burner. More over, during the past year, I dare say I have blatantly turned my back on my faith in many ways. I tried to justify it by blaming church and  the hypocrisy that I saw, but really it was my own sin that I was desperate to run from. Investing in crap, that's what I have been doing.
I was talking to a co-worker this week about how I got into medical social work. I said, honestly, fear. I am terrified of many of the things I help people deal with everyday. I think part of me thinks if I immerse myself in death, dying and suffering, it will never touch me. The irony of this is that I have seen both in my work as an ER social worker and certainly as a palliative care MSW that life guarantees you nothing other than that you will DIE. If a crisis hit me today I know the return on my investment with my friendships would see me through some of it. I am a good friend, for the most part (and humble too?!) But, my faith would be rattled. I simply do not have a strong enough foundation these days to sustain me through any real struggles. As I read this over I would like to go back to all of my posts over the past ten years that have related to this topic. How many have I written? Maybe a dozen!? Seriously. I have no great way to end this post. I refuse to write, once again, I am on the right path, etc, etc, If I am being honest, I am desperate for God these days and that makes me hunger for things that are worthy like reading the Bible, having quiet times, investing in things of substance. But, if I am being honest, it could all go to shit tomorrow. I am still so very real and human and sinful. Thank goodness I believe in a God that defeated sin and death and the REALNESS of this fallen world for me. Thankful and trying.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Dear Matthew at age 10

Dear Matthew,
You are ten years old! Ten! I still remember when we saw that tiny,miraculous heartbeat that beat all the odds at five weeks.  You grew into our first born son, rambunctious toddler, challenging preschooler and have now become a mostly joyous school aged kid! I sometimes have to take a moment and truly think about all the things that "could have" happened when it comes to you. Not only were we told that you weren't a viable pregnancy, but your delivery was anything but smooth! I am grateful that I was not a medical social worker at the time or I would have freaked out even more than I did. We are lucky your cerebral palsy is mild. In fact many people don't even know that you have it! I know when you are playing sports that you are starting to realize where the cerebral palsy causes you to struggle some. But, I love that you have fun out there, doing whatever it is, hockey, baseball or football. You love sports and you love being on a team. You want to be the best you can be and son, that determination and drive will serve you well in so many ways other than how well you can play any sport!
You are a nice boy. That is a simple statement but really it encompasses so much more. You are thoughtful and  considerate. You can move easily through different groups of kids. I hope you always stay true to who you are. I often think of some advice Papa Lenny gave Uncle Mike,  "If you hang around garbage, you start to stink." Remember this as you decide who you want to hang out with. You have picked some awesome buddies so far. Take it from your dear old mom, your friends will help to make or break you in life. Choose wisely. You have a great conscience, follow that, it will never lead you astray.
I love how much you love your dad. You are so lucky to have such an awesome role model. I love that you have been able to ask dad and me questions about what you should do or when things don't quite feel right. You can always come to us. You know that we value honesty and integrity above all. We know that you are just a kid and you will mess up. Let us continue to help you figure out ways to help you navigate the messy parts of life.
You are not a huge fan of school but you are a good student. You seem to love reading and social studies and can take or leave math! You don't like to do homework and if that's one area where we get into yelling matches, homework is one! Life can't always be fun and games and you are learning sometimes that isn't very fun!
Happy Birthday sweet boy! Daddy and I love you more than I could ever write about. We can't wait to see what the next decade brings for you!
Love, Mom