Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach trip

The beach is a magical place, nobody will argue that. It's where people go to relax and unwind from the routines and stresses of daily life. The beach holds a power that allows people to mentally travel back in time to younger days, freeing them to bare a little more skin, laugh a little louder or to even pick up that karaoke microphone because "I don't know these people."

This year the beach held even more power. This year it helped bring back my little girl. She arrived on Sunday afternoon tentative. Her face was glowing with possibilities as she struck several ballerina poses before dipping her toes into the waves.

And she danced. And before I knew it she was riding the surf on a boogie board, catching that big wave that she talked about in the hospital way back when...

She held her head high to the sun, meeting the rays, eager for adventure.

And this little one that bares her soul through her angel eyes, she had a blast too. She swam and hopped and giggled, adding warmth into every person she crossed.

And the beach did something else too. It assured me that this girl below, this Katie girl, this a for real friend. This trip cemented the transition from friendly moms to trusted friends. Her kindness helped bring my girls back, and the beach helped bring me back too. I relaxed. I laughed a little louder and showcased my temporary tan. She listened with an open heart as a recounted the pain from the past two months, got it off my chest, and was then able to sing loud and dance silly. We talked about our fears of bring up these three girls...Kennedy Marie, Harper Leigh and Baylor Kate. Are we hard enough? Are we too hard? Can we protect them from everything??? Can we mold them into something better than we are?
We agreed that we are loving them with every ounce of our Mama-selves, and that was good enough. That is all any of us can do.

And by Wednesday, we had this girl back....100%. Adventure is out there!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two months ago...

Two months ago we stepped into a hospital with her blanket, my purse and a bottle of water. We had no idea that our journey home would include three different hospitals along with countless caring nurses and a handful of incredible doctors. Even more, we had no idea that our community could rally behind a family so strongly and that the online community could get people from the west coast to the east coast praying for her complete healing. To sum it all up, God is good! She is completely healed. And because of her fighting strength and the grace of God our family is even stronger.

Copy and paste the link above into a new browser page to see a glimpse of Harper's journey. You may want to grab a tissue, I'm just sayin'. Please let me know if you have problems viewing the snapshow and I'll try to send it to you directly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

and we're off!

The Cauley girls are off for the beach today! Hoo-rah!

I hope to soak up the beach like mental crack. I want to dazzle you with beautiful pictures of sun kissed babies and return home glowing golden. However, what usually happens is the kids squint because their eyes hurt from swimming and I'm glowing red around my swim suit lines, but hey....we're going to the beach! Keep your fingers crossed for evenly distributed sun rays for me and lots of fun in the sun for my girls. I feel like Harper has two months of "have a blast" stored up in her little body and I get to witness the unveil!

Happy Summer!

by the way, Harper is doing GREAT so far! No medications and we feel like our girl is back! Watch out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rescued and Freed

I've been saved by the blood of Jesus for many years. It is a word that was heavily used at junior high youth group...saved. Sometimes it seemed like they were trying to tally up how many kids got saved that night and then the responsibility would fall on the church body to follow up and disciple those kids. And sometimes people get saved from disaster, like "hiding in that closet saved our lives." Other times people are rescued or plucked out of a nasty situation. Well Monday night I was rescued!

It was the sneakiest, most brilliant of plots that was born on a Friday afternoon at the pool and was put into action Monday night at 6pm. Early Monday Nick sent me a text that read, "Be ready at 6. I have a sitter lined up." OK, my hubby is wonderful but the babysitter responsibilities usually fall on my shoulders. I immediately called to see if he had bumped his head or was delerious from being in the sun too long. He assured me that the plans were real and that we would have a good time. I couldn't believe it. I spent all day imagining where he was going to take me. Was it a romantic picnic overlooking the most scenic stretch at the golf course? Was it our usual, RAW? Was he taking me to Monroe or Shreveport for a concert that I didn't know about? The possibilities were endless.

Right after lunch I took the girls into town to pick up a few things. I was secretly thinking that I should try to find something special to wear tonight since it must be a special night since he found a sitter. I settled for a new set of colorful bangle bracelets and matching earrings that I could wear with several different items in my closet. We got home and I insisted that the girls nap so they wouldn't be cranky for the sitter and I even tried to get a power nap in so I wouldn't be tired if we were out past 8. I know, I'm old. Don't laugh because half of you are the same way. I added an extra rim of liner around my eyes to give me an edgy look, tousled my wavy hair and even wore my lacy drawers because my man found a sitter and planned a date. Oh yeah! (I'm saying that in my head with the voice of Vector from Despicable Me...Piranha Gun, oh yeah!)

As I was touching up my face I noticed that he wasn't completely dressed yet. He said, "I'm waiting for you to get done in the bathroom, then I'll get ready." When I noticed that the sitter wasn't there, he said, "Oh, she is running a little late." And when I heard heels clicking on the hardwood and five of my greatest friends, decked out to the nines, yelled, "Surpriiiiiiseeeee," he just grinned in the background.

I stood still, mouth agape, and soaked in the love and concern that these girls had for me to plan such a special night. Between the six of us there are sixteen children and one on the way that had to be accounted for. I guess more than one dad was in on the surprise. I kindly accepted the Styrofoam cup that was plunged into my hand, smiled back at Nick, peeled a screaming Harper off of my leg, and shut the front door to head out for a much needed estrogen filled night!

The details of our night aren't the important part of the story. The important part is the love. These girls, along with several other extremely important ones in a different state, went through this journey with me. They were texting and blog-stalking fools from April 19 when we entered North Louisiana Medical Center to May 26 when we finally came home, even up to yesterday when we journeyed back to Little Rock to have the doctor say, "She looks good! Let's take the pick line out so she can be free." These girls have been through it all with me.

Girlfriends can be a tricky business. My best childhood friends live in Texas along with several college teammates. The first ones I call usually have a 903 area code. Moving here after Harper was born meant reestablishing myself in an existing network of women. Sometimes the boundaries are evident and other times they are invisible. Like, you will only get so far here but you can still try. I have prayed about friends and even bawled my eyes out at community group advertising myself as a good friend if anyone was interested. I guess I had some takers. And while I still have a handful of women that I consider "sisters" that weren't able to make it on Monday, I know you love me too and I am ever so grateful and aware of that.

I guess what I am really trying to say is Thank You. You girls planned a night for me that I wouldn't have organized for myself in reality, only in theory. I've already said, "You know, I should get all my girls together for a night out," knowing that I wouldn't plan that for myself. But you all did. You rescued me. And I am grateful.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just so much to talk about...

June entered my life with no grandeur or excitement. The excitement in my life stems from waking up in my bed, at my home, with my healthy children close by. That is my joy. I've made no June promises or summer plans because I am working on NOT making plans. This summer I haven't worked out like I normally do, waking up at 5am to torture myself in my "I used to be a college athlete, I can handle this" mentality. Nope, none of that. Lately I've been cutting myself some slack with hopes of relieving myself from some of my unrealistic, superwoman expectations. I swing back and forth between guilt and acceptance. I am sure my pendulum will continue to swing until I can no longer fit in my summer shorts, and then I'll spend a little more time "doing", but right now I am working on just "being."

During the smoldering, Southern, summer months Nick is long gone by the time my eyes see daylight. Actually, this morning he was four hours into work when I woke at 7am. We treasure the hours in the late evening when he gets home, arms and face tanned by the fierce sun, when we eat, play, and cuddle accordingly.

So far June has been fever free, PRAISE JESUS, and we spent all last week preparing for Harper's first dance recital. Sister girl missed the last month and a half of practice but you wouldn't know it on the big stage. She rocked it! She sashayed out onto the stage with her pick line dangling, just bouncing for all the world to see and she didn't care one bit. Her bright blue eyes never looked at the device on her arm that reminds her of the past few months. No, her eyes were sparkling and studied the teacher in the pit that reminded the class of their moves. Proud just doesn't cut it. I wanted to break Missy Crain's professional theater rule about "not calling out names" because I wanted my girl to know that I saw her! I wanted the theater to stand and shout with me, lungs rejoicing at the miracle of her life! I wanted hands to rise and lips to sound out, "Amen." But I didn't break her rule. Instead I choked back my proud Mama tears and clapped until my hands stung, sitting forward in my seat so she might see me.

Cousin Cash & Harper the amazing Bubble

I have spent a little time each day tending to my quaint garden. "How does your garden grow?" you might ask. Quite nicely, thank you. I ate this yummy mixture over toasted Pine Nut Couscous....delicioso! More about my garden tomorrow.

Ok, one last thing. I am so uber-proud of my niece, Grace Wilbanks. Please watch her video and give her a thumbs up if you like what you see. She is only 13 or I'd be standing in line with her at the Idol auditions in Houston this summer. I am impressed by her voice, but I am most proud of the poised, caring, compassionate young woman she has become.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Light

***********Pics from Tea Party - pre-hospital visit #2 **********

Right now the soft orange glow peeping over my neighbor's roof is spilling into my living room creating a glorious golden view all around me. Sometimes this room can look like a dull yellow, but right now it is a rich gold, Restrained Gold by Sherwin Williams to be exact. The orange and turquoise accents on my throw pillows look especially good in this light compared to harsh, mid-day brightness. Light changes the way you see things.This is even more true with the LIGHT, our Almighty Father.

During our first hospital stay two sweet friends brought me a copy of "Jesus Calling," by Sarah Young. It is a pocket size devotional focused on "Enjoying Peace in His Presence." I've been reading this book and the wonderful truth on each page affirms that Jesus is waiting. He is waiting for me, for you, for all of humanity with arms spread wide like a parent eager to greet his child. He wants to be with us, spend time with us, dwell in us. Spending time in the Light each morning changes the way I look at things. It shifts my focus from worldly concerns to more serious matters. Now let's be real, of course I look in the mirror and complain that my legs used to be three inches longer before my rear became such close friends with my thighs. I long for Aniston hair and Jolie lips, or at least some lips. I want my home to look like a Pottery Barn catalog and my yard to earn accolades from Garden Club. But I don't set my heart on these things. My being is not made up by the texture of my hair, size of my features or aesthetics of my home. Those are minor details, mere grains of sand under his holy feet waiting to be swept off and forgotten.

My time to dwell in the Light works best first thing in the morning before the girls wake up. No sounds other than the occasional hum of a truck or clicking of Nash's nails on the hardwood floor. The amount of physical light changes with the seasons. During the school year I read the Word in a quiet, dark kitchen gripping a coffee mug. Sometimes I am sweaty from a work out and sometimes, like today, I am still in my tank top and sleeping pants. But summer allows me the privilege of watching the sunrise over the pine tops, still in my pjs, no rush. Light is currently spilling across my face at precisely 8 o'clock. I can see the glowing tips of my new bangs and dust fairies dancing around the table that props up my long feet. I don't have to do anything, just dwell.

PS- TAMSEN...Thank you sooooo much for the care package that did arrive in Little Rock! Harper and I were blown away! Please send me your address!