Friday, May 30, 2008

I Feel Like I'm Shrinking!

Can you even find me in these pictures? The first one was taken with Todd in 2004, when we visited my brother, Dave.

But this one was taken in March, 2008, when we went to visit Dave.

I was amazed when we received this photo in the mail today. Our children are beginning to tower over me! Everyone is growing so fast. It's still hard for me to believe that Todd is no longer here with us. I know that sounds crazy, but when I look at these children every day, watching them grow up before my eyes, it seems Todd is simply in the other room. We often talked about "When the kids got older..." and now it's happening. Now that the kids are older: there won't be any dinner dates out alone, there won't be any weekends at the shore for just the two of us, there won't be any spontaneous vacations, and no long walks together in the park, holding hands instead of pushing strollers and/or pulling wagons.

As the children grow taller and I shrink in their shadows, I am feeling more and more alone. I am so thankful for God's promises:

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" (II Cor. 4:8-9).

"...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5b)

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tasting Memories?

Is that even possible? Over the last few days I think I've actually been tasting memories!

Todd and I both loved the shore and the boardwalk. I've only taken the children twice since he died. I miss it, but it's hard going when he's not going with us. We got engaged there. We spent many, many family vacations there. Anyway, we always made sure we had fudge and caramel popcorn for the drive home. Of course most times these items barely made it to the van, and rarely made it all the way home. We tried to prolong our time spent at the shore and boardwalk as long as possible by eating popcorn and fudge all the way home!

Well, thanks to my niece who brought some back after her visit to the shore this weekend, we once again were enjoying the famous Johnson's Popcorn and fudge from the famous Fudge Kitchen. YUM!!

Today I was brought chocolate from the Wilbur's Chocolate Factory. Todd used to bring me home some of their chocolate when he delivered there. YUM again! We would hide this precious chocolate from the children, so they had no idea what it was when my friend brought some to us today. (yes, I did share with the children, but I didn't want to!!) The taste was divine.

While eating those yummy treats, there came a lot of memories. I could hear Todd's laugh again. I could see his smile. I could taste his kisses after we shared that special chocolate we hid from the kids.... ahhhhh, the taste of memories!

As usual when these good memories come, I thank God for Todd and for all those precious times we shared.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day

There are so many memories. Todd always made sure we remembered the fallen soldiers over this weekend. He would take the children to the graves of relatives who were veterans, and some who were KIA, with flags to decorate. We would talk about the soldiers. We would pray for them.

Before I began this blog, I came across a blog that has touched my heart and for which I am so grateful for. I love going there. This Memorial Day weekend, I would encourage you to make a visit there.

You will read of a man of God, Sgt. James J. Holtom, who gave his life for this country.

You will read (and be blessed) of his loved one....the one he was planning on spending the rest of his life with. She is strong. She is courageous. She is faithful to God. Please be blessed by reading of this young lady who loved a soldier.
This Memorial Day weekend I will be praying for Sgt. Holtom's family, and for Mel and her family and remember the fallen. Thank you, God, for Jim and for all of our fallen soldiers. Thank you, God, for the United States of America and the freedoms we enjoy here.

Remember this song, 3rd verse, and common chorus?

"O Beautiful, for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"
--Samuel A. Ward

Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Precious Toby Faith

This morning I learned that people actually enjoy coming here to read about "Tales of Six Kids." That amazes me. But as I was contemplating on yesterday's events, I was reminded that my sister-in-law informed me that people like reading of what's going on here with the six kids. Amazing. Sooooooo...

The Tobster had another major procedure scheduled for yesterday at the dentist. This poor child has had the unfortunate displeasure of many dental problems in her short 4 years. We don't really know what the underlying cause is (could it be the many lollipops given to her?), but she has endured numerous painful toothaches. Yesterday she had to get another cap on one of her baby molars. They had to give her that gas again, and she does not like "that yucky smelly stuff."

As difficult as these kinds of things are for me to deal with, especially without Todd's help, Toby did very well. She cried, she complained, but she was cooperative and brave. Dr. Robin said she did a wonderful job in sitting still and obeying. yay, Toby!! They wouldn't let me go back there with her (I wonder why? ....I cry more than Toby does!), but reports from Dr. Robin and the nurses were all positive. She's a trooper.

On our way to the appointment, I told Toby that if she tried to be real brave with Dr. Robin, then I would take her to get her friend a birthday present at Toys R Us. This thrilled her, as she loves both her friend and Toys R Us! However, in the waiting room she came over to me, crawled in my lap, and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, can I cry?" I just about lost it.

She's so precious. So when we went to Toys R Us, we didn't just buy a birthday present for her friend. I couldn't resist a new stuffed animal that she clung to while looking for a gift for her friend! She fell asleep hugging "Spots"...had to get a picture of that!

I often wondered why God would have allowed us this precious one, knowing Todd would only be here for her first 18 months of life. I think I'm beginning to see why....Toby Faith has been our precious gift and countless source of smiles and laughter. She, as with all the children, are a continuous reminder to me of Todd and his love for me and for his famiily.

Thank you, God, for our precious Toby Faith!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Another difficult day, yet filled with love and a peace that passes all understanding. Mother's Day was another day for Todd to show me how much he loved me, as he would be sure to make this day special and remind the kids to thank God for their wonderful Mom. I always felt loved and appreciated....Todd made sure of that.

Three years ago on this date we buried my husband. The memories of that day are blurred, yet some things stand out clearly....the casket, the limo ride, putting flowers on the casket and watching some fall into that dark hole, holding Winter as she shook with tears and sadness as we stood beside the casket, and the van breaking down on our way home.

Today, with all it's memories of this date and all it's memories of past Mother's Days, I surprisingly and gratefully, felt that love again. Many, many thanks to great friends (thanks Brent and Amy!), the kids were given money to take me out to dinner. The boys did a great job of handling the bill and tip with the money given to them, and the older ones took good care of the younger ones in order to make the dinner extra special. The children were sincerely thankful to God for me. They expressed their love so geniunely and thoughtfully. I was blessed.

When we got home, they presented me with a special "card." They told me how they had been hiding it from me all week. They had been secretly gathering pictures and designing and creating a collage of all the things I like, love, and hold dear to my heart. I cried. It was a special gift indeed. I had to scan it to share on my blog.

I am so thankful for the love from my friends, children, Todd, and God today. The added blessing from God of that peace has been my stronghold when the sadness seemed overwhelming. God is so good.

Here's my special gift, with every picture and word portraying something that means a lot to me (yes, I once was in love with Harrison Ford...I'll admit it): (they had planned to have Todd's picture bigger than Hans...honest!)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Comic Relief

It's so nice to be able to laugh in the midst of heartache. It was good to laugh last night....I mean really laugh, until the tears came and catching your breath was difficult!

My parents live in the Florida Keys, but they stay with us for two or three months during the hurricane season. They have a room here that we leave untouched. We had friends over last night who have been threatening to "clean" that room so that we can use it while they are gone. This made me nervous, to say the least. Anyway, last night my friend took the plunge and spent two hours "cleaning" my parents room. Two hours and two big trash bags later (please don't tell them), and we still can't see a difference. ugh.

Anyway, for as long as I can remember my Mom has tried her best to "dress" my Dad properly....laying out matching clothes, buying nice things for him to wear...BUT he seems to find things to wear to get a reaction from her. Often when they are staying with us we can hear, "Paul! Where did you find that? Take it off and put on what I set out for you to wear!" It's comical in itself.

Last night Loretta uncovered an interesting "find." A thin, pale yellow, old pair of shorts that my Mom has been hiding from my Dad for years. She was not good at this, because my Dad would always find them and try to wear them in public. I realized, that until last night, I hadn't seen those shorts in years. My Mom succeeded! As Loretta held them up, we all yelled, "Hey, Granddad's shorts! He was looking for them!" sorry, Mom, for uncovering them again, but don't worry....Dad will never find them or wear them again (you can thank Loretta). poor Dad.

I love my parents. They're the best. I'm thanking God today for them and for laughter. They're both good.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3 Years

These last 3 years have clearly been the 3 most difficult years of my life. However, I have learned some important lessons that I will never forget, and that I will always cherish.

Lesson #1: God is a good God. He never changes. He's the same good God that brought Todd into my life, gave us 17 wonderful years together, and the same God that Todd is enjoying and praising even now, face to face.

Lesson #2: God is a faithful God. He keeps his promises. Even when my emotions cloud the feeling of His promises, He has never left us, He loves us and only wants the best for us, and He has always provided for our every need.

Lesson #3: A thankful heart to a good and faithful God, brings a peace and contentment no matter what my circumstances. I am so thankful for Todd. He helped me to grow in so many areas in my life. He made me the person I am today, and I am praising God for Todd and how He used him in my life. This is worth re-posting (at least worth it to me!):

Todd Jeffrey Radle
December 25, 1960 - May 6, 2005
Missing you...still crazy in love with you!