Saturday, February 26, 2011

Is It Summer Yet?

I'm skipping right over spring and moving to summer. I am so done with winter. The piles of snow. Frigid temperatures. Scrambling in the mornings that school is cancelled. Boots, winter gear, dirty floors! I am good with winter...right around Christmas. After that point, I'm good. Let's move on.

I can only imagine how fantastic the hot, bright sun will be. The blooming flowers and trees. The strawberries and raspberries that keep the kids fingers and faces stained a dark red for the duration of the summer. The many failed attempts to plant corn with the pipe dream that this will be the year that it actually grows. Fresh markets, a cocktail on the patio. Running outside as early or as late as in would like. A trip to visit my Dad. A week at the beach.

Sweet keep me going.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Tonight I ran.  It was the first time in several weeks that I have been able to run and clear my mind doing it.  I've been battling a number of mental obstacles and where I once found running to be a haven, I've lately found it to be a means by which I further entrench myself in sorrow, anguish. 

It was different tonight.  I focused only on the music I was listening to.  The pace at which I was running.  The calorie counter ticking up with each stride that was being made.  It was productive, both physically and mentally. 

It was invigorating to be able to find my release again.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Supper with Grandie

Since Granddad passed away, my mother & I have made it our mission to minimize my Grandmother's (hereto referred to as Grandie) alone time.  Especially at meal time.

My Grandparents were married for 64 years.  That's a long time to "have & to hold" only to wake up one day and realize that your life partner is no longer there.  Nights are hard for her.  This was typically the time that she & Granddad would eat supper (as the older generation calls it), watch the evening news and read the newspaper.  Occasionally, an evening power-nap was in order.  At the end of their day they would retreat to the kitchen to enjoy a bedtime snack and some final conversation.  The comfort of this routine has been turned upside down.  She is now in an empty house where the only noise that is made is from the TV.  The thought of this saddens me.

The "Greats"

We have been together quite a bit over the past few months.  More so over the past few weeks.  Tomorrow marks three weeks since he slipped away.  In that time we have come to rely on each other for support.  We rely on Grandie, she relies on us.  It works.  

Of late, she comes to our home for dinner during the week and we have a meal with her at her house on the weekend.  The time in between my Mom makes sure that supper void is filled.  The kids entertain her with their high energy antics and she takes it all in.  Laughing at them, commenting on their abilities to perform such tricks.  They offer her piles of ripped blankets and stuffed animals because they know she is the one who "fixes" things.  Grandie loves this.  They need her to make these things better.  Tonight they were teaching her bowling, tennis and baseball on the Wii.  It's a great evening when she's here.  One we all look forward to.  I've learned to drink in these moments.  They don't last forever.

Perhaps the greatest comfort I find in our supper nights with Grandie is that in the midst of all of the sadness, we continue to make wonderful memories. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stay at Home Day

Ashton has declared Saturdays "Stay at Home Day."  This is his favorite day of the week.  There is Stay at Home Day, Church Day, and every other day to Ashton. 

Saturday is the day that Ashton knows he can lounge in his superhero PJ's all day.  Brush his teeth around noon.  And, he may or may not get his hair combed until bath time in the evening.  It's the one carefree day he has come to count on and look forward to. 

With all of the chaos and uncertainty that has surrounded us for a few months, Ashton's tranquil oasis of cartoons, toys & PJ's has been rocked by shuffling from one house to another and scurrying around to get things done.  He's just along for the ride.

I'm sure that life will slow down at some point and Ashton can return to his easy-come, easy-go Saturday.  In the meantime, he is learning a few things.  How we work together as a family and why.   

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who's On First?

Sidney had lacrosse practice today and she totally rocked it.  She has mastered cradling with her right hand, has greatly improved cradling with her left had, can scoop like a pro and today learned how to shoot.  Woohoo Sidney!

Sidney running drill

As she was out on there strutting her stuff, I sat on the sidelines fully prepared for another Saturday morning of lacrosse.  For a parent, this consists of sitting on the sidelines with no chairs watching the coaches herd cats.  I came armed today...I brought my iPad.  It's been too long since I had the opportunity to spend quality time with "my" birthday gift.

I got about 2 rounds of Wheel of Fortune in until I was completely distracted by what I will call a conversation that was occurring next to me.  Parents of one of the players were making their custody arrangements and discussing the outstanding child support.  Again, right next to me.  Call me crazy but it seems like there may be a better place to do that...I don't know, the hallway, a classroom, the telephone.  Certainly not next to me and in front of 25 other parents.  ...didn't seem to phase them though.  They both had their calendars out stating their cases for why Wednesday worked better than Thursday.  How the last check was late, what the amount of this check should be.  I was completely uncomfortable being in ear-shot of this conversation let alone sitting right next to it.  This went on for about 15 minutes but felt like an eternity. 

Happy that conversation came to an end, I returned to my game...for about five minutes.  The mother on the other side of me starting critiquing the organizational skills (or lack thereof) of the coach.  I smiled, nodded my head...tried to keep playing.  That didn't work out so well.  She was insistent that there was a better way to conduct this practice, a way that the younger/smaller children could be more engaged.  "Yes, I understand your point.  The bigger kids are at a different skill set than the younger ones, but they can learn from the older ones, so I get why he is pairing them together."  I suppose that my response fell on deaf ears as she continued to beat the dead horse.  I managed to end the conversation...aka:  griping session.  "Well, I certainly wouldn't be willing to give up my Saturday mornings to teach 1st through 4th graders lacrosse, so from where I am sitting, he's doing an okay job." 

The moral of the story is that I will pick my spot on the floor next Saturday after all of the parents have found their place first. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bath Time Conversation

As I was bathing Ashton this evening he looked at me and asked me a very profound question for a four year old.  "Mommy are you sad because Granddad died?"  I nearly fell off the edge of the bath tub.  I wasn't expecting that.  This little man of mine was asking me how I felt with the greatest sincerity.  His concerned eyes were locked into mine.  He was waiting for an answer.  Perhaps a reaction.  "Yes, Buddy, I'm sad because Granddad died.  I love him a lot and I miss him."  "I loved him too, Mommy."  "Ashton, he thought you were greater than the stars in the sky.  He thought you were the best!"  "I know, Momma...he loved me too."  And the tears started to flow. 

Ashton doesn't do well with tears.  He likes everyone happy all of the time.  He immediately changed the subject by wrapping up his army men in his wash cloth and handing them to me.  "Here Mommy I have a gift for you."

That conversation broke my heart for many reasons.  Because he could see my pain.  Because he misses Granddad.  Because he knows that Granddad thought he was the best thing since sliced bread.  Because he just wants his Momma to be happy.

Oh, how blessed I am to have such wonderful men in my life.   

Sidney, Ashton & Granddad: Father's Day 2010

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


In the past few weeks, there have not been many instances where I have said "I'm happy."  I haven't been, and as unfortunate as that is, it's just how it is.  Lisa's Sunshine & Lollipops could probably be perceived by some as a "bait & switch."  It's just where I am currently.  But, I have often found music to be seems I have in this case as well. 

I love music.  If I am working at my desk, I'm plugged in to Pandora.  When I am in the car, the radio is cranked.  While I am running, I drown out the sound of my breathing with my running play list on my Shuffle.  So you get it, right?  Music makes me happy!

I recently watched the Superbowl episode of Glee and found a slice of sunshine. As a true Gleek, watching the Thriller episode was incredibly satisfying.  First of all Thriller by Michael Jackson is legendary in it's own right.  It's packed with creativity that only Michael Jackson could produce.  But, the modern day Thriller as performed by the geeks from glee club truly made me happy.  How can you not smile after watching this performance?  If you haven't seen it, you should certainly check it out.  I may actually watch it again...just because I liked it so much.  (that & Singing in the Rain!)

Glee Thriller picture from

Glee Bliss!

So, I guess my blog isn't a total racket, right?  I found some sunshine with Glee.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Reality

Yesterday we entered a new reality that for the past week we knew would come.  Getting together as a family without my Granddad. 

Last night was Mexican at the Marshalls.  Moving away from the casserole dishes that we have been living on for the past week, we decided that it was time for a taco and a margarita.  At 5:30 the family gathered and by 6:00 we were filling our plates.  We all sat down at the table together to try to get back to some kind of normal.  But, it's not normal.  We were missing one very important person--Granddad.  While no one explicitly stated the oddity of gathering without him, undoubtedly, we all felt it. 

We shared some thoughts and stories.  We laughed, ate and drank. We miss him.

It's not the same.  It is, however, our new reality. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Black Hole

Over the past four weeks I feel like I have been sucked into the abyss.  I've sunk into an overwhelming feeling of sadness and pain.  I can say I have never felt like this before.

Initially it was sadness for what I anticipated was coming.  Now it is the pain of loss.  The pain that Grandie has and will endure because she's lost her life partner, her love, her best friend.  The indefinite sorrow my mother will face as she can no longer turn to her father for support, advice and companionship.  The uncertainty my children will feel as the family gathers and their Great Granddad is no long present.  My personal agony as I grieve him...what I've lost.  What we have all lost.

I have only found comfort in the presence of a few.  Mainly the family who gathered around the bedside of my Granddad and joined me in saying our goodbyes.  I suppose because we all shared a common pain.  They can relate to the anguish that was shared in that room.  I find it hard to be "normal" in my own home.  Around my own children, my husband.  I want to crawl under a pile of covers and lose myself until I can find my old self. 

This pain is real.  It's deep.  And there is no bandaid large enough to cover it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Tribute To My Granddad

We are here today to honor the memory of William “Bill” Chipps and to celebrate his life.  He was a devoted husband.  A loving father.  An exceptional Granddad.  A doting Great Granddad.  Wonderful Uncle & loyal friend.  He enjoyed ninety years of life, sixty four years of marriage to Miriam, two children, four grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.  He lived his life surrounded by those he loved and many who loved him.  

Bill enjoyed working with his hands.  He could often be found fixing something that was broken—or doing maintenance so that it wouldn’t break.  He offered his expertise to his church, his family, his friends.  There was no challenge that he met that could not be fixed.  He often went to sleep with the problem in mind, and awoke in the morning with the solution.

He always was very active and loved to woodwork, fish, golf, bowl, travel and spend time at his cabin in Piedmont.  Many friends and family members participated in friendly competition with Bill either on the golf course or at the bowling alley.  We enjoyed many trips creating life-long memories with Bill.  Be it a vacation out West in a converted camper, a jaunt to the beach where we were walked out in the ocean to where the tide breaks to catch a wave or a weekend cruising the lake and fishing in Piedmont.  These are the priceless memories that we will hold, cherish and pass down for days and years to come.  

The Chipps family reunions at Wingfoot Lake were always a highlight of the summer—for all of us.  There was a certain anticipation that came along with every year to see family who had traveled from various parts of the country come together for one day to celebrate one thing—being family.  Whether it was a ride on a paddle boat, playing a game of horseshoes, a friendly game of sand volleyball or whirling on a merry-go-round, Bill ensured that this one day was a memorable one for all who attended.  In families sometimes there is a member who acts as the "glue" that holds the family together.  He was that "glue."

Heritage was also very important to Bill.  Knowing where you came from and how that shaped where you were going was a golden nugget that he passed along to all of us.  If you were willing to sit and listen, he was amenable to share his stories, challenges, triumphs and life lessons with you.  We’ve all learned, benefited and become better people as a result of his life.  His heritage.

For those of us who were lucky enough to be a part of his family, we learned much from him.  He taught us the value of family—relying on each other, helping one another and spending time together.   The value of a hard day’s work and the necessity of rest.  The importance of faith in Christ and involvement in church.   Determination to see something through, start to finish.  Through his demonstration of unconditional love we all became closely entwined with Bill.  He was an extraordinary role model, mentor and encourager.  

 “But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
We find  peace and solace that “Bill”, “Dad”, “Granddad”, “Great Granddad”, “Uncle Bill” has become whole again and we will see him again one day in Glory.  Until then, we will miss you sorely.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

Incredible Family

I've always known how close my family was.  At least I thought I did.  Wednesday evening I learned our true strength, together as one unit.

As we stood at the bedside of my Granddad, we joined hands and we prayed.  We thanked God for giving us such a wonderful Husband, Father, Granddad and Great Granddad.  We thanked God for all of the years we had to learn from him.  We thanked God for the guidance Granddad gave us.  We thanked God for all of the love he shared with us.  We thanked God for the influence he had and for the leader of the family he was. 

We cried, we held his hands and we prayed.  We told him that we were giving him back to God so he could be whole again.  This was the hardest thing we had to do.  To let go.  To give him back.

Thursday morning he left this world for his new life in Heaven. 

We've cried.  We've held hands.  We've prayed. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Simple Things

It's been the simple things that have kept me going today.

Banter with my friends at work.  Watching Ashton try to karate chop Aaron.  Discovering a Wheel of Fortune app for the iPad.  Winning a game on Wheel of Fortune for the iPad...really annihilating my opponents on the game.  Reading Junie B. Jones with Sidney and learning more about the "big fat meanie, Jim."  Recalling the end of my conversation with Granddad on Sunday...telling him I loved him and him responding by saying, "I love you, Doll."

You've got to take the good with the bad, I suppose.  Despite all of the seriousness and sadness that has enveloped this family of late, there's simple things that keep us going.

These are a few of mine.