Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rest in Peace

For the last week or so Granola and I have been extremely stressed due to several separate events. About one week ago JBob began running a low grade fever. The next morning he woke up and had a 102 temperature. Being a Sunday we thought, no big deal Motrin and Tylenol rotated every four to six hours and if hes not better we'll take him to the doctor tomorrow. Granola then went to work and JBob spiked a serious fever. By 11 AM he hit 104 and I began the whole cool wash cloth, luke warm bath, but it wouldn't give. By 11:30 105 hit and I headed to the ER. Granola beat me there and said it was slam packed so we opted to go to the immediate care. Fourth person in line when it opened and three hours later we are told its just a virus and there is nothing they can do and we should just monitor him. We get him home, comfort him, and sure enough the fever gets back down to 102. The next morning we wake up and mermaid has the fever. As an added bonus unknown marks start appearing all over her body. The next two days pass and the marks are spreading and both kids now have them as well as fever so its back to the doctor. We are told it is some sort of staph infection, and given meds.

Right before this started I was at work, and my phone is ringing like crazy. I try not to answer my phone, but I notice it is going off like crazy and all calls are coming from Florida. Knowing something is wrong I call back and discover that a Deputy with the Sheriff's Office I used to work for had been killed while trying to bring a mentally sick person in for help. I don't know the whole story but from what I understand when he came through the door he was greeted with a shotgun to the head. He left behind a wife and two young children.

For the last week we have also realized that JBob is regressing pretty badly. We have not been able to afford all of his supplements due to financial issues, and unfortunately have had to buy what we can and hope for the best. Well missing just one of his supplements sets him back like you wouldn't believe. It's been tough to say the least, but nothing in comparison to what we were about to experience, or what the families of the ones I'm about to speak of are experiencing.

We woke up today thinking, we were getting everything back on track. I got paid so we could afford Jbob's supplements, fevers have gone away for the most part, and the staph is clearing up. JBob is still struggling, but were working back to getting him better. That's when I hear Granola's phone receive a text message. The next thing I hear is, "Oh my God." This isn't your typical Oh MY God but the kind that you immediately know something bad has really happened. I spring to attention and ask whats going on. Granola is crying instantly, and tells me that a dear friend and leader at our church was killed in a car accident. Not only was she killed, but a eleven year old boy was in the car with her and killed also. She was the children's ministry leader at our church, and the boy faithfully helped his mother out in the nursery every Sunday. Renee was an amazing woman of God and I know she is now in heaven watching over us. Bryan was also an amazing child of Christ and I rest easy knowing he too is in heaven. What hurts the most is knowing that a mother and father had to bury their kid, and a husband and her children have to bury their wife and mother. I know God has a purpose for everything but sometimes you have to ask what the purpose in this is. I am not doubting God's chosen path, but it doesn't make it easy. I remember when we first attended this church how I used to become angry at the way Renee worshipped. She was on the stage every Sunday singing praise and worship, and I used to think she over worshiped. When the song was over she used to keep praising out to God, and I used to think it was for attention. It disgust me how I used to doubt Renee's faith, and some of the thoughts I used to think about. It wasn't until recently that I finally came to grips with the fact that she truly loves God so much that she couldn't help but continue to worship when the song was over. She was never doing it for the attention, but because she felt a genuine connection with God. What used to bother me so greatly became something I longed to receive. I found myself wanting to be more like her. So connected that I didn't care what other people thought of me. So connected that I couldn't help but scream out praises for the Lord. I finally accepted who she was and what she stood for, and now God has taken her away. As we sat in the sanctuary today during special prayer time for the lost ones families I found myself staring at the place she stood every Sunday singing God's praises. I found myself longing to hear her one more time, and began to cry. God has truly received an amazing addition to his kingdom, and I know he is blessed by having her there with him. I hope that I never forget the lesson that was learned by having Renee in my life, and pray that I too will feel as connected as she was.

Please pray for Renee's entire family as she left a loving husband, mother, and wonderful children to continue her journey. Please pray for Brian's family that God will help them understand why all of this has happened. Finally please pray for the emergency personnel that attended to Renee and Brian. Speaking on personal experience I still have nightmares about my first traffic related death. I wake up in cold sweats after replaying the event in my head over and over. Pray that the emergency workers will not suffer from this and that they will not let it affect their personal lives.

Just stop and pray.

Be thankful for every moment you have with your loved ones. Cherish it. No matter how stressful we thought our last week was, we still have each other to hold on to. If for no other reason their deaths will help us stop and realize no matter how hard we think things are going, we still have each other and that we should live every moment like it may be our last together. We love and miss you both.

Rest in peace Renee and Brian. You will be greatly missed.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Think before you act

After reading granola's most recent post I felt the need to say something. For everyone out there that knee jerk reacts to every situation please stop. Stop and think the entire situation through before ripping into someone or giving them the dirty looks. This post is very much geared towards myself as well since I am just as guilty as the next person. To often I find myself reacting, usually overreacting, to a situation before I stop to think about everything that may be involved. If someone cuts me off in traffic I immediately get angry and start praying for them. (and by praying I mean screaming at them like crazy) I never stop to think that maybe this person really has an emergency. Maybe this person cut me off because their child is injured and they are on their way to the emergency room to help them. Maybe they are lost in thought because they had something tragic happen to them, and for one second they drifted away and accidentally cut me off. In these cases I should be praying for them and not overreacting. I once heard a story about a guy that had five kids and got onto a train. The man sat quietly on the train while his five kids ran around acting like kids and annoying the people on the train. After several glares and comments under peoples breath someone finally had the nerve to say something. he person told the man that he should learn to control his kids. The father simply replied that he is sorry, but he just lost his wife of several years, and the kids had lost their mother. He simply didn't know what to do, and he thinks his kids don't know what to do either. Again stop and think before giving your oh so brilliant wisdom. Would it have killed just one person on the train to just reach out and ask the man if he is ok, or to try and help calm the kids. The sad thing is it is easier for us to be confrontational than helpful. We can be rude and uncaring so much easier than compassionate and loving.

One more story then I am done for tonight. As a father of a special needs child I have grown accustomed to the glares and comments under peoples breath. When J-Bob has a melt down in a store people always have the oh so brilliant advise of, "If that was my kid I would beat him until he settled down." A. Your an idiot if you ever think that beating a child is going to calm him down. and B. My son doesn't react the way he does because he is a spoiled brat. The things we take for granted literally drive him into a melt down. If a tag on the neck portion of his shirt is not ripped off he freaks out. If a drop of water is on his clothes it has to come off. If the fabric he is wearing isn't smooth on his skin he can not wear it. If there is a semi loud noise in the background that the normal person wouldn't notice he literally shuts down. He covers his ears and stops everything until the noise goes away. His body is so overly sensitive to these things that he can not function until it is fixed. No amount of screaming, beating, or disciplining is ever going to fix that. So the next time you see my kid walking around Walmart wearing noise reducing ear phones and you laugh because you think he looks goofy, stop and think. Think about what he may be going through. Think about what the parents are going through. How many other five year olds have to take 10+ pills a day and get a shot every third day just to feel good. Granola literally researches every day in the hopes of curing J-Bob. She is up every morning no later than 7:00AM with the kids regardless of how late she was up researching. She is currently sick, but still working every chance she can in order to afford the shots and supplements that JBob requires. We are living pay check to pay check because JBob requires so much special attention that she can't afford to have a full time job. The financial stress alone is enough to push most people over the edge, but she still manages to work two separate jobs in what would be our only free time together so we can survive and Jaden can have the necessary supplements. She drives him to therapy twice a week, and attends as many groups as she can in hopes of finding one more way to help JBob. She is so sleep deprived and sick right now that it hurts my heart to see her this way, but she won't stop. She won't rest until JBob is cured. So if she happens to cut you off in traffic, or maybe isn't overly friendly to you one day, stop and think. Maybe she isn't being rude, maybe she is just overwhelmed and tired and just needs someone to say, "Is there anything I CAN DO FOR YOU?"

Like I said earlier, this message is for me just as much as it is for everyone else. I am just as guilty of overreacting as the next person. I hope and pray that I can take my own advise and stop and think before reacting. Let's all stop taking the easy road of just getting angry, and trying the difficult one of lending a helping hand.

Thanks for reading and good night.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's been a while

Ok so I know it's been a while since my last entry, but I have been pretty busy as of late. Due to managers taking vacations in my store, as well as the shortage of managers in our area, I have been working a lot of mid shifts. Mids consist of leaving at 10 am and coming home at 9 pm if I'm lucky. Last week I had six mid shifts scheduled in a row, and we happened to be busier than normal so I was working later than normal as well. So in a nutshell I wake up just early enough to see my kids for an hour or so most of which is spent getting ready for work, and coming home just in time to see them go to sleep. Not seeing my family is definitely the hardest part, and probably the most stressful part of all of this. It won't be like this much longer though so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I officially start in my new store next Thursday. This is going to prove to be a big challenge because I have been in a very well put together store for the past three months, and am walking into a well... let's just say there is work to be done. I am very used to having everything run smoothly, and honestly my biggest flaw would have to be my tendency to become very stressed out when they are not. I become a different person when things aren't going smoothly, and sadly it is not the good side of OA that comes out at this time. I tend to become snappy very quickly, and unfortunately sometimes bring it home with me. Luckily I have an amazing wife that understands me and deals with me and quickly brings me back to reality. She reminds me that work is work, and family time is family time. She helps me understand that I am not going to be able to walk into a store and fix it in the first week, and that I need to step back and wait for the right time to come. Tonight I was tested by a cook that thought he was going to see just how far he could push the new manager. I was in the transition phase of my training and in my new store for a few days. The cook decided to say some things that would have caused the old me to throw him through a wall. HE wanted to see just how far he could go before I had enough. Unfortunately for him my leash is much shorter than some of the previous managers he was used to dealing with. I first tried to calmly talk to him, but when he raised his voice at me we had a little come to Jesus meeting in the office. He left not really understanding why I was "picking on him", because apparently cursing at your manager and disrespecting him in front of the rest of the staff is not grounds for being pulled into the office. I let him blow off steam for the rest of the night, and my plan is to pull him aside the next time we work together, and explain to him that I am there to help him, just like I need him to help me. Hopefully he understands this because I would really hate to have to throw him through a wall. (just kidding)

Oh well this is probably not real interesting for most of you, but it helps me to let it go so I can concentrate on what's important to me. My wife Granola, the J-man, and my little angel mermaid. Oh and please pray for me to have the patience to deal with all of the people that feel the need to test me in the new store, and be praying for the people who want to see just how short my leash really is. (Anyone know a good repair man because there may be a few walls that need replacing after next week) I am a firm believer in the whole I will respect you just as much as you respect me policy and hopefully my employees are too. Once again thank you for reading and God bless you all.

"Nothing uncommon ever came from a common person."
Not really sure of the author of this but I heard it said this week and really liked it. It probably is not worded correctly but you get the point. Be uncommon, strive to be different, and make something happen.