Happy Birthday Dear Friend

Her name was Judy Frank. She would have been 70 years old today. She was taken much too soon from this earth in 1994, just a few months shy of her 48th birthday. She was my first grade teacher who I loved with all of my heart, and not just in 1st grade either. She held a place in my heart as I grew up through elementary school, into junior high and then into high school. I sat with her at high school football games when her son Kelly played on the team. I went back to visit her after I left elementary school, and called her on the phone, and sent her cards and letters and even made her one of my most intricate detailed cross-stitch pictures for Christmas in 1991.

I was a 19 year-old freshman in college when she passed. I had never before that time been dealt the blow of losing someone so dear to me. Sure, my grandfathers had passed by then, and they were dear because they were my grandfathers, but I was only 5 and 7 and life was still too much about me to realize the severity of their passing. But Mrs. Frank (the name I will always give to her) was the first time I ever realized how cruel the reality of mortality could be. She was someone I trusted very deeply and looked to for much guidance in my life. It’s hard to admit in writing that I looked to someone else for my guidance growing up, and not to the people who raised me. Childhood baggage.

After her passing, I learned what my parents truly meant to me. I often wonder if God took her from my life to help me see that the woman he placed on this earth as my mother was someone who really did love me more than she knew how to say. It took my growing up, and becoming a mother myself, to see the depth of love my own mother had, has and always will have for me – putting all childhood baggage behind me.

So happy birthday, Judy Frank. I could never express when I was a kid what you meant to me. You may have known by all the countless phone calls, letters and cards, but I never knew how to say why you meant so much. I think at the age of 41 I’m still trying to put into words. Thank you for who you were in my life. I look forward to our reunion one day when I see your face again when we see Jesus. Much love to you, friend.

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Sailing With No Wind

About 10 years ago, I played soccer with a girl who said that a guy she worked with asked if she knew anyone who would want to play softball. I was totally up for it, and it was in May of 2005 that I walked onto a field to play ball with complete strangers, not knowing at all that these people would end up becoming some of the dearest friends in my life. It was that day that I met Ron Olah. A good guy. He played short stop. I got to eventually play opposite him at 2nd base. He would eventually one day call me “sis.”

I was invited to central teaching several weeks in a row, and I finally gave in and said I would attend. My first Sunday there I sat with the home church folks, and then sat with Ron and Sue on the deck out back, ate dinner from the grill, and we talked until the sun set. I remember that first Sunday as if it were yesterday. To this day, grill season at Xenos holds a dear place in my heart.

That summer, Ron and Sue even came to a soccer game and watched my team that sucked. But they were there, and they were kind. They were reaching out to me, and I think back and remember how thoughtful I thought they were.

I was invited several times to home church. It took until December of that year for me to decide I wanted to be vulnerable enough to attend home church. It was at their house. What a welcoming place. To this day, I love going back for home church at their house. I was there with Mathilda this past March. Home church at the Olah home will never be the same. It will still be so welcoming, but a hug from my brother when I walk through that door will forever be missed.

Ron was a good man. He loved Jesus with all of his heart and he tried to reach out to people in order to grow the Kingdom of God. He will be missed. I am more than thankful that I was given the privilege to be his friend, his softball teammate, a part of his home church, and a sister in the Body of Christ.

Ron, the news of your very unexpected passing today took my breath away, and completely removed the wind from my sails. Ron, I will miss you terribly. I already do.

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Unsettled Limbo

Feeling unsettled. Feeling like I’m floating
in limbo without an answer.
Wanna leave the current place of residence
and live somewhere quieter
somewhere peaceful.

Finding it hard to focus on the
current day just wanting to look to the
future and be there right now.

But I must live each day
one day at a time
in order to experience each one
for all that it’s worth.

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Two words – Bernie Sanders

I can’t really put my feelings or thoughts into words, but I will do the best I can to put them on this proverbial paper.

Bernie Sanders. There’s something in my gut that tells me he’s the real thing. I can’t explain it, but there’s something about what he stands for that really makes me want to stand by him. He’s tired of the rich getting richer. He wants good things for education. He’s worried about the future of our environment (look at Vermont for Pete’s sake – beautiful). He’s a politician that seems to care about the “little people.” I want to do something for his campaign, but I freak out when it comes to knowing how to voice my opinion. I’ve never been good at voicing my opinion in politics. I can’t even voice it here on the computer where there is no one to argue with me. But I want to do something for his campaign. I want to do what Donna did for Josh on the West Wing. I want to walk into a campaign office and start answering the phone and just work for his campaign. I believe in the guy. I even contributed money to his campaign; that’s something I have never done in my whole voting life. Sure, I know the House can get in his way from doing what he really wants to do if/when he’s in office (that’s the reality of our system), but at least he really wants to try. There’s something so “granola” and natural about the guy compared to the rest of the crew that’s running the race.

I want to try to spread the word, but I’m not sure how to without getting into debate with people. People have to know about this guy. I attempted a post on Facebook this morning to at least put Bernie’s name out there. I know that many people from my past may completely disagree with me, and that makes me sad. This guy is so worth reading about and actually giving him a chance, but they’ll chalk it up to him being a democrat, and that will be the blinders they put into place and never give him a second thought. Come on, people! What about standing beside a guy who actually might stand for you? Someone who stands for someone other than himself.

So, those are my two cents for now.

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My Oasis

Driving through Vermont today for a day trip. My heart is happy. We passed the Welcome to Vermont sign and I found myself taking a deep breath and melting into the atmosphere that has become dear to my heart. The quiet, the green, the kind social people who live up here and work the land that they call home; all of that is something that I desire for my life someday.

We’ll hit a few key stops today that bring me joy. Traveling with Dan and Meg today. It’s fun to be able to share my oasis joy with them.

#happyheart #freshair #dreamyoasis

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Shall We Look Back?

It’s New Year’s Eve. I always love looking back at the year on New Year’s Eve. My sister and I have loved this sentimentality for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories with her was watching some made for TV Liberace movie and the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” struck some chords in our souls and we have since loved that song and loved that memory. Jainie, I love you.

I look back at 2014 with a mix of fond memories as well as heart ache for the lost people in my life.

First, my parents celebrated 50 amazing years of marriage. The toasts that they deserve for 50 years are beyond count. Here’s to many more years, you sweet people.

I went to Italy. It was a life long dream that came true as I trekked over the ocean with some dear friends from grad school. It was an experience that I can never put into words, but I know that it changed my life on many levels.

I turned 40. I love milestones. Looking at my 30s had me in awe. David and I moved to New York City (the untouchable city that this little girl from Indiana never dreamed of visiting let alone living in). I had a baby who changed my life beyond words and taught me more about myself, love and grace in 3 little years than I think I had ever learned in the 37 years prior to her birth. Forty was huge for me. The days leading up to my birthday had me in a weird place thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m getting older. Stop world. Please slow down for one minute.” And then the day arrived and I said, “Come on world, bring it.” And I’ve been feeling the “bring it” attitude since. Forty has been good thus far.

Lost some dear souls this year. Peggy Keeton, the memories I have of you in my life go way back to junior high days. You have always held a very dear place in my heart. Maudine Fee, although I only knew you for a few short years, I feel as though I had known you for a lifetime. You both are whole in the presence of Jesus. I miss you both and I love you dearly.

Got to see Carol Burnett live on stage. For those of you who have known me for several years in my life know that this was something that made me giddy with glee like a kid in a candy shop. Words could not describe the joy that was felt as I sat in the same room with this person.

November marked 20 years that David and I have been together and December marked 18 years of marriage. Where did that time go? Grand Rapids, Columbus, New York City… what’s next I wonder?

Looking ahead to 2015.

I’ll graduate from grad school this year. Wow! That has been a journey. Although there have been times I thought I would lose my mind through the whole experience, I found myself telling people that I was actually having fun and having the time of my life. And it’s true. I love grad school. Looking forward to the doors that may open because of it.

As I look back to when I was a kid and all the grown ups saying “time goes faster the older you get,” I feel as though they were right. It’s flying by and flying fast. Not sure how to hold onto it sometimes. I guess live one day at a time and treasure each day for all that it’s worth. God is good. In the midst of the crazy, the sad, the adventure, the challenge, the amazing and the fun… God is very good. His sustaining grace moves me beyond words. And with that I’ll end my thoughts for this past year and move onto the next.

Happy New Year!

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Feeling Empowered

I have a professor who makes me feel as though I can conquer my greatest fears. She’s an advocate for her students. She listens to some of my craziest ideas, unfinished sentences and feelings of inadequacy. She makes me feel as though she has my back and processes things with me. I think I can speak on behalf of my classmates when saying that she is an amazing person and teacher. And I do know that some of us wish she was our BFF.

I am thankful that I am going through this semester with her at the head of the class. I have been stretched beyond comprehension and have come to the end of this part of the tunnel a completely different person.

Thanks, Vicki. For everything.

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