Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I have four great men in my life. Two have passed on and two are still with me. I would like you to meet...

1. My grandpa, Lonnie Edward Maze, Sr.

2. My dad, Lonnie Edward Maze, Jr.

3. and 4. My brother and nephew, Lonnie Edward Maze III and IV.

No, we don't have very original names for men in our family, but Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name is more desirable than great riches" and I'm so happy to say that our family name is desirable because of the legacy Lonnie #'s 1 and 2 have left for my brother and I to follow.

My dad died suddenly in 1992 of a stroke, I was 17 years old and a Senior in High School.  This December will mark 20 years since his passing.  I've lived longer without him than I did with him and that's hard to believe!  And my grandpa died in 1999 after a long 7 year battle with cancer. They were upstanding, good, honorable men. The kind of men everyone looked up to (and I'm not just saying that because they're dead now, we really did!). The kind of person who was moral and upright, who built a strong foundation for their families.  They weren't perfect and I don't mean to paint the picture that they were, but they were wonderful.  They were fun and easy to love. I miss them a little everyday, especially on Father's Day. But after all these years, it's not the same kind of 'missing' them that it once was. I don't get overly sentimental over things they used or things they liked like I did for many years after their death.  Especially now that my mom is packing up and moving away from our childhood home, we've had to say goodbye to lots of things of my dad's that we kept just laying around in the garage or stored in the attic because for so long it was too painful to get rid of.  Things like his tools, workbench, pharmacy memorabilia, etc.  Those are all just things and believe me we have memories that are far more valuable than all of that!

It's not really sad for me anymore because I know they lived their life the way they wanted to, without any regrets. They were both Christian men and so we are comforted in the fact they are together in Heaven with my Heavenly Father.  So if you are still grieving the loss of a parent or family member, please know that it does get easier as time moves on, but there is always an emptiness and a longing for those you've loved and lost.

However, I do get a touch sentimental when I think of Molly, Madison, and Eddie not knowing them. My dad would have been a great grandpa! He would have eaten up Madison and Molly, he loved girls!   But I can't even explain how overjoyed both grandpa and dad would have been to have known there was a #4 running around! Pure happiness!!!  And as ironic as it sounds, Little Eddie, IV reminds us of Grandpa Maze so often because he loves to be outside, picking up sticks, and just being a boy.  Oh I can just picture what Grandpa would have done with that little guy running around his place!!

But now it is my responsibility to tell Molly, Madison, and Eddie all about their grandpa and great grandpa. I have many stories to share and although they will never know them as I do, I hope they respect the men they were for our family and honor their name. It is also my responsibility to live a life that would be pleasing to these two men. Proverbs 23:24-25 says "The father of a righteous man (woman) has great joy; he who has a wise son (daughter) delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!"

Raising children is difficult, I'm  only 2 years into this journey, but I see the burden on the faces of parents these days who are trying to balance everything. My dad and grandpa lived in simpler times, but they also had what so many of us today are lacking...COMMON SENSE! I think I inherited a touch of common sense from them. I don't like the create drama or chaos in my daily life and I certainly do not choose to make my life harder than it should be.  They (and many others of their generation) just inherently knew how to be a good dad. They disciplined (with a firm hand) and held very high expectations for their children.  In my home there wasn't ever a time my brother or I "told" my dad what we were going to do, he {and mom} were the ones telling us, guiding us, and leading us to make good decisions with our lives.  

I cannot count the times my mom, brother, or I have laughed and said, "I know what dad would have done or said" in a particular situation.  He was very predictable, very no nonsense when it came to respect and obeying him and mom.  But he was also loving and affectionate in a healthy way and providing for his family was always his #1 goal.  (close runner ups would be #2 the lake/his houseboat/fishing, #3 football, and #4 good food) :)

I know I'm a better person for having known my dad and grandpa. I say all the time that I am a strong, confident, and successful, single mom because my dad made me feel beautiful everyday and loved me (and my family) so strongly that even today his presence fills our lives.  I'd love to tell all of the dads out there to make your daughter feel beautiful and loved everyday and they will not likely go to a boy to try to fill that desire or make poor choices with men as a teenager or young adult.  It is true, the father /daughter relationship determines her future most of the time.   

I'm really thankful for all of the men in Molly's life who will be father figures to her as she grows up.  Of course, my brother, my cousin Jeff, and our neighbor "Pants" are men she sees regularly and she loves them!  Recently she has asked about why we don't have a daddy in our family, just from observing other families or something in a movie or on tv.  I just answer by explaining how all families are different and in our family it's just a mommy because I'm not married.  I told her if I ever get married then I would have a husband and she would have a daddy and she said, "ok"!  I've shown her pictures of my dad and told her some about her "grandpa", but of course she doesn't grasp who they are at this point.  

For anyone without their fathers on this Father's Day may you be comforted in Psalm 68:5 "A father to the fatherless", that is how God revealed himself to me after I lost my dad and it still comforts me today knowing that He will comfort Molly also as she grows up without a dad in our home.  

(this post was edited from a previous Father's Day post in 2008)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

molly's first vacation

molly and i headed out for a few days of summer vacation
our destination:
pigeon forge, tn

this was our first vacation or trip by ourselves
and i wanted to go somewhere within a few hours of home
to just "test the waters" of traveling as a single mom
 also, we have plans to go to a much bigger theme park this fall
for a longer vacation
and i needed to make sure we would be up to it! ha!
 she love every minute of it!
we had a great time and i wish we could have stayed longer
i planned it perfectly for the middle of the week when the crowds would be the lightest
and the hotel rates the cheapest!

she loved all of the rides and we also watched 2 different shows in dollywood
one was this educational presentation pictured below
featuring live birds, owls, and a bald eagle
it was really great and molly loved it!

 all of the flowers in dollywood were so beautiful!
 her first "holy coaster"

 waiting in line

 feeding the ducks!

 on our first full day we arrived right at opening time
and went straight to the children's area
she got to ride all of the rides once, and some of them multiple times without a wait

 we rode the ferris wheel and the carousel

 they have a cute children's play area
and below, you see a gorgeous country church
so cute!

 below is a picture of her first ride, the river rampage, which is actually a "big ride" that she barely met the height restriction for
and it was a wet ride too
but, she loved it!
 i know this pic is out of focus, but she was so happy on the ride!  i had to include it:)
 loving the carousel!

 and of course we had to ride the "polar express" which is a 20 minute train ride up the mountain and back
this is a real coal steam train and it was great for a train lover!

on the way home i asked her what her favorite parts of the vacation was and she said:
1.  the hotel pool (got to love that!  could have saved my $60 park ticket and just stayed at the hotel, ha!)
2.  the polar express train
3.  the river rampage ride

and i got to say my favorite part was being able to take my girl on a fun, vacation!
and now we are counting down...
93 days until DISNEY!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

my gymnast

after swim practice was over i registered molly for once a week gymnastics 
i knew as much tumbling she did around the house she would surely love trampolines, jumping, and flipping around a gym
 this was her first class

 i can't get over the cuteness!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Swimming Level 1 Graduate

you can read my first post about Molly's swim practice here
she completed 2 weeks of daily 45 minute practices  this month
and she loved every minute of it

 this as her favorite instructor, mr. chris
she loves playing with boys, interacting with men, hanging out with teenage boys whenever possible
i am very worried!
 she's literally smiling in all of her pictures in the pool!
 she goes under like a fish
 the swim instructor joked about her hair bows everyday
she said in all her years of teaching swim, she's never had a child come to class with bows in their hair!
but, we accessorize even when we are going to the pool!
 we also had different bathing suits every day
i've collected a few through the years
it's an obsession, i'm trying to seek help!

 most of these pictures (action shots) were from the last day where parents were able to watch the whole class and see what the kids have learned
there were 3 different teachers in the pool and they each took turns working with the kids
of course, molly only "worked" with chris
 she would talk to him even if he moved on to another kid
she would call his name and ask him to come over to her
constantly seeking his attention
 and as you can see all of the kids stand on a little platform/edge of the pool while they wait
but, look what molly did...
she would hold onto the edge and scoot her way over to chris
she could not touch the bottom here
sometimes she would just fall into the pool
and chris could see her from his side and would casually scoot her back onto the ledge
i was a bit nervous at first
 i can't believe she is so brave!
i asked her what she was telling him 
and she said, "i was telling him...i love you"
i said, "we don't say that to boys! ha!
 and he finally had to tell her if she kept getting off the ledge he would have to put her in time out
that girl!  she's such a mess!
i have much of this on video and all of her antics are hilarious!!
 needless to say she did very good in class and loves to swim
in fact, she's too brave!
she wants to be under water all the time
she loves jumping in
and basically has no fear whatsoever!

Swim Graduate!
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