Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We all hope you have a Wonderful and Great Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As I grow older, I have been realizing more and more that life is a succession of choices. I am where I am at not due to good luck, good fortune, but rather choices that I have made. Whether they are choices that Paul and I have made jointly~or solely, they are choices that I have had a hand in making. Our lives are what we put into them~they are what we choose make of them. If something doesn't work like I would like it to, I have to look at myself to see what hand I had in making the situation what it is. It is uncomfortable to criticize our part but if we want to learn from our mistakes, we must first realize that we have had a hand in making them before we can move past them.

With that being said, I believe that no matter where we are in life, it is where we are meant to be~our choices lead us to these places whether good or bad. There are lessons to be learned from every path that we choose. It may seem that we travel down a certain path endlessly~could it possibly be that we are traveling until we learn whatever lesson we are meant to learn?

I can only hope that I have made the best possible choices to lead me to the best possible places in my life, may it be my marriage, being a good mother, friend, or family member, or being the best possible person that I can be. At times, I find myself choosing to take a negative road. When I take this road, I always learn~rather quickly~that this is not the path that I want to take. So I backtrack and try to fix my errors. I have learned that I know I am choosing the wrong path, but sometimes I am not sure how to change the direction. I hope one day, I will automatically take the positive path. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to choose the other.

Through many hardships over the years, I have learned that sometimes the best choice is to let it go~the decisions that you can't see the answers to~let God take over. It is extremely hard to do, but when I finally do, the feeling that He is taking over, caring for me, guiding me, and watching out for me is so comforting that it is overwhelming. Maybe my lesson to still be learned is to relinquish my 'control' and let God lead me to the best choices for me and my family.

So, each day, I wake up and ask for guidance to be the person I wish to be and to take the paths that will lead me to where I want to go. Give me the strength to choose the right and generally more difficult path so I can learn to be a better person, mother, wife, and friend. I feel that this will undoubtedly be a life-long journey that I will struggle with many days ahead, but I know that in the end, I will be where I am meant to be.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dreaded Words

Well, my sister beat me to the punch on downloading our fall family trip to the pumpkin patch. When she put them on Facebook, my cousin said the dreaded words that every mother shoves way down deep in their subconscious ~"Wow! When did they get so big?"

I looked at the picture and it really hit me! Kait is 6.5 and Matt just turned 4. Where has the time gone? Hence the sickening realization that before I know it they will be grown and out of the house. While I might joke about this, the thought petrifies me. I guess the only thing I can do is try and "capture" these moments as best as I can for they will fly by way too quick.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Price of a Mommy

I was called by the injury rep from the insurance company earlier and it got me thinking...

Injury rep: "Do you work? How much time are you having to take off?"
Me: "Not outside of the house but as a stay at home mom, it is my job to cook, clean, laundry, and take care of my children."

Now my question to any other mommies out there~working or not~how do we put a price on what we do? Here is a list of the things that I have had troubles with (and still have) since the accident due to the soreness in my ribs and back and bum hand:
~Cleaning~oh my please don't come over anyone!!
~Laundry~it's clean but not folded and/or put away
~Cooking~being so busy and tired I have only cooked one decent meal
~Clutter~it is overwhelming!!!
Most important~
~Picking up/Lifting/Carrying my children. This is the one that I have most issues with~Matt is still 3 and loves to be cuddled. This truly does not have a price tag!!

So other than the uncomfortableness, soreness, extra running for an already busy mommy how do I put a price on my "pain and suffering"? Somethings don't have a price tag.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


With every good thing and every bad thing that comes into our lives, we must learn from it. Whether it is a relationship, a hardship, or a windfall of good fortune, there is always a lesson to take from it.

With the passing of my grandmother, I have learned many lessons. Some about myself and some about others. My Grandmother was a wonderful woman and I am so sorry that I did not realize it sooner, but I will cherish the time we spent together ~ especially in her final days. She was amazing and I learned from her all the way until the end. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier had she never come to my mom’s house because I feel so slighted in the little time that we had, but I would never change the time we did have for anything.

I entered into a new phase of being a real grown-up. While I may not have grandparents left on earth, I am blessed with the many memories of all of them through out the years. I learned the value of living in the moment and being thankful for what and who I have in life.

I find that even if a relationship runs its course, there is good to be taken from it. Whether you learn something about yourself or you learn about another. Sometimes the lessons are good, sometimes bad, and sometimes ~ just are. I have found that the ‘just are’s’ are fine too ~ things don’t have to be good or bad.

As people, we grow and mature. We choose the direction that we head in life, even if those roads lead us away from people that we never thought we would part from. This can be a good thing. This is what helps us grow. While good memories will never be forgotten, bad ones will eventually fade if patience is given its chance to heal. This doesn’t mean we stop loving or caring for those people, it just takes on a different form.

I have learned that I am truly happy with myself and how I have grown as a person. I am flawed and realize the challenge to always better myself. I like who I see in the mirror at night. I love my husband, children, family, and God. I am fiercely protective of my family and them of me. I have great friends who are there to help catch me when I fall or remind me and challenge me to be a better person. I have a great life. Thank you to all of you who make it better with each passing day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Long Road

I am finding that this is going to be a long road for all of us. The past few days have been a blur. Hospice nurses have been in, appointments for clergy, social workers, and nurses are being scheduled. My mother, aunt, and myself are trying to find our way through medicines, schedules, and monitoring her around the clock. I would not change this for the world, though. Oddly enough, this time is priceless.

There is a certain closeness in helping a loved one at this point in their life. The hardest part is when she starts thanking us for doing this. I wish she would understand that this is helping us as well as her. Doing things such as washing her arms and legs with a cool cloth are gateways to conversations. She is still of sound mind and body and these are the times that we must look back upon.

As of now, she is an amazing patient. She is thankful and pleasant. Again, I marvel at her strength. She is trying to make us feel better and worrying about the 'burden' that this is putting on everyone around her. I haven't found a way to make her believe that is isn't a 'burden'~in a strange way, it is a gift.

I am thankful that God put me in this place and time to be able to help not only her but my mom and aunt. At the end of the night, the gravity of the situation hits me and it is hard. In the long run, I know that this long journey will help heal what is to come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Be a Kid Again...

As I sit here today with a heavy heart, I find that I want to be a kid again.

I don't want the weight of the world on my shoulders. I want to be oblivious of pain and sadness, of stress of the future, and the sorrow of things to come. I am extremely lucky with my wonderful life, but am reminded today that every good thing will come to a worldly end and a spiritual beginning.

I try to be strong, understanding, and realistic of the journey that my grandmother has fought and is still fighting. In truth, we weren't really close with her as children. She was not the lovey~huggy grandmother that fixed scrapes and boo~boos, but as I get older I realize things about her that I did not fully understand as a child. She has had a difficult life with many stresses, some brought upon by herself and some out of her control. She is a remarkably strong woman. She will speak her mind and say/do what she thinks needs to be said or done. I find this amazing. I am the absolute opposite~I hate the rocking the boat so to speak. I hope to gain her strength as I continue to grow and mature.

Now that she has been living with my mother and father for the past few months, I have grown extremely close to her. The thought of losing this new-found gift now after 31 years is very saddening to me. She is my last grandparent left and by losing her I feel that I am losing my childhood.

Most of the time I am able to be strong and support her in her will to let God handle it from here. I know she is tired of fighting. The last three years has been nothing but a life or death battle. She has been dealt with challenges ranging from life threatening MRSA complications to oral cancer. I by no means begrudge her for letting it all go, but I find myself reverting to a child at times and want to be selfish.

I have tremendous faith that God will lead her home when it is her time. I know that my lesson to learn is to let go graciously for the betterment of her for her spiritual afterlife~to trust that God will lift her up to a place with no pain or sorrow. I know that in time, she is about to get the greatest gift to see our Maker's face and sit at his feet. I am so happy that she will be in a pain free afterlife running like a little girl, laughing, smiling, and enjoying the never ending salvation that Heaven offers.

So to my Grandmother, I love you with all of my heart, I support your decisions, and I will be there to hold your hand no matter how long this journey should take. I am in awe of your strength, your faith and your peace at the prospect of leaving your worldly body. I thank your for everything you have taught me. You will not be alone, now or ever.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trying to stay positive in today's world

I find that now days, it is harder and harder to be positive in daily life. I look into the mirror every day and thank God for my wonderful husband, my healthy kids, a roof over my head and a happy life. My husband has a job in this economy which is a feat especially in NW Ohio. All is great right? Wrong.

I turn on the TV and the first 5 stories are about rapes, shootings, murders or any combination of the three. Now recently the tornadoes that just destroyed lives, farms, schools, etc. I think to myself "I know I am happy, lucky and blessed, but really when are things ever going to be peaceful. Truthfully, the answer will be never. While I understand this fact, I constantly grapple with one return question~Why?

The majority of the news related issues people have control of (minus the weather). I am constantly thinking that this is not the world that I want my children to be raised in. I wish people would understand the damage that they are doing to all of us. I refuse to let my children watch the news because of the horrible things that I would have to explain. I realize that they are going to have to realize what goes on in the world but I feel at 6 and 3~that's a little too young.

When did it become a thought in our youth that it is ok to shoot someone over a pair of shoes? or kill someone over a fight at a sporting event? or violate another human being because THEY want to have control of something? How do we stop this? I would like to lock my children in a closet to save them from all of this senseless violence.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn on the news and a feature story be about people helping each other. Wouldn't it be nice to say that there has to be a balance for every bad story you have to have at least one good story?

When asked what is going on in our community or world, I really couldn't tell you. To maintain my peace of mind I really choose not to watch or listen. At the end of the day, I wonder if this is a good choice or bad.

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Only thing we have to fear is fear itself"

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" ~~FDR.

This is the motto that I am going by as I write this. I find that I am not normally one to live by this motto. I fear fear. I do not like the unknown. Additionally, I do not like not being in control of situations especially when it deals with my family. As we (Paul and I) look into the future we realize that change is needed to have the life that we want for ourselves and our family. For me, change = fear.

I want to leave a lasting impression for my children that 'more is not better'. I feel so many of our generation live by the motto 'more IS better'. I know we have! I find that we are the 'gimme generation'. We feel that we deserve things and expect things just to happen. This is not how our parents and grandparents lived. They worked hard and saved and then enjoyed the fruits of their labor. We just enjoy the fruits of our labor and sometimes that makes things too tight. I fear that there are more people who live this lifestyle than not.

The problem with changing to the less is better philosophy is that everyone automatically jumps to conclusions that times are bad for you. That is not the case, we just want more out of life so we feel the need for a change.

Now the questions is how to implement this belief? Which luxuries do we give up and how hard will this be? How do we cut corners on groceries, fuel, and miscellaneous purchases? I keep thinking that if we keep looking and what we are currently doing, a light bulb will turn on in my head signaling what we should be doing. It hasn't happened yet, but hopefully it will. While I fear this change, I find myself fascinated and excited with the prospect.

hhhmmm.....this should be interesting...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All About the Strouse House

I probably should have started with a few things about our household. Many of you will know this but some might not, so here goes.

It all started about 11 1/2 years a go. I met my loving~sometimes irritating (in a loving way) husband-to-be Paul. We met through our great friend Tim. We married on April 28, 2001. And here is where the journey begins.

We enjoyed a few years of childrenless freedom until January 31, 2004. That is when our girly-girl Kaitlyn Grace was born. Oh boy, I thought I was this great mom. I have this child who listens, is nice, does what she is told, no problems AT ALL! Then after a little while of trying, on September 29, 2006 our all-out boy Matthew was born. He had a few complications. He was born with a stridor (some sort of catch in his throat), a small heart murmur, and finally a club foot. The hear murmur and stridor fixed themselves, but the club foot was a long road. He is now a healthy, happy boyish boy. You can only tell the club foot if you look at it.

Now on to our newest member, Pixie. I am not sure what came over me in September, but I decided to get a puppy. Oh my, she is a Lab-Weimaraner mix. Needless to say that at 6 months old she is already 55 pounds. I fear that she is going to be a small horse! WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?!?!? She is a lovable but clumsy creature so she actually is a great addition to the family.

In short, this is a quick glimpse into this Strouse House.

Monday, April 12, 2010

If I don't say it enough...Thank You!

I wonder why the older I get, the harder it is to live and let live. I find when people that I am close to hurt me it takes so much longer to get over than before. Is it because I am an adult and I don’t surround myself with trivial relationships, just meaningful ones? Am I too hard on people? Do I just expect way too much from others? Maybe I don’t voice my feelings and gratitude enough.
I thought that when you age and mature, things were supposed to get easier. I thought it would be easier to let the ‘little things go’. I now realize that when feelings of any sort are not reciprocated, or perceived reciprocated, I am deeply hurt and saddened. I find that I have surrounded myself with very few people. With that being said, these people were chosen for a reason. I value their opinion, support, kindness, love, generosity, humor, and guidance. I will freely admit that I have very few people in my ‘inner circle’ of friends. They come from all walks of life. Some I have known forever and some have blessed my life just in the recent past. A few come and go continuously through my life, but I know that even if they are not present at this point in time, they would be there if needed.
I feel that I am lucky to have my few great friends. I remember a conversation I had many years back in High School. One of my ‘friends’ was always seeking more ‘friends’. She was always seeking popularity. Myself, I was pretty much middle of the road, not overly popular, but not horrendously unpopular (at least in my own mind ). I would always tell this friend that it isn’t the amount of friends you have but the quality of friends you have. I still live by this saying. I would rather have 3 go-to-girls than 100 ‘friends’.
I view myself as a person who does not define people as ‘best friend’ or ‘soul mate’. I feel that you cannot put people in little titles. I find that I have certain ‘bff’s’ for different things and different problems. I also, am not sure where my husband fits into my category (sorry honey). I hear women saying ‘my husband is my best friend’. For those who it is true~great, but there are things better talked about with girlfriends’. Now, I tell my husband most everything in my life (probably too much so sometimes) but there is nothing like good ‘girl time’.
I find myself wondering from time to time, where I fit into my friends’ lives, Do they value my friendship as I do theirs? Do I make a positive contribution in their lives? Do they realize that they can come to me anytime for anything~that I will ALWAYS be there for them? I fear that I do not make it known that I treasure everything that they bring to my life. Maybe, like most things, it is all in my mind and that I am over thinking it. Probably am =)