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Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today! Happy Easter/Passover to all who celebrate!

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme

1. What is your origin of your first name? What about any nicknames?

My mom just randomly came up with it. I was supposed to be "Eleanor" after my dad's mom, or "Clayton" if I was a boy, but when my dad wasn't in the room, my mom quickly put down "Melanie" instead. Hee! I've come to appreciate that, although my elementary school BFF was Eleanor, so of course I had wanted that to be my name then. My middle name is Ann, so my dad always called me "Mellie Ann," which my wonderful older sister changed to "Smellyann" at some point. And there you have it.

2. Have you any claims to fame?

Apparently, I'm meant to be a writer. In college, I came in second (or third?) in a huge poetry contest - you've probably seen the ads for it - and my published poem was analyzed in the front of the anthology in which it appeared. I was supposed to have my boys' and my story published in the Chicken Soup for the Twins Soul book, but apparently they decided it was too sad and took it out later on, which is fine with me. And more recently, my "Works for Me Wednesday" pets edition blahg post was published in a book called That Works For Me! or something like that; I had to give the proper permissions and all that. I've always been a pretty decent writer and thought I've had more poetry and maybe a novel rattling around in there, but I haven't been able to get started. We'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

3. If you were famous, how would you introduce yourself to someone who had never heard of you?

The same way I do now, I suppose: I'd have the head of my huge entourage do it. Heh.

4. Which of your country's achievements do you hold in highest regard?

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation couldn't have come soon enough; I think it just edges out winning the American Revolution. JMHO

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a teacher and librarian. As I grew up, though, I wanted to be a marine biologist. And until I got married, I was one. For a brief time, I was livin' the dream I grew up having. Now, I'm happier things worked out this way. I wouldn't change a thing, except for maybe a fatter wallet..

6. What was your most prized possession as a child? Do you still have it?

It was my red-and-white stuffed puppy dog named Snowflake, who eventually was missing an ear. The other ear had holly leaves and berries on it. I loved that puppy. I don't know what happened to her.

7. What would you change about yourself, if you could?

Pfft. What wouldn't I? That would be a shorter list. I would take away the Bi-Polar Disorder from which I suffer (as do those around me, I'm afraid), and I would give myself more strength of character. People who know the sorts of things I've been through always tell me what a strong person I am, but I don't feel that way. I feel like a weak, meek little mouse. My therapist tells me I am progressing though - she told me recently that I was "individuating," since I am no longer seeking my father's approval. I laughed and said it was high-time at 35, but she says she sees people much older than I am who haven't gotten that far and wow! I am babbling! Anyway, physically, I'd get my plastics to remove the skin I have hanging around (literally) after my 200+-lb weight loss.

8. What are you obsessed with?

Yarn. Picking at myself. My husband's nuts. Jafra. Couponing. And more yarn.

9. What is your greatest achievement so far, or the high point of your career?

Oh, I've received my fair share of academic accolades, but my proudest achievement was winning "Class Giggler" in 3rd grade. I still have the certificate!

10. When/where were you happiest?

January 2, 2001: The day we eloped was the most blissful day in my life. I'll never, ever forget that high.

11. And the lowest point in your life thus far?

March 25, 2003: The day I held my older twin son as he shuddered taking his last breath. Nothing is worse than outliving your child.

12. What was the best decision you ever made?

Marrying Rob! He is so good for, and to, me. We both have our share of shortcomings, but I definitely ended up with the better end of the deal. God knew what he was doing when he brought me this man.

13. If you have any body modifications, which was most painful, or which do you regret the most? If you haven't got any, do you have any planned, or would you ever consider getting any?

Other than four piercings in each ear, I have a nose ring. So that was the most painful. I haven't fully decided on getting a tattoo, but if I do, it'll be a joint one with Rob, honoring our four children together.

14. What is the most idiotic thing you have ever done while intoxicated?

We don't have to go there, do we? Let's not. Maybe the next time I get that intoxicated, which will be never, I'll share that story with y'all. ;) Let's just say I'll probably never drink Goldschläger again!

15. What is your favorite joke?

I am so terrible at remembering things like jokes and movie quotes. Asking me to tell a joke is putting me on the spot. I like stupid jokes anyway, like this one:

Knock Knock?

Who's there?

Little old lady.

Little old lady who?

I didn't know you could yodel!

16. What is the coolest/most impressive thing you own?

You mean aside from my iPhone? (You know I love that dang thing.) Okay, let me think on it a minute... probably the Britto. We bought a limited edition giclée of his called Deep Night Romance on our Mediterranean cruise, and it sums up our love for each other beautifully.

17. When did you last cry, and why?

I cried a little bit last night, thinking about this coming Monday. It'll be the 28th anniversary of my mom's death, and I always get a little weepy.

18. What's the best piece of advice you've ever had?

Surprisingly, it came from my dad. I'll paraphrase: "Don't let anyone rob you of your joy."

19. Similarly, what's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

A semi-anonymous benefactor helped me pay for my college degree, the day I was going to get kicked out for non-payment of my classes. Biggest relief of my life!

20. Have you any vices?

I'm too self-indulgent.

21. Do you regret anything?

No regrets. I live for today, and tomorrow. There are things I wish I'd done differently, but I didn't, and I have learned and grown from them.

22. What is the best invention ever?

Hello?! The iPhone! lol

23. How would you describe your relationship with your family?

I have a very small living family. My mom is gone, my dad and I aren't speaking at the moment, and my sister and I are as close as we can possibly be from a distance. I love that broad! ♥

24. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Anyone with deep emotional fortitude, who can come through a tragedy and not completely fall to pieces. Well, falling to pieces isn't the thing, but someone who can pick up those pieces and make life work again - that's inspiring to me.

25. What are you going to do when you've finished Sunday Stealing?

Work on my April/May Jafra newsletter, a week later than I'd planned. Oops.

Happy Easter!


Obligatory Egg-Decorating Photos


I didn't want to do the same-ol', same-ol' egg-dyeing techniques this year, because I get craftention deficit disorder. In other words, boooooring! (No offense. I'll probably get the Paas kit and do the same-ol' next year. But THIS year, I was ambitious.)

I've been wanting to blow out eggs for years, for whatever reason (I have no good one, other than just to say I did it and move on), so that's where I started out. Thanks to this article on Martha's site (hey, I like the woman, leave me alone), I succeeded on my second egg. And about every other egg thereafter, for about a dozen and a half eggs. I broke a lot!


But that's okay, breaking some, because I already had planned to do this with those eggs. (I saw this idea in either Family Fun or Martha Stewart Living magazine, because I am really not that creative.) So, no harm, no foul. The one thing I will say is that it's impossible to keep the blown-out eggs submerged in their dye baths without holding them down, so enlist the kids for help with that while you're busy blowing out (or breaking) the next egg or two. It works well when you have three eager kids wanting to help.


When my nasal syringe developed a rather alarmingly large hole in the side, I was forced to abandon egg-blowing and move on to silk tie-dyeing instead. (I tried to blow out the eggs myself, but I nearly gave myself an aneurysm or a brain embolism or something, so bad idea.) This is another technique I've been wanting to try for at least a handful of years, so I sent Rob out to the thrift store to grab a few ties, and being the smarty that he is, he chose four that he would actually wear if I didn't like them. (I did forget to tell him to get silk ties, which is key, but he managed to get four 100% silkies anyway. Yee-haw.)

I asked him to get flower pots and egg cups at the thrift store as well, but he was unlucky there. Darn. I'd love a cool collection of egg cups, but I only ever think of it every year on Easter Eve.

Anyway. Moving on...


This mottled look is what I got when I opened the silk packages of eggs, rather than the vivid, darkly-colored ones that I expected from the tie pattern I chose first. I thought maybe I didn't boil them long enough, or add enough vinegar, but it was pretty much the same with the second batch:


I guess, in retrospect, it's a pretty cool effect, but I live my life in living color, and I was disappointed by the muted hues at the time. Rob was underwhelmed by the results, too. We probably won't try this again, but at least I can say I've done it - and he's got two new ties for his troubles. (As you can see, I threw a few of the eggs in the dye baths, just to see how they would look. Meh.)



The third technique was to use rubber bands as a "mask," just to see if it would work. It did, and it was cool, but I only did one set of each color before I moved on from that. By the way, I did shine my eggs with vegetable oil, if you're wondering why they're so glossy. Works great.

{I just remembered and thought I'd share: Sophia was in charge of carrying in the silk- and cut-up curtain-wrapped eggs to the kitchen and bringing me fresh eggs to the craft room to wrap. Well, I gave her two at a time once, and en route to the kitchen, she got the bright idea to clap them together. Well, they weren't cooked. Ha. Um, she didn't do that again!} 


The kids had long since abandoned the egg-dyeing processes for Nova-produced documentaries on Netflix by that point, so left to my own devices, I didn't want to do much that would be exciting and have them miss it. Chloë and I did some resist technique using crayons, which you can see a little bit in the top middle, and I also tried using stickers for masks. That didn't come out too well. And finally, I used glitter and glue on a couple of eggs, just for kicks.

Another thing I did differently this year was use my Wilton gel food coloring instead of regular drops or pellets. The eggs were gorgeous, very vivid and bright. I'll definitely do that again.

So five dozen eggs later, we had some blown-out that I probably won't keep for next year anyway, some hard-boiled tie-dyed eggs, and some regular-dye raw eggs. Hopefully, we won't forget which are which out of the latter two!


I had all the egg innards from the blown-out eggs sitting in a bowl, so I decided to make a quiche. Well, two. Another run for Rob to the store for cheese (and toilet paper, 'cause we ran out and were stuck using paper towels, eek!), which I put Chloë happily to work grating for me. She enjoyed that job immensely, judging by her incessant chatter about what a good job she was doing. It was both eyeroll-inducing and chuckle-worthy at the same time, her patter.

Fortunately, I had a package of two rolled pie crusts in the freezer, so that hastened the dinner-making process. And we'd gotten a pound of ground turkey for me to brown in the skillet, along with some frozen spinach I quickly heated up, from our Angel Food Ministries package this morning (our first time ordering, and we'll probably do it again in future), so dinner was a snap.

Unfortunately, none of the kids liked the quiche. Jack doesn't like melted cheese on anything, so I knew he would be a complainer. The girls didn't like the spinach and refused to pick it out. Rob and I devoured ours, and he had seconds, so it was definitely good in my humble opinion! Later, Jack cracked three hard-boiled eggs in quick succession to fill his rumbly tumbly, and I scrambled some other prettily-dyed eggs for the lady-babies, so we're pretty egged-out at the moment!


After Rob so nicely cleaned up our egg-coloring mess for me, the kids and I got to work making Easter sugar cookies. They cut the shapes, and I baked and decorated them, since it was bedtime by the time they were cool. That didn't stop the girls from sneaking down to watch me anyway, and we let them. They oohed and ahhed over each new one I iced, although I didn't do anything terribly fancy for them. (Sorry for all the flash-y pictures, but it was late by then, and the pink came out looking far more red than it really should.)



These few didn't fit on the cutting board, but Chloë insisted I take and show a picture of these, too. Okay, girlfriend, here you go.



After that, I still had tons and tons of Jelly Belly beans to use up, so I decided to make cupcakes, too. Yes, I know. It's far too much junk. But I was in the zone, what can I say?


Just the thought of eating one of these, with all that sugar, makes me want to gag. I don't know how I used to be able to do it! (Although, truly, I never have liked jelly beans of any sort.)


Rob did a rare thing while I was decorating the made-from-scratch chocolate cupcakes: he picked up my camera and took pictures of ME doing something, without me asking. He says the reason he never does is because I always complain about how they turn out, which is true - I do - but I actually don't look terribly gross here, so guess what? Here I am, slouchiness notwithstanding.


I don't know about yummy, but they certainly are colorful, no?


I really do need to invest in a good cupcake stand or two! Chloë was so disappointed I stacked them and smushed the bottom ones. I wouldn't have done that if these were actually going for something and not just 'cause, but I wanted the stacky pictures.

Anyhoo, now it's 0530 on Easter morning, and I'm going to look at the paper a little before it's time to wakey-wakey-eggs-and-bakey the kiddos and get them in the shower before church. Usually we go on Saturday nights, even for Easter, but like I said, I was in the zone. So we'll brave the crowds in a few hours. Oy.

Happy Easter!


Egg-Hunting At The Y


So last Saturday, we took the kids to an Easter egg hunt at one of our (many) local YMCAs.


We got there an hour early, which was good, because there were crafts and giveaways and things. The kids were given all manner of freebies, like pinwheels, magnets, and even a coupon for a free cooking class at Young Chef's Academy!


The kids had a good time decorating their cups for planting grass seed, which is growing like weeds (heh) in the kitchen right now.


Here's Jack showing me his, um, dirt, and pinching his eye, because I don't know why.


It was pretty sunny out there that day, as you can tell!


Sophia, ever the 'doer,' insisted on filling her own cup with soil, unlike all the other children in attendance.


Afterward, Chloë was pouting because her basket kept blowing away or something similarly minor, but that's not why I'm including this photo. Look at Sophia's face! That expression amuses me greatly. (Click to embiggerate.)

YMCA Egg Hunt

Rob and Sophia had a good time horsing around in the field, and I had a good time watching them. She's the only one of the three who will actually let him do that stuff!



Finally, the hunt was on. They did it three separate sections. For some reason, Jack got put in with the toddlers. Hm, I wonder if it's because he's their size, instead of the size of the average 8-year-old? Well, lucky for him they assigned him there, because his basket-bucket was full within just a few minutes. The rest of the kids were looking all over for much longer. Hee!



Fortunately or not for the girls, they were put in kids closer to their own age. Now THAT was a madhouse. Those kids cleared the field in under a minute. I told Chloë to go straight for the back of the field so she would have half a chance, but she didn't listen.



Sophia stood her ground and got a fairly decent amount of eggs. She's a tough girl, though, and has no problem barreling through people. Not saying that's a good thing, necessarily, but...


She's smiling here, but when she saw her paltry sum of eggs compared to her siblings', she was sobbing. That's nothing new. At 9½, Chloë still frequently cries like a baby.



This kid was plenty happy with her take, though Jack had far more. No matter, to solve the problem, I just divvied them up evenly at home. 



Then they went to sit outside and crack open all their eggs. Jack was pretty pleased to get lots of candy in his, which should surprise no one, since that kid has a major sweet tooth. His dentist knows that. Every time we go in, he has about 14 new cavities. Oy.



Also, Sophia was delighted to get a parachuting bunny in one of her eggs. She threw that thing around for hours - at least, when Jack wasn't busy stealing it from her!



Besides candy and paratrooping animals, there were bracelets, Silly Bandz-esque bands, and cute finger puppets. All-in-all, they had lots of fun cracking open their treasures.


Oh, and did I mention the sharing? There was lots of that, which Daddy and I were pleased to see.


Now this, I like to see! Good job, YMCA!


Oh, and Chloë and I used the eggs to make this garland for inside our front door! Cool, right?


Preparing For The Rising Son

Easter preparation is underway here at Chez Odette. Observe, s'il vous plaît:


I saw this idea in both the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (to which I would love a lifetime subscription, if you're looking for gift ideas for me) and in one of the daily craft idea emails her site sends out, and of course I thought it was wonderful. So when I found orange crepe paper on sale at Party City, I snagged four rolls, not knowing how much I would need. (Two ended up being more than enough to make 12, by the by.)



The candy was in a bag of food I got from a fellow Freecycler, so this ended up being a very cheap craft. And fun and relatively easy, too, once I decided to go from top to tip instead of the reverse. It would be fun to do with little toys and trinkets as well, but I didn't have a supply handy, and, well, I didn't want to go buy some. Aren't they cute?


I made my own version of these, also from Martha's site, last night. The kids went nuts over them! I'd make more, but I got bored of them. Maybe I will later, though. Or not, whatever. I'm capricious, you know.


I found these little chocolate coconut nests at the grocery store, and the egg-shaped candies, too. A little paper riff-raff (ha! I think I meant ric-rac) on a picnic plate-holder thingie, and look how cute!


Yes, another Martha idea. I cut out the flowers on my Cricut, glued on the mini-cupcake holders, and filled them with sorta-matching Jelly Belly beans. Love!


Speaking of Jelly Belly, I went a little crazy there... but you can do a lot with them! And I plan to. Later.



Okay, so this isn't really crafty, but I found these Lindt bunnies at the store when I was on my Jelly Belly run, and Lindts are my favorite chocolates, so... yum! I'm having QUITE a day with the kids today, so I already bit the ears off mine.  Rob's is safe 'til Sunday.


The kids' Easter baskets, which will be small and understated this year. A few "carrots" in each one, a bottle of bubbles, a chocolate rabbit, some Dove chocolate eggs, and a toy. Jack got high-bouncy balls, Sophia received a jump rope, and Chloë, a game of jacks. That's plenty.


I set some of the goodies out on the deep freezer and called in the kids, who were busy watching a documentary about prehistoric sea monsters. Netflix streamed through the Wii, of course, since we don't have television service.


They were thrilled and excited! "Can we eat them now?"


(Our AC is out again, and it was hot, so the kids were sitting around in their undies. Sorry.) (And see? I toldja Sophie doesn't have a pot belly!) Anyway, they LOVED the pom-pom bunnies and asked if they could have them right away. Even Jack. "Of course, go for it!"


Chloë's handful o' beans


Oops! I had forgotten to add the worms to the bird nests. They have to have something to eat when they hatch!


So, that's a little bit of fun we've been having with Easter. More to come!


Run For Your Life

I tried to sleep tonight, but it just wasn't coming. I had slept too much during the day Saturday, having not felt well all week, and had consumed coffee too late in the day. I hadn't showered yet, so around 0500, I got up and did so to get ready for the morning's Easter services a few hours down the road. Before, during and after my shower, I felt something stirring inside me.

Actually, I've felt it more and more over the past few days and weeks.

I haven't felt it since I was a senior in high school. It's a weird feeling, almost entirely foreign to me:


The desire to run. For no reason, just to run for the sake of running.

Before my shower, I almost threw on a pair of sneakers and ran right out the door. Then I realized that I wasn't quite dressed for that, was a little too tired, and oh, I could come up with four dozen more excuses why I didn't just GO.

During my shower, I remembered something my friend E had shown me about four years ago or so: the Couch-to-5K program at Cool Runnings. Basically, beginners - couch potatoes - are given a program to get them ready to run in a 5K in a simple, easy-to-follow regimen. At the time, she was all gung-ho about it and I think she even did run in a 5K, but I had absolutely no desire to, well, move. I was a fat lard, and I was comfortable there.


{Plus, I hate running. The only reason I did so much of it as a senior in high school was because we had the mile run in gym class twice a year, and I had never been able to run the whole thing. Some years, I couldn't even walk it. I had a horrible time breathing (I may have had asthma, but since I never went to the doctor, we'll never know) and would just collapse and try to catch some air. I was determined that I would make it a full mile and never stop running the entire time - and I did!}

Anyway, so in the shower, I decided I would do the C-to-5K (as we shall hereafter call it) program and find a 5K in which to run. That's right, I'm not only going to run, I'm going to run in a real, life race! I'm determined not to be the last finisher; that's about my only goal.

After my shower, I was even more motivated. I thought about going right then and there on a mile-long run around the neighborhood, already having clocked a mile with my minivan, but then I realized that despite having lost almost 175 pounds, I'm still quite out of shape. Hell, even after losing all that weight, I'm still considered "obese"! Isn't that crazy! (And also pretty depressing, if you think about it. I try not to do that too much.) I'm only about six pounds away from being considered "overweight", and by golly, I can't wait for that designation! But I digress: I'm out of shape, and one should always start slowly with a new exercise regimen.


{If you're wondering about the Wii Fit, I'd love to still be doing that every day, but the kids scratched up my disk, and I haven't tried it since Rob "fixed" it. I keep forgetting about it now!}

Where was I?

Oh, so here I am, about to embark on my new running-for-beginners program, and I'm feeling excited about it.

Before Pic


I knew, when I started this weight loss journey 14 months ago, at my peak weight of 341.3 pounds, that it would be a while before I could really exercise. Most of you, thank goodness, have never and will never be that fat, so it's hard for you to comprehend the toll it takes on your body. I could barely walk; you might remember that I was using the cart to ride around at the grocery store and praying to God I could actually do the walking required to get around when we took our European cruise in '08. I've gotten much stronger, and not only can I walk, but I actually have been running in small spurts here and there lately. I'm ready, but I'm no Jackie Joyner Kersee yet, after all!


I had been cold before and during the first half of my shower, so I anticipated being cold afterward, too. I threw on my long underwear - which is all black - and since I'm a little nutty that way, I put on black socks, undies and bra, too.  I won't change them, except the socks, when I change for church later, because more than not matching, I hate waste. Why do I insist on telling you every single minute detail that enters my brain? Moving along... Once downstairs, I also donned my black Crocs and went out to grab my Sunday papers.

Only, I felt so good, out there at 0530, that I decided to pass up the papers and take a power walk for that mile I'd thought about running earlier. I used to walk everywhere, or else I'd ride my bike or roller-blade. That was a long time ago, in college, when I was probably at my most fit (and yet still chubby). I never do it anymore, at least not for exercise, because it's hard to go at a fitness-worthy pace when your dog is sniffing at every other blade of grass and your three small children are huffing along and complaining that they don't want to walk anymore when you've only gone half a block!

And so I walked.


The first thing I noticed was the moon. No sign of the sun yet at that hour, but the moon shone brightly.


The second thing I noticed were all the different birds chirping. Because I'm usually out when there are lots of cars, children playing, and life-in-general happening, I don't often get to hear NOTHING BUT BIRDS. It was pretty fantastic. And I am not a bird lover, generally speaking. I tried to count the different species. I thought I heard six different ones, and I wished I could see 'em.


The third thing I realized was that I was still wearing my Crocs, which are ultra-comfy to walk in, but not necessarily for power-walking. Plus, my feet had shrunk. The first pair I bought, the brown ones, are a 6-7, and they absolutely float on me. My black pair are a 4-5, and they're big, too! I walk on tiny pedestals, I do.

So when - not if - I start my C-to-5K program, I'll do a few things differently:


1. Not wear all-black. Rob will probably make me wear reflective tape on my light-colored clothes. He's Mr. Saftey Man, after all.


2. Wear my barely-worn sneakers. They're not "running shoes," but I'm not going to go all crazy with that. I can't afford to buy $120 running shoes, especially since I tend not to have stick-to-itiveness when it comes to exercise. If this becomes a "thing" for me, then we'll see. But Crocs, you just ain't cuttin' it.


3. Bring my iPod along. I might not use it - because I really did enjoy those birds - but I find that listening to fast-paced music really helps me keep up my stride. Toward the middle of my mile, I found myself strolling quickly, rather than power-walking. I kept having to remind myself after that to pump my arms and lean forward a little, walk purposefully toward my goal. Music will help.


I had more to add to that list, but the kids have all woken up (geesh, it's only 0730 and we kept them up 'til 2300 last night!) and are quite ready to begin their searches for eggs and baskets. They're waiting up in their rooms until I call them down, so I can't concentrate anymore on this. I enjoyed google-imaging this post to death (picked that up from my friend E, too - check out her blog; she's frigging hysterical!) and hope you did, too.

Anyway, wish me luck and help me find a 5K!



As this Easter dawns, I'm reminded of a very significant-to-me Easter seven years ago, in April 2003 (because apparently I couldn't count on you to do the math).

Our twin sons had just been born the month before, and Robby had died. Our other son, Jack, had spent a harrowing month in the NICU, mostly a feed-and-grow baby, before being released on Easter Eve. We had been invited to attend the new Saturday evening service of the church we still attend now, so we decided to take our newly-sprung baby boy, along with our 19-month-old Chloë, to Easter service.

In the month since Robby had died, I had been, of course, an emotional wreck. I still had to be Mama to Chloë at home, still had to run daily to spend hours at the hospital with Jack, still had to produce and express breast milk for him, which required regular eating, still had to communicate with and show love for my also-grieving husband... while at the same time, a big part of me had died inside along with my angel son. To say the least, it was not an easy time.

The first thing I noticed when we took our seats at the church, was that two rows in front of us, a couple was toting a pair of identical pink carseats, with two tiny baby girls inside. Yes, girls, but obviously newborn twins and, from the looks of it, identical ones, too. My fragile heart shattered anew.  Rob looked at me. "Do you want to leave?" I did, but I assured him that I wanted to stay. Somehow, I needed to be there.

And I did.

As the pastor talked about the events of that long-ago time when Jesus rose from the dead, inside I dwelt on the circumstances of his death. For the first time in my life, during which I had always been a Christian and had never stopped believing, the enormity and magnitude of what God had done for us struck me like a lightning bolt. I had just lost my own son, and here He had given us His only son, His only child, so that we might be saved. In the past, I could not comprehend how meaningful and difficult that must have been. At that time, seven years ago, I understood all too well. It was everything. It was sacrificing one's own self for the good of all mankind. 

I cried during that service and didn't care who saw me. I will probably cry again when we go to Easter service later this morning, after three Easter baskets and six dozen plastic Easter eggs filled with icky-yucky jellybeans are hunted and found, chocolate bunny ears nibbled, faces washed, and tiny bodies tugged unwillingly into pastel dresses and sweater vests. And I won't care who sees me.

I don't claim to be the best mother ever, or the best wife. When provoked, some horrible things sometimes spill out of my mouth; it's a learned behavior. But I love that man, and I love those three imps, more than I could ever try to explain to you in words alone. There is only One who knows, and He has given us the greatest gift: everlasting life.

Believe it.