Saturday, May 30, 2009

Off to Disney World

I feel like I am in the process of moving. You know, the adrenaline rush from the chaos of all that has to be done. Only we are not moving, simply getting ready for our trip to Disney World. To make matters worse, Pete had a manager's meeting that required him to be out of town for two days. So I had to play single parent while packing a family of five, getting two dogs to the vet for boarding and having a piano recital in the midst of it all. But I survived, Pete got home earlier than expected and now we are packed and ready to head out at 4:00 AM. The hardest part of all of this was leaving Jake and Snowy at the vet (as you can tell by the picture). We usually only go out of town for one or two nights, so our neighbors and my parents help take care of them here at home. But since our fence is still not fixed after Ike and we will be gone a little longer, we felt it would be best to board our sweet pups. You should have seen the kids and I trying to get them into the van and through the vet's front door. The overly excited canines were yanking me this way and that as I tried to hold onto both of their leashes with all my might. At one point, they had me trapped inside their complex maze of intertwined dog leashes. To the outsider, I probably looked hilarious, but I was actually very stressed. I could just imagine them pulling too hard and getting loose. That would have been a nightmare. Luckily Jake and Snowie made it into the hands of their caretaker for the next several days. Hopefully they won't be too mad when we pick them up. In the meantime, we're off to Disney World. Can't wait to share everything when we get back. I hope the next few days treat you well, too!

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's Been Going On...

There are a few recurring topics on this blog that I would like to update you on. Things have been extremely busy around here for the...well, since I became a mother of three, but especially at the end of the school year these past couple of weeks. I wish I had time to write more frequently, but there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. So, here's the latest:

1. My dizzy problem- I went back to my ENT doctor the other day to go over the results of the MRI. He said everything looked fine and there are no tumors (thank you Lord). The doctor said he is treating me for Meniere's disease and that I might also have migraine-associated vertigo, which sometimes goes along with Meniere's. Since I've had this basically all my life and some of the tests were positive for Meniere's, that is how he made his diagnosis. But we still won't know for sure until I can more accurately document my symptoms before and during each episode. For example, stress, diet and allergies can cause the dizziness. I do know one thing- I tend to get this when I am overly exhausted and stressed. I guess only time will tell. Until then, please pray for me. We are leaving Sunday to go to Disney World for a few days, and I would hate to wake up dizzy that morning. In fact, I'm thinking about just staying up, since we have to leave for the Houston airport at 4:00 AM. When I had my hysterectomy, I woke up dizzy and we still had to go. The walk from my car to the hospital entrance took us forever because I was so dizzy and throwing up so much from it. But the nurses gave me some medicine and it helped. I want that medicine!

2. Ms. Angelle- She is as spunky as ever! Ninety-four and still going strong, although moving much more slowly. She went to Katie's dance recital and thoroughly enjoyed watching it, although some of her comments really revealed the huge generation gap. Pete, the boys and my mom sat with her because I had to help Katie so much. Ms. Angelle is very outspoken, and apparently she voiced her opinion periodically. Think about it, she grew up in the days when a girl would never be caught dead prancing around on stage in skimpy clothes. But she enjoyed watching Katie nonetheless.
I also took Ms. Angelle shopping recently. The Dillards here had some significant hurricane damage and has been remodeled. Ms. Angelle worked there in the china department eons ago and wanted to check it out. (Ironically, I worked at Dillards all through high school and college, transferring to the College Station one and then working at this one during holidays and summers, but I don't remember her). I don't shop at the mall much anymore (much to Pete's delight), so I wasn't familiar with which door I should park by that would be close to the elevator. Wouldn't you know I would pick the side farthest away? She huffed and puffed just walking that much. When I take her to Sam's she uses a wheelchair, but the clueless clerk misinformed us when she said Dillards did not have a wheelchair. We later found out they do, and boy was Ms. Angelle hot! Anyway, we had to sit for a while and rest in the shoe department before we headed upstairs to her favorite department- the kitchen ware. She had a great time, but had to sit down and rest. Poor thing got so discouraged.
"I won't be walking by the time I'm ninety-five," she said, head hung down.
"That's what you said about ninety-four and look at you. You'll be fine," I answered encouragingly.
"Really?" She sounded hopeful.
So we ended up having lunch at Applebee's, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and then I took her home. Next time we will use the wheelchair.
Enough of me...what's been going on with you?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Aching Heart...

This morning my heart hurts. I am a grieving mom... feeling the pain of my children. The responsibility of raising God's gifts can be so challenging at times, especially for a softie like me!

The reason I am sad is mostly for Andrew (or DREW as he now likes to be called). You see, he has the broken arm with a cast from his wrist to his arm pit, which prevented him from finishing out his baseball season. He also can't swim for at least seven weeks- and the poor thing LOVES to swim. We are going to Disney World Sunday and he will have to be so careful about the rides he can ride and he won't be able to swim. We are not even going to the waterparks, but the place we are staying has a cool pool with a big slide. I know that will be hard on Drew.

Another reason I am sad for Drew is because of the unfairness he has had to endure all year. Keep in mind that he taught himself to read at the age of three, can do double digit multiplication in his head and has the highest averages in all his subjects (he's even the youngest in his class with an August 29 birthday). He should have been on the all A Honor Roll, but has been kept from it, only making all A/B Honor Roll- due to his handwriting, of all things. He is in the honors class and his teacher is very strict. I have silently put up with it all year- that is until today. Last night, Drew spent extra long on his spelling paragraph. His handwriting was beautiful. He looked at me and said, "Do you think I'll make a 95? I would be so happy!" I answered, "I bet you will- and end the year with a bang."

Well, today is his field trip. They are seeing a movie, which at the last minute was changed to "Hannah Montana." Drew was in tears about this already, since it's such a girlie movie (I told him just to sit with his buddies and try to have fun). Then in a panicked rush to get to school early, Pete and I said, "Leave your backpack here- you won't need it anyway." All of the other kids keep their backpacks at home on field trip days. Well, when I took him to school, and as I was sitting with Nicholas having breakfast, I remembered about the spelling homework. His class was lining up to wait for the buses.

I hurried over to his teacher and said, "Drew forgot his backpack, and his spelling..."

She interrupted me. "I know," she said, "we already talked about it and he is very upset. He can bring it tomorrow."

Yeah, with a minus ten points for being late, I thought. "Can't you let me just run it up here- it's all my fault. We were in a rush..."

"No. Please don't. It's his fault, not yours. He can bring it tomorrow." Very terse and to the point.

I wanted to cry out and say, "Don't you hear me- I made him keep his backpack at home- he didn't even get a chance to say anything, we were so late. He was worried about that!" But, of course, I kept my mouth shut.

But I did call Pete. He told me to take it up there anyway and leave a note- "Isn't this Drew's best handwriting? Please let us take the blame for his not turning it in this morning. WE were the ones who told him to keep his backpack at home." I hope it works! Drew deserves an 'A' in handwriting!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pictures from the Zoo

Here's Nicholas with his good friend who lives right down the street. They love to play together!

What a look! So very cute...

Of course, we could not keep the kids away from the petting zoo. Thank goodness no pigs were around. And, yes, we washed those hands (scrubbed them, in fact).

Monday, May 25, 2009


Here's a picture taken with Nicholas "fairy godmother" (or so, he calls her) and my dear friend Karen. She was in town, visiting from Virginia. We had a great time seeing her and catching up on things. I hope Karen realizes how truly important she is to our family. We have missed having her around since she moved!
Friends are such an important part of our lives. I do not think God wants us to be lonely. Dr. James Dobson cites, "We human beings can survive the most difficult circumstances if we are not forced to stand alone." Even when nobody else is around He is always with us.
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. ~Matthew 28:20
I believe friends are like angels, sent to share our lives. Some are in our lives for a long time, others just briefly. But they make a mark on our soul, they help mold who we become. We learn from our friends. We make mistakes with our friends. And we never forget them, for as another friend, Rhonda, reminded me this weekend, they are ALWAYS in our heart. I am so grateful for all of my friends. Let's all make a point to tell a friend how special he/she truly is to us this week.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Cardinal at the Zoo

While I was at the zoo with Nicholas, I kept thinking about Mary a lot, for some reason. Maybe because this reminded me of something she would have loved to do with her kids. Nicholas and I walked around with a small group, and a grandfather was the ring leader. He had us moving along quickly so we wouldn't waste time or miss out on anything. I was tagging along quietly, taking pictures and watching out for Nicholas when suddenly I spotted a beautiful bright red cardinal. It was not part of the zoo exhibit. This bird was just there. I knew exactly what was happening and said a prayer of thanks, while I quickly fumbled for my camera. I followed this bird around and took several pictures (I hope they show up okay on the blog- can you find the cardinal in each one?), then I realized that my group had left me. But I did not panic and two young girls appeared who worked for the zoo. They were ready to get me back with my group, but one of the moms came looking for me, so they did not have to. Thank you, Jesus. Anyway, this was such a delightful experience on my zoo trip: seeing a cardinal to reassure me that God is with me, and Mary is with Him, and we are all in this together.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Roadblocks in Life

I just came home from an awesome field trip to the Houston Zoo with Nicholas' kindergarten class. I have many pictures to share and a VERY inspiring cardinal experience, but will have to post those later. Right now I have to share a revelation I had on the way home. You see, I accidentally took the wrong turn, and then got stuck in traffic from a lot of construction, so what usually takes 90 minutes, took us three hours. Nicholas was quite happy at first, oblivious to all the congestion (thanks to portable DVD players). Then he fell asleep for a while. By the time we got home, he was saying he never wanted to go to the Houston zoo again because it is so far .

Anyway, as we were driving through the roadwork, I watched cars impatiently zip in and out, back and forth, thinking they could outsmart the traffic. Then at one point, the cars began exiting the highway. I thought to myself, 'Who would do such a thing- you never know where that road will lead.' I just trudged through, chewing piece after piece of gum and listening to music. I soon noticed that all the people who had exited had a bigger pileup than we had on the highway. One daring car eventually drove across the grass, back onto the highway, and as I drove on and looked out my rearview miror, I noticed a lot of cars following suit- illegally driving back onto the interstate.

Hmm. This seemed strange. If they had only stayed on the road and gone through the congestion, they would have been better off. They wasted a lot of time thinking they could outsmart the traffic. Then, I realized this is so much like life. I am on a road through life. Sometimes traffic or congestion stops me, or causes me to take a detour, but if I have patience/ faith, and stay on the right path, I will get to where God wants me to be. But so many times I jump off the path, and think I can do things my way, just like those drivers today. Or I avoid going through the jams, because I know they will be too painful. But If I trust God, he will steer me in the right path. And this is a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Down the Pole

Nicholas is so funny ...and mischievous, but so darned cute he gets away with it. When I pick the kids up from school, he is usually one of the first ones out the door, and he stops by a pole, steps on the bench and slides down the pole, like a fireman. Today I told him he'd better not do that- he could get in trouble if a teacher saw him. Do you know what he said?
"Well, mom, I always do that when the time is right."
I said, "And when is that?"
"When the teachers aren't looking."
That's my Nicholas!
My youngest is also a sweetheart. Last night when I was putting Nicholas to bed, he started crying because he misses Sadie, our yellow lab so much. We had to put her to sleep right before Thanksgiving. He saw this picture of Pete with her that Pete is going to take to work. Poor guy cried and cried. We said a special prayer and asked God to pet her for us in dog heaven. I know Mary is petting her- she was such a dog lover. We miss them both!

Conversations and Cardinals

Yesterday I was thinking about Mary a lot, missing her. I was very tired after a rough night's sleep and then being woken up at 4:30 by Andrew. When I am overly tired, I get more emotional. Many of you can relate, I'm sure. Anyway, several things happened that let me know Mary was near. I went up to have lunch with Andrew, bring him medicine and check on him. Ironically, one of his friend's grandmother and mother came to have lunch with Thomas, so they sat at a special table with us. Thomas' little sister was there. She is a doll with big blue eyes, tanned skin, blonde baby ringlets. Hannah was all over the place- very active; a real attention getter. I asked how old she was, thinking she was around three (I remember when she was born). They said she would be three this summer. Then something clicked and I remembered exactly when- July 31 (Mary's birthday).

"Hannah's birthday is July 31, isn't it?" I said happily.

The mother looked at me in total amazement. "How did you remember that?"

"I had a dear friend that shared the same birthday, and I remember Andrew was over at your house last summer on her birthday." I looked down sadly.

"Oh yeah, I remember..."

We finished lunch and I went home to rest. Several hours later, I was back at school in the car pool line waiting for my children. I got there early, it was such a beautiful, cool day. I rolled down my windows and heard a beautiful cardinal singing. I looked up, and he was there- in the tree right next to my car, easy to spot...and he stayed there and sang to me for several minutes, lifting my spirits and reminding me to say a prayer of thanks. Then, he flew off, across my car to the other side. I quickly scrambled over to the passenger seat and poked my head out the window (everyone must have thought I was crazy, but I don't care). He landed in a tree on that other side, again visible, and sang to me for a good fifteen minutes. A peaceful feeling of warm acceptance came over me as I watched this beautiful red cardinal sing. I was no longer sad.
When the kids came out to the car, I was ready to greet them, happy and refreshed. The cardinal had given me strength and peace. _________________________________________________________

I have a good friend who called me the other day, ecstatic because she had been outside working on a statue of the Blessed Mother Mary to give to her church, when a beautiful cardinal flew up and landed on the statue. The bird sat perched for a long while, and Debra said she knew he was trying to tell her something- just what she didn't know yet. Remember after Mary died, I was drawn to a statue of the Blessed Mother outside of my church? That is when the wind came over me, and something told me to go inside the church. I was drawn into the room where a priest was waiting for me, Father David (Mary and my favorite name). He gave me words of comfort that day, and I know (as does he) that Mary drew me to him. You can go back to my previous post, "A Spiritual Conversation" on August 8, 2008 to read the whole story.

Did you know that cardinal has several other meanings? A cardinal in the Catholic church, is a holy person ranked right under the pope? Webster's dictionary defines cardinal as "being of prime importance" and Native Americans hold the cardinal highly, as a symbol of deep faith and reverance? According to them these beautiful birds appear at very special and significant times.

All I know, is that cardinals appear to me and other people who loved Mary to help them through the pain, give them strength and feelings of comfort and peace. Do any of you have inspiring stories of cardinals or other birds? Please share!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blaming Myself

I don't think you can tell, but Andrew's cast goes all the way up his arm to almost his armpit. Poor thing is so uncomfortable, he woke me up at 4:30 A.M. because his arm itched and hurt. Plus it was hot. And to think summer is here, and we are going to Disney World in two weeks- I feel so sorry for him.

The thing that makes me saddest is that last night before he went to bed, Andrew said, "You know, this would never have happened if I hadn't gone outside to play with Nicholas."

To which my reply was, "Yes- that's true." I knew what he was going to say next because I had felt the same thing.

"And," he said, "I didn't even want to go outside, but you made me."

I tearfully answered, "True- do you blame me for your broken arm?"

Andrew timidly said, "Kinda."

I gave my middle child a big hug, and said, "Thank you for being honest- for telling me how you feel," then I paused, hoping God would give me an intuitive thought. I was too upset to hear Him. So, I continued to hug him and said I was sorry, I blamed myself, too.

"It's okay," he said, as he hugged me back.

I went outside his room and cried to Pete, who told me not to blame myself...Andrew could have tripped and fallen anywhere, at anytime- the whole thing is in God's hand anyway. He was swinging with Nick, went over backwards, I had no control over that.

I just wished I could go back to that day one week ago, keep my mouth shut, and let Andrew be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Murphy's Law (or is it Kolp's?)

Yeah! Katie's dance recital is over and everything went smoothly. After last night's fiasco and this morning's surprise, I was not sure how things would pan out. But I said my prayers and went forward, and everything seemed to fall in place.
Let me back track and tell you about last night. You see, Katie was in four numbers, three of them all within the first part of the first half of the show. But when we had our practices at the theatre Friday and Saturday, everything was out of order. When the dress rehearsal began, we realized Katie had only one dance in-between two of her dances, and she had to change tights, leotards and shoes (this year was a non-costume year). Well, Katie is very modest and we spent too much time looking for a private place in the dressing room for her to change. Suddenly we heard someone calling for her, Katie began to get upset, we hurried, someone came to help and by the time we made it to the stage, her number was over. She was devastated that she had missed her dance. We did learn something from this though- she would have to change backstage, with lots of help, and that is what happened today. I sat on the side of the stage and waited to help. The teachers came and helped, too, plus Katie layered pink, black and tan tights to make it easier...and, we made it! I told Katie she should feel like Hannah Montana because performers have to change so fast, they have a lot of people working on them. That made Katie feel pretty special.
The next snafu occured this morning. You see, when we got home at 11:00 last night, I decided I should wash all of Katie's dance clothes so they would smell fresh for recital. Thank goodness I kept the finale outfit out- it is nonwashable. Anyway, I'm sure you guessed what I discovered when I pulled her stuff out of the dryer. More crayon marks. All over her dancewear. And she needed to be at the theatre in an hour. Sigh. What could I do at this time? I stuck my head all the way in the dryer, looking for the culprit (I was sure I had gotten all the crayons out), and I found two small left over crayons that had settled down in the groove between the drum and back wall. I got those suckers out so fast you would think I had found gold. Then I cleaned the dryer real quick with bleach and went inside, head down in contemplation on what I would say to Katie. I checked everything over not once but twice, then asked Pete what he thought, and we decided that the marks were so minimal that they would not be visible on the stage. But Katie would have to wear some older jeans for one routine because the jeans I had just bought were very noticeably marked up. Katie almost started crying when she found all this out, but when I asked her what else could we do, she nodded in understanding like a big girl. I was so proud of her acceptance (I could learn a thing or two from her).
After all these roadblocks, the real deal went off beautifully, thank you Lord. Katie was a dancing queen and felt like a glamorous girl, I could tell, with all that make-up she had to wear. I told her she was getting good experience with make-up so that when she was forty-one like me, she'd know how. Then she looked at me, smiled and said, "But mom, you're twenty-nine, remember? So I can start wearing make-up then!" (I always tell my kids I stopped aging at twenty-nine as a joke). 'Don't grow up too fast, I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up,' I thought, as I watched her head off for the dressing room.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dirty Laundry

I wrote this poem today while sitting in the downtown theatre during Katie's dance practices and dress rehearsal. We had enough time to come home for an early dinner, and since I am constantly doing laundry, I did a load while we were home. I did not think much of the fact that four different colored crayons were in the bottom of the washing machine when I put the clothes in the dryer. That is, not until I went to fold the clothes. They were all ruined! Crayons stain clothes, friends, just like ink. This happened last week to one of Pete's nice dress shirts. We were stumped at what the black marks could be, since he uses blue pens. Shout did NOT remove the stains, so we had to throw the brand new shirt away. And, yes, we will have to throw away the whole load of the kids school clothes- they are all marked up with red, yellow, orange and blue. I have a feeling I know who has been storing crayons in his pants pockets. I guess I'll have to start digging through them before I wash - sigh- as if I had the time. Anyway, here is the poem inspired from the events of my day:

Dirty Laundry
by Laurie Kolp

"It will all come out in the wash,"
so the old saying goes.
Were they talking about family secrets,
or crayon stains on clothes?

Dirty laundry can be deceiving,
and sometimes seem quite mean.
But do your mother a favor,
and keep your pockets clean.

Good night everyone!!

Some People

Can you believe that someone had the audacity yesterday to ask me what I did all day with my free time now that all my children are in school? The smart-ass side of me wanted to blurt out, "Well, I just sit at home all day and twiddle my thumbs," but of course, I gave her a more polite answer. The answer was a mouthful, though, and I think she was very surprised at what I said, "Well, I substitute teach, tutor three children (other than my own), and am very involved in my writing. I am in a writer's guild, where I am helping a friend edit a hurricane anthology book. I am in two critique groups, one locally and one on-line with my poetry buddies with whom I write and compare daily poetry with. I signed a contract for a book I will soon be published in, Christmas Miracles. I am also working on fine tuning my book and other sundry projects as I grocery shop, garden, do laundry, cook meals, clean house, care for two dogs, try to give my husband lots of love and organize all of the activities for my three very active children. And what do you do?" She just looked at me and smiled. What could she say? I think she was completely dumbfounded by my answer. But you know what? That's what she gets for assuming that I sit around and do nothing. I mean- some people...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Through the Rain

Through the Rain

Broken bones, baseball games,
dance recital practices, oh my!
Homework,reports and carnivals, too.
The end of school this year
has me feeling overwhelmed
like I belong in a zoo!
Where is the peace and serenity
I had just last weekend
when I left the ACTS retreat?
A song in my head, I happily sang,
love of God pouring from my heart.
Oh, how I relish that feeling so sweet.
They said life’s challenges would still await,
for reality can often bite you in the ass.
Just remember the times of peace I had;
the silent reflection, prayer and sharing,
fun times of laughing and acting silly, too,
and with God close by, things aren’t so bad.
Now I take on all life’s battles
with a renewed vim and vigor.
I will walk through the pain,
because faith will carry me through.
With God to lighten the load,
I can walk calmly through the rain.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Things Happen in 3s, Darn It!

Do you believe the old saying that things happen in 3s? I certainly do, and I'll tell you why. Andrew broke his left radius last night almost completely through. That means all 3 of my children have been in casts since November. Nicholas was first, with a broken finger that required surgery. Then came Katie, with a tear in her wrist growth plate. After that, we jokingly made the comment, "Well, Andrew, I guess you're next." Never jokingly make a comment like that- it just might come true.

Andrew's accident happened in our backyard. He was swinging with Nicholas and flipped over backwards, landing funny on his arm. We knew it was serious when he went into shock and started shaking. So, reluctantly, Pete took him to the ER. I say reluctantly because we knew the drill- wait, wait, wait while in pain, only to have to turn around and go through the same thing at the bone doctor the next day. Sure enough, this is what happened, but what can you do? They waited from 6:30-12:10 to get everything done, and this amounted to: 5 min. in x-ray, 5 min. with the nurse, 5 min. with the doctor (who told us the wrong bone) and 10 min. with the tech. who wrapped Andrew's arm. Sigh. Andrew said most people were in there for stubbed toes and colds, but he, a 7-year-old in pain with a broken radius (almost completely snapped in two), had to wait. I hate the ER!

Now, I am at another mountain I must climb, just few days after leaving my retreat feeling refreshed and high on God's spirit. I know I will need to pray more vigilantly right now and am asking you to do the same for us. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Coversation With Jeni

I have an awesome story to share with you. Yesterday evening, I was on the phone with Mary's sister, Jeni. She and I have become great friends. Since she lives in New York, and I in Texas, we usually have to either e-mail/Facebook or talk on the phone. We try to catch up on the phone every week, but time had lapsed since our last conversation. She is preparing for a wedding and, well, you know what I've been up to. Last night was so great to talk. We got on the topic of cardinals and other birds, (Jeni has had some of the same kinds of spiritual connections with birds since Mary died). She was sharing with me some wonderful experiences (which you can read on her blog by clicking the big red cardinal to the right), and I with her. I told her there were cardinals hanging around my retreat place, especially after I got up in front of 64 women and talked about Mary's death and the miracles that have occured since, my problems with depression and other challenges I have faced in life. I also reminded her how when I gave her the "Sisterhood Award" for blogs, a swarm of beautiful bright red cardinals filled my backyard, as if to say, "Thanks, Laurie for doing that for Jen- the best sister in the world." We were laughing about sometimes we feel 'crazy' from all of these miracles. Well, as we were speaking, I looked out my back bathroom window (where I sometimes talk so the kids won't bother me) and a beautiful crimson cardinal flew to a branch right in front of the window. It was right in front of my eyes, as I was talking to Jen about our cardinals! I thing he was saying, "Keep in contact with my sis- you both need each other!" I was in awe, as was Jeni. Again, God is good!

Monday, May 11, 2009

ACTS Retreat and Mother's Day

WOW! This is the only way I can think to describe my wonderful, spiritual-filled weekend on the ACTS retreat. I left Thursday to go on this retreat full of anxiety and with the weight of the world (or so it seemed) on my shoulders and left Sunday morning as light as a feather (except retaining water from all the awesome food) filled with love and hope. You see, I had spent all week trying to help a sick friend, trying to take care of my family, get groceries for Ms. Angelle, worrying that I had a brain tumor or something with all that MRI mess, and the list goes on. I was tired. This retreat was just what I needed, at the right time, to rejuvinate my soul. Don't get me wrong- I did not get much sleep. They kept us up late and woke us early so that we could get everything done. But the fact I was able to get away from my stressful life, lay my burdens out and hand them over to God, made me feel as if I had gotten a great sleep. I also met some wonderful new people and made a lot of new friends. I know I have a new list of people I can call at anytime, and they will be here for me.
The above picture is my roomie for the retreat and me. God put us together for a very special reason and I feel blessed to have roomed with Kathleen. The picture below is my prayer partner, Tami. She is a wonderful, spiritual woman who has her deal of challenges in life and I admire and respect her so much. Again, I think God had a hand in matching us and I am so grateful.

Next, is what the four of us jokingly called the "LORI/LAURIE double-decker sandwich" because there were four with the same name- two of us with the spelling "Laurie" and two with the spelling "Lori"- what fun! Then, the next picture is of two dear friends that were across the hall from me- Victoria and Lori.
When I finally got to see my family at church, I was so happy to see them. I missed the kids and Pete so much! We had a great mother's day together and then went to my sister's house to celebrate some more. Below is a picture of the moms in my family- me, mom and Molly. I love them very much! I hope all you moms out there had a wonderful weekend, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What's Going On

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." - John Burroughs

What an understatement! My life has been so hectic lately, I barely have time to take care of myself. I have been trying to help a sick friend for the past several days, knowing I need to take Ms. Angelle to Sam's and shop and cook for my family in preparation for my leave starting today. (Plus, having had that MRI has left me feeling bad and worried- and I just found out everything came back normal-YIPPEE). Yes- I am getting myself...for four days! I am going on an ACTS retreat from my church. I am so ready for some peace and quiet time. I cannot wait to renew my spirit with thoughtful prayer and meditation. Please pray for my family and me while I am gone. I will be praying for you, too! I leave today at 6:00 and return @noon on Sunday- just in time for Mother's Day. To all you wonderful mothers out there- I hope you have a great, relaxing and restful mother's day, too! Here's a poem I wrote for MOMS:


Moms are special, this is true.
They sacrifice their life for
their family, with all the
special things they do.
Moms would rather
cook and clean and
make their house pretty,
than spend their time
shopping or caught up
in the city.
Moms love their children
more than anything else,
and they would do
anything to give
them peace, love and harmony-
a true meaning of theirselves.
So remember MOMS on Mother's day
and tell them you love them
in your own special way.

~Laurie Kolp

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This Crazy Life I Have

Well, I am feeling pretty crappy today, pardon my French, but there is no other word I can think of to use. Yesterday I had an MRI and MRA(where they had to inject some kind of dye into my blood vessels) test to see why I have these dizzy spells. This was forty-five minutes of jackhammering and annoying noises that kept me praying vigilantly nonetheless. Thank goodness for my dear friends Libby, who prepared me for what was up ahead, along with Debra who has had the same thing. I love you guys, by the way. I want you to know that. So many times I get caught up in life and I want you to know that even though I am busy, you are still very important to me- each friend I have is special. I love this life I lead, even when it gets crazy. Last night Andrew fell out of bed and bumped his eye and nose on the table that was next to his bed. He woke up crying hysterically and Pete and I tried to figure out what he had hurt when he fell. I put some ice on his eye and laid with him for some time. This morning, he did not even remember that this had happened! Imagine that. I wish I could forget things like that or sleep calmly through MRIs, but I just can't. I get nervous and fidgety. And then I pray. What comes over me when I do this is unbelievable. Prayer gets me through. It always will, it always has and will continue to as long as I let it. So I am going to trudge on ahead and see what happens, with faith, I know that everything will come out okay.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason. We meet friends on this journey through life that help mold us into who we are. Some of these friends stay in our lives for a long time and are a constant, like a stream of water flowing through the woods. Others are with us only for a short while, but they can make an impression to last a lifetime. They are like an earthquake- they come into our lives shake us up and really touch us, and then they are gone. The legacy they leave behind is everlasting; it's a gift from God. Mary was like that with me. She came into my life for a brief period of time, but she left an impression in my heart that will never end. And she is still with me. A reader of my blog contacted me several months ago because she was so astounded by my cardinal stories. She had been through some very difficult times and had been inspired by cardinals, too. We began to e-mail each other and she was very curious about Mary's death. She had an inner feeling that she needed to share with me, for she knew there must be more to the story. Well, there indeed was more to the story and I knew some things that had happened the morning before Mary shot herself that I felt I should keep quiet about. I was afraid this information might cause disharmony between Mary's husband and her side of the family, putting the children in the middle. I would never want those beautiful kids cut off from Mary's family. I did not want to interfere. I had written everything down as I knew it and was planning on sharing it with Mary's kids when they became adults. Well, this special friend encouraged me to tell Mary's family everything I knew through our correspondence. I got the courage and the opportunity fell right into place when her little brother David came to visit Mary's grave on her one year anniversary. God does work in mysterious ways! I was able to tell him what I knew and then later I spoke with Jeni, my dear friend, Mary's sister about the situation. They had had their suspicions and what I told them confirmed what they had thought. But it brought closure to us. The miracle of the whole situation is that the friend who encouraged me to tell the family has had many experiences with cardinals since then. Here is one of them:

"WOW! I think you are right. They must be. I have double chills again. Listen to this one... After receiving that email bout voting for the pastor I went on your blog and read your story about the bird who was trying to tell you something. So I went outside and two blue jays flew overhead and I didnt see the cardinal. But I heard him. So I said, "Okay, I am going to listen. Oddly the cardinal was singing in the back yard so I went to the back. When I got to about where it was singing it was gone. So I waited and listened. Now it was coming from my back pasture (I have 10 acres) so I walked. As I got closer I notice their were four cardinals! 2 females and 2 males. And they were on the fence in between the two horse water troughs. When I got there I saw what they were trying to tell me. Each trough had one dead squirrel. It would have poisoned my horses or caused them to ot drink and dehydrate! What a miracle. 10 more cardinal little neat quirks to tell during the next 20 min of clean up to finding your email but my God I can't type forever! LOL We'll just say the cardinal made sure I saw your email right away."

I'm speechless. All I know is that God is great and He is sending us cardinals for inspiration. Pete and I had a headstone made for Mary's grave and placed it out there the other day. She will never be forgotten. So please value your friendships and learn from them. Make memories to last a lifetime.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

YEAH- We Found Mr. Turtle!

Mr. Turtle was found this Saturday morning, crawling across the living room carpet. He was probably in search of food. I am just grateful we found him before the dogs did! We put him in a bowl with food and water (covered this time) and Pete and the boys are going to release him later on today at a local pond. We've enjoyed knowing you, Mr. Turtle, but you belong outside with your friends!

A Proud Moment

We were so proud last Saturday when Andrew received his first holy communion! He looked so handsome in his suit and read so well in front of a full church. During one song, all the kids stood at the end of the pew and sang to us, using sign language to go along with the song "Taste and See." It brought tears to this proud mom's eyes. Here is a poem I wrote about the special event:

Happy parents, friends and family
gathered together to proudly see,
their sweet young girl or boy
receive first holy communion with joy.
Flowers decorated the altar and pews
and everyone dressed in their best shoes.
Together they prayed in reverence
and watched with glee the innocence.
As each one took the bread and wine,
the choir sang glorious tunes divine.
After the service, all went to the hall
to celebrate with cake and pictures for all.
The day was a tremendously fine event,
one not to be forgotten; a proud moment.