On our last college graduation and beyond ~

2011_04_06_13_13_07I can hardly even think about all of this without tearing up. What a milestone. For us, and for Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III. This kid is putting me over the emotional edge this year. One, he’s my baby. Two, our last to graduate college. Three, (drum roll) he’s also getting married later this summer!!!! It is a lot to process.

My heart is so full. It’s bursting. (That’s either a beautiful visual, or a bloody one. The former please.)

He is such a sensitive and loving soul. When he was little, a simple disapproving look was all that was needed. Not that I believe in it, but no spanking necessary. He wanted to go to bed, early, as a toddler. No bedtime battles ever. He was willing to try everything we offered him to eat, including squid on a stick, which he loved.

He has a heart of compassion and early on he realized it is better to give than receive. As a child he was constantly trying to give away his favourite toys to others. At age 4 he disappeared during the birthday party we had for his au pair, Svenja. He reappeared a few minutes later with his prized race track, wrapped in a kitchen towel, to give to her for a birthday present.

Even though he was often the youngest in his grade, his maturity level surpassed most of his classmates. He was kind, helpful, and never got into trouble. We loved going to his parent/teacher conferences to soak up all the positivity. :)

The acting bug followed Samuel throughout his life, beginning in preschool, then grade school when he played Caesar, followed by numerous other musicals and productions, including playing Jesus on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic. His last production was at Seattle Pacific University, and we were privileged to be there for that one too.

Traveling was a big part of our life when Samuel was little and we enjoyed so many amazing experiences. It stands to reason he was also bitten by the travel bug. We sent him alone to Rome one summer in High School, and to Normandy, France one spring break in college. As a huge history buff, those trips fulfilled a couple items on his bucket list. The mission trips we took as a family, when he was in grade school through high school, contributed to that huge heart of compassion for others. Traveling to Indonesia and Morocco during the past 4 years of college continued to fuel that. He has the biggest heart for others and for making the world a better place. (Where have we seen that before? -It is in their genes.)

Samuel embraced his faith as a small child. Even ‘evangelizing’ his neighborhood friends at their house, which resulted in him being sent home early one day. :) The evolution of his faith has been inspirational. He has taught me so much.

I’m not so ready to let him go. Not that it is my decision. Sending him off to Seattle for university has probably helped me in that transition… a little, a wee little.

It was there at Seattle Pacific University where he met Sarah Michelle Andrews, the girl he will now marry. She is a gift. She exudes the same joy for life and the ability to see beauty everywhere. They share a high level of happiness, and sense of humor, and a certain ‘go with the flow.’ They care deeply for others and so obviously for each other. They are simply two extroverts enjoying the journey of life. We look forward to the future with them.

Pray for Samuel and Sarah Sam&Sarah-2927as they begin life as husband and wife beginning August 7, 2015, and as Samuel begins law school at Gonzaga a few weeks after that. We are thankful for so many who poured into Samuel’s life over the past 21 years. Grateful beyond all reason.

Truly our greatest joy in life has been raising our kids. Enjoying them as adults has raised that bar.

Love you Bubba! Congratulations to you and Sarah as you graduate. We wish you all the best and look forward to celebrating your future with you!!

Love, Me, and Dad too!

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Dancing in Indonesia – the bearded man in yellow

 

Samuel & Jeffery

Samuel & Jeffery in the Dominican Republic

Image 1 SamuelatSPU My kids with my Mom & Dad

Samuel in Indonesia

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Alli & Paw Paw

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On the Baltic Sea

On the Baltic Sea

Undergrad grad

Alli & little Samuel in Quebec City

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The Future Mr. & Mrs. Smith

myfullemptynest:

A new Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the horizon….

Originally posted on Steph Chew:

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On one heartbreak of Mother’s Day~

A dear friend of mine lost her child to suicide. Understandably Mother’s Day is a very difficult day. Today she shared this article with me. I don’t know the author, but she speaks beautifully to an aspect of heartbreak that Mother’s Day holds for so many.

“I am the mother of a child who died. And that makes Mother’s Day very hard.

Recently I was talking to a mother whose child had just died. “What about Mother’s Day?” she asked, through tears. It was hard to know what to say, because it’s a terrible day for those of us who have lost a child. Other days of the year you can maybe make it a few hours without thinking about your loss; other days of the year you can pretend that you are an ordinary person and that life is normal. But not on Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day it’s in your face that your child is gone forever. On Mother’s Day you can’t pretend you are ordinary or that life is normal. All the hoopla, all the Hallmark hype, the handmade cards and flowers and family gatherings, make it almost excruciating.

Our town has a Mother’s Day road race for which I am eternally grateful — especially because, in a demonstration of grace’s existence, the start and finish are next to the cemetery where my son is buried. On my way I can visit his grave and say what I need to say and look yet again at the name we chose for him carved into stone. At the end of the race, they give all the mothers a flower; on my way home, I go back to the grave and lay my flower there. And then I move forward with the day.

See, that’s the real challenge after losing a child: moving forward. It’s almost impossible to envision in that moment of loss; how can life continue after something so horrible? But life does continue, whether we like it or not. There are chores to do and bills to pay; morning comes, again and again. So you pick yourself up and you live, but you are never the same.

At first, we are different because of our raw sadness. But over time, the sadness moves from our skin into our bones. It becomes less visible, but no less who we are. It changes into a wisdom, one we’d give up in a heartbeat to have our child back. We who have lost children understand life’s fragility and beauty. We who have lost children understand that so many things just aren’t important. All that is important is those we love. All that is important is each other. Nothing else.

It can feel very lonely, being the parent of a child who died. Especially on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. We feel so different from those around us, all those happy people with children the same age our child was, or would have been. But over the years, I’ve come to understand that I’m not alone at all.

There is a wonderful Buddhist story about a woman whose son gets sick and dies. She goes to the Buddha to ask him to bring her son back to life; I will, he says, if you bring me some mustard seed from the home of a family that has not known loss. She goes from house to house but can find no family that has not lost someone dear to them. She buries her son and goes to the Buddha and says: I understand now.

That is what I understand now. It doesn’t make me miss my son any less, or Mother’s Day any easier. But it helps me make sense of it; loss is part of life. There are no guarantees, ever. Our children, and all those we love, are gifts to us for however long we have them.

I understand now too that we are together in this, all of us, in joy and in loss. It’s the connections we make with each other that matter — it’s the connections we make that give life value and help us face each morning. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

Years ago, I chose words to say each time I go to my son’s grave. It makes it easier to have a ritual. And over the years, the words have come to mean more to me. They aren’t just about about grief anymore. They are about who I am, what I have learned, and what I can give.

‘I will always love you,’ I say. ‘And I will always be your mother.'”

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On things that melt my heart~

On a day my heart is broken, something like this awakens my soul and melts my heart. Heart mended. 

Alli Smith shared Act SPU‘s photo.

1 hr · Edited · 

Here is my baby brother with students from Seattle. 

He called me late Monday night in the midst of our city’s utter chaos and said one of the most raw, sweet things I’ve heard this week, “I had to duck in the bathroom and cry today. It’s so obvious people are hurting and I don’t know what to do. I know how much you love Baltimore and it’s people. And I just don’t know what to do about all of these hurting people. I feel helpless.”

Well, sometimes, just being a presence and standing in the gap for hurting people is doing a lot.

‪#‎onebaltimore‬

Ariana Smith

I love my siblings.
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Act SPU
SOLIDARITY WITH BALTIMORE FROM SEATTLE (PACIFIC UNIVERSITY)
#balitmore #prayforbaltimore #baltimoreriots #actspu #spubsu

Posted in Baltimore, Compassion, Empty Nest, Family, Grieving, Love, Siblings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On Mimi~

myfullemptynest:

Still missed.

Originally posted on myfullemptynest:

b. April 21,1930 d. April 21, 1992 A life extremely well lived. If only she had stayed around a while longer she would have met her grandson, Samuel Nehemiah Smith, III; she would have witnessed her grandchildren grow up to be truly amazing adults. She would have enjoyed that they enjoy and have her knack for cooking, baking, and entertaining. She would have seen that they too care for those less fortunate and have compassionate caring hearts. She missed so much. We miss her.

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In loving memory~

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On things I wish I had known before marriage~

My son is getting married later this year. He will be 21 on that day. Young, but then I was 20 when I got married, and we know how that turned out! Very well thank you! Even so, 35 years ago it would have been helpful to know a few things. FullSizeRenderAt the time, we just didn’t know what we didn’t know. Here’s a few, in no particular order:

That birth control can make you crazy. Looking back I can now see that all ‘fights’ early in our marriage were on a pretty regular 28 day schedule. I am not saying without ‘the pill’ we would not have fought. What I am saying is, that freakishly little pill greatly intensified what would have happened organically between two strong-willed, opinionated people. Had we understood that, we could have better dealt with all the ramifications.

That you don’t need to settle an argument before going to bed. Sometimes it is just better to call a truce and take it up again in the morning. Everything looks better in the light of day.

Don’t be selfish. This may seem like common sense, until you process all the ways we are unintentionally selfish. My early marriage thoughts were focused so much on what Sam would do for me. Including being my own personal spider killer.

Communicate well. Don’t expect someone to be able to read your mind. Talk about it. Calmly and kindly. If you think something nice, say it. If you think something mean, squelch it. Do not say everything that comes to mind.

Recognize the commitment/covenant of marriage. This means divorce is not an option. Choose to love and keep on keeping on through the difficult times. You wouldn’t ( in most cases) divorce your children or parents. You choose to stick with them through the long haul. Why not keep the same idea of longevity with the one you exchanged wedding vows with, once upon a time, at the beginning of your fairytale? This alone will elevate a relationship to a whole higher level. It’s restorative. The sweet times become even sweeter. There is a level of trust that is undeniable and unmatchable. And P.S., the grass is NOT really greener on the other side. If it looks greener, it’s because it’s covered in “fertilizer,” aka B.S. The really gross stinky kind. Watch out if you step in it.

With our 35th wedding anniversary coming up I guess you could say we have done pretty well recognizing the importance of the commitment/covenant of marriage. We may have plotted to kill one another from time to time, well,  more likely a fleeting thought, but we never contemplated divorce as an option. Birth control is no longer a problem. We no longer need to call a truce before bed. Yet selfishness still creeps in from time to time and once in a while I do expect Sam to read my mind. I wish I could give him that super power. It would save a lot of time. Still, he is truly my best friend and I will choose to love him until the day I die.

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The Greatest Sin of All Isn’t Unbelief or Disobeying the Bible

myfullemptynest:

“… if God is love, then the ultimate sin we can commit against God is to not love others.”

Originally posted on Ed Cyzewski :: Freelance Writer:

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I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about Matthew 25. It strikes me as one of the most important passages in the Bible because it describes a striking scene where the true followers of Jesus are separated from the false followers. Perhaps something about my “closed-set” evangelical background draws me to this scene.

My particular fascination has to do with this: Evangelicals, based on Paul’s letters, teach that the righteous are saved by faith, but this passage teaches that we’re saved by what we do.

Jesus doesn’t welcome people because of what they prayed or believed. He welcomes those who gave food to the hungry, visited the prisoners, and clothed the poor.

I don’t want to necessarily create a false dichotomy here. Of course real, genuine faith is confirmed by our actions. In fact, the word we translate as “believe” is the verb form of faith, which means we’re…

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On the life of Alli~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALLI! I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday, even though it was 28 years ago. Truly one of the best days of my life – the day I became a Mom. You started me on that wonderful journey. I cringe to think of all the mistakes I have made across your lifetime. Yet, I am grateful beyond belief for the woman you have become. Your dad and I are so proud of who you are. Our prayer is that God will be with you in midst of all life has to offer, and that you will always embrace the joy and peace that only He can give. You are an amazing, compassionate, intelligent woman. I have said it before and I will say it again, you inspire me, and make me want to be a better person. Thank you for the gift you are to our family.

We love you!

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From a Dominican mission trip a few years ago.

From a Dominican mission trip a few years ago.

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My kids with my Mom & Dad

My kids with my Mom & Dad

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Alexandra

Alexandra

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Daddy's girls

Daddy’s girls

A night at the ballet

A night at the ballet

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

A servant's heart

A servant’s heart

Brothers :)

Brothers :)

Beau

Beau

Cooking together

Cooking together

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So, MY SON IS GETTING MARRIED!!

Meet Samuel. s-28

He is about to embark on a new adventure!

With Sarah.

Samuel & Sarah’s great adventure…. began somewhere on a beach in Seattle.

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On why my husband does what he does #ImmigrationReform

“Mr. Smith,

I am writing to you today in appreciation for your wonderful help towards our case. We were all very fortunate to have found you. I will forever be thankful to you, for giving me the opportunity to get what I’ve always wanted; A piece in mind.
One thing I did learn throughout this whole process is to always stay positive, never give up. I have to admit I did go through some doubts, luckily everything went very smoothly and I’m proud to say that you helped accomplished that.
Having been able to see my parents with the joy that they felt is everything I could ever want. My parents needed that, and they needed it badly. Not only for them, but for my sibling also. They feel so secure now, its unbelievable how much something like that can change you.
Send my regard to *Mrs. Smith. She must feel so proud of you for helping others the way only you can.
P.S. We are planning a family trip this year.

Thank you,”

*I am!

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