Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today I lost one of the most important women in my life.

My grandmother “mimo” Toyce Francis Smith was an amazing woman with a heart of pure soul and gold. While growing up, Mimo lived about seven hours away in Louisville Kentucy so I only saw her once or twice per year. When we would go down there and stay with her, it was usually Thanksgiving time and be a whirlwind of food, family and of course “day after Thanksgiving” shopping trips. Due to the hustle and bustle, I never really appreciated or heeded the grandmotherly advice that Mimo would attempt to offer. Sure, like any young person and teenager, I would listen but not necessarily comprehend what I was being told.

Fast forward to 1992 when I was faced with no summer job in Central Illinois after attending my first year at Eureka College. Since money was a necessity and I had nothing to lose with very few options, I called Mimo and Coy to see if I could come live with them for the summer knowing that job prospects would be greater in a big city. Luckily they opened their house to me and the re-education of Wade would begin. Due to a job that required me to be at work from 5AM-2PM, I had most of the afternoon off and would spend a majority of that time discussing life with Mimo and Coy. We discussed my failures in Pharmacy School and my triumphs at Eureka College and I was searching for myself trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

That summer I realized just how deep Mimo’s faith in God ran. She spend many an afternoon teaching me to trust in God’s word, look for his signs, make the right decisions and follow my heart. I learned more about Mimo and more about myself in those two months than I had in the previous 21 years. We prayed together everyday and before I left her house that summer to return to Eureka, she told me that her prayers had told her that I would be introduced to a very special girl soon that I would settle down with. Of course two weeks later I meant Jeanne before classes even started at Eureka. When I took Jeanne to meet Mimo for the first time, I believe Mimo was more smitten with her than I. After that summer, I started to talk to Mimo on a more frequent basis and the jokes began that we believed that Mimo had the “direct uplink” to God. Her faith ran so deep that she would know things before they happened being told to her by God himself. While I have to admit that at first I was very skeptic, after it happens time and time again, you really start to believe in higher callings and higher beings.

While I got to know Mimo so well that summer of ’92, I was fortunate enough to live with her and Coy again for a short time in 1996. This time they opened their house to both Jeanne and I. While we only lived there for three months until we both found jobs and were able to move out onto our own, those three months changed our lives forever. Again I was blessed to spend more time having my chats with Mimo and Jeanne was able to experience chats with Mimo as well. Even after we moved out, for the next three years, we went back at least 1 or 2 days per week to just hang out and talk with her. Jeanne and I’s life together really got its start in Louisville thanks to Mimo.

Since moving away in 1999, there have been very few times that I haven’t talked to Mimo on the phone at least once every two weeks. She got me through Jeanne’s father’s passing, many relocation decisions and most importantly through our experience with pregnancies, miscarriages, and adoptions. She knew Paige was coming into our life before we did (again told by God). One of my favorite stories to tell involves Mimo. Jeanne was about 7 weeks pregnant with JD when we heard his heartbeat on a Thursday. We hadn’t told anyone yet about being pregnant since this was our 7th pregnancy and didn’t want to burden our friends and families with another miscarriage. Since we had never heard a heartbeat in the previous 6 pregnancies, we were extremely excited to share the news so naturally one of the first people I had to call was Mimo. After telling her the great news she didn’t seem to be as excited as I was and very seriously said, “honey, what would you do if you got a call about an adoption in the next week?” Of course I brushed it off and said “Mimo, people usually wait months, if not years, to adopt so I am not too worried about that happening”. Her answer was to “just think about it”. Fast forward to TWO DAYS later and what happens?? We get the call from doctor that Paige had been born and we had four hours to make a decision to adopt. Mimo knew all along that this was going to happen and claims that Paige was very special to our family and chosen by God specifically for us. Paige has a very special place in Mimo’s heart and will be watched over very carefully. A talk with her a couple years ago made me realize what she has experienced throughout her life. Some of the major events she was fortunate enough to witness:

First commercial radio transmissions to satellite radio
Creation and destruction of the Soviet Union
1st Winter Olympics
Birth of Mickey Mouse
Great Depression
WW II/Korean War/Vietnam War/Gulf Wars
Birth of TV to Color TV to Cable TV to Satellite TV
Creation of commercial airlines, first helicopter flight, space travel and moon landing
Creation of the Interstate Highway system
Personal Computers, laptop computers and internet
Cellular phones

Mimo always told me how special I was to her and how much I meant to her. Even though I told her on more than one occasion, I don’t think she ever comprehended how much she meant to me and how much of an impact she has had on my life. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without her wisdom, knowledge and belief in God’s work. She’s gone to finally meet the man that she spoke with daily and lead a better life now. I know she will check in on me from time to time and I only hope that each time I make her smile and filled with pride to see what she helped create.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Updates again and what the hell was (am) I thinking?

First, i want to knock out a couple updates.

1. my stepmom is still going through her chemo. she has 2 treatments left and then 25 radiation treatments. I really hope the radiation treatments treat her better. The meds she has to take after her chemo has really made her miserable for the past 6 weeks or so. She feels really tired and has constant flu like symptoms making her not even leaving the house for much. We haven't been able to see her due to our illnesses so hopefully things will turn around soon. My dad seems to be holding up pretty good but i can tell in his voice that there are times that he is concerned for her.

2. Jeanne's dilemma - what to say here...same situation. She is strongly considering going back into teaching full time and puting the PhD on hold for a little while. I hope she can figure it out soon for her sake.

3. working out - Jeanne and I joined a new gym that is really nice and it seems to have finally got me off my fat ass. I have been working out 5 days per week for the past 3 weeks and started a new diet today that seems to be a diet i could keep with for life rather than just a 6 week or 12 week thing. The working out feels great so far so i hope the diet works out to be sustainable and i lose a lot of weight before my 20th class reunion in July. I signed up to do a triathlon in June but not sure yet whether i will make that. The new gym doesn't have a pool so i am not sure i will be able to train for the swim. We'll see..

Now onto the What the Hell was (am) I Thinking???

1. My 20th high school class reunion - well i plan events for a living so it seemed to me that since i was VP of my senior class and no one else is stepping up to plan the event that naturally I should plan it. I can plan events with the best of people BUT what i didn't plan on was how hard it was going to be to track down everyone from my class (and we ONLY HAD 63 PEOPLE). Between people moving away and girls losing their maiden name, it has been hard. Not too mention it seems that most of my classmates don't talk to each other still so the ones that I can get in touch with aren't able to help me with any new numbers. so now i am asking myself, what the hell was I thinking in volunteering to plan this thing???

2. Marathon - a couple guys i have dinner with every Wednesday night have talked me into running a marathon in Las Vegas in December. I have tried to train for a couple 1/2 marathons that take place in the Spring and never make it because i just can't get motivated to train on treadmills all winter long. With the spring, summer and fall ahead I think i can actually plan on giving this the old college try. I will be able to run outside more and Vegas is very flat. There is a 6 hour time limit so my goal is 5:58 at this point. Again I ask myself what the hell am I thinking so keep checking back here to follow my progress once my "official" training starts. I want to lost about 20-30 pounds before I start the official training so it may be a little while.

3. Moving again - We just arrived here in Champaign in August 2007 and already we are discussing moving again. This time for the long haul. We have always talked about moving back to Tennessee and that is still an option. We are going to a teacher fair in Murfreesboro TN in April to test the waters. HOWEVER, we are also seriously considering moving back to my hometown area of Varna or Lacon IL if Jeanne could get a job there. Some of the houses for sale are extremely inexpensive allowing us the affordability that if my clientele ever left my company, I should be able to find some other career that could still pay the bills. There are many days that I really miss living in a small town and I know that my kids would love growing up there just as I did. So am I crazy?? What the hell am I thinking???

I just have to put my faith in God that he will lead us in the direction that he has planned for us and then follow his lead. Until next time....keep on keepin on

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life Can Be Crazy Sometimes

Well it's been a long time again for me to post here so here go the updates again

1. My stepmom Sharon is doing ok with her Chemo treatments. She's had some rough weeks but she's staying strong throughout it. The doctor is still telling her they got all of the cancer out and that the chemo and the radiation to follow are just precautionary and she should be playing golf by May.

2. Job in Louisville - Whew where to start!! Since my last posting I have been to visit them twice and in January during my visit it seemed we had everything worked out for me to work for them on a contract basis while stayin in IL and working from home. They even introduced me at their big meeting to the entire staff. Unfortunately the contract seemed to start changing shortly after I arrived back home and the communication started to break down between us. Also the realization of how much travel was going to be involved started to put a lot of stress on Jeanne and I. With Jeanne working fulltime and the kids going to two seperate schools with different times it's hard for her to take care of them when i am out of town. While I was in Orlando last week, it became very obvious that this new client was going to be more challenging than I thought so I withdrew the contract. They were very disappointed and really tried to talk me into staying but I just couldn't do it. Chalk it up to bad timing. They really have a great company and I know they will succeed with or without me. The bad part is that I walked away from some pretty good money but realized along the way that money wouldn't be worth the stress on my family's daily life.

3. Jeanne's dilemma - Jeanne still hasn't figured out what she wants to be when she grows up, LOL. She is looking at a different track for her PhD and considering going back into teaching when she is done so she can spend more time with the kids as they grow up. The goal is still to get back to Tennessee when she's done so we haven't taken our eye off of the prize yet.

4. Working out - Man, I don't know where to begin anymore. I am just miserable with myself. I am almost at my heaviest EVER and can't seem to get motivated to eat healthy and start working out. You know that 1/2 marathon I was scheduled to do in April? yea, that ain't happening. I have registered for a triathlon on June 6th so that's my motivation to get my fat ass off the couch and start training. By turning away the new client and just having my 1 client I have no excuses. My family doesn't have the greatest heart history so I have to get started for the sake of my wife and kids.

5. The kids are having a good winter thus far even though they haven't gotten to go sledding yet. Right after Christmas we took them to an indoor waterpark in Indianapolis that was a lot of fun for everyone. We plan on going back again before it warms up. Man if I had the money, i would open one of those waterparks here in Champaign or Bloomington and make a fortune.

Even though i have been blessed lately I have a couple friends who have been hit hard by the economy. One of them is one of my best friends who was laid off from his job a few weeks ago. I know he received a severance package but not sure he is having much luck finding a new job yet. Please help me in praying for him to find something new that he will enjoy. I would love to find the right client to add to my company that he could work with me on. My other friend is about to lose everything they have. Their company shut down and is about to lose their house. He is trying to find anotehr job as well and looking to move anywhere so I am praying hard for them as well.