Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Family’s Bucket Overflows with Thankful Reflection…

I am so very thankful for each person who takes the time to try and understand and reflect on our families’ struggles and strength.  If you are reading this, thank you for stopping for a moment to join in our family’s journey.  I have learned this week that some people feel that what we write is too depressing and some have even de-friended us or have talked negatively about us.  I know that what we are going through is hard to understand or may cause sadness, and it’s ok if some do not want to take part…but for those of you who do…thank you…this is my attempt to share some positives in our lives…we ARE a generally happy family who just happens to have some struggles at the moment and writing is one way of processing…
Today, in spite of all that happens with regard to Parker’s JA, I am thankful for the gifts in our life.  For those who have attended any of my work trainings or those who came to the JA Tampa Family Connect Day, you heard about the importance of “Filling Your Bucket” (Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child by Kathy Martin and How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life by Tom Rath)…See, we all have a bucket and the fuller our bucket is the better we are, the more able we are to cope with hardships, the stronger we become, the happier we feel…but sometimes our buckets are dipped into.  Of course, illness dips into our bucket… as does too much on our plates, mean words, problems, frustrations, unkind acts, etc.  When our bucket become empty we have little left to draw from, so it is important to fill up our buckets and the buckets of our friends, family, ….people we care about.  And a funny thing happens when we “fill others’ buckets”, we also fill our own bucket at the same time.
Michael and I have two happy boys, each with their own gifts that are unique to them.  Parker loves purple (like you didn’t know that already), is an avid Rays Fan, and has great friends and a way with younger children.  He enjoys video games (truly an escape), is a great little chief, likes making videos and doing photography, is a wonderful writer, likes social studies, has great coping skills and problem solving strategies, is incredibly brave, is an artist in the making, and enjoys the beach.  He can also find a way of using humor in a very positive way.
Logan is growing into a wonderful young man.  He knows how to have fun, he thinks of others, is a helper by nature, and a pretty happy go lucky kid who goes with the flow.  He is engaged in the high school life:  lots of studying, band, after school outings, trend setting, and dances.  He cracked me up this week…he created a Facebook Event and about 50 kids participated in dressing formal for school on Friday!  Logan also thinks “big”…he tries to give back to the others, is always thinking of ways to raise awareness, and he strives to always to his best.    He loves music, playing the sax and guitar, skateboarding and skim boarding, and is open minded.  And of course, Michael and I are incredibly proud of his volunteer work with the Arthritis Foundation.  Logan did an amazing job at putting on the Tampa JA Family Connect Day last weekend.  If you would like to see the pics and day’s events please visit the website link and scroll down a bit:
I also would like to take a moment to fill my husband’s bucket.  He totally overflowed my bucket last weekend with his amazing “first” blog and it helped me get through the 6 days in the hospital with Parker.  Michael has a way of making people laugh and sometimes people don’t see that extra sensitive side of him.  He is an amazing father and my partner for life.  I say partner because we are together, connected, and we jointly make decisions about our family.  He is respectful, kind, and has a way of calming me when I feel the world is caving in.  We balance each other.  He is goal driven and the love he shows me and the boys is deeply profound and unconditional.  I am so very thankful to have him in my life and I love him dearly. 
Don’t get me wrong…the boys can fight, my husband and I can agree to disagree, we all can get on each other’s nerves every now and then, our house looks like a bomb went off more often than not these days, but we have each other…no matter what!
I want to thank each and every person who has seen “our buckets emptying” and have filled it back up with your kindness, support, notes, encouragement, phone calls, mail, and hugs.  It’s interesting how just a few unkind thoughts/people/difficult events can really dip deep and sometimes rapidly drain our buckets, but I am trying hard to quickly remind myself there are some who have filled our buckets, so I try to dip into those reserves when needed.  So I encourage folks, when you see someone struggling or sad or frustrated… try “filling their bucket”, you might be surprised in how your own bucket begins to overflow.


  1. I'm sorry that you've had to hear the negativity this week. I realize that people don't understand, but if it was happening to them they'd be very hurt!!!

    As you know, we just love you guys! If people are missing how amazing you all are, how supportive your family is, and how positive you try to stay through it all, then they don't deserve to have you in their lives. I am truly grateful to have you in my life. We are made better by you. <3

  2. I love hearing about the lives of my family away from home, whether it be happy or sad new, life is what it is and it amazes me how wonderfully others cope. It gives me hope that if I have rough times that I too can cope as you do! You and Theresa must have been raised by saints to have so much courage, while remaining optimistic and up beat. I truly admire you. Give Parker my love.....and many hugs for you and Mike. Love you Dianne

  3. no kidding! filling buckets should be done more often.....why can't we please everyone eh? gotta do what you gotta do. keep your faith....your bucket will remain full. we love u.