Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Party Updates

My other blog has been updated with new wedding and shower pictures.... Check it out!


Happy 17th birthday to my nephew, Aaron.  It's crazy how time flies so quickly...It's like just yesterday he was a toddler that I was making tents with and watching Barney with...and now he's become this amazing, smart, responsible young man.  I don't get to spend as much time with my nephews and niece that I would like to...but I love being an Aunt.  I loved rocking each one of them to sleep, giving them their bottles, and playing with them.  And now that they're all big kids...I am so proud of each one.  Aaron was the first baby in my life...it's so hard to believe he's now 17.  I look forward to seeing the amazing plans God has for his life! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

"The Benji Pact"

*Sigh*  I survived one of the most emotionally and physically exhausting weeks of my life.  I spent the week in Chicago...mourning the loss of my cousin Benji.  Our days began early in the morning...the entire family and the wonderful volunteers from the community in Gurnee, IL, would gather in a home together.  We would spend the day trying to offer our support and work on preparations for the funeral.  The days were long, emotional, and grueling...sometimes one day felt like two. 

I feel like this week has been a learning experience.  I knew my cousin had lots of friends...but I guess I never realized exactly how many lives he had touched, how many people he had helped, or how active he was in the church and in the community.  It really encouraged me to be a better friend, better sister, better daughter, better cousin...and over all just a better person. 

Benji had lots of great attributes...some that I was very aware of and others that I didn't know.  In honor of him, I decided I would make the "Benji Pact"...it is my promise to him to make changes in my life and take on at least one of his good attributes in order for his memory and legacy to live on.

Before I got married, I talked to Benji every single night.  I was just one of the many people he worked into his schedule every day.  After we both got married, those phone calls weren't as frequent....especially over this past year.  He called me, but I didn't call him.  I was in my own funk...dealing with issues that I didn't want him to worry about...didn't want to share with him because things seemed to be going great in his life, and I didn't think he'd be able to relate.  In essence, I sort of shut him out...and I realized it wasn't just him...it was a lot of people.  Now, I can't call him...and I will never be able to get that year of time back, and  I can't explain to him why I didn't call.   Maybe if I had, he would have brought me out of my funk a long time ago...

I decided that I would make a pact with him to take on his attribute of staying in touch with the ones he loved...his cousins, his aunts/uncles, his parents, his in laws, and friends.  He made time for all of us.  And I'm going to finally break free from my funk and do the same...because I don't want to be faced with regret like this again.  All we have is today...we never know what tomorrow might bring.  I need to show the people I care about that I care...or how will they ever know?  Another attribute that I decided to take on is his friendly nature.  Over the years, I realized that I am becoming more and more shy...I was once voted most friendliest in high school...and now I find myself saying that "I don't need to meet new people...I don't want to make new friends."  This will perhaps be the toughest challenge for me to overcome...but I am determined to do it...and I have made the promise to Benji...so there's no backing out.

Benji was all about his friends, his family, his church, and the community of Gurnee.  He touched so many lives and encouraged so many people...If I can bring joy or laughter or love to just a tenth of the people he has impacted, then I will have led a successful life.  The day after his funeral...all of his cousins on both sides of his family and his brother and sister in law gathered on the lawn to play a game of catch phrase.  We had spent the entire week indoors...in mourning, and we all were craving fresh air and light hearted fun.  As we sat there, laughing and carrying on...I could feel Benji smiling down on us.  It was exactly what he wanted...his family...together...enjoying each other.  Benji was known for bridging gaps...in his church, he bridged the gap between the older generation and the youth by becoming the church secretary and making much needed changes.  He tried so hard to bond with the cousins..and bridge the gaps between us, but he wasn't able to do that in life.  But, he did in death...that day, as we sat on the lawn...I knew that he was thinking that he accomplished what he had set out to do.

Benji, I promise to pick up where you left off...I promise to step out of my box, reach out to others despite what kind of funk I am...I promise to do my best to bring joy to people's lives...as you have brought to mine and so many others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In 20007, when my cousin Shijo died...Benji called and we talked till the wee hours of the morning, shared our grief and our thoughts about life and death. In 2009, when my favorite uncle in India died...Benji called and we talked till the wee hours of the morning, shared our grief and our thoughts about life and death.

Yesterday, I received the news that Benji died...and I feel lost because he is not here to talk to. I can't seem to get my heart or my brain to accept that he is gone. When I heard about his death, I instantly picked up the phone to call him...hoping beyond hope that it was all a misunderstanding and I'd hear his voice on the other end. I was crushed when that call went to voicemail.

I have no understanding as to why my 30 year old cousin collapsed to his death... Thinking about it sets my mind spinning. In those last moments did he know what was happening to him? Was he scared? My only consolation is that I know that he loved the Lord, he was happy in his life...with his wife, career, friends, and family. He was able to enjoy life and live it to the fullest.

But, I will miss the sound of his wheezing laughter (something we have in common), our silly talks, our serious talks, hearing him call me "SueChe"...things I took for granted. In a few hours, I will be on a plane to be with the family...to mourn the loss of the one person in the family who cared the most about the family. I could share countless stories about Benjamin...As I think about him...more and more memories surface...He was a bratty little brother, he was my self-proclaimed wedding planner, we had late night chats and i'd tell him scary stories and he was always too scared to hang up, we'd constantly argue about whether we looked alike or not (i thought we did and he thought we didnt) , we once tried to conduct an experiment on how many people we could get on a 3 way call (we only got 5 people on before that plan went bust), we spent many hours making up secret nicknames for our relatives, he made me laugh so hard I'd pee, and he'd annoy me like none other...but we'd always be friends in the end.

Kenji Burian, you have no idea how much I'll miss you....how much I want you back.
Blogosphere, please pray for his wife...who didn't even get to celebrate their 2nd anniversary....and his parents who lost their only child...for his many, many friends, and us, his family who are struggling with the reality of his loss.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

You know you're crafting too much when....

So it's summer, and it's blazing hot. I find it impossible to find shorts in an appropriate length. I'm not about to wear booty shorts, and walking shorts are more like capris for this shorty. So, I wear boys basketball shorts. Yah, I know...it makes me look a little "butch-ish" but hey, they're comfy. Anyway, so today I came over to my mom's to walk with her at the park. Before our walk, my phone rang...it was my friend NC. I sat in a chair outside on the porch and chit-chatted with her. As she was filling me in on the latest...I just so happened to look down. We all know boys basketball shorts are kinda loose...everywhere...like the crotch area. (i can't believe i used the word "crotch" on my blog. I hate that word...just like I hate the word p-a-n-t-i-e-s). Anyway, I digress...I looked down...and attached to my baggy crotch was a piece of hot pink, glittery tulle!!!!!!!! I couldn't stop laughing. And I couldn't help but tell NC about my discovery. She said not to feel bad...if anyone saw me...who knew me...they'd just think "oh, Sue's working on another wedding!"