March 29, 2012

if i could...

If I could, I would put you into a deep, sweet, lovely sleep. In the back of your mind you would hear whatever it is you love to hear:
seagulls flying over the shore of a warm, sandy beach, or the waves of the ocean themselves as they come in...go out...come in...go out...
maybe you'd rather hear the paddle of a canoe and water splashing off it as it slices through a deep blue lake
or perhaps you'd prefer a playground where children are laughing and teasing each other as they run through the grass?
You might long for the sound of the wind caressing pine branches while they wait patiently for the moon to rise behind them
or the sounds of your mother quietly loading the dishwasher while dinner simmers on the stove.
Whatever sound it is that brings a feeling of peace and safety to your soul, that's the sound you'd hear.

I'd do the same thing for your sense of smell. Whatever it is that comforts and gives you joy-those are the smells you'd smell.
Maybe you love the smell of grass right after it's been cut or the smell of a fat little baby fresh out of a bath? Perhaps you love the smell of fish and worms and wet roads after a summer storm or the way a cornfield smells at harvest time?
You might find comfort in the smell of a good cigar or brownies right out of the oven. Whatever smell it is that gives you a feeling of contentment and calm, that's the smell you'd smell.

If I could put you into a deep, sweet, lovely sleep, (don't panic-I'd make sure you were on some sort-of life support) I'd gently lift your tired, aching heart out of your chest. I'd carry it to God and say, "Please? Would you please, please heal the deep hurts hidden here? Would you reassure this heart that You are always near? Lord, would you please give this weary heart what it needs today? Trust that You are capable or hope that You are faithful or peace that You have forgiven? Would you put your large, warm comforting hands around this heart and love it like it's never been loved before? Would you please be the tender Father this heart needs and let it know all is well because You are all it needs?"

That is my prayer for you today. Refreshment, strength to take the next step, knowing you are loved...peace....joy in the circumstance you find yourself in...I can't take your heart out of your chest literally, but I can in prayer.

My heart just lifted yours to His...

March 28, 2012

oh so thankful for:

-my tire falling off my van yesterday while I was driving slowly. It could've come off the day before when I was going 60.

-my leg has had what I would call a miraculous healing over the last 10 days or so. It's not completely normal, but the change has been dramatic.

-friends-they listen, put up with all my quirks, encourage me, make me laugh...

-4 sons who laugh at and with me.

-my husband...

-curly hair. I can hack at it every month and the curls hide most of my mistakes!

-being able to write. That is how I express my heart and let things go. I think I'd have ulcers if I were Elizabeth Bennett.

-2 daughters-in-law that have become daughters and friends

-books, the empty ones as well as the ones with ink typed across every page

-living in a place that has 4 seasons. I need variety in my life.

-a perfect little granddaughter

-a safe place to walk each day

-boys again. I'm thinking in particular about their curiosity. I see a toaster and think, "Cool! this thing crunches up my bread." My sons see a toaster and they think, "Cool! What are those coils for? How do they get hot? How does it know the exact length of time to stay hot enough to brown my bread but not turn it into charcoal?" etc. etc. etc.

-the crows that circle over our house and gather on the trees each evening

-music-there is so much power and beauty and depth and life and...and...

-thrift stores and hand-me-downs

-the gift of memories (at least some of them)

-a mother who tried

-creative outlets

-houseplants. I need green therapy

-a tiny house-it gives me more time to play

-photos

-binoculars and our microscope. I can spy on our neighbors-the big and the small

-21 years of home schooling

-being able to email instead of having to make some uncomfortable phone calls

-my back and leg stuff required standing all this time instead of sitting. I would've gone stir crazy being stuck in a wheelchair for 20 months

-extended family

-God doesn't always talk in a still small voice, sometimes He shouts at me. (I can be pretty hard of hearing at times)

-a mother in law who taught me how to play and love and have fun with our sons

-my daddy

March 26, 2012

PS

As the day has progressed I've thought about my previous post and how terrible it must have sounded when I mentioned throwing blobs of jello at my homeopathy guy's window. Add to that the fact that I wanted to include my son in the activity and well...what must you think of me??
I'd like to explain:
in the first place, there is no way to tell you how thankful I am for Fritz. (my homeopathy guy) He is doing a great job "fixing" me, using natural, good for me, concoctions. I am blown away by his wisdom and knowledge and his desire to help.

When I mentioned throwing jello, it was the thought of, "Lovey, let's go have fun and do something totally weird and unexpected and laugh til our stomachs hurts...." My son and I pictured red, orange, green, yellow and purple jello splatting against a window and dribbling down, down, down into the ground and we laughed. Our discussion and our imaginings did the trick and bonded us together after a rough day. We laughed and hugged and all was OK again.
Neither one of us actually want to throw jello at someones window. We just wanted to laugh and imagine what that would be like.

I hope that makes sense, and I hope you won't hold my previous post against me....OK?

I think it's very important (when you have a rough day with a child) to do your very best to at least end the day with forgiveness, and hugs, and love and reassurance that all is well. He needs to know you still treasure him, still love him, and you're mature enough to admit you were wrong. (even if you do want to go out and throw jello at windows...)

and so it goes.

Last night as I was tucking my last little guy into bed (and kissing his warm, soft cheek, smelling his recently shampooed head, soaking up the feeling of his sturdy arms around my neck and listening to him say, "I love you so much mommy!") I had to ask his forgiveness.
"Lovey, I'm sorry I've been sooo grouchy and emotional lately. My homeopathy guy is working on me, but he hasn't figured everything out yet. I think he's fixed a few things, but now we need to work on my emotions."

We talked for a bit about all that and decided it would be fun to go throw colorful blobs of jello at the homeopathy guy's window. Can't you hurry up and fix this woman?? That's what each blob of jello would represent-frustration at how long it takes to naturally balance an imbalanced woman. I can't talk to the employees at Joann Fabrics about yarn without tearing up.

Lately, for some strange reason, my thoughts keep going back and back and back to this picture.


It was taken on my second son's wedding day. (he's the one on the right)

Do you have pictures that have melted into you and become a part of you? Pictures you adore and you'll never, ever forget even if you forget your own name? That is how I feel about this picture.

Those two boys of mine have so much history. They fought so much while they were growing up-they drove each other crazy and drove me crazy in the process. I worried and prayed about their relationship for years and wondered if they would ever be friends. Will they ever like each other??

This photo paints a thousands words. Maybe more...It is one brother trying to annoy his little brother one last time before he steps into the role of being an old married man. It's one brother
saying to his little brother, I love you you little turd, but I can't say the words because I'm a guy and guys don't say things like that to each other. It is one brother saying to his brother, You have annoyed me to death little brother, and I hope, by golly, this kiss annoys you back and embarrasses you and you take it to heart; I hope it lets you know I love you even though, and you'll always be important to me.
It may even be one brother saying to his little brother, let's be kids again, for just one second, before I grow up forever...
It is a little brother saying to his big brother, I love you too. I'm going to strangle you for this, but you just made my day.

It is a momma, looking at her sons and remembering...remembering all the noise, dirt, fighting and pretending. It is a momma missing tired, sweaty goodnight kisses from two little boys now grown into men...it is thankfulness in who they've become and amazement at the way God answers prayer...it is a woman looking at two of her boys and shaking her head, loving them, needing them, letting go.

Unlike the fact that Joann doesn't carry the yarn I need anymore, this is a valid reason to sit here and cry.

March 13, 2012

waiting...

My oldest son called me the other day. He'd dreamt I'd run away from home and moved to Uganda.

While running away has crossed my mind lately, Uganda is probably one of the last places I'd run to. I told him if I ever run away I'm going to go be a waitress at a truck stop in Wyoming.
"Oh, that will improve your life." he replied.

(I shouldn't of told him that because now they'll all know where to look for me when I...)

The problem with running away is that the thing I most want to get away from would have to come along. I'd have to drag me along.

I need a plumber or some duct tape. I've been like a leaky pipe lately-tears always quite close to the surface, seeping out almost continually. I even made a list of "10 Things That Make Me Cry" just for you but in a moment of clarity I realized for Pete's sake, you can't post that. No one wants to read about what makes you cry. Aren't you glad I have moments of clarity occasionally?

I'm thinking I'll have to blame my homeopathy guy for this. It seems like more than a coincidence that this seepy-pipe thing started as soon as he put me on a new concoction he'd whipped up in his laboratory to help with some hormonal issues I've been having. (Being a woman of a certain age, (of any age actually) is a pain sometimes, you know?) But, I can step back, look at my leaky self and say Oh dry up. There's nothing to cry about. That's what makes me think it's hormonal. If I were really depressed I wouldn't be logical about it, would I? My homeopathy guy said it would take a couple months for things to even out and level off. All I have to say about that is, well...hmm....this is going to be fun.

I had to kick my husband out the door this morning. I asked him what I should write about and just like a man he said, "Write about Peyton Manning."

"I don't know anything about Peyton Manning. I know he's a good football player. He injured his neck. He got fired."

"He is football...."

"Goodbye dear. Drive carefully."

Now that I think about it, maybe that's what you'd rather read about? Peyton Manning...Well, I'm sorry. I just told you everything I know about the guy.

Instead, you get leaky pipes, dreams of duct tape and running away from myself, moments of clarity and me waiting...and waiting...and....

March 8, 2012

a walk under the clouds

I'm not sure which part of my walk yesterday was my favorite part. It could've been laughing with my son as we pushed (hard) against the wind to get down the road. At times it felt like we were walking on a treadmill and we were stuck, not getting anywhere.

Or, it could've been the warm but nippy wind itself; it was so refreshing after being in the house all day.

I also enjoyed the fact that not one dog came out to challenge us or make our hearts race. It was a peaceful walk despite the noisy air that kept trying to blow us over.

We stopped at a little inlet of the lake to play and relax. I sat in the grass and watched my son. He jumped and tumbled, laughed and rolled around like a wild thing that has finally been released from a cage. Seeing the twinkle in his eyes and hearing him laugh at his new found freedom was maybe, maybe the best part.....

However, now that I think about it, I loved watching all the birds flying over the inlet. 11 grey and white seagulls flew almost directly over my head, and despite all the warnings, I did look straight up at them. (They were kind and left no calling cards in my hair) For the first time in my life I noticed the graceful but sharply curved lines of their outstretched wings-so distinctive from any other bird I've seen.

After the seagulls left, 9 vultures came along and circled over the houses and the lake. They flew like huge, black kites swirling under the grey and white clouds. I was envious of them-they looked completely free of all life's worries. I knew without a doubt they were enjoying the challenge of the wind. At times they fought against it, daring it to try and stop them; at other times they let the wind blow them where it wanted, and they flew in free fall, dipping and swirling through the air. I wasn't sure, but I thought I could hear them laughing in joy, thankful for the spring winds.

I loved watching my son explore the little holes in the ground. We still don't know if they're crawdad holes and we wonder if they're not, who made them? Two days ago my son stuffed some cotton from a cattail down one of the holes and yesterday it was gone. Whoever lives there either pulled the cotton further in to make a downy bed, or shoved the cotton out and it blew away in the wind. He took sticks and poked them down each hole, trying to measure their depth and compare them to the other holes. We noticed some of the holes have deep green moss growing down around their edges while others just have dirt sides. Why the difference?

We found a manhole along the way and laughed at the words inscribed on the lid. Sanitary Sewer. Hmmmm...I wonder what optimist thought that would be a good idea?
On the other hand, it couldn't of been too bad in there; moss and tiny white flowers were growing around the circumference of the hole, reminding me of a grave and tombstone....

We took our time yesterday. We stopped and explored whatever my son wanted to explore. It wasn't my usual forced march and maybe that was the best part? Slowing down? Letting my son take the lead? Knowing dinner was in the oven and there was no need to rush. I know that was the best part for him...

March 7, 2012

facing the dragons

I can be a lousy wife and a hypocrite. I've known that for a long time, but I've decided the time has come to admit it to you.

I'm not sure how to tell you about this other than to go back to the beginning and work my way forward, OK?

Until I was 8 my life was very comfortable. We had a largish home, a big yard, plenty of food; the only thing that ever frightened me were the thunderstorms that blew by every spring and summer.

All that changed when my parents divorced. I never went homeless, (as in, no roof over my head) but things did change. I've written about all that before so I won't go into it now. Just know that from that moment there were a lot of changes and I don't think I felt truly safe or stable for a very long time.

Fast forward maybe 30 years? One day, (however many years later it was) when our two oldest sons were teenagers I decided the time had come to teach them how to budget. What better way than to use our bills and our check book to do it? So, I gathered everything together, grabbed a notebook and pencil and the 3 of us sat down to begin Budgeting 101. We wrote down each bill we had, and looked at my husband's pay stub. We wrote the totals down, subtracted the bills from the income and... I freaked. How on earth were we making it?? How did we buy groceries or gas for the car? There was no way it matched up and there was no money left after the bills. In fact, there were bills left over that seemed to require ignoring.

I'm ashamed to admit that was the end of our budgeting class for a few years. I think a lot of the fears I'd had growing up exploded inside and something popped. I dismissed my little class and sat shivering in my boots. That night when my husband came home I felt two things. Great admiration for his ability to juggle all our plates and keep us fed, and shear terror thinking about the dragon he faced and fought every day. I handed him the bills, stuck my head in the sand and told him the bills were his problem. I couldn't face them. I couldn't deal with it. It was literally overwhelming. (See? A lousy wife and a hypocrite.)

Overnight I became what you might call a typical 40's type housewife. I drew a line in the sand and defined our roles-my husband brought home the bacon and I cooked it. Where it came from was of no concern of mine. I couldn't think about it.

Well, last year I finally started thinking about my tendency to stick my head in the sand, and that my husband is 50 plus, and the fact that I had no idea how to pay a bill anymore. It's all done online with things like debit cards and passwords. I had no idea what those passwords were or how frequently some of the bills got paid, or even what bills we have. What if something happened to my husband and I had to take over and pay those bills? What would I do? A few months ago we finally sat down together and wrote it all out. Each bill, when it comes, and its little password. I put all that in a notebook and then guess what I did? I stuck my head in the sand again and stopped thinking about it. Money and bills and business type phone calls freak. me. out.

That's OK with my husband. He's used to handling all that alone, and even prefers it that way.

But, now we have a new dragon to face and it's one my husband doesn't have time to fight alone. The adoption dragon. He is frightening and overwhelming and huge. He requires a lot of business type phone calls and is going to be asking for a lot of money. The last few weeks have been really, really difficult for me because I'm having to face that dragon. I'm having to look at him, and talk to him, and admit he's there. I can't stick my head in the sand.

I'm not sure what it is with money and official phone calls. I trusted the Lord with our sons as they were growing up. I was able to lay their sins and struggles in His lap and leave them there. I gingerly trusted Him with their education and what happened to them after they graduated. It wasn't always easy, but I managed to tip-toe through those things without burying my head. But money and those important phone calls? Why is it so hard to lay this dragon in His lap?

Please tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you have dragons to slay and you don't always feel like slaying them. Are you a hypocrite if you have hypocritical areas in your life?

March 5, 2012

an interesting day

Yesterday I learned:

-when Italian girls get married they keep their maiden name but when the newlyweds have children their children take on their daddy's last name. ( wish I would've known that 27 years ago. ) (just kidding honey. :-) )

-my son and daughter-in-law are willing to go to great lengths and make many sacrifices for our family and keeping the "ties that bind us" strong.

-The boy I was in this picture with died of cancer about a month ago. (A very sad, sobering thought.)


-I can now sit for about 4 hours without my body protesting. ( a year ago I could only sit for about 19 minutes a day.)

And late last night we were blessed to have a really good, heart-to-heart conversation with our 3rd son. We talked about some of the struggles and misunderstandings we had while we were raising him and what the Lord has been doing in his life and teaching him...the cherry on top was when he told us how much he'd enjoyed talking with us! (for those of you who don't know us, he is "the strong-willed child" in my Living With A Strong Willed Child posts)

March 2, 2012

stuck between a rock and a sickle

Do you remember the chicken I'm stuck with til death do us part? Well, I'm also stuck with a rock and a sickle. (They may not live with us that long, but for now? For now I'll keep them. They make me smile and shake my head nearly every time I see them.)

I'm not sure if dad was trying to say he loved us and didn't know how, or if he just wanted to de-clutter his yard a bit, but like the chicken, the sickle and the rock were "gifts" he gave us a long time ago.

The rock isn't a rock, now that I think about it. It's actually a large, lumpy ball of cement with smaller blobs of colorful who-knows-what mixed in. It's bigger than a bowling ball and weighs more than a Volkswagen and, just so you can get a very clear picture of what it looks like, we call it The Barf Rock. It lives in the flower bed in front of our house.

The sickle is just an ordinary, antique sickle; wood, metal, dull blade. (is that what you call the part of a sickle that cuts the weeds or harvests the crop? A blade?) Whatever. You get the idea and you now know I have one. Unlike the rock, we've never named the sickle. It has given us permission to hang a wreath on it during the Holidays, but otherwise the sickle just sits there, next to the front door, unadorned and un-named, quietly minding its own business.

I truly don't understand why my dad gave them to us. Even the way he gave them to us puzzles me.

He lived about 6 hours away so we didn't see him very often. One weekend we drove up to his house, spent a couple days visiting and then got ready to head home. My dad waited until we were almost pulling out of the driveway to give us each of those strange gifts.

We had 2 little boys, one still in diapers, when he gave us the rock. The boys were in their car seats, squirming, giggling, yelling, fighting, crying and already asking for drinks of water; the diaper bag was stuffed in the back seat between our sons, along with toys, snacks, and our suitcases. We stood in the driveway hugging dad and discussing when we'd see each other again when suddenly he looked away. Dad pointed down at the rock and said, "There. Take that home with you."

Oooookay. One small hernia later, it too was loaded into the car.

He did the same thing when he gave us the sickle after another weekend visit. He waited til the boys and all our junk were stuffed into the backseat, pointed at it, and said, "There. Take that home with you." My dad wasn't the type of man you could argue with, (especially if you wanted to win) so we didn't try. We shoved the sickle in the trunk and brought it home.

I'm not sure what other dads give their daughters when they want to say, "I love you." And maybe dad wasn't trying to say that at all? Maybe he waited til we were gone, went into his house, poured a glass of lemonade, sat down, put his feet up and said to my step-mother, (with a huge grin) "Well... I just got rid of the rock and the sickle! Feels good, doesn't it?"

The sickle is something I enjoy. I love antiques and that certainly is one. I'm not at all embarrassed by its presence on our front porch. But that rock? The Barf Rock? It's ugly. And it looks like barf. Sometimes I want to hide it, because it does embarrass me, but I just can't. I don't want to forget about it. It was a gift from my dad, no matter how strange.

Maybe, like the chicken, I should make a little sign and put it near the rock:

I am a cement rock that looks like barf. I know that and you know that. Judy wants you to know that while hideous blobs of cement are not her thing, I am. Her dad, for some unknown reason, wanted us to be together. He knew Judy would take good care of me and never let me go. Her dad is gone; he is safely Home, waiting for her to join him someday. In the meantime, she has me to enjoy: a large, ugly ball of cement. I make her smile and shake her head in amused confusion every time she sees me and, I remind her of her dad. I am both a mystery and a hug. She is happy to be stuck with me.

March 1, 2012

my son and i almost moved but....

My son found a hole he wanted to explore the other day. After I saw it, we thought it might be fun to go live in the hole, but there were a few minor things to deal with before we could do that.

The hole sits on a small hill overlooking the inlet of a nearby lake. There are dilapidated cattails along the lake shore, waiting for spring to breath fresh life into their weary veins. A small clump of trees house a gazillion noisy, happy little birds who chirp continually, regardless of the weather. The inlet itself is like the bottom of a bowl; 16 houses sit up around the edge of the "bowl", looking down at the water and across at each other.

There is one side of the bowl that sits empty and alone; grass grows on that side of the hill, but there are no houses or trees to interrupt the landscape. That is where our hole lives.

I have no idea how my son found the hole. It's about as big around as a 50 cent piece. But, that is one of the miracles of being a child; they are never anxious to move on, keep walking, get home...children take time to notice tiny things and in this instance, I'm so glad I didn't hurry him along. I've never seen a more inviting hole.

At first I thought it was a crawdad hole, but then I realized it couldn't be. Crawdads hibernate and in the spring their holes are surrounded by a mound of fresh mud that has to be pushed out of the way so they can get out. There was no mud near this hole. Then I thought, a snake hole? Ewww. It's too pretty for that.

So, we have no idea who lives there, but no matter who it is, we wanted to ask them to vacate the property so we could move in. Why? What's so appealing about this hole? Well, for one thing, the location. It sits on a hill, overlooking the inlet of a lake. The birds add to the charm, and the hole faces west. Every evening we'd be able to sit in our minuscule little lawn chairs and watch the sunset. The most appealing part of the whole thing is the carpet. The edges of the hole are covered in a thick, soft, luscious green moss that grows down, down, down, deep into the ground. We knew if we could only be small enough to crawl deep into the moss, it would be better than snuggling on a water bed or having a massage; it would surround our cold bodies and comfort and warm us like nothing else could.

There was just one other thing to take care of before we could move in. (Size being the first issue)
When we stooped down and looked deep into the hole, we noticed a spider web. It was about 2" down the entrance and even though a spider wove it, it was lovely. The web was covered in tiny dew drops-it looked like a chain of diamonds tangled across the entrance of a cave. We imagined we were little explorers armed with ropes and picks and...and....wait. If we're small enough to fit into that hole, and a spider built a web completely across it, that means he's bigger than we are. What does one do with a spider that big? After a bit of pondering, we decided it was maybe best to leave well enough alone and move along. Spider slaying was not on our to-do list that day and maybe, someday, we'll find a bigger hole, maybe a hobbit hole, we can move into.