Sunday, April 27, 2008

Never Say Never.....and Champoeg Park.....

I'm back and feeling great! Praise God! Gosh how grateful I am to feel energy to do things....and just in time too. It has been quite an adventure packed weekend with teen and family stuff going on every hour of the day.

Why was I so sickly? It turned out to be the new "supplement", a prescription from my doctor. (You were right Quilly and my blogger family. Thank you for your cheers of encouragement.) All of those 'rare side effects' built up and tried to have fun over a period of time. I think we have it all figured out now because I feel great.

I learned something about myself while being sick. I learned never to say never. I didn't learn it from anything like, 'I'll never eat jello again' or 'I'll never sleep so much again' or even 'I'll never watch a whole season of Smallville in one sitting again'. Instead, my never say never was based on a pre-sick statement.....'I'll never leave the house in pajamas.' I know, it is silly. All last week I took "Pippin" to school while wearing my big coat over my pajamas....and I didn't care.

So, enough about last week.

We had a picnic this afternoon at Champoeg Park with the in-laws. It was a great way to round out the weekend. The skies gave us a reprieve from the chilly rainy weather and let the sun warm our faces ever so gently.

My hubby and I took a wonderful walk along the water front. My heart filled with gladness as I listened to the waters bubble and the birds sing their sweet songs. I inhaled deeply and could not get enough of the spring smells that abound. Here in the northwest during this time of year, the air is filled with a mixture of blossoms, pines, firs, and blackberry buds. As last year's leaves mix with the earth and the sun gently warms it all together, the fragrance carries memories made and ones yet to be shared.

Here is a memory made today that will be thought of for a long time to come.

This little guy must be quite used to being fed around the picnic tables. He felt so 'at home' with us that he climbed up onto "Rosie's" tummy to eat his lunch of potato chips.

No cropping or zoom lens here. He was so friendly that I was able to lay on the ground with some food in front of me and click away with my camera.


(personal note: David at Authorblog honored me a 'blog of the day honorable mention' for this post. It is a humble honor!)

Monday, April 21, 2008


I haven't really been around because my energy is so very gone. What is wrong with me? I really would like to know.

I can only get warm if I huddle under our quadruple thick mink blanket from Korea or stand in the shower with only the hot water and no cold turned on. But as soon as I get up, the chills hit again. Yet I have no fever.
I also keep having waves of nausea, aches, and shakes.

No I am not pregnant. That would be impossible....and that is not denial talking.

But for some dumb reason I keep pushing through. I had a usual full weekend of stuff to do: TIP volunteering on Saturday, youth music jam session at our house also on Saturday, church and meetings on Sunday. At my meeting, my body gave up and rid itself of lunch and I was able to sleep for a bit on our host's couch. Very productive meeting.

Maybe it is a combination of exercise, new diet (weight watchers), a new "suppliment", and some elusive bug that hasn't shown itself yet. Whatever it gone already!
"I have not the time to be down", I whimper as I decide it is time to lay on the couch yet again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Be Still the Storm....

We all make choices and decisions in every day living and raising a family. Along the way, we can sometimes look back and say, 'boy I wish we did that one differently'. One of those times for us has been the idea of credit and bills piling up on the counter. Braces, cars, credit lines....where is the line between 'must haves' and 'like to haves'? They were our choices to make, some good and some bad and we take full responsibility for them. So, for the past 3 1/2 years we have been working hard, very hard, at clearing it all up. For the most part, things have gone well and we are looking forward to the time when we aren't so restricted.

Occasionally there is a hiccup; a wake in the water that rocks our boat as we move along these waters. Hubby will pull a couple of extra shifts at work and then the waters smooth out again. The past couple of months though, several unexpected hiccups have splashed in front of us. As water does when it splashes, it got heavy and began to really pull us down.

It had been weighing on me and changing my thinking. I knew that if we could just surface once more then we could keep on sailing to the finish line. But how would we ever get back above water? I began to scold myself for being at home. Not regretting the time I spend with the girls and everything else I do, but regretting not doing anything for a paycheck. I had scolding thoughts that Hubby works had every day while I bring nothing home but a smile. How selfish it is of me to be looking forward to some quite time in the fall.

Yesterday I started looking online for part time jobs. I figured if I took a night job then I could work while they slept for a few months and then everything would be okay. I just needed to get us back on track. I also knew that I wouldn't tell anyone about my plans because I would be scolded.
I had a voice that kept quietly reassuring me saying, "Do not worry. God sees and it will be okay."
"I know He takes care of us", I said. "But I must make an effort too."
I kept flashing to scenes of people/friends in my past jumping up and down saying, "God put the money in our mailbox. It came when we were least expecting it and when we needed it the most!"
While I have always been genuinely happy for those people, I didn't believe I could be one of those people. Even after all of the wonderful things that have happened to us, I didn't believe.

Last night, I received a package in the mail from my father. Enclosed were a few things that he had been meaning to send me and a small note.

I was and am so overwhelmed. Thinking back to December when I flew out to be with him, God had provided for my plane ticket and now here was the amount almost 6 times over again. It is enough to get us back on track so that we can focus on that finish line.

There I sat, and still sit, with revelation upon revelation of emotions. I know God sees what I do, but He really SEES and understands that I am tired. It was confirmation that what I do at home IS important, more important than a paycheck. I know God provides, but He REALLY provides. I know my father loves me and wants our relationship to grow and move forward, but he genuinely REACHED out and desired to bless me without even knowing our current situation.

So, here is me full of confession, humility, and gratefulness.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Office Hours...

This sign was posted on the office window at the RV park that my
in-laws are staying at while they are here in town.
I think it doesn't get any better than this.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?....

Things were winding down after all of the unexpected circumstances of Saturday. "Rosie-girl" asked me if she could go for a quick exploration up on the butte before the sun went down. It was fine with me as long as she kept my cell phone with her for the 'in case of's'.

When the sun had set and things were getting dark, I decided to call her and see if she was just about home. After three unsuccessful tries with her not answering, I threw my shoes on, grabbed hubby's cell phone, and a flashlight. I met her at the gate of the park. She was walking slow and her head hung down. One quick look over and I knew....her slowness wasn't because of any pains. It was fear and trepidation.

"Mom....ummm I am really sorry but I uh......lost your cell phone. I've been trying to retrace my steps but I just don't know where it is. I...I......I am really sorry."

Several things ran thru my head:
How are we going to find it in the dark?
This park is almost 600 acres!
If we wait until morning will the night moisture ruin it?
How charged was the battery?
All of the data! Private numbers and everything.
The cost of a new phone.

I sighed, smiled, and then told her it was all going to be alright. We went back home just long enough to grab "Pippin" and head out to search. Our plan of attack was to re-trace her steps and listen for it as we took turns calling with the other phone.
By the time we were half way up the hill, it was pitch black and searching seemed to be quite pointless. And yet, "Rosie-girl" was desperate. Even though I couldn't see her in the darkness, I could feel her guilt and it crushed me.

I couldn't give up yet. So, I chose instead to pray. I said out loud, "God I know it is a material possession but it still matters to me. I could live without it but I would rather not. It is dark and the park is empty and scary. If you could please help us, I would be so grateful. Could you make someone hear the phone and pick it up to answer it? That would really be wonderful."

Then "Pippin" decided to call the phone again. Guess what? Someone answered it!
Two teenage girls had lost track of time in the park and were trying to make their way down the main path when the saw the small light off the side of the path and heard a sound.

We met up with them in the parking lot. As they handed my phone over, the low battery warning sound started to beep. I laughed and told the girls over and over again how much God had just used them to answer prayer.
And as if the idea of answered prayer wasn't enough for me, on the way down "Rosie-girl" said something that warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
"Mom you had every right to freak out and stuff but you didn't. Thank you for just listening to me and staying calm."
I could have freaked when she first told me about my phone being MIA. I was certainly tired and drained and no one would have blamed me. But I chose not to.
My mind instantly traveled to future "talks", those talks where she will confide in me with a little bit more assurance because she knows I will do my best to listen and not freak out.
Thank you God...........thank you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Red Sunset Park...

This evening, I was able to get to the park for the ending of the picnic. I sat and visited for a bit with everyone and thought about how wonderful it is to have these opportunities to be together. After a time though, the pond water and ducks were calling out to me. I decided to take a short walk away from everyone and just breathe after the emotional trauma of the day. It was so nice to enhale in the fresh warm air...a mixture of spring florals, earth and water.

I had to snap some shots when I saw what this girl was walking in the park.
Can you tell what it is?


With Hubby's folks in town for the next few weeks, we had placed all sorts of little things on the calendar. Today was going to be a big family picnic with "his" and "hers" kids all meeting at a park. Things didn't quite go as planned though.

My Uncle Jim died this morning. It was a thing that we knew would happen soon. He had been fighting a long and difficult battle with a strong cancer that had ravaged his lungs, brain, and liver. But even though you prepare and know it is coming, it still takes your breath away when it finally happens.

The girls and I headed up to the house this morning as quick as we could so that we could do whatever we could....answer phones, make food, walk the dogs, give hugs, cry, and just be a presence in the swirling sea of numb reality.

Not that I doubt it, but I was struck fresh several times throughout the day how important my family is to me. As I have said before, there is a lot of emotions that roll with so many of my family members. It is said that you can't pick your family and you are just stuck with them. I see that in my family. Were it not for the fact that we are all blood related, we would never be around one another. And yet, whenever there is a crisis, the gloves and resentments go away and we

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I have been stuck on auto-pilot this week. My mind and thoughts are missing writing/blogging but at the moment I have been pre-occupied.

Pre-occupied with what you ask? Well now that we have a new water heater in place, praise God!!! (and thanks to my brother-in-law who is a plumbing parts delivery driver), I have been catching up on the laundry.

Plus with my in-laws coming into town tonight, I have been making sure the house is up to snuff.
No, the pressure isn't from them. They are so great and my mother-in-law is one of my biggest cheerleaders in understanding my time limits. I do the pressure myself because I want everything just right.

Tonight, we have 11 family members coming over for dinner. For some, that is a cake walk to prepare for and for others it is a huge amount to feed. I tend to sit right in the middle. I find it works best to simply not think about it and have fun.

The menu tonight is spagetti.....
and home made bread.

In the midst of preparing the above, below is a sample of one of the things I taught today....

-2X + 8 = -X + 2
Can you solve it?

Friday, April 4, 2008

This Is No Way To Mop a Floor....

Take a minute to picture the facts and circumstances that build up to this setting:

*I administrate the childrens classes at our church
Schedules and lesson planning are very much due for those classes, which is my job

*I am the home school teacher to 1 junior high girl and 2 high school girls
There are only 9 weeks of school left to finish out grades and subject content

*I am not a packrat but all of my family members are
Two days ago the girls felt it was time to finally overhaul their collective rooms

*I am not a packrat because when things are laid everywhere, I feel panicky and claustrophobic
Things to be gotten rid of are now wall to wall in the main part of the house

*We have company staying the weekend with us beginning tonight
See above

*My in-laws and our oldest daughter (with boyfriend in tow) will be here in 5 days
Still see above

*I am three months over due for a hair cut
I feel like the Shaggy DA

*I got up and took my friend to the airport at 4:30 this morning
An honor and privilege to do anytime

*The calendar has us with a fun full weekend in store with friends, classes, birthdays, and church

So there is the basic setting.
School was just getting started.
I was still in my grubbies because I chose to lay back down after returning from the airport instead of showering.
I reviewed the math lesson and then figured a cup of my newest vice (Chocolate Marshmallow Bunny Coffee with Hershey's Chocolate Caramel creamer) would hit the spot.

That is when I heard the noise...the hissing and spitting sound of running water forcing its way out of a pipe. The sound was coming from the laundry room. As I followed the noise, looking for the source, my socks became wet. The water was warm, snuggly warm.

"No please no," I muttered as I pulled the panel off of the water heater. "We have school to do, a car full of Goodwill stuff to drop off, a friend to pick up, rooms to still finish cleaning, a drum lesson, dinner...blah blah blah..." Relentlessly, unmercifully the water still poured. It didn't care that I had a schedule to keep.

I slapped off the power to the water heater on the electric panel and called my hubby. He had no phone service in the mountain pass he was driving in and couldn't take off of work anyway. So I called my dad. He came in a flash with tools in hand to be our knight in shinning armor. One quick look told him that the whole unit had seen its finer days of water regulating. After wrestling with it for hours, we found that none of the designated parts wanted to work in the way they were designed. Water came out of every opening possible except for the drain spout. We rotated towels through probably 30 gallons of water on the kitchen floor before the spout gave way to our authority.

So here I sit, sore arms from wringing towels, no water in which to shower with, 15 wet towels waiting for a turn in the machine, and a schedule to keep. I am okay really. I laugh in the face of adversity. Haa haa!

At least my kitchen floor is now mopped clean.
(personal note: David at Authorblog honored me a 'blog of the day honorable mention' for this post. It is exciting!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's In Your Wallet...

"Mom! You will never guess what happened! Guess! Can I just tell you because you will never guess!"

That was the greeting I received a couple of nights ago upon returning from a meeting. My "Rosie-girl" had gone with some friends after church to a younger sibling's birthday party. Something very out of the norm for a birthday party must have happened to get her that excited because she isn't one to get all worked up easily. So I set my things down, held her hands, and enjoyed the story weaving ride that spilled out before me.

While at the party, the grandpa of the celebrated youth came over to my girl and introduced himself. He then asked her an odd question. "What is the most trendy and popular shoe that teens are wearing these days and how much do they cost?"

She stuttered around a bit and stated that her figuring led her to believe that Converse were the most popular but as to the price, she was at a loss.

Mr. Grandpa then said this to her. "God and I have just been talking over there on the other side of the room and He wants me to give you this $60 that I have in my pocket. It is yours to do with however you please."

"Rosie-girl" was awe struck, as was I upon listening to the events, and she stuttered about with it not being necessary.....and how does one accept an unsolicited gift with ease?
He assured her that it was a gift with no strings attached and it would please him greatly for her to receive the blessing.

Then my girl, with tears in her eyes, became bold. She said that the youth group was getting ready to attend a city wide conference at the end of the month and that one of the new girls wanted desperately to go but couldn't afford it. She then asked if it was okay with him if she donated the money, which was the exact amount that the girl needed, to be able to attend. "Rosie-girl" said that she had been praying with this friend for the last week that something would happen.

Again, Mr. Grandpa stated that it was her money to do with as she pleased. "But", he said, "If you are going to donate the whole thing, I want to give you another $20 so that your pocket is not empty at the end of the day."
They hugged and cried and enjoyed the rest of the party, each treasuring their special moment.

I have been thinking about this story so much ever since she told me and each time I dwell on it, I come away with new revelations.
  • first, my heart swells with pride and humbleness that she would instantly choose to give the money away. I must admit (a bit sheepishly) that my initial thought about the money was to be able to pay for her own admission to the event. Blessing someone else didn't even occur to me.
  • I am so grateful that she is excited in wanting to step out in her security, her beliefs, and her desires. Being 14 can be tough and she had quietly struggled over the past year thru the ideas of her future and purpose.
  • I see scriptures being proven again and again in her 21st century story. Each scripture ringing in my head that when we simply step out in obedience, God builds our faith with blessings that abound. He is excited and waiting to bless overflowing. We just have to have the courage to do the stepping.

But that is not the end, because the story is still having a ripple effect on all of us.

I received a call from the hostess of the party, the daughter of this Mr. Grandpa. She wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed having my girl over and what a blessing she was. Mrs. Hostess said that she had just gotten a call from a friend who was in attendance at the party and couldn't get my daughter out of her mind...even days later. At this point, Mrs. Hostess told me that her friend is very much against things of religiosity and doesn't like to even talk about God. However, her friend made it a point of saying, "There is something different about that girl. It is like I can see the love of God in her eyes, face, and heart. She is the real thing."

As a mom, hearing that brought me to serious tears. As parents we all do the best that we can with what we have and we all have our biased views on our children. It just comes with the territory. But to have an outsider spend two hours with my youngest and be so touched.....even now tears are spilling onto my fingers as I type.

"Rosie-girl" keeps coming to me with smiles and giddy revelations that 'something cool' happened to her. I hugged her long and hard today and told her, "See you may feel like you are only 14 and so small compared to this huge world. But even now, everything you do and say can impact people and affect change. You are important and you definitely matter."