Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Phone Call...

I just got off the phone with my father and I find my heart in a circle of emotion. I normally would wait and balance my thoughts before attempting to share. I never want to bash or say/write anything out of whim thinking. I never want to be hurtful and regret it later. But I find that today....maybe writing will help me stop the spinning.

Without having to re-hash everything, this post link can explain our past pretty well if you are curious and feel confused.

Since my step-mom passed away a couple of months ago, I have been trying with renewed vigor to communicate with my father. I want to let him know that he is not alone and he still has so many blessings in his life. When I was with him for the funeral, I noticed that there were no pictures of us anywhere. So, a few weeks ago I sent him a package of our new family pictures framed and ready for him to display. I chose frames that could be either used in easel fashion or be put on the wall, frames that would compliment his decor (not that decor would cross his mind). I figured that by doing this, it would make things easy for him with no "to do list"...gotta get to the store and buy frames to hang those pictures, gotta find the nails so they can go on the wall.
Then I called to let him know that a special package was on the way so that he could be looking forward to it. He seemed excited.

He has now had the box for three weeks, but couldn't take the time to call and say a word about it. When I asked about the pictures today, he said he loves them and has been enjoying them.
He has had them for three weeks......

I wanted to yell through the phone, "Dammit Daddy, the phone works both ways! How can you have tears in your voice as you call me your angel and say love me as we hang up from my phone calls....but you can't even pick up the phone on your end for a quick hey I got it bye?! Why do I always have to be the strong one and push this relationship forward? Why do I have to be the grownup? Why do I always have to be forgiving and have the grace? Be my parent for a change!"

Why isn't there an ounce of comment with, "Hey the girls have really grown since I was able to see them 4 years ago. Wow they are beautiful. Gosh they remind me of when you were a little girl. I wish we lived closer so I could know them more."

No, I didn't say anything of the sort. It would be counter productive and push him away more I fear. Anger rarely serves a positive outcome. Instead I commented on how glad I was that he had gotten the box and was enjoying the pictures. Then I changed the subject and brought it around to things I knew he could discuss.

The communication between my father and I has always been rocky. I know he loves me and just doesn't know how to say so. I know that he would like to have daily conversations with me but can't find the energy to pick up the phone and do so. I know he fights with regrets at not being there for me and doesn't know how to move on from let go and move forward. As he wrestles with his insecurities, I daily have to let go of the thoughts that say I am not good enough for his time. I know it is a lie and I push it away and move forward.

Why do I have to be the one that is the grown up, the one who guides and bears with grace when it would be easier to put myself in a protective wall?
Because I am the one who sees the truth. I see his pain thru the veil of my own. If I wait and stomp my foot saying that I will not budge until he makes the first move forward....that serves no purpose but self-indulgence.
Because I see the circle of what is going on, it is my job to be patient and wait it out.
Wait for how long? I guess that doesn't really matter. He may never completely come around from his mountain of perception and I am not responsible for that.
I am however responsible for my own actions...for doing what I know to be right to the best of my abilities.

Thank you God once again for your guidance and patience with me. I am better now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily Generalities....

It has been a whirlwind of a few days for me. There is nothing incredibly important or thought provoking to write about. Instead, it is just a sort of re-cap for my own mental purposes.

-----Our oldest daughter and her boyfriend came into town for a couple of days over the weekend. It was really nice to have them around and truly the easiest things have been in quite a long time. Years ago, when my husband and I first got married, he had 3 children already. The oldest happened to be only 9 years younger than me. She was 9 years old and I the math....18 years old. I know that must sound so strange and give some people the shivers. It worked for us though and that is all that matters.

When she was little like that, it was all so easy. I was the coolest thing next to pop rocks and Michael Jackson. But when her teen years came, things subtly changed. No, there was never a rebellion or an outburst declaring I didn't belong or matter. Instead it was a quiet dismissive-ness. I tried to tell myself I was imagining things but others noticed too.
I chose to keep quiet and let time tell its truth though I am sure I didn't get it right all the time. After all, no one ever does.
Now, at age 27, she shows a little bit more with each visit that I just might have a bit of her heart. It was a good visit.
-----Saturday found me doing the volunteering that I was so ready to walk away from just a short time ago. Confession: I am not ready to walk away. I so very much enjoyed being able to help people thru their tragedies. That must sound awful and confusing. Sure I found myself fighting back tears with one client but it is empowering. Maybe this will help....
We all find ourselves in situations where we know of or see someone in crisis. We want to be able to help, to fix it, to take away their pain. But it is not possible to simply erase life in all of its tragic turns. However, being trained to understand grief and the human emotion gives me an edge. To give a person the opportunity to express their lives and hearts in the dirty pain that they are in and have them know it can totally be about them and nothing freeing.
-----In between calls, I was able to do some card making. My supply of "been thinking of you" cards were dwindling so I used the opportunity to build up my stock a bit. Here are a few things I came up with...

-----Sunday was filled with the fun of church and afternoon visiting with friends. The bummer part was that I got hit with a super mega migraine. Smells, food, light, movement....they were all my arch enemy as I slowly drove the girls and I home. I have no idea where it came from but I can still feel the residual affects of it 2 days later.
It gives me this thought.....If I had a friend that worked as a masseuse, I would completely abuse and take advantage of our relationship.
-----Yesterday found me once again so grateful for my girls. Not that I am ever NOT grateful for them and I am sure I talk about them so much that it gives all the complex that they walk on water or something. I just love my girls and there is no shame in that.
They had a few dollars burning a hole in their pockets and wanted to go to the local clothing store to see about new jeans. while they encouraged each other in their mini shopping spree, I slowly walked around seeing but not really looking at things. Once their precious items were found and paid for, I asked them if they would mind going to the park with me for a quick walk. Semi-grudgingly they agreed.....probably torn between knowing their favorite shows were coming on and because that were worried about me fainting on the trail or something with the previous day's waves still hitting me occasionally.
They ended up being so taken by the park. They ran ahead of me and then back to me just like they did when they were toddlers. they talked a mile a minute and snapped pictures of each other in goofiness as they giggled away. (keep in mind that they are 14 and 16) They jumped on the swings and laid their heads back as they tried in vain to touch their toes to the clouds above. They tackled the mini zip line and performed mock gymnastic moves on the balance beam.
As I sat there watching them and smiling, I noticed another group of teens on the other side of the firs. They sat with drinks, smokes, and profanities rolling. They absently blew off a parent that had brought a needed bag to one of the members.
It broke my heart.
Again, I am grateful.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Right of Passage...

While I was at the beach with "Pippin", "Rosie" stayed at home with Dad. She figured that since the older girls would be in whale training for two days, there wouldn't be anyone to really hang out with. It just isn't the same to window shop and hike with Mom you know. She was excited to be the woman of the house for the weekend. She had plans of doing some baking, watching a few movies, sleeping in, and practicing her drums like crazy.

Last night "Rosie" finally opened up a bit and shared with me about how her weekend went with me being gone. As much as we like to think we are in control, things happen big and small that don't fall into our itinerary the way we would like it to be on a daily basis. Though she did get to accomplish all the items on her list of expectations, one thing happened that threw her for a loop. Dad got hurt.

It wasn't a huge giant sort of hurt that could cause life to teeter on the fence post....but it was a hurt, an unplanned detour, all the same. There has always been at least 3 other older people pulling rank in our home that "Rosie" could default to when a situation needs to be handled. With "Pippin" and I gone and Dad the one needing attention, it was up to "Rosie" to make decisions. Dad didn't need stitches or a cast, but he did need to spend a few hours in the emergency room making sure that all was okay. The final outcome was an impressive pressure bandage and strict orders for 48 hours.

Despite the fact that "Rosie" is not one for the sight of blood, she did all that she could to take care of her papa. She cleaned and bandaged, cooked and appeared whenever needed. She did her best to step up to the plate and be the mature 14 year old that she has always been encouraged to be.

Last night as "Rosie" shared, she hugged me tight and shed a few small precious tears as she relayed the emotions of the weekend. She confessed that though her dad had encouraged her several times during that eventful day to eat, she kept forgetting. Instead her mind was filled with making sure she was doing all she could think of in her 14 year old mind that she had seen her mom do during trying times of the past. That night, after she knew all was well and Dad was sleeping peacefully, she let her emotions and purpose begin to unwind and she felt nauseous. She remembered walking to the restroom...and then she found herself on the floor, waking up with a small bump on her head. She blushed and told me again that she was sure it was only for a few seconds and she was sure it was a combination of the events and not eating.

As a mom, my heart raced while she talked. There was my girl hugging me, with a bump on her head and emotional memories in her mind. And me, I wasn't able to do the parent instinct and protect her.
Sometimes though, it is when we can't protect our children that they grow the most.
I can be right next to her 24 hours a day and not shield her from everything. Shielding is not my job. God is in charge of the events that happen. My job is to listen, encourage, shape, and of course love.

What did "Rosie" learn from the events?
Well, nutrition is not to be ignored for sure. She decided that she can't take care of others if she ignores her own needs.
Most importantly, she learned a vital character trait that cannot be taught from a lecture or a book. She learned that a person can always push themselves a bit more than they ever figure on pushing and handle more than they ever expect themselves to handle.
She experienced the growing and stretching into another level of maturity that she can own forever more.
It is a right of passage.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm Back....

I had set out at the beginning of the weekend a bit nervous about the trip, but I ended up having such a wonderful time.

We met up with our friends in Astoria early Saturday morning and I got everyone to the whale training seminar. Then I was ready for a day of adventure all to myself. The weather was foggy and cool. After not sleeping well the night before and then getting up early for the drive, I really felt a strong temptation to pull over for a bit of a nap. I did just that very thing too. It was a tiny nap, but even that was a strange new adventure for me.

After being re-charged, my exploring began. My first stop was Fort Stevens. I had read about an old ship that had wrecked there back in 1906. It was such a find. I could have stayed there all day. It was a strange mixture of emotions to stand there in the cold waters while viewing the rusted ship remains and listen to the pounding of the waves.

My next adventure was to explore a bit of Astoria. I took in the panoramic view of the Astoria Column and then walked around the historic part of town reading bits of history. It was inspiring to learn about the pioneers that forged this western land.

Once I had some lunch in me, I felt charged up for some super hiking. I treked around both the North Head Lighthouse and the Lighthouse of Cape Disappointment. I got super muddy but it was well worth it. The views were breath taking as the ocean wind and waves whispered to me.

Sunday was a day for staying in town. With my daughter and friends still in the seminar, it was more time for me to explore the concept of "me time". I walked on the beach, did a small bit of window shopping, and crafted some new card designs. I think the biggest thing for me though was the challenge to sit in a resaurant and order by myself. Sure, I have run into Subway or Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. But I have never gone into a "sit down and order with a waitress" kind of place....alone. You know what? I lived. No one pointed at me. Nothing bad happened. I simply enjoyed my meal.

In the evening, our friends built us a campfire on
the beach so that we could roast hotdogs and marshmallows. While sitting there, we saw the most amazing thing as the sun was starting to set. It is called a fire rainbow. I had seen a couple of emails come across my desk with info about this sight, but I must admit that I thought it was some sort of photoshop hoax thing. Boy was I wrong. As if I didn't know the truth before of how amazing and creative God is, this proves it yet again.

This is the best picture my camera could come up with and it does it no justice at all. I know it is hard to see but if you look to the right of the sun and almost to the sand dune, you will find a blur of color. It is actually a rainbow in the clouds. It looks as if a giant hand smeared paint across the clouds in a blaze of color.

Today I got in one more long walk on the beach. I went farther than I ever have before. I didn't let myself stop because of any kind of "I should go do....." thought. Instead, I gave myself permission to walk as long as I wanted, not worry about making eye contact with anyone, and tune out the busy world.
I crossed a small inlet and I got my feet wet.
I got my shoes wet....and nothing bad happened.
Nothing happend except the freedom in being able to do it.

I know, it is worth laughing at. You can say, "Wow Jules, you really stretched yourself there you wild woman. You mean, you actually got your feet wet?!" To me, it meant alot and that is all that matters.

It was hard to leave, but we had to get back to reality. Real lives don't revolve around being able to do whatever you want whenever you want on a continual basis. I am home. I love my family. I have a head full memories to think on for a good while to come.

I am not a photographer by any means, but this link might help you better see a few of my adventures. pictures

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cannon Beach Again...

"Pippin" and I are getting ready to leave for a weekend at our favorite beach. It is going to be a new experience for both of us.

For Pip, she will be at a training seminar for whale watching. Doesn't that raise the eyebrow in question? Basically, she will be trained to observe the resident pods around here and collect data for research and the general public. She is really excited about it. She and a cohort...oops I mean friend, are doing it together.

For me, I will be alone and that experience bears a bit of explanation. Sure, I have had a couple of hours to do the grocery shopping, watch movies in the bedroom when I am sick, or even walk around a store alone....knowing my husband or children will come walking around the corner at any moment. I've just never been alone.
I moved out of my parents home after high school and got married to my husband. He had three children already and I became an instat mommy.
I have never been out of town alone. Going away has always been for the purpose of family vacations or research for childrens ministry. Both options have kept people constantly around me.
Now don't get me wrong here. I am not complaining or looking for the little violin to play "My Heart Bleeds For You".
I am just finding that as I get ready for this small trip, I have different emotions running through my head and heart.
On the one hand, I am excited for the adventure. I can do what I want when I want. I can explore, walk, hike, craft, and watch the sunset with no questions of "what do you want to do for dinner?" or "what do you feel like now?"
On the other hand, honestly, I feel a bit of.....I don't know....maybe fear. The idea is that I am responsible for myself this weekend. My happiness and activities hinge around me only. Will I be brave and explore or will I chicken out and hide in my room?

Then and Now.....

Being two years older, "Pippin" loved being the big sister. She exercised her authority in all matters resembling big sisterhood. Little "Rosie" looked up to her big sister and absorbed all that she could. They share enough of the family blended genes that they have often been mistaken for twins. They always thought it was funny and complimentary There was even a time period when they wanted to dress alike just to have the extra advantage in confusing people.
Over the years, there have been definite times when they got on each others nerves, wanted space and individuality. But despite those speed bumps, they have always been each others' cheering squad. Early on, they saw each other's differences, strengths, and view points and learned to respect and appreciate their uniqueness.


13 years later, they constantly amaze me. They have different tastes in clothing and style. One prefers being a quiet observer while the other is quick to grab the microphone and say whatever comes to mind. One loves to listen to soft music and sit in the solitude of nature while the other jumps for joy at music with tons of drumming and roller coasters are the best way to relax.
Yes, outwardly they are different as night and day. But inside, they mirror each other in every way. They are both compassionate and sensitive. They would do anything to help a person in need and they both consider spending time with God to be a highlight of their day.
Yes, I am a proud mama.
I love my girls and wouldn't trade being a mom for anything under the sun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What's In A Vice....

Among the definitions for vice at, it states that a vice is: An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit. A serious moral failing. Wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption. A slight personal failing; a foible: the vice of untidiness. A flaw or imperfection; a defect. A jester or buffoon. A physical defect or weakness.

My newest vice is Triple Chocolate Bliss flavored coffee. It is a blend of white chocolate, chocolate, and dark chocolate flavors. And if that wasn't enough, I am not happy unless I can stir in a generous portion of chocolate non-dairy creamer as I fill my cup to the brim.

The really funny thing is: I don't like coffee.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend Wanderings...

David McMahon over at Authorblog has posed a question to his readers:

The question is: Does your family read your blog?

My answer is yes and no. It is complicated. Actually, it is only as complicated as I allow it to be right?
Husband: yes Mom and Dad: yes Brother and Sis: yes 1 cousin: yes
Everyone else in my giant family: no
This post might help answer your questions of why.....if that question is running through your head.

The Weekend...

I love to write. I really do. It helps me to channel my thoughts and release whatever needs to be let go of. I try to keep in mind the moving words of Benjamin Franklin, "If you would not be forgotten when you are dead and rotten, either write things worthy of reading or do things worth the writing.", because it gives purpose and perspective for me.
Sadly though, I haven't been able to think of much anything I consider worthy of writing lately. It finds me a bit frustrated.

Am I in a writing rut.....or have I just been too busy? Do I simply need more sunshine in my February this year?

I am contemplating not volunteering anymore. I love being able to help and I truly do feel peaceful when I am with a client. It is the rest of the time that has me all knotted up.....waiting for the calls, making sure my day is free so that I can be ready, and for some reason the meetings really stress me out. Listening to how others handle their calls has the opposite effect on me than what it should. I should feel like more knowledge is going into my head in learning about other situations in a round table format. Instead, I panic inside thinknig, "Gosh I would have never thought to do that."
It is okay to try something and then realize it doesn't fit. It is better to try and move on than to never try at all. I just don't know if I am making the right decision.
Gosh am I really that much of a control nut?

The rest of me is good though. Having the youth over on Saturday for Plan B was a great time for all. I think we had a total of 19 people in the house, which is not a huge amount as far as parties go. But considering we had 4 different teen style groups going on in our 1590 sq. ft. house at all times, I think we did rather well.

This weekend also found us celebrating my Nana's 82nd birthday. It was great to relax with my family, talk stories, and play with the baby.

Now it is time to get ready for a new week with new experiences. All I have to do is scoop up my energy into a bucket so I can keep it on hand and not let it run out the bottoms of my shoes.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Plan B...

Well, we have had several stumbling blocks in preparing for the youth snow day. Amazingly, though the bus barn will let us rent a bus for a mountain trip, they don't want their equipment in the snow..............I am not going to touch that one.
So, I started arranging things for a carpool. However, there are so many of our leaders that are sick right now, my husband and I would be the only ones available for the day. No matter how skilled we are, we just can't transport 30 kids up to the mountain slopes on our own.

Plan B....Our house is going to be open today for games, movies, and food.
It is a beautiful day and I think we will have a ton of fun. I wonder if letting all the youth jump on our trampoline is a recipe for disaster. haa haa...

You might be wondering about the miracle of the clothes that were provided the other day? We aren't giving up on the idea. We will just reschedule the snow day for our March fun.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


The sun is shining so bright this morning. After last night's storm, it makes me want to curl up on the floor in a patch of sun and ignore everything else.

Oh my goodness, I just started singing that old John Denver song in my head.

"Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine almost all the time makes me fine..."

note: the picture is of Chrystal. She was "Pippin's" dear kitty that died a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Matthew 7:7

"You aren't going to believe what just happened. Come outside and help me with the boxes in my car."
That was the call on my cell phone as we were kicking off our mid-week youth service. I grabbed my coat and ran outside to find 2 giant boxes in her car that needed to be carried in. A huge NW sporting goods store that makes quality (and dare I say a little spendy) clothing, donated these boxes to our youth group.

As we went through the boxes, we found brand new vests, snow pants, wind breakers, and thick winter coats. We laid them out on the benches according to size and gender. Then I brought out the youth, one by one, to see if there was anything they could use.

Over and over again I heard things like,
"Are you serious?!"
"Really...I can have and keep these pants?"
"Oh my gosh! I was praying that some how I could get clothes for the snow trip. Now I can go!"
"Wow God really answered my prayer!"
"Cool now I can give these to my friend and she can go too!"

See, this weekend we are planning a day trip with the youth group up to the mountain for some snow play. It is going to be a load of fun. Most have been excited in anticipation. But a few have been down because where we all reside in the valley, it is not a need to have snow gear. Families can't just go out and buy all that stuff for one day of play.
Now everyone is taken care of and there are still a couple of items left over that I can take over to the shelter.

It was so fun to be part of the blessing. Seeing their smiles and their eyes sparkle blessed me.