Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Occurred To Me......

I have a confession to make and this is my first time sharing this......

The past few months have been quite a change for me. I knew that after 12 years of home schooling, I would need to take time to NOT commit to other things and simply let myself figure out who I am and what defines me. That alone has been a scary concept to trudge into.

Granted.......these past few months have been filled with activity. I have had things on the calendar like my dad visiting and forging a deeper relationship, prepping Pippin to travel across the world to Uganda and back, dealing with her subsequent sickness as well as the waves of my own earth stopping headaches, and many other things...............

But when I have had time to myself at home alone, I put up a "no expectations sign" in thinking that would help me. If I wanted to read then I would. If I felt like watching a 5 hour tv marathon of the latest show series then that is what I would do. I let the voicemail pick up phone calls and spent hours on the computer even if it was only to play free cell or look thru Craig's List. There was nothing life fulfilling in my activities. I just told myself that I deserved to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and eventually I would switch gears.

So, last weekend I was visiting with a friend. There were the usual "how are things updates" and "wow the kids are growing up so fast". Then she asked how I was doing with the time I had to myself. I responded with something that went sort of like this......I am not very productive and though I seem to be always doing things, I have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

She asked me what kinds of things I have dreamed of doing but didn't have time to do because of raising a family.
Let's see......playing piano, learning the cello, becoming proficient in French, conquering kayaking, having a dog again. Then I rounded it all up with the fact that it will be a few more months, 10 to be exact, before our finances will be free enough for me to explore some of these ideas.

She suggested a popular language learning computer program that she had heard about. When she said that I responded with "Oh I have a french program at home". Then the statement started rolling around in my head like a pinball machine lighting things up. 'I HAVE a french program at home.' 'I have a french program at HOME.' Hmmm........I had been so stuck on the idea that I needed to take a class that I never thought of using that program.

The following day, I was at a leadership meeting and someone made a comment concerning the idea that as much as we are available for others to be transparent with, WE also need to be transparent with one another. Being a leader doesn't mean being unshakably strong and non-vulnerable. No matter what season we are in, we need to be honest with ourselves and with one another.

As people kept talking and tasks were covered, my mind wandered away with that tidbit of thought. It was so very true and something that I hadn't been practicing much of. So I said, 'Lord what season am I in?' It came so simply, as easy as breathing air and drinking water. "You are in a season of fear."

I didn't run from the thought but instead measured it. It was one of those times when truth simply and easily shows itself and all you can do is embrace it for what it is.

Fear? Yes I am afraid. I am afraid of something new. I am afraid of things that are different. I am afraid of failure...........afraid of failing.
The truth was out.

It is the stuff that everyone deals with at one time or another and I was finally labeling it for what it was. I had let is creep in and take hold of me. I had lost the balance between relaxing and pushing forward.

This past week I have chosen to re-define that balance and let go of fear. I made it a point to study French every day. I didn't allow myself to surf the net or turn on the tv until I had my lesson. The result......I feel better about myself. I feel good and satisfied with trying something instead of running from everything.

Next week I plan on starting piano again. Though I cannot afford lessons right now, I do have a beginner piano book that I can work through. After that, I need to start walking again. Just because I don't have a dog to walk with doesn't mean I can't take care of myself.

So this is me pushing forward and stepping out.
Can you relate to any of my thoughts? I hope my sharing can help you in some way.

*** Blogger friends: That is why I haven't been around and I am sorry. You have been so nice to try and check on me. Thank you for your grace and understanding. Can we just call it a fresh new start from here on out?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

83 Years Young......

(If my Nana knew I was writing this post and sharing these pictures I would be flogged big time. I would be scolded in Portuguese and threatened to never receive chocolate again. Keep it a secret for me okay so I don't fall off my wobbly pedestal.)

Recently we celebrated my Nana's 83rd birthday. (Thank you Mom for sending over the pictures.)
She can sometimes grumble about her age and think her pictures are scary. I guess we are all guilty of doing that at one time or another.

I think being 83 is a wonderful celebration and she looks amazing.

It was a fun day. Every couple of weeks I take her out shopping wherever she wants to go. That day she chose to conquer her list of needs and wants at Costco. With it's warehouse format of shopping in bulk, there is much to look at. I have to laugh that we actually spent three hours there, but at least it gave my mom time to cook much of the birthday dinner without Nana being the wiser.

Here is a sampling of my current favorite yummy.
Can you taste it?

For years we have made a dish called wonton for buffet family events. It has always been oh so good. But being traditionally a fried food, it gets soggy and blah after setting out for a bit. This past year my mom had the great idea of taking the wonton wrappers and baking them in muffin pans to achieve the crisp and then put the filling in to make it out of this world. Doing it this way keeps them fresh for a long time and makes it easy to store left overs without it sticking together. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and it is like they are steamy and new all over again.

It was so great to celebrate with the family. The evening was covered with all of us telling stories and filling our bellies with delicious food and laughter.
Nana loves everything concerning angels and we have all helped her to develop quite a collection.

Here are my girls with their Great-Nana after giving her an addition to her collection. Rosie is on the left and Pippin is on the right.

In other news: thank you for your prayers and encouragement with Pippin. She is home again today but doing much better. She can now walk a straight line without my help and even set down with steady hands to do some bracelet beading.

Blessings to you and I hope to be able to visit everyone soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Apple A Day...

An apple a day keeps the doctor the saying goes. I think there is something missing from this old wives' tale because even though I keep our fruit basket stocked, it doesn't seem to be working over here.

For the passed week Pippin has been showing an array of bothersome symptoms ranging from general fatigue and loss of appetite to persistent dizziness, neck aches and headaches. I took her in to see our family physician and whipped out my list of my own suggestions. (Yes I am one of those people who doesn't know a whole lot about medicine but find it interesting enough that I have retained an ample amount of tidbit facts from my days of work at the hospital.)

We went thru everything: symptoms, vital stats, and general check over.
Ears fine, glands fine, intestines fine, eyes good. No inner ear infection, no anemia, no mononucleosis.

Our doctor, who used to practice in Africa, has decided to begin treatment for malaria. Go figure. Apparently, even though Pippin took her preventative 40 doses of medicine, she missed a day here and there and just made up for it later on. I remember her sharing with me that the day before she left Uganda, she awoke with huge bites down her back. Sigh.......

Pippin is home today because she is so dizzy she can barely walk. Poor kid. I have caught her so many times as the room spins out from under her feet.
I must say that the diagnosis is not official yet. I have not heard the results of the lab work. It takes time for those things. And our doctor also commented to me that the lab here is not quite equipped do deal with the malaria test (there isn't much call for malaria testing in the NW) so she isn't sure how accurate the results will be.
Post note: It has taken me 5 hours to write this. She is holding down a cup of broth and just asked for some pudding. Yeah!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thank you for your prayers.
"M" sent messages to Pippin throughout the day about the condition of his mom. As evening came on his messages became shorter and her condition worsened.
About 45 minutes ago "M"'s mom passed on.

Now is when things seem even more hard. This is what he has been preparing for for so long. He worked to keep his mom comfortable and cared for and now there is nothing more to do. No more weekend visits. No more daily talks. No more doctor appointments.
The next week or so will be numbing and automatic for him as things happen. There will be a service and things to be done. Knowing "M" he will feel an obligation to get back into his studies quickly.
But then the routine will set in. Routine daily events that scream not routine in his heart because his mom is gone.

If this 17 year old young man happens to come to your mind throughout your days, please say a prayer for him to be covered in the peace and comfort that only God can bring.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sometimes I Just Don't Understand....

I don't have anything eloquent to share tonight. I simply feel the need to share our resent experiences.

While Pippin was attending CAL last year, she gained the friendship of "M". He is such a sweet guy and has become a cherished friend to her. They often had lunch together as they discussed their school time woes....hers of graphic arts/IT and his of being a med student. Since before they ever met, "M"'s mom has battled cancer. It was the driving force for "M" to become a med student. He wanted to further the field of cancer research in the hopes of one day helping his mom.

This past weekend his mom was placed in the hospital with no hope. The doctors gave her a prognosis of a couple of days left here on earth. "M" gathered his things together and went to be by her side. It has now been 5 days for this 17 year old skipping school and all other responsibilities to make sure that his mom is well cared for. He wants to make sure that her time is spent in comfort. He is at peace and has determined to be vigilant in making sure his mom is peaceful too.

We went to visit him tonight, bringing him his favorite ice cream...ears to listen....and arms to hold. As he unloaded his woes of family he started to unwind....transferring his demeanor back and forth between vigilant protector to scared little boy. The parents are divorced, the extended family is vying for money and possessions even as his mother sleeps in her merciful medical induced coma. It was so sad. The extended family actually took the mom's checkbook from her hospital belongings with the intent of forging checks for what they feel they are that is said in the will to go to "M" and his little brother. Sadly there is no power of one to take charge of the situation. All the while, "M" is reeling in the shock of ...not the greed...but the priority focus and the lack of.

The poor kid. I gave advice as best as I could. We got him to laugh and think of other things for a bit. We hugged and prayed with him. As we hugged he sighed heavily and said, "Wow thank you. I really needed that."

I don't know what to say or write.
I know I feel more grateful for my family tonight as my heart grieves for his.
I know that as I lay down in my flannel sheets tonight "M" will be standing watch over his mom.
This young man having to do such grown up matters when the grownups act like children.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Back.....Yahoo!........

I am back!
Well to be more precise...our Internet connection is back! Yahoo!
Good golly I didn't know how addicted I was to the world wide web.
How many times I thought, "Oh I'll go look that up real quick...nope never mind." Or, "I'll just zap that person an email to let them know....nope never mind."

While I was completely submerged in everything 'non Internet' oriented I did find much to keep me occupied. I had more time to read (This Present Darkness is amazing!), my house is more clean, and I painted half of Rosie-girl's room. In amidst all of the daily things there was a 4 day weekend from school so our friend came to visit from the beach. That of course meant giggles, food, giggles, movies, giggles, the mall and more friends. The girls spoiled me with their smiles hugs and attention. Really, I would have happily stayed home but they begged me to watch a movie with them (Inkheart was not quite like the book but I think well done all on its own, and though I am a happily married woman I did find myself crushing on one of the characters.).

It was a wonderful weekend and the time went by way too fast. I hear that there are already whispers of planning rounds 2 and 3 in the next couple of we have that to look forward to.

For now I want to clean out my email folder and visit blogger friends....................