Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010 11:34pm

Thank you for our birthday well wishes! Mom and I had a wonderful day together enjoying one another to ourselves. We had a quiet lunch at Bob's Red Mill and stuffed ourselves silly before topping it all off with a chai from Starbucks. That night we took the family out to roam a farm a few miles from here that decks out the whole property with lights and fairy tale story scenes. It was all a blessed day for everyone.

The passed couple of weeks have been filled with visits and friends from out of town. Precious Rixxi (the girl that used to room with us) came through town for a visit as well as other Gaggle members Raph and Harper. Having my home filled with giggles, smiles and girls everywhere I turned brought joy to my heart. They are always such a breath of fresh air for me.

For Christmas, I never could quite get into all of the things I normally do but I did bake for everyone something like 60 dozen cookies of my recipe for chocolate toffee cookies. Humbly speaking, I heard over and over again that they need to be sold because of their goodness. It just blesses me that something so simple brought smiles to people.

We bought presents for the grand kids (thank you Lord for Toys R Us being online and shipping everything for me). And then we also did presents for our 3 girls (our 2 being Pippin and Puddin as well as our "adopted" girl who now lives with us and delights in her new nickname of Icca) here at home.

Hubby and I vowed to not buy one another things for under the tree. Instead, we celebrated the fact that this past spring we became debt free. While that not so small feat enabled all of the traveling between here and Texas this last year and covered so many emergencies; it also made us able to buy one another much needed new (used) cars for Christmas. Yeah really.

We weren't set on doing right at Christmas time but I got up one morning hearing the words Craig's List again and again in my head and I figured why not look. We ended up with a couple of amazing deals that enabled us to package together this beautiful '06 Kia Sorento for me as well as an '04 Jeep Liberty for him. We turned in his beaten up car that kept trapping him inside the vehicle because of a broken door lock and we gave my old car to Pippin for her to use 100%. We are both too excited at our new toys.

Now with New Years around the bend my mind is starting to dwell on what the new year will bring. What are my goals? Where does God want me to be? What will my new plate of responsibilities look like?

As I am stepping out and putting my toes in the waters of events, I find that after a couple of days of usual stuff I definitely need a serious nap and feel very overwhelmed. I can't do like I used to do. Is it because of know....everything and I must give myself time? Or is it because I am now 40 years old? Now isn't that dramatic? (Silly girl. It is only a number and you have never paid it the slightest attention before.) Or just maybe my routine from a year ago was way too much and I never slowed down long enough to figure that out.

Thank you God that I don't have to figure it out on my own.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17 And It Is A Great Day......

I want to begin by saying thank you so much for all of your encouraging comments, advice and hugs. Thank you for reminding me that every season has a purpose and is valid and that I won't always feel the way I do. It has meant a lot to me as I begin each day.

With Christmas in the air I have been jumping and hopping, often with nothing to show for it but feeling tired at the end of the day all the same. I have been baking like crazy and did something like 20 dozen chocolate chip toffee cookies just yesterday (while assembling bedroom furniture with Pippin at the same time). Aside from our newly placed Christmas tree though, that is all I have to show for it at this moment. I haven't done a stitch of shopping yet and though I am always most definitely done by now, I don't feel bothered at all.

There have been parties to attend, extra work hours for Pippin and then with Puddin in the advanced choirs this year there has been many beautiful and talented performances. Girlfriends have been spending most every night as the last of the school work gets finished and the winter break begins. The daily things have still beckoned for attention as well with chores and errands. Even crisis have crept up as (maybe to be written about at a later date) I have been counseling with a parent and his teen daughter on things she was scared to confess to him and how to move forward from here.

Today is a special day. It is the day that Mom and I celebrate our birthdays. How cool is that? Nope, she never planned it that way. It just happens that I was her birthday present 40 years ago. Yeah....40 years. I have never been one for giving the faintest bit of attention to numbers and age. But this one has a little bit of change in it for me. It just feels vaguely strange.

In a couple of hours I get to go spend the day with my mom. It is our special time together and we look forward to it every year. We only live 15 minutes apart and see each other weekly. But our birthday is the only time that we can go do something for a bit of time without others saying, "hey whatcha doing? That sounds fun. Can I come too?"
I try to surprise her every year with a new lunch destination and she makes a game out of trying to figure it all out before we get there. I have learned to not tell a soul my plans because she can be wonderfully crafty and good hearted at extracting information. It is funny.

I would tell you where we are going today but since I am so very much like my mom, I am a bit too quick for that. As they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Mom you won't find out here. You will just have to wait a couple more hours. wink wink

Have a blessed and wonderfully amazing day today.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grieving Is Never Orderly.....

Sometimes I look at my blog and want to write a post but then with this season of my life I think that it seems I either write a string of downers or I pendulum to extremes with highs and lows. I look into my imaginary mirror and think, "Why write then? Who would feel encouraged by reading inconsistencies such as yours?"

That small voice answers, "Who would? Anyone who admits to being human and real would. Just tell the truth and it will make a difference."
So this is me being transparent, not only to sort through my own thoughts but also with hopes of helping others.

I have now been home from Texas for 3 weeks. Looking at that sentence right now feels like a shock as I have gone through my days without equating a real time line to anything until this very moment.

As I have said before, I really have been pretty fine. It is so good to be home. I missed the rain, the trees, cold weather, mountains and most of all my family and friends. But somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have had this gnawing thought chip away at me that I am too fine. I have edged out into doing some activities and social events and truly had a good time doing them. But still.....

Saturday morning I woke and felt like I didn't even want to get out of bed. The girls had their social events planned and I had a day of errands and cooking to accomplish on a deadline. There were things to do and though check lists normally drive me, I had no desire to do anything. Desire or not, things had to be done. So I methodically switched into auto-pilot and check marked off my day. By mid afternoon I felt like I had hit a wall and had to pull the car over to make the world stop spinning.

As I sat there absently watching cars go by, I questioned my fragile state and begged God for answers. I saw the pages of a calendar float by in my mind with different dates check marked and circled. I realized that even before I flew to Texas, my heart with already with my daddy and essentially I have lived this past year physically and mentally in 2 very different places. In one place I was mother, wife, teacher, administrator and organizer. In the other I was daughter and care giver. Both situations were as diverse as the climate and region I resided in.

I have spent the last few weeks with it being relatively easy to block off certain feelings because I am in such a different location. It feels like being with Daddy was a lifetime ago. When I have answered that I am fine to peoples' questions, I wasn't lying. I really was fine. So why is it hard now? It is hard because I need to remember that it hasn't been a long time like my mind wants to quarantine it into being.

I find that really; I do but I don't want to talk about it with most experience, my daddy, my feelings. I do but I don't want to know how they understand and relate because they lost their parents too. I do and don't want to share because their hurt can't possibly be like my hurt. I know that is not true but it is my first thought all the same.

I know all the truths; that Daddy is in heaven, that he is happy and healthy, that he has no pain and walks with no limp, that he has no confusion, that others comment to being jealous of where he is, that he is in the amazing presence of God and one day I will be there with him. I know all these things and believe it all emphatically. But I don't find it comforting for anyone to tell me those things. I find it only makes my own feels feel squashed and non-valid.

And yet, I have a friend who lost her dad just a few weeks before me and I look forward to talking with her about our dads. Even when I really am fine, her hugs are a welcome relief that I don't want to let go of because there is nothing attached to them but a kindred connection that comes from raw experience. There is safety and comfort in that.

I don't mean to sound that anyone else has less compassion or wrong compassion or fake compassion. It is just hard to have to talk about the same thing over and over again. And yet....if no one asked and expected me to simply move on then that would hurt too wouldn't it?

There is no easy way around it.
4 short weeks ago I was in Texas dealing with hospice's crisis care team moving in as I called family members and watched Daddy struggle through his last days. No matter what truths I know in my heart, mind and spirit; the truth is that I am raw and tired.
It is going to take time for me to balance out and feel real.
In time I will not have to remind myself to get through a day.
In time home will really feel like home with no tentacles spread out in different directions.
In time...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Evaluations, Concert Tickets and Peace.....

Things have been going well for me these past couple of weeks. My home, while messy and unorganized, feels like my home again. My sleep is good and I am starting to review how I should really fill my days. I am re-evaluating my goals and desires as I look at myself in the mirror because I don't want it to all of a sudden be years down the road and have to think on the things I never took the time to do. I figure these are all normal thoughts and I tell myself that evaluation and goals are always a good thing.

I definitely do not feel that it is Christmas time. The girls are asking about decorating and getting a tree. Normally it is all done by now. I am not depressed or in denial. My problem is that when I left last January to go care for Daddy I had just put the Christmas decorations away. The weather was cold and rainy like it is now. So for the practical principle idea that our memories associate with familiarity....I feel like I just celebrated Christmas here. It is a strange feeling. My family is being very patient and understanding but I think I need to get myself into gear and prepare for the season for their sakes.

But on to other things. What is this in my title about concert tickets?
Boy do I have a story for you.
There will be a concert here January 29th that Puddin' has been really wanting to attend. It will be performed by Toby Mac which is currently her big favorite, second in line only to Jesus Culture. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.

The local radio station has been running a contest this week for people to win tickets. For part of the contest people were asked to email in their phone numbers to be put into a drawing. Then at 7:10 each morning a random number would be pulled and dialed. The catch is that the person receiving the call cannot answer with hello. Instead they have to say one of the radio station's catch phrases.

Yesterday I submitted our phone numbers just to give it a try and then promptly forgot about it until this morning as we were driving to school. At 7:02am I remembered and laughingly told Puddin' that if we get a phone call in the next few minutes we had to answer a certain way to win the tickets.

So there we were sitting in the parking lot of the school listening to the radio for the contest when the announcer said, "It is now 7:10 and we have actually already called a couple of people to win these tickets but they didn't answer the phone correctly. Let's do one more phone call and hopefully this will be the winner. Okay folks, it's ringing. Let's see what happens."

As he said that, my phone started to vibrate that a call was coming in. My very first thought was, "Oh bummer. I wanted to hear what happens on the radio but now I have to take a phone call." Then it dawned on my that my phone ringing coincided with the ringing on the radio. They were calling MY phone!

You know all the funny screaming and carrying on that you hear people do on the radio when they win something and you think you would of course be more calm if it was you? Yeah....totally not a reality. Puddin' and I carried on laughing and screaming as I answered the phone in the correct way and won 2nd row tickets to a concert that hasn't even released ticket sales yet.

It is just amazing. I still can't believe it actually happened. I did this so she could have the tickets and she wants ME to go with her. How is that for a fun mother/daughter evening? What a blessing after everything that has happened.


Now on a totally different train of thought, I want to share a revelation I had this morning. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the whole concept so please bear with me.

I was sitting at the table doing my morning devotion and I stumbled across a scripture that called Jesus the Prince of Peace. I kept reading on but my mind was circling back around to this characteristic name of Jesus and what that really means to me. Here is what I came up with...

When we ask Jesus to be a part of our daily lives we become interconnected. We become children of God and just like when children on earth take on the DNA of their parents, we take on God's spiritual DNA that gives us His character traits and strengths.

DNA is a permanent thing that is whole from the beginning. A child does not grow into having a cleft chin. He has it at birth from his parents. So the same is true for God's DNA in us. I have the ability to make Godly character choices from the beginning because the DNA is there. It is not given to me in levels of DNA as I earn it. God loves us whole from the beginning.

Then I started to think about all the times I have prayed for peace.
God I am scared. Please give me your peace.
God I am tense. Please give me your peace.
God I feel weird. Please give me your peace.

It hit me that it is not peace that I should be asking for because it is already there within me as part of my spiritual DNA. Instead I should be focusing on accepting God's character as my own. I don't have to beg or plead for His character because it is already in me to be so. Instead I should speak thankfulness for that peace. There is power in our words and the more I/we acknowledge that peace then the more my mind turns attention to it instead of the other stuff around us.

That is basically what hit me so strong this morning. As my thoughts are jumping all over the place in my own understanding, I don't know if I have explained it well here. I hope I have because I think it is a powerful thing of hope and encouragement to have.
It is definitely more of what I need right now.

Thank you for taking the time to share and be with me today.
I pray that you enjoy an amazing God filled day of purpose and destiny for each moment was created just for you.

Thank you Father God for your encouragement and your DNA inheritance that You give to us. You are so amazing!