The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
Day 711...I remember when I was kid there were
711 gas stations, precursors to Caseys and QTs of today.I also remember the Sinclair stations and the
ones with the shell on them - Shell Oil, I think they were called? But when you
needed to run to a gas station for something you'd say you were going to the
7-11 even if it wasn't an actual 7-11 store - it was just kind of a catch-all
name for quick service stations.
Boy, am Itired today.I mean, really tired.My allergies have been giving me fits for the
last few days.I don't know why.This
is not the time of year I'm supposed to have trouble with them.But tell that to my nose.So,
I'm having to take zyrtec and chlortrimeton, which usually work, but at the
price of fatigue.Yesterday was
particularly rough.I was able to sleep
off some of the drugs and then Ben and I ran errands last night in the rain.
I came home and thought I'd get some decent
sleep but then Will got home from work and wanted to have a real
heart-to-heart, which was wonderful, but what we talked about revved up my mind
and I was unable to fall asleep until after 1 in the morning and then I woke up
at 6:15 for absolutelyno good reason at
Although, I'm still thankful Will talked to
me.Even he commented that if Dad was
alive, he'd be talking to him instead.I
suppose I should feel insulted, but I don't, really.That's just the way it's always been with
Will.He was always more comfortable
with Paul and preferred his company to mine.But now I'm the favored parent by default.
Which I'll take.
Mother's Day was a nice day.It went exactly as I had planned - which is
unusual!Things don't typically work out
that well.But we had our lunch at
Fuddruckers and then we swung by Penneys and I was able to pick up some athletic
shorts for David.And then we came home
and the kids gave me cards and Will had picked up a Jim Beam (!) candle at
Sportsmans and a just -released book on the Christian and suffering written by
his professor at Faith.I'm looking
forward to reading it.Actually, 2
summers ago when we were taken up to camp for a day a couple of weeks after
Paul's death this same professor was speaking and I still remember his
talk.I'm suspicious that what he shared
with us that day probably served as part of the outline of this book.
And then the sky got really dark and we got
some rain and that was it - no tornado, not even any hail.And then I called and talked to my mom and
then we went to church again that evening and the kids and I went to DQ and as
it turned out, I actually had $18 worth of gift cards in my purse so our entire
order cost $1.01 which was very manageable.
It was a very good day.
Oh, and when I came out of church on Sunday
morning I found a pretty basket sitting in my van filled with Bath and Body
soaps and a card with an Amazon gift card inside from a couple of ladies at
church who wanted to make sure I had a nice day.What a blessing!
Tuesday I attended DMACC's orientation with
Will.What a yawn-fest...fortunately, I
wasn't without my kindle, so I spent most of my time reading that. It was a good story, too, about a Lutheran
pastor who helped solve a murder and almostgot murdered himself in the process.As it turned out, he was a widower, his wife having been murdered by the
same guy years before.Very
Then, they had the students go off to register
for classes and had a session for the parents.It was basically all about letting your child grow up, geared to parents
who have young college students just exiting high school, I guess.This time I couldn't sit and read without
I've been having trouble getting our financial
information to the school so before we left we stopped by the Fin. aid office
and asked for help - all they did was give us the phone number for tech
support.Not helpful.We eventually got things figured out on our
own at home.I hope we did, anyway.
Afterwards, we went to Menards and Will and
breathed deeply and said, "Ah- h - I love the smell of this
place!"He is his father's son.
David is going on a missions trip this summer
to Detroit.They gave the parents the
details last Sun. night.It sounds like
it will be good for the teenagers.They're going to do it in conjunction with another youth group at a
church in Des Moines.One day they plan
to take the kids into the inner city.I
mentioned this to David and he squeaked, "Alone?"
"Yeah," Will joked, "It's
called 'survival of the fittest'!"
No, not alone.But it will be good for these middle-class, mostly homeschooled kids to
see a different way of life.
Will gets his wisdom teeth out Monday.Today a hilarious video popped up on my
newsfeed of a young woman coming out of anesthesia after getting her wisdom
teeth removed.She's very upset that
she's "still white and not Nicky Minaj!"I showed it to Will and he was groaning.He says he's hiding his phone so he doesn't
do anything dumb with it when he's still coming to.
This week hestarted making plans forfinishing off the basement.I'm
all for it if it doesn't cost too much.It would definitely increase the resale value of the house and make
things cleaner.But I'm not sure how
much time he would have in reality, to do it, and I sure don't want him getting
started and then running out time to finish.So we'll see.First, I want him
to build my L shaped bookshelves in the upstairs hallway.
His big project this week was building a
rabbit hutch with David.It's pretty
cool - and big.
Ellie had an open house Thurs. night at the preschool
she'll be attending this fall.She was
pretty excited.It's held in the
basement of the Methodist church in Pville but it doesn't appear to have any
religious base at all.I was a little
dismayed to see one of the values on the preschool sign as,
"self-esteem."Ugh - and
no!The last thing our kids need is to
have their little self-esteems boosted.Humans come into this world full of self-esteem.Our job is to reduce their
self-esteem, not increase it.
So I'm working on the paperwork for that.Apparently, there are scholarships available
to help with the cost.That would be
great if I could get some help. I had no idea that was out there.I could have sent her to the school's
preschool, which would more than likely, have been free for us.But I deliberately made the choice to go with
this preschool, even though it would cost me $85 a month, because it wasn't
full-time.So we'll see if that comes
The new superintendent of the school and his
wife were there with their children.I
overheard him say that next year's freshman class will have 76 kids.This is unreal.Pville normally only graduates around 40
seniors every year.It's a pretty small
district.But apparently there's growth
coming from somewhere.
Actually, this is good for me, with my
thoughts of working at the school as an associate in a few years.The larger of a student body, the higher the
chances are for increased students with special needs - and the higher the
school's need for associates to work with them.Job security.
The first day of school this year will be Aug.
31 - four days later than last year's start.I like that.I don't like it when
schools are starting up the second week of August.They don't need to get their grubby hands on
my kids any sooner than necessary.Although, by the end of summer, I may be wishing they would take my kids
It's late Saturday now.The Littles are all in bed and David and Ben
are watching Red Green on PBS.Paul
loved that show - it seemed to satisfy his inner redneck, which was often more
out than in I guess.
Tonight was Single Parent Provision.The kids had a blast, as usual.I decided to do something different and went
and saw the new release, "Where Love Grows."I had it all planned.The movie started at 7 and lasted an hour and
37 minutes which would give me just enough time to get back over to the
community ctr to get the kids by 9.I
forgot to figure in the previews...so I missed the ending of the movie.And it was SO good!But this just means I'll have to get the
dvd.It is a Christian movie, although I
recognized a number of secular actors in it.It's about a washed up, alcoholic baseball player and a man with Downs
Syndrome.Their lives intersect and it's
a neat story.The previews, of course,
are geared to the audience so I saw several ones that look interesting.The Kendrick brothers have a new one coming
out late this summer on the power of prayer which looks good.Of course, anything they do is amazing.There's a revolutionary war movie that's
Christian.And there's a Vietnam war era
one coming out in July.Uncle Si from
Duck Dynasty is in that one!I think
they said that one is by the producers of "God's Not Dead."
All of a sudden, there seems to be a glut of
Christian movies.I wonder if, in time,
the movies will begin to separate themselves into doctrinally loose ones vs.
more sound movies.Time will tell, I
So, I've been working on my filing over the
last few weeks.I finally got the last
loose paper filed this week and quickly realized that the folders have got to
be thinned down.So I've started going
through them and getting rid of old statements and anything else we don't
really need to hang onto.I got to the
folder that contains all the information on Paul's death, burial, funeral,
etc.And I found his autopsy report
yesterday.I have not looked at that
thing since it arrived about 6 weeks after his death.Against my better judgement I decided to read
it again.I don't know what I was hoping
to find - maybe just reading it with a mind that's a little more clear would be
beneficial.I don't really know.So I did.
A lot of it is medical speak, of course.I was amazed at how thorough an
autopsy is.They examine and document
absolutely everything about the deceased.They measure their hair length, they take out organs and weigh them,
they mention what's under the fingernails, which I suppose would be necessary
in the case of a homicide.They detail
the type of cuts they make.All along
I've known Paul had an autopsy, but it never really occurred to me until
reading that yesterday that they cut him open.Well, duh.That's what an autopsy is.How
else did they pull out his spleen, measure it, and include that information in
the report?But I just hadn't given any
real thought to the idea that they took a scalpel, and in a large Y incision,
sliced open my husband's body.
A few things made me smile.They clocked his body weight at 203
pounds.That would appalled Paul.He was very determined to keep his weight
under 200 and any time the scale began inching upwards, he would declare that
he was now on a diet and no longer going to eat lunch.And I would always tell him that is NOT the
way to lose weight and he would say, "Sure it is - watch me!"The writer of theautopsy puzzled over a strange combination of
letters and numbers written in ink on the palm of his left hand.I knew what it was! Paul had this bad habit of writing down part
numbers on his body that he needed to find.The night he died he had been working on an elderly lady's sink and I
remember that he told me he had to go to the hardware store and get a part
which is why he was later getting home than he had originally planned.When he did that he wrote down the needed
part number.This made me think of
people who die who are heavily tattooed.Every single one of those tattoos has to be detailed.Can you imagine how long their autopsy
reports must be?
The report also mentioned the high levels of
caffeine in Paul.Again - I have the
answer.He chugged ice-tea like his life
depended on it.He had this gallon jug
(actually, he had several - he would wear them out on a routine basis) and
every single day, even in the winter, he carried around tea and drank it all
So, I was smiling just as much as I was upset
after reading the report again.I was
smiling because it brought back good memories.And I was upset because the whole thing was just so clinical and not who
Paul was.It was his body, nothing
more.Not the man.I have that report written on the pages of my
And the other thing I felt while reading?
Relief.Over and over again in the report it said, "Accidental
death."It said, "Death caused
by witnessed seizure."Repeatedly.I've always known, in
my head, I wasn't responsible for Paul's death.But when I've been blamed - and I have been - it has messed with
me.My heart has begun to doubt what my
head knows.Should I have done something
differently?Could I have saved
him?Am I to blame, even in the smallest
I'm not.It was an accident.He had a
seizure disorder that caused him to lose consciousness.He fell.That was it.I mean, as a
Christian, I know that's not it, of course.God allowed the circumstances to occur as they did.But I could not have saved him because his
day ofdeath was written before he even
began to form as an embryo.All of ours
It was an accident.
And like all accidents, those left in pieces
eventually find the strength to start moving again and I am.Slowly.But with more of a sense of purpose.I'm tucking Sam into bed tonight and he comments that he wishes "I
was a monkey."He further explained
that monkeys have prehensile tails (like everyone automatically knows what
I did, but I read a lot.And I have Sam
who has a deep interest in the entire animal kingdom and has been feeding us
all tidbits of animal trivia for most of his life) and he thinks that would be
cool to have a tail to help you out.Of
course it would.Ineed a prehensile tail, myself.
These are my reasons for moving on.Well, some of them, anyway.But they're sitting in my bedroom at night
when I desperately need to sleep telling me the dark and deep things that
alternately bother and thrill their souls. They're dreaming about their futures. They're coloring
bits of cardstock and paper while leaving my stamping supplies scattered all
over the floor and proudly giving them to me, explaining that the scribbles
mean, "I love you, Mommy!"They're asking to drive by their dad's grave again and they're talking
about the coolness of prehensile tails.
Huh...I hit Day 700 this week and didn't
realize it.That means in a little less
than a year I will mark Day 1000 - February, maybe?I'm not sure.
So, this week...has been fine.It was not as rainy as the weathermen told us
it would be.It's been warm and cloudy
and some parts of the Midwest have really been hammered with tornadoes and
flooding but we must be sitting in a sweet spot here.I was actually kind of looking forward to a
good, midnight thunderstorm and we never got one.But Sunday afternoon or evening it sounds
like the weather might get kind of severe.Hopefully, not too severe since I don't currently have insurance
coverage on my siding or roof...
I'm just going to have to replace the roof,
I've decided.I think I'll wait until
next spring.Ben's teacher told me they
just had theirs done and she can give me the name of the crew that worked for
them.I don't know how long my siding
guy is going to take to get my house and garage done and I can't have two crews
working at the same time.And I rather
imagine there's a waiting list for most reputable roofers once the weather
warms up.Maybe I should wait until
after Ben's graduation party next spring so I don't run the risk of having
shingles and junk all over the yard at that time.I really like the look of steel roofs that
are getting more and more popular.But
I've heard some criticisms of them, too, so I'll probably just go with
I've been a little sadder the past couple of
days.Maybe it's because it's Mother's
Day weekendand Paul always did such a
bang-up job with that for me.Last year
we were on vacation which helped.But
even then, the boys remembered, which was sweet, and more than I expected.And maybe it's because it's less than a month
now until June 6 and I might always be a little more melancholy this time of
year, as a result.
I was helping set up for our church's
Mother/Daughter brunch a week ago (which I did not attend - I went to one 9
years ago and really did not enjoy myself and I've just never had the desire to
try again, even now that I have daughters.I suppose I probably should try it again.But then I'd have to talk to people).Anyway, two grandmas were also setting
up.One asked the other about her
expected grandbaby and the one said proudly, "Yep - he's due June
6th!"And then the other said,
"Oh, that's my granddaughter's birthday!" And I thought about saying,
"And that's Paul's death day!"But I didn't - figured it would kind of kill the moment.But that is what that day will always signify
to me, for the rest of my life.
Actually, I would love it if something
marvelous did happen some year on that date, like the birth of a
grandchild.It would seem almost
redemptive.We'll see.I don't have any control over that!
Oh, and speaking of babies... the world waited
all last weekend to find out the name of the new baby princess.It's a pretty one - Charlotte Elizabeth
Diana.I wasn't sure if they'd go for
"Diana" because, from what I've heard, the queen wasn't overly fond
of her, particularly once she divorced her son.I wouldimagine William and Kate
would like to stay in the queen's good graces.But I suppose they managed to please everyone by naming her after Prince
Charles, the queen, and the dead princess.I like all those names - very traditional, which is my preference when
it comes to naming people (obviously - run through the list of names I picked
for my crew).But, as I heard all these
news reports last weekend and watched people speculating on Facebook about what
the name would be, I was reminded of something a local radio host pointed out a
few years ago when the world was all excited over the latest royal wedding.
He wondered why Americans were so excited
about anything royal.As he said, our
ancestors fled royalty - with good reason.When they set up our government they did all they could to ensure there
would never be a monarchy.It seemed to
him that all this excitement was kind of a slap in the face to the sacrifices
made by our founding fathers.
He has a point.Now, granted, this particular talk show guy
is actually English by birth, although a proud American now.He has a particularhatred for the English health care system,
which he blames directly for his father's death.
I understand what he's saying.But, I would venture that it is probably mostly
American females that get excited by royal weddings and royal
babies.Guys don't care.In fact, I don't know of too many men that
like English anything.I remember
arising very early in the morning to watch Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson
marry (waste of time since they both ended up divorced).I didn't get up to watch Princess Kate.At this stage of life, I really don't
care.But I do remember admiring her
gown when I saw a picture of it later.I'm still a girl, I guess!
Yesterday, a discussion arose on Facebook
about expressions or usage of language that drive us insane.This was a conversation in which I was only
too happy to participate.As I was
typing some of things that frustrate me, I half-jokingly referred to myself as
responded that no, I am just, "precise."I like that...precise.
My preciseness cost me a FB friend this
week.Well, not really.I unfriended her.I really didn't know this gal.She was a friend of a friend who sent me a
friend request for some reason.Well,
one night this week she posted a meme that read, "Don't loose hope - you
don't know what tomorrow will bring!"I responded, a bit snarkily, "Yes, like perhaps a better grasp of
the English language?"I then added
a note about not minding me - I'm something of a language nerd, or something
like that.Oh, my goodness...she got so
upset with me.I was nice about it but
then quietly unfriended her.A few days
later she messaged me, demanding to know why I had unfriended her!This is like the locker hallway of junior high
all over again... I was honest - nice, though - and told her it was obvious to
me she had a personality that is easily offended and I have no wish to
continually risk that and that's the way it is.
As I am growing older I am noticinga distinct intolerance in myself for
foolishness in others.I'm not sure if
that's a good thing or not.It may just
end up making me crabby a lot.But I
really should not be like this.Relationships are more important than standing up against the abuse of
the English language.
Most of the time, anyway.
Ooh...and more on my
"preciseness":In Hobby Lobby
this week I was perusing the scrapbooking stickers when I came across a pack
that made me pause for a moment.I shook
my head, groaned, and probably rolled a couple of eyeballs before moving
on.Later, I ran it by David to see if
he would catch what had caught my ire.English is not his strong area, so if he could figure it out, then you know
it's bad.Even he got it.
It was a package of wintertime stickers and one
of the stickers read, "Burrr!"Really?"Burr?"You mean like the one under my saddle after
Yeah...just a little crabby.
Ok, time for something happy: my friend, Jenn,
is a new mom this week.It's an adoption
and this whole thing has just been really thrilling for me to watch from the
sidelines.This is child #6 for
them.The rest are biological, except
for son #2, who is the girls' bio brother.They wanted a baby boy to match his big brother so they specifically
sought to adopt a black newborn.It's
been a bit of a journey for them, but I've rejoiced with them as they were
finally chosen by abirth mom more than
halfway across the country.They were
informed late last week that this Tuesday would be baby day so the entire
family loaded up and took off.I texted
her as they were on the way to hospital for the delivery and it wasn't but a
few hours later I got pictures on my phone of the most adorable newborn little
boy.There is just something about black
It kind of made me sad to realize what I've
missed from the girls' first years.I
never got to cuddle that brown sweetness.
But this has been neat because I don't think I
have any other really good friends who have adopted brand new babies like
this.It's been special to have a front row seat to this endeavor and to see the
reward nestled in their arms.I can't
wait to hold him!
Tuesday night the kids did have softball,
despite my hopes for rain.David has
really improved a lot from last year - and he was good then.His game was especially fun to watch.Anyway, one of the other homeschool moms
approached me and we began to talk.She
observed the girls and told me how cute they are and then commented, "They
have such a nice color to their skin."I agreed.I've always thought the
girls are both such a pretty shade of brown.
But I've been thinking about that comment ever
since.I know the lady that spoke meant
nothing offensive by saying it and I didn't take it in a negative way at
all.But really, what is a "nice"
tone of black skin?Is it being as close
to white as you can be?Is darker skin
not nice?I remember when I got the call
for the girls.I was told they were
black and that we would, more than likely, end up adopting them.I didn't meet them or see a picture or
anything until that June morning when I picked them up in Des Moines.But I remember seeing them for the first time
and feeling relieved that they were a lighter brown color.I feel ashamed of that now, though.Why did that matter at all?Would I love them any less today if their
skin was nearly black in color?I can't
I know Lizzie is pretty attentive to differing
shades of brown.Once, we were helped
out to our van at Walmart after making a large purchase by a man who probably
came from the Sudan.She talked for days
in amazement about how black he was.Even just a couple of weeks ago I had her dressed in a black dress for
church and she commented that it was a good thing her skin was only medium
brown because with the dress people might not be able to see where the dress
ended and she began!She made me laugh
by saying that.
What is it about skin that we've decided there
are good and not-so-good shades?When I
was younger, I didn't like being as pale as I am (Lizzie comments from time to
time that "You are the whitest person I know, Mom!").I envied my friends who tanned easily and was
embarrassed by my legs and arms that would only ever burn rather than tan.I fried myself on purpose several times,
laying outside with tin foil and baby oil (stupid, stupid, stupid).I used to buy self-tanning lotions, even as
an adult, in hopes that my skin would darken.One nice thing about middle-age?
Anyway, I've just been ruminating on this all
week.No definitive answers - like most
of my thought life - just a jumble of thoughts as I attempt to sort through
Something that cracked me up this week: Lizzie
has an imagination that matches her enthusiasm for life.She asked me one day what I would do if
someone broke into our home and told me that he was going to kill either
herself or Sam - who would Ichoose to
die?What a horrifying question!I told her I would tell the bad guy to kill
me.Lizzie replied, "No, you can't
do that.He says, 'You have to choose
either Sam or Lizzie.'"I told her
I wouldn't do that.I would tell the bad
guy to choose then.
Lizzie then said, "Well, I would say to
the bad guy - 'kill me because I love Sam so much and I want him to
live!'"I told her that was very
nice of her and it's actually what Jesus did for us.Inwardly, I smiled because it's just another
evidence of her big heart.
Well, later that same night I heard Lizzie
posing the same scenario to Sam that she had earlier presented to me.I was driving and about swerved into a
telephone pole when I heard Sam say, "Yeah, I'd tell the bad guy, 'Kill
Lizzie!"Of course, she was then
sputtering about how she was willing to die for Sam and she couldn't
believe he wouldn't do the same for her!I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a sly grin on Sam's face that
told me knew exactly what he was doing- yanking his sister's chain once again.
I think this would fall into the oh,
I teach Patch club on Wednesday nights.Ellie stays with me even though she's really
too young for the group.There's just no
where else for her to go.It was prayer
request time and like she does every week, Ellie pitifully announced that,
"My daddy die."Sam, who was
sitting beside her, exclaimed in exasperation, "Ellie!We're over that now!"I had to smother a laugh even though it
really isn't funny.But in that moment
it kind of was.
I think I've written before about how Ben has
been reading his Bible a lot of mornings before school.Normally, when I get up I'm in a haze,
stumbling around to get his breakfast and school bag ready.Then I collapse on the couch with the Today
show until the bus arrives.I realized
this week that Ben has been taking his Bible back to my room for a few minutes
during that time and reading on my bed - because it's quiet.A couple of weeks ago he had asked me where
the best place to read in the Bible is and I had suggested that Proverbs has a
lot of good, practical, life stuff.He
commented to me this week that he is alternating between the Psalms and
Wow, just wow...Ben has a psychological
classification of mild to moderate mental retardation.But he's smarter than a whole lot of people I know.I am so proud of him.
I was shaving him one night this week and
evidently, in a silly mood.I asked him
if he was glad that he was created a boy and not a girl.Ben gave me a measured look and then replied,
"I'm glad I'm a man."
I asked him if he considers himself to be a
man and he quietly replied, "yes, I do."
And in that moment I had a total flash of
understanding.He gets so frustrated and
angry when I don't let him deal with the Littles the way he wants.That's because his way of dealing with them
only leads to greater difficulties and makes my job harder.But if he considers himself to be a man, then
he must feel disrespected when I don't let him exercise that same authority he
feels he already has.
Grainy today...I stayed up a little late
working on this and finally collapsed into bed shortly before midnight.At 3 am I was awakened by Paul's truck
chug-chug-chortling down the alley and into the driveway.The school year is over now at Faith and to
celebrate Will and bunch of his friends decided to go out to Saylorville
Lake.I was just praying nobody would
drown.At least none of them drink,
thankfully.Why Will thought he needed
to take the truck, I don't know.He
commented recently that he's started to develop quite a few friendships with
the more "redneck" Faith students so I suppose that might be why -
they'd probably think a loud, rusted-out, almost 30 year old truck would be
pretty neat.So anyway, he got home in
the wee hours of the morning.I fell
back asleep.Until 4:30 am.The piercing alarm of my phone indicating a
new text message finally penetrated my subconscious.Argh!And of course, I couldn't find my phone to shut the thing off.That necessitated turning on a light and
stumbling through the house.Eventually
I found it in the bathroom (not a good place for phones).The text was from Will telling me he didn't
get home until 3 (like I might have missed his arrival) and asking me to not
wake him up in the morning.I thought
about sending him a text so he could get beeped every 3 minutes until he read
it, but I didn't.Then I had a hard time
falling back asleep.I eventually did,
but had to be up 2 hours later to take Ben and David to church for the
It's 10:30 in the morning now and he's still
snoozing away, which is probably one of the many side benefits to being 20
years old.Workers are pounding on my
house, installing the siding.
Will did tell me he got some of his final
grades back.It sounds like he probably
made the Dean's List again.That
presentation I helped him with about the Christian and death - he got 100%.He said he got a 99% on his 8 page paper we
wrote together on trials in the Christian life (James).That was a cool one because we interspersed
Will's perspective of his dad's death in spots between the actual research
portions. On a personal level, this was progress for Will in being willing to
share about how that affected him. We
weren't sure if that would get him favor with his professor or not since it
made the paper no longer strictly a research paper.But his professor loved it, thankfully!
I've really been having a time and a half of
it lately with Ellie and lying.Lizzie
went through her own struggles with that and it just threw me because to the
best of my knowledge, none of the boys have ever told me a single lie, let
alone made a habit of the practice.But
ever since I had Jenn talk to her last fall she's been a pretty truthful little
girl.But Ellie...oh, my goodness.She's so tiny, physically, and so cute that I
tend to place her mentally below where she really is.She's a smart cookie and she's latched onto
this lying thing with a certain ferocity.I can look her in the eye and ask her repeatedly to tell me the truth -
she knows she lying and I know she's lying - but she will open her eyes wide
andswear up and down that no, the
sandwich ended up under the bench all by itself, or no, she didn't climb on the
refrigerator shelf, and yes, she definitely saw her sister go into the kitchen,
take out the whipped cream can, and spray it into her mouth (last night's
am pretty sure I'mgoing to be getting a
phone call from the police station someday asking me to provide bail money for
this pint-sized miscreant.
So we went through this last night.This time I reminded all the kids how they
will never have peace in their hearts as long as they keep sin in there and
neither will God hear their prayers.She
Sam, however, had lots of questions.Apparently, this sin in heart/no prayers
reaching Heaven was news to him.He then
wanted to know how we know that.Well,
if it's in the Bible, how do we know it's true?How do we know the people who wrote the Bible heard God right and wrote
down the right stuff?He then commented
that he wished God still talked to us out loud instead of in our hearts.Me, too, Buddy - me, too.
So, anyway, about an hour later, down the
steps comes Ellie.I immediately launch
into my you better be bleeding or your room better be on fire speech I always
shoot off when they get out of bed after I tuck them in.But she stopped me.
"I did it, Mommy.I lied to you."I kept a sober face but on the inside I was
fist-pumping.She DOES have a
conscience!I AM getting through!
Maybe, just maybe, she won't be knocking off
liquor stores at fourteen...
I've started having TMJ pain in the last
couple of weeks.I remember when I saw
my new dentist in Jan. he moved my jaw and asked if I could feel it
clicking.I didn't notice anything.But a couple of weeks ago I started having
pain when chewing.I did some research
and it's definitely TMJ.If it gets bad
enough there are treatments but for now it looks like the best thing to do is
Advil it into submission.The Mayo
website says it is most common in women between the ages of 20-40.That means I'm too old for it.
Today has been a nice day, even though I am
still so tired.A good chunk of the
front of my house got sided today and my new door was hung.I ordered a new storm door this week that
should be in in about 10 days - it's black, which I think will look really
Will woke up around 2 this afternoon and has
been busy knocking stuff off theto-do
list I made for him.I just needed the
stuff done by the time he leaves for camp on the 31st.It didn't have to be done today!It sounds like he had a really nice time last
night and the Saylorville Lake thing was not just a bunch of crazy college
students - even some of their professors were there.
Yesterday afternoon was nice, too.The daughter and granddaughter of some dear
friends from Council Bluffs graduated from Faith yesterday and they had a
reception for her at the school.Lizzie
and I went up and were able to pop in and visit with everyone for a couple of
hours.What a blessing that was.I think I smiled for rest of the day!
I think tomorrow will be a nice day, even
without Paul.But I'm sure I'll be
missing him more.He always complimented
me often on mymothering skills, which
was nice to hear because that's one area where I've always felt like I fall
short the most in.He made me feel
valued on Mother's Day and I can't expect the kids to do that in his
place.You don't usually appreciate
your own mother all that much until you're long grown.
it will still be a nice day.I'm going
to take the kids out to eat and then I need to swing by Penneys because I have
some great coupons that expire tomorrow.David put on his athletic shorts for softball this week and was dismayed
to find that they are now above his knees.They look fine to me but apparently, that's a no-no in teenage boy land. So I should be able to get him some new ones tomorrow.
And then I have about $13 worth of Dairy Queen
gift cards floating around in my purse so I think after church in the evening
we'll top off our day with ice-cream.
They're saying severe weather will be moving
into central Iowa in the late afternoon/early evening hours with the potential
for heavy rain, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes.I am worried sick about my siding.It's not covered by my insurance until the work
is done and how on earth will I pay for more siding and labor if all this gets
destroyed tomorrow?I was expressing
this to Will and he drawled, "What are you going to do - hold it onto the
house yourself?"So much like his
So, I'm praying a lot...and trying to remember
that life is enjoyed most when it's held onto with loose hands.That's true of houses, and husbands, and
money, and children.
I have just enough time to start this before I
have to leave again.I optimistically
made a list of all I planned to accomplish today.Yes, well...
And, that's all she wrote for about four more
hours!It's just been one of those
days.I've been up at City Hall, working
on stuff a couple of different times and then I had to run to the west side of
Des Moines, which was fine - it was for fun stuff.But my list still sits.
The sky is darkening up.When I was in Des Moines today it was raining
lightly.They are saying it's supposed
to rain a lot this week.I'm sure the
farmers will be happy, since we had such a gorgeous warm week in which they
probably finished their planting.I am
hoping that it rains so much that the kids' first softball game Tues night is
rained out.They get so offended when I
say stuff like that.But someday they'll
be parents and understand!
The hardest day this week was definitely
Thursday.But then it was followed by
Friday, which was infinitely better, other than the nasty, horrible migraine I
was awakened by.
Thursday I received a letter from my insurance
company.Apparently, they sent someone
out to take pictures of my house and now they are refusing to insure my siding
and roof anymore until they're completely replaced.The siding is in progress so that's not a
problem.But I don't know what to do
about the roof now.It doesn't leak so I
had not planned to address it until that became an issue.But, if there's a bad summer storm and
something happens, then the repair cost will be on me.So, I don't know.I just really hate to spend the money right
now since it's not needed.But that
means I'm paying for insurance I can't ever use - until the roof is
The girls were kind of awful that same
evening.I had a big to-do with Ellie
over her pork chops.Every single time
I've made pork chops she makes a big deal about how much she loves them and
hopes I"make them every day,
Mommy!"This time she flat-out
refused to eat them.Wouldn't even try
them.She did, eventually, but then
moved on to her homemade mac and cheese.It was all about control.She
wanted to be able to decide what she would and would not eat, which is fine -
when you're 20.Not 3.She ended up going to bed early Thurs. night
because she said she'd rather do that than eat the macaroni.The dish appeared again at breakfast, which
she refused, as she did at lunch.She
finally gave in and ate it at supper last night, which I was hoping she would
because I couldn't keep reheating the stuff.To the best of my knowledge, she'd had nothing to eat for about 24
hours, so intent was she on getting her own way.How did I get so lucky as to get THREE children
with wills of iron?
After the girls were in bed, but far from
asleep, David let me know the upstairs toilet was plugged.I've become fairly good at unplugging these
things with a plunger since Paul died.But this would not budge.Oh my
goodness, I have never encountered such a plugged toilet before!David was mopping up the floor and carrying
out bucket after bucket of soiled water.I was holding my nose and trying to work.Eventually, I got on the internet and
researched my options and squirted dish soap in the dirty water, followed by
really hot water.
I began to think that perhaps something
inorganic had been flushed and was now wedged in the pipes.I don't know that in all my years of
parenting that has ever happened, actually.
As I was standing there, slippers wet, pants
soiled, plunging a toilet that didn't want to budge, I found myself thinking,
"I shouldn't have to do this!This
is Paul's job!"But I was
wrong.It's my job by default now.
So yesterday I went to Menards and bought a
snake.But this was actually kind of a
"God" thing.I asked a clerk
to help me because there were about 15 different options of things you could
buy to unclog a drain.Well, the clerk
didn't know much of anything.But as we
were standing there, a gentleman next to me answered his phone and said
something about "(name) Plumbing"I waited until he was done asked him if he was a plumber.He was and was more than willing to show me
which snake to purchase.He then gave me
a business card and said if the snake didn't work, he'd be happy to come out
and work on the toilet for me.
I went home andhad success with the snake.Now it has its own hook in the garage.
So, by 11 on Thursday night I had given up on
the toilet.I was thinking I might
finally be able to get to bed when I saw that the interior lights in the van
were on.They stay on for a few minutes
after the van is turned off.My guess
was that a door wasn't closed all the way.I went outside in my robe and slippers and repeatedly shut the
door.The lights didn't dim and shut
off, no matter how long I watched them.Finally, I grabbed my phone, thinking I'd have to call Will, and got
into the van to see if the "door ajar" light was on.That would let me know if I had a defective
door.It didn't take me too long to
realize that somebody short had messed with the lights when cleaning out the
van earlier that day.How many times
have I told them to NOT TOUCH THE LIGHTS when in there?Grr...makes me so mad.But, at least I didn't have a broken door and
a resulting dead battery in the morning.And then, I hear someone saying, "Hello, hello?Sarah, are you ok?"Ack...my phone that I was still holding had
decided to randomly call one of my friends at 11:30 at night.How embarrassing!I hate that phone.
Will and I actually visited US Cellular this
week to find out what our options for upgrading are and so forth.I'm not eligible for a new phone until
Sept.I'm torn on what to do,
money-wise.I guess I have all summer to
think about it!
finally got to bed Thursday night, dreading Friday when I would go visit a
residential facility with Ben and his teachers.I woke up that morning with the mother of all migraines.I had to take 4 prescription meds before I
finally beat that thing into submission later that afternoon.
But, like I said, Friday was better.Ben's Resource teachers had asked me a week
or so ago if I'd be interested in touring Christian Opportunity Center in
Pella.I wasn't crazy about the idea
because in my mind, Pella is quite a ways away (it's not really - only about a
half hour from my house).But mostly,
I've just had it set, mentally, that Ben will be going to Genesis in Indianola
at some point.
Which he may be.
But, maybe not.
I have to say, I was really, really impressed
with COC.They have a sheltered workshop
area where Ben would probably not work a whole lot because his skills are just
higher (he'd more than likely be employed out in the community).But they do things for Vermeer and Pella Corp,
along with a host of other area companies.It was bright and well-lit in there and all the workers seemed so
happy.We toured one of the houses and
Ben was so excited about this.There's a
wide open floor plan with a really nice kitchen, a little office area for the
supervisor in residence and then 4 good-sized bedrooms for the 4
residents.By this point, Ben was
jumping up and down in excitement.I had
lots of questions for the director and came away quite pleased with her
It sounds like this would be all paid for with
Ben's disability payments. and then any money he earns would be his spending
money.So, a lot of parental help is not
needed or expected. Whew!
It's a faith-based organization so they have
devotions every single morning.They
have a chaplain available to the residents and they take them to the various
churches there in Pella on Sunday (if they want - it's all voluntary).
The director told me she's very excited about
the idea of Ben coming to live there. She said she can tell he'd be a
"perfect fit."It wouldn't be
for about 3 years yet, but I'm excited that she's excited!
We're going to ease into this.I still need to tour Genesis' residences,
too.This summer Ben is going to go one
day a week to Genesis' Discovery program and one day to COC's
"Lifeskills" program, which sounds a lot like Discovery.And then next school year we're going to try to have
him spend a couple days of the week at COC, working and getting familiar with
Pella is such a pretty city.I'm actually thinking of doing Ben's senior
pictures there this summer.They offer a
lot and I can see Ben thriving in that environment.
The other night Ellie told me she wanted
"chocolate smudge" ice-cream (fudge).
Wednesday morning I had a phone call from
Will, wanting to know what was for supper that evening.I knew he was planning to come home after
classes.I told him, "leftovers."
He said flatly, "oh."
Then he informed me that he had invited two
friends to come down with him that afternoon and told them I would feed
them!I've always looked forward to
doing this but after this long and no invites, I assumed Will just wasn't very
sociable at college.So, I ran to
Fareway and spent most of the day cooking and cleaning.It was fun.Will's friends were very enthusiastic in their appreciation for my
cooking, which is always rewarding.
The day before he had ridden with these two
friends out to some town south of Lincoln, NE to pick up some tractor tires for
one of the boys' family farm back in Illinois.On the way home they stopped at the other boy's home north of Harlan and
tonight Will was telling me about their house.He said that when they added on and put in a basement for the addition,
they dug the floor out deeper and installed an indoor basketball hoop and
playing area.Now that's thinking!This family has five sons and no daughters,
so I suppose that's why their thoughts were naturally so sports-oriented.
I always watch channel 13 news.Well,
this week they announced that the evening's lead female anchor is
pregnant.It's neat because she's 40 and
a few months ago she shared with her tv audience the fertility struggles she
and her husband had been experiencing.Apparently, a year ago they were going through an adoption that ended up
falling through.But when they were
anticipating the arrival of this infant, she learned that Iowa does not have
any maternity leave laws in place for adoptive parents, only for ones that give
birth.So, she did a story about this on
the news and ultimately ended up spearheading a movement that got this changed
in the legislature this spring.While
sharing her story on the news, she also shared that, as a teenager, she had
given birthand given the baby up for
adoption (who is grown now and with whom she has been reunited) so now she's
been on both ends of the adoption spectrum.
So this week they announce on the news that
she is 3 months pregnant!The other
anchorpeople mentioned how shocked they were when they found out and then the
weather lady laughed and says, on tv, "Well, I thought her boobs
were looking bigger!"
I'm probably a prude and I've got my own
history of speaking without thinking...but really?
Yesterday afternoon I had a few errands to run
and was in a store when I got a phone call.It was from the founder of Single Parent Provision, which is the group
that has been sponsoring these "moms night out"s that I've been
attending (there's another in 2 weeks!).Well, I knew they were having this fundraiser this weekend for SPP
called, "Pedis with a Purpose."I didn't examine it too closely, because as grateful as I am to this
organization, paying $50 to participate in the fundraiser (getting a pedi at a
local beauty school) was a bit steep for my budget.Actually, paying anything for a pedicure
is.I can paint my own toes on the
But the head of it called me (her name is
"Teahl" - such a unique name) and said that they wanted to gift me a
pedicure today.The way she said it,
along with some other things made me think that she probably knows I'm
widowed.Although, I haven't shared that
with anyone at the group.But somehow,
they must have found out.It was such a
kind phone call and coming on the heels of the rotten day I'd had the day
before, I was just so moved and gratefully accepted.
So I went and had my toes done today.Now they're a pretty cherry color.The last time I had a pedi it lasted for a
month, but I'm not so sure this one will last as long because they didn't dip
my feet in wax like they did the first time I had one, a year ago.
I was thinking about that later
yesterday. Pre-widowhood, I never had a single professional manicure or pedicure.But in the last
12 months, I've been given 2 pedicures and 2 manicures.Apparently, getting widowed is the key to
having others pay to have your nails done.Who knew?
Actually, it's a very gracious gesture.When you're walking through grief,
particularly widow-grief, you sometimes don't want to take the effort to look
nice because you no longer have a husband to appreciate it.And it takes effort.Widowhood and single parenting is burdensome
and extra things often have to slip off to the wayside.
I got to the salon today and Teahl met me with
a big hug.We barely know eachother, but
I appreciated it.You miss that human
contact.Kid hugs just aren't quite the
I ended up seated next to a very chatty single
mom.I have noticed that other single
moms naturally assume that all single moms are divorced or never married like
they are.Widowhood doesn't occur to
them.So she's chatting away about her
louse of an ex-husband.That's something
else I've noticed.A lot of single moms
are ticked off.Anyway, she
abruptly asked me how dating was going.I told her it wasn't, wondering just when the right time to let her know
my husband had died would be.From
there, she launched into a spiel about the losers she's gone out with since her
divorce.She finally commented that her
husband had probably "ruined" her for other men.I then said well, my concern with dating
again would be that I would always compare a new man to my husband, who was
All was quiet.She looked at me sideways and then asked, "Did your husband
die?"Kind of a
Although it didn't last for long.Soon she was up and running again with tales
about her two kids and the vacation she is planning on taking with them this
summer.After awhile I leaned back in my
chair and let her words run over the top of me while I enjoyed the sensation of
lotion being rubbed into my calves and feet.
I also told this gal that I was convinced that
this time in my life was by God's design.I don't believe it is His will that I look for another mate yet and I am
quite convinced that there are things he wants me to learn about Him, myself,
parenting, and contentment while I handle things solo.I could tell she didn't really understand
what I was saying, but that's ok.