Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 445 B


August 23, 2014

Day 445 Part B

 

What a day.  This morning I had a horrible allergy attack.  The drug I took seems to have helped with that, but I still have a migraine-like sinus headache.  I was able to fit in a 2 hour nap, which helped, but now I am groggy, hurting, and that much farther behind on my to-do list.  That's the way it goes, I guess, at least during allergy season.

 

I wrote last week about the kids' insurance issue I had been having.  At the time, it sounded like everything was taken care of it and I was so relieved.  Well, it's not taken care of.  I am absolutely sick at heart over this.    I began to get concerned when I did not receive paperwork and medical cards from Hawk-i, even though the last person I had talked to there assured me all was well.  So I called this week.  The man I talked with told me he had no record of my kids at all and they had received no referral from Medicaid.  It has been three months since Medicaid told me the kids were being referred!   I called Medicaid and the number I was given sent me to a telemarketing firm attempting to sell me a cruise.  I didn't make a mistake with the number.  I finally found a different number for Medicaid and every single time I sat through the spiel of which number to call and every single time I was told, "We're sorry, our call volume is especially high.  Please call another time."  And I would be hung up on.  I was in tears.

 

What am I supposed to do?  I have already cancelled several appointments this summer for David.  If either he or Sam gets hurt and I have to take them in, they will have no insurance.    I really do not feel that I can afford to buy private insurance for the kids.  I could get my attorney on this - and I may have to - but that will cost me money that I, again, really cannot afford.  There would be a certain amount of irony to having to hire an attorney to collect benefits available to lower-income residents, anyway.

 

I have an address for Medicaid and need to see if I can find one for Hawk-i.  Monday I intend to drive to the offices (which are probably in a not-so-good area of town) and see if I can get through by talking to someone in person.

 

Pray for me.  This is such a mental buden on me right now and I need resolution quickly.  I feel absolutely sick every time I think about it.

 

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This week Ellie loaded the dishwasher all by herself one day.  I was astounded.  She pulled the stool over to the sink, stood on it, rinsed off the dishes in the sink and very neatly stacked them in the dishwasher.  This is a child who can't seem to remember that walls and furniture are not appropriate coloring surfaces, doesn't always remember to use the toilet instead of her pants, but she can load a dishwasher?  Since then, she's done it several times.  Ben already does all the unloading.  I may be out of job now!

 

Speaking of the dishwasher, I made my own detergent for it recently.  I did some research on the internet and found a recipe using kosher salt, borax, super washing soda and lemonade koolaid packets.  While cost effective it's not quite as good as Cascade, that I've  always used.  So, what I've been doing is to just switch off every other time I wash a load.  One time I use the homemade variety, the next, Cascade.  It seems to be doing the job.

 

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This week on my Mourning into Dancing board (for widows) the lady who started the group commented that in her 5 years of moderating the group, she has yet to see any relationship started before the 3 year mark ever lead to marriage.  Now granted, 5 years isn't a terribly long time to have been observing, but it is still considerable.  There was a remarriage thread and someone else commented that women typically need more time to process their grief.  It's just the way we are made and a way we differ from men.  That would explain why men generally remarry a lot quicker than women do.  Hearing the moderator's observation about the 3 year mark really helped me.  I almost felt like a burden rolled off my back.  I don't have to be concerned about finding another husband/how to do it/where to do it until Paul has been gone for at least 3 years.  If I mess around before that mark, it sounds like it will be pointless and could lead to further heartbreak for myself and the kids.

 

So I'm done.  I'm done fussing about it in my mind.  Yes, I would very much like to remarry at some point.  That hasn't changed.  I know that God delights in giving us the desires of our heart and if He thinks another husband is what I need at some point, He will fulfill that desire for me.  If not, I will learn contentment.

 

But now is not the time.  I am actually accepting that with a certain amount of relief.  I can keep on doing what I'm doing without worrying about finding another man.  I can continue to mourn Paul and raise my children and go about my life without any internal fussing about the possibility of another mate.  And then someday, when the time is right and probably when I least expect it...there he will be.

 

*************************************

It was nearly a week ago that I had that near panic attack over my finances and worry about the future.  I've calmed down considerably since then and it even occurred to me mid-week that I know I must homeschool David through high school. I know, I know, I know that public school is not the best option for him.  Four or five years from now, if I've packed him off to college, I don't think I'll be feeling what I'm feeling now with Will.  I'll be imbued with a sense of victory that I got  David so far that he can even go to college.  He needs to be home yet.  That pretty much means I've got 4 years to decide what to do about the future.  While I'd love to think I can stay home until Ellie graduates, right now I'm actually ok with the idea of putting all three of them in public school.  Of course, that may change if the reality is, eventually,  that I have to do that!  At the very least I have four years to invest my time and interest in the kids before trading it for financial survival.   I talked this all out with Marcia yesterday and she reminded me that a whole, whole lot  can happen in four years.  I have no idea what's around the corner.  Of course, that's also what frustrates me.  I want to see everything right now!  She told me that the reason I don't have the answers at the moment is because I don't need them right now.

 

Ok.

 

Yesterday morning the mayor of Pleasantville stopped by my house to get a water sample (he's also our water guy - around here, our towns are so small that our  mayors also have to have "real" jobs!).  He mentioned to me that Pleasantville's part-time deputy city clerk position is about to open up and he thought I'd be perfect for that job.  For a moment I was torn.  Was this an answer to my prayer and angst earlier in the week?  It only took a few seconds for me to shake my head, though.  This was not the answer, as tempted as I might be.  My kids need me.  I'm already so torn and running around half-cocked because of time pressures.  If I were out of the home 4 hours a day that would only increase the stress levels in our house.  Plus, it would mean David would have to babysit that much more.  He already does it more often than he should have to.  There will be other job opportunities when the time is right.

 

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I heard this week that the literal translation of Jerusalem is, "city of peace."  Isn't that interesting? I never knew that.

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Last night at scrapbooking I had a great conversation with my friend, Luanne.  We were talking about the whole Ferguson, Missouri thing.  That's an event I have been disgusted by but haven't allowed myself the luxury yet of really sitting down and thinking about.  Like I saw on a FB post today, you throw a molative cocktail at police and then complain about "excessive force"?  Anyway, we talked for quite awhile about race and my concerns about doing the right thing for the girls.  Luanne is such a blunt talker and loves to debate.  But she told me, "Sarah - those girls are not yours by accident.  Don't worry about the race thing.  You just love them, raise them by instinct, and things are going to be fine."

 

I think I need to unsubscribe from my transracial FB group.  The posts just mess me up.  Of course, they've all been pro-demonstrations in Ferguson and someone even asked last week who was going down to protest.  I'm disgusted.  Yes, I know that racism still exists, but it does not exist to the extent that it did 40 years ago.  I really think Martin Luther King Jr. would be appalled by what is happening.

 

Today, Lizzie came to me and said, "I wish I wasn't black."  My heart froze.  I have read that sooner or later, most black girls will express this.  It's usually in relation to beauty issues since, like it or not, the blue-eyed, long haired blond beauty does still tend to be our ultimate symbol of what is considered beautiful in this world.   I think that is slowly changing, but we're not quite there yet.

 

I questioned her and it very quickly came out that Lizzie associates negative behaviors with brown skin.  She told me that it seems like on tv the people getting arrested are black and the women wearing skanky clothing are black and the people not taking care of their kids right  are black.  I was very quick to point out to her that bad choices have nothing to do with the color of one's skin, but with the "color" of their heart (we talk a lot about heart "colors" around here).  Fortunately (?) Paul has a nephew who has spent quite a bit of his young life in the Nebraska penal system and I was able to use him as an example to Lizzie that white people make very, very bad choices, too.   I assured her that there are plenty of brown people who dress appropriately, talk intelligently, and lead very successful and God-honoring lives. 

 

But Lizzie has never been exposed to anyone like that.  Quite honestly, my contact with those kind of black people has been pretty limited, too.  This is why I really need to find some black mentors for the girls at some point.  In the meantime, I need to make a point to point out famous current and dead black people who made good choices (Condaleeza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Harriet Tubman,George Washington Carver, etc.)  Part of me still argues that color shouldn't matter, but it does matter to Lizzie and it's important that she not think that her life and opportunities are limited in any way because of the color of her skin.

 

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I got an invitation last night for a 50th anniversary celebration for a couple in our neighborhood.  The thing is, I know for a fact that the husband spoke to an attorney a few weeks ago about the possibility of obtaining a divorce. It doesn't sound like it's going to happen, but sigh...

 

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When I came home Thursday night from orientation, David was in tears.  He had just watched, "Courageous" for the first time since before Paul died.  Oh, David...I love, love, love the Sherwood films, but I may never be able to watch them again.  So I had to deal with him a little bit.  Then, to my surprise, he whipped out the ipad and began furiously typing.  He takes after his mother more than he realizes...

 

This is what he wrote.  He said it was ok for me to put it on my blog:

 

We were made to be courageous"
Those are the lyrics to Casting Crowns song Courageous, I just listen to that song for the first time since my dad died... after I watched the movie Courageous.


At first I didn't know if I could but then I did.
Before I started it, I prayed to the Lord to help me get though the movie, and I did!

But of coarse this movie really made me think about my DAD, in this movie Adam (one of the main characters) his daughter died in a car crash. But that made him
really think of how great of a dad he was and what he could do to be better a dad for his son.


In which this case reminded me how DAD was always striving to be a better dad, every time he made a mistake he would come and apologize to us.
But then it made me think of much of a son I was to him... but that is what the devil is trying to make to think, and I know DAD was very proud of me and he was interested in me to see how I will grow.
I was different from him (in a good way) I had a more tender heart then DAD.

In the movie the chief of the police told everyone that most young people that end up in jail is because the dad left them or just didn't spend much time with them. I am sooooo glad that DAD did spend time with all of us. No matter if it was playing around with us, or teaching us stuff from working on the house.

The Lord called him home, I could be soooo upset, but I'm not, God called him home because he done everything the Lord wanted him to, I think part of what God wanted to teach us about God and he did that. Every time DAD tuck me in when I was little he would say "mommy daddy Jesus loves you", that was one thing DAD mainly taught us, that Jesus loves us.

So in conclusion DAD loved me and I love him. He was always striving to be a better DAD, and I say he succeeded

 

 

Be still, my heart...

 

Then, last night while I was at scrapbooking, David watched "Fireproof."  That is my all-time favorite movie, but I don't know that I will ever be able to watch it again.  Maybe sometime.  I don't know.

David wrote up a little something on that, too, I discovered later.  I don't know if he felt like he had to, as a companion piece to what he had done the night before, or if he just felt especially motivated.

 

"Love is not a fight but something worth fighting for."
That is a song I herd tonight while I watched fireproof, I haven't watch that movie since DAD died.


Now I'm not married, so it didn't bother me much. But it got me thinking about MOM & DAD.
No MOM and DAD didn't ever had a fight about getting divorce, but they did have a fight (not very often.) And plus they would of never have a fight about a divorce,  they were both saved when they got married.
No matter what happen with MOM & DAD they would know how to fix it.

I am soooo thankful God made them to be my parents! If they weren't my parents I don't know who what kind of a person I would be?

They were meant for each other!

So when my DAD died it was painful for me to see my MOM without a husband.
But since then my MOM has really grown spiritually and emotionally.

She has brought our family closer together. She was the first one who told me everything will be okay after my DAD died.
She is still ( and probably for awhile) facing challenges. But I do know that she is leaning on the Lord.

So in conclusion they were a great couple!
And they loved each other soooo much! And I am thankful for that! 

 

 

The part that really "got" me was where he talked about me being the first to assure him after Paul's death that things were going to be ok.  It must have been when I gathered the kids around that morning to tell them Paul had died.  I don't remember  all I said, other than it seemed to be Holy Spirit driven.  Nothing in my life had ever prepared me for that moment.

 

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Last night a friend had a quote posted on her FB wall.  I don't know who said this, but boy, it resonated and I've thought it often today.

 

Don't mistake God's patience for God's absence

 

There have been times, especially lately, when it has seemed to be that God is silent when I feel like I need to hear from him.  That's frustrating to me.  But maybe what I'm really witnessing is God patiently working out his perfect plan in my life.

 
I can wait, knowing that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 445

DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW

August 23, 2014

 

Day 445

 

It's a rainy, dreary morning - which I do not mind.  There's a stationary front parked over our part of the Midwest right now (so the weatherman says) that is causing it to be super humid, hot and rainy for days on end.  Last night I went to scrapbooking and it was so humid as I drove home around midnight that it looked foggy out at times and I had to use my wipers for the entire 45 min. ride home, even though it wasn't raining a bit.  I woke up to a thunderstorm, which I love.  But the sun is peeking out now so I am guessing the soupy air and heat will soon follow.  Thankfully, I have a temperature controlled house and don't have to worry about it!

 

"Temperature Controlled" - that was a phrase I just thought of yesterday. Paul used to say I was "spoiled" because I was never very happy unless the temperature in the house was perfect.  I cannot stand to be too hot.  The older I get I even find myself structuring my life around temperature.  I won't go to outdoor activities when it's too warm and I get very unhappy in the winter when it's extraordinarily cold for days on end.  I crave physical comfort and when it's not there I tend to get quite cranky.    I was thinking about how I like my life to be all orderly and how, when things happen, whether it's something major like Paul's death or minor, like a fluorescent light out in my kitchen that I can't fix, I get really agitated on the inside.  Someday, if I write a book about all this I may call it my "Temperature Controlled Life" or something like that.

 

*********************************

Well, the big news this week was Will's departure to college.  What an emotionally charged week!  Tuesday we went shopping for all the dorm things he would need.  That took all day long, which surprised me.  It didn't cost as much as I thought it would.  I had already purchased a number of things over the summer, but this was stuff he needed to pick out.  He bought his own fridge.  Last Sun. night our church had a fingerfood fellowship for all the college bound students (5 of them) and gave them each a $100 gift card.  I had no idea they would be so generous.  But when I heard that I suggested to Will he might be able to get his own dorm fridge. 

 

I don't know if this is a guy thing or a generational thing.  When I went to college 25 years ago there were 5 of us in our suite.  We rented a single, tiny little fridge - less than 2 cubic feet.  All 5 of us shared it and fought over the ten tiny ice cubes the freezer would make.  Will bought a 2.7 cubic fridge which is about the size of the one we used to use in our camper for our whole family.  Now, the set-up at Faith is 2 students per room.  They tore down all the old dormitories and built nice, modern ones sometime since I was there.  When I was in Will's room Thurs. I saw that his roommate has his own fridge, too - and it's bigger than Will's!

 

In my mind, I had Thursday all planned out.  We'd all go up to Faith, pick up Will's room key, and all help him move in.  Will was grumbling about my insistence on taking all the kids, but I informed him this was a family event and we were all going.  I should have listened to him.  I had a hard time getting Will out the door in the first place.  He is so much like Paul, personality-wise, including the parts that used to drive me insane, like his inability to worry about anyone else's schedule.  I could never hurry Paul along and I can't make Will go any faster, either.  First, Will and I had to stop by the bank so Will could deposit all his camp paychecks and we could get a vaccine exemption notarized.  The poor kids had to wait in the (air conditioned) van for all of that.  Then, we get up to the school and I see a big sign that says, "Registration" strung across the Nettleton Center.  It was then I began to get an inkling that this process might be more involved than I first thought. 

 

I eventually texted David and told him to bring everyone in.  They sat on couches in the lounge while I waited in different lines forever with Will.  By the time we got all done all I had only enough time to snap a picture of Will and load everyone up again and go.  It's a 40 min. drive from our house and I had to be back up at the school for supper and parents' meetings (something Will only informed me about Wed).  So Will had to move into his dorm by himself which I think was his preference all along.  I felt bad for the rest of the kids who had all wanted to see where Will was going to be living.  They assured me it was ok, though.

 

That evening I was back and got to see the new (to me) dining hall.  Wow - what a difference a quarter of a century can make!  The food was wonderful and I had a nice chat with Will's roommate, Jacob.  Will was too busy shoveling supper into his mouth to talk much.

 

I found myself getting sadder and sadder as the day progressed, though.  Being up there alone, surrounded by all these couples dropping their children off, was NOT how this was supposed to go.  Paul would have gotten such a kick out of this day and it would have been so special for the two of us as we mentally relived our freshman year on the very same campus.

 

After one meeting, they shooed all the freshman off for some "getting to know you" activities and the parents had to sit through 2 hours of meetings.  Ugh - no matter how many more kids I bring to Faith, I am never attending these meetings again!  My back hurt and I didn't have any graceful way of exiting since I was sitting in the middle of a row.  What they had lined up was good and I know designed to make the parents feel more at ease about leaving their kids.  But I felt like a lot of it just didn't apply to me.

 

Will is already so independent.  He was born that way.  I commented to him the other day that I think I need him more than he needs me.  He replied, "Yeah, I'd say that's about right."

 

Thanks.

 

Then they had this one woman, who had all of her kids go through Faith, talk to us primarily about adjusting to the separation.  I'm not saying what she had to say wasn't good, but I sat there and thought to myself, "Lady, you have no idea..."  Most of these parents will go home and maybe feel a little blue for awhile that their nest has a little more elbow room now (as my brother poetically expressed it).  But their lives will continue on in a predictable path.  Their child's departure doesn't represent the hardship to them that Will's does to me.  If something breaks and David or I can't fix it, I'm stuck. I don't have another driver now.  If circumstances arise that require me to be in two places, I have to make sacrifices and adjust my schedule rather than sending the kids one way and me another.  Their child's absence doesn't feel like the blow Will's does to me because of already losing his dad.

 

But it's time for him to go.  Will is more than ready.  This is the year.  Financially, he's more prepared now to handle tuition than he would have been a year ago.  He got the job he interviewed for Monday at Sportman's Warehouse there in Ankeny and starts in three days.  He is good to go!

 

Will  gave me a year that he didn't have to.  For that, I will always be grateful.  He helped cushion me this first year as I adjusted to sudden singleness. He finished my house which was HUGE!  I honestly look forward to watching the rest of his life unfold - from the spectator's stands.  It's that part that makes me sad.  I want to be out there on the field with him, still!

 

So, I drove home Thurs night with a mixture of pride and sorrow in my heart.  I held it together, though.  Yesterday I met with Marcia and didn't hold it together so well, then.  She assured me that all her kids went off to college, convinced they no longer needed their parents either, only to come back a few years later filled with renewed gratefulness for Mom and Dad.  She looked at me straight in the eye and said, "You can do this, Sarah!"  She reminded me that I had made it all summer long without him and that God would provide the grace and strength necessary to survive this next stage of life.

 

I know He will and I also know I have a long, long time until I will have a completely empty nest.  I still have a whole lot of on-the-field parenting years left with the other kids.  This stage of life is far from over yet.  If anything, Will's departure to college gives me  renewed sense of purpose as I sow into Ben, David, Sam, Lizzie, and Ellie's lives.

 

But I'm going to miss him.  Twenty years ago at this time I was six months pregnant with Will and SO anxious to meet him, quit my job, and get on with the business of being a mother. In the blink of an eye it was over.

 

So fast.

 

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I think he still needs me, though, at least a tiny bit.  Yesterday he called and texted a few times, as he got all the details of his loan ironed out and made a few trips to the campus bookstore for some books we didn't realize he needed (if I had I would have ordered them a lot cheaper off the internet, like I did the others).  He wasn't calling because he missed me - it was all business.  But I'll take anything at this point!  Tomorrow he wants to meet me in Des Moines so I can get him one book our pastor had and is loaning him and so I can reimburse him for what he spent at the bookstore.  I wanted to volunteer to drive up to Ankeny today and to bring him a hot meal and maybe a stuffed animal, too (not really).  But I refrained and told him I could make the Des Moines thing work.  I'm playing it cool.  Tomorrow when I see him I'll simply hand him what he needs and  not throw my arms around his neck and beg him to return home.

 

It's a new stage of life. 

 

For both of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 441

DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW

August 19, 2014

Day 441

 

I am so, SO tired today.  I took Will shopping for all the college stuff he's going to need that I couldn't get on my  own this summer while he was gone.  Ben insisted on tagging along, which was fine.  It took a lot longer than I had anticipated, though.  I'm worn out.

 

We were riding around in Will's car all day and after about an hour, the AC decided to conk out.  That was terrible!  I do not do well in heat at all.  Will isn't bothered by it a bit.  I suggested that maybe we ought to have it looked at and he looked at me, horrified.  Why would he want to spend money on his air conditioning?  Maybe he doesn't think he needs it, but if he gets a girlfriend this year, she probably would not be appreciative of sweaty armpits and wind-blown hair after riding around with him.  Maybe he'll only date when it's cold out. 

 

I've known for the last month or so I need to have my van aligned.  I bought four brand new tires last fall and I had to replace two of them last month.  But it's not so easy for me to take my van in for work.  I can't sit around and wait all day long but everyone I know lives so far away from me, it would be asking an awful lot of people to accompany me to the mechanics, back home, and then come get me again to take me to go get my repaired van.  If I didn't have any choice, I guess I'd have to ask, but that's going to be a very last resort.  So, anyway, Will came home the other night and commented that my front tires aren't looking too great now.  Oh, it just makes me so mad - they were brand new last November.  How can they be bald already?  Things suddenly clicked in my little brain that I really ought to have the alignment done during these few days that he's home so he could be the one to take me to the mechanic's.

 

So this morning we dropped my van off in Indianola.  There's a shop there I really like.  They've always seemed to be so honest in the few dealings I've had with them.  I told them I needed the alignment, the oil changed, and I'd like them to check out the guts to make sure nothing's in imminent danger of going bad.  Since Paul died I just have this terrible fear of something happening to my van and being stranded.  I bought AAA coverage, but I'd still be without a vehicle after getting it towed somewhere.  What do people DO without a husband to rescue them?

 

Around 1 I got a call from the mechanic.  My tie rods are bad which may or may not be causing my alignment issue, my water pump is leaking (I had no clue), the front tires had to be replaced (their words).  I sighed and told them to do it all.  It's going to cost me over $700 which makes me sick.  I know if Paul were alive it wouldn't cost nearly so much.  I remember him talking about replacing those very parts in other vehicles we've had.  But I don't have much choice at the moment, do I?

 

I tried to convince myself that I should just be thankful that I have the money to do the work.  And I am.  But money concerns are at the top of my list these days.

 

I woke up Sun. morning literally panicking over my finances.  I do that from time to time.  I almost wonder if it's a Satanic thing.  Ben turns 18 in a couple of months which means he'll be ineligible for Survivor's benefits anymore.  I don't think I have a tremendous lot to worry about since he'll then qualify for Disability.  I believe that amount will be equal to or even greater than what comes in for Survivors.  But I don't know how long it will take for things to get switched over. I may be short a few months while we wait for everything to kick in.   I need to get down to Ottumwa and visit the Social Security office.  The girls needs cards with their new names and I'd like to find out what's what with Ben.  But then in 3 years I will lose David's portion when he turns 18.  How am I going to survive without that money?  It's not like my financial responsibilities to the child end when they turn 18, even though the money stops then.

 

I just find myself so topsy turvy in my mind.  I feel like I need to be making some decisions and plans for my future, but at the same time I don't want to.  I have no peace or assurance about taking any particular direction whether it's staying put for the time being, going back to college, or putting the Littles in school and getting a full time job once David graduates.  These days I am praying for peace and guidance, but so far I'm experiencing confusion and distress.

 

Maybe there's a little part of me that's mad, too.  I don't want to have to make these kind of decisions.  This wasn't how it was supposed to be.  I was supposed to be a full-time homeschooling mom forever while Paul supported us. That was our plan!  While I managed our daily finances, everything still ultimately rested with him and I find myself kind of angry at times that I don't have him to bear that final responsibility anymore.  There are moments that I am even resentful that Paul got to escape all this and I got stuck with ALL of it.  He never has to worry about another thing in his life while my worry and responsibility load more than doubled with his departure.

 

Maybe I should quit typing now.  It doesn't sound like I'm in the best frame of mind to be publicly sharing just what's on mine.

 

The good thing is that when these times of worry and stress arise, I do find it easier as time goes on to quickly remind myself of the nature of God.  For whatever reason, He wants me alone and bearing this load right now.  I have to remind myself that if I feel like I am bearing it alone than that is my fault.  So what is the nature of God?  These came from a study we did in Sunday School a few years ago.  I've been going through it again with Marcia for the last year.  It's a study written by Dr. Jim Berg, entitled, Taking Time to Quiet Your Soul.  It's not written specifically for those experiencing grief, but boy, have I found it helpful in the midst of my grieving season.

 

God is good, always! That means...

 

A. He will always meet my genuine needs - always! - Philippians 4:13, Matthew 6:31-33

B. He will always forgive my sin - always! 1 John 1:9, Psalm 51, Isaiah 66:2b

 

C. He is always up to something good in my life - always! Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:26-34

 

D. He will always love me personally - always! Romans 8:35-39, Jeremiah 31:3, John 17:23

 

E. He will always give me the grace I need - always! 2 Corinthians 9:8, 1 Corinthians 15:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

God is always great - always! That means...

 

A. He is always in control of all things - always! Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 14:27, Isaiah 46:9-10

 

B. He is always present with me - always! Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 23:24

 

C. He is always the same - always! Malachi 3:6a, Hebrews 1:10-12

 

D. He is always trustworthy - always! 2Timothy 2:13, Psalm 36:5, Numbers 23:19, Deuteronomy 7:9, Deuteronomy 31:8

 

E. He is always wise in what He does - always! Romans 11:33, Colossians 2:3, Revelation 15:3-4

 

I feel like I should write these out on a card and just carry it around with me.  That way I can whip it out when I get to feeling overwhelmed.

 

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As mentioned, Will is home.  Already, he's fixed my kitchen light, a bathroom towel bar, and the weedeater!  When he got home Friday night the first thing he wanted to do was eat.  As he was shoveling forkfuls of my crazy chicken casserole (chicken, spiral noodles, spices, soup, bacon, and cheese) in he exclaimed, "This is SO good!"  I was surprised to hear him say that because one of the high points about camp has been the wonderful food they serve.  I told him I thought he'd be missing camp food, having to come home.  Will said it was great - at first.  But he was eating the same thing over and over and over at camp and soon got tired of it.  I had never thought about that before.  They serve the same meals for all the youth camps and the five family camps all follow the same menu too.  I guess that would get old after awhile - kind of like the Israelite's manna in the desert.

 

Later, we were sitting in my room catching up and I was filling him on things.  I said something about the possibility of me dying.  Will looked me straight in the eye and said with great conviction, "You can't die now.  It would completely ruin my life if you died."

 

Awww!  He's not an overly sentimental or expressive young man and it felt like we were finally having a moment there.  Then reality dawned.  Will is the named guardian of his brothers if something happens to me.  My death would greatly interfere with his college plans.  I said as much and Will nodded.  I protested, "I thought you were saying that my death would ruin your life!"

Will shrugged and commented, "I've adjusted to living without Dad.  I can live without you, too."

 

Thanks.

 

He's not completely cold hearted.  Yesterday he was unpacking all his stuff from camp.  I was pretty surprised when he tossed a camp t shirt on my desk.  He'd thought of me and bought me a pink IRBC shirt all on his own!  He even got the size right.  I may keep him after all.

 

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I had a couple of  emails from the school counselor at Pleasantville today.  It tickled me.  He had some questions about homeschooling because there is now another family in the district interested in dual-enrolling their homeschooled teenager like we did with Will.  Apparently they had some questions on how to do it and the counselor wasn't sure how to answer them.  Evidently, Will must have broken some ground when he played football and took classes at the high school.  I remember one of his teachers telling me that Will had "made a difference" at the school and "forever changed the way we view homeschooling."    I was pleased to hear the praise at the time, but a little baffled, too.  Surely, in all the years homeschooling has been happening Will is not the first homeschooler to pass through their doors!  It is a small district, though, so maybe...I think there is still just a lot of ignorance with those involved solely in traditional schooling.  I've never sensed any hostility like we did when I took Ben out of public school over in Western Iowa, though.  One of the questions for me today was if Will had an actual high school diploma!  Of course, I've been steeped in all this stuff for the past decade, so the answers are obvious to me.  But I suppose they wouldn't be for those not used to it.

 

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The other night I couldn't fall asleep right away.  I've been going to bed a little bit earlier because I got convicted about a tv show I was staying up late to watch every night.  The show really isn't God-honoring in any way and it just bothered me more and more.  Plus, I knew sleep is something I could definitely use more of.  So anyway, I was in bed earlier, but couldn't shut my mind off yet.  I remembered how about  a year ago I had a similar night so  I had mentally gone over Paul's body in my mind, seeing if I could remember how each and every part of his body felt to my touch.  I did it again the other night, curious if time has dulled any of the memory of my senses.

 

It hasn't.  As soon as I would think about some particular spot - the back of his knee, his big toe, the upper right side of his back - no matter  how insignificant of a spot, I could immediately "feel" it again in my mind.  All those thousands of times I had touched him completely embedded into my memory bank.

 

How long will that last  I wonder?  If 14 months has not dulled my memory, will 14 years?  Will it take marrying again and learning another man's body for my senses to forget how Paul felt?

 

And here again I find myself torn between the past and future.  I don't want to forget how Paul felt.  But at the same time, the thought of never moving forward, of never loving again, of never being held by someone else also seems equally unbearable.

 

This is why my focus needs to be on right now, right here.  All the worrying, planning, and hoping about the future is not going to meet my present needs.  My present need is to really learn the list I copied into this post earlier!  It's recognizing that God will take care of the future, but right now, I have things to experience and  learn in the present.

 

Right now, there's a lot in my present that isn't fun or enjoyable.  There's a lot of hard work, pain,  loneliness, and just plain, difficult days.  But whether I see it or not, this present is fashioning my future.  It's molding me, whether I want to be molded or not. I think the Apostle Paul referred to it once as the "refiner's fire."

 

The future will take care of itself.  I have confidence that God will give me the wisdom to know what steps to take and when to take them.  He's lead me this far already - I know He's not going to abandon me mid-journey.  I've only got one shot to do this present right, though.  I don't want to mess it up.

 

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And in my immediate present?  I have haircuts and baths to give, a kitchen to clean, and small people to get to bed.  David is insisting that we must have a "family game night" and I am so tired that all I can think about is going to bed.  Sometimes my present seems to last for  a very, very long time...