Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 567


Dec. 23, 2014

Day 567

Two days before Christmas...and I'm doing ok.  There's a big hollow feeling in my heart, but I can live with that. 

I think.


I wish I could sleep better.  Ben is on break, which means I don't have to get up at 6:40 in the morning - yay!  Except...yesterday morning, I was sound asleep and at exactly 6:30am, I was suddenly wide awake.  This morning, the exact same thing happened, only at exactly 5am.  It took me over an hour to fall back asleep.  I wonder if this part and parcel of the menopausal stuff I'm dealing with. 

I am finding some relief, though.  I've done some research on essential oils and mixed up a cocktail of oils I already had on hand.  I find that by applying that twice a day, along with my progesterone cream and another oil blend I ordered I am getting some relief.  There's another blend specifically  made for menopause, but it's on backorder at the moment.  I'm probably going to be limited to what I can come up with myself, anyway.  I know my gynecologist has told me repeatedly that because of my stroke, my options are going to be limited.  I am still getting nearly daily headaches, though.  I wonder if I'm going to have to go on some other sort of prescription to combat those.


Ben and I worked concessions at the school Friday night.  I had no idea how much work that would be!  I mostly worked with popcorn and within an hour my wrist was killing me from the continual scooping.  I figured that they would find some out  of the way job for Ben, but no, he was right up front, taking orders and money.  I was really surprised at how well he was able to tally amount and figure change.  It sure was an exhausting night!


Ben has developed a real interest in reading the Bible in the last couple of weeks.  I'm not really sure where this has come from.  I've only ever encouraged the kids to read the Bible, but haven't forced them to do so.  But suddenly, he is asking me where it would be best to be reading (I suggested Proverbs) and he's been trying to figure out the best time every day to read it.  I suggested that he could do his reading after he's dressed and eaten breakfast before the bus comes in the morning.  Normally he hops on the computer during that time to watch Wheel of Fortune.  I figured he'd reject that idea outright, but instead he said, "That's a good idea!"  So...wow!

What he doesn't know and what I had already done prior to this sudden interest is that he's getting a new Bible and case for Christmas.  That will work out well.


Will made the Dean's List at Faith for this semester.  I hadn't even thought about that possibility.  I don't really care - I just want the kids to do their best regardless of where their grades fall.  Abilities differ.  But he's gifted intellectually and it's paying off.  The president of Faith sent me a nice (form) letter along with a press release if I want it in the paper.  I don't know if that's just for bragging purposes or if there is some value in creating a public "trail" for future employers.


Before Paul died I remember noticing that people were having window clings made up for the back window of their vehicles as a memorial to someone they lost.  They were usually maybe 6 or 7 inches in diameter and listed someone's name, birth, and death dates.  After Paul died I thought about getting one made, but decided against it.  For one thing, I think it's a fad.  And for another, I have no desire to advertise my widowhood status - not that anyone would know, just by looking at something like that that I'm now widowed.  I know when Paul was born and I will never forget when he died.  I don't need to be reminded of it every time I get in my van.

A few weeks ago I saw something that trumped those little window clings, though.  I have never seen anything like this.  We were driving home from Iowa City and there was a car in front of me.  The entire back window was a memorial to a young woman who had died a few years ago in her early twenties.  It features a full length body shot of her (probably a senior picture, I would guess) along with her name and dates.  It was a middle aged man driving I noticed when I passed him.  Probably her dad.


Hunting is over for now, although Will is making noises about going muzzle loader hunting.  I'm not even sure what a muzzle loader is, to be honest.  We ended up with three deer for our freezer, which works for me.  Will's friend, Eric, drove down from camp Friday and stayed through Sunday.  Eric is the son-in-law of one of Paul's old college roommates at Faith.  This roommate and his wife attended our wedding 22 years ago and I remember when Eric's wife was born.  Man, I'm old...But Eric is doing an internship at camp right now and he and Will have become good friends.  So anyway, he shot two deer and Sat. and gave them to us.  Then, Sunday, he loaned Will his gun before he had to leave and Will was able to shoot two more deer.  He's giving one of them to some other people we know, though.  I don't quite understand it, but there is something about Eric's gun that is so incredibly special that Will is now convinced he must buy one just like it before next year.  He had  me looking through the scope and that was pretty cool - things were really up close with that thing.  I would imagine that's a big advantage when hunting.

I took the Littles shopping the other day for their gift exchange presents.  We went to Scheels and Ellie spied a sign that features a pistol and reads, "Keep calm and carry."  Will has a t-shirt with the same message.  She squealed and exclaimed, "Oh, Will really like guns!"  So we got it for him.


Yesterday I ran errands and did some Christmas shopping with Ben and David.  It ended up taking nearly all day.  My friend, Mishelle, had my Littles.  She and her teenage daughter made cut-out sugar cookies with the kids and decorated them.  I have never had the courage to do that with my own kids, so I was grateful they did!

We ate lunch at Red Robins because I know Ben loves that place and David has been wanting to try it for months.  That was  the location of Paul's and my last date, a few weeks before he died....While there, I saw a customer using one of those e-cigarettes.  I've never seen that before.  Kind of freaky, almost.  But, if you have to have that oral fix, I suppose it's better than an actual cigarette.

I couldn't finish my burger again.  Three times in recent weeks I have ordered burgers from restaurants and all three times I've had to hand them over to the kids to eat after only a few bites.  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I'm such an American eater - I love burgers and chicken sandwiches and french fries and onion rings.  But my stomach just can't take it anymore.  I am thinking of getting tested for Celiacs soon, but I really hope I don't have it.  I don't want to have to change my entire eating habits or buy $6 loaves of  bread.

One of my stops yesterday was Victoria's Secret.  I really didn't want to brave the 4-days-before-Christmas mall shoppers, but my everyday ("boring" as Paul called it), beige bra broke last week and I had a $10 coupon set to expire on Dec. 24.  So I left the boys in the van and ventured in.  I even got measured again just to check things.  The little gal ("little" in age - she was actually taller than me) tried to tell me I've advanced to a DD cup.  I just laughed and told her "not even in my dreams" - give me my regular C.  I tried them both on and as I suspected, I was right and she was wrong.  But that's not what I wanted to write about.  As I was leaving the store with my purchase, I was shocked to see that Victoria's Secret has a young man as an employee!  I have never seen that in any of their stores before and I've been buying from them a long time.  He was just spraying down tables and not working in the fitting area.  But that is NOT a good idea.  It made me uncomfortable as a customer and I would never be happy about a son of mine working in a store so dedicated to selling sex.  The last thing a young man, or any man for that matter, needs to be surrounded by is lingerie and pictures of it being modeled.  What a world we live in...

By the way, the only reason I am a dedicated VS shopper is because their bras are the most comfortable ones on the planet.  I'm all about comfort and feeling nothing under my clothing.  That's all.


A Sam funny: He and Lizzie were talking about people that get born with extra fingers or toes.  I've known a few people in my lifetime that have had that.  They usually get them removed in babyhood.  I said to them that yes, it happens every so often that babies get born with extra digits, but it's not a very common occurrence.  Sam nodded and replied seriously, "Yeah, it only happens when babies stay in their mommy's tummies for too long."   And yet another reason for labor induction, I suppose!


I started this earlier today and when I did, I felt good.  As the day has progressed, however, I find that my spirits are sinking.  I hate being all over the place like this, emotionally.  It makes me grateful that God is not the same way.

The kids had their Christmas program Sun. night.  They all did wonderfully.  The Littles were part of the choir.  Everyone keeps commenting to me on how loudly Lizzie sings.  I must be that deaf that I don't hear it.    Sam even said the director had to keep hushing her during practice!  I thought Ellie's group was so cute - they did wonderfully with their one piece of "Away in a Manger."  I was surprised at how Ellie knew all the words.  She sang them lustily - no stage fright for her!  I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but my thoughts did flit to a place of wondering what Christmas would be like for the girls had they not been adopted.  I'm pretty sure they would not have been on stage singing songs about Baby Jesus.

David was a wise man.  He sang in a trio.  He's 15 years old and I have never heard him sing in my life.  He's always been too self-conscious about it.  In fact, he about had a heart attack and a stroke combined when I was contacted about the possibility of him being in the program and I happily accepted on his behalf.  He was ok with that, but then I threw out there, "And it involves singing in a trio!"  It was good for him! And it turns out that he has a really nice singing voice!  It was nice to finally hear it.

And Ben was a silent Joseph - a good part for him.

The kids are about beside themselves with excitement.  Christmas is almost here!  My perspective as an adult and as grieving wife are different, of course.  But, still, I am finding a certain peace in the midst of the frenzy.  If anything, the Christmas story means more to be now than it ever did before.  Jesus came to heal broken hearts, to be crushed for those crushed in spirit.

And, oh, how He loves us!  Sunday, I had an older lady give me a hug.  She looked me in the eye and said firmly, "You are my daughter."  And I about lost it right there.  Yesterday, after I was home from my day of shopping, the doorbell rang.  It was a friend from church and her two little ones, delivering Christmas goodies and a card.  They had made a special, half-hour trip just to come see me.  I don't know this gal super-well yet, but I am so appreciative of her.  She's quiet, but she told me, "Sarah - I know this is hard for you, but I want you to know that you're shining.  We all see Jesus through your struggles."  She left and I cried again.  And today another friend emailed me and set up a date for us  to get lunch and a manicure after the holidays  (her treat).  My nails have never been so well taken care of as they have been since Paul's death!

He loves me.  Of course, I know John 3:16 - God so loved the world and since I'm part of the world in general, I am included in that.  But that love is so much more than a generality.  I am loved, personally, completely, and lavishly.  I have never been more conscious of that than I have since Paul's death.

Christmas is a love story.
And that's why we celebrate.
















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