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...
This week just flew by and I know next week
will be the same.
A week ago today I was in Iowa City at the
Special Olympics Dance competition.This
was the first time our district had put together a team.I don't know why I thought that it would be a
simple matter of driving out there, watching Ben perform, and then turning
around and going home.There were at
least 20 groups performing.And then
results had to be tabulated and the awards ceremony had to happen.Duh.Why didn't I think of all this?So my poor Littles had to sit in the stands for over 3 hours absolutely
starving.But they were really
good.Well, Ellie was mostly good and
for her, that's saying something!Lizzie
was getting over her cold and had a sinus headache.I didn't have any children's aspirin on
me.And of course, these were all loud,
rocky, dance tunes that we had to listen to.They were blaring.So for a lot
of the time Lizzie just laid her head in my lap and I tried to cover her ears
so she wouldn't get the full impact of the loud music.
That said...it was still pretty cool.Some groups had 20-30 people and some had
only one.I watched one woman with Downs
Syndrome dance her heart out in a solo act and she was amazing.Our group did awesome.They got silver medals.
I don't know why, but it seemed like every
other group chose either Frozen songs or "Shake it Off" to dance
to.I loved those songs...not so much
This week was Spring Break week for Ben.It was cooler this week than last, but the
sun shined most days - even on my birthday, which is a real rarity.Monday was a really nice day.I found out that day that it was Dairy
Queen's 75th anniversary and so, they were giving away free soft serve ice
cream.After supper that night I loaded
up the kids and we drove down to Knoxville.It was a nice way to end the evening.
I got Will's FAFSA filed this week.The lady who did it said that he should
qualify for the full Pell grant, which is more than tuition at DMACC.If she's right - and I hope she is - that
means the next two years he'll attend for free and she said there should even
be enough grant money to pay for his books.Thank you, American tax payers!Actually, I'm kind of thinking that maybe, knowing this, it would be
kind of silly to sit at home for the next 3 yrs until David graduates doing
nothing - other than homeschooling him and the normal, mom stuff.Maybe I need to give more serious thought to
wrapping up the degree I started more than 25 yrs ago. We'll see.
Lizzie asked me how old I was going to turn on
my birthday.I told her and she
exclaimed loudly(and yes, we were in public), "That means in just 7 years,
you'll be 100!"I said, "Uh,
no" and she recalculated and said, "Oops - I meant nine
years"Who's her math teacher
Sam said, "You were born in 1950, right,
Mom?"I told him he was off by more
than 20 years.Then he wanted to know
what year his Grandpa Daniels was born.I told him and he looked surprised.He replied, "Huh - I thought you would have said somewhere around
David's new sandals arrived late last week -
size 17s. They were $100, which is what I paid a year ago when I bought him
size 15s at Scheels.There's no skimping
on name brands when you have gigantic feet.Now I need to find him some cleats for softball.That is going to be expensive, as well, and
he'll only wear them for one season - less than two months.Unless...his feet decide to, miraculously,
quit growing and he can wear them again next year.I'm not holding my breath, though!
I struggled more, the first part of this week,
with Paul being gone.I suppose my
approaching birthday had something to do with that.He always made those so special.Sometimes he would actually wake me up in the
wee hours of the morningto whisper,
"Happy birthday!"He said he
wanted to be the first one to say it to me.He probably could have been the first one if he'd waited until 7am or so,
Also, last weekend Will had me working on a
paper with him for a class at school.Apparently, there are a number of topics being covered, one of which is
the Christian and death.Will had asked
his professor to not assign this one to him, as he didn't think he could
emotionally handle it.Well, the
professor forgot and gave it to him anyway.Will didn't want to make an issue out of it, and just took the
assignment.I was going through some of
the materials and they are really, really good.I had him download them to my computer and the ipad and I am wanting to
go through them again sometime.Will
commented that he is wondering if God allowed him to be assigned this project
for a reason - for further healing in his own heart.I suggested that when he presents to the
class he could weave his own story of loss into the presentation but Will said
he doesn't want to try that because he doesn't think he'd be able to do it
without breaking down.
I wonder if some of the materials and what I
was helping him with affected my own heart. I mean, I sat at my computer, writing this
outline for Will, and soon I found myself weeping.I was ok but then I began to think on death and found myself bothered
that Paul's death doesn't seem to have affected others like it has us.That's a given of course!I know his death did affect others, but since
we were closest to him, it had the greatest impact on us.I kept envisioning a body of water with a
rock thrown into it.The water is
disturbed at first and then it doesn't take long for it to smooth back
over.That's what Paul's death has been.Others are back tonormal, but I know we never will be.I found myself bothered that people can just go
on living when my life has been so radically changed.
It's the way it is.What are you going to do - insist that others
live in a suspended state of reality until your own heart heals?
Fortunately, all that only lasted about 24 hours.I'm fine now.
And then the next day I cleaned out a kitchen
cupboard.In the bottom of one I found
an unopened bag of ground ginger.Paul
swore by this stuff.Anytime he was not
feeling well, including times after he'd had severe seizures, he'd take ginger
baths.I found them kind of disgusting
because it turned the bathwater brown and never completely dissolved.But I always kept a bag around for him.
He doesn't need to take ginger baths anymore,
does he?I threw it away.I'll never use it and I don't need that kind
of reminder of the frailty of Paul's
The rest of my week was a mix of good and bad.
Remember how I talked about the relief I felt
in realizing that the craziness I see in Paul's family is no longer a burden I
have to carry?It was such a liberating
I'm not sure if God thought, "Umm....you
have a few things you need to learn yet!" or if Satan saw this and decided
that it was time to turn up the notch on the fire of life a bit.I suppose it doesn't matter - ultimately, it
can all be used for good and growth in my life.
This week I had three upsetting
encounters with members of Paul's family.Three!After months of
One came at 7:25 yesterday morning as I was
getting ready to leave for Omaha to attend a craft show with Kathy.I very nearly didn't take the call.But I thought maybe someone had died and I
should answer.It occurred to me later
that I do have voicemail and I probably should have used it.The call was upsetting to me, but I had a
good, two hour drive to think and pray about it.I didn't let it ruin my day.Freedom doesn't mean the absence of
trials.But it does mean that I can
choose the extent to which I allow them to affect me.
As it turned out, Will was getting off work at
the time I'd be getting back to town last night.I drove to his workplace and we sat for
nearly two hours in my van talking about this and other stuff.He has a really wise perspective for someone
still so young.His dad was like that at
the same age.I have a lot more clarity
today, which is good because assault #3 arrived in today's mail.But I was able to pretty much laugh it off,
even though it made me sad.
So that's that for now anyway.And, honestly, as much as I would like to be,
I may never be completely free of all the craziness but after nearly two years,
I am finally figuring out more healthy ways to deal with it all.
The craft show was great.It was a really large one, which made it more
fun.Kathy and I enjoyed ourselves so
much.We have the strangest friendship,
where we go months without talking to one another - not even a text.Kathy rarely remembers my birthday and half
the time I forget to send hera card on
hers.But when we're together we
immediately slip back into a practiced familiarity, as though we just saw
eachother yesterday and not three months ago.We're both introverts and we've both noticed that tendency increasing as
we age.Kathy told me yesterday that she
has other friends but when she spends time with them it feels like an effort
and she comes away from those times exhausted.She said her time with me is energizing.That may be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me! I have definitely noticed that I feel less
stressed for days after spending time with Kathy.It's worth the time, distance, and effort for
us to get together.Although, we may be
a bit scary when we're 90 and still doing this.Neither one of us has a real good sense of direction!
I am now blogging as an older woman.I turned 44 Wednesday.When I woke up that morning I was immediately
feeling sad because Paul wasn't here and Will had to work so he couldn't come
home to celebrate.
But the day ended up being really, really
nice, anyway.I got so many touching FB
messages, including one from Will that made me cry.I got tons of cards in the mail with encouraging
messages.I got texts and a phone
call.I got sung to at church that
evening.A friend brought me tulips,
which is my favorite flower.I haven't
had them since before Paul died.
The Littles and David made me homemade cards,
which was sweet and appreciated.Will
says I'm getting my present today.And
you know what I've discovered?Presents
are not really that important to me anymore.Being thought of and being appreciated on my special day is the the
nicest thing.I can buy the stuff I want
for myself.But I can't buy the genuine
love and affection from my family and kids.
I heard Lizzie say on Wednesday to one of her
siblings, "It's her birthday - she can do whatever she wants."She paused and added as an aside, "But
don't kill us!"So noted.
The next day (which was cooler and gray - I
was so thankful that kind of weather waited a day!) Sara and her entire family
drove down, just for me.They came armed
with gifts and cakes and party supplies.And it was a nice time.
I am loved.I am loved first by God and secondly by a whole lot of people.Until the day he died, I had the love of a
This won't be a long post - it's been a pretty
Other than getting sick, that is.I've got a head cold.I'm still moving - it hasn't been bad enough
to send me to bed, but I've got the sneezing, liquid in head, shortness of
breath thing going on.I was thinking
today that I have not had a healthy March in at least 5 years.Four years ago in early March I had the
uterine ablation.That really made my
life much better, but there were a couple weeks of recovery.The next March, I had that nodule removed
from my breast.Painful.The next March I had the nasal surgery done
which is the worst surgery in. the. world.I can't even think of that time without my nose hurting.And then, two days later the kids started
coming down with the chicken pox.Last
year, I started feeling sick on my birthday - in March, of course - with what
turned out to be a nasty, nasty case of the flu.And this year I have this rotten head cold
the kids shared with me.Just once, I'd
like to have a normal March!
This has been Will's Spring Break week.He flew to AZ on Monday to spend time with my
brother and family.He's been sending
pics all week - sounds like he's been having a great adventure!
Of course, everything broke this week while he
was gone!He's coming home to a dvd
player that suddenly doesn't recognize the remote (nor has back up buttons)
anymore and a cracked bathroom mirror.I
also realized last night what bad shape the molding around the bathtub has
gotten into.I need to find out from him
how to fix it.I even dreamed about the
tub last night, it's so bad!
After our long winter, we suddenly had warmer
temperatures this week.I guess this is
the normaltime for this to be
happening, but I'm always surprised when it does.I guess I get into a mindset that winter is
going to last forever.
Of course, the kids think that highs in the
mid-sixties mean they ought to be running outside in tank tops and shorts.I think one of them even suggested it was
time to get the pool up.One day Lizzie
commented seriously, "You are so different from other
moms!"That was because the high
wasn't supposed to top 65 and I told her she needed to be in jeans, not
shorts.I guess all the other moms were
slapping sunscreen on their little ones and driving them to the pool...
My first Stitch Fix box arrived this
week.Now that was fun!I was really excited to see what my stylist
found for me, based on the information I provided for them.I love their system.Returns are super-easy and the check-out
process is on-line.For each item, you
click either, "keep" or "return" and then let them know
what you liked or disliked about each item.That way they get to know your style better for future boxes.
They sent me: a really cute pair of mildly
distressed boyfriend jeans.But...I'm
done with low-rise bottoms.With my
middle-aged, flabby tummy, there's too much spillage that happens.So those, regretfully, went back.
...a berry colored, 3/4 length top...I also
sent this back.I thought the sleeves
had a weird shape to them and the front was too low
...a gray and white horizontally striped sheer
sweater with a cami...initially, I really liked this - until I put it on.Then it was more of a "meh"
thing.It wasn't cheap, either, and if
I'm going to spend that much on a top, it had better make me want to sing.
...a thin, long-sleeved navy top with white,
horizontal stripes.The cuffs are
striped the opposite direction.I love
this and knew I had to have it.I love
it somuch that I am saving it to wear
next week on my birthday! Sometimes you just try on something and you know
it's perfect - this was one such item.
.....a necklace, that I also kept.This purchase surprised me.I almost always accessorize my outfits with
jewelry, but my necklace choices tend to be pretty conservative.I usually like them fitting inside my
neckline and I don't like big, gaudy pieces.The one they sent me is designed to look like the wearer has layered 3
different chains.If I had seen that
thing in a store I would have never even bothered, deeming it
"complicated."But on me - it
looks great.And it wasn't complicated
Well, I won't give my readers a run-down of
everything arrives in my boxes every time I order, but this first time was fun
and I'm still pretty enthusiastic about the whole process.I've set up another shipment for the end of
April.If I do this too often, I'll end
up with far too many clothes.For each
season, I have in my head an approximate number of clothing items I need and I
rarely overbuy, anyway.Long ago, I
realized the foolishness of having too many clothes.You can only wear one thing a day and if your
closet is stuffed, you may get to wear a favorite item only a few times during
the season(that's true for me,
anyway,because I force myself to wear
everything I own before repeating).
The other day Ellie said something about,
"Will's big truck."I realized
that she was referring to Paul's truck.Will insisted we keep the thing, even though I took the insurance off it
and it doesn't run at all at the moment.He wasn't ready to let go of it, which is fine.But I found it interesting and little bit sad
that she doesn't even associate the truck with Paul.
Most who know me know there has been some
tension (to put it mildly) between Paul's side of the family and me since his
death.I haven't written much about it
publicly because I have no desire to badmouth the family and because the whole
thing has been very hurtful to me.It's
a very weighty thing to remove one's self from a family, no matter how
difficult things are - to keep my kids from having a relationship withtheir grandparents and cousins.It has caused a great deal of distress to me
and I don't know that I will ever be "ok" with it.I did what was necessary to protect our
family, but oh, it's been painful.I
imagine I will pray for reconciliation until the day I die.
But this week...
Most people in the world are on Facebook these
days.I tend to be very careful about
what I post there and I don't even post all that often.I figure no one is really all that interested
in my every thought or what I had for supper.I save that kind of mundane for my blog!But not everyone blogs and, apparently, a lot
of people don't seem to care about the impression they give others by posting
every thought that enters their head.
Sometime in the last week a big argument broke
out between (you guessed it) Paul's dad and uncle over when the annual Heywood
Family picnic should occur this summer.Paul's dad is not on FB, but his uncle is and the argument got taken
there.Oh, my goodness...because they
could not agree on a date they each picked their own date and then, tried to
persuade others to attend their picnic.I find the whole thing ironic because isn't the idea of a family picnic
to bring family together?I'm
still FB friends with enough of Paul's extended family that the whole thing
ended up on my feed.
And then, suddenly, in the midst of reading, a
bolt of understanding shot through me.
I am free
By taking the deliberate steps of separation
that I knew to be necessary, I escaped all this craziness!I don't have to hear about it anymore.I don't have to talk things over with Paul
and see him shake his head anymore.I
don't even have to read about it on Facebook if I don't want to.It isno longer any of my concern.And
just like that, a weightlifts from my
This is what freedom feels like!
Well, that kind of freedom, anyway.Today I am chained to my to-do list, the
tissue box, and the Advil Cold and Sinus.I really want to crawl into bed, but I can't.Tonight is our church's annual gym
night.Thekids are crazy-excited about going and I
don't have the heart to tell them that I don't really feel up to it.So, we'll do that.And then tomorrow I get to make a 4 hour
round trip to Iowa City to see Ben perform in a 2 minute and 17 second dance
routine.I deserve the medal for this
Next week I'll be doing some things in
preparation for our Florida trip (I found out I am, indeed, a chaperone, and
will have several kids assigned to me, in addition to Ben.This is something else I should be awarded a
medal for, I think), and turning 44 one day, and entertaining Sara and the
girls the next day, and then going to Omaha for a craft show with my friend,
Kathy.I also want to try to soak up as
much time with my kidlets as possible because I feel like I am going to feel so
guilty for abandoning them while I'm on our trip.
Gotta run...or more realistically, drag myself
around with a tissue permanently stuck in my nose.
Riding out a smaller grief wave today...I woke
up really stiff and sore, which didn't help.I must have slept in one position all night long.And I woke up to Bella yowling at something
which is really unusual.She is normally
a very quiet animal.
The boys have been gone all afternoon at the
Deer Classic.They had intended to go
anyway, but then Will was able to get free tickets through his employer, which
made it an even better idea.So it's
just been the girls and me.I've been
checking things off my to-do list and trying to get my cooking done for the
month.I've just been so tired,
though.And I'm going to lose another
hour of sleep tonight with Daylight Savings time.
I've helped Will write two papers since last
night.He leaves Monday for AZ so he
wanted to get some of his work knocked out of the way beforehand.I actually find it kind of fun to edit his
papers and help him figure out how to phrase things.It makes me think that maybe, if I do decide
to go back to college, I might be able to swing the coursework.
Unless I have to take math.Then I'm doomed.
Speaking of school...yesterday I took the
Littles to meet the principal of the elementary school and tour the
building.It went very well.I was pretty impressed with the set-up they
have there and very relieved to find out that Sam will have more than an hour
of recess every day.The principal told
me that they put a high emphasis on keeping the kids active and he thinks that
is why the school continues to do well, scoring wise.In fact, the school is being studied right
now by a student doing his doctoral thesis. Pville has increasing poverty rates
but, academically, they are remaining steady.That usually doesn't happen.
Sam and Lizzie were both very excited after
our visit and quite crestfallen when they found out the first day of school is
a good five and half months away yet.
So, it looks like I'm really going to do
this.After being such a staunch
advocate of homeschooling for more than a decade and encouraging countless
numbers of friends to make the same choice for their children,I'm now reversing directions and plopping
most of my kids in the government school system.
Paul would be appalled...maybe.
But I know this is the right thing to do at
this time.It's that calm voice of
assurance that I felt in my heart when I knew I was done homeschooling Ben when
he hit his middle school years.It's
that same voice that told me we were on the right path when we decided to
pursue adoption despite all the logical reasons I had to not do it.I know this is right.It doesn't mean I'm suddenly
anti-homeschooling.I have no plans to
quit schooling David at home.I really
think homeschooling is the best educational option out there -overall.But it doesn't mean it's always the right
choice for every child and for every family all the time.
It's not right for me right now.And that's ok.I am fully satisfied at the moment that Sam,
Lizzie, and Ellie will thrive in the public school and will be well-educated.Maybe not perfectly so, but well, enough,
anyway.I am learning that "good
enough" is acceptable too, in a lot of areas.But I suppose in deciding this I may be
criticized by others who believe that homeschooling is not an individual choice,
but a directive by God.I can't live my
life for the good opinions of others, though.
It was so cute yesterday.Before we left for the school, David caught
my attention and said, "Listen!"Out in the kitchen, Lizzie was loudly practicing counting by tens.She then told Sam that she sure hoped she
knew enough math for the school to let her in!
At the meeting, the principal asked the three
of us if we had any questions.I had
come with a list, but before I could say anything, Sam replied, "Well,
yes, Yes, I do have some questions!"Most of his had to do with lunch and recess
but he just cracked me up.I never
realize how much he's been thinking until he opens his mouth.
Yesterday must have been all about
schooling.Just a couple hours after we
got home from visiting the elementary and starting the registration process
over at the superintendent's office, I had to pick up Will in Ankeny.We had an appointment at DMACC with an
That went well.I have an appointment up there later this
week to file our FAFSA and from there Will just needs to fill out his
application and attend an orientation meeting.It sounds very affordable and flexible.Will has options of taking some of his classes on-line and at closer
campuses than Ankeny, too.His thinking
is that he'll get his AA degree in 3 semesters and from there transfer to a 4
year school to wrap up his degree.Hopefully, by the end of his time at DMACC he'll be closer to figuring
out exactly what it is he wants to do with his life!
He has just become convinced as the school
year has progressed that Faith is not for him.He never intended to attend there more than two years anyway.He has really enjoyed his classes and told me
just yesterday that he's been discovering some real treasures in the school
library.He wants to find out if they
will still let him in there just to read once he's no longer a student!But he hasn't been overly fond of dorm life
or some of the more stringent rules.And
that makes sense.He has always been
very independent and mature and I am beginning to get a better idea as time
goes on just how much of Paul's role Will assumed after his death.I rely on him quite abit, which I never intended to do.But he's so capable and willing that it has
been easy to hand off a lot of responsibilities to him.So, anyway, I can see how it would chafe to
have to live with things like curfewsand dorm room inspections and things like that.Will is not a "people" person
either (meaning he's like both his parents - perfectly content with their own
company and not needing routine interaction with other humans) which I suppose
makes communal living in a dormitory more of a pain.
I guess this may end up being the year of
teeth in our family.As I mentioned
before, Ellie is having major dental surgery in April.Also that month we will find out if Ben gets
to have his wisdom teeth out this summer.This week Will went to our new dentist for the first time for a routine
check-up.One of the things he wasn't
too crazy about our old dentist was that for several years they've been pushing
him to get his wisdom teeth taken out.Well, this new guy took a look at Will's jaw and told him he'd better
get them out sooner than later.I can't
remember everything Will told me but it's something about the angle at which
the teeth are growing in.So, now we
need to go see an oral surgeon.
Will was supposed to build me some L-shaped
bookshelves for the upstairs landing during those three weeks he's finished at
Faith and before he heads back up to camp for the summer.It sounds like he'll be recovering from
dental surgery instead.Sigh...Oh, and I
was hoping Will wouldn't have histeeth
done until he's fully independent so that I wouldn't have to pay for it.No such luck, I guess!
The other day Ellie said, "I have to go
to preschool cuz I'm not grown up yet!"I guess that's one reason.
Will and I had our taxes done this week.For the first time in forever I didn't get a
refund.In fact, I owed
money.I was shocked.I figured the fact that I have no real income
other than a little pension of Paul's and Social Security and the fact that I'm raising fifteen million children would ensure I'd be
getting a refund.Although, I guess if I
think that through...a refund implies that you paid in too much.Since I didn't really pay anything why do I
think I should be owed anything?It had
to do with the money I invested - apparently you get taxed when you make a
profit on stuff like that.Bummer.
My tax guy was pretty surprised, too.He's also my lawyer and I pointed out to him
that I had not yet received a bill forBen's guardianship work.He said
yeah, he knew that.He was waiting until
I got my taxes done.So, we wrapped that
up and he handed me my bill - $525, which is actually less than I was
anticipating.But still...a word to the
wise.Don't get involved in anything
that's going to require a lawyer at some point.They are expensive!Anyway, he felt so bad about my lack of refund that he knocked $25 off
the price of doing our taxes and told us he wouldn't charge for Will's.
Really, I am ok with the lack of refund.Will assured me repeatedly that long-term,
I'm going to come out ahead, financially, doing what I'm doing.It's really not a good position to be in when
you rely on a hefty refund in order to make your bank account smile.
I read something interesting this week about
black hair.I haven't ever given a whole
lot of thought to hair, black or otherwise, other than my attempts to bring it
into some sort of order.What I read
asserted that the afros of the 1970s were, in fact, an "in your face"
statement to the white world.Essentially, this fashion grew (no pun intended) out of the Civil Rights
movement a decade earlier.It was a way
of saying "We're not going to be repressed any longer."
Be that as it may, I have come to realize from
different adoption and hair boards I'm on, that white adoptive mothers often
choose to style their black daughters' hair in what is called "free
hair" meaning, it's basically an afro - sometimes slicked back with a head
band or bow.It's all I've pretty much
been able to do for the last year or so since the girls' hair fell out after
getting it relaxed.But this is actually
frowned on in the black community.Also,
it's quick and easy and gives my clumsy white fingers a break from attempting
to make braids and twists.So I guess
the era of making a statement with their hair has passed.Evidently, it's more acceptable in the black
community to style your daughter's hair in what is called
"protective" styles - corn rows, twisties. ropes, etc.I wonder if black women can look at a black
child and know immediately if she's adopted simply by looking at her hair?
PS: TonightLizzie is rocking free hair and Ellie has 8 pretty impressive parts all
over head.I'm so proud of those!
I was doing some shopping the other day.I still didn't find anything for myself.It had better stay cold for awhile longer
because I have very few clothes for this spring and summer.I cannot find anything I like.But, anyway, I found this shirt at Kohls
(that I did not buy).Across the front
was written, "Enjoy the little things."Think about that.Across the front...across the chest...yeah,
probably not a message you want to be imparting to the world...
this custom made necklace that I bought oh, a couple of years or so before
Paul's death.It consists of a tiny
little pearl hung by two 1/4" gold disks.One is stamped with an "S" and the other with a
"P."I've continued to wear it
since Paul's death.In fact, I wore it
the night of his viewing.It's one of
those things that still makes me smile and even gives a certain amount of
comfort when I do wear it.I have a
little bamboo box on a bathroom shelf.I
wear jewelry almost every day so I've made it a practice to put the stuff I
take off at night into the box and then I empty it every so often.This necklace has a very fine chain that
easily tangles.Today I noticed it was
wrapped around a bracelet so a little bit ago I carried the two pieces into the
other room so I could work on untangling them from each other and hopefully not
making any knots in the gold chain as I worked.I got it done and to my surprise, when I held up the necklace, one of
the gold disks had slipped off.That's
never happened before - ever.I knew
before I looked, though, which one it was.Sure enough, the "P" is gone.I'm assuming/hoping it's in that little box and I can find it and slip
it back on the chain.I haven't looked
I have really tried hard to not look for
meanings and symbolism since Paul's death.I know that's a very typical response of the grieving and I've wanted to
stay away from that kind of thinking.But, I do have to wonder.Is it
only coincidence the P is no longer on my necklace?It sure seems to be symbolic, if nothing
Last week I ran, ran, ran.The next two weeks shouldn't be quite as
busy, although March is definitely shaping up to be more active than January
and February were combined.On tap this
week is a little bit of work up at City Hall, taking the kidlets spring
clothing shopping - I have a few gaps in their wardrobes to fill and then they
should be set for warmer temperatures.I'm getting our FAFSA done Thursday and that evening Ben has a choir
concert.Friday I am having lunch with the
girls' brothers' adoptive mother.We
have a family gym night in Martensdale one night.And then Saturday I'll be heading to Iowa
City for a few hours to watch Ben's dance routine - all 2 minutes and 17
seconds of it.Oh, he also has 3
practices this week that I need to fit into my schedule.So, yeah, maybe it is going to be kind of a
That's all right.I just need to keep moving.Toward what...I'm not sure yet.I've always worked best when I've been
counting down time to something enjoyable...a new baby, a trip, stuff like
that.Right now, I don't really see anything
in my near or distant future that gets me all that excited.
But that's all right.Elisabeth Elliott always said, "Do the
next thing."I feel like that's all
I've been doing for the past 21 months.
March again...my favorite month of the year
-mainly because it's my birthday
month!This one has come in with snow on
the ground.Wonder what it will be like
when it leaves - the whole "in like a lion, out like a lamb"
thing?Hopefully.I'm kind of tired of winter.
Ben has one of his yearly big meetings this
afternoon.This one is with his outgoing
case manager, the new manager, a representative from Genesis, and Deb, his SCL
provider.We have to work up a new set
of SCL goals for the next year and figure out when he's going to be doing
Discovery at Genesis.
As soon as they leave I think I'm going to run
to town, which is not really something I want to do.I hate all that after school and work
traffic.But, I have to get my grocery
shopping done this week and I have so much other stuff that has to
* Will and I are getting our taxes done.If Ben had earned $20 more he would have had
to file, too.I'm thankful for small
things.That's tomorrow afternoon.
* I have to get ready for the city council
meeting Thursday night.This is our
biggest meeting of the year because we have to approve the budget.Speaking of which - it is still not in my
mailbox.I may need to call our CPA and
find out where it is.
*Do the water billing.I actually did this this morning in record
time.It all went smoothly.The guy who cursed me out last Nov - where I
hung up on him - after I refused to turn his water back on until he paid up is
delinquent again and I had to send a shut-off notice.So, I will probably have another unpleasant
encounter in about two weeks.Or maybe
he learned his lesson and he'll pay as soon as he gets the letter I mailed
today.Maybe.Not holding my breath...
* Prepare a lesson for my Patch kids Wed.
night.So far, I've had the easy job of
just reading the story to the kiddos.My
partner in there has asked to switch things up, starting this week.It's not a huge deal.Several years ago when I taught this age
group I did everything on my own.
* Take Sam and Lizzie to tour the elementary
school Friday and sit in on some class time and meet the principal.
* Pick up Will at his dorm and meet with an
academic advisor at DMACC Friday afternoon
* Take David (and Ben?)to and from church Friday evening for a youth
* Do some baking for Will in anticipation of
his trip next week
Next week looks easier.
I may be meeting up with the adoptive mother
of the girls' oldest brothers - potentially in a week.We've been FB friends for nearly a year now
and she seems like a lovely person.I'm
just a little nervous as to where the conversation may go.For a variety of reasons I'm not comfortable
with the idea of contact between our kids, which makes me feel horrible on one
hand, like I'm trying to hurt her boys and ultimately, my girls.But I can't shake the sure knowledge that now
is not the time for the kids to re-establish (or in Ellie's case, establish) a
relationship.A lot of bonding with
adoptive families needs to occur first.I hope I don't come off as a "bad guy" in this.On the other hand, it may just be a really
nice time of getting to know eachother.I sure wish I was more of an adoption expert.
I had a traumatic experience Friday.
I went swimsuit shopping.
Three things I HATE shopping for - bras,
jeans, and swimsuits.I did make it a
little easier on myself this time.I
went to a shop in the middle of Des Moines (42nd St - not sure what that area
is referred to as) called "Cabana Swim."I've heard their ads and I remembered a
friend was gushing about an experience she had there a year or so ago.I paid a little more than I would have
getting something off the rack at Penneys or wherever, butit wasn't a tremendous difference and the
service was so worth it.
I walked in and was immediately greeted by an
older woman.She wanted to know what I
was looking for and then asked my jean and bra size.Before long she had a handful of suits and
had me model each one for her.I figured
I was going to end up with a swimsuit with a skirt.Paul never cared for those so I haven't worn
one since I don't know when.But he's
dead now so I figure I can wear what I want and what I want to do is cover my
up my white, cellulite-y thighs.But the
clerk was very enthusiastic about those same thighs and called them,
"cute."Argh - not really.Not to mention, one of them was sporting a
bright green bruise on Friday where I caught it in on my tv cabinet door a few
But I ultimately did end up with a nice suit -
halter style, brown and white...and no skirt.I had already determined I needed a new swim cover-up, too, because the
last two times I have been with the children at water parks I have absolutely frozen in
the short-sleeved netting thing I have.Cabana had one but I balked at shelling out $56 for an over-sized gauze
shirt.I ended up finding the perfect
one at Kohls later that day for $17.I
liked that a lot better!
I also got some decent sandals for Florida on
Friday.Ben brought home an itinerary
for our trip and we are going to be walking for miles down there -
Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, etc.Fortunately, Younkers had their Clarkes brand
on sale and I had a $20 off coupon so I did pretty well on the ones I ended up
getting.But I think I will still pack
plenty of band-aids and moleskin in my backpack.Although, I wonder if the parks will let me
bring in a tiny scissors (to cut the moleskin)?Maybe I'd better cut it all up before hand.
Oh, and speaking of shopping...
I joined Stitch Fix last week and my first box
should come this weekend.I've heard of
this outfit (no pun intended) before.I
saw something on the Today show about this new shopping trend, idea, fad,
whatever.A number of different
companies selling different products have it.
The way it works is that you fill out a
questionnaire and join the company - no fees involved.They wanted to know my size, clothing type
preference, preferred colors, my lifestyle - things like that.They also ask you to make a Pinterest board
and pin clothing you like to the board so they can get an idea of your preferences.At first I balked at that because I thought
it was a little embarrassing that everyone who is following me on Pinterest
will have a birds eye view of how I like to dress myself.I'd rather just show up and wow everyone
rather than giving them an idea of the energy it takes to dress myself!I think too much.But I finally started one because I know it
will give the stylist a better idea of what to send.
Then, you decide when you want a
shipment.You can do it every couple
weeks or once every three years - whatever you want.They will select and mail you a box of 5
items - a combination of clothing and accessories that aren't necessarily meant
to go together.You try them on at home
and keep what you want.At the time they
ship the box your credit card is charged $20 but that $20 comes off whatever
you decide to keep.If you keep
everything, you get a 25% discount.They
mail you a return bag and you put everything you don't want in the mail within 3
days. And then your card is charged for whatever you end up keeping.
The nice thing is that you can send notes to
your stylist.For example, this time I
told mine thatI need some
spring/summertops, but I don't care for
sleeveless items.If I like this and
continue next fall I'll be asking them to look for another winter church dress
Of course, it's brilliant marketing because anyone
knows that if you can get a customer to take an item into his home his chances
of choosing to keep that item go way up.And the customer is going to be "tricked" into thinking she's
saving $20 since it comes off whatever she keeps when, in reality, she already
spent it.But, because she already spent
it she's probably going to choose to buy at least one item in order to not
lose the $20.
So, we'll see how this goes.I did quite a bit of research on this company
before signing up (meaning I googled a few review sites).It appears that the clothes are little more
high end than what you might buy at Target or someplace like that.But the prices don't sound outrageous to me,
either.And if I'm saving gas and time
in stores, I'm willing to spend a little more. Plus, typically, higher prices
mean better quality.And, lately, I'm
having more trouble finding what I like in stores.I don't know if I'm getting pickier or fashion
is getting uglier.I'll report on how it
I'm a bit scared at the moment.My friend, G (because I didn't ask her if I
could write about her) contacted me last week and told me a hilariousstory of how her doctor insisted she have a
colonoscopy a week or so ago.This is my
friend.She can make anything
funny. She and I have laughed and laughed over the dumbest things over the past
8 yrs we've been friends. Anyone observing the two of us together would have the hardest time believing that we're both actually quite conservative, homeschooling, Baptist mothers - given how we carry on with one another! At Paul's
funeral his dad made a wildly inappropriate and embarrassing scene during the service.So, a little bit later we're all at the
cemetery getting ready for the graveside portion of the day.She sidles up to me and says softly, a la Godfather style, "You
want me to take him out (Paul's dad)?Just say the word and it's done!"My friend is from a long line of Italians, which made it doubly
funny.So there I am, about to commit
Paul's body to the earth forever and I'm laughing!I will never forget that moment.
So, anyway, they've found something - a
growth.It could be benign but it could
be malignant.On top of that, an MRI
says she suffered a mild (I presume) stroke sometime last summer.She had no idea.
She's sharing this in Messenger on FB and like
what is typically us, pretty soon we're cracking jokes - this time about
serving bacon at her funeral dinner and at the same time she's sending me a
picture of her latest boyfriend and of course, I have to give her my
unvarnished opinion on that.But
all the while my fingers are flying over the keys and I'm trying not to snort
out allwater I just drank,my heart is beginning to weep.Please, God, no...let the growth be
nothing.I don't want to give up someone
else to Eternity's side.Not yet.Not her.
I decided last week that it was time for a new
Facebook profile picture so I put David to work snapping ones of Sam and me together.The problem I am encountering is that gravity
continues to wage its evil war against my body (did you know that back skin
gets loose with age?The thought had
never once occurred to me until I was trying on swimsuits Friday and the ones
with straps across the center of the back gathered my skin into little folds
and my skin didn't even care.It just
rumpled up and laid there under the strap.A few years ago the skin would have indignantly snapped right back into
place...sigh) and as my face falls downward I'm looking more and more like I
have a double chin.David took a bunch
of photos and I looked through them and complained, "I look fat in
these!"Ellie leaned toward me and
put her hands on either side of my offensive face and said earnestly, "No,
Mommy, no!You not fat.You just fine!"I may need to keep her.
She also commented to me the other day,
"I'm growing up and I know stuff!"
I had a major Mom Fail last week.I can't remember exactly what Lizzie was talking
about but it was along the lines of being overweight herself (she is not, but
she is definitely a bigger boned girl).I am going to really need to watch my comments about my own weight
around her.She was also talking about
not liking her skin color or hair texture.So I told her that there are plenty of black actresses in Hollywood -
not that having her score a career in film is exactly my primary desire for her
eventual adult life.But I wanted to
point out to her that you don't have to be thin and white with straight hair to
be considered beautiful.She immediately
wanted examples and all I could come up with, as far as famous, larger, and
black role models were Oprah and Queen Latifah.I googled images of them and Lizzie sat down at my computer and began to
scroll through them.Pretty soon I heard
her exclaim, "Oh, look, Mom - here's a picture of Queen Latifah kissing
her girlfriend!"What?I didn't know she was homosexual!Oh, man...I screwed up.How does a parent protect their kids from
such wordliness and sin other than moving to a cabin on the mountains?I was trying to help her but now she has this
image in her brain, thanks to me.
I got bravelast week and contacted a publisher who printed something I wrote a few
years back.I asked if they might be
interested in any articles about adoption or early widowhood.Today I received an enthusiastic,
"yes!" from them which made me feel so good and hopeful about the
future.Maybe writing about mylife experiences and touching/inspiring
others is going to be another one of those serendipitous "good
things" I keep looking for.So now
I have to find some time to sit down and put a proposal together for this
publisher because I don't know what angle she is most interested in.We shall see where this goes...
I'm reading a fiction, non-Christian kindle
book right now (one of my Amazon freebies) about a young widow.Just yesterday, I read this quote in the
story.It's being said by a different
character in the story, an older widow:
But mostly, we've come
to an arrangement: The pain gets to stay - and I try not to resist it.It's curious, but the hurt itself has become
my companion in a way.A reminder of what
I had and how lucky I was to have it.
Oh, yes - I completely understand!
Just this morning I was sitting up at City
Hall, working on water statements, and mopping my eyes.Last week was harder for some reason for
me.Maybe it's because I was coming off
the heels of surviving Febrary with it's emphasis on romance and my wedding
anniversary.I don't know.Maybe it's because I dreamed about Paul again
last night and woke up today missing him even more.Maybe it was because I wasn't at home and I
knew I was free to cry without worrying the kids. Maybe it's because last night
a friend and I were talking about the day in the future when I will know I'm
ready to start dating again.Whatever it
was it didn't last long and I'm fine now.But the pain does stay and like the writer of this story says, I've
learned not to resist it.It comes and
goes at will and I think it's probably best that way.
On one of the walls beside my bed I have our
wedding picture hung and below it the two anniversary pictures we had taken,
along with a long poem Paul wrote me for our 19th anniversary.I don't know that I spend any excess time
gazing at the pictures these days but one day last week as my gaze happened to
glance on them, the very clear thought came to me,
One day you will want to
take these pictures down
That surprised me because it was a new
thought.I've always found it comforting
to have Paul looking down from the wall at me.I enjoy seeing pictures of uswhen we were together and so happy.But maybe it's like a couple of weeks ago when I realized I didn't want
to wear his wedding ring anymore.My
need for reminders of him is lessening.Pain or no pain, I'm moving forward.
Last week on one of my widow boards one woman
asked the members of the group if she was the only one or did anyone else feel
like their husband's death had "ruined" their lives.I thought about it and I ultimately responded
to her in what I hope was a gentle manner.But my answer is definitely
ruined.Now, if I had been asked this
that first summer, I probably would have answered differently.My life was definitely ruined then.I couldn't see anything in my future except
continued misery as I kept on doing what I had to while I waited to do what I
wanted to, which was to die myself and join Paul.
My life has been diverted.Two parallel paths ran beside eachother.I was on one and then suddenly, the paths
converged and I found myself on the other, headed a completely different
direction.I didn't ask for the change,
but it happened anyway.
But both paths had a divine Designer.Not one path was better than the other but I
had learned all I was supposed to on the one and it was time for a change.
The word, "ruin" implies utterdestruction.Cities are in ruin after war.Towns are ruined after a tornado rips through.A meth addict ruins their teeth.An alcoholic ruins his liver.
Jesus was ruined one day at Calvary...his body
nearly ripped to pieces, crushed, His heart broken...