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...
Friday, May 29, 2015
May 29, 2015
It's been a busy week.I seemed to spend quite a bit of it on the
phone with different organizations, mostly regarding Ben's summer.Wednesday I had to shoot over to Pella (42
min away if the speed limit is somewhat disregarded) for a meeting about Ben (more on that later).I did some running around and lots of
emailing and David had a birthday.I had
a lot of baking this week...just stuff.
And as the week progressed the cloak began to
get heavier and heavier.I really wasn't
doing too bad when I last wrote.But as
June 6th gets closer, I'm feeling it.I
don't like it.I wanted to be past this
One night this week a friend, who was widowed
just a few months before me, sent me a picture of a gentlemen she's kind of
gotten interested in on a Christian dating site.I was enthusiastic in my approval - for
her.At the same time, I was surprised
and thought, "Dating?
Already?" And then I had to
remind myself it's been two years.That's probably long enough to work through a lot of grief stuff.Why then do I not feel ready to start
browsing through sites like that for myself?Am I hanging onto something that I really should be ready to let go of?
Maybe it'sthe timing. I should probably
just assume until the 6th that my mind will not be working the correct way.
Monday was Memorial Day.Will worked and the guys came and got some
stuff done on the house.When he got
home we grilled hot dogs. Lizzie spied
the citronella candles on the deck and wanted to light one.I told her no, the mosquitos weren't out
tonight.In complete seriousness, she
asked, "Why?Because it's a
I went to the chiropractor Wed. and told them
about my TMJ.So they did some work on
my jaw.And now the pain is SO much
worse.I don't know what to do.I don't know if their work caused the
increased pain or if it was just progressing to this point anyway.Every bite I take hurts.I'm rubbing in essential oils which help, as
do the Advil.But I can't poison my
liver to save my jaw.The chiropractor
explained that my jaw has gotten "off track" which is causing the
pain.I've been to several websites and
I see that people talk about having to literally pull their jaws open in the
morning with their hands in order to move their mouths.I sure hope this doesn't get that bad.
Both Will and David have commented in the last
week or so about my "laid back" parenting style.I'm not sure they were intending to be
complimentary, although they weren't complaining.They made mention of this in comparison to
other families we know.I'll take it as
a compliment.I never wanted to be a
hyper mother.Although, really, it
depends a lot on the kid.Lizzie calls
me, "strict" and I bet to her, I am.Both she and Ellie are such loose cannons that I have to keep them on a
short leash.I've never been the type of
mom to worry about bed times overly much - for the boys.But it gets to be 8 pm here, and I start to
get giddy.The count-down to bedtime for
the girls has commenced!If I get them
to bed even one minute after 9pm and the girls want a story I say in a fake-sad
voice, "I'm so sorry, but not tonight.It is way, way past your bed-time!"I'm dreading the day they learn to tell time.
And I think it was last weekend that all 3 of
the Littles were outside washing my van, which was fine.They were having fun and if I ended up with a
less-grimy van as a result, I'm happy.Well, then I went to wash my hands at the kitchen sink and my new bottle
of Bath and Body hand soap was missing.I started hollering about this and eventually, a kid mentioned that was
what had been used to wash the van.I
began to hyperventilate, which is silly.It isn't like the soap is made out of liquid gold or anything.But when I wash my van I always use dish soap
(although I just read you shouldn't do that - it's hard on vehicle paint) so I
just assumed that's what the Littles were using.I was working up into a full-out yell when
Will quietly said, "They're just little kids, you know.They didn't know any better."Whoosh...that took the steam out of my temper
tantrum.He is so much like his dad.
But anyway, I'm still kind of basking in the glow of being called, "laid back" at least by some of the kids. It makes me feel like I've succeeded somewhat!
Tuesday I drove down to Knoxville so I could
see Ben in action at his Hy-Vee job before the school year ended.I guess on his last day they presented him
with his very own, real, Hy-Vee badge.He was so tickled!I surprised
him at the store and got a picture of him sacking groceries.
I got Sam and Lizzie registered for swimming
lessons this week.They'll be at the
Pleasantville Country Club.I had only
driven there once before for some football thing for Will.I didn't realize until I went this week that
the country club is located across the street from the city's trailer
court!I don't think you see that very
often.Small town America, I guess!
A couple of men were mowing the grounds when I
showed up so they drove over to me and one took the registration inside for
me.The other started talking and asking
how my kids were, by name and I was puzzled until it dawned on me that this was
Will's football coach for four years until he retired!He asked, "And how are you doing?"
and I about cried because I could sense the sincerity in his voice.It's so nice to still hear that, this far
I ended up having a last minute meeting at the
Christian Opportunity Ctr in Pella on Wednesday afternoon.I felt bad because it meant I had to leave my
house at 2:15, which meant I couldn't wish David happy birthday at 2:28.He assured me it was fine.But if we didn't have this meeting that day
then Ben would not be able to start COC until probably July, which is silly
since he goes back to school at the end of August.So I went down and to my surprise, his case
manager pulls into the parking spot next to me.I walk into this conference room and it's a table full of people.They all expressed disappointment that I
didn't bring Ben with me.I explained
that he was at Hy-Vee at this time and I didn't want to pull him away from that
because it means so much to him. I'm his
legal guardian and can sign anything that needs signing. So then I rustled through my wallet and came
up with a picture of the kids that was taken just after the adoption and showed
that to everyone, pointing out who Ben is.And then one worker, who I think may be a Christian (she just seemed exceptionally gentle
and on her wrist she wore a bracelet that read, "fear not") said that
she had been reading Ben's file and was just amazed at all our family had been
through.I looked her kind of surprised
and she said, "You know, with your husband so unexpectedly dying and then
adopting the girls?"I was
astounded that this kind of stuff is in Ben's file.I have always assumed that any files on him
are solely about him.Although, I
suppose anything that happens in the family is bound to have a bearing on his
well-being, too.It just surprised me,
I say that, but I am suddenly remembering
something that happened years ago when Ben was a preschooler.His physical therapist left his notebook at
our house that had information on his clients.
Being nosy, I opened it up to Ben's page and found a note written by Ben's
previous therapist to thisguy who took
over.In the note, the therapist
mentioned that Ben's family was "deeply religious."I remember at the time being a little
offended because I thought that made us sound like of cult-like and what on
earth did our faith have to do with Ben's physical therapy?I guess nothing is ever private when you let
others into your world.
the girl who blogs nearly every detail of her life on the internet...
COC is definitely unique.I found out that the board members had to vote
on whether or not to allow Ben to be a part of their organization.Lucky for us, the vote swung his direction, I
guess!Everyone wanted to meet both Ben
and me.It's not like he's moving in yet
or anything.He's only going to be there
for one day a week this summer!I guess
they take it all quite seriously.But,
actually, I kind of liked that.At Genesis,
where Ben will also be one day a week, I only know the program director.I have no idea who else works with him.
Will has been working in the upstairs bathroom
this week, installing a vent.The
workers had already wrapped the upstairs back of the house.They have not sided it yet because they're
going to replace the two windows up there.Well, when Will cut through the wall to install the vent, he discovered
there was no insulation.It honestly
wasn't a huge surprise, but I think we were all hoping to not know this because
then it would add time and expense to the siding job.We froze that first winter here and it didn't
take long for Paul to start insulating the entire house.I do not know how people survived before
insulation.I guess having a
non-insulated house was better than living outdoors, so they counted themselves
Will came downstairs and said we just couldn't
not do something about this.So he
called the contractor himself who agreed that the work should be done.The contractor called his supplier and within
a couple hours, a warehouse from Indianola was delivering insulation and
boards.Will and David spent the
afternoon ripping off the 1800s era wood siding and then insulated everything
between the studs.Early that evening
my contractor arrived and by nightfall they had the boards on the side of the
house.So it all ended well.
My friend, Jaydeen, was re-diagnosed with
breast cancer today.This just breaks my
heart.A week after Paul died she was
first diagnosed and went through a year of treatment.And then she and her husband fell into
serious trouble and separated.Boy, did
I pray for them!And then God began to
knit together the pieces that had unraveled and they came back together this
past March.They've been working so hard
to restore what Satan nearly destroyed.And now the cancer is back.
Wed. night was our end-of-the-year Patch
party.I was up to my eyeballs in baking
both Tues. and Wed.Not only did I need
to bring treats for the party, but I had to bring treats for the youth group
for David's birthday and then I had to make his cake and birthday supper.He has asked for pineapple upside down cake
for several years in a row now.This
year he got the brainy idea to put strawberries in the middle of the pineapple
rings and then top with Reddi-whip.It
was actually very good.I think we may
have to make it this way every time.
My cute cupcakes
I wanted to do something special for the kids
so I found this idea on Pinterest that involved making cupcakes and decorating
them inbeach scenes using teddy grahams
and gummy life savers, goldfish crackers, graham cracker crumbs, and tiny
umbrellas.Boy, was it time consuming!But they turned out so cute.No cupcake was alike.Some had little bears laying out in the sun,
some had bears frolicking in the water.Some were both beach and water scenes...I outdid myself.
But for all that effort, I never sensed that
my Patch kids were all that impressed.The only thing I heard were complaints if someone else got an umbrella
on their cupcake and they didn't.Really?
Sam's creation, post Jaws-like attack
But, I did get a kick out this: I saved three
cupcakes so the Littles could make their own masterpieces.I had to run down Pville and they worked on
them while I was gone.When I came home,
I found Sam's.He had crawled up on the
counter and found some red decorator's sugar.Then, he broke some teddy bears in half and created this grisly beach
scene of utter destruction.Oh my
goodness, I laughed so hard.He is SUCH
Will leaves Sunday for camp.I am so sad about this.I do not remember feeling this way last
year.But surely, I must have.I am wondering, though, if it's actually sad
feelings about the upcoming anniversary that I'm transferring to this
event.I'll only see him a couple of
times this summer - one of those times will be next Friday or Saturday, so it's
not like I have to wait all that long.I
just feel like he is slipping away.
Which is exactly what is supposed to happen at
this stage of life.He will be 21 later
this year, after all!He's a man and
he's looking toward a future where I'll be in the periphery.It's the natural cycle of life and a way to
ensure that mankind propogates itself and hopefully, gains an ability to care
for their parents at the end of their lives.
It's supposed to work this way.It's natural.It's normal.It's what I want.
But I'm his mom.And he was my first.And as Abba sang a few decades ago, he's
"slowly slipping through my fingers."It's the slipping that hurts.
Marcia came over this week.We were talking about widowhood.Well, I was talking - she was
listening.She then made a comment that
I have been reallymulling over ever
since.She said, "You know, Sarah,
your problems in life are not because you're widowed.If you were married, you'd still have
problems.They'd just be different
ones."Boy, do I know that!I haven't forgotten that I was married to a
As was he.
She went on to explain that our problems in
life are what the Lord uses as refining tools.In my case, right now, that's widowhood.
The whole conversation both encouraged and
depressed me.I felt depressed because I
like to think that I just need to "conquer" this widow thing - work
through all the angst and loneliness and heartache and eventually, it will be
smooth sailing once again.Often, it's
tempting to think that a second marriage would do that for me.It's not uncommon, actually, for the widowed
to jump prematurely into such situations for that very reason, among
others.It's somewhat discouraging to
realize that we still live in an imperfect world.No matter our circumstances, there are always
going to be times of refinement.
Ugh.And I still have a good 40-50 years left yet to live.
But I was encouraged, too, because if
widowhood is not the reason I am going through stuff, if it is not the cause of
my distress, then perhaps a day will come when I really will be okay,
despite my status and situation as a widow.
couple things pop into my head.I
remember shortly after Paul died writing here on my blog that a Christian's
goal in life is never to be that of happiness.Of course, being human, it's what we hope and strive for.But that was never part of the salvation
deal.Our ultimate aim in life is holiness.And how is this attained?
Through refinement in times of distress - the
chipping away of all that is impure and an impediment to being a vessel that
shows the light of Jesus.
One of my favorite verses has always been John
In this world, you
will have many troubles.But rejoice,
for I have overcome the world!
The assurance of tribulation is right
there.It is unavoidable.We live in a fallen, sin-sick world and as a
result, we will always encounter difficulty!But in the end, the victory is ours.It was secured at Calvary.