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...
Saturday, May 9, 2015
May 9, 2015
Huh...I hit Day 700 this week and didn't
realize it.That means in a little less
than a year I will mark Day 1000 - February, maybe?I'm not sure.
So, this week...has been fine.It was not as rainy as the weathermen told us
it would be.It's been warm and cloudy
and some parts of the Midwest have really been hammered with tornadoes and
flooding but we must be sitting in a sweet spot here.I was actually kind of looking forward to a
good, midnight thunderstorm and we never got one.But Sunday afternoon or evening it sounds
like the weather might get kind of severe.Hopefully, not too severe since I don't currently have insurance
coverage on my siding or roof...
I'm just going to have to replace the roof,
I've decided.I think I'll wait until
next spring.Ben's teacher told me they
just had theirs done and she can give me the name of the crew that worked for
them.I don't know how long my siding
guy is going to take to get my house and garage done and I can't have two crews
working at the same time.And I rather
imagine there's a waiting list for most reputable roofers once the weather
warms up.Maybe I should wait until
after Ben's graduation party next spring so I don't run the risk of having
shingles and junk all over the yard at that time.I really like the look of steel roofs that
are getting more and more popular.But
I've heard some criticisms of them, too, so I'll probably just go with
I've been a little sadder the past couple of
days.Maybe it's because it's Mother's
Day weekendand Paul always did such a
bang-up job with that for me.Last year
we were on vacation which helped.But
even then, the boys remembered, which was sweet, and more than I expected.And maybe it's because it's less than a month
now until June 6 and I might always be a little more melancholy this time of
year, as a result.
I was helping set up for our church's
Mother/Daughter brunch a week ago (which I did not attend - I went to one 9
years ago and really did not enjoy myself and I've just never had the desire to
try again, even now that I have daughters.I suppose I probably should try it again.But then I'd have to talk to people).Anyway, two grandmas were also setting
up.One asked the other about her
expected grandbaby and the one said proudly, "Yep - he's due June
6th!"And then the other said,
"Oh, that's my granddaughter's birthday!" And I thought about saying,
"And that's Paul's death day!"But I didn't - figured it would kind of kill the moment.But that is what that day will always signify
to me, for the rest of my life.
Actually, I would love it if something
marvelous did happen some year on that date, like the birth of a
grandchild.It would seem almost
redemptive.We'll see.I don't have any control over that!
Oh, and speaking of babies... the world waited
all last weekend to find out the name of the new baby princess.It's a pretty one - Charlotte Elizabeth
Diana.I wasn't sure if they'd go for
"Diana" because, from what I've heard, the queen wasn't overly fond
of her, particularly once she divorced her son.I wouldimagine William and Kate
would like to stay in the queen's good graces.But I suppose they managed to please everyone by naming her after Prince
Charles, the queen, and the dead princess.I like all those names - very traditional, which is my preference when
it comes to naming people (obviously - run through the list of names I picked
for my crew).But, as I heard all these
news reports last weekend and watched people speculating on Facebook about what
the name would be, I was reminded of something a local radio host pointed out a
few years ago when the world was all excited over the latest royal wedding.
He wondered why Americans were so excited
about anything royal.As he said, our
ancestors fled royalty - with good reason.When they set up our government they did all they could to ensure there
would never be a monarchy.It seemed to
him that all this excitement was kind of a slap in the face to the sacrifices
made by our founding fathers.
He has a point.Now, granted, this particular talk show guy
is actually English by birth, although a proud American now.He has a particularhatred for the English health care system,
which he blames directly for his father's death.
I understand what he's saying.But, I would venture that it is probably mostly
American females that get excited by royal weddings and royal
babies.Guys don't care.In fact, I don't know of too many men that
like English anything.I remember
arising very early in the morning to watch Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson
marry (waste of time since they both ended up divorced).I didn't get up to watch Princess Kate.At this stage of life, I really don't
care.But I do remember admiring her
gown when I saw a picture of it later.I'm still a girl, I guess!
Yesterday, a discussion arose on Facebook
about expressions or usage of language that drive us insane.This was a conversation in which I was only
too happy to participate.As I was
typing some of things that frustrate me, I half-jokingly referred to myself as
responded that no, I am just, "precise."I like that...precise.
My preciseness cost me a FB friend this
week.Well, not really.I unfriended her.I really didn't know this gal.She was a friend of a friend who sent me a
friend request for some reason.Well,
one night this week she posted a meme that read, "Don't loose hope - you
don't know what tomorrow will bring!"I responded, a bit snarkily, "Yes, like perhaps a better grasp of
the English language?"I then added
a note about not minding me - I'm something of a language nerd, or something
like that.Oh, my goodness...she got so
upset with me.I was nice about it but
then quietly unfriended her.A few days
later she messaged me, demanding to know why I had unfriended her!This is like the locker hallway of junior high
all over again... I was honest - nice, though - and told her it was obvious to
me she had a personality that is easily offended and I have no wish to
continually risk that and that's the way it is.
As I am growing older I am noticinga distinct intolerance in myself for
foolishness in others.I'm not sure if
that's a good thing or not.It may just
end up making me crabby a lot.But I
really should not be like this.Relationships are more important than standing up against the abuse of
the English language.
Most of the time, anyway.
Ooh...and more on my
"preciseness":In Hobby Lobby
this week I was perusing the scrapbooking stickers when I came across a pack
that made me pause for a moment.I shook
my head, groaned, and probably rolled a couple of eyeballs before moving
on.Later, I ran it by David to see if
he would catch what had caught my ire.English is not his strong area, so if he could figure it out, then you know
it's bad.Even he got it.
It was a package of wintertime stickers and one
of the stickers read, "Burrr!"Really?"Burr?"You mean like the one under my saddle after
Yeah...just a little crabby.
Ok, time for something happy: my friend, Jenn,
is a new mom this week.It's an adoption
and this whole thing has just been really thrilling for me to watch from the
sidelines.This is child #6 for
them.The rest are biological, except
for son #2, who is the girls' bio brother.They wanted a baby boy to match his big brother so they specifically
sought to adopt a black newborn.It's
been a bit of a journey for them, but I've rejoiced with them as they were
finally chosen by abirth mom more than
halfway across the country.They were
informed late last week that this Tuesday would be baby day so the entire
family loaded up and took off.I texted
her as they were on the way to hospital for the delivery and it wasn't but a
few hours later I got pictures on my phone of the most adorable newborn little
boy.There is just something about black
It kind of made me sad to realize what I've
missed from the girls' first years.I
never got to cuddle that brown sweetness.
But this has been neat because I don't think I
have any other really good friends who have adopted brand new babies like
this.It's been special to have a front row seat to this endeavor and to see the
reward nestled in their arms.I can't
wait to hold him!
Tuesday night the kids did have softball,
despite my hopes for rain.David has
really improved a lot from last year - and he was good then.His game was especially fun to watch.Anyway, one of the other homeschool moms
approached me and we began to talk.She
observed the girls and told me how cute they are and then commented, "They
have such a nice color to their skin."I agreed.I've always thought the
girls are both such a pretty shade of brown.
But I've been thinking about that comment ever
since.I know the lady that spoke meant
nothing offensive by saying it and I didn't take it in a negative way at
all.But really, what is a "nice"
tone of black skin?Is it being as close
to white as you can be?Is darker skin
not nice?I remember when I got the call
for the girls.I was told they were
black and that we would, more than likely, end up adopting them.I didn't meet them or see a picture or
anything until that June morning when I picked them up in Des Moines.But I remember seeing them for the first time
and feeling relieved that they were a lighter brown color.I feel ashamed of that now, though.Why did that matter at all?Would I love them any less today if their
skin was nearly black in color?I can't
I know Lizzie is pretty attentive to differing
shades of brown.Once, we were helped
out to our van at Walmart after making a large purchase by a man who probably
came from the Sudan.She talked for days
in amazement about how black he was.Even just a couple of weeks ago I had her dressed in a black dress for
church and she commented that it was a good thing her skin was only medium
brown because with the dress people might not be able to see where the dress
ended and she began!She made me laugh
by saying that.
What is it about skin that we've decided there
are good and not-so-good shades?When I
was younger, I didn't like being as pale as I am (Lizzie comments from time to
time that "You are the whitest person I know, Mom!").I envied my friends who tanned easily and was
embarrassed by my legs and arms that would only ever burn rather than tan.I fried myself on purpose several times,
laying outside with tin foil and baby oil (stupid, stupid, stupid).I used to buy self-tanning lotions, even as
an adult, in hopes that my skin would darken.One nice thing about middle-age?
Anyway, I've just been ruminating on this all
week.No definitive answers - like most
of my thought life - just a jumble of thoughts as I attempt to sort through
Something that cracked me up this week: Lizzie
has an imagination that matches her enthusiasm for life.She asked me one day what I would do if
someone broke into our home and told me that he was going to kill either
herself or Sam - who would Ichoose to
die?What a horrifying question!I told her I would tell the bad guy to kill
me.Lizzie replied, "No, you can't
do that.He says, 'You have to choose
either Sam or Lizzie.'"I told her
I wouldn't do that.I would tell the bad
guy to choose then.
Lizzie then said, "Well, I would say to
the bad guy - 'kill me because I love Sam so much and I want him to
live!'"I told her that was very
nice of her and it's actually what Jesus did for us.Inwardly, I smiled because it's just another
evidence of her big heart.
Well, later that same night I heard Lizzie
posing the same scenario to Sam that she had earlier presented to me.I was driving and about swerved into a
telephone pole when I heard Sam say, "Yeah, I'd tell the bad guy, 'Kill
Lizzie!"Of course, she was then
sputtering about how she was willing to die for Sam and she couldn't
believe he wouldn't do the same for her!I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a sly grin on Sam's face that
told me knew exactly what he was doing- yanking his sister's chain once again.
I think this would fall into the oh,
I teach Patch club on Wednesday nights.Ellie stays with me even though she's really
too young for the group.There's just no
where else for her to go.It was prayer
request time and like she does every week, Ellie pitifully announced that,
"My daddy die."Sam, who was
sitting beside her, exclaimed in exasperation, "Ellie!We're over that now!"I had to smother a laugh even though it
really isn't funny.But in that moment
it kind of was.
I think I've written before about how Ben has
been reading his Bible a lot of mornings before school.Normally, when I get up I'm in a haze,
stumbling around to get his breakfast and school bag ready.Then I collapse on the couch with the Today
show until the bus arrives.I realized
this week that Ben has been taking his Bible back to my room for a few minutes
during that time and reading on my bed - because it's quiet.A couple of weeks ago he had asked me where
the best place to read in the Bible is and I had suggested that Proverbs has a
lot of good, practical, life stuff.He
commented to me this week that he is alternating between the Psalms and
Wow, just wow...Ben has a psychological
classification of mild to moderate mental retardation.But he's smarter than a whole lot of people I know.I am so proud of him.
I was shaving him one night this week and
evidently, in a silly mood.I asked him
if he was glad that he was created a boy and not a girl.Ben gave me a measured look and then replied,
"I'm glad I'm a man."
I asked him if he considers himself to be a
man and he quietly replied, "yes, I do."
And in that moment I had a total flash of
understanding.He gets so frustrated and
angry when I don't let him deal with the Littles the way he wants.That's because his way of dealing with them
only leads to greater difficulties and makes my job harder.But if he considers himself to be a man, then
he must feel disrespected when I don't let him exercise that same authority he
feels he already has.
Grainy today...I stayed up a little late
working on this and finally collapsed into bed shortly before midnight.At 3 am I was awakened by Paul's truck
chug-chug-chortling down the alley and into the driveway.The school year is over now at Faith and to
celebrate Will and bunch of his friends decided to go out to Saylorville
Lake.I was just praying nobody would
drown.At least none of them drink,
thankfully.Why Will thought he needed
to take the truck, I don't know.He
commented recently that he's started to develop quite a few friendships with
the more "redneck" Faith students so I suppose that might be why -
they'd probably think a loud, rusted-out, almost 30 year old truck would be
pretty neat.So anyway, he got home in
the wee hours of the morning.I fell
back asleep.Until 4:30 am.The piercing alarm of my phone indicating a
new text message finally penetrated my subconscious.Argh!And of course, I couldn't find my phone to shut the thing off.That necessitated turning on a light and
stumbling through the house.Eventually
I found it in the bathroom (not a good place for phones).The text was from Will telling me he didn't
get home until 3 (like I might have missed his arrival) and asking me to not
wake him up in the morning.I thought
about sending him a text so he could get beeped every 3 minutes until he read
it, but I didn't.Then I had a hard time
falling back asleep.I eventually did,
but had to be up 2 hours later to take Ben and David to church for the
It's 10:30 in the morning now and he's still
snoozing away, which is probably one of the many side benefits to being 20
years old.Workers are pounding on my
house, installing the siding.
Will did tell me he got some of his final
grades back.It sounds like he probably
made the Dean's List again.That
presentation I helped him with about the Christian and death - he got 100%.He said he got a 99% on his 8 page paper we
wrote together on trials in the Christian life (James).That was a cool one because we interspersed
Will's perspective of his dad's death in spots between the actual research
portions. On a personal level, this was progress for Will in being willing to
share about how that affected him. We
weren't sure if that would get him favor with his professor or not since it
made the paper no longer strictly a research paper.But his professor loved it, thankfully!
I've really been having a time and a half of
it lately with Ellie and lying.Lizzie
went through her own struggles with that and it just threw me because to the
best of my knowledge, none of the boys have ever told me a single lie, let
alone made a habit of the practice.But
ever since I had Jenn talk to her last fall she's been a pretty truthful little
girl.But Ellie...oh, my goodness.She's so tiny, physically, and so cute that I
tend to place her mentally below where she really is.She's a smart cookie and she's latched onto
this lying thing with a certain ferocity.I can look her in the eye and ask her repeatedly to tell me the truth -
she knows she lying and I know she's lying - but she will open her eyes wide
andswear up and down that no, the
sandwich ended up under the bench all by itself, or no, she didn't climb on the
refrigerator shelf, and yes, she definitely saw her sister go into the kitchen,
take out the whipped cream can, and spray it into her mouth (last night's
am pretty sure I'mgoing to be getting a
phone call from the police station someday asking me to provide bail money for
this pint-sized miscreant.
So we went through this last night.This time I reminded all the kids how they
will never have peace in their hearts as long as they keep sin in there and
neither will God hear their prayers.She
Sam, however, had lots of questions.Apparently, this sin in heart/no prayers
reaching Heaven was news to him.He then
wanted to know how we know that.Well,
if it's in the Bible, how do we know it's true?How do we know the people who wrote the Bible heard God right and wrote
down the right stuff?He then commented
that he wished God still talked to us out loud instead of in our hearts.Me, too, Buddy - me, too.
So, anyway, about an hour later, down the
steps comes Ellie.I immediately launch
into my you better be bleeding or your room better be on fire speech I always
shoot off when they get out of bed after I tuck them in.But she stopped me.
"I did it, Mommy.I lied to you."I kept a sober face but on the inside I was
fist-pumping.She DOES have a
conscience!I AM getting through!
Maybe, just maybe, she won't be knocking off
liquor stores at fourteen...
I've started having TMJ pain in the last
couple of weeks.I remember when I saw
my new dentist in Jan. he moved my jaw and asked if I could feel it
clicking.I didn't notice anything.But a couple of weeks ago I started having
pain when chewing.I did some research
and it's definitely TMJ.If it gets bad
enough there are treatments but for now it looks like the best thing to do is
Advil it into submission.The Mayo
website says it is most common in women between the ages of 20-40.That means I'm too old for it.
Today has been a nice day, even though I am
still so tired.A good chunk of the
front of my house got sided today and my new door was hung.I ordered a new storm door this week that
should be in in about 10 days - it's black, which I think will look really
Will woke up around 2 this afternoon and has
been busy knocking stuff off theto-do
list I made for him.I just needed the
stuff done by the time he leaves for camp on the 31st.It didn't have to be done today!It sounds like he had a really nice time last
night and the Saylorville Lake thing was not just a bunch of crazy college
students - even some of their professors were there.
Yesterday afternoon was nice, too.The daughter and granddaughter of some dear
friends from Council Bluffs graduated from Faith yesterday and they had a
reception for her at the school.Lizzie
and I went up and were able to pop in and visit with everyone for a couple of
hours.What a blessing that was.I think I smiled for rest of the day!
I think tomorrow will be a nice day, even
without Paul.But I'm sure I'll be
missing him more.He always complimented
me often on mymothering skills, which
was nice to hear because that's one area where I've always felt like I fall
short the most in.He made me feel
valued on Mother's Day and I can't expect the kids to do that in his
place.You don't usually appreciate
your own mother all that much until you're long grown.
it will still be a nice day.I'm going
to take the kids out to eat and then I need to swing by Penneys because I have
some great coupons that expire tomorrow.David put on his athletic shorts for softball this week and was dismayed
to find that they are now above his knees.They look fine to me but apparently, that's a no-no in teenage boy land. So I should be able to get him some new ones tomorrow.
And then I have about $13 worth of Dairy Queen
gift cards floating around in my purse so I think after church in the evening
we'll top off our day with ice-cream.
They're saying severe weather will be moving
into central Iowa in the late afternoon/early evening hours with the potential
for heavy rain, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes.I am worried sick about my siding.It's not covered by my insurance until the work
is done and how on earth will I pay for more siding and labor if all this gets
destroyed tomorrow?I was expressing
this to Will and he drawled, "What are you going to do - hold it onto the
house yourself?"So much like his
So, I'm praying a lot...and trying to remember
that life is enjoyed most when it's held onto with loose hands.That's true of houses, and husbands, and
money, and children.