Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I have nothing original to say.

I have some stuff going on and it doesn't belong here.
Lets just say that I love my family more than life itself. I am probably a freak about it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just because something can fit in doesn't mean it should.

I have a friend who is very gifted in what I believe is termed the fabric arts. She is an amazing seamstress and makes all kinds of crocheted things. Recently she made me a beautiful rainbow colored bag with long straps. It is HUGE! Just the way I wanted it. Empty,it hangs about hip level. The problem comes when I put stuff in. I always think I can add one more thing because "it will fit" and I might need it. What happens then is that when I hoist it on my shoulder it hangs to my knees and some of the things i really need dont fit anymore. The bag is misshapen and stretched beyond it's normal capacity. It becomes unattractive and hard to deal with. It is not being used according to it's design.
We humans are the same way. At least I am. I fill myself with far too many things I don't need and will never use. Knowledge is a very good thing but I think we can all agree that some so called knowledge is just useless. Do we really need to know the details of the latest celebrity breakup? Because I have allowed myself to be filled with unimportant things, the important ones get squeezed out. I become overwhelmed and have a hard time deciding what is important and what is not. It gets to the point that I am not even sure what my purpose is anymore.
The answer is simple. I need to focus on what is true,lovely and pure.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So many thoughts.....

So few that are fully thought out!
A few things on my mind:
I have some things I want to write about that are kind of important to my story. However to tell these things would be painful to some of the people I love more than life. I am trying to work out how to tell the story without hurting people.
I hate whatever it is in me that makes me so sensitive and prone to not think much of myself.
I have been very touched recently to have grown up "kids" I used to babysit seek me out. They were so young when I watched them it really means a lot that they even remember me!
I wonder what it is in me that makes me hold people at arms length.
I wish my daughter didn't need my computer for a school project so I could go more in depth with these thoughts. They are far too much to type on an iPod.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Differences-part 2

Watching my students work on their project got me to thinking about how different they all are. That got me to thinking about how different many of my friends and I are. One friend in particular.
She is tall, I am short. I am fat, she is not. She is stylish, I am thrown together. Her house is color coordinated,mine is like me,thrown together. She is self proclaimed "high maintence" and I,well maybe I am as well but not in the same way. She is a city girl,I am country.
But in spite of these differences, we have the same desire to serve the Lord and do the work He has for us. We have had the most amazing conversations about how God has worked in our lives and what He is teaching us.
I thought I had learned a long time ago not to judge a book by it's cover.
I have to admit that when I first met this person, I wouldn't have imagined we'd be as close as we are because we are so very different. As it turns out, we have much more in common than I had ever imagined.
Just imagine if we all took the time to get to know each other, tried to understand each other based on actual conversations with them rather than chance encounters or what someone looks like, or even acts sometimes. You have no idea what they are going through. Instead,pray for them.

Differences

My Sunday school class and I did a project this week. We were supposed to trace a person but we didn't have big enough paper so I drew the outline of a person. He didn't have hands or feet so the class deemed him unworthy and elected a student to draw another one.
When that was done, after discussing how Jesus is the head of the church and we are the body, the children wrote in names of people and the ways they serve,in and out of the church. Our person ended up being to thin for all the things we came up with. We widened the arms,then the legs,then finally the belly. Then the arms again and the legs and the belly. Then... Well you get the picture. I was amazed at how many ways the children recognized as serving. We talked about how different each of these people were and how,even though we are all different and have different ways of going about it, we all have the same goal-to serve and give God the glory.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't be afraid to dance

Really, that's what this whole blog is about I think. Sorting through my strengths and weaknesses and determining where I go from here and not being afraid to follow that path. To gain the confidence to move forward.
It seems that everyone I know, has known their strengths and what they wanted from life from a very early age. My youngest daughter is a prime example. She has known what she wants to be and where she wants to go to college since 7th or 8th grade. This seems completely foreign to me. But I think perhaps I am the exception rather than the rule. This explains why I didn't graduate from college until I was 41 years old.
There are also lots of things I find very interesting but not many that I actually have talent in. or at least I don't see it.
For example, in college, I had several professors tell me that I was very good at academic and analytical type writing. I much prefer creative non-fiction and fiction to academic writing. I have to tell you that I HATE  academic writing! Especially when a professor said things like "minimum of 15 pages" or something similar. I feel like I spend at least 8 of those pages saying the same thing in different ways. What is the point in that? I like to make my point as succinctly as possible and move on.
Why then do I have this urge to finish my project from senior seminar?
 Sorting out my strengths and weakness also presents a problem for me because some of my strengths don't always translate into the areas of service I think they should.
For example, I am good with kids, especially those with special needs or learning disabilities. I come up with creative ways to get a concept across in ways the kids actually enjoy. Actually, God puts the ideas in my head because I am not that smart. Because of this ability, I thought I should become a teacher. It turns out I am a really stinky teacher at least for a school that wants everybody to use the same methods all the time. My way of doing things is ummmm inconsistent. I am big on daily schedules, rules of behavior and organization and a plan. But when it comes to learning, when you can see the sheer panic in a child's face over a particular method of learning something, it is time to shake things up. Not everyone likes to be shaken.
My greatest strength,in my opinion, is my ability to see things not as they are or how they were "meant" to be used but how they CAN be used. Second is my writing ability.
My greatest weakness is not being confident in these abilities to use them to their full potential. I have been told to enter writing contests, submit my stories and so on and so on. But where do I even begin? Do you have any idea how many writing contests and literary agents and publishers there are? In my mind, for every one of these opportunities there are 1,000 other writers trying to get noticed. What do I have that makes me stand out?
And what does all this have to do with dancing?
Last night at church we had a worship/prayer/healing service. I helped with the praise dance team passing out their props and such. After their performance we enjoyed a time of prayer. You could pray by yourself or with the pastor and elders or someone else entirely. Now before you get the wrong idea, this was not your TV Evangelist kind of healing service. It was simply a time of prayer. I asked a friend to pray with me because I have really been struggling with depression, panic attacks and confidence issues. As she prayed she affirmed talents I have and even some I had forgotten I had because I haven't used them in so long. She reminded me that I am not in charge and it is not my plan that matters. At the end of her beautiful prayer she hugged me and said "Don't be afraid to dance!"  That is my phrase to remind myself that I was not given a spirit of fear!
I want to seek HIS WILL for me, not my own. I don't want to waste the talents I have been given. I want to give God the glory for each and every success HE blesses me with. I want to be BOLD! I want to DANCE! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yay!

Tomorrow is my birthday! I will be 43 years old. I know a lot of people don't like to talk about how old they are but I really don't mind. I come from a family of women who don't look their age! My great aunt Vivian looked to be on her 60s when she was in her 80s. I have frequently been mistaken for a teenager/young adult. Once I was mistaken for my sons girlfriend. He was understandably horrified.
Personally, I think I look my age and that there are a lot of people who need complete eye exams.
The only thing that bothers me about my age is my lack of accomplishment.I thought I would be a homeowner by now. I thought I would be established in a career by now. Instead I am either overqualified or don't have the experience wanted for every job I apply for.
I thought I would be able to spoil my kids and grandkids by now.
At any rate, I am excited about my birthday! I grew up in a family where birthdays were a big fat hairy deal. In my husbands family,they were celebrated but not quite as much. Gregg's birthday is 4 days after Christmas and his brothers is sometimes on Easter. I am always trying to surprise Gregg with something on his birthday and he really doesn't seem to care one way or the other. I on the other hand love the surprises and specialness of being the birthday girl!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today, I read

I started the book my husband got me for mothers day yesterday around 11 in the morning. I finished it around 11 this evening. You may not believe this but I didn't just read during my waking hours. I did read almost 5 straight hours this evening bit other than that just a few minutes here and there. It has been a long time since I read something new simply for the pure pleasure of it. I have my favorites that I read and reread when I want something to do but don't want to think too much.
I started to watch Julie and Julia again today. That movie was the reason for starting this blog in the first place. I thought by now I would have figured out exactly why I am writing it.
I do know that I want to pick up one of my ideas, brush it off, re-examine it, and start writing on it again.
The question is, which one? The academic piece my writing professor said would be an excellent doctoral thesis piece(kind of a terrifying thought to a girl with a 2.389 gpa), the fiction story that sprung from the title of a friends blog and incidentally inspired the academic pie e, the memoir piece, or the "devotionals" I have had the audacity to start on?
Any preferences?

Monday, May 16, 2011

I know this is really sad....

But I am being awfully lazy. I am once again blogging on my iPod because it is lighter than my laptop.
I have a torn rotator cuff which is very painful. I was supposed to see the doctor Friday but cancelled. The last time I was there 6 weeks ago he said that the only thing left was surgery and since I don't have insurance there isn't anything left to do. So I didn't see any sense in paying him 50 dollars to hear him say that again.
So that's my long winded reasoning for why I need an iPad! I know no one really needs an iPad but I would really like one!
I am very excited for my friend Tonya! After a long draining wait she and her husband close on their house tomorrow!
I have started reading a very good book by Francine rivers. It is called "Her mothers hope". I think I am going to learn a lot from it, even if it is fiction.
I need to get to the library and get some non fiction for my research on the holocaust/WWII. It is for a story idea I have and also a academic paper I started for my senior seminar in college. I don't know why and who would even read it but it seems important to finish it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Troy McGinnis-March 30,1989-May 15,1992

Today is the anniversary of my son's death. Every year it seems to sneak up on me. I think to myself, "Hummm, I am not such a wreck this year." Then all of a sudden-wham-blindsided with a ton of bricks.
Out of the blue the memories of our last moments together pop into my head and turn me into an emotional wreck even on the best of days. One of the things I miss most is the way I know he always loved to be held.
It could be a rather complicated procedure. You had to make sure his chin was not blocking his tracheotomy tube. Make sure the oxygen hose was not kinked. Make sure his feeding tube button was secure. Make sure the feeding tube bag was full because you didn't want to get all settled and have to get up to fill it. You had to make sure you had the suction nozzle close enough in case he laughed or coughed and clogged the trach with mucus.
I miss the absolutely gaggy smell of pediasure. I miss cleaning around the feeding tube. I miss cleaning and changing the trach tube. I miss changing the gaggy poop diapers caused by a diet of pediasure. I miss measuring out a drugstore of medicine to keep him from seizing constantly.I miss catheterizing him when his kidneys didn't work right.
I miss the way he laughed when I suctioned his trach tube. I miss the way his face would light up when he saw me. Most of all, I miss the way his body felt snuggled in my arms.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tried to blog Thursday

But blogger was in read only mode. Yesterday I wasn't in an area that had wifi. This morning we are having breakfast in a little resturaunt and Gregg encouraged me to check for wifi. To my surprise, there it was!
We are staying in a very inexpensive motel here. It is like stepping backing into the 70's/80's. Reminded me of vacations with my family. There isn't any cable or Internet bit it is a nice big clean room with 2 queen beds and space that if we had kids with us we could put down an air mattress.
We are off on an adventure now! No plan just driving til we find something interesting!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Time keeps on slippin slippin.....

Into the future.... Isn't that how the song goes?
One thing you will come to know about me is that songs pop into my head for almost any occasion!
Another one,a line from one anyway,is from I believe, Lady Antebellum. I believe the song is called "I run to you" It goes "This world keeps spinning faster..." it goes on to say something about heading towards a new disaster. I am not sure if the writer intended the song to make people think about God, but I always do.
I co-teach at our churches wednesday night kids program. Tonight I was on my own with our large class. We have a bit of an issue with talking and not paying attention when there are 2 teacher so I decided to try a different technique. I drew a line for each child and had each of them write his or her name under the line. I explained that they had 9 chances to earn a reward.Essentially, we played hangman.
Our lesson tonight was on the following the leading of the holy spirit. During the lesson, one of the girls went to the bathroom and came back basically mocking me. As with all the marks I gave, i said nothing, just simply walked to the board and made the mark and went on with my lesson. A few minutes after getting her mark j raised her hand and asked if there was any way to erase a mark.
I told her no, I was sorry but we have to live with the consequences o our actions.
When the lesson was over I was passing out candy. Everyone earned it. I noticed j sitting quietly in her seat not crowding me with the rest of he kids. I asked her if she got hèrs. She came to whisper on my ear that she did not deserve any candy because she had not behaved. I told her of course she did. She did not get a full person. But I was so proud of her for realizing what she had done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 and a half pages of excuses

 I am still working on the piece I started in reaction to my pastors sermon on Sunday but here is something I wrote a few years ago that is in the same vein.
Two and a Half Pages of Excuses
If money were no object I would live in house that fit my family with closets and a kitchen big enough for a table. The floors would be even. No longer would the arrangement of the furniture depend on whether it would be too lopsided to be comfortable. We wouldn’t worry about whether or not that chair is too heavy for that weak spot in the floor. The floors would be finished and polished with the proper cleansers and wax. There would be no particle board trap door to the cellar.
In the bedrooms we could use all 4 walls without worrying that the plaster will give way. The clothes would hang neatly in closets and belongings stored neatly on those shelves. The bats wouldn’t find holes to come in at night and bite the youngest daughter’s toes. If money were no object, there would be more children in my house. Children whose medical conditions are too much for their parents. Children whose parents never should have been parents. Children who just want to be loved and safe.
The ceiling would not have those water spots, I mean lines. We wouldn’t wake up after a rainstorm to find that the covering on the old chimney has come loose, leaking into the kitchen, depositing half of the wall onto the counter.
If money were no object, I would fix my children breakfast every morning before I drove them to school. Their lunches would be fresh and healthy. There would be fresh baked goods and fruit for after school snacks. The pantry would have rows and rows of jars of fruits and vegetables picked straight from our garden and orchards and canned at the peak of freshness. My husband would spend hours planning and tending all the fruits and vegetables he has ever wanted. I would eat those fruits and vegetables knowing that if my tooth crumbled in an apple I could go to the dentist to have it repaired.
Each morning I would gather eggs from our chickens and feed them and the cows and goats. I would take meat from the freezer for that evenings’ supper. I would not pick up dollar cheeseburgers on the way home from work because they are fast and cheap. I would not look for more and more ways to make a pound of hamburger and a box of macaroni feed 7 people.
If money were no object I would have a writing room all my own. My books would come out of boxes and fill two walls of shelves. Eventually I would need more shelves. There would be a comfortable chairs and a couch for long meaningful conversations and quiet hours of reading.
If money were no object, I would have an indoor pool to do the aquatic exercise my rheumatologist insists I must do to ease the pain in my joints and to lose the weight he insists I must also do.
If money were no object, my family and I would learn about different countries and cultures by experiencing them first hand. They would see the wonders of the world and the children who must beg to survive.
I wrote the previous pages after I saw a segment of the show “CMT Cribs”. I cannot remember which celebrities’ home was being shown, I think it was a race car driver. What stands out in my mind is the man’s wife as she listed the features of her beautiful state of the art kitchen. She then proudly announced “I don’t know what half of it does, I never cook.”
I was so angered by the statement that I wrote the piece and included it in my Senior Capstone Writing course proposal of short “life” pieces.
My professor said "This piece is spare and sincere and conveys the problems of living in poverty without self pity. I don't know if I could write this objectively. I don't recommend changing this one. I think it is perfect as it is and its compact form speaks loudly as is."
I was thrilled. My pride was all puffed up at my perfection. And then the rest of the semester rushed by and with it a million other projects and graduation. The piece was tucked away in a file and forgotten as I threw myself into preparing to teach a class of 5th and 6th graders.
One day when I probably should have been doing something productive I was scrolling through my computer reading things I had written over the years. Some made me laugh, some made me cry. This one made me think.
As I read I recognized that what I had written was two and a half pages of excuses. If I want to serve needy children there are far too many right here in the town I live in.
When this realization hit me I immediately thought of all the parables in which Jesus talks about being a good and faithful servant. Not once does He say “Serve me if you have money.” The message in so many passages, Matthew 20:1-16, Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 16:10-15, to name a few is clearly to do what you can with what you have.
What I struggle with most, I think, is doing what I am told. I want to do what I want, when I want. Just like a spoiled child, I stomp and cry and sometimes yell trying to convince God my way is best. How foolish is that? Just as I make decisions based on what is best for my children, God has my life planned perfectly.
My job is to do as I am told. Luke 17:7-10 says “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”
May it ever be so.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I had a wonderful mothers day!

Even if my water pump did explode! Church was amazing!! I have started writing a future blog a out it. A little much to type on my iPod! The basic gist is that the world does not revolve around me and it doesn't revolve around you either.
Anyway, after church Carrie Beth and I went to my mommy's to have lunch with her and all the family in vevay. Carrie Beth and I had fun driving around the yard in my grandparents scooter chairs until the one I was driving died! Then we had to push it through a field to my grandparents house. Found out minutes later that it would have been much easier had we taken it out of gear.We are cool like that!
We had fun eating and talking and goofing off.
On the way home, Carrie Beth and I had a very interesting and insightful conversation. At home Gregg had fixed a great dinner of chicken, cottage cheese, broccoli, and salad on my pretty china plates.
To top it off,my son Sam and his wife Michelle and baby Connor came by. That was Omamymy's favorite thing of all! Oh that and the absolutely PERFECT card from Joshua!
All in all a great day!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day-it ain't all sunshine and roses

For a lot of years, Mothers Day for me represented proof of my ultimate and complete failure.
My very first Mothers Day, my first child was 6 weeks old. I had spent the last month of my pregnancy in the hospital on complete bedrest. My son was born by emergency c-section on March 30th at 1:37pm a week after his due date. He was 4lbs 7ozs.At 10:30pm the doctor came in to have me sign a release to do a spinal tap because Troy was having seizures.He was diagnosed with CMV, Seizure disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadraplegia,Mental Retardation, Microcephaly, as well as being blind and deaf. I was finally able to see him and touch him about 8 the next morning.
At 10 the doctor came in to inform me that Troy was being transferred to a pediatric intensive care unit an hour away. They were not certain he would survive the trip. Two weeks later we met with the team of doctors. They told us that they would be releasing Troy but that they did not expect him to live for more than a month. We should enjoy the time we had with him and plan his funeral. That is a hard hard thing to take in.
When Mothers Day arrived, I was prepared to celebrate. Troy was still alive and thriving despite the dire prognosis. My husband took off with his buddy. My sister bought a card and put Troys footprints in it for me. I spent the day with her and her friend and Troy. I finally tracked down my husband at a bar. I asked when he would be home. He said when he got there.
When he finally arrived, he informed me that he wanted a divorce and he wanted me gone as soon as possible. My sister and I packed a bunch of stuff into her truck and went the next day.
Two years before when I had written in my senior book that I wanted to be a wife and mother. I had obviously failed at both of those vocations.
So you might understand why Mothers Day kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.
I am pleased to say that I had 3 more Mothers Days with Troy. As well as 20 with my son Sam,15 with my daughter Carrie Beth and 14 with my step children, Joshua, Carrie Lynn and Ashley. And now I am beginning to celebrate my childrens spouses and children. But I always seem to have to fight the sadness that creeps up and the unrealistic expectations I try not to have but always seem to be there. Like I am missing out on something that all the other mothers get.
I try to remind myself that I am so blessed. I have wonderful kids who love me both those I gave birth too, those who were bonus gifts when I married their father and those who married my children and gave me grandchildren. I have AMAZING grandchildren. I have a special boy who smiles when he sees me and calls me Mymy. There are children in my church who run to hug me and talk to me. I have no shortage of love.
I think part of my sadness comes from the fact that I am not able to spoil the kids in my life as I would like. I would love to be able to walk into a store and just buy everything that I know each of them would love. Take them to Disney World. Traveling, amusement parks and the like.
I guess part of me is afraid that because I can't do those things they won't love me quite as much. I don't trust that I have taught them that "stuff" isn't important well enough.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fires-A mothers day offering

I think I am finally turning the corner! Still feeling a little worn out but better.
Today I am going to share some more of my writing. It is about 2 years old but seemed appropriate with Mothers Day coming up.
Fires
My son, Sam, the brand new 18 year old, is now officially a volunteer firefighter. He was voted into membership before Christmas but was not allowed to respond to fires until he had turned 18 on January 10. His first official fire was just the other night… Two doors down from us…
 We were sitting at the dinner table just finishing up when the tones sounded and the pager announced a fire. While the details of the call were broadcast and Sam jumped up and started for his car.
 "Sam!” His dad said, “That’s just a few doors down!" Sam was a tad excited. But his gear was in the back of his car so he opened the trunk and started getting dressed. I was standing there trying to figure out what exactly I should do. For crying out loud he is a trained firefighter! He doesn't need his mommy helping him get dressed! So I stood there but could not resist the urge to say "Do you have everything?" Oh and when he went on his way I couldn't help but pick up his shoes and gear bag from the middle of the street where he left it. It's what moms do, you know?
I stood watching for a time, still unsure if I should stay out side and watch or if I should go inside and wait. I wanted to support my son but really what could I do? It's not like he was playing soccer or something. Can't you hear me?
 "Climb that ladder, Sam! Hold that hose!”
 “Put out that fire!"
"Sam, Sam he's our man! If he can't fight it no one can!"
 Somehow I don't think it would be appreciated. I can hear Sam saying "Mom! No one else's mother came to the fire!"
 My husband’s excuse was that the fire was too close for comfort which was sort of true. Yes it was two doors north of us but the affected house was on fire on the north side of the attic and there is a very large house between us and the burning house. Quite frankly I had to go inside before I had a nervous breakdown.
 I am immensely proud of Sam. He has dreamed of being a firefighter since he knew what one was and what they did. This does not mean that I can watch him do it.
Mothers are like that. We want our children to go after their dreams and , to quote a recruitment campaign, be all they can be. But it is not easy for us to stand by and watch. We want to help, protect and do for our children. Especially when things are hard for them.Especially when those things are caused by their own mistakes. We know that for our children to learn sometimes they have to go through hard things. The best that we can do is be there for them when they ask for our help.
Thinking about this always makes me think about how much pain we cause God as we go through hard things. I think His pain must be even greater because He knows we are going to mess up long before we do. And yet, like any good parent, He is there waiting for us to ask for help.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Non creative blog day

I am way over being sick. I have had strep before but usually the antibiotic kicks in right away. This time,while I don't feel as worn down, my throat is still on fire.
My sweet husband bought my favorite chocolate drops and even they burned! Gregg said " I bet you ate them anyway. As a matter of fact, I didn't! What is this world coming to when you can't even eat chocolate! I am really tired of soup(not a favorite at any time)and plain mashed potatoes!
So there you have it. I will do my best to be witty and insightful and maybe interesting tomorrow!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dreams in the rain

Despite all of the rain we have had over the last few weeks and it seems will continue for at least another week, I have been dreaming of camping and fishing and swimming.
Two years ago we had a wonderful camping trip up until the last night when we had heavy rains and both of our tents started leaking. The 4 of us attempted to sleep in the passenger area of our SUV. At 3 am I announced that I was going to start packing at the first glimmer of light. Everything was packed in record time.
Unfortunately by the time it stopped raining, the damage was already done to the tents. We wanted to camp last year and buy new tents but it just didn't happen. I'd love a camper so we could extend our camping season a bit but that probably won't be in the budget for a few years.
It's funny though, some of our best and most memorable camping trips,especially with all of our kids,have included copious amounts of rain. Like the 10 days spent in a state forest in the middle of a thunderstorm playing trivial pursuit. Or the church campout where half of the campsites were underwater. Or the church campout where we sang "I've got a river of life running through my tent!
Maybe that's why all this rain puts me in the mood to camp.