3.29.2012

New Season of Life; Handling Blessing

For the last 33 months, with a break of 5 months in the middle, my husband has been on "reduced salary."  If you want to discuss hand to mouth living, I can.  Things would have gone substantially better over the long haul if I had been astute enough to not believe reports that it was just for one month, just until November.  Febuary.  April.  When I was believing reports of temporary, I charged some stuff.  I have had a lot of shame over that.  I would have done differently, if I had realized the scope of what was going on.

I have served my family foods from my freezer whose age I knew to be older than 3 years.  I have gone literally months without spending $100 in groceries.  I used what was in the cabinet; prayed over what was left in the freezer and scavenged and scrounged (still using leftover condiments from last years Track Team Picnic).

The kids were scholarshipped for Track.  Our adoption was a freaking miracle.  We paid our last car payment the month before I got home with Small Fry.  I got a little job cleaning.  People created barter situations.  I had to humble myself to apply to the church benevolent fund.

I questioned God a lot.

"What are You doing?" 

"You said..."  to move here

"I know I can't handle anymore."  the girls got hurt

"Now, I can't handle one more thing."   traveling to get your child is supposed to be fun

"Nothing else.  Please."    the surgery is long past due

"I have no strength left.  I will not survive."   where will the next blow come from

"I'm done." it's never been just about the money; it was also the discouragement

And then...

Indeed, it was for my own welfare
that I had such great bitterness;
but Your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction, 
for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.  Is. 38:17

Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert. Is. 43:17

And the rivers flow.

When we would talk about just needing to survive, there was always a good Christian brother or sister there to say, "Riches can be just as much of a trial."  I wasn't asking for riches.  I wanted to put a ham hock in the beans.

We aren't about to be rich.  We are about to have enough.  It makes me realize, I have "gotten by" for so long, I have forgotten how to plan ahead.  I need to hone my skills.

 To glorify the One Who Sees.




3.23.2012

Bacon and God's Abundance

...And now, without further ado;

The story of how 2012 sucks less than the last six years combined even if Jesus returns for the Mayans this year.

 I've always struggled with really trusting God.  I know He loves me, but felt that I still had to look out for myself. He doesn't owe me peace and good haircuts.  I always thought it made sense that if I believed Him "all out'', He might test my commitment by destroying my life (because that's loving?). It's not right.  I'm just explaining my flawed thinking.

On January third, I sat quietly and watched the sun rise through the sheers.  Coffee and reading material in hand, I just said,...

"I trust You. Take it all; if You want."

In that moment, I knew He was doing something new; I would know it when I saw it.

At 9:30 that morning I got a text from Mickey.  His firm had merged; he'd call me later.  Third, in years of experience, in a 10 person firm, he'd had no clue.

My birthday, is on the 18th. Mickey threw me a surprise party on Friday. I got several gifts; a notepad and pen, a coffee gift card, a red dress and 28 1/2 pounds of good bacon.

You read that right.

My friend wanted get me a good gift and prayed and thought, "bacon."  She thought I needed to understand God's abundance towards me. We had a conversation a couple of weeks before about  bacon, but when she'd explained the bit about God's abundance, I was at a loss.  Abundant bacon didn't seem to extend to general abundance. But the bacon was incredible.

Our household finances remained tight, but Mickey was being built up on the inside, where a man's identity lives. He got a job offer a week for the first six weeks of the year.

I began to have a vision of the children of Israel with their manna in the desert.  And oh, how they bitched.  He still fed them; then they stood at the edge of the promised land and wouldn't receive God's blessing.  They were so used to their circumstances they had just come to expect more trial.  It's in the Bible so we learn from it.  People aren't supposed to do that.

So I won't.

Two weeks ago, my husband interviewed with a new firm.  They called him back in under two hours.  He didn't know what to do.  I mean it. He's been treated like mushroom for so long (kept in the dark and fed a lot of crap), he didn't know whether to "commit suicide or go bowling".  For a minute.

He gave his notice Friday.

3.22.2012

Because You Are Worth It

Dear Ladies,

As I write, you lie in bed.  You have 50 fact cards due tomorrow and expect to join me for a tour of a co-op we haven't considered before.  My house is a freaking mess because of all the laundry.  The laundry is the way it is because of the plumbing.  In reality, you know that is not the reason the house is really embarrassing is that everyone in the house has learned that all you have to do to get out of cleaning is yell at people and in order to avoid the yelling, mom has been willing to continue to lower the standards.

In my opinion, I have failed you in homeschooling.  Your teachers and the headmaster of the independent study program, and the standardized test for profit company all say different.

Here is the deal.

I dreamed about having a norm-rockwell-currier-ives-I-don't-know-what-all-yes-I-do-but-whatever experience in homeschooling.  All backlit and blowing dandelions and wading in creeks for Science.  Every year has been a fight.  A schedule?  Ladies, Please.  Every year you have dared me to impart so much as one "unit of measure of learning".

Well, I didn't get my ideal.  Apparently, neither did you, (with your hundred average in all the classes you are taking at co-op).

 What I didn't plan for is that as adopted kids, you would begin to work through identity, grief, control (OMG, control), shame, rejection, and loss.  Quite magnificently. While you waited for me to clue in to what is going on.

The last six years have been a hard time for all of us.

Now, I can only pray for God, Himself to light a fire in you, to give you a vision for your future.

We'll probably end up at the co-op today.  I don't know what to do, because it is really a magnificent amount of money, just counting your classes and not textbook purchase or anything for your brother.

I love you.  I think you are funny and brave and smart and beautiful.  We are supposed to feel this way.  Like the leaves beginning to turn colors in the fall.  This is the first sign of the ending of this season of our lives.  There was more I wanted to do and I have regrets.  But just like a holiday celebration, I desperately want to send this season out with joy,

because you are mine.

3.21.2012

Spring Break '12

...to observe my lovely daughters, has been going on for sometime while they read the lowest brand of literature I will allow in the house.  Seriously, ick.

The weather is beautiful.

Standardized testing for my homeschoolers is done.

We have received our income tax return.  Thank God.  No really.  I mean.  Thank. God.

I just came back from a retreat in the mountains.  It was my privilege to attend this same retreat for a second time.  It was good great again, but for different reasons.  I met new gals and that is the best thing.

I figured out what to do about the girls and math for the next year.  Ha Ha.  Be glad you are not the one who has stared at me blankly all year when someone said, "Algebra."

We are visiting a new co-op this week to observe, because we're only doing one next year.

We went shopping for Summer Toys (chalk, bubbles, wiffle ball, flip flops, etc.). You know what you can't get anymore?  Jacks.  I can't even find the stupid plastic ones.

I have checked out the movies at the $2 theater.  There are 6 movies I could take the kids to.  For about the same money as one trip to the regular movies.

Right now, I have no plan but to wait for the plumber who was supposed to come yesterday but didn't show.  The up side.  I get to re-schedule my annual.  That, my friends, is a break!

It's Spring.

And we are all about to get a break.

3.20.2012

Why I Am Not a Cat Person

This weekend was the second retreat.  Friday night, we were sitting around telling stories.  One lady was a total cat person.  I tried to tell my tale in a way that would convey that while I don't agree with her lifestyle choice, it is hers to make and I know God doesn't hold it against her.

I had a cat I liked at one time, but I have come to the place that it is more problematic to me to keep a box of dirt in my house for an animal to poop in, than can be outweighed by the enjoyment of the relationship.  As I would be the one who "cleans the dirt", we have no indoor cat. Officially, Mickey has been asked if he would take 100% ownership of the dirt box. He looked into my soul and knew that I wouldn't scoop another turd.  He said, "You heard your mom; no cat."

The second summer we were married, a family asked us to house sit.  They had a cat.  Mimi. It seems that before we moved in, Mimi had disappeared one night and come back the next morning with a broken leg.  Hmmm?

She cried constantly, ate like a fiend and when the day's food was gone, she would frequently CLIMB ON THE COUNTERS and eat whatever she could find.  A loaf of whole wheat bread? Raisin bran?  She was not selective about the ways she made me mad enough to black out.

She had a splint on the leg, which made it really difficult for her to navigate the litter box which had a lid with a door.

One day, I was alone in the house; making my bed.  I heard the tinkling sound of someone using the toilet in the master bath. Blogger doesn't even support a description of the thoughts that went through my head.  I took the, "Hold it right there, Freak!" approach and stomped over to confront the intruder.

The cat was using the toilet.  Fighting the splint had her looking for solutions to her problem.  My near cardiac event was an unexpected downside to that plan.

Another day, Mickey picked her up to gently place her on the ground and drew back in alarm, "SHE'S PREGNANT!!!"

"No, she isn't.  Mickey, people get their cats fixed."  A simple call to the veterinarian disabused me of this simple minded error.  A call to the stupid family, who didn't get their cat fixed, rendered an accusation of our altered male cat(cats can't perform in vitro on other cats. Science has proved it.).  They apparently didn't remember the Virgin Mimi's Wild Night Out.

I wasn't a doula yet, but Mimi didn't know that.  When I got up that day, labor had begun.  She followed me everywhere, preferring to be stepped on to being alone.  I figured these things would naturally take their course and went about my day--out of the house from 10 until 4, and dinner with friends.  I knew she was still contracting, but I had no idea that she was waiting.  At ll p.m., I sat down to watch TV.  She laid down in front of me. With the first contraction, I SAW A SPLASH!!!  We moved her to the place we had prepared (in the closet, like the Bible says...).  In moments, there was another cat in the house.

Since she was underway, I thought there would be no stopping her.  Silly me.  When I got up around 2:00, not another cat had been born, so there I sat, doing the doula job.  For a cat.  I didn't like.

A week or so later, I fell asleep in the afternoon because I was laying on the bed in the dark when I woke up, there was a kitten in the corner of the back of my knees, where my leg turns into my foot, and where my leg bends at the hip.  Mimi was found enjoying a leisurely meal.  I was now doing the post partum doula job.  For a cat.  Who clearly loved me.

Cats never do what's expected of them.  Dogs, on the other hand...

Are perfect.

Please consider adopting your next pet, already spayed or neutered, from a rescue organization.  In addition, to your local animal control affiliates, there are also breed specific rescue groups.

3.13.2012

Why It's Crazy to Guide Your Teens Through Life

The title makes it sound like I am going to tell you the reason, when in reality, I am gonna test the theory.

I was waiting tor the children to do their thing(school).  I played a You Tube video.  Okay, it was Cupid Shuffle.  Yes, I realize if I want them to do the work, we have to not take dance breaks.  I think it's spring fever.

Anyway.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I was eating a bacon sandwich and listening to music from new Footloose which led to old Footloose and before I knew it...Lynyrd Skynyrd (shut up).

It was noon and about 80 degrees.  So the kids were outside. I was listening to something vaguely resembling the soundtrack of my youth.  And I realized.

The reason this is crazy is that I remember it.  I don't think we reeeeeally remember being little.  Of course, we can see scenes.  Remember events.  But by the time I was in high school, there was a different consciousness.  Memories are complete enough to revisit with our adult awareness and gather subtext that we discerned, but were as yet to young to interpret.

Whew.

I mean to say, that while some ditty from my youngpersonhood be-bopped in my ear, I glanced back and forth between the video and the kids in the backyard, and I realized the girl I was can completely identify with the needs and wishes and struggles and fears of my daughters at this age.  But.

I am responsible to guide them through making decisions.  By telling them the truth and letting them reject it.  And they seem to have a bit of a biological imperative to do so.

You know when you get to the age when you think, "if only I could go back to high school with the knowledge I have now."?

Then in a couple of years you realize, "even if I went back, it wouldn't be the same."

In a couple more, "not for a million dollars."

Well, guess what?

We do go back with all the knowledge and hard gained wisdom and scars. Unable to use them.

It's not the same.

It doesn't look like we get the million dollars either.

3.11.2012

The Big Red Re-set Button

I have been going around for months with a lot of niggling symptoms that alone mean nothing, but together add up to stuff. I could list them, but they're pretty dull.  So I went in to see the doctor.  New. Woman.  Doctor.

Have you had a mammogram? No.
How long since your last tetanus shot? 19 years.
Pap? 8 years.
Iron?  Apparently, my blood is NOT thicker than water.
Depression?  Moderate.  Not in need of medication.  (Take that old doctor!)

Diagnosis: Acute I-Didn't-Take-Care-of-Me.

Prognosis: Meh.

In the grocery tonight, I started thinking.  It costs nothing to drink one less cup of coffee.  If I want to exercise, I don't have to buy special clothes or equipment.  I have feet.  I can drink water completely free of charge (okay, like pennies a month).

Sunday night is a good time to have those thoughts.  Monday is a good day to begin anything.

A garbage disposal has a reset button.  It's usually red.  And the first thing you try when it acts up is to hit the reset, because you've probably inadvertently let a fork get down there...

Anyway.

I've always thought we need a button for life.  Like the e*sy button, but the reason that ad works, is that we all know there is no easy button in life.  If there were, we would be looking at the hammer headed neighbors; hitting the button.  Standing in line at the Tag agency. Button.  Kids being exorcist aliens in Target or at bedtime.  Button.  Button.  Button.

What was I saying?

I need a red reset button on my health  Naturally, I want it to be big.  So it's more effective.  Because it's real.

I have an exercise video. I have to get up early.  yay.

I need to remember to take my vitamins.  The doc has prescribed Vitamin D and iron with orange juice.  I took the iron without the o.j.  Do NOT do that.  Trust me.

I have to cut back on coffee.  That's hard because it's winter and in the morning, I use it to make me feel less corpse-like.  Coffee has been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer.  I have no prostate.  No excuse.

I'd really rather just have the button.

Are you taking care of you?  What health habit makes the biggest impact on how you feel?