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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Any Thing Could Happen

When we went to bed last night I told my husband to set the alarm for 5 which is typical for me, but I also told him to make sure I got up. I'm flying to Louisiana with my boss and I didn't want to be late for being picked up. I could have sworn that I heard the alarm just begin to go off and heard him mumble something that sounded similar to a grunt of a wild animal as they  roll over in their sleep. I laid there for another 5 minutes then hopped up. I washed my hair, applied my make up, blew my hair dry, used the flat iron, used my pow powder and had my bump looking good. I was just starting to slip into my clothes when one of the dogs needed to go outside. My 200lb Mastiff is afraid of the dark so she likes for me to stand on the back porch while she takes care of her duties, so I stood in the doorway and just happened to look over to our wall clock it said it was 2:45 a.m.. "Oh crap!" I thought. "The batteries are down again." So I went over to the computer to see what time it said..... 2:45!!! 2:45???? Why is it 2:45 and why am I standing here completely ready except for my clothes? UGH!!! I put my jammies back on and snuggled back in bed using extra care not to smush my hair. Amazingly I did sleep a little, till 5:30 but still. I'm not usually superstitious but if this the way my day starting what does it mean for the rest of the day? We're flying on a really small plane and although I don't have a fear of flying, I sorta do have a fear of falling (humph, wonder why that is?). What I'm hoping it means is that I'll be ready for anything that gets thrown at me today, like the sight of a great big gator..... close up! I'm taking my camera just in case. You know my world is tilted just a little bit to the side.... so anything could happen...... And usually does.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

His Healing Powers Infiltrate My Pores

Like oil from a vase on my head it was poured
It did cover my body from head to the floor
Like hot molten honey fresh from the flame
It infiltrated my being through pores, past the veins
Through the flesh and the fibers to bone it did reach
down to the morrow where sin was so deep
It penetrated my heart and covered my soul
It cleansed every sin my mind could behold
The healing power so strong and so quick
With a tongue like a fire my wounds it did lick
It cleansed me deep with the blood of the cross
All my past sins, to the depths of the seas they were tossed
A crown on my head was set with great care
To signify the sins I'd left there
And tho I'm not worthy to carry a crown
In me some value the King has now found
Judge me you might and my failure repeat
Tho I left them all there at his nail scarred feet
Through your eyes still, fault you may find
But to those, his vision now is blind
New failures I'm sure, I'm certain to make
But more grace from his throne I will thankfully take
And if you look at me through  human sight
I'm certain you'll find, more compromise
But when he looks at me with his eyes alone
It's His righteousness, not mine, in glory is shone.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Things Are Fine

"Why do you feel the need to make jokes about it?" My Doctor asked with a serious look. My automatic response was... "I just thought if I acted fine and made jokes everyone would relax. If I did that enough I would actually be fine and everyone would be happy." Well, apparently that's because I'm a "Blue Personality"... I'm a fixer, a people pleaser and a caretaker. That may be true, but to be honest about it, I don't feel like I've done much fixing, pleasing, or care taking for several months. I agree that part of it stems from the head injury, but also, as I've gotten older I've just gotten fatigued by jumping through flaming hoops, (as I call it), to make everyone else's world okay. I talked to 3-4 friends last week who felt exactly the same way (we're all the same age.hmm) Is that what they call a mid-life crisis? No, in my opinion that's what they call being a woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend and employee. Women have to have a lot of "Blue" traits. If we didn't, our men would never find the catsup, our kids wouldn't make  it anywhere on time, our parents wouldn't have anyone to blame, our friends wouldn't have anyone to go shopping with and our employers would wonder around endlessly searching for documents that did not exist and therefore had not been filed. Seriously, after years of tying everyone's loose ends together, who wouldn't be a little frazzled and need a crisis to give them a little break? Throw a little PMS, peri-menopause, Alzheimer's, or dementia on top and say "Welcome to my life!" In fact I truly believe that if they did enough scientific research, they would find that women actually never have any of these aliments, it's just an excuse someone came up with to describe the times in a woman's life when she-has-had-enough and just shuts down! Experts blame it on our hormones, psychiatrist blame it on our childhood, but if the truth were known, it all boils down to the fact that after a certain age women just get tired! We get tired of doing.... Tired of fixing..... Tired of care taking.... And tired of being the "go to gal". There are tons of cartoons out there that help us laugh about the various aspects of being where some of us are.... Because whether it's a head injury, or a mid-life crisis, it makes us feel better if those around us are laughing. It makes us think that if we laugh long enough and hard enough we'll be alright. Because women feel they can handle just about anything as long as those around them think things are fine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Fabric of the Mind


When tangled fibers
Slowly begin to mend
Joining themselves together
Like when they first began
When the tear begins to mend itself
A fusion in the mind
And a pathway circumvented
Become straightened with passing time
Tho healing may be needed
And wholeness is desired
The bringing back together
feels like burning fire
A sudden flash, a thunderbolt
Of emotions long forgot
Or a crashing wave of memory
Unaware you're suddenly caught
Alone without instruction
Or lost without a clue
The torn remaining remnant
Of a slightly different you
Maybe it's not completed
Healing still at work
But at least there is progress
And a whisper of hope is heard
An unlocking of the one you were
Hidden deep inside
It's a complicated process
Discovering something new
The fabric of the mind
That once was known as you

Does A Kitten Make A Cougar???

When I was little,it was always my dream to have a little sister. I remember crying when a friends mom became pregnant, I wanted one so bad. When I grew up, I looked forward to being an aunt. I envisioned buying cute little baby outfits, toys and having someone to spoil rotten. They could call me Aunt JacJac and they would cry to come to my house. Although my husband's sisters had kids, they were all older by the time we were married and sadly my brother never had kids. Someday maybe I'll be a grandma, but it's not something I'm holding my breath about. I just want my kids to take their time, enjoy their youth and good things will come when they come. I used to borrow my friends children to take them to the movies and park, load them up with sugar and send them home... but now all of them have gotten older. I told my husband that we don't have any kids for me to could borrow anymore. Deep sad sigh. Yesterday my daughter called and said she was thinking of getting a cat. She has missed her pets since being in the Navy, maybe more than she has missed us. Last night I went shopping with a friend (pretty sure I robbed one envelope to pay for another envelope) and she sent me this picture of her new kitten. Adorable. She said "I'm a Mom!" My question is.... If my daughter has a kitten instead of a child, does that make me a cougar? Exactly how does that work?

Compensating For Crickets and Reading Your Lips

It's like a warm summer's eve in my head all the time. Since my injury I have the constant sound of crickets and locust singing in my ears. LOL!!! That almost makes it sound poetic doesn't it? I went to the Dr. the other day and she asked me how my crickets were sounding and how my hearing was doing. Honestly, that's probably the one thing that has not gotten any better at all. I catch myself saying "Huh?" a lot, or "What did you say?" When all else fails, I lean in a little closer and focus on peoples lips. I told her it was amazing how many people speak without moving their lips very much. She kind of laughed and said "I wondered if you knew you were doing that." Then she told me that she had noticed that instead of making eye contact, I watch her lips a lot. Ugh, and I thought I was being so sly! I find it interesting how we humans learn to compensate for our shortcomings and how sometimes we don't even realize we're compensating until someone points it out. Kind of makes me want to do a quick examination to see what else I'm compensating for.... God knows I've got plenty of shortcomings besides my crickets:-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Barbie

A few years ago, me and a good friend decided to join the local recreation center and to start working out. We had to do it together, because neither of us are disciplined enough to do it on our own. At 5:00 in the morning we drag our sagging tails out of bed and meet at 5:30 for a 30 minute workout. I would like to say that we are totally committed and rarely miss, but unfortunately that hasn't been the case. At least a couple of times a week my cell phone will buzz with a short message saying "Sleeping in this morning." or her cell phone will buzz with a message from me that says... "I just can't do it." The rule is when we get those messages from one another the person receiving the message is suppose to snap into Drill Sargent mode and whip out some vile, hardcore insult and then instruct the other that they had better show up or they will be personally dragged out of bed and be brought to the gym in her jammies..... Yeah, that never happens either. We both lay there hoping the other will text until a little past 5 then figure either we get up or we opt to be the loser of the day. I guess we've been doing this for 4 years now and as odd as it may sound I enjoy our workouts. My husband has suggested he join us a few times, and although I would love for him to come with me in the evenings.... The mornings are Barb and I time. Although we stay in constant communication via texting and instant message, workout time is the only time we actually spend together. I'm lucky to have her as a friend even if she does make me feel like frumpy dumpty. She is tall, thin and georgeous... pretty much every thing I'm not. She has a constant giggle.... I mean constant. She giggles to herself like she's thinking about a private joke and then wonders why I look at her weird. My secrets are safe with her. I can tell her anything and rest assured it will go no farther. When I'm down she encourages me, when I'm blunt she calls me brutal, when I do stupid stuff she calls me "silly girl", and when I cry, she just kind looks sad and loves me.Today is Barb's 40th birthday! She's a little freaked out about the number but in my opinion she is getting more fabulous every day. Happy Birthday Barb!!! I love ya..... Jac

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Broken Seems To Be My Special Gift

I love being a woman!!!! But I will admit that men have a few advantages... One of them is the whole pocket thing. They have pockets in everything they wear and they can just slip their cell phone in their pocket and go along their merry little way... Or maybe I should say their big burly way (yeah that sounds more manly). When I'm cleaning house or run into the store with just a wallet, I have no place to carry my phone, so I've gotten in the habit of just tucking into the cup of my bra. I've become really used to doing this and sometimes when I'm out in public, I get a strange looks when it begins to ring and/or vibrate.... Yeah, awkward! Although I'm very discreet I nearly got caught this morning trying to shove it into my cup before I stepped away from my desk. Luckily the guy who had slipped up behind me spoke before I turned around with my hand shoved down my shirt. It would have been hard to explain. Anyway, Saturday I was changing clothes and had forgotten that my phone was inside my sports bra. I pulled it off over my head and my phone went sailing through the room... bouncing on the floor. It cracked the screen and the LCD is bleeding through the cracks. Gosh!!! I read books on my phone all the time so now I'm reading through cracked, bleeding glass. I'm afraid if I take it into the store the same little guy that helped me from before will give me that same look. When I explain what happened he will ask.... "Why did you ever think it was a good idea to carry your phone in your bra to begin with." in that condescending tone he took last when I tried to manhandle my tracking ball. I don't know!!!! It seemed like a good idea at the time and I don't have pockets!!! So until it bleeds past the point of reading through I guess I'll just deal with it instead of dealing with him. When I told my husband what happened he said.... "Hmm, I figured they had those little rubber covers you could put on them to protect it from getting broken if you drop it." Duh, as I showed him my rubber cover.... It's not like it turns your phone into a super bouncy ball like we used to play with when we were kids. He just gave me that look (I get that a lot) and shook his head and I know what he was thinking... "You shouldn't give Lucille Ball anything that can be broken." My response to his "look" was just a sad pout. I can't help it.... Things just happen when I touch them, things break, they bleed and just refuse to cooperate. Must be my special gift:-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kids... The evolving gift

It really is the truth that if you had 10 kids.... or 19 kids and counting, they would each one be different. It always amazes me how you can speak to adult siblings, raised in the same house, by the same parents and yet the vision of their childhoods seem totally different. I guess it's not so much how you're raised, but how you view how you were raised. Because of the age difference between my first two children and my third, it's been like having two separate families. My youngest child has practically been an only child. Both his brother and sister have been out of the house for several years. The difference between the two families are just amazing. When my first two were growing up, there was constant fussing, fighting, you know the typical... "She's looking at me!" scenario. The house definitely had more of a high energy vibe to it back then. I thought my second child was going to be the quiet one, for about two days till I got him home. So when number three came along I reserved judgement on what he would be like, cause you just never can tell. He actually is my quiet one. People often say "Oh, I bet he's not that quiet at home." and I tell them "Oh yeah, he is that quiet at home." But the curious difference between him and the first two are his organizational skills and somewhat OCD ability to have a place for everything and have everything in it's place. The other day when he was gone the dogs got his door opened and went into his room. They rumpled the covers a little before I shewed them out. I straightened everything so he wouldn't know. He hates for them to be in there and doesn't like anything moved..... ANYTHING! He came home, walked straight into his room and right back out again. "Mom, were the dogs in my room?" I told him they were but I ran them out and they didn't mess anything up.I asked him how he could tell they had been in there... "I could just tell." He said.  "I don't like them in here." That just cracked me up. This weekend I was cleaning house and I went in his room to vacuum and mop. Except for a few little dust bunnies, his room was spotless... SPOTLESS! When my older kids lived at home, I never worried about vacuuming their rooms because I couldn't see the floor to know if it needed vacuuming! As teenagers,  their room was their space and I allowed them to keep it (or not keep it) anyway they wanted it (it wasn't usually pretty). Amazingly they have both turned into nice tidy adults, so I guess that means I wasn't the WORST Mom ever (there's that refrigerator Mom you may have heard of). I don't mind being honest and saying that any neat genes they got, came from their Father. I've always wished I had just a tiny bit of anal in me, but it just wasn't to be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a slob.... I'm just very relaxed. When I look at my kids I see a refreshing mixture of my husband and I with a heavy dose of originality in each one of them. I think that is what makes parenting so much fun... It's like a gift that has layers and layers of wrapping and as each layer is unwrapped the gift just keeps evolving making being a parent a process that never gets boring.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Little Corner of the World

The other night my husband I scurried around moving bedroom furniture. I was tired of feeling like I'd been ran over by a freight train in the mornings and I desperately felt like I needed a new bed. Also, my husband has been working furiously on my Son's old room and got it finished. I thought it would be nice if we had a bed for our Son or Daughter to actually sleep in when they come home so...... SHOPPING TRIP!!! I know, I know, I'm on a budget, but there was money in the envelope. The only furniture store here in town was "QUITTING BUSINESS" (Which is so unusual for a furniture store),so I went for it! I mean the sign said "EVERYTHING MUST GO"... That sale just had my name written all over it.So in preparation for the delivery, we moved things around a little since my husband wasn't going to be able to be there when they brought the furniture. Our house is somewhat of a challenge when it comes to moving things around because it's all twisty and curvy inside with stairs and nooks, and crannies. I actually had to have a furniture store take a couch back one time because they couldn't get it around a corner and up the stairs and around another corner.... even after knocking a hole in my plastered walls (little bit of a rabbit trail there, huh?). In the living room in a little nook area we have Sailor's kennel..... very large kennel, as Sailor is a very large dog (175+lbs). When we leave the house, we tell her to go get in her bed and she goes to the kennel, turns around and waits for her treat before settling in. Since her kennel sticks out a little we thought we should move it so they would have room to maneuver the twisty, curvy stairs. We placed it in the middle of the dining room. The delivery guy called me at work and asked for me to meet him at the house so I left, put Sailor out so she could get some fresh air while they set up the furniture. After they left and I was preparing to go back to work I let her in, gave her a drink and told her to go get in her bed. She went over the stairs to her little nook and stood in the corner like "Here I am, this is my spot, all treats will be accepted." I stood over in the dining room next to her kennel and pleaded for her to get in her actually kennel,where it was actually at at this minute. She hung her face low to the ground and looked up at me with those big sad amber eyes as if to say "I don't like the change you have made. Please just let me stay in my corner where I'm comfortable." She was breaking my heart and I had to get to work! I walked over to her and assured her we would get everything put back the way it belonged tonight when I got home. I lead her over to her kennel and she reluctantly got in with that pathetic pout.Last night I came home from running errands with both hands full and a 50lbs purse (very cute purse I might add) dangling from my arm. All of the lights were off in the living room and dining room and I was walking full steam ahead for the dining room table where I habitually leave my purse... Except I had forgotten that we hadn't yet moved the kennel back in it's place and the lower half of my body collided with that large wire kennel. This morning I got up feeling great except for the fact that my kneecap feels somewhat disconnected from my knee. It's been a rough year, but every day during the last two months life has just gotten better and better.... Things are going back to normal (I mean normal in terms of Jackie world). I'm not one of those people who dread change, I find change exciting, but even I'll have to admit that I feel a lot like Sailor. I'm just ready to get back in my nook where things are comfortable. I'm enjoying the peaceful easy feeling I've had the last few weeks. I don't know, maybe my mind is reconnecting with my body finally. I will say I feel more together than I have in 9 months. That's got to be a good thing. Don't get me wrong, it's good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while, but after being out of mine for 9 months it feels really good to be back in my nook, and to start recognizing my world again and feeling like maybe I'm a part of it..... At least in my little corner of the world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If You Could Read My Mind

While on my way to work yesterday I heard a news report that researchers have found a way to turn your thoughts into words. I didn't get to hear the entire report but just the thought of that scared the bejeezes out of me. I for one, do not believe that this would in any way be a good idea.... especially for someone like me!!!! I have very seldom been accused of "holding back". If you're around me for very long you will find that I have a tendency to speak my mind,not in a bad way, just in an honest way. I can't count the times that as soon as something has left my lips I was frantically wishing I could suck them right back into hiding. The first thing that came to mind was when I was a small girl.... Probably under the age of 10. We went to a tiny church and every so often if the service didn't last as long as the pastor thought it should, he would have a "Testimony Time". I remember so well sitting beside my Dad with his arm wrapped around me. It seemed like we had been at church forever. This one man who really had a tendency to ramble on and on during his "testimony" got up to speak, just as I was dosing off. I remember hearing him say something like... "I know it's late but I just wanted to say...." About that time I was awakened by a voice that groaned.... "Oh,No!" and the the sound of snickering all over the church. I raised my head only to find everyone looking at me. Apparently as I dosed off, I thought to myself "Oh, great! We're going to be here forever." but in reality I had really verbalized those thoughts.... OUT LOUD! As the blood drained from my face I really just wanted to crawl under the pew and die. I will admit however, he seemed to keep his testimony short and sweet from that time forward. I'm probably not the only person on earth who may think snarky things at times but tries very hard to keep them from escaping captivity. Heaven help us if they ever hook me up to a machine and everything that goes through my head comes out on paper in written form. It just would not be good. I felt much better when I was able to look the article in question up, and find that the study is still in it's infancy and is being researched as a way to help those who have been paralyzed or rendered mute via a stroke. Whew! That was a close call. Some things just should not be said and some minds should not be read.... Hmmm, that would be mine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Things I Loved About You

You came into my life without invitation. With wavy hair, eyes that seldom made contact with mine and a voice that was seldom heard. It would be a lie if I said I didn't struggle with who you were and how you came to be. With all of my careful planning, I can honestly say I didn't see you coming. But came you did and with you came an opportunity for God to test my strengths, my weaknesses and most of all my faith. Even though there were times I didn't understand, I just had to blindly trust there was a reason you had been brought into our lives. Bill Cosby once said that kids don't come with an instruction manual, and in this circumstance, he couldn't have been closer to the truth. Being a Mom was all I ever wanted to be.... I just didn't know if I wanted to be one to you.I didn't know how to be what you needed me to be. I was just as scared and confused about life as you were. We were both fish out of water desperately wanting to swim. Occasionally I would catch you looking at me like I had fallen off of a far away planet. Remembering that look makes me smile. I loved it when I would do or say something to one of the kids that was a little crazy and you would smile that little smile as if you were trying not to laugh. Sometimes I got the feeling that you were watching us like you would a play.... Not really sure if you were part of the cast or not... Trust me, you played a bigger part than you ever knew. After what seemed like forever, you settled in and allowed yourself to be comfortable with us. That made me so very happy. I loved watching you play with your brothers and sister. I loved how you protected the youngest from the torments of his other brother. I would smile to myself when I heard you jump in on his behalf..... This is what family should be. The first Christmas you got to spend with us was a special time. I remember watching you make sugar cookies with the kids, ice skating with your brother. On Christmas Eve night I was walking down the hall and I heard your little brother explain to you that you needed to be sure and get in bed early so Santa could come visit. I heard you say "Oh, I don't think Santa will come for me, but he'll come for you." Little did you know that Santa had been very busy making sure that you were well represented under the tree. I'll never forget the look on your face the next morning as you came down to watch your little brother find all of his surprises and he points out your corner of the room where stacks of surprises waited for you. I wish we had more times like those. When we got the phone call that September night, I felt like all of the wind had been sucked from my lungs. Actually I simply chose not to believe that anything tragic had happened. I sat on the plane headed home as home movies replayed in my head. I kept telling myself it would all pass and everything would be fine. I couldn't believe God would bring you into our lives and then allow you to be taken out..... I was wrong. A sadness fell on our family so thick that it covered us like a fog. There were still so many memories to be made, things that should have been said, things we should have done. It wasn't suppose to end this way, it wasn't suppose to end with death. Hanging in my kitchen is a large bouquet of flowers I took from your grave. In the center is a large sunflower,surrounded by smaller flowers. The sunflower reminds me of you, forever frozen in time. I may have failed you in a million ways, but it was never my intent. I may have done everything wrong, but my heart tried very hard to do everything right. If I could have changed your world and made everything perfect for you.... I would have. If I had known how little time we had together, I would have made the most of every second. You deserved so much more and I believe you were on your way to believing that about yourself. Missing you is the easy part, feeling like I failed you is hard. I know the thing you longed for most of all was not mine to give.The best I could do was to welcome you and make you feel at home, to show you what being part of a family was all about. When I look at your youngest brother he reminds me so much of you. I laugh at the irony. He smiles like you did, like he is desperately trying to hold it back. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. Your name is imprinted on my heart. It's a reminder that there is beauty in pain, freedom in discovery, and purpose in each and every one of us. You taught me a lot about the twist and turns of life, the importance of family and family traditions, but most of all you taught me a lot about myself.... and that's just one of many  things I love about you. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rats!!! That Warm And Fuzzy Feeling

Ugh!!!! I was looking for a picture this afternoon to put on my blog. Our basement flooded a few years ago and destroyed years and years of scrapbooks. My husband was helping me dig through totes to see if the one picture I was looking for happened to be saved from the flood. Our Christmas tree box was at the top of a stack of totes, kind of jammed up between the joist. My husband was looking in another basement room so I grabbed the box (which was over my head) and began to tug it from it's spot. I felt something soft roll out of the box, onto my head and down my arm. When I got the box down I looked all around my feet to try and find what had fallen. All of the sudden I hear my husband say.... "Oh, Jac!!! It's a good thing you weren't in here. The biggest rat just ran from in there where you're at to in here.... It was huge!"  Oh, oh, oh!!!!! That had to have been the warm fuzzy feeling thing that fell out of the box onto my head!!!! Oh gross, oh gross, oh gross. First time that I know of that I'm not appreciating having that warm fuzzy feeling inside. UGH!!!!!

At The Foot of The Cross On 9/11

My youngest son and I walked hand in hand down the street to his elementary school. It was a beautiful September morning and I was savoring the feel of his tiny hand in mine. I knew a day would come when walking to school while holding my hand would be unacceptable, but today was not that day. We live half a block from his school and I can see the front entrance from my porch, but still the world seems too big and he seemed too small to walk that few steps without me. When we got to the corner I gave him a kiss and he carefully crossed the street with a back pack that seemed to swallow his small frame. When he was safely inside the school, I turned around and headed to the house. I turned on the stove, popped a pan on the burner and waited for it to heat. In the den the T.V. was announcing the days headlines. I popped my head in the doorway to see what was going on in the world around me. The station was on a "live location" with the sight of a burning high rise being filmed from a helicopter. From the skyline I could tell it was in New York. The news reporters were narrating  or trying to narrate on a scene that they really had no information about. They were batting theories back and forth, trying to buy time until a producer could feed them more information in their ear buds. I stood there trying to grasp what was going on and was somewhat amused at the reporters like I always am when they are having to report on the fly. Suddenly, a plane came into view on the screen and right before my eyes it turned and flew right into the high rise as if on purpose. The building swallowed up the plane as smoke and flames burst toward the sky. My amusement quickly left me as I listened to the stunned reporters attempt to describe the surreal image. It seemed as time just froze as I stood there stunned. The rest of the day was a hazy scary fog. I don't remember getting ready for work, but I remember the day seemed eerily quiet. I was the office manager for a busy doctor. When I walked through the doors of the office, I always felt like I was strapping myself into a roller coaster ride that would last 8 hours. But that was on a normal day. Today the phones did not ring, people did not show up for their appointments and the drug reps that came in had the same dazed look on their faces as I knew was on mine. When I got home from work the television was immediately turned on. The only relief I had was knowing all of my family was safe and sound. We watched for hours as the terror unfolded before our very eyes, the images unbelievable, the destruction looked like something from a horror film. I remember my husband turning to our family and saying...  "Today the world has been changed forever"..... How right he was. Weeks later I bought a sticker for my car that said "Never Forget 9/11".....  In the days and weeks that followed that tragedy, the nation united together and turned to the only source they knew could offer comfort, God. There were public displays of faith, public forums of prayer as our nation reached out for a power greater  than weapons and bombs could offer. It was a refreshing difference than the way our nation was on 9/10. In the heat of the battle, even a nation that had turned it's back on God, knew he was the only source of security on which they could depend. Although the act in itself was tragic, seeing a nation on it's knees was a beautiful, humbling sight. Unfortunately the images quickly faded and the hearts that had began to soften returned to their hardened state. It makes me wonder what the next tragedy will be that will once again bring us to where we truly belong..... To the foot of the cross.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peas In A Pod

As adults we tend to obsess over the smallest things when it comes to our children. Kids should get more credit for being the flexible things that they are. Even under the most difficult circumstances kids can adapt and weather the storm while all the adults are literally pulling their hair out and begging for rocks to fall upon them. I had a friend once who was VERY obsessive over reading parenting books and about "learning to be a parent". She spent way too much time trying to do things by the book, that her natural parenting skills never really kicked in. I had listened her psychobabble and whining until I wanted to have her committed. One day she called me totally upset. She had successfully taken her daughters pacifier away but afterward she read an article that said she had done it wrong way. So what does she do???? I kid you not, she dug that pacifier out and followed the procedure explained in the article. It completely sent her child into a full fledged melt down. Hmm, the article didn't have a chapter for the meltdown. So what does she do? She calls me!! Because I may not be "college educated" but she knew I parented with a heavy dose of common sense. She just didn't know "How do you know this stuff?" (Heavy eye roll from me)"I use my brain." (slight smirk). So she tells me about the meltdown and how she is pretty certain that her child is going to need therapy during her early adult years because of the trauma of having her Binky brought back from the dead only to be ceremoniously thrown in the trash(I agree with the therapy part)."Jac, what should I do?" I asked her.... "Do you have a bunch of parenting magazines and parenting books lying around the house?" "Oh yeah, I have a ton of parenting literature." "Okay." I said.... "You need to gather all of them up (be sure not to miss one), gather them in your arms and go to the front door.... Open the front door and walk to the trash bin and toss them in. Then you need to set fire to them and vow never to pick another one up as long as you live!" Long stretch of silence.... Small chuckle... "You think that's the problem?" she asked... "Oh there is no doubt in my mind that is the problem. You had this hurdle passed until you read something in a book and instead of trusting your instincts, you relied on the book which screwed everything up. You have got to trust your instincts!" As a parent I want to protect my children and try my best to explain things to them in a way they will understand. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just don't know the best way to present things to them. For instance.... When my oldest 2 children where very young, 7 and 4, we discovered my husband had a son from a previous relationship. Yeah, it's the kind of revelation you watch on a soap opera, not something that happens in real life. Except it did happen in real life and regardless of the circumstances surrounding the discovery, we were faced with the task of not only getting to know this child, but also introducing him to his brother and sister.To say things were awkward would be an understatement. Trust me.... I haven't found a parenting book yet that discusses this type of situation. It's one of those things that leave you no options except to just lay down the honest to God truth. So we sat the kids down and as gently as possible told them that they had an older brother that they would be meeting soon. We answered any questions they had, which were very few, and then they skipped off to continue tormenting each other the way they always did. I looked at my husband, he looked at me and we both kind of sighed and said... "That wasn't so bad." Of course in the back of my mind I know that they don't really understand. As an adult I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around it so I knew they probably didn't really get it, and I considered that a blessing of sorts. I honestly don't remember what we were doing the first time he joined our family. I just remember having these 3 little heads all sitting in the back seat and my husband and I sitting in the front seat, literally on pins and needles. I had planned an activity although I can't remember what it was. I just remember us driving and shortly after we got underway it started. The three kids, complete strangers, begin chatting away like magpies. The longer they talked the more animated they became. From listening to them you would have never known that they were strangers. Through the years they all became very close and it always amazed me how they came together like peas in a pod in spite of being raised separately for so long. That's just kids for you. They have a way of adapting with ease. Having my children adapt helped me adapt. Watching them communicate as siblings always brought a smile to my face.... I was the pod, they were the peas, knit closely together cause that's just natures way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Splash of Crimson.... Only God Knows

An artist fond of pastels painstakingly selected her colors for the painting she would create… The softest of pinks, the palest of blues, with hues of lavender and green. With a gentle touch, a whimsical picture began to unfold. Under a sky filled with puffy white clouds stood a cottage with gingerbread trim. Children played on the lawn, carefree and happy on a perfect spring day. The painting was just as soft as she envisioned it would be. A few finishing touches and she would be done. Suddenly a loud rapping pierced the solitude of the moment jarring her from the dreamlike state. She opened the front door and found herself face to face with a faceless stranger. Without invitation the stranger strolled past her and walked over to the painting. With disbelief she watched as the faceless stranger tossed something on the painting. Crimson ran down the canvass distorting the soft lines of the landscape. Without a word the faceless stranger turned and walked out the door leaving her breathless and broken. She had spent a lifetime creating this painting. Each and every color was chosen with care. Just that quickly it had been changed. What was she to do? Could it possibly be salvaged? How could she possibly incorporate the harsh crimson with the soft pastels together in the same painting? It must be done or the painting would be trashed. With uncertainty she began to work the canvass. A brush stroke here, a smudge there and a new, yet lovely picture began to emerge. Splashes of crimson on the wings of a butterfly stood out against the blue sky. Red tulips edged the walkway up to the cottage. Splashes of crimson on a pastel canvass brought texture and depth to a painting that had been planned to perfection. Certainly crimson wasn’t the color of choice, but it did add something to the painting.  She stood back not really understanding why her picture had been changed, but she accepted the changes and even had to smile at the irony of contrast between what she had planned and what now was. Sometimes life without warning will add a splash of color to your painting and all you can do is incorporate the color so that something of beauty emerges from something of pain. Only God knows…..

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pay It Forward Works Well With Budget

As I left for work this morning my husband asked "Why you leaving so early?" Apparently he had forgotten my Friday routine of getting a Starbucks coffee for breakfast. I got to the hospital with fingers crossed that all their machines were in working order. I was really looking forward to my coffee and didn't want to start the day out with a hissie fit on the floor of the hospital. Let's face it, that's just embarrassing(but sometimes unavoidable)! I waited for the coffee girl to spot me from across the cafeteria when a frazzled hospital administrator scurried by looking for the coffee girl. She was obviously in a hurry and didn't seem in the mood to have to wait so she went over and got the coffee girl instead of patiently waiting. The girl asked her what she wanted and Ms. Frazzled pointed at me and said "She was here first." Well, it's Friday, I've had a great week and I'm looking forward to a great weekend. I'm not stressed today and I don't plan on getting that way so I told the woman "Oh no, I'm in no hurry, you just go right ahead." Coffee girl seemed to be clueless about Ms. Frazzled state of mind and having someone that antsy standing there waiting on her did not encourage her at all to move a little faster.... I mean my gosh, even I was wanting to hurry up and help her get on her way to whatever she was late for. Don't get me wrong,Ms. Frazzled was very polite and very nice, she was just in a big hurry. Long story short, coffee girl got Ms. Frazzled taken care of and when she had finished taken care of me I discovered that Ms. Frazzled had paid for my Friday morning treat. How sweet was that? I didn't think to ask my husband this morning if our new budget strategy had a special envelope for Starbucks, but it doesn't matter, because that act of kindness fits right in my budget.I'll just slip that $5.00 into my shoe account, he will be none the wiser.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let The Budget Begin


After being the official "Bill Payer" at our house for 20 some odd years, I decided to turn the reigns over to my husband. We've been married now for almost 29 years. There have been times.... Very short periods of time, where we attempted to do the bills together. Let's just say that we decided that we would live longer and happier if we didn't do that any more and yours truly somehow ended up with it. I remember the day "I Quit" like it was yesterday. I worried and juggled and still nothing came out with us on the winning end, so I gathered all of the bills, all of our check stubs and all of my ledger stuff in one big arm full and headed up the stairs. My husband lay on the bed reading a book as I dumped the load of bills (I really want to use another word there but won't since this is a family friendly blog)on the bed and in the sweetest tone I could muster up told him..... "I'm not doing this any more!" It was one of those rare moments where he just had to take one look at my face and he instinctively knew.... "Just don't ask any questions, remain calm and give her whatever it is she is asking for." I had big crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks and I was in a full fledged meltdown. He sweetly said he would be happy to do it from now on, I turned around, walked down the stairs and went along my merry little way. From that point forward every Monday has been his hell day. Every Monday I would come home for lunch to find him hunkered over the breakfast table with the bills and checks laid out neatly in rows on the table. He didn't talk about it and I didn't ask. Truly I felt like I had paid my dues and it didn't bother me a bit to watch him pay his. I know that sounds harsh, but that's how I felt. So last month he read a Dave Ramsey book and a couple of weeks ago informed me that "We are going on a budget." I think I was turning the bed down as he began to tell me how The Budget would work (I thought I'd wait and hear him out before I turned his side of the bed down since I wasn't so sure he'd be sleeping in it that night). He explained there would be an envelope for different things (such as hair care and stuff) and if there was any money left in each envelope at the end of the month it didn't carry over (like my roll-over cell phone minutes) but it went directly into the savings. My response was A)My hair care and shoe and shopping envelope needs to be LEGAL size, not some little note card size envelope. B)Since he only needed two pairs of shoes,hence I should be allotted a portion of his shoe allowance. C)Who the heck doesn't allow roll-overs? Some months my hair needs a little care, some months my hair may need a lot of care and I'm just thinking this whole envelope budget thing should pertain mainly to low maintenance gendered people such as males. He ever so gently assured me that.... and these are his exact words...."This is going to be fun!" I kid you not, those words actually came out of his mouth. He made the mistake of telling me we had to wait and start it at the beginning of September. Yes!!! Sunday the 29th of August, was my all day shopping trip to the City! With cash in hand (because we are starting out debt free and will no longer use credit cards, LOL), I hit every store I could Sunday. Bought clothes for the fat side of the closet, the skinny side of the closet and the transitional side of the closet. I am now officially ready for the fun to begin!!! Bring it on.