Tuesday, December 30, 2008


All anyone really wants in this world is to feel like they matter. To feel loved is to feel that somewhere out there is rooting for you, supporting you, cares that breath comes in and out of your body. Why is it that is so very difficult then, for us to give to others what is the core need of our being and what we want more than anything else in the world?

My days have been filled with much introspection, much evaluation - probably to my own detriment. I have been assaulted with a barrage of broken relationships. Some, admittedly, I have played a role in, but in others I am just watching from the sidelines. The level of pain that I hear, the frustrations of unmet expectations, the loneliness, disappointment and desperation, is of catastrophic proportions.

For years, I felt this unending desire to bring people together. I worked at forging friendships, planning gatherings of all kinds, making sure that all felt "included." My motivation behind this was due to my own memories of inadequacy. I can recall years of questioning whether I was important or worthy enough. Therefore, I was driven to build up and encourage those around me. Often reaching out to those that in any other condition, I would not have done so. I tried to point them to the ultimate source for self-worth and meaning, our Lord.

But over the last year, that drive has died. So completely worn out and given out I am, that I have lost connection with many of my friends. How has this happened? And, what do I do about it as I prepare for a new year? Is it ok to take a back seat for a change? Will anyone jump into the driver's seat in my place? Or, will I find myself what I felt for most of 2008, alone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Friend,

Dear Friend,

Something has happened and I don't like it. Are you ok? A package in the mail today made me cackle out loud and I thought of you. Did you get the same package? Do you HEAR me? (hint hint) I hope you still visit my little world, but more importantly, I would like to HEAR from you, my friend. I think life might be tough for you right now and I don't know how to help.

I miss you.

A few notes, conversations and what-nots

Conversation #1:
Me: Lily, do you want to go see Santa Claus? (said little flippantly)
Lily: What?! Santa is in toooowwwwnnnn?
Me: Yes, he is at the mall. (giggle)
Lily: Santa is in toooowwwwnn?
Me: Yes, would you like to go?
Lily: YES!

Conversation #2:
Ethan (noticing the large Mary and Joseph on our coffee table that my mother made for me this Christmas): You know, Grammy worked really hard on that for us.
Me: Yes, she did.
Ethan: That was really nice of her. She is the best Grammy in the world.
Me: Yes, she is. Would you like to call her and tell her?
Ethan: Yes. (Brings me the phone)
Phone rings.
Ethan: Hello, this is Ethan Dumoulin. May I speak to Terry Greene? Oh, hey Grand-D. I want to speak to you, too, but I need to speak to Grammy. And, ladies come first.

Conversation #3 (told by Sadie's teacher)
Sadie's teacher took Sadie one afternoon to get a milkshake, run a couple of errands and then came to visit at our house. Now, I know this is really strange for some of you reading our blog, but she is our friend, in addition to being Sadie's teacher for the 2nd year. We are very blessed.
They were at the mall, picking up something for teacher. They ran into a fellow student who was in line to see Santa.
Friend: Are you going to talk to Santa?
Sadie: Oh no, I am with Mrs. N. I don't want her to spend her money for me to see Santa.

Conversation #4:
Sadie's second front tooth is loose. Of course, I want that thing out before Christmas, if only to have one child sing "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth," in front of the video camera on Christmas Eve.
Me: Wonder if Santa and the Tooth Fairy will visit on the same night?
Sadie: Wow! Wouldn't that be awesome!
Me: Yeah.
Sadie: I bet they know each other....I bet they are related!
Me: You know, Sadie, I think you are right!

Lest anyone think my kids are sweet, little darlings...
Quick one-liners made to me by my children:
Ethan: I don't want any more lasagna. Uh, are you listening to me? I said, I don't want any more lasagna.
Sadie: I don't want to (fill in blank with any request I have just made to her).
Lily: Still speaking most lines with a twinge of whine.

We crammed in a lot of Christmas traditions this year:
gingerbread house, baking cookies, live nativity, Christmas program at church, driving around for lights, bags for the homeless, making christmas crafts and ornaments, hosting scout christmas party, hosting rara christmas party, school party (Sadie), pta gifts for preschool (Lily), nutcracker performance with the girls, a planned viewing of "The Grinch", presents purchased and wrapped. Have I forgotten anything?

Maybe I have been in Christmas overdrive this year. Partly due to Jay's parents being in town. But mainly, I think it is to make up for the past two emotionally voided Christmases. I was unable to focus on much more than sadness (her very sick, last Christmas) and grief (the first Christmas without her), despite the hope of Christ. Despite the hope of Christ. How my heart grieves that I write that and how much His does as well.

My remaining to-do list is very long and I remain fixed writing. The washing machine is broken and has been for a week. We head off to the laundromat this morning to do what I am sure is nearly 5 loads. Car, filthy from all the rain, is still crunched from being rear-ended the week of Thanksgiving. The house needs to be picked up, calls made about a work order and one last gift to pick up. The trash (an enormous amount) needs to be taken to the trash, along with the recycling. And, the kids are out of school for the holidays. Should be an interesting day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why Santa Claus?

It has become increasingly noticeable that many Christians are shedding the image of Santa Claus from their Christmas celebrations. I have heard all the reasons as to why - it takes away from the intent of the holiday, only God gives in abundance, materialism is evil to Christian living, it creates a false idol, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, many times this opinion is given with some piousness leaving the listener feeling very uncomfortable with her choice to include Santa Claus in her Christmas traditions. I believe even more so, that many Christians are completely unaware of the original Saint behind Santa Claus and how his life so embodied the spirit of Christ. It is with this spirit that my family celebrates Christmas and gives to one another and gives glory to a life lived selfishly.

Here is the article. I think it is worth reading:

The Christmas season has taken on disappointing characteristics in
our highly secularized culture. These characteristics include removing
Christ-centered displays and using verbiage that eliminates references to
the namesake of the season’s special day. Some businesses have removed
the familiar and once prominently accepted greetings that include any
reference to Christmas and instead have attempted to pretend the specially
named day really is not.  These businesses give it a bland moniker such as
“winter holiday.” My, what a threat this day must be to a secular culture.

It really is fascinating—try as secularists might to take Christ out of
Christmas—that the popular and seemingly secular symbol of Christmas,
Santa Claus, represents the work of God’s Son. Santa Claus remains pretty
much OK probably because the spoilers have not figured out how to
explain from their vantage point, or do not know, the gradual transition of
St. Nicholas to Santa Claus.  The real Nicholas was born in Patara, a Greek
area that is now a part of the southern coast of Turkey. His parents were
wealthy and devout Christians, who died when he was quite young. Nicholas
dedicated his life to serving God, and he became the bishop of Myra as a
young man. He used his entire inheritance to help the sick, the needy, and
others who were suffering. Because he was held in great esteem for his life
and deeds, the anniversary of his death, December 6, AD 343, became
known and celebrated as St. Nicholas Day (www.stnicholascenter.org).
In the 1800s, because of the work of artists and writers, St. Nicholas took
on an elfi sh appearance and eventually a beard and a pipe. He gradually
acquired a rotund appearance and a red suit. By the late 1800s, the saint’s
name shifted to Santa Claus, “a natural phonetic alteration from the
German Sankt Niklaus and Dutch Sinterklaas” (www.stnicholascenter.org).
It must be noted though, when you dig down, he is still Nicholas, who
modeled true giving and faithfulness—a result of his love for Christ.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

behind, behind, behind in blogging

I have good reasons, honest. First, I had no inspiration. Instead of writing ala Sienfeld (about nothing), I decided to wait until the mood was right. Then, the invasion of Jay's parents occurred - actually two days before scheduled. And, with built in help, I am pushing myself to get everything done while they are here in order to relax while they are gone. When I write that, I realize it should be the opposite, but not for me.

To date, the cards have been mailed, decorations are all up, Tanglewood light display has been seen, a list of 4 presents remain to purchase (of which I plan on ordering this evening), all presents are organized and ready to wrap, sugar cookies have been baked and decorated, and the gingerbread house has been constructed and is awaitng decoration, company Christmas party has been organized and food ordered, preschool Christmas breakfast and gift cards have been completed. Whew!

I have spent much of this time with Jay's mom listening to her tell me that when the children get older none of this will be important. I won't decorate very much, if at all, she says. "It isn't important," she says to me in her heavy accent. I have thought a lot about that and I think I beg to differ. Not only are we celebrating our Savior's birth (even though there is no documentation of it on this particular day), these are our traditions. I love traditions. We don't exaggerate them to the point that they cast a shadow on our religious beliefs, but they are a part of who we are and provide memories, time together, family-ness (if that is a word). I want my children to remember it fondly, full of laughter and fun. One day, I will be old, but then, God willing, I will have grand children and will want to do the same for them. It is a special time because we choose to make it so. And, as the year pass, I will continue to choose to make it so.

I have also been quite reflective on Christmas last year. My first without her. Sometimes, when you are so deep in the muck, you don't know you are there. That was me. So depressed and out of sorts. I had no motivation, no care. I remember having a heavy, heavy sense of dread. I am sure I wore that expression on my face and in my countenance. Christmas was a bit of drudgery and obligation. I am glad I can see clearly now. I am full of gratitude to have survived it, literally.

Ethan has been, I think, overloaded with school work. I am glad the holidays are nearly upon us as I think we are all desirous for a break. We still work diligently on responsibility. At least we had a week where Ethan did not forget to put his name on a single paper (an automatic 5 pt. deduction). Lots of sticky details this year which stresses me out.

Sadie had a couple of fabulous behavior days at school. Working hard, same as always. Showing more compassion and concern for others. Praying hard for our neighbor who has had a bad run lately. Praising for a friends' grandmother whose body has been receptive of chemotherapy. Sweet.

Little Lily is turning into quite an emotional little ball. Highs and lows like a roller coaster and coming and going just as quickly as one. Crying and whining and just trying to figure herself out. She wants so badly to be a part of the older children and their activities. She finds herself in limbo of not being a baby, yet not fully independent. A challenge for her, I am sure.

Fifteen days until Christmas and we are blessed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So, when did I become such a home body? It is the weekend of Thanksgiving and in years past would have been all up in black Friday shopping, visiting friends, going to the movies - just being out for being out's sake. I loved the crowds, the hint of holiday spirit in the air, traveling to and fro.

I guess the transformation began last year. It was just over a year ago when Jay said adios to his job and took a 6-month sabbatical from working. Actually, he was riding out a non-compete agreement and he did anything but not work during that time. Our beautiful, hand-crafted study is a testament to that. Being extremely tight on money we stayed at home and found ways to have fun without spending money. It wasn't easy for me - not the staying on budget, but the removal from society (ok, that is a little drastic of a description). For Jay, who has always been somewhat of a recluse, it was heaven. He prefers solitary hobbies - computer gaming, movies, etc.

Sure, this also has to do with her. She was my post-Thanksgiving shopping buddy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Squirrel Saga
Chapter 2 (To bring you up to date, Chapter 1 is here)

Ebsalic milk powder for puppies: 18.00
Bedding for the old bird cage: 9.00
Rich block food for rabbits and rodent: 8.00
New born puppy milk bottles: 4.50 (rejected by the squirrel)
Water bottle for cage: 2.00
Unshelled sunflower seeds: 1.50
Declared insane by all your friends and family: Priceless

Do I actually have to state the obvious? The squirrel is still here. Eyes are now open, tail beginning to bush out a little, not waking up in the night for a feeding (ptl!). Every day we talk about sending him away, but we (Jay) have grown a little attached (read obsessive). Today, I gleaned a tidbit on squirrel world.com (part of my daily reading now) that it is not a good idea to release a squirrel during the winter. Not the news I wanted to hear. "Oh, we'll keep him for longer, honey. It is pretty easy," said by Jay, the squirrel man. This all still smells like roses (well, not the squirrel because squirrel deification really stinks) but he still doesn't have teeth of any significance. Mark my words, this is all going to come crashing down like a house of cards. One bite...and it is adios Theodore. More posts to come.

Anne of Green Gables

I think I posted several months ago that Sadie and I began reading, "Anne of Green Gables" together at bedtime. Somewhere early on, we forgot about it and for some reason, Sadie brought it back out a few nights ago. I was a bit giddy when she handed it over, for several reasons. It is the perfect book as the chapters are fairly short, verbiage simple and yet, almost a mini-story within the larger tale. And, yet, I was hesitant because of what it does to me.

I was hesitant because the book is emotional draining for me. I have subjected myself to more than one occurrence of tears building in corners of my eyes, daring to over flow onto my face. Is it the fact that I am a mother and it hurts how Anne is treated at times? Is it the fact that I feel some sort of connection between the tragedy this girl faces and disappointments in my own life? Is it my own loneliness and sense of displacement that is our bond? Or is it the basic reality that I am tired and worn out from the usual routine of being a stay at home mom which is not physically draining, but emotionally fatiguing. I am going with the latter - the others are just poppycock.

Side note: Can you tell I have been waiting for a reason to use the word "poppycock" upon learning of its Dutch origins meaning soft dung. Ok - back on topic.

Apparently, I may be the only one who never read this book or saw the movie as a young girl. So don't spoil it for me. I can still remain hopeful that it get less heavy on the old box of tissues.

There have been other books that have brought me to this point. After she died I read several books about death and grieving to the kids - you can imagine the response. But, those are pretty obvious ones. I wasn't expecting "AoGG" to do it to me.

This leads to a question - or, sadly, more appropriately for this blog since I have few commenters - it begs the thought: What books have you read to your children that made you cry? Or have you read a book ,written for a "younger" audience, for your own pleasure that elicited some emotional upheaval?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is the doctor in?

This is a blog about nothing in particular, a chronicle of my life with my children. I don't think this is earth shattering news to most who visit this site. So, bear with me on this post as it involves a frequent topic this year - the ridiculousness that is my medical year. I have always considered myself healthy. I eat decently, occasionally work out (occasionally maybe stretching it), in a normal weight category and up until this year rarely went to the doctor. I started tallying some statistics and here is what I came up with since January 2008:

8 P/T appointments
3 MRIs
2 CTs
2 biopsies
2 ultrasounds
1 major surgery

I won't go into the details about my latest medical intervention, but I have to wonder - Is this what getting old is like? Are your days numbered by doctor appointments, tests and uncertainty? I used to wake up each day, taking my health quite for granted, going about my day without a thought about how I would get my daily grind complete. Not again.

My heart is more in tune with those without health insurance who either suffer in pain or suffer financially. There really is no middle ground here, right? When you are debilitated by a disease or injury everything just basically stops. The daily grind ends and everything takes second place. I watched it with Ansley, but it really is different when you experience it, personally. Definitely a new perspective.

I am grateful that is not our current lot. We have insurance, crappy insurance, but insurance nevertheless. Now, we are facing the end of our COBRA benefits in about 6 months. We are shopping around for a group policy for the business. Not really the time to have your worse health year ever. It will be interesting to see what the final tally is.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where in the World is...?

I found a really cool site:


Each day, the author blogs about an interesting map, part of geography, some statistcal data. Its breakdown map of the election results by county is really fascinating. Some of it is relevant to every day life. Some is probably best to be stored, ala Cliff Clavin from Cheers for that random moment in time when it might be a nice annecdotal comment.

I have always been drawn to maps. My favorite puzzle as a child was a map puzzle which had the US on one side and a world map on the other. It had the main indsutry in symbols on the states which is where I learned that Ohio had a mining industry (who knew). I can also remember our 7th grade social studies book which was organized by each continent and then country, listing fascinating facts about each. That is where I remembering the eye-opening awareness that in some parts of the world people live on $4/day or less and that the average life span is only 49.

I will be bookmarking it - it is just up my alley.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just a Little Squirrely

Saturday, Jay decided to chop down a couple of dead oak trees in our back yard. These were enormous oak trees - just humongous. I was very sad that we lost them, but it is what it is. I could hear the chain saw buzzing from inside the house and just a while later heard the phone ring. It was Jay calling me from outside.

Jay: Kels - I think you need to bring the bird cage or box or something. There was a nest of something in this tree. I am not sure what it is. They are screaming - it is terrible.

Kelsey: Do you think it is a squirrel's nest? I'll find what I can. At which point the kids had been alerted to the "squirrel's nest" and started bolting out the door.

When I got to where Jay was, he explained that there were two "babies" but Bobo (the dog) got to one before he did. There was one left and no momma to be found. It was definitely a squirrel. Ethan bolted back into the house to get on the internet to read about caring for baby squirrels. Jay announced that he thought it would be a great "family project."

We guess he is about 5 weeks old - some fur on most of his body, but eyes still closed. We wrapped him up and waited to see what happened. In the meantime, we got out an old kid's medicine syringe and tried to give it liquids. After a few tries, he took to it like a baby and a bottle. He is thriving and even lets us know when he is hungry by a very high pitched squeal which sounds much like a squeaky wheel.

The really "squirrely" thing about this situation is Jay. Seriously, he has cared for this little mammal just about more than his own kids as newborns. The man has gotten up in the middle of the night to feed him, helps him go to the bathroom and swaddles him up in an old t-shirt of his. The squirrel sleeps in a box by his bed. Here are some quotes from Jay that make me spit my coffee through my nose:

*I don't know, I held him, felt his heartbeat and something changed.
*I think I love him.
*Look at him, have you ever seen anything so cute?
*Do we have to give him away?
*Using the word "teet" which would be fine on a farm or veterinary class, but used in your own bed by your husband feeding a squirrel is just weird.

At first I thought it was all some pent up need for another baby. But now, I sit in limbo on this opinion. Jay was responsible for orphaning this squirrel and it is probably this guilt that is propelling him to Dr. Dolittle status.

I called the Wildlife Rehab emergency line yesterday and sent two emails to licensed rehab specialists, but haven't heard anything, yet. If it were a good idea to have a pet squirrel then everyone would do it, right? It is time to bring in the experts and send him on his way.

The kids will be a little sad at the loss, and Jay...what am I going to do with him? Therapy?

Update: It looks like all rehab places are full. We could drive to the zoo (an hour) or hang on until an opening. Oh, the dilemma.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Random thoughts:

Pomegranate - One of nature's super foods? Or nature's most ridiculously staining fruit? My attempts at getting the seeds out for my kids rendered my white t-shirt splattered with red juice. I looked like I had just butchered a cow - seriously.

When doing any sort of major yard work which involves heavy machinery, should you just stop vacuuming your house until all the work is done? Or just put a big box outside the door for every pair of shoes, thus allowing kids to go to school to dirty their carpet with mud-caked foot apparel?

Why does a garage door work only when continuously holding down the large button by the door and not by the remote or by quickly stabbing the large button like it is supposed to do?

Why do kids still pick their noses when they have complete knowledge it is nasty? Caught Lily doing it tonight and she hung her head in shame.

If a child takes a toy into a room with other children and is given a choice to either show (not even share) his toy to other children OR put the toy away, is it really ok to allow them to put the toy in the backpack? Does that promote complete and total selfishness?

With 5 people living under the same roof, is it possible, by any stretch of the imagination to have all laundry done - nothing, not even a sock dirty? Why do I try?

How much sugar is really in all that Halloween loot? If I ate all the items containing chocolate, how much weight would I gain? There is serious contemplation of this fact every night.

If all of my high school class joins facebook and we all catch up through it, what are we going to talk about at the reunion? Does that defeat the purpose of a reunion?

How long am I going to wait in line to vote tomorrow? Why wasn't I a bit more proactive in early voting or even absentee voting?

What have you been wondering?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sex, Religion and Politics

Well, once again, I have allowed "this world" to cloud any sort of judgment, mar my ability to think clearly and completely explode my perspective until it is kiltering on the edge - in danger of falling of into the grand canyon of insanity. It is time for me to stop. Stop reading websites with political news, stop reading emails sent to me by my ultra right and semi-left friends and family, stop reading an ultra-liberal blog I frequent - and probably just turning off news television - what could I miss in 4 days, right? Instead, it is time to get back into "God's world."

I remember reading an email a few years ago from a friend who is pretty liberal. She was trying to convince me of some political viewpoint. She was fairly active in her local political scene. Our emails didn't end very well as I kept trying to reach her heart - what was her basis of life, where did she find meaning, etc. She couldn't get past legalizing gay marriage. I remember thinking how sad, her life's meaning is tied up in such earthly, temporal things. And, now, here I sit guilty of doing the exact thing.

I read news on a political candidate today that just made my blood boil and I am not even sure why. So much, in fact, that it spilled forth onto my family in biting words. I then proceeded to post a comment on a ultra-liberal blog (anonymously, of course) and went so far as to post a status on facebook about it. May lose some friends in the process. I lost my mind!

My mind needs to remain fixed on the highest authority. For those that have not taken a moment to read John Piper's most excellent article, please do so now. Here It is a great reminder that voting is our duty according to the bible, but our lives need not hinge on it. As with all of this world, this election will fade away. What time I have wasted on this election when I could have spent it with Him! I have allowed this election to come between me and my sweet Savior and for that, I will spend some time with Him confessing, repenting and asking for forgiveness.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 25

I have started a few post as we camp out in the basement for market. I just didn't feel the groove to finish them. May at some point, but not now. I was beginning to think that maybe this drive to write was over. Good while it lasted and may come back later. BUT THEN, something just fell into my lap which really could not be passed over.

Yesterday, when school was dismissing, Sadie set off the fire alarm. I am NOT KIDDING. Before we go any further let me clarify that every eye witness confirms to me that it was COMPLETELY ACCIDENTAL. My poor, poor little girl. She was jemmying along the wall waiting with my fellow car pool mom (bless her heart) for the 3rd graders to be dismissed. Her back was to the wall and with arms held over her head, she somehow hit the alarm (which did not have a protective cover). She had no idea she was the culprit and even asked the mom, "What is that noise - is that the fire alarm?" The unfortunate thing was that the middle school who was not due out for another 45 minutes to an hour had to completely clear out as well. I am sure there was some chaos as students and parents were trying to connect on a Friday afternoon and some classes still had to go to their designated fire alarm position. I can only imagine - just really, really glad I did not have to deal with that.

It must have been a blessing that the car pool mom was there instead of me. I mean, I would not have been kind to Sadie - even if accidental. I was mortified when my carpool mom told me in my own driveway and I can only imagine how I would have been had I been present. I praise God that Sadie was spared that humiliation as I know, sadly, that I would not have been able to control myself. I would have destroyed her little spirit. Pride is a terrible, terrible thing in my life and I pray to God to destroy it in me.

Thankfully, fabulous report cards came home Friday and Sadie's behavior improvements over last year (even with the same teacher this year) were amazing. I am so proud of her! Ethan rocked as usual. Rewards to come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To every thing there is a season

Just two or three days before we moved out for market, Jay decided to finish up the bookshelves in our study. Not only did this mean fashioning the shelves out of wood, staining and then installing the shelves, but, it included hauling, from the basement storage room, 8+ boxes filled with books. The boxes were quickly unpacked and loaded up on the shelves.

These 8+ boxes were very interesting to say the least - truly embodying the curious tincture of the stages of our lives. Some of these boxes, I think, had not been unpacked since I moved from my last apartment as a single gal - over 10 years ago. The rest were packed when we moved from Greensboro about 6 years ago. So, it was with much curiosity that we started unloading the boxes, and randomly placing the contents on the shelves. Man, we have a lot of books.

The varying books are so significant because they basically chart out our lives - which is very hmmm - eclectic, diverse, changing, revolving. Here is a snippet:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Hiding My Candy by The Lady Chablis (yes, I typed that correctly)
Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell
Let's Go Europe (1995 version) - travel Guide
She's Coming Undone by Wally Lamb (2 copies of this book and I don't recall ever reading it)
From Potter's Field by Patricia Cornwell
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Word
Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster by Phillips
Left Behind by LaHaye/Jenkins and a three follow-ups to this series
Ledford Senior High School year book - 1989 (eek!)
English Words from Latin and Greek elements
Chicken Soup for the Soul (also Woman's Soul and Christian Soul edition)
Build Your Own Kitchen Cabinets by Proux
Catamaran Sailing by Berman
Power Prospecting by Hansen
The Office - Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD (not a book, but boxed up from when our floors were redone when we had a leak.
Lies Women Believe by DeMoss
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by Piper

I see a survey of college life, vacation reading, high school memories, hobby interests, work enhancement and finally, what actually dominates the collection, our spiritual walk. Except for the latter, it is probably time to purge.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

nothing in particular

Entry from two weeks ago - never posted:

Obviously, something is going on with my hormones. I just teared up over "Barbie, Island Princess." Maybe market cleaning has pushed me over the edge. Dunno. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. Things are definitely looking good!

Soccer games today - Sadie scored two goals, Ethan came very close and had several assists. It was a blustery, but nice fall day.

Lily couldn't seem to find any place to sit except for my lap, but seemed to have much to complain about when I would yell in support for the team.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Remembering the End - draft 2

I first published this post in March. I have since revised a few things. It is October - the official Pink month. May none of us ever endure what she did. Here is how I remember the end.

The call came in the middle of the night. As was the custom over the past three years, my sleep was light. Calls in the middle of the night always make you jump, giving you a quick stab in the stomach. This call was no exception. It was Todd. The hospital had called. Ansley wasn't breathing well and they thought he should come to the hospital. Had they not given Todd clear information about Ansley's condition, or was he holding back what he knew?, He gave me the option of meeting him there. He also said he would call me once he got there and assessed the situation. We hung up. I sat on the floor of my bathroom thinking. The floor was cold and I remember working through my mind if I should head over there or wait until the morning. I realized that I didn't feel well - my body was incredibly achy and my head hurt. My stomach was churning. Was it from the news or something else?

I went back to my bed and waited, not sleeping, not even close to sleeping. The next call came some 20 minutes later. I answered the phone before the ring had finished sounding. This time it was from Mom. She said she was going to the hospital - Todd had called. The information was still foggy and her tone was a little vague. I wasn't sure whether to go or not. She told me very clearly that I should go. I woke Jay in his coma-like sleep to tell him. I quickly got dressed and prayed that I would start to feel better. It was a very chilly February night - I remember shivering and feeling my stomach continue its roller coaster. Halfway through the drive, ironically in my mother's neighborhood, I pulled over to vomit. My own body was fighting sickness. The continued drive was silent and lonely and long. There was only one other car on Wendover and I realized that with its flashing lights that it was Pastor Bill. My stomach and heart did another jump - it was more serious than I had worked in my mind. I no longer felt the sickness of my own body as adrenaline took over. We raced together down the empty streets, a tandem team, to reach someone before she was gone.

I walked down the silent hospital corridor and into ICU. My pace quickened as I neared her room which was more like a large open cubicle with some sort of sliding glass door. My countenance collapsed when I saw her for the first time. My hopes vanished. My heart hurting. She was gasping for breath, her defeated body shuddering and fighting each inhale. She was pale with her eyes closed. I cried, "Oh, Ainie." I was quickly given the update - it was still a little unknown but she was not doing well. This might be the end.

I stared at the monitors hoping to see some positive change - to see the numbers inch even slightly up to give me some sort of hope. Even with the oxygen mask she couldn't muster above an oxygen level of 85. My face fell. I cried softly.

I went to Ansley's side and held her hand. I told her that I was there. I loved her. I went in close and kissed her cheek and forehead. Her body not changing, recognition not there. I stayed in my spot, planted, holding the hand of the person I loved longer than any other in my lifetime.

This hand. The hand that had dressed many dolls with me, had made me meals, who had patted me on the back, had angrily pointed at me, had held my wedding bouquet and Jay's wedding ring, had stroked my hair, had found buckets of seashells and shark's teeth, had punched me, hit me and loved me, had drawn pictures on my back to help me sleep, had created beautiful pieces of artwork and had held me crying from a broken heart. The hands that held each of my three children in the first moments of their lives. The same hands that would clap in excitement when great news was at hand. A hand that was pressed together when praying the sweetest, most heart-felt prayers to our Father on my behalf. Her hand was soft from the lotion I had applied just a day earlier. They were always our connection, even when we were small. She loved to have her arms scratched and being the only sibling, that duty often fell to me. It seemed only natural that while we waited on doctors, treatments, and most often when she was trying to brave the pain and suffering, that I would try to bring her comfort with my well-practiced strokes.

I was only there a short time - or so it seemed. I felt the strong urge to read to her from her bible. I opened up to Isaiah, her favorite book from the Old Testament. I began reading...

The monitor displayed ominous signs of the end. The warning alarm of a condition that would normally bring in the nurses was turned off. Flashes of memory of that time - Pastor Bill praying over Ansley, John asking questions to the nurse, Todd whispering his love to Ansley in her ear, my dad and mom standing across the bed from me - both of them with red eyes, tears, and contorted hurt and pain on their faces - coming together to say goodbye to one they created together. Pastor Bill and Tammy at the foot of the bed - Tammy crying quite audibly.

Was this it - is the day I had imagined and begged never to arrive, finally here? I am so unprepared, God. This can't be happening. No, not now. I want to scream. Someone do something. She can be saved for a few more days. No - no - no.

The weight of the moment was too much for me - I was overwhelmed. My head, heavy with sorrow, bent over and drooped onto the bed and Ansley's legs. I could only mutter, "no, no, no." I never wanted to raise my head and body again as if I could somehow suffocate this moment away in the sheets of her bed. Somehow I forced myself to straightened up. My tenuous composure barely hanging on. The monitor slowly descending. Mom was telling Ansley to run to Jesus. My Dad telling her he loved her. Todd telling her to go. My mouth was silent as I felt paralyzed from the tears in my eyes. I couldn't give her permission to leave as I didn't want her to go.

Her breathing became less labored...it became smooth. It was slower, but peaceful. Her body stopped fighting for life. The elevated sound of grabbing for air was replaced by soft sighs. The mood changed from urgent to inevitable...from crisis and on edge to knowledge and peace. She opened her eyes just slightly and appeared to strain under heavy lids to look in my direction. She knew we were there. We all declared our love for her. The monitor reached the end. She was no longer breathing, but her heart continued for a while. The strongest part of her pushing to the end, symbolic of who she was. Then nothing. The nurse marked the time. It was silent except for sniffles and a phone call being made. My dad slumped in a chair in the room. His voice eerily several octaves higher than normal as he strained to tell Terry that Ansley was gone. We left the room for a brief moment while they removed all of the wires and tubing that had fought to keep her going, but comfortable. I realized that I had not felt sick once arriving at the hospital. I knew I needed to call Jay and struggled to find words to verbalize my new reality. We were allowed to see her again, to say goodbye.

I held her hand, our connection over 35 years, for the last time. I recognized with brutality and cruelty that coldness was creeping in. It was a stab to my entire body. I talked to her for a short, short while. It was my deepest and most difficult moment. I leaned in and kissed her still warm head. The stubble of the hair that was just beginning to show again pricked my lips. I didn't want to leave her. I would never see her again on this earth. I walked away. Alone.

a little wet dot

I am sitting down, for a spell, on the bed for a little rest. I am in the crazy, haze of market cleaning. I have come the conclusion (on my own though I don't know if it has any support) that my entire blown disc, incapacitation and resulting surgery was all caused from last April's cleaning. I spent the better part of two weeks bent at the waist, cleaning baseboards, organizing closets, wiping out drawers, and being my usual OCD self. Thankfully, this season is a bit better than last because I have some help. Bless their hearts - seriously. Jay realized that it was better to fork out a bit of our rent money to get the house clean than have me useless for three months post. Basically, I am handling the organizing, sorting and de-clutter. It feels gooooooood to purge!

So, I sat down and noticed a little tiny wet spot on my duvet cover. Hmmmm. What in the world would have caused that? More importantly, what is it? Oh. Yeah. It is one of Sadie's tears. My heart sank a little when I realized it. I know I have never seen her so dismal and joyless. Her class went on a field trip to the Natural Science Center today. I let her take $5 of her own money for the gift shop (though I have some issues with this entire system allowed by the school, but I digress). She plucked down what I hope was less than a $1 for two little rings. They had clear and pink stones in them. When she proudly showed them to me she announced that they were the same as her teacher's, Mrs. Newell. Well, as she said, except that Mrs. Newell didn't have pink stones; hers were all clear stones. She was clearly quite pleased with herself. She skipped away into the yard. I allowed Ethan and Sadie to play in the dirt/mud field for just a bit which was recently cleared by a bulldozer (more on that later). They came in, took baths and settled in for dinner.

At some point, Sadie realized she didn't have her rings on. She said she put them in her pocket while she was outside. Racing up the stairs to find her shorts, panic was on her face. I heard her let out a little shaky yelp as she realized they were gone. She came downstairs absolutely distraught. My heart hurt a little even though it was over two little plastic rings. Of course, she asked if I would take her back so she could get two more. I had to break it to her that we would not be able to do that. I offered that maybe she might find something she liked at the fair when we go Friday. I held her and hugged her and left her sniffling on my bed as I continued my purge. Not a few moments later, Jay came home. He knew by my face that something was amiss. I quickly explained the situation and sent him back to our bedroom where Sadie was still musing over her loses. As I walked by the door, I saw a dad laying close to his little girl, whispering comfort and consoling a broken heart. I suspect this won't be the last time either.

As I type this, that little dot is nearly gone. All over something rather mild in the scheme of things. Still, her heart was hurt and I felt inadequate because I could not make it all better. The rings are temporary. Forgotten by tomorrow, I bet. But, what will her life bring that will wound her soul, to the core of her being? How long will the affect of those tears last?

Inspired words by Lily

This kept me giggling for at least 30 minutes. Then, I started all over again when I retold this story to Jay and my mom.

The kids (particularly Ethan and Sadie) have been going through a terrible arguing stage. It starts the moment they wake (sometimes before their feet even hit the floor) and they don't stop until someone is in tears and someone else is hurt. Then, they cycle through it again and again throughout the day until it is time for bed. I have turned to the only definitive resource I have - the Bible. So with that in mind, I worked on drilling in Ephesians 4:29 on the way to school a few days ago. Our discussion involved not only what this scripture means, but the impact it has when we are disobedient to God's commands.

In case you are wondering:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

So, after I dropped Ethan and Sadie (and our two other carpoolers) off at school, I drove around the building to walk Lily into school. On most days, she LOVES school, but isn't as always keen on the "holding room" which is where preschoolers wait who have older siblings at the academy. As we were walking in Lily announced:

God says - Children should stay with their Mommies. Something 8:33

Me: What?

Lily: 8:33, Mommy. Children should stay with their Mommies.

Me: Ok, Lily. But this morning you are going into the holding room. Giggle - giggle - giggle.

Ephesians 4:29 is a very powerful verse. Wouldn't it be grand if everyone tried that one out? Wonder how that would affect the presidential election, our daily grind at work, our relationships friends and family? Sifting everything that spews forth from our mouths through the colander of Ephesians 4:29, would require us to put others in front of ourselves and put our feelings, desires and attitudes last. A challenge for me for sure. I am convicted as I write this for several conversations I had just yesterday. I think I need to have a conversation with God this morning. Then, I'll giggle some more over my little Lily.

Friday, October 03, 2008

the mother of all blogs

When I find something really great I usually can't keep it a secret. This blog is awesome if you are a mom with kids. (not sure that there is anyone who reads my blog who isn't)


Seriously - easy crafts, food, outdoor activities, art. Can't wait to start doing some of these things with the kids...as soon as the house gets cleaned for market.

Let me know what you think of the link.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

weapons of mass destruction

The year: 2000
Me: Ethan will not have guns and weapons. I will not promote that sort of thing. It just breeds violence. (said with a little piety)

The year: 2008
Me: Well, let's see Ethan. That is 10 varying plastic, metal and pop guns, one large rifle-type pop gun, 5 light sabers, three swords, two shields and one mini-potato gun. I guess I need to buy a little storage tub to hold all of this.

Comments, anyone?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

just a little update

Like everyone else in the world today, I have too much on my plate. I don't know why I feel compelled to write that fact because it doesn't elicit any sympathy from anyone, nor does it make anyone feel any better. Honestly, does anyone know anyone who is not running ragged, burning it at both ends, or going insane?

Our anniversary trip was great for us. Sometimes it does take 5 days to start conversing like adults and laughing about "what-not" again. And, when you get to our stage in life it takes 5 days to remember why you married each other in the first place. On a funnier note, except for the color of the water (deep, rich, almost neon turquoise blue and blindingly white sand which could only come from our Creator), I would not have known we were in a foreign country. Cancun, as a destination, is much like Myrtle Beach - over kill. There is a Hooters, Outback, Ruth Chris's, a Wal-Mart, Sam's and Costco (no joke). As long as we stayed in our resort, I was pretty content. Well, maybe too content. As I wrote on my facebook page...who knew that an "all-inclusive" resort and wildly developing "muffin top" go hand in hand. I ate like a lioness after a long drought. Gluttony at it's finest. So, I am glad to be home. Five days away from the kids is about all I and my waistline can take!

I started this blog entry last night. Frankly, there is just no time at the moment to gather my thoughts because I cleaning for market this morning. But, to help me remember - here are future entry updates:

1. Soccer - both Ethan (very surprisingly decent, hard-working, a coaches dream) and Sadie (feels compelled to play defense, still not too sure what she is doing, played in the POURING rain Sunday). A funny story about the defectively working umbrella in the POURING rain with my long-long-long time friend Angela. Have you dried out, yet, Angela?

2. Lily's incessant need to whine and scream. Jay threatens not to take her camping with the scouts this weekend if she doesn't stop. It is like a cork in a wine bottle (get it - whine/wine?) She stops immediately and lets out a little "sorry."

3. My frustration over the lack of decent clothes for boys ages 8. Not in the children's section, yet, not ready for AE and the like where skulls adorn everything. What is UP with that? Why is this attractive?

4. The sweet melodic sound of my child singing - Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet and a Light Unto My Path. Melts my heart.

5. The beginning of American Heritage Girls next week - I am leading 1st and 2nd grade girls - pray for me in this endeavor!

6. Very fulfilling ScrapPink breast cancer benefit last week. Learned lots, finished some decent layouts, found some new techniques and products. Thought about her. She would-have-been 39th brithday was yesterday.

7. Sick child - Sadie. The best sickness ever - no clean-up and lots of sleep! She is such a snuggle bug when she isn't feeling well.

8. Why we rent our house for market? Why I can't find anyone who will clean for $10/hour? My current person - who is great - wants $15 - more than my first few jobs out of college. I could go on for days about this. Looking for a housekeeper (not quite an Alice from Brady Bunch, but more that idea than a cleaning service) for a couple days a week so that I can help with the business more and CANNOT find anyone.

9. Have hired #5 and #6 at the office. Very excited as we should be set for a little while.

Gotta head off with a trash bag in hand to Sadie's and Ethan's rooms. So long happy meal toys, little bits of paper, broken crayons, party goody bag plastic!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Few Words

I am running out of time as we leave for a little getaway to celebrate 10 years of marriage. We will be away for 5 whole days...ahhhhhhhh.

But before I leave, I want to make a couple of comments on things that have been brooding and stewing in my mind in order to see how my perspective might change after I have had time to wind down, sit on a beach, have a cold beverage and have no one ask me for a thing...except if I want another cold beverage.

1. People seem to be very, very uptight regarding politics and finances. I can understand the finances. The politics seem so very skewed, so very out of perspective. One president does not change the country. It is a collective effort. If you look very, very closely, the two candidates are really not that different. A radical change would be Ralph Nadar or Ron Paul. But, those that scream change..we need change...still aren't really ready to go out on a limb to take that risk.

2. I am very confused and contemplative about whether I make comments about situations in analysis, in humor or deep down is that simply masked for deep-seeded complaining. Thank you, bible study, for that wrestling.

3. Why is it that 4 pounds is the difference between my clothes fitting and being entirely uncomfortable at the end of the day?

4. The Shack - a means, just like a worship music, bible studies/commentaries, etc. to get people to have their spiritual life rejuvenated, to start seeking him again. People quote songs, other books (including me quoting speakers I have heard), Kay Arthur, John Piper and it is fine. People quote the Shack , are excited about the book, and they might be perceived of making it their own bible. Are these legitimate concerns, is the Shack something we should all be leery of?

5. Why did I feel compelled to try to win (unsuccessfully) tickets off the radio this morning? Tickets go on sale Friday. I have not been to a concert in ages and would really like to go to this one. Maybe even take a child or two with me. I should just order tickets when I get back.

6. Why are we still using irons in this world? Why is that job never done? Why do they even bother with fabrics that require ironing?

7. Why did it take me 4 whole typed pages to write out schedules, carpools, needs for out three children when we will only be gone on a 5 day/4 night trip? Are our lives that complicated? Are my kids that high-maintenance? Seriously, I am analyzing my purpose and motive here.

8. Is the reason why the cookies Ethan had to make for scouts tasted good, but had a little odd texture because he used "I can't believe it's not butter" butter?

9. Will Lily ever get entirely dressed on her own. Have I allowed her to work me with the excuse, "I am scared, Mommy?" Ok, I know the answer to this one as I type it. I don't need 5 more days.

10. What kind of lizard did Sadie catch today? Very large, very unique, a little scary. How does she do it?

Found some great blogs the other day. I will post links when I get back. Seriously great blogs. After reading them I am certain to stop mine any day now! Off to....vacation with my hubby!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

4 And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dog Next Door

Last September a very old blue tick hound quickly set-up house and soon after a nursery in the large red barn next to our house. Our neighbors, who are clearly dog lovers, quickly took to task helping this aged mother and her 7 puppies. My kids heard the news and thus, twice weekly trips to the barn to check on the puppies began. It wasn't long before an ad was put in the paper offering free puppies to good homes. Each visit brought some sadness, particularly from my Sadie, as there were fewer and fewer puppies left. One day, there were only two left along with their mother, who was named Abigail. At that point our neighbor decided to keep the last two puppies and their mother. Sadly, not long after, the mother was bitten by a black widow spider, never fully recovered and was consequently put down.

Our neighbor named the two puppies Euro and Sadie (much to the delight of my own Sadie). Euro has grown into this Goliath of a dog - beautiful shape and coloring like that of a German Shepherd. He is extremely unaware of his size, very active, very curious and thinks everything is a game. Sadie likens to a black lab and is very timid, almost painfully shy, yet sweet. Good dogs, but I am just glad they are not mine!

Our neighbor works retail and is away most days. Given the lack of leash laws in Davidson County, she allows them to roam a bit mainly to have them release some energy. Therefore, upon hearing my kids voices outside, I can usually find Euro and Sadie hanging out in our yard. Our own dog, one-eyed Bobo, doesn't seem to mind in his old age as long as they don't eat his food or sniff his behind. Who can really fault him for that?

Unfortunately, we have started having some "issues" with dear Euro. He is a chewer. The kids toys, shoes left outside, any piece of trash, pool noodles (what a mess) and the worst - the trash. He is so large that he can put his front paws on the side of the toter, flip the lid off and start digging in. Of course he would find an old pull-up from Lily and the vacuum cleaner bag and completely destroy them in the pine needles. Add to that the rain for the past several days and clean up is going to really stink come Saturday (literally and figuratively).

I made the dreaded call to our neighbor whom we really, really like. She was embarrassed (I hated that) and profusely apologized. She even came over and brought rice krispy treats. She adamantly stated that we were to beat him and send him home. Of course, I couldn't do that, but I clearly instructed the kids that they could NOT play with them. Instead they should try to run them away, shout at them, etc. Under no circumstances were they to play with them.

So imagine my surprise this afternoon when I looked out the window to see Sadie (I had no idea she was even outside), in her bathing suit, in the rain, RIDING Euro. What am I saying...I wasn't surprised. I mean I am talking about my Sadie here. But I did emit a little giggle.

Later, after all the kids were in bed, the phone rang. It was our neighbor. "Have you seen Euro? I have been calling him and calling him," she asked. I replied, "Well, he was here most of the afternoon. Let me check outside." I walked to the front door, turned on the front lights. There he was, curled up and fast asleep on our front porch. I said, "He is here." I held the phone up to his ear so he could hear her call him. (We live in the woods, with no visible neighbors). He barely opened his eyes. I told her I would put a leash on him, grab a flashlight and walk him over. She was very appreciative.

So the dilemma. He obviously loves playing with the kids. The kids love him. We have great neighbors. We can hide anything in the garage with the door shut and he won't come in. But when, oh when can we expect the chewing and destruction to end - if ever?!?

You've got mail

I am plowing through a bible study called, "Lord, Change My Attitude."

I know. Why, would I want to do that? Because I need some serious attitude adjusting. It is a great, great study thus far and I am sure it will provide great fodder for future posts.

In light of this study, I even hesitate to write this light-hearted and trivial post. But my attitude toward a certain thing has just approached epic proportions. I have tried to laugh "it" off. I have tried in vain to ignore "it." I have begged others to take care of "it." For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand mindset of those that employ "it." What, you ask, has me all in a twitter?

SPAM! And, I don't mean the famous canned luncheon meat. I must get at least 50 a day.

Seriously, who in their right mind buys Rolex, Patek Philippe, Frank Mueller watches or replicas from some random person promoting the sale in a random email. Along those lines, I don't want real enlargement, spectacular jeweled timepieces or Viagra at $3 a pill. Jerry Myrick, I don't really care if I am the little guy. And, I don't need the real solution to massive gains, scrumptious products of style or girls that will hunt me down in the streets. Jody Goodman, you can give up on getting a response as required by your subject line.

My more than technically proficient husband has promised me that soon we will move to the new server and gone will be these little annoyances. So, there is a solution, I think, in sight.

My bible study has a great definition of complaining - Complaining means to express dissatisfaction with a circumstance which is not wrong and about which I am doing nothing myself to correct. I will allow that 99% of my complaining is sinful under this definition. Further more, this study states (with biblical support) that God hates our complaining and judges our complaining (ouch!).

Using that definition to analyze my current tirade I find that spam is 1) a circumstance that is wrong and 2) a circumstance I cannot correct or risk jeopardizing the IT plans at RaRa.

Could I venture to guess that even Jesus would be a little fed up with Spam?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Enlarge me

I really shouldn't be on here given the magnitude of my "t0-do" list today. However, I was so moved by my Streams in the Desert today that I felt led to post the scripture here:

Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress Psalm 4:1

The visual of this BLOWS me away.

The line I like best in the commentary is this:

It is not a man's thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering. It is a thanksgiving that he has been set free THROUGH suffering. He declares the sorrows of life to have been themselves the source of life's enlargement.

I am sure I will expound on this later, but for now, may it give you food for your day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday, September 5

Waiting on the cable man, I am. A good time to catch up on blogging, I think. There is a much better vibe going on in my heart at the moment than the start of the previous school year. Other than her funeral and the first few weeks following, it was probably the most difficult period of grief for me. I was certain I blogged about it and went to review it (August 2007), but when reading it realized that it was one of those posts that was somehow deleted in its infancy and never recovered. Recollecting, however, that school year was a new beginning and there I was starting something, significant, without her, for literally, the first time in my life.

We had always made plans about when the girls would start kindergarten. How great it would be to be together, to have some freedom with our days - only little Lily to contend with. Now those plans were gone, never realized, lost. I felt very alone and isolated. In contrast, this new school year seems to just be that, a new school year. She has been gone from the school arena for almost 2 years -wow, to type 2 years. Life continues on...never a doubt about that one!

Ethan started soccer practice Monday. We walked up to the board to find which field his team would practice on. He spoke short, little sentences and he questioned my knowledge of where we were going and what we were doing. I could see his nervous, slightly tense look start growing in his eyes. It made me inwardly nervous for him. All in all, it was a great practice and I was delightfully surprised how well he did in the several laps of running they were asked to do. He only knew one boy on his team from Upward basketball. I told him it was a fantastic way to get to know some other boys. He is stretching his wings a bit and he spurns my public displays of affection. In fact, he is starting to ask questions about my behavior or plans thereof. Mommy is just not as cool anymore. Unfortunately, this might be remedied by more time with his dad. However, the business is so incredibly consuming. Thankfully, scouts is starting back up and Jay is able to clear some weekend time now.

Sadie starts practice this Monday. I am sure there will be much to blog, like several years ago when Sadie spent much of her practice carrying her pocketbook around (yes, while practicing). Actually, it was my fake green Prada bag. She does have taste, afterall. Sadie will also start American Heritage Girls (previously Girls Scouts) in October. I am supposed to help lead, and I want to. However, I have my doubts that Sadie will be able to handle my leadership in that type of settings. She has had two very, very fantastic days at school. In fact, I was told it was her best day ever. (insert "best day ever" by SpongeBob). Given that she has same teacher from last year (not just counting the first 2 weeks of this school year - which would be a pitiful reason to be excited), I am pleased. It did make me stop and think, "Hmmmm, really. So, just how bad have all the other days been?" I always thought there might have been one incident or something a day. It never dawned on me that maybe the bar for Sadie might have been so low that even if she had little grumblings all day, it was still considered a "good day." I should just be pleased with the progress and move on.

For her reward (actually it was already planned), we headed to the HP Library and then Krispy Kreme. We had such a pleasant time. That word describes it perfectly - pleasant. In fact, the kids were very sweet, agreeable...just lovely. There, another one of those words - lovely. As we were getting ready to leave KK, an older lady walked by me and said, "You are such a good mom. You handle them real well." I just about spat out the last of my water and crueller. I responded, "Oh, are you talking to me? Thank you." and then was completely speechless. What I was really thinking was, "Ha! Are you kidding me? Lady, if you only knew the reality of my mothering." But, let me tell you, it was such an encouragement to me to persevere that I have vowed to make similar compliments to other moms. We should all make a point to do that.

Lily, aka Little Lil', Lily Loo, Lulu Beans, Stinky Pete, Miss Poopy Pants, began gymnastics Tuesday. I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while. She was absolutely the most enthusiastic and energetic student, but she is definitely lacking in the ability department. However, you would never mention this given her belief that she is...a star. Coupled with the fact that she was completely oblivious that her leotard continued to ride up into her chunky of a heiny, not unlike a thong, made for lots of giggles and comments from the mom section. The differences between Lily and Sadie are innumerous. But one that was so completely clear that morning was that Sadie never had to be taught how to do the circuits. She just did them, nearly flawlessly, at age 4. I never saw much improvement because honestly, she was already very good. However, with Lily we have only one way to go...Up. She belly-flopped when she was supposed to be doing donkey kicks. She logged rolled instead of front rolled. She actually broke out in a sweat. And, she kept trying to slink (in the truest sense of the word) her way to the front of the line because as she finally told the teacher, "I want to be the line leader." I am really looking forward to seeing her progress!

Lily also started 5-day a week, 4 year old preschool. She darted in her class without even looking back. I had to track her down to get my much needed kiss and hug. She had been begging to go every morning since Ethan and Sadie began school. She tackled her "summer work" with such exuberance and ardor. Therefore, I was not surprised that she left me standing in the dust of the doorway. But, I miss my constant companion of the past 4 years. The year is going to fly by. I just know it. Kindergarten will come and she will be permanently gone from me...solidified and irreversible. I am not ready to be "rid" of my children. Despite the intense irritation, frustration and utter defeat, is the ten fold feeling of loving them and having them under my constant wing and shadow. This is one time when I would like to scream to Father Time...slow down...it's going way to fast to comprehend, to etch permanently, to even enjoy!

I am typing on the laptop on my bed. Laying beside me is my littlest one. She fell asleep quite suddenly against my arm. I gently laid her back on a pillow. Her glasses smudged with little fingerprints. Black oreo crumbs dried around her mouth. Rhythmic, heavy breathing. Her hand draped gently around my arm. The hair around her forehead slightly moist from the warmth of a good nap. I know there is no good in me that deserves such heaven. Thank you God for sending them to me despite this.

Friday, August 29, 2008

without a title

I sit. I type. Distracted by movement outside the window, I look. I am mesmerized, then filled with warmth and love. The three of you, cousins, having a blast on the last weekend of summer. Riding bikes in bathing suits, splashing in the pool, playing with the neighbor's dogs, creating a little house out of beach towels and folding chairs, chasing frogs and crickets. Watching you run back and forth across the yard unabashedly, full of exuberance.

To see the smiles and to hear the laughter makes me think of you. The innumerable memories I have of us playing in the backyard, fishing in the creek, playing kick the can, catching fireflies, playing in the mud, feet filthy from fresh, wet dirt, sweaty from the thick and sticky summer air.

I praise God that my girls have a cousin close in age whom they call a sister. I pray to God that they may know the closeness of sisters, the joy of being best friends, the confidence of always having someone at their side, supporting them. Please, God, let that be your will.

I wish you were here to see how they have grown to love each other, how their relationship mimics our own - not close to perfect, but never wavering in importance. I wish you were here to laugh at their comments, their jokes, their performances. I wish they could recall without a doubt of your unconditional love for them rather than relying on my verbal reminders. I wish...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In the Great State of Hannah Montanna

Right after dinner, I turned the tv on to find out what was going on with our weather. Still raining buckets. The tv was on CNN and the Democratic Convention. The convention was in the middle of doing the roll call of states. This process seems to be much longer every convention as each state brags about its attributes. It was Montana's turn. Sadie asked me what I was watching. I prefaced my answer by saying, "It is very complicated, but I am going to explain it once. You will not be allowed questions and you may not ask me to repeat myself." I know I sound terrible, but if you knew my children, you would call me smart. We have spent HOURS talking about the new bridge they are replacing on a road we frequent - repeating the same conversation, the same questions, the same comments.

I start the process of explaining things and Jay interrupts me to tell me that I am making it way too complicated and shouldn't even try for a 6 and 8 year old. I think, "Whatever." I should raise the bar high, right? I made it to my example at hand, Montana, and Lily (4) announced, "No, Mommy, it is Hannah Montana."

Maybe I should give that one to Jay.

You say tornado, I say...

I heard vague remarks about tornadic activity in the area today. However, I was a little surprised when the kids told me they were in tornado drill mode for over and hour today. The details were a little sketchy, but I think they were in the halls, hanging out, not doing much during lunch/recess time. What a nightmare for teachers. Anyway, the kids were talking about tornado this, tornado that. Lily piped up and said, "I don't see any tomatoes. There aren't any tomatoes." Ethan tried very hard to clearly say, no, Lily, it is tornado. She just didn't get it.

A couple of tornadoes were in the area, very light on damage, no one injured. We have gotten a ton of rain. It has been since I have seen this much rain. I have forgotten what it is like to get wet! We lost power for a few hours as well. Thank God for generators! Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the drought conditions we have been experiencing for what seems like years.

The Oil Press

When working through some of my thoughts and emotions mentioned in my previous blog, God led me to the passage of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is so incredibly appropriate that I felt it necessary to comment on it.

Matthew 26:36-44
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done." And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more....

I did not know that Gethsemane aptly means "Oil Press." Of course, knowing you might have breast cancer is really not comparable to knowing for sure you are going to be crucified, but I still wanted to examine what was Jesus feeling, what was his attitude?

He was grieved.
He was distressed.
It was not his will, not his choice - he wished another.
A little aggravated at his friends, perhaps?
Finally, clearly he was spiritually willing to take on God's will for him, but his body (flesh) maybe wasn't so willing.

Looking at my reaction to my procedures, I can say:

I was grieved.
I was distressed.
I wished the result to be benign.
I was aggravated that I had to wait until Monday for results.
If this was my lot, I was, of course, willing to accept it, faithfully knowing God would have a purpose in it and would grow me through it. But, when I thought about the physical parts of what I might endure, I wasn't so willing.

Hmpf. Maybe I wasn't so off the mark after all. Thanks for the revelation, God.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Personal Pain

So, I wasn't doing nearly as well as I thought I was with the prospects of being diagnosed with breast cancer (of any form). I have this ridiculous paranoia that when I speak of my fears and angers that I am not trusting God. How many times have I encouraged someone to, "just trust God," to take care of them. Although I informed my friends of my situation, my response was "it will be what it will be." I even tried to laugh it off with the thought of getting an upgrade. However, the reality of what was going on inside of me was apparent as Monday drew closer.

For some poorly thought-out reason (or actually no thought given), I drove Jay and my mom to my Monday appointment. That was not a good idea. I could hardly focus on driving, my speeds were really out of control and I fretted the entire way that we were late. My heart was racing, my stomach churning and I can not begin to tell you what the mundane car chatter was about. I was so tense, my shoulders and upper back carrying the load. I practically ran to the office, leaving my family behind. The waiting room was suffocating, I could not sit still. The "patient information room" was even worse. My stomach continued its roller coaster and I thought I might vomit. My head was spinning as the reality of what I faced seemed to keep smacking me. The doctor came in and introduced herself to all members of my party (mom, dad and Jay). To quote her, "I really believe we have nothing to worry about." I wanted clarification. "So, it is nothing?" My body almost folded in half. I flopped back on the sofa I was sitting upon. The bile still rising to my mouth. It was over. I was done. Was it really true? As I wrote earlier, the doctor confessed to me that she was very relieved. She did not expect the results I received (a fibrocystic condition that presented itself a little oddly). She was very worried. I will go back in 6 months for another follow-up.

The question is: If I truly believe that God takes care of me, if I trust Him completely, should my reaction have been so severe? I thought if I verbalized how I was really feeling, I would hear the same words that I have told to countless others - obvious, but not helpful words at the time. I would be labeled, perceived as weak spiritually. I would be seen as the boy who cried wolf, worrying over what was unfathomable. To write this is difficult, but I am laying it all out on the table. I know God is in control and He will take care of me, but that does little to minimize the stress and anxiety of what I know the journey of cancer to be. Shouldn't it be different?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The first day of the rest of your life

Actually, I have always hated that that line - tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Like somehow every thing prior to that has been erased. Anyway, it just was too perfect of a title for this post considering it encompasses first days school, my medical journey (like there haven't been enough posts on that this year) and today (which was yesterday's first day of the rest of my life, right?).

The first day for E and S was on Tuesday. Their attitudes were fairly positive - S more than E. We are working on new routines this year - alarm clocks, preparations the night before, more responsibilities with supplies, etc. As I posted last year about the first of school, Sadie has refused to wear the cute plaid jumpers with peter pan colors. Therefore, when cleaning out drawers, I packed all that up in a tub for Lily. Imagine my complete, near pass-out shock when Sadie said she wanted to wear a jumper on the first day. O-kkkk. Out came the tub and a jumper. I pulled out some polo shirts for her to choose from for under the jumper. Her response: No, mom, you wear those round colored shirts. Don't we have some of those? Out came the tub...again. She was pretty pleased with wearing it, along with her pink converse low-tops. She came home happy and excited about her year - along with the discipline process which involves money (possibly her love language?)

Ethan headed off fine, but came home in a bit of a mood. A friend that was on the original class list from school was evidently switched last minute and so that brought a bit of disappointment. He is not really one for new situations and I think he just needs a little more time. My efforts at growing him with a self-worth measured only by God is certainly being tested already this year. Comparisons to others is starting and his desire to be included concerns me. I just need to pray a little more fervently, though I think a lot of this must be learned through experience. And maybe, just maybe I am more sensitive to this because it plagued me so much in my youth. I did not know God. I had no measure except for the world. I believe that my history would be vastly different had I a different set of glasses through which to see my environment. Oh, and it should be mentioned that E already misplaced his jacket and forgot one assignment at home and this is just day 3. Pray for us.

Lily is lost. It doesn't help that we have been separated some this week because of work. She is very clingy and it hurts my heart. I realized today that she has never really been apart from me. If she has, it has almost always included E and S (her own unique Linus blanket). She is becoming aware of herself, the world and her place in it. It is a little perplexing to me because her head knowledge is so advanced, but the awareness of her environment, etc. seems to lag. On the other hand, she is so social, making friends wherever she goes. She is more than ready to start school which begins after Labor Day. We are still teetering in the balance of nap/no nap land. So tough to let that one go and deal with come crankiness late in the afternoon.

I just put them to bed. Lily was almost asleep before I officially tucked her in. These early mornings and varying schedules must be taking its toll.

I am still groping, blindly, through my days. This whole work thing/mom thing/wife thing is still completely unpredictable. I had a revelation during the last few weeks:

I like predictability and stability. I do not handle change well.

There, I said it. Gone are the carefree days of my college and my young adult life. I am not the person I was in my early 20s (but who is?). I never thought I would morph into a set in my ways kind of gal. I mean, I hitchhiked/backpacked through Africa for Pete's sake. Of course, I shudder at that thought now. But, to admit this change has taken place is tough. I am sure most of this is a natural progression. Children, economic responsibilities limit your choices, right? Stability is good, right? I feel like I am trying to convince myself. I should stop. Admitting it is half the battle. I made a good start tonight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

whoooooo hooooooooo!

Great news - if you didn't already figure it out from the title. I have a benign condition called fibrocystic something. Most women get it in their lifetime. Mine presented itself a little differently and was only on one side. The doctor said she was extremely relieved, because she was expecting much different results. (confirmed that my mom and I were reading her correctly). So, I will get a MRI in 6 months to make sure all is normal and no more areas of growth. Zippy! Now, on to figuring out why my cycle is so out of whack - 2 weeks here, 3 weeks there. Here's hoping to 28 days this month!

I have much more to write about this - things I have gleaned, etc. But, I am making a great, homemade meal for my family to celebrate! I will try to get more down in the next week.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

quick clarification

There are many possibilities of these biopsies. They could, in fact, be benign. I don't want anyone to think I have been told stage 0 or 1 at all. It is just at this point, if the pathology suggests early, non-invasive cancer I would be stage 0. Just trying to make sure the understanding is that we just don't know and all "conclusions" are merely subjective at this point, based on some research, verbiage from doctors and history. Pray for clear results.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Considerably More Worrisome

Interesting title. So, let me tell you how it came into my ears today.

As a reader of this blog, you know that my sister, Ansley, died a year and a half ago from breast cancer. Even though we have no familial history of cancer, let alone breast cancer, except for Ansley, who was diagnosed premenopausal, I am in what is considered a "high-risk" category (20-25% chance of cancer in her lifetime). Therefore, I have been told to not only begin the process of yearly mammograms, but to add to it a yearly breast MRI. This was my third year of a mammo and my second year of MRIs. Every year I get a little uptight, a little anxious for these tests In my mind, the threat of cancer always seems to be like a pack of hunting dogs heading to me in the distance.

Thankfully, this year's mammogram came back normal. Two weeks ago I had my MRI at 10:15am. At 2:00pm, my phone rang, caller id said: Breast Center of Greensboro. I said out loud to a dear friend, "Well, this can't be good," but thought it would be about insurance. I was informed that there were changes in this MRI in comparison to last year. Three areas were showing an increase in contrast. (Atypical/cancer cells take an increase in contrast therefore they "light" up more on the scans.)

They recommended that I come in for an ultrasound and biopsy, if they weren't able to locate an area large enough, I would need to have an MRI-assisted biopsy.

Say what? My heart sank, tears were in my eyes and I had to seriously fight to control my emotions which were racing.

As we were leaving for Ocracoke the next day, I was not thrilled at the prospect of waiting. I mentioned that to the doctor. She offered for me to come to her office right away for the ultrasound and possible biopsy. Off I went, making calls to family along the way.

My mom met me in the lobby and it was extremely hard not to let our emotions take control. There were so many levels of remembrance for us and they were all coming back.

The ultrasound did not pick up anything large enough to be testing, which was good news. Small, actually nothing in size, is good. However, the doctor continued to recommend having an MRI core biopsy done.

So, today I went to have this procedure done. After consulting with the doctor who was performing this procedure, I came to the understanding that in my case, even atypical cells (even if non-cancerous) tend to grow, at some point, into cancer. Most likely, if that is the diagnosis, they will need to be removed.

The procedure itself was long due to the scanning before, during and after the procedure. It was uncomfortable (laying perfectly still for nearly an hour), painful with three long sticks of numbing medicine and bizarre (sensation of a bug-like object in your breast). The original intent was to take one biopsy at a location on the bottom left side. However, after the first set of scans, the doctor told me that she would like to go ahead and do two biopsies because of the spot on the top. I hear that news while laying flat on my stomach, boobs hanging free-fall through openings in the table and unable to move.

After the procedure was over, I asked why she decided to take the additional biopsy. She said, "because the location at the top was considerably more worrisome and I don't want to have to go in again." Yay for her proactivity. Pooh for that description.

After that appointment I had to go back to their main office to get a mammogram done.
I know - what? During the biopsies, they inserted two tiny clips in the exact areas where they took tissue. That way, if a surgeon has to go in to remove anything, he/she will know exactly where to go. And yes, they will remain in my body - forever. A little odd, but she didn't think anything about it. Unfortunately, that was really not a pleasant experience as I started bleeding from one biopsy site and had to have all my dressings redone.

I am sure that this is all a little shocking and the "it just can't be" response is probably there as well. I am good. Really good, in fact. This is going to sound a little crazy, but I think this is going to be pretty easy. It certainly has been caught early - way ahead of Ansley. I will, most likely be a stage 0 or stage 1. I can get this all behind me and hey...might get a chance of an upgrade! Goodbye sag-city!

So, say a little prayer for me and my family. This is a road we are all-too familiar with and it is uncomfortable at times. The children know nothing and I will keep it that way until absolutely necessary.

Time that I grab another ice pack out of the freezer and take some more ibuprofen. I will end with one of my favorite mantras: God is good all the time and all the time, HE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Comments from a reader

After I wrote my entry "Getting Freaky" I received an email from an long-time friend. She had much to comment on and rather than type it in the comments section, she emailed me. What is amazing about this friend is that she has the MOST amazing memory of any person I know - tiny details, events, emotions, etc., have been perfectly preserved in her mind. Ones that have long since left my brain. Scarily, sometimes they aren't even familiar and I was central to the story (how does that happen). Anyway, I asked her permission to post some of her comments as they 1) add to the content of the post (details that I have forgotten) and 2) add to the humor. Thanks, Jennifer, for the permission!

In reference to the LOVE CLUB entry:
First of all, the club thing...do you remember when I started the Muppets club and you and Ansley came over and upstairs in my house? You and I (I made the correction) had to be between 9 and 12 years old. I think Angela came too. We all picked characters to be (code names): I was Mrs. Piggy, you were Kermit, and I distinctly remember Ansley choosing Fozzie Bear. Vivid memory for me about Ansley. We drew pictures that day and that's when I realized what a good artist Ansley was. Also everyone had to bring 25 cents for dues. Is this bringing back any memory for you?
All this to say how cute the club thing is for Sadie. The promise and water bowl are in the movie. At least her club already has a purpose in mind...mine didn't. Looking back on it, that's sad.

Secondly, on the things that scared you (or scarred you depending on how many "r"s I include in the spelling!)...
You are not alone in the Ouija board thing...Jeff had an experience w/ one in college. He wasn't playing it but the spirit was directly attacking him by name on the board as roommates/suitemates played. All b/c he was a Christian. He argued scripture to it and it was saying, "Kill Jeff". His story gives me chill bumps. I'd love to hear yours!

That slumber party...was I there? Who hired the storyteller...anyone I know? Was it Jackie Templeton, storyteller? She told a story called "Tillie" that was pretty scary. I saw her twice, once at the HP Theatre and another time I can't recall and I'm wondering if the party was it. I know I've heard "Tillie" twice. Is that the ghost story you speak of? The Jamestown ghost is another one that gets me.
BTW - She is correct in the name of the story teller and the name of the story!

Has anyone else had time to think through what is scary or just freaked them out? I would add two more movies: "Children of Men" and "The Day After Tomorrow".

Additionally, I love when there are comments. One day, I plan on printing this blog for my children (no other ambitions). The comments will go along with them so would like for those that peruse this blog to make their mark.

Monday, August 11, 2008

conversation with Sadie

Little comment from Sadie at the beach:

Sadie: Mom, you have skinny legs.
Me: Oh - thanks Sadie.
Sadie: I mean, skinny legs for a big mom.
Me: (smile)

So close...

Random Notes from Ocracoke

We descended for the 6th year to Ocracoke Island off the coast of NC. This island is only accessible by ferry. The route we take puts us on a 2 hour 15 minute ferry ride. It was interesting to see Lily look at this trip from completely new eyes. It was like the veil had been lifted and she was experiencing everything for the first time. She couldn't understand how we would get our car onto the ferry asking, “Do they hook us onto the boat?” She also couldn't grasp the concept of an “island.” She started crying our first morning because we told her we were going to the beach. On Ocracoke you have to drive out on the beach. There are no hotels or houses on the beach. She was crying while stammering, “I don’t want to leave the island.” But, now, at the end of the week, she understands.

The week has been filled with wonderful memories. We are finally getting to the point that I can sit down and do a little reading while watching the kids. I am not on a crazed, constant running, completely unrelaxing jaunt. And people ask me if we are going to have any more kids?

Most of our days have been spent on the beach. We pack the car (Grand-D’s 4x truck) and lunches and head out for the day. This year there haven’t been the schools of little fish or the shelling we are used to and that has been a little disappointing, but we have seen quite a few dolphins. We watched a man land a 60 lb. (5’) ray which was quickly cut and released. It took him a very long time and we have heard they are some of the toughest fighters. But it was a cool experience and then a little creepy thinking that was lurking out there! Luckily, we hang in the tidal pools and the shallow side. The weather has been lovely on the beach with a wonderful, constant breeze. I hear there is a heat wave going on at home so am glad we are here.

The kids, particularly Ethan, have been focused on shopping, too. That is something new. But, I recall Colby did the same thing around this age. Of course, we made the obligatory trip to Teach’s Lair (aka the pirate store). Ocracoke’s most famous resident was Black Beard (aka Edward Teach). Sadie and Lily got “jewels” in a little velvet bag. They have a large bin with varying colored plastic jewels and coins. Every year it has been the same thing for Sadie and I spend until October market cleaning them up. Then they find a permanent home in her junk box or else wind up in the trash. This year Lily is mesmerized by the jewels. I think she believes they are real. Ethan bought, with his own money, a new cap gun or rather, a large rifle. Before anyone stands in judgment about this, they haven’t been around boys very long. Even when you try to keep them away from “violent toys,” they will find a stick and turn it into some type of weapon.

We met a local family that our kids have just made instant buddies with –MacKenzie and Chandler. McKenzie is in between Ethan and Sadie and Chandler is Lily’ age. One characteristic trait that is developing in Lily is her ability to become friends instantly with other kids. She is drawn to her peers and they are immediately, “her best friend.” She will discard her own siblings in a nanosecond especially if that “new best friend” is a boy. Should I be concerned? She is going to be our social one and probably will be the one with “needs improvement” under unnecessary talking on her report card. I have no idea who she gets that from! Ha!

Yesterday the O’Neals came to swim with us at our pool. The kids had a great time. Sadie and McKenzie exchanged addresses. I think it will be fun for them to write to each other. I bet Ethan will join in as well. I got my first pen pal in 3rd grade and it was so much fun to get mail. Life on the island is so different than for us and I imagine the children will enjoy hearing about how different their lives are despite living only 5 hours apart (plus ferry). We made plans to see them next year – fun! Sadly, I think I forgot to get a single picture! What was I thinking?!?

On Tuesday night, we went to the volunteer fire station for bingo. We almost didn’t get in this year, there was quite a line (they max out at 100). They are raising money for a new fire station which is really important in an isolated island like this. If a fire becomes uncontrollable, supplemental help takes a long time to arrive. Last year, at bingo, we racked in the money as I think almost everyone won something. This year, lucky Sadie won the second game, playing all by herself. Three other people won as well so the winnings were rather small ($5). But it all worked out as Ethan won a door prize to the Sweet Tooth (candy store) for $5. We need to go spend that gift certificate! Bingo started at 7:30 and we didn’t get home until around 10 as in previous years. It makes for a fun, but long night. Sadie actually fell asleep during the second to last game and I had to finish it up for her. Lily was really good, playing with her crayons and m&ms. Ethan was just steady freddy, occasionally getting overwhelmed by the speed of the caller. He was in “his zone” just watching everything going on around him and not totally paying attention to the game.

Lily has really taken to the pool. She wouldn’t put her face in the water a couple of weeks ago – Jay took care of that before we left. She wouldn’t leave the steps when we arrived, but now, with the aid of a life vest, she is swimming all over the place and jumping in. I hope next summer that we will have a more consistent swimming location and they can all improve on their abilities. Ethan and Sadie swim and jump in everywhere without any aides, but I would like their strokes and confidence to improve.

Life here is so simple. I don’t know of another place that puts me in such a relaxed state. We tend to stay at a place that has few units (maybe 10) of which several are contracted with the Coast Guard. There are few, if any, other people at the pool almost making it our own private oasis. The tourists that stay on the island tend to appreciate its beauty and they take care of it. Our unit barely looks lived in and I know it has been rented out for at least 3 years. The shops are quaint and I can always find unique gifts for the kids.

Ansley is here. I have not yet ventured to Springer’s Point to “visit.” I don’t know what is holding me back except the mosquitoes. They are a little vicious this year and I hate the smell of the bug spray – I think cancer is growing just by smelling it. However, I might make a trek out there in the morning.

Yesterday we messed around in the village getting snow-cones made with finely shaved ice. We manage to snag a great picnic table right by the harbor. The breeze was blowing and the weather couldn’t have been better. I could have sat there all day. Like the monkey she is Sadie found some great trees to climb and I got some great pictures. The camera battery went out this morning and I forgot the charger. Thankfully, it is the last day.

I dread packing up and heading out tomorrow. I love this place. Wish every place had this rhythm of life.