Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday, April 28, 2008

A new little person arrived in this world today! I have a new nephew - John Zebulon Greene, V. He will be called Zeb. I just love that. Praise to God for a healthy baby and delivery in Thailand!

I am still nursing my aches and pains. I had an x-ray done yesterday (although I am not sure why). After finding nothing, I am sure, the next plan is an MRI. I wait for the call from the doctor. I am unable to sit up for more than a couple of minutes, therefore, I cannot drive. Jay took the kids to school today. This is getting old.

One positive...I had a wonderful hydrocodone slumber last night.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pain in the rear

The title of this post says it all. I have the most intolerable pain in my rear which runs down the back and side of my thigh. I feel the most pain when I am sitting up - like when driving or working at a desk on my computer. In order to write this post, I am reclining on my bed while sitting on an ice pack (how lovely). This pain has been going on for well over a week but in the last couple of days has increased dramatically. I went to the doctor yesterday and was given some anti-inflammatory stuff and some pain meds. I really thought I would see a vast improvement today. Nope. I drove Ethan and Sadie to the barn this morning (all of a mile from the house) and by the time I got home was ready to slap someone silly.

I did what every person does these days when they have any sort of pain. I consulted the internet. Seems it may or may not be sciatic nerve stuff, a bulging disc or a muscular issue resulting with nerve pain. No duh. However, what scared me the most was that some of these people were talking about 3 years with this kind of pain. What?!?!?!

So, here I lay. It is a beautiful, beautiful day to be outside working on our garden, playing with the kids, even getting out the sprinkler. Instead, I am a slave to my bed, slave to my house, slave to the whims of Jay who needs me with only 5 days to RaRa launch. Someone help me...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A ball of goo

I don't know what it is about this week. I have been an emotional ball of goo. I have cried at the drop of a hat, buckets, sobbing, little sniffles, even random tears. Sure, there is a lot on my plate...a lot of changes, but I am a little taken aback by it all. Maybe this is where is all started...

There was a great article in the paper on Sunday about a couple who has been married for 66 years (66 years!). The wife has been caring for her husband for the past 10 years because he has Alzheimer's. A few years ago, it was required that he be moved into a facility. Despite this, she spends 10-12 hours each day at his side taking care of his every need. She is there to dress him, feed him, take him to the bathroom, give him sips of water, but most importantly, she is there to hold his hand. That is their thing - hand holding. According to her, that is what they have always done. Last week, they renewed their vows at the care facility. Arranged by the staff there, they had a minister and even a small reception. It seemed that for a brief moment, her husband responded and smiled with a little yeah when asked if he would take his wife forever. The tears were plenty. I know, I was there. The story was about my grandparents.

Only a week later, my grandfather sits in ICU. His heart is getting weaker, prostate cancer has invaded his kidneys and the Alzheimer's progressing. I went to visit last night and as I walked into his room, there was my grandmother, doing what she has done for the past 66 years. She was sitting beside him holding his hand. My grandfather was asleep with the occasional moan or snore.

I sat down and we talked. I have, ashamedly, discounted the actions of my grandmother as a sign of weakness. Her lack of "a life", her incessant dedication to my grandfather, her inability to make long-term decisions regarding his care all seemed to be a deficiency in her mental capacity to accept reality and to strike a healthy balance. Her drive to keep him alive each and every day seemed to be a waste of the time God has given her on this earth. Shame on me.

What I learned from her was really one of God's lessons to us all. It was a lesson that God showed me many times in my journey with Ansley. I have followed this lesson for short periods of time and then my old always-be-prepared, controlling self would start creeping back in again. It is simple and it is her motto. "I just take it one day at a time," she says matter of factly. She doesn't think about the what ifs, the possibilities, or what the future holds. She simply waits for the situation to change before she processes it. Admittedly, she says she can't go there and she doesn't. She just loves my grandfather for what he is today.

My grandmother believes as I do, that God is completely in control and the he will take care of this entire situation - my grandfather's health, her health, his care, even my grandmother's grief when her companion of 66 years is gone. But she has successfully managed to work it out into her daily life. I have not.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday, April 22, 2008

I had a wonderfully strange dream last night. The details are a little foggy, but what I do remember was fantastic! I was living life in a musical reality!

This all reminds me of a dear college roommate who's mom thought life would be so much better if it worked like a musical - people breaking out in song and dance at random moments of emotion. I have to agree.

The dream had to have come from a compilation of attending High School Musical and watching Andrew Lloyd Webber on American Idol last night. You know how these real life details morph themselves into a dream like the piecing together of a panoramic photo.

What would life be like if everyone sang in harmony and danced perfectly choreographed numbers? The aisles of the grocery store filled with ladies with dancing carts and smiling kids? Kids breaking out in song while they completed their assigned chores - with happy faces. Or worse, they break out in "It's A Hard Knocked Life" from the musical "Annie."

Well, maybe it is not such a good idea now that I think about it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It was a plethora of love from Ethan tonight:

The phone rang:
Me: Hello...hello?
Ethan using a disguised voice: Hello, I am a billionaire and I want to give you a million dollars for being the best mommy in the world. Just kidding, this is Ethan, your son. (love the "your son" part)

As the lights were going down for bed time:
Ethan: Mommy, if you die, I'll die, too.
Me: No you won't.
Ethan: Yes, I will. I'll kill myself. I just want to always be with you.
Me: ETHAN! No! Remember God has a job for you to do. We don't talk like that. I understand what you mean, though.
Ethan: Mommy, I think you are doing God's job for you really great!

Be still my heart.

Ok, I'll admit it. His love might have been slightly exaggerated because Jay bought a Wii tonight sending him in to an atmospheric high. When I figure it out, I will post more on the Wii and why it was purchased at the end of a 6-month period of no income.

Sadie's part

This past Friday was Grandparent's Day at HPCA. It is the day where all the grandparents or special friends are invited for a musical presentation by the Elementary, followed by an open house of the classrooms. It is a day that the kids really get excited about - for obvious reasons. Hundreds of doting grandparents descend upon the school and then are allowed to take their "budding stars" home early from school for ice cream.

This year, Sadie was given a speaking part. She was recommended by her teacher and then chosen by the principal. I was totally shocked! I remember over a year ago, I sat at the annual Christmas program completely stressed. Sadie was still in 4-year preschool and I came to this sick-to-my-stomach realization that it would take a miracle from God for her to actually be able to participate in such a program next year. She would not sit still, she would not focus, she would decide to run across the stage with her fanny showing. You know, something typically Sadie. OR so I thought!

Friends, God is still in the miracle making business!

This year's Christmas production came and went without a blip. Her teacher even remarked how focused and into it she was. She kept her eyes on the music teacher, sang loudly and produced all hand motions at appropriate times.

Therefore, when I found out that Sadie received a speaking role at Grandparent's Day - one of only 3 in the kindergarten, 1 of 17 in the entire school...well, I was both elated and weak at the knees.

After one day of dress rehearsal the week of the production, Ethan announced the following:
Mommy, I was so nervous for Sadie when it was her turn, but she was awesome! She did a great job. Mommy, it was just incredible.

I began to relax...a little.

Seeing that the odds are strongly stacked against Sadie ever getting another part at a school production, Jay and I decided to crash the senior citizen party toting the obligatory video camera.

It came time for her part, the last speaking part. As she made her way to the microphone, I stood up to get the perfect shot. I am sure I mouthed her few lines along with her just like a pushy stage mom:

"The greatest example we have is Jesus. He is the King of kings, yet he humbly came down to earth because we needed a Savior."

She nailed it. There was even a little murmur across the crowd as she took her seat. It was clear, it was poised...she was in her element. I was teary.

Raising her has been hard work. Many times, I have felt like she was sitting there chipping away at me piece by piece by piece. There were times when I just sat down and cried. My failures were plenty, my frustrations many, and my prayers a thousand fold.

But God IS in the miracle business. He is faithful to bless us when we are so undeserving.

I know that I am not out of the woods. Sadie is Sadie, after all. But for a moment, I saw what God sees in her. A beautiful little flawless soul who loves Him.

My hotel thing, by Lily

For several months now, Lily would bring a toy into the car calling it her "hotel." The toy might change, but she would still call it her "hotel." I totally didn't get it and thought this was just one of those quirky things. Some sort of odd qualifier of her toys. This morning, Lily walked into the bedroom with a toy and declared it was her "hotel" thing. I remarked to Jay that I was baffled by this reference. He looked at me and calmly said, "Kelsey, that is her "show and tell" thing!" AHA! And, good for Jay for being the translator for once!

Deep Thoughts, by Ethan

I love my little thinker, Ethan. When confronted with a new situation or experience, he doesn't often make much comment. However, weeks or even months after they have happened he will have a few questions and want to 'chat' about it. Inevitably these conversations begin just as I am getting ready to turn off the light at bed time. How clever of him, right?

Last night, he and Sadie were sitting on his bed. They have become bed buddies lately which I don't fight. Ansley and I slept in the same bed through junior high. I suspect in a year or two it will Sadie and Lily sharing a twin bed in the night. I think it has actually helped their relationship as it seems they don't fight nearly as much.

Here are some of his questions over the past 3-4 years:
1. How can God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit be one?
2. Who created God? How can he have always been?
3. Why did God have to take Mamie (Ansley)?
4. Who created Satan?
5.If God wants to be with us, why didn't he just create us in heaven. Why did he bother with earth?

Last night, it was a doozy:
What if someone just decided to make up our God, you know just made up all this stuff? I mean, what if we are worshipping the wrong God and we will just die because we are worshipping the wrong God? I don't want to just die. I want to go somewhere - I want to go to heaven.

Ok - So, I wasn't quite prepared for that one out of left field. Thankfully, I was holding his Bible and I was able to point him to: Jesus said, I am THE way, THE truth and THE Life. No one comes to the Father, but through me. Along with some other scriptures of relevance. Seem to satisfy him for now...

I love that he thinks on such a deep level for a 7, almost 8 year old. I love that he doesn't accept things at just face value, but wants to explore and mull it over and question it. And, I am sure this will not be the last entry titled...Deep Thoughts, by Ethan.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Freaky Friday

What I learned on our beach trip was mind-blowing, simply astounding...my Dad and I are like twins separated at birth. Alright. Slight-exaggeration. However, it has been a long time since I have spent several days together, under the same roof, with my dad. We have taken vacations together, but the crowd is always too big to stay under same roof. Actually, I think no one really wanted to stay with our three, very loud, very young, rising at the crack of dawn children, so we ended up in a place of our own. I can happily say that much of that has changed, except their volume.

Over the past four days, I have learned the following:

1. We love to eat cookies for breakfast. Homemade chocolate chip is favored with Oatmeal Raisin coming a close second. The cookie is served with a cup of black coffee. We have no shame in this horrible choice of nutrition. We don't even think twice about it.

2. We talk a mean, mean game prior to engaging in one. Even if we have NO skill in what we are attempting to play, we still think we are good at it. Oh, wait. That may only apply to me and a pathetic game of ping pong I goaded my dad into playing against me. Dad 50, Kelsey 0

3. We are horrible sports. The pure glee we get when we are winning borders embarrassment. We can also come up with every excuse imaginable if we are losing. The earth's alignment with the sun caused a slight blind spot when trying to putt at the 9th hole at Treasure Island putt putt which resulted in 3 strokes, one-over. You get my drift?

4. We have the same feet and hands and have passed that physical attribute onto Ethan.

And finally,
5. We love the beach. It brings out the best of us. Period. It was my dad who drove us as children to spend every vacation we had at the beach. My entire youth was spent at Myrtle Beach (weekends, every break, summers, etc.) and I could probably drive those back wood/logging roads blindfolded.

Nothing relaxes me more than sitting on a hot beach, hearing the waves and sipping on a cold beverage. It rivals any prescription for me. We are usually one of the first on the beach and almost always the last to go in. My dad is also a great weather forecaster of the clouds while on the beach. He will note the size, shape, and color of the clouds, wind direction, etc. in order to determine if packing up is necessary. Others will run inside, afraid of the possibility of rain. My dad keeps a steady course, sometimes sitting out in a very, very brief shower. What dedication!

While on the beach, I can't say we read a lot, stay in the water or get out of our chairs more than a couple of times. We just sit and talk (mainly about the weather!) and take the occasional nap. It is heavenly.

I am thankful for all those trips to the sand, Dad. And, for giving me that part of you!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Getting to Know You...Getting to Know All About You...

Got tagged again. This is fun! Here it goes:

Place an (X) by all of the things you have done.

Have you ever:
Gone on a blind date (X) Cute boy but not my type. Ended up being my best friend's boyfriend for a year or so in high school, OH - forgot a horrible one in college. Yuck!
Skipped school (x) - to do things I am ashamed about! Parents never knew.
Been with someone when they died (X) Only one. Ansley
Been to Canada () Nope.
Been to Mexico ( ) Nope.
Been to Florida (X)
Been on a plane (X)

Been lost () Notice empty box. I can say I have never been truly lost. Maybe a wrong turn or so, but never have I driven in the wrong direction with out knowing I was going in the wrong direction. This is an area in which I have a little pride.

Been on the opposite side of the country (X) California and Washington State
Gone to Washington , DC (X) Over Easter was the latest. I actually drove there when I had a 3 mo. old and a 2 year old (5 hour drive)
Swam in the ocean (X) Dipped my feet in it yesterday - WAY too cold for a swim!
Cried yourself to sleep (X) More times in the last year than I would like
Played cops and robbers (X) I am not sure... but for sure cowboys and Indians
Recently colored with crayons (X) Just a day or so ago
Sang Karaoke (X) Oh how bad it was singing Country Roads in a bowling alley bar named Chauncey's. Need I say more!
Paid for a meal with coins only? (X) Many times b/c keep coins in my car! Stealing Robin's answer
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? (X) - I said that whenever I sewed paper together for scrapbooking I would quit. Obviously, I did it and still scrapbook.
Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (X)
Caught a snowflake on your tongue (X)
Danced in the rain (X)
Written a letter to Santa Claus (X)
Been kissed under the mistletoe (X)
Watched the sunrise with someone you care about () Empty because I am NOT a morning person. I could put an X if it were sunset.
Blown bubbles (X) Will do it a lot today on the beach
Gone ice-skating (X)
Gone to the movies (X)
Gone water skiing (X) In Jamaica - it was pitiful

1. Any nickname: No - well, actually, I had the nickname Spike in Junior High because I had gotten some tree sap in my hair - right at the top - and had to have it cut out. When it grew back I had spikey hair. It was awful! In 8th grade - what could be worse at that age?
2. Favorite breakfast cereal? Granola
3. Favorite drink? Sweet Tea or Lemonade
4. Body Piercing? Ears only! But I do have a tattoo which morphed into something very unattractive due to stretch marks from three pregnancies! If you are going to get a tattoo - think about where you are putting it!!!
6. How much do you love your job? SAHM - love it, President of RaRa - who knows?
7. Birthplace? Virginia
8. Favorite vacation spot? The Carribbean
9. Ever been to Africa ? Twice - Once as a heathen and once as a believer. Heathen: Hitchhiked through Botswana into Zimbabwe, was in South Africa 6 months after the vote to end apartheid - very exciting and also very scary. Believer: Ghana. Beautiful. Planning a 2009 trip to see Ansley's church.
10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? I am sure I have, although, I would say it happens for breakfast more often!
11. Ever been on TV? A few times as a child.
12. Ever steal any traffic sign? No, but someone gave me one in high school. Robin, I have the SAME answer!!!
13. Ever been in a car accident? Yes - a few. Once drove a truck into a pond in high school. Upon exiting the vehicle, I was waist deep in water!
14. Favorite salad dressing? Tried and true 1,000 Island
15. Favorite pie? Jay's homemade and incredible Dutch Apple Pie - the REAL deal
16. Drive a 2 door or 4 door car? 4 Door
17. Favorite number? 3 - the number of my children, the trinity among others
18. Favorite movie? Jane Austen flicks, Life is Beautiful
19. Favorite holiday? I have to say Easter - for the emotion. And I'll admit it, I love Halloween. Call me a heathen, people. Even as an adult, I like getting dressed up and the candy. I love fall festivals!!!! This year, in a strange twist, Ethan was Darth Vader and I was Princess Lea. He was my father!
20. Favorite dessert? Anything with dark chocolate
21 Favorite food? Homemade pimento cheese salad and chicken salad from Company's Coming. To die for!
22. Favorite day of the week? Friday
23. Favorite brand of body wash? Body wash? Are you kidding me? I never use it. Robin, I'll pass along any I have when I see you.
24. Favorite toothpaste? Crest
25. Favorite perfume/cologne? Never wear it. But I think I have some Beautiful or Happy that I throw on once or twice a year.
26. What do you do to relax? take a hot, hot bath and sleep.
27. What is your number one pet peeve? People who continually complain about their lives and then keep repeating the same behavior that got them there. Usually it is a result of unreliance on God. Boy, that sounds really, really judgemental. Gotta work on that.
28. How do you see yourself in 10 years? I have no idea. That is a really strange question. I mean, kids will be teenagers - 17, 16, 13. So, I would imagine I would spend a lot of time pulling my hair out, locked in my bathroom?!?!?! We are at such a cross roads with our family - new business, etc. WHO KNOWS!!?!?!
29. Farthest place you will send this message? I don't know who is reading except for three people. I just added someone who is in Asia. Who knows?
30 Of the people who read this, who will do this first? Obviously, can't answer. See above.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

We're leaving for the beach today! Yippee!! We'll be back on Monday and I am very, very excited. Thank you, Dad, for the unexpected treat. I am sure this will be the last vacation for a very, very long time. Jay is taking the laptop so I hope to get some serious blogging done and have lots of posts on Tuesday!

Launch time for RaRa Telecom Supply: T-minus 12 DAYS!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Note to self: Not everything the market renters leave behind is worthy to keep.

Our market guests decided to do more cooking this time around. At least that is what they intended with all the food they purchased. And, it wasn't the cheap stuff either. Lots of fresh fruits, nuts, olives, crackers, organic, etc. A lot of items I would never purchase. Lucky us, they bagged the whole idea of eating in about halfway through market. They left a ton of unopened food in our fridge. (I am not talking leftovers, people, I do have some standards).

I decided to try out a new recipe combining several items, including the all gourmet sounding polenta. After a little investigating, I found that polenta is a very finely ground cornmeal. In this case it was presented like a sausage. I thought it was some sort of pasta/rice something so at least I was close with a starch. I made the very uppity sounding Italian eggs with Spinach and Polenta. Let me tell ya, we are a polenta eating family now. The kids loved it - particularly the Italian eggs. Sadie, "This stuff is awesome." I think it really had to do with what was on top of the polenta because the polenta itself was marginal, at best. After all, it is cornmeal.

Tonight, Jay said, those Thai peanuts are terrible. This statement coming from a man who could eat Thai food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was suspect at best. Thai peanuts? I hadn't seen them in the pantry. I doubted him (at least his assessment of them) and asked him to bring them to me. His desire to see me gag obviously got the best of him and he literally ran to get them. Heinous. I couldn't get a glass of water fast enough. The official name of the product: Traditional Thai Lime & Chili Peanuts - found at your local Trader Joe's. BLAH!

So what have you had lately - good, bad or ugly that you can give a shout about?


I have opened up my blog with some fear and well, excitement. If you read this post, I hope that you will take the time to make a comment. After each post there is a place to click that says Comments (duh.). My good friend, Robin, aka Hillbilly Robin is really good at this, (note her various comments) . I like to know who is here and I want to get some feedback.

Can you relate about what I am writing? Does what I have written seem true or contrived, etc.

My blog is about my family. Occasionally, I will write about past experiences, particularly regarding my sister, Ansley, who passed away over a year ago from breast cancer. So, enjoy, but let me know you are here - even if you do it anonymously!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sadie declared she was going to love on our dog, Bobo. He is an outside dog with one eye who really deserves his own post. Old, faithful, slightly nasty, Bobo.

Anyway, she came inside and asked for a snack. I said - sure, but make sure you wash your hands. She came back to ask if she could have the "bad mommy snack du jour" Yogos. I saw that her hands were wet, but I had a feeling no soap had been applied. She was standing in the door frame and put one hand on the white painted frame. Here is the conversation:

"Sadie, did you wash your hands?"
"Did you use soap?"
"No, but I am the only one who will touch my Yogos."

I love her qualifier. At least she doesn't want to get anyone else sick, but is ok with making herself sick. At this point she moved away from the door frame. There was this nasty little muddy imprint left on my white painted door frame.

See, Sadie, that is why you need to use soap!

On another note...if you have never purchased Yogos for your kids...DON'T! I only bought them because they were at Aldi's and appeared to be a good price. They taste disgusting, but my kids would lie, cheat and steal to get them. I don't want to think about the nutritional value...or lack thereof.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

God's flashlight

I read this today in another blog I frequent. It was about his children:

I'm stunned and humbled seeing the pure goodness that radiates from these small things that sprang from my wife's body and introduced me to the person that I'm supposed to be. It's like someone pressure washed all of the dreck from a few pieces of my personality, put them together with many more pieces of my wife's personality and then repackaged it into a living reminder of that there are good things in the world.

What struck me was the writer's statement that his children introduced him to the person that he is supposed to be. How true I have found this to be. To that end I would say that they have introduced me to the person I really am. In general, it is not a pretty sight.

I have long said that my children have brought all of my sin to the forefront - the proverbial 'slammed by a mack truck,' if you will. Acted-out anger, impatience, selfishness are showcased like a very bad junior high talent show that keeps repeating itself - ad nauseum. When I look at the bigger picture, I find I can add anxiety and worry as they go about their day with out me in their physical presence. Don't even get me started about my control issues! That was the specific purpose of one of my children.

How many times have I become extremely irritable because I have not gotten MY way - what I feel like I (key word) DESERVE. Hmmmm - sound familiar?!?! Sounds like a statement that my own children could make and I am supposed to be the adult, the parent, the one who instructs. At least I can say that I no longer stomp my feet in a fit of anger...well, actually, that would be a lie. I last stomped my feet and threw myself on my bed when I realized Jay had picked out and was already painting Ethan's nursery mint green instead of celadon green. Chalk that one up to hormones, plain and simple.

Instead of temper tantrums, I have become the MASTER of justification. OR should I say I can excuse any of my sinful behaviors with a wave of my hand. I am the parent, they are the children - end of story. Hmpf. But lately, God has brought me back under the examination light. The last three months have been a particularly tough time of evaluation. Pain, but good pain, I often say.

To evaluate each and every response with "die to self," has been an extremely difficult exercise and one that at times I feel is completely futile. To put aside the exhaustion, the emotional waste, the frazzled-ness, the lack of ME that my life holds on a continuous and consistent basis is well...painful. And let me be very, very clear - I fail more often than I succeed.

However, I do see some fruits of my labor. Slow changes, improvements, a better relationship with my kids. And although I can't say that their behavior has reached perfection, I see a change in my reaction to them. And, really, isn't that why God's light shines - to change me and draw me closer to Him?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

6 word memoir update

J and I had a conversation regarding my cell phone or mobile phone (pick your terminology). It was a conversation that always begins with the same statement..."You would have known if you had your phone...insert sentence ending from the following:
1. on
2. with you
3. charged up.

I am adult, on most accounts. However, the mobile phone has reduced me to a child. I can't keep up with it, I can't keep it charged and I certainly can't be expected to have it with me AT ALL TIMES.

Jay just clips it to him daily- actually, I think he is now a part of that subculture that alters their body (i.e. Lizard Man). He could become Cell Phone Man. If it weren't for upgrades I think he would have it surgically attached. He feels naked if he doesn't have it with him which I can only liken to jewelry for us. Seriously, which one is more important? Ladies?

So this twice weekly conversation ensues with the never-ending threat of having my phone turned off. I have actually begged for this to happen at one point because I just don't like the pressure of the mobile phone rules. Always on. Always charged. Always with you.

Long ago, I discovered my limits regarding responsibility. Ask my mom. I lost countless library books as a child, left lunches on the counter, forgot tennis rackets on game days, etc. And as an adult, it is not uncommon for me to completely miss scheduled dental appointments, double book events, etc. The pinnacle of this, which most of you know, is when I ACCIDENT LY left one of my kids at home (post to come - DON'T CALL DSS). Knowing this, J still thinks I am capable of owning a mobile phone. So, who just who is the irresponsible one here?

Therefore, my response to the mobile phone conversation we have been through a million times is to hang my head and say that I will try better next time -like a child.

Not knowing of the 6-word challenge, Jay responded by saying, "This should be your life statement, Kelsey:"

"I will, when my phone's charged."


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Focused Talent

Today, my mom took Gray, Sadie and me to see the local community theater's production of "High School Musical." On the way to meet my mom and Gray, Sadie began singing. It was the sweetest sound. I didn't know this song was part of her limited repertoire. A soft and very in-tune voice sang, "Here comes the sun...ado-do-do-do. Here comes the sun - ado-do-do-do. It's all right." She sang straight to my prideful heart.

Onto the show...I must be one of the few parents who is not well versed in the High School Musical saga or songs. I have not seen the movie. I can only liken its popularity to the movie of my generation...GREASE. Surprisingly, HSM is quite innocent in compared to the pregnancy scare and the innocent-turned-prostitute story line of GREASE. What were our parents thinking????

All in all, this performance of HSM was a great show with an incredible amount of talent. We all enjoyed it a lot. During the show, I looked over at Sadie who was absolutely glued to the performers (except for one incident referenced below). I thought - wow - she could be on that stage one day. She has such a pretty, velvety voice - prideful heart growing. What talent - she could be a star. And then...she made her best effort to clap to the songs along with the rest of the audience. I had no idea that some one could not hear the beat to a song as obviously as she didn't. Amazing. How can someone sing, in-tune, and then be completely void of rhythm, slapping hands together in such a spasmoid fashion? Isn't it supposed to be like Ebony and Ivory - side by side in perfect harmony? Prideful heart deflated and back to reality.

Ok - so when I try to describe my children to other people, it is tough to describe Sadie and her idiosyncrasies. Seriously, the child truly marches to the beat of her own drummer. This is where she became completely side-tracked at the show. We had popcorn in a typical red and white box - who knew they served this during the musical? Anyway, somewhere during middle of the second act, she finished up the box. She was frustrated by the end of the box because it was the foldable kind and she kept losing popcorn out of the bottom because she stuck her fingers through it. So, here is this empty popcorn box, normally placed on the floor of the theater and taken to the trash at the end of the show. Instead, Sadie begins to reconfigure the box into something useful. What could you possibly need at a community theater production? Why some sort of viewing device/binoculars! She pushed open the bottom of the box and started tearing off the perforated top. At this point I realized what she was doing. She wanted to use the box to view the performance - holding the empty box up to her eyes and peering through the bottom to the stage. It would block other peoples' views and when she turned to the left, she would hit unsuspecting Gray. So, I took it away and told her that she could have it at the end of the show. After each song (about 4 songs left) she would ask, in that voice that tried to be a whisper, but came out nearly a yell, if that was the last song. She was a complete ball of frustration, irritation with a smidgen of anger. At one point I told her that we would have to go outside and miss the rest of the show if she didn't stop asking about the end of the show or her box. Her response was..."Can I have my box if we leave?" UGH! And this, my friends, is Sadie. Where is that box, you might ask? Sitting on my desk (in the basement - see post 4/11, No Room in the Inn), untouched since we left the theater. I brought it in after seeing it had been discarded and forgotten in the car. Sigh.

Ah - my little perplexing and challenging and tenacious Sadie. I completely love you... wonderful, perfectly-made you!

Love infinity

Stillness, silence, a dark night that was suffocating. I was completely lost, but knew where I was. I drove home, alone, from saying goodbye to her for the last time. The road was lonely, I was empty. I don't know how I drove. My snapshot of that time in the early morning hours is like a tunnel, only able to remember what was right in front of me, the 5-lane road sending me home and nothing on the periphery. I made one phone call. A friend's voice on the other end. The same voice at the other end that was there for the first call I made when cancer invaded my life some 3 years prior. Just as she did three years ago, she wept with me. I had to fight down the sobs to even get breath to speak the news. I whimpered the words. The whimper ended with a new noise for me - a small moan that involuntarily slipped out whenever I exhaled in attempt to gather my composure. A moan that made its appearance with regularity over the next month. I knew I had to get off the phone or I would no longer be able to drive. I began to drive with force. I wanted my family. I wanted my husband. I wanted my home. I wanted the familiar because nothing about me was that any more.

I arrived with a heaviness that continued to sink me to deepest depths of sorrow and grief. I walked in the door. J met me and held me while I let out the deepest of cries and nearly collapsed on the floor of our kitchen.

We had a guest in our house that night. A college friend had spent the night with the expectation of going with me to visit her in the hospital. She had traveled from NY to be here. My walk up the stairs to guest room where she was getting ready was long. She had no idea I had left in the night and she didn't know that her initial purpose in coming was gone. I knocked on the door. She opened it, apologetic because she was not ready and it was our decided time to leave. She took one look at me and said, "What's wrong." I knew she had already figured it out by my pained expression and already swollen eyes. We held each other and cried. It was surreal that she was gone, but more surreal to tell someone who was not a part of my every day norm. No where in all of my imaginings, planning or preparations for this inevitable day was my friend a part of this initial stage. It was God's timing.

She stayed with me while J went to work to wrap up a couple of loose ends for what would be nearly a week off from work. I was exhausted, I was overcome but most interestingly, I was sick. So very sick that all I could do was throw up. I would make it to the toilet to wretch my digestive track up to my throat and back down again. Then, I would collapse on the bathroom floor mat out of weakness. I would wait until I gained enough strength to crawl back to my bed. I believe that out of all of God's blessings during this time, this was His greatest.

I know that has to be a very incredulous and unfathomable statement. I had just lost my only sibling, my best friend. Most people would say that God added insult to injury with this attack on my body. But here is a different perspective on the God I love. I had not experienced this level of vomiting since I was a child. My body screamed with aches that could only be equated with being bludgeoned. My eyes were so miserably sore that it felt like someone had kneaded them like dough. I was in a complete fog. I could not think. I could not process. I could not focus. Therefore, I could not begin to comprehend reality. God spared me the entire fullness of the loss. He gave it to me in small doses, in the smallest increments. He allowed me not to feel the enormity for hours, but only for minutes - the minutes when I stumbled back into reality between phases of my coma-like sleep. For innumerable phases during the past three years, I had exhausted much of my mental capacity on figuring out how I was going to exist those first 2-3 days after her death - to no avail.

He had. He knew. He spared me. He loved me to the point of my greatest need.

Trust the Lord with all your heart. Lean NOT on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.


My 6 Word Memoir

Yay! I have been tagged by Robin! Yippee! I have to come up with a 6-word memoir. My first instinct made for a somewhat negative response. I am going through some sort of emotional period. It is not because of THAT period, but it may be linked to being delegated to our basement (see April 11 post), stress from trying to learn our company's new software (so out of my element), or the worst possibility...I am starting "the change". Isn't it too early for me at 37, I mean 36?!?!? I have had some random hot moments, but only at night. Does that count? I found myself trying to shop in the juniors department at stores in hopes that it might somehow will my body to reverse course. It is all in your mind, right? Ridiculous.

In light of the above...here is my first attempt:

She bought juniors instead of seniors.

Doesn't really work. So, I look elsewhere in my life for other inspiration. Next thought was on my emotions. I cried and cried and cried yesterday because I though that ONE boy in Ethan's class was excluded from a birthday party to which all the other boys were invited. I understood from Ethan that he knew about the party and he asked the birthday party boy several times if he was going to get to go to it. His questions were simply ignored, according to Ethan. According to Ethan, the birthday boy told the other boys that everyone was invited except for this boy. I hope, with all of my heart, that this boy did not realize that everyone else had been invited. My heart hurt for him and his mother, who might have had to comfort him. To make matters worse, all I could visualize was this little boy, the only boy, waiting to be picked up while all the other boys traipsed off for a classmate's party. I couldn't believe the parents would allow such a thing. I cried on and off last night over this issue. BUT WAIT! I did some investigating and found out today that the boy WAS in fact invited and just couldn't go. I am a little confused, but I have to trust the information from the teacher.

Based on that, here is memoir #2:

She cried buckets for no reason.

Ok - so that is not really an accurate portrayal of me over a lifetime. I am less a cryer and more of a solver. This leads me to ... my relationship with God at the moment. I am going through a lot of change in my life (see ALL of the above). My life's snapshot is always that of a tug of war between letting go and letting God. I am such a control person - maybe not so much wanting to control it all, but wanting to be knowledgeable of the future and security. Therefore, when I say I look to my relationship with God "at the moment," it really is a lifelong issue for me. When does God ask me to play a role and when I am I to sit quietly by, waiting for Him?

Based on that, here is my final and probably most accurate memoir:

She desires release and wants God.

Friday, April 11, 2008

No Room in the Inn

It is that time of year - that twice a year event that happens in our town, the "Furniture Capital of the World." A place where, "All the World Buys Here," to coin another one of their slogans. Or, the latest, "The World's Home for Home Furnishings" - how clever. This town has been my home for all but a few scant years so it almost is a measure of time for me. "I think I saw them a couple of furniture markets ago", etc. People in this area don't plan weddings or other events during the months of April or OCtobe because every space, caterer, and florist is tied up with serving this industry.

I was tied to this town because my father is a furniture designer - soon to retire. I spent time in showrooms as a young child while my dad feverishly put last minute hardware on casegoods (layman's term - wood furniture) in preparation for opening day. During high school I worked at the priciest and consequently, the "place to be seen" restaurant in High Point. This restaurant actually had career waiters who made about 50% of their yearly income at these two markets. My first couple of "career' jobs were also in the industry - one of the industry's largest and most known manufacturers followed by a stint at THE industry publication. So, to say that I am the expert of the High Point market may be a little exaggerated, but I do feel that I can say we are acquaintances.

Over the past couple of years, my relationship with the market has now been reduced to "landlord." Yes, we do what a medium percentage of High Pointers do during market - we rent our house. This is such a foreign concept for people who have never lived here - "You mean you rent your house to COMPLETE strangers?" "I could never do that!" "I couldn't stand having someone rifle through my things."

PEOPLE! Oh yes you would! You would if you got $5-7,000 of tax-free money for about 20 days out of the year. You would sell yourself to whomever wanted to lay their head down on "your" pillow. You would buy new linens, paint whole rooms, clean out closets and drawers, get your windows washed, wipe down your tooth brush holder, scrub your sink with vinegar and a toothbrush, even buy bottled water and fruit baskets to have "complete strangers" roll out the big bucks and become repeat customers.

You will search high and low for the ultimate destination for your family while these "complete strangers" sleep comfortably in "your" bed. You will farm family members here and there, scattered like dice on a craps table. You will go on Disney vacations (spending your market rental money in one quick swoop), you will call up old friends to visit in far away towns, you will leech off coworkers, you hole up in your basement like a bunch of mole people who shush their children until they begin to scream HUSH, you will even camp at the local swampground, I mean, campground during the first rain events to happen in three months. During this stay in waterworld, your child might ingest your husband's heart medication which has not lockable/unreachable location in the camper. This requires a trip to the emergency room and an admittance for three days. Ironically, it results in the best sleep you will experience in comparison to the camper while "complete strangers" sleep in "your" bed.

So, here I sit...in my basement. Day 6 of 10. We are fortunate. We have great renters who have been with us for the 5th market. They are very kind, very clean and very appreciative of my OCD cleaning tenancies.

However, I liken the entire process to pregnancy and birth. The first time, you don't know what to expect. You clean like a woman possessed. You spend a month cleaning every crack and crevice of your home - wiping down walls, every light fixture, cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator, making innumerable trips to good will., even resorting to vacuuming the tops of door frames that you realize were never painted because they are NEVER SEEN! Your due date, I mean, the check-in date of your market guests arrives and running out of time you leave your kids strapped in your running car for two more hours watching a movie while you scramble to finish the "final clean" which two hours ago you thought would only take "another 30 minutes." You leave, exhausted, beaten, with hands so parched from cleaners and water that no amount of lotion or paraffin wax can resuscitate them. Your car is loaded with everything you think you might need for another 10 days and you head to whatever temporary shelter you have arranged. The market guests are born, I mean, they have arrived. You spend the next 10 days trying to figure out your new schedule, your new temporary home. You try NOT to feed your kids fast food every meal and get them in bed before 10 all the while realizing that it is national testing week and you forgot their library books. Just like with a newborn, you are juggling it all and getting not one ounce of sleep. You stress, you cry, your whole self is on edge as you try to maintain the schedule you had before the "arrival. You remember your house as you left it - so clean you could run your tongue along the front door handle and have not one smidge of petri dish nightmare on it - just like reminiscing of your life prior to the your newborn.

You round the bend, you are heading into home (literally). You walk in the door to your home which smells like "complete strangers" who have been sleeping in "your" bed. You unpack. Not only do you unpack the 10 day supply of items you took initially, but you return all the things you picked up on subsequent trips back to the house to clean (extra socks, books for the kids, sunscreen, heavier coats, a random pot, canned goods that were never opened the last market).

Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention becoming a hotel maid? Yeah. Nothing like cleaning up after "complete strangers"who are sleeping on "your" bed. Washing your sheets they have slept on, cleaning your toilet they have...well, you know. "Complete strangers" who have intimate knowledge about your clothing, toiletries and food habits. They may even, suck in all the air in the room, decide they don't like how you have decorated and make a few changes of their own.

You sit down in your clean house (after you have cleaned it upon your return so you can live in it again). For a brief moment, all seems well. Translates: Your baby is sleeping, content with milk, smiling in his sleep. And you are there to capture it all.

Maybe it wasn't so bad. Maybe, just maybe, you will have another child - Oops, I mean, try renting again, to "complete strangers" sleeping in "your" bed.

DISCLAIMER: Some, but not ALL, of the examples listed have been my experience. They have been told to me by other "landlords."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday, April 7 2008

Sadie was at the table in the basement today. She told me she wanted to color. I was washing dishes and she began to work. She finished her drawing and said, "Do you like my picture of Mamie?" I looked, amazed that she was the focus of her drawing today. It was sweet, smiling face with brown curly hair. Very Mamie. I asked Sadie what she remembered about Mamie. She said that she remembered her smiling. And, Sadie said that she could talk to her all the time because she is with her, in her heart. Sadie asked a few questions about the geography of heaven, if we sent balloons there, if you go up in space are you there, etc. Regardless, of my answer, I could see in her eyes that she believes with all her heart that heaven is real, and most importantly she wants to go there without any reservation.

Lily told me today that she was playing with "engine" turtles (instead of ninja turtles). We sat at the piano and played a bit today. I actually tried to teach her how to play a few notes of Heart & Soul. What was I thinking - she is 3 for crying out loud. Anyway, while I played she sat beside me and leaned in putting her head against my arm. What a sweet little moment between the two of us.

Ethan told me he had a good God moment today. Someone called someone else in the class a "butt cracker". Actually, it was whispered into his ear on the way back from the playground. Not totally sure what that means exactly, but anyway, I asked what he did. Ethan said that he told him to stop that it would hurt the other boy's feelings. Yay, Ethan.

So, I am trying to keep a list of things that I worry (not sinful-keep-me-awake-at-night worry, but just fleeting-should-I-be-concerned worry) about because I don't know how they work... OR something along those lines. I'll figure out the category as I go along because I am not sure all the things that infiltrate that area of my brain.

Issue #1: I worry about setting the house on fire when I dim the lights to their lowest point. I don't know why, but it seems to me that it would short them out or frazzle them or something. Maybe it is because I really don't trust the electrical in this house. Certainly it is not because I don't know everything there is about domestic electrical wiring - HA HA!

And, finally, if a certain person reading this blog DARES to show up at my house for any fun event with electrical wires or a manual or anything - I will find ways to use bananas.