Friday, July 27, 2007

It's the end of a busy week and we four are packing up to go on vacation. My brother and his partner have a cabin in Maggie Valley, NC and have rented it to us for the week. I can't wait! Sweet solitude. Peace and quiet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

His Mysterious Ways

I have been reading some of the other blogs today. My husband is out of town for 3 days. He's in San Antonio, Texas on business and so in what is generally my time with him in the evening I've been reading others' blogs.
I am totally blown away by the passion and honesty so many women display in their writing. I guess I'm guilty of thinking that it's not the norm to be open with people you've never met and so I've been shocked by how many actually are. I find their words inspiring, encouraging, challenging. I need to be challenged out of my tiny little view of myself and my God.
I can say that I'm loyal. I have a few friends but those friends are very dear to me and our friendships have been forged over many years. I think that's why I relate to Beth Moore's teaching style and her books; she understands about trust issues. Anyway, in this last year all my friends have gone from being at home moms to jobs elsewhere because their kids have grown-up. I have the youngest child, even though I'm not the youngest mom (as the one who is the youngest will be happy to tell you) so I am still at home while they are busy with their new work. I admit that I have felt quite sorry for myself at times. It's lonely work to be at home and half your kids grown, the other half in school and your friends moved on. But the Lord has provided me with a volunteer job and an art class and a Beth Moore bible study group and activities with my girls to keep me busy. And then He led me to this blog thing where women are so totally honest about their lives and their faith. He says to me "Hey, you big baby, you are not alone in the world. We all have challenges. And I'm in there with you!" He is so awesome. He provides for my every need when I come home from the pity party long enough to let Him. Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

a glimpse

My husband and I took our birthday girl and two of her friends shopping all day Saturday. Actually, they shopped around together and my husband, younger daughter, and I went around shopping together. We all had a fabulous dinner at an Italian place called Margianno's and then stayed over at a hotel and had brunch this morning before returning home.
After my afternoon nap, son number two gave me a call. The first thing he asked me was Why weren't we at church? He had gone with a friend and looked for us. I'm thanking the Lord in my heart the entire conversation because he hasn't been to church since he moved out. He was inspired enough to discuss the sermon with me and seemed genuinely moved by the missions reports that came after. He made chocolate bananas and brought them over for our family birthday party and had a present for his sister, a stuffed toy white tiger, that he said was to keep an eye on her. Thank you Lord, for a glimpse of the constant hand You have on his life.

Friday, July 20, 2007


My girl will be sixteen on Sunday. I was doing okay with this, I thought, until I went in the grocery store to order a picture cake. I had made a sweet sixteen page with this baby picture and one of her from homecoming with absolutely no tears. I pranced right to the bakery department to order my cake. The bakery lady said she had to make sure the picture cake machine was working and after a few moments she came over and said "This is what it will look like." It was as if I saw the thing for the very first time and tears jumped totally unbiddened to my eyes. I could only nod as the bakery lady smiled knowingly at me. "She's lovely." she said. I just smiled and nodded feeling like a doddering old woman.

This baby girl was totally unexpected. I had two boys and fully expected a third son, although my heart ached for girlness and shared womanhood. The ob told me that if I was a having a third child just to have a girl I was making a terrible mistake. I thought I would explode from anticipation until in my 19th week of pregnancy, the day after seeing my baby spin and spin on the ultrasound, my doctor called and said he had gotten back some test results that could indicate the baby had downs syndrome. He wanted to know what I wanted to do: have an amnio right away and rule out any doubt or have further tests that would be inconclusive but would give a better indication of the risks. He said there were risks with an amnio and unless we would want to end the pregnancy he advised against it. We decided to wait.

One morning a few weeks later I lay in bed talking to God about this baby. I knew I loved him/her no matter what. I felt the Lord's presence so intensely. He told me that everything would be okay; my baby would be fine. I felt at peace, although I didn't advertise the baby would be fine part. I wasn't sure what He meant by fine. I just knew we would handle it.

When she was born, my doctor said "It's perfectly healthy and it's the right sex, too!" And he laid her on my chest. I looked down at my new baby and thought "Somethings wrong with my little son" as my husband's words began to sink into my bleary brain: "She's a girl!"

And what a girl she is. A little firecracker not big as a minute for most of her life always trying to hang with her two older brothers. She's a friend to her cranky mama and has taught me unconditional love when it comes to her older brother. She loves with her whole heart and has a big laugh that she busts out with regularly. God blessed me with her and she blesses me every single day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Today my husband forwarded me an e-mail from the Art Institute of Washington. It's located in Arlington, Virginia where my husband works. We've tried several times in the past to interest our 2nd born in their video production program. This new bulletin says that they now have housing options available.

I get so frustrated with myself. I feel my heart leap with expectation that THIS will be the opportunity that pulls my son from the pit. There has been so many opportunities that he has let pass by.

Steady, girl. Wait on the Lord.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Three toughest things about being a woman

As I was without my computer for several days (it still is "iffy") I didn't get to respond to the LPM blog. I was telling my husband about it this morning as we were dressing for church. Actually, the conversation began with a discussion about our 15 year old daughter. She gets periodic breakouts and every time she does we have the same exchange:
Her: I don't know why I get these bumps!
Me: It's hormonal.
Her: No, it isn't. It's my face wash. I want something different.
Me: (Big sigh) Okay, I guess you can try something different but it's only going to work a few months and then your hormones are going to do something wacky and your face will break out.
Her: You think everything is about hormones.
I remarked to my husband that she just doesn't want to accept the unpleasant reality of being a woman and beginning the battle with her body. I told him about the survey and commented that it was so comforting to read others' comments and see that they struggle with the same things. For instance, I told him, hormones are at the top of the list for almost all of the 4oo plus women. And then he messed up. He began to tell me how men and women are essentially the same. I, predictably, lost it and said "You're absolutely right. I don't know why I thought that me and 400 other women struggling with our hormones was uniquely female!" He backtracked and said that that wasn't what he meant at all and I said that I thought this was a conversation we shouldn't have.
Three toughest things about being a woman:
1. The bible tells me to have self-control. Being obedient to that is a tremendous struggle for me as I try to cope with my ever changing emotions. (I'd say hormones but I don't want it to seem like I think everything is about that.)
2. Submission to my husband.
3. Having my passionate feelings about something being written off as "hormonal".
Having said all that, I must add that through those toughest things my Jesus has drawn me closer to Him, held me close, strengthened me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Family time

I've been so frustrated this week with our ding dang computer. The internet is not working reliably and I haven't been able to get to my e-mail. I feel so behind in everything!

For the last few days my oldest son has been home from NYC. I made spaghetti my daddy's way (per his request) for dinner but the girls were at dance so there was just me, my husband and my son. The night before that, the 19 year old came for dinner but again, the girls were at dance and the oldest wasn't home yet so there was me, my husband and my son. It was nice in a way to have each one to ourselves-something that didn't happen often when everybody lived at home.

Actually, we've had a nice couple of days. Everyone was home last night to watch a movie outside. My husband brought a projector home from the office and we set it up outside with a screen and sat on the deck in the dark, eating popcorn and whoppers. When the movie was over all my chickens went downstairs and played video games together. I think they're into Super Mario 3 these days. I watched an old doctor movie on TCM while my husband read the paper and dozed in his chair.

The 19 year old went with me and the girls to the movies this week. He actually hung out with them beforehand. My 15 year old daughter told me he tried to convince her that "he had it made" while she is stuck with our rules. She said she just laughed. Still, he was willing to come around some this week-I think because he's broken up with the girlfriend and is lonely for the most part. I find that hopeful because maybe that means he still feels somewhere in there that he can turn to us when he's hurting.

The oldest goes back to NYC in the morning. I'll miss him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Under control

Two notable things happened yesterday that reminded me how much Jesus loves me.
First, we received a postcard from London where my oldest son's girlfriend is traveling for the summer. Initially, I found the girlfriend disrespectful and obnoxious and I didn't much like how my son acted when he was around her. I voiced my concerns-not too delicately I'm afraid-and wonder of wonders, after a little pouting the two came to accept the rules of visitation. As a cautionary trial, we allowed her to stay here for a few days before leaving for London because she couldn't afford to fly home. I discovered how much she seems to care about my son (always a plus for the mom) and actually enjoyed having her around. The whole son -having- a- girlfriend thing has been complicated for me and I've had to pray about my attitude a lot. Her postcard was warm, quirky and thoughtful and I guess a reminder to me that God has my son's life under control no matter how it looks to me.
Secondly, son number two came by the house after work and sat outside with his dad. After joining them briefly, I went upstairs to bed and left the bulk of the conversation to the two of them. My husband reported that the conversation went pretty well. My son hasn't had the prayed for breakthrough over his destructive behavior but there were inklings that he's beginning to get a clue. He's looking for a better paying job; he's looking for a cheaper place to stay. I guess most importantly, he acknowledged and apologized for the lying he did to us when he was still living at home. His girlfriend had consistently lied to him and because of that they've broken up. He said " I know how much it hurts to have someone you love lie to you all the time." My husband told him "Yes, it does. But we still love you." My son replied "Yeah, you guys are better than a girlfriend because you do still love me." God's reminder to me that He has my son's life under control no matter how it looks to me.
This week in my bible study (Beth Moore's The Beloved Disciple) the author asked: "If I am never greatly used by God in a way that I deem significant, can I still believe that I am loved like the apple of His eye? Do we believe that He proves His love by His blatant use of us?" I realized that I have measured my success as a mom by my sons' behaviors and felt I had failed my family and my God. How could He love me when I've failed so miserably at the one job He gave me to do? I'm beginning to hear Him say that He does love me-He loves them-no matter how circumstances look. I'm learning to trust Him more and more with my life and with theirs.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

4th of July

What a wonderful fourth. My husband, two girls and myself went to a little resort in West Virginia for five days that's like going back in time to the 1950's. There is a flag raising each morning; breakfast, lunch and dinner bells where we gather to eat family style in the dining hall; no air conditioning; game rooms for family games; rooms to do puzzles. We sit around with friends and chat, take long walks and longer naps. On the fourth there was a fireworks show over the mountains and watermelon afterwards. All in all, just a wonderful time.
The best news was our friend, who has a rare bone marrow cancer, was able to be with us and is improving slowly but steadily from his bone marrow transplant. My girls and theirs are reconnecting and enjoying each other-a real blessing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Psych 101

For the last few days I've awakened in the midst of odd dreams. The dreams are not bad, but they are unpleasant and often pick at some inner issue I thought was long resolved. This morning, I was back in high school (for cryin' out loud) and some of those old yucky feelings were in the dream with me. I read somewhere that if you have children, when they are at stages you had difficulty with, you relive the emotions you experienced at their age. I suspect there's some truth to that but the whole dream experience is so underground. During my waking hours I'm cruising along just fine enjoying 48 and then I wake up in the morning with a quirky feeling in my head about when I was 15.
I think the Lord is trying to tell me something. I don't have a handle on exactly what it is just yet but I'm forming a hypothesis. I'm not so good with change and since 2004 our family has been losing numbers to the big wide world-6,5,4. And even now most times there's 2 or 3 at dinner or doing the family activity. I think maybe He's telling me I haven't let go as completely He'd like. Maybe I'm decorating a pit of regrets when He wants me to live today with Him.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Golf and marriage

My husband and his business partner, me and my friend played golf last week on perhaps one of the hottest most humid days in recent record. I'm new to golf and I stink at it and as I swayed in the sunshine trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion I asked myself "WHY do I play this game?" And then later, I visited the LPM blog and read the results of the men's survey. It all came back to me. I play golf because my husband asked me to. Because during one of the more difficult days with our second son, my husband and I went out to the golf course where the trees were orange and red and a gentle breeze was blowing and we talked about our golf shots and not our son. We felt like we were on the same side again instead of the conflicted pair we were. Going out to the golf course was a step towards submitting to my husband's desires instead of my own. We've come a long way since that October day two years ago. I only wish my golf game would!