Thursday, February 28, 2008


My birthday was yesterday and it was...glorious. I don't usually say such things about the anniversary of my birth. Usually, I'm just pretending that I'm a good Christian girl and can hardly wait to die and get to heaven and so What's one more birthday?
Yesterday was not extravagant or perfect in the things we did. Some things were necessities like banking and parenting. Some things were painful like my daddy not doing well and parenting. But at the end of the day, the oldest had called and said Happy Birthday and I love you. Edmund gave me a card in which he wrote that it gave him peace to know I loved him no matter what he did. The girls gave me cards and kisses that said I love you, mom. And hubby loved me, too.
I just felt loved by the ones I love and this, for me, is a gift from God.
I can only glance in the mirror these days. I don't know what to make of my physically older self. I haven't taken very good care of her and it shows. But I'm beginning to hope that the inside me is coming along on the journey of life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Secrets, Lies and pits

Some things have me captive that I thought I was free of.
I have a stepmother that came into my life when I was 19, only a few months after my parent's divorced. The whole of the situation is and has been overwhelming to me and so I have just said "It doesn't matter" and told myself that my feelings on the deal aren't important. For 27 years I've squashed down the anger and hurt and said that I forgive them to myself and all sorts of stuff that apparently haven't been very effective.
Because today I feel overwhelmed by it all again. Daddy had a heart attack last night while in the hospital for some tests. This family emergency reveals all of the stress points and upsets that we've (my two brothers) held onto.
I'm angry at my daddy. Growing up, I was a good student and he would promise me monetary rewards for all A's. The A's came but not the rewards. He didn't really expect me to get all A's. I just swallowed the disappointment and produced the A's. When it came time to go to college, I was to have my real reward. "You are a smart girl. We'll send you to college anywhere you want to go." And I believed him. The worst part was that he was angry that I believed him. "Look around you," he said, "does it look like we have the money to send you to college?"
My English teacher told me about financial aide. My mom helped me apply and I got student loans to fund my first year at ECU. My mom sent me a little spending money the first year, but by the second, she had left and I had to reapply for financial aide based on my new circumstances. Daddy wasn't too happy about having to fill in his personal finances, but he did it and I got loans and workstudy to pay for the remainder of my time there. There was never any money from my daddy. I worked summers and used the money I saved for spending money throughout the year.
My stepmother's part in all this, to be honest, is unknowing. My daddy needed money for the divorce settlement and to get it, he told my stepmother he was using the money to send me to college. For a very long time, neither of us was aware. Then four years ago, my oldest went off to college. Of course, talk turned to the expense and my stepmother began to say how the sacrifice was worth it and they never regretted the money they spent on my education. At first, I said nothing. I just stewed and boiled at the gall of her trying take credit for something she didn't do.
And then on a visit home, daddy walked outside with me and asked me a favor. He pulled out of his pocket a roll of 100 dollar bills and asked "How much did it cost you to go to school?" I told him I honestly didn't remember and all the while I'm stunned and trying to process what he's saying to me. "How about six thousand dollars?" and he counted it out and gave it to me. "When she says we paid for your school, now you can say we did and it'll be true."
I gave the money to the building fund at our church.
But it doesn't stop there because a lie never does just a little damage. My brothers have always thought that I had it made because daddy sent me to college. I told them over and over that I had taken out loans and paid for it myself but somehow that didn't register or maybe they just thought I was the one lying. I told the oldest brother (I'm the oldest child and only girl) about daddy giving me the six thousand dollars "hush" money and he was silent for a moment. Then he said that daddy had always said to him "I had money for one to go and that one isn't you". Wasn't anybody listening when I said HE DIDN'T?
And my daddy doesn't care what this does to me or how it hurts me. He just doesn't want his wife to find out he used her money to pay off his ex.
I thought I'd forgiven him when I gave the money to the church but my husband points out that I haven't gone down to see them since. When they come here, I have very little to say in the face of my stepmother's implications that I'm spoiled and ungrateful.
There are so many other pieces to this situation but this lie is the key piece. My stepmother has expectations for how often I should call and talk to my daddy and how often I should come see my daddy. She lets me know that I'm not meeting the quota. I'm not a good daughter by her estimation. I think her concern ought to be for what kind of parent has my daddy been? What has she done to encourage him in his relationship with me? Why not say "Honey, call your daughter. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you"? I don't feel that I owe her anything and she thinks that I owe her, at the very least, my college education.
I wasn't going to go to North Carolina to sit around in the lobby with my stepmother. But I want out of the pit. So.
I was praying about it last night before falling asleep and this morning as I lay in bed in the time just before being awake, the Lord said " I was sick and you visited me".
I began to ask myself why is it that you don't want to go? God made it all clear. I sought the Lord in my distress and He answered me. I'm going to trust Him with the rest. We are going to see daddy next weekend and having made that decision, whatever else happens is in God's hands.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Lucy has two projects that she knew were due and then she just didn't do them. I have such an area of weakness when it comes to my kids and their schoolwork. They are all smart, at least smart enough that if they did their work they'd do fine. Yet, all but Susan have worked fiercely to avoid doing any work. The oldest figured things out in the 11th hour of high school and pulled himself together to get into UVA. The next one. Ugh. The next one barely graduated from high school and took us through every tatic known to man to try and get him to just DO HIS WORK. Sheesh. I'm stressing out just remembering it.
I have to remember that school is her responsibility and not mine. Consequences have been enacted and I need to not harp at her about it. Give it to God. Don't stress about it. I know what to do. So I just need to do it. Maybe this is my homework from God!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm so blown away by the Lord's mercies to me. We are in week 2 of Breaking Free and it feels so much like the orchestration of the final stanza in God's Psalm to me. I eagerly await each days' lesson and each week's session.

And yesterday-the Lord allowed me to see Him at work. Edmund had orientation at AI. He called me at 12:30 all upset and asked me to call his girlfriend, L, because he had locked her keys in her car on accident. I did that and when I called him back to tell him not to worry, he was crying and stressed out because orientation was at 1 and he had overslept. It was 12:30 and he had a 40 minute drive. I spoke to him calmly and told him I would pray for him and he said "Please, do mom." I talked to him for several minutes, just reassuring him that everything would work out.

We had lunch today; Edmund, L and me. He told me about the orientation and I asked him what time he actually got there. "I wasn't late at all," he said. "I was there just a few minutes before it started." I said that that's because God was taking care of it and he replied that he knew that. He said "God takes care of me ALOT!"

My hubby and I were feeling so helpless yesterday. My boy has so far to go and so many things he isn't getting done. But God... But God hears our prayers for him and is present in his life. Maybe Edmund is beginning to understand that. It will make all the difference in his life.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Our youngest had her 13th birthday. She wanted to cut her hair in a "teenager style" for her birthday. I soooo didn't want her to cut her hair. I was afraid it would make her look older. Surprise! It didn't. Oh, everyone told her she looked older, but I saw her little 3rd grade face-when she had bangs and shorter hair. Her big sibs all thought the same thing. But noone has told her. We just let her posture in the mirror, tossing her hair and feeling thirteen.
It sure is easier for this mama to take when the baby still looks like her little girl!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Highs and lows

I'm so glad that bible study has started again. It helps me stay focused. We are doing Beth Moore's study Breaking Free. I have a sort of odd anticipation/anxiety thing going about it. I left today after the introduction feeling up and determined about life.
And then I got reminded what a self-centered idiot I can be.
Susan came home from school and flopped on the sofa. She has ballet today and when I asked her if she was going she said "No, I don't feel well." It frustrated me. Extra ballet on top of the other dancing she does is a splurge. I don't mind paying for it when she goes, but lately, she's found lots of excuses not to go. I didn't miss a beat nor let the opportunity pass to blast her about it. And then she let me have it: Dance didn't go well last night and I was too busy watching tv to ask her about it. She has cramps and I hurt her feelings because I commented on her weight. (which I did, and Why, for Pete's sake had I done that?!) Not knowing what to say to all that, I just left and went to the grocery store.
When I came back, she was still here. In the mail was her DanceSpirit magazine and so I leaned on Him, and went up to her room. I apologized and gave her her magazine. I asked her what happened at dance. They got yelled at and told that not a one of them, except C, could dance; girls were yakking and not paying attention. She got so frustrated, she cried. (something she would rather die than do in front of people). She doesn't think she's good enough to get into a dance school.
I feel so helpless. It hurts to watch her doubt herself and know that she won't get honest criticism from the teachers at her studio. She works hard and that hard work goes unnoticed among the chaos that exists there. Encouragement is nonexistant. And I don't know. I don't know if she's good enough because when I watch her dance, I see her with my mother's heart.
I understand what it is to want something so badly and doubt yourself so much that you give up before you try. I don't want her to do that. I want her to try and know because the "what if's" can hold you down for such a long time. It may be that God is going to take her down a different road but before He does, He has to close the door to her dreams. Either way, this is something that's between her and the Lord. I need Him to help me help her the way He wants me to help her because left to my own devices, I'm incompetant.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dark, rainy day today. My mood is dark right along with it, for no particular reason.
Or maybe the reason is the same as usual...I can't control things.
Somebody wrote as their reason for not breaking free on the LPM blog-I know what to do, I just don't do it.
I concur.