Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flight 20

Do you ever feel like you are standing in a crowded room watching the world fall apart all around you?

Do I sound a little dark today?

It's not that I'm depressed or truly dark, but rather that I feel like everyone I know and everything is literally falling apart. I don't think I have many friends who are on auto-pilot these days. There's financial turmoil, marriage problems, child-rearing problems, health issues, and the list seems like it could go on and on and on. What's up with that?

I know these problems have been around since the beginning of man, but it really feels like the problems have multiplied and taken over human existence. Is it just the phase of life I'm in now - these fabulous thirties everyone kept telling me would be so much better than my twenties - and that's just where the real problems of your life begin? If so, I'll take a quick trip back to my twenties then when I lived in a one bedroom apartment and had next to no bills and not a care in the world. We could go out and spend a whole day out on the boat in the sunshine with a twelve pack of beer and come back tanned and relaxed. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of relaxation around here lately.

I started a prayer journal today. So I began with three things I am thankful for, and then made a list of people for whom I needed to pray. And the list went on and on. I didn't realize how much was really going on until I put it on paper. Something that I did in hopes to make me feel better and to remember to pray for certain things has temporarily backfired on me. I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

But at least I am not overwhelmed by and only focusing on my life. Now it's just everyone else's.

It's not just that... it's this feeling lately that this is truly the wonderful time in my life I've been waiting on?? And all around me, people tell me, "Oh, you're gonna miss these days!" And I would love to quip back, "I'm gonna miss worrying about how we'll make the mortgage payment? Am I really gonna miss getting creative with what's in the pantry because we don't get paid until Friday? Am I really gonna miss listening to one of my friends weep because her husband walked out on her and their two kids and her power is being cut off today? JUST NOT CONVINCED."

Just not convinced... I don't think the same rules apply to my generation. Who reading this that is in their thirties has not heard of someone killing them self or dying of an overdose (which to me is the same thing) in the last month? Well I have - I think I've heard of three (and, no, that doesn't include the person I know that survived). They aren't people I know first hand, but the death has effected the life of someone I know. These are crazy times we are living in - crazy times. Our generation is broken and falling apart, and most of us are just trying our best to hang on right now.

White-knuckled living. And not the fun skydiving and white water rafting kind of white-knuckled stuff you hear about.

I'm ready for some relief. I know my Lord watches over me, and I know that He alone is the reason I have made it through this far. But I'm just ready for some of these burdens to be lifted off my heart... and most of them aren't my own burdens.

I guess my entry on the first day of my prayer journal should have been, "Help me learn to let go." You see, I can seemingly master the idea of letting go in one area of my life only to find out that I fail miserably at it in another. Almost as if my mind is telling me, "Okay - you can trust and let go in these few areas of your life but you must hang on to your pitiful human control in the others and be stressed out and miserable while doing so."

Oh, dear me. I'm telling you - I'm catching the next flight back to my carefree twenties...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trimming the Holly

I can remember the first time I trimmed a shrub. It was early fall of 2001, and we had been living in our first home for several months. We had a wisteria bush or shrub (whichever it's classified as) that the previous owner had planted in the middle of the tiny front yard. And let me say that little wisteria was wild and woolly. It grew to epic proportions our first summer in the home, and we had to trim it back several times.

On this particular trimming back of the wisteria, I noticed that perhaps the shrubbery in the front of the house needed trimming and shaping up a bit. Had I ever done this before??? Well, no... Did I know how to trim shrubs? Absolutely not. But I just started working and shaping with the inexpensive manual clippers, not knowing all the while if I was doing it properly or if it would look alright. And I guess they turned out alright, but it was my first lesson in trimming holly bushes - prickly job, I must say. And I learned that day that the trimming is only half the job; when that part's done, you still have to pick up all the clippings.

Yesterday, I got out my handy clippers - the same ones I used eight years ago for my first clipping experience - and went to work on the hollies in my front flower beds. We have three large holly bushes that have thrived. In fact, they have thrived to the point I had to get out the fifteen foot ladder to trim the tops of them. As I worked, I thought back to my first trimming job at my first little house on Patti Court in Montgomery. I thought about how much things had changed since those days of being a novice in so many areas of my life - a novice shrub trimmer, still a newlywed, a first time home owner, and a new parent. And then I thought about how little things have changed at all...

I am still a novice. I still feel from day to day that I am pulling out my clipping shears for the first time, getting my hands in those prickly holly bushes, working the blades, all the while not knowing what the end result will be. It's funny being an adult. I never thought while I was in the middle of those years where you long for your adulthood to come that I'd still be flying by the seat of my pants in so many different areas of my life at the ripe old age of thirty-two. Nearly every week a new circumstance arises - one which I have never experienced before. And as an adult, I am forced to roll my sleeves up and figure it out, most of the time working through the problem blindly, never knowing what lies ahead or what the best solution will be. It's just like trimming the holly... just like it.

So, the tallest holly in my front bed has grown to at least ten feet tall. And it had this one stalk right in the middle of the top I couldn't quite figure out how to reach. But I kept working around it, and I finally had to pull out a little saw of some sort and just work on this thick stalk until I could break it off. I just can't put into words the sense of accomplishment I felt once I had trimmed those three bushes. Just can't say.

The holly may be bigger, but I'm still working with the same clippers, and they work just as well. And I'll continue to find new ways to accomplish the same old tasks - even it if means a fifteen foot ladder, a saw, and some sore muscles the next day. I'll keep trimming and shaping and picking up the clippings left behind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just not feeling bloggy...

I just haven't been very bloggy lately. I guess there are reasons, but I just don't feel like I have much to say. Or maybe it's that I have so much to say but I don't really want to get into it all.

I have started a training program for medical transcription. My sister-in-law found a very cheap program on Ebay, and I have already received it in the mail and started working through it. The first phase is medical terminology, then a brief overview of anatomy, and then some practice dictation. The terminology has actually been pretty interesting thus far. So, we'll see how it goes. My goal is to study over the material and practice, and then have myself in a position to find full-time work when Madalyn starts kindergarten next August.

We are also in the process of getting a new vehicle. The lease is nearly up on the Yukon, and Scott has negotiated an early turn-in as well as finagled a way to decrease our monthly car payments by nearly $500. So if that's not good news, then I just don't know what is. We are purchasing a Ford Flex, which is a strange looking little ride. But I must say that I have completely fallen in love with it! It looks odd at first, but the more you look at it and ride in it - well, it truly grows on you! And we are getting a fantastic deal on a vehicle fully loaded with some fantastic options, including navigation. Really can't beat it.

Madalyn is out of school today and tomorrow due to mold issues in the church. I don't really know why, but the church has had recurring mold issues since it was built just a few short years ago. So I guess with all this rain, it has become an issue again. It's really a shame because Madalyn enjoys going to school as much as I enjoy taking her. Oh well. We'll make it through somehow.

Sp that's a brief overview for right now. Just life. Day to day.

Forgot to mention the most exciting part of my life right now - the two hour season premiere of Grey's tonight!! Finally we'll get to see if George makes it, and Izzie, too!! I'll be glued to the set...

Monday, September 21, 2009

About Bugs

Funny thing about finding bugs in your house... everyone always has a good reason. If it's hot out, then the bug is trying to get in out of the heat. If it's cold out, well, they are trying to keep warm. If it's dry, they must be searching for water. And if it's raining, like it's been doing here for about the past 18 solid days, then the bugs must be trying to get in from the rain.

Madalyn is terrified of bugs. And, well, so am I. Not a good combination to be in the house together all the time. Because who do you think has to suck up her fear and attack the bug with her brave face on??? You guessed right if you said, "NOT Madalyn!!!"

So, since it's been raining A TON lately and those darn bugs are trying to get in out of the rain, we have found more bugs in the house than ever before. And not just the weird little bugs - the big stinking roaches. Just plain disgusting. So yesterday, Madalyn came screaming - and when I say screaming, I mean it - into my bathroom to tell me there was a bug in her room. It was above her closet which has a ledge above it. So I grab my step ladder only to realize it won't work - it doesn't give me the height I need to see up there and spray for bugs. So down I went into the garage to retrieve the 15 foot ladder.

Has anyone out there ever carried a 15 foot ladder up a flight of stairs in a split-foyer house? Not an easy task, I assure you.

But I did it, and I climbed up holding my breath, so certain that a bug the size of a small dog would attack me as soon as I peeked over the closet ledge. But there was nothing.

Madalyn wouldn't even step foot in her room. So what is any good mom to do that had just carried a 15 foot ladder up the stairs from the garage, faced her own fear of bugs by peeking over the ledge, and sprayed every surface with copious amounts of bug spray?

I lied. You hear me; I lied to her.

"Baby girl, the bug is dead. I saw him, and I sprayed him, and he's definitely dead. I just couldn't quite reach him to pick him up and throw him away."

I think grace covers these little white lies... I hope. We all have to stretch the truth a little to spare our children undue fear. Especially when we know they may not want to sleep in their bed at night if you don't tell a little fib. And maybe it was a little stretch, but I do know that if that bug (or any other bug, for that matter) were to be stupid enough to go back into that area of the house, they will be dead in no time at all with all the bug spray I sprayed.

So then, I had to carry the ladder back down the stairs, which actually proved to be more difficult than getting it up the stairs. The things I do for that little girl... and she doesn't even know it. Doesn't have a clue.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Husband's Helpful Weekend

Sometimes my husband surprises me. Like Saturday night when I was bathing Madalyn, I heard this funny noise which sounded like the garage door opening or shutting. So I hollered out to Scott not to pull the car back into the garage just yet - the kids wanted to play in there a little while longer after getting their baths. I knew his response sounded irritated as he exclaimed, "I'm just trying to help clean up a little!" A few minutes later, I figured out what the strange noise was... the garbage disposal. He had cleaned up the entire kitchen during half time of the Auburn game, loading the dish washer, actually starting said dish washer, and even hand washing the crock pot. I was amazed.

Yesterday, he hand washed my truck which has not been bathed since my little incident with the side of the garage door. My mirror no longer adjusts, and the glass itself is barely intact, so I haven't been able to run it through one of those high-powered car washes. So the hubs did the complete works on it - washing the outside, vacuuming the inside, and wiping down the interior surfaces. Even shined the tires. The mirror is still broken, but at least it looks clean.

Last night, after getting the kids in the bed and while cleaning up the day's mess in the kitchen (no, he did not do it two days in a row), I kept smelling bleach. At first I thought it was the towels and bathing suits from the birthday party we had been to that afternoon at an indoor swimming pool. I mean, the smell of the chlorine was pretty strong, but it shouldn't have been that strong. Finally, I asked Scott, thinking he could have possibly been trying to be helpful again and possibly scrubbed the shower or something (wishful thinking!), if he had used any bleach anywhere. The conversation continued as follows:

"Yeah... I sprayed my shirt with that stuff you had on the dryer."

"What stuff on the dryer?"

"I don't know... some stain stuff you have in there... I got something on my shirt and I sprayed it on there to get it out."

"Scott, this is Clorox Cleanup... that's for bathrooms, not clothes."

"Well, it said it had bleach in it and I just figured it would get the stain out."

So, I am happy to report that Clorox Cleanup does indeed remove stains from white Greg Norman dry-fit golf shirts, though I would still not recommend it for that purpose. And I have put the Clorox Cleanup back in its appropriate place to prevent such confusion from happening again.

God love him. He was so incredibly helpful this weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Rememberance

Today. The day. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I was on my way to work at Regions as a data-entry clerk, listening to Rick and Bubba, when Mark Prater broke in to do his morning weather bit only to report that it appeared the World Trade Center had been hit by a terrorist. Of course, it was all just breaking then, and no one understood the magnitude of what was taking place.

I also remember the moment when I was told my mother had breast cancer. I can't tell you the date, but it was just days after my birthday - I think my 29th or 30th - and I stood in my laundry room hanging up clothes while my father told me the most unexpected news of my life.

I have no recollection of the day I found out my cousin (by marriage), young mother of two girls, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not just any form, but rather a fast-growing, aggressive type. I don't remember the day, but I remember the feeling I had in my stomach as I thought about what it must feel as a young mother to look at your kids and know in your heart you won't live to see them be mothers themselves.

How many days go forgotten in our lives? How many moments? How many things have we made ourselves numb to over time? It's human, of course, to move on - to change and grow and continue on with our lives. And with each and every day, a tiny piece of a big memory of a life changing event is gone. It's meaning is forgotten - not the event, but the very root of it's glory in our life. And I do mean glory. I feel with each tragedy of our lives, a true glory emerges through Christ. It's the good that can be found in all that's not good.

So, today, I remember the lives of so many who were tragically taken from their day to day lives by such evil. I think of their families and what this day will bring to them - grief, honor, pain. I am remembering the faith my mother's cancer brought out in me and how I need to recapture it as it has gotten lost along the way. And most of all, I think of the family of the young mother who lost her long fight with cancer yesterday. I think about those two young girls who have seen their mother fight as dreadful a thing as evil itself - cancer.

But mostly today, I want to think about and say a prayer for anyone who has a day to remember. We all have a moment, if not more than one, that changed our lives forever. A moment that we will never forget. It may not have made the news, but it's our news. And I pray for healing and peace for anyone who is struggling with grief today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where does the road lead?

So, it's no secret that for the better part of this year we have been BROKE. And I have been feeling in my heart that when Madalyn starts big school next year that I should find something to aid our household income - I was feeling that way before things took such a downward turn. I have been looking into some work-at-home type jobs such a medical transcription. My sister-in-law has been doing it for about six years now, and she says she can kinda mentor or show me the ropes.

But here's the catch, and it's what I can't stop repeating in my mind over and over again... Will there ever be a time in my life for me to do something enjoyable?

Maybe that sounds a little crass or unappreciative, but I am just being honest. I have spent the past eight years at home with my kids, and I am so incredibly grateful to my husband and my God for making that possible. I can't imagine it any other way. But these years have not been glorious... there were so many sacrifices made along the way to make it all possible. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a regular basis, many days without real clothes or make-up, very little in my life to stroke my ego or just make me feel like a real person. That's the huge downfall of staying at home, especially in a situation such as mine where dad is rarely around. You fall into the category of "MOM" and very seldom get to be who you are inside. It's such a frustrating game of balance, and I will admit I have never found the perfect median.

In a perfect world, I would go back to school when Madalyn starts kindergarten next year. There's the perfect little college just miles from my house where I could finish out my undergrad in English and move onto work on an alternative masters in speech pathology where I could work with children one on one. That's where I have felt the pull of my heart over the past several years - a field where I could make a difference in the life of a child one at a time. I have never felt called to teach, but every time I go to David's school and I see those kids, I always feel a tugging on my heart.

But, this is certainly not a perfect world right now.

The economy is terrible. Our financial situation is unstable. There's no money to go back to school and create a career for myself after all these years of putting that part of me aside. So, here I am, almost 33, with no real skills or options. And so I find myself leaning toward a field like medical transcription for all the advantages it offers someone like me - I am sharp and could pick it up over the next year, it offers a flexible schedule so I could still be there for my kids, and it's relatively inexpensive to get started.

This is just not where I imagined myself at 33. Just so not what I imagined. Not that I was stupid enough to believe that all would be golden, but I just imagined myself a little more secure in so many areas of my life. And I have found myself a little disappointed by life lately. Just a little.

Who knows what the road ahead holds... I have a lot to think about and plan. If only we could see ahead and just know the answer or the way. If only it were like a Dora episode, you know - we could call for map to come out of the purple backpack, and he would sing his little, "I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map...." song and tell us exactly what we need to do and where we need to go. If only. But there are so many reasons why I am glad I'm not Dora, so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Like a dog chasing it's tail

I am not in a very good mood today. If my husband were reading this, he'd probably be thinking, "Well, I didn't know you were ever in a good mood." But he's not; so I will carry on.

Do you ever feel like a dog chasing it's tail? You get to the bottom of the laundry pile only to find a stack of clothes in one of the kid's rooms. You get the dishwasher emptied only to find that the contents of the sink nearly fill it up again. That's where I am right now. No matter what I do, it's never enough. No matter how well I do it, it never lasts. I'm just in one of my weird moods, and I can't seem to pull myself out of it today.

Things have been a little tough lately. And don't get my wrong, I am fully aware they can always get worse. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am a magnet for listening to others' problems. But it's times like these in my life where I would love to look at some people (or scream at them from over the phone), "Have you stopped to think for a minute that I have MY OWN burdens???" My ears are tired. I have reached the bottom of my barrel of energy, and I need a recharge.

I hate feeling this way. But it happens every so often. And I will probably feel better when I drop both kids off at school tomorrow and enjoy a little silence. But until then, I'd just like to curl up on the couch with my blanket and rest my eyes. And we all know that is so not going to happen today.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The "Human" Element of Human Rights

To err is human, to forgive divine.

Not sure who said it, but how true. As humans, though beautifully and masterfully made by a perfect Creator, we are true screw-ups. We can take the most perfect situation and turn it into a disaster in the blink of an eye. I guess that's the glory of free will.

So where I am going with this... back to the most psychotic case I have ever seen unfold before me in the national news. The horrifying kidnapping and captivity story of Jaycee Dugard has literally made my stomach churn. I think what really made me sick was when I learned that she birthed two baby girls in the tents in Phillip Garrido's makeshift backyard compound. Having delivered two babies myself in the decency of a hospital, I am fully aware of the anxiety and pain, as well as both physical and emotional time of healing afterwards. My heart broke when I realized that this poor woman was made to carry out what should be the most joyous moments of a woman's life in a tent in the backyard of a psycho.

I am appalled by the entire story. And the more I read, the more angry I get. This joker has never done anything good. His first brush with the law and known brush with criminal sexual assault was in 1972, when he took a young girl off in his car, gave her illegal drugs, took her to a hotel room, and sexually assaulted her multiple times (by the way, sexual assault is just a nice word for rape and/or other horrific sexual acts against one's will). The charges were dropped when she refused to testify against him in court. Then four years later came his kidnapping and rape of a woman for which he served time and was on lifetime parole. And now this...

Do you know what bothers me the most about our fine country? In recent years, the terms alleged and accused have become too common. I challenge you to watch your local news and count the number of times it's used in one broadcast. Dare we say that someone actually did something these days.

Let me get this straight: Garrido has a history of sexual assault. A grown woman was found living in a series of tents in Garrido's backyard and was subsequently identified as Jaycee Dugard who has been kidnapped over a decade ago. Two young girls were found with Garrido and were identified as the children of Dugard and Garrido. But we have to refer to Garrido as Dugard's alleged captor and accused rapist.

So let me pose this question: If I spent an hour and a half yesterday trimming back some lantana in my flowerbeds, and my neighbor as well as any passers-by saw me doing it, and I left three lawn bags full of the clippings to prove it, did I allegedly do it or did I actually do it?

There are a certain sect of people who don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. And it saddens me to know that in the name of human rights the media has hopped on this bandwagon of protecting the names of those who don't deserve protection. I understand that in a court of law, we are all innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, there's no need to use terms such as allegedly or accused when the evidence is so obvious. In Garrido's case - one in which he took away every conceivable human right poor Jaycee Dugard ever dreamed of having before she was stolen from her childhood - he does not deserve any benefit of the doubt.

It's the ultimate human err - to further take away the dignity of a victim by attempting to protect the rights of those who don't deserve such protection.

By the way, Crazy Mama allegedly wrote this post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is it LOVE?

So, Friday, when David bounded out the double doors into his weekend, he shared with me that he had found out a little girl in his class likes him. Of course it all went down in true elementary school fashion - a friend of hers told David that the little girl liked him, and he in turn wrote her a note with the ancient question, "Do you like me?" to which she responded in all caps in red crayon, "YES!!"

Oh my stars.

She also drew him a heart with the word love in the middle of it in probably the most beautiful cursive handwriting I have ever seen from a 3rd grader. At least she has good penmanship.

Yesterday, he came home with yet another note in which she asked him for his phone number. Are you kidding me??? My mother would have hung me up by my little pinkie toe if I had dared to ask a boy for their phone number in the 3rd grade. Of course, as any smitten young man would do, he gave her the digits. But I am here to tell you that she better not call my house asking to speak to my little boy. What I would do about it is just beyond me right now, but it simply better not take place.

I am so not ready for this.

Last night, he was busy at work on some crafty thing in his room. I didn't give it any attention until he made sure to turn it over and hide it in a binder in his room at bedtime. So I did what any good Crazy Mama would do and looked at it this morning after he left for school. He had folded two papers and glued them onto another sheet of notebook paper making two lift-up flaps on the page. Under one flap was written "I Love You" and under the other was simply the word LOVE.

Excuse me, what? He loves her. I mean, he loves ME. He loves to play baseball. He loves to eat Mexican food. Is it possible that my little boy now believes he loves a little girl?

I am so shocked by all of this. I knew the day was coming, but I had been so glad that up until this point, I was the only love of his life. Whatever will I do?

And a little update... he comes home this afternoon forlorn and weary. She told him that she does not like him anymore. And I repeat the phrase I will repeat for many years to come... "I told you those girls are no good for you. Need to leave them alone." He's mine once more.