Category Archives: Friends

Spring break festivities

I had a wonderful day today. Yesterday was okay, with the exception of a large dental expense. It almost physically pains me to pay for dental work, but it’s gotta be done. A necessary evil, I suppose.

Speaking of necessary evils, today I helped a friend prepare her tax return. She’s a smart cookie and probably didn’t really need my help, but I was able to offer moral support and celebrate with her when we were done. She ended up getting a refund rather than owing a crap-ton of money, so it was definitely cause for celebration. We took the kids out for ice cream cones. It was cold and rainy, but in my book the weather is always perfect for ice cream.

Tomorrow the kids and I will be taking the Spec-Tran to the local bounce house. We’ll be there all afternoon, so we’ll need to be sure to bring snacks and other supplies. I’ll bring electronics just in case one of them gets bored, but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. I’m really hoping they play away and forget about me so I can sit, uninterrupted, and work on writing my book. It will be a great day for all of us, I’m sure.

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My Comfy Writing Spot

Not sure what to write about, but I’m in my little comfy spot in the kitchen. In the corner next to the window, surrounded by shelves and with Piper puppy sleeping peacefully in her crate at my feet. And hot coffee at the ready, of course.

The exciting point of my day may be when the mail is delivered, but probably not. I already received what I was waiting for, which is the Spec-Tran approval I blogged about last night.

When I’m bored like this it’s nice to goof around on Facebook. A friend announced she found the best granola, so of course that sparked a lengthy comment thread. The food posts always do.

This has been a wonderfully uneventful week so far, which I much appreciate after last week. Last week was brutal. All the sickness and the cold. Kids home for the better part of the week, which I should love, but.. I was (am) feeling pretty fatigued. And throw a four-month old puppy into the mix? Just a little more than I can handle. And now hubby sounds like he is developing what we all had. That was inevitable, I suppose.

So when life has slowed down what do I do? I nap, first and foremost, but then when I feel mostly rested I clean. Dishes, laundry, floors, etc. It’s all never-ending. Meaning you are never “done” with laundry or dishes or cleaning floors. These are things that are constantly in progress.  Once I realized that fully, I stopped putting them on my to-do-list. It seemed silly to keep crossing them off only to put them back on again. So now my to-do list consists of more irregular things like paying bills and clipping my toenails.

I would really like to get back to writing that book. The process (which honestly hadn’t really begun) got halted when we all fell ill. And now I need to get back at it. To be honest, I feel extremely inadequate at this whole book-writing-thing. Am I even doing it right? I’m just writing, hoping it turns into something I can have published so that people can read it. But publishing, well that’s a road I have not traveled and have no clue how to find. Yet. Let’s write the book first. And this corner spot in my kitchen is the perfect place for it.  As long as Piper complies, I could make this a daily ritual. Sitting here, sipping my coffee, tapping away at the keys. That sounds like a Happy Place if you ask me.

Now, enough rambling for me. I will let you go. I have words to write!

Thursday Thoughts On “Normally” and Group Gatherings

This week I had planned for things to return to “normal”, or a feeling of it at least. I’ll tell you how the week went and you can be the judge:

1) “Normally” I walk the kids to the bus stop. This week it was far too cold to make them walk, so Dad drove them on all but one day. (Walking through the snow really works those leg muscles!)

2) I “normally” eat breakfast, drink my coffee, and work on household chores after returning from the bus stop. This week I took a lot of back-to-bed “naps”, stretching my coffee and meals far into the afternoons.

3) I “normally” Skype with my mom every day. I was lucky to get in one conversation with her today (it was her birthday, so of course).

4) I “normally” have meals planned and grocery lists prepared for my husband every week. This week I had to throw it together at the last minute.

5) I “normally” feel like writing things that people want to read. Something about watching this puppy for “potty cues” keeps me on edge, and I haven’t felt any inspiration to write. I did write one paragraph for my book though. Actually, two, but the second one is only three words so it probably doesn’t count.

Oh, but tomorrow. I have a gang of girlfriends coming over to eat dinner and knit and crochet, and chat up a storm – though I know that won’t be like old times because I can only follow one person talking at a time. I’m excited to see everyone and am thrilled to be able to open up my home for this event. Even if I can’t follow all the conversations, it will be great to see everyone having a good time. Group gatherings are an area that I immediately started avoiding when I lost my hearing, so it has taken quite a bit of courage for me to step back into these situations. The fact that it’s in my home certainly helps, but also these are dear friends of mine who I know are sympathetic to my new challenges. I have wonderful friends.

So Friday night should be some good times. Saturday we have a belated family Christmas gathering, and Sunday I may possibly have a date with my husband. Then the kids have a couple full days and a half day off from school the next week. All that to say, “normally” is out the window. Forget normal, let’s just have fun!

Leftovers

The kids are at Grandma’s, and we have had a glorious time relaxing after the holiday. Yesterday after we dropped the kids off we stopped at the indoor shooting range. This is our idea of a date, because we both enjoy shooting. Mike is good at it, and has done well in competitions. In fact, I think he won the last one he competed in. I, on the other hand, am not so great. I just don’t get enough practice, but also the impaired vision doesn’t help. Though I surprised us both yesterday. I did a lot better than we expected. My reward? An early Christmas present purchased from the gun store, registered in my name.

After our time at the range, we headed to the local Italian restaurant for a good, Chicago-style pizza. Mike had been craving it, and I am always up for pizza. Even the day after Thanksgiving. We always like to order the largest sized pie and bring the leftovers home. Mike and Luke both just love cold pizza for breakfast. Silly boys.

So, this morning I had pizza for breakfast, and now I am enjoying the turkey day leftovers for lunch: pumpkin pie and coffee. We haven’t even touched the leftover turkey yet.

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Thankfully the house wasn’t destroyed from the festivities, so it didn’t take much to clean up. Dishes are done, extra table and chairs packed away, floor mopped. Mike even got his voice back!

I have to say I was quite amazed and pleased to see so many people giving thanks on Facebook this year. And not just any thanks, but thanks for the simple, genuine things like family and friends and God’s blessings. There was a bit of a trend of hard times for many of my friends and family this past year. Many of us were struck with extreme challenges like major illness and even death, some happening on this very week of Thanksgiving. I honestly believe the devil was trying extra hard this year to bring people down, but if my personal Facebook feed is any indication, it didn’t work. People are still seeing the good in life, and thanking God for it. I pray that continues, and that we are all able to see God’s hand at work in our lives.

All in all, it was a pretty perfect holiday. I am still learning to cope with change and enjoy every moment of life I am given. I pray the same for whoever is reading these words. Now… on to Christmas!!

Thankfulness challenge day 15

Today I am thankful that my son is a true and caring friend. His good friend from school, pictured below (the tall one), left today with his family to move to Nicaragua. His parents are from there, but he and his little brother were born here in America. It is a big move, and Luke has been pretty affected by it. He was very sad to see him go, but was very thankful for this last goodbye this morning. The part that I am astonished at is that when we were discussing how much he was going to miss him, he remarked that it would be much harder for his friend because he is leaving ALL the friends he’s ever known. What an insight for a seven year old! I am thankful that I can learn from the innocent perspective of a child.

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Thankful challenge, day 8

Today I am thanking God for my church family. We are so blessed to see these people each week, and they truly feel like family. Today was Natalie’s birthday party. If you know me well, you know I hate crowds and parties and most things social. Especially if I have to plan it. I’m an introvert, what can I say? But I went into this with a plan and started preparations as early as possible. I was feeling very ready, but as soon as it came time I started to panic a bit. How can I herd these youngsters and keep them contained? (The answer is, you can’t) The wonderful thing is that I didn’t even have time to freak out because the other moms saw what needed to be done and jumped right in to help. It was amazing. My anxiety level came right back down, and we all just had a good time celebrating with each other. So that’s what I’m thankful for, especially today.

Let me introduce you to a friend of mine

I started this post last night, but it was while I had the television on, so I was distracted. I scrapped it, because when you want to share an important message, “distracted” is a crappy mindset to be in. This morning I’m trying to go with “honest” and “clear minded”. Here goes…

I saw Jesus yesterday. Not literally, of course, but real enough. I hesitate to write publicly about this because I want to be respectful of others’ privacy and personal lives, but I hope she will understand the underlying desire to share the powerful message her life is speaking. Who is she? She is a dear friend from my church. Someone who I felt a connection to from the beginning, because when we met two short years ago, she was having difficulty walking, as I do many days. It looked like MS, though doctors were still working on a diagnosis at the time. After many months of waiting for more testing to be done, a diagnosis was made.

My friend has ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a debilitating, incurable, fatal neurological disease. The nerves that tell her body to do the most basic and necessary functions are quickly dying. In a very short amount of time she has had to deal with loss after loss after loss. She is dependent on her husband and countless others for everything: eating, bathing, dressing, sleeping. Not only that, but she is an extrovert. Being stuck at home has to be one of the hardest changes for her. Amongst all the rest.

But rest assured, there is a positive message here. You see, I never leave her house feeling sorry for her. In fact, I always leave feeling more blessed and amazed. Not because she is a great woman, though she is amazing, but because I see something – someone – shining through her. When I see her, I see Jesus in those sparkling eyes. She is living in one of the most tragic of situations, and she still wears a smile and true light in her eyes. She is confident that this is not the end for her. She is looking forward to an eternity with her Savior. When her physical body breathes it’s last labored breath, she will be in heaven, dancing with her Jesus.

This is a woman who has devoted her life to serving Christ by mentoring others, and she hasn’t let ALS stop her. She continues to mentor others from her wheelchair using the telephone, computer, and voice commands. She still accepts visitors at her home, even though it may be uncomfortable for some to see her in her present state. Her body is dying, but her spirit is still very much alive. Of course, she has her bad days, but she lets herself have them and moves on. Every day is a gift, and she knows this with all of her heart. She chooses to life live to the fullest, every day, with all she’s got. And it may look to the human eye like that’s not much, but I know the opposite is true. She has Jesus living within her, giving her strength and peace and courage and hope. By letting Him shine through her, she is a true inspiration.

My hope here is a sort of “pay it forward” wish. I know that Christ’s strength and power is made perfect in our weakness. It’s true for my friend, and I want it to be true of me. I was dealt a crappy hand this past year, but I am determined to make the best of it. With strength I didn’t know I had, I am overcoming. I am 100% confident that that strength comes from knowing Jesus, and I want everyone to know Him too. So I suppose that’s the message. I’m not an evangelist. I’m not trying to be pushy. After all, you could have stopped reading this at any point, and you still can. But if you’ve made it this far, let me ask you this: have you met Jesus? Do you want to? I know He wants to meet you, and I would be glad to introduce you 🙂