Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You never know

Life is incredibly precious. When I got news yesterday that a colleague of mine had collapsed and been rushed to the hospital by ambulance, had been revived with no brain activity, and they were waiting for her family to arrive to take her off life support, I was shaken to the bone. She's only a few years older than me. I had just sat next to her through a three hour training last Wednesday. We whispered and wrote notes, planning for another meeting. I just emailed her yesterday. I'm supposed to see her at a meeting on Wednesday, and another training in April.

We never know when our last conversation will be with someone, our last time to see them, our last opportunity to share our faith with them. Makes me look at my daily activities in a whole new way. What were my last words to my husband, kids, friends, co-workers. Would that be what I want them to remember?

Only God knows how this will all turn out, but there was a prayer vigil for her yesterday at the hospital, and the latest word I got this afternoon was that things were looking better, not worse. I do believe in miracles, and maybe this is one that I will be allowed to witness. God does hear prayers, please add Beckie and her family to your list. Whatever the outcome, whether Beckie will be in the Lord's hand soon, or allowed to remain here for a while longer, I hope she will remember that our last words together were encouraging.

Who do you need to talk with, encourage, make amends? Do you have a Beckie? I know I need to get on the phone tonight.You never know.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Today is my son's 27th birthday, and my sister's 42nd. Yep- our firstborn was born on my sister's 15th birthday. She's closer to him in age than I am - scary thought! My nephew was born on my 27th birthday. Do any of your extended families have the same birthdates? I think that is such a special bond.

Hard to believe that 27 years ago I was in the hospital becoming a mom for the first time. I still have the notebook with every entry as to what time I nursed him, how long he napped, when I changed his diaper, and what color and how much his bowel movements were. I'm sure he'll want to share that with his future children.

So Happy Birthday to my favorite son (one and only) and sister. May you both be blessed this year by all that God has in store for you.

You are loved.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Taxing Road Trip

To go or not to go today- that is the question. I wish that phrase would stop running through my head.

My husband is the master planner. He has files full of planned trips and vacations that he hopes to take someday. I must say we have been on some pretty amazing adventures. Today's day trip is to a sleepy town on the river to a restaurant with a beautiful view, followed by a trip through another small town loaded with antique shops (to window shop- remember we are on the Total Money Makeover).With a possible side trip thrown in to Hadley Pottery, one of my favorites. Sounds romantic, doesn't it?

My hesitation? TAXES. They are looming over my head, the monkey on my shoulder, the ever present feeling that I will not be able to get them done. I have already put in countless hours and they are still not done. I'm still waiting on the T4 from Canada (equivalent to our W2), so I guess I have that excuse. And Turbo Tax's prices go up on the 28th -oh wait that is today (what a rip...you get started and then are punished for not finishing two weeks before you have to file!)So now I have to decide also if I want to pay more by waiting to pay the taxes that I already owe on. I hate taxes.

Last year we went to a company that offered free tax prep for teachers. It took our guy forever to figure out the Canadian part ( they had never done that before). Everyone in the office knew us by name whenever we went in ( many, many, many times). I could imagine what they were bemoaning the day we walked through the door, and I felt so bad for everything they went through that I ended up baking them cookies. Who takes cookies to their tax man? That's how bad I felt. Needless to say, I did not see an offer this year for them to do free taxes for teachers. So sorry, they did an incredible job and we are very thankful that they stuck it through to the bitter end. If there was an offer this year, I'm sure there was a disclaimer for American taxes only. Who does your taxes- are you a do it yourselfer, or do you have a tax guru?

Back to my decision. As I work best under pressure, I am choosing to go with my husband. I'm thankful he likes to do these little adventures. That's what the empty nest is all about, right? Spending time together after you no longer have to be running kids to ball games , appointments , and play dates. Leisurely drives in the country, rediscovering what brought us together in the first place, rekindling those first days of our courtship when we wandered aimlessly through antique stores together, searching for treasures hidden away in the back room somewhere. The taxes can wait. I'm going to spend time with my treasure.

Please share what you do with your husband to rekindle the romance. I'd love to hear.

Friday, March 27, 2009


To worry or not to worry, that is the question. Whether tis nobler..(somehow that phrase keeps going through mind.) I'm doing a Bible study called Controlling Your Pests ( Ridding Your Life of Bad Habits) by Ross Brodfuehrer. Today's lesson was on worry. We are told very specifically in the Bible, not to worry. So why do we? I'm kind of over worrying about the big things-death, taxes. Both of those are inevitable and out of my control. Taxes- way out of control, that's a whole different story, and country. It is amazing what you find out about the tax system when you have income from out of our country. More than you don't want to know....

Matt.6:34 tells us, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So what are your greatest treasures? Mine are my kids, husband, extended family and friends. So where are most of my worries? With them. The older kids get, the more there is to worry about. My almost 27 year old son has recently taken up mountain bike riding. In Utah- BIG mountains, narrow paths, a mother's nightmare. He is so enthusiastic about it that I have to keep the quiver out of my voice when he tells me about his adventures. Probably the less I know the better. And I thought sending him off to kindergarten was hard.

Then there is the aging parent thing. Many of my dear friends have gone through extremely difficult circumstances that I have yet to face. When it will happen and what it will look like for me ?

There are the life decision worries for myself , husband, and my kids- jobs, retirement, relationships, education, happiness, the list goes on. So I thought about what worrying has done/ not done for me. I want to try the bullet option, so here goes:

  • Doesn't change anything
  • Causes stress
  • Takes my focus off what is important
  • Drives people crazy when I am complaining all the time (ask my husband)
  • Makes me bake
  • Makes me gain weight ( see above)
  • Keeps me awake at night
  • Racks up my phone bill (well it use to, now it uses up my minutes)
  • takes my focus off my trust in God
  • turns hair gray-oh wait, already there
  • makes for bad manicures
  • makes me tired

There is a diddlybop thing (like the That Was Easy Staples thing) that sits on my desk at work that says worry with a not sign through it and it plays this song ( sorry, don't know who to give credit to):

Push button; you hear lively Jamaican music, a man, whistling , singing:

"Here's a little song I wrote . Might want to sing it note by note, don't worry be happy."

And I push it again and again and again.

If I worry, I am not content. So I will trust and continue to be content even in my state of worry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Long Day (Friends Part 2)

Whew! I'm tired. I've learned I should probably blog in the morning. I did start early this morning, saved it as a draft, and now have no idea where to find it. I tried at noon to no avail, so here I am. Still haven't figured out the whole blog thing. My life is constant interruptions....my daughter just walked in with her friend ( it's 10:30 p.m., waaaaay past my bedtime.) But I'm glad. I love having kids around. Which is a good thing because they are upstairs looking at which room her friend may move into this summer! (we have our son's old room, which has become my husband's closet, her room, or her sister's room.) As her sister may have to move home this summer if she doesn't get a full time teaching job, that room is not available at this time. Guess she has one option.

We've had the blessing of having a grad student live with us since January. So the nest is not so empty anymore. I guess we could be called foster parents. Anyone else had similar experiences? I have always prayed that God would use our home as He saw fit. For years we had Campus Life meetings here- 50+ high school kids, usually more , taking over the house once a week. Picture 100 shoes dumped in your front foyer....and the chaos of trying to find the correct match. And baking lots of brownies and Rice Krispie Treats. Fond memories.

Which leads me to what I started to write about this morning- fond memories of friends. When our middle daughter was entering middle school, we started a mother/daughter weekly Bible study group that remained together until the girls graduated from high school. Incredible friendships and memories were formed. I highly encourage moms of middle/tweenage years to get together with other moms and meet weekly with your girls. We often followed a book, interspersed with craft projects, or "girl's night". We did facials, watched videos, hot tub time, sleepovers, and had special celebrations. The girls are now all finishing up college and moving on in their lives. Most of us still keep in touch even while moving away.

Which brings me to my gold friend in Florida. She and her precious daughter were in that group.The blog I lost this morning (in cyber space somewhere..) talked about me finally checking an old e-mail address and realizing that I had missed the death of her husband's father. I regret not being able to be there when needed. I hate when that happens. So note to self- check my emails more frequently. Love you my gold friends, and I'm looking forward to meeting some silver. How about you?

Gold Friends Part 2

I'm so excited I found the draft!! So here it is even if late, unfinished and a bit redundant.

I was checking an old email account the other day ( I have 5- for various reasons and not the time to check even my work and home ones) and found that I had numerous emails from a friend of mine in Florida. I was so sad as I had missed the death of her husband's dad. I hate that when it happens. Sometimes the people we are closest to don't get the support at the time they need it. So my apologies and heartfelt sympathies to any of my friends that I have been unable to be there for when you needed support.

I think back to all the friends that God has brought into my life over the years and miles and am awed! Even in places we lived for a short period of time, I have friends that I can call on a moment's notice and go visit, or ask for help, or advice. What a comfort knowing that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gold Friends

I now blog in my head. About everything. (Does anyone else do this??)And of course by the time I get to the computer it's gone..all gone. At least the process has made me start thinking about writing again.

Anyway, two days ago a dear friend stopped by out of the blue and we hadn't seen each other in maybe three years. How can she be called a dear friend? We picked up right where we had left off. We had traveled and sat through innumerable soccer games together when our girls were in high school, and had done a mother /daughter Bible study together. Spending that much time, when we had it, through a mutual activity for our kids, allowed us to grow a strong friendship, which allowed us to pick up where we left off.

What a comforting feeling. The friends you can do that with are treasures. I think back over the years and all of our coaching moves, and am thankful for the times that God gave me to develop those friendships. There have been times when I was too busy with my own family, or "stuff" to be able to spend the time.

The dog is calling, must run, but I thank you, Donna for the unexpected visit and the reminder that the old girl scout poem reminds me: Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. Thank you my gold friend.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I had journaled this (below) after just returning home from a wonderful family vacation last Christmas. I reread it because of the title and the fact that my neighbor and I had just been talking about re-entry back into everyday life. She is struggling with it- for the first time ever, she said. Her family had just spent a week in Las Vegas ( a working va-ca for her husband, so she was left to entertain her two active girls). I pointed out the fact that she really hadn't had a chance to relax, so she needed a vacation to recoup from the one she just took. Can anyone relate? My other neighbor had driven his family ( 3 boys) to Hilton Head, then Miami (FL), and straight through back to Indiana. He looked exhausted and said he had been sick the whole trip. After hearing their stories and reading about my re-entry, I'm thankful at least for today that I stayed home this spring break and didn't have to deal with it! It also reminded me that I need to spend more time listening to what God has to say to me.

December 30, 2008
Why is it I think of all the good things to write about when I am walking and not near a computer? My mind goes blank once I sit down. All the clever things I thought I’d remember are not there. (This is still true!!)
This morning as I was walking the dog lamenting the fact that just yesterday I was walking the beach, feet in the ocean 78+ degrees and now here I am back in re-entry in Bloomington in the cold. And the dog takes off- chasing three gorgeous beautiful deer all across the park. What a wonderful gift God gave me- reminding me that his beauty is everywhere and He cares no matter where I am. Thank you for that reminder.
Then Kit and I saw three deer in the midst of a busy neighborhood- where were they trying to get to?

I was also reminded of “the circle of life” on our nature expedition in Florida where we learned what animals eat what – and the incredible rich treasures that are a part of the aquatic sea life. If God created all the food for all the minutest of creatures, I know He will provide for me, and my family. Again it comes to trust- my word for this time around of unemployment. Fear keeps threatening on the threshold, but my prayer shield seems to keep it at bay if I am faithful in spending the needed time in God’s word.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Murphy's Law

Murphy states that if something can go wrong, it will. Story of my life. Or why we should not have a new(er) car. My new mantra was that my youngest ( size 00- very cute) is a rear end magnet. She has been in 5, count them 5 accidents ( 4 rear enders) and all but one were not her fault. The one I am referencing today is when we finally bit the bullet and bought a new(er) car on a Wednesday, she drove it on Friday and managed to hit ( scrape) a 3 foot brick wall in the front of her friend's house on a circular driveway. Two days after we got the car. Thankfully, no one was hurt except her feelings when I continued to stare at the side of the car ( the full length from passenger door to the quarter panel in the back) and mumble over and over , we've only had it two days, we've only had it two days.

Fast forward to last Thursday when we had all the minute scratches buffed out of the car. Spent the whole day in Indy waiting for it to be finished. Looks awesome. Husband said he wished he knew the car better as we have not had it home since we got it (see previous posts) Fast forward to today. My OTHER daughter calls sobbing from Wal-Mart's parking lot. "Someone hit the car when I was in the store!! What do I do??" Big scratch- enough so that the paint is off. UGGGHHH. Note- the manager at Wal- Mart will not look at the security tapes to help find the assailant. So what do they have cameras for anyway?

So she is fine, the car is not, and if my hair wasn't already totally gray, it would be by now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ice tea grace

Don't you just love it when you get something that you don't deserve? I was cleaning out my purse and found a coupon for a free drink at Border's Cafe. I was going there anyway to get my son a birthday gift, so I thought I would treat myself to a free tea. (Free is good when your husband is unemployed and there is no envelope for money for Dawn's addiction to sweet tea.)
So I hand the girl at the counter my coupon and ask if it will work for an iced tea (the card says, coffee, tea, or soft drink.) She reads it, gets a puzzled look on her face and says "This is really old." I sheepishly confess that I just recently cleaned out my wallet and found it. With no expiration date I might add. She pointed to the sign above her stating that this is now a Seattle's Best Cafe, not a Border's Cafe. What the heck? It's in the same place and last time I checked I was in Border's in Bloomington, not Seattle. So I calmly said, "Reeeally? So will the coupon work?" She nodded affirmatively and then asked what size I would like? So we went from no tea to whatever size I'd like? Double score. I love this girl. As I left the counter with the undeserved tea, I thanked God for the little blessing He had given me. And I thought about how undeserving I am of all He gives me on a daily basis. And I love that He daily gives me His grace. And unexpected free teas.

First tears

Our youngest off to college, in another state three hours away, our middle child in school and hour and a half away, and our "eldest" child (as my mom calls me), 22 hours away in Utah, we are finally in the world of empty nesters. Our chicks have left the nest. But wait, my husband gets a job in CANADA- 20 hours north, a different country even. He doesn't even own a passport. So I am here in the empty nest and my husband flies the coop. All I am left with is the dog. And I don't even like the dog. Never wanted a dog, am stuck with the dog. More on her later.

I thought I would relish the time of no schedules (other than being at work on time), no responsibilities (other than the aforementioned dog), no pressures to do anything I didn't want to do because someone else needed me to do it. ( I love the phrase, your failure to plan is not my emergency. Somehow my kids and husband never quite got that idea. I was often running ambulances).

Thankful for wonderful neighbors and friends, I always had someplace to go when I needed a break from the tranquility and silence of my home. I had no ballgame I had to rush to, dinners to make, or mounds of laundry or dishes to wash. I was happy go lucky and free to do whatever I wanted. May sound heavenly to some moms that would love to be able to go to the bathroom by themselves for 3 minutes. ( The dog still won't let me- she nudges in to make sure I haven't fallen in I guess, peeking around the door.)

I remember the moment vividly. I was sitting in the parking lot of Kroger, having just gone to the grocery for the first time since my house had been evacuated. Sobbing uncontrollably. (Not over the cost of groceries, my husband had a job at the time remember.) I realized that for the first time in my life I had grocery shopped just for ME, and I was going home to live ALONE!! I had never lived alone in my life. From high school, I went to college, after college, I moved back home until I got married. I had never lived alone. And now after having raised three kids I was going to be living by myself and cooking for one. ( Or not- I ate a lot of cereal). No more thinking about what cereal to buy for whom, what to get so my picky youngest would eat something other than peanut butter and jelly. No more thinking about anyone else's choices but mine. I could buy the expensive things I had always glossed over as they would cost too much for more than one. But now I was one , and I could buy whatever I wanted! But I didn't want to. I would have much rather been buying for five, and cooking up big pots of chili, and gobs of cheesy potatoes. And not eating cereal for dinner.

Advice to harried moms? Enjoy the rat race. Embrace family dinners. Love leftovers. Hug your kids even when they only eat PBJs. And get yourself a dog. Most likely, it will stick around when everyone else flies away.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Indy's best kept secret

We had to go to Indianapolis to get our car's scratches "buffed out" - per the dealer when we bought the car last May. Great guy- here it is 10 months later and he is still willing to do it. This is the newest car that we purchased, and I have yet to drive it for more than a day. Our daughter who lives in Indy had shoulder surgery in August, and 5 days later started student teaching . In physical education , no less. She convinced us that she could not lift her arm to turn the key, and the new car has a keyless remote. Pretty nifty, you just press a button and as long as the key is in the car, it starts. So we agreed that this car would be much easier for her to drive. Plus it was cheaper on gas, and she was driving all over the place to her schools. Not that it mattered to her, as we were paying the gas anyway. But I digress.

So we drive to Indy and have a few hours to spend while the car is getting the small scrapes , as well as the snow shovel marks buffed out of the hood. (She finally fessed up that she did indeed make those marks when she was scraping off the 2 feet of snow, a few months ago.) Wanting to continue sticking to our very modest spring break money, we decided to go to the free art museum and Lilly House. What a pleasant surprise! It was an amazing afternoon, in a beautiful setting, and I felt like I had been on an educational adventure. The Oldfield's home tour has a recorded guided tour, with an extra button for a simpler version of the story for kids, complete with sound effects. I highly recommend this as a free family activity. I'd wait until later in the spring or summer, as the gardens will be in full bloom. There's even a greenhouse where you can purchase plants for the would be gardener. Pack a picnic lunch and make it a day!

I'm always looking for free/inexpensive activities. Let me know your favorites.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blue toothpaste

We all have it. Stuff. Mounds and mounds of stuff. Part of our "Total Money Makeover " is not buying things we don't need. So it is with "gazelle" intensity that I am scouring cupboards looking for everything I can find to use up before I have to buy new. It is AMAZING (and scary) to see what I have found.

Blue toothpaste. I'm down to no toothpaste (not even the little ones you get in a hotel for travel) , and I find a treasure in my daughters' bathroom. Blue toothpaste. Well, it comes out white, but turns blue to stick on your teeth to show you where the plaque is , so you can brush it off. Designed for kids to make brushing fun. No telling how much I paid the dentist for this little treasure. And obviously it wasn't enough to entice my young ones to use it, hence the full tube.
But no complaints, I may be able to go another month on this stuff. So look for me, with plaqueless teeth, and blue lips (the stuff stains!) At least I've saved $1 and gotten rid of some stuff. What "stuff" can you find to use up?

Now if I could only find some deodorant that doesn't smell like Old Spice.....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Life-ing. I first heard this phrase from my youngest, a ripe old age of 20. And I realized that my first born will be 27 this month ( I actually had to count up the years, there is no way it went by that quickly- where was I?) So what is life-ing? Going through the day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Somehow trying to enjoy each moment, each stage ( state) that I find myself in.

My husband is now in the state of unemployment. That's good news and bad news. Good news is at least he is not 20 hours away in a foreign country making a living like he did the last two years. The bad news is he has no job. No money. And LOTS of time on his hands. He finds lots of projects to do- for me as well as him. Issue here- I still work a full time job. I don't have time for extra projects. His latest is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Which puts me in a state of financial lockdown. I totally agree with the concepts, but am having a hard time convincing my husband that you must have money in order to make it over. A by-product is, we now account for every penny we spend. (Or find- he has eagle eyes that spot lost coins in parking lots and stores). And we are on a $50 week food budget. March 15th (week #2) we had spent $197.00, shopping at Aldi's , using coupons, and hunting down manager specials. Oops. Can anyone relate?

It has made me get more creative in the kitchen, making for some interesting meals. The one saving grace is that our kids don't eat here anymore. Our youngest is appalled when she comes home and looks in the fridge and cupboards and asks if we are starving. I tell her there is plenty of food, you just have to make it, a totally foreign concept to her. I obviously missed the life-ing part of teaching her to cook. So my reflection for today is to enjoy each moment, savor each meal, look for pennies from heaven, and teach your kids how to cook from random ingredients in your cupboard. They made need that skill someday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bite Your Tongue

Ahh, the first official morning of spring break (yesterday). I'm sleeping in until I wake up- no alarm. What a wonderful feeling. Until about 7:30a.m. when my husband says, "What's that noise?" Now he has NEVER been the one in the middle of the night to investigate anything- I'm the one with the bat/lamp/shoe in hand that goes to find out what is lurking in our midst. Somehow he even managed to sleep through the loudest of crying, screaming, and throwing up all through our kids' childhoods. So I dutifully get out of bed, lift the window, and look out to see where the noise is coming from. Bam! The window falls out on my head. ( The ones that fold out so you can clean both sides of the window from the inside-never used in almost 13 years of living here). I bite my tongue -it is bleeding. "Ith our neighborth yard servith," I tell my husband. "Could you pleath get thith window off my head, I bit my tongue." And he has the audacity to ask how I could bite my tongue opening the window. Not, "Honey, are you O.K.?" But he did take me out to dinner at Steak and Shake once the bleeding stopped. Chocolate milkshakes cure everything. We shared a $5.99 coupon meal to stay within our Total Money Makeover ala Dave Ramsey. More on that later. For now we're off to Rosie's for $.59 coffee.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My First Blog

Trouble already- I don't have Comic Sans as my font. For some reason things always look better written in Comic Sans. At least there is spellcheck.
I decided to start a blog as my sister convinced me that publishers are looking for bloggers (my words, not hers). My ambition at some point is to publish a book, so I will abide by the rules and start a blog and hope and pray that someone out there in cyber space will want to read what I have to say. Over the years I have often been told that I should write a book as the bizarre things that happen to me are unbelievable. I assure you that most of you have had strange things happen to you, maybe just not as often. Like lightening striking your house. Mine just happened to be three times in three different states. The best one was hitting the well pump which took out our water for a week, and the insurance company telling us our house was not uninhabitable. Mind you I had three kids under the age of 10, and a husband that was at his new job 2,000 miles away. No water, no toilets, no showers, no fun. We did run a hose from our neighbor's house to at least flush the toilet. Side note-the house was on the market at the time. When the crew came to "fix" the pump, they broke it off at the stem, which involved digging a five foot diameter hole in the middle of our front yard to replace the whole pump. Needless to say, we put the house sale on hold until the hole was filled in and grass was replanted. Talk about putting a damper on the housing market. What strange things have happened to you in selling houses? Everyone has a story. I'd love to hear yours.


The Fam

The Fam
The State of Relaxation in Florida


About Me

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Mover extraordinaire (is that a word?), happily married to a football coach for 31 years. Mother of three amazing children,(one still on the payroll) and one daughter-in-law. Teacher (special education),speaker, presenter, writer. One of my passions is sharing with others to encourage them. Another is chocolate, especially M&Ms.