Archive for June, 2011

Hanging on …

Yesterday I wrote a post about dealing with struggles, and when it was finished I realized that I was pretty good at speaking truth, and not so good at living it (aka. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching). So, not wanting to be a hypocrite, I decided to take my own advice.

I knew I needed to get out, and have some undisturbed time … what mother of kids who live at home doesn’t desire that? Fortunately, one kid was out, and the other two were preoccupied with video games and the telephone … and kid number four (aka. hubby) was deeply engaged in a movie. So, I took a notebook, a pencil, a cup of tea and a towel (to dry off the outdoor chair I was heading for, as it had rained … (again).

I sat facing the bright, even warm, sun. This was fantastic, as last week was the first day of summer, and I am still very convinced that we have barely had spring! But, I digress!

The sun was beautiful, and the sky, although dotted with big white cotton ball clouds, was a spectacular bright blue. So I dried my chair, and snuggled in with my tea. I laid my head back and smiled … eyes closed. When I do something like this, I am reminded how infrequently I take the time to do … nothing, and how immediately responsive my body and mind are when I do. Hum, maybe our bodies and minds are created with a need for rest … not just sleep (which I am a big fan of) but rest … being still.

So, there I sat, the sun shining down on my, my body and mind becoming still. Then my eyes opened as I realized I did have a purpose in going out … I had my notebook and pencil. So, I stood, and turned my chair so that I was facing away from the sun (deep down, I was probably looking for a rainbow … it had rained earlier). Then I got my notebook out, and started writing praises.

Now, if you didn’t read my post yesterday, it was about those life moments when you feel like your life is hanging by a thread, when your ship comes in, but you are at the airport, when you’ve got just one nerve left and someone (heavy) is standing on it …

… when you are in the midst of struggle.

And I spoke of how when we are in the midst of struggle, we need to give up control and look to the only one who is in control for answers.

And, as I sat outside, the sun on my back, I did just that. But I went one step further … I cannot look on the God of my life, and not praise Him (hum, maybe that is what we were designed to do). So, I began to write down my praise to my God.

I started with His reminder to me … “Be still and know that I am God (I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10).” And then, in no order (ha! ha! ha! … in my mind order is absent anyway) I wrote about what I was seeing … the bright blue sky, the brilliant green trees, plants and grass. I wrote about what I was hearing … the melody of a chorus of many kinds of birds, insects and squirrels.

Then I wrote of how hard it was to sit, and be still … I could weed, I could trim that grapevine, I could dead head my rose bush. No! I am here to worship, and be still! Then I wrote (page two) ‘I will praise you,’ and, for the next half hour I sat, and I wrote my hearts praises to God.

And I didn’t stop until, after over three pages of writing, I had a cramp in my right hand, from scribbling down on the paper. Over and over, what came to my mind, and I wrote on the paper were praises to God for what I know, in my head, He is. And, as I read my list over, I realized that I was praising Him for the things that were my struggle …

Over and over, what came to my mind were words of how God is my protector, my safety, my comforter. The very areas I was feeling needy. Obviously, what my mind knows (that God will protect me), I easily forget when I am trying to stay in control of the struggle of the moment.

But, I didn’t only learn that the cries of my heart are already being comforted by the Great Comforter … I also learned that the struggle cannot be hurried, and that to find comfort in struggle is even better that knowing the struggle is over.

You see, when I turned my chair from the sun, I was looking for a rainbow …

I wrote the following on my paper …

“My grapevine is reaching up, reaching out towards the sun, the light … it is beautiful! BUT I turn my chair so my back is to the sun, the warmth, the light, because I want to see the rainbow … the sign of the end of the struggle and the hope prayed for … I want to RUSH the reward …”

You know what? After about an hour of praising God, I got my reward … without the struggle being over yet. To have followed the leading to praise in the midst of the storm was far more rewarding than to know that the storm is over. One day, the storm WILL be over, but to have received God’s peace, and comfort in the midst of it is even better … because that is a miracle that could not have been achieved if I had been in control.

And from now on, no more searching for rainbows … like my grapevine, I’m looking towards the light.

God is in control, and I will praise Him in the storm.

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Do you ever feel like you are hanging on by a thread? Or maybe you live with, or know someone else who seems to be just barely surviving … but rather precariously. They are desperate, they are exhausted, they are hopeless.

When I am having a hanging by a thread moment a vivid picture forms in my mind. It is a picture of me, in a small boat, in the midst of a growing, growling powerful tropical storm. I am alone, I have no supplies to help me get through it. I have no protection from the elements. And I have no idea how much longer it will go on before the storm passes (or I pass).

Life has ‘hanging by a thread’ moments (that seem to last years, even if they only last a few days). And when these inevitable times come, we just want them to hurry up and go. Unfortunately, they have a mind of their own, and their coming and going seems to have little to do with our efforts.

I having been trying (as a person who struggles with the lack of a gift of patience) to learn to appreciate process, rather than just wish that the struggle were over. This has not been an easy thing for me to learn. And, with every step forward, I slide backwards even farther.

Although my attempt at appreciating process sounds honorable, I have to admit that my rational for this self-learning is not completely honorable. You see, I am trying to ‘work the system’ (how it is that I think I can ‘work the system’ of something untouchable, invisible, is ridiculous … even to me).

My thinking is that we usually can only appreciate the process of struggle AFTER it is over (oh, hindsight, how I love thee). So, what I am really trying to do, by appreciating the process, is seeking the benefit of hindsight in the midst of the process 😉 … But, I am also hoping that by appreciating the process … the struggle might get over sooner! I do realize that my theory is not only confusing, but it is also very flawed, and very … wrong.

There is simply no way to rush the process of struggle. There is no ‘working the system’ to try to expedite the end of struggle. I cannot sit contentedly in my little boat, in the midst of ocean swells, all alone, and just enjoy the ride. Struggle is not something to appreciate, it is something that brings us back to the reality that we cannot do it alone. Struggle is something that should cause us to say, “I give up.”

Now don’t go getting your skin tight theological knickers in a fisherman’s knot! What I mean when I say that struggle should cause us to give up, is that we need to give up our control on the situation, and give that control back into the hand of the man who stilled the water, and calmed the sea. You see, if I am in the midst of struggle, I am going to suffer it’s effects …

I’m going to get wet,

maybe even bruised from being thrashed around,

I might even get sick,

or even tossed out into the sea …

Because bad things do happen to good people … everyday! That … is life … But, God’s hand, and His plan is to see me, to see us, through it.

He knows how long the storm will last.

He knows how the storm will end.

And He knows we need to rely on Him, and not on ourselves, in the midst of it.

And, it is not until we take our eyes off the struggle, that we can see who it is that is in control, and that He is bigger than anything we could ever face.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”

Job 38:1-2

“Then Job replied to the Lord, I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:2-5


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The other day my job took me into the city via public transit.

I had just taught a unit on public transportation, and wanted to wind up that unit, and the year, with a fun day.

For me, public transit is a blast! It is rare for me, or the rest of my suburban family, to actually need to take public transit. But it is such a fantastic place to people watch! And, let me tell you, this part of the day provided vast amounts of people to watch.

First off, was the bus …

There most people looked like they were walking zombies. I tried, very unsuccessfully, to make eye contact with many … to no avail. To be honest, I am not sure they were really there, maybe their presence on the bus was a figment of my imagination.

But there were two guys get on the bus, probably in their mid-twenties (so, compared to my aged-ness … they were young’uns). They were a little … scary looking (what can I say, I am a middle-aged, female suburbanite). Maybe gang members, maybe homeless … definitely rough and tough (and even a little gruff). So, I kept watching them … when they weren’t looking my way. The bus was filling … fast! Then a woman gets on with a boy who is about four years old. And there is no available seat (and I am too pre-occupied people watching to get off my lazy butt). And one of the rough and tough guys gets up … and looks at the woman … and kindly offers his seat to she and the boy … Be still my heart! Kind, genteel, gentlemen do still exist … even if they look too scary to make eye contact with.

Later in the day I was on the bus, and saw someone that, lets face it, we have all encountered. It is the he/she. I glanced in his/her way off and on for about ten minutes, trying to ascertain whether he was a he, or if she was a she (this is not an easy feat, as there seems to be an unwritten rule about public transit, that one must not make eye contact with … anyone else). Clothing gave no indication, hairstyle gave no indication, and I wasn’t close enough to decide based on voice. I couldn’t see any indicators of shaving, or … female upper body development … I was left with the mystery of never knowing …

Lesson #1 … you can’t read a book by it’s cover …

Then there was my faux pas (okay, so it wasn’t my one and only faux pas, as I already was trying to make eye contact like a timeshare salesman in Mexico, with anyone and everyone … which reminds me of the time hubby and I were in Mexico, walking along a busy tourist street. The timeshare salespeople are yelling and beckoning and flattering everyone who doesn’t look Mexican. And this one is yelling, obviously to hubby, “hey Meestir”, but MY hubby is a smart one … and he just pretends to not hear him. Then, same guys yells, “hey Meestir, your shoelace is untied” and MY hubby looks down, and then we hear, “I knew you could hear me.” … but, I digress).

As the bus lunged forward and then back, at a stop, I absentmindedly reached for the pole in front of me, and my hand brushed the behind of the guy in front of me … let me tell you, I know how to go from pale to crimson in milliseconds! Fortunately, he just turned towards me, and smiled graciously … probably more like, he thought it was hilarious that someone so old could still blush!

Lesson #2 … look before you reach …

There was this adorable little baby. He looked like he had just awakened from a nap. He and his mom/nanny appeared to be Chinese, and he had the most delightful cheeks! As his eyes scanned the other occupants of the bus, his face was without emotion, without expression. His stare was met with equally tired eyes, smiles, and grown adults making faces at him, (that made them look like a side show at the circus). The only expression close to a smile from him was to his ugly, well worn teddy bear.

Lesson #3 … beauty is in the EYE of the beholder …

Then there was the cute Korean couple. They looked to be early twenties, and so very eager to touch hands, to talk, to make eye contact … with each other. I really do not think they were at all aware that there was anyone else on the planet, let alone on the bus. Now I don’t mean they were clinging to each other, and to look at them was to watch saliva being shared from one to the other. I mean they were simply in the bubble of ‘each other’, simply so delighted just to be … together.

Lesson #4 … few things can make one smile like love in the other persons eyes …

except maybe … a little girl?

And finally, the best moment of my day of public transit …

A VERY pregnant woman (I kept my cell phone in my hand, in case she went into labor right then and there), with a cute little girl, wearing a dress, white tights, and her curly blond hair up in a ponytail. The moment they boarded the bus is so memorable, because something about them drew the attention of almost everyone else on the bus.

People whose eyes had barely left their shoes, were watching. People who had been muttering to themselves, hushed, and just watched. The lady in her perfect figure and expensive yoga wear, looked up from her meditation, and smiled. The really good (I mean REALLY good) smelling guy, with the expensive-looking suit, moved well out of the way as they moved down the aisle, to their seat, as though he was making room for royalty. The older lady who had spent a full two and a half minutes (I admit, I timed her …) searching her change purse for her bus transfer, looked up at the pair and stared, as though their appearance into her day took her to another time, another place. Then there was me … and my first moment of watching them, I was taken back, to years past when sleep was rare, but life was wonder-filled, simple and innocent.

I do not know what it was, exactly, that caught the attention of so many on the bus that day. Maybe it was the beauty of new life, maybe it was how clean, how fresh they looked in the dirty, metal bus. Maybe everyone else on that bus was waiting for the ladies water to break. Or, maybe it was something ‘out of this world’. Maybe there is universal kindness, universal instinct to protect those who might be vulnerable.

Whatever it was, it was a wonderfilled moment for me. And it encouraged me to spend more time people watching.

Lesson #5 … the best of all that is created, is probably the best way to see the beauty of the Creator …


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I can only remember seeing one rainbow, as a child. I know they occurred more often, I just am too archaic to remember seeing them! Or maybe, as a child there are so many wonders that catch your eye, a rainbow is just not all that exciting?

There is something about rainbows, about the wonder associated with them. They give hope.

There are two associations with rainbows that are most common. One is the association with a pot of treasure at one end of it. The other is that from the Biblical story of Noah, and the flood, and how the vision of the rainbow was one of hope of the future.

About eight years ago, I/we had an encounter with a rainbow.

You need a bit of background …

We were living in a great neighborhood, with great neighbors. But my house ‘wanderlust’ had set in … okay, that is wrong … MY house wanderlust is always present. Anyway hubby and I were away for a weekend in March … just the two of us (so sweet … and, although we were just away not even a month ago, I am ready to go again … my, I know how to digress!). While we were away, I made a declaration, “we need to find a place to live that is a refuge for you. A place where you can rest, relax, and ‘get away’ from the stresses of life.”

I can only think of three to four times in our marriage when I have made ‘a declaration’. And each time I did so, my jaw dropped, as I ‘heard’ what my mouth said, because it was not a thought that I had previously entertained. It was as though the words of my mouth were inserted by someone else.

A few weeks later, hubby and I agreed to ‘just look’ at a house that I loved. But when hubby called the realtor, it had already sold. So, hubby, decided to inquire about another, and got a date to go view it.

I was NOT excited to see this house. It was west coast contemporary … blech! I come from the east where houses are old and character-filled … contemporary might as well be the f-word in my mind. And worse, when we pulled up to the house, it was perched on a driveway, so steep, I was sure if a car was parked horizontally on it, it would tip over! But I LOVED the neighborhood! Less than eighty houses on tree-lined winding streets, with beautifully manicured lawns, tall trees, and all in a neighborhood that is so hidden away, there are people who have lived in our Township for many years that don’t even know it exists!

So, up the driveway we all (all five of us) climbed. Once at the top (and we caught our breath), we rang the doorbell, and were greeted by the realtor. We entered the house, and looked to the left, an enormous, but cozy, family room … I was adjusting to contemporary …

Then the rest of the house …

Then, the kids found the in-ground pool (which we more frequently call the albatross), and we saw the hot tub, and the so very secluded back yard!

We went back home, from this appointment to ‘just look’, with rose-colored glasses firmly on all five of our faces!

By 9pm, that night, we had hired a realtor, made an offer on the house, had it accepted, and had listed our own property …

(kids, this is NOT how to do this)

The decision was not an easy one, just an impulsive one. I remember so well hubby and I discussing what to do, and saying, ‘I just wish there could be … a rainbow in the sky … I don’t need writing in the sky, just a rainbow to indicate ‘go for it’ ” … but, alas nothing but clear blue sky. We went for it, anyway.

We had two conditions to the offer … one was a home inspection, and the other … selling our property.We were not worried about either. The inspection would be done by a professional, who we had used at an earlier time. The second should not have been an issue, because houses were selling before signs went up on the lawns! It was a sellers market, and we were confident!

The sign went up two days later, and the viewings began (and the fast food dinners began with the showings). After six days, we had had thirty-five showings, and our realtor wanted to sit down and talk (that is realtor talk for lets sit down and lower your price, because ten to fifty thousand dollars less off the selling price only affects him by ‘tens to hundreds’ of dollars … just sayin’). We sat down, and got the report. Our house was showing well, no negative comments, and priced well … this all sounded good. Then the predicted statement … ‘I think we should lower the price.’ But we were confident of our price, and held firm.

A week later, our resolve was weakening, as were were down to six weeks until closing, and the thought of living with two mortgages was unbearable.

Then, a last minute showing, where the realtor could not open the lock box, and we needed to let the viewers in, ourselves. They looked, they liked, and, by later that night, we had an offer … for the price we wanted 🙂

A couple of days later their home inspection, followed a few more days by the final paperwork!

We were cleaning up, after dinner, waiting for our realtor to come with that paperwork. As I rinsed the dishes I looked out to see a sun shower … such a cool thing to see! Then I ran to the front window (the one I had looked longingly out a couple of weeks prior, for my rainbow in the sky), confident that our ‘answer’ had arrived, and there it was … big and bright with one end near our home, and the other going in the direction of our new home.

I admit, despite the snickers of my kids (who have compared me to the ‘double rainbow’ guy from the world popular YouTube video … how many hours of combined labor did I go through to push their fat heads out into this world?), that I love rainbows. I love their colors, I love the possibility of there being a double rainbow, I love the hope that is re-birthed in the end of the rains.

There is wonder in the appearance of a rainbow, and that wonder re-ignites an innocence within me that makes me feel fresh and clean, and new, and gives me hope for the future.

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I’m an Addict!

I never thought it was possible, but I have become addicted to walking my favorite trail!

Not that anyone who has walked my favorite trail would blame me, because it is a spectacular trail. But the part about … me … addicted … to walking … that is what is hard to believe.

Now, my beast … she has always been addicted to walking! When she doesn’t go for a walk, she looks depressed, and gives us guilt-laden looks that no human can duplicate! And when she does go for a walk, she is the picture of contentment!

Life has become simply too busy this week to walk my trail … the trail I have been walking at least three times a week … for months! It has now been six days since I last walked it, and there is no available time in the foreseeable three days! And I think I am gonna lose it!

Tonight hubby and I were supposed to be removing sod on a piece of land that we planned to build our brick patio (hubby got an amazing deal on landscape bricks, from a neighbor … weeks … months … hum, years ago. So, we decided that indeed we could do this task … ourselves. And the time was now. But, I digress). But, the sod remover was very heavy, and we live on top of a hill, so getting it to the upper backyard … not so easy peasie. Then the sod remover was not too easy to figure out how to get it to actually cut the sod.

All that to say, words were said, (under our breath), looks were exchanged, frustrations were elevated, declarations of wanting to sell this massive property (in exchange for a brand new, comes with a property management company, condo) by me were made, tears burned in my eyes … and a quiet evening was had by all! And really, all because I haven’t (WE haven’t) been going for regular walks.

All I really had wanted to do was walk my favorite trail … (and it probably would have been better for all around me!).

This walk on the trail has become my leavening agent … like yeast or baking powder. If I mix it into my week in a well-proportioned way, the rest of my week rises and falls in balance. If, on the other hand, I do not take the time to add the leavening power of my walks to my week, the week ends up with the qualities of a hockey puck … hard, flat, and dangerous.

Truly, it could be said that I have turned a corner in my philosophy of life and living. For me, on this voyage of attaining better health, better living is finally becoming part of my daily fiber. Now, I miss my walks, like I once would have missed chocolate (oh, chocolate, I remember you. Dark, creamy, mouth-watering, satisfying, chocolate … chocolate bars, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, and oh, my personal favorite, homemade chocolate sauce …  I  a m  s o  w e a k  …, and, I digress … again).

Walking now feels, not just good, but right. And that is a core change in how I think. I now recognize that going for those walks is not so much about how burning all those calories enables me to then eat more (a girl has to have her ‘rewards’ 🙂 ), but that going for those walks makes me feel better, think better, choose better, LIVE better (and squeeze into some of those clothes that have been gather dust in my closet for years).

So, today, I think something else is just gonna have to go. Now, what could go? Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms … hum, if I don’t do those three things, I would have enough time to walk! AND, I have three kids … so if they each ‘get’ to do one of those jobs, I can walk, AND come home to a clean house! And they get a more mentally stable mother (they have no idea just how this could benefit them).

Seriously, just thinking about walking makes my thinking so much more clear!

Now, where are those walking shoes? And my beast? And yes, even my hubby (who I am talking to, and is talking to me again … thanks to a couple of great guys who came over to the rescue of our sod, our marriage, and our sanity).

Time for a walk … it does a body, mind and soul good!

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I am a mom, and I am a special education assistant … but it was becoming a mom was what gave me a better understanding of the people I would be called upon to assist … the students and their families.

In my job I am very aware that God has entrusted ‘my’ students:

first, to their parents …

and  w  a  y  down the line, to me.

I am also aware, because I am a mom, that I do not know what is best for them … God didn’t entrust the students to me first.

I am not always right … ask MY kids!

I work with ‘my’ students about six and one half hours a day, for a year, maybe two or three … their moms are with them for life.

To be a mom of a child with special needs means living with public scrutiny, public embarrassment and public shame.

To be a mom of a child with special needs means living with a large host of professionals who ‘are better educated’ about your child’s ‘needs’, than you.

To be a mom of a child with special needs means constantly having to hear what is ‘wrong’ with your child.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.

I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

Mother Teresa

But …

To be a mom of a child with special needs also means …

being a mom to a son or daughter

who you have dreams for

(what good mother doesn’t?)

who you have fears for

(what good mother doesn’t?)

who you love, with that unconditional love that is called ‘Momma Love’

(what good mother doesn’t?)


I remember well the day I realized how heavy the weight can be to be a mom of a child with special needs. The mom was bringing her daughter to school, and I asked how the new ‘special’ air mattress for her child was working. The mom’s reply was that she had just had her first full night’s sleep in YEARS. Now I do not mean one or two years …  this ‘child’ was about sixteen years old …

Then there is the mom with a child who, as a toddler, would sit still on a blanket when out at the park. And the other moms of toddlers would tell her how ‘lucky’ she was that she didn’t have to run around after him … when, inside, she so wished that her son would need her to run after him.

Then there is the mom whose son is mostly non-verbal, and can be violent and aggressive. She spends most waking hours ensuring that she knows where he is, as he is a flight risk. When her son does express affection, adoration and love it is never to or for her, because her son only has eyes for other males.

Then there is the mom who spent many years doing homework with / for her son, so that he would not be embarrassed that his work was obviously ‘inferior’ to that of his classmates.

Then there is the mom who has taken on the task of raising the special needs child of another woman. And that child’s special needs are the direct result of the actions of the child’s birth mother.

Then there is the mom, whose child has been so discouraged by teachers, leaders and other adults that don’t ‘believe’ his diagnosis, preferring to think that this student is simply ‘lazy’. And this child, so beaten down by the bad attitudes of some teachers, leaders and adults in his life that he has chosen to be viewed as bad over being seen as stupid. And his mom has picked up the phone far too many times to hear the school principal’s voice to tell her of another antic causing harm to people or property.

And then the mom of the child with Down’s Syndrome (Trisomy 21) who NEVER goes out in public, with her child, without facing strangers staring at her child …

“Hey, keep staring at me and you just might cure my disability.

Then we can work on YOUR social skills.”


How many of us, as parents, as moms, have said, ‘I wish my son, my daughter could stay a baby forever’? To the mom of many special needs children, that wish of yours can be like  a curse to them. As they might have a child who will never live independently, or have a job, or learn to drive, or learn to count, or be toilet trained.

I like to think that I have thick skin, but I know that mine is nothing compared to the mom of a child with special needs.

For anyone out there who is the mom of a child/children with special needs, may you know that …

I don’t know more than you, about your child

I don’t look at your child as a disability to our society

I don’t look down at you

I don’t know how you feel

… and there are many more, who feel the same way.

All that to say, I just wanted to give you some positive ‘air time’. And to tell you, that if I have worked with your son or daughter, I have respected, appreciated and prayed for you …and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

“Perseverance is not a long race.

It is many short races one after another.”

W. Elliot

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It is Father’s Day!

For most men, to ‘become’ a father, by physically creating life is soooooo very easy! One could say that every fiber of a man’s being is made for it.

But today, we do not celebrate ‘fathering’ day, we celebrate ‘Father’s Day,’ and the two are so very different.

Some men think that their ‘fathering’ ability makes them dads … but Hallmark could tell them a different story. A few years back cards were donated to the inmates of a prison, to give for Mother’s Day. The response was so great that it was offered again at Father’s Day. And the number of cards accepted, and given out … zero! All of those incarcerated had both a mother and a father (the basics of reproduction), but none of them chose to celebrate their ‘male-maker’ …

… perhaps their fathers only ‘fathered’ them

To BE a father, is so much more, and I am so very blessed to have a dad, who is a father.

He was there when I had skinned knees

He was there when I was fascinated with polly wogs

He was there when I needed new satin shorts (there’s a story here)

He was there when I was a sullen adolescent

He was there during my various musical taste stages (from Olivia Newton John to Michael Jackson)

He was there when I was failing Science, and the teacher said I would never be a nurse … my dream (and came home from the parent-teacher meeting to tell me my teacher was an idiot … dad was right, by the way)

He was there when a guy would come over to our house to see me (and glare, as any good dad would)

He was there when a guy broke my heart

He was there when I went to university

He was there when I quit university

He was there when I married

He was there when our hearts were broken through each pregnancy loss

He was there when our hearts were joyful through each safe arrival of our three ‘earthly’ kids

He was there

He was there

He was there

(getting the point yet?)

My dad is the best father in the world, even though he didn’t father me. He taught me what I needed to know, he showed his unconditional love for me, he punished me when I deserved it, he gave grace when I didn’t deserve it. It is through my dad, my earthly father, that I can know the goodness of God, my heavenly father.

To my dad, who has always been, and will always be ‘there’, I love you.

It is not flesh and blood

but the heart

which makes us fathers and sons daughters.

~Johann Schiller

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Let me first declare, here and now, that I live in a delightful house! It is like a fortress on a hill, with more space than we need, privacy to die for, and a pool that (when working) on a hot summers day, is better than butter on warm homemade bread.

So, that said … I am always experiencing ‘house wanderlust’ (I was going to write, ‘itchy foundations’ or ‘dreaming of the big house’, but I so love the romantic sound of the word ‘wanderlust’. I just had to work it in somehow … but, I digress).

Every spring the signs go up on the lawns of houses I have (I admit it) envied the owners of, for years. And then I envy some more … and then I head to my favorite real estate web site, and I look, and dream. And … I WANT to move!

I blame part of it on my personal tastes … traditional, character homes … not something that the area we live in has much of. And, to exaggerate things more the house we do live in is … west coast contemporary … so very far from traditional, character homes! Now, I repeat, it is a great house … it’s just so very far from my ‘dream house’ (and if you should know anything about me, from reading my posts, you should know that I am an unapologetic dreamer).

So, back in early April, as I was heading home after a walk with my beast, on my favorite trail, in my favorite place, I had a eureka moment! I decided, while driving home, past one property after another of character homes, that a certain one, when it went for sale (or when Oprah discovered my amazing talents and offered me a book deal, or TV program … I not picky), hubby and I would buy it!

I drove slowly past it, staring longingly, and dreaming of the day when I would have my hand squeezed lemonade, sitting in my antique rocking chair, on the front porch with hubby, and the beast … ahhhh!

And, I was able to drive by, and head home … contentedly, because I knew that one day, off into the future, it would be my home 🙂

And then, just a week later, the unimaginable happened …

I drove by and …

you got it …

… right out in front of my future dream house …

… a for sale sign!

Seriously … what was this about? I had just fought with my demons with this place, and had mastered contentment (hum, maybe contentment is not something to be attained on earth), about waiting … and now it was for sale?!

Not only that, but the real estate market is warming up here, and, two months later … IT IS STILL FOR SALE! And I drive by it about three times a week … oh, the torture!

And, still no call from Oprah!

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Graduation happens tonight for two of my three students (boy, do I know how to work myself out of a job). And, as with many ‘formalities’ in our lives, it takes me back … way back!

It has been twenty-four years since I graduated from high school, and twenty-two since I graduated from college with a certificate/diploma in drafting (that I have only used for ten months professionally, and for twenty-two years, designing my dream house).

I vividly remember the excitement of shopping for a dress for prom, our grad song (“Lean on Me”), planning what to do after our graduation ceremony, and looking forward to gifts of money …

In my small town of 1600’ish (at that time), high school graduation was HUGE! People from the community would come to watch the grads enter the school for prom (it was there because, in such a small town, the school had the largest facilities), to ohh and awe at the gowns, the spiffed up guys, and now they come to see what they will arrive in (apparently combine harvesters are not unusual now in that rural village). People from the community would come to the ceremony, like it was a community event … because it was!

University was not the goal of most of my fellow grads, although many did go … for a year (or, in my case, a few months) and a number even graduated. Many did go to college. But getting a job was the main goal for most … in a day and time when ‘you need to have a university degree to succeed’ was preached regularly preached at us. I am still, twenty-four years later, amazed that educated people can think that any one path works for all … obviously they forget that the people who fix their broken cars, unplug their septic systems, and wire that new outlet all do so without an undergrad! But, I digress …

Last nights graduation also took me back a year, to my oldest daughter’s graduation from high school. I still get ‘mamma guilted’ for not shedding a tear at that event (so she thinks 😉 ). To be honest, there weren’t many tears shed around her graduation. Not because I was not proud, but because graduation from high school is so … common today.

And that is a good thing.

But also, for my first born (who works her butt off), school (the academics of it) is not a huge struggle. Now she does well, because she works so hard, but she is an academic. So, for her, graduation was more of a celebration because it marked the beginnings of more study, just in an area she is more interested in … psychology (and it marked the beginnings of her study of us … her family).

For many, though, having society-imposed academic hoops to jump through is the greatest struggle of their life! And for those students, high school graduation (whatever ‘title’ their diploma has … dogwood or evergreen) is their finest moment … so far …

Thankfully, graduation from high school is just a step on the ladder of life … IT IS NOT LIFE itself! High school is just a very small microcosm of of life itself. It is not a predictor of future success (Winston Churchill failed grade 6), it is not the finest moment of life (there are so many that do not come until after high school graduation … like, following your passion, whatever it might be), it is not necessarily the place where people know you best (and I mean classmates, as well as teachers … give it about two to four years, and the light of who really knows you best will be ignited).

For the students I was paid to assist, as well as all others, congratulations … but don’t stop climbing … the peak of the mountain is just barely in view … and it’s all up from here.

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As I walked my walk, on my trail, with my beast, I was taken back … way back to my childhood.

It was first my eyes that were transported to childhood memories, and then, more significantly, the scents that my nasal passages could never forget. The sights and smells of wild roses.

Truly Shakespeare was right when he said, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And, a wild rose, even more so.

I have never smelled a perfume, room deodorizer, a candle … anything that has perfectly duplicated the beautifully subtle yet poignant scent of a wild rose.

For me, that scent takes me back to my childhood, and especially to my pre-adolescent years.I remember the wild roses growing in a field across from our first family house, and my dad picking them for my mom. I remember being at my grandmothers house, where it seemed they grew everywhere.

When I see wild roses, out in nature, it is impossible for me to resist sticking my nose close to them to drink in their scent. And as I get close, I close my eyes, and for a moment I am transported back in time to my younger days.

I am transported to childhood.

To carefree summer days.

To pollywogs (tadpoles).

To pussy willows.

To awakening to the smell of homemade bread, at my grandmother’s house.

To picking wild strawberries, and blueberries (that grow close to the ground).

To running through acres of undisturbed fields.

To eating so many wild mushrooms, fried in butter in a pan, that I didn’t touch another until I was 30!

To the cool of my grandmothers house on a stiffling summer day.

To the sound of my grandmothers needle piercing the fabric on the quilt she was quilting.

To the crisp clean sheets on the little bed at Gram’s house.

To my the moon shining bright through the bedroom window, at night.

To the voice of my Gram, as she and I took in the beauty … the wonder of the moon …

Over the mountain, over the sea,

Back where my heart is longing to be,
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

I see the moon; the moon sees me
Down through the leaves of the old oak tree.
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

I hear the lark; the lark hears me,
Singing a song with a melody.
Please let the lark that sings for me
Sing for the one I love.

I kiss a rose; the rose kisses me,
Fragrant as only a rose can be.
Please let the Rose that comforts me
Comfort the one I love.

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