Category Archives: Lessons I’ve learned

Trusting God with your kids… and other stuff that’s hard. Like loving pets.

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managua-nicaraguaMy daughter, who is not quite 16 years old, is in Nicaragua this week on a mission trip with her youth group. On the one hand I am totally excited for her; she is going to have a whole new outlook on life when she gets back. I am so proud of her for being brave, being open to what the Lord wants her to do in her life, for simply being willing. On the other hand, it’s kind of… well, it’s not freaking me out; I know God can take care of her better than I can. Even when she talks about the gross stuff that splashed on her while they were cleaning trash in the park, or while crossing the mega-polluted lake – Oh, Lord, protect this child!! I just… really miss her! It’s lonely and quiet here. Okay, the quiet part is kind of nice! We have been able to video chat with her a couple of the nights, so that was fantastic – to touch base, hear how her day went… it’s only been 5 days, and she has 5 days to go… it seems like it’s been a month! It’s cool, though. Especially cool to see how she is beginning to understand the world from a different perspective. As in, she doesn’t really have it as bad as she sometimes thinks!

Seriously, the hardest part has been yesterday morning. We were up getting ready to head out to the Farmer’s Market downtown, when my mom called to me that our dog had hurt her leg. Yup, I am pretty sure it’s serious.. in fact, I think she tore her other CCL… which can only be repaired surgically – and last time that cost us $1,500. Which:  A)we can’t afford and  B)now that she’s 12 and has lots of hip and joint issues I don’t think she can support herself on 3 legs anymore. It takes several weeks of that, for rehab… I don’t know that she’s got it in her.

So that totally stinks because she’s Kiki’s dog. Kiki specifically said when she left “No body and no animals can get sick or die while I’m gone.” Of course I told her there was no way I could guarantee that sort of deal; I don’t make promises I don’t have the total ability to keep… but to be honest I sure didn’t think anything would happen while she was gone! And you have to wonder – at least, I have to wonder – why now? why this week? Seriously?? Because we will take the dog to see our regular vet this week (the one we saw Saturday wasn’t sure, didn’t find anything conclusive) but no matter what, we can’t make “the decision” – if it has to be made – until our daughter gets home. And I don’t know how the dog will hold up… she can’t get up without assistance, although she can hobble about once she’s up… but pottying… well, she’s done one thing, but not the other, and I don’t know how she can when she can’t…well, she can’t squat, if you know what I mean. Sigh.

This is the hard part about loving animals, isn’t it? I guess it’s the hard part about loving any living thing. Because none of us lives forever. Not on this world anyway. Today I am feeling sad and worn and not all that thrilled about this life. I’m trying to remember that God has a plan even when it makes no sense. I’ve been there before, and lived through it.. not without pain or grief, however. Looking forward to the end of this week when my daughter will be home so I can hug on her, because that always makes me feel so much better. I suppose I also need to start thinking about, I don’t know, a hobby or pursuit or something, as this trip is only a tiny precursor to the fact that she will one day soon move away for, well, at least an extended amount of time, if not permanently. She only has 3 years of high school left, after all. Of course, I want her to move on – to college, Bible school, marriage… whatever life has in store for her! It is how it should be, no matter how desperately I will miss her. So I better figure out something interesting with which to fill my days, huh? Not sure how many pets I want….

Do you ever think God isn’t paying attention?

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I admit, I feel like this sometimes. Like God is just up there in the clouds, letting the world down here spin out of control while we flounder about in it.

Then something happens that makes me adjust my attitude. Something that reminds me that our God cares about even the little details of our lives, and we need to be paying attention to see what He has going on. Something like what happened to me this week. A silly thing, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Monday night, my family had Chinese take-out. ‘Cause you know I hate cooking. It was yummy. Then I cracked open my fortune cookie, and here is what I see:

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My first thought was “Really? REALLY?! I don’t get a fortune, I get told what to do?!” It was a little… irritating. (I guess I wanted it to tell me my ship was coming in next week or something) My husband and daughter laughed at my indignation.

Right on the heels of that thought was the thought of the one friend I knew could really use some flowers. A friend I love, who is going through a really tough time. Just as I was thinking about her, my daughter said “You know who could use some flowers?” and proceeded to mention the same friend.

Which got me thinking that maybe there was something to that silly old fortune cookie.

The next morning I got online to see what florists delivered in the area where my friend works. I called and ordered what I hoped would be a cute little arrangement. A bit later, I texted my friend, just to see how her day was going, as I hadn’t seen her in awhile and wondered how she was getting on. Turns out, that very day was the one year anniversary of – well, of a traumatic event which set off the chain of events which she is struggling through right now. I had known it had happened “last summer sometime”, but had no idea it was that very same day. Guess who knew? God. That’s right. The creator of the very universe knew it was going to be a hard day for my friend to get through, and He thought someone should let her know they – and He – were thinking of her. Loving her. So He spoke to me through a fortune cookie. Who knew?!

When people tell you “God works in mysterious ways” they aren’t just joking.

Random thoughts on a lazy Sunday

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 Is it weird that I would drive my kid a half-hour across town so she can spend a few hours watching movies with a friend? Do other parents do this? I feel bad that she doesn’t have friends in the neighborhood like I did when I was a kid… she doesn’t really have friends in our town at all. She also has no siblings to play with. So, I drove her 30 minutes to the next town over to spend the evening with a friend (who, fortunately, is slightly older and has a license so she will drive Kiki home after, so I don’t have to make the trip twice.)

I’ve also spent a lot of time recently driving her a half-hour the other direction to participate in a new theater group. Acting is something she loves doing but hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to participate in, so when she actually got a part after auditioning I couldn’t deny her the chance to do it… but, she rehearses 3 days a week in another town so off we go again! I wish my car got better mileage (17mpg on a good day).  On those days, I spend 3 hours hanging out in a coffeehouse reading or on my computer because I don’t want to make the drive twice – so I just wait out there while she’s rehearsing. I wish I had a friend in that town to hang out with; that’d be more fun!

Last night she had a song to sing in a special fundraising event. She was asked rather last minute, didn’t have time to practice much, and didn’t do very well. After her song, we went outside and she sobbed. Poor kid. It’s so hard to be a mom! I didn’t even want to go watch her, because I had a feeling it wasn’t going to go very well. A couple of very nice folks came up while I was comforting her and told her she had done a fine job, and there will never be another first time, so it will get easier. That helped, and I sure appreciated those people’s words.

It’s been unseasonably cold here for Autumn. That’s kind of bumming me out, because Fall is my absolute favorite season but it almost feels like winter out. It also seems like the cold and wind is making the leaves fall faster than normal, so we won’t get to enjoy the colors as long. Supposedly it’s going to warm up a bit this week; that’d be nice.

My poor orange kitty seems to be a bit “off” the last few days… I wish I could afford to take him to the vet, just to make sure he’s okay before it would turn into anything serious. Unfortunately, I probably can’t talk my husband into this unless it turns into something serious. I hate that.

It seems like we will never get out of this financial hole we are in. Everytime things seem to be looking up, something goes wrong. My husband’s work truck had to go into the shop twice in the last couple months, to the tune of about $2,500.00. Ugh. I keep thinking I should get a full-time job, but I so want to keep being a full-time mom! I am starting to look for a job that would either be graveyard shift or super-early mornings, so I wouldn’t really be gone when Kiki is around and awake and needs me. Of course, I don’t know when I’d be able to sleep, then…

I’ve decided I probably need therapy to deal with the anger I feel toward my sister. I am really not sure why I feel like I do, unless it’s maybe a deep-seated issue from our childhood. I mean, yeah, she does stupid stuff sometimes… don’t we all? Shouldn’t I be able to just let it roll off me, that whole “water off a duck” deal?   sigh    I finally  – at a women’s retreat last month – dealt with some other stuff that has been causing me grief all of my life from very early on. I’ve known it was a problem for a loooong time now, but finally feel like I’ve moved on. Which is awesome! but; sad to think of all the years I can’t go back and “fix” from having lived them in the shadow of those events. Oh, well. What’re ya gonna do?

Now, if only I could “fix” the food addiction…. I am so very tired of being fat, and yet I guess not enough to quit eating the stuff I eat. Sometimes I think it would be better to need to give up alcohol or smoking! Something black and white – I mean, you just don’t do it. You can’t really give up eating! So it’s making the right choices I find so hard.

That’s about all I have to say tonight. I am fighting a sore throat, and probably ought to go to bed early, but of course I won’t be able to go until Kiki is safely back home!

“At least it’s a ‘dry heat'”

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Today’s official high temperature – well in the United States, anyway – was 108 degrees, in Boise, Idaho. Yeah… right where I live.  Well, okay, technically, I live in one of the outlying towns… but, still. It was toastin’ hot here today.

The weird thing is, it didn’t seem horribly hot to me. Hot, yeah, of course, but not like ‘walking into a furnace’ hot, and you’d think it would have felt like that.

I think there is something strange going on… with me. See, I was born and raised in the West – Southern California. Then since getting married, we have also lived in some other western states – Idaho, Utah, Washington… and then Virginia. The West can be hot… obviously. But it’s dry. Well, okay, the Seattle area isn’t exactly what you’d call dry, but what I mean to say is, it’s not humid. Not in the least. Most of my life, when I’d complain about the weather and how hot it was, someone would say “well, at least it’s a dry heat” and I’d think “what the crap does that mean?” because let’s face it, hot is hot, right? Well, no. Wrong.

We lived in Virginia about a year and a half, over two summers. Geez, you talk about HOT!!  And guess what? It’s not the temperature that kills you, it’s the humidity. I don’t understand why anyone would live back east on purpose. Humidity is just… gross. It’s like I couldn’t even breathe back there when it was hot… like I was wrapped up in a hot, wet, woolen blanket.  urrgggh. 

So we’re back in Idaho, and even though it’s been over 100 degrees every day this week, and just plain crazy hot today… it felt…. good. A nice hot. Just a “dry heat”, lol. I guess you have to experience the “wet heat” to understand what that means.

I know why America has an obesity epidemic (Hint: It’s not from 24oz sodas)

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I’ve been watching the news lately, far more often than I’d like due to my current living situation. This business about the – is it the mayor of New York? – (okay, obviously I watch the news without really paying attention!) anyway, the guy who wants to outlaw big sodas. Because that is going to make everyone suddenly thinner. Right.

Haven’t they  …”they” … been trying this? No more happy meals… no toys, anyway. Put nutritional info in the fast food stores.  Outlaw ‘supersizing’…. blah blah blah. And we are just getting fatter.

On the surface, sure, we are fat because we eat too much. It’s simple science… if you consume more calories than you burn, you get fat. Duh. Also, our processed foods, with all the chemicals and crap in them, are far worse than the “bad” foods our parents or our grandparents could chow down on if they were the sort to overeat.  But come on!! Do you really think that if you take away our soda we’ll get thinner??  As if I can’t buy soda at the grocery store and chug it down? I can honestly say, as an obese person, NONE of my weight is from sugary sodas. None. I don’t ever drink any soda but diet, and that only occasionally. So what’s my problem, huh? You are going to have to outlaw Ben and Jerrys, and cookies (homemade, so I guess you have to outlaw baking.)  Besides, how long have these items been in existance, and how long have we been so fat? Do you really think the problem is the food??  Geez. 

Maybe the problem is WHY we are eating so much. Why is a small soda, or one cookie, or a small serving of ice cream not enough? Think about that for awhile. Do you know? Do ya?

Okay, I will tell you what I think. (and as an obese person, with heavy friends, I think I’m qualified to tell you) We are freakin’ depressed. We are a nation of unhappy, unfulfilled humans, and we are cramming ourselves full of anything, anything, to try to get some satisfaction. Don’t believe me? Why do you think that even in this crappy economy, when so many of us are unemployed or underemployed that spending hasn’t gone down? Because some of you – instead of overeating – are satiating your needs with the junk you buy instead of the junk you eat. You know who you are – you look better on the outside than I do, but you are as unhappy and empty as I am. But maybe your shelves and your closets are fat.  Why do you think more poor people are fat than the wealthier folks? Because we can’t afford to buy nice stuff, or to try to make ourselves happy by a lovely dinner in a nice restaurant… so we ‘fill our needs’ with junk food. Because even tho I have very little money, I usually have enough for a candy bar.

Think about it. The farther our society gets from God… from living the right way … for Him, f0r other people, for our families, for our spouses and our children, from having people treat us right because we are unselfish and place others first…. I mean, when my husband is a jerk, I head for the pantry. When I feel like I have no friends, I always have the food.  On and on it goes.  Have you ever found yourself shopping for housewares when your home is full to the brim?  Or buying a new outfit when you have brand-new items in your closet that you will probably never wear? How many purses do you own? How many cats do you have??

We are looking for fulfillment. We are looking for relationship, for acceptance, for love. When we don’t find it in the right place, we try to find it in the wrong places… sex, drugs, stuff, food. Until we figure out how to get ourselves on track, to love ourselves for who we are without needing the acceptance of the other humans around us, until we ask the Lord to fill us up, to be our sufficiency, our fulfillment, we are going to be fat. No matter how much soda the government takes away.

Wait…. whoa! Stop! I’m not ready for this ride!

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My daughter has a boyfriend.

Okay, well, she has a boy who really likes her. Who calls her. Texts her.

She likes him back, but I suspect (and she admits) part of the reason she likes him is because he likes her and that feels kinda nice. He’s a classmate, and they’ve been friends for awhile now (she actually prefers the boys in her class because… well, because they aren’t like the girls! Petty, judgmental, fickle… if you’ve ever been or ever known a teenage girl you know what I’m talking about.)  However, he’s not the boy she’s been crushing on for the last year… (who is a church friend; doesn’t go to her school. And who does not seem to like her back…)

But. She’s 14. In the 8th grade. Too soon for a boyfriend.

It’s not like she can date or anything, and we (her, me, her dad) have had extensive talks on protecting her heart, and staying true to her beliefs and well, to be honest, regrets, and how not to have them. Still… she’s 14. I remember how I felt at 14… in fact, in my 8th grade year I was madly in love with a boy, and he with me. We made plans for our senior prom (yes, years away) and how many kids we would have one day – as if we had a clue! But we thought we did… and we did some serious kissing!! I am pretty much telling my daughter “do as I say not as I did”.   Because I know how the other end of it feels… all these years later I am still missing a little piece of my heart.

But, part of me thinks it’s cute, and sweet… so I am really torn on just how to proceed.  Do I monitor her calls? Read her texts? Leave her be?  I trust her, and I know her desire is to do the right thing. On the other hand, she can be a bit of a follower, and the few times she’s been in serious trouble it’s been because she’s allowed a friend to talk her into doing something that she knew darn well ahead of time she was not to do.  So, its a concern.

Oh, how I miss miss miss the days of toddlerhood! Even she said to me the other day “Why can’t I still be 5 years old? Life was so much easier then.”

What is the deal, people?? All those poor child-insomniacs!

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For the better part of the last year (well, ever since I switched over to WordPress and have easily kept track) my overall “most read post” every single week is the one I wrote over 4 years ago about my daughter having insomnia!  Seriously!  It would seem to me, according to the number of people searching the web about “10 year old insomnia”, that this is a very common problem for 10 year old kids.  That’s so weird.