Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Haven't Lost Me Yet

It was Labor Day weekend the first time we slept apart. Saturday night if I recall correctly. I was standing at the sink doing dishes, and he was in a mood about something, and he left. He didn't tell me where he was going, or when he was going to be back, and he didn't say goodbye. He just stormed out the door, got in the car and drove away. Having survived a horrific car crash, and having a fear of losing the ones I love in a similar manner, however unfounded, I have always made it a point to say goodbye when I leave the house. I may not always say I love you, although I try to even when I am angry, but I never just leave on the off chance that it's the last time I walk out the door. He knows this and we have talked about it, and that instance, when he just walked out and left just about shattered my already fragile heart.

When I was finished the dishes I went out into the barn where we keep the camping supplies and fished out our air mattress and the pump. On the way back I picked up the sheets and comforter we kept when we got rid of our guest room that are stored in the hope chest out in the cold room off the kitchen. I took it all into my craft room and set up a make-shift bedroom. I went up to my room and retrieved my alarm clock, pillow, blanket, quilt and the books I keep next to my bed. My craft room is next too the office, and doesn't have a door, and I remember thinking as  I shut the door to the office how grateful I was that we haven't gotten around to renovating that room yet, as removing the door that leads out to the family room is on the list.

I have slept on the couch several times over the past few years, mostly due to his snoring keeping me up, or my being angry with him and having gone to bed, then when he came to bed later I would wake up and not be able to get back to sleep so I retreated to the couch. This was the first time I had chosen to sleep apart from him in such a deliberative manner and it broke my heart. It didn't help that our bedroom is right on top of my craft room and our office. In order to sleep at night, I would lie my iPad next to my head, and stream a shuffle of Christian music stations on low. I found that the gentleness of the music, along with the messages of the music really helped my broken heart as I cried myself to sleep each night. Without fail, every night I woke up around  1 or 2 or 3am, unable to get back to sleep. I would read or waste time on the internet, and either go back to sleep, or just lie there and wait until it was time to wake up. The music kept me from going stir crazy. During those last few months of 2012 there were other weeks that found me back in that same spot, wondering if I shouldn't just get a better air mattress, or a warmer quilt that matched my room a little bit better. I would go on the internet and search, and look, but each time I thought I found something, I hesitated to order it. I'm glad now that I didn't. I think it would've been like giving up, and I wasn't ready to do that. During the last stay away, I discovered this song, which I think should be my theme song for 2012. Yet, by Switchfoot. It pretty much sums up my entire year.

I'm losing ground and gaining speed..I've lost myself or most of me
I'm headed for the final precipice..But you haven't lost me yet...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Because It's Scary

My daughter has been counting the days until she was legally old enough to drive a car since she turned 15. She has been reminding us each time the calendar hits 25, how many more months it would be until she could get behind the wheel for the first time. She's bemoaned the fact that ALL her friends have not only started driving before her, most of them are 16 already and have gotten their licence, and why did SHE have to be born at the end of July? Last weekend she started planning for how she was going to be able to go out driving when that magic day arrived, given the fact that I won't let her drive in the dark and we had a function to attend that evening. She resigned herself to the idea that she was going to have to wait, and on Sunday The Boy™ took her out for her first trip out. If she was nervous, she didn't show it at all, and the grin on her face says it all: I am so ready for this!

This morning during reading groups, we were talking about hobbies. One of the students in my group asked what hobbies were, and I went on to explain that hobbies were things that you liked to do in your free time when you weren't at school or doing chores. I told them that I liked to read, write, draw, knit, and then I was interrupted by one of the boys who asked, "Why don't you just be an author then?" I stopped talking for a second, taken aback by his question, as this has been something I have been quietly struggling with myself lately, and then I answered him. I thought about giving him all the answers I have been giving myself. How it's too hard. How there's not enough money in it. How no one would want to read what I have to write about. How I'm not really good at it. Instead I looked at him and simply said, "It's too scary." He laughed and replied, "What?" I want on to explain that in order to be a writer, you had to send your work out to other people, who had to read it. Then they had to decide that they wanted to buy it and make your work into a book, because what I really want to do is write children's books. Then of course, because I love to draw and paint, I might want to make the pictures for my books too. Then, people had to want to buy your books, and the whole idea of doing all that, is scary. Then I waved my hand around the room and said, you guys aren't scary, so I do this instead. He nodded his head and we went on to continue our discussion about hobbies, and that was that.

I haven't stopped thinking about it all day. Just this week I started reading a book by Holley Gerth called, "You're Already Amazing." She has a blog and she's been doing a bit lately on God sized dreams. The dreams you have in the depth of your heart, that you don't share with anyone else but if you were free to pursue them, and had enough faith in yourself and in God's purpose for you, could become a reality. I already knew I had a few God sized dreams in my heart. If money weren't an issue I would like to travel to Guatemala and visit the little girl that I sponsor through Compassion International. I would also like to do mission work there, and if I could do it in the same area where her center is, that would be amazing. My dream would be to go for a season. Half a year would be amazing, but I would settle for just a few weeks. I also dream of being a foster parent. I used to think I wanted to adopt, but I think that being a foster parent and providing a loving stable home for a child who has been broken would be far more rewarding. Of course, now that I think about it, all of my God sized dreams are scary. They all would force me out of my comfort zone and require me to give up who I am and what I do. That part I know I could handle. What it always comes down to is the money issue. I just don't know how to make any of it work. So for now, I keep praying that God's will in my life be done, and I make a vow to write. Something. Every day. It's a start.

Monday, January 28, 2013

10,000 Reasons

Even through the darkest times and the loneliest nights, when I thought that my heart would break into a million little pieces and never be able to heal, I kept counting my blessings. Some days I was able to add to the list without much effort, and others I had to really struggle to find something good to write down. If I go back through however, I can find him there. Even in the darkness, though it was usually at the end of particularly rough bit, something would move me enough to write it down. We might be coming out of the darkest season of our marriage right now, but he truly is a gift, and he continually blesses my life in more ways that I can count. Have a look.

1. He swept and vacuumed all the floors because he knew I planned to do it after my shower. This happened over the summer, after a long day of work at the blueberry farm. Because we only have one car, he picks me up from work, and we ride home together. As you might imagine, working on a farm is a dirty occupation, and so during the summer I shower at the end of my work day instead of the start. I also come home quite exhausted, and on this day I must've looked beat, because he did my chores, on top of his own, while I was in the shower.

2. The way he takes my hand when we are in the car. He never used to do this. This started over this part year, as things have been difficult, after one of our big talks. Actually, now that I think about it, he used to do it when we were dating, but that stopped after we got married. Not only does he take my hand in the car, he holds it when we are out walking into stores, or on a walk, or somewhere else where the occasion to do so presents itself. It's sweet.

3. The way he listens to me ramble on even if I've forgotten that I've already told him the same thing before. This never was a problem before I started taking my migraine medication, but alas, here it is. He is loving and kind enough to never say, "You've already told me this before." He will sit there and let me tell him the same thing again, and even adds in his thoughts about it all over again.

4. The way he wipes the tears from my face. It doesn't matter if he is the reason that they are there in the first place, it's such a loving gesture and it touches my heart every time.

5. How willing he is to help out  my school just because I work there. They are supposed to put in Help Desk requests and go though the proper procedures. Often times they come to me and I send him a txt or a give him a call and he takes are of them because he has a special place in his heart for most of them, and he loves me. This was especially thoughtful because at the time we weren't even talking to each other.

6. Returning to our bed, and falling asleep in his arms. After almost 2 weeks of sleeping apart in September, it was such a gift to just be held in his arms and feel safe and loved again.

7. How he sneaks glances at me when we are driving together in the car. He is usually driving, and is supposed to be keeping his eyes on the road. I never could figure out what he was doing, until I asked him one day, and he said, "I'm just looking at you!" Awwww.

8. How he sat at the foot of my chair and rubbed my feet. It was the end of a long, crappy day at school in which I had to wrestle with a student on the floor, for the third time in less than a week, and I was sore and crabby and feeling defeated and ready for a new job. He came and sat down next to me, after bringing me a cup of tea, and rubbed my feet. It was so thoughtful.

9. He came and picked me up for work so I didn't have to walk in the pouring rain. After he brought Corey to school, he came back and waited for me to get ready so he could drive me and I didn't have to walk in the pouring rain. It was a total surprise when I came downstairs.

10. He puts up with me. This is a gift every day. If it wouldn't be so repetitive, I would write it every day, because it is 100% true. I can be moody, and irritable, and cranky if I haven't had enough sleep or my head hurts or work has been awful or the kids are making me crazy, or if it's winter and sad and depressed. It doesn't matter what kind of 'me' I present to him, he puts up with it in a tender and loving manner, and I can't say that I always extend the same grace to him back. I don't deserve him and I am so blessed.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If You Get Lost You Can Always Be Found

Long time readers of my blog will not be surprised to discover that I am in the midst of the winter doldrums. If you are new around here, welcome! I am so glad you stopped by. You would think that living in New England my entire life, minus almost half a year that I spent in S.C., I would be used to winter and it's depressing effects by now. You would be wrong. Each year I come at winter with a new plan of how I am going to fend of the days of being stuck in the house when it's too stinking cold to step foot outside. Of how I am going to deal with the days when the sun doesn't shine for what feels like months at a time and the dreary, dark days threaten to swallow me whole. I plan for how I'm going to get my exercise in, and what temperature I won't run underneath and how I'm going to accommodate for the fact that it's dark in the morning, and dark again soon after I get home. It always seems like it will work out so well, and then we pass Christmas and January shows up.

I used to think that February was my most hated month of the year. It's cold in February, and by the time it shows up, I'm so sick of winter I can barely stand another day. What I've come to realize over the past few years, is that I really hate January too, if not more. January is a long month, with out a break from school like we get in February. January isn't followed by March, which offers the hope of warmer, longer days. January is cold, and windy and depressing. On top of that, this year I pulled a muscle in my calf right after Christmas and it's just finally healed and now it's too darn cold outside for man or beast. It's enough to make you want to curl up in your bed under all of your warmest blankest and stay there until spring. The only saving grace in all this miserable cold, is that the sun has been shining. It doesn't feel so grey and gloomy, even if we are stuck inside.

On top of having to deal with seasonal depression, this year I've had to fight burn out at work. I went from working a whole school year, to having 3 days off at the start of summer and then starting my summer job early and working straight through until the Friday before we went back to work at school on Monday with only a handful of days off. Labor Day weekend was rough at home, Thanksgiving break was tough, and Christmas break wasn't all that great either. It has really taken it's toll on me, and I'm having a hard time at work.  I was ready for the school year to be over before we even got to Christmas, and I'm even more ready then ever now. Monday is day 90, which is the halfway mark of the year. We still have a long, long way to go.

I love the kids, and I'm grateful for my job, when so many people are without, but I'm starting to not like the road that our school district is headed down, and it is  making me wonder if perhaps it isn't time to start thinking about something else. I've had a restless feeling in my heart for some time now and I've been trying to ignore it, but that little voice is starting to get louder and louder. The thing is, I'm not sure what I would do instead. I'm not sure what I would want to do instead. I wonder if God's calling me towards something else, but what that something else is, I don't know and I hate the unknown. On top of that, we need my income and with only having one vehicle, working at the end of the road I live on is pretty darn handy. So how much of it is burn out, and how much of it is exhaustion, I'm really not sure, but I'm praying about it and keeping my heart open and we'll see where it goes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Day to Remember

The calendar in the kitchen still says December 2012. Every single instance in the past 21 days that I have had to plan something, or look to see what time an event was going to happen, and have glanced at that calendar out of habit only to read December, I have felt a surge of frustration. For almost 10 years now I have bought Lang calendars for my kitchen. I like the quality of the paper they are made of, the size of the boxes they have to write in, and I like the selection of calendars to choose from. On top of that, they offer these lovely wooden frames that you can put your calendars in, which The Boy™ gifted me with years and years ago. Every year during the month of December, I would head out to either Borders, Hallmark or one other local store that carried them and make my selection. In the past 2 years, that local shop has moved away, Borders has closed, and Hallmark had a lousy selection of Lang Calendars to choose from. Last year I bought a different kind of calendar that still fit in my frame at our local bookstore. This year, I waited too long, and all the good calendars were gone.

So earlier this month, I went online to and ordered a new 2013 calendar. It's a Lang, in a nice style that I have had before, and I figured it would be here in about a week. In the meantime, I have been using the whiteboard calendar that I keep above the table I use as a desk in the room that used to be the kids playroom and someday will be our office. It's kind of an office now, but it's also doubling as a storage space for the radio room stuff until we get that room finished. It's also in major need of a makeover. Anyhow, I keep a whiteboard calendar in there, to keep track of the kids multitude of activities, so that I can keep them off the regular calendar. This lets me put meetings and birthdays and events and other things on the main calendar, and just have kids events, which there are always a ton of,  at a glance in one space. It works out smashingly, and was one of the best ideas that I ever had. Right now it's keeping track of everything, except birthdays and it's giving me a twitch. In the meantime, my poor calendar is coming via DHL, and as it would appear, is stopping at Every. Single. Post. Office. Between. Here. And. Texas.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Growing up, dinner at my house was a chaotic affair. My parents very rarely, if ever, ate with my 4 brothers and I, and so we were left to our own troublesome ways during the dinner hour. This typically resulted in most of us being in trouble for something or another by the end of the meal. As we got older, and I became in charge of cooking the evening meal, then serving it to the troublesome lot of them, I realized that I enjoyed the time we spent around the table, chaos and all. As a wife and mother, I have always insisted that dinner be eaten at the table, which is to be set right down to the napkin. My two children, who are now teenagers have spent their lives taking turns setting and clearing that table. Although they try to get away with doing it wrong whenever they can, mostly out of laziness, they both know how to set a proper table. 

For 18 years we have kept the same seats around the table, shuffling spots only to accommodate for dinner guests. If the kids have to sit next to each other, my son who is a lefty, sits to the left of his sister so that their arms don’t continually bump while they attempt to eat. It has worked out quite nicely for us. Over the past few years I have realized that we do in fact need a larger table, especially if our family is going to gain son or daughter in laws, and it would make entertaining just a little bit easier. Once the table has been set, the food is brought from the kitchen to the table.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Memorizing the Mount

My word for this year was Revive. One of the things I have chosen to revive this year, was my dedication to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. It was a project I began last year, which would result in memorizing the entire thing by years end. Just a few verses a week, and by Christmas you should be able to recite the entire thing, start to finish. Except I started late, and so from the beginning I was struggling to get caught up. Then the year kind of fell apart, and so I put it aside.

Early last week I picked it up again, determined to give it another go. Ignoring the mess the migraine medicine makes of my mind. Quieting the voice that says, "You have a miserable time memorizing anything, how are you ever going to do this?" I even told The Boy™ about it over dinner. How next Christmastime, I was going to recite the entire thing to him, start to end. He said, and I quote, "That will be awesome." I recite the verses before I log on to my computer in the morning. I recite them on the way down the street to work in the morning, out loud because I walk, and it's cold, and no one is outside to hear me. I'm thinking when it's not cold, I might not care and still say them out loud.I'll have a lot more learned by then, and it might be a fun challenge to see how many I can repeat by the time I get to school.

Memorizing these verses, has made me stop and thing about the verses themselves. Each verse, as it stands alone. "Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain,".. I don't blame him one bit. I don't like crowds either. In fact, I don't even like the staff room at school when we are all gathered in there for a monthly birthday celebration and I don't work with that many people. Loud, noisy gatherings are not my thing. But this was Jesus. The man who drew crowds wherever He went. This verse is a little surprising in context of itself. "..and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him." So he wasn't alone for long. I gather He wanted to speak just to His disciples because He had something important to tell them. Something so big and awesome, that He couldn't do it with all that noise and chaos of the crowds. So He went by Himself up on the mountain, because He knew that they wouldn't be able to stay away from Him. "And He opened His mouth and taught them saying:" It doesn't say that he lectured them, or that he gave them a speech. No, the words are "and taught them". He didn't come to be better than them, He came to teach them how to love, and honor His Father in Heaven. How to be better, and do better.

Then we come to one of my favorite passages in the Bible. The Beatitudes. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." This is as far as I have gotten, and I can't wait to continue with the rest. When I was a teenager, heavily involved with Teen Encounter at St. Basil's in Methuen, MA, we sang The Beatitudes at mass on our weekends, or if we had Liturgy on Thursday night or Sunday afternoons. It was one of my most favorite songs to sing, and I still have the slip of paper with the words printed on  it tucked away in my Bible from 20 years ago. ♫ Rejoice, and be glad... blessed are you, holy are you.. rejoice and be glad.. yours is the kingdom of God.♪ ♪

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Trouble It Might Drag You Down

it was in the 50s on Monday
I've come to realize that the demise of a marriage isn't always due to a major event, such as an affair, gambling or abuse. That sometimes, it's the little things, that occur repeatedly, over a period of years that wear a person down and beat a marriage to death. That there are things, which seem so trivial to other people on the outside, that occur so often, that they can wear a person down to the point of saying,"I just can't do this anymore." Things that other people can brush off so casually, then when occur over, and over, and over, over a period of decades, threaten to bury you alive. Yet sometimes, you have to look deep inside yourself, and make that hard decision to either walk away, or try harder. Each day is a chance to start over. Each rough patch is an opportunity for forgiveness and growth instead of grudge holding. Even though those things, that continue to wear you down, continue to keep happening, there is that thread of hope that if you keep on explain the why, and the how, and the feelings, that eventually they might change. For if not for hope, what do you have left?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Easing in to the New Year

For the last few years or more, I've held true to the theory that you should start the New Year as you mean to go. That how you spend the first day of the year should reflect what you want the rest of your year to look like. I've usually spent that first day doing a little bit of all the things I enjoy in life; knitting, running, spending time with my family, cooking, etc. etc. If I can manage it, I sleep in a little bit, after staying up way past my bedtime to watch the ball drop. (really, we stay up because The Boy™ is convinced one year it's going to crash and if we don't stay up, that will be the year it happens). It's a nice way to enjoy the last day of vacation before heading back to school, and I like to think that it sets the tone for the rest of the year, even if the reality of it is that it never does.

New Year's this year was a little rough, however, and I'm not holding to this way of thinking exactly. The end of the year was rocky, much to my dismay, as I had looked forward to this vacation for such a long time, and we didn't reach the New Year in a good place. We spent most of New Years day having some big discussions. There were a lot of tears shed, mostly mine, but some his, and at the end of the day we were in a better place than we had started. This is certainly not the tone I want to set for the rest of the year. Having lived through this kind of year already, I can't imagine being strong enough to get through another one just like it.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Decorating for Winter

I love decorating for the holidays. There's something so magical about the lights and the sparkle and the colors that makes everything look just a little nicer and cozier. In fact, I have on occasion been known to get the decorations down on the eve of Thanksgiving and start putting them up before the day is properly over. I truly love Thanksgiving however, and recognized that it was 'rushing' away the day and learned the folly of my ways. Once Christmas is over though, I'm ready to be done with it all. I don't know if it's because I do my decorating the day after Thanksgiving and it's such a long stretch of time to have your decor up, or if it's because the holiday passing signals 'done' in my brain. One year, I took it all down the day after so that we could focus on Corey's birthday party which was on his actual birthday and a Saturday, and The Boy's™ mother scolded me. She gave some silly excuse about wanting to see my house all decorated, but it was a lie, because she had been over several times that season already.

I used to wait until New Year's day to un-decorate, but I find myself doing it sooner and sooner. This year it was on the 29th, which was a Saturday. I was working on college applications with Corey, and The Boy™ and Ash were off at a Baptism for our niece. After having the house decorated for fall, and then Christmas, I found that it was in a sad state of being until spring and Easter. I liked the freshness of it, but everything seemed a little bare. So I collected a few snowmen, nothing to cute, as that's not my style, and started decorating for winter. Last year I added this vase of bare branches to the table. We had such a mild winter, that it was quite easy to go out and collect bare sticks from the yard. It has worked out so nicely that it has sat in that same spot now for an entire year. The height of it balances out the tall apothecary jar on the other side. The jar, that held ornaments during the holiday season, is now filled with small Styrofoam balls. I purchased them at Micheal's, as they remind me of snowballs. Decorating for winter doesn't have to be anything fancy. Last year at Target I found a little figurine of a rather stately looking penguin. My menfolk are big Linux users, which is a computer operating system. In honor of them, and the fact that penguins are a cold weather animal, it sits on a shelf in my downstairs bathroom until the spring decor comes out.

This year I picked up some $1.00 felt snowflake ornaments at Target during the holidays. In fact, I only bought 5 of them, and then I kicked myself for it later on. The first 3 got hung up across the mirror in my dining room. A bunch of years ago I got a gift from a student's parent that was a hanging Christmas Card display from Pier One. I hung it across my mirror, and have never used it to display cards. The silver hangers are pretty enough on their own during the holidays, and the wire they hang off gets used all year long to display other things. While I was taking down the ornaments that hang on the 3 curtain rods in the front room I realized that I wished I had bought 6, as they would look pretty strung in the middle of the rods all winter long. Imagine my delight when I was at Target Friday night and rummaged 2 more up out of the clearance holiday bin. Of course I bought them both, for the bargain price of $0.30 each. Winter is a long, dreary affair here in NH. Anything that can  make it a little brighter is a bonus in my opinion.