Friday, August 9, 2019

Focus


There have been a bunch of things tearing at my heart lately.  A bunch of little things, and several solidly heart-rending Really Big Things.  I've felt unheard, rejected, and abandoned.  It hurts to know that your love - the only thing you really have to give - isn't wanted.  It's devastating to see that people you care about don't care to be with you.  I've cried and stayed up all night and moped about the house.  It didn't help.  If anything, I felt more unloved, more unwanted.  I've been a little lost.

I'm not sure where we were when I took this snapshot of  a white flower.  Plants and nature scenes bring me such peace, and I keep thinking I'll learn to draw them.  My kids laugh at me for taking pictures of "every leaf" as we go for walks through verdant places.  I got this shot because I wanted the head-on perspective so I could see the shape of the leaves.  As I examined the photo later, I noticed the little bug on the top petal.  Can you see him, the tan-colored bug close to the center there?  I have to admit that I'm not fond of creepy-crawlies, and I wished I had seen it before I took the shot so I could pick a different bloom.  But if I had been paying attention that closely, it might have been too close!  

It took me a while to realize that in focusing on the bug, I missed the whole flower.  It is a gorgeous blossom!  So it is with life.  There is so much good and heaps of beautiful.  And some hard and a bitter dose of hurt.  Focusing on one part does not make any other part go away.  I'm not pretending that those hurts are less than they are.  But remembering the goodness of the whole will help us to cope better.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summer Reading


This is how our summer has been so far - piles of books, frequent trips to the library, lots and lots of reading, and shaggy haircuts.  I'll trade a nice hairdo for a good book any day!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

We're All Immigrants


I was looking at our family history and wondering "how much" of us were from different countries.  I realize this is very nearly impossible to completely figure out.  To simplify, I looked at our great-grandparents and their family's country of origin.  Since we have a blended family, our numbers are all a bit different.

I'm half German, 3/8 British, and 1/8 Scottish.

Jay is half British, 1/4 Danish, 1/8 Canadian, and 1/8 German

So then our older boys are 3/8 German, 1/4 Scottish, 1/4 British, and 1/8 Danish.

Trent's makeup is more homogenous: 5/8 British, 1/4 Swedish, and 1/8 Swiss.

The makes our small fry a little bit more scattered: 3/8 British, 1/4 German, and 1/8 of each Scottish, Swedish, and Swiss.

We're pretty northern European around here, but all of them had to come to America at some point.  None of them had very much when they came over.  My grandmother had to slip some money to her husband-to-be so he could even get off the boat in New York.  I'm grateful to those pioneers, those immigrants, who settled here and paved the way for us.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Letting Go

My dad's hands are cold, the skin blotching pink and white, and I want to take them in mine and rub them until the color comes back and the cold leaves.  His thin legs look like they need to be gently stretched and take a short walk.  I'd like to give him a cold chocolate shake to sip on and moisten his dry mouth.  His eyelids are heavy - I'm sure he just needs a nice afternoon nap.  The skin on his feet is stretched thin and dry, crying out for a little foot rub with smooth lotion.  There are thing that beg to be done - I need to get on them and go.

I'm his daughter, a caregiver, a mother.  It's my job to soothe and set right and heal and nurture.  But now, as I sit by his bedside, all I can do is listen to his raspy breathing.  He's not long for this world and there isn't anything I can do to change that.  I have to let go.

I let go of my role as caregiver.  I let go of my role as chief information-gatherer.  I let go of my role as worrier supreme.  I let go of the reins I've struggled with for so long, and hand them over to God. Hand Dad over, hand my heart over.  It's hard, but I'm learning to let go. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

We started the day by whipping up seven servings of breakfast, three Valentine boxes, nearly 100 valentines, and an emergency trip to the orthodontist to fix a broken bracket.  After the last kids straggled out the door, I took a deep breath, then a nap.  But wait, there was no time for a nap!

I scurried up to the high school in time to find Eddie before he went into his next class.  Or rather, he found me.  He saw the car through the window and came out to see what was going on.  I opened the door and asked him if he wanted to play hooky for the day.  His face lit up and he jumped in the car.  I wanted to take him out to lunch for his birthday, but the next couple of weeks will be so crazy.  This day was the closest we could get to his actual birthday, but a surprise day off school is fun anytime, isn't it?

We went home so he could have second breakfast. Then we packed up a few Valentine's Day things for our older kids and set off to do deliveries.  A bouquet of carnations and a bottle of sparkling apple cider for our first boy and his wife; a matching bunch of carnations for the next boy and his fiancee, another carnation taped to the apartment door of the third boy.  The carnations are our little Valentine's Day tradition, started by their dad over 25 years ago.  That was the how I first started falling in love with him.

After that was done, we hit the bookstore for a good browse and difficult selection.  We want all the books!  We had time for lunch in the food court before heading back to school for a calculus test.  He had the test, not me.  That's the stuff of my nightmares!

It was a busy, full day, filled with family and love.  Oh, and sugar.  But that's not a happy part of the day, so we son't go into that!  And that's how Valentine's Day should be.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Flu Deodorant - a New Recipe

We all got the flu a few weeks ago.  Thankfully, I have a family full of strong, robust children (and husband), and they are all doing much better. Some of them didn't even get sick.  Some were only sick for two or three days.  And then, me.  Still sick.  I have this nasty cough and I'm still so, so tired.

I got up this morning at the usual way-too-early-in-my-opinion hour, had a nice discussion over breakfast with my high school boys, snuggled my elementary boys, helped the girl brush her hair, and got them all off to school on time.  I'm trying to do all the mom stuff, but it just wears me out.  So I went back to bed.  And I stayed there.

A couple of hours later, my phone decided to go bananas with texts (Trent's dad had surgery this morning, and his family is great to keep each other posted).  But I was stubborn and wanted to stay in bed.  I was still tired!  So I stayed and stayed, read Facebook, scrolled Instagram, got caught up on the news, perused a few favorite blogs...

And finally, when I felt like the laziest human being that wasn't walking the earth and doing productive things, I got up.  I should get dressed, but I'm out of deodorant and I can't possibly pull on a shirt that will get stinky.  So I stayed in my house dress and wandered into the kitchen for breakfast.  I think it was past noon.  I had a nice bowl of granola and bananas because my nice husband made a batch of granola and I found the jar.  I picked out all the rock-hard raisins and sat down in the sunshiny spot at the table.  Felt nice to go so slowly.

I got my phone and looked up natural deodorant recipes while I chewed.  I can't use the store-bought ones because I'm too sensitive to all the chemicals they put in them.  Fortunately, deodorant is one of the simplest recipes ever, so even I can make it.  One little batch lasts me for months, and keeps me smelling like a daisy.  Except that I'm not sure off the top of my head what exactly a daisy smells like.

I got out the coconut oil, the non-organic corn starch, and the baking soda.  See, I told you it was an easy recipe!  I use this one from Wellness Mama.   I'm getting going on this day, I tell ya.  And then I proceeded to carefully spoon that good powdery stuff into my bowl of granola.

Maybe I should go back to bed after all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wanted: a Better Narrator

When I was a little girl, I read a lot.  I mean, A LOT.  I read every book in my parent's library - multiple times.  I read the "A" encyclopedia dozens of times - because that was the only volume we had.  I practically lived in the school library.  My grandmother was an elementary school teacher and I remember spending many hot, sticky summer days in her cool basement, reading books from her bookshelves.  Maybe that's I walked around with a narrator.

My narrator lived in my head, and gave me a play-by-play of everything going on.  When I walked through the kitchen, the narrator explained that "she glided effortlessly across the cool linoleum, her eyes flitting around the sunbeams slanting in through the southern window."  It made life a lot more interesting to have a narrator, I'll tell you that.

My narrator also told me that one day, when I was walking around singing, a talent scout would hear me, marvel at my pure, clear voice, and make me a star.  I don't remember that actually happening, though I imagined it many times.  Maybe my narrator was better at telling stories than predicting the future.

As I think about picking up my writing here, I wonder what happened to my narrator.  She's gone.  Maybe my life is interesting enough?  No, I doubt it.  Maybe I just don't listen to her, or maybe I haven't listened for so long that she doesn't bother saying anything anymore.

I think I'd better find her, or get myself a new one.  I need that spark of imagination as I go through my days.