Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Bottles of Water

Veteran's Day, after leaving a program at the elementary school, I had to run and pick up a few things. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a man sitting on the ground with a "Need Work" sign. I said a quick prayer for him and kept going. As I shopped, my mind drifted back to him. I've seen him before downtown. He's always got a ready smile and a kind word.
When I went out to my van, I looked across the lot and saw him still sitting there with his dog. I looked in the back of the van and saw two bottles of water. The day had started heating up a little, despite the wind. I grabbed them and wondered if I should try to put together a few more dollars and pick up something he could eat. But unfortunately, at the end of the pay period I had enough budgeted for what I'd picked up and nothing more. So, I pulled the van closer to his resting place, got out and walked over to him. He looked at me and I asked if he wanted the water.
"It would certainly help" he said.
As I reached towards him, his dog started jumping around. I was worried he was going to knock the poor man over. The man smiled and calmed the dog.
"He's just excited to see you. He knows you have something in your hand and wants to know what it is."
He took the water and thanked me.
"God bless you" I said.
"He has" was his reply as he held the water up, smiling at me.
I went back to my van and turned to look at the man and his dog. He was sitting on the ground, pouring water in a bowl for the dog. Then he took a drink and carefully put the water bottle back in his backpack.
I never realized how beautiful a dirty, ragged homeless man could look until I saw the smile on his face. How blessed I was by his happiness and gratitude. How humbled by his life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pony-sized Pests

I opened our front door this afternoon to see if the mail carrier had left a package for me. I came face-to-face with the biggest critter I've seen in our yard since we moved in--not counting the deer. This grayish-brown critter sat and stared at me for what seemed like an eternity. Then he (or she) scurried UNDER the concrete slab that is at our front entry. OH MY MERCIFUL HEAVENS! I slammed the front door and told the boys not to open it. A few minutes later, I opened the door a crack. The critter was in the hole with his head poking out. I tried to coax it out while standing behind the closed and LOCKED storm door (just in case he's some kind of highly evolved critter). He taunted me with his beady little eyes. Nose twitching in a critterly fashion. He was laughing at me, I know it!

Armed with my cell phone and the phone book, I started making calls to rid myself of this evil monster. I called our pest control service first.

"Do you have any live traps to catch a huge badger/beaver/raccoon-without-the-mask/over-sized critter?" I asked.

"No, ma'am, we don't handle anything like that. Mice, moles, rats, we can do. Let me give you a number to call."

I call the number she gives me and discover that to catch this creature, which the man assures me is a harmless groundhog, will cost me $100 with no guarantee he'll be successful. Okay. I told the man I'll think about it and call back.

I then spent the next half hour calling my husband to tell him not to come in the front door when he gets home from work (Why? Because I don't want the over-sized groundhog to eat him.), and the neighbors in search of a live trap.

The last neighbor I called told me her son and husband had seen the critter and he was indeed a groundhog. Uh huh. And they saw him going under my house. Sigh. And no, they didn't have a live trap.

As a last and most brilliant resort, I phoned the conservation center in our area. No, they don't take care of things like that, "but call your area's conservationist". Okay, I thought I just did. I phoned the conservationist for our area and left a voicemail.

Tomorrow I'll make a call to a friend and hopefully her husband, whom I recently discovered has an interest in live capture and release of animals will be able to offer some advice, traps, help.

In the meantime, the huge badger/beaver/raccoon-without-the-mask/over-sized critter is taunting me through the storm door, laughing and telling his critter friends all about his reign of terror.

To be continued.......

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Time Marches On

This month I'll be celebrating my 48th birthday. Wow. It's a little overwhelming when I think about it. Here I am, almost 48 years old, with three children under 8. I don't feel 48, but the reality is I am. I think about the realities of aging with small children. Will I be that mom that keeps going no matter how old I am? Or will I be the mom that's too tired to take the boys to games or watch games?

My hope, my plan is to be the mom who's there for everything. That's why it's important to me that I accomplish the goals I've set. I want my boys to see that nothing can hold you back if you want to be successful. I have made mistakes in my life. So many mistakes. But my babies are so right, so good. They are three of the best things that have ever happened.

They'll all be in school this year. I'm glad to see them start school. It's the way things are supposed to be. But truly, I'll miss having them around. It'll give me the time I need to accomplish my goals. But letting my youngest two go, seeing them walk into that big building, that's going to be hard.

I watch them as they grow from the chubby little babies they were to the little boys who're all arms and legs. When they were small, I could hold them in my lap--yes, all three at the same time. Now, they don't want to be held often. But how I cherish the times they do. Soon, all to soon, they won't want me as much. But this too shall pass. Their friends will become more important than their parents. As they age, our intelligence will decrease (in their eyes). But one day it'll come full circle and they'll be in our position. In the meantime, I'll keep praying I make the right decisions.

So, as I get ready to celebrate my 48th birthday, I give thanks for my husband and children, for all the many blessings we have. And I pray I find a way to make a difference. Life is change. Life is only going to get more interesting.

God bless.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The summer is almost at an end, at least for the children. School starts in 9 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes--not that I'm counting. The twins are excited to be starting kindergarten. The oldest is excited to be a second grader. I'm just excited to have my days back. I've enjoyed having them home, but it's time for them to go back to their routine. And for me to get back to mine. And even better, no daycare expenses!

We had a great summer full of activities. The boys all played ball and took swim lessons. The twins were in summer school for a month. And we went on a family vacation with my in-laws. We spent a week in Branson, MO. We got back last week, thoroughly exhausted. We all had a blast!

So, my plans for the school year are to work on my blog, set up my website and start selling jewelry, get involved with the United Methodist Women's group again, and to study in earnest for my family therapy license. I had planned to go back to work full-time as soon as the boys started school, but have decided to wait until we see how two of my three do in school this year. I may end up substitute teaching for a while so I can have the same schedule as the boys.

For now it's school supplies and clothes, registration and open house, and the organized chaos of the new school year. Hoping for fewer teacher conferences and fewer notes from school (of the negative variety). Until next time, stay safe and God bless!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Guilt Button

How many of you parents have a very active guilt button? I do. I always worry about the choices I make for my boys. If I choose to ignore a behavior and it gets worse, is he going to end up in jail? If I ignore a tummy ache and it's really appendicitis, will it rupture and cause massive infection or death? If I take the training wheels off too soon and he falls, will he break every bone in his body? You know, the "normal" parent concerns.

A few days ago, my 5 year old told me his mouth hurt, I assumed (never assume!) that it was a molar coming in because I vaguely remembered the dentist commenting at last checkup about his molar coming in early. I put topical pain medicine on it. This went on for several days. Then he woke me up every hour night before last. I got irritated, thinking he was being a drama king. (Guilt button activated in 10,9,8, ...) I phoned the dentist the next morning, swearing to my child if he was faking he would be minus several dozen toys. (Guilt button countdown continues 7, 6, 5...) I took him into the dentist, driving about an hour to get there, with three fighting boys, almost hitting a deer. I reminded him he better not be faking. (Guilt button countdown 4, 3....) We arrive at the dentist office, the boys go back to play video games (we have a really cool dentist). Then the assistant comes out to get me. I walk back and hear the dentist mutter under his breath "we have a real problem here". Oh, shit. He looks at me and smiles, says "No wonder his tooth hurt, he has a broken molar." (guilt button countdown 2, 1.....WARNING WARNING! MASSIVE GUILT ATTACK!) No infection shows up on the xray. This is good. Filling or pulpotomy (baby root canal) and crown. (Pony? Dog? Anything you want, sweetie.) It ends up being a pulpotomy and crown and massive infection in the tooth. Prescribed two rounds of antibiotics.

My baby cried all the way home, all through the drugstore, and the old guilt button was pinging like crazy. If he'd asked for the dog, rabbit, cat, bird, fish tank, gerbil, guinea pig, etc. that he's asked for time again, he'd have gotten it. Good thing he didn't know that!

I know many parents who've done similar things, but it never makes it feel any better when I'm the one who did it. So, do I vow to never doubt my child when he tells me he's in pain, do I bubble wrap him and refuse to let him play with other children? No, I'll do what every other parent does. I'll keep doing what I can to protect him and try not to screw up. (Guilt button reset.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Perspective on Creativity

I started getting more interested in creative nonfiction after a writing group a couple of months ago. A group member shared a story about her life and it touched me. One of the other members started talking about a recent conference he'd attended and mentioned creative nonfiction. I'd always wondered what you'd call my writings about my boys and my life. Creative nonfiction.

Isn't that a great way to describe one's life? I'd never thought about it, but it makes sense. When I tell a story about my boys, my quirky sense of humor kicks in. The way I talk about the escapades is completely different than what I was thinking and feeling at the time. Okay, most of the time anyway. But I think you get my point. Each of us has a point of view. It's not right or wrong, it just IS. My writings are simply MY perspective on life.

I've been reading memoirs lately. It's so amazing how these people put themselves out there. I read one about a poet's struggle with alcoholism; a former football player who went out for a fishing trip with three friends and was the only one who survived when the boat capsized; a man who was sentenced to prison at a leper colony not too long ago (I had no idea such things still existed in the United States). All of these people, from different walks of life, told their stories. Is that courage, or what?

The creative soul is fragile. Each time you put your work out there, no matter what your niche is, it takes courage. You know someone won't understand your quirky sense of humor, or your cynical perspective, or (fill in the blank). But does it really matter if some people don't get you? Don't like you? Probably not. Does it still feel "wrong"? Maybe. Do you stop creating? No more than you can stop breathing. I tried. (to stop creating, not breathing) I was miserable. I'm happy when I create. I'm at peace with myself.

For the first time, I put my occupation as a writer on a form at the doctor's office. Now, that may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for those of you who've struggled with who or what you are, it is a HUGE deal. Go, me!

Until next time, blessings.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who Says Dragons Don't Exist Anymore

The evening was as still as a hunter waiting for his prey. The wind wasn’t stirring. The animals were quiet. As I walked to the door, I sensed an evil presence. I took a deep, calming breath and pushed open the door. Immediately, I felt the penetrating gaze. I searched the room for the source. It was hiding in the shadows. I could smell the decay. I could feel the fire of its anger. I could taste the bitterness, like that of a quince picked from the tree in my backyard. My awareness heightened, as I slowly moved through the thick swamp. Dread slowing my steps even more, I turned and saw it. It was cleverly disguised, but I knew. It’s gaze briefly brushed over me as I continued to watch. It was waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.
I watched as it mesmerized the others with its words. It had them in a trance. I knew not to fall into that trap. I’d done that too many times in the past. Wisdom, it seems, does come with age and experience. I wondered what it hoped to accomplish. It certainly knew that most of those present were of little consequence. At least to it, they were. Then again, it enjoyed the torture process so much that it didn’t care who the victim was.
I walked towards it slowly, so as not to frighten it away or give it reason to attack. As I came closer, it set its sights on me. Cold eyes, burning like frostbite. A flash of fangs before it reigned in its anger. Knowing I’d done nothing to rouse the beast, I stopped in front of it. I spoke to it.
“Are you avoiding me?” I asked.
“I’m trying,” it said.
As it walked away, I pondered this creature. Who says dragons don’t exist any more?