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Dawn to Dusk

It was a full day today. Sundays are normally busy but today was extra busy. It was full of a lot of great surprises and a bit of sad.

Woke up after hitting the snooze a few more times than I should have but my pillow was cradling my head so perfectly. Arising I got ready at neck break speed and drove off to my office. Of course stopping for my Sunday large iced hazelnut coffee with three extra shots of flavor. (I like the caffeine jolt but hate the flavor of coffee. Color me unique.)

I love getting to the church and having no one there yet. It gives me time to pray the building. I go to each room we are using and pray there. Then I go to each pew and pray for the people who sit there. Strangely, people will sit in normally the same spot so makes it easy to remember.

I will then go to my office and touch up the PowerPoint and look over my sermon and pray over that. I tweak it and review it. I pray for God’s spirit to be upon it and often for technology to work. During this time the other church who is renting from us will show up for their service. Sometimes I will listen in for a bit but usually I am absorbed in what I am doing.

Coffee and Conversation is our adult Sunday School. We have been going through the book of Matthew. We have folks in there with varying degrees of Bible knowledge from none to a lot. So our discussions are interesting and sometimes off track but it is fun. I am with that group unless we have littles come in and then I shift to Sunday Fun Class. Today I was able to be with the adult class where we talked about Jesus talking about his own death.

In church today it worked out to be Gospel music day. I had selected, “Old Time Religion” as our opening song and our yearly visitor from Indiana, David, did a Mark Hayes arrangement of three gospel songs. I preached today on remembering the Ten Commandments.

We are now beginning to video and put our sermons on line. Which is exciting. My son Brandon is recording. We still have some kinks. Last week, he didn’t show all the PowerPoint. This week he didn’t show me.

At the end of the sermon, I always give an invitation for folks to come forward to accept Christ, for baptism, membership or transfer of membership or if they’d like to have me say a prayer with them. I don’t care if it is the same folk, I say it every week. Today I said it and two came forward to transfer their membership. I don’t care how many times this happens, I get chills, little bitty tears and a big goofy smile of hallelujah.

Since January of this year this makes seven new members now and three baptisms. God is at work!

After church was fellowship and we left to go buy a birthday present for our youngest church members first birthday party which was to be at 2 o’ clock at the church. Momma was there cooking away. Sadly there were delays and the party started late.

While we were waiting for that party to start our YAK (Young Adult Court) Group had their own party. We have another graduate. You get so attached to these young people and see how they grow and change. You just love them to pieces. Some will stumble and it breaks your heart but we (Aletha aka Grandma and I) love them unconditionally. At times I do admit you want to kick them in the hiney or shake them to get their attention. Some just have misdemeanors and some felonies. Their issues range from pot to heroine; their problems in life can be from their own making or the crap life throws them. We hope to be that one safe place for them to go in their process.

Back to the first party. The cooking is done and the eating begins and it is good food. I mean really good food. Kids are bouncing off the walls. Adults are visiting. Food is being ate.

Cake time. Smash cake for a one year old. Chocolate smash cake. Can you say big cakey smiley chocolate gooey face. Once she figured out it was ok to dig into boy did she. I bet they find icing behind her ears. We gave the already wound up kiddos cake and they revved up more. I don’t think the sugar highs will wear until tomorrow. Plus they kept on sneaking back to get the kool aid jug drinks. I know Rose said she drank five of the blue ones.

Presents were unwrapped, being only one she scored pretty well. Several adorable outfits, sippy cups, baby plates, baby forks and spoon, an adorable baby doll and two Walker style toys that make several different noises.

Clean up commenced with a lot of telling the kids no. Sugar, party, energy makes it hard for them to be on their best behavior and remember all the rules. Plus not just the rules but to have manners too. Overall, no one was injured, maim or died. I think the adults though were pretty exhausted.

My day had started at 7 a.m. at the church and I left there at 8:15 p.m. I am taking my dear wonderful son who desires something to go mop and vacuum tomorrow morning. The only bad thing about working so long is the winding down.

My grandpa would say, “you are wired for sound.” Not sure what that means really but he would tell me that when my mind kept spinning and going even when he said my eyes looked like sunken holes. Today was a long day. I am exhausted. I am praying for a few of my lost souls and I am praising God for giving me day that I will remember.

Summer Update…love

A lot has gone on so far this summer. Some wonderful marvelous things that I can speak about and some things that at this time that I can’t speak about.

It is hard when I express myself through the written word and I am stifled. I have written about things but not for this forum. Some of life happenings have to be held back to a hand written pages and put away into drawers for the time being.

Ron is five weeks out from knee replacement surgery and he has been released from physical therapy. He is their poster boy for recovery. I am proud of him. He did everything that he was supposed to do. He didn’t push to hard or do any silly things. He still has to wear his one compression sock. And boy is that sexy.

Rosie is growing like a weed. She is 4’11” (my height) and 96 lbs. She is constantly hungry and constantly chattering. She plays with her dolls, plays in the dirt, tries to build teepees and is friends with everyone in our cul de sac of five houses. Then she will turn around and swipe my makeup and want to wear a dress and heels. She is 13 in body but 10 in mind. She has a hard time keeping up with herself.

Brandon, well Brandon…he is 16. Need I say more.

And me. Well…I am back to working out but I have been prohibited from Crossfit. I loved Crossfit but unfortunately my joints and heart did not. When Ron went in for his surgery, I had labs and xray done on my hips. It was found that I have degenerative arthritis. Thanks mom and dad for the sucky genetics.

The doctor said low impact exercises only. So no Crossfit. We did try a cortisone shot in the hip. It did not seem to work. So we will re-evaluate the options.

With that Ron and I joined Planet Fitness. I want to lose 30 more lbs and build tone and strength. Ron is only going for 20 and to build strength in his leg. With the membership we can take one guest. So we can take our constant shadow with us. It will be good for Rose to start a fitness habit and hopefully this will become a lifestyle.

The Church is going well. We have had five people join since March and three baptisms. There is a good energy and a feeling of prayerful hope. The cry has become We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

There are at times, like in life, some personality struggles. But I try to handle it with prayer, listening, and understanding that we all come from different places. At times my patience is not always the there and then I become frustrated with my own feelings and inadequacy. I saw a post today that said that how our teenage angst and insecurity can return even years out of our teens. How true.

Camp Cook & Play has been a blast with 12 kids signing up. Now all 12 have not been there at the same time but we had at the most 8 and the least 5. For our first year I have been quite happy. Not all the kids have come from the church. “Behold we did a new thing” or a revised thing from the past. Rose has loved it and even made us hashbrowns a few nights ago.

This past week was a bittersweet moment in ministry. When someone in your congregation goes on hospice. You know when they are a person of faith they are going home, to their heavenly home. Watching a wife of 60 years say goodbye is hard, she doesn’t want him to hurt but she doesn’t wantto let go either. I sat with them a few nights. He kept his humor when he was alert. When he became less and less alert he still remembered how to pucker up and kiss. This man has an amazing family. I lift them up in prayer.

It makes you realize how deeply you need to show love to those that are around you. Life can be short. You need to be right with Jesus and surrender to him and you need to hold tight to your loved ones.

Don’t let grudges be held, let forgiveness be given and granted. Live each day like the people you are helping are Jesus. Love love love.

Life is not perfect, life is a roller coaster. Life is turbulent but it sure is a lot easier with love and Jesus.

His Surgery and My Weakness

My beloved and I have been together in some form for 27 years; college classmates in business College, friends, co-workers, parents, lovers, confidantes and spouses for nearly 25 of those years.

We have been amazing together. Mostly due to our faith in God and the belief in our covenant with each other and our Abba. Divorce was never an option although admittedly there have been mistakes made and times we were not terribly fond of one another.

Ron took a lot of the weight and responsibility of the family when I had my strokes. Mostly out of sheer necessity. I couldn’t do the bills because numbers didn’t make sense, they were scrambled. Medications were hard to remember what and when to take. In the kitchen, I couldn’t hold things to cut or slice.

At times, I was a comedy of errors and still can be on my bad days. Moving into a split level home in Idaho had its own challenges. So, Ron, began doing the trek to the bottom level to wash and dry and I became the folder. Then he would trek them to the upper level to be put away.

Tomorrow, he has knee replacement surgery. This is exciting as his knee is bone on bone and this will give him some pain free future opportunities. In fact, a thrift shop special was purchased today of a bike to ride as part of his rehab. I am not worried about the Surgery, they know what they are doing.

My concerns are twofold; firstly that he will mind during his recovery and do as told. Secondly, that I can do this. That I can take care of him, the kids, the house, the job and do a decent job. Especially the taking care of Ron. I have relied on him so much and for so long that this all feels overwhelming.

He has been the rock for us and done it all and I feel scared that I am going to have things fall through the cracks. I feel a bit alone.

I have two others going through surgery in the church family that I need to be Pastor Dawn for, we are kicking off a brand new summer program next week for the church and three of the key players can’t be there the first week…breathe breathe breathe.

And my Rock, the one who steadies me will do it in a different way. Away from me. Not by my side. If you don’t know me, I sound incredibly whiney and weak. I am strong and I will do all that I need to do and do it as well as I can. Right now though I am feeling unsteady and the word again overwhelmed.

Right now, I just feel adrift and not sure how I will do this all. Part of me is a bit upset that I have leaned that heavily on some dude yet I know I had no choice. So now I take some deep deep breaths. Remember to inhale and to exhale. If I need to cry, hide in the bathroom and do it. I have my Abba and I will lean on him and I will lean hard. And most importantly I will keep breathing.

Another Year Older

At this moment I am 53 years old and one day. I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday and I probably won’t feel any different than I will tomorrow. My husband teases me I’m celebrating the anniversary of my 39th anniversary. In reality, our lives have changed greatly in the past year. Things aren’t the same as they were last year.

We have found new diagnosis with the children after several weeks of new testing.  We have found new challenges with the children. We have found life-changing things with the children. We have found out things that will effect their future and things that will affect our future.

The Princess has been diagnosed with a long term developmental disability, where she will have to probably live with us for the rest of her life. She is excited about it and plans on moving her husband and children in with us. As of now she doesn’t understand the limitations of her life. Let me rephrase that, the potential limitations, that there could be in her future. It scares us for her. It scares us that we will not be around for her forever and then we have to look at her future.  What this future will be without Mom and Dad around.

It is hard to believe that she has become a teenager and she has begun to develop a teenager’s body but her mind still wants to play with her doll and horses. Princess can talk non stop to no one but herself and have a grand time of it. She can also turn into a raging hormonal mess of tears and yelling for no apparent reason.

The Teen, oh the Teen, he has become problematic. Explosive temper, stubborn, mouthy, lazy, and failing school. We have had trouble with the law, trouble with girls and he and Dad butt head on days ending with “y”.

We have redone his med regime, put him into group counseling, met with the school for an IEP for next year. We have tried to engage him more with the family.

Most of all we pray. We love them but we know love doesn’t fix the problems or genetics that their bio parents inflicted upon them. So we pray some more. We turn to the experts who have worked with PTSD, RAD, ODD, bi-polar disorder and all the other alphabet soup. And we pray.

Some nights we cry. Some nights we laugh because it’s too hard to cry. Some nights we feel guilty because we just want a break and to get away by ourselves and that never seems to happens.

So here we are 53 and 1 day and 65 years old. Our children range from 43 to 13, our grandchildren from 21 to 7. We aren’t content and we aren’t discontent. We work hard each day. Our house is not the cleanest as we often are tired after work or our energies go back into the Princess and Teen.

So in our chaos you will hear laughter, yelling, Princess talking non stop to no one, Teen’s yucky music, cacophony of barking dogs and know that this crazy is our normal. Our normal is not a normal meant for everyone.

God blessed us with these two children so now we have to live up to God’s expectations for us. So we pray a whole lot. If you get a chance, send some prayers our way too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Quiet

That has been me and the blog, A lot has happened.

Broken windows, chewed books, tantrums, surgeries, visits from family, a wedding, the return of a world traveler and through this I have been silent. We had Thanksgiving and decorated the church and the kids decorated the house, Ron’s heater went out in his car and his tire went flat. The Princess got A’s and B’s first trimester and well the Teen did not. And still I have been quiet.

There have been funny Gizmo stories and stories of three dogs who pretend not to like each other cuddling together until a two legged family member walks in the room. Ralph’s slowing down and at 15 shows his age then he will have bursts of energy to remind us of his uniqueness. Yet, I still haven’t wrote.

I have had many joys at the church and some sorrows. The sorrows try to drown out the happiness and make you forget. Satan is a sly creature. Are we growing? Yes, by some people’s measurements. Is everyone happy? Heck, NO. Will I make everyone happy? Only in my dream world. Even in any church I know of, they wouldn’t be happy if Jesus was running the show. Still, I haven’t spoke.

I shared, in a rather, public forum that I felt broken. I wasn’t even sure quite what I meant other than my words had been silenced. I couldn’t fully convey my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I was blank. I still carry some of that. Whatever “that” is. I feel both a heaviness and emptiness.

I am waking up, going through the motions of my days. This week was heavier due to the pain of physically trying to do the splits on the ice. I score myself an eight, seeing I never could do them before. Plus the anniversary of my mom’s death seemed to sneak up and slap me.

Yes, I am praying. Yes, I have spoken to my Dr. but that answer is always more drugs. I am already a mini pharmacy. I even asked if those were the issue. But those are needed for me to live.

So I have broken my silence and really have not said much at all. Sometimes maybe it is better to be too quiet.

Thanksgiving of a Dysfunctional Family

I grew up in what is now called a blended family. Back then it did not have that fancy title. We were the step kids or her brats. Holidays were not exciting times. They were fraught with yelling, hitting, cussing and drinking and that was just preparing the food.

Thanksgiving was fancy plates and cloth napkins. Appetizer tray with veggies. Smoke filled room and noise. Often times we would never finish the meal as someone would have to leave on a “call” for the funeral home. 

If we were at my grandparents home, the smells were different. Charlie perfume wafting in the kitchen admist the smell of Thanksgiving ham. Grandpa hated turkey. But for some reason Grandma made oyster stuffing. At their house, I didn’t have to sit by my step dad. So there I was away from the back hand side. 

In fact there we had the kids table, where my brothers and I sat thinking we were special. But yet somehow desiring and wanting to be at the big people table. Grandma even made our little card table elegant.

After dinner the adults would play cards and cuss and smoke and drink some more. Usually someone would say something and we would leave with my parents in a a huff. We three kids would hunker down in the back seat. Knowing the slightest wrong word could result in a beating. Usually I said the wrong word.

If it was at our house; it would be walking on eggshells before, during and after. I would sit at the back hand side of my step dad and cringe every time his hand moved, not knowing when I might end up on the floor for doing something wrong. My brothers said when I moved out, my chair remained empty. If my step dad’s older brother was there it usually meant a fist fight.

I always hoped for a wonderful huge peaceful laughing family Thanksgiving. We had a few Thanksgiving with my family as an adult where it was a bit better but someone would say something and the fight would be on and someone would leave angry or hurt. 

With my own family, I tended to go to the opposite spectrum. Super low key. Probably too afraid to make a fuss.  I think part of me is still that little girl wanting that ideal Thanksgiving. I have been to a few homes where I have seen that and it has left me in awe and even envious.

Tomorrow it is just the four of us. By popular vote, we are going to have hammocks and beans. We are going to do some house projects and chill out. On Saturday; our daughter, son in law and grandson will be here. I will cook a pared down turkey dinner.  

I suppose my traditional Thanksgiving days are still screwy. Maybe I don’t need that one day to elevate it to something more. Really isn’t just another day like any other day. It has historical significance. But honestly aren’t we called be thankful all the time. Not just one day a year.

Today, I was pretty sad about a situation. I came home and shut myself away and had a good cry. Then I prayed. I am still a bit sad but I realize that I can’t change what is going on…it is what it is.

What I can do, is find different ways to find thanks. Right now, I haven’t found a lot but when given clarity and distance, I will. I know already that I am more blessed than many many people. I have my faith, a home, a job, my husband, my children…that is more than many.

I couldn’t control those adults that caused harm when I was a child but I can pray that i have done a better job with my older kids and will do a good job with the youngest two.

Sunday at church, I am giving everyone 5 kernels of corn based on an old story that the first year the Pilgrims were here they each were only given 5 kernels of corn. I am giving those with the thought of 5 things or areas of thanksgiving we have.

What are five areas in which you are thankful?

Heavy Hearted with a Throbbing Headache aka the State of the World…A Rant

My head is throbbing and my heart is heavy. I can’t turn on the news, look at social media, read a newspaper or watch a sporting event without there being hate, disaster or politics. I am basically going to go on a free range rant.

The world is a literal mess. There seems to be very little good news. There are earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding, There are wars and rumors of wars. There is anger over every aspect of life. There is no equality because we all have stopped trying to communicate. We have leaders of the world name calling like adolescents. But instead of rocks they have nuclear weapons to toss about.

There are shootings in churches and schools. Parents killing children. Children killing parents. People beating people with baseball bats. Everyday people killing for no apparent reason. “He was a nice man, I never thought he could do that.” Well folks he did.

Teachers having sex with students. What the heck? That just creeps me out. I guess I always thought my teachers were old. They were like 30. When did teachers start thinking that is was a feasible idea? When did student think it was ok?

How many little ones are going to left in hot cars before parents realize that they can’t go to the bar, go to the mall, or go to work? By now hasn’t it gotten across to all of you, the car gets hot. It cooks those little ones and usually kills them or causes permanent damage. Find a babysitter or don’t go. 

Kids would rather sit next to each other and talk on their phones than talk face to face. Social media has become both a modern day miracle in connecting us across miles but also has become a detriment in interacting in real time. My kids have to be reminded of what eye contact is and that their eyes can move above their laps. 

I am still uncomfortable with our President having a Twitter account. Especially since there seems to be no one monitoring those late night, early morning tweets that he makes. Everyone knows you don’t tweet when you are tired, mad, or just broke up with someone.

I can’t wrap my head around suicide terrorist or any type of terrorism. And if you are a suicide terrorist and live are you fired from your job? The idea of sneak attacks and hurting innocent people goes against my grain. It seems cowardly. If you are going to do it, stay there and be caught, if you are so proud of your work.

I can live without sports but I watch usually to spend time with my spouse. I don’t like sports and politics mixing. But I believe in our right of free speech. I don’t quite get the whole kneel, not kneel thing. I know at one time the team’s didn’t even come out until after the National Anthem. Do I give respect to the flag–yes I do. Does it bother me they are kneeling? I am not sure, I would be more upset if they turned their backs. I am still sorting this one out in my head. So don’t pounce on me.

What does hack me is their salaries and the salaries of these actors. We have children starving. Homeless. Puerto Rico without power. But these above named athletes and actors are making millions. Millions. They buy mansions, bling, cars, clothes and stuff. Poor folk or middle class struggle. Some some they came from there but they have long forgotten.

I keep telling my congregation that we do not know the time or place when Jesus will come again. But at times I even have to wonder just got a tad of a moment if some of this is end times.  Some part of me wishes it were because we are in such a sad state. 

We need some good news. I am tired of my heart being heavy and things in the world not making sense. I am tired of reading of something stupid, sad, heartbreaking, angering or hurtful every day. Part of me wants to stop reading and seeing but I was not made to be a mushroom and hide in the dark. 

I continue to pray. And I will continue to pray. That is the one thing that I can do in this messy world that I call home.

A Day of Discombulation

Have you ever had those days when you wake up and nothing seems to go right? Today was one of those days. The dogs wouldn’t mind this morning. The kids wouldn’t mind this morning. Teenager decided to see how far he could push me. He tried to do it in a cute manner, which only preceded to irritate me more.

So I decided to go outside to get away from the child. So of course he follow me outside. I was so looking forward to going to work this morning. I had a new toy to put together. A generous donation have come come in a form of an all-in-one computer. I was looking forward to putting this all together. But as you know the best laid plans of mice and men never seem to work out.

I had several interesting phone calls today. Calls about if I handled demon possession, calls referring referring people in the right direction for the right topics that I am not equipped to discuss, poignant calls of prayer requests for people with families in Texas affected by Harvey and then my bicycle man. I will call my bicycle man Mister B.

Mister B showed up on Sunday needing help during service. Myself and a few Elders worked with Mister B for a few hours and got him set up to travel to Seattle. I was pretty sure he was on his way. When to my surprise he graced my doors today. He had found some other difficulties.

My Secretary asked me if me, “Is it ok if I leave now? Do you feel safe?”

What am I suppose to say right in front of the person. But he answered for me, “yeah, I’m not going to kill her or anything.”

Warmed my heart and apparently made Secretary feel secure because she went home.

So we worked on the current issues. And those took another two and a half hours to work out. I think we got everything straightened out this time. I pray so.

Mister B is a man of opinion and varied stories. He never cussed. But he did use words of hate in describing my brothers and sisters of humanity that I corrected him on and then wondered later how brave or crazy I was to do that. I didn’t feel threatened but the same time I never wanted to go the bathroom while he was there. So after two and a half hours I must say my bladder was happier when he left the building.

Mister B now is either on his way to Seattle or Florida. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up. I will keep him in my prayers as I know there are some demons nipping at his heels.

Mentally that was a huge strain. So I was looking forward to coming home to my sweet darling obedient children. Ok that was a fantasy. None of the chores had been done.

The Teen said he had done them but if he had I was 5 ‘5″ and 101 lbs. He didn’t know where his sister was. He was supposed to be watching here. And he started picking up on his behaviour where he had left off that morning.

Do you know how glad I was to be at home?

I went to call the Princess in, she came in ranting about never being able to play with her friends again. I decide I am going to sit on the front porch. Her friends from across the street come over and return the knife she had taken over to play show them. Yes, my friends, a knife. One of my paring knives.

My respite on the front porch was over. I went in and bellowed her name and the word knife. She knew she was in deep doo. The Teen was ecstatic someone else took him out of the lime light. She looked at me. She looked at the knife I was holding. She made a run for the door.

As she hit the bottom of the steps she screams, “your not my mother! She is going to kill me, stop her she will kill me!!”

And she takes off. The neighbors are outside. The kids chase after her. The adults watch . I hobble along. She hits the end of the cul-de-sac and dives under the pine tree into the open field. The kids drop their bikes and give chase. I still hobble along and climb under the pine tree. The kids get across the field. They come back to me to say they can’t catch her. They want to go back and get their bikes. I tell them they can do that if it’s okay with their grandparents and please bring my phone. So I go hobbling along through the field. Finally turning onto the sidewalk.

The Princess has now turned and is walking back toward me. She is quite a bit away.Her arms are open wide and she is sobbing. She gets close to me and asked me for a hug. I tell her right now I can’t hug her because I’m very upset but I love her very much. By now the calvary has arrived. The kids if returned with the bikes. The hubby has shown up with the car and the Teen has shown up with my phone.

I send everyone back with instructions for the Princess to apologize to the neighbors. I ride back in the car with Ron and then I go speak to the grandparents and apologize for her disruption and thank them for letting their grandchildren help. I explained to to them about the special needs our children have and explain that I would not kill my child nor do I want to in the literal sense.  In the meantime the Teen is now instigating and Princess is in full meltdown mode. I excuse myself.

I separate them and tell Princess to take a Calgon moment. It seems now every nerve I have is on the surface and I am surly. Not even a Snickers bar would fix it. Poor Hubby gets his head snapped off a few times. He has earned a few more saintly points tonight.

At 8 p.m. I send Princess and me to bed. Her to sleep and me to hide. My mind is whirling and I need to defrag it. Desperately need to. Tomorrow is the first day of school so maybe that is why they were so squirrelly. I am not sure what it was but it wasn’t pretty.

Tomorrow; I will send my youngest two to school, I will have my devotional time. I will download programs on my new generously donated toy, I will ready the bulletin info, I will cook sloppy Joes for 60 folks with the help of an amazing crew,  I will I pray and I will find a pinch of sanity somewhere.

You know you have to laugh, crying just makes you look ugly.