Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It feels like quicksand

This week.  The more I fight it the harder it is to survive.  It is final exam week and the students are stressed.  The teachers are stressed.  Most will pass but a few will fail.

This season also feels like quicksand.  Before I knew it, I stepped into it and got stuck.  But it's okay because I'd like to be stuck in a season where my Lord's name is associated with a major holiday, even if it is not politically correct to say it or truly celebrate the season the way it should be.   If you don't know me, or don't know me well, I am not politically correct.  Sometimes I say exactly what I am thinking without the filter I remind my students they need to engage. Don't tell them, but sometimes it is okay to speak without a filter!

To be honest, I'm having trouble getting into the decoration this year.  Now that my son is home from college, maybe I'll feel like making it more festive.  The boxes are out - and still neatly packed.  The tree is up with lights but no decorations - and really, truly, I just like it plain with lights.  It is simple and uncluttered and soothing.

So I shall contemplate and not fight it.  Because fighting it makes it harder - like quicksand.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Another corner

The last several months have been a whirlwind.  Lots of twists and turns.  Like a roller coaster, twists and turns in life can be fun and exciting and others make you appreciate life.

Back in April a cousin reconnected with me.  I was grateful.  I had previously found his email address and tried to make a connection several years ago and then - nothing.  Email address was gone and I didn't know where to find him. So April comes and I get a facebook request - but he had already friended me a long time ago - I didn't believe it was him.

But it was.  And then we began a journey of reconnecting and loving and remembering.  He is my next oldest cousin - only 6 years my senior and we shared some great memories and he was in my wedding.  I hadn't seen him since 1989 when our grandmother died.  She was the glue of our family and when she died we all unglued from each other.  It was painful and sad to not see my cousins.  So being in contact with him was wonderful, but time was of the essence because he was in hospice care with a lung disease.  And this is the next turn.

My sweet cousin died last weekend and I had to say another good-bye.  At his service, I learned about the joyful life he lived and saw the grief and tears of his friends and caregivers.  He was loved. I saw the gray on his head.  I comforted his sister and received comfort from his brother.  I was with family and my heart was jointly full and constantly emptying - if that makes any sense.  I learned of his love for Jesus and his church.  I learned he learned to love vegetables.

Another cousin, his brother, reminded me so much of my sister that I felt a sense of longing and regret simultaneously.  I heard him sing and thought of my mother.  I saw my cousins' children who looked so much like their beautiful grandmother I had twinges of deep sadness.  Okay.  More than twinges - deep deep painful cuts because she is the relative I miss the most.

I have decided to not let this happen again.  I will not be separated from my family - even if I have to be the one to make sure we stay together.  We need each other.  We need to share laughter, tears, and memories.  We need to make more memories and get together at times other than a funeral.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The title of this blog

Turning points.
I chose it very intentionally, thinking that someday I may change it into something more relevant to my future life.

Well, I'm at my future life and I plan to keep the blog named as it is.  Why?
I have recently entered a new phase of life - I've turned another corner.  But I think this "corner" has been more of a gentle curve.   It has taken two lifetimes, lived together.  Those lifetime are my children.

Our daughter is now married and will begin a stage of life that will encompass many changes, many more than she can possible fathom.  But, she is now grown and on her own with her husband.  "Off the payroll" as we joke around here.

Our son has begun his college career and will hopefully see God's plan for him by the time graduation happens in a little under four years (we hope).  He also is in the midst of great change and discovery and it is all very exciting.

So, it is me and Greg and the dog - again - 23 years later.  And lest you think it is the same dog, it isn't.  This is dog #3.  Like the first dog, she is blonde and quite neurotic. Not a lot of change there.
Could we pick up where we left off?  Are we missing our children?  Isn't the house quieter?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But we are doing great.  Why?  We know we raised our kids to be God-honoring.  We know they seek Him and are children after His own heart.  We are proud of them, love them, and wish them well.  Our son isn't "off the payroll" but he is a great distance away.

People are frequently trying to attribute feelings of grief to us over them being so far way.   We are not grieving - we are celebrating!  We have done the job God gave us and now we move on.  We turn the corner and look with great anticipation for more exciting corners to turn.

Turning points.  You bet it still applies.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

One more week!

Then I'll be a mother-in-law.  What?  I'm way too young and cool to be a mother-in-law.

So while it isn't legal YET, Phill has moved into our house and our hearts, and has confessed his absolute love of smoothies (and my daughter - and not in that order).

I'm doing a cleanse of sort, using green smoothies as my primary diet.  I am eating real food, especially at dinner and snacks, but veggie and fruit-filled smoothies are my mainstay at the moment.  I almost feel energetic.

This week a lot is happening: going back to work on Wednesday and then the family starts arriving on Thursday and there's this event on Saturday.  Oh yeah.  My daughter's (and Phill's) wedding!

And yes, you can bet there will be pictures to follow!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


It has been 11 days since I last posted! I could blame being really busy, but I won't because, except for a few days, things have been pretty relaxed.

The wedding is planned, the dress is here, programs are in progress and the belongings have been moved into an apartment in Texas.  The old pick up truck has also been moved.  But there's more planning going on besides this.

The boy child will move into his dorm a mere ten days after the wedding (maybe 11 or 12) so we are buying textbooks and deciding what he needs for the dorm.  This process is way EASIER with a boy than with a girl.  Apparently boys don't care if their linens coordinate or not.  I think the shopping trip for him will be less than an hour.

As a teacher we have these designated days prior to the opening of school called "pre-planning."  Not that we are planning to plan... it is planning before school, but in reality that never stops.  We are constantly examining and re-examining what worked and didn't work.

Since the wedding is right in the middle of pre-planning this year, I have to take a couple of days off from work since we will have company and things to handle. So, I've been doing a lot of my planning work at home.  I feel pretty good about two out of my three subjects, but I need to do a good bit more work for the third.  I want to be able to hit the ground running on the first day of school and set a good and positive precedent for my students.  It would be nice to get to school and only need to make copies and make sure my room was set up and the technology all was functional.  (The technology usually is functional, FYI.)

The next 4 weeks will be very busy and exciting and then after that... well, the nest will be empty and it will be back to me and the husband and the dog.  We are a little excited about that and also wondering how quiet things are really going to be here.  Very, I think.

Our kids are mostly grown and we have done our jobs as parents.  My prayer is God will continue to help them as they grow in the gifts He has given them and also help us as we adjust to the changes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sometimes change is goo..... cough cough... good

At our house, there is a lot of change going on.  DD is getting married in a mere 25 days.  We are moving all her belongings early next week (and those of her fiance) three four states and a time change away in anticipation of that big day.  Then the fiance moves into our house until the wedding day.

Ten days after that DS goes to college, and in the middle of ALL that, my work year starts with the beginning of the school year.  Change.  Sometimes I have to cough out the word gooo.... goooooo.... GOOD but change can be good.

I remember this time eight years ago.  We had made the decision to buy a new, more teenager friendly house.  We also took an amazing adventure to Alaska.  Immediately after coming home, I was notified of an opening at the school and found myself with a full time job for the first time in many years.  Lots of change.  Oh... did I mentioned we moved the last day BEFORE school started?  Lots of change, and it has been GREAT.

So DH and I will be empty-nesters.  All the chicks will be gone and it will be us and the dog, and in March we will also have no more teenagers. We are looking forward to travelling and not being bound by kids' schedules.  I know it will be different and others have had problems when the kids were out of the house, but we genuinely have always enjoyed each other's company and I don't see that changing ever. :)

So if I disappear for a while, never fear, I'm still around.  You can't get rid of me THAT easy.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


In contrast to Mayberry, another popular show I liked to watch was "The Munsters."  Isn't it funny that Marilyn was thought to be the different one?  I identified a lot with her but Eddie was smart and logical.

Spot was Eddie's pet dragon he kept under the stairs and fed.  Don't many family have their pet monsters we try to keep hidden away?  Not all but some families have them and sometimes it is just an individual who has the monster.

I recently got rid of my monster.  For it to survive, I was feeding it.  My monster's name was Guilt.  I fed it with lies, anger and darkness.  I starved it with forgiveness.  I recently remembered that forgiveness is a choice, like love.  It doesn't need a process like grief; I just needed to decide to do it.  When I did, my monster started dying.  But it wasn't an easy process, you see, it remembered the lies that kept it fed - when I stopped believing the lies, it stopped being fed.  I don't think it ran away to come back again;  I believe it is dead.  A very wise woman once told me, "I don't do guilt."  I love that.  ME EITHER.

With the help of the Holy Spirit it will remain dead.  What's now in it's place?  Hope.  But not under the stairs - hope doesn't need to be kept in darkness.  It thrives on the light and on truth.

Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Be blessed today.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Thoughts from Mayberry

Someone recently mentioned to me about having a "Mayberry family."  There is some truth there. My future son in law tells us we are like a sitcom family and he always wanted one of his own.  So there you have it, but we do not live in an idealized world.

As we were having dinner tonight with both of our children, the future son in law, and the son's girlfriend, I thought a bit on the idea of a Mayberry family.  Thinking is hard to do with this group because everyone is talking at once and there are a lot of stories and laughing.

Here's some of what I pondered:
Eating dinner with your family is some of the best teaching there is.  At our dinner table, no topic is forbidden. We discuss religion, politics, education, the day's events, tomorrow's events, and veggie tales.  No really.... We do.    All those and so much more.  It is our time to relax and reflect on our days and doesn't happen nearly frequently enough.  Many of the world's problems are solved at that table.

Time at the fishing hole helps you think and ponder.  We all enjoy fishing (and catching and eating) but it is the solitude we crave.

Sometimes a piece of pie and a cup of coffee in the middle of the day with a trusted friend is necessary.

We all need an aunt Bea in our lives to make us  feel safe and comforted.  Comfort food doesn't hurt either.

Ending the day singing together and listening to crickets and watching lightening bugs can be all the entertainment you need.

We all need a cousin Goober.  Mine was named Earnest Earl and he also fixed cars.  He kept my 73 Maverick going for a long time.

 So I guess I do have somewhat of a Mayberry family.  I like the routine, the traditions, and the comfort.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wrapped in prayer

In moments of sadness and loss or joy and praise, we all need prayer.

There are a group of women in our church who make blankets for such occasions.  Death in a family, surgeries, illnesses.  This is mine and while it is 95 degrees outside, I felt the need to wrap up in it for a little while.  While this blanket was being made, they prayed.  Before it was brought to me, it was prayed over.  Sometimes you just need to be wrapped in prayer.

This week, this group of women will be sending these blankets to the families of the Charleston shooting so they will know there are people in Georgia praying for them.

My blanket stays in my sun room, in plain sight, as a daily reminder to me that prayer works and to pray daily.

So, tell me, loyal readers, what helps you remember to pray?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Reminder

This morning I opened my YouVersion app to the daily Bible verse to find Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

I have been clinging to Romans 8:26: "In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans." Honestly in the struggle with my prayer life lately, those words gave me comfort and peace, knowing that God knows.  Really knows.

So today I have decided to re-read in between those two verses:
 "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

I'm just going to leave that for today.  It pretty much says it all.

Monday, June 22, 2015


The bubble burst last night in spectacular form.  Goodbye happy place.
I was reminded that I still needed to forgive regardless of how hurt I am.

Let it go.

Jesus hung on a cross and forgave. In his human weakness on that cross, He was still God. Those who crucified him did not know what they did.  Zacchaeus made amends to those he wronged.  In my human selfishness I want amends to be made. What is wrong with that?

*****Edited: I just had a talk with a wise friend who has an amazing capacity to forgive about what it means to forgive.  To forgive is to cancel debt and not expect repayment.  It does not cancel feelings or pain or anger.  Those will fade in time.  It cancels the expectation of anything in response to the debt that was owed.  And it is between me and God.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's bubbling, bubbling in my soul

As I think about how joyful (yes I actually said joyful) this day has been, I cannot ignore the shadow of knowing this is the day of Natalie’s graveside service.  But this post is not about her - it's about me.

I’ve been having serious voice troubles and having figured out why my voice is now restored.  No, it wasn’t psychosomatic – it was physical and is now being properly treated.  So I was able to really sing today without any pain or discomfort and had so much fun doing it.  To me – that is a reason to be joyful.

I have been married for 29 years to a wonderful wonderful man.  God has blessed me.  That is a reason to be joyful.

My son made it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Those are all reasons to be joyful.

I have felt a very large release in feeling some obligation for my sister.  The weight which is dissipating, for it is not yet gone, does not feel like it is weighing me down.   I think I am now able to let go of some of this baggage.  That is a reason to be joyful.

I don’t know when it hit me today that I was feeling more than happiness – it is a deep bubbling joy.  I haven’t felt that very often in my life but it is so welcome.  So welcome.  So overwhelming.  I have so much to be thankful for.

I’m going to think about the joy today and enjoy it.  I know the doubts and sadness will come back for grief is a process, but for now, I want to ride the wave of joy given to me today by the Holy Spirit.

Day to celebrate

Today is my 29th wedding anniversary with this man.  He has been the most steady, reliable, encouraging, loving husband I could have ever hoped for.

I know this is a bit mushy but that's how I am a lot of  times with Greg.
Happy anniversary!  Let's do at least 29 more!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday factoids

I'm getting my hairs did today :)
But I almost went to the appointment 5 hours too early.  Don't you love middle age?

My daughter made bacon for me today.  So good.

I have started M. Scott Peck's "People of the lie."  Hard book and a big trigger if you have trauma.  It will be a good read but I don't think I'll be reading it at my usual speed.

I had the privilege of seeing Os Guinness and Ravi Zacharias speak last night.  Very thought-provoking and inspiring.  Also got to meet some really neat people.  Leah can't wait to be part of that world in a few years.

My anniversary is Sunday - 29 years!  And campmeeting starts also.  An even better way to start the 30th year, I think.  It is also the one year anniversary of the graveside service for my sister.  I think I will have made it full cycle through all the firsts.  Thank God.

And finally, my son is on Mt. Kilimanjaro as I type.  At midnight on June 20 (5 Pm today for us) they will make the final attempt to the Summit at 19,430 ft.  They expect about 1/3 of the boys will not make it up due to altitude sickness.  I pray they ALL make it.  He is coming home next Thursday from this once in a lifetime trip to Africa.  Can't wait to see him.   We all are missing Andrew right now.

Here's a picture before they headed out for Mission work at the Maasai Village where they dug the foundation for a kitchen.  Andrew of course isn't looking at the camera but he is sitting directly across from the boy who IS looking at the camera :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Occasionally, I journal.  Well, lately I am journaling on a daily basis.  I think it is really good for me as I process feelings, events, and the future.

I have mentioned before I was writing about the day I found out Natalie had died and all the details with it.  I have moved beyond that day and moved into our relationship and frankly, how I am feeling about all of this.  This journal is something I will never publicly share, but it helps me remember and then also focus on some of the specifics.  It has been very hard and very healing to type about this on a daily basis.  Being able to focus has been the biggest plus in the last week.  I have even come up with an action plan, which as a task-oriented person makes me feel like I am moving forward, instead of spinning in place.

I am no longer feeling rage but a healthy, righteous anger.  One that will propel me and will eventually dissipate.

I am currently reading a book by M. Scott Peck, "The Road Less Travelled."  It is a psychotherapy book and very academic.  I'm really enjoying it and relating a lot to the people and especially to the concepts.  The next book lined up is also by Peck, "People of the Lie."  I expect that one to be more taxing on me emotionally, but when it was mentioned to me, my ears perked up.

On a lighter note, I finished restoring some furniture for my daughter and it looks amazing.  I also packaged some rosemary from my yard we had allowed to dry.  So I also smell wonderful at the moment.  haha.  So if you were wondering if I were just lying around and being mopey - I'm not.  I'm actually really, really good and pretty happy.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Letter writing

So I've started (from the encouragement of a friend) a letter writing project to members of my family.  There are things which have been left unsaid because they left this earth before I had a chance to say them. I've considered it before and decided against it but an assignment is an assignment, so I did my homework.

Honestly, I struggle with this on a number of levels.  First, being in Heaven with Jesus really trumps looking down on us here below and checking out what we are doing.  I just think they are way too busy praising God and worshiping Jesus to care about our earthly problems. Second, letters need recipients and they aren't here to receive them.  Third, I'm really not into mysticism and the whole "send it into the universe" concept.

But, I've written the first letter.  It really is more of an essay and of course, I wrote a conclusion page.  Very collegiate.  My sociology professor would be proud.  It was very difficult to say some of the things that have been left unsaid for many years - and by "said" I mean write.  It was cleansing and cathartic and no one got hurt.  In fact, I am better now than I was two weeks ago.  I feel lighter and brighter and pretty, I feel pretty, .... oh sorry.  Maybe this isn't the place for Broadway tunes.

I'm not sure if some of what needed to be said could have been accomplished while they were alive.  I'm not really sure it would have gone over so well, so I suppressed a lot.  You know, that is really pretty crushing to an ego.  Suppressing things, that is.  I don't recommend it.  But I do recommend being honest whenever possible while still not hurting people.

To end: love the people you are with.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Laugh a lot.  Show them how to love Jesus and to serve like Him. If we all did this, it would be a much better place on this earth we call home.

Friday, June 12, 2015


This is my sister.  I post her picture because one year ago today was quite literally the worst day of my life, full of despair, anger, confusion, and sadness.  It was, unfortunately, a day I had predicted would come many years ago. 

One year ago today, it was discovered she had died in her locked bedroom several days before.  She did not commit suicide but she did probably die of a massive heart attack.  My father had to have the sheriff come and knock down the door.  She was very protective of her privacy - and with good reason.  I will not go into details about the condition of the house and especially her bedroom but it was bad.  Very bad.  I cannot take back seeing it.

Normally, when I blog I withhold details about events so know what I am saying is still very raw and it still hurts very much.  I loved Natalie so much.  Our childhood together was fun and lighthearted, but our differences became very obvious as we headed into our teenage years.  I worried about her health.  I worried about her not getting more education.  And that was only the surface.  I worried about her salvation.  She never wanted to talk about faith at all - so I am in the dark here.

So, here I am, a year later and still seeking answers.  Like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I am a problem solver; it's what I do, but I can't solve for "x" or even quantify this situation.  Unlike the problems I love solving, I can't answer the question because I'm not really sure what I need to be asking.  It's exhausting and frustrating.

But - I am a Christian and I do not live as one without hope. I know I am one loved woman by our heavenly Father.  He is hearing my woes and letting me cry on his shoulder while He holds me in silence.  I am waiting for His voice, His words of comfort, the release that only He can give.  I know I am the one holding all of this up - that in truth He is waiting on me.  But I have great comfort in knowing I am not alone.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lightening Up

Sometimes bloggers use their writing forums (our blogs) to think in writing.  It helps to clear our minds and we just choose to let the world in to share those thoughts.  Some bloggers write DIY tips (and thank you SO much - I am rehabbing furniture with my daughter right now) and some write their heartaches.  I'm in the heartache category - but I do sometimes write about celebrations.

DD and I are working on my making some old furniture new for her to use in her apartment once she is married in August.  We are learning the importance of stretching dollars and appreciating some of the free treasures found in life.  A bucket of paint can be a lot of fun. We also learned not to apply primer in front of a fan because it gets stringy and in your mother's hair.

My mother loved a good (or any) garage sale, so there were a lot of treasures and some junk in my house growing up.  Unfortunately, my parents were not very good at managing money - something I am very glad to not inherit - and garage sales were necessary.  I have only had one garage sale in my adult life and I pledged NEVER to do it again, but if someone else finds value in my left overs, perhaps I should.

I have learned some important lessons about "things":

  • Don't accumulate them for the sake of having them.
  • If you decide to replace something, get rid of the old thing.
  • Things are way less important than people, and if that old thing you refuse to give up is getting in the way of a relationship, get rid of that old thing.
  • There is a lot of value in repurposing some things but you can't repurpose people.  Don't try to make people what they aren't supposed to be.
So, today I am going to continue to try to make something beautiful out of someone's old junk.  It is a process, much like trying to find God's purpose in our lives. (Let me tell you:  it's not a secret.  Accept Jesus Christ and love God and each other.)  Sometimes it is messy, but it is always worth it. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 9, 2014

What I am writing is very personal and my way of processing this anniversary of Natalie's death. If this is going to bother you, please move on and don't comment.

The date on her death certificate and on the headstone says June 12, 2014.  That is the legal day my sister died.  However,  it is not the actual day.

Since no one was with her, we don't know for sure.  See, my dad was in the house.  Probably in the living room.  It was customary for her to be isolated in her locked bedroom.  Not unusual at all.
But it was the 12th when he called me, saying he hadn't seen her for a while - at least two days - and her car was in the carport.  So, she was found on the 12th and so that's what was put on the death certificate.

You may wonder how I know?  The police and coroner were called and acknowledged her death occurred several days before.  Other evidence made it undeniable.  I listened to two days worth of voice mail messages from my father begging her to open her door.  Looking for clues, I logged into her facebook account and read messages, comments, likes, activity logs - anything that may help me narrow down the why and the when.  Some of what I read hurt me to the core.

One thing I know for sure: it was an accident.  The other things I know for sure: it was not before 3:22 pm on the 9th.  It was after that when her activity on facebook stopped.  In my head and heart, I know it was when her heart stopped.  So I have the when. And I probably have the how if my theory of sudden heart failure is correct.  We didn't ask for an autopsy but it makes the most sense.

If you knew my sister, then you can suspect the why.  The why part of the question is so complex and multifaceted we may never get it answered.  It is kind of disturbing how much I ponder these things.  Maybe it isn't.  Maybe it's natural for me.  The why doesn't really deal with her death.  More with her life and how she lived it.

So here I am - almost a year later and no more answers than I had before.  The questions swirl in my head and my heart like an unending hurricane.  Sometimes I am in the eye and it is calm.  Sometimes I feel like the worst part is about to pass over me and sometimes I just want to see that rainbow.  I know there will be more storms in my life and peace usually follows.  But this storm is different and it keeps raging around me and somehow it is confining my unexpressed rage.  Maybe that surprises you - that I have rage.  Today has been the first day I've expressed my feelings as rage, but I guess that's what it is.

I am praying for the peace and I know it isn't within me.  I know it isn't within my own strength and power to summon up.  I know only God can give me that peace which passes all understanding and I know, without a doubt, it is there waiting on me.  So what am I waiting on?