Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life is fragile, love is fragile

It's really true that we never know when our life will change in an instant. I really try to remember that and live my life with that in mind. But when it does happen, I don't think anyone is really prepared.

We got one of those calls the day after Christmas. Kevin's brother called about their sister. M is 44 and lives in South Dakota. The relationship has always been rocky and sporadic. She's had a hard time keeping a job and the only time we heard from her would be when she needed money or some kind of help. She's struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse. She was extremely close to her mom and when her mom died 15 years ago, I don't think M ever really got over it. She isolated herself and we dreaded hearing from her. Sadly, that was the reality.

Then we got the phone call. M took something to get to sleep and left a window open and almost froze to death. The EMTs were able to revive her and at the hospital they worked feverishly to raise her internal temperature from the 70's. They did dialysis to warm her blood. A couple days later and she's aware, but still on a respirator and still needing dialysis. She's been upgraded from critical to serious in the ICU. If there is recovery, it will be long and hard. Right now it's day to day.

I am overwhelmed with sadness seeing a person's life that has basically been thrown away. When a person pushes away family and friends and isolates themselves from interaction with people, what is left?

I'm so grateful that God is a God of second chances. And He doesn't give up on us, no matter what. I just don't know if M is even interested in God or others.

There is a scene in C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. Aslan sets a banquet before the dwarves who refuse to see it. :

"Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn’t much use. They began eating and drinkung greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn’t taste it properly. THey thought they were eating and drinking ony the sort of things you might find in a stable. One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he got a bit of an old turnip and a third said he’d found a raw cabbage leaf. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said “Ugh! Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey’s been at! Never thought we’d come to this.” But very soon every Dwarf began suspecting that every other Dwarf had found something nicer than he had, and they started grabbing and snatching, and went on to quarreling, till in a few minutes there was a free fight and all the good food was smeared on their faces and clothes or trodden under foot. But when at last they sat down to nurse their black eyes and their bleeding noses, they all said:

“Well, at any rate there’s no Humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs.”

“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

That's how M is and it hurts to know that.

Please pray for M. For healing, for minimal organ damage, for God to work in her heart. And for wisdom for us. And to be reminded of the mercy God showed us.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The story behind the story

Whenever I get my Christmas ornaments out, I don’t just see a pretty decoration. I see something with a special story behind it. On my tree you may see a white Styrofoam ball with a green glitter tree and the name Ruth in red glitter with a pipe cleaner to hold the hook. However, when I see that, I see a little 7 year old girl, sitting at her desk in an old fashioned schoolroom, trying to make the Elmer’s glue come out just right. When I see the ornaments that look like badly crafted stained glass, I see the first year we had all 3 girls and no money and not enough ornaments for the tree. I still see their faces as we put lots of colorful, though not that pretty, ornaments on the tree.

So come with me to see something more behind the manger scene that we take out at Christmas…..

To start with, I want to give you all a few reminders. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem . John the Baptist proclaimed in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Peter talked about our redemption in 1 Peter 1:19 as the “Precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

In the Old Testament, the lamb was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. It had to be a lamb without blemish or spot – it couldn’t be scarred or cut or bruised. Jesus died in Jerusalem , where the temple was and where the lambs were sacrificed.

The story of Christmas has Christ born in a manger as the Lamb of God, to be the Saviour of the world and to take away the sins of the world. This would involve sacrifice. Bethlehem cannot be understood without Calvary . The manger must be seen in the light of the Cross. Birth would also involve death.

We all know the Christmas story from Luke:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lordcame upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them. (Luke 2:8-20)

Have you ever wondered who these shepherds were? Has anyone ever wondered why the angels didn’t give them any more details of where to look? No street sign, no neon light, no flag…

The Christmas story takes on added meaning when we consider that, according to multiple writings of rabbis, the shepherds who were abiding by their flocks in the fields were perhaps watching over temple sheep, sheep that were being bred and protected to be sacrificed at the temple in Jerusalem. These shepherds may have been men who were accustomed to preparing lambs which symbolically represented the Messiah in their cleanliness, perfection, and their sacrifice on the altar of the temple. This gives added depth of meaning to these scriptures which tell of the angels who came to these shepherds to proclaim the birth of the Lamb of God, the Savior of mankind, who would offer the last and ultimate sacrifice.

With the establishment of Temple worship in Jerusalem , the fields outside of Bethlehem became the place where this special group of shepherds raised the lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple . The place where the angels appeared to the shepherds is traditionally known as the “Tower of the Flock,” or Migdal Edar, which is very near Bethlehem . This watch tower from ancient times was used by the shepherds for protection from their enemies and wild beasts. It was the place ewes were brought to give birth to the lambs. In this sheltered building/cave the priests would bring in the ewes which were about to lamb for protection. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task. Being themselves under special Rabbinical care, they would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean stable for a birthing place. It could have been to this place that Joseph took Mary. It was in this special stable at “Migdal Eder” that Christ was born!

They were educated in what an animal that was to be sacrificed had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished. The shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes to protect the body of the lambs, keeping the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would then be laid in a manger until they had calmed down.

These lambs would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just four miles away in Jerusalem.

There was no need for the angels to give these shepherds directions to the birth place because they already knew. These were the men who raised sacrificial lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple . When the angelic announcement came, they knew exactly where to go, for the sign of a manger and swaddling coths could only mean their manger at the tower of the flock!

The Lamb born at Migdal Eder was the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world.

You see our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed.

So when you look at a nativity set this year, and you see the shepherds and Mary and Joseph and then you see the baby wrapped in swaddling cothes lying in a manger, I hope you’ll think of the story behind it. And I hope Christmas will touch you a little deeper this year.

(This is a compliation of the following sites: http://www.mayimhayim.org/Rabbi%20Mike/Migdal%20Eder.htm,

http://www.cbn.com/special/thenativitymovie/articles/whybethlehem.aspx, http://www.bible-truth.org/BirthPlaceofJesus.html, http://www.templestudy.com/2009/12/18/shepherds-christmas-story/)


Thursday, December 02, 2010

We won't be remembered forever....

I made the decision this year to not put up a Christmas tree. I'm really okay with it. It used to be a fun afternoon with the girls, putting up ornaments, drinking mulled cider and listening to Christmas music. As the kids started their own families, trimming the tree became pretty melancholy and took me all day to put up and another day to take down. Then I spent lots of time chasing the cat out of the tree, etc, etc. So I've got a few decorations out and it's just right for where I am this year. But I have a LOT of ornaments that I hated leaving up in the attic. So I called Christy and asked if I could 'loan' them to her tree this year. I say loan because I'm happy to give them to her if I don't want to set up a tree next year and I'm happy to get them back if I do want to set up a tree next year!

Christy graciously invited me to join her family as they decorated their tree. It was a lot of fun - kids decorating, talking, Christmas music in the background...all the magic it used to be. As I hung the ornaments, I'd tell the kids the stories about them. There are the ones that Kevin's great-grandmother made for him, the one that my grandfather put on his tree, and even the one I made in 2nd grade. It was a plain syrofoam ball with my name in cursive glitter and a glitter tree on the other side and 1964 on the bottom. Since Christy's daughter is 'Julia Ruth', I gave the ornament to her, making her promise to take care of it. She promised me very solemnly and I know it will be taken out and I will be remembered whenever she hangs it on her Christmas tree.

Then I got to thinking about our other old ornaments. The fact that Kevin's great-grandmother made some ornaments is neat, but the truth is that Kevin only has a few memories of her. There is no emotional attachment other than the fact that it's family. I realize that there are many, many things in my home that I'm attached to because of the relationship to the story involving the thing. I have Precious Moments figurines that each have a special meaning to me because of who gave them to me or the event they commemorated.

As we get older, we begin to pass some of those cherished keepsakes on to someone who may feel the same as we do about our thing. it's a way to make a connection from out past to the future, a way to stay connected in time. One day, maybe only a few generations away, our story won't matter to the owner of the thing and the thing won't matter and we won't be remembered.

It's easy to feel like it doesn't matter what we do since it won't even be remembered in a few more generations. Feelings aren't truth. The truth is that what we do matters. And it matters to more than a few generations. The truth is that we serve a God who is so big that He takes our obedience and turns it into a big miracle to bring glory to Himself.

It matters that Kevin and I have stayed together and have loved each other all these years. It matters how we raised our children. It matters that family is important. It matters that we've offered forgiveness, grace and mercy when our kids least deserved it. It matters that we've done the best we can to model Christ to others.

It matters that we introduced our kids to Christ and all that He's offers and all that He is. It matters that we had a home environment that gave them the freedom to find their own relationship with Christ.

My stories and the memory of me will only last a few generations. My things, as precious as they may be to me now, will only last a few more than that. But that's really okay. The only things that will go with us into eternity are people, love and relationships. So trying to model Christ really does matter.

The truth is that I will have forever to get to know the generations who will come after me. My prayer is that God will take my acts of obedience and make them into big miracles that glorify Him. That will be what lasts forever and that is what gives me hope and takes away that fear of not being remembered.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pondering the next generation

Having a new grandbaby has made me think about parenting. My thoughts on parenting have changed over the years, obviously tainted by whatever stage my children were going through. Now that they're all grown with children of their own, it's interesting to look back and ponder.

I heard somewhere that our goal as Christian parents is to raise the next generation. And often raising that next generation involves sacrifice. I think that tends to be overlooked today when our culture bombards us with being happy and finding personal satisfaction. The whole idea of sacrifice is not an enticing idea.

I vividly remember questioning my father about something he could do and I couldn't. He gave me 2 reasons :

1) Rank has its privileges

2) Do as I say, not as I do.

I vividly remember NOT liking that answer. And that experience really shaped my parenting as a mother of what I would never tell my kids. It helped give me the passion to set an example for my kids, not simply tell them what they should or should not be doing.

Choosing to set an example is not the easy way to parent. It involved sacrifice. But our goal was to raise the next generation well. For example, we made the choice to not watch any movies that our kids weren't able to watch. As they got older, the kids were able to tell their friends, "Our family doesn't watch those movies" instead of 'my parents won't let me'. It was a sacrifice, but we were serious about wanting to be an example.

There are times I've felt unappreciated for my sacrifice. I've learned that it's my problem to deal with because I'm choosing to sacrifice. My kids never asked me to sacrifice, it's been my choice. So really, they don't owe me gratitude. I try to view their appreciation as a gift, not an expectation.

Sometimes I don't feel so sacrificial. Sometimes I struggle with resentment. I am naturally a selfish person and I wish I could tell you sacrifice has become easier, but it hasn't. It's a choice I make even now.

I am grateful that Christ set the best example of sacrifice for the next generation. He never said, 'do as I say, not as I do'. Knowing that gives me hope and strength and purpose.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New baby tomorrow!

Tonight the whole family got together to enjoy dinner before Jaime goes to the hospital to give birth to her 3rd son, our 7th grandchild. Loud, happy chaos best describes us all together. I just love my family. I see my husband interacting with our sons-in-law and then I watch him tenderly kiss his daughters. Later, the grandkids all jump on Oscar (I'm Grammy - he's Oscar - like the Oscar awards and Grammy awards!) I catch a glimpse of sisters hugging each other goodbye just a little more tightly than normal.

Then later, my thoughts ramble back to the time I was expecting Jaime. We were living in Arizona. Kevin had just gotten a job in Phoenix and my OB doc was in Tucson, 2 hours away. A very sweet family from our church offered a room to Christy (15 months old) and me until delivery. They were sweet and I was so thankful for them. When my labor started, they drove me to the hospital through rush hour traffic. I still smile when I remember the driver leaning out the window telling everyone THERE WAS A WOMAN HAVING A BABY IN HERE! It was funny at the time and still funny 31 years later.

I was a high risk pregnancy with Jaime. I had 3 doctors following me and they were so kind to me that they even offered to let Christy and me stay at the hospital that last month! I felt so well taken care of. Back then it was all natural labor. Instead of drugs, there was screaming! OWWWWW!! I got to choose my doc to do the actual delivery. To top off a high risk pregnancy, Jaime Renee came out with the cord wrapped around her neck 3 times! Jaime was the only one of my babies that the doctor and nurses called by name right away. I was so impressed by that. And the next day, my doctor sent me flowers to celebrate with me.

The day I was released from the hospital, we piled in the car and drove to our new duplex that still needed to be unpacked.

I said before that Jaime was a high risk pregnancy. We almost lost her more than once during the pregnancy. Choosing her name was in honor of friends and special meaning combined.
My dear friend from college, Jim, was the inspiration for Jaime. Jaime's spelling was French for 'love'. Another good friend had died tragically before Christy was born. Her name was Gail Renee. Christy became Christy Gail and Jaime became Jaime Renee. It also means "Love Reborn" in French. Very appropriate for the tenuous pregnancy it had become.

My sweet baby came into the world sucking her thumb so strongly in the womb that she had a blister on her thumb! She didn't cry much and she was easily comforted. Jaime was tiny and sweet and I was eternally thankful that she was healthy and safe. She was my snuggler.

So I think of all this as I get ready to spend time at the hospital with my Jaime as she gives birth to her 3rd child. What a precious gift from God, to see your child give birth. How blessed I am to have been present for all my grandbabies' births. And even more blessed that they want me to be there again.

Father God, please watch other my child who is love reborn. Keep her safe and bring Judson Zane into the world surrounded by people who already adore him and love him. Thank you for being in charge and loving them more than I do. And help me be whatever my daughter needs me to be. Use me to be her comfort and strength.

The circle of life is a miracle to watch unfold.

details on the new one to follow after the birth......

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Things they never told us about marriage.

In a perfect world, a married couple learns about marriage from their parents and grandparents. Kevin and I didn't have that. Both our parents were divorced and their life in their 50's was very different than what Kevin and I wanted for our life.

We made a decision early in our marriage that divorce would not be an option. We both agreed and knew that we would be staying together, no matter what. We made it our passion to learn about good relationships, deep friendships, positive parenting, and keeping things fresh.

When we reached the age where both our parents divorced, it was a scary time. Again we reminded ourselves that murder might be an option, but divorce was not. It felt awkward to have a marriage that lasted longer than all our parents. The parents were bitter and we struggled wtih feeling guilty. That took a while to work through.

We've now been married for 33 years. And this is what no one told us. The kids are settled into their families and they are now raising their children. Our focus is now on us. That's a little scary after spending the first 30 years concentrating on raising the kids.

Things are calmer and slower these days. That's really nice. What's even nicer is that, after 33 years, we are more in touch with each other. I can tell you how many times I'll go to call Kevin and a call from Kevin rings just then. Because of our decades of shared life, we often need only say a few words to know exactly what we want to say. Kevin knows what I like and I know what Kevin likes. We know what makes the other person ticked off and we've learned how to best respond when the other is upset.

Big things aren't so big anymore. Nothing feels impossible or insurmountable anymore. Add to that a wonderful sense of peace and contentment that permeates into all the corners of our life.

I never knew how true Robert Browning's quote is: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." Nobody told us that the longer you're married, the better it gets. I think I always pictured raising children and then getting old and infirm so that those twilight years would be taking care of each other's health problems, and then we die.

I was so wrong. I still like being with Kevin more than anyone else! Kevin can make me laugh until I cry. We truly have meshed into contentment. The power struggles are behind us. I'm happy if Kevin gets what he wants and he's happy if I get what I want. So many things just don't matter in the big picture.

I hope our lives will give younger couples hope and encouragement that it is worth working through conflict. That it's worth really getting to know each other more and more.

And it gets easier, it really does. Because you know each other well, frustration and tension and tempers are much less and feeling like you're on the same page becomes the norm.

I know that marriage can be really hard work. No one thought Kevin and I were going to be able to stay together and folks told us that very openly. But God is bigger than our circumstances and His love is extravagant enough to fill us and teach us how to love and live together. We aren't the exception - God is.

As we come up to our 34th anniversary, I am just excited to be loving, living and laughing with the husband of my youth. It has been worth all the hard times.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secret Language of Grandparents

The other day I was at Target and heard a woman talking to someone. Without even seeing her, I knew it was a grandmother talking to her grandchild. We were speaking the same language. It's a totally different way of talking as a grandparent than as a parent.

As a parent, I was responsible for raising my children. Therefore, I had to be diligent and consistent with my kids. I had to correct and steer their behavior, attitudes, words, etc, etc. It was my job to mold the next generation. I took that job seriously even when it would have been easier to ignore things. My consistency mattered as my children grew up.

I did the best job I could. I messed up because I'm a fallen person. I was often aware that my children were a reflection of me. Like it or not, we all tend to see a child's action and bring it back to the parent. "A nut doesn't fall far from the tree." In spite of telling myself that each person is accountable for their own actions, I still felt the pressure to shape my children's behavior.

Then along comes the grand joy of being a grandparent. *Insert big sigh* I am no longer responsible for raising my grandchildren. I am responsible for loving them. Nothing more and nothing less. I no longer make the rules, I enforce someone else's rules for them. No one looks at their actions and blames grandparenting! There is a real freedom in being a grandparent.

So, what is that secret language? First, in order to sound like a grandparent, you have to slow your speech a little. Your words are liberally sprinkled with praise, encouragement and 'I love you's. Grandparent-ese drops the harried frustration, repeats words as needed and pauses more than usual.

Grandparent-ese is a native language of children. Sadly, parents have a difficult time understanding this language. They are usually convinced that someone besides the grandparent is speaking. Around grandparents, one will often hear, "That is not the person who raised me!"

When I saw the person I overheard talking at Target, I was right that it was a grandmother. And I wasn't surprised because I speak her language!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

April in Texas

I love, love, love April in Texas. In April 1982, Kevin and I and our 3 little girls, ages 1, 2, 3, moved to Texas from Arizona. We'd been in Arizona for 3 years and I was craving to see something green that wasn't covered in dust. Kevin promised me that it would be green. If you've ever crossed Texas from west to east, it doesn't really start getting nice and green until Dallas and east. It took a LOOOOONNNGGG time to actually see green. On the east side of Dallas, I found myself staring at the beautiful wildflowers along the road . Everything was in bloom. It was paradise! It was breathtaking. I soaked up all the different colors of green in the trees, in the buds, on the bushes. And the rainbow of flowers strewn all over. It was just so, so beautiful to me.

My favorite April flowers in Texas are the Bluebonnets.

Then I love the way the wisteria looks like it drips off the vine.

In the midst of this, the azaleas are in full bloom. Brilliant color all around. I love it!!

And rounding all this beauty up is the dogwood tree. It's so feminine and such a pretty pink. And it's in full bloom right now.

April in East Texas is a season that makes me feel closer to God, my creator. He made those brilliant flowers for our enjoyment. I can do nothing but praise Him as I see his creation in bloom.

Carpe Diem and Savor April!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

35 birthdays and counting

Happy birthday, Kevin! This was your 17th birthday and the first one we celebrated together. We'd been dating for about 3 or 4 months and we'd exchanged rings and were officially going steady. My class ring is on your little finger!

In the following 35 years, I've been able to celebrate your birthdays with you. We've been through a lifetime of experiences. Most importantly, we've been through them together. We started with nothing and have come such a long way.

When we first married, we moved from NJ to SD so that we could be just the 2 of us. Then we were like the 3 Bears: We moved to SD but it was too cold. Then we moved to AZ and it was too hot. Then we moved to E. Texas and it was just right!

We've made a history together and served and worshiped God together. We've raised our girls together. We've driven each other crazy but we've always been committed to each other.

I'm so glad that we've kept a sense of humor through it all. I love that we know what the other is thinking with just a look or a word. I love the comfortableness we've achieved together.

Here's to many more birthdays!

I love you, Sweatheart!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trust - where does it begin?

My father used to love to tell a story about me. I heard it many times over the years. When I was a baby (under a year) both my parents worked and an older lady named Mary came to our house to watch my brother and me. I was just learning to walk and I loved to climb. I would climb onto the coffee table and toddle to Mary at the other end. Then I would jump into her arms. I'd laugh and do it again and again.

When my parents were home, I would still play my game. I would climb onto the coffee table, toddle to the end and then jump. But no one was there to catch me. My parents knew about the game but they thought it was funnier to watch me jump off the coffee table. And they'd laugh even more when I'd stop crying and then do it again.

As I grew up, I wondered why my parents would laugh about that story. I felt stupid whenever people would laugh at me. Then I became a parent and later a grandparent.

WHAT WERE MY PARENTS THINKING???!?!?! Who in their right mind lets a baby walk off the end of a coffee table knowing the baby would fall onto the wood floor.?!?!

That baby trusted that someone was going to catch her. That baby had experienced being caught and had fun and thought anyone would catch her. Instead of learning trust so that she could continue to trust as she grew, she learned that not everyone could be trusted and people were going to laugh at her when she fell and cried.

I know there were other incidents that cemented my inability to trust others but I think this was the root. My life motto is "You can get bitter or you can get better". I wanted to be a different parent to my children. When they cried, I was there. When they were hurt, I was there. When they needed me, I was there.

I knew that trusting me, their mom, was a key for them to be able to trust God, their heavenly Father, and then their husband

For me, learning to trust has always been a long road. It took me a long time to trust Kevin and a long time to trust God. I was always afraid that I'd fall and He wouldn't catch me.

We parents don't always realize the impact we have on our children. We don't realize the depth we can hurt or build up our children. I am so thankful for the opportunity to help build trust in my grandkids.

That's my thinking. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More than you ever imagined

I decided to list some things about myself that very few people, if any, know. This may be a challenge for me but I figure it's good exercise for my memory muscle. Here goes....

1) I still remember the layout of the house I lived in when I was 3.

2) In that same house, I remember tasting spinach for the first time. I hated it but pretended it was making me strong like Popeye to avoid eating any more. My parents were not impressed.

3) When I was 3 or 4, we attended a real country church. I got a fan to fan myself while sitting during the sermon. I pretended to read the words in the hymn books and would sing along with everyone else. Except that I sang the story of Little Red Riding Hood....loudly!

4) We moved to NJ when I was 4. The first winter we were there, it was really hard financially. A neighbor gave us countless eggplants. I have never eaten eggplant since that time.

5) I was a sneaky kid but not adept at covering my steps yet. When I found some scissors and cut the letter "R"in the cat's fur, I was surprised my parents figured out it was me!

6) I adored my grandmother but only got to see her once a year. When I was in 5th grade, she lived with us for a year. After she left, I kept a pillow of hers because it smelled like her. I took that pillow to camp in high school and the girls there filled it with rocks as a joke. They never understood why I cried so hard.

7) I always thought I must've been mixed up at the hospital with some other kid. I used to dream what my 'real' family was like.

8) I have loved the ocean from the first time I saw it. Playing in the sand was like icing on the cake.

9) I hated being the youngest in my class. I lied about my birthday so I could be 'older'.

10) Behind our church was a concord grape orchard (more like a single fence). When the grapes were ripe, we'd sneak out of church and eat grapes until we couldn't eat any more.

11) When I was 12, I read 2 books by Beverly Cleary, "Jean and Johnny" and "Fifteen" over and over and over.

12) I also loved "Harriet the Spy".

13) I liked a boy named David in 4th grade. My mother told me I couldn't marry him because he was Jewish. I told my mother I'd marry anyone I wanted!

14) In 6th grade, the principal stopped our class in the hall and announced that I'd scored highest on the school's aptitude tests. Instead of feeling proud, I was mortified and embarrassed.

14) I had a crush on my 3rd grade teacher. He was a brand new teacher and I was sure he'd wait for me until I grew up.

15) When I was 12, I thought Native Americans were the most beautiful people I'd ever seen. I told my mother I wanted to marry an Indian one day.

16) My mother told me I couldn't marry an Indian because we'd have mixed race children.

17) I told my mother that we'd just adopt a white baby and an Indian baby and that would solve the problem!

18) My mother told me she could never love an adopted grandchild. I decided right then it was HER problem, not mine!

19) Most of my life I have felt like I didn't fit in. It took me to my 40's to feel comfortable with myself.

20) I've never expected to succeed. Making the field hockey varsity team in high school was a shock.

21) In high school, I ate lunch with a guy who carried his Bible and called himself a Jesus Freak. I was always in awe of him.

22) The first pop song I learned all the words to was Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown".

23) The first album I ever owned was Carole King's "Tapestry".

24) At the end of my first year of college, Kevin drove from NJ to Iowa to pick me up. (we were both 18) I sneaked him into my dorm room so he could sleep before we loaded up to drive back.

25) In high school, I loved Advanced Biology. I secretly wanted to be a Genetic Counselor but never knew how to pursue it.

26) Kevin and I got our first waterbed in 1977 and still sleep on a waterbed!

27) When I turned 40, I got my eyeliner tattooed on and have never regretted it!

So, did you learn anything new?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A story with a happy ending

Once upon a time, there was a 15 year old teenager named Jaime. Jaime grew up in a house full of pets but she really wanted her very own cat.

The summer Jaime was 15, she was gone for a couple months touring with Young Continentals. While she was gone, her mother found a sweet, friendly stray cat. This cat followed Jaime's mother home and she decided to keep the cat for Jaime. Since it was going to be Jaime's cat, the sweet friendly cat was called JC. When Jaime returned home, she was very happy to have her own cat.

JC was spayed and declawed and was a very content inside cat. The vet said JC was a little younger than 1 year old. She had a few odd quirks.

JC loved to jump up onto the counters. Actually, she loved to jump onto anything taller than her. And while she explored the counters, she developed the habit of tipping over cups. Every cup she would find, she would knock it over. Eventually, she trained all of us to put our cups in the sink or empty them before we set them down.

JC also loved to lie on top of things. She really liked lying on bakery boxes. She slept on top of Kylene's birthday cake and Christy's graduation cake. If there was a box, JC was on it or in it.

And JC loved people. If she couldn't sit on your lap, she'd sit on your shoulders!

Now teenage Jaime started growing up. She met Slade and wanted to get married. Slade was not a cat person. Jaime had to find a new home for JC. Her friends, the Holcomb's, took JC in.

A few years went by and the Holcomb's called Jaime's parents. They couldn't keep JC anymore and would Jaime's parents like to take JC back? So JC went back to her original family and settled in to enjoy her old age.

A couple more years went by and JC decided she wanted to explore the great outdoors. She figured out how to go through the dog door and figured out how to wiggle out of her collar. She made friends with another cat in the house, Tux. Tux got sick and had to be put to sleep. Did JC sense something that day? We'll never know. JC went out the dog door and didn't come back.

JC's family called the Shelter, Animal Control, put an ad in the paper, but to no avail. JC was never found and her family finally figured she'd been hit by a car since the house was only a short way from a busy street. The family got a new cat who settled in to enjoy being pampered and spoiled.

3 years later, Jaime's mom was driving up the street and happened to see a neighbor walking into his house and the cat at his feet looked exactly like JC! JC was a very distinct calico and Jaime's mom recognized JC right away. She backed up and asked the neighbor about the cat. "Did you find this cat?" The neighbor said that the cat showed up at their house 3 years ago and they took her in!!! Jaime's mom called the cat and JC walked right up to her! Jaime's mom was excited and amazed! The neighbors were very gracious and apologized for not checking with the neighbors before they took her in. JC had only been 2 doors away for 3 years!!

Jaime was 15 the summer of 1995. JC was born in the early spring of 1995.
That makes JC 14 years old!!! JC is now at Jaime's parents' house, warm and snug and getting used to being home. She is happily napping with Ally. She answers to her name and will be slowly introduced to the other animals who joined the family after JC disappeared.

So, after 3 years of being presumed dead, JC is home and will live the rest of her life in warmth, comfort and love.

The end.

About Me

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.