Saturday, February 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, DOG.

I forgot on Valentine's Day to wish our sweet Shepherd a happy birthday. She was five-years-old. We got her as a puppy at a Mission's Auction at church. She drives me crazy, but she is a very good dog. Even though my dad bought her for the boys, she is MY dog. She follows me everywhere. And she knows I'm talking about her even when I just say "dog." She comes to me when I say it. If you think taking pictures of three wild boys is hard, try adding an ADHD dog into the mix. Interesting.
The night we remembered her birthday we got her a doggie rug. I excused the expenditure as a "birthday present," but actually it is an attempt to get her to sleep in my room without sleeping on my bed. We also had cake and ice cream. Wish I could say that I planned that for her birthday as well, but it was really just 'cause we wanted cake. She didn't get any.
Still, she's a good dog and we love her. As long as she doesn't eat our cake.

A SuPrise Discovery

Almost as soon as my two youngest boys learned to walk, I discovered they also had a habit of sleep walking. Weird sleeping occurances have seemed to be our lot, at least while the boys were young. (Stephen's grown out of most of his. Andrew still does it occasionally.) Not that I'm complaining about that. Unexplained night terrors, sleep crying, and finding them roaming the house totally unaware of what they were doing happened occasionally, but not constantly. It has provided some very interesting and amusing conversations. Other than the night terrors, the only really disturbing thing about these weird half-asleep things has been finding them peeing, or about to pee in all kinds of strange places. I've found them missing the toilet (more than what is normal), peeing in the laundry room, even near the couch. Occasionally I caught it early enough to divert the culprit to the proper location. More often I had to clean up kid, floor, and any other soaked items. I always worried a little what would happen if I didn't catch them.

Now I know.

AJ has been complaining for days that his room smelled funny. I've been EXTREMELY busy this week, so I just kept making a mental note to check it out. Today he added that it smelled like pee. Uh oh. Well, only minutes ago I finally checked. I couldn't find ANYTHING to explain the weird, peelike smell. Until I removed a drawer (one of the plastic bin kinds), under which was a little puddle of still-wet pee. Don't know how many days it has been there. Can't figure out what else might have gotten hit. But I know now that I have to at least clean the drawers, the toys IN the drawers, and the carpet underneath and all around.

So, yes. I am complaining about that. I have to finish an album for someone this week. I have a display to do for our missions conference next week (which I just started). I discovered that the Sunday School class I thought I was teaching in April actually starts in two weeks. I have to clean house for small group tomorrow night. I am about three weeks behind in school records and desperately need to do some planning. AND to make matters just a little more complicated, I have a pinched sciatic nerve which is killing me (went to the chiropractor yesterday, but that's not a quick, easy fix).

So I'm just a tad busy. Guess I need to quit blogging and get to work.

Oh, and . . . no Zoo Tycoon today. Rats.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Five Year Anniversary

Five years ago, this day started just like any other. I got the boys up, fed them, and we did school or went to co-op since it was a Friday. We had lunch, took naps, played and watched TV. I fixed dinner, gave them baths, then put them to bed. One thing that was a little different, was that I helped Josh pack to go on a Scout camping trip with Gaga, and they left that afternoon. Other than that, it seemed a normal day. I had no idea of the arrow that was about to shatter my life.

My husband didn’t come home that night. It wasn’t unusual for him to be out late, because as a deputy sheriff he often worked overtime, but it was unusual for him to not come home at all. I vaguely remember waking very early in the morning and realizing he wasn’t home. I probably tried to page him and call his cell. I don’t even remember now if I actually talked to him, or worried about his safety the rest of the early morning. He finally came home the next day, and after loving on our two littlest boys, he told me he needed to talk to me.

Strange the things you remember about tragedy. I remember him commenting on the holes in my socks, and telling me I really needed to get some new ones. Then he told me he was moving out. Leaving. He was confused, he said; didn’t know what he wanted; didn’t know if he wanted to be married any longer. His “confusion” went on for a couple of weeks, as I sat confused about where he was during that time, and about what had gone wrong. He had been very distant for about six months, but nothing that indicated a real problem. I had asked him repeatedly if there was anything wrong, but he had said it was just problems at work, and I had no reason to suspect anything else.

The truth was, he had gotten involved with someone else and was moving in with her. No one—his friends, his co-workers, his family—believed it initially when I told them. He “was not the kind of guy who did that.” I remember from that February 16th, and from the weeks after, the tight knot in my stomach that kept me from eating for three solid months (an effective diet, but not one I recommend!). I remember night after night fighting off images of him and her together and crying until I had no more tears to cry. I remember having to keep music running all through the night so I could sleep at all, and then waking up from fitful sleep to cry some more and to fall on the floor and pray. I remember wallowing in the Psalms, crying through them and praying them to God. Life was a fog—I went from one thing to another without any real awareness of what was going on.

I also remember God’s faithfulness. He put so many people in my life—women who called me, listened to me, cried with me. He put very wise pastors in my life to direct my decisions, but who also listened to me and evaluated my choices not based on their own opinions as fathers and husbands and men, but on God’s Word. They gave me the blessing to do some very risky things as I prayed and hoped God would turn my wayward husband around. He gave me a Christian lawyer who helped me understand all the options, and tried to help me protect myself, and preserve my marriage at the same time. I remember nights when God did nothing but whisper to me in the sad darkness, and move in close enough that I could almost feel Him there. I’ve not felt Him like that since. I remember how God helped my father to care for the boys, and how He enabled us to get our school done in spite of my distracted and distraught condition.

I have been through many sad and difficult things. I’ve nearly lost my life and a baby in childbirth. My mother and father both died at different times unexpectedly at home. But the worst thing I have been through was being abandoned . . . cast away . . . by my dear husband. It happened five years ago tomorrow, but the pain and scars are still there today. They are not as visible as they were initially, or in past years, but they still hurt and make life hard. I’m not sure I will ever recover from them, but I’m not sure I want to either.

Going through my separation and divorce changed my life forever. I will never be the same. At times, I am aware that I am searching—that I am on a quest to find that one thing that can relieve the pain and remove the scars. I have never found it, nor will I. But then I have moments of clarity, and I can almost glimpse how God might use this, and I even experience a touch of excitement to see how He will redeem my tears. One of the things I have prayed is that God would never let me forget that experience. As confusing and disappointing and painful as that experience was, I have discovered since then how much more pain and suffering exists in the world than I ever realized. Oh, I knew there were bad things out there, but they always happened to someone else. Little did I know they were happening all around me, to people just like me. I want to be used to relieve a little of the suffering of others. I want God to always keep me aware of the suffering of others, and I always want to have the inconvenience of being called upon to seek ways to help those experiencing it.

Five years ago my life changed forever. And God used it to change me and make me fit for His service.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Back . . . By Popular Demand.

No, I'm not talking about Lost. Which by the way, those of us who do NOT have TV can watch online for free the day after the show airs. No, no. I do NOT have a problem with Lost . . . um . . . I'm just watching it so I can keep up with what is popular in the world. You know, so I am able to understand conversations with friends who watch it . . . and the blogs of pastor-friends of mine who watch it . . . and well, OK. I watch it 'cause I like it. But I could give it up anytime. I could!

Enough of Lost. I received a request today to post something from my number one fan (you know, the one person who actually reads my blog). So here it is:

We have discovered that our dog loves DumDum lollipops. This in addition to her pleadings for popcorn and carrots. (Yeah, weird, I know.) If we're sitting and having popcorn, or if we have carrots for lunch, she hovers around us to try to get some. I think she has been stealing DumDums for a long time, finding them dropped on the ground, and taking them to her crate to nibble on in secret. But now it's out. Figures in this family that even the dog has a sugar problem. I'll probably be the only one trying to explain to the vet why I have a diabetic dog. Sorry, but I think DumDums are cheaper than dog treats. And my dog likes them better.