Thursday, June 28, 2007

I think I've decided what my blog is for.

I know lots of people go into their blogs daily and update the world on what's going on in their lives and families. It's like a public diary that helps other family and friends stay in touch. I think that's an awesome idea.

But in all honesty, I have to say that I'm pretty sure my blog is a place for me to come and gripe! :o/ It's embarrassing to admit, but it's true. I seldom feel the need or desire to come post a new entry unless I'm just having a really lousey day. And today is one of them. :o(

My oldest son is staying with friends over the summer in another state. It's like a 14 hour trip. We decide a couple of weeks ago that we'd try to put a trip together over the fourth so we could go visit him. Now I don't know how most other families live, but we pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. So coming up with money for a long trip is tough. Dh thought he had it worked out, but it's beginning to look like we're not going anywhere. :o(

We would take his little Mercury Tracer, but the clutch is going out. I called a friend to see if we could borrow a car from her (she owes me money so I'm thinking we could swap out, right?) and she's pretty sure her dh won't go for having his newer car away that far with someone else driving. I understand...I do.

I could rent a car, but that takes credit cards...those are still maxed out from the trip we took a couple of months ago to deliever ds to his destination. Then, we borrowed my mom's car, but she's going to need it next week, so we can't borrow that. And to top it off, I've gotten a couple of ugly "reminders" that I owe other people money.

I'm so sad right now. :o( How do other people always have enough for these little things? I want to see my baby but I'm beginning to doubt that we'll be able to do it.

Lord, I know I need to just be grateful...and I know you're way too generous to me already. But I miss ds and would really like to spend a few days with him. If it's not in your plan, that's okay. I'm sure absense will just make our hearts grow fonder. *weep*

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Sad but True Story

Directly across the street from our apartment complex is the home of a tortured soul. We'll call her Mary.

Mary spent most of her life abusing alcohol. In the two years I've known her and we've been involved here, she has come to my apartment twice. Disoriented and with slurred speech, she would ask me to call her cell phone so she could hear it ring and locate it, as it was somehow lost in her home. She talked often of a son who didn't want to have anything to do with her. She was hospitalized frequently for trying to use something besides alcohol to medicate her suffering. She didn't have a full-time care-giver though, b/c she did have good days, too. Days when she'd water her plants, care for her animals (a bird and cat) and take walks in the neighborhood.

Mary would show up in our office just babbling about things, and it was obvious she needed looking after. We would talk sweetly to her, hoping to say the right "sweet" things to move her on...move her out of our meeting or out of our luncheon. Oh, we'd offer coffee and a sandwich,...let her know we were "praying for her" as she left. After all, we wanted her to know Jesus, right?

But nobody really wanted Mary around. She was just too...too much. Her liver and mind in bondage to a past full of drunken mistakes and untold pain.

We were told a few weeks ago, by her part-time care giver and friend, that she was going to move to be closer to her son. He was in another state. She told me, "He's going to let me come see him! I'm so glad he's letting me come. It's been over ten years."

She began making plans to sell her home (which she really didn't own, but she thought she did) and she thought maybe out ministry would like to buy it. She gave us the tour, pointing out all of her favorite places to sit and read, or sit and crochet. When we got to the upstairs she said, "This little room here in the middle is used as a big closet, but I think this would be a great bathroom for your kids...just needs some new wallpaper and plumbing."

I saw her walking across the street a few days ago, or maybe it had been a week...not sure. Wishing I'd actually stopped, now. Asked her when she was leaving...or how she was feeling...or what she knows about her home finally selling....I wish I'd asked her anything at all. But...I didn't even make note of the day...or time. I wonder why I didn't imprint the day and time on my mind...I remember thinking, "She should be moving soon." And that was the last time I saw her.

Nobody here was concerned when we didn't see her anymore. We knew she was planning to leave, and just assumed that she didn't want to say goodbye. barely came up at all.

Last night, after spending a glorious day, living my own glorious life (working in the foodbank helping people needing food, going to the movies with my family, talking on the phone to my oldest teen and hearing nothing but good things about his time away), I went out to sit on the patio that extends off the upper floor of the complex. It was 11:00pm, and two of my son's friends (bored teens) were already there. I said, "Hey guys...what ya lookin' at?" as they gawked across the street.

One said, "Must be a drug bust. Every cop in the county is there. 'Cept...I don't know who's big white suburban that is."

I did.

I went downstairs and stood on the curb waiting for one of the officers to cross the street to his car, so I could ask the question that I was certain I already knew the answer to. When one of them did, it was an officer I knew from church. " that Jay's car?" He said, "Why?" Obviously he didn't want to share too much information. "Because he's the city's mortician, and that would mean Mary is in there and needs him." I began to cry and he just nodded. "It's him."

He didn't tell me anymore details, but did ask me when I'd seen her last, as he was trying to piece together a timeline. He couldn't tell me how she had passed, but I knew one thing...she was alone when she died. That thought just fed the flow of tears, as I stood there and watched the scene become more and more like something from a C.S.I. episode.

Mary didn't have friends. She didn't have a job. She lived in that big 'ol house alone, and her mind had become so childlike as it began to suffer the consequences of those years of alcoholic abuse to her body.

She did want to make sure that I knew she had made peace with the Lord at some point in her life. When I took that tour of her home and mentioned we were praying about what the Lord might want to do to expand our ministry, she said, "God's really blessing me."

I didn't spend a lot of time with her. Nobody did. It was inconvenient to set aside time for try and listen to her. She didn't make a lot of sense sometimes...and she swaggered from side to side; the effect of many years of medicating depression and abusing her body, I'm sure.

We were always so much to much work to do. Important stuff...I'm sure....or am I?

Across the street from a Christ-centered ministry lived a tortured soul who won't be missed...and that breaks my heart.

Funny...the church bells are now ringing out behind me....I can hear them.

God help us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Weird Summer for us!

This is definitely not the summer I envisioned last winter. I was planning on being out of the ministry apartment by now, for one. But we're still trying to pay off our debts, and it makes sense to be here where we love working, anyway.

I also wasn't expecting my 15yos to be so far away. If you've read any of my previous blogs, my oldest son and his father have been in a constant "teen feud" for most of the last year. He's not minded me either, but that's another post. Anyway, he's spending some time working with our friends who own and operate Shily's Promise Youth Ranch, still in its infancy. :o) It's a wonderful place, but it's almost 800 miles away. And I miss him terribly. He's doing very well there, and Jesus is restoring the years the locust have eaten while he's away. We're also working on how to make life better for all of us when he comes home, later this summer.

Speaking of which, the Lord is just so faithful to reveal and humble us when we let Him. I'm amazed at how much He's shown me these past six weeks, alone. It's the reason I've become more committed than ever to daily surrender to serving...the Lord, my family...especially my kids and their schooling...and the ministry of Main Street. It's meant releasing my business...which is really tough for me...over achiever out the wah-zoo!...but so freeing, too.

What else? Oh, dh is on second shift, and as challenging as that has been, it's really working quite nicely. He's here to help round up the kids in the morning and get them on task...and he's home early enough at night that we can still at least sleep the same hours. Not bad! ;o)

Had an interesting counseling experience last night. One of our sojourners was admitted to the hospital recently b/c of losing her temper and hurting herself. She claims to be seeing "things" in her apartment, and confessed to me that she turned her back on the Lord a long time ago and had a MESS of oppression from past cultic and occultic, plus plain immoral, behaviors.

So my mom and I spend a couple of hours praying with her in her apartment last night, and it was just awesome! Jesus cleansed her heart, and gave her freedom she hadn't known in years. The enemy is fierce and fanged when you don't know how powerless he this was so good for her. Praise the Lord!

Father, I continue to be amazed at how much You love me, my kids, and just people in general. You're a wonderful God and I cherish Your mercy and grace. Help me to remember how big You are in the midst of my circumstances, and the situations of others. I love You! - Amen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Trying a new schedule...again! :-P

Dh is back on second shift...NO...wait! He's on a different shift, but not really second shift...sorta after noon but before ten. :oP Anyway, that's a lot different than the old "up by five, home by 3" schedule he used to keep. And, since he's not home in the evening now, that changes my work schedule, too. I'm so proud of how well it's going so far.

Keep in mind that I am soooooo NOT a morning person! I want to be up late reading and watching movies, maybe a Frazier rerun from time to time...but now, I'm down and out by 11pm, at the latest.

So, here's what it looks like now:
6:30 - I'm up and working on coffee, chores and breakfast so I can be ready for phase II, which is...
7:30 - Bible time!
8-noon - I'm working my business. (and the kids and dh are really good about leaving me alone so I can truly work during this proud of them!) ;o)

The kids are up and workin' on chores by 7:30, eating by 8:00 and ready to sit down with Dad from 9-11 to do reading and math. Plus, he takes them out for about 1/2 an hour to do some exercise of some sort; cycling, basketball here at the complex, and today it was tennis. :o)

I work on lunch from 11:30 to noon (still half-way workin' on my business...but listening on the phone mostly, so this is easy multi-tasking).

By then dh is out the door. Once lunch is cleaned up and the table usable for school, the kids and I start our Beyond/FIAR lessons. Today we working on Homer Price history; TV and Radio of the 1940's.

Fun fact: One of the neighbor girls my dd plays with was here this morning ans asked if she could participate in our "rowing." I told her she could, and she had a blast! We're lapbooking from the FIAR fold-n-learns for HP, and she really enjoyed it. She said several times, "I didn't know that!?!" while we studied about Orson Welles, the original radio broadcast of War of the World's , and the first TV's cost. It was so cute to see her (13yo) get so excited and make her lapbook with us.

But I got a real kick out of hearing her 16yo brother say the same things when he came in the apartment to get her after our lesson. "Wow! I didn't know that!" LOL! (And the real blessing from this is that this kid and my son got into a major KDDO last I never expected to see him in my apartment,...and being civil!

Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Today, I'm officially the mother of TWO Teenagers!

I can't believe it! My little girl turns 13yo today. She's in that awkward stage of clumsiness and hormone's. LOL! Beautiful!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

This just makes me crazy!!!

I'm a pretty good communicator...I mean, according to my business partners and mentor, according to the people I minister with here,...I have pretty decent verbal communication skills. I think I'm pretty good at clarifying my position on any one of a million topics. So...

...why is it so hard to make a point to my husband? I've tried word-pictures, using analogies, using a different tone of voice...he still does not seem to understand what I'm trying to say sometimes. It makes me feel stupid and if I just knew how to "do it the right way," he'd get it!


Calgon...take me away!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A typical Saturday at Main Street

I usually sleep in until 8am on Satudays. The kids use this day to eat a sweet breakfast (something I don't let them do on school days) and play on the Gamecube (which I really hate, but...). Dh is up and out the door before 8am, headed off to the men's Bible study breakfast that we have for our sojourner's here.

Saturday is foodbank day at Main Street ministries.

So from 9-noon, folks in need in our county can come and get a box of food (whatever we have on the shelves) to get them by for a spell. Up until the last couple of months, I've been labeled the "prayer partner" responsible for spending some time in the counselling room with each "banker." I pray with them, usually try to network them with other agencies that can offer assistance, and just get to know them and their situation a little bit. It's very emotionally draining, to be quite honest; many of them come with extreme loads of baggage, and very few of them really want to listen to my "encouragement." (Maybe that's how Jesus feels when I don't want to listen to Him. *gulp*)

Dh takes all the recyclable's to the center (only time their open for receiving).

The kids usually help, too. The oldest helps carry out food boxes, moves donated furniture if needed, and "hangs out" in the event there are other jobs to do. My 13yod works in the foodbank, too, packing boxes and bags, re-stocking shelves, and babysits for the volunteers who work in the foodbank.

My youngest, 8yos, just gamecubes and plays with the neighbors, for the most part.

For the last couple of months, dh and I have been taking a sabbatical of sorts. I haven't been working in the foodbank since the end of March, and he hasn't had a lot of the maintenance responsibilities to tend to. It's been a good break for us. We needed to work intently on our marriage and our kids, our oldest in particular. We've seen the Lord work on us alot these past couple of months, as He's faithful to do, when we allow it. :o/

This is my last official "day off" from the foodbank, or from MSM for that matter. I'm a little fearful about starting up in a more involved staff capacity. I tend to let myself get consumed very easily. And God has shown me clearly these last couple of months, what my priorities must be; my volunteer/ministry work is a ways down on the list.

Think I'll head on down there and see what's going on in the foodbank this morning. Just as a visitor....HONEST! ;o)

Friday, June 1, 2007

If you read my post on the FIAR boards today...

...then you know how frustrated I've been all day. My dh sat down to work on the checking account, and just like every other time, hegot frustrated about how muchmoney we owe on our credit cards. Now, I'm taking a lot of responsibiliy for what we owe on those cards. Okay...I'm responsible for pretty much all the debt on those cards. I've used them to payfor business ads, for school books, to pay for gasoline while I'm on the road, for a yearly convention with the company I work with,...and in a perfect world, my plan was always to pay off what I'd used. But then my check would come, or his check would come, and we'd realize we could do little more than just pay the minimum payments. And, I'm glad I've got those cards. We came out of a horrible bankruptcy five years ago, and me getting and keeping those cards caught up and using them, has really rebuilt my (our) credit score.

But anyway, everytime we look at the bills, my wheels start spinning; how can I help more, what can I sell to get us out of debt? I am only working a few hours a week right now, and that's getting me close to fulltime income. I really am committed to being a full time mom, can't really work a whole lot more than I am already.

So today, I visited ebay and posted a book to sell, went into my library trying to figure out what I could bear to let go of. :-( But of course, I'm even thinking maybe I should stop schooling for the summer, find a full time job (for the summer), and use that income to pay off our debts. In the long run, it would probably a wise move, fiscally speaking. But, I purposely haven't worked outside the home for fifteen years. I hate it! But, for three months kids could stay with my mom (she's willing) and they could help her get her house ready to sell in the fall.

Until I decide, I'm still going to sell all the things I can possibly sell and apply that income to our cards. I am committed. Praying hard for the Lord to help me do this and then maybe I won't even HAVE to go to work for the summer. Of course, dh is not even aware I'm thinking this way. :o/