Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I somehow magically lost my internet on the laptop. Don't ask me how it happens, it's a total mystery. It tells me that I have a network cable unplugged which is confusing given that it's wireless. Who knows. At any rate, it puts a cramp in my blogging style, as I have to use the family computer which is sticky and has very few of my bookmarks. Such trials I must endure!

So today is my anniversary - seven years of sobriety. My wedding anniversary is also this weekend - eleven years. Both of these are surprising to me somehow, as I don't know how I could be old enough for either of these. Oh wait, that's right, I'm not 25 anymore. Not sure when that happened either? Maybe there really is something to that Momnesia.

I'll be getting my coin tonight which means I have to talk. And as much as I like to gabble away here, doing so out loud and in front of other people always makes me twitch. And by twitch I mean it makes me want to throw up on my shoes. It's just my least favorite thing to do, which is hard given that part of my recovery is taking what I have learned and sharing it with others in meetings. I'm trying not to over think it, but I need to at least have some semblance of thought or else I babble and then shut up mid-sentence when I forget where I was going.

The main thing I like to share on my anniversary is that even though I was sober for three years before I came to AA, I don't recommend doing it that way. White-knuckling your way through early sobriety is hell, and an unnecessary one at that. When you have to go through something hard, it's a simple premise in life to find other people going through the same thing who can support you. When I stopped drinking I just did what my father had done. He has been sober for nearly three decades and has never gone to meetings. I didn't know anyone who went to AA. I had a friend, a woman many years older than me, who said that she didn't go to meetings because she didn't want 'that stigma'. I blindly latched on to that sentiment. But the problem is that every person is different, and although having no support worked for my friend and my Dad, it did not work for me. It wasn't until nearly three years later, when I was on my Walk to Emmaus, that a pastor talked about Alcoholics Anonymous, a place where grateful beggars could find grace on tap. I was struck by that statement, knowing how hard it had been for me to go it alone. Not much later a friend invited me to go with her, and I did. I got my three year coin at the second meeting I attended. All I could do was weep and say that I was thankful that I could do it for my children. I still feel that way, but have come far enough that I can actually speak without breaking down.

Without the program of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous I would not be sober today. Many times I have struggled, only to find the wisdom I needed in the Big Book or from another alcoholic. Many times I have made an amend to someone I wronged, and found that redemption heals the soul. Many times I have called my sponsor and found solace in sharing my struggle with another. I cannot imagine life without this program, and living out the principles in my daily life.

As the Man and I get ready to celebrate eleven years together, I could not be more thankful for his support. He has always said that I should do whatever I needed to do, and never questioned me on it. We have watched as the marriages of friends have disintegrated over the years, and wondered how we were the chosen ones who stayed together. True, we work to have a good relationship. But the foundation for our marriage is God. If we relied simply on our love to stay together, we would fall apart. "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." ~ Isaiah 40:8

Happy Anniversary babe.... you still make me smile.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Maria Sue Chapman

I was heartbroken when I heard the news today about the death of the youngest child of Steven Curtis Chapman. I don't know what you say when a child dies, at least not in a blog. I know that there are no human words that ease that pain. We can only rely on God for that.

We used a Chapman song, With Hope, during our Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Service this year. Anyone who knows his music has to be thinking of this song today, and praying that it brings him and his family comfort, while at the same time they think on the cruel irony of this song now applying to his own life.

No child loss being alike, I would not even attempt to say that I understand in the slightest what he and his wife must be going through right now. But having had a miscarriage, I can tell you that what is most helpful when you are grieving is for people to simply be there, willing to listen, and willing to do daily tasks for you without being asked.

My heart aches for this brother in Christ and I pray for the Peace that passes all human understanding to fill his home.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Felony

So a dear non-blogging friend was reading about our camping weekend and told me that I should blog about her favorite Wandering Boy story: The Felony. I hadn't thought about it, as it happened pre-blogger in my life, but it is another example of why my hair is turning grey, and certainly worth sharing.

When the Boy was around 4 years old he was in the living room playing happily. I being blissfully still ignorant of how the wandering thing was a big issue, left him unattended for a bit while I went in the kitchen to do something. When I came back out, he was gone from the room. I looked in every room in the house, realizing that he must have gone outside somehow without me knowing. I then began yelling his name. (My neighbors are now so used to this that they have almost all stopped coming out to help me look for him anymore.) I went back in the house and searched every room again in case he had gone back inside through another door while I was on the other side of the house. After fifteen minutes I had the phone in my hand, ready to call the police, when one of the neighbor's called out to me. There was the Boy walking across the next yard over, looking completely surprised at my distress and wanting a snack.

I eventually calmed down and gave him a lecture about telling mommy if he wanted to go outside and blah blah blah. It perplexed me that I had not been able to find him nor could he tell me where he had been, but I was relieved that he was alive and let it go. Fast forward a few hours. My neighbor John comes knocking on my door after he arrives home from work. He asks if I had seen anyone hanging around his yard or house today. I hum through an answer while he goes on to tell me that he wondered if someone had tried to rob him, because the door inside his back screened porch had been standing open when he got home. And when he looked around he found a CD player on the living floor. And the television on. In every room. And the video game system pulled out of the cabinet and plugged into the television and turned on. The keyboard turned on. The stereo system turned on. Pretty much every single electronic entertainment item John owned was turned on and left out. John wonders about prowlers while I silently wonder about military school.

I did eventually confess to John that the Boy had gone missing for a time that day, and that he must have gotten into John's house. John mentioned that he leaves that porch door unlocked while he's at work so his girls can get in the house after school if they need to. I felt relieved, knowing that when you remove the Breaking from the Breaking & Entering, that the jail time would have to be reduced for this lesser offense.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This & That

I found a few things worth sharing...

Can A Christian Sing The Blues? This was really insightful to me. I am not one who hesitates to tell God when I'm put out or upset, but I hadn't really thought much deeper than that. This is a very thought-provoking blog posting that really opened my eyes to how the church handles things.

3 Fat Chicks A fun site all about losing weight as a community. Hopefully it will motivate me to take off the last twenty pounds of baby weight I'm still lugging around.

Post Secret I'm sure everyone knows about this site by now, but on the off chance that someone who reads here hasn't, here ya go. Post Secret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Sometimes they are funny, or sad, or beautiful, or offensive. But they always give you an insight into another person's world that you didn't have before.

Who Am I This is circulating the web like crazy and I'm happy to help send it along. It's really amazing! It's from the UPC Conference Church 2006, performed by the Oslo UPC Youth Group.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Writing Prompt: Object Description

Creative Writing Prompts
#1 Close your eyes briefly. Think of one object that's in the room and focus on it. Without opening your eyes, recall as much detail as you can about it. After three minutes or so, open your eyes and write about that object without looking at it.

My Coffee Table
Our long homey table sits surrounded by carpet and toys, hovering near the couch and recliner. I sometimes put my feet on it but it's main purpose is the storage of crap we don't want the kids getting into. That crap being videos and photo albums.

The table isn't actually a table at all, but rather an old cedar chest. It's a beautiful color and I love how it looks. How it smells however, is another matter. It stinks. Someone who was unfamiliar with how cedar chests work put moth balls in it at some point in it's history. So instead of a lovely cedar smell when you open it, it reeks like grandma's attic. It is, however, blissfully free of moths. Which given the mostly plastic contents, is pretty much to be expected anyway. I'm not sure how moths feel about old VHS tapes, but they don't seem to pay any more attention to them than we do. Perhaps they prefer Beta.

I'm not sure how long it is, I'd say maybe five feet? The top is made of long smooth boards fitted seamlessly together. It has some wooden 'handles' at the end which are amusing, because who has an arm span that wide, and who is able to pick up something so heavy even empty, with their arms spread that way? It has tiny little feet with tiny little wheels which are mostly useless given the size of the chest. They do raise the chest about four inches off the ground though, comfortably allowing the stowing of full sippy cups, dust bunnies, toys, remote controls, and any other object that we tend to lose and fret about in this house.

We came to own this particular piece of furniture when it was left here by a former roommate of ours. I'm glad that he left it, even with it's aroma. I much prefer old and worn wooden furniture over pretty much anything that Raymour & Flanigan is mass producing these days.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I saw this video on A Life At Home and was incredibly moved by it. Mother's Day was very bittersweet for me for a long time, as I struggled with the children I didn't have and the children I did, and the broken road that it took to get me there. I really appreciate the range of emotions presented in this music video by Kellie Coffey. I remember Mother's Days that were excruciating for me. I can celebrate this day now, but I don't want to forget the many women who find it painful.

When we were expecting the Barnacle, our third baby as far as anyone outside our close friends knew, a woman jokingly asked me if we ever watched tv. I never quite appreciated the humor in her little joke, and I have always wondered at how careless people can be when it comes to the subject of children. People ask invasive questions that are none of their business, questions that can hurt. We were asked those questions before our first was born, during each pregnancy, after each pregnancy, and after we made the decision to end our child-bearing years. We were asked if we planned each pregnancy. We were asked how long we tried, if we were trying, if we did this or that to conceive, how much weight I had gained, if we wanted more, if we wanted a particular sex, why would we have more when we already had one of each, and on. and on. and on. Seems unbelieveable, doesn't it? But a decade of "I didn't mean anything by it" questions adds up in the end. I don't want this to sound bitter, for I do not hold anger in my heart towards any of the people who asked. I just want to share my experiences, in the hopes of provoking others to THINK before they SPEAK. It's a good habit in general, but in particular when it comes to fertility and children.

If you know someone who does not 'yet' have children, think before you ask them why or when. Consider how they must feel, being asked why they are broken, why their bodies betray them, why God is punishing them. You may not think that's what you are asking them, but it's what some of them are thinking. And trust me, if they wanted you to know, they would have already told you.

Moving on to happier things.... I was pleasantly awakened this morning to the sounds of the Boy singing, "Happy Mother's Day to youuuuu..." The Princess was right behind him, carrying her pink Disney Princess tray laden with toast, eggs and milk. The Man was just as surprised as I was! What a joyful surprise to have breakfast in bed and read the cards they wrote out for me. I am beyond blessed.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there. Wherever you are in your mothering journey, may you always have the laughter of children in your heart.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Physical Therapy

So I got my highly anticipated MRI results and they showed that there is nothing wrong with me! Medical, documented proof! Which basically means that no one knows why my neck hurts, so I can blame the Barnacle for needing held every minute of his life and getting my upper body out of whack.

So off to the chiropractor for physical therapy I go. (Why do I start so many sentences with 'so'?) He begins with putting stickys on my neck so he can give me some advanced form of electro-shock therapy. Which is more fun than it sounds really. It's zingy! Then we do a thermal thinger - can't think of the name, but it's like a giant heating pad that he lowers onto you and resembles those swinging magnets they pick cars up with in the junkyard. He turns it on and leaves me, and I wonder if I will become a fried egg before he returns. It starts out slow enough, but soon heats up to a temperature that reduces me the consistancy of pudding. It's sleep-inducing to be toasted this way, so when he returns later to take me to the adjustment table, I am a drowsy & clueless lamb being led to the slaughter. Of course, all of the delightful pleasantries of warming me up are over and I am about to be crunched into granola. (I must be hungry, all these food references.) He does start by vigorously rubbing my shoulders and neck which is really lovely on my sore muscles. Then the cracking begins. I suppose it's a bad thing when your chiropractor cracks your neck like a machine gun and says, "Oh my gosh, it's like a tree trunk!" He then stands on top of me to crack my back in 712 places while informing me that he thinks he found the source of my neck pain further down in my spine. The trammeling continues until I am sufficiently adjusted and he sends me off with instructions to not turn my head quickly to the left while driving and make sure to put ice on it tonight because I'm going to be sore. Really? I couldn't tell. To quote Amy, 'Good times!'

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Beginning of the Camping Season

We started our camping season this past weekend. It was beautiful on Friday, but Saturday brought cold and grey weather, and bored and annoying children. We managed to keep them busy with s'mores and the sandbox, and the Barnacle explored new ways to bruise every inch of his pumpkinhead.

This was the SAR-EX weekend, which is the yearly training event held by the Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council. So our campground was overrun with search-people and dogs. This is one of my favorite weekends because I know that if the Boy wanders, I have hundreds of people just itching to search and rescue someone. I considered renting him out for a hefty fee, as I know he would certainly give them their money's worth. Come to think of it, I should sneak into the testing tent next year and try my hand at the written exam. I've certainly had enough on the job training. That could be a good speaking gig too I bet, or maybe a book deal. "How I Survived Raising the Wandering Boy", in stores now!