Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Me: You need to go up to your room because you're being disobedient.
TC: *Sulks and begins trudging towards the stairs.*
Me, quietly to Tom: This is why he still needs to take naps, because he's being a toad.
TC, loudly down the stairs: Do you know that I heard you?!

Me: Please don't give the dog noogies.
TC: But they're funny. And they're good for her.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Overheard, or How I Lost My Mind

TC: Can I play the Wii?
Me: No
TC, 90 seconds later: Mom, can I play the Wii?
Me: No
TC, 12 seconds later: Mom, can I play the Wii?
Me: TC, I've already answered you.
TC: What was the question?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jesus Gets Around

Let's just file this under 'things my mother might almost snicker at but would ultimately be horrified by':

I laughed so. hard. at these, and I'm sure that's wrong. But honestly, why are people putting Jesus on all of these products???

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Breaking the Silence

Today was PRO-ACT's 11th annual walk to celebrate recovery. The Walk celebrates individuals who have sustained long-term recovery and honors people and organizations who make recovery possible. I LOVE this walk and I'm already thinking about next year's walk and how I can motivate people to get involved and participate. I walked two years ago for the first time. (I had to miss it last year since I was still recovering from sinus surgery.) I walked with Livengrin, the Foundation for Addiction Recovery. My sponsor works at Livengrin and I am planning to start volunteering there sometime soon. (I wanted to wait until TC was in school, and he's now doing three days a week.)

I want so much for the stigma and misunderstandings about recovery to be wiped out. I avoided getting help the first three years of my sobriety because I didn't want 'the stigma'. I barely made it through those white-knuckled years, and I should have gone to rehab and started a program of recovery from the beginning. I let other people's ideas about recovery affect my decision, and that was a mistake. I thank God that I never relapsed, because I was doing everything wrong.

Now that I have some time under my belt, I have thought more and more about how I can help to remove the stigma, so that people will stop being afraid to get help. I didn't have to suffer alone, and I want to share recovery with others.  I was reading on the Faces & Voices of Recovery web site and this line struck me: "By our silence we let others define us."  I don't want to be silent about my success in recovery because my story can help someone else.

There are more than 20 million Americans in long-term recovery. Isn't that amazing? What we have is worth talking about and worth sharing. I recently heard Warren Barfield, a musician, talking about mistakes he had made in his marriage and he said, "I don't tell my story to relive my shame. I tell my story to relive my victory." Amen, brother.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Back to School Night

Last night was BTS Night for A's school. I've really been looking forward to this because last year we only had an open house with a boring assembly. The teachers were on a work-to-contract action last year. This year they are again but it's been modified so as not to affect the events where parents or students are present.  (Thanks, teachers!)

As Theresa said, there were some groups of teachers picketing out front due to the three-year-never-ending contract dispute. There were police and security by the front doors. But overall, it was quiet and peaceful and people were happy to be there.  My Dad stood that picket line back in the early 80s as a contract negotiator for the NFT (teacher's union). Whatever goes on now, however ugly this 'negotiation' has been, I know that my father was a man to be proud of when he went through it. He is a godly man of integrity.  And I know how it felt during his strike, and how people treated us because of it. Months of no paycheck combined with people egging our house or calling at all hours to say rude things might have broken the resolve of a lesser man. My father was firm, and was willing to go to jail. In fact, when we got the call that the board had accepted the contract and a deal had been made, my father was getting dressed in a suit to go to court; a court where the judge had stated he would be sending them to jail if they did not go back to work.

Maybe times are different; maybe it's really the same fight all over again, I don't know. I don't really care. What I know is that I will not be a character assassin and tear down the teachers who educate my children. I know what it cost my father to stand up for he believed in.

So, moving on! It was lovely meeting all of A's teachers, and Tom was able to go with me, a rare treat. We had a few very surreal moments, like when a girl he had homeroom with came bustling in late, and he said it was just like old times. How funny that they spent years sitting next to each other and now their kids do the same, in the very same school.  It was odd for me too, sitting in those same classrooms where I learned 23ish years ago. And A's gym teacher is the father of a boy who used to make fun of me in the lunchroom. He seems nicer than his son, thankfully. I was pleased to learn that they now teach them CPR and first aid, and that A will be CPR certified by the end of the school year. I liked what I heard in all of their presentations, about the importance of homework (compared to practicing a sport), and of building a community to teach the kids to respect each other. Kids are still going to be kids, but I like that the district is making an effort to reduce bullying.

Praying for a great school year for my kids and for a resolution between the teachers & the board. Thanks in advance, God!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

He's asked me 7 questions in the time it took to post this

I was mad at Tom for an hour this morning because he didn't call to explain why he was so late. He's usually home from work about the time I'm waking up. I knew he probably got hung up at work with some stupid emergency (translation: someone broke something that he has to fix) but I was still annoyed that he didn't at least call to mention that he wasn't dead.  
I later remembered that they moved him back to day shift yesterday, so he wasn't late, he was at work like he was supposed to be. I then found this picture which explains why I'm irrational and crazy. So Tom, I forgive you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hurricane Irene

So I had intended to post last week about the hurricane, and I know it's old news at this point. But I thought I would bore you with it anyway.

The brunt of the hurricane hit us overnight. It was a wild night for sure. I am not generally a nervous person, so even when the reports suggested extreme winds and rain, I wasn't really worried. I was chatting with friends on Facebook, all of us keeping tabs on what we were all seeing in our areas. Around 10:30pm it got more serious when a tornado watch was issued, and then a tornado warning shortly after. I was truly afraid, as we have no warning system here. I thought about what I knew about tornadoes, which isn't much. I decided to move my children downstairs and have them sleep in the living room. I told the big kids very little, just that the storm was pretty heavy and I'd feel better if they were closer to me. TC never woke up and I just put him on a quilt on the floor.

The power went out just before midnight. My friend Keri texted me a while later, complaining that there were noisy helicopters keeping her awake. (We realized later that it was the sound of many generators running in the neighborhood.) I had a hard time sleeping with the threat of tornadoes and wind damage.
{The crick that runs through the bottom of our neighborhood. This is a shot of our friend's back yard. The water reached their back patio.}

In the morning church was of course cancelled, so we decided to get out of the house and drive around to see how bad the damage was. Surprisingly, we didn't see a ton of storm damage in trees or houses, but there was high water everywhere.
{The levee along the Delaware River. You can see water being pumped over in huge tubes. One is from the crick and the other is from the storm drain.}

We got high winds at the tail end of the hurricane that arrived in the afternoon. This was when a lot of people began losing power, as trees lost their footing in water-logged soil and came crashing down. Tom helped a neighbor clean up when a tree fell in his yard.

We are so thankful to have come through the storm with no damage. We lost a few things in the fridge and that was it. The number of homes without power in our state alone was over 300,000, let alone all the other states affected. Our power came back on after only 15 hours. We were relieved because ice was hard to find, as most places had sold out quickly. (We're in the process of researching & buying a generator for the future. We seem to lose power every summer with storms, and then every winter with snowstorms.)

We had an earthquake a week before the hurricane, and have since gotten deluged with rain from Tropical Storm Lee, which flooded much of our area. Our friends who avoided flooding with Irene have since been flooded with Lee. They had at least a foot of water in their house. All the houses along that street now have huge piles of ruined furniture and rolled-up carpet at the curb as they clean up.  I know that as Christians we are all thinking about what the Bible says about what it will be like in the last days. And truthfully, I cannot remember a single year of my life where we had so many natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan were unprecedented. We had 'snowpocalypse', followed by a brutal tornado season,  the east coast earthquake, and then these hurricanes that have brought massive flooding and destruction.
{Our favorite park under water from Lee.}

It's all a painful reminder of the need to spread the Gospel before it's too late. We can't know when the end of days will come, but Jesus told us to be mindful, to keep watch, and to tell others about Him. Complacency sneaks up once the sun is shining, and I don't want to forget the big picture. A friend of mine accepted Jesus as her Savior this past weekend, and I have been grinning and praising Him about it for days. It also encourages me to keep talking to others about my faith, since no matter what the weather, we don't want to waste any of the time we are given.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I saw a convertible Smart Car on the road this morning. I was actually afraid for the little guy in traffic. I felt like I was watching a preschooler cross a highway alone.

My four year old, who cannot read, can use the Wii like a pro, navigating menus and playing complicated games with no help. Yet he somehow expects me to believe that I need to brush his teeth for him because he can't do it.

E has his first real friend. He's had some kids before that he played with, but nothing that could be called a friendship. There is a boy from our church who has Asperger's that we have had over our house a few times. They are like peas in a pod! They get along really well, I guess because they have some of the same quirks and both share a love of video games. They have been on the phone the last few nights playing Roblox together.  Last week at Stockade (Awana) E fell during a game and hurt his arm. Z stayed with him as he got ice and a band-aid. When a leader said Z could go back to the group while he took care of E, Z refused saying that E was his best friend and he would stay with him. I cried when they told me that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weight Watchers

Debby has been gone six months. I've been thinking about her the past few days, finding that the passage of time has not made me miss her less, but has brought the peace that God promises.

Debby was one of those people who lived to serve others. She never married and had no children, so her church was the central focus of her life. She gave a lot, worked hard, and no doubt received the, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant' greeting upon entering Heaven.

The downside of this is that Debby didn't take care of herself as well as she should have. She was morbidly obese up until the cancer treatments began taking pounds from her. Having fought my weight for many years now, I know that struggle all too well. When my emotional pain overwhelmed me in my early 20s, I was not at a point where I was willing to drink at work yet. But I could eat. I would get takeout from a pizza place several times a week. A pizza was not enough, since I shared with a coworker. We would also order potato salad and fried side dishes like broccoli bites. I gained 70 pounds in a year.

I don't know what impact Debby's weight had on her health. She was healthy as far as I knew up until her breast cancer diagnosis. I know there are statistics that say cancer rates for the obese are higher. I don't know if this is true for her, and it doesn't matter in the end.

The good that I can take from this loss is that I have to take charge of my health. I must pursue the healthiest life that I can, in order to serve God the best I can. I must take Reckless Abandon seriously, and it was that which led me to join Weight Watchers. I hate having to rely on a method or tool to lose weight, but on my own I made no progress. But my Reckless Abandon plan means doing something that makes me uncomfortable now, in order to achieve my goals later.

I reached my first ten pound goal this morning, and it felt really good. Really, really good. I know Debby would be proud.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

School Drop Off

Every year I get cranky about dropping my son off at school. He's in 4th grade, so I'm sure by now my husband is tired of hearing me complain about this. The short version is that people quite frankly are morons and cannot grasp the concept of pulling up as far as you are able, stopping, letting your child out, and then leaving. This is not rocket science.

You do not need to get out of your car.
You do not need to exchange long and loving goodbyes. (Do that at home if you are seriously still that joined at the hip.)
You do not need to get out of your car and go into the school. I don't care what the reason is. That's what the parking lot is for.
You do not need to get out of your car to talk to another mom.
You do not need to put their backpacks in the trunk of your giant SUV or minivan, which then necessitates you getting out of the car & popping the trunk, or worse, using the auto-open/close feature, which you then have to wait for. Your little darling is able to keep their backpack with them in the car. Really. Unless you drive one of those ridiculous Smart Cars, you have room. Stop showing off the auto-open feature and move it.

Finally, I understand that your sweet little princess is the light of your life, and as such she can't possibly be expected to walk further than seven feet to enter the school. But here's the thing, she CAN. You do not need to wait to drop her off until you are directly in front of the doors. Nor do you need to stop the line halfway through the drop off circle and clog up the intersection next to the school. Move to the end of the circle if you have room, and drop off there. Your child WILL make it into the school without you. If they can't, then you need to think about cutting the cord. I'm just sayin'.

And if you don't have to deal with this situation as your kids are too young or they take the bus or you homeschool, let me assure you that this is not just me. I have found plenty of other mom bloggers ranting about this too....

Mom-Peeves: The Pick-Up/Drop-Off Zone at School

10 Steps to a Successful School Drop Off

Dropping off Kids at School – or my own personal H%#$%

10 Things parents dropping their kids off at school can learn from Jesus - This is a nice list of scriptures to use in application with the ridiculousness of the drop off line. If that doesn't clue you in to how frustrating this process is, then come over some morning and get in the car with me.

I also found post after post on all kinds of message boards where parents expressed total frustration and exasperation with drop-off at their school. The only helpful words I can offer are these: I also drive my 7th grader to middle school fairly often. And guess what? This problem does not exist there. People pull up, the kids get out and walk into the school, and the driver leaves. And at my daughter's school, there's only room for two cars to drop off at a time, and it STILL goes ten times faster than the elementary school line.

So take heart mamas, there is an end in sight! Until then, I promise I will try not to let this get under my skin for the entire school year. I know in the grand scheme of things, this is minor. I may need to write myself a reminder note and tape it my steering wheel....