Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rodeo in the top bunk?

Time for MamaKat's Writer's Workshop again...                                                                             

This Week's Prompts:
1.) Describe a time you spoke up for someone who couldn’t speak up for themselves.
2.) The Royal Wedding…ten gift ideas.
3.) What is going on in the bedroom? Describe a memorable sleeper.
4.) Photo Story: Take a walk through your neighborhood this week and share some pictures of what Spring looks like where you live.
5.) Something embarrassing that happened at school.
Bonus Vlog Option!
6.) Tell us the story behind the title of your blog. What is it? What inspired it? What other options did you consider? Are you happy with it?
So I LOVE the idea of a Vlog (that's a video blog for my readers who weren't sure-LOL!) I don't love the idea of myself in one! Especially since I blog anonymously! But, for the record, I'm kinda proud of the name for my blog even if some people don't get it.  I can already see what a journey it's been for me in ways I never imagined. And what's really cool is, it has served a purpose I intended for it to serve (an outlet for me to communicate with other wives and moms), and LOTS more that I never expected.  Don't ya just love when that happens?

I do!

BUT~ you know what's even cooler (is that a word when used to mean something other than that container that keeps your drinks cold?)???!!! 
This week, I can write about an entry that's sort of two of the above prompts at once, #3 and #5!
So here goes...
For me, college was the first time I really had to share a room with anyone.  I mean there were the occasional church youth trips, and that science and math program I did for 4 weeks one summer, but long-term room sharing, pretty much never.
This might have been the first clue for me that I'm a little selfish and don't always play well with others, BUT, that's another post entirely!
So anyway, I don't remember all the details of this situation, but I do remember a conversation that went something like this:
Roomie: You must have had some crazy dreams last night.
Me: Ummm...I don't really remember...why?
Roomie: Have you ever been to a rodeo?
Me: (I'm sorry...what is she talking about?) No~why????
Roomie: You really don't remember? 
Me: NO! If I did I wouldn't keep asking! Just tell me what I did!
Roomie: You sat bolt upright in bed, slapped your hand on your thigh several times (she demonstrated for me) and said "WooHoo!"

NOW~ tell me that ain't embarrassing?!
To this day, I have no idea what triggers my sleep talking but maybe I do it when I'm really tired.  Usually, even before this incident, I would wake up when I spoke out loud.  I truly have no recollection what-so-ever of this event but have no reason not to believe her.
I must say, if the situation had been flipped, I'd have woken her up with my rolling-on-the-floor laughing, because that must have been HILARIOUS!
So, now you know...
PLEASE don't tell!
Check out the other entries at

Saturday, April 23, 2011

grateful I wasn't right...

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time now...I mean I think about doing it almost everyday and then something sidetracks know that little thing called life?
Anyway, this post is about being wrong.  REALLY. REALLY. WRONG.
I don't like to be wrong, and I definitely have a hard time admitting it.  It's not necessarily that I want to be right all the time, but...
you see, I'm a perfectionist, a Type A personality (if they even classify them that way anymore), I don't like to make mistakes.  Not because of the mistake itself, but the fear of looking stupid is almost crippling to me! You ever hear that quote, something like, "better to be silent and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?" Well ever since I was a child in school, even if I was 99.9% sure I had the right answer, I would seldom give it; all because of the .1% I might be wrong.
But I digress...
this post is actually about how GLAD I am that I was wrong.  It's also about a very dear friend of mine, that I didn't know a few years ago would become so important to me.
You see, I've know this friend a really long time.  Since I was 14 in fact, and that means I've known her almost 2/3 of my life! She's a little older than me and falls in between me and my Mom in age and is in fact really good friends with both of us (now).
For the purpose of this post, I'll call her Brandy (and she'll love that :-)).
So even though I "knew" Brandy since I was 14, I didn't really know Brandy until about 3 years ago.
What I knew of her was this:
She spoke her mind most of the time
She was talkative
Usually she wasn't the quietest person in the room
All of these are qualities that at some point we have shared.  BUT before we began working together, I would never have thought we had so much in common or would become so close.  JUST NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would have guessed it!
I've never been happier to have been wrong!
It was through working together that I have really come to know her, love her, and depend on her...maybe more of all of those than she realizes.  I've never been one with lots of girlfriends I could turn to in a crisis or time of need, either physical or emotional.
So there have been times, especially recently, when she has been my only refuge.  Quite honestly, she's been my saving grace! She knows me for who I am, with all my flaws; she's seen me make poor judgements, as well as many mistakes these past few years.
And even though I don't go to her expecting her to take my side, she often does agree with me.  If she doesn't, she very gently tells me why.  Often, she shows me a perspective I may otherwise have missed.
She's not old enough to be my mother.  She doesn't let her friendship with my mother affect her confidant status with me and she never shares anything I ask her not to with anyone.
Brandy is like the best of both worlds for me: mothering when I need it, BFF all the time.
I sincerely can say that I thank God often for her! I cannot imagine my life without her!
Love you, girl!
You know who you are!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A phone call to remember...

Mama’s Losin’ It

I chose to write on two prompts this week for Mama Kat's writer's workshop.
As it turns out, one was about my Mom and the other about my Dad.

One prompt asked us to describe a phone call we'll never forget.  While I don't remember the EXACT details, I do know this much...

I was in high school, a Junior, I think.  I was still driving my "first car" a hand-me-down from Mom and Dad.  On this particular day, Dad was doing some minor maintenance to said car out in the driveway of our house.  I don't remember if it was summer or fall; a week day or week end...there wasn't really anything unusual about this day.

Until the phone rang...

It was my aunt, my Dad's younger sister.  She immediately asked if he was home and so I went to get him.  In hindsight, I should have thought this odd.  I come from a family of talkers on both sides, and for her to say almost nothing to me should have been a sure giveaway...something was wrong.

But I missed it.  Instead I went to get my Dad and he came into the kitchen and took the call.
I stood there with him listening to his side of the conversation which was very limited.  He said un-huh every now and then; he asked a few vague questions.

But you know how you can just feel a mood shift?  A sort of heaviness falls over things and even if you can't quite put your finger on it, you know it - something's not right.

As the mostly-one-sided conversation progressed, I could sense more and more this feeling of dread.  By the time Dad hung up the phone, I knew - something terrible had happened or was about to.

So I asked, "what's wrong?"

And I'll never forget his response:

"My Sister's Dying." And with that he walked out the door and drove off in my car.

Even now as I try to tell it, it makes me cry.

That may have been the first time I ever saw my father cry.  It may have been the most upset I'd ever seen him. I remember being truly stunned! At the time, I didn't know if he meant the sister who'd just called or the other sister who was a little older than him.  (In a family of 9 total children including half-siblings, and one adopted sibling, my Dad was what they called the "knee-baby" meaning next to the baby.  He was sandwiched between the two girls of the family.)

So I don't know how I ever got all the details, but the gist is this...  My Dad's baby sister called to explain that the older sister had just been diagnosed with a very progressed cervical cancer.  She'd been in severe pain for months, perhaps longer, and only went to the doctor when things truly became unbearable.
A tumor the size of a football had engulfed her female organs as well as several others.
She was given about 6 months to live.

I was in high school; her kids were in elementary school.
She lived about 600 miles away from us.
Surgery wasn't really an option because of the severity of her tumor.

It was devastating.  Even as a teenager, all I could think was, "those poor kids, losing their mother so young."

And they did...6 to 9 months later, I don't remember precisely.  Really the amount of time isn't important because it was too soon.
We wondered if the kids were in denial; they seemed too "together." Until the family visitation at the funeral home...they fell apart.  And who could blame them? I can't imagine seeing my Mother in a casket now, much less when I was 12 years old!

It's a shame that when we lost their Mom, we sort of lost them too.  She was the connection between us and them.  Their Father stayed in the far away state where they lived and we pretty much never saw them again.

So while the details aren't sure and the events, at best, fuzzy, the phone call is one I'll always remember.

Mama Mia!

Mama’s Losin’ It

So I decided to have a little fun with one of the prompts this week...
For more entries, check out some other writers at

If Mom were a blogger
What would she write?
Ideas innovative and new?
Or old fashioned and trite?

If Mom were a blogger
Would her inner teacher come out?
Would she "read all about it ?"
Reprimand or shout?

If Mom were a blogger
Would I make her boast?
Would she be glad to write
about me in a post?

If Mom were a blogger
Would I read her work?
Would I follow and comment?
OR would I just lurk?

If Mom were a blogger
She'd surely be precise
Grammatically and politically correct
You know, Mom, always nice

If Mom were a blogger
She'd teach you some things
Like the misuse of "nauseous"
And the shudder it brings

If Mom were a blogger
Trivia she might share
But she's highly intelligent,
She'll beat you - BEWARE!

If Mom were a blogger
Then follow you must!
For her musings are golden
Her words you can trust

If Mom were a blogger
You'd love her, you'll find
Is there anything she can't do?
Nope! She's one of a kind!

{This was totally written in jest about some of Mom's idiosyncrasies, but it is mostly true! Just in case you ever read this, Mom, I love you!}

Road Race of Life?

I confess: sometimes I can get a little road rage irritated anger.  Granted, my version is flipping the bird or swearing (hey, I've got kids in the car), but MAD none-the-less.

The most annoying thing to me is when I'm obeying the posted speed (ok, ok! so maybe I'm running about 4 mph over the posted speed) and some idiot rides my bumper! You know the type, right? At first opportunity, he or she flies past me only to come screeching to a halt a few yards down the road.  A red light, a stop sign, or other required stop has totally foiled his or her plans to get where they are going and get there fast!

Regardless of exact circumstances, racing to a stop seems silly doesn't it?

And today as I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts,  I can't help but wonder, is this the life I'm living? Racing down the road of life, passing others by, always trying to get ahead, in the name of being first to get to the next stop? The next "to do" on my list transferred to the "to done" side?

And instantly, I know it's true.  No matter how unintentional, it's what I've done.  What I'm doing.  The realization brings guilt and shame and they are heavy...heavy and overwhelming.
How could I have done this? What have I missed? What precious moments have I wasted?

And the next thought is just as compelling, though not heavy...instead...uplifting.
This is not the life God intended for me! Not the life he intended for any of us! I'm so busy trying to "live" life, that I'm not LOVING life - not finding the JOY IN ALL!

In Ann's words (witnessing a burial),
     "and did he, the deceased, push to get through each day so he'd be first
      lunging over the finish line, life done?  Did the dashing to grab fistfuls
      of life fill his emptiness, fill the emptiness of a coffin?
      'We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing
      ends in nothing (Ps 39:6)'"

And my last thought- WOW! That's a lot to think about and renders me almost wordless.

{This post was actually written the old fashioned way - pencil to paper on a recent LOOONNG car trip.  My attempt at mobile blogging was failed, so if anyone has tips for me, please share :-) }  

One Thousand Gifts/ Gratitude List {23-34}
23.) days that lack toys and require kids to use their (gasp!) imaginations!
24.) blessings that allowed us to take our kids on a 5 day trip to Disney
25.) sharing
26.) having extra
27.) a hard working Daddy and Husband
28.) that God gave us all different ways to express our love for each other
29.) my daughter saying "today was the best day- EVER!"
30.) springtime thunderstorms leaving behind GREEN
31.) birds that sing
32.) birds that hop or waddle
33.) baby boy saying "Hi, Bird!" and "Mom, say hi to the bird!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Thousand Gifts/ Gratitude List

So if you missed my beginning on this, you can read it here.

 15.) Babies who fall asleep in the car.
 16.) Surprise baby showers~because every new baby deserves a shower!
 17.) Pineapple punch ~ yum!
 18.) writing for fun!
 19.) pizza night ~ just because...
 20.) a family who forgives a "cook" who suddenly doesn't feel like cooking
 21.) new and old friends
 22.) music ~ it colors my world; I hear it in the background of life and I miss it when it's not there

What are you grateful for today?

Who Me? In a Handbag...

Ok~ so I chose prompt #5; what do the contents of your purse/ handbag "say" about you?
Normally I would call this an "easy" prompt and one I wouldn't normally choose.  And today, it is still that; an easy out for me because I don't want to write about anything in the least bit emotional and I figured this was safe.
We'll see...
So here's my purse before: 

 And here it is after dumping...

Here's what's in there and my analysis, LOL!

A broken foldable travel hair brush (see that white thing on the far left? that's the mirror that was once attached to the brush); foldable and compact because I'm nothing if not practical.  Broken, because I let my 2 year old son play with it :-)

3  make that 4 different packs of wipes~yes, I know overkill; but, I have sensitive skin wipes for my son who has pretty serious eczema, antibacterial wipes for the times in public when you "just want to be sure", baby wipes for the usual; although we are ALMOST potty trained, I keep one pull up and a few wipes with me at all times!
and...wait for it...

paci wipes.  Yes, my son, who is almost three still sometimes uses a paci.  Mostly at bedtime, but occasionally, it affords me peace while I finish the Wal-Mart run! AND they are good for sippy cups too and we all know those hit the floor in restaurants and department stores - ewww!

Recipe cards, customer information cards, and new associate paperwork for my home based business.  Sounds crazy right? BUT you never know when you will meet someone interested and you want to give them what they need and get their info in return.  IT HAPPENS, trust me!

One little cosmetic case / zipper bag with feminine products ~ enough said :-)

Another little cosmetic case with a few make-up essentials: pressed powder compact, lipstick, travel mascara and a pill case, which I believe is completely depleted of the ibuprofen it once held. 

My checkbook, my husband's checkbook, and the stub from the credit card bill I paid today.  I was running around doing lots of errands.  AND before anyone gets on the "I don't use credit cards" kick, let me say this: I use my CC like a debit card and pay it off IN FULL, every month when the bill comes.  He does the same with his card.  It's just easier than cash or checks and I worked at a bank long enough to know the havoc that debit cards can wreak!

My hard-case small wallet with my first initial monogrammed on it.  It was a gift and honestly a necessity now that I converted to a much smaller purse and my previous wallet took up all the space!

2 travel tubes of hand cream (my hands are always dry because I wash them a MILLION times a day); one travel tube of antibacterial lotion (I have kids~enough said); one tide to go pen (kids, remember?).

One very sharp paring knife! Now in my defense, I do not make a habit of carrying around kitchen tools, especially not ones that could double as a weapon. HOWEVER, my friend had to replace her knife a while back, and while she was waiting for her new one, I loaned her mine.  And that says I'm generous, right? (She returned it today and I actually forgot it was in there.)

One very nifty, loyalty card/ membership card holder.  If you haven't see one of these (mine is lime green) it's made by Real Simple (same as the magazine) and I found mine at Target.  It has 10 sleeves for your grocery store cards and gym membership cards, whatever! I actually fit more than one card in some sleeves.  I love it! It makes me feel organized, which I am mostly NOT! But that's another post entirely...

Rounding it out, one mechanical pencil and an ink pen ~ gotta be able to write, right?   

AND I just realized, a third, coin case/ zippered cosmetic case didn't fall out earlier.  It contains 2 or 3 coughdrops, eye drops (you know, just in case) , and some Truvia sweetner. Yeah, I hear you; and yes, I am a little weird! BUT I try to limit my sugar intake and sometimes coffee needs a little help.

So my daughter does this thing where she stashes all her "treasures" (self-defined as such, of course) and puts them inside small containers/bags and then all the small containers into a bigger bag/ basket/ book bag.  It drives me NUTS! She loses things for months at time; special toys, etc.  and then accuses her little brother of stealing or misplacing them.
I'm a little concerned that I've done the same thing here!
But it's different since I know where everything is, right?
I mean I was never a boy scout, but this sounds a little like the "always be prepared" kind of thing.  And that's a good thing! Sadly, many of these items in my purse, never see the light of day until an occasion such as this or a big cleanup or transfer.
I almost feel like a hoarder who's just been called out- ouch!
Someone tell me this is different! This is different, right?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Praying for a hole or praying for a whole?

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know my Mom has been experiencing some health issues.  She has been going through testing and procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis and determine next steps.  Today she had a procedure that looks for holes in the walls of her heart, or at least, the vein system flowing through her heart.
Now, I know this will sound strange, but finding a hole, would be a good thing.  It means determining a cause behind the original diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension.  It helps differentiate between Primary or Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension (no known cause or cure) and Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension (caused by another, correctable issue).
It sounded like a scary procedure.  Mom explained it on the phone last night.  I think she is trying to present everything very matter-of-factly and with a brave face on it.  But I can't help but wonder: she has to be scared, right? I mean, I know God doesn't give us a spirit of fear; it comes from the enemy.  But still, we are all human.  Fear is something we've experienced on an emotional level since early childhood!
So how does one put that aside in lieu of Total Trust and Faith in an emotionally tense situation such as this?
Don't get me wrong!
I believe in miracles.  I believe in Divine Healing. I believe in God's will and that he has a hope and a purpose for each of us in every situation we live through (Jer 29:11).
So why can't I do it?
Why can't I move past my fear and into Full Faith?
I hope and pray it doesn't have to get harder before I figure it out!

An Update: Mom's procedure did not reveal any holes.  I am grateful for that, but also sad.  It means we still don't have a "fix-it." I realize maybe we aren't supposed to, but for now I keep hoping for one.

On an alternate note: I have decided to participate in one thousand gifts. See it here.  Feel free to participate yourself.  For me, there are so many little things I give thanks for every day.  Now I want to write them down in an accruing list and share them with you.  For me personally, I would like to list at least 7 each day, but you can participate in your own way.
Also, check out blog author, Ann's, book: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  You can even read the first chapter in the right margin of her blog:

So here's my list for today (some from a recent post, here)...

1.) my baby boy, not really a baby anymore, who still says, “hold me, Mommy!”
2.) his insanely long eyelashes brushing my cheek and neck as he snuggles into me.
3.) It’s how he gives me Eskimo kisses and says, “nosey, nosey, nosey” 
4.) It’s the love notes my daughter writes me…
5.) ...the rainbows she draws me.
6.) when either of the kids laughs out loud in their sleep
7.) when hubby makes me so mad I just want to knock him out, but when I turn to look at him, he makes me laugh instead.
8.) knowing my baby girl has a lot of me in her
9.) she has my eyes
10.) she loves art~ all forms of it, just like me: singing, dancing, drawing, acting, the list goes on...
11.) the wonderful opportunity to be a Mom
12.) the challenges of being a Mom that help me learn and grow as a person
13.) wonderful parents who taught me great values, both Earthly and Heavenly
14.) parents who taught me to work hard 

I could go on...
I'll post more tomorrow.  
Please share your list too!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Follow me by email and on Facebook!

I am so excited that now you can follow gleaning grace on Facebook and receive my posts through email.  Just look over there on the right and choose one or both to suit you best!
I welcome your feedback and help with my gleanings.
Please share your comments, findings, feedback, graceful or grace-less experiences!
Thanks for stopping by and come back again!