Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Wedding Day

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

(It is hard to believe that the month of May is over. This blogging challenge wasn't really very hard and I have enjoyed every single day of it. I am now doing a June Blogging Challenge with a few of my readers. If you would like to join us go here and find the prompts. I don't know how to make a linky thingy but if you want to leave a comment, I will be more than happy to follow your blog during the challenge. And if someone knows how to make the linky thingy, please share. I am also going to do a June Photo Challenge that you can find here.)

Now for my Vivid memory. It was the day that I married Richard. We had been living together for quite a few years. I had been wearing an engagement ring for awhile also. But I just never wanted to take that final step. We went on a cruise in March 1996 and once again he asked me to marry him. At our formal dinner that night he announced to all of table mates that I had agreed. We didn't come home and tell anyone cause I was afraid that would jinx things.

Looking across the lake to the spot where we were married
Early one Friday morning, along with our friends Doug and Rozann and their two little ones, we drove from our house to the Rocky mountains in Colorado. This lodge area is where Richard took trips as a young boy and it is where we went with our boys as they were growing up. We stopped in Pueblo, Colorado and picked up our marriage licesnse. They treated us like 'young' newlyweds. It was a hoot. Richard had talked to a minister in Rye, Colorado who agreed to meet with us at the lake and preform the ceremony. He even brought along his guitar and played and sang to us: THERE IS LOVE. We had fishermen gathered behind us as we repeated our vows. It was a beautiful day. A Day that I will never forget. We call that tree 'the wedding tree' and it is there that Richard wants his ashes scattered after his death. 
The minister and his guitar

After the wedding

After the wedding ceremony was over we went back to the cabins we had rented and opened a bottle of champagne. That night we dined at the Red Lobster in Pueblo. We did not even call home to tell anyone  that we were married. We told them all after we got home. I had kept it a secret. I was afraid if others found out I would change my mind. Crazy, I know.

Early the next morning we gathered together and hiked up to an old silver mine that is nestled in the mountains. We took along a picnic lunch and made a full day of it. See me hiding there behind my new husband?
The next morning we hiked to the silver mine

11 years later in front of the same tree
We used to go back every year and have our picture taken in front of the tree. This was one of  the last times we were there. It was in 2007. Both of us were still healthy and able to get out and walk (with the help of our walking sticks)

Click on link to hear the song by Peter, Paul, and Mary

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.
And there is Love,
there is Love.

Well then what's to be the reason for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?
For if loving is the answer, then who's the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you've never seen before?
Oh there is Love,
there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

Letting Go

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting  Go

These are the things that I have let go of in order to care for Richard at home:
  • Sleeping in my own bed...he sleeps best in the recliner. So I sleep on the couch.
  • Sleep!  Lately he hasn't been sleeping, so therefore neither have I
  • A routine....we live by his routine
  • Being outside in the summertime! I love being outside but he only tolerates small bits of it
  • Long showers....quickies, so I can be back out with him
  • My clean house....letting it go because taking care of him takes a lot of my time. And I can't leave him alone to do the rooms that are not in his view
  • Jumping in the car to go somewhere. Anywhere. It is an ordeal to get ready and go somewhere.
  • I have had to let go of CONTROL. Because now he is in control. Even if he doesn't mean to be.
  • Watching things I enjoy on TV. We watch what he likes. And with his short term memory loss he doesn't know that he has already seen a show. So we watch it again, and again, and again.
  • All of the extras that we used to enjoy. Because I had to quit a full-time job to stay home and take care of him. And that means we lost a full-time income.

But I would trade all of this just to not to be faced with the inevitable meaning of letting go. And that will be the final 'letting go'. That day will come and even if I think I am prepared for it, I won't be. And it will be hard to 'let go'.

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    You'll Hear Me Singing....

    Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories. Use Grooveshark or YouTube to include them in the post

    1. One of my favorite songs of all time Is Elvis Presley singing My Way. I have often said that this song tells exactly how I have lived my life. I want it played at my memorial service after I die. 
    2. My husband Richard's favorite song is My Heart will Go On sang by Celine Dion. It was the theme song from the Titanic. He has never seen the Titanic. I have only recently watched it myself.  This song has been his ringtone on my cell phone forever. Now it never rings. He never calls anymore. But we will play this song for him at his memorial service when the day comes. Just listening to it now makes me sob. But when he is gone, my heart will go on!
    3. Another of my favorites, and another to be played at his services, will be Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years. This song has always been 'our' song. We, without a doubt, learned what love is about by loving each other through the years!
    4. A song that always takes me back to my very early childhood days is Que Sera, Sera sang by Doris Day.  I can hear my mom singing this right this very moment. And as I got older, I used to sing it along with her. The last time I heard her sing this song was one warm afternoon when I took my little grand daughter Paige to the nursing home to visit her. The movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, was on the TV and when Doris was putting her son into bed and singing this to him. My mom sang this song to Paige that day. It is a happy memory. This song went on to win the 1956 Oscar for best song.
    5. This song was not around in October of 1974 when my very own angel baby came so quickly to earth and left at the very same time. But when I hear Kenny Chesney sing Who You'd Be Today I cannot help but think of my beautiful baby daughter, Elaine, who was stillborn as a full term baby. I wonder who she would be today. What kind of woman would she be. What would she have named her babies.
    That is enough tear jerkers for one day. I hope that you enjoy listening to all of them. Tell me what song do you love that speaks to you. I am a very music person and there are lots of songs that speak to me. Or bring back memories. Please share yours.

    June Blogging Challenge

    Allison,(aka Kwizgiver) at  What if this is As Good as It Gets found this blog challenge for us to do in June.
    I am going to give it a go and ALSO try to keep up with the Photo Challenge.
    Come on readers, let's all give it a go! I don't know how to make any buttons or a linky so it will just be those of us here who are up for it

    Monday, May 27, 2013

    June Photo A Day

    I have completed 3 monthly blog challenges.
    In March I joined with Tiffany and completed the 31 Day Blogging Challenge.
    In April I took on the A to Z Blogging Challenge and shared all the places I have visited
    from A to Z!
    Then I have almost completed the challenge from Jenni  to Blog Everyday in May.
    I like having a challenge.
    I like to blog everyday.
    Now I am going to do something a little different.
    I am going to follow The June Photo a Day at Fat Mum Slim.
    Do you want to join me?
    Just click the picture above and it will take you there.
    Come back and see my pictures.
    And please remember I am just a simple woman.
    My pictures will not be perfect.
    They will not be professional.
    But they will be mine.
    Hope to see you in June.

    Only A Picture

    Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures

    One of my favorite pictures of my youngest son.
    He had just his hands wrapped in preparation
    for his first GUNS AND HOSES BOXING match.
    Which he won, by the way

    Happy Memorial Day

    To all of my family and friends
    Have a Happy Memorial Day
    Be Safe!

    Dear Readers

    Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers

    Dear Readers:

         There are just so many things that I want to say to you that I am not sure how to start this letter.
    I am happy to have met so many fellow bloggers and get to know you better through this magnificent tool we call the internet. Some of you have been coming for a long, long time. Some of you are new and some don't even stay long enough to leave their footprint, but I know you are there. For I follow my stats. 

         I started writing here way back in October, 2008. Almost 5 years. Five years is a long time in blogland. Lisa, your first comment on my blog came in that very month on a Sunday Stealing Meme. Way back when you were writing about skilled nursing. Hard to believe we have been at it that long. When I first started, I just wasn't sure where I was taking my blog. I did a variety of things. I love the challenges that I have done most recently. The March Blogging Challenge, The A to Z Blogging Challenge and now the Blog Everyday in May challenge. I like having a prompt. It helps me to focus on what I want to write about.

         Five years ago I only had 8 grandchildren. And now there are nine. Five years ago Richard and I lived in our home all alone. Now we share it with Darian and Harley. Five years ago I was working full time at a skilled nursing facility and looking forward to retirement. Five years ago Richard had not yet had a stroke or become debilitated with Parkinson's disease. Five years seems like such a short time, yet so much has happened in those years.

         And you, my dear readers, have been here with me. You have laughed with me. And cried with me. And shared with me. You have picked me up when I am down. You have applauded me. And some of you have chastised me when I needed it. But most of all during this time so many of you have become my friends. And some of you are even my family. There are those of you who will once in awhile comment and those of you who just sneak in and out of Paula's Place. But I want you to know that I love all of you. And I welcome each of your comments. Even when you don't agree with me. Visit me often. You are always welcome!




    Saturday, May 25, 2013

    Is is okay For Your Child to Disobey the Rules?

    Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like.

        I love reading a blog called Ooph where Stephanie Mullen discusses life with  teenage sons and how she handles different things that happens in their family and their lives. She recently wrote a post that dealt with texting and driving and how she and her husband chose to deal with this. You can read that post here.

        I can fully understand being very afraid of this type of behavior. What I don't understand is how they chose to deal with it. I don't have a problem with her finding an app to deal with this issue, I really think she dropped the ball in not making this boy suffer a bit for how he chose to ignore his mother's rules when it came to texting and driving. I would have taken that phone AND his car privileges!  I am thinking that maybe that is what is wrong with this current generation. They never have to suffer any consequences. What do you think? What would you have done if this had been your child?


    What the Nurse told me......

    Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad)

        I have pondered over this particular post for a few days. I have thought of all kinds of things that people have said about me that are not good things. But I just chose not to dwell on those kinds of things. Usually when someone tells you something bad about yourself it is because they don't think really highly of themselves. And I just don't have time for that in my life right now. People who are ugly to each other in a world filled with ugliness is not something I want to waste my time on today.

        When Richard was in the hospital after he had his stroke he did NOT like it when I was not there at his side. He wanted me to stay all the time. He wanted me to be his caregiver. He was the same years before when he had bypass surgery. He just simply would rather have me, his wife, take care of him than any other person in the world. That is how it is.

         When I checked him out of the hospital, after the two week stay following the stroke, the nurse who walked out to the car with us helped me get him settled into the passenger seat and closed the door. Then she wished us well and she said, "I don't know whether you know this or not but your husband REALLY loves you. When you were not at the hospital, YOU were all he ever talked about. I just think that you should be aware that this man REALLY loves you."

        I have never forgotten this. And when things are rough and not very easy at home, I always go back to that day and think about what she said to me. And I am one lucky woman.

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    I am Negative, Quarrelsome, Sarcastic and Impatient!

    Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

    This is going to be another one of those posts that will be hard to write. It will take some thought. It is not any easier to list my worst traits that it was to list my good traits when I tried to sell myself. But it is today's prompt and I will do my best.

    • I am impatient! I don't like being impatient but I am. When I want something, I want it now. When I want something done, I want it done now. When I go to a restaurant  I hate to wait in line. When I call someone I don't like being put on hold. Being patient is a virtue  so they say. Being impatient is awful. 
    • I am sarcastic! Sometimes that is okay. When someone calls me on my home phone and asks me if I am home, and I tell them "no I am at the grocery store" that is just being funny. Or are they being dumb. When I was pregnant and someone would say "haven't you had that baby yet?" and I said, "sure I had him months ago" was that funny or mean. I think being sarcastic can sometimes just be mean. And I will admit that I am sometimes just MEAN.
    • I am quarrelsome. I admit it. I like to argue. A Lot. About a lot of different things. Like politics. Or gun control. Or fashion. I can probably argue about anything. And sometimes that just isn't very nice. But remember, I warned you that I can be mean. 
    • I know that it only asked for three traits but if I didn't add NEGATIVE here then I would be lax in really telling you what my worst traits are. I usually see the cup half empty. I usually don't see the bright side. I usually see the worst of things. Now this is something that I have spent most of my life trying to work on. Who wants to be negative? Not me. I think there are people who think I like it. But I don't. Sometimes it is just easier. It is HARD to be happy all the time, isn't it?
    There you go. Four of my worst traits. What are yours? Can you share them with us?

    In sickness and in health

    Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you

         What is something that I have learned that was NOT taught to me in school. I didn't learn anything in school about marriage. I have learned it the hard way. I have been married twice. The first marriage was, like most first marriages, stupid. I should never have gotten married. I was 18 years old. What did I know about marriage? Nothing. That is what I knew. I got married because it was just the thing to do. I had dated this dude all through high school. My mom wasn't that crazy about him. My brothers didn't really like him. So that made him perfect marriage material. He was in the Navy and we got married one 10-day leave when he was home. He left. I stayed home. I spent a total of 6 months with him over the next four years and when he got out of the Navy he had a wife and a 2 year old son he had NEVER lived with. This marriage simply did not work out. I had another child. And then things went from bad to worse and we divorced. I do NOT regret this marriage as from this union I have two sons. Two sons that I would not have had if not for the marriage.


         When I married the second time I paid more attention to the vows I was saying. My current husband and I lived together for 17 years before we got married. We bought a house together. We bought cars together. We worked and obtained careers (well, I did anyway. He was pretty established in his career). We raised my two sons together. I wanted to be certain when I spoke those vows the next time, that I really meant them.

         What does it mean for better or worse? No one taught me about that at school. If you are in a marriage with another person and things are better, then it is not very hard to be married, is it? But when things are worse it is much harder to stay together. But that is the promise that you made. When things aren't going well you still love each other. When one of you loses a job you stay together. When a child dies and you want to die also you don't draw apart, but you cling to each other. That is for better for for worse. Kind of like saying 'in thick and thin' we are in this together no matter what.

        No one thinks when they repeat the marriage vows there will ever be a time of sickness. Nope, we think about the good times. We think about our healthy young lives. But what happens when one of you get sick. Have you thought this through? I know that I never did. I never thought what would happen if my husband couldn't feed himself. I never thought what would happen if he couldn't get up and go to the bathroom or if he didn't make it in time. I never thought about what would happen if he couldn't walk. Or talk. Or help me make decisions. Or we couldn't travel any longer because he is sick. Who thinks about these kinds of things? And what happens when something happens?

        Well, I will tell you what I have learned. And I didn't learn it at school. I married this man for better or for worse. We have seen both. I married him for richer or for poorer. And believe me we have lived at both ends of this spectrum. We have had the really, really good years. And then the lean years. And now the years of only a social security check with a small pension coming in. That stresses a marriage. But it is the sickness and in health part that one needs to think carefully about. Don't take those vows lightly.  The one thing I DO know for sure is that I love and cherish him and I will stick this out until 'death do up part'.

         What is it that You know for sure, but did NOT learn in school? Please share

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    I am Ranting!

    Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

    What is it that really ticks me off? I have many things that do. I am really ticked off about how the mother of my grand kids can live less than 2 miles away and never see her kids. I am ticked off that my son, their father, is right there by her side. They haven't even talked to them on the phone for almost a year now. I cannot explain this. I do not know how a mom can live this close and not even want to know how they are doing. Or see them. Or touch them. I would have stood in front of a firing squad before I did not get to see my kids. But that is not my rant for today. Because I cannot change that. And I know that the parents are the ones who will really pay for this in the future. The kids are dealing with it. And we have moved on. Or we are working on it!

    My rant is all of the young girls that are on welfare now. What is going on here? Why are they standing in line to collect  these fine benefits that used to be for only the poorest of the poor. When I was growing up it was embarrassing to be on welfare. No one talked about it. And you went slinking into the grocery store hoping that no one you knew would be there to see your mom pull out those paper food stamps to pay for the groceries. But now days it is like a badge of honor. At the last nursing home where I worked there was a large number of girls under the age of 30 working AND collecting welfare benefits. Their starting wage at the home, as a CNA ,was more than I started out as a RN when I first started. But that is considered under the poverty level now, I guess, cause they all get some kind of help from the government. The things I used to hear when we would sit around and chat during our down times was enough to curl my hair.

    • These girls planned to have babies while they were getting medical care provided by the State because they wouldn't have hospital bills later when they started out their married lives.
    • They discussed how to move in their boyfriends and hide the extra income from the State so that they wouldn't lose any benefits.
    • They taught each other ways to avoid getting full-time hours (like calling in sick X number of hours a week) so that they would have less income to report.
    • They used their WIC (women, infant, children) benefits to get as much of the free food at the grocery store as they could. Even if they didn't use it. (I heard one girl talk about how much her family hated cheese, but that she always got all that they would allow her to get each time). Then I watched them bring in WIC items: baby formula, juice, dairy products, rice, beans, cheese etc. and sell it to others that could not qualify for WIC. They sold it at half what you could get it at the grocery store.
    • Most all of these girls maintained highlights and low lights in their hair. They wore manicured artificial nails. Most of them sported new tattoos during the time that I worked with them and they were getting benefits from the State. They had the latest in cell phones. They drove nice cars. 
    • Moms and dads of these girls helped them perpetrate this lie to the State. 
    • The State doesn't have enough money to hire investigators to look into these practices (we know this because we called to report these welfare chicks).
    I wish that it wasn't this way. But it is. And I don't know how to change it. I am teaching my granddaughter to be strong and independent and to NOT rely on the system. I am teaching her that if she can't afford something then she has to wait to get it. I am teaching her to value her body and to not use it to have babies just to earn her an income. I am hoping that she will find a nice young man someday and get married first. And plan babies when she can afford them. I am teaching her that having a baby is NOT a right. It is a privilege. And it cost money. And she will feel proud if SHE pays for that baby and does not expect the State to do it. And most important, I am teaching her that WE are the STATE. We pay for all of those girls who have babies and cannot afford them. WE pay for the WIC program and all that food that the 'welfare' girls are selling to others at their jobs. WE pay for their highlights and their fingernails and their tattoos. I don't want her to be a welfare chick.

    I welcome your comments. Tell me what do you think about the system today that is allowing this?

      Monday, May 20, 2013

      Some of my Favorite Posts

      Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

      1. I  am Searching for My Norman Rockwell Christmas This post has been viewed over 5900 times on my blog. Can you believe that? I even once got an email from a minister who wanted to use it in his Christmas sermon. I let him. And for those who wonder, I am still searching.
      2. My very First Entry of A Simple Woman's Daybook I used to try to do these weekly but now I aim for one a month. Usually at the first part of the month. I have done 62 of these entries so far. If you are interested in participating you can go to here. I follow her guidelines but I don't really link-up much anymore. 
      3. My Life has Forever Changed about my husband's stroke.
      4. The Journey Begins The beginning of Hospice at our house.
      5. A letter to My 16 year old self!
      6. You Never Know How Strong You are. About having to take over for my husband
      7. 53 years is a very Long Time about my dad and his suicide and how I was affected. 
      8. The Thing about Grandchildren talking about Darian and Harley coming to live with us.

      These are just a few of the posts that I have written since I started this blog way back in October of 2008. I used to be really frivolous. Now I use it more as a place to vent. To record our story. To meet up with my friends.

      Tell me about your favorite blog post. Leave me a link. I will hop on over and read it!

        Menu Plan May 20-May 27

        Monday, May 20

        (from the freezer when I made a large batch a couple weeks ago)

        Tuesday, May 21

        garlic bread

        Wednesday, May 22

        Last youth group supper for the summer
        Richard and I will get some take out

        Thursday May 23

        (Harley is going to a BBQ)
        Tuna Salad sandwiches
        potato chips
        dill pickles

        Friday May 24

        Mac and Cheese

        Saturday May 25

        Baked potatoes
        (we have company coming)

        Sunday May 26

        Hamburgers and Brats on the grill
        Potato salad
        Baked beans
        Cherry Pie and ice cream

        How This Week's Meal Plan Worked with Real Life

            This week has been a crazy week. On Monday Darian started with the early morning weight-training and the 30 minutes drives that start at 6:00 in the morning are killers. I am not really interested in doing much more than coming home and going back to sleep until it is time to get him again. Summer is NOT a slow time at our house by any means. We did eat the Cheesy Enchilada Casserole on Monday night. Made straight out of a Hamburger Helper box and doctored up. But it was good.

             On Tuesday the roofers showed up to re-roof our house. It has been way overdue. My husband put the shake shingle roof on our house shortly after we moved in almost 25 years ago. As you know from this post our insurance was canceled so we had no choice but to put on a new roof. And it looks awesome. Don't you think? After a day of pounding and stress from having the roof put on and not getting my beef cooked, we jumped in the car and raced to Sonic and came home with burgers and fries. Not as good as beef and noodles but tasty nevertheless.                                  
             Wednesday is usually the day that Richard and I eat take-out since the kiddos go to youth group and eat but I cooked the beef in the crock-pot today and we had a yummy dish of beef and noodles after taking them to church. Best beef and noodles ever!

            Thursday I cooked up the sensational salmon loaf with cheesy potatoes. My other recipe for potatoes is better than this one but that salmon loaf was out of this world. GOOD. Harley didn't think so but she had a baloney sandwich and everyone was happy. I haven't made a salmon loaf at home in years. I used to eat it at the nursing home and it was so good.

             Friday night Paige and Justin came from Wichita and we followed the plan and had meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed Brussels sprouts. Was a bad episode when Richard choked while eating and turned very blue. Thought I might have to do the Heimlich but he was able to clear the obstruction (a little Brussels spout) and all was well. We celebrated Paige's 13th birthday with an ice cream cake later in the evening.
             Saturday was supposed to be just Richard and I at home but Darian's Boy Scout camp-out was canceled due to bad weather. We did not fix BLT's as was the plan but went for sub sandwiches from Subway. Everyone loves these. Harley was spending the night with her cousin Paige in Wichita and celebrating with her. Takes several celebrations when you turn 13.

             Sunday night we were under storm warnings so I just whipped up some omelets with onions, green peppers and cheese, bacon and toast. Breakfast for supper. One of the best. Quite tasty too. And we did have strawberry shortcake later in the evening. Thank goodness no bad storms here. But my new roof did get to experience quarter size hail without any damage.

           How was your week? Did you stick to your menu plans?

        Sunday, May 19, 2013

        Everyday I struggle with Guilt

        Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

             Sometimes it is really hard to 'get real.' Don't you think? I am struggling right now with the day to day issues of taking care of an invalid husband at home. I get really pissed off at the whole situation at times. And then I feel guilty. I get mad at him when I am trying to help him up to the commode and by the time we get there he is already wet. And then I feel guilty. When I spend all afternoon cooking something for him, something that he used to love to eat, and now he either doesn't like it or isn't hungry, I get mad. And then I feel guilty. I hate feeling mad at him for things that I know he cannot help, but I AM mad. He needs to have everything his way. He needs to be in charge. He needs to control. And I feel guilty.

             Yes, I know that all of this is normal. That it is all part of taking care of a loved one at home. That he isn't doing any of this on purpose. But that doesn't really help to know that. When I have done all that I can do for him at bedtime. I have toileted him. I have given him a snack. I have helped him get a drink. He is tucked in with the covers just like he likes them. The lights are turned down, just like he likes them. The TV is turned to the channel that he likes. And I finally, after a really long day, lay my head down and pull the covers up and I hear him say, "Honey, I need to go to the bathroom". Yes, I get mad. And sometimes I know that he knows that I am mad. And even though I know that he can't help it, that doesn't matter. I am mad. And I feel guilty.

             And I am pretty sure that he can't help that he coughs all the time. That he coughs when he takes a tiny sip of water. And he coughs when he eats. And he coughs when he sleeps. And he coughs LOUD. I know he can't help it. But there are times that I put my fingers in my ears and beg it to stop. Just stop coughing for a little bit. I can't deal with all this coughing. And then I feel guilty.

             The Hospice nurse comes each week. And she always asks me how I am doing. And I always lie and tell her that I am doing 'fine'. But I don't know if I can take this for months and months more. Today she said that it could be a really, long drawn out process. This dying process. I don't want him to die! I just want peace. Peace for me! Peace for him. Sometimes I think about what my life will be like when he is gone. And then I feel guilty.

             I feel mad when others say "I know what you are going through" No, you don't! I am mad when others tell me that they think what I am doing is noble and loving. No, it's not! I am doing it because it is what I am supposed to do. It isn't what I want to do. But I love him. And I believe in honoring my marriage vows. I didn't do well with this the first time around. But I will this time. Until death do us part. And I will just go on feeling guilty until I figure out how else to feel.

             Now tell me, What do you feel guilty about?

        Saturday, May 18, 2013

        Only Five of My Favorite!

        Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love

         about them

        My Five Favorite Blogs.

        1. Boss Nurse Speaks....I love this blog because she seems like a friend. A long lost friend. Maybe from another life. We just click. I don't know why.
        2. My Personal Stage...I just met Cristy through the March Blogging Challenge but she is such an UP person and it brings me much joy to read her blog and have her read mine.
        3. What If This Is As Good As It Gets...I have followed Kwizgiver in the Sunday Stealing meme for years. Heck I don't even know her 'real' name (come on Kwizgiver, it is time to introduce yourself. Hi! I am Paula) Her style of writing appeals to me. She says a lot in short little spaces. And I love the fact that she is such a strong independent TEACHER.
        4. Putter Home....this blog is a new blog that belongs to my ex-daughter-in-law. She has a new home and she is sharing her projects on how she is decorating it. She is a genius and very thrifty. Go visit and tell her I sent you.
        5. ....I like this blog because Stephanie talks about teenagers. And since I am again submersed into the world of teens, I need all the help I can get. 

        Friday, May 17, 2013

        Four and Twenty Blackbirds!

        Day 18, Saturday: Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and
        try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt

             The first Christmas, after my dad committed suicide, was going to be a rough Christmas. I had turned 8 that year in April. My baby brother was just 6. The older kids were 10 and 12. My grandma had already told us plenty of times that Christmas was not going to be a 'big deal' this year because our dad was dead. She continually reminded us that it was mom and dad who played Santa Claus. There was no such thing as a magical man who came and left us a bunch of toys. Well first of all, we never really got a bunch of toys. And second, I was already beginning to suspect that it might be my parents. But did she really need to be so mean? I can remember my little brother crying because Santa wasn't going to come to our house. And it made me dislike that fat, old woman even more. (I think I have said on my blog before that this old woman was my inspiration to be the BEST grandma I could be. Because she wasn't)

             I remember the cold wintry day when the huge and lumbering truck made it's way down our alley. Stopped in front of our door. A big guy jumped out of the driver's seat and climbed into the back of the truck. He handed down a large basket filled with food. A big turkey and some ham. Lots of canned foods. Bread and there may have even been some cookies. I remember that big red and white box of powdered milk. We were giddy with excitement. There were five of us kids, and I am sure that even though mom tried her best, our bellies were always hungry. This looked like a mountain of food to my 8 year old eyes.

             Then the man, who I am sure WAS Santa dressed in his everyday clothes, jumped back up into the truck and started handing down the toys. I don't remember anything that he gave to anyone else that day. But he handed me a pie! It was painted yellow  and some of the paint was missing from the sides (you see, it was a donated toy) and there were tiny little slits all over the top of the pie. Like the kind of slits that you make to let the steam escape. Attached to side of this pie was a little crooked handle with a tiny red knob. As I wound the crank I heard the tinny sound of:

        Sing a song of sixpence,
        A pocket full of rye.
        Four and twenty blackbirds,
        Baked in a pie.
        When the pie was opened,
        The birds began to sing;
        Wasn't that a dainty dish,
        To set before the king?
        The king was in his counting house,
        Counting out his money;
        The queen was in the parlor,
        Eating bread and honey.
        The maid was in the garden,
        Hanging out the clothes,
        When down came a blackbird
        And pecked off her nose.

             As the song ended out through those slits in the pie came little tin black birds. At the time I thought this was just pretty cool. But over the years of my life, this little pie took on the meaning of what our life was. We were very poor. And we were given food and gifts from the Salvation Army. And I hated it! I hated being poor. And I hated getting gifts that had already belonged to another child and played with until he no longer wanted it. I know that sounds terrible. And it sounds so ungrateful But that is how I felt. It made me very sad. I no longer have that pie that represented such a sad and poor time of my life. (I wish I had kept it) But I have never forgotten that day. And the lesson that I learned from that day? I donate brand, spanking, new toys to the less fortunate kids today. No used toys! No peeling paint. And I wrap them in sparkling crisp wrapping paper with plenty of ribbons and bows. Because to a child it is not the present inside that matters. It is the mystery of getting to it that is what really matters. Recently this whole memory came flooding back to me when I found the pie on EBAY. And here it is:

        My favorite Picture

        Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why

        This is not just a picture of me, as you can see.
        This is Richard and me.
        It was Thanksgiving 2004.
        Before all the health problems started.
        Before the kids' came to live with us.
        In a simpler, carefree time.
        I look so young and relaxed.
        And Richard looks so strong and healthy.
        This is a good memory.

        Wednesday, May 15, 2013

        It is My Lot in Life

        Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it

        What does 'it is my lot in life' mean?

        It's a Biblical reference. Not to push religious belief, but the saying comes from the story in Genesis where Abraham and Lot part ways and Lot, not believing in Abraham's knowledge of God, seeks his own future and is tortured for it. Parts ways with what God has commanded multiple times and throughout his life seeks the wrong path. Therefore, in his life he finds trouble throughout. Many in this day in age who find trouble (perceived or otherwise) in life, claim it is their "Lot" in life that they must endure.

        I don't know whether I believe this or not. I think most of us make our own 'lot' in life. There are things that happen to us that may not have a meaning to us. But if you call that your 'lot' in life, then I guess that is okay. 

        In my life, I believe that I am meant to be a caretaker. I found my way to a nursing career after I first tried other things that I thought I wanted to do. Like be an executive secretary. NOT for me. I enrolled in nursing school and I discovered my first 'lot in life.' I like taking care of people. I like helping them through their illnesses and whatever problems that might be causing in their lives. I like listening and offering advice to these people.
        It is my 'lot in life.'

        Then one cold wintry day just before Christmas five years ago I opened the door to find two little children standing on my doorstep. A boy dressed in a worn shirt and sweatpants with holes in his shoes. And a little girl clinging tightly to his hand with only a robe on for a coat. Here were two of my beautiful grandchildren. They had been living a tough life with their 'drug addicted' parents. Parents that we didn't have a lot of contact with due to the many times trying to help and only having that help turn into another manipulation of our emotions and financial resources. We had simply lost contact with them. Our oldest granddaughter brought them to us. She said they were not being taken care of and she didn't know what to do anymore. So my husband and I opened up our empty-nest and welcomed them in. I didn't know what else to do.
        This was my 'lot in life.'

        This was the second time these same two had come to live with us. The first time, when they were only 4 and 2, they were removed from the home by the state and we took care of them for 8 months before the state returned them to their parents. It is heart-breaking to see something like this keep happening. I had to harden up my heart a bit. In order to survive. I was not going to do this again. So, my husband and I hired an attorney and obtained legal custody of these two. And we have never looked back.
        It is our 'lot in life.'

        How I am over-coming my so called 'lot in life' is to just take it one day at a time. That is the best that I can do. I get up each morning and do what I have to do. And I say a little prayer as I tuck them into their beds each night.
        Thank you God for making this my 'lot in life'

        The night they arrived in December 2008