Monthly Archives: December 2005

Only Two Shopping Days Left, Boys and Girls

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And we’re not done yet. At this rate, we should be ready for Christmas by New Year’s. Oh well. We went to the church to practice our Christmas skit [called Glad Tidings]. And so Steve could practice his song, ‘Oh Holy Night.’ We still have to finish memorizing the skit, but I think we’re close, and the song is really high, but really good.

Tomorrow is the only day I will have to do my shopping before Christmas, so I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and do it. I guess if you hear from me tomorrow, you’ll know I survived it!

Anyway, it’s late, and life is hectic, so I’m gonna go. I’m thinking that unless something major comes up that I just have to blog about, this may be a short diary entry for a few days.

You never know, though, I had planned on skipping Sundays, but I always have something to talk about. My writing on my novel is at a temporary standstill. But I’m still writing every day, so I don’t feel too bad about it. My goal is to have it written, revised, polished, and sent out by this time next year. I’m hoping to have it finished before that, but since this is my first time for actually finishing one, I figure a year isn’t too bad.

Anyway, if things go nuts and I don’t get a chance to say it, Merry Christmas!

And Sometimes, Wednesdays Are Good

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Yes, it’s true dear friends. I not only survived teaching, but enjoyed it. Most of the time, it’s easier for me to love kids when I don’t have to actually interact with them [horrid of me, I know, but I don’t have a lot of patience, and when kids get crazy-rude, it drives me nuts!]

The kids were rowdy, but for the most part, it was because they were having fun. There’s a difference between that and repeatedly ignoring directions and being rude to other kids and to the teacher. The deliberate disobedience as a power struggle is what drives me nuts. I hate getting into power struggles with kids because as the adult, I can’t let them win. Ever. If they choose to discuss the matter with me, that’s different, but deliberate ‘I don’t have to listen to you,’ is fifteen shades of bad.

Thankfully, I didn’t have any of that tonight, but I think it’s because I genuinely care about them, and they know it. We played and got horrible-messy, but it was all in good fun, so I’m okay with that.

You know, when we first moved up here [about a year and a half ago], the children’s directors asked me if I liked working with the kids. I was honest and said ‘no.’ My husband and I were the youth leaders in our church several years ago [when I was a brand new, never been to church before except for Vacation Bible School, Christian.] Hoo boy, was that awful! I still don’t understand teens most of the time, [in my defense, I didn’t get them when I was one, either.] But I am getting better.

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

So, anyway, I left the church actually feeling better than when I arrived [and got an ever so slightly smug ‘I had a feeling that might happen.’ from the husband afterward. Grrr. If he wasn’t so cute, I’d have to smack him.] That’s kind of how it’s supposed to go, so things are good.

Oh yeah, the furnace is fixed! Yay, George!! The estimates to replace the part were $150-$170, which was going to put a serious damper on Christmas shopping [no, I’m not done yet. I am one of the few women on the planet who hates shopping with a passion, so I put it off as long as possible!] But, hubby went to the service store with the broken part, and the guy there was able to find a little doo-hickey to replace the one that was broken, and voila!! We have heat!!

Remember last night when I said things always get better if you can hold on? They really do. So don’t give up.

Winter Woes

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Our furnace in our house went out today, and it’s 16 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I am running a kerosene heater, which stinks to high heaven, until hubby gets off work and goes to get an electric space heater. We have one in our room [because it’s in the back of the house and only has one vent], but the kids need heat, too.

This is pretty annoying, though. And cold. It seems like it’s always one thing after another. There’s something wrong with our van, too [our only means of transportation]. It runs, but not willingly. It sounds like it’s not running on all six cylinders, and the exhaust smells like unburned gasoline. God only knows what the problem is there.

The kerosene fumes make my eyes burn and my stomach upset, so I’m thinking that’s probably not a good thing. I wasn’t planning on running it all night anyway, because you just never know, and we have three little kids sleeping in the house, so I’m not taking any chances with carbon monoxide.

We finally put up the Christmas tree today. I’ve been putting it off since Thanksgiving. Christmas isn’t my favorite time of year. I know, I know, that’s not the kind of thing you usually hear from one of them there bornagainers, but there you have it. There’s just Too Much, you know?

As a general rule, I try to keep my stress level to a minimum. My depression is aggravated by stress, along with my Fibro symptoms, so avoiding stress is a necessity if I want to function at all. Minor to moderate stress is unavoidable a lot of the time in my house [three kids, a dog and a husband contribute quite a bit]. Add church on Wednesdays and twice on Sundays, and that’s about all I can handle comfortably.

Holiday get-togethers with friends and family are great, but draining. Even when I have fun, I’m still pretty done-in afterward. Meditation helps, but the funny thing is, when I need it most is when I manage it the least. Which begins the cycle of depression. Which is why December sucks.

That, and money is tight around here, so there isn’t much extra for Christmas gifts. Okay, there isn’t any extra, we just fake it. And that makes me sad. I shouldn’t be, my kids and I have enough clothes, food, and shelter [albeit a cold-kerosene-stinky one right now] but when they make the ‘list’ and I can only manage a couple of the less expensive things on it, it’s hard.

You want to give your kids their heart’s desire, you know? I don’t want to spoil them, and I don’t want to give them so much that they begin to think they’re entitled to the world on a platter, but I wish I could do more.

My oldest wants to take dance lessons so badly, and it’s just not possible. So I ordered her a couple of ‘how to dance’ DVD’s, hoping she can learn a little bit by herself, and that it will be enough. She also loves art [so do I] but art supplies are expensive. They all love music, and I would love for them to have music lessons.

It’s all stuff they don’t need in order to live, but can add so much to their lives. Music, drama, art, and writing are all things that I adore doing, and am fairly good at, but I often wonder if I’d had private lessons [or more classes offered at school], if I might have been exceptional at them.

It’s one of those things I’ll just never know. With my personality, I might have given up even if I’d had lessons, but I wish I’d had the chance to try. And that’s what I want to give to my kids. The chance to try everything and find out what they like and don’t like, and what they’re good at. And what they suck at.

Maybe it will give them a better idea of their potential at a younger age, and they won’t be wandering around at 30 still trying to figure out what they want to be ‘when they grow up.’

In my worse moments, those are the things I think about at Christmas.

In my better moments, I am filled with awe at the miracle of Christ’s birth. God making himself into a helpless human infant, totally dependent on a teenaged mother and a step-dad who may or may not love him. Wow. That was a pretty big gamble.

I am thankful for all that I have, even in my weaker moments when all I can see is what isn’t perfect. My kids are healthy. We have a home. And there will be gifts under the tree. I never forget that there are people who don’t have those things. I am truly blessed, and in the ways that really matter, I am rich.

Things are a little tilted in my life right now, but it will even out again, and get better. It always does if you can hold on.

Sleepy Post… Again

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You think there’s a theme here? I don’t have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or I’ve never been officially diagnosed with it, but I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which is loads of fun.

The disease name means “muscle pain,” which is largely what it is. I also have hypoglycemia, which for some reason often goes along with the disease.

I don’t talk about it much because the whole thing just pisses me off. But, fibro [and possible CFS] is probably why I’m so tired all the time, and we went to a Christmas party that was a dessert party, and I ate dessert, so I’m twitchy, tired, and needing to eat some protein before bed. And we’re running low on protein foods because I’ve been avoiding Wal-Mart like the plague with all the shoppers out.

So I’m just a mess, ain’t I? I need to watch my diet better, but it’s expensive as hell to try to eat strictly low-glycemic index foods. Why is it that the healthy foods are the most expensive, and the most processed, least natural stuff is what I can afford?

I’m feeling all whiney tonight, can you tell? I’m gonna go drink some milk and go to bed.

More On Politics. Yup, I’m Still Confused

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So I’m reading here about George W. and his spying without warrants, and I am concerned. He has justified his actions in his own mind and believes that the American people have given him permission to do whatever he “needs to do to protect the nation,” even if it violates our rights.

Jeez, I understand how he came to the conclusion [rationalization] but I keep having thoughts of the KGB and Hitler and God knows who else who have spied on their own people to find perceived enemies.

I’m not saying that Al Qaeda aren’t our enemies, there’s no question that they are, but I’m not sure I can justify the President’s actions. I feel like he believes that he has more authority than the other two branches of government. He put in an executive order that allowed the spying, and apparently didn’t ask anyone else what they thought about it. That sounds wrong to me.

I am really tired now, it’s 1:30 in the morning as I write this, but I was looking up a definition of what our government looks like to me. I found this article. We’re supposed to be capitalist, which is basically every man for himself business-wise. It means that you can do anything [legal] you want for a living, and that businesses are owned by the private sector, and that government is representative of every one equally, poor and rich alike.

But that’s not what I see in our country anymore. It looks to me like it’s getting harder and harder for the poor and the ‘just over poor’ to be heard. If you don’t have any money, you don’t have a voice. People pay lobbyists to champion their causes in the government. If you’re poor, how can you pay someone to be your voice? You can’t.

Our country appears to be run by the people with the money, with the rest of us just along for the ride. The word for that that I found is called “Corporatist,” which says basically that the big companies are in cahoots with the government and that together they get to make all the decisions.

So where does that leave me? Where does that leave most of the people I know?

I’ve been writing about great big gobs of depressing stuff in the past week. Between Rwanda, the Sudan and Congo, and the poor in the U.S. I’ve been feeling pretty helpless to make a difference anywhere. And in the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking, “If I had more money, I could do more to help. If I had money, I could make people hear me.”

And it’s true. If I was a famous writer who was blogging about this, or if I was Oprah, people would be jumping out of their chairs to go call their congressmen about Congo, or the sad state of the foster care system in America. As it is, maybe 15 or 20 people will read this, and maybe one of those people will have the power that I lack to change things. Or maybe not.

I’m not giving up, not by any means, but I am frustrated. I’m not very good with the patience thing, and change always takes time.

What concerns me about President Bush, is that he isn’t one of us. He is extremely rich and powerful, and has a lot of friends who have great gobs of money, who are also powerful. And I can’t help but wonder if his concern is really for us, the faceless [not rich] masses, or if his loyalty lies elsewhere.

I pray that I am wrong, and that he really does care about the little guy. But my instincts tell me he probably doesn’t, and that sucks.

Post #32. Done in 20 Minutes and 21 Seconds

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I was gonna do 10 minutes, but I just don’t type that fast! I’d get about here and have to quit. Okay, maybe I’m not that slow, but pretty close.

I watched “Fahrenheit 9/11” by Michael Moore tonight. Historically, I have been opposed to this movie on principle, but because of some stuff that’s been happening in the government of my home state, I’ve been questioning my Republican-ness, and wanted to see what the other side had to say.

I expected a strongly slanted, one-sided, left-wing liberal load of crap. What I got was…

Something not quite looking like a complete load of crap. Okay, it was slanted, and I have no idea if everything in it was strictly accurate, but it gave me some food for thought. And some serious frustration with politics as well.

The current scandal in Washington DC is that the President authorized spying on American citizens without warrants. Tapping phone conversations and other stuff. The thing is, I get why he thinks it’s okay, and maybe with a person of integrity it is. But man, the potential for corruption is HUGE! No one is above corruption except Jesus, and last time I checked, He wasn’t in the flesh anymore.

I have believed the president to be a man of integrity. He openly declares his Christianity, and by association [with Jesus, not with religion] should be a man of integrity. But, by being a politician, I’m wondering if the two cancel each other out. These are the kinds of things that make my brain hurt.

I am struggling like crazy to figure out which party really is the lesser of the two evils. I haven’t come to any conclusions yet, but I am doing some research.

‘Nuf about the ‘whole country situation’ for now, though, I have another fish to fry: The Governor of My Home State. Here’s the situation, you tell me what you think about it.

I voted for a Republican to become Governor of my home state. He won. Within a month of taking office, he makes huge cuts in a lot of areas, which should be a good thing, balancing the budget and all that.

Here’s the deal though. The cuts he made were in the areas of mental health benefits, Medicaid benefits, disability benefits, and he froze the salaries of most of the state employees [which would be a good thing if it were the politicians he froze. (I mean their salaries.) But the people he froze were the low-level state employees.]

He managed to take money from the young, the old, and the crazy. He hurt the people who are the weakest and most helpless in our society. Oh yeah, as he was cutting benefits for the voiceless, he approved funding for a complete renovation of [or rebuilding, I can’t remember which] one of our sports stadiums.

How is that good? What about all the people who can’t afford their antipsychotics anymore? Or the disabled, the elderly and the children who can’t get proper medical care?

How the hell can he justify taking money from babies, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally ill to build a FREAKING SPORTS STADIUM?!? Is that how all Republicans are? Surely they can’t all be heartless, greedy, idiots, can they?

I have so much homework to do on this, and the bad thing is, I have no idea who to believe anymore. Any advice for some one coming a little late into the game of thinking?

I hope he doesn’t run for re-election, because if he does, I’ll have to vote Democrat for the first time in my life. And if things keep going the way they’re going, you may be reading a post entitled ‘A Conversion Story,’ that has nothing to do with Christianity!

Okay, I think I’ll probably talk more about politics at some other time, but my time was up a long time ago and I have church tomorrow, so I gotta go to bed.

‘Night.

Long Evening, But Good

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Just got the kids to bed about ten minutes ago [11pm]. My oldest had quizzing and since I’m on the children’s council at my church, I stayed and helped. Things went so much better than Wednesday night.

The kids are a handful, but I love ’em anyway. Most of them don’t have much stability at home, and go to the “title 1 school” [Title one is government money that is given to schools. “It is intended to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach grade-level proficiency. Title I funds help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind.”(quote taken from here) ]

What kills me about these kids is that they may be behind academically, but they’re smart. There is so much potential in them, but they could fall through the cracks, in fact, may have already fallen through them.

These kids have parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to give them the care that they need. They all desperately need love and attention and guidance. The parents probably love the kids the best they can, but what if their best isn’t enough?

I know that my parents loved me. They did a really good job raising me, too, but there are still things that happened that scarred me. Now, granted, I was an overly sensitive kid who took everything personally, so when Mom went to work to help support us, all I saw was that Mom didn’t want to be at home with me anymore… my perception was all screwed up. But the scars that kind of stuff left were just as real as any other emotional scar, and I had to work through them.

Some kids come out of unspeakable home lives and do okay in life. Others perpetuate the cycle of abuse. Still others don’t survive at all, either because they die in the situation or they self-destruct.

My brain is a big muddle tonight. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think of those kids who I helped teach about Jesus tonight, and I know that the odds say that they don’t have much chance of making it. Some might think of them as throwaway kids.

But I think about them and my heart screams NO dammit! I want those babies to grow up and live! Good, successful lives. I want them to be happy. I don’t want to lose even one of them. I want them to beat the odds.

And I wish I could do more to help them. I wish I could send them to college if they want to go. I wish I could protect them from the things they live with that no child should have to deal with. I wish I could help their parents learn to be better parents.

Those are just a few of the things I’d like to do, but can’t. I feel helpless and frustrated about it, too.

What I can do, is pray for them. God can do all things, and He doesn’t do odds. I can pray, and will [and have been] and maybe as I pray, God will show me some other things I can do as well.

Maybe He’ll give me lots of money and I will be able to send them to college!! [I’d like to send myself to college, too!]

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that my hubby got me Starburst today! Yay! No words on my novel, though. Some days are just too crazy to fit it all in.

Okay, I’m tired now, G’Night