*Let's Review Shall We?

  • The 's' word is back. Oh yes, it's true. And my house is not immune. We've had to get used to waking up extra early again, buying completely unnecessary school supplies, get just a few hundred new articles of clothing and wait for the bus at an indecent hour while battling ginormous mosquitoes from hell. All this plus fill out and sign 5000 freakin' forms - per. child. Ladies and gentlemen, Hormones R' Us is back in business.
  • On Tuesday several co-workers and I attended a Writer's Workshop. Miss Nancy and Sharona have already commented on their blogs with their take of the experience - exploit - undertaking - adventure. I have to say this was such a worthwhile day for me. Well, okay 99% of it was. But I will gladly get to that 1% in a just a minute. I learned a few good pointers in the first half of the seminar and was reminded of good writing skills the in the second seminar. I must say the second part of the day was the best part, because I spent most of the time laughing at Sharon & Nancy. I knew when Nancy arrived we would likely be in trouble in no time. Yessss!!! Like when the speaker brought up a comparison of Billy Joel's song "She's Always a Woman" to Lionel Richie's "Three Times a Lady" First giggles, then snickering, then all out laughter that I am trying to hide because well, the 1% again, wait for it...but I could not hide the fact that I was laughing simply because I was trying to hide it and this caused more attention to be brought to the fact and made my shoulders bounce up and down and my face turn beet red so much so that the speaker even noticed. (beets always looked purple to me) Someone at our table tries to guess what I've found humorous Lionel Richie? Head shake no. Billy Joel? Head shake no. Sharon, who knows me too well, says Buckwheat huh? Yes! Laughing only harder I begin to sing, "Munce, tice, fee tines a mady..." Nancy questioned what makes a lady 3 times a lady, I surmise it's because she's obese. That, Mr. Richie, makes me 10 tines a mady. Lovies, lest you think your hard earned dollars were wasted, I want to assure you that is not all that I took home with me, no way, uh uh, I learned much, much more. Important things like:
  1. Dang it, I am long winded.

  2. How to interview with or without a tape recorder because Lame is Rob.

  3. I like the words tertiary, genre, kudzu and conjured. I should try to use them often.

  4. I now have a valid excuse for reading blogs all the time - even at work - since it will help to hone my writing skills.

  5. I can not stand in any way, shape or form to be shushed. In fact I absolutely hate it beyond all reason. Especially if the person shushing me has no reason to shush me and does not shush anyone else who actually needs a good shushing and the shusher is in fact the same age or younger than the shushee. (and yes, that is the 1% you've been waiting for.)

  6. I still hold grudges and I really, really, need Jesus.
  • I've come to the conclusion that I still have way too much growing up to do. Just when I think that I have come a considerable ways, I look back and forth and read the sure signs of immaturity. Like hating to be shushed. Or needing to tell everyone that I was shushed. With that said, I turn 41 next week. I know, hard to believe right? I mean I write like a 20 year old. The other night we pulled a box from storage hoping to find some school supplies that were purchased back some years ago. What we found instead were several photographs that had long been forgotten. One was of me holding my baby girl, and in the photo I look like a baby myself. Could I have ever looked so young? And does that mean I look terribly old now? I don't care about a number. I just want to age with a fight and look good while I fight. But thinking back to that day, I haven't matured very much in so many areas of my life. Areas that seem to hold me down and beat me to a pulp like a school yard bully trying to steal my lunch money. I know that it is me who is the bully...and I am the weakling as well. There are other areas that I've gained a measure of wisdom in and that is clear to me as well. As Amy said today, two steps forward, one back. I serisously think my little game o' hopscotch has gone on long enough. Time to pick up my marker and and go home. Also found in the box was the following limerick from my then 8 year old daughter. The girl does me proud:

There once was a mom named Dana!
She's so pretty she has no shama!
She's as cute as a puppy!
She always is lucky!
Love your daughter Elena!

  • The love of my life leaves for New York tomorrow morning at 5 am for a week long mission trip (his very first!) working with the Crossroads Church in Staten Island, NY. They are going to be doing some pretty cool stuff while there, please pray for them.

Well my faithful readers, I think that is about all I have time for. You've been sufficiently schooled in the week that was and yes, there will be a quiz later. Don't worry, you get extra points for chocolate...

(*Working Title. Other suggestions: I will not talk during class. I write, therefore I am. Did she just shush me, she did not just shush me? Wookin' Pa Nub. Where's that monkey? E. All of the above.)

You just never know...

3 years ago, around this time of year, there was a knock on Mr. Steve's door. He opened the door and recognized the man as one of his neighbors. Handshakes, hello's and the usual questions were shared. Then the neighbor handed Mr. Steve an envelope and said "The Lord has placed it upon my heart to bless you with this." Mr. Steve was taken aback and unsure as to what to do with the $100 check he found inside. His neighbor wasn't in the financial position to have made this offering, his business had been doing poorly, surely he needed it more than Mr. Steve did. However upon the attempt to return the money, the neighbor insisted he keep it - the Lord told him he was to do this, and he obeyed. It was some time later that Mr. Steve found the need for the money - and some time later that the same neighbor's business began to fare well once again.

2 years ago, around this time of year, we moved in to this same neighborhood. We have made acquaintances with our neighbors, finding most of them to be follower's of Christ. Some neighbors we would see out in their yards working, playing with their children, waving hello to them and saying our how are you's as they go to and from their daily lives, but more than this not much else has been shared between us. Other neighbors are closer to us, our children play with their children, we've shared prayers and tears and so on. Mr. Steve would fit in the first category.

1 year ago, around this time of year, Jesse signed up to go on a mission trip that would happen in September of '07. He had some funds from a previous mission trip that he was unable to go on, but there was still quite a large amount to raise but felt certain that the Lord had laid it upon his heart to go. Although he had as much as a year to raise the funds, the anxiety to provide would get overwhelming at times. Despite his worries, he knew the Lord would somehow provide each and every dime needed to go on the trip.

1 day ago, Mr. Steve knocked on our door and handed Jesse an envelope. Upon opening it Jesse found $100 with a note saying, "I hope this will help you on your mission trip. Signed, Mr. Steve" Jesse and I were surprised, how could he know? Both of us teared up at this gesture. Jesse went to talk to him and thank him. He asked him why and Mr. Steve explained, 3 years ago, around this time of year, there was a knock on my door...

I need to tell you that I am feeling so resentful of late. My eMiLy has been gone for several weeks now and for the past few days there is the slightest glimmer of hope in my heart that this brief reprieve, this blessed respite will magically become permanent. By 'magically' I of course mean that my beloved will find the courage to tell her it is time. But I know that this will never happen. He will never speak the words that so desperately need to be voiced, the words each side know to be true but do not admit to one another. Elephants live in every one's home. We feed ours on the empty lies dressed up as respect and love. I don't blame him really - my husband not the elephant - for I love her as well. But I struggle with the fact that if sacrificial love does what is best for a person, does that mean what is best for all involved or just the one? And just who is to begin the sacrifice? If she does, I will feel the guilt of having been resolved in my unmoving. If I do, and I've tried, I find myself back at square one - no ground gained.
I must tell you it is sad to say that my stomach hurts at the thought of her return. I think I've created a childhood monster in my mind that must be quickly slain. The resentment comes in due to the fact that I feel a prisoner of my own home. I find myself on edge and constantly cleaning beyond what is sane. Straightening and fixing all the little details in slightest possibility of an early return. I cringe at the imagined response to a dish in the sink, or several drying in the drain. I feel the slightest bit of anxiety at the idea of her seeing the plants not watered or no food in the dog food bowl. I want her to return and see we did just fine without the resident smother-in-law. I don't want to leave the smallest bit of cheese for her to snatch up and nibble on - I want everything in place with no opportunity left for her disapproving eye to alight on our mistakes and foibles. It is driving me crazy and I am fighting the stupidity of it all with every ounce of resoluteness that is in me. And I resent this whole stupid scenario very much. I resent that past experience has taught me that, believe me, she will notice and she will have something to say. She will make me roll my eyes and want to scream within the first 15 minutes of her return. And I just cannot stand it. Yet the bars that keep me in this place of resentment are of my own making, they are iron pride & fear.
I need to tell you how I want to grow up, that I feel like a emotional, insensitive and rebellious teenager all over again.
I need to tell you that I want to let go of the rocks of careless words she has tossed at me, rocks I have saved up and held onto, to throw back at her glass house. The rocks are cutting into my palms because I am gripping them so tightly refusing to let them go. If if let them go, then somehow she wins. I will be caught unawares and unarmed for the assault. Or at least that is the argument that makes my grip remain firm.

I feel I must tell you that I know I am to let go, put the rocks down and forgive and forget and love with the love of Christ. I must tell you I've tried and failed. I must tell you I will definitely try again, fail or no fail. I feel I must tell you this because this is where I am for the moment and I must be real with you. Tomorrow I will regale you with stories of bras and doctors and other very real and humorous events in my life.
Until then, I remain here.

With Brains Like These...

I know I've mentioned this before, but I really think my brain is out to get me...
Not in the sense that I'm hearing voices, or I'm paranoid (dr. dr. help me please, I know you'll understand). No need to call the guys in white coats to come get me.
But in the sense that 'it' thinks to have a bit of fun and games with me and replaces words that I mean to say with totally unrelated words. Or worse just hides the words all together.
Sometimes I have a good grasp on words and I am able talk without sounding as if my medication is critically past due. Then there are days like...

Me: Lunch is over, time to go back to work, but first I am going to get a highway.
Them: Highway?
Me: No, not highway. Refill. I am going to get a refill.
Brain: Tee hee


Me: Eddie! Turn down your chair, er, music!
Eddie: Huh? (not confusion, just can't hear me.)
Me: Turn your (drawing blank) what in the world is that called? I just said it...Sigh.
Brain: Snickering

There was the slightest hint of things to come at an early age. I was (am) overweight and wore (wear) glasses and as an only child (bro and sis were (are) 10 years older so really, same as) the social skills were null and void - lets just say not even Martin Prince Jr. would eat at my lunch table. I stumbled over everything I did, especially the spoken word and soon grew to feel the warm fuzzy security of pen and paper was the best place for me to communicate anything. But oh, I tried so very hard to be accepted...once at camp, I was about 11, and it was share time. The counselor had just told us that her birthday was in September. I say quite loud to the whole group of girls and boys and counselors "So is mine! That makes you a virgin!" Horrendously. Loud. Laughter. And you know what's worse? At 11 years of age I didn't have a clue what they were laughing about. I had yet to have "the" talk (that came about 4 - yes 4 - years later and included a pamphlet with cartoons and the phrase "your juices are flowing"). More laughter. I was humiliated to say the least. I think I promised myself that day that if I could help it I would know what I was talking about. I am pretty sure I've broken that promise several times over.

The brain game has effected me in other ways as well. I don't like to give speeches. (Yeah, I've turned down hundreds.) I don't like to be called on for answers. I do not like to pray out loud.
Pastor: Dana would you pray for us?
Me: (gasp) Sure? LORD, we ask that you heal our farts...feel our hearts...oh forget it. Amen.
Brain: LOL!
Pastor: um, thanks?

Why does it happen? Who knows. I am pretty sure everyone experiences this little shell game with their brain. Watch the word and if you can tell me which shell your word is under & you get to sound like you are from earth. Swish, move, spin. Which shell is the correct word under? Shell #1, #2 or #mouse, er I mean 3. Dangit!
I've tried to pin down the problem, you know self-diagnose the issue. Don't tell me you don't do the same...So, does it happen when you are stressed? No Doc, but then again when am I not stressed? Well, does it happen when you are hungry? See answer number one Doc. Hmm, does it seem to happen when you need sleep? Gee Doc, you aren't much help. Go back to med school and call me when you are 40...I surf the net for the symptoms finding no answers on Google, but I did find out that I am quite possibly a cyberchondriac. Whew, I feel so much better.

Dear Blog,

It's been a while hasn't it? I know, I miss you as well. I'm sorry I've let other so many things come between us, I haven't wanted to be apart this long. I've thought of you often I really have. Several times a day I've wanted to talk to you and tell you what's going on in my life but the words just didn't seem to be there. Like a bowl of alphabet soup, nothing seemed to make sense, no words would form.

I wonder if you wish I was better at this. I read other blogs and think, does my blog long for that in our relationship? We don't have a theme or a purpose, we are quite simple and plain. Do you wish I would lipstick you up a bit with some photography like TLLT? I must admit, I am so very fascinated with that blog that I wonder if you are jealous. She does have such an imagination. Painting a short story with both words and pictures that are eerie and beautiful all at once. Or perhaps you long for me to fatten you, tantalizing your taste buds with the deliciousness of Smitten Kitchen? I know you've noticed how often I visit her blog, returning to you hungry and determined to don an apron and take up the whisk and become a better cook. Food is a unifying link with the world and blogging like that would make you "Oh So Popular". Music! You would love if I had music of all kind so you could listen to your ear's content like FuelFriends. I could load you up with great tunes you love and yet forgotten, or play bands you've never heard of but so glad you found them when you did. I don't know, I just don't know. There are so many out there that seem to communicate with their blogs better than I ever could with you. Some that talk about the books they've read, the places they go, their children's adventures and their venture to have a child. I love and admire them all so much. So I ask is it wrong to long to be just a little more like them? Sigh. Yet, somehow I think that is too much to have to live up to. I think you and I are happy with things just the way they are. You know the grass is always greener and all those cliches'.
Yes, it has been good talking to you again...we must do this more often. I will go for now, leaving you with this -

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. W.H. Auden

Lovely Rita

Our beloved bird passed away on August 12th, 2007
Buried under the weeping willow in our backyard because her death brought much weeping.
Her gravemarker reads "Here flies Rita - she now sings for Jesus"
She will be dearly missed.

Take 2 Geritol and Call Me in the Morning

After 3 weeks of limping around on a lame knee I gave in to hubby dearest and went to the doctor. I had put it off up to this point for the simple reason that I just knew the Dr. was going to ask for a round of x-rays and mri's and other costly tests that I had neither time nor money for. Oh, and when they get the test results back?
Mrs. Moya?
Your tests are all normal.
But? I'm still experiencing (insert symptom here)!
Really? Hmm, well I don't know why because your tests are normal. Are you sure it's not just in your mind?
No, no, they never really say that part, you just feel the implications oozing from their tone of superiority...Nevertheless, I went - hoping against hope that this time it would be different. The nurse took me to the room and began her routine - weight, blood pressure, temperature, blood sugar, urine sample, blood sample, skin culture...ok, you get the idea...and then asked me all the obligatory questions - do you still take this medicine? why are you here? how long have you had these symptoms?
Tell me, why do they ask? You know that the doctor does not pay one bit of attention to what the nurse writes on that sheet of paper because when he finally does decide to walk his self into the office and spend all of 1 minute with you, he will ask you the EXACT same questions. I think one day I will tell the nurse I'm here because I think I'm pregnant and I may have bubonic plague just to prove my point.

So I waited in my room and rather than the doctor, in walks a young lady in a long white lab coat. It took me a minute to realize that she was a medical student. She introduces herself, tells me she is indeed a med student and that she has read my chart and knows why I'm here...Ok, no not really, they train them to ignore the notes on the chart the first semester. What she really does is begin to ask me the EXACT same questions that the nurse did and then proceeds to talk about my weight (duh) and what am I eating (huh?) and what is my weight loss goal (I'm sorry?). I tell her I'm striving for Angelina Jolie's figure, but I would be happy with Tyra Bank's figure right about now and just what in the name of eating disorders does that have to do with the fact that my knee needs to have some serious attention? More inane questions follow but I humor her. I figure what the heck, she's a student, they must have to complete a check list or something, so why not? Then she says something to me about how she thinks it may be such and such and they will probably have to run this or that test, blah blah blah. Then she turns to me, places her hand on my knee and says in a 'I'm talking to a 3 year old' voice "I know it's hard to accept, but it happens at 40."
"It happens at 40?" What does? People begin talking to you as if you are an idiot? Ladies who are possibly 3 or 4 years younger than you speaking to you as if you are 110 years old? No lady, I don't think you understand. I fell. My knee hurts. I can't walk without screaming so loud that the neighbors have called the police out several times thinking we are torturing large animals. THIS does not happen at 40! And what did I say to her? Well, I wish I had a really good comeback, some witty little remark that put her back in her sand box playing with her stethoscope. But alas at 40 my brain thinks it's fun to play hide and seek with words. Yes, that happens at 40. I just sat like the sweet little old lady I am and waited for her next insult. When she was done she smiled, patted my head said "THE DOCTOR WILL BE IN SHORTLY" (cause at 40 you become hard of hearing as well) and walked out. "Thank you deary." I think the daggers that I visually threw at her back as she left just missed her by a gray hair. I must need to take my Centrum Silver.

I've never had a problem with aging. I think it's cool that I'm 40 (soon to be 41). I look forward to aging (further) with grace and with humor - especially humor. Don't get me wrong, I will not go quietly. I am not at all ready to accept the gray hair that is beginning a hostile take over of my head, so trust me I will keep L'Oreal in business until then. I have a friend who reminds me that the bible says "gray hair is a woman's crown of glory." I kindly tell her I want my crown to be a lovely shade of golden brown.
Well I guess I should tell you that when my Dr. finally walked in and began to ask (you guessed it) the EXACT same questions I told him that at this point I couldn't remember why I was there. He told me that happens at my age.

The early years...

I was on the computer reading away when I heard the ear piercing screams coming from the living room where both my daughter and her cousin were watching t.v.

I called out to them "Oh my word! Should I call 911?!?!"

The cousin said "Yes, I think I just had a heart attack!" (her voice fades as if she is fainting.)

My daughter said "You should momma cause the tv is on FI-YURE!!!"

The latest teen heart throb was just on a commercial.

Sigh. And this is just the beginning.

The Gift of a Gifted Child

Pardon me while get all mushy and sentimental on you. I might even brag some, okay a lot...but if I boast, I boast in the Lord.

My son Eddie turns 14 today, August the two. Like anyone about to have a child, I had no clue that everything I thought I knew about life, love and the pursuit of happiness, would be turned upside down once he came into my life.

For those of you who don't know it, my son Eddie is mildly autistic. Asperger's Syndrome they call it. He's also bi-polar and diagnosed as ADD. Yep. It's a lot to have on your plate, but don't throw a pity party for us yet. He's one amazing kid. When Eddie was in first grade he was tested for the Gifted and Talented program at his school and Eddie scored off the charts in each area. Just an aside, this to me is an unfair label, as all God's children are gifted and/or talented. His reading level and his level of comprehension were as high as a sixth grader's. His abstract thinking tested higher than that, and his IQ level was genius. SO needless to say he made it in. (Uh, if it's needless to say, why do we say it?) We were so excited for him. I mean, we always knew he was very smart but with the papers in hand we knew we weren't just being proud parents. But for all that, we knew something was wrong, different and so very not okay. Before (and after as well) Eddie was actually diagnosed with all of the above there was so much worry, fear and heartache. He would go without sleep for nights on end and there would be days he would cry for hours for no reason. He struggled to make and keep friends. He was unable to complete the simplest of tasks. For example, he would have a complete melt down if you asked him to clean his desk (he still does). Not a "I don't wanna/I'm not gonna" melt down. It was more like the world was coming to an end and for the life of him he couldn't figure out how to accomplish this if you didn't tell him step-by-step how to do the task kind of melt down. Ironic right? I mean, this is the same kid who has a genius IQ. The same kid who made all A's in his AP Algebra class. He was recognized by his school for academic excellence in AP Integrated Physics and Chemistry. Yeah, mommy can't help him with homework no more.

For all Eddie goes through, for all his struggles and labels, he is the one instrument God uses most to refine and teach us. You might see it as a negative, a sad thing, a woe is me what shall we do thing. Not me. Eddie is a gift. All we have gone through has been a gift of God's mercy, His grace, His love, His shaping us, His teaching us and so on. And the Father has taught us so much through our son. In my eyes, he is absolutely gifted. I know now there was no need to test him. Gifted with the ability to see the world differently than you and I. Gifted with the ability to walk, dance or run to whatever drum he hears. Gifted with emotional currents that run deep and strong. Gifted with the knowledge of a Father in Heaven, the love of Christ and the grace of a cross.

I wish you knew him like we did...I wish you knew about his imagination that just makes me shake my head and smile. I wish you knew exactly how sweet, caring, insightful and funny he is! Oh my word is he funny...and he can draw, he loves to draw houses and designs buildings and airplanes all the time. Oh, and he'll build you anything, and I mean it, anything, from a few legos, in fact he wants to be an architectural engineer. When he was two he wanted to be a paleontologist...but I think that changed once he saw Jurassic Park. Unlike full blown autistics, those who are considered mildly autistic don't necessarily have a problem with affection. Eddie, truly has no problem here...sometimes out of nowhere he will walk up to me or his dad and say "hug time!" and the death grip is on baby!

And since it's my blog and since it's Eddie's birthday I want to share with you some of the gifts I've received from Eddie:

Don't make excuses, make it happen.
Words hit harder than fists.
God hears you even when you don't say anything.
Just keep swimming.
We would have to be stranded all alone in the desert not to break any of the 10 commandments.
It's always a good time for a laugh.
Sometimes you just gotta cry.
Girls, especially sisters, are just wierd.
Vegetables are evil.
The ocean is full of water.
God is good no matter how bad it gets.
Don't freak out about the forest, take it one tree at a time.
It's always a good time for a hug.
Moms are supposed to be fluffy and comfy.
Most of the life-lessons I will try to teach him, I still need to learn myself.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17