Archive for July, 2011

Putting Away My Cup

When I was a teenager, my mom was often very angry and frustrated. She was mostly mad that we treated her like a slave. She was mad that we would leave our cup next to the sink and not take the time to put it in the empty dishwasher. She was mad that we didn’t appreciate her. We would tell her we appreciated her but it didn’t matter.

I think I understand now why.

Actions speak louder than words.

When my daughter comes in after being home most of the afternoon with nothing to do, and I have just spent the last 30 minutes washing dishes just so I could start making dinner, and she asks so sweetly, “Is there anything I can do to help?”, I want to scream and say, “Yeah, you could have done the dishes.”

I spend a good portion of my day maintaining stuff…mostly other people’s stuff. For the most part, I don’t mind. I enjoy taking care of my family, just as my mom did. But what I don’t enjoy is having to turn a sock that is so stiff and dirty from over wear right side out just so that it can be washed properly. I have told my kids time and time again, “Turn your clothes right side out before you put them in the laundry”, but my words fall on deaf ears. Instead I get, “Thank you for the yummy dinner.” Not, “Can I do the dishes?”

And then there is the stuff. Clothes, toys, papers …stuff. It seems that my days are consumed with sorting, organizing, cleaning stuff. I don’t have the authority to toss it, but apparently only the authority to sort, organize and clean.

I asked my daughter once if there was anything that she thought I was obsessed with. She responded with, “Yeah, cleaning.”

She’s right. I am obsessed with hoping to find a place of solitude, a place that isn’t overwhelmed with junk, clutter, crap. Obsessed with finding a clean place. Yet, I can’t seem to find that place. You have no idea how much this bothers me. I just want to be able to relax, to be in a peaceful, clean place. Does such a place exists? I thought the RV would be such a place. Boy, was I wrong. I thought getting rid of so much stuff would help, but the cycle continues on.

My mom’s place is like that. Always clean. Always free from the junk, clutter, crap. Thank you, Mom, for taking care of us all those years and cleaning up our stuff and putting our cups in the dishwasher. I know that means nothing now. But thank you anyway.

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Back on May 1st, the day we moved to Prineville, we also got a goat. He was a gift for our 10-year-old son, Elijah, whose birthday was the week before. Blackjack was extremely loved and cared for. In many ways, he was like a dog. We would lead him around the yard on a leash. At first we kept him in a kennel in the house, but after a while made a nice place for him in the barn.

This last Saturday, July 2nd, as I was getting ready to close up the Book & Bean, I got a call from Papa Joe that Blackjack had been shot with a BB gun and I needed to get home and take him to the vet. Joe was out enjoying his first afternoon off since we bought the store. Josiah was home with the boys. The girls and I were at the store.

Since it was a holiday day weekend, it took several hours for us to figure out what to do with Blackjack. All the vets I called were gone for the weekend or they didn’t see goats. During that time we were able to discover many things. One, the bleeding was coming from a half inch gash in his back. Also, we found at least 5 wounds from a BB gun. And, a seven-year-old neighbor boy had taken a loaded gun and used Blackjack as his target. His aunt, who was not there when it happened, was a vet tech.

The aunt was great. She got us into a vet, attended to Blackjack’s care, and paid for all expenses. Blackjack had an x-ray and we found two BBs were still in him. Also, the gash needed several stitches. We were sent home with pain meds and instructions on how to give his antibiotics.

Over the next few days, Blackjack was lively. Other than his shaved areas, he looked great and healthy.

On July 5th, I noticed that Blackjack just didn’t seem right. He was peeing excessively and not eating. He also was rather lethargic. I had the aunt come and check him out. We forced him to swallow some water, and decided to check on him in the morning.

This morning, Blackjack was up, but he had vomited. I called Joe and had him get an appointment with the vet. It wasn’t till 3:30 that afternoon. It was 8:30 am. I decided to put him in a cool spot in the shade with some fresh water and come back and check on him later.

At 9:45 am, I went and checked on Blackjack, and he was dead.

I don’t know why he died. Maybe it was an adverse reaction to the antibiotics. Maybe it was something he ate. But it is my very uneducated belief that he died of lead poisoning from the BBs.

His death is more than the loss of a goat though. We have already had problems with a different neighbor kid and now this. We are already not liking being in the house we are in. And now this.

The store, while we love it, consumes us. We love ministering and being a part of the community. But we also would really like to relax at home, spend time in our yard, have time as a family just chilling.

After Blackjack’s death, we closed the store for the day and went up to the mountains to bury him and Josiah’s snake, Lucy, that died earlier this year. It was quite lovely and peaceful.

We have two places that we are looking at moving to. Neither are ideal, but is there such a thing?

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Speaking without Fear

I am struggling. Struggling with the desire to vent, to complain, to get some sympathy, and struggling with the fact that I don’t want everyone to know my business. I write because I find it soothing to get my thoughts down in writing. It clears my head. So maybe what I need is a journal.

Yet, I want to share my thoughts with others. I find it comforting to know that others may find inspiration or a kindred spirit in me. There is a narcissistic reason too. I like thinking that someone or maybe many someones are listening.

Yet, there are some who I don’t want to know my thoughts. Some who twist them. Some who really don’t listen. They only hear what they want to hear. They put themselves into my life when I never asked for them to be there. They don’t care what I want. It is always about them.

So I find myself with words circling around in my head with no outlet, no place to rest. Fear overwhelms my words so that they can not escape. I hate this turmoil, but I don’t know what to do. I just want to be able to speak without fear.

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Do You Have It?

Since the moment of our little girls’ births, my husband and I have been actively trying to protect their innocence and purity. We have dressed them in modest clothes opting not to dress them in fashions that would be seen on a grown woman instead of a child. We don’t put them in mini skirts, skorts, high heels, bikinis, midriffs. We don’t want to have to change the rules at a later date. We set the rules from the start. We want them to respect modesty, appreciate modesty. We want them to know that their bodies are beautiful; that they’re jewels waiting to be revealed at the right time.

We have also set up guidelines to protect the integrity of all our kids and ourselves. Some of my male friends who have worked on music with me know that I won’t practice alone with them. This has made things difficult at times, but everyone I have ever worked with has respected this completely. I appreciate their integrity.

Once my brother asked to take one of my girls to the movies. I had to tell him that we didn’t do that…having our girls be alone with a guy…any guy…fearing he would be offended. He wasn’t in the slightest. He completely respected our decision. He has integrity.

I read once that Billy Graham doesn’t do one on one counseling with women. He always has someone else with him. I think this is so wise. You might think this is foolish. I know better though.

I once trusted a guy…a friend. He told me that in order to really trust me he needed to see and feel every inch of my body. I was naive. I trusted him. An homeschooling author I really admired had her family of ten shattered apart when she discovered her husband had been molesting her oldest daughter. A brother, who was supposed to be protecting his siblings, decided instead to introduce porn to his sister. A police officer, the person who you tell your kids you can trust, rapes a woman. A man, who says she is just like a sister, sleeps with her and destroys forever the complete trust he had.

It happens every day. Men and women find themselves in situations they didn’t intend to be in. Take that politician. It started out as a simple exchange of e-mail addresses and private conversations. They never meant for it to turn into what it did.

But what if he had the integrity to say, “Sorry, for accountability purposes I don’t have private, intimate conversations with women. I am not going alone with you to lunch. Let’s keep it all in the open. Let’s have someone else there.”

Recently, a kind young man offered for us to come and live in his home with him. I politely told him later that I didn’t feel comfortable with that. There would be times when he might be alone with myself or one of my older daughters in his home. I respected his purity as much as my own daughters. I didn’t want it to be awkward for anyone including his future bride. I believe he is a trustworthy man. I have no doubt of that. But it is about integrity and accountability.

If you are offended that someone would have the “rules” of not being alone with you, then you need to ask yourself if you have integrity. Are you afraid of accountability? Any man worth his integrity would honor and welcome accountability.

I am very proud that my husband has this integrity and demands it of himself and others. He has taught me so much over  the years. And one thing he has taught me is that it is not about trust, but accountability and integrity.

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