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All Things

Life has been absolutely hectic lately. I got back into town Monday afternoon and have been running non-stop since.

See that single sentence? It’s taken me ten minutes to write it. Because of Ellie. Sam caught her scraping my cabinet door (no damage, thankfully) with a tool I told her to put in the mud room. She couldn’t give me a reason she had done it, other than, “I wanted to.” No sooner did I release her in frustration and Lizzie comes to me complaining that Ellie had just said something rude to her. Yesterday I was informed that in the middle of the night Ellie got out of bed, came downstairs, and brought up food and hair supplies and began playing with her doll’s hair and eating in bed. Lizzie said she put everything back. The night before that Lizzie had been sent to bed early for bad behavior and I caught Ellie sneaking up Lizzie’s kindle and cookies and pop and stuffing them under Lizzie’s bed for her enjoyment during her long night! I do not know how to get through to this child and I find that I am actually a little irritated with God at the moment. Wrong, I know, but it’s there.

Look, we heeded His prodding to take in kids who needed a home. And then what happens – I get widowed! So, I don’t have to keep the kids, but I do. And then what? It turns out they both have RAD, with Ellie’s being especially bad right now. So, I’m supposed to do this all by myself and I get stuck with a kid who apparently has no conscience or motive to obey whatsoever. And I have to put up with her for the next 13 years, not knowing how terrible her behavior may get during that time. I’ll give myself a pep talk later about this. Right now, I’m just a little bit mad.

It’s a half hour or so later now and I’m feeling a bit better. I think I mentioned in my last post that I recently joined a RAD support group on FB. I haven’t decided yet if this is a good thing or a negative thing in my life. I am horrified by some of the stories I read, but then there are encouraging posts, too, from moms whose kids have largely grown out of a lot of their more severe behaviors with maturity. They highly recommend this book on the site entitled, “When Love is Not Enough” so I may order that. And there does seem to be some good advice given by the more seasoned moms. I am finding that a number of them are Christians and, even, homeschoolers, too. That makes sense since a lot of Christians who adopt view the process as a “calling” as we did. I suppose I could compare this to being a missionary, I guess. Plenty of missionaries get the “call” to the field but when they get there they encounter trial after trial. Maybe they feel exasperated with God at times, too.

So, I see it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written. What’s been going on since then? A lot. Last weekend we went to Waterloo for the Fourth of July. That was nice. All three of us were together again with our assorted off-spring. My kids were very well-behaved (at least in my presence – hard to say what went on when I wasn’t around). Arien even came, too.

The kids and I headed back Monday afternoon. Then that evening we went down to the Pville fireworks. Best. Show. Ever. I know, I say that every year, but this year it really was. We had just been to the Waterloo fireworks two night before and they were pretty much what I remember from my childhood – kind of “eh.” Some mediocre displays and then a traffic jam. That’s the way the Council Bluffs fireworks were, too. I think that’s why I was perfectly content to watch the displays on tv for so many years. But then we moved here and oh, my goodness. What is it about small town firework displays? I guess the town had been celebrating all day with a pet show, a hymn sing, a dance display, and of course, the parade in the morning. But we weren’t here for all that. So, David, Ben, and the Littles and I staked out our spots and then just before it got dark Will and Arien and her 4 younger siblings arrived. It was really fun!

And then I spent the rest of the week getting ready for the council meeting Thursday night and doing my bi-monthly grocery shopping, and getting two months worth of photos printed (an ordeal). David was helping our neighbor move boxes to a storage unit in Carlisle for much of the week so he wasn’t around a whole lot. I was at Walmart with Ben and three whiny children on Wed. David volunteered to drive up and collect them all (I love that boy). And then my phone went totally dead. I couldn’t believe it! I had been attempting to download photos from it to their photo machine and never did get it to work, so I don’t know if that had something to do with it or not. But I could not get that thing to turn back on. I was SO worried! I went back to the electronics dept. and they plugged it in for me and couldn’t get it come on and intoned that something might be seriously wrong with it. So, I quickly checked out and ran across the street to a U.S. Cellular store, even praying as I did so (my prayer went something like, “Lord, if you can raise a dead man, you can surely revive my phone!” Kind of pathetic in retrospect, I know…) I got right in at the store and the guy smiled, hooked my phone up and showed me how you just plug it in, and push the power and start button at the same time – and bingo, the dead becomes alive! That was stress I didn’t need. Oh, and I had to go to Iowa City with Lizzie for her teeth on Tuesday.  Busy week.

I had my first class Thursday night, which was another stressful event because my laptop decided, 7 min. before the start of class, that it was a good time to do updates and shut down. And then, when it came up again, I couldn’t get into my class! So I was 8 min. late. This is American Lit and the professor is the same one I had for my very first class in Jan. I like her.
Yesterday, we spent all day at Adventureland. The Littles and I had not been there in 4 years. So, it was our first time without Paul. I ended up dreaming about him last night – wonder if that’s connected? I have so many good memories of him at that place. We always had a nice time together there.

But we had a very nice time yesterday, without him, too. Arien came along. The weather was nice and the kids were not at each other’s throats. Even Ellie was good. We spent about 10 hours there, with a break for lunch. Jethro’s just opened up a pizza joint across the street from the park, so we walked over there. David was about ready to kill Sam, though, on the way home. We had to cross a pretty busy street to get back to Adventureland, so we all ran like crazy to avoid getting hurt. Ben and the Littles had to hold onto a big person’s hand. Well, Sam began hopping instead of running. David, who was holding onto him, was so mad and demanded to know why Sam thought that was a good idea. Sam said he was pretending to play “Crossy Frog” (or something like that). It’s a video game where animals try to cross busy streets without getting smooshed by vehicles. His reasoning made me want to laugh, but really – that was NOT a good time for life to be imitating art!
I ended up with a 96% for my last class. I was actually pretty bummed. It’s an A, but I wanted to end up with a higher A. I think I should spend some time working on my perfectionistic tendencies.

I had to get my dishwasher repaired the week before last. That ended up being a small ordeal. I bought an extended warranty on it and this is the second time I’ved had to have someone come out, so I think the money was worth it. This time, they told me the technician would be there between 12 – 4 on Wed. So, I arranged my schedule to make sure I was home at those times. Earlier that day Fed Ex delivered a package addressed to “Paul Heywood” which kind of bothered me. Who doesn’t know he’s dead? Well, Best Buy, apparently. It was the part for my dishwasher that the repair guy would need. So, at 4:20 when they had not come, I called the Geek Squad. They told me that they had called and left a message three days earlier letting me know they couldn’t come Wed. That was news to me and I told them I had received no such message. But they said they couldn’t come until Saturday now. I told them that wouldn’t work because I would be out of town. Eventually, it came out that they had called Paul’s old phone number. Ok – that made me hot because three years ago I had called Best Buy and asked them to get everything pertaining to Paul out of their system. They assured me they would. So, I told the person on the end of the line that this error was not my fault and because of that I expected them to get someone out to my house within 24 hours to fix my dishwasher. They were still insisting at that point that it would be Sat. before someone could come. I finally exclaimed, “Look – I am a widow with 6 children. It is a hardship for me to not have a working dishwasher!” Which, it is, since I was the one washing everything by hand! But even as the words left my mouth I thought to myself, “Oh, my goodness – how spoiled do I sound?” I did hold my ground because this was their error and in the end, I got what I requested. By noon the next day I had someone in my kitchen fixing my dishwasher. Lizzie wanted to know why I was “yelling” on the phone, but I really wasn’t. I told her I was being firm – with a raised voice. If Paul had been alive I would have handed him the phone by that point and let him deal with them. Although, if he was alive I wouldn’t even be on the phone because there was no way he would have ever bought a warranty – he would have just fixed the thing himself. But it was another evidence to me of the strength I’ve gained because I have to do things alone now.  I probably sound like I was a real crab, but I don't think I was.  I always remind myself that the people I'm talking to aren't responsible for the errors made - they're just doing their job.  But sometimes you have to be pretty firm to get the results you want, just the same.

I was reading a post on-line yesterday and the author wrote, “I didn’t know her from atom.” I about started banging my head on the computer right then. Will said it might have been an auto-correct mistake. I hope so. Or, else it’s just another sign that, as a people, we are completely and utterly doomed.

It looks like Ben is going to be starting at Hy-Vee probably in August. We have a meeting set up for the last week of this month to discuss all that will need to go into making this happen – transportation, job coaching, etc. I sure hope the fact that we’ll be gone for 4 or 5 days towards the end of Aug on vacation won’t present a problem for him. And I am hopeful that we’ll have the approval on his day hab soon. This is ridiculous.


I finally got around to reading Sunday’s paper on Wednesday (not unusual for me, actually). A couple of things caught my eye. One was an obituary for a couple. It was a second marriage for both, with both of them having been widowed from their first spouses. They were married to each other in 1990 – older couple. The obit stated that the husband had died on June 29 after a four year battle with cancer. And then the next day, his wife very unexpectedly died, too.

That’s the way to do it.

And then in the “Milestones” section of the paper was this very personal ad that a woman submitted Above her words was a picture of herself and her three grown sons and judging by the glasses and mustaches, it was probably taken in the mid-80s. She writes, On July 5th, 1939, Cedric Reames Sr. and I, Dorthy Tyler Reames were married and blessed with three sons, Ted, Tim, and Sean. Although, I have lost them all, I would like to share my loving memories on this 77th anniversary. You loving wife and mother, Dorthy Reames.

I thought this was so poignant that I ripped the ad out of the paper. She lost her entire family – outlived every single one of her children. She’s got to be at least 95 today. But she’s still loving them.

I will be, too, when I’m that age. No matter how much they exasperate and hurt me or make poor life decisions. Or if I outlive them all.

It’s been another rough day with the kids. Oh, actually it hasn’t been that bad. But single incidents have a way of coloring the entire day. Right now one of the girls is lying to me and I’m pretty sure it’s Ellie, but I don’t have enough evidence to convict her. And she’s sure not going to convict herself. I just get so tired of this constant disobedience and shiftiness. Someone asked me today how my summer was going and I told him honestly, “Awful!” Between Ellie and figuring out Ben’s future and dealing with Sam’s stuttering and keeping up with my schoolwork, the past few weeks have been hard! I’m going to lose readers if I keep whining like this.

I think probably the national events of this week are weighing on me, too, with the shooting in Minneapolis that was livestreamed onto Facebook and then the slaughter of the police officers in Dallas.  While the adoptive moms in my transracial group are going crazy over the first shooting, I'm reserving judgement until I hear both sides.  We've only heard the one side.  But it's obvious that these racial tensions (fueled by the minorities and the mis-directed Black Lives Matter campaign) are getting worse.  Between that and the very real threat of terrorism on our soil, it's enough to discourage anyone about the future.

Will and David leave bright and early for Jr. High camp tomorrow. Will is counseling and David is working. I guess the last week he worked the camp was so short on lifeguards, they had David doing that for some of the week. He said he kind of liked the “power” the whistle gave him! But that is definitely going to make for a harder week here without them.

Ellie has surgery on Thursday to remove the cyst off her ankle. I hope that’s a quick event. But, actually, if she had to lie around for a few days recovering, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, either.

I’ve been asked to write another article for Horizons. I was pretty tickled that the editor reached out to me this time. She wants an article on single parents, their needs, and the church. I have a lot swirling in my brain. I’ve only got about 4 weeks to get it in.

And this single has a need! I am having the hardest time finding a babysitter for the day, later this month, that  I take Sam to visit the speech therapist. I have already struck out twice, asking friends from church. Today, one of Ben’s teachers texted me, asking if she could take Ben out to lunch sometime this summer and I texted her back and said, sure, and by the way, do you have any teenagers you’d recommend to me for a sitter? And…silence. She hasn’t texted me back in 12 hours. So, I’m kind of discouraged. I hate asking for help like this.That’s what I’m going to write about in my article.

Tomorrow night I will have class. And I won’t have Will or David to watch the Littles while I’m in front of my computer. And I can’t put them to bed that early. So, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do. I may put in a video, which might entertain them for some of the time. I guess I can threaten them all within an inch of their lives. But it’s going to be hard to be holed up in my room while they are out in the other room doing who knows what to each other. Although, I remember once, when I was doing my winter class with this same professor, one of the students excused herself to change her baby’s blow-out diaper and the professor just laughed. So maybe she’ll be understanding if I have to scoot out to break up a fight or put on a band-aid. I hope so.

Well, this is far too depressing post and I have a busy day tomorrow, so I need to wrap this up. I think I’ll go ponder Rom. 8:28 for awhile before falling into bed, “For we know that ALL things, including rotten children, single parenthood, faulty insurance companies, bored and contentious disabled children, broken dishwashers, allergies, school work, and a lack of time, work together for them who love God and are called according to His purpose.

All things.


  1. It was good to spend the day with you at the CBF Reunion and catch up with you! Hope you get home safe tomorrow. Take care!


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