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Seed Sowing

I am sitting here waiting for some friendly acquaintances to arrive – and dreading it. I just don’t feel like being sociable tonight. I’m really getting bad with this lately. All I ever want to do is retreat to my house and not talk to people. I’ve noticed a marked increase in this since Paul’s death, of course, but ever since my church attendance has become not as regular as it once was, I’m getting worse. I know it’s not a good thing. And, the church attendance thing – is temporary. Just until I’m done with school. And I’m still attending – just not on Wednesdays anymore and not every single Sun. evening. Some seasons in life require that.

But, anyway – I haven’t had my AC looked at since 2012, presumably, when Paul was still alive. I assume he checked it over that summer. But I haven’t had it looked at since. So, one of his old co-workers and his entire family, since they are homeschoolers and I helped them get started with that years ago, are coming out. With my adoration of personal comfort it would be disastrous for my air conditioning to go out!

Oh, and I will be more sociable next week. Tuesday, Kathy and I are spending the day together in Council Bluffs and Thursday I am going to lunch with a new friend. So, I’m not a complete hermit yet!
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I found out this week that we got approval on Sam’s braces. So, he’ll get them on Aug. 8, the same day Lizzie gets hers tightened. It will be the same thing – top only, for about 6 months or so. He also picked out some new glasses frames this week since his others have been lost for about two weeks now. I figured that setting up an appointment to get the frames picked would be a sure  - fire way to find the glasses, but it didn’t work that way this time. He picked out some thick, black frames – he’s going to look like Buddy Holly. I told him that but he just looked at me blankly. Before his time, I guess.

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The kids were really good during my class Monday night (much to my surprise). I let them have unlimited screen time for that hour and a half, which might have had something to do with it. But I never heard a peep out of any of them.

I’m liking the class. We’re progressing chronologically through American literature. It’s really interesting to me. I think I like the Americans better than the British writers! They don’t seem so bogged down in prose, like the English. Of course, I just came off a term of Victorian literature, which I’ve always found a bit tedious. Although, this week I had to read some Thoreau, which was a first for me, and I thought he got awfully wordy. We read a short book written by a Mrs. Rowlandson which detailed her 11 week ordeal in the 1600s after she and her children were kidnapped by Indians and one of her children even died during the captivity, as a result of getting shot by the Indians. She was such a humble woman and continually praised the Lord throughout her entire ordeal. I may end up doing my final paper on her.

We also had to read two different slavery accounts. One I could only skim because it was so horrific. The other was some writing by Phyllis Wheatly. I’d like to introduce the girls to her writings someday. She was brought to the U.S. as a child from Ethiopia and, while a slave, was treated more like a daughter by her owners. She was eventually freed and wrote wonderful poetry in which she thanked God for allowing her to become a slave because it was through that experience that she was introduced to Him. But I don’t think most slaves would have that perspective.

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Well, Ellie did not have her surgery after all this week. I took her Monday for her pre-op visit and the dr. told me that her cyst had ruptured (I had noticed it was looking flatter) and he didn’t think there was a reason to do surgery now. That area of her skin is definitely darker and he said that’s the blood from the cyst. So…maybe her body will reabsorb it? I wish I had thought to ask him that. But, I definitely think if there’s a way to avoid surgery and all the potential complications from anesthesia and being cut open, that’s a good thing, too. I guess I’ll just keep an eye on the spot and if the normal color doesn’t come back after a reasonable period of time, I’ll have it looked at again.

I thought it was so sweet, though, this week. I got a phone call on Thursday and my phone showed the unfamiliar number was coming from the Mason City area. I immediately became concerned because that’s where David and Will are this week. I thought maybe David had been injured on the job and the camp was calling to let me know. But it was just David. He borrowed the camp’s phone (the part-timers have to turn in their phones) just to check on Ellie, remembering that she was having surgery that day. He’s all heart.

And I can almost guarantee you that Will had no clue Ellie was scheduled for surgery. And even if he did know, he wouldn’t remember. But…Sunday night around 11, he had just finished packing and was about to warm up food for a late supper before going to bed. He had to be up around 5 or so to leave for camp. I walked into the bathroom and discovered that the water from Ben’s bath had never drained – and it wouldn’t go anywhere. Will spent an hour messing with the pipes before finally pulling out a clog. He didn’t have to do that. I could have gotten by with the upstairs shower all week. But that’s how he shows love. David makes phone calls. Polar opposites. Both – my boys.
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It was another difficult week with Ellie. I think I am going to order a couple of different books that keep popping up in discussions in my RAD group. Not sure when I’ll have time to read them, though. I’ve been giving this thought and I am coming to the conclusion that a lot of the responsibility in dealing with her is going to rest on me. I know how easy it is to develop a bad attitude against a child. Well, anybody, for that matter. After awhile of being abused, you just assume that the kid is up to no good and I know I tend to be more defensive, snippy, and crabby with that kid. It’s really hard to act loving when you don’t feel loving. But, if I don’t, that’s only going to serve to increase the bad behavior on her part. But, boy, it’s hard to keep giving when I know the love is not returned. However, I am fearful that I will get to a point like some of the other parents have in my group, where the connection is never made and the kid is so out of control that trips to the principal’s office are a common thing and even, sometimes, custody has to be relinquished back to the state. It didn’t help that I read this week that Jeffrey Dahmer and some other serial killer most likely had RAD!

I cannot get her to stay in bed at night. I can buy an alarm system at Walmart for about $100, I’ve found. But that means I’d have to keep the girls’ door shut at night and I really don’t want to do that. Plus, it would be going off if they ever got up to go to the bathroom. I’ve thought about tying her to her bed, but I’m fairly certain that is frowned upon by the Child Protection people. I guess another option would be drugging her at night so she’s so sleepy she doesn’t wake up, but I hate to do that, too, esp. with kindergarten starting in another month.

She deliberately threw a ceramic lamp onto the deck this week. I bought three of these things at the beginning of summer. They’re solar lamps – they collect sunlight all day and then shine at night. Well, somehow one got broken recently. I suspect it happened the other night when Will was shooting raccoons off the roof (he was on the roof, the raccoons were in my garbage). I didn’t know it had happened, but Ellie saw the broken lamp on the deck and decided that meant the other lamps were fair game, too. So, she grabbed one and threw it onto the deck, whereupon it, of course, shattered. Who does stuff like this? What kind of mind would even think of doing such a thing?

One trick I pulled out this week was one I’ve done with Lizzie in the past. I happened to think of it when someone in the group mentioned doing something similar. It was lunchtime and Ellie announced she wanted a ham sandwich. I calmly made her a peanut butter one instead. When she protested, I said, “Oh, I figured you were just lying again!” Oh, she was mad!  I remember it being an effective technique with Lizzie, but I’m not so sure about Ellie. I explained (again) that when a person makes a habit of lying, we can only assume they are lying all the time. But Ellie was so angry she threw the sandwich down and announced, “I am never going to eat food again!” Yeah, good luck with that one, Kid! I don’t know if this was a good thing to do or not – I’m kind of grasping right now, just trying to find anything that works. I’m so fearful that Ellie is going to end up in jail – or worse – someday. I’ve got to set that aside, though, and operate from a standpoint of raising her to be a godly young woman – not out of fear for a future that may not come to be. One thing I’ve been thinking about this week is how God “handles” His children. There does come a point where He lets them go – to a certain extent. That’s evidenced by the parable of the prodigal son. But He never gives up or turns His back on them. I know He responds better to us when we’ve hurt Him than I do to my own children. I think there is actually a lot in the Scriptures about the rebellious/wayward child.

Oh, Ellie did get hungry enough by that evening to eat the sandwich!

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The kids and I were talking about the rapture and related events one day this week while driving. Well, Sam and Lizzie were. Ellie just sat there (probably thinking about what evil thing she could do as soon as she got unbuckled). Lizzie asked a really good question. She said, “We’re sinful, right?” I nodded. “Well,” she continued, “If sin can’t be in Heaven, then how can we go to Heaven?” I know she’s saved, but, like a lot of children, the actual understanding of the theology behind salvation comes in bits and pieces as they mature. So I explained how the blood of Jesus “covers” us and in doing so, makes us clean. Lizzie said, “So, when God sees us, He sees us covered in blood?!” Well, I guess so – sort of. But it’s not nearly as gross as what Lizzie was imagining!

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Ben went to Genesis today – we finally got approval for that. It’s been 11 months since he was last there, but I guess when he walked into the main room, other attendees start calling out excitedly, “Ben’s here, Ben’s here!” So, he finally had something to do today. I had to go pick him again because his HIRTA transportation had not yet been approved (that came in late this afternoon). Two young adults in our church work there now, so Ben thought that was pretty neat he got to spend the day with them.

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I got the upstairs bathroom painted this week. I hadn’t planned to get that far but once I got the last of that wretched wallpaper border down, I found myself kind of anxious to the get the project moving. The sloped ceiling is a taupe color and the walls are an icy light blue. I’m going to warm it up with a shower curtain and window valence and some wall decorations I bought last winter. Maybe I’ll haul out my sewing machine tomorrow and start working on the fabric stuff. I think a lot of institutional building interiors are painted light blue because that’s what I’m reminded of right now when I go up there. But once I get all the other stuff in there, I think it will look a little more inviting. The next time I get a 30% coupon from Kohls I’m going to stock up on towels and a new bath mat for the room, too.

My next project is to re-do the hallway floor. Matt and Kirsti gave me some ideas for getting the shine I want so I’m going to experiment with that. After that I’ll paint the new bookshelves Will built for me. Once I get everything done up there, I have a rug picked out on Amazon I want for the floor. That’s my reward for finishing all that work up there!

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Well, I am starting to think I may not have to be sociable after all tonight. It’s after 8:30 and the people still are not here. I’m wondering if they forgot. I may have cleaned my house and baked brownies for nothing.
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After dropping Ben off this morning at Genesis, I came home a different way because I was behind a really slow truck on the highway. I don’t know why people think they need to put put along at the speed limit. But, some friends from church just bought a house halfway between church and my house so I was curious to see if I could find it and see it up close. I did. And then, I detoured through Hartford, mentioning to the kids that their dad and I had almost bought a house there. Well, “almost” is probably not the right word. When we were moving out here we put a bid on a house there and ended up getting outbid.

The kids wanted to see the house, so I tested my powers of recall and was able to actually find it. And boy…it’s really run down. And then I got to looking around the street that this house is on and realized that three houses were for sale on that street alone and that all the houses there were looking kind of shabby. Now, had we bought that house, it wouldn’t be run down, although you can’t control the neighborhood that surrounds you. Chances are, we wouldn’t have lived there that long, anyway, because that house was barely big enough to fit the five of us. We would not have been able to squeeze three more children into it.

But I remember how disappointed I was when we discovered we were outbid on the house. In my mind, I already had our furniture arranged in the different rooms and to find out that we were not going to be able to have the house, after all, was really difficult news. But, of course, God was saving us for this house, which was more affordable and bigger and came with a huge yard for all the kids He was going to give us in the coming years. And, aside from a few houses here in town that aren’t too great, the majority of my neighbors do seem to take care of their properties, which makes everyone’s home look better. Evidently, judging by what I saw today, that would not have been the case with the other house. I told the kids this story today in hopes that it would be something they could tuck away into their own memories and hearts for when life’s disappointments come barreling their way.

They didn’t respond overly much. But they’re still pretty little. All I can do is keep sowing the seeds.

And hope and pray for the best.

































































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