I think I was a little too hasty in saying that my allergies weren’t too bad this year. They have arrived! The morning Claritin and pepper spray is still helping and I do feel like they are under better control than in past years, but I’m still struggling right now. In fact, last Tuesday I was so wiped out from lack of sleep and drugs that after I got home from taking the kids to school, I sat down on my bed to do my devos, like normal, and fell asleep! I never do that! The bad thing is that I was supposed to go to a funeral that morning, but I didn’t make it. I really didn’t want to go, anyway, but I probably should have.
Fortunately, they did not bother me this past weekend when I went to Ladies Retreat. I have had some pretty miserable weekends at those retreats in the past. I’ll write more on the retreat later.
So, my new classes are underway. I’m not really crazy about either one. I’m especially not crazy about having class from 5:30 to 11 pm two nights a week. Both our professors want us to participate by using our microphones. I find that a little nerve wracking. Some people even use their video cams and it’s been kind of funny for me to watch them. They tend to forget the whole class can see them and I’ve seen them making threatening gestures at their children, being asked if they know where something is, etc. One even got up and started doing her daughter’s hair during class! There is no way I’m turning the video on my tired, allergy face as I sit, propped on my bed. Besides, it would probably look like I have 2 or 3 chins the way I’m positioned on the bed.
I’ve had to turn in some work in the British Lit class and have received good remarks and scores from the professor (a man) on them. I’ve never been a big fan of early British literature, so I guess I must be doing ok, though! Of course, he has yet to see my Beowulf responses. We did Beowulf in high school and I did not like it then. The passage of 30 years did not change my opinion, I found!
I ended up getting a perfect score – 100% - in my Major Literary Figures class I took the second half of summer. I ended up doing one of my research papers on Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Pedestrian.” I came to really appreciate his writing through this class, which surprised me because he was primarily a science fiction writer and I do not like that genre at all. But he wrote enough other stuff to make him more than palatable. His prescience on the subject of what television would do to people is uncanny. And then I wrote about Emily Dickinson’s obsession with death. I did that entire paper in one afternoon, start to finish. Anyway, I was pleased with my scores!
The kids are having to put themselves to bed on the nights I have class. I hate that, but there’s no real way around it the nights David works. The first night went horribly. I did all I could to ensure that the girls knew exactly what was expected out of them – I made this little chart with times and duties, ending with “lights out.” I went over it with them before class started and I even texted Lizzie on her tablet to remind her. Nothing. I got out of class and they were still up, clothed, and messing around. I was mad. I was also upset in general to the point that I finally got the girls to bed, came downstairs, and just bawled as I got stuff ready for the next morning. I am busting my rear end right now trying to make a better future for all of us and this is the kind of cooperation I get? Not that I expect the girls to understand that, but I do expect them to obey. The girls’ therapist tells me that I am overwhelmed right now. That could be. You get so used to living a certain way for so long that you no longer even recognize that it's not normal. I think I've been overwhelmed since we started the adoption process, actually. But I think she was just talking about right now - I'm more overwhelmed than normal, apparently.
But it’s gotten better. Actually, what I did was that the next time I had class I brought my laptop out to the living room. I sat in the recliner and positioned each girl on opposite ends of the couch with only a book for company. For 2 ½ hours they had to sit and only read. They were dying from boredom and I was laughing on the inside. It’s amazing how much better they were at obeying last night when I had class and David wasn’t here again!
Last week Sam brought home a school project that about made me cry. I’ll definitely be keeping this one. I sent it to Will and he sent back a “sniff” emoji – it got to him, too! What was it was was a newspaper set-up. Sam’s was called “The Samuel Times” – that kind of idea. He had to draw a picture of himself at the top and then the instructions were for him to “write a news story about an important event in your life.” This is what he wrote:
My Dad passed away when I was 5. At the time I didn’t really know what happened when my Mom told my family. Everyone in my family was crying, except me but I could feel the tears hiding. For the funeroll I wore a fancy suit, before the funeroll I played in the church (the church I go to) for a little bit. Now I live with my Mom, sisters and my brothers, and recently one of them got marraid that was also imortant to me.
They had a section called, “The Inside Scoop” where the kids tell their name, age, family members, and things they like. Sam reported that when he grows up he wants to be an “egeneir” and the nickname that he would choose for himself is, “The nice guy.”
They also had a section called, “Meet My Hero” and in the box below, Sam wrote, My brother Will. This is what he wrote:
My brother Will is an example on how I should act and how to grow up heathly and strong. He is married and is living happy.
And then he drew a little stick figure couple holding hands and labeled it, “Will and his wife”
We’ve had two families leave our church in recent weeks. It’s so discouraging. They’re long-time members and I just don’t know what to think. I actually met with one of the couples to find out what was going on because they’re my friends and I’m concerned. Paul always had the viewpoint that once you commit to a church by membership only death or a move should take you out. He watched a church split happen when he was a teenager, so I can understand why he had a sour viewpoint on the idea of people leaving. I can’t go that far in my thinking. There are times when a change needs to happen, for one reason or another. I’m not going to judge whether it’s justified or not. But what I do know is that when a family leaves a church it hurts. It changes relationships. I just hate that. I’m not even saying that I, myself, would not leave at some point. But I would want to be very, very sure that this was God moving me, not my own flesh or hurt feelings. Again, I’m not saying this is why those families have left – just thinking out loud, I guess, of various scenarios that might induce me to think about leaving. It has just created some heart heaviness in recent weeks. I hope we get a pastor soon.
I’m back to subbing. I had my first job two days after school started. Yesterday I worked in the middle school and Thursday I will be in the (more severe) special education room. I could have picked up a couple of other days, too, but I had other things going on and couldn’t take them. The first day I subbed at the elementary I was at recess and was catching up with another associate I met last year who I know is a Christian. We were chatting and she was telling me about her mother who has Alzheimers. She’s entered the stage of the disease where she’s just plain rude and mean to her family members and this associate was telling me how difficult it was for her. I made a comment to her that we both believe that God ordains a person’s day of birth and death and that since her mother has not yet died, there is still purpose for her life. It may not necessarily be for her own sake anymore, but for those who love and care for her. Then I had to take the kids back inside. I was almost to the door when this associate ran up to me and exclaimed, “I just need to tell you – God sent you! I needed to hear what you said and I believe He put you out here just now for me!” Wow! I don’t think I said anything that’s a great mystery, but you just never know how God can use you and how important your words can be.
Sam said there’s been a boy in his class who has, evidently, picked up a lot of negative on President Trump at home (or the news or anywhere, really). He said one day at lunch the boy was demanding to know whose parents had voted for Trump. Sam bravely told him that his had and then this boy just lit into him about what a dumb choice that was. Sam’s learning about the Proverb that advises the reader to “not answer a fool according to his folly”!
One day last week David texted me to let me know that he had locked himself out of the house. I began to text him to let him know that I do keep an accessible spare key for events like this. But before I could send it he texted me back to tell me, “not to worry” – he had managed to break a screen and climb through a window. Nope…no worries at all…as she bangs her brand new iphone against her forehead…
So, like I mentioned, I did go to Ladies Retreat last weekend. The speaker was really wonderful – talking about hardships in life and relating them back to the biblical Sarah, Job, and Joseph. One thing she said that I liked so much was this: If God does not do something for you (as you are entreating him to change your circumstances) then He is doing something IN you and THROUGH you. In another session she talked about how suffering is an honor. God is using us to further His plans. I just knew I needed to be there this year before I even went and being reminded of all these truths really made me glad I listened to that small voice that said, “Go!” She also lightly touched upon the fact that suffering does, indeed, come FROM God, which I am still trying to wrap my brain around. We always say that well, God allowed such and such to happen. But according to Job, God sent his trials. I want to go back and study that some more because this is a different way of thinking.
We ended up staying in the new cabins, which was a treat. I can see why they rent for $300 more than the other ones during the family camps! They were nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed at. Except for the mattress – that was still pretty rough. It was a good retreat. The Faith bookstore was there, like they always are. I had no intention of purchasing anything because I don’t even have enough time to read the stuff that I am supposed to for school. But…
One thing I’ve been praying for lately is discernment. I’m figuring out what I believe because it’s truth, not because someone else tells me it is right. And they had this book by Tim Challies. I’m already familiar with him because I have read a few of his blog posts. So, I guess I’m going to be reading something after all.
And, lastly, I have a song. I don’t know how long it’s been out, but someone put it on FB last week and I’ve been listening to it nonstop ever since! It just makes me want to cry – in a good way. You can watch the video here (and do – it’s so sweet) Slow Down. Here are the lyrics:
I got home from Ladies Retreat Saturday evening and both girls were all over me, demanding to know if I had missed them. Later, my Miss Independent, Sassy Pants, You-Can’t-Tell-Me-What-to-Do Ellie crawled into my lap, burrowed her head against my chest and entreated softly, “Don’t leave me again, Mommy!”
She needs me.
And I need her.