Ambien – setback, stepback, not giving up

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Wednesday around 3am, I felt like a puny junior high girl in PE class…

Good times posing in the Kmart photo booth

Circa 1974ish

My opponent this time wasn’t the rope that was hooked to the gym ceiling that I never could climb at Jefferson Junior HIgh

And it wasn’t the chin-up bar from which I couldn’t pull myself to save my life or my dignity

Wednesday morning, I wasn’t the last one picked for the volleyball match or the girl who lost the softball game

in my red PE  shorts, red and white thin-striped polyester PE shirt with red trim, a lithe and flat female frame devoid of all muscle tone either

No, in the wee hours of Wednesday, I was in bed, in my pajamas, a grown woman!

but I just as felt defeated that night (or should I say morning) sleep mask, pillows, fan going full blast

Tired

because I took the stupid Ambien

it was 3am and I told the Lord I was going to do it

There have been times when I have told Jesus I was going to do something and I knew He wasn’t going to like it

I bet you have too

but I was so tired

and having been up with my orange hair, freckle face OS for yet another night

feeling helpless about how to care for him and desperate for some rest

I swallowed that tiny pill and fell asleep with my sick boy nearby

I continue to trust in the Lord

Middle school Cindy

Blocking out the Enemy’s voices that remind me of my failings

My Holy One is teaching me things

I may falter and get distracted

Day and night

Ambien and life

But there is grace

My Heavenly Father presides over me

And through Him, I can do all things

Even sleep

The Lord loved that little wimpy middle school Cindy way back then and is compassionate towards me now. I’m on his team, He picked me many years ago and doesn’t laugh at my shortcomings but gives me the courage to press on

And so I will try again and claim this promise

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Thanks for listening….I welcome your thoughts and prayers

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Do you remember Sunday?

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On a peaceful Sunday night, quietude filled the home and this mama lounged in her pajamas with the Hubs and her mom. The middle OS Aaron and orange haired, freckle face Isaac were asleep; the kitchen was clean, the dehydrator was going strong as usual.

We were watching a television show I refuse to mention for fear that you would think less of me (!) and suddenly there was a major news announcement. I wondered if there was a severe weather warning. A round of deadly tornadoes has swept our state but the interruption wasn’t from our local tv affiliate, it was from the national news network. The President was going to address the country imminently. What was so important that he had to talk to us so close to most people’s bedtime? Why couldn’t it have waited until the morning? Oh Jesus, what are we going to learn?

The three of us remained glued to the flat screen. As we waited, I googled, hoping to get advanced information that would either confirm or deny my worst thoughts. That was to no avail. Were we announcing another war? Did someone super duper important in the administration die? Was there another terrorist attack?

My spirit felt trapped and my feet unsteady. I wondered about the rest of my family. Would I ever see them again? What about my boy? My Soldier? Surely this news was going to effect him! Something was going to change and there was nothing I could do about it.

Then President Obama appeared on our tv screen. He approached the microphone and gave us the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

Although I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next in our country, I knew what we could expect. The phone rang.

It was our boy.”Did you hear the news?” Nate inquired. “Everyone’s going crazy over here, celebrating. We’re pretty pumped.” What else should you expect at West Point? Of course they were ecstatic and rightly so! These cadets are willing to sacrifice their lives for our country and safety, they should rejoice! Hearing Nate’s voice reassured me.

Of all the places to be on this Sunday night, Nate was at a place of historic significance, an institution (albeit imperfect) but nonetheless a place where honor, duty and country mean something.Lord willing, one day my OS will be able to tell his children and his grandchildren about this moment.

He will never forget the time when he and his fellow cadets rejoiced over the news that the sickening mastermind of terrorist attacks on US soil was eliminated from existence. While I sat in my cotton pajamas with my family, my precious child Nate was amidst people willing to die to defend  our way of life.

Among the most epic of all places to be when this man was killed would be at a military academy. Osama bin Laden was found just yards away from Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point.

In only one year, Nate will be graduating from West Point and most likely going to a place of international conflict. I’m not ready to go there yet emotionally and he’s not ready to go there geographically but we’ll need to gear up fairly soon. The Lord has not prepared me for this yet, I’m taking it day by day, not trying to borrow trouble.

I’m not naive enough to think that all of our world’s problems ended on Sunday when that man was felled but y’all, I’m glad, really glad he’s gone. 

For my next post, I’m going to share a story I wrote nine years ago about something Isaac asked me after September 11th.

Public Service Announcement

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Warning: Portions of this post may be objectionable. They are not perverted or inappropriate but gross. Not gross as in violent or nasty but gross as in revolting and slightly amusing if you are into that sort of thing. If you have a queasy stomach or a sensitive constitution, read this post instead. Consider yourself warned. Thank you for your time.


Isaac had his first soccer match yesterday. My DH and I got into the car ready for this exciting event and the most foul smell poured out of the inside of the car. Like the smell took my breath away. It was a hot and humid day and it was almost like you could see little waves of odor emanating from the vehicle.

I waited for Mark to start the car and put my scooter in the back seat. No way was I getting into that car without some circulation. I’ve got enough to deal with with my broken foot and all. It was physically impossible to enter the car with this sensory assult. We were completely confused as to the origin of this smell, but then I spotted the offender. A small cup of applesauce was on the back seat. Apparently one of the guys left a bit of their lunch on my husband’s back seat. My nose and every olfactory particle of my being was disgusted as I plopped into the front seat. Instantly my husband threw the snack item in the trash and we began our trip. Problem solved, right? Not so fast…

We attended Isaac’s game (they won!) and immediately afterward returned to the car. We opened the car door and again, the nauseating smell returned, stronger than ever. I looked around hoping no one was too close because they would have wondered about the occupants and quite possibly called the police. I asked Isaac if he was the person who left the offending applesauce cup in the car and he confessed. We went to the grocery store and I scolded him for his carelessness. All of us were suffering because of his mistake. How inconsiderate, I fumed as I scooted among the aisles. 

My husband and Ike took the groceries out of the car when we got home and the moment I got into the kitchen, for the third time in less than two hours, that despicable, wretched smell had somehow followed us into our home. Ike was going to get it good, I thought to myself. 

Even though it was dinner time, I told my DH that I wasn’t sure I could even stand to be in the kitchen. I am known for having a very sensitive nose but even Mark could realize our house stunk. So with unmatchable strength and courage, we began smelling the grocery bags. I even told my husband, “praise the Lord, I’m not pregnant, because I’d be losing it all over the place!” We counted our blessings indeed.

First we blamed the baby watermelon but when we moved the baby watermelon to the dining room, it smelled perfectly fine. Then we blamed the pork butt we had just purchased. Surely the name of that cut of meat made it suspicious but alas, when segregated, it was in no way repulsive. What was going on? What smelled? Who smelled? What were we going to do?  Ew!!!


Mark got to the last grocery bag and nearly lost his lunch. His head jerked
back, his nose turned, he grimaced and nearly dry heaved. At last, he had found the culprit! “Ugh!” he exclaimed. “It’s the chicken you bought!”

“I didn’t buy any chicken today,” I replied…

Then a moment of vomitous reality waft over me. I had bought chicken TWO days ago…

The seemingly innocent package of chicken breasts had been baking in my husband’s trunk for two days! How did it smell, you ask? Are you sure you really want to go there? (Here comes the gross part) Ok, well imagine spoiled milk, broccoli, French cheese, baby diapers and death all rolled up into a package of chicken and you have a mild idea of what we were dealing with. Please forgive my careless reference to French cheese. (Having lived in France and having eaten quite possibly hundreds of pounds of French cheese, I feel like I can say this with a measure of expertise and without criticism to Camembert and all my French friends who enjoy it.)


With record speed, Mark ran those rotting chicken breasts to the outside trash. Our house smells returned to normal, hallelujah!

I was looking for someone to blame and it turns out that it was an honest and innocent mistake. The applesauce was innocent. So was my son. And the watermelon. And the pork butt was cleared of all charges despite its dubious name. 

Morals of the story: 

1. Be careful to look for someone to blame, maybe there isn’t anyone to accuse. 
2. Be slow to judge and quick to offer mercy. (We ended up laughing about this after the problem was solved.) 
3. And finally, and please folks, write this one down and learn from my family. 

Meat left in a hot trunk for two days smells absolutely disgusting. Sometimes those are tough and stinky lessons to learn on a hot summer day. 

Officer Christian Fellowship an oasis for a new cadet at West Point

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Yesterday we received two letters from our son and as you can imagine, it soothes my heart to hear from him.

One of the few things my son is doing which do not produce anxiety in my heart is Officers’ Christian Fellowship and for that I say “amen!”

On Wednesday nights, my son and interested NCs have a first name (their very own!) and are allowed to even find a bit of a personality! What a privilege! Most other times, New Cadets are not afforded such luxury. You and I take these things for granted but you don’t if you are a lowly New Cadet.

A place of smiles and fellowship, being refreshed by the Word of God, fresh cookies and caring people. If I were a NC, I think I would live for Wednesday nights.

That’s also where you will find Barry and Barb Willey with Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Each summer in Wednesday, they join the chaplains and after worship time, the cadets get free time to relax, eat sweets and drink sodas.

Then they can get in a line and the Willey’s take a head shot of the New Cadet along with anyone else they want and then Barb sends the pictures to anyone they choose.  What a treat! This is a wonderful ministry at West Point and it’s great that Nate has plugged into the community. Today we received a picture of our son from Barb. It was the first thing I looked for in my email box this morning.

Nate is smiling!

He looks happy!

He has friends!

I am overjoyed!

Last night apparently my son sought Barb out and made sure he got a picture. He even asked for his buddies to be in the picture which makes me want to cry, (I’m tearing up right now). I am so thankful for the Willey’s. I love their servants’ hearts, they are reaching out not only to the cadets and New Cadets but to their families. I am comforted knowing my son had a mama’s arms around him even if they weren’t my own.

According to Barb’s facebook, she was up until 4am downloading photos knowing eager parents would want to receive the photos. I can relate. Although I wasn’t up until 4am, last night I received a late night email from a student needing a “word of faith.” She was hurting and needed some encouragement. I wrote her back immediately because she needed to know someone cared.

Isn’t that what we all want? To know someone cares? I sure do! In a letter from our son, Nate wrote about how Colonel Cook’s sermon on Psalm 121 was so applicable. “I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help?” He said, “it’s pretty cool when you’re at Trophy Point and you have hills surrounding you.”

Nate will always have beautiful memories of how God’s Word was so alive during his time at West Point.

The Lord is caring and providing for our son, he feels God’s presence in this place.

Maybe not when the cadre are screaming at him but he is finding a peace that passes understanding. God always cares, always understands, is 100% dependable. 

Today I lift my eyes and hands up to the Lord and offer a word of blessing upon friendships, old and new, near and far and the body of Christ working together for His glory and kingdom.

Update: Now, five years later, my oldest olive shoot, Nate knows even more intimately how the Lord and His Word can speak to a Soldier’s spirit. During his recent journey through Ranger School, Nate found God’s Word just as relevant and life-giving. I just love what he wrote on the inside of his cap!

Click Officers’ Christian Fellowship for more info about OCF and check out this facebook page OCF at UMSA!

 

Five Piece Puzzle, Sort Of

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For years now we have called ourselves the “five piece puzzle.” We have said that there are only five people in the entire world with our last name (which for confidentiality reasons, I’m not using here). We are surely not saying we are better than any other person in the world, but we’ve always wanted our OSs (olive shoots) to feel special, that being a member of this family is a blessing.


Now that our oldest OS is off at West Point, doing West Point-y kind of things, we are establishing new patterns. On Thursday we went to a local soccer game. It was sad getting only four tickets for the game but nice to do something fun.  We scrambled out the door, I grabbed the camera and then I 
picked up one more thing. I got a picture of Nate and brought him along to the game, sort of. I placed the small picture frame into my United States Military Academy Bag (of course.)

We arrived at the soccer center and took Nate out of the bag.  As usual Nathan was fun to have around. I mean we seriously had a great time with him. The people around us probably thought we were a bunch of goofballs and I secretly wanted someone to ask me what we were doing, but alas, no one did. Shucks. But we had a blast. Correction, Mark and I had a blast pretending Nate was by our side.

I took pictures of Aaron and Nate in random poses…the contemplative, model-like shots were among my faves. 

Sometimes our oldest OS can be a little fussy so boy oh boy, were we surprised when Nathan actually wanted to get a picture with the team mascot Soar. Soar was pretty excited about it too. I think they might be BFF


Nate even sat on his dad’s lap which is something he hasn’t wanted to do for ages! As you will see, we all had a five piece puzzle type of night. 

There is a movie, Lars and the Real Girl, I want to recommend which my husband and I loved. It’s a little strange but very endearing. It is not inappropriate, I don’t think there were any swear words or nasty stuff although the original premise might sound suspicious, check it out! 

Don’t worry about me, I am not delusional, I am in touch with reality, aware of my surroundings and such. I’m just a mom who misses her boy and thinks sometimes laughter is easier than tears

Soldier Boy

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When Nathan turned the corner in the Oath Ceremony, I think I saw a little glimmer of a smile. I think he saw us running after him trying to get a few more pictures. This is a picture of Nate marching with his Company. Doesn’t he look so handsome? It was God’s favor that we were able to see our son fairly easily.This was like the most important parade I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life and trust me, I was desperate to see my child! We were already warned we might not be able to spot him and it was recommended to just simply “adopt” a cadet and start taking pictures. New cadet parents then post them on a website and you might just get a picture of your son/daughter. But oh, what joy it brought to my soul when I saw New Cadet Nathan! He was still hanging in there, praise the Lord! His newly shaved head and BCG’s (otherwise known as glasses), his crisp uniform, my son saluted and seemed to be following orders after a blurry day of instruction. No wavering or hesitation, just a steely eyed forward gaze. There were other people shouting things to their cadets, in particular friends and siblings, as for me, I was simply speechless as the tears poured down my face. Mark yelled something like, “Go, Baby!” but I knew Nathan wouldn’t like it if his mom said something cutesy or strange. I have gotten in trouble numerous times for spontaneous outbursts and I don’t think I want to mess around with a soldier! HA! We were absolutely exhausted so I can only imagine how he felt. While waiting for the ceremony, I finished my letter to him and got it in the mail. I have to write him everyday, that is my promise to myself.



The ride back on our nearly final leg of the journey was quiet. Sniffles could be heard from the back and I had to comfort my two remaining olive shoots who were missing their big brother. We all just want to get back home and resume a new level of normalcy and wear all our newly acquired West Point clothes. I will be wearing something West Point every time I go to the grocery store, Target, anywhere there is a chance someone will see me and realize, “Hey, wait a second, that’s not just an ordinary woman, that’s a mama of a soldier in the aisle, wow she’s a West Point mom!” HA! One door is shut, another one is opening, we’re all adjusting to this new season of life…
if you want to read more about this, click here. Jon Scott, anchor on FOX “News Live” shares his experiences when he dropped his own son off at West Point last year. It is really interesting.

West Point Mom = me

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p1010889The wait is over. The package arrived.

Our son has been accepted to United States Military Academy – West Point!

We were told that if Nathan was rejected, we would receive a phone call; if he was accepted, he would receive a package.p1010896

Just as I was ready to go and speak in a middle school, my husband calls and says, “Nathan got a package from West Point.”

It must have nearly killed Mark to not open the contents but he resisted temptation. p1010891

p1010905Mark captured the moment on camera. This is a very big deal. Our son will report to West Point bright and early 6:30 AM on June 30!

He will attend six weeks of rigorous training (affectionately known as Beast) and after successful completion, begin his 47 month journey at West Point.

I did not grow up in a military family so this is all so new to me.

New terminology, new people, new experiences for all of us, especially our son.

Our family will take him there and say goodbye and not hear much from him most of the summer.

I am not crying as I type this which shocks me.

I am proud, scared, overjoyed, nervous, excited, thrilled, sad and every feeling in between.

I know the Lord is teaching all of us some lessons and has placed all these pieces together for His glory.

I am the mama of a soldier, whoa.