Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well, we made it through another Christmas. And Megan’s all geared up for the next one. She’s been talking about it since the day after, even though we’ve been telling her it’s an entire year away. That doesn’t seem to dampen her enthusiasm any; she just smiles and says it’s next week and we should keep the tree up for it. ;)

We had a great day, once again filled with traditions. They are what keep us grounded, bind us together as a family, and have a familiar rhythm throughout the years.

Ours start any time in the month of December, with crafts usually involving a tree ornament, as well as taking a drive through local neighborhoods to look at the lights, family parties, and doing an advent calendar that I made myself, the items inside relating to certain scriptures regarding the birth of Christ and the plan of salvation.

Most holiday traditions involve food, and yes ours do too! Growing up, my mother baked gingerbread cookies and my siblings and I decorated them with the colored icings she made and all the tiny decorations she could find. Back then we always had the usual colored sugars and jimmies to go on top, but we also used cinnamon hearts and silver balls. That was back before people started getting anxious about the consumption of silver. Do you know how many of those silver balls I ate as a kid? 

My mom would bake a bazillion gingerbread cookies of  many different shapes, lay out the colored icings and array of decorations, and let us have at it. 

We listened to Christmas albums and one of them was the Do Re Mi Children’s Choir, with very familiar songs. Just hearing those songs brings me back to those innocent times. 

When I had my own children, I carried on the cookie decorating tradition with them, right down to a cassette tape of that very Do Re Mi Children’s Choir album. As the kids grew, I started including neighbor children, most of whom had never decorated cookies in their lives, which amazed and saddened me, and then the cousins joined the annual event. It got large enough that I ended up having it in my sister’s kitchen the last 2 years or so that we lived in MA, because hers was a little larger than my own.

This year we were running a little late because I had an extra project to do right during the week between my birthday and Christmas day. But the kids didn’t mind doing it the day after; at least they got to do it. And yes, in that picture Timothy is indeed decorating his hand with the icing; there is no cookie in his hand. ------>

Christmas Eve, which in my family is sometimes more special than Christmas day itself, has it’s own traditional supper foods for us. Again, carrying on some traditions from my childhood, I make clam dip with my mother’s recipe, and we have homemade or store bought onion dip. We have shrimp cocktail, which the kids LOVE, and a relatively new food was added a few years ago: Buffalo Chicken Dip. <---you can find that recipe at The Magic Meal Fairy

The kids are caught between wanting to stay up late because they’re kids, and going to bed early because they want Christmas morning to come. Phil and I are caught between wanting them to go to bed early because we’re tired and we want to haul the presents out of their hiding places and under the tree, and wanting them to stay up late so maybe by some miracle they’ll sleep late because we’re so exhausted. ;)

Christmas morning we had our usual orange cinnamon rolls, which we have for breakfast on Thanksgiving too. We only have them on those two holidays. But since Caity and I each bought some for Christmas, not knowing the other had, we’ll be having them on New Year’s day as well. Hehehe

After the rush of opening presents and listening to the kids’ excited cries of, “Look!! Look what I got!” died down, we ate our orange cinnamon rolls and generally settled into a day of relaxation and play with our gifts. But I had forgotten one of Caitlin’s presents, a door mirror. I hadn’t wrapped it because it was so big, so Timmy came with me to get it and bring it out to her. She was so funny when she got it; she was holding the mirror and smiling at her image and saying she’d found the perfect person for herself! Of course I had to take a photo of it. 

I wished I had a video camera for earlier when Timmy had carried it out for me. He walked along, then happened to turn his head and notice his reflection in the mirror. Without missing a beat, he smiled at himself and made a clicking noise with his tongue, pointing his L-shaped hand at his image as he did so. You know, like he was giving approval to himself in the mirror. Oh my goodness, I could have died at how funny it was! This is why I need a camcorder installed in my forehead or something, so I can capture these spontaneous things!

One tradition I had started when my girls were very little is eating a pound of Russell Stover chocolates. I think one of my paper route customers had given a box of them to me for Christmas, and we ate them on Christmas day and then every year bought a pound for it. 

It must be eaten Christmas day, with our loins girded, shoes on,  and our staffs in our hands, and any remaining chocolates must be taken to the edge of the property and burned. Oh wait, I may be getting this mixed up with the Passover meal and the Israelites. Well, we do have to eat it all on Christmas day; that much is true.

So, Ryan and Timmy loved their bikes, which Phil and Caitlin had placed out on the front walk for the boys to see for the first time that morning. They were thrilled with them, and immediately went out to ride. Ryan’s bike seems to be a little too big for him, but Phil taught him a way to get it going and then sort of jump on it with one foot stepping up onto the pedal, and it’s working for him. 

They have loved these bikes and ridden them on and off all day long since they got them. And after lurching forward and landing on the bar, they have learned that it’s not a good idea to switch gears while the bike is standing still and then ride it. Unless you happen to like singing soprano. ;)

Ahhhh, what a day it was. And thankfully, no matter what Megan says, it is indeed a whole year away. ;)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birthday Bash!

So, yesterday was my birthday, and what a fantastic day it was. After Ryan and Timmy got up to ready themselves for school, they gave me heck for my age (Ryan) and artwork from school (Timmy). Timmy also gave me a bazillion hugs and I-love-yous. ;)

Phil made breakfast, including chocolate milk, an indulgence we treasure of a morning now and again. And in a perfectly birthday-legal breach of Chocolate Milk Etiquette, I drank in a long drawl of it before I even took a bite of my fried eggs on toast. It was just that kind of birthday.

I spent the early morning get-ready-for-school time writing my little heart out. I actually was late getting Timmy up, so absorbed was I in the article. Thankfully that one has his routine down to an art form. It’s not that he’s so eager to get to school; he wants to make sure he’s exactly walk-out-the-door ready so he can spend every last nanosecond watching a show, or playing on the computer. 

I spent a bit of time on the computer, but since I had been so sick with a stomach virus the day before, I was really wiped out. I napped for two hours! Hey, it’s my birthday. Birthday Rules say that I can do anything I want, and I also don’t have to do any work, either. I chose to nap. Well, my body made that decision for me. ;)

We went to each of the boys’ schools and picked them up around 1:30, surprising them, and went out to eat for my birthday lunch. Growing up, it was tradition in my family to pick your birthday meal. I usually chose meatloaf. When I started having my family, we made it a tradition to go out to eat for the birthday supper. Lately it’s changed to be more of a lunch treat, as the prices are better. And besides, it was more funner to unexpectedly collect the boys from school and whisk them away to a local Chinese buffet. 

You gotta click on this and see it larger!
The place was great and had a larger selection than our former preferred buffet. The kids loved it, Phil and I loved it. Timmy was as off the wall as ever (when is that ADHD appointment, anyway??), but despite annoying and arguing with Megan, one of his favorite sports, spilling a puddle of soy sauce the size of Michigan from a capped bottle, and ignoring my decision that he should NOT sprinkle a few packets of sugar on his ice cream, he really was quite funny.

At one point he stood up to tell me about someone we all dislike, saying, “Mommy, you should see how crazy Maude is!” I was sitting on the opposite end of the table on the other side. Before I could stop myself, I muttered, “I already know how crazy she is.” Timmy stopped mid-chatter, snickered, and said, “Good one!” Then resumed his story about her. Caity put her head to the table, busting up laughing, and I just about choked trying to hide my own laughter. 

We finished up the afternoon with a little shopping, went home, and Phil and I spent the next few hours refereeing the boys as they “played” with the neighbor boys. “Play” being defined as: verb; to pretend you are going to sit around the computer and strategize in a civilized manner how to best win the game on it, when in actuality, you jump up and down, knock over chairs, spill drinks, grab each other’s snacks and then scream, “HEYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!”, smack each other on the head and then return the favor while screaming, “HEYYYYY DON’T HIT MEEEEEE!!!!!!!” and whine and argue about whose turn it is.

And let’s not forget, “HEY YOU MADE ME LOSE MY JOE!!! YOU STUPID STUPID-HEAD!!!!” I can’t use what they really say here because, well, this is a blog about family life and I want you to think my family and I are perfect. ;)

After about two hours of that torture, Phil and I sent the other kids home, and we started tree decorating. This is actually a tradition that started on my first birthday, way back in nineteen-shnkdhuah3nsvlareor6w. My family always decorated the Christmas tree on the night of my birthday, and I always carried it on each year. 

So the tree needed a little help standing up straight. I think maybe he had one night too many of standing out in the tree lot, chugging down Mike’s Hard Miracle Gro with the few buddies he had left. For ease, let’s just call him Bob. Phil and Caitlin worked hard to help Bob out, tilting him here, leaning him there, screwing and re-screwing the tree stand bolts until he stood as nice and tall as a skinny, oddly-shaped tree could stand. Bob ended up having his oddest shaped side turned to face the window, and the last I heard from him was, “ Ah camp breeeeve!”

While all this was going on, Ryan had taken the handmade quilted tree skirt and wrapped it around his middle, as a kilt. 

He went around the house talking in his best Irish brogue, which isn’t easy when you’re 13 and your voice is changing. I followed him and repeated the old Irish Spring commercial where the woman says, “Made for a man, but I like it too!” 

Ryan actually told me to take a picture of it, so I did. This was a rare opportunity to capture his emerging sense of humor, at *his* behest. Yes, I fairly sprinted for my camera and snapped the photo before he changed his mind. ;)

Soon the tree decorating was in full swing, with me in charge of the ornament box trying desperately to run interference as Timotheus grabbed at very delicate real German glass ornaments that cost a lot, almost slinging them through the air as I keep up a steady stream of, 

“No, don’t touch that. I told you I will tell you which ones you can hang. No, leave that one. Timmy, that’s very delicate and expensive! Don’t touch! I said don’t touch! Timmy, these are very old, you need to not touch them. Great Grammie made them. You can hang these unbreakable ones here. No, not that one, that’s my German glass chestnut. No, Timmy, stop grabbing them. Don’t touch. Don’t touch! I SAID DON’T TOUCH!!!” 

Ryan has reached the age where he would be careful, and I felt it was time to show him the confidence I have in him as he’s maturing, so for the first time, he got to help Caity hang the fragile ornaments on the tree. I’m so glad I did, because I think it was a big boost to his self-esteem that we entrusted this responsibility to him. He was very careful and almost business-like in his handling and placement of them. My heart still smiles thinking of it.

And when Bob was in full Christmas tree regalia, lights turned on, oohing and aahing completed, Phil made me sit and my precious family gave me gifts. I got pretty nightgowns and shirts, socks and chocolate,  and….BOOKS!!!! 

Have I ever mentioned my love affair with books?? I devour them ravenously. I read them voraciously. I consume them like a person gasping for oxygen…or maybe it’s they who consume me. ;)

Caity had made me a cake, and it was now time to sing the birthday song. I sang too. ;) Candles had been lit, and thankfully the number of them did *not* come anywhere near my age, or we would have had the fire department here last night! 

I blew them all out, and didn’t need my inhaler afterwards. I noticed later that Phil had bought a package of 80 candles. Eighty?? How old does he think I am?? Crypt Keeper??  

Seriously, though, Phil is the sweetest man to me, and the age thing...he always says my age is ten years younger than it actually is. :) 

The kids ate oversized pieces of my mom’s recipe Velvet Midnight Cake, and that was their supper! By then it was late, and the boys needed to lay their heads down for school in the morning, Megan was ready to go to her hidey hole and color until she went to sleep, and Caitlin had plans to go out visiting a friend. Phil and I slipped off to our haven to relax with a little white merlot and some ID channel shows. I can’t remember what we watched but it was something comforting like Wives With Knives or something. Just kidding, of course! It was the new one, Diabolical. ;) 

And so, as the night wound down, Phil and I chatted about the day, played a little Bejeweled Twist on our laptops, and ordered pizza in from Domino’s. And it was a good day, too, such a good day! I loved it and I truly am so thankful for my family making it so special for me. I hope you enjoy hearing about it. I didn’t even tell you the half of it. Maybe next time. ;) 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Philip’s Christmas Traditions

Traditions are so important in a home. At Phil’s house, the traditions he carried on gave comfort and delight to his family. I know just about everyone has traditions at Christmas time, but of course they’re unique to each family. 

Phil likes to put up a Christmas tree. He didn’t use an artificial one; he likes the fresh trees best. When he put the tree up ranged anywhere from the day after Thanksgiving to a week before Christmas. He and his children liked to decorate the tree together, and they had the typical metal ball ornaments, as well as garland and tinsel.

Christmas cards received from friends and family were taped up around the door frames as decorations, and mistletoe was hung. Phil strung colorful Christmas lights around the front porch and on the two bushes that adorn each side of the porch. 

Christmas Eve sometimes has a special place in many families’ traditions too. With Phil and his children, they would read the account of Christ’s birth in the bible, in the book of Luke. Each family member would take turns reading the verses. 

The children were allowed to open one small gift on Christmas Eve, to “tide” them over until Christmas morning. I know other families do the same thing. 

The children’s stockings were hung on the big wooden piano in the dining room.

On Christmas morning, breakfast was very simple, after opening the gifts, of course. Gifts were always very thoughtful and meaningful. If there was a large gift for one of the children, it was placed outside on the porch, not by the tree. Phil’s children would then open the door to see it and receive it.

Phil’s family always visited his mother around lunchtime on Christmas day, as well as his siblings. She loves putting on a special spread for the family and relatives. 

For supper on Christmas day, Phil would make a wonderful meal, the meat being either ham or turkey. Potatoes, stuffing, yams, beets, and cranberry sauce would always accompany the ham or turkey. Phil and his children would stuff themselves and enjoy the special holiday together. 

Traditions are what make such special memories for families, and Phil and his children have many to look back on and feel good about.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


One of our Thanksgiving traditions: orange
cinnamon rolls with OJ and homemade hot cocoa. 

So, today is Thanksgiving Day. One of my favorite holidays, because of the family togetherness, the traditions, the focus on being thankful and counting our blessings. Caitlin and I worked hard last night to get food ready for today. I used to do it all on Thanksgiving morning, but for pity’s sake, you can guess what a “fun” day that would always be for *me*. ;) So I started preparing as much as I could the day before, and it sure made the holiday a lot more relaxed. Oh I’m so thankful for that! ;)

Anyway, Caity and I got most of the food ready. She actually did  the bulk of it, peeling and chopping the turnip, butternut squash, and potatoes. I was making supper, a new soup and basically winging it, as I had never made cream of cauliflower soup before. In other words, making it up as I went along. ;) So I was pretty busy myself, but what was so good about it, what was so enjoyable, was that we were working together. Due to her work schedule, we haven’t had much time to spend together, and even though you could consider preparing food “work,” doing it with someone you love makes it so much more funner that it never seems like work or a chore. 

Our Thanksgiving traditions are important to us. They’re what binds us together as a family, and they are the anchors that make our lives feel safe, the earth beneath us more secure, throughout the year. Whatever’s going on in our lives, holidays come along and we spend the day in the familiarity of our traditions, and even if it’s just for that one day, even if we have to face something difficult in our everyday lives the very next day…that holiday gives us a reprieve as the traditions give us comfort, a sense of peace, and a chance to immerse ourselves in the love we share as a family. 

One of our traditions on Thanksgiving has been to go around the table and share what we’re thankful for. Some years we’ve placed 3 kernels of corn on each person’s plate and shared three things, other years we’ve just said three things, and some years we just say whatever we think of that we’re thankful for. Ryan and Timmy have been at the ages where they don’t really like being the center of attention right then, so they usually say they’re thankful for the food, or that Christmas is coming, and they want someone else to take their turn. Eh, they’re young yet. ;) 

As the years go by, Thanksgiving becomes more meaningful to the kids, and also to us adults. It’s not that we’re not thankful any other day, I want to make that clear; every day I think of the blessings in my life, and even if I don’t say them out loud or share them with others, it’s the feeling of thankfulness, the gratitude I feel, that swells in my heart until sometimes I feel my heart will just burst. I am so incredibly blessed… 

I am alive; 

I have a personal relationship with Jesus, my Savior; 

I have a bazillion wonderful memories of the best childhood a girl could ask for;

I have been blessed…incredibly blessed, with 4 wonderful children who are here with me, and one in heaven. God actually gave these children to me!  I‘m still amazed, and so very thankful for the gift of being their mother; <3

I have a man in my life who is my best friend, my perfect companion, my soul mate; <3

I was blessed with a mother and father that are awesome, and I love them so much, and I’m especially thankful that even with all the health scares my mom has had the past two years, she is still here, and we are very close; <3

And finally, I’m so thankful for the life God has given me. I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities in my life to experience things I never imagined when I was growing up, that have enriched my life in ways I never knew they would. I’ve been blessed to realize many dreams of mine that I wanted to do “someday”…like being a foster parent, writing and being published, and so much more. I still have more dreams I hope come to pass for me someday, and I know they’ll happen when the right time comes along. I’m just so thankful for the life I live, my life. I truly have been so blessed. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. <3

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mornings, Humor, and Mostly Timmy

Timmy and Caitlin

So, I was washing dishes this morning and Timmy came into the kitchen. He was ready for school with shoes, backpack on, etc. just waiting on Megan to get out of the bathroom so he could use it.

He went to the scale in the hall and weighed himself, then said to me, "That scale must be broken. Yesterday it said I weighed 72 lbs and now it says 84. No way could I gain 12 lbs in one day!" I pointed to his backpack, and he said, "Oh." and giggled.

Going back to the bathroom door right near the kitchen doorway, he knocked again and Megan shouted out that she was hurrying. Timmy came back in the kitchen with me and I called out to Megan, “You need to hurry, Megan; Timmy has to go to school.”


So Timmy says to me with a grin, “I can just go outside and pee in the woods!”

“No you can’t; you know that,” I said with a chiding voice. “ How about you hand me those dirty cups over there?”

Timmy handed me the cups to wash and, eyes sparkling, said, “I’d be doing that, and the bus would pass right on by me!”

Now he raised his hands like he was going to do a double fist pump, and said gleefully, “That would be the hap-piest day of my life.”

And was grinning to beat the band. I couldn’t help but laugh with him and tell him he was a goofball.

Our times in the morning before school are sometimes my most cherished. While Ryan is more reticent and introverted, Timmy, Megan, and Caity are more chatty. Caity is more like Ryan when around strangers, but when we have time together, the two of us are gabbing away like magpies.

Timmy, having turned 10 a couple of weeks ago, has really been developing his sense of humor, and feeling very comfortable with it. It’s something I do notice because I truly value a sense of humor, for many reasons. Ryan seems to still be feeling his out, still trying to figure out what is appropriate humor and what is not. But Timmy is settling into his like a big comfy beanbag on a lazy Saturday morning.

And boy, is he funny! You just don’t know how many times we turn our heads into our shoulders to hide our amusement at the things he says, if it’s something we don’t exactly want to encourage but it truly was funny, and the times we just outright laugh with him.

And laughing together…it’s such a bonding thing. The times we spend working together in the house, cooking together, which Timmy is taking more of an interest in, talking about this and that, they are all times of bonding. But there’s just something about humor, when you laugh together about something one or the other has said, it’s just somehow different. Like it’s really sending the message that you understand the humor, irony, or whatever behind the joke or pun, and “getting it” is sharing something special together. It’s an affirming “you’re okay” message.

Laughing together over something they’ve shared is like throwing little spider webs of connection between me and my children; and they build up day after day to form strong cords, binding us together. It’s just a really special thing, and I am so glad my kids do like to find the humor in things, the funny side of life. It makes our home and family a really fun place to be, a place we want to be. And that’s nice. Very nice. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Photo: Photobucket

I’ve been having such strange dreams lately. The other morning I woke from a dream in which I was trying to take a picture of PepperKitty as he ate clown confetti sprinkles in the street. The camera kept taking what I was focusing on in the middle of the shot and sort of “throwing” it ahead 200 yards so it couldn’t really be seen. I have no idea why I was dreaming something like that, but the clown confetti sprinkles comes from the decorations on a cake Timmy received last Friday from the people who run a camp during the summer that he and Ryan attended. (Isn’t that sweet? They like to keep in touch during the rest of the year, so they come by now and then, even on birthdays!)

Sometimes these dreams are so real, you wake from them and feel like something really happened. You feel the fear or irritation or confusion or happiness, and sometimes physical sensations, just as if they really happened. You know they didn’t.

So, yesterday my weird dream was that Phil and I were bank robbers, and we went in first thing in the morning, ostensibly to rob this bank. He held the gun on the teller while I waited for the money. She came up with almost nothing, and the teller next to her came over and brought her till’s contents, a ten dollar bill. Two other tellers came up with fistfuls of change. I was holding a white envelope open so they could put the loot, and I use that term lightly, in the envelope.

I remember thinking, Wow, this definitely was the wrong time to rob them; they don’t have enough cash this early in the day.

Now don’t go looking for my photo on  the Most Wanted posters; I’m not going to be robbing banks any time soon. At least not at that time of the day. For $11.47, it just ain’t worth the trouble. I could probably come up with more than that in between the couch cushions.

The night before that, I had a dream that we were Amish, but Phil needed more money to support the family, so he was going to take on this job as a trucker. He took me out in an eighteen wheeler to show me the route he would be driving, and it was supposedly extremely dangerous. The route was along a highway, and the pavement went up and down, very hilly, but also had hairpin curves in it. Bad enough, eh?

Well the highway wasn’t on solid ground; it was like a very long rickety wooden bridge with hurricane force winds making it move all over. It just looked like a regular highway. As Phil’s showing me the route, and we’re barreling down it at breakneck speed, I was holding on, terrified, thinking, We don’t need money that badly, do we?? We Amish, we good with the earth, ain’t so?

I was so scared I almost peed myself. Almost. And then I woke up. Maybe it was the moisture on the sheets. ;)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Messy House

My darlings. <3

The other night, I was in the kitchen getting something, and of course, as a mom, seeing the mess and clutter. It was late, and I was so tired, and lately a lot of health issues have been acting up, making life a little more difficult. As well as the ever-present insomnia. Blah. Made me feel so insufficient and inept.

So on Timothy's birthday, as I stood in the kitchen and looked around, feeling my pain and exhaustion and seeing the things that needed to be done, this poem came to me. Seriously, this is exactly what happens; a poem comes to me in a flash, and I literally scramble to find pen and paper to get it down before it disappears.

So, here it is, without further ado. What I learned through the "flash poem" that I myself believe God gifted me with, was that He wants to teach me that I am who He created me to be; I am doing what He has called me to be; and I am doing my best, with what I am dealing with, which is what He gave me Himself to begin with. And it is enough.

My Messy House

My house is a mess,
No silverware clean;
The laundry piled up
By the washing machine. 
The pans on the stove
Are crusty and cold,
While a bowl in the fridge
Slowly grows mold.
Cobwebs in corners 
And pillows on floors;
Smears on the mirrors 
And smudges on doors.
I look at all this,
Wondering what I should do;
But seeing my kids
Always gives me a clue:
I’ll make them some supper, 
It’s pizza tonight!
Have them all help me
And to my delight,
I’ll hear them all chatter
Like little grey squirrels;
Believe it or not,
The boys more than the girls!
We’ll cook it together
And as if with a wand,
I’ll forget all the mess,
For I’m building a bond. 

~VJC 10.24.13~

I love you, Megan Heather, Caitlin Elizabeth, Ryan Anthony, and Timothy Richard. <3

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

I had been listening to some Damien Rice yesterday, one of my favorite singers/songwriters, and while his tribute, singing Hallelujah, was is just not Leonard Cohen singing Hallelujah. 

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the meaning behind the words of this song, whether it’s religious, spiritual, or just plain sexual. 

What does the songwriter himself have to say about the meaning of his song Hallelujah?

 "This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can ... reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that's what I mean by 'Hallelujah.'" -Leonard Cohen.

Exactly true and what the song has always meant to me. All you need to do is listen to the words. 

Sometimes I feel like I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, and a sense of hopelessness at times would weigh down on me, on my very heart and soul, like a concrete block. It’s a burden I’m convinced God doesn’t want us to carry. 

A scripture that has meant a lot to me over the years is Ps. 103:14: “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” God doesn’t expect us to be perfect; He knows how human we are. 

And when we make mistakes and do mess things up, God is there. He is there to pick up the pieces and forgive us, and tell us to move on from there. He offers us grace, and mercy, so that even though it seems we’ve failed at so much, made such a mess of things, we can go on, move forward, and start another day anew. 

Because while we can’t fix things, while we can’t change what has been done…HE can “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” Joel 2:25. 

Reconciliation, redemption, forgiveness, restoration, love, grace, mercy….

We can say “Hallelujah.” 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Love Doesn't Count Chromosomes"

Okay, I know it's late, and maybe no one will understand, but...I needed to reply to an email including info about my daughter Megan. So in explaining something, I was mentioning the world renowned Down syndrome expert, Dr. Siegfreid Pueschel, who diagnosed Megan on the day of her birth and followed her for many years at Rhode Island Hospital. I wanted to make sure I spelled his last name correctly, so of course I Googled it, and it was then that I discovered that Dr. Pueschel died a month ago. I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

Dr. Pueschel gave me my first book about children with Down syndrome, the very one that he himself wrote. It was such a special gift to me, especially knowing that he himself had a son with Down syndrome, Christian. Years later, I then gave it to a friend in Romania who had a child with DS younger than mine, who had no real information or help in her country to raise or help her child with DS.

Photo: Saving Down Syndrome

Dr. Pueschel gave himself 110% to the cause of educating the world about people with Down syndrome and trying to gain the world's acceptance of people with this "disability."

The fact that his own son had Down syndrome meant so much to me. The fact that I looked at his beautiful son in Dr. Pueschel's book meant so much to me.

He was passionate about teaching the world to understand and love those with DS. To realize that having Down syndrome is not a's a blessing. There are things we can only learn through being in contact with a person who has Down syndrome, or any other disability.

A year old
Like true patience. True acceptance. True love. Life in what I have often called “the scenic route” since my daughter Megan’s birth, is a lesson in what it means to truly love. I don’t always succeed in the patience…but you can bet that my love for my daughter Megan is so fierce and strong, that I would lay down my life for her and fight for her like a rabid dog.

Age 2 1/2

Dr. Pueschel, crusader for people with Down syndrome, impacted my life in a way no one else could have. Chris Burke, actor with Down syndrome who starred in the television series Life Goes On, was another. I had the wonderful opportunity of listening to Chris Burke speak at a seminar of a Down syndrome organization, along with his parents. Chris wrote his own speech and gave it, and it was wonderful, inspiring, and enlightening. I later had the pleasure of speaking with Chris, and of course, posing for a photo.

Singing in the homeschool
group choir.

But the person who has most impacted my life in the world of Down syndrome, is, of course, my very own daughter, Megan Heather. She is the one who, while in my womb for all those months, had the hiccups a bazillion times a day. She is the one who alerted the nurses, not the doctor, after her birth, that she was suspected of having Down syndrome. She was my first child, and I had just turned 23. I never expected to be given the news that my child had Down syndrome.

But then again…

I never expected to laugh as my baby splayed her arms and legs out like an airplane and blew raspberries while doing so.

I never expected to watch as my baby, then two and a half years old, took her first steps as my own mother captured it on her camcorder. And I felt like I was on cloud nine at the amazing accomplishment.

I never expected that I would put a final diaper on my four and a half year old child for the last time during the day…and celebrate her mastery of daytime continence.

Cooking with me.
I never expected that I would clap and celebrate as my child would say a complete sentence, with mostly real words and hardly any “nonsense” words, at age 6. And call to share the news with my family and friends.

I never expected that when my daughter was ten and a half, she would finally be toilet trained at night and I would cancel the running order for adult diapers from the medical supply company.

I never expected that seeing my child ride a bike…

or catch a ball…

or draw a “flower person” …

or walk up or down the stairs herself…

or buckle her own seatbelt…

or memorize bible verses…

or pour her own drink…

would excite me beyond words and thrill me so.

I just never expected to learn about true love the way I did, through my sweet beautiful daughter, Megan Heather. I love her so! I love my other children too; Caitlin Elizabeth, Ryan Anthony, and Timothy Richard. But there is no denying it; there are just some lessons that I could only have learned through the blessed gift of being Megan’s mother.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. Think about what a bare and bland place this world would be if there were no people with Down syndrome. I’m sure you must know someone blessed with it. Go hug them. “Like” a Facebook page dedicated to educating about and celebrating people with Down syndrome. Read about Dr. Pueschel and the wonderful work he did in his life, and comment on his Facebook page:

Megan doing one of her favorite things:
playing with her dollhouse people. <3

Other links you may enjoy:

Monday, October 14, 2013

School, Toilets, and Purses

Last night I had a dream that I was searching for the perfect purse. I’m not sure exactly what I had in mind, but I do know that I was trying to get something with colors that would go well with the colors of the clothing I wore, and I didn’t want it to be too big. In real life I’m very particular about what kind of purse I buy, and I was no less particular in the dream. When I do buy a purse, I use it for years until it finally gasps and gives up the ghost and I go buy a new one.

In my dream, I looked at dozens and dozens of purses. It seemed that everywhere I turned, more would be hanging on racks or sitting on display shelves. I found several that would have gone well with what I was wearing, which was some garish mish-mash of aqua, salmon, red, and dark blue. But then there would be something about them that didn’t measure up. Too small and practically a coin holder,  large enough to fit a family of four inside (with pockets for the cat and dog), no strap (I hate clutches), broken zipper.

Suddenly I came upon a smallish purse that was in the shape of a backpack, and it had a cute cloth doll attached. The purse was bright grass-green, with yellow straps, and the doll wore the same color green dress with an elf’s hat atop her blond braids. A tag proclaimed her name to be Mary Kate. I stood there holding this outlandish thing, and the doll looked so cute, I decided this was the one for me. But I couldn’t find a price tag anywhere on it.

I put it back on the rack and went to find someone who could help me, but by the time I got back to the rack with a store clerk in tow, my precious find was nowhere to be found. I looked all over for another, but it wasn’t to be.

Then I woke up and marveled at the clarity with which I remembered this strange dream. Sometimes I wake from a dream and can only grasp little snippets of it, or even just a general sense of the atmosphere of a dream: weird but not scary; pleasant; nightmare-trapping-me-in-bed-with-paralyzing-fear; you get the idea.

Photo: Acid Cow
What I've found common in my dreams is that I dream about school. A lot.  And last year was my 30th reunion. So one would think I’d be past school dreams by now. Nope. I dream that I’m trying to find my class and can’t, or I can’t find my locker, or I finally find the right class, but I can’t find the right page in the textbook. And then usually I’ll be sitting in class listening to the teacher, when suddenly I realize I’m in my underwear and bra. Everyone else is clothed and in their right mind except for me! Well, the “right minds” bit might not exactly be true. ;)

So I quickly start throwing a shirt on, which seems to evaporate the second it makes contact with my body, and try to inconspicuously pull on pants or a skirt. Usually I end up going to the lavatory, but as I’m sitting on the “throne” in the stall, the walls suddenly are not there and people are walking by me as if it’s perfectly normal to have a woman sitting on a toilet in the midst of a crowd. Mm-hmm.

The other night I did have a school dream that strayed from the normal path mine usually take, though. I dreamt that I was my age now, and in my senior year of high school, and it was the weekend. I was in the house with my mother, and I told her that I was going to take Monday off from school. She said okay, but then I suddenly realized that I haven’t done any homework in so long (years, literally, haha!) and I’m scared to even show up in class without it all. And if I take a day off from school, I’ll be even further behind. What if I don’t graduate?? I’ll have to go to summer school just to get my diploma. A 48 year old sitting at a desk in summer school!

Then I woke up. And realized it was just a dream, I wasn’t back in school again, I did graduate, yada yada. My heart rate slowed down, and it hit me: I dreamed, therefore I slept! Yippy skippy! I got some sleep!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Some Fone Fun

1973 (Photo: Rico Shen)

Cell phones…sometimes it seems as if they’ve always been in our lives. They certainly have made my life easier; I can’t imagine what I’d do without mine. It’s funny to think that they haven’t really been around that long; prior to the 90’s the cell phone as we know it didn’t really exist. Unless you count the portable phones that made it look like you were holding a small boom box to your ear and talking to it. ;)

Timothy recently asked me how old I was when I got my first cell phone. I had told him that a nine year old didn’t need one, so he asked the question, probably hoping he could use that against my argument that he was too young. “I was about 40,” I replied. Timmy wasn’t thrilled with that answer.

1984 (Photo: Nokia)
Lately Caitlin’s biggest botheration in life has been the troubles she’s had with her newest cell phone. She had gotten a  Straight Talk model after doing a lot of research for the one with features she wanted. It was great for a few months, but then the port in the phone for the charger plug refused to work, so her phone kept dying. She contacted the company and was issued a replacement, which turned out to be a refurbished one. That’s their policy, and I think it’s unacceptable, but what can you do?

Well, the replacement phone had a problem. No one could hear her when she called anyone. So she went through the rigamarole again and was to receive a replacement for the replacement. All the while, which lasted weeks and weeks, she plugged along using her old Tracfone and texting, buying a minimum of minutes to avoid shelling out any more money than she had to. Today was the day her replacement phone was to come in the mail, and she was so anxious for it.

1997 & 2011 (Photo: Ben Schumin)

This afternoon she texted me from work asking if it had come in. Phil and I, being tired and generally in a silly mood, decided to have a little fun with her. We love goofing on our kids; it’s one of the pleasures we share this late in our lives, and doesn’t the Good Book say that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine? We’re hoping to live a little longer and if messing with the kids helps, then we’re up to the challenge. ;)

Here is how it went:

Caity: Hey, have u noticed my fone? ;O

Me & Phil: Guess what? A brown box showed up. Phil sat on it by mistake. So we gave it 2 the neighbor’s dog. Sorry. 


Me & Phil: We really really r sorry. We don’t think it woulda worked anyway. 2 make up 4 it, we’ll give u a mint, a tootsie pop and a hair elastic that was stuck to it, & a nickel. Phil doesn’t think he can catch the dog.

Caity: :( I don’t want that stuff. :(

Me & Phil: But it’s the best we can do. Unless u want 2 tin cans & a long string.

Me & Phil: O wait, I c Phil now…he did get the box, but the dog is still attached 2 it.

Caity: Haha just brush the dog off. ;)

Me & Phil: That’s gonna b a little difficult. It’s a Mastiff. U can just consider him 2 b the toy that comes with the Happy Meal.

She didn’t respond.

Oh well, Phil and I were in a fit of giggles over it. At least we know we’ve taken our medicine today. ;)

Caity with the replacement's replacement

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In The Autumn Years

The air has started getting chilly, and leaves are starting to turn color. I've been thinking of Autumn, one of my favorite seasons.

Some people liken the seasons to the stages of a person's life, and you can see why: Spring creates new life, and the increasing sunshine helps the trees to make new green life-giving leaves, and flowers start growing. Summer comes along, and gardens are planted, the vegetables and fruits flourishing. Autumn rolls in, and things wind down; plants start turning brown, slowly stop bearing fruit...before Winter comes, and the trees and gardens are bare, the end of the life cycle.

Autumn has gained special meaning for me over the last few years, and I wrote a poem that may help you see why. I thought I'd share it today. Autumn doesn't always mean that plants will wilt and turn brown. Sometimes, when we're least expecting it, Autumn can mean new life and hope…

In The Autumn Years

In the autumn years…..
I had thought all 
was said and done;
thought this was it;
that all I could have,
and all I could be
was already come to pass.
In the autumn years…….
I thought I had done it all;
thought that whatever good
that could have come my way
had already come,
and gone.
In the autumn years…..
I thought that every dream
I had ever had,
the possible ones, at least,
had been tried,
had been achieved, 
had been realized.
In the autumn years…..
I thought I was done;
felt I was spent;
thought this was it.
How could I have known?
How could I dare imagine?
That in the autumn years…..
a dream I had given up,
a hope I had let go,
but never knew was there, 
so silent it was in my heart….
would come upon me;
would creep up on me: 
like a baby’s heartbeat, 
like a pink Lady’s Slipper,
like a silvery gossamer:
the whisper of  love
came upon me,
came upon  me….
in the autumn years.

~VJC ~

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Well well well…here I am talking about sleep again. Or the lack thereof, among other things. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in, because this is a long one.

Everyone knows I have insomnia. I have not had a decent night’s sleep in forever. Last night was the 4th night in a row from H-E-double hockey sticks. And once again I find myself wondering if a person can go insane from lack of sleep. Can they? Can you die from it? Have there been any recorded deaths due to insomnia? Sometimes I think it might be a welcome relief. I wouldn't be so stinking tired. Oh, wait…I’d be dead. Good gravy marie, you know I’m just joking. ;)

So anyway, the past four nights of only 2 or 3 hours of sleep has been due in part to the numerous things going on right now. Megan and the boys came down with a really bad cold, and on Friday I woke up with it. Sore throat, aching head, yicky nose, sneezing, etc. The next day, Saturday, my sinuses were infected and I had yellow gunk coming from my chest. As Megan would say, “I feel kwap.” I did feel kwap, too.

Well, having a very bad virus was only the half of it. I have asthma, and I use a Pulmicort inhaler now to control it, and ProAir for a rescue inhaler. Normally, using the maintenance inhaler would make the rescue inhaler not so necessary, but being so sick jacked my asthma into high gear. I’ve needed the ProAir almost every four hours, and Saturday night I went to the ER because I used the nebulizer and that wasn’t helping either.

Timothy looks like he's had a little TOO MUCH sleep, lol.
Very bad cold and asthma acting nutso on me... Friday night I started with a head jerking tic. All night long. Not many people know that I have Tourette’s Syndrome, because I don’t talk about it much. Mostly it used to be because people have misconceptions about TS due to stupid television shows that depict some of the rarest motor and vocal tics. Just for the record, my vocal tics do not involve shouting out obscenities. If I did swear, it would be of my own volition, not because of my Tourette’s.

But anyway, because of the reactions of others based on misconceptions about TS, I didn’t share it with many people. Well, I’m sharing it now for all the world to see. I’m almost 50 years old, and at this point in my life, I don’t give a flying blue heron what anyone thinks of me because of it. If anyone has a problem with it, well, it’s  *their* problem, not mine. Get a life already.

I had that head jerking tic literally all night long, and my neck has been killing me ever since. I’m in so much pain, I can’t seem to get any relief from it. I’ve been taking naproxen for it and icing it. Whoop-dee-doo. What I need are some darn good pain pills and a few weeks of physical therapy. Which is what I’ve had to do more times than I can count over the years because of tics.

So, we’re up to being very sick, my asthma whacked out, and a very painful neck from my Tourette’s. Those were enough to cover the first 3 nights. Last night, all three of those reasons were very present and keeping me awake. Then I threw up because of so much post nasal drip (I know, isn’t that the grossest thing to talk about??), and there was so much pain and pressure in my ears, I was sure they were going to pop off my head. I just hoped no one was in the line of fire because they could get an eye poked out or something.

Add this: I have a tooth that lost the old filling long ago, and there’s a spike sticking up in the middle of the hole where the filling was. Made of whatever the heck fillings are made of; some kind of metal. The thing is so stinking sharp, I’d almost swear it could be used to cut diamonds. Or at least my tongue, which it has. My poor tongue hurts so much from that, I’m about ready to find some needle-nose pliers and break the stupid thing off myself. Orajel only helps for so long, and I just got insurance, so I need to find a dentist SOON.

Moving along…I tried laying in bed last night listening to the telly with the volume down low. No dice. I shut it off, took some antihistamine to make me drowsy, and read some of my book. I had to get up to get the ice pack for my neck, and when I stepped forward with my left foot, the cord for my laptop caught on the toenail of my big toe and ripped it up. Not all the way off, but up so that blood was seeping out from underneath the toenail like a geyser, and it hurt wicked bad.

Okay, so after getting the bleeding down to a slow trickle, I got the ice pack and iced my neck for a while. By now it’s almost 3 in the morning. I had to pee, so I got up again, but when I stepped forward with my right foot, my sciatic nerve decided it had been too long since the last attack, and I almost fell flat on my face. The whole way to the bathroom, I had to clump along like Frankenstein, holding on to the wall for support and grimacing with the pain of each lurch forward.

Psycho Cat sleeping peacefully. I'm resisting the urge to
blow an air horn in her ear and watch the fur fly off her body.
I made it back to bed, when in bounds Callie, also known as Psycho Cat, barreling across my bed as if the devil was chasing her. I don’t know what’s wrong with this cat, but she seriously needs some Prozac or something. I can joke about that because I’ve been on it before, years ago, so don’t go getting offended. This cat moves at the speed of light everywhere she goes, ending with her claws scratching the floor as she slides into whatever or whoever happens to be in her way. Then she startles and looks around wildly, like the other cats made some sudden move or something. She’s psycho. And she insists on bombing through the room and onto my bed like a buffalo and scaring the kwap out of me. Yeah. Psycho.

Well, Psycho Cat settles down, I put the book away and shut off the light, and I’m finally…FINALLY starting to drop off to sleep…when Phil starts talking in his sleep. Something about wanting to ride the pink pony? Hahaha, just kidding. That was a funny line in the movie Toy Story. Whatever he was mumbling, it doesn’t matter. I looked at the clock and the time was 3:39 a.m. I have to get Ryan up for school at 6. I was like, yeah, whatever. May as well pour out my ridiculous plight to the world. I can always nap after the boys go off to school. And before you say that napping is why I can’t sleep at night, don’t even GO there. Just don’t. I’ve had so little sleep and am so stinking tired and crabby right now, I will reach through the screen and knock you into next week. ;)

Seriously, do I look like someone you want to mess with today? ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

So, it’s Monday, a brand new day of a brand new week. And I am finally here, back at ECDS, after not having written for so long. As usual, there are reasons. The health issues I deal with, though not terminal or severe, do affect my abilities to get things done around here, including being able to just sit and write. The asthma is one thing, as it’s kind of difficult to much of anything when you can’t breathe, lol. And the arthritis is another matter that is an everyday thing, with some days being worse than others. My knees have gotten worse with it, so each day I have maybe 4-5 good bends down with them, and that is ALL. If I get down after that (some days even before that limit! Lol), I ain’t getting back up. You’re going to have to get a Hoyer lift in here and get me off the floor. Or a small front end loader. ;)

The biggest thing is that Ryan and Timmy are back here with us, and of course any time you add or take away something in your life, there is going to be a period of adjustment. And since we’ve decided they will go to public school for now, there are a lot of things to be done for that that I never had to think of before. You know, supplies, paperwork, schedules and such. Homeschooling affords you a more relaxed pace, but public schools have a rigid schedule, and with hundreds of children going, it’s obviously needed. So, I’m getting used to all that.

But one of the biggest hindrances to me is the lack of sleep. I’ve had insomnia since I was a teen. It’s always hit or miss how much sleep I get. Usually I wake around 3 or 4 in the morning, and though I’m exhausted, I can’t get back to sleep. I try to read, hoping the quiet and relaxation will help lull me back to sleep. And it’s not like I can just get up and do stuff around the house; everyone else is SLEEPING!!! Lol 

So when I slept for seven hours straight last night, I was very excited. I felt like marking it down on the calendar for posterity. Instead, I went online to post about it on Facebook, of course, lol. And the first thing I saw when I logged on was Caitlin’s post about not getting enough sleep last night and having to work today, then attend a meeting at Riner Rescue, then run at Riner overnight. She was fighting sleepiness but had dozed off, and the ambulance company she works for no longer allows them to sleep during the day (many of them also run volunteer rescue squads overnight), so she didn’t want to get in trouble. 

That got me to thinking about it. What if you fell asleep by mistake? I mean, if you took a pillow and went and laid down and slept, that's like 1st degree sleeping. There was clear intent to sleep there. But if you were trying to stay awake and just succumbed, that ought to be a lesser offense, like 2nd degree. You didn't fall asleep with intent to. It happened in the cozy, comfortable warmth of the moment. 

I suppose someone who has narcolepsy would be 3rd degree sleeping, or involuntary sleeping. And someone who falls asleep by the actions of another? Like maybe someone gave them sleeping pills without their knowledge or something, or the person bored them to death...well, then *that* person ought to be charged with assault on the innocently sleeping one! 

See? You need to evaluate the forensic evidence before taking any action. I think I've reasonably proven my case for that. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many real case crime shows on ID channel. ;) It just feels good to have gotten some nice restorative sleep for once. ~Peace

Ahhh, sleeping like a baby. Shhh! :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Legos Again...

Stepping on Legos is the worst pain. We all know that. But I'm here to confirm it again. This teeny weeny thing is a teeny weeny knight's shield. The pain was not teeny weeny. I could have birthed a pumpkin with less pain.

It’s probably been a year and a half since I wrote about Legos, but they bear repeating. Er, talking about the pain from stepping on them does. The only thing that comes close to that pain is stepping on a Barbie shoe. Or I suppose a fire ant. But I don’t happen to have a fire ant mound in my living room.

Ryan recently turned 13, and Timotheus is 9. I guess in some ways they’re getting to be more responsible. Most mornings, Ryan gets himself up to go to school, and Timmy sometimes does. But both of them immediately wash up a little, get dressed, including shoes on, and then make sure their backpacks are ready. It’s pretty impressive.

And that increased responsibility in them has extended somewhat to their belongings, their toys. But it stops just short of the Lego box. They’re still on the floor; in, on, and under the couch; in corners of the kitchen and hallways. You know, in every nook and cranny like an English muffin.

I have to admit, it’s not quite as *many* Legos that are all over. Two years ago it usually looked like a Lego factory exploded in the house on any given day. But still, as much as the boys have gained in maturity and all, Legos are still where they shouldn’t be.

And this morning when I went to let one of the Baker’s Dozen out the front door, I was assaulted by that teeny weeny knight’s shield. And was just about brought to my knees from the pain. Geez louise, I gave birth three times and was never on my knees from the pain. Well, actually, the nurses wouldn’t let me get off the bed in the birthing room, but let’s not get technical. ;)

I’m just here to make an official statement today that Legos HURT! There. Now you all know that earth-shattering news and can carry on. Have a nice day!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Look For the Helpers

*Note: This was written during the early evening hours of yesterday.

Well, I’m sure there will be a bazillion articles and blog posts about the tragedy that happened in Boston today, and here I am adding another. This is my first time talking about a tragedy, and for the past few hours since the bombings occurred I’ve been so horrified that I felt I just had to say something about it.

As I sit here writing this now, the casualties are still two dead and 100+ injured. Just about everyone I know has posted on Facebook about this, most needing to vent their great shock and horror, almost all asking for prayers. I posted several times myself, and as time ticked on, watching the news reports and keeping a tab open with news updates streaming from a live blog, I realized that I was feeling a myriad of emotions I just have to talk about. I *need* to do this.

You always hear about the stages of grief people who lose loved ones go through. You know, shock, denial, anger; others I can’t think of right now, and somewhere in there you come to acceptance. I think tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing also affect us in that way.

When I first heard the news and turned on the TV to get information, I was so stunned and shocked, and felt sick to my stomach and helpless. How could this happen? Was it really happening? I watched the horror playing out on the news in videos and photos, and then I got on Facebook to see if anyone had posted. It all seemed so unreal, I guess I wanted to confirm that it was really true. And of course it was.

I usually get stuck in the rut of why. WHY do people do these kinds of things? Why do people hurt and kill others? I keep trying to understand, to relate, and it’s futile. I can’t. I just do not get it. I always have to come to the conclusion that some people are simply evil, and I won’t ever be able to understand. Period.

And after a while, that always leads me to anger. Sometimes people don’t want to admit they’re angry, because it may make people think less of you. Well, we’re all human, and anger is a human emotion. I’ll admit it. I was angry. I was more than angry, I was PISSED. What IS it with people?? Why do we live in a world where jerks go around doing things like this to innocent people??

I posted on Facebook that I’m sick of evil people, and I wish they would go live on another planet and leave the rest of us alone. If they’re angry about something, why can’t they express themselves in a civilized manner? I’m sick and tired of jerks who go and hurt or kill others usually because they disagree with some issue. If they’re so intent on killing to get their opinion or point across, why don’t they kill themselves instead of innocent people??

Now don’t go thinking I advocate suicide, because I don’t. I value human life. All human life, whether they are like me, unlike me, have different beliefs than me, different lifestyles, whatever. None of that matters. I believe all human beings have value. But hey, if their intent is to kill to somehow “express” themselves, then do it themselves, not others. No one has the right to take the life of another.

And then, after a while spent in Angry Mode, I come to the point when I’m looking for something good. I’m looking for comfort. I’m looking for proof that all of humanity isn’t so depraved and evil minded. Today I desperately needed that. Because this terrible attack shattered my sense of security, I needed to find something that showed me that even though there are awful jerks in this world who do sickening things like this Boston Marathon bombing, there are good people. And that the good people far outnumber the jerks.

So I came upon several posts and comments on Facebook quoting something Fred  “Mr.“ Rogers said about times like these. Though I watched his show growing up and even the music and theme song can bring me back to a special, peaceful, safe place, I never knew he said this. He said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,  my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers, so many caring people in this world.”

And in reading his quote and thinking on it, I felt somewhat grounded again. I need to stop asking why, stop going over and over the horror of this day, and start focusing on the good. And that’s when I started seeing posts about marathon runners who finished the race and went to Mass General Hospital to donate blood, runners who stopped running and ran to help, emergency personnel who ran into the fray to help. People who, instead of giving in to that natural inclination to run away, ran forward *to* it to do whatever they could to help.

I found a measure of peace again, and my sense of security increased. Those of us who strive to live peaceable lives definitely outnumber those who are so selfish and cowardly that they do these awful things to others and try to make others as miserable as they are. Of course, for me, my true peace comes from God, in whose hands my life rests anyway. But realizing that there are so many loving, caring, selfless people out there is a nice comfort too. And I can do what I can for the people affected by this latest incident, which is pray. So pray I will, and keep looking for the helpers. ~Peace