Friday, February 19, 2010

Lost and found

It is strange and curious thing to do a google search of your grandma's name and see a bunch of "hits" appear. Prior to Saturday, the only time I had ever googled my grandma's name was um, never. In fact, it was only because of a frightening set of circumstances that I thought about ever doing it and here's why.

Saturday evening around 7, the phone rang. When I saw the area code of the person calling, I got nervous. I don't get a lot of phone calls from this area code and this time my anxiety was justified. The phone call was from my sister informing me that my grandma who lives in Florida was missing. My sister called many states away from both of Grandma and me and she said that Grandma had been missing for several hours at that time. As I hung up the phone, I almost couldn't feel and horrible things came popping into my head. Our family gathered around to pray as I crumpled in a heap of despair.

The police had been notified and were looking for her. Grandma's friends had called my aunt after she hadn't arrived at a friend's house as planned. Unbeknownst to me at the time; my almost 90 year old grandma had recently gotten lost in the daytime. When her friends opened the key to my grandma's house, she was gone and the car keys were gone. The cell phone was left on the table and the Life Alert my aunt insisted on her using was still in the box.

I put prayer requests out on facebook and for all the pain that facebook can cause and wow, let me just say, it has caused A LOT of pain for me recently, I was comforted by the outpouring of love and prayers said all over the country for a person many fb friends do not know.

Watching tv was like looking at a blank screen so I reached for the thing of hope that is 100% reliable. My Bible.

I began doing my Teen CBS lesson and admit that I had trouble concentrating. I opened my Bible and did as the lesson prompted which meant reading a Scripture verse I desperately needed.

Philippians 4:6

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

By then my grandma had been missing for five hours. She has a bad knee and I pictured her hobbling in the dark. I thought of her being scared and because of an active imagination or too much tv, (never CSI, praise the Lord!), many other horrible pictures came to mind.

In the small space provided, here's what I wrote in my lesson

10:07 pm - Grandma missing for five hours. Father, you want me to read this - you know my heart, my sadness and fears - I am so weak - do not be anxious about anything - seriously!?


Around 2 am the phone rang again. The Hubs quickly removed his C-Pap machine and scrambled for the phone. My grandma was found! She had driven all the way to Naples, Florida which is about 2 1/2 hours away. She had been driving for NINE hours without stopping. Confused, Grandma entered a convenient store and the only thing she recalled was that she had a business card of my uncle's. The clerk called and soon my grandma was located, stayed at a nearby hotel and life will never be the same.

Since that fateful night, I have cried so much that on Sunday the sides of my eyes were sore from the salt in my tears. My grandma left on a plane to Chicago where my aunt lives and she will never return to her home. She had wet herself and needed a shower and doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

I fear other posts about this situation and about dementia or Alzheimer's but for now, let me focus on the comfort I had in leaning on the Lord. I am afraid and sad beyond words but the words I read on Saturday night were not an accident. Though they were hard to put in practice, they are true.

Googling your grandma is not a good thing. Seeing a Breaking News story about one of your dearest, best friends who just happens to be nearly 90 and a close relative is yucky. My grandma has been very private about her age and now everyone will know she's almost a nonagerian! The good thing though is the Good News - both the literal one that my grandma was found and the spiritual one I found and find in Jesus.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spirit Week fun

One of my children (who shall remain nameless because I like my life,) is afraid of midgets.

If you want to creep him out, turn on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I'm not exaggerating. We are a short-statured people so I'm not sure what his problem is but I have been known to sing the Oompa Loompa Song or the Wizard of Oz Munchkin Land song around him. It is funny to see this otherwise very macho OS squirm.

So it's a good thing this un-named OS isn't home very much (ahem,) because today would have been very unpleasant for him.

I say this because it's Spirit Week for the middle schoolers and today is Character Day. My anonymous OS would be in a dither because his orange hair, freckle-face brother along with six other buddies dressed up as the Seven Dwarfs!

When Isaac told me about the idea last week, I agreed as long as Ike wasn't Dopey. Considering our most recent challenges, there was NO way my OS was going to be Dopey. Or Grumpy!

But Ike is Happy and so am I! Several moms including myself banded together and individually added pieces to the boys' costumes.

One mom and grandma made hats. They even researched pics of the Seven Dwarfs from old Disney books and pictures! Another mom made white beards and wrote the names of each individual dwarf on a colorful t-shirt. Talk about authentic! I purchased seven pair of black sweat pants on sale at Wal-Mart and some twine for a belt. The moms are as excited as the sons and our collective talents made this particular Spirit Day less stressful and totally adorable!

To Ike's chagrin I came to school twice today to take pictures. Apparently there is nothing worse for a 13 year old boy then seeing his mama two times in one school day, even when she's wearing makeup! Excitement filled the air, giggles and smiles abounded. I cracked up at the creativity in the middle schoolers. There were two guys who dressed up as Michael Jackson, before and after. There was even a Lucky Charm leprechaun. So fun!

My OS attend a private school. They wear uniforms, adhere to strict behavior policies and must study hard for the stringent academics. Spirit Week is five days when the standards are just as high but the atmosphere is more relaxed. High school Spirit Week begins next Monday and it's sure to be memorable as well. If Aaron succeeds in his plans for Spirit Week, it will be epic, mark my words!

I leave you with some pics of the recent fun and links to former Spirit Weeks we have enjoyed.

We're already brain-storming about next year!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hoarders, part two

And now for a deeper hoarding issue...

The washrag is gone. I am ok with it. At times I feel silly like, seriously, Cindy, get a grip. It was a stupid washrag. A Barney washrag at that. I probably spent less than $2 on the thing. And if I'm being real here and it's my blog so I can do with it what I want, I am pushing away feelings of sadness that the threadbare Barney washrag is loosed from my home. It has absolutely no emotions, no nerve endings, it was a totally inanimate object but if I allow myself, I can feel sad for the washrag. Like it's missing me. Just being real here.

Which then evokes feelings about other things I miss or anticipate missing. Loved ones who are gone, children who are growing, family members who are aging or ill, friends that disappointed me, hopes, dreams, the list goes on and on.

Which then brings forth feelings that I sometimes hoard.

Resentment, fear, bitterness and anger come to mind. Because of Christ, I have had great victory in this area. Nothing of my own doing, that's for sure. Before coming to know the Lord, my list of hurts was very long. I embedded a lot of pain and used it as a weapon when necessary. But God in His faithfulness, not only removed all the items on that list, He also took care of the even longer list I had created for myself. Sins that are none of your business, others that I have shared here on this blog and publicly.

So I'm learning to let go and clean up. And like the clients featured on Hoarders, to maintain order, one must be vigilant. It doesn't take too much time for physical and emotional issues to pile up. I must make room in my home and in my heart for new things. Getting rid of the Barney washrag was something the Lord prompted me to do. I hung onto it for days and had it near the trashcan and it took days for it to go. Something that weighed mere ounces suddenly was too heavy to move. Until last night, that is.

Enter dreamlike sequence...

Years ago, I found a diary from middle school. Not much was in it but the usual 12-13 year old girl drama. However, amidst the boy crazy musings, I flipped through the pages and discovered an entry about a family member I chose not to name. In this entry, I wrote about an especially mean thing this person had said to me. Now 3o years later, I held the pages in my hand and it was excruciating.

In my middle school girl's handwriting; my adult woman's eyes fixated on those nasty words. What was I to do? I brought the diary to my husband and showed him the entry and started crying. I am a frequent crier. Don't believe me? Click here and here and here and here and here.

I didn't need that memory or that reminder but how could I throw out MY diary??? How could I let that go?

It was then that the Hubs offered to do some-thing I could not do for myself. In a beautiful act of love, he offered to throw it away. I nodded and I never saw that diary or those words ever again.

The diary, the Barney washrag, old wounds and hurts need to be discarded. It is time for a new season. Those items were weathered and useless. I can no longer cling to them.

Tears are welling up in my eyes as I type but I need to share this. Maybe it's just for me and this is a completely selfish post but if it's for you, let me give you permission, let it go. Whatever the "it" is. Let. it. go.

A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away...

Monday, February 8, 2010


Have you seen the A&E program Hoarders? I watch the show every week on Channel 161 on Monday nights from 10-11pm. If I don't watch the new episode, I DVR it. Yes, I am a faithful follower.

One of the reasons I like the show is I have a celebrity connection. I have worked closely with a frequent expert on the program.

A few years ago, hoarding and organizational expert, Geralin Thomas helped me transform my home office. I was NOT her first client nor am I a hoarder but wow, she was amazing! My home office had previously been a place of embarrassment and dread but with her assistance , my office became a thing of personality and beauty! As I watch Geralin work with her hoarding clients, I often hear her saying things to the hoarders that she said to me. I'm sure that is mere coincidence, right?

Another reason I like the show is that it's fas- cinating. There are these distraught people living in absolute squalor and they toil and lament throwing out the smallest thing. A piece of paper, a withered basket, a mildewed book, everything appears to be impossible to dispose of properly. There is filth and dust everywhere and they agonize over minutiae! It feels like a personal victory to me when the people seem to make progress but I admit the show can produce anxiety in me as I see their mess flash over the tv screen.

And as I sit in my family room on Monday nights, just as I'm ready to kick my judgemental side into full gear, I am chastened. The reason is that on each Monday night, during a commercial or when the program ends, I begin looking around my own house and discover things that need to go. In my purse, my closet, my dressers, there is stuff that has long overstayed its welcome and usefulness. It is freeing to release things that are no longer needed but honestly it can be sad.

I originally had this post almost ready to go several days ago. I didn't publish it because I hadn't accomplished the thing I was going to write about. But I'm mustering the courage to do it today. I am going to do it no matter what!

I am saying goodbye to an 18 year old washrag.

I cannot tell you the age of any other washrag in my house but this one is special to me. I might even say I love this washrag. The threadbare cloth belonged to my oldest OS when he was a little boy. Nate will be 20 in a few months and it is/was a Barney washrag. Most of the purple dinosaur has been scrubbed away but it's been the first washrag I reach for in my linen closet for lo these many years.

My OS has long since parted ways with Barney. He's a yearling at West Point and has no affinity whatsoever to this thing.

But I'm a sen-timental mama. This silly washrag represents an adorable, toe-head boy who is my pride and joy and is now a remarkable young man full of ambition and integrity.

When Geralin helped me in my home office, I would find myself struggling with getting rid of things. She gave me permission to dispose of things and assured me that if I threw something out, it didn't diminish the love I have for that person! What a revelation!

So with that in mind, thank you Barney washrag for the memories! Thank you for doing such a great job all these years! You've cleaned a lot of body parts! ;) You certainly outdid yourself but I'm making room for new memories and really hoping Nate will find the West Point gift shop has a West Point washrag or a Digital ACU towel for Mother's Day!