* TToT

How little time I take to be thankful!  I’m better than I used to be, but this Ten Things of Thankful blogging challenge is good for my soul and spirit.  Here we go:

  1.  The kiddos are here, 8 of them tonight, playing on various devices and eating endlessly.  I’m grateful for their humor (“I’m just teasing, Aunt Katharine”), their enjoyment of one another, and all the Beatles’ songs we’ve heard tonight.  One niece has perfect pitch, which is truly amazing to a tone-deaf person like myself.
  2.  We are far over the year’s average of rainfall, which keeps all the plants growing so deer can snack on the yard.
  3.  The rain also brings mold, so we are FINALLY getting our house pressure washed.   The mold must be worse than I thought, because my dearest teaching widower suggested the washing.  That leads me to #4:
  4.  I call it The Dead Man Theory, as my dearest widower could step over a dead man on the kitchen floor and not notice.  The good news is that he has never once been critical of my multiple stacks of paperwork.  I have not been as generous towards his debris.
  5.  I’ve been given some awesome chocolate this week.  Ooh, pure pleasure.
  6.  We had a fabulous women’s event last night at church.  Designer desserts, candles flickering, a jazz trio humming.  Wow.
  7.  I still have more chocolate to eat!!
  8.  My foot is healing well.  It could have gone south, but that compression boot and tons of prayer did the trick.
  9.   I’ve run out of things so…
  10.  I saved the best for last.  Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I am married to the best father I’ve ever met.  He is gentle, patient, wise, and unselfish.  Wait!  Another one!
  11.  Speaking of patient, my dearest widower stopped the car so I could take a photo of a most beautiful sunset.  Sadly, my iPhone doesn’t capture the gorgeous colors, but who gets tired of admiring sunsets?                                                                                                           sunset.JPG

* TToT again!

It’s bad news, good news this week.

#1.  Bad news: After a loooong week, I have been working on paperwork most of the day and my eyes are swimming.  Good news:  I finished a lot of it!

#2.  Bad news:  I lost October 2016.  I mean I lost my lesson plans for a student.  I have the digital version but no notes.  Good news:  I found October!  It was just incorrectly stapled.  More good news:  I threw away some clutter in the hunting process.

#3.  Bad news:  I have not been able to wean my foot from the compression boot.  Good news:  I said, “Whatever!” and tossed the heavy thing aside.  More good news: My foot has been fine all day.

#4.  Bad news:  I did waste a little time playing Mahjong today.   Good news:  I beat an expert level that had defied me for weeks.  Yes, the game was taunting me.

#5.  Bad news:  I did not get much accomplished with my online classes today.  Good news:  Tomorrow is another day.

#6.  Bad news:  My dearest teaching widower had to work all day, too.  Good news:  I was able to help him on a project without getting snappy.  Oh, right, I never get snappy.

#7.  Bad news:  I lied in #6.  Good news:  I only lied about never getting snappy.  I really did help him without getting snappy TODAY.  And I am running out of news, folks.

#8.  Bad news:  There is no sequel to the sequel of The Dying and the Dead.  Good news:  Sequel #1 was great and featured a brave young boy.

#9.  Bad news:  I may not finish the Color Your World blogging challenge.  Good news:  I can try again next year.  More good news:  I have a whole year to take more colorful photos!

#10:  Bad news:  I have nothing else to add.  Good news:  I did not gripe about the clutter in the house, the laundry that needs to be washed, or the pile of mulch in our driveway that needs to be spread somewhere, anywhere.  More good news:  I am reading a cool detective thriller called The Murderer’s Son by Joy Ellis.  A terrific read about a guy who thinks he is a serial killer.  Is he?  I don’t know yet but it will be fun to find out.  Mama was the Blonde Butcher.  Oh dear, what a legacy.

Have a great week, dear readers!

The Murderer's Son

* Finding Josie Two Shoes

Josie Two Shoes.jpg

Who is Josie Two Shoes?  I first crossed paths with her a couple of weeks ago as she hosts the Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) blog.  TToT introduced me to a sweet group of bloggers who share their stories and encourage me to focus on the positives in my life.  I wondered about this Two Shoes who inspired other kind folks to respond so thoughtfully to my own meager TToT contributions.

My search for Josie Two Shoes was on!  Her blogger profile explains that a new chapter of her life started in 2007, when she declared that she was now standing on her own two feet.  That led me to her blog, where I discovered that she is also a writress.  A really good writress.  Wow.  Josie completed the A-Z blogging challenge by writing, and I quote: “a serial story in six-sentence segments involving twenty-six women living in the small Midwest town of Cottonwood Creek, their lives connected by the Women’s Circle of the town’s protestant church, Hope Christian Fellowship, to which they all belong.”  Talk about clever and intriguing!

By following Josie’s footprints, I discovered her Facebook page.  I was struck by Josie’s focus on being kind to yourself and others, not letting those stumbles and bumps define who you are.  I could have clicked “LIKE” on each post!

Josie’s shoes then led me to her Twitter account and from there, back to her blog, where I savored some of her writings on faith and the miraculous.

If you are looking for a place of encouragement and inspiration AND a safe spot to share your writing with others, follow Josie’s Two Shoes.  You’ll end up with a smile on your face and a polished pair of two shoes!

* TToT and A-Z: the letter D

In case you’re wondering what that odd title means, this is my Ten Things of Thankful post and I am using the letter D from the A-Z blogging challenge (yes, I have skipped C temporarily).  Be sure to check out Josie Two Shoes’ post and links to others who have posted their own Ten Things!

  1. Delightful, deer-proof flowers, waiting to replace the not-so-deer-proof stubs.sage
  2. Dearest teaching widower shoveling a place to plant the new flowers!                                      shoveling.JPG
  3. Dirt all ready!                                                                                                                                            dirt.JPG
  4. aDorable sage meadow that smells pungent and hopefully unattractive to Deer.
  5. Detritus from our neighbor’s huge sweetgum tree.  Love the tree but can live without the pods!                                                                                          detritus
  6. Don’t Break the Ice Game, perfect for Fun Friday with a special student!   Don't break the Ice
  7. Doodads in my hair for Wacky Hair Day at school this week!                                                         wacky hair day 1
  8. Delicious and nutritious snacks- yum!                                                                                               nuts 
  9. Disney movie that satisfied all the kiddos at our movie night: G Force.  And finally,
  10. DUH!  My son had to help me with Algebra 2.  Thank goodness for a math-savvy family!

* Ten Things of Thankful

I haven’t tackled the challenge to write Ten Things of Thankful in months, so I reread Lizzi’s Christmas list of 50 things, which amazes me (but not enough to copy).  Let’s see how far I can get….

  1.  I am feeling a bit better today!  Still shaky but this round of steroid withdrawal is losing its power to flatten me.
  2. My dearest steroid withdrawal widower has been tending to me so carefully, encouraging me that this will pass.  What would I do without his love?
  3. Rationally, I know that the flattening and disgusting side effects of withdrawal are far better than something like chemo.  I do not have cancer; I’m not facing that dreadful siege.  My heart aches for those who are in that battle.
  4.  My broken foot, still encased in a boot, no longer objects to an occasional free step.  In 2 weeks, I’ll know whether it can fly out of its cocoon.
  5. The local (pricey) swimming pool is sending out teasers suggesting that we may be able to swim there again, after months of locked doors.  Aquatics.JPG
  6. Vance, the Venus fly trap, continues to sprout new traps, ever hopeful that the spring will bring a random gnat into the house.  Of course, I am just boarding Vance for his student-owner, whose house must be kept like a refrigerator.                                                 Vance 2.JPG
  7. I’ve just started a MOOC course on Mathematics and Technology through The Friday Institute.  After reading through the profiles of all the participants, I can see that I am on the lowest percentile regarding middle school math skills.  I do love a challenge.  It’s not too late for you to sign up, either, no matter where you live!  Cool!TMT
  8. We are hosting a Korean zombie movie night this evening.  Train to Busan, with Korean food and sweet guests.  I HOPE I can rouse myself out of bed!                                    Train to Busan 2.jpg
  9.  A dear friend (who now lives far away) has a birthday today.  I owe her more than I could ever express.
  10.  I have read about 20 books in the past few days.  It’s been a wonderful way to escape from bleh and blah and worse.  iphone books.PNG
  11.  My faith rests in the confidence that I am being held, not that I can hold on.
  12. I’ve been able to eat chocolate throughout this temporary ordeal.  I assume that is related to #11.

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience as I’ve fallen away from my regular posting once again.  Who knew??  Oh yes, the One who loves me knew.  I’m in good hands and

* A Legacy

Lizzi has written a powerful message on legacy, as she and her family bid farewell to their Nana.  I can’t adequately capture Lizzi’s passionate writing, so please head over to her blog and read for yourself.

Lizzi concludes her post with these questions: What would you like to be remembered for? Have you ever wondered about life, whilst commemorating its passing? Who makes you thankful to be alive and learning? 

My dearest teaching widower and I are nearing the statistically likelihood of our deaths, although we’ve all learned that age is no protection from the inevitable.  Before I was saved, I simultaneously wanted to die and thought I would live forever.  I no longer fear or long for death.  Well, I admit there are hard times when I cry out, “Jesus, beam me up!”

I want to be remembered as a lover.  A lover of Jesus, first.  A lover of my husband.  A lover of my relatives and my church family.  A lover of thousands of students.

my-dearest-widower-va

I do wonder about my eternal life and especially the new earth.  Will dogs and cats be able to speak?  Will I be able to stay next to Jesus while I also explore the galaxies with my dearest widower?  Can I re-negotiate the marriage deal then?  I never want to be away from my dearest widower.  Will there be toilets and will we need them?

Who makes me thankful to be alive and learning?   God.  If not for his intervention, I would have died in infancy and many times after that.  I’ve experienced a multitude of brushes with death, and here I am, by his grace.

If you do not have this faith, I sound stupid.  I used to tell a therapist (who did not have this faith, either), that religion was a just crutch for the weak.  I mocked anyone who believed in God.  The name of Jesus made me sick.  How could God allow the destruction of my soul?  Where was he during all those dreadful years?  Now I acknowledge my weaknesses and ask, “How could God have redeemed my soul and saved me from death?  Why me?”   Now I know where he was and see what he was doing.  It makes me want to shout for joy!

 

* Ten things of thankful

Thanks, Lizzi-across-the-pond, for your inspiration to search out the silver linings in the cloudy parts of life.

cloudscape-384672_640

My health has been cloudy with a chance of meatballs for a couple of months.   Since I have already whined posted about my summer (Miss Fun), it’s time to find some positives.  First, the antibiotics I took were effective.  Considering that I’m down to one broad spectrum antibiotic, that is SUPER good news.   Otherwise, I’d be looking at kidney failure instead of a computer.  I saw my dearest widower more than usual during the day (#2), had a airfare-and-baggage-free vacation on the couch (#3), and loaded myself with delicious cups of antioxidant tea (#4).   Having felt so wretched meant that when our nephew and fiancee visited us, I was ready to try a new diet (#5).  I just finished a week of the Zone Diet and learned that I like kale and collard greens.  Who knew?  I’ve eaten more vegetables in the past week than in my entire life.   I’m hoping that eating several pounds of vegetables a day will be a life-changing experience in some way (#6).  Yeah, #6 is almost silver….

I am loving teaching more than ever.  I have the BEST students and families, hands down (#7).  I’m in awe of how hard these kiddos work, no matter how they feel, the effort required, or the long haul in front of them.  Is it selfish to say that teaching is pure joy?  I was made to teach, which gives me incredible satisfaction.

I’m swimming again, after months away from the pool (#8).  I was also made to swim.  How wonderful is that?   If I can keep my competitive eyes off other swimmers, I love to pray as I swim.  My first thoughts are “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” as I flow through the water.  Slowly.  Looking for someone to race.

My dearest teaching widower and I just hosted our first small group of the semester.  Dinner and movies with funny and lovable folks (#9).   First we had to clean the house, though.  What do other people do with paper clutter?  I stuffed ours in a bag on the washer, if you need a tip.   We also have trip wires for anyone who ventures upstairs, which is where everything else gets tossed before the guests arrive.  Another free tip, folks.

I love the plans that God has made for me, knowing I am never alone in any storm (#10).  I am loved!  Woohoo!

 

* To my father

PG 13 content

In the spirit of Lizzi’s Ten Things of Thankful, here are ten special things about my father.  Those of you who know me must wonder how I can find ten good things about that man.  I grew up hating my father and once tried to kill him (long story there).  He was a sadistic alcoholic who sexually, physically, and emotionally abused me until I left home for good.  My father vowed to destroy me and accomplished that early on.  When he died at age 52, I was living as far away from him as I could get.  I smiled at the news and thought I was free.  What a joke.   OK, the good part is coming.

father

This was not a fun photo op. There weren’t any of those, ever. I remember being pinched hard because I didn’t want to get near him.

The One who became my true father is responsible for this post.  It turned out that God is not at all like my biological father, which was a major shock.  Now I can share 10 things I appreciate about this special man.  Most of these are tainted by savage experiences, but the nuggets of good are still in there.

  1. He was brilliant, especially with chemistry, electronics, and math.  He designed systems to keep chemical pollution out of a local water supply.  My father built our TV, a boat, model airplanes and ships, and equipment for spying on us and our neighbors.
  2. His photographic memory always amazed me and inspired me to practice looking at pages of text and recording them in my mind.
  3. We each had an indomitable will.  Even when I could not say a word, he read the fiery anger in my eyes.  I fought him every day and night, in every way that I could.  My determination and stubbornness have been quite helpful when turned to more positive endeavors.
  4. My father always wanted me to be a teacher, despite his own terrible experiences with the one he threatened to throw through a window.  He was thrilled that I became a teacher and paid me $50 a month to write to him about my teaching experiences.
  5. I could tell that he loved his brothers, although none of them escaped their household unscathed.
  6. My love of exercise probably came from early years of trying to please this man, but it’s a passion which has been really good for me.
  7. My father enjoyed televised sports and I learned a lot about football from being forced to sit next to him during games.  No, he did not tell me anything about the game, but the commentators were helpful.  And now I enjoy sports with much friendlier folks.
  8. I learned to clean and clean and clean from my father.  Yes, it was actually torture, being forced as a young child to clean all night long, but as my dearest widower commented the other day, “It’s great that you do the deep cleaning around here!  Someone has to!”  True enough.  And I enjoy it.
  9. Despite making every “family” photo a nightmare experience, my father seriously loved photography.  He apparently loved nature and especially sunsets and sunrises.  No surprise that I often requested a camera for Christmas.  And now I want to be like Cee!
  10. Before he died during open heart surgery, my father knew he would not make it.  He never apologized for anything, but sent me a letter describing how he was putting things in order (which I received after he had died).  I immediately trashed that letter, but have since realized that he had time to turn away from his evil deeds and reach out to the Father he never had, either.

I look forward to an eternity with this special man, seeing him as he was intended to be and both loving him and being loved, as I always wanted.

 

 

* Loving when it’s hard

So thrilled that Lizzi is on the upswing, thanks in large part to blogging friends.  In fact, she’s a giggly, PG13 bogger this weekend, creating body parts… (  )(  )  Her new word, frivolyptic, is inspiring me as I explore my own Ten Things of Thankful.

I am thankful to be loved and forgiven when I stay up late playing computer games, when I take offense, when I talk too much, when I am irritable.  I’m thankful for a gentle, patient widower who enriches my life in every way.  I am grateful for an adorable son and daughter-in-law who enjoy spending time with us.  When I drowned my phone a couple of weeks ago, we had the finances to replace it.  Last week’s graduation party for a student was THE most delightful event of the year.

I am also grateful for ongoing opportunities to grow in love.  The kiddos that spend a lot of time here are teaching me how little love and patience I really have.  (“Oh, you’re a special ed teacher- you must have SO much patience!”)  Granted, much of my impatience is buried in silence, which is better than lashing out.  I felt like screaming when the most hyper kiddo gave a friend a bloody nose.  When he spilled two bottles of juice all over the carpet.  When he barely missed our huge TV with a Wii remote.  Or when his sib had a tantrum because everyone wasn’t playing the game he wanted.  Or when his other sib wet her pants once again and would not listen to me as I said she must stay downstairs while I fetched a replacement pair of undies.  Or when another sib slammed the weakest of the lot to the floor.  Or when yet another sib locked me out of my computer and wouldn’t release the password.  There.  Can you tell I still need more opportunities to love?  I will have them all day tomorrow; I am genuinely excited that there will be new ways to grow and cherish these kids as I am cherished and loved.  Praying for grace!

at the park.JPG

We all survived on our last excursion to the park!

 

* Bats in the belfry?

My Half-of-Ten Things of Thankful (and thank you, Lizzi, for your inspiration, as always!) explores the wonders of nature.  Specifically, how to keep nature at a safe distance.  You might say, “What’s wrong with nature?” and I would say, “Nothing, as long as it doesn’t crawl in the house.”  I know my place and I wish nature would follow suit.  Here are my HTToT:

  1.  My dearest widower noticed an ominous stain on the outside of the attic screen.  I followed on his heels as we opened the super noisy attic door and peered into the darkness.  BATS!                                                                                                                                       bats.JPG
  2. See those two at the very top and bottom?  They didn’t like being awakened and gave us grim looks.  We quietly backed away, after noticing their babes and the humongous piles of toxic droppings.  The good news?  They can be shooed out in August after their babies are grown.                                                                                                                                                     
  3. It’s been raining cats and dogs here, which makes me happy.  But the worms have had a tough time of it, coming up for air and finding sharp robin beaks patiently waiting.  Slugs have also been seeking drier land, but in our kitchen?  Seriously?  The good news?  My dearest widower returned the slimy intruder to his natural habitat.                                                                                                                                                          
  4.  No one ever sees baby squirrels, right?   We don’t see anything under 25 lbs. because our squirrels have pot bellies from eating at the bird feeder.  But there must have been a squirrel nest catastrophe a month ago, because a baby squirrel appeared in our yard.  The good news?  It survived because I hadn’t cut the grass, not because it had any sense at all.  It’s gotten larger and a tad smarter.  It’s interesting to see that the grownups give it more leeway with eating.
  5.  That reminds me of another squirrel adventure.  This one also came in through the attic and set up a cozy home.  The good news?  Shrieking was effective it driving it back to the “wilderness.”  After it explored the bathroom.                                                                                                                             Squirrel in shower                                                       
  6.   The good news?  Ours is not the only home under attack.  (Misery loves company.)  These poor folks have an entire front yard filled with these holes every 6 inches or less.  They are not mole hills or fire ants.  These are tunnels for digger bee larvae.  Our tunnels are from voles, which seem less creepy to me.

mole hills

Good news simply abounds at our house.  I think our neighbors have termites.