Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Perspective of a Six Year Old

I've had the pleasure of spending the day today with two of my favorite six-year-olds:  Carter and Anna.  If you are a follower or mine, you may recall that I kept Carter last summer, and so we three spent a lot of time together. There weren't many (if any) dull moments, that's for sure. 

Sooooo, today was extra special because we were able to play and have fun and have fun and play.  To see them so happy, to watch them play, to see how carefree they are and how they process information and learn and grow...it's pretty neat.  It may be especially interesting to me because other than keeping Carter last summer, I've really never seen her interact with "kids".  I know she's had a year of Kindergarten, and she has "mothered" Kaylee, but the role is different there; she is the "adult" where Kaylee is the "child".  Am I making sense?  I can see your heads all shaking "NO" with a bewildered look on your face.  Anna's always been around adults....and really, that's about it, until last summer when Carter and Kaylee came along.  Her daddy and I, her brother and sister, her aunt, her grandparents...and so she is an "adult" in so many ways.  Sometimes, I think I'm guilty of not remembering that she is only 6, and that she is a child. 

I think I've mentioned how she has recently started sharing her "happy" and "unhappy" emotions with us, haven't I?  Well, her other newer thing she is doing is asking what words mean.  She has been asking 6,000 questions an hour for a while now, and it is interesting the words she picks to ask about.   Today there were two. 

This was the conversation going on in the back seat on the way home, very seriously:
Anna:  ...and, remember, we get to swim (pronounced schwim) when we get home, you brought your suit, right?
Carter:   Yeah, and I have on my sunscreen, so I can swim with you. 
Anna:  Why you gotta have sunscreen to swim, anyways?  I don't.
**Insert here three pieces of information: 
1:  Anna's mother is a loser because she *should* be wearing sunscreen, even if she doesn't burn.
2.  Anna got the nice Italian/Cherokee skin that her mommy has; she is very lucky!
3.  Carter is about as pale as Anna is dark.
**Back to conversation:
Carter:  Because if I don't use it, my skin gets tender.
Anna:  Tender?  What's tender?
Carter: Well, it's...well, ya see...well...it gets red...and it doesn't feel good. 
Anna:  Oh.
**Poor Carter...he worked so hard to explain what it was, and got Anna's one-word response. 

I love a couple of things about that conversation.  I love that Carter used that word.  I can hear his Mama saying it to him.  I love that it's a "grown-up" word, and he used it.  I love that Anna asked what it meant, and I love that Carter took time to be thorough and answered her question in all seriousness.  These two make me happy.  (In case you didn't know.)

The next word was going to be the title of my post, but then, the tender conversation had to be thrown in, too. 

Habit.  You have to agree...it is a word that could be written about in so many ways.  There are books written on just this one word.  The habits of people, animals, our planet, groups, etc, etc, etc, have been studied for centuries.  So how do you explain that word to a six-year-old??

We are driving down the road, and Anna starts in with this chatty annoying cartoon-like voice that she uses and just sort of mumbles whatever or "sings" while using this voice.  Ya'll.  I would rather hear nails on a chalkboard.  For real.  And she's gotten worse and worse and worse about doing it.  So, we're driving down the road, yeah, I know, I already said that...just wanted to make sure you were paying attention, when she started in, and I said whatever I said to tell her to quit with the voice and that it was a habit she needed to get rid of.  Yup...here it came:  Mom, what's 'habit'?  Me:  It's when you do something over and over again.  That's a habit.  Anna:  That's not a habit.  Me:  Yes, it is a habit.  I have to ask you over and over again to stop using that voice, and it is becoming more and more often that I have to ask you, and that is a habit.  There are good habits and bad habits, and this is a bad habit, simply because it gets on your mama's nerves.  Anna:  Oh, OK.    You know, now that I think about it, I don't think I had to ask her to quit with the voice at all the rest of the day.  Wow.  I hope it sticks for tomorrow, too.

After we had that conversation, I had a couple more miles to go before I got home, and I was rolling that word around in my head, thinking about how many directions you can come from and talk about this word, what it can represent, that your habits make up who you are...the list goes on and on...and of course, I thought that it needed to be a blog post. 

It made me think about my habits, specifically. 

If you asked me if I had a habit, the first thing I would tell you is that until I was 29 years old, I bit my fingernails to a nub, and I had all my life.  After Anna was born, at age 29, I just stopped biting them.  I never thought about it; I just noticed it after a while. 

So I'm sure we all have "auto pilot" answers about habits we have, just like that example, but what about other habits?

What good habits do I have?  What habits do I have that I hope that my children pick up on?  Have I taught them those habits?  What good habits would I like to adopt?  Why? 

What bad habits do I have? Why haven't I changed them?  What do I need to do to see that they are changed, so they can be crossed off the "bad" list? I'm sure we all have them.  After all, we *are* human. 

 Here is a twist on the normal thought process of habits:  What is a habit I *don't* have that I wish I had?  How can I work on it, and make it a habit?  I read somewhere once that after you do the same thing for 17 days in a row, it was then a "habit".  I'm sure that is not scientifical,  but it stuck in my head.  Who knows why. 

How do my habits affect those around me? My children, specifically, and next, as an example of a Christian....do I say and do things that reflect and display God's love for us, and the image of what He would want me to be?  Do I say and do things that don't do those things?  Again, what can I do to change those things and make them into positive things?  How can I work on that?

This has already turned into a novella, so I won't go into listing things I've thought about throughout the day that go along with this word, but I wanted to put my thoughts down; get them out there.  Maybe if for no other reason than to come back to this topic and reflect on it at a different time and see if my answers are the same or different.  Have I worked on what I should have? 

How would YOU explain the word, off the top of your head?  Hmmm?  Comment and tell me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sometimes you get the bear....sometimes, you don't.

How's that for a title?  I want to write a post, but I dont' know what I want to talk about.  Today's been a hectic day, and I have a headache, and I should go to sleep...but I need to write first.

I think I shall write about friends.  You know,  you really never know who you meet that is going to be a large chunk of your life...and you didn't even know it.  My friends are really rallying around me right now...holding me up, pushing me up, talking me up, you get the idea, right?  But you know what?  Some are "old" friends, some are "new".  Some know my life story, most don't.  The thing is, whether they are old or new, or whether they know every detail or no detail...they are right there, to love, hug, feed, support, help, do, rearrange their furniture...you name it, they'll do it.  I've never really had  group of friends like I do now. The best part is they have mostly been met through the store and classes.  Some were already there, and the friendship has just been cultivated and fertilized.  I love how everyone talks and shares, I love how they listen, they care, and they share.  But the botto line is this:  I am not alone, I am not alone, I am not alone!  Why?  Because I have the best group of friends E-V-E-R.....you know who you are, gals.

I may have some nice news coming down the pipe, if I'm lucky....so keep your figers crossed for a good news post soon!  :)

I think tomorrow, I'll get the bear......since he got me today.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I'm just really sad and hurting today.  There's so many reasons why, and there's so much going on...and, well, I'm just really sad. 

It hurts to be left out...intentionally.  It is devastating to be hurt....intentionally.  I don't even know a word for how it feels when you go to bed, and tell the back that is facing you that you love it, and it doesn't say anything back.  Is there a word for that?  

I WILL get through this day.  I WILL get through this.  I WILL.  I WILL go to the store, and I WILL create.  I WILL prevail.  I WILL continue to love.  I WILL continue to smile.  I WILL continue to be me...I WILL NOT let my light be hidden under a bushel, NO!  I WILL keep trekking day in and day out, with a smile on my face, with love in my heart.  I WILL.

I need prayers, and I can tell you specifically what I need right now.
1.  I need for the "I love you's" to seep through that wall, and into his heart.  (I know he has one.)
2.  I need to be able to withstand these days right now, with a smile on my face, so that it, too, can get through that wall, and into his heart.
3.  I need the negative people in his life to stop feeding him negativity.  This is a hard one, folks.  Next to impossible, but we can pray, because our God can do impossible things. 
4.  I need a job.  I've applied for a position that would be GREAT for me...and for some reason, just like i did with AVR, in my gut, I feel like this job will be mine in the long run.  Don't know why...just a hunch, and a lot of prayer.  So, please pray that if not this job, there will be another that will be perfect for me.  Without a job, everything in my life is going to continue to be rotten.
5.  Pray for his heart.  Pray for his attitude.  Pray for the love to come back, and the hatred to go away.  Pray for softness, for the hardness to disappear.  Pray for an open mind anad an open heart.
6.  It's possible that I will either a:  need a place to live, or b:  need a roommate (which again means I would need a place to live.)  I have places to go, but I mean, my own place to live.  Like I said, this is just *possible*, and hopefully, with all these other prayers, this will be one I don't need.
7.  Again, I need prayers.  I have to smile, I have to love, I have to take the hurt and not show that it hurt.  I have to function, and that's hard right now.  I need to breathe, which also happens to be hard to do right now.  I just pray that the relationship of the first two years and continue, and this last month is just a bleep in the radar. 
8.  Today is a super-hard day, harder than any of the others have been so far.  It hurts to be left out, and it hurts to be disregarded.  And it hurts when there seems to be intention behind the hurt.
9.  There are two people who will be giddy with excitement to read this post, who will love that I am hurting, that things are not right.  Who will be praying that things will continue to be terrible for me, and that I will leave.  Is it too big a request to ask God to silence them?  To ask Him to have them grow up, to ask Him to find something else to worry about, and to leave us alone?  Without these two, and one especially, probably 98% of our problems wouldn't even exist.  So, I guess just pray for that whole situation, if you will.
10.  Pray that I can smile today, and that I can breathe today, and that I can remember that there are better tomorrows to come. 
11.  Thank you.  :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Golden Rule

I was just sitting here on the couch, thinking about life in general, looking through facebook, my mind wandering here and there, and out of the blue, I thought, "You know, there is so much to be said about treating others the way you would like to be treated."  Then, I remembered that I was not the first person to ever come up with that theory, idea, statement, whatever you wanna call it; Jesus came up with that as a commandment!

I think it is safe to say that it is always no fun to be the one on the receiving end of treatment that is less than stellar.  It stinks to be talked about.  It stinks to not be liked.  It stinks to know that there are double standards in relationships.  It stinks when hurtful words are said to you.  It stinks when you feel as if you don't matter to someone who matters so very much to you.

It's confusing when you don't understand why you are receiving that treatment, but it hurts just the same.  It's confusing when you hear the words,"I love you," but the actions don't match the words.  It's confusing and sad and hurtful and all of the above and more when you feel like you've done everything you can possibly do, and nothing you do is good enough.  You are not good enough.  You are not enough.  You don't matter as much to that person as they matter to you.  Sometimes, relationships stink, don't they?

I've been so fortunate to be surrounded by the best group of friends who have listened to me, who have prayed for me, who have loved me, who would do anything in the world for me, as I would for them.  Out of the hurt and the confusion, friends I already had became lifelines...so much more than "just friends," and others became friends unexpectedly.  All of us became friends because God put us just where we needed to be at just the right time.  So the "at least" in this situation is this: At least I have a group of friends who love me, who care for me, and who I can count on in all situations. 

What I've learned from this situation is how to be more sensitive to others, to be more considerate of others, and  to care more about what I say and how I say it.  I've learned that I've had the opportunity to grow from this situation, and I'm afraid the growing process just started, and won't be done for a while. 

BUT...I also know that God will give me nothing more than what He knows I can handle.  I know that a year from now, maybe even a month from now, who knows?, I will be able to look back at this confusing and hurtful time in my life, this scary time, this time when I have literally had to get myself up and dressed and go throught the motions of the day because I have a child to take care of, and I will be able to plainly see God's work.  I will have learned what He wanted me to learn, and hopefully, I will grow the way that He wants me to grow.

I hope to always demonstrate the Golden Rule when I am dealing with others. I hope to never be hurtful.  I hope to always be uplifting and encouraging.  I hope to be the smile that helps someone through their day.  I hope to be able to help and uplift others as others have helped and uplifted me.

Thank you, Jesus, for my friends, for this group that surrounds me with their love and care, these girls who call to check on me, who text me randomly to tell me they love me, who support me, who are my smile when I don't have one...thank you.  Thank you for this group of friends who have demonstrated to me the Golden Rule, and have extended their love to me unconditionally.  Thank you, friends.  You know who you are.  I love you.

Me from A-Z

I apologize in advance for such a lame post....but my brain couldn't write tonight...too much rolling around in there.  I'll try to do better soon.

Me...from A-Z!
The ABC's of Me......
A is for Age: 36
B is for Booze of choice: Mello Yello :)
C is for Career: ???
D is for your Dog's name: Harley and Emma
E is for Essential items you use every day:tooth brush, cell phone, computer
F is for Favorite song at the moment: only one? i don't know the name of it....it's from Save the Last Dance
G is for favorite Games: Yahtzee
H is for Hometown: Van Wert, Ohio
I is for Instruments you play: Piano, Flute, Piccolo
J is for Jam or Jelly you like: I'm not too picky.  :)
K is for Kids: Katie, 19, Kevin 17, Anna...6
L is for Last kiss: Kevin before he left my house just a few minutes ago.
M is for Most admired trait: happiness
N is for Name of your crush: PiePie
O is for Overnight hospital stays: too many to list!!!
P is for phobias: I"m not too crazy about snakes. You can't see them!
Q is for quotes you like: This is my fave at the moment: Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. ~Carl Bard
R is for biggest Regret: disappointing my dad, who always stuck up for me. Sorry, dad.
S is for Sweets of your choice: Twix
T is for Time you wake up: 5:30
U is for Underwear: You're supposed to wear underwear?
V is for Vegetable you love: Mostly any of them.
W is for Worst Habit: worrying
X is for X-rays you've had: arm, hand, that's it, i think
Y is for Yummy food you make: All the food I make is yummy!!!
Z is for Zodiac sign: taurus

Saturday, June 9, 2012


*Please Know*
*I am in no way patting myself on the back.
*I am in no way insinuating that I am the only person who cares for my in-laws.
*The intent of this post was to say that I don't understand all the "pats on the back" that I seem to get when in medical offices and hospitals and such.
*This is MY blog, from MY viewpoint, and MY thoughts. 
*Again, this post was not intended to be one that was made to list that I am wonderful, for if you know my well, you know that it is my horns that hold up my halo!  :)
I had a boss one time that I really respected (until he threw me right under that proverbial bus, that is) and he said some wise things. One thing he taught me was to look at things as a gift, if you will, rather than a "have to". For instance: Abby: "I have to go and...blah blah blah...." We'll call the boss Mr. T. Mr. T.: "Did you mean to say you have the opportunity to.....?" And you know, it stuck. You can turn anything into an opportunity if you look hard enough. Sometimes you may not be able to see it at the moment, but later, you can look back and it jumps right out at you, making you say, "Ah ha! So THAT is what the opportunity was in _________ situation!" Or some such exclamation. (That is very similar to what I learned *later* about the opportunity that came from the bus-throwing incident.)

I think that line of thought is similar to that which I tried to instill in my troublemakers: I belieave that in any situation, you can come up with an "at least" which makes the situation better than it could be. It used to anger them, I think, until they figured out that I was being serious and that this school of thought was one that I lived by daily. There's no telling how many times I've muttered those two words. No telling. After they were done being angry, they would catch themselves muttering those words as well.

At this point, you are probably wondering what in the world made me think to post a story about an old boss and the words "at least," so this is the point at which I will tell you.

I wanted to name the title of this post "Because I Should Can" but Blogger wouldn't let me use the strikethrough in the title area.

It's no secret that my in-laws have had a ton of unfortunate health incidents within the last year and a half or so. When they do it, they do it up good, too. We didn't get just a fractured hip when Papa fell. Nope. We got a crushed hip. The kind that the ER doctor said no one except a doctor at Vanderbilt could fix. And so we ended up at Vanderbilt for weeks on end, waiting on Papa's crushed hip to heal enough he could leave the hospital and get into a rehabilitation program. He stayed at the nursing home getting rehab for many more weeks. When we brought him home, he needed a walker, then eventually, we got him so that he was able to use a cane a lot, instead of the bulky walker in their small house.

During the time that we were working on Papa being able to be more mobile, we also made a major change for Barbara: we got her on a new insulin pump, and we got her to go to a diabetes specialist instead of just her family doctor. Her bloodsugars were in the target range, and she became excited to check her blood, like a kid on Christmas morning, because the numbers were what they were supposed to be. I need to write a whole nother post on the "D" word.

Working chronologically, we'll go on to the next unfortunate accident: Barb's fall. This has been the incident that has impacted our family the most. We spent 3 months at the hospital. We spent an extra month on that hospital's rehab floor, where she somehow went backwards in her progress instead of forwards. At that point, they had to release her to the nursing home as she could not stand or support herself to walk at all. Of course, at the nursing home, she would continue to get therapy as well. Her fall was in August of last year. It's June now, folks, and she still isn't walking. In fact, she tried to get out of her bed about two weeks ago, and fractured her pelvis. As we have watched her progress go backwards, so has her mental state. This is the most heartbreaking part.

While Barbara was in the hospital and nursing home, Carl's health started to decline, and continued to do so, no matter what we tried to do to keep him healthy. He lost weight. He lost his balance. He lost his appetite. He energy level dropped. He complained of being weak, but not hurting anywhere. His blood sugars would drop so that he needed a glucagon kit, and then it would be so high that it seemed like no amount of insulin would bring it down. And so it went...for a few months. And he grew weaker and weaker and he kept losing his balance and falling. He fell one day in the kitchen and he had to lay there until his granddaughter showed up several hours later. I think that is what made it be "OK" with him when his doctor told him he thought he needed the 24 hour care of being in the nursing home. We wanted to have him work with the rehab people and hopefully build up his strength and bring him back home, but sadly that hasn't happened.

The good news is that at this point, we were able to get Carl into the same home as Barbara (only because of God's grace), and eventually, into the same room. Mostly that's a good thing. :) We are very pleased with the home where they are, and feel very fortunate to have them there, in the same room, and close to home. We love that they are around people, that they have activities to do, that they have three balanced meals a day, and they have snacks. We love that they get therapy, and that they have nurses who love them dearly and take the best care of them...we couldn't ask for better. In so many ways, the nursing home is so much healthier for them than being at home...but alas, I know...there *is* no place like home, to quote Dorothy.

There has been a lot of paperwork to do, as you could imagine. There has been a lot of phone calls to make. A lot of trips to the nursing home. A lot of communication with lawyers, and a lot of questions that have had to be answered. We had to track down their marriage certificate...it didn't prove to be as difficult as we thought, thank God. We have had a lot of appointments to get to. A lot of bills to pay and banking to do. And this continues on and on, but I'm sure at this point, you know that, right?

I've been the primary person to "head up" their care, make their appointments, take them to their appointments, make sure their medicine is right, handle their telephone calls, and so on. I've stayed at the hospital with Barb countless hours and nights. I've consoled her, and I've been called names by her. I've taken Papa to a lot of appointments. We've done a lot of bonding, he and I, on the way to those appointments, and on the way home. I even got the stamp of approval on my driving skills. That was a big "WOW" moment. :) I've counted his pills, made sure he's taken them, cooked his meals, and so on and so forth. While taking care of all of this and much more is exhausting, I do look at it as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to serve others, to love others, to console others, to take a load off of their only son. I can't think of even one time that I even thought about complaining or having a bad attitude about taking them places and doing things for them. Actually, looking back, I can say I was happy to do those things. Happy from my heart. I wish I didn't have to, because I wish they didn't have to, but they do, and so I do. :) Yep, it's stressful. Yep, it's work. But...yep, it's worth it.

It amazes me how many times (countless, literally) that I have been commended for taking such good care of my inlaws, that I have been commended for being "only" a daughter-in-law who cares enough about her inlaws to stay with them at the hospital, to take them to the doctor, to know so much about their medicines and their care. The list goes on and on, but you get the drift. Every single time that happens, I am dumbfounded. These people are my family, and aren't we supposed to help others? If I was able to do those things for them and chose not to, I don't think I could live with myself. How selfish would that be!?!?!

In some ways, it's "returning the favor"....when I came into this family, I was welcomed with open arms by my inlaws. No questions asked, just welcomed. They treated my children as if they were their grandchildren and had been all their lives. They treated me the same way. Oh, how good they were to me, and at the hardest time in my life I'd ever been through. How could I not take care of them after they loved us like that? But...I don't believe in "tit for tat". I do what I do for them because we are commanded to love one another, and to help one another. I do it because from my heart and soul all the way out, I want to do everything I can for them, and I love them oh, so very much. With each thing we have been through, I've loved them more and more. They've yanked at my heartstrings more and more. I love that I am able to care for them, I am thankful I am able to care for them. Were they not my in-laws, but people that needed help and care, I would hope to think I would do for them just the same.

So, to all those who think that it is amazing that I do so much for my inlaws, when I'm *just* the daughter-in-law, know that I don't do the things I do for them because I *should*, because it is the "right" thing to do, but I do it because I love them and because I CAN. I don't do it to be recognized. I don't do it because I feel like I have to. I do it because I CAN. The opportunity here? Priceless relationships with priceless people.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just Random

Something she keeps hidden:  my thoughts and feelings

Something that's always on display: my smile

One thing she wishes she could throw away:  negativity

The best gift she ever received:  motherhood

An unusual thing in her purse:  At the moment, my purse is really pretty empty.  Let's see....the strangest thing in there, I believe, is dental floss.  Other than that, it's just the same ole...checkbook, calendar, little pouch with lip stuff and such...pretty boring.

Something she NEVER runs out of:  words.  Very rarely do I run out of words.

Something that's always in her trunk:  junk.

Her favorite pair of shoes:  my Nike flip flops.  I've walked through one pair, found another last year, and they are close to being walked through, too.  I haven't seen anything similar yet this year. 

Something she never takes off:  the earrings in my second holes.

Something she sleeps with every night:  lots of pillows.

Something that triggers a memory: smells. Always smells.  Also, sometimes when someone says something, I'll think  of something from another time.

One thing that's on her wish list:  hmmmm...laser surgery for my eyeballs, maybe? 

Something her children fight over:  the front seat of the car.

Something she's embarrassed to admit she likes:  a good boxing match.

Something she collects:  things that speak to me when I see them.  And quotes.  And pottery, especially handmade. 

Something she avoids at all costs:  conflict, sadness

Something that reminds her of her mother:  classical piano music

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Granny and Papa...A Familiy History Lesson

So many people have asked about these two that I thought I would make a post and then share the link rather than keeep on explaining and explaining, lol. 

I'm going to go back to April of last year (2011).  Papa tried to get a limb that was hanging out of a tree and took a tumble.  He completely smashed his hip and broke his femur and pubic bone as well.  He had to be taken on to Vanderbilt where there was a surgeono experienced enough to work on his hip and put it back together again..you know...like Humpty Dumpty.  We spent weeks and weeks at Vanderbilt, and when the time was right, he went to the nursing home for rehabilitation and stayed there for many weeks as well.

Papa slowly but surely got better about walking around and getting his strength back, and was tooling around town like normal, making his route...Hardees, BP, The Dollar store...who knows where all.  You know he was Granny's chauffer to yardsales, and Makayla's ride home from basketbally practice and what not. 

Things were almost normal....and then, Barb took a tumble in the bathroom one night.  We called the abulance, and they took her to what I will call the "first" hospital.  That hospital sent her home with some pain meds and told her she should be better soon.

She ran out of pain medication, and called said hospital back, and just so happens that the person on the other end of the phone had her chart and asked her why she went home with a broken back.  We had no clue!!!!!!  They said we needed to get her to the nearest hospital, so we surpassed #1 and stopped at #2. 

At #2, she was x-rayed, examined, and sent home, being told to rest and let it heal and it would all be fine.  Days later, she was talking out of her head all crazy, she couldn't move at all, and something was very wrong.  THIS time, we went to #3,  which was Skyline.  I couldn't have asked for better care for her if I had mail-ordered it.  EVERYONE there was wonderful!  The bad news was she had three fractures in her back, and needed a major surgery, but her body was not healthy enough to endure the surgery.  We waited nearly a month until the doctors there felt it was safe to opporate on her, and then they did.  :)  The opporation was successful, and she pulled through like a champ.  It even took a lot less time than they thought it would.  Over the next six weeks or so, she would get up and stand, and maybe walk to the bathroom in her room, with help.  I begged, and even though they were pretty certain it wasn't going to be a go, they tried physical therapy for a few weeks.  She seemed to regress instead of get better, and now, she can barely stand and take a step or two to get in and out of her wheelchair. 

When Skyline had done all that they could do, they put her in the nursing home, and she has been receiving care and therapy there since December-ish.  She has a lot of problems with dimentia that were not issues before she fell, and at this point, we are not hopeful that that will get any better.  Neurologically, she checks out fine.  Soooo....she's been in the nursing home for the whole year.  Unless God sees fit to use a miracle of his on her, she will be there and never come out, if I had to be real and try to predict what the future holds for her. 

Papa never really got too stable on his feet and used a walker or a cane most of the time.  He also complained of being weak, but he didn't think anything hurt on him.  His blood sugars went way up into the 500's and then way down low say to 50.  Up and down, and up and down...and then we had to take shots with every meal.  This was a bit complicated since noone was around really at his meal times, so I adjusted my schedule to take care of him, since I have the store and I'm my own boss. 

One day, he fell and layed in the kitchen floor for about four hours before someone came home and found him and helped him up.  He's fallen numerous times besides then, too...but I think with no one being home, that was the realy eye-opener.  That week, he layed in bed and never got out of it at all.  We would have to take him his food, water, etc. and he wouldn't get up.  So I made another appt or him.  The morning of his appointment, I had to get behind his back and push him into a sitting position, then put his clothes and shoes on him before we could go.  He had no strength to do it.  It was at that appointment with the loss of strength, more weight loss, the fall, him being alone, and his wonky blood sugars that the doctor felt that he would only be safe with 24 hour care, so up to the nursing home he went.  Thankfully, it only took a couple of weeks to get them in the same room...the staff there is the best.  That was probably around March.  I think Carl knows that Barb can't come out, and he wants to stay with her.  He's a pistol!  :)  So I'm not sure that either of them will ever be able to come "home".  I think the nursing home IS their home.

Soooooo, I think they have both been in and out of the hospital once or twice for some little things, like Carl bumped his head one day, but other than that, they've been happy as larks in the dark...cept for when Barb is giving Carl a fussin!  :)  This time, she had elevated blood pressure and was doing some twitching, so they called and Mark met them at the ER about that, which ended up being the beginning of her stay here.  Oh-I almost forgot!  She fell last week and broke her pelvic bone, but apparently, time is the best healer for that. 

We have dealt with a lot of combativeness, a lot of aggression and a lot more than a lot of confusion.  We have found another drug allergy, and the list goes on and on.  I was up with her ALLLLL night last night, but tonight, she is sleeping well, and I'm about to turn in, too.  We'll see what tomorrow holds, I suppose!  :)

If I left anything out feel free to comment and let me know, or if you have a question I didn't answer.

MON-roe, Cont'd

I told you in my previous post that I would tell you why I admire MON-roe.  It's such a simple thing, or at least it seems that way to him.  You make a schedule of the things that are important enough for you to spend the time that makes up your life doing them, and then you do them.  Faithfully.

MON-roe told me that he came to "God's Green" as it has affectionately been deemed, EVERY Sunday, because it was his home and he enjoyed it.  He enjoyed the labor, and he enjoyed the rest he was able to get after the labor, right on the bed of that antient truck of his.  (That one worked JUST FINE...he didn't know why everyone thought he needed another one.) 

I love that he takes time for HIM in this busy world to nurture his soul, and he does it RELIGIOUSLY.  I think we almost get in a habit, and then something comes along and we miss a day here or a walk there, and the next thing ya know, you end up like me...walking never, and gaining back all that weight, and not getting that healthy time every day...healthy for my body, yes, but also healthy for my mind, and healthy for my family.

MON-roe really has a simplistic view of the world, with his Gump-like personality...he treats others the way he way he wants to be treated.  He is a quiet giver...he doesn't want any pomp and circumstance.  He has good manners, but says if he is on his land, and he doesn't want to put his shirt on and you're on his land, if he doesn't feel like it, he won't.  (Although he is more gentleman that he makes himself out to be.  Before he came over to the road to see what this crazy gal wanted with him, he stopped and put his shirt on.)

So there are the reasons that I respect and admire this new friend of mine named MON-roe that I can think of at two o'clock in the morning when I should be sleeping but instead, I've spent "loving on" my mother-in-law since I got here at 8:30, but I am thankful that I was here. There's not much that is more gratifying than being about to serve others who have helped or served you in some way, and she has, and I'm trying.

Nighty night.

I'll see if I can rummage up a picture for tomorrow.  :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I am...

I was going to name this post "I Am a Mother".  But as I sit here in the hospital room, hearing the nurses talking, typing by the moonlight coming through the window, hearing the beeps, and listening for my mother-in-law so if she gets restless, I can get up and console her, I thought, "Wait!  I am a caregiver."  My next thought is that the words "mother" and "caregiver" are in many ways one and the same. 

In a previous post, I blogged about how I never prayed to have children, that I never planned to have my children, but as soon as I knew they were there, I started to pray for them.  And I prayed for the spouses that they might have when they grow up, and I prayed for their health and safety.  You know...things that I think every mother prays for her children.  It's a miracle to me to think about how God knew just exactly when to surprise me with one of His creations to love and nurture, and when I think about finishing the sentence, "I am..." my mind automatically says "a mother".  I am a mother. 

I have nearly always been a mother, at least in so many ways.  Being the oldest of four, I "mothered" my sisters, and perhaps I "smothered" my sisters!  :)  I've given them baths, I've helped them learn how to spell.  I've taken them for breakfast, I've cooked with them.  I've consoled them, and I've spoiled them.  I've given them advice, and I've loved them fiercely, as if they were my children.

Next comes the biological classification of children.  Katie was first.  I remember she and I, rocking, rocking, rocking at night, and how I would hold her and think that she was perfect in every way.  I would sing to her until I fell asleep with her in my arms.  We did a lot of bonding, she and I.  (And we still do.) Many a morning, she was the reason I got up and carried on, and because of her, the rest of the family was born.  She has been the most monumental influence on my life, for without her, I don't know who I would have become, what I would have done, and if I didn't have a reason to go to school, to prove myself, I'm not sure that I would be who I am today.  In fact, I am very sure I would be someone completely different.  I'm thankful for Katie because I like who I am.  :)  Next came Jessica...oh, how she looked up to me, and oh, how I cared about her. (She would technically be my neice, but when it comes to technicallities and motherhood, who's counting anyways???)  I came into her life when she was in Kindergarten, we did a lot of things together, went a lot of places, and as she got older, she "mothered" my children.  Without her, there have been times that I'm not sure what I would have done.  Then we were blessed with Kevin.  I was scared to death when I found out that we were expecting him, but overshadowing that fear was my excitement...would Kate have a sister or a brother?  Like I said, I was scared...after all, I was only 17, and Katie wasn't very old, and we were just starting out...but as the days wore on, the fear shrunk and shrunk until it was gone, and exitement over the surprise God had given us continued to grow as we found out it was a boy (a first in my family), and as his birthday drew nearer.  Again, a perfect baby was put in my arms, and it was love at first sight.  This kid is destined for great things, for helping people, for sharing the stuff he's made of with others.  I can't explain it; he just is.  And then....then, well, we *thought* we were through.  But as is His plan, we were not through.  Twelve years after my  "baby" was born, we were blessed with Miss Anna Lucia.  This child was born to heal people and to bring people together.  She was born to show others how to be happy, and she was born for us all to enjoy.  It's almost like she's the cherry on top, just for good behavior...we get to enjoy her.  (Thank you Jesus!) 

The next classification of "mother" that I am stems from a job I found in the paper to be a teacher. After I had Anna, I started working with the teens that I *very* affectionately call my "troublemakers".  And not only did I teach them, but yeah....I mothered them.  After all, their moms were in other states, and they were there in a new, scary place and everyone needs to feel as if they have *someone* in their corner, don't they?  I still (s)mother many of them now.  One is getting married, and starting a family of his own, complete with a school-teacher wife and a (mostly) Boxer puppy to keep them company.  And as was his word, an invite to this occassion will be reaching my mailbox soon.  Another has needed my help as he was around the wrong people at the wrong time...and this kid...he makes me happy.  And he visits me, and I love him and I love his mom, and I love to see him healthy.  Then there was the girl that laughed at me when I asked her to consider going to a small, private college close to our town.  Guess what?  That girl graduated from that college, and is in a job doing what she loves, helping other people.  I have "family" in Georgia.  Lots of family...many families...and I miss them as I have not been able to travel there in the last few years.  However, I did come through with two promises I made:  one was to wear a red dress to his graduation, and the other was to go to a graduation in his big, red truck.  Those kids are healthy now, with their diplomas in hand, and are moving on to find careers and such.  I could go on and on and on.  I love them all so very much, and I love that they "let" me keep track of them.  I love how they just pop up here and there, giving me a smile, and always acknowledging me when I comment on their facebook pages, send them a text, or give them a call.  And you know what?  Those rock hard troublemaking kids *love* now, and they are thriving young adults, and here is the best part:  they love me back.   I miss my job helping those kids, and I so wish that I could continue working with them, but alas, that job came to an end...at least as far as right there, at the ranch.  Again, I still mother them...I can do that from anywhere!  :)

Next comes the kids that I inherited because they were friends with my kids.  A couple of them dutifully call me  "mom"...which I love.  Just like my troublemaker kids, these kids pop in and out here and there and just make my day.  I spent the better part of the afternoon today with two of my "sons" just doing nothing, but being around each other, laughing, being silly, talking, not talking, just enjoying being.  Those are the good times.  Those are the things that make up memories.  The little things that you have no idea make such an impression on the person you "surprise" with a visit, a smile, a text, a call, what have you.  Just because they do love you, even if they mumble it sometimes. :)

I think I've kept the chronological order going fairly well here, and I believe that the inheritance of a little blonde headed girl, full of mischieviousness, and bursting at the seems for some attention from a mother figure is next on the list.  I will always remember the first time I went to her program at school.  When she spotted me, she was so excited I had came, she told the girl next to her, "My MOM'S here!!!"  And my heart melted even more.  We've had our ups and downs, she and I, and I would wager to bet we have many more of those trials, tribulations, and successes down the road, but I do believe that a mother's love is a love that can never be broken . It can be hurt, yes.  But never turned off.  I love this child as if she were my own, and to be factual, she is.  I wanted to teach her to cook, to be crafty, to do things special with her, because she needed that, and I think the day that she gashed her leg open and would not be consoled until she talked to me, I knew that indeed, she loved me back as well, and needed me.

Then there is this mother that comes out when I am around my friend.  She is younger than me, yes.  But not that much younger.  But I am fiercely protective of her, as a mother would be, because she lost her mother last year in a very tragic accident.  I cannot imagine...I saw the pain and suffering she went through.  I see the pain and suffering she still goes through.  She has got to be the strongest, most determined individual I've ever known, yet I am fiercely protective of her.   I don't want to take the place of her mother, nor could I if I tried, but she allows me to be the mother duck...she humors me.  :)

I think the common thread that runs through all of these roles, all of these different types of motherhood relationships is compassion.  Compassion for others.  And I believe it is that compassion that prompts the role of caretaker as well. 

Since this post got embarassingly long...I will continue the second half of this post about being a caretaker tomorrow....stay tuned, and thank you for reading all of that if you got this far....also, while I'm thinking tonight in my sleep, if there is any sort of "motherhood" that I've left out, I will be adding it to the next post.  :)

Until next time.....

Random Facts...Continued

I think of other random things that I didn't include in my 100, and I want to document them, if for no one else, than for my amusement at a later date.

1. I can mirror write.  I was the coolest teacher ever in middle school because I wrote backwards in everyone's yearbook.
2.  I get complimented on my nice handwriting all the time.  This is ironic because when I was in elementary school, I got in trouble regularly from my teachers and my father about my poor handwriting.  It was only after I taught Kindergarten and went back to the basics that I was able to write legibly and started receiving compliments.
3.  My fourth grade teacher wouldn't let me help with the bulletin boards, because I was left handed, which automatically somehow qualified me as a poor cutter.  I was the only kid in the class that didn't get to do them, and I was heartbroken.  I've always wanted to look her up and tell her that the first year I was a teacher, I was an ART teacher, no thanks to her encouragement and support.
4.  I remember being in 2nd grade and being embarassed by the teacher because I didn't know what the contraction "let's" was made up of.  The sentence was,"Let's go to the store."  I knew that let's was let and us, but when you said it: Let us go to the store. it didn't make sense.  I didn't want to be wrong, so I didn't say anything.  She yelled at me and made me cry and I was so embarassed.  Finally, I said "let us" and she then yelled at me for not saying it earlier.  Again, thanks for the encouragement, lady.
5.  In fifth grade, we moved to Tennessee. My teacher was so intrigued with my Northern accent that she would have me read to the class.  This isn't necessarily a bad memory....more like an amusing one.
6.  I *hated* school (geez I wonder why!) and was so relieved to be done after my 10th grade year so that I could get away from the nonsense that was called "learning" and get on with the education that I needed to be a teacher. 
7.  I do not like talking on the telephone.
8.  If I never had a TV in my house again, I would be one happy camper.  I don't like the noise.
9.  I enjoy having a fish tank.
10.  I love light, and lots of it.  Windows.  Lots of windows make Abby happy.
11.  I am very stubborn.  This can bite me in the butt sometimes, but it is also what has gotten me through a lot of my life, and if I had to choose, it is a quality I would keep because I think it has done me more good than harm over the years. 
12.  I love the smell of tomato plants in the garden....transports me right back to the garden with Gramps and the tiller.
13.  I can remember telling two people in my life that I hated them.  Ironically, it was the two people I credit with forming me into who I am, the two people I look up to more than all others on this whole planet.  How did that happen?!?!?
14.  I am queen of the silent treatment.  You will not win, so don't even bother going there.  :)
15.  I *hate* Western movies.  It's the music.  It's too noisy.
16.  I love games and game shows.  Always have.
17.  When I was younger, I read things like the dictionary, the encyclopedia, and the telephone book.  I'm not sure that it made me smarter, but it sure did keep me entertained.
18.  When I was taking classes to get my teaching degree, one of our sources had to be the Internet.  This was just something I was hearing existed at the time, and I was very distressed.  I cried because I had no access, and wouldn't know what to do with it if I did.
19.  I like to sleep on a hard mattress with a board underneath.  I get this from my dad, who made us have boards under our matresses to help us have a better back than he did.
20.  The board theory didn't prove so much to be true at prevention; I had to have a disc removed anyways, but I still like to sleep with one under my bed.  I do not like a soft bed.
21.  One of my earliest memories is of helping Dad put his socks and shoes on after his back surgery.  My children helped me do the same, a couple decades later.
22.  I am the only child out of four who chose not to pursue a career that involved music.  Perhaps this is because the earliest memory I have involving music was arguing with my mom about practicing...and it was an ongoing arguement through the years.  I understand now, of course, that I am a mother, the things that I didn't understand then, and I regret that the talent she cultivated isn't put to use.
23.  I've been married twice, but have never been proposed to (at least not by either man I married) nor have I had a wedding.
24.  I have been proposed to by more men than I can count...and I wonder why????  I got a fortune cookie one time that said that I have a magnetic personality.  I'll say.  I think they see my "happy" and want a dose of it is all....which would require a relationship with God, not me, so yeah....they should thank me for gracioiusly declining.
25.  I love pictures. 
26.  I love to people-watch, and it's better if you have an active people-watcher with you.
27.  I still have not forgiven the kid that made me wreck my bike on purpose, back in the summer between 5th and 6th grades.  Makes me mad every time I think about it, and no, I don't know why I think about it. 
28.  I stink at video games in a huge way, but I am BOSS when it comes to playing Tetris. 
29.  I don't know how to play card games.  I can play Rummy, and Solitaire. 
30.  I stink at math, which could be the reason I stink at the aforementioned games.
31.  I talk to our dogs every day when I leave, and every evening when I return.  Weird.  I've become the "dog lady".
32.  For some reason, I like pumpkins...they make me smile.  Maybe it's the memories from childhood, maybe it's because they are orange. 
33.  Smells make me very sick.  Cologne, perfume, cleaning smells....they are all very bad on Abby.
34.  I wish I had room to keep all of the books that I've ever read, and I wish I had documented them all from the time I learned to read until currently.  I have no idea what I would do with that list, but I think it would be neat to have.
35.  I would rather have a book in my hand than a Nook-like device, but I will admit they are handy.
36.  I am scared of the idea that snakes can't be seen until you step on them.  I am not woosy if the snake is in a cage at the zoo.  But don't ask me to wade through tall grass or a creek...nope.
37.  My sister and I spent countless hours in creeks growing up, huntingn for crawdads and other whatever-we-could-finds along the way.
38.  I don't cry.  Well, hardly ever.  If I cry, I am either really mad, or you've hurt my feelings; cut me to the core.  Either way, watch out.  I don't cry at funerals....and it's not because I'm not sad...it's just...well...I dunno why.
39.  I never cried about my Gramps' passing until I couldn't breathe.  Then, I cried I think not so much because of his passing, but rather because of the selfishness of not wanting him to go...because it is so very scary when you can't breathe.  You know what?  He lived with that problem for YEARS, and never complained.  I know it had to be scary.  I know I was scared, and I don't have asthma, and I don't have COPD, or emphasima (I really don't think that is spelled right, but I'm too tired to care.)
40. I am scared to death of authoritive figures, like bosses.  I always am nervous.  I have no idea why, unless it is the ever-so-loving teachers that I had over the years who conditioned me to be that way.
41.  There have only ever been two people in the world that can make me feel an inch tall.  Those two people are among the top five people who would be thought of to be people that would want to love me, not cut me down using the tactics that they knew would go straight to my very soul.
42.  There are a few things in my life, that despite my stubbornness, I've had to just throw in the towel and walk away from them....and to me, that's the same as conceding to the enemy, which really stinks.  But then again, I only owe to myself to be satisfied that I did what I could, and that I am a winner, not a loser, by choosing to be strong enough to walk away from those relationships and situations.  It takes a lot of courage to throw in the towel, even though it doesn't seem like it would.
43.  I don't watch the news.  This may seem simple-minded, but I don't want to know what's going on so that I have to worry about it.  If it happens, it happens.  Again, simplistic, but me.
44.  I don't choose to be uneducated; I choose not to worry.
45.  I always wanted to be an astronaut.  Still would go in a heartbeat.

That's enough for tonight!  :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A New Friend

Stick with me, dear reader, through this semi-long story about meeting my new friend...it involves some pre-explanation...

Picture a plot of land. No house. An old out-building made out of wood that is falling down. A creek. Oh---in Bethpage. Just a mile or so from my house. Where I saw the gigunda bobcat a while back. Do you have the image in your head? Keep it there.

This land happens to be "on the way" to both my house that's not my house any more as well as that house that is somewhat mine now. Remember, if it is "on the way" to my house, then when I leave my house, it is then "on the way" to wherever it is that I'm going. I've lived so that this "on the way" place has been "on the way" for twenty-some years. You can do the math...it equals out to this: I've driven past this plot of land a google-trazillion times.

Here's the thing, though. I notice it *every* time I drive past it. Why? Perhaps because it is somewhat of an oddity, and therefore is somewhat mysterious. Perhaps because it is beautiful? Perhaps because it makes my imagination work. Perhaps it is a mixture of all of the above. Yes, I'll go with that. Bubble in "choice D" for me, please.

Now, let me tell you what this plot of land looks like in-real-life....and it does follow the description I've given you...BUT...I'll bet you had this image of a weedy, tree-covered area of barren-ness, much like a lot of uninhabited land here in TN...am I right? Well, you, dear reader, are wrong. This plot of land is like a little slice of heaven. *Every* time I see it, even all these years later, I still say a prayer of thanks for that beautiful, green, lovely spot of land and the man who owns it. Yeah, I know it's a man. I will say he is quite a bit older than what I had pictured in my mind, but after talking to him, I'm not surprised that at his age he does all that he does. What is that, you ask. What does he do? (More about that man coming up...) He comes to this spot of land *every* Sunday. I mean EVERY Sunday. He loads his lawnmower up on his way-old truck...can't even fathom a guess on the age of the truck...and he comes to Bethpage. He mows that plot of land, weeds it, picks up any branches from the trees that might have fallen, and then he sits back and enjoys it. This piece of land is the prettiest color of green I've ever seen. It should be called "God's Green" if it were to be replicated for a Crayola box. It is pristine. It is shady. It is inviting (and remember, there's not even a house). It makes me think of the word "soft". It makes me want to walk barefoot on it, all over it. I imagine the house I would like to build there, and how it would match the inviting feeling, and it would complete this land that is near-perfect anyways. The out-building, though appearing to be somewhat dilapidated, I could almost assure you is in mint "sturdiness" condition. The creek? It's clean. No weeds, no trash, no underbrush or overgrowth...just a stream milling its way through the perfect yard where the unperfect thing is that there is not a house for me to live in so that my feet could enjoy that "God's Green" grass every day. I think the other thing that makes this land so beautiful is that it is simple. There is no driveway. There is no house, no porch, no stepping stones, no lights, nothing to "junk up" the land. Soooo....the house may be an ix-nay after all.

Why has this land drawn my attention? We'll start with the "oddity" I mentioned above. Where do you see a spot of mowed grass that doesn't have a house on it, that is kept tidy-clean all year round? You don't...or at least I haven't. The mysteriousness of it...what's the story? How did this man come upon this land, and why is it so important to him? Does this man go about everything in his life as he has went about tending this spot of land? So many questions. Definitely, this land has drawn my attention because of its beauty; we've already established that. Does it make my imagination go into overdrive? EVERY TIME. Who is this man? What is his story? Is he alone? Is he lonely? Why is there no house there, and why is it so important to him to keep this plot in such pristine condition, when he is only there to enjoy it for a few hours after his work is done each Sunday afternoon? How would my life be different if I could put a little house there, built the way I want, with nooks and crannies and Abby-ized? I can see the kids enjoying the creek, enjoying the yard. I can see a tire swing hanging from the shade tree. I can see it so much I can almost *feel* it. Weird, I know.

I've always thought this man should know that someone out there besides him enjoys the fruits of his labors. (Perhaps, just in case he is lonely. I just can't stand the thought of a lonely person. OK, you probably know where this is going to end up. After all, it doesn't take rocket science if you know me at all...you can predict what happens. :)

Today, as I drove past the land as I was "on my way" to wherever I was going, I saw the man, and I thought that I should stop and tell him I love his land. Probably, that would be weird, and I shouldn't just walk up and be like, "Dude. I love your land." LOL. But, I thought about it while I was "on my way". After that, it quickly left my mind (and if you know me at all, you know that is the norm...things quickly leaving my mind, that is). As I was on my way home, there was just some reason it was nagging at me that I should pull over and tell this man that I love his land...yes, in different words, with a bit more tact, which I am normally lacking. Soooo...I was pleased to see that his truck was still there, meaning *he* was still there...so I slowed down, and I was looking for him, but I couldn't see him anywhere. As I was almost out of sight, I saw his head raise up out of the back of his truck. I decided that if I didn't do it now, I most likely never would, so I just turned around and went back. Stopped on the side of the road. Waved at the man, and said in my best Abby-Voice: Hi!!!! The man was quite a distance away, and so I had to yell at him: I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!!! And he got up, put his shirt on (what a gentleman) and ambled over to me. (He''s definitely hard of hearing.) So, I said again to him: "This might be a bit strange but I stopped because I have something to tell you." He kind of cocked his head at me as if to say, "And what is that???" So I stammered on: "I enjoy your land...er...when I drive past, I love to enjoy the beauty, the outcome of all the hard work you do to keep it beautiful when you are here on Sundays...and I thought you should know that someone enjoys what you do." The smile just kept getting bigger and bigger as I stammered on and on, until my brain said, "Shut up, Abby...you've said enough." And so then I quit yammering on and on. And I couldn't really tell you how it happened or what all was said, but the next thing I knew, an hour and fifteen minutes had lapsed, seeming like just five minutes. We learned a lot about each other...I learned that he worked for UPS, had never been married, and was not "lonely" when he was alone. I learned that he enjoys trading stocks and bonds, and he has stock in Facebook, among others. I learned that on Thursday nights, he eats at a local resteraunt because a certain waitress is there that night, and he enjoys leaving her a tip, and she hugs him every time that he comes in. (Everyone needs hugs, right!?!?!) He learned that I have two high-school graduates, and listened intently while I described my three children. I learned that he has no idea how to cook, and keeps a few cans of peaches around in case he gets hungry while he watches Jay Leno (even though he is vulgar, he added). I learned he goes to mass every Saturday night, never misses, and doesn't know why he chose Catholisism as his religious preference, but he attends regularly. After mass, there is a family that expects him to be by to visit and eat dinner, and if he were to not show up, well, they would think the world had ended, just as I would if a Sunday went by when I didn't see him on that slice of Heaven. He is an avid sports nut, and extremely smart, and he really seemed to me in so many ways like a "Forrest Gump". Several times I thought that. It was his voice, but also the things he said. I can't explain. Just trust me. And so a friendship was born tonight, because I stopped to tell a strange man in the middle of nowhere that I thought his land was beautiful. If the right people were to read this, I'm sure that I would be reprimanded for stopping to tell a strange man anything....but for some reason, I just *had* to do it. And while I don't think he is LONELY when alone, I think he was pleasantly surprised to have made a new friend. I promised him upcoming visits, and I mean to keep my promise. I believe we have a lot to talk about and learn from each other...and I want him to meet my kids, and for my kids to meet him, because I just really feel like he is special, even though I can't explain why.

I'm sure I'll have many more "Mon-roe" stories to tell in the future. And...that's MON-roe with the emphasis on the MON. Just like some people say "Mack-Donalds"...he is "MON-roe".

And that is a true story of how a friendship was born, all from a simple act of kindness on my part and a lot of years of hard work on his. At a later date, I will tell you another reason why I am in awe of this land and this man, but not tonight, because I've probably already put you to sleep with my rambling!


PS...I tried to post a photo, because we all know that I think that no blog post is a blog post if there is not a picture to go with it, but blogger was NOT having it, so here is my extra-long post with no photo.