Monday, March 26, 2012

Eleven Years

On Tuesday it will be eleven years that my dad died.

This year repeats the same days as it did in 2001. He died on Tuesday the 27th and this year the 27th falls on a Tuesday.

For those who haven't lost anyone it may seem unmentionable. But for those who have had tragedy the years where the days match up are the hardest years.

I can remember exactly what was going on eleven years ago.

Eleven years ago on Friday it was a rainy night. I was waitressing. I slipped on the wet floor and spilled Diet Coke in someones lap. They yelled at me. I went in the back and cried.

Saturday I called off work because I was sick.

Sunday I slept and then went to dad's to spend the night. I didn't feel good but couldn't sleep anymore and wanted to stay up and watch T.V. My friend Amy was with me. We stayed up watching T.V. being loud and keeping Dad up.

Monday morning we woke up and I had to get to a doctor's appointment. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Warm for March. As I was leaving I yelled to dad "I Love You!" Not expecting an immediate response. This was our 'thing'. I would always say it a few times and then say (with attitude to him) "I LOVE YOU TOO, JULIE". He would always laugh and say "Give me a hug. You know I love you".

This morning was different. I said "I love you dad." and then proceeded to do my usual response. He just smiled. Wouldn't hug me. Wouldn't say it back.

At the time I didn't think anything of it. I was so sick I didn't care about anything. I told him I would be back later that night. He just smiled. He seemed so happy. Happier than I had seen him in a long time.

That night I fell asleep (later I found out I had mono). I woke up around 3 am and the first thought was "I told Dad I was coming over." I didn't think he would care that I never showed, he knew I was sick. I still felt guilty but couldn't find the energy to get up and drive over.

Tuesday morning around 11:30 my sister woke me up. I was the last one to find out. They didn't want to wake me up. They knew I wouldn't handle it well.

My dad committed suicide at 6:30 that morning.   Suicide.  I hate that word.

My sister woke me up with tears running down her face. She said "Julie. Its Dad. He died". I think she gave me details then. But I don't remember anything after that. All I remember is losing complete control. I was banging my head into my window sill. It didn't even hurt. Nothing can hurt as bad as my heart did that morning. I remember people coming in my bedroom trying to calm me. I screamed and screamed and screamed. Finally they left me alone.

I had no idea how I was going to survive without my dad. I still have no idea how I am going to survive without my dad. I've stumbled through the past eleven years and I still have not found my footing.

In my hysterics I was screaming for them to call Amy and Amber. My two best friends. Amy soon came over but Amber was out of state. Amy ended up sitting by my side for the next few days. Days and nights. With no break. I was so sick with mono. My heart was so sick with pain. She sat without a break. That. is true friendship.

We needed to get to the funeral home to plan arrangements. 21 is entirely too young to plan a parent's funeral.

After the arrangements were made there was another friend I wanted to see. My sister, her boyfriend, and Amy drove me up to Medina to see Matt. No one answered the door so I left a note. Not sure how legible it was but as I was getting back in the truck his sister came running out holding the note. She put her arm around me and took me upstairs. I think Amy followed. I was in hysterics, crying and wailing. I flopped next to Matt and was crying hysterically. Amy, through her tears, told him what happened. He put his arm around me while I cried. He too knows pain from losing someone, he knew what I felt. We all sat together for a few minutes and then I had to go.

The next few days were a blur. I don't remember them whatsoever. I vaguely remember the calling hours. I vaguely remember the funeral. I just remember pain.

Tuesday is going to be hard. But somehow the 26th is always harder for me. The 26th is the last time I told my dad "I love you". It was the last time we had an argument. We to argue with each other. Always in fun. It was our 'thing'.

The things I regret is not running over and hugging him. I was so sick but it my heart that was such a pathetic excuse. Someone told me that he couldn't say "I love you" back and he couldn't hug me. He already had this planned and would break if he held me.

There are so many things I miss about my dad. I miss arguing with him. I miss how he would ask us questions about our day. I miss talking baseball. I miss the little things he did for me. 'Cause he knew I needed them. But what I miss the most is his hugs. He would grab you. Pick you up and squeeze until you couldn't breathe. I miss his hugs so much.

I just miss him. I hope I can make him proud of me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rahab's Anticipation

There are few things more frustrating than anticipating something wonderful, feeling that the doors are opening and then being disappointed time and time again.

This has been my life for the past year. And to be totally honest I'm not sure my nerves can handle much more.

I was listening to a radio program and a series on Rahab. One idea hit home to me. The discussion was on 'What was Rahab doing between the time after the spies left her house and when the walls fell down? What was going through her mind?'

After that comment was made my mind drifted into its imagination and I didn't hear the rest of the comments.

I imagined being Rahab. She had the faith, unwavering, to believe that God called her to be one of the children of Israel. She knew HE was the one true God. He spoke to her heart; out of all the people of Jericho. She had the faith to believe this.

We know she hung a scarlet cord out of her window, marking her home. We know she did this in complete faith.

My mind also wandered to Day One of the Battle of Jericho. Rahab no doubt was probably sitting at her window, waiting and watching. She most likely had looked out her window everyday after the spies left. Waiting. Watching. In anticipation.

Then. Day One comes.

I'm sure Rahab was ecstatic. FINALLY! Her deliverance. Finally she could be with the Children of Israel and learn about the One True God.

But as we know they walked around the walls once and then left.

I can only imagine how Rahab's heart sank.

Then. Day Two.

Same thing.

Again, Rahab must have been disappointed.

Then. Day Three.

Same thing.

Wonder if Rahab was getting slightly discouraged?

Day Four.

Same thing.

I wonder what was going on in her mind at this point.

Day Five.

Day Six.

Day Seven.

At this point do you think she was giving up hope? Maybe the thoughts were crossing her mind that it was all a joke. Hanging a scarlet cord out her window was a practical joke; a way for the spies to get away? What were these people doing? Walk around the walls once and go back to camp?

But then this day they didn't stop. They kept going. and going and going. Until eventually they walked around seven times. And the walls began to crumble.

We all know what happened next. The walls of Jericho all fell. All the walls; except the part where Rahab's house was.

Where my mind went was the times Rahab no doubt was excited. Every morning she heard the priests blow their trumpets. Every morning was a new day a new opportunity to be rescued from inside the walls. And yet 6 times she walked away from that window disappointed.

But she had the faith to continue believing that one day it would happen.

That is where I am. My heart is so weary of the disappointments. There have been countless times when I think 'this is it..' and then it isn't. I just need to keep the faith that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

One day it will all fall into place, just like the walls fell, and I will be able to start the new chapter in my life I am ready for. I just have to keep sitting at my window, looking out, and praying that I can keep the faith while I am waiting.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Playing the Game

This morning Reagan came upstairs and sat at the table and sighed.

I asked him what was up.  He said: "Mom.  I'm going to adopt kids when I grow up." 

This started quite the interesting conversation.  What I love most about it is the obvious reality that he has already put a lot of thought into it.  It just made me wonder what ideas and calling is God planting in his heart right now?  It also made me realize what a sweet-tender hearted little boy I have...and I am thankful for that. 

This is how our conversation went:

R: Mom, I want to adopt kids when I grow up.

M:  Yea?  That would be wonderful.  There are a lot of sad children in the world who need a happy home.  What made you think of this?

R: I don't know.  I was downstairs playing the game.

M:  What game.

R: You know. The game where I adopt a lot of kids.

M: Oh. That game.  Do you feel it in your heart.

R: Yea. I do.  I feel it in my heart.  I want to adopt a lot of kids.

M:  When you say 'kidS'.  How many are you thinking?

R: Six.  I'll pay $600 for them.  $100 each.
(For those of you adopting, wouldn't that be great???  $100 to adopt???)

M: Six.  Wow.  Six kids is a lot of kids.  But there are a lot of kids that need a home so helping six kids would be great.  Are you going to have a wife to help with them.

R: Nope.  I'm going to take care of them alone.  I'm going to buy a van. 
(So moms are easily replaced with a van?  Who knew?)

M: Oh.  A van.  Good idea to drive all those kids around in.  Well, who is going to take care of your kids while you work if you don't have a wife?

R: I'll go to the bank.

M: To work? or to get out money?

R: To work.  I'll take the kids to their aunt while I work. And sometimes their Uncle Riley.
(Not sure if they know their involvement in raising 6 extra kids)

M: Good idea.  Good thing you have a great sister who would help you with your six kids.

R: Or maybe I won't work at a bank.  Maybe I'll work for a bike race and then I'll just home school the kids.

M: Wow.  You are good.  Working full-time, raising 6 kids alone, and homeschooling.  There are going to be 6 very lucky kids some day.

R: Well. I'm going back downstairs to play my adopting game again. 

I have no idea what this sweet little boy's future holds.  I can't wait to see what will come.  And I truly hope that he does adopt 6 sweet little children someday. 

The rest of it could be negotiable. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I should feel guilty....but I don't

Today was a short day for work.  I only had one small house to clean. I knew I would have most of the day to myself. 

I slept in a bit later than usual.  My kiddos knowing mom prefers to sleep until the last minute possible, they get up themselves and get themselves dressed.  They go downstairs and play quietly.

I crawled out of bed around 8 and went downstairs and made the kids their breakfast shakes. I packed Rhianna's lunch and we headed out the door for school.

I came home and did a few chores.  I then readied for my day and headed out. 

After I came home from work, I flipped a load of laundry, changed and headed out the door.

I was going out for the day. Guilt free.

I picked up some garden seeds for a project the kiddies and I are going to do. 

I had some research to do and a bit of design on a power point.

Instead of heading home, I decided to stop in at Panera for lunch and their WiFi.


I'm sitting here.  Kid-free.  Feeling like a put-together grown up enjoying my Acai Berry tea.

I finished everything on my to-do-list and even had a few minutes to spare to blog hop.

I should feel really-really guilty for not rushing home and doing something productive. 

I'm trying really-really hard to muster up the guilt. 

But I am struggling finding the ability to do so. 

I'm sitting in the corner, in a sunny window.  And it feels great. 

The kids are out of school in 15 minutes.  I know I should go.  I know there will be noise and chaos surrounding the children as they walk through the door.  I just can't seem to find the desire to walk back into reality.

But I will.  As much as I dread the bickering and fighting that will most likely happen this evening, I am excited to see my kids and hear about their day.

I'll just think of the next time when I can slip away and enjoy the silence of a sunny corner in a coffee shop.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yesterday, I came home from work and found a surprise in my flower bed:

Today I had another surprise.  This one was even better than the last:

Monday, March 5, 2012

To: Randy


This may or may not be appropriate to write you a letter on my blog for the world to see.  However, I'm going to do it anyhow.  For one reason: I will control my anger towards you a bit more than if I was saying this to your face.  And it needs to be said.

I also realize most likely you will never read this.  I don't really care at this point.

But how dare you make my little girl cry. 

I went to check on her after I tucked her in tonight.  She was silently weeping.  I crawled into bed next to her and she said she felt weird. 

I asked her if it was her head, her tummy, her back, if she was over tired, etc. 

She said 'no. I think its my heart. Its lonely.'

I didn't want to bring YOU up.  You have hurt her so much and if she wasn't thinking about YOU, I wasn't going to add it to her aching heart.

But the tears kept coming and she kept saying she was lonely, but didn't know for what.

I finally whispered in her ear. "Are you lonely for your daddy".

The tears poured out of her little eyes then.

She nodded a 'yes' and squeezed her eyes so tight.  Trying to keep the tears in. But they flowed down her cheeks.

When she could finally talk she said "Its been so long, almost a year since I saw him.  I just miss him so bad."

I understand the ache in her heart.  I miss my dad too.  But he died.  You are choosing to stay away.  You live less than five miles away.  But you choose daily to avoid your children.

In the end they will be much better without you. They are already better off without you.  You have hurt them, confused them, and abandoned them. You don't deserve these kids.  You have the most amazing kids.ever. and you chose to walk away.

I don't care about how you hurt me.  I don't hurt anymore.  But when my children cry over how you hurt them, continue to hurt them. It angers me more than you want to know. 

They know you don't send any money for them.  They know you would rather take care of your own needs and addictions.  I know you are refusing to give me money as punishment to me.  But its not me being punished; its them. 

Someday you will get your due.  Whether it is on earth or in eternity.  God is the father to the fatherless and it angers Him when His little children are hurt and His wrath is poured upon those who hurt His little children. 

I've probably already said too much.  And I have so much more to say.  But I can't say it here, so I won't.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Six-Week Bran Muffins

In attempts at being a better mother, I made fresh bran muffins for the kiddos to grab for breakfast.  This week we have been doing horrid and they have been eating nasty-sugary cereal. 

Time to get back on track.

These bran muffins are my favorite to make.  For two reasons. 

One: They are the softest, yummiest, most delicious bran muffin. Ever.  It doesn't have that harsh fiber taste but a sweet tang.  My kiddos love them.

Two: The batter keeps for six weeks in the refrigerator.  Which is awesome.  I can whip up a dozen at a time and not feel overwhelmed with another mess. 

Six-Week Bran Muffins:
  • One cup boiling water (I put it in the microwave for a few minutes) and add one cup of Bran Flakes.  Stir well and let cool. Ends up an icky looking paste:
  • Cream 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, and 2 cups buttermilk.  Add cooled wet bran mixture. 
 {*Tip* If you don't have buttermilk, simply pour 1-2 tsp of vinegar in measuring cup and add milk to measure the full 2 cups.}

  •  Add 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt.

{*Tip*  Recipes usually suggest sifting together the dry ingredients separately before adding to wet.  I sometimes do this and sometimes skip it.  I haven't noticed a difference in the outcome.  I prefer to skip less bowl to wash.}
  • Gently fold in 2 cups of Bran Flakes just until wet.  Fill muffin liners 2/3 full and place in muffin tin.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 

I only bake one dozen at a time.  The remaining batter can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.  I will put a generic label on the container so I remember when the expiration date is. 

We never make it to the date...the muffins are so yummy they are baked and gobbled up within days.

  • Remove from tin and let cool on a wire rack.


*This morning went as planned.  The kids got themselves up.  Got dressed in the clothes we had laid out for them and then ate the muffins I had sitting out.  And me?  I got a few extra minutes of sleep.  Mission accomplished.