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Showing posts from July, 2017

Surviving a Panic Attack

I sat my three kids down to give them the news. I was losing control, overwhelmed by the divorce.  I felt my brain on overload and I was inches away from a breakdown.  I needed their help. I needed them to take care of me while I rode out this storm.           All three sat there stunned.  In their early twenties, they were barely adult enough to care for themselves, and I was “the strong one,” the one parent they relied on, their tether while they tested their wings on their own.  I had always warned them not to put me on a pedestal.  My feet were made of clay.  I was mortal and finite. And just as human as they.           Right now, I was moments from slipping into a serious anxiety attack. I knew this because it wasn’t the first time I’d had one. Twenty years prior I froze in front of an auditorium full of educators who had come to hear me speak about the use of a computerized reading program.  I was legally separated (from the same man) back then, so my mind was on more important t…

The Infamous, Ginormous, Dreaded School Supply List

The day after the 4th of July, the stores in my area ripped everything summer off the shelves and replaced it with Back to School merchandise.  Rows of backpacks replaced swim vests and bathing suits.  Sneakers and ankle boots kicked hundreds of flip flops into clearance bins, and the amount of material on shirts and pants grew longer.           Though I no longer have kids of school age, seven of my nine grandkids head back in less than a month, and their parents are not looking forward to the infamous, ginormous, dreaded school lists.  One son has five kids, four of them in school, and my daughter has three in school.  Not only do they have to face School Supply Lists for each one, but there are also other back to school expenses: doctors, dentists, haircuts, clothes.  The list continues on and on.             It can be quite a hardship that swoops down on parents all at once.  I picked up three different SSLs while out shopping last week, each from three different school d…

Creating Magic Takes Hard Work

I am an organizer, a planner, a list maker.  There is a clock or an egg timer, a calendar or a notebook, a dry erase board or a magnetic clip with note attached, in every room. When family comes to visit, a meal magically appears on the table.  The house is clean and the lawn is mowed.  Covered dishes warm on the stove and cold dishes chill in the refrigerator.  Pitchers of ice-cold lemonade and tea wait to fill glasses, and the coffee pot only needs to be started. The dessert takes center stage on the kitchen table. We say grace, we sit and eat, we enjoy our time together as a family.  No one asks how it all got done. The week before, I took inventory, making lists of things that need to be bought or set out before the company arrives. Every day of the week has its own list and on the last day the focus shifts into hourly checklists. Almost as soon as the first guests arrive, everything falls into place as if by magic and I sit and enjoy my children and their families. They did not w…

Growing Some Grandkids

Four of my grandchildren will be in high school this coming year, one at each grade level: ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade.  They are moving into adulthood at an alarming rate. When they come over, HoneyBunch and I try to set a good example, one that compliments that of their parents who are doing an amazing job. It helps to know and examine that “good example” every once in a while, since it is not a given that with our age comes wisdom. I would like to say to each of them: 1. Value yourself and who you are, and do not let anyone take that from you. Learn to be independent and educate yourself as much as you can before going out into the world and starting your adult life. 2.When you give your word, make a promise, stick to it.  Know when to apologize when you make a mistake, sin, or take a wrong turn.  Don’t repeat the mistake and learn to make restitution for it. 3.Educate yourself about the world, the environment, politics.  Educate yourself and find a job that you will …

My Flair for Prayer

Sitting in alphabetical order in high school English class, I hide behind Johnny Martinez’s wide, football fullback shoulders.  I am in a panic because the teacher announces a pop quiz. I pull out a clean sheet of paper and shoot a quick prayer of desperation to God and His entire choir of angels as I write my heading and number one to five.  God knows I am no slacker.  I always do my homework, but after tackling an entire chapter in my history book and doing all the odd-numbered math problems for Algebra II, the English poem about love, virgins, and seduction put me to sleep last night.  What do I know about sex, especially written in complicated “olde” English?  I am sixteen, I have been kissed once on the lips by a non-relative, and I have been on a total of three dates, all heavily chaperoned by my mean and vindictive older brother. I had no frame of reference as I read the poem, just some icky feeling that the poet had the hots for some zaftig maiden. I promise God all sorts of th…