Friday, September 22, 2006

Day by Day...


Life is hectic. Ok - it's not like this is news to anyone out there. But to be perfectly honest, until here lately, my life was pretty stress free. I had a well-trained office staff that kept things running smoothly, kids going to school close enough they could just ride a bus home, only had activities 3 times a week, and a home that while small, was still well maintained enough that I didn't have to do too much beyond the average cleaning and laundry once a week.

Oh have times changed.

Now I have one new staff member that I'm trying to train, another staff member who is having complications from surgery at the end of August (and bless her heart, she has only been able to work maybe 6 days this month), and of course, this is our busiest time of year. My kids are going to school 25 minutes away from our home currently, which means I have to take off work to go pick them up every day when my husband isn't able to (which is every day lately). We are in the process of getting a house moved to 15 acres we just bought and we have a ton of stuff we need to do to both the new property and house, as well as to the one we are currently in now to get it ready to sell.

Whew! Add to that the kid's activities (E is in football, both are in band), and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer and starting chemo last week, you've got the makings for a world of stress.

But - except for the odd "Oh. My. Hell." moments - it hasn't been that bad. When I'm stressed about taking off from work to go pick up my kids, I think "At least I'm blessed with a job where my boss doesn't mind me doing that - especially if I take my laptop home and make up the time after the kids go to bed so I don't have to burn vacation hours." When I'm stressed because my husband is gone all the time either working his business or working on the new house, I think "At least he is being blessed with work - to pay off the huge loan we took out for this project. And thank goodness he is able to do all of these things on the house so we don't have to spend extra money having someone else do them."

It just all seems to be working out. Other than one week being at work by myself, I've had at least one other office person here with me, which keeps me from being overwhelmed with work. My mom-in-law has had virtually no side effects from her first round of chemo. I have enough vacation time saved up to cover the hours I don't make up working at home. And I get to spend extra time with my kids in the afternoons that I normally don't have. Plus I get to go to all of E's football games, and hear them practice their new instruments (ok - so that's not always a plus - who knew that a trombone sounds like someone passing gas and that clarinets can make the most god-awful noise known to MAN?) as they learn.

Take last Tuesday for instance - after picking up the boys and running over to the local convience store to get a snack (ok - the *only* store in town - that makes it convient, right?), we headed over to "the farm" as the hubby likes to call it - to check if they had started digging on the basement.

They had - they had dug one trench and left. I guess that qualifies as starting though, right? The well guy had also come out and finished up, so now we have water! As we started to leave, I turned onto our main road and stopped dead. I couldn't go anywhere because there was a house coming at me! MY house! We had heard the day before that they had finally gotten it up on beams, but we had no idea they were going to move it Tuesday. So by the weirdest of coincidences, I got to see them move my house onto our property - which I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't had to take off from work to pick up the boys because Monty had to work to get that huge project under control.

See? Odd blessings all connected!

So now our house is parked in what will someday be our driveway, and according to Monty, they have dug all four basement walls now, so he'll build some forms tomorrow and hopefully - they pour those walls Monday. Let 'em cure a couple of days, then dig it out and pour the floor - then it's just putting the top on, call the foundation guy out to set the footings, then they can set the house! Woohoo!

Life is good. Stressful, but good. And we are blessed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hangin in there

At long last - an update! Sorry folks (hahahaha - I think maybe three people might have seen this blog - I ought to get one of those sitemeters installed, huh?), but work is a nuthouse right now, I'm training the new chick, and my other office girl has been out sick alot, plus I'm having to take off at 3 pm every day to go pick up the kids. (The hubby has a project out of town, and since he's making the moola to pay for this house project, he doesn't need to take off work!). Someday things will return to normal. I hope.

Anyhoo - we found out yesterday that the house is now up on beams!! Woohoo!! Step number 453 is now complete. Next is step 454 - the diggin' of the basement, which is to commence today. Now that it's stopped raining and dried out a bit. Y'all continue to pray that it doesn't rain in Ropes for the next two weeks (oh pfft - it's not gonna hurt the farmers - they've all got cotton in the fields out there and they need it hot & dry right now too!), and maybe we'll get this thing done after all & I won't be moving during Thanksgiving!

E got to hear his name over the loudspeaker during his last game ("Making the tacke was number 55, E D") Of course, I was SUCH a mom - practically giddy with pride and delight and "didja hear that? They said his NAME!" Geez - I'm such a goof. But it *was* pretty cool. He thought so too. Bless his heart - it's tough being 3rd string in 6-man football. But he's trying, and he's still having fun, and I guess that's what matters. Now if he'd just quit being such a bully to his brother!

Mom-in-law had her first chemo last Friday, and so far hasn't had any ill effects. She's actually felt pretty good. Y'all keep praying for her if you could.

Last night the hub and I discovered that *someone* had been looking at x-rated sites on our laptop. We knew it wasn't *us* - so that left our eldest. He and his little friend from Lubbock were on the laptop Saturday afternoon while I was working in the yard, so I'm guessing that's when they were "exploring." Tonight after schoool we are going to have a little talk about what is appropriate, and what is not. Just looking at the history list - that stuff looked gross. I'm no prude, but man. You try so hard to teach them right from wrong, but then they go off in another direction. :-\ If any of y'all have any good advice on how to convince a 13 yr old to not try and surf porn on the net, I'd love to hear it (and yes - we set up passwords on the laptop last night - we have one the desktop - just didn't think of the laptop, because it's always in the living room and it never occurred to me that he'd be that brazen. Boys.) For the moment, he's going to be completely grounded from either computer for a month (unless it's school related) and when he *does* get to use it, it will only be with either me or his dad sitting next to him. He seriously broke a trust, in my opinion - he'll have to earn back the right to use the computer unattended.

At least when I was doing my Bible reading last night (which was about the same time my husband discovered that someone had been looking at that stuff), I was reading Leviticus, and found some scripture I can use to help make my point about defiling yourself, etc. Once again, God provides, eh?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reaching out....

I just noticed that Julie posted a comment on my 9/11 story. When I went to check out her blog (because I'm just nosy that way - besides! She noticed me! It's only polite to return the favor), I found this post about getting closer to God. Isn't it wild how when you're searching for something, God finds a way to lead you to just what you need? Here I am, searching for someway to feel God in my life again, and here is a post on how to do that - to draw closer to Him. Just what I needed.

I love it when little things like that happen.

Today my mother-in-law gets her catheter thingy put in so she can start her chemo on Friday. The Hubs and I hate that neither of us can be up there with her today - both of us because of work. But he's trying to get enough done at his current project so he can take off on Friday to be there for the chemo treatment. If anyone is reading, please pray for her to stay strong, and for the procedure today to be as pain-free and without complications as possible.

And I wore that pantsuit yesterday. Even the boots. Only this time, I had a little USA flag pin on the lapel. My feet were killing me by the end of the day, but I just told myself that my sore feet were nothing compared to what the families of the 9/11 victims were dealing with.

To completely change the subject - one of my hockey friends just informed me that the New York Islanders signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67 million contract. 15 years. What are those people thinking???? I know goalies have longer careers than the average hockey player, but still - 15 YEARS? It just boggles the mind.

We had another inch of rain yesterday, so the house project continues to move oh so slowly along. Boy - when the Lubbock mayor asked the citizens to pray for rain, did the Lord ever come through. Wonder if I can get them to pray for an end to it for a month or so??? I'd really really like to get moved before hockey season starts. Or gas goes back up. Ropes continues to be a blessing to my kids - J is getting the best grades ever, and E is starting to make friends. He really enjoyed playing in his first football game last Thursday. They would probably be able to have more after-school interaction with their friends there if we didn't live in Lubbock still - that's a long way to drive for a playdate, eh? Soon - just a few more weeks. I continue to pack boxes, and am convinced that I have yet to make a real dent in the contents of the house.

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 08, 2006

September 11 - what I remember

It's weird what you remember about events. I remember most clearly what I was wearing. It was my favorite pantsuit - when I put it on that morning, I remember admiring how well it fit me, and how it managed to make me look slimmer than I was. It was black, with coral trim on the lapels and coral buttons down the front. And I wore my black boots, the ones with the super high heels, because the pants were a little long for my little 5'3" legs, and the boots made the whole outfit perfect.

How oddly appropriate that I wore black that day.

I was sitting in my office - on my computer, checking my message board and planning my day. One of my students came into my office and began the shattering of what I thought I knew about the world.

"Mysti - do we still have that TV?"

"Sure - it's in the file room - why?"

"A plane just flew into the World Trade Center"

"No s***? How'd they not see that?"

At that time - when he said plane - I thought a little prop plane. Because surely it was some inexperienced pilot that ran into the World Trade Center. And I had no idea what the day would bring - what kind of horror would be visited upon us as a nation that day. It was just a little ole plane, right? I figured maybe a few offices worth of damage. Tragic to be sure, but there was no way I could know what was coming. It was probably just a little prop plane. I mean hell - it never ever occured to me that it could have been an airliner. Those pilots know what they're doing, right?

Did they ever. >:<

So we went to the back, turned on the TV and saw the billowing smoke. We marvelled over how someone could have missed seeing the building, then I went back to my desk and send an ICQ message to someone - Rog, Jen, I don't know. Someone. About the plane. Then I went back to check on the news coverage. And found Todd standing there staring at the TV in shock. Because another plane had hit the other tower. And as we stared at each other in dismay, we realized that maybe the first plane wasn't an accident. And maybe it wasn't a prop plane either. About that time, I pulled the TV out into the main office area. By now everyone knew what was going on. And we watched in horror at the billowing smoke, and heard Matt Lauer talk about people jumping, and the flames, and how the fire department was responding. Never dreaming what was coming.

And then the tower fell. And we watched in horror. Not knowing how many people were still inside the buildings. Amazed at how the tower fell straight down. Exclaiming to each other "Oh my God...oh my God." Then it hit me. Not only all the people in the buildings. But the paramedics. The firefighters. The policemen. And I bent over - in anguish, nauseated, physically nauseated at the loss of life, trying to control my tears, pacing back and forth between my office and the TV - unable to tear myself away, but hardly bearing to watch. Other faculty and students came out of their offices - as we watched replay after replay of thousands of people dying. Unable to not watch. And as we were watching another replay, Gopal (one of our professors) said something that made my heart stop.

"Is that the first tower? Are you sure?"

"It's the replay - they keep showing it over and over and...."

"No - look - there's not another tower there - the second tower just fell!"

"Oh God. Not that one too."

Yes. That one too. And the horror ...well it refreshed itself. Seeing one tower full of people fall was bad enough - but BOTH of them? It was almost too much to bear.

And through all of that - we never thought it was anything more than a couple of crazies. We knew it was on purpose - all you had to do was see the footage of the second plane flying into it's tower and there was no doubt it wasn't an accident. But a well coordinated attack on our country? Like the rest - it just never occurred to me. That day was full of assumptions I made based on the world I thought I knew. Not that I hadn't heard of Bin Laden. I actually had. A couple of years before I read a Reader's Digest article that was an interview with former president Clinton. Someone asked him what was the biggest threat to the US, and he replied "Osama Bin Laden." And elaborated. So I had heard of him. I had read about him. I knew he was a fanatic. But it just never occurred to me that he'd plan THIS.

And then someone on the news said that a plane had flown into the Pentagon.

And I said outloud, "That's it. Oh my God, we're at war."

And we were. And I finally learned what the phrase "and her blood chilled" felt like. It wasn't a fun feeling. I thought of my husband, my kids...where they were, what they were doing, were they safe? Would they stay safe? Were planes about to come raining down all over the country? I know I'm in Podunk, TX, but Pantex is just a couple of hours up the interstate....all these thoughts raced through my head, as I watched everyone run, listened to the folks on TV say what all of us were thinking, saw the people with the gray faces and the shock on their faces... and I continued to pace. I could hardly sit down. I'd sit at my computer, post another message on my hockey board, then it was back to the TV. I'd try to work, but I couldn't. How could I concentrate on accounts when the world was falling apart around me? When we were under attack!?

I remember the TV saying that all planes had been grounded. And hearing about the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. And I watched TV. And paced - in my high heeled boots. In my favorite black pantsuit. And all I wanted to do was go pick up my children and hug them and take them home. Where they'd be with me and safe. And when 5 o'clock finally got here, I left work - and went to pick up my children. And nearly ran into the after-school program and hugged them. I realized that while they knew something had happened today, they didn't seem to realize just how drastically our world had changed. When we got home, we sent them off to watch movies in another room, and Monty and I watched TV some more. Heard the story of someone who had ridden the debris down and survived - then the retraction when it was proven wrong. Hoped they'd find survivors - and felt the overwhelming sorrow when everyone started to realize that there just weren't many. Watched them try to dig through the debris to find survivors - and watched them run when someone thought there might be a shift of the wreckage - or another building came down.

And listened. You could still hear them. It's a sound that I'd never heard before 9/11. And when I hear it now, it still sends chills down my spine. Granted, I only hear it when watching Rescue Me, but the sound of the alarms - the ones that the firefighters wear that only go off when they're motionless......hundreds of them.....once I knew what they were, what the sound was, and why they were much Lord? How much can we all bear? Those were the thoughts in my head.

I stayed up too late watching the cable news channels. Trying to accept?adjust? to what I was seeing. And got up the next morning, and turned the TV back on. Went to work, and had the TV on...hoping that they'd find more survivors. And in the ears adjusted to the fact that there were no more planes in the air.

Several days later, I sat in my office and heard fighter jets go over our campus. (We had an airforce base just outside of town most of my life - Reese is closed as a military base now, but I know the sound of a fighter when I hear one) Never before had that sound scared me. It did that day. And to this day - when hear a low flying jet, I tense up. I've flown once since that day. I didn't like it much. But I did it. Because no stinkin terrorists were going to stop me from living my life as I see fit.

But I don't wear that pantsuit very often. I still have it. But every time I put it on, it doesn't seem to fit anymore. And not just because I've gained a few pounds in the last 5 years. Rather - the person that wore that pantsuit on the morning of 9/11/01 isn't the same one that tries it on now. But I still have it. And the boots. And everytime I look at them, I remember. Because this Redneck Texan will never forget that day. And how it changed everything.

Rocks In My Dryer
is hosting an I Remember 9/11 day at their site. While I've yet to figure out how to add the graphic, please drop by and share YOUR memories of that day. So no one forgets those who died that day. Just for going into the office, or getting on a plane.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stage IV

That's what stage my mom-in-law's cancer is in. Her official diagnosis is Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She gets a stent next Tuesday, then starts her chemo.

Did you know the abbreviation for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is NHL. Just like my favorite sport. Life is weird. And this whole thing has me slightly freaked, so forgive me if I seem sporadic for awhile. I'm really trying to concentrate for work, but I knew if I didn't get this down, it would just run through my head over and over and I'd never be able to get on with it.

It? Why the business of life, of course. Of cupporting my husband, and being a positive influence for him while he deals with his mama having cancer. Maybe this is why I've felt the need to work on my faith lately. Because God knew this was coming, and knew I'd need Him - as usual. And my hubby will need Him as well. It's hard, as we're 4 hours away from my mom-in-law, and 2 hours away from where she'll get treatment, and I work full time, and the boys are in school...but we'll find someway to make sure she is taken care of.

Tonight is E's first football game. I was really really looking forward to it before we got the news about MIL. Now I'm just really looking forward to it. I enjoy football - and this will probably be the first community activity I've gone to in Ropes, our soon to be new home. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to meet some of our neighbors, maybe see my cousin's wife, and taking plenty of pictures of E's first game. Hopefully he'll get some playing time. And hopefully - it'll help ground us all - since right now I feel like everything just shifted under us.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Finding my way back....

One of the things I've enjoyed most since discovering White Trash Mom
and Rocks In My Dryer, is reading the words of women who are moms (like me) and strong in their faith (not so much like me). I feel like my faith is strong, but I've drifted away. I love God - but I don't glorify him in my daily life like I feel I should. And reading the words of the women who participate in What Works for Me Wednesday on a regular basis, I feel...well - like I'm really missing something in my life. And it sorta inspires me to try to find my way back to that. To once again read my Bible every day. To actually study God's word and find ways to apply it to my life - and my family. And it makes me think. Boy does it ever! Try reading the Mom's for Modesty stuff - if that doesn't really get you thinking, nothing will. I have boys and it made me really think twice - about whether to allow them to wear tshirts with smart alec sayings on them, how I should teach them to react when they see a girl dressed immodestly, stuff that frankly, I hadn't really thought about. Is it any wonder that my boys have a problem being respectful when I let them wear - and buy them - tshirts with smarta** comments? Duh. No wonder, eh?

So I'm going to try more. To think more about what I teach my boys. To think more how I live my life on a daily basis. To see if I can glorify God as I go about my daily living. Or at least do better than I've been doing. And see if it changes me from the person I think I am - and how I'll deal with that.

Can't hurt, right? And it's got to help my boys in the long run. And that's what it's really all about - raising my boys right. And heaven knows God has shown himself to be there for me whenever I've needed him. When we were at our wits end trying to figure out where we were going to find brick, what did I do? I let go and let God. And he not only led us to a place that treated us as human beings - but also provided that the brick we picked out for the house be in stock! Do you know how rare that is now with the entire nation in the midst of a building boom? Trust me. VERY rare. See? God provides. And if he can be there for me, I should try harder to be there for him.

So that's my plan. Which is all well and good sitting here at my computer at lunch. We'll see how it holds up when I have to listen to my 11 yr old and 13 yr old fight about who'd turn it is to pick a show. (Wait a minute - E doesn't get to watch TV tonight after the remote fight last night...heh heh heh. Mama gets to watch tennis! Woohoo!) Y'all pray for me, ya hear?

And go check out WFMW - I've started planning my lunch hours on Wednesday around going through those links. I always find something I can use!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Raindrops keep fallin on my head...

Ok - so *today* they have finally stopped. After raining 4 1/2 inches this fine Labor Day weekend. I cannot even imagine how saturated our land must be. No way to get any work done on that this week. Our only hope is that it dries out this week and maybe we can get the basement done next week. *sigh* I'm thinking my hope of moving the last week of September is a little optimistic.

J brought home his trumpet this weekend. He looks so cute trying to play it. I tried to be all supportive, even though every time he blows into it, it sounds like nothing more than his dad passing gas. I'm sure eventually it will sound like wonderful musical notes. Maybe. I even had him play it for his grandparents, who are in town this week. We all made a fuss, and then E, my eldest, proceeded to turn into the pesterwart from hell. Sibling rivalry indeed. Bet E brings his clarinet home tonight.....

Today J turns 11. I can barely believe that I'm old enough for an 11 yr old, much less my 13 yr old. How'd *that* happen? He wants nothing more than home made pizza for supper tonight. So I guess that's what we're having - I'll have to stop on the way home and pick up a cake. (Hey! I work full time! Besides that - I'm not the best baker in the world. Trust me - he'll enjoy a WalMart cake much more than anything *I'd* make. Actually - I think he was hoping for a cookie cake.....even better!)

Pray that I make it through another week at work - my receptionist is supposed to come back tomorrow, and my other staff person will start late next week. So there is an end in sight to being here by myself. Hey - maybe I'll actually get caught up before Christmas!

And I think that's all the rambling I have!

Friday, September 01, 2006

And so it begins....

Ok - we're not really moving to Hicksville, TX. It's Ropesville, Tx, thank you very much, and we really *are* excited about it. My husband has always wanted to live in the country, and I've always wanted my boys to go to school in a small town, so that's what we're gonna do! I've already seen how it's affecting my boys, even though we haven't moved out there yet. (We're moving my grandparent's home to some land we bought, and well - THAT is a whole nother blog by itself) I've seen my eldest start to regain some of the confidence he lost being bullied at his school here in town, and my youngest actually doesn't hate school with the blind passion he's exhibited for the last 4 years. That in itself is a blessing.

I'm also looking forward to being a part of a smaller community. Of course, it may take a while before the locals really accept us "big city types." I'm hoping that having family out there already will help some. And it turns out that a girl I went to high school with, has also moved *her* family out there. Our oldest children were actually in the same daycare when they were little. How's *that* for a weird coincidence? So maybe that will help. Once we get moved, we'll be able to visit the churches (hey - this is west Texas - EVERY town of 500 has at least 3 churches - Baptist, Methodist & Catholic. Although I hear tell Ropes actually has 4 - but only because they're down to one Church of Christ church now.) and hopefully get back to going regularly. I've really missed that.

I grew up going to church - every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night. And it just feels weird when we aren't going. Oh - it's *easier* - without a doubt. But weird. And I worry about the boys not having that foundation. We found a church we really liked in Lubbock - but it was across town - and while 20 minutes may not seem like a long drive to you REALLY big city types, it was such a major ordeal to get everyone up and ready and over there in time for church...

Who am I kidding? We got lazy. There' s no excuse. We should be going and we're not. I can say it's a long drive, or that I'm not up to getting the boys up and ready and over there by myself during hunting season or whatever. It's still just me taking the easy way out. It's so easy to get caught up in secular life in town - I'm hoping being out in the country will help us *all* to get closer to God. Focus less outside our family and more on it. We can hope.

Wow - this is turning out to be alot longer than I planned. Not that anyone knows it's here - but if anyone happens across my little corner of the net, hi! Welcome! And for pete's sake - comment so I feel loved and noticed ;-)!