Saturday, January 24, 2015

That One Thing

In case I haven't mentioned it, Michael and I love being empty-nesters. We love not being responsible for other human beings. We love being spontaneous. We love being petless. (Sorry to my pet-loving family members, but it's that responsibility thing.) We love having a big empty house where there is plenty of room for people to come home. We love having a full house and we love when it is empty. We love that we have choices. Don't get me wrong, we loved every minute of parenting. We love having a large family filling our home with love, laughter, and noise, but we are embracing a new life. And we love it too. Well, except for that one thing.

I am an introvert by nature. I enjoy my own company. I can spend hours by myself. Yet my favorite thing to do is spend time with others. If you are familiar with the book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, I am a quality time person. You would think that would make me an extrovert, but it doesn't. In addition to needing time with others, I need healthy doses of alone time. As an empty-nester, I have arrived at the perfect world for an introvert.

Michael goes to bed early. I stay up late. It works for us, except for that one thing. Last week, after Michael had gone to bed, I had the television on, and computer on my lap. A commercial came on, I muted the tv, and that's when it happened. I heard the sliding glass door downstairs open. You can't miss the sound of the heavy door sliding against the metal frame. I was stunned, I couldn't move. Should I go downstairs to see who had entered my home, call 911, run to the bedroom and awaken Michael? It's amazing how quickly your mind races when adrenaline starts pumping.

 I unmute the tv. If it's a burglar, I want him to know that I am not asleep and that I hear him. (Are they called burglars anymore?)  I don't hear anything, so I turn the volume up louder, just in case.I am waiting for a sound to know what my next move should be.I am frozen to my chair. I realize with the blaring noise I can't hear what's going on downstairs. I glance at my cell phone. The battery is nearly dead.

Maybe I've been watching too many late night Dateline Investigative Discovery shows. I imagine all kinds of gruesome possibilities. Am I being a little paranoid? I don't hear any further noise. No one walking around, nobody coming up the stairs, and I never hear the door shut. I shudder to think what I would do if I was alone in the house. Thankfully I'm not. Suddenly, I snatch up my phone, jump out of the chair and bolt towards the bedroom.

Once there, I am hesitant to awaken Michael from a dead sleep. I stand there in the dark wondering if he is awake. Silence. Nothing.  Had I imagined the noise? Should I crawl into bed and wait? No, I don't want the police to find us both dead tomorrow morning. I turn the bathroom light on hoping not to startle him. He peers up from the covers, "what are you doing?"

I quickly inform him of the noise downstairs, that we might have an intruder. I laugh as I say it, to let him know I am only suspicious and not freaking out. He gets up and goes downstairs to investigate.  Funny thing. He finds nothing amiss. The sliding glass door is locked. I am grateful, but concerned. What made that noise? Ugh! Was it a window sliding open? Did he check to see if any of the bedroom windows were open? Maybe a homeless person has taken up residence in our downstairs. He secretly comes in every night, sleeps in a cozy room, then sneaks back out before we get up. Except this night, he wasn't very quiet about it. He's probably hiding in a closet. Seriously, this isn't so far fetched. We rarely go downstairs.

With Michael awake, and able to hear me if I scream, I go downstairs to examine things myself. No windows  ajar, nothing out of place, nothing has fallen. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what else could have made that noise. It's possible something may have been leaning against a wall, like a broom,and if it slipped down it could mimic the sound of a sliding door. I find nothing. In spite of not knowing, I begin to relax.

I wonder aloud to Michael what I would have done had I been alone.  What if something ever happened to him?  If I had a dog and there was an intruder, he'd protect me. He'd have run down those stairs and chased that thief. I'd have to get a dog-a big dog.

Two nights ago, it happened again. This time, I hear someone knock over a Diet Pepsi in the refrigerator downstairs. I know, you all think I am paranoid. I realize our house makes all kinds of creak and bumps. Old houses, especially ones with wooden floors, creak and groan a lot. The heating system bangs and bumps. But this was the unmistakable sound of a can or something hitting a glass shelf in the refrigerator. I know the sound.  Michael gets a Diet Pepsi out multiple times a day. It's a very distinct sound.

I am convinced that our homeless person, who creeps in late at night, has become brave enough to raid the refrigerator. A warm bed is no longer enough. He wants food too.

Hoping I'm mistaken, and something merely tipped over in the refrigerator, I choose to ignore the sound. I will not be afraid, or wake Michael up again. Life was easier when lots of people lived here, even pets. Noises never bothered me. When something bumped in the night,that didn't sound like the house talking, I knew it was one of the kids or a pet. It was easy not to be afraid.

Tonight I'm listening to a new skritchy noise. It sounds like a mouse. Ugh, there is nothing worse than hearing a mouse in your kitchen, or seeing it scurry across the floor. I need to remember to ask Michael to put out a mousetrap. I can't stand the thought of having to pick up a trap with a dead mouse in it. What would I do if I lived alone?  A cat, I could get a cat. I would definitely get a cat.

I could happily live alone, if it wasn't for that one thing....


In case you are wondering, the ice maker was accidently turned on when the girls and I were  making freezer meals. I had removed the ice bin to make room for the food. Ice was dumping itself  onto the shelves, sounding suspiciously like a can of Diet Pepsi.

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand"

Friday, January 16, 2015

Welcome To The World

Is there anything sweeter than a newborn, fresh from God?
Introducing Beckham Michael:
Born January 12, 20015
Weight: 6lbs. 9 oz
Length: 19.25 inches
at 6:32 p.m.
Beckham has two amazing parents
 And so many family members
who love him already,

and many more to meet.
Welcome to the family Beckham!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blessings, Benefits, Challenges, Changes

As 2014 closes,I reflect with a thankful heart. So many changes, so many challenges, yet blessings and benefits abound. Through it all, I blogged only 39 times in 365 days.

In February, Blessing #1-Josiah,
 our 3rd grandchild was born.

In March, on my birthday, I became sick. I ended up with pneumonia. It lasted weeks. I don't recall a time where I was ever so sick that I could not keep going. I am the mom. I can take care of anything. This time, I could not. Blessing #2-family who picked up the slack, and ordered dinner out.

Blessing #3-In April, I spent 9 days in New Orleans with Ivydee. It was an interesting trip. I've never lived next door to a frat house before. Once in the middle of the night, the noise level was so bad, I peeked through the blinds to see just what was going on. I wish I could have video taped what I saw and sent it to the parents of these "kids" to show how their college funds were being spent.

I slept in the living room on an air mattress. Nearly every morning I was greeted by this girl:
She likes sleeping on cushiony soft air mattresses too. She is sweet and very protective over her lil' sister.We took daily walks through the streets of New Orleans.

What a blessing to have 9 full days with my granddog and granddaughter, and watching my son as a loving, doting dad.
Blessing #4-I began caring for these guys, 2 full days a week.In order to do it, Michael had to take over at home, which included managing meals for his mother and driving her to appointments. This was a big change.
I was doubly blessed to be an active part of caring for my grandsons.

Blessings #5 & #6- Two graduations on the same day. Sarabeth graduated from Metro State University,
while we were in New Orleans attending Christopher's graduation from Tulane Law School.
My parents, Hilary, and Lauren's dad were there too. Jambalaya, jazz music,

and our own crawfish boil. New Orleans is a fun, unique place to experience. We are blessed!

Blessings #7 & #8-two weddings, one in June, the other in August.

 That means we added two precious sons-in-law to our family.
Blessing #9 was the announcement that we were having another grandson. I cannot wait to meet this little guy.
Sometime after the graduations, between weddings, babies, and all things wonderful, I had a bicycle accident. My world was turned upside down, sideways, and felt like I was spinning on a merry-go-round about to fall off. Life didn't make sense. I slept for hours each night and day. I realized my brain could not function well when I was awake, so I slept each afternoon when I could take no more.

Blessing #10, I had the faith and assurance from God that I would be healed. I didn't know how long it would take or when it would be complete, but I trusted in the One who created me.

I felt vulnerable, scared, and didn't recognize myself. I had to let go of my responsibilities and let others take over. I missed being there for Ethan and Josiah. I pretended that everything was fine. I fooled a lot of people, some I didn't. I am sorry to my family and friends, when I caused you to worry whether I would return to "normal."

While I was healing, life continued. I experienced many more challenges and changes. Mostly I kept quiet. I didn't trust what I might say. I tried to blog, but couldn't post what I wrote.

Thanksgiving Day I grilled Salmon. Christmas Eve we strayed from our usual traditions. The view was gorgeous on the 22nd floor of our downtown hotel. We celebrated Michael's birthday in style-just the two of us, in spite of having the flu and a raging fever.

As I close this door, I say goodbye to the challenges of 2014 while holding tightly to its blessings. I step towards 2015, ready to embrace new changes, new blessings and new challenges.


"Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!" (Ps. 68:19)

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's An Anniversary

Thirty-one years ago, we stood in Michael's parent's living room and vowed to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and health, til death do us part.

 Who knew that our little family of 3,
would more than double in 10 short years?
 Thirty-one years later, our family has quintupled.
Happy Anniversary, Michael! The love I have for you has multiplied, just as I our family size has. With each passing day, I love you more than ever before. My heart could not be fuller.


"For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me."

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Life, Love, Pursuit of Happiness

Now that Michael and I are empty nesters, we enjoy spontaneity. This means we can enjoy our time alone and time with family. I love my life.

On Friday, we thought we'd run down to Colorado Springs to go Trick-or-Treating with Ethan
and Josiah.
As it turned out, we were nervous about leaving our house dark on Halloween, so stayed home. We went out for an early dinner. We've never gone out to eat on October 31st before. We drove to the Springs on Sunday and spent the afternoon with our favorite grandsons & Danny. Christina was working.

Monday Elisabeth came over. The two of us (or should that be 3?) called to video chat with Ivydee.  No answer. Shortly after Elisabeth left, Lauren called back. She was in the car, driving to Christopher's work. She handed the phone to Ivydee.

Almost immediately, this sweetie began blowing kisses to her Gramma. I turned the phone so she could see her Grandpa. He began blowing kisses and telling her how much he loved her. Lauren encouraged Ivydee to blow kisses back.  She was unmoved. I turned the phone back to my face and immediately she began blowing kisses again.  I love this girl!

After dinner that night,in spite of it being a cold evening, Michael and I decided to go out for ice cream. This is NOT usual for us. As we were walking out the door, I remembered Ryan and Brian were playing soccer nearby on an indoor league. Instead of ice cream, we dropped in to watch the second half of the soccer game. Afterwards, we went for ice cream. What a great night!

As Michael and I reflected on the previous 48 hours, we marveled at the precious time spent with our grandchildren and inlaw children. What a blessing grandchildren are, but isn't that a given? I feel the greater blessing is my inlaw children who are or will be the parents of my grandchildren.  Why don't we give more props to inlaws???

I often see posts on Facebook with sayings like "Share this post if you have a daughter/son/parent/dog that you love/think the world of/are proud of." But I would like to post, "Share if you have an amazing daughter-in-law, son-in-law, or parent-in-law."

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and grandkids and think every single one of them is amazing, but I feel the same about Danny, Lauren, Brian, Travis, and Ryan (even though he and Hilary aren't married yet.)

After welcoming their inlaw children into our family, I watched my parents love, value, and invest in not only their grandchildren but the spouses of their grandkids and now their great grandchildren. I too, felt loved and cherished by my inlaws.

With our ever growing family, my goal is that Michael and I will continue to be spontaneous. Just the two of us sneaking off for an afternoon bike ride just because the day is warm and sunny. Or having dinner or coffee with our son's inlaws (or daughters') because we enjoy their company and consider them family too. I am so looking forward to the birth of our next grandchild, but also to the weddings of all who are marrying into our family. I want to take advantage of every opportunity to spend with family.


"For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people, and your God will be my God". (Ruth 1:16)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Annual Pumpkin Carving

Eight happy pumpkins, all in a row.

Six silly faces, blazing and aglow




And Elmo


And Wall-E

afraid they might explode.
Candles with a wick

No longer do the trick.

To achieve this bright intensity,
Lighter fluid increases luminocity.

"If you carelessly let a fire spread from your property to someone else’s, you must pay the owner for any crops or fields destroyed by the fire." (Ex. 22:6)