Yes, it is!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2013 Edition of Thanksgivings

I have so much to be thankful for this year.  I'm going to share just a few of the things I'm thankful for.
 
At the top of my list of thanks has to be the life changing surgery that I went through nearly a year ago.  Not only did this procedure relieve a lot of my physical discomfort, it also gave my not-so-great self-esteem a huge boost.  I am so very thankful for my surgeon and his nurse who always showed compassion and respect toward me and never made me feel like a freak.  They were truly interested in helping me.  Because of this top-notch surgeon, not only do I feel better physically but I feel much more comfortable with my body now.  Except that I need to get back on the bandwagon with my fitness routine.  My clothes have been letting me know that lately.

I am thankful for my children.  I am especially thankful for Jackie and her faith.  She enjoys going to church and being in the children's choir.  She auditioned for and was given a solo part in her church's Christmas program. Jackie is my inspiration for wanting to restore and grow my own faith.  She often asks me questions that cause me to pause and ponder my own actions.  She is also not ashamed of her faith and I hope she continues not to be ashamed.  (Except, she says we embarrass her when we discretely say a blessing for our meal when we're at a restaurant).  This past week, she had an assignment at school that just blew me away when it was sent home in her folder.  She wrote with a wisdom that I've never seen in a 9 -year old.  Jackie definitely has a very unique way of thinking about things.  Here is that assignment:


I'm also thankful for my sweet little boy who is also developing his own faith.  Just recently, he woke up very late one night and joined me on the sofa.  Usually, I would get annoyed that one of my children is "interrupting" my quiet time, unless they were sick or had a bad dream.  This was not the case for Ben that night but for whatever reason, he woke up and was wide awake for about an hour.  It ended up being a very precious time with me as he shared with me all the things that he was learning at church.  He was especially focused on how Jesus died on a cross and how he was in a "cave" but he rose after 3 days. 

This past year has brought changes in some of my friendships.  Some of it was not good but most of the changes were positive.  Very positive. In recent months, I have become fairly close friends with a couple of ladies who I never dreamed I would even have a friendship with.  These ladies have rallied around me and have gone to bat for me.  My appreciation for them is more than I can even describe here.  Another friendship that I thought had gone out the window earlier this year has recently turned a corner in a positive way.  When I received a text from this friend about a month ago after us not communicating for several months, I was ecstatic.  We've been texting occasionally since then and each time, it brings a smile to my face.  And today, on Thanksgiving day of all days, I got a call from her (albeit accidentally).  It turned out to be a wonderful conversation.  I think it's the longest conversation that we've held in months even before we quit talking for awhile.  I'm so thankful that we able to talk today and catch up a little. She really is a wonderful person and I was so sad about it when we weren't talking. That phone call this morning was the highlight of my day.  Forgiveness is a powerful thing and I'm so thankful for the ability to forgive (that's to say that I don't have boundaries with certain people in my life, though) and the ability to accept forgiveness from others.  This has helped me to get through a recent situation involving another so-called friend.  That one is a very different situation and if she extended an apology to me (which I'm not counting on), I would gladly accept that.  Actually, I forgave her long ago but unfortunately, she had her own ideas. That's okay, though, because through all that, I've gained much more than the loss of her friendship. 

I'm thankful for another friend who has been spending a short amount of time with me each week to go through a Bible study.  I've often had people offer to do an individual bible study with me but nothing ever came to fruition.  I'm not one to pursue people because I don't want to be a burden.  So, thank you to TZ for committing to and staying committed to help me through that bible study.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

This year, I have the honor of being a part of chorale/ensemble called MasterWorks.  It's an awesome group of singers and orchestra that performs several concerts a year.  This year, our repertoire includes the first part of Handel's Messiah (which I am so excited about) and some of the old Christmas songs.  I love singing classical pieces and this is just up my alley.  I auditioned for the group several months ago and since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it.  Since moving here 9 months ago, I have really missed being involved musically.  I really missed being a part of my choir in Florida and nothing here quite fit what I was wanting to be a part of... until I discovered MasterWorks.  I discovered the group a few years ago and had wanted to audition for it but taking care of my children and just life in general got in the way of doing so until recently.  So, if any of my local friends read this, please come out and hear us on December 8 at 7:30 at St. Clare in O'Fallon.

I've had the pleasure of tutoring a young man at my family's church.  This young man has autism and he is working hard to obtain his GED.  I've spent many hours, so far, to help him accomplish his goal.  I've always been a compassionate person but this young man has taught me much more than compassion.  I'm thankful that I have a desire to help those who have special needs.

Today, my family and I volunteered at my family's church where they were serving a Thanksgiving meal to the community.  I am not very good at just going up to people and introducing myself and talking to them.  (I still deal with fear of rejection, I guess).  But, today, I was forced to get out of my comfort zone by being assigned to talk to people as I walked them to a table after which I was also responsible for serving their meal then sitting down to talk and get to know these people.  I have no problem serving people but I have a difficult time starting conversation with complete strangers.  That is way out of my comfort zone.  But thank you to Tony (and Brenda, too) for forcing me to get out of my comfort zone and encouraging me when I started to get inch toward the ledge during the rush. It ended up being a good experience.  And it made me realize why I never became a waitress.


My Son, the Prankster

My son has become quite the prankster.  Ben has been trying to trick me in a variety of ways, from hiding where I can't find him to hiding a fake snake in my blanket that I had on the sofa. 
 
So last night after the kids were in bed, I went to the hallway bathroom and when I tried to turn on the light, I felt something gooey.  I jumped back and nearly screamed and wet my pants.  I felt whatever it was fall off so I reached out again to turn on the light.  It was this:
 

Of course, at the time, I didn't know who the culprit was and I had wrongly suspected Jackie. When Ben woke up this morning, I asked whose mouse and Ben said, "Mommy, that was me!".  He was smiling and so proud.  I couldn't help but chuckle.  His expressions get me every time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Talk About ADD...

I nearly got myself arrested today. I'm blaming it on my jacket, which I had draped over my arm.

So today, I went to the mall to look for a winter coat for Ben because he keeps complaining that his other one is too big.  Even though the tag shows the correct size, I have to agree that his current coat is a bit big.  So, I found a coat that was on sale at the first store I went to but I decided to check a couple of other stores before I made a final decision.

Since I had a coupon from Victoria's Secret for a free product, I headed over that way next.  Then I made my way over to JCPenney.  I felt like that little kid on Family Circus as I meandered around to several other stores, including Children's Place, Crazy 8's, and Sears.  

Sears is where the trouble started.  I got distracted when I saw a rack of cute puffy vests.  I tried one on and decided to think about it while I checked out the children's section for coats.  I spent several minutes looking around that department before I decided to head back to Macy's to get the coat that was on sale there.  I left Sears and headed toward Macy's and on my way, I had to fend off an annoying salesperson trying to sell me some little back vibrator thing.  I was almost to Macy's when I looked down at my arm, where I still had my jacket draped, and was horrified to see that I had just shoplifted from Sears.  That darn puffy vest.  My heart started to race thinking that, surely, security is trying to track me down so they can arrest me.  How embarrassing would that be? So, as I walked fast, trying not to run, I again had to fend off that annoying salesperson as I headed back to Sears. Can you say short-term memory?  Because she obviously forgot that I had just passed her just 30 seconds earlier.  

So, out of breath and with my heart racing, I get back to Sears and proceed to the nearest register and plopped the vest on the counter to pay for it.  I was shaking a little bit, too, as I explained to the cashiers what I had just done.  One of them chuckled and said that she had done the same thing before.  Oh, good, I wasn't alone.  So, I pay and head back toward Macy's and once again, as I head toward there, that annoying saleslady with the short-term memory problem tried to push her product on me again.  Ugh. I get to Macy's and go to pay for the coat.  The cashier asked me if I wanted to use my Macy's charge card. I have one of those but I almost always stick to using my bank card. because I don't want a bunch of credit cards racked up with debt. When the cashier said that I could save an additional 10% on top of the sale price, I thought about if for a moment, then said sure.  She looked up my account and before I knew it, she had the coat in a bag, handed me the receipt, and told me to have a good day.  I didn't swipe anything and I didn't sign anything so I asked the cashier if I actually paid for it to which she replied that everything was complete.  Okay.  Everything was done so quickly, like less than a minute.  The receipt shows the transaction was complete but the trauma of nearly being arrested has me a bit paranoid now.  So, now I'm just waiting for the law to show up at my door.

Monday, November 18, 2013

ADD?

As most of my friends know, my daughter has mild cerebral palsy.  Thankfully, though, her cognitive abilities have not been affected.  She is mostly a straight A student and she is even in a challenge class once a week.  However, I have noticed recently that some of her test scores have declined and her errors are careless ones.  I often question Jackie about the incorrect answers and she almost always gives me a non-sense answer for her mistake.  It's been very frustrating lately because I know that she can do so much better.  I couldn't help but wonder if Jackie was just being lazy or if she was becoming bored.  Another suggestion by a clinical social worker that I talked to was the possibility that Jackie may have a form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Beside the academic issue, there have been several other issues that are making me lean more toward the ADD possibility.  Jackie tends to be pokey with just about everything she does.  She always seems to be the last kid to exit the building when I pick up the kids from school.  Seriously, we're  usually the last family to leave the parking lot because Jackie is just that pokey coming out of the school.  There have been times when most of the other kids have already been picked and still no Jackie in sight.  I have gone to the office several times so the staff could help track Jackie down.  I've been tempted to put one of those collar cameras on her, but somehow rig it to a necklace or even her eyeglasses. It would be very interesting to see Jackie's journey from the time school dismisses until she finally comes out of the building.  On the days that Jackie has therapy after school, I have to email her teacher to remind her to dismiss Jackie a few minutes early and send her to the front of the school building so that we can leave in plenty of time for Jackie's appointment.  I've asked Jackie what takes her so long to come out of the school.  Her answers always vary and most of the time, they just don't make sense.  

Homework has become quite a chore with Jackie.  I dread homework time.  Even with the TV and everything else off, Jackie will find something to distract her from doing homework.  She will complain of some noise distracting her. She will argue that it isn't fair that she has homework and Ben doesn't. And I have to remind her that she was in kindergarten once and she didn't have homework then, either.  It's just a huge battle with her more than half the time. I've had to threaten to just send her folder back to school with a note for her teacher to just give Jackie a zero because I refuse to fight with her (Jackie) about homework.  Jackie has even started to lie about having completed all her homework.  Thank God for those agendas that the schools supply the kids with. 

Sometimes, she is sloppy with her work.  This is a child who has a history of being a perfectionist with her schoolwork, including her handwriting.  This no longer seems to be the case.

I will tell Jackie to go change from her pajamas to her regular clothes or vice versa but when I check on her 5-10 minutes later, I often find her naked from the bottom down and sitting on the floor playing with something or just sitting there daydreaming.  It appears that she starts to get changed but something distracts her in the process. I just shake my head because this happens so often.  Then when I remind Jackie what I requested of her 5-10 minutes ago, she snaps at me and says "I am!" and then slowly resumes what she was told to do 15 minutes earlier... Until she is distracted again 10 seconds later.  If I hover over her to make sure she does what she is supposed to do, she gets angry.  Bedtime is a huge battle.  It doesn't matter how early I start the bedtime routine, it is a miracle if the kids are in bed at 8:30. It doesn't matter if I start the process 2 hours early, it's still a battle to have the kids in bed at 8:30.  It doesn't help that I'm usually the only parent (at least 90% of the time) doing the bedtime routine.

Jackie's bedroom has been a huge battle these last couple of years.  Ben does a fairly good job of keeping his room picked up when he is asked to, but Jackie, on the other hand, can leave her room in a tornado-like state in a matter of hours.   She USED to be my neat kid.  She used to put her toys away and do it neatly.  I don't know what happened there.  I'll tell the kids to clean up their rooms and Ben can be done in a half hour and his room really is neat and clean.  Jackie, again, has usually not even started on her room before Ben is finished with his.  I'll check in on Jackie and she can be found sitting on the floor, playing with some piece of trash and insisting that she was saving it because she was going to use it for something special.  Oh, yes, she thinks a rice krispy treat wrapper is good for something special.  And then she gets upset that Ben is already done with his room (and she hasn't even started) and she wants somebody to help with her room. An hour job of cleaning Jackie's room often turns into a 5-hour plus job.  And it usually culminates in a meltdown by her me.  Well... her, too. It's just plain exhausting.

Recently, the school nurse called me to inform that Jackie had tripped over some stairs at school and acquired a small goose egg.  Thankfully, she was okay.  But the nurse also wanted me to know that while they were in the nurses office, Jackie nearly tripped on a table leg.  The nurse thought it was perhaps Jackie couldn't see that well.  Hmm, nope.  She can see well enough, especially now that she has been compliant with her eyeglasses for the past year.  Plus, she is followed by the pediatric ophthalmologist every 3-6 months because of a couple of issues with her left eye and there has finally been some improvement. So, no, she didn't trip on that table leg because of poor vision. She tripped on that table leg because she wasn't paying attention to where she was going!  She has become somewhat clumsy lately. 

I just don't understand what is going on with my daughter.  She used to be a bit of a perfectionist in several areas. Her schoolwork used to ALWAYS be neat. She used to be good about keeping her room neat and toys were put away in the proper places.  It just boggles me. I don't know where I went wrong.  It has been very frustrating lately and I have considered whether or not we should have Jackie evaluated for some sort of attention problem or perhaps even some sort of seizure disorder.  With the type of brain damage that Jackie suffered, even though she has not had any seizures (except for a possible one as a newborn), she is at slight risk of developing them as she enters puberty.  So that is definitely a possibility even though I think it's a remote one at this moment.  As normal as Jackie looks, she does have several issues that we have to follow-up on as a result of the CP and I really don't want to add to her repertoire of diagnoses.  However, I want her to continue to succeed in school and if it means another treatment for yet another problem, so be it.  We will deal with it like we have with everything else involving our children.
 
I'm on a handful of Facebook support groups relating to my children.  One of those groups is for those with children who have Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL).  Through that particular group, I have learned that I'm not the only one dealing with the type of behavior that Jackie is displaying.  I don't know if this could be related to the type of brain damage our children have or if it's just a typical ADD behavior.  I just really don't know what to think but I hope to get answers soon.  In the meantime, I want to ask my friends to pray that we can get those answers soon so that we can help our daughter to continue succeed in school and that our frustration levels will decrease.  Lord knows, we don't need another ADD person in this house. (I'm not naming the other ADD person but it's not me.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

She's Nine Years Old!

I can't believe my beautiful little girl is 9 years old.  Nine!  She truly is a miracle.  She was a miracle from the moment she was conceived.  When I reflect back on these years, I can't help but be so thankful for the miracle of her life.  

Before I got that positive test, I thought for sure that I was not pregnant.  I didn't have any symptoms of pregnancy and on top of that, I thought I was having a cycle.  But when I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment for a recent issue, the doctor ordered a urine and HCG pregnancy test, even though I insisted that I was NOT pregnant.  After all, I was bleeding.  I was shocked that the urine test was positive and I was assured that it was not a false positive. (Apparently, false positives don't exist, false negatives do). I called Tim and told him the news.  A couple of days later, I had another HCG level taken.  I got a phone call that evening from the doctor's office that I needed to have an ultrasound done soon because my HCG levels were rising higher than typical for the stage of pregnancy I was at.  I was a bit nervous about having the ultrasound.  

Until now, I have not been very open about Jackie's twin.  We never shared about it with our family and only a couple of my friends back home knew about it.  

So, the ultrasound showed that we were expecting twins.  I was very nervous. Since I was still having issues with bleeding, I was told to go back for another ultrasound a few days later. That ultrasound showed that one of the twins was lagging behind in it's development.  I was told to return for another ultrasound the following week.  The twin's growth was still behind where it should be and it's heart rate was very low.  I was warned that the likelihood of this twin surviving was very low.  A few days later, another ultrasound confirmed that this twin had died.  I was very sad but thankful that the other twin, who would ultimately become Jackie, appeared to be doing well.  However, I continued to bleed. I was eventually diagnosed with a chorionic hemorrhage.  This is what apparently led to the demise of Jackie's twin at 8 weeks.  Unfortunately, the chorionic hemorrhage affected Jackie, too, and I was gently warned of the very real possibility that Jackie could end up suffering the same fate as her twin did. Even though I was never too sure of having children until then, I begged God to save my baby.  Our prayers were answered. 

After a somewhat higher risk pregnancy,  Jackie was born 3 weeks early, by c-section.  I will never forget the overwhelming love I felt for my baby as soon as she was placed in my arms.  Unfortunately, post-partum issues creeped in, in addition to a very colicky baby.  I hate that I don't remember very much from that first year.  I remember, though, the fear I felt when Jackie was diagnosed at age 6 months with cerebral palsy, possibly due to in utero or post natal stroke.  Of course, Jackie was delayed with her motor skills.  I couldn't help but hurt for my baby when babies her age were crawling, walking, running on time.  Jackie just sat there, helpless.  I'm so thankful for her therapists at that time who provided so much support to not only my baby, but to me, too.  

Jackie has proved and continues to prove doctors wrong.  I know it's partly because of her strong-will.  She receives top grades. She is very well-liked at school by students and staff alike.  She is intelligent and quite talented.  She is sensitive and compassionate.  She is beautiful and perfect to me.  She is the apple of my eye.  (Well, most of the time).

Time has flown by so quickly. I'll never forget all those people, including strangers, who would say to me to enjoy this time because it passes so quickly.  I never blew those people off because I knew it was true.  Every now and then, Jackie will do something or just have a certain look that will throw me off guard.  And it reminds me... she's growing up so quickly.  It makes me gulp sometimes. I'm looking forward to watching my beautiful little girl grow up into a beautiful young lady.  But I sometimes wish I can turn back the hands of time and have a do-over.  

I pray that her self-esteem will not suffer so severely like I did. That is why it is so important to me that my daughter knows just how beautiful she is, how gifted she is.  And especially, how special she is to not only me, but to God and so many others involved in her life.  I pray that Jackie and I will continue to have a close bond.  I want more than anything to make things different for her than it was for me. 

Jackie is so precious to me and I don't often convey that to her. I want to change that.  Jackie has been my inspiration lately for why I'm so desperate to change some of my ways to be a better mother.  I want Jackie to look back and appreciate the effort that I made to be the best mother possible.  She is the reason why I don't give up completely on God.  She truly is a believer, mostly without my help. 

There have been many times where I have gone into Jackie's room at night just to stare at her.  As I watch her sleep, sometimes sadness overcomes me because I fail so often.  And sometimes, tears will come to my eyes because I'm just so proud of who she is and what she has already accomplished despite some of her adversities.  

Lately, I've come to the realization that the estrogen has started coursing through her veins already.  Her emotions are all over the place.  She is even more moody. And lately, she has become worried that certain friends aren't really her friends. She often feels left out, lately.  She sometimes will even ask me if I love her. She has become so much more sensitive lately.  I have to admit that I get frustrated because I just don't know how handle it when she becomes so sensitive and uptight when it comes to dealing with her friendships. I just try to comfort her.  (I sure wish I had the right example of how to deal with all of this).  I'll have to hold on and pray.

So on this day, November 1, Jackie's 9 year of life, I can't help but dedicate one of her favorite songs.  This song speaks to me as well.  I am determined, with God's help, to be by Jackie's side as she (and I!) navigates her way through what is already promising to be a tumultuous few years as she grows into a young woman.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2qeQ8Z3CLg

Happy 9th Birthday, my beautiful Jackie!

Precious Moments With My Son

Ben has a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night and either crawl into bed with me and Tim.  Or if I'm still awake, he will curl up next to me and go back to sleep.  Then after about 15 minutes, I'll lay him back in his bed. I'm okay with that as I enjoy providing comfort to my children.  
However, if either of my children decide to be wide awake late at night, MY quiet time, I am easily annoyed.  A couple of weekends ago was an exception.  Ben had woken up around midnight, just as I was getting ready to head to bed, and he joined me on the couch.  He tossed and turned like he was trying to go back to sleep but within minutes, he was wide awake. He then moved over to the chair and began a conversation.  It turned out to be such a precious time between me and my son.  
Ben started out by telling me that Jesus died a looong time ago. "Yes, I said, "a very long time ago."  Ben then shared how Jesus rose after 3 days.  Then he told me that Jesus was in a cave.  The part about the cave made me chuckle.  Then I said, "yes, a tomb."  Ben continued to share what he learned at church.  I was so impressed.  I did not realize how much Ben was listening and retaining what he was learning at church.  He continues to amaze me.  When children have such a severe speech disorder such as what Ben had (and still struggles with) along with sensory disorders, it's difficult to gauge how much they are taking in because they are unable to adequately share what they are learning.  I always knew Ben was very intelligent, though.  I am so proud of my little boy.  He has made so much progress in the last year and a half.  He's doing very well in Kindergarten and has become quite a popular little boy.  He has lots of friends who don't seem to care that he's difficult to understand at times.  

Since I'm on the topic of my son, I just have to share some recent stories about him because not only can he be so precious, but he can also be a very funny little boy.  As I said, Ben often wakes up late at night/middle the night.  One night, not too long ago, he came into the living room where I was still awake and listening to music while reading.  He curled up next to me for several seconds before he climbed up onto the back of the sofa and promptly fell asleep.  How did I know he wasn't faking?  Well, he started to snore within a couple of minutes after positioning himself on the couch like a cat. Here's the proof: 

Ben is such a sweet boy.  A couple of nights ago, as I was tucking him into bed, Ben told me that I looked skinny.  Aww!  I certainly wish that was the case but since I've actually gained 10 pounds in the past year, Ben earned some extra points with me.  I almost wanted to give back his toys that were in time out due to Ben's bad behavior a couple of days ago.  But I resisted the temptation.   
One might ask why Ben's toys were in time out.  Ben has had a problem with hitting and biting in the past.  And it goes beyond just being a boy.  The victim is almost always his sister with me being his occasional victim.  This past week, Ben lost a few of his toys to time out and he was not happy about it.  At. All.  In fact, he was quite violent a few days ago when I took his toys.  After school that day, I talked to Ben, again, and explained how hitting his sister hurts not only her but his parents and his friends.  I told him his friends won't like having a friend who hits girls, especially in front of said friends.  I then told him that we're going to keep track of the days that he is nice all day and has not hit.  Ben just finished day 2 of his goal and he is so proud of himself.  He keeps reminding me how he's been nice to everyone.  He really wants those toys back.  He'll get one back if he can go for 5 days without hitting.  I'm so proud of him because he has not gone a single day without hitting at least once. 

I know that despite the hitting, Ben loves his sister.  He often will go to her for comfort if I'm not available.  He misses her when she's not home.  He thinks of her when he gets a little treat from somebody else.  He always tries to snag an extra treat for Jackie.  Ben really is a very sweet, thoughtful little boy. But there are some things that, just like me and Tim, he does not tolerate very well.  Like Jackie's dramatic meltdowns.

Ben is also a very sensitive little guy.  A couple of weeks ago, I subbed at the kids' school. At lunchtime, Ben saw me in the hallway where he was waiting in line with his class.  He saw me and said "hi mum".  I smiled, waved, and said "hi".  As we parted ways, Ben suddenly looked down in a shy manner and gave me a shy wave goodbye.  I couldn't help but chuckle that my son had suddenly become shy with me.  At dinner that night, I was telling Tim about this and Tim got tickled and started to chuckle.  Then Ben left the table and went running to his room and shut the door behind him.  I figured he would be back out in no time.  But 5 minutes passed and no Ben.  So, I went to his room where Ben was hiding behind his bed. I told Ben that we missed him and that we wanted him to come back.  He yelled at me because he thought we were laughing AT him.  I tried to explain how we were not laughing AT him but that we were laughing at his cuteness.  He didn't quite understand how cute could also be funny.  But he did come back out to join us.  He's such a sensitive little guy.  I just love him so!  And I'm looking forward to sharing these stories with his own family one day.

Some Things Really Make Me Wonder

Recently, I have written about a certain situation between me and another person.  This person did something very hurtful but I was never angry.  Nevertheless, that person doesn't have much to do with me anymore.  Which is just as well because of some realizations that have come to me.  

I have not discussed this issue with my children as it has nothing to do with them.  And it's none of their business.  I have talked to my husband a little bit about it.  I also talked to a trusted (hopefully) friend about it because this situation has escalated to the point where it has upset a couple of other friends with whom I've developed very good relationships with lately.  It was nice to know that I have friends who really try to stand up for me.  

Interestingly enough, this friend knew who I was talking about without me even mentioning a name.  In a way, I felt validated.  To this day, I am still not angry at this other person.  I never was. Actually, it makes me very sad that this person continues with the behavior.  Apparently, this person also thinks I'm angry.  I say this because my son asked me a question today, out of the blue.  He asked me why I'm mad at (his friend)'s mom.  I had to ask Ben what he meant, to make sure that I didn't misunderstand him.  Sure enough, he thinks I'm mad at this particular person.  For the record, I do NOT discuss such personal matters with my children.  They don't even know about this blog, so they don't read it here. In fact, Ben isn't even an efficient enough reader to be able to understand anything I write on here.  With this particular situation with this person, I have not even discussed it in the presence of my children.  Which makes me believe that somebody said something to Ben.
I asked Ben who told him I was mad at this particular person.  I couldn't quite understand his response (he still struggles with a severe speech disorder). I explained to Ben that I was not mad at this person nor was I mad at anybody else.  I also explained to him that even really nice people aren't always very nice to certain others.  And that includes myself.  

I can't help but wonder what sort of lies and garbage my kids are being told when they're not in my presence at their church, especially by the children of certain people.  I especially can't help but wonder how Christians can be so vile toward each other.  In fact, I think Christians are worse about this than those who don't subscribe to Christianity.  This just adds to my internal tug-of-war with Christianity.  

Thankfully, I have those couple of very good friends at my kids' church and because of them, I continue to be encouraged to push forward contrary to what certain people would like to see of me.  I will also continue to be cordial to this particular person although I can't help but continue to be cautious.

Daisy

Eight nights ago, on October 23, our little rescue dog, Daisy went missing.  I feel terrible about.  We still have not found her.  I wonder where she is, if she's safe, or if she's just enjoying her freedom.

We adopted Daisy this past February as a companion for our other dog, who was grieving the loss of our beloved Lucy who had died just a couple of months prior.  Daisy was a very timid, easily frightened little dog.  Over the past few months, she started to come out of her shell but she was still very easily frightened.  We never heard her bark.  We never even heard her whine until 3 weeks ago when we came back home from a funeral in Florida.  Daisy whined with excitement that we were home.  I was thrilled to finally hear that she had a voice!  She was really starting to become a real member of our family.

After Daisy slipped out through an open door last week, I went searching for her right away.  I looked all over our neighborhood.  I put word out on several pages on Facebook.  I filled out a form online with Lost Dogs Illinois.  I searched until 1:00 am that night.  We still have not found her.  One thing that gives me hope is that I have not found her body as I scan the roadsides while I'm driving around.  One thought that comes to my mind is that perhaps somebody found her and decided to keep her despite the fact that Daisy has a tag on and she's microchipped.  She acts like an abused dog so perhaps that person thought she is abused and decided to "protect" her.  Another thought is that maybe the neighbors who don't like us have her.  They have quite a collection of dogs over there.  If that's the case, then I know she'll be safe because even though they may not care for a lot of people, they do care about animals.  I'll give them that much credit.  

Whenever I read or see reunions between long-lost pets and their families, my hope rises.  Perhaps that will be us one day.  I don't know.  I just have to continue to pray that she is safe somewhere.  I miss her terribly, though.  In fact, I got so used to her keeping me company in the bathroom when I would shower and I really miss that.  Please help me by continuing to pray that she is found safe and sound.