Friday, March 31, 2006

The Point of No Return

Her defiant eyes told me more than her words were able to - she was an adult now, and as such, felt as though she could do as she wanted. I had never, ever felt such distance between the two of us, and instinctively, I knew that things would never be the same.

Since that argument, we have discussed the effect of what had transpired over the past few months to get us to this point of no return. There have been words of forgiveness, but in my heart, I am still full of sorrow and pain. How we could have even gotten to this point is beyond me, as we have always been so close and honest with each other.

She has made a choice of which I don't approve. All I can do is now stand back and watch her as she faces the consequences of that choice. My first instinct is to protect and shield her, but that part of my job is now over. The most difficult part is knowing that this choice is going to bring her much pain. In a way, it already has brought her pain - the pain of knowing that it has caused me to not trust her totally anymore due to the lies and deception and secrecy, the pain of my righteous anger when I discovered her "secret", and the pain of the words which came in the midst of our argument. But there will be more pain to follow, of that I am sure. And at that point, I will be back in the "familiar" role of being comforter. It's this role of onlooker that is killing me inside.

If you would have told me a few months ago that something would ever come between us, I would have told you that you were crazy. But now, something has, and I pray that over time, our rift will heal, and we can be comfortable with one another again. I pray that God will provide me with the wisdom and strength to deal with this situation, and I pray that He protects my daughter from the forces of wordly desires. Amen.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Happy Bloggiversary to Me!

Happy Bloggiversary to me!!

It was a year ago on March 28th that I began my little blogging adventure. Blogging was sporadic at first because I wasn't sure what I was doing or why I was doing it. It wasn't until the middle of June when I began to visit other blogs and recognize some names. Gradually, over time, I began to belong to a little blogging community!

Thank you for sharing this past year with me. I've had some ups and downs - some moments of sheer joy, and some moments of grave despair. Through it all, I felt your presence and your prayers, and for that, I am very grateful.

All of you have come to mean a great deal to me, and I am sincere when I say how much I love you. I look forward to sharing another year of my life with you - of sharing my experiences as my kid's mom.

That being said, let's party at Darlene's, right, Jeff?????

Friday, March 24, 2006

Relfection of a Listening Heart

I came across this reflection a few days ago, as I was going through my endless envelopes of pictures. It was something I had cut out of a prayer book several years ago, and prayed every day for quite sometime until we moved, and then I couldn't find it. It is not a coincidence that I came across it at this very moment in time - for it is a prayer which brings me great comfort amidst the turmoil of my life right now.

I am listening, Lord. I have finally banished all distractions and unwanted images. I have finally stopped fidgeting and wriggling, both symptoms of struggle. I am no longer staring at book titles or smears on window panes. Nor am I wrapped up in the torrents of words which too often consume my time with you - those lists of whom I want to remember, things for which I am grateful, petitions for the suffering world. I am still, within and without.

In this silence, in this stillness, I wait to hear your voice, Lord. I have told you so often about my desire to serve. I have offered you my gifts, time and time again, hoping you find them acceptable. I want to be commission for some glorious task, to pour myself out that others may come and find you. But it is always the same: the only words I hear are softer than the beat of my heart. "YOU are the gift," you say. "I want your love - nothing more."

~Elizabeth-Ann Vanek

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Great Birthday

Our birthday girl had a great day! She received 18 long-stemmed roses at school, and she went to her favorite restaurant for dinner. When we got home, it was time to open her presents. The first one she opened was a USB cable (is that what they're called?), and she looked a bit perplexed but said thanks, and moved on to the next present, which was a set of books. When she was getting ready to take her gifts upstairs, I asked her to wait a moment, and went into the other room to get her final birthday/graduation/early Christmas present. She was absolutely thrilled when she opened it and discovered a laptop computer! Her dad has to set it up this weekend, but in the meantime, she has watched a couple of DVD's on it, and last night we were on E-Bay looking for a bacpack which would accomodate the laptop. My youngest is thrilled about this gift, too, as it means she now has full "ownership" of their computer in the study.

TP says "thank you" to all of you who wished her a happy birthday. She had read my post and your comments, and she was very touched.

It's been a bit crazy around here, but I am beginning to thing that "crazy" is normal for a household with two teenage daughters. But, I am blessed to have each of them as a daughter, and I am blessed to have a great husband who works hard to provide for his family. Thank you, dear Lord, for all that you have given me.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to My Oldest!

The sweet baby breath was gentle on my cheek. She smiled with her tiny lips, and sighed contentedly as she snuggled her head under my chin.

Feelings of incredible joy, of a love so deep I could hardly breath, washed over me. This perfect little baby was mine. God had entrusted her to my care. I began to sing a song to her which my dad had sang to me that he had made up for me when I was a baby, a simple yet comforting song with just two lines which were repeated over and over again. Singing that song seemed to bring me closer to him, even though his soul had passed in the night a few days earlier. He died soon after meeting two of his long-held goals: he wanted to live to be 80, and he wantled to live until I became a mom.

He hadn't met his granddaughter yet, but he loved her fiercely just the same. When I called him to tell him about her birth, he asked me if I rememberd the little song he used to sing to me. I told him that, of course, I remembered it. He began to sing it to me one more time, so softly at first, and then his voice grew stronger. At the end of his song, I could hear him crying. It was the last time I had ever heard his voice.

This child grew up ever so quickly. She is a young woman now, turning 18 tomorrow. I looked at her sleeping face tonight, and there was a smile of contentment on her lips just as before when she was a baby. She knows she is loved by so many. She knows that the world is hers to make a difference in, and that she has a lifetime ahead of her to help make it a better place in which to live. She knows she is a child of God, and that she wants to spread His love to others by serving all with whom she comes in contact.

There have been moments of incredible joy, and moments of gut-wrenching sadness over the years. And with each experience, we grew closer, bound by a love so strong that nothing could destroy it. Through the laughter and the tears, we held each other close, and we never let go.

She's a young adult now, and my job is nearing an end. But one thing will always remain the same - she will always be that baby girl who loved to snuggle under my chin as I gently rocked her to sleep.

Happy Birthday, Sara!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Some of you know that I have fibromyalgia, but most of you probably don't because it's not something I usually talk about. I'm not one to whine or complain much about it, because it doesn't do a bit of good. But a few weeks ago, one of my readers asked me in a private e-mail what fibromyalgia is, how it affects me, and what I do to cope with it. So, here goes. . .

Fibromyalgia isn't technically a "disease", it's a syndrome. On WebMd, it is defined as "a syndrome, distinguised by chronic pain in the muscles, ligaments, or bursae around the joints. It is called a syndrome because it includes a set of conditions that always occur together. . . It comes from a combination of three Latin words. Fibro- (fibrous, for the soft tissues of the body under the skin, especially around the joints, including tendons, and ligaments), my-(myo - for muscles), and algia (pain) mean pain in the supporting tissues of the body, such as tissues around the knee or muscles around the shoulder." There is no cure for it, and it usually persists into old age. In the past, many believed it was just a "psychological aberration" because it has no visible signs and it couldn't be confirmed in laboratory tests. However, it now appears as a disorder of the neuroendocrine system involving chemicals of the brain and blood that regulate how pain is perceived in the body.

The pain is often described as "burning, gnawing, sore, stiff, shooting, deep aching, or radiating". There are 18 tender points on the body which can be affected. Fatigue can affect normal functioning. Neurological symptoms are possible. Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs are common. Severe tension headaches or migraines occur in about 40 percent of persons with fibromyalgia. There are a myriad of other symptoms as well, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

For me, the symptoms came on gradually. But they got worse until I could no longer ignore them. I can remember being very frightened, wondering what could possibly be wrong with me. I went to the doctorabout 10 years ago, and he was able to diagnose me immediately. It was such a relief to know that there was a concrete reason as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and it wasn't a terminal illness. I took matters into my own hands, and devised my own treatment plan which included an increase in exercise, taking some medication (a muscle relaxant), and eating much healthier.

My doctor also recommended that I join a support group. However, the one I went to (for just one meeting, I might add) wasn't very well run. There were a couple of people in wheelchairs. All of the people there complained about what was happening to their bodies - and rightfully so - but none of them were doing anything to help stave off the progression of their symptoms. It was a very depressing evening, but frankly, it helped to firm up my resolve to stay on my course of treatment. When I returned to my doctor several months later, he asked me about the support group, and I told him what I had witnessed. I said that I did not want to end up in a wheelchair like the two women I saw at that meeting. He smiled gently and said "Val, you can end up incapacitated if you don't continue doing what you're doing right now." That frightened me even more, but it also gave me an incentive to try to stay active and exercise. Most people with this condition allow the pain to get in the way of exercising - but you still have to do it because if you don't, then the muscles atrophy. Most people allow the pain to affect the quality of life - but you can't because if you do, then you begin to feel pretty hopeless and helpless.

Some days, the pain is worse than other days. Some days, I wish I could just stay in bed all day. Those are the days that I remember the ladies in the wheelchairs, and that gives me the incentive to keep on going. There are days when I'm feeling pretty good, so I relish those days and live them to the fullest. But one thing I have discovered through all of this is that I can't allow the way I feel (both physically and emotionally) to dictate my thoughts and my actions because if I do, then I would become literally and figuratively paralyzed. I draw on my strength and faith to help me through the "bad" days. I offer up my sufferings to the Lord - a concept which is known as the redemptive nature of suffering. And I am just so grateful that, despite all the pain, I am still here to be my kid's mom.

Friday, March 10, 2006


The time has come for me to sort through our family's pictures over the last eighteen years. Last night, I brought boxes, plastic sacks, and paper bags full of memories downstairs and put all of them in my dining room. I now have the daunting task of sorting them out according to month and year on the long table.

I promised myself that I would eventually get to those pictures and put them in order. Someday, I said. Well, that "someday" is here - all too soon. I always thought that this day would never come because it was so far off into the future - and now, all of the sudden, this day is here. Whatever happened to those days in between then and now?

I did a great job of putting them into TP's baby album, up until she turned a year old. Then, I barely had time to sneeze let alone trying my hand at scrap booking! Hence, the endless supply of bags and boxes of our family's life in pictures. TP's class is going to do a personal video of each of the 12 graduating seniors. I need to do a family album (well, albums) for the graduation party.

I have dreaded this day for two reasons. The first reason is fairly obvious - this task will be monumental. The second reason is easily understood - this will be bittersweet. I know I will be flooded with memories. And I will have the tissue box handy. .. . I'm getting a lump in my throat just thinking about this.

But an amazing thing is happening inside of me. I can actually feel myself letting go of TP. As her excitement grows over going to college, so does mine. As her independence stretches, I loosen the grip. As she makes decisions, I am amazed at her ability to weigh the pros and cons and how she uses her values to guide her through the process. She's ready to leave, and I stand back, and let her open that door. No, I take that back - I don't "let" her - I watch her as she goes forth through that opened door.

She'll be eighteen in ten days. A legal adult. But still my baby in my heart.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's in the Details

My mind has been a bit preoccupied lately with details, just so many details. There are the plans to make for TP's upcoming 18th birthday and her graduation, there are scholarship forms still to be filled out, there is a to-do list which keeps on growing longer for household upkeep which needs to be completed before the end of May, there is a situation with my husband's home based business which is driving me nuts, there is billing to do for my private practice, there are business and personal phone calls that will require hours on the phone, there is personal and business correspondence which is waiting patiently for my attention, and. . . well, you get the idea.

My husband says that my strength is in the details, that I am good at organization. Secretly, I think that's his way of getting out of doing some things (just kidding, honey!). Part of my job as a wife and mom is attending to the details and the schedules of our family. I've tried to show my girls the value of having a planner so they don't forget certain deadlines or duties which they need to take care of - and, one of them is great at it, while the other one would rather let things happen as they may. As a result, our family is evenly divided - those who are very detail oriented, and those who are off in la-la land when it comes to paying close attention to things. If truth be known, these two camps rub each other the wrong way, sometimes.

This detail stuff can be exhausting. I'm sure being off in la-la land is exhausting, too (she says with tongue planted firmly in cheek). How does one become more like the other?

Friday, March 03, 2006

God Is Good

Hi there, everybody! Just a quick note to let you know some good news!

TP has received a President's Scholarship at the college where she'll be attending this fall. Only 50 freshman receive this scholarship, and it's the highest honor (financial and achievement-wise) that can be bestowed on a student!!! Way to go, TP!

Also, I just got a call from TP's doctor, and her labs contine to be perfect. As a result, they are reducing the prednisone in half again! Praise the Lord!

God is good.