Written sometime the week of December 13
Disclaimer: I am writing this at 12:45 a.m., so it may make absolutely no sense. Many thoughts are swirling through my head, so I decided to blog as therapy.
One goal I set for 2010 was to travel to North Carolina more often to see my dad, who turned 88 this November. Unfortunately, with some unexpected situations that arose in our family and at work, I didn’t make that first trip until June. Still, Daddy and I talk every Sunday night around 9:15. Our phone calls consist of much small talk about the weather and what each of us has been up to during the week, but they are like an anchor in my week, and I look forward to talking to Daddy. I’ve come to appreciate what a good listener he is. I also admire him for persisting in getting up every day and stirring around even when his arthritis is hurting so bad that it’s painful to move. He’s a tough old bird. 🙂
Daniel had an eventful 23rd birthday on January 29. He took the GRE at John’s insistence. He did okay, but he realized after talking to some friends that he really should have studied more. He enrolled earlier this month at Nashville State Community College for the spring semester so he could stay on our health insurance (even though he got his degree from MTSU in December).
Also on his birthday, Daniel braved icy roads to deliver pizza for Papa John’s. The next day, his car slid nosedown into a ditch as he was driving home from a friend’s house. When the AAA truck came to haul the car out of the ditch, his license plate was missing. My comment in my journal was, “Great. All he needs is one more expense.” Little did I know that was small in comparison to what was to come.
Daniel took his car to Firestone to get the oil changed…and they missed the fact that there were two holes in his radiator. A few days later, his engine was ruined. We had already furnished 3 cars for him, so John and I decided it was high time that he paid for his own car. In the meantime, the plan was for me and Daniel to share my car. That started in February. He was to save money toward a car and hopefully be able to get one by summer.
Daniel and I started spending more time together as he drove me to work. I found I enjoyed the extra time with him, even though he is practically comatose in the morning when I am ready to leave for work (around 8:30).
John and I joined Belmont United Methodist Church on February 7, signaling a huge change for me; I’d been a lifelong Baptist. John was raised in the Methodist Church, so it was like coming home for him. I have found our church to be warm, accepting, openminded–and I felt at home almost immediately after joining the choir. We are part of a big Sunday school class that is very involved in social issues and covers an interesting array of topics.
I got big news at work: I would be moving to the Marketing department. The details were sketchy: I would be editing every print piece that came out of the department and writing a variety of copy. My boss-to-be described her vision of me as the resident wordsmith. I had to think about that a little. I love to write, but writing marketing copy is quite different than the writing one does as a book editor. Fortunately, I had a little time to wrap my mind around that idea…didn’t officially move to Marketing until May 17.
It is now 1:35, and I am sleepy. To be continued.
A low point…I discovered evidence that one of my family members has been cutting himself/herself. It scares the bejesus out of me. Early spring is a hard time of year for this family member. I wrote in my journal on April 1, “God, be with those who suffer from depression and other mental illness…the mind can create a living hell. Help me to encourage someone who’s down today. You never know the difference your words or a smile can make. Help me to be an instrument of your peace.”
I know that cutting and other self-injurious behavior are not to be taken lightly. Our child has been seeing a counselor and psychiatrist for some time. This family member is such a tender soul. I pray for him or her daily, that he/she will find peace and that someday he/she will realize how much he/she/she is loved. I think he knows our family loves him/her dearly. My prayer is that he/she will realize he/she is worthy of love and that he/she will learn to stop thoughts of self-hatred.
The scripture for Tuesday, April 13 from Journeying Through the Days was very timely: “God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.” Psalm 30:2-3, The Message
My May 2 journal entry read, “Once again it is raining hard. Yesterday we had flooding in Nashville and surrounding areas. I was out running errands, intending to go to Costco and Kroger after going to the dry cleaner, getting wiper blades replaced, and venturing to Ladies of Charity. I stopped by the coffee shop at Borders to drink some coffee and clip coupons…kept hearing storm sirens go off, and it made me think of our 1996 tornado. About that time John called and told me to come home NOW because the roads were getting dangerous. He’d been at Walmart, and when he got to the van, water was up to the door. …
Flooding in Nashville was bad–4 people killed so far. We’re supposed to get 5-6 more inches of rain today. Parts of I-24 were under water yesterday, and the interstate was closed. I don’t remember it being this bad since I’ve lived in Nashville [since 1980].”
Little did i know that we were experiencing a 100-year (some news accounts say 500…I don’t know how that figure that, since we don’t have weather records back that far) flood event.
All this was happening about the time the BP Horizon well exploded and started leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico, so Nashville’s flood was small potatoes in the national news compared to that. The Nashville community, ever resilient, pulled together and helped neighbors whose homes were damaged or even destroyed by the flood. I am so proud to be from Nashville.
My journal entry for May 25:
Reflecting on the Light of Christ (as I gaze at my candle)
O Christ, you came as Light to this dark world.
John wrote, “In him was life, and that life was the light of [us humans]. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1;4-5)
Nor do I understand your light, but I count on you to shine through all the darkness of life. Thank you, Jesus for being the Light Bearer for us all. Amen.”
June and July were a blur…Julie was very busy with her Cutco business, tension was mounting at home as she and John were not getting along, we had continued transportation problems, especially after Julie totalled my car in early June. We rented 2 cars for a month, and oh my gosh, we got way behind in our financial commitments. Meanwhile we had more than one family member suffering from depression. I wrote a prayer for a sound mind. I don’t know whether it worked, but at least I got through these months and was relatively sane (though I lost my temper at a couple of points). I clung to this scripture: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26
John & I went to see my dad over Father’s Day weekend. That was the only trip we took all summer (besides going to Jackson, MS to pick Julie up at the beginning of May and then taking her back to school on Aug. 22) July was a low point as Julie decided she couldn’t live under our roof anymore. Guess who arranged for another place for her to stay? Me. Our dear friends Gerald and Becky Stubbs took Julie into their home for what I hoped would be a couple of weeks…Julie wound up staying with them for 5 weeks. That’s definitely above and beyond the call of friendship. All I can say is Thanks be to God, and I hope that next summer will not be as hellacious as this one was.
A quote from Journeying Through the Days helped me this summer:
“Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing; God alone never changes. … If you have God you will want for nothing.” Teresa of Avila (16th-century nun and reformer of convents in Spain)
We took Julie back to school, and the stress level at our house decreased.
On Sept. 22 I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for:
* Days when I feel good
* A warm cup of coffee in the morning
* John’s love
*Things to laugh about in spite of stress
* A roof over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, and a job to provide income
Julie came home for fall break on Fri. Oct. 15. John and I left town that day for all-church retreat at Beersheba Springs. It was nice not to be home with the drama queen for her first few days, as it seems the first few days of any vacation are spent trying to readjust to each other’s presence. I took a week of vacation following the retreat and was able to spend some quality time with Julie before she returned on Tuesday. The October vacation came at a much-needed time for me. I was getting bogged down at work, and after taking only 3 days of vacation in July, I was at my wits’ end. I need to remember to be proactive and take vacation throughout the year so I don’t go completely nuts! I returned to work with a renewed mind and spirit.
Julie and her boyfriend of over a year broke up. Turned out not to be a permanent breakup…lasted for only 10 days. I am learning to take lots of deep breaths. She will work her way through things like this…she’s very capable of taking care of herself. I did keep in regular touch with her to show our support during this time. (The way I discovered the breakup was on Facebook.)
Julie came home for Thanksgiving, and we had a relatively peaceful time as a family. I think we sat at the Thanksgiving table for about 20 minutes with everyone. John and I just looked at each other when the young adults had gotten up. I said, “This is as good as it gets…one of these days they will learn to linger over conversation. Right now they’re just into themselves and their friends.”
This has been a weird month. I got sick on Dec. 13 (same day that Nashville got 4 inches of snow and my workplace closed for the day). I spent the rest of the week trying to get well so i could sing in our church’s Feast of Lights…I worked for a few hours on Wednesday and Friday, but that was it. Then I went back to work for two days, Dec. 20-21, and it was time for Christmas break. Yippee! Except on Dec. 22 I awoke to a fever. By Saturday (Christmas Day) it had subsided enough that I concluded I was not contagious.
This kind of put a monkey wrench in my Christmas shopping plans. Had to order some things online, and I made spice tea and pumpkin bread for other gifts. Made sure to wash my hands a lot as I prepared those dishes.
We went to Knoxville on Christmas and stopped for the night because of a winter storm that moved through North carolina. We had originally planned to go to Canton, NC, spend the night, then take my dad to Natural Tunnel, VA, where we were staying in a cabin with cousins and my 88-year-old uncle (he and my dad are 1st cousins as well as related by marriage; they married 2 sisters). We went on to Natural Tunnel on Sunday and spent two nights there…lots of fun catching up with my relatives. Then over to Canton on Tuesday (by this time the snow had melted to about 8 inches in Canton; they got around 13 inches at first). We spent the night with my dad, opened presents, and left the next day.
The rest of my Christmas vacation will be spent catching up on laundry, working in a quick trip to Jackson, MS, to take Julie back to school, and then maybe relaxing on Monday, Jan. 3 before I return to work on the 4th.
Whew. What a year. I’m rather relieved it’s over and look forward to 2011 and a fresh slate. 🙂