Reunions

My high school reunion was this past weekend.

I didn’t go.

I spent Saturday morning at a farmer’s market with my family. Spent the afternoon grilling fresh cut steaks and baking fresh veggie with my husband. Saturday night was full of Doctor Who episodes and snuggling with my husband.

I had planned to submit a photo or two for the slideshow since I wouldn’t be in attendance, but, unsurprisingly, I never heard back from the slideshow coordinator. I’m used to that and given the attitudes of those on the Reunion Facebook page, I haven’t missed much and most haven’t matured much in the past ten years.

In honor of my ten year high school reunion, I’m going to share the post I originally wrote on the topic, last summer. The irony of having my reunion “pass me by” is that I was in Florida for a week just this month, just nowhere near my “hometown”…

 

You knew me when?

Thankful Thursday: May 2nd

I know I’m about two months behind on these. Life really has gotten in the way, and I do plan on catching them up, even if I have to write two or three a week.

Since today is our second birthday here at Notes From the Backseat, I thought I’d go back to just how this blog got started. I don’t think I’ve ever really gone over that other than to say it’s all my husband’s fault lol

Let me take you back in time about two and half years or so. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our Honda CR-V as my husband drives along the interstate. In the backseat, Sissy sits behind daddy, Little Brother behind me and the cat, in her carrier, wedged between the car seats. Strewn about the floor board in both the back and front are duffel bags, diaper bags, crafting bags, supplies for the kids (such as snacks and DVDs). In the very back, a stadium stroller, a dog in a crate, two large suitcases and a bunch of pillows and blankets. On top of the vehicle was a large black bag, securely strapped down full of more travel supplies and all the Christmas presents, already wrapped and hiding from the kids so as not to ruin Santa just yet.

You see, this was Christmas 2010 and we were in the middle of a PCS from beautiful, sunny Southern California to bitter, cold, dreary Central Virginia. From forecasts like “78 and sunny” to “23 with a wind chill of 10”, we drove through snow, ice, rain, sunshine, warm and cold. Ten states in Five days. Not a trip I’d want to make in such a short time ever again.

During our trip, things would come up between the kids, or between us that just made us laugh. I used these to update my status on Facebook with the title “Notes from the Backseat #__” and had a great time with it. After a while, my husband decided that “Notes from the Backseat” would be a good blog title, though it would be a few more months before I actually started the blog, shortly before our last PCS to Middle Tennessee (which is actually on the Kentucky boarder, not sure how that works).

So in honor of our second birthday, and in being thankful for all this blog has done for my sanity over the past two years, I present:

THE BEGINNING

#1: “i can’t wait to tell people to look at my tooth hole”
#2: “ok mommy, go back to your seat please! Go!”
(This was while I was leaning over in my seat making sure her movie was playing in the right language lol)
#3: “can I get out of the car?”
“like now? Can’t you wait til we get to Albuquerque?”
“well, okay mommy”
#4: “mommy, you can close the wind”
(She meant the sunroof)
#5: “look mommy! Cows! Moo Moo Moo!” -then she proceeds to giggle for 3 minutes.
#6: “i see snow! The holidays are here!
#7: “no no no!”
“what?”
“you cannot drive in the snow!”
#8: “oops! It’s not working!”
#9: “look at all the snow! It’s turning white!”
#10: “a birthday! Is it my birthday? I love parties!”
#11: “op! You’re out! Op! You’re out! Op! Everyone’s out!”
(we think she’s playing tag by herself)
#12: “mommy, my tooth is growing up”
(I’m just glad its not growing upside down)
#12 (ish): “ok, kiddo, let’s look for some boots for you”
“And Dora too!”
“ok let’s look for some shoes instead.”
#14: “you rescued the marble! you’re my hero mommy!”
#15: “Did you steal my pizza?!”
“MMMmmmMMM” (courtesy of Little Brother, he ate it all)
#16: “mommy, I think I know why its upset.”
“why is it upset?”
“cuz its dark outside. Can I have a hug?”
(she misses her daddy already)
#17: “mommy, when the movie’s over, I can have poptarts”
(no she cant, but it was a nice try, wasn’t it?)
#18: “thank you so much, SuperHero Mommy!”
(after putting the post-it over the sensor on an automatic flusher)
#19: “mommy, the tv is big so now we can play ping pong!”
(daddy said when the tv got here she could play Kinect sports ping pong lol. It’s here and she wants to play)
#20: Daddy: “honey, do u want subway or should we try Bo Jangles?”
Sissy: “jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in adkfirnuch eeeeeeh!”
Daddy: “i said Bo Jangles not Jingles Bells”
(she’s not quite sure what the words are LOL)

So there it is. The 20 status messages that got this blog started. My kids have always been a source of joy to me. Sure there are days that are long. There are days that are difficult. But all too often, the days are just days. Reflections of who we will be tomorrow and who we were yesterday. Today, while walking home from school, Sissy remembered about a trip she and daddy took to the beach during block leave last summer. Just the two of them, for an afternoon, went to the beach and made sand castles “and I got to knock them down!”

Today, I’m thankful for this blog.
For the people my words have touched.
For the enlightenment it has brought to others.
For the piece of mind it has brought to me.

Slacker Blogging

I seem to have become depressed over the past week. I’ve been taking the death of the cat very hard…

As a result, my blog is suffering. Sorry guys.

I promise to get back with it this week. More Autism Awareness blogs and the 30 Day Drawing Challenge posts are coming this week. I will get caught up and finish on time. I promise.

I’ve sent my husband an email to help me stay on task and focus. I need things to keep me moving…

On a side note, I will be updating on my 29 Things list soon… I’m failing myself already, and it’s only April…

Soul Mates

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

That is the status update I posted to Facebook just moments ago. You see, that package, the one my husband sent from Afghanistan for Valentine’s Day, it finally arrived today. I waited all afternoon, just like he asked, so that he could see my face on Skype when I opened it. It’s not a large envelope. Maybe seven inches high, nine inches wide, but it had my name on it and a post mark from an APO and that’s all that matters. Opening the envelope, I pulled out a letter. Just a small slip of paper, carefully torn out of the little green notebooks he meticulously writes everything down in. I know this by the size and line layout on the page.

Along with this tiny, hand-written note is a block of Post-It sticky notes. My husband has been putting these on his computer monitor when he needs to remember something important, like when to call home or something I’ve told him that I want him to take a look into. This block of Post-It notes is about 100 or more thick. At the top of each sticky page is a date, beginning with Feb 14.

From my husband to me.

From my husband to me.

Hand-written on each of these 100 or more notes is a Bible verse, a song lyric, or other writing to show love, encouragement, appreciation or support. Some of them are silly, like the one that reads “Be Sexy (That is all)”, some are more thoughtful and some are serious. But the greatest gift I think we could have given each other was this support, and what are the odds that we both thought of the same thing this year?

My husband and I have always joked and said “Get out of my head!” more times than I can count. If you remember my Valentine’s Thankful Thursday post, I made my husband a book with a deck of cards and two pieces of rope. A list of 52 (well 53) reasons that I love him. Things like “You look hot in your uniform!” and “You kill the SPIDERS”. Again, some silly, some serious, some thoughtful.

From me to my husband.

From me to my husband.

I love my husband so much.

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

Thankful Thursday: January 31st

Yea, yea, yea, I know. I’m a few days behind. Sue me… Or should I say “sew me”.

This week, I am thankful for the many DIY blogs out there. I have yet to fall victim to Pinterest, but I follow MANY blogs that feature weekly, if not daily, do-it-yourself projects. I am grateful to not only have something to keep me busy and focused, but it helps me pass the time AND gives me a positive outlet for my creativity. For me, I have to be creating. I’m always in the middle of several projects at once. Case in point, there is a half stitched skirt laying on my kitchen table right now… Next to the pieces of my husband’s Valentine’s project waiting to be assembled and boxed for tomorrows Post Office run.

Here’s the purse I hand stitched yesterday, in less than an hour. (I hand stitch everything because I neither know how to operate, nor do I own, a sewing machine.)

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

Some of my favorite blogs come from all over the blogsphere. Here is a list of the ones I visit most often:

Studs and Pearls
Glitter n Glue (Serious “bling-tastic”. Every girl should sparkle.)
Wobisobi (Anne is super sweet and her tutorials are seriously easy for those like me who are “tutorial challenged” and can’t follow directions to save my life.)
Stripes & Sequins
 Sweet Verbena
…love Maegan
Honestly WTF
P.S.- I made this…
Thanks, I Made It
I Spy DIY
a pair & a spare (for more “name brand” fashion styles. Geneva is very fashion focused and uses a lot of runway styles in her DIY projects, making it easy for any budget to have runway style.)

I’ve become addicted to DIY projects lately. My poor husband, if he doesn’t come home soon, all of our furniture will be remade with paper clips and toilet paper rolls.

DIY: 10 Minute Storage Idea

This is my first tutorial, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I tried to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to follow along.

So let’s get this started:

If you guys are like me, you have lots of random little boxes around your house. From shoe boxes to the half carton the juice box flats come in, I save boxes. Last fall, I took my kids to Build-A-Bear to make gifts for Daddy. He got a “Tinker Bear” and a “Spiderman Puppy” (both totally adorable but for some reason I didn’t take pictures) and the kids had a blast. And at the time, I thought to myself “I could use these boxes for …”, but a week later, I still had the boxes and no clue what I had intended to do with them (a common occurrence at our house, I assure you). Well, I decided to use them for storing yarn, but let’s face it, those boxes just aren’t pretty. So I prettied them up.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wrapping paper to suit your style and needs
  • Empty box (or two or three)

Step 1
Remove the top flaps from the box (if your box has them). This may seem obviousbut those flaps will not stay down unless you staple them that way and it’s just easier to remove them. You can tear them off or cut them. Just try to keep the line across the top as even as possible.

"Look mom, I'm topless!"

“Look mom, I’m topless!”

Step 2
Begin wrapping the sides as you normally would any box, starting with the sides. Make sure to leave paper hanging over both ends. You don’t want your box to show through around that top edge. You may or may not want the paper to completely cover the inside of your box. If you do want to paper the inside of your box, I find it easier to do this with scraps AFTER the rest of the box is done.

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Step 3
Fold the paper over the open edge of the box. This allows you to wrap the bottom of the box as flat as possible with worrying too much about messing up the paper. Trim off any excessive paper at the bottom of the box.

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Fold the paper into the open end.

Trimming the excess.

Trimming the excess.

 

 

Step 4
Flip the box so that the open end is on your workspace (for me this was the floor in the hallway because my kids were playing Kinectimals in the living room). Begin wrapping the bottom of the box as you would any other box. Keep in mind that if your box will be standing upright (as opposed to lying on its side), you will want to wrap the bottom as tightly and as flat as possible. This minimizes the risk that the box will lean or fall when you’re finished.

Stand up on open end.

Stand up on open end.

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Wrap up the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planned for my boxes to lie on their sides, so I didn’t care what the bottom looked like. My motto with DIY projects is “As long as people will see it, make it pretty. If they don’t, just get it done.”

Step 5
Stand the box back up on it’s newly wrapped end and begin working on the inside of the box. My best advice, is start in a corner. My preferred corner is the one with the lower paper closest to it (when you initially wrapped the sides of your box, the paper overlapped, I use the lower part of the overlapping section to start). Using two pieces of tape in each corner (one on each adjoining wall), tape the paper down to lie as flat as possible. It’s okay if the paper bunches a little, as long as it’s bunching in the corners and NOT along the flat side. I like to put a piece of tape in the middle of the wall as well, this helps to keep the center flat and forces excess paper to the corners where the bunching is okay.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Tape into the corners.

Tape into the corners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Yarn storage!

Yarn storage!

Before and After

Before and After

 

 

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

Once you are satisfied with the look of your box, you’re done. This really couldn’t be more simple than it is. If you’re looking for something a bit more “formal” and involved, here’s a great tutorial using fabric instead of wrapping paper by Maven of the House.

I’ve done some other DIY projects lately, that I think you all would enjoy:

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

I added storage to my bathroom courtesy of a great tutorial found at Simply DIY 2

This was SO easy. And I've since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it's still hanging well. This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

This was SO easy. And I’ve since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it’s still hanging well. (I find it mildly entertaining that I created most of the pieces hanging on the display in the photo.) This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

I also used a canvas, some spare fabric, nail polish and some mug hooks and small nails to create a necklace display after finding inspiration here courtesy of The Classy It Girl.

Thankful Thursday: January 24th Edition

This is going to seem odd, but I am thankful for this deployment.

I want to be clear. I am not thankful that my husband is in a foreign land. I am not thankful that there is a chance he may never come home to us. I am not thankful for the separation, the issues in communication, or the lack of someone to hold my hand at the end of the day.

I AM thankful for having a simplified way of finding the people who really care about me. I AM thankful for this opportunity to be independent and really discover who I am and the things that I like to do. I AM thankful for the chance to show people who think I can’t do it, that I really can.

You see, there are a lot of people in my life who claim that they love me. They say as much. They claim to support me, to have faith in me, to be there for me when I need them. These are the same people who have not called once in the past five months to ask how I’m doing. They don’t send emails to let me know they are thinking of me. They don’t post on my Facebook page to tell me they are praying for my family while my husband is gone. These are the people I heard from via text message occasionally, but only in the context of “What do the kids want for Christmas?” or “Does Sissy have one of these, I was gonna buy it for her birthday.” I’m glad that these people have taken to showing at least a minimal interest in my children, but no regard is shown for me. One person in particular, called to ask about the kids Christmas presents and then went on and on about a gift they bought for another family member’s birthday. This same person did not so much as send me a birthday card last month. Though I did get a random comment on a Facebook post that someone else had posted to my wall.

These same people, who have chosen to ignore me the past five months, have also, in the past, expressed little comfort in my ability to care for myself and my children in my husband’s absence. They don’t believe I can do it. They don’t believe in me. They have no faith. Well, I am thankful because in the past five months, I have proven them wrong. I don’t have to even believe in myself to do it either. There are two children, two tiny little hearts, quietly sleeping in the next room. And THEY believe in me. They know I can do it. They know I will take care of them and that I can fix anything, and that what I can’t do on my own, we have Google to ask for help. They’ve seen me build shelves, and purse hangers, and fix the car. They know when I need comfort and they tell me the words that I tell them when they are sad.

I can do this. And this deployment has shown me that. It is certainly NOT easy. If given the choice, my husband would have come home months ago, but part of me is glad for this time apart. Not only am I getting the opportunity to prove everyone wrong, but I am proving myself wrong. Months ago, I didn’t think I would make it this far. Four months from now, my husband will come home to us. I will hug him and forget about all the hardships I’ve had to deal with alone these long months. I will read these blogs and know that the helplessness was short lived and that peace comes in the morning.

I am independent.
I am fierce.
I am getting stronger every day.
I will prove them wrong.
I can do this.

I am thankful for this deployment because I am more me now than I was before. I am stronger, more independent, and fiercely loyal. I know who is behind me and who stepped out of my life when I needed them the most. For that, I am thankful.

Happy Birthday to Me (you? Mommy?)

When you plan your own birthday “party” and the only people in attendance are you, your two kids, your best friend and her infant son, singing “Happy Birthday” gets a bit dodgy in the middle. I have to admit, the whole thing made me laugh, and for that I was grateful. I really needed to laugh on my birthday of all days. Being near Christmas, my birthday has rarely been the best thing I do all year. Having my husband half a world away makes the whole month of December that much more lonely.

I admit, I did not handle December very well. But 2012 is behind us and 2013 is three days in the making. I have been 28 for a whole four days, and I’ve taken that time to write a list. A bucket list of sorts, but these are all the things I want to do in the next year. Twenty-nine things to do before I turn twenty-nine next December. But first, some birthday cake:

" “The angels have the phonebox”. That's my favorite. I've got that on a t-shirt. " -'Blink', Doctor Who, Episode 3.10

” “The angels have the phone box”. That’s my favorite. I’ve got that on a t-shirt. ” -‘Blink’, Doctor Who, Episode 3.10

Now to my list. Some of these will be silly, some of them very serious. Some will be well within my comfort zone (hence the time constraints placed on some of them), and some are so far beyond anything I’ve ever done that I’m pretty sure they wont get done until after my husband returns from Afghanistan this summer. Wow, this summer… He sounds so close and yet, he’s still so far away.

Yes, the list, sorry about that.

29 Things to do Before 29

1. Complete a book of Sudoku Puzzles in the month of February, cover to cover in order, no cheating.

2. Get shot with a paintball gun. Of course, this means I have to go paint-balling with my husband, but what better way to bond after a deployment then to fire balls of paint at each other, right?

3. Go zip-lining. This one requires me to overcome my severe aversion to heights and falling.

4. Climb a rock wall. No doubt this is a precursor to #3.

5. Read 29 books. This averages 2.5-3 books a month. I got this one.

6. Kiss my husband on the lips.

7. Do Zumba three times a week for at 3 consecutive months. I got the game disk for Xbox Kinect from the husband for my birthday, I will use it to tone the rest of the baby pudge let over from giving birth to children weighing the same as the standard bag of sugar.

8. Finish my first novel: in March and April.

9. Complete my figure drawing sketchbook.

10. Have portraits taken of myself (whether I post them here or just write about the experience I’m not sure yet). This one is an exercise in learning to appreciate my own beauty.

11. Wear three pieces of refashioned clothing in the month of June. (I should have plenty of options by then.)

12. Take one photo of myself everyday for a month (can’t be February, it’s too short)

13. Get another tattoo (I already know what and wear, just need to get on with it)

14. Complete my blog series: 30 Days with Autism that I started in 2010.

15. Blog every Friday  Thursday about something I am grateful for that has occurred in the past week. Let’s keep the gratitude fresh.

16. Write one short story a month, no minimum word count.

17. Pay off my truck.

18. Craft 31 piece of jewelry in the month of August.

19. Give up Soda (once I finish what’s left from my birthday party.)

20. Give up my hair for Lent. Headscarves all day, every day from Feb 13- March 30.

21. Learn to play guitar. Hubby plays guitar… Another one of those re-bonding activities… Maybe while I’m recovering from being shot with a paintball gun?

22. Stop biting my nails (again). To be successful, I have to have real nail growth on a continuous basis during the 12 weeks leading up to and including my next birthday.

23. Lay under the stars with my husband (possible sleep on the back deck, that counts as camping, right?)

24. Blog a video of myself reading a children’s book like I do to my kids.

25. Fire a gun. Another one of those “Let’s celebrate your homecoming” activities.

26. Buy “embarrassing” lingerie and actually wear it. Wear it again in front of the husband. (There will be no pictures on the wearing, there may be pictures of the buying. FYI, almost all lingerie is embarrassing, we really only wear it because we think our husbands will like it.)

27. Take my husband to an archery range. He has yet to see me in my element. Archery was the only sport I was good at in middle school and after the gun range, and a paintball course, archery is a nice change of pace.

28. Fully potty train my son, no more diapers. We are slowly venturing into the world of pooping in the potty. This will save me $60 a month once we get this down.

29. Solve a Rubik’s Cube. (This may take a while)

So there you have it. my list of 29 things. These are all realistic and completely doable. That’s why I chose them. I wanted a list that I could actually finish and say “I did that”. So, I’m a few days behind on some of these already, but I will be updating this list with other blog posts as I complete each number. My goal is to have the list completed by December 30, 2013.

Untitled: A melancholy short story (and just in time for Christmas)

Suffice it to say, I was not going to get out of Christmas without a major issue or two. That said, parts of this story are true, parts of it are lies, and parts of it are just my way of silencing the wicked little woman who lives behind my ear without actually acting on the things that she tells me. Though she does speak the truth, or at least, the perceived truth, most of the time.

This short story is my way of dealing with Christmas. If you don’t like it, I really don’t care. I’m having an apathetic kind of day.

Untitled:

Closing the computer, she looked around the room.

Disconnected.

This was the way that she felt, so she would bring this into reality. “Reality was tangible,” she thought as she logged off her social networking page and signed off of her Skype account. Wishing she were brave enough to turn off her phone, she lowered the volume to silent, instead. With her only connection to the world outside her front door muted, her world inside the house now mimicked the disconnected feelings that tormented her. The only sound was coming from a child’s toy being quietly played with in the corner of the room.

The fact that her thoughts were irrational made no difference to her. She had been abandoned. She’d been left along for far too long for him to be coming back. A single hot tear rolled down her cheek following the salty trails left behind by the tears she’d cried before. It was true that he had left her attention for that of another woman. It was work he’d told her. Logically, rationally, she knew it to be true. He would never purposely betray her in such a way. The problem was, at times such as these, when the loneliness paved way for emptiness which in turn transformed her heart into an inescapable hollow hole, on days such as today, logical and rational had no place.

As the hollowness in her chest grew more heavy with each beat of her heart, her mind wandered to long forgotten hurts, and to pains she had fought hard to bury. “He’s having an affair,” states one voice flatly, emotionless, as if making a statement of fact. “That is not true and you know it,” says a much more childlike voice, so full of optimism and hope. “He loves you. He just forgot.” “Again,” replies the flat voice in turn. Back and forth these two voices bicker. For hours, passing arguments between them as if playing a fame of tug-o-war. Caught in the middle, between logical reason and fearing inducing doubt, her pain builds.

It is all too easy to believe the lie. Often times, the lie contains just enough truth to bring doubt. Doubt, when added to past pain and hurt,  to fear. Fear makes everything true. You fear the bumps in the night, so there must be a boogeyman. She doesn’t want to believe the irrational pain could be true. Fear and doubt cloud her judgement. She knows these things to be true:

1)His female coworker had been away from some length of time.
2)There was business to be dealt with. There was always business to be done.
3)He had left her alone to discuss things with this coworker, another woman.

Hours later, her hopes of having a good day had long since passed as visions of an affair played in her head. Knowing his love for her, knowing his job would be lost didn’t stop the illogical visions from dancing just behind her eyes. As the day progressed, the pain, the emptiness and the hollow ache grew. Suddenly, it wasn’t only an irrational fear of betrayal that blazed through her mind. The emotional pain became too much, as it often did. Her brain desperate for a logical cause of this chemical release began to ache for a rational explanation. Visions of metal, sharp and gleaming under bright lights, began to flicker through her head.

“One quick swipe,” the emotionless voice whispered in her ear. “One quick swipe and you would understand this pain. Transformed into a reality, a physical cause to be controlled.”

The little optimist, having long ago run out of new arguments to fend off the doubt, sat in silence. The one who was so innocent knew the truth in the words of her darker sister. The woman’s brain had always had trouble processing emotion. Like asking a computer to describe and experience ‘love’, the woman had a much better grasp on the physical realm. Reality could be controlled; it could be altered. Like the turning off of the phone and computer to better handle the feeling of ‘disconnect’, a small change in reality could make the feelings real.

The imaginary pain and perceived hurt could be made real. All the rest of the day, she was egged on by the wicked little voice. “You know you want to.” and “You’ll feel so much better if you do.” chorused through her head as she prepared a lonely dinner for herself and the children. She had barely spoken a word since that morning, when so suddenly, he had disappeared from her life. Her phone rang not once, her email sat empty, not a single text message arrived. The hollowness where her heart sat began to expand making her breath catch like heavy sobs though her eyes had run dry hours before.

She feared the things she thought. Both the imagined actions he took against her and the solitary way her mind sought to fix the problem. She feared he would hurt her; she feared she would hurt herself. After a long day, the house fell more silent. The children tucked into their beds snug and warm against the bitter cold of a winter’s night.

Quietly, she stepped onto the chilly tile of the bathroom floor. Mindful of the creaky door on the medicine cabinet, she pulled out her husbands used razor. Staring at her own reflection, she saw what he must see.

A young woman, aging before her time. Her blue eyes, though swollen from a long day of tears, were still hollow and sunken from many nights of little sleep. Her body, already slim, had grown to bare bones from the days of foodless stress. She sometimes thought herself beautiful, but those days were growing fewer and farther between.

She stood there. One arm held out in front of her, wrist bent outward over the vanity sink, she stood there, staring at herself. Holding the steel against her skin, she steadied her gaze, glaring at her own dead reflection and without any joy at all, declared,

“Merry Christmas”

©Rainshadow Noba, December 25, 2012

The heart of a child

God tells us in both Mark 10:15, and Luke 18:17, that unless we have the faith of a child we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mark 10:15 (New King James Version)

15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Luke 18:17 (New King James Version)

17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Now this is something I struggle with dearly. Having Asperger’s Syndrome, there is so much out of my control and so much that upsets me that I tend to grab tight and don’t let go of the things I can control. I’ve gotten upset about some random thing or another and dyed my hair, or shaved my head, or pierced something (yes, I said pierced, like needle through flesh).
Having the faith that it will all work out for the better is NOT my strongest gift. I was blessed with an empathetic heart, a kind ear, a for the most part, a gentle word. Blind faith is not something I am good at. It is a constant struggle for me to remember that in order to succeed in life, I must first lose myself in Christ. What does this have to do with having the heart and faith of a child? Everything.
Just yesterday, I was crying on Skype to my poor husband because I am fearful about money. If it were up to me, we would buy only what is absolutely necessary for survival and squirrel away the rest. I grew up in a family that was beyond poor. We went to McDonald’s once a month, on the day my mom got her welfare check, just because my mom wanted us to be like the other kids and have the stupid little toys lying all over the house. My mom would water down the milk, to thin it out and make it last to the next paycheck. My mother would go days without eating so that my sister and I could have two meals a day at home during the school week. This left me very fearful that at some point there will be no more money and I will not be able to care for my family. I do not have the faith of a child when it comes to being prepared and caring for my family.
Today, I took my kids out to breakfast, we were running late. Our order arrived late at our table, and immediately after breakfast we went to the closest Walmart to the Denny’s only to discover that Walmart did not have a fabric department. Driving to our second Walmart of the day took another 40 minutes. Just before we arrived, I was flipping through the radio stations as I always do, like I said, I have to have control in a lot of areas of my life including not listening to songs that I don’t care for.
Hitting the sixth button on my dashboard brings up “The Beaver 100.3 FM“. Listening to the song until it ended, the announcer came on live for the local Toys R Us, where the radio station in partnership with a lot children’s assistance organizations, were holding a holiday toy drive. Along with the radio station DJs, members from the Dark Empire Group and the 501st Legion would be there to take pictures with the kids. Telling my daughter this as we pulled into the parking lot of the second Walmart, she says “Maybe we could take a toy to the Toys R Us.” I looked at her sadly and told her “Maybe another day, kid. We will donate toys before Christmas, but I just don’t think we can do it today.” She looked sad for a minute, on the verge of tears, and then her face lit up and she exclaimed “But I could give my Pix E. Flutters.”
This was the nail in heart. She had begged for that doll for so long and had finally received it just this past Easter. She’s owned that doll all of eight months, but here she sits, strapped into her booster seat, so willing to part with it for the benefit of someone else.
That is the faith of a child.
In my mind, I replayed the conversation with my husband yesterday and all my fears about money went streaming through my head on a fast-forward loop. I could tell her ‘no, we need to wait’… I could easily lie to her and say we couldn’t afford it right now, but I know myself too well. If something is not front and center in my focus right now, I will forget.
“We’ll see,” I told her.
“We’ll see is another way of saying ‘no’,” she replied without even thinking of it.
She didn’t mean it the way it probably sounds. She sounded disappointed, not bitter or angry. She was just stating that I do say the phrase “We’ll see” a lot and typically, we don’t end up doing the thing we’re “seeing” about. What she said was a statement of fact, but it hit me harder than any rebuke I have ever had. God was using my daughter in that moment to teach me a lesson. I truly hope I do not forget this lesson she helped to teach me.
We walked right into the Walmart and headed for the toy department. Sissy picked out a Lalaloopsy doll, and Little Brother grabbed a Lightning McQueen talking flashlight. I spent $50 including the items I had originally gone in for and we drove straight to the Toys R Us to deliver our toys. Upon telling the DJ about how we ended up there, she shook my hand and told me that it speaks volumes about me as a parent and how we are raising our kids. They loaded the kids with miniature candy canes and even grabbed most of the members of the 501st Legion and the Dark Empire Group to take a picture to send to my husband in Afghanistan.
My dear girl wanted to give one of her own dolls to a child in need. God used her to lay it on my heart to not worry about tomorrow, but help today. I truly have a blessed little girl as a daughter, and somewhere in the city of Clarksville, on Christmas morning, there will be a doll under a tree just waiting for another little girl to open it, and she’ll never know about the special little girl who helped put it there.