Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nightmare Day Full of Grace

I guess one of the realities I have to face is that when Will is gone, all the little problems of life are not going to stop. Life goes on with its blessings and daily issues. I experienced one of these delights last Friday when I left a sink filling up so I could stain treat some clothes and forgot to turn it off. I flooded the washer/dryer area of our basement with about 2 inches of water, which of course started seeping into the thick carpet of the next room.

I was just about to walk out the door to take the boys to a Barnes 'n' Noble reading hour when I heard a trickling downstairs. (blessing #1: I discovered the flood BEFORE I left home). So I called the friend I was supposed to meet down there with her two boys to tell her we wouldn't make it and to call me if she had any suggestions as to what to do (I was still at the "Freaking out" and "Oh my gosh did this really happen?" stage and not yet to the "OK, I know what to do" stage).

So after that I decided to go downstairs and call our landlord to let her know, and also to call a lady from church to ask if her two girls can babysit while I clean up the mess. I, of course, have lots of trouble finding telephone numbers while trying to not completely break down in front of my children, which ends up happening anyway to which Charley responds very sympathetically and sits and watches while I attempt to get things rolling. I finally call the girls to babysit and blessing #2: they're available to come over right away! Plus, they're mom is bringing over a really big shop vac (since ours is small) to help.

I hang up from talking to them in tears and keep looking for the landlords number when the doorbell rings. I answer the door, still in tears, to find that the friend we were supposed to meet at Barnes 'n' Noble has showed up with her two kids to help me and watch mine while I clean up the mess. <--- blessing #3. They go to the backyard and begin distracting my kids while I am finally able to get the landlord on the phone. She's a very nice landlord, by the way so that conversation went well.

The friend from church shows up and brings her 3 daughters to help out and plans on staying to help me too!! So her older daughters take over babysitting so my friend can go run her errands and she and her younger daughter start moving everything out of the carpeted room so I can pull up the carpet. Blessing #4: I totally didn't expect her to stay and help, plus bring so much help (her third daughter and the shop vac, not to mention her other daughters who are babysitting).

Anyway, they stay until the job is DONE, and I mean, helping to clean up stuff that was gross and icky etc. We were all sweating, I started to get dizzy (it was a hot day), they moved heavy things, swept out the garage where water was seeping, threw stuff away, moved stuff around, cut up the carpet padding so we could lay it out to dry and the list goes on. I was so grateful and overwhelmed.

It's not often I've met people who will pitch in like this and be there when you really need it, especially when it involves getting dirty and especially when I don't know them all that well. It was truly a blessing. Fortunately, Will was coming home the next day for a short weekend visit, but all he had to do was move the fan around and help me keep emptying the dehumidifier and close a window that was letting in more humidity.

So that's one of our adventures during this time when Will is gone where I definitely felt God watching over us and taking care of us. It's important for me to note these times because I forget them pretty quickly when I'm feeling like God isn't around or doesn't care. I have a very short memory when I (a spiritual and physical creature) feel like my physical needs aren't being met and when those things distract me to the point of doubting the God who shows me so much grace, I can come back and read this and start honoring Him again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another favorite

I'm still working on a name for my poetry/writing blog so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to make a suggestion. I warn you, the one I have in mind now is a little cheesy so anything goes, really. :) While I ponder, here is another one of my all time favorite poems. It's by John Donne, the early 17th century English poet.



Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kipling article

article I like about Kipling ... "Have you ever kippled?"

His blog is under Rants and Raves on the right if you're interested.

I had a wonderful, relaxing outing the other day when my regularly scheduled babysitter, Zoe, came over. I ran an errand, then went to Barnes 'n' Noble to have a drink and a snack and write some poetry. Then I just browsed for a good non-fiction book (which I didn't find) and a good poetry book, which I did find! It was a big poetry anthology! Yay! So now, I promise I'll move on to another poet. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I mentioned Kipling in an earlier post and wanted to share a few of my favorites of his. I found these at this site. Another that I like that was too long to post is "The Female of the Species". Enjoy!

When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted
L'Envoi To "The Seven Seas"

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair.
They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I Make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place.
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

* * * * *

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man --
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mice,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire --
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

some music

I just wanted to mention some more great music I've been listening to lately . . . the latest "Pride and Prejudice" movie soundtrack featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the piano. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie, but somehow, the beauty of the soundtrack makes me want to see it again. Anyway, the music is really enrapturing and if you're getting a taste for my lyrical, melancholy taste in music, this really fits. :)

It's the only thing I wanted to sing or play on the piano in college ... anything with a pretty melody, lyrical and in a minor key. I guess some things never change. ahh I need to compose again. Anyone got any poetry or lyrics? :) Although I used to write only instrumental stuff, I find myself wanting to try something with lyrics. I promise it won't all be in a minor key. :) Maybe I should start with some Kipling poetry. I love him. I'll have to post on of his poems that is one of my favorites, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings".

John Barry, the composer of many beautiful soundtracks, such as "Somewhere in Time", "Out of Africa", and "Dances with Wolves", is another favorite of mine. Also, "The Red Violin" soundtrack is beautiful too. Joshua Bell is amazing on the violin.

All this stuff really calms me after a long day on my own with the boys. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

this makes me cry

This classical piece is beautiful! It's Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor, Op. 18: II. Adagio Sostenuto. The one I prefer is played by Lang Lang and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre & Valery Gergiev. I don't think it's legal to post the music here, but for those of you who have i-tunes or an equivalent, I strongly encourage you to go listen to this. It's about 12 minutes long depending on the tempo of the pianist you listen to.

I think this is the most beautiful piano concerto I've ever heard (and there are some beautiful ones out there). I'm not a huge Rach fan; I supremely prefer Brahms and Tchaikovsky, but I heard this on my roommate's (thank you Andrea) Piano by Candlelight tape (yes, tape) my fishy year in college and have been looking for it ever since.

I don't know if it conjures emotion now simply b/c I was going through a lot at that time in my life or because it's truly that beautiful (probably a little of both). I'm simply thrilled to be reunited with it. This piece, to me, feels like a musical description of the storyline of my soul. (sorry so cheesy, but it's really moving). ups and downs, peace and confusion, depth and simplicity . . . all wrapped up in one amazing creation of God. In a word ... beauty.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

an update

Will was able to come home for a short, but very enjoyable visit last weekend. It turns out he had a cold which he unfortunately left with me. I've been struggling through that all week, but am feeling better now that's it's finally moving into my lungs. (at least I'm not sneezing anymore). Fortunately, the boys don't have it yet.

Some good news is that one of our babysitters came back into town and is going to give me a break 2 or 3 times a week for the next 2 weeks before Will's parents get here. This will give me a chance to get some much needed mowing done, and other chores as well as rest.

We've been doing better than I thought and Will has been gone for almost 3 weeks now. We've stayed busy, running around, playing with friends, going to the Barnes 'n' Noble book hour and playing in our pool in the backyard. My only guilt is that I had to relax on the TV watching this week b/c I felt so miserable. Even when Will left, I had managed to keep it down to a half hour to an hour a day, (it's usually none or half an hour). But this week, I was in survival mode. Hopefully, next week, between the babysitter, play dates and my feeling better, I'll be able to cut it off or at least back down.

Also, the weather has cooled down significantly which has been such a blessing. Since we've been able to stay busy, Will being gone hasn't been as awful as I thought. I think it will be even easier once Charley starts pre-school in September. I have friends that are on their own for a year, and am still thankful we haven't had to do that yet. I know that's a whole different ball game. This shorter time though, has been good practice for what we might face in the future and I'm looking at it as a blessing in disguise. :) It's been a good taste so I can prepare better for next time, which I'm sure there will be since he's not getting out of the Navy anytime soon.

Gotta go rest while the baby naps, happiness and health to all!

ps. Don't forget to pray for the missing miners, the Peruvians affected by the earthquake, the northern Iraqi's affected by the bomb and the upcoming hurricane season (here's hoping we'll have another gentle one). :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

new words

I keep forgetting to post that Ben said some new words the other day. He said "love ya da," while talking on the phone with Will. He had prompting, but he still clearly said it. So cute! :) He's saying so many new words now, I can't even catch up. His first was "da da" months and months ago (when he was about 8 mo old I think). Next was, "want dat" and "down". "Ma ma" took a little longer, but followed shortly. He says, "by by" and "Gi gi" is his bear and a bunch of other ones that I can't think of now. Oh yeah, and he said "thank you" to Charley for the first time yesterday too! :) So fun!


How often do you get caught in the rain and just enjoy it? Today, after a long, hot couple of weeks, we got some scattered showers. We decided to go for a bike ride, but didn't see the dark sky until it was too late. It was just sprinkling, so I left with the two boys in the bike carriage behind me. We stopped at a neighbors house to look at a backhoe front loader that would be working on her driveway in the morning, then it started to pour! I covered the boys with the rain shield, but I got completely soaked. We weren't near the house, so I just finished the ride. I would have gone longer, but I was worried that my cell would get wet. We made it home, and by then it had let up. I dropped off my cell, splashed in the water running down the street a bit, then took another short bike ride around the block totally drenched. It was so much fun! :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

how to stalk a front loader-backhoe (for dummies)

So one of the things that is keeping us occupied while Will is away is watching the construction projects all over the base. I feel like we're stalking the same front loader-backhoe day after day because it's just moving around repairing the sidewalks on base. We know it's the same one because it has the same driver. I'm sure the workers recognize our blue suburban by now. (It wouldn't be the first time). Anyway, the boys love it and are entertained in our air conditioned suburban for quite awhile and I don't even have to get them out of their seats.

There are other projects going on on base so we just make the tour every other day, and sometimes everyday. They are repaving a parking lot and finishing the construction of some water towers (I think that's what they are). When my mom was here they were tearing down an old house in Navy housing . . . Charley still talks about it.

It's just amazing to drive up, park, roll down a window and watch. Both boys just stare out the window in amazement. Then I tell the boys to wave and some of the workers have waved back at us! :) Next step: bring the workers cookies and ask if we can sit in the truck during break time. (or maybe not) :) They still earn cookies in my book for the entertainment, and education, they're giving my kids. I wonder if they realize that they're heroes to my little boys.

happy feet and shrieks of joy!

I was recording some fun things about Charley, and remembered some moments with Ben I didn't want to forget as well.

One cute thing Ben does is climb down the stairs to the landing and step around quickly like the penguins in the movie "Happy Feet". It's really cute and so when he does it, we all do it together and have the best time. :)

Also, every time I come home from being away from the boys, Ben lets out this ear curling shriek with a big smile and . . . happy feet, of course. :) It's so cute and it's one of the few things that Charley copies. So now I come home to two shrieking boys. It's sweet, a little deafening, but I know I'll miss it someday. It's nice to know they love me. :)

by the way . . .

I forgot to mention that last night as we were getting ready for bed and I was about to read Charley a book ("Puff, the Magic Dragon"), he said that I was the best Mom in the world. :)!! I have no idea where he's heard that before. I have a hard time believing he came up with it on his own, but you never know, he's a sharp kid. Even though I know he doesn't know what that means, it was still nice to hear.

In other news, he now knows what lying is and how to convincingly tell one. ugh! It's scary how good he is at it. Hmmm, do I wash his mouth out with soap or is that too much these days? :) Right now I'm settling for simply talking to him about honesty and trust and what God wants us to do, with time outs, creative discipline to fit the crime and spanking, if necessary, to follow.

In better news, Charley can almost spell his name. The other night we were writing with soap crayons in the tub and he asked me to write a C-H-A-R but didn't know the rest. I know it's sight spelling, but it's a start and it's nice to know some things are coming together in his little head. We've always worked on phonics so hopefully that will be the next step. It's a whole new world!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

lovely words on a hot day

I don't know if I've mentioned yet in my blog that Will is taking classes in Dalgren, VA for 2 months while we are up here. It's been pretty miserable with the heat and no A/C; add to that the fact that Charley acts up when Will leaves so all the great changes that have occurred since he turned 3 (calming down a little, more self-control, more understanding, not as reactionary, less of a temper etc.) have gone on hiatus while he tests me day after day. Maybe it's because he wants to know if things are still the same when Dad's gone, maybe he doesn't like the change, maybe he's too hot! or maybe he's just lapsing for awhile, probably some sort of combination of all of those and more I don't even know.

Anyway, he said some sweet things to me today that I wanted to remember for posterity. I had just gotten off the phone with Will and gotten myself really depressed b/c I was thinking about how when you're on your own with the kids, the weekends are no different than the weekdays = no break. I was laying on our bed trying to pull it together (Ben was already down for the night and Charley was playing with trucks in the living room) when Charley came in, crawled on the bed and said, "I just wanted to come snuggle with you and give you company." I started to lose it again.

Then he wanted me to come outside and play before his bedtime, so we did (after a good hug and kiss). I, of course, had to tell him how much I loved him and how happy he made me and he said, "because I help my baby brother and a good boy?" and a list of a few other things I can't remember now. Then he set up some chairs and a little table as a foot rest and we sat there together talking (with our feet up together, so cute!) and asked, "Do you think Daddy would like doing this too?".

Then we made pretend snacks out of the maple tree seeds, then we made a train track out of them, then we blew them on the ground, it was so much fun! Then, he wanted to play catch with the nerf football, and to my amazement, he can catch now! So we had such a blast actually throwing the ball back and forth and I felt so lucky to be the mother of two little boys that will want to play sports with me (hopefully) :) He even put a spin on the ball a couple of times! :) Now just a year or two more and we can all go camping. Charley could probably go now, but I don't think Ben would do well, especially in a tent at night. ahh someday!

I'm also holding out for a girl and she will hopefully want to play sports and camp too, and with a mother and grandmother who love those things, I'll be surprised if she doesn't. In fact, my Mom taught me more about sports than my Dad and was a bigger sports fan in our house. It's funny because now I'm the bigger sports fan in our house, although I don't keep up with it right now for obvious reasons. Anyway, Will knows that I'd be happy having even four boys before we had a girl. I think we'd finally stop at boy 5, but hopefully, we'll have a girl before that. If not, I think we'd seriously consider adopting one. :) Who knows, maybe we're not even supposed to have that many kids b/c the two we've got require so much activity and energy. One kid at a time then, until God gives us peace that we're done.

Anyway, all that to say I had a lovely evening with my son at the end of a very hot day. :) Thank you Lord!