Evesdropping on Mom


Getting a pedicure Getting a pedicure[/caption

Every day brings a new revelation with my mom. I took her to her doctor to find out why she’s losing weight. I have had two blood tests, and now another one.
Next week she will get a CT scan. Nothing seems to stay in her system. She can only eat very small portions of food, and she doesn’t drink enough.
I leave a cup of juice at all times and snacks for her, but she doesn’t touch it unless I tell her. I’m careful not to push her too much, as she will then eat more than she can hold in her little tummy.
I’m a t a loss. Even making her milk shakes with Ensure, is too dense for her. She drinks a couple sips, and she’s full.
The only time I’ve ever seen her this small was when I was very young and she’d had a nervous breakdown. She lost so much weight and at that time, she was only 86 pounds.

She’s not depressed, nor does she feel sick. Unless she overeats. But I’m constantly trying to find new ways to help her.
She has now accepted the fact that she cannot move back to Wisconsin until she gets the weight back on and her blood pressure stable. At least this is what I’ve told her, and she feels she needs an excuse for her not being able to return.
Every season she says, “Oh, I’d move back but there’s too much snow!” Or, “I’d move back but it’s getting too hot now!” I’m prepared now, for what her excuse will be. I once called her bluff when she was fighting with me about her move back. “Go ahead,” I said. I waited and she was so perplexed that I wasn’t saying no, to her. She sat for a minute and said, “Well I can’t yet. It’s too cold.”
“Ok,” I said. “Tell me when you want to go, and I’ll help you.” I realized I had crossed over to the right side. No more pushing or pulling the weight. I just went along with it, and I could see this was all she wanted.

Yesterday she was sitting and watching her show, when out of the blue she said, Oh Carrie is up in Milwaukee. When I move there, I’ll call her and she’ll help me.”
I got that familiar stab in my heart, that I felt, the first time I realized she doesn’t know that I’m her daughter, Carrie.
I felt tears fill my eyes, as I tried to look away and asked her, “Have you heard from Carrie?” She said, “No, but she’s very busy.”
This hurt me. I can’t imagine a son or daughter not communicating for as long, as she thinks Carrie hasn’t called her.
“Then how do you know she’s in Milwaukee?” I ask. “Oh, I know. Her brother, Craig keeps in touch with her.”
I said, “I’m sure she loves you very much, even though you haven’t heard from her.”
“Oh, of course she does!” She says. Very proud and smiling as she seems to speak something that is a known fact.
“She’s off work right now.”
This is where I’m confused in my understanding of this disease. How does she connect the thought that I am, indeed off work, to care for her, and yet she doesn’t understand that I am the person she speaks of?
I long to help her understand that her daughter loves her and I feel a need to convince her that, her daughter wants to talk to her.
“Carrie loves her brother Kevin so much! She always listens to him when he talks and does so much for him.”
Here again, I’m totally perplexed. As my brother Kevin lives here too.
“She has a very big heart!” She says.

Now I’m finding this difficult. I’m stuck between my wish to let her know how special she is to, Carrie, and not brag about myself.
“She sounds like she does. She’s a Christian isn’t she?”
“Oh, yes! She always talks about God!”
“Well, then I’m sure that when she thinks of you, she is praying for you because she loves you so much.”
“I’m sure she is!
I tell her that Carrie sounds as if she kind of managed problems in the family and she agrees. She told me, she called on Carrie when there was a problem. She then said, “She’s so sweet and loving.”
I don’t think she’s ever said that to me.
I tell her that when I talk to Craig, I will make sure he tells Carrie to call her.
“Oh, yes, that would be great! I miss her!”

Now, I leave the room because I’m beginning to cry. My sweet mom, now accepts the fact that her children love her so much, yet this, Carrie cannot even call her mom?
Oh, I’m so mad at myself! What is wrong with me?
I called my son downstairs and shared this conversation.
I said, “It looks as if I’m going to have to make a phone call to grandma. Knowing that she has this respect for, ‘Carrie’s advice, I may be able to take advantage of this.
He reminded me of his call, pretending that he was her doctor and said, “Yes, she will love that. She won’t even know.”
The best part is that she will experience the joy of the love from her real daughter, instead of the imposter living with her now!
I must admit, it is humorous when I think about the whole thing.
Most people pretend to be something they’re not in this life.
I am faced with this peculiar task of pretending that I’m me! Hope I can pull this off!

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Dr Jesus Please Heal Me


Today was a hard day. They begin to blend together. One heartache after another. I find myself going off to cry quietly.
Because the flu is going around, it’s easy to pretend I have a touch of something.
My son is home educated, so I don’t have the benefit of hiding.

I’ve had sadness with my daughter. She seems like she’s slipping away from me. I feel as if I’m holding on by a thread.
I committed to pray for my children, and her especially. I told the Lord each morning as I ran on my treadmill, I would commit myself to fervent prayer.
Asking Him to “bring my daughter back from captivity. To do “whatever it takes.” Knowing perfectly well, that God hears me, and I probably won’t like the suffering involved. But I also know it’s my love for her and my responsibility for her soul, that causes me to plead with Him.

I received a sign from Him. Her life is beginning to unravel, and I ended up going to the doctor. I sprained my ankle. Yes, that’s right, on the treadmill.
Never remembering how I twisted it or turned it. I was in pain. I realized that I had been running so hard and pushing myself physically, but also spiritually.
Crying out in anguish and now my ankle is a constant reminder of her. My little girl.

Dealing with my mother is difficult as well. I received a call from the senior facility to ask me if she was going to be coming. They said that they have a spot for her but she would lose it if she doesn’t come.
She went twice, and then adamantly refused to go any more.
I was trying to brainstorm with the administrator, when I remembered how she had responded to her doctor after refusing to take her medication. I told her that I had the idea to tell him, “if he would tell her to take them, she would listen.”
It worked like a charm. He simply looked at her and said, “Honey, listen. You have to take your medicine for me, okay?” She looked at him and said, “Okay, until I go back to Wisconsin, I will.”
The doctor and I both looked at each other and smiled.

When I told the woman this, she said, “Maybe you should try that and have some male pretend to be  her doctor or something.” I said, “Yes, I think I can come up with something.”
I went to my son, and asked him to be the doctor. He was going to have a script which I would make for him and he would call my phone. I would give the phone to her and take it from there.
As I handed him the script, I had to make a few corrections-“oh, have to change that,” I said. It said, “Your daughter,” and she no longer recognizes that I’m her daughter.

I told her that her doctor had called and he would be calling back. “What is it about?” She asked. “Oh, I don’t know. He said he had something to speak with you about. “Oh, I hope I don’t have to go and see him,” she said.
As my son was coming down the stairs with his script and his phone he said, “Oh, I should get time for this under ‘Extra Curricular Activity, called conning the elderly!” At this I started laughing and could barely contain myself as I listened to him calling my phone.

Because I was in the threshold, I could hear his voice in the living room and on my phone. I really had to work hard to suppress a laugh, as I handed the phone to my mom. I looked and also noticed his picture coming up on the phone so, I carefully handed it to her. She had a hard time holding “these new phones,” anyway, so I stuck it up to her ear. “It’s your doctor,” I said.
“Oh!” She sounded excited. As I listened to him carefully reciting the words, I couldn’t help but think how ingenious this seemed. I even put references about her move to Wisconsin.”
“Yes, I noticed that your blood pressure is pretty high, on the tests I have.” The doctor said. “I understand you are planning to move back to Wisconsin and before you do this, we need a plan to get you healthy. I am authorizing one day a week at a center for you to speak with a nutritionist and get some exercise.”
I heard her say, “Oh yes, but I can’t move back yet. I have to wait until it’s warm.”
Now in a normal conversation, Dr. so-and-so would respond to that. But my son, not willing to deviate from the script, continued as if he was an automated phone message.
It did surprise me, however, to know that she really doesn’t want to go as much as she pretends.
At the end of the message he asked to speak to me. As I took the phone I continued on as if he was giving me more instructions. My son just making sounds once in a while.
After I hung up, my mom said, “I like that doctor. He’s so nice!”
I told her that this would be a day available to her to give her the physical and nutritional help to get her strong.
She was actually excited about this.
I called the administrator back and told her what we did. She laughed so hard and said, “And the Academy Award goes to….”

Later, as I was speaking about my grief at the situation with my daughter, my mother said, “It has to be so hard. You love her so much. She’s your daughter. I think that would be so hard, if I had to deal with that with my daughter.”
“Yes,” I thought. It would be hard. But the fortunate thing is that, she has dealt with many heartaches, including these with her daughter. She just doesn’t know it.
She looked so sweet again, as she said, “It will be okay. She’s a good girl.” I remembered her saying that all my life. Every time there was a crisis.”It will be okay.”

I thought of my daughter when she was young. She started getting warts on her feet. My stepson had them on his hands and they are very contagious. When he showed her the surgery he had to remove them, she was terrified.
I made a comment that, “I’ll have to take her to the doctor.” When she heard this she screamed. “No! Please mommy! I want Dr. Jesus to heal them!” She was crying at the thought of someone cutting her. She was so young. About 4 or 5. I felt so convicted at her words.
“Wow,” I thought. I haven’t even prayed about this. So I asked her if she really believed He could heal her. “Yes,” she said. “Okay, we’re going to pray.”
I put some oil on her feet as I prayed along with her.
The very next day, I noticed a miraculous thing, which had me rubbing my own eyes in bewilderment. It looked like little chalk specks on her feet. Every place which had a wart, or one just starting, just turned to powder. I began touching those little feet, and saw them drop off! I was amazed. But I remembered the Lord’s words, that “it is your faith which make you whole.”
My pastor commented, “If she has this kind of faith now, can you imagine what she’ll be like when she’s older?”

I keep standing on His promises for her life. I now feel the incredible pain which the Prodigal Father had felt, when his son went out of his home into darkness.
The hurt and concern attached to his well-being. I’m praying that I will also experience the joy of restoration.
With every painful step I take, I pray, Dr. Jesus please heal us!

Elder Swag


The greatest part of being old. You get to speak in code. Oh, the younger people think they have their very own language, i.e. Urban Dictionary. But I have just begun to realize the benefits of being old. I didn’t always look forward to it. But now I know, I’ve accepted my fate. I’m not worried. I know I have, what I like to call, ‘Elder Swag.’

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I guess it came as quite a shock, that I am actually counted among these stodgy people. I never imagined this day. I think it hit me a few weeks back, when I was in Denny’s. I sat at a table, with my son, his father, my brother and my mother. As the waitress handed us our menus, my ex husband said, “You know, you get a senior discount.”

After I finished choking on my coffee, (which was also discounted) I commented, “But I’m only 55!” “Yea, it says right here,” he began to point at the menu, and had I not needed to put my glasses on, I would have missed it.

“What in the world? That is waaaaay too young!” I said. A little irritated and somewhat excited at the same time. As if winning some kind of a prize, only to find out it was a re-gift, of a bad fruitcake.

“I don’t know if I should be happy or mad!” I said. But at that moment Rick looked at me and said, “Be happy until you’re finished eating. Then get mad.”

At this point I looked around and thought, “Hey, wait a minute! Everyone at this table, except my son, qualified for this discount.” Now I don’t feel so bad. I seem to have a lot of company.Then I started feeling sorry for the poor kid. Having such old people for parents.

Today, as I walked with my mom, she continued talking about her kids. I felt bad when she said, “she really doesn’t hear from her kids.” I tried to convince her that I am her kid. I just don’t want her to feel she’s neglected. But to no avail. She’s just not believing that I belong to her. I have been sad at times and at others amused, that she really doesn’t remember. I find that after an argument, she forgets we had one. When I place her, ‘memory patch,’ on her, I rub a little off for myself.

I felt better to finally understand that I don’t have a need for her to know I’m her daughter, as it is important that she knows, her children haven’t forgotten her. I told her this. “Mom, I just want you to know your daughter hasn’t neglected you. I am your daughter.” “Oh, come on! Do you think I’ve lost my mind?” She asked. I didn’t answer, although it was sitting at the very edge of my mouth, (no, just a part of it)

I sat and watched some shows with her later and I was laughing at all the medical problems which seemed to be an epidemic now. Or am I just more aware, since I’m a senior? I wondered out loud, “Why do all these problems come in code now? Acronyms for something which I’ve never heard of as being a condition. I wouldn’t say that the inablity to keep your legs still is a problem. If it is, my son has it too. But then there has to be a condition for being stuck in the sofa, like my mom. I’m sure I haven’t heard of it yet.

OAB-overactive bladder? Why don’t they just say, “I pee a lot? Or call it IPAL?” “Hey man! Don’t use a long word, where a short one will do.” Didn’t Mark Twain say that? My mother was laughing. She has not lost her humor. That’s good. I said, “Mom, they say that if your legs move to much, you have “Restless Leg Syndrome.” She is incredulous, as she says, “What?” I said, “Yea, I’m convinced that the doctors are making this stuff up, so they can sell medication.”

I told her, I’m sure that AARP, had something to do with this code language too. They started the whole club mentality. Like we should covet the idea of being accepted. All these ailments with the leaky pipes and things which always were normal, for old people. I guess it’s more exciting in the old conversations too. It’s like a special club and if you don’t know what the codes stand for, you sure aren’t in it! I picture an old dude standing at the entrance to the senior center, like a spy thriller, “What do you got?” Hmmm, as the old guy with his walker looks down, “Oh yea, IBS, with a side of Gert!” “Okay, come on in.”

Then they tell us that, if you have one of these conditions and are prescribed medicine, You are the one responsible to tell your doctor about all your medical history. Hey, isn’t that the doctors job? Why do we have to pay them, if we have to tell them what’s wrong?

The next dilemma is the whole Medicare/Social Security paperwork. My ex husband came over to ask for help in filling out his paperwork. Complicated more by his newly diagnosed cataracts. He said, “Don’t you think it’s kind of goofy, that when you’re this age, and you’re at the most difficult stage of your life, that you have to read and fill out all of this?” “Hmm, I said. That’s a valid point. Believe me, it’s designed to confuse. “Yea,” he said. “But think about someone like your poor mom trying to figure this out. The really take advantage of older people!” Incidentally, that’s a key strategy to point out old people which you consider much older than you. It minimizes the impact. (I do it all the time)

He sure is right about that. And it can only get worse. If I’m the one in charge of these other old people and we are all in this together; the trip to Denny’s is the easiest part of the journey. I’m thinking that the Old Fogies should have their own dictionary very soon. My mother has been telling my son for years, that, poop is not a word. “Poop deck or pooped out,” but no word such as poop!” She says. Well, I had to break the news about Al Roker’s own use of the word on national television. She was in shock at this. “See mom? It is now a part of our vocabulary. You know it is if someone like, Al Roker said it.”

In the old days, people just talked about their surgery’s and compared scars.These days the stars and football players alike, are modeling Depends. Oh sure, they say they’re not wearing them, just for advertising. (Yea, sure, whatever you say) But it won’t be long. May as well get comfortable.

We will be sitting in our rockers trying to text each other with those large print braille phones. Good thing we got a jump on the technology, so some of our abbreviations are part of normal conversation now. Since our arthritic fingers, just won’t be able to type on a keyboard and we sure want to tell our old buddies about the latest medical discovery. Which will most definitely be something cool. Like, BBS, (Butt, Boob Sag) With some great medication to tighten it all up.  Or perhaps, CFS, (Crooked Finger Syndrome) from all those fist bumps, or bird flipping, we did in our rebellious youth. Oh, and don’t forget about the PF(Purple Flurp) My son use this to describe the purple hue of bruising on our hands. All the years, of slapping our hands in ‘high fives.’ All the wear and tear, especially on those true sports jocks. How painful.

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We will not be able to hear each other, since we’re part of that, “Teenage Wasteland,” which has now become an ‘Old Fart Dumping Ground.’ I’m already beginning to see the future. When I watched the Stones the other day, I was scared. Why haven’t I ever noticed that even Keith Richards looks ancient? Okay, he has always been scary. But for some reason, he was the one person I thought I could always count on, as just having the crazy look. How could he possible become old, when he was using the medicines, long before he needed them? That was a real dose of reality. No more denying.

I’ve made up my mind; I’m signing off and filling out my AARP, before I forget what it is!

We’re Sheep In An Ashtray


I have scriptures on my table and pulled one out for my son. He said, “oh mine just says something about  sheep in an ashtray.” “What?” I said. “That’s impossible. There weren’t any ashtray’s in the bible.”

I already knew before grabbing the card from his hand, what it said, but began to laugh at the analogy. “All we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us unto his own way.”

“Oh,” he said. Laughing. As if it wasn’t really any different, since, really, when does a 13 year old boy ever, use the word, astray?

Ashtray, is definitely more appropriate, and hey, he may be slanging a new term for the Urban Dictionary.

I actually started using it since, it was so catchy. It has basically the same meaning which the Lord was trying to convey. And by taking a look at the world today, it is one big ashtray and we’re all in it. Very similar to “going to hell in a hand basket.” Perhaps more up to date.

I have been thinking a lot about the battles which continue to rage on and my place and position. I realize that in war, we all have a decision to make. Cut and run, or face our fear. This is what makes us braver.

I’ve faced the enemy and I’ve learned all his strategies. I’m not afraid of him anymore. As Paul said in scripture. “We’re not ignorant of Satan’s schemes.”

No we’re not. He’s the same today as he was in the beginning and he’s not going to stop. And neither am I. My goal is to continue the fight and storm the gates of hell.

I am the daughter of the king. I am of the lineage of Christ. I am anointed by Him.

He has already asked, “Who will take a stand for me against the wicked? My throne will not be allied with a throne of corruption.”

Yea, not too many out there that are willing to take that stand, I’ve found. It’s not for the faint of heart, and every one seems spineless. If I meet one more person who is supposed to be involved in law enforcement that runs and hides in fear, I’m going to throw up.

I can’t say everyone is like this, but I know that most people I’ve seen are just toothless lions. No power for a fight. Taking the perks of job, but the laws have become perverted.

Bullies everywhere and the public stands by and watches. Afraid to get involved.

About a year ago, I was at the baseball park when my son was warming up.in the dugout. As I sat down in the bleachers, my ex husband and my step daughter were sitting there talking for a while before I arrived.

I heard some yelling from across the field at my son’s side near the bleachers and the guy was just screaming and throwing this little, tiny girl into the bench. “Oh, that’s been going on for a few minutes.” My ex husband said.

“What?” I couldn’t believe this. Even though it was from across the field, I could see and hear it and it was horrible. But what made it worse, was that grown men were standing right by the dugout and no one was making a move to speak up for this little girl.

“That’s it!” I threw down my stuff and marched over to this big jerk. I now see the little girl sitting in front of him on the bleachers and she crying so hard that it’s obvious she can’t stop, but she’s trying to hold back. He’s sitting behind her like he’s the guard. “I look at him and try to speak in my most non-confrontational voice, so I don’t scare her. “Listen, I don’t know what you think you’re doing to this little girl. But I can hear you from across the field and it’s abuse. You need to keep your hands off of her or I’m going to call the police.”

Then I looked at her and said, “Are you ok honey?” She was. As he looks at me and says, “Don’t talk to my daughter.” But yet, amazingly, he doesn’t make a move toward me. I said, “I’m telling you that you need to keep you’re hands off of her and stop cursing at her. She’s terrified.”

Then he tells me, “I have every right to discipline my kid and the police would tell me this.” “Oh, you think so? Go ahead and call them. I’ll be happy to tell them how you’re throwing her around and I’m quite sure they won’t agree and their isn’t a court around that would agree either.”

At this point he quieted down. The little girl calmed down too. He almost seemed relieved that someone put a stop to his madness.

But the strangest thing was, one of the coaches came up later and said, “Listen, if you ever have a problem like that, you need to let me know. I work for the court system.” “Hmm,” I thought. “That’s really strange, cause you were standing right next to the fence, and should have spoken up.”

But this really is the way of the world. How many people, children, elderly, special needs, etc. must be hurt, before someone comes to their aid? “Who will take a stand for me against the wicked, says the Lord?”

Yes, we are all just sheep in an ashtray, but in the end, some of us, will be given “beauty for ashes!”

Take a stand, even if you’re the only one standing!

Pulling Down Strongholds


A view from the Prayer Tower in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. reminded me of the power of prayer.

This is any “vain imagination which sets itself against the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” I’ve been dealing with this on a daily basis. Well, every believer should be. It’s a part of our walk. It seems I’m in the front line of the battle ground.

A good example was just the other day. I had wanted to have rain gutters placed on my house after all these years,to avoid the debris in the pool. It has been an exhausting exercise to clean the dirt, which floats from the roof. Although I have screens around the pool, this would definitely decrease the amount of dirt and, the screens, also need to be replaced. It’s just ongoing maintenance. So this would be the next project.

Well, at least, that’s what I thought, until my neighbor called me over. While I was engaged in conversation with the guy about the gutters. He had asked if I could speak to him about my back fence. I told him, as soon as I was finished with this guy, I’d be over.

I already knew the back fence was just hanging by a thread, since the last hurricane, and it had to come down. “We’d be willing to go half with you, and I’d do the labor,” he said. “Oh, that would be fine.” I said.

As if I didn’t already have enough going on. If you’d already read my previous post about my kitchen, leaky roof, blah blah,blah. And that tent is looking better all the time.

So, they say, if I go pull the permit, they’ll mark the property.I go online and get all the info. Print the paperwork. My son, his dad, my brother and my neighbors all pitch in to tear down the back fence. It was nice to get rid of it and we were commenting on how nice it was to be able to talk to each other.I had gotten to know them for the first time and we were saying that it is a completely different experience from Northern living. In the North, there aren’t boundaries as you would notice in this part of the country. And we found in crisis, such as hurricanes, we all started to speak to each other. That’s where we realized how much we had in common.. It was almost funny, because as it is in every situation, it’s amazing to know how we can be experiencing such trauma’s and be so isolated, when we are side by side. It’s also very sad. What emotional support we could be for one another, if we could just walk next door rather than call someone 1000 miles away. We’re so afraid to trust a stranger.

But the reason we’re afraid to trust is because we’re bullied on a daily basis. It’s the things which happen to us, which teach us not to trust. Mean and cruel. Such as this fence deal.

I am contacted by the city to be told, after paying the $150.00 permit fee,that I cannot receive this permit yet,because someone named, Tony, had left some notes. “Yea,” I’m thinking. They’re always named ‘Tony.’

I go in to get the notes. So what were these notes, that Tony had written about my fence? Well, apparently, he could not find any record for a permit for my pool or my deck, from the records. And he continued in his notes, that, “this would affect the requirements for my fence.”

Oh, you’ve got to be kidding! This house was built in 1974! Is he serious? Like I have the permits for a pool and a deck?

Ok, now I talk to my friend and he says, “No way! They keep those records offsite, in the archives. They’re yanking your chain.” “Yea, I know where they keep them,” I said. “In that room with the second set of books! With Tony and a bunch of dark shady characters smoking cigars and a stack of cash!” He starts cracking up as he says, “Yea, and he saying, “Hey, I got another one for ya!”

Oh, so the budgets are strapped for cash, so they’re going after everyone else now? Well, then they have to get everyone in the city to pull their records don’t they? This is ridiculous.

So my neighbor goes in to the woman and she tells him that “Tony is on vacation and can’t see him until next week.” Oh, that’s great, I said. I think this Tony guy, must be Tony Soprano. I’ve tangled with him before.That was about  my hair, this time it’s my pool. It’s all the same spirit and requires the same remedy. Prayer.

Then yesterday, I had an encounter with the roofing guy. I had talked to him the day before about coming over, and I usually know right up front, whether I want to give someone my business. Paul told us to, “test the spirits,know ye not that every spirit which proceeds from someone does not come from God?” So this is exactly what I do. And I pray that the Lord will give me discernment.

Well, some people just start out bad right from the beginning. I can’t tolerate a mean spirit and that’s what this guy had. He told me he would show up early and that was fine, because we all had work to do. I told my sons dad about this so he was on the same page.

This guy climbs up on the roof with his ladder he’s up there for a while.I told him what I saw and I knew the problem was a repair which I needed. It was isolated to two areas.

As he was finished his tapping, etc. I came out and he looked a little silly. I described the scene to my daughter. He arrived early with his buddy. He was wearing some  ‘daisy dukes.’ She was rolling. “What?!” “Well, I don’t know what else to call them. Ask Noah,” I said.

He looked to be in his early 60’s and not in bad shape, but I wouldn’t think he should be climbing up on rooftops.Nor should he be wearing those shorts.

“He pulls two rusty screws out of his pocket and looks at me like a shady car mechanic and says, I don’t know how to tell you this, but  you have a problem with your chimney cap.” “Wow,” I wanted to tell him to keep his paws off my chimney cap, and I don’t know where those rusty screws have been but I’m sure they didn’t come from my  chimney cap, as I’m sure my chimney cap has not seen the light of day in quite some time so he’d better keep those rusty screws away from her!”

I’m very annoyed at this point and I’m waiting for him to get to the news about my roof, as this is the reason for my call. He starts to talk about my chimney cap again. “Look, those are custom chimney caps, and they don’t make them anymore, so I put some (insert word) around it, but you may have a leak around that as well.”Yea, well, I’m not worried about it.Besides, if they’re custom made, that means, they’ll custom make one, if I need it.”  “No they won’t.” Now the guy start’s arguing with me! What in the world? Does he know they? Does he know Tony?

Ok, at this point, I’m sure I don’t but, I have to take my son to school, so I cut him off, as he start’s in again about the fact that they don’t make these chimney caps again. Hey either this guy is lusting over my chimney cap, or he is selling them on the side. I said, “You know, I’m kind of in a hurry. Can you bottom line this and give me the estimate for my roof?”

What he said next, blew my mind. “Listen, I’m in a hurry too! I mean I just took an hour (which he didn’t) to go up on your roof! So I’m trying to tell you what the problem is. (Which he wasn’t.) So, you have a small leak on the flat roof, and another one right on that eave, and if you want I can get some plastic to cover that chimney cap. It’ll cost 8 or $900.00! Then he just writes his name on a doorknob tag and leaves. He doesn’t even give me the written proposal.

My son was cracking up! I’m saying do you believe that guy? He’s mad because he’s being asked to do his job? And then he’s talking about something unrelated to his job? I’m wondering if this scam of his really works for him? I’ll give him credit. He gets up early to get his gig started. At least he’s not on a street corner.

My ex husband says, “Well, when I was a kid I remember these guys, going down the street and they would move the bricks on everyone’s chimneys. Then they would stop and tell people that their bricks were loose, and they would clip them for a few hundred bucks to mortar them. My mom and I were watching them go up and down the street.” “Yea, ” I said. “This guy is probably running around with two rusty screws, screwing everyone with a chimney!” He was just mad because I wasn’t going along with the plan.

I used to take Karate years ago, and there is a concept which is very powerful. It can be used in the spiritual world as well. You don’t fight against the power as much as you take the power tjats being used against you and turn it on your opponent. The full force of it will  backfire against them. This is the meaning of the words, “pray for your enemies.” An extremely powerful dynamic takes place. Only the Lord can change the heart of man. And the cruelty which is leveled against us will  return to land where it had it’s beginning in every situation.

We do need to “link up,” in the Body of Christ.  Prayer is powerful. But the most dynamic power is in its unity. “If one can chase away a thousand, two can chase away ten thousand.” Of course we know the numbers don’t make sense. But in God’s universe, they do. And this is what He wants us to understand. How important this reality is.

 

The Simple Life


My brother is just so funny. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He makes me laugh so hard.  It’s wonderful for my mother to share this time with him too, since he had been living apart from her for many years.

I’ve noticed that he and the other people with special needs bring home beautiful pictures. The other day I was looking at this picture and I said, “Kevin, this is not yours. You’ve taken someone else’s picture by mistake.” He promptly picked up a pen and crossed out the other persons name and wrote his own name on the top! Then he said, “There you go.” As if life is just that easy. Take what you want. I wonder how many times he’s seen that done I thought. “Hmm,” I said. “He’d make a great attorney!”

My mother and I were laughing so hard at him. In his world forgery was nothing. If you like it, make it yours.

I looked at all of the artwork and started looking at the things in my home. I realized that life is just too short to collect things. The beauty of simple things that the artwork my brother produces, is better than anything one can purchase.

I sat in my living room and was sad when I noticed a small cardboard box which held the belongings which my mother was left with after being moved from her home. I took a picture. I cried to think this was so important to her.The Barbie dolls which she used to knit clothing for. No one could believe that she could do this and it was something that she took great pride in. The little Charlie Brown that plays music. The pictures. I managed to get the bronze shoes from my brother Dennis who had passed away as a baby. These she somehow never lost in all of her shuffling through the years. It is difficult to see my mother’s life reduced to a cardboard box. But then I look around and feel the weight of all the things in my life holding me down. I don’t want anything in my life. I can’t stand things holding me back from what is important. I hate greed and what it does to people. It hurts me to see what it has done. I don’t want to take care of things. Although I love looking at my brother’s pictures. And my mother’s things. It’s cute, but we all have the propensity to collect. So I want to bring joy to other’s by giving.

Now I got my mom into a pottery class to learn something new. She was making me laugh with her antics. When the teacher told her to “pinch her pot,” she said, “What?” “Yea, I said, “That meant something completely different in the 70’s!” Now she’s learning a different skill at 82 and she’ll be able to make new memories and so will I.

I realized that life is not about owning things. In fact the more time I spend with my mother, the more fleeting I see that our time is on this earth. I see that those who have robbed and tried to fill their lives with things, are missing the most important qualities.

My mother and I listened to my brother talking last night. He was telling us about the lipstick that he was going to give his girlfriend at school. He was going to put it in his purse. It’s really a fannypack. He crams all kinds of stuff into that purse. Sometimes I’ll check it just too unload some things. It’s so stuffed full. I just have to see what he’s carrying around and it’s funny. Pictures of things unrelated. I try to connect the subjects, but can’t seem to and move on. The objects make no sense,but they amuse me.

The keychains that I have given him have all found a place on this pack. I have actually had to remove some,because it has become unsafe. The weight of this is ridiculous. And the fact that one of them is a round basketball for coins, makes it hilarious with his gait and when he bowls, underhanded, my son made the remark that it’s a good thing I didn’t give him the bull’s you know what, to hang from this pack, or it would be quite a sight to behold, when he bends down to bowl! This visual just made me crack up.

He is very animated. And when he tells us that someone threw up at school it’s hilarious. He is over the top. I don’t think it happened the way he tells us and at times, I only wish I could place a hidden camera on him. There was one day that he told me that one person threw up and another girl was told that “she stinks and needed to go into the bathroom,” while the teacher was spraying the bathroom. And later, he said the same girl was his girlfriend. My son, who is not easily grossed out, said, “Come on, I don’t want to hear this! You’re girlfriend stinks!” And my brother as proud as could be, said, “Yes, she stinks! Right?” Wow! That’s unconditional love at it’s best! And, all I can say is, those special education teacher’s work very hard, and deserve pay raises!!! Treat them well. They’re very special people.

But,people like my brother are also very special and he keeps me centered. I sometimes find I’m taking him for granted and when I come back to him, I find humor in his simple words and beauty in the world around him. It is just what God was trying to point out to all of us and the reason He told us that “the meek would inherit the earth.”

Look at what a mess we have made of all of this. Greedy people have tried to use people like my brother for selfish gain. I’ve had people say, “They look at your brother like a throwaway.” That has brought me unspeakable pain.” Yes, even at his birth they thought he wouldn’t live. But God had a different plan. And his plans were to bring men to repentance through my brother. Yes, my brother who is so innocent. Who would take an art project and cross someones name and sign his name, would do this with anything. He knows no difference. He tells me everything costs “a hundred dollars.”

But who cares? My brother puts everything in perspective. Whether it a billion dollars or a penny, in his mind it’s the same price. Just as the value of a soul is worth more than everything. And as the Lord has said, “Woe to the man who gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul.”

Full of Blarney! That’s my mom.


Yea, I said, ‘blarney, not to be confused with Barney, the purple dinosaur. She’s still got that sparkle in her eyes.

I look at my mom and think of everything she’s been through, but she still has that quality, which she’s seemed to pass down’ self-effacing humor. Nothing seems to bother her and she’ll do anything for the sake of a laugh. I love this about her.

At times she is so stubborn, I can barely handle it, and then I find myself laughing with her over the silliest things. She will go right along with my humor, since, between her and my father, I inherited this.

It was passed down to my son as well. I have to tell him that his humor is very sick, at times.. I can only predict it will become more so, as he ages and endures hardship.

Since my mom doesn’t do much, but watch tv, I find myself critiquing the commercials and programs, with her throwing in her own quips.

For example, there’s an ad for an Injury Attorney. These girls say, “You can tell Robert anything. If you have an accident, Call Robert.” This continues for quite a while, and at the end they sing, a horrible jingle, “You can tell Robert anything!” It’s so funny. When my mom starts complaining, I say, “Tell Robert!” At this she cracks up. My son came into the room and said, “I’m calling Robert to tell him, my colon is inflamed!” I said, “Go ahead, “You can tell Robert anything!”

I get a visual of some poor secretary answering, Robert’s phone. And explaining that this is an attorney’s office. “Yes, but I need someone to talk to and your ad states, “That I can tell Robert anything.”

My mom is still talking about her visit to my home. “I don’t live here!” She insists. “I’m from Wisconsin!” Ok, she’s on a 2 year visit. Her mail comes here and all her doctor’s, etc. Anyone who lives with an aging parent, probably deals with this.

I wonder who she would have to sit and joke about all the shows, if I wasn’t with her. My son’s relationship to her alone, is more than she’s had in the past. People may have come and gone from her home, but she never had this social interaction.

When I hear her blabbing away to my brother, with special needs, I really laugh. I sent him on a trip for a few day, and she was so excited when he returned. She has a buddy who is always present. Yet, I am amazed at their conversation. At times they are discussing two different things, and neither one seems to notice. They’ve gotten into arguments about things and that makes me laugh even more. My brother is pretty mild-mannered, but my mom can even annoy him!

Of course, he loves living here, so when she goes into her tirade about leaving, he tells her, “Go back to Wisconsin!” He will make a motion circling his head, and she “is crazy, dumb.” This is something he must have learned where he grew up. But my mom loves an argument, so this doesn’t phase her.

Once, his bus came to late,for his liking and my son came running in. “Mom! Kevin’s shaking his fist at the bus driver. He’s swearing at her and he gave her the finger!” “What?!” Oh no, I have to run out to do damage control. The woman just finished saying, “What did you say?” I had to gently remind her that he’s mentally challenged and accustomed to routine. He has a problem with change and is not violent. Yet, I had to laugh, because it’s difficult for most people to understand him, except with profanities, and hand motions are pretty much, universal.

What is strange is that, when he lost his hearing, he didn’t want to learn signing, since he loves using sign language for cursing.

This is where I can see that my mom’s temperament was passed to him, regardless of whether, she raised him.

My son’s idea of placing a camera in the room to tape their interactions is very tempting. He tattles on her when she’s sneaking junk food from her little stash. He watches her as she picks her skin,(which seems to be a nervous habit) She gets up to walk, she hunches over, and he will point to her and say, “Mom can’t walk.” At this she gets angry. “Of course I can walk!” She says.

But when I had left on my trips a few times, she had taken the wrong medicine. I had to tell my daughter and son to take out only the medicine for this particular day. My daughter told me she had been standing on her toes, trying to find the rest in the cupboard.”Grandma, you already took your medicine,” she told her. “Oh, I just wanted to see where your mom put it.” She told my daughter. “She treats me like I’m a little kid!”

Well, I figured out early, that this is her thing.As we all need to feel important, she had this little responsibility, and it is tied to her feelings of independence. I didn’t want to take this away, but she didn’t understand the dangers of ‘double-dosing.’ So I was talking to my son. “Hey, you know how grandma loves to take her medicine. As much as she loves her junk. We should put a fake pill container out, with candy in it! One to match each pill. She’d love it. Like jelly beans, boston baked beans. Those little chewy caramels, for the Chewy vitamin.” “Yea,” he said, we could get a Fruit Rollup, for her patch!” We started cracking up at this. Just thinking of her trying to stick that to herself. And then figuring out that it’s a snack.

But she’s so funny that she’d laugh at this too. That’s the part I love. As I shared it with her later, she just laughed and laughed.

So when I tell her I want to get pictures for the family, she’s always anxious. No matter how silly. She loves it! My kids said, “Grandma looks like a cross between, George Washington and Paul McCartney.” I tell my mom this, and she thinks this is hilarious. So I went out shopping, and finds a picture of George on the cover of Time magazine. “Hey mom, hold this, I’m going to take your picture.” She willingly does it as she’s laughing at the thought. We send it to my son.

Then Paul McCartney is on some show, and I said, “Hey mom! Look, it’s you!” And he did look like he was wearing lipstick, so not sure if she looks like a man, or he looks like a woman!

Then there was a Chicken Nugget which sold for $8000.00, because it looked like George Washington. Well, I took issue with this, since it clearly looked like my mom! And the funniest thing about that, is this is one of the commercials that annoy her. For some reason, she thinks McDonalds has no right to market chicken. “They should stick with hamburgers!” She says.

St Patty’s Day is no different. She states, “I’m not Irish!” I remind her that I am part Irish, and she doesn’t have to be, to have fun.So I place my green wig on her head, and she starts laughing. She loves this. I’ve seen it many times. A person transformed into a child again. I love to be part of the process and it’ a beautiful thing to watch. Living day to day with her, reminds me that childhood really is in the heart. And no amount of time or pain, will erase that.

 

 

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