Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I was twenty one, living with a boyfriend in Kentucky. And my period was late.

I did not have a doctor so the boyfriend drove me to the clinic where I took a test that came out positive. The nurse was very nice and offered me pamphlets regarding abortion. I was scared witless. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do but I for certain knew I was not going to do that.  Carrying the weight of the world in my belly I walked out of the clinic and gave my boyfriend the news. He said, “I will pay for you to fly home.”

Now THAT is a phone call I hope never to receive. “Mom? It’s me. I’m okay. But I’m pregnant and I have to come home.”

I won’t go into the angst of being a single pregnant woman. Nor the hardships of moving home under ‘not the best circumstance’ because this is a happy story about a tow headed blue eyed baby that, despite our rocky start I loved before he was even born.

He arrived on February 2, 1985 in a snowstorm. Already I was learning that kids change the plans you make. My plan was to have pain medication. The baby’s plan was to get into this world quick. Too quick for me to reap the benefits of narcotics.

The first thing I remember about that boy was the fact that he liked to sleep. The nurses kept flicking his feet to wake him up and we’d wipe him down with a cold wash cloth so we could feed him but he soon went back to sleep. Like all other babies  he did not sleep through the night for a couple of months. Like all first time parents I longed for the night that he did so that I could get a full eight hours of much needed sleep. Again, my plan versus how things really played out. The first time he slept through the night was a night that I didn’t sleep a wink because I kept getting up to put my finger under his nose to make sure he was still breathing.

There are a million billion ‘mommy blogs’ out there. How I wish I had been blogging back when my children were little.  I think what a great gift it will be for those kids to be able to get a true idea of what their days were like. I wish I had written letters to them on each birthday with a little synopsis of the year. All the cute things they did, all the trouble they got into. Something tangible that showed how much I loved being their mom.

As I sit here and try to summarize twenty nine years with this boy I realize it can’t be done. I realize there are so many little things and so many big things and so many in between things that I could never do justice to our story together. There are good things, bad things, funny things, sad things. Books we read, jokes we shared, arguments we had. Successes, failures.  One picture after another of what our lives together looked like flashes before my eyes and I find I cannot get them all down in writing for a mother’s day tribute to my first born.

This child has given me the three scariest moments of my life. His conception, my sobriety and watching him leave with the army recruiter. This child made me grow up. This child made me cry. This child made me laugh. This child had spiky hair, listened to heavy metal, brought the police to our house…more than once, shocked  himself with a dog collar…on purpose…and then asked to do it again. This boy put Elmer’s glue in his hair…again, on purpose…as a styling product. This boy wore camouflage before it was in style. This boy allowed me to know the vice principal at the middle school on a first name basis. This boy loved his cat, loved his Papa, loved his blanket.

This boy went to Iraq. This boy came home. He lived in his car. He painted polka dots on the dog. He faked his own death while babysitting for the girls; there was lots of blood. He’s afraid of aliens. He’s been abducted by aliens. He’s worried they’ll be back for him. He loves funny cat videos…only if they are horizontal. He “made me cool”. He made me crazy. He makes me crazy. He made me love like I never loved before. He made me proud.

I sometimes wish I could do so many things over with him. Go back to the little tow-headed boy days. I think, as all parents do, when they are all grown up you miss them. But, you can’t go back. Only forward. I can only let him know that I love being his mom. I loved spending my life with him. I love him. I am proud of him.

There’s a book that makes me cry every time I read it. It sums up being the mom to a boy perfectly. It’s called Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. If you need a gift for a new mom of a boy this is it. It repeats this line and I said it often to my little boy. I don’t say it out loud much these day but it still applies.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Now if only he would call me more often….

 

 

 

 

 

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Being a Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day I will be writing all about being a mom this week.

 

As a mom I cannot get enough of my babies crawling into my lap for a little snuggle. Stroking the soft fuzziness of the hair on their little heads as they nod off to sleep is one of the great perks of being a mom. Sleeping babies are so precious. As a mom we take these special moments and savor them. If I had known how quickly they were going to grow up I think I would have spent an extra minute watching them snooze, or spent a few moments longer in bed reading with them.

I often wonder what I laughed at before the entered my life. What a boring life it was before them.

I will admit that sometimes I do remember the quiet peaceful times.  There are negatives to being a mom. For one, I do not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night. I wish they could clean up after themselves. I do not like bruising my foot on some small toy left (purposely?) in my path.  Sullen expressions while I’m talking to them. Ignoring me when I am calling them for dinner, or snack. I’d like to be able to read their minds. To know what makes them do the things they do.

One minute they are affectionate. The next they are snapping at me. I can never predict their moods. Begging for attention or stalking away with indignation. This moment angry with me for a crime I do not yet know that I have committed, the next moment they are bestowing me with affection, following me around the house, begging me to stop and spend just one minute with them.

They act like they don’t really need me. And yet when I get home they are right there talking my ear off, trying to tell me about their day while asking me to make them dinner. Their desire to spend time with me at all, however few and far between these moments are, is what lets me know that they do love me. I just wish their timing on when they loved me would line up with my agenda. But that is not a luxury for moms. When it finally does become a reality, when we finally get some time to ourselves, ironically we wish they were young and demanding again.

It never fails. As soon as I sit down to get something done on the computer they come in and plop right down. Ready for some quality time.  Interrupting my ability to do what I want in order to give them what they want. I sometimes think they have radar and know when I have shut a door to get some privacy. No sooner does the latch click when I hear the pitter patter of little feet and a shadow appears under the door and they wait. As if by shutting the door I have offended them. Hurt their feelings. Abandoned them.  They bang on the door impatiently expecting me to invite them in for some quality time together. And I usually do.

Now let’s turn that around. What happens when I want  some quality time with them?  They have something better to do. I can call out to them but my voice echoes in the empty rooms. They are no where to be found. They have abandoned me.

I occasionally get upset with the callous way they treat me but in the end an affectionate leg rub, a meow of gratitude, a purr because I’ve scratched in just the right place, seems to wash away my hurt feelings. Hacked up fur balls, destroyed curtains and dirty litter boxes are forgotten. Forgotten because I can think of nothing else but the numbness in my legs from sitting in this position for so long. Sitting for so long that I can’t feel my toes but I won’t move. I don’t want to disturb their peaceful slumber.

Such is the fate of being a cat mom.

 

 

 

 

 

God Can Speak Using an Irish AND a German Accent

For some reason a man with a German accent has always…um…intrigued…me.  

I have heard German spoken and I don’t think it is particularly a pretty language. It sounds very harsh to me and does not flow romantically like French nor does it run rapidly off the tongue like Spanish. It sort of sounds like hammering. It’s blunt. 

But the accent…I just love it. I like how the and comes out undt. I like the w’s pronounced as v’s. And it makes me smile when the s sounds like sh.

If you say ‘That girl is a very sweet and funny one.’ It would sound like ‘Dat gurl ish un very shveet undt foony vun.’

Bob knows that if he wants to get my toes to curl he need only speak a couple of sentences with a German accent. He has a joke that he tells about Lufthansa airlines that never gets old to my ears. Although sometimes when he tells it it can be turned into a sort of Irish/Indian/Polish/German accent. Not quite the same effect for me but his effort is always appreciated.

Telling this joke is granted to put me in the mood. (Undt der mooed – Undt being interchangeable with in undt and.)

I once read a short story by Mark Twain called “That Awful German Language“. It made me laugh so hard that the tears rolled down my face. According to Twain, it is not an easy language to learn. As an example let’s use the word ‘air’. In France it is aire. In Spain it is also aire. In German it is Luft. And yes, it is capitalized. This is my own example, Twain’s are much better.

Let’s try it in a sentence.

Love is in the air. (English)

Amor en el aire. (Spanish)

L’amour est dans l’air. (French)

Notice that you can pretty easily translate these on your own because the words are similar to ours. Now let’s look at it in German.

Liebe liegt in der Luft.

Hmmm….Not one word is like any of the words in the other three languages. For me, I can look at a book written in Spanish or French and can pick out a few words that I know the meaning of and could possibly get in the ball park regarding the topic. Not so if it were in German. It is an awful language, but the accent…

I heard someone with an authentic German accent speak yesterday and I can’t get the words out of my mind. I am often perplexed when God doesn’t answer my cries for help. I am always humbled when He answers them in His time, not mine. 

I have a friend and her last name is Freund. Freund is German and it means friend (isn’t that ironic?) She is not German, she is Irish and has an Irish accent. Irish is another accent that I adore-and apparently so do lots of others because she has a story about having a run in with the police, while being beverage happy, and getting out unscathed…I’m certain it was the accent–I must remember this the next time I need to get out of a situation with the po po.

Daph uses the word delightful in her sentences when she speaks. Her laughter is contagious. And she laughs alot. She laughs at her self. She laughs with joy. She attracts friends like flies to honey. She is delightful. I haven’t known her long but she greets me as if we were family. She plays the harp. She teaches spin. She is in my bible study and her rock solid relationship with God is what this post is about.

Daphne is married to Walter. He speaks with a German accent. To sit and listen to them talk back and forth would be like candy for me. I don’t care what the topic, just say stuff.

I know this seems an odd post. Let me explain without really explaining. Mein Freund (my friend-for those of you that haven’t been keeping up) has been on my mind for the last week. I do not want to share her sadness here, but I could not keep it in any longer. Grace has shown it’s beautiful face in Daphne. God has been so present in the lives of her and her family and for the life of me I cannot figure out why I got to witness it. 

I struggle in my walk with Christ on a daily basis. 

I cry out why.

He answers by showing me how.

And this time He spoke to me in an Irish AND a German accent.

How lucky am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shtuff I did While I Wasn’t Here

As I am out and about carousing on the world wide web I find many fascinating things. This is my chance to share them with you, in case you are not out carousing as well.

If you are reading this in your email, it might be best to switch to the web. There are links you can follow. If something is underlined, you click it and it will take you to the fascinating thing I found.

No Bob, this is not all I have this week. Did you eat? I thought so.

March 20th was the first day of Spring. Chicagoans everywhere rejoiced. Most of the snow is gone exposing land beneath. Not yet green grass but there is hope. I saw windows on cars down. Shorts. I have not yet seen my own crocus but I know they are in there.

crocus

This guy keeps showing up on my facebook stream. Dancing Nathan. One ugly mug but he sure can cut the rug.

Remember that little boy that was trying to convince his mom that he deserved cupcakes? Ellen gave him cupcakes and his mom got 10,000 bucks. What he really needed was one of these.

I’ve seen this kid before but I like his advice to newborn babies.

Today is day 15 of no eating sugar. Things last week all looked like donuts. I could not stop thinking about donuts and I dreamed about donuts. Here’s what that means…

To see a donut in your dream represents the Self. It suggests that you may be feeling lost and still trying to find yourself and your purpose in life. Alternatively, it refers to growth, development and nurturance. You are not yet completely whole.

Or it could just mean that I gave up sugar and want a dang donut. Do you know how many Dunkin’ Donuts there are in the world? I must pass by 18 of them on my way to anywhere.

My daughter Emmer, lives in Denver. She added to my torture by sharing this with me.

Now that  The Bachelor is over I have not been crocheting. I need a new program to get addicted to so I can sit quietly for an hour and crochet. I have been catching up on The Walking Dead but no one else in the house will watch it with me and it is uncomfortable to crochet in bed. Bob has offered up allowing me to watch golf with him but those whispery voices put me right to sleep.

March Madness could be an option but I’d rather sleep through golf than listen to this. I will work on Bob’s blankie this week and show you progress next week.

Speaking of March Madness…Ohio State? I had them to win the whole Shebang just because that is my country of birth. Next year I will have to come up with a different theory on how to pick the winner. One woman I know won last year based on the color scheme of her dream house. Maybe I will try that.

I really like Pinterest. It gives me inspiration and I like looking at all the pretty pictures.  It is loaded with stuff I fully intend to make. Food, crafts, gardening, clothing, shoes, food…I think there is even a donut board. This week I only made one thing from Pinterest and boy oh boy is it delicious.

Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal. I work at the YMCA at 5am. I do not have time to eat breakfast before I go so I have been making this the night before and eating it at work. I changed my recipe up a bit.

One 6oz container Light and Fit Greek Yogurt-Peach (this had the least amount of grams of sugar)

1/2 Cup rolled oats

1C. frozen raspberries (also good with fresh blueberries)

And Chia seeds. Sometimes I add a little soy milk because I like mine soupier.

And yes, every time I pull out the bag of Chia seeds I say Ch-ch-ch-chia.

I have been pretty good about exercising. I burned a total of 1782 calories since last Saturday.

I read a lot of blogs. I’m always finding brand new ones. This week the post that kept coming to mind was this one.

In other news:

Most of the snow has melted which means the yard is muddy which means the dogs paws are muddy when they come in the house which means my floors are dirty all the time. If anyone would like to adopt a dog leave a comment below. Free, no give backs.

I have learned that fit people want you to be fit too. I have been sharing with others at the Y that I am trying to get on a healthy path and everyone I’ve spoken to has been supportive and offered advice.  One woman there started running when she was 40. Fourteen years later she has run 36 marathons. Her hope is to complete a marathon in every state. I mentioned that I am considering doing the Disney marathon in January of 2015 and she said she’d be glad to help me train. Sick woman. Just another person I have to try and avoid.

Rumor has it that both of my girls will be home at the same time in April…this means I may have the opportunity to get a picture of ALL THREE OF MY CHILDREN. My heart is bursting with happiness.

We all have a choice on how our day or week can go…choose to make yours a good one. 

 

TBT renamed BFD

It’s Thursday which means its Throwback Thursday, a day where I get out of having to actually write a blog, I just get to put up a picture and call it a day.

I am renaming it BFD because it is Bob’s Favorite Day. He says every Throwback Thursday decreases our followers.

Someone said BFD could also mean something else, I said of course it could.

It could stand for:

Bavarian Fudge Donut (I’ve given up sugar, I find a lot of my sentences end in ‘donut’ these days. Like, I wish I had a donut. I’d like to eat a donut. The cat looks a bit like a donut. Donut, donut, donut.)

Blessed Father Day…is there a blessed Father?

Blended Family Dysfunction…no comment

Blind Faith Day…the band.

Best Friend Day…at our house it is always this day. Just ask the dog. Or the cat.

Blackened Fish Dinner…healthier than donuts but not as much fun…see below.

Bring Forth Donuts (Like a magic mantra, say this three times in front of the mirror and they will magically appear)

or

Bring Four Donuts (May be my favorite BFD)

Breathe Fire Day (for dragons of course)

A lot of BFD’s could be all about Bob

Bob’s Fried Day (If one has vacationed with Bob one understands this.)

Bob’s Farting Diary…seriously, I would not be surprised.

Bob’s Food Diet… same as a seafood diet.

Bob Finds Donut (yay! I love him!)

But no, it stands for Bob’s Favorite Day. He thinks TBT days are cheating.

Here’s the photo. I couldn’t even tell you what year it is from.

The redhead is Dawn Troke. She and I shared many days scrapbooking, stamping, camping, drinking and laughing.  Our kids played well together and some of my favorite memories are around times with her family and our other Cary friends. This cruise has many stories but does not even come close to the stories we could tell about our Mother’s Day cruise! Another blog…or blackmail!

Image

I Gave Up Sugar For Lent

A little more than a week ago I decided to give up sugar for Lent. I was so committed to being successful that I wrote about it here so I would have accountability. It’s been thirteen days and I have not fallen off the wagon. Though temptation lurks around every corner. 

I have also started working at the YMCA. One of the perks of working there is a free adult membership. So yeah, I have a Y membership. I gave up sugar and I got a Y membership. I read somewhere that said on the days a person works out they are less likely to eat something unhealthy. I decided I could again use all the help I can get to stick to this no sweets idea and am trying to exercise five days a week.

Stop me.

Then I downloaded an app called LoseIt. It’s an app that allows you to type in your current weight, pick a goal weight and determine an end date. The app then figures out how many calories you would need per day to get to your goal weight. Is everyone out there on board with calories?  I hear new schools of thought that say calories don’t really matter it’s quality of food that you eat. Who can give me feedback on this? I had great success losing weight with Weight Watchers and I don’t think counting calories is much different than counting points. Bob is on board for this one. As of Monday he and I are keeping track of all of our food. It’s day two and already Bob says it’s a stupid app.

Also this month I have set another goal for improving my health. It is eating five servings of fruits or veggies per day. Did you know you can eat a boatload of vegetables for minimal calories. I rarely add a vegetable to my meal. I don’t like many of them cooked and sometimes the thought of preparing a salad feels like too much work. I just started this challenge on Sunday and so far I am four for four. I am feeling some rumblings in and around my stomach area. Is that fiber? Bob has those rumblings, heads into the bathroom, uses the acoustics in there to his advantage and then yells out “Hear all that weight I’m losing?” 

All these goals and sticking to it and working out and not eating what I love. Want to know how it all happened? Here’s the story.

I’m working out. I’m doing some big calorie burn on an elliptical type machine. Sweating like crazy, breathing heavy and I’m pretty sure my face is really red. Upon completion I am happy to note that my total calorie burn is around 500 calories. As I’m heading out a friend sees me and we start chatting. This guy is all muscle. Hard muscle. I wonder what he does to keep in such great shape. He says cardio is useless. What?!? He says he can give me a workout that, providing I am diligent, could produce changes in two weeks. Am I interested? Then he adds, that if I am really serious it should all start with the food I eat.

All right, hind sight is 20/20. I should have said, gee, that’s intriguing, I have to go, but no, I said ‘You’re on.” Now I am realizing that ‘you’re on’ rhymes with moron. I panicked a bit on my car ride home. I’m afraid this workout he has in mind is going to hurt me but I calm myself down with the thought that this guy is not gonna remember I said that…

Then you know what happened? My darling husband saw this same guy, Greg, at the Y the next day and Greg asks where I am. Bob says she needed a day off. Greg then asked for my phone number and MY HUSBAND GIVES IT TO HIM! Next thing I know I am getting a text.

rest day

 

My husband threw me under the bus.

Meanwhile I realize that all these good health habits started when I gave up sweets and sugar and doughnuts. I am seeing a correlation. Sugar. Is. Bad.  Or….it could be that I never should have worked out in the first place then I wouldn’t have run into Greg and then I wouldn’t have thought about getting healthier then I wouldn’t be hungry right now!

Mulling. I’m not sure about this.

Aside

Jump

It is always on my mind to write a ‘spiritual’ post on Sundays. In my head they are called Kitchen Stool Sermons. I envision giving a little synopsis of what I heard in church or expounding on something I learned in Bible study. I did it once or twice a year or more ago and haven’t been very loyal to the idea despite the fact that every Sunday I get a little nudge that says “What are you afraid of? Just jump, I will catch you.”

In AA they tell us that alcoholics are really the only ones that can help other alcoholics because we have actually walked the same path. As a recovering alcoholic I have credibility to the newly sober. I get it when a newly sober friend is crying about not being able to drink again. I get it because I did it. Not drinking anymore was me leaving my one and only constant friend. It was abandoning the one and only thing that I always had, the one and only thing that was always there for me. The one and only thing that I understood and felt that it understood me too. Other alcoholics have said similar things in rooms everywhere.

I think this concept works for followers of Christ too. There are many broken people out there. People unsure of what following Christ looks like. Christians often get lumped into one hypocritical pile. My story of drinking will be different than every other alcoholic in any AA meeting across the world but our stories will be filled with commonalities. We each will be able to relate to the other. Faith walks are the same. Mine is different than yours. Not better, not worse, just all mine. People looking into Christianity need to see all varieties of walks because chances are one of them is going to speak to them and when they get into a pinch they will know where to go.

Someone once shared their story with me about how they got sober. When things got unbearable for me I knew where to get help. The best way to thank her is to pay it forward. 

The day I got sober was the day that I met God. You can read about my first day of sobriety here. I just reread it myself and cried. It’s an emotional story for me every time. I think it’s good that I can’t read or tell that story without crying. If it becomes a story I can tell by rote  it will be the end of my sobriety. The end of my relationship with God. The end of me.

That heart wrenching day on May 8, 2001 was the day I saw the me that God sees. He saw my hurts and my doubts and He said “I will help you to stop hurting. I will help you to stop doubting how wonderful you are.” He spoke to lowly me. He said the ledge I was on was precarious and even though I couldn’t see the bottom I needed to jump. I needed to take his hand and jump. Being buried by self doubt, self hate and shame is not the life He had planned for me.

So I jumped and together God and I have exhumed me, the Teri Lyn I am today.

I’m here to tell you that I believe God was in that chapel with me that night. I’m here to tell you that I believe I would not be sober today without His faith in me. I’m here to tell you that my tinky tiny faith in Him saved me then and saves me again and again now. I’m here to tell you that I have left Him, I have forgotten He was there. I’m here to tell you I have always been called back and he has always welcomed me with open arms and He always asks me to jump again. And though I may not do it immediately, I have not yet regretted a jump.

But I am also telling you that lying in the mud and muck of a coffin made of alcohol is a miserable place to be. I’m telling you that it was hard work digging out. I am telling you that there was doubt, fear and more doubt. There was ugly crying. There was stuff I had to look at that was hideous. Messes I made that could only be cleaned up by me. Messes that made me gag because of the stench. I’m telling you my faith walk has been intermittent and inconsistent. My faith walk has the gait of a drunk. On a ship. Sailing on rocky seas.

I am here to tell you that it has been and continues to be hard work. It’s the hardest work I have ever done.

I believe God is with me.

I falter. I forget He is with me. I still wander around in the sludge of my past beliefs but each passing year I spend less and less time there. I still do bad things. I still have horrible thoughts. I still battle with the urge to fall back to my old ways.

It was the hard path to take. Weak me did it. I jumped.

People say a leopard can’t change it’s spots. That a person is who he is and can’t change. In my heart I know that is false. I changed. Not changing is the easy road. Don’t be afraid. Jump.

I believe it is absolutely false that it is too late for anyone. Fear is for the weak. Don’t be weak anymore. Jump.

The thought that the sin that you or I have committed is bigger than what God can forgive is false. You are the only one not forgiving you. Let it go. Be Nike. Just do it. Jump.

You can change, it is not too late, God is waiting. Jump.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 6:14

This post was written using the prompt given by the Daily Post.

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