FOREWORDS

If dreams weren't meant to come true, or give you something to strive for, why would our thoughts conjure up such things?
~~ Lynn C. Conaway ~~
Those who win the wars write the History. Those who suffer write the Songs.
~~ Irish Proverb ~~
Half an Aunt's job is to harass the young. The other half is to corrupt them. I excel at both.
~~ Laura J. Speaker ~~

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The One Where Candies Saved My Life

Our house got burgled. Again.

The last time this happened, two windows and a door were damaged before the door was kicked in. They had three hours to attempt to get in the house four times, and took many valuable things from us. We were not home, and I think they had been watching us to make sure.

I have a suspicion that every day since that one a year and a half ago, we have still been watched.

But this time, we were both gone separately. I had been babysitting all week, at the house where the kids live.

Tuesday night I could not sleep. Something was wrong, but I couldn't put a finger on it. I dreamed that we had popped a breaker on our house, and DH had gone out in the back yard to turn it back on.... where he encountered a large black bear. We were going to struggle, and it was going to be his struggle. I awoke on Wednesday, not liking what the day might hold. However, we had plans in the evening, so things would work out.

On my way home from the other house, DH and I were having what I now call "stoplight conversations". I will not write a text while driving. I shouldn't read them, either, but I sometimes do. So, this time, I was in busy traffic coming home. I had stayed out a little later than usual. I visited with the mom, we looked together at catalogs of jewelry for the party she is hosting soon. When I left, I thought of something that I wanted at Aldi, so I stopped there on my way. I ended up turned around, and went about 3 miles out of the way. I was still headed home in plenty of time to get ready for our date.

In our stoplight conversations, DH told me he was home. Next light, I listed my intersection location, and said I would be home soon. Another stop, I asked what he would like for dinner. After that, I read what his suggestions were for dinner out before our date. (No tacos, please.) The last light, I read the message that made my tummy do a flip. "Do you have my laptop?"

I didn't have another light to respond. I pulled into the driveway, shut off the car, locked it as I always do (without collecting my things) and went inside. DH was in a frustrated panic. His laptop, tablet and iPod nano were all missing. I started looking for how they got access.

We discovered a broken window on the opposite side of the house from the last time. The neighbor in the house next to us has been working to remove his wooden privacy fence, as he is getting it replaced this week. A trespasser would have been seen on that side of the house. This trip, they used the bushes that I have spent weeks trimming as a cover on the other side of the house. Though I have made great strides by myself on the landscaping, I had not done enough.

The thief/thieves broke a window in the "Dungeon", stepped over my stacks of stuff, and went directly to the places where these electronics were stored. They did not look at/touch/take any of my jewelry this time. This becomes very important in a moment. I promise to tell you in a bit.

We were both home by 5:30, and called the police almost immediately. Now, I try to be a reasonable person. I understand that a burglary, where the perpetrator is no longer in the home and no person got hurt, is NOT an emergency to the operator at 911. I get that. But we had plans.

I had paid a total of $86 for two cheap seats (plus taxes and convenience fees for ordering online) to see the Will Rogers Follies, put on by Lyric Theater, at the Civic Center Music Hall. 1. I knew the actors playing Betty Blake and Wiley Post. 2. I needed the laughter. 3. I had paid a LOT of money, and was GOING to be in those seats, no matter what. 4. I was totally terrified to leave anything in the house, for fear "they" would come back to get more of my stuff. I did not want to leave the house. I did not want to be in the house. I did not leave my laptop.

We both decided we were too stressed to eat. I took some cardboard and packing tape and a box knife, and proceeded to be in the hottest room in the house, hoping to "secure" the damage somewhat. We also decided that we were definitely attending the show, and must leave almost an hour before curtain. We had to drive downtown, find a place to park/pay for said parking and walk to the Civic Center from where we found our parking. Then we had to find the Will Call line in order to pick up the tickets. So we determined that we would have to leave by 6:40 for the 7:30 curtain. No officer showed up before we left. I still don't know if they ever did show up the day of the incident. It took them more than 45 minutes to get here on Thursday after work when we called again.

I don't normally wear expensive/valuable/inherited jewelry to go babysitting. I rarely wear jewelry at all, though I still have a lot of it that the first robbers never found. But on my Birthday weekend this year, my Bro and SIL came to hang out with DH and me for a day. When they came in the door, they handed me a box. In that box was a necklace that was my Mom's, that I had given SIL because I had most of the heirloom stuff, and "Mom had TWO daughters." I wanted SIL to have something. She is skin sensitive to plated and not as pure metals, so I made sure it was a 14 K Gold, and it had one large diamond in it, and was surrounded by 9 smaller diamonds. It is delicate and small, but real and beautiful. This necklace was sitting in a box out in the open, and was still there. Nothing in the master bedroom looked touched at all. I have been wearing it almost non-stop ever since. I won't let it go without a fight.

Either they were interrupted by Jeff coming home, or they are the same people who were here before and they knew that they already got the good stuff last time. I am convinced that it was the same people. (I have no other basis for this than they only took a few things, but the suspicion is strong.) Like they knew where to go and what might have been replaced. They missed the Wii that still isn't hooked up, they left the TV and the DVR and the two Blu Ray players. They left the remotes (they took every remote last time). They took a phone charger, because there were two black cords that were near the tablet, and they didn't know which belonged is what I would guess. The charger for my iPad (which was with me and not in the house) was left.

I sent a text to DH's Sis and her hubby, while they were working their church's Vacation Bible School. I asked for prayers for my heart (I have been overly angry about this), and our safety. They independently of each other offered any kind of assistance, from sleeping at their house to boarding up the window. On Saturday, the four of us spent most of the day trimming the hedges to be below the front window, so nobody can use them to hide anymore, and boarding up the window. I would like to say we are fine, but that is a dream from a few days ago. What I will say is that all they did was get away with stuff. They cannot steal what really matters. We are not harmed. We are just inconvenienced. While this will cost us more money, and probably raise our insurance costs again, we are left with more than most of the world will ever see, much less have. We are blessed beyond what we could ask for, even in this frustrating time.

I wonder a bit at the marvelous workings of our God. What if I had not been babysitting? What if I had not stayed late at the house, or not stopped at Aldi and then not gone out of the way to get home? What would DH have done if I were in Atlanta for the Thirty-One National Conference and 10 Year Anniversary, and he were home alone? What If ....

NO. Deep Breath! I could get lost in the What Ifs of danger. I must not think of it that way. I need to think of the What Ifs of protection and providence. What if I had been at home? Did they ring the doorbell to see if I were there? What if they came in anyway? I could be hurt, or dead.

There have been a rash of burglaries in the area, and one just a few weeks ago was a group of men who burst in and beat a 90 yr old woman inside her home, and stole almost everything they could pawn for drug money. She later died at the hospital. That was about 3 blocks from our house.

I was watching the Candy Kids, and I choose to believe that the children saved my life on Wednesday. No other explanation really fits.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Would You Have Been Worried?

I haven't been doing so well in the past few months.

We have had several issues in life, and the depression has kept me in a sort of hibernation for my own protection. 2010 stole my parents. 2011 we lost DH's grandmother (the last living grandparent he had), and had our home burglarized (they stole the best of mom's jewelry, that I hadn't even had for a year!). 2012 we lost my grandmother (my last living grandparent). My Bro and Sis had a still-born son. Then we had a hail storm that damaged our roof and two cars. In the past two months, we have lost three church friends to age and illness. I have two girlfriends separating from their husbands.

I feel like there is a big backpack full of rocks and bricks and bowling balls on my shoulders. It holds me back, pulls me down, and generally makes my life miserable.

I am amazed at how well I have held up, if you want to know the truth of the matter. I don't know why I haven't just hit the loony bin door in a white coat that helps me hug myself. The bad has been offset by good, but honestly, I haven't noticed it much. Do you ever feel that way? I notice that when the bad comes, the enemy likes to lie to me, and tell me that no good will come of it. I had quit watching for good. I had quit watching for God in all things.

I have gotten back into walking several times a week with Roadrunner again, which helps my mood. We talk about all sorts of subjects and sweat away the stress. Lately, I have been wondering if I need iron or caffeine, as our walks tend to wipe me out for the rest of the day. Today, I did a lot of grocery shopping. I accomplish much, but feel like a failure when I walk in my door and see all the accumulation of junk and dirt and dirty things that I haven't the gumption to clean/sort/trash.

Apparently, I need to mind my own advice to others. "Don't be so hard on yourself." I am a strict taskmaster. And perfectionist. And procrastinator. And judge and jury at my own trial. I gave myself my own conviction. Guilty! And that is enough of that.

My lovely friend Court had her healthy baby girl. I have yet to visit, but I am hoping to do that soon. My lovely friend Desi had a beautiful baby girl, as well. Through all the mayhem in my life, God has sent me some sweet pictures to remind me that HE is still alive, and helps us to keep living, daily.

Several people have come to me at church, saying that they notice that I have lost weight. MEN have spoken these words to me. Therefore, the walking is working. I don't notice weight loss, because I don't stand on the scale often, and I stare at the reflection every day and criticize it. I had noticed that I have rearranged where stuff sits, and I had to buy new SMALLER jeans to fit the new shape. Officially, I have lost almost 25 lbs from my highest weight ever, which was three and a half years ago. Small changes, adding exercise, removing junk food (to an extent), eating less in general at almost every meal, and keeping a food journal have helped in the process.

I am by no means "healthy" yet. I still let the depression take over sometimes. I have also tried to remember that each day is a gift and I should be grateful for the many gifts I have been given, and I should share them with joy.

I have purchased a few things that have helped me on my journey. Journal. Magnetic jewelry (I got it because it was pretty, and don't notice good or bad effects from it). Supplements that help my insides function properly.

I have NOT purchased a few things that I dearly desired, simply because I have no need of them in my clutter piles. There are books, movies and music that have stayed on the shelves at stores. I am learning to ask myself the Fly Lady questions: Will this bless my home? Do I love it? Can it bless me more if it goes to another home? Is this valuable? Can it be used by someone else to bless their home? Using these questions and her patterns of cleaning, I have filled three trash carts in the past two weeks. I have donated clothing to the local Goodwill. Over the past few years, I have taken several car loads of clothing that we no longer wear to Goodwill, as well.

Some of what was stolen has been replaced. Most of it was personal and emotional, original and irreplaceable. I don't think I can ever get back the most valuable thing they took, my naive notion that I was safe here. My mind says, "It was only S.T.U.F.F." (Stuff That Undermines Family Fun), and I don't need it." but my heart says, "They stole my mom when they stole the Family Ring."

I have to learn to live in this world of evil, and I have more to learn from my parents about how to handle evil with Jesus. I miss them fiercely.

I will be okay. It is just going to take a while longer than I thought. I have decided that is good. As long as I am working to improve, I am moving in the correct direction.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today Is The Day

Today is the day that I get up before 10, because I have things to do.
Today is the day that I find the smell in the kitchen, and clean it.
Today is the day that I do all the laundry in the house, and get it folded and put away.
Today is the day that I clean the living room, and set up the couch pieces that currently reside in the garage.
Today is the day that I call a service to clear trees in my back yard, trim/remove bushes in the front yard, and get some sod to resurface the yard.
Today is the day that I find a tile guy to redecorate the bath. Maybe he can frame the garage door on the side of the house, too.
Today is the day I stop wasting money on the gym I never bother to go to anymore.
Today is the day that I blog again.
Today is the day that I finally start up my novel.... again.
Today is the day that I stop eating for two, even though I am not pregnant.
Today is the day that I allow myself to say NO when someone asks me to do something I am not really wanting to do.
Today is the day that I stop making lists, and start working.

I think about many of these things every morning. And I get up out of bed. And I sit down in my spot on the couch, and open the computer. And it is then that I realize my addiction. I haven't blogged for MONTHS, I haven't cleaned beyond what is necessary to live, I haven't done much of anything! I have stared at Facebook. Whew! Need to stop that now.

This blog post will probably be posted to Facebook, as well. Why? Because I am that addicted.

In my professional life, I have almost always had a clean desk. It may be stacked with work, but I can always find the random piece for someone else. In my personal life, I can't say anything about organized. I have never had a good routine at home. I noticed that when I worked outside the home, the home was cleaner. I had to keep a routine!

When I was a child, our home was always cluttered. Mom and Dad both were pack rats in their own ways. Mom was a Collector, and I have that strong gene in me. I want this thing because it will match/coordinate with X, Y and Z at home. Dad was the Insulator, the one who said, "This is useful, and if I throw it out, I will need it tomorrow. I can fix that." Mom had Coca-Cola memorabilia all over the house, and a collection of lighthouses, and the collection of videos. The list grows larger every time I see what I brought home from her house. I have cookbooks, and books of every other sort. I have Precious Moments figurines, and things I have collected over the years since I left home. I also have broken computers, and parts to things I don't even remember a use for.

I can remember a time when my room was the cleanest in the house. It was a very short time. And probably right before I left for college.

All this rambling is to say that I have let the house run away without me. I have no control over the contents. The S.T.U.F.F. (from Flylady: Stuff That Undermines Family Fun) has taken over, multiplied like so many bunnies, and I am feeling crushed.

Today is the day. Today is another day in which I spend a minimum of 15 uninterrupted minutes cleaning ONE area. Dishes, probably. Sadly, Laundry and Dishes are my go-to chores. The first things I do, until I get tired and give up. I also have a goal of emptying one box. Open it, decide where things go and put them there, fold box flat and take it to my friend who is packing her home to move. Trash things... Donate things... Clean things... Find purpose or love in every THING I keep.

Psalm 118:24 (English Standard Version)

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.


So, Today is The Day.

Today is the day that I stop worrying about what others think.
Today is the day that I give up hounding myself over chores undone.
Today is the day that I allow myself to make mistakes, and be fine with that.
Today is the day that I write again.
Today is the day that I think again.
Today is the day that I water the plants. Hey, I have plants... that have survived me for over a year!
Today is the day that I stop allowing the rabbit trails to distract me.

Today is the day that I thank God for every thing I have, all I can do.
Today is the day that I expect great things from God.