Saturday, November 28, 2009


We have a Thanksgiving that is quite a bit different from most. Yes, we go visit family (EVERY year) but no one ever really understands what that means until you're in the midst of "family". This year happened to be the largest gathering of family yet. All told, there were 51 for dinner, a few more for the brunch that followed church service.

My husband's uncle is a priest and he hosts Thanksgiving at whatever parish he happens to be. Three years ago he retired and while the church retired him to a VERY SMALL town (population 73) they retired him to a HUGE rectory house that helps to accommodate at least most of the adults*. We didn't get to claim adult status this year and were relegated to the basement of the church (thankfully with air mattresses..still...).

Father puts on quite an event. Games (usually with cash prizes) for all, starting Wednesday evening. After chili at the rectory, those present head down to one of two of the bars in the town of 73 (two bars and a church...what else do you need?) for a "pull tab" tournament. We paired up (me with my husband...awe....), threw in $10/couple and whomever "scored" the highest dollar amount, won the tournament. First round, 10 couples NO.ONE.WON.A.PENNY. Debate ensued and we each threw in another $10/couple. And one guess who the winner was? Go ahead...guess. YUP, MOI! Not only was I the tournament winner, I happened to pull the ONLY two wins of the night...$200 and a $50. Yeah ME (although, the husband cashed in and I haven't seen hide nor hair of THAT windfall!). And the tournament win netted me (which I DID claim) another $50. I may have Christmas paid for this weekend!

Following the bar was the midnight venison fry (and were we ever thankful the husband's brother scored 3 deer this year or it would have been hamburger and that doesn't seem to have the same Thanksgiving flavor).

Church service was at 930 and getting 50+ people ready for church with only one shower takes skill in time management. Service was followed by brunch of egg dishes, several pans of caramel and cinnamon rolls, a huge platter of fresh fruit and several pans of sausage. And Bloody Marys.

Then the real games begin. Gunney sack (OK...garbage bag) races, apple races, running backwards, running forwards. All with prizes. Then the "boys" played a rousing game of touch football. This was followed by the poker tournament. Then bingo. All while keeping track of 2 football games/pools.

We actually had dinner on time, at about 630. 2-24 lb turkeys, dressing, wild rice dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, fruit salad, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and cole slaw. It was without a doubt a feast.

My oldest daughter stood on the counter in order to get all of us (or my count there were 4 adults who were there but somehow missing from the picture).

Which of course reminds me of the song...

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

Can YOU name that tune/movie? It's probably a favorite of mine...especially around this time of year.

*adults=anyone over 50 years or has a baby/toddler under 3. I'm out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Crazy!

The Husband and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the Vikings vs Seahawks game yesterday. Oh, and to be clear, it wasn't just the game, it was 4 hours to tailgating FIRST.

Note to self...must revise definition of tailgating.

It was a BALL. We were in the parking lot by about 830am, tables and chairs set up, grill going, a bloody mary bar laid out on the table. Footballs flying. Corn hole (we call them Polish Horseshoe) games a goin'.

Our host, and birthday boy, had shrimp and steak shishkabobs grilling, there was pasta salad, finger foods, birthday cake. It was a Tailgate-a-palooza!

And the people watching...well, it doesn't get much better than that (well...maybe the State Fair). I haven't laughed so much or talked so much or had such a good time in ages.

Proof keeps getting better.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

He Speaks

For more than 2 weeks, I've been praying for resolution. And it came. But in an unexpected form, to an unexpected situation. And it HURT. Like you wouldn't believe.

Thankfully, I was listening. REALLY listening. We all listen for what we want to hear but who wants to hear that we have shortcomings? And because He is merciful, He answered my prayers. He blessed me with what I wanted. But, I think He saw something I didn't *pause for moment of shocked disbelief*. He chose for me a path I wouldn't have ever considered. And after several days of reflection, I have to wonder if He saw that I was settling. Settling for less than was required of me. Is that ever right, to be held to a higher standard? Oh, I want that standard in place, don't mistake my meaning. But I think I was settling for less than I deserved. Willingly but blindly. And He opened my eyes to that.

I have stopped staring at the door that is so firmly closed to me. I've done a slow exacting circle and noticed all the windows that are wide open and realized, I am truly blessed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

As probably noted, I've been having a tough couple weeks. Many people are helping me through it and I'm thankful. I had help from an unexpected source. And while I wasn't surprised, the timing couldn't have been better.

This weekend I was a hunting widow (see last weekends post) as my husband and son were down south hunting (unsuccessfully unfortunately). My oldest daughter had a sleepover birthday party then was babysitting all day Sunday. My MIL offered to take the younger two for the night, so I was all alone for church on Sunday. I decided to go to the early service and left early enough to stop at the gas station to pick up a Sunday paper and as I got in the car, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my giant cup of coffee, so I figured I get one at the gas station as well. I went to the counter with my cup of coffee, intending to grab a paper as I walked out the door and told the attendant such. When she said, $1.75, I said OH, you forgot the coffee. Her reply? "It's on me today."

I shed a few tears over that. A free cup of coffee. A random act of kindness.

So...if things are going good for you, can I make a suggestion? Smile at someone. Hold the door for a harassed mom. Or buy some random person a cup of coffee. It doesn't cost much (or anything) and might just make someone's day turn around. Is it worth the effort?

This ends your Public Service Announcement for today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Running Home to Daddy

Yesterday, I had a bad day. And so I did what any rational 46 year old woman would do: I ran home to Daddy. Or rather I called him. Let me tell you the power a girl's daddy still has on her as an adult. When he answered the phone, recognized my voice and said "Hello me Darlin'" in a mock Irish brogue with just a touch of Staten Island thrown in, the anchors tying down my heart were removed and I immediately felt better. Like being cold and someone throws a warm fleece blanket over you. The power of a girl's dad.

I talked through my cell phone and one cordless phone dying told him what was going on here. As an adult, I took responsibility for my own transgressions, letting him know I am NOT blameless. Still, he expressed his eternal support for me, as one would expect from a dad. Between my dad and my sister, they are serving to help me gain a bit of self-respect back. And I'm grateful to them.

Later yesterday evening, I got an email from him with a story...a story I have heard countless times and it never fails to remind me of who I am..who I have always been:

I knew a little girl, around 2 years old. We were in Homestead, Fl. at the time. She was playing with the children across the street, when something happened to upset her, and home she ran, crying so hard that she knocked herself out in the middle of the road. I picked her up, me and Mom washed her face, Mom got one of the pineapple oranges, peeled, seeded and sectioned it for her, put it in a tupperware bowl, set her on the tricycle, and away she went. Up and down the sidewalk in front of our house looking across the street at the other children who caused the stress, and if there ever was a F**k you look on anyone's face, it was on that little girl's. End of story.

I am doubly blessed. Not only do I have the world's best dad, I married my father. Yup, I think it's so true that we are drawn to men who remind us of our fathers. My dad and my husband share so many attributes, it can't be just a coincidence. They are both unswervingly loyal, protective and supportive. They both put a high value on the importance of family. They're both conservative in principle. They both relish being outdoors. I could go on and on but I think the gist of what I am saying is that..I married my dad.

And I think that's a good thing. Because I have 3 daughters. And at some point in their life, they'll be going through a hurt like I am and I know that when they come running home to daddy, they'll be wrapped in the same blanket of love and support that I have been. I guarantee it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


First, I need to give special thanks to those friends who read my last entry and offered me their ears...allowing me to rant, their shoulders...allowing me an solid surface to unburden myself, and their unerring support. Your kind words have helped immeasurably.

Earlier this week, when discussing my situation for the upteenth time, my husband reminded me of the power of prayer. Oh, I've been praying but I think I have been looking for a specific answer without being willing to accept, maybe the answer is there, but not one I want to hear.

This was reinforced with church today. The husband and son were deer hunting, my oldest daughter went to an earlier service with a friend, my youngest two were in Sunday school. So that left just me. I found a seat as the adult choir were singing their opening songs and got situated. Let me preface this by saying our church is new to us and not the faith I was baptized in. Yet in the 2 years I have attended these services, I have come to love it. Two of my big issues at the beginning were: 1. the lack of 'ritual'. I was comfortable with the ritual of my old church. Of the rote responses which allowed me to respond while not being all there. Now, I wouldn't go back to "ritual" for all the manna in heaven. 2. the songs. Gone were the songs I had grown up with and these were almost 90% new to me. So, imagine my surprise when the first song that was played, that had my full attention, was one I easily recognized, the tune, but something made me pay close attention to the lyrics:

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
, what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged - Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge- Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do they friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever Lord be bringing All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded, There will be no need for prayer-
Rapture, praise and endless worship, Will be our sweet portion there.

He has my attention. Thankyouverymuch.

Then He spoke through one of today's verses: Jeremiah 17:9-10
"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be."

My epiphany? I am going to take my troubles to God. He will find a way of answering my prayers. I'm ready to listen...regardless of His answer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Metaphorically Speaking

I have a heavy heart. It's been coming on for a couple months but I think I am now at my lowest. I can't seem to pull myself out of it, probably because, from what I can ascertain, there can be no resolution...or none to my satisfaction. I guess it's what happens when your world is rocked.

Matthew Chapter 7 talks about the wise man who builds his house on rock. A solid foundation. It can withstand wind and rain and floods because of the foundation. How do you really know a foundation though? Can you peek under the rock and see more rock? No, not usually. Usually you assume that the rock is present down to the core. But what can appear to be solid rock can be a facade. Sand that shifts beneath the stone that tilts one's house. Is it an aberration? Is the foundation basically solid or is there something beneath the surface that weakens the foundation? And once the house tilts, do you shore it up and hope it is a fluke? Or do you recognize that what you believed to be solid is not and move on to another location, rebuild, paying closer attention to the foundation?

Storms happen. Sometimes they're big gales. Sometimes they're smaller. Sometimes you have warning and can prepare...can lessen the damage. Sometimes they come out of nowhere and leave you bereft . I've always thought that the best way to handle the aftermath of storms is to assess the damage and fix it. When the sun shines, the roof doesn't leak. That doesn't mean the leak is gone though and without fixing the leak, you run the risk of further damage to the roof.

When the sun shines again, do storms still have power? Even just the thought of them. The damage they can cause. The rocking of your foundation. The uncertainty that you have invested so much of yourself into something that isn't as strong or worthy of your efforts. And if you can't repair the damage, isn't there always a nagging thought in the back of your head that the next storm will cause irreparable damage?

The ultimate irony? My head says it's time to move on. But when I listen to my heart it is telling me don't give up just yet. Are heads and hearts ever on the same page?