Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Hopefully, we all give thanks throughout the year for the blessings in our life, but on Thanksgiving Day, we're reminded to stop and take stock, to give thanks to God for what He has done. Maybe it's politically incorrect, but I've never been accused of being politically correct anyway. I believe in God, I talk to Him every day, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and I treasure my relationship with Him. Today, as I look back over the past year, I have many things to be thankful for even though it's been one of the hardest years of my life.

We lost my father-in-law in May, and we still miss him terribly. This will be our first Thanksgiving without him. But I'm thankful that my children had him in their lives for so many years. I'm thankful that he left them with a lifetime of good memories. He was a man who did and said the same things over and over, which at the time irritated some. But in doing so, he left a legacy of sayings--Paism's, if you will. When the kids were small, I didn't like for them to eat candy. When we went to visit Pa, he'd put the kids in his truck and drive them to Phil's Corner and buy them a Chick-O-Stick and M & M's. To this day, we associate Chick-O-Sticks with Pa.

When we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, he'd say "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans." He always waited until every family member had filled their plate before he sat down to eat. I suspect that's a leftover from the days of the depression when his mother did the same thing, waiting to be sure there was enough before she took any. He'd pull his guitar out after dinner and play and sing, until his fingers were too gnarled with rheumatoid arthritis to play anymore.

It's sad that this Thanksgiving his children won't be gathering around the dinner table together. We're all doing our own thing with our own families and my mother-in-law, who didn't feel up to having the usual family gathering, is going to a granddaughter's house for dinner. But I'm thankful that two of my four children will be home, my grandsons will be here, and that my other two will spend the day together in California. We'll miss them both terribly, but at least they aren't alone.

I hope when I'm gone, my kids will remember me fondly instead of remembering the mistakes I made. Yes, Pa was difficult to get along with for some, but his family always, always, knew he loved them. I hope my kids know the same, that I love them, every single one of them, with an intensity I can't even describe. It doesn't matter if there were years I wanted to lock them away until they gained some common sense. Those years are past, this is now, and I love them, no holds barred. I'm so proud of each of them I could bust. There's nothing they could do to make me stop loving them, even if I was disappointed in them for a moment. Love overcomes disappointments. (Not that one of my kids has ever disappointed me in anything important. They're great kids.)

I have a husband who loves me in spite of my weight, in spite of my tendency to get mad over little things, in spite of my lack of "June Cleaver" skills. Martha Stewart I'm not. I love him with my whole heart, and I'm so glad I still have him with me.

So that's my Thanksgiving blessing. I'll be with people I love and who love me, and we'll hope that Pa and my dad are celebrating Thanksgiving right along with us, even if we can't see them. We'll feel their presence. And I totally expect to hear my husband say, "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans," as I set the green bean casserole on the table.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This has been a wild and crazy few weeks. Between tooth troubles and wearing my poor car into the ground driving 150 miles a day, doing an enrollment for a 2600 employee group (and no, I don't get all the money, only a small part of it. Don't I wish though!) and trying to get my entry ready for the Golden Heart contest, I'm dragging.

Yesterday I was at the campus police department doing enrollments, and one of the officers made the comment to someone else that anyone who said they'd never contemplated killing their spouse was lying. I got to thinking about that. I think I can honestly say the only way I've thought about killing my husband was in a literary sense. I have, however, thought about what life would be like if I was alone. I'd write for hours a day, eat whenever and whatever I wanted, go places and do things.

Wrong. I had a chance to find out what it would be like this past weekend. My husband and two oldest kids went to Branson, Missouri, to see Ray Stevens in one of his last performances before he retires at the end of this month. I was looking forward to those four days alone, had big plans for cleaning and organizing things, going shopping, eating things I wouldn't want to eat in front of the dh (read, chocolate. Lots of it!) Did I?

Nope. The days were okay, but the nights were hell. We have a budding serial killer across the street, so being alone after dark made me way more nervous than I'd expected. I didn't sleep well at all. And not sleeping well meant I didn't feel like doing much during the day. My teeth hurt too bad to eat much of anything, either. I accomplished exactly zero, but now I know I definitely don't want my dh to go away again--ever. :)

They had a great time, though, and it was good for them to spend some quality time together. They all have so many responsibilities that they don't get to do that often enough. As for me, I think I like my life just the way it is. That's not to say I still wouldn't mind winning the lottery. :)
The first pic up there is of my dh and our oldest son. The second is of the dh and our oldest daughter. Both pictures were taken at the concert.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wow, has it really been that long?

Can't believe how long it's been since I posted. I've been busy enrolling teachers in a cafeteria plan. It's been interesting, though exhausting. The highlight of the last two weeks was taking an Aflac duck to an autistic child who says "Aflac" when you ask him what sound a duck makes. He was so excited about the duck. And he was absolutely adorable. I think Aflac should hire him as their poster child.

Anyway, Golden Heart time is almost here, and I'm not sure if I'm going to skip it again this year. As the hubby says, if I were to final, it would cost him over $1000. Well, yeah, because if I finaled again, I'd definitely have to go to the National conference in Atlanta. So, since there's no way we can afford that, I'm probably going to skip it and just try to finish my latest book. There's always next year (which is what I said last year.)

I have a book recommendation for you. Blaze, by JoAnn Ross. It's as hot as its name. Whew! I needed a cold shower by the time I finished it.
JoAnn is a master at the craft of writing, and she's a darned nice lady to boot.

My news for the month: I sold a short story to Woman's World magazine. Watch for "The Christmas Wish" around December 13th. Everyone told me it was a really hard market to break into, so I almost didn't even try. First try, sold the story. Now I'm trying to see how hard it is to sell them a second story. :)

Just two more weeks of 14 hour days and 150 mile round trips to work and then I'll have more time to blog. I know you're all just waiting with bated breath out there. :)