Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
So I'm struggling with that whole compassion issue again. I've been convicted yet again by music - this time the song is The Face of Love by Sanctus Real. Part of it goes like this:
And You are the face that changed the whole world
No one too lost for you to love
No one too low for you to serve
So give us the grace to change the world
No one too lost for me to love
No one too low for me to serve
And then I read posts like this at Morning Coffee. Oh my do I ever fall short. When the lady called last night from the Circle K and said she was afraid of the homeless person who just approached her and asked her for money, I could empathize with her. But then she got in her big SUV and drove away, and was perfecty fine. The homeless man was likely not. Why do I have to remind myself to care about those less fortunate sometimes?
There's a lady that goes to my church, and I really don't understand her. In 2001, a man walked into the HOA meeting where her mother lived and began shooting. Her mother was killed. The man was caught and stood trial. This lady from my church was at every hearing. I would have been too. But as I would have been there praying for justice, she was there offering him forgiveness. And since then, she's gotten involved with bringing that message of forgiveness to prisoners. She's made it her ministry, and it is now her life's passion. I don't understand. Crime touched my life and now I really have no patience at all for people who are so willing to take things from other people, as I mentioned in this post. Christ loves those people too, aren't I called to do the same?
Then at Seek first His Kingdom, there was this post, and now I'm thinking I'm having such a hard time changing my mind and keeping it changed, I'm praying for God to change my heart, because I don't think I can do it by myself.
Posted by Connie at 6:31 PM
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I asked the collision repair shop that has my car to send me the pictures of it. The damage, although expensive, was not nearly as bad as I imagined it would be right after the crash. Before I got out of my car, I was just sure that my whole front end was smashed. There were some pretty nice sized dents, and the hood was buckled, but the only part of the engine that was damaged was the radiator and the radiator supports.
So anyway, I get the pictures by email, the pictures were after they took the front bumper off, and... is that... is that...styrofoam?? In the big version, that's really what it looks like, and in another picture too. Using styrofoam on cars! Who knew?! (I do have to say though, I'm pleased with how my tiny lil car weathered the crash - I was probably going 40 or so when we hit!)
I confess until I had the accident, I didn't like my car very much. I had a bad attitude. It wasn't what I wanted. I had my heart set on a red 2006 Toyota Corolla. Instead, I got a charcoal gray 2005 Ford Focus. I'm still digging out of the financial issues that losing the breadwinner of the house and then going 8 months without a job caused, and I couldn't get what I wanted. I resented that I had to settle. But you know, I miss it. It did stand up well in that accident. I need to be thankful that I can afford a car that will get me to work and the kids to school, and will be reliable. I am thankful, and I will be glad tomorrow when I get it back :)
Posted by Connie at 11:29 AM
Every now and again a song comes along that just says exactly what we feel but we can't quite put into words... Whenever I get to feeling like I can't deal with thing anymore, this is one of the songs I listen to - It reminds me where I was, because I'm certainly not at the place anymore where the best I can do is just get through the day (though I was there for quite a while after my husband's arrest) and it reminds me where I'm going, and that makes it all easier to bear.
If you are struggling, remember that God tests our faith so that we can test his faithfulness. He ALWAYS passes the test.
Album: Beauty From Pain
Song: Beauty From Pain
The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I'm alive
But I feel like I've died
And all that's left is to accept that it's over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I'm slipping away
After all this has passed
I still will remain
After I've cried my last
There'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today
Someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain
My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I wonder why God let me walk through this place
And though I can't understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how You've brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames
Here and I am at the end of me (at the end of me)
Trying to hold to what I can't see
I forgot how to hope
This night's been so long
I cling to your promise there will be a dawn
Posted by Connie at 9:09 AM
Monday, August 28, 2006
I added a new link list on my page, called May Friend's Blogs, and I wanted to tell you about these friends.
10 years and 2 weeks ago (give or take a few days) a new life was created. 10 years ago, the internet was a new and crazy idea for a lot of people, but I was hooked. So I did what any normal internet addict would do - I started visiting pregnancy sites. I found one that was a bulletin board kind of deal, and from there I heard about a website were you could join email lists that were populate by other people who were due to have babies in the same month. Sounded fun, so I decided to give it a try, and joined the may97 list. I didn't realize those few clicks to get to the website and those few keystrokes to subscribe to the list would change my life forever. And mostly in a good way ;)
There were moms (and a dad!) from all over the world, friendships were made, and bonds were formed. We talked about birth options, doctor visits, weight gain, swollen ankles, and what labor is like. As May 1997 approached, we had a couple of moms deliver early, some WAY too early. We waited together for the next post from Ginny and Colleen to hear how their micro-preemies were, always hopeful for good news, but always a little afraid of the bad. And then we waited for our own big day, when we could hold our own babies in our arms and share our experiences. The conversations changed then to feeding methods, diaper choices, schedules, going back to work, and the joys of getting up to change diapers at 3am. We had our fair share of disagreements, some that required asbestos underwear, but those that stuck it out became more than friends. We became family.
Yes, that email list is still going strong. I'm not sure how many we started with, but we've still got over 100 members. Now the discussion is about anything and everything, and we still have our disagreements. As usual, religion and politics always have the potential to stir things up a bit, and this is quite a diverse group of women (and a dad!) Families fight sometimes, but families are also there for each other, and this is very true of this group. These are the people that have helped support me through some of the toughest times in my life, and I have great respect for each and every one of them.
So May Moms - You've each been a blessing to me and I love you!
Posted by Connie at 2:35 PM
I'd really love to know what inspired your blog's name. Does it have some special meaning to you?Ok, I'll play! When I set up my blog, I was really just playing around, not sure if I would follow through with blogging, and This Little Blog of Mine was the first thing that popped into my head for a title.
I thought the word little was appropriate because I didn't (and don't) expect it to be read by thousands of people on a daily basis. Definitely small scale. Also, I liked the play on the words with the song title This Little Light of Mine. I wanted my faith to be evident in my blog as I want it to be evident in my life. I don't want to be preachy or heavy handed, but I want my attitudes and actions to serve as a light so that others may see Christ better. I don't always succeed, in my blog or in my life, but I'll keep trying :)
Posted by Connie at 8:29 AM
Saturday, August 26, 2006
That panda video got me thinking about a panda music box figurine that my mom bought when I was a child. I used to play that thing over and over, I even took it to show and tell at school once (without my mom knowing :P So lucky I didn't break it!) I just loved it, but I don't know what happened to it, that was almost 30 years ago (*gulp*) So just out of curiosity, I checked on eBay, and omgoshomgoshomgosh!! THERE IT IS!!!
Now to win the auction...
UPDATE: I WON I WON I WON!! My mom passed away when I was 10, so this is something special for me :)
Posted by Connie at 6:08 PM
Someone calls 911 from a payphone at a business and hangs up. We call the number back as we're supposed to do, and the payphone does not accept incoming calls, so we don't send officers out. This is repeated 6 times.
Then the person goes into the business, and calls 911, and hangs up before speaking to an operator. We call the number back, as we're supposed to do, and there is no answer, so we dispatch officers. It's a busy Friday night, so the call holds for about 15 or so minutes.
In the time that it's holding, the person, who is male, calls back and says "I can't wait for you people, too much abuse!" and hangs up. No answer on call back.
He calls again, and rambles something else, hangs up, no answer on call back.
Lather, rinse, repeat 4 times, except the last time on call back, he yells into the phone "WILL YOU PEOPLE STOP CALLING ME?!?!" Well yeah, if you stop calling us!! But he doesn't stay on the line for us to tell him that.
Officers go out, nobody answers the door. A few minutes later, the man calls 911 again. He yells "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" and hangs up. We'd be glad to, if you'd STOP CALLING 911!!
Posted by Connie at 2:10 PM
Friday, August 25, 2006
that my boy needs a positive male influence in his life...
Being the sleep deprived mama I am these days, I decided to pick up fast food for dinner (I know, I know...) so we went through the drive thru at Jack-in-the-Box. The 9 year old girl got a kids meal that had a small plastic baseball in it, and the 6 year old boy got a kids meal with a small plastic baseball bat in it.
Little boy was all excited and said:
"OH GOOD! Now we can play FOOTBALL!!!"
Posted by Connie at 3:56 PM
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I got word at work last night that I will be in the next radio (or police dispatcher) training class, it starts on October 9th. I requested this, because I want to make sure I have marketable skills should I decide I want to move out of Arizona (I am considering it as a long term goal.) I figure if I can dispatch here, I can dispatch anywhere. On one hand, I'm very excited about it. It means more opportunities even if I stay here, more flexibility in scheduling, and a pay raise. I find it very interesting on that side of the room :) On the other hand, I don't know that I'm fully recovered from 911 training and that was almost 2 years ago! It's just very intense, and radio training has the potential to be worse. It's about 6 months worth of training. One of my friends went through it recently and seemed just overwhelmed a lot of the time. She said "I just hate feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. There is no time there to not know what you are doing!" And there's so very much to learn. Sometimes I doubt I have what it takes. But I know I have to try.
Posted by Connie at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
My 6 year old is an incredible reader. He can read things like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe out loud, with feeling, and understand what it is that he's read. I thought my 9 year old was an awesome reader when she was reading chapter books at the end of kindergarten, but he is way better than she was at his age. The difference between the two of them is that she is the child who comes home from school and gets disappointed when she's done with her homework because she wants more. She is the child who on the second day of summer break asks how many days until school starts? She is the child who does well with rules. He is not that child. He is the child who would rather wrestle with his friend than listen to what the teacher has to say. He is the child who on the bus sits with his head where his feet should be and feet where his head should be, just because he knows he's not supposed to and the bus driver can't see him. His kindergarten teacher suggested that he needed at atmosphere that was more structured and disciplined, otherwise he'd never get done what he needed to get done. Sometimes I think he got that gene from his father's side of the family (I hear rumors that my husband was a lot like that in school, and his other two sons are definitely the class clowns,) sometimes I think it's the effect that not having a father around is having on him. I don't know.
So here we are in 1st grade, a month has gone by, and my sweet boy is struggling. Because he's such an incredible reader, they put him in a 2nd grade reading class. The problem is that while he reads like a 2nd (or 3rd) grader, he doesn't spell like one. They've got him bringing home 20 spelling words a week with some hard words on there. Before this year, he'd never seen a spelling list in his life! And he doesn't get some of the more advanced concepts, like alphabetizing, like they have the 2nd graders doing. He comes home on a daily basis and says "I don't think I'm ready for a 2nd grade reading class," and "I hate being in a 2nd grade reading class, they expect me to know things I don't." I'm all for challenging kids to do their best, but I'm not for asking a kid to dive when they don't even know how to swim.
I've emailed his teacher, so I'll wait to hear back from her before I start worrying too much. But sometimes I really hate being the only one here to make the decisions for my kids.
Update: I heard back from my son's teacher teacher, and she and my son's reading teacher agree with me. They are putting him in the 1st grade class tomorrow. I'm relieved :)
Posted by Connie at 6:21 PM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Maybe I have the wrong attitude. It's entirely possible, maybe even probable. Because I've had a bad attitude concerning this person since she told me it would have been better if I would have found out about the abuse that was happening on my own and we could have kept it in the family. ... No, I've had a bad attitude since I realized that she plays favorites with family members and my kids always got the short end of the stick. It's one thing if it's between cousins that certain kids get shafted, that's bad enough. But when the kids getting shafted are half siblings and live with the kids getting favored, that's not so good. And that's how it was in this case. I say was because since my husband's arrest, the two half siblings have moved out of state with their mom.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. There is a certain family member (family to me by marriage) who lives in the metropolitan area, but still far enough away that it's a big ordeal to go visit one another. This certain family member always remembers birthdays and Christmas, and buys my kids presents. If we have a birthday party and she is invited, she comes, and she makes a point of stopping by at Christmas to give the kids their presents. But the rest of the year, we don't see her. And we don't hear from her. She doesn't call to talk to the kids, she doesn't call to ask how they are, we only hear from her when it's time to give someone a gift. Then it's "I tried to get this here on time but I was so busy at work, and you know I have my newest grand daughter every weekend, it was just so hard to get to the store..." or "I've been working two jobs so I could buy a little more for the kids, but Ive got arthritis in my back and...." and "my husband doesn't know I spent this much, he'd be so mad if he did.." That's right! As an added bonus, every gift comes with an all expense paid guilt trip!
So, my 9 year old's birthday was in May. We didn't have a major party, just cake and ice cream with our immediate family. This family member sent my daughter a card that said she had a gift for her and would bring it over within a week or so. The beginning of August rolled around, and we had not heard from this family member again. Then one day, the two younger kids were outside playing, and the 9 year old came running in with a white trash bag saying "Look what I found!!!" It had a purple backpack that had a small skateboard strapped on to the bottom. No note, just the trashbag with a backpack in it. I was a little freaked out by it, partially because where it was in the yard because it meant that someone had to come far up into my yard by my front door. And who would just leave something there like that and not say something? I considered calling the police and asking them to pick it up as found property. But the kids were excited and were sure there was nothing creepy about it. I gave in and let them keep it. I was thinking it was the next door neighbor, who has been very kind to us since she saw the police here on March 1st, 2004.
Last night, I went to a birthday party for one of the other family members, and this certain family member was there. She said to me "So did C get her birthday present?" I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, and I'm sure I gave her a look like she was from Mars or something. "Oh when the boys were in town I asked their mom to drop it by your house since she was staying close by!" Then it clicked. The mystery gift it the white trashbag was my daughter's birthday present! And of course that was followed by "I've just been way too busy or I would have brought it by myself blah blah blah blah..." She seemed slightly offended that we didn't thank her for it before she asked.
How do you explain to someone that it's not the obligation but the thought that counts? How do you get through to someone that the gift that kids want most is their presence, not their presents? Of course this all makes me think about what kind of gift giver I am. Do I wrap my gifts in guilt trips also? I pray I can always keep in mind that it really is the thought that counts, but time is worth more than anything.
Posted by Connie at 9:01 AM
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Shhhh, don't tell anybody - it's my birthday (August 20th) I'm 39. Really. I know a lot of people say they are 39 because they don't want to admit that they've passed 40, but I really am 39. For the first time. There seems to be some magic line that if you cross 40, you're suddendly old. At work when I ask people the age of a suspect they'll say "in his 30's I'd guess, not young, but not old." But a lot of times when they say the suspect is in his 40's they'll say "he was really old, like 40!" Of course, when you're 18 I guess 40 is ancient. So, part of me is still somewhat freaked out that *I* am almost 40! How did that happen??? Yesterday I was 27 and now I'm almost 40, what kind of sick joke is that?!? But part of me is coming to terms with the fact that I am.... mature. At least chronologically.
Last year at this time, I was like a butterfly in a chrysalis. My son's counselor pointed me to a book that helped me tremendously, and then I read another by the same author and those books at a significant impact on my life. They were kind of new agey which I am not into at all, but there were some huge nuggets of truth in them that helped me better understand my value to God. Those nuggets were basically that a) we all need to accept our own responsibility for the drama in our lives. b) we need to realize that life is messy. Life is about cleaning up those messes, and being ok with the fact that we have to. Whether they are messes we make ourselves, or messes others have brought into our lives by the way they have treated us and the the false things they have taught us. And c) if we don't respect ourselves, nobody else will either. In August of 2005, I took a little trip to Sedona, Arizona all alone. I left my oldest (20 at the time) in charge of the other kids, I got myself a hotel room, and I went. While I was there, I spent a lot of time figuring out just what things I had learned about myself through life, which things were true, and which were just crap. A lot of how I felt about myself was based on these false things that people in my life taught me. I had a step mother who told me over and over again that I had absolutely no sense in anything, a step brother who told me he thought I was retarded, and a dad who didn't tell me anything. So what I learned from him was that I wasn't worth saying anything to. There were other things, but God clearly showed me how those false things I learned lead to some of the poor decisions I've made in life (and honey there have been plenty.) God also showed me that I have been so angry with myself for those poor decisions, that now I was the one being mean to me. I hiked up a mountain in Sedona, and there in the rain, I surrendered all that hurt, all those false things, and all that anger to God. I was finally able to forgive myself for years and years of self abuse. And when I did that, I could feel that God forgave me too, and then it stopped raining, and the sun came out. I was a totally different person when I hiked back down. Like the butterfly who looks nothing like that catarpillar it once was.
One thing I did last year was start a journal that I haven't been keeping up with very well. In it, there is a list of questions that I found in these two books, designed to keep in touch with who you are, where you are going, what is working in life and what is not. I intended to go back and answer them every 3 months, I haven't done that. Now seems like a good time to answer those questions again since it's been a year, and it's also my birthday. So, here goes:
What is your favorite color? Green
What is your favorite food? Chocolate is a food, right?
What is your favorite song? Blessed be the Name by Matt Redman, and Beauty from Pain by Superchick
What is your most valued possession? My Bible, my camera, and the thousands of pictures I've taken over the years.
What is your greatest strength? My simple faith, my compassion for others
What is your greatest weakness? Food, I have no willpower (although, I'm working on that.)
What is your best skill? I'm not sure it's my best skill, but I'm pretty good at calming people down when they are upset
What was your greatest mistake? Believing that I wasn't capable of taking care of myself and my kids on my own. (Last year my answer to this was marrying my husband, but now I clearly see a cause and affect thing here.)
What is your greatest fear? Dying while my children are young and leaving them orphans.
What is your greatest accomplishment? My kids, my job and taking care of myself and my kids quite well for the past 2 years. (Of course I had God's help, but before I had a hard time trusting Him to be able to enable me to take care of my family.)
What is the one task you are least fond of doing? Want the whole list, or just the top 10? I think it's laundry, because while I don't hate it, it just never ends.
If your life ended today, what is the one thing everybody who knows you would say about you? She was strong (they'd be wrong!) and she loved her children
What would you want them to say? She was faithful in serving the Lord
Why wouldn't or couldn't they say what you want them to say? ......Do I have to answer that?
Where am I? A 911 operator in Arizona, an almost single mom of 5 kids. Overall, I'm not unappy with where I am.
How did I get here? Married the wrong person, now I'm healing and recovering so that I don't have to stay here if I don't want to.
What was I trying to accomplish by making that decision? Looking for the love I didn't feel for myself, looking for someone to take care of me and be responsible because I didn't feel capable of doing it myself.
What do I really want? To serve God more, to write, to continue to help my family heal
How can I get to where I want to be from here? Keep trusting God, I don't think I'm on the wrong track.
Things I don't like about me: I'm lazy, I hate housework, mess does not bother me, I can be pretty selfish, I am impatient, I am not outgoing and friendly enough, and I'm terrible about keeping in touch with people, and I'm not nearly as trusting as I used to be
Things I like about me: I am a good mom, I'm a good friend, I can be creative and funny when the mood for either strikes, I am a decent cook, and I'm open and honest.
Posted by Connie at 10:02 PM
Tuesday was pretty awful before the accident happpened, and then once it did my attitude got really bad and stayed there for a while. I confess I was whiney, impatient, and selfish. I am sorry for my sinful behavior following the accident.
I was at work for 4 hours of a 12 hour shift last night, until the pain in my neck and shoulders got to be too much (Hitting an almost still object at almost 50 MPH is going to have some pain involved!) While I was there though, I took quite a few accident calls. Each time I heard someone say "I've just been in an accident" I cringed a little because that impact is still so fresh in my mind. There was definitely a difference in how I responded to the human being on the other end of that phone line. Not that I was ever apathetic to those people, but accident calls had become routine. There was a new compassion and caring there, and I think I needed that. Now, following that logic, I really don't need to be shot or have a loved one get shot, because I really am a compassionate person! Just now I don't think I can think of a car accident as routine.
So maybe God didn't allow me to be in this accident because I had something to learn, but He can bring something good out of it, besides teaching me patience :P (which obviously I need to learn!)
Posted by Connie at 6:31 PM
Here's another one of those things from our own personal horror story in which God showed Himself in a mighty way.
When my husband was arrested, I was working part time at a preschool as a teacher's aide. He had been the breadwinner, and everything I made (which wasn't much) was just extra. Our youngest went with me and attended school there, and aside from those 3.5 hours a day, I was a stay at home mom.
"How are we going to survive??" was a very big question. I worked at the school for the previous 3 years, and before that I spent some time just taking care of the kids. I didn't finish college, I had no recent marketable skills, and I was afraid. I added everything up, and came up with a dollar amount that I needed to make in order to keep the house and feed my kids. It seemed impossible. I prayed about it, and friends prayed about, and when I felt human enough again, I started sending out resumes and applying for jobs. I thought for sure I'd find SOMETHING, even if I had to take a job temporarily until one that paid enough came along. I got NO responses, no interviews, nothing. I went to a temp agency, and did well on their skills testing, they said I should have no problem finding an assignment that could turn permanent. I called every day asking for work, and every day they said call back tomorrow. Finally I quit calling. During this time, I saw an ad online for a job with the police deparment as a 911 operator. I thought "I can do that!" Then I thought, "no, I can't do that." I waffled for a long time, interested one day and terrified of the idea the next. There was nothing else opening up anywhere, so finally I took the test. I had to, the starting pay was slightly more than that magic number I determined I needed. It was one of those deals where you take the test, and if you pass, they may or may not call you back. They kept an eligible list for 6 months and if they called by then, great, if not, so sorry. I took the test in July of 2004. I had my one and only interview that same day with another company that paid close to what I needed to make, I convinced myself that I wanted the one that didn't involve people screaming in my ear that someone had been shot. But God knew differently and I didn't get that other job. I was disappointed, feeling rejected, and still very afraid that I was going to lose my house. I had help, but I knew I couldn't keep depending on others to pay my house payment. Finally in September, I got a call back from the 911 job. It was one of those hurry up and wait situations! After the initial test, there was another test. And then an interview. And then a background investigation and a polygraph. I kept waiting for the rejection, but on October 8, 2005, the background investigator called me and said "Can you start the training class on Monday?"
The ONLY job that opened up the whole time was the ONLY job that paid enough to meet the needs. And I know it was a God thing. As it turned out, I couldn't start the class when it was first offered, I had to wait until the next class, which started November 22nd. Because during the background investigation I had to tell them what we had been through with my husband, they knew I desperately needed a job, and they let me work in a different department before the class started so that I could start earning a paycheck. I worked those two weeks in the employment services bureau, which is the bureau that handles the background investigations. One day toward the end of my two weeks there, the office manager pulled me aside and said to me "We know what you've been through, and we know this Christmas is looking a rough for you and your kids. The thing about the police department is we're family. We fight like family, but we take care of each other like family. Will you please let us take care of you and your kids this Christmas?" And they did.
It's still a God thing. I've been there almost two years now, and I still love it. Sure it's stressful, and there are are things that get to me, but for the most part I don't take other people's tragedies home with me. When something bad happens, I pray for those people, I trust that even though I don't always know what happes, God does, and then I move on. It feels good though to know that I am the one who can get them the help they need.
Occasionally, I get a call from a mom who suspects her child is being harmed in the same way my daughter was. I thought that would bother me, and I wouldn't be able to do it. But you know, I am GOOD at those calls. I hate it when they come in, but I'm always thankful that I was the one that answered the call, because I can offer those people something nobody else in that room can - understanding because I've been there, and hope because we've made it through.
Posted by Connie at 1:48 AM
Thursday, August 17, 2006
That's what I've been doing all day. The past two days really. Call the insurance company, wait for a call back. Call the rental car company, wait for the insurance company to call them. Call the tow yard, wait till I have a rental car so I can go down there and release my car to the body shop.
One thing I've learned over the years is not to pray for patience. When you do that, God only gives you more things that will test your patience, and if you had the patience, you wouldn't be asking for more! So instead I've been praying for peace. I KNOW God will give me that - He always does.
Posted by Connie at 1:29 PM
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Oh my achin' head. And neck. And shoulders. And chest. Bruises abound. One of the girls who was in my car was going to see a doctor today, and I'm waiting on a return phone call from the parents of the other two. My son says he's fine, just achy, and he didn't go to school today. So praise God the injuries weren't worse.
Hopefully the insurance stuff won't be too much of a hassle, but so far I haven't heard back about getting a rental car or where mine needs to be taken to be looked at. Oh joy...
Posted by Connie at 1:57 PM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The sadness I mentioned earlier has lingered (which is kind of strange for me, but I guess I've been more stressed out than I've been willing to admit to myself,) and then it got worse with a letter from....him. I am so frustrated and fed up, I've been on the verge of tears. On the way to pick my son and his friends up from play rehearsal, I called my friend Becky and asked if we could hit Starbucks later on. She agreed and I was able to pull myself together enough to pick the kids up without them knowing I was about to become a blubbering mess. I had my 17 year old son, a 14 year old daughter of a friend of mine, and then two of my son's friends from school. I was driving along, minding my own business, when this white car pulled out of a parking lot in front of me. I tried to stop but I couldn't, and I hit the driver's side rear of his car. He spun around, my airbags deployed and shattered my windshield, it did quite a number on my front end. The good news is it wasn't my fault. The best news is that nobody was seriously injured. I've got scratch/burns on my arms from the airbag and my chest feels like I've been hit in the sternum with a baseball bat. It could have been a lot worse, and I thank God it wasn't worse. But now I really just want to curl up and sleep for a week or so. RATS! There goes my 9+ years of no tickets or accidents.
Posted by Connie at 7:15 PM
I didn't bike today, but I was doing something else important, and equally as taxing but in a different way. I was preparing the documents for the big D to send to my husband for him to sign so we can get this thing over and done. On one hand, I'll be happy to put this sorry mess behind me. I've grown tremendously and am not the same person I was on March 1st, 2004. On September 20th 2006, if everything goes as planned, I will be free. On the other hand, I'm really kind of sad about it. I'm sad that the things that happened happened. I'm sad that so very many people were hurt, not just his victim. I'm sad that what I thought was a pretty good solid marriage was really just a mirage. I'm sad that I've been pushed from being supportive of him to never wanting to speak to him again. I'm sad that sin has destroyed yet another marriage. I know God hates divorce, and it's not something I have taken lightly. If you think about it, please pray for me, for us... for healing all the way around. Thanks.
Posted by Connie at 11:49 AM
Monday, August 14, 2006
I can't believe it's week 4! At work we have this nifty map that has a lot of fun little tools, including a tool to measure distances within the city. So last night at work, I figured out that my friend Becky actually lives 1.38 miles away if you take the foot bridge, so when I rode to her house and back last week, it was actually more than 2.5 miles that I rode. Yay me! No wonder I felt all blobbery when I got back (not to mention it was 100+ outside!) Today again, I really didn't want to. I really wanted to sleep. But I rode anyway. This time it was a little less than 2 miles, according to the map at work. I don't know that I've lost any weight (confession time - a breakfast burrito from Armando's followed me home from work on Saturday! It wasn't my fault! But, I only ate half of it :P) but even still, I know it's making some difference because today even though I was hot and sweaty and tired, I didn't feel so blobbery for quite as long. I will keep at it.
Posted by Connie at 5:36 PM
Today is the day that Apples Of Gold by Lisa Samson releases! My 14 year old has been bugging daily about this book, so I think we might have to make a detour on the way home from school this afternoon to pick it up. From Amazon.com:
“Once upon a time, many years ago, when true love walked hand in hand with kisses and promises, and decisions were made to last forever, two girls received a summons to appear before the governor.…”
So begins the story of two sisters in a long-ago land who are presented with a precious gift. The governor wants the young women to protect and care for this gift until the return of his son, the prince of the land. Upon the prince’s return, one sister will be chosen to serve the prince according to how the gift was cared for–and both sisters will be surprised by what the prince wants to offer the one who best cherishes the gift.
The young women have dreams of being happy and loved. But how they see the gift–and themselves–will determine how that gift is treasured and what will remain of their dreams.
Apples of Gold is a powerful parable about the beauty of sexual purity and the prize that awaits those who are committed to the keeping of such a gift.
It's a message that I wish someone told me. To me it seems a lot of the problems that plague women today is that many of them have a hard time seeing their value in God's eyes, they listen too much to what the world says about them. I know that's been at the root of a lot of my problems in life. So I'm looking forward to having another tool to help teach my daughters who they are in Christ.
And if it's not totally obvious from my links, I think Lisa Samson is a wonderful author. Each book of hers that I've read has really touched me. She writes with a realness and honesty that I have found rare in Christian fiction. So if you have a teenage girl in your life, get this book! There is also a blog specifically for this book aimed at teenage girls, what a great idea!
Update: Got it, read it, LOVE it!
Posted by Connie at 9:09 AM
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Today my 9 year old was doodling random objects and naming them, and she came up with Claude. Then she started making up a story about how Claude was very sad one day, and how he dealt with being sad (she was just coming home from her counseling appointment.) Her story was very cute, and she was very excited about it. So she and I have set out to write a children's book about Claude. We've already clashed on artistic differences. She insists on using the word had whenever she uses the past tense. "He had asked the teacher..." And of course, she's in 4th grade, so she knows ever so much more than me, because I don't even go to school! I thought that bit didn't start till they were teenagers?!
Posted by Connie at 3:56 PM
Friday, August 11, 2006
I tend to read a lot because I can do almost whatever I want between calls. When I'm not reading, I'm beading, or pacing back and forth so that I don't fall asleep :P (Working nights is HARD! But one does what one has to do.)
I finished Bad Ground, by W. Dale Cramer a few weeks ago. Good book, I recommend it. Jeremy is a 17 year old high school student who becomes an orphan when his mother dies of cancer. She leaves him a note that tells him to go find his father's brother, because the both have something to give other that nobody else can. Perplexed, Jeremy sets out to find his uncle and is forever changed. My favorite passage was when the main character Jeremy was talking to one of the other miners about sharing his faith and how you really can't tell anybody anything unless you've walked a mile in their shoes, otherwise they won't trust you. The older and wiser miner says "Even Jesus couldn't make his deciples understand what He was saying until after he got crucified and raised from the dead." Jeremy responds, "yeah well, I don't think I'm exactly dealing with disciples here if you know what I mean." 3 weeks later, the response of the older miner still lingers in my brain. He says "It could just be, if the people around you ain't disciples, it's because you ain't Jesus." Definitely one of those light bulb moments!
I also read Welcome to Fred, by Brad Whittington. I recommend this one too. A nice blend of humor with enough there to leave you thinking about well after you're done reading it. It's one of those stories of how and when faith becomes real and personal to the child of Christian parents (or in this case, a preacher's kid.) I loved this definition from the very first page! I have a couple of teenagers who hang around my house a lot, so I see his point!
Adolescence: Insanity; a (hopefully) temporary period of emotional and mental imbalance. Symptoms: mood swings, melancholia, rampant idealism, insolvency. Subject takes everything too seriously, especially himself. Causes: parents, raging hormones. Known cures: longevity, homicide. Antidotes: levity, Valium.Living with Fred is definitely on my Amazon wish list :)
Posted by Connie at 5:23 PM
That's me! I didn't ride today, I didn't exercise, and I made excuses for it. And I do notice that I don't feel as energetic today as I have on the days that I've gone for a ride. I'll start again on Monday, but continue to watch what I eat in the meantime.
But see, admitting this is a big step too, because in the past I'd believe the excuses I made as valid. Always gotta look at the bright side :)
Posted by Connie at 5:00 PM
I have a confession to make. I'm having a compassion problem. I have plenty of compassion for people with all sorts of problems, but not people who commit crimes. I know all sin is sin, and I know I am no better in the sight of the Lord than the people who rape, rob, murder and steal, but I'm having a hard time mustering up any compassion for the people behind the crimes. I had compassion for my husband for a long time after he was arrested, in fact I was one of his biggest supporters. Then he kept lying to me, trying to control and manipulate me, and being a selfish narcissistic jerk and my compassion for him is gone. I can and do forgive him. However I do not ever want to see or speak to him again. He's got to be either mentally ill or demon possessed, or both, which would cause him to behave the way he does. But I think I've lost the ability to think of him in terms of a human being. I know in my head that God can change him, the problem is, I don't believe he will LET God change him, because he believes the lies he tells himself.
On the morning of Easter this year, I got home from work to find my daughter's car sitting on nothing but the rotors. Tires, rims, hubcaps, lugnuts, all gone. They didn't even have the courtesy to put it on cinder blocks. She made a police report, replaced the tires, and thought that was that. It wasn't. She went to have her car serviced because the a/c isn't working, and they told her they can't fix it because of all the damage to the underside of the car. Everything is all bent, and the estimate is around $3500. It's a result of them dropping her car on the ground when they stole the tires.
My daughter's former roommate was kidnapped at gunpoint in April. She was forced to empty her checking account and drive to Nevada, where the guy raped her. Thankfully he left her alive and she was able to return to Arizona. I can't even imagine what that poor girl has been through.
Police in Mesa Arizona have captured two suspects in connection with a random "serial shooter." When they were arrested, one said they were engaging in "random recreational violence." What kind of person thinks violence is an acceptable leisure activity??
I'm just so tired of people who are so willing to take things that are not theirs to take, you know? Whether it's a bike, tires, a car, a child's innocence, someone's dignity, or someone's life. I just have no compassion for those people. I would be awful at a ministry that went into prisons to show love to those people. I think Jesus would have compassion for them. He wouldn't like what they did/were doing, but I know He loves them and wants them saved as much as He loves me.
I don't know how to fix this problem. Sometimes I'm not sure I want to.
Posted by Connie at 4:56 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2006
So here is one of those stories I mentioned about God's love and provision through what has without a doubt been the single most horrific event in my life.
In early 2004, my husband agreed that we should become members of the church we had been attending for the past 5 years. We were heavily involved and participating, he just didn't want to become a member because there was one thing on the church's statement of faith that he did not agree with (he's a post-mil kinda guy, whereas the church is very pre-mil.) It wasn't an issue that was big enough for him to not want to go there, but he didn't want to lie and say he believed that during the membership process if he didn't (of course, all the other things he lied about... but... that's not my point!) But the church wanted him to help teach our adult enrichment class (aka Sunday School) and one has to be a member to do that. The church agreed to let us become members, acknowledging that one difference, and everybody was ok with that. There were some hearts that had to change to allow this to happen. During the membership classes, the pastor told us that one of the benefits of membership was that they placed a higher priority on helping members in need than people who just showed up every week. It was a committment thing on both sides. We were welcomed as members on February 8th, 2004. On February 29th, 2004, my husband took my daughter with him to meet in person a pedophile he had met on the internet. They had set a date of March 12th for the 3 of them to get together in a hotel room, and I think you can figure out what the reason for that is, because I surely can't type it. My husband was arrested March 1st.
The creator of the whole universe reached down and saved my daughter. I have little doubt that she would not be here today if God had not intervened. He set us in the place where we needed to be to get help the help we would need, then He stopped this evil that was brought into our lives.
Posted by Connie at 10:32 AM
I've developed this addiction lately with blogs and following the links in blogs. Recently I came across BooMama's Blog and all the posts about God's grace, abuse, and healing. One of the commenters said "I mean if God allowed this to happen to your kid would you just praise God and say he had a reason for it?" and I responded to that with this:
God did allow this to happen in my family. It was my child. She was 6 at the time. And her abuser was the person I trusted most in the world. I can tell you my reaction, and it wasn't to immediately praise God. I was angry, angry on so many levels, at so many people. The anger came and went, but mostly stayed. I cried a LOT. I wondered why. Why didn't I see it? Why didn't she tell me? Why her? Why me? Some days the hurt was so big it was crushing. But as time went on, I began to see God's fingerprints on the situation. God knew what was going on, He gave the abuser a chance to stop and make things right, He put me and my family in the place where we needed to be to get the help we would need, and then He stepped in to rescue my daughter. Eventually, I got to the point where I saw that I had to choose to praise God. It's a choice we make. You know it's pretty hard to be depressed when you are thanking and praising God! At least, it was for me. I would have been crushed under the weight of all that happened if it weren't for occasionally being able to thank God anyway. And when you do that, you find things to be thankful for.There are real and tangible testimonies of God's love and provision throughout our horror story. I want to be able to share these stories, and it's originally why I started this blog in the first place, but I've chickened out as time went on. Why? Not because I am ashamed - I'm not. I did nothing wrong and my daughter did nothing wrong. More because I didn't know if anybody would read them or get anything from them, if I was wasting precious internet space. But I think it is important for me to tell them, both for myself, and even if only 1 other person gets anything from them. So that's what I'm going to do, little by little share why we have hope, and why we have faith in the One that can give peace that passes understanding.
And I'll tell you, I didn't get past the anger at God until I got past the anger at myself. And it wasn't just because I felt guilty this happened to my daughter. I had been angry at myself for years. How can you forgive anybody else when you loathe yourself? It's pretty hard! I was angry at myself because I believed all the lies Satan told me over the years - I wasn't a good enough mom, I wasn't smart enough, pretty enough, witty enough, skinny enough... When I sifted through all that trash and got to the truth about my value to God, THEN I was able to get rid of a lot of that anger. And my life has never been the same. God DOES love you, and He did when you were being abused. He loved me when my father was hitting me with a 2x4 telling me how stupid I was. And He loves my daughter too. While I am not thankful for the evil this man brought to our lives, I am thankful that God knew about it, and knew how to take care of us through it.
Two and half years later, my daughter is 9 now, and she's still healing. Most of the time I think she's doing pretty well. Some of the time I think she's playing the "I'm ok, you're ok" game. When she gets to the point where she's ready to ask God "why did you let that happen to me?" I'm sure God will be expecting the question. If she listens hard enough, I have no doubt He'll give her the answer.
Posted by Connie at 9:49 AM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
It's a very good word, don't you think? I think it's perfect! Coined by my 6 year old son, it describes exactly how I feel right now. Blobbery. Not to be mistaken for blubbery, which means being in a condition of blubbering, or crying, blobbery is that feeling you have when you are emotionally, mentally, or physically drained. When your arms and legs feel like rubbery goo, and it's difficult to force words out of your mouth. That's ok, because when you're blobbery, you really don't have the will to move anyway. Sometimes it can be a good blobbery, and sometimes it can be a bad blobbery.
I feel blobbery. I rode probably about 2 miles today, which for me is amazing :P I'm old and out of shape, but each day I've gone farther than the day before. Today I wanted to go see my friend Becky, and I needed to ride, so I decided to be efficient about it and do both at the same time. She probably lives about a mile away if you take the foot bridge over the freeway. I really did NOT want to go ride today. I worked overtime last night (lack of sleep sucks but the money's decent) and I was tired! But in reality, I was more lazy than tired, and God is dealing with me on that. So I went. I thought I might die on my way back, but here I am, typing away, so I survived. I even managed to not get smooshed by cars. And now, I feel really blobbery. It's definitely a good blobbery.
Posted by Connie at 11:53 AM
Monday, August 07, 2006
I am beginning week 3 of this get healthy thing. I took the weekend off from riding the bike, but still tried to watch what I ate. That was hard though, as we had a birthday party to go to. Still I never gorged myself, or felt really full, so I'll take that. I wasn't even tempted to overindulge in food, I think because I realize that I'm really hurting myself when I do that, and I need to quit being so mean to me. This morning I did. not. want. to. exercize. I did it anyway. Today I rode farther than I have been riding, in less time, and I wasn't nearly as winded as when I started, and my legs aren't screaming. Nor is my butt from that seat (butt callouses? :P) The bad news is I think my son is going to start riding his bike to school because he landed a part in the school musical Godspell, and rehearsals are after school. The sweet boy doesn't want to make me use the gas in going back to school to pick him up. So, I think it's time to find me a bike.
Posted by Connie at 8:30 AM
Sunday, August 06, 2006
What is peace? I read a comment on a message board website, and the poster said the definition of peace is the absence of anger. I'm not sure I agree with that. I can be anxious something, and not be angry, but still don't have peace. My favorite verse - Phillipians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, present your requests to God, and the peace that passes understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I think peace is the absence of fear, anxiety, and anger. If one is present, there is no peace. That peace that passes understanding, it's hard for me as a puny-brained human to get there and stay there. But I keep trying.
I guess I just answered my own previous post! Do not be anxious about anything...
Posted by Connie at 9:17 PM
I do not need a man to be happy, I do not need a man to be happy, I do not need a man to be happy... I keep reminding myself of that, and it really is true, I don't. I love my job, I love my kids, I am finally for the first time in my life confident enough to know that I can take care of myself and my kids without help. Not that help is a bad thing, but it's been one of my pitfalls in life... I finally understand I am capable of earning enough to support a family, I am capable of managing my family, and I don't need someone to take care of me, other than my Heavenly Father, of course... which I know that He provided the ability for me to do that. Anyway, if I know all these things, why do I find myself wishing I had someone? In reality, I'd be scared to death if I met someone who was interested in me, but I can't put the idea that it would be so nice to have a hug from someone who cared about me "in that way." Or to have that special someone remember that my birthday is coming up. Well, I think I've made the point. It's not that I need a guy, it's that part of me kind of wants one. And the other part? That part would run screaming from the room if one showed up.
Posted by Connie at 9:10 PM
Larry Boy and the Bad Apple Larry Boy is back! And my family has been not so patiently waiting his return! We were not disappointed. I don't think one could ever outgrow Veggie Tales. There's enough truly witty things in there to entertain adults, and enough silliness to keep the attention of kids. This particular episode deals with temptation, and not being able to be the person we're meant to be if we give in to temptation. I could really relate, because Larry Boy has a weakness for chocolate, and ummm, well, I'm a chocoholic. This was a very good episode, so if you're a Veggie fan, check it out! And even if you're not, because you might just love Veggies!
Posted by Connie at 6:10 PM
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The other night at work I got a 911 call where I immediately recognized the name that popped up on the screen as one of my friends from my church. I work with her in the nursery quite a bit and I used to go to a bible study with her. She said "My neighbors are shooting off fireworks and I'd like the police to come by and ask them to stop, I'm afraid they're going to catch something on fire." Oh cool, it's not anything horrible I thought. So I said hello to her, told her it was me, and then proceeded with the rest of the call. We're trained to check the premise history when we get an address, and so I did. I was kind of surprised to see it, but there was more than one domestic violence call, and the most recent one was an emergency call. I waffled a little bit, but then decided to look at that last call. She's my friend and I care if she's being hurt. Well I pulled it up, and it was her husband that called because she slapped him. I knew they were having problems, but I didn't know it had involved the police, or that she was the one doing the hitting. I'd never say anything to her, but now I feel kind of awkward, kind of like when you walk in on someone changing and see things you weren't meant to see.
And, I wonder if she'll be mad at me, because unless something's actually on fire, we don't respond to fireworks :P
Posted by Connie at 2:45 PM
Friday, August 04, 2006
I'm proud of myself. I have achieved my goal of exercising every day this week! Although today I almost got run over by some crazy lady driving on the wrong side of the road! But that's a different story. I've noticed a big difference in my energy level, and also in my ability to sleep when it's time *yawn* like... ummm, now.
I'm working on a real post not about fitness, but right now... must... slee..zzzZZZzzz
Posted by Connie at 9:04 AM