Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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A Small Favor

I wrote a post previously about a friend who’s been diagnosed with a brain stem tumor. Her surgery was postponed because the neurosurgeon, the chief of staff, asked a skull base specialist to team up with him. More skilled hands can only be a good thing, right? Tomorrow is her big day. Where does the favor come in? No, I’m not going to ask for money to help pay her bills, or anything remotely like that. I am, however, going to ask for something from every person reading this. You can choose to do it, or not, but I truly hope you will. Say a prayer tomorrow for her, her family and her medical team. She has four children, ranging in age from 19 to 6 wks. She’s only 43. She needs to see them grow up and they need her.

Jami and I were never friends in high school. I knew who she was, our school was small enough to know who most people were. We just ran in different circles, I”m sure you can relate.  We have become cyber-friends through Facebook and planning a reunion. And now I feel a different kind of bond with her.  The kind I’d really rather not have, but I can’t change it, so I’ll do what I can to help her.

I had a realization a couple of weeks ago. My father was younger than I am now when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I never thought of my dad being my age, you know? I only thought of him being older than me, he was my dad. Kind of like never really seeing your parents as having been children, even though you may have seen photos, or even video possibly. By the time he was my age, he’d been handed a devastating diagnosis, gone through brain surgery, chemo and radiation.

The doctors do know now what type of tumor is in her brain, the imaging, as advanced as it is, cannot tell them whether it is benign or malignant at this stage, or what type of tumor, astrocytoma, glioma, etc. So, I’m joining her in praying for an uncomplicated, benign tumor that is easily removed and treated. I do hope that you will join me in keeping her and her family in our prayers tomorrow.

Thank you and God bless.

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Priorities and Regrets

We all have them. If we didn’t, nothing would ever get done. Priorities are how you arrange your life.  When I was in college, my biggest priority was my next exam or project that was due. I have been teaching my daughter, the first thing she must do when she gets home from school, is finish the homework that is due the next day, before working on the diorama that isnt’ due until the end of next week.

Priorities bring some sort of order to our lives. The things that take precedence over others and must be completed first or get your attention before anything else. When I was younger, work was my priority. I didn’t have much of a love life, so work was what I had. In my college years, my priority was getting the highest grades I could. When I got married, that was kind of a tricky balancing act. I am very fortunate in that my wonderful husband understands the necessity for education and that sometimes, my studies would be more demanding of my time. He never made me feel guilty for spending too much time at the library or studying for mid-terms or boards.

When I became a mother, my children’s well-being and happiness became my priority. So much so, that I put my career on the shelf to devote myself 100% to their upbringing. I wanted to know my children and for them to know me and learn their values and morals from us and not someone who’s only investment in their lives was the $7 an hour they were being paid to watch after them. Family is my first priority, my children, my husband, my extended family. (I do understand that not everyone is able financially to stay home with their children, or want to do it. I do not condemn anyone’s personal choice in that matter, as we are all different.) 

Family is my priority because in the end, they are what matters most. I may lose my home, my car, everything I own, but if I have my family, I’ll be fine.  They may annoy me, drive me insane, make me laugh til I cry, or just flat cry, but they are what matters, above all. Period.  

Other people have other priorities. Sometimes we may think they’re out of whack. For some, it’s a clean house. For them to feel good, their homes must be spotless and Better Homes and Gardens ready at all times. Others, it’s their jobs and climbing the corporate ladder. Or maybe it’s buying the next, greatest tech gadget or newer, bigger, better home.  Material things do not equal happiness. It’s just stuff. Your house/car/media room may be the cleanest, biggest, newest, bestest on the block. But if your family is suffering or unhappy, what’s the point? In the end, what they want is you, not the junk you can buy for them.

I had to have a real difficult heart to heart with my husband a year ago. His boss was demon-spawn and he was working himself silly only to be beaten down every single day. To the point that he was constantly exhausted and didn’t want to do anything with us. I explained that we would be happier if he took a pay cut and was able to spend more time with us. We wanted him, not necessarily that paycheck. Of course, we need a paycheck to live, but we can live with less if it means he’s happier and able to be there for us, physically and mentally. I knew that if things continued on the way they were, eventually, he would regret the time lost to that thankless job and evil boss. His priority was taking care of us, but it was at the expense of the well-being of our family. Thankfully, he was offered a new job working for his former boss, whom he really liked and respected. Yes, it involved a serious pay cut, but the pay off: he’s happier, less stressed, and able to spend time and have fun with all of us.

When I made the decision to give up my career, I did it because I knew if I had the opportunity to be with them when they were little and didn’t do it, I’d regret it when I was older. I don’t want to have any regrets over things I didn’t do. I’d rather look back and say, ‘wow, that wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I learned from it.’  The regret I do have that I think may be too late to do anything about, I was 2 classes shy of getting my bachelor’s degree. I was mistaken when I thought I had more time to complete those two courses and now I’m too late. I can deal with that more than I could deal with regret over not spending good time with my precious children when they were little. They are the most important things in my life, and I have not regretted a minute of it.

So tell me, what are your priorities? Do you have any regrets?  Do your priorities cause you to miss once-in-a-lifetime events or miss special times with the people who matter most to you? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

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Merry Christmas to all….

I have been a bit MIA of late, and I do apologize. It will be one of my New Year’s Promises to post everything that I’ve been wanting to post. Life has sent me running in circles, chasing my tail of late. I’m hoping that will change after the New Year.

I just wanted to wish you all the merriest of Christmases ever. I hope you are all healthy and well and stay safe during the travel season. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Try not to over indulge too much! or stress out about the ‘perfect gift’. The perfect gift is your presence, kindness and caring toward others. And know that you are all in my prayers.

Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one.

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Happy eat-til-you-can’t-see-day!

Hello my friends! I just wanted to post a note and tell you all to have a happy Thanksgiving. Even if you’re one of my UK/European friends, I hope you have a fabulous day. I am thankful for all of you who keep me going. You make me think about things that I hadn’t thought of for a while, give me a laugh, or a helpful tip and I thank you for it. 

I hope your day is blessed with good health, friends, family, and no accidents in the kitchen! Oh, ok, since I said that, I guess I”ll just have to share a story of a Thanksgiving we had about 13 years ago.

We were living in Dallas at the time and I was in college. I had classmates from all over the country and you know poor college students don’t have the funds to fly home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so they normally save their cash for the big one.

Two of my best friends were from New York and going home was out of the question. My husband is a retail manager, so going back home to Oklahoma for me was out of the question as well, that whole black Friday thing and all. So we decided we would have our own little Thanksgiving celebration, just the four of us. Great!

So, I got a ham and our friend Joey, was going to smoke a turkey. MMMM! Joey set up the smoker at the foot of the stairs to our apartment, got it all ready and was going to let it smoke over night. Joey, and his girlfriend Charlanne (one of my BFF’s) stayed in our guest room so Joey could tend the turkey early in the morning, and they wouldn’t have to worry about transporting it an hour away.

It was a great idea. The problem: at some time during the night, the sprinklers came on and put out the coals in the smoker, so when we woke up all excited about this delicious bird that was waiting for us, well, it was only cooked about halfway through. Blech, can you say food poisoning? My husband and Joey tasted some of the meat on the outside and said they thought it was fine, but me? Well, I said thanks but no thanks, I prefer to keep my insides right where they are and don’t care to spend the rest of the weekend praying to that porcelain god for forgiveness for being so daft as to think I could eat something like that!

The bird went straight to the dumpster outside, it was too big for my garbage can.

Guess what! It doesn’t end there. Nope, not quite. So Joey, oh I love Joey, he was just the greatest guy, insisted that we have sweet potatoes. I never liked them, the taste, texture, smell, everything about them repulsed me, but they are tradition for many people and who am I to buck a tradition like that  for such a good friend? Joey bought I think 4 of the biggest sweet potatoes he could find and prepared them in a foil loaf pan. Have you ever seen big sweet potatoes live and in person? those suckers can be heavy, a pound each at least! Joey made his gooey sweet potato creation with maple syrup and marshmallows on top and put it in the oven to bake. When the timer went off, I opened the oven and attempted to remove it from the oven. Did you notice I said attempted? Those foil loaf pans are not designed to accommodate that much weight and as I was taking it out of the oven, the sides buckled and created a spout for this hot, sticky, nasty mess to spill all over my legs (thank God I was wearing jeans) and the floor! Amazingly, I managed to get the pan to the counter before I spilled the whole damn thing and made a mad dash for the shower and jumped in clothes and all! All I could think of was burns from that sticky stuff! When i returned, in clean clothes, I found everyone standing there looking at the mess wide-eyed and in complete disbelief at what had happened. I’m sure I was quite a sight running from the kitchen to the bathroom as if I had something up my, well, you know what I mean. We cleaned up the mess and had a lovely dinner. But I must say, if I never liked sweet potatoes before, I absolutely detested them after!

We moved out of the apartment about a year later and I was still finding sticky spots on the under sides of drawers and cabinet doors! Sheesh, what a mess! I can honestly say, I have not had any other Thanksgiving fiascos quite like that since. Unless you count the time that my grandmother and great aunt were going to come to our house for the very first time and I turned up with strep two days before. But that wasn’t my fault, and they just went to my brother’s house.

Anyway, all that to say, I hope you don’t wear hot, sticky sweet potatoes, or have your bird only half done and get food poisoning!

I am thankful for all the blessings of my life, even the ones I don’t necessarily want!

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Fire extinguisher, anyone?

Whew! That is, me, I’ll be needing the fire extinguisher now! Sorry I’ve been MIA, once again. Life has been crazy busy. I’ve done two big volunteering projects at my children’s school.  And between soccer, being ill for a couple of weeks, and the every approaching holidays, I feel like I’m that proverbial duck. You know what I mean. You see it sitting calmly on the water, just gliding about, not getting anywhere very quickly. While under the water, those little feet are paddling like mad! that has been me. The house went straight to weed and it’s difficult to catch up. But I am nearly there! Thankfully, since next week is Thanksgiving, and we’re having it here! No worries though. It’s all family and they know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper!

I will say that I’ve got several recipes lined up in the queue to get posted. No time now, today is parents/grandparents day at school and I”m having lunch with my most precious son.

Oh, one more bit of exciting news. We are getting our kitchen done by the end of the month and I can’t wait! I wanted it finished before thanksgiving, but it didn’t work out. That’s fine, I’ll have it all finished by Christmas! And new windows, but that’s not nearly as glamorous as a kitchen reno. It will just keep us warmer, since the ones we have now are extremely drafty. BRRR

I promise I’ll get the recipes up this weekend! And most of them have pictures!

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Responsibility is hard on a 10 year old

My husband and I have always tried to teach our children responsibility. To be responsible for their things, their actions, just your basic overall life skills.  My sweet boy got a hard lesson in it yesterday.

Last year toward the end of the school year, my son’s class was learning about 3 different animals: fiddler crabs, millipedes and some kind of frog. At the end of the lesson, the children were allowed to keep a creature of their choice, with parental permission of course! My boy wanted a millipede. they are unobtrusive little critters that would be kept in a closed habitat, so why not? I’ll let him learn about caring for a pet. Not only did he get one, but he got two and he was thrilled! I got him a container that was big enough for them and told him that they were his. He was responsible for their care and feeding, not me. I have enough to do with the care and feeding of the humans in our family!

He did really well with them this summer. They are low maintenance bugs and only need to be fed about once a week. At the beginning of the school year I would remind him about once a week to feed them and he did it. A few weeks ago,I told him that he should write himself a reminder on his calendar because I felt he’s old enough that I shouldn’t have to tell him every time.

I knew he hadn’t fed them and asked him last week if he had. No he told me. Last night I asked him if he had fed them. No, again. So now it’s been two weeks since these creatures have been fed. That’s a long time for an insect to go without food or water. At bed time when he decided he needed to feed them, he found one of them had died. He was very upset and distraught. It was so hard to see him that way. We tried to remind him that we didn’t know how old they were, but that also, this is the thing that happens when we forget to take care of our pets. I told him that we could bury it in a flower bed today and it will become part of our flowers and that helped a little.

 It’s so hard to step back and allow your kids to fail, but that is what we need to do as they grow. That is the only way they will learn responsibility, is by actually experiencing it, it’s not something that’s easily taught. He will learn that his actions, or lack of, affect others and in a potentially negative way. If I were to take over and feed his pets, he would think that I would always do that and he didn’t need to worry about it because mom will always take up the slack.  I’m sorry if I sound like a hard-nose mom, I’m definitely not. I’m trying to help my children learn the skills they will need when they move on in their lives and I”m not there to pick up the pieces.  I love that child more than anything and to see him that way was heart wrenching, but I really feel like he’s going to learn one of those lessons that we all have to get the hard way. I’m just glad that the stakes werent’ higher. I’d rather him learn it thru losing a millipede than doing something completely irresponsible and ending up in jail, or wrecking a car, or something else much more devastating.

Now, it’s time for me to go and hug him and tell him how much I love him.

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What do you say?

 At church last weekend, I heard the name of one of our neighbors when the pastor read the list of people who need extra prayers. I was kind of surprised to hear her name, she’s in her 30’s and as far as I knew she was in good health.

A few days later I found out why her name was mentioned. Another neighbor who works with her told me that she was 4 months pregnant and lost the baby. They have three boys and this baby was a girl. I feel really bad for her, for all of them. It’s a really sad and tragic situation and thank you God, we were fortunate enough to never have to go through anything like that. They had a small funeral for her yesterday. And the mom was at the bus stop this morning putting two of her boys on the bus to school. I don’t know her very well, and didn’t say anything to her. I know she is grieving a death. Even though the child never lived outside her body, it was a living child and a part of their family that held hopes and dreams.

She doesn’t know that I know. We are acquaintances, but not friends. I have kept her and her entire family in my prayers, for strength, for love, for healing. But, do I say anything to her? Tell her I’m sorry for their loss and that they’re in my prayers? I don’t know. This is one of those tricky situations.  Anybody else been in this situation?

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Time flies

Wow is all I can say. Today my children went back to school. On one hand, I’m sad to see summer go. We had a good summer, lots of fun and new friends for all of us.  And today marks the first day of my son’s last year in elementary school. Still can’t get my head around that part. My boy, my precious first child is nearly 10 and will be starting middle school next year! Love my kids.

I would like to wish all kids a wonderful school year with lots of new friends and experiences and learning new things. And to the parents out there, I wish you a good year as well. We want good teachers who will take care of our most precious gifts, guide them and help them move on to the next stage of their educations careers.

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For My Dad

Eleven years ago today, my world lurched,  tilted on its axis, and came to a screeching halt. It was the day my dad died and my life changed. I remember waking up the next day crying that I wanted my daddy back. As I got myself back together over the following days and attempted to pick up my normal routine, it just seemed so odd to me, and unfair that the world went on. People still went to work, the grocery, the mail was still delivered, the sun still rose and set, as if nothing had even happened. And here I was with a gaping hole in my chest feeling like everything was going to fall out at any second.

In 1981, my parents divorced and less than a month later, Dad was in a really serious car accident and nearly died. The accident was the result of a brain tumor that caused him to black out. I was 13 and my world was crashing around my very narrow shoulders. Talk about a basket case.

Dad went through surgery, chemo and radiation and was declared cancer free. We danced and thanked God. Dad also did his part to get healthy, he quit smoking and found some diets that would help rebuild his body and make him stronger.

My dad was an amazing man. He had a dry sense of humor and  loved bad jokes and pulling pranks on his friends. As far as I was concerned, he knew everything and could fix anything. Above all, he loved my brother and me. When doctors told him that his type of cancer had a low survival rate, he told that doctor it was not his job to tell him when he was going to die. he was that kind of person. He was very headstrong, but also very kind and loving. A bear of a man with the heart of a teddy bear.

Dad was the one who told me I could do anything I wanted to if I worked hard enough for it. He encouraged me to do things and try new things and always built me up, even if he thought I might not like something. When I was in 6th grade I think, I decided I wanted to play soccer. Even though he knew nothing about the sport, he volunteered to be one of the coaches. He showed me the value of hard work and acceptance. In a part of the country where prejudice and bigotry run rampant, he taught me to look at the person as a whole, the color of our skin does not define who we are and we’re all the same on the inside.

In the late 90’s, dad’s cancer returned and he began having increasingly regular blackouts, several of which lead to car accidents. One of those was extremely serious and landed him in the hospital for several days with multiple broken bones. he never really recovered from it and died 8 months later.

He lived long enough to see my brother and I grown and to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. he was even able to hand me my diploma when I graduated chiropractic college and followed in his footsteps. I miss him like mad and so wish he could’ve met his grandchildren. He would be so proud of them.

I love you dad.

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And The Universe Said, ‘ha HA!’, Again

Oh my sweltering heat! This summer has just gotten out of control way too early! Today at 8:15AM, it was 82F and 70% humidity! You know, I have a suggestion for the weather people around here. There are a couple of times each year when we don’t need to be told how FREAKING HOT it is outside. Like now, when the heat index is about 367F, and in winter when the wind chill is in the single digits, or worse. They could simply use a three letter description: RFH or RFC. As in REALLY FREAKING HOT, or REALLY FREAKING COLD. It would save them some time and you know what, sometimes we just don’t want to see the actual numbers, they’re just depressing. Kind of like coming home from vacation, you know you’ve gained a bit, but don’t want to get on the scale because seeing how much it really is will make you feel like you never want to eat again!

So as I’m marveling at air conditioning and thanking God and the genius who came up with it, I remembered a conversation I had with a little old lady and the thoughts that I had before I met her. You see, I think what you put out into the universe, you get back. Example, having a great day? Everything goes right. But, if you’re having a crap day, everything seems to follow suit. Anyway, I always said I didn’t want to have a baby in August just because it’s so bloody hot here, I ‘d be really miserable. The Universe said, HA HA! I’ll show you how in control you are. I found out I was pregnant in December and started doing the math. Yep, I got an August baby. He made his appearance 8/21. When I was still in the early stages of my pregnancy, I had lunch at a function and was chatting with a lady who was probably close to 80 and I was whining about how horrible it was going to be, pregnant in the summer here. Then she piped up and said, ‘When I was pregnant in summer, we didn’t HAVE air conditioning.’ And just looked at me very pointedly. I said, ‘Wow. ok, I’ll shut up now!” I managed to survive, but right after he was born, we had about a week of 100+ weather.

When we started talking about another child, I said, “I won’t have another August baby”. And you know that was just sealing our fate, dont’ you? Even though I tried to juggle the calendar and get it right so we could avoid another summer baby, well, apparently somewhere things got jumbled up. I remember December 13, it was a Friday, when I found out we were having another August baby! The Universe said HA HA! once again.  I sat there and cried! I was so upset! My husband, well, he just laughed. Needless to say, we have a beautiful daughter and I wouldnt’ trade my children for anything in the world. But it just goes to show exactly how much control we have over our lives. 

If you are pregnant in summer, I feel your pain, literally! But you will get through it and thank the genius who invented the AC!

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