Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spelling

     Facebook can be such an interesting place to hang out some days. I really enjoy being able to keep in touch with family, friends, and classmates. Living in today's crazy busy world it's nice being able to stay in touch and seeing glimpses of each others lives.
     I'm a very literal person though, and when I read status updates, I envision what I read. Therefore when something is misspelled I will see a picture in my mind of the thing I read, even when I know that the writer meant something completely different.
     Today someone made this comment.
     He was a real roll model in my life and taught me so many things. The way he taught me to not waist money was grate.
    In my mind I immediately pictured some guy in a lame commercial trying to sell bread rolls while informing a young man not to fold paper money in a way that would make it look like a dress. The grate topped the scene.
     My poor head hasn't been the same since.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The House

     Mr. Pepper has been offered a new job that he is seriously considering. If he takes it we will be relocating. The past weeks have been spent poring over real estate listings and combing the internet for something that fits our family's needs. It's turning out to be more of a challenge than we had anticipated, but we finally found one that piqued our interest. An almost three hundred acre farm ... considered as bare land. There are buildings there, but they're so tumbledown that they would have to be torn down.
     Yesterday Mr. Pepper took off from work so we could go see it.
     There was a lot to love about the land, and the two mile long driveway, and the quiet. It was so quiet it almost felt loud, but I'm sure I could learn to love that quite easily. The amazing views were an added bonus.
     The buildings though were every bit as bad as the realtor had warned us they would be. Most of them looking as if it would take only one or two more gusts of wind to bring them down completely. The house was the best of the buildings, but it was crooked and leaning, several boards were missing on the upstairs wall and you could see inside. It must have been abandoned years ago, I thought, but then I noticed a thin wisp of smoke coming from the chimney and a woman stepped out on the porch and hollered for us to come in.
     The realtor led the way down the muddy hillside to the house. "Come on in," the woman said. "Uncle Earl would like to meet you. He lives here alone and doesn't get to see a lot of people."
     I hoped the house would be able to hold our combined weight as we walked up on the rotting, sagging porch. When she opened the door I could have cried at what I saw inside.
    The room was dark and tiny, a dry sink along one wall, a tiny table pushed up against another wall where 96 year old Uncle Earl was sitting smiling widely at us revealing his three remaining teeth. He was happy to see us and visited for a while. Beside him was an ancient wood stove, on the wall behind it was an ancient clock so covered in dust and grime you could barely see its face. He had some battered old pots and pans hanging on the wall (think Little House on the Prairie) The walls had been painted a weird green probably a good seventy years ago. The floor had 1920's or earlier linoleum that was basically worn through and the entire floor slanted toward the middle of the house. The niece led us to the next room. His bedroom. An old lumpy twin size bed was pushed up against the wall, across the room was his long deceased wife's twin size bed. The pictures on the walls, looked like they should be in a museum, the furniture again was ancient probably the furniture they brought into the house back in 1842 when the house had been built. It didn't look as if anything had been cleaned since the day his wife died twenty some years ago. She led us upstairs to see two little bedrooms, still made up like his wife had them, but now buried under years of accumulated dirt and dust. This side of the house held two bedrooms upstairs. The other side had another stair way leading to three more bedrooms, one of which had part of the outside wall missing. This must have been an absolutely gorgeous home back in its prime, but now it was the saddest thing I had ever seen.
   Uncle Earl too stubborn to move sits at his table all day with nothing to do. Clinging desperately to the past and what used to be. Refusing to embrace anything new. He doesn't have an indoor bathroom, no running water, no TV. Nothing at all really.

   As sad as I felt for "Uncle Earl" living like he is, I couldn't help but think of the spiritual picture it paints of someone who holds onto the past, and can't let go of grudges or wrongdoings. The image of a "heart house" so overburdened by unforgiveness is sobering.

   Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me. Psalms 51:10

Monday, December 26, 2016

Socks

    Mr. Pepper is my best friend, my dream come true, my knight in shining armor, my prince charming .... you get the drift. When it comes to husbands I am one of the luckiest girls ever.
    There is one itty bitty thing though that is somewhat annoying to me.
    You see, when ever his supply of socks gets down to three pair he will announce he's almost out of socks and will I be doing the laundry soon?
     I have never, in all our years of marriage, ever allowed his clean socks supply to run out, so I've been trying to figure out where his need to panic when his supply dwindles to three pair comes from.
     I've come to the conclusion it must be that either he was a house elf in some previous life and socks are extremely important to him. Or else maybe his mother used to not keep him supplied in socks and he's still scarred from that.
    Since I don't believe in the previous life theory, I guess I'll be going with my second conclusion.
    This year for Christmas I finally did something I should have done years ago. I gave him twenty pairs of socks. May there never be need to panic again.
    Before you feel too badly about his Christmas ... rest assured he was happy to receive all the socks, and he got more thoughtful and fun gifts as well. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Mystery of ....

.... the creepy light bulb.

     The children had already made their way upstairs to bed, while Mr. Pepper and I enjoyed a few minutes watching something on TV yet before we also retired for the night. I can't even remember what it was right now, which kind of proves how worthless TV really is, but I digress.
      Before heading to bed I checked the laundry room and just as I came to the end of the hallway before turning into the laundry room the light turned on. There was no one there!!
     Things like that aren't supposed to happen, especially not in our little farm house.
      I tried to remain calm and walked back to the living room where Mr. Pepper was still relaxing on the couch. He looked up as I entered and immediately saw there was something amiss by the expression on my face.
       "I'm just a little freaked," I admitted and proceeded to tell him what had happened.
        He very sweetly, didn't laugh at my paranoia. Instead he took my hand and together we walked down the hall to the laundry room with the light shining brightly at us.
         Just as we got to the end of the hallway, it flickered off. In the next instant I tore my hand from Mr. Pepper's clasp and flew back to the living room. I'm not in great shape at all, in fact most days the very thought of exercise is exercise enough for me. You'd never have guessed that though as I dashed down the hallway at a speed rivaling that of an Olympic sprinter.
        Mr. Pepper stayed there quite unruffled and discovered the light bulb had not been screwed into the socket tightly enough and somehow the weight of someone walking on our creaky old floor had messed with it's connection.
        I'm happy to report that the mystery of the creepy light bulb was easily solved, and there is nothing weird going on in our house. And I'm once again moving at normal, ladylike speeds throughout the house.

Friday, September 30, 2016

When God Answers

   Before I get into the "meat" of this post, I want to thank every one who joined me in praying for my brother. Thank you! It was encouraging to me and our family.
    With my brother disappearing, and knowing how bad his addiction is I was so concerned that the next time we hear anything it will be from someone telling us we need to make funeral plans.
     I kept praying, ever more earnestly, then in my devotions I read once again how when the disciples had tried casting out a devil and were unable to do so, Jesus told them that, that kind only goes out through fasting and prayer.
     I reached out to a few prayer warrior friends, and we fasted and prayed that God will work in his life. I no longer knew how or what to pray. I found I couldn't even find words, instead I released everything and claimed the verse where God tells us that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26-27)
     Friends, this is where it gets good. So good I'm still overwhelmed.
     Yesterday my brother called. I answered the phone and he asked, "What were you praying to happen to me?"
     "Why do you ask?" I said.
     "I was wanting to go back to my friends, some 1,500 miles away, but when I got half way there I got into the first traffic jam. Finally the traffic started moving but we were sent on a detour. It was sending us back in the direction we had come from. From there it got really weird. Every where I tried to go there were either road blocks, detours, or cops and every single one of them sent me back closer and closer to where I was trying to run away from. I'm giving up, and returning to that place, and get clean."
      So as of last evening he is back there again. I'll continue praying he can stick it out and God uses him for some great purpose in His kingdom.
      I can't quite begin expressing how much this answer to prayer meant to me. Seeing God work in such an obvious way has made me so thankful. More than just for this particular instance, but I'm feeling my faith strengthened, I'm filled with renewed courage and hope to face these coming days even with the world seemingly going crazy. God is still in control, and I am resting in Him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roller Coaster

     Life has been a roller coaster since my last post where I shared how my brother is struggling with addiction, a lot has happened, and yet nothing has changed.
     Seven hours after I posted, my brother called. He said he simply can't continue down the road he is on and wanted to seek help. I was thrilled. After all this time of praying, hoping, and hurting for him, this was a huge answer to prayer.
      He was convinced he can drive himself to the place he had chosen to rehab for the next six months, and thus began the most time consuming trek since the days of the covered wagon. For quite a while we lost all contact with him, but he finally arrived at his destination and got settled in on Thursday.
     Saturday afternoon the phone rang, and it was my brother. Somehow he had managed to get away. Withdrawal had hit hard, and he had been left unsupervised for a little bit, and that was all it took.
     That's the last we have heard from him. As it is right now, no one knows where he is. This sister's heart is hurting so bad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Brother

   I was nine years old when I became the big sister to a tiny baby brother. He was the sweetest little bundle of joy you ever did meet. I remember rushing home from school every day and running into the house to scoop him up from where ever he was playing. He always seemed just as happy to see me, as I was to see him.
    When he was a toddler we were inseparable. I would read to him, play with him, when it was bedtime I was the one holding his little hand as we walked up the stairs to go to bed. I was the one who fetched him water in the middle of the night, and comforted him when he had a bad dream.
    I loved all my siblings, but somehow there was an extra special bond between the two of us.
    As he grew older, he no longer needed me for drinks in the middle of the night, or to have bad dreams chased away. We were still very close though, but now we talked about books instead of me reading them to him. We loved singing together. We went for hikes in the woods every Sunday afternoon. He helped me with dishes, chattering incessantly the entire time, but I enjoyed it. We played endless games of Scrabble and Uno, just the two of us.
     He was ten when I got married, he was sad, but it wasn't long before he was coming over almost every afternoon to help me in the garden, mow the yard, or on occasion when there was nothing that pressing to do we would pull out a board game. When Mr. Pepper and I welcomed our first son a year later, my brother was thrilled to be an uncle. He continued coming over regularly. I was so thankful for his help baby sitting.
    My parents moved when he was fifteen and we wrote letters every week, and called when we could.
     When he was eighteen he started working for a construction company. While on the job he fell off a roof and broke his skull, his collar bone, and had some other injuries as well. He was in a coma for a week, and when he woke up he was asking for me. When it was time to be released from the hospital he still needed care, and Mr. Pepper and I were glad to provide a room and care for him in our home.
    Due to his serious injuries the doctors had him on strong pain medication. OxyCotin. I was concerned at how long he seemed to be in pain, but was glad the doctors were able to control it. (Oh if only we had known.)
     After four months they no longer prescribed it, and said he was healed. He moved back to his apartment in another state.
     I watched helplessly from the sidelines as he made one wrong choice after the next. Having become dependent on OxyCotin he went searching for something to replace it. He found it in heroin.
     It hurts beyond what I can describe seeing a loved one battle this horrible addiction. He hates it too. I haven't seen him in years, but he still calls occasionally, and we Facebook message every day. And I pray, and pray, and pray that God will heal him of his addiction and spare his life.
     Last week one evening I was very concerned when I noticed he didn't see the messages I sent him. Finally the next afternoon he sent me one, thanking me for praying. He had almost died from an overdose. How he was found and taken to the hospital was nothing short of a miracle.
     When I see Facebook posts of people ranting how addicts should all be left to die, I shed a few tears. It looks different to me as a sister to an addict. I love my brother, I am thankful he wasn't left to die. I want him to be able to beat this addiction and get out of the horrible life he has now. I believe God can, and will work in a big way in his life. I refuse to give up hope, or stop praying.
     When I hear of overdosing episodes I'm moved to compassion, because somewhere out there, there are family members, and loved ones of that person hurting in the sidelines.
      Let's not be so quick to judge and condemn, but stand united in prayer and care against the evils of drugs.