Category Archives: children

Don’t underestimate Children

I went for a run today at the state park closest to me. I kinda wanted to go to a different one but I got a late start and I didn’t really feel like using that much gas, so I settled for one near me that is not my favorite because 1)the trails are flat, 2) the trails are short, and 3) this park  is not usually much of an adventure. But I ended up being blessed! Below are some photos I’ve taken on past visits.

It was cold and raining when I woke up but as I drove to the park, the outside temperature was literally rising before my eyes on the car thermometer. It was 50 degrees when I got to the park and I was very surprised to see a bunch of cars in the parking lot at the park entrance. I have a park pass which means I get in free, but I had to wait in line with the campers paying their fees. This park doesn’t have a lot to offer , in my opinion, as far as state parks go, other than nature walks in the forest, deer and other wildlife and pure camping experiences, no lake, no fishing, no climbing, no mountain views, no boating or swimming. What it does have is trails that tend to be flooded by the adjacent Brazos River or extremely humid conditions and mosquitoes. The whole park was under water twice in the past three years and I really thought they might just give up and close it but they didn’t. But city folks and RVers like it.

So anyway, I don’t come here that often but today I just wanted to get out of the house, and not into the gym, and go for a run in the forest. I had no real plan but as I was driving I remembered that I told myself that I wanted to run for two hours on one of my weekend days, so that became my vague plan. I wasn’t sure what to wear, remember it was 85 degrees here this week, so I was wearing a short sleeve tech shirt under a long sleeve tech shirt , Nike running tights, and gloves and a hat. I decided to shed the hat before I even started and the gloves went into my vest pocket after a few miles.

The first few minutes felt stiff and awkward, but I know the first mile is a liar so I tried not to let it freak me out. I forgot to mention that my back has been hurting this week and the last time I ran was Tuesday which means that I missed three days! By a half mile in I was feeling warmed up and then I started to see PEOPLE on my trail. A lot them. I say ‘my trail’ because I live so close ( around 20 miles away) and have run here many times, usually weekday mornings . There is hardly ever anyone here,  but since I got started so late, around 11:00 AM, and it’s Saturday,  the campers and hikers were stirring like ants. These people were walking on my trail, in fact they were standing on my trail talking, a group of hikers with a guide. The guide is a friend of mine and he told them to “Say Hi to Paula”,  which I found very amusing! I politely said a few words to them and kept going knowing that I would see them again very soon because this trail was a dead end at the river overlook.

My run started feeling pretty good. I don’t usually listen to music on the trail and today was no different. I do a lot of thinking and praying and trying to stay focused on not tripping. I kept going, said hi to the hiking group again, and also passed a group of what looked like people from another country,  maybe Chile or Brazil, some South American country , Spanish speakers,  and they all had nice puffy jackets and their kids were walking pretty dogs on leashes. It was a big group and I had to get past them several times on my run. They were friendly and I tried to get past without bothering them. I heard one say something about ‘cansado’ which means tired. Not sure if they meant me or them.

The trail is a loop around the park and there are also some other trails called the lower trails that are currently closed due to flooded areas.  It has been raining and raining and raining here in Texas. I went down a  trail that leads to one of the closed trails and I just had to go past that little “Trail Closed” chain to see how the trail looked on the other side. Sorry, don’t yell at me, I know this park well. Happily, the trail was in really good shape except for that one little problem of the creek being over the trail in one spot. Running along through the tall trees on the quiet, leaf covered trail, I came upon some nice trail work that had been done on that section, two new boardwalks. I haven’t been in this part of the park in a few years due to the aforementioned flooding and it made me really happy to see some of my favorite giant trees.  This park and I have a lot of history and it means a lot to me to see that the state has not given up on it. That history includes many runs with friends that I no longer run with, my first night run, volunteering for races, and watching people literally wade through waist and neck deep water in one famous race . I’ve learned to love and support all Texas State Parks because of this one.

So back to the run, I decided to keep run the loop and that out and back section, racking up as many miles as possible and then turn around and retrace my path back to my vehicle and then repeat, doing the math all along and figuring out how to get 10 miles in this tiny park. As I was running back I met up with two little boys, maybe 8-9 years old, walking on the trail alone. There were quite a few groups with kids out there that day, but these two were alone. Both of them looked right at me and started to talk so I stopped running and listened. They had seen me go by earlier and were interested in the fact that I was still running. I told them I was coming back around. Then they proceeded to give me instructions on where to go on the trail so I could be sure not to miss seeing the river. Thanking them with a smile I kept going, with new joy in my heart. What an uplifting moment! These two little boys gave me a real gift. It made me so happy that they were enjoying their hike so much and wanted to share it with a random stranger! This is what life is all about . God bless those boys and their parents! I got my 10 miles in, but these kids were the high point. Happy Running!

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Reader Request Friday! And Happy Birthday to my son!

As suggested by https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/ I am asking YOU , the reader, what you would like me to write about. 007 was a good sport and answered my questions about who he is and I am going to play along. I will try to write something interesting if I can, doesn’t have to be about me, especially since I write about myself most of the time. Submit your requests and if you see a request you like, just LIKE it and I’ll count that as a vote for that topic. Then I’ll post it next Friday. Thank you for reading my blog!

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Also, Happy Birthday to my oldest son! He doesn’t read this blog, but I can brag on him a little. I have wanted children since  I was a little girl. I finally got one 27 years ago. This boy is special! Well, he’s a man now, but you know, still my boy.  He was homeschooled all his life and I am glad for that because his personality is way too big to be controlled by classroom management techniques. In other words, he’s like me. When I was in school, the teachers were willing to work with my tendency to question or ignore silly rules and not sit still and talk a lot and pretty much do whatever I thought I should do. They gave me little jobs to do, like mimeograph papers and bring them coffee. They also didn’t complain too much when I didn’t go to class as often as other kids. I had a lot of stomach aches and I liked to sleep late.  This kid of mine has always been a night owl. There is no way he’d have functioned in public school schedules! He has learned to be more flexible now that he’s a working adult. But school is like prison nowadays. Comply and show up and don’t be late and sit down and shut up and answer the math question ONLY LIKE THIS and do NOT question us! When my son was just a little kid he sometimes got in trouble with other adults who didn’t know him, but the ones who knew him liked or loved him and saw his good qualities. He started playing guitar with the youth group choir as a young teen and then he played with the adult choir. My husband taught him the basics of guitar and then he pretty much ran with it. He can play most instruments now and is also a music producer for (groan) rap musicians. He was very involved in church for quite some time and attended adult Bible classes with mentors.  His sense of humor and logic has always been above average for his age. From a young age he would get interested in a particular TV show, musician, or actor and learn all he could about them.  The only time I saw this kid struggle was when he went through a breakup after a  long relationship. But I’m happy to say that he is past that and cruising along again. I love all my children, but the first one is always special, just like the last one, and all the ones in between if you’re an overachiever like me. Happy birthday, son!

 

Did you celebrate Grandparents Day?

Did you even know that  today, the Sunday after Labor Day, is Grandparents Day? I confess that even though I have six children and until recently, they had two pair of married-forever grandparents, I never have done much to celebrate this day. Maybe bought a few cards over the years or gone for a visit to their house. I’m extremely thrifty, remember those six children?,  so I’m pretty terrible at sending or giving cards and gifts for any but the most important occasions. Actually I’m pretty bad at celebrating all special occasions.

I used to LOVE shopping for gifts for people, but then I had the depressing realization that sometimes people( not necessarily grandparents) did not want the gifts, or they worried about me spending too much,  and it just made them uncomfortable. They often just wanted to spend time together without the pressure of gifts. Is it just me or do very few people actually enjoy getting surprises? Unless it’s something you specifically asked for, and then it’s not really a surprise unless they are good at picking up on clues and keeping secrets. Once, my son shocked me with a Garmin running watch for Mother’s Day. THAT was the best gift I had received in a very long time! Then a few years later, he bought me a nicer one. Yes, I really love that kid. 😉 But, HE is very hard to buy for. He is very picky and likes to buy his own stuff, expensive stuff,  and he is very uncomfortable expressing emotions, so accepting gifts is tough for him.

Once you get past a certain age, you either prefer to buy your own stuff, or you really hate clutter from things you don’t or can’t use, such as clothes that aren’t your style or size, or collectible items you really don’t need more of . Considering grandparents have usually been around for awhile, most of them have the stuff they want and need and have very specific taste. When we have given them presents, I’ve tried to make it something useful or consumable or, occasionally,  a homemade item. The one gift that they used for many years and seemed to get so much enjoyment out of was a bread machine, back in the early 1990s when everyone was baking bread. After that we could always expect a fresh loaf of bread when they came to visit.

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My sister, mom , dad (wearing the tie), and father-in-law at the nursery to see my newborn. They loved the babies!

Christmas shopping has really become a burden to me. Not only do I have a very limited budget, my children are all past the toy stage and into the electronics, computers and cars stage. I just can’t afford to buy them the stuff they  would really enjoy. In the past few years , I’ve really struggled with what to buy them. Last year I decided it would be a fun idea to take my two youngest on their first plane trip and go visit my sister in Utah during the winter time where they could experience their first real snow. I kept it a secret until Christmas and then did the big reveal. It wasn’t as well received as I’d hoped. We ended up having a good trip, lots of snowy fun , no regrets, but I don’t think they would have said yes if I’d asked them first. I’m seriously considering one big family gift for this year, probably a new TV. Based on the annual Black Friday deals, I’m not the only one who has this idea.

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My husband’s parents were wonderful grandparents and they are missed. 

As for Grandparents Day, my mom is the only grandparent still living, and she went to her favorite city, Las Vegas, with friends this weekend. I sent her a text to tell her good luck and that we love her. She is an amazing grandmother and my kids love her very much. Of course, she spoils them, which is totally appropriate for a grandma to do. She actually got up early before she went to the airport so she could make cupcakes for my son’s birthday and sent them via my sister. My mom has been there for me with each newborn and has babysat and loved each of my children. She has supported me through many parenting trials and difficulties , financially and emotionally,  and has even taken care of my disabled daughter . I wish I could afford to pamper her in her golden years.  I hope and pray that she gets very lucky in Vegas because she deserves it!

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Good luck, mom!!! She’s an expert at the slots. 

I hope you had a good weekend. Are you blessed with children and therefore have grandparents to celebrate? What gifts do you like to give them? Does gift-buying give you pleasure or stress?

Why am I so excited?

I’m excited because today is the first day of the 2018-2019 year for Community Bible Study! My two youngest sons and I have been attending the class since 2008. They were just preschoolers then and now they’re taller than me. We skipped one year because I decided to put my race training before studying God’s Word. Bad move! He brought me back the next year with renewed commitment to try not to miss a weekly class.

What is it? It’s a non-denominational , in depth , verse by verse , book by book, study of the Bible . We meet once a week for two hours in a local church . Our class is in the daytime so it is perfect for homeschool moms and kids . The children’s classes start at infants and go through high school. My class is women and children only and our director is an amazing , godly, educated woman.

My favorite part besides learning SO much , is the fellowship of like minded women. That can be hard to find these days. I live in a rural area so these women come from different towns and have all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles, but we all want to know God and serve Him. I love singing , praying, discussing the lesson, and eating a meal with them. The leadership team is made up of women who are fully dedicated to their role . They’re all volunteers but they put so much time and effort into it you’d think they were paid . Weare truly blessed.

Maybe you are looking for a weekly Bible Study. Here’s a link to see if there’s one in your area. There are classes worldwide and for all ages , men and women . If you’re my local friend, it’s not too late to join!

https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/get-connected/find-a-class/

What do you do all day? A job description

  • Walk the dogs!
  • Take care of Grace’s needs
  • Go for a run to stay healthy, happy and sane
  • Supervise, instruct, guide, lead teenage sons in school and chores
  • Plan, shop for and cook meals, do dishes and clean kitchen
  • Laundry, endless laundry
  • Pay bills, juggle bills, plan budget, file papers
  • Plan for holidays, birthdays, trips
  • Plan for homeschooling, organize books, buy and sell curriculum
  • Schedule and go to doctor appointments
  • Get multiple types of vehicles inspected and registered and titled
  • Sell things on ebay and other sites, like books and eggs and misc. stuff
  • Send and receive Messages, texts, emails, faxes and phone calls .
  • Listen to everyone’s stories, concerns, complaints and offer sympathy and advice as needed
  • Pray for constant help and wisdom from God to accomplish the goals of being a good mom and wife and friend and human
  • READ everything I can to help me do this job!

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Burning down the house: A chapter in our life that lead to big changes including PTSD, faith, and babies

August 2000

“What is that noise?!” We both woke up at the same time, groggy and irritated and yet also startled by the very loud and obnoxious sound of the smoke detector going off. Scrambling awkwardly out of the water bed, we suddenly became aware of the burning smell. Instinct took over. My first reaction to any crisis is to become very calm. His first reaction is to get in motion and get loud. He headed to the hallway from our bedroom with me on his heels. A quick glance into the open living area revealed no fire, but we knew it was somewhere. Looking up at the hall ceiling, he reached for the cord for the attic stairs. Pulling it down slightly, the truth was revealed as he saw the flames and smoke.

“Get the kids out!”, my husband shouted at me as I stood watching. No longer able to be calm, I rushed to their bedrooms. My 2 year old son was sleeping soundly in his crib, unaware of any danger. I grabbed him with one arm, hoisting him onto my hip. My 4 and 8 year old sons were sleeping in their wooden bunk beds with matching Hot Wheels comforters. I shook them urgently and said, wake up , wake up! The house is on fire! I’m not joking! Surprised and confused, they woke up and we rushed together down the hall to the front door, me grabbing my purse and for some reason, the cordless phone,  and outside to safety.

It happened at night time, maybe midnight or so. This was the beginning of a series of events that would eventually lead to a new life, but it would be a very difficult journey.

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I’ve lost the photos from that time, but I recently came across this printout and it inspired me to write about our experiences.

Life before the fire

My husband has worked since I’ve known him as a mechanic for a classic car repair and restoration business, mostly on cars from the ’50s and ’60s.  When we met at a Halloween party in  1990 he was only working part-time because he was still recovering from nearly being killed in a motorcycle accident and spending a year having his leg rebuilt and relearning how to walk.  We hit it off immediately, probably both a little desperate for love, wasted no time getting married in May 1991, bought and moved into this house and had our first son in November 1991. Our second son was born in 1995 and third in 1998.  Before we met I had a small business, but I sold it after my son was born and became a stay at home mom . We lived in a fairly quiet neighborhood of patio homes in far West Houston before the big migration into that area. We had some good friends, mostly bikers,  and good times, lots of hanging out in ice houses and riding motorcycles. But little did we know how much things were about to change.

In 1997 his boss decided to move out of the Houston area so we started looking for a house in small towns and rural areas near the new shop. We couldn’t find anything we could afford  so my husband decided to open his own shop in Houston. Although he worked full-time, we were barely making it. We had gradually spent all the insurance settlement he had received from his motorcycle accident. But we got pregnant with son number three anyway. I was thrilled. I was obsessed with having a big family. But I was also stressed constantly about money. I was babysitting other people’s children in my home for extra income, which I liked doing, but it had it’s share of difficulties. We were getting deeper and deeper in credit card debt and I really had no idea how we were going to make it if those bills got any bigger. It was at this time that the fire happened. In hindsight , I see that God used it as a blessing, but at the time, it was chaos and stress.

Please check your smoke detector batteries

The night of the fire we ran  to my neighbors’ house to call the fire department. They were good friends who readily got out of bed to comfort and assist us with our children. The local Volunteer Firemen fought valiantly to put out the fire and even took the time to bring out many of our family portraits, photo albums and my husband’s guitar. The fire had started in the attic, according to the insurance investigators, most likely a mouse had eaten through some wires. If it weren’t for the smoke detector waking us up,  we all would have died of smoke inhalation. Please make sure you have a working smoke detector.

Eventually, the details are fuzzy, the fire was out and things were safe enough for the fireman to leave and we went to my parents’ house , about 10 miles away. We were in shock. Thank God for my parents who took us in and gave us guidance. I’m not sure but I think we stayed in their guest room for a few nights or maybe  more. And thank God for Farmers Insurance. They took care of our immediate needs with a check even before they sent out fire investigators. God was so obviously taking care of us, but at the time , we were still feeling very vulnerable and wondering what was going to happen to us. The anxiety and feeling of  loss of control was overwhelming.

Fast forward a bit. We  found a home in the same neighborhood that was for rent. ONE. There was only ONE house available. This was the first of many blessings.  Wonderful friends from our biker community and even  people we didn’t know came out of the woodwork donating furniture,clothing,toys, household goods and cash. We didn’t lack for any material goods, only peace of mind over the future. In fact, I  donated a bunch of extra stuff to charity. 18 years later we still have the same dining table that someone gave us. And my mom contacted someone from the bedding company who provided my kids with replacement Hot Wheels comforters, sheets and curtains! I only recently have finally relinquished those memory-filled bedding sets. All of our material needs were taken care of. We almost felt guilty about that.  Why were people being so good to us? We didn’t feel like we deserved so much compassion and generosity.  Even now I feel like I haven’t done enough to repay or pass on the kindness. I hope God will help me do that.

We made the decision to demolish what was left the house and build a house on the same slab. It was completely destroyed from the roof collapsing. The insurance company considered it a total loss.  However, we were able to go in after things cooled down and discovered quite a lot of personal items, toys,  and clothing and even some larger items that were salvageable.  This was a very emotional process. The chimney had fallen onto our bed where we had sleeping, a shocking reminder of how God had saved us from death. Some of our belongings were just smoky, others were in worse condition but still worth saving, especially a filing cabinet with important papers. I still have a folder with the blackened edges and it still smells like smoke after all these years. The insurance company wanted an ‘itemized’ list of everything we’d lost, so I made a very detailed list. Turned out later I really didn’t need to be so detailed, but it did give me a task to focus on during a time when I felt so out of control. We were fully reimbursed and able to replace our belongings. God did not miss a thing.

Rebuilding our lives was not a fast process. Oh, did I mention that I was pregnant at the time of the fire?  Yes, five months pregnant with my daughter.  During all the time of dealing with a contractor and construction delays and taking care of three little boys, homeschooling the oldest one, and our dog having puppies and my husband missing time at his business, I was growing a baby and going to prenatal appointments. Two of my sons had birthdays during this time. Thankfully one of my good friends was nearby and she helped me with a party and keeping my kids busy. Our marriage was under a ton of stress. Pregnancy alone can do that, but all this other stuff was just more than most people can handle. We didn’t always handle it well, we took it out on each other,  but somehow God kept us together. We also made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My baby girl was born in January 2001 while we were still living in the rent house.

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My youngest at the time of the fire.

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The boys in a donated chair in a rent house.

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Grace in the new house

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After quite a few delays, in April 2001 we finally moved back into our old/new house. It was really beautiful! We had chosen all of the paint, tile, wallpaper, and had new furniture. But according to my husband, I really can’t remember why, I was the one who had  the idea that we should sell it and try to move to the country. I vaguely recall thinking we should sell it at that time since it was so new and nice. This had to be God’s doing because there is no way we could afford the house we now live in if we hadn’t bought it back then. It’s worth much more now due to rising land values. Buying and selling brought many stressful hours including learning that we didn’t exactly OWN the house we were living in due to the type of contract we had with the people we bought it from. Thankfully they were honest people and didn’t try to cheat us and we were able to get things done.  One particularly scary time was when we needed a paper signed by the owner who was at that time out on a drilling rig! Somehow God worked it out with modern technology. Then at the last minute before closing on the deal,  a huge windstorm with straight-line windows, similar to a tornado, came through our neighborhood and all through West Houston, knocking down fences, trees, and garage doors, but we were spared! A nice, very unique, couple paid cash for our house. Being the cheapskates we are, not willing to pay for movers,  we loaded up our vehicles and trailers and the trucks of friends and moved to the country in a caravan in January 2003.

 

Several other very difficult things happened during this period.

One, my infant daughter was not developing normally and we began to go through the process of finding out what was wrong. This was not a quick or straightforward thing. Eventually, after some not so good doctors had dismissed my concerns, we were cleared for genetic testing and in August 2001 we were given one of the worst possible diagnoses you can get for a child, Lissencephaly, smooth brain, Miller-Dieker syndrome.  Thus began a hard time of shock, grieving, appointments, therapy, and learning how to do life with a very special baby who we learned would never sit up, walk, talk, or even feed herself or play and would have seizures and possibly be blind. Thankfully she was able to breastfeed which helped her and me. However as soon as I weaned her , at 11 months, and tried to give her a bottle, she got aspiration pneumonia because she could no longer suck and swallow normally. She got her feeding tube after that. She also began having seizures which meant a long period of trying to gain seizure control after our first fear-filled trip to the Emergency room.

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Daddy’s girl

Two, the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the same day my daughter was scheduled for her first MRI, which was cancelled along with everything else in the country. I will never forget that day as long as I live. We were in shock and frightened and just waiting for more attacks. This attack affected the world in many ways. One of them was that it hurt my husband’s business.

And, three, my wonderful father, only 62 years old , passed away suddenly in March 2002 from colon cancer that we didn’t know he had. He went to the doctor for some tests and was admitted and never left the hospital. My mother was in disbelief, devastated and life changed instantly for her and my younger sister. Thankfully I can report that they are doing well now. My mom is an amazing person.

 

The last big event,  I discovered that I was pregnant with my fourth son the week that we moved into our country place.

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The kids in 2004. 

 

Now it is 2018. We have been blessed with five sons and one daughter. I think God knew that was all we could handle because the stress really hasn’t stopped since moving to the country. But God has always been faithful to provide for us and also give us hope through the trials. My husband ended up having to shut down his business and go to work for other people. This was very hard on him.  My health got pretty bad and I gained weight and my thyroid was a mess. We have both suffered through clinical depression needing medication,  both still have anxiety and I had panic attacks. I think we both have  PTSD. And there were some tough times with my daughter being in the hospital for pneumonia and me being away from the home for weeks at a time. Thankfully my health is better since I removed gluten from my diet and starting running, and my daughter has improved after some years as far as her seizure control and immune system. She has beaten the lifespan prognosis by many years. My oldest three sons are now working and two are financially self-supporting. I’m still homeschooling the two youngest who were born after moving out of Houston. God lead me in 2011 through my church’s 5k race  to the first serious hobby/sport that I’ve ever had, running, and that has become a very important part of my life, to state it mildly, and very therapeutic.

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Before and after going gluten free, soy free and discovering running.

Everyone has a story and this one is not very terrible in the big picture. In fact, it’s a picture of God’s love and grace and mercy. He has carried us through these painful events day by day and lifted us up. He has not let us be destroyed. Our church friends that we met when we left Houston and our family and other friends were also there praying and helping with tangible help  in the early years of our move.   I hope you, too, will trust that God loves you even when evidence seems to say otherwise, and remember his words.

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 

Matthew 6:31-34 ESV

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Caged: Life as a caregiver

I am a full time caregiver to my disabled daughter. Lately, as in for the past year,  I’ve been feeling extremely isolated, limited , and basically trapped by my life circumstances. Every direction I try to move, I’m hampered by someone else’s dependence upon me. I also have a husband and other children who need me. I feel this sense of needing to do more in a day , that I’m just wasting so much time, that life is passing by. I have very little contact with the outside world other than running errands and through the Internet world . My daily caregiving tasks don’t take all day , but they need to be done throughout the day.

For example, my daughter needs to be fed , given medicine , have her diaper changed, be moved from bed to wheelchair, at certain times . Then she’s fine for awhile. During the time in between caring for her I do laundry, cook, clean , pay bills, and sit at my computer.

And there truly is no easy solution, or even a moderately difficult solution. All choices involve very difficult actions. Part of the reason I’m so limited in my daily life is that I have no income . In order to produce an income, I’d need someone trustworthy to take over my current job as caregiver. It’s a Catch-22 that all mothers have, but especially hard when your child is non-verbal, and totally dependent on you. One option is to find work nights and weekends but then I’d never see my husband. I’m not sure that would be so helpful to our marriage. And the fact is I don’t really trust a non-family member with my precious daughter. Not to mention that finding someone who wants to drive out to our rural home for a part-time, low-paying job is not easy.

This summer has been extra difficult for me and my non-disabled kids because we are so tight financially that we can’t do anything fun. Water parks, movies, trips to the beach are all so expensive. I start to plan a fun day then I think , no, we can’t afford it. We are deep in debt and I’m trying hard not to go deeper. And stuff keeps coming up, like unexpectedly replacing a tire yesterday for $155. So many things needing repairs. The lawnmower, the roof, the truck.

It could be worse. God always provides for the necessities. So why do I feel like this? I’m not good at being poor and staying home day after day after day. I wasn’t raised like this. I did fun stuff in the summer when I was a kid and when my older kids were young. Things have changed and I just don’t know how what I’m supposed to do. Our daily routine has been reduced to mostly eating, sleeping, and playing video games/being online . And of course I run. Even my running is limited. I can leave the house for a few hours at a time, but that’s not really enough to participate in the outside world.

People who don’t know us very well tell me to do this and that. But I have no help with my daughter . I can get an occasional babysitter but it’s unpredictable. And most of their ideas require, at the very least, money for gas and food. Something’s gotta give . I’ve been praying and asking God for guidance . I feel like He’s keeping me here with my daughter, so I am trying hard to be patient. Some days are better than others.

I wrote this post a month ago. I’ve since been on vacation away from home , without my family,  for a week. All it did is make me wish for more. I missed them, but I didn’t miss the cage.