Did you know that there was a full moon last night? Or maybe the night before. Or maybe this entire week. Regardless, my boys have been picking on each other mercilessly this week - especially in the morning while we are getting ready for school. And whom has it affected the most? Not them. They've yelled at each other, punched (yes, punch) each other a few times, "MOM!", and ten minutes later, are completely over it. I, on the other hand, am tired exhausted from having to deal with it. And I am just a bit completely stressed out as we leave the house.
Today was no exception. (See above lunar placement in the heavens.) But it did get better...
Thank you, sweet husband. Thank you for sending me this beautiful bouquet at school "just because I love you and you needed this".
I am getting very sleepy, as I do most nights about this time: 8:30 pm. It's the time the boys are getting ready for bed and I get ready for the next day. I set the coffee pot, get lunches ready, and have all the breakfast paraphernalia ready for tomorrow. I am drained. These are the things I really want to do (and in this order): wash and moisturize my face (pretty basic), brush my teeth, finish my Bible Study, and read blogs (oh, and randomly Twitter with new friends! Love you!).
Younger son, Jackson, fits rather well with this selfish routine I have. Along with his blue blankie, all he needs is a quick tuck and the two of us saying the poem from I Love You Forever together:
I love you forever.
I like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.
Then we air kiss three times. We call it "Special Child Time". Then he makes me close all the shutters and doors in his room so it is pitch black. Two to three minutes and I am done.
Older son, Sumter, is a different breed. And it is he who crimps my selfish being and desires. My 10 1/2 year old must have the "Magic Tuck" which involves one kiss to the ear, one kiss on the nose, two kisses on the forehead, another kiss to said ear, and three "I love yous" in the other ear. Then he does the same to me. Sometimes, his dog, Lucy, must get in the game. It only takes 30 seconds, tops. But it doesn't end there. Sumter needs "snuggle" time. Oh... I am too tired for that! I haven't finished my Bible Study! (I want to read blogs!)
But, oh, how much I love it too! I mean, how many tween boys still want to talk about their day with their mom? How many ask their mom's opinions about friends and school? How many want to hear what life was like when I was 10? How many feel comfortable enough to confess what they heard at school?
I really don't know. But I do know one thing: I know one who does... and I'd better take advantage of it as long as I can.
Don't you hate when you are sitting at a stoplight and someone pulls up next to you with their car practically pulsating? As if I (and the rest of the world) really want to hear the "music" (and I use that that term very lightly) blaring from their speakers. Rude! Well today was payback time for Bevy.
After admitting to myself that I've still had a few Christmas CDs in the CD changer, I decided that perhaps I was dragging the season out a bit too long. So today I looked in the CD organizer I keep under my seat to find some more suitable music. And there it was. I hadn't listened to it in forever: Les Misérables.
I love, love, love Les Misérables. The passion and emotion just get me. I've seen it twice, never on Broadway, but both national traveling productions. Have you? The construction of the barricade? The drowning of Javert? The waltz of the Thenardiers? The love song between Marius and Cosette outside her home?
"Do You Hear the People Sing" and "One Day More" were cranked up - AND LOUD. Yes, it was this 40-year-old pearl-wearing mother of two's turn. This time the Odyssey was pulsating.
This past Monday, I had the opportunity to visit my mother for a fun lunch and an afternoon of shopping - just the two of us. She lives around an hour away, so this was a quite a treat! After a yummy lunch at Travinia's we hit the shops. One store we visited was a favorite kitchen shop, Mary and Martha's. There, I was able to make some wonderful purchases, including this beautiful and inspirational canvas I have hung over the double doors to the pantry that holds our food and other kitchen necessities.
That was going to be the end of my blog were it not for another piece of art I saw today: a photograph that conveyed yet another message of God's greatness and goodness. Kiki was pulled out alive from the rubble in Haiti after almost eight days. Reaching out for him is his mother.
I was forwarded this email from our church's partner mission, Christ Central. Although I received it early this morning, it was written a few days ago. I read it to my fourth graders this morning as we have been talking about the tragic devastation in Haiti. I felt it was important for them to hear of the experience from someone who had done so first-hand. I know this is pretty long. However, I do ask that you read it all the way through.
This is a first hand account of the awful reality of being in the recent earthquake. This is a testimony of that experience from Melinda Hester who is a fulltime missionary to Haiti from Edisto Island, SC.
In His Service,
Donald C. Lyons
Haiti Under God
1135 Wesgate Road
Walterboro, SC 29488
Email from Nannie Hester
It had been a good day at the Medical Clinic, and we had seen over 130 patients. I am always the last one out, along with two of our Haitian employees who clean and prepare the building for the next day. Each time we leave, we laugh and joke, and I tell them, “Let’s go, we aren’t sleeping here tonight!” After lockin...g the back door, we began down the sidewalk beside the building on our way to the front gate. I was looking forward to walking my dog and then settling in to a good DVD movie with my cat napping on my lap. But before we could get to the street outside, the ground began shaking and trembling and heaved in horrifying and sickening waves. Screaming for my two friends, I tried to get away from the building and out the gate. Every time I attempted to stand, I was thrown to the ground. Sounds of concrete block breaking and tumbling, metal twisting and grinding, and glass shattering were deafening. It seemed to go on for an eternity, as I watched the columns of the covered seating area beside me literally dance back and forth. What was probably 30 seconds felt as if it was unending. Fear gripped me. As soon as that first shaking subsided enough to stand, I stumbled to my employees and we held on to each other and made our way out into the street. I stood, trying to catch my breath and overcome the intense trembling of my entire body, and watched cracks appear and radiate out over the roadbed. We managed to make our way into a nearby field of banana trees and lay down on the ground, along with others who had been in the street when it happened. Screams, prayers and pleas were all being made by each of us. When the trembling eased up enough to stand, I saw Teresa Price, our Physician’s Assistant at the clinic, running down the street to me, screaming, “Jim and Sandy are in their house and it fell down!” We raced around the corner to find the two-story apartment building was now only one story and was leaning toward one side. Terrified, we both ran to look for Dr. Jim Wilkins, our Medical Director, and his wife Sandy. It looked as if no one could have survived such devastation. Amazingly, we found them in the adjacent field, unharmed after they jumped from their porch balcony as the building went down. Shocks continued, and we all had to stop each time and sink to the ground until each one was over. Holding each other with relief, we were able to run to the remaining houses on the compound and find the other missionaries, all of whom were unharmed. I went to my house, a new apartment building, to try to save my dog and cat. Walls were cracked, and huge chunks of concrete block were gone. I could not get the front door open and stood helplessly, listening to my dog cry in terror. We all gathered in the yard of the Guest House, while the tremors continued. Afraid to enter any buildings, we tried to begin to form a plan, knowing that injured people would soon begin pouring in. We ran to the clinic, hoping to get supplies and medicines. We found our pharmacy and storage room destroyed, but the clinic itself was still mostly upright. Terrified to enter, but knowing the materials were needed, Dr. Wilkins and several others went in and quickly grabbed all they could so we could begin to help the wounded. We set up a temporary area in the Guest House yard, found a generator to power lights since darkness had descended, and began caring for the hundreds that came. The injuries were horrendous, with fathers holding young children who had deep lacerations to the bone, old people with broken arms, a woman with both feet broken at the ankles and one foot almost completely cut off. The pain and fear were deeply etched in their faces. While the ground continued to shake all night, we worked, setting broken bones, suturing huge punctures, and trying to save lives with the limited amount of materials we had. I delivered a baby, and then later found a father walking around holding his child. This toddler was cold to the touch and had died several hours earlier. The father was in such a state of shock that he didn’t even know it. Another child died in my arms. The ground was covered with blood. The smells will never be forgotten. Cries of pain and fear were heard all around. It was a surreal setting, almost unbelievable. I went back to the clinic that night, with others, to try to find more supplies. The building groaned and shuddered while we were inside. We worked through the night, and watched the sun come up over a land where all structures were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Four days have now passed since that terrible night, and we have finally had sleep and clean clothes. I was able to get into my house through a back door, and found my dog, passport and prescriptions. I could not find my cat, and I am certain she was crushed when large objects tumbled down. There was not time to take anything else, as the building groaned around me. I have lost everything, but thankfully escaped with my life. Food and water are scarce, as is gas and diesel for the generators. But our little band has worked on, and there are people trying to get to us and bring medical supplies. Cell phone service is down, but we are grateful for the satellite internet. It is our only contact with the world. We are told by others who come from Port-au-Prince that the city is a total loss, with bodies littering the streets. Looting has begun and we are sure an epidemic will break out with no way to dispose of the dead. We have found one of the small school buildings that we think is structurally sound, and plan to open the Medical Clinic in a few days. People are coming to the gate each day, begging for care. Our volunteer team is still here, since there are no flights out to the U.S. yet. I am fully convinced that God intends for us to rebuild Christianville, and we have begun working toward that goal. The Haitians depend on us for help. They have lost everything, and most families have at least one dead. The tremors are less often now, sometimes hours apart. We are sleeping outside, since we can’t know if another large one will come and destroy any building we stay in. In the midst of such horrific events, we are marching on, committed to the Haitian people and the work God has sent us to do. We ask for your prayers as Haiti begins the long and painful process of rebuilding. Donations can be made to Haiti Under God, 148 Tranquility Lane, Edisto Island, SC 29438. It is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, and all contributions are tax deductible. Feel free to e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please know I am not pushing any specific mission or outreach. Pray, and do what you feel called to do. I just felt this email was too important not to share with you dear friends.
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and
dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and
eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
11. Don't compare your life to others.
You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts on things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
17. Forget issues of the past.
Don't remind your husband with his mistakes of the past.
That will ruin your present happiness.
18. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
19. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
20. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
21. Smile and laugh more.
22. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...
23. Call your family often.
24. Each day give something good to others.
25. Forgive everyone for everything.
26. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
27. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.
Your friends will. Stay in touch.
30. Do the right thing!
31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
32. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
33. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
34. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
35. Remember that GOD heals EVERYTHING.
My sweet grandmother came with my parents yesterday to see the boys play their basketball games. After visiting with the boys, Muz asked me this question: "Bevy, why do you write a blog? Why do you think people want to know all those things about you? Like the fact that you love your Lilly Pulitzer coffee mug? When do you have time to do this?" You see, my mother reads my blogs occasionally and she showed my grandmother a few of them. I thought Muz would love the fact that I write about both special and daily events in my life. She, in fact, as an Episcopal rector's wife, wrote a column in our church's monthly "Messenger" called Personally Speaking. In her column, she wrote not only about church events, but even events going on in the parishioners' lives: parties, trips, accomplishments. If blogs were around then, Muz would be Queen Blog!
So I told her, "It's like journal, Muz."
It's a place to write about both the trivial and superficial
One of my guilty pleasures is the television show "World's Strictest Parents". I think I watch it because it makes me realize how incredibly great my own boys are! The premise is that two insolent, disrespectable, and just plain bad teens are sent to live for one week with a family with (you guessed it) strict parents who won't put up with their bad behavior in an effort to change them for the better. I am absolutely amazed that these kids were allowed to behave this way to begin with! Where were the consequences in their homes?!?!
Now my boys are great. They have wonderful manners. They are well-behaved and a pleasure to be around. But of course their sweet mouths get them in trouble: arguing with each other (or their parents), calling each other names, and just saying things the nice young gentlemen shouldn't. And it makes me just a tad bit crazy. Well, "tad bit" may be putting it lightly, don't you think?
So what's a mother to do? Take a cue from "World's Strictest Parents"! One set of strict parents had this consequence for toilet mouths: clean the toilet. I like that. While my boys don't have "toilet mouths", they do commit the aforementioned grievances. And I am prepared.
I live for every other Wednesday. I'm not kidding. I A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y live for today. For today is the day I come home from school with the boys to a house that smells of Pine Sol and clean Pine Cone Hill hem-stitched sheets. The hardwood floors are shiny. The silver picture frames are dusted. Any Wedgewood plates I had stacked in the sink from breakfast are clean and put away. My cute Lilly coffee thermal mug is washed and considerately placed beside the coffee maker. The bathrooms are so clean you'd never know two testoterone-y boys inhabit the abode. It's like a little cleaning fairy has waved her magic wand...
But I gratefully know better. I have three fairies who whoosh into my house and get to work on this place we call home. Where as you, dear blends, see only pictures of a clean and gracious home, Kathy and her girls see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
On those Wednesday mornings, I frantically try to get the house in some sort of order so that it can be cleaned. I throw random items in drawers. My sons whine the exact same whine I did as a child: "Why do I have to straighten my room before the maids get here? I thought they came here to clean." And I go through the same schpeel my mom went with me. (You know what I'm talking about!)
Today I came home to my lovely, clean home. BUT I noticed something awry. My basket of fruit was a bit smaller. It was missing a few pieces. Where were my bananas and oranges that were near the bottom? It hadn't been that long since I had put them there (or had it?). They were getting a little ripe, and I was planning on making some fruit salad for the family. Then I noticed a little note:
We hope you don't mind, but we threw out
the rotten fruit that was in the basket.
It was getting moldy.
So much for appearances... they know how we really live.
A few months ago, Beth AKA Social Climbers asked some fellow bloggers when they realized they were of the WASP heritage and when the ultimate awareness of their preppiness surfaced. Here is my epiphany.
Most of the people I grew up with were the same as me. Therefore, I didn't have many different kinds of people to compare myself to. Oh, I did go to a public high school. However, I still tended to stay with the friends I had grown up with, gone to the same Episcopal church with, and spent the summers at Pawley's Island with. (Excuse the poor grammar with all the prepositions at the end of clauses and sentences! I am shivering at the sight!)
However, that was about to change the summer after graduation and before I packed my bags for Converse College (bastion of WASP and prep - as most girls schools were in the 80s). My father was friends with one of the big-wigs at the South Carolina Tax Commission and had arranged a summer job for me. That's fine, I thought. I would be home with all my friends for one last summer - and I would have a few weeks off for time at our house at Pawley's and up in the mountains of N.C. But my father had another idea.
That idea was that I was going to build character that summer. What?!?! I had plenty of character! No, my father stressed, I was going to see how the other half worked: I spent the summer of 1987 working in the mammoth file room, filing tax returns for the fine people of the state of South Carolina.
And did I ever build character. I won't go into all the backgrounds, style preferences in clothing and hairstyles, and propensity for gum-smacking I encountered. And I definitely stuck out with my pearls and Laura Ashley dresses. However, one event clearly sticks in my brain from that summer - the monumental event that opened my eyes that I was different:
I was filing tax returns in the rear of the building and came across a group of about 3-4 other employees. They were obviously having a very heated discussion about something I had no idea. Enter Bevy.
Bevy: Hey y'all! What's going on?
Group: Just talking 'bout L.L.
Group: Yeah, you know: L.L. Cool J.
Bevy (puzzled look on her face): L.L. Cool J.? The only L.L. I know is L.L. Bean!
Leader of Group: What do he sing?
Obviously, character won that summer...
Point to ponder: Do you think L.L. Cool J. wears L.L. Bean?
I sat beside my husband when we said our wedding vows.
I can not believe the dear and sweet comments I have received from so many of you after my last post. I am so touched and amazed. I am no different than any of you - you would do the same thing. So many of you deal with harder things than my family every day. I have been amazed and encouraged by your grace, strength and faith as you blog about your days. Thank YOU!
Jillian, Inc asked how we met, and she must have read my mind, because that was going to be the Part II of my blog. My students asked as well! Here we go...
Mike is my second husband. (My first marriage was an emotional nightmare. Don't have to elaborate...) We met (you probably will stop following me after this) on Match.com (didn't tell the students that part!) when a friend told me I "was too cute not to be dating anyone". It's hard to begin again - and where on earth does a nice girl in her 30's with two small children find someone? Bars are so out of the question. My church was a very two-parent family type. So I said, "what the heck" and threw myself in. I must have written a great description of myself as I never contacted anyone first and went on some very nice dates at only the best restaurants in town. Anyway, I saw a picture of Mike (very handsome) and he saw my cute picture LOL. Next thing I know, we start emailing and talking on the phone for a few weeks.
I noticed his voice was a little slurred when we spoke and was initially a little worried. (My ex is a NON-recovering alcoholic.) However, he had such a fun way about him that I was OK. And we didn't have to meet face-to-face. Also, he lived in Aiken and I, in Columbia, so I felt there was enough distance. After a few weeks, he told me he wanted to send me an article that had just been written about him in the local paper. It was a good article, he told me, but if I never wanted to talk with him again, he would understand. Of course that made me more than just a little curious as to what it was about. I agreed, and he immediately emailed me a copy. (It's a pretty long read for a blog, but if you want to see it, I can show you.) It was about him living (to the fullest) with his "diffability". After I read it, I actually was relieved: He WASN'T another alcoholic! He was just in a wheelchair. I can deal with that!
That was in March of 2006. We got married June 2, 2007. So I guess we are still newlyweds to some of you. It was a day with not a dry eye. Small, with only 50 friends and close family. Sumter and Jackson walked me down the aisle in matching "Palmetto Tuxedos": navy blue blazers, white shirts, khakis, and (Vineyard Vines) ties. My uncle performed the Episcopal ceremony in the little Baptist chapel. It truly is a match made in heaven - for us! Mike never ever thought he would ever get married. With all of my baggage as well, who's to say I would have also. Our road, like all others, is filled with questions, anxieties and uncertainties. But, like all others, it is also filled with laughter, hope, and faith.
Today's math lesson lasted for about 5 minutes in my fourth grade classroom this morning. It wasn't on purpose. As a matter of fact, I like geometry (fourth grade geometry, that is!). I was just a bit frazzled as we were going over homework, and I was telling my students why: my car battery died this morning and I had to jump it with my husband's. One of my students asked why my husband didn't help me, and another stated that my husband is is a wheelchair and that maybe he couldn't. Yes, my husband is in a wheelchair. (I explained that the real reason he couldn't help me was that he was in the shower.)
Yes, my husband is in a wheelchair.
I have never seen my husband stand.
I sat beside my husband when we said our wedding vows.
For about 30 minutes today, Math turned into a combo Health/Character class. Health, as I told my students about my husband's condition, and Character, as I described how he, our sons and I live with his disability. They were wide-eyed and fascinated. They asked questions about Mike's disability and how he got in the wheelchair.
Mike has a condition known as Freidreich's Ataxia. In a nutshell, Friedreich's Ataxia is an inherited condition that causes progressive damage to the nervous system resulting in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance and speech problems to heart disease. Wikipedia really does do a good job describing it in layman's terms.
My husband was a normal kid growing up in Aiken. He was quite the soccer player, being offered scholarships to small colleges around the southeast. However, he chose to go to the University of South Carolina because of their business college. It was there that he began to see signs: slight dizziness, tripping, and some clumsiness. He was diagnosed at age 20, started using a walker at age 30, and was finally in a wheelchair at age 37. A financial engineer at the Savannah River Site, he retired three years ago.
I told my students that even though he has this disability, he leads as much of a normal life as most of us. He just has to do things differently. (Thus we like to say he has a "Diffability" as opposed to a disability.) When we go out, we have to scout out parking places - and we curse all those fat sloths who use their grandmother's handicapped placards and slug themselves into the store! We have to make sure there are handicapped ramps and doorways when we go to events and parties. Even a six inch step can be a nightmare. It's real fun to have Mike's friends and my friend's husbands "bump" him up steps. That does not stop us from black-tie affairs or other social events. We just PLAN AHEAD!
"But is it hard on you, Mrs. W.?" one of my students asked me. Again, it's a "diffability". No, it's not always easy. But EVERYONE has something, don't they?
Mike, Jackson and me at the Aiken Steeplechase last spring.
Jackson, our eight-year-old, came into our bedroom this morning. I am still half asleep, and the following conversation ensues:
J: Hey, what can I do to earn (nice that he didn't just ask for it!) $19.95? Me: What do you need $19.95 for? J: I want to buy gold. Me: What?!?! J: I saw it on TV and I want to get rich. They have these bars (shows us the dimensions with his hands) and coins. And they have these cool buffaloes on one side and Indians on the other. I really think we need to buy some. Me: Really... J: Yes, the bald man with the brown mustache said they are going fast but we can buy four or five. We really need to buy some. Isn't that a good idea?
J walks out of the room and closes the door.
I am going to murder G. Gordon Liddy.