Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Soo-Jin!!

Happy, Happy Birthday to Soo-Jin. How you ever came to be a thirty something, I'll never know.....You still look like the same sixteen year old teenager that came to live with us many years ago!! Still have that intoxicating smile......still are a BFF with many of your siblings.....Still loves cats, dogs, and all animals that need your attention..... Our family would not be as "razzle-dazzle" if you weren't in it.....

I love you, Soo-Jin.......I'm so glad you are in our family!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crazy Sundays...........


When our children were little.....and we had a lot of them.......Sundays were stressful!! Now, don't get alarmed......worshiping God as a family was mostly, wonderful. I say mostly, because I definitely have to exclude the time when an elderly lady hit my then young sons, Andrew and Chris, over the head with her cane because she thought they were being unruly. They probably were, but to assault them in church was a huge mistake on her part.....I called an "on the spot" meeting with an elder over that one. 

Sundays used to be a tough because of all the preparation and the ordeal of transporting twenty-one children across Dallas to get them there. I literally spent four hours every Saturday night ironing dresses, shirts, and pants for said twenty-one children so they would all look their absolute best for Sunday. I think....no, I know, that this was extremely prideful on my part. I was determined to show everyone that having twenty-one children was really no biggie.....Our kids were going to be the best dressed, best groomed, children in the entire church...
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Then, there was the fact that we chose to belong to a church that was forty-seven and one half  minutes from our house. Our fifteen passenger van wasn't large enough for everyone, so TR drove the van and I took another group in one of our many Volvos....  Combine that with the fact that, the church service itself was three hours long. We literally were in church all day!.....NO WONDER, Andrew and Chris had trouble keeping still and not killing each other......What young child can be expected to sit throught a service that long, especially when they have already been up for three hours.

Wow...looking back on that now, I'm thinking ....."Sarah, what were you thinking?"  Definitely, there wasn't much objective thinking on my part about Sundays!!!

Now, life is so different. My kids are old enough to get themselves ready for church. But, in all honesty, I don't care if they wear jeans to church.....I'm over appearances....Well....not really completely over appearances, but I'm MUCH better.......

And....we don't have so many going to church. TR and I tag-team church. One of us goes to the early service with just one or two kids, and the other one takes a larger group to the late service. Then, the next Sunday we switch services. This way, every other Sunday, one of us is able to attend church with a "small" group while the other parent takes a "large" group. And.....of course, now, since ten children have moved out on their own......the core group is so much smaller..And......none of them are really "children" any more. My youngest will soon be fourteen.

Plus, we now attend a church much closer.. And, it's an Episcopal church, the church I was raised in. Services are usually only one hour long.....

When I was younger, I was driven so much by pride......Why, I ask myself???? Did I make anyone's life better? I'm sure no one remembers that way back when, Sarah M. had eight girls with beautifully starched dresses and thirteen boys all decked out in neckties and neatly creased pants in church....on time...every Sunday.... No more than I'm sure that God doesn't mind if my adult kids today come to church in their jeans and a nice shirt.......Hopefully, a hole or two in the jeans will sometimes be okay.

But....in all honesty, Sundays are always going to be a time of hurrying and a bit of panic on my part. My own little bar of perfection will always be there........Not put there by TR, God, or anyone else.....Just me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Missy!!

Today is Missy's twenty-fifth birthday. We're having lots of presents, cake, and ice cream. Birthday parties at our house are tremendously busy and fun!!

While Missy's birthday is August 18, she wasn't supposed to have been born until approximately November 18th. That's correct, Missy was born at twenty six weeks gestation!! She weighed in at 2pounds and 2 ounces.

Being born three months too soon has presented a few obstacles for Missy, but for the most part, she has overcome tremendous odds to live a normal, mostly healthy life.

Next spring Missy will be getting married to the man of her dreams.......How great is that????

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Two Cents........My Son Was Stopped At WalMart!

Last night my husband, TR, took a crew of our family with him on his nightly run to WalMart. This daily trip to "WallyWorld" has become part of the cultural fabric of our family. We always NEED something........Every night before he goes to bed, TR surveys the "supply" situation to see if there is something we need for the next day. Since many of the family's siblings are now disabled adults living at home, this is their time to hang out with Dad and "shop". Many of them have household chores throughout the week. I pay them a good wage and they spend their money in any way they wish. But.... disability or not, ALL the siblings have accompanied Dad to WalMart for over twenty years.....

One of my sons that still lives at home is Chris. He's an exceptional person that is a real homebody......He's finishing up his senior year in homeschool. Someday he may move out to live on his own, but for now he's content to keep Mom and Dad company!! Chris helps TR and I by taking care of the necessary weed whacking in our yard......I use the word, yard, loosely because our yard consists of three beautiful Texas acres of land. Chris went along with TR last night because not only does he love to hang with Dad, he wanted to buy a movie.

Now, Chris, has probably been to WalMart a thousand times over the past nineteen years. He also goes to Hastings bookstore with his sisters, Suzanne and Soo-Jin. Generally, he is out and about Waxahachie at least two to four times a week doing something or another with another sibling. I probably should mention here, so the story becomes clearer, Chris is African American; he's almost six feet tall and weighs about 230 pounds. Last night, Chris was stopped as he was leaving WalMart. Evidently, the alarm went off as several groups of people were exiting the store. The greeter was searching for the person that had set off the alarm. Chris and another African American man were called over to have their purchases checked. The employee did not stop any of the Caucasion people that were leaving.......just Chris and the other African American man. Now, I am not one to pull the race card in a situation, but it was so blatantly obvious that race clearly was a defining factor here. Interestingly, when my husband, TR, said "This is my son," she waved Chris on out the door...... Gee, this is disturbing......If EVERYONE had been white, would all the white people have been checked? Or were all the white people immune just because my son and the other African American were present??? I know situations like this, and situations many times worse than this happen every day. But, it is my belief that we must continue to draw attention to discrimination when and where ever it occurs so that hopefully, attitudes about culture and race will continue to improve. This is my two cents!!

Old Home of the Week

Old House of the Week......Waxahachie, Texas

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thoughts of Olivia

Chronologically, Olivia was sixty-two years old……..spiritually, she was much younger. Olivia had spent almost all of her adult life raising her ten children. They were all grown now; the youngest had just turned eighteen.


For the past several years Olivia had mentally researched her true passion…..what her heart’s desire would be when the last child was grown. As she continued throughout her fifties to be the taxi driver, household chef, maid, laundress, counselor, and her children’s number one fan, she would sometimes imagine how she would spend those long awaited hours.

When Olivia was twenty-one, she had been a dancer. Physically, she was medium height, thin but shapely, with a sparkling glow that radiated from her blue eyes. She adored the art of dance. Technically, she was a classical ballerina, but in her heart, she moved with the music whether it be pop, jazz, blues, or classical. Dancing was the medium God gave Olivia with which to become the melody. Dance made Olivia part of the music…..music and dance became one.

So….now, fast forwarding to sixty-two years of age, Olivia is still medium height, but she is no longer thin or shapely; her shape is round. And, while the sparkling glow can still be seen, it is framed with wrinkles, frown lines, and puff balls of skin. After picturing herself as a painter, singer, quilter, writer, and tutor, Olivia comes back to the one experience that is spiritually miraculous for her…….dance.

Now, everyday Olivia pulls on her black footless tights, fluid black skirt, and V neck black leotard. Donning black ballet slippers, she flows from room to room in her large empty house. The rooms have become her stage; her happiness is beyond what most people can understand. No one is there to judge her technique or physique. There is no applause. The only presence is God and Olivia……Olivia moving as she had done when she was twenty-one. The dance was still there…..the music was still there. Olivia found herself again. She had not changed at all…

Olivia

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Discovered I Am A Cyberspace Hoarder!!!!!

This evening my daughter, Suzanne, came to visit me in my room. We were searching YouTube because we love Prince Poppycock on America's Got Talent. He has an amazing voice!!! Our search was taking FOREVER because, as Suzanne informed me....I have way too much "stuff" on my computer........The bad news is, I had more "stuff" than Suzanne even imagined......



I had been "found out"!!! I had a black hole of  "stuff" on my computer.........recipes, school papers, down loads for research projects, pictures of wedding dresses, articles about every sort of thing you can imagine. These are just a few of the articles I had saved: "Five Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, Dangers and Risks of Scientology, Building a Soda Volcano, Calculate the Center of Gravity, Bookworms, Love them as I Love Them.......and the most bizarre article ever...
Anarchism and The History of the Black Flag".



I think I researched the Black Flag as my son, Taylor, was writing a paper on Santa Anna and the "no surrender" flag he flew over the Alamo.

We had been deleting, storing, and organizing for about two hours when, my computer came to an abrupt halt.......My recycle bin was full!! That's right, I had deleted so much "stuff", my recycle bin could not hold any more.......

I was a bit surprised about my reaction. I had seen a couple of television segments about hoarders......This was all I could think of as Suzanne found page after page of homework assignments and random articles that I just had to "SAVE"!!
We actually went through each one. She asked me...."Mom, do you want to delete or move this to another file"?  Delete or Save??? Delete or Save???? Over and Over Again!!!


Some of the articles I had to really think about!! I mean I really might need that article discussing how to become a Fruitarian!!!! It is something I think about.....and often!!

As I was about to have a total anxiety attack, this handsome young man came over for a visit!! Thank you, Andrew, for saving me from the Delete......Save Mania I was in!!!


Suzanne and Andrew left to find some food.....


Suzanne and I will just have to continue our Computer Cleaning another day!!
Thank you, Andrew!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Victorian Home of the Week


Here in Waxahachie, Texas, we are blessed with an ample supply of Victorian Homes. Because I love them, and want to share....I'm posting a picture of one home a week. I love the colors on this one!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dreams.......

Recently, my husband and I saw the new movie, Inception. Then, I saw the movie with my daughters, Suzanne and Soo-Jin.......Then, I took my sons Taylor, Thomas, Chris, and Patrick to see the flick......I have had several opportunities to reflect on the "meaning" of the movie.

The main idea weighing in my mind is the concept of the "reality" of our dreams......My mother died in 2000; I didn't have any sisters. My mom and I were the only female presence in my immediate family. She was not only my mom, but also my best friend. My mom had a hard life, and because of that, I think she depended on me in ways that were unhealthy. However, I also depended on her in ways that were probably unhealthy....... That being said, she was the most influential person in my life. She loved me more than anyone could ever love a person. She was my mom and my best friend. Many times I desperately wish I could visit with her for just an hour or two. ........And, sometimes I do.....in my dreams.....

I don't dream about my mom every night....But, when I've been especially missing her, or when something difficult happens in my life, she visits me in my dreams. So, in a strange way, the dreams become part of my reality. I know the situations in my dreams and the way she responds to me is dependent on my  subconscious, but, I don't care......I never brush these dreams off as silly or inconsequential. They are extremely consequential to me because they give me great comfort making my life better than if I did not have them.....

The Bible records many instances of God speaking to people through their dreams. I can recount at least twice where I believe God spoke to me through a dream.....What are your thoughts about the "reality" of dreams? I would love some comments on this subject!!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reflections At The End Of The Day

. This year I'll be fifty-eight years old. I don't feel fifty-eight. I feel like I'm still a young girl.......with a lot of life experience.....in a slightly used body. But, I'm starting to see the world a bit differently. I have one son, Chris, that will be a homeschool senior next year. Then, Taylor is in eighth grade. Mostly, all my other children are adults. Where I was driving a van full of children.......now, metaphorically speaking, I'm driving a convertible. The wind is tossing my hair around. Sixty is around the corner. Our home is sooooo quiet. Twenty-seven years of homeschooling is behind me. It seems strange.

The world truly looks different to me now. I find myself thinking about how I want the rest of my years to be.....More relaxed mostly is what comes to mind. I want to do more with my disabled children......going to museums, movies, the zoo..... I'd like to attend a weekly Bible study and make new friends there. I want to earn my Black Belt in TKD. I'd like to become a lean, mean, physically fit machine!! I want to watch Tim in most of his triathlons. I feel connected to him in a special way watching him participate in something so important to him.

I want to visit all my adult children where they live, stacking up many lunches, dinners, and coffee breaks with them.

I want to plan weddings and welcome grandchildren.....

I want to value each day......

I want to be comfortable in my "not so young" skin and be grateful for what is to come.....

Then, I think how blessed I am to live in America......to even be able to have dreams......

To someday be sixty something and even have the expectation of a more relaxed life.....

How fortunate I am.....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dogs Have Masters......Cats Have Staff!

Dogs Have Masters.....Cats Have Staff!
This is what my husband said to me this evening.....
I took our cat, Captain, to the vet EARLY this morning to get his annual shots and checkup.

When I entered the clinic, there were already three dogs waiting for their appointments......a Boston Terrier, a Jack Russell Terrier, and a large white Labrador Retriever. The two small dogs sat with their owners on one side of the reception area; the lab and his owner sat on the other side. I started to sit on the side with the lab, but thought better of that idea considering the owner was sitting exactly in the middle of the bench seat. It felt a bit like crossing a moat full of crocodiles.......The lab's owner would have to move down so that I could sit down; the lab was painfully large...... The sharpness of the fact that I had the only cat in the room began to occupy the forefront of my thought.

So......I made a spot turn and carried my tabby cat to the other side. I sat in the only open space...right between the Boston Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier. Captain was rhythmically making a sad cry. Of course, dogs come in on a leash.....cats have to be in an animal carrier...... no one could see how beautiful and well cared for our Captain was......all they heard was the pitiful cry of a reluctant cat.

Awkward is the best way to describe my feeling......The Boston Terrier began to stir as Captain cried more and more......His owner seemed a bit stern and told the terrier to be still. I smiled and said "Hi", to the Boston Terrier....This was a
bad move because it just excited the dog even more than he already was. .... His owner became even more stern. I found myself apologizing...to the Boston Terrier!! I whispered, "Sorry".

The Jack Russell Terrier seemed oblivious to the squeals coming out of my animal carrier. Her name was Lily. Lily was shaking so violently that my heart went out to her......I've never seen an animal enjoy visiting the vet.

While the dog owners were comforting and disciplining their pets, all I did was sit there and feel uncomfortable. Captain obviously did not want to be there any more than the dogs did, but since he was in the carrier, I did not comfort him. Taking a cat out of its' carrier while in the waiting room of a veterinarian's office is a cardinal sin......one I wasn't about to break.

I tried to have a conversation with the young owner of the Jack Russell Terrier. While she smiled and gave short answers to my questions about her dog, I had the impression, imagined or real, that she didn't associate with CAT OWNERS!!

I didn't even attempt to talk with the owner of the Boston Terrier. I thought I had probably already burned my bridges with her........and the Boston Terrier, as well!

Finally, Captain's name was called and we went to the examining room. He received his vaccinations and buried his sweet head into my chest after the shot was administered. It hurt!!

The vet asked me several questions. I couldn't answer all of them because Soo-Jin takes care of Captain..... I have a dog.....a Snoodle named Charlie. But, (sigh)  I am the person that always takes the family animals to the vet.....

As I left, I couldn't help but reflect on the different experience I have when I take our dogs to the vet. The dog owners will usually ask me what kind of dog I have. One time, a woman gave me her entire dog history concerning her terrier mix...There is a "bond" that we dog owners have.........Dogs and cats just don't mix....

So, when I shared my experience with my husband.....how I felt like Captain and I were treated like Second Class Cat and Cat Owner Citizens.......He said, "Dogs have masters, cats have staff."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hanging With Mom

When I returned from my TKD Belt Test yesterday, this young man was waiting to visit with me....


This is Paul, my oldest son....

I believe it was President George H. Bush that once said that you know you've done something right in raising your children if they come home to visit when they are grown....Well, Tim and I are tremendously blessed, because all of our grown children come home to visit.....

After awhile, four more of our children came into my room to hang with me.....


Thomas

Soo-Jin




Suzanne and Taylor.....They were tired after the TKD BELT Test!!!!


Thank you, God, for making me a MOM!!!





Sunday, August 1, 2010

TaeKwon Do Belt Test....Saturday, July 31, 2010

This afternoon, Suzanne, Taylor , and I completed our belt test so that we could proceed to the next level in our TaeKwon Do journey. Enjoy the pictures!!




Check out my new blog at http//:www.itsfactual.blogspot.com. You can just click on the link found in the sidebar and you can be immediately connected!! I love reading about all kinds of facts and trivia. I'm researching a new topic each day and writing a short post about what I learned!!