All posts by karakshepherd@gmail.com

Why I Have Hope, Part 1

It was a big deal when my brother started to come to school with me. We could walk together, to and from, and I felt like such the big sister. I was very proud of my position.

 

I don’t remember the first time it happened, someone pointing out that my brother did not have the same color skin as me. I do remember the day I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore, though.

This kid, I still remember his name, called my little brother a ‘gook’. I had learned from a family member the nastiness of that word and it brought up all kinds of pent up, never-used feelings. I wasn’t having it.

I had my little brother’s hand in mine as I tried to punch this kid. The boy and his friends laughed at my inexperience with violence. The rage launched me forward onto him while the kid’s big brother watched, his companions cheering us on. I feel like he was shocked. He didn’t know I was that mad. I remember him saying, “Kara, Kara. Stop.”

But I couldn’t stop – the thing propelling me forward was bigger than me.

I was incensed on behalf of my very small brother. My brother  with his beautiful dark eyes and dark hair and coffee colored skin. I loved our differences. I was proud that my brother was Korean, that he was different. He was so beautiful to me.

I don’t remember a lot except that I was screaming hysterically as I ran home. I raced to my garage, where I grabbed a hammer. I wanted to inflict the worst kind of pain on those boys.

It didn’t matter that they had not made Todd bleed. His wounds were invisible but deep. You could see the wariness in his eyes. After all, some of our own family members had no problem making fun of his race.

Why should he be surprised by the kids at school using mean words on him?

Why should he be surprised at the teachers who pretended not to overhear?

Why should he be surprised at the adults who asked idiotic questions of him?

Back to that day, the day when violence came into my heart. I chased that boy for two blocks, anger growing with every pump of my legs. The boy was faster than me and reached his house before I could reach him. His mother was sitting on the front porch.

He ran up the two concrete stairs and stood behind his mother. I stood gasping for air, grasping a hammer tightly in one hand, sweat rolling down my forehead. It was the voice of his mother that calmed the fire in my heart.

Thinking back on it, I believe it was her understanding that acted like cool waters.

I thought, “She gets it.” 

His mother didn’t look like the other mothers at my elementary school. Her clothes were different, her accent not the same. Maybe she understood being on the outside. Maybe she recognized the flames engulfing my heart.

She listened to my tearful story, words coming between hiccups, snot and tears running down my face. She nodded her head and took her son’s hand and told him to apologize. 

I went home exhausted, defeated, and scared.

For the first time I saw that the thing my little brother was up against was an indomitable foe.

I was also frightened by the monster inside myself.

Racism is raised generation by generation on hate. Racism is fed small children to keep it growing into a proper big monster. How would I ever beat that?

 


 

For me, the day I chased that boy home with a hammer in my hand, I realized something new: knowing the person at school wasn’t the same as knowing the person.

When I saw that boy’s mama was waiting on the front porch I had clarity about his life. For one, he had a mother. I don’t think I’d ever considered that.

For another, he had a mother who was different. Lastly, I could see that his life was not the same as mine. There was something about the way his yard looked that suggested that what happened in my home was not the same as what happened in his home.

Suddenly his chipped front tooth didn’t add to his malice; it was just a chipped tooth.

I think he learned something new that day, too. I think he learned that someone can be pushed too far, that they can lose the ability to choose reason. Sadly, I think he learned to like that feeling, at least while he was at school.

That was not the last run in this boy and I would have. He and I would have words again on a school bus in high school. He didn’t grow out of bullying even in high school. One afternoon, I would sit back and watch as someone pummeled him, after months and months of taking mean words, and think, “Yeah, I remember that feeling.”

By the way, it isn’t a good feeling that you’re left with after you do violence. It’s a lonely feeling.

Doing violence leaves you feeling separate from everyone.

I need you to know that I wasn’t always the champion of the underdog. There were times that I did the bullying, a fact that still fills me with regret.

It seems that learning to do the right thing is an ongoing process. The pendulum is always swinging between reaction and inaction.

It’s the middle where it’s good. That’s where we can make some progress.

 

 


 

We need to accept that there are race issues in the U.S. My experience in America, as a person with pale skin, versus the experience of someone with darker skin, or a different accent, differ greatly. 

We appear polarized as a country, and I know there’s truth to that.

I’m not buying it completely, though. No photograph or video can ever fully encapsulate the complexities of our lives.

Those of us in the middle are a little confused. But here in the middle we can see both sides a little more clearly than if we were swung over to the far left or the far right.

Still, I want to make sure that I’m not falling into the white moderate default of inaction. Neither do I want to run home for my hammer, a reaction that is not helpful.

 

“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice…” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

So what do we do? 

We know that hammers don’t work. We also know that apathy will not move us forward.

As always, I believe the answer is community. I believe it’s about inviting people into our lives and into our homes and having (potentially uncomfortable) conversations. Be willing to know people in your home and in theirs.

And this is why I have hope: it’s never too late to move forward.

 I’d like to point out that racism does not always wear a white robe and march with tiki torches. Racism uses words like ‘they’ rather than ‘us’. Racism, like all -isms excludes rather than includes.

Most often racism is silent, pretending not to see inequalities or hateful behavior.

 

Be brave, misfits, not silent. It’s okay to shake up the order of things.

Just leave your hammer at home.

 

Also, for further reading on the issues of racism:

Is there a Neo-Nazi storm brewing in Trump country?

A Reformed White Nationalist Speaks Out on Charlottesville

The White Flight of Derek Black

ShannanMartinWrites

I’m Racist (and So Are You)

 

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Now it is Sunday

Now it is Sunday.

The day given over to rest in the presence of God.

We’ve been doing Sundays the new way for so long that it doesn’t seem like the new way any more. Still, some mornings I find myself thinking back on the old way, the way Sunday used to go for us. Those memories are taking on the lovely haze of the good ole days.

That’s not true every day, though.

There are times that I look back on the old way of our Sundays when a feeling of despair clouded our mornings.  There are times when reading  a favorite author’s call to ‘be the church’ that I feel the sting of failure.  There are times when I look back on our days in ministry and feel a weight tied to my heart.

I can run a roll-call of people we considered friends and attach a hurtful action to each of them. Worse are the times that I recount the failures of church leaders that we shared in ministry with. The feeling of abandonment and betrayal is as fresh as when it first happened, even though more than ten years has gone by in some cases.

I’ve been reading 7 Principles for a Successful Marriage, a great read, by the way. One of the points that Gottman makes is that individuals can re-write their relationship by focusing on bad memories. Meaning that when your relationship with your spouse is healthy you will look back on hard times not with bitterness and resentment but with understanding. Basically, you will remember more good than bad.

I think my marriage to the church became an unhappy one.

It began in a romantic way, as love often does. I could see none of the warts. When the wounds came I was unprepared. I had no idea that there was an ugly side to church. My husband became a church employee soon after we became church members so we didn’t have a lot of time to assimilate before pain was inflicted.

His salary was low but we didn’t care because we were fulfilling our purpose. After a year he was told he wouldn’t be getting a raise because I could work, but because I chose to stay home with our children his salary did not increase. That happened more than once, in more than one church. That is an ugly side of church. 

I could fill a book with the ugly side of church. Maybe two.

I do not want those memories in my heart any longer. Sometimes I think that telling everyone how much it hurt will get rid of the shame that is there, too. I don’t know.

 

 


 

There was much good, also. I cannot forget that. So much. Enough to fill four books.

The generosity of those we shared life with was amazing.

Early in our ministry (and marriage) when money was tight $500 appeared in our mailbox. That money was a miracle.  We were a able to do a car repair AND buy Christmas gifts.

In another city in another church a grill showed up on our front porch one Sunday a few years later.  At another a  new friend bought all four of our children brand new winter coats. I could go on and on.

Stepping away from church is giving me time to heal my relationship with it, to put back some good memories. It’s doing the same for my kids. I think it’s doing the same for Lee, but he still misses it so much.

Church hurt is not comfortable for me to talk about. I don’t want anyone to feel responsible but not all of my hurt was internally generated. I think we can do better.

I didn’t realize how much I needed time away from the place we fell in love with Jesus at. Stepping back has allowed me to see it all, though. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My part, their part, and our part.

Yesterday was Saturday, a day that I often feel is capable of anything.

 


 

Now it is Sunday.

The day I used to give away grudgingly, reluctantly, and with a little bit of resentment.

The day starts quiet. I read some. Lee sleeps some or finds a church to worship at alone. I find my way to my book of prayers, to my bible, to my worship play list on Spotify. There is no hurry up and get there, no have-to’s or shoulds forcing us to swallow faster than we’d like. No expectations hanging over our heads.

Sunday belongs to us, which means we are free to give it to God, because every good and perfect is from above, anyway.

Am I giving what has already been given or am I choosing to share? 

I am sometimes tempted to think that the new way is too slow, is not filled with enough stuff. I can begin filling in shoulds and have-to’s but that is not the rhythm God has for us. Sunday is for resting in His presence and reveling in His companionship. 

Taking my morning walk I watch people as they go to their cars, dress shoes clip-clopping on the sidewalk. They don’t look at me and I wonder if they’re judging me for not going to church.

I think I used to do that.

Internally I would shake my head and wonder at how others got along without the church.

When we first left the ministry I worried that Sunday would feel like Saturday in our new life. That it would lose its specialness. 

There were some Sundays that did feel that way. Some Sunday mornings found me binge watching Gilmore Girls and feeding everyone peanut butter an jellies. I am learning  even that can be an offering. 

I  choose to make Sunday important. A special lunch, private prayer, and just generally being more aware of God’s active role in my life, and in the life of my family, are a few things that set Sunday apart from the other days of the week. It’s all up to me. Nothing is mandatory. Unless I begin forcing things. 

Wherever you choose to spend your sabbath the only thing that’s important is that you’re choosing to share it; that you’re not putting shoulds and have-to’s on the sacrament of worship, and that you recognize it for the gift it is.

When the hurt got too big my instinct was to pull away from church. It’s counterintuitive but it’s my church community that has been the catalyst for healing for me. 

I find solace in house church these days, but I still love churches in buildings, too. Church is where I learned hymns and the story of Passover – how can I not love that place? Sitting in a small group, outside in lawn chairs, singing songs to my Creator has helped to close up some old wounds.

Jesus came for relationship, so of course it is relationship that rescues us from hurt.

What I’m trying to say with all of these words is this: Sundays don’t have to hurt. If they do talk to your pastor, talk to friends, figure it out but don’t keep letting the hurt stack up. You can talk to me, too.

Happy Sunday, friends.

 

 

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The Process of Pain

I am a denier.

Or at least I used to be.

I’m one of those people who others  always thought was just fine, maybe even more than fine. I’d smile real big and say, “I’m great!” and quickly move the conversation to how they were doing.

I thought that was my job. I thought that I was supposed to do that. As an encourager I enjoy making others feel good, better. I love to make people laugh. That’s how God made me.

He never meant for it to cost me, though.

That was all me and perfectionism working really well together. I read a quote recently that washed all over me.

 

 

I had this idea of what people needed from me and it cost me a lot. In order to be the happy person all of the time you have to deny your feelings of sadness, anger – anything that gets in the way of being perceived as happy. Some of it was a coping mechanism to get through really Hard Times. Sometimes faking it is all you can do.

I had given myself the wrong idea that believers don’t struggle, and that if they do it was in private. One of the biggest things counseling did for me was teach me to mourn.  While I have not had major losses of people I have suffered pain at the hand of the church, had to say goodbye to friends, watch my kids go through serious loneliness, observe my husband’s family relationships unravel, stand by as he leaves a career that he loves and navigate the difficult waters of finding a new one, put all of my most beloved possessions in a storage unit…you get the picture.

It’s a lot.

Life is a lot.


I was shocked at the depth of my sadness and I will tell you that giving myself room to be sad was uncomfortable. It hurt. I’d spent YEARS pushing that crap down and allowing it to come up to the surface was painful. That’s the thing about pain, though, isn’t it?

Pain will demand the spotlight. In the moment, or years later, it must be dealt with. Denying only delays the inevitable.

While acknowledging the difficult junctures was distressing  it all it was also refining. I felt myself becoming a new thing, being transformed.

That’s the beauty of struggle, isn’t it? You do not come out of it unchanged.

He makes all things new.

Suffering leads to  endurance, which leads to character which creates HOPE.

Hope does not disappoint.

Hope is the thing with feathers, the thing that reassures us that it will all be okay.

Without suffering, can we even have hope?

 

I don’t think so.

 


Pain is a process that has to take place in order to make us new. It’s how we get stronger, it’s how we become usable. Without going into the kiln pottery won’t hold their shape, won’t hold water, and won’t look as pretty. 

Pain is not a thing to be avoided OR embraced. It’s to be accepted and allowed. It’s not our job to do anything with the pain.

After my Dad’s open heart surgery a couple of years ago he was uncomfortable. He told me there was a pain in his ribs. I didn’t tell him it was the huge chest tube. We made the unfortunate discovery that his i.v. pain meds had run out. I remember looking into his ICU room and thinking, “Well, crap.”

I couldn’t tel him that the pain wasn’t there. I couldn’t tell him that it would never go away. Neither of those things were true.

I could only tell him the truth: the pain was going to be there for a while, and that it would get better. Eventually.

Dad could only breathe through the pain and accept that it would be there for a while. Consenting to the pain it seemed to help ease it up a little. After breathing for  an hour or so he was able to sleep. If he had fought the pain the distress would have only increased. If he had tried to ignore it, pretend it wasn’t there for my sake or his, the torment would have driven him mad.

Acceptance of any type of struggle, physical, spiritual, or mental gives you permission to deal with it.

I don’t know why we have pain, why we have to have struggle to have hope.

What I do know is this: Jesus will call to you even in the struggle.

He will call you out of that pain.

Every day.

Again and again, for as long as it takes.

It’s not a one time get-of-jail-free card with Jesus. It’s an every time, all the time kind of love.

It’s a my-life-for-yours, resuscitating, rescuing love.

Perfection and paralysis don’t have to be your companions.

Accept the things you cannot change. Allow Him to change you. 

There is no end of the story.

Be brave misfits, even in the process of pain. Especially in the process of pain.

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Love Your Now

Our youngest is seven and the next oldest kid is 13, then 17, and 19. Liam is a child of the Big Gap. 

I jokingly tell people that it’s like he’s been raised by a pack of wolves.

 I’m only half joking.

Liam doesn’t talk like some seven year olds. He’s picked up on his older sibling’s speech patterns and says charming things like, “What the crap?” and “What up, boieeee?” He refers to all people as dudes, knows what twerking is, and hands out sarcasm like a pro.

The sarcasm thing may not be the fault of the teenagers.

This sweet little boy of mine enjoys Curious George, yes, but when he was three Gollum was his favorite character.  When we’re doing our annual once a year family photo Liam yells “photobomb” just before the shutter clicks.  No matter how many takes we do he is always caught  jumping Superman style in front of everyone, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth,  eyes crossed.

Most last-borns tend to have big personalities.

Our Liam definitely has charisma.

See? Charisma.

That Big Gap means that I sometimes scoot him along with the others, forgetting that he is not just small but also young. I kid that he never got to nap in his own bed, but it’s not much of a joke. He learned to sleep anywhere as a baby.

Now that he’s older I have to put effort into providing him similar childhood memories as his siblings. My three older ones played with each other constantly, always outside. 

Liam has no close-in-age sibling to pal around with in the back yard, though. I will say he’s extremely adept at playing alone. As long as one of us is close he’s pretty content to do his own thing.

One thing I’ve noticed about him, though, is that he loves one on one time with each of us. He’ll take time each week to visit his sisters in their room, hanging out and chatting about Minecraft.

Always Minecraft, endless conversations about Minecraft.

He and I go on a walk every morning and we just talk. I love talking to this kid. It reminds me of when the others were young, when we spent our days talking with each other.  He has a thing he likes to do with each family member, too. Liam and Kiley watch movies together. Liam and Laurel go to the park. Liam and Spencer wrestle (then fight). Liam and Dad do things that Mom says no to. Liam and Mimi find stuff on YouTube. Liam and Grandad go to stores together. Liam and Mom do all the things.

 


 

Sometimes Liam asks me for a brother who is his age. Actually, he asks me for a twin and doesn’t get it when I tell him it’s too late for that.

I feel kind of bad when he asks for a sibling.

Our family looks the way it looks, though, and there’s no changing it. Plus, I love getting him all to myself.  When the older kids are out doing their young adult thing he and I get to do 7 year old stuff. 

The feel of his still-small hand in mine, the weight of his body on my lap, and the grassy smell of his hair anchor me in the present. He reminds me not to take parenting teenagers too seriously. Liam makes me realize how little my others were at that age. I didn’t know that then.

I thought they were so big.

To the mom that I was then, they were. The mom that I am now, though, sees 7 as very little. Perspective literally makes you a different parent, a different person. 

That’s okay.

Sometimes I feel badly that my older two didn’t get this chilled out version of me. The me that let Liam dye his hair green this summer. The me that  doesn’t care that some of my people  (boy people) wear the same clothes for more days than I think is healthy.  The me that’s okay with where we’re at in life tells the ghost of my past self to pipe down.

Her days are done.

I can honestly say that each of my kids got the best version of me that I could offer.

That’s all we can each do.

I find that I love having a big gap between my three kids and my last born. I will admit that every now and then I find myself wondering what it would be like if Liam had a sibling close in age to him.

But he doesn’t, so there.

What he does have, though, is a family that loves him very, very much. My older kids share stories with Liam of tickling his belly during diaper changes, rocking him to sleep, watching him learn how to walk, and seeing him fall asleep in his highchair. He loves hearing those stories. 

Those stories remind him that he’s always been ours.

Now that they’re all getting older I’m finally experiencing Liam as all mine, just a little.

I love that dabbing, pop-culture savvy Big Gap Child of mine. He reminds me that everything turns out the way that it’s supposed to be. Liam reminds me to love right now.

I asked for a serious face. I sure got one.

 

Every day I seem to be learning the lesson of loving where I’ve landed. Every day I seem to be learning to let go of plans and pictures. Every day I get a chance to embrace the amazingness of now, with  my big (semi-adult) kids and my big gap child, my hubby, my parents, my brothers, the sky that always astounds me, and the grass that feels wonderful beneath my bare feet.

Be brave, misfits, and love your now.

 

 

 

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How to Get Back on Track

My husband told me that summer would be over soon and I lost it.

Like, I got really mad.

Because we have not summered nearly enough. I have not checked off nearly enough of the items on my summer list. I’ve got to hop to it.

It’s easy to lose focus, isn’t it?

Especially when you have many needs pulling on you.

I find myself overwhelmed by a to-do list. Lists make me happy, but sometimes when I look at the things I have to do I quit before I even get started. I am tempted to stay in bed and read all day.

Sometimes, I do stay in bed and read all day. I have no problem with that. When I want to get back on track though there are a few things that I do:

 

1. Just one thing

Routine has always been difficult for me.  I like to take morning walks with whatever kids will go. Liam always goes and Liam always fusses about it. Without fail this kid of mine fumes that he has to go. He’ll even say extreme things like, “I hate my life!”  I’ve learned to calmly stand by the front door (only occasionally losing my cool and shouting) and wait for him to get his shoes on.

Grumpy start.
That’s our routine.

You get him out the door, though, and everything is fine. He happily chats about Minecraft, the dogs, his favorite t-shirt, what he’d like to eat for lunch, and birds he sees along the way.

If we’ve been out of the habit for a while the first day is really hard. It’s a little easier to do it the next day, and then the next day, and the next day.

Pick just one thing and stick with it for a week. Follow through in spite of any obstacle and you’ll find your priorities coming back into focus. I learned this years ago, I think from Marcia Somerville and Tapestry of Grace. For getting back into a homeschool routine she suggested beginning with just one subject. Each week you can add a new one. So begin with math, then layer on until you’re doing the things you want.

I started applying that method to my life and was pretty pleased with the outcome.

As a recovering perfectionist it’s my tendency to make a massive schedule for the day. The first time I fail or miss something in the schedule I quit and vow to start again the next day. I can repeat that pattern every day for a couple of weeks before I catch on to the madness.

One thing. That’s all you need to get going!

 

2. Be realistic about the list

I’m sure I’m not the only recovering perfectionist out there. If you’re still stuck in that place you might not know that creating a too big to-do list sets you up for failure. Now you know, though. You’re welcome.

It’s important to be realistic about how much can actually be accomplished in a day. Ryan McRae, aka The ADHD Nerd, suggests a short to list with two bonus items. If you get to them it’s a bonus! Here’s a post of his that I return to when I’m feeling bereft in a sea of discarded lists.

I really like my quadrant idea. I break my day up into four sections:

6 a.m. – 10 a.m.

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

2 p.m.- 6 p.m.

6 p.m.-10 p.m.

I put things in each of those sections, including meals, etc. It really works.

When I use it.

I have to be realistic about what I can accomplish, though.

Don’t overload the quadrants!

Friendly kitty.

3. Leave room for nothing

For real, leave room in your day for nothing. Time to sit and think, stare out a window, lay in bed or on the couch. Nothing is very important for brains.

Quiet time allows us to process our day but it also allows our priorities to come back into focus. There are times in our family life that there is a lot of going. That’s typically when we get really off kilter. The van is filled with trash and shoes, laundry isn’t done, dishes get scattered about the house, we don’t know where our things are.

Giving yourself space to do nothing can feel counterintuitive when you’re trying to get back on track. Thinking is important, though. Constant motion does not lead to more productivity but quiet time does. 

 

We’ve been steady with morning walks for almost two weeks now. Today we’re going to add in math games. Next week we’re jumping back into history. Starting with just one thing takes away the feeling of urgency. It also allows me to sit back and view our day, where the free spaces are and where the time-sucks are.

Lots of breaks.

 

 

What do you do to get back on track? Share your gold nuggets in the comments!

 

 

 

As always, be brave, and leave time for nothing.

 

 

If you like what you read please share. 🙂

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An Honest Assessment

I shared over on Instagram that it’s Laurel’s assessment day. Meaning, she has to complete a series of tests highlighting her abilities as well as her disabilities.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

It’s pretty stressful.

It requires about four hours of sitting and doing.  For a homeschooled student who does not do standardized testing it’s a lot. A whole lot.

I spend the time in the waiting room. It’s not bad, really. They have wifi, I’ve caught up on writing and reading. I don’t hate it.

I also reflect on our road to saying ‘learning disability’ out loud. It took some time, for sure.

When my husband and I were dating I remember teasing him that perhaps he had dyslexia. We were in college and writing papers was tricky for him. He basically wrote eight pages of run on sentences. Punctuation, capitalization, spelling – none of it was there. What was there was content. He was a great writer, and still is, but something wasn’t right. It was as if he didn’t even see what was missing.

He shared one of his most memorable moments from school, which involved not being able to memorize his multiplication tables. His parents and teachers often told him that if he would only try harder his work would improve. It boggles my mind that no one every noticed how his intelligence didn’t match up with his level of work.

Lee was left with the notion that he was lazy, didn’t apply himself, and was probably a little stupid.

That is the story of so many adults who have undiagnosed learning disabilities.

I don’t understand the shame that surrounds learning differences. The first time I asked Lee’s mom if she thought he could be dyslexic she blasted me. She angrily told me that he had a very high IQ, that he had been tested by several people, that there was nothing ‘wrong’ with him.

I quietly replied that dyslexia has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence. We never broached the subject again, but the shame card had been laid on me.

When our first child showed signs of struggling to read the first person I called was Lee’s sister. She was a teacher, and I knew that teaching reading was a passion of hers.

Dyslexia is tricky, though, and many teachers are not trained to see its symptoms. Many times the symptoms are seen as stubbornness or an unwillingness to learn.  Lee’s sister suggested I call the local school and ask them. It was not a homeschool friendly area, though, so I opted to just figure it out on my own.

Man, was it rough.

I was so young and so new to homeschooling that I was overwhelmed by all of the choices. I tried to stick it out with a reading curriculum that came highly recommended. It was tear stained and tattered within the first three months of using it. Kiley and I both came to hate that book.

We were not like the homeschool families I read about or the ones who were highlighted in the news. I was not raising a future Scripps Spelling Bee Winner or someone who would be ready for college by 6th grade.

Which meant we were failing.


I don’t know why people do this, but when you homeschool friends and family think it’s fun to quiz your kids. Holidays and birthday parties became dreaded events because you never knew who was going to say, “What have you been learning?” or “Come read this book to me.”

Nobody likes that.

My oldest girls were in second grade and kindergarten, and both struggled mightily with reading and spelling. They went to stay with my husband’s family for a weekend.  After they’d been home for a couple of hours my oldest one told me they played school with a relative all weekend.

I felt the pit in my stomach and asked her to tell me more.

“We practiced spelling and writing,” Kiley said.

I smiled and asked if she had fun while inside I was fuming.

That’s the day I became an advocate for my children.

Perhaps there had been no malice behind the relative’s actions. When you homeschool there is often a feeling of suspicion behind questions about school, family or not. I’d way rather someone ask me, “How do you know what to teach your children?” than sneak them off and quiz them.

That incident taught me a valuable lesson, though. I learned that my children had no voice. They did not have the vocabulary to say to someone, “I have a learning disability.” or “I don’t want to do that.” “Mom makes me do that stuff every day. Please don’t you do it, too.” 

I became their first voice, teaching them to self-advocate.

Up until that point I’d been hesitant to share our struggles in traditional school. I felt like I was scamming people when  I said  my kids had dyslexia because I didn’t have an ‘official’ diagnosis from a psychologist. I also struggled with how hard to push them.  There were times when I allowed outside pressures (real or imagined) to influence our homeschool. I became the enforcer and said horrible things like, “If it’s hard we try harder.”  There was a lot of sitting at the table, and a lot of crying.

There were other times that I declared we would only read aloud and do art. I have tried to forgive myself for those early days when I was uncertain of what was going on. I was truly doing my best.

I see that shame had a huge role in my behavior. I was ashamed that I wasn’t a better teacher, that I didn’t homeschool hard enough.

I am so grateful I’m not in that place any more.

After that I decided to become an expert in dyslexia. I read as many books as I could find about dyslexia. Pro-tip: only read the most current material, otherwise you’ll end up even more confused. I told my kids they had dyslexia, and maybe some other issues that we would figure out.

Then I studied how they learned. I paid attention to what gave my girls a spark, what caused them to dive deeper, what made them ask questions. Then I did more of all of those things. Gradually we all began to relax about school.* When number three got to school age I didn’t panic when he began to show the same symptoms.

Also, there was never anymore ‘playing school’ while they were with relatives. If well meaning friends asked if they would read to them I gently informed them that reading wasn’t their thing, that it required a lot of work for them and that they just wanted to relax and have fun.

The only thing that exploded was my shame. It was gone the minute I said ‘dyslexia’  out loud to the first person outside of our family. It gave me permission to ask Sunday school teachers and co-op teachers to skip over my children when reading out lout in class. 

The amazing thing that happened was that people began telling me about their children’s struggle with learning, or there own struggles. Me sharing my stuff invited others to share theirs, which led to more exploding shame.

Hooray for exploding shame!!


I am still sitting in the waiting room, which means Laurel is still working. One of the things I hate about the assessment is the feedback. That’s when we sit down with the psychologist and review the test results.

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I’m not going to lie. The first time we did this I sat in the car and cried for a good thirty minutes, and that was after crying in the psychologist’s office. It’s one thing to know your child’s struggle. It’s another to see it written down in black and white, to see numbers attached to your child, numbers that cause that shame thing to rise back up.

I will push it down, though, because I have the secret.

I know that my children are more than numbers. I know that those tests cannot calculate their potential, cannot know that they were each handmade for a life only they can live.

Those tests cannot tell us what they were created for.

I know those things, but I also know my girl will be hurting this evening when she reflects on the parts that were especially difficult. I think I’ve heard it compared to asking a person confined to a wheel chair to show someone how hard it is to get up a flight of stairs. Alone. With no help.

These assessments, while necessary for now, are not the whole truth.

I will be content with paper telling us part truth, but my heart will know the whole.

 

My heart will give the honest assessment to anyone who will listen until my children can.

 

Be brave, misfits. Be a voice for anyone in your life who needs it.

 

 

*Mostly. I think when you have a learning disability ‘school’ automatically conjures up all kinds of weird, uncomfortable feelings. We can talk more later about anxiety and how kids with learning disabilities are more likely to deal with it.

When Destruction is Part of Life

This year we’ve put the garden in the front yard. I got a bit of a late start on it, though, and didn’t want to take the time, or the expense, to till. Dad did a little research and we decided that spraying down the grass with vinegar then covering it with dirt would have to suffice.

Coming to this decision was not as simple as it sounds.

After hosing down our 16×4 plot of grass with vinegar we pinned down a plastic tarp. Our hope was that the sun and vinegar would work together to kill off the grass.

Then came the dirt.

Who knew that there were so many types of dirt to buy?

I stood at Lowe’s fretting over which bags. The cheapest? Definitely not the most expensive ones. Compost? Fertilizer? I felt so silly trying to figure out which bags

In the end I decided on the next to cheapest dirt I could find. It said ‘natural’, but when Spencer and I got it home and cut a bag open it smelled anything but natural. It smelled like death.

Except, I guess death is natural.

We spread it out over the dying grass, each of us taking turns with the garden rake. I loved the way that dark, rich dirt looked when we poured it out. I felt quite proud of our little patch. Every morning Spencer and I would come out and dig through a little patch to check on the death of the grass. Most of it was white and wilted, unable to withstand the weight of the dirt.

A few persnickety pieces of the green stuff continue to poke through the surface, though, and have to be  pulled. I’ve got to be diligent.

Whenever I am busy in the garden parables come to mind. It’s easy to see why Jesus taught in parables. Working with my hands, being part of creation, always makes me think on the teachings of Christ. It feeds my hunger for deep thinking. I examine God’s divine nature, think on his goodness, and am so grateful for tomato plants.

The parables seem all at once simple and tricky.

That dirt and grass, though, they were teaching me something. The lesson has just taken a few weeks to catch up to me.

 

 


 

I’m learning about Jeremiah with some friends, a few certain women, over the summer. I tend to skip over the prophets because they seem so …troubled.

Jeremiah is one of my husband’s favorites, though, so I decided to give him a go. It turns out he’s one of Eugene Peterson’s, too. I found a great study by Peterson that we’ve been using. It’s called Excellence: Run with the Horses.  Immediately we noticed that Jeremiah is kind of a downer.  In fact he’s known as the ‘weeping prophet’.

Rightfully so, since he had the unfortunate task of announcing Israel’s impending destruction.

As the Lord helped Jeremiah reach an understanding with his role in his people’s future God said these words to him:

Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the LORD. ~ Jeremiah 31:28 

 

There it was, my comfort, those words I highlighted in green.

Maybe your comfort, too?

God doesn’t destroy because it’s in his power. Our Creator always has a plan to build and to plant.

This gives me relief (and hope)  because no matter what devastation my life suffers, the Lord is always working a plan to build and plant.

It’s like after a forest fire there’s the opportunity for regrowth.

Destruction feels brutal and non-recoverable. Even when you know with your brain that you will make it through a Hard Time, your soul is dying a death that will leave you changed.

In a sense, you won’t recover because you will be a different you on the other side of grief.  As I read parts of Jeremiah I recognize the echo of the story of my life, too. He has certainly been overseeing the destruction of my earthly kingdoms which had been set up in the artifices of career, finances, church, and material things.

When we left the ministry we didn’t realize we were walking away from a worldly domain of our own making.

I didn’t realize how dependent I was on our plan for Lee’s career for security or my possessions for my identity. Losing those things put us on shaky ground for a little bit. Recovering from that self-imposed destruction has been life changing for all of us. I’d say we all feel more certain of God’s place in our lives and less certain of the world’s demands – not a bad place to be. 

Not everything about our old life was bad, but not everything was God-directed, either.  

 


 

Spraying that vinegar all over the grass felt wrong, but we knew it needed to be done.

It’s not always that easy with our lives, though, is it? Often the destruction is against our will. I’ve been there, too, where every fiber of your being is begging for the devastation to stop.  I know what it’s like to wake in the middle of the night feeling fine when the sudden knowledge of your loss settles on your chest and replaces your even breathing with gasps. It’s as though while you’re asleep your body stops remembering the wound and then, upon waking, it all comes back.

I know that kind of pain, too.

Destruction of our earthly kingdoms is not without discomfort, even misery,  but God will use it for a purpose, too. He will oversee building and planting and renewal.

He will make all things new.

 

 

I look at this garden knowing that it will bear fruit soon. I barely remember the patch of dead grass underneath it all.

That’s the amazing thing about being rebuilt. The old stuff becomes a building ground for the different stuff, the new stuff. I can’t say better stuff, though, because I know people who have lost more than jobs and bookcases. Losing people, be it babies in the womb or aged dear ones, is not the same as losing stuff. Life is always better with those we love. The part of life that comes after them can’t be better…only different, and new. 

New growth will always come after devastation. I believe that.

The first year after we left ministry felt like slow drowning. We paddled and paddled and still went under. We failed at finding a church, finding friends, finding a job. We lost our momentum and gave into the waves – and it seems that’s when we got to shore.

Sometimes you just have to give in to the devastation without knowing where it will take you. The miracle is that with some work, with some tender care, you’ll be looking at fullness again. Your old life will be under the surface offering up little aches and pains every now and then, but also giving you solid planting ground. 

My life, my family’s lives, each look very different than they did 2 years ago. I cannot believe how full we are with community, church, and each other. The loneliness and heartache of 24 months ago seems so distant. Every now and then, though, it comes back through and I remember that God is still working that plan.

 

 

If you’re suffering under devastation, big or small, self-imposed or accidental, you’re not alone. You’re loved and cherished.

You will be made new. 

Be brave in the devastation.

 

 

 

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The Way of Miracles

Miracles

Walt Whitman, 18191892

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?


Each new month of 2017 has shocked me.

Is it that way for you?

I cannot believe it is June 6. We are definitely in the summer routine of staying up later than we mean and in turn sleeping more of the morning away that I’m comfortable with. I do enjoy the pause from our normal routine, though.

Still, I feel like I have a tiger by the tail.

I find that parenting teenagers is a lot like that. I cannot believe that I have three of them. One is mostly on her own, writing brilliantly and forging her own way. The other two are busy bees who like to spend their days active, on the go. There’s so much to do with them and for them. They are my tiger. 

I find myself missing the days when parking a lawn chair in the backyard next to the sprinkler was summer.

Fortunately, I still have one of those.

Liam, at 7, is at quite the fun age. I am getting lots of time with him,  me and my last little one. My little one who talks like a teenager.

“It’s just a prank, brah,” he says when he squirts me with the water gun.

“What’s for dinner, yo?” he asks when he’s hungry.

“I’m just a boy who likes zombies,” he says when I beg him to stop talking of the *zombie apocalypse because zombies aren’t real.

I did introduce him to Elmo in Grouchland and he LOVED it, so that’s a win. It is funny how we rush that first child along then beg the last one to just slow down on growing up.

Today I am I am declaring this the Summer Worth Remembering. Liam is at the perfect age for making memories, so we will do just that.

I considered asking him what he’d like to do but it turns out it’s about me not him.

There are certain memories from my childhood summers that I hold dear, and feel are quintessential summer activities. It’s easy to get sidetracked, though, by LISTS and THINGS and MUST DO’s.

Grown up stuff can really ruin summer.

In order to make this a Summer Worth Remembering I am declaring my intentions here, so that you can hold me accountable:

I, Kara Krieg Shepherd, do hereby state my intentions to make 2017 a Summer Worth Remembering by committing the following acts:

 

Ride my bike with no hands or feet – perhaps while going downhill.

Turn a summersault in a lake or pool.

Eat more popsicles than my stomach could possibly hold in one siting.

Catch fireflies.

Float on my back for such a long time that only me and the sky exist.

Catch a fish.

Squish mud between my toes.

Throw that same mud at my children.

Eat an ice cream cone, late at night, after a long day swimming.

Go to the drive-in, or make one in my backyard.

Make some cool stuff out of stuff I was going to throw away.

Have a lemonade stand in the driveway.

Visit local museums.

Drive somewhere new using only a paper map for navigation.

Get a new tattoo.

Write an amazing story.

Play in a rock bed creek, maybe for hours.

Make a new friend.

Wear kookie sunglasses.

Go to a karaoke bar.

Have friends for dinner without cleaning the house first.

Sing around a campfire.

Skip rocks on a lake.

Get sick on a fair ride.

Watch kids ride a fair ride.

Redecorate my bedroom.

Worry less.

Dream more.

 


 

The hardest part about being an adult isn’t really the responsibility. It’s the idea that responsibility means fun is thing of the past, something to be remembered. It’s the embittered mindset that miracles are for other people.

Shoulds and have-to’s can start to weigh you down if you’re not intentional about how you spend your time. Already I feel the calendar dictating where my hours I go.

I’ll not be having that, at least not every day.

My childhood summers were filled with wonder – and there was rarely a calendar telling me what to do. Most days I woke up not knowing or caring what day of the week it was. An early morning bike ride usually got my day going. Sometimes I would ride up to the donut shop in my neighborhood for a warm donut. All I needed was a quarter and a dime, the couch willingly donated every time. 

Some days I stopped at my best friend’s house, throwing rocks at her window til she woke up. We’d ride together for donuts, or stop at another friends house to get the day going. Often our crew was assembled before noon, riding from house to house, eating the cabinets empty. Some days one of the mom’s would take us to the pool, probably in hopes that we’d stop eating all their food.

I remember skinned knees, dirty fingers, the smell of chlorine, and streetlights telling me it was time to go home.

It was the best.

I also spent a lot of time alone. I read. A lot. Sometimes I’d read two books in a day. Some days I just laid in my bed staring out the window, watching the sunlight play off the leaves outside my bedroom window. I can still remember how my room looked in the early morning light versus in the late afternoon. I can recall with perfect clarity the way the handle bars of my bike, the Sky Queen, felt when gripped in my hands. The feel of lake water surrounding me when I dove from the floating dock, the dark liquid like a night sky, the fish aliens from another planet.

It was all my favorite.

It was all a miracle. 

 

My brothers, Mom, and I circa 1983

 


 

What kids are great at, the thing adults seem to lose sight of, is being in the moment. They don’t think about the next thing on their to-do list. They don’t fret that an activity won’t be fun, unless said activity involves a waiting room or distant relative. Kids just know they’re going to have fun because kids ARE fun.

Except when they’re hungry or need a nap. Then they’re not so much fun.

My point is that life is meant to be lived to the fullest. The calendar wasn’t invented to rule us, but to give us rhythm. We can choose to see the tasks that are written in the little squares as things that have to be done or things that we get to do.

The only obstacle in front of my Summer Worth Remembering is me. I can put myself in the frame of mind to take joy in the tiny miracles each day holds, or to see each 24 hour period as a time to meet my responsibilities. It’s up to me.

One way will leave me feeling full, the other will leave me feeling weighed down.

One way will have me waking with wonder-filled thoughts, the other find me waking slowly with a slight creeping dread.

I’ve dealt with both decisions, and know which I’d rather choose.

I choose the way of the miraculous.

 

Be brave, misfits. Choose to see the miracles, big and small.

 

 

 

 

 

*he does not watch zombie shows. He does play Minecraft and enjoys those zombies. Also, his siblings (and maybe his parents) occasionally hold discussion on what to do in the event of a ZA. I regret some of these things.

Brother of Mine

This brother of mine.

You can’t tell but twenty minutes before this he was ranting about something that happened in 1991.

 

I’m not sure that anyone can make me feel as exhausted as he can.

I say that in love.

He comes home on the weekends, generally just for a a day. Often he has his own agenda. There is no sit down and relax with him, no enjoying a movie. He used to watch movies, but for the last ten years or so he’s only able to watch a few minutes at a time. He may sit for a bit, rocking in his chair then get up and wander out. My favorite is when he comes back in and stands in front of the television talking about Guitar Center or The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It’s not really my favorite. I’m being sarcastic.

Erik’s mind never stops. There must be a constant flood of chatter up there.

Putting him to work, though, at least gives him somewhere for the energy to go. He will relax then. Last week we started putting in a raised bed. He had driven me bonkers with his talking and I wasn’t happy when he chose to follow me outside where I wanted to work. Alone.

That’s the thing with someone like Erik. You never know what kind of day you’re going to have. For me, even when I’m in a sour mood, I can correct it while I’m around people. Erik, though,  doesn’t subscribe to any social constructs. He could care less how it makes others feel. Well, actually it’s not that he doesn’t care about other’s feelings. He is simply unable to see how his behavior affects them in the moment, and he’s incapable of stopping the behavior.

Sometimes.

Sometimes we can pay him $2 to get it under control.

Seriously. 

You get him working, though, and it’s amazing how coherent and calm he becomes. He’s always been good with his hands, able to put things together (or take them apart) quicker than I would think possible. Getting his body busy gives somewhere for his anxious energy to go.

That day we worked in the soon-to-be garden I remembered how much I liked doing things with him. When I was pregnant with my first child, Kiley, Erik came over and helped me put together all of the baby furniture. We were just going to do the bassinet and changing table. We both were so excited, though, that we put every single piece together.

Erik is such a strange juxtaposition of turmoil and calm.

When I was young, in my early teens, he was happy to sit in my room. He’d watch whatever I was doing while he laid on the floor. One leg was crossed over the other bouncing on his own knee, hands behind his head while he stared at the ceiling. His presence never bothered me. In fact, his presence was comforting.

I can’t remember when his constant chatter picked up. It was probably around the same time I had kids, so I got good at ignoring background noise.Whenever it started it’s a constant now. When people meet him I can see them waiting for the pause, for their turn. For me it’s just like white noise in the background – occasionally I tune in.  Erik is satisfied with me nodding my head, I guess. I learned the hard way to never agree to anything without clarifying what he had asked.

We will probably never break his habit of turning the radio up loud while continuing to talk incessantly.

“I can’t listen to you and the radio,” I’ll tell him.

He’ll turn radio up and look out the window.

And continue to talk.

I wonder so much about him. What does it feel like to be him? Does he feel connected to us, or separate? He’s like a child in some ways but very adult in others. He can be quite capable. He can mow the yard, weed eat, add windshield wiper fluid, and find things on the grocery list. Erik thinks on deep things and worries about getting cancer, losing his family. He’s surprises me sometimes with what weighs on his mind.

Erik has also developed a lot of fears over the last 8-10 years, something I was sure would never happen. He always seemed the most fearless person to me.

When we were kids our parents used to take us to amusement parks all the time, Kings Island, Dollywood, and county fairs. We’d keep track of him as best we could but he would always wander off on his own. One time we had split up to look for him and I stopped to watch a ride. It was one of those round things, where they load everyone into cars that surround a circle. The arm lifts the cars into the air and starts spinning the willing passengers upside down for two or three minutes.

Those things horrify me. I’m afraid of heights and throw up pretty easily but I was powerless to take my eyes away. I was watching in horror when the face of a passengers jumped out at me.

There was my brother in the center of a group of strangers, smiling huge with his eyes closed. Erik looked completely relaxed. I wondered if that was when he felt the most free. I wondered if he was going to puke. I wondered what it had been like for all the strangers around him when he was in line.

I told you I wonder a lot about him.

Erik didn’t look surprised that I was waiting for him as he got off the ride. He had gotten what he wanted and was fine to join the rest of us wherever we were.

We all laughed and talked about how weird it was that he would enjoy something like that.

I wonder, though, if that’s what it takes to get his mind quiet.
Neighborhood walk.

Erik has never been simple. Going places with him is generally a gamble. It can go really well, or not. My family has developed the ability to read his body language and make a hasty retreat when necessary. The last few years have been particular difficult, though, because we truly thought that we were losing him. I’m so thankful for medications that allow him to function, for behavior therapists who know what they’re doing, and for staff that cares for him.

I’m also thankful for community. My friends, my church family, Parks and Recreation, Erik and my parent’s church family, Latitudes, and many others, have made life much easier. They’ve all played a part in finding our way back to normal.

When you love someone who can be difficult there are times that being away from them feels better than being with them. Sometimes it is easier, and sometimes it is necessary to spend time apart. Other times, though, pushing through the desire to avoid complicated feelings gives way to better things.

Things like satisfaction, love, and commitment can be born in relationships fraught with imperfection.

I think we’d all fooled ourselves into thinking we’d found the sweet spot Erik, that we’d gotten him there. There being that magical place where people with disabilities, or impairments, or whatever issue they may have, are copacetic with what we want for our lives. 

There is no sweet spot this side of eternity, though, is there? Not one that we can maintain. Situations are always changing, our hearts are always turning.

Erik is teaching me to enjoy the sweet spot when we’re there, and to hold on to those moments when things are rough. He’s always teaching me something.  I’m learning about unconditional love in real time (and it’s not always easy).  Unconditional love means loving without condition, to love no matter what.

It’s not based on behavior, looks, or how good someone smells.

It’s just love and love and love and love and love no matter what.

 

Erik’s most recent purchase, and prized possession.

 

 

 

Be brave, misfits, and love.

No matter what.

 

 

 

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Disaster Preparedness

My husband and I are completely different.

I mean, I know that goes without saying. There’s the whole male/female thing. What I’m saying is that we operate in COMPLETELY different ways.

He operates under the ‘everything is great’ premise, while I operate under the ‘at any minute we could face disaster’ premise.

A couple of years ago we took the kids to the beach. It had been a long time since we’d been to the ocean so I prepped them on the drive down.

Thank goodness we had twelve hours.

We went over drowning protocols, jellyfish scenarios and practiced CPR. It made time go so much faster.

When we got to our house on Dauphin Island it was dark but Lee wanted to take the kids to the ocean. You know, to say hello. So we climbed up a sand dune and followed the sound of the ocean. We got lost in some brush and had a family argument. I’m sure everyone on the island heard it. Some kids were crying and one lost a flip flop.

We made it there, though, and could almost see the ocean. I think Lee felt vindicated that the kids were as happy as the were to be near the ocean.

In daylight we could see that we had chosen the wrong path, the one that led to the crappy part of the beach. I didn’t gloat, though.

I was satisfied with a look of superiority.

Our beach, as we called it, was perfect. It had shallows where clusters of hermit crabs were gathered, ripe for us to examine. There was a long stretch of sand we could walk out on and there was a deeper part perfect for body surfing. I found a spot on the beach to sit and watch.

Thirty minutes later Lee came up to sit with me, smiling, covered in sand, and slightly out of breath.

“You having fun watching the kids?” he asked.

“No. I’m looking for sharks. I heard on the radio that one was spotted this morning by a fishing boat. Also, a local man drowned last week while fishing so we need to keep an eye out for undercurrents,” I answered.

No sharks. Yet.

Lee was looking at me like I was nuts.

“Is that what goes on in your head?” he questioned.

“I packed some snacks if you’re hungry,” I deflected. He smiled and started rifling through the bag, “I didn’t want anyone getting low blood sugar or dehydrating.”

He huffed and headed back to the water.

It works out pretty well in his favor, though, that I plan for disasters. Because when things do go wrong I’m there with an amazing plan.

Unless I’m overly tired. Then I’m not so great with a plan.

A few weeks ago we were driving back from an ultimate frisbee tournament in Ohio. The hotel was nice but someone in our group snores. I’m not naming any names, but it’s not me or any of the kids. Well, I do snore but  not that night. What I’m saying is that I had no sleep for two nights.

There’s only so much coffee can do that for that situation.

We were driving home by way of Cincinnati when a strange beeping started. At first I thought it was my phone, but no, that wasn’t it.

My next assumption was that the car was getting ready to explode and that we needed to immediately pull over. This caused some of the children to begin panicking.

Well, just Liam. Kiley and her beau were laughing, like it was a joke.

As if there were no way that the car could blow up.

Anyway, we have an AED that we take with us. That’s not part of my planning for natural disasters. Three of the kids and I have Long QT Syndrome so the AED is a precaution, like an epi-pen.

Kiley applied her logic and deduced that it was the AED, which  had been tilted on its side for a little longer than it was apparently happy with. We uprighted it and the beeping stopped.

I took a nap.

Before I fell asleep, though, I remembered when I had a job at a video store when I was in college. I’d been watching The Godfather before I closed the store for the night. It was about ten o’clock at night, so I was sleepy.  When I got into my car I heard ticking and assumed someone had planted a car bomb.

I wish I was making this up.

I called Dad and begged him to come and investigate. I think I was crying. I’m glad I didn’t call 911. It seems I had forgotten  that I had an old fashioned alarm clock in the glove box. I liked to take naps in my car in between classes and needed the alarm to wake me. (It was before cell phones, and my watch beeping would not wake me).

Poor me.

Dad rolled his eyes and went home.

One day my husband and the rest of the people who just enjoy life as though nothing bad could ever happen will be thankful that they have people like me.

They will rue the day that they laughed at me! Then I won’t be a ‘worry wart’ or ‘nervous Nellie’! No! Then I will be their hero, the one that they look to in times of trouble.

If only they didn’t count on me for meal planning.

 

I think zombie apocalypses are my specialty. 

 

 

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