Thursday, February 19, 2009

Handwriting... a thing of the past?

Thoughts on this post begin a week ago. Paul commented on how Gage (his son) holds his hands in the correct position when typing. I told him it is probably because Gage has computer classes in school each week. Then the conversation jumped to how Gage (in public school) takes computer classes, but has not even begun to learn cursive writing. On the other hand, Tyler, who is a grade less than Gage but in a conservative Christian school, has no clue about the proper hand placement for the keyboard and yet has impeccable cursive writing. Is one better than the other? I truly have no idea.

A recent post on my friend Cindy's blog talked about the same thing. I talked to a friend who home schools here about it yesterday, and she agreed that it is a dying art. She has stopped doing handwriting with her kids. Gone are the days of beautiful flowing penmanship. We email and text and leave voicemail. Things that might actually get sent via "snail mail" are most often typed out as well. I am no better. I sent out many "Christmas cards" just this last week :) and the only thing hand written on them was the address. I have beautiful cursive penmanship, but pretty much the only time I use it is for my signature.

There is a big part of me that is grieved by this passage of a skill. It is great that a child halfway through second grade can type proficiently. But are we doing our children a disservice by impersalizing them so much? Will my daughter ever get a hand written love note from her would-be husband? Or will they even care about such things?! Will my grandchildren be able to understand my writing if I so choose to hand write them a note? This electronic age has brought so many new opportunities, but has it also "dumbed" us down in the process?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A divorced girl sees "Fireproof"

Up here in the liberal Northeast, we did not have many theaters that showed the movie "Fireproof." The few that did, showed them at crazy times or they were just too far away for us to get to. Therefore, Paul and I ended up waiting until it came out on dvd. We rented it this weekend and snuggled up to watch it Saturday evening.

I have been told by so many people that it is a fabulous movie and that all couples should see it. I would agree that it is a wonderful movie. Well done! There is a good balance with some humor tossed in, and I have always been a softie for Kirk Cameron. And how cool is it that he was really kissing his real life wife in the end?!! I knew the premise of the movie. I knew about the porn addiction and the 40 day love dare.

But I was completely unprepared for how raw my emotions still are about these issues. I mean, really. It has been two years. I am happily remarried to the most amazing man. We have our stresses, just like everyone, but I really have so much more to be thankful for than to complain about!

The tears started to form just a few minutes in, and then I just sobbed and sobbed my way through it. I completely lost it somewhere around when Catherine tells Caleb how can he expect her to respect him when there is nothing honorable about what he was just looking at. I really fell apart and even said "I don't think I can finish this" at the part where Caleb puts on this beautiful candle lit dinner and Catherine completely rejects it. There were so many memories and scars being ripped open. We did finish the movie. And when it was over, Paul just held me and let me cry until all the tears were gone. I completely soaked the front of his shirt! No, I had never officially done a 40 love dare. I know that I was not perfect and made mistakes as well. But I lived those things to my ex every day. I loved him with all that I could, and he still threw me away.

As Paul gently stroked my hair and wiped my tears, he reminded me that it was God that my ex chose to throw away. All the pain welled up again as I said, "I know, but he still threw me away, too." He so gently reminded me that all those things are past now, and how thankful he is to have the ministry of caring for me and the kids. He knows what a precious jewel we are and is amazed that God chose him to care for us. Paul has told me these things before, but they meant so much that night. I know that when we took our vows nearly four months ago and we said "til death do us part" that he took it seriously. Paul married me, yes, because he loves me; but also because he believes the Lord called him to this life. God called him to minister love to four children who need a Godly man and a badly scarred woman who needs to know she is not just someone else's reject.

In short, "Fireproof" is a wonderful movie for almost everyone to see! I am glad I saw it. I just probably won't want to see it again for a while. I think I have cried enough!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Christmas curve ball.... and more curve balls.... and It is well with my soul!

This post has been forming in my mind for months now! I must give credit where it is due- the "Christmas curve ball" title is stolen from a radio program title I heard around Christmas! But yesterday as I was reading two blogs of dear friends going through intense struggles, I knew it was time to share my own. And then the words just started flowing in my mind as I listened last night to a musical concert at our church to dedicate our new baby grand piano that was just given to us. Our pastor's sister in law has a degree in music ped.... whatever that big word is... she is a FABULOUS piano player! She pounded out songs such as "Joshua fit de battle" and "And can it be." But she ended the night with the most beautiful rendition of "It is well" that I have ever heard. I was choking back the tears and I had my title for this blog!

I have been married for three and a half months now and all would be pure bliss if we could just live on a desert island and have no contact with the outside world!!! Ok, that may be a bit extreme! But let me start back at last fall. I will keep things very broad as to not slander a certain ex husband, but my child support income began to slowly fade away last Sept. By the end of Nov. when we ended up in court, he was behind $2,000. He changed his jobs last year significantly and the court awarded him a reduction in the monthly amount he pays by $1,100. The arrearage was ordered to be paid back at $100 per month. I was sinking financially very fast and hard. God's timing is so wonderful, because Paul's income helped a lot. But not enough to keep us out of serious trouble. We did the proverbial "robbing Peter to pay Paul" thing for the fall months, but by Dec. we knew we were not going to be able to maintain things as they are. I was awarded the house in my divorce, but it also came with a huge mortgage. I never had a problem paying it before because the child support covered it. Now, the housing market has crashed, our income has crashed, and we are in the forclosure process. But.... it is well with my soul.... now.

In the beginning, I did not know all my options, and I thought we would be moving by Feb. I struggled... hard. I love stability. I do not want to have the kids moving all the time. I also love my home. I have painted and decorated every square in of it and made it mine. The kids have a huge yard to play in. I planted my first garden last year and want to expand it this year. When Paul moved in, we redid the master bedroom and made it ours. I cried... so much. And then I soul searched and found that all these years I have misplaced my security by putting it in my house instead of in the Lord first and formost, and with those who live with me. I finally surrendered my will to His and gave this house back to my Lord. I wish that I could say that some big miracle happened and the forclosure has gone away. It hasn't yet. But so many small miracles have happened...

It is not a done deal that we will have to move. Because the markets have crashed so bad, the house is worth about 30,000 less than I owe. Thus, the bank really does not want to forclose because they will loose a lot. So I am waiting to hear if they can redo the terms, whatever that will mean! So we wait.

Paul also started a new job with higher pay. In an economy where people are getting laid off just about every day, we had a job practically laid in Paul's lap. He now works at the same nursing home that I do and is the food service director. He enjoys it very much and feels like he can finally fully spread his wings and fly, professionally speaking.

I mentioned more curve balls. I had not been feeling well for a good chunk of Dec. Not keep me in bed all day sick, just not quite right. Then I noticed a lump in my armpit. I really freaked out and went right in to the dr. He checked me over and told me he wanted to run some blood tests. It was probably nothing, but it could be leukemia. The next day and a half was tourteruos. After all that I have been through, now I might have cancer, too?!!!! Again, I cried and cried. Paul comforted me as best as he could, but all I could think of was that I was going to die and leave him and the kids alone! Oh, how our minds do run wild! But again, through prayer, I surrendered my sickness to whatever the Lord will have for me.

I can "happily" report I am cancer free, but I do have mono. I was given a work note lasting through at least the end of Feb. While it has been wonderful to not have to work, I still have five children and a home to run. Paul has been amazing for me. He has done so much to help and lovingly chides me when I try to do too much. If you know anything about mono, the biggest obsticle is fatigue. I sleep so much, and if I do not sleep, then I get very weak. I also have these peircing headaches. They do seem to be getting better, though.

I do need to begin to wrap this up!!! God is blessing us in so many ways. Things with my ex are very smooth right now. He has a new girl friend that actually seems to be good for him. He is more agreeable lately and he has agreed to pay the arrearage child support in a lump sum with his taxes. The kids are doing well. They have bonded great with Paul. Bonding with Paul's son has been a bit tougher as he is not with us all the time. But is getting better.

My heart aches for my dear friends in Rockford right now. May you draw strength from our wonderful Savior. I have been through so much, and yet there is so much more sorrow all around me.

I want to close with a paraphrase from my friend Tina's blog. The morning that I was getting my test results back, I looked at her blog and found her entry for the day. It was entitled something like "thanking God for the fleas." It told the story of how Corrie Ten Boom and her sister were reading the Bible while in that horrible concentration camp. The read "in everything give thanks." Corrie's sister said that it meant they should be thankful even for the fleas. As the story later revealed, it was because the room had fleas so badly, that the guards never came in and they were able to hold open Bible studies there.

Yes, I must thank God for my "fleas" and know that the "testing of my faith brings patience."