Category Archives: life

Good News & Other Stuff

Since I have been known to bemoan life on my blog, it seems I should also report some good news . . .

Remember this:

When Charis broke her arm on the playground at her school.  I rushed her to her pediatrician first, too see if a trip to the ER was necessary.  The pediatrician told me to take her to the ER–cost for that visit after insurance discount – $49.  So off to the ER we went.  After 8 hours, we were finished, she had a pink cast, and I was wondering how in the world we would pay for this day of fun!  Then the bills started to come–cost for the ER and after care after insurance discount–$2500.00! I started calling the several billing agencies involved in the care for this minor injury, and I told them I would pay $25 a month until it was paid.

Then in February, the principal from the school contacted me, and told me I could fill out some forms to see if the injury would be covered they their accident insurance.  I called all the billing offices again, asking for itemized bills, filled out the lengthy form, and prayed that it wasn’t a waste of my time.  Last week, I got a response.  Over $1500.00 has already been paid, and after I send in more itemized bills, it looks like it will all be covered by the school’s accident insurance!!!!! Praise God!!!!  I am so thankful for this blessing.

Other Stuff

We are really blessed by the school that our children attend.  Last week, we found out that the church that started the school and has housed the school for over 25 years has decided they can no longer afford the building they are in.  They are selling the building where the school meets, and they will not be looking for a building to accomodate the school.  This is significant because they have offered the building to the school at no cost for all these years, and it has kept the tuition very reasonable.  Our tuition for 4 children there is less than the cost for 2 at many other local Christian schools.  The school board does not want to close the school, so they are looking for a new location.  They asked that all the school families give them 60 days to investigate possibilities before we start considering other options for our children for next year.

I don’t know that we would be able to send the kids back next year even if they do find a new location.  However, this school has been a great place for our children, and we appreciate its ministry very much.  So if you think of it, please pray for this little Christian school in South St Louis County to find an affordable place to relocate and to have enough families to keep going next year.  Also, pray for the church that has supported the school for so many years.  They are entering a time of rebuilding and praying for growth.  They have given selflessly to the community through the ministry of the school, and I am praying that God will bless them for their faithful service.

Something to Sing About

Call it irony if you like.  On my way to choir rehearsal tonight, I was listening to NPR when I heard this commentary on what we can learn from opera during the current economic bad times.   I laughed out loud as Marc Acito, a music commentator (and professional musician) talked about all the bad news presented in opera and how the protagonists just sing about their troubles.  Here’s a quote from the commentary that I could most relate to:

“Or, if you think you’re working too hard just to keep up, remember The Barber of Seville. When he sings “Figaro, Figaro…” it’s not because he likes the sound of his own voice. Well, actually, most baritones do sing because they like the sound of their own voice. But in this case, he’s actually complaining about how he has to be in so many places at once. “Figaro qua, Figaro la, Figaro qua, Figaro la, Figaro su, Figaro giu, Figaro su, Figaro giu.”

It’s no exaggeration to say Figaro’s overwork is what led to the French Revolution.”

If you take the time to follow the link, take the time to listen to the short audio file of the commentary.  It is much more entertaining spoken than written, plus you get to hear Mark Acito sing excerpts from the operas he describes.

The commentary on opera made me think of country music, too.  Think of all those “my wife left me, my car died, and even the dog has left” country music songs.   And, of course, there’s always “the blues” for crooning about bad times.

Hearing this piece reminded me that music is a great tool for dealing with stress.  It soothes the soul, even when it seems like nothing can help.  It also made me laugh, and we all know humor is a great balm for emotional and psychological ailments.

Navigating the Life God has Given Us

So, I am on Facebook . . . and Twitter.  Every day or hour or minute, if you like, you can post your status, ie, what you’re doing, thinking, eating, etc.  I recently noticed that a friend from years ago is in the middle of a move to another city.  So I wrote on her wall asking what motivated the move.  She wrote back telling me about her husband’s new job.  She asked if we’re still in St Louis.  I wrote on her wall, and I was trying to think of a polite way to say yes, we’re still in St Louis not doing anything that we really want to be doing–that we’re educated, capable people who are underemployed and trying to be grateful for that.  So I came up with: “we’re just navigating the life God has given us.”

We really are doing some things we want to be doing.  We are still married after 17 years and have 4 children we love.  Life is certainly never boring. But, we seem to be in a constant state of flux . . . of never having a definite destination, of wanting the world for our family, and having to learn over and over again that God has something more than the world for us–He just isn’t ready to share what exactly that is yet.

So what’s my point?  My point is that we are in good company.  It seems that God has a history of making His people wait for things.  This is what I am learning and relearning.  Sometimes I feel like I want to just scream, “God, I’ve already learned this lesson!”  But I don’t know God’s timing, and I don’t have all the information, so I need to comfort myself with the knowledge that God does have it all figured out.  I am preaching to myself.  I am learning to navigate the life God has given me.

This, That, & The Other Thing

This–the dryer staining and chewing holes in the clothes when they get stuck between the barrel and outer casing.

That–the water heater not heating as it should.

The other thing–life getting busy and making time to meet the dryer repair guy and the water heater repair guy.

When the first repair guy showed up today, I showed him a pair of underwear with a black stain and a hole in it where the dryer had taken a bite out of it.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  Then he said, “I’m here for the water heater.”  Ok.  I got a little confused.  I chuckle to myself every time I think of it.

The dryer guy comes tomorrow morning, by the way.

Work Update & One of the Most Apalling Statements that Was Ever Made to Me

Well, I didn’t get the full-time job, so that is off the table.  And, that’s a good thing.  The more I think about it, the more I realize I need to make decent money while having more control of my schedule.  Which brings me to the part-time job.  It’s not a bad little gig–3 days a week during school hours.  However, there are some issues.  First, the person I am replacing was fired for embezzling.  I think that makes the scrutiny over me a little more intense than I prefer.  Second, there’s no one there to tell me exactly how they want things done.  It is sort of guess work on the part of one of the managers.  Third, the manager who has the most contact with me and tells me how he thinks they want things made the most appalling statement I have ever heard in workplace chit chat.

He to me, “What did you think of the McCain speech last night?”

Me to him, “Well, I’m not sure I want to say.  I think we’re on opposite sides of the aisle.”

Him again, “Oh, so you’re a Republican.  What do think of Palin?”

Me, “I like her.  I don’t think I could vote for Obama.  I’m pro-life, and he is just too far opposite of me.”

Him, “Well, I’ll never be pro-life.  My wife has worked for special school district for thirty years, and she says she could never be pro-life after all the things she has seen with these kids.”

Me, in my head, silently sitting there, in shock with no expression on my face, “Wow.  I can’t believe you said that.  Who are you? God?  Are you perfect?  Is your wife perfect?”


To work or not to work, that is the question.

We have been thinking that my getting a job could be a help to our situation.  So on Friday, I had an “interview” for a temp-perm bookkeeping job that is part-time.  I am slated to start on Tuesday.


More income

18 hours a week, home when the kids are home from school

Only 4 miles from our house.

Still able to fit in at-home part-time job


More juggling when emergencies arise (ie, picking up a sick kid at school).

Child care issues when school is out for the day (you know, those staff in-services days)

Harder to keep up with things at home.

To complicate things further, after accepting this job, I received a call to interview for a full-time job that I think I would really enjoy.  Plus, though it is full-time, I might be able to negotiate some time flexibility because the company is not offering any benefits with the job.

Right now, I am planning to start the part-time job and interview for the other one on Wednesday.  But I am praying for wisdom.  There are lots of good reasons for me to be more available to my kids, so I might be leaning toward forgetting the full-time option.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the future so we could know which choices are the best ones?

A Frustrated Former News Junky

My first real job out of college was working for a large Christian ministry as an editor/writer.  In that job, I was expected to keep up with the political news of the day at least enough to write and/or assign and edit somewhat thoughtful pieces for the ministry’s political newsletters.  I used to read more than one news magazine a week.  I watched all the news shows.  I read the newspaper every day.  Hey, it was part of my job.

After marrying and having children, I still wanted to keep up.  But it became harder.  I got most of my news from Fox News and NPR (now, there’s balance for you!).  Reading news became practically unheard of in my world of changing diapers and keeping everyone fed and in clean clothes.

Now that the children are older, I am starting to realize my excuses are gone.  So now, as most 21st Century Americans do, I read my news on the web.  Of course, NPR is still programmed at #1 on my van’s radio.  Admittedly, I don’t watch Fox News much anymore.

But even with the web and radio news, I still don’t feel confident that I have any right to comment on the events of the day.  There was something about the news being a part of my daily work that made me feel like I was worthy to share my perspectives on politics and what bills were being passed, etc.  Now that I am in the middle of a life that is really affected by what happens in Washington and Jefferson City, I don’t feel qualified to register my thoughts anywhere “important.”

With the Democratic Convention drawing to a close, I am thinking this fall is a great time to get back into the groove of political pontificating.  So you may have to bear with me as I start to get my political feet wet again and share some of my thoughts about today’s goings on.

BREAKING NEWS — I wrote this post yesterday, but now with the announcement of John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, I know it is time to get excited about politics.  The addition of Palin has been called a “game changer.”  I don’t care what you call it and whether you like her or the republicans or not, it was really brilliant political strategy!  It’s about time we have something fun to watch in this campaign.

Summer, Books, & Other Thoughts

Summer is here–well, almost. Charis graduates from pre-school tomorrow, and the other kids have their last day of school on Thursday. Then, whew-hew, it’s summer!

St Louis has not felt very “summery” yet. I know it is still technically spring, but with all the rain and cool temperatures, it is not the typical hot spring prelude to summer we experience here. I like to think that means we won’t have the typical 95+ days this summer, but that’s just wishful thinking.


I am reading a couple good books. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is compelling, but it is not a great read when our country is at the beginning of a recession. I just got to the part where the storyline gets more positive, so I am hopeful that I will feel better as I get further along. We’ll see. I am enjoying the writing, though.

Belong to Me by Maris de los Santos is a contemporary novel on the NYT bestsellers list. I picked it up at the library today because I liked the cover.

I choose books all the time because of the cover. My short stint working for a book publisher in the 90s caused me to be obsessed with good book covers. I am not ready to recommend this book, but I am enjoying the writer’s style and getting to know the main character. Since it is a bestseller, it is only a 7-day-loan, so I should have more to say about it soon.

I am also reading Parenting Today’s Adolescent by Barbara & Dennis Rainey. So far after a little more than 2 chapters, it hasn’t told me anything I don’t know. But I am hoping it will offer some insights as we enter a new phase of parenthood that I am honestly not prepared for. I should have been reading everything available about 2 or 3 years ago. Now I am playing catch-up with our oldest boy having just turned 12. I really see why I need to be praying and seeking God in His Word now more than ever as I face our children entering adolescence one after the other in rapid succession! Can I just say that I entered their infancies and toddler years exhausted, but the next 15 years (span from Calvin being 12 to Charis being 20) are the scary ones to me. May I never lose sight of the need to bathe our family in prayer!

Other Thoughts

You just can’t blog about everything. With that in mind, please pray for us more than you may have already been doing, or start if you haven’t been. We need it.

You Can Always Blog About It

This is the scene in our back yard. The ground is completely saturated. And, today, while I was sitting at my desk in the unfinished basement (lovingly referred to as “the dungeon”), I felt some dampness on my feet. I looked around, and I saw something shiny in the seams of our basement’s concrete floor. I got some towels, and started “plugging the dam.” Then I saw little puddles beginning to form around the vein-like cracks in our concrete basement floor. At this point, I decided to move as much stuff to higher ground as I could and pray that the rain would stop soon and that nothing important will be damaged. Oh, and I decided to blog about it. After all, when things get tough, the tough start blogging!