Monday, December 26, 2011

on and on and on

Oh crud..... it's almost the end of 2011 and I haven't blogged in quite a while.  I figured I better get right on it because if the Mayans are right, 2012 will be ending abruptly.  And I really would like to be the one to get the last word in.....  my husband tells me I'm very proficient in that area.  I just tell him my tenacity is a fruit of the spirit.... but so far he isn't buying it.
I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas.  I know we did.   It took days of wrapping and in 5.3 seconds, it was done.  Ok, well, maybe it took a couple hours, but still.  It didn't really seem like the wrapping to unwrapping ratio was very even.....
After waking up at 4:00 am on Christmas morning, I thought for SURE I would be able to sleep in today.  Nope.  My eyeballs popped open at 5:15.  Literally, they popped open.  It was like they had built in alarm clocks and my eye lids were like blinds that got yanked down and spun up out of control.  Even after I coaxed them back down, my brain was in gear writing my book, erasing, editing, retyping...etc.  Then the puppy, well, Justin's puppy needed to be taken out.  So, I got up.  Ron finally got up a little after 8am.  Not that I'm bitter or anything.........  but guess who will be driving home after the hockey game tonight at midnight?  Not me. 
So, about this hockey game.  Is it bad to hope that there are some knock down, drag  out fights?  It's kind of like watching Nascar..... it's only good if there are some good crashes.  Not that I want anyone to get hurt, but a few body checks into the glass might be a fun way to start the night. 
So I tuned into a few minutes of Hoarding.... Buried Alive on TLC this morning....  Yeah.  I seriously just don't understand.  I am sooooo the opposite of that.  I HATE clutter.  Hate it.   Let me say it once more.  I HAAATTTTEEEEE it.   In fact, I hate it so much that I'm probably the polar opposite of a hoarder and I'd probably be classified as a Thrower awayer.   I guess maybe I should pitch that as an idea for a show.   Thrown away.....nothing left.  Ok.... maybe that is not exactly true.  I don't throw everything away, but if it doesn't get taken care of, it's gone.    A chair that doesn't fit where I want it?   gone..... To many clothes in my drawer, or closet, even when they fit?  Gone....    Kids papers, toys, etc, etc...... so gone!   It's not that I'm organized, I'm really not.  It's just that I don't like STUFF.  If you aren't using it, then give it away, throw it away, burn it.  Why have it?  Ok.... I'm done.
Me thinks I've had to much coffee.........  but since I'm trying to get the last word in edge wise...... I'll go on.
Nope.... the brain just kicked off...... wow, that was awkward.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

school is now in session

Oh the joys of the first day back to school after a long summer vacation!  Probably the majority of mothers across the country are smiling today. We are smiling because our children have gone back to school.   Not because we hate our children, and not because we are vile, evil, selfish beings.  It is simply because after a long summer of the kids being home, it is time to send them back from wenst they came.  Is that correct old english?  Either way, I believe school was developed by God, or at least by a very smart female so that mothers would not eat their young.  Even deer kick their fawns out the door at the end of summer.  
Now, it may seem that I am a cold and heartless mother.  I would argue that I'm not, but it may seem pointless.  I do enjoy the "me" time, I can not lie. I did enjoy the kids being home this summer.  For at least the first three weeks.  Then my job became more of referee and entertainment specialist and that is where I simply draw the line.  Just like most referee's, I felt like I had been thrown to a pack of wolves most of the time.  I truly sympathize with the black and white wearing men who get things thrown at them and the occasional "you suck ref" comments.  Not that my kids ever said those words out loud, but I knew they were thinking it.  That is another thing mothers do, we read minds.  It is a proven fact.  It's the roll of the eyes, the heavy sigh that tells us what kids are thinking.  They are thinking "ugh, when I have kids I will be a cool parent"  " when I have kids I won't be mean".   HA!  We all know that the joke is on them because as soon as a woman becomes a mother, we automatically become mean.  It's just nature. 
So, that being said......  I am not sad my kids went back to school today but I think it's time to go pick them up now and by Christmas I will be counting down the days until summer break is here.    

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God and Dog....

How many of you have dogs?  For those of you who don't, or just don't like dogs, you may read this and assume I've lost my mind.  Well, you may be right.  I probably have lost it, but for those of you who do have dogs and actually like them, you will understand and rescue me from the insane asylum that I'll be locked away in.
Does anyone see the similarities of the word DOG and GOD?  If you hold them up to the mirror they would spell GOD and DOG..... get it?  So THAT little bit of craziness got me thinking about how much alike the two are.  Yes, I know, there are TONS of things that make them different.  Maybe I should list a few of those first.   #1- I'm pretty sure God doesn't smell like my dog.  At least I hope not, because it would be a huge bummer in Heaven if God smelled like He rolled in something rancid.
#2- God is wayyyyyy smarter than my dog.  He has to be.  Because my dog can't remember his tail isn't another animal trying to sneak up on him and God, in His spare time was able to create the whole universe.  I'm so THANKFUL that God is infinitely smarter!
#3- Lastly, or at least the last one that pops into my head is that dogs sleep A LOT!  If God slept as much as my dog we would all be in major trouble!  So it's probably safe to say that God probably doesn't sleep.  PHEW! 
NOW, on to why they are so much alike.  
First, let me say that I am NOT trying to be disrespectful.  Not at all.  If you hate dogs (shame on you) then you might suppose that I am.  How wrong you would be.  If you love dogs then you know what I say is the truth. 
#1- Dogs are faithful! No matter how many times we neglect them, they are willing to forgive us and welcome us back into their world. God is so much like that.  Psalm 89:33 says  "but I will not take my  love away from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness".    As humans, we are so unfaithful.  Whether it be in our prayer life and spending time with the Lord, or saying we will do something and not following through.  Thankfully, God isn't like that.  Whatever He says He will do, He will do.
#2- Dogs don't remember much, if anything.  We go away for the day and when we come home it's like we have been gone forever.  The four legged friends are hopping around like they haven't seen us in years.   How much is our God like that?  We walk away and yet when we finally remember to come "home" God is right there hopping up and down, so excited that we have returned.  Luke 15: 11-32 is a perfect example of how ready Christ is to welcome us back.  This passage is the one about the prodigal son coming home, knowing he screwed up and assuming (incorrectly) that his father wouldn't really want him back.  How wrong he was.  The passage tells us his father RAN to him!  How neat is that?  He didn't meander over and say, "what an idiot, I told you it wouldn't work out", NO.  His father RAN to him and wrapped his arms around him and welcomed him home without any condemnation.  That is the perfect example of our Lord!  Whenever we have walked away, or run away, He is ALWAYS there to RUN to us and welcome us home. 
#3- Dogs don't stay angry long and they sure don't hold onto grudges.  They are super forgiving, which is a really nice thing.  Well, guess what?  Yep.  So is GOD.  I am so thankful for God's forgiveness.  I have screwed up in big, HUGE ways sooooo many times that I would be in deep water if God hadn't forgiven me.  I'm sure by now, I would have drowned.  But, nope.  God is so cool that He forgives us and best of all, He doesn't hold our stupidness against us.  Micah 7:18,19 tells us "who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?  You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea"  also, 1 John 1:9 says "if we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us and purify us from all  unrighteousness"
How awesome.  How completely awesome.  Think about it! We screw up.  That is a given.  It's going to happen no matter how hard we try.  BUT,  if we realize we have sinned, and ask for Him to forgive us, He will.  Simple as that.  People don't always do that, cats don't do that.  But God ALWAYS does that. 
#4  Lastly.  Is that a word?  Odd little word.  Anyway,  the last thing that I can think of is the way dogs just love us.  They look at us with their big dark eyes, so full of love, no matter how ugly, rotten and grumpy we are.  When we have had a bad day, they just snuggle up to us, or quietly put their head next to us to let us know they care.  The God I love and serve is so much like that.   He loves us so unconditionally, and completely.  One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3  " I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness"        Another great verse is:
  Titus 3: 4-5 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”         
But best of all is John 3:16 which says "for God so loved the world, that He gave us His son.  That who ever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life"
Did you get that?  I sometimes forget.  But this verse spells it out so clearly.  God loved us SO MUCH.  So much people!  That HE (God) gave us His ONE AND ONLY son.  Not number 5 or 8, but His ONLY one!   All we have to do is believe that Christ died for us because we are sinners and we get to live with Him forever.  Not until he gets sick of us, or wants to trade us in, but FOREVER!  Cool?  I think so. 
So, I just think it's cool that my smelly dog reminds me of how awesome and great my God is.  Maybe it's a silly analogy, and slightly odd, but isn't that just like God to use simple things to remind us that He is in everything? Even our four legged friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

arizona, desert disasters and cucumber porcupines

This morning I was thinking about a trip I took one time to Phoenix Arizona by myself.   For those of you who have never been to Arizona or at least the Phoenix area, it is a vast expanse of desert, surrounded by mountains and smack in the middle is a city.  I really have never seen anything like it.  It is absolutely one of the most beautiful, and friendly places I have ever come across.  While I was there, I had some time to myself and decided to take a walk in the desert.  It really wasn't the smartest thing to do actually, but because I rarely think ahead, I took off for a place to park the car and headed out into the sand and cactus.   The desert is a very peaceful place and quite beautiful.  Tiny lizards scurry from cactus to cactus dancing gently on the spines without worry of being impaled.  Only the occasional overhead jet or a voice far in the distance was the only sound.  However,  I really should have not taken my cue from the the silly little lizards on the danger from cactus spines.  As I was walking, I noticed these groups of small ground cactus with individual balls coming off them.  They each had spines on them and they resembled a cucumber crossed with a porcupine also known as a Jumping Chola.  I noticed some of these cucumber porcupine had fallen off some of the plants and so in my head I thought "self, you should pick up these things with spikes and take them home to your family".  Well, see, that is where the two halves of my brain fail to connect.  The first thought should have been for me to keep my hands to myself, and the other thought should have been, why would anyone want to take a tiny porcupine home to her family?  Neither of those thoughts even flashed across my brain. Not even for a second.   Nope.  Instead I reached down to pick up the prickly cucumber and as I did it launched itself at my hand.   The thing had literally come to life.    In an instant it had attached itself to my thumb, sticking it's spikes into the flesh and bone.  Without thinking I flicked my hand as hard as I could, shaking the attacker onto my exposed thigh.  So now, I have thorns and spikes coming from my thumb and also protruding from my thigh.  The pain was intense and knowing I was alone in the desert, I began hobbling back to the car.  Along the way I passed to older men who I am convinced saw my plight and began snickering as soon as I had passed, probably mumbling something like "dumb yankee girl, didn't her mama ever tell her to keep her hands to herself?"   After getting back to my nephew's apartment, I began the arduous task of pulling spikes, built like fishhooks, out of my leg and thumb.   It was one of the most painful things I've ever had happen.  The worst part was that I was still pulling out spikes 6 months later after they had festered and worked themselves to the surface.  Nothing like holding on to vacation memories. 
When I tried to relate it to life, I began to think of how much like my walk with the Lord is like that.   So many times I just take off into the desert by myself without any thought of the dangers and then spend months trying to fix the mess I got myself into.   If I had listened to the holy spirit and not headed off into the unknown without protection or a "guide", I could have saved a lot of heartache.  God's plan for us is for good and not disaster, to give us a future and a hope.   Jeremiah 29:11   God's plan isn't to let us get stuck with thorns in a desert, his best plan isn't to let us keep picking festering thorns out of our thumbs and thigh for 6 months.  His best plan is for us to follow Him.  Let Him guide us.  We just have to be willing to stop and listen. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Motherhood, mayhem and all that jazz.......

Motherhood. It takes you from the highest highs to the lowest lows in a matter of hours and sometimes minutes.  If nothing else, I've learned how much my mom loves me, and how many times I must have broken her heart and  I've learned all of it just by being a mother. However,  I can also say, that there is not one single second that I regret being a mom.  The past three months have been a whirlwind of happiness, stress, sadness and excited expectation.  June brought tears.  LOTS of tears.  The pain I felt in my heart during June was almost more than I could bear.  It was during June that I learned most about what it means most about the depth of love a mother has for her child.  It's not a love that can be explained.  It is a love that is part of you, deep within yourself that is woven into every single cell and neuron.  It is a love that can't be broken no matter how much the selfish heart wants it to be.   July brought stress.  Stress of two family vacations, a wedding being planned and all the other day to day stresses a mother has.  Before I knew it August was upon me and the wedding was fast approaching.  It's bitter sweet to know your son is getting married.  Knowing that forever forward, his heart will belong to another woman.  Someone who didn't give birth to him.  Someone who didn't wake up with him for late night feedings, someone who wasn't there to rub his back when he was sick.  Although it somehow is ok, knowing that the woman he has given his whole heart to is also the woman who has given her heart to him and will be there to make so many more memories and that will make my heart sing.  Watching the light in his eye sparkle with adoration and love when she walked down the isle took every single fear of losing him away.   Any fear I had was replaced with a new sense of hope and excitement for all that they will share in a lifetime. 
I've had a couple people tell me that my kids are so nice, so kind  and well behaved and how do I do it?  It sounds like an  easy answer when I tell them it's God.  I really don't know what else TO say.  It really is as simple as that.  It's not that I didn't have anything at all to do with it.  I guess I did.  It just always freaks me out a bit when I say that out loud though because I wouldn't ever want to come across as conceited or arrogant.  The only way I can take any credit is to give it back to God.  I feel like being a mother has been and is a gift.  It is all I ever wanted to do.  I've had other ambitions, but my first and formost joy and goal in life was to be a mom.  It's not that I haven't had my moments and even days of wanting to run away or find a full time job outside the home, but when it comes right down to it, being a mom is by far the most rewarding job I could have ever had.  I guess the only thing I can think of that I did was to try, and when I say try, I mean just that.  TRY, to instill the fear of God into them.  Not the kind of fear like "oh crap God's going to hate me if I do this" but the kind of fear that they know that God knows what they are doing, even when I don't.   The other thing I hope they learned is that I totally believe the bible verse that says "you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!".  I truly and honestly believe that everyone, most of all my kids, can do ANY that they desire to do AS LONG as they seek God's will.   If someone wants to take out trash all day long, then go for it, if it will be honoring to God.  Maybe that is why I don't get too freaked out when the kids don't want to live right next door or in the same town as me. I know parents that have to have say in every part of their kids lives.  Sometimes it is even under the guise of "they are still under my umbrella of protection".  Well, sorry, but it's time to pack up that umbrella and stick it in the closet because how the heck can they become what God wants THEM to be unless they can test the water themselves?  We can either TRUST God that He knows how to take care of them and that we have done our jobs, or we can keep holding on and never let them figure out who they are or what the Lord has for THEIR lives.  We had our chance, it's time to let our kids have theirs and make a few mistakes once in a while.  Mistakes are ok.  It's what we do with our mistakes that matter.  If we learn from them then great.  If it draws us closer to the Lord then that is even better. 
Now..... do I have it all together?  Nope.  Have I made about a million mistakes as a parent?  Yep!  It really is probably more like a million and two.  So.... how did I end up with great kids?  It's what I've been saying right along.  It's the Lord.  He must love me or something.  And even better,  I know He loves my kids and wants better for them than even I could ask for. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's been a long time baby!   There has been so much going on around here that I just haven't taken the time to stop and smell the roses......  not to mention the fact that until this week it hasn't been warm enough to even see or smell anything blooming outside!  Finally I think we are on an uptrend and have spring at our fingertips.   
Well, a few things on my ol brain.  The family reunion is out for my family and I.   Which sucks, but some things just can't be helped, I guess......  I've gone round and round in my head trying to figure out how to make it happen, but i keep coming up to the other ten things on my plate that need to be done.  Namely, get my book done, paint the house, build two porches(for insurance purposes), and the list goes on and on and on....... 
Secondly, the wedding is in full swing.  It's been odd.  On so many levels.....  But a good odd for the most part.  A couple little stray hiccups with certain people who will remain nameless, but it's been good. I absolutely LOVE my future daughter in law, Jake has a great job and is graduating in two weeks, they got a great apartment, and I'm getting along really well with my ex and his wife.  How could life get any better?  That last one is actually the nicest part.  I think i'd even consider his wife a friend.  That is huge for me....... Life is too short to stay mad at someone or to be jealous of someone just because you're insecure.  Which was me in a nut shell........  Not that i'd fit into a nut shell.....  unless it was a very large nut.....  anyway........  I'll move on.
And last, we are excavating the ditch behind our house that is turning out to be a huge mess.  I'm not sure why I didn't think that dirt, water and my husband on a backhoe wouldn't produce mud,......... but it did, and is, and probably will most of the summer.  BUT, hopefully it will keep the water away from out house and when it's all said and done, the landscaping will look pretty.......  unless I break my hand moving cinder-blocks around, like I almost did yesterday.  Yeah, words of wisdom..... don't try pulling a load of cinder-blocks on a cart while driving a tractor down hill.  It WILL flip and smash your hand between the blocks and tractor. 
But, I know I'm growing, because I didn't yell, or swear.  So, it really was a good day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Our recent trip to Florida was amazing!!!!  It is funny to me how much I forget Florida feels like home.  Flying in, I felt like I was back in my home town, which is weird because I only lived there for five or six years when I was little and another year after I was married.  Maybe it's because it's the last memories of where I lived with my dad or because I've gone back to visit so much since we moved north.... who knows.  I just know it feels like home. 
Justin was remembering a trip we took to Florida a few   years ago, actually, it must have been at least 5 years ago now.  Anyway, on that trip, I took the kids to the beach and we were fortunate enough to find sea stars, or starfish as they are commonly called.  Anyway, we all were scooping them up, happily gathering handfuls in all sizes.   Not knowing what to do with them, we put them on a pizza box and let them dry........  yes, we murdered them.  After we had our fill at the beach we went back to my sisters and showed her our precious starfish, with some of them having tried crawling to the nearest water source.  It was actually quite pathetic when you think about it.  At the time, I honestly didn't even think about them dying.  I just thought they were beautiful and it wasn't until they had tried crawling away that I thought of them as actual living things.......  Anyway.  To make a long story short, my sister informed me it was against the law to catch and kill starfish.  Not to mention traveling across state lines, transporting them.   OOPS!   However, the starfish had the last laugh, because just like any living creature, they STINK when they die and especially in a hot car.   That trip home was memorable.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One would assume that when you get a writing contract, it would be a piece of cake to sign.....well, this one is stressing big time.  I've gone over the contract with a fine tooth comb and it sounds great..... but I have questions.  Most of them are stupid, not that important, but still they are questions.

Also I'm thinking about the commitment.  That doesn't necessarily freak me out.  It doesn't.  I love to travel so going around for book signings won't be a problem.  I'm just worried that I'm not going to get the manuscript finished by my deadline.  Actually, it shouldn't be a problem. I work better under pressure.  It must be a Bowker thing.... although it might be a Rafferty thing.  I've got stubborn genes from both sets of parents, so that makes me doomed. 

I think I'm over-thinking this whole thing... which is quite funny because I normally just act before I think.  So i guess it's probably a good think I'm thinking at all.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Part 6

When Mom started going to high school, she was allowed to wear low cut oxford type shoes instead of the high top brown shoes she had worn all through her younger years. The look of the low cut oxfords were only slightly better and it still wasn't what everyone else was wearing at the time. Unfortunately, out of necessity, mom needed to wear shoes that helped her feet rather than shoes that looked good. My Mom tells of times when she had cut the sides of her brown shoes and tucked in the sides to make them look like the other kids. I think we often forget that it doesn't matter what era a person lived in, there were certain fashionable styles and most everyone wanted to look the part. My mom was no different.
When mom was starting her year sophmore year, her friend “Nancy Huse” and she went shopping for clothes for school. Nancy tried on a stylish pair of 'buck' which were all the rage at that time. The were similar to oxfords, but suede and the 'in' thing to have. Mom decided to try on a pair, and decided that she would get them. She convinced herself that she could wear them and they would be comfortable.
At home, Mom showed her parents the shoes and convinced them as well that she would be able to wear them. For two years Mom wore those shoes, even though her feet hurt more and more every day. She knew it was because of not wearing proper shoes, but she didn't want to because she was afraid of what they might say. She did her best keeping her secret until one Saturday right before her senior year. There was a family picnic at Sullivan's Monument with other families from a group that Grandma and Grandpa Rafferty belonged to. A group of them were playing softball and Mom really wanted to play as well. Everything was going ok until it was Mom's turn at the base. She hit the ball and started to run to first base but her feet were hurting so badly that she collapsed to the ground in tears. My Grandparents took one look at her swollen and red feet and got her into the new Guthrie Clinic in Sayre.
Soon after Mom had her last surgery when she was ten, Dr. Alben had retired and the Rafferty's hadn't found another Doctor that was as good and took as good care of Mom as the previous Dr. had. They were very thankful to find this doctor in Sayre. The new Doctor said that Mom absolutely had to have special shoes made for her. This was quite a concern for my Mom because she didn't want to have to wear ugly shoes again. The Dr. assured her that they had people right at Sayre who could make them look fashionable.
It was during one of these visits to Guthrie that the Doctor asked Mom what her plans after high school were. Mom said she wanted to be a nurse but the doctor said she could never do something that required her to be on her feet all the time. He suggested that she try something else in the Medical field like a Medical Secretary. She thought about it and decided she would give it a try.
It probably was presumptuous for Mom to even assume she was going to college, but it just never occurred to her that she wouldn't. Most of her classmates were planning on it, but looking back, Mom realizes that her parents had to have borrowed the $1000.oo that it took to send her that first year.
Mom went for her college interview but the man in admissions wondered why she wanted to go into the medical secretary program because she only had one typing class but had already taken 3 years of sciences and math. He told her she should take Medical technology and after a quick thought, she decided she would.

The week after graduation from High school my mom and 6 or 7 of her girlfriends were invited to a friends cottage on Keuka Lake for a week. They spent the week water skiing, swimming and enjoying being recent graduates. When Mom had been in school, she had never been boy crazy partly because she was very unsure of herself and didn't want to go out much. Mom doesn't think the guys disliked her, but no one ever asked her out and she is sure it had everything to do with her feet and how she looked. At one point while at the cottage, one of Mom's friends said that there was this guy across the lake whose parents had a cottage there. She said he was a good looker, but wasn't there often, but they took a ride over by the cottage, but nobody was there.
I will tell you the significance of this later.


Mom is in the second row from the bottom, third one in. Her sister Barb is in the Top row, first one. Her brother Bob is the last boy in the top row.


notice the brown high top shoes mom is wearing.... she is the one sticking out her tongue

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Part 3

In 1939 when my mom's first surgery was so tragically done, the depression was still trudging along albeit slowing a tiny bit. Yet, people all over America were weary from years of struggling with making ends meet and still not quite having enough. This stressful time caused much anguish for my Grandparents because it required them to leave my mom in the hospital in Binghamton NY for 3 months at a time. Most parents now-and-days couldn't imagine leaving their two year old child in a hospital alone for more than a few hours; Gladys and George didn't have a choice.
Dr. Alben was very distressed at what the previous surgeon had done to my mother. The infections and abscesses took a long time to heal and the removal of tendons had done more damage than good to her small legs. Dr. Alben knew it was going to take many surgeries and lots of hard work on the part of my mom to over come what had been done to her. After Mom was healed from the infections, the casting process was started. This required her to be put in casts, and every week portions would be cut out and her feet manipulated in a more normal position and then recast. After each repositioning, the pain was almost unbearable and the longing to be comforted by her mother was almost more than she could stand. Binghamton City Hospital was a sterile, cold place with bleak gray walls and sick children. The long days stretched into weeks then months until her legs and feet were repositioned enough to allow her to leave the Hospital for a small stretches of time. It never was long enough though.
Months became years and while the Depression had come to a close due to the war, WWII had become another stumbling block keeping my mom locked in her sterile castle when work needed to be done on her casts.
Because of the war, gas, and other household items were being rationed. Each household was given a certain amount of rations which didn't leave enough most weeks to have enough for my grandparents to get to Binghamton. Thankfully there were kind people who would save enough of theirs to give some to Grandma and Grandpa so they could go see Mom every two weeks or so.
Whether it was because of depression or an illness, my mom stopped eating. She remembers pushing her food around on the plate so the nurses would take the tray and even giving food to other kids so the nurses would stop telling her to eat. Hoping that it was because of her tonsils, the doctors asked my grandparents if they could take them out. Giving their permission, mom had her tonsils removed at the age of 4. When mom woke up, she yelled at my Grandmother that she hated her but then quickly fell back to sleep. When she woke up the next time, they were gone. Not because they wanted to leave, but they had to get back to the rest of the family and Grandpa George couldn't risk missing work and losing his job. He had already had to find work at a plant called Bendix because the Meat Market had gone under two years prior. It was hard for my mom to understand at that young age that her anger wasn't the reason why her parents weren't there when she woke up. Even after Grandma tried to assure her the next time she saw her. How could any child understand that? It wasn't long after her tonsillectomy that the doctors would figure out her eating problems weren't tonsil related. At the age of four, my mom was depressed.

When mom turned eight, she had her second surgery on her legs and feet. This time, under the guided hands of a skilled surgeon using proper equipment. During this surgery, a few more tendons in her legs were moved and part of her ankle bone was removed. Two years later, at the age of ten, her other foot would be operated on and because of the advancement in medicine, that foot has always been a little better for her. Memories from her hospital stays are quite vivid and she recalls the casting room where casts were put on her and other children as well. It was a cold room with tall pillars with bars in between. These bars would be used to tie kids down that needed to be casted because of displaced hips or to straighten their backs. When everyone was back in their rooms, mom would 'sneak' over to visit some of the kids who couldn't move because of their casts. Many times she would follow the nurses around in her wheel-chair to help tend to the other children. On a rare occasion, the nurses would take the kids up to the roof of the hospital so they could get some fresh air because like my mom, most of these kids were there for long periods of time.
Lice was a big problem for anyone staying in the hospitals back then. Mom recalls one time that her Dad came to visit and the Doctor happened to be there. The doctor let Mom go home with Grandpa on the train for the weekend and while she was home, Grandma realized that Mom had a very bad case of Lice. Unfortunately this meant that everyone in the house had to be treated with kerosene and sit for hours while Grandma picked eggs out of their hair.

No one was happy with Mom for that special “gift”. I'm wondering, if inside my mom was silently chuckling to herself that she got to share some of her grief from being kept away from everyone. After all, misery loves company.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Part 1

Springtime never came early enough back in those days, or so it seemed for the hard working people who lived in upstate New York during the depression. The Rafferty family was one of those families who waited not so patiently for the long days of winter to melt into Spring. The slightly warmer weather was a hopeful time; a time when mothers could push the kids outside for longer periods of time and the fathers could put the plow in the hands of their sons who had grown like weeds over the winter. The long cold winters grasp was finally beginning to lose it's hold and peoples spirits could once again see Gods greatness as the tiny buds of new life sprung from the ground. Hope was starting to have life in the hearts of the men who worked their fingers to the bone just to have enough for their family to get by. Kids no longer had to trudge through knee deep snow to the school house up the road and after school boys and girls would linger at the creek on the way home. No one was in a hurry to get back to chores after being cooped up inside for months.

George Rafferty had taken a job at the butcher shop in the next town over to make ends meet for his growing family.
He was a well respected man and most everyone who knew him would testify that he was an honest, hard worker with integrity. The slight limp in his walk wasn't noticed because George was also a proud man who held his head high and rarely showed defeat. These traits of a strong work ethic and stubborn pride were passed to his children which provided the foundational blocks of tenacity in trusting in Christ when challenges were faced. His wife, Gladys, was pregnant with their sixth child and ready to give birth in March.

By the time Bev Rafferty was born in March of 1937, the depression was in full swing. Times were tough everywhere and even the rural roads of North Chemung were not immune to the effects of that era. The jobs people had were held onto with iron fists and vacation time or time for the birth of a child was not a luxury that most would dare to take. There were many unemployed people willing to work and taking time off was viewed as a weakness which might result in losing your job. George was not willing to take that chance when Gladys went into labor.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pretty soon I'll be singing the Wedding day anthem in my head 24/7.    Why? you ask?  Because #2 is getting married.  Yes, that's right, my second oldest son, Jake is getting married to Manda!  I'm mixed with excitement and nervousness.  Mostly excitement.  She is one of the greatest people I know and she has fit in to our family and become apart of our family so easily.   Manda is also the second oldest in her family as well and she has three younger siblings so she knows how crazy it can get so maybe that is why she  seems so layed back.  Either way, she is pretty great. 
I'm slightly nervous, because, well, I just know that marriage is hard and I wish I could wave a magic wand and make things really easy for them.   I wish I could pay off his student loan debt so they could start out free and clear, I wish I could buy them all the furniture they will need to set up an apartment...... but I can't.... and even if I could it probably wouldn't be wise.  I'm sure they will learn to handle things and manage their finances just fine without dear ol mom butting her nose in.... 
It really is funny how things change when someone finds the person they are meant to be with.  
Jake was always my kid who was NEVER going to get married.  NEVER have kids and until a couple years ago I thought he probably would stick to that.  Then Manda came along and VOILA!  She melted his heart and in a matter of 7 months he is engaged!  Who'da thunk it?    
Now my biggest problem will be to try not to become a hovering mother-in-law that trys to take over......  control freakishness is one of my downfalls so I will need lots of prayer. =)

Monday, February 21, 2011

I've come to the conclusion that snow is bad for the health.  At least long term snow.   It seems to make people grumpy, including me, and if the snow isn't the cause then I guess the world is going to pot faster than I originally thought. 
Also, I think that Facebook, e-mail and texting has pretty much ruined people and relationships.  Yes, even I, self appointed facebook queen, admits to facebook over stimulation!  Things are typed and someone reads it wrong, partly because they want to believe the worse in some, and partly because they can't hear the inflection in the writers voice so they don't know that probably it was said tongue-in-cheek, or jokingly or whatnot.  So then person A gets their panties in a wad, types something in rebuttal and the whole thing is blown way out of proportion.  Also, some things just should not be sent via email.  I am so freaking sick to death of forwarded or copy and pasted emails that tell me I am going to have health bestowed upon me if I send this to 50 of my close friends and hell and brimstone if I don't.  First of all, just because "snoops" says it's true, doesn't mean it is. 
I've read two books recently by Donald Miller........  he is my new favorite author.  He says it so well in his book  Searching for God Knows What.  On first inspection, you would assume he was a liberal who has read the bible, but after reading more into the book, you find that he is deeply committed to Christ and bases everything on the word of God!  He doesn't take sides which is all to common in todays society and unfortunately those who do pick sides end up building walls so thick that no one can get through.  Instead, Mr. Miller chooses to remain committed to speaking the truth in love without getting all upset if someone doesn't agree with him.  He also is able to minister to liberals, democrats, republicans and even the Tea Party because he stands firm in the fact that the ONLY way to the father is through Christ.  Making someone agree with your view on abortion, homosexuality, or political agenda does not point people to Christ.  It puts people on opposite sides and breaks down all lines of communication.  The other really neat thing about the way he writes is that he doesn't white wash the gospel. 
Wow, was that just a book review?  Oh well.  
My point is that all to often people pick sides, whether it is pro-life, gay rights, Tea Party, conservative, liberal, etc, and make that their God.  We try to get everyone to agree with us, instead of understanding that we all have sinned, are sinning and will continue to sin until we die, and our anger and pride at those who don't agree with us isn't any less wrong that the ill we are fighting against.   Point people to Christ and He can sort it out.  Stay honest in what you believe and know is right and let God work in the hearts of others.  It's not our job to be heart surgeons.....  Christ can handle that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I had to take Dan to the dentist today.  It actually wasn't bad and the whole way home he kept thanking me for taking him, so that was pretty darn cute in my book.    On the way up he asked how cows made their milk.  I told him, uh, i'm not sure, but they chew grass and then the milk forms in their boobies.  Yeah, I know, kind of crude, but I really couldn't for the life of me figure out how to explain how it's actually done in terms that a 9 year old could understand.   In all seriousness, he said " well, do they eat lots of snow?"   I thought that was cute. 
About fifteen minutes down the road,, the radio started getting really fuzzy because I was gettting out of range.  The lady singing on the radio started to cut in and out and again, from the backseat, danny says " boy, she sure does have bad hiccups!".......  gosh I love that kid!  He just cracks me up all the time.

I also heard an interview with Anita Renfroe and her husband.  They were talking about Valentines day and being married, etc.....  Anyway, they were talking about their kids and Anita said "they were our craft projects".   I thought that was cute.   However, as I'm sitting her listening to my kids argue and fight I'm thinking that my kids are my science experiments gone terribly wrong!  SHEESH!!!  I wish there was a magic pill to make them get along.  I think I might have them sit and hold hands until they can talk nicely to each other.  I used to do that with Jake and Abby.  It seemed to work, albeit slightly, but it worked.  

I'm really thinking that spring needs to come soon.  Either that or I'm admitting myself to an insane asylum.  I think the one I might choose is in Key West on a remote island with no cell service.    It's called 'crazy shack for those suffering from  kidsdrivemenutsitis'.   In the meantime, I guess I'll just sit here listening to the latest news of 'she touched my stuff' and ' he took my bendaroos' and 'they are breathing my air'.....  oh, the last one was me......

Sunday, February 13, 2011

HA!   So, I took down my last post, so if you read it, ok.  Not a big deal.  If you didn't read it, then you were too late. =)     A little birdie told me I might be too harsh and I had to agree so I decided to take it down.  Right after I wrote it, I thought to myself, "self, that sounds a little bitchy"  but you know, I rarely listen to myself so I left it up and thankfully that little birdie loved me enough to mention it.  So thanks little bird.

SO, i feel the need to talk about two very important people in my life.   I have to admit that I'm in love with two men.  Actually I have five men in my life, but I'll just focus on two right now. 
I'm talking about my two little boys that have now gone and grown up to be men.  I really can't believe the nerve of these two.  I told them not to do it, but once again they didn't listen.

Justin is 21 and Jake isn't far behind at 19.  It's all so crazy to think that  not too long ago I was helping them put on their snowsuits to play outside or carting Justin to little league and Jake to soccer. Now they have their own cars, pay their own insurance and pretty much are self-sufficient.
I'm probably not the only mother in the world that swells with pride each time their kids do something amazing, but it always makes me  honestly thank God for the men they have become.   Mostly because I know that I failed as a mom more times in the day than there were minutes on the clock and some days I probably should have just been sent away.  I guess God's grace is way more sufficient than I realize. 
Jake is going to graduate this May with an associates in Culinary and will make the best Chef any place he decides to work.  He has this way about him that he can walk into a room and everyone falls in love with him.  Partly because he won't stop moving and doing something funny so unless you are dead or dull, you have to laugh.  There isn't anything that he can't do once he sets his mind to it.  It's quite amazing!
It's not always been easy for Jake or with Jake either.  His activity level is one cause of annoyance for a mother who dreams of quiet at the end of the day, but had I known what a cool dude he would be at 19, I might have cut him some slack more often.  He has had his share of hard times and stupid stunts, but at the end of the day, he has come through and grown into this man who makes me glad I'm his mom.
Justin is going to finish his fourth year in college this may.  He won't have his bachelors yet because he took a year to go to Bible college.  Can I just say that it was the best year he has ever spent?  Going into it, I think he thought after the first week he was going to jump ship, but he held on and I know he is glad he did.  It was the first time that I could actually SEE someone mature.
I think one of the best parts of being a mom is when I get a phone call at 10 or 11 at night from the boys.  No, seriously.  Even when I'm sound asleep I am always happy when they call.   Ya know why?  Because I know that THEY know that they can call ANY time and talk.  Whether it's because they just got out of work and didn't realize the time, or because they needed to ask how to do something, or just to vent, I absolutely LOVE it. 
The other best part is when I can introduce them to a friend of mine they don't know.  I think it's because I know, that I've probably gushed on and on at how awesome they are to this friend and so when I introduce them, they have no clue that I've pretty much made them sound like a god. 
I really don't think kids know how big a mothers love is.  It goes beyond a love they can even understand.  The amazing thing is that if God loves us even a fraction of how much a mothers love equals, then WHOA!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gardening in my mind....... the only safe place to do it

I've been thinking about spring lately.   Yeah, I know, it's only the end of January and we have 3 more months until it gets here and because I live in upstate NY it's probably closer to 4 months until we see any sort of clear ground.  It's just that as soon as I've had enough of the cold stuff, my brain starts to activate this fresh dirt chemical that makes me think of chirping birds, tree's budding, flowers growing.... that sort of thing.  I'm not 100% sure the dirt chemical is a proven scientific fact so I'll have to get back to you on that, but wishing for spring is a sure bet!  I was in the store yesterday and I saw seed packets and mini bags of potting soil and I was drooling like Martha Stewart had just cooked a meal in front of me.  Maybe that would be the way to go.....  I could be the gardener for Martha Stewart!  Except, as part of my salary requirements, she would have to fly me someplace warm from the beginning of Dec. to mid April so I could start the seeds in the proper temperature.  Nothing to extravagant, maybe someplace like Key West, or the Caribbean....... and of course the new born plants would need to be flown home on a private jet so they didn't get stressed.      Yeah, I think that is the way it should work.  Unfortunately in the real world, my garden will probably be a set of containers sitting forlornly on my deck hoping and praying I don't forget to water them once a day.   You see, I'm not the avid gardener as my dream job would suggest.   I'm more of a "lets go see what grandma is growing" type of lady.    Even though every January I dream of gorgeous towering tomato plants and beautiful bountiful bush beans (yes I did just go there) , and cucumbers the size of baseball bats I know that in reality that the only way I'm going to get any fresh vegi's is to stop by the local farmers market.  I'm not sure where the disconnect is in my brain when it comes to Gardening 101.  My mom can grow just about anything and make it look like she prayed over each and every seed that she stuck in the ground.  I'm pretty sure she has had a successful garden ever since I can remember.   Even two years ago during the Great Tomato Blight (yes it was real) she still managed to save hundreds of tomatoes while her neighbor lost every last one.  So I'm really hoping my mom never meets Martha or I will be out of a job!
Oh who knows..... maybe this year will be different.  Maybe I will turn over the soil with shovel and hoe so it can be turned into a garden that Martha would kill for.     I'll let you know how it turns out........  as soon as the snow clears.........  sometime in July.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Moebius Awareness Day

Today is Moebius Syndrome Awareness day.   Although most of you that read my blog regularly know what Moebius Syndrome is, I thought I'd give a quick  Moebius Syndrome 1.1 class.........

As stated on the Moebius Syndrome Foundation website, Moebius syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that is present at birth.  It primarily affects the 6th and 7th cranial nerves, leaving those with the condition unable to move their faces (they can’t smile, frown, suck, grimace or blink their eyes) and unable to move their eyes laterally (Moebius Syndrome Foundation).
As is the case with Daniel, about 30% of kids affected with Moebius Syndrome are on the Autistic spectrum (Moebius Syndrome Foundation).

Danny has other brain abnormalities which complicate things, but his outward appearance is caused by the Moebius Syndrome.   I really can't imagine him any other way, nor would I want him to be.   Is that horrible?  I just know that he has been such a huge inspiration to me and others that I think one of the biggest purposes in his life is to show people that you can be all that God intended no matter what problems you may face.
For us, I'm not sure what one thing has been the hardest part of Moebius.  I think for Danny, he might say that the surgeries have been hardest.  I think for me, the not knowing what to expect has been the hard but I think the hardest part is watching when other kids and at times adults have either made fun of Danny or whispered about him in our presence.   

So in honor of Moebius Awareness Day, wear purple and take a look at the Foundation website to read more about this condition.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

40 and more

Turning 40 isn't so bad.   I guess to be completely honest, I never thought it would be.  To me, age has always been a non issue for the most part.  Yeah, getting older is the pits in some ways, like having the 'ladies' act like they are praying to mecca, and wrinkles appearing where there weren't any before, knees cracking under pressure and that sort of thing.  The whole thing of being out of shape isn't fun either, except that has more to do with me just being plain lazy rather than age.........   So, all in all, 40 isn't bad.
Looking back, I couldn't wait until I got older so people would have to take me seriously.  When I had kids I thought it would happen..... nope.    When I turned 25 I thought I would have felt older or at least more mature........ definitely not! Surely at 30 I was going to be taken serious........  was that a joke?  Well, i've arrived at the very mature age of 40 and very few people still take me seriously, so I guess I'll have to rethink that whole pipe dream.
Another really cool aspect of my birthday,  and whether it's because it's my fortieth or not is a different story, is that I've been blessed with lots of people who wish me happy birthday all over facebook and friends who call me and sing silly songs to me (yeah that really happened). I've come to appreciate the friends and family I have immensely more  than I did when i was 20 or 30.   It's not that I didn't love them, it's just that I didn't understand the importance of appreciating those who love me.  That might sound odd.  I guess it is odd. I've always been one to want to pick up and move every few years.......  Ron is JUST starting to get to think that idea isn't so bad.   The moving part, not the every few years part.    The funny thing is, I'm starting to think I wouldn't want to.  We talked about it last night.   I came to the conclusion that I think I would actually be sad to move.  I have got the best friends any person could ask for......  no, really, I do.... and I love being close to my mom and dad and Ron's mom and sister.  My hope is that when the kids finish school they decide to get jobs someplace really awesome so we can just go stay with them for a few weeks and drive them nuts. 
Today also makes me think about my mom.  I'm thankful that she had me.  I'm glad she decided that they needed me even though I am 9 years younger than my sister......  I'm not sure if I'd want to start over with another baby after tasting 9 years of diaper free time.   Well, not tasting the diapers, but you get the idea.

So all that being said..............turning 40 isn't so bad ............

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

life from the sea shore

Recently the kids and I had the opportunity to go see Jake in North Carolina.    While we were there we went to  Wrightsville beach and walked up and down the shore so the kids could get sea shells and fill their shoes with sand.   Every car needs a pound of sand scrubbed into it's carpet from time to time.   
For as far as the eye can see the shoreline goes on and on;  waves lapping and dancing up to the edge and then quickly retreating as if the sand had burnt their watery toes.   As I bent to pick up a broken shell, God began showing me how we as humans are like these broken and battered shells.  
Every few minutes the kids would bring me a new shell to inspect and ooh and ahh over.  Some of them were nice, but some of them weren't so pretty.  That is when it hit me that we are just like that to others.  What I regard as beauty, my kids might find boring.  There were shells that my kids found that I would have quickly over looked.  The neat thing was that each shell was fulfilling it's purpose, being who it was and just how God had designed it.  The shell didn't, and more importantly couldn't change anything about itself to make it more appealing to the observer.  I think God wants us to understand that.  We don't need to change anything about ourselves to be loved, admired or chosen by God.  Who cares if person X doesn't like your shell?  The next shell hunter probably will and that is who needs your shell.  Ok, let me speak in human terms, I think the sand went to my brain.    There will be people who pass us by, who over look our gifts; however, the reason God has us here is to be Jesus for the one who needs us most.   We all have unique gifts, just like every one of those shells I picked up had unique markings.  The cool thing is that every one of those shells had to be broken and bounced around in the waves to be polished so they would catch our eye.  I think that is how God uses most of us.  We are broken and bounced around in the waves so we can be polished and honed just right to be used for His glory.  
When I think back on the things in my life I have walked through, I see how God has used it to shape me into the person I am.  Even the hardest things in my life like my dad's death when I was five, and the physical challenges I face with Danny, God has used those things to grow me.  Yes, I felt like I was being tumbled in the waves and sometimes forgotten on the beach, but looking from the other side I can see how God was polishing me and making me into something that can hopefully glorify Him.  
Next time you have the chance to go to the beach, take the time to search for some broken and imperfect shells and hold them to your ear.   You never know when one of them might be speaking to you.