“It Doesn’t Happen in a Neighborhood Like This”

That’s what the neighbor said on TV.  Another woman is dead, killed this morning in a nearby county by her husband and people are shocked because it doesn’t happen where they live. Sound familiar?  It sure does to me.  I’ve been there and even said those words.  People in my former neighborhood weren’t out brawling in the front yard with their spouses, let alone being  abused or even killed.  But behind closed doors….

When I finally began to deal with my situation, to feel it was perhaps time to speak up and speak out, one of the things that kept circulating through my mind was  “Who would believe me?”  Look at us – we looked pretty good.  We had the house, a great house, a great yard, a great pool.  I had a cleaning service, a lawn service, help with the laundry, help with the cooking.  I had jewelry, clothes, the fur coat, awesome vacations, vehicles, the grand piano.  I gave fabulous parties in my fabulous home.  We were the go-to people in our church to get things done, in the pew every week 20 minutes early.  Who would believe me?  Look at us….


Jesus described us perfectly, though.  He wasn’t addressing a domestic situation.  But He could have been standing on my deck, looking through the  patio doors into my beautiful kitchen when He referred to white-washed graves full of dead men’s bones and all unclean things. (Matthew 23:27)   We did indeed look beautiful on the outside.  Who would believe me?

The neighbor being interviewed on TV today was shocked.  “It doesn’t happen in a neighborhood like this,” and another woman is dead at the hands of her spouse or significant other.

This isn’t the post I had planned for today, but I still struggle.  When I  hear about another abused or murdered woman my heart aches for her.  Did she have children, children in that home?  children who  feared  for their mom’s safety?  I sit here now in tears.  Did she wonder if anyone would believe her?

And though I wondered aloud earlier this week about whether I was on the right path with this big dream of Her Father’s Homestead, I know in my heart that there is a need, greater than most people even want to acknowledge, for this dream of mine. And I believe as firmly as when I first arrived here that this old farm will be the place of healing for others that it has been for me.  There is hope and there is healing and there is wholeness.  I thank the Lord daily for bringing me here.  And now it’s my turn to give back.

If you have a need, reach out, I will listen and I will believe you.   Fill out the Contact form; I will respond.  Together we can find a way.  Blessings……

statistics on domestic abuse/violence

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Gaining Ground

I’m still playing catch-up from the weekend misfortunes, but at least I’m playing.  I definitely had an attitude challenge going and thankfully,  have moved through it.  My house is almost normal, though my ears are tuned to the on/off cycles of the furnace and I”m less than completely unpacked.  But my truck is running and I was able to get groceries and sand from the pile kept by the city for ice emergencies such as we had.  Hard to imagine that clearing away ice is a topic of local news, but it is.  I heard that cities nearby are going to begin sending out workers to chop/scrape ice from the sidewalks and homeowners will be charged $80 for the service.  That’s winter where I live.

I don’t have sidewalks.  I have a fairly long driveway that empties into a circle around which the house, garage, shed, barn, etc, are grouped, a fairly large area to attack with traditional methods like sidewalk salt and/or sand and a manual ice chipper.  So I mixed salt into the 32-gallon trash barrel full of sand and spread it strategically, hoping that a slight rise in temperature would facilitate some melting.  The weatherman said it wouldn’t happen today, but how often is the guy right?  Today, of course, when I have to make sure that my students and their parents can get in and out of the driveway and the house safely.

Being a generally positive positive person and no longer dwelling in self-pity, I looked for the humor.   Today that was visualizing myself trying to carry a bucket of salt/sand from back steps to garage – remember it’s an out-building -while utilizing ski poles to stay upright – how many hands did I say I have?  But at least the ski poles were handy, already out on the back porch as part of seasonal decor and they did, indeed, aid in keeping me on my feet and a brown salt/sand path now runs from the house to the garage making safe passage  more likely.

As for getting the truck started, thanks to the wood stove out in the garage and numerous trips to stoke it with kindling and all the paper I’ve been meaning to burn, bundled and booted against negative wind chills,  I produced enough heat to thaw the lines of the truck and on one of those trips to stoke the fire I decided to just give it another try.  Singing like a child at the top of my lungs – another reason to live in the country fairly far removed from neighbors – “I am trusting Thee to guide me, Thou alone shalt lead, every day and hour supplying all my need,”   I turned the key in the ignition and, voilà, the truck started.

To quote my father once again, “There you have it.”  When feeling sad, defeated, low, I resort to music and prayer, sometimes together via old favorite hymns, or playing my piano.   Try it, sing like no one can hear you, unless you have a beautiful voice – then sing so everyone can.

And remember, you cannot – it’s not physically possible – you cannot be singing  praises out loud and dwelling in despair in your mind.    The brain doesn’t work that way – we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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Welcome Home, so they say, anyway…

An eventful weekend.  First of all, I didn’t leave South Carolina Friday night on my scheduled flight.  There was an airline issue and my choices were stay with Meghan and leave Saturday morning or leave Friday night later, miss my connection to Green Bay and spend the night at O’Hare.  Hmmm, wonder what I chose?

So I had a whole extra day with Meghan.  She had taken a 1/2 day off work so we could go out for lunch and hang out before going to the airport.  Now we could hang out for the afternoon and the evening!!  Didn’t someone once say the Lord works in mysterious ways?  Sure worked for me to have a canceled flight and extra time with Meg.

My arrival home here in the country was another story.  Back into the cold, literally, as I had a furnace issue and the house temperature was hovering right about 40°.  And my truck refused to start – not the battery, that was working.  Something else was wrong.  Yippee.  Now I’m home and freezing and stranded and it’s late Saturday afternoon.  Try finding emergency services on a weekend, after hours.

Long story short, $800 later, the house was beginning to warm up.  By 2:30 a.m. it was 62°.  I kept throwing blankets in the dryer, then wrapping up in them to keep from shivering.    Sleepless night, no unpacking, no working on the photos, just a frantic effort to be warm.

The UPside?  No burst pipes – one frozen one, successfully thawed in a relatively short time and no major damage. Could things have been worse?  Lots and I’m thankful for what WAS, not what could have been.

I also have a confession to make – last night and this morning were rough.  I was on the verge of discouraged – sad and feeling defeated.  Back in the cold, and it’s bitter here, brutal, pick your word,  with an overnight glaze of 1/4″ thick ice over everything, my truck not starting, no groceries other than a some bread and a couple oranges.  For the first time EVER I questioned whether I was on the right path as I have believed for so long.  Thank the Lord for people in my life who help me stay on the path.  I expressed my concern out loud to my cousin, Dan.  He’s one of the people  I can call for everything and HAVE !!

Bat in the house?  Call Dan.  Sump pump running non-stop?  Call Dan.  Computer issues?  Call cousin Dan.   Well, he came and parked his car outside so I could sit and be warm for the couple hours it took to get someone out here and then for them to do their thing.  He has a great car with SEAT HEATERS and he sat and let  me be warm and didn’t leave till the challenges were on the way to over.

So that’s the tale here and I’m no longer sad, discouraged or questioning.  Dan reminded me that it’s not defeat, it’s testing and that can be powerful conffirmation that one is, indeed, on the right path.  So I had to pull myself up by my boot straps – the 15-year old white Sorrels, stop questioning, despairing, whining, whatever.     That had to stop and I’ll talk about how in the next post.  Just goes to show that even  Encouragers sometimes need encouragement.  That was me late in the night and in the dark of the  early morning and for the sake of honesty I’ll share my technics in the next post.  I am now smiling in the face of adversity and if this is a test, I’m going to pass with flying colors.  Adieu…..

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I Won’t Do It …..

No, I won’t, I will not title this nor will I think in terms of how many hours are left before I get on a plane and head for home.  I just am not ready to think about my time here with Meghan coming to an an end. 

 

So I will focus on the positive – the time we’ve had and the wonderful day we spent yesterday, full of Meghan’s favorite things about “her” city – we played outside and ate well and she just generally showed me around Columbia and all the highlilghts.

 

It’s been a wonderful trip, many memories created, lots of things to write and talk about, a zillion photos that will be so fun to go through, probably the second thing I do once I get home, the first being reacquainting my dogs with the house – they’ve been outside dogs for nine days!!!  Hopefully they will remember their manners with just a bit of prodding, not unlike when they came in the house after I came home from my first surgery.

 

Anyway – I am so thankful for the time I’ve had here – wonderful conversations that just happen when you’re spending good time together and laughs and jokes and memories.  So I’m taking the good, the very good, from this trip and still have time with Meghan before going to the airport so I am thankful, grateful, smiling, and will remain that way to the end.  Blessings!!!

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