Comfort Zone … In the Arms of Our Lord

This weekend, the Lord sent me way out of my comfort zone and way out of Hunt County. I cannot remember the last time that I traveled anywhere without my dear husband at the helm. I do remember a trip to a Rangers game with Amy that was disastrous as Amy and I both hate heights and we were at the top of the stadium trying not to freak out!

But, through a series of providential events, I needed to take two wonderful teens to an important vocal competition this weekend in Houston. Yep, I said “the worst drivers in the world” city. Ooops. Exaggeration. Not the worst in the world. Just the worst that I have ever seen. I digress.

The most important thing is that we are all safe and home and it was a great experience. But, it wasn’t easy and that is ok. Embarrassing moment: we were standing at a gas station awkwardly when I realized that Robert wasn’t there to pay for our waters (and their candy) and I hurriedly paid the nice lady. Sort of a silly moment.

And, a PTL that it was actually in Kingwood, which disguises itself as Houston, but is more like Rockwall in many ways. Lone Star College was beautiful and easy to traverse. Tiny bit of walking, great parking, beautiful buildings. The Finals and THE PERFORMANCE were held at First Presbyterian in their MOST beautiful Sanctuary. We loved hearing Anna Maria Martinez sing. She held our attention for 2 hours but I think we would have all set there on those hard pews for another two hours. She made opera FUN.

My two precious teens were amazing. This was their first foray into this new venue and they learned so much. They sang beautifully, were poised and lovely. Their scores were Exceptional. They both excepted their critiques just like professionals.

Then we partook of pasta with dairy, expensive chocolates, Starbucks, and naps. In the end, I know it was such a blessing for them to participate. The drive home included airing up a tire and enjoying a fun movie on the dvd player.

Bottom line: I missed Robert. SO MUCH. But, we did what we had to do and the Lord gave us the strength to do it well and joyfully.

HE does not call us to do what HE does not strengthen us to finish.

Blessings in His Great Love, Kathleen

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The Never Ending (Laughing at me) Checklist

I write lists. Lots of them. Now, I also write post-it notes everywhere. Even my dear friend, Karen, laughed at my post-it note firmly attached to my smart phone. BTW, I still do not think I am smart enough for a smart phone.

Looming on my list for many days now was the line item “clean, fix and prep woodstove before cold front.” Sounds simple, no? (more like “sounds crazy, no?”–Tevye) I figured it would take me about an hour to replace the stove snake, clean off the rust and black the stove. Piece of cake, right? Oh, there were probably some places that needed a little stove cement, cleanup of oozing cement from caulk gun, spilled stove blacking, etc. Maybe two hours. And, Friday night it is going to be cold in Texas (ie, under 50 degrees). So I tackled this simple one/two hour job today.

Regroup. Removal of failed stove snake (and cement) took two hours. Replacement of stove snake another hour. Removal of rust took one hour. Removal of all ash took another hour. Endless wiping. Blacking another hour. Yes, I wore rubber gloves. Yes, my nails are a strange color. Buffing…. on the list tomorrow.

But, we can safely have a fire in our Beloved wood stove on Friday night. Wood…. well, that’s on the list, too.

You know there really are more important things than….

dealing with stuff.

Like how amazing my daughter Amy is….
After having been through five labors and many miscarriages, I know what contractions are all about. I get this phone call on August 19 (Robert’s grandmother’s bday) that things were happening…

As in “we’re going to deliver a baby today, want to hang out with us?”

I got in the car on the way to the birthing center and Amy could talk this time. She never raised her voice over the next few hours. I mean it. I wasn’t sure she was even having contractions except she would get very quiet and give me a signal to be quiet. At one point, Amy said something sweet like “that was a bit different,” and “watch out for my hip” but basically she was totally on top of everything. Practically perfect in every way. So, by the grace of our Lord, she delivered an 8 pound 7 ounce beautiful baby boy right into his dad’s hands with more fortitude than I can even imagine. And I GOT TO BE THERE. Seriously, she held my tongue down while I died and then she delivered my precious grandson. She is amazing and I praise the Lord everyday that I got to be there. Michael Nichols Hale is a treasure and his brother Robert David adores him. So do I.

Small Victories

Actually, this is probably a huge victory, but that is only my take on it.  After you regroup with your family and try to figure out what is really important, you probably don’t want to waste time on outside activities.  But, my house is Very Cluttery Right Now. AND, I allowed 14 teenagers and some moms to come inside and move the furniture out of the way and block a one act play.  We had boxes of papers I am working through everywhere.  I had rubbermaid totes full of sewing stuff sitting around.  I also had diaper boxes from my dear daughter that need to be spray painted.  Isn’t it strange that we have a pile of stuff to organize our pile of stuff?  We had mopped, but not under the sofas.  I thought the bathrooms were decent … thought being the operative word.  SO, here’s the real story… we blocked the play.  We encouraged each other.  We are getting ready to do an amazing production!  They had a great time, I was patient.  My house was not blog/magazine/Kathleen clean.  It worked anyway.  Stuff is not the focus.  Work on a wonderful play (please come see it on 11/14-15 at Ridgecrest Baptist Church) is the important stuff.  And, I am going to do it again this Friday with another group of 25 (!!!!) teens and some moms.  I will do my best to focus on the important stuff but if things are cluttery (and/or not as tidy/clean as you like), get over it and get to work on being offbook!

The Lost Summer

How is it, that you can cancel summer in May?  Completely.  Well, you look around the hospital room and say  “Into the Woods” is not happening.  Well, neither did the new deck around the pool or the pea gravel.  Or the scrapbooking.  Or the garden.

On the other hand, the homeschooling that wasn’t finished (we school year round), was slowed down a lot.  My next grandbaby due in August, certainly wasn’t going to be cancelled.

My amazing, dear, wonderful husband’s cataract surgery could not be postponed.  So began the healing process.  You see, when your amazing, dear, wonderful husband needs you, you can’t help but get well.  Robert had his first surgery mid-May.  While the surgery went well, the recovery did not.  He had to have  90% of  his cornea scraped off with a dremel (yep, he went into shock), followed by serious drugs and painful drops.   Aside, did you know if you flip the batteries on the dremel, it goes backwards?  Well that was new to me.  Anyway, I had to be well enough to take care of him.  He is my hero, I needed to be his.

I could hardly think, but I had to keep up with his drugs.  So, I took notes.  Lots of them.  And realized for the first time that I had short-term memory loss.   Hi, my name is Dory.  Write it down.  Just keep swimming.

Blessings In His Great Love, Kathleen

 

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life….

How many of us get the chance to really examine our lives and come back and fix them?  On May 2, 2014, I dropped dead.  Dramatically.  At a cast party, in front of a lot of dear friends and family, and 35 teenagers.  Now that is a one act play in itself.  But, praise Our Lord, HE had a better plan.  I died at a city park next door to a fire station so the paramedics were there almost before I hit the ground.  My dear friends tried to shield the young people from my body and all the trauma.  Unfortunately, many of them were in the midst of it and some of them knew a lot about CPR.  I had ugly seizures, with my oldest daughter trying to keep my tongue from choking me.  My heart stopped.  And, I died.  But, my heart started again and I am here.  Not only here, but able to talk and type and walk and think. So, what’s the point?

Well, when I woke up in the ER, with people sobbing (including some EMTs) around me, I was asking about….

the steaks marinating on the counter

my children at the park

my youngest daughter’s prom dress

the production Tshirt that was cut off me

and stupid stuff like that.

Seriously.  You die, wake up and you remember the stuff like steaks on the counter?

So began my journey to put the real back in my life.  Oh, the drama is still VERY important to me.  In fact, I feel more called to serve the LORD with my drama gifts than ever before, but the rest of the stuff, besides my family, is that.  JUST STUFF.

Help me as I find the balance.  Help me as I regain my health.

Blessings in His Great Love, Kathleen