Friday, October 30, 2009

Cheer Up

Oh my, I sounded down in that last post didn't I?  That's what I get for writing in a quiet house.  I'm not having that problem at the moment.  Right now I am "cracking my whip" to try to get Jacob to do some of the 5 days of homework that he missed.  I don't think he realizes the magnitude of the situation...then again maybe he has the right perspective and I am blowing the whole thing out of proportion.  We also have a new friend spending the weekend with us while his parents are out of town so I've got to supervise his homework, project, and violin practicing as well.
Tonight we are headed to the nursing home across the street for trunk or treat, then to the pumpkin festival tomorrow morning, then our new friend's ball game, then a fall festival tomorrow night.  You see, my life is FULL of all sorts of things.  (And I'm scheduled to work three days next week!)

Still here

Jacob and I are still home.  I am THANKFUL that he is getting better and his fever is gone this morning, but  I am feeling sick to my stomach that I had to back out of my commitment to work TWICE this week.  I HATE disappointing people and not doing what I said I would do.  When Anna was sick, I  stopped saying I would do anything.  I made no promises.  I made no plans.  I didn't sign up for ANYTHING.  It was an adjustment, but it was good.  Now I am back to doing things and I am taken by surprise when something happens to interrupt my plans.  I don't mind changing my plans, but since I am by nature a people pleaser, it really bothers me to inconvenience someone else.  Ugh!

Don't join the club
I was reading a blog last night written by a woman whose baby died of SIDS.  She describes the "club" of which we are members.  As you have read my story, you know that my life is full of laughter, new experiences, encouragement, love, and joy.  It is also full of the things she describes.  A new friend asked me the other day, "What does it feel like now?  Does it hurt everyday?"  I told her,  "No, it doesn't hurt everyday, but when the pain comes, it hurts just as much as it did the first day."  I know that the pain will come and go throughout my lifetime.  I can choose to live with it or to die with it.

We only fit into one club right now.....the club NO parent ever wants to be in. But, by reasons beyond our control, we are now in the Bereaved Parents club, and I hate it every day. I imagine Club sign-ups....all the lists of clubs and the lines waiting to be signed. All the sheets are filled up, except one - no one wants to be in that club. So, members are chosen at random, without being asked, and that's how we've ended up here, in this club. This is a club of brokenness, tears, suffering, pain, isolation, loneliness, anger, bitterness, and longing. When you're in this club, you have no choice. You've entered into a lifetime membership.....

This is just hard. I didn't ask to be here. I didn't ask to be a member of this club. But, I'm here...and I'm trying to do as well as I possibly can with it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back to work....NOT

Today was supposed to be my first day of work, but Jacob didn't think it was fair that his brother and sister got to miss school and he didn't, so he decided to spike a fever and stay home.  Richard took him to the clinic last night to get tested for the flu and he was one of the very few who did NOT test positive.  The doctor says it's just a virus.  Jacob still feels pretty crummy no matter what you call it.   I am scheduled to work again on Friday.  Hopefully it won't be my turn to sick then!
Taking care of sick kids turns my thoughts towards Anna.  When I think of how she suffered, I can't stand it.  So I try not to think about it.  The second anniversary of her death is a month away and I try not to think about that either.  I'm hoping Thanksgiving won't be quite as bad as last year.  I can't escape the memories, but I can replace them with better ones.

Morning glory...

I went for a walk this morning while Jacob was still asleep and this is what I saw...

I am red/green color blind, but even I can see this.  I wonder what new colors will be in Heaven?  I can't even imagine!

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
Psalm 145:5

He continues to lead me beside still waters and restore my soul.

You will show me the path of life,
      granting me the joy of your presence
      and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:11

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eye Candy

 Today while we were driving around doing errands, Audra asked me why I was taking pictures.  I said, "Because I'm from Oklahoma, that's why!"  It is BEAUTIFUL here!   Growing up in the midwest,  I had seen a red tree, a yellow tree, an orange tree, but I never saw them all together and HUGE.  I still haven't managed to capture the beauty on film, but I will give you a taste of what we are seeing here.

This one isn't that great, but since I risked life and limb taking it while making a left turn I thought I should include it.

Down the street.

This beauty is in the parking lot of the assisted living center around the corner.

In the Sam's parking lot.

This is the playground at the park across the street.  Notice the leaf falling in midair!  The white dots are raindrops.

Jacob playing--this was before we were caught in a deluge and got soaking wet.

Trying to stay dry under the trees.  It was only 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but the storm made it dark.

Will striking a pose.

Audra trying to get her rain bonnet off before I take the picture!
Is she being attacked by a snake?????

God's beautiful world.

Goodwill hunting.

One of our errands today was to find halloween costumes.  It's one of my least favorite things to do.  Oh, I don't mind visiting the neighbors and getting candy, but I hate the costume process.  I suggested that we check Goodwill to see if they had anything.  When we walked in, Audra said, "Well, you see the problem is that I don't know what I want to be."  I told her that you don't go to Goodwill knowing what you want to be.  You go in to see what you can be.
Well JACKPOT!  She found a pair of crutches for $8 so now she is going to wrap herself in bandages and go as  someone with a broken leg, arm, head....whatever.  It's perfect because she and Will have ALWAYS wanted crutches so it's not just a costume, it's a toy too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mark your calendars...

One month from today is the second annual Anna Salamy Memorial Blood Drive.  It will be held at at Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City from 2 to 7pm.  Come join the fun of giving blood!  Last year the OBI  folks were caught off-guard by the large number of donors.  This year we are having it in the gym so there will be more beds and people can get in and out faster.   I was afraid I would have to cancel the drive when we moved, but I have a WONDERFUL group of friends who have stepped in and taken over.  I just reserved my plane ticket last night so that I can fly in for the event.  Yea!  (Thanks to my friend Shelley who help fund the ticket by buying my refrigerator :-)   Please mark the date on your calendar and tell your friends.  See you there!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Deja vu

Audra was sick last week and today Will has a fever.  I took him to a "quick" clinic where we waited two hours with a roomful of sick people.  There were NO empty chairs, but plenty of face masks and hand sanitizer.  Will was miserable.  He tested negative for strep and flu, but the doctor recommended treating him for both.  Either way, we will be spending the rest of the week at home.  I'm supposed to start my substitute teaching job on Monday so hopefully everyone will be well--or else they will have to find a sub for the sub!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apples of Gold

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."  (Prov. 25:11)
How beautiful it is to speak the right words at the right time.
Lord, let my conversation always be full of grace. May I build up and encourage and not tear down.  Help me be brave enough to be real.  May I love enough to speak the truth and then listen.  Let my speech bring honor to you.

Worm Cakes

Audra has been home sick for three days, but tonight she will have been fever free for 24 hours--just in time for the school carnival.  The kids can't wait because they are going to have a REAL cake walk.  I took my cake in this morning and set it among the other beautifully decorated cakes.  I went for the 3rd grade boys popular vote and made a cake covered with dirt (cookie crumbs) and gummy worms.  I hope it's not the last one chosen!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just in time

Yesterday I arranged access to our stuff in storage.  I found out that it involves more than just getting a key to the garage.  Our things are packed into 10 large wooden crates.  They had to bring the crates to the warehouse and then wrench the ends off so that I could see inside.  I tried not to think about my piano and china jammed inside.  Of course my "access" was limited to what was near the edge unless I wanted to unload everything and put it back.  But just in time for the cool weather that rolled in today, I found the boys' flannel sheets, our gloves and hats,  and Richard's sweaters. I also found a box of games, my small crock pot and other treasures.  In one of the boxes of winter things I found an 8x10  photo of our whitewater rafting  trip six years ago, my fancy white beaded handbag, and a little almond guy on a pedestal that says "I'm nuts about my grandpa."  (Will picked it out at the school Christmas store for Richard--before he could read!)  I grabbed our stockings and a couple of boxes of Christmas lights, but left the other decorations.  I told the man who was helping me, "If we are still in the condo at Christmas there is no way my husband will let me buy anymore lights."  (Last year I went a little crazy at the after Christmas sales and of course I wanted to bring ALL the lights to Virginia.)   As he was loading the snowboards and sleds into the car, my helper said, "Ummm...are you expecting it to snow?"  Evidently, contrary to popular belief in Oklahoma, it doesn't snow much in Richmond in spite of it being what we would call, "back east".  I said, "Well, if it does snow, I want to be prepared!"  I never did find the box with most of my winter clothes including my boots.  I guess we will have to buy a house soon, or I will have to get new boots.  In order for the kids to finish out the year at their current schools, we have to stay in the district until February 1.  So unless we find a house in this neighborhood, we will be "camping out" at the condo for a few more months.  That's okay by me.  I have everything I need....except boots.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things I wish weren't in storage....

I wish I had the leaf for my table and a couple more chairs so our guests wouldn't have to bring their own.  I wish I had my flannel sheets because it's getting colder.  I wish I had my sweaters and boots.  I wish we had the box with Will's toys.  I wish the kids had their scooters.  I wish we had our gloves and scarves.  I wish we had our games.  I wish I had more pictures of Anna.

Things I wonder why I packed to come to the condo...

I wonder why I have the antique clock that doesn't work.  I wonder why I have my bread maker that I haven't used in years or the electric can opener that has to be attached to the cabinet.  I wonder why I thought I would need the pillows for the couch that we sold or the lampshade for the lamp that is in storage.  I wonder why I have my Cyprus cookbook, but not the one with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in it.

I am content with what I have.....just wishing and wondering.  
Pray that we will find a house in our neighborhood AND in our price range so that the kids won't have to change schools.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've Arrived

Today I went to Walmart to pick up Jacob's new glasses.  (He hasn't worn glasses in three years, but apparently they do science experiments in the schools here that will blind you if you are wearing contacts.  So he HAD to have glasses.  I didn't want to invest a lot of money in something he would only wear for three hours a week so I got them at Walmart for $47.  That's right people, $47 for a complete pair.)  ANYWAY...... I was at Walmart and someone called me by name!!!!!!  I ran into someone I knew at Walmart!!!!!
It felt good :-)

Jacob's new glasses!  (I guess it's "hip to be square".)

Back to School

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a lady and told her about my interests and we discussed what I might like to be when I grew up.  She suggested that I take a class in Pastoral Care to see if I might want to be a counselor.  I called the school she recommended and they invited me to visit the first class so that I could see if it was something I would be interested in.  So, I went last Thursday and enjoyed the class, but told them that I wouldn't be able to afford the tuition this year.  The director called the next day and offered me a scholarship and a grant from an anonymous benefactor that would cover two-thirds of the cost.
So today I went back to school.

Lovely Libraries

I love the libraries here.  Besides being modern and having a cool way to return and check out books and besides having a huge selection of biographies and besides having helpful librarians who actually come up to you and ask if they can help you find something--they are full of grace.  At our old library we would get a letter saying that our books were overdue and that we owed a fine.  By the time we got the letter it was too late.  We had to pay.  At our new library they send a "friendly reminder" email telling you that your books are due in a few days AND they have a "grace day".  If you are only one day late, they don't charge a fine.  WOW!  I want to be more like the Virginia library with "friendly reminders" and "grace days", and less like the library that waits for you to mess up and then punishes you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Well, we signed the papers on our house in Oklahoma this morning so now we are "under contract".  I don't feel happy or even relieved.  I just feel like it's something we had to do.  I don't even feel like buying another house just yet.  I guess I still have some "letting go" to do.  I am trying to be thankful for a buyer in this slow housing market.   I am trying to be glad that we didn't have to sell it for less than we paid for it.  I am trying to remember what brought us here to Virginia and who it is I'm following.

You changed my world
When You came to me.
You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

I don't want to go somewhere
If I know that You're not there,
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don't want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don't want to go.

So come whatever,
I'll stick with You.
I'll walk You'll lead me,
Call me crazy or a fool,
For forever I promise You...

That I don't want to go somewhere
If I know that You're not there,
'Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don't want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don't want to go
Without Your touch,
Without Your love
Filling me like an ocean.
For Your grace is enough,
Enough for me.

If You're not there.
Filling me, loving me.
I don't want to go
There without you.

(I Don't Want to Go, Avalon)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Will has two buddies at school.  The three of them like to sit together at lunch and play together at recess.  They have so much in common that it took about four days for him to figure out that one of his new buddies was a girl.   But I guess it just doesn't matter.  Today after school we were walking around the track as part of the "Jog/Walk Club" that meets on Tuesdays.  (There are about 80 kids who walk and keep track of their miles.)  Will was walking with his friend.  She was telling him about a video game.  When I caught up to them, Will was excited to tell me, "He said (blah blah), then he said (blah blah).......and he said I could (blah blah)."  I pulled him aside and whispered, "Um, Will, 'he' is a 'she'".
 "Oh yeah" he said, "I forgot."

Monday, October 5, 2009


We had an offer on our house Saturday and now we are playing the back-and-forth counter offer game--trying to find a number that makes everyone happy.  Well, at least a little less unhappy.  We think our house is worth MUCH more than the "market" says it is.  To us it is priceless.  And there's the problem.  I thought I would be happy to sell the house and instead, the last two nights, I have been crying before I go to sleep.  It's just so sad to think of someone else living there.  I feel like I'm losing another part of Anna, but really it's a part of myself since I have SO many memories of all of our kids there.  Even the bathtub that needs to be replaced--I used to bathe three kids at a time in there!  The yard--the perfect place for all of our parties, picnics, and play.  The fireplace--so cozy with our little ones in their footie pajamas gathered round roasting marshmallows.  The kitchen--loved those family dinners with all six of us around the table.  Sigh.  Moving is hard.  Moving on is harder.
Last night I asked the kids where they felt most at home.  Two of them said "here".  They didn't mean Richmond.  They didn't mean they love this condo.  They meant here with our family.  So this is home for now.  No home on this earth is forever.  We will make memories here and when we finally sell our house, we will move again and make memories somewhere else.  I have to keep reminding myself to look forward, not back.  As the name of the blog reminds me, PRESS ON!

I am having a hard time finding a house here.  Part of the problem is that I can't find anyplace with a backyard as nice as the one we are enjoying in this rental unit.  This is the view from our deck.

When you step out our back door there is a path that leads to the creek.

He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.
(Ps. 23:2-3)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Before a word is on my tongue...

"Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord." (Ps. 139:4)
I've been going to a Mom's in Touch group since school started.  It's a group of women who meet together to pray for their kids and their schools.  I told them about Jacob, Audra, and Will, but I never mentioned Anna.  They might have wondered why I was so tearful the first day.  It was because I was afraid I couldn't pull myself together enough to pray for my prayer partner's daughter... Anna.   But I didn't say anything.  I didn't mention it last week either.
But this week it came up---and spilled out.
Why today?
Because today there is a former MIT group member dying of cancer.  Because today there is group member whose husband has a (hopefully) benign brain tumor.  Because today, we all needed to be reminded that God is still in control and that this life is not all there is.  Because, AFTER I shared, the MIT leader told me that she was going to visit a woman today who had lost her son to cancer a few months ago.  She didn't know what to say to her, but God had impressed upon her heart that she needed to reach out to her.  I wrote down Anna's website, my email address and told her to tell this woman that I was going to go to a bereavement group next week for the first time and that she was welcome to go with me.
Do you see HIM in the details and the timing?  Do you see how He "works all things together"?
He knows.  He sees. He cares!

A Sweet Reunion

Nineteen years ago I was teaching school in Kenya.  One of my students was a 5th grader named Kara.  We spent a lot of time together in school and out of school.  Last night I saw Kara at the concert I went to.  She is now married with three kids and living in South Asia.  Nineteen years ago, I was 12 years older than Kara.  But now that she is a grown woman with kids, it seems like we are the same age ---amazing how that happens!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I told you yesterday that I spoke with a volunteer.  She was not aware of all of the programs that the group offered.  I emailed the chaplain when I got home and found that they have a bereavement group starting TONIGHT.  I can't go  because I am going to a book dedication/worship time with Travis Cottrell that I am very excited about,  BUT I will go next Thursday.   Thanks Shelley for connecting me to other grieving parents, and please come back to my house.  The bathrooms are clean now!