Friday, August 31, 2007


A big congratulations to The Princess for making the basketball team.

After FIVE days of try-outs in an un-air-conditioned gym in 90 degree weather, she bounced to the van at 5:00 this evening and said "I made it!"

I am sorry for the couple of girls that did not make the team. It is a difficult thing to be left out of the chosen group.

And this evening, I have spent time filling in my little red date book with all of the 8th grade girls basketball games - all 26 OF THEM!!

Now that she is in the 8th grade, she will be playing the second game of the evening on game nights, instead of the first game like last year. Also, there will be the 8th grade honors night at the end of the season to bid the players a fond farewell as they leave jr. high basketball and get ready for high school basketball.

Am I a little nutty for already choking up over that?


In other news, The Smart One got a job at the local steak house. And this was completely his idea. I kind of wanted him to wait a few weeks to get used to his class load at school before he added a job; but how can we refuse to let our child work if he wants to? I think that would kind of be squelching his work ethic.

He has been grilling his dad on CD rates and the best way to save his money and pull in the most interest on his earnings. What's not to love about that?

So he comes home after school and, depending on when he's due at work, spends time doing his homework, or"chillin' on his bed for awhile" and then comes down in his jeans and steakhouse t-shirt, tucked in with a belt (you know - dressed up) and says "Bye Mom, I Love You." And I say "Bye Bub, I love you much." And I watch him walk to his car, wearing his sunglasses and dangling his keys. And sometimes I stand on the porch and watch him get in and drive away. And I say a little prayer that he'll come home safely to me at the end of the night.

And I think "My mom told me not to blink."

Thursday, August 30, 2007


So, yesterday I ran to Target to pick up a couple of things.

On my way home I drove through McDonald's and ordered some french fries.

I live VERY close to McDonald's and yet, the fries were still nearly gone by the time I pulled into my driveway.

A few other things I nibbled on yesterday:

- Peanut Butter m&m's. Now I have to go buy more because they were my son's.

- Cashews

- Chocolate chips

- Cashews and chocolate chips

- Peanut Butter fudge ice cream (but only half a cup)

- Froot Loops - right out of the box

- grapes

Yeah. I tend to eat pretty healthy like that.

But seriously I don't usually eat like a Hoover sucking up everything in sight. I think it's because I'm working out at our new local gym. And my appetite is enormous from all the extra energy I'm expending.

Yeah, that's it.

And I can't seem to convince myself that this new exercise routine will do ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD if I come home and start shoving sugary and fatty treats into my mouth for the remainder of the day. So today I am turning over a new leaf. No more Froot Loops.
No more chocolate chips. No more m&m's (because they're gone). No more ice cream. No more sugary fatty treats. At least not one after the other all day long.

Oh, and what had I bought at Target?


(Hanging my head in shame.)

Friday, August 24, 2007


My picture post from yesterday prompted me to post about something that comes to mind every time my daughter puts on a uniform, whether it's softball, basketball, volleyball, or track.

I am not an athlete.

I have recently joined the new gym in our town and I try to walk a few miles most days, but I was never good at sports.

In high school, I ran track for two years. After that
I realized it was not worth it because the coach was just plain mean. Seriously mean. Looking back as an objective adult, I can still see with great clarity that she was mean. Except to the track stars.

Most of those stars were in the grade above me (my husband's class) and they were the jockettes. The jockettes were mean too. Even at class reunions 10 and 15 years later they were mean. The mean girls had become mean women.
But I digress.

Aside from my lack of talent, there was also my lack of confidence to participate in sports, which my husband says is interesting since I spent four years performing in school plays. Whatever.

Because of my lack of talent, confidence and well, alright, interest in playing sports, I was pleasantly surprised my daughter has chosen to be athletic. Many times I have said I was surprised she loved team sports so much because she was painfully shy when she was very young. Sports have helped her to overcome her shyness.

A few years ago, another mom and I were discussing the schedules we would soon face when our daughters entered the school sports phase, as opposed to just summer sports. She mentioned several articles she had seen regarding the correlation between athletic participation and sexual activity, or rather LACK of sexual activity. You can check out this website: Or this one: to read more.

At the risk of causing your eyes to glaze over, making you slide off your chair, I will sum up a few interesting points.

-Teen girl athletes are more likely to remain virgins longer than non-athletes.

-Athletes are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, which are linked to risky sexual behavior.

-Athletes have higher grades and higher graduation rates.

-Practically speaking, athletes are busy in supervised activities during the after-school and early-evening hours; therefore making it less likely they will engage in risky behavior.

It seems that female athletes gain stronger respect for themselves and their bodies than non athletes. They feel more in control of their bodies and are more able to assert themselves to make safer decisions.

And so I want to give a big shout out to Title IX, and say Thank You. Without Title IX, our girls would not have as many opportunities to participate in sports.

I don't know what sports programs are available in your areas, but I personally consider dance and cheer leading both to be athletic activities. Dance is big in our area, and the dance squad at school is VERY busy at most sporting events. And they work hard. Their routines are amazing. And the cheerleaders are VERY busy too. They show up for practices to encourage the boys, they spend time making signs for lockers and yards, and they do push-ups every time our football players score a touchdown. They do push-ups to equal our total score. EVERY TIME we score. And last year, when our team was the undefeated state champion, they had to do A LOT of push-ups on the sidelines. So I definitely consider these to be athletic activities.

So moms....dads? Go on out and sign your girls up for some activities.
Let's empower our daughters.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


This is my daughter. She's a pitcher. She loves softball. LOVES it. Each evening in the summer, when we weren't at a game, her dad would sit on a five-gallon bucket and catch her pitches. I tried catching her pitches once and ended up in a near fetal position.

I am afraid of the ball. Don't tell my brothers.

Did I mention she loves softball. She loves it so much, she can't keep her feet on the ground.

Look at that concentration. Look at that sweat. You go girl!!

Why, she's even kickin' up some dust at the end of her wind up.
Yeah, what's that about "throwin' like a girl"?

And here we are on first base, taking the lead-off. Go back Go back Go back!!!! She's throwin' to first!! GO BACK!! Your mother is too old for this kind of excitement.

And she was safe!!!!

Whew, that was close.
And thanks to our lovely neighbor J.S. for the great action photos.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Our Brief Encounter with Gus

The other evening as I was walking by our back door, I saw our three neighbor children (ages 2,5 and 6) saunter onto our patio, plop down in our chairs, put their feet up and start eating popsicles. I went to the window to watch them and when they noticed me looking out, they all waved with a big, surprised smile as if to say "Oh, hi! What are YOU doing here?"Then I went out to visit with them. When I saw their mom, I yelled over, "I have found 3 stray children. I do not know if I should adopt them or call the pound." And she said "They're for sale."
So then we started visiting. And before long, a big stray dog wandered into our yard. I am not happy to see stray dogs. We have a leash law in our little town and it drives me crazy when people don't keep track of their pets. We have an underground electric fence that keeps our dog contained very well. The only problem is that, while she can't get out, other dogs can get in. And when I see a dog wandering around for too long I always say something like "We've paid good money to keep our dog contained like we're supposed to....."

But this dog was very good natured and it was obvious he was used to people. The only problem was that when the kids would run, he'd run after them, thinking they were playing. And that scared the little ones. Plus he had some white foam coming out of his mouth. The men thought it was because he was hot. The women thought it was because he was rabid. As much as we tried to get him to leave, and as harsh as we tried to sound, he was not going anywhere.
When we were all settled in for the night, our dog Cookie stood at the front door and started barking. Sure enough, there was the big black dog lying in front of our door as though he'd adopted us. Even The Don felt bad for him because he took him a handfull of food and a big bowl of water. The Princess of course wanted to keep him and asked what we would name him IF we kept him. I suggested "Gus" since he appeared on a hot August evening. She agreed that IF he was our dog, we'd call him Gus.

At midnight I was just getting ready for bed when I heard Gus barking out front. So I looked out and noticed that Gus had cornered a baby opossum. Well I did not want to wake up in the morning and find an opossum corpse in our yard, nor did I want any of the kids finding that, so I ran downstairs and opened the living room window, and whisper-yelled "no,no,no" And Gus looked around and ran back to his spot on the porch. Every time he'd leave the porch, I'd whisper-yell "NO" and he'd look around to see where the voice was coming from and run right back to the porch. This went on until The Smart One heard the commotion and came downstairs. When I told him what was going on, he grabbed a flashlight to run outside and said "can I shoot that opossum with my bb gun?" And I said absolutely not. So instead he just stood up on the electrical box in our front yard and pointed the light at the opossum and started taking pictures of it with his cell phone. And Gus would head over and I'd tell him "NO!" And he'd look around all confused at where the voice was coming from and head back to the porch.
For about 10 minutes, the opossum did not move a muscle, except to open its mouth to make a little hiss or squeak. So The Smart One got the garden hose to try to spray it just enough to get it to run off, which it did. Thank goodness, because I did not want Gus getting hold of that poor little thing.

Then The Don woke up and came downstairs and I explained what all the commotion was, and he said "I'm taking that dog across town." So he walked the dog over to the mustang and opened the door. The Smart One, who is still standing on the Electrical Box sees this and whisper yells "What the Heck, Dad!! I don't want dog slobber and wet fur in my car!!!" Meanwhile, The Don is standing over by the mustang with the dog saying "Come on. Get in! Get in the car. GET. IN. THE. CAR. Come Oooooon!"And Gus was tilting his head to one side just listening and knowing that he was winning this battle.

And Me? I was still sitting at the open living room window. Laughing my head off at The Don's argument with the dog.

So then The Don decides he will get the leash and drag Gus into the car. So he comes back out and puts Cookie's collar and leash on him and this time goes to the jeep and opens the back door and has the same conversation with the Dog. "Come on! Get in!!! Come on, boy!!! GET. IN. THE CAR."

And I'm still laughing through the window. I mean, I don't know what else to do. And I know how much The Don appreciates it when I laugh in situations like this.

Having no luck with the jeep, The Don, walks the dog back over to the mustang and opens the door. This time, Gus jumps right in and The Don walks around to the driver's side.
And now from my post at the window I hear "Move over! Come on, get out of that seat! GET! GET. OUT. OF. MY. SEAT." Seems Gus had hopped right into the car and immediately moved into the drivers seat. Things were not going well for The Don. Did I mention that Gus probably weighed 100 pounds? I did not see how The Don actually got in the car because I had to leave my post at the window to get some tissues to wipe the tears that were rolling down my face from laughing so hard.

Except evidently I was no longer laughing; I was cackling. At least that's the way The Don described it the next day.

Anyway, then the Don revved the engine and roared off in the mustang with Gus sitting happily by his side. The time was 12:36 AM.

The Don told me when he got home that he had taken Gus across town and that the dog actually seemed to perk up as though he was in familiar territory. He let him out in a neighborhood behind our local library and he actually headed off like he knew where he was going.
I really hope Gus is ok. I hope his owners are more careful with him.

And I hope that in the next stressful situation I can be just as helpful to The Don as I was this time.

Yeah. It's just a gift I have.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Warning: The following tale is likely to make The Princess lose her royal lunch, but I'm going to share it anyway.

On Thursday evenings, The Don and I watch the new show Mad Men together. I could write a whole post on that show alone; but not now. Last night The Don was sitting on our new basement sofa and I was sitting in one of the recliners while we watched. I got up during a commercial to check out our stock of kids movies for our babysitting gig tonight.
While I was scanning the movie drawer The Don said,

"Why don't you come on over here and make out with me?"

And I, in all my prim and proper modesty said "What did you say?"

And he said "Come on over here and make out with me. We haven't made out on our new sofa."

So we did. THAAAAT'S RIIIIGHT! Twenty years of marriage and we still neck on the couch like a couple of teenagers. Sometimes just to make our kids mad. They HATE it. HATE. IT.

So while we were snuggling I said to The Don "It's a huge relief not to be going back to work next week. Thank you for supporting me in my decision. And now that I'm going to be home full time again, I'm going to work extra hard on being the best housewife possible."

And he kissed my forehead and said "You already are."

Is it any wonder that I often find myself thinking "I'm the luckiest woman in the world."?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The Don took today off so he could drive The Princess and a friend to Chicago to watch The Bandits play. The Bandits are a women's softball team and Jennie Finch often pitches for them. Do you know who Jennie Finch is? She's the young woman who pitched for the 2004 U.S Women's softball team when they won their gold medal in the summer Olympics. The Princess LOVES Jennie Finch. She took her Finch jersey and a sharpie in hopes of getting an autograph. Let's all keep our fingers crossed shall we...

Anyway, since they didn't leave until around 1:00, The Don was home to take a walk with me this morning. I have been walking at the mall each morning because the weather is wicked hot outside. So we pull up at the mall and park the jeep and walk about 3 feet and The Don says
"This isn't good." When I turn to look at him I see he's holding the clicker up that he'd slipped in his pocket so he could unlock the jeep after our walk, without carrying his whole keyring.

Except he was holding the clicker to the van.

And my keys were in my purse locked in the jeep because as we parked I had said "I'm just going to keep all of my keys and stuff in the car since you'll have everything we need, right?"

So before we decided how to handle this situation I said (in all loving, submissive kindness and understanding) "you know, I walk here nearly every morning without incident, and the day I bring you, my walk goes into the crapper...." And he said "I know." And then I couldn't stop laughing. And neither could he.

We decided, as we walked the mall, that we had several options. Here were the main two:

1. Walk home and wake the Princess up so she could let us in once we got to the house. Because we had done such a good job of locking her in the house when we left, we had no way of re-entering once we got to our front porch.
2. Call The Smart One at his friend Drew's house, where he had spent the night, and wake him up and tell him to come unlock the jeep at the mall for us.

We weighed our options carefully. Both seemed risky since they each involved waking a teenager. Who should we tick off today? The Princess....? The Smart One...?

The Smart One was the winner!!! Yay, Smart One!!

So The Don called our son. I think the conversation went something like this:

Dad: uh, yeah, I need you to come to the mall in the next half hour and unlock the jeep. I locked the keys in it when I parked for our walk.

Son: You're kidding me?! Why can't you get mom to do it?

Dad: Because your mom is here with me stuck at the mall...

Son: alriiiiiiiiiight.

When they hung up The Don said "Well, he's mad."
And I said "He probably hung up, looked at Drew and said 'I'll never get them raised.'"

So as we continued our walk The Don said "We need to change..." and I didn't let him finish because I said "WE don't need to change anything, YOU need to change your habit of locking the keys in the car." And he said "I need you to change how we do things..."

Wait, what? He needs me to change how we do things when it comes to locking the car?

So he said "yeah, if you would stop locking the car from your side when we get out of it, I'd know I need to lock it with the keys and then I'd be sure to have the keys in my hand."

So I said "nuh-uh!! If I didn't lock it from my side I'd ask if you'd locked the car and you'd say 'it'll be ok unlocked.' or you'd lock it from your side without the keys and still leave your keys in the car. And besides that, now when we leave the car I not only have to ask if you have the keys, I also have to ask if they are the right keys. AAAAANNNND.... if you hadn't tried so hard to simplify things by only carrying the clicker, we'd not be locked out. You've simplified us right into being trapped at the mall...."

Yeah, I'm really good at letting things go like that....

Oh, and before we left the jeep, we each grabbed a couple of dollars - for coffee for him and water for me. So we walk into the coffee shop and, like a couple of 5-year-olds say, "Um, yeah, how much is a small coffee, cause we only have a couple of dollars?" And I say "ooooh, next time, I'm bringing in more money so I can afford a fresh fruit smoothie. But for now, could I just have a bottled water, please?"And the young clerk was trying to be patient with us so I said "We've locked ourselves out of our car, or we'd have more money to get exactly what we wanted...."

So we finished our walk and then went to Lowe's to buy a dishwasher. And as they ring it up guess what The Don says? "Honey, I need your credit card. I left my wallet in the jeep."
Then The Don's phone rings:

Dad: Hellooooooo?

Daughter: Um, Dad. The Smart One wants me to ask you if you'll bring lunch home from Panda Express.

Dad: (sigh) Yes.

When they hung up, he said "The kids want Chinese food. How can I tell them no after making him rescue us like that?"

Yep. They'll probably never get us raised.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I registered the kids for school yesterday.

We live in a very small town and our schools are consolidated with another very small town seven and a half miles up the highway. This time of year, that's 7 1/2 miles of corn fields (and a couple soybean fields) on either side of the highway. As I was looking at the fields during my drive I thought of my friend from New York who once said "It's so boring to look out and see nothing but flat fields for miles." To which I replied "But....but...these are the fields that feed the world."

Anyway, as I was driving up to the schools yesterday I was thinking of all the times I had made this trip. Trips to take The Smart One up early to study for a test. Trips to get the kids there because the bus simply didn't show up. Trips to pick up a sick child. Trips for practices and games - football, basketball, softball, volleyball, track. Trips to do my volunteer work at the school or to help with a class party. Trips to take The Princess up early so she could decorate a locker for somebody's birthday. Trips to pick The Smart One up from detention (for which he had to give me gas money).

There have been days I've made that trip three times. That's 45 miles in a day for school purposes. But always, when I drive up alone in the van, it feels better to have my young passengers with me on the way home. Well, ok, not always. Sometimes The Smart One was a little grumpy. But despite the smell of sweat that fills the van after football - or track - or basketball - or volleyball practice, it is good to have those 7 1/2 miles to hear about the kids' days. Especially with The Smart One, that seems to be when I got details about what's going on in his life. You know? What's REALLY going on. And with The Princess and her royal friends, I am always enlightened on who's going with whom, who wore what to school, what the expected big color will be for the dance, who's going to the mall or the movie that weekend. And giggling. Lots of giggling.

And nowI realize my trips will be dramatically fewer since The Smart One is driving. Don't get me wrong. It is truly liberating to have a child who drives. For instance, today while I sat around with an ice pack on my head to soothe my migraine, I was able to enlist The Smart One to drive The Princess and her friend to the pool. And yesterday when The Don brought pizza home for dinner and the kids asked for soda, I was able to toss 2 dollars at The Smart One and say "if you want soda, you can drive to the gas station and buy soda..." And when he tells me he wants to go to a friends house, or to the Y to lift weights, I no longer have to ask "What time?" or "Can his parents bring you home?" And when The Don and I had a date the other night, and I didn't want to fix dinner for the kids before we left, I handed The Smart One money and said "please drive your sister to the mall for some Chinese food." Not only do we not need a sitter anymore, but we can let them fend for themselves for supper too.

See? It's great.


I am going to have much less time with my son now. And probably with my daughter too, since he will be taking her places. Funny how this road of parenthood seemed so long when the nurses were placing them in my arms; and how slowly we seemed to be moving down this road when we were in the throes of nursing, teething, diapers, sleepless nights.

And now?

This parenting road seems short. So Short.

And I, who have never had a speeding ticket, seem to be moving down this road too quickly.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Too hot to do anything.

Except, apparently to go out and buy a new sofa for the basement.

I rarely go to the basement. Mainly because it is usually inhabited by teenagers. Not that I have anything against teenagers. It's just that, well, I totally get that I'm not wanted down there when they are. So, except for the occasional movie night with The Don, I do not go to the basement. Unless it's to hide out in my craft room, but that hasn't happened in a while either.

So when I go to the basement I usually look around in stunned silence and say something like
"Good Lord, we are PIGS." And my eye starts to twitch.

Especially when I am cleaning the bathroom down there. Because as I am scrubbing that toilet, I am usually mumbling to myself "Why? Why, for the love of Pete, did we think we needed a 4th bathroom?"

But now that The Smart One has taken over that bathroom (because he's "sick of his sister's junk" in the one they shared) I have adopted a new clean bathroom policy. When I announced this policy to the kids and said "Your bathrooms have to be cleaned BY YOU from top to bottom every Saturday by noon. Everything. Tub. Toilet. Sinks. Floors. Garbage cans. I will be checking them. I will be very picky," The Smart One said "NOOON?! Why do we have to get up so early on a Saturday.?"

Lord help me.

I am afraid,though, that they know it is an empty threat, because they probably know I will forget. So please, all of you help me out; send me a reminder on Saturday to check my kids' bathrooms.

Anyway, back to the sofa. A few weeks ago, I was lying on the basement sofa in full slug mode, flipping channels when I noticed a few holes in the upholstery. Hmmmm. This is not good. The Don and I had agreed that this sofa was perfectly good enough to last us until we were rid of the teenagers....I mean until we sadly said goodbye to our precious offspring when they left for college. But, holes! This really bothered me. So I decided I'd bring it up to the Don and see what his reaction was to maybe, perhaps, you know, if we found a really good deal....buying a new (cheap) sofa.

So I said "Look at these holes, maybe we oughta go ahead and replace this. Those holes are only going to get bigger." And he said "Yeah, I noticed some springs poking me the other night too. You can go pick something out whenever you're ready."

Wait, what? Apparently, pointy metal spikes poking him in his hiney, are enough to spur The Don into a major purchase.

So, just like that, we decided to get a new basement sofa. With two conditions: 1) I stay within budget (uh, of course I will) and 2) The Don does not have to come with me to pick it out. That is the phase of life we are in. We decide we need furniture for whatever room. We agree on a budget. I pick out whatever I want and The Don never has to darken the door of a furniture store. It's a win/win situation.

The first sofa I had my eye on had a whitish background, which was probably not a good idea for a basement sofa that would encounter lots of teenagers. Although, judging from the looks of our basement carpet, all of the spills appear to hit only the floor, and never the furniture. The old sofa may be holey and poky, but it actually looks pretty clean.

So today I trudged out in the wicked heat and picked out a sofa. It will be delivered Tuesday. And I am happy.

Now, to talk The Don into that hutch I saw for the kitchen.....

Friday, August 03, 2007


I think of him often. I usually don't know what brings him to mind, but he left an impact on my life. Escpecially considering I knew him for about 6 weeks - over 20 years ago.

I attended college at a small Christian school in Arkansas. It was an 8 hour drive from my hometown. Basically, I left home after high school and never looked back.
It was one of the smartest things I ever did.

The summer after my freshman year, I decided to stay down there and take summer classes.
It was in English 201 that I met Jon. He sat in front of me and he was a Bible major. I was actually still very shy in those days, but after he introduced himself to me, a very easy friendship developed. We only saw each other in class but we had something important in common. We were both engaged. I had just become engaged and he was weeks away from getting married. Her name was Kimberly. So we spent time before and after class sitting at our desks comparing wedding notes. That is how I remember him; turned sideways in his desk with one arm crooked over the back of his chair, leaning toward me while we talked.

Strange, I never met Kimberly and I don't think he every met The Don.

After that summer session, I didn't see Jon again. At least not in the way I would want to.

One evening I was watching TV with The Don at his apartment and we saw a story about a young man who had drowned in the local river. He had been underwater and apparently become tangled in debris at the river bottom. It was a sad story, but I had basically forgotten about it by the next morning.

Until I heard that it was Jon. THAT Jon. The Jon that I had spent every morning laughing and talking with during first summer session.

Jon. Who had been married just two weeks before he died.

I went to his funeral and The Don went with me. I remember wearing my church clothes to class that morning so that I could leave early and go straight to the church. I remember I had on a navy skirt and short sleeve pink blouse and navy pumps. I remember telling my music appreciation professor that I'd be leaving for this funeral. I remember walking out the door during class and hearing my professor quietly say "thanks for going." That was actually the last time I saw Jon. At his funeral.

And I will never forget seeing Kimberly at that funeral. She walked down the center aisle literally being held up on each side by two of our professors, each of whom was an elder at the church she and Jon attended. I was horrified. I was sad for her. I was angry for her. I was sad for Jon and couldn't stop thinking of the fear he must have felt in his last moments of life. I couldn't stop thinking of how ecstatic he had been at the anticipation of his marriage to Kimberly. Only for it to last two weeks. Two weeks. Fourteen days. Their life together was fourteen days long.

I had taken classes under each of those professors. Dr. White taught English 101. Dr. Tate taught Sociology, so I had lots of classes with him in the my four years there. I saw a side of those men that day that shaped my view of them. Regardless of what I had felt for them as instructors, I learned that they were gentle souls. I learned that, despite their years of learning and seemingly unending knowledge of scripture, they were, quite simply, humble. They were servants.

I will never forget Dr. Tate's words as he spoke at the funeral. He told us that God doesn't go around making bad things happen. Yes He can DO anything. And He can PREVENT anything. But sometimes he chooses not to.

And here was his explanation to the "why" of it all. This man who had spent years on the mission field in Kenya and then years teaching young people at a Chrisitian university. This great Bible scholar said:

"I don't know."

I think his words that day served to hold Kimberly up in her walk of grief, just as his arms had held her up in her walk down that church aisle.

I think those words - "I don't know" - are liberating. They allow us to stop wasting energy trying to answer questions that may never be answered. They allow us to use our energy to focus on God's healing power.

When The Smart One was about 8 he came home wet and muddy from shoulder to shoe. The creek near our house was up and running fast due to a recent rain. He and his friends had played in the creek. It was only knee deep to him but I panicked. Through tears, and with a quivering voice, I told The Smart One about Jon and how he had died in a river. And I pleaded with The Smart One to never, NEVER go into a body of water like that again unless there is an adult to give permission and watch him. See? Jon's life and death are there to shape my life.

And now I still wonder about Kimberly. I think of her often. Did she remarry? Does she have children? Is she happy? Does she have somebody walking beside her through this life? Somebody to hold her up?

Soon after Jon's funeral, the minister at our church (a different church than Jon's, although both Church of Christ - there were a gazillion down there) mentioned a young woman who had become a widow after two weeks of marriage. He said he had asked the question earlier "What can be worse than becoming a widow after two weeks of marriage?" And an older lady had responded with "Becoming a widow after 35 years of marriage."

That's quite a debate, but I don't know.

I think it is always too early to be a widow.