Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Sky is Cloudy Scavenger Hunt

So last week I did this scavenger hunt.  The Bipolar was being particularly mean and rotten.  It was literally making it hard to breathe.

I slugged through the weekend, and Monday was livable.  I talked to my doctor, we tweaked a medication.  A plan was in place and I had hope.

Yesterday was a little more turbulent again.  Just off.  If it hadn’t been coming off such a really rough stretch it would be just a nuisance needing brushed away like a fly.  But, since it was so close to the struggle of last week, it twisted my insides.

I woke up this morning hoping for sunshine, but like yesterday, today is, literally and metaphorically, cloudy.  Moments of sun burst through, I send the girls out to play for just a few minutes, and then the darkness comes rushing back, as do the girls to the front door.

It is not a day, externally, that you want to take a long walk…you are almost guaranteed to experience cloudy, windy and rainy episodes, if you do.  In the same vein, you do not want to be around me for long stretches.  You also will experience, cloudy, stormy, rainy patches if you hang around.

One of my big signals for me that things are getting complicated is I over think, I obsesses and stew over things.  Today it has included, someone’s ignorant Facebook status, how to place an order, how claustrophobic I feel with people in the same room as me, and that I have to take the girls to church tonight.  None of these deserve a lot of thought.  Most of them don’t deserve any thought, yet here I am, unable to move on.

So, I did what I know to do, I reached out to a friend who would get it, or, at least, not think I am a fruit loop for feeling it.  It got me love, acceptance and another scavenger hunt.

Which means, it got you another scavenger hunt.

Something old

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This was my hubby’s when he was a kid, and his siblings before him.  It is 50+ years old and still works.  Hubby and I really prize having it for our girls.

Something shiny

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We got this for our wedding.  I felt like such a grown up to have a real stand mixer.  It has to live in the pantry in the basement because it is too big for cabinets.  Poor grown up mixer.

Favorite piece of clothing for me and for the girls

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I got these two pieces on clearance.  They were still more than I normally spend, but they are comfy and I feel pretty in them.

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This is Caitlyn’s AWANA (Bible Club) Sparks vest.  This is her last year as a Spark, last year wearing a vest.  Sunday night she graduates.  In  her next level, she will have a special shirt to wear each week.

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Okay, I know this isn’t clothing, but Sue is all about unicorns.  I was so excited when her Aunt got this for her.

And for something that makes me happy, I picked two.  The first is the girls playscape that I got off Craigslist last year for a song.  Caitlyn, particularly, loves monkey bars and I wanted them for her so badly, but there was no way I could ever pay what they wanted for new structures.  The second is a battery powered Jeep that I bought for, wait for it, $10 at yard sale when Caitlyn was about 2 1/2. I’m not sure what makes me happier, my girls playing with these things or getting a great deal.

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Up next is my favorite recipe.  I’m stumped.  Cooking makes me feel accomplished.  Gives me something to invest myself in.  I am by no means a gourmet chef, my cooking is rarely pretty, but I enjoy it.  My current go to recipe is ravioli lasagna.  And my kids actually eat it.

My friend wants to know three things I admire about myself.  I really only have one right now.  I admire that I keep fighting.  I keep going round and round with the depression and hypomania.  Truth?  It would be easiest to give into the impulses to escape permanently.  It would.  But damn, I have these three little girls and this husband and no matter what torture I go through, I don’t want them to ever wonder why I didn’t love them enough to fight.  So I fight.  And I rage inside about it.  I want to have the freedom to stop fighting but I don’t.  I just don’t.  I have three little girls that love mama.  That look for mama.  That will some day grow up and maybe get married, and I want to be there for them.  I don’t want to be an empty chair that mocks them, so I fight.

Now on to lighter things…my favorite flower is lilacs.  I love them. When hubby proposed his second question was, can the wedding flowers and color be lilac.  We got married in October, which is NOT lilac season here, but my friend found the most beautiful artificial lilacs and my attendants wore gorgeous lilac dresses.  In about 3 weeks, this plant will have it’s lovely lilacs bumping us as we walk into the backyard.

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I have always been a voracious reader and I read all sorts of topics, so which book made me think the most is a little challenging.  But I picked My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok.  It is about a young boy living in the Ultra Conservative Jewish Sect the Hasidic.  He is born to pain and explore with art, but unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, for him and his family, his subjects tend to be taboo topics within the community.

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And to round out this lovely adventure, my friend asks for my favorite place.  It’s the park Independence Oaks.  We spent a lot of time there when I was struggling the most with the postpartum depression and anxiety, so it is also where I am the Oakland County Climb Out of Darkness on June 21 at 1 pm.  Won’t you please partner with me?


I hope you are enjoying this chance to learn the random about me and bear with the therapeutic value these scavenger hunts are providing me.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with depression, reach out, get help–

Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or contact your doctor.


Spring is

Spring is

Going outside without a coat once it hits 50

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Putting the coat back on because it snows again

Finding wriggly worms on the driveway

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Busting out the bathing suit to play in when it hits 70

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Getting a haircut to feel just a little fun

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Making flaming hoops of doom from the hula hoop because it is raining cats and dogs outside

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Breathing deeply of life and love

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Wondering what to do with the little, tiny flowers your girls pick for you

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Seeing Chem trails against a brilliant blue sky

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Embracing the lightness of the season as the days go by.


The Sky is Falling Scavenger Hunt

Lately the Bipolar and I have been slugging it out round after round.  I keep reaching out because I know I have to.  But when I reach out, I feel like I am crying the same thing over and over.

I feel like Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling.

Because I don’t choose the final solution, so I must not be that bad, right?

“The sky is falling!”

I said that to a sweet friend on Facebook today.  She asked what I enjoy doing, and I didn’t answer right away; she assigned me a photo scavenger hunt.

Here were my 10 items:

1) flowers–not much in the way of real flowers here yet, but these are so pretty.  Our neighbor gave these artificial flowers to the girls and I just loved them.  I love the riot of color in the basket.  Hubby says it is too much all together.  I think it is JUST right all together.

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2) something blue

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3) a favorite book–couldn’t pick just one.

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4) your favorite thing to drink–I chose Diet Coke but really, my new love is sweet ice tea.  We had a bunch of Diet Coke from when the stomach virus tortured us.  We finished up the last of it today.  I am kind of relieved.  Guess I am over that addiction.

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5) favorite picture on your phone currently–she is one of the four reasons I keep slugging it out.  Do I want to give up sometimes?  Hell yes, but I have these three little girls and this hubby.  I don’t want them to ever wonder why I didn’t love them enough to fight harder.  But oh my God, I am fighting so hard right now, and the progress is non-existent.  I fight is hard.  Now please, I know I sound really negative and despondent, but there is no need to panic.   I am fighting.  I will keep fighting.  I promise.

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6) something you created–Here’s a hat Sue and I made together.

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7) scripture in the bible that gives you strength–Psalm 68:19 is my life verse

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8) Your favorite shirt–this is my shirt I got from Cristi to support her walk for suicide prevention.  Go here to get your own.

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9) An interesting button–if I remember the story correctly, this button is on a wrap/shawl that my grandpa brought back from Korea.

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10) your favorite pair of shoes–I hardly ever wear these but aren’t they cute?

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11) your favorite cosmetic–I quit wearing make up when I quick working outside the home, well actually before then, but officially then.

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12) You wearing a funny face

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13) You wearing a smile.

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After crowd sourcing on Facebook, a concensus (which not even auto correct knows how to spell) has been reached, I look better with bangs.  So ends my 1+ year attempt to go without.  I have made an appointment for 9 am tomorrow to have bangs cut back in.  I’ll have her trim the back too, but I will not be going to short hair.  I am one of those who really loves braiding my hair (french braid today), putting in buns (staple hairstyle) and pinning it up other ways, so nope to the short bob.  Plus, I have donated my hair twice and am working on a third time.

I wish I could tell you taking these pretty pictures fixed my whole day.  I wish I could tell you I am all better and on an even keel again, but I’m not.  And that’s okay.  This scavenger hunt gave me something besides the storm to focus on.  It gave me breathing room.  And it gave me something to blog.  I consider that a win.  I really appreciate Alycia’s efforts.  She cared enough to DO something for an internet friend.  She knows what it is like.  She’s slugging it out somedays too.  You should do yourself the favor of checking out her writing.  She has a heart of gold and a golden pen.

Thank you to all who are walking alongside me.  Thank you for not being afraid of me.  Thank you for not being afraid of my demons.  I can’t name, or even see what is causing the battle right now, but I know it has to be fought.  And I’m here, fighting.


A Homeschool Field Trip

I found myself very funny yesterday when I told my cousin I was going to take the kids to the zoo today…”if all the permission slips came in.”  Yeah, I’m a comedian loving the flexibility of homeschooling.

I got all those permission slips 🙂 But I almost yanked them.  The kids were a little feisty today.  Oh my word.  we went, maybe against my better judgement.  And we had some fun.

Today was a beautiful Michigan day.  A little chilly, so you wear coats, you take coats off, you put them back on.  There was a surprising number of people there.  It was beautiful.

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Sue was insistent there was a beaver nest in there.  It is the beaver exhibit…where all you currently see is Rainbow Trout.

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Sometimes the girls freak out about the reptiles and want nothing to do with it, and then there is today where they were mesmerized by every scaly, creepy creature.  Sue was even nice enough to demonstrate how a python would squeeze me and break all my bones.  Gee, thanks kid.

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These are Egyptian Tortoises.  This fact was confirmed by my favorite person in Egypt while we were in the zoo.  Isn’t technology cool?  I take this picture, I post in on Facebook and tag my friend in Cairo.  He, within minutes, comments back about what the girls and I are looking at.

Man, I remember when there was no internet, Mr. Gore.

Oops, I might be showing my age a bit…

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This is Caitlyn getting caught up on her scavenger hunt, I mean, come on, what kind of homeschooler would I be if there wasn’t something they had to study at the zoo?  I found this fun scavenger hunt that has clues or descriptors of animals and the girls have to find an animal and write it in.  Caitlyn is my rule follower, my project finisher.  And her paper fell in the fountain.  She was totally bumming.  There was much sorrow.  Then, Sue found an extra copy.  There was much rejoicing.  Patrice even did a dance for the occasion.

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There were seals…and outside, a polar bear.
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And that’s how our homeschool does a field trip.

My Life Painting

I have these three beautiful girls and an amazing hubby.  They truly rule my heart.

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Any wonder why?  Being the wife and mama takes my breathe away.

When I was working outside of the home, I absolutely could not justify additional time away from my family.  I was away from them a lot of hours, I reasoned, that must fulfill my needs for me.

Then I came home to roost.  And my mind didn’t know how to balance me and them and us.  I knew there was this concept, self-care, taking time to invest in the heart and soul through whatever activities or ideas feed your life, out there.  I knew people who espoused it.  I respected those who did.  I just felt lost.

I began to look around…and wonder what self-care was really all about.  And as often happens, my heart was drawn to a fellow mama.

My friend A’Driane does an amazing job of seeking and embracing self care. I watch her carve out the time and I am jealous. Not in the petty, she gets self care and I don’t, but in awe that she values herself enough to do so.

I grew up with women who saw surrendering of themselves to their children as admirable.  One of my strongest role model did just that.  She was so involved in her kid’s life and she made it look so easy, watching her invest herself so heavily seemed like a wonderful model of motherhood.  She was, and is, an amazing mother.  I dreamed of being such a mom. *

I also grew up under Biblical teachings often twisted to prove women should lose themselves in their vocation as wife and mother–or be able to do it ALLLL!!! (Proverbs 31 Woman).  So, I threw myself into doing it all.

But this idea of self-care nagged at me.  Was there something to it?  Should it be part of my life?  Could I still be considered a good mom if I indulged myself in this idea?

Truly, when I heard about self-care for the first time in ‪#‎ppdchat‬,** the idea was so foreign to me that I brushed it aside as something I didn’t need.  I was stronger than that, than those who “needed” time away.

But my beautiful A’Driane challenged my misguided notions just by living intentionally.  I saw her with her beautiful family of three boys and a great hubby.  I saw her making time to eat well, I saw her making time to exercise, I saw her making time to paint and write and love herself.

And I knew how strong she was.  There was no way I could construe her need of self-care as indulgence or a sign of weakness.  The woman chases after three boys, keeping up with demanding schedules with honesty and grace.

I began to wonder if the truth wasn’t that I loved my girls too much to take the time for self-care, but rather I didn’t love me enough to invest in who I am, in who I want to become.  I realized I haven’t arrived at at the final destination of who I am just because I love being a wife and mother.  I haven’t completed my journey of growth, I am still a changing, emerging, me.

Sometimes being me means I am all mom, or all wife, all family, sometimes maybe it means something more.  Maybe it means embracing where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be.

It’s time to blend it all, to create my own life painting.

Today, I’m here to invest in myself. I’m here to take baby steps.

I’m here to re-embrace my lifelong love of reading. I’m here to let the authors words wash my soul, feed my soul, rebirth my soul.

I’m here to embrace me and all that it means.


*That amazing role model in my life?  I have watched her grow and rebirth as her motherhood journey has continued and she IS an amazing mother, friend, woman.  She has strength and drive to spare for all of those around her.

**Please, if you are working through a postpartum mood disorder, check out the hashtag #ppdchat on twitter to get an army of women who are right there in the journey with love and strength for you.  You will find resources and help, love and compassion that you never dreamed possible.

My Newest Endeavor

See that widget over there—–>

Scroll down a bit——>

Yes that one—->

It is my latest project.

Because I need more stuff going on, right?

Well, remember that  phrase “if you want something done, ask a busy person”?  Maybe it’s my goal to be “that” person.  Except it’s not.  I just need to get the word out about things that matter to me.

I am, what they call over at Postpartum Progress, a warrior mom. I fought a long arduous battle after Patrice’s birth against postpartum depression and anxiety.

It was hard.

It stunk.

But here I am, on the other side…

Thanks in huge part to on-line communities that understood and loved on me.

The first on-line resource I found was Katherine at Postpartum Progress.  Her foundation provides so much information about the various postpartum mood disorders, including but not limited to, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis.  She also provides active support for women looking for hope.

I was that woman.  I found so much on her website that had me nodding my head, saying AHA!, and finding out I wasn’t alone.

Katherine is tireless and amazing in her work, she was even part of  Jeopardy! question, but she can’t do it alone.

From her work and dream, was born Climbing Out of the Darkness.  It is a walk/climb held in cities throughout the world to raise funding and awareness.

This year, I’m not letting it pass me by.  I am leading a team!  Eek.

June 21 we will meet at Independence Oaks in Clarkston from 1-3 pm.  There are two of us on my team right now, but we need more.  We need to make some noise.  We need to be part of making a difference.

Won’t you please join us?  You can raise funds or not, that is up to you, but we need awareness raised.  We need to let other mamas know they are NOT ALONE!!!!!!

Climb Out of the Darkness

Please click in the above link or that widget to the right and link arms with mamas around world, mamas here at home!  We need each other.


It Got Quiet

I’m not sure what happened here on the blog, but it got really quiet.  Trust me, I wasn’t.

The stupid stomach virus kept me pretty wiped out til Wednesday.  Then it was the gift that kept on giving.  I wasn’t able to take my meds for most of a week thanks to being sick.  Once, I started to get better, my mind decided to kick it up a notch and cause some lovely mood cycling.  It was scary and truly the worst I have felt in over a year.  Today I am starting to feel a little more like myself, a little more even keeled.  And I am so thankful.

The days of mood cycling and fluctuations were hard.  Crazy hard.  I am so thankful for the people in my life who reached out to me, not when I got better, but right where I was.

Today was lovely.  We went to the traditional service at our church, the earlier one we never seem to make it to, where they sing the glorious hymns of the Christian Faith.  I grew up on hymns.  The beauty of them, the truth in them, has always been nourishment for my soul.  Today I realized what had been missing in my worship, it is those hymns, and this morning my soul came home.

Plus, after a horrible winter in these parts, Spring seems to have arrived and today was just right.

Yesterday, we loved on our girls with an Easter Egg hunt and lesson about what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later.

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Then today, the girls were extra spoiled with an Easter Egg hunt at their Aunt’s house.

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So, it’s been quiet around here, but all in all, we’re okay.

Did You Know? (Time4Learning Review)

We homeschool?  Turns out, we do.  As you have read, we started homeschooling Caitlyn (2nd grade) and Sue (1st grade) last September.

It has been going well.  I started with an all-inclusive on-line program for the girls, but quickly found, it wasn’t for us.  I did not like the the amount of time they were spending in front of the computer, with limited interaction otherwise.  I found my girls skill levels did not match with the material set for each day–some of it was too easy, some was too hard.  It was nice having everything set out for me.  I didn’t have to think or plan, we just had to click the next link, but the trade-off wasn’t worth it to me.

Now, our homeschool mix is extremely eclectic.  Some is hands-on, some is purchased curriculum and some is on-line.  It changes daily.  I get most of my material from homeschool pinterest boards and blogs.  I like it, but it is a lot of work.

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I’ve seen many on-line programs touted by other homeschoolers, one being Time4Learning.  This program includes Math, Language Arts, Language Arts Extension, Science and Social Studies.  I was curious, but not interested in spending the money to get it if it was going to be of no use to us.  Time4Learning is available for a per student, low monthly price.  My patience paid off a month ago when Time4Learning offered one month free for all household users in exchange for an independent blog review.

So here goes–my first homeschool product review.  Drumroll please!!!!!

I had both girls use it exclusively for a week.

I liked the look of it.  It was cute and appealing to the girls.  The animations are very simple, but they get the job done.  The material was very appropriate for Sue’s skill set.

“It was easy.  It was kind of hard, not really,” was Caitlyn’s non-committal appraisal in typical 2nd grader fashion.

But I knew within a day, this on-line program was not for us.  Once again, it was too much screen time.  Both girls got bored with the computer time before they were half done for the day.  It was, like the other program we tried, too easy for Caitlyn.  The program does allow the students to access two grade levels, sometimes three, in an area. but personally, if I am going to be tailoring lessons to that extent, I’d rather do so on my own, not in a computer program.

We trudged forward for that week. I wanted to give it a chance,  but from there on, Caitlyn had no interest in it whatsoever.

Sue used it most days, but only for the language arts.  It was definitely an asset for her in the phonics area.  They presented many of the rules in ways that were easy for both of us to remember. If you could purchase usage just for specific subjects, I would strongly consider the language arts for Sue.

For now, I enjoyed the opportunity to check out Time4Learning, and am very aware it might be an excellent fit for some homeschoolers, but our program will continue as it is, with much less screen time and more interaction with each other and our subjects.

Time4Learning also has a new high school program available for $30/month per student.

Disclosure:  I was invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. I did use the on-line program, Time4Learning for one month as part of our homeschool curriculum at no charge to me.  I was, by no other means compensated. My opinions are entirely my own. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, afternoon or summer enrichment.

The Author Chose a Semi Colon #semicolonproject416

semi colon projectProject Semi Colon.


I almost didn’t join this project.  I am not depressed, suicidal, self-harming or, in general, hurting right now.  I have been some of those things, but not right now.

I almost didn’t join this project because it is too hard to let the mind go back there.  To sitting in the basement sobbing while my girls played upstairs.  To hiding in the  bathroom at work begging God for a way out.  To imploring someone to help me as I hid in the Jeep where my family couldn’t see me.  To checking myself into the mental health wing at our local hospital, again.

It’s hard to go back there.

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But thankfully, there is a” back” to go to.  If, I had ended the sentence with a period in any of those situations, there would be no going back.

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There is hard in each of those times.  In each of those places in my life that could have been a period, an end, but instead are a pause, a semi colon, before life moved on, with me in it.

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Each of those times, was a semi colon, because I reached out.  To friends, doctors, strangers.  I put the last bit of energy and effort I had into reaching out.

I look back with shame, but maybe the answer is pride.  I didn’t stay where I was.  I invested in me.  I invested in those who love me and know me.

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I reached out.  In all honesty, often not for my own benefit, but in hopes it would help my family.  I didn’t see myself as worthy of the work it would take to be here rather than gone, but I didn’t want to saddle my husband with the cleanup my departure would leave.  He would have to find more daycare.  He would have to do extra work around the house.  He would have to explain to our girls why mama wasn’t here.  I reached out for my girls.  I didn’t want them to ever wonder if mama really loved them.  I didn’t want them to wonder why mama didn’t want to see them growing up.  I didn’t want them to have to explain for the rest of their lives “My mom died by suicide when I was (5,) (4,) (1.)”

I didn’t want them to grow up with that pain.

So I made the calls, I did the work.  I still make the calls, I still do the work.

Those pauses in life, where a period could have been chosen, found a semi colon written instead, so on I work.  On I LIVE!



I wrote a semi colon.  You can too.

Please, if you need help, reach out.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for example: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a 24-hr/7-day hotline where anyone can call for help and speak to someone trained in suicide prevention PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be suicidal to call. This number will offer you resources local to your area if you are struggling in any way.

Linking up with Cristi.


Getting Out

Many schools, and homeschoolers, are having spring break this week.  I hadn’t decided if, or when, we would take such a break.  Then, the scourge hit.  Caitlyn was down Sunday and still struggling Monday.  Sue and I were down Tuesday and Wednesday and hubby today.  Not much school has happened.  Not much fun has happened.

It was beginning to wear on the girls.  But relief was on the way.

Caitlyn got her latest National Geographic Kids Magazine yesterday.  It has 101 ways to get outside on a big pinup inside.  My girl got excited.

One, was make a pond.  Patrice gave that her best effort.

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Another was fly a kite.  Caitlyn remembered some old kites hubby and I bought while dating a decade ago.  Out they came.

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They even walked to the park to try them out.

Today, I needed to get them out of the house to give daddy some peace.

We splurged on ice cream.  (Ask Patrice to pronounce ice cream, for an inappropriate giggle.)

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Then, we found some small, cheap kites at the store.  I let them each pick one.

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I had to do something to perk up their spring “break.”