Archive | April 2015

Big Days Ahead

My middle daughter has some big days coming–today’s her  sixteenth birthday, and she goes to take her driver’s test this morning to get her license.  She found out yesterday that she made a 31 on her ACT, so she feels good about her collegiate future.

It’s our second time through all these milestones, but they feel new just the same. Our middle one is a little different than our oldest one.  Both were very confident in themselves, but the middle one is  a little more self-motivated than her sister.  She keeps her grades high because it’s a matter of pride for her.  She’s excited to have made a 31, but now wants to try again to see if she can make a 33.  With all these brains comes a candy-store problem of what to do with them.  She is unsure what she wants to major in.  Our oldest knew from the time she was in ninth grade what she wanted to do.  So they are different in that aspect as well.

But our middle one has always been her own person, so we’ve never had to worry about negative peer pressure–she’s a leader rather than a follower.  She’s very special to us as are the other two.  So Happy Birthday, Little Bit.  Hope it’s a wonderful one.

Dad

My dad was always and still is an enigma to me.  He was raised in a house with five sisters and one brother but treated me like a boy, teaching me to wrestle, shoot a gun, and haul firewood.  He was always very moody, to the point that I sometimes wonder if he’s not bipolar himself.  He can be very happy-go-lucky and outgoing at times, chatting up strangers in doctors’ offices, barbershops, and hospital waiting rooms, but when his mood darkens, it gets very dark–he won’t talk to anyone because he seems to be afraid he’d say something he’d regret.

One difference in our relationship to mine with my mom is that I never doubted he loved me.  To this day, I know that if something ever happened to me, if I was beaten up, raped, or murdered, my daddy would be standing on the courthouse steps with a gun ready to shoot whoever it was that did it to me.  Once we had some deer hunters shooting too close to the house (we lived in the country) and he took the initiative and shot back with a 12 gauge shotgun.  Word got around, and someone said, “If you killed somebody, you’d go to jail for it.”  Daddy said, “Yeah, but they’d still be dead, too.”

He was a Vietnam veteran, something I never knew until I was about 10 years old.  He never talked about it until around 2000, when he got involved in the VA medical system.  Then he wouldn’t stop talking about it for about the next couple of years.  He didn’t see much direct combat–he was part of the 101st Airborne-they flew them in with big guns, shot up targets, then flew back out.

I could tell a lot of stories about him, but I’ll end with his latest obsession–he bought a disassembled car, a 1927 Ford.  I have a cousin that works on cars, and he jumped at the chance to help Daddy restore this one.  It took a few years and a little bit of money, but now he drives that T-bucket all over the country, getting his picture taken with it wherever he goes.  So if you see a man driving a car painted in  red and white stripes with white stars on a blue field driving around, wave to him for me.  That’s my daddy.

Mom

I realized recently that the only things I have written about my parents here have been astonishingly negative.  So I thought I would set the record straight a little bit

My mom wanted more for me than what she had growing up.  She grew up in a house with three brothers and was the only girl.  Her parents farmed for a living–livestock, row crops, and timber.  She was part of the baby boom generation, born in 1948.  I don’t know a lot about her growing up years because she very rarely talks about it.  I do know her parents tried to give her opportunities–she played saxophone in high school band for a year, and they were determined that she go to college.  She went for about a year and then married my daddy, who was about to be shipped off to Vietnam.  They eloped to Alabama because she was old enough to be married without parental consent there.  They took my dad’s mom along because he needed a parent to sign permission.  The story goes that they walked into my grandparents’ house after their weekend together and my dad announced that they had gotten married.  My grandmother reportedly said, “I ain’t got nothing to say,” and walked out and went fishing.  She came back in three hours and never said another word against it.

When my uncle died when I was seven she saw how her sister-in-law struggled to raise four kids without working.  She decided to go back to school and finish her teaching degree. I used to tease her whenever she made a B in school, saying that I made better grades than she did. She graduated shortly after my younger sister was born and went to work as a teacher in elementary school.

She knew when I was very young that I was advancing academically–she taught me to read by age three and continued to push me throughout my school years to excel.  At times I thought she would only love me when I made good grades.  As a mom now, I know better.  But she went about it all wrong, threatening me with loss of privileges if I made less than all A’s. if I had a school project to do, she often took over doing it because she wanted me to make the best grade possible.  I never got to enjoy the compliments on such projects because I knew I hadn’t been the one doing the work. So that made it hard growing up.

My mom and I have a good relationship now that I am too far away from her to be involved in my everyday life.  We talk on the phone a lot and see each other about once a month.  She blames herself for my mental problems, thinking it’s how she raised me that I have problems now.  I know that’s not the case and have tried to explain that to her, but she has her own opinions about things.  But I can finally say I really do love my mom and appreciate the efforts she made on my behalf.

Stepping Out In Faith

I can’t disclose all the details yet, but I’m taking a huge leap of faith in my career.  I’ve been praying that God leads me into something new, and I think I’ve found what it’s supposed to be.  But please pray that this opportunity is the right thing for me to do.  The danger of someone with bipolar disorder having big dreams is it’s hard to tell a solid opportunity from a delusion of grandeur.  Our enthusiasms sometimes get the better of us, and we wind up chasing chimeras instead of accomplishing our  dreams.  So please pray for me for direction and wisdom as I continue pursuing this opportunity.  I’m not good at leaps of faith–I like backup plans and solid ground under my feet.  So pray that my anxiety doesn’t get the best of me, either.

On the dental front, my tooth has stopped hurting so I can leave off the painkillers.  I still have several days on the antibiotic to completely kill the infection before they go in and see what needs to be done.  Hopefully I can start eating solid food again soon.  Thanks for the prayers for the speedy recovery!

Only a few more weeks until I’m done with school for the spring.  Last class day is May 6, and I give finals May 8 and May 11.  Final paper is due May 4; pray for the kids to find their direction and make this paper work for them.  It hasn’t been a hard semester, but it has been frustrating at times.  Hopefully everything will go well for the final as well.  And I get to celebrate another personal milestone–no going into the hospital for the fourth year in a row.  That feels so wonderful to say, because for five years, I went inpatient once  a year every spring.  I wondered if it would ever stop.  But praise God, I’ve made it another year.  That’s something to be thankful for!

An Ending

Last dance competition before the summer!  So we go to our last local competition today and wait for the recital in May.  It’s the dance teacher’s 50th recital, so there will be a lot of hoopla associated with that anniversary.  We go to another major competition in July in Biloxi then are through with competitions for the summer.  So we will see how things go today.

Toothache Is still here with some moderation due to the painkillers.  Tried to eat something solid and my teeth kept tapping together in pain so that was the end of that.  I’ll have soup for lunch again and rice for dinner.  Ten days before I got back to the dentist to hopefully get it taken care of.  I don’t remember ever having a toothache like this before.  But the Ultram seems to be working well so far–they told me that antibiotics should help the pain ease down to where I won’t need the painkiller, so I hope that is the case soon.

Oldest comes home today to pick up some boxes to get ready to pack up with and then has to go straight back to take care of some business for classes this afternoon.  Wish safe travels for her.  We’ll miss having her home this weekend but it’s not long until she’s home for the summer.  So it won’t be too bad.

Owwww. . .

Been developing a horrible toothache over the past couple of days and have just now gotten the courage to call the dentist.  I have a phobia about going to the dentist.  I knew it was bad when I broke down and took some Tylenol, but that didn’t even dent the pain.  So I wound up taking my heavy painkillers left over from my surgery so I could sleep, and it took away the bone ache in my jaw but not the tooth pain, which is making it where I can’t even eat.  So now I have an appointment and have to miss Awards Day for my middle daughter.   Double fun.

New Day

“This is the day that the Lord hath made–I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So today is a new day, and I am determined to enjoy it.  I get to see my friend Jo for breakfast this morning and may do a little shopping with my tax return ‘mad money’ afterwards—see if I can find a new dress for church or a new outfit for the summer.  Then back here to finish up laundry and other sundry tasks for the day.  Yesterday was a downer, but today doesn’t have to be also.  That is the wonderful side of a stable mood state–you are allowed to have a bad day without it becoming a lost weekend, week, month, or year.  Thanks be to God for good medication and good therapy that has gotten me this far.  Hope everyone else has a great day, too!

Discouragement

I read preliminary versions of research papers last night and got so discouraged.  Every person would have failed one way or another if I had graded them as final versions.  It made me wonder what I was doing with my time and why I was even bothering to try to teach since they were obviously not getting the material I had tried to put across. So many of them still did not even understand documenting source material and were committing plagiarism as a result.

I understand that writing is difficult for some people while it isn’t for me.  But this kind of systemic failure points to something else–either I did not put the material across correctly or every single person was not listening.  Even my typically good writers had major flaws in their papers.  I feel that it somehow reflects on me and what I’m doing.  It certainly makes me want to give up teaching for good.  I don’t know what to do except hand them back with comments on what they’ve done  incorrectly and try to encourage them to do better.  I’m just kind of at a loss for words.

Picture Day

I always hated picture day at school.  From sixth grade to junior year I was an awkward, ugly teenager.  It instilled in me a hatred of having my picture taken that lasts to this day.

I suffer through it–I get my picture taken at parties for the kids, on vacations, etc.  So the kids will be able to point me out to their kids as their mother.  But I don’t like it.

I’m going to do it voluntarily today though–I’m having my article on bipolar disorder published in Mississippi Christian Living and they want photos.  I’m assuming just a head shot to go next to the article, but I could be wrong.  So I will dress up and fix up as much as I can and do that later this morning.  The article comes out in May, so I don’t have long to wait for it.  I’m just hoping it reaches people that need to read it and need some hope, same as my mission with the blog.

Other than that I have a pretty slow day.  Laundry and my ladies coming to help me clean up.  So I’m taking my time waking up and doing everything I need to do to get ready.  We will see how it goes.  Hope everyone has a great day!

Winding Down

Just finished class evaluations and am on pins and needles to find out what they say.  Of course, it’ll be while before I see them, but I always enjoy reading them.  The students turned in first drafts of their research papers today, and I’ll be reading them over the next couple of days.  The semester is almost over, and I am looking forward to summer for the first time in a long time.  I hope to make it better this summer than I have been doing in the past.  My girls are going to be busy so that will help with the “I’m bored” syndrome.  But we will see how it turns out.

Waiting to see what the future holds.  I have lots of options opening up and need some prayer support to know which ones to take.  I don’t feel right sharing about them right now, but I just need to know what God’s will is for the next phase of my life.  I’m glad to have something to look forward to, but the final decision is going to have to be up to God because I really have good choices.  Candy-store problem, I like to call it-all the options are good; I just need to know which one to take.

Hope everyone  has a good week this week.  Keep dropping by and reading–I’d love to hear from you!