Iced Tea Chat: Dancing In the Dark



Hello dears!  Come in and let's share a glass of iced tea.  I'd love to say we'd have coffee but it's hot, nearly 100F today and though John says coffee is cooling, I like something with ice in it.  One day perhaps I'll figure out how to make Iced Coffee that tastes good.  Until then I like a tall glass of iced tea on a hot afternoon.  I take mine unsweetened and like it just fine, provided it's a good brand of tea.  Like coffee, not all teas are created equal and so I seek out a brand that really tastes good to me.  Come to think of it, there's  fewer calories in my iced tea, so maybe I'd better stick with it and leave off the iced coffee except as a treat.



John's gone out to sit on the porch.  It's breezy and the windchime is just ding, ding, ding-ing away.  That's about all we have seen of the hurricane, these steady eastern breezes.  Not one drop of rain nor a cloud in the sky.  Yesterday's breeze didn't ring the chimes but it blew my curtains dry before I could get a second and third load of them washed.  I thought that was pretty cool because it meant I could take in one load to rehang at the windows and hang out the next load.   So you see, we've had some good out of the weather and no harm.

Hmmm....I just had a thought about sharing that we had seen good and not come to harm with this hurricane.  Years ago, someone posted that we hadn't ought to share our blessings, or even say we had been blessed, because it might make another feel bad that they hadn't been.   I remember thinking long and hard about that statement at the time.  I never want to cause unnecessary hurt but then again, I don't want to stand around mum about blessings I see have come my way, either.  Which is the better witness?  To never acknowledge that one sees a blessing or to say quietly that they do see something as a blessing?  Not in a bragging way mind you, not in a "look at me, God blesses ME and maybe you should examine why you aren't getting blessed..." sort of way.  I know some folks who are just ready to be offended by anything at all, not saying you're blessed or saying you're blessed.  To put it quaintly, they are the 'Damned if you do, damned if you don't" sorts of folks and nothing pleases them anyway.  So which way is the better way?

If I share something with y'all and say "I'm blessed!", I am really reminding myself that there's plenty to feel gratitude for in my  life.  I am hopeful it spurs you to think of the blessings you've received in that day or week.  It's so easy to focus on the problems and anxieties and hurts and comparisons, at least I find it so.  How much better is it to say, "I'm content where I am," than to whine about where I am not?  Goodness!  I'm rather expert at whining over things, believe me.  I can slip right into a complaint without even blinking.  It takes some thought to say "I am blessed," and then to state why I feel blessed.  That's a sad but true statement.   I have to be very pro-active in being grateful.   I have to stop and think about it.   I guess no one will ever accuse me of being Polly-Ana, but it would be a great compliment if they did.

On the other hand, I don't wish another to think it's a comparative moment.  I don't consider myself blessed beyond any other.  Differently, perhaps, just as I have different circumstances and different talents.  But not more blessing than another for any reason.


Yesterday evening I found myself very hungry and there was nothing in the house to eat...Now you all know that's not true.  There was plenty of food in this house.  No, what I mean is there were no leftovers, nothing in the freezer much that could be quickly and easily thawed to eat.  I do not keep convenience foods as a rule, to my detriment on days when I've worked harder than usual and haven't taken time to prepare a meal for myself.  I did not give thought to food I might want early in the day, so everything was frozen solid as a rock and was raw as could be besides.  I was the sort of hungry that Isaac was on Wednesday.  It was a right now sort of hungry that demanded to be fed and mighty quick!   I dug hard and found half a Chuck Flanken Shortrib (which was about three bites) in the fridge and a double spoonful of green bean casserole that was in the freezer.  I wondered as I ate these two items how it was that I had two such small portions of food put aside.  I ended up supplementing my supper with a spoonful of peanut butter and a few vanilla wafers because it was really not enough food and I was still hungry.

note: these Chuck Flanken shortribs are another of those beef cuts that you may or may not see in your meat market case.  Look them up...

Well today I know just what the problem is and it's one I have created myself.   I made tuna casserole for dinner.  I served our plates and though I was generous, there was still a nice single serving left in the pan.  John always finishes eating before I do...well most everyone except Josh finishes eating before I do because I am a slow eater.  I politely encouraged John to have more if he wanted it...and here's my failing.  He is always equally polite about taking the last of anything and so he will eat exactly half.   Now he does it with cookies or candy or fruit, too, not just those single servings left after our meal.  He never takes the last of anything, he always leaves the last bit for me to finish off, only I seldom will take a second helping, halved or otherwise.  And so when I went back to the kitchen to clear up there was a tiny portion of tuna casserole, just about half a  serving, sitting in the pan.   I stood and gazed at it and the temptation  to just put it in the dog pans tomorrow was at the back of my mind but I hate to do that when it's perfectly good food...but seriously, half a serving?  Even with a salad it's not enough for one person to call a meal.

So I have come to the conclusion that I either put the remaining food away as a full serving and stop offering it up to John as  a second portion, or I stop trying to save the half portions that are left.  I know that John had enough food on his plate when I served it earlier.  I never try to skimp on food as I'm serving, but I don't go "let's eat it all!", either and he doesn't complain.  He is always respectful of what I portion out.  In fact, he always says "That's your department!" when I tell him to help himself to something.   That's an old habit from the days when food was a too well moderated commodity.  Now if for some reason he  is still hungry after we've eaten, he will make himself a half  peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  So I am at a crossroads...And I think I'm going to have to choose on the side of saving the extra portion of food.

In a way, it feels a little bit stingy but on the other hand, I really do hate to waste food and I do consider feeding it to the dogs to be waste.  There's always this fine line between being cheap and being frugal, you know? And I can easily be cheap but I don't think it's cheap to say, "This is a portion and it's enough," when I serve us.   And if I'm allowed a third hand, I'll tell you I get awfully tired of scrounging for food on days when I've worked hard and forgotten that I need to eat and realize that there's nothing in the house...

While we're talking of food, some of you may remember my mentioning the vlogger, Penny Pinching Granny a few months ago.  She's changed her name to "Mornings With Granny".  This week she's posted a 'What if???" post.  What if you had only these foods, in these limited amounts and needed to eat three meals?  What would you make?  How would you make it stretch?   It's an interesting exercise.

I've also come across a blog or two more about cheap meals.  Remember the Mother Hubbard series of posts I did in January, February and March of 2017?  I did NOT eat the meals exactly as planned because I was cautious about how they might affect my blood sugars but it was a challenge to figure out how we might survive on a drastic reduction of our food budget as well as having no pantry or freezer to draw.   It brought me back to some simpler things like making my own bread and yogurt at home because the savings was so substantial.  It led me to try my hand at making tortillas and noodles.  So it was a great exercise for me!   I thought of these meal plans when I found a vlogger called 'The Quaint Housewife" who had $10 for a week of food and showed the meals she made.  And yes, they did eat them as planned.

While I enjoy watching videos of 'cheap' meals and grocery hauls, etc., it's hard not to be critical at times, too.  I know good and well that what we purchase is as individual as we all are.  What my household deems necessary is not what another might consider a necessity at all.  Tastes differ considerably.  But yes, as a seasoned homemaker, it's easy to look at some of the videos and think "Hmmm...if she'd bought this instead of that..."  "If I had that I'd have made..."

That's why I've enjoyed the post from Mornings with Granny.  She actually invites comments about what you'd do different than she'd planned.  And in that invitation is also the opportunity to share ideas that might expand the possibilities for others.

I much prefer to watch those vloggers who keep an honest to goodness pantry, but now and then you come across a good vlog where weekly shopping is the norm and an excess supply of food is not kept.  I always find that interesting, to be honest, because I grew up with the idea that a pantry was a necessity, not a frivolous thing, and certainly not a hoarding of food thing, but just good sense, like any other emergency fund you might keep.  

Big Mama's pantry was a closet in her kitchen.  She hung her apron on a hook on the door and put it on first thing each morning, then she stepped into the pantry and brought out her coffee and bread.   I was always fascinated to see her step into that doorway, disappear and come out holding some food item in her hand. She never did let me walk into that pantry though, so I have no clue how she had it arranged, but I do remember the good things she'd pull from it, like jars of jelly and green tomato relish.

Granny's pantry was outdoors on a set of shelves in Granddaddy's work shed from my earliest memories.  I don't know just why she chose to keep her pantry there but perhaps it was the only available spot...Her house was small and there were no closets nor an excess of cabinets in which to store things in her kitchen.  Later she stored things in the second bedroom and still later, when she was getting to be less her normal self, under her bed.

In the houses where I grew up, we had a variety of pantries.   In the oldest house, it was built in with great deep bins to store flour and sugar and meal and oatmeal and wide shelves above to hold canned goods.  In the last house where I lived with my parents, the pantry was a deep set of shelves in one corner of the big laundry room.  Mama put up all sorts of canned fruits and jellies and vegetables and the shelves bowed under the weight but they held.

Grandmother was also another who never let me look in her food cupboards...I don't recall her doing much canning but she froze all sorts of things.  Her freezer was in the shed for years and towards the end of her life it was on the back porch, just outside the back door.  I know that she kept a supply of canned goods because I cleared her cupboards when she died and I found she had a small stock in a closet in the dining room made over into a den.

I believe tomorrow is the anniversary of her death, 15 years ago now.  I've always called her Grandmama but this summer, I made up my mind to start referring to her as Grandmother.  Why?  Was it her desire that we call her Grandmama?  I find it hard to fathom since my father and his siblings always called her mother and I have a feeling she would have preferred Grandmother over Grandmama.  I don't know that but I just think she would have.

I wasn't as close with Grandmother as I was with Granny.  That wasn't entirely her fault mind you.  Grandmother usually lived a little distance from us, more than Granny did.   There was the added complication of an alcoholic uncle who lived with Grandmother and Granddaddy and he tended towards violence when he was drinking and he was always drinking.  It was only during the months he spent in jail that we were allowed to go visit.   Sad but true.

Grandmother never wrote us letters (nor did Granny, mind you) and she was of the old school about long distance calls.  Three minutes at best and never any longer.  Well long distance calls were mighty expensive back in the day.  We've just all become so accustomed to our  cell phone bills with our 'unlimited call and text'  that we don't even think about talking an hour or two as it's all 'free', but no one is giving away anything for 'free'.  We're paying for it all right.  Grandmother had a healthy respect for budgets and such, having been very poor in her growing up years, and long distance calls were nothing to be loose and spendy about.  Seriously, for a long time, a single long distance call could be translated into a substantial amount of groceries...so no long chatty calls.  You wanted a long chat, you wrote a letter.   Her letters went to her mother and sister for the most part and perhaps her daughter.

She was not one to air her troubles to anyone, and she had a few.  There was her youngest son for instance who lived at home his whole life long and spent months and months at a time in jail.  She never spoke of my uncle's failings nor did she criticize my parents  or granddaddy.   Well she did confide something to me just once, a hint of a trouble she'd had with Granddaddy and I could see immediately she hadn't meant to speak so I never mentioned it to her again.  She was very private in that way.   I never knew anything of her personal feelings or thoughts.  I never knew really how she came to meet Granddaddy and certainly not how she must have felt to leave home at 16 or so and move hundreds of miles away from all the family and folks she'd ever known.   She just wasn't given to talk as Granny and I did, in a heart to heart sort of way.

But she was a hospitable soul and enjoyed people stopping by.  She believed work was there to be done and she went at it and got it done.  But I've seen her, too, stop right in the midst of some necessary chore, and sit relaxed and happy amidst company of which there was just enough.     She and Granddaddy both came from large families and though she lived far from her own family, his was nearer by and prone to dropping in.  She never let on that you'd interrupted her at any job she needed to get done or that there was anything more important than seeing you had a glass of tea and a chair to settle in.

I wish I had known her better.  I tried, as I got older to see her more often but she'd call and say, "Today's just not a good day to come visit..." when a planned visit was in the offing.  I remember how hurt I'd feel, even as a grown up, but I realize now that was her way of saying that my uncle wasn't fit to be seen.

She died on a hot September morning.  She'd been out cutting grass with a push mower on her three acre lot and came indoors to lie down and put a cool rag on her head.  She was 84, a good old age.   Not one of her children lived as long.  My father was the oldest and lived the longest, dying at 73 two years after Grandmother passed away.  Her funeral was a great tragedy in it's own way.  But we shall leave that dog sleeping...

Let me end on a happier memory of Grandmother because she deserves it.  She was a pretty woman, really pretty with a ready smile, a wonderful laugh, lovely sparkling eyes but she was also shy.  Not one to call attention to herself really,  but one summer night when we were visiting, Granddaddy and my uncle took out the guitar and banjo and began to play. (Here I must slip in the memory of us being told not to tell Daddy that our uncle wasn't in jail...)    They were talented musicians but seldom pulled out these instruments when we visited.  They played some song, something blue grass or country.   And Grandmother caught the melody up and began to dance in the way her mountain born and bred ancestors had danced, keeping time with her heel.  Clogging is the type of dance it's called and now it's done with metals taps on heel and toe and all sorts of elaborately choregraphed moves,  but in her home state it was done with soft soled shoes, so the sound of her tapping feet was soft and sounded like a rhythmic shuffle, timed to the beat of the music.  I can see her still, dancing on that back porch, the light of the kitchen shining through the screen door like a spotlight upon her.  She seemed so young, and she may well have been at that moment. In years she was surely younger than I am now...I remember her sudden realization that she was dancing and she stopped, embarrassed at herself, but I was forever in awe of that glimpse of her, dancing freely, unaware of anything except the joy of the music.

Yes...That is a happier memory to end with I think.

days later:  
I don't guess you all had planned to stay a couple of  nights had you?  Well you have, though you didn't plan on it.   I hope you didn't mind the pallet beds all over the floor and the thrown together meals...

I'd written all that above on Thursday and thought I'd finish up and share it then but I didn't.  I had written of some things I have never shared and I got a little blue about it.  I wondered if I was wronging those long gone to leave the post as written.  I wanted to let it mellow and go back and re-read it and then decide what I'd do.   So today, I've altered it a bit, leaving out the messiest messy things I had shared, things that I've never mentioned before and I think, now, I shall not mention again.   I owe that much.

I thought surely I'd finish this post on Friday, but Friday was the sort of day that kind of wrestles you to the ground and then holds you there until you say "Uncle!".  Lady though I might be now, in my youth I wrestled with my brothers many a time and sometimes I won and sometimes I didn't, so I know what  I mean about having to cry "Uncle!" in order to get the contest to end.  I was already tired, something I've been feeling a good bit of late.  It's mostly stress, born of this and that set of tensions in our day to day lives and some things I am trying to sort out in my own head, as well...So I came to the blog only long enough to send out that weekly diary post and then I shut down the computer and went on about the business of my day, trying to squeeze in what I could of the work I'd missed earlier.

And then I found myself waiting a bit in the car for Katie that evening, feeling the heaviness of my day upon me,  and I pulled up my email and I was shocked at the blog comment I found there.  

I  consider this my peaceful space, and all the messier stuff in my real life can remain unremarked upon the other side of this screen.    I hate disagreements amongst my family or people I've come to consider friends or really good acquaintances.  I assure you all that I never intended harm to anyone in my last 'Diary' post.   But  when it was obvious I had unwittingly upset someone,  I reckoned I owed it to her to ask her not to be hasty in going away.  I wanted to extend an olive branch to one who,  for all I know, had had a perfectly horrid day or had been dealing with things about which  I knew nothing or aching over things about which I did know.

I tried to make amends best I could to one who had always displayed courtesy, a willingness to share her knowledge and a generosity of spirit that I admired.  I was wrong, however,  not to try and find out how to close comments immediately following my reply.   In fact, it didn't occur to me until this evening that I might do so.   I was wrong not to think of it sooner because some of you were unkind, though loyal in your defense of me.  I posted this on my diary post and will post it again here and I ask that you respect my wishes in using this to consider what you are about to say, especially about another on whomever's blog you might visit:

THINK: Is it True?  Is it Helpful?  Is it Inspiring?  Is it Needful?  Is it Kind?     

This is not the first time that there has been a misunderstanding with a long term reader nor the first time someone has taken offense and walked off.  It happens more often than you all might realize. But in this instance, I have now closed comments on that post and they shall remain closed.  I am done with it.  Please let it be.


I wanted to provide something here that was  positive to you all: encouragement, ideas, inspiration, rest, consolation,  help,  witness of the need of a personal relationship with Christ, to make someone smile, or even find a point to ponder.   I do not take this blog lightly.  I don't sit down and glibly type out 'x' number of words a minute just to fill a space and walk away nor load it with two dozen ads to distract from the content.  I really do put my heart and soul here.  

I share as much of myself as I can in an effort to be all those things I said above.  I know it's a lot of ordinary daily details for the most part.  But isn't that what makes up a great deal of our lives?  I try to keep it real, but I do try to make my reality here personal, too.    I don't share every heartache and concern in my life because I owe it to the people I love to protect their privacy.   This is not meant to be my whining zone or a space to be passively aggressive towards family who have angered me.   That's uncomfortable for you and me and everyone. But I have shared relationship dilemmas that puzzled me, that I wanted to sort out on my side.  I've shared my questioning heart and spirit. I've shared areas where I knew I personally had failed.  Those are mine to share.  I share them so another won't feel alone at the same place in their life...


But I won't lie to any of you.  I was deeply disheartened on Friday evening.    I seriously considered shutting down this blog and walking away.  And I've pondered it all day long today as well.

I thought  about what it would mean to never write another word here.  To reclaim the hours I spend pouring out my days, my joys,  my fears, my heart to you all.   To skip re-reading passages a dozen times so I can edit them into coherent sentences and catch misspells only to find when it's published that I'd missed something anyway.   

There is no monetary reward in the time I spend here.  There's no acclaim.   I am not particularly well known.  My only reward comes  when someone very occasionally writes and says, "Thank you...I thought I was all alone in feeling this way, " or "I can't tell you how I look forward to my quiet time with you each week," or, "You inspired me to try to..." do something that bettered their life in some way.     That's it.    

But what you don't see or hear from me is that my ordinary life is not all peace and sunshine and fresh baked bread.  There's a great deal you don't know...About my own dances in the dark... Like how often  I am discouraged because I can't seem to manage all the demands I find upon my time.  That I try and try to please people and often end up hurt because I offend one while helping another.  That I am co-dependent and that ruins the natural order in even healthy relationships.  That I am a wonder at helping others to not help themselves.   That I can be a great dis-courager to my husband at times.  That I have been walking around and around and around some of the walls in my life blowing trumpets and raising a shout for at least 50 years and I don't seem to be even one step closer to the promise of watching them fall.  That I am deeply lonely at times for someone to talk to.  That I ache for the mistakes I  make. That I am often overcome with  anger, compassion, and sorrow simultaneously because of the choices I see others make over and over again.  That my soul aches with the burden of secrets I can't share with anyone. That I doubt my parenting skills even after 39 years.   That there is a voice in my head and it screams constantly "Selfish!"  "Immature!"  "Lazy!"  "Liar!" "Ugly!"  "Useless!" "Stupid!" and I can't shut it off.  That I shake with anxiety and fear more often than not because of worries I am trying hard to not  think about. That I have been mortally hurt and for all the scars I wear,  there are still gaping wounds in my soul abcessing underneath.  That I search hard and thoughtfully for words that will heal and then sear someone's soul with what comes from my mouth.  That some heartaches I carry are never mentioned but my eyes fill with tears in a second if I ever allow myself to consider them.  That my fight or flight reaction is almost always flight.  That I can stare my blessings in the face and complain bitterly about them.  That I cannot ever quite shake the very real fact that "Life is not fair", and that is just how life is.  That I battle daily with the desire to return to my old coping habits of compulsive eating or other self-destructive behaviors. That sometimes all I want to do is lie down and turn to dust.  

That I am braver than most people would ever dream because I never quit.


That's me, too.  But on a day when I am mighty stressed and tired and anxious I consider greatly that it might be easy to just quit writing and forget this was ever a goodly part of my life, these last 22 years.

I keep saying I need to get away and that I need a vacation but  I don't see  that happening any time soon.  In fact, this very afternoon, I had to acknowledge to myself that I am just putting one more strain on myself and John in insisting that we get away when I'm only just barely coping as it is.  And frankly I'm so very very tired of hearing that inner voice of mine saying "I can't..."   The truth is there isn't enough money or time or me to go around to cover everything I'm  trying to stretch it to fit.  At some point you have to stop and realize that you're doing the same things over and over and over and they.are.not.working.   

I'm more than a little tired.  I'm wearier than I can tell you.  I'm trying desperately to shove too many square pegs in too many round holes and make too many lemon pies from a truck load of  rotting lemons and I'm beating myself up because it's not any of it working.   And to find myself doing the same sort of battling here, in this 'safe haven', is too much.  

I'm going to step away for a bit.  I need some distance from a great number of  things in my life and this is the easiest thing I have to step away from at present, as well as the hardest  to give up. I need to stand back and really consider if I am doing anything worthwhile with my time here.  If I am being uplifting and supportive or if I'm really just hoping to hear the faint sounds of applause and praise.   If I really mean what I say about helping or if I really want to be rewarded for my time and effort here and now. Why am I really here?  Do I honestly have a ministry or is it just me fooling myself because I secretly long to be adored?

I don't know if this will be a week or if it will be a year or if it will be permanent.  I just need to let go.  Thank you all for being part of my journey.  Give me time to see what I need to see about myself.

46 comments:

Liz from New york said...

Terri.. you are human. All of us have a jumble of thoughts, fears, worries,heartaches, love, loss, anger, and good days and bad days. I sure will miss your writings if you choose to stop. I feel like you touch on those feelings that I try to hold in, and feel kinship. Lord knows Im lonely in the midst of all the people in my family! How I'd love to have a friend to talk with over the fence, Take your time, and reflect on what you want your life to be. You can make it happen! Please try to focus just on YOU. Your adult children will manage. So will your grandchildren. We can't be all things to all people. I know we want to, but lose ourselves in the process. Please stay in touch via instagram, and I'll keep checking in on you! Best, liz

Traveling Oltmans said...

There is a saying about how to look at your life and those around you. Imagine you are a salmon swimming in a river, and other salmon swimming nearby. You clearly can’t control the flow of the river, all you can do is control yourself. And when other salmon behave differently than we want, it doesn’t make sense to get irritated or expect them to do things differently. They are swimming the best they can. And indeed, why would I get so invested in what they are doing. I find this analogy helpful with my husband as well. He needs to swim his own swim, without me expecting different things.

Not sure if this will help you. I appreciate your blog and wish you peace in your life. But aim to help yourself swim along, don’t worry about the rest of us salmon.

Louise said...

God Bless You in whatever you decide to do.. I understand.. Hugs

Anonymous said...

Your work is very appreciated and a welcome ministry to many. I love that you never give up. Reading this blog inspires me to be a better person. Thank you.
Love,
Tracey
Xox

Anonymous said...

My dear Teri,
I very seldom comment but very regularly look forward to your offerings. My life in the last few years has mirrored yours somewhat. I am older than you and my husband is already retired.it's a new life style for sure. My children have been in and out of living in my house recently.
And was diagnosed with diabetes 5 years ago. I.am.tired.body and soul. All this to say I understand your feelings(as much as I'm able, long distance). I always save your new entries to sit down quietly if I'm able, and bond with a kindred spirit. I hope you decide to continue to inspire us but if not, I will miss you! God bless you. Littledoonie

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I've been enjoying reading about your life here for quite some time now. So many times we seem to be going through similar things at the same time, and your words have been a comfort to me and helped me see things from a different angle that helped me deal with whatever was going on at the time.

Four years ago, I was in the hospital at the same time as you were, though my time in not for as long, or for as serious of a problem. I had developed severe AFib and had to have cardio version in order to get my heart rhythm normalized. Even then I noticed that the time in the hospital caused both of us to come out with what I felt were new or different outlooks on our lives. You put into words so many things that I had been feeling.

I hope you will continue to write here. I will miss you if you decide not to. Even though I stopped posting on my own blog because of the stress of the problems I have been having with my knees. I hope to pick up and start blogging some time in the future, but right now I'm having a bit of an intense time with my most recent knee replacement surgery.

There is something else I wanted to mention, and that is, maybe it is my imagination, but I don't think so; many people I know seem to be suffering from a lot of extra stress, upset, and what I would consider to be mild to moderate depression right now. I see it in myself, friends, relatives,
bloggers, and even day to day people in stores and doctors offices that I interact with. (That is pretty much the extent of my public interactions right now, with my knee like it is.) It just feels like there is just a lot of heaviness, or extra emotion, in the general human mental atmosphere right now. Has anyone else noticed this, or is it just me?

You are going to be missed by many if you decide to move on from blogging, and I believe you inspire a lot of people (myself included). I will continue to look for you here in this spot until and if you decide to post again. May your days and evenings be smooth sailing. Take care. I hope to hear from you again.

Susie D.

Anonymous said...

Susie, no it's not just you. I think it's the state of the world right now. All we can do is what Teri talks about doing. We need to gather our blessings where we can and turn to God for strength.
Terri, honestly, I don't know how you do it. You have a lot on your plate. Two grandbabies on the way and two wee ones nearby that you share responsibility for, not to mention all the other things you
do.If anyone deserves a break it's you.
I will miss your posts,but I will feel good knowing you are getting some much needed rest.


God Bless You,
Shell

Anonymous said...

Dear Terri ~
This post just took my breath away as your poured out your heart and soul. I read the comments posted here and see that I am not alone. Your words so often reflect what I'm going through or feeling I wonder if we were separated at birth? I simply don't have your ability to express myself and for that reason, among many others, I am always so happy to see a new post from you. I always feel as though I'm visiting with my best friend, someone who really understands my hopes, my failings, my journey.

I will understand if you step away forever, but I will mourn the loss of a dear friend. So with all my heart I hope this will be a brief, but well earned, period of rest. You are loved. Mindy

Allegra said...

I understand it all too well when you say that this is the easiest thing to step away from when something has just got to give. I stopped writing years ago for that very reason, and sadly things never got easier for me to get back to it. And I miss it. I do hope that you will make the decision on if and when to come back based on what writing here is doing for you, not on how much of yourself is left for it after everyone and everything else have taken their piece. Learn from my mistakes, that course leads to regrets :-)

As for all the messy human stuff you do not share.... As it has already been said, so you don't let on you're human? ;-) I think we know already.

And as Susie said above, lately it does feel that everyone is at a snapping point and ready to be set off by the most innocuous of things. And the trigger is usually just that, a trigger, and something that would not be a problem by any stretch of imagination if the person was their usual self and not already stretched out to a breaking point by life l, universe and everything.

As for publicly counting your blessings, I am always happy to hear that my friends, real life or virtual, have some :-) And do see them as a reminder to stop and consider mine too, especially if it's recently seemed they are rather thin on the ground. There always turns out to be more of them than I thought.

Look - here is me, right now. Early Monday morning we were all packed up and ready to go on our annual visit to Croatia where my father still lives. And yesterday he turned 90 and we were making sure that we will be there for that.

Except that my daughter's poor mental health had other ideas. We made it as far as the airport car park, when it all got too much for her and instead of flying away police and ambulance were called and we went to A&E instead.

The money spent on this annual trip has to be carefully budgeted for and saved throughout the year. None of the costs are refundable. I have no idea when or if I'm going to see my father again. And of course, my daughter is devastated that she was instrumental in things coming to pass the way they did.

So I sit here now and read your sharing as much as you are comfortable about your family history, and think, you know, I am not alone. Other people have struggled before, and will struggle again, and none of us have all the answers, and all we ever really have, all of us human beings worn down and stressed out and stretched to a snapping point, tearful and discouraged and fearful and bewildered.... All we really have is God and each other.

We are all making it up as we go along. Most of us struggle at one time or another with letting go and letting God.

It will all be well in the end. If all is not well, it's not yet the end.

Best Bun said...

Dear Terri

Whatever you choose to do know that we will all be adding you to our prayers.

Have suffered from depression over what I consider a "wasted life" even when my blessings are right in front of me.

Please take care of yourself.

Best wishes from Best Bun

Kathy said...

I am sorry.
Your blog has been a blessing, and I have looked forward to chatting each week.
I think we have all been stressed beyond belief lately. I know that I have felt like shaking my fist, and asking why. Life is surely not fair, and sometimes it really sucks. But I was reminded that the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came that they might have life and have it abundantly. I so need to remember that as I think we are all being attacked.
Thank you for sharing with us.

Lana said...

So I must apologize for my comment and all the fall out I have caused. I realize now that I have been standing on a precipice for weeks and it did not take much to push me off it and unfortunately I fell here. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by my husband's brain injury that I just melt down. On Tuesday I drove most of the 500 hundred miles home from our son's house after a scary incident with Hubby behind the wheel. Then after something like that the reality just rolls over me and I remember that I will never go out to lunch with my gal pals again because he is terrified at home alone and so many other things that will never change. But, that was no excuse for my comment. So please forgive me all.

Lisa from Indiana said...

Lana, I will be praying for you and your husband. Hang in there. Terri, please don't stop blogging. Your blog is one of only about 5 that I read. I love reading the details of your day. More bloggers should be more like you.

heatherruark said...

Hi Terri,

I do not agree with you on quite a lot of things, BUT, you have a singular voice in your writing that is so genuinely yours, that so defines where you place yourself in this world, I find it's worth to be immense. This blog encompasses you and the slices of your life. It's an autobiography, with all the uncomfortable messy parts that jab their edges into our soft hearts, as well as how you control and order your every day life to find that feeling of accomplishment we all have need of. People are here to be with you, for whatever small amount of time you allow each week, and I personally find the steadfast and consistent way you write to be comforting in a world where people sell their souls for media fame. You have value, you have worth and you have integrity. Please always know that at the base, you are a light in the dark.

Wendi said...

Terri, I can't begin to tell you have much encouragement I find here. I know that life is tough, yet, you seem to keep moving and that encourages me to do the same.

It was your post about anxiety to gave me the courage to speak with my husband and then our family doctor. I have been struggling for years and once when I tried to reach out the reaction caused me to suffer alone. (No, the response wasn't from my husband.) I had reached my lowest point emotionally and your post about your struggle was the push I needed to address my issues. Boy am glad I did!

I've come to realize that I have to please those within my four walls. I love the people outside of my walls, yet I can't let them push me to the point I was before. Not that it was done to cause me harm, yet this added to my issues.

All of this rambling to say take as much time as you need away to take care of you. I hope that you will return, as you have much wisdom to offer. Take care, and know that many of us will be here when and if you return.

Mable said...

I am sorry you are suffering. I hope you come to a place where you resume writing because I enjoy your posts very much. However, if you need to stay away for your own health, I congratulate you on doing what you need to in order to take care of yourself.

lejmom said...

Thank you for pouring out your heart to us. Many of us feel the same-we just don't have the way with words to express it like you do. My issue at the moment is dealing with grief...or not knowing how to deal with it. I am 72 and my mom died in June...then my MIL in July. Both were in mid-90's. So many different emotions are swirling in me and in my dreams as well.

Please take the time you need to heal and regroup--but we will be waiting for your return and spend time with you and your everyday life. I feel like we are sitting across a table from each other. I have no close friends to chat with...so many days, you are my friend and inspiration! We do not share the same religion, but that is OK...love is love and that's what wins in the end. Be well, my friend

Grammy D said...

My dear sweet friend. What can I say to tell you what a wonderful lady you are. Always looking for another post. It's really like getting a chatty letter from a much loved daughter. I know you work so hard at making others happy, and suspect often you are asked to go beyond your physical and mental abilities to make others lives easier. When I read Lanas post I felt so sorry for her. It sounded like one of those days she was just at the end of her rope, as they say and probably didnt even realize what she was saying. Caring for a disabled loved one is a hard, hard thing to do.
I wonder if John is related to Gramps. Drives me nuts finding one tablespoon of food in the frig because he didnt want to be piggy and eat it all. Sometime I am going to freeze those dibs and dabs for a month, take them all out and serve them to him for supper. LOL.
I love mornings with Granny and her challenges. I think I have watched quite a few different videos at your suggestion. Wish I could whisk you North and return some of that sweet hospitality. Even though I am old I am sure we would have a lot of fun together. Please remember how much you mean to so many, no matter where your journey takes you. God bless you my dear. Gramma D




Leslie said...

Terri, I am a long time reader who never comments. We are of a similar age. I enjoy reading about your life and perseverance. You’re having some difficulties now, maybe for a while, sounding similar to the joyful but stressful time when Sam and Bess lived with you. I hope you don’t discontinue writing because we would all miss it, but I think you most of all. Please take care of yourself.

Leslie

Peggy Savelsberg said...

Terri, I share the feelings of everyone here. You have been a wonderful place to come when I need encouragement, and I do feel you are a friend. I have been reading since you were PennyAnn, and you have mirrored many of my own feelings through the years. Your words were a balm as I came out of an abusive marriage, battled fear as I returned to the workforce after being at home for 22 years, and finally found a godly man who loves me for who I am. You really do have a ministry, and the comments here are proof of that. I believe it was Mother Teresa who said, "we cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." Thank you for the blessings you've given us all through your writing. I will be praying for you. Blessings.

ranchwife3 said...

Terri,

I rarely comment but have read your blog for years and want you to know what an inspiration you have been to me. Every Sunday afternoon I look forward to reading your blog and I always come away feeling like I have been talking to a dear friend. I wish you and your family the best of life and hope you will be able to rest and heal. I think you are a terrific mom, wife and grandma!

Conni said...

Terri, Thank you, as always, for your transparency (with integrity) with all that you shared in this post. I am sad that you are stepping away because, with all here, I see you as a close friend. Your heart is open and loving and reaches so many, both near to you and far. I join the many who will pray for you....May God richly bless you, give you wisdom and strength to discern each step, and fill you with His love. Even if you can’t get away right now, PLEASE take mini-breaks in each day to soak in beauty and His Rest! (A friend today shared that she listened to a John Piper sermon saying that we need to FIGHT for joy in our lives.). FIGHT ON, Precious Terri!

Anonymous said...

Lana,
Everyone has a breaking point.I believe you to be a good person at heart. I'm sorry about your troubles. I will pray for you and your husband.I

Good Luck and God Bless
Shell

Chris K in Wisconsin said...

I found your blog in the last year and look forward to your posts. I love that they are nice and long, and I feel like I can picture you working away in your kitchen or your yard. Your narratives are wonderful.

As someone else said, everyone seems to be stressed lately. I have had some specific BP and heart issues this past year and my Dr said they see more of this now than ever. The "leaders" of our country contribute much to the feeling of discontent and feelings of frustration and embarrassment of what we have become. Staying away from the news is what I have had to do just to keep my BP at a reasonable number.

I truly understand your thoughts of a break, that is so necessary for all of us at various times, but I think your writing/ journaling is an outlet for you, as well. So, my hope is that you won't give that up, and in time (sooner, rather than later :-) you will come back to sharing with us again. You will be missed!!

Jacki said...

I echo the same thoughts as many have said, I would miss this blog and your writing terribly if you didn’t return, it is truly one of my favorites. I am very near your age and can relate to much that you write but I don’t have the eloquence you do to write it out. I check daily for new comments and/or blog posts. I will pray for you and that you will return here soon. Jacki

Carole said...

I'm a regular reader and I can't figure out what the controversy is about. I do think that Walmart gets a lot of bad press. I don't know why. Perhaps in the beginning other retailers resented their success, and the misinformation grew from there. Your comments about it were pretty benign, I thought. I'll be sorry for you to take a leave. I can count on you for a good read quite often. I am elderly and depend on my computer to help fill my life with interesting things such as reading your blog.

Anne said...

You are worried that you might just be blogging "to be loved and adored."

Oh honey, we ALL want to be loved and adored. Welcome to the human race.

I hope you don't stay gone long.

Ronnie said...

Lana,

Some days everything is just too much. You have had a lot to handle and you have done it so well. I have always found your comments uplifting and kind. So you are allowed an off day. Please continue commenting. I always look forward to reading them. Take care of yourself knowing that you are liked and respected. You and your husband are in my prayers. Veronica xx

sparky136 said...

Terri, I’ll miss your posts. I check every day to see if there is a new one. I’ve been reading them since Penny Poundwise. Take a rest. But, please come back.

Be Be said...

Rarely comment on blogs but you will be missed. Love the honesty and real life days. Have gathered good savings ideas as well. Rest and rejuvenate...let's God's peace fill your days. Hope to read blogs from you again at some point.

Chris M said...

Hi Terri,

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and sabbaticals - the opportunity for a paid rest in order to rethink, rejuvenate, and recharge. I think you need a sabbatical! I understand you’re not paid for writing this blog, but taking a purposeful sabbatical without pay would pretty much be the same thing. The word sabbatical comes from sabbath. We all need to rest at times.

Writing can be so therapeutic, but it’s also so personal, especially in your case. I think, for lack of a better analogy, you entered a perfect “blog storm.” I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it. We are different people, but have much in common. I hope you find your sweet spot again.

Best,
Chris

PS — Lana ... when I read your comment, I wondered if you weren’t in a bad place! I remember walking out of a gas station/convenience store in Idaho years ago just having verbally snapped at the cashier. I hadn’t even made it to my vehicle when I realized she had done nothing that terrible. She was just in the place where she was when I snapped due to circumstances she had no involvement in. I hope things are better for you now.

We all need some grace at times in our lives.

Belinda said...

Oh no!!!! Terri please do not leave! What is so wrong with people that they must be so hurtful to others. I have tears thinking that you will be gone. I so look forward to see what you are up to each week and so much now apart of my life. Belinda

Anonymous said...

Belinda
I'm not sure people always mean to be hurtful to others when it come across that way. We are all in different places, with different prospective. Sometimes we just need to grant grace to others and accept that everyone does not express themselves in the same way. I believe if I choose not to have my feelings hurt it is less likely to happen.
Annie

Anonymous said...

I just found this post after finishing the 'diary' one I had to stop reading before I had finished it. Life has been a whirlwind here. I had no idea this had come up. I cannot even count the ways through the years your voice here has changed things for the better for me..or our marriage or family relationships. You are real here. I think we all understand you don't say 'everything' and keep a lot private. That is to your credit. That is how it should be. You share to sort things out or possibly help someone else by mentioning it. And it does help...I can testify. Your post on anxiety also helped me as well as you know all the diabetes information. BUT that is just a few ways. The everyday struggles and laughter you share makes us realize how the things we too stress and share over are common to all humans. Each of us though is an individual and each carries their life's tragic things and experiences differently. That is how God made us. Some seem to shed off a horrible childhood while others carry it with them like a coat all their lives. In reality both have been affected and who of us knows how inside each is still hurting? As we are, each life is so very different. In the paragraph where you wrote here of how you feel inside now,... it is like it was written by me...only I am not such a good writer. I could never put together such a list of thoughts even though I feel them. Some of them I realized just how profound they affect me only recently.

Too many things came to a head possibly at the same time the other day. You need a rest. A stay cation as they call it now or a real day away from the house and alone time or time with John and or God. A week or month or whatever away from writing. Only you know the boundaries you need to refresh and replenish yourself. Only you and God know what will help. You are like an empty vessel now and God can fill you up and replenish your spirit. You already know this. Yes as was already said,.. like an extended sabbath.

Terri I hope you decide to keep writing. Writing is a real part of your. As long as this blog is up I will keep coming back to check.. Probably as usual daily. Also to go back and refresh myself with past posts. Saying you will be missed by us all is so small. You will REALLY be missed. Truly. Thank you again Sarah

Anonymous said...

Terri, Thank you for sharing your ups and downs, and your knowledge through your writing. You have been an uplift to me many times and I appreciate your example of what it is to be a real Christian mother, wife, grandmother and daughter. Take a rest and do what you need to do for you but know you are a Godly woman and we love you. Kip

Anonymous said...

Terri, I have never commented before burnt have read your blog faithfully for years. Your blog is a quiet and restful place for my weary eyes each week, I will be praying for you and hope you find peace. Please know I love visiting you here and consider you a friend! Kim

Shirley in Washington said...

Dear Terri, I am praying for you! My life in the last year has been an overwhelming mix of loss and grieving. Your blog and your writings has been an encouragement to me over and over again. I find your blog to be a peaceful place, full of the rhythm of everyday life. It has a respite for me. So thank you! I hope you decide to continue but if not please know you are loved and appreciated. Shirley

Karen in WI said...

Terri, I am praying for you and sending hugs all the way to Georgia! I was in tears reading your post and then I burst into a full sob when I read Lana’s apology and remembered her husband’s brain injury.

Oh Dear Terri, just last week you made such a difference in my spiritual life with your ministry! I can’t tell you how broken I have felt the last few years and the multiple storms that descended on our family just about the same time that my son nearly died on that football field of a brain injury and the aftermath of intense pain for 14 months with no relief and how scared I was that we were going to lose him if we didn’t find pain relief for him. Well, last week you helped me to release and forgive and I actually felt physical relief from it. Thank you so much. I have spent time the last year or so reading an old blog post or two of yours every night. It helped me focus on something else so I could sleep. You have inspired me to keep on keeping on, taking care of my son and my family, my house, and my soul! I have learned a lot from your talks about your spirituality and I didn’t even know what a messianic synagogue was, but now I do. I find it all so interested and have looked up verses in the Bible and had discussions with my husband obout it. I told him on our coffee date this past Saturday morning that you helped me to forgive and I felt better. So, you see, my dear. Your ministry plants seeds and bears fruit and blooms into beautiful flowers and sometimes you just are unaware of it!

Please do take care of yourself and rest. Find nourishment in your Bible studies and the living water of Jehovah’s Word. I can relate to the negative words that play again and again in our heads and the doubt of parenting, etc. Know that I think you are just lovely and that you are loved by so many, including this struggling mom in WI. I’ll be checking for a visit, whenever you may be ready. Take all the time you need my dear!


Lana: I hope that you read this. I burst into tears as I do vaguely remember that you were the reader whose husband had a brain injury. I knew nothing of TBI’s until my son almost died from one when a coach sent him back into a football play after he had experienced his 3rd concussion and should have been done with football a few plays before. My husband tried to run out on the field to get him off, but the play started and he was tackled by a bigger boy and hit the back of his head hard. He struggled with constant, severe pain (8-9 out of 10) for 14 months that no medication or treatment could touch, as well as all the other symptoms that plague most brain injury patients. It was like another person came through my door after the injury and the son that we brought up for 18 years just seemed to almost disappear. I have been deeply grieving him and trying to get to know the new person. I didn’t know this happened to people. He has issues with anger and anxiety still. He is 19 so we cannot make him finish some of the medical therapies he stopped as he was just tired of doctors. Anyway, I don’t know what kind of brain injury your husband has or what his symptoms are. I know enough of being on the boards at Brainline and talking with a few other caregivers, as well as my own caregiving experience, that it’s so unbelievably heartbreaking and tough. My health and my husband’s health declined for a while there because of all the stress, heartbreak and disruption. I am praying for you, Lana. Our experience has been isolating and I’m wondering if yours has too. You are amazing for getting up every morning and caring for your husband.

Chef Owings said...

My first thought reading this was
I am not alone...and I cried... Everything I have been dealing with and going through, issues with living family and unsolved ones with the ones that have passed on... I am not alone

AND NEITHER ARE YOU.

I am a blogger, I take negative comments sometimes from someone that has read me from the beginning, someone that was actually part of my on this side of the screen. She still doesn't speak to me but her Hubby did that she was hurt an angry not really at me, but at herself and she could no longer deny what she was doing wasn't right. All I said to her was I was sorry she was hurt, I would pray she forgave me for hurting her,it was not on purpose. But what she came back with was on purpose to hurt. I prayed for her to have peace and for me to forgive. That was years ago

You bless those of us that read you. You can't change the pass so let it go, the best you can do is NOW and Tomorrow...

I pray for you to forgive yourself, find peace and know we care

Blessed BE

Lana said...

Karen,. It is like a big band aid to know that someone be else knows what my life feels like. I am so sorry about your son. I do know about the different person and the anger and the wondering if you can do another day. I do know how helpless you feel. Some mornings I get up and forget until he says something that doesn't make sense. It is heartbreaking to watch a man who was so brilliantly smart and handled the computers systems for a global company be where he is now but, after sitting by him in a coma for 10 days that I was told he would never wake up from, I can only be thankful that he is still here with me. I will pray for your family. We have five adult children and I know they will do what they want no matter what we think. Hugs, I wish we could meet for lunch and support each other.

jnkbake said...

Teri, I have been a fan of yours for years... I even have some of your PennyAnn blogs printed out in a folder to go back and read! I do hope you get the rest that you need and come back to us. I look forward to reading your "adventures" every week. You are such a huge inspiration to so many.

Lana, I so understand what you are going thru. My husband has a brain tumor and the change in him is huge. He is not the same man he was and I mourn over that each day. I am also trying to raise a teenager with mental issues at the same time (my granddaughter was abandoned by her father after her mother passed away) Some days I just go over the edge as well!

Both of you will be in my prayers.

JoAnne

Deanna said...

Like a few others have mentioned, I've been reading since the Penny Ann days. In fact, I have a three ring binder filled with those old posts because I used to print them out to read offline. Our lives are quite different, as are our views on a number of things. However, we share a love of home and family which is why I have read your blog consistently all these years.

You are the only one who can decide how much of a break you need but whatever you decide, do it for YOU. As someone who also writes and blogs I know that writing is therapeutic. You'll miss it. When you feel the urge, come back and pick up where you left off. As evidenced by these many comments, your readers need you. But more importantly, YOU need to express yourself by writing. I'll still be here when you get back. (((hugs)))

Deb B said...

I really will miss you if you decide to go, you have helped and soothed me more than I can say. I enjoy reading about the lull of your life and it makes me strive to be better. To see the good in people, to be nicer, be a better friend. We all have our roads to tread and I do feel the benefit of your footsteps on the path. I lost my mum coming up 14 years ago, and coming here is getting a little of her back - her way of being. But all of that said, your real life is the most important thing, and only you can decide if this is the right way for you at the moment. For me, you seem to hit the right balance between being authentic and oversharing - I do worry when I read people putting there whole life out there for dissection. I hope that you find peace, and wish you all the best for the future, whatever that may be. All the way from the UK - good luck and I hope til we meet again rather than goodbye. D x

Karen in WI said...

Hugs back to you Lana! I am thinking of going to a Brain Injury Association support meeting as the very little that I have spoken to other caregivers has been been tremendously helpful. I think there may be some online groups too.

Anonymous said...

This beautiful gathering of souls commenting here makes me think... so amazing...how the good Lord uses all things for good. Sending prayers and good thoughts and love to all you good souls.

Angela said...

Oh dearest Terri,
I know you must do what you need to but you are such a blessing. You have such a gift for words. I have no talent there and you so often give the words to me. I am so grateful for your work, your love of home and family, and your honesty. I would miss you greatly.

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