Tuesday, July 14, 2015

God Redeems "Blonde" Moments

I was once really a blonde.  And I was also a stereotypical blonde.

I believe that God does not waste one moment or experience of our lives when we belong to Him.

Even "blonde" moments.

Tonight, through an unfortunate mishap, a fine mist of motor oil was sprayed all over Steve's car. It was thick enough that you couldn't see through the windows and it was dripping down the side.

What to do?

When the big companies have oil spills, they use Dawn dish-washing detergent to clean the ducks up.  So, I grabbed a bucket, a sponge and my Dawn.

The oil LAUGHED at the Dawn.  It did not even begin to cut through the grease! We tried brushes.  We tried the pressure washer. Nothing worked!  Panic started to set in.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I recalled a faint memory.  Something that cuts grease better than Dawn...

Once upon a time, a young blonde talked to her friend on the phone.  What the blonde heard was, "Did you try the new Vaseline treatment for your hair?  You just put it on and rinse it out the next morning, and your hair feels fabulous!"  (This was way before Pinterest and Google.)  What was actually said was "...Vaseline brand Hot Oil Treatment..."

So, young, blonde Julie proceeded to rub Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ALL.OVER.HER.HAIR!

Next morning, it didn't rinse out.  It didn't wash out. So I washed it again. And again!  AND AGAIN!  I finally approached my mom with my dilemma.  We tried everything!  TWENTY-SIX WASHES LATER, we discovered that SHAVING CREAM cuts through the grease like nothing else!

I ran to the bathroom and found a full can of shaving cream, probably from the 90's.  I squirted a blob onto the window and sponged it around.  It rinsed off grease-free!

I never thought that embarrassing experience would come back to be so useful in the future!  God really does redeem everything!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Trigeminal Neuralgia Update

Oh happy day!  I have good news to report!

My trigeminal neuralgia is gone! GONE!!!

How did that happen?

I noticed that the pain was on the right. Last time, it was left.  I thought it might be in my neck, instead of my jaw.  I called around looking for a chiropractor who had treated this successfully (and also took our insurance and was close to home). I hit pay-dirt on the first try.  One treatment, and it was significantly better.  Second treatment, and it was gone.  I've continued to go back for minor adjustments every week or two, but not for pain in my face.
There’s a bonus. I am also feeling better all over.  I can bend down to pick stuff off the floor without groaning. I have greater range of motion in my neck than I’ve had for years.  I can open my mouth wider and without all that jaw popping. My hips are not in such chronic pain.

I’m a believer.

Chiropractic care can do a body a world of good!

Blessings to you,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Entertaining Angels

Don’t neglect to show hospitality,
for by doing this some have welcomed
angels as guests without knowing it. 
Hebrews 13:2

This is Josh.

I don't think Josh is an angel... But he just might be...

You know that moment when everything is right with the world, and it seems the sky opens up and the angels are singing, and you bask in the glorious moment?

That happened yesterday.

Josh came home from school with Stephanie.  When Cupcake walked in the door, she squealed with delight!  The weather was beautiful.   Spring Break was bursting forth.  Everyone was in a great mood. 

One thing about Josh.  He's STRONG.  And AGILE.  And ATHLETIC.  And might be some sort of MMA wizard.  And he's GENTLE with kids.  (Okay, that was five things.)

They went out on the trampoline and wrestled and flipped and wrestled some more.  He hung her up by the toes and tossed her over his shoulder.   He let her try to push him down and pick him up.  He raced her up the hill.  He let her hang on him. 

And afterward, I had a tired kid (or three).

Here's the thing. I have never met anyone who is a match for Cupcake's physical aggression AND gentle enough to handle her obnoxious strong  personality. 

Most teenagers think Stephanie's little sister is cute and precocious for about 5 minutes.  And then they're done and want her to leave them alone.  Many adults are patient and kind with her, but can't tolerate her sensory-seeking, high-energy need to be "athletically challenged". 

Josh was the perfect mix.

It was such a blessing to me to witness such a wild, high-octane, sweet exchange.  Sweeter yet, because Stephanie is secure enough in her friendship with Josh that she was not bothered by Cupcake trying to dominate the three-way relationship. 

For a moment in time, everything was right in my world.

And it was amazing!

Blessings to you,

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Friend Indeed

 Sometimes, all you need to get through a situation is just one friend.
Just one person who “gets” you.

In the world of parenting high-risk kids, those kind of people can be pretty few and far between.

So, how did I get so lucky blessed?

I have several friends I can turn to when I need a hug or a moment to vent.  These gals are not afraid of my story – in fact, they can relate.  These girls don't shrink back from the ugly truth or gasp in horror when I share the hard stuff.  They can discern if I need a shoulder to cry on, a gentle encouragement to face my troubles with grace, or Scripture to set my heart right.  They can give advice because they’ve earned my respect. And always… they pray.  These are women who’ve been broken before God, pouring their hearts out on behalf of the children they were called to care for. The kind of people who will drop everything and plead my case before the Lover of our souls.

I do not take their friendship for granted. They are a lifeline for me. Some are online, some flesh-and-blood right here in St. Louis. All are dear to me.
You know who you are. Thank you.
This past week Two weeks ago, I had the unexpected pleasure of renewing an old friendship and discovering that I have yet another trauma mama in my network.  There are so many similarities in our stories. Our circumstances are different, yet we instantly knew we were on the same page. She is ahead of me on this bumpy road and has much wisdom gleaned from her life experiences.  Just knowing that she understands is like breathing cool, fresh air after being in a hot, stuffy attic.  The encouragement is felt in every interaction.

I am thankful for my trauma mama comrades.
How about you?  Do you have someone who "gets" you?  In real life or online?
Blessings to you,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Trigeminal Neuralgia - Round Two


And I want to cry.

Last time, it lasted 4 long, torturous months.  I don’t want to go there again. But I think it’s too late.

I find myself fearful. That is an understatement...

It showed up Monday, feeling like a piece of food between my teeth.  Within an hour, my upper and lower jaw ached like toothaches (only on the right side).  Then it spread to my cheek (bruised), my ear (infected) and my temple (migraine). The whole side of my face felt like the top of a throb.

It’s hard to smile… and sleep… and eat.

That first morning, I had crunchy cereal with cold milk.  I forgot about the sensitivity issues.  You know when you have a toothache and the dentist raps your tooth with his hammer and they have to peel you off the ceiling.  Yeah, that feeling.

I'm really not trying to complain.  But I do want a record of what it feels like… in case my memory gets fuzzy.

Oh yeah, that’s already an issue...

Now, what was I talking about?

I was reading up on it today.  Here’s a little factoid: For years, it was called “the suicide disease”. No kidding. 
Ha!  When I went back to link this to an old post, I see my friend, Kim, asked if this was called the "suicide disease"!  I have some pretty well-read friends.  :-)

So, if you see me around, and I’m not smiling, please don’t think I’m angry or unfriendly. I’m just trying to focus on not moving my head/face.
Thankfully, the really intense pain comes and goes.  I can mostly handle the dull ache that sticks around.  Here's a positive spin:  Ice cream has suddenly lost it's luster for me.  :-)
Blessings to you,



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's Up?

Not sure why I’ve been silent so long.  Well, for one thing, life has been moving at warp speed forever.

Also, I guess I tend to oscillate between feeling like we’re just a normal family (so there’s nothing to blog about) and feeling hopelessly overwhelmed and fearful (so I don’t want to spew all over you.)

Welcome to my world.  J

So, what’s up with me?


Where do I begin?

Cupcake has been just a typical 4th grader, for the most part.  She goes yippy-skippy off to school most days.  She does her homework with very little frustration (except reading).  We have very few food issues, except not asking before helping herself to sweets. She goes to bed easily, and after more than 5 years, I no longer have to sit in the hallway while she falls asleep!!!

So, if things are so normal, why am I overwhelmed and scared???

Because under all this is still a little girl who, at her very core, is insecure.  It comes out through the cracks on a daily basis.

Also, puberty is coming upon us like a train wreck.  We’re entering uncharted territory and way too early. 

We have the body of a 7th grader with the mind of a 4th grader, combined with the desire to be just like her high-school sister.  On any given day, her emotional maturity varies wildly from a preschooler to a 10-year-old.  As a result, my emotional maturity varies from a preschooler to a 50-year-old.  In case you’re wondering…that’s a recipe for disaster.

Lord, have mercy. (Not the figure of speech…the earnest prayer.)


Sugar is doing well in public high school.  She is also navigating uncharted waters. It’s a different world from the one I grew up in.  The pressures and issues she faces are unimaginably difficult, but she has handled it all with grace, compassion, and self-respect.  She seems to be uniquely equipped to handle things that would throw others into a tailspin.  All this stuff going on has brought our relationship closer.  I really enjoy the new, more mature connection we share.

Luke’s eye surgery back in August went fine.  He sees well and looks great.  He got a job at the local grocery store.  He is starting to enjoy all this new disposable income.  J  In addition to electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, he recently bought an electronic drum set so he can learn percussion. 


Tim is back at college and doing well.  We hear from him every so often.  It’s good to have a grown-up kid.  J

As for me, I’m working with the youth on Wednesday nights again.  I have 7th and 8th grade girls.  I think it’s going to be a good year.  J  They are a sweet bunch.  Steve and I still teach Young Adult Bible Study on Sunday mornings. Steve’s parents have been having some health issues.  All of this keeps me pretty busy between running kids to and fro.

Oh yeah, and we are giving our basement a makeover in our vast amount of spare time …new flooring, new bathroom, getting rid of junk. 

That's about it for me.  What's up with you?

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What? School's Starting?!?!

I can't believe that I've been silent since April on here! 

I blinked.

Now summer is coming to an end...

I guess I have some catching up to do, huh?

Let's see...what happened in the past 4 months?

  • Tim turned 21.  The kids and I road-tripped down to Rolla to see him for lunch.

  • Cupcake had a strings concert at the end of the school year.  The kids sounded great.


  • The majority of our summer was consumed with Steve's parents' move.  They sold their house (5 minutes away), had an estate sale, and moved to a nice apartment (15 minutes away).  They are still getting settled.  Steve's dad has not had much mental improvement since coming home from the hospital after his aneurysm.  This move has been hard on him, since all of the visual prompts and daily routines have been disrupted.  It's been hard on her because she was the one responsible for all the decisions, for packing everything up, and for sorting through all their stuff - choosing the most meaningful possessions from a lifetime of meaningful experiences.  Tough stuff.  :-(

  • Tim got a summer internship with AT&T.  He likes the job and his boss.  Driving downtown every day, not so much.

  • Luke and Sugar went to Super Summer (Church Camp) in Hannibal, MO in June.

  • We had Luke's Eagle Court of Honor.


  • Steve and I celebrated our 26th anniversary on June 27th with dinner and a Glock.  Not the traditional anniversary celebration, but it was fun.

  • We drove up to my hometown to see my brother and his family and take care of Mom's estate.  We're still not done with that...it might drag on a L-O-N-G time. 

  • My college roommate and her family from Scottsdale, AZ came to visit for a few days.  The kids hadn't seen each other in over 5 years, but they immediately jumped in and had fun together.  First, there was the airsoft war...

 Then, they went to the communications center and "communicated".

We had lots of other fun, but no pictures to prove it.   

It was a great visit!

  • Our old neighbors swung through town twice and the girls got to see their dear friends again.


  • Luke and Sugar went on a mission trip to Aniston, AL with World Changers. 

  • I (Well, we really.  I had some help.) stripped the wallpaper in my kitchen and painted it a fresh, new green.  Yeah!

  • We met my other college roommate (a childhood friend) and her family and another college friend for dinner while they were in town.  It was great to see everyone.

  • Cupcake went for a week to her first sleep-away camp (Centri-Kid) ever!  Steve also went as a chaperone for the boys - just in case, but he was not needed (by Cupcake).  She had a great and successful week!  (Still looking for the pictures from this.)

  • Tim jumped out of a plane and lived to tell about it!

  • Sugar has decided that she wants to go to public high school, so after much dragging of the feet on my part, she is just now enrolled in the local school.  I think she will do very well there, but I will miss her at home.

  • Luke continues to play in the Youth Praise Band.  He also rotates in to the Sunday Morning Worship team a couple weeks a month and he is playing in another band with a mission-minded focus. 

  • Luke will be having eye surgery to correct his strabismus (lazy eye) at the end of August.  Please pray for that. 
So that was our summer.  There was no vacation.  Who has time for vacations?

Moving on, it's time for back-to-school and Birthday-Month-a-Palooza!

Hope to talk to you soon.

Blessings to you,