What is normal?  Are you normal?  Am I normal?  Is anyone normal?


Normal:  conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.


I have tried to be normal… I conformed to most of the expected standards of a typical “good girl” growing up in the 60’s-70’s.   I did the usual things… school, band, Girl Scouts.  I had the typical family – 2 parents still married to each other, dog, cat, 2 little brothers.   We drove a station wagon or a VW van… or for those brief moments when I became NOT normal, I drove a VW convertible bug.   I went to college… I worked at summer camp… I was certified to be a lifeguard… I fell in love… I got married…

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Is normal even a thing anymore?  I sit here thinking that I just want my life to be normal again.   I want my house to be in order, my kids to be happy, my mother to be in her own home doing her own thing…


My “new” normal is not fun.   My new normal began over 10 years ago… I didn’t like it then and I like it even less now.   I don’t like change.  I had/have dreams and they keep getting suppressed.   My new normal now includes… taking care of my mother 8-12 hours per day (soon to be 24/7).   My new normal does NOT include being involved with the youth at a church doing music and VBS ministries.


I understand that some things change with time… as much as I would love to go back in time to when the girls were little… they grow up.  I am OK with that.   They are doing great.  Despite all the changes, they are resilient and they are making their own marks on the world and establishing their normals.


I keep saying to my family, “In my mind, when the house is done, everything will be in order around here.  Mom’s room will be such that she cannot get into things we don’t want her messing with.  She will be able to move about and fiddle with everything in her room.”   In my mind, I can do it.  In my mind, this house can once and for all actually be organized.  The problem is… the other people who live here don’t share this same vision.  My normal… expected normal… newest normal… is NOT their normal.

I know that I am actually NOT normal… but I don’t think anyone really is… which maybe means that abnormal is really normal?   Everyone is unique, that is how we were made.   If everyone was the same, life might be easy, but it would also be boring.


Is it normal to grieve my mother and father and grandparents daily?  Is it normal to cry almost daily over hard things and silly things?  Is it normal to wish for easier times?  Is it normal to long for happier days?   Is it normal to want to be held and loved daily?  Is it normal to be so crippled with the weight of this life that all you want to do is play with yarn?   Is it normal to still be sleeping in your living room for 4+ months while you wait to get construction complete?  (NO, THAT ONE IS DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL!!)


As isolated as I feel most of the time, I also try to remind myself that I am normal and how I am responding and dealing with the “hand” I’ve been dealt and the “normal” I am now living, is probably normal for just about anyone going through this.


This is one reason that I spew so much on Facebook about what I am going through.  I know that I cannot be the only person facing these issues, even though I feel like it.   If I spew my angst and grief and anger and frustration, maybe someone else will feel less alone.  They will know that they too are “normal” because someone else feels the same way.


I also know that some people have unfriended me because of it… that is fine.  Probably, my rawness is something that they don’t want to read and deal with.  For many, FB is just a light and easy way to connect with the world and play some games.  It is fine, if you have hidden me and unfriended me.  (you won’t see this either)


This is also the reason that I have hidden and blocked some people on FB.  I found their comments to not be helpful to me and to actually cause me more anxiety and angst.  I would rather just hide them than live fearing what they would post next.   Their posts weren’t necessarily negative, but they were certainly not helpful and got to be more than I wanted to deal with.


So… normal… I guess I am somewhat normal… for me.  I am normal for a 50-something woman, caught in the sandwich generation, dealing with a mother with dementia, teenage and 20-something daughters, 4 cats and one dog, a husband, and house construction.  How normal can I really be?



Grateful Gifts

You have seen the posts on facebook about making a jar and putting in notes all during the year of things you are thankful/grateful for.  Well…. we did that this last year:


We read the notes on our way to our New Year’s Eve Celebration.  Here is what was in the jar:

(in no particular order)

– Esther sorted 6 totes of shoes

-Liz got a 1 at Solo and Ensemble

-Liz took 2nd in the 400 free (Jan. 8, 2013)

-Thankful for Esther’s kind and generous heart!

-mom lost weight, dad is trying

-One Direction

-Lydia got a 1 at Solo and Ensemble for her flute trio, and her choral ensemble also got a 1 (the only 1 in the school)

– Liz had a personal best on her 500/400 as sectionals

-House of Anubis is now on 4 days a week

– we got another cat (hopefully) – NO WE DID NOT!!!

-Tricia set up Wayne’s smartphone, a BIG help

-One Direction (yes, again…. I think someone is really thankful for them!  LOL!)

– Thankful for Lydia’s hard work at swimming



-Kevin gave Abi a car

– Esther won a penguin poster (sadly the cat ate that poster a few weeks later)

-a car from Kevin and Cousin Jim to repair it

– Wattpad

– Mom got a GS award in spring 2013

– Liz worked hard pulling weeds

-Jim fixed Abi’s minivan

– orthodontics, so our teeth will look good!

– Abi goes back to school

– we can almost get a car in the garage (and then brother Pete filled up the space when he moved, but now it is almost empty again and we DID fit a car in – but just grandma’s little Kia Soul)

– Thankful for the wise choices Liz is making during High School

-Lydia’s band and choir got a 1 at contest

-Thankful for Abi’s stick-to-it-iveness in college

-toys and games

– Esther spent almost 24 hours with Mia

– youtube

– Wayne got a full time job

-new phones

– Panic! at the Disco (I’m told it is music?)

– a nice hike at Wanake

-$3 fuse fixes the microwave

-I had one of the best years at camp. ❤   – Lydia

– Danisnotonfire and Amazing Phil (I’m told they are people on Youtube)

-Patricia for thinking of this great idea  (but really it was on facebook first,  😉    )

– spending 2 days at Auntie Lois’

-Abi home on break to run “mom” errands


-food, shelter, etc.

– House of Anubis started again.   🙂    (Well maybe not “good” for the family though?)

-Abi did a lot to help drive her sisters around during her Xmas break

– a working microwave and food to cook in it

-Liz hasn’t crashed the car yet!

– Liz band 3-peat at OMEA state finals – and they got a 1 this year!!!

– good weather for the spring campouts

-thankful for Tricia’s care of her mother during this time of need (her broken shoulder)

-Liz got her driver’s license

– I love my slippers and was very surprised!

-Fair winners (everyone won ribbons at the fair!!)

Yes, we will continue this for 2014!  Hopefully there will be at least the same amount of things to be thankful for next year!!

Expounding on it…

I started to write a long comment on Facebook (well, actually I did) and then had more thoughts so brought it back here.


We are not searching for a new church to attend. I just wanted to share something that was on my heart (in response to the door slamming shut comment a couple days ago). It seems that some people just don’t understand how this process has affected me and how it has changed our lives completely without hope of reconciliation. How everything I had imagined and dreamed and planned for has been destroyed because Wayne has been removed from pulpit ministry. Yes, of course, dreams change over time and you have to “roll with the punches” (I don’t do that well) but when the cause was needless, it is harder to overcome. Everything is based on 2 people’s statements and then lies and no grace extended nor even rebuttal allowed. I don’t think the “average Joe” really comprehends how much of a pastor’s life and his family’s life is wrapped up in church ministry. How everything you do is based on the church and when that is forcibly removed how you have a hard time even figuring out how to go on and you have no clue what you are to do with yourself. It has been 3 years (since the removal), 4 years since the mess began. We are making it through most days just fine. The impact damage on our lives and our children’s lives will never be overcome. It is NOT the same as a secular job loss, was my main point. Unless you have been involuntarily removed from your ministry position and thrown out like the garbage and not given a chance to restore yourself and no longer permitted to continue in the ministry roles you have held for decades, then you can never truly understand.


I do have a grasp on the loss of dreams based on a secular/non-religious loss.  My father.  My father became ill when I was in college.  By the time I got married he was either no longer working or only working very part time (I cannot remember).  His health continued to decline until he lost the battle with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993 just 6 short weeks before his first grandchild was to be born.


Of course, that threw my mother’s life into tailspin.  Did she ever imagine that she would be a widow at 51?  Of course not.  Did she ever imagine that she would be the sole grandparent (on one side) to her children’s children?  Certainly not.  She imagined (I can only assume) the same things I imagined.  2 loving grandparents, camping, boating, playing, loving, showering with time and gifts, someone to travel with, sit with and watch TV with, someone to keep you warm on a cold night (OK, I didn’t imagine that one, but I assume she did).    Is it right?  Not even slightly.  Should such a great tragedy happen to our family (any family)?  Never.  But it did.  Her life was turned upside down.  She could do nothing to stop it.  My life was turned upside down.  My daddy is gone.


So, yes.  I’ve had that experience too (loss of dreams/future based on a non-religious event).  However, my point remains, there was no loss of a church family.  I had the churches we were part of at the time to encourage and support us.  I had people to minister with and to.  I’m not a public griever so I can’t really say that I had people to comfort me in the churches but I’m sure they would have.  My mother had her church family as well.  She had to continue on and finish raising “the boys” without a father.  I’m certain that was tough (they turned out fine).  She had a church family to worship with.  They supported her and encouraged her and prayed for her.  And she has her ministry there and always did.  It was never taken away from her.  She is not a public griever either (guess I learned it?) but I’m sure they offered her comfort in the ways they could as she got through that time – and still does.  It helped alot, I think that we had Abi so soon after dad’s death.  It gave us something good to hold on to, to look forward to.  In fact we had a baby shower just a week after the funeral.  They wanted to cancel it but we wanted to move on, life didn’t come to an end just because our world was upturned.


Can you imagine if during that time of great grief we had been told that we could no longer attend church.  That we were no longer allowed to worship with the people we had been with.  The ones who had been supporting us?  That would be unheard of.  You would not send  a grieving family away from a community of faith just because someone died.

Yes, we have a church we are attending.  I’ve said that.  The people there are and would be supportive of us.  But it is not an active congregation for us to get involved in the types of ministry that we enjoy.  No we are not looking to change.  As I said before.  We are there because of family.  We will stay because of family.  The family aspect, right now, is more important to us.  We are sitting, we are trying to heal, it is hard – especially this week when all the atrocities of the politics of the church are thrown back at us in hurtful ways.    We will get through it.  We are definitely scathed.   (auto-correct tells me scathed is not a word that it is only unscathed – what is the opposite then?)    At this point it is too painful to try and re-imagine our future without the church and activities that I believed were always going to be there.  Someday I will be able to do that.


One dream I always had was that our children would get married in whatever church we were serving, surrounded by that community of faith and Wayne would help with the service.  Of course, I don’t have any child preparing to marry right now, but that is one of those long held dreams. I have started to re-imagine that one.   🙂     Now that dreams includes children getting married at Wanake.  I wanted to but because of the age and health concerns of relatives and my father, I did not.  If my daughters were to choose that, I will do everything in my power to make that happen.    See… I’m trying to re-imagine.  I’ll get there… eventually.