This is kinda like our own version of a bad reality TV show - but without a TV show.

(warning... warning.... warning.... this is a long one folks.  So grab a snack, run to the bathroom if you have to, and please, find a comfy chair....)

What do pink eye, an irate neighbor, a fiery potholder, and a new $200 tent all have in common?

Well, me, of course - my week, to be exact.....  But don't look away in fright... I'm not the one with pink eye.  Just another kid thing to keep us on our toes and in the drive thru pharmacy about once a week.  And this particular kid can't remember to turn in his sick notes at school so it looks like he may be labeled a delinquent by the end of the school year.  A delinquent with pink eye.  Which is just a bad way to be. 

So y'all I haven't really written anything of thought and substance in a while.  Because I find it terribly hard to write at home when everyone is around - and they're always around.  And my mind has been scattered in a million directions lately - which is about half a million more directions than usual.  So trust it as truth when I thank you for sticking around for what has appeared to be a play by play of our family for the last few posts.  It's kinda like our own version of a bad reality TV show but without a TV show.

First, the news.....

I caught the potholder on fire this morning taking toast out of the oven.  But I didn't know it was on fire till both husband and I smelled something akin to roasting marshmallows and then I looked up on the wall, where of course I have the potholders hanging on coordinating flammable ribbons, and sweet baby Jesus... it was on fire.  But fireman Dave doused it in the sink as if it weren't a thing at all... and that is why I married him.  For just such an instance. 

Also,.....we are now the proud owners of a new $200 tent and will be trying to move it forward to another happy camper as soon as we can.  So if you love to camp and you love to spend all your disposable income on tents, we have just the one for you.  Why? you may ask....

Because kid 3 went on his very first independent Boy Scout camping trip last weekend which was all fine and good till he didn't know how to take down his tent  by himself - after a rain and mud storm  - and he ended up sticking all the parts that had not floated away, into a trash bag and returning them to the scout troop all an icky mess.  Which sounds like mistake #1 ... but, no it was not. 

Mistake #1 was actually when he thought this particular tent was the one checked out to him by the troop to use for the weekend -  when really it was a top of the line, mansion of a tent that belonged to another scout.  Another scout with an angry mother.  My kid just can't tell a luxury tent from a plain Jane, scout issue tent on a dark Friday night when asked to find his stuff in a giant pile and go forth to camp.

So a visit was made to me and kid 3 at our home after all was discovered.... and words were spoken that shouldn't have been, and patience was lost and demands were made - all that made this mom mad and kid 3 cry.  Which then made husband step in and offer to replace the wet and muddy tent with a brand new $200 replacement.  And that's how we inherited the old one.  Which turned out to be perfectly good, and all the missing parts were eventually found.  And we are super thankful for eBay where we may be able to sell it and recover the cost of the tent, but probably not our scouting reputation.

But the tent wasn't the big deal .... It was the words.  Once words are out, y'all, THEY ARE OUT.  And once a child has been made to feel the source of the problem, it can't be undone.  So much for scouts being a safe place to learn and make  mistakes. 

And I'm trying really hard not to be bothered by it all, but I really was and maybe I still am - as proven by the fact that I'm telling the world about it on the blog.  Because things can be replaced.  But the heartbreak of an 11 year old  boy who stepped out on his own for the first time and needed a little more help than what he got?  That takes a little more time to fix.   Y'all.... Amazon doesn't deliver confidence to your front door.  It is grown and taught and experienced.  

But I think the most interesting thing about confidence is that it doesn't always have to come from glowing success.  Maybe the best form of confidence comes from the most unexpected places  - when we mess up -  or have been labeled a walking, living mess ourselves.... and we prove to the world that it just isn't so.     

And I guess, really, the topic at hand here for me is the building up of a child's spirit. The spirit that will carry him through a lifetime of ups and downs.  And the strength of spirit that should - in a perfect world - be there as a bank of self confidence and courage  - enough to face a lion.  A lion in the form of a bully, a demanding teacher, or a parent who needs to take a breath and count to 10 before her words escape forever and stab a kid in the heart. 

So here we go.... and I never wanted this blog to be a place for dirty laundry... unless we're talking about my soon to be luxurious laundry room, of course.....

But this week I had an all new occasion to deal with hurts and disappointments of my very own.  From my past, but I just can't get those darn things to stay in the past..... Many of you know that I have been estranged from what is left of my family for quite some time.  Almost 4 years.  And we've talked around the issues here, but it just goes bigger than I could ever put into words.  And some of it?  Just doesn't need to be revisited in any shape or form.  Not yet anyway. 

I grew up in a verbally abusive home.  And lived with it even into adulthood.  There was the occasional physical incident, but mostly abuse of power and place and authority and trust - the worst kind of abuse.  The kind that stays in a kid's heart till she isn't even a kid any more.  But someone forgot to tell her that very important fact. 

So she still listens and believes all the lies that have been told to her every day... that she's ugly, that's she's fat, that she's whatever the deal of the day was.... that she will never amount to anything but bad, that no one could ever want to be with her for more than what she may cheaply offer for a time, and she hears the words that have echoed in her for years.... I wish you had died the day you were born.   And she becomes rock hard on the inside so she doesn't have to cry about it anymore.  And maybe she grows a terrific sense of humor so she can laugh during the attack of the mean lion. 

And for those of you reading this that know me personally..... don't be at all embarrassed for knowing this and looking me in the eye with this knowledge.  Because I am ashamed of the hurt and the people who caused it, but I'm not ashamed of me or for me.  It's who I am, it's where I came from, and though it's the power that, sadly, still tries to hold me back?  Mostly it's the power that has pushed me forward.  

Forward enough to leave the hurtful people behind.  And though I grieve my loss and wish forever and often that even at this late date something could change, I've learned not to count on it.  

And I've moved forward enough to reach out to those around me with all the love that I never got to share before now.  Love that has been compounded with time and interest to become big enough to block, for the most part, all the bad that I thought would forever live in me.     

And I will never repeat these hurtful words on here again.  Today was the first and the last time.  But it all came rushing back to me yesterday with a mistake phone call  - the result of a mis-dialed number - some angry words, and I was back as a kid again with a hurting heart.  

So.... all that being said..... I am thankful for new beginnings.  

I had a birthday a few days ago... and I was shown by friends and my sweet husband and boys that it is indeed a good thing to be Kristi.  

I was born many moons ago on Good Friday.  And brought home from the hospital on Easter Sunday.  And I've always remarked on the significance of those dates - first of all because I think my birthday has fallen on those holidays maybe once again in my lifetime... but mostly because I love their meaning. 

Good Friday being such a dark day.  The day that Jesus wrestled for who would win our very lives.  And for a time, the world turned dark, and shook in fear and anger.  

But y'all... Sunday came.  And the light came.  And the joy and the fulfillment of all God's promises came.  

And though my story isn't quite as grand as all that, ... it's faith that there is always something better that keeps me hoping and looking.  

Wishing a wonderful Holy Week to you.  This week may we find time to remember the sacrifices made for us.  May we find time to walk through the darkness of worry and regret and fear - so that the light on the other side shines brighter than any light we have ever known.  May this week be a week of love and celebration and the promise of greater things to come because of the love given to us as children of God.

Here are 2 phrases I've heard myself say this week. Guess which one is true and which one is false....

Here are 2 phrases I've heard myself say this week.  Guess which one is true and which one is false....

a.  A big brother is a substitute parent when I can't be there.
b.  Our car smells like sweat and old cheese.

I actually think both statements are true but kid 1 argued the point when I asked him to look out for kid 3 this weekend on his first ever independent Boy Scout camping trip.  So statement a is true for parents, I guess, but not so much if you are a Walters boy being asked to do something nice for a sibling.

And statement b was definitely true when I said it because I had just hauled 7 fifth grade boys to and from a school basketball game and I may or may not have been the only one who had taken a bath in several days.

And here is a picture of how my breaker boxes turned out after husband gave in and painted them.  But he took the time to cover and protect the manufacturer name on the box just in case anyone wants to know who made it or in the event of a power outage I need confirmation that those are, indeed, still the breaker boxes.

Which leads me to the real point of this conversation.  Which is that I just don't understand men.   So if you are a man reading this, help me out and explain how y'all work.  You can do that in the comments section below.   

And today kid 2 and I went shopping for laundry room art.  Did you even know there was such a category?  Husband thinks that the mop and broom holder on the wall is perfectly good laundry room art  - and that I should just leave well enough alone.  So we agreed to disagree and he took those things down the same day he painted the breaker boxes.  Anyway, now I'm obsessively compulsive about finding just the right wall art to make my laundry room experience a little better.  I already have a fancy pants chandelier in there so I may as well just go all the way and turn the place into a palace.  

What do y'all think of this one? 

When I get it all done I'll show you, and you will definitely want to move in there to live.  It is, in fact, where kid 3 lived for several months of his infant life till he learned not to cry all night in the middle of the night waking up brothers and making the next day hellish for mommy.  He recommends the laundry room suite to all our guests. 

So our search for laundry room art took us to Hobby Lobby today which I had no idea was such a huge store.  And kid 2 and I got separated for a while and when we reunited somewhere around the mile wide wall art section, he was losing patience with trying to decide between floral prints versus mirrors with hooks,  and proclaimed that I myself had begun to look a little glassy eyed like this guy that we met at the wildlife place last week....

And that I needed a candy bar.  So I said yes sir, and chose a Snickers bar which made us laugh and think about this commercial that we saw not long ago....

And our garage door finally arrived, 2 months almost to the day of us ordering it and being told it would arrive in one month.  So either someone at Home Depot lies a lot or they lost our door until my blog saved the day.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the blog saved the day.  Because it apparently has a little search engine of its very own.  So I went in there and typed the words garage door and it showed me every post where I said those exact words.  Which was only 2 posts but I thought it was more.  Really more, because it was always on my mind... like Willie Nelson sings in that sad country song.   But he was talking about a woman that he did wrong and wished he had done better by her.  So many similarities.  

So after we figured out that we've been waiting for half our lives for the  new door and that we've already been paying for it... husband called and tracked it down.  And voila!  Here she is.  Still needs some trim and a new garage light because kid 2 just broke the one that's out there last week playing basketball.  They also broke the neighbor's dryer vent on her outside wall - so claims the neighbor - when overheard speaking to her dryer vent repairman.  

Anyway, if you want to search the blog for, say,... how many times I've used the word sucky to describe my very existence, you can.  And it will pull up 4 posts.  How accurate is that?  And I have to say that I'm super glad that it only pulled up 4 posts where the world in general or something like it was bad.  Because this blog - the mirror of my soul -  would be on the verge of pathetic if it were more. 

And it's raining again for about the 1000th day in a row.  But I finally got some  rain boots.  They're purple and kinda cute and I chose them because of course it was raining, and this was the only pair left in the store in my size.  And the big yellow size tag that Marshall's likes to put on the bottom of the shoes was found stuck this afternoon on my car door.  And I shudder to think of all the places that tag could've been stuck for days and no one would've said a word to me about it. 

Because I apparently taught class the other day with giant mascara blotches on my face and no one told me.  Till 2 hours and an unsuspecting walk through the gym later to the bathroom where I had to discover it myself.  That was the same day I almost fell down in class.  So then and there I declared it to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  But I didn't use the word sucky.

My dad once walked around somewhere with a pants size tag stuck on his behind.  And no one told him for a long time, but my mom laughed when someone finally did.  And once I saw a lady coming out of the bathroom in a department store with her skirt all tucked up inside her panties.  And as much as I hated to be the one to tell her, I did because I'm weird kind that way. 

Ladies do not let other ladies walk around the mall or anywhere with our skirts tucked in our panties.  That's just a rule.  

(I also once told a lady who looked to be on a date with some fella that the back legs of her chair were about to fall off a high ledge behind her and that she may want to readjust or fall backward and bust her tailbone.  And not long ago I told a gal at the lake that her bikini top was coming unhooked in the back.  So I am, #1 - a busy body.... or #2... on a mission to save the world from the embarrassments of life.

Anyway, ....

Finally leaving shopping today, kid 2 spoke words of wisdom when he told me to leave it all behind for now, and don't make an impulse decision.  Now, understand that he was talking as a teenage boy in a craft store wanting to get the heck out of there... but there was wisdom beyond his experience and years in his words.  He was also very correct in suggesting that I eat a candy bar.  

And I like to think that years have brought me wisdom comparable with my years.... hard earned wisdom, in some cases, really.  And with a birthday coming up soon, I have years on my mind.  And I think that time just brings a natural learning curve in so many areas for us.  But along with that comes the learned feelings of worry, of fear, and distrust, the constant companion of self doubt and second guessing.....  And for us ladies, the added cost of additional beauty treatments to boot.  

But I kinda miss having no experience in some things.  Having no knowledge of a broken heart and of disappointment and change.  And I think that the fresh eyes of a child are things of beauty that I wish we could all pull out every now and then. 

So basically I need a change of scenery. Spring break 2015

I declare the Texas drought to be over.  And my weather forecast is for it to rain here for the rest of our lives.  

And it's spring break.  But the spring time forgot to join us.  So we've basically spent the whole week staring out the window and asking each other, How many inches do you think we got, honey?  

Husband and I also discussed what wood Noah's ark was built from.  The answer is gopher wood which husband thinks everyone should know.  But I didn't .... and then he looked at me like I just fell off the turnip truck.  I also asked him to paint the breaker boxes located on my laundry room wall and you would've thought I asked him for a kidney.  

And the rain has us all miserable and makes our dog smell worse than ever which just doubles up on the pain of a boring, no vacation planned, rained out spring break week.  That, and all the video games that my kids would spend their entire days lives playing if we let them.  And I've thought it all along, but it is now confirmed.  They are indeed trying to kill me with a slow tortuous death.

So basically I need a change of scenery.  Or a change of family for a while.  Because obviously after the flu and the ice and now the rain, I seem to be all grumpy and wondering who packed us up and moved us to the rain forest without me knowing.  Maybe it was while I was feverish and I just don't have any recollection of it. 

Anyway, I think this is third in my series of depressing posts for y'all to read.  So if you are one of those people who feel better about your current state of affairs when you find out how miserable someone else is, this post is for you.

Ok.  I told you I would follow up on this.... here's how it went the night I drove the car into the side of the house.  Which was entirely crazy.  And you should know that I have never even come close to hitting that wall or any other the entire 12 years we've lived here.  But as I always tell Fireman Dave as he drives us recklessly through the mountains on vacation - and as I hang onto the the door to cushion my fall from the highest mountain peak - It only takes once, mister.  It only takes once for you to misjudge your driving skills and drive us the heck off the side of this cliff. 

Anyway, I've been speaking the truth all along.  It does only takes once to make a mistake of the driving or any other kind.  But I had just taken the car to the car wash and there was a giant puddle in the driveway from the melting snow and I tried to avoid it.  And at night time I just didn't see how close to the side of the house I was till I heard the scrape.  But kid 3 felt it because he was in the backseat and it made him look up from his video game which says it was somewhere near an earthquake sized tremor. 

So weather permitting, we will one day soon get some touch up paint and be back driving in style.  Or I can just drive around and wait for those people that fixed my dent one time before in the grocery store parking lot for whatever cash I had in my purse plus a tank of gas.  That's how the Walters do most major repairs, remodels, and sometimes even our healthcare. 

So here was the phone call to husband at the fire station about the car......

Honey, I messed up the car.  Pretty bad.  Not really bad.  But kinda bad.  Call me.....

And my saving grace was that he was at work and had 24 hours to mull it over and decide if he still wants to keep me around after our car insurance keeps paying the price for our love.  And it was also day one of the feverish flu for him so he was already kinda' weak and worn down.  And when I told him about the car, I spoke in my sweet voice which probably sounded to him like sickness sympathy and.... bam, earned me some points.  He had also been sitting on the fire engine for about 4 hours watching some downed power lines at the lake and maybe the news of the car was a break in the monotony of the night or a man conversation starter for all the guys to complain about their wives. 

Oh, and today I almost fell down in class.  Not unlike the day I fell going up the stairs at the kids' school and everyone acted like they didn't know me.  But today it was the best save ever and I'm recording it in my career history books.  I blamed the near fall on the rain because it just made sense.   

And the one sunny day we had here this week we went to a wildlife park and soaked up the sun and met a baby lemur.  And we were so stunned by the blue sky that we accidentally drove about 30 extra miles past where we needed to be.  Pretty much in a sunny day trance.  

And we fed anything that would come close enough to us.  Then we fed ourselves at the local pizza place.  Where the food was okay but not great and the line for the ladies restroom was intense.  Because if you visit this particular animal park we went to, ladies you should know that they only offer porta potties there  - unless you go into their restaurant and order pizza.  And  I think that's the best advertising for their restaurant that money can buy.  Buy a pizza, get to use indoor plumbing. 
And we learned how male camels flirt with their lady friends which made me very thankful to not be a lady camel.  

So here is the face a gal who has never had a lemur jump on her makes when a lemur jumps on her.  His name was Theodore and he was extremely energetic and I think he's really just another Walters boy disguised in fur. 

So that's really it for spring break...... 

But this week we had some disappointing news.  Kid 1 didn't get into his high school of choice.  And he's doing okay with it right now.  But grieving change and loss and disappointment is never easy no matter our age or where we are when our heart feels the hurt.  And his heart surely did for a while. 

I tried to tell him about how I prayed for him in this.  But when you're 14, you just tend to pray for what you want.  Maybe that doesn't stop when we're 14. 

But I'd like to think that all our prayers are heard, even if they're not answered in the timely and specific fashion that we would like.  And I'd like to think that God actually does know what's best for us.  And the answers we get to our prayers may be the best answer he has for us right now.  Even if that answer  may be a broken and disappointed heart.  Maybe that's the only way to get us to take our eyes off ourselves and really hunt for the next step in the plan.  I find that to be true for me, anyway. 

And I'm hoping to see new possibility, a new idea of the school situation, maybe.  And a new comfort that the stress of waiting for an answer is over.  We'll see.    

Hoping you saw some sunshine over spring break.  Somewhere.  If you know where it is, let me know.  

This past week or so has been a mess. A wet, cold, dark, dirty, feverish, sad mess. And today is where I park my sad car in its parking spot and say that I need help.

Here's how the past 10 days have gone around here....

Snow, rain, repeat.  Get really, really sick, share with a friend and/or family member, repeat.  Take kid to emergency room for what appears to be appendix pain but luckily find out that it's not and that kid kinda enjoys the attention and the private hospital room with Sponge Bob cartoons on the TV.  Mom and Dad will not enjoy the hospital bill.  Miss some work, miss some more work, have school cancelled again and again to the point that every time the phone rings I  cry out a dreadful sounding scream of panic that they're calling to do it again. 

So I've held off writing a bit till I felt better.  Which today I actually do.  And I got out of the house for the first time in days.  To go to the doctor, but it's still something.  Longer periods of time between fever and husband is on the mend as well.  Kid 1 who stayed in the emergency room till middle of the night last night is exhausted and home from school.  And sad to say that more ice is on the way for our area and I almost just can't stand the thought of it. 

And here is where the topic of today's truth all comes out.  And I could say that I feel like a delicately balanced house of cards waiting for one more strong push of sickly winter wind to blow me down.  And that wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration at this point.  Because I'm a big believer in the fine line between physical and mental health -  And how often those two lines intersect and at so many different points and angles that it can seem sometimes hard to tell which path I'm on.  Does that make sense? 

I seem to be greatly influenced by the weather and really think that had this sickness hit us all on a sunny spring like week, or if I lived in Tahiti, the recovery time would've been much quicker and easier.  But as miserable as it has been here on the outside, it's really been a big mirror of the way I've felt inside.  Not just the fever and the yuck that comes with any illness, but the worry that it may never end.  The feeling that every morning we are reliving the same day over and over again like the bad dream in the movie, Groundhog Day. 

And I think depression is much like that.  **Disclaimer..... I am no expert on the subject.  But I have dabbled a bit here and there in the mood swings of middle aged women.  And in years past, at one point or another, truly suffered physically and emotionally the losses that life threw my way.  Losses that required a little more help than I could give myself.  So I don't speak from expertise, but from experience.  I don't speak from knowledge of the subject, but from knowing it all too well as it has played a few dark roles in my life over the years.

But I do know this.... depression in any form or degree can be triggered by physical trauma and stress on the body.  Women tend to feel its effects more than men, while some women just hold their own and ride the boat successfully through the waves of life without even getting their hair messed up.  Lucky girls.  Not me.  

There was a time for me many years ago, that within a few short months I experienced 3 back to back deaths of loved ones, the recurrence of my dad's cancer, a completely separate and seemingly huge life change that was key to me at the time, and..... holy cow, was the victim of a violent crime.  And after all was said and done, things just turned out to be more than I could handle.  And I knew I was at a point that something had to change.  

So I took time to learn.  I learned that the brain has its own unique reactions to stress.  And how your particular brain responds to stress may not be like mine, but mine just quit responding with anything more than tears, indecision and frustration at even the slightest attempt to move forward from where my feet and mind planted themselves in their new sad home.  Their sad home just this side of Crazy Town.

And I learned all about brain chemicals that I never even knew existed before.  And I learned that doctors can be a wonderful resource for those of us that are willing to ask for help.  And y'all, it was the best decision I ever made in my life.  To walk into that doctor after work one day and confess that I was tired and a mess and how I was afraid of becoming a bigger mess if I didn't do something about it then.   

So here I am saying it today.  This past week or so has been a mess.  A wet, cold, dark, dirty, feverish, sad mess.  And today is where I park my sad car in its parking spot and say that I need help.  I need sunshine and warm air.  I need work and friends and family.  And please, for the love of all the flowers in springtime,  please no more snow days for the rest of the school year.  And while I'm asking, please no more sickness for me or husband because our kids have been lonely too long.  

And more than anything I need to be strong in myself and in my memories of past struggles triumphs.......  so I can be reminded that spring time always comes one way or another.  That's where faith comes in.  

Faith isn't meant to prevent the ups and downs in our moods and minds, but gives us hope of finding a light in the darkness.....  God's little surprises. 

That time I told you about from years ago?  I still remember the exact moment I laughed again for the very first time.  The. Very. First. Time. In. Ages. 

Because it was a monumental laugh for me.  It was huge and encouraging and proof that change can pop out of nowhere and yell surprise!  And gosh, did I ever need that laugh.  Husband and I were in a furniture store shopping for a new mattress.  And I have no idea what was even funny.  But thank God in his perfect Heaven that it was.  Because that laugh became my ticket to do it again and again.

And thank you to that years ago doctor that took hold of a sad young lady and assured me I could move from my confused place and into a safe and secure place of well body and mind again.  Thanks to that doctor that told me that mental health and emotional health go hand in hand with their best buddy, physical health. 

And here is what this past week has taught me.  God loves to surprise us out of our pajama clad state of sickness and sadness and bring in little hints of light and goodness all around.  Visits and calls from friends, gifts of homemade soup to heal the body and the soul, and the love of others large enough to leave their comfortable wellness entered into my darkness this week to cast some much needed strength and hope into my winter blinded eyes.  

post script..... Yes.  They did it.  Another snow day here.  BUT... the sun is shining and I've never been happier to see it.  

And y'all, each visit this week from a friend was a surprise worth a million smiles.   Even though each time I was caught unprepared and looking all carefree in my pajamas and my new flu-like hairstyle.... But y'all, not a one of them ran away.  How lucky am I?     

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