• August 29, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    My boy Josiah is planning a trip to Ireland. It has been a lifelong dream of his and well…he’s gonna do it!

    He thinks he may be biking the country…he, himself and him…so i suggested that he take a few long bike trips around these here parts with a loaded backpack just to get the feel for it. I’m a smart mama. And he liked the idea.

    “Hey mom, i am gonna bike to the State Fair today.”

    “Yeah?” I answer, “I don’t think they have bike trails that take you to the State Fair.”

    “That’s okay,” He quips, “I’ll find one.”

    “Hmmmm…okay..and i don’t think they have a place to park your sister’s bike when you get there.”

    “That’s okay,” He answers, “I’m gonna put it in the woods.”

    “The woods?”

    “Yes, the woods.”

    “Hmmmmm…and how are you gonna get the bike from the woods to your girlfriends house, may i ask?”

    “I am going to tie it to the top of her car.”

    Now i may not be the smartest tool in the shed but i do know this kid is leaving for a solo trip to Ireland in a couple of weeks. And he will be gone for 3 Long weeks when he will be making every decision for himself…with no cell phone connection to call for help…so i am doing him NO favors figuring out his stuff for him at this stage of the game.

    After some thought, Josiah did come to the better conclusion that he would bike to the Fingerlakes Mall, where he would leave his sister’s bike in the woods there, and board a shuttle to a day at the Fair with his gal. Then he will shuttle back…have a friend pick him up at the Mall, retrieve the bike from the woods and tie that said bike to his buddy’s car for the ride home.

    Problem solved.

    As he is leaving i pull out 2 older bike helmets.
    “Here, Josiah which one do you want?”

    “Neither. I don’t like bike helmets.”

    “Well, me either BUT they are the smart thing to do. You will need to wear one in Ireland so may as well start now.”

    and then he said it…”I am not wearing a bike helmet in Ireland.”…….downhelmet

    I flash my sweet mothering smile and say, “Let me give you a scenario…..you are biking in Ireland and hit a pot hole, or dodge a sheep, or get hit by a passing moped. You go tumbling from your bike. You fall. Breaking an arm wouldn’t be too bad. Breaking a leg you could deal with. Breaking you head would suck. Now, if you put this bike helmet on your little blonde head you are giving yourself a fighting chance.”

    I keep smiling my sweet mothering smile and continue, “Breaking your head could mean concussion…brain injury…or amnesia. That would put you in a hospital in Ireland. Comatose is a strong possibility also…did i mention that? Comatose in Ireland means you don’t get off your return flight in the states and i am left to wonder what happened to you. Being the only family member with a passport, i would have to take my own concussioned head, my neck brace, and my cane, and board an international flight to Ireland in search of my long lost son. Who i would eventually find in a Dublin Hospital playing cards with other brain injured folks and not recognizing me when i walk in. When i walk in, that is, with my concussioned head, my neck brace and my cane.”

    Josiah lifts the black and white helmet to his head. He fits it under his chin and turns to me…
    “There, are you happy now?”

    “Why, yes, yes i am.”

    Then off my boys goes on a short adventure to prepare for bigger ones lying ahead.
    Half hour latter my phone rings and i pick it up.
    It was my Ireland-bound-helmeted boy.
    “Mom, can you do me a favor? I left my State Fair tickets at home. Can you have someone meet me with them?”

    I smile my sweet mothering smile into the phone and refrained from the lecture on “What if you forget something in Ireland!” and whisper, “Sure, i’ll see if Bekah can do it.”

    I return the receiver and stare straight ahead for a minute, blink my eyes solidly, then go in search of a kind sister that will make the run.

    Bekah returns home shortly…mission accomplished.

    All’s well in Waterman land…and we return to life as we know it.

  • August 28, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    singing in the shower……..Let us start this off with a little disclaimer…….
    1. I am a mama with a lot of kids.
    2. I write stuff from my mama perspective.
    3. I would never intentionally rat out, expose, or belittle a kid.
    4. I got a kid going to Ireland.
    5. The Ireland adventure stories are too good NOT to tell. (and he hasn’t even boarded the plane yet)
    6. My kids don’t read my stuff anyhow.
    7. Just in case they might, probably when i am deceased…here is my disclaimer:
    “Your eldest brother, who shall remain nameless, told me that part of being my kid is learning to deal with embarrassment.”
    8. End disclaimer.

    I do pretty good at going to sleep…for a couple of hours, but then i wake up. And when i do, my subconscious brain kicks in and reminds me of all the stuff i have to worry about. Next, my conscious half-awake mind steps up and joins the “don’t forget about your list of what to worry about” party. And, well, I’m not one to miss a party. So awake i am…and awake i stay…drifting somewhere between fear and faith. What a party.

    Last night was no exception. Sometimes don’t you just wish you could turn off your mind when you went to sleep like you switch off your light? And turn it back on the next morning? Someone ought to invent that. But, i haven’t seen that product on the market yet and there i lay thinking of all the things to do, information to look up and disasters that could happen while my boy is on his adventure in Ireland…alone…by himself…with no cell phone…riding a bike…or hitch hiking…exploring the land…making his dream become a reality…in Ireland…alone…by himself…in the rain…on cliffs…with no contacts…alone…with no helpline…(well, you get it)…yeah.

    What was it this time? 2 or 3 hours of partying?
    I wake up tired. I wake up grumpy. I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
    I go downstairs to begin my morning routine.

    An hour later they start to straggle out of bed, my 3 teen boys.
    Middle son slips down the stairs, “Hi, mom.” “Good morning, Ben.”
    Youngest son, “Hi, mom.” “Good morning, Noah.”
    Oldest of the three pops down, “Hi, mom.” “Good morning, Ireland.”
    That’s his new name…Ireland.

    Ireland grabs a towel and heads for the shower. He didn’t look tired. He didn’t sound grumpy. His bed is pushed up against the wall so he doesn’t ever get out of the wrong side in the morning. And that annoyed me.

    “How can he be so okay?” I murmur to myself. “Doesn’t this kid realize how far behind he is on his “go-to-Ireland-to-do” list?”

    Obviously he hadn’t been laying awake at night fearing the lonely unknown roads or bands of little thief children, that his brother Josh told him roamed the hills of Ireland. Looks like he didn’t lose any sleep over lost directions, or misplaced passport, or stolen credit card. Must be he slept through the what if i fall ill, or get abducted, or slide off a cliff into a vast forest movie that was playing in my head.

    I continue with my housework, which leads me to pass by the bathroom. I am still a wee bit annoyed.
    “He had better get on the ball,” I say to no one but me.
    And that’s when i hear it…a sound drifting from the bathroom…
    an upbeat traditional folk song from an Irish band…
    it is blaring rather loudly…
    but on top of that “loudly” is the clear strong voice of my Ireland…
    singing along…
    happy as can be…
    in the shower…
    without a care in the world.

    I lean against the bathroom door and i listen. I smile to myself and i shake my head softly.

    Hmm, i wonder. I wonder if I’ll ever go to Ireland.

  • August 23, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    The Caleb of the Old Testament is one crazy guy. I mean hasn’t this man heard of retirement? You would think after waiting 45 years to gain the land that the LORD told him he would receive one day…that when it came time for the Israelites to divey up the territory…
    Caleb would just kinda point to a lush green valley and say “That land over yonder looks good to me.”
    But NO! This wholehearted character points to a peak in the distance and says, “Give me the mountain! Walled cities, giants and all!”

    Now Caleb…let’s not be hasty…think about this for a minute…your 85 years old…you’ve walked a lot of miles in those worn sandals….you really wanna fight more battles…really?

    old-man

    We first meet Caleb in the BIBLE when he is 40 years old.
    He is the leader of the largest Israelite tribe…the tribe of Judah.
    Back when the LORD told Moses to send some men out to spy out their promised land…Caleb went along with 11 others. They traveled many, many miles on that expedition…thoroughly checking out the land and all that was in it. When the 12 returned from their long hike they brought news to their fellowmen…the land looked good. It certainly was abundant. It overflowed with milk and honey. The returning spies showed off the large, succulent fruit of the promised land which hung from the poles between them. Pretty good for the most part…but they did encounter one little problem the city of Hebron. This city was perched on the crest of a mountain chain, hosting strongly fortified walls around it…and homing giant wild men within…namely the descendants of Anak.

    You know the story. Joshua and Caleb were the only 2 spies that encouraged the Israelites that they should go in and posses the land just as the LORD told them to. (Joshua 14:7-9)
    But fear prevailed that day…and without faithful support behind Moses the spies venture was a failure. Since the Israelites decided against the LORDs direct command to take the land…the LORD became angry with HIS people and vowed that none of their generation would enter the Promised Land, only Caleb and Joshua. (Numbers 14:30)

    So GODS people wandered in the wilderness for 40 years waiting for the unfaithful to die off. When it was time to take possession of the land there were more opportunities for obedient faith as they fought battle after battle to gain GODS inheritance. Finally, the day came when the enemy is cleared out enough to begin dividing up the territories amongst the 12 tribes. Here is where Caleb steps up and reminds Commander Joshua of the promise made to him by Moses “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” (Joshua 14:9)….and here’s where it gets wild….Caleb continues with his request…“So give me the hill country (mountain) that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said.”

    Wild, crazy. wholehearted 85 year old Caleb. This aged guy is requesting to go back to the very-scary-giant-filled-walled-city-land that was the primary reason he and his family wandered around the wilderness for 40 years…and he wants to make it his own! Caleb plans on taking the city with the help of his GOD just like the Israelites should have done 45 years before! And today is Caleb’s day!

    I wonder if Caleb was reciting in his mind his own words to the Israelites many years before, while he waited for Joshua’s response?… “Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”…that’s what Caleb said then…and that’s what Caleb meant now…Caleb was seizing with both hands… another chance to show off the power, the faithfulness, the goodness and the victory of his GOD!

    Go Caleb!

  • August 18, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    We live in a world full of setbacks. I have to continually remind myself of that. Lately, i have to keep looking into my mirror, square into my own face and say aloud sternly, to no one but me…
    “There is no experience uncommon to man. Deal with it!”

    I may feel alone in this…but the truth is i am not. There are many, many people every single day that deal with setbacks in their personal lives….in the lives of their loved ones…in their careers…with their finances…with their health…their goals…and on and on it goes.

    My kid experienced a setback yesterday. After a hurried morning dealing with big choices and gathering important information he speed out the door, rushing to beat the clock at work, only to find a flat tire on his vehicle. SET BACK. Wasn’t in his plan.
    Having no great advice for him other than, “Pump it up and go…maybe you’ll make it to work.” He looked at me and stammered perfect words from the heart, “I don’t have time for this.”

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    I watched as he pulled away, only to turn and find he left his cell phone on the deck. “Welp, that’s gonna stink if he can’t make the 40-minute drive.” I thought to myself.

    My kid was learning about setbacks…and detours…and interruptions…and twists and turns in the road of life. He was experiencing the first-hand frustrations of plans that went AWAL and schedules that weren’t gonna be met. He was feeling the pressures of disappointment and the “ouch” of change. I absolutely, positively LOVE his response, “I don’t have time for this.”

    Actually, he may have heard those words from my mouth on more than one occasion in the past 5 months. Seems to me, i could have uttered something like that under my breathe a few times, as i lay in my concussion position on the couch in our living room. It does sounds vaguely familiar…”I don’t have time for this.”

    Hmmmm….i guess “not having time for this” doesn’t exempt me from life’s little interruptions…or my journeys big roadblocks…or my biographies detours. I guess “like it or not” i will walk on paths that i didn’t foresee. Along lanes that i never imagined. Up winding, hilly, rocky roads…. that will eventually lead me home.

  • August 13, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    I’ve come to a revelation recently. Yep, at the age of 53 after serving JESUS for 26 years I’ve figured something out.
    Worry doesn’t work. Ever.

    I guess I’ve always “known ” that in my head. I’ve studied worry. I’m familiar with fear. I teach about anxieties and frets.
    But laying in bed one night wondering where those 3 teens boys were that were very, very late…and having no way to get in touch with them to confirm their whereabouts…i worried. I worried they were lost. I worried they were abducted. I worried they were racing down the back roads and crashed their cars. I worried they were hurt. I worried they were cold. I worried they couldn’t get to a phone to call for help. I worried they ran out of gas or maybe robbed at a late night gasoline stop. And i worried how one of them were coping if they were viewing the mangled bodies of their brothers in a wreck? Yeah, i worried.

    Then i stopped. I stopped worrying and said to myself, “This ain’t working. Worry hasn’t brought those boys home. Worry hasn’t made the phone ring. Worry hasn’t cleared the roads of drunk drivers or running deer. Worry hasn’t kept the creepers away from my kids or made my boys drive the speed limit or kept my sons from slipping off the road. Worry doesn’t work.”

    It was at that moment that the HOLY SPIRIT in HIS faithfulness brought a Scripture to my mind that i had memorized many years before…i bet you know this familiar verse that instructs us NOT to worry about ANYTHING….but INSTEAD of worry to PRAY about EVERYTHING. Yeah, the famous pray-instead-of-worry thing.

    So i sat in the darkness, cross-legged on my bed, alone in the middle of the night, and i took the advice of the BIBLE and prayed. It went kinda like this, “Well, LORD, i have no idea where those boys are or what’s happening to them, but as for me, i must obey YOUR scriptural command. I’m pretty sure i don’t need to add my sin of worry to this already stressful night…so here i am…look at me now…I’m praying instead of worrying…and i like it!”

    I went on to pray specifics for my long lost boys and for their lives and their safety and their plans and their futures and their hopes and their dreams.

    Then i said, “Welp, LORD, there is not one thing i can do about this situation good or bad, so I’m going to bed now. Good night.”
    And i lay down and slept, reminiscent of another cool verse… In peace, I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    I woke up a bit later to the familiar sounds of 3 oblivious teenage boys raiding the fridge, dribbling basketballs, and blaring the TV. “They are home,” i smiled sleepily reaching for the earplugs that i keep beside my bed for times such as this. In a few hours, it would be morning and the house would be abuzz again. Then i would listen to the boys stories…and then i would hear their explanations…and then i would talk the talk. But for now i rolled over, sighed a contented sign and thought I’m glad i didn’t stay up worrying all night for nothin’!!! Cause… ah…worry doesn’t work.
    sleep2

  • August 8, 2015 /  Uncategorized

    I’ve been thinkin’ about my thoughts. I wondered to myself just how many thoughts i have to tame in order to obey the Scriptural command to demolish arguments and every pretension that set itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

    thinking

    After doing the research…I wished I hadn’t asked the question. Why was I wondering anyway? Where did the thought come from to explore my thoughts? I blame it on my concussion. Anyway…the answer I wasn’t looking for… but found is:
    We have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means 35 and 48 thoughts per minute per person.

    Criminy….no wonder my brain feels like it’s gonna explode! And that’s just my thoughts…already in my own head! That’s not counting my kid’s 50,000 thoughts…or my other kid’s 65,000 thoughts…or my other kid’s 70,000 thoughts….etc…and those kids all have mouths and they are all talking at me, putting their thoughts into my all-ready crammed full head.

    It is also no wonder that Post Concussion patients have a hard time processing their thoughts and easily whack out with over stimulation. Our brains have been injured and shook to the core. And our brains hold our thoughts…and sort our thoughts…and form our thoughts into words. Our 5 senses receive information from the outside world and send it to our brains to manage. Now, my brains been a good manager for many, many years…but that poor thing has been “through the ringer”…and that poor thing needs a rest.

    I’m not sure if i can control the number of thoughts that flow through my head, but I’m thinkin’ I can regulate the types of thoughts I have taken up space in my brain, at least to some extent. I can’t find anywhere in the BIBLE that tells me to number my thoughts, but I can find plenty of evidence that points to me controlling the nature of those 40 thoughts a minute.

    That’s probably a good thing for me to land on…controlling the nature of my thoughts…cause quite frankly I feel sorry for myself…it’s been months…and I am very, very limited. And limits make me grouchy. And my thoughts show grouchy. And I have a fight going on within myself. A fight in my own head…thought against thought. I often to back to the old adage:
    “The dog you feed is the one that’s gonna be stronger.”

    GOD, in HIS goodness, gives us a list of what to feed our minds so that the “upper” thoughts will grow stronger than the “downer” thoughts. And here it is…the shopping list for our minds:
    Fix your thoughts on what is:
    true
    honorable
    right
    pure
    lovely
    admirable
    Think about things that are:
    excellent
    worthy of praise.

    Now that’s a shopping list I never have to leave home for. I don’t have to take a dizzy walk into the florescent lights, with noisy people, that make my head spin, to purchases from this list!
    I don’t even have to search Amazon online, taking breaks from the computer and scrolling down with my eyes closed.
    I have NO EXCUSE.
    I never have to leave the confines of my home. I can lay in my familiar “concussion position” on my own living room couch and place this order.
    All day…every day…I can choose my thoughts…even in this post-concussion state.
    It’s my head….it’s the only one I got…and i get to fill it.

    So, Kim Barnes Waterman, don’t freak out about the number of thoughts swimming around in your head. You can only control what you can control. Work on the types of thoughts roaming through your ouchy brain. Your brain will thank you in the long run…it will be glad that you traded in some grouchy for some pleasant.
    Thankful makes one pretty.
    Positive makes one strong.
    Grateful makes one shine.

    I may not be able to do all the things I’d like to do today…
    but I am able to do everything that I should.