The Haven

March 19 Kathryn’s Little Flowers group hosted a garage sale.  They collected things from neighbors, friends and family to sell that early, cool Saturday morning.
All the proceeds this year will go to The Haven in Spartanburg. The girls raised a little over $200..

The Haven is a non-profit organization that helps homeless families stay together. The Haven provides a warm, safe place for a whole family to live and ,most importantly, stay together while the family over comes their terrible hardship.

This year, as you can imagine, the Haven has been very busy.

Through out the year the Little Flowers try to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.
Later this month, the girls and their leader will take the money they have earned and go shopping. They will buy things like: towels, sheets, dishes, shower curtains and other items a family may need to set up a proper home. The girls will take all these items down to the Heaven and just simply… hand them over.  When the time comes for these families to leave the Haven, we hope, they will have what is needed.
The Little Flowers have learned are teaching everyone around them to Walk the Walk. At this young age they know talk is cheap and “The Walk” is what is important. They are putting people and families first.
I tell you, I couldn’t be more proud of the woman my Little Flower is becoming.

I Wonder…Did I Blow It?

Can you get behind on blogging?

Blogging is something I do for fun; to look back and see what has really happened through the year….To see if my memories match what truly was, to see who was loved, to see how the children have grown and all the other “stuff” in between.

Now with our seasons changing I wonder, Did I blow the post I should have done about the snow and the fort Stephen built.

One February night, almost a month ago now, we had the prettiest snow fall. It was so soft, fluffy and light. The perfect snow to play in, to build forts in, have snow ball fights in and to just really enjoy the night.

It wasn’t even that cold. The best part of the snow, to me, was, IT was gone the very next day.

Those are the snows I like.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Did I blow not posting about the “Little Flowers” volunteering at the Soup Kitchen?

They got up very early a cold February morning excited about “doing good” for their fellow man.

It really was a warming site.

The girls were a little nervous a first……

But, they jumped right in and did everything they were asked to do with warm and loving hearts.

Did you know, at the Soup Kitchen they not only give one well prepared feast, they offer; a bag that contains some food for the rest of the day, clothing, and just a few personal items, if they can.

You can only take one deodorant, tooth paste or soap …….NOT one of each…..ONE!

You must choose …”Which one do you need the most???”

AND THAT was REALLY tough to have to say.

This was my job…..and mostly, the people ,down on their luck at soup kitchen, understood; Most would just take one, and say “thank you” with a smile and then walked away.

After it was all said and done.….The six girls that came with me, giggled all the way home in the back of my van sharing doughnuts, talking about school issues, books they have read, foods they like and how they should wear their hair.

When I asked them what they thought about the Soup Kitchen they didn’t say much….Thinking about it now, I don’t know if they really knew what to think. They understood, for the most part, these are people that are down on their luck. They understood some of these people made bad choices but some where stuck in a very bad economy. They understood anyone of us could be standing on the other side of that soup kitchen line easy enough.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now here we are……The middle of March.

DSCF5944-1.jpg picture by marka5477

In the height of our birthday season. And, with every passing birthday the memories DO NOT fad…….The presence of our dad grows stronger and the tears still flow freely and easily when we realize…It IS true. All “that” really happened.

But somehow the “Time goes on” as I can hear my father say….and we celebrate each and every birthday and all the “mile stones” of our lives.

There are seven birthdays in our family this month.

DSCF5964-1.jpg picture by marka5477

AND the BIG surprise this year…

DSCF5960-1-1.jpg picture by marka5477

James in now 21!

And Another Celebration

It is October 30, 2009. Today it has been one month.

One month since. It is still so hard to believe.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to pick up the phone, headed up stairs or even started to go back to my parent’s bedroom to visit with my dad. Hearing the side door open and close by the garage always gets my attention. My first thought is Oh! Good, he is home…….And then I stop, take a breath, sigh and turn away.

I know, for my mother these feeling are a million times more.

Last Friday my mother and Stephen paid a visit to the mortuary and picked up the urn that holds my father’s ashes. It seems to bring my mother comfort….just having him home again. I know it brings me comfort.

The Urn could not be more beautiful. It sits on my mother’s dresser while it waits for its final resting place by the pool. For now, Just seeing it gives us great comfort. We can walk out of our way, touch it gently and softly whisper….”I love you.”

Last Saturday Auntie wanted to have a little party. She thought it would be nice if we all got together to just have lunch and celebrate. Reluctantly, we all said….”okay”….but thought… What in the world could we be celebrating?

Everyone made something for the lunch. Karen and Mary Elizabeth set the tables with decorations.

Auntie came in with Jim along with their big smiles and all types of goodies she had wiped up . When we asked what we were celebrating……. Auntie said “Fall” It is a beautiful time of year here in the country and we should celebrate Fall.”

In good old auntie fashion she knew……We needed a party. She knew the thoughts of celebrating Thanks Giving, Christmas and even Halloween weighed heavily on us.

She knows we celebrate life. We will celebrate almost every occasion. “If you can bake it we will come.” That is our family policy…

She knew we needed her to have the party, to let us know it was okay. She knew we needed her to show us we could do this.

I hope she knows just how much we all think of her.

She supports. I guess it takes times like these to understand there are doers and there are talkers. I have learned this month…..these past months….If your “friends” don’t support you through the bad times…through the worst times in your life….Who needs them to come to the party?

I have a lot of great friends and even more wonderful family members…Like Auntie.

We have been busy in school this week studying. We are trying to get back into a real school grove. But, it is very hard…..We are trying.

Thank goodness we have debate….This years debate topic is ~ Should the US Environmental Policy be Reformed. This is not a simple question….Stephen has taken an great interest in coal slurry and how it is poisoning the water supplies and killing the people of West Virginia. It always amazes and out-rages me when I learn making money is allowed to get in the way of peoples health.

To think this is happening in this country is just mind boggling to me.

Kathryn has had to research Health Care Reform Bill, cash for clunkers and the dangers of cell phone use while driving for her speech class. I think we are going to actually learn something this year in spite of all that has happened.

Matthew is studying so very hard ~ When he is stressed, upset or just confused he reads. He is taking the loss of his grandfather very hard. He does not cry…I just see him with his head down and his face tight…He handles stress just like his father.

Matthew tells me when he goes to “the” house he feels lost….He walks around looking for something to do. So he and Stephen work on the fountain and other pool related things. Just like there grandfather has taught them to do.

Today we celebrate a Mass for my father given by the woman at the co-op and the “Little Flowers group Kathryn belongs too. For some reason I am worried about this one too…Just the thought of hearing his name makes me want to cry. I hope I don’t.

Tomorrow we celebrate Halloween. Margaret and I will take the little kids out for their Trick or Treating fun and then we will all go to Bill’s house for a bonfire…and a Halloween party.

Next week we have Stephen’s conformation and then of course another celebration.

…I need to start taking more pictures again…

I know we can do these celebrations. Auntie showed us it was alright…She showed we can.

Thanks Auntie ~ What would we do without you?

Skin is not always good

Okay, it is the middle of swimsuit season and it was time to find my 12 year old daughter a new one.

Planning very carefully as I often do …I waited until the last minute to jump in the car and run to Target. It was 8 PM when we got there and Kathryn had a pool party to host at my mothers house the very next day.

I figured, like always, how hard could it be???

Target has suits. I have seen them and she could not have grown that much in a year. The old suit still fits her…kind of……okay granted it is a bit baggy, saggy and worn but……..It still fits….Well ….the elastic is going but who’s looking that close?

We have only been swimming at Nana’s…..

As we walk into the store, Kathryn and I went right over to the girls department and I throw 12 maybe 16 suits into the cart and say; “let’s try these ….Yes, all of them. It will be fun.” She gives me this look of disbelief and says, “Mom, I don’t think it will take this many.” I tell her to just “get in there. We have to hurry. I am not sure what time this store closes.”

She tries the first couple on and I realize….We have moved out of the girls department. We have moved up into the Teens. My baby girl is growing up. I tell her to get dressed, we will run over to the teen department and find something there.

As I stood there looking at the suits, I looked around in disbelief and think “Oh Oooo……..this is not good.

There was NOTHING “for us” to choose from………There where one piece bathing suits with plunging necklines, sides cute out, slits at the legs up to the neck line and cleavage…boy did we see cleavage!…..There where bikinis held together with jewelry, string, ties and more cleavage….for teen girls.

Did I say Teen girls?

Yeah, I think I did.

Uggg! I think to myself…….The buyer for this store must hate girls.

Kathryn looked at me with tears in her eyes and said. “Now what Mom?” I don’t want to wear these. I don’t like these. Can I try on more of what we have???

She wanted something she could play in……NOT something to pick up a husband in. I told her to give the other suits a shot and maybe we would come up with something.

I thought

And I thought

And I thought

I went back to the dressing room asked the attendant what time they closed ~ found out with relief it was 10:30

Yay!!

Checked on Kathryn again ~ This time as she opened the door to show me the one suit she said ………… In her words……”fits perfectly….lets get this one.” Only if she rounds her shoulders, sucks in her stomach so much it is hard to talk and stands in the shape of a “C” would it fit…… It was great!

I had to think of something or she was going to be wearing the saggy, baggy suit or worse sitting on the side of the pool not swimming at her party.

I could NOT have that.

I walked the store ………….right past the workout clothes.

I thought maybe….just maybe this might work. Some of the workout tops now are made from the same material as bath suits. Maybe we could use one of those.

I went back to the teen department, found a very cute bathing suit bottom…that matched a very unacceptable and uncomfortable looking, for a growing young woman, top. I headed back over the workout department. I found a long black workout top trimmed in white to match the very cute black and white checked bottoms I held in my hand.

Hoping it would work……..I handed it all to my very unhappy and worried preteen daughter and told her to try it on.

She looked at me and declared……….”This is a workout top! I can’t wear this!”

“Just try it.” I told her…. “It is this or nothing……”

Un-happily……She did it.

Everything fit……….She was adorable.

Yay! ME!!

On the way out ~ I got a big….”Your so smart Mom……Thank you!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The party was a success. All the girls had a wonderful time……..As I looked around most of the girls wore T-shirts or kept towels over their bathing suits. I also found out the other moms ran into this same problem.

I remember being this age and being very uncomfortable about all the changes my body was going through. I have talked to several mothers and we all feel the same way. Are there any clothes designers out there that cares about the safety and the safe mental health of our children?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, here is the question………WHAT??? Are these buyers and clothes designers thinking?

We ,girls and mothers, are having a very difficult time finding age appropriate clothing for our daughters………. never mind bathing suits.

Now, here is my statement…..WHAT???

These are little girls and young woman. These young girls are in training for womanhood not prostitution. They want to learn and play….They want to play safe without being worried about who is looking at them and what they are showing. They want to play with other children, with their pets, ride bikes and read books on hot summer days. The girls I know……..really DO NOT want to dress sexy. They want to dress pretty. They are not even used to the idea of a changing body….never mind show it off.

If we as mothers put sexy clothing on our daughters………What are we saying to them??? What are we saying to our sons? We want our young men to think of woman …. all woman…… as smart, vital beings. We want them to think of woman as the fabric of society, as respectable and reliable vital people.

We want our girls to think of themselves in the same way and as so much more……….Why are we accepting being forced to dress our children Sexy?

It seems to me…….If we as mothers put clothing held together with strings, jewels or anything other then dignity on our 12 year old daughters ….What is okay for them wear at 16?

What is an acceptable way for our boys to respond to all this skin? …..There are many confusing and mixed messages out there today for all our children.

I keep telling my kids…………..”Skin is not always good.” ……