Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I was standing in line at Hobby Lobby tonight with 3 packs of cello bags and 2 packs of twist ties. I use those to bag cookies for the market. The lines were long and slow... I noticed a woman in one of those motorized carts and another woman helping her get around with it. They made their purchases and went out toward the doors. The woman sitting stood very carefully to her feet and was quite unsteady. Her helper was hesitant to leave her standing alone to go and get her car. I was trying to find a place to lay my bags and ties down. The only place I could find was the corner of the checkout counter. I reached around the girl in front of me and explained to her I was just going to leave my stuff there and deal with the line when I got back in and that I was going to see if I could help those ladies out. She said okay and I walked off. I assured the helper that her friend could lean on me until she brought the car around. We chatted for a few minutes as she held on to my arm and leaned against me. We got her settled into the car and on their way. I was about to walk back into the store when I heard, "lady, lady." I looked up and saw the girl that was in line in front of me earlier. She handed me a shopping bag with my items in it and told me she took care of it for me, that it really wasn't all that much and that the lines were really long. She wouldn't take any money for it.

This was a woman, probably no older than her mid to late 20's.

We sometimes complain that there is a generation of people who feel they are "entitled" to receive without effort. This young woman showed me how it is not always true. My husband and I both choked up as I was telling him what had happened. I don't know the names of any of the women I interacted with tonight. I may not even recognize them if I were to see them again, but I will remember how they made me feel....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good vs Evil.... There IS a Difference

A friend of mine went to her child's school administration this morning with the goal of informing them of acts of bullying going on involving students there. Her approach, I'm sure, was one of concern for the victims and how to get the point across that bullying never leads to anything good. It is senseless, reckless, and oftentimes leads to death. She invited all parents to join her in the meeting; not just parents of bullied children, but ALL parents of students at the school. She went in alone. Even the TV station crew that was invited didn't show up. She went in alone to represent all parents AND children associated with the school. Did the administration take her efforts seriously. No, they did not. Even though there may be strength in numbers, no one can underestimate the power of one mother. I have a feeling we will see some results of that mother's determination to alert authorities of the dangers of what is happening to the children they have responsibilities over.

I just hope it will not be too late for any more of those young souls who are the victims of unnecessary and preventable abuse.

Thankful for this good mother who set an example of standing up for those who needed her to do so. You did your best. Keep fighting. You have made a difference and will continue to do so. I just know it.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Monday, April 15, 2013

God Bless America, Land That I Love!

Today was filled with tragedy. It was the day of the Boston Marathon. Runners had crossed the finish line, some were still making their way there. Two bombs filled with ball bearings were placed in trash cans alongside the last few yards of the race. They exploded a few seconds apart, killing 3 people (one was an 8 year old) and injuring at least 100 people. Last count was 144. I'm trying not to be angry--it won't help a thing to be. Why would anyone do such a thing is beyond my comprehension. It makes no sense at all. The media is giving the unknown "suspect(s)" so much attention that I fear it will only encourage more senseless acts of terrorism from others seeking to be "famous," in the same sort of way.

What has happened to this great country of ours?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Flies When You're Havin' Fun!

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I posted ANYTHING here! I have so much to tell you!! It may have to be in segments since I only have a few minutes at the time these days....

I've been having a blast with my baking business. It's called Darlene's Kitchen, in case I haven't annoyed you enough with my facebook posts to make it stick in your head :) I've been attending farmers markets, appearing on live TV, and as a guest on the cooking stage at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show. I have also been baking "add-ons" for a produce co-op business a friend of mine runs. It's been a busy life for the past couple of years!

When my mother passed away almost 3 years ago, I found myself wallowing around in self-pity. A lot of other stressful events occurred around the same time, so it was easy to rationalize my actions (crying--a lot, staying home--a lot, complaining--a lot...get the picture? now let it go. it's not a pretty sight). Instead of staying in the muck, I slowly pulled out of it and began to immerse myself in my baking business. Not only has it helped to give me another good reason to get out of bed each day, but it has also helped clarify some things I had been trying to figure out. Lots of praying will do that for a person. Trust me on that one.

About 6 years ago (or so) my son Will gradually stopped talking, not just to others, but to me, too. I never thought that would happen. He had always talked, especially to me. We had a hard time getting him to quiet down sometimes, especially at bedtime. So, this has been heartbreaking for him to verbally shut down.

For years I've been praying for specific help for Will. A couple of months ago, I decided to start calling around for a speech therapist (again). I'd done it several times before, got frustrated and let it drop (many times). This time, I was determined. Feeling bolder and more focused (refer back to "lots of praying"), I sat down with several phone numbers I had retrieved from the phone book and Internet searches and punched in the first number. After an afternoon of calling, getting referrals for other professionals ("sorry, we don't have anyone trained/qualified to work with your son, but let me give you another number to try" was a common phrase... for hours). I put the lists aside for a while, had a good long cry and went to bed. Will needed help "finding" his voice again. Plain and simple, right? Not really. I got back up the next morning with a goal. Get Will some help TODAY! I wasn't going to stop until I had at least an appointment with someone familiar with Down Syndrome and Autism. Both of them. In the same person. I found her in the most obvious place to look- at the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB. I had called there a few years ago, right after it first opened and they were not staffed with anyone we needed services from. Now they are. I don't even remember anymore what made me try them again. It just happened.

In January, Will and I met with an amazing psychologist (very familiar with what is going on with Will's lack of communication now) and a Speech and Language Pathologist (not as helpful, but not all her fault). Will immediately bonded with the Doc. She has a British accent which Will must have thought was pretty darn cool. I learned that what has happened to Will's verbal skills lately is common for adults with Down's and with Autism. He has both. Letting him continue to live in silence is not an option though. So, we are learning other ways to communicate that don't require Will to have to "talk", until he is ready again. It has been so motivating for all of us, including Will. He's still not using his "voice," but we are hearing him now, loud and clear.

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into the Future....

I'm glad I didn't scare you away after that last post. I wasn't in a good Place at the time. Could you tell? We all have our ups and downs, I suppose. Fortunately, like most all things, it didn't last very long -- thanks to lots of help from loving, patient, kind friends -- and a forgiving, merciful Father in Heaven. He always knows what I need and when.

I don't know how to explain the passage of time anymore! It seems like I wake up one morning and months have passed without any recollection of what happened even yesterday. What's up with that? Mama used to say, "It's a sign of getting old." Just this once, I'm not going to believe her ;)

I've been wonderfully busy with my little growing business of baking and selling. People seem to really enjoy (and I mean REALLY ENJOY) homemade stuff so I've been selling tons of it. My two hands can't seem to produce enough to keep my ovens busy. It's all good, just tiring and a bit overwhelming at times. We are thankful for the extra income, although, the laundry and dishes pile up a lot faster than they used to. Everything waits on me to have a break from baking, then I get caught up. And, it starts all over again.....

I've had lots of opportunities to watch the sun come up from my kitchen window. It's a glorious sight to witness that part of Heavenly Father's creation. It is such a blessing to take in the radiant bursts of color surrounding the first light of day on our side of this beautiful world. There is no doubt in my mind that we are only a small (yet important) part in a grand tapestry that makes up Eternity. Evidences of this truth are all around us. Taking the time and having the desire to notice the miracles and abundance of life can bring much joy to this grateful child of God.

Thanks for stopping by.

When I think of blessings, I always think of you. Love you with my heart.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Morning Blahs

I've a lot of unwelcome thoughts running around in my head today, most of which have to do with relationships. Why is getting along such a difficult thing to do sometimes?! Is it really necessary to take everything personally? As hard as I try to avoid conflict, I seem to find myself smack dab in the middle of it often. Why is that, I wonder.... My tongue is bleeding from biting it over the past several months. Totally self-inflicted, I know. That's about to change..... Yep, I'm admitting (once again) that I am human.

At the risk of being just plain ole negative today, I'm going to let off a little steam anyway. So, run and get an umbrella (or a complete outfit of water proof clothing) and get an eyeball full of my sludge. I'm going to be slinging some. That was your warning.

First of all, it makes me so unhappy that people find it funny/necessary/or whatever to use the word "retard" or "retarded" in a joke or to insult someone who is behaving or not behaving in a particular way. It is not a joke around here. Period. Those of you who know me and our family, you know why. It is offensive on every level. In music it means to slow the pace down. I get that and do not take offense when used in the PROPER context. When it is used in any other way, I have to pull the dagger out of my heart and stitch up a deep wound that takes a long time to heal, and always leaves a nasty scar that recognizes the wrongdoer from at least a mile away, and never seems to forget where the injury came from. More than enough said.

*Taking a deep breath*

Next, I am not out to get anybody. I do not have time to sit around and think of ways to hurt someone's feelings, cause problems in their home (yeah, I'm putting the guilt/blame back where it belongs -- on them!!) or run around and gossip about every little detail of someone else's life. In case there's anyone out there that hasn't noticed, I've got my hands FULL over here. No extra time -- zip -- to fabricate a plan to bring anyone down or blow out someone's light. It's not on my list of priorities, nor any other list for that matter. So, I don't need a lecture about that either.

*Inhaling and exhaling a little bit deeper*

And another thing..... I'm not baking 8-16 hours a day for my health! It's enjoyable, yes, but I am trying to help with our family's income. It's exhausting!! It is not cheap to raise a child with disabilities. The rewards are so much greater than any expense could ever be, but it does take money, and lots of it. When I am no longer on this earth, Christine and her family will have that responsibility. It would be unfair of me to leave her with nothing to work with. So, I get up, try to get orders for the day or week, and start working on filling them. At the end of each day, I wonder how I will ever make enough money baking bread to contribute to Will's survival when I'm not here anymore to help. I'd love to get to the point of having a bake shop outside our home, but I realize that may not happen. I'm working toward it, but trying to be realistic at the same time. So, I'm working on getting some pre-school-aged children's books published. There's not a lot of money to be made off of each individual book, but the more I do, the more there will be to leave behind.

Lately, I've been feeling more of a sense of urgency to move a little bit faster with everything (baking and books), which makes some people feel that I am being pushy. Too. Bad. Just say, "No, thank you" each time I ask, if it's not something that appeals to you. It's ok. I'm a big girl. I can take it. I'm still going to ask. Maybe more than once or twice.

Well, have you had enough yet? I think I have, for now anyway. I'm not trying to be unkind or mean or anything. I just needed to vent. Thanks for letting me. I did warn you, didn't I? I know.... wah, wah, wah ;)

I'm still holding on to HOPE (and a little bit of my sense of humor). Sometimes, it's all I have.

"Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to anther." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, April 25, 2011


Wow. I can hardly believe it's been almost 6 months since I wrote anything here! The time has flown by.

Sometime last fall I started back up with my little bakery business (Darlene's Kitchen). I'm enjoying it so much! It's keeping me busy and I get to see friends every week when they pick up their orders or I deliver. I also get paid, so I feel like I am helping out with our family's income too. It's been good for me in a lot of ways.

On the 16th this month (April) was the anniversary of my Mama's passing. That morning was pretty rough, but by the afternoon I was busy and not dwelling on those last few weeks she struggled as we watched and waited, for either a miracle or for her to be relieved of her suffering. I told Heavenly Father I would accept whatever he had in His plan for her and for our family during that time, but I don't think I've fully accepted all of it, yet. I'm still working on that part.....

My father, I think, has moved on a lot quicker than any of us had expected him to. In ways, I'm content about that. In others, I'm not sure how I feel. He seems well and happy so that's really what counts, isn't it?

This past winter, we had snow here in Alabama -- a few times. Maybe even a record number of times for our area. It even snowed on Christmas! A dear friend of mine and I had the same thought: It was one of those "tender mercies" the Lord sees fit to bestow upon His children from time to time. It was such a beautiful sight. Snow. In Alabama. On Christmas Day. I'll never forget how I felt when I opened the front door as wide as it would go and just beheld those giant frozen tears from Heaven falling all over the place. We had a roaring fire in the fireplace and the sounds and smells of the season permeating our home. All was well on Christmas Day. There is a indescribable peace that always accompanies that one day each year. I need to learn how to internalize it and keep it with me all year long. Until I do, I'm so grateful for the memories of it....

Time to get back to my Kitchen again. I have lots of orders this week to keep me busy and looking forward to getting out of bed each day. Besides my Faith and Family, baking and writing are my loves. I hope to get better at ALL of it!

Wishing you peace.