My Place is Not in a Helicopter

Will turned in his two week notice today.

His current employer then counter offered  twice his salary.

He had already sent in his acceptance to the new company.

His dad thinks he should keep his word and go with the new company.

On the other hand…

This is the young man who moved to a town 70 miles away by faith, tremulously hoping that the job would work out. Three years later different companies are offering him huge raises. He has shown himself to be a creative programmer.

He wanted me to help him decide. I gave him some input… I always lean toward security. But I told him the decision was up to him. Whatever he decides is fine with me. I’ll pray for him either way.

This helicopter has landed.

Support needed, freely given.


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“Mom, I had an accident,” Will’s distress came loud and clear through my car speaker as I drove home from work Friday. “What happened? Are you hurt?”

“No. But my car is really damaged on both sides. And the couple who hit me, their old truck is old, but they can’t afford to replace their truck. I kept saying I was sorry.”

“It’s my fault, Mom. I forgot to look both ways and pulled out in front of them. I wish I had just gone home instead of going to the store to buy a new phone”

“Oh Will, at least you weren’t hurt. Was any one else hurt?”

“They were checking out the older lady. She might be hurt a little. … I have to hang up. The policeman is here.”

I could hear the policeman asking for Will’s proof of insurance and registration.

My phone rang a few minutes later.”

“Mom, I can’t find my registration. It’s not here, not here, not here, not here,” he said shuffling through papers in his glove compartment. “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” panic was rising.

“Will, other people have lost their registration. It’ll be alright.” I hoped. “Just tell the policeman you can’t find it, but you knew it was there the last time you looked.”

“Okay. I have to hang up. He’s back.”

The phone went dead. I had come in the house during the conversation, and I sat in my chair, praying. I prayed that Will would not have a meltdown. His autism might become especially troublesome at a time like this. I prayed that he wouldn’t be overcome by panic.

Ralph walked in the door a few minutes later with Mary. He had picked her up from work.

“Will had an accident.”

“Oh no. Is he all right?”

“Yes. But his car is very damaged. And he’s in distress.”

My phone rang again. “Mom, it was alright. The policeman was able to find my registration on his computer. Now I have to wait for the tow truck to come.”

“How are you going to get home.”

“They are going to give me a ride.”

“Who is going to give you a ride.”

“The tow truck driver or the policeman. I’ll call you when I get home.”

“When you get home, call your insurance company right away. They will tell you what to do next.”

Will called us after about an hour. He told us that the insurance company was setting up an adjuster to come out an look at the car. They gave him the choice of where to have it fixed with one of their contractors. And they were arranging for him to have a rental.

“Would you like us to come and visit you?”


“Do you want us to come tonight or tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is okay. I don’t want you to come over tonight.”

“We will, if you need us to.”

“No, I’ll be okay tonight.”

“Have you eaten yet?”


“You need to eat something.”

“Okay, I will. ”

“See you tomorrow. I’ll bring some food to cook for you.”

The next day, Patty and I drove over to his house, took him shopping for food. We visited him. Let him talk it out. He didn’t eat the night before. I bought him lunch at McDonald’s, and he told me he hadn’t eaten much that morning either. He was too upset. But he felt much better after eating.

I made chicken and dumplings last night, and crockpot roast pork today.

“I’m so glad you came,” he said today. “But I still can’t stop thinking about about it. What if the company I am going to work for decides not to hire me? They are going to do a background check.”

“I don’t think they are going to use this not to hire you. Besides, it probably won’t appear on your record for a while.”

“Would you like your Dad to come over today? I’ll go home and send him back. He can help you get around and get everything arranged. He can drive you to work tomorrow so you don’t have to think about that.”

“Okay. I still wish I hadn’t decided to go to the store to buy that phone. If only I had gone straight home.”

“Will, it’s normal to feel that way. In a few weeks, you’ll feel better, but you’ll still think about it for a while. When I had my accident, I did the same thing. Running over it in my mind. But you have to stop yourself from thinking about it, distract yourself as much as you can.”

“I haven’t been feeling good. My throat has felt funny and I’ve had a headache this week.”

“That’s anxiety, Will. You’ve been dealing with these interviews this week, and made a big decision to leave your current job and go on to another job. That’s a big deal, even though it’s a good event”

Will had four interviews this week, received a job offer, and accepted it. A lot more money, and bonuses. In three years, Will has obtained a valuable skill set in WorkDay. He’s been contacted by numerous recruiters this year. He decided to send his resume directly to the companies the recruiters were trying to refer him to. He’s had interviews with three different companies this week. One of them hired him.

So on Monday, he is going to be messing with this car business, and giving his two week notice to his current employer. They called him into a meeting last week and told him they were trying to get him a raise and a remote position so he could work from home. They were too late.

“You’ll have to push on Will. It’s a risk, but they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t need your skills.”

“What if I can’t do it?”

“I’ll be praying for you, and so will your Dad.”

When I got home from Will’s I said to Ralph, “He’s looking pretty thin. I don’t think he’s been eating right. Patty said he’s been eating poptarts for breakfast.” Patty stayed with him for a week this summer. Cook for him when you get there.”

After Ralph arrived, Patty called to ask what I had done with the garbage bags. “Oh, I found them,” and she hung up. Ralph and Patty were cleaning his house.

Sometimes our kids need extra support.


Finished – What I Learned From Doing the Whole30


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I lost 11.4 pounds on the Whole30. My friends, my coworkers, and my family who watched me go through this are impressed by the weight loss. They could see that I was losing weight and that I was eating good food every day for every meal, and I ate plenty of it. My family witnessed me coming home from work and cooking dinner. But not grazing from the minute I walked in the door until bedtime.

But it wasn’t about the weight loss, although that was a nice bonus. It was about changing my relationship with food, becoming better nourished. I learned a lot about added sugar in processed convenience foods. I had to add salt to my food because whole foods have a lot less salt. I cooked with good oils. It was not a low fat diet. I had to eat a teaspoon of oil with every meal. I was rarely hungry, free from cravings, well fed.

Here is the rest of what I learned…


One of the benefits of eating on the Whole30 is improved gut health.

Checking Items off the List. (and the days)


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“One good thing about moving away,” said Patty, “is I don’t have to eat what I don’t like.” Oh the woes of family meals.

“Reminds me of what President Bush said.” I said.

She laughed.

“Now that I am president, no one can make me eat Broccoli,” she said.

Perhaps her thoughts regarding food freedom were inspired by the “Tuesday Night Chicken,” I had just served for supper (from the Frugal Paleo Cookbook). Or perhaps from the list we have been making of all the things she will need for her apartment at the University.

It’s a long list. Despite the fact that the apartment will be furnished. She bought a set of stoneware dishes at Goodwill, along with some glasses. She has let me know some of the items she is planning to take from my kitchen. Like my hand mixer, because she says I never bake (true). And she picked out the color to suit her when I bought it a couple of years ago (bright orange). Some of my glass baking pans and some of my cookie sheets. I hope she will take more of my stuff, as I am in a continual process of getting rid of stuff so they won’t have to when I can’t. ( Grandma has some pans she would like Patty to have.

Mostly kitchen stuff this time. Toiletries. Laundry items. Towels. Cleaning supplies. Food – pantry items. Paper. Printer ink. Key ring. We keep thinking of new stuff. She would like a new laptop, but that will have to come later. For now, she can take an older one from home.

There are boxes in the window seat. We throw stuff into them as we obtain them (or find them, as in the category of stuff I am getting rid of).

Her birthday was last week. She requested small kitchen appliances from her siblings and from us. We haven’t purchased them yet because the smaller “college dorm” versions are not in the stores yet, on sale. They will be soon.

Patty has about five weeks to go until she moves away from home. Last week she opened a bank account. We hope she will have her driver’s license by the time she leaves (although she will still be an inexperienced driver).

We went out for coffee to talk. She said she is excited and frightened at the same time. She doesn’t know what kind of job she will be doing. If she will have to speak in front of students. I told her that she would probably meet with them weekly. Although she was a teacher’s assistant as an undergrad for two and a half years, the job will likely be different. She went to a small school. I went to Michigan State University, and I know how that works at large universities. She hates public speaking, but I assured her that she would get used to it.

She doesn’t know how she will pay for the first month’s rent before she gets paid or her student loan comes in. She should have gotten a job this summer, but I am conflicted. I felt better about having her around so someone was with Ralph during the day. Not that he really, really needs that now. But still. And he is teaching her to drive. They both have gone to my son’s house to babysit his cats and house sit while he was in Seattle for his job three different weeks this spring/summer. I felt better about having Patty there with him then. Especially then. Patty painted his deck while he was gone. He is going to pay her for that.

Somehow, God willing, we will get her there. With planning, prayer, and effort. And we will likely still forget something important.






The Family Hero


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For Father’s Day


Ralph, my husband and father of our children, is an unsung hero. Well, today I am writing his song of praise.

When Ralph became a father 26 years ago, he took on the challenge with aching, joyful love and trepidation. Three months after Mary was born, I went back to work at a bookstore. I came home one evening to find him sitting on the couch, white as a sheet. It was his first experience with an evening of full blown colic. Mary had screamed for three hours before she calmed down. After seeing the doctor to find out why she was screaming, he found ways to comfort her. He walked her outside back and forth for hours, while singing the song he made up for her.

Nighty-night time

Nighty-night time

Nighty-night time for my Mary


Sleepy tight

I lo-ove you.

He was the one who developed a bedtime routine for our kids…bath, a story,  nighty-night song and tuck-in. The kids would read stories with me during the day, but at bedtime, they wanted their Daddy. For Ralph, they would settle down and go to sleep.

Ralph supported breast feeding by helping out around the house. He cooked dinner. He distracted the older one(s). He wanted to do what he could to ensure that our kids got the best start in life.  Without his support, our kids would not have been breast fed, for about a year each.

He cleaned up after the kids when they were sick.

He got on the floor and played with them.

When Ralph came home from work, he wanted to hear about our day. He listens, intently.

When our kids were in the process of being placed in special education, he was heartbroken. He has learning disabilities, so he blamed himself. Before the initial IEPC for Will, he didn’t want to go because, “I don’t want to hear what they say is wrong with my little boy.” He went anyway.

He worked to understand autism after we received the diagnosis. He encouraged me to go to conferences and workshops to learn more about autism so that we could help our kids. He helped with at-home therapy. He told me over and over how he appreciated the work I was doing with the kids.

When I told him that understanding humor, and differentiating between kind teasing and malicious teasing is difficult for people with autism, he used his joking and story telling talents to help them…for years.

He adjusted his work schedule so that he could pick them up after school or take them to appointments when I went back to school, and when I started working full time. For the last 12 years, he has been getting up at 3:00 a.m., so that he is available after 3:00 p.m.

He models faith. He shows his love by talking to them and playing games with them. We are a close family and Ralph is the anchor.

He has gone to nearly every one of Will’s concerts and band competitions. He took Patty to her art competitions.

He used his vacation time to be with the kids over Christmas break. He used his vacation to go with Will to band camp for three years, to go on youth retreats and spring break mission trips with Mary, Will, and Patty.

He has worked to support his kids even in the face of daunting health problems. His medication for his blood disorder makes him so tired. For two years, he had an very painful ulcer on his leg. He went to work anyway, to support his family.

When our kids went to college, he picked them up, and found additional opportunity to talk to them and influence their souls.

Now the kids are stepping toward independence, their own lives. Will left home and Ralph has worried and ached for him. Ralph put together furniture for Will. He taught Will his favorite recipes.

Will called Ralph for advice. Last week, he called Ralph to find out how to cook meatballs.

Ralph often praises me. He, however, is the family hero.

(This was published in Halo Magazine)


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