Debbie Williamson

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Tuesday

16

January 2018

3

COMMENTS

The Work From My Soul

Written by , Posted in General, Substitute Teaching

It was one of my first jobs as a new substitute teacher. I’d passed the CBest, been fingerprinted, and was nervously preparing on that January day, to do my new sub thing in an 8th grade advanced math class. Middle daughter’s advanced math class.

Not everyone knew we were related and she begged me not to tell the others. However, mid way through the period she decided she needed water, my water bottle — I guess the little cherub was thirsty. So in a moment of mothering clarity, I said she could have it only if she told the class we were mother and daughter.

Reluctantly she agreed, and the water bottle was hers.

Wednesday

10

January 2018

4

COMMENTS

We Can’t Just Hope for Fruit

Written by , Posted in General

We lived in Yakima, Washington, for four years. Midway between Seattle and Spokane, but closer to the Columbia River, Yakima is a leader among all counties in the nation in the production of apples, hops, sweet cherries and mint.

Out and about each day, I would drive by acre after acre of orchards. Having lived only in urban areas, I loved being a part of an agricultural community. I now know what a smudge pot is, why farmers spray water on newly budding fruit trees in the middle of winter when the temperature drops below freezing, and the purpose of those shiny ribbons tied to the branches. Many of our friends worked in the fruit industry in Yakima, so we spent fall weekends picking apples and cherries.

And they worked hard. Up all night sometimes in the winter months, and long, long days during harvest season. Hard, never-ending work tending and nurturing the trees that produced the fruit.

Friday

5

January 2018

12

COMMENTS

Out Of The Ashes . . .

Written by , Posted in Family, General

The people of Santa Rosa are sifting through the ashes. Literally. And the people of Ventura and Fallbrook probably are too. The fires that consumed so much of California this year have wreaked havoc on families and communities up and down the state.

I was in Santa Rosa in December. I’d flown up to celebrate my mom’s birthday, her first birthday in 58 years that she’s not spent with my dad.

The fires in Santa Rosa had burned down the place we had planned on moving her into after my dad died, so we found another place. It’s just miles from the Coffey neighborhood.

And the Coffey neighborhood is gone. The fires had jumped the 101 and had burned home after home, block after block, acre after acre. Everything is gone. 1347 homes in all.

As we drove through in December, there was nothing left. Nothing. We’d seen the Fountain Grove neighborhood, 1590 homes burned there. In the Coffey neighborhood . . . nothing. Every couple of lots there was the shell of a car, blackened trees, a chimney. Other than that — ashes. Empty lots. Driveways to nowhere. The insurance companies had been by and on every lot there was a sign with a check list, things that needed to be verified so the insurance claim could proceed.

And every couple of blocks, a family had come to put up a Christmas tree on their destroyed lot with a few ornaments and some battery powered lights. I cried.

Saturday

28

October 2017

6

COMMENTS

Life is Hard. God is Good.

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family

When our mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, my siblings and I decided to start a Meal Train calendar to let people know our need for care and companionship for her and give them the opportunity to help, signing up for meals and/or visits.

Throughout these ten months, I have been regularly sending emails to this group of about 70, updating them and telling them of our mom’s current need.

When our dad died in July, we began looking for an assisted living community for our mom. That had always been the plan — when dad died, she would move closer to Santa Rosa and her church.

We worked tirelessly to find just the right place.

And we did! Find just the right place. Beautiful residence, gorgeous view, moving date set for October 12.

And then, on October 9, the devastating Santa Rosa, California fires roared through that community, burning to the ground over 8,000 structures. One of those was the community we had been calling her new home. The cable guys were scheduled, the new sofa bed was coming, and she was excited to join the walking group.

I guess not.

Thursday

12

October 2017

12

COMMENTS

Is Ignorance Bliss?

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family, General

Today, Oct. 12, 2017, was the day we were moving our mom into a perfect for her assisted living facility in Santa Rosa, California. Sadly, though, we didn’t. It burned to the ground on Monday in what is fast becoming the most deadly fire in California history.

This is one of many things that have unfolded in my life over the year that I never, ever thought would be true . . .

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
My dad died.
My husband has been unemployed for 7 months.
My mom evacuated from her home. We’re praying it doesn’t burn down.
And this is when I know that I really don’t want to know the future.

This is when I embrace the mystery of God’s perfect plan and purpose. (I don’t like it, but I embrace it.)

This is when my life of faith makes all the difference.

I’m reposting one of my all time favorite posts. The bandwidth of my brain is so full of sadness and uncertainty that I’m pretty unable to be creative, or even be very nice to 6th graders. So I thought this would be great to repost, to reread, since this speaks deeply to me about how ignorance can be bliss.

Sunday

1

October 2017

10

COMMENTS

Hate the Glitches!

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Since February, my email subscriber service has been glitchy. That means if your email for my blog is in the bottom half of the alphabet, you’ve not been getting any alerts that I’ve been writing. And I have been! Such a bummer. But my genius tech guy did some sleuthing and figured it all out. All emails are ready to be alerted next time I post.

So in order to catch half of you up, I’m going to repost the latest one I wrote about things I’ve learned since my dad died. It’s a good one and something we all need to be more aware of. I know I needed it! If you’ve already read it, so sorry that it’s coming again. But maybe it’s important enough to reread.

Happy October, email friends. Thanks for being a part of this blogging journey of mine. I appreciate your comments and encouragement and private messages of support and love. It’s been a wild and crazy and grief-filled year, but there’s always light, right? The darkness never, never overcomes the light. And that’s a good thing. It keeps me hoping. It keeps me keeping on.

Monday

4

September 2017

6

COMMENTS

The 2 Lessons I’ve Learned Since My Dad Died

Written by , Posted in Family, General

It’s been 37 days since my dad stopped breathing that July night in the ICU.

(I had to clarify with the night nurse who’d called us that “stopped breathing” wasn’t a euphemism for anything other than dead. Right, I asked him? My dad’s dead? Yes, he said, and he was so sorry for our loss. Ranks as weirdest phone conversation ever.)

Since then it’s been non-stop action — Planning the memorial service and the spreading of his ashes. Calling the realtor and beginning the painful, laborious process of getting the house ready to sell. Finding just the perfect place for my mom to be as the Alzheimer’s slowly and methodically tangles her brain. Keeping the meals and the visits organized and coming. Going through the house room by room, desk by desk, closet by closet, file cabinet by file cabinet and deciding what to do with everything. Every.single.thing. Every dish, towel, painting, sheet, bed, chair, rug, patio furniture, candle, pillow, picture, rake, shovel, bags of potting mix, windmill on the hill in the backyard. EVERYTHING.

So the grieving process gets interrupted by all the busyness.

But every so often it crashes in in a wave.

Monday

14

August 2017

9

COMMENTS

Monday

10

July 2017

1

COMMENTS

Our Trip Down The 395

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Driving away in our car that overheated twice on the road into Tahoe, we decided no air conditioning. Google maps said we were 8 hours and 3 minutes from home. That won’t be so bad. No air. We can do that.

Uh huh.

And we were off down the 395, along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. Up and down, in and around, through towns and spaces we hadn’t seen before. Snow covered mountains, Mono Lake, Independence, Lone Pine, the road to Mammoth, Bishop, Bridgeport, Tom’s Place . . .

And it got hotter and hotter.

Finally, about two hours from home, we relented and turned the air on low. Anxious that we would overheat so so close, I kept an eagle-eye on the thermometer, praying the needle to stay put.

It did and we made it.

Tuesday

20

June 2017

1

COMMENTS

Last Year Changed Everything

Written by , Posted in General

I’m a 1 on the Enneagram. I like to be accurate, thorough, fair and objective. On good days I’m rational, orderly, principled. I have a strong internal critic that reminds me of what I should and shouldn’t do because I need to know what is expected of me so I can act accordingly and excel. Oh, and maybe I’m a tad perfectionistic.

Also as a 1, I have an almost compulsory habit of telling other people what I think is right — helping them avoid mistakes, right? (Not exactly how my husband sees that . . .)

Then I read in John 11, “But oddly, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days after He heard that Lazarus was sick . . .”

But oddly . . .

I don’t like that. I’m not a fan of things being odd. I don’t want Jesus doing odd things. I like orderly. I like rational. I like clear expectations. I like avoiding mistakes. I like people showing up on time.

NO ODDNESS.

Unfortunately, there’s been lots of oddness in my life lately.