It's time for me to be honest. I haven't been posting recently, because I feel like I'm dangling right now.

A friend of ours died this week. While we were waiting to hear each bit of news as it developed and praying for a miracle, it didn't feel right to post mundane bits of fun. And now that he is gone, it still doesn't feel right. I'm glad that he is in heaven, but I am beyond sad that his family is left here without him, and I am having a hard time believing that he is truly happy over leaving them behind. I'm feeling slightly foolish for grieving so much when our contact with him recently hasn't been so drastic that he's left a hole in my life...but he HAS left a hole in my life.

Why is that?

I'm sick over the thought of his wife and kids having to move on without him, and the fact that there is not one blessed physical thing that I can do to help out. Other than pray. Which I know is the best thing I can do, but it doesn't feel like it. I feel guilty that this post has been all about me and how I feel. What about Liisa and how she feels? But truthfully, I don't even want to go there. It is too sorrowful.

When Liberty climbs backwards out of her highchair, blindly feeling for a rung that is two inches below where her foot naturally can reach...that is how I feel right now. Dangling.
Last Friday, Jeremy surprised me with a gift certificate for a haircut and manicure at a local "spa-lon" because he knew how draggy I was feeling after spending four nights in a row up with Mercy. Here is my new hair style. (Ignore my allergy-swollen, sleep-deprived eyes.)

And lest you fear that my new glamorous-ness will go to my head. (I crack me up!) Let me share this story.

My stylish new haircut and red-painted nails inspired me to dig deeper into my closet for outfits that actually matched and didn't host spit-up spots. I paired a nice black shirt and a short khaki skirt with open-toed, silver-buckle enhanced, black heels, and I even painted my toenails red to match my fingers. Oh yes, I was feeling beautiful.

I prepared to leave Mercy and Liberty with Kimmie for a couple hours so that I could attend worship practice at church. While I stood at the door giving Kimmie last minute instructions, Liberty chose to cling to my leg, hoping to insure that I would not leave her. She began by cradling my foot, then she stood, raising my leg to her height. I balanced on one foot in my three inch heels while simultaneously ignoring Liberty, instructing Kimmie and hoping that I wasn't forgetting anything. This is the first time Kimmie has babysat since Mercy was born. To say I was distracted would be putting it mildly. Liberty soon began to run one finger up and down my leg. This continued for several minutes while I ignored her and continued talking, all the while my brain was watching the clock and plotting how I could disentangle myself from Liberty's stranglehold on my leg with the least amount of fuss. I put off the disentanglement too long, and I knew that I would be late for practice.

I glanced down to talk to Liberty who had set up shop between my legs, and that is when I noticed a purple marker in her hand. My first anxious thought was for my khaki skirt. Oh no! She looked like she was all set to begin her artwork. I desperately grabbed at the marker, one foot 24 inches off the ground, my hand stretched between my legs, holding on for dear life (well, maybe not for my life, but definitely for the life of my skirt) as Liberty began pulling away behind me. She had a death grip on that marker...but so did I.

I finally won, and I didn't fall! I turned so that Kimmie could see the back of my skirt, and I asked her, "Do you see any marks on it?" She told me everything was fine, and I quickly ran out the door.

Half-way through our practice, I noticed some stares being directed at my legs. I glanced down, and yes, I had bright purple stripes running up and down my right leg. What I thought was Liberty's finger had actually been that marker. I'm still not sure how Kimmie missed telling me about those streaks. Maybe some selective blindness?

One day, all of my girls are going to wake up with black mustaches on their faces, and I will gleefully announce, "Payback time!"
Morning dawned, dark, cold and dreary.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

A blaring alarm clock received a much deserved slap.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

A spouse warningly shook her shoulder.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

In the distance a baby awoke.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

Thoughts arrived in a morning haze: breakfast, clothing, preparations.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

"We're gonna be late!" A stress-filled cry.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.
Last night, my devotions were in Psalms. Chapter 56 to be specific. After reading the first line, I lost it. Just completely cracked up laughing.

Here it is:

"Have mercy on me, oh God, for men hotly pursue me..."


It reminded me of a single friend of mine in college who told me her life verse was Song of Solomon 2:1, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love is better than wine."

Hee-hee :-)
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"Is everything alright, Melissa?" the fearful urgency in the distant call cut through the sleep-fog to the depths of my brain. My eyes popped open by their own volition and immediately sought the alarm clock. Large red digits burned into the darkness - 5:46 AM. My brain slowly attempted to process the origin of the urgent call.

A female voice. Kimmie's? I continued listening. But Kimmie doesn't call me Melissa. Silence. It must have been a dream.

I easily returned to my lovely sleep.

This time, low-pitched, quiet voices disturbed my sleep. With eyes still closed, I decided it must be Kimmie and Liberty in the living room. They are both horribly early risers. I drifted into dreamland once again, but a thought niggled at my mind. Those were adult voices. Some women, and at least one man. Sleep slowly drifted away.

Kimmie must have the radio on, I decided, and comfortably zoned out again.

"When I saw your front door standing wide open like that, I pretty much freaked out. I knew I had to come over here! I'm glad everything is okay. Have a good day." Once again, the same distinctive female voice cut through to my brain, and this time, after a few seconds (or minutes?) my mind reported to me that the voice belonged to my neighbor, Angie.

With that mystery solved, I dozed off once again...then violently jerked awake! Wait a minute! Why was Angie over here, and why was she talking about my front door being open?

I forced my body out of bed and pushed my arms into the sleeves of my thick navy bathrobe. Hastily double-knotting the belt around my waist, I pushed open my bedroom door and stepped into the dark living room. My skin instantly registered the unusual chill in the room. I looked around, expecting to see Kimmie or Liberty somewhere, but the entire house was dark and still. From down the hall I could hear Kimmie's shower, and a light shown under her bathroom door. Remembering my neighbor's claim that our front door had been standing open and noting the coldness of the living room, I decided to check on Liberty and Mercy. They both slept peacefully, apparently unaware of the recent neighborly visit.

My curiosity somewhat appeased, I returned to my own room, happy at the prospect of climbing back under the covers. But once back in my bed, my brain finally woke up. If our door was standing open, why? Who opened it? I thought back to the previous night. At midnight, I had been up feeding Mercy, and the door had been closed and even locked at that point. Was it locked? I couldn't remember that for sure. I do know that it was closed at that time. I thought through some options.

1. Jeremy came home after midnight. He rarely uses the front door since he parks in our attached garage, but it could have been Jeremy.

2. Kimmie may have chosen to take an early morning walk and forgot to shut the door on her way back in.

3. Liberty may have finally learned how to open doors. (A frightening thought!)

The more I pondered, the more I wondered. I watched my sleeping husband while I wondered. Finally, the suspense wore me down. I woke him up. "Did you use the front door at all last night?"

He hadn't.

We discussed the possibilities, and Jeremy came up with two more that I had not considered.

4. The door may have looked closed at midnight, but not have been completely latched so the wind could have blown it open.

5. Someone not belonging in our house may have entered.

"Oh," I said while his words sunk into my mind.

I continued looking at his face.

Wordlessly, we climbed out of bed and donned our matching bathrobes, belting them at the waist. Together, we exited into the cold, dark living room and looked into the shadows with newly aware eyes. The bathroom door creaked and Kimmie stepped out into the hall illuminated only by the light spilling from the doorway behind her.

"Kimmie," I called quietly, "did I hear Angie's voice earlier?"

"Yes!" Kimmie excitedly called back. She walked towards us, describing her startling morning. The doorbell had rung twice, but she had remained in bed, assuming Jeremy or I would answer it. (She greatly underestimates our sleeping abilities!) When she heard Angie call, "Is everything alright, Melissa?" she rushed to the living room and found Angie from across the street and Denny from next door framed in the open doorway, concern etched on their faces. Angie told how her husband had called her cell phone after pulling out of their driveway on his way to work and informed her that our front door was standing wide open. Angie went to our next door neighbor's house to recruit strong-man Denny to help her investigate, while Denny's wife Kelly watched both families' children and prepared to call for help in the case of an emergency. Kimmie immediately checked on our two little girls and reported their safety to our neighbors, then she knocked on our bedroom door to see how we were doing. Apparently, our loud snores reassured her that we were breathing at least. The neighbor's left; Kimmie headed for the shower, and I slowly woke up.

(Did I ever tell you about the time when I slept through three consecutive fire excavations of the apartment building where I used to live? Well, that's a story for another day!)

At the close of Kimmie's tale, Jeremy decided to see for himself if his daughters were okay. Liberty had buried herself under a mound of blankets, and we both experienced a moment of panic before we realized where she was.

We soberly returned to the living room, where Jeremy decided we should verify the emptiness of the basement. I stood quietly looking at him before turning to retrieve a saucepan from the kitchen. I handed Kimmie my cell phone and half-jokingly told her to call 911 and get the girls out of the house if we didn't return or if she heard anything strange once we got down to the basement. She took the phone and began dialing immediately. "Don't call now!" I exclaimed.

"I'm not. I'm just getting ready in case," she responded.

I followed Jeremy down the stairs with my saucepan poised overhead, ready to strike. We split up at the bottom, Jeremy investigated the left half while I searched the right. I finished first and turned to watch Jeremy complete his rounds.

Suddenly, the scene struck me as funny: the two of us in our matching robes, flushing out an imaginary intruder in the basement. Me with my shiny saucepan, and Jeremy who had not thought to grab his light saber, but who no doubt would have been brandishing it vigorously if he had thought of it, and Kimmie upstairs with her thumb hovering over the call button. That last thought shushed me quickly because I hoped my laughter had not given Kimmie cause to panic and call 911. "We're fine, Kimmie," I called up the stairs. "There's no one down here."

Jeremy and I climbed back up to the first floor. "Check the garage and the refrigerator," Jeremy mumbled as he ambled towards our bedroom.

"What?" I questioned.

"The cars and food," he explained. I checked the garage first. Both cars sat quietly, waiting for their call to service; no thief had disturbed their slumber. As I opened the refrigerator, I tried to remember exactly how the inside had looked the night before. A twinge of disappointment showed itself when I realized that we had not provided emergency food and shelter for some poor soul in the middle of the night.

It remains a mystery. Can Liberty open doors? Does someone in our family sleepwalk? Did we have an unknown visitor in the middle of the night?

Hey, some have entertained angels unaware. Wouldn't that be cool?
Thank you so much for praying for my family. Dad went to the hospital over the weekend because his fingertips were numb indicating loss of blood circulation. The bandages were re-wrapped, a little looser this time, and he was sent home again. His appointment was on Monday at noon, and his boss showed up unexpectedly at the doctor's office, just to show he cared! That was very kind. After looking at the finger tips again, the doctor was surprised to tell Dad that they looked amazingly good, and he is sure that the tips will regenerate just fine. He gave Dad a one and a half to two and a half month approximate healing time, and he couldn't believe the progress that had been made already in the fingers. The doctor had fully expected to be removing them. God is AWESOME!!!!

Dad's boss offered Dad an easy job in the shop instead of a vigorous job on the worksite, and the doctor agreed that Dad could go back to work as long as he wouldn't need his left hand fingers for it. I forgot to ask Dad when his first day back at work would be, but I think he needs a few more days of rest. He went to church Sunday morning, and it wiped him out.

Additionally, Dad's boss let him know that the company is going to pick up the tab for all of the medical bills, physical therapy and 60% of his lost time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying. God said yes!
Thank you for the feedback on my new blog templates. I'm trying out several more now. What do you think of this one?

UPDATE: I got rid of the pumpkin colored was pretty, but it just wasn't me. I am REALLY liking this red and yellow flowered one. It is called "Petals In My Path." I even love the name!

ANOTHER UPDATE: The dots are starting to remind me of a small pox breakout. I like everything but the dots. Sigh.
Would you please pray for my dad. He is a carpenter. Yesterday, he had an accident at work with a table saw and cut the tips of three fingers. After emergency surgery yesterday, the doctor said that on Monday, he will check for signs of degeneration. At that point, they will determine whether my dad will be able to keep the tips of those fingers. Right now, my dad is home on pain killers. He has had a fever and chills and vomitting most of the day. Also, he will be out of work for an undetermined time frame. I still have three siblings in junior high and high school living at home who enjoy eating...a lot! Mom is concerned about their future finances. Will you please pray for clarity of thought for my mom as she sorts through various insurance and income paperwork?

Thank you!
I'm having fun trying on outfits for my blog. Can you tell? :-)
I imagine a gray craggy cave pounded by ocean waves. White water foams loudly on the impassive crevices. Hard minerals stand firm. Waves relent not. Roars echo throughout the cavern. Created and controlled by my powerful Lord.

A small girl in a tiny pink night gown cuddles trustingly into the palm of a giant open hand. Huge masculine fingers curl ever so slightly inward forming a protective canopy over the sleeping child. Peace. Warmth. Safety. Tenderness and love provided by my gentle Father.
Liberty is now an interior designer. She has discovered the joy of creativity, and she has some definite opinions on how her bedroom should be decorated. On more than one occasion, she has displayed her fondness for the color brown and her desire for her bedroom to be covered in brown.

Fortunately for her, the color brown is easily and unsupervisingly (probably not a word) accessible during nap times or night times. A few grunts, a removal of protective clothing and voila! New brown paint for her walls and her sheets and her windows and her previously clean clothing folded and sitting neatly on her shelves. She's lucky that she's so resourceful and creative. Otherwise, what would she find to keep herself occupied while she should be SLEEPING!