We recently purchased new living room furniture. It marks a milestone for us, meaning Tommy and me. We’re taking back our house. No longer are we tripping over toys or watching the same children’s television programs over and over and over. The living room is ours again and it feels good.
Before the new furniture we had a sectional couch which was great it was big and comfy. We bought that shortly after Samantha was born so around 8 years ago-ish. Between Samantha growing up on that couch literally and the 3 cats and 2 dogs, well it had seen better days. So in between talking about renovating this house to an open concept lay out and moving the sectional around along with re positioning the television we discussed “looking” at new furniture. Ha! So much for looking. We were hooked pretty much a half hour into “looking”. The salesman was awesome and recommended we return to buy in a few days to take advantage of a new sale that was to be going on.
We did return and looked around some more. It’s funny because I find that my husband and I have similar taste. It wasn’t always like this. I used to adore a shabby chic, antique-y style. Tommy was more modern/classic. I guess I’ve changed because Tommy still likes the classic/modern style and I do too, but more classic/traditional. I don’t think I’ll ever prefer a modern style. Besides this house was built in 1935, I don’t think it can handle “modern” without looking out of place.
So anyway the new sofa, love seat, coffee table, end tables, lamps and entertainment center/electric fireplace arrived this past Wednesday. I can’t get over it. It’s been forever that we’ve had a coffee table as odd as that sounds. With the sectional sofa we had a chaise lounge so there really wasn’t any room for a table. We’re almost giddy with the normalcy of having living room tables again. I’ve promptly bought candles to place on the coffee table. It’s been forever it seems since I’ve been able to have things on a coffee table without worrying about something being broken or unsafe.
We’re enjoying our re-claimed space. I dream of reclaiming my bathroom someday.
At small group/bible study last night we discussed being discipled or mentored. Were you ever a mentor or the mentee? I was fortunate that I did have a mentor and her name is Louise.
When I started going to small group, Louise was a co-leader of the group. I didn’t think I needed anything. I mean I believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But I did need something, I needed that relationship The Lord and I needed a Savior. Louise met with me when I asked her to. She answered my questions and kept reminding me of the Gospel, that we are saved by grace through faith. I remember crying feeling unworthy of such a gift. Louise listened to me and reassured me that I am worthy.
When my world fell apart due to Thomas needing a medication change. It was then that I met the Lord. In the middle of Thomas being hospitalized and him being so very unstable at home, the Lord took that time to meet me where I was. He truly does meet you where you are, you don’t have to clean yourself up or wait for a special time. He picks the time and the place and it was right there in my car during the song, “Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns that I met Him. It was amazing and I called Louise to tell her what happened to me.
When my world was in shambles during the depression and after the trauma of having Thomas be so aggressive towards me it was Louise who would after church tell me she saw God’s fingerprints all over me. I needed that so bad at that time.
I finally thanked Louise last night for discipling me, for being my mentor.
I’ve written quite a bit about my son. And that being a co-leader for a bible study group for Mom’s of special needs children brings me back to a time when things were off the hook for our family. Last week’s meeting was as awesome as the first. Three women couldn’t make it but instead we had 3 new members so I was able to hear their stories and be taken back yet again. It’s not painful to go back but rather retrospective at this point in my life. I can even recall the aggression without tears. A point I never thought I’d get to.
We discussed fears of our children being made fun of by other children because of their special needs. I shared that even when Thomas was the lowest functioning student in the entire school, no one made fun of him or bullied him. It was quite amazing when I look back. The social worker at that time explained to me that Thomas was a “nice kid” and all the other students wanted to be friends with him, “… you see, Thomas is a nice boy. These kids know who’s a nice kid and who isn’t …” My heart hurt for the other mom’s because I know that fear but God graced Thomas with a kind heart and the opened eyes of the other students. God also graced Thomas was a resilience to adapt to just about every situation he’s been faced with.
When Thomas was 8 years old we made the decision to have him attend a residential school an hour away from home. It was a gut wrenching but necessary decision. Thomas adapted and adapted well. God blessed this boy with the ability to be able to live away from us. Fast forward 8 years and again we were faced with this same decision. Again the Lord blessed Thomas with the resiliency to be able to adapt to a new environment and staff and other kids and to be away from us. To be perfectly honest I don’t think my girls would be able to adapt as well as Thomas has. I don’t believe they are as resilient as their brother or can adapt to change as well as he can. In all fairness they haven’t *had* to adapt to any kind of change that was beyond the realm of traditional transitioning to new classes, new schools, etc…
If someone were to ask you if you are where you’d thought you would be say 5 years ago would you say yes? What about 3 years or even 1 year ago? My answer would be no. I always pictured myself with Tommy but to tell you the truth I rarely think of the future, I’m not one for planning ahead. We make plans and God laughs is what my husband says. I remember the exact time I stopped making plans. It was after I had the second miscarriage. I kept making these grand plans to have another baby but God had different plans at that time. I did end up pregnant again and giving birth but it was at God’s timing, not mine.
I do think of the future and have hopes. I hope Thomas will be living at a group home in this town where we live when he turns 21. I hope Alyssa gets into her college of choice and is able to dorm in Manhattan the way she wants to without putting herself in a crap load of debt.
If someone had told me 3 years ago I’d be happy and not constantly fighting the depression I don’t think I would have believed them. Three years ago I was still trialing medications and having good times and bad times. I desperately wanted a job, any job. I have no idea what I thought I’d be doing. I was adamant that I not be working in any way as a nurse.
Turns out God did have plans. He wanted me in a better place than I was 3 years ago because a job did materialize. But like everything else it was on His timing. I don’t think I would have been able to keep and do well at a job three years ago. Heck, even 2 years ago I wasn’t doing as well as I am now depression wise. Two years ago I decided I didn’t want any job, I wanted a job in Manhattan; part time.
I’ve been employed now, part time in Manhattan for 17 months. I know this was all in God’s plan for me. I’m working as a nurse but not in a capacity I ever dreamed of. Every day that I work I pray on the way there while on the ferry, sometimes on the subway. I pray for wisdom and discernment and for God to be with me while I’m working. On the way home I pray again and thank Him for being with me. If it were not for Him I wouldn’t be where I am today. Everything I wanted on my terms did not come to be. It was all on God’s timing. And His timing is nothing less than perfect.
I received an email from my supervisor informing me of some changes in my hours come March 1st. It’s an official increase; something I’ve been praying for a couple of months now so Praise God! Within the email was a request, do I have any suggestions to drive up our volume or improve our services? I was humbled by that request. That my supervisor thinks enough of me to ask for my input was so flattering. I haven’t worked for a few years before this job came along, and in my previous position I sure as anything wasn’t asked for my opinion. Even when I worked as a nurse in the allergist’s office he never asked for my advice or opinion. So this felt good it felt really good.
I did have a couple of ideas that I promptly wrote and sent in an email. I prayed about more ideas asking the Lord for His help in this. I also asked Him for help in sorting out child care for Samantha on the day I’ll be staying later than the previous schedule. I’m really looking forward to the change as I’ll be working during the after school hours which is more convenient for many families who cannot come in on a Saturday or in the morning during the week. I’m excited for this new change. I love the new office and location. I’ve discovered the subway I was taking to get to the old location is the one I can continue taking, I just need to get off at one more stop and walk about 3 blocks.
It’s funny when I took this job I figured it would be temporary, I wasn’t even sure I liked what I was doing. But here we are almost 18 months later; I do like it, I love being in Manhattan and my boss thinks enough of me to ask my opinion and input. God is good.
So I’m off to brainstorm…
My Daniella, almost 15 years old texted me last night a link to a handbag she was thinking of buying. Needless to say this made this mama’s heart proud. I was excited that she was looking for her first “real” bag.
So today my kids had off from school due to the Chinese New Year (gotta love NYC). And we went to the neighborhood TJ Maxx to search for the perfect handbag within Daniella’s set budget. Yes I was in my element and I set off to find her a bag that was perfect. She decided on one, a structured tote in black but after thinking it over she couldn’t get the original one she texted me out of her mind. She also wanted a bag in the color taupe. That tote was black. After deciding that the bags at TJ’s didn’t meet the criteria we decided to try Marshalls.
And there it was… A satchel handbag with optional shoulder strap in taupe! In leather no less. It was as if the clouds parted and the sun shown down on her bag. It was a wonderful moment. We looked around a little more but Daniella had already made up her mind.
The bag was hers and she promptly moved in when we arrived home. The only thing missing is a coach wallet I passed on to Alyssa and Alyssa will pass it on to Daniella. She looks gorgeous carrying her new bag and I as her mother couldn’t be more proud to pass on my love of handbags to the next generation.
We started our small group/bible study the other night. It was a great turnout, around 5-6 woman not including myself and my co-leader. The women were amazing, caring and very open. I told my story of Thomas first. Because he’s 19 and and so much has happened in those 19 years I felt like I glossed over a lot of our journey and didn’t go into great detail. How deep in detail do you go when your head spins to just give the basic no frills version?
The members of the group did go into great detail about the lives of themselves and their children. I’m grateful and feel honored that they were comfortable enough to be so open. Their stories and raw emotion brought me back. Back to times that were really tough with Thomas. Emotions that were buried were brought back to the surface but not in a bad way. More of a “yes, I remember feeling that way… but it’s okay now…” And I was quick to get past the memory. I did a lot of nodding and “uh-huh’ing” in agreement of knowing how these women felt. It’s nice to know I was never alone in my feelings. Even now so many years later the feelings I had are the same feelings these women are having now. It’s amazing. We’re all keeping in touch via email and text messaging; sharing doctor recommendations and keeping each other in prayer.
I left that night feeling incredibly fortunate that God has chosen to use me in this way. Fortunate and privileged to hear these experiences and be a part of their lives.
So I’ve amassed quite the collection of handbags through my thrifting adventures. I don’t know how it happened but lately I’ve struck gold in the handbag department. A Christian Dior limited edition straw woven bag for the summer, a made in Italy Coach satchel, Bottega Veneta jute woven bag also for the summer and finally a Longchamp nylon tote that is all the rage in Manhattan for commuters so I’m right in style. Some of these bags I find have never been used. It’s crazy to me anyway. I’m such a (self titled) bag whore that I can’t imagine getting rid of any of the ones I’ve found while thrifting. It really is true that one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. And before you ask, yes I will use each and every bag~I like to change bags often.
I’m not a one borough thrifter. I love thrifting in Manhattan as well as where I live. I find bargains in Manhattan too. At first I figured I wouldn’t find anything or that things would be overpriced but it isn’t so. Items are priced just as reasonable in Manhattan as they are here. Of course it depends on the store. There are certain chains of thrift stores that benefit a specific cause that I find to be expensive so of course I avoid those stores. I even thrifted in North Carolina while on vacation. A good friend and I hit every store on a major highway at the Outer Banks after sightseeing one day. I found nothing! No, wait I did find a sweater but it fell apart when I washed it so there you go; nothing. I was so bummed.
I really enjoy the thrill of the hunt. There are plenty of second hand “Thrift” stores online but I prefer finding my own treasures at a store or at a yard sale. My siblings and I grew up going to yard sales and thrift stores with our Grandfather. He was always finding some “treasure” to bring home. He loved to collect Avon bottles. They were figurines with cologne inside, usually. He even installed a ton of shelving in his basement to display those beloved Avon figures. Unfortunately no one else in the family (that I know of) shared his love of Avon. I have at least one daughter who loves handbags as much as I do thank goodness, so there’s a shared appreciation. My late Aunt Marge was another thrifter. She had a gift of finding gold jewelry. It was like she just knew by looking at a bracelet, ring, etc…that it was worth something. She was so funny and would always rejoice with you over a good find. As I write this I realize I’m in great company family wise for thrifting. However, I don’t think my husband will install extra shelving in the basement for my handbags.
The office where I work has moved. I’m no longer working on the relatively quiet street of East 30th Street, I’ll now be working right on 5th avenue close to the Empire State Building. I helped my boss and her family move into the new place Saturday evening after I was done for the day. I liked where the old office was, nice and quiet kind of tucked away…but now things have changed. My boss is no longer leasing office space from another physician; she has her own office and I’m happy for her. I’ll be happy in the new space once I get acclimated. One thing I’ll have to get used to is the busy-ness of 5th Ave. I felt overwhelmed by the whole New York-ness of the area. And to top it off I didn’t know where the subway station was so I looked like a tourist trying to find my way after we were finished setting up. I had to ask a street vendor for directions and walk 2 blocks to get the 1 train. Two long city blocks. The next time I’ll take a different train, one closer to the office. I’ve already mapped it out.
The new office has 3 rooms, one my boss will be renting out shortly and 2 for her own use. One is almost set up ready for me to begin, we’re just waiting for a sink to be installed which will be nice for me to be able to wash my hands without running down the hall every 15 minutes between clients. I’ll no longer be close to a thrift store I found that was close to the old office. I’ll just have to find another one…I know I will.
The other change is my small group/bible study begins in 2 days. I will admit I’m excited and nervous. I’ve never undertaken anything like this. Any other group I was involved in I was never a “leader” but one who attended. I’m praying this works out well. That I’ll be able to bring God glory through my experiences with Thomas and my family and the depression from the trauma of living with him the last 6 months or so that he was home. I’m praying the book I chose speaks to the other women the way it spoke to me. I’m just praying…