Sunday, October 25, 2015

Counting Mine {414-426}

414.  Easy birthday parties

415.  Sleeping in

416.  Salted caramel vodka and apple cider (don't judge)

417.  A borrowed clothing steamer

418.  The cuddly dog

419.  Baby A. and how much my Baby L. loves him

420.  Baby L's little friend Hadley, and how they shreek and  hug every time they see each other.

421.  The package coming in the mail at just the right time.

422.  Shark week costumes

423.  My mom- who spent a lot of time sewing for our costumes

424.  For the good coffee

425.  A long hot (uninterrupted!!!!!) shower.

426.  For sweet Texan friends who send the PERFECT birthday gift.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Uncle Dick

It's been one week since my mom called to let me know that my Uncle Dick passed away.

There are so many different ways you could say it: died, took his last breath, expired, passed away, deceased, called Home.  Either way, his earthly body is gone.  And he leaves behind a legacy of family and some good memories.

He was my Father's eldest brother- older than my dad by 9 years.  The first of FOUR Behm boys.  (Oh, my grandmother.... not only raising four boys, but four BEHM boys).

One of my favorite memories of my uncle Dick was at Thanksgiving.  All of my childhood Thanksgivings involves my uncle Dick, his wife Aunt Corrine, and all their kids- my four cousins (one boy, three girls- and their significant others).  This tribe was together again on Christmas Eve as well. 

One thing you'd understand -if you knew a Behm well- is that we're, by nature, button-pushers.  Most Behms have harder shells, warmer insides, tend to be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get and are fiercely loyal... but we're also button pushers. 

So, every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, I would get razzed.  Sure enough, someone would start a conversation (usually Uncle Dick) with a twinkle in their eye and a sideways grin.  I'd take the razzing with a grain of salt (crying shows weakness... just deal with it with a smile).... and eventually, they'd chuckle and move on to their next prey.  I'd get a "you're all right" as they moved on... meaning I rolled with the punches.  I could take the heat in stride. 


There was a Thanksgiving- I was 19.  I was the prey...a few of the fellas were pushing buttons, and Uncle Dick was observing.  And I threw it back.  I pushed buttons in return and took the heat from me to them.  It was probably one of my finest hours- where I learned the fine language of "sarcastic" and "snarky" and realized I could rule the conversation with them.

Uncle Dick's eyes got wide(er- he didn't have big eyes to being with), and chuckled to the fellas, "I guess she got you.... chuckle chuckle.".

That night, at dinner, Uncle Dick poured me my first glass of wine.  My mom put up the token fuss saying "she's underage....", but he said "she's old enough for a glass with dinner."

I had arrived. 

And I knew I had because Uncle Dick said so. 

Not in so many words, but with his  actions.

Here's a few things I've always appreciated about my uncle:
  1. He had a great chuckle.  All the BEHM boys do.
  2. He always purchased the most expensive thing on my Christmas list.  I didn't realize this for some time, but one Thanksgiving night, he handed me the JCPenney catalog, and said, "don't hold back, now... you hear?". So, I wrote three or four things down, and then for grins I threw in a ventriloquist dummy that looked like Charlie Chaplin.  It was a $50 doll.  Wouldn't you know it, that's what I opened the following Christmas Eve.  I still have that doll.  Not because I have any interest in ventriloquism, but because it reminds me of his generosity.  I think everyone needs an aunt/uncle like that.  The one that makes you feel more special than the others (even if they are doing it for the others too).
  3. In high school, I was in a biology class that brought us out to a college research vessel on a river.  Low and behold,  he was the captain of said vessel.  This earned me a special privilege of steering the ship for a bit and a little more chatty time in the wheel house.  It was here I told him that I feel most at home near or on a body of water- that something about it makes me feel calmer than not.  He chuckled, and mentioned that he was the same way.  A week later, he brought over a neon pink ship hat (which in the early 90' no no to neon....), but the gesture was so sweet, and he had found a way to connect with his teenage niece.  I appreciated that.
  4. He ALWAYS supported my children in their walk-a-thon fundraiser.  Every time I asked him for support, he was there.  Generously there.  Never a "I gave last year, or last quarter....". Always there.  That kind of generous loyalty is something to be celebrated. 
  5. Here's my most favorite:  he always always always sent a birthday card.  Just the card, but he always sent one.  Without fail.  This year, I didn't get one from him near my birthday, and I thought I should pray for him.  It's so weird that I'd miss his simple card.  He passed away on Friday, October 16.  The day after he passed, I received a birthday card from him.  It was funny and simple.  And something I'll hang on to for years to come.
  6. Last, but certainly not least.... my uncle loved God.  Faithfully showing up to services as often as he could. Engaging in a family of believers when he could.  I love this one because I know... I KNOW that Tuesday's funeral is not good-bye.  It's just a "see ya later."
So, thank you, Uncle Dick, for being you.  For doing your best.  For leading by example.  I'm so glad I got to be in your family circle.  Thank you for loving God.  I'll see ya later.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Not Me! Monday- 2015 version

Yes, friends... it's a throw back to some my favorite type of blog post- the Not Me! Monday.  I've had a bunch of self-deprecating blog posts rolling around in my noggin....

                                                         , I thought I'd air them out for you.

Let's see if Not Me! Monday posts are like riding a bike:

I did not spend a lot of time getting all dolled up for the first day of MOPS last month.  I did not treat it like the first day of school.  I did not lay out clothing the night before, and in my true-to-free spirit self, I did not forget to make sure that I had clean undergarments to wear to this not at all important day of the year.  I did not get out of the shower that morning to realize that I had zero clean underwear.  I am always on top of the laundry situation in our house.  I am never in need of clean undergarments (and neither are my kids and husband... never). Furthermore, I am never behind on housekeeping, in general.  I have a cleaning schedule, and I always stick to it.  I did not end up wearing maternity underwear to MOPS that day.  Nope!  Not me!  Not only do I always have clean underwear in my drawer, I always rotate obsolete clothing out of my closet at the first opportunity.  Never would I have maternity underwear in my closet when I haven't been pregnant in.... almost three years.

I would never yell at my boys for using baby-talk to converse with my or their friends.  This is not my ultimate pet-peeve.  Furthermore, I would never commit the parenting-cardinal sin by talking about my eldest's baby-talking in the kitchen when I did not know his friend was still sitting in our living room.  Nope!  I would never embarrass my son by speaking about him in front of his friends.  Since this conversation never happened, I would not feel like the biggest heel in the world.  And later, I would not hope that this faux-pas wouldn't turn into something positive by having said friend pour on some innocent peer pressure to get him to stop baby talking.  Dave and I always allow baby-talking in our kids, and we always talk like that to each other.  We encourage our kid to talk this way, and do not appreciate all the years sweet A went through speech therapy. We did not work for years and years to get his muscles to move correctly in his mouth only to encourage lazy speech.  After all, forty year old men who speak in baby-talk are always the first guys to get the dream job, right? 

I would never wear a pair of shoes that always cause blisters on my fourth toes.  Not me!  I am a sensible girl who always wears sensible shoes.  I would never give up comfort for vanity.  I did not end up in sock-feet while waiting for the kids to finish singing at church.  Nope!  I always make the smartest choices for my feet.  And I certainly wouldn't scream at the dog the next morning for running across my blistered toe.  I would never scream at my dog for something she doesn't understand, and I certainly wouldn't blame my unconditionally loving pet for my own poor leather-bound foot-covering choices.

Well, I'm totally feeling better for my non-confessions.  What sort of things did you not do these past few months???

Monday, September 14, 2015

Counting Mine {401-413}

401. Good hair days

402.  Acne wash (that works!)

403. Play it again Sports.  Making fall and spring sports a tad more affordable.

404.  Lots and lots (and lots) of little kids at church

405.  Bible studies that go back to original Greek and Hebrew.

406.  The husband's patience

407. Purchasing the first four Christmas presents

408. Someone to share tears with

409.  Another year of Maddie

410.  Friends who share recipes and expertise

411.  New friends who are willing to link arms with me in parenthood

412.  The pair of good tweezers

413.  Coffee.  Coffee.  Coffee.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Counting Mine {387-400}

387.  The perfect hymn that stays clear in your head all day long.

388.  A completed zip line.

389.  Invitations to new friend's homes

390. Excitement over a 100% spelling test after a long week studying.

391.  Increased confidence in middle school

392.  Mineral foundation

393.  Birthday parties

394.  The fancy bathroom faucet

395.  Air conditioning

396.  Clear margins

398.  New bedrooms

399.  Nightlights
400.  Antibiotics and weekend express care.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Our new normal.

So.... that as an insanely long sabbatical from writing.

Actually, I was writing, I just wasn't publishing.

To sum up the last 4 1/2 months of our lives:

We left our church.

There's about a million more behind those four words,
but that sums it up into a nice tidy little package. 

For some of you, its like no big deal.  People leave churches all the time, right?  But... for Dave and I, this church was the one we carefully chose 12 years ago to raise our children in, to grow old in.  The one that we chose to spend our time, talent, and treasures in.  These people were our non-related family.

And we left.

I have written this post about a dozen times, and tried in every different way to explain it.... in detail.... in vague terms.... but I had to work through the anger and disappointment before I could put it together in a tidy little package.  Dave and I have committed to taking the high road through all of this.... closing our lips when we want to spit venom, praying for those that we are disappointed in.... so, it has taken me this long to write.

In true Pardon My Dust form, I decided to make a list of things I'm thankful for in this process.  Because there is always,
something to be thankful for:

- For a rock-solid marriage.  For a husband who reaches for my hand in the middle of the night just to let me know he's laying awake thinking and praying for our family- just like I am.

- For the perfect hug from my parent's friend at the perfect time.

-  For a clear "no, I am not calling you here at this moment in time"

-  For old acquaintances who journey with you... and become great friends.

-  For time away at my childhood home just to enjoy summer a bit.

-  For time to play with my portrait lens.

-  For time to sit by the water and pray.

-  For the perfect timing of a Godly mentor.

-  For the good tissues

-  For laughter that makes you cross your legs and makes your abs hurt- the next day.

-  For the self-control to NOT send that knee-jerk email and NOT punch anyone

-  For the perfect prayer at the perfect time.

-  For boys who ask questions while they're processing things and grieving the old.

- For a toddler- who will have no memory of this before/after life event.

-  For a new church and school.... who have gone out of their way to be welcoming and inviting.

- For the promise that, "yes... this will eventually feel like home."

-  For the large families with lots of kids who make me look like a procreating under-achiever.

-  For God to give me some time alone- separated from friends- to process and lean on Him.

- For the surprise "good-bye" to help our boys process.

- For the shorter commute.

- For the all-in mission

- For the burning bush moment

-  For the invitations

- For the feeling of peace after worship.

-  For open ears.

- For open hearts.

- For closed chapters.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Let me start this blog by saying "I'm sorry mom...I know it's not ladylike to talk about the yearly appointment...please feel free not to read."

So, there I was...exactly on time for my yearly appointment that was 1 year and 10 months overdue.

Yep, I'm talking about the yearly.

This was my first visit where I could whole-heartedly say that this is no longer my Obstetrician office, but my full-fledged Gynecologist office. I'm good with that.

But never the less, I come in...and since it's an awesome office- the turn over is low.  So, I'm seeing MA's and RN's and assistants that have held my hand through pregnancies, ultrasounds, infertility, and everything in between...and they're like old friends.  Only the old friends I haven't seen in a while.  But still...good to see them.

Even as I was filling out paperwork, the questions came up:

When was your last period:  Friday (sorry, the date escapes me, and I don't have a phone on me so I'm essentially helpless)

How long are your cycles:  I'm not sure.  But I'm ornery every 3-4 weeks.

Are you currently pregnant: No. (see aforementioned period on Friday)

Are you planning on becoming pregnant soon:  No, no no noooooooooooooo

I had to snicker to myself.  Because I know this is a generalized form, but hey...there are 80 year-olds who come in this office and have to fill out this same paperwork.  I can only imagine the rise they get out of the last question.

 (Note to self:  When I'm 80,
write "yes, with God's help."
just to see the reaction from
the doctor).

So...then my name gets called...and it's the part I'm dreading...the weigh-in.  It's this I've been hiding from.  This is why it's overdue.  Because I let that number determine my self worth.  And I sit there with nothing but that number in the back of my head all darn day. Week. Month. Year.

So...then I weigh in, and ask to pee- basically because I do have to pee, but also to clear out the numbers on the scale.  Because when I came in, there were numbers left up, and I saw how much the sweet little pregnant little lady weighed even with a huge belly.  (did I mention little?)  And I thought "no one needs to see my number." 

Blood pressure: ok.  (take that, darn weight)
Pulse: still beating...and good (surprising because it was INSANE to get me here on time this morning, and just less than 15 minutes ago it was racing because I was running to get there on time...and had a cup of coffee...ok, two).

Then she leaves with the instructions I hear every time I'm here

...gown open to the back, sheet across your lap. 

Bah. here's where my real work begins.  Because I can never tie those darn gowns.  I can get the top one tied ok, but I feel like a contortionist trying to get the middle I'm there- looking like I"m chasing my own tail walking in circles in this 10x10 office...pretty sure I am about to throw my shoulder out of socket. 

Well...skip it. 

So, I pull the gown closed as tightly as possible, and sit "quietly" on the paper, and drape the sheet securely over the rest of me.  But...guess what.

 I keep my sunglasses on my head. 

 Because I needed something other than doctor-provided cotton to give me some security.  And apparently, sunglasses on my head has become my anchor to prevent me from floating into the sea of Abysmal Unclothed Embarrassment.

And then it hits me....

There is a gas bubble brewing.

 I can hear it gurgling in my stomach. 

 It's loud and angry. 

I can literally feel it moving south.

Bless me.

 COME ON, BODY!  Can't you play along nicely- just this ONCE???

The projection that it's moving south is just about faster than the speed of light...and I start to clinch up.  I'm weighing my options...

Do I:

a) let it go and pray there's no odor, or if there is it dissipates quickly???
b) keep clinching and pray for the best?

I'm weighing my options:

A) doesn't work.  I know I have GI issues...for a while now.  There's no such thing as a non-odor gaseous emanation for GI peeps.  No.such.thing.  They're all bad.  And it's just me in this room. No one to blame it on.  Just me.  Waiting with nothing but doctor-provided cotton cloth and sunglasses.

ok- next option:

B)   Just clinch it.  It's my only hope.  I can pray that it will die down and sit quietly in some corner of my gut during the exam...and pray...and pray. 

So, plan b is working well...until I start to sweat.  This nasty bubble has made my entire body break out in a cold sweat.  I'm sweating so bad that the "gown" is starting to stick to me and I need to wipe my brow and upper lip (sexy, I know).

So, then I'm moving around a bit.  Trying to get comfortable.  And what do I realize but the sweat episode has now glued the paper sheet to my exposed skin.  Anywhere I was exposed, now is covered with concrete paper.  Lovely. 

Again, my options:

a) sit there and cover the shredded paper with my ample behind and doctor-provided sheet


b) quickly redress the bed and throw away the shredded sheet.

b.  GO GO GO.

Thankfully, the bed was easy to redress and there I am- with new paper on the bed, a few papers stuck to my backside that I'm desperately trying to peel off- standing on the step stool ready to quick plop down when she knocks on the door- because God forbid I sit my sweaty behind down on the paper any sooner than necessary.

Wait...I'm still sweaty- and I'm standing, so I start fanning myself.  Dry off, please dry off.

Knock, knock.

Plop down, cover up..."come in"

The rest of the story is inconsequential (and also tmi), but other than a "well, you're down 10 pounds from when we last saw that's a start.  Keep going."

and my omission of not-saying "well, I'm actually down 24 pounds, but you don't have that I'm not telling you"

And an examination of a few suspect moles, I am in good health and on my merry way.

But I can say that plan b's worked. 
Both of them. 
So the long and the short of it is, plan A isn't always the best plan- plan b is usually good.  If executed correctly, things can work out...or you could break into a cold sweat, but keep trying anyway. 
 You'll get through.