Sunday, February 28, 2010


I began a blog awhile back using Typepad. I thought it might be more user-friendly for me. But I ended up with a boring set-up that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't change. That was after I set it up and couldn't sign off on others' blogs with my blog's name and have it accessible. My husband, who is head of IT for a company, had to help me.
So I stayed with Typepad until this week when, after browsing other blogs-- all more colorful and descriptive than mine, I switched to I was able to customize (to a point)immediately after I set it up. I have copied most of my entries from Lillabettes-meanders. Some like the "What 20 inches of snow looks like here" proved too time consuming to bother. As for the grandchildren entry, I will do another on this account later.
I also changed the name. I don't want confusion when I close the Typepad account. Also, I decided that Lillabette sounded like a child's blog. Lillabette is a nickname my mom used for me when I was little. I didn't want to go with my real name. But then signing off as Lillabettes-meanders sounded silly to me. So I came up with the title "B. Meandering" which I explain in my profile and off to the left side on the main page. I hope this clears up any confusion as to why I have so many entries on the same day.
I hope that I will have more success with this blog. I welcome comments (nice ones).


I thought I was going to escape the February Blues this year. I got through my birthday alone---no husband---he hoped to beat the big snowstorm, but it came faster than originally predicted. He would have had to take off work Friday in order to make it. He has to give a lot more notice than 24 hours unless its illness or death. Being with your wife on the weekend before her birthday hardly qualifies as an emergency. ( For the record:my wonderful husband sent me beautiful flowers. I am NOT one of those women who say it's a waste to spend money on something that's just going to wilt and die. I believe that the beauty they add to a home and a person's life for even a brief time is worth evey penny. But then I LOVE flowers. And most of the white daisies and tiny lavender carnations are still "prettying up" the house in vases. The roses and tiger lilies and misc. greenery are gone, but while they lasted, they were beautiful.)

No school that day---snow. But I drove the 30 minutes to school anyhow, except--- I drove past it. I had to go to a near-by town to pay my respects to Lexie--the beautiful teen we lost in a car crash. I got there earlier than the other teachers I was to meet. But Abby found me. Abby was Lexi's best friend. Ahhh---Abbie---another special teen-age girl--one of the students who reaffirms why I became a teacher. (Too bad that getting bigger each year is the number of students who make me wonder, "What in the world was I thinking?!")

That day I turned 56. My teacher friends and I had a communication break-down. My closest teacher friend thought she'd told me about the change of plans---we were to go to the music teacher's home to see it---it's her post divorce digs. But I didn't get that message and thus when I looked around and they were gone, I didn't know where to go. So I drove home and ate bacon, eggs, and toast. Then I went and bought myself a birthday cake. And I didn't feel angry or sad. I didn't cry. I was proud of myself. When the snow kept coming and school kept being canceled, I just snuggled up with my cats and did fine. No big depression---no crying over missing Dad and Mom. "I did good."

Then back to school and bam! It hit me! Nine more years of this teaching---something I so wanted. But it's gotten tough---really tough.

Then last night and my oldest grandson's birthday party. My ex's parents were there. They were the best friends of my parents when my ex was 21 and I was 19. Both sets of parents thought T. and I were right for each other. One wedding, two children, and a dissolution in a court house lasting all of 10 minutes 19 years and 10 months later,we all admitted defeat. The parents stayed friends---played bridge. But as the toughness of my situation became more evident to my parents, the harder it was for them to act like everything was fine. It wasn't. So in the end, they unofficially parted ways.

My parents are gone now to heaven. His are still here on earth. The situation wasn't such that I felt I could keep in touch with them. But I've missed them. They were my friends before I met him. I always thought it was unfair that I had to give them up too, especially since if given a choice, I wouldn't have given any of it up. But such is life. With the help of my parents, teenage son, and several wonderful women friends who T. hadn't liked, I picked up the pieces of my life, went back to work, to college, and got my act together enough to contact my high school sweetheart. We have been happily married for 11 and 1/2 years now.

But last night I ended up alone at a table with my ex-in-laws and I listened to my ex-mother-in-law's stories. And I laughed like I always laughed at her stories. My dad especially loved them. And you know what? Today I've got the February Blues. Yep, somehow my annual depression sneaked in the door, uninvited and unwanted. But he's here. And the tears are flowing for a lot of reasons. However, just to be very clear, I am not mourning my first marriage. I long ago moved on and in fact something he did last night made me glad I wasn't leaving with him. Actually that happens just about every time I'm around him--- I literally thank God that I'm not T's wife anymore---that I'm Mike's wife.

I'm grieving, but not for that. Mostly I'm missing my parents--both of them. How I could use his hug and her words! You just never get too old to miss them. Last night I did envy my ex. He had his parents there with our son and our grandchildren---they're great-grandchildren. I didn't. So the tears flow. And the snow's here AGAIN and the prospect of making up snow days with Saturday school or an additional hour added to days that have felt incredibly long this week is ---well depressing.

I know that at times like this I should grab my Bible or my devotion book or turn on a Joyce Meyers CD. Maybe I will, after I cry a bit longer. I believe that tears can be cathartic. I fought off the depression all those days home alone and was so proud of it, yet I'm still behind on my school stuff even after being home 10 days of school! Why? Maybe because he got in here anyhow and did more damage because I refused to cry---to let myself feel the February Blues.

Maybe next year I'll just open the door for him like I've done in previous years, let the tears flow, lose a day or two, and then move on. He seems bent on coming ---he's been visiting since I was 15. So why was I so bent on not allowing the visit this year? I always get through it and am more productive after the visit. So why fight it? Don't know. Don't have any answers tonight, only the February Blues.

More on Loss

Someone I love experienced a loss. Hers was not the kind I wrote of earlier. That loss began with a thundering bang that reverberated through the countryside. The news of the result of that bang/crash eventually found its way to a small, country high school. Many of us teachers there felt like we'd been sucker punched, but because we had to go back to our classrooms and keep our kids there for an extended amount of time, we couldn't really react. My reaction came at the end of the day when I turned off the lights, locked and closed my door, and let loose, sobbing not only my grief for losing Lexi, but also for recalling almost every minute of the 24 hours after picking up the phone approximately 18 years ago and hearing , "This is the state patrol dispatcher, your daughter has been in an accident and she's trapped in her car." Those who know me well, know the outcome---they got her out and she is alive and well today. Much happened after that, but this blog is not about that.

It's about another kind of loss. It's the kind that crept into an examining room at a doctor's office. It had been lurking, but no one noticed. How could they? There were no signs that something was wrong. This pregnancy was going along just like the one before it. So the woman waited expectantly for the smile and good news that came with the other first ultrasound. Instead she saw compassion replace expectation as she heard the hushed, reverent, sad "There's no heartbeat." (I'm guessing at the details, because this woman isn't a talker of such moments).

This woman is private, so I'm treading carefully. But God brought her into my life as a blessing and she has left an indelible mark on my heart and soul. I'm a better person because of this woman and I'm continually grateful that she's a part of my life. I can't ignore her loss. And as this blog is about realness---handling all that life deals you, I feel the need to acknowledge this loss. Some would say that it's early enough in the pregnancy that it's not nearly as bad as it could be. I would argue that once you feel that first essence of "I'm pregnant," that essence becomes a child in your mind, heart, and soul. So regardless of the "when," you've still lost your baby, not an "it" (that some would say wasn't truly a baby yet), but a baby.

Back in the seventies, you couldn't go to a drugstore and buy a pregnancy kit. You didn't know for sure until you were far enough along for test results from a doctor's office. However, I was nauseous and felt a change in me several weeks before that change could be confirmed. Thus is the usual way of a woman when she becomes pregnant--she knows in a way that no man can ever experience. Although we haven't discussed it, I assume it was that way with my friend---hand-held pregnancy test aside, she knew.

Now her body experiences cramps and she has to be careful for a few weeks as to how much she does, carries, etc. Why? Because her body kept the baby for several weeks after the heart ceased to beat. I guess that happens sometimes. So she had to have a D & C. I'm glad, for I have always thought that seeing that blood and knowing what was happening would be so heart-wrenching. And what if you're alone? Or you're alone with a small child? Yes, you manage because you have to. But it seems a lousy way for it to happen. Okay, I know "it's mother nature doing her job," but in a bathroom all alone?

My friend was able to go through a procedure that in itself gave credence to this life. I think that way was better for her and I want to believe God knew it would be. So that baby stayed until mom was in a better place to part ways.

This blog is to acknowledge that brief life and the quiet loss. Also I acknowledge the grief that is real no matter what "reason" might assert.

My favorite scripture is one that brings comfort, reinforces, gives me strength to keep going, and just well---I like it.

Romans 8: 37 - 39:

37: Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.

38: For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present to come (nor things impending and threatening----Marvin Vincent, Word studies. The literal translation).

39: Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

From The Everyday Life Bible Amplified Version

Okay, take time to digest the above before moving on.

For some reason the following scripture keeps coming to my mind. It's not the one I originally planned for this blog, but here it is anyhow:

"Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand)that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10

The next verse reads: "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and stronghold). Selah (pause, and calmly think of that)!" from The Everyday Life Bible containing the Amplified Old and New Testaments with note and commentary by Joyce Meyers.

In one of the devotions in her book New Day, New You, Joyce Meyers tells the story of Elijah after he had defeated 450 false prophets in a duel for power between their silent Baal and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah as she had done with other prophets of God. So (weakened from exhaustion), Elijah ran and hid in a cave. God, of course, found him and questioned him (like we can hide from God!--a Beth note). At one point the Lord felt the need (my loose interpretation)to demonstrate his presence to Elijah. God told Elijah to stand on the mountain. A strong wind then tore through the mountains, and broke rocks into pieces, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was a terrible earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, a fire broke out; but the LORD was not in the fire. After the the fire, there came "a still small voice.". . . Then . . . (basically) the Lord told Elijah what he wanted him to do. And E. obeyed the still, small voice of the Lord. (see I Kings 19: 11 - 13).

Joyce uses this story to help explain how to hear God when we need direction. "God didn't reassure E. with a showy, flashy manifestation of power, although he had already proved that He was capable of doing so. God spoke to His prophet through a still, small voice. And this is one way the Lord still speaks to us today. God chooses to communicate directly to His children through a whisper deep within their spirits." (Excerpt from February 3 devotion "The Still, Small Voice")

I've been feeling the need to just stop and spend more time reading devotions and scripture, listening to Christian music, praying, and just being still in the presence of God and to REALLY LISTEN. I strongly believe that both my parents did that a lot. I think we saw it more outright in Dad, but knowing what I do about chronic pain, I think Mom was able to do all that she did in the clutch of immense physical pain because she was able to hear the still small voice of God. We certainly left her alone a lot (and yes, I've had to deal with the guilt of living 3 houses from her and going days without actually seeing her even after she was a semi-invalid)! So how did she do it? I think she sought God and listened to Him a bunch.

I've been trying to listen more and obey. It's tough and I'm glad God is patient. If you read the whole of this particular story of Elijah, it seems to me like God had to keep after him and do what I think E. felt was just plain and simple persistent"bugging!" But then if E. had listened the first time, God wouldn't have had to keep bugging him! I think you get my drift. (For anyone who might view this part as irreverent, let me explain how I stand on that: I believe with all I have that God has a sense of humor and that He enjoys a chuckle just like we humans do. I think He chuckles at some of my comments, thoughts,etc.---definitely not ALL, but some. So if backs are going a bit rigid at my comment on nagging, then I say, "Loosen up!")

Now--- to whomever this is intended (because I originally intended to stop at the scripture from Romans), peace be with you as you LISTEN. And I always welcome prayers sent my way as I continue to listen and obey.


A first for me occurred Thursday, Feb. 4th. I lost a student. Everyone at our high school lost a student, but some of us more than others. She was in my junior general English class, although she chose me as a friend last year. Yes, teachers can be friends. There is a line that we don't cross, but still we can listen and laugh and share to a point.

She was the bulletin girl last year--handing out the daily bulletins that keep us teachers updated on absences --both students and staff--and anything else deemed important. In a world of technology, our school in the middle of "God's country" as I like to call it, is still stuck on hard copies. Some of our teachers only have access to computers at certain times of the day, so the hard copy is still necessary.

She came up to me one day, slung her arm around my shoulders, leaned on me and said in her southeastern Ohio accent and dialect, "Hey Miz Orr--you n me goin' be frenz ! Nex' year you n me goin' have fun 'n English class--you'll see!" And with that first "Lexie hug," I came to know a wonderful, bubbly, full of life, "redneck and proud of it" country girl named Elexis "Lexie" Bender. She often gave me that hug and asked how I waz doin'--sometimes teasing me and giving me her signature wink and the sound folks make to horses --that also was part of her verbal signature.

Then this year came and she was all she promised to be--an irreverent, fun-loving, ditsy blond, who would look at me and say things like "Me read a book? Now really, Miz Orr, it's me, Lexi yer talkin' to!" She hadn't read more than a few chapters of a book all year even though a library book is required in my room and paragraph summaries in notebooks are also required. She had the book --she just rarely read it. The librarian and I valiantly tried to find one she'd like. But she'd just give me her Lexi look that said "Get real!" And I'd laugh. Oh how she made me laugh! I could be spitting mad at someone in the class and she'd say something and the anger would dissolve.

She chomped her gum as she looked at me with her beautiful blue eyes heavily lined and lashes long and full. She was voluptuous and would have looked good in a gunny sack as the saying goes. She couldn't hide her breasts--they seemed to have a life of their own, so she didn't try. She was blase' about her body--she didn't hide it, but she didn't make a big deal about it either. She had a way of making a tank top with a lacy top edge, plaid farm shirt, and "holey" jeans look acceptable and not cheap. Other girls would attempt her look, but couldn't pull it off with the finesse that Lexi could.

I can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm not going to get that hug and that look--that no matter how long I stand at the door for that period, she's never going to stroll in and lean on me , batting those long lashes, chomping her gum, and teasing me. So many of us were "pole-axed" Thursday morning. I won't go into the long details of how it was all handled, except to say that our principal did an outstanding job. Counselors and clergy came and kids were walked down to several places set up as refuges. But at some point, the schedule was put back into place and thus 7th period rolled around. I have NEVER experienced such silence in that room during that period. My hard-edged red-neck boys had red-rimmed eyes. I gave them some choices and they chose silence. I mindlessly graded some easy grading stuff--trying to keep myself composed. When I looked up, right in my line of sight were the empty seats of the girl trio of Abby, Jaecey, and Lexie. I permitted the girls to sit together because it was more of a disturbance if they didn't. Plus they worked better together. Abby and Lexi had pleaded with me at the beginning of the year, telling me they couldn't function without each other. I found out that though they could function sitting apart, they functioned better together. So I finally put them together in the back corner of the room where they would't disturb the rest of the class. One of the guys told me later that he kept looking back there in disbelief that she was never going to sit there again. (Never had they all three missed at once--usually two of them were present and they couldn't sit still, so though you might not hear sound, you saw motion---you always felt their presence. So Thursday, their absence was surreal).

Both Abby and Jaecey were taken out of their classes that morning as was Lexi's boyfriend, and their parents were called to come to the school. But before they left, Abby and Jaecey came to me and hugged me, holding me tightly. The three girls had a special friendship, but Abby and Lexie were almost attached at the hip at school and I'm sure were in regular texting contact. Lexi always had a boyfriend, but Abby was somehow squeezed in.

Abby sobbed to me "Miz Orr, how can I go on without her? Life is never goin' be the same!" I didn't lie. I told her that "No, it wasn't going to be." Then I just held her. What could I say? I refuse to mutter platitudes that often insult rather than help. A good hug, the truth or silence, and just being there--that's what I think is best.

So, you're probably wondering, what happened? Lexi was running late. She was a new driver and she was apparently driving too fast, lost control and hit another car with two elderly gentlemen in it. They had to be cut out with the jaws of life; Lexi was pronounced dead at the scene. It occurred at 8:13--the last bell for first period rings at 8:20. Oh how we wish she'd just let herself be late!


I went to church today--not something that comes easily to me. I've lived here 4 years and just started going to a church last fall. Complicated issue--church. But it was one of the two issues my father had a frank talk with me about before he died. He understood my reasons for turning away from the church--he understood the excruciating hurt I felt when my church turned its back on me after a divorce I didn't want while embracing my wealthy ex-husband and later his new wife.

But dad knew he was dying and I think he sensed that he had become my church. I didn't realize it until after he died. I was lost. At some point my daughter gave me a set of CD's by Joyce Meyers. She was and is "real" and I started watching her on TV. Then I went to a conference of hers and bought a lot of CD sets. I have listened to them, all over and over, and God has ministered to me through those CD's. One CD addresses the hurt that can be dealt you by "a church" and she nailed me just as dad had. Dad and Joyce have both said that the church was imperfect ---How could it not be when it's made up of humans? But that it's still his "body" and everyone of us needs to be a part of that body. Joyce was blunter than dad and I was convicted--not condemned, but convicted --there's a huge difference.

It has taken me awhile to work up the nerve to enter the doors of the church in which I grew up. My father was the wonderful minister of it for 9 years. He married my second husband and me in that church. It was that church that I went to my first Christmas eve service without Dad a little over 2 weeks after he died(my husband was there with me). So it was that church that I chose "to go back to."

I had paved the way by going to the other church for a Christmas eve service three years ago. Both my children and their loved ones were there along with my ex and his wife and her family. We took up 4 pews. Christmas exchange had gotten complicated and thus it needed to be after that service. My husband and I were to go to my son's and have our Christmas with his family. To get back to my hometown and late service was going to be a hassle. At one point I sat on my bed and I felt my dad's presence. I looked up and said "All right Dad, I get it--it's been 14 years --it's time I got over it. I felt this load lifted off of me. I called my son and asked if it would be all right for us to come there. I think we shocked some folks that night. I had long ago healed up on the divorce issue and my ex, his wife, and I had a comfortable relationship. But I'm not sure folks there realized that. So I got a lot of looks! Hee Hee!

I looked around and I felt fine -- I looked at certain people who had hurt me and felt no animosity. I was at peace. God did that. He'd been working on that area a lot. I do believe I had to make peace with that church before I could build a relationship with another and that's why I've put this background info in.

So this past fall I started going to my "growing up years" church. I wasn't sure if I would fall apart. But I didn't. I looked at the pulpit my father had helped design and at the beautiful sanctuary and I felt at home. I introduced myself to the pastor and he shared that my dad had been his mentor--something I didn't know. He praised my dad as so many people do. He was thrilled to have me there. Over the months since then as I "sneak" in late, others have realized who I am and have welcomed me. I usually get there after the "welcoming and shaking hands" time, but before the offering. I used to hurry out, but now I make a point of seeing my "second mom" who sings in the choir. (A story for another time). I have talked to the pastor about joining and I do plan to. But I'm going to have to get some more "nerve." I don't go out of my way to let folks know who I am. I'm obstinate on that--they'll have to figure it out on their own (I'm referring to those who are still there that were a part of the church when my dad was minister).

Part of me being late is that I have two factions warring inside of me. There's the part that says I must go and then there's the part that is kicking and screaming, "NO!" Sometimes one wins and other times the other part wins.

Today the right part won.

Beginning a Blog

I am restarting a blog. (This is the first post on my old blog--I have switched bloggers). My interest in blogs began when my nephew and his wife went to Malaysia for five months. They started a blog as a means of contact with those of us here in the U.S. Then at age 31, he had a stroke while jogging. The blog became our lifeline to him and his wife as they maneuvered this new path. I will never forget the video when I watched him stack cups with his left hand and I stared in disbelief at my all-American extremely athletic nephew struggle to complete a task that is a "milestone for a baby" and in awe of his courage, tenacity, determination, and sense of humor. His wonderful wife could be heard encouraging him. (Her giggle is uplifting and contagious).

I had disparaged blogs because I am an English teacher and I believe in the hand-written letter that can be scapbooked for the next generations (if so desired). I have written many and have kept many. So this new-fangled internet thing called a blog seemed almost like a heresy to writing. Ahhh, how my viewpoint has changed! That blog of my nephew and his wife's helped them both immensely as he recovered. I started commenting when I realized how much they NEEDED our comments. I felt a bit stupid at first, but I persevered. However, the time came when they arrived back in the U.S. and that blog ended. I was disappointed that the blog ended, but glad they were "home." The above picture is of them and their dogs on a visit to me as they traveled cross-country to their new home in Denver, CO. It was taken in spring of 2008 (I think).

Then, alas, my daughter became pregnant and decided to keep a blog of this adventure. She was 32 when this pregnancy adventure began and 33 when it ended and the new mommy adventure began. Now I log on daily just to see the face of "the little man" in Texas and am always excited when a new post awaits me.

I also now log onto several other blogs that I discovered through hers. I am an avid follower of Spicy Magnolia, Kelly, and Jessica McCash. Through their blogs, I have found my way into other interesting blogs and (drum-roll) great online stores--most of them run by young moms and with a small, but handmade inventory. Absolutely cool!

Another factor in my blog endeavor is that my son has started a blog. However, I can't comment on it. I also can't comment on Kelly's or Jessica's because I don't have an accepted account. I won't get into my google account fiasco. Soooooo--what I've thought about since early last summer is now a fruition: I have a blog. I hope I don't regret it.

A note to any readers: I'm not known for brevity, so if you want a "get to the point" blog, seek elsewhere. This is MY BLOG and I will "talk" as much as I want.