Reminders, Dogs and Other Thoughts…

Yesterday I had a few reminders of my dad. And they made me cry. I heard a few songs on the Christian radio stations I listen to, one particular song, “Even If” by the band Mercy Me.

Essentially the song is about God still being good and worshiping Him even if He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to. I am not angry at God because daddy died. In fact I personally saw God at work when daddy was home for his last days on this earth. There was a hospice nurse who was absolutely sent by The Lord. And the fact that daddy spent his last breath here on earth in the company of his true love, my mom; could only have been orchestrated by the Great I Am.

I had to go to my mom’s house last night to pick up a wheelchair to use for my mother in law on Easter Sunday.  It was difficult to be in the house without my dad there. I sat in his chair at the kitchen table while Samantha, my mom and I chatted for a while. I half expected to see daddy walk into the kitchen with his walker, or see him sitting on the couch in “his seat”.

This isn’t to say I won’t go to my mom’s house anymore or limit the number of visits I make, on the contrary. I’ll pribably go more. All I could think of on the drive home was if this was difficult for me how incredibly more difficult was it for my mother and brother  (who lives there also) to be in the house with constant reminders at every turn, every opening of the cabinet to get a coffee cup every time my mother goes to bed alone and wakes up alone, we’ll aside from her dog Daisy.

Speaking of dogs I was thinking of how great daddy was with animals especially dogs. He also got a kick out of my weirdo cat, Smokey who struts around my house like he owns the place. Daddy had many dogs in the course of his life. We heard quite often about a German Shepherd named “Speed” that my parents owned before I was born. I don’t believe Speed was the most family friendly dog. Living at the garage where daddy worked was an incredible Shepherd names CB. What a great dog and I know this was part temperament and part influence of daddy. At home we had 3 dogs at one point. I was late in my teen years, early 20’s. We had Ace an unpopular lab mix who would bark and bark and steal food like nobodies business. There was Snowy a white shepherd mix who was just the sweetest and most gentle soul of a dog and finally Barney. Barney was supposed to go live at the garage where daddy worked. But he never left our home. Barney was part chow we think. Barney had a funny disposition, he had a look about him that you weren’t sure if he liked you or not. Daddy always said Barney’s eyes were too close together. That always made me laugh but it was true! Anyone who knew me back in the day knows each of those dogs and their distinct personalities. They’ll also remember daddy sitting on the couch in his seat many times without a shirt on. Somehow daddy was referenced to Jack Nicholson in The Shining”. That would make my sister and I laugh. Because daddy was a gentle Dad who was nothing but welcoming to our friends who came to our house.

Its funny what gets to some family members and what doesn’t. On Friday I had to drive Tommy’s pick up truck to work. It’s a bit bigger than my SUV and all I heard was my father’s voice saying, “Just drive it…” Daddy was a riot when it came to us driving different vehicles than our own. “Just drive it…” was his advice. And it worked!

I miss daddy. And I wonder when I’ll be able to write about him without crying.



The Power of the Cross

I was just listening to Dr, Michael Youssef, a preacher from XM radio heard on the channel called “Family Talk”. I’m so many words he was talking about how the cross is offensive to those who are unbelievers. I found this very interesting. Because these unbelievers are the ones who want the cross removed from public places and yes, even outside churches. When he first said that I thought, “Impossible!” But no it’s not impossible. Dr Youseff went on to say that certain Muslim populations are offended by the cross. Was I surprised? Honestly yes.  But I should not be surprised. Society is all about being “correct” and if a cross is offensive to a big enough group of people it won’t be long before it is removed.

Saying “Happy Holidays!” at Christmas time is a prime example of correctness. The whole reason for the season is Christ himself. Yet we water it down to “Happy Holidays” to not offend anyone who might not be Christian. What about the Christians who are offended by those who say “Happy Holidays?” This past year I witnessed sort of a revolution in that area. More often than not I was told “Merry Christmas” by strangers, store clerks and co workers. I found it refreshing and a hopeful turning point in our society.

I make it no secret that I am a Christian to those I work with. While tending to students in the one classroom I am always in it was noticed that I was wearing a Christian concert t shirt. That started off a great conversation between fellow believers concerning the music we listen to and the many similarities in music preferences that we share. It was a wonderful few minutes of fellowship in a totally non secular environment.

Now with Easter fast approaching most Christians are preparing for this great occasion of Christ being risen! I love Easter, I love what is represents in the Christian faith; that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. And on the third day he rose again defeating the grave. It’s a wonderful time of renewal and reaffirmation of Christ’s love for us.

I wish all of you a very Happy Easter!


Peter and Denial

Easter is fast approaching, the big holiday for Christians. The day we celebrate Jesus being risen from the dead, he defeated the grave. Today at church we had a guest speaker. Pastor Phil Kelley  is a former NFL chaplain and an excellent speaker. He preached about the apostle Peter and how he denied Jesus 3 times just as Jesus told him he would. He denied knowing anything about Jesus when questioned. Which got me thinking do we do the same? If we are followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ why are we not talking about him to everyone? Do we deny Him if we are not speaking of Him?

I wish I could say I wouldn’t be like Peter if I were in his shoes. That I wouldn’t deny Christ if I thought my life were on the line. Peter was afraid to admit he knew Jesus even though he loved him so very much. In the early days of the church Christians were persecuted to their death. Today we also face persecution, thankfully in my experience I’ve only been rediculed or given “the look” for my beliefs. I find when I say that something is in God’s hands most people straighten up their posture and agree with me. But I wonder if they are agreeing with me because they don’t want me to think that  they aren’t believers.

I was chatting with one of my co workers about our special needs children. I asked my co worker if she ever prayed concerning her 2 special needs sons. It was then that she told me she had been angry at God because of they disabilities her sons have. I honestly didn’t know how to respond to that. I explained that prayer had gotten me through a lot of the trials I’ve had with Thomas. My co worker just listened but didn’t respond that she would pray. She did say that she wasn’t mad at God anymore.

I want to think that I would admit to being a Christ follower if I knew “real” persecution were to follow. I wouldn’t  want to deny my Savior after He died the death He did for the sins of the world, for the sins of the very people who were persecuting him, the sins of all of us. My perfect Savior who one day will come again.




Snow Day!

Due to the big snow storm we’re having, our great mayor has decided to close NYC schools. Being a Department of Education employee I also have a snow day. I love the DOE! My day hasn’t been all that productive. I binge watched the rest of season 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix this morning, talked on the phone with my mom and sister, made waffles for lunch and then made chili for tomorrow’s dinner. I just shoveled out our front walk and de-snowed my car. I didn’t have to shovel our sidewalk as my wonderful neighbor was great enough to snow blow it for me.

Its 5 o’clock and the snow is still coming. When I was binge watching Netflix I couldn’t help but be so thankful that our house is finished with construction. I look around and I really love my house and I’m so glad we bit the bullet and went forward with the renovation. It was talked about and planned for years before we went through with it this past January.

I’ve been thinking a lot about returning to school. I’d like to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing. I started it when I was pregnant with Alyssa and stopped after I had her. I was not that driven to try and go to school when my kids were young. Especially with what a handful Thomas was back in the day.  I’m not looking to get my degree and leave the Board of Ed. I really like my job. I would do this for me just so I could say I did it.

Speaking of my job. I still like going to work and I still really like my co workers. I know I’m fortunate. It looks now that NYC schools will be open tomorrow. That’s ok, I just dread cleaning off my car in the morning. I hope everyone had a great “snow day”.


The Commission

I went to church today like I do every Sunday. The worship songs were spot on today;  one enough to make me teary eyed thinking of my dad while singing. We were singing “My God is Awesome” And when we got to the part where we sing “…Heals me when I’m broken” I started thinking of daddy. There is no other healing than the healing that comes from the Lord. Daddy’s death broke me. There’s no describing to anyone the depth of pain that comes from losing a parent you deeply love and respected.

The main message this morning was about the Great Commission. That all Christian’s are to spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. That he lived and died for our sins. He was hung on a cross like a criminal. He rose from the dead three days later. And we now have an advocate with the Father. Why is it so difficult to talk about Jesus? I know for me it’s easier for me to talk about God among my friends that I go to church with. I know they’re believers and there’s no discomfort or explaining. I know when an event or occurance had to be from the hand of God. In my life and their’s.

When I speak to friends at work whom I don’t know are believers or not there’s a lot of “oh how lucky… what a coincidence, talk about being at the right place at the right time…”. I don’t believe in coincidences, God has his hands in all  aspects of our lives.  Why is it so hard to say “No, it wasn’t a coincidence that I work 15 minutes from home after being told I was supposed to be worked in Manhattan” God had his hand all over where I am supposed to work. I have many testimonies as to how God is working in my life and how the power of prayer made mountains move. I know many reading this post have similar testimonies and it proves how God’s power and influence is undeniable.

I will be praying for the Holy Spirit to lead me and give me the words and courage to speak boldly about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


One’s weight. For me it’s only an issue like now…because I’m overweight. I blame my meds which are notorious for causing weight gain. Also my age which is approaching 50, isn’t helping either. I just signed up for a fitness program called The Maxx Challenge. It’s 10 weeks. Five days a week you exercise at their gym and they give you nutritional counseling. I’m looking forward to starting on April 9th. Right after my birthday. I’m looking forward to exercising regularly. I could theoretically do this on my own but I feel I need the structure of an organized program. I belong to a gym now with Tommy but I have zero motivation to go. The only thing that gets me going is my friend Martha who asks me to go to yoga classes. I’ve been enjoying the yoga. Some classes are pretty “easy” I mean a lot of stretching and deep breathing and turning this way and that. Some classes you really break a sweat and that feels good to me. Like I’ve really challenged myself.

Its difficult to lose weight as I’m sure most of you know. There is so much really good not good for you food out there to enjoy! And it’s so hard not to over indulge.  Every now and then I’ll stumble across a great recipe that’s low carb/low cal and tastes great. Snacks are what get me the most. I’ve been keeping a lot of pretzels and fruit in the house to eat when that craving for a snack comes up. And for me it’s always after 7pm go figure.

So here’s to the new program I signed up for and to all of you who struggle with their weight with me. The struggle is real!



Short Hair

463028F5-779D-40E8-B741-7D9FD918FFD3Ive cut my hair off; again. After I said I wouldn’t do it again, that it was too hard to grow it out…I grew it to almost my shoulders and couldn’t take it anymore. I had no style and I was tired of being blonde. So I made an appointment with one of my favorite hair stylists here where I live and showed her a picture of the cut I wanted and described the color. Natalya quickly went to get the color samples they offered and there it was: Rose gold. It’s a golden blonde with a tint of pink, not obnoxious and in your face pink more of a “hey… what color is that?” pink. And I love it both the cut and the color.  When I arrived at work the next day (I had it done on a Tuesday) everyone made me feel so great and they complimented both the cut and the color. And to top it off one of the school staff told me she had this tinted conditioner called “rose gold” that she wasn’t using. Without me even saying yes I want it she says, I’ll bring it in tomorrow. She did and it is an awesome product. It brightens up my color and pinkish tone gently. I love it! I’m so glad God put me in this school. The staff is just incredible I know I’ve said this before but I have to say it again and again. The principal is great and fair, as well as just about every other person in every position held. There are a few here and there I avoid or really keep my guard up around but for the most part everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis is caring, respectful and responsible. I’m in and out of one particular classroom literally all day, this one class is where most of my medically fragile students are so I’ve gotten pretty close with the staff. It’s nice to have those relationships and be a witness to how close they are with each other.

We all have our moments

People are kind and ask how we’re coping with my dad’s recent death. My standard answer is, “We all have our moments” and it’s true we all do. My sister commented that lunch time is hard for her because she used to talk to daddy on the phone at that time of the day. I just got off the phone and my mom said it’s difficult for her to spend time in her house because she was so used to taking care of my dad when they were home together.  I’m fine when I’m at work because I’m busy for much of the day. I discovered that when I come home I immediately think of calling my mom and then I think of my dad and that gets me to the point where I’m very quiet and I don’t want to speak to my family. Not good.

I think of my dad every day. At various times of the day. Something will happen that I’ll want to tell him and it hits me that I can’t tell him. Even writing this is hard because I’m thinking of him right now as I’m writing and find myself in tears.

I went thrifting today and I thought of my dad. He loved to tell me how his mother would go to the same thrift store and find all sorts of good deals and how she was a very frugal person. So my love of the thrift is obviously genetic. My dad wasn’t big on thrift stores but he loved to hear about the treasures I found. And he would laugh at my joy. Daddy used to love going to flea markets and finding good deals. Englishtown NJ was his choice when we were younger and growing up.

We all have our moments…I suppose those moments become less intense as time goes by. I don’t know I’ve never had a loss as significant and deep as my dad to compare it to.

I miss so many things about my dad. I can’t pinpointed one specific quality of his that has caused this hole in my heart and my life. You seriously don’t realize how big a role someone plays i your life until they are gone. People always say after a loss go “hold on tight” or “tell so and so you live them before they’re gone” after a death. We knew daddy was battling cancer so I didn’t hesitate to tell him I loved him any chance I had. And he would say it back. I know he knew I loved him,  I’m glad I don’t have to wonder now that he’s gone.

My Son and the Job

Thomas is doing well in his group home. We’re still waiting for him to officially begin his day program but hopefully that will start ASAP and he’ll be able to get fully into a routine. I picked Thomas up early yesterday morning so we could go to church together. He did pretty well and was excited to see Tommy and our renovated house afterwards.

I’m writing this while I sit in my car, arriving early at work to ensure I get a “good” parking space since there is a very small parking lot reserved for the principal and AP’s and various office staff. The rest of us must park on the street and that’s ok. I’d rather get here early and get a “good” spot than arrive later and walk a half a mile.

The job is going well. A lot of people believe that because I have a special needs child I can relate better to the parents of the students I care for. Lately I don’t feel that is true. I relate to those parents mostly because I am also a parent and we all want what is best for our child, special needs or not.  Yes it takes a deeper sense of empathy which I do have, but I think we can all relate to each other; as parents plain and simple.

Most of my days at work are pretty busy. And that’s great because busy = the day goes quickly. I still enjoy coming to work. While each day is somewhat the same due to specific tasks I must do everyday for specific students; each day is also different because you never know what is going to happen next with this specific special needs population that I serve. There are students that are self injurious and require extra attention, there are students who have mini seizures some days, and there are always the walk ins where you never know what kind of issue they can have and if the student is non verbal you have that mountain to climb to be able to meet their needs. Through all those challenges God is in our midst. He had a huge part in my being here at this job in this location. And it’s my honor to serve Him while doing the best job I can.

I still run into staff who cared for or taught Thomas when he attended this school. It’s nice, they always have something positive to say about him and it makes my heart happy. Thomas told me recently that his staff/social worker from his recent school called him at the group home to see how he is doing. I thought that was great and Thomas was excited when he told me.

So I’m off to start another Monday. I know The Lord is with me and with these students and staff.

A Month

Today is a month since my dad died. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday. I feel it mostly on the weekends. During the week I’m busy at work and then after work there’s dinner to be made, laundry, cleaning, etc… Today I’ve been weepy. And I find going to church to be a trigger for grief. I think it’s because all I think about during worship is how great a God we serve and how great it is that my dad is with Jesus and every other loved one who went before him. It sets me off that no matter how happy I am for him to be in heaven I miss him terribly here on earth.

A month. That’s not a long amount of time to have passed when you’re grieving. It means it wasn’t too long ago that my dad was here with us even though he was either in the hospital or rehab facility. We were still able to visit him and talk to him, the last conversation I had with him was about my house renovation. He was so happy for Tommy and I. It was nice.

I’m glad I was able to spend his last night with him and my mother and sister. That Saturday night we were all at my parent’s house with all of our kids. It just worked out so perfectly.  When it came time to leave we asked my mom if she wanted us to stay and she said yes. I think we would have stayed even if she said no.

So I’ll go to church today and think about my dad and pray for my mom. I’ll think good thoughts that he is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and hanging out and taking and laughing with all those that have gone before him.