Thursday, April 18, 2013


If you look carefully at this picture, you will note two handsome sons, one irreplaceable son-in-law and two beautiful daughters.  Amber, to my right, recently suffered a softball accident.  And yep, she took a blow to the face.  She is a tough kid, and actually felt pretty cool taking one for the team.  However, with prom looming around the corner, the thought of healing was on all of our minds.

No matter what type of family change you experience, healing will be part of the journey.  I think the most difficult challenge I have had as a single mother, is trying to help keep the hearts of my children knit together in love, unity and conviction, while my own heart has taken a blow for the team!!

Sunday, I realized that prom was 6 days away, and Amber's face still needing to heal.  I prayed that day, for her sweet little face.  "Please don't let her scar!"  "Help it heal quickly!"  "Don't let it sunburn in the meantime as she continues to spend many hours outdoors."  "PLEASE help me know what more I can do!"  That night, I was washing my own face, I quietly sent one last prayer to the heavens, "I will take her pain---- if thou will just let her heal."  My eyes were immediately fixed on the tube of cream in my hands--- "Vitamin enriched" face cream to help nourish my skin.  If it helped my skin, perhaps it would help hers.  So, immediately up the stairs I went, face cream in hand, and gently smoothed it over the bruises, scabs and broken skin.  After 3 days, the change has been remarkable.  And, though she was already a beauty, if the next couple of days continue, she will be healed for prom.

This caused me to ponder my own healing.  Sometimes, we need a prom, or a reason to heal.  Going to bed each night alone, can be a challenge.  And, getting up each morning, to do it all over again, ALONE, can be even a greater challenge. Prom was motivating to do all we could to help my daughter heal.  In times of family change, we need to find the MOTIVATION to heal---- a reason to want get up each day, and do it all over again.  Healing requires extra care and action.  One morning I woke up, headed to the street that I cross guard for the morning shift.  My heart was heavy and my mind was racing as legal issues and incredible financial pressures weighed heavy on my mind and my heart.  I came home, traded my reflective vest for a back pack full of books for school.  I headed out the door, and just plain ran out of steam!  I could feel my already broken heart beating faster and faster as the pressures of the day mounted.  I took off my back pack, sat on the floor, there in front of the garage door, and cried, unsure what to do.  I decided my heart needed some extra care, that day.  And, I needed a day to heal.  I did not touch my school books.  I did not go to class.  I called in sick to work.  I read an old journal, looked at old scrapbooks and even cleaned out a couple of drawers that had not been touched since my husband left.  I began to feel his books, smell his familiar smell.  I touched his scriptures that were still in the nightstand from months prior, that last night he had read in our bed, next to me.  Tears again, began to run down my face, almost uncontrollably.  My heart hurt for what I once had.  Then the thought flooded my mind, if I was hurting, that meant I could still feel!!!!  This was empowering to me.  If my heart could hurt, it could also feel joy.  Suddenly, I had found my MOTIVATION to heal!!  I wanted to feel again!  To love again!  And, most of all, to be loved again!!  With a spring in my step, I put on some of my favorite music and danced in the kitchen and sang at the top of my lungs, while I made sugar cookies for a friend.  Just taking action to provide some extra care for my weary spirit and broken heart, began the process of healing.  That day was truly "vitamin enriched"!!!

I BELIEVE that hope is the realization that hurt is not permanent!!!   I realized that it's OK to cry----- and often times, those tears clean our eyes and increase our vision and ability to see and prepare for what lies ahead!!  Those tears of sorrow reminded me that I was not beyond feeling and I was motivated to feel again!!!  And, all healing takes time and extra care.  It does not happen overnight!  It does not happen alone! I need Him--- my higher power, to apply His healing balm that heals broken, empty and lonely hearts!!  We need each other!!  I need YOU!!  I believe that I can heal and feel again and that MOTIVATES me!! Feeling!  Healing!!

*** Pictures of prom will be posted after April 20th*** so that we can all witness HEALING!! 


Friday, April 5, 2013


As I sat down with my kids, one by one, and explained to them that their father had left, their different ages created very different reactions.  Some felt abandoned.  Others overcome with anger and disappointment.  Some sat in shock, while others shouted and cried.  However, one resounding similarity, from the 8 year-old to the 18 year-old was this.  "I feel DIFFERENT!"  Family Change definitely has a way of making us feel different.  Whether we have lost a parent and are keenly aware of everyone else who has theirs.  Or, a miscarriage or loss of a child, and suddenly, as if in bold print, the world seems to be full of all the people who have theirs.  Chronic illness and addiction can make us feel different.  Divorce or death of a spouse and suddenly, all we see are perfect families, seemingly unaffected by family change, possessing that comfort and companionship we once knew.  We feel different because somehow we feel like we failed.  We feel different because of the way we might be viewed by others.  We feel different because we are not sure who we will rock to sleep, and how we will ever close our eyes again without them.

One tender night, as my little guy struggled to hold back the tears, I felt impressed to sit down with him and make a list of all the things that would NOT be different.  I took out a piece of paper.  On the left we wrote, "Before Daddy Left".  On the right, we wrote, "With Just Mom."  Then, we discussed some of his concerns----- what time would we get up in the morning?  Would we still go to school?  Would Mom still be there when we got home?  Would we eat Coco Pebbles for breakfast?  Would we still do Saturday chores? (he really tried to get out of that one!)  Would we go to Scouts, Pack Meeting, Soccer games, Softball games, school carnivals, parent-teacher conference, Basketball games and church?  Would we still be able to have friends play at our house?  We kept track of our answers on our sheet.  Our discovery filled us both with hope and peace.  The majority of the week would remain unchanged, with a few minor exceptions.  We decided Mom would make sure the garbage cans were out on Sunday night.  And, the boys  would shovel the snow and mow the lawn.  Would we all  miss Daddy?  Of course!  However, we both learned that though our biggest fear was feeling that all would be "different", when in reality, much of what mattered to a child would remain the same.  This list created a calm security in us both.  He knew he could count on tomorrow to much the same as it had been today.  His worries were able to be replaced with healing.   And, for me, that night, being "different" became,  Be Dedicated and Be Determined!!  Dedicated to those things that matter most!  And,  determined to make each day as normal as possible, with the hopes of magnifying our desire to press on!!!  Happiness comes when the things we believe in are NOT different from the things we do!  Though we may feel that Family Change makes us different, it really creates common bonds with many who are struggling with similar challenges.  Thus, giving us opportunities to reach out in love, wisdom and compassion because of our different journeys!!  Just a few months ago, I overheard this same little guy, comforting a friend experiencing divorce, "Don't worry, you'll still have the same food and you still have to go to bed on time!"  Different?  Dedicated!  Determined!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hirchak's Creamy Sugar Cookies

Hirchak's Creamy Sugar Cookies

Cream together:
3 cubes of margarine
5 oz. cream cheese (not light)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Drop on a cookie sheet.  I use a cookie scoop.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and flatten with a spatula.
Let sit on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before removing.
Frost when completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. package of cream cheese (not light)
1 cube of margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups of powdered sugar
food coloring of your choice
Sprinkle lightly with clear sugar the color of frosting.

Enjoy.  These will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge and taste great.  If you need to make a lot ahead of time, make the cookies, bake them and freeze them.  Frost for the event.

Cookie recipe to roll and cut with cookie cutters

6 oz. Cream Cheese
2 cups of margarine
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 egg yolks
Cream together then add:

4 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, roll and bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes.