For Posterity: Conversations With Murray

Since my camera refuses to sync with my computer and I'm feeling the need to record some things again, I'm posting more Murrayisms.  Here we go:

Murray:  Where did we get that? (referring to a dresser)
Me:         From Grandma Kathy (clearly I meant our storage unit that houses her things)
Murray:  Did she drop it?

Murray:  Mama, you're SO BEAUTIFUL (I'm not making this up and I may have already blogged about this but it's my favorite)

Murray:  Mom, could I have my own? (while sharing popcorn)
Me:        Yes, I'll get you a bowl.
Murray:  No, I mean stop eating it, please.  (so much for sharing)

Murray:  Please show me what time it is. (while looking at a clock)
Me:         Well, this is the big hand and that means hours, and this is the little hand and that means minutes, and each number stand for five minutes, and then you count by fives so the number one means it's five after the hour and the number two means it's ten after the hour... (insert Charlie Brown's teacher)
Murray:   Great, Mom, but what time are we going to Grandma Mary's house?

Craig:     Murray, have a good day.
Murray:  Dad, have fun at work and have a GREAT DAY. (agreed)

Murray:  Dad, when are we going out west? (to see Grandpa Doug)
Craig:     Not sure, but probably in a few weeks.
Murray:  How many sleeps is that? 

Murray:  Mom, they won't let you work anymore because they can't give you money?  (right on, son)

Murray:  I love my Rudy and Nala and Grandma Mary and Grandpa Dennis and Grandpa Doug and Grandma Kathy in heaven and Maggie and Grandma Kate and Grandpa Jack and...well, I forgot who else.
Me:        Well, all of those people love you too.
Murray:  Do they?

Of course we do, dear boy.  You are a gem. 
P.S.  Grandpa Doug is on his way.


All Talk and No Action: Abortion vs. Adoption

Note:  This post may be offensive to some. I will not judge you, but  I will not apologize for my thoughts.

I admit that I can be all talk and no action. 

Several weeks ago I discussed joining my friend and fellow blogger and Mom friend, Roxane, on the sidewalk at the Red River Women's Clinic.  I wanted to pray and reach out for the people that feel that pregnancy is an impossible situation.  So many people would welcome a child into their loving arms, if only the men and women considering abortion would see that there is an alternative.  My husband and I are blessed with adopted children in our lives.  A friend of mine said recently, "Biology doesn't make you a parent". (Thanks, Kristine.)  How very true.
At the last minute, I admitted to Roxane  that I was terrified to accompany her on the sidewalk. So, I didn't go with her.  I'm ashamed that I was too scared to join her plight, but when we discussed it (via writing) she was incredibly supportive.  She understood that I wasn't ready, and encouraged my prayer and thoughts without a hint of judgement.  What an awesome person God has blessed my life with.  I'm grateful for her friendship.

I will always believe that abortion is wrong; the very thought of it makes me cringe.  But right now, I'm praying that soon I'll be able to join Roxane on the sidewalk and have the courage to stand up for my convictions.

Grocery Store Helpful Hints

Recently I've taken on the chore of grocery shopping.  What was always Craig's task has now become mine - by choice - after all, why should he put in a long day and then come home only to run to Hornbacher's?  It certainly isn't my favorite household job, but I have a new appreciation for marketing.  Especially now that I'm addicted to cooking shows. 

Some things I've learned:
  1.  The best time of day to shop is late morning.  The shelves are stocked, the produce is fresh and there isn't a large crowd.  This is useful knowledge since I tend to get shopping cart rage.

  2.  People at this time of day (say around 10 or 11 a.m.) are more inclined to commiserate. There's something endearing about discussing how to ripen fruit or the quality of meat at the butcher.  No one is in a rush, we're all just taking our time perusing the aisles.  So refreshing compared to the hustle and bustle of a five o'clock trip to the store.

  3.  The cashiers tend to be a bit more relaxed and chatty.  I equate this to not having to deal with "happy hour" at the grocery store.  I should note that I've never, not once, had a rude clerk at Hornbacher's (which is why we shop there).

  4.  The employees who bag your items and put them in your car really do appreciate a tip.  Now if I could just get them to come over and put my groceries away.

  5.    It's best to make grocery shopping your one errand for the day.  Otherwise, you could lose a whole chicken and a liter of Coke in your truck (but this has never happened to me).

I still dislike buying groceries, but in a month or so I'll wish I had the time to make the trip.  Good thing Hornbacher's delivers.


It's Official

I'm officially a student again.  I have never been more excited than I am now.  Even for my math class.

It's so gratifying to know that this time, without a doubt, I will finally walk across that stage and accept my diploma.

I digress.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  It's going to be a long few years.  My family will suffer, my home will suffer, but I'll make up for it, I swear I will.

There are four people who have motivated me to get the job done:

  1.   My Mom.  While co-parenting with our Dad, and a separated family, she graduated from college at the age of 33 and had a successful career in law enforcement.  She also managed to be the best mom.

  2.  My Dad, who, with two small girls, finished college, married my Mom. After that, he finished his Master's degree. My Dad is pretty neat.

  3.  My sister finished her degree even though we were in the midst of our Mom being sick and then dying. She also just received a promotion (again) and is thriving being a paralegal.

  4.  My high school friend, Amanda, graduated from college a while back.  I was so impressed while following her journey.  I think it's awesome that she had to courage and tenacity to finish her degree.

I don't necessarily do things "perfectly" or follow society "rules", but I do have the best family and friends.  Thanks to you who have set an example. 


Spoiled with A Chance of Changes

Note:  Edited for error.

I have it pretty good these days.  I admit, I'm spoiled.

Since the unfortunate firing elimination of my position at work, I've had the time to be keep the house (fairly) clean and have dinner on the table when Craig gets home.  I'm on top of laundry and my organization skills are really coming along, as well they should, since I don't have an 8-5 job.

I love this time in my life.  It will be short-lived because - drum roll here - I will be a full-time student in a few short weeks (yeah, I know, again).  I love having extra time with Murray without rushing around in the morning and scrambling to get out the door (now I just scramble eggs).  I love that I have the time and energy to cook again.  I love having the time to read and write.  I love that every closet and drawer in our home is at least semi-organized.  I love spending more time with the hounds and keeping them brushed and looking good.  I love watching the Cosby Show in the morning and Oprah re-runs from in the afternoon while I fold laundry. 

The month of August will again bring changes and add a new dimension to our lives.  I wonder if I can be a good Mom, wife, and homemaker and a good student at the same time?  I'll let you know in a month or two.  Right now, I have clothes to put away and dinner to prepare.


A Rubber Tub

I'm in a sentimental mood.  Here's why:

Lately I've been focusing on getting closets/drawers/bedrooms organized.  I want to have our house in order before school starts in August.  I've discovered some wonderful items (even Craig's Scheel's gift card that was lost long ago) and have been puttering around, willing myself to find a place for things.

Yesterday I started the long dreaded task of cleaning Murray's closet.  The majority of the contents include our Mom's files and memories that we tossed into a Rubber Maid tub when we cleaned out her house, to be dealt with when we felt a bit better.  I didn't know that three years later, I would still feel the same raw grief that I felt when she got sick, the morning she died, and the months after. 

Despite my sadness, I've had a lot of smiles and laughter.  Our Mom saved things that only a mother knows would be important someday.  My journals from high school (oh the shame), Maggie's ridiculous drawings, other items that Mom must have know that we would appreciate.  I'm catching a glimpse of the  quiet, gentle and committed woman that she was.  I found two of her four badges (my sister has the others) and I had to sit still and cry for a while.  That's the catch 22 of memories:  the good ones never fade, but the bad ones don't either.

So, while reminiscing in my shared childhood and adulthood with my sister, my Mom's motherhood, and life in general, I can say that it's been a good experience.  Healthy, cathartic.  It's not easy, but I'm determined to finish the project  - Mom always said, "Do things well and completely" - and so I will. 
But maybe tomorrow.  And with my sister. 

A Taboo Topic (But Not Anymore!)

I'm pro-life. 

I have always believed so.  I didn't know how much I've believed until recently.

Have you ever had the experience that you are on the outside looking in?  Or have you ever just realized something different from what you thought after it happened to you?  How has it affected you?  What did you do (or would have done) differently?

The reason for my questions is what my good friend, Roxane has inspired me to ask.  Peace Garden Mama (a.k.a Roxane) puts abortion into a perspective that I am incapable of writing.  I thank you, Roxane, for allowing me to re-post your writing.  The words that follow are not my own, but they are poignant and true.
I see hope; the tenacity of a fragile stem ignoring what should be possible, pushing toward light despite the hostile environment it is bound to enter. 

This photograph speaks to me in a particularly vivid way right now, especially concerning a recent calling of the heart. Despite my intentions, I've been finding myself lately on the sidewalk in front of North Dakota's only abortion facility. Yes, moi, the gal who always thought her pro-life convictions would be best shared in a "safe" place. Through the written word, for example, or a radio interview, but certainly not as an active sidewalk-counselor-in-training.

About a month ago, I interviewed on our local Catholic radio station the woman -- Elizabeth McClung -- who helped effect the conversion of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson to the side of life. When I listened to the podcast of that interview a few weeks later, I was jarred to hear myself telling Elizabeth that praying for life publicly "isn't for everyone." I was speaking about myself.

But then Abby came to Fargo and I had a chance to hear her story in person, both from her mouth and through her bestselling book, Unplanned. When I realized Elizabeth's prayers and the flowers and card she had offered Abby two years before her conversion had made a difference, despite many days, weeks and months of it all seeming futile, things changed inside of me. When Abby challenged us to not forget about what she'd shared, and insisted the women seeking abortions needed to hear our voices, I could no longer ignore the still, small voice within me.

Then again I might have, if not for my 13-year-old daughter, who'd also met Abby.

"Mom, can we stand out on the sidewalk again this Wednesday?" she asked a few days before "abortion day," the week following our meeting with Abby. It nearly took my breath away to hear her request, but I recognized the opportunity at once and knew I could not diminish it.

"Sure, let's do that," I said, not quite believing what was happening. Her young voice was rising above the din of my doubts, giving me courage to shoo away my timidity.

"No offense, Mom," she added, "but maybe, because I'm younger and all, I might make more of an impact."

"You know, you could be right about that," I said, not able to deny wisdom as it stared me in the face.

Indeed, her presence could well make a difference. It already had. The week before, as we stood there with the others praying in the rain, a car full of hecklers driving past yelled obscenities at us from our sidewalk perch.

"What was that?" she asked, turning to me. Then, in an impeccably timed moment, she added, "Oh, they must just be jealous of my good hair day."

It's exactly what I needed to decrease the tension and sadness I felt watching one woman after another walk into the facility, knowing she would come out a changed person, and not for the better. As one bumper sticker I read recently says: "Abortion: one life lost, another wounded."

This week I returned without my daughter, who was out of town, and though I'm still a sidewalk newbie, I'm starting to get the hang of it. I know where I can and can't stand ("Don't touch the green carpet!"). I've gotten to know some of the names of the abortion facility escorts; some of whom are very aggressive toward those who've come to pray, others who are quieter, perhaps new like me, just trying to figure things out.

And I've discovered that I'm not content to only pray, though prayer is certainly one of the most valuable things I can do. I've reached out to several of the escorts in an attempt to get to know them. One of them was very receptive this week. I know that everyone, no matter what side of the sidewalk they're on, truly believes they are helping women. But I also know that it can't be the case that taking life is ever a positive, and that I have entered the front lines of a war zone. Lives of the mothers, the babies, and all those who love them are at stake.

I can't completely explain what has compelled me to take up a post on this sidewalk of all the sidewalks in North Dakota, but I definitely feel it as a strong stirring, an urgent call to action, though certainly not one I would have willingly chosen.

Perhaps God has had this in mind for me for a long time, but I've only recently become ready. I'm beginning to think that might be the case. Regardless, I'm becoming bolder. I want to meet the workers of the facility and somehow, in whatever way I can, give them the same sense of hope I've experienced while looking upon a weed that refuses to give up on light
Thank you, Roxane, for touching on a sensitive topic. So many people are unable or unwilling to discuss abortion.  I can't preach that I'm an expert.  I know I haven't done enough to stop this.  But now I can be pro-active.  I'm joining my courageous and diligent friend, Roxane on Wednesday on the sidewalk.

Prayers to unborn babies and to the women and men who are confused.  There are always options.

If you'd like to see the original post, go to

New Blog

Check out this hiliarous post from one of my new favorite blogs "The Mouthy Housewives".  Thanks, Mama Kat, for introducing me!

-Murray's Momma