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thursday thirteen

Summer to do list I hope you've missed my Thursday Thirteens. My friend Shelly inquired about the lack of Thursday Thirteen posts. I was thrilled to learn someone actually missed those wonky Thursday posts. I usually think of 13 things to say around Friday night. Hence TT's recent infrequency.

13 things going on around here:

1. The prison journaling course is going very well. In some ways, better than I even hoped. One of the ladies that's been in the class since it started is getting discharged next week. Tomorrow instead of "class" we're having a party with pizza and ice cream cake. They, and I, are so excited. I got her a really nice journal for her going-away gift. I'm taking cards for every other lady to write prayers of blessings for her. I think she'll be pleased.

She's requested a continuing relationship while she's in the half-way house. The chaplain gave me the safety parameter's for executing that, (and was confident is was a safe investment), so maybe I will get to stay connected to her in a small way.

2. The ladies in the Healing Through Journaling course are so touched by the simplest gifts. In the beginning I bought everyone cheap journals from the dollar store. They acted like I'd spent buckoos on them. They were grateful. Then I passed out the pens (not from the dollar store) and they seemed almost giddy. One week I made each of them a bookmark of a famous piece from a famous journaler. Psalm 23, by David. Again, they acted like I'd done something pretty special. One evening I took each one a chocolate bar, which promptly got confiscated by the guards, but still they were grateful. It's nice to work with grateful girls. It's a quality I wasn't expecting to encounter. It's been a sweet experience. If you care to pray for C. who is being released, I'd be grateful.

3. Rachael had her 14th birthday party two weekends ago. That was a hoot, in a teenage sort of way.018

4. This Friday Deborah will have her 10th birthday party. The poor child, her birthday party always competes with her friends' families' holidays. Miss Socialite only has four friends coming to her party because the rest are out of town. I suggested putting it off, but because of our family holidays it couldn't happen till August if it didn't happen this weekend. Patience isn't my Deborah's strongest virtue, so the party is this weekend. The bright side for her is that I told her since I have to buy fewer eats for fewer friends I could afford another gift. She seemed okay with the trade-off. :-)

5. Rachael is working at two VBS's this week. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. It's cool seeing her busy at that.

6. I'm riding my bike lots and lots. I usually ride it to work 3 times a week and all around town too. Near the end of school, Rachael and Hannah went on field trips on buses. They passed me on my bike. Something about that struck Rachael as hysterical. She and her friend laughed till they cried. When she told me about it she laughed till her eyes watered yet again. I would have understood if she'd have been embarrassed, but she promised me she wasn't. She said there was just something about it that was soooo funny.

7. Another time she and her friends were walking to a friends' house. I rode past them on my way to pick up Deborah. I didn't even realize it was them until I was about 20 feet from them. Then I heard her whimper, "Mom?". I turned toward them and saw three perplexed girls looking at me and one of them saying, "Mom?". She looked like she was wondering if I was really her mom -- like it had been ages since she'd seen me. Once I noticed and acknowledged them they burst out laughing. Something about seeing me unexpectedly on my bike really cracks them up. Rachael told me if I'd forgo the helmet I wouldn't look quite so nerdy. I told her I was too smart for that.

8. Our family holidays got toned down this summer. We are going to Family Camp in a couple weeks. Meanwhile we've planned lots of little things to do locally to make our summer active and fun. The orange chart in the picture above is our summer to do list. Hannah refers to it like it's a Bible.

9. Gordon is doing well. He has some new toys that are keeping him entertained. If you want to hear him entertaining himself, call my house and listen to our voice mail message. Yep, he's having fun with his new toys.

021 10. With kids in the teenage years I am even more grateful for a wise husband. He balances me really well. Last Saturday morning we were having coffee outside. I had been in a snarly mood for about 48 hours and was keeping my dark thoughts to myself. He asked what my problem was and I replied, "Our kids are idiots!" He replied, "They could be worse idiots."

11. I've taken summer hours at work. I'm working four hours a day three days a week. It's great for the family and keeps me really in touch with the children. (Maybe I'll share some idiot stories soon.)

12. I think I've shared before that my job could end next March. Not sure, it could go either way. But I've been preparing for it, just in case. I've worked hard to grow my freelance business thinking I'd enjoy working from home should the job end. Interestingly, I'm changing my mind, I think, (I sound really convinced don't I?) about working from home. I get sleepy at home. I think I'm probably healthier having a job away from the house. I've already taken my "hire me" widgets off this site, if you haven't noticed, and that's the reasoning behind that. I might change my mind, but that's my thinking this week.

13. I had a computer crash. I lost all my emails and email addresses. And I lost lots of Word documents too, which isn't good if you're a writer. :-( If you sent me a letter and never got a response, please resend it. If you sent it a long time ago and I hadn't responded, I'm sorry. I don't have your address or your email anymore. Please write again. Thankfully my hubby is good at techie things and saved the day.



It is absolutely AMAZING how much Rachael looks like Stephanie in these pictures.
Am I wrong or did Rachael have an EARLY birthday party? Please confirm which it is.


Yes we celebrated Rachael's bday early because her friends scatter for the summer and she wanted them all at her party. Very good of you to catch that. You're a sharp one. :-) I didn't notice R looking like Stephanie, but now I see what you see.

xoxo, Valerie

Shelly Gribble

Glad to see your Thursday Thirteen back on! I love your blog-you're so funny. Looks like the girls had fun at the b-day party!


I like the idea of the 13 things going on. What a great way to keep up!


I really love hearing about your writing class. My boyfriend teaches English classes at the prison twenty miles from here, and he talks often about how rewarding it is. As for me, well, I've struggled for years to be consistent with my journal-keeping (my biggest issue has been self-censorship, which leaves everything sounding like sunshine when it's sometimes not). Your thoughts on journaling are encouraging. Anyway, thanks for a great post.


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