The day I bought this dress

The day I bought this dress, I thought of you and your love of secondhand shopping. The Dress

The day I bought this dress, I thought of your smile and energy. I knew you would be excited at my find.

The day I bought this dress, I was looking forward to another great family vacation with you, the family picture you wanted taken, more evenings of take-1, and a future filled with great times together.

The day I bought this dress, I had such hopes for you wherever your life was to lead you.

The day I bought this dress, I hoped to someday love your children the way you loved mine.

The day I bought this dress just 3 weeks ago, you were still here.


The day I wore this dress, I put it on with the heaviest heart imaginable.

The day I wore this dress, it soaked up the tears of many.

The day I wore this dress, I  leaned on our family and friends to keep me going.

The day I wore this dress, I received a 1000 hugs; but none of them were yours.

The day I wore this dress, I still wasn’t convinced you were gone and expected you to bring on the party.

The day I wore this dress, the thought “this is too much to bare” rang through my head louder than any words spoken.

The day I wore this dress, my hopes for the future together were shattered; but I will cling to the beautiful memories we’ve made, the life you lived and the spirit of living loud that you brought to everyone you knew.


I love you and miss you, Alicia Corinne Miller ~ October 23, 1987 – April 28, 2011. May you find the peace you longed for on this earth.

Thoughts while reading City of Joy

I consider myself to be a fairly content person. The majority of the time, I’m quite happy to have a 14 yr. old car, a mis-matched assortment of borrowed and second-hand furniture, curtains straight from the 80s throughout the entire house, bathroom and kitchen decorated in the 1960s, a 22inch tube TV which requires certain amounts of “prodding” – meaning hitting – in order to get a steady picture. Usually I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the hand-me-down clothes, shoes, jackets and snowpants my kids receive from family & friends, plus delight in great finds for myself and Daniel at re-use it stores. Our entertainment isn’t “Big.” Borrowing movies and books from the library, playing board and card games, ordering pizza, and occasionally going out for ice cream are about as crazy as it gets – the latter 2 performed with a certain amount of guilt attached.

But every now and then, someone makes a remark about our archaic curtains. Someone isn’t invited to our house b/c our TV isn’t good enough to watch a movie or the game. Someone asks me when we’re planning to redecorate and remodel. Someone is wearing a really cute brand-name outfit from the current season, has a great purse and a haircut you know they spent big money on. Someone talks about the greatest vacation they’ve ever taken. Every now and then, someone asks me what I want for Christmas. And jealousy and discontentment knock on my door and storm into my thoughts uninvited… my contented state goes from quiet satisfaction to raging discontentment in about 5 seconds.

I used to think I was somewhat justified in these thoughts. We don’t go overboard with our spending, live within our means, save some money with each paycheck, have “no” debt except our mortgage… I guess now-a-days that’s no debt. We scrimp and scrap to save extra pennies & dimes by doing things most people would consider highly inconvenient, so why shouldn’t I be entitled to a little splurge – or even a really big one – every now and then. Then I started reading City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. I won’t spoil the book’s contents for those of you who haven’t read the book, but it is the most horrific book I’ve ever read, recounting the living conditions of real people in Calcutta. I literally must brace myself each time I sit down to read; and I must admit, I’ve been finding other things to do instead of finish reading the book, such as write a blog entry about it, b/c of the turmoil I feel after each reading session. I suspect I haven’t even hit the most disturbing parts yet.

I do not know how I will deal with the turmoil this book has created for me, especially with the holidays quickly approaching and thinking about listing many of my wants and also shopping for people mostly like myself, economically speaking. In the future, I do not know how I will enjoy my splurges w/o even more guilt associated with them. I do not know what my final “call to action” will be as a result of this book. But I do know it has changed me forever, and I HOPE that from now on….

Every time I’m tempted…..
….. to complain about rising food costs, I will be Thankful I get to eat 3 meals a day, and my children are also just as well fed.
……. to complain about rising healthcare costs, I will be Thankful for the medical care my daughter receives for her vision, w/o which she might lose some of it. And I will be thankful for life saving medicines and immunizations that are readily available for me and my entire family, not to mention clean medical facilities and knowledgeable medical personnel.
…. to desire that cute outfit, purse & haircut, I will be Thankful that I have a clean, warm change of clothes for each day of the week and then some.
… to start re-designing my kitchen & bathroom in my head, I will be Thankful for the house I live in which has electricity, running water and a heating/cooling system as well.
…. to yearn for that dream vacation, I will be Thankful that I can hop in my 14 yr old car and drive in comfort to be with those I love in short order.
… to think that the person who writes on his/her Christmas list “Donate to X,Y or Z Charity” is just being self-righteous, instead I may just do it.

A New Olympic Event

Grocery shopping with more than 1 child should be an Olympic event. I just completed my large grocery trip for the month with my 2 children in tow, and I feel like I just finished a tri-athelon. I’m physically, mentally, and discipline-ally exhausted. It takes some serious physical strength and skill to be able to maneuver a cart one-armed through the ever decreasing aisle space. I say “one-armed” b/c usually about 30 min. into the trip, my 4 mon old decides he has had enough of sitting in his carseat and wails until I carry him through the rest of the store. Trying to figure out which brand is the cheapest and if I’ll be able to deal with the quality of that cheap-o brand for every item I buy is like mental gymnastics all the while making sure my  2 yr old isn’t pulling things off the shelves (those glass soda bottles are sooo pretty – yes, they still make them!), isn’t putting extra things in the cart, and is staying close to  Mommy. But this shopping trip was like a trip to heaven compared to June’s big trip. After arriving home from that trip, I vowed never to take 2 children shopping again. After telling a friend some of the details, she was laughing hysterically and telling me to write it down… so here it is.

Continue reading A New Olympic Event


It was  a recipe for disaster. My brother-in-law comes to our house for dinner once a week. I spend a lot time in preparation for this once a week occurrence – even if it is just mental preparation. Not b/c I feel a need to impress him w/ my less than wonderful cooking skills, mostly b/c I need to feel like I have a good, well-rounded meal planned ahead of time so I will not be caught offering last week’s leftovers, although he has endured them on occasion – and eats as heartily as any other meal I serve. Also, I admit, I’m a sucker for his never ending praise of “that was delicious” each time he comes – he’s a bachelor with not much in the frig other than beer—not too hard to please.

Continue reading Flop-oli