Band Challenge

Our two oldest children are a junior and a senior this year.  It’s hard to believe they have grown that much.  It wasn’t so very long ago that she cuddled her brand new brother for the first time and said, “I love you, baby.”  A few weeks later she accidentally gave him the nickname that has survived sixteen years.  They’ve been inseparable through thick and thin, from Barbies and Legos to dating and driving.

One of their common interests is music.  She plays the flute and loves listening to music.  She has discovered some cool musicians and some weird ones.  I mean, who makes music by slapping a dead cow?  Apparently someone does, if the internet is to be believed.  He started his musical career with the trombone, and has since learned to play the trumpet and the baritone.  He loves jazz (hooray!) and lots of other stuff as well.  They’ve both been in marching band since the moment they could be.  Marching band is her favorite part of band.  It’s a toss up for him between jazz and marching band.

Band is important to them and to us as parents.  We’ve spent the last four years planning our summer vacations around band and band fundraisers.  Our fall schedule revolves around marching band.  Our kids are so dedicated to band that they get up at 4:30 to 4:45 am every school day because they’ve also made a commitment to attend the full four years of Seminary that our church offers.  It’s similar to Bible study and happens every morning before school.  Because of band, our kids attend a class at 5:45 am Monday through Friday.  Education is important, but maintaining our faith is paramount.

We’ve been in a medium sized program and in a very large program.  Both band programs require dedication and hard work.  Currently our kids are part of one of the most competitive bands in Oklahoma.  We love the opportunities that come with it.  They are able to travel to national competitions and be exposed to lots of musical influences as part of their band experience.  It’s incredible to watch them flourish and raise to the occasion.

Being part of this incredible program means that as a family we are responsible for some pretty hefty fees.  I’m cool with that.  We’ve been blessed to be able to manage it.  This year we asked our kids to earn some of their band fee money to make it even more personal.  They will be working concessions a few times (not every time because there are lots of kids and they need shifts too) to earn some money.  They’ve done some fundraisers with their sections as well.   Every bit helps.

Recently there was a light bulb moment.  They love band memes.  I think they both have Pinterest boards of band memes.  They also love a good t-shirt.  Why not combine them and try and sell some shirts?  We did some homework and found Custom Ink.  They actually have a fundraising platform which takes a lot of stress off of us.  They handle the money, the shipping, and the shirts.  We  design the shirt and find the customers.

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Band Meme Shirts for Band Fees Campaign

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/merchandising/assets/campaign_widget/fundraising_widget.js

Designing the shirt was pretty easy.  We messed around with the file until both the kids approved.  We set up the fundraising page.  And we’ve been trying to get the word out.  Our t-shirt is for sell until August 18th, and we have to get a minimum order of 11 to have it printed and shipped.  We have a goal of 50 t-shirts.  It’s a great shirt, reasonably priced at $15

If you’ve made it this far, you might be asking what you can do.  Reblog this.  Facebook it.  Put it on your social media somewhere.  If you know a marching band kid, consider buying a t-shirt for them.  We have 11 days to make my kids’ idea work.

Click on the link below to go to our Custom Ink page.

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/merchandising/assets/campaign_widget/fundraising_widget.js

And just so you know, I ordered a shirt for both of my marching band students because they want one too.   Thank you for helping!

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It’s Not You, It’s Me…

Today I locked myself in my room for an hour and almost cried every time my kids knocked on the door.  It’s been one of those days.  No one did anything unusual or terrible, but the culmination of several different things just did a number on my sanity.  I locked myself in to save the world from my wrath.

access black and white blur cage

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My husband has been working out of town, which messes up my schedule.  It’s not his fault that I stay up later just to have a few minutes to myself.  Okay, hours, but who’s counting?  It’s summer, and no one in my house wants to go to bed at anything approaching reasonable in my book.  Is 7:30 really that unreasonable for two preteens and two teens?  Is it?  Because I’d prefer to get my quiet time in earlier so I’m in bed at a decent time.

A week ago my sunscreen failed spectacularly, leaving my forearms and hairline exposed, and consequently my arms and hairline burned like no one’s business except maybe the proprietor of Hades.  Now my peeling scalp flakes faster than a blizzard.  It’s creating it’s own weather pattern.  My arms burned for days and two sleepless nights and then started itching like I rolled through the biggest patch of poison ivy imaginable.  Tonight, after a mere hour of exposure to sunshine, they’re back to burning.  The water droplets I tried brushing off ended up being tiny blisters.  My arms look and feel like bubble wrap.

Remember those kids who refuse to go to bed at 7:30… they are ALWAYS hungry.   I mean that seriously.  They can eat breakfast at the ungodly hour of ten in the morning (I’d be sick or dead if I waited that long) and be starving at 11:30.  Starving always means asking multiple times what is for lunch.  Like, dude, you ate less than two hours ago and sat down on the couch.  Where is the food going?   What activity are you doing that you can be hungry already?   How can you ask every two hours and expect different answers?  I didn’t go grocery shopping since you last ask.

In the last week I didn’t sleep three nights, two for sunburn and one for insomnia.  Today was just too much.  My temper is shorter than a hobbit.  Sorry world, it isn’t you, it’s me who has the problem.

P.S. Does anyone know when school starts?  Asking for a friend…

 

Life at Forty

It seems to me that turning forty ought to happen with a little more fanfare or something.  After all, forty is the edge of middle aged leaning towards the downhill slope of becoming elderly.  When I was younger I thought thirty five was ancient, on the verge-of-dying old.  Funny how the closer I got to that number the more vibrant and lively that number became.  Then I passed it, and forty drew even closer.

I’d be lying if I said it was pressing on me.  While I’ve had friends who had small crises over turning thirty and forty, it hasn’t meant much to me.  Most of the time my head and heart think I’m still that optimistic but naive eighteen-year-old who was getting ready to go to college.  My body tends to disagree with the rest of me.  It’s definitely aged in the last twenty two years, but who cares if I can’t mow the grass anymore or that my degenerative disk disease means my hip aches more often than I care to admit.  I’m not that old.

Even sixty doesn’t sound that old, not in theory anyway.  My body may have another opinion when I hit that milestone.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it will.  My hair is already almost all silver.  My body never recovered its former shape after four pregnancies, and my sordid love affair with ice cream and bacon cheese burgers doesn’t help much.  I know this.  My hips ache when I’m in a car for extended periods of time.  I have to wear a compression sleeve on one leg or it aches abominably during travel.  I don’t move as fast as I used to.  I feel the heat more than I used to.  I can’t be outside if anyone in the vicinity is even thinking about cutting their grass or the trees are pollinating.  I suffer through occasional bouts of insomnia.  This list, I am sure, will lengthen as the years continue to pass.

But, and this is a huge but, I wouldn’t trade my age for any other age.  I don’t want to go back to high school or college even though I would happily consent to having my ache free seventeen-year-old body.  I love my life.  I love my family.  I wouldn’t give up my family or the things I have learned to go back to being a teenager.   I enjoyed being in high school and college, but life only gets sweeter the longer I live.

I had faith in high school, but life has since taught me a much deeper, more abiding faith than I knew was possible as a teenager.  I understand Christ’s sacrifice on a more personal level now.  The older I grow the more I begin to comprehend the love our Savior has for us, and by extension, how I can extend my love to those around me.  Love isn’t accepting someone only when they meet the parameters we artificially create for them.  Love isn’t permissive either.  Real love requires that we try our best to help others to make good decisions, and love them even when they don’t.  This is something I did not get as a teenager, and even still am learning about.

Something else I have learned as I have gotten older is that withholding judgement is hard, but necessary.  I firmly believe that who we are today is not who we will be at the end of our lives, and it is up to us to make sure that we are focused on becoming better.  I don’t want to be remembered by the worst things that I have ever done.  If I cannot extend the courtesy and opportunity to others to change then I am nothing but a hypocrite.  The worst thing a person has done does not have to define the rest of their lives (in most cases anyway…) if they are willing to change.  A thief can become honest.  A cheater can become faithful and trustworthy.  Change is possible, and who I once was is not going to be who I am after a lifetime of trying to be more Christlike.

Of course, forgiveness follows faith, love, and being non judgmental.  Forgiveness is a beautiful concept and a difficult practice.  All of us find it easy to forgive some things while letting other stuff fester and create a miasma of hatred and anger.  Love and faith cannot flourish where forgiving is withheld.  I know this through personal experience.  I have had to work hard at forgiving people for very real traumatic offenses as well as some that I am pretty sure I made up in a sensitive moment.  Forgiveness isn’t always very easy, but it is possible.

I’ve also learned to apologize, even if offense wasn’t meant.  When I know that something I have done might hurt someone I try really hard to apologize.  Having children has really helped me with this area.  I sometimes have to apologize for losing my temper and being less than patient.  Apologizing gets easier with practice, and I will get lots of practice because I am not perfect.

I’ve learned a lot about myself as I’ve gotten older.  I love solitude and quiet time.  I love music with a few notable exceptions.  I love teaching, but I wouldn’t want to do it full time.  This one will come as a shock: I love writing.  I love words and the power they have to shape reality.  I’ve learned to make light rolls, decadent carrot cake, and delicious apple pie.

I’ve also learned that I do not like edges, ledges, or ladders.  I can kill spiders if I have too.  I can live in a foreign country, but I love the States the best.  I strongly dislike hearing profanity and people taking the Lord’s name in vain.

I’m still a work in progress at the age of forty.  I love the things I have learned and the progress I am making, and I wouldn’t change it.  Here’s to the opportunity to keep learning and becoming the person I am meant to be!

 

I Should Be Asleep

It’s really quite late.  I’m sitting at my computer, listening to the first rain we’ve had in months.  My children are all tucked in and snoozing.  My husband is several hours away working on a jobsite.  The headache I’m experiencing would go away if I went to bed.  I should be asleep, but I am not.

Tonight is not an insomnia night, for which I am grateful.  I can feel sleep beckoning.  My pillow is beginning to sing a siren’s song full of lilting promises of sweet dreams.  The degenerate disks in my back will sigh with relief when I lay down, but I have words to get out before I rest.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple of weeks about friendship, what it means to be a friend, and how the world influences our friendships.  When I was a little child my friends were friends of convenience.  You know what I mean: who I lived by or the kids from school.  Most of those friendship didn’t last, although I have reconnected with a few I met in third grade via Facebook.  Then there were middle school friends, high school friends, college friends, Guatemala friends, and now Oklahoma friends.

Friendship is amazing.  It can wax and wan over time, but that connection remains.  The memories remain.  People make impressions on us that help define who we become.  I have friends who have impacted me so profoundly that I will always consider them my friends, even if we don’t talk often.

The wonderful thing about friendship is that there is always room for more, no matter how many we have.   Not every person will be a best friend, but that’s okay.  The variety of our friendships helps keep life interesting.   I like learning things about people, and I honestly find their thought processes fascinating.  I like people.

I think we all define friendship a little bit differently.  If I am comfortable with you than you are my friend, end of story.  Age, gender, political persuasion, and religion aren’t factors.  I have friends who are dyed in the wool liberals and friends who are ultra conservative.  I have friends who are Christian and some who are not.  I have friends who are teenagers and friends old enough to be my grandparents.

I realize that my definition of friendship is quite broad and probably not the same as  that of most people.  I am not the friend that calls you up to chat.  I’m not the friend who is going to be all up in your business asking questions about your life.  I’m not the friend that drops by unannounced.  That’s not who I am.

I am a friend who will listen and only give advice if it is requested.  I am a friend who will help if I can.  I am a friend who will pray for you.  I will laugh with you, and I will cry with you if necessary.  I’ll even have lunch with you or have play dates if I know that’s your thing.  I’m busy, but I will make time.

Then there is the digital realm.  When I started this blog I virtually met three or four bloggers who I enjoyed getting to know.  I loved their blogs and the conversations we had when I was much more active about blogging.  I have a real desire to visit New Zealand one day because of the pictures one of them always posted.  Then there is Facebook.  I find delight in Facebook because I can see how my friends are doing.  I have a few friends I’ve never met in person, but I find myself wondering if this one got her workout in or if that one managed to get to her destination in one piece with all the dogs in the car.

Friendship is about connection, and connections matter in a world that is increasingly creating feelings of isolation through comparison and unrealistic idealization.  Make the effort to make connections and let people know that they matter to you.  The world will be better for it.

 

 

 

 

Pieces of My Heart

Life as I know it is changing in just 25 days.  I can’t believe that is all I have left.  Three and a half weeks.  It’s tearing my heart out slowly, piece by piece as we prepare to move.

I’ve moved a lot in my life, including a three year sojourn in Guatemala.

Moving shouldn’t be so hard.  I’ve had a lot of practice.  In fact, I’ve been expecting this move for a couple of years.  So why is this move so hard?

Well, I have this character flaw.  It’s not readily apparent.  I’m not sure how many people know how deep this flaw runs because I don’t talk about it a lot, or ever really.  It is extremely hard for me to let people in, to let them see all of me.  I am not a sharer, and I prefer to keep most of me quite private.   It literally takes me ages to be really comfortable with people.  The good news is that once I let you in, you’re in forever.   Your name is engraved on a piece of my heart.

Over the last eleven years I’ve managed to write a lot of names on my heart.  From my first friends here to the ones I’ve just been discovering the last year or so, you are all there.  Every. Single. One. Of. You.

I am going to miss all the little boys who come and sit with me during church, the ones who know that I’ve loved them their whole lives.  I’m going to miss the kids who come to my house and know it’s okay to eat a bowl of cereal without asking.  I’m going to miss the ones who are always willing to come to dinner and eat like I’m the best cook on earth.  I love feeding you.  I’m going to miss the teenagers who actually get my jokes and laugh.  I’m going to miss my adopted band kids.  I will miss being there at those odd moments on bus rides when they trust me enough to open their hearts to me.  I will miss the ones who call me mom and know I will give them a ride whenever they need one.  I will miss the way their faces light up when I see them around town and talk to them.  I’m glad I learned all their names.  I’m going to miss the sporty kids I’ve been cheering for at the top of my lungs, and I really hope they heard me because everyone else did.  There’s a few of them I’d take with me in a heartbeat if I thought their parents would let me.  Actually, I’d take their parents too!

I’m going to miss my fellow band booster parents, particularly the ones who shouldered The Dehydrator with me the last three years.  I have every intention of coming to see you this year and helping wherever you need me.  A couple of you have become real partners in crime, mostly figuratively speaking, in getting things done.  (I’ll never forget getting trouble for “breaking in” because we didn’t know we had to ask permission to get in the storage room.)  I will miss sitting with you at football and basketball games.  I will miss always wanting to say Nay on a vote to just be cantankerous.   Thanks for letting me be silly at the last meeting when I finally let the Nays fly.  Most of all, thank you for trusting me with your kids.

I’m going to miss my fellow soccer moms who’ve been there the whole time since our kids are the same age.  Soccer won’t be the same without you guys.  You like me even though I’m the loudest person at the game.  I hope you know I consider your kids my own.

As for church, that is the hardest of all.  I don’t know if I have words for these pieces of my heart.  Our congregation has changed a lot over the years, but a few of you have been there from the very beginning.  From helping me through my last (and very worst) pregnancy, sitting at the hospital with my husband during my surgery, the babysitting, the rides for stranded kids, to just being there when I needed a friend, you have been incredible.  You were there during some of the darkest hours of my life when I couldn’t share my burden, but knowing you were there helped so much.  Your love and encouragement hasn’t wavered for eleven years.  I wish you knew just how ginormous your pieces of my heart are.

Then there’s the rest of you who are just as dear.  I’ve worked beside you, laughed beside you, cried with you, worried about you, and prayed for all of you.  I’ve loved learning from your insights during conversations and lessons.  I’ve watched your kids, and you’ve watched mine.  You’ve been in my home, and I’ve been in yours.  A lot of you were surprised by my sense of humor once I got comfortable; sorry it got a little questionable sometimes.  Two of you in particular have delighted in trying to embarrass me with your senses of humor ever since.  (I think you like watching me blush when it works.  But I love you as much as we all love tacos.)  From ladies only lunches to game night, you have made my life so rich.  I will miss the dinners, cookouts, trips to the river, and water balloon fights.  I will miss the wishful matchmaking between our children, but keep those photos ’cause you never know what will happen.

There are so many people with whom I wish I had been better about sharing my heart so they would know how much I love them.  Just know that I love you, even if I never said it out loud.  You are the pieces of my heart, and that is why it so very hard to leave.

 

 

 

 

A Glimmer of Light

Finally there is a light gleaming ahead of me in this endless exhausting tunnel I’ve been slogging through.  My head spins at the thought that it has actually been 22 days since I mentioned that my throat hurt to my husband as we got ready for bed.  I can count on two fingers the number of times I have slept since then without Vicks Vapor Rub and socks on my feet.  Honestly, the jar of Vicks is almost gone.

I didn’t bother to go to the doctor because I knew what I had.  A dear friend had unwittingly exposed me to the flu the week before.  Don’t worry, we’re still friends.  It takes 1-5 days after being exposed to the flu to develop symptoms, and unfortunately for me it was five days.  I almost escaped unscathed!

Thanksgiving week is kind of a blur of being in bed and cooking dinner on Thursday.  On Thanksgiving day my oldest daughter and I took the entire day to make our dinner in shifts of make this, lay down for an hour.  Get up and make something else, and lay down again.  By that time she had also come down with the flu.  My sweet husband volunteered to make dinner, but his idea of dinner was grilled steak.  I’d rather have that when I actually feel like eating, thank you very much!

The day after Thanksgiving my husband asked if I wanted to get out the Christmas trees and decorate them.  I said something like not really which he interpreted as Yes please!  So in came the trees and the ornaments.  Uh, yay?  Our trees are up now, but I still haven’t put away the pumpkins or pulled out the rest of the Christmas decorations.  Ladybug keeps asking when are we getting them out and I keep answering sometime before Christmas Eve.

What a dark grey week that was… literally dark and grey.  It rained the entire weekend.  I remember that because there were concerns about flooding.  Although, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t got a clue where.

Eight days after this started I began to feel better.  My exhaustion had lifted quite a bit, which I think had a lot to do with the fact that everyone was a school and I finally had a day of complete and total rest, except the two or three loads of laundry I did. I was out of clean pajamas.  My congestion felt under control.  My cough had mostly subsided.  So I did the mostly wonderful and liberating thing I could think of to celebrate.  I slept without the vapor rub and socks.  It’s shocking how wonderful it feels to sleep without socks after eight nights of enforced sock wearing, which, in turn, really is better than coughing all night long.

Apparently that was a very dumb move for how intelligent I actually am.  I woke up the next morning so congested that I could not even hear out of one ear.  I won’t get into all the disgusting details.  Instead I will merely say that my eight year old Ladybug that I was completely angry with her for the next week because, like a lot of deaf people, I kept raising my voice and asking what every time she talked to me on the wrong side of my head, which was every time she spoke to me.  The poor thing seemed to think I had it out for her.

A very special friend had died the week before and I had every intention of going to her funeral, but by the time it rolled around that afternoon I had so much sinus pressure in my face that I ended up at the doctor’s office.  The poor nurse had to keep repeating herself because I couldn’t hear her well enough to understand half of what she said.  Hmm, it appeared that the flu had turned into one of the worst sinus infections I have ever had.

I am totally turning into an old lady right here since I am detailing my ailments for you.  It’s the only thing I have to talk about for the last three plus weeks of my life.  The flu was nothing compared to the sinus infection.  With the flu I rested a lot (okay, almost all the time!) but with the sinus infection I was completely and totally done in.  My husband took over getting up early to take Honeybee to Seminary and getting the kids to school.  He ended up making dinner more times than I care to admit.  The house looked like a tornado hit it.  It might have smelt that way too, but I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t smelt anything in weeks.

My antibiotic finally kicked in and I started to feel a little better each day.  I got up one morning and actually ironed some pants for my husband to wear to work.  The next morning he woke up wretched with the raging burning sore throat I’d experienced at the beginning or my flu.  I actually convinced him to stay home from work.  He spent the next three days in pajamas.  But on Monday he felt pretty good and went to work.

Legoman woke up Monday with a stomach ache and ended up staying home that day.  He never misses school so I figured it was bad if he wanted to stay home.  That afternoon Butterfly came home from school and told me that her throat still hurt.  (In my defense it wasn’t even red when I checked it!  Which I did like three days in a row!)  So the next morning I sent everyone to school but her, and the two of us went trudging back to the doctor’s office.  And it was the flu, strain B in fact.

So she camped out on the sofa from Tuesday to Friday.  Ladybug joined her on Wednesday.  Legoman joined them on Friday.  On Saturday the girls were both much better, but Legoman didn’t do much of anything on Saturday and Sunday morning.  He was feeling much better this morning and went to school.

In the meantime, my antibiotic finished the day Butterfly was diagnosed with the flu.  I felt so much better again that I didn’t feel like crying when I discovered she had the flu for real.  Unfortunately, I made another huge mistake that night and slept without vapor rub and socks.

Boom, the next morning I wake up not feeling great and it continued to get worse every day.  My ears hurt, my throat hurt, I was tired, etc.. all while the last two people in the house decide to catch the flu.  By Saturday I decide that the antibiotic didn’t really do much in the long run except make me nauseated occasionally.  My husband took me back to the doctor’s office.

Now I am on a steroid to see if that helps cut the congestion, which will in turn calm down my throat and ears.  I have a prescription for a broad spectrum antibiotic in case I get worse again.  That honestly made me wonder if they really don’t want to subject me to another doctor office visit.  I swear I covered my mouth every time I coughed!

I missed our Christmas celebration at church.  Legoman and I picked our way through baked potatoes and some jello.  I didn’t get to see my girls sing in the Nativity program.  That was sad.

I started the steroid.  It is starting to help my congestion.  I decided to use the vapor rub and socks for the foreseeable future.  I will resist temptation the first night or two that I think I am ready to quit using it.  My feet really relish the chance to be sockless for about an hour before I go to bed, but I’ll be strong and keep using it.

Now, if the steroids will just let me sleep (3 1/2 hours last night!) maybe this saga of sickness will be squashed.  But I will settle for sleep derived for a few days if I can finally breathe and sound like a normal person.  Maybe after the laundry marathon (I’m on my fifth load so far today!) I will get out the rest of the Christmas decorations for Ladybug.

In 22 days we’ve had six cases of flu, one sinus infection, and a horrendous case of lingering congestion and exhaustion, but I really am beginning to see a light at the end of this tunnel.  That just may be my Christmas miracle this year!

Knock Knock

The sharp raps on the kitchen door shattered the cozy silence, startling me so badly that I almost dropped the cookie sheet I was putting in the oven.  I glanced over at Moira, who raised her eyebrows at me.  Together the two of us walked over to the door.  Moira opened it; Tom stood on the deck, holding Jimmy’s hand.

“Can we come in?” he asked pleasantly enough, the light from the kitchen shining on his face.

“What are you doing here?” demanded Moira, her voice on edge.  I knew that it was teetering between anger and panic.  Tom knew it too.

“I was just talking to Jimmy.  It’s getting dark and cold, so we wanted to come in.”  He sounded so reasonable and patient, but I noticed him let go of Jim’s hand and begin to clench his fist.

“Jimmy, come in,” I quickly said.

Without looking at his father Jimmy slipped pass us into the house.  Wordlessly he vanished down the hallway to his bedroom.  Moira stood there, half turned, torn between the need to run after Jimmy to check his well-being and the urge to flee.

“You need to leave,” I said quietly to Tom.

His eyes narrowed, but his voice remained reasonable.  “I just need to talk to Moira.”

“Go home Tom,” said Moira behind me.

As I swung the door shut and shot the bolt home I heard him snapped, “I am home.”  Through the window I watched Tom stare at the door.  Finally he kicked over the watering can Moira kept by the door and stomped off the deck over to the swing set he and Moira had picked for Jimmy just the previous year.

“What’s he doing?” asked Moira in a quavering voice.

“I don’t know, Moira.  Are the other doors locked?”

Her eyes widened, panic making her mouth slack.  “I forgot to lock the garage door earlier.”

I whirled around and raced through the dining room, through the laundry room, and into the garage.  Moira was right.  It was unlocked, the door was even ajar.  I pushed it tight and turned the deadbolt.  Just as I reached for the lock on the handle, it began to turn.  I knew it was Tom on the other side.  The door shuddered but held as he pushed against it.

I didn’t stay to see if he would break it down.  Instead I turned and stepped back into the laundry room.  I locked that door too before racing to the front door.  We’d locked it earlier, but Jimmy hadn’t been outside when we had.  He had gotten out somehow.

When I rounded the corner to the entry hall I found Moira there, huddled next to the locked door, sobbing silently.  She was out of the sight lines afforded by the entryway so no one could see her from outside, but I could see out the decorative windows.  A large shadow loomed against the glow of the street lamp and the handle rattled as Tom tried to force his way in.  He must have run, the inconsequential thought flitted through my consciousness.

“Moira,” I whispered softly.  “Come away from there.”

“I called 911,” she said, frozen in place.  “The police are on their way.”

That was the moment I noticed the phone she held to her left ear with her left hand.  Her right hand, the one she’d finally confessed that Tom had broken last year instead of the accident she had claimed at the time, was cradled in her lap.  How long would it take them to get here?  Would Tom try to go through a window?  What could two women possibly do to protect themselves from the terrible rages Moira had described to me?

The night deepened, and so did the intensity of Tom’s efforts.  I flipped on the front porch light, hoping the sudden illumination would discourage him.  It hadn’t been that long since Moira had been brave enough to change the locks.  I wasn’t sure if the neighbors even knew that he didn’t belong here anymore.

“Moira, get over here,” I hissed as the door frame groaned.

She scrambled across the floor to me.  I noticed Jimmy, shoulders hunched and eyes enormous, peeking around the corner from the hallway.  I glanced over at him with what I hoped was a reassuring look.

At the sound of splintering wood I whirled around and caught sight of a gun in my sister’s hand, unflinchingly pointed at the door that inched open one shove at a time.  In that split second I saw the determination in her as she stood and refused to be defined any longer by the man who found his worth in stealing hers.

I found this the other day when I was cleaning up my room.  I don’t remember exactly when I wrote it or even what the rest of the story was supposed to be.  So I thought I would post it and see what kind of ideas you guys could come up with to finish the story.  So, what do you guys think happens?