Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dear Peter,

Well, I started to post something totally different this evening, but decided against it. Let me just pose this question, "Why on earth do some women stay with men who they KNOW wants to harm/kill them"? I just don't understand. Okay as Monty Python would say, "Now for something completely different". Taking a cue from Cleggy I have decided to post the first story I have ever written, and hope to have published "someday". :-) Hope you enjoy it.


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Gwen. She was a very cute little girl. She had long brown hair that she wore in pigtails. She always wore green hair ribbons. Green was her favorite color, you see, and it didn’t matter to Gwen that the ribbons did not always match her outfit. She liked them anyway. She had deep green eyes and a little nose that turned up at the end.

Gwen was what some people would call chubby. She was a chubby baby and a chubby child. She wasn’t small or thin like most other 9 year olds. She didn’t run quite as fast as the other children but in every other respect she was just like everyone else. Sometimes people would say mean things to Gwen or her parents about Gwen being chubby. Things like, “you should diet,” or “you are too fat to play like other children play.” Some children who were very cruel would chant, “Fatty, Fatty, two by four you can’t fit through the door.” At times like these Gwen did not feel cute and she would feel sad about her body. Momma would tell her, “Gwen, God made us all different. You know that you eat healthy and exercise. You know that you can
do anything that other children can do. God is an artist and NO ONE should insult God’s artwork.” Momma always knew how to make Gwen feel better.

One-day Gwen’s daddy came home and said that because of his job the whole family was moving. Gwen hated the thought of leaving her friends but Momma and Daddy promised her she would make new friends.

On the day Gwen and her family arrived at their new home Gwen was excited to see that they lived near the school that Gwen would be attending. She was also happy to see that it had a playground and on the playground was a baseball diamond. Gwen loved to play baseball and hoped she would be able to make some friends soon so she could join a team.

The next morning Gwen was so nervous about beginning a new school, she almost didn’t feel like eating her favorite breakfast of cornflakes with fresh fruit. They lived close to the school so Gwen was able to walk to school with her Momma. Gwen was glad because she loved walking and was not able to at her old school because they lived too far away.

As Gwen and Momma approached the school Gwen could see a lot of children all about her age. She wondered which ones would be in her class. She saw a very nice looking red haired girl who was smiling and laughing with a group of other children. As Gwen and her Momma walked up to the front entrance of the school Gwen heard a low “Moo” sound and some children giggling. She turned to see a couple of boys and a girl with long blonde hair staring at her and whispering. Another girl who was with them was laughing with her mouth behind a book so that Gwen would not be able to see. But Gwen saw and heard the rude insults. “Oh, no” thought Gwen, “This is not going to be a good day.”

Gwen met the principal, a very nice man named Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson was kind of young to be a principal, Gwen thought but he had a very nice smile and was friendly. He was also a little chubby. He had a friendly, deep laugh and when he laughed his stomach shook a little. Mr. Johnson walked Gwen to her classroom and introduced her to her teacher, Mrs. Jimenez.

Mrs. Jimenez was a very pretty lady with short, reddish brown hair and a big smile. As she introduced Gwen to the class Gwen noticed that the boy who had made the rude noises when she first entered the school was sitting in the second row. She felt a pang in her stomach and thought for a moment she might want to go home. Then she noticed that the red haired girl with the nice smile was also in the room. Mrs. Jimenez told Gwen to take the seat next to the red haired girl. As she took her seat the girl leaned over and said, “Hi, my name is Cheri. Would you like to have lunch with me?” Gwen smiled and said, “Yes, thank you.” This might not be such a bad day after all.

After a morning of Science and Social Studies Gwen sat with Cheri at lunch and also met Sunny, Dinah, Arlene, Terry, Scott, and David. They had a nice time laughing and getting to know each other. David and Gwen talked about baseball, their favorite sport. She also noticed that the boy who had made the rude noises kept looking at her and whispering to some of his friends, including the girl with the long blonde hair. Cheri told Gwen their names were Tim and Tina. They were twins and were known for making fun of other children. Cheri and her friends did not hang out with them.

At recess Tim and Tina approached Gwen and her new friends and asked, “Who would like to play baseball?” Gwen and David said, “We would!” Tim began to laugh and said, “You’re too fat to play baseball.”

Gwen took the bat and said, “Watch me.” Teams were chosen and Gwen was placed on David’s team. Gwen had told David how much she liked baseball and that she was a good hitter. David decided to let Gwen bat fourth. The first three children all hit singles which put one child on each base. Then it was Gwen’s turn at bat.
Tim and some of his teammates began to make “moo” noises and yell things like “fatty!” Gwen did not let their insults bother her this time. She knew she could hit that ball and she was ready to prove to them that even a little chubby girl was good at something.

Tim pitched the ball and everyone watched as Gwen swung her bat and listened as the “crack” echoed in the schoolyard. Everyone tried to keep his or her eyes on it as it flew and was lost in the noonday sun. Gwen ran around the bases and made sure to touch each base as she rounded the diamond. Her entire team cheered and welcomed home each player as he touched home plate raising the score one more point. As Gwen came in she saw all the children, Mr. Johnson, and Mrs. Jimenez clapping and cheering for her. Even Tim, who looked stunned, had to clap at such a wonderful show of sportsmanship.

After being greeted by her teammates Gwen was met by Tim who apologized for his rude behavior that day. He said, “I just never knew a fat person could be like everyone else.” Gwen replied, “First of all, I prefer not to be called fat. People think of fat people as being lazy and unhealthy and I am neither of these. And second, you should never judge a person by their appearance. If you had talked to me instead of make fun of me you would have known I was good at baseball. God likes variety. That is why we are all different races, have different hair and eye color and why some people can walk and some are in wheelchairs. And also why some are short, tall, skinny, and chubby. God, the great potter made us all. He just used a little more clay on me.”

Many in the group, including Mr. Johnson who agreed that God used more clay on him as well, were very pleased with Gwen’s response and let her know by smiling and shaking their head in agreement. Tim said, “You’re right. I never thought about it that way. We are all different and yet we all have things we are good at. We do need to talk to each other and judge each other by what is on the inside instead of how we look.” He then put out his hand and asked, “Friends?” “Friends,” said Gwen.
And everyone cheered, letting Gwen know that today was indeed going to be a good day.

Tell Tink and the Lost Boys hello for me. :-)
Wendy Darling

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Peter,

This is another short one. Sorry. I am headed out of town today. I will be attending a Homeschool Book Fair/Conference this weekend. I am very excited. I always get a lot of great info/ideas at this conference. The best part is that my sister is going with me! :-) Did I mention that I am excited? Dear older nephew will get to attend on Saturday. It is his first one as well. I will let you know how it goes when I get back. Have a great weekend, and tell the Lost Boys I said to "play nice". :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dear Peter,

This will be a short letter, because I am tired. Today was Jimmy's memorial service. I think it went really well. Just as Jimmy would have wanted it. The music went over really well. Several people commented on the songs as they came up and said, "Jimmy loved that song." "Jimmy would be so pleased." "That song is so appropriate." It made me feel good to know that I made the right choices.

The preacher gave a wonderful eulogy, and said many of the things that I was planning to say. I did speak. I was the second one, after his mother. I did really well relating how generous and thoughtful Jimmy was. How he was a man of integrity. I did really well until I quoted the song "When All Is Said and Done". I started crying. I got really angry with myself at first, because I really wanted to say something nice and meaningful. I thought that I had messed up, and it was a celebration service. Then, everyone else spoke. When the sherriff stood to speak and he cried as well I thought, "OK, I dont' feel bad anymore." It actually helped me. It was really great to see and hear about how many lives Jimmy touched and helped to change for the better.

All in all it was a wonderful service. I think Jimmy would have been very pleased.

Wendy Darling
Well, tomorrow is Jimmy's memorial service. My very good friend, Cheri, has driven from Houston to go with me. I have finished the music cd for the memorial service that Jimmy's mom asked me to put together. I think I made the choices Jimmy would have wanted.
My dear brother found a wonderful website for me to get the music from.
It is kind of like NAPSTER, but for Christian music. The songs that I chose are mostly upbeat, Southern Gospel. Jimmy really liked them all. They are:
Shoutin' Time
Singin' with the Saints
Wouldn't Take Nothin' for my Journey Now
Long Black Train
Death Ain't No Big Deal
Old Gospel Ship
This Train
Sweet Beulla Land
When All is Said and Done.

I still have to decide what I will say about Jimmy tomorrow. I have been trying to get some ideas together. I have not written anything down, so I thought that if I typed something out here it might help. I first met Jimmy my Junior year in high school. I would go into the station that he worked in to make a fool of myself over a boy. I guess Jimmy took pity on me, and gave me free cokes.
I met his Mom Vicky when I began working at the nursing home. We became friends and then Jimmy and I became friends. The more we talked the more we found we had a lot in common. That began a 15 year friendship. Although we lost touch several times we would always start talking again, and picked up as if no time had passed. We could tell each other anything, and we always had fun. In that time I had the chance to see Jimmy show his true character. He was the kind of guy who would give you his last dollar if he knew you needed it, and if he didn't have it he would be the one to start taking up a collection. Aside from being generous and thoughtful he was a person of integrity, he never judged anyone.
The last song that is on the cd has a verse that says, "Will they say I loved my family? That I was a faithful friend? That I lived to tell of God's own Son. When all is said and done." The answer is a most profound, "Yes".
WEndy Darling

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dear Peter,

This has been a very weird last few days. Let me explain. I found out Saturday that my dear friend, Jimmy passed away. You have probably read about this on some other blogs. Jimmy and I were very good friends for about 15 years. For about 2 of those years we were engaged to be married. Although I decided not to marry, for many reasons that I will not go into right now, I know Jimmy would have been a good husband.

Jimmy was the kind of man that would give you his last dollar if he knew you needed it. If he didn't have a dollar he would start the fundraiser to get it for you. He never judged anyone, and was always the first to volunteer to help. he was a gentleman. He always held doors open for me, and always complimented me. ANYTIME we needed help he always came. Even after I hurt him so badly by canceling the wedding, he would have come in a second if I had called. The greatest thing he said to me happened just the week before he died. I called to check on him, and we talked for a long time. Mostly about nothing. Before hanging up he said, "I am so glad that we can talk like "just friends" again. I have really missed that. That convinced me that everything was, finally, okay between us.

Jimmy has been sick for a very long time. Until yesterday I did not realize his heart problems stemmed back to his childhood. He never complained, or used his illnesses for excuses to not do anything. He was a hard worker and very diligent in all that he did.

He was a lot of fun to be around. He always made me laugh. Whether it was at the movies, which we both enjoyed watching, or sitting in a thunderstorm at Six Flags waiting for Reba McEntire to sing. He even paid my way to Las Vegas once and we had a ball! (Get your mind out of the gutter, Peter; it wasn't that kind of a trip!)

I am the kind of person who believes that if you have been saved then the Lord will keep his promise and let you into Heaven. I know Jimmy was a Christian, so I do not "mourn" his death. I celebrate it as the "passing on to his REAL home". To his "reward" if you will. I will miss him terribly, and yes, even be sad, but not mournful. Some people believe I am in "shock" because I have not cried. I find it hard to cry about. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because my faith is strong, so I do not feel the need for tears. At least, that is what I would like to believe. Maybe some people are right. Maybe I am in shock, and it will "hit me, someday". I don't know.

I had to come out of my comfort zone a lot yesterday. After hearing about Jimmy I knew I needed to go to stay with his Mom to help her out. I knew she would have a lot of people there, but I also knew there would be things she needed to do or talk about that she would not do with anyone else but me. So, I rearranged my schedule and I went. I did not want to go, but I knew I needed to. It was after my arrival that I found out Jimmy actually died in the house. NOW, anyone who knows me knows that I have repeatedly stated, "I will never KNOWINGLY stay in a house where someone died." I was forced to eat my words. It was very strange though, because at the same time that I felt "uncomfortable" I also had a great sense of comfort. I know I am not making sense, but try to stay with me.

I was left alone in the house several times. I did feel "anxious", or maybe just uncomfortable, but at the same time I had a sense that he was there. It was comforting in a way. I could hear his voice in my head, talking to me just as if he was there. I guess I have seen enough Montel Williams that I remember Sylvia Brown saying, "They are always with you." I always said, "I DON'T WANT THEM WITH ME!" It freaked me out to see those things in horror movies, or on TV. But, this was different. I still can't find the words to explain it.

Later that evening when it was time to go to bed I became "uneasy", perhaps even afraid. I finally decided to swallow my pride, and said to his mother, "I know I sound stupid, but I really don't want to sleep by myself." She said, "That's not stupid, because I really don't want to sleep by myself either." So, we started off sleeping in a full size bed. We went to sleep around 11:30 pm. At about 2:30 am I sat straight up in bed, fully awake. I don't know why. I don't remember dreaming, or hearing anything that would wake me up. The room was completely dark, and I didn't know where I was at first. When I remembered where I was I got up and turned on the bathroom light. Jimmy's mother was no longer in the room. I checked the clock and it said 2:30 am. I turned on the bedroom light as well and sat on the bed for what seemed like hours. I just sat and prayed. I knew I shouldn't be afraid, and I wasn't completely. I still had that weird sense of comfort. I checked the clock again, 3:00 am.

I decided to read for awhile. I would sit, and read. Check the clock, 4:30 am. I decided to get dressed for the day. I washed up, changed, and sat on the bed again. I made the bed, got my things together, and sat some more. I checked the clock, 6:50 am. I sat on the bed. The next thing I knew Jimmy's mother was in the doorway asking me if I wanted to go to town for breakfast. I popped my eyes open (I had apparently gone to sleep), and said, "yes, ma'am". I then realized I had the worst headache! I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, the box fans blowing in my face, the heat from lack of air conditioning, or just the stress catching up with me. What I did know was that I could NOT do this again.

We went to eat, run some errands and go back home. My headache was not any better. Jimmy's mother encouraged me to go on home. After being assured that she would not be left alone I consented and called for a ride.

While waiting for my ride Jimmy's mother expressed her concern for Jimmy's memorial service. Her main objective is that she does not want this to be a sad, "dramatic" funeral. Jimmy would not have wanted that. He would have wanted people to remember him fondly, laugh, and share fun memories. A celebration of his life, not sorrow over his death. His mother wants to make sure that happens, because it is what Jimmy would have wanted. So, I want to grant his wishes, I'm just not quite sure how I will do it. His mother is going to ask everyone to stand and say something about Jimmy at his memorial service. No one is required to, but as a really good friend and ex fiancé I feel it will be expected. Problem is I am not sure what I want to say. I know what things I don't want to say. I am still milling the ideas around in my head. So, I am asking for advice. How do I share my memories of Jimmy without giving away too many of the memories I would like to keep to myself? I feel everyone will say a lot of the same things, unless they just share a personal story of how Jimmy helped them, or did or said something to make them smile.

I know that this has been a long, unorganized letter. But, I really don't feel that I can put my thoughts in words adequately. I feel it is coming out like a lot of "mumbo jumbo". I know I am not making sense. Do you have any thoughts that might help? Ask Tink and some of the Lost Boys too. I could use all the help I can get.

Wendy Darling