Waking Up

It was at my Grandpa’s funeral the first time I was introduced to the concept of God talking to us in three’s. I actually have a hunch that he speaks to us on constant repeat but it takes us about two more times after that first wake up call to really open our eyes, throw off the sheets and put both feet on the floor.

We’ve been living sort of a pity party lately. Life has felt sort of… untenable, due to a myriad of circumstances. All but losing our local support network of family and close friends in the months surrounding Reid’s birth has had a major impact. Andy’s commute and travel schedule, though fairly unchanged for the last 7 years, has added some serious strain. The shuffle that you do, as a family, to accommodate a new family member has been clunky. We all felt tired, all the time. No rest. Just keep moving.

Andy called me last week on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. “Let’s go to Galveston. Take a couple days off work, find a place and go to the beach.” Something different! Something fresh to look forward to! A couple days later, our trip was booked. A week after that on a rainy Friday morning, we packed the car, dropped Hugo at the kennel and left Dallas, headed for sunshine.


On the way, I was tapping around on my phone, as I tend to do, and one blog linked that blog linked this blog and all of the sudden I found myself on an archived page that was the result of one mom blogger’s beautiful challenge to herself to write the story about her daughter’s battle with cancer beginning to end.


Her daughter, Donna, was diagnosed as a toddler and ultimately died in October 2009 at the age of 4, when I was six months pregnant with Graham.

It took me about a day to work through in times that I had to myself. In the in-between times I was checking in to a hotel…


Eating dinner with my guys…



Watching Baby Reid enjoy the sea breeze…



Taking naps on the beach…



… and just generally participating in life with two little boys. (Counting all the testing and general bossiness we’ve come to experience with G these last few months especially!)

That counts as one.

The second came when I was making an early morning run to the grocery store for Lucky Charms. I was kinda mad at myself because we’d *just* bought a new box of the cereal before we left, and I forgot to pack it.

Lo, I found myself trolling the aisles of the Kroger adjacent to our hotel before 8 a.m. this morning. I was hungry too, so, as expected, more than just milk and cereal found its way into my basket. I substantiated the need for these things as snacks for the remainder of our weekend.

A quick look down the checkout lanes showed that only self-checkout was open. I managed to be grumpy about that too somehow. I checked most of my groceries through when I noticed the man next to me struggling with his machine.

I looked over and realized quickly he was homeless. If not homeless, most certainly suffering from chronic hunger. He was unshaven, shabbily dressed and wearing a backpack. He was buying one item, Ramen noodles, and struggling to get that checked through the machine.

I then looked back at my three bags of groceries. I had honestly no clue what it had cost me. Not even a guess. I filled three full bags of groceries with gratuitous nonchalance. No biggie. Just donuts. And granola bars. And two pints of fruit… pre-cut-up by the deli because this is vacation and I can’t be bothered.

I hesitated for a split second. Thinking that I might have jumped to conclusions. That I might TOTALLY be offending this guy with what I was about to do. “No way,” said my brain… “there is no way you could possibly be wrong about this.” After all, no one buys one package of ramen at 7:30 in the morning. Nobody likes that stuff enough for that.

I shuffled my groceries around and walked one of my three bags over to him. “What is that?” he said. I wanted to be slick, but I couldn’t come up with the words.”Um, it’s yours.” Please don’t be mad. Please don’t be mad. Please don’t be mad…

“Are you serious, lady?” But the words weren’t like you’d think. His jaw had dropped open like he’d befallen some small fortune and was waiting for candid camera to show up. His eyes even darted around to see who was looking.

“Oh my god… thank you.” He exhaled those last two words. I don’t know what this bag of groceries meant to him. But it meant a lot to me.

We have been living amidst pure abundance. Teeming with life. Burdened with choices. Some people don’t have these luxuries. Sure it doesn’t make our recent stresses irrelevant, but it sure does put them in a new perspective.

Some of you are counting and saying that I only gave two examples of wakeup calls. The third call? Recent family health scare. I won’t go into detail, we’re only at threat level orange, so to speak, but I think I’ve got a handle on it now. Three calls is enough. Time to stop hitting snooze.

Wake up, Debbie.


  1. Dad Paulson says:


  2. You are so awesome!

  3. Michelle says:

    I feel you, I sooooo feel you. I was thinking the same thing tonight; it’s all about perspective. This is such a great post :) love you, sister!


  1. […] – this just doesn’t get written in that often. Every so often, I pop up for air and get some fresh perspective. Or sometimes I lose a handle on my hopes for the tone of this little corner of the Internet and I […]

%d bloggers like this: