Category Archives: Uncategorized

Continuing the Conversation

Continuing the conversation about the Syrian refugees, I’ve had lots of questions myself. I find it difficult to understand, grasp and form an opinion on current events like this. I think I tend to be so cautious because I know any issue is so much bigger than it appears on the surface. My initial reactions are often not my best. But it takes time to understand such complex issues. It takes a lot of research to find credible sources (I don’t really trust anyone to give fair and balanced information anymore. A sad commentary for another day.)

So the challenge for me becomes; ignore it and leave others to figure it out or dig in and try to better understand the issue. Ignoring it is easier, and frankly the route I sometimes (maybe often) take. There are times I just choose not to try to understand something so complex. I focus my energy on my family, my work and my own To Do list. Other times I spend (likely too much) time trying to understand. Reading articles, looking at the source of information, trying to understand the context and the greater circumstances and ramifications. I am lucky to have really smart friends with really diverse views who share links to a lot of information sources. I love reading different viewpoints!

{On a side note, I really hate the stupid memes that reduce those who see things differently to imbeciles. Things like, “If you think fertilized eggs are people but refugee kids aren’t, you’re going to have to stop pretending your concerns are religious.” You know it’s a gross hyperbole, simplifying and mixing complex issues, trying to evaluate someones Christian-ness and isn’t convincing anyone of anything. For the love of everything that’s holy just STOP! Rant over…for now:)}

As I said, I have had a lot of questions about the Syrian Refugee issue. Below are a couple of my questions along with those I have heard from friends and family and some sources I found helpful in better understanding the situation. Maybe they will be helpful to you as well.

  1. What is the current vetting process for refugees coming to the US? You may have seen a Facebook post by attorney Scott Hicks. I didn’t share it because I had no idea if it was legit. I did a little research and he appears to be real and have personal experience in navigating the refugee process. Here is an article on Patheos that includes the text of his post.
  2. If the vetting process takes so long, how do we already have refugees arriving in the US? This civil war began back in 2011 – 4 1/2 years ago. To date more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 4 million have fled the country. This article gives a good synopsis of the conflict.
  3. Why not settle them closer to home; the Middle East, North Africa or Eastern Europe? They have. Four million people have fled that country. Nearly 2 million have been taken in by Turkey to date. Other countries in the region (Lebanon, Jordon, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa) have taken in another 2 million. That same article has some good graphics to show where refugees have been going.
  4. If Daesh/ISIS/ISIL isn’t “true” Islam, why aren’t Muslims speaking out against it? They are, we just aren’t reading/listening to them. Muslim leaders all over the world are denouncing these extremist groups. Here are a few of the dozens of articles; leaders, social mediaaverage people and this list of many articles.
  5. What does Islam teach and why are extremists able to hijack that religion? This one is giant and I’ve spent more than a couple hours already today. See what I mean, it takes time to understand the issues! I do know the ‘crazies’ can hijack any religion (think Westboro – not my Christianity!) I’ve got a lot to learn about Islam. I’m going to start with an open mind and these three sources.

I also wonder what I can do to be helpful to the refugees? Where can I make an impact? I’ll have to tackle that research another day.

I would love to hear where you go for information! What sources have you found to be quick, concise and balanced? After all, I have a family, work and my To Do list awaits even when the world is in crisis. Help me be informed on a time budget:).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Not Ready

It has been a week since my dad died.
The funeral is over, the flowers are dying, family (including me) have all gone home.
And now it is time to go back to work, to resume the daily routine. Time to get going, because life goes on.

Except I don’t want to.

I don’t want life without him to be normal. I don’t want to go to work and make dinner and pay bills like it’s just another week. It’s not just another week.
It’s the first week I’ve lived without my dad.
The rest of the world does keep moving. Life goes on all around me. And yet, I just want to make it all stop. I want the world to pause and be sad with me. To realize what a good man he was and what a hole he leaves in my life.
I always thought when the day came that one of my parents passed away, I would be able to stop. To pause. To just be. But the world doesn’t stop just because my life is turned upside down. Graduations still happen. Kids still move away from home. Bills still come in the mail. Finals still have to be taken.
It’s surreal actually.
To hear my dad passed away and have to go on about business. To have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, going through the motions trying not to cry a big ugly cry in front of people who can’t handle it. It’s too much.

I just want more time. And yet I know, life must go on. I know I am not the first person to lose a parent. I know others have been right where I am.

And I didn’t get it.

The outpouring of support from friends and family has been humbling. The kindness of people overwhelms me. I feel the immense love of friends and family. And still, I just want my dad.

So today, like my brothers, I will get dressed and put one foot in front of the other. I will go through this day. And I will get up and do the same tomorrow.
I will cry. I will laugh. I will be pissed off at how unfair it is. And I will go on.

One foot in front of the other.

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Legacy, Uncategorized

20

Today is a milestone day for the Oberheu Family.

It was a short-lived, for less than 3 years I had 3 teenage boys. Now I am back to two, but on the I’m-gonna-survive side.

Our Oldest Son is 20 today! I cannot believe I have a 20 year old son! I’m not that old!? Really! But I digress, because this is not about me.

This post is about my 20 year old son! I thought it would be fun to share 20 things I love about him on his birthday!

  1. He is compassionate
  2. He is loyal to his friends, his family, his job
  3. He helps his brothers with homework, and social things and responsibility and life stuff
  4. He is independent and self sufficient
  5. He fixes things and knows how things work
  6. He stretches me and challenges me in an uncomfortable, but good way
  7. He is open minded and non-judgmental
  8. He has convictions and lives his life by them
  9. He is musical, music moves him
  10. He is a genius at math
  11. He’s driven by his dreams and goals
  12. He is frugal
  13. He is honest, but not brutally honest
  14. He is a man of integrity
  15. He respects his grandparents tremendously
  16. He values friendship
  17. I don’t worry about him making bad choices
  18. He doesn’t drink soda…but he’s started drinking coffee
  19. He dreams of having a wife and children some day
  20. He will always be my baby boy

I love that kid so much! And I’m so proud of the man he has become! I saw a picture on Facebook recently of him playing with the marching band. When I shared it several people commented on how he looks like such a man not a teenager. Makes me a little weepy, but it’s true. He really has grown into a man right before my eyes. He survived the geeky teen years and came out the other side a handsome, respected young man!

Way to go Oldest Son! You Rock!

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

Lessons I Learned from My Pa

I’ve called my dad Pa for years. I don’t remember when or why it started, but it fits. My brothers or mom might remember. He is either Pa or Dad. I have learned so much from him. He has been such a constant in my life. When I was 5 he was in a horrible accident which nearly took him from us. He spent years recovering and that single event had a profound impact on our family. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without him.

Pa grew up on a farm and he and Mom farmed when they were first married. But that was before my time. I only remember my dad as a truck driver. He drove semi for 20 some years cross-country. He tried to get home about every other weekend so he missed a lot of events. Mom had her hands full with four kids and a full-time job, but they made it work. I moved away from home to go to college and other than a summer or two, haven’t lived in the same town as my parents for 27 years. But Pa continues to teach me. I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned from my dad.

I’ve always had an aversion to the “best {fill in the blank} in the world”, the idea that anyone is perfect. I think it is in the imperfect that we learn some of life’s richest lessons. So here they are in the raw; the good and the not so good, but always a lesson!

  1. Not everyone in a position of authority is there because they are an expert. I remember many stories of the DOT officers and the ridiculous things they would say to my dad while he was on the road. He would get frustrated by their lack of knowledge and understanding of the rules and expectations placed on truck drivers. (That is totally my “cleaned up” description of the situation! Dad had a much more colorful version, but the moral is the same.) He taught me not to follow blindly; not to trust without verifying. He taught me to think for myself and if there is a better way to do things, don’t be afraid to speak up.
  2. Duct tape, angle iron and green treated lumber can fix nearly anything. The man really can do wonders with these three tools! It doesn’t always turn out exactly as he would like, but he finds a solution. Dad taught me that there is always a way. You can always come up with a work around, fix or creative solution. You just have to open your mind to the possibilities and not be afraid to fail. Learn from your failures and don’t make the same mistake twice.
  3. Be generous. My dad is not afraid to loan anything he has to someone who needs it. I remember him loaning out cars, tools and especially his expertise. He has worked countless hours helping others with building projects, remodeling the church, and giving advice on how to tackle something. He built a trailer to pull behind his motorcycle, then modified it and loaned it to the church youth to take supplies to the Appalachian project they were working on. He is generous with all that he has and taught me it feels good to help someone out. And more importantly, it’s what we are supposed to do.
  4. Work hard. It has only been in the last few years that I have seen my dad take a nap. He just didn’t do it. It was unheard of…maybe to a fault. This I’m sure comes from his parents and what they valued. Work. People’s worth was dependent upon their ability to work. It was a different time and I know they faced challenges that in my comfy little world I can’t even fathom. Their lives depended on their ability to work. But what I gained from Dad’s inability to rest is an appreciation for a hard days work. The feeling of knowing you did your best, gave it your all and can be proud of your effort.
  5. How to string together and incredibly long chain of cuss words. I remember working on the truck with him in our driveway. I was really there just to hand him the tools he needed as he did his own repairs. I learned an entirely new language while helping with this. My Pa can string together the most colorful chorus of cuss words to reflect the real degree of his frustration, pain or anger. He’s toned it down quite a bit, especially when the grand kids started helping him. Maybe that’s where I get some of my creative writing ability:).
  6. How to fix anything. I didn’t realize what a unique gift this is until I started buying cars, a house, appliances. He really knows how to fix it all. Or at least where to begin. I have always called him to describe the noise the car is making before I take it to the shop. He can give me enough direction that I know if the mechanic is trying to pull one over on me. He gets credit for my kids saying to me, “How do you know that?” with shock and surprise. I listened to my Pa, that’s how.
  7. Acceptance. Not because my dad is incredibly accepting – he’s not. He’s pretty judgmental {I got that part too:)}. But because of that, I have learned to meet people where they are. To accept that I don’t always know where someone has been or what has brought them to this point in their life. I don’t know why they are the way they are or what they have survived. I can spend all my time and energy trying to make them be someone they are not, trying to change them to fit my mold. But it will never work. I have learned to meet them where they are and love them for who they are, not who I want them to be.
  8. The art of story telling. My pa is a great storyteller. One of my favorite memories as a child is sitting on the hump on the floor in the back seat with my chin resting on my arms on the front seat listening to him tell stories of his travels while we drive the country roads to visit family. He kept me in suspense, he made me laugh. I felt like I had journeyed all over this country through the stories my dad told.
  9. We all have different parents – even siblings. I am the youngest of four, and the only girl. I know my childhood was very different from my brothers’. I can see that even with my three boys who are only 4 1/2 years apart. The experiences we each had were seen through different lenses. I often had the luxury of seeing them through a rosier filter than my brothers. A little more protected, sheltered, forgiven. Some of the lessons I learned are probably pretty different from my brothers.
  10. College is a gift to be valued and appreciated. Not because Pa told me this. Dad did not go to college, but I have often said, if he did he would have been an engineer. I remember as a child, he could do ANY math in his head…faster than I could do it with a calculator. He can design things in his mind and they work. He always understands how things go together. He didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I did and I’m grateful. I’m grateful his grandson is going to get the engineering degree he would have gotten – cause he’s a lot like his grandpa.
  11. Geography. I heard stories from Timbuktu, Michigan to Olathe, Kansas; Winnipeg Manitoba to Brownsville Texas. There were many random towns and highways discussed on those car rides and I was expected to know where they were. When Pa would call home from the road he would say the name of the city he was in and we were supposed to know what state that was. If I didn’t know he would say, “You better study your map.” or “Sounds like it’s time for some map study.” He had the ability to remember places and roads like no one I know. For years after he quit driving truck I could call him and say I’m on such and such road and not sure how to get to X. He would tell me not only the roads I needed to take, but what landmarks were at each intersection! He has a crazy ability to remember that kind of thing. He even knew where Blue Grass, Iowa is – a fact I will never live down!
  12. Stick to your word. Your word is a precious resource and one of the few you have total control over. You can choose whether it has value or not. Choose to stick to your word, follow through on commitments, do what you say you will do and you will be rich in respect.

Happy Father’s Day Pa! Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me so far – I look forward to many more! I feel blessed to be your daughter and honored to call you my Dad.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Legacy, Uncategorized

How Did I Get Here?

It’s not a literal question. I do remember driving here. It’s more of a philosophical question.

I’m sitting in the lobby of Oldest Son’s dorm. Feeling totally comfortable, but thinking I may look out-of-place. Like a non-traditional student as they called them back in my day. I brought Youngest Son to the college for a one-day drumline camp. And of course that means it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some time with Oldest Son! I didn’t factor in the whole college schedule thing though. He doesn’t usually function until noon on Saturday. Which brings us to me sitting in the lobby of his dorm while he gets breakfast, showers and dresses.

As I look around I’m reminded of my own college experience. In some ways it feels so fresh. There are so many things I remember distinctly. The freedom and total control of your life. I’m sure I didn’t see it quite like that when I was in college. But looking back through the prism of parenting, full-time career, home ownership and the like – well those were definitely days of freedom and total control. I think the biggest contrast between my life then and now; no one else was counting on me for anything other than succeeding. I wasn’t responsible for anyone but myself. Not complaining, or aching to go back. I do remember the stress! The pressure and the anxiety of making the grade. Ugh, don’t miss that! College is also where I met Hubby. We met sophomore year and started dating that winter {that’s a whole other, very long story for another day}. He is a huge part of my college experience! We kind of grew up together there.

But as I look around the room and think about where I am, I have to wonder how I got here. How did I become the parent of a college student? The boys were just 5, 7 & 9 and now they are 15, 17 and 19. It’s surreal. Oldest Son is finishing his freshman year of college, Middle Son is about to be a SENIOR and my baby will be a high school sophomore. Life has changed so much. The days of being carefree were replaced with total responsibility for all of those three little people’s daily needs. Everything they needed had to come from us. It was exhausting and daunting. And then, slowly, they became more self-sufficient and counted on us less and less for their physical needs. So many years spent shaping their hearts and character. Never in my life have I done anything else so important and elusive. As a parent each day you are faced with training, guiding and directing them knowing it will be years before you know if you did things “right.” And when they make what I consider great choices or good moves, I still have to wonder if they are doing it for the right reasons; if they really understood all the ramifications. I think maybe it is just natural for parents to question themselves and wonder if they did enough of the right things.

And now, as they continue to grow, my parenting role will evolve again to one more like a guidance counselor or mentor. Offering advice, when asked, making suggestions, pointing out pros and cons. It is about giving them the chance to use the skills they have gained to try to shape their own future. Letting them make mistakes; the kind they can recover from while they still have a soft spot to land. A really challenging task for someone who likes to be in control. {Not that I’m like that or anything.}

We say it so often, but time really does fly. The changes come so quickly; new experiences piling on each other. As I sit here in the lobby of the dorm I have to wonder what the next phase will be like. How will Hubby and I shape our future as empty nesters? It takes my breath away to think about how quickly we will find out. I’m sure we will stumble our way though that as well.

What advice do you have for us as we prepare for the next step?

1 Comment

Filed under Advice, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

On the Receiving End

I had a new experience yesterday. One that caught me totally off guard and touched my heart.

I had Hubby’s car and it was so dirty inside. I needed to pick up a presenter for a program we were hosting for work. There was really no way I could have them in that car as it was. Normally, I would go to the car wash and do it myself, washing and vacuuming with the coin operated machines. But there was no time for that. I decided to go to one of the car washes where they do it for you – exterior, interior, the works.

I have never done this before. I’ve never had someone clean my car for me (unless you count the kids – and, well, they aren’t so detail oriented when it comes to things like that). I wasn’t even sure what it was going to cost me, but I just didn’t have a choice.

I pulled into the Waterway and copied what the car in front of me was doing. When the attendant asked what he could do for me, I said clean all this up! The Whole Thing is the package he recommended. Sure. I’ll take it. He handed me the slip and I followed the car in front of me. When it was my turn the next attendant told me I could take the slip inside to pay while they washed, waxed and cleaned the car.

Let me back up here and give you a little perspective. Saturday was a brutal day for me. I was up at 5 am and worked at one of our local walks, swung thru the local QuikTrip for a soda and back on the road. The rest of the day involved prom and after prom and I finally got home at 3:30 am. It was a long day and I was pretty much useless on Sunday. Didn’t go anywhere or do much of anything.

So back to the car wash. I go inside and watch the man in front of me pay. That’s when I thought, “I should get my card out to make the line go faster.”

I pull my wallet out of my purse and open it to get my debit card.

It’s not there.

There is no debit card in my wallet.

And just that quickly I remember pulling it out to run into QuikTrip on Saturday. I bet it’s still in the back pocket of those pants.

But the car is already being washed.

Now, I’m rather panicked. What am I going to do? And no, I didn’t have a checkbook or cash. I asked the cashier if she could take the number off of my old card. Could that work?

And that’s when the gentleman ahead of me in line stopped, pulled his wallet back out of his pocket and said, “Here, put it on this card.”

I was stunned. This wasn’t a $4 car wash. This was a $30 car wash!

I protested.

He insisted.

I cried.

I was so moved that someone could be that generous with a total stranger in line at the car wash.

We walked outside together and talked while we waited for our cars. I told him about my 45 by 45 and how I had been in a slump. I promised to pay it forward.

And then he shook my hand and said, “I’m George, I hope the rest of your day is good.”

I don’t think it could get better than that.

I want to be like George.

Leave a comment

Filed under 45 times by 45, Faith, Legacy, Positive, Uncategorized