I can keep a secret, plus four more things I learned this week

It's been a week of highs, of lows, of lessons learned. Here are those lessons, in no particular order:

telling a secretI can keep a secret better than anyone else in one particular group I'm a member of. I'm in a group that has a secret. It's a good secret. And I am the only one in the group who has not told anyone else even though we all agreed to keep it a secret. Which surprises me because though I typically have good intentions about keeping good secrets — bad secrets and...

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Can you see the real me?

I want to be authentic here. When you visit Grandma's Briefs, I want you to feel like you know me, like I'm showing you my true self. And I am. To a certain degree.

Some of the blogs I read bare all, laying out the most intimate, the most heart-wrenching, the most (in my mind) embarrassing details of one's life in order to connect with readers.

Other bloggers I read write of sunshine and flowers and thanks for the bountiful blessings and, as another blogger succinctly put it, regularly "shit rainbows" instead of being down and dirty (read: "true").

Both tacks are fine ... for them.

For me, though, my level of self-revelation in my blog posts is somewhere in between. My goal is to allow you into my life to see the blessings, the many good times that warm my heart and put a smile on my face, in hopes that it'll do the same for you. I also want to share with you the challenges I face, the darker times, the moments that knock me and my heart for a loop, in hopes that you'll see you're not alone.

It's those darker times that I share less often. Mostly because I refuse to host a pity party and I abhor whining and complaining, which such posts sometimes come across as. But also because I want you to feel good about your visits here, not click away with a heavy heart, questioning whether it's worth your time to visit a dark and depressing place.

Yet, because I've not yet mentioned the dark cloud surrounding me right now -- the result of myriad crises swirling about me and my family -- I'm feeling inauthentic. Possibly like I'm deceiving you. And like those who know me in real life might be thinking I'm perpetuating a "Grandma's Briefs" persona that doesn't accurately reflect my reality, my struggles, my heartache.

Thing is, the sources of the many crises currently clogging up my heart and requiring constant prayer are not my direct story. Although the crises color my every waking moment, I'm in the periphery not the eye of the storm ... thank God. Because of that, because the stories aren't MY stories, I don't feel right sharing them, sharing the details, sharing the cuss that right now is irreversibly cussing up the lives of those around me.

And I've struggled with that. I want to share. I want to ask for prayers. I want to be authentic.

So I will compromise. I will tell you that all about me and my family is turmoil, trying times and tears. But because the unabridged stories are not mine to tell, I will share only to an extent that doesn't betray confidences or privacy.

Here's what I can share:

  • The loved one of one of my very closest loved ones attempted suicide in a horrid manner last week. The person didn't succeed and is now in limbo physically, spiritually, psychologically. That limbo -- and whatever direction the person's life takes after the scale of survival eventually tips -- will have a forever impact on my loved one. And there's nothing I can do about it. And that sucks.
  • Another loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not as fatal as most brain tumors, I'm told, as it was found on the pituitary gland and is potentially removable ... once it shrinks. In the meantime, spots of suspicion have now been found on this loved one's liver. And that sucks ... on both counts.
  • Another loved one had half a leg amputated just before Thanksgiving. This is the least heart-wrenching of the current crises as at least the pain is gone ... and there are prosthetics. But still, the challenges ahead and the mourning what was lost matter. A lot. And that sucks.

Those are the biggies. Of course, like everyone, there are smaller challenges all the time, challenges that assault the heart but are overcome, slowly but surely. Most pale in comparison to those above. Thankfully.

There you have it: The real me, as of right now. I've shared as much as I can share without offending those who own the rights to the stories. In all honesty, I feel better, a little lighter for having shared even that little bit.

I hope my sharing won't lead you to click away with a heavy heart.

And I hope you won't be disappointed to learn that I don't have Technicolor BMs. But if that's what you're looking for, e-mail me -- I have links for plenty of other bloggers who do, and I'd be more than happy to share those with you, too.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Holiday question of the day:

What holiday movie would you most like to live in, even if just for a while?


On Saturday, I had what felt like a million chores to do, in preparation for Megan and Bubby's arrival on Sunday.

My list on the fridge:

  • color my hair (in hopes of Bubby coming up with a new name for me, to replace Graya)
  • mop the floors
  • dust
  • prepare the guest room, including setting up the Pack 'n' Play for Bubby
  • do the catbox
  • finish the laundry
  • nag at Jim to get all his chores done

The only one I was getting very far on was the nagging at Jim. By noon I'd only knocked out the floors, had passed off the catbox chore to Jim and was getting ready to color my hair then hop in the shower.

I washed the gray right out of my hair and as soon as I stepped out of the shower, Jim was at the bathroom door, letting me know Brianna had stopped by.

"Great," I thought. Now I'll never get my chores done.

Then I heard banging on the piano. Jim likes to bang on play the piano sometimes, even though it's really my instrument while the guitar is his. But sheesh, this time he was banging and banging and banging.

I head out to the living room, where Brianna was standing in the doorway. I couldn't yet see the piano. I gave her the "WTF?", then whispered, "Is he trying to break it?"

I walked around the corner, ready to let loose on Jim for screwing around on my old upright ... then I saw Andrea sitting on the couch, grinning from ear to ear. I was a little confused, but figured she'd come to visit on her day off. Then I looked over at the piano ... and it wasn't Jim. It was BUBBY! Banging away on the ivories! With Megan standing over him, laughing away!


Megan and Bubby had arrived a day earlier than I expected! The entire family had been in on the surprise for months, doing their best to catch Mom off guard.

And they succeeded! Here I was, fresh out of the shower, chores not done, nothing planned for a family dinner that night, the Pack 'n' Play not even out of the closet yet. Completely unprepared (and I like being prepared.)

But makeup and dusting and made-up beds didn't matter. My Bubby was here! My Megan was here! I'd have one more glorious day than I expected with my babies.

I love surprises! And I love my family -- whom I often think of as completely incapable of keeping a secret, yet they're getting so darn good at keeping secrets and surprising me.

Yay for the extra day! The dusting truly can -- and will -- have to wait.

Today's question:

What's one time you were genuinely surprised?

My answer: In addition to this time and last time Megan arrived unannounced, I was very surprised by Jim's gift to me one Christmas. It was a book from the 1800s called "Eloping Angels" and I'd been looking for it for a few years. And Jim miraculously found it, bought it, surprised me with it! Yep, I love surprises!