Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend update

It's been exactly two months since I have written anything.  My head hurts, and it's hurt for a very long time.  I sometimes think when I don't write and get it all out, it piles up and has nowhere to go. Maybe getting it out will help. And if it doesn't it will at least make anyone who read this feel better about themselves.  So what has been happening the last two months  What has this mama been doing?  Funny you should ask.Because most days it's this:


Working......at least for about 28 more days.  The end is finally near and every day it becomes harder to tear myself out of bed, put on dress clothes and point my car in the direction of a place I once loved to work.  Attempting to get through eight hours is now becoming a heinous chore in which my head aches, my eye twitches and every other word in my head is WTF.  I only pray it gets better for the people I leave behind.

Kids......the fact that I feel like the worst mother ever right now is probably one of the reasons my head is pounding on a daily basis.  Kid A will not listen to me and his attitude is just ridiculous.  Kid B has developed this affection for screaming at the top of his lungs when he is told no or cannot have something.....he is six.  This is the behavior of a toddler.  They both constantly pick and fight with each other.  I love my children to death, but some days I don't like them very much.  My only saving grace is this behavior is reserved for only me.  Teachers, daycare providers, other parents, anyone that is not me,  gets all the good and I get the crap.  Even their dad gets cooperation and decent children.  But according to the long line of mothers who have been there before me....this too shall pass.

School....This is the one constant in my life.  I love school.  I don't know why it has taken me this long to go back.  Right now it's only two classes.  I have done well on tests.  Each class has a group project....I loathe group projects, but no finals.  It's a toss-up.  I'd almost rather endure a 100 question final exam then depend on five other people for 30% of my grade.  I am super excited about being a full time student in a matter of weeks.

So that is it.  Work, kids and school. Yeah. Living the rock star life. I know you're jealous.  You wish you could drag yourself to a job you hate, home to kids who seem to hate you and then work school into that mix. Doesn't it sound like heaven?  I am making myself depressed just writing. this.   Oh and let's add the holidays to this. When I pray at night I have been praying for just a day with no tears and yelling.  Just one day.


So I just do what I always do. I put on a happy face, I smile and listen to music to keep my sanity, and I just keep thinking to myself,: One day it will get better, one day it will get better, one day it will get better. And in the meantime, I just keep saying Proverbs 31:25 to try and keep myself sane.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Halfway there

FForty. Say it with me. F-F-Forty.  Put your top teeth on your bottom lip and make the  FFFFFF sound.  Yeah, I can't say it either.  It sounds too weird. Like the whole time I was in my Thirties, no big deal and now it's like that stamp I have been avoiding for so long has finally been applied to my forehead.  I'm totally not feeling it.

I know they say you are as young as you feel.....fine then I will stay 32 forever.  Actually I look  and ten times better than I have in the last 17 or 18 years so I guess there is that  I truly feel young, and I know I don't act my age. (that probably isn't a good thing to admit)

But really, think back to when you were 20.  What did 40 look like to you?

To me it looked like this: Being married, kids, jobs, dogs, happy, living the white picket dream.

What it really looks like: Divorced, kids, job,  two annoying cats, yes I am happy, exhausted, stressed,    holding it together with a smile. (and no boyfriend, thanks Jeff for breaking up with me six weeks before my birthday)

The other part I don't like about being 40 is I don't feel like I have done ANYTHING.  I haven't gone anywhere cool. I've never even been out of the country.  I haven't done anything significant I guess.  At least to me.  I feel like I have wasted the first 40 years of my life being boring, and safe and somewhat comfortable.  Why?  I have always had some excuse.  Kids, no time, no money.  So now I feel this pressure to start doing things.  I need to go somewhere far away. I need to finish school. I need to get another tattoo, I need to sign up for a half marathon.  I need to learn new things. I need to feed the starving children in Africa.

No, it's not a midlife crisis, so you over there in the corner looking down your nose at me, you can give it a rest.  And what does that mean anyway?  When people say that I imagine the quintessential balding man in his 40's dumping the family for an earring, hot rod and trophy wife.  Well, worry not, I have no desire to be younger, I am not going to start wearing inappropriate clothing, pretending to be 25 and trying to hunt down a younger man.  (35 is the lowest I will go).  I have seen that and let me assure you, it's not pretty and that will not be me. 

I just don't want to get to 80 and look back and think---I should have done more with my life, because that is how I feel right now, how did I get to 40 and not feel like I have accomplished anything much at all.












Thursday, September 5, 2013

Treat her right

One of my many jobs as a mother of boys is to teach them how we treat people.  Being divorced I can't depend on their dad to take up any slack on this and the fact that the way he treated me was a major factor in why our marriage failed....this just solidifies the fact that the job falls on my shoulders.

Daily I try and show them in my actions and words.  I say please and thank you to everyone.  They have never seen me lose it with anyone directly.  I may have raised my voice once or twice or been stern to get a point across but never acted like a fool or disrespectful.  Once we have left the situation I may have gotten upset or explained to them how frustrated I am but never in front of the person.  We are pleasant to everyone.  They hold doors.  They wait and let ladies, and elders in ahead of them.    

It's basically like this.  Be nice, be polite.  Life is too short to get mad about everything.  Save  it for the big stuff and let the little things go.  Some people are having a bad day and you can make them smile by being nice.  Common sense stuff I think.

My oldest is Twelve.  Girls are starting to enter the picture.  Though he won't tell me outright, he likes them a lot.  As much as I want him to stay a little boy forever it's just not happening.  He is almost taller than me, his voice is doing that cool Peter Brady trick and he is looking more like a man every day.

Before I know it there will be a girlfriend.  Probably the two-week variety like we all had in junior high, but before long, one might stick, and like I said, the treat a woman right talk is only going to come from me...so what do I say?????

Treat her like a lady. Hold doors....all doors.  Give her your coat when she looks cold.  Carry her books or backpack.  Talk to her every day.  Treat her with respect.  Compliment her, Listen to her.

That's all good for now.  But I want these boys to grown into good men who love God and know the right way to treat a woman.  So from some of my personal experiences I would tell him this once he is older

Don' t tell a woman you love her if you don't--- The fastest way to tear apart anyone's self-worth is to tell them you love them because you think that is what they want to hear. If you don't love her, don't stay with her out of obligation or comfort.  Letting a relationship carry on too long will end up destroying one of you.

Don't use women. Look, once in our lives we will use, be used or witness someone being used.  It happens, it's a fact of life.  But don't do it more than once.  Just because some girl/woman would probably do anything for you doesn't mean she should be at your beckon-call.  It may feel good to know there is someone who would do anything for you but if you don't love her and can't treat her right, you aren't being a man.

Don't tell her what you thinks she wants to hear.  Don't tell her you will do something or be something you never intend to do.  Don't pacify her with words.  Show up, be present and do what you say you will.

Treat her like she is the only woman in the world.  If you can't give her your full attention,  if you are talking to other women. flirting with other women, you don't need to be with her.

Find out as much as you can about what she likes and what interests her.  It's not all about you.

Be respectful to her friends and family.  Respect any rules her parents have set. Get to know her family and friends.

Talk to her.  Call, text. send a smoke signal but don't tell her you will call her and then don't. If you are busy tell her, but don't ignore her.

Her opinions, thoughts, dreams and future matter just as much as yours.  Don't undervalue anything she has to say or make her feel like she doesn't matter. She is your equal. She should be your best friend

Be respectful.  Don't brag to your buddies.  Don't dis her to people.  Don't discuss your private conversations.

Right now if I were to discuss this with him he would either roll his eyes or exit stage right as fast as humanly possible.  All I can do is keep reiterating this to him.  Treat people right.  Treat women right.  Be a good man.  Be a Godly man.  Over and over and over.  I would say treat any woman like you would your mother but he can be such a butt to me sometimes I think I will save that little gem.

At least with the little one I have a few years......he is still positive girls are gross and have cooties......

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Firsts

So back to school today here in Michigan.....a boy in 7th grade and a boy in 1st grade.  And tomorrow, Mama starts back to school after a let's see.....20 year hiatus. 



Let's start with the kids first.  The first grader...no problems there.  He is so smart and so good for other people.  I get compliments everywhere about how helpful, and sweet and kind he is.  Luckily they didn't witness the screaming fit he threw when I told him no computer and Netflix on Friday (when they come back from their dad's) because of his mouthy comments to me and his brother.  This will be a breeze for him.  His reading level is almost second grade and everything else comes naturally.







The seventh grader.  This one has me worried.  Not because he isn't smart.  He is.  Extremely smart.  But somewhere around 5th grade he stuck his head up his rear-end and has yet to extract it.  I know, I know, It's a boy thing.  But it's extremely frustrating to tell him something or ask him something and get that blank stare.  Or how he "forgets" to hand in work, or bring work home, or what the teacher told him.  The fact that he has six different teachers this year terrifies me and I have gotten him as organized as I can without actually being there.  Now all I can do is pray and hope he finally starts listening.









Then there's me.  School is something I have wanted to do for years but either it wasn't the right time or the support to go back was not there.  I have had this unwavering feeling for awhile that I needed to be doing something different with my life.  Profoundly different.  Luckily for me my bank got bought out a year ago and this year it was announced that my department was being moved to another office in Ohio.  I could have stayed.  I could have gone back to a service position, but to me that was a move back about 12 years and since I already feel burnt out with my current job, just the thought of staying was making me physically ill.   So tomorrow I start the first of two classes this semester and then when my job is done the end of this year, I will be able to start back full time.  The "plan" is to go until I am done which I am anticipating will be about 15 months, barring any issues with classes.  This is going to take some sacrifice on my part.  Some creative accounting if you will.  But at this point in my life it's almost a do or die.  It's just me here.  At least for now, and the only way out of this lovely hole I am in is a better job which will require a better education.  So I am ready.  Two business classes this semester, the whole hog next.  The only thing that terrifies me more than no job is the Inorganic Chemistry I will have to take.

So like I said, I have been feeling like my life needed to be taking a different path.  Besides school, I felt like I needed to be doing something more with church.  I go nearly every Sunday.  I participate in classes and events, send my kids to events.  I have volunteered for a couple of things, but now I am doing more.  This Sunday I will help co-lead a small group for 8th grade girls.  This has me excited and freaked out all in one. I love doing this. Leading, counseling, teaching.  Terrified because what do I know about leading a small group?  And you know what this means.  I am probably going to have to GULP, Pray out loud.  ( I have to go breathe into a brown paper bag) So please pray for me. I know it's going to be OK, it will be rewarding and if I am lucky I might come out of this a slightly better person.  Lord knows I need that daily.

So it's off to the races, kids, work full time, classes the only two days I don't have kids. No spare time really.  But it will be good, the less time I have the less time there is to think about how sucky things have been, and how I am going to make things better, one way or another


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are you there God it's me Heather?

Hands down one of my favorite books ever was Are you there God it's me Margaret? By Judy Blume. I was in 4th grade the first time I read it.Devoured it actually, and although the main character Margaret was actually in 6th grade I could identify with her. I still have it and breeze through it occasionally when I am feeling nostalgic,(Who can forget "We must, we must, we must increase our busts")  and even though I have read Superfudge to the boys I don't think they would appreciate the book like I would.  ANYWAY.... all through the book Margaret talks to God, asking questions.  She isn't really sure he is either listening or can hear her........the same way I feel sometimes.

Praying has always been hard for me.  Not that I don't believe....it's just very personal and I feel like instead of telling God what I need, I should just be thanking Him and praying for other people.  It has taken me a long time to realize that we can and should freely ask God for what we need.  I have tried to get in the habit of praying daily.  I don't always.  I try and pray at the same time. Doesn't always work.  I don't want to be one of those people who only talks to God when help is needed or when things are bad.  I still have this guilt feeling for asking God to help me with anything...what do I deserve? 

I cannot pray out loud in front of people.  One of the most horrifying memories  I have is being in Sunday School and some teacher telling everyone they had to pray out loud.  I don't know if this was some learning experience or what but for me I would gladly have eaten glass or some other preferable form of torture.  I still can't do it. The boys and I pray but there is no pressure there.  I took a class last  year and one of the things our leader had us do was take turns praying about someone we needed to forgive.  Everyone had their heads down, gathered around a long table and I was somewhere in the middle.  I had a few minutes to prepare myself, I knew what I needed to say and when it was my turn my voice had left me. it cracked, tears streaming down my face,  and I could barely get the words out and it was the most horrifying two minutes of my life.

Anyway..... I pray, but like Margaret I often wonder if I am praying for the right things or if I am even being heard.   How long can you pray for the same thing, not see any change and wonder if I should stop praying for that and that maybe there is a reason you don't find your answer.  I get so discouraged when I hear people say "Oh we prayed about it and God gave us the answer"  Now I know whatever decision was made they did themselves, there was no letter in the mailbox, note on their door, signed, Do this, Love Jesus, but when I pray and pray and pray and still have no clearer picture of the decisions I am making it gets very disconcerting. 

I know that it comes down the test of Faith.  To believe and know that God is hearing you and if you are listening, you may hear Him and know what to do.  That is what I tell myself and what I will keep telling myself, that if I listen I can someday hear that still, small voice.  That I will know if I am praying for the right things, that I deserve to ask for God's blessings, and not feel guilty about asking for good things for my life.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Summit Experience

The first time I heard of the Global Leadership Summit was last summer in church.  It was called Summit Sunday.  The featured speaker we watched was Steven Furtick. I didn't really understand why we were watching this instead of listening to a normal service but I soon found out

 Just the opening alone left me with goosebumps.  Listening to Steven talk was incredible.  Our pastor talked about attending this Leadership summit...but who was I kidding?  The only thing I lead are my children and some days I do that badly.  According to Pastor Phil, if you could hold your hand in front of your face, breathe into it and feel your hot breath, you could be a leader.  Sadly I had already used my vacation so I couldn't go.  Every time they showed the video at church though, I was more and more determined to go this year.

When I scheduled vacation this year I wasn't really thinking about Summit but low and behold, my two weeks coincided with the dates and I gladly forked over my money to attend.  I did some homework, I watched some videos, read some bio's on the speakers, but I was not really prepared for what I was to experience.

Summit is a leadership conference.  However, it's not just about being a better business leader, it's about God's designing for your leadership.  Using God to reach your full potential.  Not every person at this conference nationwide is a believer.  Some are there for the business aspect and the benefits that go along with them, but honestly, if you walked into that Summit with just that intention you could not have walked out after two days, listening to these inspiring, uplifting people and been unchanged.

Bill Hybels, the Lead Pastor at Willow Creek Church, where the Summit is located in amazing.  I get to look at how God uses people in my own church every week, but Bill was incredible.  Humble, unapologetic, or as he said "unapologetically  Christian"  he told everyone at the beginning, to respect each other no matter what your beliefs but they were going to get a healthy dose of God along the way.

The morning got underway with Colin Powell, someone who has always intrigued me.  Listening to him talk it was hard to imagine him as a four-star general barking orders.  This gentle man bowled me over with his quiet vision of how to inspire people, cracking jokes and telling stories.  I listened to him speak of his faith and how his upbringing in church shaped him.  If you want unassuming greatness, look no further.

Patrick Lencioni was hysterically accurate with his narrative of "how to lose your best people" and that it's not about getting a good job, it's about fulfillment.  His model of 3 signs of a miserable job was so accurate it was scary!  Liz Wiseman spoke of leaders who are either Multipliers or Diminishers, again scarily accurate to my current workplace. Pastor Chris Brown was somewhat of a sleeper surprise.  I know they pick these people because they have greatness to share but he looked like a football player and the passion he displayed was something to behold.  He spoke of how leaders can't make it all about them.  He spoke of King Saul and David, then in contrast how Jesus led.  Jesus didn't lead by being served, he led by serving others.  His ultimate point; "Do you want to expand His Kingdom or your own reputation?" 

Bob Goff.  If there was one person I was excited for that first day it was him.  I would have gladly paid my whole admission fee to listen to him.  If you don't know who he is...Google him.  Watch, read, listen to, absorb as much as you can.  Exuberant is too tame of a word for this man.  His energy is ridiculous and if you don't want to stand on your chair and scream and run once he is done, then you have no pulse.  His basic message: Love God, Love People, Do Stuff.  Jesus shows up, Land the Plane and Be Awesome.  I cannot wait to read his book Love Does, and you should read it too.

Mark Burnett was interesting. His was an interview with Bill Hybels.  He was funny and intelligent and he said "Ass" and I thought Hybels was going to pass out.  Can I say that I love that he is also unapologetically Christian?  In a land where sin is accepted as currency, he strives to live above that.

I went home that night with my head spinning.  I prayed that God would help me digest this information and use it to the best of my ability even though I lead nothing right now.  I prayed for his wisdom, to use this knowledge and to go into day two with the same tenacity.

Oh Day two.....I thought Day one was a lot to take in, but Day two,it just knocked it out of the park

Joseph Grenny was great.  He is like a sociologist studying human behaviour and influence and so much of what he said can be used not only for leadership but parenting as well.  Vijay Govindarajan was a true business man, and I have to admit I kind of tuned him out.  He had great things to say but I was mentally preparing myself for what came next.

Brene Brown.  Oh Brene Brown, when I first read her synopsis in the Summit Notebook I knew I was going to have issues.  She is described as a groundbreaking researcher on the topics of shame, worthiness and courage.  Hmmmm, yeah that was going to be tough.  I grabbed extra Kleenex and my pen, thinking if I just take copious notes then I Can distract my mind from the fact that I may as well be her poster child for her research.  NO such luck.  Everything she said may as well have been a giant check mark being drawn above my head.  We all want to be seen and loved, we want to belong, we want to be brave. Check!  We can't give what we don't have. Check, Check.  We can't give help when we can't ask for help. CHECK.  After this particular statement and part of her talk I was pretty sure she was looking right at me from Willow Creek. It's a good thing we broke for lunch, I was a sobbing mess and got out of there as fast as I could, cried my eyes out at home and went back for more.

The afternoon wrapped up with Oscar Murui, Senior Pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Kenya.  He was magnificent.  He was the perfect combination of religion and leadership.  His take on Matthew 9:37-38 was spot on.  Jesus grew his followers then his harvest.  It's simple to translate: you can't have a harvest and too few workers or leaders and a plentiful harvest.  You have to grow or invest in your leaders first.  Dr. Henry Cloud struck a nerve as well.  Any time someone starts talking about worth and people not feeling good enough......I jokingly tweeted that Henry Cloud makes me realize I need intensive therapy...but seriously folks.  When he said "your brain turns into a cesspool of stress when you think of things you can't control" I am pretty sure he said Heather right after it.  Andy Stanley was the last speaker.  He was all God.   Obey God and leave all the consequences to him.  Jesus will continue to build his church and no one's death will stop it.  Strong and powerful which it was meant to be and I know why they let him close. 

There was so much more than just people speaking about God and leadership.  It's hard to articulate, the whole experience, so I would encourage anyone to attend next year or at the very least, Google these people, most of them can be found on YouTube.  Read their books.  If you at all want to even be a better person, leader or Christian you will thank yourself for it. 

I came home tonight emotionally drained.  I went right to my room and laid on my bed face-down for about twenty minutes.  My boys kept checking on me but I felt like I couldnt' process it all.  Other things in my life right now are a contributing factor as well, but we will leave that mess and agony for another time


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Six already?

My baby is 6 today. It's hard to believe since I can remember vividly the day he was born.  The trip to the hospital, the pain of the contractions, the look on the face of the nurse as she watched my contractions on the monitor.  The urgency in which he was delivered, cord wrapped around his neck, skinny and long and healthy.  That wasn't my first scare with this kid.

Back up about 8 months.  I had taken a test, it came back positive but I didnt' feel pregnant.  I called my doctor and did the official test and yep, I was preggers.  Since I wasn't sure how far along they did an ultrasound and some more tests.  He looked like a coffee bean on that screen, at eight weeks, wiggling around.  I was excited and freaked out.  I wanted another baby but things on the home front were not well.  When the Doctor told me my Progesterone level was low...probably too low to maintain the pregnancy I just stared at him.  He repeated it. "This probably won't be a viable pregnancy"  How could that be? I saw that little bean wiggling around on the screen.  the look on my face must have been enough for him because he immediately put me on Progesterone inserts (I'll save you the gory details).  So for the next two months I hope and prayed and grew this little bean in my belly.  When I finally felt him kick for the first time I was more than overjoyed.

When he was born I just felt like there was a reason he was put on this earth. From the beginning when I was told I probably wouldn't stay pregnant with him to the end when I was being rushed into the operating room for an emergency C-section, I felt that he was going to be something special.  And he is.

He was my easy baby.  Where his brother was clingy and needed to be held, I could put him down and he was content.  He didnt do everything as fast as his brother but when he did them it was with style.  He army-crawled. He ran instead of walked.  He was a ham from the get-go.

He is a comedian and dramatic.  He has no indoor voice.  He can be very demanding.  He is extremely affectionate.  He dances like crazy.  He loves The Beatles.  He can read like crazy already.  He is quite the ladies man.

I know that some mothers say they love their children equally but they are big fat liars.  I don't love one child more than the other but I don't love them equally because they aren't the same person.  I love them for completely different reasons and I love them both because they are my boys. 

Happy Birthday Owen, I love you because you are you!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My alter ego

When I first saw this little cartoon girl I laughed.  I immediately texted it to my Best friend Tara and said I should be the poster child.   The more I looked at it though, this describes me to a T.  Anxious and assuming the absolute worst possible scenario.  I put some famous fiction writers to shame with the ridiculous scenes I come up with.  I really should just write a book based on some of the unfathomable things that run through my head.

This isn't true of every situation.  There are many aspects of my life where I am confident and content.

The one area that this cute little cartoon superhero comes into focus????? Relationships.

Every unanswered phone call, text, broken date, or changed plans send me into this tailspin of turmoil.  "If he isn't with me, and doesn't want to see me and isn't answering me, then he must be done, he must want to be with someone else"  Hellllooo crazy!  But I can't help it.  I don't have the confidence that it's anything but that.  This may not be true with the current relationship I am in but it was damn near close for a couple of others I have been in since my divorce. So you can excuse my fear and trepidation.

Another part of the issue is that I can't seem to accept the fact that there might be one person in the world who will take me as I am. Love me without fail.  Accept me and not point out every single thing that is wrong with me. (my ex-husband's favorite past time)  Why?  Because the minute you let your guard down, the minute you believe, the minute you become this happy, blissful person, life comes up and pulls the rug out from under you and laughs while you barrel roll down the stairs.
  
Yes I understand at this point I may need some intensive therapy.  I also know that those of you who know me and read this will want to grab me by the shoulders and shake me until my head snaps back.  I get it, I am not this horrible unworthy person, but.......

 I have a male friend (who is very happily married to an incredible woman) tell me that any man who doesn't want me is a fucking idiot.  In those exact words.  This was of course after he devoured some of my leftover garlic and rosemary chicken penne pasta, so that may have just been his stomach talking.

Anyway, this cartoon superhero and I seem to be the same person.

This has been the topic of conversation between my girlfriends and I for many a night over many glasses of wine. How do I get over this fear   Pray?  I say Joshua 1:9 on a daily basis.  I have scoured my Bible for Scripture on worry and fear and anxiety. Sometimes it helps.  Get over myself?  Oh I am over me, believe me.  I get going and I nearly jump outside myself to give me a swift kick in the ass.


Here's something one of my friends suggested: Lay it all on the line.  Oh great, thanks.  Because thinking about that is just going to end well.

Here is how this little scenario plays in my head: Said man walks into my house.  I greet him with a smile and kiss.  I say I really want to talk to you about something.  He begins to look uncomfortable and shift from one foot to the other.  I trudge on.  "I just have to know where we stand.  I like you so much (no, I will not say the other four letter word, that is just asking to be stabbed in the heart), I want to be with you and just you I want to know if this is what you want too?. You and me. At this point, I cannot imagine not being with you.  I want to make this work, make it last."   At this point all I can see is him turning on one heel, out of my house and out of my life forever.  Add some vicious laughter and that is what is happening in my head now.

This little ditty in my head keeps me from saying what I should,  When I can say what is on my mind in any other situation.  When the eloquent, biting, pithy words flow out of my mouth otherwise, when a person is deserved of a severe tongue-lashing gets that and then some.....this right here keeps me silent. 
  
I just can't risk being right.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heart Shaped Box

I used to think God gave me an extra helping of feeling and emotions.  I could cry at anything and everything.  Sad stories, happy stories. Television shows, commercials, you name it.  I felt for people.  I loved, And I loved hard.

I still get emotional.  Sometimes.  Usually for the wrong reasons, so I have learned to shut it off.  Call it practicing being like a man.  I think I have gotten too good at it. 

I feel like I have learned to shut out any potential of anyone getting in.  I have emptied my heart of any feeling at all and carefully wrapped it up tight. Shrinkwrapped it so no air gets in, no light gets in, nothing can hurt or harm it at all. 

My head and my heart aren't communicating very well at all.  Instead of agreeing that we are fine and don't need anything or anyone my head believes it is possibly in love and is launching a full out assault on my heart.  

My heart in turn is doubling its efforts to be safe from harm, burrowing deep down, unyielding to the signals of my brain to actually feel and beat again.  My heart is too tired to try. It tried for years and years to love only to be rebuked and rejected so its not buying my brains story.

I went to a psychic once. As a whim with a friend and she told me I was closed off, that my heart was closed off to love and  I needs to open up.... Well duh lady, I know this. I'm fully aware of this and there's good reason.

It's not that I don't want to love someone, I do. It's that my heart is too tired to let someone in and them just be crushed again. I fear if it happens one more time it may never recover and truly just be that Heart Shaped Box that sits in my chest, empty and devoid.....





Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cory's Mom

Sometimes when I tell a story I don't know where to start.  I go back and forth between then and the now hoping to make sense of my tale.  This story is going to skip from 1990 to now and back a few times......I have written about Cory here but this story is about her mom......

Cory and Nicole, two peas in a pod
Fall 1990:  The first time I saw Cory's mom was walking into school.  All I can remember is the slight frame of a girl, waist-length white blond hair, and a shock of red lips.  Add to that a bright red sports car and black leather jacket and I was hoping I had met my new best friend.  She was in my English class, and soon enough, along with my current BFF Jen the three of us became fast friends.  I can;t even remember anymore what we talked about, what we did, but we had fun and laughed and probably disrupted Mrs. Brown's English class all year long.

Today is the one year Anniversary of Cory's death.
 I can tell you that I was in utter shock because I knew that from that point on Cory's mom would never be the same.  No one could utter a word, make a gesture to change, comfort or make sense of what happened.  The next few days were a blur. Constant texts and phone calls. Driving home for the inevitable.  Walking into that wretched funeral home.  Drinking Margaritas with Jen that night trying to steel ourselves for the next day.  The funeral, the worst thing I had ever been through and then to the cemetery.  Nothing and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for that.  Hearing my good friend of 20 years, wailing for her child. I was sure she was going to throw herself into the hole that they had just lowered the casket into.

1992: We were graduated.  We were grown.  W e were women now.  Working women at that.  Cory's mom had moved out with her boyfriend,  A scandalous affair, as her parents highly disapproved of this scruffy young man who showed up and swept their daughter away into a tiny, dingy apartment, in an old decrepit house in an entirely unseemly neighborhood.  Just going there to pick her up for work made me feel like I was doing something dangerous,.  Being around her boyfriend seemed exciting, I mean here she was making a home with this man and I still lived with my parents, no boyfriend to speak of.  I envied her life, I envied her freedom.  I was only slightly alarmed when she would retell some of the more "physical" occurrences that happened between her and Bob and was horrified to have her tell me that he cut one of her dresses to shreds because she had told him she wore that dress on date with another guy before she even knew him, but it didn't matter because he considered that dress "tainted'.  I wished now I had been smart enough to see all the signs, all the bruises.  But at 19 we didn't know any better and what would I have been able to do?  She became pregnant with Cory and gave birth in early 1993 and by then had gotten rid of Bob for the time being.  She had this beautiful little girl and all seemed right with the world.

It's so hard to describe what Cory's death has done to her mom. I understand it.  I get it totally.  People that don't know her and Cory don't.  Jen and I will look at each other or text each other and say the just don't "get it"   The death of your child could rip the heart and soul out of any regular person, but this is different.  All she fought for, all she struggled with came to a screeching halt on the pavement one year ago.

1995-2010  Even though we didn't talk a lot I still kept track of Cory and her mom.  Through Jen, and my mom who saw them all the time since they frequented the grocery store she worked at.  She met a good guy, got married, had Jake and had a great little family.  I had moved away in 1995 and ran into her occasionally, but with the Advent of Facebook we could once again re-connect.  We shared the details of our divorces, the hurt and the pain.  She shared with me how Cory was acting out.  She didn't know what to do because her behaviour was so erratic.  She was hurting herself and had hurt another girl badly, which was unbelievable to me since Cory barely outweighed her mother who may have weighed around 110 pounds soaking wet.  We comforted each other and encouraged and shared.   
She had always been one of the strongest women to me.  Alone with her baby girl at 19, raising her, trying to finish school, and work and take care of Cory.  I admired her tenacity, and only admired her more when Cory was diagnosed with Schizo affective Disorder at 16.  She fought hard for her baby.  She found a voice and strength she never knew she possessed all to make sure Cory got the best care she could possibly get. Although I knew Cory's death would destroy her, I knew it wouldn't defeat her. I was really scared for awhile.  I know she blames herself and I know that part of her wanted to die too, I would have felt the same way, but little by little she is coming back to Nicole.  The woman I have admired and loved as a sister for over 20 years.

 Right now, on the anniversary of Cory's death she is in Italy with her mom. a trip she longed to take with Cory.  I have been keeping track of her on her blog which you can read here      I encourage you to read it, in it's entirety.  It's raw and emotional and you will cry.  You will also laugh and cheer and wish you knew Nicole and would have known Cory and hopefully you will understand her fight and Cory's fight with this horrible illness that held her captive for too long.




Monday, June 24, 2013

The cat ran away and other lies I've told my children...

Let's be honest here people. We lie to our children on a daily basis.  Every "just a minute"  to "we'll see" is usually a flat out lie. I don't intend to do it....for the most part but it happens.  As they get older they will totally catch me in these lies and call me out, but until then, they can just stay in the dark. 

What kind of lies do I tell them??????? Some that you tell your own children, some not.

1.  The Santa Clause/Jesus lie
     OK, you tell this one too.  "Santa Claus is watching you"  From about the end of October right up until bedtime on Christmas Eve everyone uses this veiled threat to make children behave.  Of course it only works with my five year old so that is where I break out Jesus for my 12 year old.  So that isn't a lie, Jesus is watching you, but I like to add the "What do you think Jesus would think of your Behaviour?"  Kind of like my own WWJD which they totally miss the significance of because of their age.

2.  The It's All Gone Lie 
     Sometimes you have something that is just too good for a child's palate.  Candy, Cookies, Ice Cream.  I try and not eat a whole lot of that but every once in awhile, there is just something I find that I LOOVE, and I will be damned if I am sharing it with a child who is just going to woof it down and not appreciate it!  I have been known to hide stuff in very creative, high above their head places where they never know it's there.  Once they drift off to sleep I can then enjoy whatever delectable morsel I have.  SIDE NOTE:  Make sure your children are fully asleep, if not it's like the cat/can opener affect and they come running when they hear a box opening.

3.  They aren't home
    At the end of a long workday, the last thing I want to do is deal with someone else's children.  Let's be blunt here, there are days I don't want to deal with my OWN children.  So when they ask for someone to come over/go to their house, I will occasionally "pretend" to call and alas, they aren't home.  SIDE NOTE: This isn't working much more for my 12 year old since he has his own phone, but I still have the almighty power of N-O.

4.  I didn't see that
    This is kind of a two-fold lie, used for avoiding stopping somewhere and then used to stop tattling and bickering.  If I don't see it we can't possibly stop there, If I didn't see it I can't possibly punish the person (unless there are tears and blood).  I have been known to be driving and Oops I didn't see that restaurant/ice cream place/video game store you wanted to stop at, aaaaand we already passed it. Sorry maybe next time.

5.  I'll be right back/I'll put you in my bed later
    The lie told to every child under the age of eight.  When my five year old goes to bed at night, he likes me to lay with him for a minute.  We usually read, then depending on the day of the week and time of year he can watch a movie in his room.  I love to lay there and cuddle and read but truth be told a full grown woman and a child on a super single bed tends to be crowded.  Sometimes I will lay there until he falls asleep, but most often I have things to do before I can go to bed so I say those four little words "I'll be right back"  and then sneak off to do what have you.  Which is what I am doing this minute.  I left his room to take out my contacts and wash my face and just kept sneaking on down the hall.  He also likes to believe I will put him in my bed later, which I say of course to, then don't and he ends up in my bed most nights around four in the morning.

6.  Your cat ran away
     OK, now, the cat may have run away, but that is still up in the air. Here is what happened.  I was out on the deck enjoying a lovely glass of wine with Jeff, and "one of us" (ME) left the sliding glass door open.  The cats came out.  Now, these were OUTDOOR cats before we got them.  They have escaped Mi Casa once or twice before only to get caught/meander back, so I thought, no big deal, let em run around for awhile, the gate is closed.  Well, for some reason the small one, Bob started freaking out, tearing around and ran headfirst into the gate, turned around and ran the other way and went diving under the porch.  There is a hole there under my rosebush that some animal dug to crawl under for the winter.  Other than that hole, there is NO other way to even look under there.  So as far as I know, he may have come out, gotten through the little space in the gate and ran off for places unknown, but I doubt it.  I fear he got stuck under there or something because I haven't seen him yet.  The boys took the "He ran off" story, which could be plausible, and are just assuming he will turn up again someday or found another family to live with.  I DO feel bad but these cats aren't your typical cats so it's not like they slept with either of them or cuddled up in our laps.

So there it is, my omissions of sin.  Hopefully that can forgive me in 30 years 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The best daddy ever

Today is Father's Day.  The one day a year we stop and celebrate Dad. Looking at Facebook this morning there are hundreds of posts celebrating dad's or men who have stepped in and taken the place of dad and even some Mom's who took the place of dad.  I am for certain that most people believe that their dad is the best dad ever.  More superior than the other dad's.  I hate to tell you that you are incorrect, that my dad is in fact the best dad ever.

He is the man who brought me not one...but TWO baby kitties in a basket when I think I was about two years old.

He is the man who taught me everything I needed to know about sports.

He has chaperoned many an activity, school trip, etc with no complaint, he drove my sister Erin to Cedar Point one year when she missed the bus with her class.

He coached us in every sport imaginable from the time we were about 5 right through high school and continued to coach after we were grown because his nephews needed someone to coach their baseball teams.

He came to every single game of mine.  Basketball, volleyball, home and away.  EVERY SINGLE ONE, no matter how far he had to drive or if it meant leaving work early or giving up sleep.

He is the man who taught me what family means, sacrificing his time, money, and sleep to make sure his family had everything they needed. He made us feel safe and secure all the time.

He is a quiet man, who thinks before he speaks.  When he raised his voice it was for a reason, and to this day even though we are grown women we come running when he calls, not out of fear but respect.

He taught me how to be selfless and give to anyone and everyone who had less than me.

He gave me my deep love of music.  We played a game on the many road trips back and forth to Florida or Cedar Point or Up North. My sisters and I had to know  not only who was singing but the title and the words as well.   If not he rubbed my mom's head for the answer, which was hilarious and infuriated her in the process, so we tried to know the answer.

He is a wealth of knowledge, he truly knows everything.

He can be an imposing man, he has scared off many a boy from our house but he is really just a big softie.

He is the ultimate Papa.  Our kids adore him, he always has time for them.  Just saying we are going to Papa's house gets them excited.



I love my dad so much.  We have not always seen eye to eye and because we are so much alike we have often butted heads.  There was a time in high school between my 10th and 11th grade year that was particularly difficult but I was the oldest and I now know that he and my mom were just doing the best they could.


I truly could not ask for a better Daddy.  He has always been there for me, my sisters, my mom and his whole family.

I love you Daddy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stuck---in a Blender

Sometimes I think this must be what it feels like to be stuck in the eye of a tornado.  Standing still, completely calm inside, all the while watching everything I own, everything I love, everything I know swirling all around me and not being able to do anything but stand and watch.

I don't like this feeling.......

Right now there is not one thing in my life that is for certain...

I have a job, but I may not have a job by the end of the year....

I want to go back to school but don't know how I can unless I don't have a job....

I have an incredible guy in my life but I am not sure where it's going.....

If I don't have a job then do I move back home?  Or stay here and try and make things work?

This stinks

What I have been doing is a whole lot of praying. Talking to God and asking for direction.  I hear all the time about people who pray for direction, for answers, and they get them and make these life changing decisions.  So far I haven't heard much.  I haven't stopped praying but I also haven't stopped worrying and feeling trapped in this blender.

Sometimes I wish God's plan would come in a nicely written letter waiting for me in my mailbox.  Any chance of that happening???

This is what I do know:

I have an intense desire to do something acutely different with my life.  My focus as far as my "career" or a job is pulling me into a complete opposite direction than any I have ever thought about

I want to go back to school badly.  I feel like I have wasted half my life wishing that I had finished school.

The guy?? Yeah I really want that to work.

I have control over nothing in my life, and as easy-going as I am it's not a feeling I enjoy.

 I want to wake up and have everything set down in it's place, calm, sunny and not a hair out of place.    

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hungry Part 2

*Disclaimer: These are my own personal feelings about God, Religion, etc and if I offend anyone....so sorry!!!*
 
A couple months ago, I wrote about being hungry....physically hungry. I had done a Hunger Challenge through church and although it was difficult, it seemed to make me acutely aware of a different kind of hunger....a spiritual hunger. 

I grew up going to a quaint little Baptist church in my hometown.  It was a perfectly lovely church and being a small child, I never questioned anything I was being told. I learned my Bible Verses, I learned the books of the Bible.  I sang songs, learned lessons.   I am not saying anything I was taught was wrong, but by the time I was in middle school, I was confused, and when high school came along, I was indifferent, and angry, and didn't want to go. I quit going sometime around my junior year.

It got really easy to just not go.  I moved out of my parent's house and in with my ex-husband and we didn't go.  I got married in a church and still didn't go after that.  I had a child and didn't go.  Our first babysitter was very involved in her church.  She took Evan with her when he was still a toddler.  He went to the Awana's program and eagerly learned Bible verses and brought home bags full of candy as rewards, recited them for me, asked questions which I answered, and still I didn't go.  I had another child and in the meantime my marriage was unraveling.  This would have been the perfect time to go.  I even suggested that maybe going to church would help us....we still didn't go.  I got divorced, moved out and moved on and I still didn't go.....I was in a relationship that was completely unhealthy......after that ended I felt like I had come to the bottom, I needed something, I just didn't know what that was.

Let's back up about 28 years......One of my clearest most vivid memories of church growing up, was being told by a well-meaning elderly Sunday school teacher, that every time I told a lie; to my parents, to a teacher, even a friend, God was going to punish me.  God would always punish me when I did something wrong or bad.  Now, I don't like to say I was completely naive but this sweet old woman seemed to know what she was talking about.  I mean she had been teaching our class and seemed to know Jesus very well, so whatever she said must be true right?  That followed me for a long time and every time I messed up, intentionally or otherwise, I awaited God's Wrath, knowing that at any moment he was going to strike me down, make something horrible happen to me for sinning. 

Forward about five years......I was a teenager....listening to rock-n-roll, reading everything I could get my hands on, and (horrors) dancing.  All of these were a big no-no.  I was told everything I was doing by just being  a teenager was a sin, and of course if you sinned, you know where you are going,,,,that fiery brimstone place called H-E-L-L.  The end of me going to this church came when our youth leaders showed this horrifying movie about the End of Days, where Jesus comes back and all unsaved people are under the control of Satan. If that lovely viewing wasn't enough, they then made it very clear that anyone in our family who wasn't saved was going straight to Hell.  I went home crying and my mom told me we didn't have to go anymore.

So about a year ago, I knew that my life was missing something.  I had gotten divorced, bought a house, was raising these two boys, I was in control.  I was calling the shots.  I needed NO ONE to help me or tell me anything, because I had it covered.  My friend Carol suggested I come to church with her.  It's a large church.  I think that initially is what kept me away.  Big churches to me meant anonymity.  No one knew you, they just wanted you to hand over cash.  Sometimes when I walked into a church I felt like I had a bulls-eye on my forehead.  I felt like fresh meat.

So one sunny day in May I packed up the boys and off we went.   And yes it was big, but it wasnt' scary.  There was a band??? No stuffy choir.  People were wearing JEANS!  What?  Then I am pretty sure the Pastor came out in Jeans. And he appeared to be my age! Where was I? 

As the message started, I began to relax, my shoulders coming down from my ears, and all of a sudden this feeling began to come over me.  I cannot tell you any words that were said that day.  I only know that by the end of the service, and when the band came back out to play, I was almost in tears.  I couldn't have told you why, but I can tell you for the next month when I went I felt the same way.  I wanted to cry, not with sadness, but with an overwhelming sense of relief, of being exactly where I was supposed to be.

Over the next few months, I installed the boys into their classes, started really listening and reading my Bible and started taking my own classes.  As I listened to the Pastor's of the church talk about God and Jesus and his Love for me, for everyone, how anyone can be re-born,  realized how I can screw up on a daily basis and it's going to be OK.

These thoughts, these words, richoted around in my head.  I could screw up and not immediately be in line for the depths of Hell?  I knew Jesus died for my sins, and accepting him meant I was supposed to go to Heaven, but no one had ever explained it that Jesus came for the poor, sick, the down-trodden.  My whole life ,Jesus was someone who was a reward for the good, the best, the holiest.  Because of my sins, my choices, I didn't think I was a worthy person.  Why would I get God's glory when I had left my marriage?  Why would I get a second chance? What could I do to change that?  As I took these classes, had conversations, I found that most people there had a past, had past sins, and no one judged them for it.

Now a year later, I cannot wait for Sunday.  The people of New Covenant have made me feel as welcome as if I'd walked into a family members home.  The youth leaders are wonderful with my kids.  I want to learn everything I can.  I want to hear all the idea's and I want to bring everyone I know to this church.  I want to do something bigger than things just for myself and teach my kids the same thing.  That we can be good people, with faults, and we are not condemned for being human beings. 

I am Hungry.....and it's a good feeling

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Song never ends

Let me tell you one thing, if I know you for very long, if you mean anything to me at all, you will eventually have a song (or songs) attached to you.  Certain songs belong to certain people and always will.  Song lyrics are a story and stories are words.  The words and music together, can make an incredible memory.  Happy, sad or indifferent.

Sometimes, the perfect song comes along.  Perfect for the situation, perfect for the person.  When I hear it, if its a good thing I listen to it over and over and over again.  If it's bad I can't dive for off button fast enough, and long after it's over the song can stop me dead in my tracks and make me remember.

Flashback 2011: 

Kenny Chesney can write a damn good song.  They are fun, they are sweet and this one, well this one was perfect

"You and Tequila make me crazy. Run like poison in my blood.  One more night could kill me baby."

I remember texting him and telling him I found the perfect song that describes us.  He agreed.  It was so good at that point.  I could not hear that song enough.  I immediately downloaded on my iPod and probably played it a thousand times.

"30 days and 30 nights, been putting up a real good fight, there were times I'd thought you'd win"

Except there was no fight.  I was completely helpless to fight.He always won.    The sound of my phone going off sent me scurrying and the hours spent on the phone joking, laughing and planning made me feel like I never had before.

"One is one too many, one more is never enough"

There was never enough.  Not enough time.  Not enough weekends.  Too much space between us.  I would have driven to the ends of the earth to see him and at that point I knew I was in trouble and I didn't care.  Drive two hours to spend eight and drive two back home? Sure why not.  We both made the drive any time we could.

"When it comes to you , all the damage I could do, it's always your favorite sins, that do you in."

Truer words were never spoken.  Although we had this agreement, that is was just a fun thing, I had somewhere around three months in forgotten about that and let myself ever so slightly believe differently.  My sins did me in.  Damage was done.  And hard.  When it was over I was devastated.  It was really no fault of his, I had broken the rules, the ones I set.  I just kept playing the good parts over and over in my head, trying to figure out if I had imagined it all, I know I hadn't.  Not the I Love Yous even though I always called him a liar when he said it.  Not the most tender way he kissed my neck or the way he held me until I fell asleep.

I won't lie.... I cried for days, I over-thought it.  I know I drove my girlfriends crazy.  I was pissed.  At myself for doing what I said I wouldn't and at him for being able to walk away so easy.  I hated this damn song.  I nearly ran off the road one day when it came on the radio.  I took it off my iPod.  I cursed Kenny Chesney for singing it.

Now, a year later, I can listen to it.  It makes me think of him, it's always going to.  I don't hate him, I've know him too long to hate him.  It made me stronger.  It made me realize what I should be looking for.  I don't regret it for a minute.  It was exactly what I needed at that time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Precipice

prec·i·pice  

Noun
A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one.

Synonyms
abyss - cliff - chasm - gulf
 
Have you ever been almost happy?  Have you ever stood on the edge, looked over, dipped a toe in?
I'm happy.  Happy with life, happy for such beautiful kids, wonderful friends and incredible family. 

There's just one aspect of my life I'm unsure of.  Standing on this precipice, looking down, I can see partway,  but the rest is an inky swirl of fog. Part of me wants to jump over the edge.  The other part wants to inch down, be safe. hold back.  Hold back? Me?  I wear my heart on my sleeve and have no poker face, but if anything the last few years have taught me to be cautious.  What I stupidly thought  was safe and certain, got ripped away.  I'm not getting burned twice.

I went with a friend to a psychic last year.  It was on a whim and I really wasn't expecting much.  She told me lots of things.  A lot of them true, but one thing she said to me that I didn't even see was that my heart was completely closed.  That I had no room for anyone in my life and until I made room and opened myself back up that person wouldn't be able to get in.  She went as far as to tell me to go home and clean out some drawers and cupboards to make room. 

At the time I scoffed at the suggestion.  I was in somewhat of a relationship that I thought maybe?? Possibly could be going somewhere.  So I just kind of tossed her comment aside.  After that went sour, I still had a backup and until that went nowhere I began to think of what she said so many months prior.  As much as I wanted someone in my life was I putting up walls?  Some kind of invisible line I couldn't see?

So I did what she said.  As absurd as it seemed, I made space.  I cleaned out a drawer in my bathroom.  A shelf in my closet.  I made room.  I put myself out there.  And I prayed.  I prayed and prayed hard.  Not for a particular person.  But for the person that I am supposed to be with.  I made room. prayed to God and have started to open back up. I can almost see this happening. 

I won't lie....it's hard.  A lot of it is me.  Tired of being disappointed.  Tired of feeling like I might not be good enough.  Terrided that if I let myself be the teensiest bit happy....to look down the road it will all be over.  But I am trying. 

As I stand here, looking down this steep, scary drop I hop back and forth, one foot to the other.  I take a running start then dig my heels in.  I need to just jump, headfirst, screaming into the cool darkness and have the faith that person is waiting to catch me. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hungry Part 1




Have you ever been hungry?  Truly hungry? 
 I know I have said the words "I'm so hungry I could die" at least a few times in my life. But have you ever "gone hungry"?  I don't mean "I skipped lunch" or "I'm dieting" hungry.  I mean the pit of your stomach aches, you feel weak and your head hurts hungry. I haven't.  In my whole life even when I've had barely had any money, I have never missed a meal. 

  Over that last several weeks my church did a series called "Just"  and we talked about Justice in the world.  We talked about the slavery that still exists and Human trafficking. and we talked about hunger.  We talked about how 1/3 of the world eats well, 1/3 is hungry and how 1/3 is starving.

You knew this.  You have flipped past the Feed the Children commercials.  You have seen the Food Bank billboards in your town.  You have seen the lines of people at missions or churches waiting for handouts of food. I knew this too, but with a million other things on my mind and my own issues to deal with it's nothing but a fleeting thought in my mind.

Our pastor encouraged  us to participate in a Hunger Challenge.  For five days.  To eat as most of the rest of the world eats.  One cup of Oatmeal for breakfast. One cup of rice and beans for lunch.  The same for dinner. Tap water to drink.  That's it.  I thought about it for a couple weeks.  Wondered who else would do it.  Wondered if I had the strength, the willpower to complete it.  

The weekend before it started I was in Chicago and as I was eating Pizza and burgers and whatever else I pleased, it was weighing on my mind and my heart.  Did I really want to do this?  Could I?  I still had to make dinner for the boys.  I still had to smell all the food other people were eating at work.  I couldnt' just fly through Timmy Ho's and get a huge coffee. 

But I did it.  Thankfully, another girl in my department attends my church and she did it too.  It was wonderful to have someone to encourage and talk about it with. There were also other members of church that I kept up with.  We posted on Facebook and Instagram and we encouraged each other. We were tested in many ways last week but we made it to Friday.  A little lighter maybe, but no worse for wear.

I did learn some things though....

I eat way too much food.  even though I don't eat half as much as I used to, I don't need to eat as much as I think I do.

We waste too much food.  I think I lectured my boys about five different times about what they were eating, how much, and how much they really needed to eat and snack.  

I spent almost no money.  Other than gas in my car and the bills I had to pay, I spent nothing all week.  I never went into the grocery store.  The boys got whatever I had on hand for dinner and they were fine with that.  They went to their dad's for two days, so I could just prepare my own food

I have a ton of food in my house.  When you can't eat but have food at the ready, you open the fridge and cupboards a lot.  I kept thinking, I could eat this, and this, and this and that.  We are definitely eating out of our pantry more.

I'm pretty sure my stomach shrunk a little. I still can't eat a lot at one time,  This could be a good thing.

I can make a cup of rice and beans last about a half an hour. I am also pretty sure I didn't leave a single grain of rice on my plate.

I don't need to drink pop.  But I do still need coffee.

It was hard explaining what I was doing and why to some people.  Not just people who don't go to church, that would have been a no-brainer, but even some who attend other churches looked at me like I was crazy. No my church didn't make me do it, yes it was tied into Easter but that wasn't the only reason.  Yes, I know I can quit if I want to and God won't think any less of me.  Some of the things people said were astounding.

And finally, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I had moments of weakness where I wanted to eat something.  I could have, but in doing that I would have given up what I was striving for.  It opened my eyes, not just to the hunger around me but within myself.  I prayed more.  I thought more. I took the opportunity to keep myself occupied and complete tasks.  I went to bed early.  I read my Bible more.   When I focused my mind on something other than how hungry I was, I was able to see some things that I needed to see, and when I say I was hungry it wasn't just physical hunger....

To be continued.....

Friday, March 29, 2013

On my soapbox

Where to start....I really don't want to offend anyone....but no matter how I say this I probably will so here goes.

In the last year, I have had two friends who have lost their children, three girlfriends who have lost their fathers and other friends with loved ones lost. 

I know, without doubt, that any of these people would give anything for just one more moment, one hug, one kiss, one word with them.  I have seen this grief up close.  Some of it was met with a sad acceptance, tears, and a gratefulness that the loved one is no longer suffering.  The other was met with utter disbelief, despair, denial and a woeful mother's cry that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I am under no illusion that we don't get mad at our loved ones.  Our kids drive us crazy.  Our siblings annoy us.  Some people's relationship with their parents is hanging on by a thread. The same tired family drama is perpetuated over and over for years.

What has been bothering me for some time now is the willingness to express our disgust, hatred, and frustration on Social Media, telling the world all of our problems and feelings.  Yes, I can admit being guilty of this to a point.  I have complained about my Ex a few times on Facebook. I have joked that my kids are going to be the death of me, but I hope that I have never outright complained about them.

How do you think this feels to someone who has lost a loved one?

When you complain how terrible your kids are?
When you say your dad is a jerk or your mom gets on  your last nerve?
When you say that you only have one "real" brother when you really have two and you are just being hateful?
When all you talk about is how everyone in your family mistreats you, gets on your nerves, bothers you.

I would hate for those people not to be in your life tomorrow.  Would you wail, cry and lament on Facebook about how they are gone and you miss them?  Would you want our sympathies for the people you were just complaining about?

The next time you want to bash someone in your family, please keep it off Facebook, Twitter and any Social media board in general.  You can never fully erase hateful words once they have been said or even read by others.

I have gotten off my soapbox now, putting it away until the next time.....  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Daily Five

My little has been sick this week.  Really sick.  So sick he missed school all week.  I took Thursday and Friday off work and we hung out just the two of us and we had lots of time to talk...and talk, and talk and talk.  The child loves to talk (I have no clue where he got it from)  and one of our discussions was what they do in Kindergarten.  Now Kindergarten today and what is was in 1978 when I started school, are two completely different worlds.  I know I learned my alphabet.  Does anyone remember the Letter people?  Miss A and her Achoo?  I know I could write my name and I remember our stations with modeling clay and listening to stories on headphones.  Aside from the Graham Crackers and Milk and that my rug was Blue with two White Stripes, and that we walked to the park and caught two salamanders as our class pets, I don't remember learning much else.  Kindergarten today however....well to even walk in the door, they need to know how to write their names know their ABC's and a slew of other things.  One of the things they do is call the Daily 5.  Every day they divide up into their team colors and have five different stations.  Math, Writing, Drawing, Listening Skills and Journaling...yes Journaling.  O asked me if I had a Daily 5 in Kindergarten and I told him no, and he told me that was too bad. 

That got me to thinking and that little spark of OCD in my brain that my ADD hasn't killed off starting thinking of lists of five things. I could make lists all day.  I may not follow them or get them done but damn I am a fantastic list maker.  I was going to try and keep it at 5 lists of 5 but I am so good I made 6.

5 BOOKS I WOULD NEED IF STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND
this will never happen because I never go anywhere
1.  Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
2.  The Shell seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
3.  Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
4.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
5.  The Bible


5 SONGS MY CHILDREN WILL KNOW BEFORE THEY GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL
OK this list could go on forever since I love so much good music but here is a start
1.  All Beatles songs (with the exception of Sgt Peppers)
2.  Rocket Man/Tiny Dancer/ Benny and the Jets
3. Margaritaville/Come Monday
4.  Fire and Rain
5.  Don't stop believing

5 MOVIES I KNOW EVERY WORD TO
I could really annoy a person watching these movies and depending on who I watch it with I do it on purpose
1.  Heathers
2.  Clerks
3.  Singles
4.  Sixteen Candles
5. Grosse Point Blank

5 THINGS I AM TERRIBLE AT 
Another list that could be  miles long, but these are things that I will actually share
1.  Telling people how I really feel (well some people get this luxury)
2.  Cutting fabric straight even with a ruler
3.  Saying NO to McDonald's Coke
4.  Refraining from saying the "F" word about 1,000 times a day
5.  Singing in any form, except in church, with 300 other people there I am fantastic

5 MATERIAL POSSESSIONS I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT
I don't really need much, just these simple things
1. My iPod -this is self-explanatory, if I didn't have music to listen to I might go postal
2. My Nook/Books real or digital I have to read
3.  Lip Gloss- preferably Victoria's Secret Minty Lip Shine, I've heard it tastes good!
4.  Coffee- Again, without it you might get hurt
5.  Pen and Paper- look if these thoughts don't have somewhere to escape to....

5 SONGS I WANT TO DANCE TO IF I EVER GET MARRIED....AGAIN
Not really holding my breath on this one...but a girl can dream or hallucinate or what have you
1.  Wonderful Tonight- Eric Clapton
2.  Come Away With Me- Norah Jones
3.  Crazy Love- Van Morrison
4.  The only one- The Black Keys
5.  No one's gonna love you - Band of Horses

Thank you and goodnight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just another Thursday in Paradise

*Disclaimer:This post was written after consuming an entire bottle of Moscato, if you think I might insult or offend your tender sensibilities move on*
it's Thursday, and the fact that it's also Valentines Day has not been lost on me.  My little one had two parties today, one at school and one at daycare, so after securing two sets of Valentines cards and making two different snacks, I got him on his way to have a fun sugar-filled day.

That's when the real fun started. I spent this lovely February 14th listening to everyone around me and on facebook talk and post about how much they love this person and oh look what I got, as pictures of flowers, candy, balloons, what have you appeared. There is nothing more annoying or vomit-inducing to a single person than listening to a sickening lovefest going on all around you.  Seriously.  Not that I am bitter, cuz I'm not.  I LOVE love.  There are some people I know who are truly in love and I for one could not be happier. Jealous? maybe.  Annoyed? Ever so slightly? Bitter? Never.  I haven't had very many Valentines days where I have actually had a boyfriend/husband/whathaveyou make a big fuss and I am OK with that.  It's always amazed me the expense and drama that goes into one day.  Women expect gifts. Men fluster themselves trying to figure out what to buy (The teddy bear or the chocolate? Or both?)  It's kind of ridiculous actually. It's one day where people stress themselves out, spend money on things that are overpriced for that specific day and try and make another person happy with that particular token, because nothing else on any other day would possibly be good enough.


I thought I might have plans tonight,  you see  I have been seeing this really great guy for about three months. But life happens and alas here I am alone...on Valentines day drinking way too much wine, talking with girlfriends about whats wrong with men.  This guy, it's so far nothing serious, I guess,  just two people spending time together when we can, and let me tell you, I totally dig this guy. I'd like it to be more, but I haven't said anything.   Why you ask?  Because I am chicken shit.  Totally terrified the answer I want isn't the one I want. My friend told me last night that she can't believe i haven't spoken up yet because if I am one thing, it's outspoken what the hell is wrong with me?   I feel like total shit.   It's no one but myself making me feel this way.  And no amount of wine, texts from girlfriends or pep talks make me feel any different.  I don't even care that its stupid fucking  valentines day.  It's more about being with a specific person that I want to be with.  And my issue??? Well let me tell you, it's the super dark thought in the back of my brain, the one that was planted years and years ago that whispers to me 'you're not really good enough".  The person that planted it is long gone.  I divorced him, but the whispers of doubt that he instilled in me still swirl around so when I don't think things are going well, I immediately go to those thoughts.  Crazy I know but its a hard habit to break.

My friend Michele wrote an interesting note on FB today. She talked about how its' the everyday small things being more important than a big grand gesture on one day of the year.  I whole-heartedly agree.  I would rather have one person who thought of me 364 days of the year than one stupid Hallmark Holiday.  I would rather have a note on my pillow, in my car or a stupid random text than a card, flowers, balloons chocolates or a dinner that you had to wait two hours for.  i would rather have a book you bought me because you remembered it was my favorite author on a random Tuesday in July.  I would rather have you text me a song you think I like from  YouTube in the middle of the day.  I would so much rather have  a glass of wine waiting for me on a day that I came home after a hard day than any amount of gifts on one day in February.  I pick happiness on random days of the year over  any type of fuss on a day that you are supposed to buy me something pretty.    

And can I just say this: Stop telling me I will find the right guy someday.  I am so freaking sick of hearing that I could literally punch the people that say that. Stop telling me I am a great catch,  I know this, this is not new information to me.  I am awesome and any guy would be lucky to call me his girlfriend/wife.  I could totally rock someones world.  I know this so stop telling me. And quit looking at me with those stupid freaking sappy eyes like you just told me I have three damn months to live.

All I want a best friend.  One that will listen to me talk and talk and talk and just laugh at me.  One that lets me cry when I need to and someone to be stupid and  silly with.  One that likes to dance around the house and loves nothing more than lying on the couch and reading a good book on  a weekend. Someone who loves me for me and loves to be with me.  It sounds so easy....and maybe it is.

All I know is that in one hour this stupid day will be over.  And who knows, one year from now I may be of those insipid lovely dovey people grandstanding on FB about the love of my life, and if I am you have my permission to tell me to shut the F*Ck up!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

There's this and this and that and this


Do you ever have those days where there is so much swirling around in your head, so much activity, so much caffeine coursing through your veins that you simply cannot pin a thought down????  Once in awhile?  Mine are pretty much every other but today more than most. Add a big dash of crazy emotion and you have me right now. Because if you know me at all, emotion is something I am Never without, good and bad


Let's start with the fact that if it doesnt' warm up soon and that sun doesn't start shining soon, I will not be held responsible for my actions.  There is only so much Vitamin D3 a girl can take, I am contemplating going to  the tanning salon, either that or asking my doctor for some Prozac.  I hate being cold, I hate being cooped up and I hate hate hate NO sunshine.  My nickname is Sunshine for crying out loud and I NEED SOME.

On the other end of the spectrum, I received a message from the husband of a very dear close bestest friend asking if I would like to spend a weekend in Chicago with her.......just us girls...... Hellz Yeah.....the man even offered to keep my children while we went.  If this doesn' scream Husband of the Year then nothing does.  I am so excited right now, I have never, ever , ever in my 39 years just gone to Chicago to spend the weekend, and that thought makes me sad because it truly screams how sad and pathetic my travels have been.

In between there, I have been talking to and thinking about a girlfriend who has been going through hell.  I look at  myself and my sad little life, and like to feel sorry for myself every once in awhile but I really dont' have much to complain about.  No I don't have any money but I have plenty of things.  I have two healthy children who drive me bat-shit crazy but I love them more than my own life and they are really great kids.  I was yelling at them last night then read the blog of my friend and thought "What a horrid wretched person I am, yelling at my children and her own dear daughter is gone from this world"  Her blog is a must read. Anyone who can get through half of  a post without crying  , is someone I don't even want to know.   You can read about what she has been going through here

Next week is my boy's first rock concert.  We are going to see Three Days Grace, Shinedown, and POD.  To say we are excited is an understatement.  I LOVE going to concerts and because he has his Mother's impeccable music taste, this is something we both can do and enjoy!!! I got seats because even I know 11 is a little too young for a mosh pit!

That Dodge Ram-Paul Harvey commercial during the Superbowl just about did me in.  I loved listening to him, it reminds me of being at grandparents and he would always be on the radio.  He is gone and so are they and I have been thinking lately about how much I miss them and would give anything for my boys to have known their Grandma Powell. Some days it's almost too much to bear to know that we will never have another Christmas or Thanksgiving at their house.

I have to say I am flattered and taken aback at the outpouring of love and kudos I have been getting from various friends. None of them know each other but for whatever reason, they have all decided to bombard me with texts, FB messages and posts to tell me how loved I am, how great I am, how great of a mother I am and on and on.  If ever I needed to hear that it's right now. I feel like I am stuck in purgatory.  Nothing about my life right now is for certain.  Not my job, not my love life, not my future and to hear people tell me they are thinking of me, hoping for me and basically cheering for me, makes me feel slightly more stable and less likely to come unglued.  this had led me to reach out to some people who haven't heard from me and tell them the same thing.

So if you get a text or email or phone call from me, and it makes your heart feel good, please pass it along...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I wrote it down so I have to do it right???

Here is a little tidbit about me.  I am not as together as I used to be.  Or maybe it's that I just don't feel as together as I used to be.  Motivation is a word that gets tossed around a lot.  I can ride on it for a few days before I drop it like it's hot and have to start again.  I get mad at myself for not getting it all done.  Basically beat myself up verbally and SWEAR I am going to get it done tomorrow, next week, next month.


I'm not lazy.  I get stuff done.  Like that Tina Fey picture floating around Pinterest  "Bitches get stuff done"  And I do......eventually.  I could come up with a million reason why not but what I decided instead was to come up with a list.  Things I want to do, accomplish, try and master in 2013.  These are things that can happen.  Some are going to make me feel better, a couple might make me more sane.....we are all hoping for that one.  Some might make me better as a person.

So I have hung this up in my room, on my wall as a daily reminder.  I publish it here to make myself accountable, though it may be to total strangers, the thought of disappointing anyone is almost too much to bear.  I am a Virgo after all.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The F word

No, it's not the word you think it is.  It's not the Queen Mother of all swear words.  Some people may rank it up there with the real F word though.  No kids the word I am thinking of today, brought to you by the Letter F is FORGIVENESS.....

How may things have I done in my life that warrant forgiveness?  How many HORRIBLE things have I really done where I have asked that person to forgive me?  Not many.  I have wronged people, those I love.  Made them mad.  Said things I didn't mean out of the heat of an argument, repeated words that were never meant to be heard outside my head.  I have gossiped, enjoyed repeating something to a fascinated audience who I anticipated would have the same response I did when I heard this news and the discuss it in detail.  I have withheld information.  I have purposely repeated something I was sworn to in secrecy.  But are these things that I need to go to someone and utter the words "Please forgive me".  I don't think I have ever said these words and meant it in a pleading, heart-wrenching tone.  I have apologized profusely.  I have been caught red-handed opening my big mouth when I knew better.  I have learned from my mistakes...big time.



What about me forgiving someone?  Oh I have gotten over being treated badly by a friend, a boyfriend, someone who crossed me or made me mad, but I cannot remember a time when someone came to me, Heart on their sleeve...forlorn...begging me to forgive them. And even if I had it must have been someone that I would have forgiven regardless.  I have learned to forgive and forget as people grow and change and those you seemed to be at war with at one time are your fiercest protectors.

No, the real time you forgive someone is when they never ask, never admit any wrongdoing, never acknowledge, or maybe realize, they need your forgiveness.

 In my whole life, out of everyone I have ever met, come across, loved, hated,  passed on the street or blown by in traffic, there are only three people that come to mind.  They have never asked, and never will and I will never utter the words to them "I Forgive You".  I have to just do it for myself and move one. 

One is a former family member.  One is a former best friend.  One is my Ex-husband. 

One had no idea how her actions would affect her children or husband let alone her teenage niece who idolized her.  One took a misunderstanding and ran it so far into the ground, twisted it and killed it so nothing could ever make it right.  One took all the love, faith, hope and will out of the other person until they had nothing left and were just a shell of their former self.

One had no idea they did it.  One did it with a sick deviant pleasure, One could never see that anything they did was wrong.

I have held hatred in my heart for years for each of these people. 

The first one, I learned to forgive as an adult.  She never realized I hated her, even the day I saw her at the mall,  I think I was about 16 and she  looking happy with her now husband and all I could think was "How dare you?"  She smiled at me, thought to speak to me and I turned around, ran as fast as I could and cried in my car.   I learned that if others could forgive her and move on I could too.


The second has been more recent.  It's more of a let it go and forgive because when someone seems to make it their goal on a daily basis to run you into the ground,  you just have to learn to ignore it.  There is no getting away from it.  There are always evil looks and whispers. I have walked into a room and heard my name more than once.  What I stared to feel was Pity and decided that by forgiving this person, I could really care less what their opinion is of me.


The Third is the most raw.  This one will be ongoing.  It's taken me the last three years to forgive myself.  I think I can now  forgive and move on.  I will NEVER get the apology I want.  I have to live with that.  I will NEVER get the acknowledgement that anyone but me was at fault.  I will never be Forgiven.  But I can forgive.  I can move on and learn to live, and love and know that it's not all my fault.  I am not a terrible person. 

There is a song by Matthew West.  It's called Forgiveness.  Listening to it has made me realize its not abut absolving those people but myself.  By forgiving others, we let go of what is holding us down.

"It'll clear the bitterness away, It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do. So let it go and
be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace the prisoner
that it really frees is you, Forgiveness"