Sunday, October 31, 2010


"Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he does not wish to sign his work." ~Anotole France

I've told you I have been looking for a house.  Yes, it's a buyers' market, but in my price range the majority of the houses are foreclosures.  Which sucks.  Many times the people have left a lot of things behind.  Sometimes old furniture.  One had a military uniform with all of the medals still attached.  Scattered toys.  The worst was the house with the children's heights penciled in on the door jamb.  

I've also been through four Real Estate agents so far.  The first was Anthony, the really bad Real Estate Agent (at least that's how he is listed in my phone as I never got his last name). Worked off a pager.  Like he couldn't afford a $40 cell phone from Walmart?  Must not have been selling houses.  I know why.  The second one I called at least six times and never got a response.  The third one only knows me as Melisa even though I filled out a document with all of my information on it.  The fourth one wouldn't return my calls for weeks at a time.  My Dad finally recommended a lady he used to skate with.  Before you ask, Dad still goes skating, so it's not from his childhood lol.  Sue's great!

This particular Wednesday we are looking at three houses.  One is in the perfect location.  Half a block from the kids school.  Has a nice yard but a weird layout and small bedrooms.  It's at the very top of my price range.  The next one is trashed so we head over to see the third house. This one is further out than I would have preferred.  Smaller yard but is in better shape.  And is 15k cheaper than the other one.  We walk into the house.  A little boy answers the door.  I haven't been in one that is still occupied yet.  Everything in my price range so far has been vacant.

The owner shows us around.  I'm about in tears knowing this guy is losing his house and showing it to us in front of his young son.  They both seem to be taking it well though.  I can actually see us living in this house.  Christmas tree here, beds there.  This just might be the one.

Sue asks him some questions.  After a few, I realize what she's doing.  She's trying to set him up with me.  OMG!  This is hilarious.  Not exactly what I was expecting while I was house hunting.  She leaves her card and tells him to call us when his band is playing and maybe we can stop up to listen.  We laugh about it in the driveway and I tell her I'll make my decision in the morning.  I now do what I normally do when trying to make a decision: divide and conquer.  I spent the next 4 hours researching both houses.  Tax values, sales history, school districts; the works.  Everything is pointing to the third house.  But am I choosing this one because of the owner?  

Regardless, the next day I make an offer.  I pick the third one.  Fill out all of the paperwork.  And there was a ton of it.  Now all I can do is wait.  Really?  Just how well do you know me?  Dad's with me helping to corral the kids while I sign.  So we went over to show Dad where the house was. The owner wasn't home. We go to leave and my truck wouldn't start.  OK God.  I get the message.  We're not leaving yet.  There's a reason that out of the blue my truck isn't starting.  Neither Dad nor I have jumper cables. Call my sis-in-law and she is going to bring some over but can't get there for twenty minutes.

In the meantime, the owner comes home. He lets us go in the house and look. Dad takes the kids outside. So we talk for a few.  I tell him a bit about my journey so far and how God has really carried us.  Also tell him that I made an offer on the house but that I'm in my apartment until February and that he can stay in this one until then if I get it to help him get back on his feet.  He plays the guitar for me. He's really good.  By now the truck is ready, so I ask the owner if he can call me when his band is playing. He asks me what I'm doing the Friday night. I'm supposed to go to a bonfire at a friend's house so I ask him if he wants to come too.

So, long story short, I had a date.  With a very handsome, soon to be homeless guy.  Perhaps it wasn't the house that God intended for me to buy and there was another purpose to all of this. We'll have to see...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"When it comes to relationships, maybe we're all in glass houses and shouldn't throw stones.  Because you can never really know.  Some people are settling down, some are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies..." ~Carrie Bradshaw on SATC

Alright, dating sucks.  Well, not so much the actual date but the stuff leading up to it.  The "Does he like me? Is he going to ask me out? What am I going to wear?" stuff.  And even better is the "Is he going to call me? Do I wait or do I call him?" stuff.  It's the self-doubt time.  You wonder if you are is good enough.  Replay the date in your mind wondering if you said all of the right things.  

Why do we let one person hold our worth in their hands?  I don't know but we've all done it at least once in our lives.  It's worse than interviewing for a job.  At least you have the potential for a paycheck (and if you get one on a date - that's a whole other blog topic!).  This is someone that's only been in your life for a week or two.  Yet their opinion at the moment means more to you than your lifelong friends.  I guess it's because you know that they like you.  They've been through all of your past failures and successes and still love you.

Someone told me that I should wait to date.  Work on myself.  You know - tighten up a few areas.  Figure out who I am.  Take some time for myself.  Well, first of all, if someone can't like me for who I am now, they sure the hell don't deserve me when I'm in a size 5.  I'm pretty confident I know who I am.  At least as well as I am going to ever truly know myself.  And this is all part of taking some time for myself.  Learning how I look through other people's eyes.

It's a daunting prospect dating at 39 (I can still say that for a few more weeks).  Especially with three kids.  Three very active, still quite young kids.  Most guys run the other direction at the prospect.  For those who make it past that point, there's the age thing.  Many of the guys, regardless of their age, are looking for someone still in their twenties.  Good luck with that.  And by the way, I'm not at all bitter about either of these points.  It's just the facts.  I figure if they've made it this far, they must be pretty special.

I'm updating my dating requirements.  Still keeping with the not married and not related (see my dating post if you haven't already read it).  The age thing I'm much more flexible on.  Would still rather not go much younger.  I mean, like I'm going to keep up with a twenty-six year old.  Really?  I don't see that happening.  And I think sixty may be a bit on the older side.  Sorry Mom,  but do you really want me dating someone that is old enough to be my Dad?

This is what I've figured out so far is this.  I want:  
  • Someone who cherishes me.  Wants to know who I am.  The good and the bad.  Forgets that there is anyone else in the room.  Looks into my eyes and sees into my soul. 
  • Someone who actually takes time to read my blog.  This is me.  At least a part of me that I share with the world.
  • Someone who likes me for me.  The somewhat frazzled woman that cleans up quite well.  At least my appearance.  We're not even going to talk about the apartment!
  • Someone who can deal with the crazy, mostly controlled chaos that is my life.   
  • Someone that when I tell them that I have Cub Scouts and then a skating party says "That sounds like fun!  Can I join you?" 
So, yeah, I'm asking a lot.  I think I deserve it.  No, I know I deserve it.  I deserve to find the one that is going to make the second half of my life simply amazing.  I know it may take a little bit of patience and a lot of faith, but it will be worth it.  Oh yeah - I forgot one - I want someone that gives me butterflies whenever I think of them and makes my toes curl when they kiss me.   Now is that asking too much? :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


"Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark."~George Iles

If you've read my blog, you know my position on faith.  It's not a tangible thing.  It's not something you can give to someone or even really describe.  It is a truth that you just know.  It is that thing that allows you to step past belief and go on.

But what do you do when life throws a curve ball and smacks you in the face with it?  No time to react.  No chance to prepare yourself.  No way to shield you from the pain and doubt.  It could be an illness with an unknown outcome.  The lack of control over a decision that not only affects your life but the lives of your children as well.  The loss of a family member ripped from your life with no time to say goodbye.

My main reason for writing today's blog is that I have several friends dealing with loved ones that have cancer.  Sudden, almost impossible to cure cancer.  It's a situation when even the most faithful stumble.  Wonder "why me?"  Have trouble seeing through the darkness for even the smallest pinpoint of light.  I am asking for prayers for these courageous people.  They are just like you and me: mothers, daughters, sisters.  It could be you and me but for the grace of God.  And we need prayers for their family and friends.  For a strengthening of faith.  For a glimmer of hope when it feels like doubt is closing in.  For a moment of calm in this tumultuous storm.

So, today is not about me but about them.  Please send up a prayer.  Hold a hand out into the dark.  For through God all things are possible.  Even this...

Monday, October 18, 2010


"Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks." ~Samuel Johnson

Did you ever notice that the best things in life tend to be the ones we don't expect?  Those times that you didn't plan but worked out perfectly.  A road less traveled that brings you to a sight of infinite beauty.  The person that walks into your life when you weren't even looking up.

I have been blessed with amazing people in my life.  They touch me in ways I can't even begin to describe.  Some are just there for a moment.  Or there only for moments I need them.  Others are constants - holding fast moored to us as the storm pounds away at our will.  There to celebrate both the pleasant and tragic.

My life so far this year has been a lesson in expectations.  Or, at least, a lesson in unexpectations.  Because I put very few constraints on what I expected to happen.  For the most part I have let God take the wheel.  He still chastises me when I don't give full control, so I'm learning.  And I've found that what he's given me is so much more than I could have ever imagined.

This weekend is no exception.  I had plans.  Changed them at the last minute.  Found myself going completely off the beaten path (literally).  What I found was so much more special than I could have asked for.  Different in a good way.  Very good.  Not what I had pictured in my head for this weekend.  But as usual, He guided me to where I was supposed to be at that moment.  Maybe for longer than a moment.

So, I will continue to leave my life in His hands.  He knows the plan.  Who am I to question it?  Besides, I'm just painting with finger paints.  God has the oil paints and is in the process of sketching out a masterpiece for me :) 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. "
~Karl A. Menninger 

Today was an interesting day to say the least.  Quiet morning.  I should have known it wouldn't stay that way.  Very busy afternoon.  Ran late to pick the kids up.  Ran late to church.  As usual.

Went to parenting class while the kids were in Awana's.   Tonight's topic was listening to your kids, not talking at them.  Learned a lot of good techniques.  I love this class.  Wish it was going to last longer than 3 more weeks.

Leaving somewhere almost always takes at least 15 minutes for us.  Tonight was no exception.  We ended up leaving church at 9:15.  As we get to the truck, Jacob decides to lay down on the ground and roll.  In the parking lot.  OK.  Here goes.  I need to listen to him and communicate.  Normally I would drag his ornery little butt into the truck and lecture him on the way home.  Not tonight.  

I ask him what's going on.  He's "freaked out" because I only let him keep 1 light on at night.  He wants two.  Alright.  I make a deal with him - he goes right to sleep and I'll keep the light on.  We're done now, right?  Noooo.  He is still freaked out.  So I sit down in the middle of the parking lot (he's still rolling around) and talk.  He's stalling.  I know it.  But there's a reason he needs my attention.  Still haven't figured it out, but he knows what it was.  I make a deal with him that I will leave the girls at Grandma's on Saturday and he and I will have some special time together.  He wants to do pottery.  Pottery it is.  

9:30.  Finally home.  Walk up the steps to our apartment.  The kids are first because they are running up the steps as usual.  They start screaming bloody murder.  I rush to beat to a pulp whoever dared frighten my children.  No one is there.  At first I think I see a bat.  It ends up being a pigeon.  Pretty little thing.  It seems dazed and confused.  I figure it must have hit a window.  

I finally get the kids past the bird and into the apartment.  Kiara, my brave one, brings me back a box.  I speak to the bird (I have him pigeon-holed in the corner lol).  "Bird - I'm tired and I need to get my kids in bed.  You need to go into the box nicely and not fly up and attack me.  I am simply taking you downstairs so you don't injure yourself."  The bird very kindly scoots into the box with very little prodding.  Down the stairs and he doesn't flutter once.  "OK bird, I am letting you go.  Please do not fly up at me."  Off with the lid.  But he's not leaving the box.  Fine.  I leave bird and box in the grass next to the tree.  The bird definitely listens better than my kids though.

So, I listened.  To God; to Jacob; to nature.  The bird listened and trusted.   Maybe, just maybe, Jacob listened.  So I hope as the bird unfolds and expands it's wings, so do I.  And maybe by doing so, Jacob will learn from my example.  Even if it means sitting cross-legged in a church parking lot at 9:15 on a school night.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crunching Leaves and Apple Butter

"Autumn burned brightly, 
a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees."~Faith Baldwin

Ahhh!  Fall!  This is my favorite season.  Forget frigid Winter mornings, wet Spring days, and hot muggy Summer evenings.  Autumn is it.  Crisp, clear mornings.  Warm afternoons.  Evenings with a walk through crunchy leaves.  Can't you smell it?  I have so missed Fall.  You really don't get one in Tennessee.  It's kinda Summer until February and then a day or two of Fall before Winter.  This weather, more than anything, reminds me that I'm home.

 And Autumn means it's Festival time in Ohio.  Well, actually it's always Festival time here, but it's my favorite ones.  Hay rides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, you name it.  This weekend was the Apple Butter Festival.   I've been looking forward to this one for a while. This is one that I really remember from my childhood.  Watching the apples boiling in the pots over an open flame.  Tasting apple butter for the first time on a warm slice of homemade bread.  Mmmm....

And now I pass on the memories to my children.  Some old, some new.  They have an incredible way of making their own adventures.  Take the hay for example.  A simple pile of hay.  My three were the ring-leaders of a good thirty minutes of play time with perfect strangers.  I'll wager to bet that every one of those children will look back on that day with fondness.  

So here's to memories.  Old and new.  God is painting his canvas with all of the colors of the rainbow now.  Letting us know that the cold is coming.  But showering us with flames before going out in a blaze of glory.  Savor these days.  I know I am!  Share with us what your favorite fall pastime is...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Always Be Prepared

"The role of the teacher remains the highest calling of a free people.  To the teacher, America entrusts her most precious resource, her children; and asks that they be prepared... to face the rigors of individual participation in a democratic society." ~Shirley Mount Hufstedler

Being a single parent has it's challenges.  I'm the one who gets them ready in the morning and rushes to school.  I'm the one who picks them up and chauffeurs them to soccer, karate, church, scouts, whatever.  We have the joy of grocery shopping together (three kids in Wal-mart at the end of a long day - think about it).  I'm the comforting mom and strict disciplinarian.  Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't trade my job for anything.  But it makes life interesting.

What could possibly make life more hectic than this?  Well, lets see.  We get a pile of papers sent home from school every day.  A couple of weeks ago Jacob gets one.  You can be a Cub Scout.  Mom picked them up that particular day and proceeded to read to him all about how great scouting is.  I get home and Jacob proclaims "I'm going to be a Cub Scout!  I get to go camping."  So I guess we're going to scouts.

Once a week meetings shouldn't be too much strain on our schedules.  We can do this.  We go to the first meeting.  There are four Tiger Cubs.  Scouts require two leaders per den.  Two of the parents are already leaders in other dens.  Guess what that means?  Soccer mom is going to be a Den Leader.  Wow.  How's a single mom going to fit in with all of this testosterone?  Just like I do being a female Engineer in a sea of men.  We had our first leader meeting, got to business amidst the craziness, and planned out the next three months.  No special treatment; no avoiding the outsider who dared to breech the walls of the boys clubhouse (the meeting's in a cabin - just what you'd picture a boys tree house to look like inside).  I was just one of the guys.  Cool.

So I'm a Cub Scout Leader.  Another badge to add to Supermom's cape.  If nothing else, it's something to add to the adventure book.  

Monday, October 4, 2010


"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death." ~Earl Wilson

This is going to be a short one.  Gotta hit the hay in preparation for tomorrow.  Need my sleep if I'm going to make it through the day.
Some of you know a bit about my job.  This is for the rest of you.  Being the new girl, I got thrown into the middle of several project launches.  Not gently tossed but thrust like a missile.  No training.  No preparation.  Just hit the ground running. Hard.

For me, this is what I love to do.  Fix things.  Improve upon them.  Fill in the blanks.  It's been going really well.  Until today.  Today I got chewed.  Royally.  Nothing I had any control over or could have prevented.  Basically we are going to lose a lot of money from last month.  Could I have fixed it if I had it from the beginning?  Probably.  But I came in during the week of launch.  Just had to divide and conquer.  Repair what was broken and patch up what I could so we could ship parts.  

I got that part done.  Still a lot of improvement that needs to happen.  But the line is stable and shipping parts.  Now for the cleanup.  It's kinda like a nuclear blast site.  I get to answer for what went wrong and how to fix it next time.  Well, for one, let me launch the project from the beginning.  Two, don't fire the Supervisor the week of launch and put a new person in his place.  Three, require your supplier to ship good material to you, not send whatever just to make shipments.  And give them time to develop the part.  They won't want to hear any of that though.

So, I'm scared.  Unusual for me at work.  My job is on the line.  I'm only contract, so I could be the scapegoat here.  Or my report could cause someone else to lose their job.  It's a lose-lose situation.  One I do not like to be put in.  But I have to do my job because I have to support my family now.  I need lots of prayers.  To guide my actions and my words tomorrow.  That I keep my job.  That I don't cause someone else to lose theirs.  But no matter what, that I am true to myself and my values.  Even if it means walking away...