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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Was Amazing - Part 2

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." ~John Lennon

This is part 2 to the blog I posted in February instead of making a resolution list. If you didn't read part 1, here is the link
http://thenot-so-secretlifeofasoccermom.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-was-amazing.html.

I'll bet you're wondering how it turned out. Well, you tell me...

1. No, I'm not famous yet. But I've had almost 4,000 hits to my blog this year. Double what I had in 2010. Going for 8,000 in 2012. I love and appreciate my followers so much! Feel free to share if you love a blog.

2. I did stop wasting my time on guys that weren't worth it.

3. Yes to karate but no to the other sports (for now). I'm up to my purple belt in Tae Kwon Do about to test for blue so not too shabby. Perhaps I'll be more successful next year with the others.

4. The job is still good. We have tripled our business but I'm not doing Sales (yet).

5. The kids are doing great and continue to follow in what they are passionate about. They've even discovered some new talents. We are still trying to balance Jacob's ADHD and will be seeing a new doctor next month. He did go from C's to B's and even an A.

6. The possibility of a house is closer than ever. We'll see what the new year holds.

7. Did I find "The One?". Oh yeah! This prediction didn't even come close to reality. It is soooo much better than I could have dreamed. He is a perfect fit for not only me but my kids as well. As for the new addition, that is a much less likely proposition lol.

So, the year didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. But this is mainly because I was so busy living life (really truly living for once) that I had much less time for planning. I would venture to say that it turned out much better this way.

Happy New Years' to everyone! I hope yours will be as incredible as mine will be! Be watching for my "2012 Was An Amazing Year" coming next week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Location:New Jersey

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The World Seems Much Smaller Now

"I would rather live in a world where my life was surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it."
~Henry Emerson Fosdick

I didn't used to believe I lived a sheltered life when I was a kid. Maybe not so sheltered but secluded. It was a world of kickball and flag football and summers at the beach. No, not one of those fancy beaches with beach houses and lifeguards but a rocky beach where you never knew what would wash up after a storm. My circle of friends was small but true. The boundaries of my world consisted of the of the pillars at the end of the street and the gate to the lake at the other end.

As I got older, those boundaries stretched a little. A Girl Scout camping trip with an hour long drive felt like we were going to drive off the edge of the Earth. A trip to Fairport Harbor or the West Side brought scenery yet explored at that point of my life. A 20-mile drive for my work permit was a big deal especially considering the lack of a second working car most of the time.

College took me four hours away from home. Five if you count my trombone audition at Miami of Ohio. Road trips took me into West Virginia and even all the way to the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. As my horizons broadened, so did my yearning for travel - my desire to see more of the World and also find myself in it.

I moved to Tennessee and completed college. My career took me to other countries. I learned new cultures and languages. Airline reward miles racked up as our vendor base grew. The World seemed ever so much smaller the more I saw of it. I write this as I am a passenger on our trip to New York for New Years' Eve. Second trip here this year. 10-hour trips seem to fly by as quickly as a 15-minute trip used to.

Since I've moved back home, memories flood back of those early days. Sometimes I hesitate to cross the imagined boundaries of my universe from my childhood. There are no roadblocks stopping me anymore from going to the next county, state or even country. The giants from my past that bullied me have shrunk in size and no longer haunt me. The problems that seemed insurmountable have diminished and no longer hold the power they once did. I don't know if my confidence has helped bring everything into perspective or if my perspective has increased my confidence. Either way, my view of it is so different now.

So, as I sail into 2012, I will continue to broaden my horizons and explore my world as it stands today. I don't pretend to always understand it and I can't say I've conquered all of my demons. I go now, less afraid of what the unknown holds and even less afraid of myself. But I believe I understand me now and isn't that what it is all about anyways?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:New Jersey

Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Gifts

"Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third."
~Marge Piercy 

Have you finished crossing off everyone on your Christmas list?  Do you feel like this month is flying by and you still have so much to complete?  Has the business of the season taken all of the fun out for you?  Then you need to start following the Three Gifts Rule.

Father John at St. John Vianni's gave a sermon to the students the other day.  He told them that "if three gifts were good enough for Baby Jesus, that should be good enough for us."  Hmm...  When is the last time you only got three gifts for Christmas.  I know if there were only three gifts under the tree that my children would be frantically searching the house for the rest of them.  Especially if they were at Mrs. Claus' (I mean Grandma's) house.


My kids get more toys between their birthdays and Christmas than they know what to do with.  That doesn't include hand-me-downs.  We could open up a thrift store and live on the profits for as much as has come through the door.  How would they really react if they only got three gifts each?  I'm sure they would be comparing to the others to make sure I spent the same amount on each of them and they didn't get cheated.  Perhaps pull out the list and check off to make sure they got what they asked for.  Start crawling up the chimney to see if Santa got stuck?

My family is by no means well off.  We have enough to survive plus a little.  The kids' classmates tend to have big houses in expensive subdivisions.  We probably buy their donated clothes at Goodwill.  But they have never really know what true need is.  We have always been blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies with some left over for extras.  Add in grandparents that love to spoil and that makes for some satisfied children.

One of my old co-workers (and yes Terry, I meant old LOL) always asked me "do you need it or do you want it?"  His country drawl winds through my head when I debate on buying something I am probably wasting my money on.  I especially hear it more now when I am going through the stores at this time of year.  Yeah, that outfit is really cute and the girls would love it, but do they need it?  Is there something more necessary that I could be spending that money on?  College for my three kids, pay down a bill or perhaps even put it in savings?

So, three presents is more than enough.  We may put Toys"R"Us out of business or cause the Dow Jones to drop a few points but it won't be the end of the world.  There will be some pouting and a bit of huffing and puffing (but not from Santa because his load will be a little lighter this year).  They will survive.  They'll grow a little stronger because they have to "do without" all of the extra stuff they won't play with anyways.  They will learn how to appreciate and perhaps even cherish what they do get.  And at the end of the day I can put my feet up a little less stressed and a little more grateful.  Besides, three gifts were good enough for Jesus...

As a side note, I also propose that there be a price limit to what we ask Santa for.  I told my kids that we need to ask Santa for fewer and smaller items because he has so many more kids to buy for.  It's really difficult to explain to them why Johnny got a four-wheeler and they got a doll.  What do you think?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breathe More

"Fear less, hope more;
Eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Love more, and all good things will be yours."
~Swedish Proverb

It's getting to be that time of year. The holidays are swooping down upon us quickly. It's a time to celebrate, visit with family and for me, reflect on this past twelve months.

What a year it has been! I have to say its probably one of my best ever. No - I think it is THE best ever. Wondering if I won the lottery? No. But the blessings I have been given are far to precious to put a price tag on. There are hundreds of incredible things that happened to me this year but there's not enough room to list them all. So I'm going to try for my top ten.

10. Health - we have been so entirely blessed with health in my family these past few years. There have been some hiccups and hurdles to overcome, but when I hear of other families' troubles, ours seem so minuscule. Check out this amazing family for example. It just continues to show me how lucky we are.

9. Fun - life sure has changed for me. I went almost a decade being holed up in a trailer in the country. Don't get me wrong - it was an awesome town with incredible people. But as I've mentioned, I was in a self-imposed prison of sorts. I've learned how to have fun and what makes me happy. I've visited islands and other states and even travelled out of the country again. I'm learning how to enjoy myself, even with the little things.

8. Strength - I've become stronger - physically, mentally and spiritually. I now have my purple belt in Tae Kwon Do. Pretty cool, huh? Over halfway to Black Belt. Whoohoo! I'm better at dealing with things that come along. My fiery Irish temper doesn't flare up as much because I know what's important. As I become closer to God, I become closer to God. Think about that one. I'm able to recognize even the small gifts around me and I draw even closer to Him which helps me recognize even more blessings.

7. Attitude of Gratitude - this was a tough one for me. A few years ago I had a bible study that required me to write down what I was thankful for. Besides my kids, I had a very difficult time finding anything else to write about. I was so miserable with myself and my life I couldn't see what was around me. I had to start small. I started looking, and the more I recognized it seems the more I was given. It just snowballed from there. I may not have any more than I did, but I know and very much appreciate what I have.

6. Compassion - this is another area I have greatly improved on. I used to watch shows like Extreme Home Makeover with extreme jealousy. Why did those people deserve that awesome place more than I did? What made them more special? I was so mired in misery I couldn't see past that. Now I am starting to do things I've always wanted to do. We are sponsoring a child. My kids see how other people live. They help think of ways we can help. Money that would once have been used for frivololities I being stashed away to help others. We fed the homeless for Thanksgiving and are going to do the same for Christmas. I helped out people that I may have just walked past before. And I promise that I am showered in more blessings than them!

5. Work - yeah, this is a blessing too! I have found a great job that keeps me busy. I have steady income and continuing growth in our business. Is it what I'm going to do for the rest of my life? Probably now. But it's a stepping stone for whatever the future holds for me.

4. Talent - both old and new. Ie been soooo blessed to be able to write this blog. I used to hate what I wrote. I guess it just took a little bit of living and life experiences to help me along. I love touching other people on her and on Facebook. I hope I continue to have a chance to share a little peek at who I am and how my crazy mind works.

3. Friends - wow! Talk about finding out who the real ones are! This past year has really brought the bad out in some and the incredible out in others. I have solidified bonds with the important ones and walked away from a few others. I have made some great new ones too! My friends have taught me how to be a good friend to others. I love you all!

2. Love - this ones' not going to be about what you think. Wait until #1 for that lol. I have found true love - with myself. Not in a vain, conceited way. With a comfortable old pair of jeans that fit like a glove way. I really like the person I am and will become. The reflection in the mirror isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be. And I really can't wait to see what the future holds.

1. Wayne - again, there is simply not enough room on this page to list the million reasons I love this man. A friend of mine told me that God had the perfect person waiting for me if I would just give Him control. I did (finally) and less than two weeks later the perfect man fell into my life and has no intention of leaving. No, he's not any more perfect than me, but he is perfect for me. Jacob summed it up: "he makes you smile.". Constantly. He warms me from the inside. He challenges me to be better but accepts me for who I am now. He not only puts up with my quirks but embraces them. He lives my kids as much as he loves me. He has brought some beautiful children into our lives as well. He gives me promise for a future that becomes brighter each passing day. I love you baby!

Well, there you go! Just few of the many blessings god continues to bestow upon me. What a great way to breeze into the new year!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us" ~Charles Dickens

This Thanksgiving brought some very special moments for me.  I was blessed to spend it with part of my family and part of my new family and had the opportunity to help others.  I also had a chance to see just how lucky I am in so many ways...

As part of the "teaching the kids the difference between need and want", Wayne and I thought it was time to give more to others so we took the girls to make lunches for the homeless on Thanksgiving morning.  Granted, it took a lot to drag myself and three kids out of our warm beds on a day off.  We decided that we could miss watching the parades and football games for one day.  My mom offered to watch Jacob since we didn't think he would be able to focus for hours.

We went to a local church in Cleveland that prepares meals for the homeless and other hungry families for the holidays.  What we didn't know is that they do this three days a week also.  The kitchen was packed when we got there.  Lots of families helping out for various reasons.  Some were newcomers like us.  Others had done this every Thanksgiving for years.  We were assigned a location to help pack the boxes in assembly line style.  Ours was the cold station.  A salad, roll, butter, cranberry sauce and a piece of pie.  Even with the hot boxes of turkey, potatoes and vegetables it wasn't much compared to the piles of food that we had waiting for us later in the day.  

After a few obligatory hours, most people wandered out to prepare for their own meals.  We had ourselves planned to leave at 11:00 but there were still hundreds of meals still in need of packing so we couldn't bring ourselves to leave.  Our feet hurt.  The cereal we had scarfed down had long burned off.  The turkey smelled so good.  But there were others that needed to be taken care of first.  We were so proud of the girls and how they kept at it.  Then we started to run out of food.  I had earlier mentioned the parable of the five loaves and two fish to the smaller children.  This seemed an appropriate time for a prayer or two.  Just minutes later, more pies and hot food miraculously appeared to fill the last of the boxes needed.  Even today we can be the recipient of small miracles! 

Wayne took a load of food for delivery when they needed a truck.  What he saw touched him pretty deeply.  It's one thing to slap food into a tray and quite another to see the people lined up waiting for what could be their only hot meal for weeks.  It really drove home what we were trying to accomplish and made us appreciate even more what we have.  This one church fed over 10,000 people that day.  And this was just one church!  We ended up staying not for a few hours but over five.

Later, after two houses packed to the hilt with food and very full bellies, we came home.  My sister asked me to stop by Walmart if I could to relieve her for a quick break.  She was waiting in line for one of their great TV specials.  It took me twenty minutes to walk from the end of a very full parking lot into the store.  People were actually running to get inside.  As I entered, more people were pushing and shoving to get to the $2 dvd's or the $5 slippers they just had to have.  It was very much a riot mentality.

Every inch of the store was filled with shoppers.  The checkout lines were all the way to the back of the store at every station.  Not to mention the people who were still waiting in line for their TV's, computers and  video game consoles.  I saw carts filled to the top with "necessary" items to cross off their Christmas lists.  Not a lot of Holiday cheer going around at that store.  And from what I saw posted on Facebook, this was typical of all stores that had Black Friday sales.

As I was standing in line, it hit me just how different this was from the morning.  The attitude was 180 degrees from the other side of town.  If everyone in that store put back just one present, we could have fed each one of those families for a week.  I did a little research.  There are a little over 2,000 homeless people officially in Cuyahoga County.  This does not count the tens of thousands of people with a home but not enough to have three square meals a day.  There were at least 2,000 people in our Walmart alone.  This is one of hundreds of stores in the area that was completely filled with shoppers.  What a difference we could make if everyone pitched in just a little!

I am in no way condemning Black Friday shoppers.  I'm not making myself out to be a saint.  I've been there.  Waiting in line to get a computer that I just had to have.  Grabbing pajamas and toasters that were just too good to pass up.  Spending thousands of dollars making sure everyone on my list gets their required $50 exchange gift.  Buying the latest and greatest toys so my kids won't ever feel neglected.

But when I moved, I realized that the "stuff" didn't matter so much any more.  No, I didn't become a monk.  But the hold that the material things had on me was finally broken.  I didn't have the need to fill my life with quite so much stuff.  I took what meant the most to me:  my kids, my pictures and my videos.  My memories.  Because they are ever so fleeting now.  The toys have lost their pieces.  There are newer and cooler dolls out that long have replaced the old ones.  TV's become outdated; dvd's replaced with blue rays, etc.

Due to the declining economy, we adjusted the "present" budget a few years ago.  Instead of a long list of wants, my kids pick out their very top ones, realizing that even Santa's budget is tight nowadays.  This gets hard to explain when someone at school gets a 4-wheeler from Santa, but we've made it work.  And the kids seem to appreciate more what they do get.  They give up a few gifts so we can pick some angel tree kids to donate to.  The cousins exchange ornaments instead of $50 sweaters and crock pots.  More memories and less dollars.  It has really worked for us so far.

So this year, in the midst of miles of wrapping paper and ribbon, I challenge you to find just one way to help another person.  Drop a few extra dollars in the Salvation Army pail.  Stop and give the guy with the sign at the corner $5 or maybe even the gift card you have for McDonald's that has been sitting unused in your wallet.  Take an extra angel off of the tree.  Shovel your neighbor's sidewalk.  If you are really adventurous, come join us at St. Augustine's as we help feed people on Christmas morning.  The presents will wait.  The ham will still be warm and I promise you that the meal will taste ever so much better.  And please, remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Missing One

"I am saying something about the ultimate mystery. You can understand it, yet you can never understand it totally. It is elusive, it escapes. It is within reach, but it is not within grasp. You are always coming closer and closer to it, but you never arrive."~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

No, I'm not looking for love (found it, he's amazing, not going to lose that). Not searching for myself - I believe I've figured her out too. Fame, fortune - well, I've got things money can't buy so I'm good there. What else could I possibly be hunting for?

A sock. Yes, I said a sock. I have three kids playing soccer. The girls are on the same team, so they both have grey. Jacob has black. At any given time, there are five socks in the soccer bag. Somehow one manages to crawl out to assist in the never-ending quest to drive me crazy. Not that it's a long drive.

For those of you chomping at the bit to give me advice, yes - we have a system. Each of the kids has a 2 1/2 gallon ziplock bag that they are supposed to put their gear in this bag as soon as we walk in the house, dirty or not. Then these baggies go right into the awesome soccer mom duffle bag on wheels that fits all their gear and three soccer balls. It even has some room for snacks and Gatorade.

Well, the majority of the time, everything goes in but not everything comes out. Unless the baggie is a cloaking device, something always goes missing. A sock, shin guard, shin guard socks, a cup, shorts and sometimes even a shirt. How this happens when I watch them put everything in is still a mystery. The stuff always turns up in the strangest places. Under or in the couch, on the bookshelf, in their backpack. Never in the laundry basket though.

The best year was when they all wore orange. This worked out perfectly most of the time. One game Jacob played right after the girls. I was yanking the socks off Brianna while Jacob waited in bare feet and shin guards. Socks and shoes on and him off to the field in thirty seconds. Well, the don't call me the soccer mom for nothing...

I could just break down and buy an extra pair at the beginning of the season but that would be breaking the code. I can't live up to the supermom title if I cheat. Besides, the extras would walk off with the missing ones and that would frustrate me even more. BTW, the missing items also go for permission slips, library books, Awana uniforms and backpacks. And I don't even want to talk about shoes. We have six flip flops hanging on the door all the same foot.

So, one of these days I'll be sitting in a quiet house with everything where it belongs. The socks won't be on the bookshelf, the books won't be on the table and the table will be empty except for the centerpiece. The homework assignments and artwork will be packed in boxes in the attic and the fridge will only hold magnets instead of drawings and fingerprints. And I will be sitting in the quiet missing the chaos that is my life now, my babies grown and looking for their own socks. Until then you will probably find me tearing the room apart trying to find the missing one...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 5, 2011

Being Good

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."~Buddha

I had another blog posting ready but this is on my heart so it's going first.  I was posting these under Jacob's Journey, but I've been lazy about posting over there.  

As most of you know, my son has been diagnosed as ADHD.  It makes our lives a bit more interesting to say the least.  We've had a really good summer.  It's always easier when he doesn't have to sit still for an eight hour school day.  Well, we're back to school now.  Week one was actually pretty good.  I forgot to give him his meds the first two days and he did OK.  He was a bit better the second two on the medicine.  He has a great and understanding teacher this year so that helps.

Jacob has been a bit rambunctious the last couple days.   Today was no exception.  Luckily he got to work off some of the energy at the playground.  We went to my mom's afterwards.  While there he picked up her Magic 8-Ball (you know - the kind you shake and ask some stupid question like "am I going to win the lottery?").  He asked it if he was going to be good when he grows up.  Geez.  I about broke into tears right then.  

Where does he get the idea that he's a bad person?  You don't realize just how much he picks up on what other people say.  I picked him up in my arms right then and gave him a big hug and told him "of course you are since you are such an amazing kid already!"  Later on he was called a few more names.  He told me when we talked about it that he wanted to say something but he was trying not to get into more trouble.  I know its tough for him but sometimes I forget how tough it must be for him.  He loves me so much that he is trying not to cause me so much difficulty and he's trying to make other people happy too.

On the surface most people just see a bad kid.  They think he just doesn't listen.  They don't know that it's harder for him to focus.  He's easily distracted.  He is quite impulsive.  He has a really strong sense of justice and will "fall out" if he feels he has been wronged.  He has me telling him what to do.  He has two bossy sisters trying to either tell him what to do or get him into some mischief.  He has tons of teachers with different discipline styles all directing him.  Then the occasional family or friend trying to be helpful.  And has a dad that doesn't think there is anything wrong with him and that he can control his behavior but chooses not to.

No wonder he just gives up sometimes.  And feels like he is a "bad" kid.  He's seven.  Let me repeat that - "He's SEVEN."  Not 14.  Not 21.  Not 30.  He doesn't have life experience to tell him how to behave in public.  He learns from his peers.  Kids his age that for the most part don't act any differently than he does without having a behavioral problem to deal with.  Why do most people expect him to act like a grown up?  To sit still for an 8-hour school day.  I can't sit still that long.   I don't know many people who can.  

Why do people have to call him names?  Why do people label him?  Why can't he just be accepted as an active kid.  A very smart, very loving kid when he's allowed to be.  He's not lighting fires or knocking out people's windows with stray rocks or accidental pitches.  He's not bullying other kids.  He likes to climb.  Anything.  He can't walk - he always has to run.  He fidgets.  Put Mario Bros. in front of him and he's a statue.  Other than that he's moving unless he's sleeping.  But he'll give you a bear hug and melt you with his smile.  Especially if he wraps his arms around you and says "I love you mommy."

So give my kid a break.  And all the others out there that are just being kids.  Don't call them names.  Don't label them.  Let them be who they are meant to be.  Try to remember when you were a kid.  I'm sure we all drove just a few adults crazy.  And we turned out OK.  Most of us turned out to be functioning and contributing adults.  Let them be kids just a little bit longer.  Because before long, they'll be graduating from college.  Walking down the aisle.  Having a hard time enjoying life because of the constraints of being an adult.  It will be here before we know it.  I love you baby just the way you are!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Soccer Mom High Speed Lane

“He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.“
~Oscar Wilde

I know, I know - I'm a bad blogger. No excuses this time. Except that I have been living life. Very well. And I did post a blog. It just wasn't on here. You can check it out at my friend Jen's website. Also, she's having a 5K run in honor of Patty and to raise money for ovarian cancer. If you want to know more about it, click here.

You're probably wondering about the title of this post. Well, apparently it is that time of year again. When the schedules get crazy. When shoes and jeans miraculously shrink two sizes and nothing is "cool" enough for the school year. Time to cruise the clothes aisles and pile the basket up with the newest school supplies. $238 and counting so far this year. And that's just the list they sent home from school!

For me, the summer has been busy. But the kids were away for five weeks. Even since they've been back they haven't had any daily activities. That's all about to change. I got a call from one of the kids soccer coaches for practices starting this week. Really? It can't possibly be time to start all over again. I'm still sorting through stacks of school projects. I've barely been swimming. It's too early to put the Soccer Mom hat on yet. I'm actually typing this in the one hour of free time I have this week - while everyone is at practice. Wow! An entire hour of the iPad all for me lol. Yeah, I could be taking a nap but what's the fun in that?

Oh, but it's time. There's no escaping it. I got off easy not having baseball this summer. Dinner at the table (well, at least some of the time.) Lots of Super Mario games on the Wii. It's been nice having the downtime. Back to the 10:00 dinners and forgotten homework that gets done at the breakfast table. Laundry at one in the morning. Sleep is highly overrated.

Well, now that it's here I have a suggestion. Actually my Soccer Mom friend Ali suggested it. We need a high speed lane specifically for Soccer Moms. This goes for baseball, softball and karate moms too. But I am "The Soccer Mom" so I get to name it. We need a lane without traffic lights that inevitably all turn red as I am approaching. One not clogged with minivans doing 40 in a 65. (Sorry - I know a lot of Soccer Moms drive mini-vans, but based upon my experience I am going to require a driving test prior to being allowed in such lanes.) One that allows us to get off of work at 4:00, drive 20 minutes across town to pick up a child, shove McDondald's down them and wash it down with Gatorade, get the child dressed and make it to the soccer field by 5.

Not as easy as it sounds. Especially when the state tree of Ohio is the Orange Barrel. They are quite fond of these in my area. And even more importantly are the 11 stoplights between the freeway and soccer and the 12 between my apartment and karate. No less than 80% of these lights will be red in between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00. After that time they will inevitably be green as I return home.

I'd even be willing to pay a fee for such a lane. It has to be cheaper than the speeding ticket I'm bound to get. And hopefully safer. I could go a more reasonable speed without all of the traffic. Maybe even make it somewhere on time...

So, until the ODOT takes my advice and adds my lane, you'll see me zipping across town doing my standard 5 MPH (yeah right...) faster than the speed limit. Throwing four karate bags, an oversized soccer bag and cub scout/Awana/choir/band/whatever else they sign up for this year bags in the back of my pickup truck. Here's to all the moms (and dads, grandparents and other awesome friends and family members that step in to help keep our children's lives enriched beyond the game consoles. My hour is up anyways. Happy back-to-school month!




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friends I Haven't Met Yet

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.' "~ C.S. Lewis

I've already told you about my bff's back in TN.  I will have to catch you up with the ones in Ohio at a later date.  Today I want to talk about friends I've made that I've never met.  Yeah, I know that sounds weird.  I mean - just how close can you become with someone you've never met.  Pretty darned close in my experience.

Facebook has been an important link for me to all of my friends and acquaintances.  It's how I kept in touch with my family when I lived in Tennessee and how I keep in touch with those I left back there.  It's how I became re-acquainted with people I had not seen in decades.  And it's also how I've come to know some really incredible people.  I can't mention everyone, but here a few that stand out for me.

I met Jen through my friend Teresa.   She's the one that turned me on to blogging.  She's a published author (yeah!) and a really great lady.  Her friend Jen just happened to be writing a book.  A book about a single mom who is moving from TN to OH with her child and finds true love.  See any similarities?  Well, Teresa got me a signed copy of Jen's book (The Heart's Journey Home)It was amazing how so many things in the book mirrored my life.

Jen and I became friends through my journey.  She shared with us her Patty, whom we lost this year to cancer.  I was blessed to have met Patty and her husband in person.  Another connection made through "friends I haven't met yet."  Jen is going to be releasing her second book soon and I can't wait.  She has asked me to be a guest blogger on her blog (I'm so excited!), so I'll be posting a link for that soon!

I've met two really great photographers through FB - Jim and Larry.  I met Jim through another friend I hadn't met yet but finally have Helena.  She had posted a link to some of his amazing photography.  Larry is right up there with him in talent.  They both have the same camera I do and give me some excellent advice on taking pictures.  They also challenge me to do better and keep my camera with me more often.  Check out their pics if you can. 

I have also met Barb.  I didn't meet Barb through FB but through my blog.  She is one of my most loyal followers and never ceases to lend a hand up or give an atta girl.  She's a great writer and I love her view of the world.  As bad as some of my past dates were, Barb shared some that made me thankful for what I did have.  She finally found her true love and helped keep my faith up that I would too.

Barb gave me my first blog award.  Wayne's keeping me pretty busy and I haven't been able to acknowledge it properly.  So here it is. 

I'm so tickled to get it.  Now the fun part:  I get to pay it forward.  Not in the "secret do-something-good-for-someone" way but the "shout-it-out-to-the-world" way I can from this really cool blog.  So, here are my five blogger pics:

http://serendipiteeblog.com/
~Teresa's blog (the inspiration for it all)

http://theheartsjourneyhome.blogspot.com/ 
~Jen, the author's blog

http://www.mysinglemomadventure.com/ 
 ~My other friend Jennifer's blog

http://midlifearmywife.com/
~A temporarily single mom's adventure

http://www.danoah.com/ 
~I'm sure Dan doesn't need another award, but his Single Dad Laughing blog is awesome and a great source of inspiration.

Please check out these blogs when you get a chance.  Maybe it will help you understand just a little better how I got like this lol!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Children

"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven." ~Henry Ward Beecher

Quiet.  That's what I am sitting in.   And yes, you can actually BE in quiet.  I'm sitting in this apartment and there is not a sound.  Nothing.  It's eerie.  There's always some kind of noise.

But the gentle snoring of children in deep sleep is gone tonight.  The occasional restless tossing and turning.  It's just - quiet.  

You see, the kids are visiting their dad for 4 weeks.  I was going to break it up into 2 weeks at a time, but I caved and agreed to 4 weeks in a row.  And we swapped a few days early, so it's almost going to be 5.  What was I thinking?  Until last summer, I had only been away from the kids for a day at a time and that was rare.  A week goes by pretty quickly.  But not 5.  I'm halfway through and I don't think I can handle it.   I've stayed busy up until now.  But tonight - in the quiet - I don't know if I'll make it another day.  

But of course I will.  I always survive, right?  I'll throw myself into something that takes my mind off of it a little while longer.   My amazing boyfriend has done an incredible job of this so far.  But he's out of town for a few days.   I need to keep myself busy.

So, instead of blogging about a bad date (I've had more than my fair share) or my wonderful boyfriend (there's plenty to tell there too), I've decided to blog about my kids.  Just think of it as  free therapy for me lol.

My kids are my life.  A huge portion of it that I couldn't live without.  I've always known that I was meant to have kids.  I spent a long time thinking that I wasn't going to be able to have any of my own.  And then I became pregnant.  It was an amazing time.  Three months of morning sickness and pre-baby shopping.  My family was ecstatic.   Then at 12 weeks we lost that one.  We'll never know exactly why or what happened.  I was devastated.  I fought anger and bitterness and was quite ticked off at God for letting it happen.  What I didn't know at the time was what he had in store for me yet.  I finally realized that I could get pregnant and just needed to figure out how to carry it to term.


After a year and a half, I finally became pregnant again.  I was really, really sick this time.  I went for an ultrasound at 7 weeks.  The technician looked around a bit and then excused herself from the room.  I started bawling.  I just knew something was wrong with the baby.  When she came back, she said that she needed confirmation of something...that there were two babies.  Twins!  By this time I am really crying.  What a joyous moment.  
 
And I was a nervous wreck.  Not only was I high-risk because of the first one, but I was really high-risk because I was having twins.  I prayed.  Not daily but hourly.  Whenever I had a free moment.  I was so grateful for each milestone I passed.  I did go into pre-term labor, but we were able to hold out until 36 1/2 weeks.  That's super for twins.  And I had two extremely healthy girls.  What a blessing!

You can't go anywhere quickly with twins.  Everyone, and I mean everyone has to ask.  Most people are just curious, but many ask some pretty ignorant questions.  Like - "Oh - you have a boy and a girl?"  They're both in pink with bows in their hair.  Which one is the boy?!?  Or - "Are they paternal?"  Nope - but they are fraternal.  We've kind of grown out of this phase by now.  Jacob even argued with my mom and told her that the girls weren't twins.Lol.



Fast forward two years.  Past countless sleepless nights and diaper changes in the tens of thousands.  Past hard-drives full of pictures.  Past smiles that melt your hearts and unforgettable moments.  My sis-in-law calls to ask me if I think she's pregnant.  The smell of cheeseburgers makes her queasy and she's really tired.  As she's talking, I realize I have the same symptoms.  Not only is she pregnant but so am I.  And we're due the same day with boys.  I I knew from day one that Jacob was going to be a boy.  I had no doubt in my mind that God had a special child waiting for me. 


I wouldn't trade my angels for anything in the world.  Sleep is highly overrated.  Money is too.  Who needs to keep the miles down on my car?  I was meant to be a mom - Brianna, Kiara and Jacob's mom- more than any other purpose in my life.  What I went through solidified these bonds even more.  And I've managed to let at least one more hour of my 2 1/2 weeks left to go letting you into a little more of our lives.  Thanks for letting me share and please pray for their safety and happiness while they're away! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where life begins

"Where land ends, life begins."~Unknown




What happens when you let go of life as you know it and set sail on the open sea? You could hit rough waters. You may get blown off course. Or, like I did, you just might find yourself stranded on an incredible island with an absolutely amazing guy.

Well, stranded might be a strong word especially considering we had a reservation. But hey - it sounded good lol! I grew up in Cleveland but I had never been to Ohio's islands. When we heard that Wayne's brothers' band Cocktail Johnny was playing in Put-in-bay, we knew we couldn't pass up the opportunity. I knew we were going to have a great time. I just didn't know how great. So how does a seemingly wonderful trip turn into something spectacular? By putting it into God's hands.

Let me back up just a little. Last summer, in the midst of my divorce, a friend of mine told me about her journey. I won't go into details because that is her story to tell. I can tell you that she wasn't in the right place with God in her relationships and decided to give it over to Him. Right after that she met the wonderful man that is her husband.

You may know that I put my move, my job search and my kids into God's hands. I took a huge leap knowing that He would catch us. I didn't, however, give him control of my relationships. I mean, why burden Him with such a small thing. He made our journey great. The least I could do was handle this part of my life.

Truth be told, I didn't want him to have control. I knew some of the choices I was making weren't the best. I figured I could keep control of this with no repercussions. Probably a good reason for my lousy dates. God was making a point. He definitely was preparing me. Tempering me as He always does when He wants to make me stronger.

But instead of a difficult trial like I would have expected as a consequence, He gave me someone amazing. A great man, one that knows the true definition of the word. Strong, protective, tender, caring. Knows just the right things to say and do. Just the right balance of family and personal life with a large shift towards family. One that isn't shocked by a night of soccer and karate but actually wants to go for ice cream afterwards. One that not only puts up with the chaos at the zoo, but actually suggests the trip.

One that takes me to an island. No, it wasn't Fiji. It was soooo much better. It's home. Not Cleveland, but almost. On my lake. The one I grew up on. The one that already holds so many memories for me. We jet off to the island with the breeze blowing through our hair. Set sail into the deep blue that we are so familiar with. There's always a point when away from shore when all you can see is water. The point when you have to let go of all that you know and trust. Trust that the boat will not sink. Trust that the captain is going to take you the right destination. In the same way I finally gave up control to God. I let him choose the right person. I let him choose where the compass was going to point. And just as I did, Wayne sailed into my life. What makes it even more amazing is that Wayne did exactly the same thing. He says that God delivered him an angel. And that's exactly how he makes me feel.

So, what do you do when God brings such an incredible person into your life? You let go of the anchor. Raise the sails. Put the boat on autopilot (or God pilot in our case). And head to the front of the boat so you can feel the breeze in your hair and the spray of the waves on your face. Brace for the rough waters knowing you are in for the ride of your life. And cherishing every exciting moment of it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You, me and lemonade

"Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her on face in a perfect mirror."~Rabindranath Tagore

Lemonade?  Soccer mom is AWOL for weeks and she's writing about lemonade?  Yep!  I'll bet you're wondering where I'm going with this.  Am I in a sour mood?  Did life give me lemons?  Nope.  God gave me a very incredible night with a very incredible guy.

Let me back up.  So you know I met someone.  Someone amazing.  Someone who adores me and I adore him right back.  Someone that had to be handpicked by God he's so good for me.  The really cool thing is that he feels the same way!

He survived meeting my family.  No, not survived - thrived.  As mom said "it feels like he's been here all along."  That's exactly it.  I would say that I can't remember a time when Wayne wasn't here.  But that's not true.  I wouldn't appreciate what I have so much if I hadn't gone through all of the bad.  But he feels like home.

After the perfect first date, I had a crappy week at work.  Five Mondays in a row.  By the third Monday (that would be Wednesday if you are counting), Mr. Perfect decided to take matters into his own hands.  He decided to not only surprise me, but my kids as well.  Jacob had received a new bike for his birthday but the girls weren't going to get theirs until the end of July.  Wayne fixed up his daughters' old bike, found another one on Craigslist (because he couldn't just bring one), and brought a scooter for Jacob.  The expressions on the the kids' faces were priceless!  Not only that, but he brought flowers for mom (that's me!) as well.  He knew exactly what would make the day brighter for all of us. Then he asked if I would mind if he came to Jacob's last soccer game.  Mind?  Could he be more perfect?  He wants to come to a soccer game?  Amazing!

So, you're asking, where does the lemonade come in?  Well, our most recent date was to the Rib Cook-off in Berea.  Biker night at that.  He worked late, so we got there after most of the people went home.  There were no lines, a perfectly awful band playing some great Journey songs (where is Cocktail Johnny when you need them?), and some incredible food.  What did we wash it all down with?  You got it - lemonade.  We may have been the only two at the fairgrounds.  A seemingly normal date that was simply extraordinary.  That's how they all are when we are together.

This is what you get when you place your heart in God's hands. A gorgeous, hard-working man who is always putting you on a pedestal.  Days that turn into weeks that just get better by the moment.  A future that looks brighter every time you turn around.  And you realize that your dream world is now happening when you are awake.  So, I'm washing all of these amazing things that are happening down with lemonade.  Because what could be more perfect at the end of a great day?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not just any other guy...

"Life is like a baseball game.  When you think a fastball is coming, you gotta be ready to hit the curve."~Jaja Q

My life is crazy.  Work, school, soccer, karate, cub scouts, church and an countless birthday parties and school activities that come up.  That being said, my family is crazier.  Really.  I love them to death and I am soooo happy to be back near them.  But they are crazy nonetheless.

Knowing they are crazy (I mean that in the most loving of ways...) what would possess me to bring a super-nice, awesome, incredible guy to meet them?   Must be the touch of insanity that is passed through our bloodlines.  Hey - we had two completely amazing dates.  How could a seemingly innocent baseball game hurt?  (Flashback to numerous dates: alien guy, emergency call guy, facebook breakup guy...OK, back to the present.)

The girls' choir was singing the National Anthem at the Lake County Captains game.  We originally had our first date planned for last night.  It was Friday the 13th, but what the heck!  It's not like Jason was going to show up....  Luckily we had our first date early.  If we hadn't - and it was any other guy - this would have been not only the first date but our last as well.  But it wasn't our first date and he's not even close to just any other guy.

A daunting prospect - meeting all three of my kids and my mom too.  We get to the game and turns out my youngest brother, sis-in-law and their two kids are there too.  That's about 20 percent of my family now.  This guy is in for a ride.  Medical Research Scientist would have called for help before we got to the gate, Facebook Guy would have unfriended all of us at once, and Alien Guy would have called the Mother Ship for backup.  And yet I turn to my right and he's still standing there.  With a smile on his face at that.  Well - maybe not a "this is the best time I've ever had in my life" smile but more of a "I think I can, I think I can..." smile.  But he's there.  By my side.

Gift shop first so Jacob can spend some of his birthday money.  We leave with our arms loaded with foam fingers and swords and smiles on the kids faces.  The girls take off to sing and mom goes for something to quench her thirst.  That leaves us and Jacob, who is bouncing like a Mexican jumping bean.  We get the typical ballpark fare and head to our seats.  Of course, there are people in our seats, so we sit in some open ones so we can catch the singing.  The kids were great of course.  The people who had the seats we were sitting in now show up.  So we have to move the very large family that decided to sit in ours.  Fifteen minutes and a few dirty looks later we finally sit down.

Game starts and all the choir kids swarm back to their seats.  We have the very unfortunate situation that our new venue sits us right in front of the sopranos.  Every time the signboard says "Noise" they let out blood curdling screams that must have broken the windows on the Space Shuttle.  And somehow in all of this, my date is planted between myself and my mom.  I don't have to worry about the kids jumping all over him, right?  I didn't think I'd have to watch out for mom though lol....  Actually, Mom kept him occupied with numerous stories the rest of us have heard a million times.  It's hard for her to pass up a new audience.  He even almost caught a fly ball headed for my mom's head (I had nothing to do with that - I promise), but the choir teacher gave him the look of death as he went for it so I'm sure he had no choice but to let it go.

He finally gives in to the temptation to quench his thirst as well.  This guy is so great that he doesn't want to drink in front of the kids, so we head to third base.  We joke about what an insane night it is and the thought crosses my mind that maybe I should start taking car keys at the beginning of the night - kind of a designated driver thing.  Ya know - if I have their keys it will be a lot harder to run lol.... As we are sitting there, another fly ball is headed directly for us.  I stand up to catch it, turn to the right, and proceed to knock his beer over with my camera case.  Thank God it just went on the ground and not all over him.  I'm almost to the point of tears by now because really - could this possibly get any more Murphy's Law?  I just really wanted to get the game ball for him.  I buy him another beer and we steal a few more minutes of relative peace and quiet.

On our way back we get ensnared by Kiara wanting money for a glow stick for her and her friend.  She tells my date "Mom said you were going to spoil us."  Yeah, that's Kiara.  Being the gentleman that he is, he looks to me making sure it is OK and grants her wish.  Before we even sat down, Brianna coyly asks for some ice cream.  This prince takes her for a double scoop chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone.   Luckily Jacob was preoccupied with other things or my date would have had to take out a loan.

The rest of the game is fairly uneventful all things considered (except for the crimson tinge on my suitor's cheeks brought about by my mother's serenade).  We won the game.  Ended with a great fireworks show.  Mom took the kids home for a sleepover so we could finish our date in a bit of normalcy (Thank you Mom!).

So, there I was: bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, down by two runs.  And yet somehow the bat found the sweet spot.  I managed to find a small hole in the universe and hit one out of the park.  No, that's not right.  The universe hit one for me.  God sent me a truly amazing man that could survive a night with my family.  Any other guy would have passed on a night like this.  Or left at the ticket booth.  Or gone to the bathroom and never came back.  But he stayed.  I didn't even have to take his keys.  And if I look to my right, he's still standing there.  With a smile on his face.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are you who you want to be?

"This is your life - are you who you want to be?"~Lyrics from This is Your Life by Switchfoot

Wow!  What a question to have posed to you first thing in the morning.  I don't know about you, but I am not a morning person.  I tend to stay up too late doing things I want to do that I can't get done during a normal day.  Or, like last night, searching my house for my laundry card that still eludes discovery.  So not much sleep and still plenty of dirty laundry lol.

I'll ask myself this question first.  Am I who I want to be?  I know I am who I am supposed to be.   I am where I am supposed to be.  But am I who I want to be?  For the most part I will have to say yes.  Looks wise no, I'm not a supermodel.  But I am quite beautiful and still turn a decent amount of heads when I walk past.  I'm not quite where I want to be but in a much better place than I used to be.  And I'm real.  I like that about myself.  I know when I look in the mirror, I am what God made me (with the exception of some help from Ms. Clairol and a few pins in my shoulder and foot...).  No guessing if they are real or if there were a few nips and tucks.  It's all me.

The same thing can be said for my personality.  I truly enjoy who I am.  And I am real.  The person you meet is the person I am inside as well.  Sometimes I push through a bit of shyness that most people will never see, but otherwise it's me.  I'll tell it like it is but be gentle about it.  If I tell you something, you can believe that I mean it.  I'm known for being a sweet, outgoing, sensitive Christian girl with a bit of an adventurous side.  Can't say that I'm perfect, but I mean well.

As with everyone, I have things I would like to improve upon.  I want to be a better mother.  Yeah, I'm a good mother, but i want to be a great one.  With three kids, that's a lot of work.  But work that is well worth it.  I want to be a better friend.  I have some truly amazing friends.  I hope I can pay forward the friendship I have been blessed with.  I want to be a better Christian.  And eventually, I would like to have a job where I feel I am contributing more to society and not just bringing home a paycheck.

I realized a while back that like the song says - "This is your life ."  It is my life.  I have taken control of it.  Taken responsibility for my position in life.  Accepted that I can change what I don't like and appreciate what I do.  No one is responsible for my happiness and well-being.  That is my job and I have embraced it wholeheartedly.

So, for the most part, yes - I am who I want to be.  I'm where I'm meant to be.  Going in a direction that I like.  Now, I pose the question to you:  Are you who you want to be?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did that really just happen?

"Once we are in the habit of filtering what we want to believe through a sieve, disbelief splashes back in our face" ~Author unknown

So dating.  Have I told you it sucks lately?  Actually - it is more a constant source of amazement and entertainment.  Why do I share my misfortunes with the world?  Why should I be the only person getting a good laugh...?

I had a free night.  By free I mean without children (stayed at Grandma's), no work, and basically no responsibilities.  It doesn't happen very often, so when it does I try to take advantage of it.  What would any self-deprecating, borderline insane person do in a case such as this?  Probably go through her list of semi-normal appearing contacts and see who she should give the honor of taking her out on a date.  And that's what I did.

I decided on the medical research scientist.  Sounded normal.  Cute.  Had a busy schedule, so he would understand mine.  What the heck.  I rush around to get the apartment in order.  It's the week before my girls' play, so life's been super busy.  I have to erase all remnants of the chaos that is my life and make it appear that I have it all together and I just didn't vacuum up the pixos/sculpy/paperoni's that littered the dining room floor. (It's a mom thing you wouldn't understand unless you have kids).

Apartment is clean.  That leaves me about 7 minutes to get ready.  Wow!  That's a record.  Usually it's only 5.  I get ready.  I look good.  Really good.  And I say that in the most humble of ways.  Scientist knocks on the door.  I glide over and answer it without breathing so he doesn't know I had to run to the door.  He's pretty cute in person.  I invite him in.  We talk for a few.  Seems to be going well.

I am dying of thirst from rushing so much.  I go to the kitchen for a glass of water.  When I come back out, he's texting.  Not a super good sign.  I mean, I know I'm new at this, but I understand this means his attention is elsewhere and not on me.  I joke and ask if he was letting everyone know that I wasn't an axe murderer.  (Long story - basically mom asks me how I know someone's not an axe murderer.  I ask everyone on the off chance someone will be honest lol).  He says that he was putting his phone in emergency mode so we could have some privacy.  Riiiight....

No more than 5 minutes later, his phone beeps.  Hmmm.  He proceeds to begin the worst case of acting I've seen in a long time.  He drops his head into his hands.  He acts hesitant to answer it.  Says he has a different ring for everyone and that is his co-worker.   He hems and haws.  (That looks strange - I've never typed it before lol).  Says that either he wants to go out for a drink or the lab blew up.  Mmmhmmm...  yeah.  I was born yesterday.

I encourage him to check it.  I mean, I know what's going on, but he's trying ever so hard to seem genuine.  I don't know whether to play along or call him out on the floor.  If I call him out, I won't know just how far he'll take this.  Play along it is...  He gives in and finally checks the text making sure he holds the phone so I have a clear view of the message.  "You have to come back into work immediately.  The condenser on the freezer has died."  Plausible.  Maybe a 1% chance of some truth.  He now takes his head in both of his hands exhaling loudly.  "I told my boss we shouldn't buy the used freezer.  We are going to lose 3 years of research and $35,000 worth of materials.  I have to go in and see if there is a spare freezer that we can use."  Keep in mind this is all being spoken with deep drama.    I just keep my mouth closed other than offer to help move the stuff which he quickly rejects.  It's so hilarious I am about to laugh at this point.

He heads back to work and tells me he will text when he gets there on the off chance he can make it back.  Like that's going to happen.  I call my bff's.  I ask "please tell me that there is the slightest chance that he was telling the truth."  Nope.  Pretty consistent responses.  Ali suggests I have him send a picture.  Brilliant.  He finally texts me and says that there is water all over the floor.  I respond "OMG.  That's terrible.  You'll have to send me a picture!"  And - that's the last I heard from the medical research scientist...

I wasn't upset.  It didn't kill my self-esteem.  I laughed.  I mean, really?  Did he really just do that?  Yes, yes - he really did that.  Something didn't click on his side.  I would have understood if he was not into me and just told me without playing a game and treating me like I was stupid.  But, apparently he had a burning desire to be turned into a bad dating blog.

And so, here I am granting him his deepest desire.  Because if you think you are going to treat me with a complete lack of respect and get away with it, you are sorely mistaken.  I will blog.  That's what I do.  And instead of sitting around waiting, I called up my buddy and went over to his house and played Xbox 360 until 8 a.m.  There's just the slightest chance I was picturing his face as I was obliterating bad guys!  Until next time...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's not much...but it's all I have

"No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path."
~Buddha
 

For those of you keeping up, you have probably figured out by now that I didn't end up with the love of my life.  Otherwise, why would I torture myself with the very large percentage of bad dates.  OK - not bad - opportunities for improvement as we say at work.  Lots and LOTS of opportunities...

It was a beautiful journey filled with hope and promise.  I was given what I needed at the time and I know that I gave myself completely and totally.  I gave my heart.  I gave my soul.  Because for the first time, someone took the time to see it.  I was opened from the inside out.  Scars that I had buried deep and some that I didn't realize I had were healed.  I believe I am a better person for having known him and I will never forget what we had together.  Even though it's over, hearing a phrase he said or a song we had discussed brings me instantly to that moment in time.  He's the reason I now write.  My mind was turned on and it doesn't have an off button now.  I needed somewhere to put the outpouring of emotions and thoughts.

This month has been especially poignant as each date holds a special memory.  It's amazing how I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday but I remember exactly what I was doing April 13th last year.  I can tell you what the weather was like.  Even what was discussed.  It was such a period of renewal and discovery not only in myself but in how I interact with others. 

And I learned what a broken heart feels like.  A physical pain like a hand crashing through your chest and squeezing your heart of practically every ounce of existence.  Then it leaves as quickly as it comes leaving you alone to find the pieces scattered like grains of sands throughout your soul.  And that is the pilgrimage - you now have to figure out how to make it on your own.  Each moment of self-discovery embeds another fragment back where it should be.  You don't every return back to the person you were but eventually you get to be who you were meant to be.  The goal is to be grateful for the good and learn from the bad.  I had an awful lot of good - and that's the part I miss the most.

I'm left with only me.  I'm left with just my heart.  It's all I have.   But it's a very special heart.  It now knows happiness.  It knows sorrow.  It is resilient and strong.  The scars are tougher than the fibers that were there before.  It's tender and has a whole lot of love to give.  It's guarded; so much more so than before because it fears the pain but still open enough to the possibility that I know is still out there waiting.  This was my path to walk.  One where I left no regrets.  And that is the first time in my life I can honestly say that.

So, now I know what I want.  My standards are held high because I now realize that I am worth so much more than what I've been given in the past.  I've been told that I'm expecting too much.  What they don't understand is that I've had it - I know it's out there.  And I can't settle for anything less than that again.  It may be a futile search but I'm not in a hurry.  Because I will no longer just survive.  I plan to thrive and I will find what I am looking for. And in the meantime you'll get to enjoy the journey with me :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Year... (Part Three)

"To be alive is a fine thing. It is the finest thing in the world, though hazardous. It is a unique thing. It happens only once in a lifetime. To be alive, to know consciously that you are alive, and to relish that knowledge - this is a kind of magic. Or it may be a kind of madness, exhilarating but harmless." 
~Edna Ferber

 

  Alive. 

  It's hard to know what alive is when you are a shadow.  There is such a haze surrounding you that you can't see the sunlight.  It's cold and damp in that place.  You don't realize you are sad because you don't know what it feels to be happy.  You are the one that follows the action.  You are always a step behind because the ones making the shadow get to have all of the fun.  You can get close but you can never get ahead of the pack because by nature you are behind.  The sun's warmth is just out of your reach.
 
  I guess looking back that is a pretty good description of being depressed.  That was me.  I didn't know I was depressed at the time and would have denied it to the bitter end.  I'm too strong of a person to ever let depression touch me.  But it did.  I let someone steal my self-esteem and hold me down.  A self-imposed prison with bars made from years of verbal and emotional abuse and tied together by my belief in the lies.

  But today was a new day.  A warmth was spreading throughout me and shining out into the world.  I could actually feel it.  It wasn't just because Spring was beginning to bloom in Tennessee.  It was due to me finally feeling good about myself after so long.  Someone believed in me.  Someone remembered me; remembered who I was and showed me who I could still be.  I think that was the biggest thing - realizing that I could still be someone.  That this wasn't all that was left.  I could have happiness.  I could change my situation.  That there was more out there for me than just being a tired, broken-down taxi service and a target for a sharp and biting tongue.  

  I had found an amazing friend who saw all of this in me.  But he refused to take credit for any of it.  He told me that he was just showing me what I wasn't able to see myself.  He was my mirror.  Reflecting back to me what was there all along but I couldn't see it.  Maybe because of the darkness.  Perhaps because someone was blocking my view.  But it didn't matter.  Because I was finally awake.

So being awake opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities.  I was finally able to see what life might have in store for me.  A change of scenery.  A new career.  A closer walk with God allowing Him control of the reigns for a while.  A new-found self-confidence.  A realization.  That I was going to be OK. 

No, not just OK - truly living life out loud...

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Year... (Part Two)

"The poet knows himself only on the condition that things resound in him, and that in him, at a single awakening, they and he come forth together out of sleep.”~Jacques Maritain

 The next morning I go to the bathroom to reassess the damage.  Yep, it’s still short.  It didn’t grow back overnight.

  I head to work.  Maybe everyone will be too busy to notice.  Nope.  Everyone has time to comment.  A couple of glances.  A few second glances.  Then the guys just start to stare.  Now I’m really getting compliments.  One of the cute ones (you know, the one that’s always on the top five lists of hot guys you work with) mentions he really likes short hair and my haircut is hot.  Oh my God!  Did that just happen?  If I had known that, the hair would have come off a long time ago.  It continues on like that for the rest of the work day.  It's awkward, because I really don't like to call attention to myself.  But I have to say it was quite flattering.   Especially less than a week after your husband decided he wanted a divorce.

  Later that night, I hop on the computer as usual.  I log onto one of those really popular social networking sites.  An old “friend” pops on.  We chat a little.  Talk about life for the last twenty-two years.  Is it really possible that it has been that long?  No, can’t be.  I’m not old enough to have done anything twenty-two years ago.  Well, back to the story.  He tells me he used to have a crush on me.  A big one.  For years.  Kept a picture of me for all this time.  I never knew.  Then he tells me he could still have one.  OK, here come the butterflies.  What do I do?  The normal me would have said thank you and logged off in a hurry.  But I’m not the old me.  I’m the new me with the hot new haircut.

  I ask coyly "really...?"  (Of course, it's hard to convey coyly over a chat, but ya know what I mean.)  Needless to say, we talked for hours.  Like until four in the morning.  This is going to make work very interesting.... 

  I'm sure at this point you are saying "Yeah, yeah... extremely vulnerable soon-to-be-divorced soccer mom.  Wake up.  He's just taking advantage of your weakened state."  But this wasn't a just another guy.  This one knew me, inside and out and I never knew it.  He remembered things about me that I barely remembered - the way I smiled, the color of my eyes (they're not just blue; they are blue with gold around the pupil so they sometimes look green), how my eyes get darker when I'm angry, how I bite my lip sometimes when I am unsure.  Who remembers this stuff?  I couldn't believe that anyone paid that much attention to me.  I'm the plain, quiet one with an occassional burst of outgoingness.  I'm not the kind of girl someone never forgets.  But he remembered...

  So, after a few hours of conversation with an amazingly special person, I started to wake up from the sleep I had been in for so long...

(Continued in part 3)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Year... (Part One)

"If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today."
~E. Joseph Cossman

March 23rd.  Just another day.  Nothing special about it.  A couple days after Spring begins.  Just after St. Paddy's Day.  Not yet Easter.  Taxes aren't even due.  Perhaps you have a birthday on it.  But otherwise, it's a day that goes by unnoticed.

Not by me.  You see - that's the day my life changed.  Everything I knew to be true about myself and my life changed on that day.  One year ago tomorrow my world did a 180 degree turn.  I lost what I thought I wanted.  I found what I didn't know I needed.  And I ended up halfway across the country... all because of a haircut.

Those of you close to me know what I'm talking about.  The rest of you are probably scratching your heads, knowing I've lost my fool mind.  You see, I told you I'm the type of person that blends into the crowd.  I don't really stand out.  At least not unless I'm talking - loudly.  Otherwise, you barely notice me.  I'm not saying this for attention.  Part of it I bring on myself.  I don't like to be embarrassed.  So I tend to be content in the wings.

Until last year.  That fateful day.  It was time for a haircut.  My regular hairdresser was busy and I needed a change.  So I go to Great Clips.  I mean hey - $6.99 for a haircut?  This ought to be good.  I bring in pics.  I want a classic bob.  What better to blend in with?  So Crystal starts to cut.  Looks like she knows what she's doing.  There's a lot of hair falling to the floor, but it was pretty long.  Typical PTA supermom hair.  Maybe more like the church lady.  Well, I digress.  Hair.  Lots and lots of hair.  It feels a lot lighter and cooler.  This should be good.

Crystal tells me that it's just a little shorter near the ears than in the picture.  Uh, oh.  You are not supposed to see my ears.  Classic bob.  Shoulder length... that means to my shoulders.  Ears are not in the picture.  No ears.  No "a bit shorter."  Then she swings me around.  Here it is - the "ta-da" moment.

Holy *&^%$!  OMG.  Nooooo....  My hair is short.  Really short.  I haven't had it this short since probably college.  Maybe not since second grade when I sported my Dorothy Hamill cut and my grandfather thought I was a little boy.  It's short.  Not quite Halle Barry.  Maybe more like Victoria Beckham short.  "Glue it back on!!!"  I'm screaming this in my head.  Not because I'm being polite.  Because I'm in shock.  My hair is gone!  I can't make a sound.  (Trust me - this is an extremely unusual event in my life.  I am never at a loss for words!)

She asks me what I think.  I just smile and nod.  Again, not being polite.  I'm about to cry now.  I pay.  Get into my truck.  Drive home.  Thinking.  Planning.  Hat.  Scarf.  Maybe no one will notice.  Riiiight...

My kids just stare at me like I am a seven foot giant that has walked into their world.  My husband (at the time) gives me a look from hell.  He hates short hair.  And it's short.  He figures I did it on purpose just to tick him off.  I didn't, but hey - I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I go to bed early.  Too much stress.  I have no idea how I'm going to handle this in the morning.  There is absolutely no way that I am going to hide with this haircut.  Everyone is going to notice...

(continued tomorrow...) 
(That means you have to come back for the "rest of the story..." lol)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beautiful

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious...He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. " ~ Albert Einstein

We all need to be told we are beautiful once in a while - even if it is by a drunk guy...

Let me preface this a little bit...we went out Friday night.  Girls night out.  Whoohoo!  One of my bestest (my mom's word) friends from High School, Pat, was celebrating her birthday.  We had several guys show up as well.  Pat's handsome man, some of his good friends, boyfriends/husbands of other girls.  The ones that were there were the "cool" guys -  those guys that I only met through having a cool friend like Patty (sorry girl, but that's how I still think of you...).  I was just not quite that cool in school.  Band geek.  Smart kid.  Not too nerdy, but too awkward to truly pull off cool. 

But that's what friends are for, right?  I was one of those people that was friends with everyone.  Every clique.  I didn't fit in with any of them, but they all accepted me.  The cheerleaders, the rockers, the cool kids....  But as for dating, that kind of guy would never look twice at me.  I blended in too much for that.

Well, at the party, I walk in and all of the seats near Pat are taken.  There's this amazingly cute guy at the end of the table.  Of course there is nowhere to sit but at the other end of the table.  I go to walk towards an open seat and cute guy tells me to hold on.   He moves everyone over and gets me an extra seat right next to him.  Then we proceed to have this amazing conversation.  I'm thinking "this is too good to be true."  This is me, of course.   1) Cute guys don't just talk to me out of the blue, and 2) they are never interested in ME.  He even says he doesn't understand the connection he feels towards me seeing that we just met.   Then in the next breath, he says "that's what drew me to my lovely wife...she made me feel so comfortable with her."   Ta-da.  There it is.  Just like I said, too good to be true.  But hey - I made an incredible new friend with a really cool guy who just happens to be totally in love with his wife.  That's OK.  Gives me hope that love is still out there... :)

Well, cute guy takes off.  A few minutes later, someone spills their beer right behind me.  Being the soccer mom that I am, I jump up with napkins and help clean it.  This guy starts laughing at me.  I tell him that with three kids, it's just a habit.  He still thinks it's funny.  Introduces himself.  Laughs as sit back down.  A slow song comes on.  He comes over and asks me to dance.  OK. Well, I'm not a very good dancer, but it's a slow song.  I can handle this. 

We go out to the floor.  He proceeds to tell me that he watched me get passed by all night and I was simply too beautiful to sit on the sidelines.  Ahhh.  See - chivalry is not dead.  It's simply hiding behind a bottle of Blue Moon.  Then, he points over at the table and tells me about his beautiful wife that he's known since fourth grade.  Yep, it's there again.  The wife.  Oh well.  He made me smile.  I told him that "actually, I wasn't passed up by the guys since they were all taken, but it was really sweet anyways".

So, I'm still not quite the cool girl.  But I'm getting there.  Very happy with the person I have become.  OK with being at a party without a date at the moment.  Comfortable enough to talk to an amazing guy and dance with another one.  And I'm beautiful - Mike said so!