Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not A Baby Anymore!

Last night we had a birthday party for my youngest. She is now 7, so we had a little party for her with a few friends over last night. 3 gifts. Strawberry cake with pink icing- she was thrilled! . Just losing her first teeth. Such a cute, sweet girl. Took 4 tries to get one like me and Lil'Jo is certainly her Mama's daughter. Jed & Beth are a LOT like their daddy- very laid back, somewhat timid and content to wait for life to come to them. Kellie is a good mixture of the two of us, she is incredibly artistic. All 4 of the children are very intelligent and have an ear for music.

I think Jo may go far in life. She's a go-getter, fun-loving but brave- not afraid to try new things. When she is sad- which rarely happens, she cries a little and wants to be held, then she's ready for more fun. She loves to dance. The only part where she's vastly different than me is that she LOVES pink & frilly things. I LOVE her tenderhearted nature.

My girls are beautiful, hard-working and are going to get noticed someday. Hope they will be popular, but reasonably assertive. I have raised them to be kind, but no push-overs. I reject the idea that females should be wimpy, stupid or bitchy & sarcastic all the time. I want my girls to take pride in the way they look, but not to the point of being vain. I want them to value themselves, but always look for potential in others. I hope they will stay active and on top of things as far as their health goes.

Lastly, I hope they will eventually find men who love them as they are. REAL men who will be successful and can make them feel like ladies.

"Dear Jo,

You were a wonderful surprise. Your Dad & I thought we were done having kids. We were trying to decide which of us would "get fixed" when I became pregnant with you. Whenever the 5 of us would sit around the dinner table, I had this strange feeling that someone was missing. As soon as you were born, I knew YOU were here. My heart is blessed because of my children.
You were a good baby and TOUGH! You put up with all the bumps & snuggles from the other kids- always had a smile on your face. I'll never forget how quickly you learned to ride a bike and how you now like to follow me around when I'm cooling down from a training ride. You keep up pretty well!! Although you still sleep with your "Pink Blankby", you are not a baby anymore. (A fact I meet with mixed emotions.)

Sweet Girl, I hope you will feel secure in my love for you and in who you are. Try to maintain a good relationship with your Daddy- he loves you too. Don't rely on boys to make you feel good about yourself. Take pride in your heritage and in who you are. Boys and romance are a VERY nice part of life, but they are NOT life itself. Be comfortable enough with who you are to be on your own when/if necessary.

I was raised to believe that without a man in your life, you're pretty-much a zero. Don't settle for the first nice guy that's "willing to put up with you". Wait and make him wait. This is going to sound very old fashioned, but take your time. You are a treasure, don't just give yourself away to some flatterer who talks a big game. He must be worthy. Make sure he knows how to manage money. Yeah, he may dress sharp & have a fancy car, but if he's already up to his eye-balls in debt, life could get pretty bad.

Relationships can be very sticky ordeals- don't rush into anything. Make him find you, don't chase him down or let it be a one-sided effort. Let him be the one to set the pace, or it's likely YOU will have to be the one who sets it for the rest of your life. There are a lot of slackers out there looking for a woman who can provide for them. That kind of arrangement can get exhausting. It still works better the other way around, or if both of you contribute- that's great too. Don't marry someone you have to carry.

The dreams that are in you now are important. Believe in yourself and give it your best shot. I will do my best to help you reach the goals you set. Know that if you ever fail to reach a goal, I will be here for you, to pick up the pieces and help you start over. As long as a heart beats within my chest, you will never have to feel that you are standing alone.

People make mistakes. That's a fact of life. I was raised to never think outside the box or make a mistake- which was very confining. Make your mistakes, test your theories- and learn whatever lessons life has in store. This will make you genuine. You cannot do anything so "bad" that I will ever stop loving you or turn my back on you.

Take time to consider other points of view. There are many cultures and opinions out there. Expand your mind. Never allow yourself to reach the point where you feel you have everything all figured out. The day you do, your growth as a person will cease and your mind will begin to close.

Don't be foolish or careless, you have to live with consequences. Realize that people can be VERY judgemental and unforgiving. At times, those who feel threatened by your confidence and abilites will try to play head games and make things miserable for you. Hold your head up, walk away when you need to and you will have self-respect. (Remind me to explain the "Secret Female Code" to you someday.) lol

If anyone ever intentionally hurts or messes with you, they will have ME to deal with. :o) If you are unsure about a guys intentions toward you, bring him home. We'll have a BBQ and invite all our Ninja friends. I'll demonstrate my accuracy with a high-powered weapon in the backyard. (If he ever asks you out again, he's probably sincere- lol)

You're MY girl and I have every confidence in you. I will do my best to remove obstacles that stand in the way of your success and work hard to provide you with opportunities.

Do well in school- develop your mind and learn how to look and act professional. That may not be considered "cool", but while those who mock you are sitting on their tails or trapped in minimum wage jobs someday, you will have good work. Effort toward higher education is never a waste of time.

Some of these things I have said are still a little over your head at this point, but I want you to know I believe in you and always will."

Love, Your Mama XOXO

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dialogue with My Heart...

Settle my heart, simmer down, accept what is before you...

Nobody gets everything they dream of. Aside from a few lucky souls, the rest of us simply end up getting by the best way we know how, so settle in- you are still young and have a long road ahead. Celebrate the few successes you have had.

Heroes are not made on race tracks or stages. The strongest people are those who wake each morning to find themselves in ordinary, even dismal situations to smile and meet their obligations anyway. Perhaps I only say this in order to accept my present reality? There is no other alternative. Steady now, steady...

You were not born to privilege, you have NO inheritance to claim, at this point, your gifts may never lead to great success. Although you want to make a difference, reality has spoken. Your name may never be remembered beyond the grave. The bars upon this guilded cage represent choices, your own and decisions others have made for you.

For all your good intentions, this is the plate before you, take a deep breath, let go and make the most of the ride you are on... is that really so bad?

Stop trying to re-define the world by who you are, what you wish to see, for the world will never embrace all that you believe. You are very small, your feelings do not greatly matter. Eventually, though you beat wildly against it, the world will define you- why fight it?

To be human is to have need. Need keeps us weak and unfulfilled. Many factors lie beyond our control. Much is far beyond our grasp... or is it?

Settle my heart, leave me be... there is no such thing as lonely.

You've earned some merit, all shaken and scarred. Still you long for connectedness, wisdom, excitement and defining moments. You have made so many new starts, you are tired. But on a good day, when the sun is out and the music is right, there is NO stopping you... you can fly.

Life seems to create artists, but fails to provide paint & canvas. Dreamers are left with no resources from which to make reality of their visions. Dancers are trapped in disabled bodies. With such passion for life, and a low ceiling overhead, some of us may never fly- how cruel.

Settle my heart, quiet now, let me rest.... I need to focus on today...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The "Secret Female Code" Shhhhh

The past week was interesting! :o)

The aggressive growth in my face was benign and was removed last Tuesday. I have stitches & a bandage on my face until the stitches come out this Tuesday. Went to a plastic surgeon and he did a good job, so hopefully, there will be no scar.

I arrived at work Thurs. discover the old weight machines that I wanted removed were finally being disassembled and taken OUT of the Fitness Center. YEAH!! Out with the old and in with the New.

A $20,000 grant came through for us. Mr. Grumpy-pants from the Health Department must've liked my kind response to his rude e-mail because when he showed up with the paperwork Fri, he was really nice- almost apologetic and had added an extra $1,000 to the grant money he had promised for a total of $9,500! :o) (I won't be in any newpaper photos for these though, because, frankly I'm not lookin' so hot with stitches in my face.) Oh well. Maybe we'll find a curly, red wig for Coach Hill and let him accept the checks. Ha ha ha

Two fitness instructors pulled out. They are BFF's and after teaching the same classes for years, I think they finally just got burned out. So, it looks like, when 2008 begins, I'll be teaching 'Kick-boxing' Mon, 'Pilates' Wed & 'Interval Cardio' Fri. Still teaching 'Strength & Stretch' Mon, Wed, Fri mornings and coaching FITT Kids twice a week. In addition to these, if the Spinning grant comes through I'm gonna be teaching that twice a week. Seriously though, it would be nice to hire another instructor! See, I get paid to have recess all day. Whoo-hoooo!!

Man, I'd better at least finish the blasted bike race this summer for all the workin' out I'm doing. Keep your fingers crossed for me on that- K? It's been so long since I've competed, just not sure I've got an edge. Lance Armstrong inspires me because he's older and has done so well. Brett Farve is amazing and 3 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are older than me, so that makes me feel better.

The girls are doing well- growing like weeds! The offer on the house next door was accepted and I hope we can be in by the New Year.

My son got a B+ for his big writing project- I'm very proud. Each kid in the 5th grade had to invent a world & write about it. He finally brought the finished project home. I opened the cover on which he drew a picture of the imaginary place and the very first page says, "I, Jared dedicate 'Ice World' to my Mom who always sparked my imagination as a small child." (Okay, that is so sweet, I still tear up just thinking about it.) This is one of the memories that will be placed in my old hope chest with other little momentos of my children. I spent several hours each day for nearly 8 yrs, reading and telling stories to my kids. (Due to the strict nature of our religious beliefs, we had NO television until the last 3 years) I taught each of the kids to read because I wanted to be the one who gave them the gift of words. My littlest one, Josie now reads like a champ in 1st grade. :o)

Okay, one short little rant and I'll feel better: lol

I'm standing in the Fitness Center talking to one of my new Personal Trainers. He's a really nice guy- competitive body-builder. Anyway, we probably talked a good 20 mins while I was waiting for the floors to dry so I could start moving equipment. There was nothing inappropriate said and several feet between us. 3 older ladies were walking the track. I said, "Hello" when they first started and they all smiled. But after they had gone by several times, one of them started shooting me "the look". I HATE that look! It's the dirty look that says, "You little hussy, who do you think you are talking to that man?!" This happened two or three times and she was VERY CLEARLY trying to send me a message.

Okay, lady GET a LIFE! He's married with 3 kids, he is MY employee and I'm gonna have to interact with him sooner or later. Don't be hatin' on me 'cause I get to talk to him and YOU don't. Besides, if I was hittin' on him, would I be doin' that in public.... with a big BANDAID on my face?!

In the end, I went ahead and cut the conversation short and he left. When the ladies were done walking the track, they settled into the Cardio room. I walked right past them on my way out, smiled and said, "Well, hello again!" The staring lady looked at me coldly and said, "So, you know Daryl, huh?" I said, "Yes, he works for me" and she said, "Well, I work at the dental office where he, his WIFE and children go." Yep, the lady was sending me a message. This kind of thing seems to happen no matter where I go and I'm SICK of it!

So, here is a tongue-in-cheek reveal of the rules of insanity women make up for other women concerning "appropriate" social behavior:

1) You are only allowed to talk to men I'm not secretly attracted to.
2) If I think you are younger, hotter, popular or more successful than me, I will HATE you- it's just the natural order of things.
3) If you are talking to someone of the opposite sex and your spouse, nor their spouse are present, that automatically means an affair has/is or is gonna happen and I am automatically entitled to be suspicious and to voice my suspicions to everyone I feel may be interested in a little dirt fest.
4) You are not allowed to speak to any male that me, my Mother, sister, Aunt's cousin or roomate may even be remotely interested in. We may NEVER let on that he is the object of our fantasy lives, but you'd better just KNOW- that's how "the code" works.
5) If I send you the hate stare, it's not bluffing, I REALLY DO hate you and when you see the signal, you'd better respond by cowering and ending whatever interaction you are having with my secret hottie ASAP.
6) If you are fit and/or have a nice body, I automatically have the right to berate you to all my girlfriends by saying that you've had a boob job and wear a wig. If your name ever comes up in conversation when any male is present, I am entitled to enlighten him as to your every flaw. "Who her? Well, I saw her in the locker room once shaving her beard".... "You know, underneath all those workout clothes, she is grotesquely disfigured." You HAVE been warned!
7) You should automatically KNOW when I have PMS and stay out of my way! Hisssssss
8) If I don't like cars, action films, sports, the great outdoors or fitness, then you can't like that stuff either or the guys may think you are cooler than me and I WON'T allow it.
9) The only reason any woman interacts with any man is because she's offering a piece. Friendship between a mature male & female simply is NOT possible so don't even go there, lil' miss innocent.
10) You are NEVER allowed to be friendly, confident or successful. I am the only one allowed to be that way and I ALWAYS deserve to be the center of attention. If I suck on Karaoke night, you better not do better than me. You should be content to keep silent and stay OUT of my way...
11) If you fail to abide by any portion of "the secret female code" I am then free to destroy you in any way I deem necessary to make myself look or feel better than you.

Can any of you ladies relate? Have you ever fallen victim to "the secret female code"? Guys be glad you get to live by different rules. I wonder, is there a male code, we ladies don't know about??? If so, do tell....

Sunday, November 18, 2007


IPIP Test Results

Paulena, your most unique quality is that you're Conscientious and Caring

You are the kind of person others can depend on. You carefully analyze the information, but your feelings also weigh in on the decision. You're confident, artistic, passionate, competent, fun-loving, self-disciplined, and able to carry through with any plan you create. You respect others, but do not trust easily, keeping your inner circle small.

You are not afraid to consider an unpopular point of view, but your base for decision-making is well founded. You're also good at weighing the pros and cons of any situation and making sound, well-informed decisions.

Compared to others who are conscientious, you are unusually competent and highly motivated, knowing what to do when needed, and confident that you will do it well. You take time to weigh the facts and listen to your heart. Only 2.3% of all test takers have this unique combination of personality strengths. For a more in depth analysis, please click the link below.

Well, guess I've got them fooled- eh? lol These tests are always interesting...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On the Outside

Today I sit here relaxing and writing a blog on a day when I used to be parked in a pew at church with a smile pasted on my face. There was some genuine joy in me then, but in so many ways I was going through the motions. That whole scene masked a lot of pain. We ALL have it. Some people cope in ways considered "worldly", others cope by burying themselves in religion. I don't want to cope, I want to LIVE!

What a strange thing, life is.

For the most part I'm glad to be on the outside. There are days when I still feel torn. I'm a social person, so I miss the social aspect of the churchy life. I have a conscience, so the e-mails I have received from those "concerned about my salvation" since leaving the church do prick at me.

However, I am deeply spiritual and do not miss being dictated to as to how I should think, live, believe and worship. If the social aspect is the major draw and not the spiritual, then something is wrong in the big picture of religion. I think many people cling to religion because they like feeling they are "right" while everyone else is "wrong".

Hey- I DO care and that's what makes life so tough for me right now. I take time to consider things because I DO want to be the best I can be. I believe in God. Not so sure He believes in me. If He really is as powerful and caring as people say, surely He would've found a way to reach me by now? Not asking for something profound, but there is only silence. My faith hangs by a thread.

Staying busy numbs me. When I have down-time, I have to face the fact that I'm not exactly happy or fulfilled in my personal life. Make the most of it..... make the most of it.... push through and hold on to hope..... be honorable to my word. Keep telling myself to be thankful, that it could always be worse. But it could be better too and that's the torment of the unknown....

Being in your 30's is a lot like being a teenager again. You have lived long enough to have gained some wisdom, but still have many unanswered questions. At this point, I find myself asking "Is this it? Is THIS all there is to life, to love and success? To push through one hard time after another, to invest yourself in one dream, one relationship or career after another only to watch it come crashing down?"

Life is a process.... a journey.... but we're all seeking a destination. Many think they have already arrived- okay, more power to them! lol

And of course, I wonder if I am the only one who ever feels this way. Perhaps I'm losing out? Maybe life is incredibly good and I simply lack the ability to see that?? What is this ache, this hunger inside? It's been there all along and I have tried to mask it in so many ways. Proof to me that time does NOT heal all wounds. I am beyond cliches.

Perhaps it is the little girl in me who wanted so desperately to have parental love, support and security, but received so little. I don't know how to love halfway, but I have been loved that way. Not sure what to make of it. Could I recognize true love if I had/have it? Only time will tell...

When people say they care about you, but words or actions say differently, it is downright confusing. In the church, they call each other "brother" and "sister", but many have NO idea what being a family means. Overbearing criticism, trying to dictate or control someone else's life, shunning and gossiping about them is NOT love people, so you can take that WWJD bumper sticker off your car now. (I honestly think everyone does the best they can in life.) But to me, claiming to be Christ's follower is making a VERY big claim and ya better be able to back it up.

Growing up is tough. There are people who give both positive and negative predictions about your future when you are young. I was told I was bright, talented and promising by many, but just as many called me "white trash". Which is it? Should I even care??

If you allow other people to define you, there's the possibility that you will not like what you have become. So I've stepped out in an attempt to define myself. It's the scariest thing I've ever done, but in order to maintain my sense of being REAL it's a necessary step.

I realize that my choices, my attempts to find the answers may hurt or disappoint other people. This is NOT my intent. Everyone has the right to believe and live as they see fit. This has been true all along and I have been accepting of other people and their paths. Just didn't realize that freedom applied to MY life as well. I see it now...

We all affect each other- no matter what we do. I want my footsteps in life to leave as little damage as possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wise Sayings...

"Though rapture brings us delight, the weakness of our nature at first makes us afraid of it, and we need to be more resolute and courageous in life." ~ Saint Teresa of Ávila

"We do not stop playing because we get older. We get older because we stop playing." - Unknown

"It's just life. Not meant to be understood, just meant to be lived." - Dale Shepherd

"The way to a good life is not in playing it safe. At the end of our years, we should come skidding in sideways, hands in the air, body thoroughly worn out yelling, "Whoo-hooo, what a ride!" - Unknown

"Life does not favor the timid. Sooner or later we all must depart. Knowing this full well, we should not be resigned to fate, but go out as lions." - Unknown

These sayings totally ring true for me. Sometimes the things that would make us the happiest are those we fear the most. We cannot allow fear to rule our lives. I am still learning how to take necessary risks. To believe in one's self is not easy. There will always be nay-sayers, but time is short, embrace life to it's fullest!

Sometimes we do not feel we deserve happiness and deny ourselves the joy of many experiences. Some feel they are holier for this. Others refuse to expand their minds by considering other points of view. Is this really the best way? Why is it we can only seem to believe in a God that denies enjoyment? Is the idea of a God who created us to find pleasure in living TODAY so far fetched??

What then? I'm not saying act the fool or be stupid with your life. One must be wise about each undertaking. But moving ahead with little support and no guarantee of success when the odds are stacked against you is what separates the dogs from the pups.

People can say what they want about me, I'm not gonna stop playing. There's a part of me that will NEVER grow up and I'm okay with that. It's workin' for me and my kids think I'm a cool Mom for this very reason. These days I'm up for just about anything. Skating, skiing, dancing, dreaming, driving, racing. Heck, I may even go parachuting. If I can find some big guy I can trust to take me up, I may just go for a tandem jump out of a plane one of these days...

I grew up WAY too fast. I was strict and serious far too long. My new approach in life is to go for it 'til I'm all played out. Work? Oh YES and plenty of it, but ya gotta have fun in life. In order to have a strong sense of self, you must take the risk of being misunderstood. I'm NOT afraid anymore.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Think...

I think what makes someone wise is not necessarily knowing all the answers. Greater wisdom is found in knowing how to ask a lot of intelligent questions.

I think the shortest path to healing is to try and give to someone else the very things you were never given. To invest in others what nobody invested in you. To see and develop potential in others that people failed to nurture in you. Help someone bring to life the very dream you may never come to realize for yourself.

I think that if you have ever been deeply in love- even if it was only once or a very long time ago, you should count yourself lucky. Cherish that memory and never let it go. There are many people who have never had a soulmate.

I think the best motivator is to speak kindly to someone and know how to truly listen.

I think words are one of the greatest gifts we possess. In times of joy or pain, words draw a picture of what the heart feels and opens a window, offering a glimpse into the deepest regions of the soul.

I think every woman should have the chance to comfort a man. Every man should know the feeling of being helpless in a womans arms. She is very powerful in this way.

I think God is in and with and surrounding us all. He is a powerful presence manifested through the power of love.

I think music is magic. It releases all that our words cannot express. Sadness, anger, gratitude and hope. I love instrumental music- it allows my heart to interpret what the composer was trying to say. Everyone should attend the symphony at least once.

I think life is lived best when one is familiar with a wide range of experiences and has considered a vast array of thoughts.

I think the most genuine prayer is silent and is comprised mostly of the wishes you have toward those you hold dear in your heart.

I think there are some wounds that will never heal in this lifetime. You may keep yourself distracted or learn to cope more efficiently. The sting may lesson a little as years go by. All it takes to re-open the wound is one statement from some unknowing or insensitive person, one nightmare and the pain is back.

I think you must be brave and try MANY things before you know what it is that you truly love most.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Promotion!

Yesterday we had a staff meeting at 1:00, during which an official from the Health Department came and informed us that due to many of the programs that have been implemented since I was hired, we qualify for an $8,000 grant from the state! They will be cutting us a check in the next few weeks!!

After that meeting, met with Barry & Bill who seem very pleased. My title has now been upgraded from a Coordinator to Fitness & Wellness Director. They are having new business cards made for me to reflect the change. Even though it won't affect my income very much, this is going to look SO good on any future resume. But, I couldn't ask for a better management team to work with. I don't see myself movin' on anytime soon... Love my job! It has enabled me to become the family breadwinner.

Hubby is still tired and only working part time while he's in school. I've been doing 10 hr days, some weekends and wearing a number of different hats at the 'W'. That doesn't leave much time for blogging. Walking away from the desk job at the YMCA was one of the best moves I've made in my life. I feel this current position has given me an opportunity to make a real difference for the poor and suffering in this community. It is very rewarding to be able to help in this way.

I'm so happy about this promotion, my head is spinning right now! Feel like celebrating fer sure, but it'll have to wait until this coming weekend. Once in a while, hard work DOES get recognized. ;o)

Now, if the blasted financing will go through so I can buy the house next door, life will be feeling a little more normal. I'd like nothing more than to be settled in before Christmas. Lots of changes on the horizon...

It's SNOWING- big beautiful flakes. It was like a magical wonderland driving home last night.

It was the best day I've had in a VERY long time...

Something has Changed...

For most of my life, I watched helplessly as one thing after another fell apart. The last 5 yrs were intense. I was tired- plain & simple. It's been one big roller-coaster ride since I was 5 yrs old. Not easy to cope when your parents divorce twice in 6 yrs- both re-marrying a year later. Lived in poverty much of my childhood. Try navigating that emotional mine-field without any real guidance. Or how 'bout raising 4 kids with no family around to help and a man who works 12-16 hr days for over a decade of your marriage? Any takers??

Dealing with the nonsense from a chemically imbalanced mother and an emotionally vacant father has been no picnic. Combine all that with feeling constant pressure from the church to force myself to be something I'm not. It was a huge burden to carry and pushed me toward the edge.

My husband ignored the warning signs at work- refused to look for any other kind of job and ended up fired with no back-up plan. We lost the farm and our beautiful house. I lost a growing music career, my ministry and 5 amazing friends. He ignored my pleas for time with him and all the warning signs in our marriage until I was fed up and ready to walk.

Some people up here felt sorry for us. Stayed in their boarding house 'til we could find jobs and a place to live. (an interesting experience all the way around) Jay worked as a cable installer for a while. Decided to go back to school and try a new direction. A friend eventually pulled some strings and helped him get a job as a medical equipment supplier with reasonable hours.

I found work almost immediately upon arrival. Resigned several months later, due to some wierdness that was going on. (Sorry, but drama in the workplace? I don't play that!) Applied for Front Desk job at the 'W', but when they looked over my resume they hired me in management. So here I am and despite the occasional frustrations, I'm lovin' it!!

So many big changes in rapid-fire succession left me numb & angry inside. I have literally moved all over the country with 4 small children in tow. I refuse to be bitter and don't want to burden other people with a bunch of whining. So I've worked through it all the best way I know how- express feelings in a blog and workout hard to handle the anger.

This week, something broke. Found myself sobbing for a good long time- just letting go... of my friends, my dreams, my culture and the life I was trying to have. It is what it is. Time to buck-up and deal with it. My worst fear all along is that I will end up being like my Mother. Divorced, alone, unemployed and pathetic- SO much drama. Unlike her, I'm not Bi-polar/Schizo- if I was, I'd stay on the medicine so I could function normally.

I'm educated and reasonably mature, can hold down a job for years at a time. I tend to make better choices. She always bailed the minute things got hard- no coping skills. That's NOT me. If I have any fault it's that I don't know when to let go. (I did let go of the YMCA though- yeah- that was a good move!)
Depression tried to bring me down- ain't happenin'- kicked that to the curb. So I've made my choice. Wasn't hard. Not like I had/have many other options. I want to be able to stick with the promise I made.

I've never known security or stability. Not sure I'd recognize it- even if it hit me in the face! Moved every 1-2 yrs my entire life- sometimes more than once a year. The constant changes meant I've never had any real sense of community. The church was a POOR substitute for having a real family. Guess the saying still holds true that blood is thicker than water. In other words, only your real family will love you like family. I simply had the misfortune of being born into a family that- for the most part, didn't give a darn. Scattered all across the country and rarely kept in touch or got together... Put myself out there for years trying to connect, but it made no difference. Movin' on...

The biggest mistake all along has been looking to other people (including my parents) for approval. In the midst of the chaos in my life, I've learned to respect myself. I like me- so ya better treat me right! Anyone negative or controlling can GO! (Partly why I'm no longer in church.) It's their God-given duty to get in your business, they want to change people. For all the self-righteous talk of love & charity, they will kick you when you're down. Been there, done that- too many times. Over it!! Yeah I forgive, but those wounds will always be there. (Thanks for the memories!)

Jay is still here. That's the closest thing to security I've known. He's been doing his "homework" and claims he is treating me better. He has apologized repeatedly for some of the poor decisions he made over the years and for neglecting our relationship. He's trying to change for the better. A strong woman needs a stronger man. Not being difficult- that's just the way it is!

Call me stupid, pathetic, say what you will. I still believe in him. Someday, despite the sheltered life he led growing up, he will be a strong, confident MAN who knows his own mind. (I hope) If I were to leave him now, it would shatter him and splinter the family we have made.
I've definitely done my share of thinking. Maybe I'm breaking through to the other side...

So, I fell asleep in his arms last night watching Football.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bear the Wounds...

Just a little update. Love my job. It keeps me busy and challenged, but that's good. We moved into this duplex and just 8 weeks later were evicted because our Landlord went bankrupt. YES, it is possible to have to move 3 times in under 8 months- life IS that cruel! I am still training as best I can to race again next year. I have lost a total of 38 lbs. Hope I don't lose any more or I'll have nothing left to wear!!

The children are doing well. Hubby & I are still trying to hold this marriage together, but it is gasping for breath.

During some of the darkest times of my life, I have looked to the sufferings of others to find strength. There are many who endured horrendously cruel ordeals. They worked through it somehow and so will I.

I realized today that in this life, some must bear the wounds. They must feel great pain and darkness. Once they emerge from the suffering, they can then be a source of encouragement to others facing their own set of challenges.

To suffer is a tremendous priviledge in that respect. It is to be embraced for a time, but it cannot last forever. The human heart only has so much strength to hold out for brighter days.

When I hurt the most, I try to find some other sufferer and lift their burden as well I can.

Being on the outside of organized religion allows me to do that in a whole new way. I don't have to wait on a church board, or the one in charge of outreach to get out there and make a difference. I see a need and try to fill it as best I can. This is a very freeing thing for me.

There are many things about God I do not understand, but I love Jesus Christ, the renegade rebel. He loved when others hated. Accepted those others rejected. If He was here today, I would most certainly fall at His feet and worship Him and be welcomed.

He suffered greatly, yet loved so deeply. This is the level of greatness I aspire to.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Keep it Alive!

A friend of mine once said, "You must know where you come from, in order to know where you are going." Must say, I agree. Heritage is something to be treasured. Clothing, Food, Music and Traditions are meant to be handed down from generation to generation. This helps form your identity. Any oppressive cultural force in the world first aims to destroy the cultural traditions of their target population. History provides MANY examples of this cruelty.

Early Christian settlers committed terrible injustices against Native Americans. Broken treaties, massacre of entire tribes and the slaughter of the great Buffalo were only the beginning. This cruelty was justified in the mind of the white-man because he viewed the Indian as a "heathen savage". Learned recently that up until 1978, Native American children could still be forcibly confiscated from their homes and placed in government boarding schools. Pow-wows, public drumming and Friendship Fires- any large gathering of Natives were also forbidden until that time. Am I just being negative? I love this country, but this is the reality of our history- you won't hear much of this injustice in most text-books.

Africans were stripped (literally) of everything that was dear to them and taken across the sea. They were chained, sold like cattle and treated with the greatest of indignities in order to break them and convince them they were worth nothing more than a lifetime of slave labor.

Hitler managed to convince a majority of Germans that Jews were less than human and had weaker genetics. Jewish symbols were banned from display- except for the Star of David they were forced to wear on their sleeves. Upon arrival to a concentration camp, it was not uncommon for Jews to be forced to strip in public- a form of humiliation. Sadly, Hitler studied American tactics with the Native Americans. He got the idea of placing Jews in concentration camps from our "brilliant" Indian Reservation idea. The Nazi understood that if you treat people badly for long enough, eventually, they feel worthy of your mistreatment and cease to resist.

For all their pompous, tea-time behavior, the English were among some of the most inhumane. Scotland & Ireland suffered tremendously under England's greed. Many in England wanted to unite the 3 cultures to form one strong country, but in order to do so, the English Lords would have to strip the Celtic nations of their pride. They charged unreasonable rents for hovels & land they had STOLEN from the Celts in the first place. They refused to give a fair market price for wool, potatoes, mutton, etc. So the Celts were forced into poverty, then punished when they couldn't pay-up. Farms were burned, children were hanged and a young bride was taken sexually (raped) by whatever Lord happened to rule over her lands the night before her wedding. (Try being a Celt in love and not be the first to have your beloved- harsh!) Kilts were banned, Bagpipes forbidden and Gaelic was not to be spoken, only English. Unlike many other cultures who submitted, the passionate Celts consistently resisted oppression until they finally organized and threw the English out on their arses.

In the harbour of New York there stands a statue that reads, "Send me your tired, your poor, your hungry...." Nice sentiment, but have we really been that charitable?

My Scot ancestors came here in the late 1700's as indentured servants (slaves) in order to escape the constant bloodbath that was Scotland. They worked hard and tolerated mistreatment for decades, earned their freedom, bought land and settled in the midwest. My Irish kin came in the early 1900's during a time when the Irish were hated in this country. In order to blend in, they dropped the O' from their name and refused to speak Gaelic. The family plaid was put away and stories of home were lost in the effort of 'becoming American'.

Those of Celtic, African, Muslim descent are likely to know very little of their family history, traditions or language. This saddens me.
The US has worked very hard to become more tolerant of other cultures. We now have Black History month. In recent years Bush named March, Celtic-American month. What about Native American month, Mexican-American, Italian American and Chinese American months? Chinese immigrants are largely responsible for our amazing railway system. There should be an Italian-American month, simply because they brought us such GREAT foods!! 'Bout time proper recognition is given to those who helped build this country while living under deplorable conditions.

My family is not exactly close-knit and hasn't taken much pride in the family tree. Most of the history I've learned about my Celtic roots, I've had to pursue on my own- it was not passed down much. Unlike my forebearers, I don't need to hide my heritage in order to be successful- I enjoy celebrating it. The family tartan is back on display. It has become an important part of my identity. My children know where we came from and much of the history of our ancestors, whose strength is in our very blood. A sense of pride has been reborn.

So, where do you come from??

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Getting By...

So many changes in such a short span of time- my head is still reeling...

I am enjoying my work as the Fitness & Wellness Coordinator for the 'W'. This is the first major good thing to happen in my life for a very long time. I'm still holding my breath, because after a loooong run of terrible luck it's hard to relax and believe that maybe something will go my way. So far, so good with my new position...

The children, bless their hearts have done so well through all of this. They start school next week. We have tried to keep the stress in our lives from affecting them as much as possible.

Our marriage is still in flux. Not sure what to do about it. The past 14 yrs were not exactly a picnic for me. He was all caught up in his career, but I was bored, lonely and taken for granted for most of this relationship. I need some kind of stability financially & emotionally. That has never happened. So here we are forced to start over in our 30's and the big question on my mind is "Do I really want to start over with this man? Will things improve between us or will the next 14 yrs between us be as dull as the last." I cannot live my life that way. It was very difficult. (No, I don't have anyone else, so this is not about going after another man.) When I got married, I was only 19, but I meant it for life. Now, I'm just not sure anymore. We have very different personalities. I'm a go-getter and he's just so laid back. He's a good student, but beyond that, he's like a turtle and I'm a cheetah. There is so much at stake here. I want to spare my children the chaos I went through as a child due to my parents divorces. Never dated much, only had 1 sorta serious relationship besides him, so I don't have anything to compare it with. He's a great guy, I'm not sure I'm the one he needs either. He says he's ready to change. When I asked for separation and took off my wedding band, that got his attention. Says he loves me more now than ever. We'll see... Lots to think about...

Hubby is registered for school- starts tomorrow.

I have been training for the Bike Fest next summer. Hope to at least finish the race in top 12. It will be tough to keep up my training during heavy Winter months, but should have enough Spring to crank it up again before the big event.

Well, now you know I'm still alive and kickin'.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Coming Out of the Dark?

We are now living in a 4 bdrm, 2 bth duplex on an old Air Force Base. Hubby & I both have work. I resigned my post at the YMCA 2 weeks ago due to some foolishness that was going on behind the scenes. Last week I got hired at a place called 'The W'. I am now in management for the first time with salary and I think this is a place that I can really dig in. My new job is only 2 miles from where we live so Winter snow will not be much of a problem.

Been putting my horse skills to good use working with disabled children in a Therapeutic Riding program. I am finding it very rewarding to work in this capacity. We help stretch twisted little limbs and put kids on horses. Riding strengthens core muscles and increases confidence. It encourages Autistic children to come out of their shells more. A lot of these kids will never run and feel the wind in their faces. The horses help give them some of that. One person leads the horse while 2 of us walk/jog along beside. If the child falls, we catch them.

I've been biking quite a bit. (Lost a total of 30lbs throughout this ordeal and want to keep it off.) Hope to race next year...

Jay & I are still trying to salvage whats left of our relationship in order to keep this family together.

Well, we aren't celebrating too much yet, but it looks like MAYBE, just maybe we are seeing some kind of light at the end of the tunnel now...

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm Still Alive...

Just so you know, I've had limited time & access for blogging. Hope to be up and running again soon. We are out of the boarding house and living in a Duplex now, so at least we have our own space. Not sure if we are going to stay together or not. Life has a way of killing joy, love, passion. Martina McBride puts it this way, "No love can survive for long like this, when you're standing on a bridge that's always burning..." All I have ever craved has been some sort of stability. Instead I've moved every 2 years my entire life, chaos has been the main course, and I have always felt like an expendable side-item to my husband. He says he wants me in his life, and he will make promises and put forth effort for a short time, then it's back to the same ol'. I am a nurturer- or at least I was before the most recent storm hit- now I have this incredible numbness inside. I am angry and grieving. I am alone. Terribly alone. Most of the time I feel strong. I'm still smiling and the people at work probably don't have a clue how I'm feeling inside. I am pretty-much invisible at this point.

I'm doing okay. My world has fallen apart. I am coping the best way I know how- staying busy, working out and trying to keep some semblance of "normal' for the kids. I have lost 30 lbs- which isn't a bad thing. Everything I believed in has been shattered. (I'm not sure I even want to record this part of my journey.) Very painful, extremely lonely and uncertain as to my future.

Make good choices in life, because every choice has consequences- either good or bad. We have to live with the decisions we make or break-away and hope for something better. At this point, I am in limbo as to which path I will choose. I am a lost sheep...

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Most of the time I am strong, fearless and full of fight. Sometimes at night, I am shaking inside and just want to be held...

I laugh and smile a lot, but sometimes when I'm alone, I let my guard down and cry... there is no one to wipe my tears...

I'm a unique mixture of tough & tender. Sometimes I feel invisible...

Sometimes I'm tired of having a heart, but to live without feeling or passion is no life at all. This is the saga of our existence..... to know both amazing joy and agonizing pain. It is possible for the two extremes to co-exist and this gives one the feeling of living on the razor's edge.

Most mornings I wake up ready to meet every challenge. Sometimes I wish the world would just go away and let me rest for a while. Life isn't fair and sometimes there's a silent scream inside me. If I work/workout hard enough, it goes away...

Sometimes I feel helpless- so much good I wish to do, but I'm only one person. I try but I can't fix things for people...

Sometimes the weight of my dreams lays heavy on my chest. Sometimes we allow great moments to pass us by because we're too afraid to take a chance. Sometimes the very thing you want most of all remains just beyond your reach and you must accept things that can never be.

The future is always uncertain. Sometimes you just have to stand tall and put one foot in front of the other anyway...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Things are going well with my job. :o) I've literally doubled my hours this month- 'bout time! Since I've been building such momentum, it would be a shame to leave and go to PA for the Summer, so I'm sticking around...

Last night, I was exhausted. Worked a 12 hr day fueled only by a banana, a small bag of Wheat thins and sheer determination to get the job done. When I was done, I went walking by the lake for a little bit. LOVE the lake. I need my alone time. The moon was shining on the water, there was a gentle breeze blowing and a ship was leaving the harbor. Enjoyable! The only thing that would have made it better would have been someone to share the evening with. Hubby worked all day and didn't get back 'til midnight. I waited up for him and we talked. I believe in complete honesty in a relationship and I've had a LOT of stuff going on in my head lately about life, love and other mysteries- however timing is important. He asked how I was doing. I was so tired, I just kinda rambled on. He listened, said a few things of his own, then decided he'd rather sleep on the couch than be with me. So I went down after him, we talked some more and he ended up coming back to bed. Both of us are tired, numb, frustrated and wondering. How could things go SO desperately wrong for two people who only ever played by the rules and tried to do what's right? We have lived according to our conscience, made many sacrifices in the name of God and church. Our dreams are dying. Many of the things that brought us together no longer exist. Music and ministry being the main things. We are financially ruined outcasts now with little hope left for a better future.

Today, when we got up, I apologized- told him that some of what I said was out of fatigue. He was cold and business-like. Then he got online to check our bank account and saw that we had 4 bounced check fees- none were purchases I made. He told me that I should bail on him, that he just can't handle things. (Not sure whether he meant it or not.) Poor guy! Life has really turned on him. He was gone for 2 wks training only to be told he'd have to wait yet another 2 wks before getting a first paycheck. Being a cable installer is only a means to get by- he really doesn't LOVE it.

I'm having a lot of self-doubt right now. Not sure we're any good for each other. We used to balance each other out. When he was down, I was up and vice versa, but when you are both down and you are constantly being told that you are wrong to feel that way- where do you turn for comfort? The churchy people have convinced us that God has abandoned us because we aren't perfect- yet they tell us to turn to Him?? If that's the way God is- a dogmatic, fairweather friend, then no thanks!

I've never been here before. The excitement of new love is long gone, the thrill of building our family is over, many empty promises to change. Passion has pretty-much gone out the window (boarding in someone's house doesn't do much for the libido), our credit is ruined, friends are scarce, faith is weak at best. I finally broke down, called my Dad and was crying on the phone. "Daddy, I'm tired. Some days I feel like I can't possibly go another step." He listened intently and offered a place to stay if we ever needed it- haven't heard from him since and that was 5 wks ago. My children are precious, but I don't want to lean on them. They cannot hold me up. What/who am I supposed to hold on to????

So I fast, exercise HARD, work long hours and hope for some kind of clarity....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ranting on Life...

I have worked the closing shift at the YMCA most of the week- which means late nights. The weather has been beautiful- the kind that bids you to stay out and enjoy it. Worked late and then went over to the lake to sit and listen to music while enjoying the scenary. I have a LOT on my mind that I need to sort out right now. Some days I feel so strong and other times vulnerable. Never been like this before and don't know what to make of it...

There are several people who have said, "If you need anything, just ask." But is it not obvious what we need?? We need a LIFE and nobody can hand that to us. Everyone else has their own struggles. This is the tragedy of the world we live in. Even the well-meaning have nothing left to give it seems. We need someone who can listen and not tell us we're wrong for feeling sad or that we're not "coping properly". I feel like saying, "Spend one week in our shoes and you'll be begging for mercy!" We need a LIFE and nobody can hand that to us. Everyone else has their own struggles. This is the tragedy of the world we live in. We had a huge community of church-goers in TN. The way gossip gets around, I'm sure that half the population knows what happened, yet so few reached out...

I'd be willing to tough it out and stay here in MI until we're able to get a place of our own, but it almost seems like he WANTS me and the kids to go. Looked at several houses that would've worked for us in a pinch- nothing fancy, but he didn't see them as options. He'd rather us be apart than settle into something like that temporarily. I can't be too upset at him though, both of our minds are reeling right now. I'm still numb inside. There's a part of me right now that would push the restart button on my life if there were such a thing. (Thankfully, I have this blog where I can express myself. This should be quite entertaining to read years down the road, but for now it's seriously difficult.)

We had to get rid of one of our cats yesterday as she couldn't get along with the cat that lives at the boarding house. Now, I'm not a huge cat person, but I do respect/admire them and enjoy having them around. Saying goodbye to Mercy was just another part of life that we had to let go of. I rescued her off the road when she was just a kitten. NOTHING is remotely normal anymore. Hubby was gone all last week, he's been gone this week and he'll be gone part of next week too. The loneliness is agony! I have lost a total of 17 lbs now. Just can't eat- my stomach feels like a rock. The kids are doing well in all this chaos and that's the most important thing to me. I cry when nobody is around to hear. Then I get dressed, do my hair, put on my smile and go to work to perform the whole charade of "Hi, how are you? I'm fine". Love my job, just wish it paid a little better.

A good part on all this is that I'm regaining a healthy sense of self. I've been going out to ride my bike in the early mornings. I hear about a big bike race and may try it. It's beautiful up here with all the fresh air. The Lilacs are in bloom! I'm listening to music that helped get me through hard times when I was younger. The kind that rallies me and helps me find inner strength. Yeah, some Christian stuff, but also Giant, Bon Jovi, Def Leopard, Bryan Adams, Mr. Mister. (Okay, for those wise, all-knowing sages who would like to offer me "helpful" advice about music- don't want to hear it, save your words.) Listening to Christian music right now is like pouring salt in the open wound. God is taking His sweet time up there while every day for us is such a struggle and every night I've been begging with Him to DO something. The church has done very little to help and at this point, I'm upset about that. For all their talk, and wagging fingers- I find that in one of the darkest times of my life they are useless. This is exactly what Jesus condemned in the Pharisees. They ignored the widows, the poor and helpless. No skin off their backs if people were begging, they had nice homes and good seats at the banquet tables. For all their religious piety, they were nothing but hot air.
So, I'm trying to cope in healthy ways and gather strength any way I can. Exercise and secular music. Say what you will but there's a LOT of good writing in some of their stuff. I know myself and where I wanna go in life. Not sure that I can wait around forever while my man decides what he wants and how to get there. (I feel guilty for even feeling this way, but I am passionate and always have been decisive and strong- I need him to be that way too.) He's been pretty uncertain of himself and our relationship for most of our time together. I really don't want to be apart this Summer, but he is giving me NO reason to stay. When push comes to shove, I can do it. I CAN take these 4 kids somewhere else and manage just fine. We'll see what happens...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Quote...

"Never make anyone a priority in your life- if you are only a side-item in theirs."

Someone just told me this and I'm still thinking about it. Wisdom or foolishness? What do you think??

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doors & Windows...

I have been through the door of success a time or two and it was GREAT, but it only lasted a short time before closing. It only seems to open long enough to energize me for a while. Every one of us needs to know a little success- it allows us to truly celebrate with others when things go well in their lives.

I've walked through the door of devastation several times now. It was painful and each day felt soooo long. I'm getting pretty good at rebounding and re-inventing my strategy though. Hard times kick my tail and wear me out. I know what it's like to be at the end of my strength- holding my breath and hanging by a thread. But in a way that's a gift, 'cause I can be genuinely sad and offer a shoulder when someone else is down.

The doors of opportunity, happiness and order in my life seem to be closed for the time being, but as the old saying goes, "When God closes a door, somewhere He always opens a window."

I'm waiting for that window... In the mean time, maybe I'll get a tattoo... LOL

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Slept well last night, once I got to sleep. Woke up feeling rested. Don't know how many people are thinking of us or praying, but I felt a little better today.

I made several calls and looked for housing. NO luck.

We got a card with some money in the mail from relatives for our 14th wedding anniversary. That was really nice. We didn't get to celebrate though as Jay is 2 hrs away doing his training. He did call me on the evening of our anniversary to say that I'm the only thing in his life that makes sense right now and he's glad he married me. Nice to know- need to hear stuff like that more often.

We're not sure how things are going to turn out for us yet and don't really feel very festive. The money went directly into paying our room-n-board and I got some fuel, a pair of comfy shoes and a pair of pants for work.
Interestingly enough, a complete stranger sent us a check for over $100 and said that until we get back on our feet, he will send us $50 a month. That is very touching. Never met him and don't know how he knows us, but his kindness is felt.

Not a great day, but not a miserable one either. Just putting one foot in front of the other...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Counting Down...

Hello God, it's me. You know me like no other. There are billions of other people out there suffering and praying and they are heavy on my heart, so I know You feel their pain even more. With so many other voices crying out, it's hard to comprehend how You can even hear me or consider my situation. When I was a girl and things were falling apart with my family, I was near the breaking point. My stomach was ulcerated and I was literally starving myself to death. You said that I should hold on because You were going to come through for me and strengthen my faith. I believed. You delivered.

Things in the world seem to be worse now and I know that's keeping You pretty busy. But could You please take a little time to look out for and prosper my family? Sometimes I feel that for the last 3 yrs You have absolutely turned Your face away from us and left us to Satan's torment. Will You ever bestow Your favor upon us in the future or are we cursed as some have said? People who look upon our situation are certain that we have committed some terrible sin or that we are just lazy, uneducated slackers. This is hard to bear.

Several weeks ago, I said a prayer asking You to come through for us. Now, You have 3 weeks in which to move on our behalf or the kids & I will be spending the Summer away from Jay while he gets established in his job and tries to find us a place to live. I'm sure he can do it, but I'm even more certain that YOU could if You deemed it necessary to move Your hand. The Bible says that You do not hold back any good thing. I consider a family staying together a good thing, but perhaps for some unknown reason it would be best for us to be apart for a while? The Bible also says that You are strong to defend. When will You start fighting for my family? When will You hedge us in and shield us from the evil one??

I know I am unworthy of ANY special favor. I've never asked You for an easy life, Lord. I'm willing to buckle down and endure hard times. I don't mind being stretched, but sooner or later the trial must end and the sun must shine or we will collapse- we are only human- have mercy. This morning as I stood watching my little girls sleeping, I felt such love for them. I know You love them even more, so will You please give us a future and some hope? I'm at the end of my strength. This situation is beyond us. Please, please hear us and turn this ship around from the course of disaster it's been on.

I do not understand Your ways, but I still believe You are the very definition of Good. I am counting down the days until I see a miracle...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Update...

Had a really nice Mother's Day. My precious children made me a few little cut-out things at school which they presented to me. They seem to think I'm wonderful. While hugging me, my little Bunny said, "Mama, I love you bunches and if you ever died, I'd want a robot Mommy just like you." Awwwwww shucks! We went on a bike ride, had a barbeque and watched a movie after the kids went to bed. The weather was perfect- it was a very enjoyable time. Got to sleep in today as I don't work until this evening. :o) It's nearly noon and Jay is still in bed.

The YMCA increased my hours. They like my Customer Service and want to utilize me in other areas as well. My CEO told me last week that eventually he hopes to see me in management. Nice compliment, but like so many others I've been given over the years, it's just air with no substance- unless he's willing to help get me there. Words, words, we offer too many words and not enough action. We'll see...

Went and attempted to get on temporary public assistance again this week. Had all the extra forms they gave us last time filled out. As I sat across the desk from the woman who was so pert and business-like about everything, I thought, "Lady, do you really even care that 6 people have no place to live? This is just a job for you and we are simply more pathetic, hungry mouths to feed." I detest being a hard-luck case! Something in me wanted to stand up and rant in that place, but I sat quietly, shivering inside at the indifference. In the end of our groveling session, we walked out without receiving anything, but more hoops to jump through. You see, our youngest child (age 6) never received a Social Security card. We applied when she was born, and although she was assigned a number, she still has no card. NOT our fault- we did our part. But we had to re-apply for her to get a card and they can do nothing for us until she has one- which they say could be weeks- even months. Too bad... so much for having confidence in the system or it's "assistence". We have fallen through the cracks.

Thankfully, Jay's car is fixed and he got a job as a cable installer for Direct TV- starts training tomorrow. (I won't believe it until he gets his first paycheck.) When we finally have a place of our own, we will get free cable- yippeeee- every little savings helps. Just a few more weeks 'til school lets out now. We still don't have a place of our own to live... Time is running out until I need to pack up, take the kids to PA and enjoy the summer as a single Mom.
I am numb inside, but hanging in there. It's really strange. Most of the time now, I don't feel angry or sad- I'm just this neutral sort of resigned "pleasant". Fine for the time being. I'm not pushing myself to be anything else. I am where I am... It's been so long since I felt happy or at ease that I can't remember what it's like. But with all the other problems in the world, I'm well aware that mine are really quite insignificant.

I came up with an analogy for how I feel recently: My life is like being on a sinking ship in the middle of a vast ocean. Sooner or later I'm going under, but I bail with a little bucket until I am exhausted, trying with all my might to stay afloat for the sake of my family. As I look out around me, I see other ships in the water that seem to be floating along just fine. It's very tempting to jump off the boat I'm on, children in tow, and swim toward one of the other ships, but there's no guarantee they would stop and let us board AND I may drown from exhaustion or be picked apart by sharks before reaching one. Sooner or later all ships go down. Some are torpedoed and sink fast, while others speed along until they are dashed to bits upon some hidden rocks. My boat has a slow but steady leak. There are people who know my ship is sinking. They've seen it coming for a long time, but instead of doing anything to help, they say, "You should've chosen a better vessel and mapped a better course" or "Keep bailing, we've called upon the mighty Coast Guard to come assist you". However, there's nobody jumping in to bail with me- nobody sending a life raft. So I plant my feet firmly on the deck I'm on and resign myself to smile and keep bailing until strength fails and I have no more effort to give. Then slip silently and unremembered beneath the waves...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ten Names...

This one is fun! Give it a try! :)

1. REAL NAME- Paulena or Paula

2. GANGSTA NAME (First 4 letters of real name, plus izzle) Paulizzle

3. DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color & animal): Blue Dog

4. SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, and childhood street): Krystine Blackbill

5. STAR WARS NAME (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom's maiden name.) Woopacam

6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color & favorite soda) Green Sprite

7. IRAQI NAME (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 3rd letter of you dads middle name, )

8. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (grandmother/grandfathers first names) Verlene George

9. GOTH NAME (Black & the name of one your pets): Black Ember

10. NATIVE NAME (Fun activity, element in nature, name of wild animal)
Dancing Thunder Wolf

Taking Risks...

Life is one big gambling session. We must be willing to take risks. From the moment we take our first steps, we chance pain. Love and faith are the biggest risks of all. We commit our souls to an unseen, often silent Higher Power. We make promises to one another while caught up in the rush of hormones and the warm-fuzzies of new love, feeling young and invincible. We pledge for better or worse, little knowing how bad "worse" can get, then what? I've got a LOT of passion & fight left in me, but right now I feel small and insignificant. It's a BIG world with so many needs- do I really matter?

When life seems to fall apart, God has not failed. Love does not falter, people do. So we have faith and take risks. Sometimes things turn out the way we hoped they would. Other times, we kiss our plans goodbye and go back to the drawing board.

I don't believe in mediocrity, I strive for excellence, though I am sincere I don't always hit the mark. Why is it we fail to celebrate those who give life a good try- only applauding those who "succeed"? How do we measure happiness & success?? Is the corporate "Big Cheese" with VIP parking truly a success or was he/she merely a good strategist? How many people were stepped on in order to get to the top?? Society applauds couples who stay married for decades- despite the fact that many of them couldn't stand each other or were bored out of their minds. Is that a successful relationship?

I don't believe success or happiness should be based on how many times we finish in the lead, or who dies with the most toys. It is NOT happiness I am after. No, I want satisfaction- that's something that goes deeper and can exist in good or bad times. Many things we chase in this life are somewhat unsatisfying once the newness wears off. The sports car, the fancy house, the lusty acquaintance... these things dangle on the big "happiness hook", but once pursued & tasted, one may find they come with a bigger price than initially bargained for. We only own possessions to a certain point, then they begin to own us.

At the end of my life, I want to bask in satisfaction. Didn't someone once say, "To try and fail is better than never trying in the first place"?

I can't help but wonder what happens when the best of our efforts & intentions aren't good enough to get us where we want to be? Who will be there to catch me when I am exhausted? I don't know, but I want to live with boldness, taking my licks and still smiliing...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Big 5 Interview :o)

Sage: “In order to get to know your household, what comic strip or cartoon character best describes each member of the household (including pets).”

In all honesty, our lives would probably mirror 'Charlie Brown'. Nothing ever seems to go right for Charlie Brown and there are several characters in that cartoon that remind me of my family. My son is like Pigpen- always getting into something and I have to remind him to wash. My oldest daughter is like Lucy, kind of bossy at times, but well-meaning. My middle girl is like Peppermint Patty- a Tomboy, and my youngest is sweet and innocent like Sally. I identify heavily with Snoopy- always coming up with new things to try.

Sage: “Be honest, did you read all of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress? If so, which of Christian’s temptations and challenges have you struggled with the most. If you have not read it, describe beating yourself up with a wet noodle as an act of contrition.”

Yes, I did read it and Pilgrim's Progess is one of my favorite books. I can most relate to Pilgrim's struggle with despair. It seems to bog me down and at times, doesn't want to lift. Pilgrim eventually made it to the other side of despond and I believe that I will too.

Sage: “Name a favorite food of yours that your kids won’t touch.”

Hmmmm, we pretty much like the same foods. My middle daughter HATES mushrooms and I really enjoy them. I guess I'd have to say that Brussel Sprouts are a food I like and they hate.

Sage: “You say you’re Scot-Irish. Isn’t that like diluting Glenfiddich with Bushmills? How did your Scottish blood get so contaminated?”

LOL- My mother's side is Scot- Campbell of Argyll, while my Dad's Eire' side is O'Gallagher of Donegal. Both Scots and Irish are Celts from somewhat similar roots. Contaminated? Depends on who you ask I guess. Contrary to popular belief, not all Celtic-Americans are heavy drinkers. ;o)

Sage: “Both Murf and you seem to have a thing for 80s music? What do you think Murf’s favorite song from that era is? And since I spent most of the 80s catching up on the 70s, would I know it?”

Yes, the 80's had a lot of great songs! Bryan Adams, Mr. Mister, Bon Jovi, Mike and the Mechanics, Chicago, Phil Collins, Michael W. Smith, etc. Hmmmm, I'm guessing Murf's favorite song is 'Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend'- can't remember who sang that one off hand...

(If anyone else wants to be interviewed, let me know and I'll come up with 5 questions for you.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Of Selfishness & Self-Pity..

(This post is partly in response to a comment I received and deleted accusing me of "being ungrateful, drowning in self-pity and that I need to go take a Prozac".)

To put my situation into perspective- I realize there are many people out there who have it far worse than me. I feel for them. I also know there are plenty of people out there who have it better than me and I'm doing my best not to be jealous. What makes my situation so difficult is the fact that 4 lives are depending on me and my husband to do the right things and to make a life for them. I don't see how that is being "selfish".

Secondly, anyone reading this must understand that every person alive has their limits as to how much stress they can handle. Even Jesus Himself had times when He had to go off by Himself to regroup. In the Garden of Gethsemene, He was so stressed that He wept and was sweating blood and begging God to lift the trial. Jesus knows what suffering is like and that's why I love Him. Was He being selfish and drowning in self pity?
Human beings can only handle such instability so long before it affects sleep, health & outlook. Sleep? Affected- I'm taking a pill each night in order to sleep. Health? I've lost about 10 lbs in the last 6 wks- not complaining, just demonstrates that I'm under a lot of stress. My outlook? Well, I'm trying to look at things with a positive spin, but it's incredibly hard when time after time I hope things are coming together and yet stability for my family seems just beyond our grasp.

Our friends that we are staying with have been good to us. I know that our presence here stresses them out- even though they have tried so valiantly never to let on. It's impossible to have 6 people under your roof and not feel stressed. We talked with them tonight and they re-assured me that they are not selling the house because of us. That's good, because even though we've been careful, I was afraid we were running up the utilities sky high or playing on their last nerves. They have several legitimate reasons for selling and really I have no right to even ask for an explanation since it's their house and we've already been here for 9 weeks. They don't think it will sell right away and certainly can't complain about me paying them $500 a month to stay. Makes it hard to save up for a place of our own, but I WILL do it.

I think selfishness/self-pity are when someone is totally me-centered. Every decision they make is about them and what they want. Self-pity is to be so wrapped up in your own pain that you cannot reach out to anyone else. I'm NOT there yet. I do not want to leave my man- I hate sleeping alone! I want more than anything for us to be a family and have our own space again. A 2 bedroom fixer-upper would be fine as long as we could be together, but nothing has opened up. Jay & I have stayed up late many a night discussing options. The best thing for the kids is to take them somewhere apart from this situation where they can be kids, get to know their family a little and have a nice Summer. How is this selfish on my part?

I talked to my Supervisor at the YMCA today and explained the situation to her. She said they love having me work there and that I will have a job when I return. PRAISE GOD! I hope to work at the 'Y' in PA until Jay calls to tell me he has found a place for us to live. Then, you betcha, I'll be back up here. The U.P. is beautiful. :o)

It is easy to accuse someone of "self-pity". When you lose everything, career, farm, credit, circle of friends, dreams, then you begin to understand... When someone loses most of the things that matter to them, they HAVE TO GRIEVE in order to move on. That's healthy and leads to healing. According to Solomon the Wise, "there is a time to mourn and a time to dance". Right now I'm in mourning, but God is not finished here and I believe that someday my family will have much to celebrate.

I don't mind people being level with me, in fact, I invite it, but be gentle. Don't come down hard on someone who is already struggling to find meaning and hope. Perhaps I'm now doing penance for the times when I was less than sensitive and made judgement calls on others when they were down and out. God, forgive me, I understand now...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And So it Continues...

Last night we were told by the owners of the space we are renting, that they are selling their house and we need to be prepared to move out at a moments notice. Since my husband hasn't even done his 3 wk training yet and my earnings at the YMCA are miniscule, we have no money for utility deposits, first & last month's rent or a downpayment on a house. So, as soon as school lets out, I'll be heading south to my widowed Aunt's farmhouse with the kids and immediately start putting feelers out for work in her area. At least I know the kids will have a good summer with her there in the country- that's all that really matters to me at this point. They didn't do anything to deserve the trials they have suffered, simply because they had the misfortune to be born to us.

I spoke to my birth-Dad today (rare thing- as we're not exactly close) to ask for some advice. I've tried to ask for very little from him over the years. But today, he wept on the phone with me, told me he loved me- that he understands. With a trembling voice, he said a prayer for us. I said, "Daddy, I'm so tired, I can't take anymore nonsense- just wish I could sit in your lap for a little bit and rest." He said, "Bring those children down here to the farmhouse until your man is able to get things figured out." So, as much as I don't want this, Jay and I are going to separate- at least for 3 months.... possibly more....

Sometimes I feel like a tiny chess piece in some big celestial game. Just when I think that perhaps something is about to break, the rug gets pulled out from under us. God, if you heard anything I prayed last night, You know I don't want to get ahead, I'd just like to break even once in a while, but such good fortune seems so evasive. I'm not asking why. I've searched my heart and I have done my best to serve You. What are You trying to show me, what are you trying to prove?

I hope someday I will read over these journals with a sparkle in my eye and laughter in my heart because I'm on the other side of this long journey, but I'm not sure how far until I get there...
(For the few of you who read these posts, I always enjoy hearing from you, but there are only so many ways to express sympathy. That's not what I'm after with this. This is just a place for me to be real and record my journey. If it bums you out to read my blog, by all means check out my 'Signs-n-Wonders' blog or please find someone cheery in blog-world who has it all together and can lift you up.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Last Friday, we got a call saying that Jay was accepted for school. Yesterday, Jay received not one, but two job offers. We're not going to be rich, but as long as we can be in a place of our own, I'm fine with that. He has decided to go with the second and will begin his training next week. THANK GOD! Today we drove around looking for housing. Rent is expensive but to actually buy a house is quite cheap so we're looking into that option.

We gave God 6 wks to act before we separated out of necessity- me taking the children to PA and him staying here to continue trying to find work, a place to live and going back to school. This was a LAST resort. We were both teetering on the very edge of our strength & sanity. Jay has been pretty angry and although he seems very meek and mild most of the time, sometimes his anger is explosive. He hurled a big TV remote at me, hitting me in the chest the other night. He always holds the remote. I asked him to turn the TV down because everyone was in bed, he ignored me, so I asked again. Still no response, so I turned to look at him and asked again, when I turned back toward the TV, he threw. It hurt and I must admit I was not very Christlike in my response. I hurled it right back at him- HARD, hitting him in the belly-button region. He played it off and acted like he didn't mean for it to hit me. He knows better. He slapped me in the face once when we were dating. I told him if he ever did that again that would be the end of it. That's one thing I will NOT tolerate from anyone. Call it my Irish temper, but if anyone gets rough with me, I may be small, but I'm capable of giving it right back and they WILL feel it. I haven't learned how to turn the other cheek when it comes to physical abuse..... still growing in this area....

Anyway, once again as always, God waits until the last possible moments to do something. You'd think that being so powerful, He could come through earlier once in a while. Perhaps it shows His power more when He waits until we've run out of strength, patience and resources?
I don't know and honestly, it gives me a headache to try and figure anything out right now. I'm just glad there seems to be a light at the end of this looooooong tunnel. :o)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Today I rose at 4:00am to go open the YMCA. My Co-worker Don, a retired postal worker, urged me to stand outside and watch the sun rise over Lake Superior. So I did. It was a very spiritual moment for me and I learned a valuable lesson from it- which I will post on my 'Signs & Wonders' blog.

The last time I witnessed this event I was with my Best friend/First love, Paul. We were on a group campout and challenged each other to see who could stay up longest. We sat there under a blanket beside the fire ALL night watching the stars, dreaming, scheming and talking about life. (It was quite innocent) He was a kindred spirit- shy, but always interesting to talk to- we never seemed to have a shortage of things to say. It was so easy to laugh back in those days. Both of us were determined to outlast the other and before we knew it, the sun was rising, so we decided to enjoy the occasion and call it a tie. What a beautiful experience, a memory I will cherish until my dying day. As I stood there this morning, captive to the magic of Dawn and remembrances of puppy love, I wondered if he ever thinks of me and all the good times we had for 10 years? I may never cross his mind, but I whispered a prayer for him and his family. There has not been a day when I haven't remembered him. I hope that he has found true love and reasonable success...

I made my way out of bed and drove to work in darkness. Later as I stood watching the sky, a thin blue, red & pink band began to grow across the horizon. I heard the birds begin to sing in the Pines. Things continued to get brighter, then the sun itself began to peek out above the water line and for a few short moments, the lake literally looked as if it had a silver lining- beautiful! The distant memory of my very first sunrise warmed me. I felt a sense of calm and took this as a sign that the darker part of my life will soon be over. All good and valuable things take time- including the birth of a new day. Learning to breathe and to accept life for what it is with an attitude of thankfulness has always been a challenge for me. I'm a fixer, a planner, a go-getter. Every so often, God has to put me in a place where I have NO control- otherwise I'd be totally self-dependant.

I am determined that no matter how things turn out job-wise, in my relationship or in my future, I will never stop being thankful for the little things that still delight and amaze me.

Sunrises are one of those things...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

San Francisco

I was in Cali over the weekend, possibly my last performance with 'Message of Mercy'- at least for a while. Our concerts went well. We took a day to tour the city and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. What fun!! I'd only ever heard from several people in the past that San Fran was a "filthy, sinful place of iniquity"- one which God has cursed.

Instead, I found that it is a very clean, friendly and beautiful place on the harbor. It's a wonderfully unique city with winding streets and trolley cars- VERY hilly there!! We girls enjoyed riding the trolley and walking up & down along the streets admiring the beautiful architecture and artistry of the buildings there. The air was fresh and clean and the scenary lovely! At one point, we were delighted to see a whole herd of Sea Lions sunning themselves on piers in the bay. Did you know that you can smell them, even from a good distance away because of their fishy diet? They are very social creatures and bark a lot. We had lunch in China Town- good food! I purchased a pair of silk slippers for $3. We were able to get a lot of good pictures. I will attempt to post some soon...

Contrary to popular belief by those who may have never been there, we didn't see gay men or women hanging all over each other everywhere. I felt very comfortable there. I did see one cross-dresser and there were many guys walking together, but not even so much as holding hands or a kiss. Now, maybe if I stayed there longer, I may have seen more public displays of affection (PDA's), but the way people had talked, I pictured gay couples being all over each other in public and trash laying in the streets. Not so!

Hmmmm, I've learned to be wary of anyone who talks as if they are an "expert" on a place they have never encountered. Likewise, beware of religious "experts" who may not have truly experienced God. Both can be incredibly misleading. ;o)

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm SO Dense!

Yes, this IS a genuine, certifiable fact. For all the thinking and studying I do, I am quite slow. Must be, or I would've figured things out by now.

Some say I need to pray more, to surrender more, to work harder. I'm exhausted, so now what? Perhaps this is the point God wants each of us to reach so that we will finally surrender?? Yes, some firmly believe that God Himself is sending this long series of trials. I must ask, is this really the way God deals with us? If I were to beat someone up in a backstreet with a club until they could no longer walk, would they truly love and delight in me? Certainly NOT- they would be terrified. So to those who feel justified is saying these trials are the scourge of God upon my family- I THINK NOT!
Others say it is the Devil doing this. If so, then it is only because God allows him to have his way.
Still again, others say that it's simply a matter of making poor choices. How is following what you think to be God's leading a poor choice?

I give up! I'll do my best to muddle through and forget about trying to understand what God is trying to pound through my thick skull. Perhaps it will miraculously dawn on me just out of the blue someday, but for now- it's too exhausting to try and figure it out...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Plans of Mice and Men...

My man and I were up late several nights this week making an honest assessment of our situation and heavily discussing options- some of which are pretty bleak. The job we came all this way hoping he could start in April or May has not yet materialized. We are running out of time.... and strength. It dawned on us this week that perhaps time apart is what both of us need.

We got married quite young and due to the nature of his up-bringing/education, he feels he was unable to take time to figure out who he really is. Bottom line? He does not love himself, but how can you if you don't know who you are or what you want?? Jay still doesn't know these answers, or how to get there. He's slow to process things and has always been somewhat disconnected from, or unable to express his feelings. His mantra over the years has been, "I'm overwhelmed". He may need some time to himself to figure things out. We've been apart before- early on- and when we got back together things were much better for both of us. Now I may be Summering elsewhere with the kids while he puts the pieces of his puzzle together. NOT an easy thing to do and we've laid out a "fleece" before God about this. Sometimes love means letting go for a while. I care about this man and want what's best for him. It hurts to realize that I may not be what he needs. Reflecting on the past 14 yrs together and the many challenges we have faced, I cannot see what good- if any I have been for him. Yes, I've been a constant, caring presence in his life, but I've also been a drain on his shortage of time, energy and resources. My body presented him with mouths to feed before he felt ready to provide.

Oh, the plans of mice and men....

The question we are both asking at this time? Is it possible to thoughtfully and prayerfully make a life decision and still make a mistake? Does God always honor earnest effort or does He allow us to reach dead-ends for a reason?? The next step for us is homelessness... now what??
Being an optimist doesn't come without it's own set of challenges. I'm a dreamer- a risk taker, but looking back over the track record of my life, I'm not exactly sure that has been a plus. I love the song 'Anyway' by Martina McBride. AWESOME!! She sang it live on American Idol last night. :o)

I was raised to believe that if you love God, if you place every plan before Him and consult Heaven before making your moves, then your footsteps will always be sure, that God will bless and prosper you. I do feel blessed & prospered. My spirit grows while I feel the world around me is collapsing. It is the strangest of feelings. I am grateful for God's interest in my spiritual journey, but I'd like to see His hand in other areas of my life. What about my relationship, financial picture and future. What about the futures of our children??

For now, my goal must be to continue putting one foot in front of the other, finding the courage to smile and sing. My faith and resolve are being severely tested...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


One Fall, I visited an old country chapel in the middle of Cade's Cove, TN. This historic place was always spiritual ground for me. The people who lived there and built little farms in the clay had buried more than one small child beneath the soil behind the chapel. Women died in childbirth and the fever took many lives. They planted fields, fertilized with their own blood, sweat and tears.... only to have storms wipe out the entire crop. They knew the pain of hunger, the discomfort of tattered shoes, yet, somehow these people kept trying to make the best of their lives. I'm sure they struggled, but they didn't give up.

The chapel doors were wide open, it was a beautiful afternoon. I walked inside and took a seat in an old rickety pew near the front of the little sanctuary, where for hundreds of years, believers had met to worship God. It was not long until I noticed a fluttering of two Sparrows who had somehow flown into the chapel, but did not know how to get back out. They flew against the windows, against the ceiling, desperate to break free of their prison and reach the open sky. I can only assume they were a mated pair as one was male and the other female. They would ram their little featherweight bodies against immoveable obstacles repeatedly- I was sure they were killing themselves for the effort. After several failed attempts to gently capture them and set them free, I took my place on the pew again- helpless to assist them. However, as the sun began to set, light poured in through the open doors. It was only then that the birds knew what to do. They followed the light and emerged victoriously into the freshness of evening air.

My life has been quite challenging on several levels. I've never felt so alone or helpless. Due to our circumstances, my man is distant and has slipped into a dark place where I cannot reach him. He has tried for weeks to find work- no luck. Unemployed, he feels useless and wasted. I don't know how to bring him back into my world and honestly, it hurts to try. I cannot need him at this time, because he has little to give.
Sometimes, I feel like a tiny sparrow beating against a ceiling that will never let me get any higher or go any further. I'm not getting any younger, but I'm not giving up. I'm looking devastation in the eye and staring it down. I still have a fool's hope that things are going to get better.

Perhaps the truest measure of who we are is not how high or far we go in life, but how consistently we try to get there and how kind we are in the process. Some of us will try, succeed and be celebrated, but many will try and never realize the dreams that existed in us since our first remembrances. Some of the old ones sit pretty on fat retirements while others who worked just as hard lay in nursing homes with bitterness and disappointment, having lost what they loved most and wallowing in regret. We cannot know why this is, only God sees the reason. But, we have to try. When I heard the song 'Anyway' by Martina Mcbride I cried over it because it's exactly where I am and how I feel.

I don't know what great dreams, what passions beat within your chest. Failure to accomplish set goals is not always a reflection on the individual. We are all limited by factors such as funding, distance, time, circumstances, and the fact that life is short. If you're like me, you've lain awake many a night contemplating things and forging ideas of how to achieve your goals. We all have obstacles to overcome- this is not entirely bad. I believe challenge makes us stronger. Wish I could say with all certainty that you will see your dreams come to life. What I can say is don't give up hope and don't ever go down easy.

I still hope that somehow the light will shine for me...