Confessions 1

Bless me, Father

For I have sinned

I have loved and lost and lusted

I have used and conned and manipulated

Hearts have been crushed in my grasp

Spirits suspended in mid air

Unable to move on, unsure

I didn’t want them; I didn’t want to let them go.

In all these years so many of them

I have let inside my dreams, let them influence me,

Change who I am fundamentally,

No they didn’t have me physically but which is worse?

Psychically I was theirs.

His. His. His. His. His.

I enjoyed most of it, I liked

The attention, raw attraction, the bond

Tolerated abuse, just to be the muse.

All that time I never knew, no one told me

I was giving away pieces of myself

Each heart exploding left a scar on mine

Fragments of me, slices of them, intertwined

I’m not whole, not myself, not pristine

Dirty, damaged, fractured again and again and then – sewn together

A mosaic of hearts that beat in rhythm

Souls that spoke the same language as mine

The things they taught me and the things only we know

That’s what I am made of, and I confess it, but

What can I do, how can I come clean

What kind of penance can I serve to atone, when

I’m not sorry?

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Holding On vs. Letting Go

We broke up because of bread.  That’s what he’ll say.  Stupid, seedy, sandwich bread.  He went to the store, at 9:15 at night no less, to get some grocery items for me and he got the wrong bread and now we’re getting divorced.  Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s the truth, and at the same time it’s nowhere near the whole truth.  So what’s the rest of the story?

To oversimplify, he doesn’t pay attention –  to me, to the things I like, to what I eat, to whether I’m happy or sad or indifferent.  He doesn’t know me.  He doesn’t notice.  Part of that lazy unknowing is bringing home the wrong bread and then, in the morning when I’m hungry and emotional and just want a piece of toast but I can’t have it because it’s not the right thing, he says helpful things like, “Oh, so I’m the asshole now? I got your bread.”

Of course, this story is biased towards my feelings, since I’m the author.  Is it reasonable to get so upset over being “forced” to eat the “wrong” bread?  Probably not.  Honestly, though, my hurt goes deeper than the fact that 9 times out of ten he brings the wrong grocery items home.

The bread fiasco is just one in a string of unfortunate events, each of them hurtful to me.  Each time it happens, instead of apologizing or trying to understand what is upsetting to me, he defends himself and points out my flaws.  It’s not exactly a recipe for productive conversation or progress.

Am I saying I’m blameless and my husband never gets hurt?  Not at all.  However I don’t believe he gets hurt very often, which is perhaps a benefit of being so faintly invested.  From my perspective, he has it easy.  He works all day.  He doesn’t contribute to the household in any way aside from that.  I cook the meals, clean, pay the bills, take care of school things and appointments, do all the laundry and homework, plan all the vacations and pack us for them, and so on.

I’m not a quitter.  I am, however, beginning to wonder at what point do I cut my losses?  At what point am I allowed (by society, by my parents, by my own conscience) to move towards my own healing and happiness?

We don’t have the same goals (or if we do, he doesn’t vocalize them).  I have been working on my own for a year to clean up our credit.  The most I can get out of him is a “that’s great babe” when I talk to him about it, but forget about active participation.  I’ve been hoping to purchase a home and I have spoken with mortgage lenders and realtors and he doesn’t get involved in it or even ask questions.  I plan an annual Disney trip and this year I’ve asked for help from a friend because it’s too stressful and involved for me to do on my own.  And I know that when the time comes, he will go and enjoy the fruits of my labor, and never say thank you, and never have helped with the decision making, and just thinking about this makes me cry.  I’m crying.

I want a life partner.  Someone who has dreams, someone who has a plan, someone who cherishes me.  What I don’t want is to have to drag someone along. Every day that goes by I worry I am wasting time with someone who thinks that just working is enough.  Who thinks that he shouldn’t have to hug me or buy flowers or plan date nights because he works and because I’m living off his money.  (I’ll admit that part is terrifying.  How will I live?  My job pays peanuts.)  By the same token, I’m very careful with the money and budget because I respect all that he does to earn it.  I don’t take that responsibility lightly.  A few days ago I asked if he might help me with it, at least be involved in it, and his response was that if I keep complaining about it he’ll just do it.  He’ll take over.  I don’t want him to control it, number one because he’s not great with saving and number two because I like doing it.  I honestly do.  I just need help.  I need a husband.

He is a kind person.  He’s a nice dad.  I don’t know if I’d say he’s a good dad, because he doesn’t really do things with the kids unless I make him.  Our son deserves to go fishing and hiking and to learn about being a guy, and there are things that as much as it chafes me, I cannot teach him.  But my husband isn’t teaching him either.  Again, I cry, but this time it’s hot angry tears.  My sons both deserve effort.

Maybe he’s depressed.  He has mentioned it a few times, and I’ve encouraged him to get counseling and even try medication if that’s what he thinks will help.  Has he taken any steps in that direction? No.

We’ve both made mistakes.  I planned a hypothetical lunch about 8 years ago with a guy who is a friend from high school but he saw it as me being shady.  Last Spring I found nudes on his phone of girls (plural) who aren’t me and spent a few days swallowing pieces of my heart and trying to figure out if anything I thought was real had ever truly existed.  He had an explanation. It was plausible.  After about 2 days of me moping he began acting annoyed that I wouldn’t “let it go”.  I still haven’t let it go completely, though I don’t bring it up to him.  It’s here inside me, though.

Do I worry he might read this?  Not for a moment.  Despite sharing links with him from time to time I’m reasonably sure he’s never read my blog.  I wrote a book, published it on Amazon, and shared it with him after years of being too scared to let him see any of it, and he never even looked at it.  Didn’t read one word of it.

He’s going to go the rest of his life thinking he married a crazy person who divorced him over bread.  It’s heart-breaking and frustrating.

So that’s where I am today.  Right now I’m making list a la Ross Gellar:  Reasons to stay vs. Reasons to go.  What’s better for me? For the kids? For us both?  Apologies for oversharing with my handful of readers, but this blog is a journal for me and it’s important when you feel something to speak it, and that’s what I’m doing.

Let’s Kick It

karatekids
There can be only one.

Eats:  Fluids!  No, it’s not a new diet.  It’s the stomach flu!  No kidding, everyone in the house was sick this week so I indulged in such delicacies as Lemon Lime Gatorade, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and Fruit Punch Gatorade.

Pandora:  Celtic music is my jam.  This week I’ve been listening to a lot of it.  This is possibly because I watched Braveheart a few times while I was sick (as one does), but I’ve always had an affinity for the fiddles and bawdy lyrics.  If you haven’t before, search “Celtic” in Pandora, choose “Station” and give it a listen. I bet you’ll be doing an Irish jig in no time.

Michael Flatley – Irish Jigger Extraordinaire

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Wanderlust:  Nothing new to report, sadly.  It’s a dream of mine to go to a film festival, though, and I might be close to making that happen.  Fingers crossed!

Workouts:  Because of the sickness, all I managed were Gatorade curls and sleep.  I will say, though, that the sleep was glorious.  Also, my older son is a blue belt in karate right now and I get a “kick” out of watching him practice!

Spiritual: Lots of talk about magic going on in our house this week, thanks to the Harry Potter books and Hogwarts at Universal Studios.  My son and I had an interesting discussion about magic, in which he stated he didn’t realize that “real” magic existed.  “Of course it does!”, I told him, hand to chest in faux dramatic fashion.  I let him know the secret, as I understand it:  The less a person believes in magic, the less one sees it.  The more a person believes in magic, the more he or she will be able to recognize it in the world around him.  He was delighted in this truth, and I was delighted to share it with him.

Dreams:  Animals!  I’ve had dreams about baby pandas and an avalanche of black sheep this week.  I am SURE they mean something but also sure that I probably don’t want to know.

Photographing:  Lots of screen shots of quotes this week.  I’ve been kinda grumpy and stressed, so I keep things to help me remember nice thoughts and encouraging words.

dumbledore

Movies and TV: I’ve been waiting to write this portion of the blog all week!  Rumor has it (and rumor actually confirmed by Vanity Fair ) that the original cast of The Karate Kid will be reuniting for a TV special!  Words cannot express (at least, not any words in my limited vocabulary) the elation I experienced when I heard his news.  For many reasons these films (ahem, the originals only) hold a special place in my heart.  Of course, there will be a gigantic Pat Morita – sized hole in the special, but I’m hopeful that his character will be treated with honor and respect.  Ralph Macchio is by all accounts quite a nice guy, and I hope this is a hit for him and Billy Zabka.  I will definitely be watching!

Library:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Seriously, I’m only 2 pages in.  This week I’m taking sabbatical from work (don’t worry, they know about it) so I will try and sink my teeth in and share with you guys if I catch feelings.  Or start speaking Parseltongue.

Tech:  Words With Friends, mis amigos.  I’ve been challenged this week by friends, former English teachers, and total strangers.  I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’ve pitched my fists into the air in frustration.  It’s a great way to keep the mind sharp, or to get upset about how dull your mind is.  It’s one or the other.  Also, check out the Robin Hood App.  It’s a FREE stock trading app, and it is quite user-friendly.  Aptly named after the legendary outlaw who “robbed from the rich to give to the poor”, this app promises to help the “little guy” who isn’t educated on trading to build his portfolio.  Does it work?  I have no idea.  Right now they have a promotion going and if you sign up RIGHT OVER HERE you will receive one free share of mystery stock.  You can also receive free stock for any person who signs up using your link.  Free stock is free money, so go get some!

One last serious note: Rest in Peace, dear Robin Williams. It’s been three years already. Your life touched me.  Your death shook me.  Your legacy inspires me.  **If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or considering suicide, please get help.  You are not alone and you are worth fighting for.  You are unrepeatable.  There is a magic inside you that is all your own. (D.M.Dellinger)

Jailhouse Rock

A La Carte:  Let’s see… A lot of my focus has been on cutting out snacks and sugars.  Pure Protein bars are an “old school” favorite of mine, and I’ve had one with a piece of fruit or some cherries every day this week.  Also EAS AdvantEdge shakes are great.  As far as ACTUAL food, sweet potatoes are life right now.  Any way I can get them, especially fries.

Tunes:  Elvis!  That’s right, I’m tuned in to the King this week.  My 7-year-old saw a book at the store and said, “Who is Elvis?”, and I knew I had done him a great disservice.  So this week we’re blasting favorites like “Teddy Bear”, “Blue Christmas”, “All Shook Up”, “Viva Las Vegas”, and “Hound Dog”.   I have fond memories of dancing around to Elvis in my mom’s room, and we’ve had a fun time re-creating it at our house.

stitch_as_elvis_by_kurumaki_kee-d300c1q

Where I’m Going:  I want to go somewhere new for Christmas.  Well, maybe not ON the day, but for Winter.  It doesn’t snow here.  I’m fantasizing about somewhere white and romantic.  New York?  Paris?  Heck, I’d even consider somewhere out west.  I like to ski!  Maybe Aspen?  I could ski with Tom Cruise and we could discuss our mutual disdain for vitamins and how we both do our own stunts.

Trees in Aspen
Image courtesy Pinterest.

Flesh:  Elliptical cross-training!  I forgot how much fun the elliptical can be.  The ones at my gym have a setting called “X Train Backwards”, and on this setting you go 4 minutes forward, or regular, and 4 minutes back.  It’s great for working quads and hamstrings, and it’s FUN.  If you know me, you know fun is a necessary component in fitness.  Life is too short to have it otherwise!  So if there’s an elliptical at your gym and you’ve never tried it, please do!  Challenge yourself with the settings, too.  I like to go to the very highest level for a minute, then turn it way back down and get high reps, and repeat.  (It’s a lot like doing intervals in spin class.)  Another bonus:  The elliptical simulates skiing motions, so you’ll be prepared for that ski date with Tom!

Here’s a short article on some of the benefits of elliptical training.

Soul: I did a blog post the other day about the small eclipse this month, and already I have seen a few eery things happen (ALL good) in my life.  I’m reading about the BIG eclipse that’s coming and doing my best to prepare, without stressing or planning everything.  I like for things to happen organically and naturally, and not be forced.

Dreams:  Both dreams I remember this week took place in my grandmother’s home.  She is heavily on my mind this week, and I am supposed to go and visit her, so this is probably why.  I’ve also been researching our family tree and thinking about getting some oral histories from her.  One final explanation is that I miss her and her home, and the time I lived there, terribly some days.

Cruise Home
Image from Business Insider

Photographing:  SCHOOL IS IN!  My phone is full of photos of my big 2nd Grader.

Movies and TV: I have discovered a show for children called Pocoyo.  It is available on Netflix and it is adorable.  Very simply animated, and narrated by a man whose voice is quite similar to the guy from Winnie the Pooh (from the 80s), it’s the only thing my toddler will pay any attention to.  Before this, he would not watch TV at all.

Library:  My own book.  Two years ago I wrote a book to honor my grandfather and to process some of my own grief.  The end result has been sitting on my computer since, and I’ve been inspired by some writer friends to go ahead and self-publish on Amazon.  The issue I’m having is that it’s full of religious/spiritual references that I’ve moved on from, and I don’t want to be a phony.  I’ve attempted several different edits, but none of them feels authentic to who my grandfather was.  So… I’m stuck.  I’m sure it’s only temporary.  The next step will be figuring out how to format from Word to e-reader, and so far I can’t even get a successful download (thanks, Firefox!)

Tech: Duolingo is my best friend.  I’ve been sitting up at night becoming fluent in French, in preparation for our inevitable Paris take-over.  If you want to learn a language, consider using the Duolingo App.  It’s fun, free, and easy to learn.  Duolingo offers a variety of languages, and the lessons are short and fun.  You can track your progress, earn rewards, and share Fluency percentage with friends or even have it posted on your LinkedIn profile.

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On the Menu:  Pork chops in A1 marinade.  This was a happy accident, as the A1 bottle fell out of the fridge and busted, and, having been raised by my grandmother, I know better than to waste food.  Baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and yellow squash FTW.

Lyrical:  No new music this week, looking for something fun and uplifting.

Walkabout:  Chatta and Disney are on deck.  Found some RT tickets to Rome for around $500/pp, so we might be saying “Ciao, Bella!” before my birthday!  So exciting!

ROM-02
Image from Google
Temple:  I took a much-needed rest week.  This was completely unplanned.  I had several symptoms of stress and over-training:

  1. Fatigue – I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open, and even “accidentally” fell asleep a couple of times.
  2. Weight Gain – Suddenly my weight was up 3-4 lbs, though my diet hadn’t changed.
  3. Muscle Soreness – My legs were hurting, big time.  It wasn’t just superficial pain, it was DEEP down.  When I laid down, they would throb and ache.
  4. Irritability – Emotionally, I felt so drained, and I started lashing out at people for no reason.

So, I made a decision for my health, against the advice of my ego, and I. SAT. DOWN. Difficult (and sometimes it can feel shameful) in #MomLife, but very, very necessary.

Ethereal:  Listening to my August forecast on YouTube, and as always, taking lots of notes and excited to see what this month will bring.  Check out my favorite reader, Kayleigh Jean, at Falcons and Pentacles.

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Best Card Ever.
Dreams:  The only thing I remember from this week is a dream about a former teacher.  Mr. Mustache was my English teacher in 8th grade, and was quite a character.  I dreamed he had died, which according to this link can have several different meanings.

Photographing:  Kids, Snapchat selfies, the usual.

Movies and TV: Mostly Law & Order: SVU.  It’s definitely a guilty pleasure show for me.  I miss Stabler, but like the new characters, too.  Check it out on Netflix, or check USA channel, it’s normally running there around mid-day and afternoon.

Words on Pages:  No books this week.

Tech: Looking for a new laptop, one that is versatile and user-friendly, but also will last a long time.  I currently have a DELL, but I’m looking at the Chromebook too.  Also loving my GIF keyboard by GIPHY, it’s fun and silly and easy to use.

Good(funny)Fellas

Remember that iconic scene when Tommy DeVito (portrayed flawlessly and I suspect somewhat effortlessly by Joe Pesci) goes on his rant after being called “funny”?  Here’s the quote:

I mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”

Joe Pesci’s genius notwithstanding, this is a hard scene to watch.  It’s one of the most cringe-worthy, yet most quotable scenes in the history of film. Isn’t it?

That scene, that momentary lapse of sanity for Pesci’s character, when he’s not sure whether to be insulted or flattered, is what comes to mind when I hear things like “I just want someone who makes me laugh.” What, like, on command?  Please elaborate.  I mean if I’ve got to stand at the mic and tell you jokes, you’d better be pulling out some pretty astounding party tricks yourself.  You know what I’m sayin’? *wink, wink*

That said, it’s actually me who has been thinking it this week.  Someone who makes me laugh is probably the one quality I value over all others when it comes to friendships, acquaintances, sometimes even work collaborators.  It’s something I cherish in all my dealings with my brother.  It’s something I admire in clever people and I find charming in men.

I went to lunch with a friend this week.  She’s a sweet person.  We went to high school together but only recently have become close.  She is funny and, even better, she laughs at my jokes.  We have similar outlooks on life and work.

When I think about recent date nights I’ve had with my husband, the ones I consider most “successful”, meaning we got along great and had a good connection and I felt reassured about us, are the ones that included laughter.  Lots and lots of laughter.

No one is funnier than my brother.  I don’t know if this is because we grew up together so I’ve grown accustomed to it, or because he is truly a genius, or if we are so similar and have been “in the trenches together”, so to speak, so our humor is naturally shared and familiar.  We laugh every time we are together.  Heck, I laugh at his texts and social media messages, too.

Sometimes my seven-year-old tells me I’m “hilarious” or high-fives me to indicate approval of a joke.  It’s one of the highest compliments my heart can receive.  I remember how excited I was when his humor evolved from knock-knock jokes that don’t make any sense but it’s my motherly duty to laugh, to puns that were so clever I found myself questioning whether he’d actually made them up himself. (And the pride I felt at that!)

Levity seeps into all areas of my life.  Books, podcasts, tv shows, work… I seek it out.  I suppose this is partially because I associate humor with wit.  Or, rather, humor is generally associated with cleverness, outside of my own opinion, and I greatly admire clever people.  To take it one step over that line is that humor opens the door to empathy.  The Human Experience.  When I find someone who is funny, who finds humor in the same things I do, who thinks my jokes are funny or whose humor tickles me, a bond is created.  There is an immediate trust, an instant understanding.

So… yeah.  To hold a special place in my heart (and my social circle), you need to be funny.  Funny like a clown.  I’ll be funny too.  I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you.

My 5 LOVE Languages

Most of us have heard of the 5 Love Languages.  The concept originated in a book by Dr. Gary Chapman.  For brevity’s sake, I’m not going to linger in great detail, but basically everyone has primary love languages, (things that help them feel most loved) and it’s supposedly a good idea to learn your mates’ love language in order to love them in the way they need.  Dr. Chapman names these as the 5 Love Languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation 
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

These are, I think, pretty self-explanatory, so let’s move on.

I have often said that my primary love language was Acts of Service. I like it very much when my husband helps with household chores, mostly because it happens about as often as pigs fly. Physical Touch is also a big one for me. Words of Affirmation is my husband’s love language.  He likes to be told and validated and get love notes and things like that.  The problem comes when we try to love each other in our language, instead of our mate’s.  When my husband leaves me notes around the house, he is loving me with words of affirmation.  It’s sweet, but it also makes me bang my head against a wall.  It’s SO not what I need, when I’m up to my eyeballs in kids and chores and responsibilities.  He gets frustrated because in his eyes, he’s just done the sweetest thing for me.  So, I decided to make the conversation EVEN SIMPLER by re-writing the book and coming up with my own five love languages.  My 5 love languages are:

  1. Be Considerate.  No, really.  Consider me.  Did you eat the last of the bread?  Did you let me know so that I can go to the store and get more, or did you keep it to yourself and go about your merry way because who cares if I can’t make sandwiches for the kids with food I expected to have when I returned from the gajillion things you don’t think I do in a day?  Did you drive my car and bring it back with an empty gas tank even though you know I have an interview at 8 am the next morning?  Do you let me go on and on about something that concerns me, all the while playing a video game on your phone and not actually listening, so that when I look at you for a response, I’m met with silence and a look of total bewilderment?  Basically, respect me enough to treat me like a person.
  2. Don’t Be a Smartass.  When I send a text about the bread saying (pretty politely, considering my level of pissed-off-edness) “Hey, are we out of bread?”, don’t get snarky.  You’re the a-hole who ate all the bread and couldn’t be bothered to think about even writing it down.  I mean, isn’t writing notes your love language?  That means there’s really no excuse.  You could even draw me a picture of bread, whatever, be creative.  Just don’t be a smartass.
  3. Don’t Be an A-Hole.  I know, this is the second language that says “don’t”, and that’s not affirmative language, is it?  Still, I think it’s crucial and simple to carry out.  Just don’t.  Don’t come at me because you don’t like being confronted about some inconsiderate thing you did.  If you don’t like me reacting to not being thought about, please see love language #1 and consider mine and your family’s needs.
  4. Try Adulting. There’s so much I could say here, but come on.  You know what I’m talking about.  No slouchy clothes.  Take care of your appearance.  Maintain the cars, pay the bills (or at least give a damn about the finances), save some money, take care of things that need to be taken care of.  You know, be a grown up. Try seeing yourself somewhere in 5 years that doesn’t look exactly like where  you are now.  What’s the term for that?  Upwardly Mobile.  We should be moving up, like the Jeffersons, but less snazzy because they don’t make tweed jackets like that anymore.
  5. Feed Me and Tell Me I’m Pretty.  This one is the most obvious, and I just need you to do exactly what it says whenever the opportunity presents itself, and we’ll be good. Date me.  Be romantic.  Let me know that I’m cherished.  I shouldn’t have to cook every single meal, and I shouldn’t have to ask if I’m pretty or if you love me because you haven’t touched me in ages.  That’s not how you keep a woman.

So that’s it.  Those are my new and improved Love Languages.  Easy to understand and execute, and for me these are not in any particular order.  There’s no primary or secondary or last.  I want all 5.  Can I have them?  Well, I’m married.  To a man.  So… no.  But it felt good to write this and get it off my chest, and I’m hopeful that it will help at least one person/relationship to thrive.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  If you could write your own 5 Love Languages, what would they be?  Does your spouse meet them for you, or is it time to blog about it?

Book Excerpt – 2

count your blessings.
Literally. Count them. Use your fingers, use your toes. Chances are, whatever you are going through right now, your blessings still outweigh your troubles. That was Bonpapa’s attitude. He lived with an attitude of gratitude that began with the Lord. If you know the Lord, if you know who he is, what his word says, and that he loves you, what else do you need? The way Bonpapa saw it, if nothing else in his life was going right, but he still had God, he was doing alright – better than many, in fact.
My husband and I went through a situation recently where I was called to put this into practice. After a long and faithful run, my husband’s car had finally gone ‘kaput’ on the side of the highway one night as he was driving home from work. Financially, we were unprepared. Practically speaking, we were down a vehicle that we needed desperately to function in our everyday lives. Spiritually, we knew what to do. We began to say ‘thank you’ to God in prayer.
We thanked him for my husband’s safety and that the ‘blow up’ happened close to our home. My husband works out of town, so the situation could have been much worse had it happened further away. We thanked God for the other blessings in our lives: Our home, our children, our friends, our health, our full bellies. There was much to be grateful for, even in this circumstance. We thanked God for the times he had brought us through challenges, reminding him and ourselves of all the times we have been rescued. Lastly, the hardest thanks to muster was appreciation for the lesson. It went something like this: “ Lord, whatever you are teaching us or whatever you will accomplish through this event, we thank you in advance for it. We praise your mighty name for allowing us to be a part of your plan, and for molding and shaping our hearts through challenges such as these.”
Thirty minutes later, a brand new car was delivered to our front door and all was right in our world once again. Ha! Not exactly. Not even close. Thankfully, though, daily scripture reading had prepared us for what we faced. In the next few days, two Bible verses played over and over again in my thoughts: Hebrews 6:19, which says we have this hope (relationship with Christ) as an anchor for our soul. Christ in our hearts keeps us steady, even as we go through life’s storms. The second verse, 2 Corinthians 4:7, says we have this treasure (relationship with God) in jars of clay, to show that power belongs to God and not to us. We humans are fragile, like delicate clay jars, and God within us is where our true strength lies. It is no coincidence that these verses both begin with “we have”. Bonpapa was right. If you know the Lord, if you know who he is, what his word says, and that he loves you, what else do you need?
One final verse, 2 Corinthians 12:9, says that the Lord’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Only when we admit we are broken, do we allow God to take over, take control, and take care of us. If we can be grateful without needing explanation, we experience spiritual growth.
Being grateful doesn’t always fix the trouble, but it does prevent us from being overcome by our troubles. Recognizing that God’s ways and purposes are higher than our own gives us something and someone to lean on when times are tough. God never guarantees the ride will be easy, but he does assure us that we are never alone – never without hope – even as we walk the highway on a dark night. For that, I will say ‘thank you’.
We have this hope as a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:19
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah  Psalm 46:1-3
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Oh, Suzannah

I don’t remember a lot about high school.  I didn’t like school and I liked being in public school even less.  However there are moments and days that I do recall with fondness.  One such day, which began like any other, my life would be changed forever.

I had switched over to public school from parochial school in 8th grade, taking Algebra a second time because it was the highest math offered in junior high.  It was fine with me, because it was an easy A.  Geometry my Freshman year was a breeze.  Now a sophomore, Algebra II was difficult for me.  One of the youngest in the class, I was also pretty shy, so I sat in the back and mostly paid attention.

One day, a girl I had never seen walked into the classroom.  She had stringy red hair and jelly shoes on her feet.  I giggled.  What kind of person wears jelly shoes?  (I mean, besides the toddler kind.)  Who was this weirdo?

Turns out she was a transfer student.  Her name was Suzannah Dove.  She was from San Diego, California, and I just knew her parents had to be hippies.  She had freckles on her porcelain skin, an easy demeanor and kind smile.  She was assigned to sit in the empty desk to my left, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Throughout that school year, we chatted, we studied together, we figured out how to pass notes to each other in our graphing calculators.  (So I guess you could say weI invented texting. You’re welcome.)

Suzannah was like the butter to my toast – we were so different, and she was everything I wasn’t, but together we were better.  I had never known a friendship that was so effortless, honest and fun.  The things I loved about her then are still qualities I admire in her now.  Twenty years later, we are still best friends.  Both moms and now living on opposite sides of the country, our lives have changed drastically, but our bond remains intact.  We have weathered our share of storms and been up on peaks and down in valleys together, and I am so proud to call her my best friend.

Most of our conversations happen on Skype now, but they are still as effortless as the day we met.  Suzannah (whose mom is totally a hippie) is sweet and honest, and she still laughs at my jokes.  I still ask her advice about fashion (are jelly shoes in again?) and dealing with my dad, and I have no doubt that we will be friends for the rest of our lives and after.

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Where Have I Been All My Life?

Hiya!  Let me start by saying, rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!  I’ve been SO busy.  Like, STUPID busy.  I can’t even talk about how busy I am because I’m so busy.  And that’s life, and I’m blessed and I know it, so I’m not fussing.  Here’s what’s on my mind tonight:

Johnny Depp’s advice to Kate Moss on how to handle fame.  “Never complain, never explain.”  Brilliant. Perfect.  I’ll be honest and say that I do not think Johnny Depp is a genius, or even a man who reads books.  And yet, he so succinctly stated something that I feel should be every person’s mantra, not just celebrities.  This thought led to so many others…

I’m quitting Facebook.  Permanently?  I don’t know.  I like keeping up with old and far away friends, but that’s really all it’s good for.  I do know that it’s a time suck, it allows too many people to see into intimate parts of my life.  Parts that, when I’m honest with myself, I realize should be shared with my husband and kids and those closest to us.  This new “bare it all” version of society has blurred lines and dissolved boundaries of decency, privacy, and even civility.  There are people who have made me very uncomfortable in conversation because they literally inquire about personal details of my life, even when I say I’d rather not share them.  And saying I’d rather not share them?  Oh, the horror.   The usual response is an audible gasp, a stomping of feet, or if the conversation is a digital one, a revocation of “friend”ship.  I shouldn’t feel forced to tell you about my new job, my hair cut, or anything else about my life unless I WANT to. It’s ridiculous and I’m over it.

I’ve been doing a meditation challenge with my buds Deepak and Oprah (see here: https://chopracentermeditation.com/home). The meditation is a 21 Day Challenge I received in an email and I must say, I like a challenge.  The idea of my mind as a quiet, peaceful place sits right on the line between “shut the front door” and “get the heck outta here”.  It’s not an easy task.  Not impossible, maybe. But definitely not probable.  Still, I am trying. I have missed two days, but I will begin again tonight.  I hope to update you all at the end of the 21 days.

I also just finished Louise Hay’s book “You Can Create an Exceptional Life” (see here: http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?ref=149&id=7621). A timely gift from my mom, a pleasant surprise on a rainy day.  I read it in 3 days and I think I may read it again.  Many of the opinions and ideas resonated with me.  Thoughts are things and we create our reality.  Yes, I believe that.  I more than believe that, I have seen it to be true.  Loving others is paramount.  Yes, I believe that as well.  Highly recommend reading this book.

Sort-of related to the previous, I am becoming more aware of myself. My thoughts, intentions, actions, create the life around me. All the time I am sending out vibrations into the universe that, in turn, sends back vibrations that match. (Simply stated, I know, but this is my simplest understanding.)   I am learning about being true to myself, being my best and highest version of me, and manifesting my greatest dreams and desires.  (Not including Liam Hemsworth – see below.)  As a Christian sometimes I wonder if these things conflict with my religion, but they do not seem to, and so far what I have read “feels” very true to me.  Does that make sense?  I want to always be growing, and moving forward, and I believe that I am.  I want to shake off negatives and swim in positives, possibilities, opportunities, and learn to receive all good things.  I say affirmations, I have a vision board, and I write in a gratitude journal.  If nothing else it certainly makes my soul feel light.  Many times I drive to work and use that time to say thank you for all my blessings, thank you for all the blessings on their way to me today, and I laugh out loud. Literally.  These exercises have made me a happier person, more accepting of myself and others and more open to life’s grand possibilities, in a short amount of time.

Liam Hemsworth.  Wait, who?  Yeah I know, he’s so young and his older brother is super hot but I can’t help who my brain decides to insert into my mid-afternoon-nap-dreams.  So me and Liam (love that name) walked around my town, holding hands. Oh my gosh, the paparazzi? How did they know you were here?  Am I going to be in the tabloids? I wish I had brushed my hair.  Ah, dang it Miley’s calling me.  (In my dream she’s friends with my little sister.)  This is inappropriate. I know it is.  Beyond you being ruggedly handsome and (I imagine) quite a good conversationalist, I’m married and old enough to have been your babysitter.  Sigh.  But I’m infatuated.  Yes, let’s hold hands.  Let’s go to my grandma’s birthday dinner and say hi to my family.  Let’s go skydiving. …  I woke up from this dream highly amused, and then a little bummed.  I love my husband with all my heart, but I do so miss the excitement of falling in love with someone.  The electricity you feel when your skin brushes theirs.  I love being in love.  Some days I miss being young and dumb and making bad choices.  Thank goodness for Oreo-fueled afternoon dreams.

Be the kind of friend you want to have.  So simple.  For me, a sort-of epiphany.  I can be gossipy and get offended easily.  I can be guarded and bristly and short with people.  But I wouldn’t like it if they treated me that way.  My brother and sister-in-law went somewhere together this weekend.  I know because they asked my husband to feed their cat.  But they never told ME where they were going?!  Ugh.  Oh, wait.  I am doing that thing that I just mentioned in the Facebook paragraph.  Light bulb moment!  So I intend to treat my friends with loving kindness and courtesy.  You get back what you put out, and this is something I didn’t even know I was failing at.

FOOD.  My food processor died so I need a new one to make protein pancakes. I went to Target and couldn’t find one I wanted at a reasonable price.  Then, I thought I’d get one at a yard sale but that thought kinda grosses me out.  So… I’m using the blender for now, it’s not great but it works.  I have posted a FEW photos to instagram, but that’s it.  I can’t wait to get some time in the kitchen to post some yummy new recipes!  I’ve given up soda, I vacillate between paleo and vegan dieting right now, and I can’t get enough kombucha.

The photo below is my new desktop background.  It speaks to my soul.

So… what’s new with you guys?

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