Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

What a year 2011 has been.  So much is swirling around in my head right now.  I'm not sure I can make sense of any of it, but I'm going to try.  Please bear with me.  I have learned something though, life is all about choices.  I'll try and explain.

I can choose to see 2011 one of 2 ways:

Way 1:  2011 started with STRESS!!  Stress of business not doing well equaling low income.  Stress of trying to find a place to move too.  Stress with wondering if the rental agency would allow us one more month contract free to stay, while we figured out what was going on with finding a place to live.  Stress of a bad neighborhood.   Stress with DRAMA caused by the bad neighborhood.  Stress of bank after bank telling us "No" to a home loan. 

Then came My grandfather's diagnosis:  Alzheimer's, and later, Lung Cancer.  Then we lost my husband's grandfather this year.

Then we had the stress of moving.   Leaving friends, getting the rental ready to turn back in, and such.

Then of course the everyday stresses of  going back to school, birthdays, raising three kids, a wedding, ect.

The stress of a loved one having some personal issues.

In "Way 1", I could choose to see 2011 as STRESSFUL, to say the very least.

WAY 2: 

We got a miracle!  Everyone said (for one reason or another) we'd never be able to build a house.  Four banks said so.  Even a lawyer's office we called for advice said it would take a miracle.  But I'm sitting in the house we had built.  The house no one believed we'd have.  I'm sitting in our miracle typing this now.  *start hallelujah chorus*

We were moved to a safer, more sane, less dangerous neighborhood. 

My kids adjusted great to the move and a new school.

Through the death of one grandfather, and the death sentence of the other, we were reminded (again) how fragile life is.  And how important it is to tell and show those you love, that you love them. 

And through all the stress we've had this year, my family has grown closer.  M:y marriage has grown stronger.  Communication is much better, and we continue to work on it.

My marriage grew stronger in 2011, due to some of those "stresses" mentioned already, and others.  I have a stronger, happier marriage.

I have made new friends this year as well.  Some are neighbors, some are not.   Each brings joy into my life.

My baby sister got married this year!  And it was beautiful.  She was stunning.  And her new husband and in-laws are just part of the family now.  We love them all so much.  They are a great fit!

My other sister bought/built her first home.  She is now a neighbor.  How exciting is that?!??!

My husband's job maybe more demanding, but it was promotion.  And that rocks!

I got to spend the holidays with my entire family.  Even those from Germany!  (who are still here and get to ring in the new year with us!  WOOHOO!)  This is not a luxury a lot of families have.

In this scenario, "WAY 2",  2011 can be summed up as BLESSED.

I am choosing to see things as WAY 2.   I choose to hold on to the good and let go of that which wasn't. 

I choose to see my grandfather's diagnosis's as a blessing.  It means we were one of the few lucky families that get time to prepare for and say good bye to their loved one.  It means we can make sure he leaves this Earth never doubting what he has meant to any of us.  Too many people in life are taken suddenly (as my family well knows.  We have lost 3 that way).  This is our chance to say our goodbyes and fill our loved one's life with love.

I choose not to let those who have wounded me, go.  I don't need them.  I don't want that kind of toxic in my life.

I choose to not let those who don't like me, or the way I live (which is clearly not the way they think I should), bother me.  In the end, they are just control freaks, mad that I didn't do (or do) what they think I should.  Even those who don't me.  People like that are not worth the energy I have spent worrying about.  I choose to let it go.  It's much healthier for me this way.  And more of energies are freed up for things and people that truly matter.

I choose to leave the bad of 2011 in 2011. 

Shoot, in the past 24 hours, the stress of my husbands work week had gotten to us.  We had one grand fight.  Been a while since we had one like this.  (by Sunday evening, he will have worked AT LEAST 90 hours this week.  And no, I'm not exaggerating.)  But even now, we have learned some things from it.  And we know things that need worked on.  This is progress.  And we are choosing to leave the fight in 2011 and start tonight, and 2012 brand new.  It's a choice. 

Every day we have choices we make.  Every choice comes with a consequence, good or bad.   We can choose to hold on to the bad, let it make us bitter.  We can choose to hold on to hurt.  We can choose to focus on the unfortunate.   We can choose to be prisoners of our past.


We can choose  learn from the bad, and let it go.  We choose to let go of the hurt and not let it hold us back from all the good the future has for us.  We can choose to focus on our blessings and find things to be grateful for, rather than looking too hard on that which upsets us.  Thus freeing us up to move forward in life.

Life is about choices.  And I choose to leave that which does not matter back here, in 2011.  I choose to ring in the new year with those I cherish most in this world.  I choose to try and be better person and not let life get me down so much. (I'm not saying it's going to be easy.  I'm not saying I'm not going to have days when I may fail at this.  But I CHOOSE to TRY).   I choose to start fresh in 2012.

My wish for anyone reading this is this:  I hope you each will choose to leave behind that which does not truly matter.  I wish you all great new beginnings in 2012.  I wish you all the happiest new year.  May it be filled with more joy, blessing, laughter, learning, and love than ever before.

Happy New Year my friends.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A year in review

WOW.  I just glanced back over a lot of my entries this past year.  Can I say that again?  Wow.

This year started out with sickness, stress, and drama.  But I can say, as the year has gone on, things began to change.  Don't get me wrong, life is life.  There will always be something.  But things did change and get better.

The sickness we suffered so much from at the old place is gone since we've moved.  One of my kids was ALWAYS sick there.   It was horrible.  My daughter is asthma was constantly sick and having issues.

Due to roof that leaked twice while we there, and once before we ever got there, we were pretty sure there was probably some kind of mold beginning to grow between the space that occupied by daughter's shared bedroom floor, and the downstairs dining room ceiling (where the leak was).  The rental company never checked or did anything other than try to (and eventually) fix the leak, and paint the dining room ceiling.   Like I said...we were just suspicious.  I can't prove there was or wasn't anything there.  However, I can say since moving we've all been a WHOLE lot less sick!  YIPEE!  And my daughter's asthma is under control now.

We're under a whole lot less stress since moving too.  No crazy neighbors.  No trying to figure out where we are going to live or what others have to say about it.  No more wondering if the landlords will let us stay one more month.  That's over.  We're are settled into a wonderful house, in a great neighborhood, with awesome neighbors.  SHEW!  I can't tell you how good this feels.

Work is work.  Money flow comes and goes.  That will always be stressful.  But we have each other to see us through.  My marriage is good, and I'm happy and content.

My friendships have gone through a lot this year as well.  A cause of most of the drama in my life this past year was "friendships".  Some "friends" have gone.  And it's for the best.  Other friendships have taken on different dynamics.  It's definitely been a year of change in this department.  But my life is so much less complicated now.  And again, I'm happy.  People who are still in my life, are here for a reason:  I love them.  And they care for me too.  It works.  I have even made some new friends and can't wait to see where these friendships might go.

We did lose my husband's grandfather this year.  We also learned mine has Alzheimer's and Lung Cancer.  So, it hasn't been a good a year for grandfathers.  But we have each other, and our family.  That helps.  And I'm sure this blog will have a few more entries in the coming months about that.

I have learned to let go of drama some this past year, and those who create it.  I have learned I'm stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes.  I have really started looking at the people in my life (my family members and friends), and have grown new appreciations for each of them.  And I'm learning from them as well.   I realize I still make mistakes, but I am learning from them too.

I also realized, while looking back on past entries, that I do like to vent on this blog.... A LOT!  I will try and tone that back some.  But it does help me to vent here.  I feel better after doing it, and sometimes I even come to place of clarity afterwards.  It helps me to clear the air, so to speak.  Plus, I AM a girl.  We all need someplace to go and vent.  Someplace where people aren't going to tell you everything wrong with you, or how you should consider yourself lucky because *fill in the blank here*, or stare at you like you have three heads.  This blog is my place apparently.  But as the year went on, I did vent less.  I will try to continue that curve.  lol

This year has had it's ups and downs, but I think the ups far out weigh the downs.  I am even working on my faith again.  YAY!  

I'm looking ahead at the new year to come, and I'm full of hope.  And that my friends, is a wonderful feeling.  I know certain inevitable things are just around the corner, but I plan on making the most of 2012.  I hope to continue to learn and change for the better.  And I am so thankful for those in my life as I enter 2012.  It's good to be entering it with no drama or stress or baggage. 

2011 may have been a roller coaster of a year, but it was a big year.  I hope 2012 evens out more and is full of even more love, laughter, memories, friends, family, and joy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Just before Midnight, Christmas Eve: Cheers

It's late.  Just before midnight.  By the time this posts, it will be Christmas.

Tonight my family got together and we ate, drank, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed each others company.  It was so good to see family we haven't seen in so long again.  And we also did what we always do, what my Grandfather loves....  We sang carols together as a family. 

We all did pretty well at first.  But then we began to sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", and no one I think made it to the end.  Slowly but surely we all glanced at the frail man with a big smile in the chair.  Slowly we all began to choke up as we tried to hold back the tears, knowing this was more than likely our last time doing this him.  (google the lyrics if you don't know them and don't understand why this was so hard for us)

I think he had a good night.  He had small moments of confusion (like thinking my husband was my deceased dad), but over all, it was a good night.  He smiled so big almost all evening long.  He was with the people he loves. 

I can't begin to put into words what I (and more than likely all of us) were feeling tonight.  We had moments of laughter and joy.  But there were tears too, off and on all night.  Tears of pain.  Tears from memories.  Tears for the man we all loved and the fate we all know soon awaits him.  Tears we never let him see.

It was so important to all of us that he had a great time tonight.  I think we accomplished that.  I know we did. 

Tonight is one of those bitter sweet nights.  A night where celebrated so much.  And as much as I should be looking forward to tomorrow right now, I'm not.  I'm sitting here in ... a funk?  Maybe that's not the right word.  But what would the right word be?  I'm warmed by the feelings of love tonight and all the memories and smiles.  Yet, I'm also sad knowing this was probably my last Christmas Eve with him.  Shoot, my 10 yr old came home, collapsed in my arms and cried her little heart out.  She knew.  We all do. 

I wish I could let the tears flow like she did.  I wish I could just open up and let it all out.  It might be cleansing.  But even as I write this, I fight the tears.  I refuse to cry, afraid that if I start, I won't stop.  What a crumby place to be in emotionally on this night.

I am thankful though.  Thankful for my family and loved ones.  We are blessed a bunch.

We gathered with:  My grandparents, their 4 daughters & their spouses, and their children, and children's children.  (so grandparents, children & spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren).  My sister's in-laws were even there.  We love them and consider them family too.

And you know what?  We don't squabble.  We don't fight.  There is no family drama.  There is joy and laughter, and jokes, and reminiscing.  How many families are really like that?  Where the entire extended family gets together and is just, happy?  I think there were 33 of us there tonight total.  And no drama.  I love that about my family.  I do.  I love that we love to get together and just be together.  It's what matters most to us.  It started with my grandparents, and this family value has trickled down to their children and grandchildren.  I can only hope I am raising my girls with the same family value.

So cheers!  Cheers to my family whom I love.  Cheers to Christmases past and Christmases yet to come.  Cheers to love and laughter.  Cheers to memories made, and memories yet to be made.  Cheers to love.  Love is what holds us together.  Love is what brought the Christ child to us to die on a cross for us.  Love is what matters most.  And I am blessed to have a life full of it.  Cheers to a wonderful man, my Granddad.

Merry Christmas Everyone.  May yours be full of love, laughter, joy, and good memories made. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sometimes blessings come in unexpected ways

The other day I blogged some about my eldest, now 10, and how she has been making some not-so-great choices lately.  Choices that have hurt her and I both.  And in some cases, others as well.  I had reached a point of not knowing what to do, other than pray.

Well, come to find out, my daughter has been praying a lot too.  And yesterday we sat and talked, really talked.  And we cried, and shared, and even apologized to each other. And before bed last night, we sat and prayed, together. 

In the afternoon hours, we both cried tears of pain.  Tears of shame.  But after we prayed together last night, I found myself fighting tears again, only to look up and see my daughter crying.  I asked if she was okay.  She answered with a nod as I wiped her tears.  She told me it was a "good" cry this time.  I knew exactly what she meant. 

The healing process between us has begun, thank you God!  We have made a pack to pray together several times a week.  She got a book for her birthday we want to read through together after the start of the new year. 

She's just a kid.  She's going to make mistakes.  She needs to learn from them.  I believe she can do that.  It's my job to lead her, not force her.  I have to come to terms that she is going to make bad choices.  Shoot, I'm an adult and I still do sometimes.  That's part of life.  My first priority has to be that she knows, even in those bad choices, that I still love her and am on her side.  Then we tackle the problem, together. 

I have to learn to come at her from a place of love, and not from a place of hurt.  

She is my first, and unfortunately, this means I have no previous experience in the things that come up with her.  It's our first time for everything with her.  She knows this.  And I'm thankful for her patience and forgiving heart and nature.  When I have made a mistake, I am sure to admit it, and apologize for it.  There ain't no humble pie like the one you eat when you have to apologize to your kids and admit you are wrong.  It's not easy to do.  But it's the right thing to do.  How I can expect them to take responsibility for their actions, if I don't show them how to?   

This week has definitely been a learning experience for us both.  It's been hard on both of us.  But the struggle has given way to some really awesome communication, which has lead to healing.  It has opened both our eyes to things that we must work on and change.  And in time, I believe we both will be better because of it.

Would I have ever asked for the events of these past few weeks to have taken place?  HECK NO!!!  But, out of it, something really good is blooming.  A closer relationship with my daughter.  And self improvement.  Sometimes it takes something "not-so-good", to hold up that mirror we don't want to look into and see our own faults. 

I'm glad that we could turn this around for the better.  I'm thankful for answered prayer and God's grace in all of this.  I'm glad He was able to point us in the path we needed to take.  I'm thankful for His help.  I can't do this alone.  After all, my children are only really on loan to me.  They're really His children.  And I don't want to screw them up. 

I am so very thankful for each of my children.  They are my everything.  And I'm thankful for the opportunities to grow and learn right along with them.  What better way to lead than to show them?  Yes we make mistakes.  Mistakes aren't so bad as long as you learn from them.  Mistakes may disappoint us, but they don't mean we stop loving each other.  We must take responsibility for our choices and apologize.

I may not be the best mom in the world, or in the state,  or even on my block.  But I'm learning.  And I love my kids more than life itself.  And maybe the combination of love, and willingness to learn & change, can work together to make me a great mom someday.  For now, I will settle for a good mom who loves her kids, and just keep taking this parenting thing one step at a time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rough Day

Rough one.  Today was a rough one, on so many levels.

My eldest is a good kid, most of the time.  She is 10.  She is starting to try and spread her wings.  Not quite a little girl, not quite a teenager.  And some of her choices lately have left me spinning and heartbroken.  In some ways, I am very proud of her.  She has such a great heart.  In other ways....  Well, she makes me want to pull my hair out. 

She my eldest, which means she is also kind of like a guinea pig.  We get to experience everything with her first.  We have no idea what were doing at times.  Like now.  We have never dealt with a pre-hormonal pre-teen before.  Some days, like today, I feel so lost.  Some days, like today, I feel like I'm failing her has a mother.  Especially when she is making all these poor choices.  Some days, like today, I am left feeling heartbroken.

Perhaps it's good she is getting some of these out of the way now.  Maybe she's learning from them.  So far, she hasn't repeated any of her poor choices, so fingers crossed (and prayers said) there.  If she never repeats them, then she's learned.  And then it'll have been worth it.  Only time will tell.

I was told tonight that I will spend more time on my knees in the coming years praying and fighting for her than I ever thought imaginable.  Not because she's bad kid, she's not.  But because that's what parents do.  We "war" for our kids, on our knees. 

Maybe I should count myself "lucky".  Some parents enter into this season of "warring' for their kids, years before this.  Some parents have kids with real discipline problems.  Some parents biggest "war" is that their kids be healthy enough to live to get this far, so they can have these types of problems.  Other parents, would give anything to have their child back just to go through this time that is weighing so heavily on me.

Does any of this make what I am feeling or going through any easier?  No.  This is still hard.  It still stinks.  But it does help me keep perspective.  And that's a start. 

I was about my daughter's age when my father passed away.  I can remember some not so good choices I was making at that time.  I lied about my school grades and forged documents to cover it up.  I started to get smart mouth.  In fact, when he died, I was in the middle of being punished for some of my bad choices.  I wonder if he died disappointed in me?  Or worried about me?

I know I'm disappointed in my daughter's choices and some of her behavior lately.  And if something happened to me, that wouldn't change how I feel.  I still love her immensely!!  But I'm concerned and disappointed.  I can't help but believe that there is a very real possibility that my father went to his grave feeling the same way about me.  I'm devastated by this thought.  It's eating me up tonight as well.  More heart-brokenness.

Yesterday was hard day.  My grandfather's health weighs on me.   Today was a hard day.  I'm sick of this eye infection that doesn't seem to want to go away.  I'm stressed.  It's days like today I'm grateful for God's grace.  Because I know He's the reason I'm still "holding it in the road".

Father, hold me tonight, please.  I'm struggling. 

Guide me.  Help me be a good wife and mother.  Help me not to over react to my children's mistakes and poor choices, but to handle them with grace and care.  Surround me with good people to help guide me.  Help me to help my children see the error of their ways.  Help me to guide them.  I can't do this without you.  And I don't want to screw this up.  I can't afford to this screw this up.

Please be with my children.  Guide them.  Protect them.  Help them to grow into the people you created them to be.  Give them a heart for you.  A heart that wants to love you and please you and follow you all their lives.  Help Wes and I to nurture those hearts and not break them.

Be with each of us tonight, Father.  We could use your loving your touch.

In Jesus' name:  Amen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What is strength?

What is strength?

For some, I suppose it means being able to bench press a certain number.  Or perhaps it means being able to lift heavy things (which many did this weekend moving my family members).  And yes, this is a form of strength.  And yes, I got to see this form of strength this weekend, in force (not from me mind you!  I'm a weakling!  lol).

Yesterday was a special day for many in my family.  One sister moved.  It was another sister's birthday.  And it was also my Grandmother's birthday as well. 

We were able to have a small get together for my baby sister after moving my other sister.  I'm glad we got to do it.  We moved all day and then everyone came here for pizza and cake.  It was the perfect way to reconnect and wind down after such a busy day.

Today we went to spend time with Grandmother to celebrate her birthday.  Today, I got to see strength in many different forms.  I don't think anyone showing up there expected what we got today.

My Grandfather was not doing well and in pain.  He didn't come out of his bedroom through the party.  We all understood.  How could you not?  The growing tumors hurt his back, a lot.  Some days are good.  Some are not.  Today was a "not" day.

The thing is, if you knew my Granddad, you'd know that he enjoys being around his family.  It brings him a real sense of joy.  He glows when he is around family. So it says a lot when he won't come out of his bedroom because of the pain he is in.

Today I saw strength in him.  He emerged from his bedroom, smiling, toward the end of the party.  I know that took strength.  But that was only the beginning.

I watched him smile as he made his way to the den.  He asked that we all gather together.  So we gathered the smaller great grandkids, and other family members from other rooms all together. 

There he stood in the middle of the room, smiling at us all through the pain.  Then he began to make a speech.  He told us how much he loved each of us.  How he'd "walk a million miles" for any one of us.  He gave this speech through his pain today.  And all we could do is try to hold back the tears. 

This was a different kind of strength.  He not only stood there in pain, but he stood there, facing his mortality.  He stood there, and started the process of his final good byes.  And we all knew it.  That takes strength of different kind.  That takes a great deal of courage. 

Then there was his wife, my Grandmother.  She sat there, watching this.  Watching the man she loves and adores, in pain, start his goodbyes.....  during her birthday celebration.  My friends, that takes a strength to a whole other level.  That takes an enormous amount of the strength.  Here we were, gathering to celebrate her life; and her husband emerges, in pain to start getting ready for the end of his life.  That woman's strength never ceases to amaze me.

And then, there is yet another kind of strength.....

As he spoke, we all smiled and tried to hold back the tears.  Human nature I suppose.  But that was not the strength of which I am speaking of.

We all know "that" person.  The person who hides behind sarcasm.  The person, who's emotional state, is usually a brick wall.  We have such young man in our family.  Good kid, but stoic when it comes to all things emotional. 

After a one-on-one talk with my Granddad today, he did the strongest thing I think he has ever done.  He openly wept.  He let down that wall he has had up for so long.  That wall that holds out pain.  He was strong enough to let it down today, if only for a few minutes. 

What gives people this kind of strength?  The answer is quite simple really.  The answer is LOVE. 

Love prompted my Grandfather to get up in pain, and face his family.  Love prompted him to want to see us, to want to make sure we all know how much he loves us.  Love prompted my Grandmother to stay strong, for her husband and children.  Love is what let that one young man in my family know it was okay to let that wall down, if even only for a moment.  Love is what made it okay that he didn't recognize me today.

I went to a birthday party this afternoon to celebrate life.  And that's what we did.  I left with a lesson on strength. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

♪♫ This Use To Be My Playground ♫♪

♫♪ This use to be my playground
This use to be childhood dream
This use to be the place I ran too
Whenever I was in need
of a friend.....

This was my home after my father died. It was where I lived until I got married. It was where my children went to play. I have so many fond memories there. It's been over 20 years that this house has been in my family. That's a long time. A long time to make memories. A long time to put down roots. This was always home. Even after getting married.

My daughter asked how that was possible the other day. I told her I had 2 homes. This one, I grew up in; and the one I have with her daddy, her, and her sisters. She look puzzled. I told her one day, she'll grow up and get married. And she will make a new home with her husband. But even though she'll have that home, that this place now, will always be home to her too. She looked like a light bulb went off in her head. She got it.

After this weekend, this home above, will no longer be home for me, in any way. My sister is moving, and we are all saying goodbye to it. I'm helping her move. I'm so very happy for her. But at the same time, my heart is breaking, as is hers.

This house was our shelter for so many years after my father died. It's where we all became women, me and my 2 sisters. Where I learned what family means. Where I learned about love.

We held neighborhood dances when were younger in our garage. We made it a roller skating rink from time to time too. lol Once, when I was 15 (or I just turned 16), I got my moms van stuck in the garage. How do you get a van stuck in a garage you ask? You get in there parked perfectly sideways. Yup! lol

And Oh the parties as we got older!! lol We threw some good ones. One time, we literally had to have a list and bouncer. If you weren't on the list, you didn't get in. What was suppose to be a small party wasn't. Word got out, and got out big time. And yes, we turned people away that night. We had too.

There were nights in the 20's when no parent in the neighborhood wanted 7 or more of us kids in their house, so we bundled up and spent it out doors. This house is where I discovered stars, on nights like this one. When it was clear and cold out, laying out in lawn with our friends (since no one was letting us in), gazing at the stars, and talking. Moon bathing.
I learned about friendship. And sisterhood.

This house is where I learned to dance in the rain, literally and figuratively.
I got my first kiss here.
My husband proposed to me here.

I'm not sure how this is going to go this weekend, to be honest. We are all so full of excitement as my sister is moving just up the street from me, and will quite literally, be my neighbor. But at the same time, we have this sadness inside us. We know we must try and "say goodbye" to our past, in order to move into our future. It's not going to be easy. But we will always have our memories. And our hope for the future is bright. And that hope will be what we cling too.

The future is exciting and new. I can't tell you how excited I am to have a sister for a neighbor. And you should see my kids! They are super excited to be so close to their cousins now.

I'm not sure how others families are. But we always seemed pretty close to most our cousins. Even to this day, all the ones on my mom's side of the family are here (did I mention one is considering moving into the neighborhood too?), except one. And she visits as often as she can. We are always at family gatherings and holidays. It's just the way our family is. It's the way it's always been. They aren't some distant relative you barely speak too. They are friends. We are actually trying to plan a "cousin's night out" before Christmas. We all (and our spouses) are going to go to a new piano bar that just opened up recently. =)

Anyway, my point being, that my family has always been close. And I love that my kids are growing up just as close, if not closer, to their cousins.

It's never easy letting go or saying good bye. And we may be letting go of building that has come to mean so much to us, but we'll always have our memories. Always.


♪♫... Don't hold on to the past
Well that's too much to ask...

....This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be our pride and joy
This used to be the place we ran to
That no one in the world could dare destroy
Say goodbye to yesterday
Those are words I'll never say .... ♪♫

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keep Singing Mercy Me

Random Vent Session: Faith in America

Growing up, we learned in school that democracy meant "Majority Rules with Minority Rights". Does that sound familiar to anyone out there?

In short, it was explained to us that laws and such were made with the "majority" in mind, but that they could not trample on or strip away "minority" rights. Sounds right. Sounds easy enough, right?

So why is it the "minorities" have more "rights" these days? Example: Faith.

There are statistics of many kind stating that the majority of all Americans consider themselves Christians. Some studies say over 80%. But no matter what study, it always seems to be over 50%. So, you could easily argue that the "majority" of Americans are Christians. Right?

At least once a week I emailed something from someone stating that yet something else has been "taken away". First we had to stop prayers at the beginnings of our school games. Now I hear that they cannot mention "Jesus" in prayers in certain branches of the military anymore. (believing in Jesus is the ONLY way to qualify as a Christian. It is the only requirement).

Why are we taking so much of what the majority of Americans believe away from them? So the minority feels ... What? Less out of place? More accepted? Less irritated? I don't know. No one told them they HAD to participate. So why should the rest of us, the MAJORITY, be punished for the FEW that don't like it? Seems to go against what I was taught. However, that seems to be the norm more and more. The few people of any "minority" situation, want things THEIR way. (and no this is NOT about race. I'm not like that.)

We live in a predominately Christian country. The WORLD knows this. Why is it so hard for it's citizens to accept? The difference is, here, although we are mostly Christians, we would never dream of telling you it's illegal to worship Buddha, Allah, or anyone else. Freedom of Religion. You don't have to be with majority, but that doesn't, DOES NOT, give you the right to stomp on the rights of that majority. You made your choices. They are not with "Christians". Ok. So what! You know where you live. You have your rights. Quit trying to change the country into what you, the minority, wish it to be. You don't have to participate in our prayers. No big deal. Here in the country, you won't be jailed or killed for that.

I thought THAT is part of why America was so great. Because you could come here and worship whomever without fear for your life. So many other countries are not like that. But, look around. You know which countries are Muslim. You know which ones are Buddhist. Just like you know you America, is Christian. It's part of our culture. It's just not one we force you to accept.

Why is this part of our culture being stripped away because the minority feel offended? I don't understand that. You wouldn't (and don't I believe) find that in any other country.

The way I see it, Christians are the majority. We should have the right to pray wherever, whenever. Even at public gatherings. The minority has the right not to participate in the prayer without fear of jail or death.

So why is it, our prayers must now be changed or not said at all, just to satisfy the minority? Who KNOW they are the minority!

Nope, I just don't get it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

a request

For those of you who are not regular readers, we just found out my grandfather's cancer has spread. They were asked about Hospice care. Hospice is called in when you have 6 months or less left).

I need someplace to let it out, and my blog gives me that opportunity. Now I have my head screwed back on right (well as right as it's ever been I suppose. lol)
I still need a place to put down my thoughts, my prayers, my feelings. And this is it.

So to the few readers I have, I apologize. But my blog is personal. It's about me, my feelings, my thoughts, how I perceive things, what I think. I'm not a paid a blogger and I don't blog on any particular subject. I just write about whatever is on my heart or mind at the time. As Forrest Gump said, "You never know what you're gonna get".

I am going to ask you few readers a favor (other than putting up with me). Would mind, on occasion, saying a prayer for my family. We are going through a difficult time, it's not likely to get much easier anytime soon. If you could, just whenever you think of it, we would really appreciate it.

I'm not sure how my Grandmother can do this. I have never known. She continues to amaze me with the strength and grace she is handling all this with. It is my prayer, that God shower her with even more strength and grace in the days to come.

My mom and aunts... Each one has had to overcome a personal tragedy of some kind already. Whether it was the death of a husband or son. Or whether it was a battle with cancer. Now, they must each muster up the strength and courage to say goodbye to their father, and yet be there for their mother. They all (when the time comes) must mourn and be supportive. But due to past family tragedies, it is something I know they can do, and do well. They are able to be there and support family when it's needed most. Even when it's just as painful for them. They are an amazing group of women. It is my prayer that God will shower them with the strength and grace they will need in the coming months as well.

Father, please be with my family. Shower upon us your grace and mercies. Give us strength enough for each day. And when we feel we cannot stand a moment longer, hold us up with your loving arms. Help us to feel your comfort in the coming days, weeks, and months, Lord. Please. Help us not to squander a moment of what's left in the days of good man's life. Help him to know how much he is truly loved and adored.

Father, be with my Grandfather now. Help him to manage his pain. Comfort him. Give him peace. And when the time comes Father, I ask that you take him in his sleep, as painlessly as possible.

Thank you, Father, that we have the chance to "get our house in order" this time. We have time to prepare ourselves (help us prepare ourselves please), and to say our goodbyes. I'm thankful that this time, it is not all of a sudden. Although honestly, I'm not sure which was is better. To know and prepare, or to be taken off guard....

Father, I pray that his pain will not be prolonged. Please. Have mercy on him. I pray for his soul father. I pray that he will find peace and rest in Heaven at Jesus' side. I pray for his salvation.

Be with each member of our family now, please. Help us to process and cope. Help us to be there for each other, and him. Help us to make this Christmas the best he has ever had.

In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Christmas Gift No One Wanted...

Pain. That is what I'm feeling right now. That is what I DON'T want to feel right now.

Back sometime in April I think, we learned my Grandfather had Alzheimer's and Lung Cancer. Tonight I am told the cancer has spread. If we're lucky, we have 6 more months with him.

I don't know why I'm so shocked. He hasn't been treating the cancer. I guess I just didn't want to deal with it. I wanted to believe we had more time. I wanted.... more. I'm not ready for this. I don't think any of us are.

He gave me away at me wedding. I remember standing outside the doors to the sanctuary, just me and him. He told me how beautiful I was. He told me how proud of me he was. He told me I had a good man.

I remember going to the Redskins game with him and splitting my fries with him on the way home.

I remember doing all my middle school projects on him.

I can remember riding bikes around my neighborhood and stopping in say hi.

I love watching him at family gatherings. He looks around and smiles, and just takes it all in. He loves family.

Since I can remember, he and my grandmother have lived closed by. As a child they lived in my neighborhood for a bit. I would pass their house to and from my way to school. And when they moved from there, they were only 15 minutes or so away.

When my father died, he helped us get our home ready to sell. He also made me a key chain he carved out of wood. It said RALPH. My dad's name. And it was stained dark cherry. It was beautiful.

When my sisters and cousins and I were all very young, he would read us "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas. We don't do that anymore, but we still sing quite a few Christmas Carols. He lights up when we do. He always has.

When we moved to another state after my father died, it wasn't long before they moved too. Again, into our neighborhood. All my life (for the most part) I don't think they have lived more than 15 minutes or so from me.

He loves celery. He has a bowl after his dinner. I use steal pieces from him. lol Only, he knew I did it. After a while, he just started giving pieces to me.

When I got engaged, he and my grandmother were the first people, outside of my mother, we told. We told them before we even told anyone in my husband's family.

When I was told this news, I thought I was going to throw up. I am just not ready for this. I'm not ready to say goodbye to another family member. Especially him. We just buried my husband's grandfather in September. He too was an amazing man.

My thoughts went to my grandmother. How strong she's been through all of this. I can't imagine her pain right now. And there are also on my mom and her sisters. My mom has lost her husband. Two of my aunts have lost sons. Now we all get say goodbye to their dad. I don't want to do this! I know I sound like a spoiled brat right now, but I don't care. I am not ready to say goodbye yet. None of us are.

From what I am told, best prognosis, 6 or so months. But, without giving his personal information and condition away, the cold hard truth is, he probably won't make it that long.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO thankful that our ENTIRE family will be here for Christmas. Family from PA and VA. And even family from Germany. This is, without a doubt, our last Christmas with him. I'm so thankful, he gets to spend it with us all. Not everyone gets that kind of privilege. He will.

I'm also thankful, I suppose, that it's the cancer taking him, and not his Alzheimer's. He will be able (God willing) to say all his goodbyes to those he loves. And all those that love him won't have to suffer with him not knowing them. I suppose this is a bit selfish of me. But it is what it is.

I pray for strength for my grandmother, mom, and aunts. I pray peace over them and my grandfather. I pray he goes quietly in his sleep, when the time comes. I pray this is a Christmas we'll always remember.

I'll probably be crucified for this

I belong to this website called Pinterest. Have you heard of it? You can request an invite, but for the most part you can join when someone you know invites you to do so.

It's pretty much a cyber pin-board. You can have as many pin-boards as you want and name them what ever you want. Then you "pin" links to websites, which include pictures, to the appropriate boards. You can pin from places online, or you can just skim through Pinterest itself and re-pin what you find you like.

For example, I have a board for recipes. On it are pictures of the food and a forever link that will take me to the recipe. I also have another for the house and things that would be good to purchase, make, or change for our home. You get the picture. It can be very addicting.

I also have a fitness board where I like to pin good ideas for getting into better shape. I am by no means a "fit" person. I am overweight, and I know it. I know I need to be healthier. I would like to lose some weight, but here is where I suppose I'm a loner.

In cruising through Pinterest, a LOT of women have posted pics of young women with VERY athletic bodies, with comments under them such as: "Inspiration" or "Motivation"


And there are slew of new ones every day. And my first thought was, "How sad." Do you know how much work goes into to looking like this? How much time is involved?

Don't get me wrong, it's good to have goals. It's good to want to be healthier! But the two pics I posted are nothing. Some of the pics are of down right anorexic girls with hipbones showing.

Most of the "motivational" pictures are of women with the tiniest waists. *face palm*

There is even a picture of celebrity in a bikini followed by the following advice:
1. Drink one glass of water every hour. It will make you feel full. 2. Drink ice cold water. Your body will burn calories just getting the water to a normal temperature to digest. Also it is great for your complexion. 3. Drink 3 cups of green tea daily. It will help boost your metabolism, plus its anti-oxidants make your skin look great. 4. Take vitamins daily. Do not take vitamins on an empty stomache, otherwise they have nothing to catalyze with. 5. Eat ice or gum when hungry. This will make your body think it had food without the calories. 6. Do aerobics until you want to faint. 7. Eat spicy foods. They raise your metabolism. 8. Take cold showers because your body will burn calories to heat you back up. 9. DON’T take laxatives. They don’t help you to lose weight. 10. DON’T use diruretics. They only dehydrate you. 11. Brush your teeth constantly so you won’t be tempted to eat afterwards. 12. Weat a rubberband around your wrist. Snap it when you want to eat. 13. Clean something gross (toilet, litter box, boyfriend’s closet) when you want to eat. You will not want to eat after cleaning a litter box. 14. Keep your hair in good condition so no one will suspect anything. 15. Get a job so you’ll have to work through meal times. 16. Exercise twice the amount of calories eaten. 17. Use smaller plates and utensils so it seems like you ate more. 18. Chew eat bite of food thoroughly and then take a sip of water between bites. You will feel full quicker and will not eat as much. 19. Say you are going to eat at a friend’s house and instead go for a walk. You will be burning calories instead of taking them in. 20. Buy clothes that you can’t fit into and hang them wear you can see them. This will motivate you to lose weight to fit into them. 21. Sleep at least six hours a day. If you get less than six this can lower your metabolism by 15%. 22. If you start to feel hungry do situps or punch yourself in the stomach. You will not feel hungry anymore. 23. Pamper yourself! Give yourself a facial, paint your nails, anything to make you feel pretty. 24. Make yourself a snack, but instead of eating it throw it away. Leave the dirty dishes where your parents can find them. They will think you ate. 25. Prepare a list of excuses as to why you can’t eat - You’re sick, you’re a vegetarian, allergic, etc. You’d be amazed at how many good excuses there are. 26. Get out of your house! If you’re not sitting around then people can’t start shit with you about not eating. 27. Join a pro-ana group or start your own website. Anything that will keep you motivated. 28. Make an ANA scrapbook with pics of skinny models. Right down all the reasons you want to lose weight. Keep track of everything you eat. Look at it daily for thinsperation. 29. Keep good posture, burns 10% more calories when you sit up straight. 30. Instead of food, buy something else, a new shirt, flowers, jewelrey etc. 31. Make a list of all the “bad” foods that you crave and tend to binge on. Each day, pick one to take out of your diet that you absolutely, no matter what, cannot eat again. Take one off the list each day until there are no more bad foods you can have. 32. Avoid alcohol! A shot of liquor has 100-120 calories, a glass of wine has 80 calories, a lite beer has 110-120 calories, and a regular beer has 140-170 calories. 33. Never eat anything bigger than about a cup, your stomach will expand and then you’ll get hungry more. 34. Eat in front of a mirror naked. See how much you can eat then! 35. The smell of coffee is suppose to supress appetite. 36. Wear perfectly applied lip gloss. It makes you more aware of what’s going in your mouth. Also, flavored ones help with cravings. 37. Have 6 small meals a day. Take 2 apples, and split them so you can make 6 meals out of them. That way your body will be tricked into thinking it’s eating more. 38. Low calorie hot chocolate curbs chocolate cravings, and makes you feel full. 39. Take anti-heartburn pills if you’re really hungry. They nuetralize the acid that builds and makes you hungry. 40. Take a picture of yourself wearing a bathing suit or something equally revealing, look at it when you want to eat. 41. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize the stomach is full. 42. When you get hunger pains curl into a ball, it makes them go away. 43. If you’re a smoker and hungry, light up a cigarette. It curbs your appetite. 44. Eat lots of fiber. It makes you feel full and takes fat with it out of your body. The natural cleansing helps improve both your energy level and overall feeling of wellness. 45. Before you dig into that cake, bag of chips, candy, or whatever, take a deep breath and count to 100. Usually by the time you get to 100 you will have coninced yourself that you don’t really want it. 46. When you’re hungry chug 2 glasses (or how many you need) of straight water. It’ll make you so full and nauseous you will have completely lost your appetite. 47. Celery actually burns calories. Every hour eat a stalk of it. Not only will it fill you up, but it will also get your metabolism kickin’. 48. Weigh yourslef before and after every time you eat. Not only will it eliminate unnecessary eating, but it will make you want to eat less when you see the numbers creep up. 49. Read the nutritional information. Remember, fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Also keep an eye on fiber content. Get as much fiber into your diet as you can, while cutting fat and calories. 50. Don’t eat a lot at once. Spread your food throughout the day. This will help to avoid binging and keep your metabolism going. 51. If you like to drink alcohol, you’ll like this. Make a rule: You can only drink every time you lose 2lbs. So, if you lose 4lbs a week, you can drink Friday and Saturday night. However, if you only lose 2lbs a week, you only get to drink one night. 52. Do not eat in front of the computer or TV. This distracts you from recognizing you’re full. 53. Save the money you would have spent on that meal in a jar. Save it in a bottle instead and watch it grow. 54. Stay away from Slim-fast and other so-called “healthy” candy bars and shakes… one look at the nutition facts will tell you why. With all the carbs and excess calories you may as well go eat a freakin pie or something. Not to mention the rediculous prices… save yourself the money, and the calories. 55. Instead of buying food, buy yourself flowers. Food is depressing, but flowers make you happy. 56. When having cravings drink a couple glasses of water with slices of lemons and count to 100 and it should go away. 57. Eating 100 cals 4 times a day is better than eating a 400 cal meal. 58. An occasional binge doesn’t hurt, in fact it’s quite beneficial if you have reached a plateau (stopped losing weight). Your body will think you have stopped starving yourself, and you will drop at least a pound overnight! Just don’t binge too regularly! 59. Someone told me that if you take a pure cold bath for 15-30 min and lower your body temp, your body burns around 200 cals for every degree it has to raise itself to reach a normal body temperture. This person tried it, a 30 min bath lowered their temp about 3-4 degrees *keeping this for reference when my girls are teenagers.

So many disturbing things in there. But #27 suggesting to join a pro-ana site. WOW. Really?

If this what women are judging themselves by it's no wonder we have poor self-esteems and some of us are joining pro-ana sites. Geesh! When did "this" become our image of beauty? What ever happened to curves?

I'm all for people being healthy, but if this what they aspire to be, I feel bad for them. They are each looking for "perfection". That's a tall order to fill.

Not me! I want healthy, not perfect. I want some of curves. I don't want to be size 2. That's right, you heard me!

I only get the chance to live this life ONCE! That's it. I don't want to miss out on it because I am spending most of my free time trying to achieve a certain "look". You know? I want to spend my evenings with my kids, not out every night trying to obtain the world's definition of beauty.

And more over, I don't want my three daughters to grow up thinking that these images are the ONLY standard of beauty. I want them to know that healthy is beautiful, no matter what package it comes in. I want my kids to strive to be smart. I want them to strive to make a difference in the world, to be kind to others. I do NOT want them consumed by the fact they have to look like the images above. Or if they don't that they are not beautiful people. Because they ARE!

Am I watching what I eat more? Yes. I am trying to do a few exercises during my youngest daughter's nap time. But it's not to achieve the looks above. It's to be healthier and to get down to a healthier weight for me. I have already lost almost 15 lbs! To put this in perspective, my goal is to be a size 12 people, 12!!! Not a 2.

I want to enjoy wine. I want to enjoy cake on birthdays. I want to enjoy pasta. I want to spend time with my loved ones instead of worrying if I have time to make it the gym or out running EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I want to enjoy this short life I am given. I do not want to squander it on my self image. There are more important things. Like family, memories to made, friends, ect. Do I want to be healthier? yes. But not perfect. I want my kids to know that perfection is NOT required to be loved.