5.29.2006

The best thing

The other day a friend of mine wrote a blog letting each of us in her "circle" know what she felt about us. She said some very touching things to each of us and it moved me so much that I decided to do the same thing. So in an attempt to do my best each day and live life to it's fullest (something I was just reminded of by another friend) I've decided to let each of my girls know some things that I feel about them before it's too late. Just like every time I was in NYC I planned on going to the top of the World Trade Center but always put it off till next time....you never know when you won't have another chance.

My group of friends are proof positive that you don't have to live in the same zip code to have great relationships. As a matter of fact, I don't have one friend in the same zip code as me. lol And I only have 2 within a half-hour of me. The rest are scattered all over the eastern United States. Some I grew up with, some are new friends, and a few I found myself stranded in Louisiana with when I was only 17 and our husbands were in the army together. Isn't it funny how both college and military friendships always form a special bond? You may not talk all the time, but the bond is always there.

I was listening to music (as I almost always am) and one of my favorite songs came on. It's "The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" by Gladys Knight & The Pips. If you can download it, you should. It made me think of all of you. Here's the chorus:
If anyone should ever write my life story For whatever reason there might be Oh, you'll be there between each line of pain and glory 'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me

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Allison

To my oldest friend. When I was 13 years old you informed me that we were going to be friends and it was the beginning of a beautiful thing. Sometimes closer than others, but never too far apart. Our friendship is so natural...even down to the way it ebbs and flows (just like the ocean and the phases of the moon). We are so much alike and yet we can be so different. You are one of the most complex people I know...and I love that most about you. You can be the most stubborn person I've ever met...and yet you also are the most compassionate and kindhearted person I know. I love the grace you show in difficult circumstances and your ability to keep a calm head even when you are steaming inside. I love that you love details as much as I do...even more so...even down to decorating the envelopes that you send cards out in. I love that in you I am validated so often. Who else besides me would drive across a whole state just to be there for people she loved when they needed it? You would. Even when other people don't understand you...I do. And I love you my Soap. Forever.


Joleen

One of my teachers in this life on the subject of perseverance and forgiveness. And also on how not to take things too personally. We have our own language and no one can make me laugh the way you do. You are one of the two wittiest people I have ever known...and you are the one who taught me how to laugh. Growing up I was too shy to laugh out loud very much and then during my 9 years of hell I just didn't laugh. Nothing was funny and I didn't want to get punished or judged if I did find something funny. I remember after he was gone being taken by surprise one day at the sound of my own laughter...it was so foreign to me...and it was because of you. We have cried together, praised together, "ROR'd" together and shared way too many secrets together. You have a sincere and genuine heart and I can't wait to see you become the person you've always supposed to have been. YOU GROW GIRL!!! ;)


Shawnda

Sweet & God-loving. Opinionated and loyal. I just love you to pieces!! :) From the moment I met you I have been so at ease with you. I figured...you're a friend of Allisons? That's good enough for me! And I was right. You have been such a tremendous blessing in my life. You are funny and beautiful. You inspire me every single time I talk to you to walk a closer walk and love the Lord even just a little more than I already do. And your loyalty (like telling that guy what he can do with his naked-penis pictures!) is very moving to me. I love you Pew!!


Rachel


One of my newest friends who I'm hoping to get to know more and more over time. You have to be one of the funniest/craziest people I've ever met!! Allison always said, "I really want you two to meet because out of all my friends she's the only one as crazy as you." :) Your humor aside though, you have been one of the main supporters of my "growth". You always have an encouraging word to say or positive feedback about my blog. Your comments sometimes have made me think about things in a whole new way (like the time you reminded me to read my 'hay-zus' blog as Jesus...what a beautiful parallel). You have reminded me that it's okay to be myself. That you can want to be pretty and still be funny and crazy. That you don't have to fit into anyones box. That it's okay to try and convince the world that you are an artist even when you like to color outside the lines. Thank you. :)

Megan

First of all, let me pubicly apologize for any torture I/we put you through growing up. lol I know that it's not cool to lock someone out of the room. And it's really not cool to convince them that it's a really neat thing to sleep in a closet. hahahahaha (I'm sorry but it still cracks me up! lol) You have grown from the little sister of my best friend into a beautiful woman that I am proud to call my friend. You have never met a stranger and I've learned from you how to be more confident and comfortable around people I don't know. Through your eyes I have been shown just how girly and sentimental I can be. I've also been reminded how beautiful it can be to have a passion for something in life. You and your football...I still don't get it. lol But I want to. But even though I don't get it, it's given me a desire to renew my passion for some things in my life that I had forgotten about...and to get passionate about some things I had never allowed myself to delve into. I know you've been going through alot lately and that you're frustrated that things aren't going exactly as planned. I hope that in some small way I can be an encouragement to you. It WILL all work out and until it does I pray for your heart to be comforted. I love you Megan...keep on keepin on babe!

To all of the other "bloggin babes"....I hope to get to know you better. I've enjoyed your stories and appreciate each and every one of you.

5.27.2006

I'm every woman


How do you say thank you?

I just got done watching the "Legends Ball" that Oprah Winfrey threw for all of the strong, magnificent african-american women that came before her and I am moved. Moved, restored and inspired. It's got me thinking about legacies. Who do I have to thank? And why? And what kind of a legacy am I going to leave behind?

We could trace back through the years and the history books all of the great women who's shoulders we all stand on. Women who tolerated injustices and who fought for change. Even in my short 33 years I have seen alot of changes in this world. I remember when "The Burning Bed" first came out what an uproar there was. Domestic violence was still one of those "hush-hush" subjects. Today even though it is still way too pervasive a problem, at least there is help. It's still not perfect, but the progress has been great.

I used to be so judgemental of women older than myself. I saw them as weak if they made a mistake or made a choice I wouldn't have. But as I get older, my eyes have been opened to the reality of these women.... because I also now have "little women" looking at me and judging me. As a young woman I was so eager. I had a fire in my bosom that wanted to go out and change the world. For various orginizations I would campaign, I would march, I would champion the cause. I wanted to SHOUT about all of the injustices and wrongs in this world. I wanted to save everyone that needed rescuing and mother every child who was motherless. For as long as I can remember I've had a very keen awareness that I had the heart of every single woman ever born beating in my chest. We are all connected. And we are all the same when it comes down to it. And just as I was aware of the legacy that I was born into, I was also aware on some deep level of the responsibility I had to carry it on and pass the torch. But my passion was too noisy. I had to calm down. I had to be humbled. I had to learn to be still. And I had to learn the difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Yeah, I wanted to save the world...but I wasn't even able to save myself yet.

Over the years...my teen years plus my whole 20's actually... I lost myself. Through all of the trauma and drama I went through and then survived I was like a caterpillar inside of a cacoon. I wasn't ready yet. Wasn't mature enough to handle the flight I was scheduled for as that butterfly. That was my "ugly phase." I knew I had something to say. I knew that I had a mission. And I knew that I still wanted to right the wrongs of this world...even if it was one person at a time. I just didn't know how yet (and am still working on that) and I had to learn that you catch more flies with honey. I still have trouble with that actually. I remember last year at the hospital I had a patient who was abusive to his wife. And she was there in his room being abused. It was all the buzz on the floor but no one was doing anything about it because no one could catch him in action. When I came in to take over his care and I heard this my switch got flipped and I was instantly in "go get 'em" mode. I thought I was going to be able to stay calm, but the instant I heard the bedside table go crashing to the floor and her yelp (he had thrown the table over on her sitting in the chair and thrown the water pitcher at her head because ....well who knows why?) I was out of my seat and wanting to bust into that room and take him on myself. Luckily for my safety I was working with a couple of people who literally held me until security came. Jerry (who was my boyfriend at the time) was the cop who showed up and I told him in no uncertain terms that he'd better rescue her from that room because if he let this go not only would I never forgive him but I would probably be in big trouble that night because I was getting involved....and I would take an ass-beating before I would back down. We did it. We got her out of there and got her a cab somewhere safe. I don't know whatever happened to her but at least for one night she knew that someone cared if she got hurt or not. And she had someone to teach her that it's not acceptable for someone to treat you like that. Like I said, I'm still working on that whole aggressive vs. assertive thing. lol As meek and mild as I can be...when I feel that there's injustice my armor comes on and I'm ready for battle.

I now see the women older than me through renewed eyes. Wiser, calmer, less judgemental. I see that you don't always have to be the one shouting the loudest to make the most change. And I also see that being a hero...or a legend...doesn't mean that you never make any mistakes. Sometimes the key to survival is doing exactly that...surviving. Sometimes you quietly take what comes your way because you have to, all the while learning and thinking....and remembering...until you can do better. Until you can write the wrongs.

For all of the strong, moral, sincere, determined women who have come before me.... I remember you. I thank you.

For all of the women in my world at this moment... I hear you. I see you. I learn from you daily. And I thank you too.

For all of the women to come behind me... I pass the torch to you. Learn from those who passed before. Make this world a better place. Make us proud.

5.24.2006

Revisited, vol ii

There are only about nine weeks left until the one year anniversary of this blog. :) I'm almost a toddler! lol So I figured that at least once a week for the next nine weeks I'm going to repost a blog from the past year that was significant to me...starting with the oldest and working my way to today. It's amazing to me to look back and read these and seeing just how far God has brought me in the last year. A year ago I was still in a horrible depression among many other things. It's nice to see the progress of walking through the valley...and coming out on the other side. :)

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Originally posted: 10-30-05 8:04 a.m. Beauty for ashes....

Today I'm writing about things that only those closest to me (and only some of those people) know about. I'm not ready or willing to share all of the details just yet. Those are mine... for now anyways. As anyone who knows me can tell you... I'm pretty much an open book. There isn't much that I won't put out there for the world to see... and judge. Self-exploration, clearing my head, and getting rid of the "junk" is much more important to me than the holier-than-thou remarks and down-the-nose glares I might get from people. You know what people? I'm human! Just like you. And you. And you. I've committed sins that make me want to hang my head in shame. And you've committed yours. Let me tell you... there's gonna be no floating into heaven gracefully for me.... I'm going to be tripping in! Skinned knees from crawling through the battlefield. Out of breath, dirty tear-stained face, falling in the gates. So let me just say that my not wanting to share all of the details yet is merely because I need to process them a bit, and my rambling here is my way of doing that. You know, the fact that I even felt compelled to explain that kind of pisses me off a little. Oh well.

How could I have been so disposable to him? Echoes of Luther Vandross singing "Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby?" go wafting through my head. He picked me, lured me in, convinced me to trust him, made me fall in love with him. He is my walking reason for wellbutrin. How could he have lied like that? I'd rather die than hurt someone like that. At least that's what I usually say. And I usually really mean it. But this time I did hurt someone like that. I hurt him back. In the process I hurt her. Now that I knew there still was a "her". How could there still be a "her"???? unfuckingbelievable. YES I CUSSED... this is my place for honesty and emptying my brain... deal with it! So I got him back. She knows everything. I was hurtful... and I'm never hurtful. I was selfish... and I'm not a selfish person. I lied.... and I'm not a liar. I pride myself on my honesty and the fact that I would never hurt someone I love. But that's just it isn't it? I PRIDE myself.... It's usually where you hold yourself in high esteem that you get tested the hardest... and usually fail the test. Yet again I was put in a position I just knew I'd never be in because I would never do "that" (whatever "that" was at that particular time.... there's been alot of "that's" trust me)!!! The older I become the firmer I believe that given the right set of circumstances there is nothing that any person on this earth wouldn't do. From the moment that my ten year old lay on the exam table in the e.r. after I found out she had been raped for two years by her step-dad... a man that I chose to let into their lives....and they drew pregnancy tests on her and my very first thought before it passed through my "filters" was... if it's positive should I get her an abortion? She's ten for God's sake!!! I was always a walking poster-child for "prolife" and I still am prolife. At least I know I want to be when it comes down to it. I want to think that's what I would choose. I want to think that ugly thoughts would never enter my mind. But I'm not that naive... or pious anymore. I can't say that I didn't think it. I can't say that I haven't done alot of things now. Wish I could. I can't. So now I'm left to deal with that reality. What do you do when you let yourself down so bad that you have to sit and examine every single thing that you thought that you knew about yourself? Most of the things that I knew that I knew that I knew.... what now? Right now I am pretty broken. I'm getting better. I am. God is faithful to heal. He loves me. I do still know that...that's the only thing that I've never doubted. As a matter of fact I know that he is crazy about me. I have never been, am not now, and will never be disposable to him. And he is faithful to heal. The healing isn't for me to do... I'm not able... especially right now. I made the mess... he's going to clean it up... how unfair is that???.... but how grateful am I? It can't even register in my brain. I had been so hurt that I struck back.... anyone that knows me KNOWS that really isn't me!!! I'm a live and let live kind of girl...I'd much rather give people the benefit of the doubt than strike back... usually to a fault. But I did. And that's what I feel so bad about. I'm downright punishing myself even though I know I shouldn't and I don't need to and all the things that I keep telling myself. I struck back and hurt someone! Wow, that's a jagged pill to swallow. Most people won't get it, I know. Most people say... GOOD! You should've done what you did. But no I shouldn't have. I'd much rather risk being looked at as naive or "weak" for walking away than being untrue myself and God and feeling the way I do right now. If he did wrong to me.... that speaks to his character, not mine. But now it speaks to both of our characters. I know I've gotta forgive myself... God's already forgiven me... why can't I forgive myself? I can't live under condemnation. I have to get to the forgiving myself point eventually... but for right now I'm sitting here in my big pile of ashes waiting for Him to exchange them for beauty.

5.23.2006

First love

The last month has brought yet another round of things to ponder, analyze and learn about myself. I'm not going to get too into it, but it has to do with the finding of my first love from high school and reuniting with him. Overall, he's still the amazing person I remember from years ago and I've loved every minute of getting to know him again. Honestly, I'm falling fast and hard. The problem is that there are some small issues to think about....I've shared a few of those with some of you. And the problem with that problem is that the only problems I can come up with all make me feel like a superficial bitch. lol

Actually, to me they aren't even real issues...but I'm well aware that's something I have to work on...and am constantly working on...the whole rose colored glasses thing. And so now, even if I don't see a problem with something, if everyone around me does I tend to listen more carefully in case they are seeing something that I'm oblivious to in my purple haze of naivety. And as happy as I am there have definitely been some concerns raised by some people around me. Mostly mentioning of things that could POSSIBLY happen, or potential. For example...a bad back that could lead to me having to be the main breadwinner in the home if anything should develop further and his back gets worse. Yeah, to me that's a concern too...that's not exactly what I was looking for in my future.

Needless to say this has all been weighing heavy on my mind lately because I hate to even start anything if I am hesitant. That's not fair to him. I usually will never date anyone unless the possiblity of something huge is there. If I don't think the potential for it to go all the way is there...I don't even give it a second glance because some may argue with me, but you just can't always control who you fall in love with. And why risk falling in love with someone who you know you have deal-breaking incompatibilities with?

Joleen finally called me. She has some major issues in her life right now... I know I always say that (and mean it)...but this time it's a little different. Please pray for her. Anyways, I was telling her about this situation and the concerns that seem to be there. She stopped me mid-sentence during my rambling and said "I want to remind you of something you said to me years ago. You probably don't even remember saying it, but I do. And it's something I've never forgotten. When you were married to the evil one and you were so terribly unhappy you said to me, 'if I ever find someone who genuinely loves me for me, who is good to me and has a beautiful heart, then I don't care if he is in a wheelchair, I will never let him go.' So although that's a legitimate thing to think about...follow your heart, because Veronica knows where Veronica will be happy."

I was silent for a moment. She was right. I've never been a person to look on the physical. And after all I've been through...I stand by what I said all those years ago. If I find a man to genuinely love me and care for me, who fits the list of qualifications, no major incompatibilities with...not much else matters to me. I won't let him go.

I don't know where the future will lead, but I know where I am today. 300 miles from a person that I want to be near so bad I ache.

5.22.2006

May I go now?


ELYRIA -- Jessica N. Kinder, 13, of Elyria, died unexpectedly Tuesday, May 16, 2006, at her home. (p.s....she's the brunette)

I just got back from the wake of a thirteen-year-old girl who had no hope. The original story was that she had hung herself, but Courtney just called home to tell me that she had spoken to her mom and was told that she had actually taken a fatal combination of pills.

She looked so pretty laying there in the casket. You always hear people saying "oh, they looked so good." or "They did a really good job on them." and you think...no they don't look good, they're dead! But this time it was true. All I could think was that she didn't even really look gone...she just looked like she was sleeping. She was still just a baby. She was born just a few weeks before Darren. They had boards of photos of her and it just kept hitting me in the heart that this could be one of my children. These photos were all so new...not old ones from the 50's, 60's or 70's....these were just taken in the 90's. And now she's gone. Just a vapor. Thirteen short years. I can remember when that seemed like a long time. Now it seems like nothing.

What makes a child lose hope? If anything, my children have seen enough and survived enough that they would be candidates for that. There but by the grace of God go I.

I took Courtney and her friends to the wake and I knew that I would have trouble not crying while I was there. I didn't really know her, but that's not the point...I still knew I'd have trouble. And I did. Actually I did okay until I saw her mom.

The story was that her dad had left when she was little and that recently her mom had sent her to live with her grandmother because her moms boyfriend decided he didn't want kids anymore. Supposedly, her suicide note said "no one is ever going to leave me again, because I'm leaving you." At first Courtney was so angry and bitter at her mother...and I can see why. But I've talked to her alot in the last several days about what torment that poor mother is probably going to go through for the rest of her life. Moms love their children(at least 99.9% of them do)...no matter what lapses of judgment they may have at any given time.

As I sat there trying to hold it together I kept watching her mother. I kept watching her face trying to judge her emotion and see if she was feeling the pain that I would be feeling. At first I found myself starting to become a little angry towards her too...she was showing no emotion. As a matter of fact, she was laughing at little jokes here and there and didn't seem affected much at all. I kept thinking...I know life goes on, but you'd probably have to dig a hole right next to my child to throw me into because I would be torn up. I wouldn't be sane. I kept praying over my attitude as I kept watching this woman...who wasn't much older than me. Then it happened. Someone called her up to the casket. She went up to greet them and gave them a hug and they whispered something in her ear...and she lost it. She broke down. All of the tears that she had been holding in burst forth like a dam broke. And then my dam broke too. As I watched her cry, I cried with her. And for her. I just kept thinking...she had her game face on before... and I understand that. I'm the champion of game faces. Trying so hard to be strong and held-together. I wanted to go up to her and hug her and tell her that she didn't have to be strong...not today...but she was surrounded by too many people for me to do that. I don't know who she felt the need to be strong for. Someone in her family maybe? Or maybe it's because so many people are looking at her like it's her fault, and because of the guilt she feels that people will look at her as if she doesn't have a right to grieve. But for that moment the dam broke. For that moment God reaffirmed to me that indeed mothers are mothers no matter what mistakes they've made. The compassion and heartbreak that I feel for her is too big to cover with mere words. God please comfort her heart and cover her with your grace.

This poem was from the inside of the memory card...

May I Go Now?
Do you think the time is right? May I say good-bye to pain filled days and endless lonely nights? I've lived my life and done my best, an example tried to be. So can I take that step beyond and set my spirit free? I didn't want to go at first. I fought with all my might. But something seems to draw me now to a warm and loving light. I want to go. I really do. It's difficult to say. But I will try as best I can to live just one more day. To give you time to care for me and share your love and fears. I know you're sad and afraid, because I see your tears. I'll not be far, I promise that, and hope you'll always know that my spirit will be close to you, wherever you may go. Thank you for loving me. You know I love you too, that's why it's hard to say good-bye and end this life with you. So hold me now, just one more time and let me hear you say, because you care so much for me, you let me go today.

In Memory
Jessica N. Kinder
January 26, 1993 - May 16, 2006

5.19.2006

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together"

I received a disturbing email today talking about how Iranian leaders are passing a law requiring all Jews and Christians to wear badges identifying them holocaust-style. To say this bothered me is an understatement.

When I read this I was reminded of a conversation I had last night with one of my patients. She is an older lady that I grew up in church with and whenever I'm her nurse she tends to talk my ear off. lol I'm not necessarily complaining...just stating facts. Her vision has gotten pretty bad over the years and last night I asked her what the one thing she misses most about having her sight was and her response was this.... "Being able to read my Bible." Now I hear people say things like this all the time really, and it never affects me much, but last night it did. God has been working on me lately, more than usual it seems. I've gotten out of balance in my life and he's drawing me back in, like he lovingly does from time to time. The thing about being out of balance is that I'm not really doing anything horrible. I'm not out drinking and drugging, etc. I just haven't been reading my Bible and going to church like I'm supposed to. Other things in my life have been taking precedence...and I'm feeling the effects.

I'm usually keenly aware of the blessings in my life. Getting behind on my bills and living paycheck to paycheck for a while now I'm even more grateful for the things in my life (like my home) that could be gone with a bad month or so. After everything we've been through I know just how easily one of my kids could get hurt. After being so sick, I'm aware of how fragile health is and easily a job can be lost. And now lately I've been reminded more and more frequently how much I should appreciate the privilege of openly being a Christian and being to not only read, but own a Bible.

It really is a privilege. As Americans we are so blessed in many ways, and this is one. I am blessed as a woman to have the rights that I do. I don't have to depend on a man or tolerate abuse. I am educated and gainfully employed. I own property. I can freely voice my views and opinions....just like others can unfortunately.

Okay, I have to pause here. This is in no way an invitation for a bunch of comments and emails about your political opinions... but I've gotta say.... THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR LOYALTY PEOPLE. It has to be the number one quality I look for in people. You people have a right to not like our president if you don't want to, or if you don't agree. But the people that really get me were all of the Bush supporters that have now turned their backs on him and bash him at every opportunity(and don't get me started on the people who didn't even VOTE and still bash him). Yes, he may be struggling and have lost his way in a few places...but I believed in him then and supported him THEN... I refuse to turn my back on him now! What a nation of fickle, fair-weather people we have. Have you ever thought about praying for him? Lack of loyalty is one thing that gets me. Cheating boyfriends and husband, fairweather friends, etc. LOYALTY! LOOK IT UP...IT'S A GOOD THING.

5.17.2006

revisited, vol. i

There are only about ten weeks left until the one year anniversary of this blog. :) I'm almost a toddler! lol It's been on a couple of different sites (360 still has my heart!), but it's always been there....growing with me. So I figured that at least once a week for the next ten weeks I'm going to repost a blog from the past year that was significant to me...starting with the oldest and working my way to today. It's amazing to me to look back and read these and seeing just how far God has brought me in the last year. A year ago I was still in a horrible depression among many other things. It's nice to see the progress of walking through the valley...and coming out on the other side. :)

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10-22-05 3:47 p.m. Depression....

I was reading over my all the past entries in this blog and one thing I've noticed is that as the days go on... the entries get longer and longer. You can almost see my progress and how much better I'm feeling. I'm more willing to talk, be social...just care about life. I've been waging a spiritual battle against depression lately. I have to say.... the other side almost won a couple of times. I've gone through a couple of depressed times in the last decade or so.... but not like this. This was rock-bottom, everything's black, snapping-at-everyone, hateful, angry, lonely, don't want to talk to anybody, could care less about you me or them, can't fall any further down depression. As is typical with me....only those closest to me knew about it because I'm pretty adept at hiding whatever I'm going through. I just put on my game face and get to work. But when the spotlight was off... so was the smile. Those closest to me actually noticed it first. I couldn't sneak it past them. My poor kids...yikes....I can only imagine how horrible I've been to live with! My friends were noticing that I hadn't been calling very often. For the first time in my life I've actually been letting calls go to voicemail...something I've NEVER done. I'm always on the phone...checking on people, talking for hours. My friends all know that they can call me anytime....day or night...at least until I started turning off my ringer most of the time because I just didn't want to be bothered. I wish I could've seen myself with eyes other than my own. I always thought I was hiding it rather well (at first I didn't even recognize anything wrong with myself though) but from what I've been told plenty of people noticed something was wrong. They said the "light" was gone from my eyes, I was more antisocial, my joy seemed to be totally gone... all the polar opposite from what I normally am.

So what happened? Well, the details are for me and the Lord for right now... but suffice it to say that I haven't been as close to the Lord as I should've been. I've been blatantly disobedient in alot of areas... and I guess the wages of sin are death. Not necessarily physically but emotional, spiritual, fellowship, joy.... all of those things suffer. The light in my eyes that everyone always saw was never me.... it was Jesus. The joy that they saw was never me... it was Jesus. Every good thing that people say drew them to me....was never me... it was Jesus. So when I step away from him all I'm gonna be left with is me... rotten old me. I'm sure the death of my Dad didn't help any either. It's funny how when this happens we usually don't even notice it sneaking up on us. In the movie Prozac Nation she describes depression as coming on really gradually then all of a sudden. That's so true. It will creep up closer and closer and then all of a sudden it snatches you and drags you down. Well sneak up it did and down I went.

Luckily for me I have a few friends that love me enough to not just let me go. They didn't just stand back and scratch their heads and shrug their shoulders when they noticed I was missing in action. Trust me... there were some that did exactly that.... but I thank God for the ones that didn't. They were the crowbar that the Lord used to pry me out of my situation. One in particular had a bit of an "intervention" and drug me out of my hole kicking and screaming and took me to lunch and said "what is wrong with you??? Where did you go???? If you don't go to the doctor... I'm calling him for you and driving you myself!!!" God bless him. I mean it. God bless him. This is a person who has so much of his own stuff going on...family life, working a ton of overtime, battling cancer for goodness sake!!!! But yet he let his eyes and his heart extend further than himself and his own situations to me. I'm not someone who asks for help very often. I'm uncomfortable with it...never want to bother anyone, but I will if I really need something. But sometimes in life we find ourselves in situations where the undertoe grabs us and drags us under before we can scream for help. It takes someone who has their eyes on you to notice that all of a sudden you're gone. You've slipped under the waves and struggling and your screams are muffled. Sometimes no matter how strong we normally are we need another pair of hands to help us stand up. That's one of the downsides of being someone that others view as "strong"... they think you never need help.... but even the strongest warrior is a child.

So after my "intervention" I went to see my doctor and got on some antidepressants.... back off Tom Cruise!!! lol It's been about three weeks now and slowly I can feel the clouds lifting. I notice that I'm laughing more often, I even caught myself flirting with someone the other day! :) Now you know it was bad if Veronica isn't flirting with someone!!! haha

5.16.2006

Soul patrol!

Tonight it was down to the final three! Oh man what a tough choice! I love all three of them. Actually even though I love all three of them, "my boys" have a special place in my heart.
I adore Elliott...I really do. He has an amazing voice, but even more than that when you look at him you can just see the joy behind his eyes. Just from looking at him you can tell that he has the sweetest spirit...and I love that. I respond to that. He's humble and he's kind. But I gotta say...

SOUL PATROL BABY!!!

From the moment of the audition I have been a HUGE Taylor Hicks fan. Oh let me count the ways that I love that man! lol Okay, yes he looks like he's having a seizure most of the time lol, but that voice....so sexy I can hardly contain myself. That is the kind of voice that I want to hear in the dark. There's something about a gravelly, soulful voice that "gets me"....and you can imagine what that does to a girl. Oh man....okay moving on. lol Anyways, just like Elliott, Taylor seems to have such a sweet and kind spirit. You can see the love of music in his eyes and in his big goofy smile. And to be honest one of the reasons I liked him right away is because of the hair. I always have been drawn to men who don't look "commercially" handsome. I love a gorgeous guy just like the rest of you, but I love to see the beauty in other places. Outward appearances have never mattered to me and I LOVE it when people who aren't necessarily mainstream get ahead in one way or another...it's awesome. Okay blah blah blah....I've gotta get back to the voice. lol When he "turns it on" and gets in his zone...simply and purely superb. He has such an organically soulful voice and I've always said he reminds me of Joe Cocker, Otis Redding, Ray Charles...any of those guys that I love, love, love. It's no coincidence that he sang a couple of their songs tonight. He sang two of my ALL-TIME favorite songs tonight.... "You Are So Beautiful" and "Try A Little Tenderness".... the latter of which I listen to on a loop all the time. I just can't get enough of it and he did such a good job. He also would've done a great job singing "These Arms Of Mine" (also by Otis Redding).

I know how upset alot of you are about Chris getting the boot last week. Honestly, I was as surprised as the rest of you. Chris is amazing. Pure and simple. He wasn't my favorite though for a couple of reasons...first, he's not very personable...second, there's no doubt that he's going to have a HUGE career with or without American Idol...he just didn't need this win.
Anyways...I'm so glad to see Taylor come this far. If it's between he and Elliott I'll be happy either way. But I sure am crazy about that guy. Soul Patrol!

5.15.2006

Salt of the earth

I came across a blog this morning that made me cry. It was from a grown daughter to her mother and about all of the battles they had during her journey to womanhood. Then she went on to give a small but touching tribute to her mother and about how she "gets it." How at an early age her mother was left to feed four hungry mouths, etc. etc. Of course I was crying by the end of this, but what got me even more was that her mother commented on her blog. That's where the ugly cry came out. This is what she said:

"YOU are the only one who gets me. No one else. What it's all about and what it is. You. I don't even have to explain anything to you because you are already there. I can't even explain how much you mean to me and how proud I am of the person you have become. I do so regret the things we went through while you were growing up, I try not to think of it much because it makes my heart ache so bad I can hardly stand it so I put it out of my head, or try to anyway. If anything at all came out of all that, it made you a more independent, strong woman (weird that you are a woman, and not a girl) but that's not even anything I can remotely take credit for. You are amazing and I love you dearly and my heart aches a little whenever I think of you. I want to never remember the heartache of the past but it is what it is. That was then, this is today and look at you now."

Mothers are the salt of the earth whether they realize it or not. We create, we shape, we love. I believe that in the heart of every woman beats the heart of a mother. That is just our divine design, which therefore means....women are the salt of the earth. And we all know that my path with Darren is an entirely different blog, but my girls....wow. I am raising the salt of the earth. I am raising three women. My little women. I love my girls with a depth that I can't even express with words...whenever I think about it my emotions swell so much bigger than me and nearly consume me. My girls....they are my heart. They are definitely mama's girls...and I am my girls' mama.

I can totally sympathize with the mother and daughter blog I read earlier because even though I love my girls so deeply, there's almost no one else on the face of the earth that I can battle with as hard as Courtney. We are so similar. Both old souls, head-strong, opinionated, smart, full of personality and we both have alot to say. This can lead to so many problems because one of my major downfalls is that I tend to rule with an iron fist. NO disrespect, backtalking, rolling of the eyes, etc. It sets me off like a firecracker. And so, as you can guess....Courtney and I go at it. That poor girl! lol I know I need to chill out a little...believe me I'm working on it. She gets herself grounded so much I don't know if she knows what it's like to be free. LOL She lost her bedroom door for 2 weeks this time. Yeah, you heard me. She kept slamming it when she got mad so now she's not allowed to use it for 2 weeks. She thought she was going to die. "But people will LOOK at me!!! I CAN'T be without my door!!!" LOL Cracked me up (on the inside of course). I would just stand in the hallway, leaning against the wall with a smile on my face staring at her. Blowing her kisses. Commenting on everything she did. Oh I'm dying laughing over here! lol She would get so frustrated and yell "MOM! STOP IT!!! UGGG!"

That's the beautiful thing about us though that makes me know deep down that we're going to be okay. There IS deep love there. We laugh together....she's one of the funniest kids I know...all of my kids are really, but Courtney's got the special touch. And I think that as tough as it must be to be a teenger with me for a mom, underneath it all she gets it. She had Randy stop at the store the other day to buy me a mothers day gift (since he had no plans of taking them to do that). She went in and picked it out herself and looked through the cards until she found one just for me. Part of me says that she's a kid...she probably just picked out any old thing. But knowing her, I don't think so. I think she looked until she found the one she thought was right. The card got me.....and it showed that she gets it too. It said:

A SPECIAL MOTHER MUST FIRST BE A SPECIAL WOMAN.
YOU HAVE ALL THE QUALITIES THAT MAKE YOU A TRULY REMARKABLE WOMAN...
AND YOU'RE WISHED A MOTHER'S DAY THAT MAKES YOU VERY HAPPY.


Oh Lord! Do you want to take wagers on how much I cried after reading that one???? lol She doesn't know it but I plan to keep that card forever. It was more than just the sweet little "you're the best!" cards (which are awesome too, don't get me wrong!). This was a card from my little woman that, to me, showed that she sees that moms are more than robots or stepford wives. They are souls. People. Human. Way too human sometimes. Moms have bad days, and aren't morning people and can be unfair sometimes. But that moms are also the ones who will love you like no other. We're young and sometimes lonely. We want to be beautiful. We want to be loved. And we want to be the best mothers ever....and we beat ourselves up when we feel that we haven't been.

She had once said to me that she didn't plan on ever having kids because she saw how hard it was. That broke my heart into a million pieces...the possibility that I could've damaged my daughter in that way. All I can hope is that I grow, learn and heal with her. My mom did. Courtney and I remind me of my mom and I so much (except I'm WAY cooler....HELLO! lol) and my mom is way better and healthier than she was then. I sure hope that's the way it's going to happen here. I told them recently that "I've decided to forgive myself for all of the ways I've screwed up as a mom so far. We can either heal from it and grow together, or you'd better get a good job when you grow up so that you can hash it out in therapy!" lol Little do they know that forgiving yourself as a mother isn't quite that easy.

The other day I was sitting with Courtney on a bench at the pharmacy waiting to pick up her prescription and in a quiet moment she said, "Can you imagine that in maybe 10 years we could be sitting here with my babies too? That's not a very long time is it?" She's healing! She's thinking about family and having babies eventually! Praise God. I just said the typical mom response..."that will be so nice sweetie...I can't wait. *LONG PAUSE* Of course that will be after you go to college and do some traveling and have good credit and a nest egg built up so that you don't have to settle or sacrifice too much right?" She just smiled and said "yes mom."

Forget about the boy!


Ambien confessions....

If you could go back and do everything all over again, what job would you take? Let me clarify that. I'm talking wildest dreams...if you could do or be anything...what would it be? A firefighter? A teacher? A model or singer? An artist? I would've learned to dance and tap when I was little and I would've been a broadway dancer. Tapping along in Thoroughly Modern Millie....you should see me tappin under my desk when "Forget About the Boy" plays! lol I listen to that song ON A LOOP! and do all the choreography. LOL

Showtunes make my heart thump! And I love to go see the shows even more. Those are some of my favorite times. As a little girl going to see Camelot...Richard Harris ran right by me and the kings robe rubbed my arm....I was hooked. I LOVED the theatre! My favorite as a child was Fiddler On The Roof...I got to see it when Topol was still playing Tevye....so lucky! He's the only one I want to see in that role! Taking my kids to see the Lion King and watching their faces light up. After Jesus and I broke up he came back one day bringing me chinese food and saying that he got 2 tickets to see Chicago because he knew I'd want to go. That was the best gift ever! Loved it. And earned him an extra bootie call post-breakup. LOL

There is nothing like the theatre. Nothing. It's an entirely different magical world. Anything is possible there...on that stage...with those lights. Fairytales can be real up there...if only for a few hours. And the music! Ah you can't beat the music...it's some of my favorite of all time! I LOVE....no stronger....J'ADORE! Thoroughly Modern Millie....cast with Sutton Foster. Her voice....ahhhhh. I sing those songs all the time. Particularly "Forget about the boy" and "Jimmy." Love them. I love any shows with big tap numbers in them. Of course I LOVE Chicago. Always have...even before it became "cool" a few years ago. lol

I used to call Amelia my little "Broadway Baby"because as a preschooler all of her favorite songs were showtunes. LOL She's walk around the house singing "The minute you walked in the joint...Hey big spenda!" while twirling a pretend necklace around her neck. lol Or get real theatrical with "All That Jazz"...she'd sing it just like they did too. It was too funny. She was only 3 or so, but she knew what she loved. And so do I.

So that's my final answer. If I could go back in time to do absolutely ANY job I would want to, it would have to be a broadway dancer/tapdancer. That would just be amazing. My heart would be right at home. Ok, now your turn! :)

5.14.2006

Random acts of kindness

I love, love, love it when I find myself getting a little discouraged and then something happens to reinforce my belief in the good in people. I have an unfailing belief that people are good deep down...am an eternal wearer of rose-colored glasses...and hopelessly believe in happy endings. However, even I find myself becoming a little cynical from time to time. I can find myself a bit depressed and thinking "what the heck do I even try for?" Lately I really don't have much of a reason to be feeling that way, but I have been. I have a couple of friends that are fading away...and I'm letting them go (and Joleen has been gone again since Easter by the way). I have been dreading going to work every single time I am scheduled. And I've grown really weary of some of the people in my life that are perpetually negative (I find myself sticking more and more to my bloggin babes to avoid it!). Little did I know that tonight I was going to get a little booster shot of encouragement.

As much as some people like to deny it, nursing is a very tough field to work in. Of course there's the obvious "tough stuff" like the knowledge that you need and the physical strength that you need, but I'm talking more about the emotional stuff. It's sad but alot of nurses (and just about everyone in the medical field) tend to "eat their young." They are critical, judgemental and quick to gossip. Most of the time all you will hear at work is bashing of a fellow nurse about what a bad job she did, how incompetent she is, or how lazy she is. Actually, it's the same from the patients. People love to trash talk nurses! Well tonight I was having a rough night. It didn't start off too bad, but I had a patient that quickly had a change in status. Big time change.

This whole episode started off simply enough...he peed on the floor. Now believe me when I say that we have people peeing on the floor alllllllll the time! lol But this was out of the norm for this guy. He was fine a little while ago. It just didn't sit right with my gut, so I started watching him...closely. Sure enough he very quickly had a huge change in mental status. He was stroking out right in front of me and at the same time he started developing respiratory distress. His oxygen levels dropped to the low 80's (that's bad by the way lol) and his pulse shot up. He started wheezing and became cold and clammy. We think he threw a blood clot to his lung at the same time. So this guy got double whammied right before my eyes. What do you do in a situation like that? You just handle it, that's what.

It never fails to amaze me when others tell me how they see me because it's hardly ever how I see myself. lol Inside during situations like that I'm a bit crazed and my mind is racing over "what should I do?" and everyone else says "you're so calm under pressure!" hahahahahaha! yeah right! Actually, I think I do come off that way most of the time but still waters run deep, believe me! Just like when people argue with me that I'm anything but shy but inside I'm mortified to meet new people! I pray on the way to work every single time that if anything goes wrong God would give me the wisdom to know what to do.

So anyways, the whole point of this story is this.... after I took care of this man who was shooting down the tubes quickly and got him stable and to the ICU, the respiratory therapist that was on the floor and came in to help went through the trouble of calling the floor, finding out my phone number, and then calling my phone just to tell me what a good job she thought I did! I was almost speechless at first because that's nearly unheard of in this field! Usually if you do good you don't hear anything....it's only if you screw up that you hear something. But she called and said, "I just wanted to let you know that was a really good catch on your part and I thought you did such a good job. Most people would've had to call the rapid response team (kind of like a code team that comes and bails you out of trouble when someone goes bad) but you just took over and handled it. And you did a very, very good job."

Wow. I was so shocked. I never expected something like that and I thanked her profusely. How thoughtful, kind, and considerate! Random acts of kindness like that inspire me and make me want to be a better person. Never underestimate the power of a kind word. It can awaken the soul and it can change who someone is and who they might become. It's free and it's easy....but so very priceless.

5.13.2006

Namaste

I love yoga. It never ceases to amaze me how calm, centered, relaxed and healthy I feel after I do yoga.

I've been commenting lately about how unhealthy I feel. I really don't have trouble with my body per se...I love my curves. But I'm used to feeling strong and flexible and I haven't been feeling that lately. Duh, yeah I know. lol I know that sitting in front of the computer most of the day clicking away doesn't constitute cardio OR strength training. lol So today I decided to start w/my yoga again. My favorite...especially when I've been away from it for a while is the p.m. part of a.m./p.m. yoga. It's so gentle and relaxing while still working you good and stretching everything.

I know that my life has been out of balance lately...hence the difficulties in most areas. Whenever my life gets out of balance in any area I also feel it physically. Maybe today was my first step on the path back to balance...oh I hope so. I hope I stick with this. I want peace in every area of my life once again.

Namaste.

5.12.2006

Oh no you di-n't!

Ambien confessions....

Have you ever been around someone and they start doing something that you wouldn't normally ordinarily do on your own(could be anything...shopping, dancing, gossiping, making out, etc.)...but it's no big deal so you join in and follow their lead.....................and then they stop and say maybe it wasn't a good idea, etc. while you're full-force in what their idea was? It doesn't matter what the situation is...you know the kind of thing I'm talking about. And then you feel really stupid and embarrassed and you're thinking, "well listen pal...this was your idea in the first place! Whatever!" I hate that. And I don't react well when I'm in those situations where I feel stupid like that.... a little bit 'o Nat usually peeks out at them getting defensive or snippy.

I guess it's just another rock being thrown at my head to remind me to be true to myself and to quit doing shit I wouldn't normally do right? Then that couldn't happen to me. Oh well....just a little bit of Ambien-induced sleepy venting......yes friends, the truth serum is on board! lol Of course I'm not going to spill all my dirty little secrets to you like I did to Carl and then to Allison the other day! hahaha That was so funny. Seeing people come up to me the next few days saying, "are you okaaaaaay? do you remember talking to me?" LOL Well, no but I'm sure it wasn't all that bad! Oh, it was? Oh well, at least it you I told it to! :) heehee

Truth serum I tell you....this is the stuff the CIA should be using! Yes my friends, say it with me (my new anthem).....
AMBIEN, DARLING, AMBIEN!

5.11.2006

Nine years outside of myself

I just watched a portion of Montel, something I usually don't do. Most of those shows have turned into nothing but trash and so I avoid them, but today for some reason I landed on it and it was a subject very close to my heart so I stayed there for a little while. It was on a woman who was living with domestic violence. She eventually divorced the man and then he came back into her life more evil than ever and she ended up killing him before he could kill her or her family. Wow. I'm shaking just thinking about it. That hits so close to home it's scary. Most of the time it's actually surreal more than scary.

That whole situation seems so far removed from who I am...and who I've always seen myself as. From New Years of 1994 to December 18, 2002...just shy of nine years...I was removed from myself. I lived a life of sadness and terror merely existing, never living. Every minute of every day I walked on eggshells wondering what the next thing was that he was going to use against me. I had no friends left. They had either gotten tired of the situation and didn't "approve" and moved on, or he chased them all away. I never saw most of my family for the same reasons. Plus I was so embarrassed. So ashamed. How in the world could I, Veronica, be in an abusive relationship??? How could I be so afraid of leaving that I would rather stay and put up with it? Watching this woman on Montel I had such a sympathy for her because he kept asking her that over and over again. Why didn't you just leave? And she said words that he didn't understand, but I did.... WHERE DO YOU GO?

She said "how do you leave when it just means that he'll follow you?" I knew exactly what she meant. If I had left, he would've followed me. Actually, I did leave. And he did follow me. When I was in nursing school I had a huge test coming up and the only one in my study group that was willing to be around my psychotic husband was my friend Scott. He was so loyal to me and I will never forget him. Anyways, he had come over to study with me and the evil one was cool for about the first hour, maybe. Then he started coming in and out of the living room, pacing. I could tell he was escalating but I was trying to be nonchalant about it. Well, he ended up coming in and throwing a chair across the room and getting in Scott's face while he sat on the couch "Far be it from me to think that a man can have his wife to himself in his own home!!! Are you fucking her??? Is she a whore??? I bet she sucks your dick good doesn't she??? You're in my house you might as well fuck her right in front of me!!!" Scott politely excused himself and that was the last time one of my friends came over. I left him that night after he verbally abused me for hours and then punched me in the face. And he did exactly what I was afraid he'd do. He followed me. I was at my parents house and he kept coming around, sometimes politely...sometimes pounding on every door and window they had trying to get in the house and screaming obscenities and threats.

My stepdad and I got into an argument over it at one point and he told me to get out. When I refused to go because I told him that I had nowhwere to go but back to the evil one unless I literally lived on the streets (because he had the cars), he called the police and had them "remove me" from his home. I had to throw the belongings of myself and my children into garbage bags while the officers watched and escorted me out. And I had to go back. I had no one. My mom left my stepdad for almost a year because of that and I didn't speak to him for a good two years.

I survived the beatings, screaming, insults, threats, etc. on a daily basis because honestly I had no idea where to go or what to do. Every time he would beat me and he would go to jail I would beg someone from Genesis House (the local battered womens shelter) for help and they would say "well, if it happens again then it will be a felony and he'll be in prison and you won't have to worry about it. Until then try to find family who will help you." What a joke. I had no family to help and everytime he'd do it again they would drop at least one of the previous charges in a plea bargain to prevent it from moving to a felony level....so he never did get anything more than probation. The horrible thing is that during this whole ordeal I kept lying to myself saying "but he really is a good dad." I have to say that I believed it too. I know, I know...hind sight is 20/20 but at the time I believed it. When he went to jail for hurting Courtney one of the things that infuriated me the most was that we had trouble getting high bail for him because he "really didn't have any prior charges." WHAT??? ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME??? Because of all the times they threw out his charges in a plea bargain it looked like he had never done anything. That broke my heart. I didn't matter. According to them nothing ever happened. That time I was trying to call 911 and he grabbed the receiver and started bashing my face with it until there was blood everywhere? Never happened? The time he smashed my head into the wall over and over until I had a concussion and then choked me until I was unconscious? Never happened. When he twisted my arm so bad he nearly broke it and had to have it in a sling for over a week? Never happened. And that was to the courts. What about the time I would only meet him in a public place to return his things because I was trying to break up with him. When he went to use the restroom I ran out of the restaurant to try to escape and he saw me and chased me down the road trying to run me off the road and pointing a gun at me...I ran to my pastors house for help...in the middle of the night banging on his door and him telling me "he just really loves you and is afraid of losing you"? Never happened...he'd still smile at him and shake his hand every Sunday. My neighbors after seeing him throw my 200 pound body across the room like a rag doll and beat the hell out of me...do you think they helped? No, never happened. His entire family every time he'd go to jail for domestic violence? Nope, must've been my fault. I know as a healthier individual at this point that it was no ones responsibility but my own...I know. But it's really hard to help yourself when you feel that you have no one. Absolutely no support system and you're faced with the prospect of living on the street with four babies and STILL having to run for your life because he WILL come after you. WHERE DO YOU GO? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Well, personally I did the only thing I knew how to do...I prayed. Fervently. I started praying for God to "deliver me from this man. However you have to do it...cure him, kill him, kill me... I don't care...just please Lord, deliver me from this man." He did and my heart still breaks when I think about how. I am, and probably will be all the days of my life, so sad and guilt-ridden over the fact that my child had to be hurt to get me out of there. No matter how much the Holy Spirit works with me over this issue I just don't know how to lay down that guilt.

I know this is nothing new to anyone who knows me, it's something I've spoken about many times. What this Montel show got me thinking about today, however, is WHAT DO I DO WHEN HE GETS OUT OF PRISON? My Pollyana self wants to say "oh it'll be fine. He'll have had many years to change and get over it." But my gut tells me just the opposite...and I know that I need to listen to that. One thing that I have come to know is that people like "him" don't change. No they don't. Once an abuser, always an abuser. He never has had any sense of boundaries or appropriateness and I have no doubt that he will try to find me and get in contact with me. And I have no doubt that he will try to find my children. Yes, MY children. And God help him if he does. I was always just as hard-headed and strong-minded as I am now and wasn't afraid to tell him what I though and also to stand up to him. If he was "man enough" to hit a girl then he was going to do it with her standing nose to nose with him...I would not cower from him. But I WAS afraid to leave.

I remember as a young mother living in that situation wondering if he'd ever kill me and then praying so hard that God would never let him kill me when my children were tiny. I was so afraid to leave them. Who would take care of them? And I was the person who loved them more than anyone...if I died young they would never remember me. This show today has me thinking about what will happen when he gets out though. I know that's not until 2011, but it's never too early to start thinking about it. I can run. I can move. I can have a different name. But what if he finds me. What if he shows up at my door one day? I have a feeling it would be more like I turn around in a store to find him standing there because he'd be the kind of person to follow or stalk me. What would happen? Well, just like that woman on tv today I think it would come down to kill or be killed. I'm not afraid anymore...not to leave. Don't get me wrong...I hope it never comes to that. By that point I hope to be happily in a relationship somewhere growing old with someone preparing to see grandbabies and all the good stuff that comes with that season of my life. But what if? I may not be afraid anymore, but I am wiser. And he's not getting near us again. My children will be protected even if they're fifty years old.
If I leave my children with nothing else in this world I want it to be the knowledge that they have a mother that fought for them since the moment of their conceptions. I single-handedly raised them (even when there was supposedly was a man in the picture) and that I loved them each with a love like they will never again know in this lifetime. I believed them when they trusted in me, I protected them fiercely and loyally. Most importantly, I want them to know that they have a mother that would fight for them...die for them...at the drop of a hat. I almost have and I still will.

5.09.2006

Whom shall I fear? I am yours.

I got some bad news this morning. I was told by employee health that because of my being on the "weekend only" program most of last year I am unable to renew my FMLA this month. You need a certain amount of hours worked in the last year and I'm about 200 or so short. I tried to be a brave little soldier but I sat there listening with my lip quivering and my eyes welling up with tears as she broke the bad news to me. I only used probaby 2 or 3 fmla days all of last year because I just wouldn't call off but it has become invaluable to me the last several months since I got so sick. I tried so hard to hide what I was feeling...but I suck at that so bad! And it only made things worse when she started to tear up too and said, "oh I know...i'm so sorry", and handed me a tissue. As I sat there, my initial gut reaction was "what am I going to do?"...with a silent spirit-cry out to God. Then as I left the office I got my first of several messages from him.

Walking out of the office I was keenly aware of someone's eyes on me. I wasn't sure who it was because I kept my head down trying to fight off tears. I just wanted to get out of there and cry in private. Then I heard, "Don't you go to Open Door Church?" And I looked up to see the face of a dear lady from my bible study. I put on the happy face and smiled and said "HI!!" as if nothing was wrong. She grabbed me and gave me a huge hug telling me how good it was to see my face and how good I looked. I've been hearing that alot lately by the way. Even though I still have some rough days, overall I look FABULOUS compared to where I was a few months ago! She made me smile and gave me a little boost but I was still in a hurry to get out of there.

As I got into the car I turned on my Casting Crowns cd. I love them. The first song that I listened to was "Voice of Truth." It talks about having faith. It talks about listening to all of the wrong voices that are surrounding you instead of the one voice that is most important. As I was listening to this I could start to hear that still small voice speaking to my heart. It was reminding me that I don't have to worry....frankly I'm not mine to worry about....I am not mine, I am his...and if I am his then whom shall I fear? I was reminded that I always have been and always will be taken care of because I belong to a God of love, power, grace and mercy....and healing. And on top of all of that, he is a God of perfect timing.

The chorus of that song started speaking to me through every line. Through all of the voices surrounding me...."you're too sick to not have fmla", "what are you going to do?", "you're going to get fired", "you're going to get sicker"....the voice of truth told me a different story.

The voice of truth said "do not be afraid". Trust me, I love you and I will take care of you. I have gotten you through so much worse than this and I did not bring you this far to drop you. I will carry you. I am the provider of your needs, no matter how much you like to think it's all you. Blind faith has always been one of your strongest points, don't give up on me now.

And the voice of truth says "this is for my glory." By bringing you through this I will show everyone watching you my faithfulness and my mercy. And you keep asking me to help you with your finances....now you will work more and have the money to get your finances in order so that you can have a good financial testimony. One of responsibility and accountability...and freedom. And remember the humility that you gain by knowing that this is in my hands and the gratefulness that you will have for your health will also bring glory and honor to me. Trust me. I love you.

So I shared a couple of moments with the Lord and although still a little tearful (maybe it was a warrior shaking in her armor), I was filled with a new resiliance and I counted my blessings. I thought...you're right. I have faced much bigger giants than this in my life! I will just do it. So what if I'm afraid??? The Lord does not give a spirit of fear! I'll just do it afraid. And I should really look at this as a positive sign, because if God has chosen to let me lose my FMLA then my health must really be on the upswing for now. I don't think he would allow me to be as sick as I was and not have it...and lose my job. As a matter of fact, just look at the fact that he chose to let this happen now. Now, versus a month or two ago when I was so horribly sick. Now, when everyone is saying how great I look. Now, when I really am feeling alot better. Perfect timing. I think I've been so afraid of spinning into a bad flare again that I've been afraid of pushing myself too hard. Note the word AFRAID appearing over and over again. I've moved out of my place of trust for him and am trying to handle this myself...and he's just doing what any loving father should do. He's pulling me back in. He's allowing a little bit of discomfort so that I can learn a valuable lesson. All I know is that I trust him. Implicitly. I love him. He is my Abba Father. I know I will be okay. I just know that I know that I know.

5.07.2006

Class, not crass!

In this day and age when lives are so busy and things are so "convenient" that we never have to leave our homes or get out of our cars, how are single, young females supposed to meet decent men? There just aren't the opportunities anymore. So where do you go? The internet, of course.

Oh, the internet isn't what it used to be...thank goodness! Back in the early to mid 90's hardly anyone had internet access. People were just learning about the "world wide web" and "http://". The internet was a place where mainly geeks and pervs hung out (and then there was me...totally normal of course lol). The online population is now very mainstream with everyone from your preacher to your grandma on there chatting, playing games and checking their email 24/7. So really, the stigma that "online dating" once carried has greatly diminished lately. The problem is this...FOR THE MOST PART, men are still men...and men still think primarily with the head found south of their belt buckles.

By the way, I'm talking about strangers...people that don't know you or me from Adam. People whom we have never met or chatted with before. Just as women learned to avoid the sleazy bar scenes....I have learned that there are certain neighborhoods on the web where I just don't go unless I want to face sleazy men...although NOWHERE is totally safe. I can't even play yahoo gin most of the time because before the first "knock" I'll probably have been hit on, asked to cyber and emailed naked pictures of some nasty old man standing naked in front of his mirror taking a picture of himself and his penis. What is wrong with people these days??? And let me say this ladies!!!...you are not doing much better! Why do men think that they can treat us this way??? Hmmmm...it couldn't be because of the naked-ass pictures of yourselves that you put on every website and myspace page you can get your hands on is it? Now hear me on this...Women, for the most part, have willingly dumbed themselves down to a piece of meat and are back-pedaling us right back into being objectified. Who is going to come behind us? What kind of daughters and nieces are we raising? VIDEO GIRLS...that's what kind. All they see are arched backs, thongs, and hair extensions. They are NOT learning to use their brains or their brawn...they're learning to use their bodies. And objectification aside, there's a WHOLE OTHER BLOG on the problems that come with only using your bodies! Anorexia/bulemia, drug use, depression and suicide...and less female leaders in every area that you can think of because they're too busy wondering what guy is going to drool over their hot (usually enhanced) bodies to worry about any kind of significant difference in this world.

Wow...I never expected, or anticipated this blog taking this path! Thought it was going to be something else entirely. lol But as usual, I pray about what God wants me to write about. I usually start with a general idea and keep praying about it...then I just see where he takes me. I type as the words come. I planned on this blog being something light and actually a little funny, but I guess it's meant to be a serious thing...and that's okay too. To me, that means that someone reading this blog needed to hear this message. And frankly, I'm probably preaching to myself too. Just like everyone else, I can get caught up in all of that "stuff" from time to time. The problem isn't necessarily with "the stuff"...there's nothing wrong with wanting to be pretty (of course not! God made you beautiful and implanted that desire in you!), and there's nothing wrong with wanting some attention, or even with flirting. Nothing wrong with that stuff. The problem comes when that's the only thing you're putting out there. I love to be sexy. I love to be pretty. I love to flirt. Those are all indwelling characteristics that make up the unique brand of "Veronica" that God created. But when that's all someone sees in me I tend to get very offended and turned off. I want someone to see my entire package. I want them to be turned on by my brain, my spirit, my sense of humor and think I'm pretty. I love being a full-package. I want a man to know that if he has something to say that I'm probably going to have an opinion about it...and I might agree or I might debate him. I want him to know that I have a moral compass. I happen to be pretty open minded and a bit more liberal than most of my friends, but I still have a pretty strong compass in there and am surprisingly more traditional than most people first think. I am the sum of my parts....not just another pretty face.

I just want to grab some of the girls (and unfortunately women) and ask them what is wrong with them??? Why are you willing to make yourself a rock when you're really a diamond? Why would you want some strangers drooling words to ooze all over your body? Just to meet his filthy needs? Do you think you're special to him because he desires you? Honey, you have just made yourself a dime a dozen. Because with the click of a mouse he's going to be able to find someone just as pretty, if not prettier than you who's also willing to "dance" for him.

Girls you've gotta choose class...not crass...for all of our sakes!

5.03.2006

Girl, you'll be a woman soon

With the whole re-emergence of my first love Scott in the last week I've been doing alot of reflecting on my life. Not necessarily the events that have happened to me, but the much more personal journey of me, myself and I. I've been taking a look at the young girl that I was and her long journey to become a woman...by the way, when did I become a woman??? I still feel like I'm 16 and sometimes my life seems so surreal to me. How do I have teenagers? I own a home? I'm considered the old one at a club??? lol When did that happen??? But I digress.

I've been thinking somewhat about the situations I found myself in throughout the last 20 years, but instead of thinking about what happened to me, I've been wondering about my role in what happened. What was my part in all of it? What could I have done differently to avoid some heartache or to miss falling in a pit? If I could go back in time as me today and have some girls time with the younger me...what would I say? What advice would I give myself? Wow, that made me cry just thinking about it! I have a feeling that it would be a very emotional thing for me because over the last several years something has happened...I learned how to love myself. You know the old saying "you never know what you've had until it's gone"? Well, that applies here too. I didn't know to love and appreciate that young, beautiful girl...until she was gone. I love the woman that I am now...but oh how I wish I could go back sometimes. Even for just a little while. Because that's all she was ever after you know...love. Affection. It was the driving force behind every poor decision that was made. That and fear. So if I could go back...what would I say to her? If I could sit her down and say, "There are some things you should know..."

First of all I would just want to soak her in for a minute. I think I would be struck speechless to see her face. Her pink, rosey, youthful skin. The sparkle in her eyes that hadn't been squelched yet. Her pretty teeth that the braces just came off of. I would tell her how pretty she was. And when she got embarrassed I would teach her one of the most important things I have learned over the years.....BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER UNTIL YOU CONVINCE THEM OTHERWISE. When someone pays you a compliment, don't argue with them or act as if you're undeserving...simply smile graciously and say "thank you." And I would tell her that her body is beautiful...not to be ashamed of it...to appreciate it, love it and protect it. That it's a precious and priceless thing and to make sure that anyone who got to touch it was deserving of that privilege. As a young girl I was so starved for love that I was willing to hand myslef over to anyone who acted like they loved me and showed me some attention...which explains why I got married at 17.

I would teach her about alarm bells and intuition. Trust your gut...it's a very powerful thing. Even until this day men try to get me to ignore my intuition! Just a month ago when I confronted Tim about his extracurricular activities he tried to convince me I was wrong. Tried to convince me there was nothing there with this other woman. I told him that my intuition is usually right on point and so it didn't really matter what words he said to me...I knew there was something going on. He responded to me, "Well you're wrong and your intuition has you believing all kinds of things that aren't true." I simply said....TIME WILL TELL. And it has. He's still with her and there's a great picture of them on her page together. Yep....trust your gut girl. It's one of your gifts. You may not be a great athlete and you may not be very graceful (actually, you're a big clutz...learn to laugh at it!)...those aren't your gifts. But you do have very strong intuition. You are also funny, witty, charming, smart and good in a crisis. You're a great idea and concept person. You're not always the best at carrying out the plans...that's what you need to hire people for...but the creative and management parts? You're fabulous at that. You're horrible with money so be very careful with your spending. And start saving now....you'll wish you had. I would let her know that she's doing the right thing with the regular flossing but that she needs to start moisturizing religiously. I'd also let her know that she is beautiful whether she is all glammed up or if she has bedhead and no makeup. I'd tell her that the 80's aren't going to last forever and that perms are baaaad! They fry your hair! lol

More important than all the physical stuff though, I'd teach her to be true to herself. Don't compromise and settle just because you're afraid....or hungry. Hungry for love. Afraid of....well, just about everything. I was afraid of my own shadow if truth be told and because of this I wanted someone to protect me and take care of me....which is what led to my second marriage.

I'd tell her to believe someone the first time when they show you who they are. If he is willing in any way whatsoever to treat you less than, then he is totally undeserving of you. You will be okay. You won't starve. You will be safe. Your children will actually be better off if you don't compromise and accept unacceptable behavior from a man. See the best in everyone, but don't let that be all that you see. BE DISCERNING...and don't cast your pearls before swine. I'd tell her that attention from a married man is not attention worth having...no matter how it makes you feel.

I tell her to be forgiving of her father. I'd tell her that it was the right decision to stay away from him for a while, but to not let him affect her decisions with other men. I'd remind her that grandparents die...love them, appreciate them. I'd tell her how important it is to love her babies when they are little. They are tiny for so short a time...soak them up like a sponge.

Above all I would tell her that her rose colored glasses are a beautiful thing...as long as they don't get in the way of reality. Don't be so hungry to see things the way you want to see them that you fail to see them the way they really are. I would tell her that nice really does matter. I would tell her that her brother is an idiot...watch out for him. Always do right for rights sake. Don't wear too much makeup. And I would tell her this...fear less, hope more. Whine less, breathe more. Talk less, say more. Hate less, love more. Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times. That even on your worst days God is good And most importantly, when given the opportunity.....

dance.

5.02.2006

Chill out Francis!!!

I was talking to someone last week about what kind of a guy I want/need. I was talking about how I need a man who knows what he wants and goes and gets it. Someone who can and will sweep me off of my feet. Someone passionate and affectionate where I will have no doubts what they feel...anyone within 50 feet of us will know what he feels. lol I want someone to be over the moon for me. I want to be gazed at. You know the kind of look I mean? Have you ever caught someone in love just gazing at the object of their affections? Oh I have and let me tell you, I got total gaze envy! I've never forgotten it and I knew then and there that's what I wanted. I had only come across one person who ever possessed these qualities and he's off-limits. But I've had a taste of it and I knew that I would be totally unwilling to settle for anything less than that in the future.

I'm not a boy chaser and almost resent it when I'm put in a position where I have to chase. It turns me off. I want to be pursued. I want to hunted and gathered. I want to be adored. A friend once said to me, "I can manufacture someone to take care of my lawn. I can manufacture someone to fix my car. I can't manufacture someone to cherish me."

So I was explaining all of this to my friend last week and I said, "I think that I have such a strong personality that I just need to meet my match." I need someone to not be intimidated by me and I need someone who I have chemistry with to just come and get me! lol I thought I was serious...and maybe I still am...to a point. Although I must say the thought of it thrills me to no end...the last couple of days it's happened...and it scared the f*** out of me! lol Someone that I have amazing chemistry with...always have... have searched to find to make amends/catch up with/tell him I loved him when I was in high school and have never forgotten about him... feels the same about me....the the nth degree...wants me...and wants to hunt and gather me! He adores me. He's passionate and amazing and isn't afraid to tell me everything that he has no idea I've always longed to hear. Everything I've wanted. And it's scared me to death. lol

He's amazing and I don't want to lose track of him again but I need S-L-O-W cletus! I need slow and steady. I need there to be no fear...only peace. I thought I needed all of those things I listed earlier. But as Carrie Bradshaw said, "That's the thing about needs...sometimes when we get them met we don't need them anymore." Or maybe I do need all of those things...I know deep down I do...perhaps just not so quickly.

survey

I'm always…late no matter how hard I try not to be. (Allison, i'm taking some of your answers because we're so alike! lol)



• I love saying...i love you



• I think flowers are...emotional and inspiring



• My favorite Beatles song is..."Something" (the song Taylor sang tonight)



• My parents are...better with age.



• I hate...getting up in the morning.



• I love…dusk. I call it the magic hour. I feel so alive then and everything looks beautiful.



• I was born...late. Guess I was setting the trend for my life. lol



• Sometimes I try too hard…to keep relationships going.



• I work well on things...when I am doing them for someone else.



• My childhood was...not the best.



• My high school was...the best.



• I love to read books about...ways to better my life.



• I'm addicted to...the stupid internet.



• I drink too much...diet pop.



• My earliest memory is...well, i have glimpses from pretty early, but not sure about my 1st real memory. i'd have to think about it. I have alot from the same time.



• The last place I went on vacation was...The Bahamas and Ft. Lauderdale. I've been to NYC since then but I don't consider that a vacation...too much work.



• I want to live closer to...to the water.



• The President is... someone with a really stressful job that I would never want to have. I need to try to remember to pray for him more often.



• Kids can be...exhausting



• Kids were mean to me when they...kids really weren't mean to me. Larry Lavigne and Eric Elkins in 6th grade were mean to me. They called me names.




• I despise it when...people try to bully me or are too pushy



• If I could go anywhere it would be...a warm, quiet beach. Lounge chair, cool drink, peace and quiet



• I love to shop...just about anywhere



• Malls are a really fun place to... go Christmas shopping!!




• I had fun when...I threw parties! Haven't thrown one for a year now. It's one of the very rare times that I totally let myself go and have fun. I'm in the safety of my home surrounded by people I love.




• I thought it was hilarious when...I can't say it on here...it's too crude. lol It involved a patient and some nasty stuff. Thank God she had a sense of humor.




• I love my friends even though they...all have lives and I don't talk to them all the time. Thank God for blogging...it's how we keep up with each other.



• Life is...too short.



• I love the TV show...Huff.




• I don't get enough time to...spend time by myself. The older I get, the more I appreciate alone time!




• One of the nicest things someone has ever done for me is...Drive four hours so that I wouldn't be alone seeing the evil one in court for the first time.



• When no one's around, I really like to...sing outloud.



• If you want to see me go crazy, you should talk to me about…the evil one or Randy



• If I had a million dollars… I would sooooo quit my job and stay at home!!! I love being at home!!!



• My dream college would be…instantaneous



• My dream job would be...laying by the pool telling my hottie pool boy what to do (good answer A! lol)



• I want someone to...clean my house for me



• I hope...that I get my finances straightened out this year.



• I would like...to have all the answers.



• I dream about...living happily ever after




• I have nightmares about...I don’t really think I have nightmares.



• In 5 years, I want to...be happy at whatever I am doing!!!

5.01.2006

I should've tried this years ago!

I wrote the other day about how I decided to do some spring cleaning with my email address book and messenger list. I have been growing tired of one-sided relationships for quite some time now as well as long-lost friends that never seem to have time to communicate. Well if I had known what good things would start coming my way...and how quickly I would've done that a long time ago! :)

One of the people that I had deleted was a guy that I grew up with. He has been such a dear part of my life over the years but has just fallen away recently. Growing up he had a killer crush on me. He'd spend all of his money at the fair trying to win me a prize he knew I'd like. Every day during summer break I could count on him calling at 11:00 every day on his break at work just to see how I slept. I call him "Ducky" (if you've ever seen "Pretty In Pink" you'll know why...and if you haven't then shame on you! lol) Well, the day after I deleted him he sent me a message saying hello and asking how I'd been because he'd been thinking about me. It was nice to hear from him and we talked for a couple of hours. Then a few days later I got an even bigger surprise.

When I was high school I dated a guy named Scott (fitting isn't it? lol what is it about that name?). We fell fast and hard. I think he was my first love. I dated a couple of people before him, and for longer than him, but I never had the feelings for them like I did for him. To this day thinking about him makes my heart pitter pat. Well, for a silly teenage reason I broke up with him and when a day or so later I realized what a mistake I had made I asked my step-brother Kevin to talk to him (since they were good friends). Well I didn't know then what a diabolical & sick plan Kevin had going the entire time (believe me, that's a whole other blog!) and because of this he kept us apart. He came home and told me that Scott said to never speak to him again. I cried for days and days. When I worked at West Shore I was surprised one day when I took care of a man with the same last name and it turned out to be his dad. He told me that Scott would be there any minute to visit and that I must come in and see him. I was so afraid to be rejected by him because of what Kevin said that I didn't go in. I hid the whole time he was there. I actually peeked at one point and saw him....he was beautiful...just like I remembered. I cried in the bathroom and bargained with someone else to take care of his dad while he was there. After that I found out the truth about Kevin and he had admitted everything he had done with Scott (and many other people including my husbands). I started looking for Scott everywhere that I could, for the past five years I've been unsuccessful.

As you all know, I've been getting my myspace account up and running again. I figured it's time to give it another try...but I'm not letting my kids anywhere near it! Anyways, just because I always try everywhere I can, I went to the search part and typed in his name...and up his picture popped in front of me! I just stared at it for a moment. He was definitely older and he looks like he's seen alot of life. Not the same clean-cut baby-faced boy I knew...but I could still see him plain as day. I immediatetly whipped off a message to him asking "are you him?" and within a few hours I got one back saying it sure was. We chatted on messenger all day today and it feels so good to have yet another full-circle moment in my life. Closure. Peace. Happiness.
I keep thinking that I should've done this long ago, but it wasn't time then. When it's time for things to happen...they happen. I had such a great day.
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