6.30.2006

My hiding place

Those old familiar demons are out in full-force poking and jabbing sticks at me and tormenting me. We had our first fight and now I am simply hanging on by my fingernails with the temptation to run back to my hole. You know the one...the safe solitude of my "single" hole. When you're single there's no one to hurt you. When you're single there's no explaining. When you're single there's no fear of being alone...because you already are. There's nothing to lose. You're not invested in anything but yourself. If there's no beginning...there can't be an end. You won't take a chance on someone and climb out on that limb only to turn around and find that you're standing there alone because he's gone. Why risk the pain? Because I know that it's worth it to take the risk. He's worth it. But in these first moments of raw emotion and hot tears is when it's so tempting. Me, myself and I doesn't sound so bad. We've already kissed and made up ( as much as you can from 200 miles away anyways) and by morning it will have all passed. Time heals everything and love conquers all.

2 Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

6.16.2006

Revisited--Do you think I'm beautiful?

There are only about eight 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 eight 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
February 17, 2006 Do you think I'm beautiful?....

"I made you some iced coffee just like you like it." That's the first thing I really remember Jesus (pronounced 'hay-zus' for all you whiter-than-white folks out there! lol) saying to me. I know there were other conversations but that was the turning point. That was the exact moment in time when I consciously felt a shift. I was aware of him now. He was no longer a co-worker, he was a nice guy who had unbeknownst to me been paying attention to the fact that I liked to make iced coffee..... and he got it exactly right too.

From that moment in time an intense flirtation erupted. He wasn't the kind of guy that you'd normally see and think "wow!" but there was something about him. And admittedly the fact that I was only about 3 months out of a horrible marriage helped things alot. lol I mean here was a really great guy who was REALLY into me.......
you can imagine what that does to a girl. ;)

It's funny how my life works. Most of the time, in any area..... there will be absolutely nothing going on and then BAM! Alot will happen overnight or even in a matter of hours. Well, that's how it went with Jesus too. One night at work (he was off) it was about 2 in the morning and I decided right then and there that I liked him enough to make it official. I called him. Of course he was up.... just like I would've been too. We DID have alot in common. :) I'm sooooooo the opposite of a boy-chaser.... and I can't stand when people invite themselves over either....oh man and stopping by announced is the worst!.... okay so anyways, back to the story. So I call him and was hinting around about how boring work was and I wished I could leave early (pretend to be sick) but I didn't feel like going home, blah blah blah. I was throwing out bait and he was gobbling it up as quickly as it was tossed! haha FISHED IN! FISHED IN! lol (I'm having visions of the SNL 'cheerleaders' doing their skit...."who's that spartan swimmin in the sea??? IT'S ME! IT'S ME!" LOL) From what I heard later he was having a guys night out type of thing at his house and as soon as he hung up the phone totally kicked everyone out within five minutes so that I could come over....I had no idea! That's a guy who's into you! :)

That was the night that we started dating. We had our first kiss and spent hours on end talking and talking. And believe me when I say I could've gotten whatever it is that I wanted that night (*wink, wink*), I knew just how much I really liked him when I said that I didn't feel comfortable taking it "further"....and he kissed me on the forehead, smiled and said "that's okay." And it was. It was okay. He was a gentleman. Wow! I had never had one of those before! I had no idea what it was like..... and now I had a taste and there was no way I was ever going back.

Jesus was a relationship of firsts for me. Lots of new experiences. And I learned alot of things from him. He was such a cool guy. Very smart. Was in military intelligence for a long time. FANTASTIC cook. Loved restaurants and knew which wine to order with which meal. I soaked him up like a sponge. I have to say though, that the most important thing Jesus did for me was make me see that I'm beautiful. Oh I know..... no one wants to hear someone say that they think themselves beautiful. You can get the "who does she think she is???" type of thing coming at you. But you know what I've learned to be true? That those are usually the people that have never had their own 'Jesus' show them just how beautiful they are too. It's kind of like "can you believe she's WEARING that???".... it's really not meant to be a question. It's meant to be a judgment. It's kind of an if-you-spot-it-you-got-it type of thing. If someone judges someone else like that it's because of their own self-esteem issues. So I'll say again.... Jesus helped convince me just how beautiful I was... inside and out. You know, I had been married twice before and NEVER one time had I ever heard anyone tell me that I was pretty. I make sure to tell my children just how beautiful they are all the time because of that! But Jesus thought I was pretty. He thought I was beautiful! Another thing I've learned (I actually learned it from the book 'Do You Think I'm Beautiful' by Angela Thomas......best book EVER EVER EVER for women) is that when you aren't willing to listen to God telling you that you're beautiful, smart, funny, etc..... he will often place people in your life (even if only temporarily) that you ARE willing to hear telling you. That was Jesus' role in my life...... to be the embodiment of God's voice telling me that I was beautiful. *TEAR, SNIFF* lol Man oh man.... he LOVED my curves..... every single fleshy, womanly thing about me..... even my "wobbly bits". LOL (How much did you LOVE Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones when she was trying to get dressed undercover so that he wouldn't see her 'wobbly bits' and he said "I happen to have quite high regard for your wobbly bits"....in his yummy british accent...... *ahhhh, swoon*).

After a little bit of time I started to believe him. Every time he complimented me or just wanted to look at me I didn't shrink away and get all embarrassed. I learned that he genuinely thought I was pretty..... wow! someone thought I was pretty! :) .... maybe I'm not so bad.....wow! he thinks I'm smart too!..... and he thinks I'm funny!!!! No one has ever told me I was funny before! .... he thinks I'm "witty".... am I witty????..... WHO KNEW! :) lol

I came to realize that I'm not so bad of a person! After living with an abusive man in my life since I was twenty years old I had started to believe all of the lies that were programmed into my brain at least a hundred times a day.... "You are so ugly. And stupid. Wow are you fat! You are nothing but a stupid whore with four kids...who will EVER want you?????", etc. etc. etc. It's staggering the difference between a twenty year old and a thirty year old isn't it???? At twenty these girls really just don't have any clue as to who they are yet and what is acceptable. I was willing to put up with so much crap just because I thought it was better to have someone than no one... and after all he didn't really mean it! Right??? He LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEDDD me! Bullshit! lol GOD HELP the man that ever even thinks of treating me with jealousy or with insults again!!!!!! I have three words for him.... OH HEEEEELLLLLL NO! Jesus helped to deprogram me from all of the damage that had been done..... and for that I will forever be grateful.

We dated for about six months. It really was a wonderful time in my life. It just wasn't meant to be though. He had other issues that he needed to deal with before I could be with him long-term. We got together once or twice a couple of months after we broke up. It was like getting a little shot of vitamin-J. LOL The first time I was sick....really sick. He had called for something and heard how sick I was and since he still had my house key (yep, I had forgotten about it....oops!) he had brought me over some food. He came upstairs and helped me get out of bed to go eat and when he pulled the covers back and I stood up his face just kind of went "dumb-struck". I said "what's the matter????" And he just kind of stuttered "um, well, you sure do still got it where you need it don't you?" And it made me smile. Everyone needs someone to think that they're beautiful.... even if they aren't a couple. Even if I never see Jesus again I will know for the rest of my life that he thinks I am..... and I am so grateful for that gift. :)

6.14.2006

Go rest high on that mountain

Three years ago today was such a black day for me. I was on my way to work in the evening when my cell phone rang and someone was crying on the other end saying "Pastor's dead! Pastor's dead!" In that moment I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see, I couldn't speak. My heart felt like a piece of lead that was going to fall right through me. I had never in my life felt such immediate and overwhelming grief. I had lost relatives in my life, but never a person as important to me as this.

I grew up going to Tower Baptist Church in Lorain and Chris Hughes was the pastor there. I always had a very distant, strained relationship with my real dad...and my step-dad. I never had any men around me that I was close to or that were good role-models to me...except for my preacher. He kind of took me under his wing. I'm sure he did this with most of the youth at our church...and for that much, most of the members period. That's just the way he was. But he made me feel special and he became the one man in my life who I could look up to. Always a man of God. Always striving to do "right for right's sake." Always encouraging me to do make godly decisions...even when I failed at that he was still there to say, "Well, God is a God of mercy and you can do better next time."

When I got married (all-too-young), his voice cracked and tears filled his eyes when he said, "by the power vested in me by the state of Ohio...and by one who loves you very much...I now pronounce you....". He sat next to me and prayed for me when my husband committed adultery. He dedicated all of my children to the Lord. He was the first ones my oldest three kids called when they got saved. He was the one who baptized them all...with a shout and that signature giggle he had when he felt moved. With alot of prayer and some hesitation he married me a second time...and then was there for me when he knew he was right and should've trusted his gut and not married us. I could always see the look of sorrow in his eyes when we were having major problems in our marriage (those close to me know what I'm talking about). I think he felt he was somehow to blame by marrying us...although it wasn't his fault. It was no one's fault but the evil one's. He was my one-sure-thing. As faithful as Jesus himself, at least as close as any human could be. I could call on him day or night and he would be there for guidance, help and prayer.

December 18th, 2002 was the day that will always be stuck in my heart as the clearest picture of my pastor's unselfishness and grace. I called him at about 11:00 at night sobbing into the phone that the evil one had "raped my baby!!!" By the time I hung up the phone and walked down the stairs he had sped the two miles to my house in sweatpants and t-shirt (he was usually dressed in a suit). He got there before the police did. Even before Randy did. He said he knew that over-all I'd be alright, but that Randy was going to need help that night...and he did. (See, Randy grew up in that church too and was also close to him.) My house was filled with every relative Randy's family could find that night and they were plotting to string the evil one up from the tree in my front yard. My family. The police. My kids. It was a madhouse of emotion and frenzy. As we had to listen to Courtney tell the detectives all-too nasty details of what had happened to her my beloved preacher got on his knees before us, laid his hands on us and just started intervening. It was the most touching image I have in my memory....aside from the picture of him tackling and bearhugging Randy in my front yard and holding him while Randy sobbed tears of mourning for his baby girl. A former football player...he was a big guy... setting aside pride to comfort and protect a surrogate son during the most difficult time of his life. To me, that was a picture of Christ that night. Christ in my living room. Christ in my front yard. Christ kneeling before me making intercession for us.

In the days and months that followed he helped in more ways than I can express. He made sure our bills were paid, supported us in the church and never missed a court hearing. If that horrible situation had never happened though, I doubt I would've ever taken the opportunity to tell him how very much he meant to my life and how loved he was.

He died suddenly on the afternoon of June 14, 2003. He complained of having bad heartburn and refused to go to the doctors (in his typical stubborn way). He wanted to take a nap in his recliner and if it wasn't better when he got up then he would go to the hospital. He never woke up. His wife found him a few hours later after he had a massive heart attack in his sleep (which by the way, was how he always said he wanted to go). I got the call within an hour or so on my way to work and immediately changed courses for his house. He was already gone. I just stood in the yard hugging and crying with family.

His funeral was probably the biggest and most crowded I've ever seen. I would say there was easily over a thousand people there. cars filled two parking lots and were backed all the way down Tower Blvd. onto Rt. 58. It was a very moving service and I broke down bad when they started playing him singing over the loud speakers. "I've had a wonderful life....the Lord's been so good to me...." I have trouble listening to it to this day. I have never before, or since grieved over someone like I did him...not even for my own father who died last year.

About a week after he died I had a dream about him. I was in the church parking lot in the back seat of a car. He walked up to the car and asked someone if I was in there then he got in and kneeled looking over the seat at me. He was smiling a gentle smile and had so much joy and yet compassion in his eyes. He said "why are you so upset?" I replied "because I'm so sad that you are gone." And he just smiled even bigger and said, "Oh you know better than that! You know that I'm right where I want to be. I'm fine and you're going to be too. Don't cry." And after that the pain wasn't quite so bad. I believe God allowed him to visit me in that dream to set my heart at ease and remind me of everything that I really already knew. I think that Pastor Hughes was my set of training wheels for so much of my life, and now it was time to ride solo. After all, he wasn't really my one-true-thing....Jesus flowing through him was...and I have him with me always.

He always ended his services by looking everyone in the eye and saying "I love you today."

So to you, Pastor Chris....

I love you today...

PASTOR CHRIS E. HUGHES
1951 - 2003

6.11.2006

Freeze this


Throughout my life there have been moments (as with everyone, I'm sure) that are more poignant than others. They're nothing fancy, they're just little moments that if you aren't paying attention to you'll miss. I call these my "freeze this" moments. See, I believe that when we get to Heaven that we're going to see a kind of video of our lives. What we're not so proud of, but I believe that God is so loving, merciful and graceful that he's also going to bless us with the good stuff just to see us smile. You know, the sweet moments of everyday life that are exactly what life is made of...the good stuff.

I was going to say that it's mainly since becoming a mom that I've noticed them the most, but I got married and became a mom so young that it's pretty much been my whole life. lol The point is that I notice them. At least I try to. That's what keeps me centered. Grounded. It's being so caught up in paying the bills and looking up to see my little one sitting in the grass in her ballerina tutu with her swimming goggles on her head with pigtails and smelling flowers she picked. (get that mental picture in your head for a moment) OH MAN *grabbing my chest*....THAT'S THE GOOD STUFF! That's a moment that I silently whisper to the Lord, "Freeze this." It's not even really paying attention to the fact that my daughter is in the room with me because I'm checking email and as she's coloring she catches me off-guard by blurting out "you know mom, I love you more than pork chops." FREEZE THIS. It's running around so busy getting ready for work that I'm stressed and thinking "why can't these kids settle down and be quiet" and then realizing how sweet the sounds of their giggles are. FREEZE THIS. When I'm stressed at work and not even really thinking about what I'm doing and a patient takes my hand and with tears in her eyes says "Thank you so much for everything you do." Wow, FREEZE THIS. Sitting around a table or a living room with all of the women I love in my life laughing, crying...whatever. Realizing how important they all are in their own way to me. FREEZE THIS. Looking into someones eyes and knowing that there's nowhere else on earth that I'd rather be at that moment in time and that I've never felt that way before....FREEZE THIS. The very first instant that I laid eyes on each of my children...the very first second. "She has your chin!", "It's a boy!", "She looks like you", "She looks just like Madelaine!". Looking over in amazement into the bassinet and being awe-struck that this was my baby and how beautiful she was. Mommy, look at me riding my bike! Sylvia Zilch pinning my nursing pin on me and the impact she had on my life...I was crying like a baby...right at the moment she looked me in the eye and said "you're so very special." The moment my dad made eye contact with me and he had such a look of pride in his eyes when holding his grandchild. As Joleen was running in through the emergency room doors one December night with tears in her eyes and scooping Courtney and I up in her arms. Seeing my beloved pastor hold Randy while they both cried in my front yard that same night. Seeing my childs face light up at a school program when they spot me in the crowd. Holding my daughter while we both cried and hearing her say she stopped a boy from going too far because she could hear my voice and advice in her head. YES!!! That's the good stuff! And I have so many in my archive that there's no way to even begin listing them here! I've been so blessed.


It's all those little "freeze this" moments that I want the Lord to play back for me when I'm standing before him. I'm sure he'll have plenty of his own to throw in there from before I started paying attention or from when I was just too caught up in things that just don't matter. Like when I was 15 years old and got saved while laying in my bed and talking to the Lord. Or when I was 16 and Allison threw me a surprise birthday party with people who hardly knew me just because she didn't want me to go without and she loved me. Oh Lord, please freeze that. Those are the things that make me who I am. Not the job, not the money, not travel. Not at all.


Life isn't made up of the breaths we take,
but the moments that take our breath away.

6.06.2006

Save the drama for your mama!

What is it about divorce that makes people turn into complete assholes??? I'm not necessarily talking about my situation right now, I'm merely being an observer. I've had it up to here with boyfriends with psychotic bitches for ex-wives!!! (I swore I'd never date another person who was still actively involved in dramatic bullcrap with an ex-spouse. And yet...here I am! Surprise!!! Unfortunately, alot of good people come with really crappy ex-spouses attached to them...me included...but I am not now, nor will I ever be in the dramatic situations that I have witnessed...I REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE).

I cannot stand when people use their children as pawns. Or when they play games with not letting the other parent visit or speak to the child on the phone. In my situation the other parent did something to HURT my child...so over my dead body will they get near my children again, but aside from that...there's only one reason for it....DRAMA. People who refuse to let go of drama make me insane! What is it about drama that people love? You can say it's dysfunctional backgrounds that make them that way. You can say it's life experiences. Well, I'm going to argue with every bit of that because I am the POSTER CHILD for dysfunctional backgrounds and "life experiences"!!! I could write a book with the crap I've gone through (and I'm not exaggerating) and yet I'm not anything like that! That's one reason that I feel so qualified to judge those that are that way.... because I've been through it ALL. It's highly unlikely that anyone can come up with a scenario that I have not experienced. And AT NO POINT IN TIME did I EVER play games with my children like those I have seen. I never bad-mouthed their father in front of them. I never played games with visitation. I never stopped them from speaking on the phone. I never continued to drag out the drama from when we were married. I never had my current boyfriend/fiance/ whatever call my ex and harrass them.

There comes a point in everyone's lives when it's time to just GROW UP. Usually by the time you're 30 your light should be coming on...if it hasn't then you'd better check your bulb! I have worked long and hard to cut the dramatic crap from my life. I refuse to participate in it. I will not even be a player in the game. I have cut so many people out of my life because they are stuck in that dramatic rut. I don't even want to hear about someone else's drama on a regular basis. SAVE THE DRAMA FOR YOUR MAMA!!! I'm not interested! Proverbs 26:4 says,

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him."

If you listen to, participate in, return the favor...whatever way you want to put it...if you allow dramatic people into your life you're going to become like that person. And you're also going to take on all of the stress that comes with the drama. No thank you, I'll pass. I've said it a thousand times before and I'll say it again... I've had enough drama for one lifetime, I'm ready to get about the business of being happy. Who's with me?

Teachers let the monkeys out!


Today was the last day of school for my kids, which means Courtney is now officially a highschooler (*gulp*), Darren is in eighth grade, Madelaine is in 4th grade and my baby just graduated from kindergarten (*sob, choke*).

I fully expected to have a mini breakdown during the ceremony...as I usually do with these sorts of things...especially since this was my last one... my BABY. But I didn't do too bad. I only lost it a little bit when the teacher started bawling and then again when I went back to the classroom to pick Amelia up and take her home. By the time I got to the room Amelia was the one in full-blown-melt-down mode and it got to me a little bit. She was sobbing because, "I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE KINDERGARTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNN!!!!!!" lol This is so ironic because at the beginning of the year I had to work daily with her teacher to find a way to get her not to cry because she was scared to death of school. She had major separation anxiety and it took alot of work and rewards to get her to relax. Now she doesn't want to leave! lol She is definitely her mothers daughter in almost every way...from how bashful she can be to how emotional and sentimental she is. She worked very hard this year and has made huge strides in alot of areas of struggle thanks in large part to her wonderful teachers. Above is a picture of Mrs. Yingling giving her a goodbye hug. This is a moment that not only I, but Amelia will remember forever because this year was her starting point and the goodbye was emotional. This formed the base for all of her future learning. And every special teacher that comes after this will build on that base and add their own piece to her puzzle as they invest themselves in the betterment of my child.
To my friend Rachel and all of the other wonderful teachers out there... Thank you so much for the time, energy and love that you invest in not only my children, but every child that is entrusted to you. You do make a difference and you do matter. We couldn't do this without you! Aside from parenting, you have the single most important job there is and my heartfelt gratitude flows out to you.

6.01.2006

Revisited, vol iii

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 February 10, 2006 Love & Devotion....

I took care of a gentleman last night who was dying. No big shocker there. But this guy, actually it was his wife, was unlike any patient I've ever had and he has stirred things up in me big time. This was an almost 91 year old man who is today celebrating his 70TH wedding anniversary. He was declining rapidly and is supposed to go to hospice today or tomorrow. He is unresponsive & never said one word to me all night. (Which just goes to show that we don't always have to have the "right" things to say, do we?) The thing that got me was the depth of love and devotion that his partner felt for him. She was also 90 years old... a "good" 90.... but 90 none-the-less, and she was a source of worry for me all night long. This is because ANY 90 year old should be at home in bed sleeping at night! Right? I thought so too.

Slowly, one by one, his family filed out of the room and left. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren left. Then children. All the while she just sat in a chair in the corner and stared a very heartbroken stare towards her love...the constant trace of a tear always present in her eyes. Then I watched as one of their sons got on his knees in front of her and held her hands and prayed with her. Prayed for his father and his mother. For himself. For the reality and the heartache that was settling in on this family.

After the son left I went into the room to check on her and in the faintest and frailest voice (although I have a feeling it was the strongest voice that she could muster at this point) she looked at me in the eyes and said, "will I be in your way if I stay here?" I will never forget the piercing and penetrating, heartfelt plea that her eyes gave me. I just stood there and stared at her. On one hand, of course I wanted her to be able to stay. But on the other hand, she's 90 years old. I didn't want her to end up in another bed down the hall from pulling an emotional all-nighter. It was only a few seconds in real-time but it seemed like forever that I just stood there, and before I could say anything she looked at me with tears welling up in her eyes and said "please don't make me go. I've been next to him since I was 18 years old and I have so little time left with him....please." I continued to stand there silently for a moment...though now it wasn't because I was debating in my mind all of the pros and the cons, but because now I was speechless. I was looking at the emodiment of everything that I silently feel inside. The love between two people that usually only comes along once in their lives. A love that is way bigger than the two of them. The indescribable power of an all-consuming love that just is...whether you want it to be or not. It defies time, space or logic and it won't go away just because someone thinks it should. And also the longing and the pain of wanting someone that you know is slipping out of your hands.....and all you can do is watch it go.

As I stared into her face I suddenly, in my minds eye, got a glimpse of her through the years. As a teenager who was crazy about this boy, as a girl getting engaged, as a young bride glowing with love, a mother who cradled her baby in her arms, a woman who made dinner for her family and then love to her husband, a retiree who was excited for the freedom of finally getting her man all to herself and traveling or just spending lazy mornings. And now of a woman who has seen all of the seasons of her life come and go and was now helplessly staring at her one true love slipping away....and all of the pain that brings.

I suddenly felt fiercely protective of this woman. I told her that of course she could stay and that I would do anything I could do to make her comfortable. I had to fight her tooth and nail to even try and get her to take a blanket. She was so afraid of being in the way bless her heart.... I never did win either. She sat slumped over in that uncomfortable chair with her coat on to keep warm. She wouldn't let me get her a cot or even a more comfortable chair. At one point she woke up and was confused. She thought she was at home, and that he was in bed waiting for her and she couldn't find her way to their bedroom. I was so sad for her. Even through confusion she was still looking for him....her heart knew where it wanted to be. The heart knows what it wants....even when the mind and body are telling it differently
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