Sunday, November 30, 2014

Broken but Not Beaten

This blog has been an outlet for my fears about my son's Tourette's.  It has been an outlet when I went through my divorce back in 2007.  It helped me navigate the severe depression after the divorce.  I have made some amazing blogger chicks from Canada to New Zealand.  So I feel it only fitting to share my current broken state.  And that of TheBoy and LilBro, too.

A month after the wedding of the decade, I discovered that things were not as wonderful as they seemed.  I convinced myself I was paranoid from my previous experience in 2007.  I can't bring myself to go into details here.  But the reconciliation, dating, and wedding were all done within huge lies.  A fun little kicker is I found this out after finally trusting my gut and digging - all the while feeling like I was being a bad wife by digging.  Four days after having legally changed my last name.  Good times.

So, while I am still technically married in the eyes of the state in which I live, my "husband" lives with friends.  TheMan, TheBoy, LilBro and I are all in therapy.  I am watching TheBoy spiral dangerously in depression.  He and I have gotten help both emotionally and medicinally.  But at his age (14) you heap all the normal confusion of being teen with a major family trauma and potential RE-divorce of his parents...it's bad.  His anxiety attacks that had been gone for years have undone him enough to miss a lot of school.  LilBro's anxiety manifests in a much less obvious way.  His teacher informed me that it's off the charts in the form of obsessing over time and schedules.  But he's keeping his grades up and is pretty happy over all.  He's 10.  He's still hoping dad will come back home.

Here is one reason I'm sharing this even though I haven't shared this with all friends and family yet.  If you for one second think that God had a hand in this horror show, stop right now.  If you feel any anger toward God for "letting this happen" to me?  Don't.

There has not been ONE SECOND where I've thought God did this or wondered why he let this happen to me.  I will tell you what I've told other friends and family members.

First and foremost - no matter what hell on earth may happen?  GOD IS ON HIS THRONE.  Don't think for one second that some disaster or evil proves otherwise.

Second - God had no hand in the lies and betrayal perpetrated by TheMan and another "friend" of ours.  That was all the enemy.  The prince of stupidity.  Satan, the devil whatever you want to name him.  He saw the bright beacon our family was for God and he threw something irresistible in front of the weakest member.  Not my kids.  No, he went for the new believer: TheMan.  It's what he does when he's scared that something is about to Shine for God.  He knew TheMan still had major broken wounds and he played to those.

Third - God will always lay out amazingly perfect plans for each of us.  And then each of us uses the free will God gave us to walk the path he laid for us, to walk kind of NEXT to it, to walk away from it, or to reject it altogether.  That is US, man.  We all do it.  I did it for years.  I walked close enough to God's path to fool myself that I was ok because, hey, I could still SEE it!  Granted, I had to look to the side to see it.  But still!  I could see it.  No, God always plans goodness for each of us.  And some of us don't trust it because, you know, God can't be THAT nice, right?  And some of us are broken and scarred from previous attempts by the enemy to destroy us and keep us walled off from God.  So we can't see the path.  Or we don't want to see it because some church or "Christian" or "God person" totally screwed us over way back when.  Or because something horrible was done to us that we can't even speak about.  I get it.  But it's still usually my choice...my free will.

So TheMan was given a beautiful path of redemption, forgiveness, grace, and trust.  By hundreds of people.  My whole family welcomed him back.  Some had to work harder at it than others.  But we welcomed him back.  Our church is a church full of imperfect broken people that never throws stones.  They loved our story of screwing up a marriage and fixing it.  And many of them came to what I now know was really just a theatrical sham of a "wedding."

TheMan was given an amazing gift from many people.  But the enemy kept reminding him of his previous failure.  Made sure he couldn't fully shake the shame and guilt from his actions in 2007-2010.  So his actions were all tainted by shame.  And anything you build in reaction to shame and guilt - no matter how much you want it to be true - it will come crashing down around you.  And it will DESTROY anyone close to you.

The fourth thing I will say to anyone who thinks that TheMan is hellbound: don't even go there.  TheMan is straight with God.  This I know.  His turn toward and acceptance of God/Jesus was and is real.  I know he talks to God all the time.  And I know he has talked to God about how wrong he was this time.  And last time.  So I know he's good with The Father.  This is EXACTLY what Jesus did on the cross, man.  This is why he died.  For all of us stupid selfish people that can't hold to a vow or remember a promise or think about anyone except our own wants.  For some reason, Jesus thought we were WORTH that.  And while we humans assign levels of evil to each wrong we do here on earth?  That's a human thing.  That's not a God thing.  If you have to turn away from God to do something, you've had to turn away from God to do that thing.  It all hurts God the same.  Whether you think that or not.  Doing wrong is doing something you BELIEVE is wrong.  So if you think disrespecting your husband in public is wrong and you still do it?  You're missing the mark just as bad as TheMan lying to and betraying me and his boys.  So if you're ok with being friends with abusive drunks and compulsive liars but you're not ok hanging out with TheMan because of what he did?  You're doing it wrong.

Don't get me wrong.  I am PISSED.  This is the SECOND time for me.  Having to use terms like "The first time this happened..." or "THIS time..." constantly undoes me and boils my BUTT.  Knowing that I have to find forgiveness for him?  That's hard, too.  Yah, I know the right thing to do.  But man, to have to do that AGAIN?  Now I get that passage where Jesus tells the disciples they have to not just forgive someone seven times but SEVENTY times seven times.  And I've done the math.  I'm struggling with the SECOND time.  So I doubt I'll pass the test all the way up to 490 times.  It's not fair that my boys and I got destroyed a second time.  It's not fair that I walked through a fake wedding - not knowing - smiling and feeling so elated at the culmination of God's miracle!

But I will get over the anger.  Just not right now.  And I will forgive him.  That part has already started.  But the clever prince of poo loves to just pop images of what he did into my head every time I start feeling kind and forgiving.  So yah.  I have a lot of work to do with God.  He has a HUGE miracle to pull off by putting REAL forgiveness in my heart.  And man, TheBoy?  He wants NOTHING to do with his father right now.  And LilBro feels torn and guilty because he wants to see and be with his dad but sees how angry TheBoy is.

I share this not to say "Hey look at how God's miracle was a lie!"  I share this to say God really did orchestrate reconciliation and forgiveness.  And TheMan turned it into a lie.  Not God.  But Jesus took care of this all on the cross.  TheMan just has to deal with us imperfect and enraged humans for a while.  I'm not excusing my anger and rage.  But I'm also not making myself feel bad for it.

So if you're a praying person, cover me and the boys.  If you're awesome enough, cover TheMan.  He has a hell of a mountain of therapy to conquer.  And believe it or not, I want this to end with us still married and actually HEALED and loving.  I am very painfully aware that ending may not be a reality.  I can cope with that.  It is undoing my boys, however.

I will say that TheBoy has shown no tics.  The anxiety attacks suck.  They derail him and make him feel despondent.  Watching him go from bright shining kid to this sad depressed teen...it kills me.  And really adds to my anger.

God can pull us all through this.  It's walking through the fire that sucks.  Even knowing God will get me through it.  The mire is awful at the moment.

Pissed and Praying,
Tourette's Mom

Monday, August 18, 2014

Waiting Well: Wedding of the Decade

This past Saturday, August 16th, 2014, found me an the now former TheEx remarry.  A friend posted a then-and-now picture of our 1996 wedding kiss with the 2014 kiss.
Obviously I need a new moniker for TheEx. Without getting overly fancy, I'm going with TheMan until I think of something better.

I think our wedding is not only representative of the miracle of reconciliation but also of the support system God set up around me.  Let me show you how:

My wonderful mom went with me to the church to figure out the placement of tables and chairs.  It's not a regular shaped venue.  I just couldn't picture the placement of the 18-20 rectangular tables in the space.  She had a vision and was able to show me.  It worked perfectly.

TheEngineer (hubby to the fabulous C.Beth/C.BethCrochet) showed up and helped set up all of the ginormous tables for me and mom.  On his day off.  He rocks.

The lovely Trish and Gwen flew in to represent my Boston church small group from back in 2005. They stayed with my fabulous mom because I knew the three would instantly bond.  Which they did.  Gwen is also a tiny tornado of assistance.  If you've even thought you might need something done, she somehow senses it and is instantly doing!  They helped mom and me set up and decorate the tables for the wedding. They also came into the bride dressing room and prayed over me.

The fabulous ladies from my small group worked with our friend Calli Cupcake to make and ice 200 cupcakes in three amazing flavors.




A last minute discovery at the church was that my skirt (which had to be hiked up under my armpits because it's made for some statuesque Amazonian) now had front slits up to a very not ok region.  So when I walked, way more was going to show than anyone wanted!  Mom retrieved needle and thread from her car and went to work.  At the same time, my friend Heather ran to the local Walmart to grab some white leggins - just in case! So modesty was restored and I could show off my fancy wedding shoes without making anyone blush!

Our wedding plans were all about simplicity. And not spending money on stuff we would just throw away after the wedding.  I didn't want flowers for that reason.  My cupcake brigade ladies weren't ok with that and all chipped in to get me the most gorgeous bouquet and a boutonniere for TheMan.  They surprised me back in the bridal room! What sweet love from my friends.

The ceremony was performed by our pastor and friend Shayne.  He's been part of our story since we joined this church.  So it was special to have him seal the deal!

Our wonderful boys, TheBoy and LilBro walked me down the aisle to their dad.

They had worked out a little skit when Shayne asked them who gave this woman to be married to this man.  They conferred behind me as to the worthiness of their dad for this honor.  They said things like:
    LilBro: "I don't know...he smells kind of funny!"
    TheBoy:  "Yah, he smells like onions and disappointment!"
and
   LilBro: "I think Liam Neeson would be a better choice..."
The finished by coming forward and TheBoy saying, "I'm sorry to say but we can't..." TheMan interrupted them by stepping forward, pulling a $50 bill from his pocket and asking if that could change their minds.  TheBoy quickly snatched the money and said "Yes!  Yes it does!"  We were all dying!

The afore mentioned TheEngineer stood up with TheMan.  My BigSis stood with me.  The boys flanked us.  At one point, Shayne invited our friends to step up and say something about our relationship.  TheEngineer started.  His vulnerable statements and clear emotion had us all choked up.  He spoke of how something had always made him stand up for and love TheMan - even during the very rough years.  His love of TheMan and never wavering friendship is something I will never forget.  I suspect it is a major reason why TheMan really believed in God's love - seeing it lived out in this friendship.
Then his wife C.Beth was next.  She spoke of our friendship.  She got me when she said the reason so many people love and support me is because I love and support so many people.  I have to remember that because I tend to only thing of my snarky side.

Our worship leader and friend Adam (one half of the supremely talented Stone & Crow) handled the video (soft lights flickering on the 3 video screens), playing our wedding playlist, and cuing up the entrance and exit songs.  It's so generous when a friend who is invited to the wedding volunteers to also work that wedding.  He gave us one more thing to not worry about.

During the ceremony, during the 100+ degree heat, the caterer arrived.  Our friend BBQDave left the fun to go help him lug in the food and drinks.  It was not fun or glamorous work but he volunteered and handled it all.  I love him! When we queued up for the receiving line in front of the catered dinner line, a friend informed us that the caterer had forgotten plates and cups.  Three church friends, PJ, Derek and Kaydean, jumped behind the cafe.  PJ immediately grabbed plates and coffee cups and the three of them got the food line going!  Again - I had dropped the ball on the little detail of getting volunteers to serve.  And my friends just jumped in.  I love them so much!  PJ also later announced to everyone that there was plenty of food and everyone who wanted could have seconds.  Or thirds!!!  A bunch of us took a lot of food home. Yum!
My sweet brother-in-law, TallGuy, had to run to Walmart to grab ice.  Another forgotten detail by either me or the caterer.  I don't really know or care.  But he ran and did it.  Goodness!!

So, only due to the quick thinking and willingness of my family and friends to jump in, we became Mr. and Mrs TheMan.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Marriage License: Milestone in a Whacked Up Love Story

So yesterday, we went to the county clerk and applied for our marriage license.  The kids came with us.  Pretty amazing.  We posted this picture on my Facebook page and it had almost 200 likes by the end of the day.  I think it's safe to say we have quite a few people who are fans of our reconciliation.
Here's a selfie we shot at the 8 hour marriage course we took a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great class for any level of relationship.  And it got us $60 off the price of our marriage license.  So...you know...there's THAT...
God rocks, man.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Engaged: Milestone in a Whacked Up Love Story

Yesterday, The Once and Future Husband proposed! That's his grandmother's ring I have worn since she gave it to us when we first got engaged in 1996.  I had taken it off recently to die my hair (badly).  I told him where it was and told him to put it on the correct hand when he was ready.  I said it rather angrily.  Yesterday, he put it on my left hand as I left the laundry room (all gross and sweaty).  Then he asked if I would marry him! So yah.  Yesterday pretty much rocked.
This was how I announced it on Facebook
This was a (completely posed) reaction face from BigBro and LilBro as we celebrated with a nice dinner:
This is my current Facebook profile picture.  It's a selfie we took last month at a hockey game:
'Cause I'm classy like that
So.  Yah.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Jason Statham's Got A Crush

Yah.  I have that kind of effect.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yah and So THIS Happened...


Thanks to my friend CBeth for letting me borrow this picture from her. And yes, that IS my new boyfriend getting baptized. And yes, he sure DOES look a lot like TheEx...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Forgiven

What's your unforgivable sin? I mean, the one that you could never forgive. I can think of a few that would test my ability to survive.  Most of which I've asked God to never let me be tested in that way.

In 2007, I encountered one at the top of my short-sighted limited list and called a lawyer.  A year later, I stood in front of a judge as he signed my divorce papers.  I stood with the same deer in the headlights look as about 10 other people sitting there waiting their turn.

The majority of my divorce survival, I prayed for different things. Mostly, "God, help me get through this moment, hour, day."  But often I asked him to please put true forgiveness in my heart.  I knew it wouldn't happen solely by my own efforts.  Back then, if you Googled "Hell Hath No Fury", I would swear you'd have found my picture.

God kept me . . . sane, I guess.  When I wasn't attempting to control my fate, he generally kept me from hatred.  He was also good enough to allow me the ugly feelings.  But he didn't let me settle there.

God sent my parents here.  He put me in a very unique neighborhood full of friends that helped (and still do).  Often times, unasked.  He gave me the perfect church of patient people able to nurture me while I remained encapsulated in my pain and struggle, often unable to comprehend that anyone else could be hurting as badly as I was or hurting at all.

During the whole time, God worked on The Ex, too.  Quite frequently, he let me witness it.

In 2010, The Ex returned to my state and town. An answer to many prayers of two awesome boys.  And to many of my own.  But it was hard.  It renewed my pain, anger, resentment and need to see him punished.

He returned to various levels of disdain - not just from me but from those in my world that had stood by me.  His own struggle with guilt and shame was made heavier by the judgment of those that loved me.

God sent some of His True People to The Ex.  My pastors, my music director & his wife, and a couple of other folks from my church.  Many of my friends took their lead from me and allowed themselves to be friendly to him.  Many were surprised to find he wasn't a horrible person.

It has taken almost three years in close proximity but God is rocking real forgiveness.  My parents treat The Ex like family now.  My BigSis and her TallGuy would have been first in line to kick his ass back in the early days of the horror show.  And now they accept him as family, too.  That is some grace right there, I tell yah.

You will be shocked and dismayed to hear that I am not perfect.  Nay, it is so.  Most days, I feel like I have completely forgiven The Ex and can be perfectly strong in our friendship.  We laugh a lot.  We watch TV with the boys a lot.  We eat out a lot.  I mean, he was my best friend for 17 years.  Losing that was awful.  God restoring our friendship is just one in a huge thread of miracles in this story.

My imperfection comes in the fragility of my resolve.  I am easily undone by events that remind me of the wrong done me.  I am easily undone by the enemy reminding me of things The Ex did back when we were dissolving.  I am easily undone by any tiny misstep he takes in our friendship.

Over and over these last few years, God keeps reminding me "There IS no unforgivable sin." Not with God.  Humans, sure.  We have our limits.  But even those can be overcome if we ask God to help us.  So I keep asking God to help me forget.  Wipe the bad memories from my brain.  When they come, I tell the enemy to piss off.  Then I box up the memory or emotion, put it down and ask God to take it.  Then I ask him to help me move on without it.  To help me make NEW memories with my friend, The Ex.

Since the holidays - when I had a major Hell Hath No Fury meltdown with The Ex - we have turned a major corner.  We communicate more regularly.  If something is eating at me and I can't make it leave, I tell The Ex.  And he will talk to me.  Sometimes, he lets me cry or vent or just explain how frustrated I am.  I keep thinking each of these episodes will chase him off again.  He has told me that will never happen again.

We are working with God, our church, and counselors to clear the mess between us.  We don't have to FIX all the problems that were there right this minute.  But we are both committed to get them out in the open, identify them, work at making sure we don't repeat it.  How could we ever move on to new relationships if we can't do that?

My point to this whole blathering mess is this: There IS no unforgivable sin.  For me as a human, there are offenses that could take me a lifetime to forgive.  But The Ex has a blank slate from God.  I get a re-do from God all the time.  I want to give The Ex the same blank slate that God already gave him.  And that God repeatedly gives me.

It doesn't really matter what he or I did to break our marriage and get it to the point where we canned it.

What matters is my God came down and suffered all the trappings of humanity - including torture and murder - to allow me my blank slate and freedom from the slavery of a crazy litany of rules.  The least I can do is forgive someone for being imperfect and allow him to be the wonderful guy I met back in the late 80's and shared my life with for 17 years.  And I thank God that he's given The Ex an extra helping of patience to deal with my imperfect humanity while I ride the roller coaster of forgiveness.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Of Kittehz and More Kittehz

In July 2006, the last of our long time kitties left this world. His name was Elvis and he was fabulous. I got Elvis and his "sister" Gwenevere from a friend back in 1989. They were tiny balls of fur, each easily fitting into the palm of a hand. Elvis, the gray spaz and Gwenny, the orange and white needy dainty. Months later, the vet would inform me that Gwenevere was a boy. But "she" was dainty and girly and Gwenny stuck.

In Sept 1991, just days after being assaulted by some psycho just feet from my apartment, I found a tiny black kitten. I hung signs and they were torn down. I hung signs again and they were torn down again. Someone didn't want this kitten found. So I kept him. Or The Ex (my then boyfriend) took him. He became Taliesen or Tally or TallyMan. He was energetic, sphinxy, and played tag with me. He could leap from a sitting position to the top of a door. And he adored our friend Al...the one most allergic. Oh yes...he also loved to dig up house plants and art installations of The Ex's roommates.

In Nov 1991, a coworker told me about her friend who had 4 kittens that needed homes or her husband would take them and drown them. The next day I had a carrier with 4 kittens under my desk at work. I brought them home. Ilsa went to wonderful friends. Chiquita went to other wonderful friends. My roommate Darcy took Picard, the longest haired white kitty I've ever known. And The Ex took Wednesday, Chiquita's twin sister.

Eventually, The Ex and I ended up with my Elvis & Gwenny, his Tally & Wednesday, and Darcy's Picard (or Picky). BigBro joined our family in 2000. He came home just under 7 lbs...smaller than even Wednesday (or Winky), our smallest cat at 9lbs. We joked that he was the 6th cat.

Picky was completely intolerant of sudden or loud noises. When the Bruins scored, The Ex yelled, "YES!!" and Picky would bolt from the room. When BigBro had colic? Picky was the only kitty that stayed in his room while he cried.

We let a growing BigBro work out territory issues and whether pounding your fat toddler hand on their scratching post was ok with the kitties. It only took one good whack on the hand from a kitty paw to answer that 2nd issue. They all shared the space. And the kibble...

In Sept 2001, Picard died from a heart attack related to a thyroid problem. He went to sleep and never woke up.

Two months before Lil'Bro was born in 2003, Gwenny went in for surgery to unblock a liver bile duct. I got a call from the OR. She was riddled with cancer and putting her back together would not give her a comfortable life. We let her go on the table at the age of 14.

Lil'Bro was born into a three kitty household. He took the lead from BigBro and treated the kitties well from the get go. There may have been one tail pulling but the kitties let him know how they felt about that and it wasn't repeated.

In 2005, we were preparing for our move from Boston to Texas. Tally and Winky weren't doing well. The vet was pretty sure they had cancer and warned us they might not survive the trip. Three weeks before the move, Tally became lethargic and rarely ate. The vet confirmed he would not be long in this world. So I held him while they put him to sleep.

A week later, Winky became unresponsive. Her eyes were open and she could hear us but she just didn't have it in her to respond. I drove her in and held her as they put her to sleep.

In Sept 2005, The Ex and I took a 5 yr old, a 21 month old, Elvis in a carrier and our bags on a plane from Boston to Dallas. Kids and cat were awesome on the plane, by the way.

Elvis went from a tuna can two bedroom apartment to a four bedroom two story carpeted house. He spent his day moving from sunspot to sunspot. He was pretty sure it was heaven. He loved it and so did we.

In the summer of 2006, Elvis started looking rough. He threw up often and began peeing in odd spots. He lost weight rapidly. I would take him to the vet. They would give him fluids and a few other shots. He would rally for a week or two and go back to the sick. After doing this a couple of months, my vet said, "Look, I can keep reviving him and sending him home. But he will be back again. This isn't a good life for him." So once again, I held my best friend as they put him to sleep. I cried for every single kitty. But this...I sat in their parking lot sobbing for what felt like hours. Elvis was my special kitty.

After 17 years of owning kitties, I was done for a looooong while.

Until this past Halloween. I had been browsing our local shelter site for months. I kept eyeing this one gorgeous black kitten not being adopted. His name was Starbucks because he was found abandoned in a Starbucks parking lot. I drink, breathe and snort Starbucks coffee so I kept joking I should get him. Then he disappeared from their site and I thought, oh good! He got a home!

A few weeks later, he was back, a little bigger and his description said an eye infection had left him partially blind in one eye. By now the boys had seen his picture and we kept talking about whether we should get a cat soon. I told them if Starbucks wasn't adopted by Christmas, we'd get him. Just before Halloween, he was moved to a big chain pet store right across the street! Well, we HAD to go see him! I decided to go check out Starbucks and another black kitty named Twix.

We got there and Starbucks was even more gorgeous than his pictures showed. He wanted nothing to do with being held. Most of his little 8 months had been spent in a cage and being handled for medical procedures. We were warned he won't want to be held.

Twix had been adopted the previous day so we looked at all of the other kitties for a companion. I wanted another black kitty because they have trouble adopting black cats. People really are still very superstitious about them! But one kitten there caught our eye. A gray and white long haired kitty. He was nonplused with all the goings on. The other cats showed off and played. He just remained curled up in his open cage. He'd look at you Iike, "Oh...hey...sup?" This was the most chill kitten I had ever met.

A couple of days before Halloween, our family brought home Starbucks and Dunkin (as in Donuts).

As I type this on my iPad in bed, the skittish Starbucks is laying next to my left arm with his head and one paw on my shoulder. The only reason he isn't laying across my chest and neck is because I won't let him while I'm typing! He lets us hold him for long periods of time. He follows me around and loves The Ex and both boys. He often cuddles curled up with Lil'Bro.

Dunkin is around somewhere. That most mellow kitty ever? He's the instigator. He is usually the alpha cat. And he went from small adolescent kitten to big huge kitty over these past weeks. He is extremely demanding of our time and attention. He reminds me of Elvis because he has soft bunny fur like Elvis did. He reminds me of Picky because they both fuss at you verbally if they want attention. He often follows one of us around just yelling at us. "Why aren't you picking me UP?!"

Dunkin just turned one in February. Starbucks will be one in April.

I will try to find pictures to add. But I may just post this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Long Time Gone

I haven't written here in over a year. That's kind of sad and kind of wonderful. I started this blog to write about our journey with Tourette's. That was derailed by me using this blog as an outlet as I struggled through my divorce and becoming a very shaky single mom.

So the sadness is, I used to write here every day. Then weekly, monthly, never. I miss the community a few of us built here.

The wonderful is, I needed this to work out fears and experiences with Tourette's that I just new would increase and rule my life. It has disappeared and is only in my life when it comes from external sources. I needed this to work through heart break, incredible emotional pain and deep deep depression. You all were my social checkpoint. I had trouble feeling like relating in person. Now, some of you are still connected to me on Facebook, through email (remember email?!), or in real life. And the divorce...well there's a story for you.

Let's catch up a bit.

In 2010, I think I mentioned The Ex moved back from Boston. While happy for my boys, I certainly didn't need someone messing up my routine or trying to insert himself into my parenting. It wasn't an easy adjustment. Having him 3000 miles away gave me a huge buffer zone. I didn't have to deal with him. Suddenly, BOOM! I had to deal with him. And all the memories and anger and resentment that came with that.

I have ridden the roller coaster of TotallyOverIt or HellHathNoFury. It has slowly gone from insane highs and lows to more even keeled. The Ex and I started getting along well and hanging out a lot.

2011 & 2012, more of the same. I worked. I did the mom thing. The Ex helped out quite a lot. And I tell yah, after 3 yrs of asking for help from my awesome mom or amazing neighbors or rockin' church family, it was good to have help from the person that SHOULD help.

My awesome church had a huge transition. After our head pastors moved to CA, we steadily began losing members. Small to begin with, it didn't take much to take the wind out of our sails. We got a church adviser that helped the remaining small group of families really take personal inventory and step up to the plate. It was a year of huge growth. And growth always comes with pain. But the growth was the main thing.

The Ex became our regular worship drummer. He also became a full believer! Something I prayed for for decades, never thinking I'd get to witness it. I stayed out of it because he wasn't my husband, we had too much history that involved religious differences. I wanted this all to be between him, God and whomever God sent to minister to him. And boy did God rock this! When God shows up for you personally? It's pretty difficult to discount him. But watching him seek God, question everything but with sincerity, not belligerence, watching him have real experience with the Presence of God...THAT was an honor.

We have found another amazing church. And this one, we both chose. The old church had been him coming into MY territory. As accepted as he was, it still had that feel for us. This church is OUR church. Which is very cool. He's on the worship team again. I'm serving all over the place. Currently, I am gearing up to facilitate another Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. I'm helping with the food service. I'm helping with greeting, recycling, anything they need.

And I'm dating. After over 6 years of friends and family, I've just recently had about 4 dates with the same dude in about 2 weeks. And it's pretty cool.

A few people know who it is. The rest don't really need to know. He's private and I sure don't want to muck it up.

BigBro and LittleBro are doing amazingly well. BigBro will be 13 this summer. His Tourette's is gone and he is a huge testament to God's healing and grace. We prayed for total healing and left room in our minds for the possibility of God leaving it for some other purpose. But it's gone. BigBro's prayers have been so sincere and lacking the doubt and walls us adults bring to prayer. I think God gave him an early testimony. So I will always listen to and work with my doctors. But a human diagnosis will never have the last word for us. I leave that to God.

LilBro just turned 9. He is just as intelligent as his older brother but not as flashy. He is doing so well in school. His teachers over the last few years have recognized that he had some leadership qualities behind that shy little exterior. This year, he has been given some really great leadership tasks by his teacher. He rose to the occasion each time. He powered through the fear and did it. His confidence has soared.

So much has happened since my last posting in Nov 2011. Most of it incidental in this context. But if seeing my ex accept God/Jesus his life and heart is all I ever get? I'm totally ok with that!

I'll catch you up on other stuff soon. And I'll see if I can convince LilBro to let me post his current picture here. He is old enough where he gets to approve or veto any pic I post of him!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

So Why Is It . . .

So why is it that, when you wear a shirt you think makes you a bit washed out and/or dumpy, everyone you run into tells you that shirt is PERFECT for you! And then you put on a shirt that makes you feel totally gorgeous and NOBODY says a THING?!!

Kind of like when you feel bloated, people ask, "Did you lose weight?" And when you think you've actually lost some size, no one says a thing.

Just something I'm pondering right now as I wear my cute top and prepare to hit the grocery store.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dear God . . .

Dear God,

Thank you SO much for protecting me tonight on the highway. Thank you for the accident being minor. Thank you that the kids weren't in the car with me. Thank you that all 3 of us walked away unhurt. Thank you that we all drove our cars away. Thank you for the calm and kindness you put in all of us as we exchanged information.

(And thank you for sending two of the cutest motorcycle cops to deal with it!!)

I love you.

In Jesus' name,
ME

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rocktober Fifth

Today, one of my awesome church families welcomed their 2nd child into the world. He's perfect (like his big sister) and wonderful. I can't wait to meet him.

Today, a young mother of two young boys was suddenly widowed after her husband had emergency heart surgery. I can't stop thinking of them. Which makes me pray. Hard.

Today, the world lost a technology and corporate visionary at the way-too-young age of 56. I've never met Steve Jobs. But oddly feel saddened by his passing on many levels. Not sure why.

Today was the first full day of freedom for a man who served 25 yrs in jail for a crime he didn't commit. I've been thinking about how wonderful and strange it must be for him and his family.

Today would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. That one leaves me less sad than just thoughtful. It stopped really hurting a couple of years ago. But it never passes unnoticed.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Updates on the Sermon Thingy

Thanks for all the prayers and support about my sermon/lesson/talking-thing.  It went swimmingly!  God totally rocked the calm and just flowed the words.  I'm pretty outgoing and good at faking confidence.  But I know how nervous I feel when I speak in public.  Especially speaking to people I have to deal with, you know?  It's not like a bunch of strangers you can say goodbye to and never see again!

But God rocked peace and calm and a steady voice.  I was worried I'd just stare at my notes and read them.  But I was speaking on something I feel very passionately about.  And God just kept the right subjects coming at the right time.

I spoke on tithing.  Not exactly people's most favorite subject!  I was worried I wouldn't have enough material.  Apparently, I spoke for over an hour.  Not surprising if you know me.  But I guess I made sense and kept people's attention (except a few nodders - I saw yah!).  I got a lot of feedback afterward from people saying I really spoke to them or gave them something to think about.

It was SO fun!  I'm SO thankful to God for just making it go so well.  I'm hoping he gives me more opportunities to speak.  Because I know he's given me a bunch of other subjects that are always flying around my head!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There's A Reason God Made Me Yappy

I have had this vision since probably high school or college days. Which is way back before the interwebz, kids. I have seen myself talking to large crowds. It makes sense. I'm a yapper. A rambler. A story teller. I never shut up. Even on here, I can rarely post a single paragraph. That Six Word Saturday? Yah, impossible.

But you know, if God makes you yappy, you're probably supposed to be talkin'. Unfortunately, for years, I have just talked. Thankfully, God seems to be putting tons of stories and lessons and messages in my head. I think I will do much better if I let THOSE come out.

This Sunday, I will be giving the lesson at my church. We've been having our 4 main leaders rotate in speaking while between pastors. And God kept reminding me of things in my head. I recently asked him to give me opportunities for public speaking. I wasn't sure what it would look like but just bring them.

Oh it's been brought-en!

I'll probably breathe in too much, forgetting to exhale. That'll be the battle for the first 5 minutes or so. I will battle the urge to interject bad jokes. But mostly, I will just ask God to get the right words that he wants people to hear to come out of my yappy story telling mouth.

On a funny note: I have 12 pages of notes to edit at the moment. So far, 8 of those pages are examples of God rocking the financial blessings from this very blog. I have so many examples of his miracles on here, it was hard to keep it to only those!!!

Rock on, God!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick Update For The 3 Of You That Keep Stopping By

TheBoy: I've noticed some eye tics. Excessive eye rolling, a little exaggerated blinking. I've noticed some stammering when he's talking. Kind of repeating partial phrases before getting it all out. I'm chalking it up to all the late summer nights and early summer mornings. I'm not concerned.

TheBoy will start middle school this year. This area of Texas has 6th grade in middle school. I think we're both a little nervous about that. But again, I know God will rock the awesome teachers like he always does.

Work: My work just had the 2nd round of layoffs last week. It was rough. I made the cut but you watch others get cut and it's just a stanky week all around. So now we are hugely depleted in terms of staff. And we still have the same amount of work. My team lost one very key person. She has TONS of knowledge and her personality is the one we all tended to rally around. She made the killer cupcakes and brought the team love. That was a painful cut. I'm happy to be friends with her separate from work. But it's very weird not to see her every day. *sigh*

Church: Our transition from pastors Kenny & Michelle to our new pastors is bumpy. The new pastors aren't in our state yet. We pray for God to rock the provision to get them here. But so far, it's not happening. I don't know if this is one of those times we'll learn to wait well or if this is God saying this is not what he has planned. Either way, I'll wait well for whatever he brings.

The transition from where I stand is not easy - on many levels. They never are. I am standing in my skin trying to figure out where to shut up and just unconditionally support and when to stand up and say, this is a problem. That has always been a battle for me. So I pray. And hope for God to show the way. I feel a need to speak up. So finding the right way to do so will be my next task.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on the Tourette's

A quick note to answer another wonderful TS mom, Andrea.

Yes, Andrea. I consider the TS gone. I didn't for a long time. BigBro has considered it gone for quite a while. I haven't seen a tic in, I can't even remember. His anxiety is such a non-issue, I would consider it gone, too. He will have moments of worry now and then but they seem very normal and appropriate for his age. So I'm calling that gone.

The thing I've been seeing lately is a severe distractibilty. Is that a word? I recently caught a piece of a PBS documentary on adult ADD. So many of the stories reminded me of adults in my life. I imagine many of us are running around with ADD and have no idea. I kind of think that's a good thing. But BigBro has been just off the charts distracted lately. And when I saw that PBS show with stories of adults that sounded just like him, I've been wondering. When he was diagnosed back at the age of 6 (4.5 yrs ago), she ruled out ADHD. So not sure.

I'm not a huge fan of the over use of ADD in the pediatric diagnosis world. So I'm not running to a doctor to say, Hey, do you think he has ADD? The documentary also pointed out that most ADD adults are also the ones on the creative cutting edge. They are the boundary-less cliff jumpers, of sorts. They said, most of the amazing progress in the world wasn't done by the people who stayed safely away from the edge of the cliff. BigBro is crazy creative and does many things outside the box. I'd rather leave him there. He's not unhappy. He is still unaware of any weird looks he may get. He has a good number of solid friends that I think are on their way to being amazing people.

He still has fuzzy social boundaries. But for every kid that walks away, there are about 3 that stay.

So yes, I will claim it as one of the many miracles God has done for this boy - starting from in the womb. I know God has put him here for something big. I've seen BigBro already affecting people's lives with God's love. And that may be the something big. I'll take it!

Thanks for asking, Andrea!

Friday, June 03, 2011

ODE TO POETS AND POEMS - by BigBro

What is the point of this poem so bland?
Or is it rather the look of the land
around it, that envelops its beauty sincere
that is plain around the heart of happiness and tears?
Poets are artists, and are mostly true.
But those who write fiction will still never do
less than the ones who write truth at its greatest
nor will ones that came first be worse than the latest.
Need I say more? I may not, but i will.
For the epics and beauty of poems give thrill!
Happiness emitted. Inducing tears.
All for the beautiful and sincere!
Happiness to villains. Tears of joy.
Poems are not just readable toys;
They are works of art that can't be beaten
as good as grass to be grown and ham to be eaten!
And on that happy note, i hereby will finish
my ode. And as the memories diminish
Always see that to the heart, poems are true
and anything that is not will just never do.
________

BigBro reading Calvin & Hobbes at our favorite pizza joint.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Transitions

Our church is about to hit a big transition. Our head pastors, Kenny & Michelle, are moving out to California to attend an amazing school for three years. I'm so excited for them! There is a part of me that wants to go to this school. If my boys end up choosing this school for their college years, I will be over the moon!

The new pastors are not set in stone yet. We are pretty sure we know who it will be but God has to rock some pretty big miracles to get them here.

When churches change pastors, they change many members. A lot of people visit a church and connect to something there. Very often, it's the pastor. In my case, I joined this church back in 2005. A little over a year later, the head pastors moved to southern California to pastor a larger church there. That's when Kenny & Michelle took over. Our membership morphed for a while. But we eventually hit our stride (or at least, I think we did).

Many of my church friends are very connected to Kenny & Michelle. I am, too. So I'm praying hard for my church. That God do what's best and help people to keep their hearts and minds open to the new pastors and their style.

I'm oddly mellow about this. I haven't cried over this yet. And there have been quite a few tears. I think my history of moving probably helps. As an IBM Brat, I moved something close to 8 times by the time I was 13. I know the reality of relationships. They come and go with life changes and seasons. I know my true friends are just that, no matter how much distance is between us. Those true friends are there for me no matter how often we see each other.

So the thought of Kenny & Michelle leaving to follow God's calling is exciting to me. I envy people who clearly hear from God to pick up and do something specific. I know I will see them again when they visit their family still in this area. I know I will haunt them on Facebook.

Today was Kenny's 2nd to last time preaching. As he spoke, I was hit with a momentary pit in the stomach. I think there will be a sense of loss I'm not quite understanding at the moment. I had trouble listening to his message. I thought how far we had come. In 2007, when he started speaking, he was rough and nervous. Now, he speaks easily, straight from the heart. He shares from his life, being extremely honest about his early days, before Jesus had his heart. He talks very candidly about how he used to be. Everyone can relate to imperfection and we love that he can relate to our imperfections. He never pretends to be oh-so-perfect. He is welcoming and is the first to admit that he's flawed just like anyone else.

In 2007, they had just announced he would become the new head pastor and my marriage imploded. The poor guy was barely in his new role and I was all, "Hey, I'm having a huge life crisis and think my head is going to explode. Can you help?" Kenny and Michelle walked with me through that journey. Sometimes, counseling me. Sometimes, Michelle just sitting there as I sat on her bedroom floor, bawling, thoughts tumbling jumbled from my mouth. I have no idea how they found the strength to handle it all. Learning how to pastor a church and me in crisis mode every time I saw them. I doubt that's how they think of it. But I look back on that time - I was so needy. I couldn't see beyond my own swirling misery. I had nothing to give - only desperately draining whatever I could out of all around me.

Kenny also had a heart for The Ex. I could tell he truly loved The Ex, whether I was mid-hate or wrestling with feelings of vengeance or forgiveness. He never stopped praying for The Ex. It was hard to take during the times I wanted God to punt The Ex to Pluto. But in my more lucid moments, I thanked God that someone had the heart to truly pray for The Ex.

Kenny and Michelle have always been champions of my little fractured family. Kenny was one of the men in my church that recognized the need my boys had for a reassuring word from a man. These wonderful men in my church took my boys under their collective wings. Kenny always had a hug for them. If the boys asked him things, he always made time - talking to them like they were the only ones in the room. Once, Kenny was going to give his testimony as the message. At the time, BigBro was really wrestling with anger about the divorce. Kenny invited BigBro to stay for the service instead of going to kids' class. BigBro stayed and listened to EVERY word. Kenny shared his experience as a child of divorce. I still think that stays in BigBro's head.

Once, when BigBro was very upset and worried about something spiritual - I can't recall what - I think it was heaven - I was at a loss. I didn't know what to do. I called Michelle and asked if she would talk to BigBro. She did. At length. I'm not sure what all she told him. But when they hung up, BigBro was at peace.

Kenny & Michelle have baptized both of my boys. I had always warned Kenny that I expected him to perform my next marriage and had joked that it was up to Kenny to find me my groom!

The Ex joins us at church very frequently because of his strong connection to many of our church friends. When I told him Kenny & Michelle were leaving, it hurt. He had just returned to Texas and had very few friends. Kenny & Michelle - he knew - were true friends. So he was loath to lose them.

Kenny & Michelle walked with me in my journey from utter desolation to being a strong God Girl. They have encouraged me, called me to the mat on certain things, gently corrected me, joked with me, been examples of selfless service, pointed out my strengths when I couldn't see them. There are many times in my day to day life when I'm at a decision point. At some of these times, I pause and think, "What would [so-and-so] do here?" God has blessed me with many fine examples to put in that [so-and-so] bracket. Kenny & Michelle are often inserted there.

It will be hard to let them go. Selfishly, I want them here. But I will send them off with blessings. And will cheer them on as God takes them into their next season.

I love you, Kenny & Michelle.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lil'Bro Gets Baptized!

Can I get an AMEN?! Woo hoo!

Both of my boys have an amazing faith. It blows my mind the kinds of questions they ask and topics they discuss. At their ages (7 & 10), I believed. But I'm not sure I understood the whole relationship with God thing. The church I grew up in never taught us about that. Or if they did, I didn't get it.

My boys get it. So when Lil'Bro said he wanted to get baptized, absolutely! Woo hoo!

This is especially sweet because it will be the last month our head pastors are with us. Both of my boys got baptized by pastors Michelle & Kenny. I know the who doesn't matter. But I'm glad for it anyway.

If you look back to BigBro's baptism in Sept 2009, you'll see a bit of difference in my two boys. BigBro took some coaxing (he had just learned how to go fully under water). Lil'Bro jumped right in!

The Ex, my parents, my BigSis and her TallGuy were all in attendance. I didn't get to snap a picture with my parents. DOH!

Enjoy the pix!

Lil'Bro, TM, HM & RM all contemplate the trough as pastor Kenny talks.

Kenny asked who wanted to go first. After a small pause, Lil'Bro climbed right in!

Kenny asking Lil'Bro if he accepts Jesus as his savior. And you know he DOES!

Lil'Bro wanted to do it himself. After 2 attempts, he successfully fully dunked.

A fully baptized Lil'Bro!

Pastors Michelle & Kenny. Love these guys!

Lil'Bro with a proud uncle TallGuy and aunt BigSis!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Mother's Day Approacheth

I'm going to point you to my post from last year. It gives lots of ideas for finding a mom in your life who needs a little doting.

Last year, I posted this because the plight of moms doing it all was heavy on my heart. Not just because I'm a single mom. But because of all the moms I know. One of my dear friends delivered flowers to my doorstep with a note signed by my boys. I thought that was so sweet. She is a dear!

This year, the boys' dad is back in town. Last weekend, he took the boys shopping for Mother's Day. So I know I have surprises in store.

This year, my mom is not feeling well. Allergies in this area can lay you low for months. So I'm trying to figure out what she needs.

I hope all of you mothers have a wonderful day this weekend. You deserve it!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Deep Thoughts

Topics of lengthy discussion lately with my boys (in no particular order):

Bin Laden's death and why I'm not jumping around chanting "USA! USA!"

Who did Cain marry?

Big Bang vs Genesis Creation.

The "forever" aspect of heaven.

Will heaven be a physical place?

Grace & forgiveness.

Always tell God your greatest desires - even if you think they're impossible.

Step dads (on many levels).
- What if I marry someone they don't like?
- What if I marry someone who doesn't like them?

It's hard to believe in God when you can't see/touch him.

Baptism.

These guys keep me on my toes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zoinks!

I'm starting a small group/bible study type thing, y'all. If you knew me any time before 2005, you'd know how amusing and cool this is.

I'm excited because it came out of a long time desire of mine to do something like this but only because of a Facebook post from a friend that said something like, "I need to find a bible study." I wrote back "If you're serious, let's do this!" So she and I kind of spurred this idea on. I sent out an email to my local peeps. Which is nerve wracking. Have you ever been invited to a bible study? I have. Many times. Most of these invitations never seemed inviting. They seemed more like "I dare you to say no, sinner." Well, they probably didn't have anything like that in their intention. But I've always perceived them that way. In the past, I mean.

Anyway, I was nervous because I can't stand holy rollers knocking on my door on Saturday mornings. I don't like snotty tight-backed people inviting me to a bible study or whatever. I used to hate them (bible studies, I mean). And this was back when I was attending a Christian college and supposedly on track with God. Gah. Hated this kind of stuff.

So asking people to join a small group/bible study is not my thing. I figure, well, put out the invite. Let God do the rest. I asked God to make sure the right people got here.

Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), I got a lot of yes replies! Which is even more horrifying on a completely DIFFERENT level. I have to pick up the vomitous cornucopia of toys that is my downstairs!!

I'm psyched. Especially because this isn't associated to one church or denomination. We'll see who God brings in. It's an open format so I think the attendees will pretty much drive the direction God takes us.

WOO HOO!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, Texas

Today is Texas Independence Day. I only know this because I work for a state agency that gives this as a skeleton crew day. I'll take any crazy holiday they want to give me. Time off is why I love working for the state!

This morning, BigBro saw me updating my Facebook status to say "Happy Birthday, Texas. You're lookin' good for 175!"

BigBro: "175? Texas isn't its own country anymore, you know."
Me: "Don't tell a TEXAN that!"

Happy Birthday, Texas. Glad to know yah.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blitzkrieg Update

I survived a week of layoffs at my company. This is round one of more to come. We expect more in June or July. There were many casualties. One of which is one of my two best friends at work. So that was rough. Fortunately, I know she counts on God in life. So once the initial shock wears off, I know she knows he's got her back.

My life is blessed. Not just dodging the layoff bullet. God's just got me feeling very peaceful and blessed. The imperfect me will try to unseat that feeling periodically. Fortunately, God is stronger than my wobbles.

Not much else to report. Very tired. Working each day, waiting to see who gets escorted from the building - it's oddly exhausting.

God rocks.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Weekend

I'm having a crap day - emotionally. Physically, it's sunny and gorgeous here. My distaste for Valentine's is attempting to derail me and doing a damned fine job.

This picture by Stacy Reed (lovingly borrowed from She Dreams in Digital) sums up my sentiments for today:

I paid all my bills this morning. I filed my tax return and saw a nice refund amount. But I also screamed at The Ex on the phone earlier when he was almost an hour late to pick up the boys. I think the dark cloud that is attempting to represent my soul at the moment was secretly happy as the minutes ticked beyond the pick up time. Sometimes you just want to be pissed off. Normal, yes. But never good. Because it's not fun to waver between rage and weeping. Certainly not for dainty flowers like myself. Meh.

So I have a day and evening to myself. And most people are busy filling every second of their day with something that's been scheduled or put off for a long time. Many couple friends are doing couply things because it's Valentine's weekend. Good for them. My few single friends already have plans or aren't returning calls. Which is annoying that they can't immediately sense my selfish funk and come pouring out of the walls to cheer me up and coddle my immaturity. What's up with THAT?!

I spent a while pouring back through my past VDay blog posts. The pathetic thing is, this post really isn't being any different than those pouty little diatribes. Holy crap when will I get a grip and just get OVER it? I've never liked VDay. It's a huge waste of money and that is exploited by businesses that make their money exploiting things like this. I don't have the same distaste for Easter and you'd think - as a Jesus loving soap-box climber - I'd be all OVER the bastardization of THAT holiday.

No, this is a particularly selfish dislike. It's one thing to stand with your loved one, agreeing that the holiday is silly and not buying into overpriced flowers, dinners, etc. It's another thing entirely to be single and endure the endless commercial barf spewed from florists, chocolatiers, and diamond merchants. Commercial portrayals of relationships annoy the snot out of me by swinging wildly along the wide spectrum between these two staples:
  1. Dumpy, balding, clueless man unexplainably has a totally hot, smart wife that does everything.
  2. Sensitive, loving (and usually gorgeous) guy says exactly the right thing to the woman in his life to show he TOTALLY gets how lucky he is to have her as he presents some really tacky, yet expensive, diamond encrusted trinket to her.

I barf on both images. And in stead will concentrate on wonderful and realistic couples in my life. They are fun, funny, loving, imperfect, and devoted. They don't treat marriage like extreme dating that can be dumped as soon as it gets hard. They fight and eat crow and work hard to make up for their short falls. They pout and compromise. They exasperate each other and wouldn't trade their spouse for the world.

You guys cannot even fathom how encouraging it is to watch your relationships. I know you will see this and think, "She can't be talking about us because we are SO not the ideal!" but you will be wrong.

Here is to the wonderful loving marriages that I've been privileged to view from afar or from the intimacy of close friendships. Here are to my friends that unashamedly declare their love for the long haul. Here are to the people that remind me that people do still take those vows seriously:
  • Mom & Dad
  • Lucy & Jim
  • Brenda & Larry
  • BigSis & TallGuy
  • Kendra & Donny
  • Monica & The Hunter
  • Diane & Jimmy
  • Trish & Prince Charming
  • Lisa & Kevin
  • Shari & Wyatt
  • Kimberly & Alex
  • CBeth & The Engineer
  • Tiffany & Jeff
  • Michelle & Kenny
  • Leslie & Nathan
  • Deanne & Robert
  • Kim & Ken
  • Jane & Breen
  • Wanda & the Retired Pastor
  • Tracy & Marc
  • Jess & Jeff
  • Julie & Jeff
  • Allison & Rich
  • Jackie & Kevin
  • Jeannie & Jack
  • Alicia & Art
  • Fieryboots & A
  • a-dub & his Lovely Missus
  • Scoo & Mrs. Scoo
You guys - and so many others - really inspire me. Your love and affection means something to someone aside from your spouse.

Imagine that.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Snow Day for Texas!

I've been taking a beating from my friends in the north over my Facebook postings about our cold snap. Today, I'm sure I'll be taking a beating over the pictures I've posted of our snow day.

Since humans are such one-uppers in nature, we've always seen scenarios where you say something and someone has to start out, "That's NOTHING," and launches into how their similar experience was more intense, more scary, more wonderful, more SOMEthing. It has always driven me nuts. Especially when they have to go the scary route. It's like, hey, here's the most wonderful news of my life! I'm getting married/having a baby/whatever and then some competitive Debbie Downer has to pipe in with horror stories of the worst pregnancy or emergency c-section or someone having a heart attack at their wedding. Seriously?

So now with all these social networking sites, everyone can lob their competitive negativity from the comfort and safety of their couch, bed or armchair. Which has spurred me to invent an app where I can punch them in the neck from the safety of MINE.

Texas has been having a cold snap. It has been cold by anyone's standards. I'm a 20 year Boston veteran and a 4 degree wind chill still makes me think, Yah, that's pretty damned cold. I totally get that there are other parts of this world where 4 degrees is downright balmy and they'd be putting on the shorts and tank tops. But in TEXAS, people - where I LIVE now - that is the kind of cold most people are not prepared for. If you're a transplant like me, you have a nice sub-zero LLBean jacket, about 3 pair of snow boots and a myriad of hats and gloves. But lots of folks down here suffer through the few really cold days layering hoodies. Why spend the money for just a few days a year? So when we get a few weeks of below freezing weather, that's shocking. Especially when the day before saw near 80 degree warmth.

So for all my northern friends that love posting their "Suck it up, you big pansy" comments, yah, I got it. I wouldn't trade your 952 feet of snow for my cold snap for anything. That's one reason I moved down here. (Well it was housing prices but I've grown to love the mild short winters here.) But I have some friends in Canada that would love to post similar snotty remarks on your snow whining posts. But I digress into snotty land.

Roll your eyes or not, we got SNOW today. And underneath it, there was ice. I don't care where you live, smart people don't drive on that stuff if they don't have to. Or unless they have the vehicles to tackle that. So schools are closed. My state agency is closed. We got ourselves a real honest to goodness snow day! Only the second one due to snow that I've seen in the 5 years I've been down here. We had ice storms that close things. But only 2 snow days.

When you live somewhere that never gets something, it's a huge deal when you finally get that something. Even a tiny bit of that something. We are loving it. And as a former Bostonian, I'm glad it's just small enough to not have to shovel anything.

The Boy lovin' the snow (wearing some of my Sorrell snow boots)
My thick Mickey Mouse PJs and my Timberland boots
A cute, cold and happy Lil'Bro
The back of my house
Frozen and about to come back in

Monday, January 24, 2011

Outlets for Rage

As I may have mentioned here, BigBro feels things very deeply or with great strength. He is passionate about things he loves. His compassion and empathy can be his undoing. His capacity to love has always amazed me.

When things lean to the negative side, it is with equal power. His play therapist is really helping him with this. But he still has those moments when he has such overwhelmingly strong emotions, he doesn't know what to do with them.

Around Christmas, he had a pretty big meltdown. He is still processing his feelings about our divorce. He is extremely smart and tries to process everything. However, without full knowledge of exactly how our divorce came about, he is very confused and angry.

As he sat there trying to explain his anger, I noticed his clenched fists at his side. He was yelling to me about how he hates the divorce and doesn't even know who to blame (ie - me or dad). I could see the wound tension in him. And it brought me right back to being that little kid that was trying to deal with something completely out of my control. Something that I hated (usually a punishment or explanation of why I couldn't have/do something). I knew there was nothing I could do to change it. But my rage was overwhelming. My memories of these times bring back visions of pure white rage taking over my sight. I remember wanting to break or hit something. I didn't want to HURT anyone. Or break anything important. I just needed to punch something or feel something break.

As I sat listening to BigBro venting and hurting, it killed me. I totally recognized the bottled rage. I asked him, "You probably feel like hitting something, don't you?" He threw his face to the ceiling and screamed "YEEEEESSSSSS!" Ugh. Man do I get it.

We did a lot of talking. I did a lot of listening. I related some of my memories from my own frustrations as a kid. I wanted to let him know that I understood what he was feeling and he wasn't insane to feel it. We also prayed. A lot!

I wasn't able to get him to his play therapist for another 3 weeks. And it helped. But I can see the underlying anger and confusion always threatening to undo him in those moments of frustration.

I talked to my mom about a punching bag. In high school, when I was still dealing with becoming part of a blended family and full of rage and anger, a friend showed me how to use one of those smaller wall-mounted punching bags that you always see boxers hitting. Bippity bappity bippity bappity. I got pretty good. When I needed to, I just whaled on that thing. My mom and I thought it would be good for both boys to have something to pound on.

But I wanted to check with their therapist. I know there can be a fine line between allowing for a physical outlet and encouraging violence as a solution to frustration. I sent the therapist an email explaining what I had seen, my own experience of wanting to hit things, and our thoughts about a punching bag. He wrote back, "I think [BigBro] has enough cognitive wherewithal to use that as a coping skill in the moment without any carryover consequences. A lot of parents use martial arts classes for the same purpose. Sounds like a good idea."

As I've stated in multiple posts, my parents ROCK. As soon as I shared that email with my mom, she and dad went to the local ginormous sporting goods store. They talked to a sales guy, explaining what and who it was for. He suggested a 70 lb hanging heavy bag. He also warned about their developing bones and not to let them punch it with their bare hands.

This past weekend, mom & dad came and assembled the stand in my garage. Then my awesome neighbor Alex came over and hoisted the bag up so we could hang it on the hook.

The next day, mom took both boys to the afore mentioned sporting goods store and got them each a pair of boxing gloves in their size. Then she brought them home, got them on the computer and showed them a YouTube boxing tutorial video she had researched. BigBro watched the whole thing. Lil'Bro hopped around posing in his new gloves and didn't watch.

When the boys were ready to try out the new heavy bag, BigBro walked up and punched it exactly like the tutorial showed. He got his feet in the right position, shoulder down, jab jab PUNCH! It was pretty cool. Lil'Bro walked up and started flailing at it. So I slowed him down, had him step back and reminded him of his kung fu lessons. He paused and then huh huh PUNCH! Great form!

BigBro testing out some boxing moves:
Lil'Bro (with helmet!) trying out some kung fu moves:

So both boys are enjoying the heavy bag. And I have to admit, I took off my antique ring to have a few hits. My Ex asked if I've put any pictures on there yet to motivate me. Ha! I just may. I just may.

I feel like BigBro will have some options for anger outlets. He knows the main reason my parents got the bag is for his benefit. But I think our whole little family will benefit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wikkid Smaht Kids

Our elementary school gives out awards for grades, perfect attendance, and other types of good citizenship in a school environment. They give out dog tags. I think it's so cool.

The younger grades (K & 1st) always try to make sure each kid gets some kind of dog tag. So there's the birthday dog tag, the perfect attendance, school pride, good student, etc. The 5th graders are a little more sparse.

Lil'Bro got two: Birthday and I think something like Paw Pride.

BigBro got one: A/B Honor Roll.

Proving once again my boys are wikkid smaht and must have been switched at the hospital with the kids of some couple from MIT or Harvard. (hee hee)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

So the 1st year of the 2nd decade in this 21st century is over. I've been looking at postings all over the web where people have extreme sentiments about how 2010 went. I have no such feelings. 2010 was another year. I have a year of my job under my belt. I've worked hard to learn all the new tricks this old dog has faced. I got used to a long commute after 3 yrs of working from home. We had school, birthdays, holidays, illness, fun and lots of laughter. All in all, I liked 2010.

I have even been able to handle the disappointment of not having hover cars, personal jet packs or silver unitards. Though the latter is probably a kindness in obese America.

I post less and less on this blog. Not by choice. But because of time. I have precious little truly free time and choose to spend it doing more important things [to me].

One of the things I love at each new year is recognizing that my need for this blog continues to shrink. It's original intent was to document my struggle with getting healthy. That was derailed quickly with BigBro's diagnosis with Tourette's. And even that had to share the spotlight with my big dumb divorce. This blog was my lifeline during those horribly painful initial divorce years. Thanks to my rockin' God, that need has grown less with each passing day.

The marriage implosion began a few days after New Year's 2007. I just did the math on my fingers and double checked it on my computer calculator. I have survived a full 4 years since then. God walked me through the cess pool of hell that was my divorce. He pulled me up out of the pit and kept walking with me through the dark forest of the 2nd year. He stayed by my side as I exited the dark woods and began taking tentative steps into light and rejoining the world around me. He set me up in strength and confidence. He surrounded me with an army of family and true friends. And I realize that his protection and help surrounded my boys along with me.

I wish I could document the amazing personal miracles I witnessed. I don't share them in such a public forum because many of them were very deeply personal answers to very specific prayers. Many involved things that happened to other people. So to share them here would probably seem out of context and would appear petty and mean in stead of amazing and glorious.

I can only say that, when all hell broke loose and the proverbial crap hit the fan back in January 2007, I learned what it meant to press into God. I threw myself on him. I finally found out what it felt like to count on him to even be able to open my eyes in the morning. And he came through. Hugely.

So 2011 finds me employed, living in the house I thought I'd lose. It finds my boys thriving and hardly any Tourette's symptoms.

I have no doubt God will continue me on an amazing path. Now that I can see beyond my own whining and pain, I can finally ask God, "Now what?" Scary question. But I'd like to think I'm ready to take on whatever it is he wants me to do.