In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, February 27, 2009


We frail humans are at one time capable of the greatest good and, at the same time, capable of the greatest evil. Change will only come about when each of us takes up the daily struggle ourselves to be more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful in the knowledge that, by some miracle of grace, we can change as those around us can change too. Mairead Maguire

I came across this quote recently and while for many, it’s words will not have deep meaning, it does for me. Mainly, because it is a miracle of grace that, not only am I still alive, but have completely changed from the person I once was. I have written these posts…Very Much AliveSeasons of ChangeThrough the Eye’s of Grace…these posts tell of my journey, my changes, that brought me to where I am today. These were written in my first months of blogging and long before most of you read my blog.

While some will judge me for these things, others can find hope for change, either for themselves or for a loved one that struggles with these things. I am willing to risk judgement because of those that walked before me...those that reached out their hands and their stories to me, so that I might have hope of better day's...they are the one's that taught me to take a risk and to pass it is not mine to keep.

If you don't have time to read the old posts, they are about the person I once was, the mistakes I have made, the demon’s I have faced and over come and people I have wronged. These things came at a price. They almost cost me my life and that is something I will never forget. Even though I am no longer that person, they are still a part of my story. Even though those things no longer define who I am today, they are a part of my evolution.

This weeks Spin Cycle is about change. As I thought about change this week and reflected upon all the changes that have come through out my life, I have a renewed sense of hope. I am reminded of how far I have come and I am so thankful for the life I live now. I embrace the changes that have come out of my life because these changes have been my salvation. After I reread my old posts, I went to the mirror and looked at myself...and I cried. I cried because I am loved, and forgiven.

It’s because of these changes in me, that I see every person I come into contact with, through the eye’s of grace. It’s why I cannot judge. It’s why I choose love over hate. It's why my heart is full of compassion and why I see things in people that many miss. It’s why I choose the way of peace over fighting to be right. It’s why I freely give to those in need. It’s why I get back up when I fall down. It’s why I choose to smile, laugh, dance, sing and enjoy life. It's why every day is a gift to me, even if I am having a bad day(or week). It’s why I believe that other people can change…because I did and I lived to tell about it.

For more spins on change, check out Sprite's Keeper.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fresh Eye's

Today is my day off from work and I have errands to run and shopping to do but due to the heavy snow falling and very limited visibility, we will not be going anywhere. As you know, I am sick and tired of this snow and cold, as most people that live here are. Spring can not come soon enough and here in Minnesota, spring will not be here for awhile and we have been known to have winter until the end of May.

Mother nature can sure have a sense of humor as in bringing nice warm weather and allowing us to think that spring is here…as in the middle of May in 1983, when I left for the hospital to give birth to my middle daughter, girls were in their bikini’s laying out in the sun(Just what I want to see when I am big and pregnant!) and while in the hospital, we had record high temperatures. A week after coming home from the hospital, it started raining and eventually turned into snow and pretty soon we were in the middle of a blizzard. Talk about depressing.

So here we are having another snowfall, with below 0 temperatures to follow…ugh. At the beginning of the winter, my little people, welcomed the snow with shrieks of glee. Today, not so much. Janie, from Midlife Slices who is having to suffer with 85 degree temperatures, happens to like this cold and snow, so I invited her to come here and enjoy it with me and be the entertainment director for the little people. She is lucky that it’s too cold for the snow to stick or I would be throwing a snowball (or two or three or four) at her. Anyone up for a snowball fight?

Now if Thistle, from Thistles and Maple Leaves, didn’t live so far away, I would be trying to get snowed in with her, since she has been getting hit with this lovely white stuff too. I have dreams of getting snowed in with her and drinking wine with her to pass the time. Oh what fun! Of course Janie would be here entertaining the little people, so I would have no worries whatsoever. None.

Early this morning, as the snow was starting to fall, I was remembering a winter we had back in the 90’s. A rural church in our area, sponsored a man and his 3 children that had escaped from Sudan. It was a sad story, as this man’s wife was not so lucky. They came right smack in the middle of winter and one in which we had many below 0 days. I am sure they had no idea what they were getting into by coming to Minnesota in the middle of winter but I am sure that when you are running for your life and the lives of your children, it didn’t matter.

They rented a small house, just down the street from us. I knew many of the people from the church that brought them here, so they hooked them up with us, since we lived down the street. They spent many of their day’s at our home, either with me caring for his children while he tried to get on his feet, or eating with us and our helping him with his culture shock. It was a big culture shock for them to come to our small rural, all white, community. They spoke very little and understood very little English but somehow we found a way to communicate. Immediately cold weather clothing and outdoor wear were given to them.

This man had a very hard time with the cold weather although the snow fascinated him. I remember one of the first days that I watched his children, I offered to give him a ride to where he needed to go but he declined my offer, only to return 5 minutes later asking for a ride. From then on, he was not shy about asking for rides. He and I shared many laughs over his attempts to learn how to cook, do laundry, care for his children and deal with our weather…I think there were a couple of snowballs thrown a time or two.

What I love about smiles and laughter, is that they are universal. In spite of our communication gap, we shared laughter…and hearing him laugh was like music to my soul because I knew the horror that he came from. The other thing that stands out, is how thankful and appreciative he was towards my family and I. The constant tears in his eye’s spoke volumes and I know that often times the smiles on his face were to keep the tears from falling.

What got me reminiscing about this winter and this family, was remembering, how his children loved the snow. They played outside as much as they were allowed. They could not get enough of it. Their screams of delight each time it snowed brought tears to my eyes. They were completely fascinated by this beautiful white stuff that fell from the sky. Their delight was infectious and caused my children and I to see the snow(among many other things as well) through fresh eyes. These children were so sweet and I came to love the constant hugs I received from them over something as simple as giving them hot chocolate with marshmallows or building a snowman with them. I remember how the oldest boy loved to shovel the snow and would beg to go outside and shovel with me or my oldest son. I remember how their awe and wonder over most everything brought shouts of glee and giggles from them.

The fondness of these memories overflow as I think about all the lessons I learned about life, from this man and his children. They taught me the preciousness in the simple things in life and how much I took for granted. They helped me to see my world through fresh eyes. Eventually, this family moved to California because this man could not adjust to the cold. I have never forgotten them nor will I ever forget that winter, when I seen my world, my life, through new eye’s. I needed to remember all of this today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stinkin Thinkin

Do you ever have day’s when you just want to walk away from your life? Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel and saying “I quit.”? Do you ever feel like hiding under a rock from the rest of the world? Do you ever feel like doing this?

Or this?

This is how I am feeling and I really don’t have any specific reasons. I could say it’s because I got another nasty letter from my step daughter…and no, I don’t respond to these letters, that I seem to get from her every couple of weeks…and yes, I still love her and it continues to break my heart that she has chosen a path that only brings pain to all of us. Here we are raising her children, and yet she cannot see our love for her.

I could say it’s because I am so damn sick of the snow and cold, even though I had fun playing in it this past weekend…knowing that it’s not going to end any time soon, really does suck and makes me want to scream.

I could say it’s because I am missing my adult children and grandchildren something terrible right now…the ache in my heart, physically hurts and no amount of talking to them on the phone makes it go away.

I could say I’m feeling this way because I have been in such intense pain for over 3 weeks now and it affects EVERYTHING that I do and I am so damn sick of seeing everything through the lens of pain. I could say it’s because of the parenting demands of 2 little people…the monotony and endlessness of it…and that just maybe I am too damn old for this job and someone should just fire me. The weight of raising these precious grandchildren as my own, into responsible, healthy and happy human beings, in spite of how their lives started out… I am wondering how I thought I could do this. I could say it’s because both of these things are exhausting and have completely changed my life…and make me feel extremely alone…and how scared to death I am of speaking this out loud to anyone.

I could say it’s because of the economy and that paying daycare takes over half of what I make…that we already live simple and that if things get worse, we have very little we could cut out, but we will if we have to but it’s more the fact that I know so many struggling people and knowing that we can’t do much to help them, breaks my heart. I could say it’s because I miss my old job and the connections with the young moms and their children…even though I love my new job, I wasn’t expecting to miss everyone as much as I do.

I could blame it on menopausal hormones and not feeling like myself…and maybe I’m not liking myself very much right now. I could say it's because I am having a hard time embracing these changes.

I am a glass half full kind of person and that hasn’t changed. It’s not that I don’t know all the blessings in my life and I know I have a lot to be happy about. As much as I feel like screaming, I’m not a screamer. As much as I feel like crying, and I’m crying on the inside, I can’t even cry.

Even though I know in my head that I shouldn’t be feeling like running away, I do and I am ashamed to admit that. But, here I am admitting to all of you that I really suck right now. And I know I’m the only one that can fix this. I wonder how to do this? I picture, kicking my own ass, shaking myself and knocking some sense into myself… and screaming “Knock this shit off! Get a grip! Stop this stinkin thinkin!” Now if I could just get myself to listen...I'm off to find a rock.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Fill-in's

This is my first try at Friday Fill-in's! You can find Friday Fill-in's here. we go!

1. Give me a hug and I'll hug you right back(unless I hug you first!).

2. Whenever I hear music, I start dancing.

3. I wish that I could take away my friends pain and give her hope for the future.

4. A grilled chicken salad, was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world and be happy,one needs to have an attitude of love and grace, choose your battles wisely and not take life too seriously.

6. Other than this one, Thistle's And Maple Leaves is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending a quiet night with my husband, now that my little people are in bed, tomorrow my plans include playing in the newly fallen snow, walking through the woods and sitting in the hot tub at my sisters and Sunday, I want to throw snowballs at my brother!
Hope you have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have a confession…maybe it’s not a total confession, because I have admitted to this in comments, on some of your blogs. Anyways, my confession…I laugh when I shouldn’t. I have this tendency to laugh at inappropriate moments or when something really is not funny…or at least shouldn’t be funny. It’s embarrassing…to say the least…and I really haven’t figured out how to stop doing it.

You see, I love humor. I love to laugh. Even more, I love to hear other people laugh. I love to hear children laugh...their giggles are like music to my soul and I cannot help but laugh right along with them. Laughter is contagious and it doesn’t take much for me to catch it. Laughter, really is some of the best medicine. Even though I have my moments of deep thoughts and seriousness, I tend to see the brighter side of life and try not to take life too serious. It keeps me coping with the shit sandwiches that get served up in my day. Humor keeps me sane and from jumping over the cliff. This is not the problem.

It doesn’t take much to make me laugh and I find humor in most things…even when I shouldn’t. This is where the problem comes in. I have been known to laugh during church services, workshop lectures,in a yoga class, while getting yelled at, weddings, funerals…yes a funeral, and to be exact, 1 funeral that stands out in my memory, and even while disciplining my children…ugh, don’t even get me started on that one and I am sure they would love to tell you stories.

The problem is more with the fact that during these really quiet and mostly serious moments, something sets me off, like, an expression, a weird noise, a child does or say’s something, the thoughts going through my mind(thank God people cannot read my mind) or something that gets said, that reaches inside to my crazy button…

…and I will feel the laughter building inside of me and I will fight it with thinking about something serious or sad and sometimes this helps…if I am able to, I excuse myself from the situation and walk out before I embarrass myself. BUT, I am not always able to just walk out…or it comes on without warning. If I happen to be next to someone that is disapproving, like say my father or my ex-husband, it is even worse. Their anger or attempts to make me stop are like throwing gasoline on a fire that is already started.

In my defense of laughing in the middle of the funeral, I know that stress played a big role and was the cause of such laughter. I was at my brother-in-laws funeral and I was very close with him and my sister-in-law and their 3 small children. In trying to be strong for her and the children, I hadn’t cried very much. When I started laughing hysterically in the middle of his funeral, I was as shocked as everyone else around me. When I couldn’t stop, I was going to walk out but I was standing right next to his wife and she wouldn’t let me leave…then she slapped me across the face and instantly I stopped laughing and started crying…and yes, the funeral came to a pause so that we were center stage. Can you image how this looked to the couple of hundred people watching? She told me later that day, that she knew I was having this reaction because of stuffing my emotions. She and many others found this whole scene quite funny later on. Me, not so much. Still, very embarrassing.

There have been many times when I have laughed, when I should be crying. I know that there have been times that my circumstances in life, were not laugh worthy but I laughed in spite. I know it’s not funny but I also know that it helped me survive. I have been told by counselors that I used laughter to avoid “feeling” and to cope. No kidding, but a person, can only take so much serious, deep shit, before they get sent to the permanent loony, I choose laughter.

“Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life” Anonymous

“Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.” Arnold H. Glasgow

If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane. Jimmy Buffet

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. Lord Byron

Back to my confession…I laugh when I should and sometimes when I shouldn’t. I find humor in life and all the people around me and while some of it may not be funny, and I embarrass myself once in a while, it’s okay.

Do you ever laugh at inappropriate times? Have you ever been embarrassed by your own laughter? What’s your take on laughter? Do you have any stories to tell? Please share.

This is my spin on laughter…now go check out Sprite’s Keeper of the weekly Spin Cycle for more spins on laughter.

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants. ~Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

Monday, February 16, 2009

Q & A

I’ve been tagged by Snow White and The 76 Dwarfs for a Q & A. If you know me, then you know I don't do these tags, awards or meme's very often. But, she caught me on a good day. Plus I just may be a little partial to her, since she is around the age of my daughters and she's a teacher(my daughter is also a teacher). Add the fact that she is Snow White and little lady loves Snow White, sealed the deal.

Here are the rules.

Step 1: Respond and rework -- answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, then add one more question of your own. Beware, I answer honestly.

1) What are you wearing right now? Black sweat pants, orange t-shirt, black Minnesota Gopher football sweatshirt and tennis shoes.

2) What is your biggest fear? Losing my husband, one of my children or grandchildren

3) Do you nap a lot? In my dreams, but never in real life.

4) Who is the last person you hugged? My little people and my husband…it was a group hug.

5) What websites to you visit when you go online? I usually only have time for your blogs. If I have time, I will visit web sites on parenting, natural health/remedies, recipes and researching some other topic’s of interest, but that doesn’t happen very often because of the time issue.

6) What was the last item you bought? A yoga punch card from my yoga teacher.

7) Sweet or salty? Salty

8) If you woke up tomorrow and were a boy, what is the first thing you would do and why? Have sex with a girl because I have always wondered what it feels like for a guy to have sex.

9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle? Nope…never has. I am not a celebrity worshiper or into celebrity gossip at all. I have favorite actors and actresses and admire certain things about them and may even think “that’s a cute hairstyle” but it doesn’t make me want to copy them.

10) What is your most embarrassing moment? I have so many. There are two that stand out for different reasons. When I started laughing, in the middle of a funeral, and couldn’t stop…most embarrassing, because that is just wrong. Getting caught skinny dipping by the police when I was 17...most embarrassing because standing in front of policemen while your completely naked, with the head lights from their vehicles shining on you, is pretty uncomfortable and embarrassing.

11) What was the last movie you watched? New In Town, with my husband.(talked about it in my last post)

12) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions what would you do?

First of all, I would think I had died and gone to heaven. If this was for real and my real life came to a halt for a whole day, that could include only my husband, it would be a whole day of sleep and sex and never getting dressed. I wouldn’t care if I ate or did anything else except for maybe take a shower with my husband. (This would be my first pick, although I wouldn’t complain about having to be alone for a whole day.)

If this was a day to just myself…I would sleep until I woke up and then drink coffee in peace and quiet…maybe do some writing, and start reading a book…then do yoga, soak in a hot bubble bath, watch movies, sleep naked(I love to sleep naked but can‘t anymore because of little people…come to think of it, I don’t think I would get dressed at all, so would have to keep my doors locked and shades/curtains shut.), crank up the music and dance around my house, and probably sleep some more.

13) Do you have any favorite TV shows? What are they? Lost, The Mentalist, Eleventh Hour, Old Christine, Two and a Half Men and Friday Night Lights. I am sure that I am forgetting some but these stand out.

Step 2: Tag - eight other un-tagged people. Since I am not a very good rule follower, I am not going to tag anyone. If you want to be tagged, go for it. Snow White is a teacher, so I hope I don’t get into any trouble for breaking the rules. Sorry Snow least I answered the questions honestly!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ordinary Moments

Each week, I like to reflect back on the past day's and think about the moments that made me laugh or smile, and thankful or grateful for the life I get to live. I do this, so that my focus is on these moments, instead of the shit sandwiches that get served up to me…so they don’t leave such a bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes, life is not pretty, but right smack in the middle of the unpretty, come some really great moments...moments that can get missed out on if I'm not paying attention.

Some of the highlights of my week…

The other day, little man stopped playing to come ask me why women wear bra’s. My answer led to him asking why boys don’t have breasts, which led him to ask to see my breasts. I think NOT. Ugh. Which led him to go ask his little sister to see hers which she gladly showed him. Ugh. Which led him to inform her that when she gets big, she is going to have breasts. Which led her to come tell me that she wants boobies now. Ugh. The next day, while driving in the car, he asked me why some people are horny. What the hell? Come to find out that he thinks horny is people that honk the horns of their cars. Right then, a truck honked his horn and both of the little people screamed “He’s horny!” God help me.

Where does he come up with these things? Seriously, if you were a fly on the wall, you would either be shocked or quite entertained by the conversations that take place around here. Believe me, when we have company, though it may be rare, they are always quite entertained by us. Although my oldest son, who‘s 26, calls visits to our home, good birth control.

When the little people and I get home from work and daycare(which is going rather well by the way), we start supper and then turn up the music and dance. It’s our way of transitioning back home and does a pretty good job(most of the time) of keeping the crabby’s(what I call cranky behavior) at bay. Most of the time, my husband is either not home from work yet or is, what I call a party pooper and refuses to join in. Well, one evening, this week, my husband, the party pooper actually joined in and acted like he was having a good time.

The joy on the little people’s faces as he danced with us around the house, was priceless…it was picture perfect. No, I didn’t get a photo because I was too caught up in dancing and having fun. Of course Franklin dances with us too and apparently I step on his feet a lot. And just so you know, Franklin, has adjusted quite well to living at our house, so he is here to stay.

One of the biggest highlights of the week, was having the girl I mentor, here for the weekend with us and we had a great time with her. She is such a blessing to us. She babysat the little people last night, so that we could go out to eat and to a movie. A much needed date night for my husband and I.

We went to the movie “New in Town” and the story was based on a small town(New Ulm) in Minnesota. Since we live in Minnesota, we thought it would be fun to see and it was fairly good and kind of funny…maybe we thought it was more funny because of some of the inside humor that some may not get unless they live here. I really don’t mind laughing at myself. They did capture somewhat, what life is like here in Minnesota, and while I do know that some people talk like that, I don’t think I do. On a side note, whenever I have traveled to other states, people have always guessed that I am from Minnesota…they say I have a Minnesota accent which I would have to disagree with because we don’t have accents here in Minnesota...well, at least I don't.

The highlight of my week came yesterday afternoon when I was delivered a bouquet of red, white and pink tulips with a card that said “I love you mom! From your baby boy.” These were from my youngest son, who is 19 and going to college in Florida. Totally unexpected and made my week. One of the greatest things, as a mom, has been getting to reap some of the benefits, of all the hard work I put into parenting.

It’s all these moments, most of them ordinary and nothing special to anyone but me, that keep me going every day…that make this journey so worth while. I am thankful that I recognize these moments and that they aren’t just passing me by. I am thankful for my ordinary life. I am thankful that when a shit sandwich shows up in my day, that I don't have to swallow it alone.

What keeps you going every day? Do you stop and think about the good that happened during your week? Do you see the ordinary, special moments in your life? I hope so!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Love Got To Do With It?

Love is a beautiful thing when it fill up your life. But, ask someone that doesn’t live with love in their life, and it’s very likely they would not describe it as beautiful. I am not talking about romantic or sensual love …I am talking about basic love but I do believe that other kinds of love are born from it. Love can be a strong emotion or feeling and it encompasses so much more than one word. Love, at it’s best, is unconditional and equals forgiveness, kindness, sacrifice, empathy, affirmation, understanding, commitment and caring. Love that is unconditional is affection with no limits or conditions. In a perfect world, this kind of love would fill it and there would be no room for hate.

Mother Theresa once said “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than hunger for bread.” We all hunger for love. When babies are born, their need for love and the affection that comes along with it, is as great as their need for food. We are born with a need for love and it’s expression… human touch and contact. When those needs go unmet, we suffer. It is a proven fact that infant’s whom don’t get this hunger met, suffer and some even die. Love hungry babies that grow up without love and all that it equates, grow up to be love hungry adults. The hunger of this kind, doesn’t just go away…we remain empty.

Like the post I wrote in January, The Love Bucket, I believe that each one of us has a bucket inside of us. I believe that these buckets are our “base” or foundation from which we grow to know or form our value and worth as human beings. When our buckets are full, we have something to give to other’s and to ourselves. When our buckets are empty, we have nothing to give anyone, let alone ourselves. The French write Stendhal described it by saying “Love is a well from which we can drink only as much as we have put in.”

Some of us start out with our buckets getting filled up right from the beginning, and kept getting our buckets filled up along the way. Some of us, not so much. Some of us, grew up hungry for love, even though we might not have recognized our need, and have taken our journeys with empty buckets. Some of us, fall somewhere between these two. Regardless, it’s never too late to start filling up your love bucket. I know this, because it wasn’t too late for me and it changed my life.

So, in answer to the question, “What’s love got to do with it?”, I say “Everything. Love has got everything to do with it."

How full is your love bucket? What do you do to fill up your bucket?

This is my spin on love. Check out Sprite's Keeper for more love spin's.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lookin for Love

On this journey, called life...
I spent a lot of time looking for love...
...often, in the wrong places,
and from the wrong kinds of people.
I thought I knew what love was and I went searching for it.

When I was "in young love", I saw the world through rose colored glasses. Life is beautiful when you are in love.

I listened to songs like, I Honestly Love You by Olivia Newton John, How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You by James Taylor and Open Arms by Journey.

...and thought I would always feel this way.

Until I got hurt...and got my heart broken a few times.

And then I thought...
...and listened to songs like, Love Stinks by the J. Geils Band, Love Hurts by Nazareth and Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac...

...until I found love once again.

I repeated this pattern, time and again, until I had enough. I gave up.
I laid it all down and started doing things to heal. I cried my heart out until I thought there were no more tears. I danced. I sang. I cried. I laughed. And I cried some more.

I spent time with myself. I was alone and happy. I stopped looking for someone to be with me. I figured out, what love really is. I stopped falling in love with other people, and started to love me.

And then, when I wasn't looking, in walked the love of my life...
and then I married him.
Every day that I get to be with him, is a gift.
I pray, we get to have many more years together.
Grow old with me. The best is yet to be.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Embracing Your Light

Recently, I was sent this excerpt, from a book, written by Marianne Williamson, which I found to be interesting, since I have made 2009 a year of facing my fears with courage. 2009 is my year of embracing courage.

Marianne Williamson writes in her book A Return to Love:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The truth of her words hit me between the eyes. Each time I read this, I realized how true these words are for me.

The truth is, when it comes down to it, I am most afraid to let my light shine. Even more, I’m afraid to see the light.

I am afraid to really love myself. I say, I love myself, but do I really?

I am afraid to look at myself and see the good. I fear that if I come to believe, that I am these good things, that people say I am, then what? It's not that I don't see any good in me, it's more that these good things seem to be over shadowed by the mistakes lurking in the corner.

Am I not the mistake, that I always believed I was? Am I not as bad, as I always thought myself to be? Could it be, that not all of it was true? That I have believed lies?

It has been quite easy for me to see my bad…my sins, my mistakes, my failures. It’s been even easier to believe them. Why is it so much easier to believe the bad about ourselves, then it is to believe the good? These things have defined me…at least I have let them define me. I have been on a life long self improvement course, always trying to make myself better…trying to fix what is broken. Maybe, it's time to kick some of these things to the curb?

Could it be, that all along, what I have feared most is truly believing, that I really might be a child of God? That I am good? Could it be, that I need to let go of the darkness and start embracing the light that is in me? I want to be liberated from my past “ideas” of me and start embracing who I really am now. With courage, I let go of what was and embrace what is.

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”

Do you see your light? Do you let it shine? How did you learn to do that?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


A monster has moved into our house. He is purple and on occasion, he has green spots. We found him, while looking for monsters under little man’s bed last week. Once we discovered that he was a friendly monster, we invited him to stay. We asked him what his name was and since he didn’t have one yet, we named him Franklin. Franklin likes his new name.

Franklin keeps all other monsters and “bad” guys, out of our house, because they are all afraid of him. He protects our house while we are gone and while we sleep at night.

At night, Franklin takes turn’s sleeping on the top bunk of little man’s bed and on the floor, next to little lady’s bed. We take turns letting Franklin sleep with one of our stuffed animals. Going to bed with a monster is so much fun. I have to kiss Franklin every night or he cries.

Franklin doesn’t let bad dreams into our house and if they do try to come in, he chases them out the window. We haven’t had any bad dreams since Franklin moved in.

In the mornings, he cuddles with us. Franklin loves to cuddle…and he loves watching Dora. Just great.

Franklin eats with us and he eats a lot. He eats food that we cannot see but he always makes a mess. Franklin wants to eat our food too, so we eat our food really fast so that he can’t get it. Sometimes, I forget that Franklin is sitting in my chair at the table and the little people laugh at me because I am sitting on Franklin’s lap. I kind of like sitting on Franklin’s lap.

Franklin is big. He doesn’t like to brush his hair but he loves to brush his teeth. Franklin loves taking baths because he loves bubbles. We have to tell Franklin to not eat the soap.

Franklin likes to jump on our beds. He also likes to hide from us, so we play hide and seek with him. Franklin loves to look at books with us, but his most favorite is when we make up stories for him.

Franklin loves music, just like us. He also likes to dance. His favorite song to dance to, is Twist and Shout by Little Richard. I danced to that song with Franklin last night and he said I was a good dancer.

I have asked Franklin if he could at least help with the laundry and some of the cleaning but the little people inform me, that Franklin is too busy for that kind of stuff…that he has important stuff to do. Hello?

It is amazing how much longer little people can play in their bedrooms, with their toys, when Franklin is playing with them. With Franklin helping, the toys get picked up so much faster.

Sometimes, Franklin gets a little wild and crazy, so I have to make him sit on the red stool, in time away. It’s a wonder, how a purple monster sitting on a stool, in time away, can get two little people to behave, in such a short time…it’s almost like magic.

We have so much fun with Franklin. Every day, we discover new things about him…like today, I learned that when Franklin is sad, he gets covered in green spots…the spots go away, when he is happy once again, which is usually really fast. I think we will be adopting Franklin.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Against All Odds

This week, as I begin a new chapter in my life, my heart is still full and mind overflowing with thoughts, as I close the latest chapter of my life. I was not prepared for all that came to me last week…all these beautiful moments, that are now wrapped up, like a gift, in my heart and mind. I want to close this chapter, by sharing a story with you, that really doesn’t have anything to do with me but has everything to do with this family that fought against all odds and won.

Early, last Thursday, after dropping my precious daughter and grandson off at the airport, I drove the 2 ½ hours back home, in tears and silence. As I hurried to get the two little people ready for us to leave for school, I regretted not taking the day off, as I had a hard time getting my emotions under control. Yet, I knew I needed to be there, to hold some of my babies for the last time…I knew there were some things that I needed to finish.

As I sat rocking two of my babies and talking with the young girl that I mentor and one of the mom’s, I knew I was where I was suppose to be. A big part of what I did every day, at this job, was loving and listening…and these two young women needed my love and for me to listen on this day.
After they left for class, I thought about all the loving and listening that had gone on in that room over the past 5 years. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell.

I silently prayed for all of them…for each one that had walked into my room and into my heart. I thought about those that would be considered success stories and those that some would be considered failures…some I still keep in contact with…some I have lost. I remembered and I thanked God for how he let me use my own life experiences to reach out and for all that they had taught me.

A short time later, while feeding all the little ones lunch, my door opened and in walked a family that I hadn’t seen in a year. In ran a 5 year old little girl, that I had taken care of, in previous years…she ran right into my arms, while screaming, “Grandma Lori, I came for you! I love you Grandma Lori!” She went on to say, “Grandma, you stopped being in my dreams, so I told my mom and my sister that I needed to see you so that you would be in my dreams again. You’re my only grandma and I don’t want you to die and I need you to always love me.” She touched my face over and over and said “Your face is still the same. I’m so glad that you’re my same grandma.” On and on she went…and my heart was so over taken with joy in seeing her and hearing her little voice as she cast upon me these words full of love. She hugged me and wouldn’t let go. Her 9 year old sister, soon joined us in our hug.

When I was able to pry them off, so that I could say hello to their sister (who was a former student), and to the mom (of the 3 of them), I realized that both of them were crying. After hugging them, I took a step back and it was then that I could see the noticeable, visible changes of their mother.

You see, just over 3 years ago, this mother, was a Meth addict and her daughter, who was 17 years old at the time, came to me for help, through a girl that I was mentoring at the time. She hadn’t been in a school for a year because she was at home raising her 2 sisters because of her mother’s drug problems. In order to bring a child to the school, you have to be the child’s parent and so since she was not “the parent” she was told she couldn’t bring her sister’s with her to school. After making sure she was serious about coming to school and graduating, I went to the director of our school and asked them to make an allowance. Basically, I begged the director and the teachers to let me watch this girls little sister’s so that she could graduate.

The following day, the 17 year old girl started school and in walked this little girl, that was not quite 2 years old. The next day, the other little girl, not quite 6 years old, came along too, since she went to kindergarten every other day. I don’t know if I really knew what I had gotten myself into but I sure had opened a can of worms by inviting this family into our school. Their home life was a complete mess…they came dirty and hungry…not just for food but love and attention as well. They didn’t know how to listen…they lived in chaos so didn’t get the sleep they needed at night.

At the end of the week, I sat the 17 year old girl down and talked to her about all these things. I had to say a lot of hard things to her… that these little girls were going to get taken away or the mom would have to move out and changes made in the home. The bottom line was that they could NOT continue living like this and she needed to decide if she were up for the challenges to come. The school backed me up on this and we told her that she had until the following Monday to let us know.

On Monday, the 3 of them came to school and shortly after, so did this mother. If you have ever looked at the ugliness of drug addiction in the face, then you know that this mother was a sight. The horror of what Meth was doing to her, stood staring me in the face and it was damn angry. She demanded that I leave her family alone. Little did she know who she was talking to…a Mother Bear that has walked in the ugly shoes of drug addiction…it did not take long for her to realize that she was not going to win. She stood there and made her daughters choose…her or me…they were scared but they choose to not go with her. That day, she walked out and disappeared for many months.

We were able to help them get their home cleaned up and got them help. Because this girl was almost 18, social services, allowed her to keep her little sisters. They have no other family. There is no grandma or grandpa…they started calling me grandma Lori almost immediately. This girl is remarkable. She was eager to learn how to care for her sisters and caught on quickly. The home economics(I know it’s not called this anymore!) teacher worked extra with her, in teaching her cooking and laundry skills. When new challenges came we faced them. It didn’t take long for these 3 girls to be wrapped around my heart.

Through out this time, I talked with the older girl about addiction and what she can do when and if their mom came back. The mom did come in and out of their lives but she didn’t interfere with their progress. She stopped by to see them at our school occasionally and each time I told her that it was never too late to get help. One of the times, she asked me why I was still nice to her after all she had done. I told her that I could see through her addiction and that underneath it all was a person that deserved love and forgiveness. I said something about being able to look in the mirror someday and see the truth of what addiction looks like and that it doesn’t have to be this way. She literally got down on her hands and knees and looked in the mirror, that I had hanging low to the ground for the babies. When she got up, she stood in front of me and said “I am going to die.” and walked out. Honestly, I knew that if she didn’t get help soon, she would and there was nothing any of us could do about it.

A short time later, this woman went away to a drug treatment center that specialized in Meth addiction. I seen when she got out of treatment and was going into a half ways house. Even though she was finally drug free, the affect of the Meth on her face and teeth was horrendous. This is the last time I seen her. Even though she was drug free, the true test would be when she got out of the half ways house. I doubted.

During this time, her daughter graduated from high school, and our school gave her a paid scholarship for the nurses aid training class. She then got a job working as a nurses aid and still had that same job the last time I saw them, which was about a year ago. We lost touch because of work schedules and she no longer had the same phone number.

So, here stood this completely drug free, woman, with new teeth and a face that doesn’t look the same, in front of me, crying and trying to speak. I hugged her and told her that she didn’t need to say anything. But, she did…she thanked me with such beautiful words…but her real thanks came in taking back her life, in getting her children back and being the mother that her daughters need her to be. With hard work and against all odds, she did it. She is doing it. They did it. The young woman said very sweet things to me too and to hear that she is still working the same job and thinking about going through the nursing program was music to my ears. My heart could hardly contain the joy, as I hugged them all, in one great big group hug, before they left.

Never, in a million years, did I think that I would be standing in a group hug, with this family, that had been torn up by the ravages of drug addiction, just a couple of years ago. Later, this same day, I had a reunion with the young mom, that I wrote of recently. She is doing well and looked great! She works as a nurses aid and is no longer a stripper. She has remarried, to what sounds like, a wonderful man(that has a steady job) and they have a baby boy. They live in a small town close by and she is going to finish up her school work and get her adult diploma, at our school. It is such a gift to me, to know all of know that she made it, is a blessing because I never dreamed that I would be witness to this success.

Good things do happen…we don’t always know it or see it…we don’t always believe in it…but, it does happen. This is just one, of the many stories, I could tell you from my last days…of people that I will never forget.

Monday, February 2, 2009


A little girl was asked by her teacher, to draw a picture of what she wanted to be, when she grew up. This is what she drew...

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me.... selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington

Our interpretations of what we see, aren't always right!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kicking My Ass

In living a life with pain, some days are worse then others. I have learned how to adjust my life and the things I do to either prevent it from escalating to a higher level or to just plain cope. On the days and nights, that the pain kicks my ass, I try to just wait it out until it lessens. I feel like giving up and to be quite honest, there are times that I just want to put a gun to my head…to just make the pain STOP. Everything becomes harder and going to work is a struggle, let alone getting anything done around the house. Life goes on because of the little people and their busyness and noise make my head swim. It’s hard to do anything, let alone sleep. I tend to feel more fearful and vulnerable during these times…and then I feel guilty because my husband has to do so much more around here, which he is happy to do and doesn’t do anything to make me feel guilty. I do that all on my own.

High pain brings out the nightmares and the nightmares make me tighten up even more, thus more pain. I have nightmares about being attacked and it brings to the surface all the fears I have regarding the attack. It’s ugly and I literally hate being reminded of what happened. I work hard at forgetting and leaving it in the past, where it belongs. There is no good to remembering something that I cannot change. These memories like to come out to play while I sleep and it’s this that I battle. It’s a vicious ugly cycle and my life is spent trying to prevent these cycles. Stress does make things worse, and lately, with the stress being high, the pain has been kicking my ass. Finally, today the pain has let up somewhat. I still feel wiped out…completely drained but I can now think more clearly.

My doctor wants me to consider getting Botox injections into my neck. I am seriously considering it and have started reading up about it, since I want to know if there are any long term side affects before I agree to it. Tomorrow, I will start going into a heated therapeutic pool to exercise with the woman I am going to be assisting. A physical therapist will also put together an exercise program for me to do in the workout facility, which I am also looking forward to. My doctor has recommended this therapy and exercise for me and since I will be taking my client every day anyways, I will now get to do this. I am really hoping and praying that this will help me.

I am going to be a personal care attendant for a woman that is also a friend of mine. She is in her early 50’s and has severe arthritis all over her body. She lives with severe pain, that I am sure mine doesn’t even come close to, but regardless, I do understand pain and she knows this. I basically will be her companion to help with housekeeping, cooking, taking her to the therapeutic pool and exercise facility and anything else that she would like to do…like to the movies or shopping. I will be getting paid to spend time with a wonderful, gracious and loving woman.

I will not have to do any lifting which is a relief from lifting all the babies in the nursery every day. The doctor thinks that lifting the babies has been hard on my neck and has hopes that once I am not doing that anymore(other than my own occasionally) that my pain levels will start to come down. I have already told the woman that runs the company, that when I am ready to take another client, that I would like one that wouldn’t require heavy lifting and that was not a problem.

I found a great woman, that has a small home daycare, to take care of the little people and they loved it when we visited there last week. Although it was hard leaving my job at the school, I know that these new changes will be good for all of us. I will write in the near future about my last days at the school…my heart is still overflowing from it all. Yes, I did meet with that young woman and her children, that I wrote about recently, and I will tell you all about that as well.

Tomorrow begins a new chapter, in all of our lives, but I think we are ready for it. I am excited to see how it all plays out and the people I will meet along the way.'s a journey...sometimes it's a rollercoaster ride that I don't want to be on...whatever it is, I'm along for the ride.