Thursday, November 13, 2008

They are following me and calling me Mommy

Ain't I lucky?!
Though the colors are fading rapidly, our hike through the beautiful forests of the Blue Ridge Parkway was absolutely awesome. The weather couldn't have been nicer. The kids were out of school for Veteran's Day so off we went. The quest for the prettiest fallen leaf got going along with lots of good-natured leaf-throwing and piggy-back rides. I love these times with my kids - away from the house and all of its distractions. ( I had my cell on me though, but only in case we saw a bear. Don't ask me how that would help, but it made me feel better...;)
After our hike we hit our favorite park and had it all to ourselves!
A fun time had by all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 'Rock'

The scene: a noisy dinner table.
Children chattering, all trying to be heard above the next.
Spoons clattering on mismatched soup dishes.
The squeak of the wipe-off board marker. What? you may ask. How odd. A wipe-off marker? Where does that fit in?

Dinner time is a time of talking about what has gone on for each family member during the day, a time to come together and share, but a couple years ago we also started playing educational games while we are eating. It helps cultivate team effort, assists in learning even after the school day is long over, and it is just plain fun.
So, tonight, as my Jacob was drawing ever so carefully the lines for his word on the Star Wars wipe-off board, it happened.
Jacob gave us the theme (person, place, thing). We had been talking a bit about Obama, and all the good changes he is going to make for our country, so i guessed 'president'. Before he could fill in the letters (I was right) Serenity burst out with a loud and gleeful "Rock-O-Bama"! Followed by fits of laughter and soup hurriedly swallowed so as not to spew all over fellow dinner mates, we all said in unison: What?
To which she even more happily cried, "You know Mommy, "Rock-O-Bama"!
Being only three, obviously her pronunciation is a bit off, but even at the tender age of three she has picked up on all the excitement and even the name of our new president-elect.
That's right Baby.
Spot on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America, you did it

President Barack Obama.
The name rolls easily.
As have his speeches and his smooth way of being with the people.

Change is inevitable, it is here already with unprecedented voting turnout with last night's election and the fact that we have elected the first African-American to office.

Who would have thought, on September 11, 2001, as we watched our friends and family, fellow citizens fight for their lives as those planes invaded our space and sucker-punched our country, that we would, 7 years later, elect a man into our highest political office who has biological heritage to the very members of society who formulated and executed the attack?

I am not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, I just find it ironic.

My state, the state of NC, is still tied at 7:30 this morning. Though, not due to Asheville voters, I am certain. Every car within 30 miles of this mountain city has for the last year sported Obama stickers of every make and color.
I crave something different for our country, but close to the end of this race, I began to question whether Obama actually has our best interests at heart. Is government control in huge areas such as health care and education really a good idea in the long run? Isn't it a bit Socialistic? No doubts that Obama will have to raise taxes to make those changes he has been raving about, it will have to happen. Are we sacrificing our freedoms, rights, and what makes us Americans by wanting a government health care program and other huge plans he has for our country? Once those freedoms are infringed upon, and the hand of control is resting within each of our lives, it is almost impossible to reverse it.
Barack's oratory has been to say the least, captivating. Sleeves rolled up, identifying with the working man/woman. Inciting feelings of patriotism to the core of Americans. His stance on war gained him millions of supporters. But have we paid close attention to the rest of what Obama has been saying and read between the lines? Studied the economic plans? Or are we guilty of leaping, then looking?

I don't know...I am happy that McCain isn't in office, but to tell you the truth, I am a bit anxious about what comes now. Total control by any party isn't necessarily a great thing, and that is where our nation sits for the next four years.

Guess we will wait and see...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mission aborted

From my previous post, you saw that we were gong to disconnect ourselves entirely from the media flowing into our household.
I decided to go a different way.
I know, but what do you expect? I am a Gemini after all.

Instead of terminating our services, which was going to affect my business, we are simply enforcing more viewing rules and guidelines than before (and before, I actually was pretty strict about what and how much TV was watched). They do not ever have unmonitored access to the Internet so that isn't a worry for us yet, but now they are not allowed to turn the tube on until 7 p.m, and bedtime is 8. If they are engaged doing something interactive, such as (gasp!) playing together, then of course I will not interrupt. Heck, I might sell tickets, so rare would the attraction be!

But seriously, I think children are mostly adversely affected by the media. I realize that there are educational channels and some benefits to viewing, but as with anything it must be closely monitored and in moderation. Their little bodies need to be active and challenging their imaginations. When I was young, we looked forward to going outside and playing with friends, riding bikes, climbing trees, playing tag - just whatever. Granted, there wasn't the choice of channels that are now offered with cable TV. No Disney channel or Nick Jr.

During different times throughout my childhood, my mother used to actually get books from the library (long chapter books) and gather us together in the evenings, my brother, my father and me, and read aloud. This is a fond memory for me,one I draw upon when I am molding my little family unit in the way I want it to be. In this busy, fast-paced world, it is often hard to imagine carving out a whole hour for such an activity, right? But, these types of interactions with our children is what they grow up and cherish as loving memories. Course, the trips to Disney World didn't cause too much harm...(grinning).

Anyway, a lot of this comes in the wake of my 5 year old daughter saying to me the other day that she is fat. Fat. My response to her was a bit manic, perhaps too animated in my effort to sway her to the opposite opinion of herself but I was caught off guard. How can my little girl be plagued by those worries already? Is it her friends? Her peers? The commercials on TV? The magazines she loves to thumb through and try to read?

So, onward.
There are books to be read, Monopoly and CandyLand await us.
This might actually be fun.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kill your TV

We are going to do it.

Until the New Year, or longer if we are into it by then, my kids and I are going to no longer watch TV. I am testing to see if the atmosphere of the home changes - less arguing, fighting, trance-like drooling (not really, but still). I am canceling cable and internet until Jan.1, 2009 (kind of like a backwards resolution). The boys can still play the occassional video game and we will watch a DVD every now and then, but no mindless TV shows.
This is going to be a challenge for the entire family, as I am certainly as addicted to certain shows as they are, but anyone like s good challenge. I think we will miss Survivor the most, as that has been a long-standing tradition in our house on Thursday evenings, but there will always be another season. I, of course will miss the internet more than I can explain, reading blogs and emails, having information at my fingertips, but hey, 10 years ago, I barely knew what it was and certainly was fine then.

If any of you are game - - jump on board with us!
I will be making weekly visits to the library for emails due to my business, so if you decide to take the challenge with us, send me an email and we can compare notes throughout!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's a Gas thing.

Asheville, and the Western North Carolina region is apparently suffering form a shortage of Gas. As in gasoline. For cars. Which cannot run without it. This I pondered as I sat in LINE for ONE HOUR and 15 minutes today, one block from the station...why, how, when...

Is it like 1942 or something? Did I fall into a time warp? Of course, the gas prices aren't .40 cents per gallon, more like $4.00+ so I feel sure that I am in the correct century, but GEE-ee-ee-eeZ.

The Mayor (who, by the way, cannot form words without stumbling and tripping all over herself) said "normalcy will return to the area in 5-10 days". EXCUSE ME? Somehow I don't feel reassured. She offered no explanation for the shortage, asked people to stop driving across town to fill up or 'top off', and reminded the community to pull together.
Don't drive across town? Well, when there are only FIVE gas stations in the city with gas, we are all scramblin'! (bet she doesn't have to wait in line...)

But seriously, every a.m. the radio stations begin announcing which stations have gas, and for what price. Lines have formed by 6:30 into the streets, backed up and causing major clusterf*cks everywhere. There have been fist-fights, wrecks, and all-out brawls in the name of filling up your car with gasoline.

Signing off with REM's words..."it's the end of the world as we know it...."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fun a 'TOP' the mountain

At SkyTop apple Farm!
Our annual trip up to the top of Pinnacle Mountain in search of the best apples ever!
This year we came home with a 1/2 bushel and a Peck bag full.
The day was perfect, gorgeous fall mountain weather, and plenty of apples at the top of trees(for the boys' climbing pleasure), and plenty down low for the little ones to grab with eager hands, cups of freshly made apple cider, and a big tree under which to plop down and take in the mountain views.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So, it's been a little while...

It really has been almost three months since I posted anything to my blog. It is unbelievable how time just keeps marching onward while I look twice and three months have passed.
My children have grown, progressed - 5th grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten. My baby is going to be 3 on Sunday. Can that be? No more babies around my house...? I tell myself that it is what is supposed to occur, that time must move forward. Then I see glimpses of toddlerhood in his smile, or see her sit there and cuddle her "mine-mine", sneaking sucks of her passy when she thinks no one is watching. Little does she know that these are my favorite times to sit and gaze at her, in awe of what love can create.
I watched my eldest son walk toward the school bus this morning, realizing that his gait is exactly like his father's. These days I see him slowly beginning to try on ideas of the kind of man he wants to be someday. He is entering the most confusing time of his life, and really, there is no way I can prepare him for all that he will go through. We all had to walk through it - those uncomfortable-yet-thrilling formative years - some made it while others, succumbing to the pressure or pain, did not.
I have no real post idea today, no witty stories or cute moments to share, but yet still felt like writing something. I am in a state of melancholy, albeit unexplainable. Maybe it is because of the anniversary of 9/11, and the fact that many people are thinking of those they lost, of the tragedy and unspeakable horror of that crystal clear day. Indeed, has the sky ever been more blue than on that horrific day in American history?
And yet, time moves on, relentless and without regard of what it leaves in it's wake. People pass on out of this world, babies are born, seasons continue to change, tragedies still happen without warning.
We must adapt, live on, love on, and persist.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

Damn. Here it is. The test, first of many I am sure, to see if I really plan to view things differently in my life and change my reaction to unpleasant circumstances.

The time: Saturday afternoon for Trophy Day at the ball field.

I unload the kids from the car and the boys run ahead as usual. Serenity is holding my hand and Journey is in tow searching for her friend that she likes to meet up with and play together during ball games. We walk past the concession stand and my eyes briefly catch the sight of... THEIR FATHER. WHO HASN'T SEEN THEM IN MORE THAN TWO YEARS.

My mind started going 100 miles per hour. Unstoppable. I felt my body go into fight or flight mode with the adrenaline pumping. How did he know to be here? How did he even know which ball field? How? Why? Huh?

I kept walking to the other side of the field where the inflatables were set up and the girls and I found a spot to drop our junk. Journey ran off to find her brothers and Serenity and I sat down for a snack. My first instinct was to grab up all the kids and just walk back to the car, get in and drive home. BUT, I know that he would have followed us to the car and caused a big scene. My problem with this whole situation is not the children seeing their father. It is that he has made no effort for 2.5 years to be involved, help support them, call them, see them, nothing. Zilcho. OF COURSE he had to show me that he would and could do whatever he feels like and show no mercy where the kids are concerned, not thinking of the repercussions of a random meeting like this. Now, again, they have no idea when they will see him again, it brought all the feelings to the surface that we have worked hard to get through and lay aside, and when we left everyone was in emotional upheaval that it will take weeks, perhaps even months to mend.

As for my reaction, I kept my cool in front of the kids and the community but damn I wanted to let him have it. THe BASTARD. Putting me on the spot like that. He walked up to us and proceeds to tell me that he was at last weekend's ballgame too. He sits down next to me like an old friend and starts the small talk. I am sitting there like WTF. (my kids did not even recognize him - not one of them) Here is the point where I say he is a coward, because at last week's ballgame, that he made a grand point of telling me that he had been there, my mother was there watching as well as the man I have been dating for three years. Notice that ol' daddy didn't have the balls to walk up to us then. As he sits next to me I can feel negativity emanating from his being like waves of heat across concrete in the hot Memphis summer. I want to run. I want to slap him, shake him, spit on him, curse at him. He talks on as if all of this is no biggie deal. I breathe. And count. And look at the clouds. Anything and everything I can do to keep calm.

Finally, Jacob recognizes his father, after like 20 minutes, and he comes running over and leaps into his arms. Then, of course the others follow suit. Max was a little hesitant. By this time it is raining more than just a sprinkle and we are beginning to walk back to the concession stand to see if the day will be rescheduled. We stand around, very awkwardly, and he starts. To lie to my kids. About where he has been these past years and why he hasn't seen them. Mama bear kicked in at that point. I snatched Jacob from his grasp and walked away with MY kids. He follows us and continues to hold them and hug them and WHISPER in their ears - filling their heads full of lies and crap that he knows I would never believe but feels like he can tell them and excuse his behavior. I wanted to vomit.

This man has gotten fired from 4 jobs by refusing to show up on time. He remains homeless - living with people until they kick him out for not paying any living expenses. He rarely sends in his child support ( I am talking 18,000 behind in TN and 3,000 behind in NC - money the kids will probably never see), He has no car - he didn't pay for his truck and it was towed off. He apparently WALKED/THUMBED to Asheville from a nearby town down the highway about 30 miles and is living in the HOMELESS shelter downtown. He smokes and drinks...and well, I could go on. I am just so thrilled to have him lurking around in our comfort zone, as you can tell.

The rain was a blessing because we were able to have an excuse to leave the ball field way earlier and Max did not get upset at having to miss the Trophy ceremony. But, after one hour of having that man in our presence, I was spent and I could tell that the kids were too. We piled in the car and drove home to have an emergency family meeting over slushies and rootbeer floats. At which point I told them the truth about their father, in a kind and gentle way of course. I opened the floor for questions and was surprised to find that they all asked some pretty hard ones and seemed to understand the answers, or at least accept them. Journey was in tears, Jacob was just silent - hiding behind sad eyes and a lot of emotion that his 10 y.o. self can't process, Max said he would rather that R** be his dad anyway since we see him all the time, and little Serenity was oblivious - never having met her father (he made no effort to ever meet or see his fourth child - but happened upon her the last time he came to see the kids on January 2, 2006)

Quite simply, I am sad. The kids were doing so well, very adjusted to daily life as it was, no more behavioral issues relating to the abandonment by their father. We had settled into routines and were happy. I just hope that all that hard work isn't washed away with one random meeting from the sperm donor. As I sat reading yesterday afternoon, focusing on parts of my book that were helping to explain what I was experiencing and what it reflects, I am certain that it was a big test from the Universe to see if I can transcend the drama that has been my life for the past 12 years with this man. Am I ready to let go of that story? Can I move past the feelings it brings up and allow those feelings to pass through without becoming stuck and reacting to them? I don't know...I just don't know.

What I know for sure: I will do whatever it takes to let go of this story. It is one thing to read about how to do it, to talk about doing is yet quite another to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sweeping and scrubbing

Literally and figuratively.

Monday I started a new job as an independent contractor for a residential cleaning service. This particular service uses natural cleaning products only (mixed exclusively by their own private chemist) and essential oils such as lavender, spearmint and peppermint for aromatherapy. It is damn hard work, very physical of course, but right now for me this is exactly what is called for. I welcome the experience.

For the past few months, as some of you who read my blog already know, I have been walking a journey of personal reflection and discovery. Since reading the book A New Earth, I have literally changed the way I look at my life, moment by moment. Sometimes I catch myself going into my stories and I notice the mind chatter, but just the mere act of paying attention rises the awareness to a new level.

Anyway, I started this new job on Monday and I find it extremely fitting that I am cleaning. As I clean inwardly, I clean outwardly. It represents where I am in my personal development and it is fascinating to me to watch the evolution. It fits no scenario that I would have ever drawn up for myself, but I welcome the eagerness I find myself experiencing. Since relinquishing the control over my life, the pure happiness I feel is addictive. Almost gleeful from time to time. I know, strange.

The job itself is very physical, but it is kind of like being paid to work out for six - eight hours straight. The aromas from the essential oils is lovely, smells like being in a spa and is very relaxing. The products are all natural and safe for the environment so there is no worry of chemical burning or inhaling harsh substances. I have no idea how long I will be working this job, but I hope to continue on this path and I can't wait to find out what is next for me.

Thanks to you who always drop by and take the time to read my blunderings! I promise, the next post will be an update on my kids and what we are up to this summer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Because summer is here and this is important!

In light of the fact that summer has arrived and most of us will hit the pool, lake, ocean, etc at least once this season, I thought it very urgent to pass this information on. I had no idea that something like this can occur! Pass it on.

By Mike Celizic contributor
updated 9:58 a.m. ET, Thurs., June. 5, 2008

The tragic death of a South Carolina 10-year-old more than an hour after he had gone swimming has focused a spotlight on the little-known phenomenon called “dry drowning” — and warning signs that every parent should be aware of.

“I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water,” Cassandra Jackson told NBC News in a story broadcast Thursday on TODAY.

On Sunday, Jackson had taken her son, Johnny, to a pool near their home in Goose Creek, S.C. It was the first time he’d ever gone swimming — and, tragically, it would be his last.

At some point during his swim, Johnny got some water in his lungs. He didn’t show any immediate signs of respiratory distress, but the boy had an accident in the pool and soiled himself. Still, Johnny, his sister and their mother walked home together.

“We physically walked home. He walked with me,” Jackson said, still trying to understand how her son could have died. “I bathed him, and he told me that he was sleepy.”

Spongy material
Later, she went into his room to check on him. “I walked over to the bed, and his face was literally covered with this spongy white material,” she said. “And I screamed.”

A family friend, Christine Meekins, was visiting and went to see what was wrong. “I pulled his arm and said, ‘Johnny! Johnny!’ ” Meekins told NBC. “There was no response. I opened one of his eyes and I just knew inside my heart that it was something really bad.”

Johnny was rushed to a local hospital, but it was too late. Johnny had drowned, long after he got out of the swimming pool.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 3,600 people drowned in 2005, the most recent year for which there are statistics. Some 10 to 15 percent of those deaths was classified as “dry drowning,” which can occur up to 24 hours after a small amount of water gets into the lungs. In children, that can happen during a bath.

Dr. Daniel Rauch, a pediatrician from New York University Langone Medical Center, told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira that there are warning signs that every parent should be aware of. Johnny Jackson exhibited some of them, but unless a parent knows what to look for, they are easily overlooked or misinterpreted.

The three important signs, he said, are difficulty breathing, extreme tiredness and changes in behavior. All are the result of reduced oxygen flow to the brain.

Johnny had two of those signs — he was very tired when he got home, and he had had the accident in the pool. But like most parents, Cassandra Jackson had no idea this could be related to water in his lungs.

Delayed reaction
Rauch said that the phenomenon of dry drowning is not completely understood. But medical researchers say that in some people, a small amount of inhaled water can have a delayed-reaction effect.

“It can take a while for the process to occur and to set in and cause difficulties,” Rauch said. “Because it is a lung process, difficulty breathing is the first sign that you would be worried about.”

The second sign is extreme fatigue, which isn’t always easy to spot. “It’s very difficult to tell when your child is abnormally tired versus normal tired after a hot day and running around in the pool,” Rauch said. “The job of the lungs is to get oxygen into the blood and your brain needs oxygen to keep working, so when your brain isn’t getting oxygen, it can start doing funny things. One of them is becoming excessively tired, losing consciousness and the inability to be aroused appropriately.”

Finally, there are changes in behavior, Rauch said — another tough call when dealing with very small children, whose moods and behavior can change from one minute to the next.

“Another response of the brain to not getting oxygen is to do different things,” Rauch explained, saying parents should be concerned “if your child’s abnormally cranky, abnormally combative — any dramatic change from their normal pattern.”

He admitted, “It is very difficult to pick this up sometimes.” But spotting the warning signs and getting a suspected victim to an emergency room can save a life, he added.

Victims of dry drowning are treated by having a breathing tube inserted so that oxygen can be supplied under pressure to the lungs. “Then we just wait for the lung to heal itself,” he said.

But for Cassandra Jackson, it’s knowledge gained too late. She and Meekins sat in her home, looking at pictures of the bright and happy son who was no more.

“He was very loving, full of life,” the grieving mother said. “That was my little man.”

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Life Energy

Recently, after having been fired from my job (one that I despised anyway), I have found myself with some extra time on my hands. I have been reading a book entitled A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.

Based on the fact that I enjoy pondering the reason for our existence, the purpose and all the Great Questions of Life, this book has captured me in ways transformational. It has always been that I believe wholly in the idea that people are not as they appear. When I was 13 I was given the choice whether I wanted to continue to attend church or not. I chose Not. To that point, my perceptions of church-goers were negative. I saw Christians as a lumped together group of hypocritical folks. I found the teachings that the Bible is to be taken literally to be ludicrous. The Bible is a sacred tool, no doubt, but it is, in my opinion, very symbolic. The idea that heaven is a place that awaits do-gooders and is off in the sky somewhere is not a concept I could ever wrap my mind around. I attached the religion to those feelings and had nothing to do with God for years based on my hurt and pain at the hands of the church.
Sometime in my twenties, I found myself searching, chasing a longing to find what was missing from my life. Since then I have been on a quest to define spirituality and God and what it means to me on a personal level. I am not a part of any organized religion, but know myself to be a very spiritual being, cultivating a close relationship with a Higher Power.
I believe that we are spiritual beings/souls having a human experience, in essence inhabiting the physical form for as long as it takes to learn whatever lessons are up for us, to eradicate patterns of negative thoughts, to truly learn how to live from Love. Some souls have been here numerous times, and are old and wise and some are new to the human experience.

I think, so far, the part of the book A New Earth that has stayed with me has been the idea that we are not 'our stories'. We are not the identity that we have so closely attached to our thoughts, our history, our beliefs. When you stand in front of someone, what do you talk about? Do you speak of all that has 'happened to you' in your life? Do you remind yourself of your past? We all have that voice in our heads - the one that won't shut up and usually keeps a running dialogue of thoughts about this or that. The Ego (which is our thoughts, our identity as we know it) has the controls of our life, so completely in fact, that we fail to recognize each moment as it is. No past, no future...just this tiny moment for all it is, its very Essence, if you will. Now, I have been putting this theory to the test for the past couple weeks. Noticing when I am thinking...then taking a step back and putting a halt to that mind chatter, if even for a few seconds. Then I can become the One who is Aware, in the moment. Very challenging. For me, when I can take notice of my thoughts, I also immediately notice a part of my body that is tensed. In noticing the thinking, I also feel that tension melt and my body relax and become less stressed...imagine if we could do that all the time! That is the goal.

It is amazing how much we are actually inside our heads. How do we interpret each moment? Moments do not need interpretation, yet most of us taint everything we experience with belief systems, identity with our stories, connection with memories and all that we think defines who we are. In fact, none of that is who we are, it is conceptual identity wrapped around a bunch of thoughts and perceptions we have built based on life's experiences. Not based in each moment. Some claim Victim hood - the bad things that have happened TO them, they have no control over their lives, and they tell these stories to anyone who will listen. There are many roles the Ego can play while we remain totally unaware and asleep to its control. What we see in others and react against are actually aspects of ourselves that we keep hidden and choose not to acknowledge based on a belief that we harbor.

When we point a finger at someone, we are actually needing to examine ourselves and exterminate a belief or perception. Awareness comes with realizing that others reflect to us ourselves, in various forms. I am still grappling with that one. A biggie for me is hating when someone is always talking about things they are good at. In asking myself the question, "what part of that is in me and why does it bother me" I realized that the reason I don't like to hear someone else speak positively about themselves goes back to when I was a child and I never felt like what I did was good enough, thereby developing low self esteem and never feeling like I had a right to talk about anything that I can do well, fearing no one would care to listen. So, when I hear someone else talking about themselves, it hit a trigger deep inside for me and the emotion attached to that was a negative one. What I really hated was not listening to the other person, but the fact that I felt I had no right to speak positively about myself. Kinda tricky, huh?

Eckhart urges the human population to begin to notice true Life energy. Sit for a moment and feel, No thinking, just feel the life running through your body. Start with your hands and move through your body, feeling the Power of Life that is within your body. It took me awhile to be able to do this, the mind is always trying to distract...what needs to be done for the day, where we need to go, who we need to talk to, etc, etc....

How do we base future behavior? One moment at a time. Second by second. Letting emotions pass through instead of getting stuck and hung up. It is all just an illusion and the trajectory of Life changes once you can disconnect yourself from your patterns and beliefs and simply just Be. From Love. With Love. In Love.

Anyway, I am still reading this book and will probably read it again once I finish it. It is like having one epiphany after another.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rock on Moms!

" I guess what I have really discovered is the humanizing effect of children in my life - stretching me, humbling me. Maybe my thighs aren't as thin as they used to be. Maybe my getaways aren't as glamorous. Still, I like the woman that motherhood has helped me to become".

~ Susan Lapinski

So, yeah sure I get into all the mushy sentimental things about Mother's Day. I hold back the tears while inspecting the treasures my children make for me, I covet the homemade cards and notes, and so on.

I chose this quote today for a reason. Being a mother means something other than the fact that you have children ~ whether you bore them, adopted them, or claim them as your own. It means that you have changed. Evolved, if you will, into a different version of the pre-mother self you once were. A mother has learned to sacrifice, to enjoy giving of herself for the benefit of her children. A mother truly values the life of her child above her own, but has learned the delicate balance of taking care of herself too in order to enhance her mothering abilities(that one took me awhile to grasp). A mother has learned to do ten things at a time while watching all her children at once, while cooking supper for five. Whew!
Let's face it, Moms rule!

All the sentiment aside, my mother gave me a card yesterday that sums up motherhood in one four-word sentence.

"Holy crap, its hard".

Now, cutsie little hand print clay keepsakes aside, can we agree that that statement is most profound and screams the truth about being a "Mommy"?

I thought so.

Happy Mom's Day to all of you!

May you be showered with many construction-paper cards, hand print plates, painted clay flowerpots, and various other child creations made with love by the sticky, chubby-fingered hands of your favorite little people!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Boys and baseball just go together

Max has been playing baseball this spring. His first time ever playing any kind of sport. Despite my convictions and feelings against organized sports for kids so young, I allowed him to sign up and play a season so we could just try it out.
The field, the dirt, the cheering of all the excited parents, the smack! of the bat on a ball, it is all very contagious! We have been having a fabulous time - grime and all!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Keep Asheville Wie*rd

It has been said by natives of the city, that a person either hates Asheville or loves it. Natives keep bumper stickers, license plates, window decals and T-shirts that read "keep Asheville Wier*d".
It goes without saying that I love Asheville. Our city has such a charismatic feel to it. It is just the right size and very open-minded and creative. I so enjoy walking around downtown taking in all of the smells of international cuisine, watching people play instruments in our town square at pretty much any time of day. I love the pride that people have in our city, residents and visitors both.

I have been here for 8 years and plan to keep counting. It is a small city and of course has its bad spots, but for the most part, is clean, green (we have more than the normal share of earthy, tree-hugging, dirt worshipers--which is fine by me), and inviting. Of course, being placed in the Mountains we see lots of tourism and have to deal with Leaf Lookers during our gorgeous autumn, but that is a small price to pay for not living in a concrete jungle if you ask me.

The season is coming for hiking in the mountains and wading in creeks near gorgeous waterfalls, picnicking along trails that snake through the Blue Ridge Parkway, to name just a few of the summery pleasures here.
With the days of summer comes one of my fave things about Asheville ~ Bele Chere. The summer street festival held here each year. People come from all over the world, vendors, artists, musicians, you name it. For three days, our city spills over with vitality and energy ~ even more than usual.

Though it may seem, I am not practicing an ad for a brochure about Asheville. I just woke up this morning, looked out the window at the crystal blue sky wrapping around the mountains which are covered with trees sporting their new lime-green leaves, and felt proud of where I live. The air is clean, the sun is shining.
Thought I would share.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Moonlight Dancers

The Moon is full and bright, predictable and comforting.

The darkness shifts, a new energy is rising.

A dance is beginning, one with which she familiar, and one she is stranger to.

At this time, ground rules are of utmost importance. A heart must have a voice now.
What each partner learns about the other is paramount, during the moonlight dance.
It will set the tone for what lies ahead. Either the movement will be uninterrupted and fluid,like a mountain spring in late summer, reflecting two people who are in tune with one another. On the contrary, if the partners are not fully present with one another, focusing intentions and thoughts elsewhere but the methodical movement of the rehearsed progression, it will appear and feel choppy and broken ~ out of sync.

He is confident. Feels over-deserving of her cooperation. He thinks he knows her. Can anticipate her moves, her feelings, her talents, her weaknesses. Reminds her of the times she has fallen, with a fleetingly backhanded compliment. She is shy. She has an idea about him, but isn't sure what drives his soul. She doesn't want to lose her power, her control. Can she trust him to lead?

The music starts.

The dance is just beginning.

His hands aren't gentle, they move too quickly, too roughly, not establishing trust, but rushed gratification. She feels like a little girl again, unable to find her voice. She loses concentration, can no longer hear the music, can't find her dancing feet. She stumbles.

The dance comes to a halt. The music stops.

The moon shines on, with it's glorious brightness, unaware of the dance, unaware of the power it's mere presence unleashes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In my own words

Anyone heard that song floating around lately where the artist writes a letter to himself at age 17 to reassure him that his future self turned out alright?
Even if not, you might enjoy this post.

You see, I did it backwards. I wrote a letter to my future self on October 29, 1994. I was 19 years old, writing to the person I would be at 34. I sealed it and wrote on the envelope not to open until June 11th, 2009. Well, even though I was supposed to wait another whole year, I opened and read it the other day.
I wrote about what I hoped to have in my life, my dreams and aspirations, what consumed my mind at the time.

So, here is an excerpt:

I don't know what kind of person you have evolved into. I can only say what I, the 19 year old Heather hope to have in my future. Hopefully you have your ultimate dream of children, but I hope you didn't forsake your other dreams for immediate fulfillment. As a 19 year old you were confused. There were so many choices, so many different ways to start your life, you were so scared to take a wrong step as the first one. You knew, at 19, that ultimately your dream was to help people, but you couldn't figure out how to make that happen.
Maybe now, in 2009, you have achieved what your soul had planned for you. Hopefully you have awakened to the belief that you can create your own life exactly the way you want it to be, regardless of outside beliefs and pressures. Hopefully you are your own unique person, allowing no pressures from others to sway your beliefs and knowings. Do you have your ultimate fulfillment yet? The one I search for now, in 1994? Is the world still the same in 2009? Are there still wars--both outside between countries and inside each person on the planet? Who did you marry? How many beautiful children do you have?

I sat there with this letter for some time. I was thinking back on who I was then and how the world seemed to me from that young perspective. I can picture myself sitting at my desk in my room, gazing out the window as I wrote this letter. I know that at the time, I was a manager of a small children's boutique in the mall and really enjoyed my job, but was starting to desire something more. My heart was yearning for a direction for which there were no signs pointing the way. I was entertaining the thought of going to school, or maybe had already begun the first semester of college--hence the confusion. I know that I was dating, but nothing serious. I remember wanting a child so badly that it consumed my thoughts almost on a daily basis. I would wander through the children's sections of department stores, go to the baby store and run my hands over the soft blankets and sleepers. (Once I even purchased a tiny blue sleeper that I kept tucked away until I had my first son)

Sitting here now, almost 33 years old, I wonder if I robbed myself of those carefree years by trying to grow up too fast. I hear people talk about their twenties and how it is a time for mistakes, playing, and just simply time for self-discovery. Throughout my adolescence I was very unsure of myself, as most of us are during those worrisome years. So many changes, so much to think about.

In retrospect, I guess I was a typical 19 year old wrestling with the huge questions and decisions that seem to never have any real answers.

If I were to write back to myself though, I would have to say that I am reaching my goals, though not necessarily in the order I may have had planned for myself 15 years ago.
I would be pleased to know that I now have 4 children; I know that back then, knowing that I would have children someday would have been a great source of comfort. But, in some ways, I think I did forsake other dreams to have my children and perhaps the timing wasn't the greatest. I mean, I didn't want to be a single parent and to have to struggle to give my children a good life. I brought these children into the world for instant gratification in some ways, because I just couldn't wait any longer and once that train left the station it was gone for good. Thee is no going back once you have become a mother and some choices are now along a different set of tracks, out of reach.
I would tell myself to play a while longer. To focus on myself and to not be afraid that I would take a wrong step. To not be so careful for it is in the times of personal release that we learn about ourselves. To just live one day at a time and not place so much worry on the future at such a tender age. I would reassure myself that things would work out, that the path for my life would reveal itself in due time.

" There is no prescribed way for everyone; there is just your way for NOW, until you choose another".

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What pisses me off

So, I work at a childcare center. Not so bad, right? I enjoy the children, been doing it for years, can get by for now...right?

Well, seems that after two months of working my ass off, not missing any days, picking up extra work anywhere I can find any, being willing to step into any room without complaint when a teacher is out or has to leave, now that I have fallen ill, the mountain of guilt dropped upon my head by the Director is as heavy as a Mack truck.
See, she doesn't want anyone to EVER miss work, not even scheduled time off, because then she may end up in a classroom - God Forbid. The Assistant Director is the same way. She WILL NOT step foot into a classroom, EVER, no matter what issue the teacher may be having (let me say that in this center, most teachers are alone in classrooms without assistants, and to not be able to count on the help of the administration when it is needed is frustrating to say the least). I was astounded at this as well as many other issues representing the extreme gap between administration and teachers at this center.

So, this morning, I call in and tell her I have a fever, coughing (which by the way is what is afflicting many children in the center and they have not been sent home as the policy so clearly indicates should be the case) and fatigue. I let her know I came in yesterday anyway though I was sick, in an attempt to make it through and not cause a hardship on anyone.

Know what she asks me?

"Well, are you on the way to the doctor"? I know, doesn't seem like too crazy of a request, unless the job offers NO insurance and pays only $9.50 per hour! We all know how much a trip to the doctor can cost and I certainly am not going until it becomes clear that I will not get well without medication.

Oh, well. Just a few mental notes to self:
1.When my center is open and staffed, offer health insurance and enforce the sick policy for children. Really, there is no excuse not to do both of these things.
2. Keep connected with the teachers. They are the heart of the center and when they feel discouraged and broken down, taken advantage of and overworked, the outcome is not a good one and morale is at risk.
3. Realize that people who work from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. M-F must have a day here and there to tend to necessary tasks, and that teachers will, on occasion, succumb to illnesses; it is the natural side effect of working with children.
4. Enjoy the time in the classroom with the children, away from the ringing phones and screaming mountains of paperwork that are the demands of being a Director...after all, if it weren't for the children, the job of being a childcare Director would be non-existent.

Over and out.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 7, 2008


I am sorry I haven't updated before now, but here is the situation. I don't really have any news concerning the little boy that was missing last weekend.

Although we never officially heard, which is EXTREMELY frustrating, we think they must have found him. We have chosen to arrive at this conclusion because the rescue/search efforts simply halted. As of last Monday, there were no longer search parties or resuce personnel anywhere around, so we are taking that as a good sign.

However, I have waited all week with a very uneasy feeling in my gut, because I haven't seen the little boy playing anywhere either. Usually, he is always outside wandering around, looking for someone to play with. And, in case you are going to assume that his mother has stepped up to the plate and decided to actually parent her son, protect him, and establish boundaries for playing, let me assure you that is and never will be the case. She cannot be bothered.

So there are no signs of him at all. It is like he simply vanished into thin air. I drove by his building the other evening, and it was all dark in his apartment. But, at the same time, there has been no media coverage of the entire incident (which means little to me, I trust nothing the media says anyway).

So, we wait. And hope. And wonder..if we will ever see our little friend again, or if he has become yet another sad statistic, lost forever.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Moment of Silence and Prayers of Hope Please

A little boy that lives near us went missing this evening.

He is 7 years old.

He plays where my children play.
And today they all played together, like many days.

He was in my daycare class two years ago.
He is a sweet, friendly, neglected child.
You know the kind.

He is Lost. Or worse, but our thoughts do not want to go there just yet..
Darkness is falling...
We must find him and bring him home.

Please, please, say a Prayer, even if you are not a believer in prayer..
Pass this on.

Edited to add: As of yet, this morning,3/30 we do not know more. Rescue people and search parties combed the complex all evening, and as of last night, when I asked a neighbor if she had heard anything, he had not yet been located.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wild idea

So, after over a month of not posting, I thought I should write a little something. First, let me say that I have been reading blogs here and there and commenting when I have the moment. I miss being able to sit and pour out my thoughts, but I am focused on a new venture at the moment that is demanding all my attention (well, whatever is left over after parenting demands and work responsibilities!)

Things are going well right now. I am getting settled into my job, but have my sights set on something way larger.
I have been throwing myself into researching the possibility of opening my own childcare center/after school program.

After I started back to work in the field, I realized how much a part of me it really is and I want to expand on it, grow something from that passion.

I have been spending all of my spare time researching and reading about state laws and regulations, perusing properties for sale, designing a budget with start-up costs, a business plan, etc. I am all set to take a Pre-licensing workshop at the end of this month and I am really looking forward to that. I hope to walk away from the 2-day workshop with a solid handle on what to do next and where to get started.

On the parenting front, Jacob has turned 10 and is having a positive run of things right now, so I am enjoying that while it lasts. Max is going to play baseball this season, so we are gearing up for practices and games and time spent at ball fields in the evenings (which will be nicer when the weather warms a bit). Journey and Serenity are both conveniently settled into the childcare where I work, so I can see them during the day.

Hope everyone is doing well, and I will update more on my venture as I can!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Full Circle

So, first things first.
I have a job. Finally.

Been a long time coming for sure. These past few months have been, well.... I suppose humbling is the right word.

See, three years ago when I made the choice to go back to school, I thought the outcome would be different than it has turned out to be. For the ten years previous, I had been working as a teacher in early childhood education (childcare), and when I started to have kids of my own that profession became even more challenging than the every day demands of being a teacher presented in and of itself.

Coming home in the evenings to children, after having been with 18-20 children all day long was taking it's toll on me and my ability to appropriately mother my own kids, I felt. I loved my job as a teacher, but I was exhausted, emotionally drained each day, impatient, and short with my children when they certainly did not deserve it. Then there is the fact that a childcare teacher, even a Lead Teacher with experience, only earns on average 8-9 dollars per hour. IF they are lucky enough to work for an established center with accreditations and the funding needed to run a great childcare center. Definitely seems too low when one takes into consideration that the fees for childcare are so astronomically high, ranging from 100 per week up to 240 per week, depending on center, location, and other factors.

In addition to the emotional struggles, it was also becoming increasingly difficult to support my family on such meager wages. In 2004 I made the ultimate decision to rearrange my life and enroll in classes full time so as to finish as quickly as possible. Three years later (last August), marked my finishing point. I had earned my Associates degree as well as my Bachelor's. I couldn't have been happier, more excited, more enthusiastic to face what I was certain lay ahead. A better job most definitely, a better home, a safer car, more opportunities for my kids, the ability to save for their college educations, etc, etc. That was seven months ago. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Over the last few months I have learned things about myself that I would not have come to know if I had not been placed in this situation. My goal for going to school, aside from family-related ones, was to work in the community to help other families living at or below the poverty line, single parents who need to be assured that things can work out for them, children who are in broken homes and need emotional support. You name it, I wanted to be a part of it. I had lived it after all, hadn't I? Who could help better than a person who had been among the lower class, living in subsidized housing, raising children alone, earning less than what it takes to live without government assistance?

I could attest to the stress and discomfort of sitting in the waiting lobby of the local social services office. I had lived the feelings of inadequacy and failure, being forced to ask for help during months when I had been out of work even for a few days with a sick child or standing at the check-out in the grocer paying with a benefit card - the only way I could afford food for my family. Those feelings were enough to propel me into wanting to make a difference, even if it was just a kind face behind the desk with a few comforting, friendly words to say to a client sitting in front of me facing the same circumstances in which I had once found myself. Because sometimes, those people make a world of difference in just their attitudes, you know? Sure, some people are always out to beat the system and have a false sense of entitlement, but in my experience, most of the time when a family applies for social assistance, it is driven by pure need and desperation and should be met with kindness and compassion, not patronization or hardness.

So, I was all stoked about getting in there and getting my hands dirty! That is, until nothing came my way. All doors I approached slammed with resonance. No windows appeared to be opening, no opportunities were coming my way, despite many attempts to market myself. I went to interviews, sent out resumes, filled out online applications all under the field of human services. I was constantly being told to go get more education or have 2 years of experience before coming back.

Huh? Excuse me?

Slowly I began to quiet down, quelling the panic rising inside and listen to that little voice that we love to ignore in our bustling around trying to fix everything and do everything ourselves.
Before I could be of any help to others, I must first help myself. I must first change things within myself concerning the way I was looking at the world, what I was mirroring for my children without realizing it. I was piling upon them values that I would be in the community striving to squelch and overcome.
I have come to realize that my own little family unit needs some healing of its own before I can reach out and offer myself or my experiences to others.

Suffering must be felt in it's entirety, and not rebelled against, or it will avail itself constantly. It will not leave. It's patterns will not be erased.
I have found myself, these last few months, being forced to once again ask for financial help, sit in the lobby of Social Services, and feel it again. I am recognizing the lesson for what it is and I must never forget. I must remember what it feels like to be drowining in desperation, to not know where the rent will come from, to seek a job and be unable to find one, to beg for help with food, to cry at the pain of losing the dreams I had built for myself and my family.
Slowly the realization crept upon me. Maybe, just maybe, this is all I can do and will be. The hard part was making peace with that, to love myself despite everything. To release attachments to what I want to have and be truly grateful for what we do have. To accept these things without harboring judgements or blame. Talk about eating a few slices of humble pie, folks. No more tooting my own horn or feling like I was going to 'rise above it all'. I am 'it all'. This is 'it all'.

With the acceptance of these soul-wrenching realizations, I have found a job working in a childcare facility, in a Pre-K classroom. I can legitimately say, that although the job pays a mere $9.50 per hour, I am excited to have it. Even three months ago, I would not have taken a job back in childcare, feeling like I was 'past all that' and 'deserved' something better. But, in all honesty, I am looking forward to it. It is what it is, and it is mine. For as long as I need it. I still have a special place in my heart for my dreams and goals, and I will visit that place often, keeping those dreams alive with feelings of love and acceptance.

Things have come full circle. But, oh what a circle of completion it is. As impossible as that may be to the minds of logic and geometric explanation.

Certain things simply cannot be explained.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


So, Survivor premieres tonight.
Need I really say more?

This has become a tradition in our little family, my children and I.
We pop the corn, grab the M&Ms (one of the few times I allow candy AND it is on a school night--ain't I a cool Mom?)
and beach out in front of the TV for some laughter at the silly antics, some wowing at the bugs and creatures on the exotic islands, some cheering for the challenges, pretty much an all-around good time.

Just me and my kids, hanging out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This is funny ya'll

So, we are getting ready to eat supper (yeah, we say supper) and I was handing out the placemats for the table.
On two of the mats is a map of the country with some trivia and of course, the capitol for each state.

The following conversation ensued:

"Max, do you know the capitol city of Montana?"

To which my adorable, darling son replied while rolling his eyes and heaving a sigh:

"Of course I do, Momma. Everyone knows that the capitol of Montana is M."

Of course it is.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Past Expectations. Present Realizations. Future Predictions.

I found something.
Not something that was lost, but something I once considered valuable. Treasured it enough to make sure I packed it among valuable keepsakes.
I now consider it a porthole to a time in my life where I was full of innocence, dreams, the freshness of youth.

My highschool graduation dreambook. You know of which books I speak, those glossy, plastic obnoxiously colored binders that contain pages entitled "in five years, I see myself" and "by ___age I will be married and have ___children".

When I laid eyes on this book, I almost laughed out loud with glee. Along with the potent smell of the plastic, rushed forth the smell of my high school, the feelings of being a senior and feeling like all the world is at your fingertips. Like a tidal wave, it cascaded over me, flooding me with emotions and memories. Out fell various cards, envelopes and photos from that year.
Where did I see myself in ten years? Finishing med school. (oh, yeah. I remember that dream)
I would be married by 25 and have 3 children. Well, so that didn't quite play out now did it? At least the married part. As for the children I was blessed more than I thought I would be.

Looking through the photos, I found one of the friend I have lost touch with and have been trying to locate for over a year now. She and I had a close friendship back then, planned to live near one another and let our children grow up together, but didn't protect the bond from distance and life choices that carried us far away from one another, little bits at a time, yet more rapidly than we realized and too fast to hold on.
I came across the picture of my first love. The man I was engaged to when I was but a mere 17, naive' and nothing but a child. He was in the Navy and I thought he was the best thing that ever happened to me. But once again, distance changed that, he went his way through the world, we tried to hang on while he was transferred here and there across the country, but it is hard to grow a relationship when you only see one another twice a year. So, that too, fell away.
I saw staring back at me the face of a friend who died two years after graduation. She sacrificed her mind, body, and spirit to those strong forces of evil and before her passing, became a stranger to me despite our decade of friendship.
Lost in the moment now, I plowed through the lists of favorite songs, movie stars, and other superficial, yet *very important* information. Seems strange now, to ask a graduate favorite color, food, place to hang out. But, now through the eyes of a 32 year old, it is for these moments. Moments where we, as adults, get a chance to read about the things we forgot about ourselves. The things that were important to us, and are important to our opportunity to remember and possibly resurrect old dreams and passions.
Holding the tassel and reading the graduation announcement, I felt her. She swept past me, wrapped her arms around me, I could hear her laughter far off in the distance. She is still there, that girl. Her dreams may have evolved, her predictions may have altered, as life tends to have it's own plans and paths of destiny. I see her when i watch my daughters play. I hear her in their little voices, as they chatter and dream about, one day, being big girls.

Reluctantly, I packed my book away in its safe place, probably to remain there for another ten years. Maybe when my children are near the age I was when i wrote it, I will bring it back out and share it. Share the person I was before I was Mommy. Because she is worth getting to know too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Best thing since sliced bread, or microwave pancakes, or squeezable get the idea.

Little People are the best toys ever. Period.
They don't squawk, screech, light up, wail, chime, or chirp.
They require no batteries. They are totally cute.

The one thing they do require is imagination on the part of the child playing with them.
A novel concept among today's toy industry ~ toys that actually require a child to interact instead of just sit and observe.

My kids have always had these treasures, and my youngest is most interested in them right now.
Thankfully, Little People are versatile. They can go in the bathtub, outside, to bed ~ pretty much anywhere and everywhere. A quick clean-up with disinfectant and a cloth and they are good as new.

They are relatively inexpensive, can be found in any store that sells toys, and over the past few years have only undergone minor cosmetic changes, thereby not changing their appeal whatsoever.
I wish I was collecting a check for saying all of these promotional and positive things about Little People, but alas, such is not the case. I was simply compelled by reasons unexplainable to rave about my child's favorite plaything!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Passing of time

A few days ago marked the 6-month anniversary of this fire. As you can see the two upper apartments were completely lost, the fire began in the top right apartment. Ironically, or perhaps not so, this same apartment experienced a kitchen fire not even two months prior. The bottom two were beyond repair from smoke and water damage, and of course the loss of the floor/ceiling of the upper two.
If you haven't guessed already, this is the fire that occurred in the building directly across from mine; the photo was taken from my window within days after it happened. The families have all since been relocated to other apartments within the same complex. The manager of the complex had that taken care of within a week and she earned respect among the residents for that, as it wasn't an easy feat. In communities such as this, rumors fly and accusations run rampant. The fire was said to have been caused by fireworks (it happened overnight of July 4th), but the residents all have different stories as to what they saw and heard.
Over the course of the last few months we have seen inspectors come and go, curious onlookers, news media as well as fire department personnel and law enforcement. A fence has been erected around the perimeter to keep rubbish and loose chunks from falling onto the children playing nearby as well as an attempt to keep the too-curious from climbing up and snooping around. The trees that burned have been chopped down.
No lives were lost and materials can be repurchased, so what is the problem? The problem is that the building is still sitting here. Untouched. Talk is of leveling and rebuilding from the bottom up, but no trucks or dozers have come, no men in hard hats, no surveyors. Everyday we look out our windows to see the reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye, which I am not saying is entirely a bad thing, but it does wear on one's psyche. The victims, all living nearby, must drive past this building during the course of living their daily lives. Therapeutic? I hardly think so. Our children are constantly reminded of tragedy and loss as they chase soccer balls and footballs around the courtyard. It is never far from our minds.
Perhaps this New year will bring much-needed change to our community. In more ways than one.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The very long New Year Meme thing

Inspired by Joy, whose blog I admire and look forward to reading, I am attempting to write this New Year's Meme'.
And it is going to be very long, just so ya know. You might get a neato little gold star sticker if you can actually hang in there and read all the answers, and you might just find out a little more bout me that you did not already know.
Anyway, here goes!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you had never done before?
Started this blog. Seriously bombed an interview.

2.Did you keep last year's resolutions? If not, will you make more this year?
My main goal last year was to finish school, which I did.

3.Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. No one close, although I know several women who had babies.

4.Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5.Did you visit any new countries?
As far as new countries go, no. Last year we did not actually travel anywhere, come to think of it. I was too busy with my last semester of school, then my internship. Before we realized it, fall was upon us and the kids were back in school. The most traveling we did was on the parkway, gazing at the beautiful fall foliage.

6.What do you want in 2008, that you lacked in 2007?
A job. A real home, not this tiny apartment in this housing community. A van. Very materialistic, though it sounds.

7.What dates in 2007 are etched in your memory forever?
August 3rd. My graduation from WCU.

8.What was your biggest achievement of the year?
See number seven.

9. What was your biggest failure of 2007?
That would be second-guessing myself. When it really mattered.

10.What as the best thing I bought in 2007?
That would have to be, hands down, my participation ticket for the 10K in the Charlotte Racefest in April. I plundered my way through but dammit I finished and it felt way too good. On the air was floating the fragrance of spring blossoms, the streets were lined with majestic houses and tall beautiful trees with leaves the palest of new green. And I was with my brother who I must mention is an avid runner. He took the time and patience to stay right there with me, encouraging me when I would have quit for sure if I had been by myself. As I approached the finish line I felt a burst of energy like nothing else I have ever felt before. Suddenly, I could do it. I was the run. It was phenomenal.

11.Whose behavior merited celebration?
The man who ran into the burning building to save his grandma, who was still inside sleeping as the building was ablaze. Courage unparalleled, in my opinion. I am of course, referring to the fire that occurred in the building directly across from mine last July 4th, and the dramatic scene that unfolded in front of my eyes that fateful night.

12.Whose behavior appalled and disgusted you?
My children's father, who failed to see them at all the entire year, marking the second full year of his absence from their lives.
Also, my own behavior from time to time astonished me--I can be very self-absorbed it seems.

13. What song will remind you of 2007?
Well, for me, a music fanatic, this question is impossible to answer with simply one song. I am the kind of music fiend that latches onto a certain song for a period of time, then moves onto another one. I listen to certain types of music depending on my mood. To exercise, I want something slightly aggressive, but not rude or immoral. To unwind, I like older music, some jazz or even eighties music. Bluegrass is a great genre choice for warm summer evenings sitting on the porch drinking sweet tea and relaxing with mouth-watering BBQ only yards away. So, for me, to narrow it down to one song is simply undoable. I did enjoy Natasha Beddingfield's Unwritten quite a lot, though I must admit.

14. What do you wish you had done more of in 2007?
Hugging my children. Playing with my children--immersing myself completely in their world of imagination and endless possibilities.
Stomach crunches.

15. What do you wish you had done less of?
Geez. That is a toughie. Probably yelling at my kids. Looking in the mirror and criticizing. Complaining about things I cannot change.

16. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Also a tough one for me to answer, for reasons I will leave unexplained for now. Feelings are tough things to sort through and understand. Falling in love might mean something entirely different now to me than it did when i was twenty. Or not. I just do not know. And I have made peace with that...for now.

17. What was your favorite TV program?
Can't choose. Survivor. The Closer. One reality. The other crime drama with a southern flair--very entertaining in a slightly addictive kind of way.

18. What was the best book you read?
The Game of Life by Florence Shinn.

19. What would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
Realizing at the beginning of the year instead of the end that our patterns drive our behavior. They make our choices for us until we begin to realize this and take over the controls of our own life.

20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Non-existent. I wear what is comfortable. I paint my toenails, but cannot stand to have my fingernails painted. I do not own high heels, pumps, or the like. I have not purchased make-up in 13 years. I am What not To Wear 's nightmare. That ain't seen nothin' yet!

21. What kept you sane?
Evening coffee with my Mother, the wisest woman on earth. And she can cook too.

22. Who do you miss?
Tiffany. My best friend in high school. We lost touch seven years ago and I cannot locate her.

23. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, with that question, I realize that I did not get out much at all last year. The best person I met was the Social Worker who let me shadow her all summer in the Investigations unit at the county DSS where I did 280 hours of internship for class credit before graduation. She was so unbelievably patient, allowing my blunders and not making me feel bad or stupid, or that I should already know it. She gave me errands to run that taught me something, she helped fill my time there each day with constructive activity, she always let me ride along on home visits and appointments so I could get some field training. She taught me how to run the copier-printer-fax-do-everything-except-make-coffee machine.
All of this was done, I might add, of her own volition. My supervisor was the equivalent of a wet mop ~ having no itinerary for me, no agenda at all. I think I saw her three times all summer.

24. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned.
Easy. Do not trust jobs that come through Career builder, even though their website may appear authentic and real. Even though they have real contact addresses. Even though they say that they have read and reviewed your resume'. No, seriously, the moral of the story is that things are not always as they appear, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it is usually. Valuable lesson learned. Yep, got that one loud and clear people.

25. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This is from Kenny Rogers song The Greatest.
(verse three) boy has already thrown the ball up and tried to bat many times, missing each and every one.
Adjusts his hat, tries again.
Ball goes up
Moon so bright
swings his bat with all his might
the world is still as still can be
the baseball falls and that's strike three

now it is supper time and his mama calls
boys starts home with his bat and ball
says "I am the greatest, that is a fact
but even I didn't know
I could pitch like that"

says "I am the greatest
that is understood
but even I didn't know
I could pitch that good."

I think that song is so representative of how we can choose to look at things. The little boy chose to walk home a champion, not a loser, in the way he interpreted the situation. That is how I plan to look at 2008. With hope, enjoyment and the desire to achieve.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 100!

It is official. I have joined the club. Along with New Year 2008 I can celebrate my 100th post!

One hundred entries of my life, some sad, some ranting and raving, some longing and painful, many happy ~ read by friends and family.
I enjoy being a part of this new family ~ you, my bloggy friends who read about my life, whose lives touch me and I enjoy reading about, who care enough to stop by and share a virtual moment or two, who come to visit me often and leave me with comforting and encouraging thoughts, helpful hints or opinions. I appreciate each and every one of you and have learned a lot from you and your own blog writing.

Earning the top slot of my Resolution list this year, after some toggling with the more normal and very boring promises one makes at the start of a new year, is the promise to myself to become a better writer ~ more learned, more expressive. I have always had a passion for reading and writing, and I am going to devote a part of each day in this new year to enhancing that part of myself, to strengthening and nurturing the ability to write the words I know are inside my soul. Hey, maybe it will take the place of my chocolate fix each day...yeah, I don't think so either.

Did you make any out-of-the-ordinary resolutions for yourself this year?