I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother. But through it all, I have been and always will be, a woman.

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As a Grieving Daughter……

I’ve lost family members before.  I’ve lost friends.  I’ve lost people to old age, sickness, and suicide.  It always hurts.  But I have to be honest, losing my mom hurts the worst.  It’s been two years, eight months and I still miss her…..

A friend lost her mom just a couple of months ago.  I told her I knew what she was going through.  I told her to just breath.  Just breathe through this second.  Then the next second.  Then it would be a minute.  An hour.  A day.  A month.  Great advice.  I wish I could follow it.

Some days, I still can’t function.  All I can do is cry.  And miss her.  The pain is so excruciating, it feels like someone is sitting on my chest.  I CAN’T breathe.  All I can do is sob.  My throat closes up.  I CAN’T breathe.

It’s like I lost her yesterday.

It’s like I lost her this morning.

It’s like I just lost her now.

It hurts that bad.

But eventually, I can breathe again.  I still miss her.  I still ache.  I still have a huge hole in me that feels like an abyss with no bottom.

So I breathe……..

And I hope that this Christmas won’t be so bad.  I hope that her next birthday won’t hurt as much.  I hope that next Mother’s Day I’ll be able to stay home and enjoy my boys instead of fleeing town for the weekend like a coward, then coming back and trying to celebrate with my boys and actually smile instead of spending the day fighting back tears and praying my children don’t notice.

I breathe…….

And I hope.

And I pray.

I miss you, Mom.

Why are Women MEAN???

I was scrolling through Facebook earlier (yes, I should have been working, but I was taking a short break) and came across a post from a friend of mine:

“Every year around Valentines Day there is one of our doctors that gives everyone who works here a long stemmed rose. “Because every woman deserves a rose on Valentine’s Day” This doctor is off tomorrow so they were passing them out today. Guess who they looked at and kept walking by???? Yeah me. True story.”

WHY??? What was the point of this? To make her feel small? To embarrass her?

All they really succeeded in doing was making me MAD!! Seriously. I promptly ordered her some flowers and had them delivered today with a card that said they were from “Someone who thinks you’re Pretty Special.” Now, yes, she know I sent them. But her co-workers don’t. 🙂 They just see some beautiful red tulips (because EVERYONE gets roses! I had to be different) on her desk.

Yes, part of me wanted to rub it in their faces. They got A rose. She got a bouquet of tulips.

I didn’t like the way they made her feel — or how I imagine she felt — because I’ve felt that way.

Left out.
Ignored.
Excluded.
Inferior.
Unloved.

But she is NOT any of those things. She is WONDERFUL. She’s Smart. Witty. Funny. Wicked (in the best possible way). Beautiful, inside and out. She’d drop anything and everything for her friends and family.

She goes out of her way to make people feel cared for. Included. Important.

For these “women” to try to take that away from her just made my blood boil!!!

L. has been a great friend to my husband for a long time (no, we’re NOT doing that math), and (lucky for me) extended that friendship to me, even though she barely knows me.

She is Awesome! I hope she doesn’t let their pettiness get to her. There are people who believe in her. Who know just how Important she is. How Kind. Generous. Compassionate. Loyal. Gorgeous. And certainly more of a Woman than her co-workers will ever be.

Mean Girls may get older, but clearly they Never Grow Up.

Discovering I’m OLD

Source: Discovering I’m OLD

Discovering I’m OLD

A few months ago, my husband (whom I love very much…..usually) talked me into our family joining a local Shotokan dojo. While I have enjoyed it, I admit that I’m not as enthusiastic as my husband and sons have been. Honestly, it was exercise that wasn’t completely torturous.

Until Saturday.

We had our first Rank Advancement Test then. (note the Capital Letters!) Well, I knew all the kicks, the stances, the blocks, the katas. Maybe I’m not perfect, but my competitive spirit hasn’t really kicked in yet. However, I felt sure I could pass this and get to Yellow from the lowly white belt. Okay, okay. It’s not like I was testing for black. I know, you’re saying, “Yellow?? Really? That’s EASY!!”

Maybe for You!

I have now discovered muscles I forgot I had, in places I forgot had muscles. And let me tell you, they are ALL telling me what fun they did NOT have moving in ways and for lengths of time that they would much rather have been at home cleaning instead of doing Shotokan. And for me to rather be cleaning house? Well, let’s just say it’s rare I want to do anything that involves housecleaning. I’d rather watch paint dry.

So, the short version of this story is this: I have discovered that I am OLD. I’m out of shape. And I’m lucky I can still walk after Saturday. I’m still sore.

But IF I get my Yellow Belt, then I just might re-evaluate. I just MIGHT decide that even though I’m old and out of shape, maybe…..just maybe…..I’d rather be at the dojo than cleaning house.

If I passed, I just might have to start exercising and stretching to limber up these dishrags I call muscles. I just might have to turn them into something that can at least fake being younger and in better shape.

Overcomer

I usually turn K-Love on my computer while I’m working.  I was sitting here in my office, kinda in a funk, and Mandisa’s song, “Overcomer” started playing.  I know everyone loves this song, most of you for the same reason I do.  It gives me hope.

In a world where I can’t hear the voice of God, she tells me he speaks to me through the little things.

In a world where I can’t feel His presence, she tells me He IS there listening.

In a wold where I often want to give up because it’s Just Too Hard!, she tells me to just hang on.  He’s there.

In a world where I think “I Can’t.”  She tells me “You Can!”

Sometimes this song cheers me up.  I feel encouraged. I feel stronger. I feel happier.  I feel more confident.

Sometimes this song makes me want to cry.  I feel ashamed for not having faith.  I feel guilty for not trying harder.

Then I try to look back.  I see all I have been through.  I see God in the little things.  I see where He gave me strength.  He must have, because I certainly couldn’t have gotten through it without Him.  I see where I was hopeless, but the dark eventually ended.  I see where He had to let me learn my own lessons when I wouldn’t listen to Him.

And I straighten my spine.  I try to ignore the dark thoughts I know aren’t mine.  And I make myself realize, I Am An Overcomer.  I may not be Robin Roberts, or Mandisa, or any of those people we have all seen struggle through so many tragedies, but I’ve had my own rocky paths to traverse, my own ravines to drag myself out of.  He WAS there.  He DID help.

Thank you, Mandisa, for making me realize this.

Thank You, God.  I don’t say it enough, but Thank You.  You have given me so many blessings that I don’t deserve.  Strength, patience, a husband who loves me and who I love more than life itself, two boys who exasperate me endlessly, but I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.  I had given up hope of having children.  You gave my my family.

Thank You.  From the bottom of my heart and soul…….Thank You.

Lessons for My Sons

I have read a lot of things about raising boys.  I have HEARD a lot of things about raising boys.  Some I listened to closely, some I disregarded immediately.  Maybe I listened when I shouldn’t have.  Maybe I ignored when I shouldn’t have.  But through this journey that so far is only a decade long, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve done my best. In the end, These things are what I want my sons to know.

I want my boys to be REAL men, not a cardboard cut-out, not a wimp.

I want them to know their softer sides and when to show them, and when not to show them. To know it’s okay to cry sometimes, but to also know there is a time and a place for crying.  Being able to cry over things that mean something to you is a strength, not a weakness, but it isn’t always seen as such.  They need to know the difference.

I want them to stand up for themselves and their friends and family, and know when to compromise.  You can never give in to a bully, but sometimes resolving that conflict needs to be delayed.  Again, there is a time and a place.

I also want them to know how not to BE the bully.  I want them to know it’s not okay to be mean to those smaller or weaker than you.  People, All people, are to be protected, not persecuted.

I want them not to judge people.  Tolerance is necessary, or life will be a constant fight.  They should stand up for their beliefs, but recognize that other people have different beliefs.  No one is always right.  Respect the differences, and learn.  Ask them to do the same.

I want them to know how to treat a woman with not just respect, but with love.  Holding doors, and listening to a woman when she talks is important.  But a woman needs to HEAR how her man feels.  Not every second of every day, but every so often, he needs to tell her.  We need the words.  Also, he should hold her hand.  Kiss her for no reason.  Touch her shoulder as he passes by her.  These little touches tell her he cares when he isn’t saying the words.  But those little touches mean almost as much as the words.  We women doubt ourselves.  We doubt our worth.  Men need to remember that.

I want them to show respect to Everyone.  Especially women and the elderly.  And especially to their enemies.  Respect can sometimes make a friend from an enemy.  But respect given almost always earns respect in return.

I want my boys to know how to change a tire, change the oil in the car, basic electrical and plumbing skills.

I want them to know how to shave with a safety razor and a straight razor.  It was good enough for my grandfathers, and my husband.  And sometimes, men should go back to the old ways so they aren’t too comfortable and reliant on the conveniences of today.

I want them to carry a pocketknife and know how to use it.

I want them to own several guns.  They should know these firearms like they know their wife.  They should know just how much pressure pulls the trigger.  They should know how to care for it and clean it.  They should know how to love it.  Yes, guns need love, too.  If you care for a firearm like you should, it can be a great friend to you.  If not, it can be your worst nightmare.

I want them to know how to fish and how to hunt.  They don’t have to like it, but they should have the skills if they ever need them.

I want them to know how to express themselves.  They need to be able to communicate.  They need the vocabulary, but they also need to know how to Talk to people.  They need to be able to chit chat for social occasions, and they need to be able to express themselves when the moment is important.

I want them to be neat.  I don’t mean everything has to be spotless.  I mean their homes need to be tidy.  I mean their manner of dress should be neat.  No saggy pants.  No untucked button-down shirts.

I want them to be comfortable wearing a suit / tuxedo as well as jeans.  You never know what the occasion will be, and men should be comfortable and confident in any setting.

I want them to know the value of their name.  Their name carries weight from those before, and will carry weight to those after. They should always Honor Their Word.  If they always keep their promises, people will remember.  If they never keep your word, people will remember.  I want them to be remembered positively.

I want them to know how to dance.  I don’t mean this jumping all over the floor that kids do.  I want them to know how to hold a woman in their arms and dance her around a room.  They don’t have to know how to waltz, or tango.  I just want them to know how to dance with care — with care for her heart, and care for her toes.

I want them to know how to pray.  I want them to believe in God and to talk to Him.  More importantly, I want them to know how to listen to Him.  I want them to have Faith, and be strong in that faith. This faith will be tested time and again.

My boys are important to me.  My husband and I are doing our best.  We make mistakes, but we make them out of love.  I want my sons to know all of this I’ve listed above, and so much more that I can’t put into words.  My children are my world.  And when they go out into the world, I want the world to value them, and I want them to know how to value the world.

To Speak…Or Not To Speak

Phil Robertson is now on “Indefinite Hiatus.” Hmmmmmmmm.

How do I feel about it?  Well, that gets complicated.  

My first reaction is anger.  I’m going to try to get past that.  After all, just because my opinion agrees with Phil’s on homosexuality doesn’t make it right.  It makes it an opinion.  An opinion that he, as well as I, am entitled to have.  Just as everyone else is entitled to have theirs whether they agree or not.  And a lot don’t.

My second reaction is outrage.  This one I’m going to keep.  He has a right to say what he wants.  I have a right to say what I want.  Again, opinions.  But we have Freedom of Speech.  We get to speak our minds.  I’m not going to call names.  That is childish, immature, and accomplishes nothing.  I don’t agree with homosexuality.  The LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trangender) Group does.  They have that right.  And they, like me, are free to speak on those beliefs.  That right was given us all whether we agree or not.  In the interest of fairness, I will agree that EVERYONE is entitled to live how they wish.  If I want to be heterosexual, I have that right.  If you want to be homosexual, you have that right.

My third is fear.  I don’t want to be misunderstood.  I don’t want Phil to be misunderstood.  Yes, we disagree with that lifestyle.  However, we are NOT judging.  He was asked his opinion and he gave it.  He did not condemn.  He did NOT say you’re going to Hell if you disagree with him.  Read the interview.  

My fourth is resignation.  I know what’s coming.  We’re going to be accused of Hate.  Now, I can’t speak for Phil’s views.  I won’t.  Other that what he says publicly (and there is so much of that I can’t begin to remember specifics), I have no idea what the man thinks and believes.  But I know what I think and believe.

On a last note, I want to be fair.  Just because I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle does NOT mean I think I am better, or more deserving of anything.  I don’t discriminate.  People who are gay are just as entitled to jobs, apartments, LIFE as I am.  I don’t think they should be denied anything because they are gay.  Just as I don’t think I should be denied anything because I’m not.  I try not to judge.  Judging isn’t my job, and frankly, I’m not very good at it.

We ALL have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  We each live differently.  We each have different definitions of “liberty.”  And we each pursue happiness differently.  We are each entitled to those differences.  No matter what they are.

In the end, God preaches Love.  And we should all Love each other.  Even if you don’t believe in God, you should believe in equality and freedom.  We are all equal.  We all have the freedom to be who we want to be.

And we all the right to speak about what we believe.  

www.awriterweavesatale.com/

Author, and Editor of Literary and Arts Magazine, The Woven Tale Press

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