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.

I Miss My Mom

This is hard to write.  I’ve put it off, and put if off, . . . but now maybe I can write this.

I lost my mother 11 weeks ago tonight.  It seems like forever since I talked to her.  But it still hurts like it was yesterday that I lost her.

My sister and I have been going through her estate, dividing up this, giving that away, trying to sell the other.  Typical things.  We’ve cried over memories, and we’ve laughed over memories.  We have remembered things we had forgotten.

Through it all, I still expect to hear her tell me to, “Get out of that!  You know you aren’t supposed to be in that,” because you never knew where she had hidden Christmas gifts……..and she had usually forgotten what and where things were hidden, too.

I still reach for the phone to update her on why my routine doctor’s appointment results were.  Or to tell her a funny story about her grandchildren.

Thanksgiving is going to be bad.  Her family always got together Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.  There are just too many of us to get together for both.  It would be exhausting, so they picked Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I can go to my Aunt’s house this year and look at the chair my mother always sat in when she was there.  I can’t bear any well-meaning “How are your holding up?” questions that day.  I just can’t.  So I’ll go to my in-laws and pretend everything is okay.  But Thanksgiving is going to be bad.

Christmas is going to be worse.  You see, that was her favorite holiday.  She had an entire walk-in closet full of Christmas decorations.  Tree ornaments, mantle decorations, floor statues of snowmen and Santa and Mrs. Claus, wreaths, etc.  We even found 3 Christmas trees of varying sizes.  Not to mention the other Christmas decorations we have unearthed in other closets.  Her favorite holiday.  And she won’t be here.  My children won’t get to call Nana and tell her what Santa brought them.  We won’t get to visit her and eat spaghetti (because we were sick of all the turkey we’d been eating since November).  I won’t get to hear her child-like glee when she purchased and received yet another Christmas decoration.  She was a child at Christmas as much as my children are.  She loved it.  I just want to get through it this year.  For myself.  For my family.  For my children.  I will smile and laugh and pretend, because that is what I need to do.  I may not feel the Christmas Spirit this year, but I can’t take it away from everyone else.

Just as I recover from Christmas will be her birthday.  She would have been 66.  So young.  Too young.  I can’t think about all of the things she’ll miss.  It’ll break me right now.

She was my best friend.  We went through a really rough patch when I was in my teens and early 20s.  But we made up.  We overcame.  She was actually my Friend.  My Best Friend.  For several years, she was my only friend.

And I miss her.

Every day.

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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.  

Dear God:

Thank You.  You know my husband’s doctor sent him for an upper GI scope.  You know he was quite insistent that it be done very soon.  I’m sure You also know that I took all of that in stride.  After all, what could really be wrong?

Until last night.  Last night, I went to bed and tried to sleep.  Suddenly, I wondered, WHY was the doctor so insistent he have this done RIGHT NOW?  WHAT was he REALLY worried about?

Then I started thinking.  That’s always dangerous, You know that.  I started thinking about tumors, and cancer.  I started thinking about what would happen to me and the kids.  Yes, he has life insurance to provide for us financially.  But what we do without HIM?  I didn’t like that train of thought at all.  I saw my boys fatherless.  I saw me a widow.

I know You would have taken care of him, and us, but still.

And in all of my fears and worries, I did not turn to You for comfort.  I’m sorry.

I did turn to You and beg You for my husband’s life.  I begged that he be okay.  I begged as I lay there in bed next to my husband in absolute terror.  I begged.  And of that I am NOT ashamed.

Thank You for letting me keep him.  Thank You for letting this be a hiatal hernia.  I know that isn’t the best news, but it is nowhere close to the worst news.  It’s not even close to all of my waking nightmares last night that kept me from sleeping.  Thank You.  He is one of my three greatest gifts from You and I don’t want to lose him.  Not yet.  Not ever, but I know that isn’t possible.  So Thank You.

Thank You for granting my prayers.

Amen,

Me.

I confess.  I read paranormal romance novels.  I love J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Gena Showalter, Lyndsay Sands….and many others.  I love them! But. . . .

I have “Liked” a page on Facebook called, “I Love Vampire Novels.”  I get an email every week with introductions to different authors and novels.  Some are free downloads, some are discounted.  They also show up in my newsfeed with cutsie sayings, questions, etc.

Tonight, they posted the following question:  “Which fictional character would you most like to be stuck on a desert island with…?”  Interesting.

I could not think of a single one.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Not a one of them.

While I love the characters, I find them lacking.  None of the guys really seem real.  Seriously, how many men are really built at 6’5″, 250 lbs and all muscle with long flowing hair?  And honestly?  That doesn’t really appeal to me.

Seriously.

I know, I’m probably weird, but that’s nothing unusual.

I like the female lead characters.  I like their spunk, their determination, their confidence.  I like to pretend that I am them.  I never pretend that I’m married to the lead male character.  Honestly, they just really don’t do anything for me.  But the women?  What I would give to feel like they do!  To BE them!  I don’t need or want the money, or the clothes, or the mansion.  I just want to look in the mirror and see them instead of me.

So how do I answer the question posed?  I still have no idea.  Though seriously, if I were going to hang out with any of them, it would be Nix.  She’s nuts (Hence her nickname, Nucking Futs Nix, please pardon the phrasing, but it belongs to the author, not me).  She will say anything.  Do anything.  She is fearless.  She is AWESOME!!!

So, I guess, if I were going to be stuck on a desert island with anyone, it would be Nix.  Life would never be dull with her around.  Seriously, she is the gal you wake up next to in jail, who says, “That was FUN!  Let’s do it again!

Yes, my husband is getting older.  No, I don’t care what my body says, or my doctor says, I celebrated my first 29th birthday about 14 years ago, and stopped having any more birthdays then so I am forever 29.  End of THAT story.

My husband is 47.  He thinks he looks older than he is, and he may to you at first.  His hair is graying rapidly and, as he says, “what isn’t going gray is going away.”  But when you look a little closer, he really doesn’t look his age.  His face doesn’t even have laugh lines, though he laughs quite a bit.  No wrinkles.  No crow’s feet.  Nothing.  Nada.  (Quite disgusting really, as this 29-year-old has begun to see such things along with a touch of sagging, and loss of “glow.”)  If you forget about his hair (or lack of it), he really looks very good for his age.  (Why is it that men get BETTER looking with age while women just age?)

That said, his doctor’s appointment did not go as well as he hoped yesterday.  Not only is his ferritin levels are low, his total iron count is low, his B-12 levels are low, and his cholesterol is high.  We’ve been battling his blood pressure, but with two boys under the age of 10 THAT is a losing battle!  So now he’s taking a few more pills.  I think I counted 5 in his hand last night.

5 Pills.  That’s not so bad.  I take 3 in the morning — iron, cholesterol, and one to keep me from killing those small demon-monkeys I mentioned above :-).  At my age of 29 (don’t argue.  I’m 29.), that doesn’t sound very good.  But at 47, 5 pills really isn’t bad.  I know people younger that take many more pills.  He thinks he now has to take “a handful of pills” every night.  That’s not a handful.

He doesn’t realize his health could be SO much worse.  He could have heart trouble, after all, his cholesterol could have caused a heart attack by now.  He could be anemic because that runs in his family.  He could have lung problems because we both smoked for over 20 years.  (Yes, I must have started at 9 to have smoked that long.)  He could have all of the above.  His health could be so, so much worse.  Count your blessings, Dear.  Even those demon-monkey offspring you call boys.  Even me, though reading this he might not be so happy with me either right now.

Dear Husband:  Get. Over. It.  Things could be worse.  And I would much rather see you swallow a handful of pills 10 times the size of what you have, than to lose you.  I would rather force them down your throat myself than watch terrified as you slipped away from me due to any number of things that COULD go wrong.  I pray to God thanking Him for gifting you to me.  I pray to God asking, begging Him not to take you away from me.  You are my 3rd biggest miracle (the first 2 being those demon-monkey boys, of course).  And I don’t want to lose you.

I know I complain, and I’m bossy, and I drive you insane; but I love you.  More than you know.  More than you can imagine.  So take your pills and count your blessings.  It could be so much worse.  And it very well might get worse.  But I will love you through all of it.  Until Death do us part. . . . but let’s not rush it, okay?

 

www.awriterweavesatale.com/

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

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