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.

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?

 

It’s time for the monkey-demon boys to head back to school.  This year is going to be hard.

First of all, we’re changing their school.  Yes, it’s a better school.  It’s also smaller and closer.  Three very good things.  The boys won’t get “lost” in with all of the other children.  When they have doctor appointments we won’t miss a half day of work / school.  And with smaller classrooms, they should get a little more attention.  During Open House, I will have to try to remember to warn their teachers that my sweet, polite, smart little boys WILL morph in to demon-monkey creatures that will drive their very best to drive every near adult absolutely insane…..and yet in such a charming way that they will be quickly forgiven.

Secondly, MY BABY STARTS FIRST GRADE!!!  I think I’m going to cry.  All year.  He’s my BABY.  He isn’t supposed to be big enough to be in real school.

Yes, I went through this with his brother.  Yes, I went through this when each of them started preschool and when each of them graduated preschool.  Yes, I went through this when each of them started Kindergarten.  But this means they are BOTH in real school.  Surely not!  You have to be joking!

I have less than a week to finish buying school supplies, label everything, get my kids’ teachers name straight, find my sanity, find their good manners, and organize it all into 2 backpacks to be taken to school.

*SIGH*  I better find my medication, too.  Where is that prescription?  Oh boy, it’s going to be a loooooooooong year.

 

Life is but a Dream

My 25th high school reunion was a couple of weeks ago.  I decided not to go and my husband asked me why.  I tried to tell him that I just didn’t fit in with those people anymore.

See, I transferred out of that school in the middle of my sophmore year.  I didn’t graduate from there.  I didn’t go to prom.  I didn’t date anyone from there.  I wasn’t in any of the clubs, or on any teams there.  I missed all of that bonding that happens in the last 2 years of high school.  I just don’t fit there.

Plus, high school feels like a dream.  I remember it.  I can feel what I felt, but it has no “reality” to it.  I lived it, but it doesn’t feel real.  It feels like a dream.

I’ve said that high school was “several lifetimes ago.”  How true that is!  I have changed SO much since then.  I went to college.  I dropped out.  I moved (several times).  I got married.  I got divorced.  I went back to college.  I graduated this time.  I remarried.  I had kids.  See?  I am SO very much NOT the person I was in high school.

High School was a dream.  A nice dream.  (That school anyway.)  But still a dream.  One that I like to revisit in my memory, but like most memories, the dream is probably much better than the reality.  So I will refrain from going to reunion.  I’ll only see those people on Facebook.  After all, FB has that same “unreal” feel to it, now doesn’t it.

Or am I the only one that feels that way?  Does that still feel real to you?

 

www.awriterweavesatale.com/

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

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