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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Welcome Smile for 2011


New Year's Eve. Truly a time of reflection. Last year I walked the snow covered streets after everyone went to bed. The light of the Blue Moon cast a blue reflection upon the snow. I had no idea that the blue light that was cast upon the snow was in direct contrast to how dark 2010 would be.  Unlike others who merrily skip along the road of life in gaiety.... I didn't do much skipping this last year and at times I thought there would never be another joyful moment in my life. The key here is "at times". For the first several months of 2010 I felt as if I was treading water, just trying to keep my head above the waves and gasped for every breath I could get.... That was the first several months. As I've said before, regardless of how much you try to pretend something isn't happening, that does not negate the fact that yes it is indeed happening. That goes for every part of life, an injury or any other crisis we go through at different periods of our lives.  The last few months have been much more comfortable physically as the dizziness is completely gone. My headaches seem to linger but I do have days without them, the crickets are just as bad as they were from the beginning, but if that's the least of my problems, than I'm good. No, the second half of the year wasn't riddled with physical, it was riddled with the emotional aftermath of a good year gone very bad. The anguish reached the point where I had to seek help. I went to a therapist who has experience in head trauma and I am so glad I did. There was much relief in just knowing that everything I was going through, was very normal for head trauma patients. That's not to say there isn't some hormonal "crap" going on also since "I'm around that age" (I seriously want to punch people who bring that up), but for the most part the anxiety, the social withdrawal, and the emotional disconnect is very typical with a head trauma. If you want to add to that the difficulty in bracing myself for the empty nest (for some reason it's really hit me hard this year), and the hormonal changes that happen around this time of life, the decline of your parents physical and mental health, and the sheer joy of being an emotional woman, than you have what I would call all of the ingredients for the perfect storm. I was talking to my daughter the other day when I was terribly upset about a situation. I sobbed for DAYS! One night she called in the middle my sobfest and made a very good point. For months I had little to no emotion at all. Well I had sudden fits of crying for no reason, but as far as having feeling I really didn't.  The fact that I was indeed emotionally upset over a relationship to her seemed like a good sign. Sure my emotions were over the top, but at least I was genuinely feeling something.... and no, trust me I wasn't faking it and she knew I wasn't.  It's been a lot like when I had a c-section with my second child. As the muscles in my abdomen begin to heal, months after the surgery I would move just right and have a sudden searing burning beneath the incision. I could literally feel things fusing back together. Over the last several months I have had that same feeling except in my head and in my emotions. I thought I'd never say this but, I'd rather be cut open any time rather than go through this again. Aside from that, I got to travel to San Diego with good friends to welcome my daughter back from deployment. It was a moving opportunity and we had a great time in beautiful San Diego. I was thrilled when my oldest son went on a mission trip to Africa and enjoy hearing all about his adventures. Another milestone was passed when my baby boy turned 16..... Ah, it's sad to know that he is preening his wings to fly the coup when his time comes. I'm preparing myself for more than an almost empty nest.  My husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, it's an accomplishment that few couples enjoy now days and it was a joyous event for us. So even though the year wasn't exactly as I would have liked for it to be, it wasn't all bad. Even the accident shed light on things that needed a new perspective.  I'm looking forward to 2011, it's like turning over a new leaf, it's the beginning of all things new, a fresh start, dawning of a new day, a time when all things are possible. I'm very thankful that throughout 2010 I have been held in a loving Father's arms. I've been surrounded by the love and support of my family and friends.... That in itself is a blessing and one I don't take lightly. So here's a toast to 2010 and a welcome smile for 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twas The Day After Christmas


Twas the day after Christmas when all through the house
The children were warping from a post sugar bout
Mother was holding her head in her hands
Cause she'd just tried to cook using Daddy's new pans
The cat lay asleeping ignoring the crew
This was really quiet nice after the night he'd been through
The living room stood in shambles galore
There were Barbies and army men that scattered the floor
The stereo blasted with Bonnie Raitt's new tunes
As I quietly crept off to sleep in my room
With a nice cozy blanket and Valium in hand
I had a little more cheer than a body could stand
All I wanted now was some nice pleasant dreams
Far away from the kitchen and my children's wild screams
When I finally awakened Christmas had passed
And all that was left was a credit card mess
It would take me at least until November next year
To pay all the bill acquired by my holiday cheer
And to think that it wasn't really over with yet
Cause the store will be having a huge sale I bet

Monday, December 27, 2010

Time



When a niggle of doubt tries to wiggle in my mind, of all I've lost, I've left behind. I wonder if I'll ever see, the old, the familiar, the long lost me. My twinkle,  my spirit, my smile, my ease, the things that truly made me me. Will time smooth out the ragged edge, will it repair the damaged ledge, I now so gently walk along, without my joy, without my song? Will those I love so dear retreat, and turn from walking next to me? Will time bring closure, a journeys end, to how the year first began? The doubt can rise like clouds of gloom, leaving my heart for barely room, a prayer to breath, a hand to raise, remembering in your hand I stay. You did not leave me lying there, you will not leave me in despair. I must find strength in who you are, and trust you'll mend, remove the scar. For all I can do is trust in you and know my  faith will see me through. 

Share My Couch Share My Life


Our den is pretty small and because of the layout of our house, we can't get a couch in the room so we have two love seats. My Mastiff (Sailor) has claimed one of the love seats as her own. I rarely sit in the den but when I do, I sit on Sailor's love seat. She may weigh close to 200 lbs, but she has no idea she is that big. When I sit on her couch she thinks she should sit on my lap... The end result is always a few bruises.  There have been a couple of times when she has actually stepped on my belly causing me to cry out in pain. Both times she instantly stopped moving and laid her head on my chest as if to tell me she was sorry. She kept her head on my chest until she knew I was ok and then she adjusted herself a little more gently and quietly settled in (it was kind of like a child tiptoeing through a room).  If I wanted to, I could just put her in her kennel or make her go outside while I watch TV but I like sharing the couch with her. She has no clue that with a tiny nudge she could send me off the couch and onto the floor with a big thud. When that happens(and it does)I know it's not
intentional. She just doesn't understand how much
weight she carries and she doesn't understand that one push from her can send me in a direction she never intended. I know the risk and it's my choice to go ahead and share the couch.I knew she would grow into a giant when I got her, but I like her size. She sheds terribly, but I still like having her in the house. It's my decision, it's my choice that I will put up with the negative because her positives outweigh the negatives by a mile.Sharing the couch with Sailor is a little like friendship. Most often the wounds, bumps and bruises we have don't come from strangers, they come from those we have decided we'd share our lives with... Our friends and family. The bumps and bruises aren't intentional,it's just part of sharing life. The ones who have the most influence on us tend to leave the biggest bruises, but also bring the biggest blessings. It's a choice, it's all a choice. Do you want to sit comfortably without being
disturbed, or would you rather share the couch with a great big cuddle bug, with sad droopy eyes? Me? Well, I'm taking the couch and the bruises that go with it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Most Precious Memory of All

I don't think I ever believed in Santa Claus.... At least not until I had kids. I remember when I was little we spent the night at my Aunt's house once on Christmas Eve. She had 4 kids and Christmas morning at her house was very different than what I was used to. I remember waking up and watching her kids plow into their stockings which were filled beyond belief with candy and little carnival like toys. I sat there with my eyes as big a saucers. I had never seen so much candy and crap in my life. I was so impressed that I vowed I would make Christmas morning a big deal when I had kids of my own. My husband has never understood the point, but we always had our gifts, which were wrapped, and Santa's gifts which were not wrapped. After much debate when we first got married, we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. His family had always opened them on Christmas morning and I swear you would have thought  it was a crime against nature when I begged to do it differently. To this day I'd almost bet that he repents on Christmas Eve after committing such a sin. After the kids were tucked in bed, which was a HUGE ordeal, we would lay out the Santa gifts along with the stockings. My favorite time of Christmas happened about 4 in the morning when my oldest son would wake up and run downstairs. There would be a slight pause, often a gasp and then he would run  back upstairs as quietly as possible into his sister's room. Waking her was not only a challenge, but also a very risky decision. She would often wake up in a rage with flying fists so extreme caution was a top priority. Together they would wake baby brother and all three of them would run back downstairs. I could hear them showing each other their gifts with excited whispers. It was a magical gift in itself to lay in bed and hear them enjoy the surprises of the season. My two oldest are adults now and to be honest my youngest never has really bought into the whole Santa thing which is a real drag for me. He is content to wake up at noon then saunter downstairs with little to no expression of excitement (hmm, wonder where he gets that from?). I'm still trying to get used to not having little ones around for the holidays. The awe of the season is such a joy to watch through little eyes..... And the pitter patter of little feet  (in pajamas with the feet in them) is the most precious memory of all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Not Easy



When I had my accident the first thing people said is "Oh you look great!" For some reason everyone expected black eyes, swollen cheeks, bloodied head. Although underneath my clothes there were bumps, bruises and scraps, they were not visible to just anyone. The doctor told me that in some ways it would be easier if there were outward evidence as to what happened, but my injuries are tucked way beneath the surface where no eyes can see.... In the brain. 11 months and three weeks to the date of the fall I still struggle with the unseen injuries. The thing that scares me the most is that my personality will never return to the old me. That doesn't just scare me, it terrifies me.Trust me, no one wants the old me back more than I do. Getting to know a new you is not fun, it's not comforting, there is nothing warm and fuzzy about it. You have no idea how difficult it is to see your husband look at you with concern and worry, yet not recognize the person you are now. It's not easy to feel disconnected from your emotions even with those you love the most. It's not easy to wonder if you'll have to make new friends because your old friends don't know the new you.It's not easy to hear words come out of your mouth and you have no idea where they came from. If you break your leg they can put a cast on it, give you crutches healing is simple and obvious. The brain is a little more complex, less understood and takes longer to heal. I can fake being fine all I want but that doesn't make me whole. They say the only thing that helps is time... But waiting on time isn't easy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Celebrating In Style

This weekend found me not only
celebrating my 29th anniversary,
but also catching up with a friend
from school and her husband.My husband
took me back to my home town of Tulsa
Oklahoma. We spent some time going down
memory lane as well as several other
roads that we didn't recognize from so
long ago (it's amazing where one wrong turn will take you). Being a man after my heart he took me to my favorite hometown high society eating establishment.... Coney I-Lander. I can't explain it and he really doesn't get it but that place just reminds me so much of my youth. I would also like the add that this being my favorite restaurant pretty much puts to rest the whole debate as to whether I'm "a High Maintenance woman or a low Maintenance Woman." Of course he would argue that all it does is prove that I'm worse than being either... I'm high maintenance but think that I'm low maintenance... He may have a point there. We wrapped up Saturday evening with a high school friend and her husband. We had several good laughs at her sharp memory and my lack thereof. Sunday we took in the Nutcracker at the Performing Arts Center and then headed home. The weekend sped by way too fast but it was a good trip.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Hands That Holds My Heart


To love is to willingly place your heart in the hands of another. To love is to risk all happiness, all joy, all pain and all failure. To love is to understand that love may not be returned... Yet you love without regard. To love is to know the greatest joy on earth and to feel the greatest pain possible often at the same time. The greatest gift in life is to love until it hurts.....  29 years ago today, I placed my heart in the hands of a man that would love me forever and in return he placed his heart in my hands.There is no doubt that we complete
each other. We are two halves that make a whole.I can't tell you how much these 29 years have meant to me... The world. I know that the next 29 years will be just as great as long as our hearts are in each others hands. There is no safer place for our hearts to be... Together Forever

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Jerk - are you awake - You've Made Me Very Happy

I love this clip from the Jerk!!! The 19th of this month I will have been married (to the same man) for 29 great years.... But it seems more like 33 years and 7 months....  In a good way. A sense of humor is a key ingredient in a good marriage.... At least if you're married to me it is! I'm pretty sure this last year has probably seemed like 7 years and 4 months to him... Not in a good way. I know he's probably aged more this year than any other. LOL! He's a trooper and I can honestly say I'd do it all again.... "If that's okay, then just don't say anything...... You've made me very happy."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sugarland - Stuck Like Glue

The Dawning of a New Day


This has been a long and sad week for me. Last night I told my husband that I felt like someone had placed an I.V. in my arm and had sucked all of the blood out of my system. But then I can be a tad dramatic at times. Still that's how I feel. When I got up this morning for that 5 a.m. workout, it was cold outside and the wind was whizzing down the plains like it so often does. I sucked in the bitter cold and stood still while the wind dried my sweat. There was hope!! Just because the last few days have been difficult doesn't mean today will be.... Today a new day was dawning and with it the hope that I would be given a portion of grace that would carry me through regardless of what may lay ahead.  

Lam. 3:22-24..... Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"

If I let it, life would steal my hope. But I vow I will grip tightly in my hands the hope that comes with the dawn of each new day.I have hope that today will be brighter than yesterday. I have hope that I will be given an extra measure of wisdom today.
I believe in the faithfulness of my LORD, who is my hope and my salvation. Where there is hope, there is always a tomorrow.   

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When I Needed It Most

God can mend a broken heart but you have to give him all the pieces

I had to say goodbye to someone special this week. Someone who helped me sort through the shattered pieces of who I was. Together we sorted through the mess of the head injury as I tried desperately to make the pieces all fit into the old frame of a picture I had in my mind. It's been a process, it's been a journey.... a very lonely journey, but they made it seem possible. It's funny how you think the ones who will accompany you on a journey, aren't the ones that do. A door opens, and someone you never imagined walks through to hold your hand, comfort you, as they whisper the words..... "It's going to be ok." It's a special person who can say those words and actually make me believe it, but then I suppose that's why God sends them at the time he does. Just when I needed it most.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grandpa's Stash


My Grandma may have been famous for her cooking, but Grandpa was famous for his hiding.  He loved See's candy and my Aunt would send him some every Christmas.... A big assorted box. When he got the treasure he would quickly stow it away where prying eyes could not see and chubby fingers could not touch. My Cousin and I would first try the sneaky route. We would look in his room and look in the pantry. When we both came up short we'd be left with flat out asking him if Aunt G had sent candy. He would always either smirk, or chuckle and he always delayed the answer. Finally after much skirting the issue he would tell us the secret place and we would scramble to select the one piece we were allowed. I always like "The Furry" ones. Reluctantly we would put the candy back simply to play the game again next year. Grandpa was a man of few words, at least to me. Grandma and Grandpa had a Zillion grandchildren which meant it was impossible for them to buy for everyone. It never bothered me that we didn't usually get gifts from them because just having them around was gift enough. But one memory does stand out and sits protectively on a self in my living room. Grandma seemed very feeble. I remember as a child, being suddenly alert if the phone rang during the middle of the night. Most often it was news telling us Grandma had been rushed to the hospital. Once when this happen I remember waiting in the lobby of the hospital for eternity, just me and my cousins. I was really young and bored, but I was being very well behaved as I sat on the stairs next to the gift shop and peered in the window. There were all kinds of little nic knacks that sparkled and glowed inside. There were toys and jewelry... all kinds of stuff. I remember Grandpa came down the stairs and asked if I'd like to go inside the gift shop with him to find me something. This was the one and only time I ever remember being singled out by him. He took me in the gift shop and said  "Why don't you pick yourself out something." I couldn't believe my ears!!!!  Looking back he was probably suggesting that I pick a candy bar, but no!! I saw my chance to hit pay dirt so Sister I was gonna make it count. I just looked up at him and he nodded toward the shelves.... "Go ahead, what would you like?" I looked behind the cash register and sitting on the shelf was a piggy bank. The bank was painted a white iridescent so it captured the colors around it. It had hand carved roses and hand painted eyes, nose and mouth. It was a smiley pretty piggy. I pointed to the pig, he had the lady get it down, wrap it up and he paid for it. To this day I treasure that little pig, not because of it's value, but because the memory of being singled out of many to be personally loved by one. I can guarantee you that many who grow up around their Grandparents may have more memories, but they could never have a more tender memory.  That one little gester made me feel like a  million dollars and let me know that Grandpa actually knew me by name. I suppose that's how I feel about God sometimes, I'm just one in a million, nothing special and then he'll call out to me by name and I know..... I know that I belong to him and he belongs to me. Even when I feel lost in the crowd he knows me by name.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

That Time of Year

Tis that time of year
When I fear for my thighs
With all of the pecan
And coconut pies
All of the sausage
That's brought in on trays
And all of the cheese
That's been aged for all days
Popcorn and candy canes
Brought by the slews 
By salesmen with children
Who have no new shoes
Rum cake and pretzels 
Covered in goo
My mouth is exhausted 
From all that I've chewed
Twill be weeks maybe months
 For my jeans fit just right
I'm stuffed in the middle
They're a tiny tad tight
But after the holiday festivities are done
I'll hop on that tread mill and
Run Forest run
So summer will find me
trim once again
No jiggle no jangle
From my double fat chin




Monday, December 6, 2010

Grief


The feeling closes in on me
Like icy threaded veins
Slowly it engulfs me
The pulsing sudden ache
Efforts to push it downward
Are futile failed attempts
I cannot just ignore it
Once I'm in it's grip
And though I know it's passing
Still the pain I dread
I concentrate on hope
The hope that lies ahead
Still I struggle daily
To Keep my head above
The waves that over take me
The grief I suffer from
Knowing all is better
laying all aside
The grief will one day fade
Leaving nothing but memories behind

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grandma's House


We slept in this morning and it felt pretty good. As I lay in bed refusing to admit that I was awake, my stomach began to growl. Suddenly breakfast sounded really good. I slipped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran to the grocery store. I came home with all the makings for a breakfast like Grandma used to make.... Bacon, eggs, biscuits and of course Chocolate Gravy which was my favorite of all. Momma used to make  Chocolate Gravy sometimes, and my aunt used to make it, but no one made it like Grandma. Things just taste better when Grandma makes it. I don't have a recipe for the concoction but I remember my cousin deciphering the code and sharing it with me. As I stood over the stove and watched the gravy start to bubble, my mind drifted back to Grandma's house. I was always a little jealous that I was just one of many to my Grandma, but I loved going to her house. She was short, with silver hair wrapped in a bun on the top of her head. After giving birth to 9 children she always looked 9 months pregnant and 90 years old. I have no idea how old she really was but that's how she looked. Sometimes when we spent the night with her she would let her silver hair down and I would brush it so it flowed down her back. I don't remember any particular conversations I ever had with her. I just remember her sitting in front of her dresser brushing her hair and the smell of breakfast in her kitchen. As I walked down memory lane my gravy started to get lumpy so I quickly removed it from the stove, added some water and stirred until the lumps disappeared. Chocolate gravy, like life tends to get lumpy when not tended to properly. With lumps all gone and biscuits golden brown I sat down to enjoy something from my past.

Friday, December 3, 2010

In The Heart of Man


We come to a place
 A crossroad in time
Where a direction we choose
A path we must find
Some paths may be covered
Hard to detect
Some paths have evidence
 Of obvious neglect

The choice seldom easy 

Which direction to go
                                                      Follow your heart?
                                                      Follow your soul? 
                                                      Drown out voices heard in the wind                       
Listen instead to the small voice within
Each path has a promise            
New direction to take
What are the risk?
How large the stake?
Why do we struggle?
Why do we fight?
When the truth we have sought
The wrong from the right
It's a matter of choice
We're made with a plan
The decision still lies                   
                                     In the heart of man   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Little Bit More.... One of My Favorite Songs

The Christmas Tree Snob

She did a great job! I approve

It's so true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. At least that's the case with me and my daughter. Ever since I've been married, a Christmas tree is a big honkin ordeal for me. I like my gifts to be wrapped in coordinating colors, no tacky Santa Clause paper. I insist on white lights only and have a tendency to mutter unkind things under my breath when I see multi-colored lights that twinkle (see I can already tell you are judging me). So, your probably thinking that when I had children I totally turned my tree into a memorial to them..... WRONG! And here is just another reason (out of many) for why I will never be awarded a National Mother of the Year Award. There was a tiny streak in me that wanted to put the reindeer made out of pantyhose on the tree and the little ornaments made out of play dough on it, but when it actually came time to do it, I just couldn't bring myself to. I know!!! How twisted is that? I'm just very territorial about the tree. Now you probably think I'm the worst Mom in the world but I'm not...(there is that refrigerator Mom).I'm not a bad Mom! I may be a Christmas tree snob but I'm not a terrible Mother. I bought my kids their own 3 ft trees and allowed them to decorate them any way they wanted. One year my son hung GI Joe's all over his. It was kind of sadistic though because he tied fishing line around their necks then looped it over the limb so it looked a little like he was literally hanging GI Joe. My daughter is grown and has an apartment of her own which means she has her very own adult Christmas tree. When she was home a few weeks ago she bought ornaments for the tree and was excited for Thanksgiving to be over so her and her boyfriend could put the tree up. She called me the other night and said they had gotten the tree up and he had helped her get the lights on and then (gasp) proceeded to begin decorating it. She said "I told him, oh no,no, no! All I needed you to do was to help me get the lights on. I'll do the rest all by myself." I think he was a little hurt that he didn't get to help with the rest of it, but she explained how she was never allowed to decorate the tree as a child and now she was going to do it in her own very OCD way. I laughed and laughed when she told me. I knew all this time that my Christmas tree fetish would one day end with my kids laying on the couch of a therapist. But like I've always told them, just file this in your book so when you have to go to therapy when your 30 you'll have enough Momma burned the bisque stories.... Cause if you don't, they will certainly think you are crazy.