Freedom

Tonight I went downtown to “Bike Night” and saw Lita Ford in concert.  Had a fabulous time and as I was driving home, it occurred to me that in the last year, I have truly enjoyed the freedom of not having to ask someone’s permission to do things and have them say no or to say yes and then upon the day’s arrival, force me to cancel my plans, leaving me disappointed.

I can hardly believe it took me a year to realize I am finally free!  I’m free of controlling men.  I can come and go as I please.  After spending the last 22 years with 2 different men who controlled my every move, I am free to do as I please, when I please, with whomever I please.

WOW!  I am amazed.  After all this time, I’ve finally realized that I owe nothing to anyone.

I always believed that a couple should share everything and respect each other and love each other and treasure each other.  In relationships where one partner is completely controlling of the other, you don’t get these same freedoms, love or respect.  You become a virtual slave to the other person and their needs are all that is important.  Even though I’ve completed some intense therapy, I have only just now realized the extent to which I was controlled.  I am so grateful that I am no longer in such situations.  YEAH!!

Knowing that God is bringing me my next relationship and it will be blessed by Him, I have no fear that I will have to worry about that again.  God is directing me toward His plan for my life and I have to say that it is greatly anticipated and looked forward to.

I’m keeping busy while I wait for this plan.  I’ve been crocheting blankets for Boggy Creek Summer Camp, which children with brain tumors and cancer attend yearly.  This camp gives each camper a blanket and teddy bear to keep.  So far, I’ve made two and am working on the 3rd.  I also am working on two other blankets for friends having babies in December & January.

I’m busy with my son’s Senior year of HS as well.  He got his Sr. portraits taken and the cost about floored me!!!  YIKES!!!  I didn’t really like them, either.  He has about 3 weeks left of Marching Band and the time seems to be just sailing by.  He’s working on his college audition videos with several boys from band and is making progress.  So proud of him.

I’ve lost 19 lbs in the last month and am happy with my progress.  I’m steadily getting my life in order.  I’ve got to downsize more and I am waiting until it is a bit cooler to start again.  UGH!  It’s still so incredibly hot.

I miss living up north sometimes.  I miss the leaves changing, the crisp smell of autumn air and the crunch of leaves under foot.   I miss hiking in the woods or up the mountains.  <sigh>

My grandfather passed away this week.  It’s been 18 years since my grandmothers passed, within one week of each other, while I was pregnant with my son.  My grandfather suffered with dementia for the last few years and it is truly a blessing that he has gone home to our Lord.  I know my NC family is grieving his loss.  It hurts that I will no longer get to see him; but I will one day, when I leave this world.  He will be greatly missed. ❤

Most of the missed hurricane days from school are going to be made up before the new year, with only a few days after the new year comes to finish it up.  My son will be graduating on May 19th at 10 am and my parents told me that they’re planning a cruise right after with my cousin, who’s twins will be graduating on the 17th of May, so we may tag along if the price is right.

My world is finally settling into a new normal.  I’m learning to be me again.  I’m who I am again.  Living my life, raising my son, taking care of my pups and loving the new freedom I’ve regained.

Life is good. ❤

 

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Mom?

On Saturday, I chaperoned my son’s Band Competition trip.  They competed with other bands in their 2A Class at another high school north of us.  It was a hot and tiring day; but the kids were terrific and placed 2nd in their class and received a 1st place for their Color Guard.  Overall, it was a great experience with a lot of younger, freshman competing for the first time.

At the end of the evening, the leaders come on field for awards presentation.  I had moved from where our band was in the stands to the otherside of the field’s bleachers in order to take photos for the event.  As the 2nd to last band performed, I waiting with our kids and one of them told me he wished I was his mom.  I was stunned.  I gave him a hug and told him I loved him.

For me, it’s easy to love these kids.  I am their cheerleader, mom, task master, shoe tying, instrument holder, jacket zipping, water giving volunteer!  And I love it!  I have taken them to the movies, out to eat, hosted parties at my home, cooked for them and just given out hugs where needed.  I listen to them without judging and I give gentle suggestions when needed.  No child is turned away from this loving momma.  Need a hug?  I got one for you!

So, upon hearing this declaration, I was touched.  I was also shocked.  This young man has a mom and dad; but I learned today that his mom is 30 minutes from where we competed Saturday and he is currently living with dad locally.  That his mom, despite being so close to the event, couldn’t even care enough to attend.  My heart hurts.  He hasn’t seen her in months and I hurt for him.

I was telling my son this on the bus, just before heading back that night and a gal in a seat next to us stated that she, also wished I was her mother.  WTH?  From the sadness in her eyes, I knew she was also hurting and I smiled and told her that I loved her.  I later found out that she has a horrible home life and though there isn’t any physical abuse, you can tell she’s dealing with a lot emotionally.  A friend of my son’s told me that she is a Junior, has no cell phone or internet access, isn’t allowed to have friends over and her parents are very strict when it comes to what she can and can’t do.  Her parents also “forced her to come out of the closet” when she identified herself as a lesbian.  Though none of what I have stated about her home life is truly terrible in and of itself, I cannot help but think that whether my child is gay, straight, bi or whatever, it isn’t anyone’s business but his and who am I to tell him to announce it to all and sundry?

I have, in the past, listened to these kids cry on my shoulder for hurts and heartaches and even though my son is a Senior this year, I do believe that I will still be here for those he’ll leave behind.  His very good friend has already told me he was going to call me and invite me to games and competitions next year, so I had better be prepared. LOL!

I may only have given birth to one child; but my heart is filled with love and compassion for all these other young lives.  I adore them.  I remember my son telling me that one of the Seniors last year was telling him how he didn’t like to be touched or hugged and my son reminded him that he hugged me all the time.  This young man told my son that he does it for me; because he knows I need it.  LOL!  I think that worked both ways.  He never missed an opportunity to give me one. 😀

It’s been a great 4 years.  I love watching these young people go from tentative playing/marching to full on completed shows and victory!!!  Their hard work and effort really shows by the last night and I am there, cheering them on and showing my love and support.

The band director spoke to our bus and I asked him if I could say something.  When I spoke, I told them, as a 4 yr band mom, I was proud of them, they did great for their 1st Comp. and I could hardly wait to see the completed show and watch how far they’ll go.  They then screamed out that they loved me and we left to go home after a long, exhausting  day.

Not My America

It’s a sad day here in the USA.  It seems that the whole country has gone mad.  It is no longer “My America” any longer.

My America is beautiful.  We’re diverse, we’re proud, we’re free and we’re grateful to those who paved the way.  My America is color blind, kind and gives a helping hand.  My America salutes the flag, kneels before God and stands proud to claim to be American.

Growing up in America, I was raised in a small town in New York with only one traffic light, best friends who were black, Puerto Rican and Jewish, went to church on Sunday at our local Catholic church and even attended more than one Saturday evening in the Synagogue, worshiping with my best friend, Heather.

In the summer, we all swam in the lake and winters skating on that same lake.  We had numerous sleep overs, hikes up the mountain and overnight camping trips to various locations with the folks.  I’ve marched in many a Veteran’s and Memorial Day parades as a girl scout and attended more than one function at the local American Legion Post and our Elks Lodge.

I respected my elders and God forbid I gave them sass, because my Mom and Dad would find out and I’d be in deep waters.    I volunteered to help others.  I made regular visits to my grandparents and celebrated holidays like Christmas and Easter in school!  It did not matter that my best friends were white, black and of Indian descent, all that mattered to us was that we liked each other and had the same interests.

We were poor and I never even knew it.  We were on the Government Cheese program where the government brought the dairy surplus from farmers and gave it to those in need.  We got it monthly and even cut the mold off it to eat it when we had it for so long that it began to go bad.  I wore hand-me-downs from my cousins and most of them were male.  LOL!

I was bullied.  I was beaten up by both girls and boys.  I worked it out.  I liked everyone; but not everyone liked me.  My parents didn’t fight my battles, they made me do it myself.  They didn’t involve themselves in kid fight; because kids make up and parents are still angry and it’s over kid stuff.

We celebrated our differences; but we also joined together in our solidarity as Americans.  It is the old school, hometown values that made this country great.

Big Jim and Tiny were the local gay couple we all knew were gay and that you could call on them for help if you needed it.  They also had a cool steam engine in their front yard, which was so cool.  A good friend of the family, a man named Niles, was Jamaican and the darkest skinned man I ever knew and we called him “Uncle” because he was like an uncle to us kids.  We knew to be home by the time the street lights came on and we were hardly ever at home; but out playing and enjoying the fresh air.

If a person wore a uniform, they were an authority figure and we had better behave or we’d be in trouble.  We knew most of the town police and firemen.  They knew who we were, too.  We could walk or ride our bikes anywhere.  We were safe.  We were home.

It’s why I, myself, put on the uniform and served this great nation.  To protect and serve.  To honor what those who came before me had already established so that my children could enjoy the same rights as I did.  And yet, here I am, raising my son in a country I don’t even recognize.  I also have to state that in Sept & Oct 2016, I received a flag for two fallen Marines, both of which served Honorably and passed.

People are killing people for being different.  People are disrespectful to each other.  People are rude and self – centered, self – obsessed, and selfish.  People move to this country and think we need to change to fit into a mold of the country they left.  If it is so important to you to have your customs, why did you leave?  Why should I have to adopt your customs and values?

When I was stationed overseas, I had to adapt to their local customs and ways.  I didn’t go their expecting them to change their laws and customs to accommodate me.  I was expected to follow their ways.  As a matter of fact, everyone who does go to a foreign country in the military, has to go through a weeks worth of orientation before going to their commands so that no one can say they were unaware of local laws, customs and traditions.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

With all that has changed in the last 15 years or so, I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to bring this country back to it’s former glory.  It’s a shame.  Yes,  there are problems; but violence doesn’t help.  Protesting doesn’t help.  Treating people with disrespect doesn’t help.  We have to work together in order to work it out.

What I do know is all of this discord is tearing our nation apart.  I’m saddened and wanted so much more for my son.  I’m hurting for our children.  I’m hurting for the country I so love.  I’m hurting for those who are hurting.  I just want my country back.

I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  Today, not so much.  I was disappointed in the fact that they refrained from even entering the field for the National Anthem.  These men are paid to perform.  They are not a political organization.  They are overpriced showman.  It’s the same with actors/actresses.  They’re paid performers.  They make more than the average American does to entertain us.  Why are we giving them the power to do this?  We need to cut them off.

 

 

 

Anniversaries

This month brings two important anniversaries for me.  June 24, 1987, I graduated from High School, making this year the 30th Anniversary.  It is also 8 years since I nearly died at the hand of my ex husband.  It is hard to believe how fast life passes you by.

I have very few people that I still speak to from high school, only those who have been life long friends.  I have even fewer from the time when I left the panhandle who I still communicate with.  It’s hard to believe those who believed the lies of an abuser over the woman who nearly died at his hands.  <shrug> It is what it is.  Can’t change the world or those who have eyes that can’t see.

My son & I are preparing to head North on Saturday to visit an old friend from my USMC days.  So excited.  A whole lot of catching up will be had and a whole lot of laughing, singing, dancing and foolishness.  I haven’t even begun to pack.  I figure tomorrow is soon enough.

I am one week post surgery on my throat and still feeling a bit of pain; but what can you expect when you have something shoved down your throat to remove a cyst.  It’s healing according to the doctor.

Currently reading three books.  One is on Ruth and breaks down her life with Naomi and how she abandoned her life in Moab to go with her mother-in-law, to Judah, and worship the one true King.  The 2nd is a Max Lucado study on Jesus at the Cross.  It is broken down into the tiniest of details of that day.  My 3rd is by Anne Graham Lotz called “The Daniel Prayer”.  It is how to make your prayer life as powerful as Daniel prayed to the Lord and finally freed the Israelites’ from their 75 year imprisonment by Babylon.  It’s a follow along study with Videos on her site.

I bought the movie, “The Shack” on Tuesday and my son & I watched it that night.  Such a powerful movie and had me in tears again.  Love that movie so much.  The lessons it brings are simply beautiful and give such hope.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I hope your day is spent in beauty and love.

My wish is to always be the best Mother I can be to my son.  The Sarah Connor Meme was what he posted on my FB wall for Mother’s Day.  I guess that speaks for itself. LOL!  Oh how I love that boy of mine. ❤

Friday evening was the Band Awards Night.  My parents came and my son received his Junior year award, his Jazz, Percussion and Marching pins and was named Most Outstanding Musician for this past year.  So proud of him and his accomplishments. Afterwards, I took him, my parents and one of his friends out for dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. Delicious food, great company and lots of laughs.  Gave my mom her gifts for Mother’s Day and we all had a great time.  So blessed to have these great times together.

I know I have a year until my son graduates and we’re making the most of our time together.   The first two weeks after school gets out, we’re going to Virginia to spend time with friends.  Not sure if the whole time will be there; but we shall see.  Also have an open invite from my Uncle in NC to stop by, so I may spend a few days with them as well.

I am so looking forward to our trip.  It’s about a 17 hour drive; but I know the two days it takes to get there will be tedious, however, well worth the hassle.  Seeing a friend I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  So blessed to be able to do so.  He’s just had both knees replaced and I just can’t let any more time go between us.  I have to see him.  I can hardly wait to meet his wife.  She’s sweet and kind and has tamed this man a lot from our youth.  I adore them.

This year has gone by quickly; but the last week has seemed to crawl by slowly.  I guess knowing that it is only a few weeks until I get to vacation must be what is making it seem this way.  Of course, the time we’re away will fly by for sure. LOL!

Last week, my cousin laid to rest her boyfriend of 17 years.  It was unexpected.  He had a brain tumor that he didn’t know about, caused him to lapse into a coma and become brain dead within two days.  Devastating her, his family and their friends.  What is strange is that in September, shortly after my own loss, we had gotten together and had discussed what would happen to her if something happened to him.  I had been explaining to her all the things I needed to go through with the power of attorney, lawyer, cremation, etc.   She expressed her concerns about her situation with me and I listened and shared what I knew from my own personal experience.  I hope it led to a talk with him about it.  She hasn’t been up to talking to anyone, so I am not sure.  I feel so bad about the situation.  She loved him so much.

Actively working on my patience.  On my second Max Lucado bible study book.  Did a short one on patience that I’d gotten from another source.  It was only on patience and about 60 pages, but very intense.  I certainly needed that.  Still waiting on God’s perfect timing.  ❤

God Is Good!

I began reading Max Lucado’s new book, “He Still Moves Stones” and I’m on chapter 4 last night and right there, in black and white, it shows me that even Jesus had trouble with his family.  WOW!  Max let me know that it is okay that I have walked away from my sisters and father due to the way they treat me.  That Jesus left His family and it wasn’t until His death that His family sang His praises.  (No I don’t want them to sing my praises when I’m dead)  It is just good to know that I’m in good company with the family thing.  😀

This past weekend, I took my son and his friend to Daytona to watch the FFCC Championship.  Last year, our High School won 1st Place.  This year, the lazy band director wouldn’t do Indoor Drumline, much to the kids disappointment.

Daytona was beautiful.  The weather excellent.  The hotel sucked!  They never cleaned our room on Saturday while we were gone all day.  Not happy.  No clean towels and when I went to the front desk, no one was there; but a sign that says “we’re full”.

The competition was great.  Very much so for us.  The boys hung out with friends from another school and just had a stress free weekend.  My son got sunburn on the top of his feet.  He missed school yesterday since he couldn’t wear shoes.  SMH.  Walked the beach.  Went to the fishing pier.  Saw dolphins and black tip sharks in the water.  I got a little sun; but I know better than to over expose myself due to the Lupus.  I bought a nice purple ball cap that I just love and almost bought a turtle; but worried he wouldn’t make it home alive.

I went to Bubba Gump for an early dinner/late lunch before going over to the arena and I must say it was delish!  The waiter was great, the whole staff, actually.  I had the Calamari and a shrimp po’boy along with 2 Georgia Peach tea’s that gave me a slight buzz; but wore off very quickly.  LOL!

Started PT yesterday.  Not too bad, so far.  I had to wear a pain pump patch for 3 hours afterwards which is a type of cortisone.  At least I’m not allergic to it. Ha, ha.

 

 

The Shack

If you want to see an extraordinary movie, I highly recommend “The Shack”.  You will laugh, you will cry and you will experience a miracle as long as your heart is open.

As someone who has suffered incredible pain in my life from so many sources, I definitely felt healing was the main purpose of this incredible movie.  On the way home, I stopped and bought the soundtrack and the book to read.  (Yes, I am nuts, but I’m okay with that.)

Sometimes when this life has dealt us too much pain to bear and we let it surround us and encompass us, we lose our hope.  We blame ourselves, we blame others and we blame God.  However, this movie introduces us to God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit and lets us see through their eyes.  Oh, the power of this movie is tremendous.

I spent time praying for another’s hurts while watching this movie.  I couldn’t NOT pray.  This movie has moved me beyond mere words.  To say it is powerful is an understatement.  Since seeing the previews, I have been drawn to this movie.  I am so grateful I went to see it.

I also had the pleasure of sharing the experience with two great women friends.  Each woman felt the same way.  Anastasia had previously read the book and mentioned that it was one of the few movies she’s seen that actually does the book justice.

My girlfriends and I enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal afterwards and great conversations as well.  I cannot imagine a better end to a great day than a movie and meal with friends.

My heart wants me to share the movie with the man whom God is preparing me for; but I don’t know how to broach the subject with him at present, so I am sure that God will reveal the way.

I love the Lord.  I rejoice in being saved by Jesus and I so hope that by sharing with others that they will come to know God through me.

 

Painting & Craft Show

I’ve made two and a half paintings this week.  I have been feeling rather sick for the last week and a half.  Last Sunday, I couldn’t even get out of bed.  My vertigo has been acting up and when it does, I feel so out of control.

Anyway, I made a painting for my dear friend, Francine.  It’s a beautiful woman, reaching for the light with red hair.  Yes, Francine is a red head.  She’s a beautiful person and I just saw a picture on the internet and I just had to paint it for her.  Francine is alone in NYC.  Her parents are both gone and we’ve just made such a strong connection with each other.  She also has a Pomeranian, so, she’s a great person. LOL!  Even though the distance is far, we connect on a deep level and I can’t imagine a better friend than her.  She’s also an inventor and is now marketing her baby travel containers.  I just adore her.

My second painting this week was of the Pittsburgh skyline.  It needs one more thing added to it; but I am pretty satisfied with it.  I’ve started a third by painting the entire canvas black and it now awaits it’s subject matter.  Yesterday I was going to start on it; but my dizziness is making it hard to hold my head up, so it will have to wait.

Next Saturday is the craft show I signed up for to sell my jewelry creations.  I’d asked a friend to look them over; but so far, hasn’t done so.  <sigh> I don’t want to be a pest, so I’ll just go forth without knowing.

I have necklaces and bracelets and I just need to get some hooks for my display boards and I will be set.  It is at one of the local high schools and is just 1/2 a day, so I should be okay.  I’ve already gotten a table cloth and have added many tags and such to them at this point.  I really hope all goes well.  I also hope that I am feeling a bit better before this day comes.  UGH!  Sometimes I so hate my body and it’s betrayal.

Tomorrow, I go back to the ENT doctor.  I am not looking forward to this at all.  I know that I am still suffering from voice problems and I have no idea where this will lead me.  The right side of my throat is throbbing today.  I couldn’t even speak last night by the time I went to bed.  I am really afraid that I have a serious problem with my voice box and I don’t want to lose it forever.  Of course, I have a big voice, so it would be missed. LOL!  I had a friend once who called me “Ethel Merman” all the time and when he did, I’d belt out a song in imitation of her.  He’d always laugh.

Have I mentioned that patience isn’t one of my strong suites?  LOL!  Still “patiently” waiting on the Lord.  Having to be patient with these test results.  Got blood work done on the 31st and was able to look them up on Friday and was pleased that they reflected much better than 6 months ago.  It was really hard to wait for the few days to see them; but I am extremely please with the results all the same.

Rooting for the Falcons today in the Super Bowl.  I just can’t root for the Patriots, not since “Deflate Gate”.  It was such a betrayal and I just can’t do it.  So, the Falcons it is.

I remember when I was married and we used to have such great Super Bowl parties.  I’d spend two days preparing food and getting the house ready for the game and we’d have such fun.  Or I’d prepare food and we would go to the American Legion and party there all night.  Such great fun.  I even found my son’s Steeler’s jersey from way back when.  It’s so tiny.  Made me miss him being that small.  Hard to believe he’s already 17.  Time sure does fly.

You can never go back.  So, onward and upward.

 

Out of my comfort zone

I have a friend from childhood on FB who recently posted two videos with him singing on them.  He’s pretty good.  We were in choir together in HS and he had his own rock band back then that was pretty popular among our peers.  He also had a gal we knew from then sing back up vocals to his first song.  She was quite the singer back in the day, too.  Our music teacher commented on the post encouraging others to do the same.  Planted a seed in this crazy mind of mine. LOL!

I am seriously considering doing the same thing.  I love to sing.  I have a large vocal range and even put on a “One Woman” show back in 2005, which was met with acclaim.  I remember when I was stationed in Iwakuni and went to my first karaoke bar and was conned into singing a song with a friend.  I was so nervous; but I did it anyway.  I started singing and the entire bar went completely silent.  My two friends, who were with me, were slack jawed in awe.  It made me feel so good about my abilities.

I am not one who seeks out admiration from others.  I don’t like to be the center of attention; but I do just want to do what I love and if that makes others happy, then that’s great, too.  With that said, I am going to try it.  I’m going to sing some songs and then I’m going to post them on youtube and put it out there.  <shrug>  Who knows where it will go; but it will be me, raw and naked for the world to see.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved music.  It is timeless.  It is magical and it is beautiful.  It speaks to those who let it and resonates through the ages.  I cannot imagine my life without it.

Over the last several months, I’ve been pushing myself to do things I haven’t done in ages.  I am liking all these new experiences.  It is definitely pushing the envelope that is for sure.  I’d not do these types of things, at least not in a long time.  I’m finally off the back burner and have rejoined the human race.  Well, at least the creative side of it.  Ha, ha.

After school today, I sat here and listened to my son, who was playing his drums in the garage and I have to say I am very impressed with him.  I’ve watched him go from not being able to play at all to mastering the art.  What an impressive thing to have witnessed, the growth and development of a young musician.

Hopefully, I will be able to watch his talent develop into a wonderful life of music and a career he will blossom in.  ❤

Happy New Year

So, it’s a new year and only 4 days until the kid goes back to school.  I’ve kept the kids busy.  We went to Russell Stover’s and Museum of Science yesterday.  It was a nice day for us and they seemed to really enjoy the museum a lot.

New Year’s Eve was spent going out to eat at Rib City, followed by church service.  We watched “God’s Not Dead 2”.  Great movie.  Cried, of course.  Makes you think, that’s for sure and the movie left an out for a third movie.

Took the kids to see the movie Sing, which I really enjoyed.  I wasn’t sure that I would; but I really did.  Cute movie.  Will probably buy it.

I’m deciding whether to sign up for a craft show on February 11th.  I’ve gotten busy making stuff for the day and went shopping for some supplies today that were on sale as well.  I’m going to be busy, that’s for sure.  😀   I’m hoping the craft show gets well promoted.  It’s being held at ICHS, so hopefully they do a good job of it.  Just wanting some advice about if I should go for it or not.

Things have been slow and easy here at the house.  I am taking down the tree tomorrow.  It’s been up long enough.  I can’t believe that Valentine’s Day stuff is already out.  Stores seem to push the holidays on us nearly as soon as the last one is finished.

Book work is coming along well.  Over 30,000 words completed.  The car is going in for it’s first scheduled maintenance check next week.  I finally hit over 4,000 miles this week.  Ha, ha.  Only took me 6 months. 😀

Mom turns 70 tomorrow.  Can’t believe it.  She certainly doesn’t act like it.  She’s just told me a few weeks ago that she wants to take my son and nephew on vacation this summer across country.  This, of course, is after I told her I was taking my son up north to visit with his siblings and to visit several friends.  I am not happy; but even if my son goes with them, I believe I will still go north to visit.  I can’t believe that she knowingly made these plans.  Same shit, different day, I guess.  I haven’t said anything to her; because there truly is no point.  SMH.

Well, I’m off to get busy making stuff.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!