Summertime…..

Here we are, on the cusp of summertime and so begins the rains.  We’ve been lucky thus far that its rained only at night so far; but I’m sure the normal afternoon monsoons will start soon.

My son & I have been looking at new places to live and we may have found one.  We shall have to wait and see if all goes well.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks with us finding, then viewing, then finding more places and viewing, in a seemingly endless cycle of disappointments.

What has made these trips worse has been the fact that my ear infections have progressed to the “worse” stage and my vertigo is strongly asserting itself into my life and causing me intense dizziness to the point of severe nausea.  Not even sea sickness bands or tablets have provided any relief at all.  It’s a nightmare.  My only hope is that next week, when the ENT places tubes in my ears, it will help.

My son passed his driving test today, so he’s finally street legal.  Finally got an appt with the advisor at the college.  Looking good for the scholarship to pay for it and we’re working toward being settled into a new place before he starts in August.

Today’s prize was that everything seemed to be going our way.  I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Ha, ha.

The places we looked at today:  first one a total bust.  Bad neighborhood, duplex, small and not a good place for the pups to live.  Not happy with it at all.  The second place was nice.  Spacious, nice flooring, good neighborhood, quaint, great fenced back yard for the pups and we both agreed we like it.

Cons:  Needs washer, dryer, microwave and  chicken wire for the fence.  The fence is a nice wooden one; but my baby, Honi, could slip right between the slats, so we’ll have to put up some chicken wire, about 2 feet from the ground up, to prevent her from escaping.  There are 6 foot privacy fences on both neighbor’s sides.  Not a bad little place.  I can see the potential of me building up the landscape in the back yard.  The yard is just big enough for us to let the pups out for their thing and for any BBQ we may want to do out their.

However, with all the things I need to do for the place, which isn’t a whole lot, I look forward to doing them.  I also need to do some more packing.  I’ve gone and reduced the number of storage tubs I’ve had in the garage and added a bunch more stuff to the donation boxes.  My craft room will be my biggest challenge; but I’m up to it.

I’ve been looking at storage solutions, room ideas, decorating ideas and more, just wanting to change things up a bit.  I look forward to the challenges.  Of course, my son has many friends who have volunteered to assist us with the move and I am grateful that they’re on board with helping us out.  I definitely couldn’t do it without them.

Last Friday, we went to see Incredibles 2 with one of my son’s friends.  Not bad for a sequel.  It’s great how they will only produce quality stories. I’ve heard that Cars 2 is crap; but since I didn’t care for Cars to begin with, I never watched the other 2 they put out.  Anyway, we laughed so hard at the humor and cheered on the supers before going home satisfied with the movie.

My partner at church will be gone for the last two weeks of July and first two weeks  of August, so I’ll be “THE” AV gal.  My son will take care of the sound portion and we’ll work as a team.

This past week, I watched as our drummer, (the man who had a stroke back in October, whom my son was subbing for) playing like his old self.  So great to see where God took him in his health care journey.  We are all so grateful that he is back in the band and my son will be his “sub” when he can’t make it in.  Such a blessing.  God is so good! ❤

Our Pastor was able to come back to church on Saturday as well.  He’s been out the last two weeks with stomach issues that seem to be resolving.  YEAH! We have an associate Pastor working with us the rest of the summer with our band in order to give our Pastor a break.  Another blessing in our lives.  God is so Good!!!

My love of this church family is so overwhelming.  I absolutely adore them and look forward to the days when we get together.  I cannot think of a better family dynamic than ours.  We pray together, we share our lives, we cry, we laugh, we love, we learn and we worship the Father, all while singing the praises of the great I AM.  We are small; but mighty.

On this journey we call life, don’t forget Who put us here and how much He loves us.

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Graduation, Schools and Guns

My weekend started Friday morning with Graduation rehearsal for the boy.  Once that was over, I took the girls out for lunch and a movie to celebrate one of their birthdays.  We saw Deadpool 2 and had a great Italian meal.  I then headed home to get my son and take him to dinner with his grandparents.

Once home, I prepared for the morning and headed to bed.  We had the first scheduled Graduation of the day over at the college stadium, which began at 10 am; but arrival was 9 am.  We got up and out to make it to the 9 am arrival time.  My son looked so handsome in his cap & gown and the service was actually pretty smooth and timely.

After the ceremony, photos with friends and family, we headed out to eat at a local place for lunch with “the birthday girl” and her family to celebrate both of their achievements.  Her father paid for it all their 6 and we were a group of 6, 12 people. WOW! He told me that he was more than happy to pay it for all I have done for his daughter.  I was so deeply touched by this beautiful gesture.  I am truly blessed.

We spent the afternoon with my parents and after they left, we were both sacked, so I went to bed and the boy to his room to do whatever.  My son let me know before I went to bed that he was having about 10 friends over the next day. UGH!

Sunday morning was a rush to the store for provision and a cake.  I’ve been so busy this weekend with things, that today was the first day I heard of the terrible events in Texas on Friday.  My heart is saddened and I am so sorry for the loss and heartbreak these families are suffering.

I know that I have previously written about schools and guns.  I know I have shared my point of view.

I believe that if we enforce the laws we have, things like this could be harder to happen.  I also think that David Hogg, who calls himself a survivor of the Parkland, FL shooting in February, is in serious need of some mental health treatment.  I think this NOT because he was there; but because he calls himself a survivor, even though he was at home during the attack.  In my mind, that is like saying my dog is a rape survivor because no one has ever raped her.

Remember, the above statements are ONLY my opinion and I’m not at the nearest media outlets spouting outrage and propaganda.  I don’t have twitter and I hardly post anything on my facebook page; but scripture references and family/friend photos.

With all that being said, the fact that Mr. Hogg is tweeting propaganda, lies and making up statistics is shameful.  People believe his lies and shameful, insulting accusations of our political leaders.  A bill doesn’t become law over night, despite what Mr. Hogg may think.  The system is flawed, only because the laws on the books are not properly enforced.  It’s easy to blame others for our failings.  It’s easy to point fingers.  What isn’t easy is taking responsibility for our own failings.

Unarming the public is not the solution.   I shared previously about the unarming of citizens overseas and how they are now being prosecuted for their facebook posts.  When one of our freedoms is taken and nullified, the rest are sure to follow.

This is a mental health issue.  The shame and stigma of mental health issues is pathetic and if we’d stop shaming kids who have these problems or putting them on drugs in elementary school, we might raise a better generation of children; but what do I know?  I’m only a mom, a blogger, a disabled veteran and a woman.

What I see, though, is my sons friends parents who are uninvolved it their kids lives due to overworking, no interest or just don’t give a crap.  I see kids so starved for love that they call me mom, run and hug me whenever I am near and genuinely love me; because I care about what they are involved in.  I care about what they’re doing outside of the band room and ask.  I care about their days.  I listen.  Sometimes I give advice, sometimes a shoulder to cry on.  Most of all, I give them my time.  And, I genuinely love them.

My opinion is just that.  I don’t have the solutions.  I don’t know how to help these lost souls.  I wish I did.  I can only pray that something is done to fix this and that no more lives are lost.

School Walk Out

We do not need stronger gun control laws, what we do need is better Mental Health Care.  Laws don’t stop criminals.  Laws don’t stop gun violence.  An unarmed citizenship allows dictatorships to become a reality, just ask the Jews from WWII.

I remember while I was still in school, Bernie Goetz shot and seriously wounded four men who tried to rob him on the subway.  This was not the first time he’d faced attackers trying to rob him and when the first time ended in the attackers getting a slap on the wrist, he got angry.  This seems to me to be the start of people taking social injustices into their own hands.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, advocating for any type of vigilante justice or justifying anyone shooting anyone.  However, I should be able to carry a gun in order to protect myself and property from anyone.  I can also do a lot of damage with a knife, a bat, a crowbar, a broken glass bottle, etc.  If I am wanting to do damage, I will find a way to do it, regardless of the weapon and will get any kind of weapon, illegally or not to do it.  That’s just the way people work.

If I want to hurt you badly enough, I will find the means with which to do it.  It is that simple.

On the other side of the coin, we have a lot more mental illness springing up all over the place.  PTSD is running rapidly through our military, domestic violence sufferers, accident victims and violence survivors.  We have bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression, dementia and OCD that cause our brains to act in a non-normal way.  Sometimes they are easily identified and sometimes they are not.  Sometimes they are controlled with medication, sometimes they are not.  The stigma we have placed on mental disorders has people who suffer them hiding in shame.

I remember when I was 13 years old and suffered from chronic ear infections (and still do to this day) my pediatrician told my parents it was psychosomatic (all in my mind) and my father freaked out fearing they’d stick this in my medical records, stigmatizing me for life as someone with a mental disorder.  Crazy, right?  True!

We, as a society, need to tear off the Band-Aid that hides people in a closet of shame for being sick.  We do not choose to be this way, it just happens.  Whether it is because of trauma, chemical imbalance, birth/DNA or whatever the reason, mental illnesses are no different than having cancer, influenza, Lupus, arthritis, liver disease, etc.  It is out of the person’s hands and is no more controllable than the sun rising and setting.

I suffer PTSD.  I also take Cymbalta for it.  I will never be able to come off of this drug; because of it.  Without this drug, I can’t go out in public, I suffer in anxiety in crowds, I have uncontrollable episodes of rage and violence, incredible bouts of fear, my mind likes to cycle into madness and my fight or flight response is in overdrive.  I am not ashamed of my PTSD; because it shows the world that I survived what could have destroyed me.  I have had four traumatic instances in my life that have caused me to be at this point in my life and each one could have easily destroyed a weaker person.  I think of it as a badge of honor, not a stigma of shame.  I wish others could feel the same about themselves.

I don’t want to see another school shooting.  I don’t want to see another Oklahoma City bombing.  I don’t want to see another Washington Sniper or Las Vegas Shooter.  I want to see mental health care given a priority.  I want the stigma removed from it.  I want us to live in a better, more caring world.

Taking our guns away will not stop the violence.  Those who wish to do harm will find a way.  We need to wake up and help our fellow humans to be better humans.  Wake up, people!!!  We are turning into our own worse nightmare and if we’re not careful, we may wake up imprisoned by the very people who want to use violence against us.

Walking out for gun violence is not going to solve anything and most who walk out will only do it to get out of class.  Addressing the underlying issue will go a lot further than unarming our citizens.

Whatever you decide to do, be safe while doing it.

God Bless!

 

Sunday Musings

Once again, I’m suffering from double ear infections.  UGH!  Every time I get one, I think back to the pediatrician who told my mother that my ear pain was psychosomatic and all I wanted was attention at the age of 13 and how she took it as gospel.  This is the same doctor who told my mother that my sister, at the age of 8, was insecure because she still slept with a teddy bear and that her stomach pains (which was a blocked intestine) was all in her head.  After hearing this, my mother took her x-rays and medical records to the ER in another county and was diagnosed immediately with the blockage and was told they caught it in time before it killed her. So, her believing this quack was an insult.  Because of it, I never complained again and kept my pain to myself.  It wasn’t worth the fight.

Anyway, I’m forever suffering from them.  When my son was a baby, I discussed it with his pediatrician, who told me that I shouldn’t have them either.  UGH!  Not everyone is the same.  It’s why I think I’ve had Lupus a lot longer than  when my diagnosis came in 2007.  It would explain a lot of other ailments over the years.

I’ve binge watched several shows on Netflix.  Just watched “6 Souls”, “The Five” and “The Fall” over the four days.  They were a little intense.   I’m a police show junky.

I’m worried about my son.  College, leaving home, etc.  He’s 18; but very naïve.  I’ve been letting him drive home from school daily.  I wanted to get him lessons; but at $70 an hour, I just can’t afford it.  So, we’re on our way to doing it slowly.  I just hope his confidence grows; because at present, he’s still very nervous.

I’m needing a new place to live.  I know that when the child support runs out, I’ll not be able to afford this place anymore.  A friend shared a link to some cute cottages; but at present, they’re not even built. They are going to be built in an area that I would not move to due to the high crime rate also, so Nope!  Since it’s “Snow Bird” season, rentals are not easy to find, so I’ll have to start looking during the March/April time period.

I’ve begun working the AV at church and still have my nose in the bible by doing a bible study of Philippians and reading the book, “Girls With Swords” by Lisa Bevere.  I’m hoping that God will reveal where He wants me to go and how He is going to get me there.  I’m feeling a bit lost right now and I just have to keep taking baby steps in hopes that it is the right direction.

I am so broken these days.  I can only hope to recover.  Hurt and heartache are no stranger to me.  I just feel like I’m drowning in it all the time.

Between heartache and illness, I’m just so tired of being sick and tired.

13 Reasons Why: Part 2

So, I have just spent the last 3 days watching the Netflix Series, “13 Reasons Why” based on the book by Jay Asher.  My original post can be found here.  Again, I warn you — “SPOILER ALERT!”

Based on the novel, it is a bit different in that it adds details that were not part of the book, such as the way those involved now interacted once each one received the tapes for listening.  It also involves a lawsuit involving Hannah Baker’s parents, in which they are suing the school because she was bullied.

It all starts with Clay Jenson, the 11th tape, who receives the 13 sides (7 tapes) in which Hannah Baker tells what has led her to take her own life.   In this version, Clay gets all kinds of grief from the others involved; because the young man has a conscience and a good moral code and standard.  After each tape, he confronts the antagonist with their part and causes them to all begin to question their roles in the end of this young woman’s life.

Let me tell you something.  It is not fun to be bullied.  It is not fun to be teased for being different and it’s not fun to be beaten up or raped.  Your actions have consequences.  What you do, you are accountable for and responsible for the fall out.  Life does not give you an easy way out when you have wronged another.  You may not see it right away; but eventually, it comes around.

Young men have to be crystal clear on getting a YES before having sex, because rape is a horrible thing.  Of course, a man can also be raped and the same rule applies.

The ripple effect.  When one action leads to another, bringing on another, etc. resulting in an end action that could have been prevented or maybe having a lasting effect on another.  You see, we’re all ripples and we effect the lives of all of those around us.  I have a bad day.  I run into someone and lose my temper with them, causing them to have their own ruined day and the effect moves ever onward.  OR  Someone having a bad day, runs into me and I decide to NOT allow it to ruin my day.  It can go either way.

Eg. Several years ago, my neighbor’s son parked his car on the street, and while I was backing out of the driveway, I hit the door and dented it.  I immediately contacted the neighbor of the incident.  He was upset; but understood, accidents happen. His son parked it illegally and there wasn’t enough room for me to back up; but I was still in the wrong and admitted it.  The police came and we were both faulted for the incident.  However, my neighbor’s wife was another story.  She came out, ranting and raving about it, calling me names, making me more upset about making an error in judgment.

Anyway, I digress.  The 13 episodes, based on the book, sent a powerful message and I would recommend it, if you read the books or not.  It’s a powerful story; but it makes a person think and consider their actions.  I hope that those who watch it, know that they have other options in this life.  Suicide is not an option.

Teens, especially, are vulnerable.  Hormones, emotions gone wild, not understanding or knowing how to talk about what is going on, fear, embarrassment, a multitude of reasons we adults can’t remember feeling “way back then” will assault a young mind into believing that they are unworthy, too far gone, afraid, whatever!!!  The worst thing, is being lost and alone.

BUT, You Are NOT ALONE!!!  Someone loves you. Mom, dad, best friend, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc.  Someone out there loves you.  Just reach out.  Someone will take your hand and if, for some reason, you feel you can’t, call a hotline.  There IS help out there.

http://13reasonswhy.info  has resources to assist you!

Don’t give up!  YOU MATTER!!!

Addendum:  I’ve just read several articles from parents who are totally opposed to this movie and it’s book.   Reason?  It deals with a dead girl, who killed herself and that is NOT the way to deal with this subject and teens.  Or they say that it glamourizes suicide.  WOW!!! Really?

Okay, so several year ago, a teen in our town killed herself for the same reasons given in the book.   I know kids who were friends with this girl.  Kids that were upset, knew she was bullied and did nothing to help her.  The fall out from that suicide was horrible.  What did they do?  Counselors were available for those in need; but for the most part, it was a non-issue for the school district.  Oh and an anti-bully rally was had, with miserable attendance so as to have no real effect.

With that being said, I have to wonder what is the right approach to this subject?  We discuss the issue in school.  Most kids think it’s a joke.  They make fun of those who are on their films, posters and the stories when they leave the auditorium  I’ve seen it.  I’ve heard it.  What will it take to get through to teens?  I don’t have the right answers; but I do know that sometimes it takes a book and series like this one to wake people up.

I don’t have the answers.  What I do have is a desire to save the next person who wants to do so. Sometimes it is no ones fault.  Sometimes the fault lies with persons who a no longer in the picture.

I also know that the guilt of the survivors is hard.  When my friend tried to kill himself several years ago, he was suffering from the horrors of childhood, which he’d never fully dealt with and a 20 year marriage that went down the tubes, the still births of two daughters  and his 2 lives sons telling him to screw off.  That’s a lot of baggage for someone.  He attempted, I called the police and ambulance and then I was left with the repercussions.  In his mind, he was the victim and I had no reason to feel anything.  I did, though.  I suffered.

No matter the reasons, the hurt is long lasting.  We need to face this issue head on.  It happens.  It hurts all involved.  We need to wake up and IMO, this series/book does not glamorize suicide, it shows the fall out and how it leaves the people behind feeling.  We have to stop sheltering our kids; because we’re raising generations of people who are weaker and less able to handle everyday stress, let alone major crisis.

Wake up!

 

Movies, Madness & Mayhem

So happy that it’s fast approaching the new year.  I can only hope that life will keep getting better and better.

Went to see “Greatest Showman” last night with my son and a few of his friends.  Loved it, even though it is not even close to being a biographical story on P.T. Barnum’s life, it was, however; a great movie.  The music, singing and dancing were excellent.  I’d go see it a 2nd time for sure.  From beautiful clothes and scenery to the great acting, it was a beautiful movie.  It definitely was inspirational in that it encourages us to chase our dreams, no matter what anyone else thinks or feels.

As for the Lord and me, we’ve been trying to communicate to no avail.  I’ve been praying, asking and seeking; but I’m getting confusing replies and I’m sure that it will become clearer to me as time goes on; but at present, I’m hitting a few walls.  I’ve had two dreams on point, though they confused me greatly, I’ve received several picture clues as well; but I think I’m blocking them.  I’ve received several “MY plan, MY will, MY way” scriptures and I’m just hoping that I’ll figure it all out in time.  I think my upset from last week has me shut down on some levels and I have to let that go and continue on.  My heart is hurting; but I will carry on with the faith walk.

As for they mayhem, well, the dog is driving me nuts.  His bladder control problems are wrecking havoc all over the house and I just want to scream.  I know it’s not his fault; but it is messy and driving me nuts just the same.  I mop the floors daily.  As soon as I finish, I’m positive he waits until just then and he does it again.  UGH!

I’ve just finished John Bevere’s book, “Holy Spirit”.  Awesome book.  Loved it.  Can’t wait to start my next one, “Girls with a Sword” by his wife, Lisa Bevere.  I’ve listened to both of them speak on YouTube and am very impressed with their teachings on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I’m trying to grow closer to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my faith walk.  I can only hope to get to the level these two people have reached.

I am currently sharing the job of Audio-Visual duties with another at my church.  Since we no longer have any children for “Kids Church”  I’m not teaching.  We have only 3 youth, who go to AWANA at another church on Wednesday night, so I don’t have duties for them, so I’ve been at a loss.  My dear friend has been doing the AV for years and I had the opportunity to do it for her a few weeks ago since she was unavailable.  Well, I so enjoyed it, I told her I’d love to join her in this duty.  She was overjoyed and I now feel I have renewed purpose in my church life.  So, we’re switching out weeks as needed.  When I have Indoor Drumline duty the end of January and twice in March, she’ll take it and other than that, we’ll have every other week.

I love to serve.  I like to feel useful and I know that this will be the best thing for me after the boy goes off to college.  YEAH!

Can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us all!

Long Week

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What a week this has been.  My son had rehearsals 3 out of 5 days and performances on two nights.  He played drums for the Choir concert on Tuesday evening and then had a Jazz performance on Thursday evening.  We no sooner ended Marching season and have now begun Indoor Drumline, which doesn’t end until April.

The Jazz performance was great.  His director singled him out and told about the song they were playing, “Drumming Man” which featured my son on the drums throughout.  Great piece and he did an incredible job.  He’s also stepped up and is subbing for our drummer at church, who had a stroke 3 weeks ago and is in rehab.  So proud of my boy. ❤

I went to the doctor on Friday due to this prolonged crap from Irma stirring up all kinds of garbage.  Gave me a more powerful antibiotic, two shots, singular and nasal spray.  Doctor told me I was full of fluid in my ears and my sinuses are swollen.  UGH!  So sick of this crap. 😦

My son and I went to see “Wonder” on Friday evening and it was pretty good.  He had read the book a while ago and was curious to see how good the movie was going to be.  He is now on my sh*t list.  He broke the cardinal law of taking me to the movies.  THE DOG DOES NOT DIE!  Anything can happen.  People can die, just don’t kill the dog.  Simple rule.  You’d think my kid would know better?  Nope.  Dog dies.  I lose it and he says, “Oops, Mom, I forgot.”  He’s grounded for the next few years!!!!!

After church last evening, we stopped at CVS.  We were in the Christmas aisle and I was playing with the musical animals.  One was doing a rocking rendition of Sleigh Bells and I was dancing.  Little did I know I was also being videoed and sent to my sons snap chat for all his friends to see.   Brat!  Though he got a lot of great responses to it like:  That is so your mom.  Aw, sweet!  She’s so much fun.   I’m not too upset, just caught off guard that he would do something like this.  SMH Gotta watch myself in public around this one.

We just got Netflix.  We’ve both binge watched “Stranger Things” and “Mindhunters”.  We like them both.  Not sure what the next thing will be.  We LOVE the new ABC show “The Good Doctor”.  He’s a big Freddie Highmore fan from “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” and “Spiderwick Chronicles”.  He didn’t really care for “Bates Motel”, though.

I can only imagine what this current week will bring our way.

 

Suicide is not an option……

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I know I’ve mentioned it before; but in case you didn’t remember, I’ve escaped death 7 times.  Yup, that’s right.  Faced it, died, & survived.  God was not finished with me yet.  I still have work to do on this planet and despite living in immense amounts of pain, I still have a purpose.

It’s hard being me.  With a million and one reasons to die, I still live.  Take the Trigeminal Neuralgia.  It’s nickname is “The Suicide Disease” because it is listed as the most painful disease in the world.  This year marks my 25 year as a sufferer for 24/7 365 days of torment. That is more than 1/2 of my life.  It sucks.  A neurologist once commented on how surprised he was that I was still alive; because so many don’t last as long as I have with the severity that I suffer with it.

However, trying to end it all is not an option.  Even though I have been hurt by those who love me, I just can’t do the same to them.  Plus, I love my son too much to leave him with that kind of legacy.  Heck, shortly after being discharged for the TN, a friend of my sister’s killed himself.  This led to a discussion between my other sister and father about the subject.  My father said he’d never forgive the person who did it and my sister told him that the only one she would forgive is me.  She just couldn’t imagine living my life.  This knocked me for a loop.  They had no idea I had tried a year earlier and lived.  They had no idea that upon waking that I figured out that God had another purpose for me and ending my life was not one of them, this being his second time for saving me from death.

I remember when my friend tried and I called an ambulance for him.  I remember how much it hurt me that he tried to give up on his life.  He suffered terribly with PTSD and drank and overate and the list goes on.  His health deteriorated and he passed a year ago.  His attempt hit me hard.  He told me to “get over it”; because it had nothing to do with me.  I was not permitted to feel anything over this situation.  I was not permitted to do anything; but suffer silently.

That’s the thing.  When facing suicide, the person contemplating it doesn’t see anyone but themselves.   Some use it as a cry for help.  Some truly want to die.  Some want pity.  Some need attention.  Some succeed.  And some destroy those around them by leaving behind so many unanswered questions, guilt, heartbreak, nightmares, and more.

Suicide is more than taking a life.  It is destroying those who love and care for you.  There is nothing so bad in this life that dying is the only answer!!!!  You will have your heart torn out of your chest, stomped on and left in the dirt by someone you love.  Time will heal your heart and God will fill in the gaps.  You will get fired.  You will lose a loved one.  You will crash your car, be homeless, have no money, or a million other tragedies and you can survive!

Several years ago, I came across a link to an article bearing a familiar name.  It was about a young Marine who was over in the Gulf and lost both legs.  On the page was a photo of the young man as a boy with his two sisters.  I took that picture.  It was one Thanksgiving over in Japan.  The beautiful, smiling face stared back at me and the memories of my time overseas, with this family, flashed before me.  I held that boy in my arms and read to him.  I baby sat him.  I worked with his dad.

As I read the article, I found out about what his community was doing for him as a disabled veteran.  His mother recalled how this young man was such a happy go lucky person and that despite this “setback” he was still that same guy.  The once 6′ 3″ man was now closer to half that tall, uses a wheelchair most of the time, is an encouragement to those he knows and to those he doesn’t.  What to some is a horrible disability, to him is a life.  He even visits other veterans and offers encouragement to them in their own situations.  I’m so impressed with this young man and even contacted him.

Suicide was NOT an option.  His wife and child believe this as well.

You will face tragedy, that is a sure thing.  You can and will survive.  So many times, I’ve reached out to God in conversation about the life I have led and why I had to go through so much heartache.  Though He gives no answers, I am comforted by the fact that He loves me so much that he won’t even allow me to die.  I am that important.

I have been hated by my parents and sisters.  I have been molested by a sick uncle.  I was forcibly raped and brutalized.  I was beaten and abused.  I have been cheated on by a man who “vowed” to love me forever.  He nearly killed me.  I have been lied to, ignored, verbally abused, and I am still here.  I have stared evil in the face and I am still here.  I have sacrificed my needs and wants to care for others who would never do the same for me.  I have saved lives and I have held the hands of those who slipped away from this life.  I have lived in hell and yet, I am still HERE!

After my failed attempt, I accepted that God has an important job for me here.  So, I thrived and survived all this world has thrown at me.  I have risen up out of the ashes of my past in order to show the world what triumph is.  I kneel at the foot of my Father’s throne and arise, wearing the full armor of the Lord so that I may battle the forces of evil.  I am a warrior!  I am the phoenix!  I am the SURVIVOR!!!

Suicide is NOT an option!

Unconditional Love

I love my son’s friends.  In his 18 years of life, he’s only had one “temporary” friend whom I did not like; because he was nothing but trouble.  His mother, unfortunately, encouraged it and I put an end to it.

I digress.

Yesterday, my son & 2 friends went to DQ with me.  We all sat together and talked for an hour about all they were going through as Seniors this year.  College essays, applications, dreams, goals and how to achieve them.  The one friend has completed all her applications and is in “wait” mode.  My son filled out two applications to his school of choice and the third friend is in the process of applying to several places.  She is stressed to the max.  Her mom is riding her butt to get it done.

As we sat and spoke of all these things, I couldn’t help but think back on all the times the four of us have gone to movies, to eat, did projects together and enjoyed each others company.  So many conversations between the four of us; but not just that.  They’ve been to my home, they’ve asked me for advice, they tell me they love me and they genuinely care about me as well as Ian.

I’m on all of their phones and have told them I would come get them, no matter the time or place, if they call.  No questions asked at that time; but we would discuss it later.  Hasn’t happened (yet) but they have the option.  I’ve always thought kids should have a “safe” place or person to talk with and try to be that person.

I’ve had kids tell me they wished I was their mom.  I’ve given hugs to those who needed it.  Been the shoulder to cry on when their heart is broken.  I’ve cheered them on and never let them feel that they weren’t the best and greatest person I’ve ever met.

I’ve celebrated victories with these friends of my sons.  I’ve celebrated birthdays with them.  I’ve offered encouragement, advice, love and correction.  I never lie to them, even if it hurts.   I’ve teased them, laughed at them and with them and my reward is more than I have ever thought possible, their love and affection.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mom.  I wanted little people I could love.  At 16, I was told it was impossible.  For the next 14 years, I believed it.  Two miscarriages due to blocked fallopian tubes and only one intact after the 2nd fetus ruptured one, I never thought I’d see the day.  Then, God blessed me with my miracle and I have loved and cherished that child ever since.

Now, all these years later, I have more kids than I can count and am happier for it.  I get hugs.  I get love.  I get to watch them grow and learn and thrive.

Yesterday also marked an interesting text from a young man who is a friend’s son.  The poor kid is sick.  He’s graduated, has a job; but no insurance and was desperate to purchase his medication to get better.  He’s not allowed to go to work for the next 5 days and asked me for help.  I purchased the scripts and told him not to worry about it, just focus on getting better.  He couldn’t thank me enough.  For me, it was a no brainer.  I didn’t need to ask him about his parents involvement, doesn’t matter.  I asked him nothing, except who to call to pay the bill.  For whatever reason, I was the go to person and since I already consider this young man a son, I only needed to meet the need, not grill him.  He is an honest, smart, kind and sweet young man of integrity.  That was all I needed to know.

Last night also brought a fall.  My son’s dog, Tippy, is 12 years old.  He’s not long for this world.  He has lost bladder control and is shaky.  He has fatty tumors, a bad eye and grumpy on a lot of days due to pain of old age.  Last night, I slipped in a puddle.  I landed hard on my left hip and elbow.  My elbow has a knot on it and is bruised and scraped.  Yes, I was covered in pee.  (GROSS) and immediately took a shower.  Was not happy since I’d just done so and was wearing fresh, clean clothes for the night; but he can’t help it.  I’m debating if I need to take him to the vet for our last good–byes; but I’m not there yet and he is not suffering.  Just keep praying for him.

You see, I’ve got this problem.  I love unconditionally these kids and this dog.  I don’t see their flaws, only their potential.  I think if we had more people who encouraged and loved, despite who they are, what they are or how they look, we’d have less ugly in this world.  I pray for them and sometimes with them.  I just hope when I’m old and they are no longer in my life, that they’ll remember me for this.

Super Carlin Brothers

Many people, especially teens, are familiar with YouTube and their many videos.  From anima to music and more, if it’s a video, you are likely to find it there.  It doesn’t matter what your interest is, you can search for it and likely find various videos in response to your query.  I’ve watched many crafting videos there to learn how to do many things.  It’s a super cool place to visit and can be very addicting as well.

Last year, as Marching Season came to an end and my son, no longer needing me to drive him to and from school after hours, as a typical teenage boy, spoke to me for a total of 5-10 minutes daily.  This included rides to and from school and while we ate dinner together.  To say I was feeling alone is an understatement.  Especially since the previous year and a half I’d spent taking care of a sick friend 24/7 and his passing left me with a lot of free time.

In typical teenage fashion, probably to get me off his back, he told me about how he loves to watch various YouTube videos and that there were a lot of channels there and I may find something of interest on it, since I was not into watching television all that much.

YouTube suggested a number of videos to watch, one of which was Super Carlin Brothers.  Super Carlin Brothers is two young men, who started a year long conversation with each other via video uploads in May of 2012.  What got me hooked on their channel was their love of Harry Potter and Pixar.

So began the journey to binge watch every video they made from day one to the present. LOL!  Who are the Super Carlin Brothers?  Two brothers from the Roanoke, VA area who were inspired by John & Hank Green to start to start their own YouTube channel and see where it would go.

Jonathan Carlin or “J” , the older brother, was super excited to be a new video maker and was very enthusiastic from day one.  All of his videos were intense and fun; because of his obvious love of doing them.

Ben Carlin, on the other hand, looked terrified for his first year or so.  He was not as comfortable as his older brother with the idea of making videos, let alone being put on the internet for anyone in the world to watch.  It made him seem vulnerable and sweet.

They also have a younger brother, Tyler, who has guest appeared in several videos; but is not a regular on the channel.

As the years began to pass, they became more and more invested in their channel and much better at the whole video posting world.  J has never lost his enthusiasm and Ben has become relaxed and more excited about being an internet celebrity.  I just love watching them.

You get to really know these guys well over the years as they tell so much about their personal lives.  J shared videos about getting engaged, married and is currently expecting his first child.  The viewers have all shared in these wonderful life events with him.

Ben owns an aquarium business in the area and has shared some of his “fish tales” on the channel.  You can even hear about his frustrations about Nemo & Dory making the business a bit harder; because kids began wanting tanks with fish similar to the fish in the movies.  I won’t spoil it; go see for yourself.  😀

You can check them out in this link:  SuperCarlinBrothers

Ben & J influenced another young YouTuber into making his own video channel.  I also got hooked on watching Seamus Gorman.  Seamus is from England and is also a theorist of the Pixar and Potter universe.  He actually came to the US about a week ago to meet Ben & J for the first time and collaborate on a few videos and theories with them.  It was great!!  You can check out Seamus Gorman’s channel in this link:  Seamus Gorman.

As I have watched all of the videos on both of these channels, I now have to wait each week for new material to come out.  That’s what happens when you binge watch things. LOL!  Of course, I’ve also gone back and re-watched some of them when I can’t remember what they were about by just the title.

These two channels have really made me rethink and re-watch movies I’d previously seen with different eyes as well as reexamine the HP books like never before.  I like things that make me think.  So, if you, like me, are looking for new takes on movies or want to visit various theories, check out their links.

I’m also a stalker, I mean fan, of theirs on Instagram.  J & Ben post a lot of their social lives on there daily.  I also follow J’s wife, who is adorable, as she shows off her baby bump and gets ready for the Super Carlin Baby to arrive.