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.

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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.

 

 

 

Nightmares

So this week has been full of nightmares.  Started with the one that had me screaming and scaring my son and I both and continued over the week. UGH!

The second one I cannot remember; but woke up to me punching the mattress.  All I can think is that I must have been in a fight.  Who knows?

Next, I dreamed an elaborate American Horror Story nightmare, complete with Finn Wittrock as he killer I was trying to escape.  Unbelievable!!!

I discussed them with a friend at church last night and she thinks it may be because it’s been almost a year since my friend died, my cousin died and my ex-husband died.  Great, I’m going to be haunted by them until October.  Nice!  I’m hoping this is not the cause and it’s something else.  We shall see if the nightmares persist.

I do confess, though, I wish I could “download” the AHS nightmare; because I’d turn it into a best selling novel and share my crazy with the world. LOL!  It was pretty intense and would make a good book along the Stephen King line of horror stories.

According to Psychology Today, most nightmares are a normal reaction to stress, and some clinicians believe they help people work through traumatic events.  WebMD suggests that people with underlying diseases may also be the reason, two of which I personally suffer from (Sleep Apnea & PTSD).  Knowing this is no comfort and I will just have to ride this wave out.

My son & I spent a half hour yesterday getting his Senior Portraits taken.  Quick, easy and painless.  Tuxedo, Cap & gown and casuals taken in a studio.  We’ll see what we get.  Afterwards, we went to Chili’s for lunch and later went to church.

It’s been raining for days here and we have a small pond or large swimming pool in our backyard, along with a flooded front lawn and driveway.  Rain will continue through tomorrow as well.  They cancelled the football game due to in on Friday and it is supposed to be rescheduled for tomorrow; but if this rain continues, I doubt it will take place.  Flooding is everywhere and it was the main reason for the cancellation, so with no end in sight, I’m sure it will not be.

All this rain has the dogs not happy.  They don’t want to go out in the wetness to do their business.  I did get them to go out earlier this morning and they were not happy being wet at all.  Not that I blame them.

At least we’re not in Texas.  I pray for their safety.  I remember back in 2004 when we rode out Ivan, a category 5, with tremendous damage.  I’ll never do that again.  A tornado ripped through our back yard and we were fortunate enough that it wasn’t 10 feet closer or our house would’ve been destroyed.  Never again!  That was a bad year for Florida with 4 major hurricane hits.

And life goes on……

 

Justified

I absolutely love the Apostle Paul. What a brilliant man, whom Jesus chose to be a Disciple in the 30 days after His crucifixion. Paul was a scholar, a lawyer and knew Jewish law by heart. However, he became one of the strongest follower of Christ and spreader of the new Christian religion in the first century. He’s also responsible for writing 2/3’s of the New Testament. I just love intelligence and it was something Paul loved to share with his fellow followers.

Last night’s service was on Justification. How we are all justified by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. How, by faith alone, we get to heaven. By Faith Alone! Romans is one of the hardest books of the bible because it is Paul explaining how the Laws of Moses are no longer a way to get to heaven; but only through the faith we give to God and Jesus.

Through the cross, Jesus shed His blood for us, paying for our sins, once and for all. Confess that Jesus is Lord, was crucified, died, and rose on the 3rd day, and you are free.  Our sins are gone. Forgiven by God, we are now righteous and justified in the eyes of the Lord. WOW!!!! We can’t get to heaven through good works, only through Jesus. Even those who try to get there by following the law will fail daily. Paul tells us that we do. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who resides within us for only His help gets me through the day.

Justified = Just as if I never sinned. To be righteous with the Lord. Make straight.

Confess that Jesus is Lord. Confess your sins to the Lord. Repent and you’re forgiven. God forgives, all we must do is ask.

Only God can help us to heal. For years, I’d held onto the past.  For years, I allowed it to keep me in anger, fear and hurt.  It was not until I came back to God that I have been able to move forward and get where I am now, forgiven and free.

I’m presently reading the book of Ezekiel in the bible.  It’s a tough one.  It presents God’s anger with the Israelites and the punishment He allowed them — 70 years captive by the Babylonians.  Only Ezekiel & Daniel were able to stay righteous in the eyes of the Lord.  Ezekiel, the prophet, who told the Israelites God’s intentions and Daniel, who stayed faithful to God in prayer and heart.

I’ve been very busy over the last few months with bible study.  I’ve done “The Daniel Prayer” by Ann Lotz, a study of Psalms by Cindy Heald, a study of Ruth by Liz Higgs and now Ezekiel.  I’m digging in deep to the word and learning my Father’s ways and words.  He is truly a wonderful Father.

School is back in session and we’re settling into the new year.  My boy is a Senior and back in band classes and Marching Band.  So proud of him.  First game is Friday and it’s away, so I’ll be a chaperone for the night.  He has a new band director, so I will be able to attend.

I had a horrible nightmare the other night and woke up screaming.  Scared my son, who came running from his room on the other side of the house.  I must have been really loud for him to have heard me with his headphones on.  YIKES!  I told him I’d rather dream of Pennywise than what I had dreamed that night.

The eclipse was nothing like I thought it would be.  Barely even darkened the sky here.  It was darker in yesterday’s thunderstorm than the eclipse.  Location, location, location. LOL!

I think our oldest dog, who is 12, is getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge.  He’s lost some bladder control and sleeps more hours than is awake.  He’s not in pain; just slowing down.  We shall see.

Still awaiting God’s perfect timing and have been really calm and patient lately.  I’m surprised by how calm I have been.  I can work myself up into a tizzy when I want to; but haven’t even given it much effort lately. Ha, ha.

Life is good. ❤

 

Last week of school!

So happy this is the last week of school.  My son is doing great.  Honor Roll student for the last 3 years and I couldn’t be prouder.  This weekend, the Juniors decorated crowns to wear today for school as the incoming Seniors for 2017-18.  I had three kids here doing it and they came out great.  Each one reflected the person greatly.  Such fun for them.

This has to be a Southern thing; because I’d never heard of it growing up.  It’s cute and they had a blast today.  They’re all looking forward to summer break.  I am, too!  For the first time in over 20 years, I’m going to see a friend.  I so can’t wait.  We’ll be leaving home on the 3rd and spending a couple of weeks up  north.

The drive will be horrible, I’m sure; but we’ll get there. 😀 It’s 17 hours; but I can do it.   Just take lots of breaks and take our time.  Two days should get us there.  He’s as excited to see me as I am to see him.  I’ll be staying with him & his wife and his daughter lives close by.  It’s going to be awesome.  Already have my dog sitter locked on and she comes to stay here while we’re gone.

I’m so hoping and praying that the trip will be great and that I will not feel crappy while I am gone.  Hopefully God will take care of me while I am traveling. 😀

I’ve been doing a lot of journaling, bible study and praying.  Just trying to keep busy for while I await the trip.  Not doing much else these days.

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.

 

 

I’m Not Ashamed

This evening, I watched the movie, “I’m Not Ashamed”.  It is the Rachael Scott movie.  Rachel was the first person killed in the attack at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.  I did not intend to watch this movie.  Nope, nada, no way!  Never wanted to watch it at all.  EVER!

I guess I have to go back to April 20, 1999 to explain my reason.  I was living in Navarre, FL at the time, sitting on my love seat, watching the event unfold on my television, just like a lot of people did that day.  I was also 3 1/2 months pregnant with my son.

I sat and watched what I thought was the most horrific act of humanity I had seen in a very long time unfold before my eyes as the world went insane.  I cried countless tears that day over 13 lost souls and for the two young men who ultimately took their own lives.  I was a mess.  I did not sit and blame anyone for this tragedy.  I hurt for the gunmen as well as their victims.  I was angry.  I was upset; but most of all, I was scared.

I was afraid to have my son.  I was afraid to bring a child into a world so out of control that children were killing children.  Of course, this was not the first time that children had killed children.  As a matter of fact, as a 14 year old girl, I babysat for a family whose first child had been killed, at the age of four, by another child with a gun in the home.  Life is not fair.  Events happen for reasons.  Sometimes those reasons make no sense.  Sometimes they do.  Sometimes we can’t see the reason until it has long passed us by.

Nearly 18 years ago, as I watched this on live T.V. I was extremely distraught.  I could not believe that I was going to bring a child into this craziness.  I didn’t want to do it.  I was terrified.  I worried over my baby.  I became hyper vigilant over his well being.  I really believe at this time in my life, if I had been able, I would have kept him safely inside of myself forever.  Life doesn’t always follow our desires and I’m sure that by now, if he were still inside of me, I’d look pretty weird.  LOL!

I did finally get my anxiety under control and did bring him into the world safely and have been protecting him ever since.  Sometimes that hasn’t always been the right thing and I did have to learn to let go of my iron fisted control.  I have allowed him to become an independent young man (grudgingly) and support him in his dreams.

“I’m Not Ashamed” is a “Pure Flix” movie.  I saw it at Redbox and decided to rent it, not realizing that it was about Rachel Scott.  I just love to watch P.F. movies.  I do not think I would have rented it had I realized it was about Columbine.  I knew I’d cry.  I knew I’d remember that day.  I didn’t want to go back and become paralyzed with fear.

Several minutes into the movie, when I realized what is was about, the tears began to stream down my face.  Miss Honi jumped into my lap and offered me comfort throughout the entire length and I got many kisses and snuggles.  She’s an angel.

I watched a young woman go from faithful to questioning her faith to faithful once again.  I watched her help those in need.  I watched her compassion, heartbreak, struggle and growth.  Excerpts from her journals were read throughout.  We got first hand knowledge of her deepest thoughts and feelings.  I got to know her on a personal level and she is the kind of gal a mom could be so proud to call daughter.

She was her own person and stood by what she believed in.  Rachel touched many lives.  She even told her best friend, Nathan, that she could not see her future, that she couldn’t see past the now, like she had no future.  However, she also stated that she wanted to touch peoples lives, make an impact in Jesus name.

Rachel Scott has reached millions and millions of people.  Her story, her faith and her death have touched the lives of so many, making the impact the young lady wanted in sharing her love for Jesus.  She died, standing by her convictions and love of Jesus.  She would not deny Him.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends!”  John 15:13

Through great tragedy comes great hope.  Rachel Scott is an inspiration and I am glad I was able to get to know this remarkable young woman through this movie.  God has a plan for all of us.  He can turn a mess into a message.

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Good Friends

Yesterday I met my friend Deb for lunch at Ruby Tuesdays.  We got there at 12ish and stayed until 5 pm just talking.  LOL!  We be crazy.  We laughed, we cried, we shared and we ate.  Due to the circumstances of the past year, we hadn’t had a chance to get together for a while; but she’s the type of friend that even if 5 years had passed, we’d pick up right where we left off.

Since life is now different for both of us, we’re going to see each other more often.  We’re going to start walking in the evenings together. I’m looking forward to it.  Life has really gotten simpler and I am just floating along on this lazy river of life.

All presents are wrapped and under the tree.  Grab bag gifts for my son’s party are ready and I just have to make the food.  Should be a fun time for those who attend.  I really like his friends, even the difficult ones.  Great group of young people who share some common interests.

Donated a bunch of things to locale Toys For Tots.  Took a big box of stuff to them this afternoon.  They needed “teens & tweens” stuff and we provided well for them.  I like to donate; because you never know when you might be in the same position.

Making “Spaghetti Grilled Cheese” tonight for dinner.  Saw a video on them and since we both LOVE spaghetti sandwiches, why not with gooey melted cheese, too!  Can’t wait to try’em.

Book is coming along nicely.  I’m burning up the keyboard with tales of sin.  I can hardly wait to share it.

Church tonight and next week’s service will be a joint service with our host church for Christmas Eve.  Our bible study on Wednesday was our last of the year and we begin again on January 11th.  I don’t know if I mentioned it previously; but our study is the book of Job.  It has been quite the journey.  Even knowing the outcome of his situation and the reason behind it, the struggle could be relatable to today.  I remind myself that I have to praise my Lord in the bad times as well as the good because HIS plan is so much more than what I have planned.

I am so over this year and the “bad” things that have happened that I look forward to putting it behind me so that God can deliver me to the next thing he has planned for my life.  Patience is easier said than done for me; but I am waiting as patiently as I can.

This week is full of 1/2 days and exams for the boy.  No school Friday and two full weeks off of school.  One of his friends is taking him out to Christmas shop this week.  He’s looking forward to that.  His Christmas Concert was Thursday night and he was great.  Mom & Dad came up to see it.  We then went out to dinner and closed the place.  Ha, ha.

We went to the comic book store yesterday and he got a new game and I got some comics.  They moved from a tiny little store front to a much larger one and it is so much nicer.  Had a video chat with my friend and saw how much her son loved the gift I sent to him.  She also shared a video of him “reading” their good night story and how he was singing “row, row, row your boat”.  So cute.  I love that little boy.  He’s 18 months old and I so much miss when my baby was that small.  ❤

I’ve gotta run…….

FFCC Drumline Competitions

From January to the end of March, we have a short Winter season called “Indoor Drumline” which is fun for the high school musicians (drummers) looking for an outlet. The ensemble is a competitive unit whose goal is to obtain the highest and most precise level of training and performance in marching percussion.

This year was our first experience with indoor.  It’s been GREAT!  Our high school entered 4 stages of the competition and took third place in the first 3 and 5th place in the last which we competed with a larger number of teams.

Our show, “Pathways” had a pit with marimbas, vibes, guitars, gong, large drum, chimes, keyboard & drum kit and a battery of 9 members, 3 snares, 5 bass and one tenor.  The show is around five minutes of time.  The performers routine is performed on a tarp.  From the time the unit steps into the performance area, they are timed for setup and graded on the time and their performance routine.  Costumes were designed and worn and the kids did wonderful!

We had four cars with 17 kids to take around the state to compete.  Our crew was great and the parents who drove were very supportive.  Every member did a great job of making the show a success and I was so proud of them all.  This smaller, tighter group of performers worked really hard to accomplish so much in such a small amount of time.

We ended in Daytona Beach for the FFCC championship and a weekend spent away.  We came back with our 5th place placard and a sense of real accomplishment.