My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jamie and her daddy... my big brother Jim...

Jamie and Pop work on her new afghan




me and my niece, Sarabeth..










Cody, Marquee and their puppy, Sammy
me with my Cousin Christie's son Cole... I held him while he napped... and loved it!




IN case you were wondering... this was the best Thanksgiving I've had in many, many years. I almost feel like I have a "joy hangover" although I promise, I didn't indulge in any adult beverages.
Our family gathered at my Aunt Ginger's in Fayetteville, Georgia. For those of you who aren't from around here - Fayetteville is about 45 minutes south of Atlanta. Ginger and Carl have lived in the same house since I was - oh... maybe 11 or 12. I had Sarabeth and Jamie ride with me so I could have some extra time with them. They were so sweet! We sang along to Christmas music on the radio... hearing Jamie sing, "Oh come let us adore Him... Christ the Lord"... somehow seemed so much more reverent and holy than when grownups sing it.
My grandmother listed all the people who were there so she could remember -
It was my mom and her two sisters, Linda and Ginger...
their three husbands: pop, Charles and Carl
mom's brother Al and his wife Edna
my grandmother Leta
my brother Jim, his wife Angie and their two daughters, Sarabeth and Jamie
my cousin Kevin, his wife Tobie and their kids Devyn and Sydney
my cousin Christie, her husband Nathan and their baby Cole
Nathan's mom, Rebecca
my cousin Amanda, her husband Derrick (I think that's his name) and son Rowan
me and two of my boys - Cody and Austin - and Cody's fiancee Marquee
and their dog Sammy
Grandma counted 29 people so I'm missing somebody. Or we miscounted.
Anyways... it was the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, buffet style, with just about anything you could want... I got about a tablespoon of everything - not just so that I could eat less, but so that I could try everything before I got full. And I still didn't get to eat everything.
Jamie ate only crackers. She's going through a picky stage.
We formed a "Princess Table" in the dining room - girls only - and boys were only allowed in at the end of the meal, by reservation only.
After lunch we all stayed for several hours and had a really good time taking pictures, holding babies, playing paperdolls, talking...
Once again, Austin's dad was a no show when it was time to pick him up. Austin spent an hour calling his dad from several different phones trying to get him to answer the phone, leaving messages... I'm sure he'll have some champion reason why he didn't answer the phone or return the messages. Last year at Christmas it was that his "phone was out of range"... although we called both the home phone and his cellphone and had a time prearranged for him to pick Austin up. It's bad enough that he makes no effort to see Austin but to TELL him you're coming to get him and to just stand him up... that ranks up there with Jon Gosselin and Michael Lohan parenting.
It won't happen again. I've decided to just be the bad guy in this picture and not allow any more visits. Let him take me to court if he disagrees. Let him FIGHT for the right to see his child because I would rather Austin be mad at me for not letting him see his dad than have to ever again see that child's disappointment over being rejected by his dad. Enough is enough.
I took Austin to Starbucks instead and you know what... he was happy with that. I think he might have been happier to go to Starbucks than to go to his dad's.
We went back to my parents' house and hung out... eating leftovers, visiting with grandma, watching tv. Cody went to Thanksgiving with Marquee's family and then came home to hang out. I spent the night in Cody's room so I had the grandpuppy and the grandkitty glued to me all night...but I did sleep pretty well, all things considered. Cody slept on the floor so I could have his bed... Austin slept on a cot in the computer room. I woke up around six and Cody got back in his bed then.
Cody had driven my car Thursday night to go to Sonic to get drinks... and he said that it felt like my brakes weren't working right. When I shared this with my parents Friday morning, Pop decided that it would be easier to replace brakes than replace a daughter (and yes, this made me cry)... so they took my car to their much trusted mechanic and he gave Old Sissy an overhaul. She got new rotars, new brake pads, fixed two belts that were on their way to breaking (which would have caused a very expensive repair), changed the oil, replaced a brake light (that I didn't know was out)... he did things that I wouldn't have known needed to be done.
If you scroll back a few entries, you'll see that one of my Christmas wishes was for my car to get the kind of upkeep that would keep it running for several more years for me. I can't even begin to tell you what an answered prayer that was for me to have some peace of mind on my car! Thanks Mawmaw and Pop for getting Sissy back to good health!
While Sissy was getting fixed, I drove down to meet my friend Mary for breakfast at the Chickfila Dwarf house restaurant in Fayetteville. Dwarf House was the original concept that birthed Chickfila sandwiches... and around Atlanta there are several of these "table service" Chickfila restaurants. I had hoped that Mary would be able to meet my sister-in-law Angie, as they have coordinated many times over the past year regarding my health, safety and well-being. They are the Dynamic Duo who have kept me together at times when I felt like things were becoming unraveled and they really needed to meet... so Angie, her sister Mandy and their mom Trudy joined Mary and I for breakfast! Having a hen party to start my Friday was just an incredible blessing! I love all of those ladies!
After breakfast I went back to mom and dad's and waited for Cody to get ready... then we went to get Marquee... and went to hang out at Barnes and Noble (something else we don't have here in the mountains!). We had lunch at Cody's favorite restaurant, La Parilla... and then passed some time shopping at the Ulta makeup store with Marquee while she waited until it was time to meet her mom at the theater next door so she could see New Moon with her mom and her aunt.
Back to mom and dad's... and Jim and Angie were there for a visit. Got to love on my girls a little bit more... and work out the logistics for getting grandma home.
Grandma took a fall back on November 9th and since then, we've kept her with family members. She's 86... she's intelligent and independent and strong... and she has appreciated having time to visit with family but she was ready to go back home. Since she had been gone so long, we really needed to get her settled in - not just drop her off in the driveway. She doesn't live far from me and Jim... but she lives "over the mountain"... it's a 45 minute drive but she's only 20 miles away... a steep, curvy drive over unlit mountain roads. It's the kind of drive where you have to be on your toes. I don't mind it - it's a beautiful drive - but I can't do it at night. I just don't see well enough at night to do that.
Sooooo... it was decided that Jim and Angie would go home, get a nap, get unpacked and settled in -- that I would wait until my car was ready and then drive Grandma to Jim and Angie's and they would take her the rest of the way home.
It was such a blessing to have that time in the car with her. She was able to fill in the blanks for me as far as family history and Atlanta history and share more about her testimony and the things that she has been through - much like the things I have been through, forty-five years earlier! I was able to tell her more about how God has worked in my life over the past year or so. How many times have you heard people say that they wished they could ask a question of a relative who has passed on? Yesterday, I asked those questions.
I dropped Grandma with Jim and Angie and got a few more squeezes from my nieces... then went home and settled into my nest. And that's where I'll be until church tomorrow... and then again until Monday morning.
Hope you're all having a great holiday! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

holding on to hope

please! go read the blog entry that Angie Smith wrote yesterday... so precious... so amazing... keeping hope alive in tough times...

http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com/

and also, another great Christmas gift idea - her book - and the new CD by Selah which I have been listening to nonstop!

back to work... busy, busy!

sticker shock

So much to share and only a few short minutes before I’m on the clock! Nine hours until the weekend! Praise Jesus!

If you’re looking for a gift for a woman in your life who is struggling … please check this out: http://www.bethmoorechristmas.com/ Beth has a new book coming out and she’s going to be doing a blog-led study of the book and I’m sure any woman who is dealing with insecurity issues would benefit from sharing in Beth’s Godly wisdom. I participated in her research for the book… btw… just by way of blog comments… when she asked her readers to tell how insecurity had impacted their life. Hello! How many Mr. Right Nows have I saddled myself with while trying to find Mr. Right? And why do I even need a Mr. Right? So… as I was saying… *perfect gift* for that woman who needs to conquer her insecurities!

Running out of time and there’s so much more!

Last night we had our Thanksgiving fellowship dinner at church. I would estimate over 200 people were there (there were 22 tables of 8-10 each, I think) and so it was crowded. More crowded than I’m comfortable with… but I was with my girls so it was not so bad. We had a great time… me, Jim, Angie, Jessie, Natalie (who has a torn calf muscle! Ouch!) Sarabeth, Jamie and Jorjanne sat together. Stasha sat with her biological family instead of her adopted family. As a mommy, I know how important it is for your kids to spend time with you... and although I would have loved to have Stasha at our table... I know she was a blessing right where she was. Austin sat with his friends and... well, I was ok with that. He was happy.

Jamie tried sweet potatoes for the first time (I think) last night. She was really hesitant. I convinced her to try them. One bite later... she took over my spoon and commandeered ALL of my sweet potatoes... and asked, "are sweet potatoes good for you?". We convinced Sarabeth to try them as well... and Jorjanne tried cranberry sauce. I could NOT get Jamie to try coconut...

I had bought the girls a pack of stickers for $1 at Big Lots. I gave them instructions that the stickers should be given out to anyone who was willing to tell them what they were thankful for. I thought that they would share with their little friends and it would be a nice way for them to share the loot that they get from Aunt Heather. After dinner Sarabeth and Jorjanne set out into the crowd of tables and slowly, sweetly, methodically, they went to pretty much every person there. At one point I noticed that everywhere I looked people were wearing those cheap little stickers that I bought – 500 for a dollar! And my shy little Sarabeth- boldly going up to anyone and everyone – and sharing that sweet little reminder of Thanksgiving with our church family… giving and receiving love back.

It was so simple. It was so cheap. It was a great reminder to me that a little love can go a long way. Those of you who sent me quarters when I was sick… just imagine… it could have been your gift that enabled me to gift the girls that enabled them to gift a congregation. Never doubt the impact of your contribution. I’ve had many times over the past few years where just a kind hello made a difference for me. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. God will bless it.

I’ve been searching for the right words for a Thanksgiving message for several days now and I think I’ve found it. What you have to give is enough. You don’t have to clean up, save up, pray up, wait for a sign from God… just take advantage of those opportunities for kindness. You don’t have to have a doctorate degree or a calling on your life or even have your life in order to be able to love others. You just have to put feet to your faith. You have to step outside your comfort zone. You have to do more than what’s required of you.

Me. I have to do more than just get by. I am uniquely gifted to be a part of my community – my world. I have qualities, passions, experiences, wisdom… that exists in no one else on earth. So do you. I have a village – a global village – that has carried me through this year. And last. I can’t be all things to all people but I can be something to some. One sticker at a time.

Listening to Christmas music on the office radio. I’m keeping a tally of how many times I hear the Chipmunk Song played between now and Christmas. My heart is really light and cheerful today…

I have already heard from my sweet sister-out-law in New York. She and Bryan are having a great time visiting with her parents in NYC this week and I am only a little (a lot) jealous. I’m so grateful that we have that bond… since I grew up without sisters, growing into having sister in/out laws has been a huge blessing. Tomorrow Jim and Angie will bring the girls to me and we’ll caravan together to my aunt’s. My aunt has a cool paper doll game she’s made for the girls. She says she’s the best Aunt ever – we’ll have to see! Lots to look forward to… lots to be thankful for…time to sell some insurance.... love and hugs, y’all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving plans a through d

Posting during my lunch today. It's too damp and chilly to go out. I'm taking a short lunch since I'm leaving early for our church Thanksgiving dinner tonight... and it just didn't seem worth going out... I ate a lean cuisine in the office.

I'm trying not to think about my brother Bryan and my sister-out-law Candice having lunch at a fabulous restaurant in NYC before going to see Hamlet this afternoon. I mean... they deserve the fabulousity of a place like this: http://www.jean-georges.com/ I recommended the tuna ribbons... as if I have any idea...

My oriental chicken lean cuisine was good. Reminded me a little bit of the canned chicken chow mein that we had growing up. Minus the crunchy noodles.

I missed breakfast this morning... spent too much time online and then had to hurry. I had a handful of almonds. Breakfast of champions...

I'm so conflicted on what to do over Thanksgiving. NOT where to go, just the whole logistics of it all.

My carefully constructed Plan A was to drive down Thanksgiving morning with the girls - so I could spend a little time with them before - have lunch with the fam at my Aunt Ginger's (best aunt in the world, up until I became an aunt). I planned for Austin to go to his dad's for dinner and spend the night. I was going to spend the night at my parents' ... have breakfast with my friend Mary... and then gather Austin from his dad on Friday and head home.

Except... Austin's dad doesn't want Austin overnight. He's working the next day and it would be "too much trouble" to keep him overnight. He's 15. It's not like they're getting up in the night with him or anything. But... there you go.

There's not really room at my parents' house for me... much less me and Austin... Cody was going to let me have his bed... and so it looks like I would have to wait it out for Austin's dad to bring him home and then drive home at late-thirty Thanksgiving night.

Which... as much as I want Austin to have some time with his dad... really is inconvenient for me. I don't see well at night. It gives me a terrible headache to drive into headlights. It's a two hour drive home. That will make for a long day - and a stressful drive home for me. And... honestly... Austin's dad has only seen him once since last Thanksgiving and hasn't even made an effort to call him. I called and threw a fit last weekend or he wouldn't have even asked about Thanksgiving.

So... right now I'm operating on Plan B which has us driving down and back the same day without Austin seeing his dad.

Unless... we can come up with a Plan C... where I go ahead on home... and have Austin's dad bring him to my parents on thursday evening and my parents bring Austin back with them when they bring grandma home on Saturday. But... I haven't talked to them yet so I don't know if that will work. It would mean an extra person at their house for a day and a half... since grandma is staying with them... and would require some Cody/Austin bonding which rarely happens. But would also allow me a brief break.

Because... although I love Austin dearly... he takes a lot of energy.

I also have thought of Plan D which has me leaving home early enough to be at my parents' house in time to watch the Macy's parade because I hate missing that... but I don't know.

I still want the girls to ride with us... because they're fun and funny and they'll spend a lot of time in the car that day... so why not spend part of it with me, right?

And now my lunch break is over.
Have a great Tuesday... which is really my Wednesday...
love and hugs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

my Monday

Today flew by… crazy busy!
I got asked out by a 69 year old man today. He said, “is there any chance you *do* old men?”
I said, “to be honest – I don’t *DO* anybody.”
As if.
Later I found out he has quite a bit of money.
Maybe I should make my taste match my pocketbook.
Oh well.
We’re getting our end of year bonus next week. That makes me very happy. It will go a long way toward helping me end the year with all my bills paid.
That’s my goal.
I’m working on my Thanksgiving entry in my head. My friend Amy asked when I was going to send it. Apparently she needs inspiration.
I guess we all do.
I don’t know why I’ve started posting in sentences instead of paragraphs.
That’s how I think so it makes more sense to me.
Ginger got locked in the kitchen today. We heard her knocking but didn’t know where the knocking was coming from. It was funny – even to her.
A client brought by loaves of banana nut bread for us today – the first of the Christmas goodies.
I’m planning on having mine for dinner with real butter. Maybe the whole loaf. I’m kidding. Not the whole loaf.
A little more about my brother’s big case – it was really a huge deal – FICO vs. Experian – over whether or not FICO can be the only credit scoring system. He represented Experian.
Tim Tebow only has 3 more games in a Florida Gator uniform. That makes me sad.
My grandmother will be with us at Thanksgiving. That makes me happy.
I have a loaf of banana nut bread. That makes me happy.
I need to do my Thanksgiving shopping. I should have done it already. No chance avoiding crowds now.
I hate crowds.
I have the new Selah CD. It’s wonderful. Another thing that makes me happy.
T-minus 20 minutes until lift-off.
Love and hugs!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

*yawn* part two

I'm curled up under a fuzzy, warm blanket watching Nascar.
I don't much care for Nascar but it's the last race of the season.
Some of the most pleasant memories for me with Michael are from his brother Tim's house... watching Nascar while the Darby boys grilled every kind of meat imagineable - caveman style. There were times that there were a dozen Darby/Sauls boys and me - the only girl. I was never bored. Although, really... I don't care much for Nascar.
Go fast, turn left.
I'm kidding.
Not really. It's boring.
I just finished watching an hour long documentary about Niagara Falls.
It turns out that Kentucky beat Georgia last night, ending a 32 year streak... so my post was sort of prophetic, it turns out.
I made a really good roast in the crockpot yesterday. I had leftovers today.
I didn't sleep well last night and woke up with a headache. I think I was sleeping with one eye open, making sure Austin didn't sneak out again.
He was upset with me last night when he got home because I actually yelled at him and banished him to his room. He said I was stressing him out.
Cry me a river.
That's what I actually told him.
At least he always knows where I am.
I thought about locking him out when he disappeared last night but I was worried that I would be asleep when he got home and wouldn't hear him knocking and then he might end up staying away all night.
So I locked the door he normally comes in and left the other one unlocked.
I thought I was pretty smart.
It worked, actually.
He had a brief few seconds of panic until he tried the other door. *he he*
We're coming up on a three day work week and then a four day weekend. I'm really happy about that!
Stasha stopped by to see me today since I didn't go to church! How sweet!
There are at least two commercials out right now that use "Santa Baby" as their theme music.
Santa Baby is my FAVORITE Christmas song...
I mean, other than the traditional, holy, Christian songs.
And "Mary, Did You Know?" I love that one.
Are you bored yet?
I've had a good day.
Hope you have too.
I think I'm going to make some grits...
Love and hugs!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

*yawn*

It's been another fabulous football Saturday here at my house... the Florida game wasn't televised here but I've watched a lot of other good games. I'm settling in to watch the Georgia / Kentucky game now. Kentucky hasn't won in Athens since 1977. It would be interesting to see that record fall. I doubt it will.

I was up at 8 this morning... watching Sportscenter and then Gameday. I wasted a little bit of time but it had been quite a few days since I'd had the opportunity to do that... I worked last Saturday morning and then we went to church on Sunday. I think it was ok to be a little bit lazy.

Austin and I went into "civilization" today... I didn't realize until we were on the road but this was the first time he had been out of the mountains since July. Crazy! Now that we have the new Walmart in town, we don't have to drive the 30 minutes plus into Gainesville every other weekend for *supplies*. I've had two trips to Atlanta and a few trips into Gainesville for doctors appointments but no real shopping trips. We didn't shop today either but we did wander around Best Buy and the christian book store for a little while.

We went into "town" to see Ryan and Cody's friend Josh and his wife Megan and take them some insurance papers. They're such a sweet couple... love watching "my" kids grow up.

Austin asked if we could stop at this nursery that sells bonsai trees about halfway between Cleveland and Gainesville. There weren't many people there so the guys working had plenty of time to chat with us and show us their inventory. It was pretty interesting. The stuff they have is ridiculously expensive but the tiny little trees were little works of art. We had a good time.

I missed out on the grand opening of the new Babyland General but it was good to spend some time with my little Lost-in.

Incidentally... I had my bedroom door shut because the light shines in his eyes when he's watching tv... and when I stepped out just now... he's gone. I don't know how to get it through his head that he can't just randomly disappear. Of course... he's been doing it his whole life. When he was itty bitty he used to open windows, push out the screens and get out. We had a big mastiff dog that used to bark to alert me if he escaped... a few times the next door neighbor called and said, "I've got Austin"... When his brothers played ball I was forever losing him at the ballpark. Even when he was in the stroller... he would stretch his feet to the ground and move his stroller away. He's an escape artist. No matter what I do... short of tying him down... and honestly, I think he would gnaw through the ropes...

I'm excited about church tomorrow. After church I am going to HAVE to do some laundry. I have a huge pile of clean laundry waiting to be put away. The rest of my house is cleaner than usual. The tub still needs scrubbing.

That's our exciting Saturday! See why I don't normally blog on the weekend?

Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Slam Dunk!

I don't know anything at all about the case... but I got an email from my sister-"out"-law, Candice, in New York, that my brother had won the case he's been working on in Minneapolis for the past few weeks. He's excited because he won... she's excited that he's coming home after all these weeks...

Score another one for the over-achieving Gant clan!

Now if I could just sell a few life policies before the end of the month... hmmm...

Joshua 7:10

I ran across this verse while doing my lunchtime bible study the other day and it cracked me up. Yes, the bible can be funny! It's not a deep, theological thing that takes years of seminary to understand...

Joshua 7:10 says, "The Lord said to Joshua, "STAND UP! What are you doing down on your face?" (emphasis added by me)

Joshua is in the midst of a crisis - don't know if you've read enough of the bible to know this but it's pretty much a book of people who are in trouble in one way or another... everybody is in crisis. I guess that's where we are now. It's always something. My something may be bigger or smaller than your something in grand scheme of things - but I've got my something and you've got yours and they both impact our lives in one way or another.

And - as you know - I've had some unfun struggles this week. Some I have shared. Some I haven't. I'm way broke, in the hole, behind on a few things, juggling funds, without child support still/again, missed out on some commissions I thought would pay out in this past payday, missed out on sick leave that I thought I had... and I had some discouraging news career-wise.... my kid has been less than cooperative (although I have to say, he did an awesome job cleaning the house yesterday)... I'm frustrated and overwhelmed and I had myself a big OLD pity party earlier in the week before precious friends stepped in and started really interceding on my behalf with the Lord in the prayer and I felt the winds of change. The numbers in my bank account haven't gone up, by my resolve to handle those things has. I feel stronger. Capable of change. Able to continue on this marathon.

But in the midst of my tantrum... God showed me that verse and I laughed through my tears. WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN ON YOUR FACE? God can change anything... He can perform miracles in anyone's life but he doesn't want to be a puppeteer. You really have to get up... put one foot in front of the other... keep breathing... keep doing that very thing that you think you cannot possibly do... move forward in faith... trust Him... be willing to get outside of your comfort zone because truly... if you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you've already got.

I saw a counselor yesterday. Honestly... my first counseling session since I left the hospital nearly 14 months ago. I've had lots of bible study classes. Lots of wonderful and encouraging conversations with friends. Cards. Letters. Emails. Comments. This was the first time I had someone sit down for an hour just to talk about me and how I'm handling this season of change in my life. Her professional opinion is that I'm doing great... I just have to keep moving forward. Quit tripping up on the same road blocks. Believe that I can do the very things that scare me to death.

In other words... get up off my face.
So... my prayer for you today is that you get up off your face and... keep going.
Love, hugs and prayers, y'all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

my grown up Christmas list

You know that really sweet song about the grown up Christmas list? The one that’s altruistic and peace loving and not the least bit commercial or material? Ok. This is NOT like that at all. Feel free to add your own items in comments.

1. Four new tires and a tune up and whatever it will take to keep my 2004 Nissan Sentra running for the next five years. At least. Plus detailing. There is still glitter in the backseat from the girls’ 4th of July hats.
2. At least two weeks paid vacation and a week or two of sick leave. I’m just sayin’…
3. A few of those buddy passes from airline employees that used to be much easier to come by. Don’t know where I want to go yet. But it would be nice to have the option. Chicago to see Purple Michael. New York to hang out with Candice and Shadow and my brother. Pennsylvania with Ryan. San Francisco with Jen again. Boston with Jess. And the thousands of places in between that I haven’t yet seen.
4. A karaoke machine.
5. A treadmill. It might just become a fancy clothes rack … but it might not!
6. Straight hair.
7. High metabolism
8. A new recliner. My pepto bismol pink one is stuck in the recline position so I have to climb in and out of it. Not easy some days.
9. A clean bathtub.
10. A “get thin quick pill” that is not hazardous to your health.
11. A dozen people who want to buy life insurance.
12. Tickets to the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. And to the BCS Championship game if Florida is playing. To see Tim Tebow’s last college game… *sigh*
13. A new vacuum cleaner.
14. Pot holders. We only have one and I can never find it.
15. One of those pampered chef baking stones. I had a perfect one and it was somehow lost between my three moves with Michael.
16. A year without doctor visits. At least a year.

Making a huge decision about my health insurance. I’ve decided to raise my deductible to $2,500. It saves me $2,775 in premium to have the potential of $1,350 more deductible. That deductible scares me but it also translates into over a hundred dollars more per paycheck. Since Austin’s dad is still out of work… I’m going to have to do whatever I can to cut costs and dang it! I am NOT getting rid of my satellite tv or internet! I did give up the cell phone. I hate to talk on it anyways. I would use it to text but… it wasn’t worth the expense.

It’s been 14 months since I left Michael. 14 months today. My how time flies when you’re having fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

feeling groovy...

I had a profound blog entry written in my head last night but didn’t have time at the time to commit it to keystrokes. Now I’m in a moment of peace… feeling like things are being handled beyond me. Above me. Ahead of me. I share what I share because it helps me – not only in getting it off my chest but also in earning the earnest prayers of the saints. God is good like that. When I’m weak, then He is strong.

So I guess you could say that instead of a pity party I’m more in the mode of a prayer party and I have more guests than I ever expected. Unless you’ve been the recipient of prayers of righteous men and women… you can’t know what I mean when I say that I am being carried. I look around at some ugly, unfair, mean and frustrating circumstances and I wave my magic prayer wand like Glenda the Good Witch saying, “prayed for. Prayed for. Prayed for.” And just know that whatever comes will be for His glory and my good. I’m confident of this.

The up side is that I’ve lost 5 and a half pounds in the last week and that my appetite for sugar has fairly disappeared. I’m craving healthy stuff. This may be the breakthrough I needed for my weight. I’ll take that. Stress diet.

Saturday they’re opening a brand new bigger Babyland General and I have plans to go with Angie and Sarabeth and Jamie – and Natalie and Jorjanne. It’s gonna be a great big gooey, frilly, girly day and I can’t wait! And then I’ll go home and watch football for 12 hours to keep the balance.

Time to clock in and start my day. Keep those prayers going up! We’re gonna make it after allllll!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

third time not any more charming than the first two times

Third time’s a charm, right?
Austin is my third kid. You’d think I’d have it all figured out by now… but as most of you parents know, each kid is a whole new ball of wax.
We’re having some issues as far as curfew and boundaries and rules for afterschool/before mom gets home behavior. It’s put my stress level way higher than it should be. Even if there was not another single thing in my life to be stressed about.
And there are other things in my life to be stressed about.
Work.
Money.
My pending divorce.
The holidays.
Just getting thru as a single parent. Single person. Single income household. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
And honestly, lately the road is long.
I’m not *end of the world* stressed like I was so often in Jacksonville.
But I am “are you KIDDING ME?” stressed.
I’m seeing a counselor. I have an appointment for Thursday.
Because, as you may have figured out by now, I’m not ten feet tall and bullet proof.
And I need to find a way to not let this stuff get to me because… I imagine things will get worse before they get better.
Someone once told me that at any given moment in your life you’re either about to enter a crisis, in the middle of a crisis or just coming out of a crisis. So crisis management seems to be a rather important tool, doesn’t it?
Interesting footnote to all of this… I was really discouraged yesterday and quite openly asked for prayer.
So far today I’ve sold two health policies, two car policies and a life policy. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I’m the same sales person that I was yesterday.
More later, maybe…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a confession

I've been struggling with getting up and making it to church on Sunday mornings for a few weeks. Months. Ok. Whatever. Let's just say Heather won't be getting the perfect attendance pin this year. I'm home-churched. *laugh* I'm kidding! I had the cough for so long... and have had a couple of headache Sundays... and a couple of "just worn out" Sundays and ...

Ok... this is a big confession so I need the blog love for this...

I'm dealing with social anxiety. I know. It's crazy. I'm SUCH an extrovert! I love people! And my church people are so incredibly loving and kind. I have so many sister friends and there is zero controversy for me at my church. I am happy there and I love being there and it's always a good time (except for when Pastor Jim preaches too long and my one hour bladder is maxing out). I love seeing my nieces... all five of them.

Seriously. I seem to collect adopted nieces like some people collect (insert whatever it is that people collect). I think it is God's reward to me for my not having sisters growing up. Or daughters. There are a lot of wonderful women at my church... and a lot of young ladies that I adore. Sarabeth's BFF Jorjanne calls me Aunt Heather. Stasha SCREAMS "Aunt Heather" whenever she sees me. Jim and Angie's adopted college student/daughter Jessie calls me Aunt Heather. And then there are my two precious girls.

I stopped by Sarabeth's Sunday School class this morning to give her a squeeze before class began. She wasn't in there yet. I passed her teacher in the hallway after Sunday School and she said, "Sarabeth is soooo upset that she missed you"... so I stopped by children's church before worship service to give her a hug.

I'm off topic. About the social anxiety thing. I'm not shy. The events of the last few years have made me less open than I used to be... and have made me a little more self-conscious... and the stress that I've been under since (I can't remember when)... forever... makes me a little unfocused sometimes so I'll get in the car after church and think of a half dozen conversations that I didn't complete and a dozen people that I saw and didn't speak to. Although I desperately need fellowship and community support to stay in a positive frame of mind... sometimes I don't have the emotional energy to immerse myself in that world.

That's my big confession. I get overwhelmed in crowds. Thanks to the many, many, ugly fights that Michael and I had after social situations - and the many times before social events when he would give me a list of "do's and don'ts" to the extent that I felt like a Stepford Wife - thanks to those things - I over-analyze every single conversation and encounter. It's becoming a big problem for me because it IS keeping me from participating in my community.

It's also making hard for me to do my job. I'm expected to make a lot of "cold calls" marketing to the community and it paralyzes me to the extent that some days I just can't.

And you know what else? I know without a shadow of a doubt that God intends for me to minister to young women - old women - women in general. I know that He has uniquely equipped me to be a sister/friend/aunt/whatever and that my experiences - my testimony - have the potential to make an impact in the kingdom of God. Fear is holding me back. Crippling me. Making me exhausted.

So my goal for this week is to get my hind-end in to see a doctor who can treat this giant that is growing bigger every day before I become completely confined and isolated. I need this fixed. In my desire to rise up and be bigger than all the things that were thrown at me... to be completely recovered from that time of abuse... to be ten feet tall and bullet proof... I haven't dealt with some of the wounds that need to heal. And they have festered and gotten infected and gangrenous.

I loved being in church this morning. I'm grateful to God for giving me the courage to be there. I'm grateful for my Stasha who tells me every week... ten times a week... "I miss you". I'm grateful that Jorjanne and Sarabeth and Jamie all light up and jump up and down and squeal and rush to see me. I'm grateful for a new friend that I've made in church who lives in my neighborhood and can keep an eye on things that are going on here when I'm not here. What a huge blessing! I'm grateful for the people who CARE whether or not I'm at church, not just because they want to meet some attendance goal but because they want to see ME!

The things I share here are partly to unburden myself but also because I know that there are others who feel what I feel. I know that I'm not alone in this journey. Thank God... (I say this out loud with tears streaming down my face! I mean it!) Thank GOD I am not alone... even when I am not able to be outside the nest... I am not alone.

The weekend is about over. I need to work every minute I can between now and Christmas... gearing up for a busy week... praying for success... praying for kindness. Praying for you guys... love and hugs, y'all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Random Saturday Observations

Home. Watching football. Standard Saturday. I worked a few hours this morning - sort of a command performance as it has been threatened that unless I work Saturdays, I will no longer be able to leave work early enough to go to church on Wednesday nights. Which stinks. So I worked this morning. It confusing for me because I can't work ONE MINUTE over... and a few weeks ago when I saw that I was going to be over... and asked if I should a) leave early on another day or b) not work Saturday... I got a "I need you in the afternoons during the week more than I need you on Saturday"... and then I got in trouble for not working enough Saturdays.

I don't know if you've noticed this about me but I don't do well with ambiguity.

But now I'm home. Comfy in my nest. Watching football, as I mentioned earlier. Waiting on the Florida game to come on at 3:30. Flipping back and forth between the Ga Tech vs Duke game and the Tennessee vs Ole Miss game.

Have you ever noticed that the blue and red shakers that the fans have at Ole Miss look purple when they shake them? You'd think they could do something about that. They look like LSU fans.

Georgia Tech is creaming Duke, which is sad because it seems so unfair... I mean... Duke is a basketball school. They shouldn't even play football. Their quarterback just hurt himself in a NON contact injury. Spun around and twisted his knee. It was so awkward. Bless his heart.

It's ridiculous how much football I watch on Saturdays.

My head hurts. I was late taking my blood pressure medicine today. That always gives me a headache. It shouldn't. My blood pressure has been practically perfect for the past two years but whenever I stop taking the meds, I get headaches. Actually... I'm on this particular bp medicine because it is also used to prevent migraines. Then, while I was at the office, the nice landscaping man was there and he had weed eaters and leaf blowers going nonstop for about an hour and that noise really made my head hurt. I also didn't eat much breakfast. Just an apple.

Today is Ryan's birthday. Not only did Austin not know it was his brother's birthday - when I said, "it's your brother's birthday" he said, "which one". Nice.

Austin and I decided against going to the bakery today. No good can come of it. I want an apple pie and if I get an apple pie I'll eat an apple pie. So I didn't get one. That's my diet plan right now. Just say no. I even passed on banana pudding when Austin and I went to North Georgia BBQ for lunch.

College cheerleaders tend to look like ventriloquists, don't they? That pasted on smile while they holler out "go Gators" or whatever without moving their lips. It looks kinda silly.

Ole Miss is a much better team than they've gotten credit for this year. The SEC is awesome.

I just realized that I never had any coffee this morning because I was planning on taking Austin to Waffle House and then he was being a grouch so I didn't. That's why my head hurts. So I'm going to find something with caffeine in it and take a migraine pill. I wish my head wasn't so high maintenance.

OH... forgot to mention that we have a court date! My divorce goes before a judge on December 14th. I confirmed with the court clerk that I do NOT have to be there. Thank God. That would wipe out all of my meager Christmas funds... just on gas alone. I'm pretty sure I could find somewhere to stay. Although in a way... it would be nice to have a few days off... I think a few days in Jacksonville that close to Christmas combined with a face to face with "he who won't be named" would push me over the edge. Combined with a loss of a few days income.

That's it for now... hope you have a happy Saturday. Love and hugs!

Friday, November 13, 2009

World Kindness Day

I had an entry just about written today when things got ridiculously busy for me and I just closed it without saving it. I’m glad I waited. I needed a time out. The first entry was really whiny.

Here’s my reality check: people don’t always do what you think they ought to do. Let’s just call that the story of Heather’s life. Husbands cheat. Ex-husbands don't send child support. Kids stay out past curfew. Etc.

Here’s the flip side of that: sometimes people far exceed what they are obligated to do. That’s the subtitle. The saving grace. My reason to keep going.

Today is World Kindness Day. I know it’s late in the day to be sharing that… but hopefully you’ll make good use of the information. I’ve had a few disappointments today… I guess I had to be reminded *yet again* that it’s in my weakness that God shows me His strength.

So for those of you who went above and beyond the call of duty… thank you! I want you to know that every little “are you ok?” email, comment, phone call… makes me more ok than I was before I heard from you. Not one hundred percent... but soooo much better!

I had lunch with my brother Jim today and two little girls who were playing hookie from school. Well, Sarabeth has had strep throat but she’s anti-biotic’d up enough to have lunch out – just not well enough for school. Jamie got a break… I mean…. She’s 4 and she can practically read… she’s not going to flunk out of pre-school or anything. The girls didn’t KNOW they were having lunch with me… so their excitement was the BEST medicine for me when they got out of their daddy’s truck at the Zaxby’s and saw Aunt Heather standing there and squealed and jumped up and down and flipped their lids. Gosh, I love those girls!

Angie has been in Connecticut for a seminar or something or other. Since she’s going to be head of her department at the college next year, Doctor Gant has to go to these educational gatherings. The girls told me she was going from Connecticut to Raleigh and then Atlanta and then home. I asked if they knew where Raleigh was… “where the planes go???” Good answer. I said, “North Carolina”. Sarabeth the cartographer said, “is that in North America?” Yes, dear. I wondered out loud if Angie’s plane would be delayed due to the bad weather in the Northeast. Jamie said, “does delayed mean CRASH?” *laugh* “No, honey, that means LATE”. The things that go through their minds.

Speaking of crashes - an elderly couple, clients of mine, were in an accident today. They were sitting still and a crash occurred and the vehicles in the crash crashed into them. They weren’t hurt but they were upset. Worried. Concerned. The man was initially NOT kind… but after a time… and a lot of charm on my end… he felt better. I did what I could to get them into a rental car. The nice policeman took them home. It’s still stressful for them but I *think* I made it somewhat better for them. I think I was more than professional, I think I was kind.

People can’t live my life for me… they can’t take away the hurts and bumps and bruises and disappointments from people who don’t do what they ought to. Somedays I just need a little extra kindness. Kindness goes a long way.

Think about it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Random Thursday

It's thankful Thursday and two weeks before Thanksgiving... so I'm going to give this whole "positive thinking" thing a spin. I'm trying. I'm going to just list out some things that are heavy on my heart and trust God to turn them into positives... I'm determined...

Work hasn't been going great for me lately. There's always someone who is the "odd man out" and lately that's been me. I don't engage in a lot of the chatter that goes on... God has really burdened my heart about not participating in gossip or in putting people down. I've been working hard at that... and that leaves me out of some of the bonding that goes on. But I've decided that I can't be sincere in my Christian walk as long as I'm hurting other people with the things I say.

Now... the frustration in that comes from being so sincere at heart in trying to do the best I can for everyone and still having people get upset with you for things that you thought were helpful or constructive or kind. The older I get, the less I understand how people tick. I haven't given up though. My job has always required prayer. At every job. In every trade. Prayer for success, for positive interaction with clients and co-workers. For appropriate compensation. God meets my needs.

Health wise... this week has been a flash back of just about every illness I've faced in the past year. Congestion. Headaches. Earaches. Upset stomach. You name it! Even my pinkie toe has hurt. I think it's mostly stress related and honestly.... I think it's partly a spiritual thing. I'm working hard at pushing through when I can and yet balancing that with allowing myself rest when I need. God is good. I'm trusting him to be my healer.

Austin has been sick too. He's worn out. He's not sleeping well. He's made a lot of friends around here and he wants to go-go-go. I think it's tiring for him, though, the extra stimulation. He manages his autism so well that most of the time I forget he even has it. Until he gets back home and curls up in his favorite tv watching spot and I know... he's had enough. He will get frustrated by loud sounds or bright light. He's overcome so much... I'm proud of him.

Have I mentioned that child support is still really spotty? Robert is out of work again/still. I have been praying - and I asked some friends to pray as well - that I would have a Godly response to the situation. Yes, he owes. Yes, he should pay. God knows that it would make things much easier for us. Yet... in Isaiah it says that "the Lord your maker is your husband" and I am a living testimony of that. All of these financial gaps keep being met. It works. Yesterday Robert sent me an email that he is still out of work and struggling. I felt burdened to pray for his financial stability. It's not really up to me to figure out how sincere he is in his job search ... I figured it would be easier to just pray for God to bless him and trust God to burden his heart to do the right thing by Austin.

When austin was a brand new baby there was a sweet little girl at our church named Joy who was ten years old at the time. She LOVED Austin. She had the opportunity to bond with him fairly early because Cody was in the hospital when Austin was three weeks old and Joy's family helped care for Ryan and Austin. I had a baby carrier and Joy loved to wear it and carry Austin around like her little living baby doll. She was so sweet with him... Yesterday Joy had her own baby! She's 25 now (I think) and she gave birth to a little baby girl. It made me feel like life had been fastforwarded...

My anxiety is at the greatest it's been since I moved here. I think it's fearing the holidays ahead - there's so much pressure to buy and I can't afford to- there's the pressure of family obligations and I feel so distant from my family that it is uncomfortable for me. I really grieve for those who are missing and not a part of things. I grieve for my children who have grown up and moved past our traditions. I grieve for others who are lonely and depressed at the holidays... too much is expected and it drains so many resources that I don't have. I need to start a support group for people who feel the same way...

Last Thanksgiving was nice, though, in that I got to spend a lot of time with a cousin that I don't see often... I got to have breakfast with my friend, Mary.... there were good things. Christmas stunk... I was so broke and really stressing over even having enough for Austin and I to have a decent Christmas dinner. Seriously... one day we'll look back on it and laugh... but the ONE place we found open up here was a high priced chinese restaurant and I only had enough money for us to split an entree... and of course, everyone SPLURGES on Christmas so the waiter looked at me like I was a reject from the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless dinner. Bah Humbug!

Anyways... I have not forgotten how far I've come. These are light and momentary troubles. There is beauty all around me. There is a lot of love and kindness in this world. God continues to meet every need - financial, emotional, physical - and although I don't have my "happily ever after" .... I have my daily bread and I have hope. I am continuing to learn that all blessings are from above. I don't have to trust in any person... any situation... God will meet my needs wherever and however I am.

Just keep us in your prayers... and if you know someone in your orbit that may be having a difficult time this year, show them a little extra consideration. Love and hugs to all of you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ugh. whiny. wednesday.

I just didn’t want to move this morning. I did. I got up and dragged my reluctant self to work. I don’t feel great. Nothing major or earth shattering… little bit of an earache… little bit of a headache… a little nauseated… probably all stress related. Not that I’m incredibly stressed about anything. Nor am I completely at peace. Ambivalent enough for you?

Yesterday I went home early. More stomach issues. There’s a stomach flu going around the office. I wasn’t violently ill. Just ill enough that I felt like I was a risk to get others sick and/or embarrass myself. I watched the memorial service from Fort Hood and my heart was both warmed and broken… watching the young military families gathered… lots of really young faces with lots of little kids… we don’t often get a realistic picture of our servicemen and women… that was more realistic than I wanted. I was proud of them and for them. I know behind every sweet young face is a worried mom…

I’m really angry about the whole deal at Fort Hood. Those thirteen people were killed by political correctness. We have put ourselves in a place where we bend over backwards not to offend anyone… even those who are wrong, evil, dangerous… we have silenced those who might be courageous enough to speak up for what is right because they risk public persecution. Right is now wrong and wrong is right and to say otherwise brands you as intolerant or a hatemonger. Why is it hateful to love what is just, right, pure, Godly?

It was interesting to me yesterday to hear people use scripture, sing Amazing Grace, call on the name of Jesus for mercy in that time of grieving. Jesus is excluded from every decision our nation is making right now. I’m reminded of the nation of Israel… they would call out to Jesus whenever they got into trouble and return to their idols when they no longer “needed” Him.

I found out yesterday that my 86 year old grandmother had fallen and hurt herself the day before and was at the hospital. I got an email from my friend Amy who works for my uncle asking how she was doing… I replied that I didn’t know and asked if she knew something I didn’t. Not that I am in a position to do anything… but maybe I am and would love to be in the position to decide for myself if I could be there for her, instead of being excluded from the information. At the very least I could pray… It was hurtful to get that information third hand like that but not surprising. This is what I have been dealing with for quite some time. I’m not going to dwell on it now because I’m trying to stay at work all day… and those sort of things put me in a bad place mentally. I have learned to overlook and ignore those sort of things. I am powerless to change others. I only have power over my response. My response is that I have a lot more to offer than what I get credit for and if people choose to overlook my value then it is their loss. I also know that the hand of God reaches beyond what I can control. Nothing is a surprise to Him. I know that He was watching over her even without my knowledge of the situation or my input. Just as I know He watches over all my loved ones that are beyond my reach.

So let’s talk about the weather or something. The rain from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida has finally stopped. It rained for 36 hours straight! The sun is just now starting to break through. With the time change it is dark here by 6pm – when it’s overcast it’s dark at 5pm. I am not loving the dark. Last night I was asleep before 9pm. I may shoot for even earlier tonight. We have church tonight but I have a feeling that I’m not going to feel like doing anything… days like today take so much energy… it’s hard to sell stuff to people when you don’t have energy or enthusiasm in your voice. I’m trying… I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone today, avoided any personal conversations because that takes too much energy… I’ve kept a spirit and attitude of prayer and just let God lead me where He needs to today. Literally… on Jesus Take The Wheel mode…

And can I just say that I am glad I made the decision not to let Austin have a pig? I don’t think there’s been a day in the past week that I haven’t had to feed his cat. I would be soooo aggravated if I was having to go down to the ag center and “slop hogs” for him. Lord have mercy.

Happy Whiny Wednesday, y’all…

Monday, November 9, 2009

healing broken hearts

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

Hmmm. Hold that thought for a second.

Monday is flying by.

Ok. Not really. But it’s going faster than I thought it would, which is only fair because the weekend sure went by fast.

Austin is sick with a cold. I have a nasty earache. (Yes, we’re back to the ear again.) I’m congested but in denial… as if I could DECIDE to not have anything else settle in my chest. Over the weekend I had horrible sinus headaches and was OUT of my headache meds… got those refilled today. Got all my meds refilled today.

I’m tired. I tried to just spend the weekend resting. It’s bad in one aspect because it makes me feel so disconnected from the rest of the world… it’s what I needed to do, though, to make it through the week. I wish it was a “snap out of it” kind of tired but it’s deeper than that. I don’t know how to explain it… but I definitely feel it. I’ve been pushing it today… kinda keeping in the back of my mind that if I need to go, I could go. It’s close enough to the end of the day now that I know I can make it.

That verse… that’s from Phillipians 3:13. That was from my bible study today. ACTUALLY… I worked ahead a little bit in my bible study for tomorrow and found that. It’s a good reminder… forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.

Hearing Rihanna’s interview with Dianne Sawyer Friday night was … well, it was interesting. I won’t try to quote her but basically she talked about having to forgive herself for choosing to be with Chris Brown. Did you know that on average a woman will allow herself to be beaten 8 or 9 times before she leaves? Why? A good friend said something to me early on in my relationship with Michael that has stuck with me… “If someone shows you who they are believe them – the first time.”

A friend from high school recently found herself in a relationship with another high school classmate of ours. Turned out, he was a total con. I don’t know all the details but I know he served time in jail in the past and I know that she had to meet with the police regarding things he did to her. I don’t think he physically hurt her but I believe he may have stolen from her. I know for sure that he shook her faith in mankind… or “men-kind”…

I think that’s what angers me – even still, about my situation, that Michael robbed me of things that I can’t get back – such as blind faith in people. I’m much more cynical. Jaded. Bitter. He robbed me of precious time with my children – Cody’s senior year. Even with all the good – he made it bad. I always wanted to travel. I went places with him that I might not ever have gotten to by myself – but my memories of all of those places are tainted by the stress… the fears… the fights… the ugliness. Even the most beautiful vacation destination is hell on earth if you’re with someone who treats you unkindly.

I think – no, I know- in my case I genuinely hoped for the best and I think we all do when we’re in love.

I watched the Kardashian wedding on tv last night. I know… mindless… reality tv…. I didn’t watch the whole thing, I switched back and forth to the Amazing Race. I just couldn’t shake the urge to scream at the tv, “you can’t know a person in a month!”. At that point there are still so many skeletons lurking in the closet.

If it seems like I’m rambling it’s because this has been an often interrupted entry… but time is flying today… I’ll be tucked in my nest in T-minus two hours and counting!

Ok… that’s it for today… be sure to keep baby Stellan in your prayers… www.mycharmingkids.net - and his family. That baby has a REAL broken heart, not just a metaphoric one.

There’s so much hurt and heartache in the world… makes you realize just how fortunate you are… makes me realize how fortunate I am… I’ve just got a couple of bruises, maybe a scar or two… but my heart will heal. I’ve already healed so much… love and hugs, y’all!

Friday, November 6, 2009

counting down...

9 hours until the weekend.

Had a great drive into work this morning. It was beautiful – frost covering everything.
It’s casual Friday and I’m in jeans… turtle neck… cable knit sweater… penny loafers… looking like an ad for Old Navy Plus sizes. Of course, this office has two temperatures: too hot or too cold. I’ll be peeling off layers before long, I’m sure.

Yesterday afternoon work came to a stop for about ten minutes while we watched a deer eating grass in a field across the street from the office. So peaceful.

I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer over the past two days. “Meditation” for those of you who aren’t bible thumpers. It’s helping. I’m feeling much less overwhelmed. Much more peace.

You know how sometimes you KNOW people are talking about you behind your back? I’ve had that feeling this week. It had me really stressed out, discouraged.

Then I realized a few things:
1. Bitterness is a cancer that destroys it’s host.
2. I haven’t done anything worthy of being maligned. They're just giving someone else a break.
3. God is my protector and provider. Words can’t hurt me. Not really. They only have as much power as I give them. If I am secure in who I am and steadfast in doing what’s right… then those words mean nothing in the scheme of eternity. Not for me. Only for them… And in a way, it’s an opportunity for me to show what’s different about me. I’m not defined by the whispers behind my back… I’m defined by who I am in Christ. I know that I have the power. Power (capital P) to turn what is meant for my harm into something that is used for my good.

I know that there are eyes on me… I know people watch what I do and I know there are some who see my journey as inspirational. So any opportunity to turn a negative into a positive can potentially impact others. That doesn’t make me any more excited about living through it. I need peace in my life.

The natives are restless here at the Farm today. D is at a funeral so the folks in the back of the office are up here visiting with the folks in the front of the office. I have a big appointment at 10am to do a few cars and a home policy so I’m keeping my game face on and trying to prepare.
I need to renew my license. It was supposed to be done before November 1st. Ugh. No I have to pay a late fee. What’s new? I think I pay more on late fees than I do on food.

Remember the pinkie toe that I broke that kept jumping out and bumping into things for the next year after that. OH that toe aggravated the stew out of Michael! I was forever bruised up. Last night that same little toe starting hurting but this time… there was no impact to it. Just all of a sudden… it hurt. It still hurts. It’s always something.

Eight and a half hours.
Next Friday is the 13th. Ryan's friend Joshy and his wife are coming up to do some insurance!

How sad were those shootings at Ft. Hood?

There are a few things that will ALWAYS make me cry:
1. Reading the book, “I’ll Love You Forever”… which my children refer to as “the crying book”. 2. Extraordinary achievements by ordinary people.
3. Soldiers returning from war.
I think #3 is because my kids’ grandfather didn’t return from Vietnam. I’m always conscious of how different his son (my kids’ dad) would have been if he had survived. There is a generational impact that occurs with these things. Such a tragedy! Men who have fought and survived to come home only to die on base. I thought “base” meant you were safe. It does in baseball. It does in tag. This is another in a long line of examples of folks not doing what they ought to be doing and the result being innocent people suffer. He was a known threat. Instead of being fired, removed… court marshaled… whatever they do… he was promoted and moved to a place where he could be a greater danger. Whoever was responsible should have to attend every funeral, visit every injured person and apologize for gross neglect of duty. It’s insane. Truly insane.

When I was serving my mandatory three day term in the nut house last fall there was a young soldier that was in there for anger management issues. Again – great idea – put a bunch of folks who are considered a risk to harm themselves and others- into lockdown with a guy considered too angry and mean for combat. I called him, “Angry Boy”. I never bothered to learn his name – I had too many other things to worry about. I called him that to his face- “Hey- Angry Boy – do you want to paint with us?” that sort of thing. He was just a kid – maybe 19. In one group therapy session (you had to attend every possible session to be considered for release so I complied, even though it was a total waste of my time and I spent more time counseling others than being counseled) in one session he got upset with a guy who was detoxing from crack – yes, this was a lovely place, indeed!- a HUGE black guy who was obviously not in his right mind – and he tried to stab the crack guy in the neck with a pencil. I looked around to see if this was SERIOUSLY happening… and it was… and the psychologist kept using her “gentle words” to encourage him not to harm others. It’s funny now. Honestly, it was a little funny then but I was also pretty well medicated and mellow. It took a few of the other “patients” to calm Angry Boy down. I just watched. I figured as much as I had survived at that point, if I died as collateral damage in a pencil fight then it was meant to be. Give an Angry Boy a pencil -yet I couldn’t have an underwire bra- go figure.

Anyways…
Eight hours to go.

Not that I’m wishing my life away… I’m just ready for the weekend! Nothing – not a single durn thing – on the agenda for tomorrow. Sunday we have a putt-putt outing after church. That will make Austin happy. He loves putt-putt.

You wouldn’t believe how many people come in here to pay and ask, “who do I make the check to?” Um. Publix? Where are you? Why is this so difficult?

In “Cat’s Away” news… seems like I’m the only one answering the phone today. Of course, I’m also typing this – but it only takes short bursts of time as I type REALLY fast. *snicker* At least I’m at my desk and not keeping other people from working or causing other people to have to do my job. I’m just sayin’….

My pinkie toe really hurts.

Hey! It’s almost noon! One long appointment later and by the time I finish up the paperwork it will five and a half hours to go! And an hour of that is lunch! That was a great appointment for me… three cars, a house, a boat. Good people…nice to talk to… glad to be moving to our company.

Why is the heat set on 72? I’m about to have a heat stroke. My heat at home is set on 64. It came on this morning. That’s enough to keep the chill off but not have the heat run nonstop.
My scanner keeps grabbing papers crooked and crumpling them up. Argh! Gonna post this novel so I don’t lose it during lunch. More later, maybe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

just a few things to be thankful for

Trying to rebound from a particularly trying Whiny Wednesday. Nothing major, just a lot of minor things that add up and stress me out. I pushed through and went to church last night and was so. Very. Glad. I did. My hen party/bible study was great and exactly what I needed to get through the rest of this week. I understand that church isn’t for everyone – and that some people are “Home Churched” and that organized religion seems restrictive and judgmental and harsh to some. I’m definitely guilty of needing a pajama Sunday here and there. But when I go, it’s good. It makes me feel plugged in with my community and that’s something that’s incredibly vital for me. Squeezing in some quality time with Jim, Angie and the girls – even if it is on fast forward – also helps.

So… my first item on my Thankful Thursday agenda is my church – Helen First Baptist. If you are ever in Helen and you want to stop in, you’ll find me on the second row, third chair in… although my hen party ladies are threatening to sit there just to throw me out of my comfort zone. I replied that it would move them from THEIR comfort zone… having me in their lap thru the entire service. Creature of habit, you know?

Item number 2 on the agenda – I’m thankful for human kindness. I play this online game – superpoke pets – and it’s a bit of an addiction/hobby for me. Like most online games… you can win points or “coins” for playing OR you can buy “gold” with real money. Obviously I’m not in a position to waste money buying stuff for a cyber pet when my own pet is going without the premium stuff himself. But yesterday this complete stranger spent $15-20 on gold items for my pet. It was just really sweet and I was so blue… it turned my day around. Sometimes just a touch of human kindness goes a long way. A long, long way.

I’m thankful today for the availability of fresh fruit at fast food restaurants. My fruit and yogurt parfait at McDonalds. Apple “fries” at Burger King. Banana at Sonic. So that even when I’m too tired to actually shop for produce… I can always grab some on the run. That’s number 3.

Number 4 - I still love my hairdo. Love. Love. Love my hair. Maybe that’s vanity. Ok, definitely it’s vanity. But unless you’re a girl with naturally curly hair you can’t appreciate the struggle to tame the wild beast every day. It’s so much easier now. I love the length, I love how it feels... I love getting compliments on it! Makes me feel so pretty!

Number 5 – Not sure if this is ready for public announcement yet but my sister-in-law – Dr. Angie Gant – is being promoted to chairman of her department at the college where she works which – among other things – means that she is now her husband’s boss – at least at the college. She works so hard and she’s good at what she does. She worked really hard to get that doctorate too, and it’s good to see it paying off for her. I’m really proud of her! This doesn’t take effect until the next school year but she will assume some duties starting in January.

Time to wrap this up and start hitting the phones again. Hope you’re all having a great day and that you can find a few things in your own life for which you are thankful! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

whiny wednesday

It’s Wednesday already! How’d that happen?

Well… you go home exhausted from adjusting to the time change… and you have a little tummy trouble (details of which I’ll spare you) and spend Tuesday curled up in a painful ball in your pepto bismol pink recliner… then you come in to work to find out that for some reason your cash box has been converted to one third COINS… when you normally keep an amount that is appropriate for the amount of business you do… and stay pissed off all morning over it… and then all of a sudden you realize that your work week is half over… in the blink of an eye…

And so here we are at Whiny Wednesday! Thanks for playing along!

I was supposed to have lunch today with Crunch & Munch… don’t get all excited… just an “old friends catching up” sort of thing. He is supposed to be off on Wednesdays… then he ended up having to work so that has been postponed.

Instead I’m going to run out and grab something quick and cheap- even though I had promised myself I would be bringing from home to save money. See… what happened was… we have had so much rain that we have an overabundance of flies… and some itty bitty flies got into my bread – both loaves – even though neither loaf had been opened yet – and I haven’t had the opportunity to purchase more bread. THEN… I was going to bring a lean cuisine to eat and I got in a rush at the last minute this morning and forgot it. I almost forgot my meds… which would have been a bigger issue… and in my rush to go back and take the meds, I forgot to grab something out of the freezer.

I thought about just fasting today. Seriously. We’re doing this big study on prayer and I’m really excited about becoming a better/more disciplined prayer warrior because I so thoroughly believe that prayer changes things. I think that even IF prayer doesn’t change the circumstances, it goes a long way toward changing your perspective. You simply cannot make yourself vulnerable before the Creator in honest supplication and not feel differently. Even if all you’ve done is take a few minutes to clear your mind and meditate… it helps.

Lunch ended up being a veggie sub and a trip to pay my internet/phone/satellite bill. Yee haw. I was going to pick something up for Jessie’s birthday (Jim and Angie’s adopted daughter) but it took too long to do those two things… so I found a funny and very inappropriate card and modified it with sharpie marker to make it appropriate because I KNOW Jessie will appreciate that.

The veggie sub was $2.94. Not exactly a splurge. And my appetite is weird right now… still have a little bit of a sore throat, nothing tastes right and my tummy is still less than 100% so I didn’t eat it all.

Yesterday I ate pretty much nothing except sweetarts. I don’t know why. You’d think I’d gorge on chocolate. Nope. Sweetarts. Or that I would not eat at all..

Just a little over two hours left in my work day… then home to Cleveland, a trip to the gas station, church and back home around 8pm. Still a lot of hours left in my day but I’m determined to remain out and about among the 3-dimensional people today. Even if my head hurts, my throat hurts, my tummy hurts, my wrist hurts… I’m not going to sit home tonight.

This is sort of a big deal for me because lately I’m feeling closed off and isolated. I think depression manifests itself in different ways. For me, I just want to be left alone. I blog less, answer fewer emails, make fewer status updates… it’s easier to not deal with people at all than to feel less than my usual charming self. And with that...

Ok… got a lot to do. Love and hugs y’all!

Monday, November 2, 2009

rambling monday

I have a sore throat.
Let me go ahead and get that out because if I don’t, I’m going to be thinking about it the whole entry.
It’s a new sore throat. It started out as just feeling sort of thirsty. It hurt to swallow my little lean cuisine lunch…
I don’t really have any other symptoms… other than being tired but it’s Monday and the time changed. But time changed in a good way – to give us more time. Other than the fact that I’ll be driving home in the dark every evening… at least I know my way around here now and I won’t have to try to go scary places on unnamed roads when I can’t see where I’m going.
I guess I do have a few other symptoms. My nose is stuffy. I’m not coughing but I keep bringing up slime. Ugh. I know, TMI. Sorry.
I was a backslidden Christian again yesterday and skipped church. I just couldn’t move. I wanted to stay in my pjs in my recliner. I napped in the middle of the day.
And I was a little bit blue… it was a year ago yesterday that Misty, my stepson’s mom died. I still play the “what if” game. I still think about sitting on a blanket in the bright hot June sunlight with Misty when everything with Michael was still brand new… when she asked if I would take care of Bobby if anything happened to her. I remember laughing and saying, “nothing is going to happen…” People know, I think.
Technically he is no longer my stepson. Legally he still is but I haven’t seen him – or Michael – in a year as of Thursday. Or Stephen. This was the last “anniversary” that I had to get thru. She was buried on November 5th.
I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed over it. Reflective. Contemplative. It still makes me sad, I guess it always will. Not just that she died and left three little kids behind. But that Michael and I didn’t have a strong enough relationship for me to have been able to be there for her in the way she had wanted. In some ways I feel like I let Misty down.
But I also know that Misty, better than anyone, knew what I was dealing with. She was such a great support for me in those days between the time I left florida and the time she died. She worried about me. She offered me a cellphone. She wanted to help me through what she knew was a rough transition.
So. Yeah. What if?
What if she and Michael had stayed together and instead of having three baby daddies, there was just one? What if he and I had never met? How much of my life would I wish back to the time before Michael? My weight, for sure! My confidence. My independence. My salary.
But… would I trade what I have now, where I have it?
I had an epiphany about my weight the other day… while I was flailing around like a turtle on its back trying to get out of the recliner without using my injured arm. Oh, I didn’t mention hurting my wrist did I? no big deal. Just another little ache and pain.
I worked so hard to be thin… to discover the “me” inside the big girl. And then I got wounded. And I think there is a subconscious reluctance to be thin again. As if thin = vulnerable. As if – if I allowed myself to be that thinner, more energetic, attractive person that there would be another Michael lurking around who could possibly wound me again. And who knows if I would survive another him?
I didn’t know Misty that well but I know that she went through a lot of relationships in the time I knew her. She was married, then divorced, then living with someone, then living with someone else, then engaged, then broke up, then living with someone and having his baby. She never recovered from Michael either. She spent the rest of her life with instability. That makes me sad. Both for her… and for me.
My body thinks it’s almost time to go home. I have another hour and then some.
We’re having hamburger helper for dinner. Austin is doing the ground beef before I get home so it will be quicker.
Gosh. My throat really hurts.