Friday, November 28, 2008

Was the yum!

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. Why do I always forget to shoot a pic of the turkey before it is carved? It happens every year. Oh well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My Health - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#1 - I am thankful for having my health. Well of course I could be healthier, duh, but I could be worse too. I work with a lot of people who have many health conditions, physical and mental. I can relate to some of the mental issues they are having, but not in a sense of being permanently ill as they are. So many have illnesses that cause them pain and discomfort every day. And here I complain about one little ache or pain.

I am grateful to be alive and able to experience sight, sound, taste, and smell. The body is amazing in all that it does. It is good to feel alive and I guess that is why I really think getting rid of my bad habits is important.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Grandparents - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#2 - I am grateful to have had such wonderful grandparents. My grandma and grandpa were so admirable to me growing up as a child and up into my adulthood. My grandpa was very intelligent and studious. He didn't talk much to me, but you could tell he was wise.

My grandma was as sweet as ever and would always worry about others before herself. She would knit, paint, sew, and bake as grandmothers do. I miss going to Grandma's especially on Sundays after church. She was always such a positive role model for me and I still think of her almost daily.

My Country - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#3 - My country. I am thankful for living in the United States. That I have plenty of food to eat (you can't tell?), that I have a warm bed, that I have opportunity to grow, and that I have freedom.

I was watching TV last night when a commercial came on about abandoned and undernourished kids in Africa. I couldn't watch it. I had to close my eyes. I think of how hard it would be to be his mother, but what's worse is how hard it must have been for her to abandon her. The center for these kids is giving them a future. But where is she now? Did she do the best for her child then? I have it easy here. I am guilty of it.

With change underway I am thankful for what I do have and hope that it doesn't get taken away. For I don't take what I have now for granted.

The Holidays - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#4 The holidays. I am thankful for the holidays. It is always wonderful to find different things to celebrate and almost all of them are usually something we are thankful for, so Thanksgiving Day must be for everything else, right? Think about it:

Civil Rights Day
Valentine's Day
Easter Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Pioneer Day (Utah)
Labor Day
Veteran's Day
Christmas Day

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Faith - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#5 - My faith. I am thankful for my faith. As I was in women's Bible study last night I realized something. It wasn't me that got me through my tough times. It wasn't me that was successful at my job. It wasn't me at all. It was the Lord's spirit that led me.

I am thankful to have this gift in my life. For without it I wouldn't be where I am at today nor would I feel fulfilled. I can testify to so many promptings and miracles in my life because of my faith.

In a world like today and what is to come, I am very thankful for my faith. It only gets stronger every day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Brothers - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#6 - My brothers. I am thankful for my brothers. They are always so willing to help me at a moments notice. For example, for Thanksgiving I asked my mom if I could borrow her folding table and chairs. She and I can always rely on John to retrieve them wherever they be stashed. He is so kind to help me put them in my car. John is always very helpful.

Marty is great in that he will give me any advice I need on a car's maintenance. He is willing to work on my cars anytime I need and is so happy to do so. I wish he didn't live so far away.

Matt is the same, he also works on cars, but he helps me in so many other ways. This year he offered to give me tons of produce from his garden, fresh eggs from his chicken, and would be willing to put my lights on my house for Christmas if I let him.

If I ever do come across hard times again, I know I can always rely on my brothers to help me do the things I cannot do alone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Dad - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#7 - My dad. I am thankful for my dad. He is gone now, but I am still very thankful each and every day for my dad. My dad was my hero. He was a hard working man and was there for me more than a daughter could ask her dad to be.

I have to admit that my dad wasn't always my hero. When I was young I was scared of him. I only remembered him disciplining me, giving me chores, or making me sit at the table to eat every bit of food on my plate. He was an alcoholic for what seemed a long time. I don't recall him being happy around us kids until I was much older but then again I have been known to not pay attention to details closely and tend to pay more attention to my emotions.

I loved my dad when I got to know him. I was an adult by this time and really felt close to him. I feel so sad that I couldn't have had more time to get to know him than I did. My dad died too young. It is sad to know that people who have sleep apnea as he did do not even know they have it. That stopping breathing in their sleep will kill them someday. It will kill them and hurt their loved ones.

I relied on my dad so much for moral support, even when I didn't know it. He would offer to go to court with me when I was going through my mental break and had the boys in foster care. He was there by my side to back me up yet he didn't say a word. He didn't need to.

I miss my dad. I am thankful I had him and that he was such a good example to me and the boys, that he was so hard working and loved to do the things he did. That he tried to hide his pain in his shoulder and knees and that he was unselfish enough to think of helping his kids with the settlement he was going to pursue all the while in pain after his surgery.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Mom - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#8 - I am thankful for my mom. My mom has been with me through some pretty tough times. I was not the smartest kid and ended up in a lot of predicaments well into the age of 27. She has helped me through teen pregnancy, teen marriage, finishing my high school, my first childbirth, my divorce, my drug problems, my mental problems, and my financial problems. I created a lot of hard struggles that didn't allow for us to grow or bond as we had the potential to. She was there and that counted for a lot.

The best times with my mother are of my relationship with her as a kid - it reminds me of mine and Savannah's relationship today. Savannah's smile just lights up the room when she sees me and the same for me to her. I remember feeling that way about my mom when I was little too. I think it is such a great blessing to have the comfort in your heart knowing that such a special person called mom was the one that takes care of you.

My fondest memories of mom as a kid were the baking she did, the smell in the house, the music she'd play on the stereo, her button container, her shoes that I would try on endlessly. I loved her hair and how it was so pretty with curls. I remember her jewelry and her perfume. My mom would encourage me to dance in the dark to her music on the record and would watch me as I pretended I was a ballerina.

She encouraged me to take tap lessons one day and as I hid behind the couch from the person at the door, I remember her giving me the choice to make my own decision. I don't know why I was so scared, but the fact that she gave me the choice has helped me realize that I am an independent person. She gave me the choice to keep my baby when it was found that I was pregnant at age 16 too. She always gave me options to make my own decisions.

Mom doesn't always show her love in an affectionate way (neither do I) but I know she loves me and I am still her little girl. That's all that matters. I am glad that she is in my life and that I am in hers only now we don't seem to need each other much and I admit it feels like something is missing. I hope to be better at spending more time with her next year as a resolution because I am very thankful for my mom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Pets - Thanksgiving's 14 days of 14 blessings

#9 - My pets. I am thankful for Muffers, Bear, and Buddy. (The fish are fun to look at but they don't do a whole lot as far as for company.)

Muffers is so finicky. She only likes to eat, drink, sleep, purr, and associate with anyone if it's on her terms. She is a priss. She is so sweet though. She waits until the house is quiet and all the kids are in bed and then comes in and makes "muffins" on our bellies. She prefers her water freshly ran from the tap yet she loves to roll in the dirt, which is surprising cause when you go to pet her she acts as if she doesn't want your grubby hands touching clean fur.

Bear is dopey dog. He is a puppy so he will be a dopey dog for a while. But he is so fun loving, he also shows how concerned he is for everyone like dogs do. The other day Savannah bonked her head and was crying and he was there licking her foot all better. He is great for making sure my kitchen floor is spotless and he adds so much life to the house that when he is not around it just isn't the same. You can always expect Bear waiting at the door for your arrival.

Buddy is our little tabby boy. He has only been with us for 3 weeks. I can't say that I am thankful for his playing in my houseplant, but he is a kitten afterall. He is also very loveable, purrs loud, and sleeps by my head every night. He plays with everything especially at 5:00 in the morning. The other morning I found him sneaking some of my orange juice. Silly guy, I've never heard of cat drinking orange juice.

I am glad to have such cute little spirits to have around to make life more interesting. They love us too!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Dolly - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#10 - "A Dolly." Savannah wanted to add to my list. Today she is thankful for a dolly. "Cause I like it." She likes the dolly with the puppies like her friend has. (This is odd cause everytime we see this doll in the store she doesn't ever seem like she is interested in it!)

There you have it. Savannah is thankful for a doll that she doesn't have. She wants it. I think she is confused with her wish list for Santa and her Thanksgiving list. Oh to be a kid again!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Sisters - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#11 - I am thankful for my sisters. My sisters have always been a large inspiration in my life. Each one has her own qualities that I admire and look up to. I am the youngest daughter in my family, so they have been my example ever since I can remember.

Tina - Tina is independent, generous, pretty, intelligent, and takes well care of herself and her family. It's hard to tell but I think she keeps a lot of her feelings inside and when she lets them out she doesn't let anything bother her. Tina knows what she wants and how to get it - she is emotionally strong. Tina is very mature, outgoing, and always trying new things. Even to this day I find I still want to be more like her "when I grow up."

As a child I only remember Tina in her teen years. After all she is between 8 and 9 years older than I am. She didn't feel like my sister at all at that time though. I remember her getting ready for dates to go to the disco, her dress, her golden necklace and feathered hair. She was and still is always so beautiful. I remember sneaking in her room to look at her posters on her wall and her makeup whenever she wasn't home. She always brought cool friends like Kendra over who wore a cool neck band and feathered hair. They hung out in her room a lot and listened to Andy Gibb.

Tina is always inviting people to do things with her and she always insists on treating for everything. She is very generous in that she enjoys doing this so that a person like me can experience some of the greater things in life. Tina took my daughter and I to see Disney's Princesses on Ice earlier this year and we had so much fun thanks to her. Savannah will never forget going either. She still talks about it. I always have fun with Tina, no matter where we are.

Tina has inspired me to be better; to exercise and take care of my body before I get too old, to be financially stable, and to always go after my own dreams.

Monica - Monica is sweet, gentle, kind, and nurturing. Monica is always positive about life and loved ones and is very faithful to her spirituality. Monica loves homemaking and has always been a stable influence in my life. When I visit her today it feels like home. Home meaning the security and warmness that I felt as a child growing up; the smell of something baking, the kids doing chores, brothers and sisters in each room of the house, and family game playing.

When I was growing up, Monica was always quiet. I didn't know her much as she and I are also some 7 or 8 years apart. I did hang around her from time to time, usually when she was watching "Eight is Enough" and she would paint my nails during commercials. She had a cute stuffed kitty that wound up and had music play on it. After she left for school I would sneak in there and play with it. I remember her bed was always made too. She had posters of Shaun Cassidy and KC & the Sunshine Band.

To this day Monica has always spent a lot of time baking in the kitchen. I was little enough that I would climb up to sit on the bar and watch everything she did. She always gave me the egg beaters every time! I remember one summer day she took me for a ride on her metallic magenta bike with the white banana seat. I think I was sitting on the funny handlebars while we rode through the trailer court down the street from us. It was funny that the only part of our conversation I remember was when she asked me what I smelled as we rode by someone with a cigarette. All I remember was saying that it smelled like Lagoon - an amusement park in Salt Lake City that Dad would take us to each year. I guess I didn't know what a cigarette was. I just knew where I had smelled the smell for the first time.

Monica inspires me to be positive, to believe in others, and to have a full heart for everything I do in life. She encourages me to run my house as a "home" and to be faithful to my spiritual beliefs to remain calm in spirit to be content like she is.

Jennifer - Jennifer is smart, independent, and naturally healthy. In addition, she is well organized, proactive, and very assertive. Jennifer and I are closest in age, about 3 1/2 years difference. She and I have a friend relationship and are close in that we shared bedrooms growing up. Jennifer has always been a good example to me for as long as I can remember. She has always had high standards of herself and excels to be different from everyone which makes her so unique. I have always admired that about her and have been influenced to really let others know of my opinion and not be persuaded by the majority.

My fondest memories of Jennifer are when we would play Wonder Woman together. I remember watching Sunday television with her as we both loved Shirley Temple and Little House on the Prarie. I loved playing "girations" with her in the front room and being hyper with her. Jennifer used to climb up the hallway with her monkey hands and clammy feet. Sometimes we would dress up in frilly slips and pretend we were ballet dancers.

In my eyes, Jennifer was the most popular one in her school. She was in the drill team, the marching band, and all the while working and hanging out with friends. I thought I was so cool to have her for my sister and would show off to my friends all the pictures she had in the yearbook. She also had the cutest clothes and still does.

Jennifer has taught me to strive to be better, she has been a good listener whenever I've needed an ear. She has created a desire in me to learn how to become a diverse and unique indiviual so that I may stand out among the rest.

I am so appreciative that I have such wonderful sisters to share my life with.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Kids - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#12 - I am thankful for my kids. My kids bring joy to my life that no one else can. They have been with me through thick and thin and are always there to listen to me when no one else is. Without my kids I probably wouldn't be where I am today.

About 9 years ago I had become mentally ill. This was due to going through a 2 year long struggle with trying to find my identity without my husband who had left me. I didn't seek counseling as I should have and let myself get involved with drugs as a means to cope and still spent time with my ex that I thought would be beneficial for our relationship.

Well I snapped one day. I am sure this had traumatized my boys to no end with the things I did while in la la land. It hurts my heard to remember those times and to think of what they must have been feeling. I put them through hell. I left Jacob at the park thinking that angels told me to, that he would be better off there, that if I sacrificed him, God would take him and I would be a better mother for it. For Michael I thought I was supposed to take him on a ride with me and that white cars were guiding us on the street who we were supposed to learn from, that the cars contained guardians and messengers. So I hit one of them purposefully thinking that was what I was supposed to do. The older couple that got ouf of the car that I hit looked like guardian angels to me and when they asked if we were alright they were there to help us and to guide us home.

Crazy wasn't I? Psychosis and severe depression was the diagnosis the doctor gave me. I didn't even know what was going on. It was a mess. I am lucky to not have killed my kids or hurt them thank God. After I went to the mental ward at the hospital, I was sane enough to let the authorities know not to let them stay with their dad while I was there as he was a drug dealer. That same day, I hate to think of their poor little hearts getting broken when the Child Services took them away and put in a good foster home.

To this day I ask them how they felt at that time, if they were scared and all, but they weren't. I think what I had done had scared them enough and they probably blocked out a lot of the emotional pain from those two years in general I guess. Poor guys. I wish I could go back in time and had done things right.

Had I not had those two little boys I probably never would have even strived to be a better person. When I got out of the psych ward I wasn't able to get them back in my custody right away, so I took the opportunity to work on getting my head back and my emotions stable so that when they did come back I would be the best mom I'd ever been.

To my surprise it worked better than I had planned. I was doing so well in counseling, taking my medication as I should have, and best of all had self worth and knew who I was and how to get it. I learned that only I was in control of my emotions, that no one else discerned how I would feel. Yes they can affect me and how I feel, but it was up to me to react with my own emotions.

Three months later after visiting with the boys weekly and keeping as much contact with them as I was allowed, I went to court thinking it was just a followup appointment. Little did Iknow I would be awarded them back! Moving from her last case of disgust and cold hearted news to the defendants the judge had transformed into a warm and inviting person and had asked me, "Your have progressed so well and deserve to have these kids back. I have seen so many cases in my career, but what makes you so different?" I couldn't answer other than I loved those kids and wanted to be back with them. My life was not my own without them. Didn't all parents feel that way?

I had Michael at age 17 and Jacob at age 19 and was just a kid myself. I have never known any other way than to take care of these boys the best I knew how and to love them. Had they not been my purpose for getting a stable life back in order I don't know where I would be today.

Savannah has also become a great joy in my life. She lifts my spirit every moment! Of course children at that age are so young and innocent. They are naive and see the world in such a different way. She is the spitting image of me when I was her age and sometimes reminds me to see life through a child's eye again.

Savannah helps me to remember God. I want her to be influenced in ways that I wasn't and to really understand who God is rather than what others tell her. I want her to develop a relationship with Him and to be a well rounded individual who knows her self worth. I hope to accomplish this but without having a strong relationship of my own with God, it will be difficult. I am learning myself still of who I am in His eyes and my purpose here on earth and with that I feel the urge to cut out a lot of bad habits that I recently elaborated to you about. To get closer to God and to be truly happy, I really need to do my best and learn from my convictions.

I am working hard to be a good example to Savannah, for which I appreciate her as my daughter. Without her as this reason I might not have something to strive so hard for at this time in my life. Michael and Jacob are their own person now, age 19 and 17 I think they are some influence from me but are set out to find their own ways with their own decisions and thoughts. I miss having them home like I did a few years ago, they were always so helpful around the house and enjoyed being with me when I needed them to the most.

I am very grateful for my kids, those three little lights that shine in my heart. They provide so much life, laughter, and love to me as only a mother could know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Husband - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#13 - I am thankful for my husband. My husband came to me as a result of prayer. Maybe his prayer, maybe mine, maybe both. I had maintained happiness and self sufficiency living as a single mom for a couple of years when he and I met. I never dated or really went out nor did I had the desire to. I admit I would get lonely off and on but in no way was ready to get near a relationship and so I stayed away from meeting new people all together. Probably not the best way but I figured I had enough of a social life during going through my divorce that I had plenty for a while. And if you know me I'm not a social butterfly to begin with.

After being financially stable for a while, I decided to make one of my first major purchases. It was a computer that was built by a good friend. I always wanted a computer and was so excited. Shortly thereafter I enrolled in college to finish working on my degree I had started 4 years prior. I thought it would be good that I could access online courses after coming home from work and still be with my boys. I would stay up late off and on doing homework and sometimes messed around on to amuse myself. It was August and after a long night I decided to register and visit MSN Chat just for the fun of it to see what it was all about. No sooner than I had done this, Charlie had messaged me telling me he liked my picture. Given all the slum I got from the other umpteen people at the moment I logged on, I didn't think anything of it and thought "Oh great, another one trying to get me to come to look at their web cam or something stupid." When I replied to him, after looking at his profile of course, I told him "Thanks" but didn't believe he was being serious. I looked at his profile over and over thinking to myself that he is probably just a regular guy, but I wasn't adamant about finding out either.

Charlie wouldn't actually converse with me online at that point, he would simply type lyrics to songs and add note emoticons to show that he was "singing" to me. I thought it was cute but didn't get why he continued this way. I thought it was odd that he wasn't trying to get answers from me regarding stupid questions that dealt with my fantasies or something. Nothing was really progressing at that point to keep me interested so when it got pretty late I logged off. I mentally logged his user name "Senti-Chaz" in my head in case I ran across him again if I were ever to log back in the future.

About a week later I got bored and logged on the chat site again. To my surprise I found him online again. I decided I didn't really want to talk to anyone else, they were so boring and fake. So I messaged him and reminded him of our meeting from the last time. He remembered me. This time we started to get to know each other. One of his first questions was if I was an online gamer for Ultima Online and of course I gave him a big fat no and "what is UO?". At that point I didn't think he was interested in me any longer but I was wrong. We conversed about our jobs, our interests in music and the crazy stuff we've done in the past and ended up moving to each other's MSN Messenger favorites list. Our relationship then existed online after work and in between my school work every day and all weekends. I don't even remember what we talked about but it was everything past, future, present, and then some.

It was cool. Of course I thought it was odd that he didn't have a home phone and he put it bluntly that he never had a need for one. This I found interesting in that he was somewhat of a recluse, the same as me but I admit I also worried that he secretly was living in his mother's basement and smoking dope out on their back porch when they weren't home. Or that he was terrible with money and couldn't get a phone in his name. But I was wrong. His profile was 100% accurate - "What you see is what you get" as his motto was stated. Looking back it was neat that he would call me from a pay phone from the gas station down the street from his apartment until his phone was hooked up.

I was pretty excited as time went on to find out that we had so many of the same dreams and values and best of all he has a desire to be close with God just as I have and I never knew that a man like that really existed. I love that he can go to a play with me one night and to karaoke the next. That he can switch the radio dial from AC DC to classical to the old country my dad listened to. And that he knows each performer's name, the song, and date that the music came from. I love that he can relate to me, that he knows from his own experiences of what it's like to "self medicate" or what it's like to feel like a loner or outsider. We really connect more than anyone knows.

Like I said in the beginning, I did pray for him - in that a couple of months prior to meeting him, I asked God that if I do find a man, that he be involved in "church" in some way or fashion. I didn't specify in my prayer of how this man would be participating in or what type of church and figured God knew what I meant as He knows me. I knew I had made bad choices in the past with men that have no value system at all, nor did I ever realize what I desired in a man until now. During the last 6 years with Charlie I still believe he was "hand picked" for me and I for him. God knew we had a need for each other.

Charlie is genuinely talented with a gift of a voice that I have never heard before. I love to hear him sing. Being in a former band as the lead singer and pianist, I found him often writing songs for me when he was still living in Wyoming. He'd spend his thoughts doing this while he would work and said that I was his inspiration. After moving to Utah he struggled off and on with finding a band where he could express himself and continue to utilize his talents. There were a few, but they didn't last. He eventually realized he was too old for spending his weekends up practicing in garages or basements with dope heads. So he thought if he found a Christian band it be more worthwhile for what he wanted to do and why. After getting to know the band, he found the people there did not have the same desire for creating new found music and lyrics to express his emotions to God.

After Charlie received many prompts from God over and over to go to church, we started to go to a nearby fellowship group for services. Being raised LDS I have only experienced church services that were dogmatic with very little stimulation so I instantly realized I would be exposed to a whole new way of worshiping. I wasn't sure about it all but trusted Charlie and the fact that it was a non-denominational group encouraged me to know there would be no pressure to "join" or to cult with them as if that was their only challenge or lot in life. The church had a small worship team and Charlie felt it was a place where we were put for a reason. To put it in the words God spoke to him, "Grow where you are planted." Since that first day, he has helped the worship team off and on with sound and filling in here and there by guitar or piano. He has learned that if he is patient, there is potential for growth when the time comes for him to do more. I admit that we had some personality conflicts with others there and stopped going for a while but now are back in the game. Charlie doesn't feel led to go to different church and I feel the same way and hope I am encouraging for him to be patient this time around. Just recently he shared with me a beautiful song that he had written and kept in his head. It is amazing that he does all this without his piano by his side or a pad of paper to write the lyrics down. Amazing.

Life hasn't always been peachy with my music man though. We have our ups and downs. Our personalities usually compliment each other, his being more outgoing and creative, mine being more conservative and quiet. While he hyper focuses on life's events, I just soak them up and then wait to take action. Sometimes we have conflicts I admit and have had close encounters with separating but both realize that is not the answer. No matter how eccentric he can be the teddy bear inside that I fell in love with will always be there.

Charlie was there for me when my Grandma died, just 6 months after we had met. He was there when my Grandpa died 7 months later and again when my dad died 7 months after that. Had I been alone through these things I don't know that I would have gotten through like I did. I am still mourning my dad and Charlie is always there to listen to my tears and frustrations even if I can't explain exactly what I am feeling or why. He has also been there with my heartache with our runaway teenage son. our pet dog dying, and Savannah and her breathing spells. He was there when Savannah's elbow came out of the socket a couple of Thanksgivings ago. He comforted her as she cried in pain and he knew exactly what to do until we got to the ER. I on the other hand was helpless.

He's been there for the good things too - upgrade after upgrade on our house he has come up with most of the ideas and motivation to move forward on them. We shared in picking our trees, talking about roses, re-picking trees after our dog used them for a chew toy. He spent a lot of time teaching the boys all about installing a sprinkler system and how to hang dry wall. They loathed the lessons but someday they will use what he has taught them! He has shared and pursued his dream hobby with me as an aquarist and has taught me a lot from seeing his passion and his genuine interest in one of life's amazing miracles.

Charlie was there from the minute we found out we were expecting. He was there for every appointment and would meet up with me to attend prenatal class each week after work. He would rub my belly with lotion and rub my feet and back when I was in pain. He would harvest my every craving at a moments notice. He read Green Eggs & Ham to my belly and keep his head close to it at night. He was there emotionally and physically. He was also genuinely concerned. One of his worries was of the baby going through labor and be subjected to medication from the epidural. I never really thought before to try to go through labor without medication so the baby would be alert and awake when she was born. And after we talked about it, I realized it was something important to him and therefore became important to me as well. He encouraged me to go natural and I did! It was an experience I'll never forget and am glad I had it. I still remember his loving and worried face there in my view - the only thing I could focus on while in my worst pain. I cannot explain the bond that I felt with him at that moment and at the moment when she finally arrived. He is such a good dad to this day too. He is involved with her and interacts with her every day - something that Michael and Jacob never knew existed. Her favorite time with Dad is when he plays dive bomb on the bed with her. She just loves it when he carries her around like a "sack of 'tatoes." She loves to play hide and seek with him when he gets home from work. It just brings me so much joy to me to share this love for a child with him.

Charlie is also an innovative chef always experimenting and trying new things. He has introduced so many new recipes and foods in our home that the boys and I never knew could exist. I love seafood now and have learned so much from Charlie on how to cook. I now know how to taste the spices in food and identify them and most of all how to host a good party where everyone leaves full. I have yet to learn how to put them all together the way he does.

I am really thankful to share my life with someone as talented and diverse natured as my husband is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Job - Thanksgivng's 14 days of 14 blessings

#14 - I am thankful for my job. My job I have now has been the most consistent positive influence for me in my life thus far. I started my job 8 1/2 years ago as a single mother/customer who was receiving food stamps and Medicaid that needed some job skills and fast. My ex-husband had just left me two years prior just after I had started college to get my accounting degree. After winning a two year battle with depression and identity issues including self medication to cope with the loss - I decided it was finally time to become self sufficient and finish what I started. I went to DWS, Department of Workforce Services, to receive help. Part of the financial program assistance I applied for requires an employment plan to help get people like me make goals to achieve employment in a job that could grow economically or to help them get the skills necessary to find such employment.

I expressed to my counselor my interest in accounting - that I have been interested to work in the field since high school. The counselor immediately thought of an option for me to better myself through a worksite learning experience. There was a couple positions short at the time on their own administration staff so they were able to place me as an unpaid intern to help them out. I remember my mom thought I was crazy to want to work for free. I guess at the time she didn't realize that in my mind I was not worrying about the money since I had great support from my family and really wanted to focus on getting some skills while I had the time. I guess you could say I was looking to the future and taking all the advice from DWS staff that they gave me, after all they were in this business a lot longer than I was.

I was nervous but excited! I was really going to work in an office setting and was there just to learn rather than work at some call center or sewing factory just to try to make ends meet. I started out with basic filing and coding the accounts payable documents along with tasks to help others on the team with imaging and copying for the Regional Director's secretary. These duties of course got old, but as usual I would always ask plenty of questions to keep myself occupied. Before I knew it an actual opening came up and I was offered a position as an accounting technician. I remember thinking to myself I was finally "important" and that I did it all on my own. Working for the government became a great way for me to support my kids as well - the benefits are awesome!

Since then many more opportunities have come further up the ladder. I had proved myself to be a quick learner having great organizational skills. Eventually I became a state financial analyst but after a couple of years working at the state level, my job became mundane and boring due to less empowerment given by management to their staff. There was no creativity or ownership for me working at that level so I decided to move back to the region. To do this I would need to become an eligibility caseworker - issuing food stamps, Medicaid, child care, and financial assistance to the public all the while helping the office I worked for to conduct a pilot for the new database management system that will be moving to production next year.

About a month and a half ago, one of the supervisors in my office hand chose me to be their new employment counselor specializing in SSI Navigation. While I was flattered I knew I'd need to have the desire to get out of my comfort zone. Sure I am organized and a quick learner, but I have always needed to improve my social skills. Well here was my chance. He hand chose me for a reason, I took the job and have decided to do my best at it. I wasn't sure at first that I liked it but each day has become easier and easier and I am finding that I am starting to genuinely care for people, that working with them directly rather than on the phone as I have in the past is very rewarding. To see them smile and to help them the way I can makes my job much more worthwhile.

It's funny how life opens doors that you never knew you had a desire to enter into and once you do, you find you are right where you belong.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gobble Til You Wobble!

Can I just say that thinking of the Thanksgiving menu and planning for it just makes me sooo hungry!? The food is great but what is even better is that it is a good excuse to get with family members. I can never get enough of that.

I am so excited for the holidays to come this year. Which is surprising. I usually am somewhat excited and anticipate everything to be mediocre. Maybe this is because I know how depressed I can get when it's all over, I dunno. But this year I don't care what I feel later, I am more concerned with how I feel in the moment. I guess I am in good spirits and have hope for good cheer. Starting to sound like a Hallmark card, aren't I?

My sister Monica and her family are coming to my house this year, last year she had us at hers. I am looking forward to her various pies she makes -the crust is always made from scratch! And it is always good to see her friendly face.

We have some friends who love to fry their turkey each year and when they asked us if were going to fry ours I thought they were kidding! I just can't bear to do it. We both love the traditional meal that must include my apple cider stuffing and gravy made with drippings - you can't get that with a fried turkey. I guess if you have a large enough party and needed two turkeys you would do it both ways, just like my brother Matt and his family do.

Some people I've known in the past make all kinds of food, even spaghetti. Blah! Ick! I just love the traditional stuff. I always like a relish tray full of pickles, olives, and other fresh veggies to munch on while the sweet smell of the bird lingers in the air. I am definatlely making Jennifer's (my sister) recipe she gave me a few years ago for candied yams, Charlie's wonderful smashed potatoes, fresh rolls, and this year we are looking for a new vegetable to serve. Charlie says his mom has a killer green bean casserole recipe that he remembers as a kid. We'll somehow try to replicate it or procure it from her as it must be on the menu!

Not sure if Monica and I will do homemade cranberries this year. She and I are the only ones that like them and at a small portion. I'm sure there is a use for leftovers that some of you all can share with me? Also it would be great to hear from you of what your favorite dishes for Thanksgiving are that have become a tradition?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So it's about time!!!

I know I know, I never write anymore. It's a good time for me to start up again. It is healing and helps me sort out my thoughts. I admit I have been lazy about doing this and have become a negative person. Think about it. When a person blogs they are usually blogging about the good things in life, the things that are positive. When they do this, a person can only tend to become positive them self. Who needs a counselor after all!? I don't. I just need to get my head back into this game.

I will admit to you that I had been feeling depressed. I have been letting myself go with this pattern of negative thinking and allowing myself to dwell on it. Drinking too often hasn't helped in fact I think it was the culprit. So I decided I would come out and admit that I have tendencies toward abuse rather than hide it. I told my mom, I told my husband (for which he already guessed), I told my son, I told my friend, and I decided to tell my doctor. Rather than lie and come across to him like I'm normal, I talked to him about it. He prescribed me some medicine that I had no idea was out there...this stuff helps those who are determined and have the desire to reduce their drinking habits. I have found that it is working. If I know that the beer in my hand will not do anything for me and make me feel worse (almost instantly) then I will have more willpower to not take that first sip at all. In the past I have self-medicated, so therefore I do not trust myself to this day. Makes no matter if my alcoholism began 10 years ago or not, I realize I will always have the tendency but the good thing is to nip it in the bud.

Now that I don't drink every night (granted I'm only referring to 3 or 4 beers a night) I notice that my mood is more stable. I feel more consistent and the guilt of drinking is no longer there as well. I have also done well in the last two months to not sneak smoking. I used to smoke a pack a day about 10 years ago, quit about 7 years ago and picked it back up a year ago. In my head I thought that one wouldn't hurt to smoke per day - well that progressed into a 5 a day habit. The only one that really knew how much I sneaked smoking was my friend and my mom. Others knew I was doing it off and on, but not the extent I was. Time to come clean and tell you all how bad I was being when no one was around- no matter how embarrassed I am by it and what I think you'll think of me. I am glad I no longer stink or depend on something so bad. To do this on an ongoing basis, I realize, will be a lifelong battle - both drinking and smoking. But what would be worse is battling the sickness later on in life that these habits will cause.

I MUST NOT LET IT WIN. I am just a walking self help book, aren't I?

People sometimes drink to hide their pain but for me I think it brings it out. It makes things worse for me by allowing me to forget about my thoughts rather than process them. My family may no longer be close, but they are all doing okay and alive - Michael may not be in the best place but he can only grow from this experience and has the chance to reflect on what he needs to do even if it takes him a few more tries - My job is no longer busy work, I have been given an opportunity to help others and have a real purpose for coming here. In fact I think my new job has really opened my eyes a lot to keeping my story a success just as it was 8 years ago when I started with this department - I think getting this new job happened for a reason - I will elaborate on my experience soon.

So now I choose to start my good habits again. Including blogging. My outlook on life and perspective changes when I do not have the gloominess lingering inside my mind. Telling people that I have these problems helps also, no matter how embarrassed I feel about myself for them, it helps. My husband and I have also started attending church services again. Things are getting better for me emotionally.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New addition.

So we adopted a 4 month old kitten from LOST He's a sweetheart. His name is "Jefferson" but we are thinking of calling him Bud or Buddy cause it just fits I guess.

I have been wanting an orange tabby for a while, just cause it seems that you don't always see them around much and I would like to have something different than the others around me. He looked unhappy in the pet store, but when we took him out to play he was so lovey that we fell in love with him.

The first night he kept us up all night loving on us. He was a little scared to come out but during the night he was in need of attention I tell you. Savannah loves him and if she isn't careful she may just carry him around a little too much. He doesn't mind Bear at all, doesn't even get bothered that the dog is even there.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thank you for a great birthday!

It's been too long since I took the time to post anything and for that I am ashamed cause a lot has actually happened in the last few weeks.
Thank you Jacob for the cool treasure hunt for my birthday! You were so creative and tricky posting notes all around in the middle of the night for me to find. I loved it!
Thank you Monica for coming and spending some quality time with me! I'v been needing some of my family around!
Thank you to my husband for the beautiful card, cake, candles, and dinner oh - and long relaxing back rub!
Thank you to my mom for inviting me to a hilarious play and yummy candles.
Thank you to my brothers for all thinking of me and calling me.
It was a great birthday "month" this year. Seems like I was continuously celebrating. Even Michael colored a cute picture for me and sent it in the mail.
Normally I would have more pictures but wasn't sure if my camera was still working or not since the dog mangled it, but that's another story!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Meet Witchy-Poo!
A little late in posting this, with my camera being chewed on by the dog (my fault) I thought it was toast so didn't take any pictures on Halloween, but I found that the display is the only thing not working and it still takes pictures!

Halloween was fun, I got up early to make chili for the crock pot, we made carmeled apples, chex mix, and corn muffins. Charlie's foot was sore that night from working so he stayed behind to hand out the candy but now realizes he should have only given the kids one piece rather than a handful. We were out by 7:00! I think he was just so flattered with all the compliments on our fish tank that he wasn't thinking straight.

Savannah enjoyed herself but it is funny how she has so much energy to play at home and yet when we run around to trick or treat she is pooped around the first block.

This year instead of asking people if she could come in their house, she would yell "Trick or treat smell my feet" when the door was opened.

Holidays just wouldn't be the same without kids!