A Trip Around the Sun

A year.

365 days.

Four seasons and complete trip around the sun.

It seems like forever and it seems like only moments.

A late night revelation.

An email sent.

A response received.

How it all started.

I’ve told our story to countless friends, family and yes, complete strangers.  I’ve had people tear up.  I’ve seen goosebumps and countless smiles.

And yet, we had no idea.  We did not realize the heights to which we would soar.  We had no inkling of how far down the lows would take us.

I had forgotten that home could mean something other than the four walls in which you live.  He gave that to me once again.  I watched as he tried so hard to comfort me while I tried to comfort my daughter through some of the most difficult times she has faced.  He never flinched or backed down when times were difficult.  He has been my rock and my best friend. My lover, my confidant, my devil’s advocate when needed.   He reminds me of my worth when I forget.  He makes me feel beautiful, safe and loved.

He has taken on the job of being a presence in Ava’s life in ways I did not know possible.  He can be silly with her one minute and serious the next.   He has allowed me to be that same presence in the lives of his own children.  And even though we are both well aware of the lines and boundaries, caring for each other’s children seems natural, almost second nature.

I’ll admit to being scared in the beginning.  It’s crazy, I would whisper to myself.  This is nuts.  We jumped off a cliff, not knowing at all where, or even if we would land.   And yet, I jumped willingly, almost gleefully into the void.  Somehow I knew it would be ok.

People have said to me, “I don’t know how you do it”.  It’s terribly hard and easy all at once.  Easy because we have a connection that is simply indescribable.  Hard because all the phone calls, emails, texts and Skype conversations cannot replace the touch of a hand, a warm hug, or the security of falling asleep next to the person you love.  There have been moments of doubt, moments of tears and angry words.  Even worse were the hours of complete silence; not the easy silence of two people relaxing in harmony, but the tense quiet of unsettled minds. Someway, somehow, we always found our way back.  Because deep down, we know that this is worth fighting for.  This is worth waiting for.

I never kid myself that the waiting is easy.  I know there are challenges ahead of us that neither of us can foresee.  But I know that for the rest of my life the only one I want holding my hand and standing by my side is this marvelous man.

So here’s to our first trip around the sun.  What a ride it has been and I hope will always be.

Happy anniversary, my love.

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Joshua

*** I wrote this the day after Josh’s last surgery.  Then there was a death in the family and this got pushed back.  But I want this young man to know what he means in our lives, so here it is ***

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As we go through daily life, we often get caught up in the mundane, day-to-day trivialities.

We sometimes forget to tell those around us what they mean to us and how important they are in our lives.   I’m personally trying to be better about that, much to Ava’s chagrin as I hug her a little too long at drop off some mornings.

As I talked on the phone with my love this morning, sharing my awe at a young man in our lives, I realized I don’t think I’ve told him how much I admire him.  At least not in the way I should.

I know a young man who has been through more in his 20 years than a lot of people twice his age.  He has handled it all with a dignity, a patience and perseverance that I don’t know I would have in his shoes.   I said to someone on Sunday that daily, he teaches us all life lessons in grace.   Of course he has moments, human moments when things are too tough.  But he doesn’t stay down.  He gets back up and with renewed purpose, gets on with the business of life and recovery.  I watched him last night, right out of surgery, and there he was, asking everyone else how THEY were.

He always goes above and beyond, in his own pursuits and to help those around him.  Whether it is academics, playing sports or making something for someone he cares about, he gives his all and then some.  He pours his heart and soul in everything he does, and it shows.  He has an uncanny, unprecedented ability to touch people’s hearts.  And he does it in a way that is unassuming, and quiet.

By blood, an only child, but by bond, brother to so many, not the least of which is Ava.  To see her excitement at seeing him you would have thought a rock star was getting off the elevators last night.  Ava looks up to him and would follow him to the ends of the earth.  To say that makes my heart happy is an understatement.  I always worried about unintentionally making Ava an only child.  With the addition of this remarkable young man to our lives, that worry has been erased.  She has a big brother.  One who will laugh with her, push her to be better in school and protect her.

As for me?  This young man makes me work harder at being a better person.   I see the way he looks at the world and I want to have some of that optimism back.  I try to have more patience and understanding.  I try to be more open and loving and accepting, as he is with all of us.

Josh, we are so very blessed to have you in our lives.  You are a warrior.  Your spirit, courage and determination are an inspiration.   You mean the world to us and we can’t wait to watch the rest of your life’s journey.   Thanks for letting us be a part of it.

So There’s This Guy…

We’ve all seen the meme, the quotes, the Pinterest pins.

It’s short and sweet.

I’ve looked at them and thought, yes there is this guy who stole *my* heart.

What those quotes don’t do however is expand on the why, and I’d really like to try.

So…

There’s this guy, who stole my heart, who has my heart.

Because he’s kind.  He cares about the things that are important to me.

He’s thoughtful.  He pays attention to the details.

He’s loving.  He truly embodies the phrase “Go big or go home”.  I have never in my life felt so loved as I do by this sweet man who lives 3000 miles away.  That’s one hell of an accomplishment.

He’s my biggest champion and constant support.   He’s there cheering me on when I decide to do something.  He’s there for me to lean on when things don’t go as planned.

He understands that I come as part of a package.  He gets that my daughter is a priority and never once makes me feel guilty for it.

He works hard and is dedicated to making his life and his kids’ lives better.

He’s faithful and trustworthy.  He’s never once given me reason to question that.  If he says he’s going to do something?  He does it.

He’s funny.  Not a day goes by that he doesn’t make me laugh.

He’s ok with me being boring and sloppy.  I can dress up or wear yoga pants and no make up.  He still thinks I’m beautiful.  To quote Martina McBride:  My baby loves me just the way that I am.

His laugh fills my heart with joy.  It’s one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard.

He understands my fears and anxieties and never makes me feel inferior for them, even if he can’t understand them.

He puts up with me being cranky, crazy, whiny and moody.

His voice is the most soothing sound in the world.  One word from him calms me no matter what chaos the day has heaped on me.

He is, simply put, home.  And if home is where the heart is, then that is most certainly where mine lies.

So there’s this guy…and he has my whole heart for my whole life.  For better or worse.

 

 

 

New Year’s Meme 2015 Edition

 

Back when I had my old blog,  I used to do this meme every New Year’s.  I figured why not keep up the tradition?

 

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Took Ava to DisneyLand!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Kinda..sorta… I vowed to be healthier and I did lose 30 pounds.  Gained back 10 but am determined to keep going.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I lost a relative last year.  We weren’t as close as we used to be but finding out she’d passed on made me very sad.

5. What countries did you visit?

None!

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
More down time.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 9th, the day I walked through the gates of Disney with Ava – it was a moment I’ll never forget.

December 1 – the day I jumped off a metaphorical cliff.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Losing weight.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not sticking to my exercising.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Bought?  Um…probably my new sofa.  I loooooooove it.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Ava, whose heart continues to amaze me despite the onset of pre-teen attitude that is setting in alarmingly early.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I plead the 5th.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent.  Daycare. Utility Bills.   The usual.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Disney…our trip to the beach.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Start of Something Good by Daughtry

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?  Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Slightly thinner
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Going to the beach. Every year I say we’re going to go more but we never do.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Whine.  Complain. I really have very little to complain about.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Ava, and my family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Oh my yes.  Big time, and for the last time.  With the most wonderful man.  I’m a lucky girl.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t watch a lot of new TV, but I did get into Nashville briefly.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Uh, I plead the 5th.

24. What was the best book you read?
Sad to say I didn’t really read much this last year.  Planning to make more time for that this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Two of the folks from the TV show Nashville.  Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio.  Their voices are magic.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
A new phone, and a new broom!  I’m such a boring adult.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
Can’t think of a thing.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Saw mostly kid pictures but recently saw Trainwreck.  If you enjoy raunchy humor, this one’s a must see.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 42 and is it bad I don’t remember what I did?  I know I got a lovely handmade present from my girl!!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less time worrying over things that didn’t matter.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I finally embraced boots and skinny jeans.

32. What kept you sane?
My people, my family, my tribe.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Adam Levine will never NOT be hot as hell.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The refugee crisis.

35. Who did you miss?
At times, my dad.  2015 marked 25 years since he died and that number resonated a lot throughout the year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
This may sound corny, but myself.  This was the year I really embraced who I am and stopped giving a fuck what everyone else thought.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Not really a new lesson, but one that got reinforced:  It’s the people in your life and the little things that matter.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

God Bless The Broken Road

Once I decided to give online dating a go, a serious go, I couldn’t shake a feeling. It was a feeling I shared with two close friends: I sensed that my happily ever after was not coming from this source. 

After almost a year trying to navigate that strange world, I discovered I was right. Today I deleted all my profiles. 

Turns out my missing puzzle piece was not lurking on some hook up site. Real life brought him to me. 

Moments turned into hours, hours turned into days, days into weeks and weeks into months. Hundreds of “me too” and nodding of heads. 

Building and discovering connections and passions. Sharing of hopes and dreams and past heartaches. 

Moments of doubt but ultimately letting those go and learning to fly. 

Every decision, every event leading up to now has brought me to the place I am, to be in the right place and at the right time to find this person who is so right for me and the person I am now.  

I don’t kid myself to think it’s going to be easy. But nothing worth having rarely is. I’m older and wiser and know the value of something real. What I have found and what we have is real. And magic. 

The road behind us is rocky and broken. However I wouldn’t change a single turn, twist or pothole. It brought us to each other and that makes it blessed. 

Love Your Neighbor – But First Let Me See Your Passport

I don’t get political or religious here often and for good reason. Today this is weighing on my heart. As Christians, we are supposed to be better than this. I don’t see this much as a political issue as much as those in power would like to make it one. I see this as a “People are losing their humanity” issue.

As a former Mississippian, today I say this:
Shame on you, Mississippi.

Jesus says: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me”

Statue of Liberty Says:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Do we think we know better than Jesus?

Have we all completely forgotten that unless your ancestry is 100% Native American we are ALL descended from immigrants?

I’m beyond tired of the “I have mine and so forget the rest of you” attitude I am seeing displayed more and more.  Jesus commanded us to give, to sacrifice and to help those less fortunate than ourselves.  He didn’t say “Let me check your passport, let me measure the color of your skin, and let me see your voter registration card”.

If we begin turning away people simply based upon their religion, we are no better than those we claim to despise.

I was taught if  you have more than you need, you share.  The strong and rich of this world are commanded to help those less fortunate and weak.  If we stop doing that, we have no right to call ourselves Christian.

Beyond that, even when nobody is watching?  Do the right thing.  Because it’s the right thing.  Adults shouldn’t have to be continually reminded of that.

I very much love my Christ.  These days I’m not so in love with Christianity.

I don’t want to live in a world where we judge first, help second.   Mr. Governor, I’m ashamed that you do.

 

 

An Online Dating Update

It’s been a while since I’ve given you all an update on the online dating world.  Nope, I haven’t found Mr. Right.  Or even Mr. Semi-Normal.

I seem to be getting the attention of many young men.  Super young.  Between 18-30.  No.  No. No.  Just….No.  I’m 42.  I have clothes older than the 18 year old.  Who told me, and I quote:  “Your kinda sexy”.  Bad grammar aside, no, those words did not make my clothes magically fall off.   I wonder if his momma knows he got the wifi password again?

My favorites have to be the whiny, needy guys, who after being very politely told, no, I don’t think we’d make a good match, KEEP MESSAGING.  “WHYYYYYYY don’t you like me?”  “But I’m mature for my age” (spoiler alert, no, you’re not).  There was also the one who told me I HAD to give him a chance.  I know you’re all surprised to find out that we are not engaged.

This gem came through yesterday:

POF.com 100  free dating site

Wish in one hand, shit in the other and see which one fills up first, buddy.

This dude seems to be confused.  I don’t know if English isn’t his first language, or he’s just confrontational with everyone he meets.  What could two strangers possibly have to “talk out”?

Conversation with frankie009r   OkCupid

Saturday night a few friends and I cruised the sites just looking at what’s out there.  They’re all long married ladies who have no clue how ugly dating is in 2015.  What we found was…terrifying even to me.

The guy who states “I’m not that much of an asshole” O_O

The ones who won’t even show their whole face: Either married and cheating or completely insecure about their looks.

But hands down, our favorite was a guy from right here in our sleepy little town, who is wearing a tinfoil hat/facemask and collects….pillow pets. More specifically….unicorn pillow pets.  I cannot even begin to tell you how hard we laughed at this poor bastard’s profile.  I’m pretty sure at least one of us peed her pants.  I know I couldn’t breathe at one point.

The hard part has been finding guys who start out seeming normal and then pull stupid shit.  The one guy who texted for a week with me and then suddenly disappeared without so much as a so long, see ya.

And the latest one, who after a week of texting also, AND making a date, informed me he has been dating someone else over the weekend and now had to cancel our date.  Soooooo…basically I was only there til something better came along?
Well, I guess thanks for the heads up as to what kind of person you are.  Best of luck to you with that.   Karma and all…

One of my best friends is convinced my prince is out there.  I think the poor bastard got stuck in a tree or hit by a bus.

In the meantime, the frogs give us something to laugh at.