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Snow day

Have the most snow that has fallen in this area in twenty one years! Family out playing while I stay in to keep my back from seizing….bummer! This is when I hate having had a birth defect and subsequent surgery. Oh well.

A somber remembrance

Life of A Fallen Angel

As a veteran and a Marine today is one of those days that I am haunted by the past. I look to the left and right of me, no one is there but I still see the faces of friends who have fallen before me. Lives I’ve held in my hand but let slip through my fingers like water in a stream.

Dead baby jokes whispered quietly just under the ringing in my ears. Laughs shared; tears shed. My brothers in arms, my family; or at least the closest thing I ever had to family. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about how many of them, people I knew, will have their wives or girlfriends wake up in the morning and roll over to an empty bed, the warmth stolen from them just like the last breaths of their loved ones.

What do you tell a woman when you…

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What will she remember?

 

 

What will my child remember about me? Will she remember my kindness, my craftiness, my giving nature? Or will it be how I cook when I cook? Will it be how often I yelled at her? How many times I put her in time out?

I watch her in all her childhood innocence and wonder what she will be like as an adult. I hope she remembers that I loved her no matter what. That I would talk to her about anything no matter what. That I wanted to spend time with her doing the things we both love; art, crafts, cooking. That I enjoyed having her on her stool next to me while we both made dinner or dessert. That I loved having her on my lap hugging me and kissing me. I guess I won’t know what she will remember when I’m gone. I can only pray that God will help her remember the good things over the bad.

What do you hope your child remembers about you?

My brother again…dang he is a good writer!

Espyworks

Geneology

I was going through a family history and recollections that my Uncle and Mother have written. They completed this remembrance of their growing up years as a way to preserve some family history for future generations. Its actually quite cool. Handwritten and hand drawn genealogical charts, Civil and Revolutionary war tales, Depression era stories. The whole gamut. A very interesting read. Below is a small excerpt from my mothers memory…

Dustbowl 1

As an aside, if you have not seen the exceptional movie that Ken Burns made,

You should! It just brings home the extraordinary circumstances that forged and shaped a whole generation of people. Including my parents. And then us, the following generation.

One of the chronologers of that era was an amazing photographer named Dorothea Lange. You can see her amazing work all over the place. I like the albums on Shorpy the best. In my opinion she captured…

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My two sons

I actually have three children. I have two sons as well as my daughter. I haven’t talked about them much, so I wanted to dedicate a whole post to them.

I met M and S about a year after I started dating their dad. Why a year you ask? Well, I did not have children, they were dealing with the emotions of their parents’ divorce, and I didn’t want to rush them or myself. So the first time I met them I was sooooo nervous! I went to my now in-law’s house for dinner with them. (R wouldn’t be anywhere but there when he had visitation, which I always admired.) I don’t remember the dinner now, just that I was astounded at how young they were! (Four and five years old at the time.)

Over the next year we got used to each other. That was not as easy as it sounds. S was not happy about me entering his life. He, I believe, felt that I would be taking his dad away. Remember he was 4, so his world revolved around his parents, brother and school. And he was a huge daddy’s boy. He and I fought often. I remember crying one night thinking that he would never like me and would always hate me, and why was I even trying?

I have told the following story often, so I’m not talking out of turn.

S had been repeatedly hitting me when he didn’t agree with something I had said. I am pretty tall, so this equated to a slap on the thigh, but that wasn’t the point. I had talked to R about it and had said to S that if he hit me I had the right to hit him back, and I was bigger and hit harder, so he might want to think about that before he hit me again. This day, I was again at my in-law’s home before the wedding, and S asked for something that he wasn’t allowed to have. When I told him no, he hit me. I smacked him on the bottom. He hit me again. I smacked him again. This exchanging of “licks” seemed to go on forever, but I’m sure it was only a minute or two. He ran out of the room to go to his dad and I could hear the conversation. It went like this:
“Daddy, Sam hit me!”
R asked him, “Well, did you hit her first?”
The answer was honest at least, he said, “Yes”.
R said, “Didn’t she warn you that if you kept hitting her she would hit back?”
“Yes”
“Well then, did you expect her to not hit YOU when you hit her?”
“No”
“Then why are you tattling?”
“I don’t know”
“Go apologize for hitting her, and don’t do it again!”

He did. I never got hit by him after that. Whew! I was so glad, because that day I learned the lesson of “this will hurt me more than you”! How I hated that interchange with him and felt so badly for having to spank him even a little! Since then, S and I have grown to love each other immensely. He is a toughie with a big heart. He loves deeply and fully. I consider myself blessed to have him as a son.

So, what about M you ask? Well, M crawled up in my lap to snuggle with me shortly after we first met. I immediately felt loved and accepted by him. I didn’t then, nor do I now take it for granted, he is a very emotional young man. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can be hurt easily. Our relationship has developed into a deep respect and love.

When R and I decided to get married after two years of dating, I wanted to ask the boys. We sat down with them and I wondered if they would even think of giving us their blessing. Boy was I surprised! Not only did they give us their blessing, they were actually excited! My mother asked me “Are you sure you want a ready-made family?” My answer was and still is ABSOLUTELY!

We have had our trials and tribulations as a family, but I could not be prouder of those two men than I am now. They have grown up to be not only loving and lovable, but honest, trustworthy and just plain good men. So if you two are reading this know that what I told your mother those many years ago about treating you as if you were from my own womb still stands. You aren’t my step-sons; you are my SONS, now and forever. I love you so very much!

Anxiety Attack…

So my daughter got the dreaded stomach bug that has been going around. She was sick all night, night before last. For the most part I handled it okay (think vomit-a-phobe). At least I didn’t end up with my head next to hers over the toilet! However, when my husband brought her in to our bed before he went to sleep in her bed, it began. An anxiety attack. Heart beating fast, breathing elevated, mind spinning. Really, over having my beautiful, sweet, smart yet ill daughter in the bed with me? All I could do was listen for the gagging to begin. I couldn’t close my eyes for long without opening them to look at her and wonder if that stomach gurgle I heard was a herald of what was to come. Wow. I went in to the living room to try to sleep in my armchair. I just kept listening to my heart beat overly fast. I finally went back to the bed room and just steeled myself for the possibility she would throw up on the bed or on me. I eventually fell asleep after she didn’t do either of those things!

Do you have an unrealistic fear? Anything that might send you into a full-blown anxiety attack? I’d love to know I’m not alone!

My Prayer today

The prayer I pray today.

Lord forgive me….

For my scattered prayers,
For my transgressions, regressions, and at times aggression,
For my harsh judgment of others and myself,
For my impatience and impertinence,
For my lack of faith in you and in my fellow man,
For making my life so “busy” I forget to include you in my day,
For not appreciating my children, my husband, my family and my friends, as fully as they deserve.
For not appreciating the beauty in this world.

Lord thank you….

For the love you show me through others every day.
For the family, children, husband and friends that are such an important part of my life.
For the beauty that is all around me.
For the joy I get from the people that are in my every day.
For giving me the opportunity to share your love with others.
For giving me the hard times, the sad times and the joy-less times so I can appreciate their opposites.
For the life that flows through me every day.
Thank you.

More about Mom

mixerOkay, so in the last post I talked about the things I remember about my mother that weren’t necessarily the most positive. I want to post now about the things I remember about her that are happy memories…

My mother was a cook. Not just your run of the mill mom-of-three, cook-to-exist kind of cook. She was a chef. She learned to cook while she and my father were located in France. The kind of food she could make was the beautiful, mouthwateringwhileyousmellit kind of food. I felt blessed to be able to stand next to her on my stool (at age 5 or 6) and stir a bowl of whatever. She taught me about measuring, and timing things so they all came out at the same time, hot and fresh. She taught me the difference between jelly and jam. She “let” me be the families baker. I got to make all the sweets that we ate. Cookies, cakes, brownies, pies, you name it, I got to make them “all by myself”. Okay, so not really all by myself as I was just young and I had to have help with the oven and mixer. But as far as I was concerned they were mine! The praise came to me!

One of my (and I believe my brother’s) favorite memories is coming home on Monday after school, opening the front door and having the scent of freshly baked bread waft up to us. It was like a second doorway of goodness greeting us when we walked in. We knew that we were going to have a slab of bread (yes, I do mean slab! She cut nice thick slices for us!) slathered in butter and homemade jam or jelly for our after-school snack. Monday’s were always bread making days. I have the crock bowl that mom always used for baking bread. I haven’t made bread in it yet, I guess I’m afraid there is no way it would be in any way as good as she made! I will some day I’m sure.

Another of my favorite memories is after my parents separated and mom moved about two hours down the road. The town she lived in had a college and she would always purchase theatre tickets for the summer season. Oh, the fun we had! Every time I was there for a Saturday that had a performance we made it an occasion! We would dress in our finest to go to the “theatre” and I always picture the British upper crust woman saying that word! We would go to the performance and afterward go to a local pancake house to have a crepe with ice cream. Wonderful stuff!

My mom taught me a lot of things in her life. Yes, she was depressed, bitter, angry and sometimes very hard to deal with. However, the lessons about life I learned are priceless. About cooking a great meal, baking a delicious dessert and how to “do it up right” for a night on the town. I miss you mom!

DEPRESSION

pitDEPRESSION. The word has always evoked strong feelings in me. DEPRESSION MEDICATION. Also evokes strong feelings.

I remember while growing up that my mother would stand at the kitchen window and stare out the window with this look that I can only describe as haunted. She looked as if she was in a jail and was despairing of ever being paroled. Later I knew that my mother would be feeling good and would stop taking her medicine because of that, and then of course would plummet into a state of almost catatonic-ism (yup, made that word up). Unable to do anything, not even think straight. She would call either my sister or I, sometimes both of us, and we would have to talk her up (as opposed to talking someone down from a suicide attempt) to help her function again. I swore I would never suffer like she did, thinking I could somehow “will” away a diagnosis.

Well, needless to say, I was unsuccessful at willing it away. Several years ago, probably 20 or so by now, I too was diagnosed with that dreaded disease. I remember standing outside at work and just sobbing because I couldn’t decide what to do. I left work and sobbed some more. I called my pastor’s wife and asked her what I should do…should I go home, the grocery store, my husband’s work…where? She was wonderfully patient with me and talked me to her house (and yes, I do mean talked me, literally) turn by turn until I was there and she could hold me, make me a cup of tea, and talk to me to help me get through the long hours until my husband was off work. That was the first pit I fell into. I have been in many since then.

When I was first diagnosed, a friend told me, “There is no such thing as depression; you just need to decide to be happy!” Wow. I remember thinking, “What? If I could just decide to be happy do you think I wouldn’t?” After several medications and dosages I found a place that I was at least level. Not in a pit. I have often had issues trying to decide if my current state of thinking is a pit or just a case of the blues. Sometimes it isn’t easy to tell. I wonder how manic depressives do it. Going from on top of a roller coaster mountain to the bottom of the roller coaster valley. Whew, that would exhaust me! I have enough trouble dealing with the lows without trying to even out the highs!

So, why am I on this rant you ask? Well, my mother has been frequently on my mind lately. I miss her terribly. She was nagging, over-bearing, bitter and angry, but she was my mom. I loved her and always will. I hated the depression issues she had, both for her, and admittedly for myself also. I remember more times of pain in her life than good, but am trying to remember those good times. I may be in a pit some days and on a higher level some other days, but I won’t go off my meds for any reason except if the doctor tells me to.

Born on the Right Side of the Tracks

This is from my brother’s blog. I couldn’t have said it better.

Born on the Right Side of the Tracks.

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