Co-Parenting : Forgiveness Required

I may need to do a search through all the posts on this blog to find it, but sometime back in 2011 I wrote a piece about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness, how and why and the importance of it all. Four years later I can finally report back.

Four years ago I was still rather bitter about getting divorced. Hurt and angry, but I had decided that maybe forgiveness was the approach for me. So, I took a deep breath, said many prayers and chose to forgive my ex husband for his behavior while we were married.

This was not an easy choice.

There is something that happens in a break up that makes everything seem worse. Everyone you know chooses a side. You may think that I mean his side or my side, but I don’t. They decide how each single parent should co-parent when the other party hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain during the marriage.

The most popular among my peers was the one that removed my ex-husband from not just the marriage, but from our life. As though POOF I had two kids and POOF I magically get a check every month to help cover their living expenses.

I was so angry at the time that I do have 100% parental custody. I could fly to China tomorrow without my ex-husbands permission and he would just have to deal with it. I won’t…but I have the ability. Anger makes us do so many things.

Then I thought about simply arranging supervised visitation. Only I was so poor. We were barely scraping by so there was no way to cover the cost of providing supervised visitation. I was quite irrational at this point so I maintained our distance. We saw my ex-husband about once every few months and not for very long, a couple of hours at most.

Then something I found sadder than the possibility of having to see my ex-husband on a more regular basis. It was our sons. They didn’t know him.

As a child of a single family home I know what that is like. My father was not a good person, at least as far as his behavior back in 1985, but we were raised by my mother and maternal grandparents. I had a relatively happy childhood. We had our drama, but what family doesn’t? Perhaps we had more drama than average, but I think we are all more interesting to talk to because of it…anyway. That’s a different story. I didn’t know my father. I knew what other people thought of him. I knew where he was from and what I thought of the people from that place. But I didn’t know him and that is a great cloud over the happy times. All of those times I saw my friends with their dads were sad times for me because I had never known what that was like.

As I became an adult I tried looking for my father to no avail. He didn’t want to be found in the digital age and therefore had no digital footprint. That didn’t mean the sadness was gone. “Who was he?” “How was he?” “Did I have other sisters or brothers?” “Did I have a step mom I didn’t know about?” Always having those questions is sad. I didn’t want that for my kids. Who was I to make that choice for them?

That is what I found to be this sad thing. I was an adult who had lived in a set of circumstances that made me mad. So mad that I thought it a good idea to remove the person that held the other half of their DNA in his genes.

But was I so angry that I couldn’t find it within myself to forgive a man for his behavior? How could I call myself a good person if at the first test of faith I proved to have none? It is no secret that I am a Christian, perhaps a different breed than the ones you read about, but I try to have a simple faith, based on love. In our church we are taught to love and forgive.

I was faced with two options.

One my kids didn’t really remember who this guy was that we sometimes saw really was, so we could just gently fade away and he could become a memory.

Two embrace the pain, and allow them to fully know their father and make the decision for themselves.

To do the first would have been the easiest choice for someone as angry as I had been. He didn’t know where we lived, who we hung out with, where I worked, all I would have had to do was change my phone number and we would have been done. Simple. Clean. Heartbreaking for him and for me. I would be setting my kids up for the same thought process I always had. Always wondering why I wasn’t good enough to be loved by the people who are supposed to love you the most.2015/01/img_2354.jpg

So I embraced the pain. The hardest and easiest choice on so many levels. The cold aloof anger has been replaced by hesitant resolve. Hesitant because everything we went through leaves a mark on the psyche, but resolve because it has turned out to be the right thing to do. My kids are 4 and 8 now. They know their father. They’ve seen where he sleeps and we know how he lives, where he lives, and why he lives.

Over the last four years we have fought and cried and been angry for past ills all over again, but there has been so much forgiveness and contrition. So much of what we have worked through together has made us better people for our next partners. We know more of how each of us failed the other that we will continue to work hard to not make the same mistake. We know that finding that next perfect person for our new selves will be hard, we each have a longer list of must haves…okay at least I do..but I am optimistic about the prospects.

Forgiving him has taught me more about my faith than any pastor could ever tell me. Forgiveness is not something that you do once and it is done, it is something you do every time you wake up and face the day. It’s choosing who you are and not wavering from that path every single morning. Choosing your words and actions before your emotions, and never letting the bad times get the best of you.

It’s also choosing to put the best choice instead of the popular choice.

Special note…A physically abusive spouse should be handled differently. An alcoholic husband or wife who did not exhibit abusive traits is very different from an abusive spouse. Alcoholics tend to only want to inflict pain on themselves though they learn to manipulate what they want out of people to get what they want. That’s how so many nurturing people become enablers. It’s like they can smell your ability to empathize on your sleeve don’t fall for that either.

Courage to be…me

In 2009, I had this idea for a blog so that people could learn from my life experience before they stepped out their front door and got burned. I never wrote it. It may still be out there, somewhere, in cyberspace, ready and waiting for me to write it, but that will never happen.

Instead I moved to New York.

I packed up my car, my kid, and my husband and left in search of something.

Do you know that feeling when nothing that you are doing is who you are and you need to change your life dramatically to keep from being put into an asylum?

You don’t? You’re lucky.

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I used to have that feeling often. Instead of complaining one more time I left.

In search of me – thinking I would find her somewhere other than where I was located.

I had a lot of fun meandering up the Atlantic coast. I didn’t originally set out for New York, but that was where we ended up. We settled into life in Central New York in my brother’s third floor walkup.

Luckily, things worked out. We had a fun time (until we didn’t).

Though, I still didn’t find me.

Where was I? Surely I was supposed to go far from home, and I would find me hidden in the bushes. I would rise to greatness (or at least happiness).

I would sprout invisible wings and fly!

It didn’t happen, nothing happened…except a deep seated unhappiness from being the cause of disappointment…again.

By the end of September 2010, my husband and I had given up on each other. We were incompatible for a number of reasons and I have shared the tale within this blog. I won’t repeat the sadness, but I will say that I felt the tie sever. After 10 years in an alcoholic/codependent relationship it was about damned time!

It was at the end of February 2011 that I sat down and typed my first blog post. I was sitting in my son’s hospital room with my shiny new laptop and just started writing.

I had been reading blogs for many for years. I had been inspired by them to change my life so drastically and ultimately it was the blogs that brought me back home. The posts that spoke of home and family with such reverence that I couldn’t help but long for the familiar, even as familiar as our life had become in isolated dysfunction.

I wanted to see my family.

I wanted to be home again.

I wrote almost daily for the first few weeks of this blog. It was more of a diary than well written or thought provoking, eloquent posts on American life. I found a family of fellow bloggers that understood my struggles and would offer sage advice.

I lamented single motherhood with a 5 year old and a 6 month old, and people wrote to me that they understood! I found solace in a community of “stranger friends” when I wrote about the relationships in my life.

And then it happened.

I found me.

Somewhere between the words I found out that I was right here all along. I didn’t need to go about the world looking for me. I need to go inside and write it out.

I needed time alone with me.

Blogging is like this for some.

You spend all your time in your head getting the words to screen and you discover that everything you needed was inside you. It was there and if you had just been still enough, if you had just been quiet enough, you would have figured it out.

It was like a whisper in the breeze at first. Then the muse becomes more apparent and then you find your voice.

I found fulfillment in my words, writing through the pain and the struggles.

I discovered compassion for myself and others.

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. ~Henri Nouwen

Through blogging I found clarity.

Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.~Oscar Wilde

Over the course of the last two years I found the courage to just be me.

I think if I hadn’t started blogging it would have taken a lot longer to get here. By making who I am more public and accessible I have to hold myself accountable. I have left myself vulnerable to people who stumble across my blog. I’ve become unapologetic about the content, the dissension, the thought provoking meanderings, and the whimsical smatterings of my dreams.

I am so thankful to all of you who come back to read every post.

Late last week I stumbled upon a hashtag on Twitter for #TXBloggers, then I found hashtag #BlogElevated there are so many meanings to that – to blog elevated.

My mind goes on overdrive when I ponder the words. Blog Elevated, I don’t know what meaning they want us to infer but I find myself wanting to be more profound. More eloquent. I want to dive deeper into compassion. I want to leap into globe school. I want to wage war against ignorance.

I want to find more of my heart’s desire.

Blog Elevated is a conference. Our very own conference right here in HOUSTON! I couldn’t believe it. I am hoping to go. I hope that I can learn about taking Small Wonders & Other Thoughts to the next level. I hope that you all will go along for the ride. It promises to be fun and educational.

If you happen to be in the Houston area in the middle of September and want to go with me the link to register for Blog Elevated is here.

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(I hope you all can make it!)

The Cusp of Homelessness

Do you remember in History class learning about the troubles of the Great Depression?

How the stock market crashed and the population who had once only been poor grew destitute?

Do you remember reading The Grapes of Wrath in English class?

What about the old Life magazine photos?

One of the most popular photos of the Great Depression.

One of the most popular photos of the Great Depression.

The soup kitchen lines and the trail of dust behind the model T as it took off across the plains?

These images and stories are sealed into our minds because we think of how bad they had it and how far our country has come. We have the resources to create the best future imaginable for humanity – as a whole.

Why don’t you metaphorically close your eyes with me for a moment?

(I’m going to write a story.)

Meet Anna

Meet Anna

Monday morning Anna awoke. She knew she should go to work, but in her mind she had been reeling from the stress of having to hold it all together. She knows that everything will work out as it should, but there is still this shrill voice of consciousness. The voice that keeps her from sleeping properly or from stepping out on a limb because if things change in life her house of cards could come tumbling down.

So, Anna stayed home. She hugged her children tight. She made oatmeal for breakfast. She turned on the television to find the cable disconnected. Oops, she thought, I guess I need to call them. It was the first time she had been that late on a bill since he left. Oh well, it would work out.

After breakfast she wondered outside to check the mail. Pink and Yellow and Red notices abound. Anna takes all the mail inside and puts it with the rest of the collection. She opens the utility bills and plans her conquest. They will be paid but how will they eat?

The job that Anna stayed home from is by all accounts a great job. She has a good opportunity to make an impact and learn. Monetarily it is enough, but only just. When Anna’s friends talk about vacations and home remodeling she smiles sweetly and looks away before anyone catches the flash of sadness in her eyes. Enough does not equal enough for a new t-shirt much less a vacation. Though in her dreams she is transported to many exotic places and has lovely adventures. Some day she will make those dreams a reality, until then it is enough.

This particular Monday Anna calls her friend Janie who is in a worse situation. She works long hours for a pittance. Janie struggles to make the ends meet every month and she makes it, but only because she goes without so often. Janie asked if she would like to go to the food bank. Hesitant Anna says, “Yes.”

There is stuff in the fridge, but not enough to make a whole meal. Anna hadn’t been to the food bank in years. The last time she had gone was during a period of unemployment and struggle to sustain that lasted a few months. She had lost her job due to downsizing, but was still expected to maintain life. After going through savings and the support available Anna found a job paying just enough to keep her in her home.

Actual line for a food bank in Galveston County. The lines of cars have doubled in less then two years.

Actual line for a food bank in Galveston County. The lines of cars have doubled in less then two years.

Monday morning they arrived at the food bank to find over 100 people already in line, after an hour there were 100 more. The cars went for a mile on both sides of the road and the occupants stood patiently outside trying to stay cool in 100 degree heat. Anna and Janie eventually wove their way through the line. They received just enough for a week of meals; most people could come every week.

Looking around Anna saw many types of people. Some looked as tentative as Anna felt, this was perhaps their first time in the line to accept whatever is given to them. Others looked upset about having to ask for help. Parents with concerned looks on their face watched their children…perhaps they were pondering their own utility bills and stress.

Anna noticed the children smiling and playing and making new “stranger friends” as one child put it. They didn’t know that this was the line of last resort. They didn’t know that their parents had been turned down for assistance program after assistance program, because their parents make too much, but not enough. The voice in Anna’s head that had been shouting at her all morning calms as returns to her car. She will be able to get through with just enough.

She drops Janie off then heads home to load her fridge. She hopes that someday the stars will align and she will get to experience a life of excess. She prays to God thanking him for his blessing. Moments later her children run in with smiles and laughter. Anna knows loving them is enough. Whatever else may happen, if she can love she will make it through.

Now open your eyes and look around you.

How many of you have experienced hardship?

How many of you have witnessed the struggle that is emerging in our nation?

How many of you know that this story is a story repeated in every neighborhood in the nation?

We can work to hide the problem, we can look the other way, but it is there staring us in the face. It is a problem that needs to be corrected. We have the tools to fix it – so why is the problem increasing instead of diminishing?

As I have worked with charities and accepted endless donations “to the cause” as I call it. I see so many people who work hard. They work every day to make their ends meet and yet they still come up short. These are the good people who feel their responsibilities and try to make life work with what they’ve worked to earn.

They feel the failure when they have to accept help.

They are the working poor.

By all accounts I am well paid compared to someone who works for retailers or restaurants. I work 40 hours a week 8 to 5 and pay my bills. I make just enough to squeak by. I am blessed and I don’t know how the millions upon millions of people who make less than I do every month make it work.

The last few months I have been working on a program to provide homes to homeless men and women across the city of Houston. I am one of the charity’s involved social media person, sharing the latest on the projects and giving personal stories of those affected. This is an important task as we move into the future, giving homes to people who need them from buildings that stand vacant.

This, however, is not the solution.

In Anna’s story she could be homeless if she ever lost her job. She is on the cusp of homelessness.

I believe many crimes, societal problems, and mainly, homelessness are preventable.

What would happen if Anna lost her job? What if the motor or transmission went out on her car and she couldn’t get to work? What would happen if Anna’s children got sick? Her house of cards would fall.

I hope this is just a prompt to start a conversation.

Please comment – positive or negative on my belief of prevention.

Next time you have the opportunity to donate time (not money or goods, but time) I think you should spend some time helping the poor.

Learn from them. Grow from them.

Become a link to opportunity for them.

I've always loved the perspective of Anne Frank, she may have been very young when she died, but she was wise beyond her years.

I’ve always loved the perspective of Anne Frank, she may have been very young when she died, but she was wise beyond her years.

Edit: I referenced the Great Depression because a lot of things are happening in the world similar to what happened before the fall of the economy. I got lost somewhere along the way as I have been known to do…oh well. 🙂

The Inevitable Inspirational Research

Monday I shared this blog about starting Globe School. I have spent some down time during the day re-researching this insanity.

I just wanted those who read to know that I think it is slightly insane to leave everything you know and everything you’ve been taught to believe behind. As adventurous as it is – as much as I want this – there (in the world) is still that voice inside and out there that says this is impossible.

For the sake of my life I hope it is not.

Do I think this will be easy? No. I think it will be very hard, but perhaps it won’t be as hard as I imagine. I will no longer be able to tell my children that if they don’t behave we will go straight home!

Home will be where ever we are.

I have learned however that I am not the only person who would rather spend their lives traveling than as a random citizen. I am not the only one that has ever sought to teach their children on the road and outside of a classroom. I am not the only one that has ever wanted to circle the globe by car, foot, train, bike, boat, and with very few plane rides.

Come to think of it I should only need two, unless I can find a friend with a big boat. Now that would be an adventure!

I found this blog – Almost Fearless – and the author wrote this e-book about how to get started. I read it. I am still working through some of the questions it raised, but this is a work in progress.

First things first – set a date. I set one before I ever read the book. June 1, 2014…or January 1, 2014…really depends on how the universe (or God or whatever you want to call it)works. I prefer God. He is in charge of this.

Second – what is holding you back?

In a word…PLENTY!

Not the idea, but self doubt. Self-doubt has held many adventurers back for millenniums. We want to go out an conquer the world…but what we really mean is that we want to conquer our little corner of it never seeing what’s on the other side!

A film posted on the Irish Polyglot’s Blog about his 29 life lessons learned from being a constant traveler caught my eye.

 

This is reality for so many of us. We do everything “right” only to find that at the end all we have ever done is the journey around our own little corner of the world.

You never had your “big break” because maybe your “big break” was meant to happen in Spain or Mauritania or Australia.

I have for the most part burst my own bubble on writing my way through the planet because many people think this way. Plus – I am lazy…who wants to do that kind of research! I am not going to make a list of bus routes and car parks and can you climb a hill to see the sea.

However – there are alternatives.

I found WWOOF. It stands for “Willing Workers On Organic Farms” this fits quite nicely within the parameters of Globe School. Teaching the boys about plants and cultivation without the use of pesticides and chemicals. It gives you a prearranged schedule to work in trade for a bed and your meals. It is an interesting idea that I may try out locally before the end of the year. I am sure SOMEONE in Texas does this.

I have also started a Couchsurfing account. Not that I have plans of surfing couches, but I know there are families and single mothers out there who are travelers. I offer them use of my couch in exchange for their information.

How do they make it work?

Since I have had my account for a total of 30 hours, I haven’t learned that much from the site. I have explained some things to do in and around Houston. I am a great tour guide for Texas, especially Houston on the cheap, but we must progress beyond our door.

Remember what Bilbo used to say: ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ – J.R.R. Tolkien

I am sort of hoping to get swept off to some place truly spectacular, doing something truly spectacular. However, I know that I don’t want my expectations to meet disappointment, so I will just say that I hope my adventure is good. Good can be dull or it can be interesting, but either way it is good.

Sunset in Wyoming - Definitely on my list to see.

Sunset in Wyoming – Definitely on my list to see.

If you would like to learn more about the places we will go follow my board on Pinterest – Globe School.

Do you have any helpful websites that I can browse? If so, link in the comments!

Why start Globe School?

Tuesday morning (July 22, 2013) I was sitting at lunch surrounded by professional Houstonians eating a baked potato; when my boss started telling the vendor who had taken us to lunch about a book.

“Who moved my Cheese?” 

I think this book is written in an effort to get you to work harder, smarter, and become a better employee. My boss and all of our managers read it as part of leadership training to make them better leaders. Upper management is trying to make everyone realize that they need to continue to work hard to stay at the top. They need to adapt and become a force in their department.

Be the most knowledgeable! Be the most adaptable! Be the go to guy!

“Anticipate change!” “Enjoy change!” “Monitor change!”

After lunch, my interest in the story impelled my boss to forward me the link to the YouTube video that the leadership training team had shown to them.

For everyone that understands the point and propaganda I applaud you. This video had the opposite effect on me. For me all I saw was the invisible maze, the rat race. I am not a rat, nor do I want to be in a race striving for an end that someone other than me predetermines my needs.

“When you change what you believe you change what you do…”

This got me thinking about what I believe.

1)      I believe the world is a more compassionate place than we give her credit for, and that given the opportunity she would show me.

2)      That there is more to life than going to work to pay the bill and leaving my sons with a babysitter.

3)      My children need me in their life every day. Yes I like time away from everyone, just me and my thoughts, but in the entire world I would rather be with these two little guys than anyone.

4)      What happened to traveling the world? What happened to the adventurer who would see it all before she was old?

5)      I am creative. I am a writer. I am a gypsy-soul trapped in the race. I am in desperate need to see the world before I get any older.

The question that came down like a hammer striking me on the head was, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

What would I do?

What could I do?

What should I do?

At first I thought, I would quit my job and open a bakery. Make cookies and cakes, and get fat and sell my wares. Become a member of the community and live out my days in quiet contented illusion. Calm the gypsy within by taking annual trips. Just living the “American Dream,” but that is such a dream. I don’t want a house. I don’t want to be tied to things that become an anchor. I like my freedom too much. I won’t see nearly enough of the world – if I see any!

That was like writing my obituary long before I am ever dead!

“Here lies Megan. She was good.”

In reality, my dream has always been the same. Become a permanent traveler, by car and by foot. Sell everything and live go out in search of the world.

I remember reading about a family who became travelers. One day they just decided that the material existence of their lives had become their only existence. It didn’t matter that they had a baby who was too young to walk. It didn’t matter that they had a mortgage and car payments.

They just decided to be different.

I want to do that.

I have said “I” a lot in this, but really it is a “we” experience. I have two sons. I am determined to show them the world and give them an education unlike any other. I think they should visit battlegrounds and castles and natural landscapes to learn about history, geography, culture, languages, and so, so much more. I think they should experience with all five senses and develop a sense of being a citizen of not just America, but of the world.

I have thought about the effects of this lifestyle and I can’t find any that would be detrimental. I know our families would visit us where ever we are or we could fly home for breaks in our adventure. Technology makes it possible for me to keep in touch easily and cheaply. A global network of friends and relatives will make it easier to sleep in a warm bed.

One thought keeps ringing through my head.

Where would I make money?

I would like to share our adventures. I would like to be paid to write articles, short stories, and books detailing our trek around the globe. I am a decent photographer, I have two of the most handsome models ever, and I know that people would want to read the tale.

So we move on to phase two of the planning of Globe School. Finding kindred souls to assist in embarking on this great adventure.

Some thoughts on tragedy and grief

Tragedy strikes us all. As an individual or as a family…even as a nation.

1997

There was a drought in the Texas Hill Country, the lake was low, and winter was ending. Every day people would walk past our pier and look out across the cove and pray for water to fill it up.
Pray for rain, our respite from the drought, our savior from the brutal heat of the summer to come.
Water to irrigate gardens and fill wells, water to quench the thirst of our neighborhoods that depended on the health of the lake.
Eventually the water came. It rained for days, storms to usher in the bloom of spring. There is nothing like the Texas Hill Country in the spring. Should you ever get the opportunity you should visit in mid-April. It is just gorgeous.
The lake was regaining its vigor and the drought was ending.
Eventually the clouds parted. The water appealed to two fishermen that I loved more than anything.
They trolled out in a fishing boat on a bright, sunny afternoon, off to catch a few fish for dinner or maybe to add to the freezer. They kept our fridges stocked with fresh fish, and were just going to play.
Before the end of my day at school a storm blew through and made everything glisten as the sun came back out. I stayed for choir practice and went home a little later than usual with a friend.
I knew something was wrong when there was a police car outside our house when we got home, but no one knew anything. They just knew the storm had blown through and the men hadn’t returned home.
Surely they were just on the wrong side of the lake waiting it out on a beach.
One hour past, then four, then it was morning, and then it was 10 am.
We heard nothing except the boats going back and forth on the lake and the occasional shutter of helicopters overhead.
They never came home.

2009
My sister had finally agreed to go to a rock in roll bar with me that I sort of adored to see a band that I had loved since I was a kid. We had friends who were going to meet us and plans for dinner and drinks.
A night of fun.
As the hour drew nearer to our fun evening people cancelled.
I hate when people cancel last minute, but they did, so it was just going to be my sister and me.
We were determined to have a good time. We went to the restaurant upstairs and ordered some food. We watch people tottering in 5 inch stilettos. We laughed at how we were the only two out of I don’t even remember how many that made it to the show.
I don’t even remember who was playing.
We had never had a sisters night out, so we hung out and talked for a while.
Our drinks arrived and so did our food. We talked about our kids and jobs and life.
Then the phones started ringing.
Her husband had been trying to get ahold of her, but she didn’t answer, so he called my phone and I picked up right away.
“Where are you?”
“Scout. Why?”
“Dennis was in an accident. You need to go to Austin.”
“Okay, we will be there as fast as we can.”
We left our food uneaten and rushed from the building. We didn’t know what we were going to see when we got to the hospital, but we knew we had to go.
My sister’s neighbor kept the kids while we were gone.
We drove. A drive that normally took 4 to 5 hours took 3.
Again we waited for a man we loved; only this time his body was with us. It was his soul that was missing.
The life force that made him our father even though we were grown when our parents met.
We waited the night and a day. We waited until the tests were run that said he was coming back to us. We prayed for his soul to find its way home. We held hands and rested our heads on the cold tile of a hospital waiting room floor.
My mother waited in his room. Talked to him. Tried to coax him back. Tried to feel the warmth of his hand in hers for as long as she could.
He never found his way back.

2013
The last two days have brought great grief to the cities of Boston and West. Gut wrenching losses for families who had been having nice normal days. They were out for a run. Home watching TV. Sitting watching the world. They were participating in life.
Some of them were accomplishing dreams. Others were at work.
I was at work Tuesday. I followed the story all afternoon and late into the night. Pausing only while at home and holding my kids just a little tighter. I let them fall asleep in the living room snuggled up that night. There was nothing I wanted more than to hold them and make them safe.
Last night after I put the boys in bed I logged into Facebook and immediately I saw photos of a fire at a plant in Waco. Then I turned on the news and it had exploded.
Not just exploded but ripped a town apart. It will take years for them to come back from that.

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I only have a few words of wisdom when it comes to loss of those you love and rebuilding the life that you know. I don’t know if anyone who has lost in these tragedies will read it, but maybe the people who are reading need to hear it as well.
It takes time to cry. It takes time to feel the loss. It takes time to really understand that they’re gone and never coming back. It takes years, sometimes decades, to move on.
I don’t think we move on really.
I know that in my life the losses just became dull aches that resonate with how I try to appreciate each breath I take.
The losses have taught me to see the effects of my life on others. How one decision can cause a ripple effect that goes on and on and on.
It is easy to get mad and take your grief out on the world, but don’t. I got mad when I was so young and my grandfather got taken from me. I got so mad that I eventually rebelled to the point where nothing mattered but how I felt. I took my grief out on everyone, but no one ever understood that or forced me to deal with it. Don’t do that.
Don’t bottle it up and bury it thinking that everything is okay. You’re here, you’re safe, you’re moving along. You will crumble from the inside and become immobile.
Grieve. Heal. Cry. Get angry, but don’t get mad.
Most importantly love. Love is the most healing of emotions. It creates strength were there may have been none and warmth that lasts through the cold.
I pray that love surround you and that God bless your life with many years of happiness that far overshadow this dark time.

Appreciation, Validation, and Tolerance

All relationships come down to appreciation, validation, and tolerance.

Variables of this have different words, but really this is all we do for each other in each of our relationships. We individually value the other persons effect on our existence that we validate their feelings, show them appreciation, and tolerate their differences.

This encompasses the scope of human interaction.

Like-minded people create change because they validate each others opinions and to show their appreciation for these opinions they work together. Often having to tolerate various life choice differences in the process.

A marriage is supposed to be a union of like-minded individuals for life. A joint venture as one existence. A conscious choice to live together for an indeterminant number of years (God willing) and do what is best for each other, your children, and your future. Sure there are some viceral aspects as well, but really you have to appreciate, validate and tolerate each other even after the chemical animal attraction ceases.

That’s what it is supposed to be anyway.

Life long.

Why do marriages have such short life spans?

I feel it is because we don’t verbally acknowledge our appreciation for the little things. We don’t say thank you. We don’t do big things that say, “I love you.”

People take their spouses for granted.

Friendships are often taken for granted as well. We simply assume that the other person will always be there, will always remain the same, when really it isn’t this way. Just as I change those around me change.

This appreciation also draws souls to each other.

Our souls see their familiars in other’s actions.

They meet and validate the thoughts one with another and develope a tolerance for excentricities. Like magnets drawn together because it’s possible to have honesty, openess, validation, and complete appreciation for one another.

Personally I am on a collision course with a path to tolerance. Deciding my tolerance level. Reevaluating what I can handle. What I should be willing to handle. My course will take me on the journey required for creating proper boundaries. I am always overstepping boundaries, oversharing, and there are some places where that amount of openess are not tolerable. Then again I also put up walls, I cut people off if I haven’t known them long and they challenge my trust. I don’t give second chances often if I don’t feel like the person is adding to my life.

Where are you? How are you showing your loved ones you appreciate them? Are you meeting their needs? Are you taking them for granted? Do you know your tolerance level and your boundaries? Do you know you?

Why?

Because before you can appreciate, validate, and tolerate another you must do that for yourself.

Topics coming soon

Ever have so much going on in your mind you don’t know where to start? Blogging is a fabulous way to get it out of your head and into the world, but so many of the anecdotes I have rolling around in my head need to be elaborated on and there is just not the time at the moment.

Here is a little list of topics that will be coming in the weeks ahead.

Feel free to weigh in on any of them and I will include them in my post!

~ Finding Love…this is such a hard thing to do. No one knows the rules any more. Are there rules? Are “The Rules” from Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider still the end all for practical decision making? Or at least…getting your feet wet. Are you allowed to speak to and get to know more than one man before going out on date? A friend of mine tells a tale that her mother dated three men at once and then agreed to one person’s proposal and then she stopped dating the other two. Can men even tolerate the thought these days? What is it that makes people go from relationship to relationship when really they don’t know anything about each other?

~ Child’s Play…making the most of the time you have with your kids. As a single parent working a daunting job I still want to make memories with my kids. I still want them to feel like I am present even when I am not. I want them to know I love them. I want them to have fun care free childhoods.

~ Turning a Blind Eye…I posted a photo (below) with a quote from John Berger today on Facebook and it certainly needs a longer explanation than I have been able to give in the comments. I believe in helping the poor as long as they are helping themselves. I don’t want a redistribution of wealth, I just think we shouldn’t ignore an epidemic. Sending money to disasters is all well and good, but look around your own town. How could you help there?

~ Computer Security…kind of a research project of mine. Coming soon are all manner of SOPA/ACTA/CISPA related votes and you need to be informed. Not to mention it’s a big election year, so what do you think the candidates believe when it comes to your rights to privacy, piracy, sharing of thoughts and ideas, intellectual property, and more in a world where nothing is done in the real world. The wealth of nations is transferred easily at the touch of a button and a kitten dunking a basketball in Milwaukee is news in Thailand.

As usual I type what I want about topics I find interesting. Things I want to know. Projects that need to be researched questions that need to be answered. Poems that need to be written and words that need to form sentences that form ideas which are made to be shared.

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Brief Observations

I guess I don’t ask enough questions of other people.

I don’t want to know too much about their situations, well because I remember what is was like to want no one to know what was going on with me and my life.

When someone seems – off – I just accept it as their eccentricity and work around their temperament. I make sure they have essentials, but don’t pry because I just don’t want the conflict in my life. I don’t care what you do with you as long as you don’t bring me into your mess.

After a decade of being neck-deep in a mess I put my big girl panties on and jumped ran out of this mess. Although at times I still feel like resolving it consumes all my energies.

I got burned – bad – but I’m recovering, so I’m cool.

Only I’m not.

Just when I think things are normal they revert to “Megan normal.” My problem is that I don’t know how to say no. Not the reason’s in the song “Can’t say no”

I simply have a soft spot for people in the mire.

I think everyone deserves a chance no matter where they come from. I think I have automatic faith in others, but once that is broken I kick myself.

“Why couldn’t I have seen this coming?”

“Why couldn’t I see the signs?”

This isn’t just with my ex-husband. This is with anyone.

To me this is how we should be. We should have faith in the rest of our species to do what they are supposed to do.

Only they don’t. Then we get mad. We shut ourselves down, and we build iron barriers between us and the rest of the world.

As a person who is codependant I have to work extraordinarily hard to maintain boundaries. I regularly forget they exist and I know that I need to consciously reconstruct them all the time. It’s like this constant thing I have to logically think through. I can do this. I can’t say that. I can see this needs to be done. I shouldn’t do this or that.

For most of the human population this is normal behavior, but for me it’s not.

It’s attachment issues. Totally acceptable if the attachment is to solid, stable individuals, but normally it’s to twisted, addicted, drama driven idiots. This includes friends.

I am a born listener and fixer. Try as I might I can’t fix everyone. When I was 17 years old I was driving in a car with my great uncle’s new wife and she just started pouring her heart out to me. I just stared straight ahead and listened. I didn’t know my uncle really well, in fact I hardly knew him at all. I had just met the woman going all stream of conscious on me that day.

When she was done it’s like she woke up. She apologized for telling me all the gory details, but she felt I could help her.

I couldn’t.

Honestly – I had never even been on a real date at age 17. I didn’t know the first thing to say. So I whispered a prayer and gave her a hug. I don’t know where she is now. Her marriage only lasted a short while after that, so maybe that was her answer to her problems.

That was the first time someone had ever done that, but it’s been repeated thousands of times, besides the friends that I grew up with – which in itself had gotten me into trouble. I was a bit of a gossip, until this one time a parent confronted me and I don’t think I have really gossiped again.

It’s one thing to hear a story – it’s entirely different to repeat it. I am still reminded of this when I hear something juicy and want to share, but then I remember how that felt so I don’t.

Can you tell I am trying to figure this whole codependant thing out still? I’m told it’s like alcohol or drug addiction. There is not a defined recovery pattern. There is only the day-to-day.

Each choice I make to spiral or to soar. Each relationship, real or imagined, a step to recovery.

I long for a relationship, a lasting, healthy relationship, but almost two years I still wonder if I will ever be able to let someone in. Well, maybe not let someone in, but let them in and not become everything.

This is a delicate balance that is foreign to me.

My delicate balance – Solid ground vs. a Free Fall

Battling stage fright

Oh my GOD! I am terrified!

We all know the story of Barbra Streisand and her stage fright. We don’t really know details as to when it started or how severe it is. We just know that yes, she is an amazing performer, but getting up on stage in front of a live audience scares the shit out of her.

I understand.

Once upon a time in a land known as my hometown I sang. I could sing in a group or alone, and I had absolutely no problem with it. I sang at most, if not all school events, concerts, spring shows – All of them. I sang in front of hundreds of people. So in the younger years of my life I sang in front of a couple thousand people.

I was good too.

I could do it. I WANTED to do it. I LIVED to do it. I was HAPPY to sing in front of an audience.

Then I grew up, graduated high school, and moved away.

Almost instantaniously I got a shocking case of stage fright. Even at something as cheesy as karaoke I would freeze up, I choked. I was petrified to do this thing that I had been doing for years. I think basically (now anyway) that I wasn’t around a crowd that already expected me to sing well. I didn’t know anyone. I was a teeny tiny fish in a great big pond.

I was having self confidence issues, so to have people I didn’t know being able to judge my vocals with shows like American Idol. Everyone thought they were a critic and everyone liked to impersonate Simon!

It has become apparent that I have become so good at not acknowledging the fact that I can sing that recently when I announced that I was going to have an audition some folks that have known me for a very long time were shocked.

Likewise folks that have known me since my childhood were giving me thumbs up and keep asking where they can see me sing again.

Here’s what’s going on… 

Every Sunday morning when I am at church I feel compelled to volunteer, and as a member of our church you get to pick how you want to help. We have a large church I think (between the three campuses) somewhere close to 8,000 people attend each week. So, when you want to say you would like to be part of the praise and worship team, there is a whole auditioning process. I feel this pull to get back to singing and I know that once I get past this audition I will be fine, but for now I am sort of freaking out.

Tomorrow in front of three people that I have never met I am supposed to sing. THREE PEOPLE! You guys have no idea how that makes my stomach knot. I think singing to a crowd is SOOOOOO much easier than singing to THREE PEOPLE!

I am supposed to sound respendent. I am supposed to sound flawless. I am supposed to show up!

I am going to show up. I pray to GOD that my voice shows up. 

Practicing, practicing, practicing, and more practicing will be done by me in the next 30 some odd hours. I wish I could have taken tomorrow off of work!

I wish I wasn’t so flippant on song choice. I have songs that I love, but there are songs that just automatically make a person sound better. I have no idea if that is what I chose is the song that will make my voice shine. I chose a song I love. Everyone loves. A singer with an amazing voice sings this song and I know that these people will compare me to her, just because she is so awesome.

Why didn’t I just volunteer to say hello to everyone? A door greeter? Yes! I could do that!

Until Wednesday folks, I will let you know how it goes down.