America – We missed the mark on Remembrance

Remembrance does strange things to people. It makes them intolerant. It makes them violent. It takes a day that is already bad enough and makes it worse.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that left America scattered and scared. The 12th anniversary of the deaths of thousands at the hands of 19 individuals whose moral compass had become so extreme that they were willing to die to make us pay for…I don’t know exactly.

I never understood the why’s of 9/11. I won’t share in the conspiracy theory there is tons of that online and in life. The point is that this was a tragedy that has become a religious and racist argument that will never be won.

The Devil has already won if we continue to fight about whose God is right.

We are all humans. We live on a planet we call Earth. We all bleed red. We all eat and drink and procreate. The things that set us apart from the animals are – murder and mind.

We have the ability to cognitively process everything that happens to us and around us. There are theories as to evolution, but we don’t know why we became so evolved. We just are.

So, why do we kill each other for any reason?

Is it humanity’s fatal flaw to be violent in the face of power, passion, or religion?

Is religion a fatal flaw?

We are all people after all and we all want to live long full lives, so it doesn’t make sense to take someone else’s life from them. At least it doesn’t to me. We live on a huge planet. Go live somewhere else if you can’t stand where you are and who you are with.

If you can’t stand someone ELSE’s religion then don’t practice it.

Yesterday there was a plan for a “Million Muslim March” on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It happened but more like a fraction of a percent of Muslims participated in the event. Reasoning being unclear as to why there were not more people. Perhaps they knew the backlash that could have resulted from this or perhaps it was the 2 million bikers that thought to show up and interrupt this event.

I’d be scared if 2 million bikers promised to end my march…as it was there was no violence just a bunch of bikers driving through DC. The police blocked them from doing anything else and wouldn’t give them a permit for a march of their own.

Yesterday should have been a day of Peace and Remembrance. We should have pondered those who lost their lives. We should have spent the day reaching out to our loved ones and friends telling them we love them and appreciate them.

A gathering of Muslims for Peace on a day that produced violence by Muslims seems like a way for that community to come full circle. It was meant to be an olive branch in the religious inconsistencies of our national character.

Want religious freedom? Well that doesn’t just mean your religion. Religious freedom is meant to be for everyone.

Want to be able to meet and assemble? That doesn’t mean just for causes you find worthy.

Want to be able to complain about it? Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Those are your first amendment rights. They are for everyone. Anyone on American soil has these freedoms. This is what the Revolutionary War was fought for and what our soldiers continue to believe as they fight for us. There are so many differing views on religion, politics, heredity, and social standing that these have become unimportant in light of someone’s character and interaction with the rest of the world.

What if starting today we lived without prejudice?

What if starting today we lived fully compassionate lives?

What if starting today we began to trust again?

What if starting today we showed respect for everyone?

What if starting today we chose to live as God intended?

To begin with you need to stop grouping a set of strangers together calling all of them bad people who want to kill us all without actually knowing anything about them. A sad state of American society is that we automatically classify people of the Muslim religion as extremists who want to murder us and take over the country.

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is profoundly untrue. The Muslim religion is not to blame, no more than the Christian religion is to blame for the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition. Those things happened because of the thoughts and actions of a small group of people, not because of their religion. Step one someone else’s religion is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is your faith, your path, your choice of religion.

As a Christian I believe that at the end of my life I will be placed before God and judged. He will not judge me on my works; He will judge me on my faith and my obedience in accepting Jesus Christ as my eternal Savior. What part does anything to do with someone else’s religion? Nada.

Another part of my walk as a Christian is more of a universal rule that I live by and would appreciate others to do as well. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I know I didn’t quote the scripture or verse, but you know what I mean. This fully encapsulates how to live compassionately. If you see someone who is hungry try to feed him. If you see someone that needs a home, show him where to get the help to get a home.

Living compassionately is not a life in the mission field, it should simply be life.

If you claim to be Christian the rule we are taught is to live a “Christ-like Life.” Who was Christ? Jesus. How did he live? He was self-sacrificing and lived to make the lives of those around him better than his own. We cannot save the world, but we can show each other mercy.

What do you think the world would be like if more Christians lived that way?

I think it would be easier to trust if you knew that the people who claimed to be good, peace-loving, wholesome individuals really were. There is nothing more troubling than believing in others and having them shatter that belief. Perhaps my trust in others is my fatal flaw, because I trust everyone until they’ve given me a reason not to and that is dangerous. Because you can’t actually trust anyone these days until they have proven their worth.

If you can’t trust simply try to respect others. Everyone.

All trust starts with respect. If someone can’t respect other people they can’t be trusted. Of all the definitions of respect I think the one most closely resembling what we view as respect is thoughtfulness or consideration. By being considerate of others we can earn their trust and compassion, which could bring them to a non-judgmental state regardless of your chosen lifestyle or religion…which are none of their business anyway.

I for one like my rights as an American and I would hate to see them further sullied because of some extreme belief in the supremacy of one religion over another.

Every time you act and react is a characteristic of yourself, not your religion, not your hometown, not even your family. We are all on this planet. We won’t all agree. We won’t all get along.

Tolerance isn’t about conformity it’s about life.

Pulled from a Facebook Share

Pulled from a Facebook Share

Single Parenthood is Trying

Holy Tuesday Batman!

It is Easter week and I am sitting at my new desk, typing on my new computer at my new job. I love it here. I can wear jeans and tennis shoes every day and if my hair is a little bit wind-blown no one cares. Alas I love riding with the windows down and the radio loud. This is the kind of place that likes people to stay 30+ years and retire.

This I could get used to.

So, what is going on with me? Besides the shiny new digs? Plenty…

My ex-husband was readmitted to rehab. Yes. It was less than a month before he gloriously (not really) fell off the wagon again. This time though I was not a witness and didn’t try to attempt to save him. I think this should get me life lesson points or something. I didn’t run to his side when he was released from his last rehab facility. That I know gets me points. As that seems to be all I have done for the last 6 years.

In the three weeks I was working at the restaurant where we met I told few people the depths to which we sank in our personal life since disappearing from there so many years ago. The one person I did speak to (because he was our roommate before we had children) got completely irate and my ex should be glad he has disappeared again. That sort of made me sad. Not that he didn’t understand the events of the last 6 years until they were explained by me, but because I never realized how bad things were.

Love Survival really is blinding…

Well…most of the people at the restaurant I avoided like they were the plague for the last six years, but it is in seeing them again that I realize the ex husband was the problem…yes…again.

But guess what – I got the two best parts of him in our boys. Elijah and Michael are amazing.

I have been having problems with Elijah’s anger and behavior, but it is not the end of the world. Although…apparently I think I am yelling too much. Yesterday he told me that I would have been happier if I had never had kids. WHERE DID THIS IDEA COME FROM!? I grabbed him. Hugged him. Talked to him. Held him for a minute while I fought tears. I explained that I would be miserable without them. They are what wakes me up every day and brighten my thoughts every moment. They make me.

I told him to NEVER think that. EVER!

Michael on the other hand…he is nearly two. Any parent knows what that means.

This is the age that we do occasionally wish we weren’t parents because everything is a struggle.

He is trying to exert his independence while I trying to shelter and control. He wants to walk by himself and not hold my hand. He doesn’t realize that I want to hold his hand because the cars will run him over or dogs might eat him. (Not my dogs…I don’t have any…but someone’s.) I do not remember this happening with Elijah, but every night is a battle at bed time. He doesn’t want to sleep in his bed, he doesn’t want to sleep at the appointed hour, he doesn’t want to bathe, he doesn’t want to drink milk anymore. He doesn’t want to listen anymore. He gets frustrated by his inability to communicate and he is willful.

Needless to say evenings have been FUN lately. (Grumble grumble)

This reminds me of another conversation I had recently with Elijah, and what I found in his bag yesterday morning as I was getting him ready for school.

He wants a dad.

Have I told you guys this yet?

He asked me to find a new dad for him because while he loves his dad…the distance and sobriety rules for seeing his kids…he doesn’t see him. Heart crushing agony there (at least on my part.) I feel HORRIBLE for him! It brings up new anger issues within myself. All the things that I hate my ex for rise to the surface when these talks happen. Then there are the papers that I found in his bag. They must have had a “What do you want to be when you grow up?” day.

He wants to be a dad. That’s it. Not a policeman. Not a doctor. Not a pilot. A Dad. I admit to crying a little.

I reached out to my girls group and one of my good friends explained that he doesn’t want to be HIS dad. He wants to be a good parent. He wants to do stuff. He wants to show his kids how to play in the sand and enjoy mundane things.

He wants to be like the person who is raising him.

I hope she is right. I hope that this isn’t another attempt at telling me he wants a dad.

I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I think I will tonight though because he doesn’t get to watch TV or play with toys because he has been lying about his behavior marks lately.

This is the most wonderful, challenging, heartwarming, heartbreaking experience I know of…and it’s only going to go on and on.

So…anyone know any single dads that want a chubby Italian wife with two gorgeous boys? 😉

EDIT: I think (as it is Holy Week) I should say one last thing. I am surviving because I believe that God will never give you more than you are able to handle. He is truly the one that keeps me in His hands and provides for me every step of the way. Without Him I am nothing. Every step of my struggles this last year has only proved that He is making my path. Not me. After looking over my life experiences I can see why the points fit together as they do. Why I had to go through every thing I have been through since childhood. These are the things that God knew I would have to go through to get me where I need to be to be the best I can be.

Home is not a Location

Yesterday I asked…What is home to you? Is it a person, a place, a thing?

I have always thought like Pumba…”Home is where your rump rests!” I was 15 when The Lion King came out and since we moved so much as children I found truth in it. Home really is wherever you make it.

Or so I thought at 15.

Now at 31, I am reconsidering. I think, like a commenter yesterday, that home is the feeling of comfort that you have in your soul. A wholeness not brought on by location or surroundings, but grown to fruition within ourselves…or at least I’m starting to think anyway.

I’m not there yet. I learning. I’m growing, but I’m not there yet.

I have been researching my own past to try to determine when life changed so dramatically for me that it creates tension where there should be none. Since it is February 21st is doesn’t take long for me to understand when that break happened.

When I became a shell and less of myself.

By this I mean that I have spent the last 15 years trying to fill a void that can’t be filled by anyone but myself or God. I believe I have a strong faith in the Lord, but it is today and this day for the last 15 years that makes me know I am weak of faith.

Maybe it’s just this day in particular that makes my faith weak.

February 21, 1997 is the day we confirmed and found my grandfather’s body in Lake Buchanan. He and our pastor had been fishing and got caught in a storm on February 19th. They suffered hypothermia and drowned.

I cried for days, weeks, years even.

At first I had the rest of high school, my activities and my job to fill the time. To fill the void.

I thought little but of the schedule and what had to be completed for the next goal to be reached. For the next accomplishment to be met. As good a show as I could put on I found no happiness in any of this. I finished high school in 1999, without a plan. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Go to school. Don’t go. Get a certificate in a profession. Just go to work. I had no freaking idea.

June following graduation I watched my 2 year-old niece. Just me and her for the whole month. I stayed busy, we went places, we did stuff. July I went on a trip to Europe. The first week planning, two weeks there and the last week of the month I had a decision to make.

Go to the recruiter and become a military private or go to school until I figured out what I wanted.

I chose school. Then I got bored. Some people just aren’t built to sit and learn in a class room. I’m one of those…but may still go back. I’m deciding that now.

When people ask if I would repeat high school again…go back in time…knowing what I know now I respond immediately with a yes. I would go back because I would have knowledge of the accident that was to come and I would spend more time with my grandfather. I would listen to his words and take notes on how to do things. I would want to be near to him. I miss him. Even now as I write this out the tears flow…and yes I’m at Starbucks. Receiving stares from people who know nothing of what I write.

Each of us have an adult that we are close to in our youngest days. For me it was him. I know he wasn’t perfect, but I worshiped him.

I lived with my grandparents from age 12 until I was through high school. The first years we were there I could be found, when I wasn’t at school, helping my grandfather. We had a garden, we built a shop, we made a bigger garden, we fixed up the house, plumed a sprinkler system, and I learned more than I can ever remember. I was his shadow.

The gravity and immediacy of this loss have haunted me. My dreams. My fears. My life.

I feel myself getting close to people and then immediately recoil knowing that some how I will lose them and I don’t want to feel that kind of pain. The pain that rips your soul from you…even if just for a while.

I can honestly count the number of people I have allowed to get close to me since high school on one hand. The people I still depend on for emotional support don’t need me to dig into those feelings. They have always been here and they don’t need me to mention it.

I am trying to open up to people. Trying to not push as much as I want to, I know sometimes I am an utter failure in this, but I’m trying.

I have tried to fill the void of his loss with rebellion. Yes…I rebelled, but I’m not much of a rebel.

I have tried to fill the void with a marriage. Terrible idea.

In my need to be whole I try to patch up the broken. I try to fix the other people I see in need. I can recognize the pain in their eyes because I feel it in me. I recognized that pain in my ex husband’s eyes and made thousands of failed attempts to help him. Ending with the realization that you can’t fix what doesn’t know is broken.

Behaviors learned from parents are the hardest to break. For me it’s chocolate, coffee, and delicious food, for my husband it was vodka,  prescription drugs, and ignorance. If there is a problem take something…it will disappear.

Only it doesn’t.

The problem is there for the partner – the true partner – in a marriage. They are forced to handle the situation and eventually because they are broken themselves they just learn to tolerate the experience. The life that would drive a normal person from the relationship becomes their link to wholeness.

I was happy because I was making him happy. Innocence and inexperience are tragic flaws in the hands of an addict.

Relationships with everyone I was close to became secondary to the relationship I had with him. He became my home because together we were one.

It is a tolerable existence when it is just two people living life together. You know there will be ups. You know there will be downs. You learn what will fill the downs to make them come back up. You live life as they teach in AA, “one day at a time” but nothing is ever normal to the world on the outside looking in, even if it seems normal to you.

Then the two create a third person. A child, helpless and innocent. A person that needs protection. A person that needs your constant attention.

Eventually you recognize all that is broken in your life. I had the realization that I was still broken.

Broken of spirit.

Broken in soul.

Broken to the point of not remembering who I had been. I tried to leave…but the hole would tear back open.

The hole that had been left by the death of my grandfather had been filled by this man, although I didn’t understand this fact. So, I would go back. I allowed myself to go back because he made me feel whole. He made me feel like I was home. I found comfort in the pain because it gave me a reason to be where I was…I was home.

It’s funny how so few letters it takes to change hole to whole to home.

Where is home for me?

I now understand that it is not in location. It is not in the people that surround me.

I have to find it with in me. I thought I had found it within me, but days like today…or maybe just today…I recognize my void is still here. Still waiting for me to fill it. Still waiting for me to understand what I have missed all these years.

If you seem to be in a holding pattern, as I explained yesterday, what do you think you are missing?

I think if we figure out the source we can find the resolution that will create wholeness.

Where are you? Your roots?

Fly

Click the photo for a link to the lovely blog I pulled this photo from 🙂

Today I am at the edge…preparing to fly.

I have steadied my gaze and readied my mind.

Today I am leaping…into the unknown,

I am hoping and praying for each of my boys.

Today I am leaving…the dulldrums are done!

I am running and jumping for joy all alone.

Today I am whole…ever constant in God.

I have thought and I’ve pondered with each little nod.

Today I am happy…He’s answering my prayers.

Can’t you see?!

I have an ending today and a new beginning, just me.

Love, hope, peace, joy, and home

I’m flying

I’m singing

I’m praising the Lord.

~Written by: Meg

—————–

It doesn’t rhyme much, but I am not much of a rhyming poet. I have never written a poem for you all, so I thought I would change that up today.

Today is my last day at the most boring job ever. I will miss it. I will miss the freedom of hours upon hours of time to think and to write. I have spent the last seven months plugging away at this little blog, and joining blog groups and reading wonderful blogs. I have made some fabulous bloggy friends and I can’t wait to see what is next.

I feel like I am jumping of a cliff, but instead of falling into the depths below, I feel I am soaring high above in the clouds. Like an eagle or pheonix, graceful in their flight. Giant wings spread, looking around, I see the world below and my home on a rock. Back to the Llano Estacado with me…a giant rock in the middle of Texas.

I’m hoping for the excitement that I am sure is to come…the butterflies in my belly tell me it’s there. Waiting and coming when the time is just right.

I rest in the hands of God, His will for me is all I can do. I pray ceaselessly to hear the right voice. Discerning His choice for me and my life is not easy. I wonder if He offers me things here where I am to tempt me to stay somewhere I have known so much pain.

There was a sermon at church last Sunday that said you won’t grow if you don’t allow yourself to root. What if your roots were transplaneted and they want to go home? I can fully understand what the pastor was saying, but some trees died when they are transplanted. I know I have not been what I could be in the last ten years here in this place. I have longed for home since the day I got here, and kicked myself everytime I haven’t moved back when I had the chance.

Sometimes a chance is nothing more than a whisper…sometimes these chances are solid in form and life. I can’t wait. I am excited. I am ready to take flight.

I am ready to get back on track, to swoop and to soar to the highest of lifes.

What are you doing for yourself in this year’s fearless challenge? Are you challenging yourself to live the highest life possible? Creating change for yourself? Or simply creating!?

“Create yourself a great day!”

Meg’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Day

“Eh…” gritched Michael at 5:30 am. “wah..wah…WAH”

I roll out of bed and walk to the crib. I check on him…cover him back up and proceed to stumble to the kitchen, eyes shut.

Remove sippy cup lid…wash lid…drop lid…”damn!” I think. Open eyes.

Open dishwasher, remove clean sippy, pour fresh milk into fresh sippy. See chocolate icing from last week – think of chocolate icing…mmmmmmm…..but so not on my new diet.

Close fridge and remove chocolate icing from brain. Close eyes, stumble back to room. Cover Mikey up again…give milk.

Mikey screams…he doesn’t want to drink it, just hold it.

Lay back down in own bed…place pillow under left leg as I had received a cortisone shot in the hip yesterday morning.

Check time on phone. 5:34 am

I can sleep for a little while longer! I will get up! I know I can do it!

Roll over, shut eyes…Bu-bye Megan.

Roll back over in what I think is five minutes…and it’s 7 am. Shit! I’m late!

Jump out of bed, turn on shower, Mikey screams. I run into other room Wake up Elijah, get Michael out of crib. Run to bathroom for shower.

Rush shower. Michael pulling curtain every three seconds…he wants in. No! No I say!

Dash through closet put on something to wear…knock on the door. It’s the sitter!

Throw clothes at Elijah, yell at Elijah. Run a comb then put mousse in my hair. Race out the door.

Forget lunch. Forget to sign Elijah’s folder. Forget to bring laptop.

Trip over trash exiting the house…take trash to dumpster.

As I am exiting the apartment complex a man is riding a bike…he drives out in front of me, scaring me, and me slamming on the brakes so I don’t hit him, scares him. He almost falls off his bike. I sit a minute, we nod at each other as he pedals off and I pull out onto the road.

[Here is where I should have known to just go home.]

Facing the highway…black kitty cat darts infront of me, from out of no where and into the woods. Proceed to highway access road.

Shaking my head and repeating to myself…You can do it! You can do it!

Oh and remember…it’s foggy today. No visibility so there is no sunshine to brighten my day in the most literal way!

Drive the .5 miles to the nearest McDonald’s for a McMuffin and a coffee. As I am turning in I see that the secondary lane is empty and there are two cars waiting in the main lane. I proceed toward the secondary lane…slam on brakes…again.

Woman in second car noticed what I was doing. Honking and accelerating, playing bumper cars with our vehicles, she scoots up as quickly as possible to second lane. Nearly hitting me in the process. I let her through. If she is in that big of a hurry she must be having a glucose issue so I forgive. Start a status update text on how messed up the morning has gone.

Glucose intolerance lady must have had a super extra large order because it took ten minutes to go through that line. That’s too long…especially when I didn’t leave the house on time.

I NEEDED COFFEE and I NEEDED FOOD!

Really I should invest in a microwave and heat up an egg bowl.

[No dice. Then it would taste microwaved and I would rather be late. 😛 ]

Eventually get status updated. Get food and get back on the road.

Traffic. Fuck. I am Fucked. With a capital F! I will never be on time as long as I live in the boonies. Okay so it’s not in the boonies, but it’s just further out than say…midtown. So everything is further away.

Fog, Cars, Stupid people…I bow to the time God’s and go the back way to work. It’s a little longer, but there are fewer people trying to run me off the highway.

I end up behind a tractor trailer going 45 in a 60…I know it’s foggy, but PLEASE I’M LATE!

12 miles later, I turn, no longer behind him I accelerate. Faster, faster, oops too fast. Check for police…Whew! No police

Flip through radio stations…Adele! I love Adele. Turn it up! Sing out loud! Watch people in cars next to me looking at me crazy. What can I say?! I love Adele and I can sing like her! You would sing out too!

Arrive in the land of Pears…and turn down by my old house…think about Troy. Deep breathe…proceed to work.

Arrive at work 23 minutes behind schedule! Ugh! What a morning!?

But no it’s not over…as I arrive my eyes start to burn. I still don’t know why. They pour liquid like a bartender serving shots! I look like I have had a few shots and haven’t in weeks!

Through my blurry eyes and constant burn I read through emails and reply to friends online. I help students and talk to my coworkers. I read through my new feed from Media Bistro and watch some insightful videos.

Around 9:30 am as I was browsing available jobs on MB, I found one in Austin. A little company hiring for entry-level management positions…read through. Hey – I can do that!

Start the application…part 1, done. Part 2, done! Part 3, done! Part 4, Not done…I typed, I thought, I gave very good, personnal replies. I hit save!

And everything was gone…to that point it had taken me TWO HOURS to fill in every box with the information that would best send the message of who and what I am and NOTHING!

It disappeared!

I closed the window, told the boss I would be going to lunch a few minutes early and I left.

Don’t the Fates understand! That is supposed to be my next job! Don’t they understand the day that I have had and just needed that information to SAVE! No they don’t. They don’t understand. They aren’t in control.

So, I whisper to God. I eat my lunch while typing this post. I reopen the tab and I type out the answers again. This time clicking the little save button as I go.

Oh the trials of the “School of Hard Knocks.” I am the current mascot.

Many blessings for you and yours today as the day will inevitably end delightfully. I am certain!

Thank you little sister for supplying me with the image of the day!

Revised Christmas Letter 2011

The cynic in me wrote yesterday’s Christmas Letter, thus a revision is necessary.

Dear Friends and Family,

2011 has been a trying year, but I am grateful for it. There are some things I learned and some people I am eternally grateful to have in my life all because of 2011.

I am stronger than I think I am. There, I said it. You never know what you can face until you face it and progress in life.

I can survive a week with no money. Ask me how…I share trade secrets.

I have it so much better than so many other people…in the grand scheme of things as bad as my year was it could have been worse. It actually was worse for plenty of people in the world. For plenty of people that I know.

I think it is important to accept your circumstance whatever it is. I figured out how to do that this year. I think it has to happen as we grow as people because if you can’t accept yourself who else should?

January taught me that I can drive in a blizzard.

February taught me how to put faith in other people.

March taught me not to trust all landlords at their word.

April taught me to take it one day at a time.

May taught me that settling isn’t always the best road to take.

June taught me that I can do anything I have to do whether I want to or not.

July taught me that I really should have spent a little more time in the sun, day-glow legs…wow.

August taught me that I know absolutely nothing about the public school system, but that’s okay.

September taught me how to have respect for myself. I am not the same person I used to be.

October taught me how broken feels…I don’t have a good lesson from October.

November taught me that I can express compassion to someone I loath simply because I should.

December…December has taught me about the strength of friends. When you have people by your side you can feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof.

On the whole there are a few people who I need to recognize for making this year better, because really without them I would be so lost…and these are in no particular order.

Simmoni – You guys may have read about Sim in my periodic series Phenomenal Female Friday. She really is the most amazing friend and has helped me keep perspective over the last year.

My Mom – She was the first in the PFF series, and she has helped me in many, many ways. I hope as the years pass our relationship continues to grow.

My Sisters – They are also my friends. They keep me entertained, watch my kids, and Malorie feeds me and saves me when I need it. I have AAA now, but there have been some days when I didn’t. 🙂

Dana – She has let me sleep on her couch, use her house as my house, store my belongings in various rooms and driven me around to simply pass the time. She is a sister, even if I have divorced her brother. I am blessed to have you.

My family – As a whole and on their own my entire family has been a blessing to me this year. I have gotten to catch up with most and can’t wait to see how we all grow in the next year.

My Church – Without my church I know that I wouldn’t have made it through this year. They have provided food when I had none, money when I needed gas, and support when I felt hopeless. They have even provided me with my own Christmas miracle, because of them I get to actually give my boys a few gifts. Fewer after the car debacle, but they get gifts none the less!

My Friends – All you guys are amazing. You are encouraging. You are helpful. You are the ones that see me cry and give me hugs. Thank you.

My Scary Mommies – If you don’t know what those are it is okay. We know who we are. We know the power of the Scary Mommy Army. Because of these women and our network I have seen amazing things happen in the lives of women and children across the nation. Over Thanksgiving you guys may have seen the piece ABC ran on Jill Smokler, Scary Mommy #1. Because of Jill and SM’s across the nation we fed 14,000 families Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendships and your support, Meg.

Mike – You know who you are. You know how you helped. Thank you. You’re an incredible human being and I pray for much success for you.

Tricia and Tori – You ladies have supported the bloggy journey I have been on this year and are always encouraging and commenting. Thank you!

One I’d like to name, but ever (eye roll) vigilant of your privacy I won’t. 😛 I miss talking to you, but such is life, one of us hurt the other and I am still not sure who.

I know I am leaving people out. It is not that I don’t remember your kindness. I am grateful to you. I appreciate you and I’m glad you’re in my life.

To surmise 2011, I have to say it’s been crazy, but I have felt blessed the whole time. I have felt prayers and God’s hand in every thing. I know that some how life will be amazing in the days and years to come.

Much love and many blessings to you all this Christmas season.

~Meg

Christmas Letter 2011

Generally at the end of the year mom’s across the planet send their annual wrap up letter telling you all about their fabulous lives and they are meant to make you feel jealous. If you even THINK about sending one to me. Let me save you a stamp DON’T…I warn you I will send a seething letter in response indicating that you suck.

This is not one of those letters, but at the same time it is.

Dear Friends and Family,

As we end 2011, I wanted to send out a little wrap up of my year…it’s been a journey. It’s been a roller coaster…it’s been a test.

Can you hear? beep – beeeeep – beeeeep – this is a test of the emergency alert system?! REPEAT – This is ONLY A TEST!

Should your life actually fall apart your pants will end up backwards and your children will look at you with disdain.

Alas guys, my boys love me. They look at me with kindness and run to me whenever I walk through the door. There are times when I take too long to cook dinner or spend too much time on the phone, but they love me just the same. They vocalize the fact that dinner needed to be an hour ago, but they eat when it is presented to them.

My pants haven’t ended up backwards…yet…there is still 11 days left until the New Year though, so perhaps there is time.

December 2010 – I lost my job December 16th. That was fun. Thank you husband for proving what an imbecile you were so that I had to stay home and eventually end a fun job. Honestly that was a fun time. (not!)

January 2011 – I was in New York dreaming about life in the warmth of Texas. I was able to spend a lot of time with my friends at Helping Hands, Caring Heart. Also I spent some time getting unemployment, because of the events that occurred in December. I had to attend special classes about “how to get a job” and dedicate hours and hours to finding a job. Oh – State of New York, the problem with this is THAT THERE WERE NO JOBS! I felt much like a monkey chasing a tail. OH – OH – and I also attempted to get financial assistance from the state. NYS made us take a class for that as well, turns out that if you get financial assistance you have to work for the state. I think every state needs to implement a program like that.

February 2011 – Taxes filed by Feb. 6. Wait for direct deposit to bank because I did not want to lose a huge percentage just because I felt greedy. Husband has flu that last for days and decides the only way to conquer flu is to drink vodka…he spends month in a drunken coma…meanwhile…the baby is teething and crying and generally fussy. Older son gets what the doc decides is flu and never gets well. Around the 17th of that month take him to the emergency room for a swollen hand to go with the flu like symptoms turns out he has had MRSA for about 2 weeks and could die. We are in the hospital for 10 days. During that time he has a sedated MRI, then surgery, I start this blog, and husband generally acts like a lecherous scumbag. I seeth thinking about his behavior during this time period. My youngest spends the 10 days with friends and family as I take care of my oldest who is terrified of everything that is happening to him. February 27 are discharged from the hospital having set up all follow up appointments in TX and depart for warmer regions that night.

March 2011 – We arrive in TX. I drop of husband at his grandmothers and depart for my hometown. I had arranged a house and (nearly) a job during the last month and was ready to settle into life in the hill country again. House turns out to be a dump that the landlord did not repair. He has my $1500, but I don’t have heat and there is a hole in the roof above the door. Job gives me the run around for 3.5 weeks as we process paperwork and I take an in depth physical/drug test. Pass with flying colors, but they still need time to work on the paperwork. Future boss takes a vacation during this time. I drive around the state a lot and visit lots of family. Family in Houston convinces me to stay in Houston. Alas…

April 2011 – Not much happened…stayed at home and applied for jobs and lived off $150 a week from unemployment…should not listen to newspapers when they tell you where the jobs are.

May 2011 – Apply for two jobs at a university, hope for one, interview for the other. May 18th start the other job at the university. (Sigh) I know it doesn’t pay enough but I will persevere! I continue to apply to other jobs and hope something comes to fruition. By months end…nada…

June 2011 – Finally get first pay check $300…sign back of check and hand it over to the babysitter. I learn a lot of cool stuff about my job and working for the university system. I like everyone at my new job and can’t wait for the fall semester to start. In private I cry because Miggy turns one in July and I can’t do the things that I wanted to do for his birthday. That’s okay…it’s just his first birthday. No biggy…but to me it was. Oh and this is the month that since I was working I had to move, so whether I could afford it or not…I had until July 1st to be out. Great…that didn’t happen.

July 2011 – Miggy is 1! We have three kids over for cupcakes and I do battle to try and do something for his birthday, but in the end we did nothing…I start slipping into a mild depression. Problems of July – Evil babysitter, Don’t get to celebrate birthday, and I was pissing off uncle because I couldn’t get the money together to move fast enough. Sorry – I’m poor…but we have all covered that. July 17th – finally move. Okay really my stuff moved into my new apartment, but my lights weren’t coming on until the 19th, so I stayed at my sister in law’s house for a few days.

August 2011 – As rent is due the first of each month…I sign yet another check over to someone else. I am broke…I think I blog about being broke. It is this month that I lose the first of my old friends. Tammy was found dead in her home. I still don’t know if it was ruled a homicide, overdose or combination of the two. In lighter news, I am sleeping on my bed in my living room because at this point I have no furniture to go in the apartment that I can’t really afford. Although I have a really old 32 inch box tv in the corner does work there is no coax to bring the cable from the wall. So, I post on FB that I need coax. My buddy John who has taken care of me repeatedly over the years with things like fixing cars, houses, and short segments of coax, he called and gave me the coax! We watch a lot of movies on FX to fill our evenings. Thank you John, you were a blessing. I catch up with an old friend from high school, and I think I blog about that too.

September 2011 – Register for school, get all my ducks in a row to continue with life. This is one of the reasons I accepted a job that was beneath me – right? So that I could finish school? Yes! Sadly, I lost two more friends this month. First, Big John, he is the one who gifted me the coax in August. He ended up dying of heart failure complications due to kidney disease. Then Pop or Ol’ Man Rudy. He went naturally as he was nearly 98 years old. He was the fiestiest person I have ever known and I have only known him for 11 years. I can’t imagine what he would have been like 60 years ago. Inevitably September ended with a bang. Just as a “non-relationship” relationship was ending…actually the same day…a ghost of a soul mate emails out of the blue. Soul mate? Yes, there are few people in the world as compatible as Troy and I. We email for the next few days and then he disappears as quickly as he came back.

October 2011 – This month is a bit of a blur. I was in the midst of a massive depression. Wondered why men treat me badly and couldn’t see past my own struggles…I was such a moron. Honestly. They are guys they are basically programmed to break hearts. October 17th…I get an email from a former co-worker. Troy was dead. As details emerged I found out from his ex that he had actually been hit by a vehicle on October 11th. I blogged about this too. Everything else that was important in October disappears into the fog that was the rest of October. That was like a death-blow to my heart (pun not intended).

November 2011 – Trying to talk myself back to reality. Troy’s memorial was on the 12th, as he was cremated, we waited until his family could come from Wisconsin. I couldn’t attend. It was too heartbreaking so I found a reason to be out of town. I blogged about many different and varied things…I put the school books away because well…after all of the mess that was October I never opened them. Who can read about marriage and family after all of that?! I couldn’t. I went to my mom’s a lot during this month, just about every weekend. During this month my ex husband’s grandmother fell. She refused to go to the hospital to get checked out until she woke up with a distended belly. She knew she was ill. By month’s end she knew she had cancer and she had stopped eating.

December 2011 – The end of a tumultuous year…on the 3rd Nanny passed. On the 6th we buried her along side her husband. I stress over the inability to buy Christmas for my children. I pray and seek God’s comfort in knowing that somehow we will find a miracle. Sunday we received our own Christmas miracle from my church. They gave me a gift so that I would be able to buy my kids something for Christmas. I went ever practical and bought things like pants, underwear, and socks, but that is what they need. Today…or soon…I will have to get a new car. Mine died, or is dying. After the loss of the year, it is the least in my mind, but the greatest when it comes to providing for my children. I applied for and interviewed for a position with the county back home…I hear about it Thursday and I pray for good news. Please say a little prayer for me.

On the whole this year has sucked. The last few months have been bad. Decidedly not the worst in my life, but they are in the top three.  I know that God is in these trials. I know that life is just a series of events, but sometimes it can be too much. 2011 will forever leave a sour note on my psyche, but I hold to this that depression is a choice and so is happiness. I choose to not let this get me down. I choose to rise above and conquer the tumult about me. I don’t know how exactly I will make everything work, but I will make it work.

Sincerely,

Meg, a little bruised, but healing.

Does Consumerism really equal Happy Holidays?

You could probably guess that I am a “Merry Christmas” kind of girl. I tell everyone I see about this time of year, Merry Christmas, at least if I don’t expect to see them again before the big day. A subtle reminder at the symbolism of the day and the celebration of the life that blesses us with salvation. (If you don’t believe that’s between you and God, not you and me.)

Anyway, I have been thinking lately (every time I pile the toys in the bins) how much we (communal we as in anyone in the western world) waste at Christmas time. It’s maddening.

I am not trying to bring anyone down off their Christmas high. So, if you don’t want to hear something that might do that, then close the blog now please.

Kinda, sorta, but really it's - Merry Christmas!

Here’s the thing…

I am an American girl. I grew up with the big Christmas’. We had lots of gifts under the tree. We baked cookies. We went caroling. We had a fabulous Christmas!

This is not MY childhood Christmas tree, but this is how I felt

At least I think I did…then I grew up.

I don’t think I am wrong in wondering what happened to Christmas. These days it seems as though we are concerned more with the latest gadgets then the palpable feeling of community. The giving spirit. The love for our fellow man.

I’m dumbfounded.

Yesterday, while watching a Christmas movie on one of the family channels I was physically sickened by an Amazon commercial. I love Amazon, but the commercial – in light of the financial situation of many in the world – was disgusting.

I am pretty sure it was Amazon, anyway, it was an ad for one of the e-readers. It goes something like this…a guy is talking to the screen and a girl walks up and says look what I got so and so for just $79. That was all well and good, but she had 2 of them. He asked about the second one, she said something along the lines of “What? It was only $79!”

Granted that is true…it is only $79.

Many people have the ability to spend like that. Especially around Christmas time. But what would that same $79 (I’m not including taxes and shipping) mean to someone else?

  • A weeks worth of groceries.
  • A paid electric bill.
  • Gas to get to work for a week or two.
  • Clothes to replace the ones that are tattered and torn.
  • That could be enough to have a Christmas dinner.
  • It would be enough to buy the gifts to make Christmas brighter for a child.
  • That could buy three boxes of Angel Food for someone in need.

The reality of life is that while some people’s life situations are fantastic and they are able to pump hundreds (and even thousands of dollars) into the economy this time of year, many are struggling. Many can’t afford groceries for next week. Many don’t have a tree because that would increase their light bill so they just tell there kids that we are going to have a less traditional Christmas this year.

People across the United States are struggling to make it to their next paycheck, and they are faced with the constant murmur of BUY, BUY, BUY! Did you finish your Christmas shopping this year? Have you started? HOW much did you spend?

NONE OF THIS SHOULD MATTER!

Why do we as a group seem to make how much we spend matter? Why do we always have to one up the next guy or ourselves? Why does each year have to be better than the last? What would happen if while your children were young they learned the importance of the simple things?

What would happen if Santa brought them ONE present a year?

What would happen?

Would the world end because you saw to the importance of their character, more than the importance of items? No, but I think the world would evolve into a better place. More grounded.

Planting your feet firmly on the ground and realizing that racking up credit card debt or taking out a loan for Christmas gifts is just not worth it. What do you gain in this? What does your child gain? Do they get more time with you or do you have to get a second job or request overtime to pay the bill back?

What do we gain with the waste from the unused toys that eventually get tossed out?

As a minimalist I don’t think we should have so much stuff. You don’t need a room full of new stuff if you already have a room full of stuff that you don’t use. I try to point this out to my son, but even he doesn’t understand. He has learned from somewhere that to be cool you must have this, or this, or this.

Not every parent can afford those things. Not every parent that can afford them is willing to buy them. Not every parent spoils their child the same way.

My boys are spoiled. They are spoiled by me. I spend as much time as humanly possible with them. We watch movies together. We go to the beach. We play in mud puddles. We go to the park and ride the swings together…well they ride, I push. We go swimming and when Michael is old enough we will start camping and floating down the river on a canoe. They are spoiled by love, affection, and respect.

Christmas is a season of love and forgiveness. A season where we are supposed to look outside ourselves and see the bigger picture. A season to take a vacation and spend quality fun-filled time with our families. What will your kids learn? Will they see that Santa sees to indulging their every want or will they see that you are indulging their every need?

Good luck this season and Merry Christmas!

Life and Loss…

Okay – so I was never able to go finish my last post…the day is now kind of a blur. But I had intended to…this week has been a blur.

We could call this post a lesson in coping.

Really.

Life has had a sinking feeling this week. Try as I might to not let it, it does. You see…the part of last Friday that was some how deleted from my post was the part where we said our good byes to Nanny.

Last week I randomly posted about my husband’s grandmother discovering she had cancer.

Well…over the course of that week she made a life ending decision. She didn’t want to suffer, and she didn’t want to be a burden on her family. She began refusing food and water. Although she had always said she would do this if she ever found out she had but a short while to live. I for one never thought she would actually have the force of will to follow through. Nanny was stubborn when she made her mind up about something, so it really doesn’t surprise me.

After work Friday, after my morning spent making decorations for my office, I was walking out to the car when my ex husband called and gave me the news that she was refusing sustenance. ‘Huh?’ Shock filled my belly and the realization that Friday I would have to say goodbye hit me.

How do you say goodbye? This is the thought that went through my  head on the way to pick up my youngest from the babysitter.

I am 31 years old, you would think that I have some experience telling people goodbye, but I don’t. The loss in my life has been the sudden, tragic kind. We have never gotten to say our goodbyes to find closure in a few whispered words. We have to work it out over time. We have to come to terms with our grief after the fact. We haven’t had the opportunity to receive closure in the relationships unless we found it with in ourselves. That is a process. That in some cases (as with my grandfather’s accident) takes years.

I was thinking this would be different. I was thinking that I would get to say good bye.

As last week had gone on I had considered the fact that we were going to lose Nanny, but the doctors had said three months. I guess I clung to the idea of three months. When my sister in law called and told me that it could be as soon as with in two weeks, that was still not enough time.

Is there a length of time long enough to satisfy love when you will never be able to speak to them in person again?     No.

As it happens in life I never got to have that final conversation. I went to Nanny’s house and sat with the family for a while Friday afternoon, she never woke up. We would hear her breath, we would listen for movement, but nothing happened. She never stirred.

I had made a commitment to my great-uncle to pick him up from his group home Friday evening. If I had not been there to pick up my uncle he would have thought I hated him and didn’t care about his feelings and would have questioned me about it every time that I see him from now until forever. He is mentally handicapped and some things he just doesn’t understand. He is an 8 year old in a 75 year old’s body and though he has the longest memory of anyone I have ever met, he doesn’t process things properly. He wouldn’t have understood having to wait because my ex husband’s grandmother was dying. I am not sure he understands the extension of life outside of our own family. It wasn’t until 2002 that he had ever lived outside the home of one of his own family members. Even then his group home is owned by very old friends of our family. He is well protected and cared for, bumps in his plan don’t work well.

Anyway, I didn’t get to say good bye. I was there, but I hold the opinion that she was already gone. I looked in on her in her bed and what I saw was not the person that I knew. What I saw was the pallid veil of death that was slowly taking her body as her soul must surely have already been in heaven. There was breath left in her body, but there was no emotion on her face. She lay a shadow of her self in the bed she had shared with her husband for so many years in a house that had seen so many holidays and childhoods.

Turns out that my goodbye was said a month ago as I was leaving her house after our Saturday morning coffee and honey buns. “Good bye Nanny, love you, see you again soon.” I did…she just didn’t get to see me.

There is much to learn from her life. My sporadic series Phenomenal Female Friday’s will be about what I learned from her life.

Happy Thanksgiving

Close your eyes (figuratively speaking) take a deep breath, in, slowly, allowing it to fill you up from the bottom of your rib cage straight through to the top of your head. Breath in until you feel as though your lungs will burst, then breath out, slowly. Relaxing every muscle of your mind. Repeat with each muscle group until you are completely relaxed. Until every physical fiber of your being is jello.

We need this – NOW!

We have survived another day of togetherness. Another Thanksgiving.

 We have joined with our families, eaten our turkey (or Chinese), and managed to coexist with the people we love for more than a moment. The brief grouping of hours where the capitalist system is shut down and we are forced to be together.

I don’t think I would have changed a thing about today. Except maybe Michael’s inability to NOT cry when I leave the room or the absence of a few of the loves of my life. I am sure they all enjoyed their turkey though in their familial settings.

We have a fairly relaxed approach to this whole affair. We aren’t the “movie moms” that wake up and shove a bird in the oven by 8 am. We don’t spend the entire day up to our elbows in food preparation in the kitchen. We can’t find the button within that says that’s what has to happen.

I think there was a time when that used to happen in my family. We used to slave and cook and bake for days. I remember in 2004, when we held the family Thanksgiving at our house I remember working for a solid week before turkey day. Shopping, cleaning, painting, making sure the yard looked great, and then the day or two before I made bread and pies.

I didn’t use a bread machine like we did today, I literally handmade the bread and baked the rolls.

I made the pie crusts and peeled the apples and baked the pies.

I learned that I make amazing apple pie. I can’t stand apple pie though, so unless I know someone likes it and that someone will be present the gift goes unused.

Then Thanksgiving day arrived and my ex husband (he’s a chef) made three turkeys for the number of people we were going to have. We fried two in deep southern tradition and baked a traditional bird. Best birds ever…

This was the last good Thanksgiving I remember having with him. The rest were a combination of separations and work days.

Today was the first Thanksgiving that I got to spend with my mom cooking since 2004.

So much of life has changed since…

I am grateful to the Lord for many of the changes that have been made, however a few I could have done with out. But even in sadness we must say Thank you God. Tonight, Lord, even as I think of all the changes you have made that have placed me in this house, typing on this computer, I am grateful for the reconciliation with my mother. I am grateful for the ability of my family to forgive, and I am grateful for the possibilities that you are presenting me with for the future. So much wonder, so much love.

Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to the Holiday Season!