Practice: My favorite spot

I am trying some basic writing practice because well…I need it. I have been gone too long and I’ve been far too inconsistent with my writing. I hope the practice will get my groove back and if you have anything you think I might find fun as a prompt please feel free to leave it in the comments.

My Favorite Spot

My favorite spot warms in the sun under a giant oak tree. The massive trunk is my support as I sit among the knobby roots that have grown out of the ground all around the tree. The sunlight filters through a high canopy of leaves dancing like fairies on delicate blades of grass below. Full branches stretch higher and higher coming full circle and skirt to the ground as though they’ve long grown tired of their task they sit in repose on the lawn. I stare out from beneath my perch and hear children laughing in the distance, a dog barking a block a way and the constant echo of traffic not far away.

I try to read, but it does not work.

I try to write but words fail me.

So I sit and I watch the light dancing and find where the children are laughing. There is a class by the look of them twenty students boys and girls about age seven running and jumping and playing in the neighboring park. A park bare of playthings, but a broken obelisk and more knobby oaks, but a park just the same set free from the being broken and spent as a plot of land for consumption. Green space in a vast city is a many splendor thing and often a hard battle was fought to keep it green. I watch them for a moment as the children study the statue and the teacher explains its meaning.

The breeze sends my hair tickling my nose as I turn to ponder the lawn. It stretches a full city block in front of me luscious and green. It is bisected by two stone paths leading to the door of the museum. But…this museum starts out here. There are three steel statues built into the ground and the inconsistency of them has always set my OCD on edge. One is a jagged line another has smooth round edges, I am sure it all means something very deep, but it’s lost on me. I enjoy art for the sake of art and beauty for the sake of beauty. This lawn is a work of beauty.

To my left is a great structure of grey and glass, built out of the love a man had for his wife. It is thoroughly modern and a testament to good architecture it is so serene it makes you wonder of the couples life, was it so serene? I am sitting outside the Menil Collection in midtown Houston basking in the sunlight, patiently awaiting the 11 am opening time. Picking up my pen again I write of dancing sunlight and sunken treasures.

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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

Time is Finite, Peace is Infinite

There is only one thing finite in your life.

Time

Time is the ruler of all things.

It makes people stress, it makes mountains wither.

It makes me question our motives.

Several years ago we were told that in 2014 the wars would be over and our brave soldiers would be coming home. But war is a money machine. Without a war the need for a standing army 2.2 million people strong dwindles. Enlisted men and women who want to do their service for the nation are furloughed and asked to go back to their civilian life. Educated officers and lifelong members of a special league of people who are willing to take a bullet for you, me, and an idea are, in a sense, let go. They have been downsized because without war they are no longer needed.

We owe our soldiers our sincerest gratitude. Thank you for your service. We know your future is uncertain, but we, who are not in charge, salute you.

It is time that has determined that the war is over, no matter what life will become for the citizens of the countries we occupy we cannot stay forever. They wouldn’t want us to stay forever.

Time is finite.

If we do not teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence. –Colman McCarthy

I teach my children peace. How they may think play fighting is fun, but really they need to not fight. They need to not hit each other in abrupt human responses and behave according to the golden rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Admittedly it doesn’t always work, some days it doesn’t work at all, but the ideal is impressed upon them that they are the one determining their future by their response. If your goal is peace, you will undoubtedly have some hardship, but in your reaction there will be at peace.

Knowing that you are in charge of yourself is empowering. Even to a toddler.

I am an American. I am a peaceful person. I live a very quiet life in a suburb of Houston. I work with a team trying to house so many of the veterans that are forgotten after war. The men and women left to their own devises that may or may not have someone to lean on in a crisis. I show my gratitude in service to them.

My time is finite.

My perspective isn’t shared by my whole community and I fear that my work is infinite, but the people willing to help are finite.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. –J.R.R. Tolkien

We decide what to do with our minutes, hours, days, months and lives.

We decide to become power-hungry politicians or peaceful-giving private citizens. Some people give their lives in service to their church, some to the military, and some to their families.

It is my opinion that many people become politicians so that they can live in service to something greater than themselves. They believe in the ideals and the histories of the nation and they feel in their soul that they must be a part of it. Then they are elected to office.

They begin to feel the power of their actions.

They know their time is finite.

They have two, maybe four, years to really make a difference in their communities and then they move on. Some seek reelection, but once they see how much they can change their small community they want to change something larger. Their vision grows; people start to notice what they can and cannot do. They begin to compromise their vision for their lobby. They begin to barter political clout for rich rewards in their home life.

Their vision joined time and became finite.

In our infinite universe the political structure is not built to expand except through more red tape and to constrict through compromise.

A visionary politician becomes the pragmatic scapegoat of politics.

No decision is made by an individual. We can believe what we want, but it is true. No decision made in our political structure is made by a single individual. It hasn’t in a long time. Every leader has people they depend on for counsel and support. Every choice, good or bad, is made by the group.

This week we are commemorating the 1963 March on Washington that helped change the tide of the civil rights movement. We are listening to Martin Luther King, Jr’s recitation and Congressman John Lewis’ passionate words. We are remembering that we once stood up to the scapegoats of Washington with facts and fortitude. We are remembering that we can incite change.

Also this week President Obama is in talks to justify bombing a nation of citizens (both public and private), starting a war, picking a fight just as we are ending our occupation of another country.

Why?

I have read and reread the statements provided to the news, but it doesn’t make sense!

There are few people outside of the political structure that think war is a necessary function. As a planet we have witnessed how peaceful protests and positive disruption have changed more than any fight picking and calls to arms.

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. –Jim Rohn

If we are the creators of our futures and the dreamers of our dreams than why do we not hold the political structures in place accountable to us? We should not say,“Oh someday…” we should yell, “Now! Now is the time to change. Now it is time to give peace.”

Time is finite. Peace is infinite.

We are wasting the gifts we have been given in an indeterminable future.

All quotes and this photo were borrowed from the Charter for Compassion's Facebook page.

All quotes and this photo were borrowed from the Charter for Compassion’s Facebook page.

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.

My Birth Story

This morning there was a conversation between folks on Twitter under the hashtag #borntoosoon. Check it out. This post is directly related to that conversation and sharing those stories. I am blessed to share, but I know that not everyone’s story is quite so dramatic or life driven. Some people are sick when they have their babies with out life factor contributions.

Having a child is supposed to be a beautiful experience. You’re supposed to glow and clean and have the whole baby makes three thing. Right?

To tell you about my birth I must first tell you a little about my life…and some details may be too much for some, but it is true. All of it…and part of what’s made me who I am.

It all started sometime in August 2005.

I was eating my favorite salad sprinkled with gouda, cashews, and cranberries. Each bite of my salad was delicious. I crunched and munched on the butter lettuce and yummiest nummies money could buy. I was at the restaurant my husband was the chef of and they made wicked awesome food. As I finished my salad I smelled…something…I still don’t know what it was, but I barely made it to the bathroom before I lost my salad.

I have never eaten another of those salad.

That evening my husband kept asking me if I was feeling okay. “No, I think I have a stomach bug.”

However…this stomach bug as I called it continued for another two weeks.

The evening I took my pregnancy test was the evening I had decided to run pizzas for the restaurant down to a high rise downtown. (I do mean literally run.) I had nothing better to do that evening so after work (I was a freight forwarder.) I helped out. Upon my return that evening Kate (the owner of the restaurant) pressed a test into my hand and said it was time.

When I got home I took the test and before even 30 seconds had past it turned positive. Who really needs the full two minutes?! Really?

I looked around our apartment. The apartment we had lived in – maybe two months – and almost cried. One bedroom, wooden floors, wooden walls, and so expensive! Not baby friendly in the least and we had not been able to rid it of sand fleas. (Yes those are real.) I walked to the living room and showed my husband who was ecstatic. He hooped and hollered and had a drink. He said it was celebratory, and it may have been, but as an alcoholic he was going to have a drink whether the test came back positive or negative.

I knew without a doubt that I would keep the baby. There was never a question of that. This was my baby and I was 25 years old. I didn’t have much of a clue, but I knew I could handle a baby, alone or with my husband.

Within a month we were issued an evacuation warning for Katrina…the big one. The hurricane that destroyed so much of the Gulf Coast. Luckily we didn’t have to leave, but we had an influx of people from the Eastern states moving west. Then there was the evacuation for Rita. The second hurricane to hit the gulf that season. Knowing that we would be evacuating we planned to leave at 11 am on that Wednesday. We were in traffic for 6 hours. Normally our drive is an hour and a half to that particular destination. Can we say stress? Oh and it was not we as in my husband and I, it was we as in my mother, my niece, my brother, and myself. My husband chose to stay.

A few days of what should have been rest and relaxation were not. I was tense. Super tense. My alcoholic husband was left in a city shut down he could do anything if left alone. Ugh – it was horrible. He did the worst thing ever. I mean I couldn’t have imagined anyone doing this, but he did. He broke into my parents house seeking booze. My parents who don’t drink.

I believe in wedding vows and stood by the whole for better or worse vow. I have stood by it over and over no matter what happened.

I believe it was at my next appointment that my OBGYN told me that my blood pressure was looking a little high. Ugh…you think?!

Weeks past with no contact from my family…I continued to work, go home, sleep a lot, get sick a lot. I soaked in the tub a lot. I continued to allow the problems in my life to grow instead of changing anything. Looking back (you know hindsight) there are so many other things that I could have done. Left. Run. Never gone back. But the past is the past and I can’t change anything…except change the present.

I was four months pregnant when one afternoon I went home to find my husband wallowing in self-pity. The restaurant he had been working at was closing because they weren’t making enough money. The owners had announced it before their shift began and my husband – instead of completing the day and final two weeks – left. He walked to the liquor store and then to the apartment. He drowned his sorrows and that night was the first of our major fights.

I never really cared what he did before we had another life to take care of, but now we were responsible for another person. A helpless person. A person that need us to put them first.

I screamed he hit the wall, screamed back and drank more.

The next few weeks are a blur. I was still getting sick on a daily basis. The baby was growing. The OB was still concerned with my blood pressure, but it wasn’t bad enough to put me on anything. But if it didn’t go down she would put me on bed rest, so I tried. I ignored the chaos that was my spouse and continued my routine. Work, food, sleep, bath, sleep, repeat.

I tried to keep all the bills paid, but I was missing work because I was so sick and the husband wasn’t working…apparently it wasn’t a priority. “There’s time!” he would say.

We lost our electricity first, then our gas, then we lost our apartment. At six months pregnant I went to live in a pay by the week motel in the worst neighborhood in Houston.

We ate food from restaurants or what could be heated up in a microwave. (I don’t own a microwave now…the taste makes me want to vomit.)

We rode the bus anywhere we needed to go and it took three hours to get to my doctors appointments that were only 10 miles away. I worked. I couldn’t see doing anything else. I worked and saved what I could and scrimped by. Danny drank, ran errands, but mostly he drank.

At 27 weeks I ended up in the hospital. My blood pressure was so high that the doctor was certain I was going to have seizures. She had the team at Memorial Hermann bring it back down. I spent three days in antipartum. Just trying to stay calm and figure out what to do. So I wrote a plan and started working the plan.

After that I went to the doctor every week. She would run tests. She would give me a thing to collect a protein sample (if you have had a baby you understand and if you don’t know ask I will comment about it.) Everything kept going up. She had me checking my blood pressure several times a day. If it got beyond a certain point I was to lay down, feet up.

It was somewhere around week 30 that Danny got a job. His plenty of time excuse…so he went to work at a different restaurant downtown. He figured he had 10 weeks to get everything in order. He said this was his plan the whole time. (sure.)

At 32 weeks and 2 days I had my last OB appointment. She was not happy at the level of protein, the height of my blood pressure, or the edema that had slowly built to ginormous proportions in my legs. The straw that broke the camels back?? The size of my nose. I have a little nose by most measure, at least normal. It had grown. I was looking a bit like a clown.

She had me exit to the hospital. I took one bus back downtown and then the train to the hospital and walked in and took the elevator up to the 7th floor. They were waiting and asked where I had been. I said I didn’t have a car. “Oh.” said the nurse.

They immediately hooked me up to monitors and started IVs. I got antibiotics and then a shot of Benadryl because I am allergic to antibiotics. Around 8 pm they started inducing me, it was time to have the baby. I freaked out. I was supposed to go put the deposit down on an apartment the next day! I was supposed to get the furniture out of storage. I was supposed to work more! I was supposed to have another 8 weeks! I was given a sleeping pill and a shot of stadol and told night night.

The next day I woke up when the anesthesiologist came in the room to hook me up to a epidural drip. Nice…

The doctor wanted to be prepared for the what if’s and she had them giving me something. So I now had five bags of stuff hanging dripping into me. I got two shots of steroids to help the babies lungs develop as quickly as possible. My husband disappeared for a while and said he would be back. I called my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law and they all came as soon as they could. We had a sit in. A watch and wait and watch tv and only when Danny left was there any laughter. Any joy.

I couldn’t freak out that day. I was on way too much medication. The cirvadel did not work for inducing me, so it was replaced with pitocin and I sat there all day hoping to have my baby naturally.

It was 6:45 pm when the plan changed.

My son was having complications and my urine had turned brown…that would be a sign my liver and kidney’s were shutting down. My body had had enough and was quitting on me. Just when I needed it to work. I never dialated past a 2. I was wheeled to the OR and given enough medication to knock a horse out and Dr. Prom had Elijah out of me in 20 minutes. He was born at 7:15 pm, March 23, 2006. My husband was there. The NICU team was waiting. Elijah cried but only just.

I don’t remember his APGAR score, I was just glad he was there. I was glad to have him born in one of the top hospitals in the nation. I was glad to be on the mend. Glad to be alive. Glad to see the end.

I spent the next five days in bed…mostly…I got round after round of magnesium and fluids and pain medication. I learned to manage the NICU security staff. I learned where the NICU library was and read up on the benefits of what would help my son the most. I couldn’t do much at first but the nurses were happy when they saw me wheel myself in every day.

I was in the hospital 7 days. The day I left was torture. It was 3 pm and I was told to go home and not come back for at least 48 hours. Um…not only no but hell no. I was back the next day. I spent every day there. Learning, holding, and helping my son.

To the point that I was readmitted due to complications with my incision. It reopened. The edema that had built up in my body was coming out any way it could and one day I was sitting in the NICU quietly holding my son when I felt something like water on my legs. I put him back in the isolet and walked to the bathroom. I think many women would have fainted. I calmly walked out of the NICU and back to the seventh floor. I told the nurse at the window that I had a problem. Held the cover up that I was holding away from my body and she grabbed some help and moved me into a room.

I spent another week in the hospital. The following two weeks I had home health. By the end of the third I was finally in our new apartment. Two bedroom in a great, family friendly neighborhood. Things were working out.

What did I learn? Nothing works as planned – ever…even something that is as natural as having a child.

Any other time in the past I would be dead now. I wouldn’t have made it past the 27th week.

I have also learned that life factors are major indicators of Pre-E, Eclampsia, and HELLP Syndrome. There is a reason things are supposed to follow a plan. But even if you have a plan, something can and will mess it up.

If you would like any information on premature birth and contributing factors visit www.marchofdimes.org

Now we are 6 years later…happy, healthy and growing.

What’s one dumb thing you used to believe in?

This week Danielle LaPorte is asking: What’s one Dumb thing that you used to believe in?

Part three in the Burning Question Series.

I’m not sure if I want to rant or continue with the psycho babble of late.

Perhaps a combination?

To answer the question I think the dumbest thing I ever believed in was emotionally “Fakin’ it til I make it.”

To be honest with myself that is just what I do. I know. I plaster a smile on my face, speak when spoken to, and try to make as few waves as possible. I keep the reality of what I would like to say bottled up because I might hurt someone’s feelings.

This is me? This was the old me? Maybe she is still there, somewhere, hiding until presented with an uncomfortable situation.

I have made concerted direct efforts to change from this docile phantom into a passionate, educated being fully aware of her emotions.

Why?

I realized the illness surrounding me, permeating every relationship and choice I made.

I grew a back bone and learned one simple phrase. “That doesn’t work for me.”

You aren’t telling the other person that their feelings are flat-out wrong, you’re just admitting to them that it doesn’t resonate well within your mind, your spirit, you. You are leaving it up to them to make their own mistakes.

This one small phrase has changed me.

Look around yourself, your friends, your life, the world. What do you see?

Me? I see illness. I see brokenness. I see people putting on a good show because they think that it’s what we need to be a happy, productive society.

But how many of us are really happy?

How many of us are really that productive?

What do you produce that works for not only your selfish purpose but could impact the rest of us?

We don’t all have to have a global impact though…so what are you choosing that is making a difference in the lives of your loved ones?

We have the good choices versus bad choices discussion seemingly every day at our house lately. I believe that people are good. What we make though are the choices to be/do good or to be/do bad. Right now my son struggles with rash behaviors. He will do something impulsively and know immediately that it was a wrong choice. He will say I don’t know why I do it, but we all know.

He’s made a choice.

Consciously or subconsciously I do know…but he chose to dump the carton of milk on his friends lunch tray. He chose to hold scissors up to a kids head and pretend to cut it. He is having to deal with the consequences of his choices.

Looking around at my community I think of BP, Transocean Offshore, and (was it Halliburton?)

BP is a big company here in Houston, so is Transocean, and well…Halliburton is big anywhere. They employ a lot of local folks. They employ a lot of folks I know. They offer incredible benefits. They give great bonus’ and incentives. As far as employers go they are so big because they offer a great package. They offer the things individuals need to create a life for themselves.

Obviously I am getting to the oil spill from 2010.

Somewhere along the way from the time they planted that platform in the Gulf of Mexico until the day it exploded there were individual choices made that impacted the end result. Fix this, don’t fix that. Lowest bidder here, less than satisfactory work done there. Over the course of the lifetime of the platform each of the companies that had a hand in it failed to make the best choices possible.

11 men lost their lives, thousands of men became unemployed from the resulting spill and restrictions placed on offshore drilling.

The ecosystem of the Gulf is still recovering. Millions of barrels, perhaps billions of barrels of oil were projected into this body of water that I love. All from ill-fated choices.

What of our planet?

What choices are the leaders of this world making that have a lasting impact?

Are these good or bad? Do they do things of their own determination or are they just a puppet system for a secret society?

There is supposed to be a flow of information from the masses up to the leadership. We are told from a young age that our leaders are acting in our best interests, but as we age many of us don’t believe this is the case. What will the consequence of this be?

As a society we are fakin’ it and trying to look like we are makin’ it.

This is not a good choice.

This is a bad choice.

 We need to embrace ourselves, our lives, and our choices. We need to know what turns us on. We need passion. We need to know what we want in the world, not what we want out of it.

 We need to believe that our choices will have an impact.

We need to take the steps necessary to right wrongs. To make the world better for all.

To listen. To evolve. To choose.

Happiness, faith, peace, love, unity, confidence, passion.

Pulled from somewhere off Facebook last week.

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!

Phenominal Female Friday – Pearl

In a little town in south Texas, there is a little white house with brown shudders and trim. Within the little house there was always a warm cup of coffee and a place to sit. Peeking out through the front window, always mindful of the world sat Nanny. She would read, watch TV, sew, or chat on the phone, but always from her little recliner by the front window.

She has been a constant in the lives of many for the last 88 years. Several dozen spent in that house, looking out that window, the color of the recliner and the ages of the people being the only things that changed. Nanny loved people. She loved visitors. She loved to meet the new and visit with the old. Any morning of the year you would find her at home, waiting on visitors.

There is something about a pattern to life that is appealing to me. The same routine day in and day out. I found it fascinating to witness the monotony.

Nanny was up at 6:30 every morning. Coffee was on by 7. Biscuits and sausage on weekends was ready by 7:30. The friends and family that she loved so much would start popping in about that time too. The aunts came every day. Some of the uncles did too. Her grandkids all stopped in at least once a week and those that didn’t heard all about it the next. She sat in her chair, occasionally getting up to fill up her cup, and she talked to everyone that came by. She would have something for lunch ready about 11 am and it was always something hearty. Always enough to feed an army.

My son will tell you about the Honey Buns. She always had boxes of Honey Buns. She would dole them out to every grandchild and great-grandchild and great-great-grandchild. Watching their eyes light up when they tasted the yummy sweetness was ever satisfying to her. Then he would tell you about her toy cabinet and the giant legos. He has spent many a morning creating and playing and listening to the grown ups.

Wow could we talk. We talked about every thing. We talked about every one. We got filled in on who was getting married, who was getting divorced, who was having a baby or breaking up. I don’t consider it gossip if it’s all true and about family. I shared my hopes. I listened with rapt attention. I have a fondness for the older generation. There is so much to learn from them. So much history they played witness to, and I can’t help but want to hear anything they want to tell me. I loved listening to Nanny’s stories. I loved the story she wrote about her life.

She was a small town Texas girl, born a stones throw from where I grew up. She was married young and had her first child at 16. She went on to have 6 children total, 3 boys and 3 girls. She never drove a day in her life. She was a survivor. She was loving. She could teach us all a lesson in forgiveness and a few lessons on life. She was generous. She loved.

Above all Nanny loved. That was her gift. That is what made her so amazing. She loved unconditionally. She loved whether you deserved it or not. She loved through good times and bad. She loved through life and through death. It didn’t matter what was going on within her own body she still loved you and made that known in simple words and in wanting to stay involved.

There is something so simple in her love that is must surely be the lesson we are meant to learn from her. Keep your heart open, your front door unlocked, your smiles warm, your words caring and maybe, just maybe you will be a force in a life yet to be lived.

Even in death Nanny will live because she loved so many.

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.

Everything is Relative

Yesterday’s post reminds me that sometimes we write terrible things just to write things and then we publish them! (Press them, blog them, however you want to put it.) Anyway, we write stuff because we think we are supposed to write stuff and when you try to post five days a week it isn’t always good.

Good content should be the goal. Not just content.

Was the post all bad? I guess not…but it’s idealistic and remedial.

I could have done a better job.

How many of us in this bloggy world do that? We write something. We press it. We leave it for a day and come back and think it’s utter crap.

I have been having a bit of writers block on the creative side. I have tried different things in recent months to dig my way out of it, but nothings working.

On that note…

I would like everyone to be reminded that bad is a relative term. What is bad to one isn’t bad to someone else.

My niece is having a rough time with the boys. She hasn’t realized yet that most of them are stupid at age 15, and that by just being a girl she is automatically older than them. They are stuck in junior high, while they are almost juniors in high school.

She thinks life is terrible right now. Well…for her maybe it is. I know that we all experience things differently, and aside from a few crushes in high school I could care less what the guys thought. (I know I was the exception to the general consensus.) In other words, I don’t understand where she is coming from.

To me cancer is terrible. My Nanny is dying. I say my nanny, but really she is my ex husband’s grandmother. She is simply Nanny to everyone. Diagnosed with metastic cancer just last week, but it is everywhere. It is not a great Greek tragedy, she has lived an incredible long life. She is nearly 90.

Anyway, I don’t know how I got here from there…

Terrible in life, love, and writing…it’s all relative.

Photo from this blog: http://www.thenotebookdoodles.com/2010_01_01_archive.html