Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007

Wow. I'm finding it hard to believe that this year is almost over.

New Year's Eve 2006, the kids and I were at a friend's house. I was supposed to bring this guy that I had just started seeing but he backed out at the last minute. My girlfriend has a son the same age as my oldest daughter and they totally crush on each other. He had left with his daddy to go visit a neighbor's New Year's party and they said they'd be back by midnight..... but they weren't.

Picture this:
Its midnight. My girlfriend, my 5 year old daughter and I were all sitting on the couch watching the ball drop in New York City. On the TV were couples kissing, hugging, toasting and celebrating the New Year and there we were, watching from the couch. My 5 year old sighs heavily and announces,
"It sure would be nice if there were some kind of boys here."
Ha! That's how I rung in 2007. And that's pretty close to how I'll remember this year, actually.

I had a great year. Started a new job. Visited somewhere I've never been before (always something I try to do each year). This year it was Napa Valley. I also took the kids to visit a friend in Florida so my youngest daughter finally saw the ocean for the first time. Went to my high school reunion. Became reacquainted with my soldier after 20 years. Learned to love and forgive my father before he died. Became closer with my dad's wife. Started my own A Course In Miracles study group. Spent lots of quality time with my mom, sister, brother and my children. Started a blog. Made some new friends. Shared one of my favorite Christmas traditions with my kids. Ran my first race. Grew. A lot.

I'm not sure what's going to happen in 2008. I haven't made any resolutions or anything. I prefer to set intentions and be a little easier on myself.

I intend to:

Continue to support my soldier with care packages and emails and lots of love.

Push my fitness level further with my running and cycling. Do more races. Maybe do a duathlon? I'm being talked into a 150 mile/2 day bike ride. Not sure about that one yet.

Make the best of where my kids and I are now. I hope to continue to demonstrate to them to see the positive in situations.

Again, visit somewhere I've never been before.

Take my kids to my favorite place in the world - yay! (In June.)

Be patient with myself, my hopes and goals.

Learn to treat myself without or with less judgment.

Have more faith and trust. RELAX and try not to fight life.

I have learned from A Course in Miracles that it is better to choose the content of what you would like to happen in your life rather than the form. Once we focus on the form, we get so bogged down with exactly how its supposed to be that we don't notice the beauty in what is actually happening.

So ultimately my goal for 2008 is to have peace, love, joy, contentment and an abundance of all of those things.

What else could a girl wish for?

Happy New Year ya'll!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Birthday was a blast!



I'm thinkin'... "Why don't I throw myself a party every year?"

The last time I had an actual birthday celebration was when I turned 21. And no one showed up.

Maybe that's why its been so long?

It was a great turn out despite all the last minute regrets with sinus infections. (There is something going around!)

The highlights:

My soldier called from Kuwait and we were both in good spirits. It was such a wonderful sound to hear his laughter over the phone. He leaves for Baghdad in 2 weeks.

My kids were able to be here. I wasn't sure if I wanted the ex around all night for the party but we do have lots of mutual friends who haven't seen him since we split. They all enjoyed seeing him and when the kids would come around, I'd say, "Go tell Daddy..." None of us got to bed until 1:00 a.m. and the girls still got up at 7:30! But the ex stayed over in the guest room, got up with the girls, took them to get donuts for breakfast and washed all the wine and martini glasses from last night. Too cool!

My mom and sister were there too!

Lots of old friends that I haven't seen in years!!!

Everyone brought lots of great food and wine. I didn't have to do a thing. Well, except clean house ALL DAY LONG.

Mom brought my favorite: Italian Cream Cake

The last minute idea of using "10" instead of my age for my birthday candles. My friends all said I was a perfect "10". Corny but cute!

All 80's music on my cd player!

Great party photos

Laughter... so much silliness!

Loads of kisses and hugs and good wishes! We should all get that every day!

It was a great day. It was weird not hearing my dad's voice at 6:00 a.m. singing Happy Birthday over the phone. But I did feel his spirit and love in every hug I received.

So much fun. And now we have my baby girl's 3 year old party next weekend.

I see mother-daughter lunches in our future where we both commiserate how no one remembers our birthdays....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Birthday thoughts



Tomorrow, December 28, at 6:03 a.m. CST, I will turn 38 years old.

My mom has always said that she doesn't remember giving birth to me. Something about being early in the morning and good drugs... And I weighed in a tiny 5 lbs 15 ounces. My dad wrote in my baby book of my birth:

"The mother and baby were in excellent condition at
time of birth. Cannot say as much for father."

Apparently I was supposed to be born in January of 1970 but, as my dad so often liked to joke, I just had to squeeze into this world during the last few days of the 1960's. I have always been a fan of the 60's. I grew up on the Rolling Stones, The Doors and The Beatles. I went into a big 60's phase in high school - following old 60's bands around on tour, wearing the heavy black eyeliner and mini's. My dad was frustrated that he put a brand new AM/FM stereo into my 1974 Plymouth Duster only to find that the only station I listened to was AM hits from the 1960's. Hey, at least we agreed on the music!

I even heard one of my favorite songs from the era today in the grocery store!

"If you're going to San Francisco... be sure to wear flowers in your hair..."

I still wonder sometimes if I should've been a hippie instead of a twinkle in my parents' eyes. I guess I will always be a hippie at heart. (Of course the "free love" idea always gets me into trouble. )



Mom noted in my baby book that it started snowing at 1:00 on December 30, 1969. (Rare for Louisiana!) Then she added that I smiled in my sleep at 1:15. Perhaps even then, I knew to appreciate miracles!

I'll be busy getting my house prepared for a party tomorrow night. I'm actually throwing my own birthday party. I know it sounds pathetic but after years of my friends forgetting, I'm having a party dammit!



I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Help our soldiers

I just added a link to a website called This is for the Soldiers. I stumbled upon it when I found the "I like a boy" video (so silly and fun!).

I added the link because that website supports a bill to bring better assistance for mental health for our soldiers. This is something very dear to me because I know for a fact that my soldier is still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He had only been back home for 10 months when he had to return for another tour. He has also served 9 other deployments to Kuwait, Afganistan and others. He was dealing with the PTSD all of last year and very angry that he had to return to Iraq, yet again.

I am very angry after looking at PTSD statistics that state that a soldier dealing with PTSD is more likely to commit suicide. (Read this article.) So then they send him back? Are our soldiers that expendable?

He was told his tour in 05-06 would be his last and he was prepared to move into another position for his last few years before retirement. He was actually quite surprised to be told that he was required to go back.

I can hear the depression in his voice when we talk on the phone. Especially during the holidays. He is practicing the detachment skills he's learned thus far so I know that is helping. Still I can't help but wonder what he's going to be like when he returns. I remember the tears he shed as he told me that I might not love the guy who comes back from that war.

I only hope that my love and support give him some comfort. I can only hope that if I could hold him and let him be or talk or whatever he needs to do when he returns...will help in some way. I also pray that I have the strength he needs and I need to get through his deployment and return.

Please consider signing the petition to support our troops' mental health. If you prefer to do something a little less political, visit this website for a list of charities that help support our soldiers.

Whether you support the war or not, please send 'em some love!

I like a boy


I like a boy. Who rocks a doggy tag.
Holdin’ it down for the US flag.

You know the guys… I like to please
Doin’ us proud when they’re overseas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas... and my dad

My brother gave me the coolest and most thoughtful remembrance of my dad:


With this poem:
A feather from an Angel
is one we hardly ever see.
But this one is quite different
And special as can be
This feather is a reminder
Of a special Person's love...
Who is now your
Guardian Angel
Watching and protecting
from above.


Its an ornament with a white feather. Aw! All of my ornaments have meaning and now I get to continue to celebrate Christmas with my dad. We miss you Daddy! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Poem for my Soldier

Christmas from Way Over Here

Like a child awaiting Christmas morning
How I wait for your return
Each day like the days of Advent
Counting down bit by bit

The music that plays in every store
Brings love to my heart, a smile to my face
The same love, the same smile that radiates when
I hear your voice on the phone

The tree that we decorate stands sturdy and strong
Like the soldier you are
Grounded and ever reaching for glorious heights

The lights that adorn every window
Twinkle like your eyes when something amuses you
How I love your laugh, bold and bright

The warmth of the season
Reminds me of being held close to you
So safe. So loved. So comforting.

The presents we wrap and place under the tree
Are nothing like the gift of having you in my life

When I see the star that shines upon the first Christmas scene
I can't help but wonder if you see the same star
High in the heavens of your desert sky

The angel that looks over the Holy family
Brings to mind the angels that look over you

When I think of the Christmas joy that lights up my children's faces
I realize that you are an angel to countless other children
Children who will be able to sleep safely on Christmas and other days
Because of what you are doing right now.

So I will stand under the mistletoe
And imagine your lips
I will pull on my gloves over my chilly fingers
And think of your hands

I will tell the jolly guy in red
That all I want for Christmas is for my soldier
To be healthy, safe and whole.

And in the silence of the Christmas Eve night,
I will send you love
Across the midnight sky
Through the desert
And into your day

So that I can share with you, if only for a moment,
The magic of the spirit of
Christmas from way over here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wind me up and here I go

My ex told me this morning that I was "wound too tight."

This after my oldest daughter was still not feeling well enough this morning to go to school. I am not 100% better but still need to get to work and my 2 year old is still whiny and coughing. I called my mother who has the day off to finish Christmas shopping and she was unable to help me. I didn't want to hear what an inconvenience it would be for my ex to help me again. I did call him because I was tempted to drop the kids at his place since he's off anyway. By the time he called me back, the girls had decided they felt like going to school. (Thank God!) I could barely speak to him I was so frustrated and he said to me, "What's wrong with you lately? You're wound too tight."

"Sometimes
The pressure gets too much
And you think she's going to burst
And shatter like a Christmas bubble"*


Do I really need to go into why I am "wound so tight"? Seriously?

I am trying really hard to hold everything together and I cannot focus on much of anything. I want my kids to feel better. I want to feel better. I am SO not into Christmas.

I want my current house to sell so that I don't have to try and keep it spotless (yeah right) all the time. I want a better salary at work so that I can afford to move into a comfortable home that I can healthily afford on my own so that I don't have to depend on my ex anymore. I want to be able to finish my divorce. I want my soldier to come home healthy and happy and whole so that we can date and see where it leads.

My ex doesn't really know that I'm going through the deployment blues. I am not even sure if I should tell him that I'm falling for someone else. Even if he did know, I know him and eventually he would tell me to "get over it." That's how he handles any sort of emotional trauma.

Then I have friends who bug me about "opening myself up" for other relationship opportunities instead of waiting for my soldier to come home. Then I'm finding that the only men I attract are married! (Perhaps because I don't want to open myself up to another relationship?)

"She cries when she's alone
For all life's little knocks
Everything is supposed to make us tougher"*


My friends tend to treat me (this is my perception, of course) as if my soldier is a figment of my imagination or as if I'm moving too quickly into another serious relationship. Argh! My soldier hasn't met any of my friends; they don't know him. I wonder are they forgetting that I've not been in a serious relationship for nearly two years? And is it their business?

Its this limbo that I can't stand. I don't know what's going to happen with my soldier. I don't know what is going to happen with my house, my job, my kids, myself!

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. It feels too uncomfortable to open myself up to another relationship when I'm quite content in the one that I'm in. Even if it is just a matter of an email or phone call here or there. I like being here for him. Why can't I just do that?

Why can't everyone just let me BE!!! (I do so need some time to myself....)

I really don't want to "put myself out there" or "open myself up". I just don't want to. I think it will do nothing but confuse me more. Sure maybe something else will come along but if so, I shouldn't have to look for it. I didn't go looking for my soldier and it just happened!

I just want to sit in stillness and listen. That's all. Is it so wrong that all I want is to listen to my heart anyway?

(*Lyrics from She's Too Much, Duran Duran)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to be in two places at once

Are you reading this because you think I know how to do that?

This is the biggest problem with being a single mother of two. One always wants something while the other wants something else.

"Mommy help!" from one in the bathroom is usually followed by "Mommy, I broke something!" in the kitchen.

Then there's the problem of me doing anything other than being a mom. If I want to go out with a friend or hell, even if I just want a moment's peace in the bathroom (yes, I know its TMI but its true!), they always want me somewhere else.

So, why is it that I feel guilty when I should be returning to work today after being ill for 4 days? Both of my kids are sick and I've been home alone with them despite the fact that I've been sick too. We've all been quarantined misery.

My ex, on the other hand, has taken this whole week off to "get stuff done" and gives me that exasperated sound on the phone when I ask if he can come sit with the girls today so that I can go back to work.

He did help me Monday night and offered to help more this week, should I need him. Then why does he give me that sound?! Ugh, I hate that sound - the sound of "well, this is really inconvenient but I guess I'll give up my day off to help you..." I remember that sound and it irks the very last nerve that I have. Especially after being surrounded by kids that feel like furnaces, coughing, whining, demanding and being trapped in this house for way too long.

I'm trying not to be resentful. Trying not to get ticked. But man, I actually need work today just to get away and I cannot be here and there too. Believe me, if I could, I would. Just so I wouldn't have to feel so damn guilty about it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Walking in the dark forest

You know the scenes in those "quest" movies, where they're walking through the dark forest? It is sort of frightening because you're not sure what's going to happen next but you just know it has to be something good and full of light because the darkness can't go on forever.... Right?

That's how I'm feeling about now. Physically, I've been ill all weekend with a sinus infection and forget it, being a single mom and being too ill to get out of bed, doesn't bode well together. I've been a heck of a grouch to my children and have let them completely destroy the house. Even though the house is on the market and there have been realtors coming through more often. What else can I do? Its not like anyone is rushing in to help. (Sorry to sound bitter.)

The good news is that my soldier called Saturday morning. (Yay!) He was in good spirits and picked on me that I was probably sick because I was getting too old to attend Duran Duran concerts. Never!

Mentally and emotionally, I have been in quite the crux about the holidays. I have been finding it very difficult to get motivated to decorate or do any Christmas shopping. I'm enjoying doing Christmas-like things; going to look at lights, listening to Christmas music, the Christmas festival, etc.

I think I'm going through some sort of transformation. I'm finding that materialism, marriage and money are all so painfully unreal.

A Course in Miracles is summed up in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.


I've been married for 15 years this month, although we've been actually separated for nearly 2 years. I know far too many marriages that are lacking in love and respect and so full of sadness, despair and desperation. There have been so many things that have happened to me lately or things that I've seen or witnessed... my heart is breaking because of it. What does it mean when my ex and I can treat each other with more respect when we're not living under the same roof than we did when we were a "happily married couple"? Is it just a societal image or facade that we all try to maintain? Do we stay in marriages that are not happy because we can't bear to be alone? Is it worth it in the end? Are the kids truly happier when their parents aren't? My soldier and I discussed this topic many times. He's witnessed his fair share of unhappy marriages too. I'm not even sure I believe in it anymore. Been there, done that. There have to be good examples of happy marriages somewhere!

Materialistically, I've had my share of big paychecks and I am now trying to sell a home that came from those big paychecks. No, I'm not saying that money is a bad thing. I've simply found that living in this house, in this life and seeing those with similar lifestyles, creates more of a facade, debt, fakeness and more "keeping up with the Joneses" (if you'll pardon the expression). No one is truly happy. They always want more and more and its never enough! How the hell do you buy Christmas gifts for these people? I don't have enough money or energy to do it and so I don't even want to try anymore.

How sad is this: I know a particular marriage that is barely hanging on. I also hear complaints about their debt. And so are they going to focus on each other and do whatever it takes to be a stronger couple so that their children have a wonderful family unit? No, too much energy. Instead, they're buying a bigger house!

I promise I'm not judging. I hate that I sound so cynical. I did the same thing! We all do. We all look "out there" to solve whatever problems start "in here". It is just so sad and I'm really letting it get to me lately.

I've just found that I would like a "big, small life" (to quote from Eat Pray Love's author Elizabeth Gilbert). I would like a simple life with lots and lots of love and joy and peace and devotion and fun and happiness and truth and gratitude. A REAL LIFE. The "real" that A Course in Miracles is talking about. Is that so much to ask? I know its already there, I just can't see the forest for the trees.

I guess I'm looking for something that feels like home. My time with my soldier felt very comfortable - perhaps that is why I hold it so close to my heart.

I'm sorry to my family and friends for not being so giving this year. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit beat up after being a single mom, working full time, losing my dad to cancer and my love to war...

I guess I had to get to this particular vantage point in my dark forest to see that there is a place of light just beyond it. Perhaps this is just something else I need to go through to find things of real importance in life.

Christmas is a period of rebirth, not how many presents you get. And as we moms know, birth can be a painful and rewarding experience.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I guess this will bring it into focus for me

A little reminder that my soldier has no ordinary job:


Mike Corrado's website. (He's a Marine/composer/singer)

Doh!

I sent a quick email to my soldier on my way home from the concert the other night. I was wishing he could call me on my late night drive.

It’s funny because he's a career Army man and always talks about not knowing what “normal people” do. So here I am trying to relate to “army people.”

I guess I just assume that “Hey, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning his time. Surely he can step away and give me a quick ring!” Then I see the news today about bombs going off in Amarah in southern Iraq and I’m like “Doh!” I keep forgetting that he's not hanging at a regular job just plugging away at the computer like the rest of us. Hopefully he’ll forgive me my naiveté.

The good news is we're 1 month down, 14 to go!



He says the time is passing quickly so far. I guess its good that he's so darn busy. Even if that does mean hearing from him a little less...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The random aspects of our lives come together, once in a while

Leave it to my first love to help me forget, for just a little while, my current love.

I just returned home from a Duran Duran concert and ah, its fun to be 12 years old again!

The set list was (from the top of my head and not necessarily in order):
Red Carpet Massacre
Night Runner
Notorious
Planet Earth
Wild Boys
A View to a Kill
Falling Down
Skin Divers
Ordinary World
Reach Up for the Sunrise
Rio
Girls on Film

I was thinking on the way home how, from age 12 and until age 19, I naively thought I was going to marry John Taylor, the bassist from Duran Duran. I don't know, I guess most girls my age thought the same thing but I'm not sure many of them would admit the seriousness of our conviction. So, I'll admit it. (Its my blog dammit!)

It wasn't until actually meeting this romantic dream of a "Prince Charming" and seeing that he was truly human and had flaws (many of which he's thankfully recovered from), that I was finally able to come to reality or Planet Earth, if you will. But let me tell you about that night and the sheer amount of complete and utter devastation I felt! That experience was right up there with splitting from my husband! Completely sent me into a deep depression and ironically, right into the arms of my new boyfriend whom I was to marry 3 1/2 years later. Talk about one experience leading to another....

I enjoyed seeing my "old friends", Duran Duran. They will always bring me out of my seat and back into the unabashed frenzy of my teenage years. But now we have an agreement, I'll go back to my life and they'll go back to theirs. They give me smiles and I don't bother them when they're trying to do what regular people do. I can't thank them enough for the smiles, experiences, inspiration and music they've brought into my life.

"Seen better times than right now
But I'm not running away
No nothing's gonna bring me down

It's just been one of those days
I'm not the only one
Feeling this way
And I'm not sorry"

Oh and thanks guys for helping me to remember that its just been one of those days and it will get better. It always does.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Its just a phase.

I believe, and many spiritual books have said the same thing, that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be at any given time. Sometimes this is a great thought; other times, not so much. I’ve been analyzing where I am right now and the phases I've been through because lately, it’s been a little strange being in this skin. (warning: long post)

Last March 2006, shortly after my husband and I split, I remember this feeling of utter helplessness and vulnerability. I was filled with fear. I had my moments of clarity and I knew I would survive. Still, when I think back, I remember worrying about the house being broken into, being raped, having one of my kids go missing, kidnapped or molested. It was the most awful feeling. I had many dreams of snakes and sharks and running from something. I was so full of mistrust and anxiety.

I started to feel a little better by summer and tried to date a little only to find that I felt guilty about it. I remember a guy trying to kiss me in the front seat of my car and all I could see in my peripheral were car seats in the back. Ugh, it was awful and I was convinced that all men were dogs.

By the fall, I realized that I was starting to fall very deeply for a really good friend of mine. This feeling wasn’t new – I’d had very emotional feelings about this person for many years. I looked at him as safe. He has been my friend for nearly 20 years and cares about me, knows me better than most people, knows my kids, comes from a great family, has a great job, we share similar interests, etc. It looked perfect to me. The problem was, he was already in a steady relationship. Still, he would hint around and we would have very intimate conversations about it, etc. I started to find that I would obsess about being with this person. The more I obsessed, the more uncomfortable I was around him and his girlfriend. It was very tough for me to deal with.

Shortly after Christmas last year, I started dating another very good 20+ year friend of mine. I say dating, when in fact, we had already been spending a lot of time together. My kids adore him and he lives close to me. Let’s just say that after Christmas, some benefits were added to the friendship. We enjoyed a few months together, all the while maintaining our strong friendship. It began to get complicated when I started realizing that my anxiety was still there. I was still concerned about my safety and the safety of my children. I also saw that our "relationship" was going nowhere. This was mostly because I had laid down the gauntlet at the beginning that I wasn’t interested in getting serious. And then when I felt that maybe I was interested, he wasn’t sure what he wanted. There was some strain on our friendship, some misunderstandings, some imaginings on my part, some arguments, some horrible things said, and then a period of silence. Sometime in March, we were able to talk again and (thank God) we cleared up all the confusion and remain great friends (sans benefits) to this day.

All through this past spring and into summer, I went back to obsessing about my other friend – wondering why we couldn’t be together. It seemed so perfect and it was driving me crazy that it wasn’t falling into place the way it should have.

My dad was diagnosed with cancer in April and I found that suddenly, I had something in common with my friend’s girlfriend. Her dad was very ill with the same cancer and so I began to see her as more, um, human. (You know what jealousy does to us – I’ll admit it. I’m not perfect ya know.) Also in mid-summer, I went out with a friend who knows the guy I was obsessing over. She really helped me to see him differently. I also started realizing that he didn’t want the same things in life that I did. In fact, one of the things he loved about his girlfriend was the fact that her children were already grown and had left home. What the hell was I thinking?

So, there I was in mid-summer 2007 and I realized that yes, I felt like dating. I was done obsessing and ready to move on. I went out with some single girls and hated the bar scene. It just felt like I was hanging from a meat hook being inspected by complete strangers who always felt ballsy enough to grope here and there. Er… yuck!

I put a profile out on a few dating sites, per recommendation of some single girlfriends. The problem came when I would actually meet these guys, who looked great in their photos and sounded great in their profiles, only to find that in person, they looked nothing like their (I now realize) 10 year old photos. Sure, I met some really sweet guys but I just didn’t feel any physical connection.

The problem is that I rely on a physical connection. I guess it is unfortunate that any man I have dated and/or been with I felt immediately attracted to. Isn’t that they way it’s supposed to work?

I was also noticing that these guys were not only courting me, but my children as well. I can remember meeting one guy who spent the entire conversation telling me what a good father figure he would be. Ugh. First off, it will be a while, buddy, before you meet my kids. Show me some boyfriend skills before you show me some father skills.

It was also very difficult to date any of these guys because the only time I could really go out was over lunch. I also found that none of them were worth sharing my one weekend night off with.

By August, I was done.

I took down my profiles and decided that I needed to just stop worrying about dating and focus on myself, my kids, my house and my friendships. If it was supposed to happen, it would. It was such a nice free feeling. I felt calm and like a big weight had been lifted off of me. My family and friends kept obsessing about it: “Are you and your ex going to get back together?” “Do you think you’ll ever get married again?” “Do you want to have more kids?”

All I knew was that my husband and I were done, I couldn’t see myself getting married again and I was pretty sure that would mean no more kids. I was planning a simple life with lots of love for just me and my two girls.

Then I went to my high school reunion.

I dressed like a single girl and acted like a single girl and had an absolute blast. This old friend’s name kept being thrown around… people asking about him, where is he now, what is he doing? A mutual friend told us that this person couldn’t make it to the reunion due to a scheduling conflict with a triathlon he was doing in Hawaii.

It was another two weeks before something bugged me enough to find out his contact information and email him.

Within the hour of sending my initial email, I’d already heard back from my soldier. Our email exchange was well, giddy with anticipation. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.

I had no plans of falling for someone and definitely not after hearing that he was deploying to Iraq. But in that moment that I opened my front door and we hugged for what seemed like hours, I knew something here was bigger than all that I was planning.

Which brings us to the present day. My soldier was concerned that he is the first man I have really trusted since separating from my husband. He worries that I haven’t really "put myself out there" to enjoy a single girl’s life. I told him that first of all, it is difficult to do with two small children and second of all, I have never really been a "single girl". But now he’s gone and I have to live my life and continue to go through whatever phases entail "growing up" or "recovering" or "finding out who I am".

So I guess this is what I’m doing. I’m being all single and stuff and having a great time. I’m finding that I’m comfortable enough with men now that I can be myself and not be worried or anxious about what will happen. I’m not concerned about dating but I think it would be fun to go out and have a good time with someone. I could use a little lovin’ too. I enjoy it while its happening.

But I feel so much in my heart for my soldier that when I’m alone and think about that single girl, I’m not sure that it is really me. Or maybe it’s just part of shedding some old skin. Maybe that’s why it feels so odd to me. Its new skin.

It is interesting to look at it all on paper (on screen?) and notice that I had to go through each of those phases and experiences to get to the next one. I do have to wonder what I'm preparing myself for now. What's next?

I have to remember to ride the tides and not try to force anything. Its not like I can anyway. This is just part of my journey. Another adventure on the quest for T.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Daily Om: Choose Love

December 11, 2007

What We Are Made Of
Choose Love

Love is often presented as the opposite of fear, but true love is not opposite anything. True love is far more powerful than any negative emotions, as it is the environment in which all things arise. Negative emotions are like sharks swimming in the ocean of love. All things beautiful and fearful, ugly and kind, powerful and small, come into existence, do their thing, and disappear within the context of this great ocean. At the same time, they are made of the very love in which they swim and can never be separated. We are made of this love and live our whole lives at one with it, whether we know it or not.

It is only the illusion that we are separate from this great love that causes us to believe that choosing anything other than love makes sense or is even possible. In the relative, dualistic world of positive and negative, darkness and light, male and female, we make choices and we learn from them. This is exactly what we are meant to be doing here on earth. Underlying these relative choices, though, is the choice to be conscious of what we are, which is love, or to be unconscious of it. When we choose to be conscious of it, we choose love. We will still exist in the relative world of opposites and choices and cause and effect, and we will need to make our way here, but doing so with an awareness that we are all made of this love will enable us to be more playful, more joyful, more loving and wise, as we make our way. Ultimately, the choices we make will shed light on the love that makes us all one, enabling those who have forgotten to return to the source.

This world makes it easy to forget this great love, which is part of why we are here. We are here to remember and, when we forget to remember again, to choose love.

Note:This IS what A Course in Miracles is all about. I love that blue book! (Though it is just a symbol...) I attend a study group and facilitate my own study group on ACIM. I am learning so much! (And yet, I still do forget...)

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love my Mom!

This was from last week when I was having a particularly bad PMS moment and called her to vent:

"You know, when you call me and vent, you need to be writing this stuff down, so when you are not PMS'n, you can go back and read it, and wonder who that person is. That is exactly what I used to do. When I was PMS'n, I said and did stupid things, and when it was over, I would think back and go "I do not know that OTHER person."

I admit, you do have a lot to deal with, and it is overwhelming. I admire you for taking it on.

I know you miss your soldier. That's understandable, and it is going to be very hard being away from him, just hang in there and PUT IT ALL IN GOD'S HANDS. Let God handle it for you.

I'm sorry I can't help you more. It was never planned that way. I wish there was a way that I could take care of all of my babies, but I don't see how that is possible, with our living arrangements, but I will do what I can when I can.

I know exactly what you are going through with that house on the market. I stressed so much when my house was on the market, I really thought I was going to have a heart attack. It was so stressful and it drained me of everything. I fought so hard to get it sold, and to keep up the payments. I cried a lot. But it didn't help. I don't even want to get started on that house. I look back and I guess it was meant to happen, so look where I'm at now. WOW, LIFE IS STRANGE. And you know what?----I'm happy!!!!!!!!

So you don't know what is at the end of the trail for you. But I know in my heart that you will be happy. GOD HAS A PLAN. You just have to find a way to enjoy the day's that he gives to us.

It will be okay. I don't like to see my kids unhappy. It makes me unhappy. It's the mom in me.

Well, I hope you have a good day and get caught up with your chores.
I LOVE YOU-mom"


She's the best!

Reminders

You are everywhere I go

A song on the radio
The same song playing in your cd player on our first date

Your favorite ice cream at the grocery store
While I'm trying to find whipped cream for my hot chocolate

Your Alma Mater mentioned in the previews
When I take my daughters to see a movie

"Army of One" or "Wife of a Soldier" bumper stickers
On the back of the car in front of me at a stop light

Driving past the restaurant we ate at
Or the corner where you turned to me, took me in your arms
And started dancing
While waiting for the light to change

Meeting someone who ran the same marathon as you
While at a party... trying not to think about you

Your favorite football team on a flag
Flying in my neighbor's front yard

My daughter's dimple
That you would pinch whenever you saw her

The robe you borrowed
When you stayed over

The Hawaiian window sticker on a truck in the parking lot at work (everyday)
reminds me of your years in Hawaii
And how you bid me Aloha in your phone call before leaving for Kuwait

The leather key chain you used for the key you had made for my house
Still holds your scent

Standing in my pantry
Where you snacked (and snacked and snacked - what a metabolism!)

The top I wore, the skirt I wore, the jeans I wore, whatever I wore
When I was with you

Any mention of Iraq
And I don't even watch the news


I can't imagine it
In the middle of the desert
In the middle of nowhere
But I wonder if you see reminders of me...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Plans...

So, with that last post and my thoughts of not really wanting to go out and be with other people, I joined a girlfriend and went to an 'adult' Christmas party last night. I dressed "wild and hot" per the request of my girlfriend. At the party, there were many interesting people in all manner of dress. There was also a very hilarious adult gift exchange.

The energy in the room was fantastic! Within the first 20 minutes of being there, we had run into an acquaintance from the gym. I've met this guy many times and for some reason, he never remembers me. Suddenly, we're in conversation and my girlfriend starts to hint that I'm single and he's single... So I cut to the chase and asked him out. He said yes. Wow. Not bad for the first 1/2 hour.

Then this handsome male model lookalike (think Tyson Beckford) enters the room. Damn. The next thing I know he and I are in a fun conversation. My girlfriend joins us and we spend the next hour talking to him.

Then this group of young gay guys comes through. From across the room, they start flirting with us. We spend the rest of the party hanging with the crazy gay group or chatting with male model. Or both because they think our male model is hot too. And he doesn't mind. And they all think I'm 26. Woohoo!

What a blast. It was amazing how much fun we had. I haven't been to a party with such beautiful people (both inside and out) in so long. I wasn't expecting that at all.

Its funny because my whole adult life, I have felt that I have to control things and know what's going to happen next. But when I let it go, it is such an exquisite feeling. Like when I used to write lyrics and sing with a band. When we would work for days on a song, it was never anything special. But when, by sheer accident, the melody and lyrics would come together so effortlessly, that's when we knew we had a jewel.

I loved the movie, "Dan in Real Life". At the end of the movie, he says something about making life plans and that they never work the way you'd hoped. The last line of the movie (of course I'm paraphrasing) says,
"The only plan you should make in life, is the plan to be surprised."

Makes perfect sense. I just need to remember it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Would you rather be right or happy?

Last night was my Christmas party and a particular guy at work, who is single, was sort of getting closer to me. Don’t get me wrong, I was flirting, as I do, and we are close. We both enjoy music and have fun together. But I WILL NOT date a co-worker and he also smokes.. I hate that.

Also, one of my very close friends called me last night and is hinting that we should "make out" - just for fun. Now, we've hinted this before and we do flirt. I think knowing that I'm wanting to 'sow some oats' while my soldier is out of town has prompted this to be a more serious thought.

My soldier and I had discussed this back before he left. He doesn't want me to miss out on anything by waiting for him and I realize that if he has an opportunity to have sex during his deployment, he will. He is a guy. And it is 16 months. And I am a grown-up.

I was flirting with a guy in yoga class last week and then came home to a Christmas card from my soldier. He had made Christmas cards and wrote out the “this is what I’ve done this year” letter to family and friends before his deployment! He prepared all of these and gave them to his parents to mail in December. What a guy! I was a mess when I saw it. I realized how much I missed him.

I told the guy at work about this and how emotional I was. He declared, “Why? There’s no connection there. You can’t tell me that you are going to wait for him.” What? How is this his business? I said that yes, I am ‘putting myself out there’ for fun and stuff but my soldier has my heart right now.

But still I wonder…. Is this one of those things like when my ex used to travel for work and I would be home all the time? He would get home and want to just sit and I would want to go out. So, when my soldier gets back, will I want to move forward with our relationship and will he want to play, date other people and have fun after a year at war? Or will it be the other way around? Will we be in the same place again? Are the stars going to finally align just right?

A Course in Miracles says, “Would you rather be right or happy?”

Well, I was apparently not right about my ex and I. Even during all of the ‘stuff’ we went through, I was convinced that we would survive and stay together. We had to! I couldn’t imagine life any other way. But then I let it go, and found that I was happier otherwise.

I was apparently not right about another mad crush I had after my marriage ended. I knew for fact that we were made for each other, that we’d be magnificent together and that surely it would work out perfectly for us to be together. Then I let it go and found that I didn’t really want what he wanted anyway. And we’re better friends for it.

So, here we are again. Will I be right this time? Will this finally be the relationship that sticks? No, I’m not naïve and I won’t promise him that things will be perfect when he gets back. That we will date and fall in love and get married and have children and the perfect house, jobs, family, life? Then there’s that scary idea of “happily ever after”.

There are things that I still don’t know about him. There are things that he still doesn’t know about me. I still have my own ‘war’ that I have to go through. Will I be done with mine when he is done with his? Will he have to move or be deployed again before he retires? Why should I daydream or fantasize about the ideal that is in both his mind and mine? There are still another 14 months that separate now from then.

Still, we both do believe in that “happily ever after”. That is what is so romantic about the whole thing. He declares that I’m his ‘high school fantasy’. Wouldn’t it be a great story to tell?

I don’t know what is going to happen and with that thought in mind, flirting and playing around with others seems like fun sometimes. But right now, today, for some reason, it is just too difficult for me to do. I just want to sit and think about my soldier. I find that my mind goes to melancholy when it is my weekend off from the kids. I just want to meditate him. I know I should focus on other things. I do know this.

I would rather be happy than right. So far, it has worked that way. I really don’t know what is going to happen... God help me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Veteran to Veteran

We visited my grandparents this weekend. My grandfather served in the Army during WWII and he knows I love to hear his stories. Every time I’m there, he pulls out his old photographs and medals and begins reminiscing. He took a TON of photos while in France and Germany. Some of the film hasn’t even been developed! I don’t know how long film lasts… He also still has the camera that he took with him. The best part is that I have a beautiful love letter he wrote to my grandmother while he was in Germany. Such romantic language… I can’t even imagine him saying it! I told him about my soldier and he told me to tell him ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’. From veteran to veteran. Pretty cool, huh?

Papa was in the 14th Armored division and landed in Marseilles, France in October 1944. He was one of the engineers responsible for building and then destroying bridges for the tanks to go over. He has several great photos of him inspecting bridges and even some that collapsed during testing. He has amazing photos of the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower too. I just love history so much! It is so great to let him go on about it. I think its good for him too. My grandparents get so lonely living alone. It is also amazing how much more patient they are (at age 91 and 94) with their great-grandchildren than they were with us. Papa so enjoyed the kids and they loved him right back. And Mema gets pretty emotional when we have to leave. It is sad that they’ve outlived my dad and another of my dad’s cousins just passed recently. I guess that’s what happens when you’re approaching the century mark.

I told my soldier about Papa's 'vet to vet' greeting and he said:
I appreciate his greetings from one veteran to another. I find it hard to accept that I am a veteran, but I guess I am.
Yes baby. You definitely are.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

'What are you doing?' I asked without fear,
'Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!'

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said 'Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.'

'It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December,'
Then he sighed, 'That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.'

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.'

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
'I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.'
'So go back inside,' he said, 'harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.'

'But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
'Give you money,' I asked, 'or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son.'

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
'Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.'

Um, wow.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A perfect description for my Quest:

The goal of the hero trip
down to the jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
that open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your Self
being Buddha consciousness
or the Christ.

That's the journey.


I love Joseph Campbell. He's my new "spiritual love interest". A friend gave me "Reflections on the Art of Living" and I'm hooked.

Life is without meaning.
You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.
Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior's approach is to say "yes" to life:
"yea" to it all.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

If we fix on the old, we get stuck.
When we hang on to any form,
we are in danger of putrefaction.

If we are hanging onto the form now,
we're not going to have the form next.

You can't make an omelet without breaking the eggs.

Destruction before creation.


Death before resurrection. Darkness before light. Clouds clear and the sun is still there.

Boy, I need to remember this because it proves true in my life over and over again...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bells will be ringing....

I went to Natchitoches this weekend for the Christmas festival with my family. At the festival they were honoring our armed forces. So many Army guys everywhere… ugh! It’s like he was there too! Sheesh. And there was a giant American flag hanging above the bridge. He was just on my mind the whole time. It also didn’t help that my mom kept bringing him up. “Hey you need to bring him out here when he gets back!” or “You need to take a photo of that big American flag and send it to him.” Or “Did you see all the Army guys in the Christmas parade?” Um… yes Mom. I did. And yes, I’d love to share this amazing Christmas tradition with him. I wish he was here now. (as I watch a young couple snuggling together…) It also didn’t help that he told me that he marched in this same parade back in high school when he was in ROTC. I did wish he could’ve been there. Although, I’m not sure if veterans of war enjoy fireworks shows. I’m sure he’ll be seeing plenty of fireworks where he is….

It was nice to share this family tradition with my girls. We used to do this every year to kick off the holidays in my family. I think my grandparents started going when the festival first began back in 1956. We had our fill of meat pies and gumbo. We walked through the Christmas crafts. We grabbed a great spot on the river to watch the most amazing fireworks show (which I will post later). We slid down the hill on cardboard. (Woohoo! Yes even me too!) We sang Christmas carols and walked through the lights downtown. We had hot chocolate. And we were dead exhausted at the end of the night. Whew. It was very familiar even though its probably been 10 years since I’ve last attended the festival.

The girls had a blast. It also brought back many memories of my dad. To me and my family. We all got a little bit emotional thinking about him at one point or another. Even my oldest daughter said that when she even thinks of him, the tears start to come out. I also had memories of my ex. We had been to the festival many times and snuggled like the young couple mentioned earlier. I guess its just time to make new memories.

"Please come home for Christmas..."

Yeah. I know.