Friday, February 29, 2008

Communicating with men

I am a self-help book junkie. I'll admit it.

They DO help though, don't they?

So, the latest on my quest has been my determination not to make the same mistakes I made in my marriage. I realize that I acted or reacted the way I did simply because I didn't know better.

First on my list, how to communicate better with men.

Yes, men are from mars, etc. and I can understand that we're never going to speak the same languages. I also realize that much of how we act is based on what we have learned from interactions with other people. The problem is: if we continue to act based on the past, the past may very well continue into the future.

The first book that I am pouring through is Make Every Man Want You (or Make Yours Want You More): How to Be So Damn Irresistible You'll Barely Keep From Dating Yourself! by Marie Forleo.

I wasn't that fond of the title since it sounds like a desperate attempt to land a man. Amazon had lots of great reviews on it so I bought it, despite the title.

I am amazed. The book is saying basically the exact same things I have been learning about myself in A Course in Miracles!
The only way to be better in a relationship is to heal your relationship with YOURSELF!
The rest, i.e. communication with men, will happen automatically.

My readers, you know how I love ACIM, but I do find it difficult to apply to my life in a practical way. In my struggle, I began to search for something else. Whammo! Here is the Course, in another form.

Ok, God, I get it!

Apparently I am on the right track. Yay!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Adventures in Cycling, Part 2

Ouchie!


That's really all I have to say about my cycling adventure this evening....

No, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. It is still a bit frightening to me but I just have to keep at it. Sort of like the first time I was driving a stick shift. Now, I can do it without even thinking about it.

I did fall. Several times. The first time was the worst and then I found that I was learning how to fall.

Remember the metaphor for life I mentioned in my last adventure? I realize now that the metaphor isn't :"You're going to fall but you just have to pick yourself up and keep going." The real metaphor is: "You're going to fall. But you can control how you fall so you don't get hurt as bad as you could."

My soldier called today and gave lots of great tips on cycling with these shoes/pedals. Basically, it comes down to practice. He told me the story of his first time and falling amongst tourists at a red light while he was living in Waikiki, Hawaii. I got this vision of PeeWee Herman saying, "I meant to do that!"

I didn't do that much in terms of mileage tonight but at least I got on the road again. I'm finding that I have to make a conscious effort to remember to pull my foot out of the clip as I'm starting to brake. Wow.

Somebody said to me today, "Its like you're just learning to ride a bicycle and you're 38 years old!"

Yeah, let's not think about the first time I learned to ride a bike... 30 years ago actually. My dad was edging the front yard. My front tire got caught in the divot between the sidewalk and the lawn and I was going down. Unfortunately, I went down on the edger. I lost a lot of blood, spent nearly a month in the hospital and had to teach myself how to walk again. I still have two large scars on my leg to prove it.

Talk about ouchie.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

25% Complete!

According to my charting of this deployment, we are 25% done!

75% to go still seems like an eternity to me but then again, I'm not the one working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, wearing body armor just to go outside, going to the bathroom in places "no American would ever considering going", getting by on food that's not always cooked all the way, having to go without running water for days on end, surviving on barely 4 hours of sleep a night (if you're lucky) and being deprived of contact with those I would much rather be with. It also has to be frustrating to try to help people only to find that they still hate each other and blow each other up.

What am I complaining about? At least if I want to sit down with a glass of wine and chill, it still an option for me. I don't have a governing body telling me what to do 24 hours a day - well, unless you count my kids!

And despite all of that, he still has the patience to listen to me when I feel worried or overwhelmed with all that is going on in my life.

What a man.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is tree-hugging genetic?

Last night I was telling my daughters that we needed to buy some trees for the backyard of our new house. I love trees. My favorites are magnolia and pine. I grew up in Louisiana so that should be no surprise.

I was telling the girls about the first home the ex and I owned way before we had children. We bought and planted a magnolia tree in the backyard that I nurtured like a mother. I loved that tree and was often out watering it or talking to it or measuring its growth. When we sold the house, I actually wanted to take the tree with me! I didn't, of course, but bid it farewell.

Deep into the first summer after we'd moved out of that house, I had a dream that my magnolia tree was telling me that it was thirsty and felt like it was dying. I actually woke up crying and hysterical. My husband reassured me that the tree was fine. It was only a dream.

About a month later, we went back to our old neighborhood to visit with our neighbors. I knew the new owner of our home was out of town so I crept into the backyard to check on my tree. It was bone dry, brown and dead. Needless to say, I was in shock. My husband, upon seeing me return with brown dried leaves from our once beautiful magnolia tree, responded with one word, "Weird."

After telling my children this story, my 6 year old gasped and covered her mouth.

"Why did you tell me that story, Mommy?! That's so sad!!"

The next thing I know, she and I are both bawling over this tree. My 3 year old looked on in confusion.

I knew my little diva #1 was just like me but that was another defining moment where I saw little "T" in her. Poor thing.

My girls have sensed the frustration and chaos in my mind lately. Thank goodness they get it on some level. I judge myself so harshly for not being a good enough mother to them. Last night, they actually crawled on top of me while I sat in the bed and kept kissing me and telling me they loved me. Usually, I'm a hard ass about them staying in their own beds. But some part of me finally gave in and we snuggled for over an hour. I needed it and they did too. If only I could allow myself that more often and not care where it comes from. (Choose the content, T, not the form.)

Anyway, I'm a lucky mommy. I love my girls. Its frightening that they are so much like me! But hey, at least they get me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sister Moon





I absolutely loved watching the lunar eclipse last night with my daughters. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Sting. Click to listen.. and tell me you don't melt to that voice.

This is also one of the songs I included on the "Sexy Soldier" mix cd I sent in my last care package.

Ah... Sting. Let's have a look at him too:

Damn...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Closing one chapter of the Quest

Since news of the sale of my house, my mind has been in overdrive. I am not sleeping well and I am questioning EVERYTHING!

One of my best friends had warned me over a year ago that although I felt as if I had moved on, I would go through yet another emotional meltdown when I filed for divorce.

Well, I wasn't imagining that I would be going through quite so much at the same time!!!
  • Selling my current home - which entails packing up memories and dividing items between the ex and me.
  • Buying a new home - eek! On my own, this seems frightening. My salary, my responsibility, all of the tasks that I must undertake on my own!!! On the other hand, wow. My house, my stuff, my own space!!
  • Filing for divorce - all of the things to think about: taxes, child support, getting my own insurance, all the paperwork and legal stuff! Ugh!

Let's not forget to mention all of the responsibilities I already have:

  • Being a single mom - feeding, caring, clothing, playing, driving, doctoring, nurturing, teaching and trying to be a good mommy and daddy to not 1 but 2 little girls!
  • Working full time - which means I should be focused on this job - not blogging! - so that I can continue to be the breadwinner.
  • Oh and let's not forget the pressure I put on myself to be strong and dependable to my soldier, my family and my friends

Don't I fit in there somewhere too?

  • Oh yeah, that's right! I'm also training for my 150 mile bike ride in May
  • Trying to find balance with my yoga (whew! Thank God for yoga!) and my ACIM study groups.
  • Trying to plan and save cash for our big family vacation in June to Mexico
  • Taking the time to blog. It is such a wonderful catharsis to me.

Oh.My.Goodness. (I know, all of you that have already done it are saying "Suck it up T!!!")

So, as you can imagine, with one chapter closing behind me, I am questioning what all I am going to allow in the new chapter that is still as yet unwritten.

The big thing with me lately is how much I am letting my feelings for my soldier affect me. It was different when I was living in limbo. At that time, I felt my only choice was to live day-by-day. I was enjoying not knowing what was going to happen to us - well, not so much enjoying it but I wasn't questioning it all the time.

Now I'm realizing that with the disintegration of a marriage, I am terribly frightened about getting into another relationship, trusting someone with my heart and thinking of a future that is uncertain. I never expected to feel these feelings! My soldier had mentioned it to me as well last fall. He told me that I had quite a bit I needed to go through before getting serious with someone. That is part of the reason he was so worried at how fast we fell for each other.

See how things happen as they should?

The past few times he and I have talked, I'm questioning some of the things he's saying, making assumptions and taking things the wrong way. I'm feeling ultra-sensitive and questioning his intentions. I'm wanting something concrete to stand on. I don't know why I'm doing this. Ok, yes I do, its fear. Neither of us knows what will happen. I - have - got - to - let - that - go!!

And I need to detach in some way. I do care for him very much. I still want to be here for him. I feel like I need to pull back a little, just to see where this new chapter is going. I have to make plans based on life as a single mom with two little girls and not depend on a future with someone who is 6000 miles away for the next year.

I'm sure he understands. Like I said before, I'm just riding this wave in pure faith. God help me to keep my chin up in the meantime! Whew!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why should I lean on you?

You've felt it
Pain & judgment
And so you must dole it out
Under the guise of loving me

I've felt it
Pain & judgment
And though I know I still do it
I try to block it from being doled out as well

I'm so aware of my mistaken perception
That I am the hardest on myself
I do my best to forgive it
And in doing so, forgive yours

But this is heaviness
Too much to bear
Not at all fair
And it is ME making it this way

I can't lean on you
Not when your words are based
Purely on your own filters
of pain & judgment

The only place of truth
is inside me anyway
Though I'm known for leaning
Why should I lean on you?

As I've done in the past
I must "fake it til I make it"
So you'll stop asking
Stop trying to make it better

Take me for granted
Think that I'm strong
Consider me amazing
Wonder at my confidence

All while I crumble
Exhausted and alone
Crying myself to sleep
Wishing I could lean on you.

The only one that knows
is me, deep...in...ME
So your words, while being protective
aren't that helpful

You aren't protecting me
You are protecting you
Because if I hurt, then
You'll feel helpless
And you'll hate me for making you feel that way

Why should I lean on you?
When only I can choose how I view this experience
And your words, internalized
Only skew my perception more

True Perception sees through
Beyond the veil of pain & judgment
To the truth in all of us
Love

I will try to see you with True Perception
Love you anyway
Love him anyway
Love her anyway
Love them anyway
Love me anyway

And though I should feel lighter
It feels like I am carrying the weight of
the pain & judgment of the world
I am fallen

Face to the earth
Begging for help
Craving something sturdy
Dying for something strong

I must close my eyes
Through my tears
Reach out my hands
And in faith, lean.

Monday, February 18, 2008

In the chrysalis

This past weekend of packing my house has brought up many memories - some wonderful and some painful. I've been in a weird place all weekend. Quite positive that this is a purging of the old to make room for the new, I am aware of yet another period of growth. I am curious of the "T" that will emerge on the other side.

Today's Daily Om hit the mark, as it so often does:
As any gardener knows, the bulbs that contain the beautiful flowers of spring and summer—daffodils, irises, tulips, gladiolas—cannot bloom until they have endured a period of cold. Held in the dark earth during the frigid winter months, they undergo internal adjustments and changes invisible to our eyes. Like babies gestating in the lightless, watery wombs of their mothers, they are fully engaged in the process of preparing to be born. So many of the greatest mysteries of life begin this way, with a powerful urge for growth enclosed in a small, dark space.

We humans have a tendency to yearn for the light, for the coming of spring, and for the more visible phase of growth that all things express in coming to be. In our love for what we can see with our eyes we sometimes lose patience for, and interest in, the world of darkness that nurtures and protects the seeds, bulbs, and babies of the world for such an important part of their life cycles. It is a perilous and mysterious phase of growth, and one that we have little control over, and perhaps that is why we don’t celebrate it with quite the same passion as we do the lighter and brighter phases of life. Nevertheless, we ourselves endure similar periods of developing in the darkness throughout our lives.
I have found letters, cards and art projects from high school. I've found blankets and sheets that I had on my old waterbed when I was single. I've found many reminders of the first house that the ex and I owned together. Why did we keep all of this stuff? I've also come across many items that I'd bought for my dream trip to Italy and Spain that was cancelled at the last minute. That was sad... but then again, I know that I will make that trip one day. There were endless items that pointed to a future that I thought I was sure of.

I've found all sorts of baby stuff that I don't need anymore. Lots of really sweet photos of my oldest daughter as a baby. I'm realizing now how much I savor my little one as my last baby. When my oldest daughter was 3, I was pregnant and/or had a newborn. My little one was only 2 months old when my marriage began to fail. So I was dealing with a toddler, a newborn and the emotional rollercoaster of questions about my future.

My oldest daughter hasn't had my total attention, really, since she was 2. She's had to grow up fast since that age. I found I was pregnant a month after she turned 2 and miscarried at 11 weeks along. During that time, I stopped picking her up and told her she had to be a "big girl" because I was pregnant and she was going to be a big sister. Then after my miscarriage, I went into a depression that lasted til I found I was pregnant again. Then there was a whole host of other things I was occupied with, including the disintegration of love in my marriage.

Many things I found brought up the memories of how I tried so hard to hold my marriage together for my girls. I felt like such a failure that I couldn't simply hold on and continue as a family of four. I guess I had compartmentalized those feelings of loss. I'm very proud of how I handled it, don't get me wrong! I listened to my true self and did what I thought was best. However, I guess I still worry and hope that I handled it best for the sake of my children.

In the meantime, I will try to be patient with myself. This is a time of remembering, learning and growing so some discomfort is normal. I am but a hermit crab, as a therapist once told me, leaving one shell and off to find another one. In the meantime, in the chrysalis or in suffering the loss of one shell, I will be vulnerable.

But I still have the one thing that has brought me safe thus far, amazing grace and faith. And as I've learned, in faith, there is nothing to defend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Response to my previous post

From A Course in Miracles lesson for today:

God is the strength in which I trust

If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

Of yourself, you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?

(I know that I can do this. I need to remember that whatever happens is supposed to happen for my highest good. And whatever that is, I will continue to love him anyway. My weak moments are only a sure reminder of who's strength I'm relying on.)

Not so positive thinking

I hate to admit this because I try my best to be a positive thinker but sometimes I get downright angry.

Who me?

Yes, its true!

I hate this f&%#ing deployment!

There are so many times that I feel like I can't do this anymore. I'm tired and I've still got a year to go.

Every soldier deals with deployment differently. Just as every human deals with every difficult situation differently. I get that. I understand.

My soldier has been absolutely the sweetest guy ever since he's been gone.

But I miss the guy that was here. The guy who told me he wanted to take care of me and my girls. The guy who would melt at my touch. The guy who looked into my eyes and told me how proud he was of the woman I'd become, what a wonderful mother I was and how I was amazing to him. That strong man that would take me in his powerful arms and hold me as long as I wanted him to. Sometimes even longer!

He told me that he wouldn't "be very good emotional support" while he was gone. He seemed very sad when he said it, like he too would mourn the man he'd have to leave behind. I didn't care at the time. It felt so good to be with him. He would be worth the wait.

However, he is different over there. He's still loving and supportive but it is not the same.

He tells me to lean on my girlfriends when I feel this way. He can't always call. He can't be here to hold me. He feels bad for all that I have going on at the moment and that he can't be here to help me. He has a job to do, a mission to accomplish and a focus that he has to maintain. I can respect that. Who knows the amount of heaviness he has to carry while in Iraq? Yet he is positive, loving and happy while on the phone with me. How helpless he would feel if I shared these thoughts with him. My half of this mission is to be strong, light and happy when talking to him. That is what he needs. But sometimes, I am really, really down and just want to give up.

This is such a giant emotional investment to me. I am living on faith that things will work out as I'd like them to. Just the sheer fact that I referred to my feelings as an "investment" says that I expect something in return. I do expect something and I get angry that its not happening right now. At the same time, I feel so selfish to be saying that.

Then... I can turn it around and find that he's teaching me a very powerful spiritual lesson. I get sad when I'm longing for the past that we had. I feel frustrated and want to give up when I realize that the future is uncertain. We've made no promises to each other. Neither of us knows what will happen in the next year.

As a soldier, he deals with his situation by living in the present moment. Living in the NOW. If he were to think of the past or future, he would feel the same frustration and pain and longing that I do. Why feel pain when you can't change anything? Why get frustrated when it would only hinder what you have to do at this moment in time?

Here I am talking all spiritual and stuff (because he gets baffled when I talk about A Course in Miracles) and he is actually living the lesson that I still have to apply!

So yes, I miss his beautiful eyes. I miss the warmth of his hug. I miss his skin. I miss being silly with him. I miss his wonderful body. I miss his referring to me by my maiden name - because that's who I'll always be to him. I miss seeing him read bedtime stories to my girls. I miss him spinning them round and round in the living room with them begging, "Do it again!!" I miss his taking my hand and slow dancing with me in the middle of nowhere to the music in his head. I miss his hands on my face. I miss his fingers through my hair. I miss how his lips look when he talks - I can't even let him finish a sentence without kissing him because his lips are so luscious. I miss how he looked at me.

I want to know what is going to happen. I want to have him back here. I want to see how we'll be together without the looming darkness of a parent's death or impending deployment. I want to continue to get to know him better. I want to have an answer to my children's question of when is he coming back over. I want to spend more time with him, in his actual presence. I want to continue this wonderful feeling of being together after 22 years! I want to know that he is healthy and whole and done with war!

There, that's the past and the future. Neither of which I have any control over.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


Please... grant me the Serenity NOW!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quotes for the day

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet."
~James Oppenheim

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."
~Agnes Repplier

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be."
~Marcel Pagnol

"What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present, and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?"
~A Course in Miracles

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily...

Last night, the ex decided that he wants to have more discussions on our initial agreement on financial support for me and the kids. He even mentioned the "A" word - attorney.

Throughout our entire marriage, we had vowed never to fight about money. Quite frankly, we never really did. We knew that finances were one of the major causes of divorce and we didn't want to go there. (ironically, finances were not the reason for our split.)

I'd prefer that we stick to that rule and get through this divorce in an amicable and fair manner. Without us both hiring and fighting with attorneys involved, if at all possible.

History has shown that he has had problems with budgets and finances - this from a guy who's degree is in finance! I've always taken care of everything financially. I am a detail-oriented Capricorn and I've been on my own since I was 19 years old.

He has never really lived on his own. He went from his parent's house to college with roommates, back to his parent's house, to living with me, now with his brother. He did say that he would like to get his own place closer to us so that he can pick up and take the girls to school during the week sometimes. His living closer is a wonderful gesture that would be very helpful to me.

I'm sure that he is frightened of how he's going to live on his salary plus paying child support. I can appreciate that fear.

Still, it takes every thing I've got to not remind him that he makes over twice the salary that I make per year. That there's 3 of us and only 1 of him. And many, many other hurtful things that come from years of resentment - resentment that I thought I was long ago rid of.

But then I'm reminded of how the ego thrives on this drama. We are living in this illusion and convinced of one thing: LACK

Lack of money, lack of time, lack of love...

The only thing we think of in abundance is pain.

The ego loves this. This belief makes the illusion seem more real!

An illusion, T? Yes, I said it. This is not real.

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) notes that the Bible says a deep sleep fell upon Adam. But nowhere in the Bible does it reference Adam's waking. Our thoughts are our own perception and if we all have different perceptions, what is actually real anyway? Some of us spend our lives on quests to be more "awakened". Psychoanalysts and other "enlightened" people have also made reference to this being an illusion or a dream.

The one thing I can appreciate about "The Secret" is that there is more mainstream acceptance of how "thoughts become things." What we believe in is what becomes real to us. This is our perception. We have to realize that our thoughts create the world we see. We have to change our thoughts in order to see the world around us differently. ACIM says the same thing.

I have to remember that the ex's fear, and my own as well, is based on this belief in lack. The belief in lack causes fear. And fear is nothing but a call for love. My response should be to respond with love.

So, I will try to remember this when we sit down later and revisit this discussion. I will try to respond as lovingly as possible and bear in mind that I should not commiserate with the belief in lack. I should instead work non-defensively, knowing that my attack will only cause more fear. Then things could get ugly.

And I will do my best to remember, despite the seeming lack or fear that I may perceive, life is but a dream. (now to work on the "merrily" part!)

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

"... as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so."
~A Course in Miracles

Monday, February 11, 2008

Its my soldier's birthday!!!

Since its past midnight in Iraq:
Happy Birthday Baby!!



He just called because it was a few minutes after midnight. He said, "I have an arithmetic question for you... guess what time it is here?"



Then he proceeds with "I'm older than you again." We were both 38 for about a month and a half. Silly boy.

The bummer is that he didn't receive the birthday/Valentine's box this past weekend. Hopefully he'll at least receive it this weekend. We'll see.

I asked if any of his men were going to do anything for him to celebrate and he said, "Yes, we're going to pause the war just to celebrate the day I was born. "

Well, they should!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A hostage situation?

Ok, we're back to people and their opinions again:

While at my ACIM/Course study group this afternoon, the topic of my soldier and I came up again. Now, let me just say, I adore these people in my study group. We all support each other in trying to see situations differently and finding inner peace.

I was saying how my soldier and I seem to have little misunderstandings sometimes. We've both come from relationships where we were hurt (like everyone else) and due to our pasts, we sometimes misconstrue things. It is perfectly normal. I imagine every new relationship goes through this - getting to know each other and all - with the added stress of doing this with 6000 miles between us. Neither of us means any hurt and thus far, we're able to speak up and ask questions to clarify if something was done on purpose or if we're just perceiving it wrong. (which is pretty darn healthy, if you ask me!)

One of my fellow Course students looked at me perplexed after this discussion and said, "There are so many things I could say... from a Course in Miracles perspective as well as so many other perspectives. Aren't you and your soldier holding each other in a hostage situation?"

Huh?

She continued to explain:

"He has already said that he wants to be with you and you said you want to be with him. What happens if you meet someone else who lives here and that you like better? Won't you feel so guilty for hurting him? Don't you feel like you are being held hostage to his feelings since he's at war?"

I had to ponder this. When my soldier was down to his last few weeks before deployment, he had mentioned this to me. Surely I would meet someone else in the 16 months he would be gone. It has happened in every other relationship he's had. He said he would never ask me to wait for him. I never promised him I would. I told him that I had no idea what would happen in that amount of time. I wasn't expecting him in my life when he reappeared. How could I tell him what would happen in 16 months? All I knew was how I felt at that moment in time and at that moment, I cared for him very much.

So, I tried it. I didn't limit myself. I went out. I had fun. But it just didn't feel right. It wasn't me. I only wanted to be here for my soldier.

I found that we both started getting comfortable with the idea and trusting it more. We both started using phrases like "when you/I get back..." Now, yes I feel that I am really in this for the long haul. But do I feel like a hostage?

It occured to me later this evening that no, I am not a hostage. This is the same choice that wives and husbands make every day. So what if my soldier is gone for 16 months? His physical form is not here but I feel his love through emails and phone calls. Couldn't the same be said for a marriage where the husband or wife is "unavailable" in some way? Emotionally or physically? Don't you still have to make a decision every day to stay with that person not because you have to but because you want to? Couldn't you also be in a position to "find someone you like better"? Couldn't that happen to anyone at anytime?

No, this is a choice that I've made. I still don't have a clue what the next year or even beyond that will hold for us but I do know that I love him very much. And he loves me too. The rest... we have to leave to faith, don't we?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Found a house!!

Again I am filled with gratitude with all that has occurred in the past few days:
  • While trying to find the perfect house, I was looking for a sign or something to tell me "this is the house for me." On Friday, I found one I just loved but continued looking at other homes. I couldn't stop thinking about it so we went back and looked at it a second time. As I noticed that the man of the house was a former Marine, I also noticed a figurine in his office that was the telltale sign - Captain America, my soldier's hero.
  • I put an offer on that house that night and found out today that we've agreed to terms. We'll be closing on the same date as my current home. I get to move in that day!
  • I have a friend that has offered to help me move - with their flatbed truck! I didn't even know they had one!
  • Another friend of mine and my sister have given me enough boxes that I won't need to purchase more.
  • My brother-in-law has pre-qualified me for a home loan which gives the sellers of my "new home" some peace of mind and trust in me as a buyer.
  • My ex has been here at the house for hours the past two days packing up the garage and is now offering for me to "take whatever I need" in the house. I felt so taken aback that I told him to take the big screen plasma TV (we don't watch much TV anyway). He is very happy. I'm still so amazed at how good he is to us.
  • My soldier just sent me a photo of him in full gear in Baghdad. The first time I've seen him since he's been there. Yay!
  • I've felt very overwhelmed with all of the decisions I've had to make lately. I was trying to decide what to do for accomodations during my 150 mile/2 day bike ride. I decided I didn't know what to do. Within a hour of my "non-decision", the captain of our bike team emailed me and said he was arranging for hotel rooms for all of us.

I am just riding this wave right now. It is simply too much for me to handle on my own so I'm relying on everything to fall as it should. As the Course says (and I'm paraphrasing): if you feel scared, it's a sure sign you're depending on your own strength instead of God's.

I'm doing a happy dance. And for some reason, I can find smiley's "doing it" but not "doing a happy dance." Weird.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

100th Post : Let's talk about S-E-X

With this being my 100th post and all, I thought I'd break you guys in with one of my favorite topics: sex

Perhaps this is an appropriate time to have this discussion with you all since I am having a surge of testosterone and I did just hang up the phone with my soldier. Yes, you heard it right - testosterone! I'm not sure how many women are aware of this but generally during ovulation, we have a surge of this hormone and it causes us to feel a bit more... randy. As a matter of fact, women tend to be more attracted to a stronger, "manly man" during ovulation. Whereas during her period, a woman will prefer an attentive, affectionate man instead.

And you guys thought we were just picky!

I am a very sexual person - have been as long as I can remember. To some, it may come across as free spirited. To others, it seems like I'm flirting with everyone. (My girlfriend says I flirt with men, women and children.) I'm not sure when it started or if there is just an innate awareness in all of us. I remember starting in junior high school having such a dirty mind and being boy crazy. However, I was also very particular and didn't have sex til I was 19.

The scary part is seeing this already in my older daughter. She is a very sensual girl and boys are drawn to her. I've had other parents point it out to me. She doesn't have a dirty mind or anything but I think somewhere deep inside she comprehends that we are all sexual creatures. Now my job is to make sure she's smart about it.

So I have my soldier/coach on the line and he's trying to talk to me about cycling and he says "If you bend over the handlebars of the bike...."

Who knows what else he said. He lost me after "bend over." And I told him so. He giggled and said that he can't comment on these things since he's surrounded by other soldiers.

This is what I'm like during this part of my cycle. My brain doesn't think anything but sex. So I thought I'd have a little fun with the smiley's.

First a little smiley foreplay:





Then a little oral action:



(Oh my... are these hilarious or what?! Come on! You know you do it too!)

Then... oh yeah!



Afterglow?


God help me. How am I going to make it through another year???

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Quickie

Just a quick line from A Course in Miracles lesson of the day:
Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.
That quote is sheer perfection!

Helping each other out

A fellow blogger and military spouse was inspired by my post about Relationships.

Check out A Soldier's Wife's inspiring reply to my post. Bless her heart, she just had major surgery and is still keeping up with her blog.

I felt really honored to have touched her. This blogging thing has been so helpful to me as a girl who loves a soldier. The military spouses do get support from groups and generally each other if they live on a base. Frankly, I am an outsider to their world. I am thankful to have their blogs to read and the Internet (thank goodness for the Internet!) to acquire more information.

I don't have to depend on my soldier for much. I am actually quite independent of him. The military spouses have lived with their soldiers, sometimes had children or are expecting children with them! They depend on their soldiers for their livelihood and practical things like paying the bills. I have NO idea what they feel. I can only imagine from the tiny bit that I know and read about. I can only pull from the pangs of longing I feel for my soldier. So, if I can inspire or be helpful to one of them just to help them get through a difficult deployment - and they definitely inspire me - then I feel pretty darn honored.

God bless the military spouse. They do serve and they do it well.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What?!

I was looking at my blog stats and found a few people discovered my blog due to my Groundhog Day post and my daughter's hilarious reference to "Hedgehog Day".

Apparently, there really is such a thing as Hedgehog Day?!

From Wikipedia:

In popular media are found references to Hedgehog Day, which is said be a German tradition inherited from the ancient Romans. It is claimed to be a precursor to Groundhog Day, a minor holiday in North America on the second of February.
Whoa. From the mouths of babes...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Relationships

During my time as a Course in Miracles student, I have learned that as humans, we feel separate from God and spend an inordinate amount of time looking outside of us to somehow heal that separateness. In truth, we are all the same and we are not, nor could we ever be, separate from God.

In relationships, this is what we are looking for: that "perfect love" that will complete us and make us whole. This expectation puts an awful lot of pressure on the other party, doesn't it? This expectation is always going to lead to disappointment.

I am not saying that you can't expect a wonderful, happy relationship to last for the rest of your life. I'm simply saying that unless you realize that the love and acceptance that you expect from your mate must also come from you, there will be disappointment, frustration and pain. We cannot expect something outside of us to complete us, we have to realize the "perfect love" is in us. It is, always has been and always will be.

I've been reminded of this recently as, with any new relationship, I find myself relying more on my soldier to sustain my happiness than I do myself. Whew! I learned that lesson last week, didn't I? Yes, communication from him does affect my moods but I should work harder on being ok anyway. I need to continue to remember my words. I also need to remember that the only thing real that exists is love. All of the drama in my life is my own illusion, my lack of faith and my own perception gone wrong. We all do it and I'm sure to do it again.

I've seen more articles about suicides among soldiers lately. Not the most inspiring of messages for me to see. Then I saw this:

"The real central issue is relationships. Relationships, relationships, relationships," said U.S. Army Chaplain Lt. Col. Ran Dolinger. "People look at PTSD, they look at length of deployments ... but it's that broken relationship that really makes the difference."

When I talk to my soldier, he sounds smiling and happy on the phone. He doesn't talk about the atrocities that I know he faces everyday. He really doesn't say much about the past or the future. I think he knows that he has a job to do and enjoys a little light in the midst of the "hell" he has to face.

I am very proud of him for being such a positive influence to his soldiers. And the fact that he can smile when he's talking to me, says that he's still the same lovable guy he always was. Maybe he knows that he can survive this because he feels love through it. My love, his love, God's love? I don't know. God only knows where a soldier gets their strength.

I've always believed that love changes everything. If its a relationship that will help a soldier to be strong, stay positive, do his job with sincerity and care, then maybe I am doing my part. Maybe I am "Army strong" after all.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Breathe normal now

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling pretty good but soon began to spiral worrying about my soldier again. After a comment from Lisa on my last post, I went to read more of her blog, Gorgeous for God. I read the preface from her book and it hit the mark! That little bird was me! I was still thrashing in a panic, sensing a threat that wasn't there! I kept that story with me as I met my mother and realtor to look at houses.

We were in and out of the car for about three hours and just happened to be in the car when my soldier called from Baghdad. YAY!!!!! I was so happy that I was shaking!!!

It turns out that he hasn't gotten many emails this week due to an Internet line that was cut in the Mediterranean. I had heard about this but the media reported that Iraq still had Internet access.

He hadn't gotten my email about the house selling and he was so excited for me. He was so sweet and loving and supportive - as always. *sigh* He's just the best thing...

So anyway, now my blog readers have a better idea of how I react in a crisis. I've been really holding my breath with no contact from him since earlier this week.

Thank God for my Course in Miracles book and all that I have to be thankful for. I think this was a lesson to me to continue listening to that voice inside me... always. I should listen in good times and bad. Because I'm sure if I do, I'll handle the rough stuff much better.

I have been taking lots of deep breaths today. Whew. I can breathe normal now...

Oh and my new favorite movie? (Speaking of handling crises well)
La Vita รจ bella

Also known as Life is Beautiful. What a wonderful film!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Hedgehog Day!

As I picked up the girls from school yesterday, my older daughter was anxious to tell me about something exciting happening on Saturday. She said, "Mommy!! Did you know tomorrow is Hedgehog Day?!"

What? Hedgehog day?

She said, "Yes, he comes out of the ground and looks for his shadow. If he sees it, we have 6 more years of summer!"

Friday, February 1, 2008

Relax

I woke up this morning in a panic attack. It has been at least since October that I've had one. Not fun - can't breathe, can't sleep, can't calm down. I immediately began my deep yogic breathing and that helped... some.

Something was telling me to go get my ACIM (Course in Miracles) book and see where it would take me. I said a prayer and opened it. This is the first thing I saw:
"Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me.
Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death, nor use it for destruction.
Teach me how NOT to make of it an OBSTACLE to peace,
but let You use it FOR me, to FACILITATE its coming."
Wow. So true and so helpful. I am judging EVERYTHING that is happening to me. And I am reacting to my own judgment. Perception teaches us that we know not what we see. Everyone's perception is different. All of it comes from the mind therefore, if I change my mind, I change my perception.

I began once again to think of all that I am thankful for:
  • I spoke with my brother-in-law yesterday, who is a mortgage broker, and he is going to pre-qualify me for a home loan. He also mentioned various programs that will help me with closing costs and down payment. He wants to make it as easy as possible for me.
  • I received an email today from the realtor I am using. She is very familiar with my situation and said, "I'm excited to go out and look for you...a fresh start for you, and I want to make sure that I find you something very special!" So kind of her!
  • I mentioned to my boss yesterday that my house sold and I was nervous about what I could afford. He offered me a raise right on the spot!
  • My little one had a gymnastics program at school today, right when I was supposed to be in a meeting. I was sad I would miss it. When I got to work, I was asked if we could move the meeting to this afternoon. So I was able to go watch the program after all! Yay! She was so happy to see me!
  • A good friend was available for a much-needed pep talk this morning. She pointed out to me that it was because of my attitude that my husband and I have such a healthy relationship. Divorce can be so ugly. The fact that he wants to continue to help me and be a supportive friend to me speaks volumes.
Forgiveness creates miracles. This is what ACIM is all about. I know it for fact. I've seen it work. It has changed my mind, my attitude and my life!!

I will continue to send love into my world and into the hearts of all whom I come in contact with. I will use whatever I perceive in my life not as an obstacle to the peace I desire but to facilitate its coming. I am truly blessed! This is WHO I AM.

My note from the universe for today:
Never underestimate human spirit, T.
Especially not your own.
It comes from the finest stock, if I do say so myself.

Be the ball,
The Universe

P.S. I just can't tell you how pleased we are with your new approach to life! You should have been T a long, long, long time ago.