Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Rules for Being Human

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called "life". Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that "works".
  4. A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. Then you can go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. "There" is not better than "here". When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that again, looks better than "here".
  7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. The answers lie inside you. The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.

(One of the ACIM students in my study group gave this to me tonight. I thought my blog readers would enjoy it as I did. I am especially fond of #7. This is lesson that is playing over and over in my life right now.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Separate

Its been 6 months since I've seen my soldier. Wow.

Yesterday, this was in my inbox:

Any and all forms of separation - disconnects, divides, partings, breakups, and goodbyes - T, are temporary. Very.

You'll be together far, far longer than you will ever be apart.

Forever and ever -
The Universe

Your oneness, T, is pure truth; your separation is pure fantasy.

Yes, I know on a higher level, we are never alone. We are never separate.

Still I'm finding when I look at expiration dates on my groceries, I seem to put it in perspective of when he's coming home.

When my latest box of Macaroni & Cheese expires, he will be 4 months from coming home.

When my new bottle of contact solution expires, he will be home.

Pretty pathetic, eh?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Equal Treatment

After reading Sarah's post** on her military spouse blog, I realized that I needed to say a little something about this topic as well.

Both my mother and my sister are also divorced. And both tend to be very cynical about men. I certainly can't blame them. Both marriages ended up being less than wonderful and my sister's divorce was especially nasty.

I was also very cynical when my parents split up. My father and I never got along. I grew up feeling ignored and never good enough. With my father as my "male role model", I would end up marrying someone who would seemingly leave me feeling the same way. I was angry at my father through most of my life for how he treated my mom - much less how he treated me.

Then as my marriage dissolved I realized it was a deja vu of my parents' marriage. I was angry and felt very victimized. When my father turned to me to offer love and assistance, I grew even more upset with him. How dare he try to support me when he treated my mother the same way!

It was a turning point for me. I am one of those people who believes that a lesson will keep banging you over the head until you get it. This was my lesson.

I had to LOOK AT IT. Look at the pain of my relationship with my father and look at the pain of my relationship with my husband. It was then that I realized:

Neither my father nor my husband ever meant to hurt me (or my mother). They both loved me the only way that they knew how.

Suddenly, I was overcome with a sense of peace, forgiveness and love. Thankfully, I found peace with my father before his death.

I decided that I would not be a cynical, man-hating ex-wife or divorcée. We all do our best in relationships. I don't think we go into a marriage planning on that one day when we will hurt our spouses and feel strong feelings of resentment and hate. Shit happens, you know? Life throws you curve balls and you grow apart. You learn whatever lesson you needed to learn and then its time to move on.

This is the main reason I never promised my soldier I would be here waiting for him upon his return. If I were 20 years old, I could've naively promised him forever. All intentions aside, I now realize that forever may not mean "as his girlfriend" or "as his wife". It may mean I'll be here "as his friend". I will always feel love for him. However, I know nothing of what life has planned for me. Or him. Therefore, I promised him one day at a time.

My parents ended up being great friends. My mother and dad were close up until he passed away last year.

I always joke that my parents gave me a good role model for divorce. The ex and I get along well and I can see a future with us a great friends. We do have a mutual respect for each other. It still gets weird at times and I do still feel resentment on the rare occasion. I know it will take some distance and time but we both know that we wish the best for each other. That statement alone is very healing.

Because of all that I've learned in relationships and in reading lately (Jeff Mac's blog Manslations has been wonderful), I realize that the only way to grow into a mutual loving and respectful relationship with a man is to have love and respect for a man! Not to be cynical and hateful. Not to bash men. We don't like when men bash us or put us all into one category of "bitch" or "nag". Why should we do the same to them? Don't we all deserve equal treatment?

We are different. Yes. I whole-heartedly agree! But viva la difference! Different isn't bad. Different is what makes life more interesting. And underneath that "difference" we are all the same. We all want love. Maybe if we took the time to appreciate the differences and learn to communicate despite the differences, we'd get along much better. That could be said for so many things in life, couldn't it?

**Thanks to Sarah's post: here are some links to a stereotypical man commercial and a sterotypical woman commercial. Let me know how you feel after watching them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mommyhood


My oldest daughter drew this lovely picture of the two of us. I usually send this stuff to my soldier - he gets a kick out of "how the world looks through the eyes of two little girls". Tonight I thought I'd share it with my blog readers as well. I also have loads of books that she's written. Already. Starting from age 4. Yessiree, we have a mini-me in the works!

I shared these silly stories with my soldier today on the phone. Its always good to hear his big bold laugh. I sometimes wonder if the soldiers around him enjoy his laugh like I do...


But I digress! (Where was I? Oh yeah!)

Being a mommy is definitely an adventure!

About a week ago, the kids and I were at an ice cream store and I was standing at the counter looking over all of the fresh baked cookies and ice cream selections. Little one was standing to my left, Older child to my right. Now, I’m constantly running my fingers through the little one's soft hair and that’s what I was doing. I wasn’t looking at her… I was drooling over the sweets. I stopped messing with her hair long enough to point something out to my other daughter. Then I went back to running my fingers through her hair again. Suddenly, the couple standing to my left are staring at me and giggling. I look at them and smile and they’re about in hysterics at this point. I couldn’t figure out what was so funny. They finally pointed out to me that I was running my fingers through their daughter’s hair, not my little one's. My daughter had walked away to look at something else! That little girl’s hair was just as soft! Thank goodness they thought it was funny too.

And speaking of little girls, I have to share this one with you too. One of my co-workers, who is also my old neighbor, sent an email tonight that his grandmother died. Now he has twin daughters that are the same age as my oldest daughter. They have been friends with her since babyhood. So, he is telling the twins that his Grandma died and they were sad. To reassure them, he said that Grandma was with God now. One of the girls looked perplexed and said, “You mean God died too?”

Monday, March 24, 2008

All is as it should be

A friend of mine posted this on her Myspace blog and I was hooked. This is exactly where I am. Click the link to read more:

The only sin is self-hatred.

From pp. 78-79 of Paul Williams' Das Energi:

Sooner or later a person begins to notice that everything that happens to her is perfect, relates directly to who she is, had to happen, plays its little role in fulfilling her destiny.

When she encounters difficulty, it no longer occurs to her to complain -- she has learned to expect nothing, has learned that loss and frustration are a part of life, and come at their proper time -- instead she asks herself, why is this happening? . . . by which she means, what can I learn from this, how will it strengthen me, make me more aware? She lets herself be strengthened, lets herself grow, just as she lets herself relax and enjoy (and grow) when life is gentle to her.

Strengthened by this simple notion, simple awareness, that life is perfect, that all things come at the proper moment, and that she is always the perfect person for the situation she finds herself in, a person begins to feel more and more in tune with her inner nature, begins to find it easier and easier to do what she knows is right. All chance events appear to her to have been intended; all intentional actions she clearly perceives as part of the workings of Chance. Anxiety seldom troubles her; she knows her death will come at the proper moment; she knows her actions are right and therefore whatever comes to pass as a result of them will be what is meant to happen. When she does feel anxiety, she realizes it is because of that thing she's been meaning to do but hasn't done, some unfulfilled relationship she's been aware of, but . . . She perceives the anxiety as a message that she'll have to stop hesitating if she wants to stay high . . . She knows that she is out of tune because she's let herself get out of tune; and because she knows she can, she begins to take action. She enjoys her high life; does not enjoy anxiety; so she stops hesitating and does what she has to do.

She does not live in a state of bliss, though perhaps she feels herself moving toward one -- or toward something, she doesn't know what it is but it is the way she has to go, the journey towards it is the only life she enjoys. It is hard; it is exciting; it is satisfying, lonely, joyous, frustrating, puzzling, enlightening, real; it is her life, that's all. She accepts it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Awareness

When I was in my 20's, I always had headaches, backaches and stomach problems. I've also been prone to anxiety. I can remember at least 2 nervous breakdowns in my life - the first one at the tender age of 17.

The ex used to joke with me that I should've been a pharmacist for I knew every medicine that a doctor would prescribe for various ailments. Most likely, I'd taken them myself!

About 10 years ago, I was having panic attacks and close to another nervous breakdown. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant for me. As usual, I judged myself harshly for having to take a pill simply to deal with life. The pharmacist told me that anti-depressants are 99% of what he doses daily. Wow. The whole world needs a pill to deal with life!

During my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to watch my diet closely. I found that my father had diabetes but never took care of himself or changed his diet. I knew that meant that I could possibly become a Type II diabetic in life as well. After my daugter was born, I was told I had high cholesterol as well. I was heavier than I'd ever been in my life and thus decided to go on Weight Watchers. I lost 35 pounds and learned how to eat smaller portions.

Then when my first daughter was about a year old and after a month of ear infections, her pediatrician recommended tubes for her ears. Being the protective mother that I am, I did not want my baby to have surgery - though many parents do it and swear by it! I decided to do research instead. I found the best book and it changed my life: Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child

This book gave options for how to treat all ailments and childhood illnesses. It covered herbal remedies, conventional medicine, diet, acupressure and homeopathic. I found that my child was having allergies to oats. Once I stopped feeding her oats, her sinuses cleared and she didn't have any more ear infections. I also found that when she was ill, the best way to treat her was homeopathically. Unlike the drugs prescribed by conventional doctors, homeopathic remedies have no side effects! (There are complete blogs dedicated to homeopathy so I won't go into it here. Or check out the National Center for Homeopathy.)

With my obsessive nature about learning, I dove head first into the study of homeopathy and natural living. I also decided to wean myself off of my anti-depressant. All of this occurred during the downward spiral of my marriage. I wouldn't recommend weaning off of serotonin helpers during the most emotional time of your life. Whew! It was rough but I did it and survived due to natural and homeopathic remedies. I also turned to yoga during this time to help me. And I began extensive studies of spirituality and A Course in Miracles (ACIM).

With all of these changes in my life, I began to notice things about myself. I was suddenly acutely aware of food that my body didn't agree with. Some foods even affected my moods! I began avoiding those foods and foods laden with chemicals or trans-fats. I also stopped worrying about my weight and began to eat whatever I wanted, but in moderation. I no longer craved sugar or sweets. Yoga brought me more awareness of my breath to ward off any panic attacks. I began to meditate. My back didn't hurt anymore. I only had headaches right before my cycle. My stomach problems were gone. I broke the "plateau" weight-wise and began to trim down to an even healthier weight.

I am by no means the healthiest eater, the most serene or the fittest person in the world. However I think with the awareness that I have gained, I am strong, more balanced, am in the best shape and feel better than I ever have in my life.

I bring all of this up because I recently had a checkup with my homeopath. She recommends homeopathic remedies to help me (and my children) to stay balanced emotionally. During my checkup, I was telling her how the Course helps me so much intellectually. It took nearly an hour for her to get down to the core of me emotionally. I kept spouting off all of this spiritual jargon to hide whatever pain I felt emotionally. It was then I realized, there has to be a balance somewhere between the two.

I realize so much of what ACIM is telling me intellectually but I can't always apply it emotionally. Hmmmm, perhaps the homeopathic remedy will help me to apply what I know intellectually? Perhaps the more aware I become spiritually, the less I will need a homeopathic remedy to help me emotionally?

There is still so much to learn about myself.

I love this quest. I never thought nearing 40 could be quite as awesome as 20-something. As long as I keep on learning, becoming more wise and more aware, the only way is up! Am I going to be the coolest old lady one day or what?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Perfect timing

Whoa! I received this in my inbox this morning.

Today's Daily Om:

March 20, 2008

A Life-Altering Decision
Divorce With Grace

Like the act of marriage that binds two people together, divorce is the result of a life-altering decision. It is the dissolving of a relationship that we believed would last our whole lives. We may not even be able to articulate how we got to this place, yet we may also feel we have no choice but to sever this tie. Whatever we feel, we need the support of the friends and family who will stand by us no matter what we decide. At some point, we may need to be challenged to look deeper inside ourselves as we make this very important decision, but what we need most of all is unconditional love and loyalty.

Divorce is a process that, once in motion, becomes difficult to stop, and this can be painful if we find ourselves having second thoughts. We may feel that we should do more to save the marriage, or we may wonder if there is something about ourselves that we could fix or change instead of going through with this painful separation. On the other hand, we may be seeing in hindsight that our marriage was truly only meant to last for a short time so that we could learn something we needed to know. Whatever the case, we need friends who will allow us to linger in confusion when we don’t have the answers and who will support us whether we find ways to reconcile and stay married or whether we walk away.

Of course, the most essential ally we have lives inside our hearts and speaks to us from within. We can trust this inner guide to help us choose people who will support us in kind and loving ways as we navigate the rough terrain of confusion and loss. Sometimes all we can do is look to the horizon, remembering that we will get through this time, and no matter what happens we will once again feel whole.

(Very strange as I'm finding I'm ready to move forward but I still feel such a sense of rejection and failure. I guess these are normal feelings when ending a marriage. And of course, I do realize that these feelings are impermanent... this too shall pass.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Anniversary

I've realized that it was 19 years ago today that the ex and I went out on our first date. Who knew 19 years later we'd be meeting with a lawyer.

Anyway...

It's all over the news: 5 years in Iraq. What have we accomplished?

I know, I know... we've already covered the discussion in a previous post.

I saw this on Butterfly Wife's blog and I thought I'd post it as well.
The U.S. Army released its latest figures on the relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, in the lead up to the five-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

-- The U.S. Army has rehabilitated and constructed nearly 1,100 schools, providing classrooms for more than 324,000 students.

-- By early 2009, Army projects will have completed 137 new primary healthcare centers that will serve a population of 5 to 6.5 million Iraqis.

-- A strong emphasis is placed on training and education to better prepare the Iraqi people to manage and sustain their infrastructure.

-- An estimated 4.1 million more Iraqis now have access to clean, drinkable water that they didn't have before.

-- Cities like Fallujah have their first sewage treatment plant. Before 2003, raw sewage in most of Iraq was discharged into rivers and waterways.

The nation-building programs are having a real impact on the lives of Iraqis by helping to jumpstart the country in several critical areas including education, healthcare, security, infrastructure, democracy programs and training.

Check out this downloadable video for an inside look at these efforts to strengthen and rebuild the country.
Maybe it doesn't seem like much but the soldiers and the families that love them like to know that their lives are making a difference.

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."-Mother Teresa

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Communicating with men, again

After the confusion of my previous post and after hearing from my soldier yesterday, I have found that I'm apparently better at communicating with men than I previously thought.

My soldier said he didn't mean to make me feel pressured or that I should take anything he said personally. He said he was communicating his feelings to me. Apparently, he is used to an emotional or irrational response from a female when expressing his true feelings. I didn't respond in that manner so he was very happy about that.

I realize that these expectations of how the opposite sex is going to act or react is based on what we have learned from past relationships. I didn't know what to think about some of the things that were said. Part of me did take it personally, but I have learned as one of my Four Agreements** that nothing others do (or say) has anything to do with me. Everything he said was based on his filters of relationships with previous girlfriends. So, even if I felt a little uncomfortable, I didn't react that way because intellectually, I knew that his statements weren't about me. It took me a day to sort through them but I'm glad I didn't react as I would've before. And he's glad too.

Anyway, so we're all good. Yay! I still think we're learning more and more about each other with each passing day. This separation is good for us. We have to take things slowly, build trust and take care of business in the meantime.

Right now, I am going to plant some new herbs in my new backyard.

Have I mentioned that I love my new house?!


**The Four Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don't Take Anything Personally

3. Don't Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fear vs. Boundaries

Warning: long post.
(As compared to all of the shorter posts... oh right, short posts... ha ha. I crack myself up. )

I’ve had to think for a while about this topic. This past week, I hadn’t heard from my soldier via email as often as I usually had. It is amazing in that “silence” how much I miss him. Yet it was less than a week between phone calls. I am really spoiled, aren’t I?

So he called a few days ago and was apologetic about how busy he’s been. Hello? Baby, you’re at war, remember? I completely get it!

The conversation began with our normal being silly and covering topics that I won’t go into here… He was being very sweet and complimentary.

Then a short time into the conversation, he asks, “So… when’s the divorce final?”

Um, I just moved? And the ex travels every week with work? Have you been thinking about this or what?

Apparently he has.

Over the next hour – yes an HOUR! The longest conversation we’ve had since he was physically here – I got the distinct idea that he is feeling scared and excited about pursuing a relationship with me.

He was worried about how he would continue to do the things he loves to do, with his triathlons, fitness training and spending time with his family both here locally and other places in the United States, AND make time to date me when I live 2 ½ hours from him. How and where were we going to fit into each other's lives?

He went into his expectations about relationships, mentioning past things that old girlfriends had done that he loved or disliked. We talked at length about how neither of us likes head games and dishonesty. We both agreed that we enjoyed open communication and nurturing as well as being nurtured. He said he was encouraged about our relationship thus far. All good stuff right?

But then he says, “You know, I know that you’re flesh and bone and need someone physically to be there for you. I would completely understand should you meet someone else. You certainly deserve someone to be with you since I can’t. You should leave your dating options open.”

Then he would joke that he'd prefer I spend any of my free time with my girlfriends.

And sprinkled throughout the conversation were things like how he doesn’t want a girl to control him or try to force him into marriage. He also admitted that he has expectations in a relationship but said he’s dated enough to realize that he doesn’t have to settle.

Then he'd say something about how I was the "perfect girl" because I agreed with him on certain aspects of relationships.

Huh?



I told him on the phone that none of those things needed to be on his mind at this time. We still have an entire year before he gets home. I said that if we were going to be together, it would work out. If not, well, then it wasn’t supposed to happen for us. I also told him that I’m not looking to date anyone else. My life is very full and I love it that way. I don’t HAVE to be dating someone to be happy. If someone else comes along and it feels right, I will pursue it.

I said, “I also know that the only thing I have control over is me. And the last thing I want is to jump back into a marriage right now so you won’t be getting any pressure from me! Let’s just enjoy each other right now. You are a pleasure in my life. I enjoy being here for you. The rest? Let’s just figure that out when we get to it.”

After we hung up, I revisited, over and over again, all that was said. I was both confused and frustrated. It wasn’t until I could take a breath (and a good night’s sleep) that I realized: this is the same guy I knew back in September.

I remember back when he was here, we had the most amazing conversations about past relationships. We both agreed that in each relationship, we lost a little bit of ourselves. Both of us said that our next partner would have to accept us just as we were. We would talk for hours. We would stare into each other’s eyes and reassure each other. We would hold each other when bringing up pain from previous relationships. This time, it was very emotionally draining for me because he wasn’t here holding my hand or wrapping his arms around me as I cried about the frustrations of my marriage.

Even as we were getting off of the phone, I was very quiet and distant. He picked up on it and didn’t want to hang up until I explained what I was feeling. I only told him that I loved our conversations better when he was here with me.

I see that we’re both laying out boundaries. I know that boundaries are a good thing. We both need to use them. However, I feel so much fear from him: fear of loss of control, fear of losing himself, fear of losing me. I'm pretty scared myself.

The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear. ~A Course in Miracles

I would like to think that my next relationship will be “inclusive” and not “exclusive”. What I mean is, I would like to include a new relationship in my life as it is now. I do not choose to stop my ACIM study or my fitness goals or my time with my family or my friends. I think that is his goal as well.

I understand how frightening it is to realize that you don’t have control of where life is going to take you next. I know what it is like to be scared to trust someone with your heart again. I know that he sees himself as a strong, Army man but I know his heart and I know his sensitivities. I know that he sees me as a free spirit and perhaps that frightens him too. I also know that he has lost faith due to all that he’s been through.

Boundaries are good but shouldn’t they be something softer than a brick wall?

Shouldn’t they be there for the good of the relationship and not based on fear or a need to protect yourself?

What I hope is that he will continue to see that I am not going anywhere. What I hope for both of us is that we will slowly begin to trust each other, trust love and trust life again! The best stuff in life happens beyond our control. We can only choose how we view it. I hope the best for him. He deserves it. And I do too, quite frankly!

So, I'm posting some sweet smileys for my soldier.







Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My next fitness goal:

I am so going to learn how to do this (after getting the bike riding thing down). It is just so beautiful!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Iraq: Are we making a difference?

With the upcoming elections, I have been hearing more about the future of the war in Iraq. I haven't broached this subject with my soldier. He really doesn't want to talk about the war when we're on the phone. What I do know about him: he is passionate about his mission and what we're doing over there.

He sent an email the other day about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It was quite fascinating to me because I try to avoid the news. What I do hear about the war, the media says its a waste of our time and resources.

Now I certainly don't want to see the war continue; I am a hippie at heart and doodle peace signs whenever I have a pen and paper in hand. I also firmly believe in the lyrics quoted from Sting's song, "Russians":
There's no such thing as a winnable war. Its a lie we don't believe anymore.
But at the same time, I do want to say that like me, those soldiers aren't 'pro-war', they're 'pro-peace'. That is the mission of our military, at least from my soldier's point of view. I can support that. I was just ignorant of what the military and war were like. I'm learning more and more each day.

From my soldier regarding life under Saddam Hussein:
There are many stories involving death that I won’t share right now, but I’ll just summarize by saying that anyone who thinks the world was a better place before the United States removed Saddam Hussein from power is misinformed at best. Anyway, sometimes I open conversation with (my Iraqi counterpart) by asking him what the Iraqi news channel is saying. This led him to share with me that while Saddam was in power they only had two channels allowed in the country, “Channel 1, Saddam Hussein. Channel 2, Saddam Hussein” as he told me. Everyone was required to be familiar with Saddam’s TV messages and would be quizzed, more or less, the next day...”Let me tell you, very bad if you don’t know what Saddam say last night”.

(He) told me about “elections” between 1976 and 2003. The ballot had two blocks you could check: “Saddam Hussein” or “Not Saddam Hussein”. He said everyone feared that there were cameras watching what voters were doing; therefore, almost everyone checked “Saddam Hussein”. The results would come back as 99% for Saddam, so Saddam would direct his bodyguards to go out and find the 1% who checked “Not Saddam Hussein”.
Another thing I've noticed when speaking to my soldier or reading military blogs is how upsetting it is that the American media doesn't focus on the positive things that are happening in Iraq. One of my favorite blogs to read is Butterfly Wife's Blog because she will post a daily "Good News from Iraq."

I can see where the media would be upsetting to the soldiers. Why continue if you feel like all that you're doing, including being away from family and friends and putting your life at risk, is being completely ignored by the media? I guess good news doesn't sell?

From my soldier regarding the media:
While hearing what the Arab media is saying is entertaining, the American media isn’t great all the time either. This past month one of Hezbollah’s leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, had a date with justice (he’s now dead). He was responsible for killing Americans in Lebanon and was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. I turned on AFN, which was broadcasting CNN at the time, and they spent an hour covering Roger Clemens taking steroids and Britney Spears leaving the hospital. No mention of a successful day in the war on terrorism. No wonder Americans don’t know that the surge worked and security is dramatically better in this country than it was three years ago, CNN is too busy covering Britney Spears to tell you good news.
So, like many of us, I dread hearing stories about more soldiers dying. I am happy to hear that the Army is thinking of shortening deployments and trying to make sure the soldier is home for a certain amount of time between deployments. (My soldier's last 'home time' was only 10 months after a 15 month deployment.) I fully support a new GI bill and anything to help transition these troops back home to their families.



But at the same time, let us not forget that they are making a difference in the world. As futile as it may seem or as the media makes it sound, we have to let them know that we appreciate them and that they haven't been forgotten.

Thoughts?

Monday, March 10, 2008

My house...in the middle of my street

As you can probably tell from the title of this and my last blog entry, I am pretty stoked to be the sole owner of my new home. It really is pretty. And its mine! Yay me!!

Last Friday morning, I took the girls to school a little later because of the crazy icy/snow roads. I picked up the keys to my new house at the title company at 9:30 and went to the house. It was nice to walk in and just absorb it all by myself. The ceilings are really tall and the floors are wood and tile. The acoustics ROCK!

I always dig good acoustics because I am a singer so I broke in the house with a few songs. It was fun. Then the phone started ringing.

I kid you not, my phone rang OFF THE HOOK all day long! The homeowner's insurance guy, some friends who wanted to help paint, the ex asking me to come back to the old house to pack more, guys from work, other friends just checking in... From about 10:00 a.m. til 12:00 midnight, I was running around like crazy or painting or on the phone or directing contractors. What an exhausting day! But by midnight, the house was freshly painted and ready for move in.

Saturday morning came too quickly for me. The movers were at the door by 7:00 a.m. I was barely hanging in after the day before but somehow managed to get all of our "stuff" moved to the new place. Even the movers were looking at me with concern since my eyes were baggy and I was dragging myself the whole day. It finally got to where I couldn't answer any more questions about where the boxes should go. I declared, "Put everything in the garage!"

After yet another late Saturday night, I spent all day yesterday trying to get rooms in order and boxes unpacked. I still have loads of boxes in the garage to go through. Frankly, the fact that the girls and I have beds to sleep in, clothes to wear and food to eat is a miracle.

Looks like March will be a month of boxes...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mine, all MINE!!

Well, the move is over. Whew!

It began on Thursday when I went to sign all of the closing papers. Between closing on the house we sold and the house I bought, I thought for sure I would have writer's cramp. Then as I left the title company, it began snowing.

I live in Texas and it doesn't snow. Sure we'll get covered by a sheet of ice usually once a year in January or February, but snow in March?

But it was coming down in giantic snowflakes from the sky. It occurred to me the irony of my signing the papers on MY first home and... how funny that part of my new street name is the word "Winter". I wonder if the weather would've been different had a bought a home on the next street that has the word "Autumn" or "Summer"?

Since the weather was getting progressively worse and it was wet and freezing on the streets, I decided to call it a day. I picked up the kids from school and we spent the rest of the day at home.

That night, since the girls didn't have much warm weather gear (all packed up!), I decided to make their last night in our old home fun. I felt bad that they couldn't go out and play in the 8 inches of snow so, I brought it inside. While the girls were enjoying their bath, I filled a cookie sheet with snow and set it next to the tub for them to play. They had an absolute blast making snowmen and watching them melt in the bath. Diva #1 told me, "I love a snow bath, Mommy! This is the best night ever!"

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My temper runneth over

Yeah, I pretty much lost it last night with the kids. And this morning too actually. I simply CANNOT STAND that everything in my house is in boxes! Argh! I can't find anything, I can't cook...I can barely locate a glass! I feel like I'm losing my mind!!

I hate living like this but then again, it was very nice of the ex to come and help get me packed up. For some reason, when the kids are around, they are so high maintenance that I get nothing done. I'm quite positive they aren't like this with anyone else in their lives. A friend of mine once said, "Having kids around is like having 10,000 chickens all pecking on you at the same time. " Boy, isn't that true? God love 'em.

I am so looking forward to signing those closing papers tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Seeing what I choose to see

My Note from the Universe for today:
Wherever you go, T, there I am. Appearing as the people, places, and circumstances you've most expected to see. Behaving as you most expected them to behave. Crafted as you most expected them to look. And brimming with abundance, adventure, and infinite possibilities, because I'm darn sure that's exactly what you've been visualizing.
Right?
TBT (Thoughts become things),
The Universe
A Course in Miracles says that we choose what we wish to see. If you think of the term perception, it means the same thing basically. For instance, I never noticed all of the Army bumper stickers on cars until my soldier left for Iraq. And our perception is based on the filters of our past. Those bumper stickers were always there but I never chose to see them. I never thought about the Army before.

I bring this up because after I get moved into my new house, the ex and I will be meeting with a lawyer to finalize our divorce papers. Since this has come to the forefront of my mind, I have noticed so many people I know having marital difficulties and discussing divorce. My new focus lately has been analysis of what happened in my own marriage so I find it interesting that many people are coming to me, asking my opinion of what they should do in their own marriages. What do I know?

My soldier told me last week that perhaps they are coming to me because I know some sort of "secret breaking point" at which you determine that your marriage is over. He also speculated that my friends see me as independent and aggressive where they might be passive. I don't know. I know that some of them were there for me when I was at my lowest point. I also believe that we all have different breaking points at which a decision is to be made.

As I remember that strong, healthy relationships are possible, I hope that my perception allows me to see them more. I am making some changes both internally and externally. Honestly, its the internal changes that makes the external look all the more lovely. I am going to open my eyes to the beauty that is around me right now, just beyond this limited perception. Its time to clean off those old filters and see things differently!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Depths of It

The time is now
Now is all there is

Finally

No words spoken
There is no need
Nothing but energy

And breath

We draw closer
And feel only breath
And in the moments between
Respond only to energy

First touch
Electric

Warm breath on my shoulder
My chest rises in anticipation

A soft kiss on your neck
Fingers entwine and
Bodies draw closer

A mixture of soft and hard
Curves and lines
A painting in bloom

Red orange light encircles
Hearts beat fast

The kiss
Sweet, lingering, slow
A brief pause

More intensity
And surrender into arms

My body moves into yours
Rising
Pressing

Remember to breathe!

Slow down,
But those eyes
Mine, yours,
Want more

Something here is bigger than us
I want you inside me

Let me cover you with me
My heat
My depth
My ocean

There has never been a separation
We are connected

My body is your body
Your body, mine

This moment
As my back arches
Never losing your rhythm

I hear your song
You feel my words

We are two souls
Making love

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Adventures in Cycling, Part 3

I could've died!

I decided on Friday to join a group of cyclists from a local bike shop. They have a 20 - 25 mile route that they take on the weekends. I was very anxious on Friday night and didn't sleep that well.

I met the group - there were 5 of us - at 8:00 a.m. The owner of the shop was nice enough to make some adjustments for me and pump up my tires. (Yay!)

Off we went and I was almost trembling from the very start. We went through some beautiful neighborhoods that I've never seen and off on to some country roads. It was a very scenic route with lots of wildlife and birds. How wonderful to be able to actually hear the sounds around you, as compared to being in a car.

As I was just beginning to relax, we came upon a road called "Hilltop". Um, yeah. Apparently, it is the highest point in the area. My speedometer clocked me at 3-5 mph as I struggled up this hill. I was especially nervous because my feet were locked into those pedals. If I should run out of steam, I would simply fall over. Thank goodness, the owner of the bike shop was kind enough to ride next to me and literally, push me up the hill. Whew! I definitely felt my heart beating after that!

I did learn quite a bit about how to pedal better. I have normally been pushing through my toes - which causes my toes to go numb - when I should be pushing through my heels. Once I figured this out, the other hills weren't quite as bad as I was using the strength in my thighs and my calves.

Then we approached the first street where we actually had to come to a complete stop. Ok, remember to pop your foot out of the pedal. Well, this particular stop was at the top of a steep hill. As I was struggling to get up the hill, I was not able to put together how to pedal uphill and take my foot out of the pedal. At the top of the hill on the side of the road was a tree and then a steep downgrade. I couldn't get my foot out and I knew I was heading right for that tree. And then I would continue to fall down the 15 or so feet to the bottom of the embankment.

I thought I was going to check out but in my panic, I managed to pop my right foot out, fall to the left (opposite the embankment) and miss the tree. My bike hit the tree but I didn't. Wow! I'm learning how to fall! The rest of the group were very worried - they all thought I was going to be seriously hurt. So did I!

I fell a second time some time later but again, didn't get hurt that bad. (Well, I found later that I was bleeding from my leg and I'm still not sure how I did that.)

We completed a little over 20 miles and it really wasn't as bad as I thought. I hated the hills but enjoyed when we went downhill. I found I was sometimes going 20-25 mph! What a rush!

My body could not get enough caloric intake after that. I ate for hours when I returned home yesterday. Then I crashed. I was so tired that I had to lie down. I tried to nap but my mind kept replaying the incident with my first fall and the tree.

I also couldn't relax because the ex was packing everything he could get his hands on. He's panicked because we are moving this weekend. I know I should've been helping but I think I'll still have time to get it all done. (Hopefully) My body just needed the rest!

Anyway, I thought I'd share the latest adventure. My metabolism has definitely kicked in since I've been training every night. I have got to make an eating plan if I'm going to attempt 150 miles. Otherwise, I will run flat out of energy and crash. And hopefully avoid any trees in the process.