Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year New Me

So, here I sit, on the couch in my house, watching JAWS with my almost 13 year old son and listening to my new dog snore. Would I want tonight, my last two hours of 2011, be any different? Not really. It would be nice to have someone to kiss at midnight I suppose but I will kiss my son's cheek and my pugs head and go to bed perfectly happy tonight.

I'm at a new place in my life. For 2012, I want to be more positive and encouraging, read more and watch less tv, exercise more and drink less wine (after tonight of course) and just have a better outlook on life over all. I thought 2011 would bring my life partner and it almost did. I'm not even thinking about that this year. I want a better me and I'm going to achieve that.

Best of luck to everyone for 2012 and beyond. May you be blessed and loved in the best way possible.

(The picture is of the beautiful Christmas gift from my brother Andy and his husband Fred. It's all from India. I'm a very lucky girl!)

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

His name is Z.

Two years ago, when the kids and I moved from my mother's duplex to an apartment, we had to give away our two dogs, Baby and Tiny. We have all missed them very much. What we didn't miss was their messes. We could never seem to get them house trained.

Two days ago, a friend of mind posted a picture of a pug on Facebook saying he needed a good home. My oldest son, Michael, has mentioned wanting a pug for a long time. I showed him the picture. We were in. I just had to get the information on him, was he free, how old, etc. The answers to my questions were all perfect. We were going to have a dog again. This time, he would be house trained, not a puppy and, well, absolutely the sweetest dog in the world.

Yesterday, I was off work so we went to pick him up. His name was Smoke (no clue why) but Michael wanted to change his name to Z. Why Z? He wanted just a letter and Z was the one that sounded the best. He didn't answer to Smoke so I didn't feel bad changing his name. He's really just a dog and will eventually get used to the name anyway.

I can honestly say that I feel like I am ready to have the responsibility of a dog. We don't live in a house anymore so it's not like I can just open the door and have him go pee in the backyard. I actually had to get the leash out and walk him at 6:00 this morning. He's so happy and cute that I didn't mind. Now, it's the first morning. I am still in the "honeymoon" phase. This will not be as exciting when I have been out the night before or up late and don't want to get out of bed. I realize that, but for now, I am happy to go outside.

It's actually nice to think that I have a really good reason to get off the couch. The kids have a reason to go outside. We have something to take care of other than ourselves. I just hope that, when Michael moves out again, he doesn't want to take Z with him. My plan is to have him for when I have the empty nest syndrome going on. Who knows, I just might become the crazy dog lady. It's a ton easier than trying to have a boyfriend! :)

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Monday, December 26, 2011

It's that time of year again...

The most beautifully simple Christmas tree.

Yesterday was Christmas, 2011. It was a very simple and quiet day for us here in the Nobles' household. I was up at 6:00 to put the turkey in. *Note to year, don't worry about getting up that early.* It was about 10:30 before a single child was stirring. The turkey was done, I had tried to go back to sleep to no availe and so there I was suddenly rushing because the next child up, Ben, reports that he needs to be at his new girlfriend April's house by 11:15 to do presents.

Now, this is very typical of Ben so I just put on my mom face and said, "You aren't eating here with us?" If he had just given me notice the day before I would have been more prepared. After deliberating and talking to April, he said he didn't have to be there until 1:15 now. Good, because we still had presents to open and I had side dishes to make and of course, I still wanted to make myself presentable.

All week this past week I was stressed about what I needed to get the kids and money and where we had to be. I just kept thinking, "This isn't what Christmas is about. I have to make a change in how this is handled next year." The only thing that made it easier was that I didn't have to deal with the kids going to the ex's house. They decided "not to do Christmas this year". Thank goodness! That's one hurdle I don't have to jump this year.

These events have made me realize that next year, there may be more girlfriend's, boyfriend's and friend's families to have to be with on this one day of the year. My beautiful children are getting older. They are starting to have lives of their own. There could very likely come a day when Christmas morning isn't spent at my house. This is just another adjustment in the life of being a parent. I will brace myself and be thankful and happy that these wonderful people that I have raised will have done what life intended them to do.....have a life of their own!

The most important thing for me will to always be able to have all of us in one room at the same time, no matter what the day. Just to be in the room celebrating family and the love of the Christmas season. If this happens for us in another month of the year, then that's the way it is. I just don't ever want to lose the feeling of family. Ever

So from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and may 2012 bring you the happiness, love and peace that you desire and may your hearts be constantly filled with Joy!

Michael, Alyssa, Jonathan and Benjamin say "Merry Chritmas everyone!"
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do you really want to be one of THOSE people?

I have been reading a lot of online articles about women and men, relationships and family. I have come across blogs written by men who have never been married and women who have been married a long time and seem happy but admit to struggle.Recently, while talking to a guy I know about men and how frustrating it can be to date, he said, "You know you sound bitter, right?" I was a little surprised that he said that, but upon being quiet and thinking about what he had just said, I knew he was right. My frustration is coming across as bitterness. I need to work on that. That is completey the opposite response I wanted. I know where it comes from. It was those first 36 years of my life where I was chastized for voicing my opinion, therefore, now I don't know how to do it without sounding.....ugh, bitter.

You know when people say, "You can't change anyone" how truly spot on that is? It hurts too much for people to make the effort to change so most people won't. They don't see themselves as other people see them and so they will continue to be who they are until they find SOMEONE who will see them the way they see themselves. Well, I don't want to be that person. I want to see myself in the light of who I really am. BUT I want the person who I really am to be good and loving and non-judgmental and accepting of everyone and everything.

Which brings me to my next point....I grew up in church and had religious beliefs shoved down my throat every single day for most of my childhood and adult life. In fact, it still happens and I find myself welling up inside wanting to scream, "Can you talk without quoting a bible verse and mentioning the name of God just ONCE??" So, why is it so offensive to me when that's how those people talk? Maybe it all that guilt that was shoved on me as a child. For me, I want the person I appear to be to memick that of Christ, not just what comes out of my mouth.

This article,, really spelled out for me the type of Christian I want people to see me as. I work in a corporate office surrounded by the funnest, most joyful group of people and my guess is about half of them are Christians. I know for a fact one is Agnostic. They all know I'm a Christian, mostly because it came up in conversation and they are my friends on Facebook, but do I appear "Jesus like" at work? Um, not always. Although I want to think I do atleast half the time.

What you will never find me doing is shoving my beliefs down their throat or making those that aren't Christians feel uncomfortable. Why? Because that would run them off. Is that what we are supposed to do? NO. God does not want us to run people off from Him by vomiting His name of them over and over and making them uncomfortable. He wants us to be real and love them to the point where they want to know how we can be so calm in the face of adversities.

After previewing my writing (love it when I do that) I have gone from dating to religion in one big swoop. Imagine that. That's how my brain works so enjoy. My point is that, as a people, be who you are through your actions and make sure your actions are who you want to be. No matter what the circumstance, check yourself before you show a side of you people who rather not see.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting into the Season

Random house in a neighborhood by my office.
It seems like every year Christmas is different for me....are the kids there or not, am I really even feeling it? Last year I was dating someone that I actually broke up with four days later....more than four days too late, but that's another story. This year....I'm not really sure I'm feeling it yet, but it's getting there.

After my therapy sessions, I've decided I really want to be a better person. I appear to be someone on the outside that I am not always feeling on the inside. I let things get to me WAY too quickly and I take things more personally than people would imagine. I know when it's happening and I know I can just find someone to vent to and let it out, but I want to stop it before it gets to that point.

The "Reason for the Season" is about others, not about us. I have focused way too much on me in recent years and I really want to focus on other people this year. I have a lot of great friends and certain family members in my life that I don't think know just how much I appreciate them. I haven't been to church lately, but the church posts the pastor's sermon on Facebook so I can watch it from there. A recent sermon was about how Christmas is NOT your birthday. Well, that kinda hit home to me. I don't ever expect anything much from anyone for Christmas anymore. It's more about what I can do for my kids....for the most part. It's always nice to get a little somethin' somethin' but I don't expect it so I won't get disappointed when it doesn't happen.

I really just want to be able to control that switch between my brain and my mouth. I want to WANT to have a relationship with my mom who is suffering from dementia. I want to let go of the events of two years ago and just be with her as much as possible before she is gone. This means going through her oldest son and THAT is my greatest challenge. I will have to open that door and talk to him again and have him tell me how things are supposed to go. I know he loves having control, so do I just let him have it in order to see my mom? I suppose so. Will I do it? That is yet to be seen. I guess, since he will have nothing once she's gone and really, this is all he has right now, I could give it to him. Let him have this one thing.

Being like Jesus. That's what I want to be. Be like Jesus. I want people to see Jesus in me, not the hate and bitterness that tends to come out when I least want it to. It's not gonna be easy but I've been through harder things. I can do this.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

This is why they make THOSE drugs.

I may be sharing some information in this post that others would never share with an unknown audience, but this is my outlet, so I'm telling it.

The company I work for pays for six therapy sessions a year. That's all paid for, six times to go sit and talk to someone who is a professional brain picker. I decided to take them on the offer. It was interesting, one, because my counselor seemeed like he had the beginning stages of dimentia. I was always retelling my story when I went in. I could have changed counselors, but I really liked him. He was older and very open and honest, not like any other therapist I'd seen before.

At first, I wasn't really sure what to talk about except that I had man-trust issues. I had just been dooped once again in a bad relationship and had decided I should just be eternally single. Really all I needed was someone to talk to, listen and then figure things out for myself. He didn't really offer any suggestions, basically saying that everything I was going through was just life stuff. He gave me an anxiety scale test. I was just over the boarder for severe anxiety. Surprise? No. But he did confirm that I am NOT bipolar as my ex likes to tell my kids that I am. I just have some really shitty people in my life that stress me out and I have to learn how to deal with them, even those that I have basically X'd out of my life.

Now comes the daily trial of working with some of these people that sort of stress me out. We are all different. I get that. I just have this zero tolerance thing going on lately. Is it because I'm getting older? Is it that I have put up with my share and shit and idiots in my life and I'm tired already? I have come to realize that THIS is why they make medications to help with stress. I'm not anything daily, just on an as needed basis. It makes me an easier person to be around, I think. It makes it easier for me to be around me anyway. I also want to put a sign out saying, "Hey coworker! Did you know that our company pays for six therapy sessions? You should try it out and get some help for this issue I have with you!" Too much? Ok, well, I can't really do that, but oh how I would like to give them some therapy.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

What are YOU thankful for?

This is my family for whom I am very thankful!
Thanksgiving 2011

This year, Thanksgiving was a really nice experience for our family. It was just me and the kids and a friend of my daughters. Last year, I proposed to the ex that, since the kids were getting older and the whole "my Thanksgiving, your Christmas" thing was kinda going out the window, we should come to an agreement on how to split the holidays so that they aren't torn between the homes anymore. I have the kids on Thanksgiving for lunch and then they go to their grandparent's house with their dad for dinner. At Christmas, they spend Christmas Eve with their dad and Christmas Day with me. We will see if that works out this year, but so far it's been good.

I wasn't really feeling the holidays this year. I was glad to have the time off work to sleep in and just do what I wanted, but as for the celebration of whatever, I wasn't feeling it. But, when I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and I knew my house was overflowing with kids, I felt so full in my heart. There is nothing more that I love than to be a mom, having my kids around me just makes me feel complete. I look forward to the day that there are even more at my table - partner, friends and grandbabies. The conversation is so nice and easy. No tension. We all get along and can tease and play around and enjoy just being together. It's a nice place to be.

This made me think of something that was going around on Facebook. It was a cheesy thing about telling something you are thankful for every day in the month of November. Not many of my friends participated, but I have to say, some of them were really digging when it came to what they were thankful for. (Sorry if you participated and are now offended by my comments.) Then there were the ones who skipped a few days and then made up for it. Really?? I am thankful for a lot but I don't feel thankful every day, just being honest. Everyone is thankful for the same thing, kids, husband/wife, mom/dad, house, Jesus, etc. etc. I would have liked to see something original but, that's what that was intended for, I don't think.

Shouldn't we just be thankful for whatever we are going through in our lives, good or bad, because it makes us who we are? It makes us stronger and wiser and better - if we learn from it, whatever "it" is.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where is the Maturity?

Why are we such an immature society now? Wasn't there a time when we didn't think and act like a child past the age of oh, say, 12? Ok, maybe 18, but really....Once we get into the "adulthood" of our lives, shouldn't there be some part of us that starts to think like an adult? I just wonder what has happened to the idea of bringing up adult children?

Me at the age of 15.
The majority of the people I am around on a daily basis are under the age of about 35. Now, I am only 44, so it really doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But, OH what a difference a decade makes. I am raising teenagers, I get that. There are many days that I feel like I am in a sorority every time I leave the house Monday thru Friday. Oh, and I didn't get accepted in the group. I am obviously the outsider.

Looking out at the world through friends, Facebook, the church I have attended, it just feels like it's really, truly become a Me, Me, Me world and it really makes me sick. It's not what I want my children to learn. They should be people who give back to others, not want and expect everything to be given to them.

I remember a couple of years ago, I said to some of my friends how I wanted the kids and I to go feed the homeless for Christmas. They said to me, "If my mom had done that to me when I was there age I would have been so pissed!" I want to believe I've raised better kids than that. They definitely know they done want for anything. They do know that they are very lucky to have two parents who love them. We may be divorced, but we would both do anything for them. Would they be ok with feeding the homeless on Christmas? I don't know, but I would hope they could appreciate that.

Dear God in heaven, help us figure out a way to overcome this selfishness and think of others over ourselves.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Frustrations of Single Friends

This picture just cracked me up. And it says a lot about single people.
There comes a time in a single person's life when they realize what a jerk they've been to their friends - or one can hope, right? I know in my single life, I have caused a few of my friends to have the urge to seek out a brick and just about hit themselves on the head with it because they can't get through to my desperately pathetic brain. To them, I have and will continue to apologize.

In the last, oh, seven years or so, I have had many, many women, mostly just acquaintances, come to me for relationship advice. There weren't too many that made me want to grab a brick, but there has been at least one. The others took my advice or didn't, but they managed to figure out what they needed to. It was certainly a learning for me that showed me what I would love to do if I could ever just change my career path without going to college. I truly feel it's my passion to help broken women AND men along in their journey to be happy with themselves and NOT be in a terrible relationship.  I have certainly had my own very long and rough journey. Sharing that with others makes me happy and crazy at the same time.

When my friends and family try to give me advice, I usually won't listen. There was a time when I listened because I was new to the "game". I am certainly a veteran now, no need to give me unwanted advice anymore, but thanks. I honestly think I have finally figured myself out (as much as possible anyway). I have taken my stupid mistakes and am really trying to learn from them. I don't date right now. That means I am not on any dating websites actively seeking out men to talk to. Nor do I come on to anyone, not that I ever did, but I'm still not doing that. I am a flirt, but I always have been. Although, in my 40's, I'm not really feeling as flirty as I did in my 30's.

Here is a fabulous article that was sent to me by a single female co-worker. I think it really says it all. It's title says it all. Enjoy.
A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not "Crazy"
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Very Proud 4th Generation Texan, Thank you very much....

Have you known someone who constantly complains about where they are living? Someone that is either not from the state or has lived here all their life and just won't move? There is more than one person "in my life", and I use that term very loosely, but none-the-less, they are in my world somehow.....anyway, they complain about living in Texas. Get out. That's all I ever want to say. Leave. There's the door. It opens and will hopefully not hit you in the ass on the way out. Why live here if you are miserable. Make plans to move, and the quicker the better, because this is my state and I am damn proud of it.

Yes, it gets WAY too hot in the summer and the weather is extremely unpredictable, but you should have read that in the brochure before you moved here. It's not a secret. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time can tell you that. It's joked about constantly. What's the saying? "If you don't like the weather in Texas today, just wait until tomorrow. It's bound to be different." This will cause allergies and colds that you never thought you were supposed to get (lovely "summer colds") but it comes with living in the greatest state in the United States of America.

Of my four children, my oldest has told me that he doesn't plan to live in Texas his whole life. It makes me a little sad, but I am always happy to have a place to go visit and people there who will want to see me coming. I will just always reside in Texas....well, unless some hunk of a rich man comes along and sweeps me off my feet once Jonathan is in college. Then, and only then, will I have any reason to actually move away from the state where I was born.

I actually live blocks from the house I lived in when I graduated high school and my ex-in-laws live in the same house they bought when they moved here from New York in 1971. My older kids have all graduated from the same high school as their father and I. To me, that is something to be very proud of. So to those of you who are miserable living where you are living, move or shut up about it already. No one cares and it just makes you look like more of an unhappy person than you already do. Thank you. That is all.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Sur la Table and Learning to Cook

Team building time - we decided on a cooking class. There are 11 of us in the office in Dallas and three in the McLean office. A cooking class was the best idea ever. Sur la Table in Dallas is down near SMU on Travis Street. If you are ever in Dallas and want to do something very fun, go there. They have prescheduled cooking classes several nights of the week. Check it out online. It's not cheap but VERY worth it.

Chef Ed
Chef Ed was our chef for the afternoon. We had a private class from 4-7 on a Thursday night. They don't have alcohol for you but you can bring it. So, a few of us brought bottles of wine to enoy while we cooked. The mean for the night was "Handmade Pasta Party" and a party it was. I have to say that the group of people I work with are really a ton of fun. The first thing we did was learn how to make pasta dough. It's really just flour and egg and you mix it together and let it rise. I don't know, I have the receipe and I want to try it. Next, you take it in small balls and run it through the machine that flattens the pasta. In the picture there, Ed is using the electric one. Then we ran it back through to cut it into slices. I need one of those machines if I'm ever going to make pasta the correct way. Ok, well that may never happen, but at least I know how to do it if I ever get the hand cranked one. I used the nonelectric one and I did just fine.
We made bruchietta for an appetizer and then two pasta dishes. Ed had made Bolognese for us and that was my very favorite. That is one dish I am going to make this Fall for the kids one Sunday. I want to put pictures up but doing that is just frustrating me right now. Trust me, the meal was delicious. Fetticine with white clam sauce was amazing, Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Fettuccine with Tomato-Vodka Sauce is to die for. And....they were all easy to make. I suppose, for now, I will rely on the fresh pasta I can get at the grocery story. Maybe one day I will decide I need a pasta making machine.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Funny Thing Happened Over the Weekend

Last weekend I had an alone weekend for the first time in quite a while. With everything that's been going on with the kids and such, it was nice to have some peace and quiet. I had plans but when it came right down to it I just wanted to be alone.

It's been at least two years since I have put out any Fall decorations. It was so beautiful on Sunday that I decided I was ready to decorate once again. For all THOSE years, I was such the "decorate for every holiday" mom. I had decorations for everything and I had a nice, big house to put them in...all around, upstairs and down.  When I moved to the duplex, I downsized eventually and since then I've downsized some more. Now, I'm here with all my favorite Fall decorations. I can't even explain what it does to me to put it all out and see the transformation of my home.

The weather this summer has been one for the record books, literally. So, as it's been cooling off and I can open the back door and just enjoy the 80's, my mood feels so at peace. I have really needed it. My personal life had a big hiccup and I am on the road to recovery. The holidays and change in the weather are just the medicine I need.

Then, Sunday night I get a message on Facebook from a woman I don't know but who is starting to date the guy I just broke up with. This has turned into a very long conversation over several days. It has also been very affirming for me. At least I know he wasn't just like that with me. He's that way with all women. I wish I could take out a billboard and airtime and say, "Don't date this man!!" But alas, I can't. I don't know what's going to come with "them" but that's nothing I have concerned myself with. It just goes to show you that 1) people can do some crazy things to find you (she somehow found my blog and linked me to him) and that 2) people are people and the only one you have control over is yourself.

I vow to be a good, honest friend to all of my friends and the best mom in the world to my kids. HAPPY FALL!!
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Final Marching Season For A While

It dawned on me the other day that I am about to go to my final marching competition until possibly 2014. That is if I encourage Jonathan to be in band at Bell. We will see how the next two years go. Things have really changed over the last six years and I'm not all that happy about it. It's not a subject I can really rant on openly on my blog because it might compromise the integrity of the band. Therefore, I will not mention names but I will elude to what I am talking about and you can figure it out on your own.

I have always been so proud of the fact that my kids are going to the same high school that I went to. They have all been in the band. Watching the evolution of that program was something that I just thrived on in the Fall. Since the last band director left, the program has kept it's integrity, but it seems that the intensity of the program has been compromised. For example, there NEVER would have been a Saturday during the marching season when there was not some form of practice going on. There was one this year. It showed in the competitions that followed.

Realizing that marching is a very political thing when it comes to the judges that judge these competitions, there is a school in our region that I have had enough of. They are showy and loud and obnoxious. They march, stop, play, take up the field with really stupid and obnoxious props and the thing that gets me the most is that their band director stands just off the field during their performance and literally directs!!!! REALLY??? I actually heard another director yelling to the kids on the field what they were supposed to do DURING the competition. If those kids can't do it on their own what are you doing there? Isn't it about teaching them and getting them to the point where they can do it on their own, walking off and letting them compete? At least that's what I was always taught.

We had our time in the spotlight. Now is their time. I just hope that, by the time Jonathan has to make the decision about what to do about high school band, they have gone back done the list and we have gone back up. I know that there are bands out there that never win. I realize that I, as a parent, have been spoiled. I understand that getting 2nd place out of 30+ bands is nothing to gawk out. The thing is we have the best, most mature shows, every year. Why is it that all anyone wants to see are props and musicals? Ugh. I just don't get it.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Divorce Recovery

It has been over seven years since my divorce. In that seven years, I have had the privilege of guiding and counseling (to a small degree) friends and acquaintances through difficult marriages, divorces and dating. There were many times during my marriage and through the divorce that I often asked the questions, “Why am I going through this?” and “What did I do that was so bad that I don’t deserve to be happy?” It wasn’t long before I realized that there was certainly a purpose for all the pain I was experiencing. God was using me, in a very small way, to help others who were experiencing the same thing.

This meant that He was going to see me through. He had not left me alone to figure everything out. He was right there by my side to give comfort to my heart that was constantly breaking. I would never claim to have all the answers or that I had not done anything wrong. I certainly had done a lot wrong, but my God is forgiving and loving. That is one thing I know for sure. Anything I said to these people was definitely coming out of experiences and knowledge of where I had been and where I was at the time I was approached. God was giving me the words to say to my friend – words of comfort and hope that, while the situation looks horrible right now, it will get better.

I realize that there are people out there, many of whom I am friends with on Facebook, who probably still judge me to a point because they know more details around my divorce that they should. Live and learn on that, I guess. But I will not apologize to anyone for my actions. I have been forgiven by the only person that matters to me. My God. It has certainly changed my view of religion and the church. It has changed my view of relationships and marriage. It has softened my heart to those people who are hurting and hardened my heart to those people who want to judge and make their own calls on situations that are none of their business. Basically, I will not be pushed around anymore but yet, I have compassion for the lost and hurting in a way that not everyone can understand.

There is an opportunity for me to help start a Divorce Recovery group at my church. This is so exciting to me and yet I am very nervous. I have been judged and hurt by my “church friends” in the past. Those were different churches and different friends than I have now. I have to trust that God will bring this to fruition as it has been a passion of mine for a very long time. I want to give others hope that life after divorce can be wonderful. God hates divorce. He doesn’t hate the people in the divorce. He is a just and forgiving God and He IS love for everyone.

This is the book we are looking at using for the class.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Books, Reading and Emotions

When I have a chance, I love to read. I love to find an author that I can get into, read the whole serious and long for more. It's been a while since that's happened. But, there are woman at work who are passing around all the Jodi Picoult books. I've read one so far (Mercy) and am on my second one (House Rules). For some reason, this book has caused me all kinds of emotional mix up. Basically, it's about a boy, Jacob, who has Asperger's Syndrome. His single mother and younger brother are all he has and their whole world is wrapped up in taking care of him. There is a murder in their small town where they already don't fit in and now he's the suspect because the victim is his social interaction therapist.

It took about three chapters into the book for me to go, "Oh, this is getting really good." I spend my lunch hours reading and then last night, I sat on the couch for over two hours reading. Poor Jeff. He thought, for a little bit, that he had to sit with me with the TV off. I finally said,"You can watch TV. It doesn't bother me." It's that good. I am really just overcome with emotion for what it would be like to be them. Why does this happen to me?  There was also a little Facebook drama that happened yesterday that probably didn't help. And I've been going through some major changes personally, so maybe it's just a culmination of everything put together and it's just coming out this way.

Either way, I do like the way Jodi P writes. I would definitely read her stuff. It's a pretty easy read. The books are thick so I can't get through them in a night like I would like, but it's all worth it. It's just nice to take time to sit and read. I think it's good for the soul. I hope to spend time sitting poolside this weekend reading....if I don't die of heat stroke because it's day 19 or over 100 degree weather here in the wonderful state of Texas. Love you all!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

A little more about Park City, Utah

(Some of this is repeat info) Not very often do I get to travel. This year has been the biggest year of travel for me, not that it's been great, exciting places, but I have gotten on a plane more this year than any other year. I should definitely take more advantage of my friend who works for American....or just plan travel time. The main trip this year was for work. We have a team meeting once a year. Our team is spread from Singapore, to Virginia, to Memphis, to Dallas, the UK and other remote offices. This is our one opportunity to see each other face to face. The organizers seem to try to give up great opportunities to stay at amazing places and see things we may not otherwise see. This year we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Park City, Utah. The hotel is breathtakingly beautiful.

This was the view from my room. I became very facinated with the mountains. The weather was perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. Like last year when we went to Colorado Springs, if the weather was like that most of the time this is definitley some place I would consider living one day. There isn't much around where the hotel is but the town is growing....and there's a shopping center not that far away - WITH a Wal-Mart.

We had activities that we had signed up for during registration. I chose the ATV tour - which I L.O.V.E.D. and decided immediately I needed my own ATV WITH a mountain. It was the most fun I had had in a very long time. The next afternoon, I was supposed to do the Olympic Gold Package that included a bobsled ride, two ziplines and an Alpine slide. It rained, however, and all we were able to do was the bobsled. That took forever because of the lightening. Every time it hit anywhere near us we had to wait 20 minutes. The ride went about 65 miles per hour in about 60 seconds. Yeah. I will never be doing anything like that again. I rode with two coworkers who are probably half my size and being the mom that I am, chose the back seat because I didn't want them getting thrown around. Yeah.....

Getting ready, lookin' tough!

This is us. I'm in the back, Andrea in the middle and Melissa up front.

All in all, it was an amazing trip and a great experience that I will never forget. It's so wonderful to work for a company that takes us to places like this. These are things I wouldn't do otherwise. I just don't know how to spend that kind of money. Maybe one day I'll learn.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June into July

The end of June, 2011 was amazingly crazy with travel and stuff. Michale and  his band Mouth of the South went on a journey to Illinois to play at the Cornerstone Festival for the second year in a row. He is more distant right now than he has ever been, but he knew I was praying for safe travels so that's all that matters. Alyssa was taking a road trip with her friend, Marissa, to Pennsylvania. Marissa's dad and stepmother live there and I guess she normally flies but since they are 18 and out of high school a road trip sounded better. They are coming home today and Alyssa sounds tired but I know they had a wonderful time. What a great adventure! I would have never thought about going out of state at that age. It was all I could do to go to Galveston at 18.

Benjamin had surgery for his deviated septum on June 27th. All went well and his text to everyone was "This is life changing." Who knew being able to breathe through your nose wasn't something everyone could do! Jonathan spent several days with Grandy and Grampa (my stepmom and dad) while I went to Utah for a company team meeting. They went to Legoland and made raisins, among a lot of other things. Jonathan was definitely kept very busy and had a wonderful time being special. Then I went to Utah and Iowa all in the span of seven days. I think I saw more of the US in those seven days than I had my whole life. Not really, but it sure felt like it.

So Utah - this was for our Annual Global Customer Marketing team. We are spread all over the world, literally, so it's our one time a year to come together and see each other face to face. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Park City hotel and spent a lot of time at the Utah Olympic Park for various activities. Hilton is a big USOC sponsor so we tend to focus on that during these trips. The first night there we saw the Flying Ace All-Star show. The skiers mingled with our group before performing and then afterwards took pictures with us. That was one definite must see if you are ever in the area.

The next day we had meetings in the morning and then did the ATV tour that afternoon. That has to be the most fun I've had in a long time. I decided I need an ATV that comes with a mountain because I'm sure it's just not as fun without the mountain. The view was beautiful and incredibly dirty but SO fun! Wednesday was a rainy day so it put a damper on our plans to do all of the Olympic Gold package which was the bobsled, two ziplines and an alpine slide. We did end up doing the bobsled and, while I'm really glad I did it, I would never do it again. It was just way too rough. I think we got up to close to 70 mph in about 60 seconds. Yeah....

So there is a new man in my life. He's not new to me at all but he's new to everyone around me. His name is Jeff McKim. We met in February of 2004. Without going into great detail, we had a connection that just never took off. We remainded friends all this time. In May of 2009, Jeff had a stroke that left him in a coma for six weeks. The doctors didn't think he would live but he did. I tell him all the time, God saved his life so that we could finally be together. I didn't know about the stroke until about a year or more later. He found me on Facebook when he was in rehab. I went to see him once and it honestly just broke my heart. To see this 6'2" man who used to be so strong and alive having a hard time walking and talking was apparently something I wasn't able to handle right then. I hate admitting that, but it's true. Then, this past February my friend asked me if I had heard from him. I decided to see what he was doing. When I looked at his Facebook it said he lived in Grinnell, Iowa. I knew that was where he was from so I immediately emailed him. He said he had moved there in January to be closer to his parents. He was still in rehab but his stepdad wasn't doing well so he wanted to be close to help his mom and dad out.

Over the last four months, there have been endless hours spent on Skype and the phone, a couple of visits to Iowa and one back to Texas, but it wasn't long at all before we both just came clean about our feelings for each other. I can't tell you in words how wonderfully peaceful it feels to have someone love you unconditionally and to be able to love him back the exact same way. I have never felt this love. I knew it existed and I knew I wanted it but I didn't think it was for me. I didn't believe that I deserved it. But I do. I know that now. I can say, for the first time in my life, I feel like things are pretty perfect. I have my kids, my parents and now a man that truly loves me in spite of myself.

Beryl, Jeff and Deena - my family addition

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Normally, in the past, I have really dreaded this day. It's not been an easy "holiday" for me the majority of my adult life. This year was different. I'm very glad about that. I didn't find myself standing in the card section looking for a very blank, basic Father's Day card of sorts that I could just sign my name to. All together, it was a much more pleasant experience.

Growing up in my house wasn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination, it was just a childhood with mostly good memories but not a lot of close bonding going on. My dad had just become a dentist when I was born. He was constantly working to build a practice (so it seemed) and my mom was always just there doing what she had to do. This wasn't anything I realized until I was older. It was just normal to me. There was a time in my life when I really resented my childhood, even though I had everything a little girl could ask for. The one thing I missed out on was a truly loving home. Looking back at it now, I realize that life is what you make it.

I could go on and on about how my parents were distant and focused on their own problems more than the kids. Now that I am a parent, especially of teenagers - a whole other breed - I realize that my parents did what they could just to survive. I have worked past the hostility and frustration to a place of peace. It helps a lot that my dad and I are closer than we've ever been. I honestly chalk that all up to the fact that he is now retired and doesn't have the burdens of owning a dental practice on his shoulders. He only needs to be concerned about his own bills. Anger and bitterness only make you sick. The past is the past. Move on and live the life God intended you to live.

My dad gave his children what he did not have growing up. He came from a more difficult environment than I could ever imagine. I respect him for working as hard as he did to make sure that his children never had to go without. This Father's Day I was able to look forward to calling my dad and telling him "Happy Father's Day" without feeling like I was doing it out of obligation. I love you dad. From the bottom of my heart up.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Turner Falls Park - Oklahoma

The Falls

Have you ever been some place that you enjoyed but that had bitter memories attached to it so you wanted to go back and make better memories? That's what Turner Falls Park is for me. The first time I went there was 1989. I was a newly wed and we went with a couple-friend who had been married for some time and were so happy. Even though "we" were newly weds, the start to this weekend vacation got off to a bad start as did most things in our marriage.
In 2006, as a newly divorced single mom with four kids to entertain for the summer, I made a decision to go back. I had just started working for the hotel, which meant I could get a great deal on a hotel room and get away with the kids so why not? It wasn't going to be anything fancy and it would just be the weekend but it wouldn't be Bedford, TX.

My memory of the trip was that the kids really had a good time. It's only about a two hour drive and we went the night before. The hotel we stayed in isn't a Hampton anymore, which makes sense because I remember it wasn't very up to par when we stayed there. We ate dinner at the Two Frogs Grill which was where the front desk agent suggested but once we got in there, made me a little uncomfortable. So we ate quick and went back to the hotel to watch a movie.

There is a lot of walking to be done at the park, so we did our fair share. I know the kids ran around a lot more than I did. That particular summer the water was down more than the first time I was there. It was definitely easier to walk around, but not as fun to swim. They have two major water holes to swim though, so that's what we did. The first one is the Blue Hole Pool at the front of the park. They have a slide and diving boards. Then you can walk down the road a little bit, climb up into "The Castle" which is a replica of a castle, not the real thing. (Duh.) Then the Falls are just down from there. You used to could go swim up under the water fall, but the year we were there someone drown so I don't think they let you do it anymore. At least I didn't see anyone do it while we were there this past weekend.

Which brings me to my most recent trip. I wanted to get away for the weekend. I have had company for over a week and I was tired of sitting around. My decision was to go to Turner Falls. Just a day trip but something away home. It was pretty cool when I realized that we were driving through the University of North Texas campus where Alyssa will be going here in about two months. We left about 9:00 and took our leisurely drive, getting to the park about 11:15. First stop was for me to get my swimsuit on, then we walked down the road to the Falls. We parked at the front near the Blue Hole Pool but I wanted to be close to the front.

The day was beautiful, warm and water levels were perfect. Now, I am not one to exercise - ever. Jeff has balance issues, but this was good exercise. As we are walking, I realize that there is really no safe way to get into the water. Everything is probably going to be slippery. Luckily, we brought good shoes to have on in the water. It was getting in the water that was the trick. We also have to just leave our stuff on the side where anyone could take it. I tried not to be paranoid and just trust that we would be ok.

Getting into the water was definitely a group effort. Neither one of us wanted to fall or see the other one fall. People were slipping all around, so we knew it was very possible. Once in the water, I had to overcome my creepiness about there being things IN the water. This could be anything that would brush up against me and make me scream. There was a lot of that. Then to find a place I could touch and not think about something grabbing my leg....well, at least the water temperature was really nice. Not too cold, not hot at all. As we are not kids anymore, we decided that was fun and so now, let's find a place to layout and get some sun. We spent the rest of the day sitting in the stream parts of the park where we could get wet but not worry about not being able to see the bottom of the pond. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to go back and take the kids. Kids always make things more entertaining.


We did venture up into the castle. I just wanted one picture. The picture up there on the left is of when I took the kids in 2006. It's probably my most favorite picture of my kids. The picture on the right here is of when we were there this past weekend - sans kids. Wouldn't it be great to have grandchildren one day and take them up there and get a picture? Just a thought.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kids Do Grow Up

It's hitting me really hard today how my kids are growing up so fast. Michael is no longer a teenager and Alyssa is 18 years old. How did that happen? I feel like I've just taken motherhood by the balls and never looked back. Most of the time, it just came natural to me how to deal with whatever was thrown at me. I've always thought I had an instinct about how to raise my children. Yes, there were times, like when they were sick or doing things I didn't exactly expect, that I had to take a step back and rethink how I was going to handle "it" but I did it and I believe we all came out for the better. (These are the things I think will probably come back to haunt me in about ten years.)

Four kids later, I have one out of high school and out of the house taking care of himself and am about to have my second high school graduate with one following very close behind. You would think that with Jonathan going into junior high next year I wouldn't be so on edge about all these changes. WRONG! For one, he is a different child all together. I've tried never to compare my kids and I would hope they would tell you I haven't compared them to each other. It's just that I look at where I was seven years ago, when I became a single mom, to where I am today. So proud of all of the kids accomplishments and decisions that have had to be made over the years and of myself for still having it together, so to speak.

Michael playing in his band, Mouth of the South
Michael is working full time at Six Flags and has started back playing with his friends in Mouth of the South. I think he is finally at a good place in his life. He seems very happy and excited about being able to persue his music, which is where his heart is. I know some people think that all kids should go to college right out of high school. I am not one of those people. I didn't go until I was 20 and didn't finish because of having kids too quickly. Everyone has their own style and pace at which to take life. I like to think that I let my kids do their own thing and just support them - as long as it's legal and all. As a parent we all just want our kids to be happy, right? That's all I want. I raised them to be independant and self-confident in their decisions. Musically, Michael is an amazing musician. When I hear him play and sing, it always amazes me. He can play guitar and piano and has a beautiful voice. One of these days he will let me go see his band play!

Kelsey & Alyssa - UNT Roomies
This past weekend was full of awards ceremonies for Alyssa. It started Thursday night with the Senior Awards for all Seniors all awards. I have learned NOT to go to these things with an agenda. Go and stay until it's over...which could be one hour or three. This particular even last two hours. There have been a lot of accomplishments from the Class of 2011. Alyssa is graduating with NHS and IB Honors. To the right she is pictures with her IB hood. She received this Saturday during the IB Senior Celebration Luncheon which was actually very fun, good food, and lasted an hour longer than it was scheduled. For the first time in a very long time, I saw Alyssa cry. She doesn't usually cry, much less in public. The ceremony was for Trinity and Bell. The teachers and students coordinated very well together and it was very entertaining. One of the funniest things they did was to show this video spoof of Hitler finding out that he failed the IB HL Math test and didn't receive his IB Diploma.....which is a real possibility. It's hilarious. You should watch it. It's an excerpt from the movie about Hitler with subtitles.

Benjamin and Curtis Mayo after the orchestra concert

Benjamin has once again made first chair Band One at LD Bell. He also made Brass Captain for next year. He was also accepted into the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Out of over 100 trombonists that tried out, they picked five and he was one of the five. That will take up much of his summer along with taking extra courses that he doesn't want to waste time on during next school year. He will be a Senior taking IB and in NHS as well. It's amazing to realize that I have such smart, accomplished children.

Jonathan posing for a picture
Jonathan will finish elementary school on Friday. He will no longer be big man on campus, but 7th grade in a new school making new friends along with having the old friends. He will be playing the Bassoon (See the picture of Curtis above) and participating in football - which will be interesting as he isn't a very sport oriented boy but I think it will serve him well. He is also going to try French instead of Spanish like the other kids did in 7th grade. I will be very interested to see how well he does with learning another language. We went to his 6th Grade End of the Year Party on Saturday night and he seemed to really have a good time. I hardly ever saw him the whole four hours we were there, so that's always a good thing. At the beginning of the school year I was very worried that he was trying to sabbatoge his last year of elementary so that he didn't have to go to junior high. Now, I believe he is really as ready as he can be. He could stand to have better friends, but he is seeing that without me having to point it out to him.

So things around the house are going to be changing more and more over the next few months. More to come on that - people moving out and people moving in - but it's always a good thing. My life really hasn't changed too drastically all that much in quite a while. It's time to stir things up, don't ya think??
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prom 2011 - It's Different with a Girl

Alyssa at the Gaylord
This is my second experience with prom for my kids. Two years ago it was Michael and boys are easy. They only require a tux and a good haircut. I must say, this year was much more fun and girlie for me. Alyssa is not a typical girlie girl, so to get to do the nails (toes and hands) and hair was quite an adventure.  My hairdresser, Amber, was immediately hired for the hair and my nail tech, Tiffany, did the nails. We were all set to go.

The dress came from the Prom Closet, set up by the HEB school district. I linked to the Facebook page so you can read more about it. I thought it was just for students who couldn't afford a dress to be able to go pick out one for free. But in reading the Facebook page, it's so much more than that. I was in Iowa the weekend Alyssa and Monica decided to go see if they could find dresses. I got a few picture texts and immediately knew the dress I thought Alyssa should get. And it was free! So, she found the perfect dress at the perfect price. We will be taking it, along with a banquet dress, back to donate so that someone else can use it.

Green toes for "Mean Green" UNT

She had her manicure and pedicure done that morning while I took her car over to Grampa's so that he could check the oil and change out the windshield wiper blade. Then it was lunch and off to get her hair done with Amber. She is at a local salon so we saw lots of girls from Bell (and a few from Trinity) getting their hair done as well. Interesting side note, Trinity, who is our rival high school, was having their prom on the same night at the same venue in a room right next door to Bell. Interesting how that all happened. I think they usually try to schedule them a week apart at least. It was interesting to see all the different styles that the girls were going with. Apparently, half up and half down is in because of Taylor Swift. Alyssa went with full up because she didn't want to get hot breakin' it down on the dance floor. Ok, I'll stop trying to be cool......

Back of the hair
So anyway, back to the hair....when I went to prom...well anything, I always did my own hair. It's very different now. Girls have their hair done in up-do's all the time. It's rather expensive but we were both happy with the outcome and there is no way I could have done that myself. It did take a good two hours because my little girl has no shortage of hair, unlike her mother. She got the thick hair for sure! The best thing is that we certainly got our money's worth. She had that hair up for about 36 hours she liked it so much! After hair, we got home in just enough time for her to do make up and get dressed before the limo picked her up. There was a group of them going together and one of the parents knew someone with a limo (lucky us!) so they all got to ride in style. She was the second person to be picked up. The it was on to the Gaylord to take group pictures.
These four girls have been best friends through high school. Alyssa and Marissa have known each other since 7th grade band. They will all be going to the University of North Texas in the fall. Alyssa and Kelsey will be rooming together and Monica and Marissa will be rooming together. I hope and pray that they have a wonderful journey through college and remains friends no matter what. How beautiful are these girls?!?

Kelsey, Alyssa, Monica, Marissa

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

National Honor Society Induction 2011

For the second year in a row, I have attended the National Honor Society Induction ceremony for one of my children. According to my dad, Ben is only the second person in our family to be inducted into the NHS - the first being Alyssa last year. This is something that is such a proud moment for me. My kids just amaze me with how smart they are, how hard they work to achieve things that I never even thought about doing. Benjamin said that when he was getting his certificate the man shaking his hand said,"Smile for your parents. They are in the audience!" (or something like that)

Ben is one of those kids that has just always done well. He never had to work hard to do well in school until probaby half way through junior high. And even then, he still made straight A's. It's been hard to look at a report card and get all excited about his grades because...well...he's just always done well. His Grandy asked him Monday night if he had ever gotten a B. His response was, "Yeah once or twice". I have really had to make a concious effort to congratulate him on his achievements because it's not fair to him that I just know he will do well and then not say anything about it.

He has almost made it through his first year of IB and will continue that next year, along with his NHS projects. Luckily, this isn't for a grade, although that does matter. It's more of a service organization and he is very good at service. His plan is to go to the University of Houston to study music. He wants to be a band director. I feel certain he will and one day, in about six years, I will be sitting in a high school stadium somewhere watching a band that he is directing march on the field. And I will be just as proud as the day I watched my own children march on the field.
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Monday, May 2, 2011

May 1, 2011 "DNA testing confirms bin Laden death"

Please know that I am not a political person. I do not debate politics or religion. I have my opinions and how I feel about certain things but I do not like to debate with anyone so that is not what this is about.

I was literally passed out on the couch last night before 9:00 pm because of my crazy weekend with Alyssa and prom. So, when I woke up at 3:00 am and looked at my phone and found a text from my friend, Caroline, that read, "USA has bin Laden....Pres about to speak..." my first thought was, "What??" The next thing I did, of course, was check Facebook. That's where I saw six hours of information about the events I had slept through, along with feelings, some very harsh, thoughts of my friends and some family and I was a little surprised at some of them.

My first reaction was, "Great!" I didn't get all excited and want to run into the streets and scream. I just thought that now there wouldn't be any more speculation about his whereabouts and we could all go on with our lives doing whatever we do and hopefully things will settle down. Realistically I think this is just a small piece to the big puzzle of life and, while it may change a few things, I believe the war will go on. We, as Americans, should support our troops because they are over there fighting for us. Feel however you want about our country and president, but our troops have family, children, who miss them every day and worry if they will be coming home. They are the ones I think about.

What I do NOT agree at ALL with is the statement, "I am sadden to know so many of you are happy about a death of another person. weather he did right or wrong we should not be rejoicing." This is directly from a Facebook friend - a guy I used to work with at the hotel. I don't agree with a lot of what he posts but I keep him as a friend. I don't know why. There were other people who posted similar things, but this one just kills me. Osama bin Laden isn't just another person. He was an evil man who is burning in the pits of hell right now and forever. Unfortunately, he probably didn't suffer or even know what hit him before he was killed. They will bury him at sea according to Islamic tradition, which I suppose is better than in the ground for people to flock to and worship him like he was some great leader. I wish they would burn his body on the way out to sea. That would make me happy. But then, no one asked so I guess they don't care.

I have had no intention of having a discussion about this, although my best friend called me as I was driving to work and brought it up. I just listened (because her opinion is much like the above) and then tried to divert from the subject at hand. As I am getting set up to work, I hear the director right in front of my desk say something of the same opinion as my Facebook friend and best friend. This is the point at which I thought it best to put my ear buds in, turn the music up and get to work. I realize, too, that people have an issue with us, as Americans, reacting like other countries do by running out into the streets and screaming, raising the flag. I heard they even flocked over to Pres. George W's house here in Dallas. That is a little extreme if you ask me but they have that right. Everyone is different in their reactions and feelings and it's their right to have those reactions and feelings and express them in a public forum.  The below image is the first thing that came up when I googled for images of rejoicing over bin Laden's death. This really bothers me.

It was labeled "Suicide Bomber".
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