Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008... in review

So this it.... the last chance to blog in year 2008.  I better make this good, huh?

It has been an incredible year, full of ups and downs.  But even those downs have taught me so much about myself, life, and the people I love.  Here is a random list of 20 things I've done and learned this year.  

1. I embraced my beauty, not just despite my size, but because of it. 
2. I had the joy of watching my best friend, Linda, marry the man of her dreams and become a mom in the process. 
3. I liberated my arms and loved wearing sleeveless shirts! 
4. I was forced to accept that my dad isn't Superman as I coped with his cancer diagnosis 
5. I felt empowered after a long road trip with just my three girls.  Yes I can drive long distances all by myself!
6.  I visited some of my amazing APU sisters: Corey, Whit, Holly, Beth, and Lisa <3
7. I continued fighting my depression. 
8. I found strength that I never knew I had as I dealt with a break in my marriage 
9. I experienced independence, as I lived alone for the first time in my life. 
10. I learned about crystals, and began wearing them daily.  
11. I heard a musician combine Tom Petty - Free Fallin with Snoop Dogg - Gin and Juice at a restaurant in Tampa.  
12. I found wisdom in tarot. 
13. I fell in love with a vampire and a werewolf!  
14. I celebrated as my girls turned 3, 12, and 16. 
15. I found a new companion - in Mojo - a little orange kitten.
16. I was blessed with several amazing days with my grandmother during her final moments of life. 
17. I learned what is important to me - what I want in life - what I deserve.
18. I found my voice. 
19. I discovered that I am my husband's one and only love, and that he is willing to fight for it.
20. I experienced the reunion of my little family, and we finally felt whole again.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Grandma Bert

My grandmother lived an amazing 83 years and passed away on her favorite day of the year, Christmas Eve.  

Grandma Bert was an incredible woman.  The mother of twelve kids.  Twelve!!  9 boys and 3 girls.  They lived in a small house and the kids shared beds.  The boys had triple stacked bunk beds.  Even with 12 kids to feed, growing up - the kids always had friends dropping over for dinner at the Millers and Grandma always made sure there was enough food for everyone to eat.  

Grandma was spunky, opinionated and loving.  She'd burst into song at any moment.  If during conversation someone said something to remind her of a song, she'd sing a few lines.  It is something I always loved.  While sitting with her in the hospital, the nurse brought her some Milk of Magnesia and told her she needed to drink it to get her bowels rolling.  Grandma started singing... "Rollin, Rollin, Rollin, get those bowels Rollin."  LOL  The nurse and I just died laughing.  
I will miss her dearly, and just feel blessed to have been by her bedside for most of her final hours.  We held a sort of vigil, surrounding her with love during her final days.  I bathed her, and washed her hair.  It felt so good to be able to nurture her in that way, as she has done to so many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  

She leaves behind 10 living children, 26 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren.  With her passing, we've joked that my grandpa, Uncle Ron, and Uncle Darrell now have a fourth to play cards with.  <3 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A good morning

When I woke up this morning, I was confused about what day it was... because I woke up two minutes before my alarm goes off, which is unheard of for me. This was a good sign; a sign that I'd went to bed at the right time and got just the right amout of sleep.  

So, I got out of bed and was surprised to see snow outside...  I know I should watch the weather report more, but getting snow as a surprise is a very welcome surprise.  It looked so beautiful. 

I started the dryer so my kids could have warm clothes when they come home from their dad's house to get dressed for the day. 

I bundled up to go out in the snow.  I knew that if I waited, when Palmer arrived with the kids, he would shovel my walk for me.  But I have a sense of independence this morning, and a need to take care of my own, so I grabbed the broom and started at my work. 

The snow is still falling, and it is a light beautiful snow.  It swept off the steps and sidewalk with ease, and I paused periodically to just enjoy it.  It is quiet.... and peaceful.... I could hear the snow hitting my coat.  

My new gloves, hat and scarf kept me toasty warm, and I felt blessed.  

It is a good morning.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One good thing meme, day seven

My baby girl, who is not much of a baby anymore, took a nap on my chest today, for almost an hour.  

This is something Alaina never does; I can't remember the last time she napped on me.  But today she blessed me.  She took a nap in her bed, but when she woke up and came downstairs, she snuggled into my lap, tucked her head on my chest up under my chin, and fell asleep.  I cherish the moments like this. 

Reflection:  I really enjoyed the last seven days of focusing on the good.  Some days were easier than others.  Some days I had to wait until the end of the day to find the best thing, other days I thought of it all day - what would happen that I'd get to write about?  This was a good exercise and something I'll try again.  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One good thing meme, day six

Breakfast at Palmers... 

He called to brag about his good breakfast he is cooking, and instead of just listening to the brag - we all piled in the car for a drive to his house to join him. Me, Paige, Alaina and two of Paige's friends all joined him for eggs, sausage and pancakes.  Yum.  

One good thing meme, day five

Well, I know it is a bit late for my day five... but if I'm still awake - it is still day five, right?

We had our holiday retreat for my job today out at Lake Shawnee - one of my favorite places of all time.  The geese were on the lake - the sun was shining - it was just gorgeous.  I love this place for its peace.  The elements of nature all coming together - the water - the sun - the trees - the animals.  

I spent much of my time enjoying the outdoors with a good friend, a coworker whose last day of work was today.  She is leaving town to go to Michigan to care for her husband's ailing mother.  This is a challenging time for her, a time of loyalty and blessing for the opportunity to care for this mother who needs her so desperately.  But also a time of sadness as she leaves her children and grandchildren behind, and a job which she loves.  I felt blessed to spend some alone time with her in this space and just be with her on this last day, in a location that also holds significant meaning for her, including childhood night-fishing trips with her father, and the wedding of her daughter at the exact location of our retreat.  It felt like life coming full circle for her on this day and I was just blessed to experience it with her.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One good thing meme, day four

Today the good thing is about Palmer. 

We had lots of conversations today.  They started kind of weird, odd - and unexpected.  But ended with some great resolution and support.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One good thing meme, day three

Today's good thing is brought to you by...... Linda!  

After getting home from work, Paige and I immediately got into battle.  You know - the typical tween stuff, she hates her life - doesn't like her mom - no one understands her - yadda yadda yadda.  It was getting ugly.  

Then, we heard a knock on the door...... 

.... in walked Linda.  

It was an unexpected visit, but so welcomed!  She could sense the tension and asked if she should leave.... but I was so glad she stayed. 

It gave Paige and I the distraction we needed to regroup and end the battle.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One good thing meme, day two

I'm so glad I waited to post my one good thing.  It was a hard day and I was really struggling with what to write... that was until I got a call from my oldest girl, who I miss so much. 

Chelcie turns 16 years old in two days.  I was feeling rather nostalgic, not believing that my little girl is about to be sixteen years old!!  I asked if she wanted to hear about the day we met.... of course she did.  So, I shared all of my memories with her.  

Chelcie was two years old.  She'd been living with her mother, and hadn't been allowed to see her dad in awhile, so we were both excited for this visit.  It started with preparing a room for her, I bought her some posters: a clown and two African American art posters.. I do believe this was the start of her interest in AA history.  I also bought her some pajamas, and a stuffed elephant toy that made the elephant sound.  It was cute - and we still have it, though he has been silent for years.  

After Palmer picked her up from her mom, he brought her to meet me at my apartment (we weren't living together yet.)  She was so sweet, quiet, and shy.  We took her to JC Penney at the mall to buy her a new outfit...  cute little denim overall shorts and a cute floral shirt.  I took her to the dressing room to make sure we got the right size.  

We then went to McDonalds, and I remember her eating a TON of ketchup with her fries.  After that - we went to my parents - and this was the first time she met her grandma.  

Chelcie was amazed by all of these details that I remembered.... and I loved sharing the story with her.  I'll never forget that day... it was the day I became a mom.  

Monday, December 8, 2008

One good thing meme, day one

Taken from earthmama... Thanks friend.

1. Post about something that made you happy today even if it's just a small thing and even if it's just a one-line post.
2. Do this everyday for a week without fail.

Today I resolved some issues with a friend.  We both weren't saying what needed to be said, and it felt so much better and really cleared up a lot of things once we both opened up.  

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Value of Friendship.... Part 2

I've been friends with Linda for 21 years. We met at the bus-stop at 2nd and Kendall street on the first day of 7th grade. We have the kind of friendship that has withstood all the tests of time. I often feel like she knows me better than I know myself.

But this post isn't about my friendship with Linda... it is about her friendship with Alaina. Alaina announced today that Linda is her best friend (heart swelling). I was able to witness the love Alaina has for Linda and the love Linda has for Alaina today. These pictures say it all.

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Meeting Santa

We went to meet Santa today! I think I was just as excited as the kids. Santa arrived via train at the Great Overland Station which is a railroad museum housed in a remodeled and preserved Union Pacific station.

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We waited at a tall fence for the train to arrive.
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It was so hard for Alaina to see that I quickly hoisted her to my shoulders where she had an awesome view of the arrival. Look at this smile on her face! And then a wave to Santa.
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Notice the two-fisted hair holding for comfort and the hands covering her ears avoiding the sound of the train. LOL
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Her first touches from Santa. I was thrilled that she wasn't scared.
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Sitting on Santa's lap - Check out that cheesy smile!
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Thanksgiving Weekend

I had a wonderful time with my family over Thanksgiving weekend. 

Lorie, my BIL Jamie, their son Jackson, and his daughter Brittany arrived on Thanksgiving Day around noon.   I was so excited to see them - and met Brittany and Jackson for the first time!  Jackson is 9 months old, and Brittany is 13.  We had Thanksgiving dinner in Lawrence with my brother and his family, and several of their friends.  My girls were spending the day with Palmer and my mom and dad ate dinner together at home.  Due to my Dad's chemo schedule, he needed to avoid meals with others as much as possible.  

These pictures are of a family breakfast on Saturday morning, back at my brother's house.  He has become quite the cook!  My sis too.... I told my mom that she at least got 2 out of 3 good cooks from her kids.  You can guess which one I am!  

Jackson Parker Finley Madison
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Jackson with Grandma
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My sis, bro and I laughing in the kitchen
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Grandpa with Paige and Brittany
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Paige and Brittany - These girls hit it off so quickly. This is Paige's first cousin her age - and I'm so glad for it.
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A sassy little girl
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Lorie - the best aunt ever - giving Rylan his Christmas present - his very own guitar!
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Uncle Jamie chatting with the little dude
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Birthday Pics

Want to blog in order - saving this spot for birthday pics from others.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The value of friendship

I have some great friends.  Some are old friends, some new.  Some far away, and some close by.  

I value them each, for their unique personalities, and the things we have in common, as well as the areas where we differ.  It is always nice to have a bit of ying to my yang. 

I had the pleasure of visiting with some friends tonight that I hadn't seen in quite some time, and it was so refreshing.  We talked and talked and talked.  The time just escaped us and before I knew it, it was 10pm, and one of my friends was heading to bed!  Oops!  How the time flies when you are with loved ones. 

For all of my friends - I love you, I cherish you.... 

"Without you, there'd be no sun in my sky, there would be no love in my life, there'd be no world left of me."
- Leann Rimes

Monday, December 1, 2008

Single Parenting

I've had a hard time associating myself with the term "single parent" although I am living alone with my children. Their dad is still so active in their lives and sees them on a regular basis, so I wasn't sure what it meant to be a single parent and how it applied to my life.

But last night, I had somewhat of a realization to what it means to me.

Throughout our marriage, Palmer has been the strict parent, and I the laid-back parent. The more strict he was, the more laid-back I became. I was doing my best to try to strike a balance for the kids by counteracting his parenting style. So, when Palmer moved out of the house I went through a bit of a rebellion against strictness and became THE laid-back parent.

Well, what that has created is an environment for my kids with little boundaries and guidelines. Alaina pushes me to find out what the limits are - because they are so unclear to her. And the lack of consequences for bad behaviors just add more confusion to the mix.

I've recently implemented some guidelines for Paige about her chores, responsibilities and how she should be spending her time after school, and that has seemed to help. I've had to implement consequences once and she wasn't too happy about it, resisted, tried to talk her way out of it, but eventually accepted them.

Now it is time to implement some guidelines for Alaina. This will be a work in progress, as parenting a three-year old can sometimes be much more challenging than parenting the twelve-year old.

I've accepted the fact that I have to strike my own balance now. I have to be the one to have the right levels of being laid-back and strict. I can't just be the laid-back parent anymore. Being a single parent means I have to be both - and find the balance that works for me and my kids.

This will be a challenging journey for me, but one that will have positive results for all of us if I work through the challenges and succeed. My dad has always taught me that Life is all about the Journey, so I'm looking at this with a positive attitude and enjoy seeing what I can learn about myself and the kids in the process.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Lessons and Blessings

I am truly feeling blessed today. Yesterday morning - not so much. Let me explain.

Yesterday was payday. Usually the day that people (like who me who live paycheck-to-paycheck) look forward to. Well, I'm grateful for payday, don't get me wrong. Without it..... well, I can't even go there. Anyways, I'm going through some major adjustments as I learn to live on one income. It is not easy, to put it mildly. I've cut back on almost every nonessential item and I've had to tell my kids No more times than I'd like. Christmas will be very light this year and I'll be one of those last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers for the first time in my life (I get paid on Christmas Eve).

Okay... back to the story. So yesterday morning I was feeling incredibly depressed. I've worked my budget a million ways and thankfully I would have been able to pay all of my bills.... BUT.... I'd then only have $10 to live on for the next two weeks. Well, we all know that is impossible. I need groceries and gas and lunch money for Paige and little things always pop up that are unexpected.

So after about an hour or so of stressing, I decided to tell myself "The Universe will take care of me." And it has. After making that mental adjustment I was able to rework my budget another time shifting some bills to next month and have some money to live on now! Whew! Great stress relief.

But now the good part... within an hour or so I get a surprise phone call from my sister, Lorie.
Me - What are you doing?
Lorie - Packing (sounding very sheepish)
Me - Packing for what? (sounding excited)
Lorie - to come to Kansas!

Hallelujah! I burst into tears. Lorie and her family (well part of them) are coming to Kansas for a surprise Thanksgiving visit. I haven't seen Lorie in a year and never met my baby nephew Jackson who is 9 months old now. I also haven't met my step-niece Brittany who is 13. I just cried on the phone with Lorie which of course meant she started crying... this is what we do to each other.

I just told her over and over what a blessing she gave me with that phone call.

So, I've had some amazing lessons and blessings for Thanksgiving and the day hasn't even started. I'm sure I'll be back with more.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy your day, enjoy your family, take time to relax and thank the world for your abundance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Your Thanksgiving Meal Says About You

When it comes to the holidays, you follow and love the big traditions. You look forward to them every year.

You see the holidays as a time to be close to loved ones. It's a good time to reconnect and make memories.

You like the aspects of the holiday that remind you of your childhood - opening presents, treats, and old favorite foods.

During the holidays, you are likely to feel comforted. At your worst, you feel a bit over-indulgent.

You consider yourself a real red blooded American, and you're proud of it.

You tend to spend your holidays doing everything and anything. You really get into the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An update of sorts

I've have a hard time blogging lately.  I want to get my thoughts out, but I've been overwhelmed with life in general, and I just can't get the words right.  But, I figured at least an update would do. 

1)  My Dad - He had a couple of scans last week, and the doctor came dancing in the room with the results.  His scans all appear clear of cancer.  The lumps he was feeling recently as the swelling in his legs decreased are just fluid pockets.  Speaking of the swelling.... he has been going to a lympadema clinic daily for weeks now, getting his legs wrapped with compression bandages from the foot to the hip.  Each toe even has to be wrapped separately.  It is a rather tedious process, but it is working!  His body is learning to flush itself of the extra fluids.  He has ordered compression stockings, which he'll wear daily for the rest of his life.  Hoping those arrive this week.   

2) Alaina - Alaina is pottying!  I haven't bought a pack of diapers in well over a week.  I declared this house to be diaper-free.  So, she can wear a diaper or pull up at bedtime and nap but all other times she wears panties.  She also spends quite a bit of nakie time.  I told her she could wear diapers/pullups at the babysitters and Daddy's house, but not here.  She transitioned well into that idea, and has begun using the potty at the other houses too. Yesterday she only needed one pullup at the babysitters because she used the potty all day.  I'm so proud of her and glad that we are making this transition.  

3)  Paige - What to say about Paige..... well she is in that tweendom stage that is so exasperating and energizing all at the same time.  We have those moments where we can't stand each other and have to be in separate rooms, and then the others where she can't wait to share with me all of the secrets and stories of her life, and just talks a mile a minute.  She brought home her progress report from school yesterday, and there are a few grades she could be working harder on.  I'm going to start requiring a little more effort on the school front.  

4) Chelcie - We talk to Chelcie every week, and I miss her dearly.  She is doing very well though - so I'm glad she is in the environment that she is.  Her grades are great - she is studying hard and really putting forth the effort it needs.  She will be turning 16 yrs old in a few weeks, and I just can't believe my baby is growing up so fast.  

5) My Mom - She is retiring!  December 31st is the official day.  I'm so happy for her to make this transition so she can enjoy traveling and all the crafts she loves.  My parents are planning to spend the entire month of February in Florida at my grandmother's house and are also crossing their fingers for tickets to the presidential inauguration in January.

6) The Economy - Wow... what to say.  It is taking its toll on so many, and the state government is no exception.  Work has been crazy as we look at ways to cut costs without hurting programs, a very difficult task.  And, for my personal economic issues... I'm planning on taking a second job very soon.  Still looking and trying to find one that will fit my schedule.  This paycheck-to-paycheck stuff is for the birds!

So, that is the general update on life!  Now that I've caught up, I might actually keep bloggin!   

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bookworm award

I've been blessed with the Bookworm Award by my friend Anna.

Here is the rule for the award:Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!

Okay - so the closest book to me is Possessions by Judith Michael.  I got this one in a stack of passed-down books from my Dad.  I have no idea what it is about.  So - here goes... 

It was impossible to understand.  Where are you?  Kathering cried silently. This is your family; I shouldn't be here without you... we should be here together.  

Interesting... very interesting.  

So - now the award goes to.... 



And.... I can't think of anyone else who hasn't already been tagged!  If you read my blog and want the award - let me know~ 

Feeling Needy

It is not a fun feeling - something I'm not comfortable with... but it is how I feel today.

I'm feeling like I have more love to give, then people to give it to. More nurturing to offer then people in my life that need nurturing.

I feel kind of raw and emotional.

I'm so used to being in control of my emotions - and having things figured out. And I just don't like this!

It is like my arms and my heart feel empty.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm reading a fiction novel, based on religious fact. Angels and Demons is the prequel to The Davinci Code. While reading, I found some text that I am particularly drawn to. A comfort of sorts for my own spiritual seeking.

"Mr. Langdon, I did no ask you if you believe what man says about God. I asked if you believed in God. There is a difference. Holy scripture is stories...legends and history of man's quest to understand his own ned for meaning. I am not asking you to pass judgment on literature. I am asking if you belive in God. When you lie out under the stars, do you sense the divine? Do you feel in your gut that you are staring up at the work of God's hand?"

"Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though, we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for the power that created us."

"Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are abitrary. Some of us pray to Jesus, some of us go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles. In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves."

"Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to."

Black Man in an Elevator

Good Stuff here... LOL
Warning - includes swearing

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too much sharing - too quickly

I think I'm going to have to stop blogging about my relationship with Palmer for awhile. Things are down again from the last post and I really don't want this blog to be a record of all my up and down craziness.

My last post indicated that my heart is with him, and in many ways it still is and always will be. But, we realized that things were moving way too fast and we have so many issues to resolve. I'm just not sure where this is going right now, what path I'm on, or where we'll end up.

I do know that happy times are ahead, whether we are together or not.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My baby is three years old!

Alaina turned three years old today. I can't believe it - this seems like such a milestone. She is less toddler and more little kid.

She started her morning by announcing - "Happy Birthday to Me!"

I'll have pictures to add after her birthday party tomorrow, but for now, here are some random things she said today.

"When I wake up, I gonna go outside and see a hippopa-a-mus. And I gonna say hippopa-a-mus"

"Paaaaiiigggeee. Teach me how to use the Cammmm-ra"

"Daddy - I'm three! (and after he mentioned birthday presents) I gonna get a doll, and a new elmo, and new shoes.... new light-up shoes. Daddy? My Dora shoes don't light up!"

"Thank you for the stars mommy" (foil stars for her new reward chart started today)

and best of all...

"Mommy I like you"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Home is where the heart is

For the first time in my life, I've fully experienced the meaning of that phrase.

Immediately after Palmer moved out of our house, I busied myself with re-decorating and changing the house so that I could feel like home. And it worked for awhile.

But tonight sitting home alone, I began to cry. I knew that the only place that is home for me, is with him and our children.

Home is where the heart is... and my heart is too far away for my comfort.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Goodbye, Doesn't mean a thing with you and I

It has been a crazy few days - with a whirlwind of emotions that has led me down a path I never expected. In the past two days, I've spent hours and hours talking with Palmer. We said things to each other that we've never said, and opened up a long-sealed wall that had been between us. It has felt amazing.

We went on a date tonight. And while we were driving, a song came on that is one of Palmer's favorites. He listened to it with a whole new perspective, realizing that this song is really all about us and what we are going through right now. It is the new "our song."


I don't know what was said, my baby
I thought that everything was fine

You say you got to get away
to find yourself, mmmm

Now lady, can't you tell
it's written all over my face

My days and nights would be a living hell
if you go away

So think about the misery
that you're gonna put me through, ooooooh

Goodbye, Doesn't mean a thing with you and I
Our love has stood through the test of time (Yes it has)

If you're planning to leave me behind, oh
Let me put one more thing on your mind

If you ever need my baby, send for me
I'm just a telephone call away, send for me
Put a message in a bottle baby baby, send for me
Mmmmm, Ooooooo

See you're my everything, sweet baby
My whole world revolves around you

Nothing is what I am,
without you here in my life


Send for me
Send for me
Send for me

Monday, October 27, 2008

The story of Mojo

This is Mojo - the new addition to our family.


Mojo has a very interesting story about how he joined our family.  We met Mojo on October 1st, though it took a few days for him to have a name.  

I was out in the backyard after work, watching Alaina jump on the trampoline, when I saw this cute little orange kitten in the backyard.  I pointed him out to Alaina and went inside to get Paige. The kitten was scared, and only let Paige get a few feet from him before running and hiding.  At one point she managed to catch him and then screamed at me for help - I ran over and picked him up but had to drop him after he scratched the heck out of me. He was one skinny and scared kitten.  

He was hiding underneath the shed.  Paige spent almost two hours outside with him, talking to him, offering him food and trying to coax him out.  No luck.  So, after getting Alaina to bed, I went outside to smoke and watched for him.  He pranced around the backyard, pawed the ground and purred.  He clearly wanted attention but was scared to get too close.  He'd come under the table where I was sitting, but wouldn't come close enough to let me pet him.  Finally I decided to go inside and just leave the back door open and see what happened.  It took him a few trips up and down the back stairs, and a few moments of laying on the top step right outside the door before he came inside.  

That first night, he was so scared.  He hid, and hissed if we got close to him.  We didn't know what to expect.  I knew he was sweet inside, because of all of his purring and prancing, but was worried about his fear of us.  Paige and I didn't know what to do with him.   We finally caught him by throwing a towel on him and I scooped him up and put him in the bathroom with food, water, and a litter box.  

It was then, that Paige and I stood in the kitchen trying to decide what to do.  Would he get along with Tiger (our 8 yr old cat)?  Would he continue to hiss?  Would he grow to love us?  We thought about letting him back outside, but didn't know what we should do.  It was then, as we were standing in the kitchen, that my foot kicked a piece of paper on the floor.  I leaned over to pick it up and see what it was - and was shocked by my discovery.  

It was an old vet bill, for Tiger.  From 2002!!!  A 6 yr old bill, that I haven't seen since I got the bill somehow managed to find its way to my kitchen floor - which had been cleaned that weekend!  It isn't like my house is a mess with a hodge-podge of stuff laying around everywhere.  
I almost had tears in my eyes when I looked at Paige and told her that this was our sign.  This kitten was to be ours.  He'd found his forever home and we'd love him and take care of him. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Two girls in the tub!

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Look at my two amazing girls having a blast screaming and splashing and being wild. I truly enjoyed them and felt blessed by single parenthood tonight. I could let them scream as loud as they wanted, laugh as much as they wanted and splash a few gallons of water all over the bathroom. They had so much fun. I caught some on video - where you get to see all sides of my kids... Paige's fun silly side - and her almost swearing side too. Alaina's adorable giggles, but also her aggressive side as she scratches her sister. This is a great video that shows off my kids personalities in so many ways. I love them to pieces!!!

Enjoy! Oh yeah... brace yourself... the video starts with a piercing Paige scream.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A mother's guilt

I sit her tonight, alone, without my children. I am feeling guilty for not being with them. I know that this isn't necessarily a rational thought. They are with their father, who also loves them dearly. I have given of myself time and time again for my children. They are my world, and almost every hour (outside of work) is spent with them. Yet, in these hours alone in our home, I miss them. And I feel this gnawing inside of me that says I should be with them. Part of it may be the guilt of enjoying my time alone, enjoying my time not partaking in the chores of mothering. But it is the cuddles I miss most, and the sassy chat of my pre-teen. I hope they know in their hearts that their mom misses them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Divorce Process

I started the divorce paperwork this weekend. I'd been procrastinating, which is fairly typical of me. When I find myself procrastinating something, I try to analyze the reasons why - and this one was fairly easy - it is hard work! There are no emotional attachments to the marriage that are stopping me in this. It is just the technicality of pulling together all the necessary information to get this done. It is like 3 times as hard as doing my taxes!

But the process is underway; I've started and will keep plugging away at it daily until it is done. There are a million forms to complete, parenting classes to sign up for, and money needed for the filing fees. Lets not forget the ongoing discussions with Palmer on visitation and other issues that need to get worked into the paperwork.

I'd tried to get him to sit down with me so that we could get this done together, but as was the norm throughout our marriage, he thought I'd just do it and present it to him to preview. I keep asking myself why I expect more from him now than I did during the relationship.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jusin Nozuka

I've been admiring this brilliant song writer with a beautiful soulful voice for months now. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert at the Bottleneck in Lawrence.

Here is one of my favorites: I'm in Peace

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Presidential Debate

I finally had the opportunity to watch a complete presidential debate, uninterupted. The girls are spending the night with their dad so I had the house to myself.

I used a few choice swear words to describe McCain in my mind and discussions with a friend after the debate, which I'll try to refrain from using here. But there are thre are three primary issues that infuriated me about tonight's debate.

1) I first called Bullshit when McCain announced that Sarah Palin is a role-model to women. Um - thanks but no thanks. Palin is an insult to women and McCain's philosophy that just because she is a woman that all women support her is completely offensive. We are smarter than that.

2) McCain continued to link Palin with autism. Um - her child doesn't have autism - he has downs syndrome. Does McCain not know the difference between special needs? And, to set the record straight - while Palin and McCain may SAY that she is supportive of special needs kids and their families - the fact remains that she has waiting lists on special needs programs in her state - and slashed Alaska's special needs budget by 62% in her first year of office! Yes - that proves that she is supportive of special needs kids right? I guess you just have to say something to make it so.

3) McCain insulted women everywhere by laughing at the concept that a woman's health is not important when it comes to carrying a child. And I quote, McCain said with laughter about Obama with an insult to eloquence "He's health for the mother." He vowed to help women take care of the children they bring into the world. That is the second time I called Bullshit. My poor cat Tiger kept getting woken up by my hollering at the TV. LOL. Here is McCain's quote
"Of course, we have to work together, and, of course, it's vital that we do so and help these young women who are facing such a difficult decision, with a compassion, that we'll help them with the adoptive services, with the courage to bring that child into this world and we'll help take care of it."
Right! Like McCain is promoting programs for young women raising kids in poverty - I think not. There isn't a damn thing he plans to do to help these women take care of their kids - what he wants is for them to hand them over to rich white people to raise. Okay - I better get off this soapbox or I'll never sleep tonight.

Now for Obama, I was impressed with his ability to remain cool and collected. He defended the facts when he found them important and let lots of little issues slide. He didn't waste his time trying to correct every single lie told about him tonight. That will come out in other discussions in the media. But he did a fine job of showing that he is presidential - he was not rattled by McCain and will not be intimidated in any forum as he represents our country.

Go Obama!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Friendship has never been easy for me. The friends I have are those that I've had for a long time - and making new ones often scares me. What if they won't like me? What if we don't have enough in common?

Two years ago, a new family moved in next door. They have a little girl just 11 months older than Alaina, and a 5-yr old boy. Cute adorable kids. We didn't see them much, and I soon learned that Anne, the mom, was very sick with Lyme Disease. It has been a hard two years on her and the family. Through this time, we'd occasionally chat outside and always talk about getting together. She offered for me to stop in any time - but I'm no good at just spontaneously knocking on someone's door.

I'm so thankful that on Sunday, I was sitting on the porch when the family came home from an outing. Anne and the kids came over to join me. Alaina and Abby hit it off so quickly and the kids were all in and out of my house and their house while Anne and I sat and talked. We spent over 2 hours together and it was wonderful. She is open and easy to talk to. Although I know we have some spiritual differences, it isn't anything that will get in the way of our friendship - this I can tell.

Tonight, Paige, Alaina and I all went over for a visit. We had a wonderful time and I found out that Anne also had her kids at the birth center where mine were born. We share the same beliefs about natural childbirth - and she mentioned wearing a baby sling with her kids. She is a very gentle parent and so good with her kids. It seems I have found an AP friend - and she is right next door to me!

When we came home, Paige said that Anne is the best person she has ever met - she said - she could be my best friend! That made my heart melt. I was so glad that we all have clicked so well, and I look forward to many years of chats on the porch, walks with the kids and dinners together.

Shortly after coming home, I was upstairs with Alaina getting her ready for bed and Anne came by. She brought me lunch to take to work tomorrow, a chicken pot pie to thaw and fix for dinner some night and a loaf of bread. How sweet is that?

I feel truly blessed to be living so close to this amazing woman and family.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home

For the first time since I moved into this house - I can now call it a home, a safe haven, a place of peace and joy.

After my husband moved out of the house two weeks ago, I first took ownership of this space by doing a private cleansing and blessing ceremony. I burned sage, said some blessings over my home and banished the negativity. I welcomed in the positivity and haven't looked back.

Another stage of re-claiming this space as mine and all mine was to redecorate. I tolerated the blank walls and white spaces as a way to keep the peace. My life has been void of color for too many years and it was important to me that my home, and the home of my children be filled with color and warmth.

I had two days off from work, making it a 4-day weekend that I could focus solely on beautifying my space. The weekend included some fun shopping trips with Linda, my mom, and Paige to buy decorations and accents. My goal was to add touches to as many rooms as possible while keeping the expense to a minimum. I did great at this goal the first two days - but once I got started - I couldn't stop! I wanted the whole house to be done! So - I went a bit over budget and now have to re-work my finances for the month - but it was worth it.

I now have a warm and inviting living room - with colors of green and burgandy, candles lit, fluffy pillows, and art that I love. I have a dining room table thatis a joy to sit at - and will never again be a collection for mail and other clutter. I have a bedroom that is peaceful and brings me joy. New bedding set, furniture and curtains. This is my sacred place. I have new colors in the bathroom - that make me smile everytime I walk in.

I feel truly blessed for the hours that my best friend and mother gave to me this weekend to make this dream come true for me. There is more to do, but for now, I feel at home. Finally - I can say Home Sweet Home and know that it is true.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A million changes

My life has changed in a million ways since my last blog entry. All the changes have kept me from writing, because it just seems so overwhelming - but if I'm ever to blog again, I must get this done. So here goes - in a nutshell this is what has happened since the last entry:

1. Chelcie came back home to live.
2. I took a much-needed vacation with just the girls and I to colorado to visit friends.
3. My dad had surgery - 10 hours! to remove the cancer.
4. My dad got two infections and had to be readmitted to the hospital.
5. My parents spent about 5 weeks in Houston for my dad's treatment.
6. School started.
7. Chelcie got in trouble with a boy and her dad sent her back to live with her mom in Texas.
8. Paige celebrated her 12th birthday.
9. Palmer and I are getting a divorce.
10. Palmer moved out.
11. I'm redecorating my home and reclaiming my space

Whew. That was a lot. Now you know what has transpired in my life. I'll try to start blogging again on the little things in life and changes that transpire.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

3 weeks....

We've been on somewhat of a rollercoaster with my Dad.

Just three weeks ago - we were all getting some good news about my Dad's cancer. His PET scan showed that his tumor was shrinking. The chemo had worked - and surgery was scheduled.

How quickly things can change.

My Dad felt a lump in one of his original tumor sites, and some pain along with it. Another PET scan was done - with bad results. The cancer had returned in the site that was previously removed - and the other tumor had grown.

In just three short weeks, we've gone from success to sadness.

I spent some time with my mom yesterday - and I asked her how she was feeling - where her mind was at. Now - my mom is a very strong woman - very rational - often lacking in emotion - but not in a bad way. She is just a very logical thinker. So - to see her cry is hard for me. It is not a common sight.
Her answer to me was that part of her is thinking about what is coming next and planning to go to Houston for surgery. The other part of her is (and this is where her voice choked) thinking about how her life will be without Don.

It made me so sad to hear that - to imagine how hard it will be if we lose my Dad. My parents have a very deep true love. They've been together for 41 years. I can't imagine my mom having to live her life without my Dad. Who will she be if she has to live without him?

These are thoughts I don't want to have. I don't want to imagine this as the result.

Last night my mom and I talked about how to be realistic while at the same time how to have faith that he'll beat this. It is a hard balance to try to find. It is a conversation I believe we'll have many times...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The poem - the basis of my father's life

Here is the poem I mentioned in my spiritual moment story. Whether you are Christian or not, please consider its meaning. We can only help others by taking action - doing something to make a difference.

Listen Christian
By Bob Rowland
(from a poem in WITNESS magazine
Circa 1972)

Listen Christian,
I was hungry
And you formed a humanities club
And discussed my hunger.
Thank you.

I was imprisoned
And you crept off quietly
To your chapel in the cellar
And prayed for my release.

I was naked,
And in your mind
You debated the morality
Of my appearance.

I was sick
And you knelt and thanked God
For your health.

I was homeless
And you preached to me
Of the spiritual shelter
Of the Love of God.

I was lonely
And you left me alone
to pray for me.

You seem so holy;
So close to God.
But I’m still very hungry,
And lonely, and cold…

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A spiritual moment

I had a spiritual moment today. It came as quite a shock to me, as I have not been actively pursuing my faith and have actually really been struggling with my basic belief in God. I've not prayed in a very long time and have been focusing instead on sending positive thoughts to others when they are needed.

A little bit of background.... I've not felt comfortable at my home church for over 2 years - almost three now. But, I continued to attend for the benefit of my big girls. They'd formed lots of relationships there and it is the only church home they've known. They continued to attend church even when I stopped, getting rides with various friends. I supported their beliefs and appreciated that they respected the space I needed, even though they had no real knowledge of why I wasn't attending church with them.

So, yesterday, my dad mentioned that he'd be preaching today. For those who don't know, he is a retired ordained minister. I haven't heard him preach in quite some time, and I miss it. It is one of the primary reasons that I've struggled with my faith as an adult. My faith was always associated to my father, and after his retirement - it was difficult for me to find my own path.

I decided to join him at church. He attends a very progressive church that is more open and affirming then any church I've visited. I attended alone - I wanted a chance to really pay attention to the service without the distraction of my children.

His sermon was wonderful. He preached on a topic that I've heard him speak on many times, as it it was the true basis of his life-long ministry and my upbringing - the importance of fighting for social justice.

Then it came time for the communion. I immediately noticed that this church did communion different than anything I'd experienced. When they offer the bread and juice - the place it in each person's mouth, lean forward, place their hands around the person's shoulders and pray with them. Each person is prayed for individually. It is a private prayer, only those in the immediate group can hear the words. It was special - it was clear to all who participated. My dad expected me to go with him. I got nervous at the last minute and told him I'd not be taking communion. He had an expresion on his face that I can't quite explain. I'm not sure what the emotion was- surprise, disappointment, sadness? I saw him walk up there on his own. And this is when the beginning of my spiritual moment occured. I looked at him - and had the strongest urge in my gut to join him. I heard a message - I'm not sure exactly what it was - it could have been "you need me" or "he needs you" - either way - I knew I needed to be with him. I jumped from my seat and hurried up to him. Thankfully he caught my eye and saw that I asked him to wait.

I've never had someone pray over me in quite this personal of a way. I've participated in many prayers - I've offered prayers - but never has someone touched me so tenderly and held me while praying over me. I cried - and cried. I had my arm around my dad's back - and just held on to him. I let the tears flow freely. It was a freeing experience.

Since then - I've wondered why this meant so much to me, whether it was my Dad's cancer - and the seriousness of this week as he plans to journey to Houston again for what we hope is his final surgery. I'm trying not to over-analyze this - as I tend to do. So for now I'm just enjoying this beautiful moment I had with God, my dad, and some very loving strangers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I'd heard wonderful things about this documentary and finally had a chance to sit and watch it.

It is such a wonderful feeling to finally have a documentary that is targeted towards the mainstream that confirms all I've known and experienced about my own childbirths.

I love seeing Ina May after being such a fan of hers and learning so much from her experiences.

It was awesome to hear other women who've had natural births talk about hitting the wall - the fear that you can't do this - and then being able to push past that and do it anyways. And the extreme euphoria after birth - the empowerment - the feeling that I could do anything, I'd never give it up.

If you have not yet seen this film - you must. Take the time. Even if you aren't planning children or planning on more children. Arm yourself with the information so you may share it with others.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The most beautiful Bride!

My best friend of 21 years married an amazing man on June 28, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Here are some photos of the wedding day. Enjoy!

The Bride and Bridesmaids, in the Bride's dressing room right before the wedding.  

Here I am, walking down the aisle.

The Bridesmaids:  Me, the Groom's daughter, the Bride's Sister, and the Bride's Cousin.

Here is Linda - full of energy and excitement!

The Beaming Bride, with pastor Rudy looking on.


The newly married couple!  

~~ The new family ~~

The Wedding Party

~~ The Happy Couple ~~

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where does she get this stuff?

I thoroughly enjoyed Alaina today. Her little mind just amazes me. I can never figure out where she learns the stuff she knows. It just cracks me up sometimes watching her brain work.

So, today we talked about vacation we are taking in August. We talked about the drive, who was going with us and who we are going to visit. She was so excited! I told her all the names of our friends we'll see on the way... Corey, Rhetta, Willon, Whit, etc etc and with each name she repeated it with this high-pitched voice, almost a squeal. She was so excited.

So, I told her we were going to Corey's house and she promptly said "That'd be fun! I'm gonna camp out!"
Hmmm - we've never camped out before, nor did we talk about camping at Corey's house, so I was curious where she got this. I say "What do you know about camping out?"
Her response....
"Hmmm... Let me think." I'm driving and can't see her expression in the mirror - but I can just imagine her finger on her chin with the Steve from Blues Clues thinking look.
Then she states "I need to camp to look up at the stars and see what they are doing."

Oh my sweet girl. She has her own ideas about beauty and I love it. At two years old she is excited to camp and look up at the stars. So - that we will do! We'll lay on blankets in Corey's yard at night and look at the stars so my little girl can see what the stars are doing at night.

The love for a man

I sit here with tears in my eyes. I'm reading the guestbook of my Dad's Caring Bridge journal that he uses to share with friends and family about his journey with cancer.

This man means the world to me. My father is an amazing person. I've known this for as long as I can remember. But somehow I'm just so touched tonight by all the other people in his life, most that I don't even know that care about him.

He is my Dad. I'm supposed to love him, understand him, and appreciate him. But seeing all of the other people in his life that care about him so deeply and are joining him on his journey is just very touching to me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In honor of the 4th of July

What These Fireworks Say About You

You are deeply passionate about a few things in your life.

Everything else, you couldn't care less about.

Your passions tend to hold steady over time. If anything, they intensify.

Once you hold on to something (or someone), you don't let go!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What this vacation has taught me....

I don’t like being away from my family - As much as I thought that a break would be lovely – it just isn’t. I miss them. I miss the hugs and cuddles, and just the day-to-day activity

I’m not a city girl – that city was just too busy for me. Too much commotion, too many people, too much partying, too many lights and noises. I was very much over-stimulated.

Rudeness in other people brings out rudeness in myself and I don’t like that – When we first arrived, I commented on how rude people were. Not paying attention when they walked, barging onto an elevator when the passengers hadn’t gotten off, encroaching on my personal space. What I didn’t like is that by the end of the trip, I’d developed my own rude behaviors. I felt as though I’d never catch an elevator or get through a crowd if I didn’t get rude right back. I didn’t like this – but I was in survival mode.

I’m in awe by scenery, of any kind – I had a beautiful view from my hotel room. I was on the 27th floor – and my hotel room had ceiling to floor windows along one wall of my room. My favorite spot was in a chaise lounge which was right in front of my window. I enjoyed that spot both day and night. During the daytime I could enjoy the mountains in the distance and at night, it was the lights of the city.

I don’t like to splurge money – Man that city is expensive!!! I hate throwing away money on food – why do they have to charge that much, just because they can?

I don’t like the manipulation of the casinos – Just because it was a casino, it seemed like standards in the hotel industry like free wi-fi, coffee in the hotel room , and a TV guide went out the window. Instead the hotel wants you to go down and stand in line to buy coffee in the morning, because after all – the coffee shops are on the casino floor. (insert eye rolling here). And why would they want you to watch TV and surf the internet in your room when you can be downstairs gambling?

I can live without APU – While I missed it – I certainly lived without it. I havce never taken an official break like other members and I probably would never have taken a purposeful break on my own – but the forced breack by my previously mentioned cheapness and lack of free wi-fi led me to an unforeseen APU break. I missed it – but managed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Getaway

My BFF of 21 years is getting married in Vegas this weekend. I'm privileged to her Maid of Honor and enjoy this wonderful occasion with her. We are flying out to Vegas this morning and have a whirlwind of fun awaiting us.

I'm so excited!

My BFF is a wonderful woman, and I'm so happy that she has found love with such an amazing man. He is really great - perfect for her.

The wedding is Saturday - which leaves us about 4 days of non-wedding duties to party it up in Vegas!

It is my first time in the city - and I am really looking forward to it. In addition, the time away alone will be a nice refreshment when I return to my family.

I'll be sure to post pics and stories of my excursions.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm a Cheer Mom!

I never thought this would happen - but I'm a Cheer Mom! Paige has joined a Competition Cheer Team at our local gym and today was her first practice. She was really very good and I'm glad she has decided to join.

I see her confidence building and her enthusiasm too too. She is going to be quite the athlete. She already has plans to cheer in high school, then at KU and finally as a Denver Broncos cheerleader. She has some good goals!

I know some people think that cheerleading is just a bunch of girls wearing short skits and trying to look cute. But - watching these girls practice you can see the true athleticism that it requires.

Now - I also got the list of items we need to buy (I'm scared). She needs practice tank, tee, and shorts. Warm up pants and jacket. Shoes. Uniform. Hair bow and maybe even some fake hair!! They all have to wear their hair the same for competitions and her hair might not style the same as the other girls. We'll have to do some work on that.

So - all in all - it was a positive night. I'm looking forward to her involvement.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My anniversary

Today is my one year anniversary at my new job. One year ago today, I had a brand new outlook on life. I walked into the new office with my head held high - and haven't looked back since!

Truthfully though, I did a lot of looking back for the first few weeks. After giving so much of myself to a company for 9 years and not getting the necessary appreciation in return, I left with quite a bit of bitterness. It doesn't help that I now still work with this agency, so I can't say goodbye to it completely. But, maybe it really has helped - helped me see all the horror that I left behind and the freshness and peace that I've stepped into. I know some of you think that I'm probably being a bit dramatic - referring to the horror. But really, that old job was a horror. But as this is about my fresh new place - I'm not even going to dwell on it.

So, for the last year I've gone to work everyday with a group of new people, made new friends, built relationships, gained confidence in myself and those around me and felt truly blessed to be in an environment where I can grow and give of myself wihtout fear of the consequences.

Not once, in the entire year, have I ever not wanted to go to work. Now don't get me wrong - I have my mornings after a night with little sleep where I don't want to get out of bed - but it has never been attributed to my job. Never have I dreaded going to work.

In this last year, I've learned that I can lead meetings with ease, discuss high-level topics with the elite management and hold my own. I've learned that work can be an enjoyment - a place of pleasure and peace.

I'm so grateful for this year, what it has taught me, and I look forward to the many more that are yet to come.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Starting Fresh

I'm starting anew with a brand new blog.  I've felt a disconnect with my previous blog and didn't know how to resolve it... after much thought - I felt it was time to start fresh.  

So here we are!  

Thank you, my friends, who enjoyed and read my previous blog - and are continuing on this journey with me.