Nathan ~ the man who most changed my life

To say he changed my life is an understatement.
He shattered it and then helped me put it back together again.
It was thirty years ago tonight that Nathan came into my life and it hasn't been the same since. And I count that as a VERY good thing.
You see, I was single & selfish.  I had no clue I was even selfish.  My parents lived five hours away.  I had married at 20 & divorced at 22.  My brother and I had been roommates but I had just moved into an apartment on my own.  I only had myself to care for & about so it didn't seem selfish.  I worked out a couple hours every evening (body building) then I went to my favorite bar, slept, got up & went to my good paying, tolerable job; repeat.  I drank entirely too much and all the men I dated were from "my" bar. 
My life wasn't unsatisfactory to me but it was meaningless.
And then, one night, my contraceptive failed and somehow I KNEW the next day that I was pregnant.  Back then you had to wait a couple of weeks to take a pregnancy test at the doctor's office.
So I waited. 
If you've been there or ever had a scare & thought you might be there, you know all the things that ran through my head.  Yet I knew from the onset that I would have this baby.  And that I would have to change some things in my life.
I just had no idea how many things.

Flash forward to THAT day.  The time exactly 30 years ago now when I'd been having minute-and-a-half contractions for two hours already.  My mother was there.  My best friend was there.  But no one else.  You see, when you're living a shallow life only for yourself, you find yourself very much alone in times of need. 
12 more hours of hard labor & a million expletives later, I met Nathan.  As he lay in the warming bassinet getting cleaned up, he just stared at me. 
Quietly stared. 
And that was it.
I was a goner.
I was hooked forever and, whether he knows it or not, he is still somehow holding my heart in his hand.
And I realized over-night how much my mother knew and what I had put her through.   I like to say her intelligence tripled that night but we all know that it was just my awareness of motherhood that changed.  You see, despite my unwitting selfishness, my parents were ALWAYS there for me. I knew that moment for the first time that I had the best parents on the planet. And that I wanted to be that kind of Mom.
Nathan and I lived with my folks until he was two and then we moved back to Dallas where I got to experience the joys & pains of single motherhood.  I remarried.  I had a beautiful daughter who also manages to hold my heart in her hand.  I divorced.  I remarried (you can read all about that story here).

But I never overcame what happened to me 30 years ago. 

Nor do I want to.

You see, Nathan was born that day.

And in addition, a mother was born.

And she is much better off than she was before - despite the fact that her heart has to live now in two different places with her children.

I thank God daily that I had my kids.

That He broke into my life and reduced (unfortunately, not removed LOL) the selfishness and replaced it with a love that I could not even fathom before.

My first-born.
The first "love of my life".
Happy Birthday Son.
I love you more than you could know.

The Poor

I have never been poor.

There was a time when, as a single mother of two, I struggled to make ends meet.
But I made 3 times what our congress had determined to be the poverty level for a family of three.
So I wasn't poor.  But I couldn't imagine how anyone could live on 1/3 of what I made.

There was another, earlier time when I had to move in with my folks after having a baby.
I had to quit work to be with my son who was so, so sick. 
My parents paid for my COBRA insurance and the rest of our bills.
And I took food from the WIC program and the Earned Income Credit on my tax return.
So I wasn't poor.  But I couldn't imagine how anyone else made it without the help of a loving family or my government.
I have never been poor.
But that's only because other people helped me when I was young and because I had some excellent job skills later.

Becuz I saw how easy it could be to become poor, I do NOT understand our country's current obsession with blaming everything on poor people.  According to the current political mantra, it's not only their fault they're poor, it's their fault that our country is in this condition. 
Nevermind the crimes committed by wall street. 
Nevermind the unfunded wars, tax reductions, war on drugs and prison system. 
Nevermind the greedy or the hateful. 
It's all the fault of the poor.
Oh.  And of single moms. 
Especially poor single moms. 
(Couldn't single parenthood be a SYMPTOM of our society's failures instead of the CAUSE of them?
And shouldn't those condemning abortion, praise and support the women who choose to continue their pregnancies?)

I hit a breaking point yesterday when I heard this mantra at church.
The body of Christ that is supposed to love everyone becuz He loved us.
ESPECIALLY the poor. 

So I wrote a pretty long post on Facebook about what I believe is wrong with our country's view on poverty and, more importantly, why it's wrong for the church to follow the world on this one instead of following Jesus. 

You are more than welcome to read it there.
Thank you.

in the meantime...

Remember when summers were fun & relaxing?  You know, when we were ten? 
Sure isn't that way anymore, is it?

My summer has exploded into, well, for lack of a better word, lots of piles of dookie. 
Nothing bad is happening.  Just LOTS is happening.
And I know it's the same for most of you. 
Life is just so complicated and time consuming!! (I know, it's a shock!)

So there's been no time for blogging or much of the other stuff I want to play with.
BUT I haven't forgotten you!

Actually, I'm thinking about several posts and even have rough drafts of a few ~
something about leaving soul-sucking day jobs to pursue your passion; 
something about my kids;
something about parenting in general.
However, all the little piles are keeping me from organizing my thoughts enough to actually say what I want to say in a meaningful way.

So please know that I'm thinking of you and being quite thankful that you aren't in desperate need of any Sherry advice LOL.  I'm wondering if there's something you want to hear about or, even better as far as I'm concerned, if you'd care to share with me what's going on with your life. 

it just goes to show you, it's always something...

"Well, it just goes to show you, it's always something ~
if it ain't one thing, it's another."
Roseanne Roseannadanna
a Gilda Radner character on SNL

Sometimes life hits a bump in the road.  Sometimes they're huge but usually they're not.

I have been very fortunate to only have hit a couple of big bumps. A baby wasting away. Divorce.  Twice. 
When I've hit one of these big bumps, I've gone into autopilot mode and just functioned.   For instance, when Nate was diagnosed at seven weeks, I don't remember anything between walking across the skybridge from the doctor to the hospital and soaking in the tub a week later - after the emergency was over.  I call this grace.  (Thankfully I haven't suffered the loss of anyone close to me  ~  I call that extreme grace!)

But, quite frankly, I stink at handling those medium size speedbumps!!  And I mean, I stink BAD!!! 
Sure I've written about change and conquering fear and being content & grateful.  But when the not-so-pleasant unexpected happens, I just get totally overwhelmed.  And when I get overwhelmed, I prefer to hide under the covers until everything is done ~ not practice what I preach!  So, knowing how little that accomplishes, I cry and get mad at God.  Yes, I know that doesn't accomplish anything either.  And sometimes other people get caught in the crossfire. 

Right now there's a confluence of a few small problems and one medium size problem that is just causing me to freak out.  None of these issues is life threatening (or even long-term health threatening) or financially devastating.  I know it will all work itself out in a few weeks, a month at most, because action has been taken. 

But in the meantime, I burst into tears easily and am soooooooooooo frustrated.
Because I am forced to remember once again how little control I have over my own life. 
I'm smart.  I'm well-read.  I make informed decisions. 
But in the end, I'm always functioning at least partially in the dark.
I do not know what's around the corner.  I do not know what others are going to do.
And I don't like that.
I'm not a control-freak ~ I'm actually pretty laid-back about planning and spontaneous (tho, I have to admit, not nearly as spontaneous as when I was younger - but that's a whole other issue entirely LOL) but I don't like it much when my informed decisions and/or spontaneous actions blow up on me in just a few weeks! 

I have a long way to go in my spiritual journey.  I keep getting taught the same lessons over and over because, in addition to those things I've listed above, I'm also a wee-bit hard-headed.
And I know two of the lessons I need to re-learn from this:
  • rely on Him
  • be grateful
I'm sure there are others I need to learn or re-learn as well. 

This blog is supposed to be a place to share what we've learned. 
But I'm not sure that really applies to this post. 
Except maybe to encourage you to learn the lesson the first time.
You know, do as I say, not as I do.

death BY taxes

Benjamin Franklin famously said "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  But I think this year for my creative mojo, the outcome has been death BY taxes. 

I shared this about a week ago on my other blog, but felt I should share it here as well ~ after all I've been gone from here a long time too!  Not only did tax season wipe out my time, energy and creativity while I was working, I think it may have wiped it away for good!!!

Okay, okay, there have been glimpses of life ~ perhaps my creativity hasn't flatlined yet ~ an idea in the middle of the night, a stirring of the soul at the sight of something beautiful, actual success at my part of a group project.  But putting words together in a coherent fashion? NOT

So don't write me off yet ~ hopefully I'll have something profound to share soon.  Or at least something funny.

(LOL ~ write off ~ still talking tax lingo!)

My 5 Top Beauty Tips

I doubt you woke up this morning thinking you didn't look your best so you better rush over to blogland to see what Sherry had to say.
But I did wake up this morning thinking about some things I've seen and some conversations I had this week and decided to pass along some advice, solicited or not.

So here are my top 5 beauty tips, in no particular order:
  1. Know that your value is NOT derived from your outward appearance but from your character.
    Practice the true beauty of love & kindness. 
    Have integrity.
    Remember your life is not just about you; you are here to  make this world better for the people you encounter everyday.
    Act beautiful.
  2. Know that you are beautiful.
    Even tho true beauty comes from within you need to remember that you are outwardly beautiful. 
    Stop listening to the bullies from middle school who now reside in your head. 
    Stop giving the cruel adult power over you now.
    You are beautiful. 
    Know it.
  3. Smile.  A lot.
    I mentioned this in my
    post about looking younger.  A smile covers a multitude of "flaws".
    Smiling has this funny cyclical thing going - you smile and you feel both happy & confident which makes you smile more.  And happy, confident people are attractive ~ others will be drawn to you in the hopes that your happiness will wear off on them too.
  4. Stand up straight!!!
    Okay, I could go on about this for hours!  It absolutely drives me nuts to see women all slouched over - stand up straight and your clothes fit better, your figure looks better and your back will thank you one day.
    And while I'm sounding like a Mom, pick up your feet when you walk!!
    (sorry to nag)
  5. Moisturizer with Sunscreen ~ face, neck & d├ęcolletage ~ everyday
    I don't mean just for anti-skin-cancer reasons, I mean for your looks.
    There are two great big things outside of you that work against you as you age ~ things we need if life is to survive on this planet but that take a great big toll on our appearance:
    gravity and the sun
    I haven't heard of an anti-gravity cream (please, please call me if you do) but there are anti-sun creams and your 50+ year old self will bless you for using them. I can't tell you how many times when I look in the mirror now I wish I'd used sunscreen when riding in the Miata with the top down.  You're going to have to take my word on this becuz photos will not be provided!!
Ladies, looks aren't everything.  Who you are to others is what matters.
But I know you care and there is nothing wrong with that.
And putting your prettiest self out there is easy and inexpensive when four of the five are decisions.

now if I could just figure out that anti-gravity cream . . .

things learned along the way

saw this on Facebook, laughed & decided to share: 

have a great day
and despite what this photo says, don't ever quit laughing