Friday, August 16, 2013

Goodbye and Good Luck

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 4 years since I started this blog. It was a whim, and a completely emotion response to my step-sister and father each having their own blogs. I wanted to be cool too.

I've spent some great time here. I've wrote some wonderful pieces, even if some of you don't agree. It's been fun, and work, and honestly my heart hasn't been in it in a long time. Sure, I'm still writing, but everything has been more for me than for the blog world.

September 21st I'm launching a new blog. I feel that it's more of who I am now and where I want to go from here.  It's still about my love of cooking, and being crafty, and it will be full of snark, we can't forget the snark. Its about finishing things and doing the things that I always said I would do "someday" and I've created a bucket list for the end of my 30ies. I've made both personal and professional goals as well as stuff I've always wanted to do. Like going white water rafting and staying at a bed and breakfast. It's about not waiting for someday.

Of course it won't be all about my journey to turning 40, it will still be me, without the anonymity. I'll be sharing recipes, and craft projects, both good and bad, and my outlook on life in general. I'm not going to wait until "someday" to do the things that I've wanted to do. My friend Andi has shown me that life is so short and that we aren't promised "someday".

So, for those of you who are interested. Send me an email at lifebeginsat30 AT (except you know @) and I'll gladly send you a link to the new website, but since I get more messages from spammers than actual people, I'm not going to post the link here. Besides, I'm not anonymous any more. Gotta hide from the weirdos (Hi Mom!). No fake names of friends and family. No one was real here, didn't you know?

The new blog officially launches on September 21st with a fantastic giveaway. Fantastic I tell you!

That same day, this blog will cease to exist. It will just be a fond memory of where I started. I'll be removing this space, so that I can give my new space my full attention, since my heart is already there anyway. It's me, in color and not hiding behind Abby. Its me, flaws and all.

Thanks for the last 4 years. Thanks for reading. Thanks for letting me spew my sarcasm and nonsense into the world. Thanks for helping me find peace, and perspective, and a place to voice who I am. I hope you'll join me on the next phase of my adventure.

Much Love,
Abby Normal

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Belief in Prayer

A few days ago, as I chatted with my sister-in-law about a new job that she was applying for, one of her regular patrons at her current place of employment came forward and proceeded to discuss with her that he would pray for her and that the situation, which she was torn about, would resolve itself exactly as it should.

He asked her if she believed that by praying for God to help with the new job, that she would indeed get the new job. She bumbled around, because she's torn about leaving one job for another. Yet his words struck something inside my head.

How often do I believe that what I'm praying for will happen?

Like how often I pray for something to happen, or for some guidance and I don't exactly get the response I was hoping for. If I even get a response. Apparently I'm giving up before I've even asked for what it that I want. Sucks to be a pessimist. Yet, I keep praying, but while I'm praying and hoping, there is a part of me that is telling myself that the odds of whatever it is that I'm asking for, aren't going to happen.

I've thought about it a lot the last few days, and I know that while my husband and I were trying to desperately to get pregnant and I was praying and bartering and begging with God, that a part of me believed that it just wasn't going to happen. Yet, while my friend Andrea has battled cancer the last year, as her health took a left turn and she ran into some complications, I stopped praying for a miracle, but instead that God's will be done. I prayed for peace for her and her family, I prayed for comfort for those that needed it, but never once did I ask that she not die. Simply because she would have been totally pissed at me for asking for that. Every time that I would pray for her, I could hear her voice asking me what I was doing when I would pray for a miracle. She wasn't praying for one, why should I be. I think that's why I've had...(searching for the right word here)...peace, comfort, even joy at the situation. Simply because she was okay with this alternative too. She's not in pain, she's not feeling guilty about missing out on her children's Halloween parties, and soccer games. I know that she'd rather have stuck around to watched her children grow up, she would be perfectly content with this alternative too as long as she knew it was what God's plan was.

I've had enough faith for things to work out for her and her family just like God would have wanted, just like she would have wanted, but I can't have the same amount of faith for my own life. Thanks to the misery of the last few months with my gallbladder, I had lost some weight, mostly because I wasn't eating. Thankfully (well not so much), I've managed to hold steady, and even gained a few pounds back. Yet the last few days, I've struggled. I don't like that number on the scale, and I've asked for strength. I need to get to a healthy weight, I want to get to a healthy weight, so I can be around and annoy my husband as long as possible. Yet, while I'm asking for strength to stick with it, part of me doubts that I'll ever do it. Which is probably the reason that I can't get the scale to move, unless I'm literally starving.

Part of me doubts that college will ever be more than a hassle again; that I'll never actually enjoy it again. School starts back next month, and for the first time since I started back, I dread it. Even with the lack of stuff to do at work, I just don't want to go back. I still want the degree, it's just lost its charm. Thus the crappy grades, lack of motivation to do homework, and general hate of it all in general.

Then there is the ever present infertility issues. Part of me wants to believe that if I lose enough weight I'll miraculously get pregnant. Yet, as I'm praying for strength to stick with going to the gym and eating better, part of me believes that it will never happen, and thus getting pregnant will never happen.

It's a vicious cycle, but someone has to stick with it. Although, for my sanity, I'd just as soon as it not be me.

So I've found myself wondering if by not having more faith that it will work out the way it was meant to, that in turn it's not working out the way it should.

If I don't believe that God can do it, then why should he prove to me that he can?

So, that's going to be my resolution for today, for tomorrow, and for everyday for the rest of my life; is to trust that God has my best interests at heart. I know he does, but I've got to learn to remove all doubts that between the two of us, I'm capable. Everyone else thinks I am, so I should too. I'm also going to have to believe his voice when he tells me to be patient; to believe that what I'm praying for will happen. That the child I so desperately want will come, that the weight loss will happen and the pounds will melt away, and that college will not steal my happiness, but add to it again. I'll resolve to have more faith in God and in my abilities and less doubt, because the only person who is being cheated and missing out is me.

Well, and my sanity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Case of the Smartphone Snobs

It was a dark and stormy night.

Okay, not really, it was a freaking hot and sunny day. But the dark and stormy sounds more suspenseful and exciting.

Perhaps we’ve entered the Twilight Zone of Smartphones, they are taking the world by storm.

Think about it, how many people do you know who own a phone, that’s just a phone? No internet, no email, barely sends text messages, but makes calls like a champ? I can name 4, and they are all 50+ years old. They can barely operate their DVD player let alone a Smartphone.

I’ll admit, I love my smart phone. Sorta. Okay, it’s more like a love/hate relationship. But, other than the sucky battery life, and the dropped calls, and the missed text messages, and the emails at 3am, it’s fantastic.  I like being able to get my emails from this blog on my phone. I like being able to Google an address while I’m away from my laptop. I like being able to take pictures, and get on Facebook and Twitter. Yet, there are some days I miss having that connection to the rest of the world. I remember as a kid when you would see someone broke down on the side of the road, and you would stop and help them. Now, all you do is pick up your phone and make a couple of calls to AAA or a handy friend is on their way to rescue you.

As technology has advanced I think that we, as a society, have forgotten normal social graces, and we’ve forgotten to teach our kids the same thing. I hate going to family dinners when the kids sit around and play on their phones. They don’t realize how much they are missing out on.

On a recent family reunion trip to the Dallas area, we watched the younger kids play and have the best time with their cousins. Yet the older kids stayed in the house and played on their Smartphone or their tablets. They missed so much by being glued to whatever game they were intent on playing. Granted they were glued to their tablets next to their same aged cousins, but unless you asked them a question regarding a game they were playing, you didn’t hear much from them.

Now you are probably thinking that is just a normal part of being a kid, and here is where I tell you how wrong you are.

I played with my cousins. I played horseshoes and washers with the adults. I played on the playground equipment. I entertained myself with my imagination and with the aid of a cousin or two. We spent time together, and we usually went home being the best of friends. I would imagine that if you asked some of the older kids they couldn’t tell you much about what was going on outside during their stay. They probably missed the cousins who tried to make their escape in the paddle boat, and the dancing extravaganza on the deck.

It’s time to unplug, people. Put the Smartphone down. We’ve implemented a no cell phone policy during dinner at our house. My husband and I should be able to spend some time together to reconnect at the end of our day to talk and catch up without Candy Crush or checking the weather to get in our way. After our reunion time in Dallas we also discussed how we would handle video games, Smartphones and tablets if we are ever blessed with children in our home. We played outside, we rode bikes, and we both turned out okay. Obviously raising our children the same way wouldn’t kill them.

So, step away from the Smartphone. Think of it like a zombie, just sucking the life right out of you.

Don’t worry, just like in a suspense book, the hero always wins, if they outsmart the killer or smartphone.

Friday, June 21, 2013


It's been a tough few months around here and an awesome long weekend away thrown in for good measure.

I'm certainly feeling less....lost. As much as I hated to admit I even needed them, the anti-depressants are helping. I'm starting to enjoy life again. I didn't realize how much I'd missed cleaning until the last few weeks. I've been cross stitching, and reading, and sewing, and I'm happy about it. I don't feel like it's being forced on me. I'm finding the joy and relaxation in it that I had missed out on for so many months. I'm still not ready to go back to school, but I hope to be more enthused about that when it gets a little closer.

I'm still suffering from some abdominal pain from the c-diff. Man, that is some crappy stuff. Literally and figuratively. Thankfully, the pills that the specialist gave me to help reduce the inflammation in my colon have gotten their act together and are in fact, working. I've had less pain the last few days, and I'm hoping this trend continues. I'm still having to be so very, very careful about what I eat, too much fiber, not enough fiber, too much grease, not enough grease, too much veggies, not's a very, very fine line. And when I don't walk the tightrope, I pay for it. I don't sleep as well, I don't feel as well. I'm still very, very tired, and I keep hoping that pushing myself to get some additional exercise will stop that, but it seems to just exhaust me more. I keep trying to remind myself, often, that 18 months is the average to get over c-diff, and that's without complications like I keep having. 18 months. It's been two.

Patience should be like money and grow on trees. Life would be so much simpler. Until someone stole your money and patience off your tree.

I've written tons of post the last month, I'm just trying to find the right time to post them. Some of them seem so...lost. I'd like to go back and re-write them and let the less crazy version of me come through. There's enough crazy on the internet without me adding to it.

The good news is, I'm on the mend. Between the pills, and the prayers, I'm finally being put back together. I'm finding that I'm less heartbroken than I was a month ago. It's an improvement, one that I will certainly take.

Friday, April 26, 2013

In Like a Lamb...Out Like a Lion?

Arg. Le sigh.

After Gertie the gallbladder, ended last semester with a bang, I wanted to finish my college career without any more "bangs". Apparently I didn't send that memo to the right person.

Saturday night I'm quite sure I had a puke on the side of the road experience that even drunk college students would be jealous of.

My husband had a Meat & Greet (yep spelled it that way on purpose) with his bosses and co-workers on Saturday night. I was excited to have a night away and some amazing Cagle's BBQ for dinner. So we were partying the night away. After dinner, I started feeling icky, but after an early appointment the middle of the week for some antidepressants (yep, I caved), I figured that it was the new meds. As they had already caused some other symptoms. So I wasn't too concerned, I just preferred not to barf on my husband's boss. Thankfully things ended and we left before I got sick. I told my husband that I wasn't feeling well, but he had been drinking, and I drove us home. The closer that we got to home, the more I was concerned about actually making it home before I had to hurl. I was doing the whole, breathe in, breathe out thing, and I was almost there. We turned onto our street, and I took another deep breath, and ... well, I'll spare you the details. But let's just say that down the street from us was a pile of vomit in the middle of the street. Because I was driving, I sorta used my shirt to the stuff while I could pull over.

So here I am, standing in the street in jeans, flip flops, and a shirt, covered in barf. Not wanting to get back into my less than year old car covered in puke, I took my shirt off, and did what any self respecting 33 year old would do. I left it in the street.

Yep. I abandoned my shirt in front of a complete stranger's house. I never really liked that shirt anyway. So it wasn't that big of a loss. My husband was kinda impressed that I got naked in the middle of the street though. I was impressed that I managed to drive 3 more blocks to our house and not puke, or get puke on anything else.

I've got a nasty bacterial intestinal infection called c diff. So, no school, no work for a couple of weeks, because I'm contagious. They don't want me to start an epidemic  They are totally no fun at all. Everyone should experience uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea at least once in their life. I mean, where is there sense of adventure?

Tonight, I read an email from my advisor, because I'm trying to figure out how this semester is going to work itself out and I learn that my professors don't have to work with me. I'm sick. I'm staying home trying to get better, trying to make this work and turn in stuff via email and salvage some of my GPA for this semester, when I learn that it's up to the professors discretion. They can fail me for being sick and following doctor's orders and avoiding the faculty and staff. Even employees are protected by employment laws, but as a student, I apparently have no rights. They won't trust my doctors notes and information that I'm sick. That I'm actually protecting them. Isn't that awesome?

It seems like this week has dealt us a lot of blows. I'm getting limited funds for school for the fall and spring semester. Now I could be facing another F on my GPA. I worked my ass off this semester to attempt to make up for the F I got last semester, and now...well apparently, because I got infected from someone else with c diff, I'm stuck at home paying for their sins. Heck, they might have just been a desperate college student trying to avoid failing their semester, like I am.

Some days, I just would like things to work out for us, and not make things so difficult. Le sigh.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Suppose I Do....

Note: I wrote this post last September. So ignore the back to school references, and just pretend that I haven't had this sitting in my drafts for 6 months.

All across West Texas this morning, thousands of alarms were heard, thousands of cries of cranky children, and glorious shouts of joy were heard as everyone got up and headed back to school. (You know, back in August when I actually wrote this, so please allow for a small time delay, you've been warned.)

Unfortunately I wasn't immune. Not because I'm a teacher, or because I have children, but because I'm crazy and decided to continue to finish my degree. I keep hoping someone will invent a cure for crazy. I'd do it, but I'm an accounting major, not chemistry.

Sitting in church yesterday morning, after our pastor made a comment, that at the moment I can't remember. I'm blaming it on sleep deprivation and all the info that has been thrown my way today. My mind wandered a little.

More on that later. Simply because you need info for this to make sense. You know, in case you are just tuning in. And because I want to confuse you totally before you get to the good stuff.

My husband and I spent a couple of years (a lot of years ago) doing infertility treatments. We made the choice to continue on child-free, at least for the time being. Yet, there was some part of both of us that won't let go of that hope that someday, somehow, someway we will have that child that we both so want.

So as our pastor was discussing how they were rebuilding and how they were doing it together, and next to, and beside each other, and how all of these people were doing what they needed to do to get the job done, he said something that I just couldn't stop hearing over and over in my head.

And I'm not really sure if he actually said it, or if it was just how I took it. Maybe both. Because I seriously didn't know how my husband would feel about me scrambling to write down exactly how it came across, which by the way honey, no more not doing that, I'll regret it later. Especially since the frenzy would be so I could write a post for you to read.

Pastor B said something about trusting that they were doing what they were always meant to do. That they were following God's plan. That they were trusting God's plan, and that in the middle of the horrible, unbelievable, most horrific moment, God was right there.

It's so easy to tell someone else that, but it's much harder, especially for a control freak like myself, to believe it. I've given lots of situations over to God. I've given him my grandfather's life, I've given him my husband's, my marriage, I've handed over job loss and the unknown when there is no income coming in, I've even given him parts of my life. Not all of it, just parts of it. Because there's this one area that I just can't seem to let go of. I want to, but just about the time that I reach out to hand it over, my heart wants to cling to it.

Yet yesterday morning, sitting in that chair, in that freezing worship center, I heard God tell me to be patient. To have faith. To let it go. Trust. I've got some fabulous plans, ones that even you won't argue with.

Yep, apparently God is sarcastic. He knows what gets my attention.

It's not the first time, I've heard those words either.

Obviously you can see a pattern here too. And here. And here.

I still haven't obeyed. I still haven't managed to let her go.

Yes, I said her.

I've never doubted that I would have a little girl. There is nothing wrong with little boys, and the more time I spend with a certain 4 year old, I'd take one of them too. But I always known that there would be a little girl in there too. No matter what, I would have a girl. I've seen her face, I've dreamed about her. I've smelled her. I've held her. No, not in my arms, but I've dreamed about her for so long, that she's as real to me as my nieces and nephews. She's beautiful, she's perfect, she's everything that I always imagined she would be, but that's made her so much harder to give up. That's what's made it so much harder to walk away from.

Saturday I thought that my dogs might not live to see another day. Every behavioral issue with them was magnified about a bajillion times. They whined, they barked, they escaped, they got in the trash, they got mud in my car because they felt the need to escape. Everything that they did that annoyed me, they did it twice, and way worse than usual. So I lost my patience, I might have grabbed one, and held their sweet little face in my hands and told them that if they didn't quit, I would send them to the other side of town to the burrito place with questionable ingredients. I think they knew I was serious, because they backed off. Yet, if it had came down to it, I couldn't have walked up to some random stranger and given them away. I'm not sure I could even hand them over to my parents.

Insert smoke, and the Jeopardy theme song. You know, while the wheels are turning.

No, I wouldn't want to do it, but yeah, I could.

Well, crap. This wasn't the direction that this was supposed to be going.

Maybe that's why this issue keeps coming up. Because I refuse to have faith that God has my best interests at heart. I've seen to many close calls that should have ended differently to not believe that God is way more brilliant and has a better plan in mind. I keep going back to January when John lost his job. I love his job now, and if I had pushed him to take the job that he was offered making $9 an hour, we would be barely getting by. I'd be so stressed and so worried about how we were going to pay this bills while I went to school and only got a part time paycheck instead of a full time paycheck. But because I trusted John that this company was going to offer him the job. I believed that God would take care of us. I took a big leap of faith. Big. And 6 months later, we are fine. Because I let go.

Too bad there isn't a class that teaches letting go. Of course, I'd probably fail it. Several times.

Letting go is hard for me. I analyze everything. Every.thing. And then, I try and predict how each possible outcome will actually work out, so that I can try and predict the future. I try to manipulate everything to what I could have said different or done different or...anything different. I know that until I learn to let it go, it's going to do nothing but cause me undue heartache and headaches. It's going to be an area of my life that I second guess, and that will continue to break my heart.

"Some people think it's holding on that makes you strong. Sometimes it's letting go." ~Sylvia Robinson

"When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better." ~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lost........and Not Yet Found

Part of me wants to find it hard to believe that it's been so long since I visited this space. The other part of me knows that it's been a lifetime.

I'd love to tell you that it's been because school is kicking my butt and taking my name. I'd love to tell you that I've won the lottery and I'm out spending my riches. I'd love to tell you that there was a way to justify my absence.

But there's not.

What I'm about to write is very hard. I'm about to admit things that I haven't admitted to my husband (Hi honey!), I haven't even admitted most of them to myself. Since this is the one place I've always been able to pour out my heart, I figured that maybe I'd find my answers by pouring it all out.

To say that there haven't been moments in the last few years where life has knocked me down would be an understatement. It seems that the older I get the more "goodbyes" there are in my life. It's never easy, but when it's people who mattered, who meant something to me, who made a difference in my life, it's even harder. Last December, I lost a good friend and following the 3 month battle with doctors about my gallbladder issues, I was worn out. The semester ended, and with my first F ever under my belt, I dreaded school in January.

I still was feeling pretty worn out and generally down in the dumps over the loss of Andrea, and apparently my lost motivation for school when the current semester commenced in late January. And that "life is kicking my butt" mentality has brought me here. There are so many things that have made me unhappy lately. School, work, my parents, my in-laws, and I could keep going, but I won't.

I'm quite sure that I hit rock bottom the end of February. I wanted to quit school (I still do, but more later), I wanted to quit my job (I still do), and I wanted to beg my husband to move, or I wanted to move without him. I just wanted my sanity back. My life back. Preferably on my terms.

Then, my sister in law got pregnant.

Apparently I should have been more specific about my terms.

And that was the night I fell apart.

John went to bed, and I peeked in our room to make sure he was asleep, and then I proceeded to sit in the living room, curled up in a chair and sob. I knew that she and her husband weren't taking preventative measures, and I knew that it would break my heart. I just didn't realize how much. That was the first night in a long, long time that my prayers were dark. I prayed and hoped for things to be different when I woke up the next morning. As tears silently ran down my cheeks, I prayed and I begged and I pleaded to wake up to the life I had always wanted, instead of the one I had.

I probably should have gone to the doctor - and trust me, I intend to mention everything when I go next month. As I'm quite sure the words "clinical depression" belong on my chart somewhere. I went to the store the next day, and stocked up on vitamins and I've spent the last month trying not to go back to those dark thoughts. I've spent the last month trying to be found.

Then, yesterday, a trip to the bank, led me to walk upstairs and see an old friend. One whom I worked with on my first job and adored. She asked me, "Are you looking for a job?" "We're looking for a full time person, and with your experience, you'd be perfect."

I'm quite sure I bombed an exam not an hour earlier, and school being in the dog house with me at the moment made me wonder if I shouldn't give up. If it just wasn't meant to be. If this isn't God just showing me my options since I'm miserable.

I'm quite sure that these are the roads that Robert Frost talked about. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both..." I thought maybe I could cut my hours to part-time at school and just finish my degree at night and take the job. So with more hope than I'd felt in weeks, I got to work and quickly scoured the schedules for the summer and fall, to see which classes would be offered after 5pm so that I could attempt to do both.

Summer 1 - Nothing.

Summer 11 - 6pm - 8:30 Monday through Thursday. Perfect.

Fall 2013 - My heart sank as I scrolled through each class I was planning on taking. The lightness in my heart, that I hadn't had in months, completely disappeared as I saw scrolled to the bottom of the page, hoping for one class after 5pm. Nothing.

So I posted on Facebook about why did life have to be so complicated? Which road did I pick? Which road would get me what I wanted? One has me giving up on a dream and the other makes me happy now. Which would be the best choice? What will make me happy now and later? What do I give up?  A job that I was once good at and that I loved? Or the dream job I want to have and what I do now, which I also love? There's no easy answer, and no matter what road I choose, I have to give up something.

With the dark place that my head and my heart have been for the last few months, it's hard to make a choice. It's hard to know what to do, other than pick the choice that will completely change my life. Then an innocent text from my mother in law last night asking if I was quitting school, and a short explanation of the situation gave me "I hope everything works out for you." My heart sank. Again.

Can't she offer advice? Or to pray? Or something, other than a remark that made me think "what a bitch witch". With where my head and heart have been the last few months, that just made this weight on my shoulders so much worse. So much harder. So today, I've prayed. And I've tried not to let my head over-ride my heart and vice versa. Because they aren't exactly on the same page, I'm not even sure that they are in the same book.

"Two roads diverged into a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

I hope the road I'm leaning towards, and I'm gazing down and I'm hoping for that happy ending is the right road. I'm hoping that I can walk down it and find the happy girl inside of me once again.

I hope that my heart and my soul can take whatever scary things and big boulders that are on that road. I hope that I'm found.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Life Wasted

It's hard to believe that it's been a year. Granted last year wasn't all that super fantastic, but it's still hard to believe that my ex-brother in law has spent the last year in jail awaiting trial for sexually abusing my niece.

Last week he was found guilty and sentenced to 55 years in prison and a $7000 fine.

Instead of the relief that I thought I would feel, I find myself sad. Granted, I'm thankful that he isn't going to get away with the abuse to my niece and nephew, but I'm sad nonetheless.

Scott was a smart guy. And when he wasn't trying to prove how much better he was than anyone else, he was actually a nice guy. Once he and my sister split up, they both had a huge personality change and I wasn't complaining about either change. He opened up and he felt less compelled to make everything a "I know more than you do" conversation. I had a few decent conversations with him that didn't end with me wanting to beat him with whatever object was nearby and easily assessable.

I don't like being told that I don't know what I'm talking about when I do. If I don't know that's one thing, but when I actually grew up on a farm and raised cows, don't tell me that city boy knows more than I do. Not if you value your life.

Anyway. When we found out that Scott had been arrested and that there was proof he was sexually abusing my niece, I was just so....shocked. I trusted that man. I agreed that he should have custody of the kids the bulk of the time. I felt like I had let my niece and nephew down, by supporting him in his endeavor to get the majority of custody with the kids. I was disappointed that he had fooled us all so, so well. I couldn't believe that we didn't see him for the person that he truly was.

Yet, after a year of waiting, hoping, and praying that he wouldn't get away with the abuse. After a year of conversations with my niece, after a year of conversations with my nephew and knowing that he sent that innocent little boy to bed hungry, simply because he didn't want to give him more than 5 minutes to eat, I'm still sad.

The anger quickly wore off, and the only question I wanted answered was "What were you thinking?"

While I am relieved that the trial is over, and that maybe now, knowing that Scott was going to federal prison and wouldn't be able to "find her" that my niece might have a night where she didn't wake up in fear if she heard a car door outside her window. No child should have to live in fear of a parent. Ever.

 I'm sad at a life that was wasted. Scott had the opportunity to be so much more, to do so much more. Yet, he'll be 93 when he gets out of prison (assuming he serves all 55 years). He will have spent more of his life behind bars than he would a free man. If he manages to get out before then, he'll have to register as a sex offender. He won't be able to go back to his job as a certified nurse's aid. He will have wasted his life over one bad decision. One bad choice. One mistake, that the moment he made it, there was no turning back. I wonder if he knew that. I wonder if he realized what his life would become when he was caught.

Every choice that you make has some type of consequence. Good or bad. Talk about a wake up call.

I went to the gym this morning. The brownie I ate this afternoon pretty much undid all the sweating I did this morning. Sure, the brownie saved me from killing a co-worker, but it had consequences to my overall goal of losing some weight. I guess the one thing I can say about this whole ordeal has been that I've thought more about the choices that I've made. Every bite of that brownie just reminded me of all that sweating I was deleting. I've thought more about how that decision, how that choice will change my life. Sure, in the grand scheme of things that brownie won't make much difference. Unless I have one every single day, and then it will have a greater impact.

My point with all of this, his life could have been so different. All it took was one choice, that shouldn't have ever been an option, to change his life forever.

So, what are you going to do now?

Monday, January 21, 2013


I've wanted to write this post for weeks now. Yet, I just couldn't seem to find the words. And even after I found the words, it would be 2 more weeks before you would actually get to read it. Simply because I wasn't ready.

When John and I got married in 1999, I acquired his family, and I acquired Andrea and her family as well. Andrea was the daughter of John's father's best friend. They've been friends since junior high, so Andrea and her big brother Joe, literally grew up with John. He's known them since he was born. John's dad has now been friends with this guy for more than half his life.

A couple of years ago, thanks to all the drama that we have been through with my inlaws, my sister-in-law Jean, was at the library where Andrea worked complaining about me. You know, how I was evil and should be destroyed. Andrea made a comment about how she didn't believe it was true, Jean said that Andrea didn't know me, and Andrea quickly resolved to rectify that situation.

A beautiful and glorious friendship began. We were privileged enough to spend the next couple of years getting to know Andrea, her husband and her precious kidlets. We were blessed enough to spend the last year doing what we could to keep Andrea's spirits up and make the bad days less sucky. And even though to an outsider it would look like we were doing all the work, our lives were certainly enriched by the care packages we delivered and the time we spent with Andrea and her family. See, at 33 she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in January of 2012.

Andrea and I joked that we were separated at birth. Where I as strong, she was weak and vice versa. I'm quite sure she was the sane, rational part of my brain, she would probably agree.

Andrea and I managed to build a friendship unlike one I've ever had before. She's the only person who I couldn't put on my "happy face" for. Because we were so much alike, we both knew that the other was just telling us what we wanted to hear. Thankfully neither of us was afraid of calling the other a liar and getting to the bottom of whatever the current trouble was. We both walked away feeling better about whatever situation we were facing. Our relationship forced me to be utterly honest with her about the struggles with infertility, with my inlaws, with my own family, and she could help me find peace about the situation, or any situation really. Of course, I could provide perspective about moments in her life too. Like the night she cried when she missed her kid's Halloween plans because she couldn't be exposed to that many germs because of her weakened immune system due to the chemo treatments. She was busy getting better, better that her kids missed her for one night instead of a lifetime. Of course, I had no way of predicting the future, but my reassurance that she wasn't a bad mother was enough to provide her some peace and ease the guilt.

She taught me how to worry less and let life happen more. There wasn't much that chips and hot sauce wouldn't fix, or at least soothe. She taught me that I'm stronger than I think, and that it's okay to slow down, to say no, and to not make an offer I didn't want to hold up in the first place. She taught me to to hand over more of life's little inconveniences to God, like job loss, sucky exam grades, and burnt biscuits. She taught me that there was nothing better than texting about our husband's when they went off to the lease for the weekend. We probably saved each other years of therapy and marriage counseling.

Andrea had the ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room when you were around. She was tons of fun, and thanks to her and relationships that she had cultivated with other people, I've gained a few new friends that I'd like to get to know better. They certainly can't replace the relationship that I had with Andrea, but they can certainly add to my life and they already have. Andrea had the ability to put things in perspective, even if it wasn't a situation that she fully understood. She also had an amazing capacity for forgiveness and she truly understood and practiced the "turn the other cheek" concept.

From the moment of her diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer, to the emergency surgery which removed her colon, ovary and appendix, she never believed that the whole situation wasn't trucking along exactly like it was supposed to be. She might not have always liked the results or the outcome, but she fully believed in "rolling with the punches and giving it to God". And she did. She showed amazing strength and a fighting spirit when most people would have caved under the disappointment of another setback.

There were moments of laughter and moments of tears. There were moments that I would have gladly traded places with her, and moments she probably wouldn't have given up even if it meant a different outcome. Even though I can't send her a text message or find her sitting in her chair at her home, she's still here. I hear her voice every time John irritates me about something, her offer of "Do I need to take care of him?". I hear her voice every time I've had a moment of self loathing over school. "Girl, I did the 13 year plan, it's not a race." I hear her every time I see her kids. She's in her daughter's laughter and joy over a Christmas gift. She's in her son's fearlessness. She's in her husband's stubbornness. She's in every yellow or purple butterfly I see. She's in the purple shirts I own, simply because it was her favorite color. She's in the moments of doubt, I can hear her telling me to not worry so much that it will all work out in the end. And you know what, she's right.

I can hear her voice telling me how much she loves "you guys". I can even hear her now as I type this, saying "sheesh" that she doesn't deserve all the hoopla. She'd even be slightly annoyed that this post is literally, all about her. Yet, this is probably one of the few places she is wrong. Her friendship literally changed my life.

I'm pretty sure what I posted on Facebook on December 4th sums it all up

"I've thought all day about what I wanted to say to you on this space. As I picked out my purple shirt today and the bracelet with the yellow and purple butterflies. I've thought about the text messages, the phone calls, the date nights, the Christmas shopping expedition of 2011. I've thought about your infectious laughter, your "hey guys!" greeting, and your sweet smile. I've thought about the strength you've shown through the treatments, doctor's appointments, and the overwhelming pain. Yet tonight, as I hugged your husband, and I told him that he was stuck with me, I heard your laughter and your voice telling me to give him grief. Thank you for all the text messages, the phone calls, the emails, the friendship, and the love. You had such a huge impact on my life, in ways that I probably won't even realize for quite some time. Thank you for changing my life, and for letting me be a part of yours. Hold that tiny baby that was gone from my world too soon, and save me a seat, we will have lots to catch up on. I love you."
Today I'm thankful that I didn't really lose her. Sure, I can't sent her a text message or laugh about something her husband children did, but she's still here. I'm thankful that I'll see her again, and that she's no longer suffering from the pain and misery of cancer, but also from life's disappointments. I'm thankful, that because of her faith and choices that she has made I'll see her again. When the moments of grief and missing her seem to overwhelm me, I can just close my eyes and see her beautiful smile, and I know instant comfort and peace because she's exactly where she would want to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


This year has been....a year.

I've joked with John all year long that the catastrophic events of this year were all his fault. He was the one who said that 2011 was the year that all years would be compared against as far as the level of suck was concerned. John lost both of his grandfathers that year, and we had a huge falling out with his brother, sister, parents, and remaining grandmother. He was quite sure it couldn't get worse. However, before February was even over with, God decided to take his challenge and make sure that those were not words that John will ever utter again, especially if he wanted to live and do well with me.

John lost his job. We found out that my niece and possibly my nephew were being sexually abused by their father. He was arrested. My sister-from-another-mother and good friend Andrea was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

Andrea went to Houston because her colon was so messed up none of the local doctors would even touch her or begin treatments of the cancer. John's cousin's wife committed suicide.

Andrea was still in Houston. My dad was hospitalized for what we thought was pneumonia. He ended up having both strains of the flu as well as pneumonia. He was so deprived of oxygen and sick that he ended up being put on a ventilator for 4 days. They were concerned  that because of the lack of oxygen because of how sick he was that he might have suffered brain damage. Fortunately, his brain was only as damaged as it was before all of this.

One year since Grandpa passed away. One year since all of the fallout with the family began.

Finals. Need I say more.

Summer school - thankfully this month wasn't so bad, and we were thinking that the year was looking up.

Just trucked along

School. Hate most of my professors. Liked the classes. Hated the professors. Arg.

Andrea's colon ruptures. She spent a week on a ventilator. Worried that she might not make it out of the hospital. But thankfully she rallied, and went home. She spent almost the entire month in the hospital. Her husband suckers my husband into going to the lease. Thankfully no dead animal adorns my walls..yet. I discover that something isn't right with my innards. Go to ER the day after my 33rd birthday. Told to go home and take the narcotic pain meds. Tried that, but didn't remember going to school and a variety of other things, so just took thousands of ibuprofen trying to survive the worst of it.

Felt so bad that I don't remember anything, other than trying to make it to class and to work. Pretty much quit cooking and cleaning completely. Basically didn't study much either. Just felt so, so bad.

Finally got the referral to the specialist. Had actual surgery to remove very, very sick gallbladder the week before Thanksgiving. Felt some relief for the first time in months. Then the joys of a body adjusting to no gallbladder.

Finals. Failed my first class. Probably because I shouldn't take a final the same day that I had to say goodbye to my sister-from-another-mother. December 6th, Andrea went home. There's a post in there somewhere about her. But I just can't write it yet. I barely could type those words without breaking down into tears. Stressed about followup with gastro, because the pain was back. Thankfully gastro thinks it's just my body adjusting.

Sure, there have been some high points, and some of the issues, like John losing his job, actually have turned out to be a blessing. And well, some of them, like losing Andrea just suck. So while most of this year was events that I could have done without, like the gallbladder epidemic, I don't know that I would change any of it. Even Andrea. As much as that breaks my heart to say, I think that her being a part of my life served a purpose, and I think that losing her will serve a purpose too. Even though I'm not sure what it could possibly be at this point. She did teach me a great amount about forgiveness, faith and believing in myself. But that's another post entirely.

So, my request for 2013 - Lord, give me the strength to make it through whatever it is that you throw at us this year. Help me to have more patience during those moments of insanity and suck, and help us find peace, not matter what the situation. And if you could help out with my GPA, I'd be eternally grateful.


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