The Formal One

“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.”
– Robert Browning

I walked in and there were rose petals everywhere, pictures of our six years together laid out all over the room,  cards, notes, and even Post-It notes I had written to him from the beginning until recently.

According to Mom, her proposal was something along the lines of, “Are we getting married, or what?”

I thought this proposal would repeat itself in the next generation, as Fiance and I had been together for a long time.  He had brought up marriage many times over, but usually between commercial breaks.  My feet-dragging was enabled by and blamed on the lack of a decent proposal.

Fiance and I believed after our first date that there wouldn’t be a second one.  We found each other pretty unimpressive, I suppose.  Neither of us remember how we agreed on a second date.  Two months later I got my first kiss.  Let’s just say, that in the beginning we were both slow to commit, and then for a few years it was just me.

The morning of the proposal he picked me up from the airport to take me home.  It was an early flight.  I was tired and hungry, so I asked we stop by Sprouts.  He hadn’t eaten and bought toaster pastries.  He couldn’t eat them which I found odd because he was starving.  But I was too hungry to really make anything of it.

When we got home, he told me to go to the bedroom, and he looked very anxious.  Then I knew.  After my eyes had scanned the keepsakes of all of our good times, painful times, and unremarkable normalcy (I think there were notes asking him to do dishes and the like), my heart was going to burst out of my chest as I turned around.  Nothing.  He was gone.

I looked down and he was on one knee.

I don’t remember anything after that.  I must have said yes, because he hugged me and was smiling.  After all that time together, who knew I could be surprised?

A year later, it has completely sunken in.  He was the one all along.  Through all my doubts and questions, I prayed, and my prayer for guidance had been answered, it just took a long time for me to see it.  Looking back, I not only see notes and pictures, I see that God had moved everyone else out of my path, had made everything necessary for us to be together fall into place.  He also softened my heart to the idea that I could need someone so much.  Fiance is more me than I am at times, and we are inseperable.  And this is okay, this is good.

I had many proposals, but Fiance listened and took away my excuses.  What made me say yes?  It was the formal one.

Moving West (Again)

“Opportunity is a bird that never perches.”
~Claude McDonald

It’s taken me awhile to write this post, because I have been so busy with moving.  That’s a lie, actually.  I used to be busy with moving.  Now I’m still busy with being in a daze.

It wasn’t long ago, almost three years, that I wrote a post on moving a state to the west.  In the span of two weeks, it happened again.  From decision to execution was a total of three weeks.

Next stop:  Hawaii?

Fiance (formally named Boyfriend) and I had always thought about moving to California, but the dream was just that.  A “thought” not ready to  be converted to “plan.”  In fact, we had just moved into a bigger apartment in Phoenix.  But God has a loving sense of humor.  A job opportunity presented, and somehow, the pieces started falling into place.  Each day brought a new challenge that seemed unsurmountable, but it was taken care of by another blessing at the right time.  So, we are HERE.

Moving is a very large pain.  Moving with a cat is just painful and was at times for Fiance…bloody.  It was also wraught with price increases and expenses (which for me, are like cat scratches to my mind).  I am suffering greatly from sticker shock.  Everything is more expensive here.  I knew our rent would be outrageous as well as gas prices, but no, that applies to everything.  Everything.   I would not be surprised if I was slapped with a “Sticker Shock” tax.

Being in a daze, I often forget where I am.  I feel like I am waiting for my flight heading east, enjoying the ocean breeze before going home.  But this is home now.  It’s a very strange feeling to be living inside a vacation you can’t afford.

Fiance and I are young.  (Cat scratch that.  We are at an age where we forget that we are not that young and should know more about mortgage rates and retirement plans.)  Young enough to catch the wind of opportunity when it comes.  To see new things and set new goals.  Dream new dreams.

Back a state to the east, my friend just had her first baby and she and her husband moved into a house of their own.  Here, I’m thinking that Dublin needs kitty wipes from PetSmart but PetSmart is all the way across town.  More gas.  Can’t order the wipes, because of shipping and handling costs.  Everytime he coughs up a hairball, I think, “I’m not ready for children!  Omigod, I’m a horrible mother, can’t even care properly for my furson!  Oh, Lord, we need pet health insurance!”  Then Fiance takes care of the mess and I forget about the kitty wipes again.

So, before I reach the level of readiness that my friend has, I need more time to emerge from the daze, find as much financial security as the average Californian can before building the next dream.  Right now, I am incredibly happy.  I have a top-of-the-line man who loves me, a fluffy furkid, a place to live, a job to go to, a Honda, a family who loves me in a land far away, and most importantly, my faith that gives me confidence to take opportunities.

Sometimes, even now, even being drowned in getting back on our feet, Fiance and I dream of new nouns (mostly, places, things and ideas).  Places we want to visit, ways to make friends, career path opportunities, buying a home, adopting a puppy.

Dammit.  Kitty wipes.

Why I Don’t…

“These days, there are a great many books about childhood trauma and its effects, but at the time all the experts agreed that one should forget about it as quickly as possible and pick up where you left off.”
– Peter Straub

I’m adventurous.  Always open to new and exciting adventures.  Can’t wait to skydive, try new roller coasters, and uh, do, uh outdoorsy type stuff.  Love the stuff!  All about it. 

With this attitude of awesomeness, friends and acquaintances ask me about why I don’t do this or that.  Well, I am stopped in some cases by little childhood traumas.  My stories usually start with, “Well, I was traumatized when…”

I do hope to overcome not my fears, but my very valid concerns, to once again take up activities that gave me pleasure or could in the future.  In the meantime, for reference, I find it might be helpful to list a few of the things I don’t do until that beautiful day, when I can do them.

Why I don’t…

Mountain Bike
I was a late bloomer when it came to learning to ride a bike, but after my dad finally accomplished what then seemed impossible and taught me to ride a bike, I was always on it.   My parents decided to take me to the mountains so I could bike on some of the easy roads.  I think I was about nine or ten years of age.  Tender youth.  Mistake number one was one my dad admits to – we overfilled my tires.  Mistake number two was underestimating the decline on the road.  My parents got in their truck and were going to lead me down the road.  So, I see the truck start to move forward, and I get on my bike.  Truck picks up a little speed, and the bike does to without any effort.  Then, all I remember is seeing dust behind the truck in front of me, and a blur where the pedals usually are.  I couldn’t catch a pedal, so my legs were in the air.  Speaking of air, I had so much coming at me that I can hardly breathe, but between gasps I started screaming for Mom and Dad to stop and save me.  We reached the end of the road, the truck stopped, and I jumped off my bike to the ground.  I was furious.  I started yelling at my parents for foresaking me.  Mom looked surprised, and Dad said they had no idea I needed help.  I said,

“Didn’t you hear me screaming?”

Mom replied, “We thought you were singing!”

“The ‘Mom, Dad, Stop, I’m Going to Die’ song?!?!?”

More than being scared, I was offended that my parents thought my vocal talents were on par with hoarse screaming.  I could have died that day.

Go to the Zoo
Oh yes, they’re pretty and exotic, but some peacocks are pure evil. 

Let me start by explaining that I was raised on a racehorse training facility that had all manner of animals, not just thoroughbreds and quarter horses.  I was a very small child when this happened, but I remember it as if it ’twas yesterday. 

Dad was building a chicken coop, and I was supervising the project.  He was hammering nails.  It was a sunny day.  Dad was wearing a white “work” t-shirt and had just turned to focus on hitting the next nail on the head when…


I felt a huge weight on my shoulders…literally.  I looked at my shoulder and saw a huge claw.  Then came shooting pain in my forehead.  Next thing I remember is being swept up by Dad and he ran into the house.  What had happened (explained to me later) was that a forocious monster of a male peacock known for chasing people without reason (other than his evil inclination to do so) landed on my shoulders and started pecking my forehead.   

Dad sat me on the counter and began to use his shirt as a compress.  I don’t remember pain at all, but facial wounds spurt out a lot of blood.  The sight of the blood, Dad trying to fix the problem and obviously failing (my conclusion because I was seeing blood), had me screaming “MOM!!!” 

Nowadays, when I am dragged to the zoo, I show no interest in the peacocks.  When I see one, I may take a few steps back.  Peacocks are always just everywhere at zoos, so if the zoo lets them run free I am out.  No Sunday at the zoo for me, thanks.  I could have died that day. 

Go Horseback Riding (with a Dog)
The thought of riding a horse with your best friend trotting beside you is a wonderful thought, right?  Well, I’m about to tell you how it can go horribly wrong.

I was a small child on the ranch.  There was a horse named Ernie (see I remember these details so I know they happened).  One of my childhood friends came over and we begged to go riding.  So Dad takes me and my buddy to ride Ernie on the race track.  Just a walk, Dad leading the horse. 

Dad had a white German Shepherd who was a nipper.  Ernie was spirited.  Race track dirt is deep and includes multiple soils to make it “cushy.”  Do I even need to tell the story?  So, Dad is both training Ernie and the dog to BEHAVE.  Well, needless to say, the dog starts nipping at the horse, the horse bucks us off.  My friend is fine but I go head first into the track.  I remember flight, and then an immediate feeling of darkness and suffocation.  Before I can think, I feel Dad’s arms wrap around my waist and tug.  Takes effort but I am pulled out.  Mom is there already.  I  have sand packed in my mouth, up my nostrils and in my eyes, so I was spitting, snorting and blinking like crazy.  Once she realizes I am completely fine, she starts laughing to tears.  Tears of relief, possibly.  But I’m sure the fact that I played an ostrich in real life had something to do with the humor effect.  It took days to get the sand out.  It was in my pores.  I could have died that day.

The last time I went skiing I believe was before I entered kindergarten at age four.  I remember feeling cold, hearing crunchy noises and seeing lots of knees.  No mom.  Mom wasn’t the one that took me. I had no childhood friends yet, and I was excruciatingly shy.  Now at, uh, my age,  I just have this feeling that I will be left on the side of a mountain by myself, scooting down on my bum for at least half a day.  Less a feeling than a prediction.  Skiing before kindergarten without Mom?  I could have died that day.  If there would have been a peacock there – certain death. 

In closing, I better start trying some of the above things before my future kids ask me to take them.  I’ll be outed for sure if I try taking a gun into the free-range peacock exhibit.  What from the above list should I try first?  I think I’ll try swimming.


“It has that thing – the imagination, and the feeling of happy excitement- I knew when I was a kid.”
–Walt Disney


My grandfather loved the Jungle Cruise.  Mom said that he got a “kick out of it.”  I could sense that as we waited in a relatively short line (by Disney standards) for an old and original ride, she went back, just a moment, and he was there with us, anticipating climbing on board.

Most families have Disney moments.  That trip to Disneyland with magical memories.  For me and my mom, it’s not a tag line or a commercial.  We make our way back to Disney to reconnect with simple pleasures.  The feeling of being a kid, where anything is possible.

We wonder why anyone in their right mind would take CHILDREN to DISNEYLAND?  Poor parents with strollers and heat and screaming and expense and lines.  Being adults gives the advantage of weaving in and out of crowds, forsaking argument for fun and choosing to eat a pickle for lunch instead of waiting in line for an actual meal.  That pickle was amazing by the way, I regret nothing of paying $3 for it.  Delicious.

Mom remembers going to Disneyland as a kid, way before I was even a thought in her head.  It was fun and exciting!  The first time she took me, I was six years old.  I remember colors, colors in water, the pool at the hotel and then…the trauma.  I was scared to death of the characters.  I  remember knowing that there were people in the costumes, but that didn’t really result in rational thought or behavior for me.  Mom took not only me, but my older friend, two years my senior, who I bothered relentlessly.   She, on the other hand, loved characters and had her autograph book ready.  So, when a character came into view, she shot in one direction and I shot in the other.  This drove Mom nuts, because my friend was running up to a character far away and I was hiding behind the nearest trash can.  How we didn’t get lost is a testament to my Mom.  Now, I don’t why Mom thought it was a good idea.  Maybe it was easier, I don’t know.  But she decided to take me to hell.  The Disneyland Character Breakfast!  I was just about to eat the biggest, most delicious stack of pancakes, and then…I saw him, heading our way.  Goofy.  My heart started racing.  I told Mom and my friend to be quiet and I ducked under the table.  The I heard it.  The sound of betrayal.

“She’s under the table.”

All I saw was a flash of plastic whiskers.  I don’t remember anything after that.  Mom said I screamed.  So, this first trip showed that my mom and I were different kids.  Mom was a calmer kid, apparently, and I was a bit sheltered, a little spoiled perhaps.

Goofy and Mom
Goofy and Me

Three years later, second trip included Dad.  I had the stomach flu.  We lost the car one time, and Mom and I lost Dad many times, but he kept popping back up with ice cream.  Dad was vacationing from health that trip, which resulted in me and mom getting on him about eating too much ice cream, and then me complaining about my stomach, and it was tough.  But, Dad wasn’t a Daddy Downer after all because we took him to the opening of Toon Town.  We decided to check out Chip N’ Dale Treehouse…of Horrors!  We were immediately pushed into a line soon realized was meant only for small children.  Then the stairs somehow became narrower at the top.  We were told to slide down the tube slide.  First me.  Whoosh.  Then came Mom.  Whoosh.  Then we waited.  And waited.  Did Dad already come out and go find ice cream?  Then we started hearing voices from inside the treehouse and they seemed perturbed.  Then we saw them – boots.  Cowboy boots, no less, slowly inching their way down the slide.  Inch by excruciatingly slow inch, grunt by grunt, Dad finally emerged.  I think Mom and I just stood there with our mouths slightly open in shock.  No need to explain we weren’t from California.  That was a true magical memory.  If you say “treehouse” Mom and I burst into hysterical laughter to this day.  If you say “character breakfast”, only Mom does.

Mom and I went back in 2005 to mark the 50 year anniversary of the park’s opening.  Going as adults was the best! Sure, a child’s imagination lit on fire through real encounters is a great thing to behold…yes…but, I am a huge Walt Disney fan, so thinking about the grand opening of the park from a historical perspective and what it has meant to our family was a wonderful experience as an adult.  We were free to do what we wanted when we wanted without the fear of losing people!

This past trip, just a few weeks ago, Mom and I went back to Disneyland because we needed some old fashioned happy.  Work and stress and all the responsibilities of being an adult take their toll.  Mom turned into a kid.  Laughing and screaming.  She actually clapped her hands using only her palms after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  I was jumping up and down saying, “Omigod, omigod, omigod!”  I pulled her into the 45 minute wait for California Screamin.  She screamed, I laughed.  Our picture showed me covering my eyes laughing and her looking like the Bride of Frankenstein (her words) from the hairspray overuse.

It was just one day, but a day to bond with my mother  because together we can escape the constraints of what’s expected and live in what’s imagined. 

Holding My Hand

God lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another. When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.
C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

I was raised a Christian, and in describing myself, I think first and foremost to be a child of God.  It is who I am, the essence of my very being.  Any blog posts on my faith are not meant to offend or exclude anyone.  Like all my posts, they are a reflection of me, and this is who I am.  I am not ashamed to call myself Christian, because although some who call themselves Christian give us a bad rep, and some set incredibly high expectations, I am not sheepish in writing that I am a constant work in process.  I fall from grace (many times a day) make mistakes both small and large, and because I do all these things I am not a hypocrite for calling myself Christian, I am human.

I never asked, “Is there a God?”  as a child because I was told early on.  I attended a Christian kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school.  Same school.  Bible was a subject just like history or math, and we had chapel every Wednesday.  I was eight years old when I gave my life to Christ.  Before then, I was worried I didn’t do it right.  “Give my heart to Jesus” as my teachers would say.  So before an outstanding performance of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego (rave reviews poured from Mom and Dad), I sat in the car in full costume, looked to the sky and prayed.  This is it God, I give you my heart.  I opened up my hands to receive salvation.  Little did I know that yes, salvation was mine, but giving my heart to God needs to be repeated as necessary.  Little did I know period, I was eight years old.  At nine, I met with my pastor to be interviewed.  He wanted to make sure I understood the significance of my next step.  That year I was baptized on the same day as my dad. 

Since then, I have not followed the routine sometimes associated with being a Christian.  Going to church at least once a week, praying every day, committing time to devotional study, etc.  Also my mind is not always focused on how to better serve God, but how to get pretty things, where I want to go, romance and falling in love and food.  If I get truly brave, I might write a blog on food later.  I praise God and pray for forgiveness, yes, but the major theme of my prayers has been a request for guidance.  I pray His will be done, that it is made clear to me.  But, He knows that deep in my heart, I really do like my own ideas.  I know my dreams are influenced greatly by the world, and well, might not pan out in joy and success for me anyway, but it’s difficult letting them go.  Giving my heart back.

When I feel close to God through prayer and learning I feel like myself.  The Holy Spirit gives me…me.  Lately, I feel lost.  I’ve lost myself in my job and my professional and social goals.  I also haven’t been to church on a regular basis in three years.  How can someone have a close relationship with someone they stop learning about? 

Three years ago, I did have a church family.  It was the church I knew growing up, but my family and I didn’t attend regularly until I started singing in college.  I was that girl.  Special music girl who attended early Bible study and sang gospel.  It was a small church. 

After my move, I knew I needed to find a church.  Coming from my teeny country church to attending large churches, I had a bit of a culture shock.  Really nothing against the really large churches, because they reach many in many ways, but I could not find fellowship.  One youth Bible study group never asked me my name.  I couldn’t find a smaller group in another church because I got lost on “campus.”  When my grandmother died last year, I held it together pretty well until we were at the actual cemetery.  It hit me that I was putting her body to rest in my past.  So I not only cried, I wept.  I turned around and there was my pastor and his wife.  I fell into his arms and sobbed, and he held me tight.  He stayed with my family during the afternoon and uplifted our spirits, and we laughed together.  He was the one who gave my father a Bible, who baptized us, who helped me remember that my ministry was in my music.  He says to not call him “Reverend.”  We preface his name with “Brother.”  At the churches I visited after my move, I even had a hard time tithing.  Usually the hard time for me would not be having cash on me, and then feeling guilty, hoping nobody was staring at me.  During the recent visits,  feeling that I had not given back to the church withered as I passed a Starbucks on my way in and a gift shop on my way out.  We cheered when my pastor was able to lease a new used car, so he could return to making home visits.  And that comparison stuck in my mind.

I do like the idea of a larger church, because I’ll be more likely to find fellowship with those my own age, the music tends to be better during the service which inspires and uplifts me, and there are more ways to find lessons you need and some you didn’t know you needed.  I’m just lost.  Figuratively and literally.  I had a hard time parking, finding where the services were taking place, and even finding my way out again. 

So instead of praying for guidance in my career, in my finances, in my love life, in my travels, in my community service, I must pray for guidance back to Him.  Therein lies fulfillment and direction.  I will find a church, I will find the time, but He needs to hold my hand.  And I need to let Him take it.

A special thanks to my mother who always reminds me where to turn.

No More Worries

As I prepare for a trip home, I know that Grandma would have been worried.  She hated planes.  Was in only one once her entire life, but that was enough.  She was afraid of me driving, of me flying, of me being far away, of all the bad people.  I know that once I would walk in her house, her smile would be one of relief as well as happiness to see to me.

The last words I spoke to Grandma were that I loved her, and not to worry about me.  Those were always my parting words to Grandma.

“Paying respects” is too cold-sounding of a term for this trip, because I love her so much.

Grandma grew in a time and place where women were not educated, but charged with building homes.  The life this woman had is remarkable, and her strength seems unfathomable.  Without her determination and endurance, I wouldn’t exist.  She not only gave me my roots, but she kept our family together, reminded us of where we all came from, and that remembrance builds character.   I believe her strength may be a inheritable trait.  My aunts are tough as nails.  My sister and I don’t fear adventure even though Dad keeps telling us to get our butts back home.  When tough times have come, there is this inner strength I can only credit to the Holy Spirit and my family.

Grandma was a very intelligent woman with common sense and wit.  She was funny.  I remember sitting with her in the cab of her truck when she and my grandpa would sell molding at the flea market, and we would give me advice on career and love.  Her words made sense to me, and she always reminded me of my worth.

She prided herself on her cooking, even after she couldn’t anymore.  She tried to teach me to roll tortillas.  I might have gotten some of her stubbornness, but not her coordination.

Even though some may feel contrary, I believe my grandmother lived a complex life, not easily understood.  At least in this granddaughter’s eyes.  On one hand she never left home.  She worried about all of us.  And even though she conceded that times had changed, she still wanted me to have a husband to take care of me now and children to take care of me when I got old.  Then, on the other hand, she was orphaned at two years old.  She lived a hard life in which she worked constantly to build a family.  In that respect, she knew women were capable of handling difficulty.  I know she wanted for me, what she had found.  A man dedicated to her completely.  My grandfather is the only one I have known, and in his quiet way, he loved her so much that it made her life sweeter, complete.

She prayed for me every night.  And her prayers and her example helped get me through college.  Even though she won’t see me one day get married, or she won’t hold my children, she saw me graduate college with honors.  She appreciated how hard I worked, and she loved seeing pictures of places I have been.  She would point to my new home and say, “Everything’s so pretty there.”

Now Grandma is finally home, and she finally gets to experience how incredibly beautiful everything is.  An experience I cannot even imagine.  I’m excited for her.  She loved pretty things.  She must be ecstatic right now.

She has no worries for me.  I have such loss in my heart, because I know I won’t see that smile, I won’t get to talk to her about work, about men, about the past and the future.  But I carry her with me, and am comforted in believing that she will see me get married, have children, roll the perfect tortilla, and tell my children about where they came from.  From blood, tears, love, strength and a deep understanding of the unconquerable soul.

On Father’s Day

On this Father’s Day, I will pay tribute to my dad my publishing some of his words of wisdom to all my readers.  So for you, and the other person who reads my blog.

Now, my father has lived an incredible life so far, full of trials, humor, grief, success, love, friendship, service, learning and transformation.  I am so proud to be my father’s child, that I talk about him quite frequently.  This post in no way can convey who my father is and how I revere him, so I will just post some little phrases that Dad has spoken, and hope they serve you as they continue to serve me.  Repitition is the God of wisdom, right? 

Life lesson:  Honor your parents.  Never forget where you came from and respect your upbringing.  The world is full of experiences and new responsibilties, from work to travel, to raising our own families.  We all are short on time and as we grow into adults, we become consumed with moving up in our careers and leading our own lives.  While this is expected, we cannot forget about our parents.  We must cherish who they are and what they do for us today, not just in the past.

“I didn’t raise you just so you could leave.”

Life lesson:  Although making lemonade out of lemons is a common way of looking on the bright side, we must develop and utilize our strengths, not complain about our weeknesses.  We all have talents, and using our talents and developing our skills will bring success.  The best ingredients make the best dishes, and the same goes with our accomplishments. 

“You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.”

Life lesson:  Don’t be so negative.

“Don’t be so negative.”

Life lesson:  Appreciate what you have!  When thinking about material things we must always take stock of what really matters and really appreciate the gifts we are given.  Constant attainment of material goods will not bring us happiness.  True entertainment comes from creativity, imagination and making the best of what you have.

“You know what toys I had as a kid?  I had two, two by fours.  That’s what I played with.”

Life lesson:  Life is confusing for people.  It always will be.  Becoming upset with confusion is pointless.  We must have faith in God, as He knows our path, and we can find our true self only by serving  Him.  He knows what is best for us, and He is watching us always.  We are safe under His grace.  We must trust in God always.

“Drop kick me Jesus, through the goal posts of life.”

Life lesson:  Language ties us to our heritage.  It allows us to converse with people in speech and through culture.  This allows deeper levels of communication and not knowing the language of your family is allowing yourself to be left in the dark in conversation and not taking the gift given by our ancestors.  It can also lead to being lost in rural areas, not attaining the popular vote in any future political campaigns, and looking stupid period.  Learn Spanish. 

*Insert rant about needing to learn Spanish in Spanish with wild hand gestures here* 

Life lesson:  Everything takes a bit of strategy.  You can’t just hope for the best and go for it.  Think about it, visualize it, and execute the strategy.  Works in life, works in basketball.

“It’s all in the wrist.”

Life lesson:  There’s no place like home.

“But THIS is the Land of ENCHANTMENT.”

Life lesson:  Work hard with a kind heart and people will follow by example.  Yelling with a closed mind will get you absolutely nowhere.  People may fear you, people may do what you advise out of this sense of fear, but respect is not attained through this form of “leadership.”  A true leader is a servant of the people.  A good listener.  Someone generous and caring.  A strong sense of right and wrong coupled with a caring disposition.  Words mean nothing without action as evidence to support those words.  Lead by example.  Your example comes from being a follower of Christ.  People do not always understand by hearing, you must prove yourself.

“You don’t demand respect, you earn it.”

A Path of Blessings

As my last post indicates, I had a really hard, really weird couple of weeks.  So many things came at me at once.  So many answers were demanded of me, and I had so many questions.  It was at home and at work, and those two weeks left me stupefied, and a little crazy and numb.  I don’t really remember all the things I did at my level of stupefaction.  Probably said something stupid. 

If you can’t imagine my frame of mind, scribble on a piece of paper.  Yeah, that was pretty much it.  Maybe, Dublin captured it best in this photo.  This is kinda what I looked like for the last two weeks.

Now I’m still young, when the pressure to figure things out is at an all time high, or at least I perceive it to be, so I’m owed a little crazy.  I’m also old enough to learn something from these periods, of ” WTH?!?”

I’m not much of a drama queen.  I don’t like drama, I like excitement.  Please don’t confuse the two.  I’m an excitement queen.  I run on possibilities and caffeine.  If I’m bored, I’m miserable.  (And more likely to text you.)  So, when pressure and bad news are at all time high, and possibilities of excitement, adventure and happiness are low…and all this news comes at once, culminating in one weekend… I moan and I run in circles.  Phew, so tired.  You know, from the running…

So what did I learn from the running and the crazy?  A sparrow in the airport that landed at my feet was the first reminder.  Things might be falling around me, and the path ahead completely unclear, but there is a path, and there is a Guide. 

Another reminder.  This morning, I met a man whose young daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just days ago.  She is still in the hospital.  His world turned upside down and a flood of new information and new emotions hit him.  He looked shocked, he looked confused, and in his eyes I saw grief and resolve.  In a day, just like any other, his world and that of his family’s forever changed.  His world was confusing, but I had knowledge.  I had knowledge of an incredible life his family had waiting for him and friends waiting to meet him.  I hope he uses me, and our resources in the time that he is shocked, confused and heartbroken.  Because where he cannot see past her getting out of the hospital, we can see her playing and laughing with friends.  This meeting gave me perspective. 

Reminder three.  My appointment with my new epileptologist.  I had never been given a real diagnosis.  I was told I had epilepsy and ever since then, it was figuring out how to control it, the end.  I knew of people who had grown out of their epilepsy, and thought, in the back of my mind, that my condition could be temporary.  I have a type of epilepsy that does not go away, and was told that I would be dependent on medication for the rest of my life, with the threat of seizures.  It could happen, but statistically, I should not even consider it.  I could try tapering off my meds if going seizure free for two to five years (I’m in year three), but seizures are so terrifying to me that the thought of turning myself into an experiment that can’t drive, work or be left alone is not really an option for me.  This news was not disheartening for me, but I knew it would be somewhat of a let down for those who had been through this with me.  Looking at me, you can’t tell I have epilepsy.  I  haven’t had a seizure in three years, and you know what?   I might not have another one.  That’s an amazing blessing, and I cannot take it for granted.  Last weekend, I saw a young woman walking around with a helmet.  At this appointment, I saw patients with noticeable neurological disabilities – they could not walk, they could not speak.  I went to my appointment with my best friend, my rock.   He cares so deeply for me, and although the path ahead will not be free of epilepsy, I have so many blessings now.  In the midst of the crazy and heartbreak, I even have the blessing to see past it, to see the reminders.  The couple with serious health issues had each other, and in the gentle care they gave to each other, I could see that they could tell what a blessing they were given in each other.

I can get some really awful news tomorrow.  My dreams could become dust.  But in that dust come new dreams and new opportunities.  Taking hold of today, and finding the great in tomorrow.

Here and Now

Sometimes life brings you to your knees.  Then it stabs you through the heart, kicks you in the stomach and then, as you fall in agony, life hits you over the head with a bat.   At least this is what it feels like physically afterward.  

Letting go is difficult.  Of  a person, a thought, a dream.  An idea of happiness.  The absence of that idea can be quite crushing, and letting it go can be heartbreak, pure and simple.  There is more to life than what is not in it.  That realization is key.

After my beating (they happen to everyone), I knew immediately that I must take stock of what is here, in my grasp.  I have a man who loves me deeply, a family that has invested so much in me, and friends who care whether or not
I get beaten or not. 

I can’t have the life as I dream it, at least not in all aspects.  I am only human, and don’t know what’s best for me.  Actually putting this realization into action is very difficult (see multiple posts on the subject).  My friends are wonderful, but can’t give me the right answer.  Only by letting go, and giving myself to God’s will, will I find what is best for me.  Today I prayed fervently for guidance.  Moments later, a small bird landed at my feet as I sat at my gate in the airport.  Always comparing myself to a sparrow, this was a gentle reminder that I am being looked out for.  I’m sore now, but I am going to be fine.

I have been scared before, burnt before, and I have scars to prove it.  But one thing I forget when the stab hits the first time, is that I am tough.  I come from a family of tough women who gave me life examples, and just when I thought I couldn’t hold in the tears of fear, anxiety and loss, I smiled.  And I laughed.  I was aided by what is here and now – Mom, Friends, Boyfriend, a dog and a little bird.

Five Years

Today I mark five years as a diabetes fighter.  Five years ago I got involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

I was just about to graduate from college with  my BBA in marketing.  This is the time when young 20 somethings go crazy thinking about getting a job.  I knew that as a college graduate, I had a better chance of scoring not just a job, but a career.  One that offered me a position to be creative.  I just didn’t know the first step. 

Professor Funnierthanmost distributed a lot of job and internship opportunities to business students.  I had sat through multiple career days and presentations from companies wanting fresh talent in entry level positions.  Nothing panned out for me, or even peaked my interest.  Then I came across one for a Marketing Intern for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Right up my alley, I thought!  Marketing!  Plus, Dad had diabetes (didn’t remember which type) but it was not fun and he suffered with it.  It was unpaid, but I had gotten an internship with the Office of the Governor (also unpaid), so I thought more experience to go get a paid position with!  So, after an email thread, I went to meet my new “boss.”

Picture your pantry.  Then multiply by two and a half.  That was the size of the old office.  One narrow teeny space, starting with the door ending with the manager’s office separated by a wall with a window in it.  Other than her desk, there was a small desk facing a wall.  I feared that would be mine, if selected. 

I very quickly realized this was a disease I was completely unfamiliar with.  There were pictures of kids all over the walls.  What?  Dad took shots, but it was so long ago, that I didn’t remember.  Dad was only on oral medication at that time, so I knew diabetes as a disease that required pills, watching what you eat, pricking your finger, getting blood, and yelling.  “What the…?”  “Are you kidding me?!?”  “I took my pills!”  “I barely ate anything!”  “I’ve been outside working for two hours!”  Well, you get the idea.

The first person I met with type 1 diabetes in that little office was hooked up to a pager-like device.  She tried telling me about it, but I think I was so focused on how to respond, that everything flew over my head.  What I learned from that interview was that a healthy young woman my age could have diabetes, children could get diabetes, it’s a sophisticated disease and it needs nothing less than a cure.  My Dad was in visible pain from having type 2 for so long, and I knew that JDRF would help him, too.  My new boss offered me a summer internship.  I would come in half days three times a week.  Thinking back, I now know how respectful if was of her to interview me.  I was interviewing to volunteer, but she really made me feel as if I was entering an organization that took a formalized process.  It made me feel special.  I called Dad two steps out from the office, and told him I was going to cure diabetes.

Before even starting, my new boss invited me to see JDRF in action, at an event.  It was the Corporate Engagement Breakfast for the Walk to Cure Diabetes.  I suited up.  My gray suit was way too big for me, so I was pulling on it constantly.  It was all I could think about.  The talk was about what diabetes is, and how JDRF is out to eradicate type 1 diabetes.  Then Jennie (names have been changed in this blog as a courtesy) and her family came up to speak.  Jennie was very, very ill when she was diagnosed.  Her parents talked about their fears for Jennie and her daily life with diabetes.  Jennie was fidgety.  She was up on a chair, then down on the floor, then sitting on the chair, then on the floor.  Jennie had eaten breakfast, and she needed a shot.  I watched her mother give her a shot, and this was the first time I had seen it.  It surprised me.  Jennie wiggled, but her mom held her and gave her a shot in her arm.  Her little arms had bulges right below the shoulders.  I realized later that it was lipodystrophy.  She hated to feel her shots, and fought new sites.  What floored me is that this scene had to repeat itself several times a day.  I don’t know what the look was on my face, but I’m pretty sure it looked like the expressions I have witnessed over the years at these events from those that don’t know type 1.  I became really close to Jennie and her family.   I saw them in our teeny office so many times during that summer.  I spent more time on the floor than at my desk, and Jennie drew pictures while her mom volunteered.  She drew one of me.  I was helping her cross the street.  I still have it framed in my office.  It reminds me that I started with JDRF to help Jennie, and I remain with JDRF until she’s safe. 

At the end of the summer, my boss was given the go-ahead to hire a temp.  Part-time.  I took it.  So now the office had two paid employees!  I worked as a temp for eight months.  Then I was hired on as a full-time employee. 

You take this job, one day at a time, one season at a time, one task at a time, but always looking towards the goal – a world without diabetes.  My old boss is now my colleague and I recently asked her how many Walks she had done.  It was hard to count.  I have worked 10 Walks, 5 golf tournaments, 4 galas and countless events that fall within those realms.  Every 5am start, every 9 hour time frame in heels, every U-Haul loaded and unloaded, every mailing, every phone call, every email – means something.  It means a step closer.  It all is part of a bigger picture, a bigger event, a bigger amount raised, a bigger breakthrough funded. 

Before I moved to our Chapter for a manager position with JDRF, I spent three and half years with fiscal year objectives and reviews that started with my boss saying, “I know JDRF might not be the end all for your career as it is for me…”  But it became that somehow.  On that five year road I am staying on, it has become that for me.  I have a family here.  For those you living each day with diabetes, you might only know my name, you might have seen me once and I talked to you and then  you see me every once in a while when you need some advice or a resource or just a voice on the phone.  I might have been one of the first voices you heard when your child was diagnosed or that weird girl that told you about all the cool events for adults with type 1.  I could be the person asking you for time, for advice, for your story.  In any capacity I am needed, I can fit that role.  I can be at your doorstep with Rufus, or at the hospital with magazines or on Facebook forwarding your blog.  I get to be a friend for a living.  How much better can it be?

I do get thank yous for serving families and adults with type 1 diabetes.  It goes both ways.  What a coincidence that to mark my five year anniversary, I have taken on an unpaid intern to work with me this summer.  My hope is that this organization serves her as it has served me.