Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Football Superstar and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on June 26th. 6 years together.
Only 6 years?! It seems longer- as if our past passed - as if we never even had a past marriage.
I guess that's what a good solid relationship can do to a gal.....oh, don't get me wrong- our marriage is not a box of Godiva chocolates every day- but it certainly is an assortment of Hershey's chocolates!

As I sit here and type this post, Heidi Mae remember the little puppy that started it all sits by my feet snoring. She just watched her favorite family member walk out the door to head in to work.
She watched until his car drove down the stone drive, down to the back road until the car reached the stop sign. She could no longer see the car. I know I couldn't, but that doesn't mean my husbands faithful furbaby couldn't sense her "daddy" was not yet too far for her to stay and keep a sharp hawks eye-waiting. for what? would he turn around?
After five minutes or so.....she returned to her cozy spot- next to her littlest family member- Apple Cheeks. the one she protects

I shake my head and smile at this furbaby. She has no idea what she caused 6 years ago. This GSD born in New York was to return to her roots before she entered her 1st year of doggy-hood. But she and her human momma fell head over heals or make that paws for a man who we are now celebrating not only anniversaries with....but birthdays, holidays and growth.

I think Heidi deserves some extra lovin' today.

Happy Anniversary Baby....... got you on my mind!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Visit

She sits in her wheelchair picking at todays dinner. Roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, waxed beans and a small slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.
She stares at the food- begins to pick at the turkey breast and mashed potatoes.
Never touching the waxed beans.
She begins to gently mix a packet of cocoa into the brown plastic mug that holds the hot water- slowly she mixes the cocoa- even slower she sips the cocoa.
She looks tired. She looks lost, maybe even lonely. Her small features are hidden by a stylish wig that covers her head that once held a mass of strawberry blonde hair.
Fingernails that were once manicured to perfection on her petite hands are now nails that are kept clipped- squared off just at the tips of her fingers.

As I stand in the doorway of her room watching- I can see her wearing a black slim pencil skirt with matching captivator pumps. I see her wavy strawberry blonde hair perfectly in place. I see those pretty soft pink nails manicured just right- not too long, but long enough to display elegance.
I can smell the perfume she would splash on right before she would walk out the door.

I close my eyes and return to the here and now.

As I walked over to her chair- carefully not to surprise her- she looked up and smiled.
What are you doing here I'm asked.
I just wanted to spend some alone time with you- Mom.

She smiles and tries to say something. After a few moments of nothing- she begins to pick at the cake sitting on her food tray.
I tease by insisting she eat those waxed beans that look so delicious!
There it is- that small turned up nose I so remember when she would disagree. Shaking her head no- she whispers to me as if the head cook of her nursing facility would overhear and march into the room- this food is horrible!!
Giggles fill her eyes with tears. Mine too.

During my 45 minute visit I'm never asked where are my kids. I'm never asked about my husband or even if I have seen my father lately.
I am asked about the pretty teacup charm bracelet I am wearing and that she likes my hair longer.
Sadly this visit is cut short today.

I once struggled watching my mother stumble on her words. Trying to communicate with me, or any of our family members.
Today I listened. I laughed. We laughed.
Today I felt mature. I felt secure. I felt reassured.
Today for the first time my alone time with my mother was pleasant. My selfishness of wanting the mother I remembered was not present. I was allowing myself to talk as if there was no dementia controlling her mind. Could she answer me fully- no. Did she understand what I was talking about during our conversations- yes.
I knew it. I could see it in her pretty green smiling eyes.

I collected my keys off of her nightstand- and as I leaned into kiss her soft cheek and tell her I love her- I hear this very clear voice- no cracking, no hesitation, no stumbling on words say-
when are you coming back?

Soon mommy, soon!

Second Visit.

As I drove about a half mile down the road to my fathers house (my parents home) where the girls were spending time with their Pop Pop, rain was pounding the road.
I made a mad dash into the house. No one knew I was there- all I can hear is laughter.

Once again I stand in a doorway. This time it's a guest room in a nice home. The home I entered Public School in. The home I became Sweet 16 in. The home that my mother decorated in French Provincial. The home that was once filled with holidays and aromas of Gloria Jeans vanilla coffee. I'm watching my 84 year old father sit on the floor having a tea party with Apple Cheeks. China Doll is stretched out on the guest bed working on the satellite control for the guest room tv my father failed to hook up after 6 months. laughing

This is a different visit. One that is filled with a little chaos and a lot of snacks.
Silliness and games. Spending money for China Doll & Freckle Boy and Piggy Bank money for Apple Cheeks.
For me.....I received a different kind of gift. And I can't wait for my next visit as I had promised my mother.

Life Lesson: Values.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A few more from my Scrap Book

My "Coachman" big brother & wife Mrs. Coachman
Pop Pop with his girls.
Okay, this is where the tears begin....how did 14 years fly past so quickly? This photo was recently taken (5/2o1o) China Doll attended her 8th grade formal dance.

Scrap Book- time has gone by too quickly*

Me & my "Limo Driver" big sister
Football Superstar with his lovely mother, Mrs. Ice Cream & China Doll
Freckle Boy, Mrs. Ice Cream & China Doll celebrating the holidays
Dinner on the beach

Scrap Book

Never seen a cuter Yankee fan!
Fun in Baltimore's Fells Point *(exact spot where Football Superstar and I were married)
Mrs. Ice Cream in Arlington Cemetery where her husband Mr. Ice Cream is buried.
The kids placing memorial stones on their grandfathers headstone- this was an emotional visit.
Home invaders beware! Well....that is if you are a chipmunk or squirrel.
Apple Cheeks summer of 09'
Football Superstar & Apple Cheeks and 2 other "familia members"
Apple Cheeks....future tap dancer*

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hang on baby....this is going to be some ride!

This little girls expression is priceless to me.
I do believe I too had this expression a few times.

Yes, I did have this expression- it was during our Alpha course.
While being asked "Lis, what do you think...." my stomach flipped and my eyes bugged out as if I had no seatbelt fastened. Not only was my seatbelt not fastened....the darn thing wasn't even on!
And down.....down.....down I go. My head spins, my palms begin to sweat.....thank goodness that ride is over.

As I mentioned in my previous post- it was the 5th week when I began to ride the roller-coaster, seatbelt on and fastened. I was brave- I stepped out of my comfort zone- painted my face blue like William Wallace and cried Freedom!
No..not really....but I felt that deep inside of me. Freedom. Finally having the knowledge and insight of what I needed to have for so long regarding Christianity.
Due to a Christmas show at my shop, I missed the Alpha Saturday course on the Holy Spirit. Football Superstar attended. That night when we were sharing bits and pieces of our day- he could barely speak to me about what he felt - what was moving inside of him. He was very emotional. Here is where Football Superstar needs to type his own words - very deep and moving- a moment I never witnessed before from my husband.
However, after a day or two- Football Superstars words echoed. Wow....what the heck....why wasn't, haven't, didn't I feeling anything like that?
The following Monday at Alpha, our table facilitators were asking some of us to speak during the last course. Football Superstar was approached by Pastor S*. I knew it.....I had a fuzzy feeling he would be approached.
There was another table friend asked to speak as well. So, what will this last evening be like- two very strong men, very passionate when they speak, using words that sometimes make me go cross-eyed are going to step in front of 80 people and speak. I would have never been able to do that. First, I am not a public speaker. That course I failed in school because I was too busy twisting my hair in a knot. And second- what would I have to speak of? Wait, I do have something to say! I can't say it.....I'll pass out up there. Pastor S* will be looking at me as if I should be a lot further in my "lesson" than I am. He will be disappointed in me. I'm disappointed in me. Dang nabbit.....I need chocolate.

One evening I found my husband typing away- like one of our kids, I walked over and hung on his shoulder. He asked me to sit down so he could read this testimony. A testimony?
He read softly and then would pause asking me "too much?" "too formal?".
No..... this testimony coming from my strong willed- non believer of a husband had me in tears.
That night as I sat in bed writing in my journal I find myself silently crying. Again- what the heck was happening to everyone else. Okay, maybe not everyone else, but the most important person in my life was being affected by something- a strong wave of something was taking over this man. And I did not know what to expect.
Last Alpha course. That evening the meal was wonderful. I must applaud the women (and men) who cooked wonderful dinners each Monday night for those of us attending Alpha. And for the non meat eaters- I was catered too- oh, yeah I was spoiled. Extra cake, salad, pasta, veggies, homemade mac&cheese and I did mention extra large slices of cake.
Dinner was over- Pastor S* spoke briefly, and then introduced those who took the Alpha course to come up and give their testimony. Our table went last. First J* spoke. Then my husband.
I couldn't see through the flood of tears. I tried to look over at Eva's table - but she too was emotional. Our table facilitator C* was emotional. Applause, thumbs up and hugs for Football Superstar.
I would have never, ever, ever, ever, sorry but I wouldn't have ever thought my husband would be speaking at a Christian education course- and now he will be asked to speak in church to a congregation of 800 or more people.
*I wrote a note of thanks for Eva to read to the group- I felt she was the best person for this.
December 5th. Football Superstar attends both services at LW. He speaks. He has no fears of speaking in public- telling his story. His life. Sharing with mostly strangers. It's not as if we attend a church of 150 people and chances are you are friends or acquaintances with some of the members.
Mrs. Ice Cream was there, one of his brothers, friends from Alpha, and there I sat trying to prepare myself to hear these words again. Don't sob like an idiot in church- hold yourself together girl- hold it together.
Weeks to follow- I find myself wondering why haven't I had the "wow" yet. Others who spoke at Alpha's last night talked about how they were changed. How they felt this awesome moment, or walked on a beach and had their moment. Went on a bike ride through the countryside and felt this powerful change in their heart. Where was my power hit? *I want to point out that some of the people that took the Alpha course (those we met) were from various religions or non believers. Buddhist, atheist, agnostic and wicka.
On Sundays, Pastor S* hits me with what I call the "Spiritual Punch". I like it, I need that.
But I haven't had anything whop me over the head or on my back. Am I not opening my heart enough? Am I not getting it? What's wrong with me that I am not feeling the spirit?

This was, has been a struggle for me. I'm looking for something I may not get.
I've been recently told that perhaps I don't need that "wow" and will never get that "wow" because I was never that far from God in the first place. ????????? I need to digest this information. Here is what my information load looks like: a cheap paper plate that was filled with bar-b-que, macaroni salad, baked beans and one deviled egg. I would only eat the beans and macaroni salad.....and the other food I would need to remove or dissect or even taste. This is what I'm doing with what I have. Removing, dissecting and trying to digest in order to understand.

To be continued..........

Life Lesson: Taste the deviled egg.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Scrap Book

Puppy Love
China Doll attended gymnastic camp at State College~
A sad day~ Coach Yuriy was given a good-bye party after years of coaching the Hanover team.
Yuriy returned to Russia. He was genuinely missed.
China Doll began a sport career that changed our lively hood. We all ate, breathed, slept and rode the gymnastic life for a few years. Apple Cheeks practically grew up in the gym or hotel rooms, and had plenty of new "sisters" that gave her tons of attention. A team of 12 sisters. Olympic bound maybe not.....but our oldest daughter had a natural ability to achieve the skills needed for this hard grueling sport. We traveled on weekends for meets- we met new friends- we spent a lot of money- she practiced 20+ hours a week (not including floor choreography) - we smelled scholarship????????
After an emotional decision- China Doll placed her grips and leo's on a shelf in her bedroom....walked away from the sport of gymnastics 2 weeks before the first meet of a new level season. Did I want to pull her hair out- yes. It took us some time to absorb her decision- anyone who has a son or daughter in this sport knows the hours and financial commitments behind gymnastics. Need I go on?
After learning the "true" reason behind China Dolls decision to quit- we knew of more important skills to work on now besides kips or a salto.
One of these days as parents of a teenage girl~ we will finally "stick it"!
*Apple Cheeks celebrating her 2nd Christmas
A Buddhist Nun visiting from Japan meeting China Doll. Two very separate countries come together.
April 2007 my little business officially opened to the public. This is Jeanne....she is a very close family friend.....my garden mentor.....my sign maker......a designer for my business.....and one of the sweetest people on earth!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


January, February,March,April.....May. By the end of May, we begin to find ourselves getting involved in activities or events at this new facility - called church. I'm open for discussion- but please tread lightly because I'm not even in the "newbie" stage- I'm in the "learning stages" of christianity.
We attend MLL which is a night out for married couples held directly in the auditorium- it's SNL "cleaned up" some. But in very good taste and I must say the performers are quite talented! The music is awesome and the crowd is just as fun. There are skits about marital spoofs, politics, sex and usually a guest speaker who finds a remarkable way to not bore the pants off of me. Football Superstar and I are pretty taken back that a "church" even has such an event.
By now- I should be aware that this just ain't the run of the mill church. For me....it's like college - again.

Because.... for me- I've been away from my "birth" religion for years. Catholicism.
Only those who attended Catholic schools and churches are able to "get it". Not all Catholic churches are exactly the same....but chances are you will find rituals of mass very similar.
We Catholics have been taught strict codes- the only religion that is "true"- other denominations don't have it "quite right". The hard part for me is letting go of what was engrained in my young mind.
For 4 months I sit and listen to a man who wears casual clothing, mostly jeans and speaks of his past life- a life not so squeaky clean. A man who is real. A man who is full of hope for his church. I like this man. He's educating me- deeply giving me an entire new perspective on christianity. But can he change my mind on Christians?

Are you a Christian? - I'm asked. Why....are you? I didn't say that...but I wanted so badly to ask what's it to ya.
I was born and raised Catholic- you know us Catholics are in a league of our own.
OOOOOhhhhh- so are you still a Catholic? No...I'm a Buddhist. Wow- I think her eyes just popped out of her head.

Here was my problem.
Why did it matter how long you were a believer? My understanding is this: it is not the TIME of how long you are a believer- it's that you are a believer. And one who walks with Christ- all the time not when it's convenient. That's it....a convenient christian. I had this category- those who fit into the "CC".

And if you were such a believer....a Christ follower.....a Christian- why would you be strangling me with how long you've been "it". And why do you feel it's necessary to inform me of what I need to do. When I just saw you a week ago- and that wasn't your wife.
MMmmm-mmm. This is where my baptist lady comes in....head shakin', arms flappin' with an echo of uuhh-uhh-uhh, no you just didn't.

I needed to stay clear out of the path of the CC population. I'm frustrated- and I whine to Football Superstar. As he informs me there are a few number of CC's that surround him during his daily business transactions, I'm to turn my back politely and remember what Pastor S* just spoke of at the last service. How is he doing this....because I'm about to spit out some major marbles- directing them at eye level
This is the politics of church/religion I do not like.
Buddhism was simple....and for the most part...those who follow Buddha rarely boast of how long they have been, well......a follower.
I know what I need and I need to get it soon.
Eva mentions Alpha. A class that covers many areas of Christianity- God- history- doubts- the bible- for non-believers or believers- no strings attached. Okay- sign me up.

Football Superstar and I begin the 10 week class. Eva is a facilitator - but we are not placed at her table We watch a video presented by Vicar -Nicky Gumble.
We are seated with 8 other adults. We are from all walks of life. All have different views on global religion- christianity and politics. Damn, here we go.....politics.
Erasing the political views was very easy because we all respected one another as we spoke.
Yeah, I'm a talker, but I had no idea what the heck I was talking about. So, when our table facilitator would ask my opinion- I would scrunch my face up and pass. I just didn't want to offend any believers at my table....or get kicked out of class. laughing
I find myself having the same views with another woman at my table. I found S looking over at me, or I would glance over at her with my mouth open wide- ready to spit out what she was thinking. It took a few weeks before I did. Football Superstar began to speak. And why does the commercial- when EF Hutton speaks...everyone listens comes to my mind?
He's quoting, he gives an opinion, he blurts out a scripture and it's meaning. WHAT?
Where the heck did this come from?
There was another table mate- a man who had bible knowledge,a level of intellect- another Football Superstar. This was getting fun....but I am also getting slightly intimidated.
I know nothing about the New Testament. My childhood bible was in Latin. And I only remember the Old Testament.
By the time our 5th week rolled around, I find myself opening up. No more intimidation.
I feel confident to disagree or agree. Our table mates are becoming our friends.
We share so much of our past and present time that I finally see the new meaning of Christian". And I am not alone in this journey. Nor was I alone in the CC issue. My now new friend S tells me of her encounters with CC's. Her husband tells us of his co-workers and their "comic relief" hour - after he informs them of his Alpha class. People are cruel- no matter what we choose to do in our lives. If we share with them- if we dare share with them what is taking place in our lives. I do not have a tolerance for cruelty- I never will understand it.

During this time of my Alpha class- there was a lot running through my wee mind.
Tons. So much that it kept me up at night. Reading and researching. Asking mega questions to Pastor S* during class, after class, e-mails, grabbing him after service on Sundays.
I'm surprised he didn't get a restrainer order against me!
I was like a mad scientist that needed "answers".

Sometimes I would think of myself participating on Jeopardy.
"I'll take Christianity for $500, Alex" - in my snappy tone.
As Alex Trebek begins to read the answer......another contestant pushes her hand held button and states "What is Zechariah 9:9". She just won $500.

My belief is not in jeopardy- but my journey is one that I sometimes struggle to venture on.
My 10 week course is not over yet-(2009) and I know there will be other classes or courses to take -for me. But on a good note- this professor of LW has my attention which is huge.
His assistants have my attention as well. So far....no one lost me- well, I'm still there in body, my mind needs a jolt now and then.

To be continued.........

Life Lesson: Send Football Superstar to Jeopardy- will win $1,000's!