Anniversaries, Birthdays & Other Musings of A Convalescent

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.

~Author Unknown

I’ve recently been thinking about birthdays, anniversaries and other events that commemorate the existence or longevity of relationships, lives, and important activities. This year, as with every year, is filled with several such markers which will recognize the presence of something or someone my life. I will celebrate the birthdays of my children; once again taking time to reflect on how quickly the time has passed since they each decided to depart my womb and enter the world as individuals in their own right. I will celebrate the birthdays of other loved ones as I give thanks for their existence.

In some cases, these anniversaries recognize the time since something ended instead of marking a beginning. This year marks the eleventh year since my first marriage ended and the fifth year since the end of my second one. It will be two years since I gave up dating. I’ll also celebrate one year in my new home, which is also one year since I decided to give up the battle I was fighting trying to keep up an old ranch-style home that I could not maintain nor adequately afford. Continue reading

Lessons from Family Guy

It’s been said that children are always learning and learning all the time.  The real question is, “What exactly is it they are learning?”.  Further, the concerned parent might go so far as to ask where are they learning it and from whom? I’m warning you.  Don’t explore this too deeply.  The knowledge you discover might  alarm you if it doesn’t send you to your grave early.

Today, I was attempting to convey the meaning of the word synagogue to a group of fourth graders.  The word for some of them who are still learning English is a bit of a mouthful and I wanted to help attach some meaning to it for them since, it was in our reading selection for the week.  Don’t get all alarmed that I wasn’t respecting the proper division between church and state.  We were reading an Encyclopedia Brown excerpt.

After explaining the meaning of the word synagogue, one of my students blurted out in frustration, “Awwww!  I should have known that!  I learned that off Family Guy!”

Okay, maybe my definition was off…I’ve got to go back and check Websters.

Sigh.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

Even in homes where television, radio and computer access are strictly controlled and monitored, children learn things that their parents are less than happy about.  Even though a parent might be diligent in monitoring the influences that children are exposed to, it is difficult to monitor the influences their friends are exposed to.

In spite of the very large influence that school, friends and media have on how children are influenced and what they learn, the home (generally) and parents (in particular) are the most influential factor in a child’s learning and development.

It is also often the case that what we intend to teach is not exactly what was learned.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

What are you teaching?

Is this what they are learning?

How can one be sure?

I ask the questions simply because, if we are to be honest, our children learn far more from who we are than what we tell them.  Are they learning what we want them to learn? Better yet, are they learning what I want them to learn?

No Name-Calling Week

j0442223Anyone who’s been on a diet knows that you can resist foods of all kinds until the moment you decide to diet.  Suddenly the cravings come out of nowhere, the urges arise and if you aren’t very careful and very disciplined, you are soon stuffing your mouth with all sorts of rubbish that never tempted you before. 

I’ve found this strange phenomenon to be present in another area this week.  That is the area of name calling.

This week is officially No Name-Calling Week.  According to the event’s Facebook page the week is described in the following manner:

No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.

Have you ever attempted to go a week without calling names?  It isn’t as easy as you might think.

Consider these things.  We are an increasingly disrespectful society.  I would say that this is limited to the U.S., however such is not the case.  In fact, in just the last week, I’ve received two comments on my blogs from people in other countries or continents calling me names and not nice ones either.  Of course, I spammed those comments in the spirit of the week I am celebrating.  While I’m not opposed to having people air their opinions in their own way, name-calling will never get press here.j0433180  Further, my own journeys around the blogosphere reveals a vast array of digital name-calling.  Behind the screen, it seems, that people simply let loose with whatever derogatory term or insulting phrase they deem appropriate given the circumstance. These labels and insults go far beyond merely disagreeing with another’s perspective or flawed reasoning, they are hateful, mean-spirited, and, at best, incredibly disrespectful and unkind things to say.  I have a friend who tells her children, “You might think it, but you can’t say it.” Personally, I think that’s a great start.  Sometimes these derogatory terms are meant in jest, in play, or in a teasingly affectionate manner. But  more often, there is no disguising the venom and fury and hate behind the words. 

The reality is, bullying is one of the first and simplest means of reducing another human being to a state of fear and helplessness. Name-calling and other acts of bullying are intended to intimidate and humiliate. The first and easiest method of bullying (and a largely effective one employed by those who bully) is name-calling.  The No Bully website lists name-calling first in its list of behaviors that identify bullying.  Bullying and name-calling in particular used to be called “just kid stuff”, but the reality is that those who end up perpetrating violent crimes in the teen years are as likely to have been long time victims of bullying as they have been to be the bully. Those children identified as bullies, are more likely to have a prison record by the age of 24.  It isn’t just silly kid stuff anymore.  While it begins in childhood, it continues to occur everywhere in our adult world too.

So this week, I and several others I know, including 32 young people I meet with every day decided to celebrate No Name-Calling Week. We are becoming more aware of how often we have the tendency to let slip a name even in jest.  We are finding that this task is much more difficult than we first imagined.  In fact, one young man even commented after a day or so, “Yeah, right,” he stated in frustration, “Like we are ever going to completely eliminate name-calling!”

No%20Bullying%20circle My answer?  “No, at least, not right away.  But if we all ban together and try we might do some serious damage to the disrespect we all encounter.”  Thus ensued a brief conversation about how we feel when someone calls us names and the respectful consideration of simply treating others the way we’d like to be treated. One conversation and one week of increasing our awareness certainly isn’t the cure all and I realize this.  But as a parent and as a human being, I am increasingly alarmed by how humanity is redefining decency, courtesy and respect. In an age where tolerance is valued, there is one thing we ought to be completely intolerant of and that is bullying in all its many forms, and this week, most specifically name-calling.

Just A Little Update

I’m just exhausted tonight.  Single parenting, like everything else in life has it’s moments of being really great and not so tough as well as moments where you feel like you’re sludging along up hill pulling a heavily loaded cart with no wheels.  My single parenting experience of late isn’t so bad except that it is so very solitary. I’d elaborate on this, but I’m just too tired.  Even now, I’ve typed and rewritten words three or four times already.

I had a full and fast paced day at work then errands after work.  A two and a half hour end-of-the-year concert  with my two oldest daughters performing ended the day.  I just walked in the door and it is after 9:30 p.m. 

It was a great day but it was a busy day. 

I would love to post some things tonight. I’ve been thinking about the directions I’d like to head with this blog, but I’m too tired to give anthing any good thought right now.  I’ve got a couple of projects I’m working on, but I’m falling asleep at the computer, so it will have to keep for now. 

That’s my update.

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field

gingerbreadbreakup

Opening score fades as curtains rise and lights up on scene set stage right of a small cozy but humble study.  A small desk with laptop computer and comfy but worn office chair, a coffee mug, lamp some papers, pens, neatly arranged are the only props.  The Wild Mind sits in the chair attired only in casual lounge pants and a snugly fitting camisole.  Her hair is in a messy bun and one leg is pulled up onto the large but worn office chair in a yoga-esque fashion.  She begins typing and reading aloud as music fades.

There are a million blogs out there that address the fact that women are confusing, game-playing, bling-seeking, brats who expect men to jump unreasonably through hoops before they’ll give it up.

I propose that men are confusing, game-playing, sex-seeking brats, and some of them want bling and sammiches on top of that.  And, in addition, some of those lovable brats are liars and dishonest, even though they are completely unaware of it.  That’s because they are lying to themselves. 

I  propose there are good reasons for both these conditions to exist. It is called emotional survival and pain aviodance.  It isn’t a great way to do things, but many people, myself included behave this way.  Or they have, maybe, at one time or another. 

Next, while I’ve been villified for villifying those who go silent or who are “just not that into” me and who demonstrate it by going silent, I maintain my stance that when a man is really into a woman, he knows it, she knows it, the world knows it and he will cross distance, time, space (or work very hard to close the distance, time and space) to make it work between them.

Cue image of The Wild Mind with thought cloud above head and image of The Beau inside it. The Wild Mind continues typing.  Images appear on the large screen behind her as she continues reading.

Yes, the Beau.

A brief recap here is in order to bring all two of my readers that I haven’t talked to in a while up to speed. And…mostly for me to sort it all out so I can just move on.

I met The Beau through an online dating site.  The Beau contacted me in October, I believe.  This last October. 

Now, last fall I did a really stupid thing at the end of the summer and signed up on a couple of internet dating sites.  I do not know why I did this.  It was a week or two before school started, I was learning a new job and that time of year is insane for me anyway, so I’m not sure why I did such an idiotic thing when I knew I wasn’t going to have time to breathe, let alone date.  I also knew that I wasn’t really in a great place emotionally to date, since, well, I was still pretty ticked off with the whole going silent phenomenon anyway.  And, while I now see the benefit of going silent, both for the party who goes silent and the one they disappear from, I still think it is the more cowardly approach. More about that later.drink_coffee

So, in October, the Beau contacts me.  We correspond for the usual customary few emails and then got together for coffee.  We liked each other right away and he mentioned he had things to do but he wanted to get together for cocktails later that evening…if we could.  He said he’d call me later.

He went out on more coffee dates with women that day.

I went to a bookstore and bought a book. 

We got together later that same day for cocktails, had a great time.  Truly, with The Beau, we never lacked for conversation, which is a real turn on for me.  I later found we could enjoy those comfortable silences too, a double turn on.

The Beau and I, for some reason or another did not begin dating until December.  It was a miscommunication, a misunderstanding but we didn’t  date, till December.  I was kind of corresponding with someone at that point who was pretty interesting and simply needed to follow that out till he went silent on me after meeting me one time (yeah, ugh).  By December, all that had played out and out of the blue, in response to a post I wrote about being alone on Christmas Eve,  The Beau contacts me, invites me to his family for dinner on Christmas Eve, which I accepted and we really hit it off.wine_glasses

We spent most of the holiday break together. 

Thus began the dating season with The Beau which lasted till roughly late January, early February, where I began sensing that he wasn’t all that into me. 

How did I sense this?  After all that time together (six weeks or so) he still was talking about old flames.  He spoke of his two ex wives without bitterness or regret, but he also mentioned two old flames, which concerned me because of the way, in which he spoke of them.  Girls, you know what I’m saying here.  When a guy talks about another woman in a way that makes you wonder “if she were standing here next to me, would he even be with me?”, you know there’s a problem.

In addition, while he did call me daily, I began to sense that it was more out of a sense of duty rather than desire. He also began taking more time on other friends rather than keeping or making arrangements with me. 

He also continued saying stuff like how impossible the 90 minute distance was, how he’s building a house, I’m entrenched here, how’s this ever going work, yadda yadda.

Finally, after two free weekends, where I drove 90 minutes to be with him, on the third free weekend, when I said nothing about plans he neither invited me up nor offered to come to see me.

So, I surmised that he was not all that into me.  I talked about it with him.  I was right.  He wasn’t all that into me, but he wouldn’t admit that to me.  We decided to go our separate ways, but strangely we kept in touch.

We went out for cocktails one night when he was in town for business and had a great time.

He texted and emailed me occasionally.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was out of town for business, he invited me over for dinner on my way home. I stopped in, he grilled steaks, made a fabulous meal complete with appetizers, salad, martinis, wine, chocolate dipped strawberries (I mean who goes to that trouble if they aren’t interested, right?) and we spent a long fun evening together.  It was VERY fun.  I didn’t spend the night because I had to be back at work (and I wouldn’t have anyway…but he did his level best to convince me to).

That night, with my help, he set up a Facebook account and added me as his first friend.

The next morning his old flame was also added as his friend and she added me which I was suspicious of but I confirmed the add anyway. After all, she lives in Texas and a 90 minute drive to see me was a dealbreaker for us.  What could it hurt?

This last week, he was in Arizona watching spring training games for one of his favorite teams.  This is something he does every year.  Something he invited me to go with him to, which I declined.  After going to the games in Arizona, he flew back to Northern California with his son for a few days before returning home to go out with me last night to see my daughter’s performance.  This was something we’d pre-arranged way back in January.

On Facebook, gotta love it, I notice Old Flame is going to be in Northern California the exact same time The Beau is going to be in Northern California.

Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on there.

atsamsungpropelSo Thursday night, after not hearing from him since the beginning of the week, I texted him saying, “Hey, maybe your plans or thoughts about Saturday night have changed.  If they have, I totally understand, but please let me know, so I know how to plan.”

I get no response.  Not that I was sitting around waiting.  I was busy doing my own thing, but by Friday afternoon, I realized I’d not heard anything from him and I texted him again.  He responded with, “My phone was off, plans are still on for Saturday night.  I’m looking forward to it.”

Saturday night. I’m working backstage at my second oldest’s performance, playing hall monitor for the stage right stairwell.  It absolutely rocked, especially since during several numbers I could sneak up the stairs and with my head about 12 inches above the level of the stage, peek out and see Briggs singing and dancing her heart out.  That was a far better and more close up view of her performance than the matinee when I sat in the second row front and center. But I digress, more about that later, if I can get pics.

While I was working backstage, The Beau was sitting in the audience with my other three children.

After the performance, we presented Briggs with her dozen red roses, took pics and leaving Briggs to do her clean up and staff party, headed back to the house.  Once at my house, I hustled kids off to bed, but I’d tipped off Number 1, that I was probably going to hear some news that was going to be disappointing where The Beau was concerned so she headed off to her room early also.

Cue foreboding musical score.  The Wild Mind speaks directly to her audience.

You know where this is going don’t you?  You, like I, probably knew several paragraphs before this. 

 The Wild Mind freezes in position while lights black out. Curtains fall.

To Be Continued …

Valentine’s Day Babysitting Shortage

The closest I'll get to a Valentine this year
The closest I'll get to a Valentine this year

Well, let’s see.  How does a single 40-somethin’ woman talk about Valentine’s Day?  I guess I could say I will end up getting at least 33 Valentines.  Sadly, they will be from people far younger than I.  All of them adore me and think the world of me, and I can’t really ask for much more than that.  

However, in adult world, I will be sitting at home enjoying Valentines with a very special 8-year-old.  Yeah, I did get invites out.  More that one, that’d be plural.  Actually worked really hard to try to find babysitting for the 8-year-old, but after about the 5th attempt, I decided, I simply didn’t want to try anymore.  Now the person I am trying to get the babysitting arranged for will feel as though I am really not that into him and I will have to explain and if he understands that I just can’t feel good about leaving my sweet child with just any old stranger (I feel kinda weird leaving her anyway, stranger or no) then things will be fine.  If he doesn’t understand, then I guess another one bites the dust.  I’ve exhausted all my options and I just refuse to leave my child with someone she doesn’t know so I can go out and have dinner with a nice man and all his friends and their wives/girlfriends. 

This is where it all feels bad.  He’s not going to be able to go out with his friends and their significant others without being the odd man out.  I’m not going to be able to go and feel good since all five of the folks I usually call on to babysit are unavailable, including my own two older children.  On an adult level, in one way, probably one very minor and insignificant way, really, this just doesn’t feel good.  I hate letting people down like this. It’s not likely he’s going to be aware of how difficult it really is to get a babysitter on Valentine’s Day and will likely view it as a cop out on my part, which it won’t be, but it won’t matter. When no familiar babysitters are available, I feel so much like I’m abandoning my child. I’ve paid for a babysitter for her once over the last year.  I just don’t ever go out when my kids are with me. But…it is Valentine’s Day and, well….I should have known it was going to be the most difficult day of the year to arrange babsitting.  Even if someone didn’t have plans, for them to admit it would be a bit like them admitting they are a loser and have no life (j/k).

No matter how hard it will be to call tomorrow and say, “Hey, I’m sorry it just isn’t going to work out, blah, blah, blah”, nothing is worth my little girl’s security and happiness.  She’s absolutely my favorite Valentine.  I won’t mind for a minute spending time with her.  I only wish I’d remembered how difficult babysitters are to find on Valentine’s to begin with and said no before saying yes.

More From The Friendship Files: Another Near Death Experience

I missed half a day at work yesterday.  Not true.  I missed half a day in my classroom because I was pulled out for a regional training.  It was a Very Good Regional Training and I am so much the better teacher and employee now for it. I actually ended up working two and a half extra hours without compensation,  just for the privilege of saying I received this Very Good Regional Training. However, it would have to happen on the day that my assistant and friend, previously referred to as “ReGifting Friend” experienced another near death experience.  It was rather exciting, she actually did almost die and they called the paramedics and everything.  Tons of cool drama.  Sorry I missed it.  I experienced nothing quite so exciting or adrenaline boosting as that in my Very Good Regional Training. 

When I returned to work today, there was ReGifting Friend, cute and skinny as ever.  Her near death experience certainly didn’t add any stress pounds to her body.  She told me the story and, like most of her stories, it is definitely worth retelling here.

At lunch, it seems ReGifting Friend was eating her very healthy low cal (that’s why she’s skinny) salad with cherry tomatoes on it.  In one particular bit, seems a fiesty tomato got a bit excited and decided to jump down her throat. Well, being the obstinate tomato that it was, it lodged right there in her throat.  It wouldn’t move up, it wouldn’t move down. 

ReGifting Friend definitely exhibited all the signs of a choking individual, the most notable being she could not talk and she was turning blue.  Two others in the staff room with her tried the Heimlich maneuver on her.  They were not successful.  Well, as we all know the human body cannot function well for very long without air and ReGifting Friend had exceeded that point.  She was quite aware that if something didn’t happen in just seconds she would be blacking out and in serious trouble. 

In those few brief seconds before she passed out, ReGifting Friend remembers thinking, “Oh My God.  I’m going to die right here at the school my children attend the very week of my daughter’s birthday.”

Dying.

At a place your children have to revisit daily. 

During week for your family that is usually celebratory and not sad.

ReGifting Friend’s last thoughts before she went unconscious were not of her own well being or even fear of dying.  It was for her kids and how they would be impacted, not just temporarily but in weeks, days and years to come.  This is the friend I’ve come to call ReGifting Friend.  Like the Energizer Bunny she does keep giving and giving… and going and going.

The fiesty tomato was downed with one final thrust just below the sternum.  ReGifting Friend’s airways were clear and she was still, though only barely, conscious.  A few minutes later she was fine and laughing about the mishap but later weeping about the impact of what she thought may have been her final moments. 

She goes on to tell humorously of the 5 buff paramedics who walked in and would not leave until they checked her out completely.  (Yeah, uh huh.  I only wish I’d been there to see that! I do miss all the fun!)

Later that day, my youngest who had to go home with ReGifting Friend for the afternoon while I was at that Very Good Regional Training bounced up to her and said, “Hey!  Did you hear?  Somebody almost died at school today!  The paramedics were here.”  ReGifting Friend just laughed. 

More than 24 hours later when she told me the story, ReGifting Friend’s eyes welled up with tears again as she remembered those thoughts of dying before the tomato was dislodged.

And I ask you…what would you want your last thoughts in this life to be?

God’s Gone To Meddling–He’s Gotten Involved In My Love Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the romantic notion that there is “someone for everyone”.  I’ve also been thinking about the notion I’ve had from my youth that I really don’t need to spend my time looking for Mr. Right.  I should just go about my life and he (if he indeed exists) will somehow magically surface. Well, that is a very oversimplified way of stating the idea that if there is someone out there for me, I do not need to spend any energy looking for him, he will come to me.  Instead, I should be spending my energy being the best me I can be, pursuing my own interests, being authentically me and Prince Charming will see me from afar or from one of those areas of interest I’m pursuing and come riding in on his mighty steed (or his whatever fuel efficient economy car) to woo me and carry me away to happily-ever-after land.

 

Now, 30 years later and I’m thinking that these ideas need revision.  First, we don’t know for sure that there is “someone for everyone”. How would we prove this…if such an idea were provable?  If two people were born on opposite ends of the earth and were “meant” for each other how would anyone, including the two in question know?  How would we know if Person A were meant for Person B? What would happen if Person A died before they could meet?  Would Person C then become the perfect match for Person B or is Person B flat out of luck?  No, we cannot determine for sure that there is indeed someone for everyone.  In fact, if we just look at the birth statistics in any given year or series of years we find that one or the other of the sexes born in a given year, outweighs the other.  In romance, there is simply not a clean scientific one-to-one correspondence.

 

The idea that if I just go about doing my life, Mr. Prince will appear, is also a theory that needs revision.  Why?  Because, it made sense when I was young, beautiful, childless, and had my entire life ahead of me and the possibilities for how I could spend my time as well as who I could spend my time with were virtually unlimited.  Such is not the case in post-40 single-mom-of-four-kids world.  The possibilities for how I can spend my time are now relegated to working to keep a roof over our heads, parenting the said four children, eating, sleeping, grocery shopping, housecleaning, laundry, yard work, and paying bills.  There isn’t much time left over, except for every other weekend and about five weeks the rest of the year that I can just do whatever I want. In addition, the possibilities concerning who I spend my time with, have significantly diminished since those carefree college days where the men-to-women ratio was 7 men to every 1 woman.  Add that reality to the fact that I now know myself better and have been shaped by all the experiences in the last 46 years.  I’m now far more scrutinizing and, yes, picky, about who I spend my time with, let alone, who I might consider becoming romantically involved with. To further complicate the situation, I have my children to consider.  My children have already experienced the worst of the blended family scenario and it was so abusive and bad that we had to get out.  It failed.  We aren’t ready to repeat that experience any time ever.  The nuances and intricacies of any relationship that would work for me and mine, are complicated indeed. The old romantic notions just don’t fit or work anymore.

 

Yes, these romantic notions need to be completely revised, or maybe rewritten altogether.  Hmmm, possibly, even discarded outright. I think it is possible to make an intelligent, considered and deliberate decision regarding who I become romantically involved with.  However, I also know that it is completely in the realm of possibility for me to overanalyze things and thus completely miss a good thing were it to come my way. I’m actually more concerned that this second option would happen.  I fear I will find so many reasons not to invest, instead of seeing that the person in front of me fits me like hand and glove.  It might feel right but I’ll pick it to death on the intellectual end and walk away.

 

It is along these lines that I’ve been also thinking more about God.

 

I have always been part of the Christian religion.  However, I have not always been a Christian and most of the time I have been a Christian, I have not been very spiritual. In fact, I’ve struggled to be a “good Christian”.  I’ve struggled so much, I finally decided to give it up.  But that’s another story altogether. I am not a religious person.  I do nothing out of “religion”, however, spiritually, I ascribe to the Christian principals as communicated in the Bible.  I disagree most of the time with what the established Christian church (regardless of denomination) does, simply because I feel that the church today has fallen into the same trap the religious leaders in Jesus’ day fell into:  they are all about building their own little power kingdoms and not at all about true communion with God.  I’ll be the first to say that my problems and failures in my own spiritual journey cannot be blamed on the effectiveness or inadequacy of any human religious institution, however, I can say that more often than not, the “church” has done more to isolate me from God than to draw me near to Him. This should not be.  So…after a great many years of involvement, over-involvement to the point of collapse almost, I spun wildly out of control spiritually, made some very foolish mistakes and landed myself on a very long sabbatical from “the ministry”.  My head was messed up, my heart was broken and my spirituality was at an all time low.  That was the state of affairs for me as I entered my second marriage, which failed, for a number of reasons, none of which, added to my spiritual health.

 

So, I took a break from all things religious.

 

For a long time.  For about two years now, maybe almost three.

 

And…surprisingly…now that the human voices of guilt, condemnation and disapproval have faded to silence, I think, I actually think I can hear God’s voice.

 

Okay, now, this is not the venue to discuss the validity or otherwise of the existence of God.  That’s not my purpose here.  Long ago, I mucked through all that for myself.  I was not brought up in a religious home though I did get some church in my younger years. If anything, my parents were staunchly agnostic almost moving toward atheistic.  They hated religion and were very intellectual.  I’m sure I’m an embarrassment to them. I know what that world view holds.  I know.  I grew up in it and was immersed in it just as fundamentalist right wing religious zealots immerse their children in their world view.  I didn’t rebel. I just watched and looked and considered. But this is not the venue to go into that particular journey either.  Suffice it to say that it seemed more conceivable to me that this intricate and finely tuned universe we live in was carefully and thoughtfully designed rather than originating by random chance and thus, I took a step and opted in favor of a loving, creator God who desired relationship with me as opposed to the futile thinking that we are here by chance and we die and become food for worms (which we do but that’s only because we no longer have need of our physical houses).  I made this decision at the ripe old age of 18.  I haven’t been much of a “super Christian”, but I haven’t regretted the choice either.  I believe there is a loving God, who desires intimate connection with humanity and not just humanity, but each one of us as individuals.  He wants to orchestrate wonderful things for us that we cannot imagine, but He has by His own design limited himself in some ways.  He will not force Himself on us.

 

So it is into this context that over the last two years and more specifically over the last six to eight months that spirituality and my dating life have converged.  The questions I have about having never really been in love, wondering if there is indeed someone “out there” for me even at this “final hour”, how do I go about meeting him and what part God would play in all this ultimately boil down to trust.  The issue, really, for me, is trust.  If I believe there is a personal God out there who loves me and cares about me as an individual and not just as part of a collective whole why am I not willing to trust Him with my love life? 

 

Would he care about my love life?

 

I think so.  Great theological question.  Also a lengthy topic for another blog, but yes, I think God cares about this element of our humanity.  God says it is not good for us to be alone.  He’s a God of community and commitment, so, yes, I think He’d care about my love life.  And, I know I have issues of trust originating from way back when and continuing on to the present day.  It is hard for me to totally trust that someone truly cares about me without having an agenda.  So, of course, I shift that over to my dealings with God.  Trusting God has been tough for me.  Not trusting God has landed me in a heap o’ trouble that I think I could well have avoided, but I don’t know for sure since I haven’t ever really trusted God and observed the results.

 

So, the other day, somewhere out of nowhere, that still, small voice whispered to me as I was frantically going about my daily business.  It was such a different thought that it stopped me cold, “So, after two failed marriages, an active dating life with no interesting possibilities for a relationship that looks like it might go the distance, a bunch of people wasting your time then going silent, don’t you think you might try trusting me with your love life?”

The question stopped me in my tracks.

Trust God with my love life? I almost laughed.

It would be much more dramatic if I could say that I thought that was absurd.  I did not.  I did not think anything of it.  I just thought about the concept.  Trust God with my love life?

Then I thought, “Wait. If God is who He says and who I say I believe He is then He most definitely cares about my love life. There are plenty of examples in the Bible where God orchestrated romance on behalf of the individuals involved and He had nothing or very little to work with and He had human beings screwing it up all along the way. Hmmm,”  I continued in my thoughtful reverie, “If I believe what I say I believe about God then I must put Him to the trust test. I must trust Him with my love life or my spirituality is not worth the energy it takes to explain it.

 

So, my response to God?

 

Just this, “Okay, God, I’m going to trust you with my love life because if I can’t trust you with that then I can’t trust you with anything, but please don’t let that mean that my only options are those emasculated mamby pamby fundamentalist nuts whose Christianity keeps them from speaking English and whose chief desire is finding a woman to wait on them, because after all ‘by God, they are the man of the household’. God, just give me a man who is into you, not hung up on Christian image and who is 100% male and masculine and still respectful, kind, and not afraid to show he cares.  And, oh, yeah, God, if it isn’t too much to ask, make him one of those guys who can do more than just show up.  I’d like to be able to talk to him and, better yet, have him carry enough of the conversation that I get a chance to listen to him and that I can admire what he has to say for a lifetime, or the rest of our lifetime together.  And then, God, I really simply just want that one companion that fits, like hand and glove in so many millions of different and impossible ways, and, please God, let me recognize him when you put him there in front of me….but I guess you already know all that about me. Okay, God, have fun with that, it won’t be easy.”

 

And that’s how God got involved with my love life.

The Trouble With Going Postal

Look.  I’m probably going to get myself in trouble with the bigs for saying this, but the truth is I’d like to go postal.  I can’t though.  I mean, I try, but I just can’t.

I just can’t post anything these days.  At least, not much that I’m pleased with.  And forget posting anything quality during the week.  (Okay, no potshots about the quality the rest of the time, wise guys!)

I have about six posts started.  None completed.  Just when I get to the place where I really need to concentrate either because I’m reworking a part or trying to figure out which direction I’d like the piece to head, someone or something interrupts me. Today, it was my 15-year-old telling me at the last minute that she needed cupcakes for a class party tomorrow. Of course, she waits till I’ve taken off my shoes and socks, changed into my cozy jammies and am nearly two steps from curling up in my oversized and very cozy king sized bed befre she ever so sweetly says, “Hey, Mom….”.  You know the rest of the story.

My head started spinning around with green stuff flying everywhere.

Okay, according to her, I did go postal so, also according to her, my first statement was a misrepresentation. 

Well, it was nothing compared to how I felt after I got dressed again, went down to the store with her, picked up the three dozen cupcakes (after going two different places to find them), drove all the way home and then realized we’d left them at the checkout counter.

Wow. Someone around here needs to go to bed earlier.

Take Some Christmas, A Warm Fire, and Two Glasses of Reisling and Call Me In The Morning

I just want to write something happy tonight.  My last few posts have focused on the somewhat drearier side of existence.  I’m ready for happy.  I’m usally ready for happy.  I also have all my Christmas decorations up and my house is clean.  I also have only two more days to work this week.  Well, that’s not really true, I get pulled out of the classroom for some district work on Friday and after dealing with tons of elementary school kids all day everyday, going to adult meetings is like taking the day off. 

There’s a warm fire burning in my woodstove.  The lights on the tree, the ledge and the window mirror in my entry way look absolutely inviting.  It isn’t a monstrous palace I live in, but it is warm and cozy and inviting most of the time. It is especially so at Christmas. 

I mentioned earlier in one of my posts either here or on my other blog at http://cabsplace.wordpress.com that I just wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit.  I wasn’t.  I haven’t been.  It took a while to ignite. 

First, there was the haggling (in my mind) about whether or not to go with a fake tree this year.  I’m such a real tree lover (not hugger, lover).  I was concerned that getting a fake tree would be a disappointment to the kids.  There are some real valid reasons for wanting a fake tree though.  One is that the cost over time is something I really need to consider.  Throwing $30-$60 away on a tree that’s going to be dead by Christmas every year is not a good thing.  I also have a wood stove and the tree and the wood stove are not that far apart.  Remember, my palace is small.  Very, very small.  So tree and woodstove in the same room equals insurance claim waiting to happen…hmmmm.  

I also live right in the middle of Christmas tree land. Getting a permit and going out to the woods to cut my own tree is not a real tough thing to do.  I could do it.  However, cancel out another day out of my life that I desperately need to use to do laundry and cleaning.  I’d be doing it alone or with only my youngest which is fine, but again, it means something else vital doesn’t get done.  The worst part is getting the thing up on top of my 4×4 alone.  I could do everything else, but that might stymie me.  I usually enjoy going out in the woods and making a day of it with friends, building a big fire and hanging out after the trees are found…but again…not many couples enjoy having a single 5th wheel around and this year my single friends made other arrangements.  I just opted for the easy way out this year.

I’m glad I did.

I bought a $68 special at Wal-Mart.  After three attempts back and forth from Wally World, I had the thing up and lit.  And there it sat…for nearly a week.  I just dreaded the idea of going out and pulling down the decorations from the rafters in the garage.  I don’t know why.  Each day after school, I’d tell myself, toinght we’re going to do this.  Then my energy to do it would just evaporate.  Finally, I just gave my two older girls control of it.  So, Sunday evening they set about decorating the tree while I prepared dinner.  I deliberately stayed out of it.  I wanted it to be their thing. They did their thing and it is beautiful!

It looks like a decorator tree!  Well, almost.  I definitely need to work on getting some more of those specialty ornaments, but with the money I’ll save next year on buying a tree that should be no problem.  Next year. 

This year, I want to add one new thing to the outside light display.  I only have lights across the front of my house and a rope light up the walk.  Pretty boring.  But, hey, like I’ve said all over the place here, it’s been tight.  Things are getting better.  I think this year I might wait till the day after Christms (since I won’t have any kids) and go to the stores and get a few things for the outside of the house…and maybe for the inside too.  But not too much, just a few things.  In a few years of behaving like this I”ll have more Christmas than I could have imagined.

Anyway, I was pondering all this last night and feeling really at peace with the world. It is hard not to feel this way when your kids aren’t squabbling, the Christmas tree looks spectacular, the kids are fed and the dishes are done and the house is clean.  There was a warm fire in the woodstove and all was very well in my world.  It was so nice, that after I sent the younger two to bed, I slipped into my p.j.’s, poured a glass of my favorite Reisling and curled up on the couch to enjoy the ambiance. Before I knew it, I’d dozed off.  I awakened only momentarily when my two oldest girls entered after their holiday dinner theatre rehearsal.  I said a few groggy, loving words to them, they headed to bed themselves and I added a couple of  logs to the fire. 

I think I woke up about midnight and headed to bed after throwing the last few logs on the fire for the night.  The house is lovely, clean, cozy and warm.  My kids are fed and clothed.  We have a roof over our heads and we have Christmas in our hearts as well as our home. It could be a whole lot worse than this that’s for sure.  And, even though, I really have only one more week till my kids vanish for the Big Holiday, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it with them…and I’ll even enjoy the time without them too (I know, blasphemous thing to say, but, remember, I’m one who is with kids 24/7.  It’s nice to be alone after that sometimes). 

As long as the decorations are up, the fire is crackling warm and I can pour a glass of Reisling, life is good.  Not perfect, but still very, very good.