Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Best Friends

My first best friend was Diana Meloro. We had gone to school together for a few years and really clicked in fourth grade. She was tall and willowy and I was shorter and pixy-like. We dubbed ourselves "Me and My Shadow". She played basketball and I danced. Unforunately we grew apart when we went to different high schools. Thankfully, we have been able to reconnect on Facebook.

When I went to public school for 9th grade I didn't know very many people and those I did know I did not want to be close to them. I met a girl named Mera Scanlon who was my extreme opposite and we became the best of friends. She was a cheerleader. I was manager of the volleyball team. She had a boyfriend. I couldn't get a boy to talk to me. We both were in the spring drama and had gotten saved that year. She was bold and beautiful. I was shy and cute. We both tried out for the pom pon squad and made it. We roomed together at camp that summer and could not wait to dance together. Then I decided to go to a small Christian school and we didn't see each other again until Josh was 1 year old and we were shopping in the store where she worked. I have not seen her or talked to her since then.

In 10th - 12th grade I became best friends with Wendy Dehn. She was athletic and gorgeous. And smart, too. We played sports together, sang at church together and dated best friends. She changed schools in 12th grade, but we remained friends until I got pregnant and started college. We had lunch together before Rick and I got married. We lost touch until I moved back to MD in 2006 and now keep up with each other on Facebook.

When I started my second year of college my pastor's daughter, Sheila (Lyon) Wall and I became best friends. We studied together, even taking a two week Science course at TTU in Tennessee, staying in an apartment and everything! and prayed together for life, studies and our husbands. I became very interested in a young man that started visiting our church and we became very close. I was sure he was going to ask me out...maybe even be the "one" when he came over my house alone and asked to talk to me. He ended up talking about Sheila and telling me of his plan to ask her dad if they could date. They were married in 1994 and have 5 children. She attends my parents' church and if I attend a function with my mom I get to see her. Our lives are very different and it is hard to reconnect with her, but I will always be grateful for the friendship we had.

I met Holly during my fourth year of teaching. We hung out with a group of other teachers for awhile and grew to be best friends. She regulary spent the night at my apartment and I at hers. We went to aerobics together, vacationed together and had dinner together and just enjoyed being together. She knows everything about me and still loves and accepts me. We even lost a very close friend and grieved together. She was in my wedding and came to visit me in TX a month after I moved, knowing I would need someone to come see me after moving 1300 miles away from everyone.  We wrote each other regularly and kept in touch making sure to see each other when I visited MD for vacation. When we moved back to MD, Holly decided to take a teaching job in VA. We were able to go see her this summer and had a great time. Of course, she is on Facebook and my cell phone's speed dial.

When Rick and I got married we each inherited each others' friends. I was introduced to life long friends of his, Brad and Rachelle Powell. They were with Rick through his first marriage and the divorce. They were Devin and Cody's godparents. They even flew to MD for the wedding, Brad standing in as a groomsmen. When we arrived in TX Brad and Rachelle were some of the first to welcome us and help us unpack. They babysat for us, went to church with us, made anniversary dinners for us and helped us move the two other times we moved in TX. Rachelle and I became best friends, not because we had to, but we because we needed to...we needed each other and knew God had allowed us to become best friends. We both have a passion for scrapbooking and parenting and were even pregnant at the same time with Noah and her son Ryan. We can go weeks without talking and then talk for hours on the phone. She came to visit us a few months after we moved to MD and has been a prayer warrior for our family ever since. She was diagnosed with MS two years ago and handles her illness with grace.

I know it may seem like I have had too many best friends, but I do not think you can have too many. And I saved the best for last.

Even though, Wendy and I were best friends in HS, I had another friend who became my bestest friend, if I can even use that word and not be 13. Her name is Marcy (Perkins) Hershey. We became friends when she helped me ask out my first Christian boyfriend. I love her spunkiness, passion and inner (and outer) beauty. She ended up leaving the school we attended together, but we remained friends. We grew even closer when we ended up pregnant teens, having our sons just two months apart, naming both of them Joshua. She married her husband, Joe and I was her maid of honor. I picked her and Joshua up in the middle of the night once to keep them safe during a time when Joe was struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. She moved around a bit during her marriage and ended up back in MD when I met Rick. She was in my wedding, along with her daughter Katie, as the flower girl. When I moved to TX we lost touch with each other. She was going through a difficult time in her marriage and I prayed that I would see her again. I had tried to contact her and her phone number was disconnected, my Christmas card returned to sender.

When we moved back to MD in 2006 I sent a card to her mom's address hoping to be able to connect with her and I did. We talked on the phone and she came to visit. Since then we have stayed in touch by phone and Facebook. She has been through so much and is such a strong Christian wife and mother. We are still praying for her husband's salvation.

I know that each and every best friend I have had has had an important impact in my life, placed at the right time for the best reason and I am so blessed to have had so many. Of course, I did not mention my husband who is also my best friend and soul mate. But, I think that should be saved for another entry.   

My Day

This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I never got a chance to get back to blogging.

My day started at 6:45 AM when I got up to make sure Cody was up and ready for school. Which he was. I only needed to give him his CATNorth paperwork and lab fee for Tech Ed and he was off for the day.

Kari and Noah woke up at 7:30 AM, so I got them breakfast, gave them their snacks, helped them get dressed, teeth brushed and hair combed and they were off to school by 8:25 AM.

After I dropped them off, I came back home and got ready to head to church for awhile. Got to church by 10:30 AM and sent some emails, updated some things, talked to a prospective visitor and had lunch. Headed home by 1 PM.

When I got home I put some laundry in and spent some time with my grandson, Kaysen. Then took a nap. I guess I needed to recover from Women of Faith this weekend, because I slept until dinnertime.

After dinner, I helped the kiddos with homework. The rest of the evening was spent checking email and  Facebook.

After the kiddos went to bed Rick and I went to Wal-Mart to get some groceries.

I climbed into bed around 11 AM and do not even remember falling asleep. I woke up at 2 AM with severe heartburn...I do not think I can eat almonds anymore =(

Today started a bit earlier with Cody coming in at 6:30 AM not feeling well. It was actually nice to reset the alarm for 7:30 AM when Kari and Noah have to get up for school.    

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I Ate and The Meaning of Love

I am combining Saturday and Sunday's posts because I was at Women of Faith on Saturday and napped on Sunday. I will wait until a bit later on Monday to post that day's entry.

On Saturday, I ate a lot of different things because we were at WoF and we had a skybox and the food was catered.

I had, in no particular order: 2 blondies, various veggies and a bit of ranch dip (veggies included fresh asparagus), bruschetta with finely chopped kalamata olives (that has to be akin to what crack tastes like because I wanted to rub it on my body and lick it off. I am not one bit embarrassed to admit that.), 3 Chips A Hoy chocolate chip cookies, french fries, a ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with olive spread mentioned above (Addictive, folks. Highly addictive.), a handful or two of Swedish fish, a strawberry banana smoothie, chicken and dumplings, corn on the cob, 2 scoops of slow churned chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, a few pretzel twists.

It was a good day for eatin', y'all.

Now.....the meaning of love. Such a deep subject that I probably should not be trying to tackle at 12:25 AM, but here goes.....

God is the ultimate meaning of love. He created us, allowed us to live even in our sin, sent His only Son to take full punishment for our sin so He could offer Him to us as a way of salvation. Because of His perfect example of love for us and to us, we are to love others as He loves us. It is not an easy task, but that is how He says others will know we are believers - for our love, one to another.

My husband is an excellent example of  God's love. He loves unconditionally, with great passion and sweet abandon. He loves his Savior first of all, then he loves me, his wife. Next, his children may question other things, but can be sure of his love for them and lastly, he loves the Vikings.

I am blessed to have such love lavished on me by my God and my husband. Blessed, indeed.            

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Parents

*I am posting this a bit before midnight Thursday since I will be in DC on Friday at the Women of Faith conference.

My parents have been married for 41 years. They were engaged 3 months after their frst date and married five months after they met. My mom proposed to my dad. She asked him what he was doing on February 15 and when he said he wasn't busy, she said, "Let's get married". No one thought it would last. Most of my dad's friends that gave them 6 months were divorced before my parents celebrated their 5th anniversary.

My mom has an older brother, making her the youngest and the only girl in her family. She was unashamedly a Daddy's girl. She was tomboy as much as she was princess. She was fiercely independent, a career minded young woman who fell in love with a boy unlike anyone she had ever met or dated.

She grew up in a home that boasted themselves as Methodist without ever being on a church membership roll. My mom went from church to church and got saved as a young girl at a Baptist church in the city were she lived until she was 10. Her parents moved to Ferndale in 1957. She attended local public schools and was involved in sports and held the office of Senior class president. She was engaged at age 19 with a young man that was the son of a family friend.

One weekend while they traveled to Ocean City in his convertible they were hit by a drunk driver. My mom was thrown from the car, suffering injuries including swelling of the brain that left her in a coma for 7 days. She had to learn to walk, talk, eat and do everything again. Her fiance` borrowed her car while she was recovering in the hospital to date another girl. They broke off their engagement shortly after she came home from the hospital.

She met my dad when she was 21. He wasn't the type of guy she typically dated and they enjoyed light hearted bowling dates, where she dressed as a clown, and he gave her gifts like watches and chattering teeth.

My dad is the middle son, sandwiched between two sisters. He was indeed a Momma's boy, but enjoyed sports, smoking and fast cars. He tolerated school, leaving kindergarten one day and walked home, exclaiming that there was too much coloring in class, that he wasn't learning anything. He sang and played guitar in a local band and danced on a local dance show on TV. He was kicked off after being caught kissing a girl backstage.

He was also an altar boy being raised in a family of staunch Catholics. He was baptized, made his first holy communion, attended confession and was confirmed. When he became engaged to my mom he made it known that she would have to convert to be able to be married in the Catholic church. In a few short weeks, she was baptized, made her first holy communion and was confirmed. They got married on February 15, 1969 during a high noon mass.

My dad never liked being Catholic, the daily alter boy duties, the confessional, the services in Latin. So when he attended a non-denominational service during an Amway rally in DC in 1985 he gladly received Jesus as his Savior.

We began attending a Baptist church in 1986 and my parents are still members there today. My mom has taught Sunday school for over 20 years with my dad serving as usher, trustee and on the college board. He still meets with a friend on Wednesday mornings for prayer and they attend three services a week on a pretty regular basis.

My dad is a passionate man who loves and hates deeply. He has a temper that he has tamed since getting saved, but in the past had him breaking furniture, mirrors and raising his voice to get his point across. At 19 he started to work for his father at the family business and inherited it when his father died. It went bankrupt a few years later and my father suffered a mild depression. He always had at least one job, sometimes two, but never stayed long enough to establish a retirement fund. He started a new business with a friend and former colleague in 2005, but again claimed bankruptcy when the business went under in 2007.

He currently works for DSS.

He recently had a five way bypass after a 100% blockage was found. He only suffered a mild heart attack and was forced to quit smoking. He has been smoke free for seven months.

My mom is loyal to a fault and loves to make sure everything is fair. She fights for the underdog and loves children and animals the same. She loves to read and do crossword puzzles. She can sew and used to make all of our costumes for dance and halloween. She is a gracious host and a 1950's wife, pampering my dad to a fault. She is a packrat and finds it hard to part with anything.

My mom stayed home with my sisters and me and operated an in home daycare. When my youngest sister started 1st grade she started working outside the home and held several retail jobs before landing a teller position at a bank. She retired from the bank in 2007 after 25 years of faithful employment.

She currently works parttime for the Department of Aging for AA County.

My parents have three daughters who were dubbed "Charlie's Angels", my dad declaring often that he never wanted sons, that he only wanted three girls. Those three girls have given them 13 grandchildren and one great grandson.         

They have lived in the same house for 37 years.

My mom has been one of my best friends and my dad was my hero. As I have gotten older, I have realized their frailty and daily see some of the successes and failures that they had in their lives in my own.

I know I embody many of their traits, both good and bad and am thankful for the way I was raised, the values they imparted to me and the legacy they are leaving.

Not many people I know can say that their parents have been married for 41 years. Not many people still have both their parents alive.

I am blessed.             

First Love

Since I am a planner I was trying to write my thoughts out mentally last night, wondering how far back I should go, making sure I remembered everything right.

I just need to let go of my Type A personality sometimes and write.

The first person I remember being "in love" with, besides my Daddy, was Shawn Cassidy. I had his records, posters of him and even a night gown with his face on it. Crazy, huh? Now maybe I shouldn't have been so hard on Kari when she picked out a Justin Beiber shirt the other day.

In kindergarten though, I remember being fond of a boy named Corey Meredith. I remember playing with him during center times and making sure I sat next to him when it was circle time and at lunch. I do not think he even knew as he seemed to be very smitten with my best friend, Diana Meloro for most of our elementary and middle school years.

And even though, both of those "first loves" seemed important at the time, I have to say that my first real love was Mikey Rousselle. He was my first kiss and the first person I cried over when we broke up. I was 13. My Daddy held me as I sat on my bed and cried, sure I would never love again. Thankfully, God heals broke hearts and I fell in love again in 1999 with my now husband, Rick.

But, Mikey will always hold a place in my heart. A place of first love, first kiss and first heartbreak. Even to this day, if I think I might run into him or hear someone mention his name, I am transported to the side street where we all hung out, a giggly 13 year old with a jean jacket, pegged Jordache jeans and a boyfriend.

 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shredding Decades

When we moved into my parents' house four years ago we kept much of their furniture upstairs while they moved things into the basement apartment.

The bedrooms house mostly our furniture, but the living room and dining room still inhabit my parents' furniture.

One piece of furniture that my parents have had for years is an antique fold down desk. When I was younger it was in the dining room with other pieces that matched it's green stain. Now it is the remaining piece. My parents have always used it to house bills, bank statements and other substantial paperwork. It also held film to be developed, coin roll papers and greeting cards that had been received.

I have been going through the desk this week and shredding old documents so we can start using it for our important papers. We do not have an office or desk and we are continually being buried under mail and correspondence.

Today I have spent the majority of my time shredding old checks.....from as far back as 1981. Yes, you read that right. Nineteen eighty one. 29 year old checks, folks. 29 years.

I have just three more stacks of papers and checks to shred and I can not wait until I am done! I have recruited Noah's help and he is loving it.

I am glad because I am so over shredding yellowed papers and checks written to companies that no longer exist.

  

Me, Myself and I

I am not one to normally talk about myself. I find it much easier to hear about you, talk about my kiddos or even the weather. But, today I am going to introduce myself to you. Those of you that know me well, can skip this and come back tomorrow for an entry about my first love. And no, it's not going to be about chocolate =)

Well, I am a 38 year old daughter to loving parents who have been together for 41 years, sister to two amazing women, wife to an incredible husband for 10 years and Momma to five unique and creative kiddos.

As the middle daughter/sister I found myself being the peacemaker, wanting everyone to like me and always having someone to hang with. I am blessed to call both of my sisters friends. My mother and I have had a good relationship with a few challenges along the way. My father has always been someone I can talk to and relate to...we are more alike than I'd like to admit at times.

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher. I told my Pop that I would be a nurse and wanted to keep my promise until I visited him in the hospital and nursing home after his stroke. I realized I could not be a nurse. So, I pursued teaching. I loved babysitting and working in the church nursery. I enjoyed helping the elementary teachers in the small Christian school when I was in high school.

After I graduated from high school I found myself a unwed teenager. My choices allowed natural consequences that I was afraid would hinder or halt my desire to go to college and get my degree. I did have to set aside my longing to go away to college, by staying home and attending a local community college and small Christian college, but I graduated with honors in four years.

I was engaged twice prior to marrying my husband, Rick. Once to our oldest son's father and once to a man I thought God had sent my way as a sort of Knight in Shining Armor. Unfortunately, his armor was tarnished and God had other plans. Plans, that then I resented, sure I was going to be single forever and that Josh would never have a Daddy or a family.

My faith in God wavered a bit during the time between my broken engagement and meeting Rick, but I always knew He had a plan for me. I was saved as a young teenager, but didn't immediately have a relationship with Christ. I knew He was my Savior, but I was growing up in a very legalistic church, thinking that God would love me if I followed certain steps to holiness...tithing, church attendance, visitation, Bible reading and prayer time. If one of those was missing I felt sure that God was looking down at me disdainfully, withholding blessing due to my performance.

I learned through my personal Bible study that it is not about what I do outwardly, but the inward transformation that leads to an intimate relationship with Jesus. It was freeing and it lead me to a new church and a new level of commitment to Christ.

I taught 2nd grade for 6 years at a local Christian school and was so blessed to be part of a ministry that lead so many young people to Christ. I was part of the local church and met some of my best friends during those years, one of which introduced me to Rick.

I never thought of myself as being a stepmom or part of a blended family, but God has other plans and always knows what is best.

Even though, it has not been a smooth journey and there has been many valleys and uncertain moments, I would not trade being married to Rick and momma to Josh, Devin, Cody, Kari and Noah for anything.

And I am in a new venture in my life.....grandmother or MoMo as I am called to a beautiful baby boy, Kaysen Jace who arrived in May 2010. He is a perfect picture of  God's redemption and love for us and the world. He is growing so nicely and is as cute as can be. I love him fiercely.

At this time in my life, I am getting ready to reenter the educational field, looking to get state certified to be able to teach in the public school system where we currently live. We are in a place right now where we are living with my parents while Rick finishes his degree. When he graduates we will both be degreed educators and are looking forward to being able to teach together and have summers with the kiddos.

As always God is working and showing me when and where I need to trust Him more. And I am enjoying the journey.                  

30 Days

I know I am ridiculously behind on updating this blog, but we have been in the process of moving the main computer into the kiddos' room and most of the pictures were on it. Rick transferred them to a jump drive, but I have yet to put them on my laptop. I need to do that soon.

But, until then I am participating in a 30 Day Blog Challenge. Check out the specifics at Carlton's blog

So, hopefully, in between the challenge I will get this blog caught up soon.

Time to introduce myself.....

Love Yourself

Yesterday was a bit hard on this Momma's heart. I finally took Noah to a PT to have his toe walking issue evaluated. Seems his muscle to...