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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

I don’t know where to begin. How many times does a writer start with that sentence in her head? For me, it isn’t often, but today I am overflowing with so many thoughts, emotions, sensations, and a heart-stopping contentedness, that I actually can’t find a beginning.

Clearly, if you read this blog, you know my life has been very eventful, and frequently that has not been a good thing. So I think I can safely say “I know” in many, many situations. I’ve had the “I know” feeling repeatedly over the past several days, weeks, and months. The first was in response to two friends’ relationship that quickly smudged barriers, both personal and professional. Having been in a similar situation before, I knew immediately when these dear friends of mine crossed over into the all-or-nothing chaos of a clandestine relationship. In fact, I knew instantly the day “it” actually happened, and was just as instantly thrust back into my own dark, labyrinthin time, where the supposed hedges that encased us as we walked through this maze had actually turned to deceptively soft leaf piles covering sharp, painful thorns. As time went on for me, the leaves dwindled to almost nothing, and I saw all of the thorns, and I ripped through the walls anyway. The results, as you can imagine, were devastating — both physically and emotionally.

How refreshing, then, to find an instant connection with someone who isn’t afraid to speak his mind or hear me speak mine… and who is interested in a real relationship with me and me alone. From the time he first started calling me, I chose John Mayer’s “Say” ringtone for my eNV so I am reminded every time he calls that I can be myself without fear of reprisal. The labyrinthin path so shrouded with thorn and cover is now clearly lit and easily navigated.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

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Okay, I admit it: I’ve registered on both eHarmony and okcupid in my quest for a life mate. Doing so was never on any imaginable to-do list, but neither was a divorce. I tried eHarmony for about three months. Though I requested matches within 50 miles of my hometown of Louisville, KY, by far the majority of my matches were from many states away. Since I am divorced and share custody of my daughter, moving is totally out of the question for my foreseeable future, so my eHarmony matches were pretty useless.

As is probably not unexpected, here’s some of what I found on okcupid, a free online matching service:

okcupid: The most private thing I’m willing to admit here
weirdo#1: I’m a closet exhibitionist. No, I don’t expose myself from a trench-coat, but I have this fantasy of being naked in public.

And this guy “woo-ed” me and sent me a photo of himself butt-naked with his hands to cover his private areas. Eeewwww!

I shouldn’t be surprised about any of this, of course. I know that. Even my 17-year-old niece knows there’s a better way. Her suggestion:

Do what God would have you do, keep your focus on and run towards Him. Pretty soon, you’ll look to your right or your left and find the person God meant for you, pursuing a similar goal. That’s when you’ll find your life mate.

Yes, she’s only 17. No, she doesn’t understand the challenges a divorced woman faces, especially when children are involved. But her advice is so much more manageable than freaks on online dating sites, and her method for finding your soul-mate is so much more palatable than the debauchery of the bar scene.

I think I’ll stick to volunteering at the local homeless shelter, co-managing my church’s web site, and taking writing and technology courses at the university I work for: all the things I think God is calling me to do.

What will you do?

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For those of you who have never experienced a migraine headache, I am overjoyed for you. For those of you who have heard about them but can’t really imagine, here is your opportunity to do just that.

Background:

  • My boss has been off work for the past six-seven weeks, during which time I worked with the director of another department to plan an important event for my office.
  • I have been working two jobs since mid-December while my colleague and good friend was on maternity leave.
  • I received a Needs Improvement evaluation at work last year because I received a complaint about my customer service skills from one student.
  • I worked my ass off this year to ensure I would meet and even exceed my performance expectations.
  • I have had migraine headaches for 23 years and have never been hospitalized for one to this point.

(more…)

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My sister and I took my Dad to the neurologist’s office this morning so we could learn more about about the memory problems he’s been having. I had a bad feeling going into the appointment because my siblings and I have thought for some time now that he needs to move to a senior care facility, but he’s been very resistant. I just didn’t think the doctor would find his memory loss significant enough to warrant his staying in a “home” of any sort. I was surprised to see that I was very wrong.

(more…)

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I debated about whether to take my 12-year-old to see “Juno,” but I’m really glad I did. The story of a girl who becomes pregnant at 16 by her best friend who is not her boyfriend may seem a little mature for the middle school crowd. However, with the recent news splash about Jamie Lynne Spears’ pregnancy circulating through the halls of Barret TMS, I thought I’d go out on a limb.

I’m glad I did. Yeah, the movie did depict “the” sex scene, but it was done without obscene nudity. All you see are bare legs and his bare chest. The language has some teen-age-style sexual vulgarity, but most of it obviously went over my daughter’s head. Juno, played by Ellen Page, is the off-beat but confident eleventh-grader; her boyfriend, played by Michael Cera, is teen-age awkwardness at its best. Juno’s dry, straight-to-the-point sense of humor is hysterical and was enjoyed by mother and daughter alike. Her naivety and innocence are endearing. She’s made up of just enough cool to make you want to watch the movie and the perfect dosage of sensibility to make actually learning something from its message a sure thing.

The story line–like your “average” pregnancy–is so not typical. Juno faces numerous decisions throughout the film; it isn’t only about whether or not she will keep the baby. It’s about life, consequences, love, family, communication, and more. This isn’t a fairy tale flick: It isn’t all sweetness with a clean story line. Movie-goers get to see genuine parents reacting plausibly to their daughter’s ill-timed news, and you’ll witness Juno growing up fast in a world filled with complexities she couldn’t anticipate.

Again, these were big issues to introduce to my 12-year-old, but the movie theater offered a nice venue for broaching the subject of sex and teen-age pregnancy in a low-stress way. I told my daughter that I thought she should wait until she got married to have sex, but if she didn’t and she wound up pregnant, I would be there for her. I said she could come to me with anything, no matter how big and “bad,” and I would support and help her in any way I could. The nice thing was she really seemed to get it.

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My daughter turned 12 on Thanksgiving Day, and this past Friday she had her very first slumber party. Yes, admittedly, that’s pretty old for a first, but I just never had the nerve to co-host one before. The party was huge success!

My daughter–who I’ll call S–invited eight little girls to spend the night, but only four of them actually showed up. (It’s real aggravating, I must say, that the others didn’t bother to RSVP except through S at school on the day of the party. But the lack of social etiquette is fodder for another blog entry!) We ate pizza and cookie cake, played “the Family Game,” had singing contests, surfed for cool videos via YouTube, applied a ridiculous amount of makeup, and just giggled to our hearts’ content!

Notice anything unusual about that paragraph? How about the use of the word “we”? S actually wanted me to hang out with her friends and her! Isn’t that cool? You hear all the time about how kids get to that point where they’re embarrassed to even know you, but I was relieved to find that I’m “still the one” in S’s eyes. She and her friends seemed perfectly content for me to participate in all of the festivities. I even asked S just to make sure, and she was totally fine with my being there.

Still being okay in my daughter’s eyes is very important to me. By letting me hang with her friends, S gives me the opportunity to check them out and make sure S is making good choices of friends. And she is. A.H. treated party-goers to some of her beautiful art work: little food friends she calls “Baby Bites.” G entertained us with her dry sense of humor, and E and A.G. danced and danced to Soulja Boy. All the girls giggled as E cooed over R.H., her 6th-grade hearthrob. They were adorable! I praised S the next day on her wise choices of friendships.

One thing that’s very important to me is that S be open to friendships with all kinds of people. So I was pleased when she invited her twin Indian friends H and A, her Middle Eastern friend R, and her bi-racial friend K. While none of these friends made it to the party, it felt good that S considered them among her best friends and wanted them to be there. This is one of the main things I like about her going to public traditional school: She meets people from all walks of life, and she doesn’t know anything about their economic conditions because they all wear uniforms. Perhaps next year, we can have the international birthday party!

Still being “the one” doesn’t mean S and I are friends exactly. We have great fun together, with tickle fights, hug-a-war, doing crafts, shopping, and just hanging out. But I’m in charge… despite her efforts to take the reins from me. The balance between friendship and authority is difficult to maintain at times: I want her to like me, but I can’t let her get away with being disrespectful or walking all over me.

Oh! One more funny thing about the party. I had no idea that girls actually farted and admitted it. But every girl at the party contributed her share of gas and then laughed hysterically. What happened to hiding the fact that you have gas? I guess my little girls can be as gross as a typical boy teenie bopper.

Don’tcha’  just love it?

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I guess forgiveness is just in the air. I just couldn’t let it go. I called my dad today to tell him our family had experienced enough broken relationships and that I wanted the pain to stop. I indicated that in spite of how distant our relationship has been since, well, forever, I wanted to do whatever it takes to reach something more akin to friendship. My dad is going senile, so I don’t think he fully understood what I was saying. However, he knew I was reaching out to him, and I believe he appreciated it. He said he would try to call me back but if I didn’t hear from him I should call him back. He’s very forgetful like that.

Why, you ask, would I bother, given his age and present state of mind? The reason is this: My faith calls me to forgive those who hurt me, even when it’s difficult. So I decided to let everything go. Does he remember what he did to me? Probably not. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that God has reached into my soul and urged me to restore a broken relationship in His name, and I obeyed His prompting.

I didn’t do anything wrong to make my dad’s and my relationship go sour. After all, I was only a small child when the abuse started. However, as an adult, I have not reached out to seek healing in our relationship. I forgave him long ago, yes, but I never let on to my dad that I had done so, so our relationship never blossomed.

I am thankful to God that He has nurtured and held me these last several weeks and that he spoke to me so clearly through the words of my minister last Saturday. Hear it yourself by going to http://middletownchristian.org/audio.asp, pressing the Month radio button, selecting November 2007 from the dropdown list, and then selecting David Emery – [November 25,2007]  Kingdom Now! – Radical Change. You won’t regret it!

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