Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sand

Friar blogged about the movie Doubt http://friartucksfleetingthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/12/doubt-movie.html today and it made me think. When I saw the previews the movie intrigued me, but when I found out it was about a possible molestation - I was intrigued no longer! I wanted to stay as far away from it as possible. Well, thought maybe I MIGHT rent it on DVD eventually, but certainly would not consider paying to go to the theater and watch it.

I am now wondering if the way I am about stories with bad endings is OK to accept, or should I work on that part of me. I choose books and movies that end happily. I feel like real life has enough sad endings, why should I choose to experience one in my leisure time? I like Disney endings, even if they are not that realistic. Maybe I like them because they are not realistic. Because the truth is, real life just plain sucks sometimes.

When I think of watching Doubt, I actually feel fearful. That is the part that makes me wonder if I am smart or not to put my head in the sand. I am thinking I should go toward things that scare me to overcome them, but maybe that is just in real life and not necessarily movies as well? I know when I saw a movie a few years back, something with Children in the title - it haunted me for weeks. I just think life is too short to give that much of my precious time to something a film maker created in his own mind. I think it is haunting though because there is so much truth in it. These things are real, they really happen to real innocent people. That is what haunts me.

When I think about it, I mean REALLY think about it, there is so much abuse in this world, it does feel overwhelming. It feels like there is no way to protect all of the innocent children out there being abused right now as you read this. The reality is that it happens. Maybe I am not so much afraid of that, but overwhelmed at wanting to stop it. I wish I could do more than watch a movie and be moved. I wish I had the power to change people. I wish our world was more like a Disney movie, and the bad guy gets caught and good overcomes in the end. But, that is not the world we live in.

So, I just keep putting my head in the sand and keeping it there so I don't have to see the real pain around me. It doesn't help me or the ones in pain, but somehow I feel better not looking. That is reality.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Prayer

I just wanted to ask you to pray for a few things - if you are a praying person - if not, that is OK too!

1) Pray for a quick and complete recovery for one of my favorite blog buddies, Shelley (http://logcabininmichigan.blogspot.com/2008/12/get-your-flu-shot.html )

2) I have still not found my cell phone! Pray if it is here, I will find it, and if not I will have peace with getting a new one!

3) Pray I am hearing God's voice correctly in several areas of my life that I need guidance right now.

Thanks!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Drifting Snow


We have lived in Montana for over 10 years, and I have never seen it like this before. Not at my own house anyway. Sure, there are places that get a lot more wind than we do that get drifts, but I have never had to walk thru snow to my waist to get into my own front door. That is what happened last night though. As we were coming home, the mere 100 yards from mom's house. Luckily, we had driven since we were in our PJs when we went over. We stayed all day, watched the wind and snow out the windows, but didn't notice the drifts until we opened the garage door at 10:30 last night. They were 2 foot high at the doorway. That got my attention. Because I had on my "short shoes". That is our new family joke - not sure you can understand unless you have walked thru high snow in shoes of regular height. Your ankles begin to feel it first, then snow begins to fall down into the shoe, etc... It really isn't too terrible unless it is below zero, then it is painful pretty quickly.


Anyway, people without snow blowers are stuck in their houses and driveways. I have always laughed when people I knew in Texas would say things like, "I could never live there, I wouldn't like being stuck in my house when it snowed!" I laughed because up here, the snow doesn't stop us, usually. Today is a new day I suppose.
I am writing this in honor of the snowplows and their drivers:
Dear Snowplows and your drivers,
I so love that you sacrifice your sleep and comfort to come out in the middle of the night while I am in my warm cozy bed and clear the roads. I love that I wake up in the morning and have a choice to head out into the frozen wasteland or stay all day in my warm house. You see it is about choice. If I choose to go nowhere, that is fine, but today my choice is taken away. I realize last night was still Christmas, so I will forgive your sleeping in. You probably had too much eggnog, but today is the day AFTER Christmas and it is time to get back to work.
with much gratitude and sincerity,
Your friend - Michele

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Here


It's done. The last bit of gifts have been bought, the groceries are all in the cupboard waiting for their designated time to be pulled out and used, the tree is brimming with gifts, the kids are hyper and excited. It is finally Christmas Eve. This morning I feel such relief. It is like all that pressure that has been building and building over the past month has been released like the air out of a pressure cooker when the top is taken off. If it has not gotten done at this point, it will not get done. I am good with that. The kids all have an even number of gifts...well, Lord, I sure hope so!! I quit writing things down last week, so I am depending on memory here, which can be scary! :)
We don't have a lot of Christmas traditions, but there are a few we enjoy.
First, the kids all get new PJs on Christmas Eve to wear that night. So, Christmas morning everyone looks so cute!! I got the greatest PJs ever this year!! Lizzie got red footie ones with silver snow flakes on them, Jake got Stewie from Family Guy - his favorite Character, and Reagan got footie ones with with the sock monkey on them!! Can't wait to share pictures after Christmas.
We always go to the late Christmas Eve Service. It is so beautiful and wonderful to come out of church about midnight realizing it is already Christmas Day.
My kids all get three gifts each under the tree - hey - if it was good enough for Jesus, etc... :) They actually like this tradition. Their three gifts are always something special and unique to each child. Of course Santa brings them something great - this year Reagan is getting a beautiful ring, it is in place of a class ring, which she didn't want. She will only graduate from high school once so want her to have something to symbolize it. Jake is getting a digital camera. He did not ask for it, but I hope he likes it anyway. Lizzie is getting the Barbie cruise ship. She asked for the Polly Pocket Cruise ship - there were none in this town for weeks. Last night in our last shopping spree in search of this, we settled for the Barbie one. If she is bummed out when she gets it I will just tell her that Santa is old and must have gotten confused - which is not that far from the truth really.
We often go to a movie on Christmas Day. I think this may be being replaced though. My mom has a home theater in her basement and last year we just went down there, still in our Jammies and watched any and all of the new movies anyone received as gifts. I think I like this new tradition better!
Well, I don't have anything to do this morning. Little Lizzie is laying here beside me snoring her sweet little snore. She snuck into our bed sometime last night - shhh don't tell her, but sometimes I don't really mind snuggling up to her and smelling her sweetness. I think I will do that right now and drift back off to sleep.
Happy Christmas Eve to you!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Montana

I received this as a forward - I took out all that I didn't think applied to me and left all the ones I have personally experienced in my ten years as a Montanan:




Jeff Foxworthy's Comments on Montana:

If "vacation" to you means going shopping for the weekend in Great Falls, Billings or Bozeman (while the kids swim at the Comfort Inn), You might live in Montana.

If parking your car for the night involves an extension cord, You might live in Montana.

If you're proud that your state makes the national news primarily because it houses the coldest spot in the nation, You might live in Montana.

If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too Spendy", You might live in Montana.

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, You might live in Montana.

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, You might live in Montana.

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, You might live in Montana.

If your town has an equal number of bars and churches, You might live in Montana.

If you know how to correctly pronounce Butte, You might live in Montana.

If you measure distance in hours, You might live in Montana.

If your family vehicle is a crew cab pickup, You might live in Montana.

If you know several people who have hit deer more than once, You might live in Montana.

If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching, You might live in Montana.

If you see people wearing hunting clothes at social events, You might live in Montana.

If you've installed security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked, You might live in Montana.

If the largest traffic jam in your town centers around a High School basketball game, You might live in Montana.

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them, You might live in Montana.

If there are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at Wal-Mart at any given time, You might live in Montana.

If there are more people at work on Christmas Eve Day than on opening deer rifle season, You might live in Montana.

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, You might live in Montana.

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, You might live in Montana.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, You might live in Montana.

If you can identify a southern or eastern accent, You might Live in Montana.

If you consider Red Lodge exotic, You might live in Montana.

If your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your cottonwood, You might live in Montana.

If finding your misplaced car keys involves looking in the Ignition, You might live in Montana.

If you find 0 degrees a little chilly, You might live in Montana.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Disorganized

I am so disorganized!! I have been trying to change that, and have made good strides over the past year, but still struggle quit a bit.

Things missing in my house right now:
1)My wedding ring!!! AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH

2)My cell phone

3)My car charger for my cell phone

That is all that pops into the top of my head...but it is enough. I just got my new wedding ring last Christmas Eve...didn't even make it a year. Do you think I have insured it yet, NO. If you are a praying person, please pray I find it. Thanks!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold

Here it is: the ole temperature gauge in my car again - can you believe the guts on that thing, registering below zero again? BBBBUUUUURRRR it was cold last night. I don't know if today will even get above zero!! The first year we moved to Montana from Texas, it was 1998, there was a 2 week span that stayed below zero. We were amazed and so excited about it then. Somehow over the past 10 years it has lost its thrill for me. The bitter cold I mean. The kind of cold that hurts to breath too deeply, the kind of cold that my eyes and the inside of my nose feel like they are freezing after a minute or two. It is so cold it stings any exposed area of skin.

The other day it got up to 8 degrees and we were all running into Target without coats, it felt so warm. Now, this I will never understand, but after it has been below zero for a period of time and then gets above zero, it feels almost balmy!! It is craziness I tell you.

I just looked at the weather forecast for the week. We are suppose to get warmer weather later on - YEA!! It is suppose to snow on Monday and then Christmas Day!!! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, snow I can handle. I LOVE to be home when it is snowing. Just to look outside and watch it falling while I am snug in my house. Snow on Christmas, there is no better present than that.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Creepy Santas


Santa can be creepy. Here is proof. I like that Santa at least looks like he is jovial about it all!




I hope her parents got her therapy after this, I think she probably needed it.


Love how sweet the other two look, she must be the non compliant child at their house!! :)



Look!! NO hands!!


This guy wins the creepiest Santa award, I wouldn't want to sit on his lap either...not that I have ever gone around sitting on the laps of strange men or anything....




This is "Surprise Santa" or maybe he had too much Botox??





Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Wishes

I have some Christmas wishes. I hope this Christmas I can remember those that are cold and hungry, and not complain about anything having to do with my house or food. Sometimes I just complain about the silliest little things - honestly, I can act like a spoiled brat.

I hope this Christmas for peace on earth beginning right here in our house. I don't really mean no conflict at all, because that is unrealistic. I do hope that each one of us can have a voice about what feels important to us, but do it in a respective way of each other. When we do disagree, I pray we can find resolution that feels safe for each involved.

I hope this Christmas we find true contentment, not in material things, but in the things that can't even be seen, like Joy, fun, hope, and especially love. I pray that all those I love will have everything they need.

I guess most of all, in the next week I don't want to get all wrapped up in the things that are trivial. I want to not let myself forget what is important to me, which is the people in my life, not the details. Speaking of, you, YES - YOU reading this right now. You are a blessing to me. I feel so honored to have you in my life.

Merry one week until the big day!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Negative

This is what my car temperature gauge was reading about an hour ago when I finally made it home. Today was a marathon shopping day, since I had not even began my Christmas shopping. Whew!!! We shopped for 9 hours straight, but we are ALMOST finished totally!!!!! YEA!!!

I need to clarify something. My dear friend, Friar, mentioned in a comment that he thought I liked snow storms. I DO like snowstorms. I LOVE the snow. I do not enjoy temperatures that kill people. Growing up in Texas - I always dreaded that August heat...so hot that people did actually die in it. Now, being in Montana, I dread the negative temperatures, so low that people die in it. I don't know, when I think of dying, freezing to death is not real high on my list of preferred ways to go. I am just a wimp like that I suppose. :)

I think it is crazy that it can be sunny and stay below zero all day. The warmest it ever got was negative 4 and the sun was out all day. I understand that the clouds actually can make it warmer and blah blah blah...but it still just doesn't make sense in my pea little brain. When I am in my house and look outside at a sunny sky that is so bright it is blinding, I don't expect to walk outside and feel my eyeballs begin to freeze. Call me a Crazy Texan at heart, but folks, that just don't seem normal to me!!!

I hear it is suppose to get colder by Thursday. Oh boy, me and my eyeballs can't wait.

Holiday Eating Tips

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet
table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots,
leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot
find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has
10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an
eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me.
Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy.
Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed
potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or
whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car
with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control
your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other
people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's.
You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the
time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table
while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes.
If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple , Pumpkin , Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or
if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have
three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory
celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some
standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or
get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips;
start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

BBBUUUURRRRRR

We are suppose to get record low temps. I hope they are wrong, but they are claiming it will get negative fifteen this weekend!! I think the high on Sunday is suppose to be under ten degrees. We are also suppose to get up to 12 inches of snow.

Remember that we have been having record high temps? I guess winter decided to show up after all, and in a BIG way!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nakedly Funny

NOT ME!!
Why is it nakedness seems funny? Maybe I just have a sick sense of humor, but I think these are hilarious!





Give Away!

My buddy Shelley is doing another give away!! YEA!!

check it out here:

http://logcabininmichigan.blogspot.com/2008/12/few-of-my-favorite-things-giveaway.html

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grateful and HO HO HO!!

Some days my gratitude of health and wellness feel overwhelming. Today is one of those days. My gratitude for my life literally feels like it is swelling from deep inside of me and feels like it is all consuming.

It was only three Christmases ago that my kids decorated the tree alone because I could not get out of bed and Sean was not home. The thought of them doing that alone breaks my heart. I can just picture my precious Reagan - taking charge, putting on the Christmas music and making everything wonderful for her brother and sister. So much responsibility for a little girl to carry.

Then last Christmas Sean and I were living together again after a separation and trying to figure out where we stood. It was a hard time. Just recently I started thinking about that. When we first kissed, or held hands. It all felt so awkward and unsure, just like in a new relationship, only harder. Harder because we wanted it to work so badly, but were both carrying around hurts and pain and were scared of being hurt again.

So, today I am grateful. Grateful that as a family we decorated our tree and our house. Grateful that I am so busy with my life I barely get enough time to sleep in the bed that I used to be in 90% of my time. Grateful that although my marriage is not perfect, it is mending. We are loving each other and able to communicate in a way that we never could before.

I am grateful. Grateful that my heart is full. It seemed empty for far too long.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Poem for Advent

"First Coming" by Madeleine L'Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he cameto a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To world like ours, of anguished shamehe came,
and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sitting

When I say "sitting" I do not actually mean that I have been sitting. In fact there was actually very little sitting going on - why do we call it sitting anyway. It should be called running your rear end off. This is Lizzie with Eli - he is my friend's dog and we have been dog sitting him for 6 days. Lizzie is actually singing him to sleep. He is crate trained and sleeps in that thing. Which is good, because 90% of the time he is not in the crate, he is smelling Chica's butt, and frankly, she is growing weary of it!!


So, we have been dog sitting and then actually kid sitting as well. This is Sean, Lizzie and Abigail. She is three. When I told her mom I would babysit, I never actually looked at the calender and noticed that I would also have Eli.

This is Abigail and Lizzie loving on Chica - doesn't she look thrilled??


This is Aiden, Abigail's 2 year old brother. Her is another reason to check your calender when you commit to do something. Friday night Jake played piano at the festival of lights in Belgrade, MT. I was there, but didn't get to see too much of it...this cute smiling face - I didn't see it much either, cuz I was chasing him around and mostly just saw the back of his head.




I think this shot is very sweet. Lizzie is always begging for a baby brother or sister. After these guys left the other night I asked her if she still wanted one. I just knew for sure the reality of what little ones in the house meant would be working in my favor...well, she is still begging for siblings. She will not be getting any.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Police Reports

Our paper's police reports are often hilarious!! Well, guess what, my fellow bloggers? You can now follow the funniest ones in a blog! I just found this and will be getting my laugh for the day with someone else doing all the work - instead of weeding through the paper - I will just click here - You should check it out!! http://bozemanpr.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rosemary


This is my dear, sweet Mama. Yesterday we ran around all day and then I had choir rehearsal last night at church. She came along and watched Lizzie (playing in the background). She was exhausted apparently, because she was sleeping mostly.
My mom has a heart of gold. She can not stand to see anyone hurting or in need. If she has any means to help them, she will. I worry about her sometimes because there are people that figure this out about her and take advantage of it. I also admire her a great deal. She and my dad's divorce will be final this month after a few years of separation. They were married almost 44 years. She has had a lot of emotional ups and downs over the years, but she always lands with her feet on the ground and keeps moving forward. I know she will this time as well.
When I was growing up, it was this lady that instilled in my that I had value. When my dad picked on me and put me down, she always came in a picked up the pieces. I always felt safe wrapped in her arms, and I still do today. She always helped me to follow my dreams and taught me that I could do anything I desired. I am very grateful that she believed in me at times when I did not believe in myself. After all, isn't that what mamas are for?
I love my mom!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dad

Well, my dad is gone back to Texas. He left early this morning. I had a few wishes before he came - which you might remember. I can now honestly say:

It was not as bad as I expected!! He really just mostly ignored me, which is a good thing, much easier than being under his critical eye. I would be lying if I didn't say there was a small amount of pain that he has still never mentioned or acknowledged my birthday even after attending a surprise party!! But hey - it is par for the course.

I handled things pretty well and Look how far I have come. I do feel that wish came true as well. All those years of therapy and $ was worth it!!

I won't have to do this again for a long while. That is probably true, but even if I did have to do it again soon - I know it would be OK.

Thanks for all your kind words, suggestions, and wishes!! I appreciated every one of them. So, here I am on the other side feeling glad it is over, but feeling pretty confident in who I am as a person. I really could not ask for much more than that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surprise!

My birthday was over a week ago - so I was suspecting NOTHING when I arrived at the restuarant and was taken to the back room!!! NOTHING - I missed all the cues. Oh well, lots of the people I love and care about were in that room and yelled - SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!! What a blast! I got some great gag gifts as well. It was fun for sure.




Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Dad

I wonder at what point the old fears stop popping up? I wonder exactly how many years of therapy it would take, because I have quite a bit of time under my belt already.

Here's the deal - my dad is on his way. He is flying as I type this. I know I do not react as strongly as I used to. I know how to set boundaries now and take care of me. The problem is wanting to avoid the words that wound that will inevitably come up. I wish I could just love him where he is and let his words roll off of me like water off a ducks back. I will be able to do that to a certain point. Then, something will penetrate my armor...some slide comment about my weight, my house, etc... Here is what I know - I could have my house clean enough to eat off the floor - and he would still find something to complain about. I could cook a meal fit for a king - but there will be something he doesn't like. I know that no matter what I do or don't do he will find something to gripe about - because that is what he lives for. I KNOW in my head that it is not about me - but my heart sometimes is unsure. My heart will sometimes go to that place, "If a girl's dad doesn't love her, then who the hell will????" My heart will assume there is something wrong with me, that I do have something missing that the rest of the world has - that I am the only weirdo alive. I just have to keep my head and my heart connected. I have to remind myself that I AM lovable, acceptable and a wonderful person. I deserve to be treated nicely.

I just pray that when these 4 days are over I will be able to say, "boy, that wasn't as bad as I thought it might be!" and "I handled things pretty well, look how far I have come!" and "I don't have to do that again for a while!"

I just want to protect that hurt little girl inside that pops up occasionally and feels insecure. My goal is for her to know the grown up Michele is different, and will protect her and keep her safe. I don't have to be afraid anymore, I really don't.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Craziness!

We had a great Thanksgiving feast! The last count I heard was 230 people that came to eat at St James. I know a few more wandered in after that count. It was craziness I tell you! I have been in charge of the kitchen for all 3 years and each year it has gotten busier. We did 95 take out dinners. I LOVE to cook, but organization is not my strong suit. Don't get me wrong, it all went off with barely a hitch. It just didn't feel that smooth to me.

The day was fun though. In 2006 we fed about 75 people, 2007 it was 146, and now this year 230... amazing! We had lots of repeat people, so I guess no one is complaining about the food! It was fun as usual - lots of things to find funny. Like the lady that was as skinny as a rail and came back 4 times for more gravy - she is now known as "the gravy lady"!! Or the slip that came in for a piece of pumpkin pie and they had checked YES for whipped cream and underneath that is said, "covered". So, We covered that pie with whipped cream - top sides back, there was nothing showing , not even the crust!! Well, they wanted to take it with them - it was supposed to be "covered" with saran wrap!! There were travelers, people whose families had all gone out of town and they were alone. Then there were some homeless. One man smelled so badly his odor could be smelt 10 foot away. I hope they all left feeling more than full in their bellies. I pray they felt cared for and accepted and a little less lonely.

Organization may not be my strong suit, but loving people is right up there at the top. I hope I let that show more than my stress did.

Maxine


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snowfolk

This is the image out of my office window this morning. Remember how cheerful and happy the snowfolk were a few days ago? Well, now the picture looks much more dreary. The sun is not out, the wind is blowing, all the beautiful snow is melting away. I couldn't help but think this is kinda how life is.



A couple of things could happen now. 1)the sun could come out, the weather get warm and these little snowfolk could be a heap of snow by tonight. or 2) The temp could drop, snow could start falling and these little guys could stay with us until next spring. Life is like that, so unpredectable. How often do I have everything in my mind of how things will play out, and the script changes at the last minute. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, but it is the change that throws me.



I am different than these snowfolk in some ways. If I don't like my circumstances, I can simply move to a new place. I get to say who I will stand beside and who I won't, I get to choose where I will spend today and with whom. I get to move to a spot that meets my needs and take care of myself. That is good. What I can not control is the weather and the outside circumstances. I can not control what others do or say, only myself. I can only control my reaction to the changes around me and inside me.



I, personally, like happy endings. I like books and movies with happy endings, because, frankly I enjoy having my head in the sand sometimes. Unfortunately, that is not reality. Whether my head is in the sand or not, the wind is still blowing. I need to pull my head out more often and learn to move or change if I am unhappy with where I am. I need to use my voice in a productive, healthy way for myself and those around me. I am not at the mercy of my circumstances, I have choices! I think I will always like happy endings - and maybe if I can create my own happiness inside myself, no matter the turmoil around me, I will have a happy ending each day, each week, each month. I know that not all days can be happy, but if I wake up the next morning willing to try again, I will have more happy ones than not.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stress Free Thanksgiving


Whew!

OK - I admit it, I am totally silly!!! After all that stress, and frustration, and feeling like a failure - I got to training today and the other two participants had not even finished the silly thing. It was totally agreed upon by everyone involved, even our trainer, that this is very difficult.

I figured out something about myself - well, one of many things - I get pretty obsessed and anal about things that are extremely important to me. I tend to be laid back and do things fairly moderately - as in, I am NOT an over achiever by any means. BUT apparently I can have that tendency in certain areas of my life. If I screw up a pie or a cake - watch out! I will be in a pissy mood until I remake and do it perfectly. I never really realized how much pressure I put on myself in certain situations.

SO - I am telling you that I will no longer be anal retentive about my Zoe training - so hold me accountable - OK? I also found out that we have 24 hours of training with someone else doing the counseling and us watching before we even have the option of being lead counselor. That is 24 appointments - whew!! What a relief!

OK - boring post, I know, but wanted to let you know I am FINE - just had a small melt down yesterday!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

things I learned about myself tonight

Tonight I learned that my communication skills suck - oh yes, they really do. I was doing my homework - yes, it is Monday night and I go to training tomorrow - yes, I procrastinated again! Apparently I have not learned to listen intently to ANYONE EVER. Nope, I have never done it, according to how it is suppose to be done. And I also have no idea how to ask open ended questions without putting my own opinion or judgements in there somewhere. No matter how much I tried...I kept sliding my opinion in one way or another - which I repeat - is NOT intently listening to someone!!!

I am trying to make it funny, but it is not. I am feeling overwhelmed, and not sure at all that I will ever get all of this. I am not so sure that God REALLY called me to do this, did He? I know in my heart He did - but I did NOT know it would be this hard - and would creep into all the areas of my life I need to work on.

I WANT to learn to intently listen and care and love those around me. I WANT them to feel understood and cared for - so why are these skills so hard to learn? I wish having the will to do it was enough to get you there - but NO - after 40 - yes, I repeat 40 years of doing it incorrect - I can't expect to get it in one night I suppose.

I am going to go to bed, and not talk to anyone for a while - cuz now I will be questioning every response I give.

New Attitude

We are doing our 3rd annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner at St James this year. My family, including my mom, have been part of it since the first year. I have to admit, it is 3 days away and I was feeling overwhelmed this morning. I tend to get overwhelmed about things when I lose my focus on why I am doing them. Thanks to Jen's Post - http://unglazed.blogspot.com/2008/11/joy.html - I am now remembering what is important about this dinner.

My family LOVES doing it - Jake is always in charge of the servers, and being the little control freak that he is, he THRIVES at his job! Reagan, who is my quiet, reflective kid, has always just helped where needed and doesn't much like to be in the spotlight or play some huge roll. Yesterday she said everyone at school and church have been talking about their Thanksgiving plans. She said, "I am so glad we do what we do to celebrate Thanksgiving. It seems to have so much more meaning. I love that we all come from different walks of life, and different churches, but by the end of the day it feels like family." She is so right.

So, I am going to stop this minute stressing about the groceries and the cooking and if we will have enough food. I am going to remember it is about coming together and serving people that are lonely, or hungry. It is about those of us who have more then we should and those of us who don't have what they need, meeting on common ground. It is about being Christ's hands and his feet. It is about hugging the widow that is alone this year, or the divorced dad that is alone for Thanksgiving for the first time in years, or the homeless lady that hasn't bathed in a long while. It is about loving these people, just as others have loved me when I needed it most, but maybe didn't even deserve it, but they did it anyway.

Thanks Jen, it really isn't even about the turkey at all. It is about all of us coming together, the atheist and the christian, the poor and the rich, the young and the old and loving each other right where we are.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mr and Mrs Snowman - or is it men???

I took this picture from my office window yesterday. If you look really close, right down there in the middle, 20 ft down to be exact, you will see the happy snowman couple - is it man or men - someone tell me PLZ! For the sake of my sanity and sparing you the question every time they come up during this post, I will refer to them as snowman - well, hell, I can call them whatever I like - this is my post after all, so, their last name is Snowman, OK???

Lizzie and her daddy made these snowmen - I was napping - sssshhhhh! Sometimes, when I have been having way TOO many birthday celebrations for someone over the hill and my age - like the past few days, I burrow away in my room and sneak in a nap. I took all my work stuff upstairs - well, I work from home, you know, and everything I need is in two spots, my Reliv notebook, and my day planner - so easy! So, when I head upstairs with those things, my family has been trained - "mom will be on the phone - stay clear!" So, could I help it if I called a few people that weren't home...and then my eyelids started to droop in weariness? So, I hid away for an hour and had a nap - it was blissful!

You know what else is blissful? This window in front of my desk - no panes or anything to block the view. I LOVE sitting and looking out my window into the world. From that view, I can see a lot of the valley and even into Belgrade or Bozeman. I can also see the horses - and NOW I can see Mr and Mrs Snowman. Who seem very content and happy together. I think they have a perfect marriage... that I can watch thru my perfect window... too bad life isn't really that way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Locusts


SSSHHHHHHH

Don't tell anyone that it is my fault, OK? Everyone around here, including me, has been enjoying the unusually warm weather. I mean warm - it has been in the 60's some days, unheard of really in mid November.
Well, I prayed for snow on my birthday - and it snowed last night... SSSSHHHH don't tell anyone. I am afraid I might get stoned around here.
BUT secretly, it is beautiful, and white and crisp - and I LOVE it. God has given me so many gifts this year for my birthday already - and the snow is just the icing on the cake!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

5 Things you will never hear me say

Jen from Unglazed, http://unglazed.blogspot.com/ , did this a few weeks ago and I loved the idea.

So - Here are five things you will NEVER hear me say:



"I sure wish Lizzie would leave more things out in the living room!!"


"I wish my mom would not send me beautiful flowers."


"Too bad my grandma sewed all the curtains for my cabin the year before she died."


"Those are not the cutest eyes I have ever seen in my life."


"The bible is not my favorite book of all time!!"














Safe Place

There is a place that I feel safe. There has never been a time that I allowed myself to be pulled up close to this chest that I didn't immediately feel safe. Allow is an important word, I have resisted this safe place many times, when I felt angry or hurt or just felt I should do "life" on my own and not need someone else to lean on. This is Sean's chest. I took this picture this morning, I told him I needed a picture, he absentmindedly said, "OK". Then I said, well, I want a picture of your chest, and guess what? He was suddenly paying attention. "My What?" "Why??"!! I said, "I just want it", so, being the kind of man he is, without anymore questions he stood still while I took this close up of my safe place. He was just looking at me a bit odd, he is mostly used to my weirdness after 21 years. Then I just leaned in and put my cheek right on this exact spot and said, "I am going to blog about how safe I feel right here." He immediately wrapped his arms around me and said, "AAAAWWW, that makes me feel very special."

I have resisted going to this safe place more times than I should have. When Sean and I disagree, he is usually much more ready to make up than I am. It takes me awhile to be ready. He might try to pull me into his arms, but I will have no part of it. I know it is my own self preservation kicking in, the Michele that is truly afraid Sean will somehow end up like my father. The father that would hold my older sister on his lap, but when I would try to crawl up there I was always told I was "too heavy" for him to hold. When I feel hurt by Sean my fears of rejection pop up. I guess I learned early on that it was less painful to be the one pushing others away than to be pushed away myself. This is an area I have made progress in, just recognizing it helps.

There have also been many times I wanted more than anything to just be pulled into those strong arms and against that warm chest. I wanted it so bad, thinking he should be able to read my mind I suppose. I now realize I have a voice. I now just say to Sean, "I don't need you to try to fix anything, just hold me for a minute, please." Then within seconds I find my face against the safest place in the whole world and even though the situation has not changed, I can let it go. For the few minutes I am there, breathing in the smell of the man I love, listening to the heartbeat in his chest, feeling his arms around me and my cheek against his chest I feel safe, very, very safe.

Maxine!


Bread Give Away

One of my blog buddies, Shelley, is giving away some amazing bread - click here to check it out and enter:

http://logcabininmichigan.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Homework


I am going through a six week training for my new volunteer position at Zoe Pregnancy Center. First of all - DO THESE PEOPLE NOT KNOW I HAVE A JOB, A FAMILY, and a LIFE?? Sorry - a little frustration at my hours of homework is slipping out a little. I don't know if it is about the time or about the fact that the training is very much in my face about things I have tried to hide from. Things I have used for coping mechanisms for years - like throwing the doily on the elephant in the middle of the room and calling it a table. That was a quote from my dear friend Alice that passed away a few years ago, but is still teaching me things today through her memory. I can call that elephant a table if I want, but the truth is, it is still an elephant and looming large in the middle of the room.




I worry about what people think. I spend WAY too much time worrying about how I said things and if I should have said anything at all ... or in the rare case I didn't say something, that I should have said something and what it should have been. I worry when getting dressed about the last time I wore this sweater and who saw me, cuz heaven forbid I wear the same sweater to choir two weeks in a row. None of those people have anything to do but worry about my repetition of clothing I am quite certain.




Mostly I worry that I am not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, kind enough. I worry that if the real Michele shows up - I will chase all those around me away. I have had people I held near and dear that abandoned me. Maybe if I would have spent less time worrying about doing something wrong that would chase them away and more time just being real with them, they might still be here. Maybe they were just people fighting their own issues and it wouldn't have mattered what I did or said - they would still be gone. The problem is, I will never know the truth. I have chosen to separate myself from a few people in my life - usually because they seem toxic to me. So, I am assuming this is the case - I must have been something less than positive, something they wanted away from. I wish I knew the answer so I could try to change, try to not chase anyone else I love and care about away EVER.




BUT - here I am worrying about what others think. If a relationship fails it is not all one sided, is it? I know I called this one friend at least 3 times asking forgiveness and asking to start over. She was kind, but never called me again. The other relationship was more of an email one - we had not seen each other in years and years. Then we reconnnected. Email conversations are hard - sometimes something meant one way is taken another, etc... that whole thing was just a misunderstanding that grew out of control. I apologized and told them they were very important to me...but I never ever got a reply back. Abandoned and rejected, my two biggest fears in life. Maybe that is why these two particular relationships haunt me. I am going to try to let these go and release the pressure that if I could just figure out what I did wrong I can prevent it in the future. I am going to try to take off the masks of self protection and just be me. It will be hard, because I am scared. But, honestly, this hiding behind them isn't' working for me either. The Me inside is screaming to just let it all go and let's live!!! So, I will attempt to begin today and spend less time worrying about what others think of me and more time just being the me I want to be. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

From Sappy to Happy


Well, today has definitely been happy! Lizzie and I made cupcakes. She helped and even iced them - wow - I think she will learn to enjoy cooking as much as I do!


Doesn't this melted chocolate look great?! Well, it is NOT - it is unsweetened chocolate. Jake thought he would sneak a little taste, and I heard a holler from the kitchen! He says, boy, when they say Unsweetened chocolate, they really mean it!


Here is Lizzie chopping up the chocolate. She had a lot of fun!


Here is another reason my day went from sappy to happy. No matter what is going on in my world, Lizzie can always bring some sunshine to it! Lizzie has discovered a new love for clay. These are early birthday presents - chocolates, a flower, and me in a passionate embrace with a snowman. I have NO idea why I am embracing a snowman. I really do like that I am so skinny compared to my cold friend, but this image really perplexes me. I am sure it means something on some level I am not getting???????? Those are my cards she made in the background. It has been a good day.




Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sappy


I am feeling sappy today - It has been kind of an emotional weekend. It has certainly not been a bad weekend - I just feel very emotional - and NO ladies, it is NOT that time of the month!! :) If it was, I would not even be wondering why I am sappy!!



Maybe it is the fact that I have been listening to the Elvis station on XMradio all weekend... Or the fact I sat through two piano recitals in two days - I love you, Jake - that is apparent by that act alone! Why does listening to kids playing piano seem torturous?? Maybe it was the 2 hour family counseling appointment on Friday followed by the movie that brought up things too close to home for me, literally!! OR maybe it has just been a long weekend and I am drained. I don't know, but it is not necessarily a bad feeling...I am just feeling very reflective about all the areas of my life.



I hope tomorrow that sappy is replaced with happy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

For Worse?


Tonight we saw Fireproof. I am neither endorsing the movie or not endorsing it. It is definitely a B rate movie and has it's slow points. All things considered, Sean and I could identify with many elements of the movie. There is the obvious - the guy is a fire fighter, but also quite a few things hit pretty close to home. Sean said that he came away from the movie with hope. Hope that even though things are not easy, in fact, they are just down right hard some days, that if we keep plugging away each day, we will get there.


One of the quotes I really liked was, "When most people promise 'for better or for worse,' they only mean for the better." Let's face it, "the better" is so much easier to deal with. It is when it gets hard that I, personally, think of bailing. I don't think it is so much that I want to give up really, more I just want to protect myself from emotional pain. It is true this past year that Sean and I have come to a decision. The decision is that we honestly, truly love each other. We want this thing to work. So, even though it is WORK - we keep doing it. So, daily we will keep plugging away, trying to encourage each other instead being a discouragement. We will keep trying to overcome our not so healthy habits and replace them with better things. I am glad I have a man that wants to come along side me and together we can hold each other's hands while we heal. It is a good thing - forget that - it is freaking AMAZING!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Walk with a Mission


This photo was taken in August in St Louis. Reagan has that big grin because she just finished her first official 5K run. She was SO excited. I had just completed a one mile walk that I could not have even dreamed of doing the year before. Sean - well, Chica brought him along as her chauffeur apparently!! She walked about 1/4th of the mile, but she was tired out - just look at those short little legs - what do you think she is, a dog or something?
The Walk for a Mission raises funds to support the Kalogris Foundation. We are feeding over 43,000 starving people, mostly kids around the world. I am honored to be a part of it. http://reliv.com/US/EN/Images+of+Hope.html
Reagan has transformed in so many ways in the past few years. Two major things have greatly affected her self confidence. She used to have cystic acne. The dermatologist wanted to put her on acutane. She was furious, not because of the drug itself, but because it is a federal law that anyone on acutane must take birth control. She isn't much into government control. :) Secondly, she has gone from a size 17 to a size 9. It is so wonderful to see her be able to wear sundresses for the first time since hitting puberty - the acne was on her face, back and chest pretty severely. It is also fun to see her go shopping and enjoy herself! I am so glad that she is heading into a future so different from mine.
I have only lost 20 pounds over the past year. When fall hits one of the things I usually dread is pulling out all of my winter pants and trying to squeeze into them. Well, this is the first winter in a long time that everything fit comfortably!! That felt like a victory in itself. I will eventually get to a healthy size, I am OK with going slow with it. I am just glad for the first time in my life things are reversed, I am taking it off instead of putting it on!! Reagan is my inspiration.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Poetry


Sometimes I wish I could write poetry. When I feel melancholy and reflective it would be nice to know how to put that into something beautiful.


I wish I knew how to explain that after 21 years, 3 kids and lots of good and bad times that I still miss Sean when he is not home. It is like a piece of me is missing. I don't always feel that way, but tonight I do. It has been a good day, a really good day, but right now I am tired. I wish I could just crawl into bed beside him and talk to him in the dark. It would have been even better if he would have been by my side to experience this good day with me and we could talk about it together. Somehow, when I experience something amazing, I can never quite explain it in the same way it would be to just experience it.




The truth is, if Sean would have been here with me today...we probably would have not appreciated it. We would have been distracted with all that was going on to stop and realize that being together and experiencing it together in itself is a gift. I probably would have found something to bitch at him about - he didn't do something the way I thought he should have, he was late, he forgot something he said he would do, etc... If he was here with me right now would I be able to just stop and realize that being with him in itself would be a gift. I hope so, but how many nights over the past 21 years did I forget that?

Great Day

It is going to be a great day!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!! One of the Vice Presidents of Reliv will be here in little ole Bozeman today. He will be here to discuss the new product - see previous post.

Having gotten to meet many of our corporate leaders and sit down and visit with them, I am still amazed at just their down to earthness. That sounded weird - what I am trying to convey is that they are just the most humble, wonderful people you would ever want to meet. They do not elevate themselves or expect any special treatment. In fact, if anything, they are spending their time serving us and seeing how they can help us. It is such a flip flop from most corporate jobs. They are just genuine people, just like you and me. I LOVE that! It is just another reason I am so blessed and feel honored to be a part of Reliv International.

It is going to be a fun day!! Hope yours is fabulous as well!!!

Glucaffect

I am SO excited about this new product!! It has amazing clinical trials that included a dropping of blood sugar levels with an average of 30% and weight loss of 16 pounds in the 8 weeks study - AMAZING!! It is intended to also help with Metabolic Syndrome which has lots of different precursors for things. I am SO excited to start it!! I am SO grateful to have found a company that focuses on the true issues facing our world's health instead of just worshiping the almighty dollar!! I will keep you posted on our results at our house.