Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Slogan A Day....Just For Today

I read something today that was pretty centering. Kathy the girl with a carnival in her head wrote about staying in today. And how this concept has escaped the church. What I love about Kathy is that she always brings her stuff back to her. She speaks of Kathy. AND that helps me see me. It also got me thinking about how many slogans center on TODAY.

Just for today.
One day at a time.
Keep in simple.
How important is it?
Easy does it.

So many times I want to run ahead. I wish for tomorrow. I wish for payday. I wish for Spring to come. I wish for cooler weather. From day to day and season to season. I want to run ahead. Hurry. Hurry and let this season of my life pass so that I can get on to the next one. Especially the painful difficult seasons such as the one that I am in now.
Being single.
Being lonely.
Wishing that “Mr. Wonderful” would appear.
Kathy’s post reminded me that the hard times…the wacky times…the lonely times….
this day is a gift to be opened up and treasured.
Not hurried thru.
God, help me to treasure where I am for today.
Help me not want to rush it.
Help me find contentment where you have me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Slug, The Shoplifter, And 2 Best Friends

I met with my two closest friends this weekend for dinner. Best Friend’s divorce is final and she will be leaving the state to start a new life for herself this week. Sitting there on the deck of a beautiful riverside restaurant I was forced to see my two closest friends struggling with lives that they are living.
Best Friend has been married 4 times. Her latest marriage was to a man 14 yrs her junior. He was eye candy when they met. Dumb as a box of rocks. He never even worked a full time job until they relocated to Virginia 4 yrs ago. Eye Candy married his ‘mommy’ and Best Friend took on that role. He was easy on the eyes but wore grooves everywhere else. Including Best Friends finances. In the past 6 years she has lost her pool home that was paid for. Her vehicles. Her disability insurance. All of her antique Coke collectibles. A lot of her sanity was stripped. She actually lived in a camper while they were homeless. Now that marriage is over. The dreams that she had somewhere made up in her head are shattered. Not because of adultery. Or alcohol. Or drugs. But because Eye Candy has a problem with shoplifting. He was arrested and jailed 2 times in the past 6 months.
Eye Candy recently inherited his 13 year old daughter due to the death of her mom who had custody of her since birth. Eye Candy cannot be a father. He cannot even parent himself. The daughter who watched as her mom lost her battle with breast cancer is now essentially alone. She has lost her step mom too. Her father is useless and on his way back to the county jail.
Where is the hope in any of this? I just don’t see any hope!!
Then there is Friend 2. The Enabler. I have know her since I moved to Virginia in 2000. She used to be a happy vibrant woman. Single mom making it happen. She married her longtime boyfriend 4 yrs ago and it has been devastating for her since. She is nothing more than a roommate. Her husband sleeps on the couch. She has no idea of his earnings or retirement benefits. She doesn’t even know the amount of his truck payment. They have separate bank accounts. All the bills are split 50/50 even though Slug makes a lot more money than The Enabler does. They lead separate lives. Her husband the big fat Slug sits and watches TV day and night while the Enabler works full time. The Enabler has many severe health issues. And like all good co-dependant women….Enablers health needs always come last. SLUG has no health coverage for his wife. The Enabler has thrown away major parts of herself for the sake of having a husband. And what she has gotten is a very poor roommate.
I see both of these women as my most valued friends. I have struggled with this dinner since I walked off the dock that night. I am tired. I am saddened by how both of their lives have turned out. I am deeply torn by the heartache that they have endured for the sake of love and a spouse. And I am beyond any sort of comprehension as to what would make a woman stay in a situation where they are not being lifted up and treasured with blind hope that it will get better. Both of these women deserve to be treasured. They are good women.
I guess where I think that this has to go for me is inside. I know that thru talking to these women this weekend I have realized two huge “tapes” that play over and over in my head when I engage in a relationship with someone. Those tapes say this:
“I can make his life so much better”…..holy shit! Where does that come from?
“Oh, his (addiction, life style, unhealthiness) isn’t that bad. Nobody’s perfect…” That ut-oh that I hear?? I better be listening to it and run! That ut-oh is there for a reason. It tells me that I need to look at this and really figure out if that unhealthiness is worth living with. Or I will end up like my friends.
If I put these two things together in operation… spells out disaster for me. I mean who do I think that I am to make anyone’s life better? That is not my job! I want someone to take care of ME for a change. This character defect is deeply engrained in my co-dependency. It is the “Saint/Sinner” complex. I have only been able to trace it back to my Ex-Husband and the way that I rescued him from himself and others. Wow. This one behavior sets all the other behaviors up and starts putting the bricks of denial in place.
SO. Here I am. Sitting in the residue of my closest friends lives and what those life choices have done to them. I don’t want to be another one of unhealthiness’s casualties. I don’t want to be broken again. I don’t want to step into the crazies of a relationship that I think I can work with. I want a relationship that will work with me.
As Best Friend embarks on her new life I pray that she goes forward without scales on her eyes. But they are still there. I pray for safety for her.
Enabler and I will continue our friendship. The tears that poured down like rain on Saturday while she talked about how lonely she is…they will continue to come until she finds out that she is worth more. I will continue to tell her she is. And I will work really hard at making myself believe it too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sexual Innuendos From A Scientist Guy

So last night I had a talk with Scientist Guy about our relationship. I have known this guy for around 2 years. We were in the singles club together at church. We shared mutual friends. And we just naturally spent time together. Scientist Guy is just a really “nice” guy. Not my type at all. I go for the ones with an edge to them.

I had wondered where the friendship was going as I was getting some mixed signals lately. The kind of signals where the guy calls you all the time. Takes you out to dinner. The kind of signal that tells a girl that this relationship is kind of developing into something. It was ok for friends. But I got a little concerned over some comments that Scientist Guy has made in the past couple weeks. Comments like:

“we can sit in my car and neck”
“I can get you drunk and finally take advantage of you”
“hey sexy”

You know things that would really lead a girl to think that there was a motive in operation here. And to be honest here, I work in the construction industry. 99% of the industry is made up of men. Nasty flirtatious men. I expect those comments from them. But not someone from my church. And not someone who is a Christian man!! Geeezzz!

So, doing something completely out of character for me….I confronted the situation. I brought it to light. It was pretty scary to do let me tell you! But I figured that I need to know what this guys intentions were so that I could figure out my counter attack.

First let me say that we are just completely opposites. He is a very orthodox kind of guy. Single man. 50 yrs old. Owns his own home. He is secure financially. Grown kid not living with him. He is the kind of man that would be scared off by my messy family. I am unorthodox. I am not financially secure. I live from week to week. I have 3 kids. An psycho dog. We just don’t match. So I was concerned that if this guy was chasing me….he better be sure about it otherwise my life would chew him up and spit him out!!

Anyway, back to the confrontation. When he called me he just said this….”Tara, I have always thought you were just extremely sexy.”

I was pretty floored. Then he proceeds to tell me that compared to him I am a ‘free spirit’ and so ‘authentic’ that he loves to just be near me. And he apologized for the sexual comments but that I just make him very comfortable. That he can joke with me. And not be fearful of being himself. And then Scientist Guy says that we are just friends. **Whew**.

So I said: “I hope this means that you’re still going to buy me dinner now and again”….and Scientist Guy says: “Why would I do that? I’m not getting anything out of it”…totally joking. Totally free. Now we are both on the same page and we can go about the friendship.

I still am waiting for “Mr. Wonderful”. I was told that he is out there. I just asked God to make him appear with bells around his neck so that I could hear him coming…..

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wine, Moose Tracks And Missing Daddy

I’ve written about my Mother’s Day and how really terrible it was this year. So, I think it’s only right that I should put down my Father’s Day as well.

It has been a tradition in my family, started by my oldest daughter, Sarah, that my kids celebrate me on Father’s Day. I’m a single mom and have been for years, so in their way, they see me as ‘Dad’. I don’t necessarily like it that they think of me as dad. I am a poor fill in across the board. I don’t do car repairs. I don’t do algebra. I have come to terms with the fact that even tho I try to fulfill both roles as mother and father…I fall short.

My Fathers day gifts of years past included Valentino perfume, Calvin Kline perfume, bras, always a special dinner and homemade cards, and this year I was taken to the Renaissance Festival at a local winery. It was a really fun day. Hot. Really HOT!! Zech did archery and ogled the big breasted wenches (what else would a 17 yr old boy do?), and Bekkah shopped and bought some trinkets. We ate smoked turkey legs like heathens and wore flower wreathes in our hair.

Sarah hung around the gypsies and the fortune tellers. She lugged the grandbaby around enjoying all the attention that was cast her way for having such a great baby. And he is.

All in all it was great. Topped off with a trip to the winery where I purchased my favorite white, Lake Anna White. And a short cut to our favorite ice cream palace for sugar free moose tracks. Yum.

Later that same night, I had a wonderful date night with my 17yr old son. It's really kind of cool that this young man still wants to hang with his mom. He craves that time together.

Such a bittersweet day for my family.

Bittersweet for me because I have spent the last 8 years of my life as a single mom. I have watched my children grow into good people. I have seen them transition from children to adults. I have held them while the cried over Absent Dad. I have wiped the tears when it was the daddy that they wanted and worse yet, that they needed. I have listened to the harsh words, rightfully spoken about a father that just isn’t there for them. They are pissed that Absent Dad has chosen to remarry and raise another women’s children while Absent Dad has children that need and want him. I have watched this wound become an ulcerated sore to their hearts.

It’s bitter because I have tried to be the mom and dad. I have tried to fool myself into thinking that I am enough for them. And I have woken up to the realization that I will never be able to fill that void that Absent Dad left behind. I just can’t. I have stopped trying. I can only be the very best mom that I can be. And hopefully, THE Father will step in and fill the void left unfilled. You can hear me say to my kids at any given moment that “I have a bigger dick than most men I know” or “My balls are sweaty” or even better yet is my t-shirt that says “I have the dick so I make the rules”….all this is in jest…my kids know that I try….and they support me by honoring me…the MOM on Father’s Day.

In all of my experiences that stand out for this Father’s Day tradition is when we were walking into church this Sunday as a group and I told the associate pastor “Happy Father’s Day” and he smiled and thanked me. Then as eloquently as Bekkah can be, she turns to me and says “Mom, Happy Father’s Day”. Associate Pastor looked surprised, then he smiled warmly. Acknowledging what that simple phrase really meant to me.

I have passed this honor off to other single mom’s I know. Best Friend calls me every year to pass on the tradition one single mom to another of our blessing to each other of “Happy Father’s Day”. And this year as I stood in line at the grocery, my favorite checker girl was busy scanning. I knew she was a single mom raising her daughter alone. And as I stepped up to pay for my purchases….I let it happen. I spoke the words that brought that young, tired, very alone single mom to tears…when I wished her “Happy Father’s Day”.

So my friends….if you know a single mom. Just simply acknowledge that the life and burden that they carry is indeed a hard cross to bear. It doesn’t sound like much, but I for one believe and live by the belief that words are one of the most powerful things that exist.

Honor those moms out there. And honor those single dads out there too on Mother’s Day. It isn’t easy to be both parents. And the wise ones of us who walk this road, realize that we can’t be both parents. But it sure is sweet to be honored for our efforts and for our hearts for our children living with Absent Parents.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Raging & Powerless

Driving to work today listening to "I'm So Sick" by "Flyleaf" I realized I was pissed. I have some issues with rage going on.

I'm not sure where it came from but I have the feeling that it is directed at me.

I've been feeling pretty effin powerless lately.

Powerless over my jobs.

Powerless over my kids.

Powerless over being lonely.

Powerless over my future

SOMEWHERE in the steps there is supposed to be freedom in powerlessness. But just for today.....I am not finding it at all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Faire Memories

This was the only Knight to be found.
He's a little rusty around the edges!! Like most men I know.
Too skinny for me but hey, I had to grab him while I had the chance.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Scientist In Shining Armor???

I'm headed to the Ren Fest this weekend.
Off to the joust my fine fellow!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Husband With The Skin On

I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Just profoundly lonely. It’s like there is the deep vast hole in myself that needs to be filled. It echoes with a longing. I am surrounded on most days by several people. People I work with. People I live with. People that just hang out at my house. I am NEVER alone. But I have come to realize that even if I am not alone….I am lonely.
Putting a name on it is important. For a few weeks now I have felt something go missing. I know that in the last couple of months I have let go of a long term relationship and let go of the dream that I would be married. The decision in itself was a very healthy decision to make. I wasn’t happy or fulfilled in that relationship for a long time. And it had become spiritually and emotionally abusive. But letting that relationship go didn’t hurt nearly or as deeply as this void does. I am lonely.
I talked to my mentor/sponsor Gayle from LIFE Ministries and she asked me “what has happened to bring this up”. And I instantly thought of the new relationship that my daughter has with her Marine. I think that I am jealous of this new relationship. The Marine is one fine looking man. But moreover, he is a good man. He has values and integrity. He is a strong man. And a very smart man. This guy is pretty much all that I desire to have in a man. I pray every day that this relationship blossoms and unfolds into something much bigger than the both of them. She needs him. She wants him. He needs her. I’m on the outside looking in and what I see has potential. What I see are two hearts that are searching. I see two hearts that could work if they work it. And my Grandson Joey would have one hell of a role model to look up to. The Marine would do right by the both of them.
Then Gayle asks me “what is a man to you”?? Now that is an unfair question! What surprised me was my answer. I have a shopping list. He should cover the family spiritually. He provides. He protects. He leads. I also shot out quite a few things that the ‘man’ for me shouldn’t be. He should not be controlling. Jealous. Overbearing. A hypocrite. He must be dead to himself completely. I have always thought that the man of a Christian home should assume the roles of King, Priest, & Prophet of the house. What Gayle told me was that to put a lot of stress on a man to perform. And that it took the place of Christ in the home. First she tells me that we are all Priests. Women too. Cool. Then the role of Prophet encompasses speaking the oracles of God. Women do that too. Prophetesses. The Kings job is that of providing. The lead. Women also do this. The roles that I had in my mind had somehow gotten much bigger than they should be. Bottom line here is that there is no other over me than Christ. He is the husband. He is my husband. Or he should be.
I have got to get real here. I am tired of walking this road by myself. I am tired of keeping all this on MY shoulders. It would be great to have someone to share this load with sometimes. I know Jesus is my husband....but he CAN'T go pick the kids up if they need a ride!! He can't make a meeting at school with the teachers! Jesus can't run to the store and pick up milk! He can't make sure the grass is cut or talk my son or daughter thru math finals!!! It is all mine. And that sucks. It SUCKS!!
I then realized that this is 4th step stuff. Taking that fearless moral inventory. 4th Step stuff isn’t just about making amends to those we have harmed. Or forgiving those who have hurt us. It is also about taking the look inside us and seeing and really being honest with ourselves with what makes us tick. And for me this generally means that I have to look at the whole sha-bang. Re-visiting myself. Checking in with the belief system that has been governing me. Checking in with a belief system that is out dated. And totally irrelevant. Where did it come from? What is the pivotal moment in my life that has defined this unrealistic view of a man? And how did I allow them to become defining characteristics of a man?
I know that part of this puzzle is the part of growing up without a man in my life to model what a man was supposed to do. I had no idea what a man’s job is. I was pretty much raised by women. Strong women who had it all under control one way or another. So there has been no model in my own life to scale what a man was. Or did. Or didn’t do. I know that God has healed a very broken part of my little girl heart when he revealed that Daddy Heart to me. Can he also mend what is broken in my adult eyes and heart of the longing for a mate?
Then Gayle took this one step further: she said “imagine how difficult it is for a man to be a man, let alone live up to the labels of Priest, Prophet, King of the house when they don’t know what that means either?”. There are so few male mentors. Few fathers that stay and model what the father does. Fewer men that model or disciple what it means to be a Godly man. We are a society of fatherless male children and fatherless female children. Somewhere there is a void that is created in that whole big scheme of things. I have children that have grown up without a father. Without a model. Without that man in the home. I wonder how deeply and profoundly this will damage them. And will God bonk the dad on the head for causing this curse to perpetuate?
Gayle said the only Priest, Prophet, and King of the house that is needed is Jesus. He is the ultimate model of Father/Friend/Lover/Priest/Prophet/King/Beloved. Hearing this is so healing. But there is still a huge part of me that wants a husband with the skin on!! I want to be held. I want to touch.
So I am on to another chapter of who I am to become. I can’t say that I like this chapter. It hurts. Deep down. But if it is not surrendered I will continue to carry that chasm around with me. And I pray….Jesus you said that you are a lover of my soul….fill this cavern inside me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grandbaby Love

I just wanted to share some new pictures of me and my grandson Josiah. I never knew I could love this little guy as much as I do. And he's pretty crazy about me too.