Friday, February 24, 2017


It's 2:24 am.  I've barely slept.  In fact I think I might have napped.  My heart feels like lead.  The worry is wearing me down.  I'm a mix of love, joy, anxiety, fear and a million other things that now is not the time to delve into.

So much has happened in the past week.  Culminations.  The past 20 hours, definite culminations.  I'm stuck in a do I stay, do I go spot.

The mom in me... she's screaming.  Tearing out my hair and causing me to feel like I want to throw up.  If you aren't a parent, you cannot imagine this feeling. As a parent I cannot imagine it. It's been 30 minutes since I called to check on my child. 30 minutes since I was told I would get a call back.  I wasn't asking for anything except for reassurance.

If I go will I be turned away?  Will I be stuck standing in a cold hallway still waiting for answers?

Life is funny like that.  It's brutal like that.

I wish I could be cold.  I wish sometimes that I had the ability to turn my head and harden my heart. I don't have that ability.  So instead...

I'm envious of the gentle snores I am hearing from Hubs and the boys.

Why can't I be a bit more pragmatic?

I should have known when I was told "...text you..."

There is a time, a place, and a reason for everything. I try so hard to understand and respect that.

I suck at it.

I hate that I can sometimes see things far too clearly.  This is one of those times.  Where the clarity is wrapped around a huge bubble of haze. Words, thoughts and actions are dancing around in my head and in my heart.

It feels like a giant ball of sharp glass.  It's painful and beautiful all at once.

I'm prayerful.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

my valentine...

Coffee is just about ready on this early Valentine's morning.

Hubs is still snoring softly upstairs.  Usually he is the one that is up at all hours, I'm the one sleeping soundly.

Here it is Valentine's Day and I am feeling decidedly like a failure in the romance department. I always thought I was a romantic until I married Hubs.  And honestly, now I know that I am not.

I am horrible at writing down little notes.  I already have two of my gifts.  Because he is definitely a gifter.  I am not.  I am far too practical.  I love to buy gifts, but I do it whenever, not waiting for special days.  The reason I have two of my gifts, he spoils me.

He got tired of watching me haul a huge unwieldy briefcase around and when I mentioned that I wouldn't mind getting one like one of my co-workers has... poof it arrived.

In 2003 he started spoiling me for Valentine's day.  That was the day that I found out Stefanelli's delivers. Now I know my Erie family will let me know that Romolo's is the real stuff and I shouldn't be a Stefanelli's fan.  I've had both.  And maybe Romolo's is marginally better.  But... it isn't always strictly about taste. Sometimes the tie to the memory is stronger.  Two of the most important people in my life have always shown me they loved me and were thinking about me with Stefanelli's chocolate. My Grammie and my sweet Hubs.  For 14 Valentine's day's I have been given Stefanelli's sponge candy.  Because of a conversation.  A simple question answered during a period of getting to know each other and the dedication to not only locate it, but insure that it arrived in New Mexico.  A beacon of light and love.

I got to open that last night.  Evidently it hanging out wrapped up pretty was simply too much to stand, and we both wanted a snack.

The card that he mailed me was so beautiful and full of love.  He's a gentleman that way. It brought tears to my eyes.

And as I hear him coming up the stairs I am concerned.  He's been sneaking boxes down the stairs for weeks, plotting and planning.

Maybe I shouldn't be fearful, but... I am. He really is far too observant and keeps tabs on everything.

While I am running at the speed of light, trying to keep my head above water as I learn a new job, work to close and open a building and also conduct all three major fundraisers before May, he is watching me. Planning.

I am barely remembering to brush my teeth each day.  He is studying every thing I say or do.

About a week ago he mentioned that I was going to be mad on Valentine's day and that I needed to get over it, now.  I filed it away in the category of my brain that said he spent too much money on me again.  That I would be cranky and to simply get over it. He does that.

He frustrates me to no end with that.  I don't need.  I never get to the point of needing anything.  He looks for excuses to give.

So sitting here by my beautiful fire that he built to warm me this morning, listening to the television downstairs as he gets his morning Frazier fix, I could be upset.  But as usual he did listen, as usual he did notice.  And as usual he got me just what I needed but was too cheap to get myself.

My Chromebook has been giving me issues.  Turning itself off, freezing, being slow to open. In fact moving in reverse some days.  My dear Acer and I have been through much since I got it back in 2014, I've dragged it to Brazil and all around the US.  I have written over 500 blog posts on it.  And I have been mourning her failures.

I have also refused to buy another one.

Hubs took that decision out of my hands.  He bought me a shiny new Chromebook.  As it is updating I am writing a final blog on the old one.  It's bittersweet.

Yep, I feel like a failure in the romance department. I am not the gal that goes card shopping.  I am not the one that remembers the minutia.

I am the one that will come home from work exhausted and make a warm and nourishing dinner.  I always make sure his clothes are ironed and he is cared for daily.  I will always pack his lunch (although I rarely remember to pack an I love you note).

It must be hard for someone that is so romantic and always doing the sweetest things, and okay the deck of cards with our favorite picture of us on them is simply too sweet, to be married to someone so pragmatic.

The sweetheart of a man that picked out a package of my favorite pens in a rainbow of colors, because I am that freak that loves fun office supplies, has a wife that didn't even think to celebrate this special day.

I love him to the moon and back.  I cannot for even a second imagine my life without him.  Do you think he realizes that.  Does it take candy, flowers, a Chromebook?  Or does he feel that love in his freshly washed and folded clothing.  When he puts on his still warm pressed clothes, because I have been too busy to get them done in advance.

Do you think he knows in the little things I try to do every day?  Haircuts, trimming sideburns, straightening collars, a kiss, a hug?

I sure hope so, because the reality is, I am not a person that is ever going to remember in advance to buy the card or gift.  But I am the person that is going to be rock steady.  You can always count on me daily.

Although, I feel that I definitely should work on being more of a special day kind of girl... because it does make you feel special, loved and cherished.

I love you my sweet Hubs.  Through all my faults... please remember that you are now and always will be my Valentine.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


This morning a horde of little 5th and 6th grade locusts came pouring up my basement stairs.  They were hungry.  They were remembering that I'd said last night as we tucked all five of them in bed that I would let them help me make breakfast.

They weren't overly concerned that I had not had my walk, that I had not had coffee and frankly that the Hubs was making me a yummy bloody mary to enjoy while writing this morning.

The energy was crackling.  You could feel it vibrating off each of them, each of them needing just a bit more of something.  Food, attention, validation, a morning hug, praise, a few just needing to matter.  It has truly been decades since I've had a house full of pre-teen girls.  Hubs and I were blessed for the gift.  For the silly, chaotic joy they brought us.

Lately I've spent a lot of time focused on the word "value".  On it's depths and meanings.

Many of you know I work for the Y.  Another of my many blessings in life.  As I have assumed a new role in the past few months I have been exposed to parts of my career that were vague and viewed through a smoky lens before. In the past few weeks I have been working with our Philanthropy group to identify grants for the communities we serve.

I love working for the Y, I love the ability to serve.  It fills my soul.  During one of our picture taking trips I felt my heart ripped out.  I felt anger and disappointment.  It was probably the first time the word value started ripping through my heart, my mind and my soul.

The playground these children were required to use during their school day was sad.  Truthfully that is the summation of what I saw.  Far beyond the fence was the green grass and open areas to run, roll and simply be.  It wasn't were the children were allowed to go.  Their domain was a large, dirty, damaged and soulless asphalt lot.  Surrounded with a fence (for their protection?) broken benches unusable and unsafe for sitting on, basketball hoops damaged and laying haphazardly on the ground.  The painted keys and hopscotch long since faded, only faint shadows showed where they had once been bright and vibrant.


How did those bright, energetic children, the lights of the future not feel defeated? Not feel less than?  How did they feel valued?

The school is in a very poor neighborhood.  Although I am finding that isn't the only place that kind of neglect exists.

I am pretty much starting to avoid social media and news.  I am struggling with all the rioting, tantrums, threats, etc.  I am struggling to understand how a country I love can be so close minded.  I don't care who votes for whom.  The color of your skin does not begin to matter to me.  My only concern with your religion is that I have a basic knowledge so that I do not accidentally disrespect what you hold dear and that you afford me the same courtesy.  Who you marry or spend your life with, again, not my concern, better question is are you happy? Do I believe in abortion, no, do I believe in your right to choose absolutely, it is not my place to make decisions for you.  Do you live in a mansion or on the street, by choice or not? I don't feel that makes you a good person either way.

But value... it's missing...

How do you make another feel valued?  How do you feel valued?

Earlier this week, I had to go see my orthopedist, the darn knee decided to misbehave again.  She made me feel like a million dollars!  The praise she gave me for my weight loss and the hard work that I had put into following her directions made my heart soar.  I felt important to her, and I am sure she felt valued.  She hadn't just given me directions to save my knee that I had ignored.  Instead I had taken her advice.  Advice that she had earned the right to give.  And I had saved my knee. It will probably require cortisone shots yearly to maintain, but that is so different than a replacement.  I valued her knowledge and advice, she valued me as a person.

There has been someone working hard to make our girl and grands feel less than.  It's been ripping at our hearts.  Hubs and I have felt powerless.  Still do.  But as my oldest sleeps peacefully upstairs in guest room. Hopefully catching up on the rest that she needs so badly right now.  The grand and her posse are down in the man cave.  The laughter, joy and singing drifting up the stairs makes my heart feel full.  They are being silly.  They are being 10 and 11.  The five of them are giggling, snacking, jamming out.  I will help Hubs clean it up when they go home.

I pray those small gifts of time, space and laughter make them all feel valued.  I pray that the sleep my girl has needed is making her feel valued.

The clean kitchen this morning, the pot of tea roses and the beautiful card made my heart soar. She didn't have to, she did it because of who she is.

I can't help but wonder, if we all stopped demanding our own way.  Insisting that because people think different, feel different, look different... etc... that they are not worthy.  That they are not valued. And started valuing ourselves and others what kind of a difference it would make in this crazy mixed up world that we occupy.

When the child runs to the playground will it be safe?  Will there be role models?  Will the adults in their precious lives value them.  Will they remember that not so long ago they were that noisy, clumsy, silly young person navigating life?  And instead of being the barrier become the bright shining star for them?

When will too many adults stop making harsh, cruel demands that are designed to steal love and joy from the innocence of childhood.

As I was climbing the stairs to cook breakfast this morning one of those silly little girls, that hadn't slept all night, thanked me for opening my home.  For allowing them to be kids.  She told me how great of a mom my daughter is (I already know this!) and how much she'd loved having time with my grand daughter. That her mom and grandma would have never allowed it.

My question... why? I remember having so many kids in my home growing up.  Our doors were always open to anyone that needed a place to be. I can't thank my parents enough for that gift. We learned that people just needed to be loved, that all the crap we use now to determine who is worthy of our time, energy and dollars just didn't matter.  I was blessed from a very early age.

I only gave birth to two children.  As they grew there were always so many children in our home, on our trips, surrounding us.  I remember the forts, the messes, the laughter.  Listening now to the beautiful music and young voices singing along, I realize that I might miss it occasionally in the silence that usually fills our home.

I remember dolls, legos, GI Joe, Pokemon, army gear for the raids outside, walkie-talkies, more pens, paper and secret notes than one can imagine.  I remember joy.  I remember "spats" where the parents all knew that before we were even aware of the "fight" they had resolved it and moved on.

We have to get back to that time.  We have to start valuing people more than things again.  I have unfollowed so much on social media, because I am tired.  I don't want to hear anymore pouting.  I want the people that I surround my world with to understand value.

A card, a call, a cup of coffee.

An honest conversation.

A messy child making breakfast, spilling without judgement, learning those messes are a part of growing up.

Or simply someone to sit by a fire and relax with.

I am tired of arrogance and anger.  I am tired of hateful people trying to control others.  I am watching it on a personal level all the way to a national, if not global level. Boycott this, don't watch that, don't buy that coffee, don't understand where that person is coming from.  The tantrums, the myopic views, the lack of love or compassion.  It's tiring.

Want to make a difference? Invite those children to all hang out together.  Let them be children.  Watch those beautiful friendships grow, nurture them.  Be kind.  Listen to them sing at the top of their lungs, smile at the cracking high notes and rejoice in the beautiful harmony.  Let them express themselves with gentle loving guidance not mean, aggressive, judgmental words. Let them discover who they are without forcing your own hatred and prejudice on them.

My niece shared about watching a truck dropping of kids at school and delivering a cup of coffee to each officer on the way.  Stop hating. Start valuing everyone.

Pick up that trash on the side of the road, who cares if you didn't drop it.

Maybe be more like Gandhi - be the good you want to see in the world. Use softer words, build up those around you.  Hear their small voices, until they are strong enough to be heard by all.  Remembering that it isn't always the child that is whispering.  It might be the adult with too much love and kindness in their hearts that is being stomped on by the arrogant, mean and hateful bully.  Be their strength until they are strong enough.

And it's okay to love that bully and pray for them.  But be strong enough to tell them no.  Because that "no" is the strongest form of love you can give.  It's hard.  It hurts.  And yet it gives that bully the ability to become human.

More than once I had to use "tough" love with my kids.  I don't know if they have figured out that it hurt me far deeper than it hurt them.  I am thankful I was strong enough to do it.  Because both of them are kind, loving, amazing humans!  I am proud of the people they have become.

Listening to the sounds coming from my basement, I am going to say my beautiful grand daughter is well on her way to becoming the same exceptional human her mom is.

Take a minute to truly VALUE another... the life you change won't be just your own.

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...