Guilty because for all I know I am more than able to conceive a child with extreme ease. Guilty because as of this day and this moment, I don't want children. Really. Is there something wrong with me? Am I horribly selfish? Am I a bad person? A bad Catholic? And if my mother or mother-in-law are reading this, they are most likely horrified and terribly disappointed. Am I bad daughter? Daughter-in-law? Wife?
As tears fell from my eyes as I read and tried to imagine what it would be like to want a baby more than anything and not be able to have one, my guilt only intensified. I thought of my Dad and my Stepmom who worked very hard to get my little brother here; my Mom and my Stepdad who weren't able to have a child; a friend who suffered a miscarriage; and most recently my friend N. whose Baby Girl we are expecting to arrive in the next 2 weeks, who this time last year was wondering if it was even possible.
I wonder if someday I'll want children. I wonder if the time will come when the thought of having a child-and not just the actual birthing process, that's a whole other post-doesn't absolutely terrify me. I wonder what He has in store for me. And for now, I'm OK with wondering...
Outside my window....bright, sunny skies; green leaves on the trees.
It was a most awesome weekend of laughter, Survivor, elephants, monkeys, laughter, long walks, yummy food, laughter, Wii Bowling, cards, beer, laughter, yummy food, the NFL Draft, cards, yummy food, and yes, more laughter.
While my BlackBerry kept me nice and connected to my business, I left everything else behind. I relaxed. I didn't stress over money. I didn't worry about the dirty dishes I left in the sink. I didn't worry if Kali was OK at the kennel. I didn't wonder if Max was stressed out home alone. I relaxed. It. Was. Wonderful.
The weather couldn't have been better - 75/80 and sunny. A thunderstorm Saturday night. We went to the zoo. We walked to dinner. We sat on the porch
It really was like we stepped right out of 'real life' for a weekend. And when we came back, the stressors of real life seemed that much less. What a difference a relaxed, refreshed perspective can make!
I am relaxed and grateful for a great weekend and even more grateful for good friends.
As Mass started, we noticed the substitute did not at first glance appear to be, well, let's say warm and fuzzy. The Man leans in and asks "Do you know this guy?" - code for "Is he any good?". I did not know him so I could not give an opinion as to the what the next hour would hold.
Mass proceeds as usual with prayers and readings. Today's gospel being the story of Jesus appearing to the Disciples in the locked room and Thomas not believing because he was not there. Thomas did not believe until he saw and touched Jesus for himself.
Next up for us Catholics is the homily (for you non-Catholics, this is the 'preachin' part of our service). So, our Substitute Priest says "I've got a story for you before talking about our Gospel for today." And here's the story:
A Jewish couple has a son and they are wondering what he will be when he grows up so they come up with a plan to figure it out. They decide to place 3 items on their dining room table and allow their son to pick one of them. The one he picks will determine what he will become. The first item is a book of scripture. If the son selects the scripture, he will become a wonderful Rabbi. The second item is a bag of money. If the son selects the bag of money, he will become a successful business man, a banker maybe. The third item is a jug of wine. If the son selects the wine, he will become, well, a bum.
So the man and his wife lay these items out and then hide behind the curtain in the dining room to see which their son will select. The son comes into the room and upon inspection of the items takes the book of scripture and leaves with it. The mother is so proud, she says to her husband, "This is great! Our son will be a wonderful Rabbi." But, the son comes back to the room, places the scriptures back on the table and picks up the bag of money. He again leaves the room. The father is so proud and says to his wife, "This is great! Our son will be a successful businessman or banker." But, once again the son comes back into the room and places the bag of money back on the table. He inspects the items once again. Finally, he picks up the book of scripture and settles it under one arm, takes the bag of money and puts it into his pocket, grasps the jug of wine and heads out the door.
The woman looks at her husband and says "Oh, no. Our son is going to be a Catholic Priest."
Our substitute priest turned out to be just fine! A funny
And one more, kinda-related thing to note. Remember in my Resolutions Update Post how I mentioned not doing so great with my daily Bible reading and still being 'stuck' in Genesis? Well, what do you know, in our Church Bulletin, there are Readings for the week listed. Every. Week. We'll just pretend that this is the first time they've been there - because well, it's the first time it ever occurred to me that I could use these Readings as well, a way to get out of the desert so to speak. I'm looking forward to this new approach to daily Bible reading and I've cut out the nice little box with the Readings listed in it and already marked tomorrow's readings with it as a kind of bookmark.
Three years ago I embarked on a new journey. One I thought would last a short 6 months and be over. One I embarked on out of necessity. One I'm so grateful for. One I'm ready to continue on to retirement.
Three years ago, The Man had to have surgery for a tiny broken bone in his wrist. Since he's a Massage Therapist, we knew he'd be out of work for about 6 -8 weeks while recuperating and in a cast. So we saved money to get us through those 6 - 8 weeks and headed in to the last follow-up appointment optimistic that he'd be back to work soon.
As the Doctor removed the cast and commented on how good everything looked and what a good patient The Man had been we were relieved. What came next floored us both. Dr.: "Everything looks great. If you'll just give me a second, I'll have the nurse come in and get everything ready for your next cast." HUH???? NEXT CAST??? Wha???
Through all the questions we'd asked about the surgery, long term prognosis, etc, etc, we had somehow assumed (yea, yea, we all know about that one) that there'd only be one cast. And that it'd be on for the usual time of 6 - 8 weeks. Hmmm.... ME: "So how long will this cast be on? How long until he can go back to work?" Because I'm so caring and concerned like that.
Dr: "Six - 8 more weeks in the cast. Total at least 6 months before he can go back to work."
About that time, my legs nearly folded under me and I slid into the chair. Six Months? SIX MONTHS? Uh-oh.
We got home and while The Man settled into a nice Vicodin-haze, I settled at the computer to figure out if we could make it 6 months financially. Two hours in, the answer was clear - No. Way. I made a list of all the restaurants in town so that I could stop on my way home from teaching the next day to put in waitressing applications. (I'd been a waitress in college and knew that there was good money to be made).
Coincidentally (if I believed in coincidences), I was invited to a PartyLite Candle Party that evening. I called my friend to let her know that there was no way I could come - we didn't have enough money for food, let alone candles. She said "You don't have to spend any money, just come and have fun." So I did. I propped The Man up on some pillows, made sure the DVD changer was well stocked,
At the party, I learned that I could earn as much money in 3 hours selling candles, socializing, and eating dessert as I could in an entire 8 hour shift waitressing. I also learned that I could try this whole candle thing out for FREE! That's right, I didn't have to pay PartyLite to hire me - just like I wouldn't have had to pay a restaurant to hire me.
I scheduled a Party of my own (I could get free candles and help my friend) and indicated that I'd like more information about becoming a consultant. But, I hid my slip because I wasn't really sure and I really needed to run it by The Man first, and I really didn't believe that I could start for free.
Two days later, I received a note in the mail from the Consultant and a little more information about PartyLite. Turns out you really can start for free! I turned my party into a Starter Show and got ready to give this a try - hey I could do anything for 6 months.
Six months later, I'd earned enough money as a PartyLite Consultant to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table and The Man went back to work. Wasn't this when I was supposed to quit and just have one job? Well, by this time, there was this trip to Los Cabos, Mexico that I decided I wanted to earn in the Spring. I did. It was A.MAZ.ING. And a year with PartyLite came and went. I was having fun. I had flexibility. I had great income. I was my boss. The Man and I had 'fun' money.
I started my PartyLite Road in May 2006. For 6 months, I earned just enough money to make up the missing piece while The Man was recuperating. For the next 6 months, I built my business and team AND earned an All-Expenses PAID VACATION to Los Cabos in May 2007. The next year, I continued with my full-time teaching job and PartyLite. In May 2008 we went on our second All-Expenses PAID VACATION on a 7-day Caribbean Cruise. It was amazing! Check out the Slide Show of some of my favorite pics.
In July 2008, our home sold in Martinsburg and it was time to move to Morgantown (finally!). Now we had a choice. Would I teach full-time in Morgantown AND continue PartyLite or would I commit to building and growing my business so that I could work from home, take care of the home, and should we have children someday be able to stay home with them.
We decided that PartyLite was the road to take. Since, August 2008, I have been a full-time Candle Lady! I work in my pajamas most days until I change to go swim. The Man gets warm, home-cooked meals. Our house is neat, organized, and calm.
Do I miss my students? Yes. Do I miss the rest of it? No. I don't leave work AT work very well and if I was stressed about school, I was stressed at home. The Man often says I worked 24-hours a day, because I was always worrying about this or that. And guess what? Now when I talk about children with hearing loss, I can say what I really think. I don't have to filter or worry if it's what the school thinks or how it will affect my relationship with co-workers.
This road that I started 3 years ago was meant to be a short road that came to an end. I'm so grateful that it didn't. I certainly didn't plan my life to be on this road. I'm so grateful it is.
The Rewards of this Unexpected Road are many. Friendships that I never expected. Income I never dreamed of. Vacations I still can't quite believe - we're going to the Moon Palace on the Mayan Riviera in May. Confidence in myself that was never really there. The ability to share the rewards and help others travel this road with me.
Now it's today. It's 11 years. Tonight we'll have wings and beer. I guess I'll start there - why wings and beer?
11 years ago, Easter was also on April 12. Two days after my birthday. I was in college and a waitress at a popular restaurant here in Morgantown - The Boston Beanery. I was scheduled to work on Easter Sunday. My family? They were in Pittsburgh celebrating my birthday and Pap's birthday - there was even a cake with my name on it. At work, I wasn't busy and there was a new, cute, face washing dishes...with a cast on his left wrist. A simple "what happened?" started an evening of small talk; commiserating over our bad luck at having to work a holiday; and of course a trip out to the dumpster to take out the trash (we waitresses always asked a kitchen-guy to walk out back with us because it was dark and we had aprons full of money) made an impression on this girl.
That night, I thought about this cute boy that night and the next day until I went to work. I wanted to see if he might want to have wings after work (the Monday night special), but I wanted to be oh-so-cool about it. It was so
He made a special sauce for the wings - spicy, but with flavor. He drank beer. I drank pop (not old enough for beer just yet). We sat and talked until closing time. I drove him home and at 4 AM I pulled away. We'd spent 1/2 the night talking - really. We laughed. We swore we weren't looking for anything serious. Just a friend. Someone to hang out with.
Months later, I learned his Dad had been watching us out the window. A witness to our 1/2 a night conversation. I also learned that all he had to say when this cute boy had walked in was "Talking 'til 4 AM? Must be a romance."
It all started that night. With wings and beer (& pop, too, I guess). With 2 people with hearts putting up walls, not willing to openly look for love.
Tonight, we'll go to dinner. We'll have wings and beer. We'll probably talk about the past and the future. But mostly, we'll just be together. Because, well, that's what we do.
We play cards. We watch movies. We make dinner. We laugh. We cry. We agree. We disagree. We've lived across town from one another. We've lived on opposite coasts from one another. We travel. We stay home. We took a break. We got back together. We never go to bed mad. We stay up really, really late some nights working it out. We live. We love.
Eleven years ago, I thought I'd made a new friend. Now I know, I'd met my best friend. My soul mate. My partner for life. My partner forever.
Ever wonder what happens when you put trick candles on a 4-year-old's birthday cake? Wonder no more...
Yep. That's just not a happy face. Oddly enough, my stepmom tried to do the same thing to my brother when he turned 13 this year. The candles didn't work. Hah! What an evil invention those things are. Think maybe I shoulda had therapy for this one?!?!
Next up, 1985. My Pap's birthday is April 22. Many years our birthdays were celebrated together. This was our 6 and 60 year. He'd have been 84 this year. I miss sharing a cake with him.
Cutting a cake is serious stuff, at least I guess it is to a 7 year old.
And an 8 year old. I think this was the year we got 8 inches of snow - during my slumber party. Wonder why I never had another one of those???
And for the Final Flashback - 13, Welcome to Teenhood!
Looking back over the past 30 years of my life I can only come up with one word to describe them that just might cover it all: Blessed. Blessed to know all 4 of my grandparents; and to still know one. Blessed to know 5 Great-Grandparents. Blessed to have 4 parents and 2 brothers. Blessed to have met The Man. He is my soul-mate; our souls were made to be together. Blessed to hear my phone ring every April 10 at 7:33AM (the time I was born) and be sung to not once, but twice - once from Dad and once from Mom.
Looking to the next 30 years of my life I can only hope and pray that they are as Blessed as the last 30.
Old Mountaineer Field Being Built
Aerial View of Old Mountaineer Field
When you drive through downtown Morgantown, on West Virginia University's Downtown Campus, you go around "The Loop" as it's now known. But just a few short years ago, this loop was known as "Stadium Loop".
Today, if you mention "Stadium Loop" you get a quizzical look from a WVU Student or new resident to Morgantown. Why? Well, there's no stadium there any more...
See the grassy hill with the ginormous building to the right of it? That's where the stadium was.
My first season as a Mountaineer fan, was the only season the 'Eers played at Old Mountaineer Field. New Mountaineer Field, or Mountaineer Field at Mylan Puskar Stadium as it's now known, was built and opened in September, 1980.
While my memories of that first season are a little fuzzy, OK, nonexistent (hey, I was 6 months old), I do remember summers and falls spent on that field growing up. My Dad officiated football games there (JV games, smaller college games) and played softball there too.
I remember the day I first went around "Stadium Loop" and there was no Stadium there. I remember being a Freshman at WVU and telling a new friend I'd meeting them at the top of "Stadium Loop" and getting that quizzical look.
I remember the grassy area that was there for so long before the new University Buildings were erected.
And when I drive past that area, it will always be "Stadium Loop" to me...even if the new field is across town.
For more Flashback Friday Posts - visit My Tiny Kingdom.
West Virginia Historical Photographs Collection
So, how am I doin'? Since I used to be a teacher, I think I'll grade myself. Because I'm creative like that. Or not.
1) Quit Biting my Nails: A-
Yay me! It's an A- because now someone needs to teach me how to get my contacts out without poking myself in the eye. Repeatedly.
2) Re-acquaint myself with the elliptical machine at my *free* gym: B
We were reacquainted and then I ditched him for something better. The pool! Haven't lost a whole size yet, but there is some definite extra room in the jeans :).
3) Become an educated Believer: C+
This one is definitely a work in progress. And not unfolding the way I thought it would. I had great plans for doing a Daily Devotional, reading my Bible the entire way through for the first time ever. And yet, it's April, and I'm still stuck in Genesis :(.
BUT, I have been learning so so much more in other ways. I am teaching the Children's Catechism Class for 3 children who will be Baptised, Confirmed, and receive their First Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass April 11. Learning and teaching about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as well as why we do what we do as Catholics has really increased my understanding of it all as well.
I can also say that I daily take time not just to ask God or thank God or
I have also learned so much from some fellow bloggers. A few of my favorites?
A Spring of Joy
Bring the Rain
4) Quit the hemming and hawing: B
This one was hard and not so hard all at the same time. Once I got used to the idea of actually making decisions, and making them quickly, I found it freeing. Occasionally though, it may have been a bit rash and too quick. So the hard part has been finding that line between when a quick decision is OK and when I need to think it through a little bit. The pool has helped with this.
All in all, I think I'm doing OK. But, I'm a straight-A kinda girl, so there's still work to do.