Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Love Story



In honor of celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and 19th year of togetherness, I decided to write about our love story.

Our love story consists of cucumbers, friendship, Wet Beaver Creek, a blown head gasket, and James Taylor. To some this may sound like a weird strand of events… to me it sounds like the kind of love that was meant to be. Here’s our love story…

I moved back from Seattle, Washington because I was broke, I wanted to continue my college education, and living on my own at 19 was very, very hard to do. So, I accepted defeat, I chalked it up as a life experience, and I drove home back to Arizona to move back in with my parents.

Upon my return, I accepted a job as a waitress in Sun City. February 13th, 1994 (Valentine’s Day Eve) was my first night on the job. After my shift that night, I was doing my prep work of cutting cucumbers. I had cut a few buckets of cucumbers when this guy approached me and said, “That’s too many! We’ll never use that many cucumbers.” I just smiled and laughed. But, in my mind I thought, “Who the hell are you to tell me how many cucumbers I can cut?! What an arrogant ass!” I was a bruiser back then! He’s lucky he didn’t get choked or get an ice cream scooper thrown at his face… those are all other restaurant stories for another time!

After working there for a few weeks, I got to know the cucumber guy a little bit better. Come to find out he is not arrogant after all. He’s actually a really nice guy. He has a name too… it’s Frank.
Frank and I became great friends as we filled our quota of folded cloth napkins each night at the restaurant together. We talked a lot. He was a good listener. He was funny. He was kind. He was handsome. We’d go out to the bars together (with my fake id). He taught me how to play darts. He would roller blade to my parent’s house to see me. We became great friends.

It was about this time that I got back together with an old boyfriend. This guy and I had an on-again/off-again relationship for about 5 years or so. He really wasn’t good for me… I think it was more out of comfort and familiarity that we would go back and forth like we did. He loved me the best he knew how, but I knew it wasn’t enough… he wasn’t what I really wanted in a life partner. 

Frank was a good listener about my boyfriend too. He never gave advice. He just listened. I remember what I really liked most about Frank was that he never judged. No matter what I told him he was still my friend… just unconditional love. That was probably the first friendship that I ever had in my life where the other person just accepted me for the beautiful mess I was… maybe even because of it!

Let’s fast forward…

Frank and I had been friends for about 5 months when we decided we’d go camping together… as just friends though… remember, I was on-again with that other guy. On June 24th, 1994 we went camping in Wet Beaver Creek, Sedona. When we arrived at the camp site we got set-up, ate dinner, and decided to go for a hike. There were paths from the camp site that we followed and we walked along the creek for a while too. We just enjoy being together. It was natural… effortless.

The sun was setting so we thought we should head back to camp. Well, with all that hiking, path following, creek walking, and natural conversation… we got lost. We tried our best to follow the creek back, but some mountains got in the way. We tried to find a path, but ended up in a bull pin. We stepped off the path and we sunk in leaf piles up to our knees. We laughed a lot. He was helpful, encouraging, patient, and kind. Even though I was scared… I felt safe and comforted just by Frank’s presence.

One wrong turn after another lead us to give up on finding our camp until the sun rose again.  We found a big tree to lie under. He gave me his sweater to keep me warm. He let me rest on his chest so I could get some sleep. He was a perfect gentleman.

The sun came up barely over the red Sedona mountains and that was our cue to find our way back to camp. As we began walking, we found a path almost immediately that lead us back to our camp site. All night long we laid there just steps away from our way back. Almost as if we needed to go through this sojourn together… almost as if this was one of those life changing moments… almost as if it was meant to happen… almost as if God orchestrated all of this just so that we’d fall in love.  

Once we returned to camp we were exhausted. We packed up and began our drive back into town. On the way back, Frank’s Volvo blew a head gasket. I still don’t really know what that means… but we were stranded on the side of the freeway with a broken down car. As we sat there trying to figure out what to do next, a Jeep pulled up with a young couple inside. They asked if we needed a ride into town. Of course we did… so we hopped in their Jeep. They were listening to a James Taylor tape.  It was like the sound track for our trip…. he sang of friendship,  love, and getting through difficulties together.

It was during this evening when we were lost in Wet Beaver Creek that I knew I would spend the rest of my life with Frank. I remember thinking in the midst of it all that if we could get through an experience such as this and still like each other and still laugh and still feel safe… we could get through anything life threw our way. At that moment, my eyes were open to the man he was, my heart was open to receive his kind of love, and I wanted to embrace that love for the rest of my life.

On this camping trip, Frank and I remained friends. Not even one kiss was exchanged. I did not want to explore our relationship beyond a friendship while I was still in another relationship. So, when we got home… I broke-up with my boyfriend for the last time. And, I have been Frank’s girl ever since. That was 19 years ago this month.

Frank asked me to marry him on February 13th, 1995… exactly one year to the date that we first met… exactly one year since the cucumber incident… on Valentine’s Day Eve. I said, “Yes!” of course.

Then, on June 27th, 1998,  almost 4 years to the date that we got lost camping… we got married at Wet Beaver Creek camp site in Sedona. And, we lived happily ever after.

Ohhh… and the buckets of cucumbers that I cut that first night on the job… we used every last one of them the next day! 19 years later and he’ll never live that down!



Friday, June 14, 2013

In THIS place

When I was in a difficult situation, I prayed asking God to fill me with strength and wisdom for that moment.

Now, I just pray, “God, meet me in THIS place.”

When I was about to lose my patience, I prayed asking God to fill me with patience to get through that moment.

Now, I just pray, “God, meet me in THIS place.”

When I was in a beautiful place of worship, I prayed asking God to fill me with his presence at that moment.

Now, I just pray, “God, meet me in THIS place.”

When I was mediating on His peace, I prayed asking God for more peace to fill me in that moment.

Now, I just pray, “God, meet me in THIS place.”

What I learned about my old way of praying was that I was missing out on why God placed me in THIS place at THIS time. I was projecting onto God, my Father in heaven who knows all things, what I thought I needed in that moment. And, when I didn’t get what I thought I needed… when my expectations of God didn’t match up to my human understanding… I felt disappointed… I felt alone… I felt neglected. I truly felt like my prayers weren’t heard or answered.

But… isn’t prayer more about God’s projection on our lives… instead of the other way around?  Isn’t prayer more about what God wants for us in that moment… instead of what we want? Isn’t prayer about God meeting us in THIS place? The place we find ourselves in right now!


When I pray, “God, meet me in THIS place.”… He does. He meets me right there, smack dap in the middle of that place. This prayer leaves me feeling lifted up on wings of eagles. This prayer leaves me feeling connected to His unfailing love and unending grace. This prayer leaves me feeling as if my prayers are heard loud and clear and answered with a resounding, “I am here, Dear!”  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Paused


My girls and I were talking one day about the difference in our lives from some other’s lives. Not judging… we didn’t need to say “Bless Their Heart”… just wrapping our mind around it… noticing the contrast. 

So, after we talked a while we decided these types of people were simply “paused”.  Such a small word for such a big idea. Their life is paused… their growth is paused… their purpose is paused… they are paused.

Paused.

The type of people we were discussing were those who can’t seem to get it together…. those who are constantly numbing themselves with drugs, food, being busy, or any other addiction.  These people seem to have not grown in life. These people seem to remain stagnant. Stuck in the same emotional place they were when they began to numb.

Paused.

Isn’t that ironic? People numb themselves with addiction so that they don’t feel the pain of emotion; yet, because of that addiction they end up living in that same place forever.

Paused.

They want to escape the negative feelings. They want to escape the pain of past mistakes. They want to escape the memories of what happened to them. The irony is that they want to escape so badly, but their own choices keep them in that perpetual prison. You can’t escape those things until you deal with them… decide you are not the sum of those feelings, forgive yourself,  and forgive others. And until you do that… they just wait for you under the surface. You can either do the hard work and deal with it now. Or you can continue to numb it so you don’t feel it, but it will wait for you… and until you decide to deal… you will remain in that same place you want to escape from.

Paused.

I suppose I know the concept of being paused all too well. There were times in my life that I was paused too. Again, the irony was that I held the remote control the entire time. All I had to do was press rewind for a bit to deal with the feelings I was numbing. Rewind… so that I could revisit the pain and decide once and for all that the pain didn’t own me… that the pain didn’t get to dictate my future. Even though that pain would forever be a part of my story… it was time to start a new chapter. Then, once… finally… when I didn’t need to numb anymore I simply pressed play.

Play.

And, life began to unfold before me in ways I never imagined possible.

Play.

And, God reveal to me the plans He had for my life.

Play.

And, I finally felt as though I am enough, I am worthy, and I am loved.

Play.


And, my life was no longer paused. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

My son going to be a 5th grader this year… how is that possible?  I have the feeling that it is time to have a sit-down conversation about puberty and “the talk”. Of course I’ve been talking to him for years about things. It should really be an ongoing conversation.  

In our conversations, I am always certain to call things by their real names. Not wiener or wang or wee-wee... it is a penis… call it what it is.  My husband balances out my seriousness about the topic. Or, as I feel sometimes, I do damage control concerning the things he does tell our son. None-the-less, my son does need to hear the silly terms that are being used so that he is more street smart about it. Perhaps I am too serious… and, you know, teacher like!

I knew our days of ongoing casual talk, skirting around the topic, would come to an end. I’ve always held my ground that babies come from God. I feel the time is approaching to get into the details. I am concerned about  “the talk” though.

Nobody ever gave me “the talk”. If they did, I don’t remember. I do remember watching a video at school. I do remember my uncle giving me a book (The New Our Bodies Ourselves)… I learned a lot from that book.

AND… this is the boy talk… my husband is going to have to lead this one. The thought of discussing bodily fluids and such stresses me out.

Being a teacher, I decided to research the topic of “the talk” online. I am formulating a lesson plan to outline our conversation… even a power point presentation with images of his changing body parts.

While he was at summer camp, I diligently researched online for facts and information and a Christian view point on the matter. After about an hour I began to hyperventilate. He is growing up so fast. How can my son be old enough to need “the talk”?  He might be ready, but am I?!

Well, my mommy senses were dead on target! When my son returned from summer camp… the very next day… he asked me, “So, Mom… what does God think about you kissing if you aren’t married?” He thought of the question after looking at a picture on our living room wall of my husband and me kissing. He opened the pathway to being "the talk". I couldn't say, "Let's wait for dad to get home". I knew I had to begin this conversation now. He is curious now. 

AND… so “the talk” and the power point presentation began!

I know we will continue to talk as questions (among other things) arise. But, you know, it wasn’t that bad. He was a little grossed out about some things… but not traumatized! I think I did a pretty good job.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

“The talk” wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be… we got all the way to bodily fluids and I didn’t pass out!

Here’s a power point presentation that I found online… why reinvent the wheel? I also imbedded Christian values and scripture within our conversation.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dear World


Dear World,


Hi! It’s me, Shelton’s Mom. There are a few things that you and I need to talk about. It’s concerning Shelton… and, well, the choices that I, his mom, have had to make recently.

I need to get a few things straight before we talk about “things”… you know, clear the air.

First of all, I love my son so much that it hurts. He is my heart walking outside of my body. He is the cheese to my macaroni. He is my sidekick. I love him to Googolplexian and back… he loves me to Graham’s Number and back. We even have a secret hand shake we do EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we are going to be apart. That’s how we roll.

Second, just like other parents in the world, I only desire what is best for him. Due to that desire… I sacrifice, I lose sleep, I advocate, I put his needs before mine, I listen to everything he has to say, I answer every single question he asks (even if I have to search on the internet for an answer), and I love him with everything I have… even when all of that is not enough… I still give what I have to give.

Third, my son is amazing! I’m not just saying that because I am his mom. He really is! He is smart, funny, handsome, silly, witty, loving, compassionate, caring, and at 10 years of age he is more a Man of God than most grown men are. When he smiles, he has a dimple that melts my heart. His beautiful blue eyes see right into the very core of my soul. God gave me the perfect gift when He chose me as Shelton’s Mom.

Just know that as we have our talk, it has taken me over a week to find my voice… to dig the words out from my heart… to process what it is I even feel. I’ve pulled away a bit from the situation… just to gain perspective… maybe a little bit out of shame. Truth is… the choices I make as a parent is one of my biggest shame triggers. But, I am going to be vulnerable even if it hurts.

World, now that we’ve cleared the air… we can get to those “things” we need to talk about.

My husband and I have decided to try medication again for our son’s ADHD. We’ve gone this route before… we cried over the decision then and we cried over the decision now. I don’t know in my heart if it is what is best. I just know in my heart that he needs help to free the person who is trapped inside… the Shelton that is tucked away behind the ADHD. He deserves that chance. Maybe, just maybe, a different kind of medication is that chance. We’ve tried everything else. This route is worth a revisit… so we are going to try it.

But, world, I am requesting that you don’t make it seem as though I had a choice on whether or not to put him back on medication… please don’t!  Yes, I do have a choice. I get that. But the choice isn’t about the medication… the choice is about the quality of life I want for my child. The choice isn’t as dramatic as life or death… but the choice has an effect on my child and those around him… the choice has an effect on who he believes himself to be and who others perceive him to be. That’s a lot on a 10 year old’s psyche.  Those scars can last a lifetime. So, I am choosing quality and healthy emotional and educational development. 


You see, world, my son has layers to him. Those layers are caused by his ADHD. I, his mom, have the job of unraveling those layers. One by one I am peeling them back; however, as I peel one layer away… his ADHD adds two more layers. These layers are piled on quickly and I can’t find the end of them to begin peeling away again… like a roll of tape that has wrapped back onto itself.


I know there are layers because I can see through them. You, world, cannot… that’s truly unfortunate for you. To me he is as transparent as Scotch tape, but, world, you see him as an endless roll of duct tape. We chose medication because we want to peel the layers back. We want to find out where the layers begin and end. We want to reveal to our son and to the world WHO he really is... take away the adhesiveness of the lies so that they don’t stick… so that they don’t wrap back onto themselves… so that they don’t create layers where the end is nowhere to be found.

If medication doesn’t help to peel those layers back then we’ll be diligent to find some other way. Please be patient with us… with him. So, I guess one the “things” that I really wanted to talk to you about… what I am requesting, is in the meantime you try to see the real Shelton through the layers.

I am also requesting that you don’t place judgment on me for medicating my child. We chose medication because he was beginning to be formed by his ADHD… falsely represented by his ADHD… believing the lies of his ADHD. And, you, world… you had a lot to do with that.

You try to tell me lies too. Some of the lies you try to tell me are that ADHD is not a real diagnosis, too many children are on medication, I am medicating my child to get relief from his behavior issues, I should change his diet, or he just needs a good spanking. I know those are lies because I have proof:

  • We sought two diagnoses and both were extremely positive for ADHD.
  • As a teacher, I know children whose lives are being changed for the worse because of their untreated ADHD; from drug use, to failing in school, to being isolated by peers, to believing they aren’t smart or worthy because they can’t focus on what is being taught in class.
  • My child has regular behavior issues. We are good and active parents… we don’t want relief from behavior issues we want to peel back our child’s layers.
  • We do still use essential oils to help balance his moods and behaviors. 
  • We hope that with their help he can remain on the lowest possible dosage of medication and still get the desired results.
  • We tried to change his diet and it didn’t help one bit. Maybe it helps others… just not us.
  • We do spank (in a very emotionally controlled and teaching kind of way), but that doesn’t stop the impulsiveness… nothing stops that!

So, save your breath and keep your lies… they don’t work on me… at least, not any more.  

Just so I know we are communicating effectively; let me re-cap the “things” we’ve talked about.
  • I am requesting that you accept my son as the amazing person he currently is and be patient with him as he becomes even more amazing… please attempt to see him through the layers.
  • I am requesting that you don’t minimize my choice and the emotions I have worked through to revisit medication as an option.
  • I am requesting that you don’t place judgment on me for trying to exhaust every option out there to help my child.
  • I am requesting that you stop lying to my son and to me, his mom, through your skewed and inaccurate perception of ADHD.

My requests are out of love for Shelton. Are these “things” too much for a mom to ask?

Well, world, I’m glad we took the time to talk about these “things". It has been healing for me. Thank you for listening! 

Sincerely,

Shelton’s Mom

 


Friday, June 7, 2013

Fear is…


As we prepared to send my son off to summer camp, he shared some of his fears with me. He did not fear the zip lining, or the paint ball gun wars, or the bungee ride called The Screamer, or the swimming, or the archery, or the camp food. He feared the “what-ifs”. He feared the anticipation of all the negative scenarios that might or could possibly play out. He began to believe the deception of truth, the evil one’s lies, and he was actually beginning to believe the stories he was telling himself. His joy for the moment and the experience was being robbed even before it began. He was building a prison of fear one brick at a time. He was being defeated by all of the worst case scenarios. He felt all of these things… because he was trying to grasp at the illusion of control. 

Oh and… he feared the spiders.

As usual, his admission to fear paved the way for us to have a heart-to-heart conversation. We talked about what fear is. We talked about the fact that we are NOT in control… God is in control. We talked about how he needed to be adventurous and just take it one moment at a time… not worrying about what might or could happen in the next moment. We talked about how he has a choice on who to feed… the evil one who is the king of lies or God who is THE King of truth, love, and all that is good. We talked about how if God is on our side then “Whom shall we fear?”… with God on our side fear is no longer an option.

I just know in my heart that he is having a wonderful time at summer camp. When he returns we will talk about all of the wonderful adventures that camp allowed… all of the memories he will cherish forever. I will hug him as if he is melting into my skin.

Fear is…

The “what-ifs” that pile up in the corner of our hearts
The anticipation of what might happen
A deception of the truth
The evil one’s lies
A story we tell ourselves and actually believe
A robber of joy
A prison where we build the walls
Defeat
Trying to prepare for the worst case scenario
An illusion of control

Fear is…
No longer an option!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

I had to buy a new bathing suit. My old suits were getting stretched out from the beating they take from the sun and chlorinated pools. Certainly it isn’t stretched out from my expanding skin…. must be the sun and chemicals.

I had a few non-negotiable standards going in…

1.      I will not spend over $50 on a suit. Especially when I have to buy a new one every year.  
2.    I want a suit that will cover my old lady parts. When I went to the lake a few weeks ago I wore a bikini to prove that I could… my proving days are over.
3.    I want something with sewed in padding on the top. I need padding so that people don’t mistake me for a man. And, I am sick and tired of those stupid pads getting all bunched up so that I look like I have lumpy, tumor breasts (even though I do… I don’t want to LOOK that way).

With my standards in place, I went to a few stores. Whatever I did try on didn’t fit right. None of the suits enhanced my positive feature… there’s only one… well, two really… my shoulders.  

If I was running a bathing suit company I would make all the sizes smaller so that the women trying them on would feel better about themselves. For example, on average, I wear a size 6. In a bathing suit I’m a size 10. What the crap! It should totally be the other way around… size 6 in clothes and a size 2 in bathing suit. I sure would feel better about myself.

I finally found a suit on my second shopping trip. It is a strapless tankini (to feature my shoulders) and swim shorts with built in bikini bottoms. It’s cute and comfortable and met my 3 standards.

I really think that next year when I go bathing suit shopping I am going to go drunk. The only problem with that idea is that I might think I’m too sexy and end up buying a thong bikini in leopard print. In my drunken state of mind, I’ll rush home to rip the sticky undergarment protective shield off the crotch area and I won’t be able to return it. I’ll be stuck with this sexy suit all summer long. Then, I’ll have to stay drunk all summer long so that I actually have the courage to wear it in public. How’s that different from any other summer you ask? You know me well…

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

Next time I go bathing suit shopping… I am going drunk! Want to come along? We can get matching thong bikinis in leopard print.

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

My son and I had an amazing day at the Arizona Science Center with some friends. We specifically went for the da Vinci exhibit. The day progressed as we thought it might… $50 to get in, laughter, da Vicni, shenanigans, sciencey stuff, $10 snack, damp clothes from the water exhibit, and funny faced pictures.

What we did not expect was what would happen at the day’s end in the parking garage elevator. As we waited for the elevator we annoyed the innocent bystanders around us with our jokes, laughter, and happiness. You know how some people are just put out by you having a good time. You know they feel that way because they give you that look. Like when I did the crane to push the elevator button with my foot… I was so being judged for that!

The elevator finally arrived and we piled in with some strangers. Down to B1… a few people got off. I told them that I loved them and that I would miss them… then I thought that maybe I was rushing our relationship and asked if it was too soon. I tend to over commit.

The elevator doors closed and we proceeded down to our parking level, B2. When it came time for the doors to open, they only opened a crack. Just enough for me to see a small child’s hand reach for us from the other side. That gave me the creeps… just sayin’.

We realized that the doors weren’t going to open and we were stuck. I attempted to pull the doors open with my hands… they didn’t even budge. Which amazes me due to the fact that I have rock solid biceps.

We tried to push the elevator buttons… that didn’t work either.

Fortunately, we heard an old lady voice from the other side of the cracked open elevator doors say, “I think you’re stuck! Did you try pushing the button?” Without her astute observation we might not have figured out that we were stuck. She must have been an angel.

There was only one other person  in the elevator besides me, my son, and our friends. She began to panic. She asked when we thought we should use the elevator phone to call for help. I said that now was probably a good time. So, she squatted down in the corner of the elevator to try to figure out the phone.

My friend’s son says that he thinks we should designate a pee corner.  As if that didn’t send the “other person” into hyperventilation…   My friend’s other son asks when should we start to eat each other to stay alive. I think the “other person” knew her chances weren’t good since she was the stranger in the crowd… surely we’d eat her first… surely.

I’m glad we had a pee corner designated because by this point I was going to pee my pants from laughing so hard! We wondered aloud if there was a camera in the elevator and that someone was watching us and laughing along with us.

You really get to know someone when you are trapped in an elevator with them… the way they handle the situation says a lot about them. Just so you know I handle almost all situations with laughter and jokes…AND I’m so blessed that my friends (and their kids) are the same way! I like my friends to lean on the funny, wacky, and witty side… and their kids that way too. Just enjoying the journey called life with a smile on our faces.  

I pushed some buttons again and the elevator jolted and the doors opened.  We were released to freedom.

The “other person” ran for the stairs. No hug… no I love you… no I’ll miss you… no let’s be friends because we survived a traumatic event together… not even a good-bye. I think she knew we were getting hungry.
  
So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

If you ever get stuck in the elevator with me and my friends there are two things you should remember:
      1.     We are going to laugh and make jokes about it.
      2.   We will eat you first.