Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You And Me Just "Click"

Human relationships are fraught with joy and sorrow and complications and a myriad of other emotions and adjectives.

The whole start of those relationships though is chemistry. You can have a ton of shared interests with someone on paper, but if you don't just jibe with them on some other level, it just won't evolve into anything more.

There's a guy I know right now going through a very difficult separation and divorce. Every time he comes around our homes, the women in my neighbourhood swoon. They all think he's gorgeous and because he also has a great paying job, it makes him quite the catch.

I'm the one that has the most contact with him in terms of dealings, and everyone gets a little jealous. The truth of the matter is, there is just no chemistry there. He's a good enough looking guy, he's smart and witty, definitely. Again, it all looks good on paper. But even if I myself was a single lady out on the prowl, he just doesn't float my boat.

I've never been the type to pursue somebody because of money or to secure myself some future wealth via a man. In fact, my last long term serious relationship before my husband was with someone who is now very, very well off financially. I left that relationship for a love relationship with only two pennies to rub together. Why? Partly because of chemistry.

I'm not an idiot. I also know chemistry only goes so far. You can have lots of chemistry with the biggest idiot out there (and believe me, I've seen it up close and personal) and not have any staying power. You can make a relationship work long term with someone you don't necessarily have the strongest chemistry with as well.

I'm a married woman. A long time married woman. It's rare for me to meet another man that I have that chemistry that is instant and easy. Or maybe I just don't look for it anymore. I'm not talking about a love relationship either-I mean that kind of chemistry that can be a great friendship but also has that flirty undercurrent. I know that sentence is going to spark controversy, but I DO believe you can have a flirty, fun friendship with a member of the opposite sex and not have it spill over into infidelity. Why? Because our actions are our choices. I choose how to act and choose what my relationships look like.

The funny thing is that it's also all highly personal. The most unlikely person might have great chemistry with me, while the hunky dude that the neighbour women drool over may not.

Chemistry doesn't have to be realistic either. You can just feel that "buzz" but know that in the real world you wouldn't want to be married to that person or deal with their "stuff" on a regular basis. But to hang out, and chat and laugh, you just have that special whatever it is.

Studies have been done to try and make sense of what attracts us to others. They've found shared interests and goals, features that match ours, pheromones, biologically based ingrained needs for shelter and security and procreation.

It all comes down to something that just makes no sense at all.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Hiney Flu

That's what my sister calls it-the "Hiney Flu" because of the H1N1 thing-you know it looks like it spells hiney. Never mind, my family are a bunch of warped individuals.

So, here's the deal though. Can we PLEASE get some sort of consensus on this vaccination thing? I feel confident in my decision one way or the other, and then WHAM someone else presents me with information they've gleaned. If I get into one more discussion with both sides saying they talked to health officials and some were told NO and some were told YES, I might completely lose it.

Then there's all the media hype and paranoia about Guillaine-Barre and Dystonia and mercury levels and thermasol and...............what's a Mom to do?

Health Canada has approved the vaccine, which I imagine takes a lot of study and testing. I don't think they'd just pass any old vaccine. They've learned their lesson on that from all of the deformed children born to mothers after the "morning sickness" shot. So, it's not that I'm "overly" concerned with that aspect.

There are schools closed because of how many children are out right now with the flu. There have been deaths in perfectly healthy, not "at risk" individuals, some being teens living not far from where I do. And yet, when I talk to most people I know working in hospitals, they say that the majority of individuals getting the swine flu are only presenting mild cases.

So.....ya. As you can see by this blog I have no stinkin' clue what I'm going to do. Today I say "YAH," and tomorrow I'll say "nay."

What are your thoughts? Are you getting the vaccine? Concerns?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Once Upon A Woo

I remember a time when my husband and I were courting (it's a fairy tale time, go with the lingo!) and he'd write me beautiful poems and love letters. If we were ever apart for a mere few hours, I'd receive a little note expressing how much he loved and missed me. While days apart almost drove us to madness, the little papers hidden and tucked away to find later were a saving grace.

No wonder when you first begin dating someone, you feel almost on a high. They are extolling your many virtues (and ignoring your many faults) on an around the clock basis. Ones self-esteem can't help but rise when your hair is compared to the dancing flames of a roaring fire, or your eyes the colour of emeralds.

On the show, "Newlywed, Nearly Dead" which I never, ever watch but happened to glimpse last night, the counsellor advises couples to "Renew the Woo." In last nights episode, he told them sex was off limits for a week, and they had to slow dance instead every evening. It seems so trivial a task, but really, how many of us take the time to even hug our partners longer than a minute between routines and children's needs, in a day? I know for me, it's almost a perfunctory quick embrace before I'm on to the next item on my daily list.

All of us crave physical touch, maybe some less than others. I, myself, am not a huggy-kissy type at all. (well, except with my kids) We all like to hear compliments about ourselves and we all like to feel valued, appreciated and loved. There is nothing worse, psychologically, than being rejected by those you love. The feeling of being taken for granted is one I see discussed repeatedly over and over and over again on every parenting website I'm on, and every dialogue between girlfriends I have.

So, why do we give up wooing each other? It doesn't take a lot of time. It doesn't break the bank. I'm not talking big expensive gifts and lavish spoiling. I'm referencing that moment where you feel someone took special notice of you-the way you smile, the glint in your eyes, the way you bite the inside of your cheek when you are nervous. That moment where you feel someone knows you and has studied you in a way others miss. When someone else confirms what we should all already know-that we are special and unique.

I don't mean empty words or false niceties either. If anything, I'm a realist. I don't want someone just saying nice things to me to blow smoke up my butt, nor do I like to feel like I'm being manipulated with sugary offerings. Usually for me, those have the opposite effect than desired. No, I mean real, true expressions of what it is about the other person that makes them stand out to you above and beyond the tireless drudgery of the every day.

Let's just face facts, here. We are lazy. We get complacent and careless in our love relationships, the same as we do in friendships. Somewhere down the line, hopefully, and if we are lucky, the light comes back on that we have been neglecting the one person who we should be admiring for their sheer staying power, let alone the daily things they do to make our lives easier or happier.

No matter how long you have been partnered, take some real time today, and preferably every day, to truly LOOK at them and notice some small detail that you love that maybe you haven't told them in awhile. Hold hands. Slow dance. Embrace for a long, long time.

Renew the woo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roller Derby Girl

I haven't seen Drew Barrymore's new movie, "Whip It" but the whole concept of roller derby has always appealed to me. I know, crazy idea say WHAT?

I have NEVER gone inline skating, but roller derby requires actual four wheel rollerskates. Now, I haven't done that EITHER since I was about 10, but I was quite the roller babe back in the day. I can skate backwards, forwards, spin, do the big circles backwards. I shouldn't say "I can" actually. I used to be able to, anyways.

So, I started thinking about how much fun that would be to join. You get to join a team of women and pick out a cool nickname. In the roller derby world, I don't think MissManneredMom would quite be tough enough. I think they pick the moniker based on your skating and playing style. I hope "Tottering Terror" or "Falling Flat" wouldn't be the names I'd be given.

Roller derby just seems up my alley. I've always enjoyed sports that are a bit more aggressive. Add a cute outfit and a funky nickname and really, what could be better than that? I'd be able to get physical activity, hang with cool chicks, get out my frustrations and aggressions and look semi-cute doing it. Well, maybe. I'm also the type to get black eyes and get my teeth knocked out, and THAT would not be a good look on a 30 something mom of two.

I'd run out and buy some rollerskates today, but I don't think they have rollerskating rinks anymore. So where do these roller derby leagues take place? And are there that many to join? I haven't heard of any in my area, but then again, I haven't really looked either.

I'm having visions of myself whipping around the rink, hair a flying and dark shadowed eyes a blazing. Watch out all! It's the Red Thunder!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm Dreaming of an Ebay Christmas.....

I know we just got past Thanksgiving folks. However, some KEENERS on my facebook are already talking about Christmas and gifts and what they have started buying and well, it kind of lit a fire under my butt.

See, I have to get a large majority of my gifts finished by mid-November. I have to mail two sets out, and I also have to have the ones for my family "back home" bought, wrapped and ready to go for my last visit before Christmas. That includes two nieces, a nephew, my Mom and whomever else I'm blanking on right now. I looked at the calendar this afternoon and realized that CRAP, mid-November is only a few weeks away.

The good news is that when those gifts are bought and sent out, it leaves me with "only" teachers, bus drivers and my immediate family. Phew. Last year, I had everything purchased and wrapped weeks before Christmas and could truly just ENJOY the holiday without being up until 3am wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve.

Once I started down this path of Christmas thinking, I started mentally making up my OWN list. Of course. I'm equally altruistic and selfish.

Most of the gifts I'd like this year aren't available in stores near me. The things I want are few-but difficult to find. Unless you look on ebay! I'm hoping my husband will take my many, many hints to come as I casually throw out the words ebay and jadeite several times from now til Christmas shopping time. He's not one to catch on but surely my mention of a black Coach purse will give him pause. My sister has a hookup for a crazy deal on Ugg boots that would surely be reasonable. Other than that, I'll take some new jammies, a jewellery box and of course, books.

I could even try some subtle subconscious whispering when he's sleeping. If you see him out on the street somewhere, drop a "Fire King" his way and hopefully it'll all work out nicely.

Happy Shopping to you and yours! What's on YOUR list?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giving Thanks

I whined and moaned about being away from family for the holidays, and I gave you some reading material to keep you busy and content while I was away, but I never took the time to formally tell you that for which I am THANKFUL. That's what Thanksgiving is about, right? It is for me, anyways. Sure, it's a holiday that includes getting together with loved ones and eating a feast unlike most others, but it's also a time to take a quiet moment and reflect on our lives and our blessings.

So here, in no particular order, are some of the many people and things that make me pause and give THANKS.

My daughters are awesome, incredible, amazing gifts that I cherish daily in my life. I really don't even know who I'd be without them. I don't know what my days would look like or what I'd be doing right now. It's a whirlwind existence sometimes, but one smile or laugh can brighten the darkest day. We were lying all together in bed one of the weekend evenings, and as they were closing their eyes for a (hopefully) peaceful slumber, I got that ever familiar lump in my throat. When people say there is no love like that of your children, I believe that to be 100% true. I would step in front of a moving vehicle for them. I would shelter them in any storm. I stand strong so that they are proud and fierce women themselves. I try to model behaviours and choices that show integrity. Almost everything I do, is for them. I am thankful for them not just when they are behaving, but for every second of this rollercoaster of parenting. I'm thankful for every moment spent with them and every new emotion and lesson I learn from them on a daily basis. They've made me a better person, and continue to push me further.

My friends are wonderful, witty, smart, insightful people. They make me laugh constantly. They hold my hand when I'm scared or unsure. They push me to do things that involve change and growth. They don't judge, but they don't hold back opinions either. They kick me in the pants when I need kicking. They love me for me, mistakes and ugly times included. I'm a truly lucky woman because I have a large circle of women that make up my life story. They are all different individuals from different walks of life. They hold different political, religious and social opinions. They have different accents and life choices. But they all surround me with those differences and I can feel their strength in that embrace. My friends are my lifeline when everything else has gone to pot. There have been many a moment in my life where I'm pretty sure I would have been more lost without one of them or all of them pulling me back into the fold. Thankful? You bet.

My extended family members are my history and have helped to form who I am today. When all else fails and there's nobody around me when I've screwed up, my family is there to call me a knucklehead and help me out. Some of the relationships within that family have faltered or waned, while others have grown and blossomed. Either way, family is the root of our life story. My siblings have seen me at my worst and have lived through some pretty trying times with me. We share a tale that's almost too tall to be true. No matter where life takes us or how we may change looks or status, at the core of it all, there's still the three of us as we've always been. My Mom is at the centre of that family. As most daughters know, I've moved away from her and back again. I've distanced myself and then come full circle. The dance with our Mothers is always a bit complicated, but without her love and her lessons, I wouldn't BE. I have a self-esteem that is very strong, and frankly shouldn't be, because of whatever it is that she did to instill that in me. When I look at attributes and life experiences that matter to me, they are all things that my Mom taught me to seek and demand for myself. No relationships are ever perfect, and families especially struggle to find harmony and peace, but my love for my family knows no bounds or limits. I'm thankful for growing up, and continuing to do so, with them by my side.

It can't go without saying that I'm thankful for my health, and the health of those around me. So many are fighting and battling and I know it could be me or my loved ones, disease doesn't pick and choose and we are no more or less special than anybody else. Yes, we've been lucky. I am thankful we have good food and clean air and water. I am thankful we have access to good health care and medicine. Hand in hand with that comes the thanks of a warm home and jobs that afford us basics and luxuries alike. I don't take being healthy or having employment for granted and I'm thankful to have a "new day," everyday.

My husband has been in my life since I was 19 years old. Do the math and that's 17 years. As the times have gone by, I thought we had this whole marriage and commitment thing down pat. When you're young, you think you have all of the pieces of the puzzle and all of the answers to the big questions. Love seems to be a fairy tale of romance and happily ever after. But reality has other ideas. There are real life obstacles to tackle. There are jobs that are lost and births that almost cost you everything you hold dear. There is a whole world of navigation that needs to take place regarding your baggage mixed with his baggage. There are times when one of you seems to be doing all of the holding up, while the other is floundering around a little lost and helpless. Mistakes are made and tempers explode and wane. At some points, you question if you can EVER truly know another person. They question if they know you. Marriage is not simple. Love isn't always easy. However, like a slideshow of my life, every image I see is of he and I. We didn't promise to only love each other when it was easy. We promised to love each other through it all, the good and the bad. As we age, we hope that our partnerships have matured and moved past attraction (though that chemistry is always nice!) and into a real deep companionship of understanding and honesty. When the kids were younger, sometimes my husband would screw up and do something that I couldn't understand. My daughters would inadvertently get hurt or something would get forgotten. It would have been easy to sneer or poke fun or ridicule him for screwing up. Instead, I tried to remind myself that if "I" did that to him now, it would come back to me in the end. At some point, it's a given, I too would screw up in some way. How would "I" want him to respond? And I think that's a good lesson in general. We aren't princes and princesses in fairy tales where nothing ever goes wrong. This is life, and it gets ugly. I like to think that every struggle and misstep takes us that much closer to true acceptance of each other and a deeper love. I am thankful to have a husband who has walked every step of this journey with me and has seen me not only at my best, but at my worst -and loved me through the ugliest parts. I am thankful that we continue to be strong examples to our daughters and blessed to have a partner that is willing to be accountable and present. Our love isn't perfect. Yet, as time passes and I look around at others, I'm right with the person I want to be with, still. I'm thankful to have experienced that type of love in my lifetime and I hope to be thankful 50 years from now for a love that grew stronger and more unbreakable with each passing moment. I honestly feel like if anyone can do it, we will. I am thankful for this type of love:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

The truth of the matter is, I have so much to be grateful for in my life that this blog could go on all day. And that in and of itself, is something for which to be eternally thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your blessings are as abundant as mine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Easy Reading

As I'll be departing this evening for the inlaws, I thought I'd leave you with some other great things to read. We are staying "half way" at a hotel tonight, just to break up the trip. We'll swim and shop a bit tomorrow, before heading out for the rest of the drive. We're back Tuesday and that day will be a full day of driving. Saints preserve me. The good news is, I don't have to make a single thing for Thanksgiving dinner. I just get to stuff my face.

So, just so you aren't left wandering aimlessly in the blogosphere, without my great, wonderful blog as your comfort, here are some blogs that I'm currently reading. (and you should too!) She's so hilarious that I often find myself laughing out loud. She blogs about a ton of mommy moments, but she's also socially aware and politically savvy. I've been reading her blog for at least a year now, and I haven't tired of it at all. If you like your parenting with a side of sarcasm-this blog is for you. This blog is written from her dog's perspective, but we all know dogs don't write. (right?) I found her blog on one of my Robbie Williams fan sites. (yes, I'm a huge Robbie Williams fan but not a creepy, stalker type) She's from England but now lives in L.A. with her best friend Paul .(who does the "I can make you thin" tv show that was on, as well as countless other books. He's been on Ellen and helped her quit smoking) She dated Robbie Williams, she attended Simon Cowell's recent huge birthday bash, she pals around (and posts pictures!) with so many famous Brits and Americans that it's like a sneak peak into a fab celeb life, but she's also a thoughtful, insightful human being. I've sent her emails about certain posts and she's written me back each time. I think I've been reading her blog about two years now. Sorry, her dogs blog about two years now. Oh-the dog is "Mr. Big" in case you are wondering. Hence the name. Love, love, love this site. I just caught on to the Pioneer Woman (yes, I live under a rock) and man, I am hooked!!! She's a city girl from L.A. who ate sushi and shopped and grew up with a cardiac surgeon for a father. Then, she met her "Marlboro Man" who is a rancher, and up and packed up her city life to live on a cattle ranch. The blog chronicles her transition and adjustments but so much more. It's really a blog that has a little bit of everything, for everyone. If you like photography-she's got a great section of her pictures as well as ones others have submitted to her. If you like cooking, she's got a whole section of recipes with amazing (and witty) snapshots; from more sophisticated city food to the down home comfort ones. She's even got a cookbook out, so you know she's not just popular with me. Actually, I heard her name mentioned on many blogs I was poking around reading and decided to check her out. She's got a home and garden section as well. There's just tons to read/see/do that I'm usually on that site for hours at a time. No need to mention my lack of a life at this point.

So there ya go, THREE sites to keep you amused for the next 4 days. I know it's not the same as this fantastic blog, but it'll have to do. Go read some posts, and let me know what you thought of them and which blog you liked best!


Oh-and Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Falling For Fall

Fall is a season that tends to creep up on you, I find. One minute you are basking in the glow of a hot summer sun, and the next you are adding a hoodie over your t-shirt.

Fall is kind of tricky that way. It seems to blow in on one cool breeze, a single moment at a time.
Not only that, but a single article of clothing at a time.

Today, I looked down at myself as I sipped coffee, and had the startling realization that I was in true winter garb. I was wearing a t-shirt with a hoodie over it instead of just one or the other. I had jeans on, and the real symbol that the weather has turned frostier-socks. If I can help it, I'm usually foot loose and fancy free with my toes out. Socks means it's truly gone all chilly.

It all started innocuously enough. I remember starting the girls school year with capris and flip flops on my feet as I trudged them up to the bus stop. Then it became capris, flip flops and a sweatshirt. Soon, the capris were replaced with actual pants! That day almost broke me. There's nothing like slipping into zipper and button pants after a lounging summer in drawstring waist pants to make you feel like you've gained 15 lbs over the summer hiatus. Still, I clung to my flip flops like a shipwrecked individual to a life preserver.

Then, a week or so ago, we had to go out to our storage and pull out fleece coats. Now, on top of the pants and sweatshirts, we have a new layer of cozy. Finally, it was time for the dreaded socks. I packed away my flip flops with a lump in my throat. Oh, I know I'll see them again next year. But what a long stretch it will be til I'm barefoot in the grass, again.

As I look out my window and sip my coffee, in all of my warm weather regalia, I can't help but sigh a little. Fall truly is my favourite season. I love the crispness in the air. I love all of the bountiful colours of leaves falling in my yard or hanging precariously to long, bony branches. I love all of the comfort foods that are now creeping into my menu planning and the warm duvet to crawl under each night.

Fall is here. It may have stealthily inched it's way into our hearts, but it's arrival is a blessing each time.

Except for the socks. Oh how I loathe the socks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Holiday Melancholy

Last night as I lay in bed, I started thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. I was doing the usual planning and writing and checking off of lists that I carry around in my cranium, when I was struck by a wave of total, heartbreaking, melancholy.

It's not the fact that we are going to the inlaws for the Thanksgiving holiday. We've spent that holiday with them before, as opposed to my family. This year, it's even more important we see the inlaws NOW, because they are going to Australia from November to March. Ya, poor suckers. Hmpf. So, this is a Thanksgiving and Christmas visit all rolled up into one event.

The problem is because at least when we lived "back home," I knew that if I didn't see MY family at Thanksgiving, I'd still see them at Christmas. Now, we don't travel at Christmas due to weather as well as my husband's job. So, do the math. I won't see my family for any occasion til "possibly" Easter. That's right, spring.

I miss spending holidays with my family and friends. I miss my friends "Christmas Eve" party every year. I miss Christmas morning with my kids and my Mom. I miss spending the afternoon and dinner with my sister and her family. I miss my family.

I'm hoping we get to see everybody for a long weekend in November, which would be awesome. It's just not the "same" though.

We have created a nice life here, don't get me wrong. We have a wonderful Christmas morning with my children. We pool food together and have a delicious Christmas dinner with my neighbour and her family. I also do our own dinner one night. It's all magical and heartwarming.

But it's not like being "home."

I'm clicking my heels together and repeating, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." I hope I open my eyes and find myself there, soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Most Taboo Subject Possible..Hey, Why Not?

It's one of those topics that is well known to be "off limits" unless you want a fight on your hands. It ranks right up there with politics and money. You know the one I'm talking about. Well, I'm going there.

Ever since I was a kid, I have had this fascination with religion(s). My family were not church goers. At least not on any regular basis. I don't just mean my own immediate family-I mean going back to my Grandmother and Grandfather and beyond. They attended occasionally, like Christmas or Easter. We were christened as babies in the Anglican Church. That's about it, though.

My Mom is a very open minded individual, and I respect that more than almost any trait a person can have in their personality. She would take us to different church services, sometimes even for a few months or even a sporadic year at a time. We belonged to a Baptist church for awhile, and of course Anglican. More importantly though, she encouraged my siblings and I to learn as much as we could about various religious beliefs and practices and to be open to the ways of others.

My brother and sister really couldn't care less about Church or going to Church. I would say my brother is Agnostic and my sister holds her own beliefs that don't necessarily fit one "category" or title. That being said, they "do their own thing."

I, however, was the kid that went to Church by myself (well, with friends families) week after week. I was in the choir, I attended "Cadets For Jesus", I went to Bible Camp. I liked the social aspect, to be sure. I'm an extrovert and this was another way to spend time with others. I also enjoyed the singing and rejoicing. The Baptist and Evangelist churches I attended were both great for that!!! Yet, there was something in me that also liked the lessons learned (I'm a big rule follower and it appealed to me) and the values taught in Sunday School. It felt good to have someone bigger and stronger than myself to lean on when my life ravelled widely out of my control.

In light of my Mom's exposing us to as much culturally and theologically as she could, I also attended Jewish, Hindu, Spiritualist, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelist and Anglican services. I loved the ceremony involved in each faith and found the similarities between them all comforting. It's why today, I'm very open to all religious practices and beliefs. The way I look at it is, who am "I" to say one practice is more "right" than another? I'm not qualified to do that. As long as people believe in something, and practice being good people-I don't care what name you call your God.

Somewhere in highschool, I stopped attending any type of Church services, except for holidays. I'm amazed now that I went as long as I did when it was just me, a sole person in a family, and a child at that.

In University, the draw pulled me in again and I studied "Death and Afterlife" and the "Life and Times of Jesus." I considered doing a minor in religious studies, but wasn't sure where or what I would do with that.

Then came marriage and children and jobs and fatigue. My husband was raised Roman Catholic and wasn't interested in anything to do with it, anymore. We both agreed before we had children, though, that we wanted them to have an open heart as well as a background of faith. We just weren't sure which "Church" would meet our joint beliefs and needs.

After many years, we found our ideal Church. It was an open and welcoming place. It's core beliefs embraced different ideologies and allowed people to come to faith from their own paths. We attended with our children and were so happy to finally have found our "home." And then we moved.

It took us so much time to finally be at peace with a Church that we had struggled to find, that we hadn't even started the search again in our new town. I have always believed that one didn't have to attend an institution to have a strong faith. In fact, I view my own relationship as being very personal. My Mom jokes that people don't need a minister/pastor/priest when they can just "talk direct." I believe that to be true. I've always had that relationship but wanted my children to also have the sense of community and fellowship that I craved as a kid, in a Church setting.

I'm also a very private person though in a lot of ways. I don't readily share my life or my feelings with others. I think many people think they know me, or things in my life, but really it's only what I allow them to know. Know what I mean? LOL When things get tough, I generally search ways within myself to find strength and answers. That leads me back to strength from my personal beliefs.

I've been searching, I'd say, most of my life. For what, I wasn't sure. In this latest trying time-I've reclaimed what was lost. I find myself more at peace and more confident than ever. My faith is stronger than it ever has been. I've also made some major changes in the way I speak, think and act. I'm more present and aware in my interactions out in the world than I've probably ever been. I'm a work in progress, majorly imperfect, but working at it.

We're still hoping to find a Church, here, that suits our family. It's hard when we had already found everything we were looking for in that way. In our home though, everything is open and dialogued and discussed regularly. We focus on creating and strengthening personal relationships in faith for our children, while still encouraging them to seek their own truth. We provide books on "Faiths around the World" and on different cultural beliefs and lifestyles. We expose them to what we can. I hope their journey is their own-whichever way that takes them.

I feel by writing this today, that in a way, I'm coming out of the closet. It's just another step on my journey and I'm embracing it. I hope you all can too.