Tag Archive | Life

Bringing Noise to the Silent Struggle

I haven’t posted much lately. Life has been….interesting. I’m not complaining, at least I’m trying not to, things have just been weird. Especially, lately.

You may not know this, but I am a guest contributor for my friend Nathan’s blog, NateTheWorld. Each month, Nathan sends out an email to his contributors asking for submissions and he provides writing prompts, in case any one needs inspiration. I don’t always send something in, especially if my own life is a crazy, hectic mess because finding time to do one. more. thing. just doesn’t seem possible.

But, this month one of the prompts was ‘my struggle’ and it spoke volumes to me. So I sat down and started writing. I sent my contribution over to him and he posted it. And then I started thinking about the struggle I wrote about and thought about how I was still struggling. Still dealing with it and what else could I do to lessen the burden?

So, I wrote another piece and posted it to my other blog. And really, I thought that would be it. That a few people would read either piece and maybe find comfort in my words, or at least have some light shed on a topic with which they are unfamiliar.

But that is not what happened. Not at all. What happened instead is I started receiving messages from people telling me that they were going through the same struggle. That they had a similar experience. That they, too, understood my pain and frustrations. It was……overwhelming. Amazing. Incredible.

Then, I decided that if I received such an amazing response from people I know, what could happen if people I didn’t know also heard my message? I reached out to another blogger/writer that I really like and asked him to read the piece, and if it made sense for his page, could he post it? AND HE DID! I couldn’t believe it; this person who doesn’t even know me, felt like what I wrote should be shared.

Of course, comments came in, and they didn’t all go my way, but that’s alright. Because at the end of the day, I know that thousands of people have read what I wrote, and perhaps they learned something they didn’t know beforehand.

Some of the comments said I was perhaps being a little too emotional or oversensitive to the topic at hand. Maybe. But that doesn’t make me wrong. Or make my point/opinion invalid.

Facebook2 Facebook3For the record, I DID donate those samples to my church. And I gave the coupons that I kept receiving to the Early Ed. center so they could go to parents who WANT them.

I'm not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she's entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she’s entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that it’s the worst article ever, but again, she is entitled to think that.

Facebook6I’d also like to point out that I didn’t say anything about malice from the companies; I pointed out the short-sightedness of the campaigns. I also didn’t call for a boycott, just stated that I won’t be giving my money to them. As for questioning my struggle with infertility, that I took a little personally. She says that a year of not conceiving doesn’t count as infertile. Actually, it does. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website: “Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances.”

My husband and I have been trying to start a family FOR A YEAR! That doesn’t seem like a long time, unless it’s something you really want and it doesn’t happen, over and over and over again.

Facebook7This woman commented several times, apparently I struck a nerve with her. Especially since she called my post a rant (it wasn’t). But, I am a long time reader because I haven’t ALWAYS been in this struggle, and because the guy is a good writer and the “hilarities of parenthood” crack me up. But, perhaps I’m not allowed to laugh at parenthood since I’m not part of the club? Who knows.

Not all of the comments were negative, though. Some of them were really nice and were from people who had experienced similar things or understood what my whole point was (that the program’s targeting is wrong because they don’t know who the person on the other end of the data they purchased really is. Being a woman that shops at Babies R Us doesn’t make me anymore a mother than eating a banana makes me a monkey).

Facebook5And some of the comments were just really nice and proved to me that what I had to say was at least heard AND UNDERSTOOD by some people – which is really my ultimate goal. To be understood. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

Facebook1 Facebook8I did contact the companies that send those formula samples; I sent them my article. And one of them responded letting me know they removed me from their mailing list. Which I appreciate. But that’s not my point. They need to reevaluate the whole thing. I understand the purpose of the campaign. They want to sell a product. But, there might be a better way to target the correct people; I don’t have the answer to HOW to do that, but I’m sure they have really smart people working for them that can come up with the answer.

I let them know that I appreciated being removed, but that if this is happening to me, then it is happening to other women. And that’s the problem. They said they’ve given the information “to the appropriate department” so who knows if anything actually comes out of it. I really hope it does.

So, that’s the biggest thing that’s been going on in my life lately. Just bringing awareness to a silent struggle. One blog post at a time.

OklaHOMEa

I was born in Philadelphia. I love Philadelphia. I love the city, the history, oh the sweet history, the people, the sports teams, the food. I have a ton of family there. I lived there for awhile. I refer to it as ‘home’ sometimes. But more and more often, I have found myself calling Oklahoma home.

I lived there longer than any other place in my whole life.Did I love it? Not really. I went from Philadelphia, a city of like a bajillion people, to what I thought was surely the smallest town on the face of the planet, population 2,500.

 

Downtown Jones

Don’t misunderstand me, it is a great little town. But my problem with it was that it’s a little town. Small town living just doesn’t suit me – I can’t farm. I can barely ride a horse, and if you asked me to saddle one I’d laugh at you and walk away. I can’t milk a cow. And I don’t like to drive very far. When you live in a small town you get accustomed to driving EVERYWHERE. If I can’t be there in about ten minutes, I probably don’t want to go.

I often joke that this sleepy little town is a geographical oddity – it is half an hour from everywhere. I’m only sort of kidding.

But, I lived there for a long time. I was there when I learned what domestic terrorism is and what it looks like. I learned how to read weather maps before I mastered multiplication (although, math has never been my strong suit so that might not be saying much). I learned how to tell apart different types of clouds and which ones to really keep an eye on before I was a teenager. I was there for the May 3rd tornado. And the May 8th tornado.

Now I live in Kansas. And I had to watch as the May 20th tornado tore through Moore. Again. I had to watch the streaming news feed from KFOR from my desk at work. While I was at work in Kansas, parents were frantically trying to get to their children.

I can’t even imagine the pain. I don’t have children of my own. But I know how I would feel if one of the children in those schools was one of my nieces or nephews. I would be sick to my stomach. I would be completely beside myself, distraught, and inconsolable. And I imagine it is not even a fraction of the pain a parent feels.

But, I do know what it feels like to be from Oklahoma. There is a resiliancy that is unmatched, unparalelled, unheard of. The Oklahoma Standard it’s called.

 

okflag

Life throws all sorts of terrible things at everyone, but for some reason, Oklahomans get hit hard. Terrorists. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Fire.

And every single time Oklahomans come together, unite, help each other out, bring each other back, and the state just seems a little bit better.

I think Oklahomans are handed the hardest trials because whatever powers that be know that Oklahomans can handle it.

Too often Oklahoma is seen on a national level for bad politics, terrible natural disasters, or ‘controversial’ sports team moves. Too little is Oklahoma seen for what it truly is – an entire state of neighbors. Friendly, proud people that are literally willing to give you the shirt off their back in order to help you out.

Too little is Oklahoma thought of for anything other than Native Americans, cowboys, depressions, tornadoes, a bombing.

But, every year that passes, when I’m asked the question, ‘where are you from?’ I start to answer Oklahoma.

And I’m proud of that.

Oklahoma, you will come through this. Just like you have every time before this.

Because you’re amazing.

OklaHOMEa

Looking Ahead….

Every year for the past several years I’ve sat down with my computer and written reflections about the year behind me.  I wrap up the entire year in several paragraphs trying to convey the major events and milestones that took place in my life that year, but I realized I never take the time to write about the future.  I never stop to look ahead.

I don’t really make resolutions for the new year.  Not that I don’t have any resolve, I just don’t think I need to make promises to myself, especially when I usually don’t tell anyone what they are so there is no one to hold me accountable if I don’t keep my self-made promise.  I usually decide to continue to try to be a good person.  To be kind to others.  Help the less fortunate when able.  Be quick with a smile.  Those are things that I think we can all resolve to do on a daily basis and we don’t need a new year’s resolution to do them.  We should be doing them anyway.

That’s not really the point though, so back to my initial thought.  Looking ahead.  I wrote my 2012 wrap up a few days ago and while I certainly have a lot to be thankful for in 2012, I decided I should look to my future and see what 2013 holds for me.

To begin the year, I have a job that I truly enjoy with a company I couldn’t be prouder to work for.

Looking around me, I have the best family (even if they drive me nuts sometimes).  I find myself often thinking that people who don’t have siblings are missing out on one of the greatest gifts on Earth.  I’ve said more than once that I consider myself truly fortunate to be in a unique position with my siblings; I have the gift of being both a little sister and a big sister.  I’m a little sister to a sister, and big sister to two sisters and a brother.  How lucky am I that I get to be the sister to not only sisters but to a brother as well?  Sisters are some of the first friends you make (followed closely by your cousins).  Brothers are a strange beast to be sure.  They smell different than sisters do, and they do weird things that most sisters don’t do.  But I truly feel that I have been given one of life’s greatest treasures by having my sisters and brother in my life.

I also have the most amazing friends.  They are patient, funny, smart, and understanding.  Above all they are loyal and trustworthy.  I know that my friends are there for me when I need them, even when I’m being a complete flake.

Top that off with an engagement to the greatest guy. In eight months I will take one of the best walks of my life toward him with my Dad at my side.  After that walk we will party the night away with our family and friends around us and the next day we will take a wonderful week long trip to an island neither one of us has been to.  How blessed can one woman be?

I have a major birthday to look forward to as well.  One that has me excited and curious, but anxious as well.  I love birthdays, especially milestone birthdays, but as this is my first major milestone birthday in quite a while, I’m not sure what to expect.  Will I feel any different?  Will there be new expectations that come along with my new age?  Are there new health risks I should be worried about?  These are the things that I think about.

But, this year is full of many more blessings.  I am lucky to have a home that provides me with shelter, warmth, and safety.  I have a pantry and refrigerator full of food, and a vehicle that is nice and safe.

I ask again, how blessed can one woman be?

When I take everything listed above and combine it into a nice, neat, little package I can’t help but realize how wonderful 2013 is going to be.  With blessings like that how can my year be anything less than amazing?

If I were to make a resolution for 2013 it would be this: to continue to focus on the positive things in my life.  I realize not every day is going to be perfect, but there will be perfect moments in every day.  I hope I will always be able to see that moment, and that I will remember to look for it.  I hope that I don’t get so caught up in the mundane details life requires I miss the beauty in the smallest of things.  I hope that I always notice how beautiful the sun is when it sets.  That I always see the light at the end of the tunnel and most importantly, that I always remember no matter how rough of a day I might be having that I don’t have to bear the burden alone.  I have family and friends that are there for me to help, to listen, to offer advice when needed, to provide guidance when necessary, and to give hugs when there are no words required.

My hope for you this year is that you, too, will always remember to search for the bright spot in your life.  Even when times seem the darkest, reach for the light.  Hold onto it, and seek it always.

Life is a beautiful thing.  Don’t spend it surrounded by negativity and darkness.

‘Twas the 14th of December…

‘Twas the 14th of December

and all through Newtown,

people where gathering

prepping for guests coming ’round.

Presents for kiddos were wrapped nice and tight

ready to be opened in just eleven more nights.

But evil was lurking in this sleepy ‘berg,

for one troubled child demanded to be heard.

He came to the school to inflict terror and pain

and now we’ve learned twenty-six more angels’ names.

Let us remember their beautiful faces

and though they left Earth, they arrived in God’s graces.

He’ll keep them and hold them and make sure they’re loved

until they’re reunited with their loved ones above.

So mourn for the losses, grieve for your kids

but find comfort in knowing they’ll always be His.

 

I don’t have children of my own, but I have a bunch of nieces and nephews.  And while I realize that’s not even remotely close, I know that if anything ever happened to any of them I’d be devastated. Half of ‘my kiddos’ are old enough to be in school.  They are old enough for the tragedy in Newtown to strike a special chord in my soul.  Because I realize that I could very well be one of the people grieving the loss of a child they love.

And as the friend and relative of teachers, I could doubly be one of the people grieving. A friend, a cousin, a sister.  It’s all too much to take in.

We have to do better.  I don’t have answers or solutions.  I just know our friends, our families, our children deserve better than what we are currently providing.

Let’s focus on what’s truly important right now – each other.  Love. Peace. Kindness.

Because truly, kindness can change the world.

What a month it’s been….

So the last time I posted, the news was terrible.  And while it’s been six weeks since that crummy day, I still miss Bogey every single day.

BUT, this post isn’t about how sad I am.  Rather, it’s an update to what has happened since June.

For starters, there were some events that I simply didn’t talk about in June.  Like, my BIRTHDAY!  Everyone knows how much I love my birthday.  And how I usually celebrate my birthMONTH, but this year, we kept it a little more low key.  There was a cook out at Brett’s sister’s house and some of my friends even joined us for the cookout.  I opened my cards and my presents and there was cake.

Buuuuut, this was no ordinary birthday.  Just as I was opening presents, Brett got a call from our realtor… a call we were anxiously expecting all day.  The house we had looked at yesterday, and put an offer on that morning, WAS OURS!!!!  Talk about the best birthday ever!

We started packing pretty much the next day and come July 6th (moving day) everything was ready to go.  Once we got into the house, I got a job interview – which led to getting the job! And on top of that, I camped outside of the newest location of one of my favorite restaurants (along with Brett and some friends) and (the four of us) won free burritos for a year!

So, birthday, house, job, burritos.  Pretty good month, I’d say.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye….(UPDATED)

Last week was truly the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for our family.  When I say ‘our family’ I’m not referring to our vast and extensive extended family, but rather the family unit that Brett and I consist of.  We are a family of three; Brett, myself and Bogey, our dog.  Bogey is absolutely our family.  He is our fur-kid.  And he is beyond spoiled.  We (read I) go paparazzi nuts with the camera, in fact I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to pictures of Bogey.

Recently, Bogey’s health had taken a turn south, so we did what any parents would do, we rushed him to the ER.  When we got to the hospital, Bogey was weak, dehydrated and his color was off, he looked pale.  We were freaking out.  We didn’t know what was wrong.  I have to say, Blue Pearl in Overland Park, KS is the nicest, most compassionate place I’ve ever been.  They were so incredible helping us through a very tough couple of nights.  After two nights at the hospital, Bogey came home!  Diagnosis? Bleeding ulcers.  Bummer.  But, they were totally treatable, and he would be okay.  Hooray!  Medicine and a bland diet for a week and he seemed to be alright.

But, while we were at the ER the first night, the doctor came in and told us that Bogey had a perianal tumor (which is what they originally thought the problem was).  After lots of tests, they decided that wasn’t the cause of his emergency visit, but that we should still take him to his regular doctor and have that tumor looked at.

We scheduled an appointment and had some samples of the tumor sent off for a cytology report, which came back inconclusive.  Meaning, it might not be cancer, but it might be cancer.  But, it needed to come out.  So, we scheduled the surgery.

Bogey had surgery at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7th.  He was scared, but okay.  I was there with him, and told him how great he was doing.  He didn’t even squirm, which was great because that meant no full anesthesia!  Local anesthesia is all he needed, which, given his age (15!) was a great thing.  Tumor was removed and he was stitched up and, after a couple of hours at the doctor for post-op observation, we were on our way home.  His tumor was sent off to get biopsied and we’re just awaiting results to find out if it was cancerous or not, so we can start forming a treatment plan for our Dude.

Thursday night was a rough night for everyone.  Bogey hated his Elizabethan collar, which everyone knows as ‘the cone of shame.’ He freaked out and started running in to things trying to rip the collar off.  I hated seeing him panic, so I took it off of him.  Then he started throwing up, which, if I had just recovered from bleeding ulcers, and then had surgery and then freaked out, would probably throw up, too.  Brett stayed up with him until about 3:30 a.m.  That’s when Bogey finally decided to lay down and go to sleep.  On Friday, he seemed okay.  Great!  Our Dude just hated his collar and basically threw the equivalent of a screaming, kicking, crying-until-you-throw-up tantrum.  He didn’t really eat much Friday, so I made him some chicken (I told you, he’s spoiled).  He chowed it down and everything seemed good.  Friday night, more vomiting.  But, not as bad as Thursday night.  So, maybe the food upset his stomach.  He probably ate too fast.  But, his breathing seemed off, and his behavior was off too.  But he did just have surgery 24 hours ago and now has stitches in his hiney….

Saturday, he was walking around the basement in the morning.  We gave him head pats, and rubbed his ears.  Like the concerned fur-mom I am, I still thought his breathing didn’t sound right, but he seemed alright, just tired (which is understandable since he’d spent two nights throwing up).  We decided to leave him downstairs (with his favorite red blanket) to get some rest and went  to check on him every hour to see if he wanted to go outside.  He was laying at the foot of the stairs, and would look up at us when we came down, but wasn’t interested in going outside.  So, we would rub his head and belly, and give him kisses and tell him how much we loved him.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9th, Bogey was no longer breathing.  It was heartbreaking.  I got Brett and told him that Bogey wasn’t breathing anymore and we sat there and hugged our Dude and cried together.  My heart broke more.  Brett’s Mom came down and cried with us, too.  And his sister came down, cried with us, and we all said a prayer to St. Francis asking him to watch our Boy until we got home.

As much as losing our Dude sucks (and it is the big time suck) I learned a lot over the last few days and weeks.  I learned that Brett and I are an amazing team, even in super sucky, super awful situations.  We connect to form a strength that is stronger than either of us individually.  I learned there are awesome people who care about our Dude as much as we do.  I learned about Blue Pearl Emergency Pet Services and their incredible staff.  And I learned that we have the most quality people in our lives.  Our families and friends are truly some of the best people on Earth and we are so incredibly blessed to have them.

Having to say goodbye to Bogey sucked.  It still sucks.  Every time I walk downstairs I expect to see his fluffy little face look up from his bed.  I expect to see his red blanket laying on his bed.  I look at the clock and realize that Bogey probably needs to go to the bathroom.  I still look around for him.  And while the emptiness sucks and has left a hole in my heart, I find a small amount of joy knowing that our Boy isn’t hurting anymore.  That whatever pain he was feeling, he’s free from it.  He’s running, and jumping, and chasing squirrels and snoozing in the sunshine.  I find comfort in knowing that St. Francis welcomed our Boy with open and loving arms, and I’m sure he gave him his favorite snack, Cheese-Its, when he got there.

With all that knowledge, I find peace with the emptiness.

The last three weeks of Bogey’s life were not the best, I’m sure.  He spent too many hours at doctor’s offices. But, he also spent a lot of time at the playground, laying in sunshine, lounging next to us, giving us hugs and kisses, and bringing us smiles and joy.  So, I’m grateful for that.

Bogey lived a really long, great life.  In dog years he was 15, which makes him 105 in human years.  105!  What a great life.  He had lots of adventures, and even got to spend a few years of his life as a Texas dog (which automatically makes him one of the coolest dogs in Heaven). He spent his final days at home, with his family.  Surrounded by love and laughter. What a life.

So, this part is for our Dude: Rest in peace, Bogey.  We love you forever and we’ll see you when we get home.  Until then, listen to St. Francis, don’t just eat your vitamins, you cannot have all his french fries, you do NOT eat Raisinets (even though you think you do), I’ll pretend I don’t know you’re eating way too many Cheese-Its, and because you are one spoiled kiddo, I won’t even yell at you if you’re laying on our bed when we get home (just please don’t have muddy feet). Love Forever, Mom and Dad.

Thank you everyone who said a prayer, had us in their thoughts, sent good vibes, asked how Bogey was, sent us messages, gave us hugs or sat and cried with us.  You are the best people.  We are so, so grateful.  The love and support our family has been given over the last three weeks has been amazing, and has truly helped us make it through this big pile of suck. So once again, THANK YOU!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein the 14th

As a matter of fact, I would LOVE some Cheese-Its!

Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein, Protector of the Universe.

I’m BatDog.

Yeah. I pop my collar. And?

My two boys, watching the X-Files.

I hear everything. I’m BatDog.

Sun Snoozin’

Just Mom & Bogs

Dear Lord, please open your gates
and call St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion
across the Rainbow Bridge.

Assign him to a place of honor,
for he has been a faithful servant
and has always done his best to please me.

Bless the hands that send him to you,
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
freeing him from pain and suffering.

Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of his life
with the love he has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor him
by sharing those memories with others.

Let him remember me as well
and let him know that I will always love him.
And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
please allow him to accompany those
who will bring me home.

Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of his companionship
and for the time we’ve had together.

And thank you, Lord,
for granting me the strength
to give him to you now.

Amen.

*******(UPDATE: I called Bogey’s doctor on Monday to let him know what happened and to ask him to call us with the results of the biopsy anyway.  I received a phone call a few minutes later and learned that the tumor was NOT cancerous.  So I guess that’s good news, though it doesn’t ease our pain or sadness.)*******

This One Time at the Keyhole….

After spending time beating myself up for not being able to come up with anything remotely interesting to talk about this week, I took to Facebook and asked my friends and family for help (letting them know upfront that whatever ideas they submitted would absolutely be ripped off, with no type of compensation).  I even went so far as to guilt people to help (I’m awful, what can I say)?

While I was given some interesting topics (someone mentioned craisins: friend or foe?) I decided I felt too bad actually ripping off someone else’s idea.  So, I let the weekend come and go, and still didn’t have anything… or so I thought – cue Saturday night.

Brett’s nieces were over at the grandparent’s house for the night, so we met up with his sister and brother in law for some dinner and drinks.  As per the usual course when we’re all together, we headed on over to our favorite dive.  Brett and I were there a week earlier and it was dead.  Completely.  There was the bartender, us, and two other people – and those two were weirdos.  Seriously.

So, after the poor showing the previous week we were looking for a livelier crowd Saturday night.  And it was a bit livelier.  There was a kickball team there and it seemed like they had been there for awhile, so we went to sit outback (plus, the guys wanted to smoke their cigars).  As the night went on, people trickled in and out of the bar and came outside, chatted with us, etc.  You know, typical bar stuff.

What was not so typical had me speechless.  Our friends left, and it was just Brett and I sitting outside, enjoying the weather before the (predicted) storm hit us (it never did, by the way).  As we’re sitting there, one of the kick ballers comes outside again, and the three of us start chatting.  Mr. Kickball sits down in the chair beside me and slowly reaches his arm out and takes my drink out of my hand!  AND THEN DRINKS IT! Once he takes a sip, he really tried to hand it back, as if we were bff’s all of a sudden and it would be totally fine to share a drink.

Of course I immediately tell him no thank you, and that he can just finish it.  He even tried to argue about it with me saying. “what?  it’s not like I have herpes.”  Uh, thank you for clearing that up, however, rando, I will not be sharing drinks with you – so you can go ahead and keep that.  In fairness to my sticky fingered foe, he did try to make it up to me by offering to by me another drink.  Which I also turned down.

I do think he realized how awkward that entire situation was, though, because he got really quiet.  Sat my/his drink down and then just sort of slowly walked away, kind of watching Brett to make sure he wasn’t about to get beat up for theiving my drink.  This thought was further acknowledged when we went inside the bar to pay our tab and my drink’s assailant rushed out.

After two awkward Saturday encounters there, I think we might need to change the day of the week we go there.  No thank you awkward male humans!

Am I the only person this has ever happened to?  I wouldn’t be surprised if I was, these are the kinds of weird things that happen in my life.