Monday, June 29, 2015

Choices!

On February 2, 1992 my world was forever changed. As the Mother of three sons, ages 4, 7, and 9 years of age, I was devastated when my husband of nearly twelve years announced he'd been living a lie. He was unhappy and miserable living a life as a heterosexual man when he was secretly gay. 

I was so devastated I didn't want to see or talk to anyone. I was lost and deeply hurt. I felt worthless and like an idiot. How could a man I trusted and loved betray my trust to such a degree? Religious family members told me, or rather preached at me, that regardless of the issue he was still my husband until the day I die, even if we don't live as husband and wife. I was told divorce is a sin and unforgivable. It's interesting that some of the same family members who shoved their philosophy down my throat have now experienced divorce either themselves or through their adult children. It Suddenly wasn't so black and white when the pain was theirs to bear.

It was kind of like telling a child they can't be removed from an abusive home or an abused wife being told she must continue to be beat everyday for the rest of her life? It was victimization of a victim and somehow they appeared to enjoy pointing that finger in my direction.

For over 23 years I've been dealing with the backlash of the gay issue. Now, this week with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage, the comments on Facebook and by people directly have just been overwhelming. People are mean and much of what I see is hatred at its worst. Maybe this is a new issue for some of these people, but not for me. It's been 23 years of learning and handling it for me. And I might also add....putting up with people's very boisterous opinions.

I was blown away and left emotionally in shreds! Not to mention the financial aspects of divorce and raising sons virtually alone. I spent agonizing years building up my sons who were also dealing with a dad who had opened up about being gay. I raised three sons  and it was very difficult many times with the homophobic chatter among the masses as well as within my own family. You know, those who are supposed to love us unconditionally. The Church wasn't much better helping me through the crisis either. I was treated as though I had done something wrong. I was even told by a very rude and hateful woman that if I'd been a better lover he wouldn't have "turned gay." 

I did everything a mom could possibly do to raise my sons to be okay. People just didn't care what they said in front of them or behind our backs. People didn't care that 1/2 of the child is made up of their Father. A Father whom I still hold dear as a friend and love as a fellow human being.

It was more than difficult watching the person we cared about being treated so badly. Beatings, being spat upon, and even people saying hateful, rude things to him. That doesn't sound to me like a life easy to choose. 

Today, it was thrown in my face yet again, yes it was!!  I just don't think the person really thought about what was said. But, 23 years later, and I was actually called a lesbian because the husband I trusted with my very life betrayed me. And, by a family member to boot!  And people wonder why I have distanced myself from some of my family members. It shouldn't be a shock if they had been in the emotionally devastating trenches I've endured only to be treated like that! It seems to be okay for them to state their opinions in very harsh ways, but when a differing opinion is spoken they come out swinging like they were the injured party. I refrained from telling this person the definition of Lesbian. I had to use a lot of self-control to not remind this individual of his own life issues that are less than commendable. Few people have spotless pasts! 

Why is it people want to push their desires and beliefs in your face but when you stand up to them you're the bully? Why do people want to pick and choose what constitutes sin or what each of us, individually want in our lives? I've literally been forced to stay an arms leant gateau from certain people because of all the crap they've brought into my life, or allowed someone else to do so, which has left scars that may never be healed. Yet it's okay because their choices are the only "right" choices. People make choices very selfishly at times, but nonetheless, it's their choice to make. We, for ourselves, often are forced to make our own choices based on trying to heal ourselves from the choices others have made also. 

I don't care if your for or against gay marriage. I love straight people and gay people. I don't have to agree with everyone to love them. Because I love them doesn't mean I approve either, it's called mutual respect. God gave us all free choice. I believe in God and I follow the Bible. But that's my choice. That's also a question isn't it? Is this a choice or a genetic predetermination? I don't have that answer myself! 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and beliefs. I see so many talking from a place of hatred while also using the Bible as a base for the horrible things being thrown around. I've also seen people who haven't been to church for years now talking as if they are dedicated Christians against Homosexuality from a religious place. 

However, we are ALL. imperfect humans. I dare to say there are very few days that MOST people don't sin in some way. It could be exceeding the speed limit when they are running late, driving with out of date tags, not paying your taxes by April 15th, gossiping, telling a little white lie, throwing someone under the proverbial bus to save face or your own skin, not honoring your parents, having sex without marriage, drinking, carrying grudges, judging people before you know the WHOLE story, and on and on! 

The Bible doesn't say one sin is any better or worse than another. don't degrade other human beings about how wrong something is unless your living a spotless life and have nothing in your own life and past that can be judged as harshly as you are judging others. 
God gave us all free choice. That choice is between the person and God, only! It's God's opinion that counts in the end. 

God wants us to love people not hate them. If you don't choose the gay lifestyle then there you go! But don't throw stones while you're picking and choosing what YOU consider to be a sin while disregarding sin that may be in your own life. 

I am not gay! I have gay friends. Many gay friends in fact! They know how I conduct my life and my Christian beliefs. They also know without a doubt that I love them. But they also know I respect God enough to leave it in his hands. They are intelligent human beings with Bibles too. It's between them and God.

Nobody has ever won anybody over to their way of thinking by being hateful and mean. There's so much hatered being thrown around by people that have absolutely no right or business throwing stones. Glass houses break!



  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yes Alan, I would adopt again in a heartbeat!!!

Yesterday I was asked a question by Alan Leizear, a very nice, young, talented attorney and my co-worker. He asked “Janice, if you had the opportunity to adopt another child would you?” My answer was swift, “I certainly would if David would let me!” And friends, that’s the absolute truth. Our conversation then turned to the reasons why I would jump at the opportunity to adopt another child.

First, most people want to adopt babies. Babies are sweet and they’re young enough that you can raise them from a very young age instilling your beliefs and values. Toddlers are pretty much the same as babies with regard to adopting. However, older children have a more difficult time getting the opportunity to have a forever home. Teenagers chances of being adopted are significantly less.

Over 20,000 teens age out of foster care each and every year. They do so without ever being able to have a forever family or any stability. After all, once they age out they are on their own without a place to call home. Of that 20,000 emancipated youth, approximately one-fourth of that number end up being homeless and living on the streets. That saddens me so deeply I can’t even explain how those numbers break my heart.

Of the children who emancipate, or age-out of the foster care system, less than three percent will ever go to college. Fifty-one percent are unemployed. Former foster children comprise forty percent of the people living in homeless shelters due to the fact that approximately sixty-five percent of these children age out without a place to live. In addition, approximately forty-five percent of foster children end up going to prison at some point in their lives.

When you think about all of this it is heart breaking but it makes sense at the same time. Stability and a family make huge differences in life. Can you imagine what it would be like to be “temporary” or “disposable?” That’s what these children are wherever they go. At any time they can be abruptly moved to some other home, other foster parents, group homes, mental health facilities or even lockup depending on their particular circumstance.

Ask yourself a question, what would you have become if you didn’t have parents who loved and cared for you? What if your parents abused or neglected you to the point that you were not only removed from their care but also from being “their” child. How would you feel being nobody’s child? Can you even imagine the emptiness of not having a loving parent to go home to when life kicked you in the teeth? Who would you talk to about life’s disappointments or go to for encouragement? What if you didn’t have a Mom that was your biggest fan, supporter and cheerleader? Who would take you Trick-or-Treating, to the Mall, or to Disney? 


If I had my way I would have a huge house with ten bedrooms sitting on a big lot somewhere. Then, I would fill each and every room with a foster teen with the intention of adoption. Every child deserves a family. Every child deserves parents who are the loudest fans in the stadium, rooting them on and encouraging them to succeed.  




Also, every child deserves to have a parent who will just simply hold them when they need to feel loved or consoled. Otherwise, how is this young person going to be able to do the same with their own children someday? It becomes a horrible circle of sadness. My heart hurts down to the very core of my being just thinking about the sadness of not having a home and family.

As upset as I sometimes get with family members, I’d still never have wanted to not be in my family. I’m thankful for all God has given me and in return I just want to pay my blessings forward. As a child I never knew other kids didn't have permanent homes or families. I was on of the lucky ones and didn't know how fortunate I had it!

Yes Alan, I would jump higher than anyone else in the room to adopt more children. Unfortunately, my house can’t hold anymore. Each bedroom is completely taken up and there is no more beds for another child. But…..if I ever win the lottery or have the good fortune to inherit a big house, I would not walk, I would RUN AS FAST AS I COULD, to give another child a home. I believe that’s the way God would want it.

For all of those folks out there who have ever thought of being a foster parent let me tell you, it IS hard, back-breaking, heart wrenching work. People will tell you that they can’t be foster parents because they just couldn’t give the child up after being its foster parents. Yet those same people watch their own children go off to college and have families of their own. How is a being a foster parent any different?  The joy of a foster parent comes when you see a child who was failing in school start excelling academically. The pleasure a foster parent experiences is when she sees a child who has detachment disorder starting to bond with people again. The thrill of being a foster parent is in the day-to-day accomplishments that few people will ever see, but as a foster parent we experience it along with these children that society seems to forget. And let me tell you folks, after what these kiddos have been through some of these day-to-day accomplishments are pretty miraculous!

I’ve always felt God would have us take care of the weakest among us. Who is weaker than a child who has been abused or neglected? They are frail beyond description and they need love, compassion, and patience. I will never forget my years fostering. I cherish each and every accomplishment and I pray for the children daily that came through our doors.  I know without one single doubt that the kids that came through our home were better off emotionally, academically, physically, and mentally than when they first step foot into our home.

If you really want to make a difference in this world, touch the life of a child in need! It's not just the child who will experience an amazing transformation!



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dad's "Look" Saves The Day!

This weekend was a whirlwind of fun and exciting times. We had a yard sale on Friday and Saturday. The original plan was to just do it on Saturday, but Pamela & Irwin had dollar signs in their eyes and wanted to do it Friday as well. I explained to them that I would be at work so if they truly wanted to have a yard sale on Friday they would have to be the ones to run it. And by run it...I meant stay in the moment with it, be attentive to people who drop by, stay alert and ready to assist shoppers. 

Oh yeah this 14 and 15 year old felt I sold give them the responsibility and they would run with it. So, being the Mom I am, I decided to sneak home at lunch time to check on the situation. I pulled up in front of the house and neither one of them even noticed. I walked through our yard strewn with various yard sell items and I stepped upon our front porch. Just as I was about to walk into the house I heard Pamela's friend, Salina, trying to wake her up telling her, "you're mom is here!" in a rather frantic best friend saving her bestie voice. 

Sure enough, Pamela had been sleeping all morning. I had gotten up early, before 5:00 a.m. so I could get my morning workout completed and then have the available time prior to leaving for the office to help them set up this sale. Yet my daughter couldn't even stay awake and run it although it was mainly her who wanted to have it on Friday. So what Mom had to get up so early to take care of her own responsibilities to help her do so, she couldn't even stay awake to run it. Her time was more valuable than mine! I was home to run the yard sale Saturday and we had a decent turnout. 

Today, went about the same way. She wanted to spend the night last night with a friend and Dad and I told her that would be fine as long as she was home in plenty of time to rest up for dance practice on Tuesday night. Dad told her to be home by 4:00 p.m. and specifically told her to "put one foot in front of the other and walk yourself home by 4p.m." I also told my little princess that somebody else's issues were not her concern or her excuse. She had the ability and the capability to get herself home. After all, if she can walk to Arby's for lunch, and Dollar General to shop, both being further away than this friend's house, then she could walk her butt home!

However, upon my arrival at home at nearly 5:00 p.m. she was not home yet. I texted her and was told she couldn't make it home by 4 p.m. because the Mom of the girl she spent the night with, which lives two or three blocks away, had to make food for her husband and therefore couldn't bring her. I reminded my young daughter that Dad gave her instructions to do that terrible thing, "walk"! 

Again, I was met with another excuse, "I couldn't walk home carrying the kitten AND the big cat toy" the nice lady had given her. Finally, it came out of her mouth, the truth, "I didn't want to walk so I didn't come." There it was! This was exactly what I knew it would be, She didn't want to follow Dad's instructions, therefore she didn't. What he said was not nearly as important as what she wanted to do. And certainly, following the guidelines and directives on time was not important. 

Well, I did my workout for 45 minutes, some strength training followed, then went to my bathroom to take a shower. By now it was after 6:00 p.m. and dance practice starts across town at 6:30 p.m. I just took my time. I even texted her coach to see if the child had to even go tonight. I felt she needed a lesson about time and directives to be on time. The coach advised that to miss tonight would be an unexcused absence. I did not know there were unexcused absences regarding dance practices. Therefore, I still planned to take her, but I made sure she would be worried about the time directive to be there at 6:30 p.m.

Sure enough, at 6:19 p.m. came a knock on my bedroom door. "Come in" I said. In walked Miss I don't care about the time asking me why we weren't leaving yet. I said, "you mean you're concerned about being there on time?" Her comment was "YES!!!!" "Oh wow!" I said, you didn't care about Dad's directive on time so why is this important?" She just looked blank as if she still didn't get the connection in what I was trying to teach her. She tucked her tail between her legs and went sheepishly to the living room, worried she was going to be in trouble with the Dance Coach. I then started wondering how a sweet, little blonde dance coach could in-site more fear than parents who have the power to take away privileges and cell phones? How is that even possible? 

I dropped her off late on purpose to teach her a bit of a lesson. She didn't say a single word to me all the way across town to the dance room. She got out without saying a word and I could see she was worried her coach would be upset. My thought about that was; GOOD! YOU DO SOME WORRYING LIKE I HAD TO!!! Right?

When I arrived back at the house Dad was home taking a shower. We talked for a moment before I prepared our dinner. Irwin and his friend ate with us and the conversation was about everything except Pamela and her issues today. We had a very enjoyable, fun dinner. This is the time in our home where we can connect with our teens and know about their day and how they are doing emotionally and physically. Tonight, it was Irwin's physical issues that were on the agenda. This child is so sore from a day of physical working out with the football team that he couldn't even pull his own shirt up over his head. Later, Dad had to help him pull it off....lol 

When it was time to retrieve Pamela, Dad went to get her. Usually I do, but Dad decided tonight was his night to spend some alone time with his baby girl. "Ut oh" is all I can say. People, especially the kids, see Dad as the gentle one who is a pushover. However, they don't know the Dad I know.  I know the Dad who has been so trampled over by an ex wife and the children she spent the last 9 years alienating, who are so vulgar speaking that we both had to block them from our Facebook friends to not be continually embarrassed by the inappropriateness. Sometimes, no matter what the connection may be, you just have to say enough is enough! We also learned that when you use tough love with these types they see you as evil and their enemy. When in reality, all you want is them to be the type of people that others respect and appreciate. Not the type that people see as out of control and having a huge lack of self-control.

This Dad, the improved Dad, doesn't allow his Irwin and Pamela to rule the roost, or disrespect their parents. He doesn't allow or put up with the nonchalant disobeying of his instructions even as simple as "put one foot in front of the other and walk home!" This Dad, is teaching his children respect, manners, unselfishness, self-control, and that respect is earned by your behavior and actions. When this Dad had been through the ringer with his 19 year old one time too many, and told her enough was enough, she texted him saying "I know this is Janice" when in fact, Janice hadn't been anywhere near his telephone to say a single thing to her. She too, failed to see the Dad I know, the Dad who when he's had enough cuts off the "my Dad the pushover" myth!

In walks Pamela with a look on her face that I can't say I've ever seen. She had certainly been in the presence of the Dad I know! There was discussion on the way home that if she did one more thing this week out of disobedience she would be missing Big Splash on Sunday. This is a day that has been planned for two months. Both her and brother got to invite 3 friends each for a Birthday Party in June. (since its winter when their birthdays come around). That thought alone was enough to bring our daughter around to Daddy's way of thinking! 

It all worked out tonight, and I didn't have to do a thing. Dad took the reins, as he does when he sees children disrespecting Mom, and he handled it. As a Mom, and a Wife, I truly appreciate my husband stepping in to see that our children know proper and respectful behavior. When I was a kid my poor Mom could yell, spank, and scold us from sun up to sun down and it didn't seem to phase us. But when Dad gave us "the look" it all came to a screeching halt. Why is that? What is it about a Father that seems to instill just enough fear, mixed with a gentle heart, to get kids to sit up and pay attention?

David Sizemore, you are the most wonderful Husband to me. I appreciate everything you do for us but most especially, that you are taking the time to teach our children how to be respectful and be appropriate. You are the bomb!! 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm hungry!!!

Each child is unique. If I’ve learned nothing else after being blessed with my own 9 children and fostering 23 children I have certainly learned this point well. Take for instance my oldest son, Austen. Austen’s dad and I divorced when he was around 9 years of age. Immediately after the separation and divorce Austen had this inner belief that he had to become the man of the house. I constantly told him he was a child and he was not responsible as an adult is responsible. But still that boy continued to worry like an adult about things that were not his responsibility. I even did everything I could think of to ease his premature worries about life in general and about family finances specifically. Those were my worries not his but I just never could convince him of that fact. He worried and fretted about everything from how to purchase Christmas gifts for his brothers and extended family members to worrying about having the oil changed on the car. Austen grew up way before his years and as a result he didn’t seem to have the same carefree nature as other teens. Now, he is thirty and probably feeling like he missed something, which he did but not because Mom wanted him to miss it. Instead, it was that sense of responsibility that was deep inside of a boy when it shouldn’t have been there at all.

 

Now, twenty something years later I’m going through some of this experience again with my youngest son, Irwin. Just this morning I received a text message from Irwin that he needed lunch money. I asked him why he was already needing lunch money in his school account when I had paid for an entire month on October 2nd. He continued to insist “they said” he needed more lunch money. However, upon investigation he had enough money in his account for another seven days. This is the mentality Irwin possesses. He was hungry as a foster child so he protects himself from hunger now. We are constantly fighting the food battle with this child. He worries about every meal and actually counts the meals he has each day. He insists on three meals no matter what time he might partake of the first meal of the day. There are times when he sleeps in on Saturday and he may eat at 1pm but to him this meal is breakfast, leaving the need for lunch and dinner in this particular day. And…believe me….I know about it if he doesn’t get those three meals too!

 

I hear people say all the time, “the past is the past.” However, that’s not necessarily true for everyone or every circumstance. I know a man in his forties that was once a foster child. Even today when he’s cooking a meal for him and his wife he ends up with a pot big enough to feed a family of six. The same can be said for Irwin when he cooks anything. It’s always in excess, more than he needs. Why? Because at a point in their lives they were without food. There simply was none to be had for them. Hungry and miserable is a desperate place. Those are lows in life that aren’t forgotten no matter how old one may get. Now, just like with Irwin, the self-protection mode kicks in and they are driven to make certain they never go hungry again. 

 

As a child I never had to worry about hunger. As a parent I always made sure my children had enough. However, not every child in this world has those safeguards. Have you ever been so ready for lunch that you watch the clock until lunchtime? What if you were so hungry for lunch, watching the clock until lunch time, then there was no food to be had? Unfortunately, there are many in our world, right here in the United States, that go without food. I see it every day from my office window on the fifth floor in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the Country’s Heartland. 

 

My Gordo is coming home in a few days and I can’t wait to see my Army son. I miss him each and every day and being without being able to see him in person leaves a gaping hole in my heart. Every military parent understands what it is like. I’m excited for Thanksgiving this year because all my children will be around my table. That is so special. Yet there are mothers who won’t be able to feed their children or even have a table to sit around in a warm, happy, loving home. 

 

As the holiday season approaches I urge everyone to get out and give. Give food to the food banks in your area that provide food to the hungry. Give money to charities that provide for the needy. Take one or two of those little angels off an Angel Tree somewhere and buy a child a Christmas Gift. Go beyond what you did last year. Go beyond yourself and do for others. Believe me you will be blessed beyond your imagination in so many ways. Charity begins at home folks and there is a need right here in America, in our own communities. Let’s take hunger to heart this season and do whatever we can to give. Even a little from everyone will go a long way!

 

Go out and do something AMAZING!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

$100

When faced with challenging circumstances you also find out the depth of your friendships. I have been completely inundated with friends from all over the world praying for me, giving me encouragement, and even sending flowers as tokens of their love and concern. It's just been amazing and I know I'm greatly blessed.

However, this morning I received a visitor in my office who had just learned of my cancer diagnosis. This wasn't somebody I don't normally see as this attorney occupies the office next to mine. We see each other in the office daily and have conversations and group lunches regularly as our office is like a family. We "almost" solve the worlds problems during our lunches together, lol! Howver, today's was a private conversation in my office which put a mark on my mind that will long outlast this illness. It was a life-lesson which I will truly value for the remainder of my life. I want to share it with you in the hopes it will also make a mark on you. 

He said, "you're a $100 bill!" I paused from my work and raised my head to look at him as he sat down in the chair in front of my desk. I asked him what on earth he was talking about. 


He took me on a journey through the life of a $100 bill. First, it's created on the drafting table, it's reviewed and revised until it's perfected. Then it is printed at the Federal Reserve. It goes to a bank. An everyday Joe takes his payroll check to a cashier and cashes it, being handed that $100 bill in the envelope.

Joe gives that $100 bill to his wife and she goes shopping. On her way inside the mall she's mugged and her money stolen. The criminal gets away and that $100 is now in his pocket. 

To pay for his drug habit this criminal carries the $100 bill to the dark area of town and purchases the drugs he desires more than anything else. 

The dealer takes the $100 and uses it to purchase the services of his favorite girl of the evening. During their little romp alcohol gets spilled on the nightstand and all over the bill. During the evening a cigarette falls out of the ashtray and singes the bill. 

Stinking and burned the bill is then taken to the grocery store where she purchases food for the children she didn't plan to have and couldn't afford. The grocer takes the bill back to the bank in his nightly deposit. 

The $100 bill had been through good things and bad. It was in good places and bad places. What was once crisp and new became worn, stinky and soiled. But no matter what it had been through or where it had been, it never lost its value, it was still worth $100. 

The point then made was this;
No matter what we face in life, no matter what challenges we go through, God made us. Our value to him remains the same, it never diminishes.  Just like the value of that $100 bill God still values me. (And you.) 

When life brings us challenges that seem overwhelming or too big to win, remember you still have value to God. That value is the same consistent value as when he made you. 

I've always been told that God won't allow anything to be put upon us which is to great for us to handle. I think he made me to be a brick house at this point. 

I shall not question his plan nor his wisdom but will continuing knowing I have value in his eyes and that just as he always has, he will see me through this too! 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wrestling a .......Girl!

One of the big obstacles Irwin has faced in the wrestling mat is......a girl! It doesn't sound like much of a problem but believe me it has been. 

As a little boy Irwin was abused himself, but also forced to witness his sisters' abuse. As a result of his painful experiences and memories, he simply can not stand even the thought of a girl being thrown around or man-handled. Every time he steps onto the wresting mat with his opponent being a girl, he just shuts down! He refuses to get agressive and becomes weak from the memories that still haunt his mind. 

I've always been an advocate for equal opportunity. However, as the parent now of a girl I must say that if it were my Pamela, I would not want her to wrestle. I just couldn't stand the thought of my precious angel getting man-handled by boys and even possibly hurt. However, my sentiment is only my own opinion and every parent, as well as every child regardless of the gender, has the right to do however they feel is appropriate for them. 

Early this morning I began looking online at the wrestling website to see if today's brackets had been posted. That way I could have some indication of how long before Irwin's first match.  Pamela and I suffered through over 100 matches yesterday just waiting for Irwin to have his first opportunity of the day on the mat. When it was finally posted and I found his  match and when I saw who he was wrestling my mouth dropped open. I covered the open mouth with my hand as I said out loud, "oh no!" Unless some boy's parents had named him "Naomi", irwin's first opponent was a girl! This was trouble!

My stomach dropped and this mom began to worry about my son's memories and inner struggles which were about to take center stage on mat number 5! Ugh!

About that time I received the first of many frantic text messages; "I think my first match is a girl!!!!" I knew at that moment my Mom's intuition was coming full circle as I was witness to the fearless wrestling warrior freaking out like a little girl who just saw a spider!

I told Pamela we needed to get into the arena quickly. Dad is great at all things manly like wrestling techniques and manly instructions to devour the apponent. However, a mom is comfort in times of inner struggle and this warrior was melting fast! 

I received several more frantic text messages along the way (in the three minutes it took us to walk into the arena and to our chairs.) When I saw him there was little color in that normally olive complexion. His dark eyes were shifting back and forth and he was figiting nervously from side to side. "Miss Janice, what am I going to do?" 

Immediately I told him to not think of this opponent as a girl. I said to him that she's only a girl off the mat. I tried to convince him in every way humanly possible that once she stepped on the mat as his opponent, she was nothing more than a fellow wrestler. 

I could see I wasn't making any headway immediately. He was as nervous as a cat in a room full of old people in rocking chairs! He flashed those dark, worried eyes at me as if to say, "are you crazy ? - there's no way!"

He made his way to the arena floor while biting his fingernails nervously! He then began stretching and hopping around as wrestlers do to get the blood pumping and trying to prepare mentally for what was about to occur. All the while he was watching HER out of the corner of his eyes! 

I could see his Dad and the coaching staff trying to talk to him about the "girl" being just an apponent. But I know my son and he was not even close to being convinced. It would take a lot more than our mere words to make him wrestle "a girl" as if she were merely a wrestler!

His time was at hand. The girl was a pretty girl too! I had hoped for a tomboy that looked like a dude! But no such luck today. She was a very pretty girl with long black hair and a very well developed "girl" body for her age. 

The referee turned to her and patted the tops of her arms and shoulders then turned to Irwin and did the same. They shook hands as is wrestling etiquette. After mumbling a request to God for mercy and emotional strength, I drew in a deep breath and waited! 

And then......it happened! The miracle that would bust down that mental and emotional wall that until today kept him from being able to wrestle a girl just as aggressively as he does male wrestlers.  Her first move?

 She slapped the living crap out of him!!! 


With just one well placed blow across that handsome but troubled face, she opened the very floodgates of his heart!  

Boy was he mad. He flipped that girl over and over, he twisted her limbs around until he made her roll like a rolling pin across that mat. He was no longer wrestling a girl, he was wrestling an adversary that had angered him from the get-go! He won that match with little effort or time! He did so in a technical fall 10-0! She never had the opportunity to make any points on him. 

Never, in my wildest dreams did I think he was going to be able to see beyond the wall of emotion surrounding the abuse of his sister to face a girl on the wrestling mat with success. Today he did. He broke through that wall that had him bound and succeeded.

He came off that mat and immediately made his way straight to me. "I can't believe I was able to do that!" He just kept walking in circles and repeating it, "I can't believe it!" He had a big smile on his face that had nothing to do with beating this opponent but had everything to do with facing the demons of the painful memories locked away inside him and winning! 

However, I did tell him, several times,  that this is ONLY for the wrestling mat and he is to never be this aggressive with "a girl" otherwise! 

Today was a landmark day and although nobody else in this big arena knew it, Irwin fought more than just his opponent, he was a champion! The victory he won will be remembered long after the stats from this tournament have been forgotten!




Friday, May 30, 2014

The Songs Remember When

It is not unusual for me to have a song running through my head and not know why! It can be some annoying commercial jingle or a full song!

Once I actually take the time to do the mental backtracking I normally discover that while I was at the grocery store the song was playing over their sound system. Or I simply walked through the living room and my subconscience heard a song or jingle. It takes hours for me to get that melody out of my head too. 

Music has a way of reminding us of certain events. Those events can be joyful and leave a smile in your face or they can remind you of not so happy moments. 

As a teenager I had a boyfriend that could play the bass guitar. Looking back on that relationship I often have wondered which I liked more, Jimmy or his guitar! Lol. Music has always been a big part of my life. One day my little sister, Joyce Ann, overheard him singing to me and she always reminds me of it;

" If you've got a problem, don't care what it is
If you need a hand, I can assure you this

I can help, I've got two strong arms, I can help
It would sure do me good to do you good 
Let me help"

I still smile when I think about that. I understand Jimmy died of a heart attack in his 40's but in my mind he will always be 17! 

On the contrast, every time I listen to Joe Diffie's "Is It Cold In Here?" It reminds me of the last evening spent with my ex-husband. He was always gone and I was raising three little boys virtually alone. It was just before his "coming out" and try as I did to be the very best wife and mother I could be, my efforts just hit emotional walls. The words went through me like a knife and as I glanced across the room at him I caught him doing the same. Those words were;

"There's no warmth at all when I try to hold you near, 
You stare into space as if I wasn't here.
Did our love just die or is it just about to?
Is it cold in here or is it just you."

It's amazing to me that we've been divorced since 1992 and I still think about that one moment in time 22 years ago every time I happen to hear that song. 

My cousin posted about her first-born graduating from Kindergarten today and it brought back to my memory the day of Austen, my oldest sons,  kindergarten graduation. At the time he was five and he loved riding his bike in the country at my parents' place. He loved a certain song and he asked my mom, Grandma, to make him a continuous cassette tape of only that song so he could ride his bike while it was playing on a little mini player taped to his bike. The song: "Billy The Kid" was recorded by Billy Dean and the words fit at the time;

"Strapped on my holster low across my hips, 
Two Colt .45’s with black plastic grips; 
And I’d head west through our neighborhood, 
And they’d say, 
“Here comes young Billy and he’s up to no good.” 
I rode a trail through the neighbor’s backyard, 
Shootin’ the Bad Guys through my handlebars. 
Known for my bravery both far and near, 
Bein’ late for supper was my only fear."

That kid would ride that bike for hours on end listening to that song. He would wear the denim duster Grandma made him, flannel cowboy shirt, brown cowboy boots, and have a holster and 2 plastic six-shooters strapped across his waist. Again, the song fit that moment in time. I still think about that little boy riding his bike to that song and sweating like crazy! But he was living the dream! He still rides a bike but now it says "Harley Davidson" on it and every time I see him riding I wonder if he's listening to that song! 

One year at Christmastime Jorden wanted to give his Grandpa a Christmas gift. He worried about giving something to the man he most adored! He was seven years of age and his job got him a dollar a week for chores around the house. I had a small recording studio in my house and I would spend the hours between getting the kids off to school and them coming home playing, practicing and recording music. Jorden would arrive home from school, pop into the studio and say "I wanna sing too!" So, I would let him and he was darn good too! 

For Christmas that year he came up with the idea to record grandpa a song. He choose a song and asked me to change the words to fit grandpa. I only had to change two words and he recorded it. My dad still has that recording and Jorden is now pushing 30 years of age. This was the song;

" I remember Grandpa's hands,
folded silently in prayer
And reaching out to hold me,
when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story,
in the callouses and lines
Years of work and worry
had left their mark behind

I remember Grandpa's hands,
how they held my Grandma tight
And patted my back,
for something done right
There are things that I've forgotten,
that I loved about the man
But I'll always remember
the love in Grandpa's hands

Grandpa's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin'
Grandpa's hands, were hard as steel
when I'd done wrong
Grandpa's hands
, weren't always gentle
But I've come to understand
There was always love
in Grandpa's hands

I remember Grandpa's 
hands
, working 'til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly,
just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over,
I'd live my life again
And never take for granted
the love in Grandpa's 
hands"

Every time I hear this song, which was written by Holly Dunn about her own Dad in 1986, my mind still sees Jorden in that little home studio singing with tears in his eyes about his Grandpa Beesley. That was love pure and simple!

Sometimes I think about what song I might want played when my time has come, and my husband, children, and family are gathered in the front pews of a church for my going home service. I want that song to be something that gives instructions of my wishes for them Something like this perhaps;

"I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you'd find God's grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take

But more than anything
Yeah more than anything

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big
Your worries stay small
And you never have to carry more than you can haul
And when you're out there gettin where your gettin to 
I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too
Yeah this is my wish."


I couldn't help but laugh out loud the other day when a friend posted this on Facebook:


It reminded me of the first time I heard YMCA by the Village People! 

What do you remember?