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A Day Together and Never Turning on the Radio

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I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him and would not let him go… Song of Solomon

Some say a soulmate never tires of holding your hand. A soulmate isn’t completely the same, but they have the same core beliefs and values. It is someone you cannot imagine your life without. Someone who knows what you’re thinking without having to say a word. They make you feel safe and secure.

Here is my not so Dear John-

Dear John letter,

While walking along a path we were holding hands and I could see a woman staring at us. She looked at us longingly while picking up her pace she reached out for her partner’s hand. He took her hand and they walked on down the path and she smiled leaning into him. I’m always happy to hold your hand… in the car… in the sanctuary… on a walk… in a store… even while you sleep.

We are so very different in our abilities and talents, but we are so much the same. There is no debate of political ideals or religious beliefs. There is no dispute over raising our children. Maybe it’s because we’ve been together for twenty years, but even when we were in high school I simply could not imagine my life without you in it. I can feel it in your shoulders and see it in your expressions… you can hear it in my breathing or see it in my brow when something is wrong even in the slightest of difficulties. I know it in your twinges and the patterns of your breath when you are starting to fall asleep next to me. In all the difficulties and triumphs of my life I have reached out for your voice and your embrace. You have brought me such peace. I know that little curve of your shoulder where I place my head every night to fall asleep was carved out just for me.

I look into your deep blue eyes and I know the truth. I can imagine my life traveling to many places. I can imagine my life with more money or less money. I can imagine my life with more activity or less…. I can imagine it any way, but without you.

I found who my soul loves. I will hold you and not let go – there will always be room on my door for two and it will still float. 

XOXO – Porgy

11 Stops on Rt. 11 for #11

We made an interesting trip yesterday for our 11th wedding anniversary. We had many people do a double take when we said we were out for our 11th anniversary. We were 22 and 23 when we married. In today’s terms I suppose that’s rather young or maybe we look young…. shoot maybe we are young for being married 11 years. 

Stop #1 – My friend Crystal insisted that if she was watching the kids for us for the day we had to stop at 52 Weeks of Romance for our anniversary. It’s an adult novelty store. I wont show you pictures on this one… leave it to your own imagination. We had a funny time and giggled a lot. I tried on lots of outfits. I haven’t tried on any lingerie since my surgery…. before then nothing fit. It was entertaining to find some things were too big. That’s never happened before.

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Stop #2 –  We stopped at Happy’s which is a local flea market. I’m sure in its prime was awesome- now it’s just sketchy. We grabbed some guitar strings and managed a sunburn while we were there. John played a banjo for a bit. He still makes his guitar face even on a banjo… not sure why we were expecting  a different face.

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Stop #3 – Lunch at a local Mexican restaurant called Alejandro’s.

We managed to laugh at each other’s funny faces.

IMG_6519This is my “Oh my -there was a hidden jalapeno in there!!!” While John is just laughing making me freeze to take pictures… Steam is coming out of my ears!

It’s okay he followed it by getting brain freeze so I made sure I took an equally lovely picture of him. IMG_6460

Stop #4 – Apple Barn II in Troutville, Virginia. This is a little shop with collectables and candles. We grabbed a few candles and a birthday present for Maggie.

IMG_6469 This was one of our favorite stops because the clerk at the store was just a super nice person and had such wonderful hospitality.

Stop #5 – Fincastle Winery – We did a wine tasting. My favorite was their Hybrid Vigor and John’s was a buttery tasting Chardonnay. We bought a glass and sat in the shade of the wrap around porch in some super comfy white rocking chairs and enjoyed their sweet dog Max. We bought a bottle of each one for Crystal and one for us.  IMG_6474 IMG_6478 IMG_6477 IMG_6521

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Stop #6 – Purgatory Emporium in Buchanan, Virginia. It’s this cute little antique shop named after the large and dangerous mountain nearby coined Purgatory Mountain. We got a cute wine rack and some blackberry preserves made in another nearby town. Blackberry preserves are my absolute favorite.

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Stop #7 – Buchanan Grill- We stopped and got a scoop of ice cream which really was like four scoops of ice cream. Just an FYI- Both stop 6 and 7 take cash only, but there is an ATM nearby.

IMG_6486 IMG_6482 Our favorite ice creams- butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. Yum. It’s an old school diner style place… very quaint.

Stop #8 – Natural Bridge one of the Natural Wonders of the World. I hadn’t been there since kindergarten and John hadn’t been there since he was a child. It is breath taking and it was agreed upon as our favorite stop. I ran into a childhood friend and her mother while I was there. It was quiet and peaceful in the nature. I enjoyed walking along with John taking it all in. Finding a turkey was just extra perks.

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Stop #9 – Foam Henge – It’s this hilarious thing right up the road from the Natural Bridge where someone took the time and money to make a foam replica of Stone Henge. We enjoyed it, but we were glad it was free too.

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Stop#10 – Swinging Bridge in Buchanan, Virginia. I’m afraid of heights over water… but I managed to make it halfway to halfway across. Yeah that’s only a fourth…. shh let’s not talk about it.

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Stop #11 – Lew’s Restaurant. We stopped for a drink and a basket of fries before picking up the kids. At this point we were sunburned and tired.

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Overall we had a lovely day and without Crystal and her family it would not have been possible. I’m so glad that we can spend such wonderful time together and enjoy the company of each other. Our kids climbed in the car and asked us to turn on radio and we realized we had left it off all day and had talked to each other all day with no noise at all. Maybe that’s simply what we needed some R and R and each other.

It all Started in an Elevator.

Someone asked me recently, “Since when did you become so passionate about the LGBT community?” Ever since I decided to open my mouth and speak my mind.

In college my husband was a theater major. Now there are a lot of stereotypes about the LGBT community that are completely false, but the one about an amazing number of actors and dancers are LGBT I must say is fairly true…. We were surrounded by some pretty open minded people and the community was overwhelmingly accepting. I never had to defend anyone in college for their sexuality.

Right after college we were both working in theater and again… we were surrounded by our LGBT friends and there was never a moment I had to defend them.

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It wasn’t until my working career that I ever experience discrimination. I was in an elevator and another group of coworkers were spouting off about others on staff that are lesbians. These coworkers were educators- my thought was how could one say such things… how could someone make fun of them, treat them as less or act as if they were any different? I must have been in my own little naive world or maybe my “gaydar” is broken…. or maybe I simply never gave a crap long enough to try to decipher people like that.

A few weeks later, in the same elevator, one of my coworkers informed me that their roommate was pregnant. At that moment… I realized her “roommate” was not really a roommate… Again naivety at its best. I decided from that moment instead of like the previous conversation I had in the same elevator.. that I would in fact take the high road. I decided in that moment to become knowledgable about the LGBT community and  embrace instead of berate them.

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My friendship with my elevator mate grew into a wonderful friendship and my relationship with her led me in many different directions. It led me on a closer walk with God. It led me to wonderful friendships and bonds. It took me on a parenting journey teaching my children diversity and acceptance for all. It brought me closer to my husband, because we realized we are far more similar in our ideals than we had ever realized. It caused me to stand my ground against those that didn’t agree with my friendship, church, marriage, and parenting. It caused distance from those that didn’t agree with me and ultimately I am the better for it. I am healthier because I stood my ground instead of keeping my mouth shut while the doors were shut in elevators.

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Maybe that was my first step in ‘growing in gumption’. I walked out of that elevator a changed person. I walked out an ally.

 

Village People and Root Friendships

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Standing- L to R – Dave (Char’s dad), Rob and Crystal (Lauren and Allison’s parents) April my college roommate not part of the daycare but she’s still part of this village for sure (Lauren and Allison in front of them) and my husband John. Sitting- L to R Helen holding Char, Jenna holding Isabelle, Me holding Maggie, Alden and James Isabelle’s father.

I have never been a one best friend kind of person. I admire those people that are so devoted to each other and I used to wish I had that, but I think I got a pretty good package myself. I was told once that your husband cannot be your best friend. John ultimately is my best friend- I share my home- my bed- my secrets- my offspring- my finances- my everything with him. I don’t see how it can be seen the other way truthfully. I mostly have other girl friends. I only have one other guy friend to speak of really that I am closer to him than I am his partner. My most devoted friend for the last decade is Crystal, but my goodness my life is filled with second place best friends. I am so so blessed.

Lauren and Maggie napping together.

Lauren and Maggie napping together.

I get a little emotional.

I am in a position where there is so much reshaping that I have to give myself a second to regroup and take a deep breath. I have formed these amazing relationships over the last few years. My mentor in this process of me owning a daycare said to me, “Under no circumstances are you to become friends with your clients.” My response was, “Well then I’m screwed because I’m starting this business on the premise of an already solid friendship with Crystal.” My goal in this daycare was to be a trustworthy and faithful childcare provider when I lost my faith in humanity when a sitter we had made some very poor decisions. I needed to be home with my own children to insure that my children were safe. It was by far the best decision. I surrounded myself with some amazing families raising amazing children. My mentor warned that people would just not pay me some day and with friends I would be in a position to feel bad if they couldn’t pay. She warned of parents picking up late and not caring about my time and my home. The pay hasn’t been an issue- All of the parents of the children I watch are college graduates with professional jobs- nurse/lactation consultant, teacher, social worker, engineer, and IT specialist. They get paid and I get paid. Money is a non issue and they would never consider not paying me as an option. I charge a reasonable fee and they pay me that and a load of gratitude for the care that I give their precious ones.

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An Oldie but a goodie

It’s a spark. 

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Alden holding baby Char

As I have been working through the emotions of this process in realizing that in less than six full months my daycare will close I get a little scared. I know friends who have children and they have friends with children, but I’m not sure that I can compare this to anything other than being an aunt. My nieces and nephews do this same thing to me so maybe other aunts and uncles out there can understand this comparison. On June 11, 2010, I closed my classroom door for the last time and road in the car to hold my new “job” in my hands. I arrived at the hospital to see my friend Crystal and her husband Rob. Lauren was placed in my hands for the first time. The spark I felt when Lauren was placed in my arms is the same thing I feel now when I hold her. It is a reminder of when God closed a window and opened a door into my future and guided me on a path to where I am now. Not too many people in your life give you that… it is simply untouchable. Then I held Allison, then I found Isabelle by responding to a craigslist ad and Charlotte through Isabelle. I would never have these children call me mom, but truth be told I am like a sistermom to them. I am much like an aunt to them. I’m not just a babysitter to them. I love them.

I crossed the line.

So I must apologize for not listening to my mentor. I crossed the line and I am so glad that I did. In crossing that line I created this amazing village of friends. I’ve had one parent arrive late for pick up. They felt horrible and paid me back by watching my kids overnight. Now we just keep trading back and forth. I watch hers and she watches mine and we get some time to ourselves without kids. What these women wouldn’t do for me… I’m not sure I can answer that. I’m sure they just thought of something totally inappropriate that they wouldn’t do and they are laughing amongst themselves. For my surgery they were the most amazingly supportive friends. They came to my room to check on me to see if I was okay. They cared for my family and my home while I recovered. They are my village people. It’s not just me standing in as the chief. They talk alone too. They watch each others children so the other one can go for a run or share clothes and household gadgets. They help each other in taking care of themselves from signing up for weight watchers together to training for a half marathon side by side. Sure sometimes we get on each others nerves like siblings would and that’s okay because it’s not a “perfect thing”. Just like anything natural sometimes it gets to be too much and you reel it in and regroup.

They are root friends

Take a little advice from Madea.

I’ve had some friends come and go over time and some fade in and out like the leaves. I’ve even had a few branches fall down, but this is root work here. Realizing that in the next six months our lives will change drastically is becoming a bigger pill to swallow, but we don’t really have a choice anymore. We’ve grown connected in the village of root friends and we will go from seeing each other daily and having the bond that we have be changed forever. We can’t take this back nor recreate it.

I think we’re like monkey grass though- you separate us at the roots and we will grow on our own. Separating us wont kill us, but the transplant will give us distance from each other that is unavoidable.

Sisterwives- Bromances- SisterMoms- BrotherDads- Siblings- ::Love::

“You don’t just say and do these things with just anybody”~ Jenna.

Originally, I was going to blog on making a village of friends, but I can’t tell you how to create a village. I can only tell you how much I have been blessed by it. It all started with me loving their children as much as my own even when they screamed in my face and bit their friends I still loved them. They knew it and could feel it. Who doesn’t want to drop off their children every day with someone who loves their children unconditionally and fully and will gripe about their day over a glass of wine on ladies craft night. More so the children love each other. The look on Charlotte’s face as she reaches for Allison in the mornings is a bond that melts my heart. When Lauren and Isabelle make each other giggle and they lean into each other and snuggle I’m still melting. The twins have that weird twin bond that is an entity of beauty all by itself. When Charlotte and Alden see each other and they embrace they both light up. If Maggie and Isabelle aren’t insulting each other about who can color better they are surely snuggled up sharing a blanket and talking about how they like like each others new earrings. It’s not to say there are never issues. We aren’t unrealistic… in fact we are quite real with each other. And truth be told we all just simply love each other and our families. 


But it’s good enough for granddad and it’s good enough for me. 

~ April ~

I’ve Folded My Cards… But I’m still at the table feeling the pressure of the game

There has been a blog about doing the hard things making its way around my facebook newsfeed. This entire list is good for me and embodies so many things that I have to do every day to get beyond some barrier that I face. We all have things we find hard and everyone’s list is different.

The first one on the list is to make those phone calls you’re afraid to make…. well I’m afraid to order a pizza so everything else that you can imagine just falls on its face after that. I have had to play phone tag with principals for the last few weeks and to me those are hard things. I can write myself in and out of every situation you can imagine, but when it comes to phone conversations well — it’s just not my thing. It’s more than that though. It’s not about ‘just a phone call’ it’s about having hard conversations. So much anxiety sits and rides on the shoulders of your to do list of hard conversations. They are so much better when they are just over. Sometimes for me there are conversations and space that is needed to be given before these hard conversations turn into irrational rambling and bantering mistakes when tackled too soon. So I am patient, but sometimes it is best to just get them over with already. Some people I am just simply done having hard conversations with and I’m at peace having said my part and closing their chapter. Image

 

The one on the list of hard things that I’ve been thinking about recently is ‘being nice to people who have been cruel to you’. Um. No. I’m done with that. It’s okay if I skip one of these rules right? I say this somewhat in jest. I’m always polite and friendly- If I’m rude or even sharp in tongue it was probably unintentional. – I find it nearly impossible to be rude to someone even when they probably deserve it. I show hospitality not because I feel the desire to do so with certain folks, but extending it is simply the right thing to do.

The challenge I have faced recently is having been strong enough to rid myself of negative people- there are people around me that still have a relationship with the outcasts than I have stopped associating with and this brings it too close for my comfort. I’m not an ultimatum kind of person that says- If you associate with the person then I am out. I think that is wrong. They are allowed to have their own relationships, but I don’t want to feel it, know it or see it. It took me so long to stand up for myself and to have the strength to do what was right for me and I find it hard to have them around. I am safe from the storm in this shelter I have built up around myself. Showing hospitality to the storm seems a tad ridiculous- this isn’t the last supper and I’m hardly Jesus. I’m beyond a hard conversation in this instance. I’m good with just being safe with my self worth. I try to blow as hard as I can to make it turn its direction away from me, but even at the sight of their darkness in the distance makes me begin to question myself- my decisions- my strength- my thoughts. I have to keep saying that I am strong enough to weather the storm when it passes by and be prepared internally enough to withstand it when I know it’s going to be a close call.

I followed the rule of “be nice to people who have been cruel to you” until I hurt my own self worth and I draw the line here. I have been strong enough after years of mistreatment to finally say enough is enough already and it is not easy to watch my near and dear brave the storm with what I know to be a dangerous level of uncertainty. They have to figure this out on their own though… I can’t convince them of the dangers. They might simply have to feel the pelts of the ice cold storm hit their back before they understand why I opened my umbrella and shielded myself.

You have to do the hard things sometimes in saying enough is enough. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is finally say no to a bad relationship and admit that you can’t make it work. I’ve thrown in my cards but I’m still somehow at the poker table watching everyone else gamble with their time in the storm of negative relationships.

This Campfire is Under Construction

Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:16

The  sermon at church this weekend was about not allowing yourself to be snuffed out by anyone else and letting your light shine brightly. Not to cover your goodness under a bowl… a bushel or hide away the things that make you whole.

I’ve been on an amazing journey this year. It has been a spiritual journey. A journey to regain my health, body and mind. This blog is simply my therapy and my talking point… soap box- it is my mind therapy. My health has been overseen by new eyes… new nurses and doctors with a new perspective. My body has run more miles than it knew it would ever be capable of… ever. Although, none of these things are “good enough” for me yet- I’m a work in progress. Under construction sign

While listening to the sermon on Sunday, I thought about when this flame was blown out for me. I can pinpoint the exact moment the flame was covered up completely. I was told by a person that my personality was overbearing. I was too loud- rude- abrasive and I simply was not to speak in their presence. This person , whom I had a lot of respect for, having somewhat of a leadership role in my life I complied- gumption gone. I was snuffed out right then. I reevaluated all of my relationships and friendships. I thought over everything I had ever said. I sought validation from every angle and every relationship.  Maybe I needed to in my life journey…  had I been too much or over stepped my bounds? Or I was simply too much, but I don’t think so entirely.

blown out flame So I went on about my life teaching and having my children. Still no strong flame…. struggling to relight. Teaching helped me feel lifted but only in those moments where I was directly in front of the children. I was alone in my classroom- my own space my own closet to safely hold my flame without fear. Only in that space did I feel like I had something going, but even that was like getting a small fire lit and then it dwindles out to nothing again. I love being a mother, but there have been times where my fire felt so dim. What I realized over time was that I couldn’t light all my cardboard at once, but that I had to build back up my kindling that surrounded my campfire to make myself really ignite at a steady pace and remain long lasting.

My flame was snuffed by this person over a decade ago. My coals have grown cold  and it has been a challenge to reignite. In my rebuilding, I hope to stay strong and not lose focus.  I was in a controlled situation where I had no right to speak especially no right to have opinions- thoughts- beliefs.  I was hit by a silencer that struck my confidence and my self worth.  I may come off as quiet to some of you now… reserved… an introvert of sorts. I didn’t used to be this way. It is quite possible that I needed a little taming. I may just find that right balance I needed and completely put my light out to shine. campfire_unlit1

My blogs may be too abrasive, too honest, too blunt and too open, but I spent the last decade only speaking my mind in a closet. I’m not trying to shove my little light in anyone’s face. I am simply coming out of darkness and relighting a flame that was put out long ago. Don’t worry while I’m rebuilding up my kindling. Don’t stress over my poetic digressions.

This video was circling around my facebook over the last 24 hours. It’s pretty moving regardless your journey or your closet. 

When You One Up- You Are Really Two Down

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Man on a Boat- by my mother

I have realized recently that there is a person around that is in a competition with me and I didn’t know we were competing. I have been completely unaware. It’s almost like a mean girls competition from middle school. I feel like the person is trying to insult my wellbeing, my parenting, my husband, my children and mostly me… maybe they’ve just become disillusioned by me somehow. Maybe, I failed them somehow. I’m not sure what has caused these poorly chosen words used towards me.

My mom used to have this rule that if a girl was being mean to you that girl ultimately was jealous of something you have and you may never know what it is. My mother didn’t encourage us to be mean back or tell us to step down either. It was more important to our mother for us to understand that jealousy caused this tacky treatment.  In this particular situation, I feel like I’ve been running to get to the finish line just to finish for myself and nothing else and along comes this competitor making snide remarks about my stride along the way and hollering back at me as they cross the turn to say, “Nana-nana-booboo I’m faster and better than you.” Seriously, are we not adults? Did I not treat you with decency somehow? Did I make you feel as though you needed to defend yourself? If so, I would sincerely apologize, because that was not my intent.

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Scenic painting by my mom.

This behavior was modeled in front of my daughter. What exactly does this model say to the next generation about us in this adult bragging and mudslinging? It sets an example that she’s already learning so young. I simply bow out and ask that you rethink your approach. Please, take the finish line first… I’m going to mosey on about my way and I will be there eventually, but for now I’m going to enjoy the journey of my run. I’m going to breath in deep the fresh air of the mountains and take long exhales while I cruise the valleys of my surroundings.

Come on 6 o’clock- Ready for the weekend.

Dan Auerback- Goin’ Home

This week flew by for me, but I am so looking forward to this weekend. We have one kid tonight and none tomorrow. We have many plans and no plans. Since our vacation we pledged to spend more time just the two of us and we really need this weekend. The last time we planned this type of weekend it fell completely through. This Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for my husband for his job- normally we dread October. He works so much in this month. I’m surprised I actually survived this one without half losing my mind.

Avett Brothers- Pretty Girl from Annapolis

We’re still on our flylady cleaning process and the house has come a long way. It has really helped us to feel relaxed in the home. We’re going to spend some time at home this weekend. We feel the need to escape less. It’s really simple in teaching habits. I would encourage you to at least try her system of cleaning.

Joe Purdy- Can’t Get It Right Today

I really liked my blog suggestion of the week on Rosie the Riveter. I can see several blogs stemming from that one alone. Felt my writing and teaching worlds collide on that one.

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This quote from our daughter was up at daycare this last week. It warmed my heart. It’s something we do purposefully as a family and I love that she acknowledged it. Pretty awesome.