Thursday, October 2, 2014


During this last couple of years, through the ups and downs of all the mammograms, biopsies and Doc visits; I really haven't had much to say.
When I had surgery and the relief of no cancer cells present in the tumors along with recovery - I haven't had much to say either.
The thought that someone is interested in what your mind is going through just doesn't comprehend in your already racing brain, while you are trying to wrap your own thoughts around what is going on and make sense of what your emotions and body are going through.
I don't have a 'cancer warrior' story to tell. In fact my story is pretty boring, a lot of long hours spent in waiting rooms and Doc offices along with under this machine or that being squeezed poked and prodded. I got rid of mine BEFORE they could give me cancer. With growing tumors I could have taken the 'wait and see' route and waited until he cancer cells were present to take action but to me with the growth and my own pain I decided that wasn't an option so I got rid of them (with my female doctors blessing but the male thought I could wait and see a bit longer; although the oncologist -male- advised to getting rid of them too).

They prepare you for the actual surgery, a little.

They warn you that every woman reacts differently and you don't know exactly how you will feel until afterwards, and sometimes even months or years afterward. Recovery will be slow and the process will at times be frustrating, you may or may not have nipples depending on the incision placement and where the tumors are attached, you could lose all feeling and sensation, you may lose your nipples even if they save them to begin with because the blood flow didn't return normally and this could happen up to 5 years afterward, you may of may not have phantom pains, you may or may not have discoloration, you will have 'some' bruising.... and on and on- blah blah.
They do not tell you that the pain is intense! They do not tell you that to move, even just a little, can and will send muscle spasms shooting across your chest, stretching pulling and sometimes feeling like your ripping apart at the carefully constructed seams that now are present. Yes, this goes away- at least the severity of it- but I have not seen the actual end of it and I am 9 weeks post op as of yesterday. They tell you bruising will happen and you will have discoloration but they do not tell you until your follow up check that for the next 5 months bruising will happen ALL the time and as the internal bruising comes to the surface it can be very violent hues of color. They also do not tell you until your 6 week check up that you will have swelling on and off for the next 5 to 9 months.
I got a comment the other day, ' you have cleavage, I saw it on your photo'.
Yes, I have cleavage- some days I have a lot of cleavage and others not so much. You see when they warn you about the swelling they don't tell you that it comes out of no where for no reason. You have no idea why you woke up a size C+ today but there they are! Sore, swollen and red angry looking. You struggle to find something comfortable to wear as not to put to much pressure on your chest, you can't wear an actual bra because all your incisions happen to be exactly where the band lies and to put anything rigid or tight, like elastic, there can send you into a crying fit because of the pain. So you find a little camisole and hope no one notices your not wearing anything close to what a grown woman should wear in public to be modest. You get through the day and go to bed trying to find a comfortable position to lie in because your sides hurt at the incision ends and the top pulls down and feels like your tearing the tennis balls off your chest. Laying on your stomach is out of the question for obvious reasons, so you settle for laying on your back propped with pillows to see if you can get some relief. It works for awhile, but I haven't had a full nights sleep in months... probably if I was honest years.
And do not get cold! Everything puckers and pulls until you feel like your shriveling up into a painful little wrinkled ball, but your chest is the same because those swollen tennis balls do not have much actual reaction it is mostly internal and just feels like your going through an internal battle with no outward signs (which you are).
You wake the next morning realizing your going to need to find something to wear again today.... you go for loose and put it on and it hangs. OH- yep today you are about a A+. All that swelling is magically gone. Have no idea where it went... maybe all those trips to the bathroom last night flushed it all down the toilet. Who actually knows ,not me and not the Doc. Believe me I asked!
I got the answer, 'every woman is unique and reacts differently'.
So the hunt once again begins to find something to fit, but this one is easy enough because sport bras/ half cami junior tops that young teen girls wear are perfect and help you feel like your kinda wearing a bra.
Although shopping for those things in the teen department for a forty something woman is a bit odd... there are some funky colors out there ya all, and to find just black or white without pattern- yeah not easy to do!
As your body does this roller-coaster thing over and over again your mind also has a litany...
The emotional change is just as all consuming.
I am fortunate to have a husband the loves me and will ride the coaster with me and he is and has always been primarily a leg man lol. Or like he says, he is a heart man and he loves mine no matter what it is cased in. But it can get scary, your insecurities and unsure because the gal in the mirror is no longer the reflection you have seen there for years. sometimes I think though its more my inside changes and emotional changes then the actual outside.
The struggle to heal and to go through the pain and ups and downs while staying positive isn't always easy. You wonder if it will ever end and you can just say I feel 100%. You wonder if you will ever truly feel whole again. But my biggest wonder when I swell or change is - Is that a tumor coming back? - for me the next year will be a constant wonder, maybe the rest of my life. I think I will never lose the hyper vigilance and being very aware of my body and how it feels. I am not scared - I know my faith has kept that fear from me- God has already seen the end and he knows if somewhere down the line cancer or another surgery is in my future and I am ok with that whatever comes. It is more the .... hmmm I guess maybe the best word for it is AWARENESS. I think this whole journey has changed me because I am more aware of me.
To sit down and communicate that to family and friends is almost impossible. I am not sure anyone, unless you have been on a similar journey and experienced the ups and downs and the crazy wacky changes inside, could ever understand. And even then every journey when your talking feelings and emotions is different because WE are all different. No two alike.

There are days, like today, that I am not sure how to be normal anymore. My life is forever changed, I am forever changed. I am still changing everyday even through this process of healing.... Yeah the physical is tough and frustrating but the emotional is complicated. There are days when I wish I could just call someone to come over for coffee and we could sit and talk boobs, scars, and emotions along with symptoms for as long as we needed to to get through this.
But alas, there are very few that care to talk for very long on the subject. Usually just until their curiosity is quenched. And for those of us that work through things and process and deal with them through talking them out or writing, unfortunately there isn't a lot of support out there.
Don't get me wrong friends and family have been great in their support but it only goes so far and they can only understand or empathize to a point.
I am not ashamed of my scars or my journey, but I am not going to wear it as a badge of courage either. I don't feel its that remarkable to anyone but me.
Its the life I have been given and the life I am living. What is really comes down to is taking away from it all what I need to learn and how to process it to make me a better person.... now that - thats the trick.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


This is something I have been putting off writing about. When your emotions are in turmoil and your head is all fuzzy its hard to have coherent thought.

As some know and others may not I am 2 weeks out tomorrow from having a mastectomy. I have put most of my other projects and writing on hold, not knowing exactly what to say. You see I am lucky/ blessed/ fortunate , whichever adjective you want to use. Even though my tumors were 'abnormal' none of them were cancerous. Now don't get me wrong, I would not have chosen to have this procedure- it was necessary- but I am one of the fortunate few that was able to have reconstruction right away and only a few treatments leading up to the surgery to shrink one of the tumors before hand. Others have a far tougher road to travel then I and I do not put myself in a class with them for they are much stronger. I feel for each and every one of them.

As for me it is a tough enough road. The limitations that last 90 days seems a lifetime, but they are good so far because the pain would keep me in check anyway. My sister put it best- "You know when your raking leaves or in the back yard pulling weeds etc all day and your arms and chest ache to move, well  I can't imagine what you've been through now". She is right, I never realized how often or much you use your arm and chest muscles! I mean something as simple as wiping your bottom after you pee is an all time effort of sheer will power because it burns with muscle spasms across your chest wall. You walk tenderly and tend to try and stick your arms out in front of you so no one accidentally bumps you or you bump into something. Your clothing feels like a heavy lead vest against your front and all you have on is a thin cotton camisole and the tape holding you together from the surgery. Then the muscle spasms start, and they are like twitches of fire. They pull and burn and your can't control any of them because your body has a mind of its own and is reacting to being cut and diced and then filled and sewed back together. I swear its a cruel joke of remembrance when the spasms start and you can't control any of them so just have to ride them out.

Today has been one of those days. I think I did too much yesterday, and by too much I mean I loaded the dishwasher, and cooked one salad. My chest started spasm-ing last night and hasn't quit yet. At my check up, I told the Doctor I couldn't believe women did implants and reductions willingly. He replied it is totally different as they don't have as much removal as I did and then fill. I can't tell you if he is right but I will tell you those women that do have implants or reductions are WAY stronger then I! I have always considered that I am pretty pain tolerant person, after 4 c-sections and a few other surgeries that I bounced right back from I thought this would be on that level. I am telling you- was I wrong! That pain was like stepping on a nail, this is like having your foot nailed to the floor and then beat on for days! So you all, if you have had one of these surgeries, I salute you! You are one tough chick!

At the two week mark I am having better days and the emotions are becoming more tolerable. Because for awhile I swear you think your crazy with the random thoughts running through your head. A friend of mine and I joke that they removed half our brains with our boobs, but I tell you it feels like it some-days. I am very fortunate, I have a loving understanding husband, and four of the greatest sons around. I could not have gotten through any of this without them. I also had someone reach out to me who has recently gone through the same thing, unfortunately one of her tiny spots was cancer but thankful all the rest were abnormal like me. That may sound terrible but it has been God sent that we can talk and use each other as sounding boards, because you really do wonder if your all alone. Every story is unique and every surgery is just as unique as the individual, or so my oncologist says. No two are exactly alike. That is true but it sure helps to have someone who is traveling a similar road to make you not feel so crazy. I thank God for her every day - and only wish I would have known sooner that this road we travel could be together during her surgery. I think many women don't really tell whats going on with us. Unless it is cancer many times women don't know about the trials we go through because in our minds there are others that need the support more then I. I think I am finally learning that even though my road is not the same as yours, and I know someone else will always have a tougher road to travel then I. That doesn't mean that we should hide and try to be tough because someone's road is worse. I am learning that tough times come to all- no matter the severity and there is ALWAYS something that we can learn from one another IF we let others in. Then we can support one another in everything from the little trials and heartbreak to the big needs, the way God intended it to be.

I am cancer free, but yes I have had a mastectomy and reconstruction. I have a road ahead of some careful monitoring to make sure tumors don't redevelop, and I myself am on top of my health and just as I did with this- abnormality, I will continue to do what is advised so that I may see my sons grow up and be where God wants me to be for as long as He allows.

So if I am a bit teary eyed, or crazy, or just emotional when you meet me on the street. Please know I am trying to recover and be the best me I can be. I am adjusting to my new body and a lot of emotions, so just be patient with me. I will wrap my head around it all one of these days, but in the meantime your understanding and support means the world to me.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Continual Transformations

I have been avoiding my personal blog lately. I started a new adventure in a devotional page on Facebook. Whew- never knew that would lead to so much controversy or headaches and heartaches, but being fair minded here- it has also led to amazing conversation and encouragement also.
This blog has been around for years of my life and some of the hardest days, and every time I go back and read some of the posts I revisit those days and I was not sure that was a good thing. Then I made realization sitting in the crowd this weekend at Joyful Noise festival, It was something Tenth Avenue North said that really got me to thinking about it.... We are not the sum of our past mistakes..... God doesn't remember them so why do I?
I got to tell you what an amazing freeing moment!
 I made a big mistake recently. I tried to explain something to someone who was not ready to listen. And as I was speaking truth she got very upset that I was not acknowledging her truth and perception. I have lost a friend, it saddens me but in reality I lost this friend over three years ago when she perceived once again I was not recognizing her and respecting her beliefs, not speaking to me for over a year. I have to tell you I respect this person, but no I do not respect her beliefs here. I could have showed her where God tells us specifically why her belief is wrong but I was not allowed that and it crushed my heart, but I knew she was done listening and anything I said would be seen as a personal attack. I really struggled with this within myself. I was heartbroken. Some people said it wasn't my fault and that if things were viewed or taken as attacks maybe she was dealing personally with these things and had nothing to do with me. I was not sure I believe that totally, I really struggled with it because why did I have to be the one then that kept bringing up touchy subjects for her. Was I doing it to hurt her? No, I really wasn't it has been things God has been teaching me recently and I was/ am excited about them and the understanding of who God is and wanted to share. The validity of that though isn't really something I can prove so it really is a pointless point. Or is it? I had this letter from my sister-in-law and I tell you God knew I needed to hear what she had to say on the subject because I was in pain but in my head I knew I couldn't help or prove anything so I was struggling to just let go. In this letter, my dear sister-in-law who has seen her share of pain in life and who lived in a very strict religious house with my husband simply said this~ If God was not using you, Satan would not be coming after you~. WOW- talk about a set free moment! I sobbed, my son came and just stood and held his Mom in front of the computer in a hug while I sobbed my heart out. In his wisdom he knew in order for me to continue and let God help me move on I needed to let the pain go.
I still was wondering though if this new journey of a daily devotional was a good thing, I mean who I am? Nobody. I am a Christian housewife who has been through many things in life that have taught me of God's grace and mercy, but really what makes any of that relevant? I am not a Biblical pastor, I have not had tons of bible school, I am not a missionary, or do I feel called by God to give up my life to ministry. I am just a Mom and wife and in my brokenness God has made me whole. That's who I am, I am flawed, and imperfect. And so I was still struggling weather I was going to continue to write or not...
We attended the next day of concerts at Joyful Noise and my older son knew I was still struggling. He watch me through the day and evening, he saw my eyes fill with tears and he prayed over me pretty continually I think because he knew of the internal battle that was raging. As we drove back to his place at the end of the evening, he looked at me and said - "you do realize, the battle is God and Satan right now Mom. "
his explanation was that satan doesn't want me to continue to write about joy, he wants me to be consumed with heartbreak and discouraged. We got back and he handed me his laptop, "Mom, just write what made you joyful tonight. You haven't posted today and I just want you to take one point from today and tell about it in your words with your insight."
I laughed but took the laptop and I sat for 20 minutes and let the words fly through my fingers onto the screen. I posted and closed the page. This son and I then had a long conversation about this issue I have been dealing with and the struggle within myself that I am not worthy to share my words.
This wise child I have raised looked at me and proceeded to end the conversation with this...
Mom, God entrusted you to raise 4 godly sons that love the Lord, you were not supposed to have children. Dad has not been able to be around as much as he would like ,but he too trusted you to parent his sons because he knew you would follow and trust God with our upbringing. You and Dad have led by example. Yes, you are not afraid to talk or discuss the Bible but Mom, you never pushed it down our throats and led more by letting us SEE you living it and what you believe than just speaking it. It doesn't matter what people say, you know in your heart you were not attacking her and you were just trying to answer her and show her that she could dump all the hurt and be truly happy, because you want that for everyone. Now I want you to see this then we are going to bed."
 (paraphrased because I can't remember the EXACT words he used but that was the jist of the conversation)
 He then proceeded to open his laptop and log onto my devotional page that I had posted on after midnight and it was now 2 am. He showed me just one number- over 40 people had logged on and read the devotional that had just been posted. There was also a comment thanking me.... As I sat dumbfounded he just closed the laptop and smiled saying only , Mom don't quit writing what you have to say and because you are only a housewife and Mom is why it applies and people can see how God has lifted you up.
I went to sleep that night feeling relieved. I awoke a few hours later feeling renewed.
We drove home and I couldn't wait to share my acceptance and the win over my inner turmoil with my husband. As we sat down to talk he looked at me and smiled - before I said a word , he said- God won. I asked huh? He proceeded to tell me he had a heavy hear the last couple days because he truly feels what I have to say is important and he doesn't want me to quit saying it.
I think I am finally believing it- I do have a story to tell. A story of hope. A story with a beautiful Savior that has brought more joy then I can contain into my life and it just keeps spilling out!
If I am offensive to some people and they feel attacked by what I have to share, then its something between them and God, I am just simply telling my story and I am not gunning or attacking anyone but myself and the devil as he tries to take a stand in my life that he does not belong in because Jesus has full control that I gave him and he accepted when he died on the cross for me.
Sometimes, I need a little lift from my friends and family. I rely on them to keep me in check and not let the voices of others cloud who I am.
Thank you to those I love- for knowing me enough to remind me of who I am.

there is this song by Matthew West, its called Something to Say. Colleen, you see the world unlike anyone I have ever met, Honey- you have something to say and no one can say it like you do- and baby the world needs to hear it. God uses us all in different ways and he has given you a gift. The gift is your story and the way you see it and live it everyday. Having been what you gone through many people would be very bitter and unhappy, but the story is God! You see joy where others see heartbreak, you see triumph of God's grace when others see tragedy and brokenness. If anyone had a clue everything you have been through and what has happened and the trial we have gone through they would all see you and your story as only one can~~ TRIUMPH IN GRACE <3

You my hubby are my inspiration ~ for today and many days. you are strong when I am weak and you hold me in God's grace when i feel I have fallen to far to come back. Love you <3

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Today was a catch up day for me, I caught up with life- chores- and people, and as I was catching up I had a conversation that left me wondering, or maybe just puzzling. I would say this person and I are good friends, not besties or the equivalent that so many people have now days but friends that when a sounding board is needed they know where to go. Today I was that sounding board and as I listened I came up with an idea and some advice, so I shared this advice. (By the way I cleared that I could use this instance just not names ;) I am not breaking any confidences nor would I)
I shared my insights and thoughts and this is what I got in return. " You know I love you but really, there is no way with your charmed life you could ever understand heartbreak and utter hopelessness." I agreed I don't know exactly what they are going through and we moved on,

but I started really thinking on the comment afterwards and mulling as I tend to do. My boys would call it obsessing over a comment, and then matching all the pieces until they fit and I find out more then they ever wanted me to know. I started thinking about my life and counting those hopeless moments, and yes I have had them. Over the years I would say yes, I am a very blessed individual. I have a set of parent who are still together and are solid. They love me and always have, even when I have been a disappointment to them; which by the way is quite a bit. I am not as successful as my sister or brother but my success as my mother tells me is measured differently, and now years into my life I am finally beginning to believe her. I have always struggled with self confidence, I am not outgoing like my siblings and I did not inherit the gift of gab that my family has or comes so easily to them. I giggle and laugh with nerves instead or stay quiet and leave the impression I am 'stuck up' or a 'snob'. That was the label from High School a lot.
I have an amazing husband and a incredible marriage but that requires a lot of work, years of work and sometimes we both would rather just coast but we know that is exactly what kills marriages so we buckle down and do the extra minutes and time, or even the extra fight when we are both exhausted if that's what it takes. I have four miracles that live and have been birthed out of my body. They have left their scars and damage to my health and body and none of them were easy to get here but they were worth every minute of pain or worry. Those boys are good boys talented boys and great sons, but here again its not a charmed thing. It took work, hard work and still does. Even when it would be easier to let them go their own way, not to have those arguments or hold them to standards we have set forth; and honestly that took a lot of work, Paul and I as parents embarked on a journey and we decided to raise our boys a certain way, a lot of thought and planning went into that- and then tons more when all the carefully laid plans flew out the window and we had to scrap what we had planned and roll with it and adjust to the role and the child and their personalities. We learned, we grew, and we adjusted, but it was all work.
As for the hopeless disparagement of life I have felt it, not the same I am sure and possibly not as bad as others in worse situations. As I thought on it today I had three of those moment thrown in my face by my mind.

 Unfortunately one of those moments played out on Facebook even, five years ago. I know now that a child needed attention she wasn't getting and was angry at me and only wanted to make me pay and lose everything she thought was important to me. I was devastated. I was so lonely and really didn't fit into the new life we had moved into, I was still hurting and having nightmares over Paul's Dad's death and his Mom's too, feeling like I failed them and should have been able to more. Which is crazy in hindsight, they were dying and I made them as comfortable as I could and made sure they both knew how much they meant to all of us and their grandsons got to spend time with them. I thought I had made some friends and in hindsight I should have known better. When you move into a small community that is mostly related to one another the chances of someone having your back is slim, they may tell you your in the right but for fear of hurting those in their family they will only support you in silence. It got worse before it got better as it always seems to do. I even met someone from MN, I was having medical problems and had had two surgeries when this person approached me and asked if I would help. It was something I loved to do and it was once again working with kids so I said yes. I supported and bent over backwards to be the best friend and help this person adjust to living where we were and incredible loss. Instead this person when another parent came after my family didn't back us up but for 'our own good' decided to be neutral. This cut me to the quick and I felt like I had the worst judgment of people of anyone ever.
This was not the first time this had happened to me in life, as in high school it also happened. I went through some pretty awful stuff in high school culminating with opening my locker one day and finding mens underwear and womens panties all covered in ketchup with a sign 'whore' written in red marker greeting me. I lost the best friends I had had for years because I didn't talk to anyone and avoided them when they would seek me out because I didn't trust them after they withheld something from me. At the time it was my lifeline and it shouldn't have been but it was. The only person who knew what was going on in my life, but he was dating one of my best friends and the others kept it from me and they knew, he was still dating me too. In one fell swoop I lost them all. Part of it was me, they didn't know what was going on with me. I was great at avoiding or playing the role of happy confident high-schooler, it got me through school.
It is so weird to be writing about these things now, they have no sting even in my life, but it isn't because at the time they weren't devastating it is because hindsight is so much easier! I am starting to forge bridges now with those old friends from high school, and every time I fight with my conscious to not be distrustful. Forgiveness ~ a word with so much power, and yes that is what I had to finally do in all these instances where I have been hopeless. I had to turn it over to God and forgive them all for everything, for me and my health and my peace of mind so that I could live the life I want to live.
I want to let God take care of others and their motives, I try not to let it be a factor in my befriending or helping anyone because I am not doing it for me I want to do it for His glory instead.
I trust, I believe in the good in people, I love, and I care. I am not perfect and yep- I have really bad days, some-days I have to fight with myself to live the life I want, just like I have to fight for my kids- or for my marriage. Life is some-days just a fight- but I am never in it alone, God is always holding me up so I can smile and fight harder for who I want to be in life, because ultimately we- God and I- have the same goals, he is also fighting for who he wants me to be.
I will change- I will grow and I will forgive and be thankful, for as I look back I see God there removing the things/ people in my life who are detrimental to my well being and the hopeless overwhelming feeling that takes away my joy to live everyday to show God's love through me.

So no I am not charmed... I have not led a charmed life.... But I AM BLESSED... and I DO trust in GOD to take care of the rest.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


My son was right about more then one thing this morning. I should so make a list  (we are always big on lists at our house) and put on there who I am and what I would like my life to look like when it comes to friendships. So I am going to be brave and do it.

I am Colleen Constance Walkup Lee, referred to most in my life as Rosebud or Mommy.
I am in my 40's but don't feel a day over 20 most days.
I am a Christian first, and God takes the number 1 spot in my life.
I am a Wife 2nd, and I love my husband, sometimes to distraction, with every breath I take.
I am a Mom 3rd to 4 amazing young men, whom I would give my life for at any moment in time.
I am a daughter 4th and need to honor my parents.

I like a classic style and dress accordingly, fads do nothing for me. If I like it, I will always like it.

I try to dress modest but I do love my yoga pants and comfy sweatshirts.
Cozy function would be my motto for myself and my home.

I tend to mix old with new for a style as unique as I am in my home and my art is my life.
Photographs cover my walls and my decor, because there is nothing as beautiful as life.

I spend 20 minutes everyday in devotions and 20 minutes in prayer.
I learn something new everyday and sometimes it just comes bursting out of me in torrents of words.
I sing, used to sing all the time for the boys but now just for me. Music reflects my every mood.
I used to enjoy acting and then directing, but I prefer not to do it any longer after being burned by co-directors.
I am very good at directing and choreography as I can envision the whole picture in my head.
I stand up for what is right no matter what it costs me and it has cost me a lot in my life.

I am not confrontational but I am not afraid to hold my own in an argument.
I will protect any child or vulnerable person at any time from any abuse. It is the right thing to do.
I like to bake, and often get asked to do cakes for parties. If its a simple design I can do it and will do it.

I like to cook for barbecues or outings and I like to host them. Its just fun to try new foods and recipes.
I am fiercely loyal but will let you leave my life at any point if you choose to.
I like crafting but get bored easily and tend to never quite finish the whole projects.
I like to craft with other people, by myself is not very fun.
I like to read but lately my eye sight isn't the best and I hate reading glasses, they give me headaches.
I like to blog but tend to journal more because I don't think what I write is really worth reading.
I think A LOT. I have thoughts running in my head all the time about any and every subject under the sun.
I tend to always see a big picture, and this is why close friends say I am good at giving advice.
I never turn anyone who wants or needs my help away. Sometimes to my detriment.
I like to camp but really am ready to give up the tent and get a camper if my husband agrees.

I love campfires, sunsets, lake loons, and peaceful woods.
I love canoeing. Its is a passion of mine.
Fall is my favorite time of year, cozy sweaters and crisp Fall air just make me happy.
I love to ride motorcycle, and behind my husband on a bike is the greatest place on Earth.
I get motion sickness in/on EVERYTHING but a motorcycle. 

I like to dance, the Quick Step is my favorite.
I am an organizer freak, also a simplifier. Clutter drives me crazy- thus my parents house drives me batty.

I do not like to exercise any longer but used to run 3 to 4 miles a day before I had kids.
I love chocolate and any gooey dessert but they don't love me.
I would love to just be able to hang out with a friend and sip iced tea and talk for hours.
I would like to be able to call a friend when I am feeling low and just go for a walk to deal with the stress.
I love Victoria Secret underwear and 99% of the time my underwear will match my outfit, I have a crazy weird hang up about that - ask my Mom it started when I was 2. I HAVE TO match!
I laugh in this high pitched fake way when I am nervous and uncomfortable in a situation.  Its annoying!
I get uncomfortable in crowds or anywhere I have to be myself, but put me on a stage and I am fine.
I can perform in front of 100's of people and not break a sweat but if I have to meet 5 new people at a dinner party I panic and literally make myself ill.
I would love to know 2 or 3 couples that like to play cards and that we liked hanging out with. Enjoying each others company.
I don't drink. I am not opposed to it I just don't like the way it makes me feel.
I will have an occasional glass of wine or a mikes hard lemonade but thats rare and about all I can stomach.

I have a touchy stomach and have to be careful what I eat.
I do not drink soda except on very rare occasions, it tends to make me bloat and look 5 months pregnant.
I love rare and weird bottled water, and yep I will buy it as a treat for myself.
I have 4 wedding rings sitting in my jewelry box and wish I had the guts to sell them. (3 are from Paul)
My hands and fingers have grown from a ring size 4 when I got married to an 8 now 25 years later.

My boobs did not loose anything while breast feeding they grew all 4 times! From a size B to a DDD and I am not big enough around and have to go a band size bigger then I am to get a cup size to fit. Its annoying and one of my pet peeves!
I have had a hysterectomy, and honestly I think it was the best thing in life! I do not miss my uterus at all!
I never have had a gf in life that I share things with, I tend to be the one they all come to and I listen and fix.
It is very hard for me to be vulnerable in life. I tend to guard myself.
I have a I can do it attitude, and see things from the half glass full side.

I am quirky and need my alone time.
I get tired fast and exhaustion makes me cranky.

I love sex and enjoy a very healthy monogamous relationship.
I love hanging out with my husband, I swear he is my favorite person on this earth when he isn't annoying me.
My parents could drive me to drink, but I love them both faults and all.
I HATE being compared to my brother and sister. Yes, I know they are wonderful- I think so too and yes I also know I am nothing like either of them. In looks - actions- or politics. And yep I know I annoy the heck out of both of them fairly often.
I get called Shennon or Jason on almost a daily basis. And received a box full off pictures yesterday from my Mom of MY childhood only it was Shennon in almost all the pictures not me. :p lol
I know some people in my family feel I wasted my life by getting married and becoming a Mom without a career but I don't feel that way, and I really don't want a career. Never have.
I have worked and gone to school like any other person but I LIKE staying home and being a wife and Mommy, it was a choice I was lucky enough to have in life.
I am proud of my children. Very proud- probably too proud :p
I like hot Summer nights and skinny dipping under the full moon.
I want to own a lake cabin someday as a primary residence but as soon as retirement hits Paul and I want to own an RV and drive the country.
I dream to have a simple life full of laughter, where my kids want to come home to visit.

I want daughter-in-laws who are daughters and become family.
I look forward to being a Grandma but would understand if none of my boys want to bring a child into this World.
In a friend I want someone who loves the simple things of life. Celebrates the joys. Deals with the sorrows. And trusts God and his plan. Someone who knows they are 5th in my life and is okay with that and I am okay with being 5th in theirs. Someone who understands- life is not about us but about how much we make of the journey and the time given us. And someone who can have fun in the time in-between. :) And our husbands got along too would be awesome.
I don't know if I like ice fishing I have never been but I'd like to try.

I like fishing and Northern is my favorite all time meal!
I dont mind doing laundry, in fact I kinda like it.
I hate doing dishes!

I hate shopping in stores but like online shopping and finding the deals.
I do not carry my cell phone 24/7.
I bent over backwards for a 'daughter' in our lives and spent too many years of my life being her support when she didn't want to change any of her self destructive behaviors. It killed me but I am at peace with not trying to help any longer.
I have learned the hard lesson - that sometimes for your own health and well being its okay to walk away.

I can't save the world only God can, and I will continue to pray for those I have walked away from in hopes that he will.
I have learned you can't always trust, even those who call themselves your best friends sometimes stab you in the back. (a lesson learned in high school)
I still have nightmares about opening my locker in high school and finding a pair of panties covered in ketchup. 
I will always forgive, not for the person but for myself because I never want to be bitter.
I wish I understood my sister better.
I love my niece and nephew, just wish I was the cool Aunt, but I am not and thats ok.

I love hearing a few of my Aunts talk, being quiet and listening I have learned so many things I never knew.
I would love to find a cure for snoring husbands so I could once again sleep in life.
Picnics are one of my favorite past-times.
Knit blankets are a recent fetish.
Old Quilts are a passion and I love garage-sale-ing and flea market hunting to find them.
I have a closet full of quilts- it is my one and only clutter item of excess.
Each of my sons has memory books that have every award of newspaper article etc in them from birth.

I like murder mysteries and crime drama in TV shows.
I am addicted to one Reality Show and its Survivor~ I don't have a clue why, it has everything I hate in people in it. 
I read one smut book a month. (my Mom calls them that since I was little- it would be romance or erotica actually)
I do not like Politics and if asked I am probably a pretty straight Republican. Although I have voted differently in life but my values match up the best with that party.
I believe in the Bible and everything it says. I do not condemn though, I am not the judge- God is.
I have many people I consider friends from many walks of lives - I do not always agree with them or their lifestyles but I love them and accept them, unless it is hurting them to be in the situation then I will tell it like it is and let the fall out fall where it may. If it cost me a friendship- better that then costing them their life. 

I view living and moving so many places throughout my life as a adventurous blessing.
Every person I meet or have known has an ability to enrich my life- some through coming and others through leaving.

Aubrey Hepburn is my favorite actress and philanthropist of all time.
I have a favorite Aunt but I don't think she knows it and I would never tell her for fear of hurting the other many Aunts feelings.

I am still affected by the death of both Paul's parents under my care. They are both with me daily.
I am not fond of animals. I had 3 in my lifetime that I actually miss~ Zevia, Cynder, and Rufus.
I like to ride horse, but my husband hates it so I gave it up.
I married a guy 8 years older then I and I do not regret it!
I went through with a wedding when too many people to count told us it was a mistake and after 25 years, I would say following my gut was the better advise.

I count everyday as a Blessing and don't ever want to take it for granted.

I am sure there is so much more but I am done. Thats another thing- when I am done I am done. FINITO and theres no turning back. I have no problems making the tough unpopular decisions but if you treat me the way I treat you we will never have a problem.

Friendship for the Soul

It is so weird, friendship is so important when you are little and begin school. It wains in the years as we graduate and college and then our separate ways as we start careers and jobs and meet and marry our true best friends. As we build lives together and have children and go through the growing changing phases a=of life we let many friendships fade away due to busy lifestyles or time constraints and even moving and distance. People that used to know our thoughts and what we liked to do in life are now strangers in many ways. Life changes you. It molds you, and defines you. We travel everyday with new circumstances flowing in and out of our lives along with new people. We meet on a job or at a fund raiser or even at Church or across the street- in our lifetimes we will meet many new people without even trying. And then comes the days when the Children grow and move onto College and begin to move on with their lives and you are left standing looking at this man you have spent a lifetime with wondering- what did we do before kids? Who did we do things with? Where did we go?
I think everyone in this phase of life can identify with this. I am a stay at home Mom, my husband has worked 50 to 70 hour weeks for years and here we are, standing on the verge of having to be more then Mom or Dad. It has come to the time of life when we have to be actual people again, without our constant tag-alongs. So how do you start a life called middle age while still juggling having kids who call and need things along with taking on aging Parents who also need your time?
My son's answer to dealing with this is to start a friendship website. Where people put in their likes and dislikes and what they would like and expect out of a friendship, then the computer matches you with compatible people and you develop friendships within the group given to you. I am not so sure this would work. I think the differences in a friendship are sometimes the things that bind you the most but I have to admit his idea has left me wondering of the possibilities. In this electronic social media age, I can totally see this working. No messing around and surprises when someone turns out to be not what you expected, but then again isn't that when our learning begins and our lives change as we discover things about one another that change our view points and little by little change us? Molding us into a more tolerant, wiser person (at least in theory).
I can put out there for the World to see who I think I am and what others have said about me or my strengths but isn't that all just a point of view that isn't going to be seen necessarily the same by someone who has different life experiences? I could tell you the stories of my life and maybe you could see why I have become who I am but there again my stories are colored by my perspective. Feelings of the moment, emotions at the time add so much to our life's experiences and color our views- you can't share those, they are uniquely yours. So in the end like it or not it isn't easy to make true friends any easier when your in your 40's and 50's then it was when you were 3 and 4. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

As Another Chapter Begins

There is nothing harder then letting go of your children when they are more then ready to go. Weather it be those first lunging steps, the first night without a sitter, the keys to the car, or those steps to independence as College students.
I am reminded of the song "What it Means to be Loved" by Mark Schultz. This song gets me every time I hear it because it is the way I try and live my life. I don't always succeed by I try. As I think on the boys births and know what a struggle it was to get each of them here in their own way, the overwhelming thankfulness of having them and being able to be their Mom sometimes takes my breath away.
Now Paul and I didn't parent like the normal parents and maybe that is because we were told we would never have children and we knew this before we got married so we weren't expecting any. When they came it was such a miracle in every sense that we chose some pretty tough choices. We had a list of rules for ourselves, I know that may sound strange but we did and we still follow them today sometimes to a fault.
I gave up a career and we talked late one night when I was pregnant with our first and we both agreed if we were going to be parents our kids would come first in every situation. We would not put them in daycare and if God thought us capable to raise a child then we would raise that child, it is the most important job in the World. So I quit my career path and became a full-time Mom. Yes, I have had to hold down a job now and then to make ends meet but for the most part in 21 years I have been a full-time Mom. If I had to work I worked nights or during school hours if the boys were in school which wasn't long because I home-schooled all four at one point or another. Now we come to another step in this process of raising children, they are young men. So as parents we are in the midst of deciding what to do or how to help them become independent without dropping them entirely. If you know us and you know our boys you know this is going to be a big challenge for us. We are not what you might call, people that have a life outside of our kids.
When you put your kids first in life, friends tend to slip away. Sure you have a few you will always be friends with and a few, even though they think of you as nuts have accepted the way you parent; but most went their own way a longtime ago. It didn't help that we were extremely busy raising kids and taking care of parents and we have moved all over the countryside either, we don't bar hop in fact short of a small glass of wine neither of us even drink and we both prefer the non-alcoholic wine if truth be told, we don't do the 'Social Scene' well- never have. So what is one to do when your trying to have your kids become more independent but in someways your just as a dependent on them?
Paul and I went for a walk and made another list... It is one of those lists that we would have made for Caleb when he was little or Isaiah now as we try to make him less shy. We have to find a couple of friends that understand we are Parents first and probably always will be. They have to understand we run just as much and do just as much for my Parents as we do for our kids, and our weekends rarely are ever our own to claim. They have to like to play cards- hearts and spades particularly. And also our new friends should enjoy camping and canoeing. Just sitting by the campfire is something the two of us can do for hours. We also discussed how it would be nice to find friends that would enjoy a good game of tennis every month for Paul and someone who likes to walk and talk kids for me. And it would be a big bonus to have a set of friends that take care of their parents and were Christians to share the burden and struggle of being obedient in this area.
By now you are all laughing but this is actually what our conversation was about and this is what we came up with, the part that is difficult is where do we find such people? Where do we find people like that and how in the world do you make more then superficial friendships at our ages?

Well, we had no answer. We have been each others life line and support and best friends for so long, dealing with so much over the years together as a team not wanting to burden anyone else or trouble them with our trials in life but instead doing what we can to help ease theirs. We are a pretty introverted couple.....
"Friends come and go but Family is forever" There is a truth in that. People move on, find other groups of people discover others in life meet and become friends. But here's a question what about the people that are very busy with daily life? That have given everything to do what they thought was right at the time and still have major time constraints on their lives? Do they deserve friends too? Or because they don't have time to go out, or get together weekly or chat on the phone everyday are they not worth the energy and time in being a friend?
Interesting to think about isn't it? Now where to go from here? That is to be discovered.