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Monday, December 31, 2012

Good bye young one...

Over the past two weeks, I've been made aware of not one but two suicides of young adults.

One I didn't know at all.  He was a friend of a young woman we are very close to.

And then, there was Jess.
Jess - we knew.  Not well, and not in quite a few years - but at one time, we knew her.  She was someone who was part of a friend's family for a time.  Someone we cared about.  Someone who is now gone.

And here again is the WHY??

Why would someone so young stop believing there is more?  Why didn't she reach out?  Why didn't anyone see how lost she was?  Why, why, why...

I always feel the familiar pang of heartache when the words... "committed suicide" pass over someone's lips.  My heart breaks, my eyes fill with tears & the familiar pain comes to the surface.
Even if I never knew the person.

She had some stuff.  I know that.  But the other boy who left too soon - he did well in school - he was popular.  He was getting ready to graduate and move on.

What is the defining line in someone's life where they just can't do it anymore?  What is the point where one person can take what comes their way and move forward and another crumbles under the pressures of life?

...And their light dims forever.

May you find the peace you were unable to find here and those left behind find comfort.

Rest softly on the wings of angels young ones.

If you, are someone you know are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts - PLEASE seek help.

1-800-SUICIDE lists state and local hotline numbers to call for help.

www.suicidehotlines.com

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults.  Although it's hard to believe that teenagers and young adults could be so desperately unhappy that they would plan to kill themselves, more than 5,000 US teenagers commit suicide every year.

Warning Signs of Depression and Suicidal Behavior:        
  • A marked personality change such as exhibiting angry actions or rebellious behavior, or withdrawal from friends and activities
  • A change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Involvement with drugs or alcohol or other risky behavior, such as reckless driving
  • An overreaction to a recent humiliating experience, such as a breakup
  • Difficulty in concentration and a decline in the quality of academic work
  • Persistent boredom and/or lethargy
  • Unusual neglect of physical appearance
  • Complaints of physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue
  • A pattern of giving away or throwing away possessions
  • Preoccupation with death in writing, songs or poems
  • Intolerance of praise or rewards
  • Increase in comments such as “I can’t take it anymore” or “Nobody cares; I wish I was dead.”
 Other Recommended Resources: 
American Association of Suicidology - Web site: www.suicidology.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Web site: www.afsp.org  
National Institute of Mental Health - Web site: www.nimh.nih.gov
National Mental Health Association - Web site: www.nmha.org  
Suicide Prevention Resource Center - Web site: www.sprc.org 
As posted on:
http://www.aboutourkids.org/families/suicide_teenage_young_adult_tragedy



Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmas Wishes

Here it is again, Christmas & the holiday season.

Yeah, I know that's not politically correct - but Christmas is the holiday that I celebrate.  I'm also not great at following politically correct protocol.  Heck, it's all I can do to manage social protocol.

While on my Facebook page last week, I saw a post left for me by Jenny at Cassandra's Corner, which said "Tag you're it"  Of course I checked it out and OF COURSE I couldn't resist playing.

I'll have to be open and honest when I tell you, this Christmas is not the same for me.  All of the awfulness of the past few months has taken it's toll on my usually chipper holiday mood, and also contributed to the delay in this posting.

Sometimes at this time of the year, I need a reminder of the spirit of Christmas.  My son is in the military & although I try to remain positive and happy and exude cheer - I'm a little sad that for the second year in a row I won't get to spend Christmas with my son.  This "challenge" is exactly what I needed.  So thank you for tagging me Jenny.


I ask you, how could you turn down a holiday challenge named
Five Christmas Wishes.
Of course, I'm in and my only duties now are to share my wishes & extend this on to five more bloggers - challenging them to think of and share THEIR Christmas wishes.  I'm not going to do that (you're welcome) because it's a week late & the busyness of the holiday can take over.  However, if you decide to take this challenge on yourself - please let me know.  I'd love to read your wishes.

What do I wish for?  Pfft... What don't I wish for!

1.  First, let's get serious.  I miss my kid.  I am an awful military mom.  Heck, I'm an awful cut the apron strings mom.  I've always had to "share" my son for Christmas, but I always had him for either Christmas Eve or Christmas day.  The past two years - nadda.  Uncle Sam has had full reign.  I am sooo incredibly proud of the man he's become - but I can't help but wish even for a little bit that he was that rambunctious five year old bounding toward the tree and his presents.  My first wish, is for my son - far away from home - that he find a little bit of "Christmas home" where he is.

2.  My second wish is to find someone to clean my house the way I like it!  No, I'm not a totally spoiled brat... I can clean - but I don't have time to clean between work and kid schedules.  Also, during this time of year when the cold and damp kicks in, my Lupus kicks my butt so bad that all I really want to do is lie down.  I say this and look around at the dust bunnies I missed & that every house cleaner that comes in here misses.  Ya know, after the first few times.  Yes...send referrals.

3.  Serious / semi-serious...done...  I wish for that creepy little elf to be exposed for the fraud he is.  That little creep doesn't keep the kids in line... he gives them new and different reasons to bicker.  I found him, no I FOUND him.  He's HERE... SHE found him first.  She told me where he was.  Wahhh wahhh wahhh.  Elf, Elf go away..  You creepy little fraud, you!

4.  Magic scissors!!  Let me explain... You know that little pooch that doesn't really go away after you have short ones?  The one that  you look down at and go ewwwww.  Even if  you have a tiny one - who likes it?  I want magic scissors.  I can cut away that nasty icky stuff I hate and it magically heals.  Wouldn't that be awesome??  No pain, no recovery time, no scarring - ick GO AWAY forever!  Voila!  Gone...  Oh and that extra however many pounds go away too.

5.  My final Christmas wish is for all of YOU.  I wish you all peace and love.  I wish for any pain you may be carrying around to be lifted and that the joy and magic of the season envelope you and bring you nothing but happiness - even if Christmas is not the holiday you celebrate!

I end this in wishing you all the magic of the season.
I thank each and every one of you for your continued love and support.
Merry Christmas with lots of love and smoochies!
~Jenn


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why cut so deep?

Have you ever had a knock down, drag out fight with someone you're very close with and they just say the meanest, cruelest things?

What's up with that?  Do you really WANT me to never speak to you again?  Because that's where this is headed if you're going to roll out the big guns & try to cut me so deep that I can't breathe.

Don't people know the power of their words?

I know that I can tend to be fairly sharp tongued in some situations, but I'm not sure that I ever cut so deep that my words will continue to echo in the minds of the person I care about.  If I'm really mad, I'll say what I have to say.  It won't be candy coated - but it also won't me meant to leave you feeling like you've been hit by a Mack truck either!  Sheesh!

This is something I don't understand.  As I said, YES - I know that I can be petty sharp tongued now and again, but if I care about someone - I care about their feelings too.  I'm not going to say something to try to make them feel like total crap about themselves with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand.

It's like little kids....
Kid #1:     "Hey, you knocked my ice cream out of my hands.  Watch where you're going..."
Kid #2:     "Yeah, well you're ugly and your mom hates you."

Yeah, it's like that.

And again... Why?

Listen, I don't like to be wrong either.  I'd actually rather poke my eyes out with a stick (OK, not really) than say that I'm Wr... Wr....  never mind.

Sometimes it's just about being accountable.  Maybe you don't feel like you're wrong.  Maybe you feel like you've done XYZ for a perfectly justifiable reason.  What - friggin - ever.

Is it REALLY worth burying someone so deep in words that they're wrecked?

What does it solve?  Who does it help?

Admission....  I have a naughty little pleasure...
The Housewives shows.  Yes, it's true.  I LOVE THOSE FRIGGIN' SHOWS!  All of them.  Why?  I don't know.


Last night I watched The Housewives of Beverly Hills, and this one woman totally shred another woman AT A DINNER PARTY.  Yes, I know it's "reality TV" so I don't take any of it as actual reality - but it obviously got me thinking enough to write this post.

Maybe those women aren't all besties in real life.  Maybe they're not friends at all in real life, but ya know what?  IT HAPPENS... In real life, all the time!  Yes, I've been shredded in the past.  Didn't like it much either.  Especially since I didn't understand where all the animosity came from.  Yes, I will let you know exactly what's bothering me.  Yes, I will absolutely dump 4 years worth of crap into your lap (because that's about how long it takes for me to have enough) but I would never, ever tell you that your momma wears combat boots & your daddy don't love you.  I wouldn't say the meanest possible things I could say just because I didn't like what I was hearing.  I wouldn't shred you.  Truth, if you were as bad as the mean things said - we wouldn't be friends to begin with.


What does that even do, other than destroy another person's comfort zone toward you?  Did you get that?  Not toward themselves, toward  YOU.  Forgiven or not.  Good or not - the invisible wall will ALWAYS be there.  The words will ALWAYS echo through the corridors of their minds and they will NEVER fully trust  you again.

So now I ask you...is it worth it?

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Different Weekend With the Girls....

I had so much fun family time planned for this past weekend...

For once we didn't have the usual over flow of appointments & places to be.  We would do what we needed to do on Saturday, but Sunday was meant to be a day of quiet family time.

...and then there was the news on Friday.

Sunday's family time took on a whole new meaning.

How could you not continue to think about the horror in Newtown, CT? Not just because it's all over the news, but because how loudly it speaks to parents of little ones.  It appears that our babies aren't safe anywhere anymore - and especially at one of the places they are supposed to feel safe.

How could you not think of the horror those babies, their teachers and the brave school staff faced?

I mentioned a few blogs ago that I was at the girls' school during an emergency lock down drill.  I discussed it with the girls at the time & they were very casual about it.  At the time, I thought that was good that they didn't have fear in their little hearts at every drill.

I can no longer feel "casual" about it or feel no fear.

When I was a kid in school, we didn't have lock down drills.  We had fire drills.  We never considered someone coming in and shooting children, and I went to elementary school (K-6) in "big bad" Paterson.  Even with Paterson being the "hood" as it's referred to, I never felt scared.  I felt carefree.  Like children are supposed to feel.

My head and heart have been consumed with the absolute evil that came upon those children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  I think of the teachers.  I think of the last moments of the amazing principal, teachers, etc who put themselves in the line of fire to protect the children.  The heroes.

I struggle, along with everyone else on the WHY of all of this, and know that the WHY can never be known.  The killer took that with him.

So this Sunday was spent a little closer.
Less business.  Less computer.  Less TV.
More hugging and laughing, being extra silly and goofy.

Taking more time to really appreciate the ones I love.

While we should ALWAYS be hugging our children tightly and letting them know how much we love them, every day - sadly the business of life takes away from the extra close time.

The time we need to take.

Without something awful coming along to remind us.

I wish you all love, laughter and quiet time with the ones you love - and I love you all.

~Peace~

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

In memory of those live tragically taken on Friday, December 14, 2012 - Newtown, CT


Thursday, December 13, 2012

My heart has changed...

Did you ever read something that really hit home and made you think... "UGH...I really blew it."?

I've been reading Slice of Humble's Compassion Series (Click on highlighted for part 1).

Each part of the series got me thinking in a different way. (Yeah, that smoke you smell - ignore it, that's me.)

Then it hit me.  No matter how hard I try, sometimes I lack compassion.

I have had a huge change of heart in a situation where I KNOW I was judgmental & I did not show an ounce of compassion.  While in some areas, I feel justified by my thoughts and feelings - there does come a time when people sometimes need to be cut a break.  Even for the REALLY BAD stuff.

The short one has been with us for over a year now.  When kids come to our home, we are given enough information on a situation in order to provide proper care.  Whatever it may be; emotional, physical, mental...whatever.

When the kids are placed with us, I am already on guard.  Their parent could be the sweetest thing on the planet - but I go by what I'm told.  When it's not good, I form the absolute worst mental image of the parent there may be.  I've been duped by a parent in the past, so no one gets cut a break with me without proving up.  Compassion isn't always easy to come by.

These kids sometimes come to us broken in more ways that I am able to say in print, making my heart and head feel nothing but contempt for these parents.

How could a mom / a parent allow bad things to happen to their children? What do they see when they look at their beautiful child, that allows them to ignore their paternal instincts to protect?

I didn't understand and ya know what, I didn't want to.

Yet the light in the kids' eyes never seem to dim.  They never stop loving.

When it came time for us to actually meet a parent, I didn't want to.  I knew I had to - but I'd rather they go on & do whatever it was they needed to do in there little lives.  Leave the short one with us and just go away.

That option was not afforded to us.  We had to go.  We had to face the mom.

...She was not what I expected.

Instead of being faced with this abusive horror of a woman - I saw a broken young woman.  A woman, who on so many levels, was defeated.  Someone who actually loved her child and was in many ways a child herself.  Someone at rock bottom with no one in her corner.  No one to help her. Someone with nothing.

This broken woman before us told stories of the short one with a smile & twinkle in her eye, amid tears of  pain and guilt for parenting gone horribly wrong.  Before us was a woman who had nothing left to give.

And there it was....compassion.

She doesn't get a pass for her mistakes or the things she allowed to happen.  That's on her.

She does deserve forgiveness.

Which is what I gave her...
As I was reminded the words which were the basis of another post,
"What if you were judged forever on the worst mistake you'd ever made?"

My heart has changed as I now think...What do I carry around?

What is it that I may have done that would be lifted from my heart, from my conscience if someone simply said -
You're forgiven.
...And showed me compassion.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn









Monday, December 10, 2012

I believe!

Even to my almost 20 year-old-son, I have yet to deny the existence of the man in red.

I don't work hard to perpetuate anything.
I just don't deny.

The other night at the dinner table the girls discussed their list of concerns to me.

One of their biggest concerns being their friends do NOT believe in Santa. They were worried that they wouldn't get gifts for Christmas, because they didn't believe.

I do!
In our home, Santa brings one gift.  Not five, not ten, not twenty - ONE.  Why is it fair that children of families who are better off receive ten gifts or more gifts from Santa, but the children whose families have less get only one? Santa brings one.
End of story.

As they get older, I need to find new and different ways to defend Santa.

But MOM, Suzie says she caught her mom putting the gifts under the tree!

Well, of course she did!  You know darn well that I've got a ton of gifts for you guys hidden away all over the house.  You know those gifts come from us.  Santa brings ONE.  I can't help it of other people want to make Santa look more generous.  He brings ONE!

This seems to be enough keep the magic alive.  For now.


Again, I've never denied the existence of the man in red.
I believe.
I believe that Christmas, all that it stands for and all that goes along with it - is in the heart.

Christmas is all about faith and belief.

I'll never say anything different, because I believe.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Have a wonderful day!

~Jenn

Friday, December 7, 2012

Behind the mask...

"We all have a face that we hide away forever.  We take it out and show ourselves when everyone is gone."  ~Billy Joel - The Stranger

I'm not a huge Billy Joel fan (nothing personal) but this is one of those songs that really hits home for me.

Isn't this just easier?
It's no secret that I've had some crap in my life.  Some of it I've dealt with.  Other stuff, well I put on a good face.
My mask.

You know those people that strut around with a big ol smile plastered on their face?
The person who carries around a big old jar of crap with a pretty label on it.  You  may even be envious of that pretty jar, having no clue that the stuff inside really stinks.  The person carrying the jar is merely hiding the crap behind the smile.  Behind the mask.

Don't we all wear a mask of some sort??  Something that we want to hide away forever.  That one thing that makes you think... no, I don't want anyone to ever know that.

This line of thinking brings Bernie Madoff'esque people to mind.
The people looking to maintain the "Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous" image.  I often wonder...Did he start off as a major DB or did he work his way up to it?  Did he start off as a nice guy who just wanted to give his family a good life?
So he worked hard and life got better & better.
Until the day his wife couldn't get that Bentley?  Was it that day that he thought hmmm - If I take a little from here to give my wife the Bentley, I'll pay it back when this one over here comes in... no one will notice.  Then it got easier and easier to take it & never pay back??? 
This is hypothetical, of course.

I'm off track - I know.  My brain has been a muddy mess lately.  My point here is - was he so busy trying to maintain his outside label, that the jar of crap just over flowed?  Did he care so much about the image - the mask, that he just said the hell with the rest?

This is the other side of the mask, I know.

Some people hide their pain behind their mask.  They wear a smile and shed tears of a clown.

Some flaunt their riches, knowing they can't pay the huge mortgage for their mansion.

Others pretend to be hard to shield their soft and vulnerable hearts.

The mask of the beautiful woman, with no self esteem.
The strong, handsome man - with no clue how to live life.

What mask do you wear?

Do you take it off & show yourself when everyone has gone?

Or have you accepted yourself for who you are?

Thank you for reading my blog!

Warm hugs & big smoochies to you all.

~Jenn




Thursday, December 6, 2012

The world we live in

I was at my girls' school yesterday for a Child Study Team meeting for the short one.

Midway through the meeting, an announcement came over the PA System.  "Attention, Faculty and Staff - Please prepare for emergency lockdown."

My face dropped & I looked at the others in the meeting simply stating, "This is a drill, right?"

They all got up and I followed.  One shut the lights and pulled the shades.  We all followed to a hidden corner of the room where we huddled together in silence.

Holy heck!

Many things flashed through my mind while this was going on.
First I though, holy crap - is this real?
Can I get to my kids?  They're in the same building.  Can I go grab them?
Then I thought about the air raid drills that my parents spoke of when they where younger.
Finally I began to wonder, what do my kids think about all of this?

As a mom - and an "adult" who watches the news, I'm very aware of the dangers in the world.  I was prepared for any and every conversation that may come up.  In my heart and mind, I knew these drills were put into place as a result of Columbine & Virginia Tech types of events.  Massacres aimed at children.

To ME this was an incredibly scary event.  I understood.

You see, our family knew Matt La Porte.
Does that name ring a bell at all?
If not, Matt was the young hero at Virginia Tech who tried to stop Seung-Hui Cho from killing his fellow classmates during the Virginia Tech Massacre.  He was killed in his attempts.  Matt was my nephew's best friend.  They grew up together, went to Carson Long together had a friendship.  I didn't know him very well, but his death to made a huge impact on our family.  Enough of an impact that Emergency Lock Down Drills are significant in my mind.

When the girls came home from school I mentioned that I was at their school and that I got to partake in the Emergency Lock Down Drill.  Neither of them were phased.  My 10 year old even giggled a little bit.

"We all hide in a closet mom - boys in one, girls in the other.  What room were you in?  Where did you hide?"

It's a game to them.  It's hide and seek.

I guess that's good, in a way - but what if.  What IF this was a real event?  What if something terrible were taking place?

I can say that I would have ended up dead.

Huddled up in the corner, in the dark with the Child Study Team remaining quiet & as still as possible - I accidentally kicked the radiator.  It echoed through the classroom as the flashlight of the principal went by.  I would have given us all away.  I would have gotten us all killed.

How do I tell my children the real reason for these drills?

How do I tell them that their world has become so that they need to hide away in a corner, just in case someone tries to come and kill them?

This reality has hit me so hard.

Perhaps I'm overly dramatic.

But this is where I am with this..

As a mom, who is 110% on top of her kids (whether that's good or bad, I'll find out on the therapy couch one day) I would know if my child were struggling with murderous intent.  I would see their cell phones, their computers.  I'm involved.

What makes someone snap, with the result being "Emergency Lock Down Drills" for little kids.

Something I'll never understand.

I know this entry is on the dark side today.... I hope I've given you food for thought.

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog.

~Jenn








Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Virtual Love Letter.... to you

All this week, I feel like I've had nothing to say....

Let me rephrase that - I always have PLENTY to say.  I just couldn't get my thoughts to flow properly from my brain and through my fingers into this blog-osphere.

Today, I've had some inspiration & my inspiration comes from people like you, my virtual friends.

That sounds so strange, doesn't it?  Virtual friends.

I thought about it.  Then I thought about it again, and it's very clear.  I hide nothing on here.  I am as "naked" and honest in my writing as humanly possible & you love me anyway.  Alright, maybe you just like me - but you're here.

Reality just isn't like that.  In real life, people may love you - but they also judge you for the things you say, the things you do.  They don't always want to hear the really awful stuff that is a part of who you are.

Here - it's right out there for the world to see.  If you don't like someone's blog or page, you don't interact - you don't go back.  No one knows the difference.

It's in the people who stay who learn you and you learn them.

I'm not saying I choose the virtual world over the real world - but I am saying that the friends that I've made on here are real true people that I enjoy and feel a kinship with.  We all choose each other.

I love that.

I've been touched so deeply by some of you.  I've made real, true connections.  Friendships I'd never known could be made - over the internet.  It amazes me.  Really.

This community - amazes me.  Everyone seems to care about each other.  If you've been gone for a few days - someone notices & checks in on you.  If someone is sad, we lift each other up.  We congratulate each other.  Just like a real family - but virtually.

As fuzzy as this may all sound, as I work through my writer's block - I hope my little internet love letter to all of you comes through properly.

To you all - thank you.

I truly appreciate you all & have much love for you.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway


Wow!!

I think I've finally got it all together & I want to share it with YOU!

Welcome to

My Favorite Things Holiday Give Away!
Wine & a beautiful glass to drink it from
Coffee & a special mug to drink it from
Chocolate
Candles
A Target Gift Card
and other fun little things for you to enjoy your holiday!

I'm so happy to have each & every one of you here with me!

Good Luck!!
~Jenn

a Rafflecopter giveaway