My Year In Reflection

…..not to be confused with my ANNUAL Year in Review!  This post is reflecting on my 42nd year of life.  🙂

As I begin the countdown to my 43rd Birthday (down to 6 days at the time of this writing), I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to reflect on all the things that God has done for me during the last (almost) 365 days!

  • My 42nd year started with a bang, as Deana and I happened to be in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In fact, we flew home on my birthday, so it was the longest lasting birthday I had ever experienced!  It went on, and on, and on……..(“Yep, it’s still your birthday!)
  • With barely enough time to re-adjust to the California time zone after leaving Scotland, I jumped on a plane to Dallas, Texas to attend the two job interviews that had been scheduled during my Great Britain trip.  A three day trip turned into a permanent stay, as I received a job offer five days in and started the next day!
  • Of course, moving out of state is a big ordeal, and 98% of the logistics were handled by Deana.  She really helped beyond words!
  • The new job definitely has been a change for me!  Project Management, software support, accounting, sales type work all mashed into one! Add business traveling and BAM – it was the best of times, it was the worst of times!  🙂
  • I lived through “the worst snow storm in Texas in 40 years”, something amazingly heroic since, as a Californian, I have never really driven in snow for my entire life.  (Not to mention, having to live in 13 or so degree weather in general was HARSH for this wimpy woman!)
  • In March, we were able to lease our own place – a lovely (and large) home in a nice neighborhood.  This was accomplished in great part by a miracle that came directly from God.
  • In April 2010, Deana and I found what was to become of home church – Crossroads Community Church.  We went there via a recommendation from our California Pastor, and have been blessed ever since!  I have been able to be part of the Worship Team as one of their drummers (and even played the electric guitar this past Sunday – can you say nervous?), and have been totally blessed by teaching Sunday School as well.  God has definitely stretched me in ways I cannot fathom.
  • In May/June I was hospitalized for the first time in my life, apart from childbirth.  I can’t say this was something I was very excited about when it occurred (who is, really?), nor do I really like the medical bills that still linger, but I am VERY thankful that God protected me and has restored my health through the wonderful medical team at Baylor.
  • No tattoos during my 42nd year!
  • I was able to witness huge changes in my kids!  Kirstie, who turned 20, worked through some tough issues in her life and also moved out of state!  (No, not to Texas).  Kenny has changed the most physically, growing several inches and has begun to look more like a man than a boy.  Josh continues to grow and has expanded his singing by joining a choir.  Zack’s front teeth have slowly appeared after playing hide and seek for over a year!  Sophia has become more and more like me, with her spunky sassiness and confidence.  I am really being brief here, but these five individuals made my year amazingly fun!
  • I sat through way more baseball and soccer games than I care to admit!  Some games took place during 100+ degree weather, while others around 40 degrees!  Ah, Texas weather!
  • In June we added Ninja Cat Wylie to our household.  He has actually brought more happiness to me than I would have thought possible.
  • In July, Gracie went missing and has not returned.  A part of me is gone with her, and at times I am overwhelmed with grief.  But I try to remind myself that God loves her too and I know she is happy somewhere.
  • In August, after several false starts, state teaching credential work for the expected teaching gig, and prayers – Deana obtained a job with the City of Dallas.  This, we believe, was a direct answer to prayer!   Oh, and she is NOT a teacher, so we shall see what God has up His sleeve long term!
  • I have lost relationships and gained relationships.  And slowly I am learning that I can trust God to work things out for His glory, as He sees fit.
  • I have extremely blessed by Deana, my soulmate, and love the life we’ve built together.
  • I have been able to save many people from being duped/abused by someone from my past, thanks to this site.
  • I cut my hair REALLY SHORT (thanks to the outrageous Texas heat!) – it shocked my system! – and now am beginning the process of growing it out.
  • I have lost over 25 pounds since moving to Texas.  I think it might be closer to 35, but I am not sure as I didn’t really weigh myself often as I knew I was out of control working at Dupars with all that fattening food!
  • I know I am forgetting something – I will post this now and revise as needed.

Being a Good Daughter

I will start this by saying, while overall I have always been a perfectionist, I have usually failed miserably.  I have gotten B’s on papers, disappointed people, made bad decisions, and otherwise “failed” at the whole perfection thing.  My view about myself changed dramatically when I accepted Christ at the age of 16, but the psychological drive to be perfect is much harder to let go.  But one area where I’ve always known I’ve done a pretty good job for most of my life is being a daughter.

I always followed the rules – I was a “good girl” who honored my parents.  I was respectful.  I was not promiscuous, I didn’t drink, and I certainly didn’t do drugs.  I did what they said and I didn’t ask WHY (at least not vocally) and believed the fact that they were my bosses.  I trusted their views in religion, politics, how family dynamics worked, and that their way of raising children was the norm.  And, truth be known, much of my childhood I look back on with fondness.  But it also is true that I was very much, by birth or otherwise, a child that wanted very much to please her parents.  I did whatever I could to make them proud of me, of the fact that I was their child and that they could know that I would do whatever I could to make THEM look good, as my parents.  And that worked for me well – I often heard they were proud of me, I was given what I perceived as more freedom and responsibility than my younger brother because of it.  And it made me want to work harder at conforming to the “image” that fed that acceptance and pride.

To be completely candid, I lived much of my life feeling as if I was the “favored child” in my family.

I also believed that my parents, especially my Dad, were the only people in the entire world that would love me NO MATTER WHAT.  I remember when I became a Christian and a few women shared that they had a hard time viewing Jesus as a loving God because they felt no love from their physical fathers, this thought was so foreign to me.  I mean, MY Dad loved me so so so much and so so so well that reaching out and accepting the love of Christ was very easy for me.  My Dad was the model for the love of Jesus in so many ways.

I don’t want to diminish that at all.  It was true and real and I am very thankful for the life I’ve been given.  And often these memories sustain me when all else looks bleak.

However, life is funny.  I am a grown woman now, and there are aspects of my life that are very different from that of my parents.  After years of being a diehard Republican, I am leaning (oh who am I kidding?  I’ve plunged in many ways) to a more liberal political agenda.  I am no longer living to please others with my life as much as I am being honest about my desires, views, feelings………not at the expense of others per se, but I am no longer a mirror to those around me as I agree with whatever so I can be “approved” or “accepted” by them.  I am honest about my sexuality and proclaim (or at least not deny) that I am in love with Deana and we are making a life together with our kids and our God and we are good people.  I am more honest now than I’ve ever been, even though that honesty has caused many around me to cut me out of their lives.

And yet, over the last two years especially, I’ve dealt with what I perceive to be the loss of a huge part of the love that has sustained me.  It was painful at first.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s still painful in many ways.  There are times when I say I understand and tell myself to just let it go, that it would be wrong for me to force key people in my life to love me – that my honesty about myself and my choices should not mean they have to accept them, although I had hoped they would continue to accept ME.  Then there are other times when I am angry – when I want to point out that I am the same person I’ve been for 43 years, the same honorable daughter, but that I happen to be a lesbian, and an honest one at that.  And then there are times when I want to say, like a little girl who used to be held in those arms that made me feel I was in the safest place in the world – I resent that you’ve taken this love from me and shattered my world.  I resent that you’ve broken this fairy tale for me in this way, and you haven’t even given me the opportunity of knowing WHY but instead cut me out of your life to the point where I no longer want to call and where even sending emails and texts are painful as I know you won’t return them.  But usually, I end up being angry at myself, because I let you control me even now, as a grown woman, and all really (as I perceive it) because I am the same person I have always been, but I no longer conform to what you expected of me.  Maybe I am wrong, but I have nothing else to base it on.

So, after analyzing this concept on and off for 24 or so months, I have come to the following conclusion – being a “good daughter” is not doing everything to please your parents, although there are times when you DO have to conform to household rules.  Being a good daughter is loving your parents, even when they do things you don’t agree with.  Being a good daughter is sharing memories with your own kids, and raising them with the qualities you appreciate and which you learned from your parents.  Being a good daughter is standing with pride knowing the heritage that is running through your veins, and which continues in your children as well.  Being a good daughter is loving your parents even when they have rejected you for whatever reason, and you don’t hold it against them anymore.  But it ALSO means letting go of the perceived guilt and no longer being held hostage to it. I am the same daughter I have always been, and I am proud of the person I am……..except I won’t let you treat me like I am 10 and no longer following your unspoken rules.

So, today I will feel the loss of you from my life – as I have pretty much everyday since this separation has happened – but I am no longer HELD by it.  Because today I will smile at the good times, be a little sad that you’ve chosen not to be involved in my life going forward, and will rest in the fact that I am loved AND accepted even now – by my wife, by my FIVE children, by my friends, and by my Jesus – NO MATTER WHAT.  And I am cool with that.  But I will always miss you.  And, if by chance someday you change your mind and want to interact with your daughter again, I will be here for you.

Wow, November’s the Time to Celebrate!!!!!

So, wow, it’s been nearly a year since Deana and I publicly proclaimed our love!  It’s hard to believe!!!!  To be reminded of the celebration details, or if you’ve never seen them, you can read our celebration blog from last year.  Sorry that we didn’t really update it at all after the ceremony.  🙂

This last year has been filled with some AMAZING moments, and lots of changes!  TEXAS tops that list!  My job continues to rock.  Deana also found a job working for the City of Dallas – whoot!  Kirstie moved to Nebraska (Nebraska!), Kenny is now as tall as me and is anxious to grow more, Josh has joined a chorale, Zack has made A Honor Roll twice, and Sophia has rocked the soccer field.  AND love has continued as strong as ever across the board.  I can speak for myself and say that I’ve never loved Deana more and I feel a contentment with her (my soulmate) that is so wonderful, I really don’t have words to explain it.  I realize that some people just don’t get that, and it’s okay.  Really, the truth is I’ve had a fantastic life filled with amazing memories, but all those memories turned to HD once I met Deana.  I AM HAPPY and so are my kids!  And that’s all that matters to me.

For those of you who missed these or are feeling like torturing yourself, here are the videos that were shown at our ceremony during the time Deana and I had to be photographed for memory sake.  I know some of you were also not aware I had uploaded them to Youtube.  🙂  Enjoy.

(Hint for viewing videos – if they’re too small, you can either double click them to go to YouTube, or click the little button at the bottom right of the video screen to make it full screen)

Video 1 – The Early Years

(Song: Tangerine Tree by Tamila & Elina)

Video 2 – Life Continues

(Song: Watching My World Walk By, by Tyrone Wells)

Video 3 – Adding to the Family

(Song: Victory (Mike Batt Mix) by Bond)

Video 4 – Craziness

(Note in BMX segment a 5-year-old passed me with no problem……)

Video 5 – Continuing Forever

(Song: To Know Love by Little Big Town)

Happy Anniversary Deana!  I love you!!!

P.S.  We have SO many anniversaries, it’s not even funny!  4/20, 9/10, 9/11 (oops, not 9/12 that is Kirstie’s bday oops!), and finally 11/22.  (I think I am missing some……UPDATED duh yeah!  7/3 we got engaged sheesh)  We must like parties!  🙂

More Quotes to Live By

So I realized that many of the quotes I’ve heard recently needed to be shared.

I was in the process of making peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches.  Sophia and Zack happen to HATE peanutbutter, so when they asked what I was doing I emphasized this point and offered them one.  Here is the response/interchange with Sophia:

S:  I think I will have a jelly sandwich instead

G: Jelly sandwich?  That’s illegal!

S:  Illegal is my middle name!

Of course I can’t remember the other ones right now, so I will try to update later.  Sorry.