Friday, September 28, 2012

Music Makes Memories

Music has always been a part of my life.

I can remember being very small and singing Christmas songs as my mom played them on the piano. I can remember sitting and singing with my grandpa as he played his guitar. With all of these things music started having strong ties to memories. I might not be able to tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but that song I learned in Kindergarten... I can tell you every word.

A song can come on the radio and leave me in tears.  I can remember what I was doing at other times in my life when the song was playing. I can remember what I was doing the first time I heard it, or who I was with when we all sang along. Some songs bring up bad memories, while others are filled with joy. Either way hearing a song can put me right back in that moment all over again.

The last couple weeks I have been missing music. I miss marching band. I miss choir. I miss going to local concerts. So instead of just being sad about it I did something about it. I joined a local choir through our church. We have an amazing director, and I think this will be a great thing for me. He got me all the music this week and we will soon be preparing for our two Christmas performances. I am excited to bring music back into my life in this way, and bring along all the memories that come with it.

 This song has been on my mind frequently and for many different reasons, but today seems like the perfect reason to share it. My life seems to be slowly finding it's new normal, and yet some things will always need to be present in order for it to feel like home, and maybe music is one of them.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

People Change

This quote could not be any truer to my life, especially lately. I often hold onto people for longer than I should because I remember the person they use to be. I remember the good times, and the positives they added to my life. I am not willing to just forget about all of that, and it often leaves me getting hurt. I know and accept that people change, and yet I feel like there is always a little of the "old them" left behind. 

Recently my views on this have been changing. I have people who I just have to accept that the "old them", the friend I knew and loved simply no longer exists. They are no longer that person and although I so badly want at least some of that person left it simply isn't. This is very hard for me to accept because it is a loss almost like a death. In both cases someone you love and care about is simply gone. The difference is with death there is closure and finality. The decision is taken from you. In changes the person is left having to figure it out and find the strength to remove people from their lives. You have to be willing to walk away from someone who was once a wonderful part of your life because they now have nothing positive to add. You have to keep the memories and the pictures in a safe spot and reminded yourself that they will always be there even when everything else changes. 

I have found that strength with some and still search for it with others. It is a process and realization is the first step.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Today I would like to introduce you all to someone. I have been wanting to write this blog for a little while, but have gone back and forth on it. I decided I wanted to wait a little while, and make sure the timing was right. However, in doing that I have decided there is never a perfect time.

You have all met my daughter Ashley who is and will always be the #1 person in my life. You have seen and heard about Jay who is my ex husband, and my co parent. You have even seen pics of my parents, and my brothers. Well today I want to introduce you to another very special person in my life. This person became an important part of my life at a time when I really needed someone. I was able to have fun again and my confidence in myself started being restored. I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

So with all of that being said I would like to officially say that yes I have started dating again. Jay is dating. I am dating, and both of us are in a good place right now. So.... I would like to introduce you to my boyfriend... Larry.

I am not going to get on here and pretend that we have the perfect relationship because we don't. In fact I don't think such a thing exist. We have struggles just like everyone else. However, I think both of us have the ability to bring out the best in each other, and be there for each other in a way most people can't.

When Larry and I started dating we would spend hours and hours just sitting and talking. We wanted to know everything about what the other one thought and how they viewed the world. We have very different opinions on some things, but we can discuss it calmly and are able to learn things from each other.

Larry is an amazing person. He treats others in a way that shows so much respect. He is also an amazing father. His daughter is wonderful and the way he has raised her shows what a great dad he is. In addition to being great with his daughter he is also great with my daughter. He plays so well with the two girls and Ashley loves getting to see them. Ashley and Stormie have become very close and they love playing together. They talk about each other frequently and truly love one another.

Ashley and Stormie having a sleepover. 

Larry, Stormie, Ashley, and I all went to Rolla together for the carnival back in July. They got a chance to meet some of my family, and we spent a significant amount of time with some of my cousins. My cousins thought very highly of him and could see how happy all of us were together. While I don't let other people determine what I do in my life this was huge to me. I loved that we could all just hang out together and have a good time. I loved being able to see that these two people really could fit into my regular life. It definitely helped solidify things.

Larry and me on the octopus in Rolla. 

I have so much more I want to share, but I will end it here for now. I hope that our relationship lasts for a long time to come and that you will be hearing more about our lives and how they are winding together.

Top 10 Thursday

Top 10 Things To Do On A Rainy Day:

1. Play in the rain: The neighborhood kids and I use to always go out and play in the rain. We would take our shoes off and jump in all the puddles. We would come home soaking wet, but it was so much fun.

2. Sit on the porch/ balcony and watch the rain: Sitting and watching the rain has to be one of the most calming things someone can do. Plus the smell of rain is awesome.

3. Read a book: I love reading, and admittedly just about everything is a good excuse to read. Curling up in a blanket and reading on a rainy day is best though.

The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day 
who doesn't know how to read.

4. Watch a movie: What better way to pass the day than to cuddle up with someone you love and watch a movie.

5.  Color: I remember when we were little we had giant coloring books that we would drag out on rainy days.  Coloring is another fun activity that can be really relaxing.

6. . Take a Nap: It is very hard for me to take naps, but rainy days make it much easier. Something around the rain makes me want to curl up in bed and take a little rest.

7.  Play games: I love playing board games and card games. When everyone is stuck inside because of the rain it is a great time to pull out a game and have some fun.

8. Knit: This past year I have started knitting again. It is something I really enjoy doing. It helps me relax, but also makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. Sitting and watching the rain while knitting on my latest project is a great way to pass the day.

9. Cook: I have recently taken more of an interest in cooking. I especially like cooking in my crock pot. On rainy days I tend to throw in a soup or some chili. It smells delicious all day, and helps keep the chill away when you eat it.

10. Work around the house: I tend to use rainy days to catch up on laundry or make sure the dishes are done. If you can't get out of the house you might as well make your house an enjoyable place to be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working Wednesday

Well I had a new experience at school yesterday.... I got to teach with no electricity. The first transformer blew around 8:45 and we lost all computers and the lights in my room. The lights did come back on when the emergency lights kicked in. However, the air conditioner stayed down. The hallways stayed dark though. Then around 10:15 another transformer blew. At 1:00 they had to power everything down to fix the transformers and we went the rest of the day with nothing at all. It was an interesting experience, but overall it went very well. We got a little hot by the end of the day, but nothing horrible.

The kids and I spent some time working on religion, and then used a great teachable moment to write a story about the day the power went out. The kids loved it, and of course they wish the power could go out everyday :-)

In addition to that I was noticing today how kids seem to really have a sense of how people feel. I get hugs from my current and former students daily. However today I was having a rough time and even more stopped by to give me hugs or gave me hugs as I walked down the hall. I literally hugged at least 20 kids today, and it really helped lift my mood. I don't know what I would do if I didn't get their sweet hugs every day. It really is one of the many joys of being a teacher.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th

I didn't feel right about posting a Terrific Tuesday post today so instead I am going to take a little trip down memory lane.

I can remember September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. I was a Freshman in college. I was in my first class of the day, which happened to be a study group lap that was linked to another class. We found out about the first plane hitting when we got into class. We immediately turned on the TV and discussed it all throughout class.

I then went to my geology class. We had a test that day. I remember a couple comments from that class vividly. First a guy who sits next to me said "I can tell you one thing if we are under attack I sure am glad to have a hard ass Texan on our side." The other was when a student asked our teacher if we were still having the test... he responded "Yes that's out on the coast it doesn't affect us here" Oh how wrong he was.

All classes that day dismissed at noon and we all met at the main flag pole on campus to pray. After our time together everyone headed back to the dorms. All doors were open and everyone was glued to the TV watching the stories coming in.

The next few weeks passed in a blur. Campus felt empty as many from Whiteman had been sent places. I had two guys in my French class who were pilots out of Whiteman and they would be in class some and gone some. They would literally fly out in the evening after class fly all the way to Afghanistan and then fly back.

The news reported that the B2s were moved off the coast and yet we watched them fly over campus.

We had a memorial candle walk from downtown back onto campus. Students and local people from town all came together. People prayer, people sang songs, and everyone remembered. It was a scary time and yet everyone bonded together. It is a day I wish never happened, and yet I hope it is a day that no one forgets.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's the small things

Lately I have really been looking for some form of normal. I know my "normal" has been changed so many times over the last few months, and I need to establish a new normal, but that appears to be easier said than done. However tonight for the first time in a long time I felt like things were approaching normal, and I did have a carefree and fun night.

I stayed at work late tonight to catch up with one of my cowrkers. We just sat in her room and talked about everything going on with us, and were able to get some frustrations out and just enjoy having someone to talk to. This seems to be an important part of what has been missing in my life lately. It is important to have multiple people you can talk to in this way so you aren't always unloading on one person. These people are such a valuable asset and I fear when things get crazy sometimes people let these relationships slide without realizing how important it is. I am going to try to remember this for the future, and remember even when things are crazy I sometimes need to stop and take a minute for myself.

Also this evening my boyfriend and I met up with some friends down at First Fridays. We weren't able to stay for long, but honestly it was exactly what I needed tonight. I have many times gone down to First Fridays and it is always a good time. We were able to walk around some, see some exhibits, and just have a carefree time.

After that some of my friends came over and we recorded the "girls' night"episode for my podcast. It was awesome seeing the girls, especially because all three of them are people I don't get to see nearly enough. We all agreed we need to change that and hopefully will be spending more time together soon. The episode was fun and we were all able to just hang out for a while. It is interesting to me that these girls come from such different parts of my life, but we were all togethe rin a room tonight and they were all meeting for the first time, and honestly it felt like we were a group that could just get together and a have a good time anytime.

None of these things were major things at all but they were all so important, and when put together made for an awesome evening. I think often times the small things are overlooked, but maybe they are the pieces that hold our lives together and make our normal seem normal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

Today I am thankful for wondeful evenings with my daughter. Tonight I got her from school and we headed to my parents. We sat at the table and did her "All About Me" homework before having dinner with my parents and brother. After dinner and cleaning up her and I headed to the park for about an hour. Now it is time for bath and our bedtime routine. There wasn't anything overly unique or special about today, but we got to spend some good quality time together and for that I am grateful.

Monday, September 3, 2012


For the past few days my brain has been flooded with memories... some when I am awake and others when I am asleep. I don't know what has prompted them, or even the relationship to all of them. Some are happy memories, and others are things I would rather not remember. It's funny how our minds work.... I often wonder if it is some sort of warning, if it is because I am going through things at the house, or if it really just is a coincidence.

I don't want to share all of the memories with you today, but I do want to talk about an important person in my life who has been in many of these memories. Her name is Frieda. Frieda was an amazing person in my life. She was my babysitter from the time I was very small. However, she was so much more than a babysitter and probably fell more into a grandmother role. Her grandchildren also went to her house during the day and were some of my very best friends growing up. Frieda was an amazing woman, she was very selective about the children she watched, and she was very strict with her rules. If you were in her home you behaved and there was no other option. However, as strict as she was you always knew she loved you. She taught me some amazing things like how to crochet, but more importantly she taught me to stand up for myself. She taught me the importance of hanging around good people, and not being influenced by what others wanted me to do.

Frieda overcame many obstacles in her life. She had severe diabetes that miracuously just went away. She had heart problems, and received a heart transplant during my early teen years. She lost her husband at an early age. So many struggles, but she always came out strong.

Frieda passed away a little over a week before I got married. I had received a letter from her just weeks prior and it is something I will always treasure. I also have the poncho she made me when I was little, and it is something I will never part with.

Although she passed away before I was married that was not the last time I saw her. When we were trying desperately to get pregnant with Ashley I was giving up hope. Then one night I had a dream and Frieda was sitting in heaven and all these kids were around her and she was reading them a story. I knew so vividly in the dream that some of the kids were going to be mine, and what I took away from the dream was that it was okay if i didn't have my baby right then because she was taking care of them for me until they came here. I stopped worrying that day and a while later found out I was pregnant. When Ashley was born I knew she was one of those lucky little ones who had spent some time with Frieda before she made her way to us.

This amazing woman taught me so many things, and I hope I can be half as strong as she was.

My brother sometimes jokes I need a bracelet that says "WWFD" to stand for What Would Frieda Do? and remind me not to let others push me around.

Frieda was a huge John Wayne fan. When I first started teaching I wanted to decorate my room in a cowboy theme. I looked everywhere for something John Wayne related and one day my parents found a tin sign with his picture. This picture hangs in my classroom. People look at it everyday and think it is just part of my theme, but it is so much more than that. It reminds me to stay strong like she was, and that she is always there with me.

I will never be able to see John Wayne, an Iris, or watch Price is Right without thinking of her. I look fondly at Sweet Gum trees and remember playing under the one in her front yard. I miss her deeply, but I know my life is better because she was in it, and because of that she is never really gone.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Family Sunday

For this "Family Sunday" I want to share with you one of my favorite poems about daughters. My daughter really is my little angel.

An Angel Left Her Wings

© Tina M. Marascia
I have this little angel. For me she left her wings.
She has no idea how much happiness she truly brings.
She brightens up my days with her smiles and her laughs.
She helps me to remember all the blessings that I have.

Her face, it is so perfect, she's sweet and soft and pure.
Sometimes she can be willful and sometimes she is demure.
She tries her very hardest to please and do what's right.
She gives the greatest hugs from morning until night.

Every person that has known her sees this light within her soul
I know that in this whole great world, she has a special role.
She's helpful and considerate to everyone she knows
This light in her shines brighter as my angel grows.

When she sees someone is sad, it opens up her heart.
She wants to do all that she can; she wants to do her part.
She'll squeeze away the sorrow and make me forget about my pain.
She shows me where the sun is when we're hiding from the rain.

I know that God must love me, He showed me with His Grace
I knew just how completely when I saw my angel's face.
And in that very moment when she came into my world,
I knew that she was so much more than just my baby girl.

She would be my sunshine, with a sweetness that won't end.
And when she grows up one day she would be my closest friend.
She would be the reason I would always try my best.
For my little angel baby girl would be my greatest test.

When God entrusts to you an angel, who has left her wings for you.
Encircle her with love with everything you do.
Let her know God made her, and that He trusts you with her care.
Be sure to make time for special moments with her to share.

And when at night she finally says her prayers and goes to sleep
I Thank Him for my angel, and ask for him to always keep
A watchful eye and hand to protect her from this world.
Protect my little angel; protect my baby girl.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I come to you with a heavy heart...

In general I try to keep this blog upbeat and not put much out there that is heavy. However, today that is going to change a little. Over the last couple weeks I have watched many people in my life deal with some extreme losses. People at work have lost family members, and others have family members with very brief time left. I have friends dealing with losses and trying times in their life. I watch children dealing with major medical issues that no one can explain.  I am trying to wrap my brain around it all, but it just seems there is so much pain out there right now. Yesterday one of my coworkers said in the past 2 weeks she knows personally of 14 deaths. Doesn't that seem extreme? Why is all of this happening right now?

I feel like so many of us are out there trying to lift ourselves back up off that ground only to get knocked right back down. I know in my own life I felt like I was really getting to a better place with things, and that everything was falling in place. Yet now I am getting overwhelmed with new things, and things I really don't even understand. Then I ask myself why can't things just be good? Can't people have a period in their life where they aren't dealing with constant struggles, or pain, or loss? I keep being told that God has a reason for everything, but I honestly don't understand what the reason for all of this is. People can only handle so much...