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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Carrying your love with me

                It was a nice cold evening when I drove out to Nampa to pick up my husband's Grandma, she was at the early stages of Alzheimer so I was asked to take her to the ballet, which was a delightful event! I love all those kinds of things, plays and talent shows I can enjoy even the opera style of singing that doesn't make up sense but feels truly lovely. I have always enjoyed the Orchestra, and most importantly I loose myself into the Shakespeare Festival every single time, going by myself is even better because I don't distracted or interrupted from my focus on the stories unfolding before me.

Taking Grandma to the ballet was easy for me because I know how to direct and talk to someone who forgets every other second what is happening around them.
For I have worked at a nursing home when I was 18, where the Alzheimer patients told a different story about their life every few minuets, since I was their laundry lady I took my time chatting with them while putting their clean clothes away. 
And then around that same time in my life I saw a movie in the theater about a married couple who found themselves old and struggling with such confusion when one developed Alzheimer. 
It was a beautiful story I never forgot it but I can't remember the title, and it was before the famous movie "The Notebook." This movie was more of a film for our information in how to handle and deal with someone who can't remember who you are anymore and the awareness helps lessen the suffering.

 I have always loved learning all these things about living, especially when I was 18 years old I went to many movies on my own for a life lesson it held. I was never afraid nor uncomfortable when around such situations because of what I had learned and related to in these sad stories.

Back when my Grandma had brain cancer I never took her behavior personal, I never felt like she being ridiculous because it wasn't about me, it was about HER completely.       I simply realized that I would miss her all the rest of my life, so these days of my care towards her needed to be the best I could create for her and for me, when she passed away I was 23 years old and I saw how people talked about her like she was a super human, like she was a saint for her whole life and I realized in grief we change our perspective of who that person was instantly in our own sense of loss and pain we romanticize the past and we hero worship the person who died.
It's just part of the process, I don't take it personal knowing what I remember of the same person who had faults and insecurities when alive were real and taught me something too, AND just like me they were never perfect. 
The joy of focusing on the good things in a person we loved is a comfort for us, when that person is no longer with us we cling to what we can in trying to heal from such raw pain. 

Like when my mother had her stroke I saw this happen to my own siblings, That sudden passion of sharing to the hospital nurses that she was some kind of superhero mother! 
So I stayed quiet listening in awe of that fear in all of us as it sends us out shooting for a higher calling of who we wanted her to be. 
We all change and struggle in our own ways when handling death. 
Life will never stand still long enough to be so perfect as it is in our own mind's eye.
 While the kids all grow up the elderly grow down we make our peace and our way through it in best way we can.

I have learned that not being afraid of the whole system is a helpful step in facing it. Accepting that we don't have all the answers and we never really know the person completely even after they die. 
Also there is no perfect human on this earth, no super hero and no magical saint. (I wonder why we keep trying to find such a human being like that)
In death we can share our best memories and our admiration for that being laid to rest, the comfort in such helpless sad events like that come from your own mind and heart. It's never up to those around you to say the right thing or to "fix it" back to the way it use to be. 
From every death we face, we change individually, we are getting ready for our own day of being laid to's all a journey for our soul, being kind to those who cry is very very important and not always easy for some people I have noticed in my own personal experiences. Let Bravery replace the fear, and let LOVE win over your heart in such a time as grief!

Grandma Beth has grown into a ghostly being and one day she will find her forever rest but I can't help to be reflective and so grateful that she and I went to the ballet a few years back. 
For Her love for her big family, her joy in bringing everyone together over the years always impressed me that she was a sweet Grandma!
I use to sit back at one of her family dinners and think to myself about how nice it is to say out loud "Thanks, Grandma!"  
Because being a family doesn't last, and a finding a nice kind person like Grandma Beth is also rare, Yes, I am grateful I got to know her.

The evening was coming on as I helped Grandma Beth to her chair in her new nursing home room, my husband had made her so mad for some reason as I cheerful distracted her with a big smile "It has been such a lovely day, hasn't it?" She changed instantly "Oh yes, yes, lovely.....truly lovely....Is this a card?" I smiled and bent down to my knees to lean into her lap and look up at her as she sat comfortably and safely. "I made that for you Grandma. I just love you so much!" She burst forth a big sweet smile repeating "I love you." as if it should mean something to her, I repeated "Yup, I love you, I love you, I love you." Grandma flip over the card reading "Grandma Beth." I smiled waiting as she exclaimed "Well now! this is for an old lady, that Grandma Beth is an old old woman, she is just so old! Grandma Beth needs this card, the deary...." I repeated while giggling "I love you. I love you" She smiled proudly "I love you. I love you." and I nodded wisely as I left wondering if I had the strength to ever visit her again? 

Sadness is apart of the great strength that makes happiness grow stronger, Sadness makes happiness even more important!
and LOVE will always live on! 
So carry the Love with you always!     

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A moment of Law

             Tony burst into the cozy soft glowing living room of our sweet little cottage rental exclaiming "It's official! I'm going to Law school this fall!" I was about to swallow my warm tea in my pink chair while reading my new book and everything moved in slow motion as I choked and nodded back at him with supportive smile froze in place as my mind raced on in fear and in always with a trauma or drama about to unfold everything moves in slow motion for me as my heart beats and my mind says "Don't panic, choose your words carefully."
I cheered for him by setting my book down and calming the dogs back into my lap for they had jerked awake by his sudden burst of energy from his office room.
"Well, Good for you! You should be very proud! To reach a life long dream like this!" I said just as the voice in my head said "And now it begins....for better or worse, we've been better and it could get much much worse..."
He snorted back as he came to sit across from me "Life long dream? No, I just want to be my own boss in the end...and really there's no way to climb the latter at work unless I go to law school." I chuckled to myself that I had tried to romanticize it all in my head as my knee jerk reaction. I do this kind of thinking as a survival cooping tool....romanticizing everything is my way of dealing. 

I looked around for a moment as my mind focused in on some important questions to ask like  "You will start this fall? and for the next 3 years I will work and you can stay home with the dogs? I don't want to ever fail them so we need to figure out how they can have the best life in this huge change and shift in our lives." 
Tony laughed and shook his head "When I am a lawyer I will buy them the whole pet food store!" I rolled my eyes and said "All they want is someone to be home with them as much as possible, for I made them a promise to be the best person I can be for them." He looked at me suddenly with a knowing smile "Here we go again, YOU hate change. You will fight it every time! Even though the future could send you down a whole new pathway and a whole new life ahead from where we are right now. You are all about keeping your word and following through on your promises, the dogs don't know or understand and they don't care if you can't keep them." I felt my chin line tighten and my eyes narrow in on my husband "I CARE, I have to live with myself in the end so I am not going back on my word to give them a good home life. No matter the future, No matter what....I will be there for them."
He nodded back at me like "I know, I know, "
Then he sighed saying "Don't be scared of change, don't be all guarded or worried over this new adventure in our lives, we talked about this already I am not happy remember? Law school is going to change all of that!"
I chuckled at the reminder of our long conversation about happiness, and I had told my best friend Benny about all of it too. Tony saying he was only 22% happy sent us into tears of long heavy laughter because we both knew him so well,  I gasped at her explaining in between my laughter "You know he came up with that number very very carefully, if he said 25% that's a fourth of the way to his idea of true happiness which is huge! Right? YET if he said that he is 10% happy we would all think he's not grateful enough for the little things like a doughnut with his coffee! THAT 22% is a very accurate and important number of his exact happiness right now...Hahahahahaha Oooooh lordy!" Benny asked "What did you say back to him?" I smiled proudly explaining on "I said if he is only 22% happy right now then I must be at 122% happy because I have never ever calculated up my percentage of happiness before? Like who does that???" We burst out laughing and half hugging each other all over again. This was a classic running joke between us from then on out if we ever needed another good laugh and reminder how happiness can come in a percentage.

I flashback with a giggle at my husband before who had just reminded me law school will up his happiness calculations. I could see he looked so pleased to be accepted and starting up in the soon to arrive fall season so I served him some tea as I listened on and then I reminded him "Just so that we are clear, you are going to Law school for your own life's goal/dream/journey because in the end it will be only up to you to finish and see it all the way through if you say it's for your job or your parents or even for me then after 3 years you will blame and resent all of those reasons, but if you take ownership of this for yourself then you will be very proud of pushing yourself to the finish line without risking those relationships, without hating those reasons in the end." 
He looked at me cautiously "Are you saying our marriage won't survive this?"  I looked around at the perfect little home I had made wondering how do I say it clearer? I paused to look right at him in his full attention and sighed back my reply "I am saying in a year from now when you are not sleeping, when you are obsessed with every grade and every test, then you need to know whose to blame for our upside down lives, AND when you get mad at me or when you feel overwhelmed, thinking to yourself it's everyone else's fault so you should just give up....Then whatever spark and whatever your reasons on why you are doing this is very very important. Because it can help give you a better focus during those hard times ahead. You need to have all that in order ahead of time, you can't say it's for anyone else then yourself if you are going to make it."
Tony smiled asking "Soooo we are good? This is something you support and will stick with me on?" I nodded and waited wondering if I should share of what all is going through my head or if that's just my caution and fear talking? again saying
He jumped up to go back to his desk "I can't wait to tell everyone, I am going to be a lawyer!" I laughed adding "Here's to bringing up your happiness and shooting for least!" His eyes grew wide and he thoughtfully shared "There's a lot of things that would have to line up for that to ever happen!" I nodded on with true understanding and a few giggles again.

Tony's law school mentor shook my hand with such surprise during our very first encountered in the late summer of 2012, He said over my shoulder to Tony "If you are happily married, then maybe this isn't the right career move for you." I burst out laughing and waving them on as I took my cup of coffee out with me  in my usual downtown walk about, only to feel that same ol' fear try to bug me once again.......
Just as I had asked Tony to take ownership of his career move, I had to realize how I needed to take ownership of my own worries, my own fears.
The morning air was crisp, the sky was clear and the sunlight burst out through the sidewalk line of trees and buildings, people in cars, people on bikes and people standing in line at coffee shops while everything was waking up I walked on, I took a sip of my black smoky coffee and looked up as I do a thousand times a day in a deep breath I said to the wide open sky above me "So it begins! and THIS is going to be a hell of ride! I better hold on tight!...god, I hate change! I really do. Guess that's how one learns what bravery is, in the end we find ourselves at the beginning of a new story."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Self Work

          It was a warm June afternoon when I could feel a pull to go the book signing of Don Miguel Ruiz Jr., What are the chances that he comes HERE??? To Boise Idaho! 
I was defiantly going! I planned my whole beautiful June day around getting to the book signing. 

That evening was so lovely outside nice and cool after I had gotten some seeds in the garden, had feed my dogs dinner and tried to get my husband to go, He said it would just be a mad house event so he declined.
Yet it wasn't very bad at all in the group that were all seated and since I came in late the group standing in the back had a clear shot view of Don Miguel JR. as he burst out with so much love and appreciation  to be there!

Now I had been thinking that I didn't give myself enough time to get there but then again being at the back allowed me to meet this author in person before he spoke. I was in awe that he hugged me and was so out going, friendly and inspiring!

Standing there that evening listening and watching him share such heartfelt life experiences and explain what is "Self Love", what is "Self Aware." and most importantly how to master ourselves! I had tears in my eyes when he was done, for I felt like i neede to hear these things and be reminded i have to first care for myself before I take on caring for everyone else around me!
I was left asking myself "What do I want my life to look like? What do I need to say yes to more and No to more? Why am I always thinking of giving other people gifts and things? Maybe I should give myself more self work time? "
The book "The Mastery Of Love." changed my whole life when I was 22 years old, now here that Author's son was right before me sharing his own book "The Mastery Of Self." I was in this magical awe and the summer sky was a purple peachy soft blue, the downtown scene was lively and starting to light up as night came slowly and warmly creeping in! I walked the streets I know like the back of my hand with a newly purchased copy and signed book to inspire me to grow! To inspire me to be more self alert!

June is my most beloved month of all! It's bursting forth so much magic and hope for the summer time ahead that my heart is full and on fire with a sense of adventure and a sense of a whole new season!

As I have been reading this book a little bit every night before bed I am transported to a whole new way of thinking about my life and what I have been doing with my time here on this earth....

My own self-talk in my head has been goofy and comical for years now, I never ever call myself stupid or fat, I am never a piece of shit nor am I ever telling myself a lie about who I am. I dealt with those words of judgement back when I was just 20 years old and in the book "The Mastery of Love." I learned how important it is to not eat emotional poison from other peoples judgement and their own inner voices that come out to hurt me. My inner voices of my self thoughts have grown into a garden of pure beauty and wonder that I hope I can share bravely and happily with the whole world around me!

Reading "The Mastery of Self." right now in my life is perfect timing and perfect food for my thoughts before I get some sleep. My dreams are far more deep and magical because of the words I choose to fill my mind up with. I am the Master of my self, I would never make a choice for my life to go against myself as long as I stay aware of what those choices are and how to handle them as they pop up. I am the Master of my love, my life stories and my everyday attitude!  I am free to give to myself peace of mind and grace as I give towards everyone else around me, these are the ideas and messages I needed to be reminded of!

On that Magical Night I walked through my favorite book store, in my favorite mindset and in my favorite comfy tennis shoes to get my new book signed by such a wonderful man whose happiness and charm was bursting forth such hope for my own life's energy!

I was truly grateful to be there, lost in my own love to be alive and in my own joy for knowing these books are the most important books to have and to hold in my heart, forever and ever I will cherish this day and this moment! I will learn to master my self, to let my soul take on the journey..........just like I had learned a week before how to move from my South Node to My North Node! I am embracing every second of the month of June and carrying my new book proudly on into the stories of my life!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

OneRepublic - Something I Need

This video is so funny to me as I watch it and laugh every time!

I think we can all relate a bit, those animated faces and movements makes me smile and sing along too!

My husband says that I've always had a weird sense of humor and certain reactions or story telling songs make me laugh out loud very time, he's grown use to it as he shakes his head and chuckles at me.

Without my sense of humor and delight in life to laugh as much as I can then I would miss out on so much magic and playful fun!

And if we only die once.....laugh and sing it up along the way!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Getting Away

Lava Hot Springs

                It was a spur of the moment idea to head over to Lava Hot springs for our 13th Anniversary. It was nice on the 4th of July to have a BBQ at my in-laws in Caldwell so the dogs could sleep there for the few days we were gone. I don't like to be with out them very long so it was a nice little break but next time we both said we will take a trip that includes them with us because it doesn't feel the same, our pets are all getting old and I am very aware of time not staying this way for long....
Our vacations to the Oregon Coast with our dogs have always been my most favorite memories of all so I hope to do that again soon!
Tony wasn't impressed with Lava Hot Springs like I was, He did get to relax as life keeps him busy and as he figures out his future career.
I guess life is like that moving in shifts of stressful planning
and calm relaxing, There is nothing ahead we can control so I prefer to delight in the little things of magic right here and now, Like the Fairy garden of the B&B we stayed at.  I walked all over the neighborhood noticing a lot of older people there, where as the huge fun pool was full of kids laughing and playing, I truly loved that sound in the background as I walked around. Tony got some cheese and wine while we sat on the patio talking. 

Being married 13 years feels strange because it doesn't sound that long at all yet it feels like a whole other life time when we got married, in fact many who were at our wedding have now passed away....this is the truth in living, everything is changing every day! 

When we drove over to Lava Hot Springs I was wiped out from such crazy freeway traffic that I took a nap in our lovely room with a sweet purring fluffy cat who came to join me and nap too!
How sweet and nice to be a night away from my Jazzy Girl only to find another cat exactly like her!

The hot soak in our room's Jacuzzi with wine spritzers reminded me of our wedding night after all the ceremony was done, how we soaked in a Jacuzzi back then saying how worn out we were and laughing over every little thing because we had never been that tired before!  

"It's strange to think getting married wasn't that long ago....yet nothing is as it was back then." I said with a thoughtful sigh and my husband replied back with a cute smile "I feel like it can only get better from here on out, now."  
Taking the time to get away, to relax for a day was really nice as I daydreamed about having a simple life in a cute little town like that!

I would love to run a Bed&Breakfast like the nice gentleman I met who was serving us and visiting about all of his life adventures! There was another couple staying across the way from who had gotten married on that same day, it was so sweet and nice to visit with them awhile too.

It's important to take time to get away from everything, to meet new people and to go on an adventure. I liked having time to think about the future and the past, but I was truly happy to just be in the present moment of drinking my morning coffee with the summer sunshine bursting through the dinning room window as the breakfast was cooking in that lovely nice B&B.

The world is such a BEAUTIFUL place to explore and time is such a gift to have and to hold, to share and to plan.....most importantly to love it all!

Monday, July 11, 2016

OneRepublic - Feel Again

NEVER let go of the MAGIC in being ALIVE!
     I feel it everyday that this is the moment to dance and to simply just BE!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cheers to Cherries!

           June has simply flew by and oh what adventures I have had.....It has been pure magically to me!

      Like with the First Harvest party at the Williamson Winery out on Sunnyslope. A great time to be completely IN the summer season! For I jumped into my car with my sun hat and audio book to hit those long wide open country roads!

This is a lovely winery where my beloved Teresa works, where her husband (my father-in-law Kelly) met up with me there too!
It was so festive and nice, the weather was perfect too! My delightful June had blessed me again with a magical day and a wonderful memory spending time with Dad! 

My father-in-law Kelly Shively is the kind of caring parent that I admire so much, He would stop everything in his own life to be there for his 2 boys, he loves taking road trips with them and joking around with them. Even now after his sons have married he would be there for his daughter-in-laws in the same way, in fact he was for me right from the very first time I met him!
I called Tony's house to wish him well in his new job interview, Tony and I had only known each other for a week so this was just a chit chat event to me in giving him a friendly best wish. Tony's Dad answered the phone explaining that no one was home and he had just gotten there himself. While we talked so naturally and easily, His voice changed into surprise when I explained that I had just met Tony at work and wanted to wish him the very best at his interview and I would miss working with him. Kelly was impressed by this and intrigued at the same time chuckling as we said goodbye. He said "I wrote it down, so whenever he gets home he can see that you called and are such a sweetheart to think of him." I hung up wondering if I would ever meet this father, I also felt pretty lucky that I called the right place on the first try in guessing who Tony's parents books back then were heavy and big I waited until I was all alone to bravely call and sound casual even though I could hear a voice in my head say "Tony is a very important person in your life, don't ignore him, don't be so quick to judge him for being a liberal."

Calling Tony that day was a delightful experience because his Dad was so easy to talk with, Kelly didn't act like he was busy or that I was a total stranger. Instead Kelly asked me how I was doing, and if I liked working at Mack's fruit stand. We chatted up for a little while as easy going and relaxed as I could hope for. It was my own natural way in communicating, He was a true happy person not a fake happy person. This popped out to me in that one moment of conversation. 
When I met Kelly at the fruit stand for the very first time I was working away and he sought me out to shake my hand and say how He loved our phone conversation and was so happy to meet me in person!
From that moment on every time he came by he would stop and talk with me about anything or everything. We never had an awkward moment between us, when I became his son's girlfriend he was thrilled and he was so supportive from the very beginning. In fact he and I talked even more because now he could see I was more then just a friend of the family. One time Tony didn't show up on time while we met up at a taco truck for lunch, Kelly and I order food, sitting and visiting the whole time as if Tony not being there wasn't a big deal. It was when I knew Kelly was going to be my friend for life! It didn't matter if I stayed with his son or not we were true friends, we would always say hi to the other in passing or sit next to each other at a BBQ with ease.

It's wonderful to have him in my life, looking back it wonderful to remember when we became friends because sometimes I forget there was ever a "start up" time to our friendship! He has been there when I lived on my own and would panic at night calling crying so sure someone was trying to break in at 3am. He never got mad that I had woken him up, he never said that I was being crazy. Instead he installed a nice strong lock on my door and shared a beer over how to keep myself safe and smart. He was the kind of parent I had been looking for my whole life and in awe I discovered him while dating his son, it was such a natural once Tony and I were married to hang out with Dad all the time, every Tuesday evening for months we had drinks in a pub in town, every Friday night we rented movies and had popcorn. Every Sunday afternoon we BBQ on his big patio and occasionally we all drove to Jackpot for the seafood buffet while Dad taught me how to play "Keno".
Those were the days of so much change because as Tony and I were dating his parents were divorcing, then it was just Dad and his new puppy Newton. I had a house a key to pop in and care for the puppy Newton all the time, I would call Dad and tell him about Newton so he could work late or do things after work not worried his puppy needed out to potty. Our love for dogs, for cooking and for movies made our friendship grow so much and our love for Tony was also there in our friendship. Dad was and is the kind of parent I admire so much, looking back over these years makes me smile with pride because we saw eye to eye more times then not and we became a family so naturally many years ya ask??? least 17 years now! I know! 4 years of dating and 13 years being married to Tony makes his father my friend, my Dad now for 17 years!
Hmmmmmmm how did THAT happen so quickly? 
I don't know and I was THERE the whole time ha!

      My best friend Benny was with me as Tony's parents had a big BBQ party that first summer I met Tony, She came with me as we were such best friends and I needed support in not attending all alone, she had gone to high school with Tony so they knew each other a little bit. It was Kelly who greeted us and served us a plate of goodies while welcoming us in so happily and nicely. On the drive home that night she said "Wow! You and Kelly are so very much a like! It was weird to watch how fast you guys talk with each other and joke around! He is far more outgoing then Tony's mother, what an odd couple they make.....and Tony never took his eyes off of you! He was weirdly hypnotized by you being there! Hahahaha" and I laughed back in awkward unsure agreement.
    Being a family now for almost 2 decades is impressive. I will always be closer to Tony's Dad then his mother simply by the way everything first started out for Kelly was welcoming and kind instantly. He was genuinely happy to meet me and liked chit chatting and connecting whenever we could.
 My heart is  bursting with joy, with thankfulness that I found a friend in Dad right away, it makes sense why he would be such a big part of my life now.
When I sat with him on the grass outside the courthouse waiting for his soon-to-be ex-wife arrived. He caught himself saying something about Tony and I as I sat knowing this was a bitter-sweet moment in his life. Kelly was about to advised me while I was sharing about a disagreement Tony and I had, he said "What the hell would I know anyway? I am about to go sign divorce papers.....I guess I can't give advice anymore now." I burst out all alarmed that he would loose his fatherly ways suddenly exclaiming "NO! No, no no no that is NOT true at all, In fact your advice now has more value and weight because you have seen this other side to the end of a relationship, you can look back and discover what you did right and wrong with even more value and importance to giving advice and guidance for the future! Don't stop sharing!" He hugged me with a big smile as I left saying "I love ya Dad! You guys are not failures as parents always remember that!"

 In the Cherry Orchard slopping down Sunnyslope as I walked with Dad back to his pickup after we filled up our buckets with beautiful big bing cherries, I was reminded of those memories....He and I had been through so much together! Our adventures, our honesty and our sharing our family together has made us stronger and we have grown from each other so much! I am grateful, ever so grateful to have him in my life! He is far more then just my husband's father, he is my mentor and protector, my truly enjoyable friend! I couldn't have all these great memories, these big life lessons and shared laughter without him there too!

 Dad and I carried our big buckets of cherries through the dusty, sunny trails of the orchard I was goofing around as usual saying 
"I better not eat all of these at once or I could get the "shits"." 
He burst out laughing and I smiled so big for this is my beautiful magical life having such an AMAZING Father-in-law like Kelly Shively to share it with!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Demolition Derby 1999

            It was the summer of my 20th year, I was working full time and spending every free night with my bible study group and of course my best friends Joanie and Benny, we were all young single friends together.  
In my bible study group I had declared myself to NEVER get married. I said this loudly and all the time so that I could just be treated as an equal not a potential mother. 
That group had so many little clicks or temporary "couples" the serious couple were all married within the year but for me, well I attended the weddings with a big smile and gratefulness that it was NOT me, some of my girl friends had no clue about sex much less about child birthing or breast feeding so I warned them or carefully advised them that is not so easy to adjust to such a life like that so quickly while being so young. 
Maybe since I had seen the pain and suffering of my own mother through my early teenage years when she had 3 more babies as I headed to adulthood made me very aware of the sacrifices and the uncertainty in parenthood. So at the age 20 I decided if I am "off the market" or just like one of the guys then I can have stress free friends of all kinds, no misunderstanding or extra pressure to be someone I am not, I liked my friends who high fived me as I walk by or listen to me as I share the importance of women's rights in holding authority over her family as a partnership or equal value as the father.
That fourth of July I realized in surprise that I can't ever fit in, not to that group so devoted to the church.  
On that day I noticed that even the girlfriends I hung out with who would say that they wanted woman's rights too, seemed to be distracted by all the guys and they wanted to be "liked" on that evening more then to have our usual deep discussions on questions I loved asking like "Who made that rule? Did God or Man create that rule in the bible? Because I serve God." It was fun to debate in that group "Homeschooling verse Public school.", "Working Moms verse stay at home moms.", "driving a paid off car verse a brand new car that you never own", "To live in the city or the country." and my most favorite "To have a woman as President verse the way it has always been done..."   
Yet I often stayed away from topics some people blew up over like abortion, abuse and addiction.    
   I was a mix of goofiness, silly jokes and quoting movie lines, to diving right into deep discussions and dissecting my confusion on the bible's contradictions.
If some one burst into tears I would embrace them, knowing that this was now a sad moment not a goofy moment.
If some one was being picked on I would speak up and usually puff myself up into the bully's face. 
If there was a big group game of volley ball or soccer with some one waiting on the side line I would call out to them saying "Come on, join in!" and they would often look relieved to be asked into the game, to which I wondered to myself "Am I suppose to to do that too? because I usually push myself into the game saying "Whose team am I on?" maybe I have been doing that wrong?"

Going to "Singles Retreat" that summer of my 20th year I realized that those counselors/Leaders were trying to pair us all up by sitting with us for lunch or dinner asking "I saw you give "so and so" a high five while playing volleyball this morning, he is super cute sin't he?" I would snort "We've been friends... like forever, it's what you do as a team." at the end of the weekend one lady leader said "You are the spit fire type, the one who walks the other way from the rest of group on a trail. But God has big plans for you just wait and see!"  I wasn't sure if it was a complement from her because she looked so annoyed the whole time at me.... 
She had been watching and following me around I had noticed but I tired to just be myself like I would go back for seconds at every meal time every single time, for I loved food more then I loved trying to find a boyfriend. AND I knew that since I am hiking, staying up all night to watch shooting stars with the girls and go swimming in the lake then I needed my food to stay happy and healthy. 
The girls who didn't eat all day were often asking me to sneak into the kitchen at midnight and bring them left over pie or cake. and I always did, if I got caught I would talk my way out of the situation it's why they always sent ME and I took it as a complement! 
Of course anyone watching me simply know that it was plain to see that I didn't fit into with those people, but it took me a long time to realize it for myself.
That July 4th 1999 was my first "Ah-ha" moment, It was so hot as these old cars crashed and slammed into each other with music blaring and the dust flying. I had never been there before and I never went back...not ever. 
The girls I were with seemed bedazzled by some new guy to our group, and suddenly the whole group of our guy friends seemed more aggressive then usual even trying to leave their arm around my shoulder as we walked or rest their hand on my knee so I instantly disliked this push and shove to "Belong."  So I had chosen the last seat on the bleachers for a reason, I was feeling smothered! The social games I saw where annoying me greatly and I shot up to go buy a icy soda, I had already gotten into some heated topics about women needing to order their own food and drinks when my closest friend said "Debby get off your soap box no one wants to hear it." and she was right but I was also hurt by her lack of support. I was also declaring a "Leave me alone, I can buy my own drink." in around about way. I watched the demolition derby as I walked to the food corner thinking "I was thinking it was a horse race...." then I giggled at myself in realizing my mistake and a feeling came over me, a thought that never left me for the whole day
"I am not like everyone else, something is wrong here...I don't belong here."
As I avoid my group, as I stood in line for a second soda my already married sister walked up behind me saying "Hey Woman! What ya doing here?!?" I embraced her for the joy of our connection and for the gratefulness I had in hanging out awhile with her catching up. She showed me her new tongue ring as I exclaimed "Why the hell would you do THAT???" She looked wide eyed back at me asking "Since when did ya start saying "HELL"???....I am amazed!" I joked back knowing she would laugh so much as I explained that I had a list of bad words I was learning and I carried it around with me in my purse, she read the list with such tears of laughter and shook her head "I could add a few more if you would like?" I uncomfortably said no that I wasn't ready, still working on all the ways people say "Shit." much less a whole new word! 
She left me with a hug and laughter walking back her very different life then mine I stood there a moment watching the cars crash into each other once again then the MC  voice said "Hold on a moment everyone, looks like we have an engine fire." The whole place erupted into standing and crazy cheering!  I felt instantly frighten for the driver of the burning car and even more alarmed that THIS was a GOOD thing to cheer on?????
I wander out to my own car, truly grateful that I had these wheels to get around! I won't want crash my car up like that and so I  leaned up against it in admiration while watching the sunset to the fainted background glow of crashing cars and crazy people, my friend would need a ride and I will need to enjoy the fireworks show my heart and in my thoughts I knew "I am not suppose to be here, and yet if I had never come to this event then I wouldn't of learned so much about who I am."