Monday, January 31, 2011

being loved by her is inspiring...

It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the mundane details of my days and begin to loose perspective, it’s like I forget the things happen to other people.  When I am having a particularly self-pitying day I know that I can call my mom and within minutes she can have me grounded.  I have never met anyone else in the world that is that AWARE of others. 

I am not saying that the woman doesn’t ever throw her own occasional 20 minute pity parties but on the whole she knows what REAL problems are and when people need a safety net. A formally single working (2 jobs), school attending mother of a toddler always found a way to push herself just a bit more. Her life has been filled with hurdles, stints of time spent caring for ailing family members, and economic challenges. The strength that runs through her veins is astounding.

When she hears or witnesses a story she is affected, when she cares it is completely, and she loves totally. If she says that she’s praying for you, you can bet that the candles are burning and the rosary is smoking; you’ll cross her mind more frequently than she goes to the bathroom. There may be times when people take advantage of her loyalty and dedication; and there may be times when she is unable to say ‘no’; but there is something inspiring about people who knowingly put others before themselves.

From day to day it can be harder and harder to make the decision to roll out of bed and put both feet on the floor, these are the times I try my hardest to think like her.  I spend my shower time reflecting.  As I lather I think of each member of my family and my friends and try to recall something going on in their lives.  I think of school, illness, weather, pregnancies, financial woes, and mental anguish and I spend those minutes sending up prayers and considering ways I can lend a hand, shoulder, or ear.  I know over time I will become more ‘in-tune’ with the needs of those who I hold dearest and, one day I hope to hear Tarzan utter, “Gosh you sound just like your mother.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

'Taking care of business' kind of man...

Yesterday I was listening to a Chris Rock show (circa a long time ago) on my iPod and something he said really hit home: “Nobody ever thanks Daddy…I don’t mean your father, I mean the man who stays and takes care of his business…everybody thanks Mama for meals, love, and care but no one says, man I like having heat, thanks for knocking out that rent dad, I LOVE having lights…” Now I know we have Father’s Day but it’s not quite the same as saying, “thanks for choosing to wake-up EVERY day and go to work for me and my family”.

Now I, like most people in this world, had a biological father who loved my mother enough to bring me into this world but not enough to take care of his business. Almost 6 years later, I was truly blessed when God gave my mother and I both a loving man to join our family.

He is a man that takes CARE of his business; he worked the 3rd shift because it paid more, he drove a P.O.S. so we could have 1 dependable car, and he was always there when the ‘better’ turned into worse and those are just a few examples.

He loved/loves us both, unconditionally.  I may not have his blood running through my veins but his love is a reason why I was able to find such a stable relationship on my own.  He gave me a reason to believe and fight for the love I deserve. 

In a world where ‘fathers’ can decide a situation is  not ideal  and run for the exit it is refreshing to find there are men like my father and step-father in-law  who not only care for other men’s children but love them and put their needs before their own.  Making a child does not make you a father nor does giving birth to a child make you a mother, any idiot can do that; I hear MTV has a show about it.  It is consciously choosing someone else’s well being before your own, loving someone more than you love yourself, and staying when the road gets rough.  Becoming a parent has not been as easy as I thought it would be; the journey has shed some light on some of the sacrifices that my daddy made for me and my mother and has shown me how much he really loves us.

The experience has also made me very thankful that I was able to find my own ‘taking care of business’ man, in Tarzan, and I make sure to let him know that I appreciate the choices he makes every day for our family.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

W.O.M. Part 1 - Completed

I learned several things while I was in Texas with my bestie, the main thing being I need to get cracking on setting up that commune, little boys will have fun anywhere, and everything really is bigger in Texas.

Your spirit is bigger in Texas…

The kids are bigger in Texas…

Sometimes your hand is bigger in Texas…

Within 5 minutes of being in the same residence we were talking like we were 21 again, laughing at bad jokes, and unloading our troubles onto the table.  It was like no time had past since last we saw each other.  The difference was the loud noise coming from upstairs was from a gang of children and not unruly college girls.  We talked, laughed (a lot), cohabitated, and Melinda tried to kill me at the gym.  It was rejuvenating, cathartic, and relaxing.  It’s amazing how some people can be just the ‘shot in the arm’ that you need to put your nose to the grindstone and make some head way.   

The boys had fun learning, playing, and exploring together. They learned that even though they have different houses in different states they like the same toys, watch the same TV, and eat the same food. It was funny to hear their conversations on house rules, video game etiquette, and how one can be friends with both brothers. Although Cheetah couldn’t really get the hang of the ‘sleepover’ thing, I am sure Joe and Aaron can’t wait for his next visit.

Most importantly I was reminded of the place I hold in someone’s life, someone who is not a relative…someone who thoughtfully picked me to remain a fixture. I am so thankful for my family of friends and the village they provide for my family. I know that Cheetah enjoyed the camaraderie as well and is already planning his next trip to the Aquarium with his friends.

Looks like hearts grow bigger in Texas…

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Woman on a Mission - Part 1

Wanting make short work of my new year plans, I am diving right into my first “Woman on a Mission weekends. I am in need for a recharge and some laughs, great conversations, and hugs will be just the boost I need; plus I want to energize my bestie before the start of her next semester. I have my directions printed out and some great ideas for fun in my noggin.

This weekend Cheetah and I are going to a state he has never been to, spending some quality time with one of my ‘sisters’, and hanging-out with some of his ‘best friends’ for the whole weekend. He says that we are going to the best sleepover EVER and that he plans on not sleeping at all (GASP)…I am beginning to think I may need to invest in a tranq gun before heading out of town.

He is making all these plans; he has the pajamas he wants to bring picked out, the clothes that he wants to show to Joe and Aaron, and the toys he HAS to bring along.  It’s so good that he’s SO excited to be going on the adventure with me because I am counting down the days.  I am making all these plans: picking out my pajamas, bringing all these comfy clothes, and making mental notes on all the stuff I need to catch Melinda up on…happy is ‘catching’ and it seems that lameness may be hereditary. 

It’s always weird to me to think of myself in the role of parent, let alone my friends so I always find it fun to be around them with their children.  It’s neat to see how someone else does it all, what do they allow, what are the house rules, and how DO they keep things running so smoothly???   It’s helpful to get ideas in real life situations; and if anyone knows how to keep their calm while being fired a million questions it will be my friend, mother of 2 boys, Melinda.  I am sure when she reads this she will disagree but I’ve always seen her as one of the calmest people in my life, very grounded and aware of her decisions…a very ‘earthy’ mother. 

So I wait, anxiously for noon on Friday to come, as is Tarzan, I am sure. How quiet the jungle will be with his monkey and woman wreaking havoc somewhere else.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Are you what you eat???

 So while I chose not to make any resolutions based on self improvement, I did decide to step up my money saving. Tarzan and I have come full circle in our debt resolving but now we need to really double time our savings this year and try to make every dollar worth 2. The best place where families can usually shave off a couple hundred dollars is the food budget.

For several years we have been users of Angelfood ( ) and while they do help provide inexpensive meals for all families willing to participate, you can end up with a freezer full of foods that are not your top choices. This is our current predicament, I REFUSE to buy any food at the grocery store while hundreds of dollars of food resides in my freezer not to mention all the goodies that lurk in our pantry and fridge. I decided to document our journey with pictures, you know really give you an idea of the monster that I am dealing with here.

Freezer #1 (top shelf veggies, 2nd frozen convience meats, 3rd meats, 4th and door are for convience meals)

Freezer #2 (more veggies, Tarzan's lunches, some fajitia meat and an adult beverage!)

Louisiana - family of 3 - both parents work - live on budget

we love condiments

several boxes of mac and cheese, several different noodles, rice, and hamburger helper - plus the staples

don't forget the cereal!

As I was snapping pictures I remembered a photo spread that was featured on called, “You are What You Eat”  ( ).   Please go to the link and check it out, it is rather interesting…or maybe it’s just that I’m nosey and want to know what other people are putting in their mouths.  It made me wonder, are YOU what you eat???  I challenge you all to photograph the contents of your fridges, freezers, and pantries.  Take a closer look at what you are spending money on and how much you actually USE the food you purchase.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: Circling the Wagons

Resolution can be defined as deciding to do something or behave in a certain manner, I was raised to TRY to be aware of my decisions and how they intertwine themselves in the lives of my inner circle.  For the past 32 years I have lived my life full of contemplation and introspection so when asked what my resolution was going to be this year I was surprised to find the answer difficult to imagine.  I just couldn’t muster the strength to discover yet some other area of my life that needed more work and improvement.  I am not in denial, I realize that I am still a work in progress but I have decided to halt the construction; let’s just say that the city is currently rezoning and it will take this year to try to adjust to all recent changes.

On a whole, the past year was wonderful and our families have dodged many deathly bullets but several dear friends and family members suffered great loses this year and I find my heart aching for their loses.  This will be the year that I can work on mending the hearts of others and showing all the members of my ‘village’ just how important they are to me.  I will be making voyages to the different areas that my loves reside in, I will try to be there when needed; listen to sob stories, throw pity parties, and laugh at all their jokes.  It will be a year of bandages, potions, and cures.  In the end all these medicinal trips just may end up being the cure to my current ailment.
It is the time to circle the wagons, this past year I found my family under attack and it is now time to take stock of those that can be trusted and leave the other’s to face Darwin’s law.  I imagine that their walk through life will be full of circling buzzards and mirages of happiness.

Heed this as a warning:  I may be as silent as a hibernating bear but I am aware of what is going on in my habitat; it will not be long before the hungry bear begins stirring.  Permanent damage has been done and several people may find themselves standing on the wrong side of the line in the sand.  Please take this year to contemplate your decisions in life and how they affect the people in it.  To quote Cheetah, “Jesus and Santa are watching you” are you sure you know what list your name is on?