Monday, May 28, 2007

Not Forgetting...

Memorial Day Home Page
Memorial Day
© 1999 by Michelle Keim,
Commander of Royersford VFW Post 6341 in PA.

As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
A few of the true American brave

They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except that these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine

As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let's pass this word to others
It's what they would expect

I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vein
But for the red, white and blue.

Let's pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least we can do

Let's not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care

No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.

So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.

Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.

"Don't Worry.... Be Happy."

Symptoms of depression vary from person to person. These symptoms include feelings of disconnectedness, sadness, hopelessness, guilt, indifference, and worthlessness. Other symptoms are headaches, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, and low energy. You may also be entertaining thoughts of suicide or have noticed an impact on your spiritual life.

If you, not unlike myself, are experiencing some of these symptoms and fear for your heart and all it endures, try to remember this as I do:  Your depression is not only necessary, but it can be productive in your forward movement toward healing.  Depression is a unique state of the body and mind in which you experience sadness and low energy as a way of preparing the body to do something significant.

My prayer:

Lord, help me to embrace this depression as a step in the healing process. Help me to understand that I can learn from this depression and that You have something significant planned for me as a result of my growth.  Help me to be thankful, for all that I am blessed with in my life.  My gifts are many.  My struggles are truly very few.  Please keep me on the right path.  Guide me to a place where my happiness awaits me.    Amen.

And on that note...  I'm headin' to the LAKE!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Odds and Ends... and Bullies

Jodi P. and Me!

Even with my sunburned nose and lopsided smile, I had to post this pic.  I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to attend another book signing event of my favorite author, Jodi Picoult, last week in her hometown of Hanover - the very same town that has banned her new book (Nineteen Minutes) from the shelves of its high school.  How dare anyone put into words what no one wants to give voice to out of fear or even - dare I say - IGNORANCE? 

Bullying...  Where does it stem from?  Are there ways of escaping the clutches of adolescent demons?  Is there any stopping it?  What happens, when the child who has been bullied relentlessly for years upon demeaning years, in turn becomes the biggest bully of them all? 

Neither one of my children have ever been the victims of bullying.  At least not that they have been willing to share ~ and believe me, I ask often. 

That is, until yesterday...

Mailee arrived home from the school bus with a bit of a twist in her shorts.  I immediately summed it up to the same issues we had been arguing about for two days straight.  She had a softball game scheduled for the evening as well as her school's annual Picnic and Learning Fair.  She would have time to attend both, (which didn't quite happen) but was bound and determined that she was going to win the battle and skip the game.  Which went against my own better judgement that NO, when you are committed to a team, you don't let them down just because something more fun comes along. 

So I wasn't prepared in anyway, shape or form, to hear that her frown and wounded spirit was due to the fact that she had literally been assaulted on the bus ride home.

I know the student quite well from when he attended the school where I work.  *FIRED UP* doesn't even begin to describe the blood which runs through this kiddos veins.  I even have my own note of apology in my files written from this student after he lashed out at me, swinging full force and shrieking obscenities in my face.  He is unpredictable and very lost in a world full of anger.

He punched my baby girl...  VERY hard.  Because he was angry.  Because she was there.  Period.

After investigating the incident and conversing with other students who witnessed the incident, the principal of her school called me at work today and assured me in no uncertain terms that my daughter would be safe from now on.  This child will no longer be riding that school bus.

So now comes the issue of not what if, but when?  And who?  And what will the future hold for this disturbed young boy? 

And will his next victim be even smaller, and weaker and unable to speak out of fear?  And will that encourage him to continue his lashing out?

Okay, enough of that already...  My baby girl is good.  She is happy and she feels safe.  So for now, I'll just keep sending up those prayers...

My own life has been a whirlwind of emotional ups and downs lately.  As if that ever changes...  I HAVE made a decision regarding my job.  I just can't walk away from something I love so dearly.  I've never been very good at doing that, even when it appears that the alternative might be a wiser choice.  What I AM planning to do - and I hope it all pans out the way I'd like it to - is to work part time over the summer at a catering business that hires temp summer people to set up and serve an amazing feast that is well known in our area.  They are very busy, but mostly on weekends, which means the girls can hang out at their grandparents some.  I can't see working full time and leaving them home all day.  Amanda is too old for daycare, and is actually interested in gaining experience babysitting, so I figure (or hope, anyway) that it will work out for us all.  I DO receive a lesser pay amount throughout the school year so that I have money in my pocket over the summer as well, just not a whole lot of it.  SO, I'll simply do what needs doing and hope for the best.

I've been spending the last few days trying to really focus on the positives and the joys in my life.  Also to allow myself to see my true worth, and to stop demeaning myself and defining myself through my faults and my failings.  We all have faults.  We all fail.  The point is to rise above it.

I was watching a FABULOUS Oprah today on finding happiness and love within and for yourself.  Something she said on "self compassion" really hit me.  She calls such hits, "Ah HA" moments.  I'll close this entry by sharing her words:

"Imagine yourself caring for someone you love who is ill (physically or emotionally) and needs your constant watchful eye and loving heart...  Imagine that you are watching over them as they sleep, and that as you gently hold their hand, you pour all the love and care from your heart into their very own.  Imagine how much you would pray or wish for their healing.  How much you wish for them peace and comfort and gentleness...

Now look again ~ and imagine ~ that the person you are holding and pouring all your heart and soul into ~ is you."

Love yourself.  Your the only "you" you've got.  Your life is a precious gift.  Take it, hold it and TREASURE it. 


Some days are truly dark, but there is always tomorrow.  There is always the gift of time...

Have a safe, warm and memorable Memorial Day weekend.  Don't forget to give thanks for the men and women who live and die for us and for countless, faceless others. 

And don't forget to smile  =)



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mom's The Word...

I was unable to post an entry on Mother's Day, for a variety of reasons, but none that I want to give any energy to at this point.  I do so regret not writing sooner about someone so dear to my heart as my best friend in the world...  My Mom.

I can't recall a single day in my life when I didn't feel that my mom was my best friend.  Oh, I'm QUITE sure that I uttered a few, um... let's say, unkind words to or about her during my teenage years.  But truly, she is the only one in my life who has stood beside me in ALL my life's choices.  Even the ones that she knew were surely the biggest mistakes of my life. 

She would always say to me, "No matter what, Michelle...  I will always love you and hope for your happiness."  And not only say it, but mean it genuinely as well. 

When I was very little ~ even though mom read to me and sang to me each and every night before I said my prayers and drifted off to sleep ~ I had horrifying nightmares and wet the bed every single night.  Not ONCE, did mom scold me.  Never did she hint even a single shred of impatience.  She simply told me it was okay and would quietly remove my bedding to be washed, even as she had to hurry off to work each day. 

Mom has seen me through so much in my life.  When I was in my early teens, I was a mess.  Much like I am today, but only with more drama... (::exaggerated eyeball roll::)  I was very depressed, often suicidal, flunked out of freshman year, took drugs, turned Goth, and TOTALLY freaked out everyone around me.  Including my exasperated parents who had absolutely NO idea how to reach me.  And overall, for many years, I was just plain nasty.   Mom did everything she could to be of support to me.  She did my hair all funky for me (she's been a hairdresser for 40 years)and she let me wear whatever clothes I wanted and argued with my dad in my defense...  NO easy task.  (just for the record, I was "normal" again by the time I turned 18, so I AM relatively safe to be around!)

And through it all, I told her everything.  She made me feel safe with whatever I was feeling.  She had always stressed, from as far back as I can remember, that communication is the key.  That following your heart is the only way to go.  That true love is unconditional.

One would think, with all I am going through in the marriage that is crumbling at my feet, that all those words and lessons were taught in vain...

Better late than never, mom.  You are the wind beneath my wings.

Thank you.


I hope all mom's out there had a WONDERFUL and SPECIAL day!