Monday, November 5, 2007

The Ring Blog

I know I’m behind in my blogging, and I have a bunch floating around in my head. One of the most exciting things that is going on right now is we actually have wedding stuff that is starting to arrive. Things we’ve ordered or finally bought after looking at repeatedly. I’m planning on a blog specifically to chronicle all the fun stuff, but this one particular item was just so special that it deserved its own blog. “What could be so special?” you ask. A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy’s wedding band came in, and it is even more gorgeous than I had even imagined. Now, in order to fully understand why this was such a monumental occasion, I need to step back and start the story at the beginning.

Jay and I have been talking about getting married since not long after we got “together” in May of last year. So when we met up for the first time in 5 ½ years, last August, I brought a special ring with me. I’d ordered it from my favorite catalogue and felt it was perfect for our situation. It was a simple sterling silver band with the words “anam cara” engraved in the outside. “Anam cara” means soul friend or soul mate in Gaelic. I gave it to him to take on his cruise. I wanted him to know that even though he was going to be gone for a long time, that come hell or high water, I would be on that pier to greet him. He loved it and after spending more time with him and seeing the types of jewelry he wore, I knew I’d made the perfect choice.

Now fast forward to our engagement over 8 months later. The ring Jay gave me was literally the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen let alone owned. The shape, color and size are perfect for my hand and skin tone. I knew he’d had me and my preferences in mind when he picked it out and I knew he had spent many months researching and finding the perfect ring. So, the moment he slipped it on my finger, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

We had already made a few stops into jewelry stores to look around (this was during the few weeks between homecoming and our engagement where he was still trying to pretend that he didn’t know anything about a ring or an engagement, hehe). I could tell from the rings he was drawn to that I needed to find something very simple and masculine, yet elegant at the same time. He kept telling me that he wanted something similar to the one I’d already gotten him (which of course made me smile all over again, knowing that I had gotten him something he really liked and felt was true to his style). So, I got it into my head that with the Celtic themed wedding, his love for Irish culture and his enjoyment of the Gaelic ring he already had that I needed to get him a Celtic ring of some sort. And the search began. For weeks if not months, I waded through webpage after webpage of gaudy, two toned and even tri-colored bands with hideous raised braid work. No offense to anyone who loves these rings but I knew my stylish yet simply understated groom would never be comfortable in one.

So, on the verge of giving up the search, I decided to press on just a little longer and did what must have been my one millionth google search for “celtic wedding bands”. This time, out of shear randomness and a blessing from the google gods, I found a new website. The moment it started to load, I knew I’d found my source for his ring. On the front page there were at least 2 bands that I loved and new he would too. As I searched deeper in the list I found even more. I began sending him the jpgs to look at and I could tell even over email that he was very excited at the prospect of wearing one of these rings. The site had so many wonderful options, that it took him a few weeks to narrow down which one he wanted and in what color and finish. But soon after he zeroed in on the one he wanted and after a few days spent agonizing over the special inscription on the inside, I ordered the ring. The really nice thing (among many nice things) was that they offered engraving as a part of the ordering process, so when it came in I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. It would be ready to go.

Within a week or so, I got the email saying it had been shipped and my anxiety level began to rise. I knew that this was a very special gift, one of the most special I would ever give someone and I needed it to be perfect. I feared that since I’d ordered it off the internet that the quality wouldn’t be as good as it looked online and I even had dreams of it coming in with an incorrect inscription. The morning it was to be delivered, I talked with our reception at work and gave her a heads up. So, the moment it arrived she paged me, and I flew down the stairs. I tore into the package right then and there and literally held my breath as I took it out of his bag. …. It was perfect! The quality was even better than I had expected, the edges were rounded like a good men’s ring should be, the knot work engraved on the outside was perfect and the inscription on the inside was exactly what I had wanted. I could not have been happier, and instantly let out a huge sigh of relief!

When I got it home, he was just as impressed as I was and commented on how comfortable it was to wear. I’ve even caught him wearing it a few times, this after he’s yelled at me countless times for wearing my wedding band around the house. One time when he came home from an underway I heard him yell from the upstairs, “Some body’s in TROUBLE!” I instantly froze trying to figure out if he’d asked me to write any checks that I’d forgotten to write or what I had done. When I got up there he said, “If you’re going to wear your wedding band when I’m out of the house, at least put it back in it pseudo hiding place before I get HOME!” We both laughed and laughed and fell into each others arms in giggles.

So now comes the long wait. We have just over 4 months till the wedding (although in wedding terms that’s like a day and a half). We are both so excited to present our rings to the others as well as wear the ones intended for us (without getting yelled at! Hehe!). I knew buying his ring was going to be special for me, but I was still a little surprised at the depth of emotion that struck me when I looked at it for the first time. Jay is my soul mate, my best friend, my confidant, my protector, my love. And there’s nothing I want more than to be his wife. I knew that I would never find a ring that was as perfect as he is, but I knew I had to try. The moment I held his ring, I knew I had come as close to perfection as possible. On our wedding day, I’ll be able to stand there and present him with a ring that I put effort into finding and really represents the essence of who he is, the essence of all the things I love about him. I could never give him anything that even comes close to what he has given me. How do you pay someone back for their love, support, comfort and caring with a piece of jewelry. But if I could it would be with this ring!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Jay's Got Duty... Time For a New Blog

I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life the other night. Jay and I went to see Nickleback in concert and while snuggled up under Jay's arm, I heard him sing for the first time. Now granted no matter how good of a singer you are no one sounds good when they are singing along at one of those outdoor concerts. The cigarette smoke coupled with all the screaming and woo-hoo'ing is not exactly the best for the vocal chords. However, even with all that, hearing Jay's voice rumble in his chest as he smiled and sang along was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard and almost brought me to tears. On the surface this reactions seems kind of random, so I'll back up a little (well a lot) and see if I can fill you in.

I've known for a long time that I love family birthdays. It didn't matter if it were mine or one of my brother's, but I love gathering around the kitchen table with my pyro's for brothers lighting a million candles and singing Happy Birthday. It took me a long time to realize that it was hearing my dad sing that made these moments so special. Now my dad has one of the worst voices in the world and birthdays are about the only time you can get him to sing. I processed this a lot during high school and finally realized that it hearkened back to one of the last times in my life where I felt truly safe.

When I was really young my entire family was very religious. We were at the church every time the doors opened and as homeschooled kids we looked forward to snow on Sundays so we could stay home from church and play. What I remember distinctly, though, is being 5 or 6 and my dad holding me in his arms while he bounced me and sang during the worship time. I remember snuggling against his chest and hearing his rumbling voice mix with his strong heart beat. The feeling that elicited, a feeling of being truly safe and completely cared for was soon lost, but for a moment it was very real and firmly planted itself in my psyche.

What I have realized since then is that those feelings were in fact an illusion. I felt safe due to naivety and not reality. Just like teenagers have a sense of invincibility not because it is true but because they haven't seen the brutality that life can deal. It would be many years before I realized that the man who I had drawn such comfort from was actually emotionally and verbally abusive (and physically abusive to my brothers). That same man has now (due to an illness called bipolar disorder) rewritten history in his own head and truly believes himself to be the victim of a large conspiracy instead of the abuser of his family. This caused a secondary wound. The wound caused by not being able to acknowledge the wound of abuse.

So... how did a blog that started out about the most amazing moment of my life get so heavy and depressing? Because if you don't understand the difficult part then the good part isn't as meaningful.

So... fast forward again to the other night. During one of the slower songs, I found myself snuggled in against Jay's chest, and I realized that I could hear HIS voice mixing with HIS strong heart beat, and for the first time in over 20 years, I felt that same sense of safety I felt at age 5... except this time it was a reality. Jay would give his life for mine if needed (as I would for him) but way beyond that he shows his love in a million tiny ways. He shows it in the way he parks across at the next apartment building so that I can have the close parking spot; in the way he reminds me to bring a sweater to Cracker Barrel because he knows I always get cold; in the way he knows what day of the week my favorite restaurant serves the dish I love so much; in the way he can sense when I have the antys and need to get out of the house and when I want to just stay home; in the way he can sense when I'm fighting an anxiety episode and can give me the space and reasurance to overcome it; in the way he sprayed down my khaki's with stain remover after I got them all dirty on the family day cruise; in the way he intently listened to me whether I'm talking about something very important or completely trivial (note that this was one of the traits I feel so in love with over 10 years ago); and simply in general how we always wants me to have the best even if that means that he gets second best.

So, I guess, with my brothers spread out all over the Carolinas, that soon I'll be looking forward to gathering around my kitchen table and hearing Jay sing Happy Birthday to our children (who given our family backgrounds will most likely be pyro's too!) But at least I will know that just like I am, in his arms they will always be truly safe.

Thanks for reading, y'all!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Tux Blog

Well, wedding plans are in full swing at the Sluder-Schultz house. As Jay likes to say, "It's all wedding all the time!" But don't let him fool you, he loves it!

This week/weekend, I'm a lonely Navy fiance (hence the blog), but last weekend I had him all to myself! Among many wonderful things we got to do together, some of the time was spent at After Hours formal wear picking out tuxes for the wedding. I find it interesting that he's banned from seeing me in my wedding attire, but I have no such restriction. In fact not only did I get to go, but the store owner directed almost the entire conversation at me and gave me all the final paperwork. I guess it really IS all about the Bride! Hehe! :-)

When I grabbed my camera on the way out the door, Jay groaned and assured me that he would not be required nor able to try on the actual tux, just some standard jackets for sizing purposes. But in anticipation of this blog, I brought my camera anyway figuring I'd at least get some cool shots of the store and Jay talking with the store employees.

When we got there we spent some time looking around and talking about the wedding colors. Jay picked out a gorgeous long jacket that he really liked,


(The middle one.)

And a beautiful vest/tie combo that will look wonderful with out color scheme, and decided to put the guys in a black version of the same thing with Jay in the green so he stands out.


We introduced ourselves to the associate working in the store and told him we had an appointment to get registered for the wedding. It was such a thrill to say for the first time with confidence the date of our wedding! Then the associate started asking Jay about a million and one questions! 4 pleats for 6 on the shirts? Full collar or half pointy thingy? Square toe shoe or regular? Silver cuff links or gold? Good grief! Who knew renting a standard monkey suit required so many decisions! Hehe!

About the time the associate started measuring Jay, the store owner came out. When he saw me there snapping pictures of Jay in his t-shirt, he insisted that they could do much better than that. Within 5-10 minutes he had pulled the jacket, vest and tie off the mannequin and grabbed an extra shirt and pants out of the back. Within 15 minutes, Jay come out of the dressing room in full regalia! And OH DID HE LOOK HANDSOME! I've never actually seen Jay or any other guy I've ever dated in a full tuxedo. I was so impressed! Not that he doesn't normally look good, because he does, but oh man he looked so gorgeous! I was about to pop! I felt like a parent at the school play wanting to yell, "That's my baby! He's marrying ME!"

He stood there for a few minutes and let me oooh and aaah over him while taking pictures.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Note: we decided later to go with the striped green tie instead of the black one he's wearing in the pictures.

Then the store owner showed us all the ways the one measured for Jay would fit better, and then to my chagrin, Jay changed back into regular clothes.

They told us all the in's and out's that we and the groomsmen needed to know, and the we walked out hand in hand for the rest of our weekend together.

I'm constantly amazing at how quickly life can change. This time last year, I was making packing lists for my trip to see Jay after over 5 1/2 years. I was scared to death, knowing that I had just ended a difficult relationship and moved out on my own for the first time in my life, that there was the possibility that Jay and I would see each other and the chemistry wouldn't be there, that even if we did work out that I had an 8 month deployment and a cross country move ahead of me. I truthfully wasn't sure I had the strength! And this time two years ago, I was preparing to fly to North Carolina for a wedding of my sister-in-law who hated me along with her entire family, a husband who wouldn't take up for me, and a relationship I was slowly realizing might never work. The only thing I felt then was trapped.

So, as I walked out of the mall, holding the hand of my soul mate and best friend, I realized once again that sometimes the most wonderful times of your life only come about because of the hardest.

212 days to go! WooHoo!

Thanks for reading y'all,


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Reflections on Being a Bride... Again.

I think I've told everyone in the entire world about this, but just in case you didn't know, I'm engaged, which makes me a bride. That word illicit so many images and ideas. Everything from the obnoxious Bridezillas of Utube videos and tv reality shows, to the simplicity of white dresses and veils, to the lavish affairs of Hollywood's stars and royalty. But what does it truly mean to be ... a bride? And more importantly, what does it mean to me?

In the interest of full discloser, I have to admit that this isn't my first time. Six years ago this month, at 23 years old, I had a wedding. I wore a wedding dress and a veil, I walked down the isle and exchanged vows. But though that entire experience, I never felt like a bride. Now, 6 short years later, at 27 years old, from the moment my love got down on one knee and slipped the ring on my finger, I have felt like a bride! What has made the difference and what can I learn about myself from looking back and looking forward?

So many things are different in my life now that it's hard to know where to start. Although 22 isn't young in many circles it was very young for me. Although at the time getting married seemed so "right", now it's so obvious to see the skewed motivations.

I was disparately trying to define myself. I was going through a difficult separation process from a very over baring and controlling father, and the moment I stepped out of the role of "daughter", without any sense of self, I found myself craving the defined role that had always been placed on me. The role of "wife" seemed the logical next step and a lot less scary than floundering around as just "bonnie". On top of that my ex and I were the first in either of our families to openly live together. As the son of a preacher and the daughter of a very religious mother, to say the least it didn't go over very well and contributed to a feeling of needing to get married rather than wanting to get married. I hate to say I got married for money but I was in college, supporting myself completely. Going to school full time and working up to full time at minimum wage jobs, just seemed overwhelming. Two incomes and only one rent seemed to be my only option.

Under these circumstances I was proposed to and accepted. Technically at that moment I became a bride, and even though I had craved the feeling of being one, looking back now, I see I never really walked in the role.

I spent the next 9 months of my life doing everything I could to make sure everyone else was ok. My primary planning partner was my to-be-mother-in-law, who was hosting the whole event at her house due to a huge lack of funds on our parts. We didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things and I felt that since it was her house, she should get the final say. She's also notorious for asking questions in a way that implies the "correct" answer (ie "you don't want to use purple table clothes do you?" when I had just sent her a picture of a purple table cloth I wanted to use.) I ended up with a lovely little ceremony and reception, but it hardly resembled the affair I had wanted. Especially in the fact that I spent the few days before and the day of in knots with people asking me questions like how did I want the lemons cut? (That particular question was asked of me approximately an hour before the wedding was supposed to begin and I had yet to even get in the shower! I almost screamed, I couldn't give a flying fuck how they are cut! Just fucking CUT THEM!) I put most of the chairs out myself in the living room, I cut up bread and picked up the sweet tea the morning of the ceremony and was the last to get into the shower after all my bridesmaids (45 minutes before the ceremony started.) I felt like no one was there to help ME (except for my mom), and truthfully I resented it for many many years. At the end of the day I felt more like a hired hand or a part of the catering staff than I did the bride.

So, here we are again. And everything seems so different. Why is that? Well for one we have a budget that we've created together instead of a budget I decided was what I could put on MY credit card. I don't feel like I'm at the mercy of anyone, or that I'm relying strictly on being in any one person's good graces. I have a fiance who is excited and involved in the planning process and wants this to be everything I've ever dreamed of. But even beyond those external dimensions, I think the biggest factor is internal. This time I believe that I DESERVE to be a bride! I deserve to have one day where I get to be the center of attention. Last time I hesitated to ask anyone for help for fear of annoying them or asking too much. And deep down I didn't feel like I deserved the help anyway. I didn't have enough self esteem to validate my right to be the bride. Maybe that's because I didn't know who the "I" in all those sentences was. Now I've had the opportunity to spend a year on my own. I've developed a great sense of who "I" am and now I can go into this wedding (and marriage) knowing I won't make the same mistakes I did before. Because for me, being a bride is more than white dresses and flowers and veils, it's about having enough self validation to stand up in front of everyone and say, "yes! I DO deserve this! I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be in love. I deserve to have my friends and family come together to celebrate all this with me. I deserve to have people stand up and say nice things about me."

It's amazing how far one can come in just 6 short years.

Thanks for reading,


aka the BRIDE!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Officially Ordered My Dress Yesterday

Well it's officially! I ordered my wedding dress yesterday! I'm so excited! It's like we're really getting married now! The funny thing is, it's not the dress I thought I'd decided on (which is the one that's been posted here). I kept feeling like I was having to talk myself into that dress. It was definitely my favorite of the ones I tried on at David's Bridal, but it just didn't set right. I wasn't convenced and I'm not like that. I'm usually someone who is like, "OK! Decision made! NEXT!" So, the fact that I hadn't gone to buy it and that I kept looking at other dresses made me think that maybe it wasn't the ONE!

So, I decided to go to a more traditional bridal store. I knew that what I had really been looking at where bridesmaid dresses in white (since i like things very simple and less expensive), but David's Bridal doesn't do any of their bridesmaid dresses in white. Not to mentioned I'd really hated the feeling of being pressured to buy something because I'd taken up the time of the sales woman and she was on commission. I expected even worse when I walked into Traditions Bridal in Newport News. But soon realized I was very wrong. The moment I walked into the almost empty store (opposed to the packed at the seems, sales person helping more than one bride experience at David's Bridal), I was instantly greeted by a very pleasant sales women who asked what she could help me with. I explained that I was having a difficult time finding a dress because I was very simple and really like more bridesmaid dresses in white, but hadn't had any luck finding that. She looked surprised and said that all her bridesmaids dresses came in white and for me to pick any one I liked. She showed me some simple wedding dresses as well but did not push when I said they were still too bling, bling for me.

So I picked out a few dresses, which she quickly took to a dressing room for me (without giving me the feeling that she was suffocating me). She also let me know that they could hem any of the dresses I picked out in the store to tea length so not to feel stuck to only the already tea length. So, I started trying things on. Amazingly most of the samples were in a 10 or 12 so they fit almost perfectly and gave me a great idea of what they would look like. Although with the way my mind works it was a little hard to look at a bright red dress and imagine it in white.

Anyway, I tried on a few and kept getting more and more excited because they were so much closer to what I was looking for. Another saleswoman came by to check on me (because they don't work on commission and aren't territorial of their customers). She asked how things were going. When I said wonderfully, she said, "but you're not coming out! The lighting is much better out here!". When I came out they all owww'd and gooo'd. And then I tried on this one dress and the moment I zipped it up I knew it was THE ONE!

When I walked out I started explaining why it was so perfect. The sales woman said they have a term for that. It's called PNP... Pretty Near Perfect! Hehe.

It had an empire waist with a sash detail that would be similar to the dress the girl's will be wearing. And i felt like a princess! A comfortable princess though! The dress comes floor length with a short sweep in the back. And it has straps already! The one thing I didn't want to do was spend the entire day tugging on a strapless dress! They can hem it for me to tea length when it comes in in October or I can leave it floor length. I'm still trying to decide. I like the idea of the tea length, but I'm afraid that despite Jay's insisting to the contrary in his head he has this image of me coming down the isle in a long white dress.

I think I'll try and get my mom up here when it comes in to help me decide. If I get it hemmed a little then I probably wouldn't mind it being floor length. I just don't want to be kicking it all day long! I want to be able to enjoy my day without thinking, "somebody get me the hell out of this uncomfortable dress!"

It's so me! I love it so much! And I can't wait to wear it to marry my soul mate!

Well.. I'd love opinions on the tea length vs. the floor length. Here's the dress! Except the sash will be in clover green.


And here's the bridesmaid dresses I've picked out.


The girl's will be wearing monogrammed cardigans in clover green which will match the sash on my dress. I'll probably have a brown cardigan as well in case it is chilly that day.

So... what does everyone think???????

Thanks for listening to my wedding ramblings. I love you all!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Before and After

Well, I got on the scale today and realized that while I've been doing no extreme exercise (other than walking back and forth 11 blocks to work) and eating a lot of crap that I've still lost another 5 lbs. It's amazing what being happy can do to a girl.

When I met my ex, I was 110-115 lbs. Last spring, just 6 years later, I weighed in at 175-180 lbs. When I moved out on my own I dropped my calorie intake and up my exercise and dropped about 10 lbs a month for 4 consecutive months. It was incredible. Now, I'm making a final push before Jay's ship comes in, in about 3 1/2 months, to try and drop the last little bit and tone up these muscles that haven't been worked in years. I'll keep you guys updated but here's a little before and after.

Before: This was taken Easter Sunday morning of 2006


After: This was taken the first week of December 2006


I have to say, I'm pretty damn proud if I do say so myself. WooHoo! But if Jay's coming home with six pack abs, I have to make sure I have my old dancer body back. We'll see how it goes.

bye y'all!


Monday, July 9, 2007

My Dad Isn't Coming To the Wedding

Yep. You read right. As of today, my dad has declined my invitation to attend my wedding.

Ok... a little back ground. I've done this before. And at my first wedding my dad wasn't invited at all. He had made it extremely clear that he did not approve of my choice, that he did not like my in-laws and he has a track record of being explosive and violent. I had nightmares of coming around the corner and finding him yelling at my new father-in-law! Also, my dad and I had gotten into a fight about 6 months before the wedding and he had said that he didn't want to talk with me until I apologized. It was the hardest decision I ever made. My wedding was also right about the time that he and my mom's divorce was almost final and he was getting ready to marry the woman he was screwing before my mom officially left. What did he say... He said he'd catch me on the next one.

Well, that comment hurt like hell, but you know, life goes on. My dad and I have "made up" which involved me beginning to contact him and act like nothing ever happened and him acting like the "bigger" person because he was forgiving me for whatever ills I had done to him without insisting on an apology. We sort of talked about the whole thing one time and he acted like he was so sorry that he had put me in that position and that he understood that I wasn't punishing him but protecting my family and new family.

So, when my marriage broke up (which was the second hardest decision I ever made partly because I knew my dad would say, I told you so), I reached out to my dad and one of the first things he said, was, "I told you I'd catch you on the next one." This time I sucked it up and laughed it off.

So a few weeks ago, I was in Charlotte near where my dad lives for Jay's leave and Jay and I had dinner with him. He asked when we were getting married and I told him soon. He said, "I told you I'd catch you on the next one. I just hope I'm going to have a freaking prominent roll in the wedding maybe the preacher." It wasn't the first time he'd talked about having a prominent role. He'd mentioned walking me down the isle before and always spoke of it as if it were his right as the father.

Well, Father's Day came around and we had a huge fight. It started when I stuck to my guns on a small issue and he didn't take it very well. When I began to cry he said he was sorry that something so small would make me cry. I told him it didn't have anything to do with what we were fighting over and told him that his comment about catching me on the next one hurt me so badly that I cried for days over it. Well, instead of saying he was sorry I was hurt or getting me a tissue or comforting me or anything. Instead he had a full on melt down. He screamed, I screamed. it was the first time I stood up for myself, through the overwhelming sobs that is. Well, eventually my dad said that we were done and that he recommended Jay and I go back to Charlotte (we were planning on staying the night). While we were packing up and leaving he said that he hoped my relationship with Jay tempered me.

Two nights later, the love of my life asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was the most wonderful and exciting night of my life and because of what had happened I didn't feel comfortable including my dad in my mass text announcement. So, because of what had happened he missed out, for the second time, on being one of the first to know about my engagement.

I figured I might as well take advantage of the drama. So, when I came home I waited a couple of weeks and sent an email telling him that as hard as it was to tell him this, I did not want him to walk me down the isle. I didn't go into why, I only said that this was something I needed to do for me. I tried to give him a half way mark. I told him he could be an usher, part of the photography team or simply be sat with the other parents. OR he could choose to not participate, but that would be HIS choice and not MINE.

It didn't take long to get a response, only about 50 minutes. Just long enough for him to type out an angry email via the hunt and peck typing method. It basically said that he was going to decline the invitation (plus a bunch of other hurtful things).

I don't know what to do with all this. It just hurts so bad, and Jay's not here to hold me. My brother stayed the night last night to help me with this first underway, so he was here to help me process everything this morning and I am so thankful for that. But now that he's gone and the house is empty I find myself crying off and on. I'm sitting here watching Army Wives which is one of my favorite shows and I keep crying over one of the women's husband's being deployed or a wounded husband's return to his wife. I was doing really well with this first underway, seeing it as a time to myself, a time to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A time to catch up on phone calls to my friends. But now, I just want to stomp my feet and throw a 5 year old fit. It's just not fair. I need him and he needs to be here. I hope he never reads this, but I feel so abandoned right now. My dad refuses to be in my life and as much as he'd want to be here Jay's not able to be.

I've been trying to figure out why it hurts so bad and why it's so hard to just let my dad slip out of my life at his own request. I was at a wedding a few years ago and the father of the bride was the officiant. When he pronounced them Husband and Wife you could tell he was fighting back the tears. I couldn't get out of that church fast enough. First chance I got, I ran out to the parking lot, plopped down on a cement divider in my tea length black cocktail dress and my stiletto heals and called my mom. She could hardly understand me through the uncontrollable sobs. It hurt so bad that my dad wasn't at my first wedding. And I find myself grieving over my dad not walking me down the isle at this wedding, let alone not even attending this one. And although Randy Sluder most likely would have been at my first wedding if I'd asked him to be and he would certainly walk me down the isle this time, truthfully it doesn't help. And I finally figured out why. The bottom line is that I'm overwhelmingly sad to admit that I really do not have a dad. I have a man who contributed to half my genes, but that doesn't make him a father. And it will never make him a father. So tonight, for the first time, here in my bed... alone... I have to admit that although my biological father is living, although I know his phone number, address and email, I'm a girl planning a wedding without a vital part... a daddy to walk her down the isle and to dance with and to give her new husband a loving but firm talking to about always taking care of his daughter. If he couldn't take care of me, how could he ever expect anyone else to.

god... this just hurts so bad...

Update: After a few months my dad changed his mind and decided to participate on my terms. It made for a slightly more stressful day, but I'm glad he was included.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Engagement Blog

So it's official! After over 10 years of knowing each other, 6 years after our first kiss, and over 1 year of being "together" (I use quotation marks seeing that we saw each other a whole SEVEN days out of that year) I'm officially engaged to Jeremy Stafford, without a doubt the love of my life!!! Everyone wants to know how it happened so I figured blogging about it would save me from writing about a million separate emails.


To put it nicely, I can be a bit persistent. ;-) Although, "a pester" is probably the word Jay would use. Hehe. From the moment he stepped off the ship about 4 weeks ago, I've probably asked at least 3 times a day about my ring, or when I was going to get it, or what it looked like or where he bought it... Not quite the "every hour on the hour" that his best friend described... but ... well close. I asked his friends, co-workers, family and anyone else I thought might have information for me! Hehe! Unfortunately no one would give anything up, but a girl's got to try! I have to admit though that I take great comfort in the fact that he can't lie worth anything! Every time he'd insist that he didn't have a ring, or that he didn't buy one or that he didn't know what I was talking about he'd get a big huge grin on his face and the most adorable "5 year old caught in the cookie jar" look in his eyes! It was absolutely adorable and the main motivation behind why I asked so many time. Watching him squirm and giggle was priceless.

So, while we were deciding on leave arrangements it was STRESSED that I HAD to be in Charlotte with him. His best friend even went as far as to say that Jay had "an important question to ask. And it'll be quite anti-climactic if you're in VA!" So, I knew it would be while we were down here but that almost drove me MORE insane! I knew it was coming, I even knew it was close but I didn't know when and there's nothing I deal with less well then surprises I knew just a little about!!!! I patted him down on more than one occasion. I went through his bags when he wasn't looking. I know, I'm evil, but I learned from the best... nic. ;-)

So when I woke up, Tuesday the 19th of June, it seemed like any other day. We had loose plans to check out a few possible wedding locations while we were in town but nothing major. Nothing to tip me off that it would be the day I had waiting so long for. Well... I take that back... there was a phone call he took out side and waved me back in when I came out and some requested private time with his best friend. But I assumed they were planning something for later in the week. So, it's decided that his best friend's fiance is too under the weather to go out to dinner that night so we head back to the apartment we're staying at. We hung out ;-) for a little while and decided we were hungry. He offered to grab take out from a near by restaurant if I'd figure out some way to set up the lap top and speaker so we could watch a movie.

When he got back, he walked in with his hands full and said, "hey babe. Guess what happened to me." I have to admit, being the paranoid person I am, I assumed the worst and figured he'd run into someone he didn't want to see or something. Then he said, "when I went to get the food, they told me that I was the one millionth customer!" Being completely unaware of what was going on I of course called his bluff and said, "They did NOT! You are so full of it!" At which point he said, "no really! And they gave me this!" and he pulls the ring out. I look down and suddenly realize what's going on!!! It's the most beautiful ring I've ever seen in my life and he gets down on one knee (I'm already crying at this point!) and says, "Bonnie Louise, will you marry me?" I can hardly answer between the crying and the OMG's! I was COMPLETELY caught off guard! I had absolutely NO idea! And it couldn't have been more perfect!

I love him more than anything else in the world. He is my perfect compliment and there's nothing I want more than to spend the rest of our lives together! And I can't believe that after all this time, and an extremely fortunate second chance, I'm finally where I'm supposed to be... in the arms of my soul mate and best friend.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

THE Most Exciting Day of My Life

It's finally over!!!! The love of my life is safely home on US soil and in my arms again!!! "Why," you ask... "in the heck are you messing around blogging on myspace???????" Because the life of a navy girlfriend means constant separation. He has duty every 4 days which means he has to be on the ship all night. He was supposed to have duty the day the ship pulled in, which would have meant he couldn't come off the ship until the next day. :-( In order to not have to do that he switched with another guy so he has to sleep on the ship tonight (Sunday) and tomorrow night (Monday). I'll see him again sometime on Tuesday. So, I figured this was a perfect time to let everyone know how I'm doing and how amazing homecoming was!

It all started the day before. I drove from Richmond to Norfolk to meet up with my fellow navy girlfriend, Angela, and get ready for the night before reception. I was so scatter-brained that I had to turn around twice... once for my welcome home sign and the other for my homecoming outfit. DUH! It was awesome meeting up with Angela after talking for almost 8 months online. It's amazing, though, no matter what, people never sound like they "should". She's just as great as I expected and we had a wonderful time. We ran a few errands I needed to do around Norfolk, got our parking passes for homecoming, and checked into the Navy Lodge.


The funniest part was when (while trying to talk on the phone of course) I turned left too early and instead of pulling into the parking lot for the building to get our parking passes, I turn into gate 5 for the base with no way to turn around. So, I tell my friend I'll call them back and pull right up to the cute sailor in his camis. I turn on the sourthern charm and flash my biggest smile possible with the largest lost puppy dog eyes I can muster and say, "Oh dear me! I'm so sorry! I think I went the wrong way. I'm trying to get my parking pass for homecoming tomorrow!!!" He smiled and confirmed that I had made a wrong turn. He was so nice and stopped traffic coming out of the base so I could turn around. I made sure to smile big and thank him as I left. I told the girls that just because I was a feminist didn't mean I could work it when I needed to! Heheheh! Then we met up with my favorite veteran Navy wife, Kim, and headed off to the night before reception on the base.


(I stole your pic Kim. The one on my phone didn't come out as well as your did.)

The night before reception wasn't as great as I was hoping. The room was really big and there were a lot of people. When the speakers got up, I could tell they were giving some really great information about getting on the pier and parking and such but the sound was so bad that we couldn't hear what they were saying. So after the slide show of the sailors and what they've been doing/ where they've been, we headed back to the Navy Lodge. We cracked open a bottle of red wine and settled in for the evening. I figured I wouldn't get any sleep but by about 1pm, I was dead asleep. I am sooo thankful that I was able to stay at the navy lodge instead of having to drive back to Richmond. It was so nice, also, to be able to talk with someone who felt as anxious and nervous and excited as I did.

So at the butt crack of dawn I wake up. Of course I had hardly slept for fear of oversleeping and missing the entire homecoming (which had been a reoccurring dream for the past few weeks)! My roommate, Mandy (Jay is Mandy's husband and Angela's boyfriend's supervisor), was supposed to get in the shower but I could tell she was going no where fast, so I just jumped in and took my time getting ready and putting on my make up and such. We went up to Angela's room that she was sharing with a couple of her and Brian's friends.


We were all so excited we could hardly talk but were all quite worried about the wind on the pier which of course none of us had really thought about when we'd chosen our homecoming outfits. Opps!


So we grab a quick bagel (which we'd been smart enough to pick up the night before) and headed out to the pier. Believe it or not we had 4 girls and 1 sort of metro boy out the door by our designated time of 7am. We'd heard so many different things about when the ship was supposed to be pier side, everything from 9-9:30 to 11-11:30 so we figured we'd play it safe.

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I left early to grab some gas on the way and soon figured out that the gate we had all planned to go in was only allowing traffic to enter from the other direction and was VERY backed up. So, I called the others and gave them the heads up to go in the other gate. Getting on base was no problem but it took a little navigating to find the pier since we were coming from a different gate. I parked a ways from the pier since the girls had said it's a huge pain to get out if you park too close. I grabbed my sign


, met back up with the others and we headed for the pier. It was a truly awesome sight and a wonderful feeling to know that soon it would all be over! We were lucky enough to snag a seat on the bleachers which was a life saver. I'd have hated to stand the whole time!



We settled in for the long wait and I looked around and thought how strange it was that there weren't more people there. Little did I know they were all to come!

It was funny to see all us girls who had spent the last probably 7 months worrying about our outfits standing there without shoes on or wrapped up in sweaters or whatever. It's amazing how something may seem perfect in your home or at the hotel but doesn't quite work at the pier!


Soon, the other ships in the group started coming in, which only made wait harder!


There were some people who were standing lookout at the top of the bleachers. One guy in particular had assured us he would let us know when he could see the IKE, so after what felt like a lifetime, we finally heard a strong, "WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!" And we knew it was coming home!



It took it a while to get to the pier, but not as long as I was expecting. They were blaring music on the pier (The Boys are Back in Town was my favorite!) which gave the whole thing a party feel. I turned around and realized that the entire pier had filled up and I was so thankful that we'd gotten there when we did!


They pulled over to the pier and then backed in! It was so awesome to see!


The sailors were manning the rails and it was so amazing! We searched and searched and searched for our boys since Angela, Mandy and I all knew our guys had been "voluntold" the day before that they would be manning the rails. Of course we were sure we could see our guys just to find out later they were on the other freaking side of the ship! Hehe! Oh well! Wishful thanking, I guess!



They finally started tying in and I really thought I might turn inside out. I was so worried about spotting him! There were probably 10,000 people on the pier and I knew there were close to 5,000 sailors coming off!! Worry wort me is freaking out because they had these fences up and I couldn't figure out how he would be able to get to me. Come to find out they took the fences away as soon as they called general liberty and the mad rush of sailors started coming off.


We were very lucky. Mandy's husband, Ryan, was able to get cell service where they were standing and started texting her. He confirmed that Rakes (Brian) and Stafford (Jay) were with him and we let them all know that we were in the first set of bleachers! They were able to let us know that they were fairly close to the front and should be off right away once liberty was called.

Watching the waves of sailors in their dress whites pour out of the brows was one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen. I stayed about half way up the bleachers so hopefully our guys could see us. Next thing we know Mandy and Angela's guys come through the crowd. I was so excited and then extremely nervous when I didn't see Jay too!!! I start yelling, "What happened to Jay?? Did you guys ditch him?!?!?!?!?" I look out at the see of dress white uniforms and start panicking! What if I'm not able to find him!!! I decided to just stay right where I was since that's where he knew to look for me and just a couple of minutes later I spotted him making his way through the crowd to me! I make my way down the bleachers trying not to fall, figured eating metal or concrete wouldn't be that cute!

I drop my camera back and throw my arms around him! He pulls me tight into him, picks me up and says, "Hi beautiful!" After over 5 1/2 years of not having him in my life at all, a year of being separated and 8 months out to sea... feeling his arms around me again was the most thrilling moment of my life! I'll never forget the moment I saw him for the first time or the look on his face when our eyes met.

The last 4 days have been the best of my life! He's amazing, and every fear I had about us not working out has melted away. I've never been so content in all my life. There is nothing I want more than to be with him forever.

I wish I had pictures of him in his dress whites on the pier or of us, but the moment I saw him I totally forgot about taking pictures! I'll try and get some new ones of us soon. We're turning in an application for the apartment we want on Tuesday and hope to get the keys on Thursday. I'll make sure and post pictures and let everyone know how it goes!

Thank you to everyone who helped me through this difficult time in my life! I'm thankful for each and everyone of you! Have a great day and I promise to keep ya updated!

thanks for listening, y'all!


Monday, May 7, 2007

Today was hard. I made my goal of Amarillo to Memphis, but it was really long. I left Amarillo at 10am and pulled into the hotel in Memphis after 10pm. It must have been longer than I expected or the multiple construction zones slowed me down or something. Oh well. I'm here, safe and sound. I was going to take some pictures of the hotel and Amarillo but the truth is... the town is kind of not so much! I'm not judging TX on the whole (since it always irritates me when people judge North Carolina by the drive up I-95) but I would certainly not want to move to Amarillo. Flagstaff, Yes! But Amarillo, No. I thought about stopping a couple of times to take pictures, but I'm worse than any boy when it comes to not wanting to stop on a long road trip. I think I stopped a total of three times all day!!!! But once was for a good leisurely lunch at Cracker Barrel so that I could compose a few blogs that will be posted over the next few days. My server was so nice and kept refilling my sweet tea (which probably accounted for TWO of three pit stops! Hehe!) and let me sit there as long as I wanted. I'd have to say though that just like last time the highlight of this leg of the trip was the breath taking windmill farm somewhere in New Mexico. That was the one time I was really tempted to pull off and snap some pictures but with that sort of thing I knew I could never capture the magnificent beauty and would only be disappointed.

So, tomorrow is the last leg. It will bring me back to where I started almost 2 years ago to the day. There's a lot of things going through my mind and a lot of emotions. The drive has given me some much needed time to think. I've spent the last 7 months of my life doing everything I could to avoid thinking, so there's some interesting things rolling around. Like I said, there will be some more blogs to come. n

ight y'all!


p.s. Sorry there are no pictures of Jeremy Jr. today. He spent most of the day sleeping (slacker!) and whining about having to pee due to all the sweet tea! Hehe! But he says HI!

Day Four

Morning all!

Sorry I didn't post this last night, but I totally crashed when I got to mom's. Then ended up going out with my mom, my brother and his girlfriend. It was awesome, but it was after 2pm when we got home! It's ok, though, since my body has no idea what time it is anyway!

The last leg of the trip was great! It was a little shorter and only took me a total of 10 hours including stops! But the best part was... most of is was in the mountains. Once you get to Nashville, you're in the Smokies and that was all I needed to feel at home! I'm really not sure why I left this place. It's truly the only place in the entire world that speaks directly to my soul. I'm hoping to get out and take some pictures over the next few days so keep a look out.

The second best part of this leg was once again, lunch. :-) Yes, I stopped at Cracker Barrel again, but I didn't eat the EXACT same thing! Hehe! I think it'll take me a while to get my fill of country cooking again. I got a few looks when I pulled out my camera at the table and started snapping pictures of my sweet tea glass (see below). But people were really nice. One guy even asked me what type of camera I had. I've learned that I actually enjoy eating alone. I've always hated eating at sit down restaurants alone because I get so bored with no one to talk with, but it was so nice to be able to sit down with my camera and my note book and work on a few things.

Well, I think I'm going to take a nap. I feel like I've only had a few days off here and there since I started working weekends in November, so this feels really good. I'll talk with you all soon.


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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Moving Back

Returning to the East Coast has brought up a lot of thoughts and fears for this already over analytical girl! It's all revolving around the concept of "moving back". For quite some time now, I've considered my decision to move to the West Coast as one of the best of my life. It afforded me a vacuum... a place free of expectations to hear the sound of my inner voice. Most of my life has been spent listening to the voices of my parents, friends, religious leaders, significant others and any and every one else. I had never learned to recognize the sound of my inner voice. Over the last 2 years, I have gained a deeper understanding of myself, my interest, my core beliefs, everything from my tastes in clothes and music to my fundamental spiritual thoughts. I've proven to myself that I can make it on my own. I left an unproductive marriage, found a job I was good at, forged what I think will be lasting friendships, and created a life for myself that I not only enjoyed but was extremely proud of.

Now as i sit in a Cracker Barrel in Oklahoma City, OK, I wonder if it's possible to move back without moving back-WARD. Can I learn to hear the sound of my inner voice amongst so many other voices? My fear is living somewhere that I'm known as "the (fill in the blank)" ... the dancer, the christian girl, the good child, the hippy... Can I be the person I've become in the face of those preconceived ideas? I guess we'll find out.

And now as I sit in a Cracker Barrel in Nashville, TN, I realize that there is a flip side to this dilemma as well. I fear that in an effort to not let go of myself, that I will refuse to change and stifle the natural evolution of life. I don't want to hold so tightly to the person I am right now that I miss out on the person I can become. At the risk of sounding cliche... Life is a journey, not a destination. And although I'm significantly happier with where I'm at right now then I've ever been, that doesn't mean I still want to be here in 5, 10 or 15 years.

Maybe the key is in the wording. Maybe I should look at it less as moving "back" and more as moving "forward". Even though in January I'll be back in Charlotte, where I spent most of the hardest years of my life, living spitting distance from many people who believe they "know" me, doesn't mean I have to move backward in my journey. I'm a completely different person now than I was then. There is truly no way for me to go back to being that person.

And just because people have expectations of me doesn't mean I have to live up to them, nor do I need to do things that fly in the face of them just to prove my independence. The next step in my journey will be learning to live ABOVE the expectations of others. For instance, not refraining from getting any more tattoos for fear of disappointing people but at the same time not getting any new ones simply to prove that I can.

It all goes back to that inner voice. Thankfully, I will be living with someone who understands these fears. He has reassured me that he loves me, for instance, for how passionate I am about things, not for the passions themselves as those change over the years. He loves me for the woman I was at 17 when he met me, for the woman I am now 10 years later, and the woman I will become over the lifetime we will spend together.

I hope that I can not only hold onto and encourage my own inner voice, but his as well... to not hold onto the man he is right now at the expense of the man he can become for once again...

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Thanks y'all!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Latest Diatribe

Most of my friends and especially my mom are familiar with my infamous diatribes. They usually consist of topics like non-pedestrian oriented shopping center parking lots whose lack of side walks force you to DRIVE the 1/4 mile or less from one end to the other! ARGH! Or people's complete inability to push the button at a cross walk!

But today I have a new one... people on a long strip of open road who do not understand the concept of CRUISE CONTROL! I'm obsessive about my cruise control (especially after getting a ticket on Sunday!) I pay close attention to the signs and lock in my cruise at 4 miles an hour over or less. So then what happens is I steadily come up on a car going slower than I am. I smoothly pull into the passing lane and as soon as I get to them they wake up from their monotony induced coma and speed up to the EXACT speed I'm going. So, I figured I'll up my cruise a few miles an hour and get around them, but they continue to accelerate to keep up with me, as if they are some competitive 3 year old who can't let anyone pass them for fear of "losing". So, in order to keep from hanging beside them for the remainder of the trip I'm forced to slow down and let them pass ME in the right lane! Since they've officially annoyed me, I make sure I put plenty of distance between us before I resume my chosen speed.

Doesn't sound THAT annoying, right? I know what you're thinking... "There she goes again! She's such an OCD pain in the ass!!!" And I would be inclined to agree with you if the entire scene didn't repeat itself every 1/2 an hour to an hour with the EXACT SAME CAR!!!! ARGH!!!!

Have I ever mentioned that people drive me NUTS!!!!!

bye y'all!


Monday, April 30, 2007

Day One

Well, I'm officially on the road! Yesterday totally bit (except for breakfast with my girls at the good old BBC which was awesome!) But then again, moving day always does I guess. It's always takes me like 5 hours longer than I think it's going to take me. I thought I could get everything done and be out of Long Beach by approximately 2pm. At 7:30... I finally pulled out!!! My car is packed to the brim, and I think my apartment was fairly clean. (We'll see when and if I get my deposit back) and I'm on the road to be with the love of my life! Hopefully today will be better. I ended up getting my first speeding ticket EVER! Oops! Oh well! And thought I was NEVER going to get to Flagstaff, but at 3:30am, I pulled into my hotel and finally crawled into bed. How come, you can be falling asleep at the wheel but then as soon as you hit the bed you're freaking WIDE AWAKE! Oh well!!! I'm getting ready to get on the road again. I don't want to do any more late nights like that. So I'll update you guys later today or tomorrow morning!


Day Two

So today was significantly better than yesterday! I'm a little sore from moving and my back hurts from sitting in the car all day but on the whole it was a great day! It started out by walking out of my hotel in flagstaff to the beautiful site of pine trees! I felt like I was home already! I know everyone raves about living at the beach and the palm trees and such but, I'll take a good ol' pine any day!!!

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Then I surveyed my car and massaged the packing in order the elevate any thing that had caused cursing the night before! Hehe! (Note: I never curse!) My car has become a life size jig saw puzzle! I have to make sure and take as little out as possible at my mom's otherwise I'll never get in all back in there!

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Then Jeremy Jr, started getting antzy and begging to get on the road! He stayed in the car the night before since it was so late. ;-)


So we headed out.


That's when I remembered how much I enjoy driving, and specifically how much I enjoy driving alone. It is one of the only times when I really have time to think! No one is asking anything of me, there are no expectations on me (other than staying in the lines and under the speed limit, which I was anal about the whole day! I used my cruise control probably 90% of the day!!) The weather was beautiful! Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and hardly any cars on the road the vast majority of the time.We stopped a few times for gas and drinks/food, but pretty much drove straight there. Here we're stopping for some much needed liquid. The red bull is mine. I promise there's no Jager slipped in there though! Jeremy Jr. had a good eye on me!


It sprinkled rain just a few times and just enough to remind me of how much I love the smell of rain! I've missed it so much. So... 10 hours later, we pulled into Amarillo, TX and are now safely tucked in for the night. I thought I would be afraid coming in and out of hotels alone, but I haven't had any problems. Maybe it's just that left over invensible teenager attitude I tend to have. :-)So, tomorrow is another long day! We'll leave here and drive approximately 10 hours again to Memphis, TN. But after that we're almost there. We'll hopefully pull into Asheville on Wednesday. Well, I'd better go and get some rest. We lost two whole hours today so tomorrow may be hard. But it doesn't matter because I'm on the way to be with the love of my life!

Thanks y'all


Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Excerpt from Navy Times Article

Nimitz home last weekend before going to Gulf

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Apr 2, 2007 6:37:12 EDT

SAN DIEGO – More than 6,000 sailors are spending their last weekend at home before the aircraft carrier Nimitz leaves its San Diego pier Monday on a course for the Persian Gulf.

Nimitz, a nuclear-powered carrier based at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif., will replace the Norfolk, Va.-based Eisenhower and its carrier strike group and join the John C. Stennis carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa regions.


This is increadible news!!! It means that the guys will be heading home soon!!! Wooo Hoooo!!!! OMG!!! I can't believe that this is actually going to happen!! I leave Cali 4 weeks from yesterday! So, I only I have 3 weeks and 6 days left!!! YAY!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2007


I GOT A PICTURE!!!! After 6 1/2 months of being away from the love of my life, I finally have a new picture! And he looks SOOOO good! I forget how hot he is!!! ;-) Not too much longer now!!! I was going to write more but I'm exhausted. I wanted to share though. Peace out y'all! hehe!



Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I Have Peaches on My Phone...and...Happy New Year!

Hello eveyone! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years celebration. I had a very interesting new years and I thought I'd share. I've been meaning to blog about my experiences working with a domestic violence shelter as well, and since I spent new years at the shelter I'll be able to kill two birds with one stone.

So, I've been volunteering with a domestic violence shelter since the beginning of 2006 doing child care. When Jay left on deployment I found myself very sad on the weekends and started looking for something to keep me busy. Well, come to find out the shelter was looking for Resident Care Managers (aka dorm mothers) :-) to work on the weekends. So about the first of November I started working Saturday and Sunday mornings 7:30am to 4:00pm.

I'll be truthful. It took me a few weeks to adjust to working 7 days a week. But now I'm totally in the groove and experience very few problems with the schedule. Sometimes I get tired but I try my hardest not to complain since it is my choice to work this much and I know that having all that time to think about how much I miss Jay would be way harder! This weekend was especially wonderful. Some of the full time staff wanted some time off and were granted that time off before replacements were found to cover their shifts. So, I picked up two extra shifts over the three day weekend and worked both the morning of New Years Eve as well as the overnight.

I love my job! Saturday afternoon I had been watching one of my kids so his mom could get some rest. He is just facinated with my phone and could open and close it for hours. (note: if I have your cell number and you get a strange call on the weekend and no ones there but you hear me saying, "no honey lets not call anyone!" now you'll know what's going on.) ;-) He loves the way it lights up when he opens it. So at one point I reached up to grab my phone and it was all sticky and covered in that syrup that canned peaches come in. I knew exactly what had happened since it was also in my hair on all over me. The funniest part is... it couldn't have made me more happy. I love these kids! I love these women! I feel so privlidged to be a part of their lives. And going home at night knowing I've played a small role in their recovery is nothing short of addictive! I've been friends with people throughout my lifetime that were survivors of domestive violence. I think of them each and every day that I'm there. I try to be the person I would have wanted them to have in their life. Someone who would do everything they can to help this woman and her family. Someone who will help them see their potention, who will hold up a mirror for them on their blackest days and say, "but look how much you've accomplished! Look at the life you are creating for youself and your children!" Which brings me to New Years.

At first I was thinking that there would be a big "ball dropping watching party" in the TV room, but most of the kids are fairly young and had already knocked out when I got there at 11pm (how I was even awake at that time of night was a miracle due only to a heavy dose of caffee). The mom's were still awake but I hadn't realized that watching the ball drop in NYC on a three hour tape delay is kind of...well...not as exciting as watching it live. So, no one was really up for that. By 11:45pm I was in the RCM office with the door closed because I didn't think anything was going on. Being the life of the party that I am, I had an old Sex in the City re-run on while I was tallying some stat sheets. I actually didn't even notice when the year rolled over until someone knocked on the door. It was one of my ladies and she was simply there to wish me a happy new year.

I almost cried! I got up from my chair and we hugged. At which point I realized that almost all of the women were standing outside the door. We all hugged and wished each other a happy new year. I told them that I hoped that this would be the best year yet! And they all agreed they were glad to see 2006 go! I had most definitely not expected to feel this way, but at that moment (with my guy being on deployment) there was nowhere else I'd have rather been.

And at that moment I realized how glad I was to see 2006 go. 2007 will absolutely turn out to be the best year yet, but it's only due to the fact that 2006 was the hardest of my life. It was so nice to have what almost felt like closure. The bad times in my life are over. The years of having jobs I hated, not enough money to survive and an unfulfilling, unsupportive relationship are OVER! I know have a career passion in life and the determination to see it come to be... I'm at a place where I can make enough money to live on, as well as learned how to live within my means (more or less) :-)... I have learned enough about myself to have identified who my soulmate is... and I truly believe that together we can make this relationship work.

My new years wish for each of you is to have the wisdom and vision to know what you need to do in order to be truly happy, and the strength and courage to then make it happen.

2007...I'm so glad you're here! Cheers, to the best year yet!