yes, I’m grateful


Because the opportunity becomes more and more rare now that 4 of my 5 children are considered by the world to be grown-assed adults, anytime I have the five clowns in one place and appearing to be somewhat put-together (hair and makeup for the girls) I must take their picture of the five of them together.

They know.

They usually are prepared.

So that when I grab my camera and say, “Kids! Get together, please.“, they quickly do. The children of the mamarazzi are pros at indulging their camera-armed mama this way.

How else would I be able to get a shot like this?

I look at it and I can’t help but feeling a lot of love. This. This is good. Oh, and I have the best, damn looking family!

True story.

I want to say I am blessed. I feel like I am blessed. Quite a few people tell me that I am blessed when I share this picture on Facebook because I just have to share the most recent picture of all five of my kids together because the last one of all five of them together is from over a year ago! Five beautiful, smiling, healthy people I call my children, how could I not consider myself blessed?

But I hesitate just a little.

I recently read a piece written by Scott Dannemiller that basically calls out Christians for the over-use of the word blessed, especially in reference to the material good fortune that some enjoy. No, I am by no means a good Christian at all…anymore. I haven’t been to church for over five years for so many reasons. Still I too consider myself to be “blessed”

  • that my husband is working regularly…finally
  • for when I get to work and am not cancelled because of low census and my per diem by choice status
  • for the home that we have…the white-walls, rental property that we call home. It’s likely that we will never, ever be home owners again but, be it ever so humble, we have a home
  • for my car, my 8 year old car…at least we have one reliable vehicle that the circus living under this Big Top can count on.
  • for so, so many material goods that we have to enjoy and play with here under the Big Top.
  • for a stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer even if the clowns living here still wail that THERE’S NOTHING TO EAT!!!

Sometimes it feels like we don’t have much and that we are far from prosperous but the reality is that we are so rich, so much more rich than so many literally anywhere else in the world or even down by Library Park here in Manteca.

Yes, we are bles…wait a minute! Dannemiller has a point, a very good point. What makes me more special than those who don’t have a home, a car, a job, a stocked pantry and refrigerator with not-so delicious-good stuff to eat?

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

Read his essay.

Think about it.

But kids are not material. No, of course not. Still my kids are all pretty happy, healthy, beautiful, smart and talented individuals. It might be easy to say that yes, I am blessed.

But…

So I am more blessed than the friend who is struggling just to get pregnant and has suffered multiple pregnancy losses? God loves me more? Seriously? Me?!

Three of my children have literally come thisclose to death but to imply that we are blessed because they didn’t die insults dear friends of ours who have buried their babies, their precious children. Not a day goes by where I don’t give thanks that Zoë pretty much walked away from getting hit by that truck. Watching Jodie dance I almost always cry thinking what could have happened five years ago. And Daniel…my life, my passion, my career is caring for tiny babies born with slim odds of survival and positive outcomes and mine is one of the positive ones, one of the truly lucky ones…I HAVE to be thankful for that. I am! Every day! I am so very thankful! But to say that I am blessed, that my children are would imply that God favors us more than my friend whose son who woke one morning with a raging headache and was dead by dinner time from meningococcal meningitis…or my dear friend who is grieving as the anniversary of her preemie baby’s death at age 6 months while still in the NICU is approaching.

I seriously doubt God loves me or my children more than them. Trust me, I am by no means more faithful nor more Christ-like.

No.

I am not blessed.

But I am fortunate…lucky…so damn lucky.

I am grateful.

Yes.

forgiveness for all…except for Monica Lewinsky


Yes, I’ll admit it. I will be reading Monica Lewinsky’s essay in Vanity Fair. What can I say? I’m curious. The Clintons have had their say, to some extent, in the past. Practically every pundit over the last two decades has too. Why not hear what the other woman has to say?

photography by Mark Seliger – Vanity Fair

That’s when the chorus of who cares is heard along with the collective sighs and eye rolls.

Sure some question the timing of it all given the anticipation of Hillary throwing her hat into the 2016 Presidential ring. I mean what better way to distract us all from things like the timing of Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy or whether or not a grandmother is fit for office or Benghazi or the entire history of 1990s ranging back to Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster and a host of other hoary names than to have Monica speak? Is it a Clinton conspiracy or perhaps the Republicans have their hand in this…I know, no one cares.

So why then should Monica be allowed to speak?

No one really cares anymore.

Well, except people like Rand Paul and Mika Brezinzski and Lynne Cheney and every other pundit and media outlet and Beyonce and late night comedians…See?! No one cares what the other woman has to say.

In the course of my adult life, I have known a few couples affected by marital infidelities. Of course there was shock, anger, sadness, some tears and many other emotions in our circle of friends. Eventually, forgiveness was given after apologies and proper penance from the cheating husbands. It helped, of course, that their wives also forgave and the marriages somehow survived the infidelities. But what of the other women? They were the other women! Branded with the “A” on their chests they were shunned and ignored and soon no longer a part of the circle. Collectively, no one cared what might have caused them to commit such indiscretions. No one cared of their pain or shame. Forgiveness? For the other women?

Are you kidding?!

I don’t know.

I honestly don’t.

I do know that I will be reading her essay because just like it take two to commit adultery, there is more than one story after the end of the affair. Whose to say which of the stories deserves to be heard and which ones do not? Who decides that the women in the affair doesn’t deserve the opportunity to share her truth as much as the adulterous man? This time, at least, I will try to listen.

Perhaps I am becoming less judgmental in my middle age. Bear with me…it’s a process.

underrated and pleasurable


If you don’t know be by now…you know how the song goes…unless you are like under 20 and you weren’t listening to your mama’s playlist all these years. Anyways…by now most of you must be aware that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I’m easily amused, distracted, entertained, aroused and I like to believe that it is not a bad thing to be that kind of person. Life’s too hard to not take a break and enjoy the little things, all the little things that are so easily within our grasp and there for us to enjoy. Unfortunately we often miss them, overlook them. If it’s not there on the screen of our smart phone or tablet it is oh so easy for us to miss it completely. At least it sometimes seems to be that way.

I am one week into a personal 30 day challenge which has been, well, challenging. Still it has given me much time to to notice and enjoy things that are always there, whether we appreciate them or not. Funny how sometimes the best things in life are often the most underrated. I found this the other day while distracting myself from studying for my NRP renewal wandering around the intrawebs and I had to bookmark it because so many on this list are things that I have enjoyed without realizing just how much I enjoyed them. Of course I have to share them with you all because I want to remind you all to enjoy the smaller things Sometimes we need to be reminded

From tickld

along life’s path


Look at those rocks over there, Mom. It’s like walking in life.

My son said that during our Sunday afternoon walk this week.

I know!

Nothing surprises me, challenges me, inspires me more than the way my kids see the world. I may not always see it in the same way but that is really okay because, after all, we all see from different angles. So we stop and regard this rocky road to the left of our route. Daniel sees the smooth path in between the giant rocks. I, on the other hand, see the giant rocks…the obstacles blocking the way. I point that out to him and he is quick to reply, “Yeah, but you just have to go around them.

Exactly.

He should know. Perhaps better than most.