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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Time for Reflection

As the year comes to a close it's that time again. Time to reflect on the last year and what it has meant. What we've learned, how we've grown - or not grown. Time to list all the things we'll do different next year and swear to stick to the changes we promise ourselves.

2011 has been an incredibly intense year for me. There have been many changes, losses, new adventures and lessons learned.

In February my mother passed away after a year long battle with small cell lung cancer. Her illness, or rather our different reactions to it, caused a huge rift between myself and my brother and sister that is still healing and mending itself.

Shortly after that my little brother's phychotic now ex-girlfriend ran him over with her car. Yes literally. She mowed him down then took his wallet and left him lying in the street. Thankfully someone witnessed the whole thing and called 911. Praise God he was ok other than some seriously nasty abrasions and a messed up shoulder. The worst damage is the kind that is not visible.. and takes the longest to heal. It turns out he was the second boyfriend she'd hit with her car and is awaiting trial.

We also moved into a new apartment, in a new city in February. My work on the BP oil spill response relocated to Gulf Shores and after staying in a hotel for 2 months and only visiting our apartment in Mobile one day a weekend we decided to just relocate. Matthew found a great job with a company he loves & I left working as a contractor for BP and began work - still on the spill - as a contractor for the USFWS.

In March my husband and I went on a 10 day belated honeymoon to Scotland, London & Paris. Our second time ever to travel out of the country and we had an AMAZING time. Even getting lost - literally - for 6 hours in the forests of the Scottish Midlands couldn't take away from the beauty of our trip.

I had a combined 8 months of health issues and illnesses which took an enormous toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. Being sick is hard.. being sick for over half of the year is brutal. As soon as my doctor would get one health issue fixed another would show up. 4 months of female reproductive malfunction, followed by 2 months of severe intestinal issues, followed by 2 months of bronchitis and upper respiratory gunk is enough to make a girl want to go mad. I'm still not 100% but I'm getting there.

Last month we attended a combined family reunion, Thanksgiving, my dad's 50th celebration and I was reminded once again how different I am from the rest of my family. It was a four day trip but after two we left to come home. An evening of witnessing underage drinking ruined it for me & I just didn't want to be there anymore. I often wonder how I ended up being the only person in my entire family who has such a strict moral code. Not to say my family doesn't have morals.. they're good people.. but they are much much more laid back about things than I am and it often causes conflict and tension. There are some things I will just never be willing to "relax" about.

On Friday Dec 23rd my work with the spill response will end and I will join the ranks of the unemployed, which in a good economy is scary enough... in a crappy one it's terrifying. We also live in a resort/vacation city and unless you have experience in hotels, restaurants or retail there is really not much work. I have 15yrs experience in a professional environment - it just doesn't happen to be any of those 3. Thankfully Matthew has the ability to transfer with his job so if worse comes to worse and I can't find work here we have the option to move to somewhere that has a more diverse job market.

And those are just the big things... this truly has been a beyond belief eventful year. There have been so many twists and turns, lessons and hardships that I'm honestly surprised I survived it.

I'd like to say I have this great hope for next year, that things will get better, and I'm sure after the holidays pass and things settle down I'll get to that place, but for now.. I'm just tired. I feel like I've been running a marathon for the past 350 days and I just can't ever catch up to the other runners. I feel bruised and battered and like I just need to crawl in my bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for a year.

Doesn't paint a bright picture for a jolly Christmas, I know. *Shrugs*

Like all things.. this too shall pass. I just hope it passes quickly. I'm ready to stop feeling like I'm watching my life pass by and start feeling like I'm actually living it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Surrender Box

Or Letting go and Letting GOD.

Several years ago a church I attended had a visualization practice that went along with that Sunday's message which was about letting go of all the 'baggage' we carry around with us. The things we can't control, can't change and aren't helping ourselves our anyone else by holding on to.

Christians - heck people in general are famous for saying we've 'gotten over' past issues or let something go only to pick that thing back up and continue carrying it with us into our future. We'd rather hold on to hurt, anger, regret and punish ourselves with what could have, should have, would have been than accepting events in our lives for what they are and moving on to all the blessings we've yet to step in to.

The exercise we did that Sunday was a really neat way to help permanently let go some of those things we all hold on to.

Scattered over the steps at the alter were small red bricks and black sharpies. The pastor invited members of the congregation to come up, get a brick and a marker and write all the things in our lives we've wanted to give to God but for whatever reason just hadn't been able to let go of.

After covering your brick with those things you returned to the steps, knelt, prayed, and left your brick - and issues on the alter for God to take care of.

The action of physically leaving the brick there with all of your deepest secrets penned on it was symbolic of setting aside all those things you've been carrying for so long and leaving them behind, getting up fresh and renewed.

I can tell you there wasn't an unwritten space left on my brick and as I prayed over those hurts, angers, issues and the tears fell on the brick wetting the words I'd written I felt a weight lift from my shoulders that had been holding me down for a very long time.

I can't say that every past issue I had just magically stopped bothering me - I had way too much baggage for it to be that easy, but I can say that at least some of the scars healed and some of the anger faded.

Today's DailyOM is very similar to the exercise we did at church that day and a practice I think we may begin at home.

A Place for Worries and Fears

A surrender box is a tool to let go of our burdens so the universe can take care of them for us.

There are times when our minds become too full. Our to-do lists, worries, plans, and dreams may be so crowded together in our heads that we don’t have room to think. We may believe that we are somehow taking care of our desires and concerns by keeping them at the forefront of our minds. In maintaining our mental hold on every detail, however, we may actually delay the realization of our dreams and the resolution of our worries because we won’t let them go. At times such as these, we may want to use a surrender box.

A surrender box allows us to let go of our worries and desires so the universe can take care of them for us. We write down what we want or need to happen and then place the note into a box. By writing and placing our thoughts in the box, we are taking action and letting the universe know we need help and are willing to surrender our feelings. We give ourselves permission to not concern ourselves with that problem any longer and trust that the universe is taking care of it. You may even want to decorate your box and place it in a special place. Your surrender box is a sacred container for your worries. Not only do you free up space in your mind by letting go of our worries and desires and dropping them into your surrender box, but you are giving your burden over to a higher power. Once we drop our worries and desires into the surrender box, we free our minds so we can be fully present in each moment.

Surrendering our worries and concerns and placing them in the hands of the universe doesn’t mean that we’ve given up or have been defeated. Instead, we are releasing the realization of our desires and the resolution of our worries and no longer concerning ourselves with their outcomes. It’s always fun to go back and pull the slips of paper out of the box once your requests have been granted. And it’s amazing how quickly problems go away and dreams come true when we finally let go and allow a higher power to help us.

The Surrender Box is a great idea even if you're not a Christian. Most people believe that there is something out there. Some higher power that guides us all, so whether it's God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, The Goddess or whom or what ever you believe in, the Surrender Box is something everyone can use.

Another great thing about this is it isn't just for adults. Kids today have so many stresses and worries that it's unhealthy. Not only do they worry about what is going on in school, with their friends, they pick up on what's going on at home too. Creating a family surrender box can be a great way to help them feel involved in what's bothering mom and dad and take an active part in helping with it.

Now I'm not saying you should burden your children with all of the stresses of being a parent, but if there are some small things - like wanting dad to get a raise, or issues with the car - little things that a kid can understand - talking to them about what's going on can not only help them understand the stresses or tensions they are most likely picking up on but help them feel more a part of what's going on in their lives and the family as a whole.

And including them in the creation of your family surrender box can be a fun family craft time!

So... what are you surrendering today?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Staying Grounded in Busy World

Life can get crazy busy and in the middle of our hustle and bustle we often lose track of the important things in life. we lose track of ourselves, sometimes we even lose track of the most important reason we're here and the most glorious gift of being alive and that is just to simply LIVE.

For a more grounded life, choose not to get caught up in the fast-paced world around you.

1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down. You will discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive.

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world.

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place.

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to.

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you.

6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don’t have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors - can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship.

7. See the larger picture. Remember the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion.

8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull.

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality.

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often “on the go” and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.

1-10 content from DailyOM

Monday, August 01, 2011

Getting my OM on

According to the Mandukya Upanishad, "Om, or Aum is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. The past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it".

It is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras. The syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its meaning. It represent several important triads:

•the three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven
•the three major Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
•the three sacred Vedic scriptures - Rg, Yajur, and Sama
Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe

When I lived in Michigan I started having bad issues with insomnia. I'd lay in bed and no matter how hard I tried I just could not turn my brain off. I'd read, count sheep, listen to soothing music, exercise - anything I could think of to calm my mind or wear me out enough so that once I got into bed I would actually sleep.

When none of those things worked I decided to give sleep aids a try. Lunesta, Ambian, Rozerem, Melatonin... none of it worked. Some in fact had the opposite effect and made me jittery and agitated all night.

After weeks of not being able to sleep fatigue started having adverse effects on my ability to function and I was at my wits end.

Having tried every thing medical and physical I could think of and having them all fail, I decided to take a different approach and looked into meditation. After all, meditation is supposed to calm or still the mind and it was my racing noggin that was keeping me up so I figured what the heck.

I did a lot of research and reading on types of meditations, mantras to say or think while you're meditating, posture and hand positions that achieved different results during meditation. You name it I looked it up. After finally settling on the simplest technique I could find I decided I was ready to give it a go.

I will be totally honest - at first it was HARD. Sitting thinking about nothing isn't as easy as it sounds. Even in the quietest room in the most comfortable position thoughts bombard your mind. Did I put gas in the car? What am I wearing to work tomorrow? How soon do I need to go grocery shopping? How annoying was that jerk who cut me off in traffic today! If anything trying to quiet my mind made it want to get that much louder.

But I persevered and after a while I got the hang of it. The key is - not to try and not have thoughts, but rather to let the thoughts flow freely without focusing on them. Instead of zoning in on a thought and pondering on it or trying to force it away - you just acknowledge that the thoughts are there and let them flow past. After a while the thoughts get less and less frantic and eventually you'll notice that they've completely gone and you are left with a glorious peaceful quiet.

Anxiety, stress, sadness, sleeplessness! Pretty much any thing in your life that is having an undesirable effect on your emotions or attitude can be resolved with meditation.

It also helped me feel closer to God and creation. There are amazing things to be found in the stillness of a quiet mind.

I'd love to say I stuck with it and have reached a place of ultimate zen but unfortunately life gets in the way and no matter how good our intentions the things that are best for us often fall by the wayside.

Thankfully my husband is very serious and disciplined in his meditations, mantras and spiritual practices, and seeing his dedication is helping to motivate me to get back in to the ways of all things peaceful and calm.

My DailyOM is one of the tools I'm using to help me get my zen on. I stumbled across it on Facebook and so far really like what I've read. I'm a big fan of affirmations and positive reinforcement and this site has both - as well as educational information, meditations, classes and more. I'll be posting stuff from their site from time to time and hope you get as much from it as I do.

I'll wrap this up with a funny memory involving meditation and my little brother.

He'd been having a really hard time and was partaking in some less than healthy substances to help him get through those times. During a phone conversation one night I suggested that he try meditation to try and help him feel more calm and peaceful. Either I didn't speak clearly or he wasn't hearing clearly but the reply I got back was "Mollie - I'm trying to get away from drugs - not take more!"

Obviously he thought I'd said mediCation instead of mediTation. It was a funny moment during some not so funny times.

See - even if you're not practicing meditation it can bring you laughter.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sixty-Seven Cents

When I was a kid I spent my summers baby sitting my little brother & sister and the kids of my mom & dad's best friends. Over the course of the summer I'd make around $300.

In 1990 my parents bought a 1972 Pontiac Ventura II from my great uncle for $500. It had 42,000 miles on it and ran like a dream.

That summer I forfeited my baby sitting earnings in exchange for that car. My first ride, and it was a TANK. The kids at school immediately dubbed it the 'G-Ride' and it ultimately won me the award for 'Best Car' in my Senior English class. Thank you Mrs. Blanchard.

I drove it to school and work and I could fill it up for... are you ready for this?...... $12.00.

I did some searches online for the average price of a gallon of gas in 1990 and came up with ranges from $1.00 to $1.25. Where I lived, in the small city of Pearl, MS, gas was around $0.67 a gallon.

I remember when prices went up to $0.72. I felt panic - OMG! How in the world will I be able to afford to fill up my car?!?

In 1990 you could fill up your car for less than $15 bucks and buy a movie ticket for $3.25.

Oh the good old days.

Then again, I was minimum wage was only $3.35 & working part time as a car-hop at Sonic wasn't exactly filling up my pockets.

Now, it costs an average of $50 to fill up my 2011 Jeep Compass and a movie ticket costs almost $10 bucks!

If you're wondering where this trip down cheap gas memory lane is coming from - thank Congress.

I normally try to stay away from reading about politics and the crap our government tries to pull because - for one it's just depressing, and two - well it's just depressing.

But lately you'd have had to literally live in a cave under some rocks to get away from the news that we as a country are BROKE. I don't mean brok'en', although we're well on our way there as well, I mean broke as in We Gots No Dollas.

Out of all the shifty stuff going on in our country that rubs me the wrong way, the economy is an issue that definitely pushes my hot button. And not in a good way.

According to Obama, if congress doesn't pull their heads out of their asses and come to some kind of compromise he cannot guarantee that medicare checks will go out. Social Security benefits may not get paid and soldiers may end up risking their lives for literally nothing.

Meanwhile movie stars are living it up in mansions.. some more than one.. and in multiple countries. Pro athletes are raking in millions for playing one form of ball or another and the people who run this country are happily cashing their fat checks while trying to figure out how to screw the rest of us out of our truly hard earned money.

I understand running the country is an important job - but I find it more than ironic that the people who are supposed to be making sure our government is truly 'For the People' can spend weeks in a room arguing over who to screw but not once mention 'oh HEY! We make a boat load of money - how about we take pay cuts and dump some of our over inflated pay checks back into this country we're running into the ground'.

In 1990 a US Senator made $98,400. In 2011 they make $174,000.

That is a $75,000 raise over the course of 20 years. SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!.

This is from If there is a newer listing I wasn't able to find it.

Salaries Legislative, Executive, Judicial
*as of January 2009

President .........................................................$400,000
Vice President .................................................$227,300
Speaker of the House ......................................$223,500
House Majority & Minority Leaders ...............$193,400
House / Senate Members & Delegates ............$174,000
Chief Justice, Supreme Court ...........................$217,400
Associate Justices, Supreme Court ...................$208,100
So let's do a little math. If there were only 1 person in each of these positions that's $1,244,100. 1.2 MILLION dollars a year in salary.

Let's go back to 1990 for a minute.

The Average National Debt in 1990 was $3,364,820,000,000.
The Average National Debt today - 14,293,315,...,... well hell, it's changing too fast to be able to keep up - see for yourself here.

According to the national debt has increased $12.7 Trillion in the last ten years. And according to the debt has in fact done nothing BUT increase since President Ford's term in 1976 - and it was $653.5 million then.

Needless to say in the last 34 years our country has done nothing but sink deeper and deeper into the red, yet political figures have steadily been getting raises, bonuses, cushy health plans and the like.

~~taking a second to breath myself into a calmer state.

Ok - I'm settled down now - well enough to continue any way.

I LOVE and am incredibly grateful for the freedoms and liberties afforded to me by living in the US - but as a whole - we are a lazy, whiny, greedy, gluttonous country that has NO IDEA how cushy we have it.

In El Salvador some families live on as little as $30 a month. A MONTH!

In many African villages children are lucky if they eat, and can't even imagine what it would be like to drink clean water.

In America - we pay celebrities ONE FREAKING MILLION DOLLARS to film ONE episode of a popular sitcom - which only takes about a week.

In America we pay a basketball player THIRTY THREE MILLION DOLLARS to bounce a ball for 4 years.

If you took a half of the salary of all top politicians, actors, celebrealitiesci and pro athletes in the US for 5 years and dumped it into a bank I'm fairly sure we'd cut a sizable chunk out of the nation's debt and I'm even more sure those people could still comfortably drive their Porsches and live in their mansions without feeling the hit.

GRR - I'm worked up again and have probably rambled from my original line of thought but the bottom line is - we HAVE all the money we need to get completely out of debt sitting right here in our own back yard.

I just hope us bottom feeders don't starve or end up homeless before the rich realize that the incline in their bank accounts and the decline of our economy are in direct correlation with one another.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Get it From My Momma

There were a lot of things about my mother that I didn't like.

She walked around the house naked when I was a kid. Totally traumatized me. Seriously.

She spent more time watching Falcon Crest, Dynasty and Dallas than being a mom.. to me at least.. by the time my siblings were born those shows had faded out so they got a little more parental interaction than I did.

She smoked. I hated that she smoked. I hated that we never had money for anything I wanted to do, but she always had money for cartons of cigarettes.

She was abusive - mentally, emotionally, physically. I can't tell you how damaging it is to a child to grow up feeling unloved by your mother. If I didn't answer the way she wanted, or questioned something she said she would just go crazy swinging her arms slapping me in the head. She busted my lip once. Pulled out some of my hair another time.

She was a mother, but she wasn't a 'mom'. Not until the last couple of years anyway.

There are a dozen or more things I could say but those were the main things that stand out.

Those.. and many many other events and memories of an unhappy childhood I have carried with me the majority of my life.

Some I'd let go, some I thought I'd let go but realized after she passed they were still very much a part of who I was and how I saw the world. Some we'd begun to work on sorting through and overcoming in the last few years.

Those have been the hardest to come to terms with since she died. The ones that we'd begun the process of working on, the wounds we were healing and the gaps we'd begun bridging.

I was for the first time in my life.. in my 30's.. starting to feel like I had a MOM.

And then she died.

The Kübler-Ross model says there are five stages of grief.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, & Acceptance.

I think I skipped the first and third stages.

I've known my mom was dying since she was diagnosed with emphysema over 12yrs ago. Her doctor told her then she had to stop smoking. She didn't. So I've never been in denial that her lifestyle and choices would end in death. We all die - she just knowledgeably chose to hasten her end by continued bad choices.

Having never had a true 'mother-daughter' type of relationship most have left me with little to bargain for. It's not like I was losing something I ever had. I was never a mama's girl. We didn't do things together, share secrets, confide in each other. We never had a relationship. At least not one I was going to miss.

Anger hit me hard. And in many ways.

I was mad at her for choosing smoking over her family. Mad at her for never being the mother I needed. Mad at her for all the bad choices she made in her younger years that had such a profound effect on me as a child. Mad at her for robbing me of the type of mom I could curl up on the couch with and tell about my day. The type of mom I saw my friends have... a mom that made them feel loved, and accepted.. a mom that let them know they were good enough.

I was mad at her for all the things she put my brother and sister through when they were kids. Mad at her for flipping out and acting crazy when her and my dad got divorced. Mad at her for making me take sides in the custody hearings. Mad at her for just not being able to get her shit together and be a mother. Mad at her for not standing up for me and knowingly allow me to live my entire life as the 'step-kid' to my dad and his family. Hell even to my own brother and sister. My step-dad married my mom when I was 4, but he never knew who I was.. he only knew who my mom made me out to be.

My brother and sister had a vastly different life than I did and I spent the majority of my life resenting my mother for that because she was the only one who could have done anything about it and she didn't.

I was sexually molested when I was 3 by a babysitter. I was angry at her for that. Your mother is supposed to be your protector. She didn't protect me.

I was mad at her for sleeping around when she was a teenager and getting pregnant from a guy who didn't want kids. My brother and sister got to have their dad... I didn't.

I was mad at her for playing the victim to my brother and sister and pitting them against me when all of her guilt finally starting hitting her.

The last year of her life my family pretty much turned against me. They couldn't understand why I wasn't all lovey gooey over mom. "She's dying & you're a heartless bitch!" I got that from more than one sibling on more than one occasion.

She wanted everything to all of a sudden be OK because she was sick, but I just couldn't snap my fingers and pretend we had the happy mother-daughter relationship she all of a sudden regretted never having with me. And because my brother & sister had a completely different relationship with her and were too young to ever see how things really were between my mom and I they didn't understand. They didn't get it. So in the face of their grief they turned on me and she did nothing to change it or tell them the truth of how things were.

Most of all I was mad at her for waiting until I was in my 30's to finally try and be a real mom to me then die when we were just starting to make headway. I was angry she wouldn't see the first home I made with my husband. Angry she'd never come visit us, or see how well we were doing. Angry I couldn't call her and let her know about my new job, or my latest accomplishment. Angry that for something as stupid as a cigarette she took so much from me. Angry that she took so much from herself.

Whew - that's a lot of anger.

Thankfully depression had a much smaller and short lived place in my grieving process. I'm not sure I would have survived the combination of a full depression on top of all of that anger.

It did hit me though. For a couple of months almost every little thing made me cry. It felt like a huge hole had been torn from my chest - and it was even worse because it was the hole of always missing having a 'mom' combined with the hole of losing a 'mother'.

Matthew & I started fighting - because instead of grieving I took all that I was feeling and channeled it into other places. Being annoyed at him forgetting to do something I asked became a 4 day nagging fest.

Being bothered by him leaving his pants on the floor turned into a full blown rage fest and tirade about how much of a slob he was.

Needless to say, the months since my mother's passing have proven that I still had a LOT of repressed anger and that my husband is a saint.

If you've ever lost someone, heck if you've ever just been going through something you know that it doesn't matter what someone tells you, or how many different ways they say it - until you are ready to deal with what is going on and process through it - nothing helps. And no one, not even you know when that moment will arrive, or what will trigger it. You just know that you do the best you can to hold on until it comes.

During the last couple of weeks I've watched several movies that had to do with the death of a loved one. Then Sunday I watched a movie called 'Life as a House' with Kevin Kline & Hayden Christiansen. Kevin Kline was a dad who was dying of cancer, and Hayden was a very very angry kid who had pretty much no relationship with his dad at all. The movie was beautiful and I HIGHLY recommend it.

I don't know if it was seeing so much of my life in the movie and being able to grieve and then heal with Hayden's character or what but something happened, my moment came.

And Monday I woke up Happy. Totally, completely, truly from the inside out HAPPY. Happy with my life, happy with my home, happy with my job, my husband... most amazingly.. happy with myself.

And instead of focus on all the things I never got from my mother, I started thinking about the things I did - hence the title of this post.

First of all I got fabulously gorgeous hair from her. No really - we have great hair.

I got strong healthy nails.

I got fantastic Indian cheekbones.

I got a brother and sister - that while they can be total asshats, I love more than life.

But more than physical superficial things..

I got my spirit.. my strength... my determination... my heart.

Some of my family may disagree on that last one, but ya know what - for the first time in my life I am completely OK with that. It's fine - they don't understand me...   to be honest they barely even know  me...

What matters is that I KNOW that I am an amazing woman who has an incredible future ahead of her.

And I know that for reasons good or bad, I owe a very large part of that to my mother.

Thank you momma... I love you.

Diane Beatrice Spiers Abshire
December 26, 1957 - February 5, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

So, I've not blogged much in the last year, even less so since my mom passed away in February and I'm beginning to see that falling away from this particular outlet may not have been the best thing for my mental and emotional stability.

Blogging is cathartic for me. It's the way I 'get out' all the stuff I'm holding in and trying - but usually failing - to deal with. And the past year has been slam packed FULL of things that require dealing.

When Matthew and I became engaged last July we talked about how long of an engagement we wanted and both decided that about a year was right for us. We officially became a couple May 22nd so we were going to have that be our wedding date as well, which would have given us ten more months to live together, learn each other, grow as a couple and make 100% sure we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together.

Then my mom's cancer got worse and we - I - felt like we had to push things up to make sure my mom would be able to attend the wedding - which she did - and in spite of a ton of drama and stress from my family the wedding ended up being beautiful.

Let me start by saying I do not for one second regret getting married. I love Matthew with all my heart and have no doubts that I want to spend the rest of my life with him.

That being said - we were married in October then my mom passed in February and the stress of dealing with being a newly married couple, compounded with dealing with the loss of a parent has added an entirely new level of stress to our relationship, that to be honest, we haven't been dealing with terribly well.

Which brings me back to blogging. The only other relationship I've ever been in was with a guy who - in spite of his at times REALLY bad side - was my best friend. He knew what I was thinking without being told. He knew how I felt without me having to talk about it. He finished my sentences. Even if the issues in our relationship were 'about' him, I could talk to him without him taking it personal and getting defensive or angry. He could sit and listen to what I had to say and see it from my point of view.

Matthew, for all of his other many many wonderful traits does not share the same gift of intuitiveness that the only other love in my life did. And to be perfectly honest I'm having a hard time figuring my way around the difference.

One of the things that most attracted me to Matthew was his brain. He is fairly brilliant and has a knowledge base that just blows my mind at times. His thirst for knowledge surpasses mine and as I'm the type who wants to know everything about everything that's saying something. But with that brilliance comes a sort of detachment from the emotional. Don't get me wrong, he's not cold by any means. He is a very kind, funny, loving man - he just doesn't have that 'get me' thing that I thought every husband should have.

Maybe I've read too many romance novels, or maybe the one relationship I did have before set me up to expect things that were not the 'norm' in any potential future relationship to come. I just know that before we got married Matthew was my best friend.. and now... now he's my husband. And I love my husband dearly, but I miss my best friend.


It's funny how the process of emotional purging works. When I titled this post 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow' I had an entirely different subject in mind to write about, but something totally different came through my fingers.

I'd planned to write about my relationship, or lack thereof, with my parents as a child - and all of the grand realizations I'm coming to about life, and myself since my mother's passing.

Maybe next time....

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Money Matters of Marriage

When I was much younger - in my late teens and early twenties I was not very good at managing money. It's not something my parents spent any time teaching us about other than the constant reiteration of how broke we were - which was at times confusing because we were only broke if us kids wanted to do something. If the 'rents were up for entertainment fundage somehow magically appeared.

I started working when I was 16 and from then on pretty much took care of any personal finances I had myself. Car, insurance, gas, clothes, snacks, etc. If I wanted it and it was 'extra' I paid for it. And as I was guilty of the misguided notion of 'checks to write = money to spend!' I ended up paying for a lot of stuff I didn't have the money to pay for - twice.

Well once for the purchase and again in NSF fees which as you may be familiar with can easily add up to much more than your initial purchase once that 'bad' check hits the bank and a few more 'would have been good if not for that bad purchase' checks follow.

Thankfully the struggle to dig myself out of a negative bank account acted as a crash course in money management and I became very thrifty after that.

In 2003 due to the unstable and at times violent nature of my last relationship I ended up homeless. I moved into a domestic abuse shelter with my personal belongings crammed in my car - which had less than a half a tank of gas at the time. I had about $20 to my name and no job. But thanks to an amazing web of net-friends and the sheer grace of God I found a job, a room to rent and got myself back on my feet in a relatively short period of time. Being destitute did a number on my psyche though and once I was able to pay bills again I didn't take those responsibilities for granted or what having the money to pay them meant.

For most it just means another dip in the bank account. Another bill eating up your entertainment fund. For me... it meant standing on my feet again. That is still what it means to me today. I never groan when I get a bill, instead I thank God I have a home to bill me, that I have lights to pay for, and most of all that I have a job that provides the money to pay it all.

So bills get paid the day I get the bill or as soon as I have the funds available. Rarely do I wait for an actual due date to come before sending off a payment.

Which leads me to the real subject of this blog. The money matters of marriage.

I was 34 when I got married so I'd had many many years of handling my own finances and being responsible for paying bills. And over the course of those many years I have become a bit OCD with handling my money.

My husband (as I'm assuming is the same with most guys?) is not quite as eager to part with his deniro as I am. Not to say that he waits until the day before a late fee will be charged to pay his bills but he tends to stray pretty close to actual due dates.

When we moved in together and got to the point of having mutual bills we never discussed who would pay what or who's name stuff would be in. Well in the beginning he moved in with me so I just kept on paying the bills and just deposited his half into my account. We split the joint 'household' bills and each paid our own personal expenses like phones, gas, etc. And when we got a car together we decided he would pay that note since he would be the primary driver.

Well in February of this year, after work relocated us to Gulf Shores we decided to move. This new place would be our first home as a married couple. The first place we moved in new together where evey thing was equally OURS,  instead of mine - with him living there. And once again I just sort of took over setting up the new utilities, putting everything in my name and after the first month of bills came in I let Matthew know about what his half would be.

Over the last few months I've hinted that I'd like to no longer bear the full responsibility of making sure bills got paid and Matthew has said he'd be more than happy to help but (as I made sure to point out to him) not once has he come to me or had us sit down together for me to go over all the bills with him so he could actually take over paying them.

Of course I could just dump them in his lap with a timetable and say 'here figure it out', but I'm hesitant to do that. It's not like he's never been responsible for paying bills before. He lived on his own before we met and has had rent, utilities etc that he's paid on his own for numerous years, it's more I think that his lack of 'eagerness?' to assume the responsibility leaves me a bit uneasy releasing the reigns.

The last time we talked about it, ok - the last time I complained about it - Matthew informed me that no one told me to put all the bills in my name. That no one said I had to be the one to get everything set up and turned on - I just took it upon myself to take care of it. Of course I reminded him that I didn't recall him offering to jump in and do it for me, but like our previous conversations about money it ended in a stale-mate of him saying 'sure I'll take over' without actually TAKING OVER and me just continuing to do it myself.

So my question is this - when you got married - or to the point in your relationship where paying bills became a joint shared effort - who took over?

Was there a conversation about it or did one partner just assume the responsibility of collecting the money and making sure things got paid?

Who pays the bills in your house? Husband, Wife - and why? Who's more money minded? And would you be comfortable handing off that task to your partner if it's currently your job?

I think for Matthew and I it was a combined case of the bills being in my name first when he moved in and that I've always made more money than him so if we were going to be short getting something paid I knew best how to work my own budget to make up for the difference that needed to be covered.

We're pretty even now though on the financial front so maybe one of these days I'll get to the point where I can't stand to pay another bill and really just dump it in his lap... Then again probably not.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Ding dong the witch is dead...

So if you haven't seen the news tonight you will undoubtably see it soon enough and learn that Osama Bin Laden has been killed and his body is in US custody. And while someone being killed is most definitely not the topic I'd planned on talking about upon returning to blogging so soon after my mother's death - I think that maybe somewhere in this is a lesson - and perhaps a little healing......

Screenshot from
I was watching a DVR'd episode of Army Wives and didn't even know Osama had been killed until I checked Facebook on my phone. The overwhelming amount of hoorays and joyous responses about Osama's demise prompted this post.

I will start by saying that the horrors faced due to the actions of Osama Bin Laden are unfathomable and I am most definitely glad that the immediate threat and dangers that Osama directly posed are over. But I do not now, nor will I ever rejoice over the loss of a life - no matter how atrocious the actions were that the person committed while alive.

I remember exactly where I was on 9/11 and how surreal it felt. I was sitting on the couch next to my then fiance (now ex) when his mom called and told us to turn on the news. We watched the plane crash into the second tower. I remember feeling tears roll down my cheeks as I saw people jump from the flaming buildings to their death. I started calling Red Cross and everyone else I could think of to offer my aid and see how I could help.

But what I DIDN'T do, not for one second, was fill my heart with anger and hatred and wish death on the person or people who were responsible. In those moments - I felt closer to God than I think I'd ever felt in my life and my heart filled with such a deep sadness, an almost paralyzing anguish over the actions I was witnessing. I could almost see Him crying, shaking His head and asking 'why'.

It was, I imagine, similar to the bone deep grief a parent must feel - watching their child go off on a horribly wrong path and knowing there was nothing you could do to guide them back to the way you'd brought them up in.

Though on a much lesser scale, that is kind of how I feel now - seeing so many people, both Christians and non rejoicing in Osama's death. Being happy and thankful he was killed.

While I don't always agree with the actions of our country, our involvement in matters that don't concern us, and are often not asked to participate in, I AM and always will be thankful for the freedoms I enjoy living here and I am most definitely grateful for the brave soldiers who volunteer their service and often their lives to fight for those freedoms.

That being said I cannot help but feel a heavy heart that so many of my fellow Americans seem to be so blood thirsty. The responses I've seen so far on Facebook range from giving thanks to the military for a job well done to all caps yelling for Osama to BURN IN HELL!!!!!!!

What he did and the deaths he was responsible for are terrible, so many lives were lost, so many loved ones living with missing parts of themselves. There is no question that his actions were those of an evil evil man. But does that make it right for us to rejoice in his death? Does Osama being a bad person make it any less wrong of us to be happy he's dead?

One person who commented on my post - the sister in law of my husband - and a military wife said that I'd feel differently if it was my husband over there fighting for our freedom. She said she was HAPPY Osama had been killed and blamed him for 'ten years of hell' that she'd endured as the wife of a serviceman. She's wrong.

Now I've no doubt I'm going to get a lot of, for lack of a better word, passionate replies to this, and will quite likely piss more than a few people off, but I am a strong believer in self responsibility and not blaming others and outside forces for our lives and the events in them so I wouldn't be me if I didn't say what I was thinking so here goes. Please know that there is absolutely NO disrespect intended toward our military or the families of our servicemen.

With all of that being said I ask this - did Osama make her husband enlist? Did Osama make her marry a military man? Did Osama make our troops go on a wild goose chase for WMDs and invade a country that we had no business being in? It was many actions of many people who goaded Osama into his war on America. Now please do not for one second think that I am excusing his actions - no way no how was anything he did even remotely OK in my book, but that being said I don't think it's OK for us to blame a crazy man for every bad thing that's happened over the last ten years.

The US is as I type randomly dropping bombs on Lybia - our 'part' in trying to help the Libyan people find their freedom. Do you for one second not think that innocent people are being killed by those air strikes? Women, men, children who are guilty of nothing more than being in an area of unrest - murdered. By our soldiers.

In any war there are casualties - sure the 'bad guys' usually get caught or killed in the end - but how many innocent people are slain along the way?

I have a friend who was an Army Ranger in Iraq and he told me stories of being ordered to open fire on shacks that suspected insurgents were hiding in and how after the building was basically shot to shreds they'd have to go in a do an 'assessment'. Do you know what he often found? Grandmothers crumpled over trying to shield their grandchildren. Mothers huddled over their babies. Oh yea - there may have been a bad guy in there too. So what - we say yay that the bad guy is dead and forget all the innocent lives lost?

There is NO loss of life that effects just one single person. Every single human on this planet is connected to at LEAST one other - so for every YAY we shout when a 'bad guy' an 'evil terrorist' is killed, we are also celebrating the loss of other innocents who were guilty of nothing more than being related to or living next to that 'bad guy'. You are also celebrating the death of someone who believe it or not someone else LOVED.

Some of the Christian's justification for their joy in Osama's death is that he 'reaped what he sewed', or that 'the wages of sin is death'. Some others are calling it karma. Most all are saying there is no room for forgiveness because he didn't repent for what he did.

I'm pretty sure the Romans didn't repent for nailing Jesus to the cross..... I'm also pretty sure He forgave them anyway.


So before you rejoice in Osama's death, or the death of any terrorist, or rapist, or murderer or bad guy of the moment ask yourself this - are you the type of 'Proud American' that rejoices in death? Are you the type of Christian who doesn't forgive a wrong unless asked? Or are you the type of HUMAN who feels compassion for misguided actions, for lives lost?

And what if the bad guy were someone you knew.... grew up with.... loved? Would you want others celebrating that they were killed?

I know I wouldn't.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rest in Peace Momma - I love you

Saturday February 5, 2011 at around 1:15am my phone rang.

It was my sister Theresa calling to tell me our mother had just passed away.

I'd gone to see her the prior Saturday and she looked good. We sat out on the porch at my sister's house for a few hours talking, enjoying the nice weather.

I had planned to go see her again the following Saturday, but Theresa called me Thursday morning and said mom had been sleeping the last two days and she wasn't sure she'd be with us much longer.

So I called in to work and Matthew e-mailed his professors and we went to MS.

Although she would open her eyes briefly when you called her name she never really woke up, and the one time I did get a response from her she didn't know who I was. That was hard. I'm torn between being thankful my sister called me so I could come see mom again, or being angry - that my last memories of her, laughing, smiling in the sun were replaced with her lying unaware in a hospital bed.

The service was Tuesday Feb 8th... also my husband's birthday. Talk about torn emotions. Death of one and birth of another - mourned and celebrated the same day. There wasn't really any celebrating though... not on my part at least. From the pictures my sister posted it seems everyone else partied it up after I left. Mom probably would have joined them - just another way I feel separated from my family.

The service was beautiful - my grandma sang my mom's favorite song - 'I Hope You Dance' by Lee Ann Womack and at the end everyone joined in and sang along.

There were so many people there. Family I'd not seen since I was a toddler. Friends of mom's I'd never met. School friends of mine and my sister's that remembered mom from when they were kids who drove 3 hours to come honor her. That meant so much.

Everyone was kind and loving - with the exception of a few who'd been in the forefront of attacking me for my post about mom and cancer. Blood relatives, at my mother's funeral and they completely, obviously, deliberately ignored me. Even through the haze of tear swollen eyes I was amazed at their total lack of class.

After the grave side service, I went back to my sister's house with my nieces. Most everyone else went to the bar to 'do a shot in honor of mom'. Maybe it's because I don't drink, or because it was taking everything I had to not fall apart but I just could see nothing honorable in going to the bar to drink and dance when we'd just put my mother in the ground.

My husband has told me if he passes before me, 'I want you to throw a party when I die to celebrate my life'. I love him with all my heart and soul but that is one wish I will not be able to fulfill.

I guess they felt like they were celebrating her life -

I felt like they were saying Mom's dead let's party!

I was talking to a co-worker yesterday. His dad passed three years ago and he said he still has moments where he'll go to pick up the phone to call his dad before he remembers he can't. His dad lived in Africa so they didn't see each other often.

When you lose a loved one, I don't know if it's harder for the people they saw every day... or people who they talked to or saw periodically.

If you live with a person every day - there's no way to forget they're gone. They're just not there anymore.

I've lived in a different state than my family for almost ten years. I talked to mom a few times a month and saw her once or twice a month - so it's normal to go for periods of time without talking to her. I wonder if that will make it harder to remember she's gone - or harder to deal with her passing.

Sigh - I was supposed to be blogging every day this month.. I think I picked the wrong month to try and do that and I have a feeling this blog doesn't make much sense, but I felt like I had to write.

I went to work for a few hours the morning mom passed, and back to work the day after. I worked the day before her service and the day after that as well. I feel like I should take time off to process everything, but I also feel like if I do I may never stop crying.

So I work, and I write - a little now - a little later - a little after that. Until I've worked my way through this and I can think of mom without it feeling like there's a vise wrapped around my chest.

Until I can be happy with the little bit of progress we DID make in our relationship over the last few years, instead of being angry that now it will never get fixed any more than it did.

One of my mom's closest friends told me at the funeral that mom told her 'I spent so many years doing stupid stuff and missed so much of Mollie's life'. She said mom told her her how much she regretted that.... I wish she had told me.

Diane Beatrice Spiers Abshire

December 26, 1957 - February 5, 2011

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Welcome to 30 days of blogging!

Oh wait - It's February... make that 28 days.

It's been almost two years since I've signed up for a Nablopomo. Nablo huh?

National Blog Posting Month.

To explain what that is exactly I'll borrow a snippet from their webpage.

Welcome to National Blog Posting Month! National Blog Posting Month is the epicenter of daily blogging! People who want to set the habit of blogging by doing it every day for a month, including weekends, can come here for moral support, inspiration, and the camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide.

1. What is National Blog Posting Month?
Essentially, it's a group of people who have committed to updating their blogs once a day for an entire month.

2. But why is it called National Blog Posting Month if it happens every month?
The whole thing started off as a goof based on National Novel Writing Month, the challenge of which is to try to write an entire novel during the month November. Not everyone can commit to an endeavor of such magnitude, though, and so National Blog Posting Month was born. However, after doing a November NaBlo for a couple of years in a row it seemed that a lot of people had found their momentum and wanted to keep going into December and beyond. So now NaBloPoMo is something you can drop into any month of the year, though November is still the biggest month, and is the only month when members donate prizes that are then given out randomly to other members who posted every day in November.

So now that you know what it is, let's get started!

February's blog theme (every month has a theme) is CHARACTER.

What a word! Multiple definitions instantly come to mind and I've decided that exploring as many of them as possible is going to be one way to help me get through posting every day this month!

Human or personal character is, in light of the recent events with my family, the definition that first comes to mind.

Here are a a few definitions from that relate to the human condition.

char·ac·ter   /ˈkærɪktər/ Show Spelled
[kar-ik-ter] Show IPA

1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5. reputation: a stain on one's character.
6. good repute.
7. an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.
8. a person, esp. with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.
9. Informal . an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.

As much as the baser parts of me want to go on a rant about the lack of character I've been on the receiving end of I've decided - or rather remembered - that I have the choice to be a victim of my circumstance or I can be a VICTOR over them and I'm choosing the latter.

There are so many things you can do to build good strong character, things you wouldn't even think of as being 'character building'.

Take blogging for example. Even though I am a creature of habit and structure there are times and things that I have trouble being disciplined with. One of them is what got me into blogging to begin with!

Keeping a diary or journal!

If I look though my storage room I've no doubt I'd pull out no less than 6 journals. All started, none kept up with. I'd start a diary, write every day for a month or two then completely forget about it. Six, seven months later I'd remember - 'Oh crap! I'm supposed to be journaling!' and I'd go buy another book and start all over again. I have diaries and poems from the last 10-12 years and every so often I'll pull one out, read a little, shake my head at the place my life was in at that time then thank God for how much I've grown and how far I've come.

And although I've been greatly remiss in my blogournaling (blogging+journaling) in the last year I have, for the most part, been much more successful with this medium than I have written word.

So back to how blogging can build character! For me personally it has been a great tool for personal growth as well as discipline. (I promise all 28 days won't be this long!)

Speaking of long - this is getting rather lengthy so I'll wrap it up with this;

Personal Growth: I love writing, but I hate writing - so blogging provides an avenue for me to express myself, work through my thoughts and feelings and process events in my life that, without 'putting it out there' would just sit in my soul and fester. In other words - blogging equals a healthy way to clean out the gunk.

Discipline: Nablopomo means blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY for an entire month! So it helps me with keeping commitments and sticking with something I may be inclined to put off until later. In other words - blogging equals sticktoitiveness.

And I know that is totally not a word but I think you know what I mean ^_^

So - Nablopomo Day 1 accomplished!

Hasta mañana

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Public Service Accouncement

Or 'How cigarettes are destroying my family'.

In a previous post I wrote about my mom's diagnosis with small cell lung cancer. In this post I'm going to share the less than pleasant experience I had as a result of a photo I posted on Facebook.

If you've followed my blog for any period of time then you'll know that while my heart is a big as Texas I am very outspoken and stand up for what I believe in and advocate for things I feel strongly about.

And I know that some of you will probably take offense or feel attacked, but know that is not my intent. Everything I am going to say comes from a place of deep love and compassion - for myself, my family and each and every person effected by this particular topic. I was going to say negatively effected - but there truly is NO positive effect from this particular thing.

I am talking about smoking.

I DETEST cigarettes.

Aside from the given - they stink up your house, clothes, car, air around you, stain your fingers, teeth and are a danger to the smoker themselves and EVERY person around them. Oh yea and they kill.

Aside from those things they stole the life of my grandmother - someone I loved and adored - and are stealing the life of my mother as I type.

Now for the post....

My grandmother died from emphysema caused by smoking in 1994.
My mother will soon follow her.

*Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.
*Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
*Smoking is the leading cause of children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins & friends having to watch their loved ones die slowly and painfully.
If you don't care about yourself enough to quit - care about everyone who will suffer when smoking kills you.

I debated telling my intent behind the picture before posting it, but decided to let you see it first and have your own initial reaction.

Now that you have I'll tell you what I see - and what most everyone but my family saw as well.

A strong, healthy, beautiful woman.... followed by what a careless, selfish addiction has done to her.

Now for some of the responses -
I deleted many of them because they were so cruel and hateful I could not see any benefit to anyone by leaving them - but I'll share bits and pieces in a moment. As you can see - for the most part a very positive response was received.

Staci Moss Schneider: My mother lives with me and my husband. She has COPD, Congestive, and Diabetes. She smoked all throughout my childhood. She finally decided to quit about 10 Years ago but the damage was already there. She is oxygen dependant and can't ...walk more than about 30 feet without getting out of breath. A little over a year ago she had a Bi-Ventricular Pace Maker and Defibrillator placed in her. I absolutely despise cigarettes. I know people who have watched a loved one struggle for their last breath and yet they won't put their own cigarettes down, I just don't understand.

Kevin Yekaitis: A very sad and powerful message. I pray God will give you both peace.

Aryn Polk Knight: Very powerful! I am so sorry, Mollie!

Melodye Smith: Mollie, I will be praying for you and your mother. Our God is a healing God

Joseph Abshire: Mollie, truth or not, this is not very sensitive. Don't do things like that. You have one thing right, smoking will impact your health negative.

Theresa Langston: Thank you so much Grandpa!

Jerri Withers Stidham: Ok now it is time for my opinion. Thank you Mollie for posting that! My Mom has COPD and emphysema. She just got out of the hospital from having pneumonia for the second time in 3 months. She was still a heavy smoker at that time. The doctors told her the next time she is in the hospital she WILL leave with an oxygen tank. I took her last week for her follow up appointment with her primary care physician. I told him what the doctor told us he said “IF” she gets to leave next time. He said the harsh reality is that she could not make it next time. He also ordered an MRI of her head because she still was incoherent. The MRI results showed a stroke (which is caused by heavy smoking) and a meningioma. She has an appointment with a top neurologist on February 8th. Smoking KILLS! It also kills ALL dreams and hopes of the people they leave behind. It is time to GET REAL! This is HER mother also. Mollie is suffering like the rest of her family. Please let her deal with this as best as she can. Thank you Mollie for being a fighter and advocate!! On a positive note my Mom hasn’t smoked since January 12th!! She said she is DONE. The damage is done but she may have saved herself from much worse down the road.

Kaffa Warren: Mollie, I know I don't know you well....but it would appear to me that you would have more inspiring and courageous things to say about your mama, especially at this time. She is my cousin and although the miles have separated us, I love very much for who she is. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I pray the regrets and guilt you will feel in the future (because you will feel them) will diminish more easily than the hurt your post has caused. We are none perfect, but we are as God says to love each other. This post definitely does not show the smallest ounce of love. You can delete my post, it matters not. But I for one think your mama is one of the most courageous and strongest women I know. It is not our place to judge. When you start pointing fingers, remember 4 are coming right back atcha.

Deana James Eaton: Mollie- I truly respect that you are showing what really happens when people smoke. I am so sorry about your mom. Reading your post has reminded me that I HAVE TO QUIT. Thank you for your honesty and sharing the truth about the harmful effects of smoking. I am also sorry that ANYONE would say you posted that for "attention". I can't imagine anyone who knows you saying that. Again THANK YOU Much love and prayers- Deana

My sister responded that she has never been so embarrassed by any one's actions in her entire life - then proceeded to tell me in text that except by blood I was not her sister and she had no desire for her or my nieces to have a relationship with me any longer.

My brother responded in many posts that were deleted because I could not even believe the hatred and cruelty of his words, but here is one that I kept, hoping if he read what he was actually saying he'd see how his words described in himself everything he was putting off on me.
'Anthony Abshire: Mollie if you were not so selfish then you would see the no one but people who do not know mom on a personal basis are agreein and if it was there mother no one would be mollie wake up. You are so selfish you do not have the capability of understanding that it is not all about you for once this is a grab at attention. It has upset a number of people not jus SMOKERS...It is true family that loves our mother. You will probably burn in helll anyways but you should be crucified for this one mollie...You will never be part of my family again and you would be lucky if anyone accepts you. This is over a line. A line that people dont have to talk about. Its understood by everybody but you and whoever the hell these other people are...Let our family mourn and do it in private this is not putting just you and a dying woman in the spot light it is putting your whole family out there and seperating us whenever we need to be the closest but no its always all about mollie. cant be about everyone our mother cant even die in peace because of you only you and i hope you never live this one down. It would be best if you and your little husband moved somewheres far far away

What my brother and other family failed to realize is that those other people, the ones who understood and appreciated my post didn't have to personally know our mother. They knew the people they had lost and were losing from smoking related illnesses. They had a personal connection to this message the same way I do.. and they understood where I was coming from.

One of my brother's friends posted this..
Bradley Scott: .... but as Anthony said, you didn't have to put your mother's pictures on display. I'm sure there are more comparative pictures on google or somewhere.

And I'm sure there are... but those pictures aren't personal to me, my life, my experience with smoking. There are dozens of pictures of my mom on Facebook in the hospital looking sick, out of it, but because they are taken with someone healthy and smiling next to her they are OK to post?

The only difference in the picture I posted is the healthy smiling person next to my mom... is her.

All of those commercials you see on TV about starving children, or people killed by drugs or drunk drivers...those commercials touch your heart but then you turn the channel and forget about them don't you?

How easily would you forget about it if it were a picture of your family? Or of someone you knew?

As a kid I remember wishing I could participate in certain events, or go out with friends but we never had the money. As a kid I also remember wondering.... if we don't have the money for me to go to the movies with my friends... how do we have the money for mom to buy cartons of cigarettes every week? Or for dad to buy packs of Skoal?

By their choices my parents were telling me - this addiction we have - this thing that we do that we KNOW is killing us - it's more important than you.

A few years ago I brought my mom to New Orleans with me for a company Christmas party. We spent the day walking down Bourbon street and most of the walk was spent with my mom walking behind me.... so the cigarette smoke didn't blow in my face. She thought she was being considerate.

But she had no idea how much I'd have rather had her JUST NOT SMOKE and walk beside me.

This picture is my plea to every person out there who for whatever reason cannot see the damage they are doing by smoking.
"I'm not hurting anyone but myself"
"It's too hard, you just don't understand"
"I'll get fat if I quit"
"It helps me with stress"
"I've tried everything but I just can't quit"

Those are some of the most common excuses I've heard from not just my mom but my entire family.

I've watched my niece want to sit on her mother's lap and be told 'Not now Marley - mommy is smoking and you know it's yucky'

What kind of message is that sending?

Now think of your children.. your grandchildren, your spouse...your brothers, sisters, parents... and think of this.

Every time you put a cigarette in your mouth and light it you are, by your actions, telling them.

I love this thing more than I love having a long healthy life with YOU.

This is my family

This is my family on cancer

Don't let your last family portrait be like mine.

Please quit. If not for yourself... do it for your family.
The Internet's leading cold turkey Quit Smoking resource
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Da dum da dummm....

Except from my and Matthew's 'The Knot' Wedding Page

When Matthew instant messaged Mollie on Saturday September 28th 2008 at 2:40pm she checked his profile and thought "Cute... but kind of nerdy".

September, 28, 2008

(2:40:43 pm)Ranger_1:hi. how's it going? :-)
(2:44:52 pm)Dmplgrl1124:hmm not sure if this thing is working or not
(2:44:56 pm)Dmplgrl1124:ah there it goes
(2:45:03 pm)Dmplgrl1124:fine thanks lol and yourself
(2:45:30 pm)Ranger_1:LOL I hear ya about this new IM :-P

Little did she know, it would be his 'nerdy' brilliance, quirky humor and obsession with IM Smiley Faces that would break down her walls and ultimately win her heart.

The last time I wrote about my relationship with Matthew was back in Sept of 2009 and at that time things were, to put it mildly, on shaky ground. In June 2010 our failure to communicate finally got the best of us and we broke up. We were still living together (in torturous pain), still loving each other and still having no idea how to fix what we'd broken.

In a desperate attempt to put back together the pieces of the truest love I'd ever known I took the advice of a co-worker and bought 'The Love Dare' by Stephen Kendrick for Matthew and myself. Fast forward one month.....

Tuesday July 20th was the day Matthew and I had set to discuss the growth and changes we'd seen in our relationship over the past month and decide if we were going to 'give love a chance' and get back together officially or put the 'relationship' to bed and just stay friends.

We're sitting on the bed facing each other and had the following conversation:

Matthew: 'Do you honestly truly believe we can work?"
Mollie: "Of course I do, if I didn't I wouldn't have fought so hard to save us" (bawling like a baby here)
Matthew: "Ok, that's what I wanted to know".
Matthew: "The other day.. we were walking back to the office from lunch and I realized... I'm in love with you"
Mollie: (Stops breathing)
Matthew: "I'm in love with you and I want us to be together"
Mollie: "I do too" (I'm a little too unsure of where this is going - and crying too hard - to say much more)
Matthew: "There's something else too" (and he takes my hands in his)
Mollie: ???
Matthew: "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to marry you"

At this point I'm speechless, over joyed, ecstatic, terrified, and about every other emotion you can imagine all rolled into one.

Mollie: "Uh, Um, Uh.. Are you serious? Are you saying what I think you're saying?!?"
Matthew: (Smiling at me being a mess) "Yes. I'm saying I love you. I'm IN love with you and I want to marry you"

I finally gain a little brain function back, suck up obnoxious amounts of snot and do my best to form a coherent thought

Mollie: "Ok so, you made a statement..... is there a question in that somewhere?"
Matthew: "Yes, yes there is."

Matthew: "Mollie Abshire..... will you marry me?"

Mollie: "OF COURSE!!!!!!!"

I can honestly 100% credit that book for saving our relationship.

Our original plan was to have a one (1) year engagement and get married on the day he proposed but then mom's cancer took a turn for the worse and we moved the wedding up.

When we'd talked to each other about plans and what we wanted, a simple wedding on the beach with just immediate family was what rang truest to who we were, but being the oldest child, the last one mom would likely see marry I wanted to try to do the whole big wedding thing for our families.

We found a mansion, a caterer, dj, the works and put a gob of deposits down on everything, but the more planning we did the more stressful it became and the less happy we were with it. So at the risk of pissing off our family (which it did) but making ourselves happy (which it did) we cancelled the entire thing and decided to follow our original idea and get married on a beach. In Orlando.

We sent out updated invitations (yes we'd already sent out invites for the big wedding) inviting immediate family to Florida and extended family and friends to the reception that would be held locally the following Saturday. To make the 8-10 hour drive for parents and siblings worth while - though our wedding should have been enough - we rented 3 suites in the resort hotel where we were staying and bought one day tickets to Disney for everyone that came. In the end we ended up hosting my mom, dad, step-mom, brother, sister and nieces, Matthews mom, step-dad, brother, and niece, and it was absolutely perfect.

Matthew and I drove to Orlando Wednesday Oct 6th, checked into our suite at Mystic Dunes Resort and spend Thursday and Friday exploring Universal Studios. Friday evening the family arrived and Saturday morning we all woke up (at the butt crack of dawn), got dressed and headed to Paradise Cove for a sunrise ceremony overlooking the water.

My mom and dad both walked me down the isle, I cried when Matthew and I read our opening prayer, Matthew pretended to lose my ring and the rest turned out more beautiful and perfect than I could have possibly dreamed.

After the ceremony we loaded up (me in my dress, and Matthew in his suit) and headed to the Contemporary Resort at Disney for breakfast. Then we all changed and took the monorail to Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Let me tell you 9 hours at Disney is a LONG day. 9 hours at Disney after 2 days at Universal Studios is.... there are no words.

We had a blast though. Marley & Lexi had a blast, Matthew and his step-dad wrote scary rides, I took a ton of pictures and mom cruised the park in a scooter and out-lasted us all!

Sunday, Matthew and I did a quick sweep of 2 more of the 4 Disney Parks. I have two things to say The Hollywood Tower Hotel and OH SHITTTTTTTTT!. Then Monday morning we packed everything up, checked out of our room and drove home.

Today is Saturday January 22nd, we've been blissfully married for three (3) months and twelve (12) days and I truly have never been happier in my life.

He is my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my soul-mate. He challenges me, encourages me, motivates me and when necessary lol puts me in my place and keeps me in line and I love him with every fibre of my being.

I learned that gut feelings can sometimes be wrong - or at least confused. I learned that no matter who or what we think our 'type' is, it will inadvertently turn out to be someone completely different. I learned that changing your last name is a HUGE pain in the butt, and that I'm so happy Matthew has the same last initial as me so at least my monogram didn't change.

What will change though is my blog... or my blog name rather. The Crazy Cat Lady is no more, and thanks to my husband I now have a name fitting of day time TV so coming soon to a blog near you - a new header, a new look and a new name - ...... The Mollie Allen Show!!

For more wedding and Disney/Universal pictures visit my Facebook Page