Goal 2: Spiritual growth

As I mentioned recently, a few months ago we left our church and started attending a new church. I noticed my ruby ring was stolen the morning I left to go to church right before Christmas. The following Sunday we sang a song stating that God was the God of miracles. I thought in my head, yeah I believe in God, but I don’t believe in miracles anymore. I was seeing more tragedy around me than restoration. Even in my own life recently, a precious gift from my mother was stolen.

We didn’t know who took the ring, we just knew that it was missing. We allowed my son’s friend back into our lives after I got a lock box for the remaining precious gems. We didn’t think it was the friend that took the ring. We honestly thought it was another boy whose mother told me that her son stole from her. This second boy was in our house over the time that the ring went missing along with the first.

We took the first boy back into our house. We told him that we trusted him. But through our misguided trust, I started treating him like he belonged here again. I cooked for him and did his laundry. It was through this act of trust that I discovered my stolen ring in his pocket when I was doing his laundry. A miracle occurred. I never thought I would get my ring back and I never thought I would catch the person who did it.

After talking to my son about the betrayal of his friend, I sent a message to the other boy’s mother telling her that the ring had been found. I couldn’t imagine the agony of thinking that my child victimized another parent, a friend.

A miracle happened, but I no longer believed in miracles. I didn’t trust God. Instead I put my trust in someone that intended to hurt me. How bizarre is that!?

I was betrayed by someone I considered to be a best friend many years ago too. But hey, so was Jesus. Right? I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. If I didn’t trust the boy, I never would’ve gotten my ring back. I learned a lot in the process.

I am a pretty good person. I live with few regrets. I’ve been hurt more than I have hurt others. I’ve even read the Bible from cover to cover, but I’ve never truly trusted God before. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to be in control.

Then yesterday a big miracle occurred. A most precious gem was stolen, a child by the name of Jayme Closs. She is a 13 year old girl in our state of Wisconsin that was kidnapped after her parents were brutally murdered. She was missing for almost 3 months without a trace. Just gone. Yesterday she was found. ALIVE!! What a miracle!

I no longer believed in miracles, but I do now.

Now I have to wonder…What more can God do??

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Aren’t miracles precious and beautiful? Are you looking for a miracle in your life??

My psych eval (25 years later) part 4

Her OCD predisposes her to ruminate and obsess about anything.

I really had a hard time coping with the things that were happening in my life. At the time of the great isolation (the years my brothers and I were homeschooled due to Matt’s violent behavior at school), I reached to God for solace. I believe this faith and hope  prevented me from ending my life. I prayed that God would heal my brother and fix my family.

I was unusually devout as a teen. But then something horrible happened. After awhile every time I prayed, horrible images would pop into my mind. My prayers contained more obscenities than my brother Matt’s spew of Tourette’s. I felt horrible guilt over this and for awhile stopped praying altogether.

Then I became angry at God. Why did you do this to my brother? Why did you do this to my family? Why did you do this to my mother, the most devout person I knew?? How could you give us so much more than we could handle? Are you even there to hear my prayers? I was miserable and the flicker of hope grew very dim.

It took awhile to get through this rough patch. I decided to start praying again despite the unwanted thoughts and images that popped into my mind while doing so. Eventually it went away. Although I think I always had some degree of faith, I can’t say that I have a lot of trust in God or anyone. I realize that one of my biggest flaws is being distrustful.

I am probably a horrible example of what it means to be Christian. But maybe this happens to everyone sometimes? Kind of like the impulse to punch someone for no apparent reason? I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I thought I was crazy to have those thoughts. I tended to ruminate about it instead of just letting it go.

Now I think that it’s crazy if you act on the thoughts instead of just having them. A lot of times Matt acted on those thoughts. I was afraid that someday maybe I would be like Matt too and not be able to control those impulses. But so far that hasn’t happened in my life.

I think that God did hear my prayers for a healthy family. He just didn’t answer them until later in my life.

 

Vegas, part 2

I had a lot of time to myself with not a lot planned on this trip…which equates to having a lot of time to overthink and worry.

While I was in paradise, my 3 closest friends were at home suffering. My best friend Cindy was getting attacked for standing up for something she believes in. My friend Lisa lost her child in a car accident while I was gone. My friend Jen has terminal cancer.

It wasn’t as much fun in paradise alone worrying about things I couldn’t control. I’m not used to being alone, but I think I will have to start getting used to it.

I spent time alone at the pool and watched people. I saw the lifeguard pick his nose and riffle through his emergency bag in boredom. Did he think he was invisible?

There was a man who was alone listening to his music on a speaker over the music that was playing getting drunk with a bucket of beer. Out of character, I really liked a song he was playing and approached the man asking what the song was. I didn’t know it would result in a deep conversation about the meaning of life.

Why are you here? Have you ever questioned your existence? Do you believe in God? If God exists, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people? What are your thoughts on other religions? I’m still waiting on a sign that God is here…

It felt good to have a meaningful conversation. I left the pool as the man was ordering another bucket of beer.

I was feeling anxious again. It was all encompassing. I called home and my husband said that he was having a hard time and wished I was home. We just moved and put our old house on the market. Both of my children were leaving that weekend on separate trips. I was not going to be home to help them pack.

My son Alex is going on a music trip touring Europe. He called me that night. He just turned 18 last week and is a smoker. He is planning on taking his vape on the trip. He was worried it would be against the rules and regulations of the trip. I have extreme paranoia that he is going to be kicked off the trip for being a dumb ass. But he is 18 and can legally smoke if he wants to. Then he said when he gets back he is planning on working 3rd shift at the vape shop. My daredevil hell raiser son will be the death of me! I started praying awhile ago that he has a kid just like him someday. I feel bad because he always dates the sweetest girls.

My daughter Arabella is on a church youth group trip out of state. The day the kids left, the youth director resigned. She recently got divorced and moved in with her boyfriend. It is tearing up the church. Some people are taking the stand that it is not Biblical for the youth director to divorce her husband and move in with her boyfriend…others are saying that her private life is her own business.

The youth director made it sound like she was forced to resign. No one asked her to. My friend Cindy was the one that asked if marriage was not sacred in the church anymore. She asked how the youth leader was going to explain her new relationship status to the children she was leading. Cindy never called her to resign. Now everyone is attacking Cindy for questioning. They are calling her judgmental. They are calling her a hypocrite because she is divorced.

What most don’t know about Cindy is that her ex-husband started another family on the side while he was married to her. This is very painful for Cindy because she has children with her ex and wants them to view marriage as sacred with the backing of the church.

Why can’t my life and the lives of my loved ones be worry free???

Next time it will be more about Vegas, I promise..

Moral dilemma 3

We recently found out that our youth director at church moved in with her boyfriend. She divorced her husband a couple of months back and shortly thereafter moved in with her new boyfriend.

This has been tearing the church apart.

There are those that say it doesn’t matter what she does outside of her job. If she leaves, then this group will leave with her. There are others that say they don’t want the moral leader of their children showing them that it is okay to leave your husband and take on with another man. If she doesn’t resign from her position, another group will leave.

I am not judgmental or a prude, but I personally believe that the person who is getting paid with my tithe money should ascribe to the moral teachings of the church.

I personally do not care what two consenting adults decide to do in the bedroom, I don’t. I could care less about the living arrangements of my child’s math teacher. But they better be good at teaching math.

I wouldn’t expect a drug and alcohol counselor to be out getting drunk in the possible presence of clients. There are certain things that are expected when you take on certain job positions.

So the battle begins…the ripping and tearing starts.

I feel so torn. I really like our youth director. She is great with the kids. I even like the guy she is living with more than her husband. But that is beside the point. I can’t make decisions based on feelings.

To make matters worse, our choir director and organist recently resigned from their positions due to an unrelated matter. I have become close to the organist. She has been teaching my son how to play piano the last couple years. My son has always been a difficult teen to raise and she has been a very positive impact in his life. It pains me deeply to see her go.

Maybe it is time to find a new church home. It has gotten to the point where I don’t even want to go to church anymore. I feel so much sorrow over this.

If my children decide they want to be in a relationship, I want them to marry one person and stay married. I don’t want them to be like our youth director…several broken marriages with children from each marriage growing up in broken homes acting like everything is rosy living with a new guy.

Would I still love and accept my children even if they don’t live the life I want for them?? Absolutely, without a doubt!! I made the decision to raise my children Christian. It is not easy and I want a church that will back me up on this. Is that too much to ask?

I am not even opposed to people cohabiting, or am I? Last weekend Angel’s best friend from out of town came home with her live in boyfriend. They wanted to stay at our house for the night. I really struggled with what to do. My daughter Angel is an adult and today my son is an adult. I have a really hard time seeing my adult children and their friends as adults. To complicate things, Angel’s friend also belongs to our church. I told Angel that her friends were welcome to stay but I would be setting up separate sleeping arrangements for them.

Would I respond differently if the adults living together were my age? Would I respond differently if I didn’t still have a child in my house watching every decision I make and using that as a moral compass?

Honestly, I really don’t care what other people decide to do. It is no concern of mine. But if that person is tasked with the paid position of teaching my children Christian morals, I feel really uncomfortable with that person not practicing what they preach.

Is nothing sacred anymore, even within the church??

WARNING: stormy weather ahead

I feel crabby today…Irritated.

I didn’t sleep well last night. My body is sore…achy…from the 18 mile dread mill run.

My husband woke me up early this morning. Wake up! Wake up! You overslept! The kids will be late for school. The kids don’t have school today. Did you look at the calendar? Sorry, I was just worried you overslept. Have you known me to oversleep one day in my life? No, but today could be the first. I was only trying to help. 

I pulled myself out of bed groggily. I wanted to bite someone’s head off, but didn’t. I didn’t sit down to write a rough draft of my blog. I listened to the cat meow for food. He doesn’t start meowing until the minute he hears that I’m up.

Monday…time to pull myself up and head back to work. The weekend went well. I had Friday off and cleaned my house. Arabella threw a party for the kids that were on her team that made it to state. After 5 years of working as a team, this is it. She is done and we are moving. The rest of the afternoon, Arabella and I played games like backgammon.

Saturday it snowed a couple inches and I was forced to run 18 miles on the dread mill at the gym. The roads were surprisingly icy. I felt a lot of anxiety driving. I didn’t feel motivated to run. At random times, I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, but I drank tons of water. I finally stepped off of the treadmill 4 hours after I got on.

My marathon friends told me that I was crazy for running 18 miles on a treadmill. They told me I should do my long run some other day when it was nicer out. But they don’t have jobs. They don’t understand what it is like to only have maybe one day free a week to be able to do a long run. They don’t understand the struggle, the balancing act.

Afterwards, I felt exhausted..nauseous..almost sick. Arabella wanted to play more games, but I was too tired. Paul wanted to watch a movie. It was a good movie, but I fell asleep. I woke up during the ending music. I always wake up at the ending music, but can never stay awake for the movie.

I had to get up Easter morning at 5:45 AM to get ready to sing in the choir. I slept on the couch until my son came home after midnight. He hollered at me saying that he is not a baby and I don’t have to wait up for him anymore. Then he kindly said good night.

I got up early feeling tired. Paul and I sang in the choir for 2 services. Between services there was a potluck. The organist brought styrofoam Christmas cups that we filled with Irish coffee. The sun glistened off the snow on the ground. Was it really Christmas? It must be some April Fool’s Day joke.

Both Easter services were packed. I never understood why churches are packed only on Easter and Christmas. Why bother?? (I am such an all or nothing thinker). But then I remembered that I forced my kids to attend both Easter and Christmas services, but over time have been slack on forcing them to attend as regularly on other Sundays. I want them to go, but they don’t want to. It is always a struggle. Angel is the only one that never complained about having to go to church, but she doesn’t live at home anymore.

After church, we had a small party. My mom, brother Matt, Paul’s step-dad Darryl, my uncle Rick, and son Alex’s girlfriend were in attendance in addition to our family except Angel. We played games and taught Alex’s girlfriend how to play trump card games.

Rick and Darryl lamented over being single while my mom complained about married life. Rick spent the morning in the ER with hives. His lips swelled up and he was having an allergic reaction to something. He showed us his hives which made him look like he was badly beaten. Darryl and Rick spent some time talking about their mysterious rashes. We did mention to Rick that race car wannabe driver Alex could take him back to the ER in a dash if he was feeling worse.

All in all, though, it was a nice relaxing day.

That brings us to today. It is another cold and crappy day in Wisconsin. We have a winter weather warning in place for tomorrow. We are expecting almost a foot of wet, heavy snow. There is no future warm up in sight. We might even break a record low high temperature this week.

These cold dark winter spring days are making me feel crabby!

The thread holding my sanity intact is becoming a bit frayed I’m afraid.

Thailand, Day 3

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In the morning, we visited the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po). I learned a lot about Buddhism on this trip. The Buddhists also have a beginning of time story not so different from ours as Christians. There is a struggle of good versus evil. They also have a holy book…monks…beautiful places of worship…the giving of donations…and the afterlife.

I didn’t realize this before, but there are many Buddha’s not just one. I also didn’t know that they believe in reincarnation. If you see a tree trunk with multi-colored ribbons wrapped around it, that means a friend or relative came back as a tree and it shouldn’t be cut down. I’ve seen that before and wondered what it meant.

At the temples, there are statues of demons to protect the people from evil. I saw a lot of these demons at entryways. I think it means that the demons can go no further inside.  Buddhists do not worship on Sundays like we do. They have holy days that revolve around full moons and even celebrate the Buddhist Lent.

This is my new understanding of Buddhism. I might not have all of my facts straight.

I felt completely and totally safe walking around the streets of Bangkok…Safer than I’ve ever felt in Chicago or NYC…Probably…well…because of karma. Even though the city was dirty and polluted, as most are, the people were amazing. Every single person I met was respectful of the community around them.

Now I did fear for my life on the streets that the motorists drove on (which is an entirely different story which I will address at a different time). It is only day 3.

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I was impressed by how ornate the temples are. Look at all of the intricate detail. More demons..

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This is a picture of us next to the Reclining Buddha which is over 150 feet long and about 40 feet high.

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Here is a picture of some of the gifts given to the Reclining Buddha. (1,000 bahts are equivalent to about 30 US dollars).

That afternoon, Paul and I wanted to get a massage. Our tour guide arranged for us to get a massage in our room from two masseuses highly trained at the temple massage school at Wat Po. He told us it was proper to keep our clothes on. Paul and I each got a 2 hour massage for the total price of $40 per person including gratuity.

The massage itself was phenomenal and very interactive. At times they would sit on us and use their feet in the massage. We weren’t worried about the massage that we would be receiving because our tour guide set it up and the ladies were from the temple. We did hear a few cautionary tales about massage before we left home. It was not uncomfortable in any way. It was the best and longest massage we’ve ever received.

Later in the evening, we had a tour welcome dinner. We were told what was expected of us and were given a basic itinerary of what we would be doing.

I realized that I did not pack the right clothing. Most of the temple visits required pants. I did not pack any. Or we could wear a skirt or dress that came below the knees but nothing sleeveless. The only dress I packed was sleeveless. I only packed a couple of shirts with sleeves and the rest of the clothes I packed were shorts for the 90+ degree days.

That night we walked back to the night market to buy pants. Then I decided that I wanted to buy the red shawl after all. We wandered around the market for hours trying to find the shop with the red shawl. The market was huge. It was probably the size of 4 average Walmarts put together.

Just before the market closed we stopped in a shop inquiring about the red shawl and received the response that the red shawl sold after we left the night before. Instead I bought an emerald green cashmere shawl with green fur trim. It was the one that both Paul and I liked second best, a good compromise. We bought all of our souvenirs at the market that night as we were wandering around in circles.

Halloween lore

To be honest, I’ve always had mixed thoughts about Halloween.

Growing up, my mom had conflicting feelings too.

We lived outside of a small town of around 200 people. My mom was big into walking. So almost every year, we walked into town on Halloween with flashlights if it wasn’t too cold out.

We would always stop at Aunt Grace’s house. Being a banker, she was always practical minded and handed out money to the kids. She would give us a roll of nickels or dimes. I’m not sure if she handed out the whole roll to the other kids.

My grandma always had 3 white sheet ghosts hanging from the big tree in front of her house. She liked to wear funny shirts like the one that said ‘I’ve got bats in my belfry’. She always had tons of candy. Grandma was always happy and smiled greeting the children in costumes. Those are the memories that I am most fond of.

At times, I walked around the neighborhood with older kids. I remember stopping at an old man’s house. He was probably in his 80’s Although in my young mind, he could’ve been 40. He handed us apples as a treat. APPLES!! We walked halfway down the block and smashed them. The bigger kids said that there could be razor blades in them. I still feel bad that the old man might have walked down the road and seen his wrecked apples. It was the 1980’s and in those days we heard stories about the Halloween candy being tampered with in some way.

I also heard stories of black cats being sacrificed and made sure my outdoor cats were locked up somewhere safe for the night. It seemed like a scary night to a worried child. Perhaps it was the one day that evil was allowed to seep into the world because it was invited in.

In the later years, my mom felt conflicted about the holiday after some friends kept their whole family hidden in the basement with their lights off. They thought that partaking in Halloween was akin to devil worship and would land them a prime spot in hell. Halloween has been associated with people doing evil things. I understand how people wouldn’t want their children involved in a holiday that celebrates evil.

When I had children of my own, I felt a little conflicted about the holiday too.

Don’t get me wrong…I love scary movies. I love wearing costumes and pretending to be someone else (alas my love for community theater). As a child I was obsessed with the Salem witch trials and read every book on it the library had. I abhor having lights on in the house. I am a big fan of black cats and the color black in general. I have a healthy fondness for candy.

Over the years we attended various churches…Some were of the opinion that Halloween was of the devil and the only way it should be celebrated is by handing out Christian literature to the children that come to their door…to children dressing up in Halloween costumes for Sunday service…

Who is right? How is a Christian supposed to act?

I can understand every viewpoint. What is wrong with not celebrating? Nothing…less money for the dentists..What is wrong with dressing up as an evil character?? Are you celebrating evil? Are you doing evil? What is your motive?? What is your intent? I personally don’t know anyone that spent the day drinking blood…or sacrificing animals despite the witch lore.

Paul and I decided that we would celebrate Halloween but only allow our young children to dress up in costumes that celebrated goodness. Over the years we had Tinkerbell, an angel, a cow, a mermaid, a cheerleader…I miss those days.

 

 

 

25. Dinner with anyone in history…

Day 25: If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be & what would you eat?

If I could dine with anyone in history, it would be Jesus. We wouldn’t have real food, just food for thought. I would be like a child and ask many questions… Why??

I would start at the beginning with the age old question that I asked my Sunday school teachers as a kid. If God created the world, then who created God?? Just have faith is not a good enough answer. You really don’t know either.

How did it all begin? I do believe in the creation story. No other theory makes any more sense to me. How could people evolve over millions of years accidentally from cells? Seriously, how? If that happened by accident, how come people can’t replicate that today with all of the advances in modern science? How could all of the different races and varieties of animals and trees evolve? If that is the case, why isn’t evolution still happening today?

How old is the world anyway?  If not evolution, then how did all the different cultures and races start from Adam and Eve? Is the Garden of Eden an actual place? Or are we just blocked from the knowledge that they had before they sinned? Help me understand the continuum of time. I can barely grasp tomorrow’s time change.

Does everything happen for a reason? Or just certain things? Or do we live in a world of sheer coincidence? Did Judas have a choice when he betrayed You? Or was he given no choice because it was meant to happen? Or did you just know what he was going to choose before he chose it? How much control do you allow us to have over our lives? Can our prayers change our circumstances or the circumstances of others in any way?

Is all life sacred? I believe so…but if given the option to go back in time, would I try to convince Hitler’s mother to have an abortion? Why did you allow the Holocaust to happen to your chosen people anyway? If all life is sacred, then how about the life of the prisoner on death row?? Should we kill others who have murdered? I believe in justice, but should we be the ones to administer it?

How could David be a man after your own heart? He was a man who had it all…good looks, riches, and hundreds of beautiful women to sleep with whenever he wanted to. Yet he had to kill off a man to take his wife and broke almost every commandment that you gave us. Why him? Why not the Pharisee who tried to be pious?

Why is the Old Testament focused so much on rules and rituals and the New Testament on love and grace? It seems so extremely black and white to me. I don’t understand. What happened to your miracles? Why do bad things happen to good people? What happens to the souls of the people who never had the opportunity to believe?

Why? Why? Why? I just want to understand.

 

Easter, turning 40, and candy in the light fixture

Now I officially feel old. This last week my younger brother turned 40. 

I don’t remember feeling old when I turned 40. Maybe it was because I spent the first few waking hours of my 40th birthday in the ER. Having a sick child really took the little joy left out of turning 40. Everyone took turns staying with Arabella so I could have my special day. I felt a little selfish about that. 

I bought a 1970’s vintage outfit that I was going to wear out for my birthday. I had to go all the way to Chicago to find something exciting to do on a Monday night. There is certainly no nightlife around here on a Monday. But with a sick kid and other children that refused to go anywhere with me dressed like that, I wore normal boring clothes. I am such an embarrassment. Seriously, it wasn’t as if I was going to go out wearing my birthday suit.

My friends did take me out a couple of weeks before my birthday. I didn’t feel old. They convinced some people that they were taking me out for my 21st birthday. It was kind of funny when people came up to me and asked me how it felt to finally be old enough to drink. Really? What are you talking about?? Believe me that looking like I was 10 when I was 16 really did pay off later. LOL. 

But now I feel old. I ran 15 miles the day after Matt turned 40. It was really difficult for me to do. My inner voice kept telling me how old I was and doubted I could do anything. Sometimes I want to tell my inner voice to shut up and summon my inner child instead. 

How does Matt feel about turning 40? He feels great! Being autistic, he really has little concept of aging. He is starting to get the tire around his waist like all the older men in my family seem to get. Still he has no worries about his weight. There was a time in his life when we worried. At 5’7″, there was a point where he barely weighed 90 lbs. He was very sick to the point where we thought he would die. So a little gut is not that big of a deal.

 Yesterday the whole family went bowling for Matt’s birthday. Matt loves to bowl so we go every year for his birthday. I really don’t like bowling. I find it boring and I suck at it. Matt loves it though and he even beat my score. We bought him a huge balloon bouquet that was a lot harder to fit into a car than you might think. We almost got it tangled in the ceiling fan when we got to the bowling alley.  

After bowling, we all went out to eat. My dad went somewhere else. I am not sure if that had to do with senility or miscommunication. After supper, everyone wanted to come over to my house for games. My dad started driving home until my mom reminded him he was coming to my house. Then he turned the car around after swearing a bit and came to my house. He dropped off everyone in his vehicle and sat out in the car. 

Today my whole family met up at church for Easter with the exception of my dad. My mom is a devout Christian and my dad is an atheist. No, it doesn’t work well. I was surprised to see my brother Mark in church and dressed up to boot. I thought that the only time that I would see him go to church was on his wedding day. Boy was I wrong. His new wife said that she wasn’t going to church by herself. Now Mark is a church goer. Maybe he thought a little about all the times that my mom went to church alone. I was happy that he went. He always sided with my dad. I was wondering if he would choose to go to church with his wife or stay home with my dad. I was surprised my dad didn’t give him a hard time.

The church was having some issues with its organ. Apparently they asked my dad to come fix it. My dad said that the last time he went to church it was working okay. I said it was true that the organ was working just fine in the 1980’s. I told my dad that it would have been nice if he came to church today with his family to at least view the condition of the organ. Oh well! At least he was wearing clothes today. He wore red plaid pajama bottoms with a Packer shirt. He didn’t match or even shower lately, but at least he wore clothes. Baby steps!

After eating ham at my mom’s, everyone started their journey back home. Mark and Luke live several hours away while I live nearby.  

I had the kids do some work while I hid their Easter candy. Alex is good at finding things. He found his sisters candy before they did. So this year I hid his candy in a very difficult spot. I unscrewed the light fixture, then hid his candy there. Brilliant spot, he did find it though before Arabella found hers.

I hope everyone had a great Easter! 

Christmas stalkings

The first time that my mom met my husband Paul didn’t go all that well. The year was 1995. We met for lunch at a cheap pancake house. We sat in a booth in the nonsmoking section. The conversation flowed up until the point that my mom asked my new boyfriend what his beliefs were regarding God. I warned Paul before lunch that if religion were to come up that he needed to change the topic. But Paul didn’t, he went on and on about how he believed in evolution. At this point, I started kicking Paul under the table as he droned on and on about atheism and the rational mind. So my mom did what any devout Christian would do. She set me up with my ex-boyfriend, Brad.

I met Brad a little further back in the days of ratted hair and tight rolled jeans. Brad was in the military. He was the one who had the same personality as me, was also a first born, both are left handed, and we shared the same religion. My whole family loved him and thought that I would probably end up marrying him someday. But after over two years of being in a long distance relationship, we decided to call it quits right before Brad left for a year commitment on a Navy ship. Right around the time I met Paul, Brad finished his time in the military.

One day, shortly after she met Paul, my mom invited me out to lunch at a pizza place. When I got to the restaurant, my mom was waiting for me at a table with Brad. Brad told me how much he missed me and loved me. He was home to stay and wanted to get back together. My mom chipped in every so often about how wonderful that would be. At one point in the conversation Brad started crying. He grabbed my hands and pleaded to get back together. But it was too late. After the meal, I took Brad back to my apartment a couple of blocks away. I gave him back his class ring and all of his pictures. I was so mad at my mom. My mom took things into her own hands, but God had other plans. Funny how that works.

Last week, I told my mom that after Paul had a conversation with our daughter Angel’s stalker that he seemed to back off. Angel’s boyfriend ran into her stalker a couple of times on campus and he nervously walked away with lowered eyes. I told my mom that I thought our stalker days are behind us now. That is when my mom reluctantly told me to watch my back.

Brad recently accepted my mom’s friend request she sent him five years ago on facebook. Last month Brad’s wife passed away. He sent my mom a message asking if I was happy in my marriage. He told my mom that besides his wife, I was the only other woman he ever loved. He told her that he still loves me a lot. The conversation freaked my mom out enough to take a screen shot of the whole conversation. Way to go mom!

So every time I attend a public event that people know I am at, I am hyper vigilant for stalkers now. Seriously, call me paranoid but my life is just that crazy.