I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Journal-6 July

Life has taken such a turn in the past week.  My mom and stepdad flew in from Guam last Friday.  Yay!  They're just awesome.  The kids adore them.  Then Patrick, a friend I've made and whom I've been "talking to" for a couple of months now, flew in on Saturday last week.  He's amazing.  A good Christian who reflects what Christians should.  I'm a little smitten, but I'm being really slow and cautious because I fall in love fast and stupidly. 

Every day has been a blur.  Patrick's visit was amazing, we went out just to hang and talk a couple of nights.  In the day he hung with my family and me.  He's super sweet but also a little rough around the edges.  He has a soft spot for dogs, so if anything I know he has a good heart.  Dogs rock, just sayin.  He is super friendly, funny, and charming all at the same time.  And respectful.  And did I mention, Christian?  Same values, yay!  I was sad when he left, but so happy we got to visit and spend a few days getting to know each other in person.  He's a plane ride away, so we're kind of just testing our wings out here.

I've been coaching tee ball for 4-5 year olds since the middle of May and it has been the BEST thing I've led.  The kids are so much fun!  They crack me up and melt my heart.  The parents are great, they're good sports and I'm lucky to have them.  Coaching has definitely taken a toll on the kids and me since the boys are both in tee ball, different nights!  We're playing games Mondays through Thursdays and we get wiped FAST. 


Another thing that has kept us busy lately is the adoption of a kitten.  Yes, another friggin animal.  This one was dumped in a Petsmart parking lot and we couldn't just leave her there.  Sean's "Mommy Please" kind of got to me, too.  So far the addition isn't too much trouble.  She's getting along just fine with Bruce and the ferrets, but man I'm kind of running a small zoo here.  I guess I just have to keep myself in check and make sure I'm balancing everything well.

My mood right now is: Tired, happy, smitten, and filled with joy.  Even though I'm so tired lately (mentally and physically), I am so happy.  God is amazing, He's definitely keeping me in His arms.  I pray that He keeps my family under His watch and that my friends are building a relationship with Him.  I love my God.  He is my rock.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mad

I'm lonely. And I find myself feeling angry sometimes. Not at the people who I've given up in order to ensure my children have a good life. Not at my parents for failing to teach me what a good relationship looks like. Not at my friends who stay in bad relationships just because it's better than being alone.

I'm mad at myself. For failing to choose a good person to spend my life with. I wonder why do I sabotage myself? Why do I go into a relationship hoping that maybe he's "the one" when I know deep down inside that he's not? I never answer these questions. I just ask them after each break up. Or when I'm lonely.

People tell me that the right guy will come along and I smile and nod my head and tell them how I agree and that I'm perfectly okay with waiting. I'm only half lying. I think deep down inside I want to stay alone. Not because I don't want someone else.

I don't want to fail again. My kids' dad was a horrible mistake. I'm not going to sugar coat it tonight and say "without him I wouldn't have had my children." I know that's true. But it was a horrible experience and I don't ever want to make that mistake again. I don't have just me to worry about. When I didn't have kids the only bad thing to come of a failed relationship was a broken heart. Now I have two additional hearts to protect. And theirs is more important than mine.

My 5 year old, Sean, had a rough week because his daycare class was so busy with making Father's Day stuff and having Father's Day lunch and sharing stories of their dads. He threw a plastic shovel and it hit a kid in the face. He told his teacher "I don't have a dad. My father doesn't know how to be a good dad."

How the hell am I supposed to heal that? People tell me "you just have to remind him that he has YOU and he has other family members who love him." Yeah, try telling a 5 year old that what he wants doesn't matter because everyone else loves him. When what he truly knows is that he needs a father and the only one he has is an asshole who doesn't know how to be a good dad.

And here I am at past midnight closing up the third episode of Orange Is The New Black I've watched since the kids have fallen asleep. And all I want is someone to share it with. Someone to talk to about how freaking awesome this stupid series is.

I put them in swim class and I put them in tee ball. So they can be kids and have fun and learn boy stuff. Hell I'm coaching Sean's tee ball team. And they laugh and have a good time. We throw the ball around at the park and we go hiking and collect rocks and get dirty. It's all good stuff. They enjoy it. But at the end of the day we're still just three. We're a damn good three. But they still ask me why God hasn't given them a good dad.

And that pisses me off. Because I haven't given them a good dad. I made the wrong choices in men. I chose to be alone out of fear of failing yet again.

And I wonder if I will always have no one. And if they will always only have me. I don't know that answer.

Someone asked me if I've prayed about it. And I do. A lot. But even while I'm praying I am doubting. I go on Facebook and see the posts of all my married friends and I know that behind those smiling couples lies bad marriages. Not all of them. But enough to stunt my hope.

Not sure what my point is anymore. I guess it's just a rant. No real need for answers or pity. Just some single mom ranting. I guess it's up to me. It's up to me to take risks and find that right guy. It's up to me to deal with the heartbreak after each failed attempt. Or just hold out for that right guy, if I can recognize him.

So if you're a single mom feeling lonely or angry, don't feel too bad. Under all this fake smile, head- nodding perfectly-fine-with-waiting single mom lies someone who feels your pain. I know it's hard. And lonely. And sad. But you aren't alone in that. Not really.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I Was A Ninja, Really!


The boys were having a deep conversation today while I was driving. 

Ronin: That car is going faster than us.

Nate: Yeah but we beat that white car. 

Ronin: But that truck with the black falcon on us is getting faster!

Me: Black falcon! But I defeated him!

Nate: What?

Ronin's face is showing disbelief. 

Me: I defeated him when I was... a ninja. 

Ronin: A ninja?

Nate: No you didn't mom. 

Me: I did.  I didn't have a sword though. I had nunchucks. (Quick nunchuck super moves with sound effects)

Ronin laughs. Nate stares at me through the rear view mirror. 

Nate: I can't believe that. 

Me: I was a cool ninja.

Ronin: Whoa.

Nate: Well that truck passed us mom. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Regret

I was running late for work. It was a couple of years ago.  The kids weren't cooperating. Caden especially. He couldn't find the pants he wanted. 

I was chasing the hands of the clock. I was angry. My words were firm and impatient. I had to be at work on time. There was an important ceremony to host. 

I scolded them for sleeping late the night before. I rushed Sean into his daycare room without a goodbye. 

Caden had a scowl on his face and he was quiet. I was glad he wasn't whining. He walked slowly toward his classroom. Hurry up, I told him. 

I didn't say goodbye. Instead I rushed to the car and started it up. I hit the gas hard about to race to work. But something caught my eye.

A small open palm on the window of Caden's classroom. I slowed the car and squinted my eyes for a better look. Caden's face peered at me. He was crying. He had his hand on the window. 

During the ceremony, the music director asked me what was wrong. I choked back the sob in my throat as I told him. 

Don't ever sacrifice your children for this bullshit, he said. All of this? The ceremonies, the meetings, the stress. After you retire these people will forget you. But your children will not. Don't let their memories be filled with tearful mornings as you left them for this. Tell them you love them each time you part. 

They are the ones who matter in the end. So make them matter in the now. 

Since then I've not once let the morning be filled with impatience and frustration. Each time I think of that little palm on the window, I hug them a little tighter. As if I'm still apologizing for it. Never again will I make them less important than this job. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pause the Dating

I've decided I'm not going to do the whole dating thing for while. The last one was a disaster. I took a risk on someone who seemed legit and it turned out he was a snake in disguise. It's the nature of dating I suppose. Putting myself out there, taking risks, learning lessons.

I think I'm much better off pushing past the losers, seeing through lies, and being really intentional about choosing the man who is genuinely right. 

One thing I will remember about the heartache comes from C.S. Lewis:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Out There

I think it's time this single mama gets put back on the market.  I figure, I'm a pretty good date.  I clean up nice, have a pretty fun personality, I've got good qualities.  Why not put myself out there?  It would be nice to have someone to talk to and laugh with.  I just have to remember how to do this.

So I started talking to someone.  He's a single dad too.  Two kids who live with him full time.  He owns his own business and loves to be outdoors.  He seems very nice and I can't help but feel excited.  I'm not very quick to get hooked on someone, which I think is a good thing.  But it's still exciting to meet someone new.  So even if it doesn't work out or we're not compatible... or he's crazy... I know I can walk away at least knowing I gave it a shot.

I know how to look for the red flags, which used to be my downfall.  I think my biggest struggle is not running away before I get to actually know him.  So this will be an interesting adventure for sure. 

So for all you single moms out there who are getting your feet wet in that dating pool, I'd like to list some red flags that you have to be aware of and heed.  Plus, it'll help me remember while I'm out there, too!

How Do You Know When To Walk Away?

1.  He lets you know all about him by spilling his broken heart stories.  He's such a good guy, why can't he find the right girl? Everyone just keeps cheating on him no matter how good he treats them.  Aww, woe is him.  Nope.  He has issues he needs to work on and unless you're dying to mend someone else's broken heart, I'd turn the other way.

2.  He is super clingy.  If he calls or texts you to wish you a good morning, that's nice.  But if he is constantly texting you and gets annoyed that you aren't always texting right back even though you do have a full time job or are busy with kids, run fast.  This is not a good sign and is actually a sure sign that he has control issues.

3.  He glorifies his mother.  Now don't get me wrong, we all love a man who loves his mother.  But if he reveals either right away or somewhere down the road that he is totally committed to her ... kind of like one would be committed to a wife... just drop him.  And fast.  A mama's boy will never change.  She will always be at the top of his list and you will never light a candle to her.  You don't want a boy, you want a man, right?

4.  He can't wait for you to pause while you're talking so he can tell you what's on his mind.  Of course, during a conversation, it's a two-way thing.  You want feedback and you want participation.  But if he's biting his nails to get his two cents in all the time, it's a sign that he's not really interested in what you have to say and more interested in you listening to what he has to say.

5.  He quickly talks about sex.  He talks about how it's "all about you" and that he's a "pleaser."  Step on the brakes now.  In the dating stage, your focus should be getting to know someone BEFORE you hit the bedroom.  A man should be interested in you, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, what makes you YOU and what makes you special.  He should actually like you as a person, not as an object.  You're much more valuable than that.  Don't give in.  Walk away.

6.  He's a little too private with his phone.  If he's constantly placing his phone face-down so you won't see the caller ID, I'd be a little suspicious.  But if he's really quick to pick up the phone and rushing to another room to answer it, red flag.  

7.  Speaking of phones, if he's a phone-a-holic, you will have to ask yourself if you think he's worth it.  If he's constantly on Facebook, texting friends, or checking e-mails, chance are he's not that into you. 

Now, I've listed red flags to look for in a man.  You've got to make sure you aren't doing any of those things, too.  If you're doing any of those things I just listed, you really have to work on them.  Guys look for red flags too and they run FAST.  In fact, they're much better at that than we are. 

I'll be posting a blog about relationships and the things we do to destroy them, intentionally or unintentionally.  Keep an eye out!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Das Boots! 29 Jan 14

Today's Blurb
Tomorrow is Caden's 7th birthday.  I'm letting him ditch school (he's only had one other missed school day this academic year so I don't feel so bad) and the three of us are going to spend the day celebrating.  We have a birthday tradition, which the boys started all on their own.  The birthday boy gets to decide if the non-birthday boy can get a gift as well.  It's their way of being able to share the day without jealousy.  I had no part in this decision.

Well, tonight, Caden asked me if Sean could get two toys instead of one.  The birthday boy gets four and the non-birthday boy gets one.  I told him, "Caden, the rule is that Sean can only get one."

He looked a little sad and said, "Well, what if I get just three and Sean can get two?"

I thought about this, a bit puzzled at what he was saying.  "Caden, you understand that you can get four, right?  But you're giving up your fourth gift so that Sean can get two.  Are you sure about this?"

He smiled and nodded.  "Yes, that way he won't be sad that he only gets one.  Besides, three is plenty."

I felt my eyebrows draw together in that confused manner.  How the heck did he become so selfless?  This is a kid who bullies his younger brother, gets annoyed with him when he feels as if he doesn't have his space, and can't stand when he is out-run by him.  Yet, here he is giving up a TOY so that Sean can have another.

I don't remember being that selfless when I was a kid.
S'mores for the first time ever.
Cool Moment
Someone paid me a really great compliment today.  I was told that I should be a model because of my facial features.  How the heck did I get so lucky to have been told such a thing?  Needless to say, I have been really needing a pick-me-up lately.  Been feeling a little unpretty.  So this compliment has definitely lifted me.

A more important somebody (ahem... Caden) gave me a great compliment as well:

Caden: Mommy, I'm about to pay you a compliment.
Me:  Oh really?  Okay, what's your compliment?
Caden:  I love you more than water.

Let's hope he really really loves water.  :-)

Relationships
Trying to rock those grays.
You know, nothing's really going on in the romance department.  I've made a single dad friend who I hang out with.  We let the kids play while we talk grown up stuff.  I also keep in touch with an ex-boyfriend whom I've managed to have kept a friendship with.  He's 52 and wonderful.  There could be something potential still there, but he's got some stuff he needs to work out which caused us to end the relationship a year and some change ago.  Nothing bad, but he's got a major life decision he needs to make and without that decision, we can't really move forward.  So for now we're enjoying our friendship and keeping things sweet.  Looks like my Valentine's Day will be another lonely one.  Maybe I should send myself flowers.


If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain.
-- Dolly Parton
I love this lady.

Random Photos


When I got out of my car at the Youth Center to pick up Caden, 
a gorgeous buck was walking around.
I had to stalk him just a little.


Creative Nonfiction

Amber Still
by Jasmine Shine 
AKA
Lucy Diamond/Sibyl Vane/whatever else I use online

We stood there for what seemed like a lifetime, staring at each other with our minds racing. Our breaths were one, a steady rhythm purposely designed to disguise our inner panic. Even the wind seemed to come to a halt. It felt as if the entire world paused, waiting to see what would happen next. Not a single sound was made.
I had just arrived at work after a morning yoga session. For the first time in weeks, my mind was clear. I'd spent nights tossing in bed, disturbed by a bout of mild depression. As a single mother in my early thirties, I was hit with a painful realization that I may just be undesirable to men. This rut brought waves of self esteem attacks and I'd found myself weeping when I was alone and a love song happened to sound within earshot. Yoga seemed to have brought me back to center this morning.
When I pulled into the office's parking lot, I realized all the spaces were taken. I had four other options, each would cause me to walk about five minutes in the winter wind.  I decided to take the one that offered a scenic walk.
I smiled when I exited my vehicle, pulled my beanie snugly over my ears, and headed toward the trail head. I stuck my right hand in my jacket pocket, making sure my phone was in there in case I wanted to take a picture. The trail offered a beautiful scene of trees and mountains. I was actually grateful there wasn't any parking at the office parking lot.
The sounds of nature rushed at me and they made me remember the breathing exercises in the yoga class. Fast, sharp breaths as I inhaled while holding the deep squat position and slow exhales as I closed my eyes. In the midst of a gray depression, the exercises pulled me into a place where I was faced with just myself and all my strengths and weaknesses. I remembered who I was and how valuable I really am.
Halfway through the trail, the winter chill nipped at my ears and I tugged at my beanie once again. And that was when it happened. A coyote stepped onto the trail five feet before me. It trotted across, climbed the hill beside me and stopped. We both froze as we realized what had just happened.
My mind raced, searching through that mental checklist we are all supposed to keep that told us what to do when we encounter wild animals. I remembered that for bears, I'm supposed to pretend to be dead. But what was I supposed to do for coyotes? Do I just keep walking? Do I scream at it and wave my arms to make myself appear larger?
As I asked myself these questions, the coyote seemed to also contemplate his next actions. I paused in my thoughts and actually looked at him. He was as big as an average sized dog. He blended in with the woods. Mange had taken over the majority of the back half of his body. His tail resembled that of a rat. And he looked a little thin. What really captured me, though, was his eyes.
They were a brilliant amber that shone in the sun and it almost looked as if I was looking into a pair of amber stones. Wild eyes. They burned holes in me as he stared and I realized he was in a state of desperation. We had a hard summer and the small animals were now scarce. He was hungry. And here I was all alone on a trail he happened to be crossing. An image of him attacking me made me shiver in the cold. And yet, we both just stood there. Silently. Waiting.
If ever there was a moment when I'd regret feeling depressed over matters of loneliness and fear of being undesirable, it was now. At this moment, I valued my self worth. I am a smart woman with plenty to offer a man. I'm a fantastic mom. And I am a damn hard worker. I was not coyote food.
He was beautiful just standing there with his wild reflection of nature. Hungry and contemplative. But I was hungry too. For my life. I stared back at him and stood tall. Taking in a deep breath, I took a quiet step toward him.
Like a dream that ended in a flash when you awoke in a panic, he was gone. His movements made no sound as he disappeared. I stood there, still in awe of my first encounter with a wild predator. I smiled to myself as I turned and continued on the trail.
What an amazing day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm Doing Fine

I am a single mom of two boys. 
There's no father in the picture.
It's just me. 
I'm all they have. 
And the questions people ask me.
"Who will teach them to be good men?"
It's me. 
"Who's their male role model?"
Me. 
"They need a father figure."
Well that's me too. 
I'm okay with being just me. 
I've had to do it by myself for years. 
I've been blessed when it could've been worse. 
Why is it not okay for the people who ask the question?
My boys are happy. 
They are smart. 
They are brave. 
They hold the door open for women. 
They scrape knees and climb trees. 
They beat up bad guys when they play. 
They roar. 
They sing. 
They dance. 
They fight. 
I am a single mom of two boys. 
And I'm doing just fine. 





Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Wednesday

Yesterday was incredible.  The unit started the day off with yoga for our PT session.  I couldn't believe that yoga could actually make me sore!  What made it really cool was the fact that PT is usually the same thing all the time.  Sometimes we'd do a sport instead of a good work out, but for the most part things were pretty consistent.  Throwing yoga in there really surprised everyone.  I think every once in a while, change is needed.  We need to stop and do something different just to get an appreciation for a different perspective.

Later, I parked my car beside a trail and hiked a good five minutes to my office building.  About halfway through the trail, a coyote crossed right in front of me.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I'm not familiar with coyotes and their behavior around humans.  Would he attack me?  Is there something I need to do so he doesn't attack me?  When he crossed, he trotted up a hill and stopped to look at me.  At this point, I thought it was safe to go on.  So I did for a few strides and then I stopped and looked back.  He stood there, frozen in his tracks, and stared at me.  He probably wondered the same thing about me.  Was I going to attack him?  Did he need to run?  We stood there for about thirty seconds just looking at each other.  Right now, thirty seconds seems like a flash.  But at that point, it felt as if I was in another world... forever.  I noticed things about him I wouldn't have appreciated in a picture or a TV show.  He blended in perfectly with the woods.  Patches of hair was missing on the back half of his body.  But his face.  His face was beautiful.  Wild and contemplating.  It was an amazing moment.  It was long enough for me to take a quick pic.

At the end of the day, I got to Caden's youth center and stared in awe at the sky.  Standing out from the usual beauty of sunset colors was a cross.  Yes, a cross.  I thought it was incredible.


When I reflected on the day, I was fully aware of how many gifts we are given each moment of our lives.  Stopping to appreciate them makes me realize how blessed I am.  No matter what sadness or frustration the day has held, there are small gifts all around us just waiting for us to appreciate them.  Meeting a coyote and seeing a cross in the sky are bigger and easier for me to identify as gifts, so I was reminded that these moments are rare and I have to treasure them for days when I need them the most.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Inspired

I did some art today. I'm not worried about the imperfections in the details. We're all imperfect so I like them. 


Some kind of hero. Not sure who he is but I like him anyway. 



I was mainly interested in her eyes.