2018 may have been MY most challenging year yet, at least mentally. Losing a job, especially for someone like me, is like losing yourself. I felt like a hiker on Mt Everest in the middle of a white out. I was paralyzed. And even once the white out passed, I still had a long way up or down. It was all so overwhelming, and definitely fight or flight.
My big lessons for 2018: 1, when in a fight or flight situation, fighting just means not leaving. It doesn’t have to be valiant or heroic. Just a conscious choice to not give up. 2, I have ridiculous expectations of myself. No one else can beat me up quite like I do myself. I need to forgive myself and cut myself a little slack. 3, John loves me unconditionally. I don’t want to transverse this life without him. He grounds me. There’s a reason we’ve made it 25 years.
What were your lessons from 2018?
My word for 2019: freedom.
In 2018, I had to cast away all of my former labels.
In 2019, I am FREE to be ME.
I will be FREE of limitations.
I will be FREE of excuses.
I will be FREE from expectations.
What will your word be?
Stay tuned in 2019! More tarot card readings for sure. You’ll see some poetry, more art, and definitely more random acts of kindness. My goal in 2019 is to help my husband grow #daily180, so expect to see lots of acts of kindness.
As we began our 20th year of marriage, we were in a routine that was pretty blah compared to the previous years.
We worked. The kids went to school. People visited for holidays. As I mentioned, without constant soccer, we were a little lost. Plus, John was depressed.
I turned 40 that February. John had people send me books. That was awesome.
Then I took the kids to Alabama for Leslye’s 40th birthday. I hit a deer on that trip. My little Corolla is a tank.
Right about then is when my work changed. The virtual team wouldn’t be just virtual and we widdled down to just me. I would also travel more. Soon we’d have new executives. More changes.
April had John and Eric going to the races. Then all of us traveling to Missouri (minus Alec) for Karen’s birthday. May had Eric and I back in Alabama for Leslye’s wedding.
We went to Iowa that June to support family, and I took the boys to Missouri for the 4th of July. I took the younger boys to Galveston the end of July. Interspersed we had the pool and baseball games. I was determined to have more family time.
By August, I was swamped and sick. Mono. Ugh. Who gets mono at 40.
Fall brought more of the same routine. Dylan started 4th grade. Eric started high school. Alec was off living with his friends for his 2nd year of college. Life was pretty ok.
Dylan and I would FaceTime to read. John and I arranged regular date nights. Alec came home fairly regularly, to eat. We even had made NASCAR part of the routine.
It wasn’t ALL perfect. But it was balancing back out. we certainly did a lot that year.
NOTE: more photos will be added later tonight after I can access Facebook.
By our anniversary in 2011, we were feeling okay again. First, we had a lot of things to worry about other than our marriage. Dylan was really struggling in school and was diagnosed with ADHD. Not a surprise, I had been worried about him for over a year.
Freshly diagnosed and medicated, we took Dylan and Eric to Missouri. We celebrated Thanksgiving and then John and I went to Southern Illinois for his cousin’s wedding. I have always LOVED the Bellamys in Southern Illinois, even his grandma who was awful to everyone. Aunt Mary is my favorite though. Anyway, John and I participated in the song where they have couples stay out for as long as they were married. I don’t know about John, but I was pretty proud that we didn’t have to step out until they said 20 years. There were only a few couples left (the “old guard” as I like to call them). It was the first time I had that feeling of actually succeeding when it came to my goal of “not getting divorced like my parents did.” We were up there, in front of other people, after the crappy year we had just had, and we had done it. We were going to get to 20 years.
That weekend, I met Andy and Shana for the first time. Andy is John’s NASCAR cousin. I only mention this because it puts a notch on the timeline for when we became stronger fans. We had been fans since 2001, but we were about to shift to something a little more.
John’s team was getting picked up full time at Dell. That was exciting news! He was enjoying what he was doing. My job was going pretty well. We had more virtual customers than ever before, and I had some strategic accounts.
There was of course soccer. Alec played for Stony Point his senior year, as well as the club. He also coached. By this point, he was the only one left playing. We had taken Dylan out due to his behavior issues and Eric was playing football in middle school each fall.
We stayed home for Christmas. We had left Alec at home for Thanksgiving, but there was no way we were doing that for Christmas. He was pretty busy with all his friends and activities. Somewhere in there were plays. I feel like there was one in the fall AND one in the spring. We definitely enjoyed that Christmas the best we could.
2012 kicked off with a bang. Again, non-stop activity for Mr. Alec’s senior year. In there we celebrated birthdays. Eric turned 13 in 2011. I turned 39. Dylan turned 8. John turned 42. And Alec turned the big 18.
Eric started rowing that spring. It was something he could do in downtown Austin and I could stay late at work and just pick him up when finished. Sometimes John brought him down, and other times he took the Metrorail down. I remember the first time he was going to take the train. He asked what to do if someone tried to sell him meth. We said to say no, and maybe move towards adults. We weren’t worried about it, and I have always been all about making sure my kids weren’t afraid to do things like I am. Would we send Dylan on the train now? Heck no. Times and circumstances change.
We learned that spring that Dylan was also dyslexic and dysgraphic. His problems just continued to snowball.
John and Alec went to their first Texas Motor Speedway race that April. They met up with the Eskelsons.
We were attending various banquets and ceremonies for Alec. We had family, lots of family, coming to town. I was planning a GRAND weekend for the boy.
The week before graduation John started talking to Glenn pretty regularly, I want to say daily if not more than once a day. I know there was a lot of texting. I didn’t know most of what was going on. I try not to pry at least until it’s all finished. John was pretty upset and usually, that makes him close off.
I sent Glenn a text that night, telling him to just come to Texas and celebrate Alec’s graduation. He was our family too and he was always welcome. That’s the gist of it. I used to have a copy of it but a few phones later it’s been lost in the shuffle.
I was at work and John called. Glenn killed himself. He found out from Facebook. He was devastated. He hung up to call more people. He gave me numbers of people to contact to try to verify. We tried to divide and conquer. I called Michelle and left a message. I called Kara. I called Leslye. From there, that day is a blur.
Let me just say, I thought 2010-2011 was bad, it had nothing on this. As a couple, we had only experienced one death that was this BIG, his dad’s. I remembered how that was. I expected this one to have a lot more anger associated with it.
Did I mention this was the Monday/Tuesday before Alec’s graduation? People were coming in just 2 days. John couldn’t leave to grieve like he needed, because his responsibility was to be here. He participated as much as he could, and family seemed to be okay giving him space.
For Alec’s graduation, I had a bunch of stuff planned. We had graduation and the party after. We had water balloon fights. The littles and I made jewelry. We went to the water park. We had Family Olympics. We celebrated our un-birthdays (since we are never together for our real birthdays). I kept everyone thoroughly entertained. We wanted to make sure that family was together (or at least I did). We hadn’t been very successful at intermingling our families over the years, and I was determined. We are a hot blended mess and I love every single one of them. (they all love each other too now)
It’s summer again. Alec is getting ready to go to the University of Texas. Eric was going to be in eighth grade when school resumes. Dylan was going to be in 3rd grade. Fortunately, he was about to have a great school year for once.
Last minute, I decided to take the boys to Florida that July. We stayed at Beth’s. It was a wonderful time and my last adventure with all 3 boys. We had enjoyed many summer adventures throughout the years. I LOVED road tripping with them.
Alec lived at home that school year. He was attempting to do pharmacology. In hindsight, I wish he had gone to community college for the first two years. I firmly believe kids need to learn how to balance some things and going to community college often allows you to stay at home. Parents can then work with the child on budgets, limits, etc. I would have benefited. My oldest would have benefited.
By the fall of 2012, John was still at Dell. He was struggling emotionally. That’s about the most I can say. This struggle was going to continue for a while and loom over our household like a dark cloud. We’ve tried to talk about it several times and my conclusion is that I will never completely understand, and it’s okay. All I can do is love him, and make sure we communicate. If we communicate, we will be fine.
I had to take on some more responsibility at work due to a colleague having her baby early. I enjoyed the new accounts, especially the ones that required travel for the foundation.
Eric played football AND rowed that year. That lifting helped with rowing. There were parts he hated, but I think there were parts he liked. We just wanted him doing something.
Alec was working, going to school, and had a girl friend.
We were settling into a new routine. We were slightly lost. More changes were to come. Were we communicating? Not like we should. Although we really were doing the best we could at the time.
At the time, I would have called this the toughest year, or the worst year. I probably won’t put much of it into words because do we really need to dredge it ALL up? This isn’t that long ago that any of you who know us (really know us), remember what was going on. Let’s see if I can give you the gist without getting too graphic.
At the end of 2010, John was unemployed and I had lost my mind. The big factor here was money. Remember, WE SUCK WITH MONEY. This hasn’t changed over the years. It was just easier to suck with it when you have more to play with. Now we didn’t have squat to play with. We were saved by John’s 401K and the settlement for my ankle. This lack of money makes me crazy. It stresses me to the point I can’t even think clearly. It’s nuts. And unfortunately, it’s the theme from this point forward in our lives.
We stayed home for the holidays that year. We also hosted NYE. I miss our neighbors.
That spring I know I was ugly. I was walking twice a day due to the anxiety of what was going on. I was judgey. I was angry. I drank a lot.
Work was making me do things I hadn’t done before – like travel. My confidence levels were rising. It didn’t help situations much.
There were of course the usual routines: soccer, birthdays and legos, etc. I took Alec to SXSW that year.
John actually tried to go back to the geotech job, but nothing changed and he left again.
My mom visited that spring. John took her and the kids on a photo shoot one day.
John and I had our first part of the blow up on Alec’s birthday. We both admitted we were no longer happy. Now we had to figure out what to do about it. It was going to be a long and painful summer of truths.
The kids and I Metz Beth and her kids at the Dallas Zoo.
That Memorial Day weekend, the boys and I went to Missouri for Mom’s 60th birthday party. Then we went to Illinois for some last minute prep for my 20th high school reunion. This was the last time I physically saw Glenn. We had lunch at Hammers.
That summer was my reunion. I think it was fun. You be the judge. Hehe.
Throughout the summer John and I kept trying. We took dance lessons. We went to free concerts with the neighbor. We went to lunch once a week. We were intentional and we over-communicated a lot. The kids witnessed it all. Dylan won’t remember, but the other two will. I don’t know about John, but I’m so embarrassed by that still, that I don’t let myself get to that point anymore. I just don’t even go there. Gosh we were ugly.
By August, things started to turn around for John. He chose to work on some things personally. He got a job at Dell. It was temporary, but hey, that’s a start! I was getting bigger accounts at work and my confidence was growing tremendously. I was even traveling.
Somehow we talked ourselves through the dislike. We didn’t trust each other yet. Or I should say, he didn’t trust me. I had no idea I shouldn’t trust him. Sigh. We were healing but with secrets.
So how do two people stay together and survive all the yuck? My mom said on day one, “it’s complicated.” And she wasn’t wrong. But I still believe it’s love and communication that can get you through.
Year 19 would be Alec’s senior year. Major life changes were on the horizon again. It would be a year of “lasts”.
Note: computer died while adding photos to post. I will finish in AM. In the meantime, enjoy the story.
The beginning of our 17th year was all about Dylan. He had appendicitis and needed an emergency appendectomy. My goodness! We had never done anything in an emergency, other than some stitches. I stayed in the hospital with Dylan and John hung out until visiting hours were over and then he went home. This was the day before Thanksgiving by the way. No one had come to visit that year (thank goodness).
Dylan was released on Thanksgiving and we went to Wendi and Jesse’s for as long as Dylan could last.
We didn’t know it yet, but this would be John’s last Christmas party with his work. We always enjoyed the parties, and the bonuses. But this year the boys were finally old enough to leave in the hotel room while we were at the party, and then the next morning we went to the Houston Zoo. (We like Zoos, can you tell?)
That Christmas we went to Illinois. We celebrated Eric’s 11th birthday there at Northgate. You know he’s had birthday celebrations two of the nostalgic Galesburg locations: Northgate and Happy Jo’s (twice). John didn’t come home with us that year. He had to work all the way up to Christmas Eve. So we skyped on Alec’s first computer. That was 2009. I also believe this was the year they received their first Xbox 360. That definitely changed things at the house.
This is the year I feel I bonded with Becca for the first time. I take full credit for her makeup obsession.
In January, we picked out/up Stanley. Eric had rallied hard for a cat during our trip home. So we went. Stanley wasn’t a year old yet, but he was an older kitten for sure. He was also pretty sick. I adored him immediately. It took John a little longer, but he came around.
The spring of 2010 was pretty busy. Alec had soccer, and by this point, he was playing with Crossfire. Crossfire was family to Alec and John. Eric and Dylan were both playing, and I was managing Dylan’s team. We did celebrate Dylan’s birthday, and build legos.
In March, I went to Philadelphia for work. This time, Mom joined me. I met up with Erin for the first time since high school. And I presented at NSTA. I was also running again and was proud to run the streets of Philly.
John turned 40 at the end of March.
In May, I had to go to Las Vegas to help with some curriculum alignment pieces. It was just a day trip and I flew home to get the younger two boys and drive to Illinois. Cecilia was graduating from X-ray Tech school, and we were going.
At Cecilia’s party, I never even made it inside. I started on my way to the party to drop off the first load, and someone met me part way and took the items. On my way back for the rest, I slipped on the stairs at the hotel and broke my ankle.
My Aunt Jonna found me and got Dad. He and Mike carried me to the car and Dad took me to the hospital. So much for that party. The kids had fun, and Karen ended up taking them during the extra time there.
For me, this was a turning point. What can you do with a broken ankle?
John couldn’t come get me. First of all, Alec was in the middle of a soccer tournament. Second of all, he couldn’t get out of work. I was angry with him over this for a long time. Much longer than I should have been. My mom came to the rescue and drove me and the boys home. We flew her home.
Eric graduated from Elementary school that year (5th grade). John bought him his first pimp suit.
The kids were home for the summer again. Things were getting complicated because Alec could go to the pool by himself but he wasn’t old enough to take them. And Alec was pretty social. I went when I could because it was a great way to exercise that ankle. At this point, my life was all about physical therapy…and World Cup soccer. Can’t forget about that! Ha!
I also changed jobs. My boss finally retired and I wasn’t ready for his position yet. Fortunately, I could transition to Professional Development and help with the new virtual team. This meant attending the summer meeting, and yippee, I was able to bring the kids for a night. John had gone home to Illinois for a reason we can’t put our finger on (other than just not getting along).
Before school started, Leslye and I took a trip to visit mom. It’s a rarity I go to visit family without the kids. I think this was my reciprocation trip for his July trip to IL.
By the time school started, I was out of the boot and walking. I was also delivering some training with the Austin school district. Customers were going to start taking more of my time.
John was still with the geotechnical company. He was getting really unhappy. He had been promoted, but there wasn’t a ton of support from home office and his staff was having their own personal issues.
I believe we started sitting on the board for soccer this year, although I could be off by a year.
Amazingly that fall I won something. I never win anything! I guess the Universe felt bad about the ankle business. I won 2 VIP 3-day passes to ACL (Austin City Limits) from one of the local radio stations. The first night I took my neighbor. The next two days, John and I went. We even won hotel accommodations. It was pretty cool. Our neighbors took us to lunch that Sunday at the Four Seasons. It was a nice weekend, and I think we barely fought.
It wasn’t long after that Dad came for a visit. He was in between jobs, so he decided to come down. While he was here, John quit his job. You’ll recall, I’m already angry with him over the ankle. This was a tipping point for me because here’s a man who would give anything to have a job (getting ready to do stock at Kmart) and John just quits his. Without another job! (breathe in…1…2…3…4…5…exhale)
Remember my boss who once said she didn’t like her husband for a whole year. This was when I really started to understand what she meant. Unfortunately, I didn’t handle it well at all. I let it fester, and I’m sure I lashed out at inappropriate times. I know I wasted his entire last paycheck. God, I was a selfish brat.
The photos below are of John playing Risk with the boys.
I don’t know if our anniversary was right at Thanksgiving that year or not. I’m pretty sure it was. I took the kids home though and he stayed here.
The Bellamy family was on very shaky ground. We were both angry. How would we fix it? How long would it take? How do we keep it together?
Note: More photos are coming. There’s plenty for each section, I’m having technical difficulties with the external drive. So hang tight. What you see here has been pulled from Facebook.
The end of 2008 had the Bellamy’s busy. Alec was a freshman in high school and playing soccer. He was also battling some acne issues that would create more problems in 2009. Eric was in 4th grade – the year reading became important. Dylan was in his final year of Pre-K. The baby wasn’t much of a baby anymore.
Nana and Papa came for Christmas, and we all went to Sea World the day after Christmas. It was actually chilly here, but we still had a nice time with family.
That spring, Eric was in the science fair again. Everyone was playing soccer, and by this point, I was managing Dylan’s team. I took another work trip. This time to New Orleans, all by myself. I enjoyed walking Bourbon Street and going out with my hotel neighbor (we were at a science conference).
At the end of May, Dylan graduated from Pre-K. It also marked the start of the summer that Alec and Eric took care of Dylan when we weren’t on vacation.
The summer of 2009 is one of my favorites. The boys and I went to Yosemite with Kara. The only thing that would have made it better was to go with John. Our trip consisted of the boys and I driving to Arizona, and John flying out. A large group of friends from John’s class met up at Kara’s because Jake got married. Once we finished that celebration, Kara, the boys and I loaded up in Kara’s camper and started for California. It was definitely an adventure. I’d like to do it again now that the boys are older. I’d also like to take John. He’d love it there.
While we were in Yosemite having fun, John was home in the sweltering heat tiling our floor. Ask him about that sometime. Ask him if it’s finished.
This is also the summer of the first ever Family Olympics. I love the concept of Family Olympics and I am seriously hoping that I planted the seed so that my sons will want to have family competitions for the rest of our lives. I forget how competitive I can be until I start competing. Jim, Alec, and I kicked everyone else’s butts. We’ve had Family Olympics 3 times, and I believe we are seriously overdue for another.
By the fall of 2009, my job was starting to change again. We were basically running out of product to write due to the lack of funds. We had just been purchased from Reader’s Digest. While we were working on Middle School science, we weren’t sure it would really happen. I was starting to get involved with some specific implementations due to the size and importance of associated with securing the sale. I was starting to see a different side of the company, but I was hoping to succeed my boss when he retired the following year.
We participated in our first Pancreatic Cancer walk. All of us did. The younger boys did the 1K and Alec did the 5K with me. I was pretty slow, and he was pretty patient. I volunteered at Dylan’s school, and trick-or-treating was just our thing.
The concert was Rob Zombie. Did I go with John? Nope, went with Ilene. My boss’s son was in the band. It was fun. We were doing a lot, but I’m not sure how much we were really doing together.
The fall also meant that I was coaching Dylan’s soccer team. John was managing Alec’s team. Eric was playing too. We lived soccer folks. As you can see, the Bellamy family has fallen into a routine. Work/school then soccer then school work/responsibilities. There are good things about routine, but there are also some hazards. Those hazards will show their face in 2010, stay tuned.
Healthy relationships are not something we seem to teach kids. Schools, to me, seem to be trying through Character Education, anti-bullying campaigns, and so on. And I suppose my generation learned a little about it during health class, but otherwise, learning about healthy relationships was left to families, and often the church. I can’t speak for what John learned growing up, but I can for myself. My mom and Jim modeled how to have a loving, supportive relationship. Jim was level-headed and mom was the reactor. My dad and his different wives (sorry I’m lumping you ladies) had the same “man is level-headed and the woman is the reactor” composition.
When you struggle with anything, especially something emotional like relationships, you lean on what you have learned. My mom and Jim are what Alec would deem a little “extra” and honestly, no one can replicate that. My dad has been married 3 times. Sure, this last one has been longer than 25 years now, but still, I can remember the different girlfriends.
Yeah, I knew we were trying to find OUR way. Personally, I instinctually want to run when anything gets tough. I get too emotional and expect the man to be level-headed and clean up the mess. What John and I did though was sweep it under the rug and pretend it wasn’t happening. We just doubled-down on the kids and their stuff.
So, at the end of 2007, life was interesting. This is the year Mom and Jim brought Grandma to Texas for Christmas! That was a nice visit and I loved showing off that I could afford a home.
2008 was a busy year. First of all, Alec was in 8th grade. There were plays, ceremonies, graduations, and so on. He also worked as a ref for soccer. Eric was in 3rd grade and he had just received his first F on his report card. Dylan was in the 3-4-year-old class at a new school and no news was good news.
Eric was participating in the science fair, probably because he had to.
March of 2008, John and I went to Boston for a work related trip. I was going to the NSTA convention for work, and John could take vacation. I would go to the convention for a good chunk of the day, and then we would adventure through the rest of the day/night. We really are two headstrong people though. He’s just an Aries who always has to be in charge and right, and I’m fighting years of being told what to do. It made for some fun moments.
2008 is the year Alec and I threw a surprise party for John for his birthday. Sure, he was only 38 (not 40). But if I did it on a big year, he’d figure it out and tell me I couldn’t have the party. So, we surprised him. I really believe he was pleasantly surprised.
That spring, Alec decided he was going to lose his mind. He did normal 8th-grade things, just pushing his boundaries and limits. But the boy actually ended up grounded on his birthday.
When school got out, we took the kids to Sea World. By this point, Sea World had roller coasters and water parks included. We went for the day and just had a ball.
That summer, ALL of the kids went to IL. The boys had adventures. John and I had to learn how to be with just each other. Oh, boy, did we fight. And fight. And fight some more. Then it was time to go to his 20th high school reunion. (can you feel the tension building)
Once we were home, everyone wanted to see us. They’d had our kids for a couple of months now, and they were eager to see us. But we were focusing on the reunion (not my directive). Fortunately, we ignored him some and were able to get some fabulous family photos and visit with people. But let me tell you, I know during that visit I had many ugly moments. I told you I was becoming someone I wasn’t sure I liked.
Fall came and it was time for school to start again. Alec was starting high school. Dylan was starting pre-K. Eric was starting 4th grade. Everyone was playing soccer. Both John and I were involved with managing or coaching. Soccer was our life. By this point, we were on auto-pilot. We had a little more time before complete engine failure, but not long.
Since my last story post was a day ago, let’s recap. We’re in Texas now. John’s still working on the toll road, and I’m still teaching. When we aren’t doing one of those things, we are knee deep in the kids’ activities (aka soccer).
In the Fall of 2006, I had changed schools and left the classroom. If I had stayed in AZ, I would’ve been out by now, so I had to try. Interventionist was step one. My boss was the AP for Curriculum, so that meant my next step was principal certification. Did I ask anyone’s permission or even thoughts, nope? Although he supported me by taking care of the kids while I was in class, and talking through stuff with me.
Apparently, we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas that year, although I know differently. I am just having difficulties locating pictures. Eric was turning 8. Dylan was going to turn 4 in February. And by mid-2007, Alec would be 13.
The spring was all about working out, over-extending myself at work, and going to class. We did take a little adventure to Oklahoma for some camping with John, Kara, Conner, and our kids. We even got John on a boat.
As I mentioned above, Alec became a teenager that year. I was so shocked at how ignorant he treated me. Gosh he was ridiculous.
By the time school ended our lives would change. I had an opportunity to leave the classroom. I could work in online publishing, and not for a boring old textbook company, but for a thought-leader. So as soon as school was out, I started work. A couple things happened…
First, the older two went to Illinois without Dylan. That was tough for Dylan. Second, Dylan had to stay in preschool over the summer. Not so good. By the end of summer Dylan was changing schools after being kicked out of the one he was in. Like Eric before him, we never had another school issue with him.
I never realized how important summers off with my kids were until I didn’t have them. I still miss it. It’s just so carefree. Anyway, I’m digressing.
By the fall of 2007, I was completely wrapped up in a new job. It still took almost all of my time, but it paid more. There were so many moving pieces and I loved every second of it. It was all new.
What I didn’t realize was that I was becoming a person I’m not so sure I liked. John and I were fighting more. I wasn’t home as much. My attention had shifted, and I didn’t realize how much that was going to impact all of our lives. I was allowing my job to become my top priority. That’s never wise. Not for anyone.
Hey y’all, as we hit the halfway point in the marriage, I believe we can start to draw a few conclusions about what makes a marriage last. I’ll pinpoint what I feel are the 3 most important so far. Let’s see if y’all agree.
1. Communication is critical. Every single time John and I have had issues in our relationship, the key missing ingredient is communication. You may say, “but you argue all the time, isn’t that communicating?” Fine, let me clarify. Healthy communication is critical to a relationship.
For John and I, this became most evident in 2002-2003. When we went to counseling, one of our strategies was to journal to each other each day. Sometimes more than once. After we’d read it, we’d talk about anything that really needed worked through.
Our notebook strategy not only helped then, but we’ve used it several times since. Now though, we skip the notebook and just talk.
2. You may not always like each other, but it’s just temporary. I suspect some of you are laughing hysterically and others of you are confused. While yet the rest of you know exactly what I mean.
In 2005, my boss at the time was celebrating her 25th anniversary. As she was recounting some fond memories, she hit a year where she exclaimed, “I didn’t like him at all that entire year.” It was a sudden aha moment. By gosh, I didn’t have to pretend he hung the moon (not that I did, but I felt guilty because I didn’t). I won’t say we didn’t have issues after this, but just having her give me permission was so refreshing.
While John and I have never discussed this one with each other, I can think of moments he couldn’t have liked me. I didn’t like me. You won’t like me. Most of that is in the years still to come in our story.
3. Family is born AND chosen. Over the years we have been blessed to have so much family around. Some of the family is due to birth or marriage while other is chosen and built on shared experiences.
When we were first married, we couldn’t have done it without family. Heck, if it wasn’t for Dad, we wouldn’t have been married when we were. If it hadn’t been for Tom, we wouldn’t have had furniture. If it hadn’t been for Karen (and my younger sisters), we wouldn’t have been able to be college kids occasionally. If it hadn’t been for Mom & Jim, Alec & I wouldn’t have gone to England. If it hadn’t been for Dad & Le, we wouldn’t have had a place to live during student teaching, and we wouldn’t have had help moving across country. I didn’t appreciate them at the time, and now I’d love to be closer. But they all live in IL. I just can’t do it.
Once we moved, we no longer had the unconditional support system. But we had friends. Friends who were ready for us the moment we arrived. Jobs, babysitting, moral support, laundry services, you name it, The Flanagan’s became our family.
More importantly though, for better or worse, John and I created our own family. It was only when we moved away from the automatic support that we were able to grow together and strengthen us.
We have had lots of family move in and out of our lives over the years, but for the last 28, John and I have been each other’s consistency.
Come back tomorrow for 2006-2007. There are some changes on the horizon.
Time for the Bellamy family is just flying by! Alec is in 6th/7th grade. Eric is in 2nd/3rd grade, and Dylan is still in preschool.
When we moved to Texas, we didn’t have a support system. But in our neighborhood, we were building a family. That New Year’s Eve, we had a GREAT time in the neighborhood! Rock band, plenty of alcohol, and I’m sure there was poker.
Dylan turned 2! I turned 33 that year. Not only did I get my favorite lamp, but I went skydiving. I had finally lost enough weight. (I’ll see if I can dig up a picture.) John turned 36, Alec turned 12, and Eric was 7.
Remember that visit from Karen, Pat, Lynne, and Ivy last Easter? Well, I was off a year. It was actually this year that they came. John also got his motorcycle. When they visited, we hid the motorcycle next door.
At the beginning of May, I may a poor behavior management choice with my class, and I ended up suspended for 8 days. Talk about the worst feeling in the world. But I will say, I haven’t felt the same about teaching since then. I was placed on a reasonable action plan to attend some classroom management training, and everything was okay.
That June, my mom and I took our first adventure to NYC. This is definitely the one we paid the most for. We stayed just off Times Square. We saw the filming of Spiderman 2 (RIP Stan Lee). We went to see The Color Purple and Rain (with Rudd, Roberts, and Cooper) on Broadway. We rode the double-decker bus, and we took the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It really was a grand time.
While I was in NYC, John took the kids to IL.
That July, I believe we hung out with the neighborhood again. At that time, we were allowed to do fireworks as long as there wasn’t a burn ban. John would know. I also believe we went to a work picnic for John at the lake. I may be off a year though. Y’all know how it is, it starts to blur, and he’s starting to get cranky about me always asking him if he remembers. (haha)
Eric took swim lessons that summer and I was interviewed for the local News station. I had 2 minutes of fame – haha. I also believe Alec was doing conditioning for soccer.
While I had been suspended, I applied for positions in other school districts that would potentially take me out of the classroom. I was disappointed by the change in career trajectory due to moving from AZ to TX. In TX, an advanced degree doesn’t really matter in a school. They’ll say it doesn’t (it’s a statistic on the yearly report card), but it doesn’t enough to pay fairly. Anyway, I’m digressing. I needed out of the classroom. Honestly, I no longer trusted my judgement.
Miraculously, I was called from a high school that needed an interventionist. I was thrilled, and probably a little under-qualified. But my heart was in the right place.
John was still working on the toll road. By this point, people were driving on portions of it, and they were beginning the next portion.
This is the year I went to ACL for the first time thanks to Lynne. I had always heard how addictive it was, and how once you went you always had to go. Boy, they weren’t wrong.
We also had the BEST family pictures taken ever. These are the ones still hanging on our wall. Maybe it’s time to update.
All of our free time was soccer. Alec was playing for Lonestar at this point? Eric was playing for Round Rock. John took Alec. I took Eric and Dylan. We couldn’t go home as often, or at least all of us couldn’t.
This is one of those years that we didn’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we hosted the neighborhood. Everyone always loved John’s cooking. We also had a fireman and a waitress in the hood, and their hours sometimes meant their loved ones were alone. So we made sure everyone was included.
It took us a while, but we were finally settling down and buying a home. We would’ve never been able to buy one in AZ, so this was exciting. We were going to be in our new home by Christmas.
Mom & Jim came first. They bought us some new furniture for our new house. Then Dad & LeAnn came for Christmas.
That spring, we just settled in. Dylan has his own space since he was in a crib. Alec and Eric shared a room.
Mom & Jim were back in February for Dylan’s first birthday. Leslye came for a visit. And Karen, Lynne, Pat and Ivy came for Easter. We had so much fun!
That April/May, we got Zorro. He was such a cute little goober, and he and Morgan were a pretty good team.
We learned that year that Eric has some kind of plant allergy. The poor kid missed the last days of school because he looked like the elephant man.
One benefit of teaching was summers off, and now that we were closer to home, I took advantage. That summer, the boys and Zorro and I went to IL/MO. Who travels with a 15 month old and a puppy? Me. Yep, crazy.
<insert photos from summer>
While we were in IL, John went skydiving with Jake and his friend Reggie.
That fall, Alec started 6th grade. He was at my school again. Eric was in 1st. Alec started league soccer. Eric attempted football. John and I had to divide and conquer. I’m pretty sure my entire existence at that time was Dylan.
<insert photos from soccer and football>
I started trying to get more involved in school. I became a collaborative teacher. I planned the Fall Carnival. And I had my first panic attack. I had to go in an ambulance because my BP was so high. They did tests, and I was fine. But I had to learn to set limits.
By Thanksgiving, we had neighbors! In typical Bellamy fashion, we hosted Thanksgiving for the neighborhood. Moving here had been the BEST decision ever!
By our 10th anniversary we had made it to Texas. John was working on the toll road everyone despised and I was teaching. We knew we could make this move work, even without a support system, because we had each other. To us, that was our only consistency. Well, that and love (mini-puke).
That Christmas we went home. First me and the kids, then John and Morgan. That was the year she chewed through her kennel and ended up on Dad & LeAnn’s roof. Silly dog!
Honestly, that Christmas was one of my favorites. The Boone side got together again, which we hadn’t done in forever. It was my first time meeting Desirae & Sebastian. The kids had the BEST time with their cousins.
<picture from Christmas coming>
Once we were home, time flew pretty quickly. Ivy was born the end of January. For my birthday, John took me to see Phantom of the Opera. It snowed (seriously, in Texas?!). And I helped administer my first TAKS test. Bleh.
<picture of Ivy coming>
Dylan was born a couple of weeks early in February instead of March.
My friend and coworker, while I was pregnant, warned me that we were screwed. I didn’t believe her. In my mind, we could each handle 2 kids. She said, “you might as well have 20 kids.” I told her she was wrong. Again, my life was providing foreshadowing that I was ignoring.
While on maternity leave, my Dad and LeAnn visited. Let me just say, they scared the crap out of me. They got in a major car wreck. I could hear the emergency sirens where I lived. Then John called and said someone was picking me and the baby up. So scary!
<picture of car coming>
Once my leave was up, my mom and Karen came to stay with Dylan. Honestly, one of THE most amazing things! That way we didn’t have to put Dylan in daycare until the fall. Plus, they were with us for Mothers Day, and Alec’s 10th birthday.
<pictures from Nana and Karen visit coming>
That summer was fun! First, I took Dylan to Arizona. I had some very important people who I needed to see graduate, and some friends wanted to meet the wee one.
Then, we went to Missouri. Grandma Lockwood was housesitting for Nana & Papa while they were in Italy, so we came to hang out. That’s when Eric called the 911 because he was in “big trouble.” Gosh that kid!
Good news! I found a teaching position closer to home, and Eric started Kindergarten.
I hit it off with my team right away. One teammate had a husband who worked for a builder. They had just put in the last houses of a neighborhood and they were discounted. So we tried, and qualified! We were finally getting our own home!
Wow! Life just can’t get much better.
Note: My apologies for all of the picture placeholders. While we were digital at this point, not everyone else was. I need pictures from the photo tub but don’t want to wake John. I’ll add them once he has gone to work.
This is one of my favorite years. If Dylan had been a part of it, it would be my all-time favorite. But he wasn’t born yet.
By our 9th anniversary, we were making amends to each other. We made sure we had date night. I tried to not get as directly involved in my students lives. The few it was too late, they were my babysitters.
That Christmas, we took the kids to Disneyland. This is THE best surprise ever. We drove to Disney. The kids were clueless. We had driven to San Diego enough, they just assumed we were doing something like that.
So we got to the hotel. John checked in and right away we got on the trolley/bus to Disney. I don’t know how they didn’t notice any Mickey heads, but they didn’t. As we came alongside Disney, Alec noticed. He turned around really quick and was like, “can we go there?” We played it off like we had to think about it for a second and then said, “yes.”
No one on the bus could believe it. If it had been today, we’d be viral, I’m sure. They were ecstatic!
We spent 3 days at Disneyland. Had a ton of fun! So many signatures and pins. It was COLD too! We had to buy coats, gloves, and hats in CA. Ha!! We were there for Eric’s birthday too. We left for home on Christmas Eve.
That Christmas, Jake hung out with us. Then Dad and LeAnn made their annual trip to gather rocks. We actually went to Tombstone and down to Tucson during that visit.
That spring, John went back to school for IT. We were even discussing becoming more involved together in the school district by John running for school board.
Alec tried basketball instead of soccer.
I was involved in a bunch of committees. My intent was to work my way into administration with my eventual Master’s degree. I was using a trial program we were starting at the school in the fall for research. It was all coming together perfectly. I’d hopefully be able to move out of the classroom when the last of “my kids” graduated in 04.
John went home for his mom’s 60th birthday, as did the rest of his siblings. It was the first BIG birthday with all four of her kids.
Right at the end of school, we got pregnant with Dylan. I knew the second it happened. I had a trip planned to AL to visit Leslye, and went. I still have my Sweet Home Alabama t-shirt from the airport – haha.
That summer, Jessica came to stay. She watched the boys so we could work. I was teaching summer school, attending committee meetings, and going to school at ASU.
We kept it quiet as long as we could about being pregnant. We wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be another miscarriage. By the time Jess left, I think we were telling people.
That July we took 2 trips with Jessica. One to Mexico: Kara, Jess, me and the boys. The 2nd was to San Diego, and John went on that one with us. We went to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World and the beach. We wanted to give Jessica the whole experience.
(See why this is my favorite year!)
Right about the time Jess headed home, John started interviewing for a position in Texas. They were building a toll road and needed someone to do lab work. Quickly, John had a phone interview. Flew out for an interview. Then we drove out to scope things out. And then we moved.
If you haven’t noticed, we don’t do things slowly. We just Ready, Go! Not much aim. We knew it would be a good move. At the very least, we’d be closer to actual family. We knew I could teach anywhere.
We moved on Sept 3. Kara helped us. We brought Morgan, who initially stayed with Dana for a bit. We felt bad putting her in the apartment. We took her back before long. We just had to walk her.
We got Alec into soccer. He actually met one of his life long friends back then, and another of his future high school classmates (and teammates). Everyone did a great job making us feel included and they were always curious about the soon to come baby.
Uncle Mikey graduated from boot camp in the Air Force that year, so Dad, LeAnn, Dan, Cec and Becca came through town. Becca cried anytime Grandma left without her. The entire time she was gone. Even if Grandpa was there. While they were in town we learned we were having a boy. After that time with Becca, I was okay with that (sorry girlie, I love you bunches). We had a fun trip. We went to San Antonio and Galveston. Always an adventure.
I didn’t get a new job until mid-October. It would be hard to get hired when I needed maternity leave in April. But I was. That should’ve been a warning. Those kids were batshit crazy. I missed my CG kids. Oh well, a job is a job.
Karen and Patrick came to visit at Halloween. Ashley (Patrick’s GF) was pregnant too. She was due a month before we were. At least there would be cousins the same age. They had a nice visit with the boys. It was nice that we were closer.
By that anniversary, I was pretty pregnant. John gave me my giant CZ earrings and necklace. Life was good, and we were about to be a lopsided family of five. Our anniversary is usually over Thanksgiving, and we spent that one in Missouri with Nana and Papa.
We left off a week before our anniversary in 2001, and John had expressed that he wanted a divorce. We didn’t do much about it at the time, except maybe let it fester. It definitely clouded our anniversary and the upcoming holidays.
We spent Christmas of 2001 in Illinois. Many of our friends were still there. We enjoyed ourselves, but I’m sure they didn’t help our relationship any.
As the spring semester began, school was still talking most of my time. The TEAM program was showing success, but it took a lot of our focus and attention. I also believe this was the year I sponsored the Step team. Again, I was always wrapped up in the kids’ drama, and I would bring the kids home when I could.
To add to it, I started a Masters Degree in spring. I did not ask. I just took care of the process and started classes. It was a good decision, but at the time it was very selfish. I wasn’t exactly helping my marriage situation.
Alec was still playing soccer and John was still coaching. Both were really enjoying their efforts. The good news was that even though John and I were struggling, the boys didn’t seem to be impacted much yet. They were still happy little boys.
That May/early June we went home for graduations for Mike & Jess. (Mikey, sorry I don’t have a photo of you from that time.) Once we came home, I taught summer school for the first time.
All this time, we had never really done anything about John’s divorce request from six months prior. We fought. We fought a lot. I was pretty emotional during that time period and didn’t always handle those emotions properly. We had also become distracted by other people.
By the fourth of July, our emotions were so raw, I reciprocated the divorce request.
Fortunately, neither of us really wanted to get divorced, and John’s company actually covered marriage counseling through their insurance, so we went. We were only slotted 5 sessions, but we went. And we did all of our homework. More importantly, we found ways to communicate that worked for US. It wasn’t easy. It took daily intentions. But we worked at it.
Just before school resumed in the fall, Mom & Jim gave us their Chevy Blazer. This was a wonderful blessing for our growing family. The boys and I went and met our niece/cousin Miracle. Then John flew in and we drove to from IL to Dallas to meet his sister Dana in person. While there, we went to Six Flags.
Once home, John and I were doing so well, working on our marriage, that we had temporary insanity and got pregnant. Within a couple of weeks though, we miscarried. I was so sad that John called the doctor to prescribe anti-depressants. I took them for a week.
So in an attempt to distract me and cheer me up, we decided to go to Las Vegas with Dana that September. John had already been with her once, and they had a great time. So he was hoping this would do the trick. It didn’t, but it was nice.
We managed to stay positive and happy in our marriage even though we had the miscarriage. By this point it was the second year for the TEAM program, and I had learned how to establish some boundaries. I had also convinced John that my Master’s degree would have tremendous value. He was doing well in his position, and was enjoying his new project at Sky Harbor Airport.
That fall, we bought first Sony digital camera. We were planning to take the boys to Disney that Christmas, and we wanted a digital camera to take tons of pictures.
Just a year ago, I would have wagered that we were going to be divorced, and here we were, a happy little family again. It’s a good thing because 2003 was going to bring MAJOR changes.
Before we go to the next year, let’s discuss some things. I want to make sure we are clear:
- This was all a long time ago. Obviously we’ve moved on, and the point of this series is to figure out how, even with these blemishes, we still made it.
- This is my blog, not John’s. I can’t tell you what he was thinking at any time. All I can tell you is what I experienced or perceived from him. Does that make sense?
- I am going to own a lot of this. Over the years, I’ve confided in different people and they will feel differently. That’s ok. I know I was a crazy lady, and as I look back, I find myself really shaking my head. I didn’t realize just how crazy. Hopefully, I’m learning a little something.
- If I leave something and/or someone out, it was probably intentional. Some details are not critical to the story. Other topics, I know better than to discuss at certain depths. Just because I’m writing about it doesn’t mean you need all the details. But it also doesn’t mean I don’t remember.
Come back tomorrow and we will move on to 2001-2002. Obviously, we get over the divorce hurdle. I think there’s lessons in the how though.
Let me begin this entry by saying when two people are married, some years are easier than others. Sometimes spouses are oblivious to what is going on. This was one of those years. I was clueless that my actions were causing issues.
What actions? Well, I had a work friend who was a guy. I had no idea he wanted more than friendship. But John knew. I also spent WAY too much time focused on my students. I gave them rides. They babysat for us. I was doing everything short of having them move in. I was putting rifts in our marriage and had no clue.
We had just moved into a house we rented in Casa Grande. So that year we stayed in Arizona for Christmas.
That January, we got Morgan. And I had a little scare and had to wear a heart monitor. Nothing was wrong. But we had to be safe.
Mom & Jim visited in February for my birthday. As always, we did the zoo.
We became major race fans that year. Eric would actually watch racing.
Eric had his second and final surgery that year. He could’ve used one more, but they knew he’d be too restless at 3 to endure the extenders.
Alec played on his first soccer team that spring in Casa Grande.
That April, friends came to town for U2. It was a fun weekend but something happened and our two favorite couples were now feuding. This impacted many years moving forward, for all of us.
That summer, we had two family reunions. The Boone reunion, which was awesome! We learned we really were descendants of Daniel Boone. Finally!
We also had a get together of all of our people at the bowling alley. It wasn’t often all of our family members will come together, but this was a lot of fun. Even my grandma came!
One of the best things. John found Dana that year. Another sister-in-law, woohoo!
When school resumed, we were starting our TEAM program. This had me at work and/or doing work even more than before. The guy from work transferred, thank goodness.
John was coaching Alec’s soccer team.
Sept 11. There are too many words. Too many emotions. Not enough blog.
In October, we went to the Grand Canyon. My favorite picture of John and Eric is from this trip. Our camera definitely stunk. By this point, John and I were not getting along at all.
And of course, we spent a lot of time at Kara’s. All year round. She was my best friend and really acted like the kids’ aunt. By this point, she had moved, so it took time to get to her house. But we still went every weekend.
November came and a week before our anniversary, John told me he wanted a divorce. It was like I was hit by an invisible bus. You could feel it but never saw it coming.
1999 had been a pretty successful year for the little Bellamy family in Phoenix. That November, John’s company had its holiday get together. His friend’s girlfriend worked in a high school. Within a couple of weeks, they had a science teacher opening.
Somehow I got the position. My parents came to town for Thanksgiving that year. As always, we did the zoo and they built a cardboard box car with Alec.
Eric’s birthday was in December. We had a little celebration with our friends the Briscoes, and then went home for Christmas to have the big 1st birthday party at Happy Joe’s.
The spring was busy. I was commuting an hour each day with a group of people. And I was buried in teacher planning.
As usual, Kara always helped by picking up the slack. She helped a lot with both boys.
Eric has his first surgery to begin reducing the mole on his head. That was traumatic. Poor baby.
That March, John turned 30. We threw him a big party.
We went to Missouri for Memorial Day weekend, Karen came down too. I believe this was the trip where John went back early, and I followed later with the kids. I ended up on delayed flights and actually wrote a letter to the airline.
I don’t remember much about that summer. It was the only year I didn’t do summer school, and it was our last summer in Phoenix. I suspect I spent a lot of time in the pool and at Kara’s. I believe Alec went to IL for the last time alone.
That fall, Alec started coming to school in Casa Grande. It allowed me to be nearby if needed. I didn’t carpool as much. I was Freshmen class sponsor, amongst other things. I loved working with those kids. This was my first group to work with from day 1. I devoted myself to them.
By our anniversary, we had an opportunity to rent a house in Casa Grande. We jumped at the chance. John would have to commute, but he was working nights, so it wasn’t as awful as it could be.
We just kept moving forward, and that’s all you can do. 2001 was going to prove challenging though. Stay tuned.
As we started our 6th year together, John was working in a geotechnical lab and I was hostessing at a restaurant. More importantly, I was pregnant and due soon.
The doctor decided to induce so that he wasn’t as big as Alec had been. So the weekend of Dec 18, 1998. John was supposed to go see his sister graduate, but couldn’t because we were waiting to be called in to the hospital.
On the 20th we went in. By that night he was born. We went home the next day. But due to the giant hairy Nevis on his head, we had several different appointments to make sure it was superficial. It was, but he’d eventually have surgery.
We weren’t going to worry about it though. Nana visited first. In a few months, Grandma Karen came. We were a perfect little family of four.
Once Eric was born, I found a job as a preschool teacher. Before long, I managed to become Director. I’m not sure I was ready, but it was a fun few months, and I was able to be with both kids all day long.
Alec turned 5 that year. We celebrated at a Disney place. It was cool. He was obsessed with A Bug’s Life.
That summer we took our first journey to Sea World and San Diego. I sure do miss that short drive. We love it there.
That fall, Alec started Kindergarten. Both kids were well loved everywhere they went, and Alec had lots of friends.
By the end of the 6th year, I was interviewing for another teaching position, thanks to a friend of John’s. Life was good.
Hey y’all, last year I sold a few paintings before Christmas thanks to my oldest challenging me, and some gracious family members.
This year, I thought I’d be a little more intentional.
Here’s how it will work, ordering details are below. We are going to keep it simple. You can purchase one I’ve already painted by shopping here. Or you can send me a private Facebook message by going here. For a new painting, we will use the following specifications:
Small $10 Up to 5×7 or 5×5
Medium $20 Up to 11×14 or 10×10
Large $40 Up to 16×20 or 12×12
XLarge $60 Anything larger
Paintings can be acrylic on wrapped canvas or canvas panel, or watercolor on paper (or dictionary page). Please note the “up to.” That means there are multiple sizes in each range to choose from, or leave it to the artist’s discretion.
Watercolor paintings can be framed and/or matted for an additional fee.
Shipping will be case-by-case.
I’m best with scenery and animals, and prefer a reference photo. I am willing to attempt abstract/geometric, and enjoy collages.
Deadline to order is Monday November 26 at midnight. Order by messaging me here.
Consider a personal, heartfelt gift for a friend (or neighbor) or family member today !
If you don’t need a painting, that’s ok. Share this post. That supports me more than you know.
Our first year in Phoenix wasn’t necessarily easy, but I don’t really think we noticed the struggle. I later learned this was because we were borrowing money from my mother-in-law. And borrowing is not the correct word choice. We weren’t paying it back. Any way, most of the time I won’t bring the little nit-picky things like this up, but money is unfortunately one of those wretched threads in our lives. We suck at it and I like to point it out. Not because I want either John or I to feel bad, but because I would love for my children to possibly learn from my mistakes, and also so I don’t forget.
Kids, it is important to have support no matter what, but it is also important to learn to handle your own struggle. It’s easier at 20 than it is at 40.
So in 1997 we were a happy little family. We were no longer in the roach motel apartment. I was actually teaching! And it was Kindergarten. And Alec was just down the hall because it was a charter school. We had Kara and John & Sarah for support if we needed help with Alec.
Here’s where we get a little fuzzy. We know we went home that year, and believe it was probably Thanksgiving. Back then, we could afford to fly. That Christmas, everyone came to see us. And I mean everyone. (if I don’t have a picture of you here, I’m sorry, my picture organization skills stink) We were now the vacation destination – especially in the winter. Who wouldn’t want to leave yucky Illinois winter weather for sunny Arizona? And back then it was temperate in the winter in AZ.
After Christmas came and went, we were back at school. I was a first year teacher, and I absolutely LOVED those kids. Creating centers for them to have differentiated learning was critical to my existence. The more I worked with these kids and the older Alec was getting, I found my biological clock ticking. I honestly never thought I would have more than one, but I found myself wanting another kid.
Right around John’s birthday that year, we got pregnant with Eric. We did not handle announcing him well at all. I believe we sent an e-card. Kids, here’s today’s lesson. Don’t send an e-card to tell your parents you are having a baby.
That May, John left Subway and went to work with his first geotechnical company. Woohoo! We were moving on up in the world. Best part, separating business and friendship. Working for your best friend’s family was stressful.
That summer, I did temp work again, just to make ends meet since we were going to have a second kid. The teaching job only paid $18K/year and it was only during those 9 months. Alec went to Illinois for most of the summer, going from family to family in Illinois and Missouri.
Pregnancy was not my friend this time around. I was uncomfortable from the beginning. I was also a witch. I actually don’t know how John didn’t leave during this pregnancy. I was a hot mess before people even started using that terminology.
When school resumed, I moved up with my kids to first grade. We changed locations, as the charter school was starting to really struggle financially. Alec moved with me, but he had a tough time there. By the end of September we were leaving the school. This was the ONLY time in my life I left a job without having a job in its place.
Remember how I mentioned this pregnancy made me crazy, well…once I left the charter school, I ended up working as a hostess at a restaurant right by the Subway. It was owned by one of the former owners of the restaurant John worked at back in college. See, I can’t be idle. I go crazy if I’m not contributing to the family bottom line. Even if it really isn’t helping, like this probably wasn’t. I’m sure we were still borrowing money from Karen. I know we had borrowed money from my parents for my student loans. Again, can you say “hot mess.”
Fortunately, there was some stability right around the corner. Eric about to join us. 1999 was going to be a better year, or at least one could hope, right?
Note: this is the last year with so few pictures. It was kind of disappointing. I suspect our parents have some.
As we celebrated our anniversary in 1996, it was almost graduation time. Our plan was to move to AZ right after Christmas. We packed up the Uhaul and Dad & Le, and off we went.
I was so excited! We were leaving that crappy town behind. We were leaving the meddlers behind. We were off to be a family and embark on an adventure.
Right away, John started working at Subway for the Flanagan’s. I found a temp job. Initially, I worked days and John worked nights. Our friend Kara would come during the overlap to watch Alec. It didn’t take long and she was Aunt Kara.
Both John and I took turns going out with Kara. And that spring I took my first girls trip to Rocky Point.
That first apartment was questionable. It was cheap. We got a cat, who helped with pest control. And we stayed there until the Flanagan’s opened a new Subway. We jumped on the opportunity to move closer to that one, and I found a job at a preschool. That meant Alec had to finally go to daycare.
That first preschool was a godsend. We made some friends and had fun that summer. Then, that fall, I secured my first teaching job. Kindergarten.
We bought a second car. Our lemon. We were totally ripped off. The seller even changed his phone number. But that yellow CRX ended up being one of the best cars we ever had.
It was a pretty great first year in Arizona. We had a support system. We had real jobs. We had a nice apartment. We had two cars. We took Alec swimming almost daily. What more could two kids ask for?
Maybe another rugrat?
Note: not a lot of pictures during this year. We were pretty busy and pictures were still cameras and film developing. Most pictures were of Alec so that the grandparents could still see what he looked like.
They say the first two years are the honeymoon phase of a marriage. Year 3, the real work begins. Ha! They weren’t kidding.
The first Christmas without Tom was honestly a blur. Alec was extremely active. I believe that’s the year we were supposed to stay at Karen’s but went back to Macomb. Yeah, that first year…
We started struggling around 2 and a half years, in hindsight, it was partially because we chose to stay in Macomb the summer of 95. But we didn’t feel we could go home. Everyone had teenagers. John’s dad had just passed. Dad and Le’s house was pretty full. Plus, there was one more year of school for me.
Kids, here’s the next lesson, choices have consequences. We struggled. We really wanted to be independent. We managed to get housing assistance for the apartment though, and survived there until the next summer.
Our friends were still extremely important. They’d come to our place, or we’d go to theirs. Thanks to nearby family, we always had a sitter. If they couldn’t, someone from my work, an experienced mom with other kids, would watch him.
Our “go team” facade was starting to crack though. Money struggles have always brought out an ugly side in us. Basically, I set expectations (aka wants). He tries to make that happen financially. I flippantly ignore a rule. He gets pissed. I irrationally don’t understand why and cry hysterically. He gives up. The process repeats. It started back here, in 95-96.
His job had changed and wasn’t secure. I needed to bring in more than work study provided. We needed a fresh start.
A couple of friends had moved to Arizona, so that Memorial Day weekend we flew out for a visit. We knew this was the place, and set out to move to Phoenix. John could immediately get a job and I knew a principal at a middle school. What did we have to lose? (We really are great dreamers when we both believe.)
By the fall of 96 we moved back to Galesburg so that we didn’t have to pay rent, and more importantly food expenses. That fall I was going to student teach, so having family support was more important than ever. My grandma would even babysit. We were definitely blessed.
But first, Alec and I went to visit Nana and Papa in England. I mention that because 1, it was fun, and 2, I know it influenced my attitude the next few months.
During those few months, we learned that we just couldn’t survive in Galesburg. I’m pretty sure I morph into this weird version of “wanna be former cheerleader my poo doesn’t stink” me that existed in 1990. After two weeks with my mom, I’m sure I was pretty bad at that point. I still do it to an extent even now at 45.
It didn’t help that I spent most of my time doing school work. One time he said, “if this is how much time you’ll spend doing school work, you can’t be a teacher.” Seriously? It’s a little late now.
Then, to top it off, my one night off was for a bowling league with Les and her mom. Les was there a lot. And she had drama. That didn’t help any. But look how cute our goober kids were.
That’s my ownership in that year’s “crap.” He has his own parts.
It wasn’t all bad though.
Living with family was so helpful, yet so encroaching. We couldn’t have done it without them. Although no matter how much help we had, it seemed like they all got in the way. As I said, we just couldn’t take it. Moving day just couldn’t come fast enough.
Yesterday, we left learning that Tom, my father-in-law, was diagnosed with something that would change our lives forever. But let’s back up a second. See, when we found out we were pregnant, we had no clue what to do. Our moms didn’t react well (I understand as a mom now). I “got pregnant on purpose”, and we were going to have a “bastard child.” Not their best days. But the dads, especially Tom, were elated.
Once Alec was born, and we lived with them, Tom would wait for Alec to wake up. He’d come down the hall during the commercial from the ball game, and ask if he was awake. Over, and over. I would tell him to just wake him. But he’d have none of that. As soon as Alec would cry, there would be Tom.
So when we found out it was pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer, and he wasn’t going to fight it…it was right after Thanksgiving.
I forgot to add, Karen lost her mom unexpectedly that fall too. Nina was so special, and adored Alec. So it was a really tough year for Karen especially.
Alec’s first Christmas was special. And a bit sad. It was definitely full of wonder for a little guy, regardless of what else was going on.
We tried to keep going like nothing was different. That’s what Tom wanted. We were still in school. Karen, my mother-in-law, even sent us to Chicago for NYE, just to think about something else.
Tom passed in January. He loved being a grandpa more than anything. You could just tell. We weren’t there. It was one of those nights we’d been directed to do something “normal,” so we had a play date scheduled with a couple from Lamaze. That never happened. It took a long time for John to be ok. And from that moment forward, there was a hole.
Life moved forward though, whether anyone wanted it to or not. We continued hanging with the same friends, and playing a lot of cards. By that time, others started having kids too. We started having play dates, trips to the park and zoo.
I was still in college. John was still waiting tables. That summer, so we could stay in our little apartment, I even delivered newspapers. We survived on $12K/year back then. Can you believe it?!
Before long, it was Alec’s first birthday. We crammed everyone in our little apartment. It was the first big thing without Tom, but it was still special. Alec always had this ability to unite people, and as the first grand baby, he sure drew everyone in.
While we were missing Tom, and felt sad because we knew he’d never enjoy these celebrations with us, we knew we had to persevere and push forward. Alec deserved that much.
John and I had friends who really made a difference. Even though they were in the city and we were 4 hours away, they looked out for us, and made sure we knew our chosen family was behind us.
Milestones were happening on my side of the family as well. Mom graduated with her associates degree, and before the year is over, they’ll move to England.
Love and family, birth and chosen, had brought us this far. College was truly a safe and unique time for us. Even with such a gigantic loss. Next year, we experience some growing pains.
Look at how stinking happy we were. We were definitely happy, even though I cried the entire time. Just look at those faces. It’s Thanksgiving break and we were home from college, and we got married!
As a mom now, I just sit a shake my head. What in the hell were we thinking? We lived in a dorm. We didn’t make squat for money. How in the hell were we going to give this kid what he/she deserved? Sure hope “love” could work miracles.
Back to school we go. There’s 1 month left for us in the dorm, and then we’re renting a house with Jake.
Before any of that though, I managed to get into 2 car wrecks. One, I slid through the intersection. We were in IL still. It was my fault. No shocker.
A month later, during Christmas break, I got in the 2nd wreck. My father-in-law specifically said “don’t go on Cameron road.” Yep, so stubborn. I thought that one was going to hurt the baby. But he was fine.
After that mess, it was finally time to move into our “own place.” My next tip for you kids, don’t live with your man’s BFF, in a college town, while pregnant. Stress. Usually Jake was the lifesaver and John was the jerk, and in hindsight I am grateful for his presence. But at the time, I just wanted my own space for my little family.
John waited tables. I went to school and worked in the financial aid office. Since we were still college kids; we went out a lot. I didn’t drink since I was pregnant. (Second tip of the day, if you don’t want people touching your belly, don’t go to a bar pregnant.) We also had parties since we had a house a Jake worked for the local liquor distributor. We actually had great friends. Look how huge I was.
In May 94, Alec was born and our world completely changed. Up until that moment it was playing house. Suddenly we have this baby who is so stinking adorable and all I want to do is hold him 24/7. The worst part, we couldn’t. He had an infection and they kept him in the hospital for several days. We could snuggle him while there, but couldn’t take him home yet.
Once his staph infection cleared, we were released to go home. The first couple months were spent with my in-laws. It was summer. John took a factory job and I stayed home.
Everything was all about Alec. Everything. I’m so grateful we had those months.
During that summer, many of our friends joined us in wedded bliss. There was THE infamous bachelor party. Then Flanagan’s wedding. And then Glenn’s. Our tribe was growing up.
By August, we were moving into our first real apartment. Alone. My father-in-law furnished our home with furniture he gathered in southern IL, and helped us move in.
Back in school, life was pretty good. We had no money. We had good friends who liked playing cards. We had a beautiful son. We juggled our class and work schedule so Alec didn’t need a sitter, and when he did, we had an old family friend in town. If we wanted to go out, I had younger siblings who were teenagers who could come spend the night. On weekends, we enjoyed time with both friends and family. We were blessed.
Our one year anniversary comes. (We don’t have a single picture) Karen takes Alec for the weekend and John surprises me with an amazing private dinner at the nicest restaurant in town (he worked there). It was wonderful 💕
Our first year together was probably one of the best, and definitely one of the easiest. I wish we had enjoyed/appreciated it more. We were about to learn the worst news ever. That Thanksgiving (right after our 1 year anniversary), we learned my father-in-law was sick. Nothing was going to be the same.
[A note on photographs: we still were using film then. Most of our film was used on baby pictures. Not many of John & I together. It’s just how it goes.]
[Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads in back ground. Seriously! It just came on radio.]
What makes two people able to withstand the ridiculousness of the world and stick together for 25 years? I have been trying to figure that out since I was little and attended my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson’s 25th anniversary party. See, my parents were divorced. Their parents were divorced and widowed/remarried. What makes a marriage last?
Fast forward to today, and in 25 days, I’ll have reached that goal. Married for 25 years. And still ignorant to what makes a marriage last that long. Dumb luck? Stupidity? Ha!
Let’s see if we can figure it out together over the next 25 days. My over/under is on stupidity.
Today we’ll look at the years leading up to marriage. We met in 1990 at a party. We played pitch. We made out. He invited me to golf the next afternoon. I lied to my parents about working, and hence our relationship began. I was 17 and he was 20. I was just “screwing around.” Obviously, we both were.
There was a lot of “Krystal caused” turmoil that first year. Kids, don’t lie to your parents. It just prolongs the inevitable. And makes it WAY worse. But it explains the note on the back of my senior picture he carried in his wallet. (God, I was a dork)
John worked at the mall. Decided to go to college. So, I changed my college plans and followed him. More Krystal caused drama, and finally high school graduation. Here’s photos from my high school years. Note we didn’t have cell phones. We had to get film developed at Walgreens.
College was weird. We had our own friends due to dorms. Most of my friends didn’t like him. And I didn’t like most of his. Except for one or two.
[I can’t find a lot of college pics. John says I dig it all out and put it back, but not where it came from. So it’s all a mess. He’s totally right. I gave up looking.]
I did find some. The final one was even a selfie. Ha!
The first couple years at college were filled with too many parties, school, and work. It’s a blur. What isn’t a blur is nobody’s business. Neither of us had focus. Poor grades. Summer school. I even worked at the factory. Believe me, we had fun in there. Trips to other colleges for their parties. Adventures with friends to Great America. U2 concert. Beach Boys and the State Fair. Lots and lots of pitch. Maybe too much fun.
We were officially engaged in 1991, NYE. Right in the midst of it all. For some reason, we never gave up on us. And we were always together. When we weren’t, we didn’t function right.
By the fall of 1993, I was living in the coed dorm, so John was bunking with me while trying to get back into school. Not a big surprise, but we found out we were pregnant. Good old antibiotics and birth control. But it was the wake up call we needed.
By Thanksgiving, our families were bickering over when it was appropriate to get married. We were scared, and in the middle, so we just made the choice. We eloped. We didn’t even do that right. So with help, at 3 months pregnant, we got married.
Guess what, even that was Krystal drama. But John and I didn’t really care. That’s pretty much how we’ve lived moving forward. He doesn’t care what others think. Sometimes I go with it. Other times I follow along after, apologizing for Donkey (he’s an ass you know). Honestly, he says everything I’m too chicken shit to say out loud. And he knows it.
So that’s how we started as the Bellamy’s on November 23, 1993. Just two terrified kids trying to do right by a baby.
Up next, 1994. The best and worst, all in one.
Happy Monday everyone! Hope all is well with that pesky Venus Retrograde. As an Aquarius, I’m not feeling anything significant. Or I should say, I’m not feeling anything that isn’t just life. Life isn’t easy. Change has to happen.
So let’s discuss this week. It seems there are some interesting messages out there for us . I did notice my attitude came out in the Turn Signals deck this week (I was a little cranky last night). So I apologize in advance, but none of the snark is wrong.
For Monday/Tuesday we are presented with 17 The Star. This is WONDERFUL news honestly. The major arcana represent life altering situations. 17 The Star is letting us know that the challenging times are behind us and brighter times are ahead. All that really means is “less challenging” but as some of my former trainees used to exclaim, “thank you, baby Jesus!” On Oct 26 Venus started a new cycle. Just like Venus, we are now on a new beginning. We MUST set our expectations, follow our intuition, and manifest our dreams. We ARE on the right ROAD.
Then my snarky attitude popped in to add, as long as you Quit doing what you need to stop. You KNOW what that is. (I really love the pointedness of this deck)
I don’t know about you, but I have goosebumps. I think we all have a tendency to hang on to that one little bad habit. I mean, we can’t cut all of them, can we? Apparently, we need to.
Let’s see about Wednesday/Thursday. Here we have the Four of Fire. I’m telling you, “thank you, baby Jesus!” The gist of the Four of Fire is that life is GOOD. We should count our blessings. And if life isn’t good, then Exit the situation. Because anything that doesn’t fulfill our greater purpose, just isn’t necessary.
Yep, not much to that one.
And it leads us right into the weekend, Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Now that we’ve finally relaxed a bit and can breathe after all of life’s recent challenges, it is time to clear the clutter. For the weekend we have the Queen of Air, and in reverse (in other words, she means it). The Queen of Air wants you to cut out anything that doesn’t serve…both things and people (I think she was hanging out with Exit too long). But be logical about it. That’s what Mind is here to remind us. Think long and hard, analyze your instinctual responses, and get opinions if needed.
Important note: this clearing is not so that you can change. It is because you already have changed. These items no longer serve you, so get rid of them. You don’t want to take this unnecessary “garbage” into the next chapter with you. It’s a new beginning. Let’s help make it fresh.
Have a phenomenal week!!
So how are y’all feeling? Has it been a strange few weeks? Are you enduring Venus Retrograde? Continue being wary of those recooped relationships. It’s not that they can’t be genuine. It’s just not the right time, no matter how tempting.
This week’s reading is going to make you feel better. It actually meshes nicely with the Full Moon on Wednesday too. I love when a reading feels like you could tie it up with a bow.
For Monday/Tuesday, we have the Nine of Earth and Core. Such an interesting pair. Let’s begin with Core, which says that the Nine of Earth is the heart of the matter. We are in a period of change (good ole’ Venus), and these cards are a reminder that change can be GOOD. If we are prepared, how can it be wrong? There are some good things coming our way: successful self-employment, financial windfalls, and deeper meaning.
But wait, there’s more! The spirit of positivity follows us into Wednesday/Thursday with the Nine of Water and Glow. As we embrace this feeling of “I’ve got this,” and our concerns fade with the Nine of Water, Glow wants us to use this opportunity to inspire others and lead. We know how we got here, and maybe our path will work for someone else. How can we deny even 1 person the chance to love life and have things work out the way they hoped?
Looking for the proverbial other shoe? Not this week my friend. Friday/Saturday/Sunday are defined by the Three of Fire and Cart. These two aren’t as rosey as the rest of the week, but they’re still significant. While we feel all of this success, we cannot forget that all good work takes effort. We’re doing great now, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Promote yourself. Take that job. Do what you need my love because the sky’s the limit as long as we keep working for it.
Interested in a personal reading? It can be paper only or paper plus video. With the holidays, we can even work out a gift package. Just message me.
Gooooooooooooooooooood Morning Friends!!! Since we are in the depths of Venus Retrograde, and I was a slacker and didn’t get your weekly post up in a timely manner, I thought I would give you an additional reading for the week.
If you read the Weekly Outlook post for this week, you noticed that the card for Wednesday/Thursday was 12 Awakening. For me, that screams HOW CAN WE DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?!? Because you know, doing the same thing over and over is just insanity. It is time to overcome the obstacles from the past that have held us back. To top it off, we had Three of Fire for the end of the week – we start to feel successful but can’t stop yet. As we approach the end of the Scorpio portion of Venus Retrograde, I challenge you to take this to heart.
So I decided to ask the Universe, what is this awakening all about? Specifically, what is our target for change? The answer 18 The Moon. We each hide something about ourselves (some more than one something). Guess what? The Universe says STOP it! It is time. Go within, and seek, and more importantly, trust the answer. See your brilliant light and let it SHINE!
Tall order, right? Sure Universe, we’ve got this…we have been afraid and insecure up until this point, but we can turn on a dime and be confident. Right? I can hear many of you asking “but how?”
I turned to the Turn Signal deck and pulled one card for each day remaining this week. How can we embrace confidence and throw out our anxieties and insecurities?
Wednesday – Your – before we can do anything to solve a problem we have to own it. That’s what this card is all about. This insecurity and anxiety is yours. The only way past it is to own it and recognize that our words and actions have an impact.
Thursday – Hear – as we take ownership of our problem, we are going to have many offer their advice. While we may not follow everything offered, it is important to listen.
WARNING – from the weekly reading the next few days are supported by Three of Fire. We can’t rest on our laurels yet, we have to keep working actively to overcome those blocks.
Friday – Fall – you have been feeling successful by owning it and listening to others, but sometimes we still experience a stumble along the way. It’s okay. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Determine the lesson that is supposed to be learned. Every struggle has a lesson.
Saturday – Ugly – more negativity, something that is not beneficial or is even harmful is happening. It isn’t easy overcoming blocks, especially these really old ones we are battling thanks to Venus Retrograde. Don’t give up!
Sunday – Isla – Don’t get discouraged by the steps backwards from Friday/Saturday. Isolate yourself for a little bit, meditate or relax, and keep 18 The Moon in mind – LET YOUR BRILLIANT LIGHT SHINE.
Have you enjoyed the readings over the last few months? My new Turn Signals oracle cards are in. Sign up for a personal reading! Fill out some information here. The first 3 readings are free and will combine Angel Cards with Turn Signals oracle cards.
Oh my! I conducted the reading on time this week, but I didn’t type it up for y’all. I am so embarrassed. Please forgive me!
Good news though, due to my mess up, I’m doing an EXTRA reading! I will post it first thing tomorrow morning.
Now to catch up to this week! Remember, Venus is in serious retrograde (in Scorpio) and this is a period of significant change. This week’s reading just reinforces that.
Monday/Tuesday – We begin the week with 2 The High Priestess and Sail. The High Priestess card is early in the Fool’s journey, and this portion of the adventure is guided by emotions and feelings. What else is there so early? Certainly not wisdom, at least not yet. The period of change being thrust upon us is just more than we can handle sometimes. Just remember, you are supposed to be here. So suck it up, buttercup. Sail reminds us that while this is going to be very difficult, it will be worth it. We just have to have courage and recognize that staying afloat can equal success.
The fun part about posting readings late, you can check the reading to see if anything happened that could tie to what is said.
Wednesday/Thursday – Mid-week brings us 12 Awakening and Wind. So here we are facing these unexpected life changes. We are facing things we have ignored for much too long. Awakening says to us, would a different approach be better? Wind reminds us that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, change sucks. And sometimes, changes is not so bad.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday – Finally the weekend! Don’t get too excited though. Remember, change is hard. The weekend brings us Three of Fire and East. The Three of Fire warns us that while we are feeling slightly successful during this period of drastic change, we aren’t finished so don’t stop now. We have to be patient. We have to promote ourselves. It isn’t self-centered, I promise. An important job is on the horizon. Again, patience. East throws a new loop into it all by giving us rules, structure, and responsibility. The job could be governmental, but usually East pertains to a lack of flexibility.
Have you enjoyed the readings over the last few months? My new Turn Signals oracle cards are in. Sign up for a personal reading! Fill out some information here. The first 3 readings are free and will combine Angel Cards with Turn Signals oracle cards.
Another week down. How was last week for you? Did you notice the beginnings of big changes? What about a new love interest? And on the weekend, did you pause and appreciate what you already have – because guess what, you’ve got everything you need. Unless you need jewelry. But that’s another post.
This week is going to focus on home and finances, good old Earth pops up twice and both times it’s in reverse. If you’ll recall, that means we really need to pay attention to those. With Venus being retrograde right now, if home and finances is an area you need to improve, pay close attention this week – especially to the beginning and end – the Earth cards.
Check out what my favorite Astrology friend says about Venus Retrograde over at Astro Butterfly. Here’s an excerpt from their home page:
This is one of the most intense Venus retrograde we have had in a while. Why? Firstly, because it’s in Scorpio. Usually, that’s ‘enough said’. Scorpio is the sign of change and transformation. After any serious Scorpio transit, something inside you changes forever. Once you emerge from the storm, you’re never the same person again.
Scorpio is the sign of hidden things, so Venus retrograde will expose your most hidden secrets, especially those related to love and relationships. No matter how happy our relationships are, there is always stuff buried deep inside.
– from Astrology October 2018 – Venus goes Retrograde
Don’t forget, if you are interested on your strengths during this time, you can get a retrograde specific reading through the form below.
Monday/Tuesday we have the Two of Earth in reverse, and Zeal (Turn Signals). As you make decisions this week, remember, your plate is pretty full. The Universe says it is overflowing because you are doing too much. You may feel like you need to, but you should re-evaluate. Are you really gaining by working more/longer. Your full plate may also be keeping you from your true passions. If the two coincide, that will help, but my suspicion is that they do not. It’s rare for the Universe to say “hey, look, isn’t this great?!” Instead it usually says, “hey, change this, so that things can improve.”
Wednesday/Thursday we have the King of Air and Lead, a very powerful combination. The King of “think about it” encourages us to take advice from an intelligent professional because we are forgetting to weigh the emotional aspects (aka, our emotions are getting in the way). Lead says you will inspire others and offer guidance. You might be asking how, especially if we can’t separate our emotions right now. Well, actually, because you asked for help, that will be inspirational. Or maybe there is something else you have expertise in, and can offer support and leadership.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday we have the Six of Earth (reversed) and Tree. Another fantabulous combination (yep, I used a made up word). The Six of Earth reminds us that a grateful heart is rewarded with gifts of money, time, and or effort. Because it is reversed, it is even more possible or you will receive even more gifts, I can’t tell. Whatever is coming your way will make you feel like you are stable. Suddenly you have the confidence to let yourself feel strong. You know you’ve earned others loyalty and new career opportunities and paying off debts are becoming possible.
Have you enjoyed the readings over the last few months? My new Turn Signals oracle cards are in. Sign up for a personal reading! Fill out some information here. The first 3 readings are free and will combine Angel Cards with Turn Signals oracle cards.
Can y’all believe it’s October?!? People say in TX it doesn’t matter, but these cooler, rainy days tell me otherwise. Oh well, if it would just cool off 5-8 more degrees at night so I can turn off the air conditioner.
Y’all aren’t here to talk weather though. You’re here to see what this week has in store. We only have a few days before Venus goes full retrograde, and it appears she’s showing her signs early.
Monday and Tuesday bring us 8 Justice and Y’all. Remember, any numbered card is a major arcana and references major life events. 8 Justice is about a life changing decision. Sound familiar? Anyone between 73 and 77? Fortunately, Y’all let’s us know we will have support no matter what we choose. We always have a team, we just forget sometimes.
Wednesday and Thursday we have the Queen of Water and Zero. This one is interesting to me. Have you been having relationship problems? Are you feeling lonely? Zero reminds us we have a lack mentality. It’s all about perception. Are you lonely? Maybe. Is it because your spouse doesn’t like you anymore OR because life happens and you work different shifts? The Queen of Water says our relationships will evolve to new levels. They absolutely will when you shift your perception. Venus retrograde drives many to want that major love. Don’t discredit what you’ve got too easily. You may already have your soul-mate.
Finally, Friday, Saturday and Sunday offers us the Three of Fire and Very. Let’s start with Very, telling us to double-down on (or take extremely seriously) it’s partner, Three of Fire. Pause for a moment, do you feel that? Whatever it is you’ve been searching for, you’ve found it. You just may not have noticed. Pause for a moment. Celebrate. But don’t stop your forward momentum. Keep that fire and drive burning. You’ve got this.
Sunday I shared a Venus Retrograde reading with you. MY reading. You all read it…part of my big changes are embracing my abilities. The best way to do that is to practice.
I will provide a personalized tarot and oracle card reading using the Sun and Moon Tarot cards and my Turn Signals oracle cards.
Between today and the end of the day October 5th, all readings are only $20. That’s only $2 per card interpretation. Bargain!!
Beginning October 6th and lasting through the 21st, all readings are $30.
If you are interested, please fill out the form below. Thank you in advance!! I look forward to providing some valuable insight.
It’s a shortened work and school week, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have a ton to learn and do.
This week the Turn Signals demonstrate that we still have a lost to learn, or at least to remember.
Monday and Tuesday are full of trials and tests to see if we really have learned what is needed. If we have, then this crossroads really will go in our favor. 20 Renewal signifies an important change following confident choices. You’re going in new directions. Buckle up!
Wednesday and Thursday take you into the planning stages of your next steps with the Three of Fire. You’re following your passions, what can you do to promote it? Think about how you would feel, or how someone on the receiving end would feel from your services? Run with that.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday find you still working hard. Passion and fire are great, but hard work and good planning are also important. You may already know this, but you seem to have forgotten. Hard work and good planning bring a confidence that can propel you forward.
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Interested in a personal reading? Fill out some information here. Readings are free and will combine Angel Cards with Turn Signals Oracle Cards.
Today’s card, More, you’ll notice is on the teal background. This means this card is focusing on negative aspects or shadows in our life. Notice the little devil in the image? He’s bringing attention to our impatience. We want more but we haven’t exactly done anything to deserve it. We feel entitled.
When this card surfaces in a reading, you are being asked specifically what can I do differently. Well?
Fell behind by 1 day. Let’s catch up quickly.
Glue is one of my favorites. Notice it’s on the bossy flamingo background. That means this is considered positive. The photo is of the backside of a sign. The sign is constant, and the paint is constant. But the look and feel change with each new artist.
That’s kind of what glue is all about. Consistency. The root staying the same. Holding it all together no matter what color you get painted. Your inner fabric and what make you, you. Those are all things that can be covered up, but eventually the real you WILL surface.
Today’s card is Tree. I love this one, and this image from the trails at Hamilton Pool exemplifies the meaning of this 4-letter word. Just look at those roots and the base of the tree. Tree is all about being strong and being the stability in an otherwise turbulent time.
If you are partnering with Tarot or Angel cards, the partner card will help pinpoint the characteristics you need, either to be stronger, or to help focus the situation.
All cards in the Turn Signals deck have specific colors. This sunshiny yellow will be on all cards relating to your internal shine and gifts you share with the world.
Introducing Turn Signals – Oracle Cards
Isn’t she beautiful? While I wait for the first produced deck to arrive I thought I’d highlight a card each day. First, the deck is called Turn Signals. How perfect is that?!
The card itself, Lead, is all about inspiring and offering guidance. This card alone may be all you need, or maybe it will help to partner it with an Angel or Tarot card.
The green border represents the action verb and DOing. The photo is from Hamilton Pool (here in Austin), and is a reminder to be gentle with those we lead. It’s all a process, and we are all at different stages.
Are you ready for another stellar week? It’s going to be fabulous!
Monday and Tuesday are going to be interesting. 8 Justice combined with Tree. Both are strong cards, one from the Major Arcana, and the other literally representing strength and stability.
Justice tells us we are trying to make a decision OR a decision is going to be made in our favor. It also says we need to do what is right, take responsibility for our actions, and stand up for our beliefs.
Tree lets us know that Justice is what makes us strong, dependable, and loyal. It is why people rely on us. We do what is right, take responsibility, and stand up for what matters. Tree also means we have to work on something. Since decision making is a repeated theme in our readings these days, I’m going with that is what we have to work on. Making a decision and/or having faith a decision will work in our favor (probably that last one).
Wednesday and Thursday piggy-backs off of something from Justice that I left off. One
last add-on to Justice is issuing or accepting an apology. The Three of Air and Need signal two things: something from the past has or will resurface and we have to forgive. Easy enough, right? Well, this one looks like we will need a mirror. Whatever is resurfacing from the past makes us sad, and eventually we will learn to accept and deal with it. We have to release and forgive yourself for our choices. The Three of Air paired with the Need card means that we REALLY have to do this in order to move forward.
The weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) is our reward for all of that self-healing and introspection from the Three of Air. Once again we are visited by the Major Arcana. 0 The Dreamer and Glue are the theme for the weekend. In regular tarot decks, 0 is always The Fool. I like that in Angel Cards it is represented as a Dreamer. It doesn’t make us any less foolish, but it has a more positive representation. The Dreamer is all about believing in yourself, finding creative solutions, moving forward, and being optimistic. Quite frankly, that’s what the entire week is about. Deciding what you want to do. Clearing the last hurdles (the internal ones). And moving forward.
Glue showed up to the party to remind us that dreaming is part of who we are. We can’t lose sight of taking that leap of faith. We have spent enough time lately “in the box” and it is finally time to believe in ourselves, be optimistic and have faith, and just take that first step. We’ve got this!
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If you read this week’s outlook, you know that Monday and Tuesday were about giving it your absolute best (Knight of Earth). Wednesday and Thursday are about making a tough decision, in the spirit of love and healing (Seven of Water). And Friday and the weekend are all about strengthening a relationship (Two of Water).
To me, best = prepared. So I thought I’d see if a reading would help us with our decision coming up. I might be working on the weekend plans too, but that another post for another day.
<Warning, there are 2 Air cards in this one. The angels are feeling a tad snarky today.>
The first card answers what to do or where to focus. Like the lead unicorn on the Eight of Air, we have to act with faith when making our choice. Then act with conviction once it has been made. We’ve been deflecting ownership of our current shituation. The Mine card from the oracle deck is telling us to “own it.”
As we try to make our decision, our way of thinking might be different from those we poll, and we might even lock horns like the two unicorns on the Two of Air. The East card from the oracle deck warns our thoughts are a bit out of the box for the professional, straight-laced thinking populace. DON’T let this discourage you! For this card, we asked what to avoid or not do. So don’t let the establishment bring you down (hehe).
Finally, remember, 9 The Hermit says sometimes you just have to be ok with who you are. Live outside that box. The West card says the opposite of the East card. It represents lawlessness, exploration, and trying new things. Just follow your heart. In the end, your heart never goes out of style and shouldn’t steer you wrong.
Featured image credit: https://wifflegif.com/gifs/238187-princess-jasmine-never-give-up-gif
I need to apologize. I am going to share this week’s reading through pictures, but I won’t be writing out an explanation.
As I processed this one, I feel it ended up very personal. The crystals. There was music. And now I kinda feel like keeping it private – because if y’all see it, you may jinx it.
I thought I could share the cards at least. I will also explain the oracle card’s intent since they aren’t exactly published.
Have a fabulous week!!
Best – this Oracle card means “giving it your all.” After all, that’s the best anyone can do.
View – this oracle card is reminding you to process every observation while making your decision.
Park – What would 6 year old you do? Childlike play and wonder.
It’s really a great week. I hope these apply to someone else out there too. If they do, enjoy your weekend!!
For the last couple of weeks, we have looked at the concept of DOVOLUTION.
- Selfless acts
- Work a personal goal
Daily, we tried to accomplish something for each category above. I am slightly embarrassed to say I couldn’t do all 3 every day, every week. It was tough.
While I still believe it is early and we should not give up. Achieving one of each category was a goal in itself. So I thought, what if we step back for a second and build our DOVOLUTION muscles and stamina.
Here’s how we are going to do it. Keeping the idea of DOVOLUTION in mind (above) write down the following:
- What is it that you would like to accomplish?
- What daily act(s) will get you there? Remember to Keep It Simple.
- Hold yourself accountable
- Document daily
- Accountability buddy
I am hoping something like this will help. I know I need a contract to put on the fridge or something. I also I need someone to occasionally nag me if it’s really important. It’s only 21 days, what can it hurt?!
My suggestion is to pick a date and go with it. There is never really a perfect time. We just say that to ourselves to procrastinate. I do recognize that some of you may really need to wait until the beginning of September to start. Maybe right after Labor Day. Seriously, pick a start time that you know you will have more opportunity for success. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not running a challenge. This is just something I am doing for myself. I am happy to be someone’s accountability buddy if you don’t have one. I will even help more than one someones. And if there are enough, we can start a group or something. I just don’t want to worry about $ or anything like that.
So, what are some potential DOVOLUTIONS? Well, I could see things like:
- Lose weight: eat healthier by cutting carbs and adding fruits/vegs
- Lose weight: do cardio for at least 30 minutes per day
- Decrease mile time: run daily
- Volunteer: umm….I am not saying it twice.
- Learn more about ______: read 2 chapters a night
- Increase spirituality: meditate daily for 20 minutes
- Learn to crochet: watch a video and use that skill each day to produce that product
Other folks may want to learn how to use a new art medium, all the key phrases in a new language, or even a new skill for work. The important thing is you have 21 DAYS to show success. That means you need to KEEP IT SIMPLE. You aren’t going to be an expert in something by the end of those 21 days. But you CAN set a goal and achieve it.
And together, we CAN start a DOVOLUTION!
Stay tuned for more on Accountability Buddies and things you can do to help someone else achieve their goals.
Beginning of the Week
The Trip card from the new Find Your Road Home Oracle Card deck signifies a new adventure or journey that is about to begin. I love when things start on a Monday; it’s so much cleaner in an organizational way.
Joan chimes in with Bad Reputation. “You’re living in the past it’s a new generation.” She’s just saying let it go. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Do what you wanna do. What a perfect attitude for a new adventure!
Have you ever just let loose singing a song? This is one of those songs that I can feel in my bones when I sing in. The fact that the live version is the one that popped up is awesome. The Universe wants you to belt it out too!
The Your is all about owning it and making it your own. As you embark on your adventure, and give up worrying about everyone else, you are going to need some extra confidence. Your lets you know that you will have it.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who performed this song until now. Even that fits with the reading. The SOS Band has given us Take Your Time (Do it Right). You may think of it as leftover disco, but listen to the words. I’m pretty sure it’s all about sex, but look at the words a little differently. “You know you ought to slow down. You been working too hard and that’s a fact. Sit back and relax a while, take some time to laugh and smile…” One of the best ways to save yourself is self-care.
As you begin this new adventure, keep that in mind.
End of the Week
The Send is all about what you put out to the Universe. Most of us know that what you put out is what you get in return. Since we pulled this card, it is extra important to pay attention to this law of the Universe.
I am actually unsure about this one. Stray Cat Blues by the Rolling Stones. This one is about a runaway who is being pimped out and the John doesn’t really care. If we take into consideration the title of the album, Beggars Banquet we can make a few connections. If you spend too much time focusing on what you do not have, you really won’t have it. And eventually, you will try anything to get what you don’t have – even making poor choices like our little stray cat here.
As we are embarking on this adventure and sending out all of the negative, we need to include this “lack mentality.” Ship it away!
Featured image credit: Book cover, link below
My husband is on his way home to his 30th high school reunion today. Remember high school? So long ago…and so many memories. One that has been bopping me on the head lately is the moment I was introduced to one of my favorite inspirational books. Back in 1990, I was inducted into the National Honor Society and the speaker used a picture book called Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus. If you have read or heard this book, you know what it’s about. The caterpillars mindlessly climb towards the top of the pile until a couple take a risk and form a chrysalis/cocoon. In the end, those wise butterflies actually make it to the top of the pile and realize the fallacy of their dreams. (It’s actually more positive than I just made out. It’s a great book. )
Sometimes, we get kicked out of the pile (thank goodness). At first, it is devastating. Everyone is clawing up to the top. We need to get back in there. We have lost our place. We were so close to the top. Typically, this causes panic.
But rather than jumping back in, take a moment to reflect. Here’s some of what I have learned from outside of the pile.
1. Your world will not end. When you woke up, did you have electricity? Was there water? A Zombie apocalypse? Exactly, just because you lost your job doesn’t mean the Earth is going to implode. This is temporary. And you are MORE than your job.
2. It is not about the hustle. I think of hustle as aggressively making money. It has really become a lifestyle as of late. It seems everyone is hustling and pushing a product. Isn’t that what your Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of? My feeds are.
Why are you hustling? I was hustling to make money for my family. (I really never hustled; I was a wannabe.) I know very few who hustle because they have to. Most hustle because they want to. They want the comradery, the money, feeling of control, or all of the above. Many of them dream of doing their hustle full time.
After being forced to hustle the last few months, wanting to do your hustle full time doesn’t make sense to or for me. As much as I want to have flexibility and control, working 10-12 hr days hustling doesn’t sound like flexibility. Am I missing something? I like stability and consistency I guess.
3. It isn’t even about the money. I spiral into a hustle when I worry about money. Know what I have learned? If I do the best I can and remain balanced, I always have what I need. There are obviously standards – “best you can” is working your hardest, and that usually has to be at least getting out of bed.
If you can find that faith within you, you will be able to avoid anxiety and stress, as well as stand up to the hustle. Besides, if you spend your entire time hustling, how can you apply and interview for jobs?
4. Let your significant other, family and friends help. Know what can be really insulting? Acting like your family will spontaneously combust because you are unemployed. I can promise, it won’t. When you lose a job, unless you are single, you have a partner to help pick up the slack. If you assume your partner cannot help then guess what – he/she won’t help and you end up looking like an ass. Don’t be an ass.
5. Feeling sorry for yourself, aka wallowing, looks different for everyone. I kept saying, “but I’m not laying in bed” and “I’m working Instacart.” But in all truth, I was busy creating “blame stories” for why I was fired, why I wasn’t being hired, and so on.
Because I had tried to prevent it, I didn’t think I had fallen into the trap.
6. You won’t recognize you are wallowing. Whether you get a pair of kittens from the animal shelter or you join an online self-help challenge, you are still susceptible to feeling sorry for yourself. One day I said to the hubs, “ugh, this extra 20 pounds I have put back on.” He responded with typically JGB truth, “well, you have been feeling sorry for yourself. That always equals weight gain.”
Ugh. He was not wrong. I guess he knows me after 27 years. Just one more reason #3 is so important.
7. Losing a job produces grief. Kubler-Ross has identified 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are often shown in a linear progression, but I think they are more like the gigantic squiggle shown in the iconic meme below.
Image credit here
We know that not working through grief when losing a loved one is detrimental. Same is true when we lose a job. And since we don’t think of losing a job as being associated with grief, we almost always move on (or try to) before we have processed. Then it sabotages an interview, usually for the job you really, really wanted.
8. You cannot beat yourself up during the process. With every “we’re sorry” email, and every unresponsive job application you may find yourself in a very negative self-talking loop. All you want to do is feel useful again. You begin to think you need to hustle more. You distract your intentions. Instead of allowing your dreams to develop, you are searching for your quick fix. Don’t get caught up in that hustle again.
9. Forgive yourself. Did you get fired? Were you “doing everything you could”? Sometimes we just don’t belong where we are. If you’ve been fired, your employer is just saying they need something different. They aren’t saying you are a bad human. In fact, they probably still like you. They just need something different. Something you cannot provide. Get over yourself. Seriously.
10. You are more than your profession. While the previous 9 lessons were tough, this one has been the hardest for me. I have always been my job. First, I was a teacher. Then a trainer. Then an Editor/Director. I worked hard, set and achieved goals, and strived to succeed. Then, it was gone. I’m not sure how, but I refuse to let that happen again.
So now that I have been kicked out of the caterpillar pile I have a chance. I may not be a butterfly yet, and honestly, have realized I’m further from it than I ever realized, I do have faith that it will happen eventually. Hopefully, this means I’m finished stepping on the heads of others. Time to grow 🙂
Doing can be easy, once you have momentum. Does anyone have momentum after just one week? I certainly do not. It’s still so early. Our motors are just getting primed. It is more important than ever for us to plan right now. It is the best way to guarantee we have the right tools and resources at our fingertips when we need them. When we don’t feel supported, we give up. Sometimes, that’s due to our own lack of planning. Reflect briefly on last week, how successful were you? I was NOT as successful as I wanted. I tried something different each day, and that meant sometimes I didn’t do anything because I either couldn’t think of something, lost motivation, or became overwhelmed. It didn’t work like I wanted. Rub dirt on it. Apply some logic. Regroup. This week, I’m going to try something else. I’d like to see if I can build to a goal for each part of dovolution. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Self – find a course to work on each day for an hour or so. If I can’t find a course, reading a book will work too. I’d like to look into art therapy, so maybe I’ll find something to research in that area. I’m still in exploration mode as I dream. Eventually I’ll find something practical to commit to.
- Someone else – this is the one I’m not sure about. I need to think about this one more – we’ll stay connected each day (check Instagram). I’m thinking something to do with painting.
- Goal – my goal for this week is to start working on the painting project for my niece’s baby. I need to get a specific thing for it still, paint the pictures, and assemble. I’ve been procrastinating for too long.
What approach are you going to take to this week’s dovolution? Are you going to set daily tasks/goals or progress towards a larger weekly goal? Keep us posted and let us know what works for you.
Hey y’all! This weekend I briefly attended the Body Mind Spirit Expo here in Austin. I learned about breaking connections, grounding, and most importantly start with what really works for me. That being said, we are shifting our weekly readings to music only. Music is the medium that works for MY heart. As always, if this week’s reading doesn’t apply to you, remember, it may not apply now – it could be in the future or you weren’t meant to listen. Hopefully, you were and this helps. Remember, I use Pandora and shuffle all of my playlists. (I try to keep a little bit of everything on there.) I forward 3 songs and start paying attention. May I present…the week of July 23-29 — Enjoy!! PS I added You Tube videos this time so you can hear it too. That could change the meaning due to your perception. No worries 🙂
What better to go with DOVOLUTION than Walkabout Wednesday. I think of a walkabout as Self-care. It’s almost a form of meditation, at least for me. That makes it an important part of my dovolution.
The number of songs you choose is up to you. Use Spotify or Pandora (or a similar service). Choose to shuffle all your playlists. I even recommend forwarding through the first couple as like a cleanse.
Next, listen to your songs carefully. Document somehow. Pandora allows you to go backwards and see what songs you just listened to. I would assume the other services do something similar. Remember, you are walking, so you won’t be able to write right away.
Begin by thinking about your question. Do not make it a yes or no question. Don’t act like you are making a wish with a genie. Just ask a basic question like: How can I help my family while I am unemployed? I like to use HOW questions personally.
Here are some options:
3 songs – 9 – 15 minutes
- Your power
- Other’s influence
- Above all else, remember
6 songs – 18 – 30 minutes
- The reality of the situation
- The reality of the situation
- Your power
- Other’s influence
- Above all else, remember
9 songs – 27 – 45 minutes
- The reality of the situation
- The reality of the situation
- Your power
- Your power
- Your power
- Other’s influence
- Above all else, remember
The great part about walkabouts, you can use them whenever you feel that urge to run away. It is a great way to clear your mind and focus on something else for just a little bit of time.
If you do a walkabout, share your resulting playlist in the comments below.
I like to think of goal setting and achievement as the culminating steps in DOVOLUTION.
- What do I want to achieve?
- When do I want to achieve it by?
- How will I know when I am successful?
- Why do I want to do this?
- Who can help/support me during this?
Your goal may be related to self-care or even helping others. Or maybe you choose to follow a dream. No matter what, every successful goal addresses the questions above.
Have you heard of SMART goals? The definition of each letter varies from use to use. I have always know SMART as:
SMART goals have always been a part of K-12 education, and more than likely part of the HR experience. But for personal use, I want to do something a little different. Let’s line up SMART with our questions up top.
- Specific – What do I want to achieve?
- Measurable – How will I know when I am successful?
- Achievable – Who can help/support me during this?
- Relevant – Why do I want to do this?
- Time-bound – When do I want to achieve it by?
I get stuck when I try too hard to make my goal a single sentence. For example,
By Jan 2019, I will host 3 events per week working with kids at a park/trail, helping them to love nature and making obbservations.
I kept it to a single sentence. You know what I want to do and when I want to accomplish it by. But that doesn’t answer all of the questions. So we have to go back to the drawing board.
We have gone from a goal statement to a GOAL TABLE. Not sure about you, but my mind is slightly blown. This is just the start. This goal is by no means finished.
Before we move on to future steps, let’s set a goal. Let’s gently move through the process each Tuesday. What do you think?
So next Tuesday, we will look at just SPECIFIC – what do you want to achieve. We will even tear apart my suggestion above (it totally needs more details).
Go start a DOVOLUTION today! One for you, one for them, and work your goal ❤
Wondering what a DOVOLUTION is? Well, DO + REVOLUTION = DOVOLUTION.
I have always loved motivational statements with “be.” I have one on my mantle that says “BE Yourself.” I have a tattoo on my neck, under my hair – it was actually my very first tattoo. I even used it as a category in an earlier version of this blog. It really is a lovely sentiment: Be Happy – – Be Yourself – – Be Healthy.
After years of embracing the “BE” I found a major flaw. Be is NOT an action verb. Just because I say I am healthy or happy does not make it so. Honestly, I am just stating my goal. And as much as I believe in manifestation, you still have to do more than wishing or willing a goal to come to fruition.
You have to DO something to keep moving towards the goal. If I want to BE HAPPY, don’t I need to DO HAPPY to get there? Stop and think about that for a moment. Let’s look at BE HEALTHY. In order to be healthy, I have to DO HEALTHY. In order to BE MYSELF, I have to DO MYSELF. That sounds weird, but I think you are following me now. Instead of just setting a goal with “be,” we are working towards a goal by doing it.
In my opinion, it’s a revolutionary way of thinking. Let’s ignite a DOVOLUTION!
Good morning y’all! I just know this week is going to be amazing. How can it not? We are starting our DOVOLUTION!
Here’s this week’s outlook. It’s just a 3 card spread and no music, sorry. I just wasn’t feeling the music today. It happens.
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