Thank you for your prayers and shares.
Please hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.
From my cousin, regarding her daughter.
Missing Person: Kristan B Cooper
Height: 5ft 5 in
Kristan was last heard from April 6th at 10:18 PM. She was in St Joseph, Michigan. She was supposed to be heading to Chicago and then to Galesburg Illinois via Amtrak Sunday April 7th. She was supposed to arrive in Galesburg Illinois at 4:40 PM. It is unknown what clothing she may have had on. She may be confused if approached. Family is concerned about her safety! She has a few tattoos which Include: Scorpion on her side, paw print on each shoulder, butterflies on lower stomach, doves on her foot, and “Bleeding the American flag” on her other side. If seen, please contact you local police immediately.
Please share everyone
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.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can already hear some of you now. I cheated and did not really outline every year. Well, I argue that I don’t need to because quite frankly, anyone still reading this at this point has known us and probably knows about the last five years due to Facebook.
I will apologize for skipping yesterday. That was intentional. I didn’t want to interrupt family time.
There are things about the last five years that to me, seem like life just keeps getting more difficult. But if you step back for a second, it really isn’t. Life is just cyclical. We have always had struggles along the way. I think right now we just don’t have as many positives to distract us from the negatives. But it will all balance again.
Since our 20th anniversary, we have had a lot happen:
- Job losses
- Job gains
- Added Lucy and Thomas to the family (cats)
- Lost Morgan
- Lost a Grandma
- Lost an Aunt
- Lost another friend to suicide
- Eric graduated high school
- Alec graduated college
- More job losses
- More job gains
We have survived this crazy roller coaster ride for one reason and one reason only. Love. It is only love that can make one human exhibit as much patience as I believe John and I afford each other. Love keeps us communicating, even when we don’t really like each other. Love allows us to act with grace, even when the other doesn’t deserve it. Love gives us unconditional hope that the next day will be/have what we always wanted.
Love even asks, do you need anything, when coming home from work.
Just you baby.
For the next 25 years ❤️
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”.
As I sat down to write up this week’s outlook, I decided I needed a little music therapy. I also thought, why not add some music. I haven’t done that in a while. So I hit play, shuffle, and forward 3 times.
For those of you who are visual people, I thought I would put this in a table. It can’t hurt to allow my quirky organization into this realm.
|Angel Card||Ace of Fire||Three of Water||Four of Fire|
|Music||Walking on |
|Hell is for Children||Lovers Who Wander|
Because it is Thanksgiving here in the United States, I pulled 2 extra cards regarding what we should be thankful for (in case you didn’t know).
So what does all of this mean?
Well, first of all, Monday and Tuesday’s information says we have been struggling with something. If we stay positive and find our motivation (sunshine/fuel) we can change things now. A new opportunity is right there for us to take. It’s a fresh start folks. What do we have to lose?
As we move to Wednesday and Thursday, it’s time to focus on family. Why “Hell is For Children”? Because we are supposed to be thankful for all that we have. It’s Thanksgiving after all. Even if you don’t have much, now is the time to share with others. There has to be a bible verse about this, right? Someone share one would ya. Thanks!
The weekend is interesting. Again, you are probably wondering about the song. “Lovers who Wander” is from Dion and the Belmonts. That’s 50’s music and to me, that’s partying and celebration. The weekend has us feeling content. After time with family and friends, what else could we be? We are renewed in our feelings of romantic love and unconditional love. We know we are safe. (seems a little anti-climatic after her mom coming through huh?)
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?