Melly Was Here

wife, mother, teacher, runner, writer, lover, fighter

Here is what we should do.

Sometimes, life is hard. And there is pain.  Sometimes, we lose the ones we love. Or we see the ones we love suffer and we can’t make their suffering go away.  Or we just remember those things in our past that hurt, that broke our heart.

And that pain is real and we are entitled to it.

But, we can’t let it ruin us.  We can’t let it end us.

There is much to live for.  There is the sunrise.  A new day.  A chance to brush the dust off and live again.

There are people who need us.  Your mom.  Your best friend from the sixth grade.  Your work friend.

Here is what we should do: Get up in the morning. Just get up and make a cup of coffee. Move through the world, knowing that it will get better. We will be ok. It won’t be easy, it won’t be today or tomorrow, but eventually, we will be ok.

Everyday we will get stronger.  We will be able to look back and remember the good times. And know that those things that tried to destroy us – those things that we did not get to choose- they will make us stronger.

And we will get through it. We will.

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Another Summer in the Books.

I haven’t been here since June? What? Really?
I go back to school on Monday and my boys go back the following week. It’s been an awesome summer. Lots of sleeping in, swimming, hanging out. I took a writing class. I organized a few rooms. I snuggled with my boys. I grew herbs and peppers.
I don’t know what I am going to do with this blog. I go through phases. I’m going to put a pin in it for now.
Life is good. I am focusing. I am living right. My boys are doing well. My man is doing well. I just don’t know if there is room here for this.

We’ll see.

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Favorite Conversations of the Day.

Butch, noticing my Hogwarts shirt: Hogwarts? Really?
Me: Yes, you’re mommy is a nerd.
Butch: I know.
Me: So are you.
Butch: I know.
We high five.

Sundance, noticing I am making a chocolate cake: Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!
Me: Please stop saying, “Chocolate.”
Sundance, whispering, “But I love chocolate.”

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April Again.

April has come and gone.  It’s a weird month for me, try as I do to make that not so.

We said goodbye to my big brother 13 years ago in April. And then, two years ago, my dad.

It’s also Autism Awareness Month.  As someone who has stepped out of the Autism Wars, it brings up a lot of old stuff of when Sundance was first diagnosed. Sad stuff.

And, I turned 41 this month.  I love my birthday.  And so far, my  forties are my favorite.

April has been bittersweet.  And I find myself going back and forth from sadness to happiness, from remembering really shitty days to being thankful those days are in the past and we are all doing so much better.

And now it’s May.  The school year is wrapping up.  I have a mountain of paperwork and a classroom to close up. Field trips and Special Olympics, class parties and school concerts.

Life goes on.

We miss those we loved and said goodbye to.  Miss them so much.  We know that they would be happy for us.  They would be proud of what we have overcome and what we are looking forward to.

They wouldn’t want us to stop dreaming, they wouldn’t want us to stop fighting for health and happiness. Because they loved us as much as we loved them.

So, here goes: Summer is coming.  And it is going to be a good one.

Because life goes on.

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At Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg, Texas. My new happy place.

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My loves, being rebels. That sign is not the boss of them.

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My thoughts on Fred Phelps.

I spoke to Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church once.

It was back in 1998, after the funeral of Matthew Shepard, who he and his small congregation made up of mostly relatives, picketed.  They held up signs indicating that Mr. Shepard, a young man tortured, beaten, strung up on a fence and left to die, was going to hell because he was gay.

He was a guest on a talk show that I listened to.  I called and got through.

I put aside my disgust and horror that he would be so cruel to the family of a young man who died in such a horrific and painful manner.  That someone could actually relish the fact that other people could murder someone just for being different from them.  I put aside my anger and my disbelief, my sadness and my heartache for those that loved Mr. Shepard.  I wanted to talk to this man.  I wanted to ask him a question.

He called himself a Christian.  And, from what I understood – understand – about what Jesus wants us to do -what he TOLD us to do-  is that we should go out into the world and tell other people about His love.

So, I asked him, “How are your signs and your hate and all of your angry words bringing people closer to Christ?”

He had no answer for me.  He went into his loud, angry tirade about how, “God hates fags,”and how we will all burn in Hell because we don’t condemn homosexuality.  He didn’t hear a word I or anyone else on the Los Angeles based talk show said.  Not one word.

I haven’t thought about Fred Phelps or his church much since then.  I would hear the occasional news report about them protesting at our fallen soldiers’ funerals or the Academy Awards, I would shake my head and hope that the families of those lost defending our country would be able to mourn their heroes in peace.  That maybe Phelps and gang couldn’t get close enough to them to make their suffering any worse.

And then he died.  There isn’t going to be a funeral.

I think this is horribly sad.  What a miserable person he must have been, to have so much hate and anger inside of him.  I wonder what he was really angry at.   I wonder if he struggled with his own sexuality.

I wonder if stories will come out of abuse and/or misconduct.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still angry at him for spreading so much hate and hurt.

So, here’s what I will do to try to undo what he did to our  world:

I will love.  I will love WHOMEVER I CHOOSE.

I will be true to myself and answer only to my God, who is loving and beautiful.

I will appreciate the beauty in this world.

I will not tolerate evil.

I will forgive and I will have compassion.

I will leave this world better than I found it.

And, I will ask you to do the same.

Most people are good.  Let’s all try to be one of them.  OK?

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These Boots

My big brother died almost 13 years ago.  I still miss him.  Everyday.

When my mom moved to town, she went through some boxes of his things.  She came across the cowboy boots she bought for him right before he got really sick.  I wanted them, thinking they would fit me.  They don’t.  He had pretty small feet.  Mine are enormous.  He also had better hair, by the way.  But, I digress.

I didn’t know what to do with them.  I wanted to keep them, but I have a clutter issue.  I didn’t want to sell them or give them away.  Couldn’t throw them away.  He was excited about them.  He liked them.  When I looked at them, I smiled.

I took them to my classroom and put them in House Area, next to the dress up clothes.   My students noticed them right away.   During our Worktime (free choice), someone always has them on.   Even when they are fighting over them, it makes me smile.  Because these beautiful little people, who I love so much, are enjoying something that belonged to someone else who I love.  It just feels right.

I don’ t think about the fact that he only got to wear them a few times.  I don’t think about how his death left a hole in me that will never be filled.  I don’t think about how a part of me – that part that ate cereal on Saturday mornings and stayed up late over Christmas break playing the Atari – died when he did.

I think about these kids.  These beautiful little souls.

I think about their lives – their futures – and where their boots will take them.

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Race Report: Natural Bridge Caverns Half Marathon

Last weekend, I ran a half marathon at San Antonio’s Natural Bridge Caverns.  It was put on by Redemption Racing, the same people who did the Illuminations Half Marathon in December.

The half marathon was to start at 7:30.  Lance and I got there by 7:00 and picked up our packets. He ran the 5K, so I was to start first.  Half marathoners were lined up in the cave right on time.  Since runners were started one at a time and I was close to the back of the pack (we lined up according to pace) it took awhile for me to cross the starting line.  I didn’t mind, though, I chatted with the runners near me.

I got started and ran about a half a mile through the cave.  If I have one criticism about the race is that I wish we could have spent more time in the cave.  It is so beautiful!  With our race registration, we got a free ticket to go back and take the tour.  You can bet we are going to take the boys and my mom back.

It was a cold day.  I didn’t realize it was going to be so cold, about 36 degrees, and I just was not prepared mentally for it.  I also didn’t study the course map and didn’t expect it to be so much of a trail run.  Lesson learned: always study the course map before signing up for a race.  I had a rough start.  I really struggled for the first four miles or so.  At that point, I stopped and used the restroom. I collected myself and drove on.  It was about mile 9 that I got runner’s high.  It was raining and cold, but I felt great.  I knew I was going to finish the run just fine and my time was going to be pretty decent too.  There were some serious hills and I did walk more than my plan of run 5 minutes and walk 1.  But, I had my jams one and my thoughts.  I felt awesome.

The course was great.  Really pretty property.  And I love my medal.  It’s a geo slice.  Very cool.

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Pic in the car because I just wanted to get out of the cold!

Lance ran the 5K and ended up coming in second in his age group.  If he’s going to be running 5ks, we are going to have to stick around for the awards.  We left too early and he didn’t get his prize!

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Lance with his medal.

All in all, a pretty cool event.  I’ll probably run it again next year.

There were some ladies there with tshirts that said, “#14 in 14.”  Upon investigation, it seems that it means fourteen races in 2014.  I like that.  So, I am going to run 14 half marathons in 2014.  Oh yeah.  Uh -huh.

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Fun With My Silhouette Cameo

I am having so much fun with my die cut machine!  It is making my plan to organize my house and rule the world so much more fun!

I started with the kitchen.

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First, I made this dog food container for the pantry.  It’s big enough to fit all the bowls inside.  I measure out the food the night before and keep it fresh inside.  Then, in the morning, all we have to do is put out the bowls.  Saves some time.

Then, I made a spice drawer from these cute little jars from IKEA.

Then, I put together a spice drawer from these adorable jars from IKEA.  I don’t cook much, but sometimes, I just open the drawer and gaze at the jars.

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I made these labels for the pantry for  these jars, also from IKEA.

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Then, I made these tags for some baskets I put in the pantry.  I laminated them so I can change what is in the baskets if I want.

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Sundance and I are working on organizing his room.  With these labels, I’m trying to get him to put away his own clothes.  It’s a work in progress.

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We’re also labeling all of Sundance’s collections so he can find what he is looking for.  That makes things easier for all of us.

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And, today I put up these His and Her towel hooks for our bathroom.

It’s also been very useful cutting out shapes for my classroom.  I cut out a bunch of Christmas shapes for my little students to use to make Christmas cards.  And, Butch used it for a graphic organizer project he did for social studies.   I love it!

I’ll post more later about the bundle I bought on Amazon (it came with some handy tools) and the awesome tutorials on You Tube that have helped me a lot.

In the meantime, here is my plan:

label all the things

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The Path Ahead

Running is a head game. That’s one of the reasons I think it is so good for me. Why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I don’t think when I run. I just let my body do the work.  The sound of my music and my feet hitting the pavement is all I need some days.

Sometimes, I think.

I’ll start running and pick a point on the road up ahead. I’ll visualize something that I want to accomplish up on the path, impeding my way. For example, when Lance and I were trying to get out of debt, I would visualize the logo of a creditor. It would be a big glass block right in the middle of the path. I would look at it as I ran towards it. Then, when I reached it, I would crash through it, breaking it all to bits. Then, I would keep running, stomping on the pieces until they were gone. Then, I’d do it again. I’d choose the word, “depression,” and smash that all to bits. I’d choose, “anxiety,” or “sadness.” And I’d smash those too. You know what? Lance and I are out of debt and I am managing my depression and anxiety.

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These days, I don’t do so much smashing. These days, I do more lifting. I visualize running with people in my life who may be struggling. And, I visualize whatever it is they are dealing with – a word or a symbol – and we run toward that together. Then, I give them a boost so they can jump over it. Or, if it’s something that I am struggling with or wanting to accomplish, I jump over it.

I do still do some smashing. I picture a huge, “AU,” in my path.  “AU,” stands for, “autism.” It’s big and it’s thick and it’s in my way. Often my baby boy, Sundance, is running with me.  AU is in our damn way. And we run and we smash that son of a bitch all to pieces. It doesn’t go down easy, but we run and we stomp and we destroy it.

So, needless to say,  I cry when I run. Or I smile and laugh or yell and curse.  And, when I get home I always feel better than I did before.   Always.

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Focus

I love New Year’s Day.  I love new beginnings.  Starting fresh.  I always make resolutions.  Sometimes, I keep them and sometimes I totally forget about them by January 5th.

In the past, I’ve heard of people choosing a word for the year.  A word that sums up what the year’s goals will look like.

I love words.  They are powerful.

I’ve had a wooden statue of the word, “Hope,” in my bathroom window for years.  Having a child with autism and strongly believing that autism is treatable, hope is a big word for me.

I call Lance my rock. Rock: strong, unbreakable, something to hold on to when the waves are crashing around you and threatening to pull you under.

I have chosen the word, “focus.”  The verb.

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The Webster’s definition:

2focus

verb

: to cause (something, such as attention) to be directed at something specific

: to direct your attention or effort at something specific

: to adjust (something, such as a lens or a camera) to make an image clear

I need to focus. To direct my attention and effort.  To make an image clear.  On Lance (bowchickawowwow), the boys (always), my job (what’s the next step for me?  Graduate school, maybe?).   I need to focus on getting this house purged and organized and maybe ready to sell (ack!).  I need to focus on my running (600 miles in 2014.  Oh, uh huh, that’s what I said).  And, I really need to focus on my writing.  I miss it.  And it’s time to stop thinking about it.  I need to focus – FOCUS – and get it done.

I’ve got a few friends who are joining me.  What about you?  Want to play? What’s your word and why?  Tell me!

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