Friday, July 29, 2016


Where is hope? I am over politics, marriage, religion, military, consumerism, intoxication, indoctrination. I could go on.

Where do I find hope? Simplicity.  Appreciating today. One day at a time. For me, there is no bigger hope.  No one size fits all answer to life's struggle.

There is no one answer. I've spent my whole life seeking answers and today I find consolation in that there is none.

We find it for ourselves, for each other. I find hope in you, in a child, in life.  Hopefully the super rich and powerful don't screw shit up too much for the rest of us ants.  But, until that happens, we live... Today.

Monday, July 25, 2016

What Happened? Ode to my marriage

 How does a young couple in love go through 11 years and then divorce? Everything looked promising.  Committed, family oriented, religious, how could this happen?

Instead of being angry, resentful and divisive, I choose to focus on the amazing fact that in a chaotic world, two people tried to love and share their lives. That is an accomplishment, not a failure.

We were not just two people. We are different races, different cultures (southeastern white, and west coast Hispanic), different ideologies (I am a hippy love artist type, he is disciplined and military), different personality types (free flowing and determined and structured), raised in different family examples (mine are divorced, his married), our family and friends are on opposite sides of the country. We had a lot going against us.

Throw in 2 deployments, multiples moves and 6 kids and the stress won out.  I was always faithful. I waited, loved, served, compromised.  He provided, was there for every birth, and  tried to understand. Ultimately, we had very different needs and goals.

In marriage, it does take much more than love and appreciation of the other. We are just human. We are limited.

Being involved in the military world changed me forever in ways I could have never have imagined.

Living the Catholic faith and leaving it behind transformed me and I will never be the same.

We did try. We compromised.  There are many wonderful things that we experienced, and many many trials. 

 We were in love.

 That will not change. We don't have to deny that in order to move on.  Ultimately, he wants the military and California. I don't. I have given more than I can get back ever.  We cannot force people to change or be what they are not.

 We love our children. We can continue to love them and work together to be great parents.
 But, I wont be a martyr. My mother died a martyr, living for others her whole life. I don't believe anyone she died for loved or appreciated her devotion or cared. I realize now, she should have loved herself a bit more.

In the past 11 years, my body has gone through 8 pregnancies, 6 births, nursing and exhaustion.  My daughters' special needs depleted my time, thoughts, and energy. My ex-husbands' work left me alone much of the time to figure it out alone.  I went on 4 types of antidepressants over the years.  I got an alcohol problem after my mothers death.  We had finally gotten stable, had the perfect home and then it was all ripped away from me again.  I had home schooled my kids to be at 6th grade level at 8 years old and then watched as I had to put them back in public school and see all my hard work dissipate,  This isn't the end of the world, but my dreams were consistently compromised.

 I have had to let go.  I cannot fight any longer. I will live my life in a way where when I am old and dying I don't wonder what could have happened if I stood up for myself and needs.
I have also been in therapy for 10 years, almost consistently, trying to make this work. 

 My point is, I know what I gave. I know that we tried.  I cannot look at my divorce as a failure. Look at these kids!  They are beautiful.
 We've had ducks, tree houses, dogs.  We've gone camping, to amusement parks, birthday parties, beaches, mountains.  That is an achievement.  We lived in 4 states and traveled across country multiple times.  Do not tell me we failed.  We lived.

We will continue to live.
 Pictures are great, but what you can't see is the struggle. The difficulty. If my ex is honest, he will tell you behind all of these smiles, there was real difficulty.

So.....  now....  we figure out a new chapter of cooperation, I hope. 

Since our divorce was finalized we have gone to dinner, taken our kids hiking and to the aquarium.  Why do we have to be angry with each other? Why should we fight? We should be grateful that another person chose to share their lives, energy, offspring and money, home etc. with us.

I am saying....  here's to trying.... giving and love....
Here's to new beginnings and acceptance. 
Here's to marriage and divorce and friendship that remains! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Just for fun...

Me and my BFF at high school homecoming...
 We were non-conventional. Still love that dress!

 JPII Bible School Class of 98 (I think). I am in the front.
Me and Nicole posing for Outpour Music promotional materials.
 Catholic student retreat music ministry team, around 2000 AD.

Preforming Outpour songs.... somewhere.                              Steubenville Youth Conference

 At the recording studio.  So much fun.
 Prepping for the play in Italy at the big Festa de la Vita 2004.
 Mrs. Evalina McBride and me dancing....  Sweet woman with dementia I helped with Rehab at the nursing home I worked at during college.

 The days when I would indoctrinate my kids...
 Isaac dressed up like St. Francis for All Saints Day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


This is Zelie.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   She was born with bilateral syndactyly of her third fourth and fifth fingers.  We knew right away that something was different about this little girl. Her cry was so quiet.  

She was extremely peaceful and happy.

Her weight was always below average and when she was about 6 months we realized she would not eat anything through her mouth. She would only nurse, and not very well. At nine months, her weight began to decline and she was diagnosed as failure to thrive.  She had to get a ng tube (nasogastric) which allowed us to feed her extra nourishment. 
 We had to tape her face with a tube and switch sides periodically so that her skin on her face wouldn't break down. She would scream and hate the tube being stuck down her nose.  After three months, her weight was improving, but her feeding skills were not.

We had to come to the very hard decision of having a g-tube placed.  My little one year old quiet daughter had to have surgery where they cut open her stomach and put in a "button" in order to feed her.   I wasn't prepared for how traumatized she would be after that surgery. My girl, who rarely cried, howled in pain.

When she was just 18 months she had to begin her hand surgery to release her fingers. We had to dress her wounds and deal with a very small child enduring excruciating pain. Blood was everywhere.  My husband and I fought, both tormented by the agony of our child.

I had two other children. My oldest son was also dealing with mild autism.  At two, Zelie needed eye surgery to correct esotropia (a type of crossed eyes). That was followed by at least a year of patching her eyes to strengthen them.  For a few years there, I was in doctors offices and therapy centers and surgery and follow ups IEP meetings, you name it, most days out of the week.

My husband was in the military and left often to go on missions.  We were living on the other side of the country from my family and friends. I had no help besides what I could pay for. When I became unable to cope with all of the stress, he accused me of being bipolar. He blamed me for not being strong enough.

Why am telling all of this? Because, for me, it was a major factor in my disillusionment of faith.  Catholicism gives a special virtue to suffering and I had believed it deeply. It teaches that we are purified and united with the love of God through joining our suffering to Christ's on Calvary.  Only problem was, why did it seem like my innocent little daughter was being disproportionately targeted? What had she done? Was her suffering there to make me more holy?  I began to see this logic as absolutely cruel and unusual.  

Which one of us would approve this kind of moral teaching for our children?  How many of you would choose to injure and disable? Zelie has autism.  Zelie cannot talk. She cannot eat.more than small nibbles. She is not potty trained.  If something happens to her at school or while I am away, there is no way for her to let me know.  When she hurts, she just cries and I have to try to figure out what it could possibly be without her being able to show me.  No, my understanding of a benevolent all knowing God would not allow this kind of thing.

I am just sorry I promoted this sort of belief when I had NO idea of what I was talking about.

And the truth is, Zelie is so much better off than so many children.  When I go to the specialists I see children with much more severe ailments. The thought that there is a God allowing this is just appauling to me now.  It makes much more sense to me to admit, that we are a fragile species on a fragile planet.  Unfortunate things happen. That is life. In this I can find peace.  Neither Zelie or I DESERVE this treatment.

This understanding of the acuteness of real pain and suffering has also made me much more sensitive to the argument for Euthanasia and abortion of severely sick abnormal fetuses.  I find it merciful to not make a child suffer unnecessarily. Have you ever been in so much pain that you would rather be dead? Imagine never being able to stop feeling that way?

Assuming Zelie lives into adulthood, what about after Fernando and I die? Unless something amazing happens and she surprises us all and becomes self sufficient, what will happen to her?  Her brothers will be charged with it or a group home.  We can only hope that she will get good treatment. Have any of you worked with a nursing home or assisted living?  It's not necessarily a good life always.

 Zelie is a very beautiful girl who has such an optimistic outlook on life and finds joy in silly little things. But does that make her suffering go away? Is it worth it for her? I hope so.  I am just so glad I live in America, in this generation, where there is a respect and dignity for special disadvantaged people. Thankfully we don't live in a time or country where these types of children and adults are just shipped off to an institution.