Knock on Wood.

I live a blessed life.  I do.  I don’t know how or why, but God decided that I had earned it.  I am humble at all that I receive, I am humble because I have things that others don’t.  It keeps me honest.

I have my family.  I have my health.  I have food in my pantry and love in my heart.  I have a job that I love and a roof over my head.

I wake up everyday next to the love of my life.  I have children that are beautiful and smart and driven and I wouldn’t trade them for a moment.  I might sell them for rocks, depending on the day and how nice those rocks are.

I have family that loves me no matter how much we fight.  I get it…we are a dramatic mess, but my mom, my sister…we are the Tullos Women, there’s only the three of us left.  We are small, yet proud tribe and I am grateful everyday that they are here.  I know that at the end of the day, I will be there for them, no matter how much I bitch about it, I will be there.  It’s what we do, us Tullos Women.

I have the best friends anyone could ask for.  All of them, I may have friends I don’t talk to often, or only keep up with them on Facebook, but they are my friends.  I have chosen to share my life with them on Facebook, in person, over text, wherever…they are awesome, fabulous people, here, there, everywhere…I love my friends.

I have my health.  Last year, I wasn’t sure about that…and it’s terrifying and eye-opening.   I can’t take it for granted ever and I want to be here, to see my kids graduate, to see them attend college, to walk them both down the aisle, to see my grandchildren.  I want to grow old with my love in life. I get it now, that this human body is fragile an it’s my responsibility to take care of it, to be here.  And over the year, we have made changes to our habits and we feel better, we laugh more….we appreciate what we have been given.

Somewhere along the line, I was granted a second chance at life…it happened years ago and I only recently realized that it’s a gift.  This love that has walked into my life.  The way my children have blossomed.  The way my life has twisted and turned and led me here.  It wasn’t my doing, it was the path that was laid out before me.  I am lucky that I found my way.

Folks, life is short, life shouldn’t be taken for granted.  We don’t “deserve” anything, we have to earn it to appreciate it.  The most graceful of people get that.  The most honest of people work for it.  I have so many of these people in my life, it takes my breath away.

We had our AC go out yesterday.  In August.  In Texas.  Yes, it’s hot….terrifically hot.  7th level of hell hot.  And we had no less than 5 people offer us their homes, their guest rooms, whatever we needed.  We ended up at a pet friendly hotel last night with the AC at 64* for the entire night.  And then blessedly today, new AC unit and coolness.  And we have had so many check on us, I just feel loved.  Purely loved.  Me and mine.

Tonight, just for a moment, pause and think about all the blessings you have in your life.  From the FB friend across the states, to the person who shows up on your doorstep to check on you.  Think of the job that provides for you.  Think of the family that would do anything for you.

Look at your life, you get to wake up everyday.  You get to love and laugh.

If you are reading this.  Know that you are a blessing in MY life.  I am grateful for each of you.  My world is inexplicably better because you are in it.

Float on faith.  Love one another.  And laugh.  Laugh until your face hurts.  Share your joy….share your story.

Thank.you.all.

CancerGirl.

This isn’t my story.  This isn’t my fight.  But this is my blog.  And I waited until I was given permission to write and publish these words.  So for you, CancerGirl, you are an inspiration to me.

The moment is frozen in my mind.  That moment when I didn’t know what to say.

It was at one of the Boy’s football games.  CancerGirl and DynaHusband had begun coming to his games this season, to support the Boy and his efforts.  We had grown to be close friends, the Couple That Could and me and the wife…we bonded over foodie love, Disney, the Boy and randomness.  It didn’t hurt they were literally 100 steps from our house.  We love them, the Couple that Could.

I see them walking up the bleachers and I go to meet CancerGirl, only then, she wasn’t CancerGirl, she was just my friend…I asked, “so….what did the doctor say?”  As tears welled up, she could not talk and I just knew.  They had found something.

All I could muster was “you know it won’t be anything, just like me….you will twist yourself inside out for nothing…I have a good feeling, you will be okay.” She nodded, I hugged her.  I stood there, hugging her for what seemed to be forever, with tears in my eyes, saying a prayer for my friend.  For her to be okay….

About a week later, I got a text:  “Mastectomy is the word for the day.”

I replied: “Shut up.”

I reminded her that she DID want a boob lift, but this was not the way to do it.  I saw her later that day, I looked at her and said, “You get 24 hours to be sad.  After that we fucking fight!”

And I hugged her.  And DynaHusband, who looked like he had been punched and boiled.  The wife told him any time he needed a break, she had a car and knew where a bar was, they could just go.   They told us they weren’t telling many, just to not make it about a “cause” because there are always the people in your life that make YOUR cancer all about them.  This needed to be about her.  And him. Period.   Anyone else could just go pound sand.  In fact, I believe I said, “who cares?  You are fucking fighting for YOUR life…you owe no one ANYTHING!!!!”  and I still mean that.  To.my.core.

We told DynaHusband, “she will have MANY taking care of her; we need to also remember to worry about you.  You need love, prayers and our strength too. Don’t be brave by yourself.”  And we meant it.  Every word of it.

So, we get through the coming days with lots of inappropriate boob and cancer jokes (there are a LOT of them), a little sadness and lots of prayers.  In my effort to make things easier, I set up a Foodie Calendar…a way for all the people who love the Couple That Could to do SOMETHING to help; we feed them.  (If you know them, they don’t cook.  Ever.  I don’t even know why they have a kitchen!) And the amount of love and support and food that came to me for this was astounding.  People came out of the woodwork to help her, at her work, her friends, family…all of them.  Each one, telling their stories of love and support for CancerGirl.  And we kept them fed. Holy moly, that was a lot of food…from family, friends, their favorite restaurants.  Methinks I am going to start a food calendar for me.

Then it’s time.

DynaMom comes to the rescue.  EVERYONE should have a mom like this…DynaHusband’s mom…I know her name, but I can’t get it to come out of my mouth, she’s just “mom” to all of us.  So CancerGirl does the damn thing.  Double mastectomy and reconstruction.  DynaHusband calls us to let us know she’s good, she’s resting and will be home in a couple of days.

Once she’s home, we gave her a couple of hours and headed over.  Now, I will tell you, I was expecting someone who looked like they had been hit by a Mack truck….she did not look like that.  AT.ALL.  I actually asked, “are you sure you had surgery?!?!!?”  It was crazy, she looked great and was awake, in very little pain and I was impressed.  CancerGirl had turned into WarriorGirl.  We asked incessantly “can we do anything?” and only ONCE did DynaHusband ask for any help….to watch over her while he went to run some errands.  Let me tell you, she slept the whole time…easiest babysitting assignment I have ever been given.  Although, she did have control of the remote, which resulted in my being stuck watching the Cinderella remake with Brandi and Whitney Houston.  Kill.me.now.

She bounced back remarkably quickly;  we were at their favorite hangout two weeks after surgery so DynaHusband could dress up like Santa…a very pervy Santa, but she was smiling and having a good time.  It’s been the rule since this whole thing started, we have fun.  We enjoy every moment and fuck cancer!

We are there with her, through the chemo, the up days, the down days.  And we are honored to be there on the day that she claims control, that the chemo isn’t going to win.  As we sit and watch, she has her head shaved…and smiles a smile that lights the room.  I sit and watch, astounded by the sheer bravery she has to do that.  I had thought of doing so in solidarity; yet, ultimately deciding against it for a couple of reasons, (1) it’s her battle and story, (2)I have a weird freckle on my head (3)I didn’t want to answer any questions.  She had no choice….either she shaved it or watched it go down the drain.  I don’t know that I am that brave.

She has a perfect baby head.

There were to be wigs in the beginning, which lead to many pervy jokes.  Duh.  Slowly, she began to go all naturel….no wigs, just baby head and a bonnet.  As her comfort level grew, she smile shined.  It wasn’t long until we never saw a wig….to be perfectly honest, I don’t think we ever saw her IN it.  We began searching for hats for her…everywhere we go, the Wife was looking for hats…it became part of the day….hats for WarriorGirl…hats, hats, hats…hats with pom poms, hats with ears, hats with flowers…so many choices…

It became habit, when we would see each other, my hand immediately rubbed her fuzzy head, half expecting a genie to pop out and grant me three wishes…but it never happened.  *sigh*

She didn’t post anything on Facebook for the longest time.  The one time she did, I immediately texted and said, “uh, that’s on FB!” and it came down….we set her up a blog, so she could relate how she felt, what was going on and how she was coping.  That was the only written word about the fucking cancer (with the exception of the veiled FB post for those “in the know”).  Until recently.

About a month ago, WarriorGirl had her picture taken with her smile and baby head…and it was beautiful!  And just like that, the battle was public…WarriorGirl had the fucking cancer.  Only she had beaten it.  There was love, support, concern, and celebration.

In fact, when I told the Boy (who *hearts* them!) that she had posted a picture on Facebook, he wanted to see it…and his exact words were “Its about time!”  (I love the Boy….)

About two weeks ago, DynaHusband finally acknowledged what he had been through.  I can’t imagine, watching, not begin able to fight FOR HER, but to simply sit by and allow her to do this.  He’s the goods.  The example any husband should strive to be; he’s that guy…and we can see how much he loves her, just by the look in his eyes.  These two, they make me happy…watching them be a married people…gives me hope for the breeders.  He wouldn’t tell us before how hard it was, in fact, he made sure to tell us he was “okay” and “good” any time we asked.  He wouldn’t leave her side ever.  He was her chemo buddy, her nurse, her transporter, her maid and her protector.

Nowadays, the chemo is over, the head is bald and she is still smiling.  She will continue to survive…she will continue to be shiny.  She will always be a Warrior in my eyes.

To the Couple That Could, I say this…we (the wife and I) are blessed beyond any words for the friendship you give us.  We love you to from the tops of our heads to the tippy of our toes.  We are grateful and honored to have walked through this battle with you, that we are on this side of the war and we (you) are winning.  Thank you for all that you share, all that you do and all that you are to us.

Happy New Year Y’all…

So, it’s the Eve of a new one.  It is true…the older you get, the faster time flies.   My head is full of nonsense and since this is my blog, allow me a moment to ramble…

I relish in my 40’s, not at all shy about my age, I wear it like a battle shield.  I have earned every experience, every mistake, every joy and every reward.  Damn….I.am.tired.

So, it’s the Eve, and I am filled with joy, happy and anxiety….are the carpet cleaners gonna be here on time?  The lawn guy?  And are the guests gonna show up?

New Year’s is about resolutions, to hope and to commitment.  It’s about new starts after old stops.  It’s about beginning.

Maybe this next year, I’ll get serious about a book.  Writing is an escape for me, it’s a hobby….not sure what I would every write about, but then, I have been blogging for years and I have found words for this….but it’s free, would anyone pay to read what I have to say?

I will see this year out with a few of my dearest and my closest.  Me and the wife, Morgen and the wife….we are hosting and bringing in the New Year with friends full of love and laughter.  I can’t wait!

New Year will bring yet another trip to Graceland.  This time with the wife, Ursula and her hubs.  As written to me in a text “I’m feeling pretty damn lucky today that we are both in a place that we can be like “Let’s meet at Graceland!” and it’s not just a big pipe dream…”  Amen to that Urs….I am so proud of the both of us, who ever thought, back in the day, sitting in your room, that we would ever dream to do such a thing.  I love you my friend!

Christmas was filled with such love, for the first time, EVER, I got to wake up with my bestie, my Kenner in the house.  This chick is my strength and my rock.  I no longer wonder where I stand, I know it’s back-to-back with this one and we are forever friends…I will even watch her favorite movie with her…again and again…cause that’s what friends do!  This chick is the goods and I love her dearly.

My kids, my family…they fill me up with love.  The daughter said it was her best Christmas ever…which brought tears to many an eye, simply because you want to give them their heart’s content and when you do, you feel accomplished.  The Boy, hasn’t begun to speak yet, still so busy with his new games and new phone, I am assuming it’s his best yet too!

My wife, my love in life….words don’t express the depth of my feelings for this lady.  She is the other half to me and I treasure each and every moment in time.  She makes my everyday Christmas and I am the luckiest person breathing because she chose me.  She chose me first, last and every moment in between.  She loves me like no other and that gives me a sense of peace and centeredness that is impossible to explain.

I look forward to 2012.  2011 rocked, flew by, but was amazing….I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Happy New Year WorldWideWeb family….Happy New Year!

Be safe, be kind, love out loud!

 

Hello.Again.

Wow!  Has it really been 60+ days since I actually had anything to say?!?  Not really….but a nasty case of writers block and a surly temperment for a spell reigned in any attempt to write quippy, sweet or positive anything….best I keep the BS to a minimum, you aren’t really hear to listen to me bitch about all things Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or the Respondent are you?  nah….me either…I don’t have the energy….

It’s been a busy couple of months, I have seen three trips to Houston, a trip to Galveston, a trip to Nashville, Memphis, Hot Springs and last but not least New Braunfels.

I have seen Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn, the Blue Bird Cafe, the Ryman, Graceland and some of the prettiest driving ever….

I have survived three trips to the State Fair…opening day with Richard & Jami (and fabu Sandy!), two weekends later  with Kenner, Cory & the wife (narrowly missing a run in with a Human Turd), and closing weekend with the family.  I have survived beer, corny dogs, beer, giant stuffed animals, face painting, beer….indigestion.

I have survived a trip to Six Flag remarkably close to the end of the said fair…and I needed beer…

I have survived the summer spent in hell….literally, it was hotter than just that all friggin summer, burned off any reminder that we spent several weekends, several hundred dollars, sweat, Ibuprofen and beer, laying St. Augustine in the backyard.

I survived assisting (supervised…I digress) in moving folks from Wylie to Garland, from Las Colinas to Garland….what is the fascination with the “Land of Gar” folks?  I just got the wife out of there a couple of years ago (you’re still welcome Beast! 😉 lol…not really)

I survived Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving TIMES two….in one day….and so far too many holiday functions to count.  And I have two more weekends to get through, plus hosting a NYE fete with Kris, Morgen and her Mrs.

Holy hell…..

I.am.exhausted….

I love my life.  I love my life.  I love my life.

Wanna know what I love….

That with the trip to Galveston and the Space Center, I got to see the boys eyes light up with wonder and with imagination.  That on the beach, we could play and sit and talk and build sand castles….and his smile set me free.

That with the State Fair, I got to experience it with two of my favorite people….I got to eat Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Sammiches with Sandy and Fried Frito Pie with my Kenner.  I got to see Rozann and Misty….I got Fletchers….I got to take my kids and ride the Texas Star (I did it…I didn’t enjoy it at first, but would totally do it again!)

With Six Flags, my kids got to do something I have never been able to do with them….Six Flags…they loved the roller coasters, well, Maggie did….Riley is my chicken little and stayed right next to mamma….

With the trip to Nashville, I spent some truly quality time with my wife.  Truly, just the two of us.  Alone, exploring….and I fell more in love with her with every moment.  We were there for the beginning of Occupy Nashville which was awkward…and saw the Parthenon and a 42′ statue of Athena, talk about making me feel petite…

With the trip to Graceland, I got to experience something I never thought I would…I got to see Elvis through her eyes…I don’t have words for how amazing this experience was.  Other than we are planning a trip in less than a month to go back with Ursula and her Mr. if I can swing year end reporting at work….(I’ma workin’ on it, I’ma workin’ on it…)

And now, Christmas is upon us.  House is decorated, with the exception of some finishing touches that I plan to hit this weekend…shhhh….the wife doesn’t know…yet.

Life is good.  Life is not to be taken for granted.  Each day is a blessing.  Each person who I come in contact with impacts my life in that moment.  And I don’t have anyone in my life that impacts it negatively.  At all.

From the cashier at the grocery store who knows my name, that I know her sons by name….to the sales rep that makes me smile, just by frustrating me because he doesn’t know better.

From the mother that finds me to be her favorite hobby and calls me about the most random of things to the sister, who with her faith, finds the silver lining in EVERYTHING.

From the bills, to the laundry.  From the alarm clock to the timeclock….my life is full of bliss, grace, love and laughter…

And with that, the writers block lifts…

I found me again.

Faith.

I have lived my life by one rule…and if you have been reading this blog or my previous incarnation, then you know what it is…

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

Now, I don’t claim to have always lived a good life, full of good deeds.  I don’t claim to have always been the nicest person, nor do I think I am the worst.  I am human and with that comes free choice, which leads to both good and bad decisions.

But at the bottom of it all, I have tried to live honestly…and fully.  I have never once intentionally hurt another person and am the first to offer forgiveness.  Even when someone doesn’t ask.

For those who know me, they know my heart.  They know that I agonize over hurting people and want to right my wrongs.  It’s been a life long battle, letting go of those that can’t forgive.  It kills me to this day.

But these days, it’s a battle I am winning.  I am learning to let go.  To let these folks answer to God.  Not me.  Just like I will.   If it weren’t for the love of my wife, my kids, my family and my friends, I would fold up, dive head first into darkness and dwell there all my days.

But see, they bring light, happiness and joy to me.  They are what God put in my way…to show me my faith.  To show me that just because I don’t go to church, just because I am not a member of a congregation, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my faith shown to me in many ways.  Every day.

I had a rough time at work this week with a former employee.  An employee that threatened my very life.  And in this week, specifically today when they showed up unannounced, I saw God had put people around me to surround me, to protect me.  I didn’t know until the person was gone and even with that, I had others calling me to check, to warn…I had others to escort me out, to make sure I got to my car safely.  And then I had others to check on me later in the evening just because they thought of me.  It was His way of showing me that His arms were around me, protecting me through others.  It was peaceful.

God had shown me the path back to my children.  I spent a few years allowing another to make me make small choices everyday….between this person and my children.  I can see it now.  It wasn’t intentional, I truly believe this.  But there were choices and sometimes, I didn’t make the right ones.  Now, God has put this wonderful being into my life and the choice is automatic.  It’s kids first.  Period. For both of us.  Kids first.  He put her there, to show me that He knew I needed this, that I needed to not be where I was and that He had my heart in His hands….and was leading me home.

God has put this being in my life to love me.  To treat me as her equal.  To show me that a relationship isn’t all about the angst.  That it does take work, but not THAT much work.  It’s been a whirlwind and I wouldn’t trade anything other than the fact that I wish I had been here five years earlier than I was.  But He works in His time and I realize now that I wasn’t ready for this, that she wasn’t ready.  We had to wait until His time was right.  And we are on the same path, hand in hand…

My faith was shaken when I left my church a few years ago.  It didn’t feel like home any more.  It was my place with a former relationship and became her sanctuary.  In the end, I felt judged by others that knew nothing about our end other than one side and I felt that church wasn’t the place to air such things.  So I removed myself, surrounded myself with love and waited.  I don’t know what for, but I waited for some sign, something that showed me a new church home….that I longed for the lessons of the Book, His word….

…I learned that my faith didn’t leave me.  Ever.  Just because I was testing it, I was questioning Him, didn’t mean He left me, that He questioned me.  I had a purpose and I needed to settle into that and be still.  My faith would rise up and fill me.

And it did.

Now days, I don’t question Him. I talk to Him.  In my quietest moments, I am in my head, feeling my way through my faith.  It is a sense of self where I feel it most.  That I know I am right where I need to be and more importantly, who I want to be.

I think faith will see you through everything.  Faith in something bigger than me, something that will tie me to another person.  Our common bond in our faith.  It doesn’t mean I have to be Baptist, Catholic or Jewish….I just have to have faith. 

I try to continue to share this faith with others.  And this year, I realized that I didn’t attend Ash Wednesday services, Maunday Thursday services or Good Friday services.  I don’t expect to attend Easter morning services.  And as much as I miss this, I realize that I don’t have to be in a room full of people to celebrate Christ and his life, his sacrifice for me and the forgiveness I have each day, even before I get out of bed.  That God loves me enough to keep giving me chances and choices. 

I intend to continue to float on my faith.  To rise above the hatred, the ugliness and the pettiness of others.  To realize that no matter what the past is, it is truly the past and it is forgiven.  That my past led me to my present, and will light my path to the future.

I will continue to float on my faith, with love in my heart, with laughter on the tip of my tongue and forgiveness in my soul. 

And on Sunday, as everyday, I will remember the season, I will rejoice in His rising and I will do so with light in my eyes and faith all around.  I will celebrate His eternal life, His boundless sacrifice and be grateful that my faith cup runneth over.

Amen.

Love is.

After yesterday, I needed some peace, some comfort and some ease of mind….

I got it.

Today, love is…

  • Benefits for a family in need.
  • Free Starbucks with my Girl.
  • Coming home to the daughters clean room.
  • The son’s A/B honor roll progress report, with a 100 in social studies.

I am grateful, blessed and overjoyed with my life.  With the friends in my world, the connectedness with my family.  The stability and calm that I have experienced for the past 18 months.  I give it all to Him, for leading me down this path, for taking the negativity from my life and showing me who and what is good in my world.

That, is floating on faith.

That, is love.

Say a little prayer.

I don’t ever wish to repeat a day like today.  Ever.  It’s been a hard one.  All I kept saying all day was “I need a hug!”  Thank GOD for my wife and kids…as soon as I hit the door, they were all there.  Holding me, making me laugh, letting me talk about nothing….as I do.  There was my beautiful daughter, my handsome little man and my love in life.  Waiting for me, like they were living for that moment.

Did I mention how much I love my family?

Mondays are typically pretty hectic at work.  Most days are pretty hectic, but every other Monday is Payroll Monday for me, which means I have to pull the paperwork and payroll edits together for six locations in North Texas and Central Texas and make sure everyone gets a check on Fridays.  I have a great support system with the managers at the office and each location, so by the Grace of God, I don’t do this alone.  They do a lot of the heavy lifting, I just put it together and make it look pretty….

Did I mention how much I love my job?

So, again, Mondays are hectic….I have gotten used to it and they fly by….not today.

I am doing my payroll thing, when a sales rep walks in to let me know another rep has passed away.  He’s been critically ill since before I got there and has worked with intermittent FMLA, so I did get to know him, he was sweet, kind and an all around nice guy.  He was young.  42.  With kids and a wife.

It was a gut punch.  I knew he was not doing well, we had been getting updates, but I didn’t expect it, not today.  His kids are the age of my youngest and it made me profoundly sad.  I have spoken with his wife several times lately, to check in on her, on him, on the family.  Every conversation hurt.  It took a while to get back on track.

Then later that morning, I got the news that my new counterpart in another market that I am friends with, went home on Friday to find that her husband had passed away that day while she was at work.  While we were having a conversation about her working so many hours and to go home and take care of him, to take care of her…while we were making plans for me to come work for a week with her…

THEN, this afternoon, one of my drivers calls to tell me he had an ATV accident, broke his hand, and tore his ACL and he really hopes he has STD so he can provide for his child, his wife and his soon to be here baby….(he’s gonna be a-ok….I got this!)

All on top of some hard luck that has befallen a family member that we now will rally around and help land on their feet.  Because that’s what friends and families do.  We support each other.

Too much sad today….yet, all day, all I could do was say a prayer every time I thought of these people.  “God, keep them, keep their families.  Hold them close to you and ease their pain.”

I do that often, for folks when they enter my mind….say a little prayer.  Different prayers for different people.  But my peace, my saving grace is prayer. 

So, for all of you, I say this prayer: 

“God, keep them safe, keep them well.  Keep them close and guide them.  Let them know they are on my mind and in my heart.  Amen”

Godspeed to those we have lost.  You have touched many.