Adding To The New Ink.

Tonight I’m going back to the tattoo parlor to have the tattoo artist add on to my newest tattoo. There’s a part near to my inner thigh that I’m not thrilled with. I’ve already discussed this with the artist and he knows what I want. I’m not looking forward to this visit as this last tattoo hurt like hell to have done. None of my other tattoos hurt like this one. I’ve also not received as many compliments on a tattoo as I’ve gotten on this one. Strangers stop me to comment.

I’ve also decided I want another tattoo on my right wrist it will either say “Blessed” or ” Believe”, I haven’t decided yet. I am blessed and I do believe, so there is my lack of decisiveness. I want to be able to cover the tattoo with my watch band or shirt sleeve if need be. The new job opportunity I’m pursuing has a dress code of “business casual” so I’m sure tattoos aren’t a part of that.

I’m leaving now, I’ll probably pick this up after the added on tattoo.

I’m back. The artist suggested another feather to cover the part that was bothering me.  I appreciate his opinion and artistry. Right now my leg is stinging and covered with a bandage. I’ll post a picture soon. A before and after sounds right.

When I quit smoking

I recently celebrated 4 years of being a non smoker. I quit on June 27th, 2011. Cold turkey; no patch, no gum, no hypnosis, no electronic cigarettes. I’m glad I did it that way, it worked for me. Plus my husband challenged me holding an expensive, much wanted handbag over my head as a reward for quitting. I was a woman possessed and stalked the designer’s website. Every.Single.Night. Debating which bag I was getting.

I remember the kids were all home for the summer. I had read somewhere that it takes 3 days for nicotine to leave your system. Needless to say I was an anxious, irritable mess and my husband was questioning whether this was the best time for me to quit. He called me from work and heard in my voice the anxiety and irritability. He said, “You know…maybe this wasn’t the best time for you to quit what with the kids home all the time…”  I quickly answered, “Oh no…I’m not going back now, I’m 3 days in, I’m not going through these 3 days again!”

My only consolation was cleaning, or rather cleaning out closets and tossing things we no longer needed or thought we no longer needed. Thomas was my ever present helper. After I got done with the closets I felt at a loss, what to clean now?  Ah ha! The attic was perfect :). Armed with my trusty garbage bags, Thomas and I tackled the attic. It became comical after a week or two. Literally right after the trash was collected and our trash pails empty there I was ready to fill them again, and fill them I did. Tommy asked me to slow down. Nope. I couldn’t, I was a woman on a mission.

After a week had passed, it was July 4th. I announced to my husband that it was time to get my handbag I had called the boutique and they were indeed open! However I put a self imposed “catch” to this coveted handbag. I wouldn’t use the bag until I earned it. I would wait until the money I would have spent on smoking equaled the cost of the bag. It took three months believe it or not. I was a pack a day smoker so the cost of one pack of cigarettes times 90 days give or take equaled my beloved purse. I would take it out of the box and dust bag to stare at but I would not use her.

It’s been 4 years and I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss smoking. I do. I don’t miss all the risks and damage to my health. I don’t miss the smell. It’s funny I feel like I can smell a smoker a mile away these days. And part of me feels bad for them especially the young ones. I hope I never go back Tommy already said he’d take my bags away, I can’t have that!

Guidance and Trust

I’m in a position right now where I have no choice but to trust in the Lord. Trust that I won’t fall flat on my face. Trust Him that the path he is leading me on is right. I won’t lie and say I’m not nervous; I am, but I keep telling myself that He won’t let me down, He is leading my way and all I have to do is have faith and follow.

I think back to when I was younger, before I was saved or born again. I still knew God was with me and no one else could lead me down the roads I traveled. He did go before me and that’s what I have to tell myself now. That He’s already been where I’m going. I think back to the first time we had to have Thomas live at a residential school. Thomas was 8 and Tommy and I took this decision very seriously and we were diligent when we visited schools I don’t know how we could not be as diligent as we were.This was a very difficult time in our lives. I remember visiting, I think it was the third school on our list. The first two were not places we wanted Thomas to be at, one was dirty and the other was 3 hours away. . Anyway we met with the admissions director and she reviewed Thomas’ “packet”  which is composed of every evaluation you could think of, including IQ scores. I remember touring the school and both Tommy and I loved it. I remember excusing myself to use the ladies room and while in there I prayed harder than I ever prayed in my life for Thomas to be able to attend this school. Before that day I’d always prayed for guidance and direction when it came to Thomas, That day however I was desperate and I know the Lord heard me. Thomas was accepted to that school. This difficult decision was made less difficult thanks to a loving God who heard my prayer and answered yes.

Today I still pray for guidance and ask for forgiveness when I doubt in Him. I ask the Lord to be with me when situations arise and I don’t feel confidant. I know He will never leave or forsake me.

My Grandmother

I was reading another blog post about the writer’s grandmother and it made me think of my grandmother. She was the only grandmother I knew growing up and she was wonderful. Her name on her baptismal was Emilia but everyone called her Emily.  She wasn’t your typical kissy, huggy, “pinch your cheeks” kind of Grandma, instead we did kiss hello and it was only towards the end of her life did she want to hug you, however she was far from cold. You knew where you stood with her as she was very honest and rarely did you have to guess how she felt. She loved to craft and before arthritis set in she was extremely creative. To this day her family enjoys so much of her handiwork.

Grandma was born in 1910, September 14th. She had an alcoholic, abusive  father and was one of 6 children only 5 of which reached adulthood. One girl named Mary died of influenza I was told by her. Mary was 2 or 3 years old. My grandma was never educated past the 8th grade, she had to leave school and go to work to help support the family. When you spoke to her however you would never have known she had to cut her school years short. She was very sharp and on the ball. It took a lot to put something past her. She was also an excellent judge of character. When we were kids she would play all sorts of card games and Rummy Q with us. She was always there to teach us how to play some sort of game and help us with homework when she could. I remember math being the only subject she couldn’t help us with past the 5th grade.

She and my grandfather took us to church every Sunday. And in the spring and warmer seasons after church we would go to yard sales or flea markets. We loved that.

It wasn’t until I became an adult did I really appreciate her. I used to go to her house and help her clean and also change the curtains/drapes every other season. She wanted things just so and had specific directions almost perfectionist in nature. I didn’t mind though. I figured it’s her house why not do things the way she wants them done. I remember she wore Estee Lauder perfume and this orange/red lipstick whenever she left the house. After she died I looked at the lipstick and couldn’t think of any other person that color would look as good on. It was as if it were made specifically for her.

Growing up, holidays were held at her house, Grandma would bake a ton of pies for Thanksgiving and a ton of cookies for Christmas. The cookies were always served on this 3 tier china cookie server, it was so pretty. Christmas was my favorite holiday at her house. The tree was always decorated beautifully and just so. There was a Santa in his sleigh with 8 reindeer strewn across the top of the sun porch doorway. The rest of the doorways were adorned with the many Christmas cards that were sent to them. You couldn’t help but feel festive in that house.

When my grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack I was 14 years old. My grandmother was very stoic and reserved. I don’t remember seeing her cry but that doesn’t mean she never cried. I know she was devastated.  The holidays stopped being held at her house. My grandma also “stopped” in many ways. She changed her eating habits drastically and easily lost 20 pounds. She rarely cooked anymore. She would come to my mom’s house for dinner every Sunday. My sister and I would take grandma to her doctors appointments since she never learned to drive. She was always ready to give us money for gas which we fully appreciated.

I do miss her. I miss her honesty and directness. She wouldn’t say anything to hurt your feelings she just said it the way she saw it without malice.Every now and then my husband will say I remind him of my grandmother and I am flattered. To me it’s a huge compliment.


Recently I was asked how do I identify myself. I started with the usual, “wife and mother”, then after some thought proudly proclaimed, “Nurse!” That one caught me completely by surprise as until recently I didn’t identify myself as a nurse, just someone who pierced ears for a living. I am piercing ears as an RN at a company that performs ear piercing performed by Registered Nurses. Anyway…we went through the other identities such as sister, daughter, and I almost forgot Christian. I wanted to face palm myself. How did I not say that first? I was disappointed with myself. I mean I’ve been a wife and mother for the past 20 years so those were a no brainer. “RN” was said after some thought and I am proud of myself for reinstating my license and actually securing a job after all these years. Being a Christian is a huge part of my identity. The fact that I believe and worship Christ affects every part of my day and my actions. Unfortunately I’ve taken it for granted. Taken for granted the privilege a lot of people in this world do not have.

I didn’t realize how my faith is transparent to people who know me.  My therapist was the one who asked me to identify myself. She was the one who said, “Christian, Menay you’re a Christian” when I became stuck at labeling how I see myself. My therapist is not a Christian and I adore her. She brings up my beliefs and how I pray quite often. She understands how important my faith is to me. I think she appreciates my faith in God more than I do sometimes. When the depression was hitting hard, I still prayed, probably more than I pray today. I prayed for Him to take the depression away. And He did by having the right doctor and therapist in my life. God placed those people here, there was no chance meeting. I don’t believe in coincidences.

I would ask anyone to label their identities, it’s a real eye opener and makes you appreciate what you gloss over or don’t think is important enough to identify.

I’m Glad…

I’m sitting on my front steps thinking of how glad I am to be here. Glad to have a new tattoo, glad to not be depressed and glad to have a new job opportunity. A year ago these things were very different. I wasn’t interested in much other than the way I was feeling which wasn’t that great. Last year I wrote about Thomas turning 18 and how I was job searching. Little did I know back then that in 2 to 3 short months I would be hired by my current employer.

I’m glad to be past the baby stage with my kids. Samantha, our youngest is turning 9 years old soon and I’m blown away at how fast time passes. Our oldest daughter is turning 17 this weekend and will start driving. I’m glad I’m here to see that milestone.

I’m glad I have a husband who loves and supports me. In my darkest times it was his support that held me up. I don’t think he knows how much that meant to me.

I’m glad to have a relationship with God. I don’t know where I’d be without Him in my life. He is an awesome God and I wish more people knew Him and knew the Gospel. That the Lord God gave his only son so that we would be reconciled with Him. An incredible gift and all we have to do is invite Jesus in to our hearts to receive this gift.

I’m glad.

10,000 Reasons

I woke up having a song running through my head, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman  Specifically the chorus, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy name…”  Such powerful lyrics. To not only worship the Lord but also His name. He deserves such worship and devotion, the great I Am. Each day I’m amazed at His greatness, how He can change lives, and change people. I know the Lord has changed me. Changed the way I see situations and how I see people. I’ve seen Him work things out in a way that only He can.

I’ll never forget when Thomas was in the psychiatric hospital 2 hours away. I was called to come in for a meeting and Tommy insisted I not go by myself. The meeting was in 2 days and I had no one to come with me. I thought about my church family and calling the church to see if anyone could accompany me. I didn’t call the church. Instead I went to the Macy’s one day sale.  While in Macy’s I ran into Cheryl who is one of the pastor’s wife from church. She immediately asked about Thomas and I told her I had this meeting to go to and I needed someone to come with me. Without missing a beat Cheryl asks, “When is the meeting?” I told her the day and she quickly answered, “I’ll be there.”  I almost fell over right there in Macy’s. And true to her word Cheryl came with me.  I took up her whole day. And she acted as if it were no big deal. That was the work of our God right there working through Cheryl. This was over 3 years ago and Cheryl is now a wonderful, dear friend of mine.

I’ve been praying for a new job all the while knowing this can only happen on His timing, not mine. Now here I am presented with this new opportunity. I don’t know if this is exactly where He wants me to be I can only step out in faith and trust Him.


A new job opportunity has presented itself to me. It’s a nursing job and its per diem meaning I work when I can/want. It’s for a company that does corporate events such as checking blood pressure, blood sugar, flu shots, etc… I applied last week for the heck of it and heard back last night via email. There’s a training session involved and I’m sure an interview of some sort.

I’m thinking this may be a good gig to get involved with. I would keep the job I have now as it is a steady paycheck and it would be nice to make extra money especially with Alyssa driving in about a week.

I haven’t written about my daughter who turns 17 in less than a week and will be driving at that time. It doesn’t freak me out all that much, mostly because she already passed her road test (on the first try; proud mama brag). I say this of course because she isn’t actually driving yet…I am looking forward to her being able to drive herself and her sisters places to help me out a bit. I’m not looking forward to the hike in our car insurance that I don’t know about yet as I’ve been too chicken to call the insurance company about. So this is life for now 🙂


My son turned 19 today. I can’t believe 19 years have passed since I became a mother for the first time. My Thomas. The one who made me grow up and become an advocate. I wasn’t looking to be anything other than a mother in those days.  I certainly wasn’t looking to be the mother of a special needs child. That was not in the “plan”. As if it’s in anybody’s plan when you start your family . I once read on a special needs parenting message board, “when you agree to become a mother you essentially agree to become the mother of a special needs child…” Meaning you usually don’t know that that child will have issues, or something to that effect, the exact words escape me. I’m not sure I agree with that statement but I’ve never forgotten it.

Being Thomas’ mom changed me. To this day I’m still being changed and challenged and growing and grieving. I don’t think the grieving ever stops when your child is special needs. You never stop wondering the what ifs. We have the added bonus of having to trust virtual strangers to care for our child since he cannot live at home. We have been blessed with the residential facility that Thomas lives at. These “strangers” have earned our respect and many times when we are fortunate enough to see the staff that cares for our son, we are more than happy to be in their presence. More than happy to inquire about their well being. I’m happy to be on a first name basis with the social workers and charge nurse. I’m very happy to be on the receiving end of a hug or kiss hello from them. It’s been 3 years this June that Thomas entered the residential facility and I’m extremely happy to say for the most part it’s been an uneventful 3 years in that there hasn’t been any emergencies or drama or situations to make us unhappy.

This 19th birthday also marks three years that I’ve been treated for depression and anxiety. I first sought help before Thomas’ 16th birthday.  I’m thrilled to be feeling as well as I do. It’s been a long road and now that I am in the light I don’t mind talking about the dark times. I don’t want to dwell on those times but if my writing about my dark time can help someone else and know they’re not alone it’s worth it. 3 years ago I never thought I’d be where I am today.

New Ink part 2

I said I didn’t really have a meaning other than celebrating life for this tattoo, but my soul sister in Wisconsin figured it out for me. The feathers-the heavy load has been lifted and my mind is as light as a feather; the vines- the growth…the vines are intertwined just like the journey in life and there’s always growth. The lines: the band that has it all together on top, God, my marriage and my children. I love that she figured me out.  Love you Jackie 🙂