A Conglomerate of Emotions

This past weekend was filled with a mixture of emotions.

We were still kind of celebrating the fact that the Army is giving Michael the opportunity to attend the Sergeants Major Academy and be promoted to the rank of E9 as a Sergeant Major!!  We really were pleasantly surprised to see his name on the list.  He has been in the Army now for over 25 years, so we were just thinking that it was not going to happen and that he’d retire at 27 and we were kind of already preparing for that.  So, we kind of celebrated here at home with my homemade enchilada dinner, complete with borracho beans!  It was quite yummy and needless to say, we all enjoyed it.  Friday night’s emotions:  GRATEFULNESS and JOY!!

Saturday evening we had the honor of attending a beautiful, very well-put-together retirement dinner and dance of a soldier who worked with Michael!  There was a slideshow of her, her co-workers and her family from throughout the past 23 years.  There were speeches, toasts and all around great fun!  People spoke great words about this soldier and she was awarded her last award at this dinner.  I didn’t know her personally, but it was clear that she had been a top-notch soldier and was a wonderful person!  It was a beautiful celebration and a great time!!

In the adjacent ballroom (separated by an accordion wall) was a 75th Birthday Celebration for a woman.  Throughout part of the evening, it was as if the music from both ballrooms were in competition (this is something to keep in mind when planning an event).  However, into the evening, it became noticeably quiet over there and then we were asked to take a moment of silence.  Apparently, the woman they were celebrating collapsed on the dancefloor of a heart attack.  I have no idea if she lived or not, because everyone over there left hours before the party was scheduled to end.  I checked the obituary for the name that I remembered seeing on the the placard, and I didn’t see it.  I’m hoping that she is now back at her house with her family and doing much better!  Although, I was very glad that this woman was surrounded by her friends and family, I’m was sad that the collapse may cloud the memories of what was supposed to be a great celebration!  Saturday night’s emotions:  HAPPINESS and GLOOMY

Sunday started off as a regular Sunday.  We all got ready because there was a parent meeting at Lorenzo’s Confirmation Class.  Here we were able to find out the date of his Confirmation and we were excitedly talking about it.  After the meeting, we went to have breakfast before going to Mass at 1115.  As we were finishing up our breakfast, Michael received a phone call.  He was being informed that one of his soldiers had died in a motorcycle accident earlier that morning (like an hour before).  He was obviously shaken up by this news.  So, we left to go to the scene of the accident, so that he could talk to the others who were with him and find out exactly what happened.  He was met there by the 1st Sgt and their Capt.

We saw the mangled motorcycle on the road and it was like a hit in the gut.  We also saw his sheet-covered body on the side of the road and quickly said a prayer for him and his family.  Apparently this soldier really enjoyed riding his motorcycle.  Michael talked to him every week, reminding him to ride slowly and just enjoy the ride.  Michael had just spoken with him again last Thursday.  Lorenzo and I waited in the truck while Michael talked with the others.  After a while, we left and decided that we’d just pick Michael up from work later.

They were able to get some information from the police officers on the scene as well as the other riders who were with him at the time of the accident.  If there is any consolation to his death, at least all those who knew him know that he died doing what he loved doing the most–riding his motorcyle.  And it was known that he LOVED riding on Transmountain Hwy.  I just pray that if any good comes from his death, that perhaps the other young riders who were with him and saw his gruesome death, that this would cause them to slow down and always ride cautiously!!

Specialist David Mulno was 23 years old and from a small town in Massachusetts.  He leaves behind his parents, a younger sister who is to start college this Fall and many uncles, aunts and cousins who will miss him terribly.  Never before have I ever known about the death of anyone before his own family knew.  Throughout the day, I kept saying little prayers for them.  I couldn’t even imagine the confusion his mother (and the rest of his family, however being a mother, I empathize more with her) must have felt to see THE car drive up to her house.  Afterall, her son was not at war.  His job at this duty station was to handle the mail.  There’s no reason at all to think that his life was in danger!!  I could not even fathom the sadness, grief and despair she must have felt as they gave her the news that, in fact, her only son was dead.

Throughout the day, I’d look at the clock and think, “I wonder if she knows yet?”  Then I’d say a little prayer.  The rest of the day was kind of on autodrive.  I did things that needed to be done around the house, I made dinner for the family but all the while my thoughts and heart were with David’s family.  Praying for them and hoping that they had the faith and strength to get them through this horrible time.   Please keep this family in prayer during their time of sorrow!  Sunday’s emotion:  SADNESS

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Rusty, The Dog

 

The dog who stole our hearts!!

 

This weekend, we are celebrating our Rusty, the dog!!  It was three years ago, yesterday that he adopted us!  Unbeknownst to the man and the manboy, I went over to Animal Services and started looking at dogs to bring home.

Oh my goodness, by the time I left an hour later, I wanted to bring them all home.  Of course I could not.  Amongst the couple of hundred dogs I saw, one stood out!

In a kennel with about six other dogs, he was in the corner, not cowering, just sitting.  He was the only dog that was not all hyper and was not barking.  Since, I had never really been a dog-person, I thought, “That dog is so mellow.  This is the dog for me!!”

So, I went to the staff to ask about meeting the dog.  They brought him out of the kennel and he walked right up to me and laid his head on my lap.  Not in a sad way, but like he was just coming up to allow me to pet him.  He was so friendly, but not in a pain-in-the-butt kind of way!

I quickly told them that yes, this was indeed the dog for our family.  So, they got everything prepared and told me that he’d be ready for pickup the next day.

So, I left and went shopping.  I bought dog food, toys, balls, bedding, a carrier, a leash, a collar and anything else that I could think that he would need.

The reasons I chose Rusty were because he was a good size, not too small and not a big dog.  He was brown and black and I thought, if he sheds a lot, then at least it will match the furniture.  The fact that he was not hyper or a big barker was a very big plus!!

The next day, I went to pick him and surprised the guys at home.  Lorenzo was beside him excited because he had been asking for a dog for quite a few years.  He was looking forward to playing fetch and ball with him and teaching him tricks.

This was taken on the day that we brought him home.

While Rusty was a very good dog from Day One, he was not quite what we expected.  He does not fetch, he does not play with toys and balls…he’ll just look at them bounce by him.  But, some great unexpected factors were that he was already house-trained, does not shed AT ALL and he didn’t bark at all!  He was, in my eyes, the perfect dog!!

Three years have now passed and WOW!!  What a little blessing this little creature has turned out to be!!  He knows when we are down or sick and will just come and sit or lay by us, simply to allow us to pet him.  He must know how relaxing that is for us, humans!

We have been through a lot with this dog.  We’ve made it through rescuing him AGAIN after he jumped our 5 ft wall and got incarcerated for running the streets.  We’ve made it through surgery when he got into our garbage and ate a whole turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving 2009.  We’ve made it through Heartworm treatment which required him to stay in a kennel for 30 days.  We’ve made it through a few road trips as he went home with us to meet the rest of the family.  Now, they know, if we’re visiting, we’re bringing him with us.  He’s also enjoyed a few Scout campouts.

After his first Scout campout, he was so tired! We got into the house and he barely made it to his bed and crashed!!

Rusty, truly has become a much-loved family member.  On any given day, you can confirm this when hearing us interchange his and Renzo’s name.  On many occasions, we’d be talking to the manboy and instead of calling him Renzo, the name Rusty will accidentally leave our lips.  At first, I think the manboy was insulted until he realized that this was not intended as an insult, because he knows how much we love that silly dog!!

Anyhow, so today, we will continue to enjoy Rusty, The Dog.  I call him that, because often we have to remind ourselves and him that he is, in fact, a dog!!!  😀

We were visiting some friends and we all went out to the side of the mesa to watch the sunset. We pulled up the chair and guess who grabbed it!

It’s A Boy!!!

I was teaching Preschool in Littleton, CO all during my pregnancy.  I had four other moms who were all pregnant at the same time.  The morning of the 11th, we had all been talking about how much our bladders were squished and how often we had to go to the bathroom.  We even talked about little “accidents”.  I know TMI!

That afternoon, after my group of children fell asleep for their naps, I got up from the floor and it happened.  I felt a trickle and thought that I had wet myself.  It wasn’t a lot, just a few drops, so I just put on a pad.  Well, this continued throughout the day, but again just a few drops each time.

That night, I went home, cooked dinner, cleaned the dishes with Michael and then just decided to call the doctor to describe what had been going on throughout the day.  I had not been feeling badly, no cramps, no contractions, nothing–just the occasional trickle.

Well, Michael heard the words, “Oh, so you think that I should go ahead and come in?”  He totally freaked out.  Since we were still 6 weeks away from our due date, this was totally unexpected!  We were so NOT prepared at home.  But alas, it was time!

We arrived at the hospital at around 10 pm.  The doctors that were on-call gave us a very bleak prognosis.  Either I was going to have to stay in the hospital for the next 4 to 6 weeks or if I had the baby that night, then the baby would have to stay in the hospital for six weeks.  They were very adamant that it was not the right time to give birth, that it would be unsafe.  We stayed for the night and tried to get as much rest as possible throughout all the poking, prodding and checking of my vital signs.

The next morning, Dr. Scott comes in and asks, “So are you guys ready to have a baby today?”  Frightened, we responded, “But the doctors last night said that it was not safe for the baby yet.”  Dr. Scott assured us that after careful examinations of all the test results, it was indeed safe and time.  He felt that it was more important to avoid the risk of infection since the cervix was already opened at 1 cm and the amniotic fluid was already leaking.

So, I called my employer to inform her that I would not be coming back in for a couple of months.  We called our families to let them know that this was the day!!

To speed things along, I was given some Pitocin around 10 am to begin the labor, because nothing was happening on it’s own.  Around 2 pm I started feeling the contractions.  Boy howdy, did I feel them!!  I had never felt pain like this in my life before this day!!  Even though it was almost unbearable, I was relishing it.  I had told the doctors that I didn’t want any medication.  I wanted to feel everything because I didn’t know if this would be my only opportunity or not.  Besides, I was just so thankful that we had come this far!!

After a couple of hours of contractions, the anaesthesiologist started to come in to ask if I wanted an epidural.  I just told him “No, I can do this”!!  Well, he certainly got his exercise that day because I called him back in three more times stating that I was ready.  When he’d come in and begin to get things ready, I told him “Never mind, I can do this!!”  Like I said, this went on a few times.  The contractions were off the chart, which was very reassuring to me because then I didn’t feel like I was being a complete weakling about the pain!

Finally at around 8 that evening, I called him back in and this time, I allowed the epidural.  Whoa!  Zowie Mama!!  What a difference!!  I can’t believe that I was trying to withstand all that pain on my own.  By this time I was at about 6cm, but I was feeling good!!  I was actually starting to enjoy this birthing thing!!  Now I know that many of you were able to go through childbirth without any meds, and that’s great, but I was just so thankful for those meds at this point!

Around 10:30 p.m. it was time to start pushing.  I had been laying almost flat and things were just not progressing.  Finally, the doctor thought it may be better to tilt my bed downward and let gravity do the trick.  Well, he barely had time to turn around when it was time to catch the baby as he came out.  HE came out!!  “IT’S A BOY!!” Dr. Scott announced.  Now, for most mothers, they declare a sigh of relief, a prayer of thanksgiving, a hallelujah or something else of those sorts.  No, not me.  The first words out of my mouth were, “He’s gonna be a big brother!!”  Despite all the turmoil, all the fear, all of what could have gone wrong, I knew that I wanted to do this again!!  Michael was like, “Let’s get this one out completely first, then we’ll think about the next one!!”  😀

So, we had a beautiful baby boy, but he wasn’t crying and he was breathing very labored!  I just prayed, “Please God, I know you didn’t bring me this far for nothing!!”  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we hear his faint little cry!!  He sounded like a baby kitten, but he was crying.  Thank you God, he was crying!!

He was born at 10:46 p.m.  He weighed in at 5 lbs, 15 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long.  This was quite big for being 6 weeks early.  I cannot imagine how big he would have been had he gone full-term!!

We had one of the grandmas on the phone at the time (I don’t remember which one) and they were also able to hear him cry.  I was able to see him briefly, but they had to whisk him away into the NICU to get him under oxygen immediately.  I told Michael to go with them and I’d be alright!!  Our friend, Joanne, stayed with me.  She and Michael Edward (Michael’s older son) had been with us in the birthing room.  When things got very intense, Edward went out to the waiting area.  He was excited to meet his little sibling, but he didn’t want to actually be witness to his/her arrival!  ;-D  Joanne was there to help with the labor and delivery.  What a great coach she was!!  What a blessing she was!!

An hour and a half later, after the feeling came back into my legs, I jumped in the shower and was able to eat!!  I had not eaten since the night before at dinner.  We had a sausage/macaroni and cheese casserole and some spinach.  If I had known that that would be my last meal for the next 24 hours, then I would have made sure it was a big, juicy steak and baked potato at least!!  After I ate, I walked over to the NICU to go and see our beautiful baby.  Oh my goodness, what a glorious day that was!!

Now, he’s turning 14 years old and will be starting high school in a couple of days!!  That is hard to fathom.  It is taking every ounce of strength in me also, not to walk him into the school on that first day.  I know that we’ve been teaching him since day one and I know that he’s ready.  I’m the one that is not ready!  Renzo, the manboy has been such a blessing for us, yes, even through some of his knuckle-headed choices.  He is such a beautiful spirit and is growing into a wonderful young man.  I pray that God will continue to bless him and bless us with him!  I am thankful everyday for him and pray for continued guidance, wisdom and strength to be the mother that he needs me to be!

The Waiting Begins…

So, it is now Friday, June 12, 1998.  Dr. Scott, my OB, came into the room and asked Michael and me, “Are you guys ready to have a baby today?”

We were so scared because the doctors that we saw the night before painted a very bleak picture for giving birth today because the baby was so early.  We asked a lot of questions, but mainly, “Is it safe for the baby to come out now?”  We were already under the impression that I would simply have to be on bedrest for the next four to six weeks and we were okay with that.  But Dr. Scott assured us that tests revealed that everything was perfectly fine and that today would be the day.

These words had me reeling and thinking back to the past several years.

Back in 1995, I finally received a diagnosis for my very irregular cycle.  I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCS).  The main symptoms of PCS were that I rarely ovulated.  Since my teen years, I would ovulate about twice a year and I never knew when that would be.  Up until this time, all the doctors would just tell me that “this was normal for [my] body”.  So, I was happy to finally receive a diagnosis but very sad to know of the prognosis–that more than likely I would not be able to conceive a baby naturally, and if I did conceive, chances were very high that it would abort naturally.  The main problem there was that I was not producing enough progesterone to help the fertilized egg stick to the uterine wall.

I found out that I was pregnant when I was about 4 weeks along.  Years before I had been placed on the birth control pill because this was the only way that I would have a regulated cycle and the hormones in the pill would help alleviate some of the other symptoms I had from the PCS–loss of hair on the top of my head, excessive facial hair growth and very, very slow metabolism, to name a few.

So, when my period didn’t come as usual, I grew concerned because the month prior, Michael had returned from an NTC rotation (a 5 week field exercise) and through the excitement of his return and the Blizzard of ’97 in central Colorado (36 inches in a 24 hr period), I had forgotton to take my pill one day.  And well, you put two Texans in a blizzard and what the heck are we going to do??!!!  😀

So anyhow, the at-home pregnancy tests proved my suspicions.  I made an appointment with the doctor and it was confirmed.  Talk about being in shock!!  What were the chances?!!  Not only had I ovulated, but apparently Michael had returned at just the right time!

The following week, I began spotting and was again off to the doctor, this time in fear.  The words I had been told years before were resonating in my brain–“naturally abort”.  I was so scared!!  I just prayed to God that he would see fit for this baby to be born safely and healthily.  I remember being with the Ultrasound Tech and he was so excited because he said that he had never seen the heartbeat before so soon into a pregnancy–we were now at 6 weeks.

The heartbeat!  Ahhhh, that truly was music to our ears!!  I cannot explain the rush of emotions that came over us, came over me, when I heard that heartbeat–that strong heartbeat!  I simply uttered, “Thank you God!”

The next several weeks came and went uneventfully, thanks to God.  I was just waiting to complete the first Trimester successfully!!  To feel safe and then to be able to share the news with everyone was such an anticipation.

Well, I couldn’t wait!  I sent out our Christmas cards that year, just as I had done for the past 9 years.  However, this time I signed them, “Love Michael, Becky (Rebecca) and baby”.  Purposefully, I wrote our phone number on the bottom of the card, hoping to receive a few calls of congratulations.  Boy!  About a week after I sent out those cards, the phone started ringing off the wall!!  We received so many calls, shared lots of laughter and tears as everyone shared their happiness with us.

Then came, December 27th.  Ten weeks into this pregnancy, almost into the safe zone, my fears were realized.  We had just finished dinner and I was putting away the dishes and I started bleeding.  It was so much that it freaked Michael out and he called the ambulance.  I just stood there in shock and dismay and cried out, “Please God, don’t take my baby!!”  I knew, all too well what this meant because this would not have been my first miscarriage.  We had gone through this several years before.

Throughout all the chaos, all the examinations and discussions, I continued praying for God’s mercy.  Praying that this was not happening.  Praying that I would finally be able to become a mother.  Praying to try to understand why God didn’t feel like I would be a good mother.  So much was going through my mind.  So many questions and pleas!!  “Why me?  Why isn’t God letting me become a mother?”

After several hours of examination and observation, even after the loss of a pint and a half of blood, the doctors were not able to give me any news.  They were all very puzzled because upon their examination they found that my cervix was closed.  After more examinations, tests, ultrasounds, my doctor was able to determine that what was happening was the placenta was separating from the uterine wall–because of my lack of progesterone.  He gave me a very bleak outcome.  I told him that if I had to go on bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy that I would but he told me that even that would not ensure a successful delivery.  In not-so-many words, he was trying to prepare me for the worse–another miscarriage.  He let me know that he did not expect a live birth at all.

So, I relished each day of this pregnancy!!  I wanted to cherish every moment!!  Every activity, every movement, every good feeling as well as every bad!!  I was so in love with this baby and I wanted to consume all its being into my own for as long as God would allow!  I would often lie in bed, feeling the movement and just stay there feeling it, talking to it, caressing it from the outside.  I did what I could to ensure its health.  If it was not healthy food, I didn’t eat it.  I gave up coffee–YES!!  I gave up coffee and all sugared drinks.  I wanted to make sure that I was doing my part in helping this baby grow since everything else was simply in God’s hands!!

This now brings us to the morning of June 12, 1998…

He’s In The Army Now

Twenty-five years ago today, June 3, 1987, the man completed his final swear in at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in San Antonio, Texas.  By mid-morning, he was on a plane bound for Fort Jackson, South Carolina as a new Recruit.

About six months prior in December, 1986, we had had an argument.  On this particular weekend, I was upset that he was wanting to spend time partying with his buddies instead of going out on dates with me.  I saw this as being immature and told him that he “should join the Army because they will make a man out of [him] quick!” 

Fast forward to March, 1987, I had been on vacation up in Detroit to visit my cousin.  I was blessed to be present for the christening of her daughter, my goddaughter, Victoria.  On March 23, I happened to call the man, to see how he was doing–really hoping that he was missing me terribly as I was him.  🙂

During our phone conversation, he tells me that he had enlisted into the Army that afternoon.  I was shocked!  I was scared!  I was sad!  I told him that I couldn’t believe that he had done that!  He reminded me that I had told him a few months earlier that he should do it. 

“But I just told you that because I was mad!” I shrieked! 

I mean, here I had known this man for over 9 years already.  I knew he liked playing war with his plastic Green Army men when he was a kid.  I knew that even at a young age, he enjoyed watching war movies.  I guess I just never really thought that he’d join the Army.  That he would willingly sign up and take a chance of having to go to war.  That he would willingly sign up for something that would take him away from his hometown, his family…away from ME!!  I had no idea that this was something that he had been thinking about for several years. 

Little did I know that this would turn out to be the BEST decision that he had ever made!  He truly was meant to be a soldier!  He thrives on the demanding routine and regimen and being a soldier has continuously pushed him to strive for his potential–whatever that may be!  The motto at that time was, “Be All That You Can Be” and he truly took that to heart!

He pushed himself as a private to do his job and to do it well.  Once he became an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) he thrived on being able to lead other solders and to show them by example how to push themselves everyday and to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

I believe the pinnacle of his career (so far) was when he himself became a Drill Sergeant at Fort Jackson.  He now had the privilege of forming new Recruits and teaching them from Day One what it means to be a Soldier!  He had the opportunity to teach them how to literally LIVE the Army Values–Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. 

In continuing to better himself, he pushed himself while being a full-time soldier to complete his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Sociology.  However, this was not enough for him.  In the two years that followed, again he pushed himself and dived back into his books in order to complete the requirements and earn his Master’s of Social Science Degree in Human Resource Management.

I can say that being a Soldier has certainly helped to shape him into the man and husband that he is now.  These past 25 years have certainly been an adventure!  They have afforded him to see many places about which otherwise he would only have dreamed. 

Since being a part of the Army family we have lived in many different locations and have met some extremely terrific people!  Places like Virginia, Colorado, Houston, California, Sicily, South Korea and Texas.  In living in these locations, we have had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling and visiting many different areas in between.

I can truly say that the Army has given us opportunities that would never have been presented to us in our lives.  I am thankful that we are still an all-volunteer Army and I am extremely grateful that my guy made that choice 25 years ago!

HOOAH and Hallelujah!!

Our First Date…and how we got there

It was June 1st, 1980.  Middle school ended two days earlier.  Oh and by the way, there was no middle school graduation or big ceremony!!  We simply completed our year, took our exams and as expected, was promoted to the next year, which happened to be 9th grade…but I digress.

Michael and I had been friends for the last two years.  We had enjoyed hanging out at lunch with our mutual friends and were simply enjoying our friendship.  Around the beginning of April, something started to change.  Someone else I knew started talking about how cute she thought Michael was.  Now, I had seen him almost every school day for the past two school years and had never really saw “that”!  I just knew that he was a nice, quiet guy that laughed at my jokes and enjoyed just watching us all goof around at the lunch table.  He would sit there, eating his ice cream sandwich, legs stretched out, crossed at the ankles.  Every now and then you’d see his head nod in affirmation that he had heard what we were saying and he’d be smiling or laughing quietly.  Never a big guffaw–that just wasn’t him back then!

So, after I was told that he was so cute, I got to thinking…”Hmmm, maybe he is cute!”  So, one night after a band concert, I went to spend the night at a friend’s house.  After goofing around a bit, we were like, “Well, now what do you want to do?”  Well, of course, MY first thought was, “Let’s call guys!!”  So we took out our school directory and took to dialing–yes DIALING–you know a rotary phone.   So, of course the first name we looked up was Michael Ro… at that time, we weren’t sure how to pronounce it.  He came to the phone, we told him who we were and then proceeded to try to have a conversation with him.

Now, why we thought he would be more talkative on the phone when he barely spoke two words with any of us at the lunch table, was beyond me.  My friend was there with the phone in hand asking him questions and he’d respond with as few words as possible.  She covers the phone and whispers to me, “he’s not talking much at all”.  So, I suggest, “Here!  Let me try.”
So, I get on the phone and start yapping!  Now, for those who know me, know that I could talk to a tree, so his silence was not daunting at all.  Well, actually, our conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hey!  How ya doin’?
Him:  Okay.
Me:  Me, yea, I’m doing fine.  Yea, I like school, do you?
Him:  **silence**
Me:  So what are you doing this weekend?
Him:  **silence**
Me:  Yea, probably the same for me.  I think I’m gonna go to the mall or something.
Him:  **silence**
Me:  Oh really!  Oh, I didn’t know that.
Him:  **silence**
Me:  Wow!  That’s hard to believe!
Him:  **silence**

After a little more of that, my friend whispers to me, “he’s really talking to you?”  To which I cover the phone and responded (well, actually I just downright lied to save face, but hey, I was only 14), “yea, he’s talking.  I don’t know why he wasn’t talking to you.”  So, I go back to the phone and continue with my make-believe conversation with Michael.  By this time, I’m sure that he thinks, no, he knows that I am a complete nut!

Well, that must have been what he liked, because he called me the next night and we continued ACTUALLY talking on the phone every now and then for several weeks.  Slowly, we were simply getting to know on another.  This was now the beginning of our summer vacation and I think we realized that we would not be seeing one another on a daily basis at school any longer, something changed.  Our feelings changed toward one another.

We knew that we were headed to different high schools.  I was on my way to McCallum and he was on his way to Anderson.  We knew that we were too young to officially “date”, but we knew that we still wanted to see each other.

We made plans for our “First Date”.  We each took a bus and met at Dobie Mall down on the Drag so that we could eat lunch together and then just hang out.  He had to bring along his 5 year old little brother, but we didn’t mind.  We had lunch at McDonald’s and then hung out at the arcade there and then walked around the UT campus a bit.

That summer we talked on the phone EVERYDAY for no less than 6 hours.  That was our only means of communication.  There was no texting, no FB, no chat rooms…just the good old fashioned talking on the telephone.  We were able to see each other once more that summer.

We have been through so much since then–good and bad.  Our relationship has flourished so much that we can honestly say that we love each now much more than we were ever capable of back then!!  We truly are soulmates and we have learned how to complement one another successfully!!

Fast forward to now and he’s talking about trying to have another baby.  NOW WHO’S THE NUT!!!!

A Come-To-Jesus moment at 30,000 feet

I had been very fortunate that my flights during this trip had all gone very smoothly.  In fact, now that I think of it, I don’t think that I’ve ever been on a rocky flight in all the years that I have traveled by plane.  Well, up until now!

When we left Houston bound for El Paso, we were on a small plane.  Most of our carry-on had to be placed with the other luggage.  There was a narrow aisle with one seat on one side and two seats on the other.  As we were taking off, the captain had informed us that he would have to go off course a bit because of some bad weather between Houston and El Paso.  We were all like, ‘fine with us, you do what’cha gotta do’!

Because I was still very tired, I tried (and succeeded) to fall asleep shortly after takeoff.  About an hour into the flight, the attendants had just served beverages to all the passengers.  This is when the flight started to get a little bouncy.  Apparently, we were not quite as north as the pilot wanted us to be and we were being affected by the weather.  Just as the flight attendants were reminding us to remain with our seatbelts fastened, “WHOOP”!!!  We dropped!  I don’t know how far, but it was very forceful and everyone’s drinks went flying into the air.  Boy howdy!! I was awake NOW!!!

The attendants quickly began passing out paper towels and wet naps so that people could clean off their clothing, their arms, their laptops, and the console above their heads.  The immediately went to sit down also because the plane is still flying very unsteadily!!  At first the passengers were like, “Whoa!”  But when the plane started rocking from side to side, it became silent.  It was no longer a fun rollercoaster ride.

This is when you could hear a few mumbles–me included!!  First I prayed an Our Father, then I proceeded to pray to ask for forgiveness for any sins that I may have committed recently.  I’m not sure what I’d committed since my last prayer of confession (the night before), but just in case, I wanted to be ready!!  Then I started thinking of my family and friends and started praying for thanksgiving for all of these wonderful people in my life and for all the wonderful times I had had with each and everyone of them!  Then I started praying for everyone I knew who may be sad if I were to die.  I know this may be a bit presumptious, but at least I knew my family and close friends would mourn me.  I prayed that they would be comforted by God and be able to feel His presence and His love in their time of sorrow!  I prayed that you all would be happy that you knew me and feel joy that I had indeed gone “HOME”!!

Then I began praying to our Holy Mother that she would also pray for me and my family and friends!  I figured, if Jesus is gonna listen to someone’s prayers, then for sure he’d be listening to what His Mama says!!  Whether she was praying to spare this flight or to be with those who mourn me, then for sure one of those would happen!!  This turbulence continued for about another 30 minutes.  This was like an eternity!!  It was such a great feeling when that plane became steady again.  By this time, we were only about 40 minutes from El Paso.  I didn’t feel like we were still in danger, but continued with my praying–this time prayers of thanksgiving.

When we landed, I said a quick prayer of thanks and noticed that a few of us were making the Sign of the Cross at the same time!  I just smiled, knowing that I was not the only one who turned to prayer while in flight and that was a comfort!!

Lorenzo met me at the exit and I just hugged and kissed him for as long as he would let me.  He said that several people had passed him talking to the people who met them about how rocky/scary the flight had been.

Although, I know that it would have been wonderful (to say the least) to go “HOME”, I am thankful that I’m still here!  I pray that I will be able to fulfill my purpose because I know that there is still so much that I need to do with my life!

So, in case I haven’t told you lately or often enough, I am very thankful that you are part of my life and I love you!