Falling through the Looking Glass

{August 12, 2014}   When Silence is Posionous

It’s one of the hardest things to deal with in a relationship. You want to maintain good communication, not just good things, but good quality. And sometimes your partner may be going through something that makes communication awkward or stressful. There are many ways one can try to overcome these issues, but silence is never one of them.

This is my personal hangup.

When I was in high school, I had a violent temper. I would say or do whatever I wanted, regardless of who it hurt all in the guise of honesty. True, I was being honest, but honesty to the point of cruelty is never a good thing.

This scared me about myself and was one of the first goals I set with my counselor at the time. Unfortunately, I had many other emotional issues that were clouding this so instead of being able to bring my temper down to a reasonable level, I went to the complete other extreme. I silenced myself. This combined with everything else was also a bad thing.

With more therapy and years of problems, I finally realized that I have a huge problem with confrontation. I will do anything to avoid it even if it means lying to myself or suppressing my voice. This is not an excuse, rather just a documentation of how problems can mutate without guidance. I have been in counselling on and off for a dozen years, and I can attest that it is better to stick in treatment as best you can, though take what you can get. Some care is better than no care.

Though it does come with the fact you may regress a bit.

Tonight I realized just how bad I regressed and it both hurt me and exhausted me. I had been wanting to talk to my boyfriend about some problems I was having for months now. I even made a list last Friday of wishes I wanted to work on with him. But for some reason, I just couldn’t speak to him. It was either not the time, I was nervous about upsetting him, I didn’t feel good, I made an excuse for everything.

The thing is I was making excuses because I didn’t want to rock the boat. I wanted everything to be okay and that’s a problem because sometimes, that boat needs to be rocked. And sometimes, that boat is you. I was scared because as long as those problems are in my head, they aren’t real. If I don’t speak them, I can act like everything is okay and it will just go away. But that’s not how things work.

I am a powder keg. My issues and confusion didn’t get any better, they just got more confusing and my depression got worse. Depression is a horrible thing. I could have had this conversation before my physical ailments took me, but I didn’t. And then once you’re in that emotional cage, well. Everything is extreme. What could be a small deal is a quicksand pit. It doesn’t matter if you sit still or not, you’re going down. And if you don’t ask for help you will suffocate.

I lost my barrier tonight. All the stress, all the depression, all the misery just flooded out. It’s still flowing. All the raw pain I refused to acknowledge found its way out even though I tried not to. It is hard to feel safe to speak when you don’t have a condition. But when you’re seeing the world with a fog of depression, you can’t see straight.

The important thing is to try and learn your warning signs. Learn when you’re starting to crack. If you don’t feel safe, try and get yourself reinforcements. Get a counselor, a friend, a mediator. Ask their help in helping you to talk to others if you’re concerned that the condition will speak instead of you. Try to take care of yourself. Those who love you will be glad you’re trying to be self aware. And if they have anything of concern to speak to you about, the mediator can help translate it through your blurred vision.

No one deserves to hold things in until it hurts. But if you don’t help yourself, then you can’t expect others to help you. It’s a delicate balance, but one that has to be made.

I don’t presume to know all the answers, especially when I am still very, very flawed. But the best I can think to do is to tell you what mistakes I made, what I tried to do to fix it, and hope that you won’t repeat my mistakes. So feel free to leave your suggestions or share your thoughts in the comment below. Heaven’s knows I would appreciate learning more too!

Good luck friends!


{July 1, 2014}   “For a White Girl”

I hear this phrase a lot at my current job. I am the only white girl in my shift, but I am far from the only white girl at our place of business and the women I am working with have a lot of interaction with other women of all colors.

But for some reason I keep getting the backhanded compliment of how smart I am for a white girl, how I have the curves of a black girl, how easy I am to get along with for a white girl…

Now don’t get me wrong, the women I work with are wonderful people who are genuinely sweet and the most amicable crew I have worked with for a long time. I am going to be sad to not see them everyday when I begin my new job next Monday. But this is something that seriously bothers me because these women are around my own age and our town and work is loaded with people of all colors, so it’s not like I am the only experience with white people they have.

I could go into this long spheel about why this is so and the history of segregation. But I don’t think I need to. I am not judging these women and I am very grateful to have their affection, friendship, and respect. I know they do not mean anything other than a sincere compliment towards me. 

My issue is trying to decide how to bring up my discomfort with some always calling me “the white girl” or “for a white girl” without giving the wrong idea. I am normally pretty good about choosing words, but when it comes to something as sensitive as race, it is very easy to accidentally eat your own foot instead of addressing a problem.

To be fair, self segregation is a huge problem where I live here in the south. I hate it. We have an ugly history that will take more than a few generations to retrain and repair from. I don’t blame these women for having little to no white friends. And it could be that at our work being a good employee is so rare I am being accorded something as a part of my racial construct when it has more to do with my personal integrity. 

What I am annoyed with is that anytime I try to bring up these issues is as a white person, sometimes I am treated as if my opinion doesn’t matter or that I have no right to get my feelings hurt because of being “the white girl”. I don’t think that is fair, especially when that is completely against my intentions. 

I am an Irish American who grew up in poverty, became a single mother against my wishes, put myself through college, and continue to struggle with health issues on top of even more poverty. I have some experience in the very issues that many women of all colors have to deal with. I am not some crazy other who lived in an isolated bubble. The child starving in the projects has more in common with the child starving in the trailer park than they realize.

What I would like to see is more communication and freedom to question between people of various ethnic groups. No, I don’t know what it is to be black. But I do know what it is like to be working three jobs and still can’t make daycare. I know what it is like to deal with baby daddy drama and the pain of being abandoned. I know what it is like to deal with racism and being harassed and even beat up because I wouldn’t cater to the whims of idiots.

So no. I cannot and will not presume to understand what it is to be a minority woman who is also facing these challenges. I acknowledge that statistically, being white is supposed to give me certain social mobility and privileges, and maybe if I were in a better location I could take advantage of these statistics more. (I am not ashamed to say that after all I have survived and still not getting me anywhere I would gladly cash in any privilege check if I had the chance.) But I don’t have these magic chips to cash. I am the minority of white people. Because of certain aspects of who I am, such as being a single mother, society has decided I don’t have as many white cards to pay as say a richer, more connected woman that doesn’t have any children. The life I have and have survived to live mirrors closer to the minority women of my location than the other white women. 

I relate to these women better because we have more shared experiences. This is the important part. I would love it if we as a society could improve communications between ethnic groups so more people could see a fellow instead of an amicable other. Imagine what could be accomplished if the kid from the trailer park and the kid from the projects realized they understood each other better than they would think. I firmly believe that those that have the oppressive economic and cultural holds on our society want us to keep thinking we are so alien and incomprehensible to each other, that “it’s a black thing, you wouldn’t get it” or “it’s a white problem” is actually true, and that we are incapable of working together to fight back.

I am not a black woman. I am simply an understanding cheerleader who wishes to throw her support and enthusiasm behind positive and progressive minority leadership. But for this to happen more effectively, all I ask is to be seen first as Gabrael.

{June 20, 2014}   The All Encompassing “Ex”

Ex, without, un, former, etc.

If something is an ex-smoker, they are someone who once had the experience of being a smoker, but has since discontinued that behavior.

If someone is an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, they are without you. Formerly of you. Discontinued of you. They no longer hold that role with you. They have done something that has made them incapable of holding and sustaining that role.

So what does that mean for you?

They are exs. They are without you. That means you have to let them go. 

Even if they are your amicable ex and you two get along just fine, you are still having to redefine your relationship with them and restructure your view to build something new. That means you still have to stop seeing them as your ex.

Hanging on to past relationships can range from being downright annoying to dangerously unhealthy. If you find yourself constantly thinking, talking, or bringing up your ex, the biggest question you need to be asking yourself is why? What need is being sustained or fulfilled by interjecting this former person into your life? Are you wanting validation, attention, justification?

If so, I am willing to bet that whatever need it is, your ex is not fulfilling it properly or healthy. They’re your ex. They were a square peg in a round hole so you had to reject them.

The kicker is sometimes you were their square peg and they needed to reject you. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but as I spoke about in my last post,  that doesn’t mean you are absolved from considering your role in the breakup and where you may need to rebuild yourself.

The key is to let the ex go and move on with yourself. Learn what you can but then continuing learning and growing. Don’t dwell. A past relationship is a step. It may take you higher but only if you keep walking.

No one likes to be told they’re wrong. It’s a human thing. But sometimes just because you may technically be in the right doesn’t mean you are without responsibility.

Responsibility is a weird thing. Everyone wants to think they are capable of it while holding others to carrying it out. It is one of the hardest things to self evaluate and even harder to try and cultivate when it needs pruning. Even the most moral and astute person will have problems with maintaining and discerning responsible choices. This does not make you a bad person. This just means you have a weak spot in your foundation that needs a little mending. Calling someone out on their irresponsibility is one of the best ways to get a knee jerk defense but it is necessary beyond a shadow of a doubt.

AGAIN: Just because you were irresponsible in a situation doesn’t mean that you are morally wrong or to blame for that situation. This isn’t about pointing fingers. This is about taking control of your life and what happens to you.

Here are a few examples from my life that hopefully you can relate to:


1) I had a string of just crappy boyfriends/dates. They were horrible. They were abusive in some form and to varying degrees. They were on the surface very different: some had college experience, other’s didn’t, varying home lives, even varying ages. Now any abuse I suffered in these relationships were not my fault. I didn’t deserve that treatment. I was a faithful and devoted girlfriend. I didn’t deserve to be harmed, cheated on, mistreated, or taken advantage of. But somehow, these things kept happening to me. So I had to take responsibility not for the abuse, that was on the abusers, but for my responsibility to pick better partners and to evaluate is there anything I’m doing that is accidentally encouraging these kinda guys to approach me. And here is what I figured out:

My shitty self esteem was like a giant target around my neck. I was so wrapped up in my own issues that the quality people who were trying to get to know me couldn’t. They either saw how damaged I was and realized I was in no state for a relationship and left me alone. Or they didn’t want to deal with the baggage I wasn’t ready to let go of. Either way I was scaring off good people who respected me enough not to start something with me.

This left the vultures. The smooth talkers. The losers. The charismatic vampires who know just what to say and how to front long enough to make someone feel special. Every guy at least to some degree offered to help me with something. They actually kept the front half of their promises. Some took me out and made me feel pretty. They remembered my birthday and kept up with my studies. Then things changed sometimes, sometimes slowly sometimes not. Hindsight gives off all these wonderful red flags doesn’t it? (I will go into those in another post, don’t worry.)

So it was not my fault I was hurt. But I did have to take responsibility for the fact I was putting myself in the situation for these people to take advantage of me and I fell for it. My responsibility here I failed on was to value myself and work on healing myself. I was trying to find help for my problems in unhealthy sources instead of other options. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was trying to let someone else take care of me. 

The only time that is is safe for someone to take care of you when you’re incapable is only after they have proven themselves to be a true friend. Having someone offer immediately, even if they are a good person, isn’t healthy for you. It really is true you have to love yourself before others can love you.


2) I was in a job…a horrible job…well. It wouldn’t have been horrible if I wasn’t treated very well. I wasn’t the best judge at this point over who was my friend and who wasn’t. I had a coworker who I thought was a friend spread horrible rumors about me loosely based on some truths I had told them in confidence. There was a professional inquiry at work over the matter. I had a chance to throw everyone who screwed me under the bus and I didn’t. I said only that I had told that coworker something in confidence and they betrayed me. I ended up having to transfer out of that place because the hostility of that environment got so bad. One boss called me a snitch, the other just let it go and I was written up for causing “disruptive work conditions”. 

My responsibility in this: follow through with chain of command. Don’t let people use a policy to hurt you. I could have gone above my boss’s head and I didn’t. Also while some may think me not baring all was honorable because I held integrity, I was defending people who obviously didn’t care how bad I was hurt. That “friend” wasn’t written up. They were a hero. I was the problem. If you know you are in the right then follow through and feel free to crucify anyone who wasn’t. They won’t hesitate to leave you to rot.


I have a motto: Make sure it’s not your fault. Do everything in your power to make sure you are giving yourself the best leg forward on accomplishing your goals. This is how I hold myself responsible. I can’t control other people. I can’t control if I don’t get that job I deserve or another turn of fate that I have earned. It takes exhausting all of your options, double checking yourself, and constantly seeing what you can do better. I promise, even if you’re not getting where you want to be, you’ll be closer to who you want to be.

It happened. You didn’t think about it, and it happened. The person you’re crushing on happens to be a single parent.

This doesn’t mean that it is an automatic deal breaker, unless you don’t want or hate children, then by all means go away and leave them alone at least in a romantic sense.

But if you do want kids or at least don’t mind them, there raises the question of what happens now? Single parents do have special considerations all their own.


What are your boundaries, investments, and expectations?

Do you want to be involved with the children immediately, after a certain point, or never? Are you willing to be friendly or share your family with the other parent should that happen? Are the kid(s) going to be yours or are they just going to be little roommates?

These may seem like silly questions to ask but they are important questions. When it comes to anyone with children, especially children not of adult age yet, the key is to not start something you cannot finish. Again, if you don’t want kids or do not want to be a parental figure, then you need to leave the single parent alone. Parents are package deals. You can’t just change the wrapping and expect the contents to magically change too. If you don’t clearly establish what you want before you initiate a relationship, then you’re not going to be compatible and it can hurt more than just the two of you.


What is the relationship between the family and the other parent?

When you get involved with a single parent, you’re adopting the kids as well as the other parent regardless if you like it or not. Even in the case of an absent parent you still have the baggage and the issues that come with parental abandonment and that takes a long time to acclimate to. The age of the children are very important with this. A six month old isn’t going to be as invested in having a replacement parent as what a sixteen year old may have.

If the other parent is really involved and active with the kid(s) then that means you will have to build a relationship with them eventually even if it is just practical civility. If you cannot handle that or don’t want to share with someone else, then you need to say thanks but no thanks to the crush and move on.


Are you ready to be a parent?

If the answer is no, turn around, walk away, have a nice day.

Look, if you’re not ready to at least try and love their kid(s) you cannot really love the single parent.  A  parent has obligations and responsibilities that a single person doesn’t. They can’t just drop money on something or go off on a vacation at a whim unless their gifted as wealthy. They have to keep up with doctor’s appointments, school assignments, custody transfers and everything else that may come in the way of what you want to do or what you’re capable of. A good parent will fulfill that responsibility before being a partner.

Now notice I didn’t say they should always choose their child(ren) over you. On the contrary, sometimes fulfilling their responsibility to their children can mean that they stand up for their right to be an adult and have an adult source of happiness separate of their child(ren): you. But if they’re blowing off their kid’s dance recital because they rather go to a party with you, don’t believe for a second that a decision like that won’t come back and bite you and your relationship on the butt.


How is the person you are crushing on dealing with being a single parent?

Are they always stressed trying to make bills or deadlines? Are they always complaining about baby-drama? Do they have a good support structure around them already or are you all they got?

If they are not capable and content with their role, you need to wait and watch before you throw your bid in. Being a parent is incredibly stressful even in the best of situations. You throw in legal matters, financial issues, or hateful family and that person doesn’t need a relationship, they need a friend. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be their friend and allow that friendship to naturally progress, but trying to start a relationship out of a tumultuous time is a horrible foundation.

If their becoming a single parent came from less than ideal circumstances like death, abandonment, or rape, then that person may need a lot of time to process their feelings and regain their identity and adapt to their new responsibilities. They deserve their moment to heal at their pace. And your chances with them will be much greater if you wait for that process to stabilize.


Will your family and friends support your decision if you start dating?

I’m not saying you should be paranoid before beginning  a relationship, nor do I expect you to know everything. But knowing if your mother is going to turn into an impossible nag or your best friend will be pissed that playdates will be in your future is important so you can have a plan to deal with it. Are you going to wait until the relationship is serious to tell people? Are you going to be strong enough to stand up to their criticism? Will holidays or family gatherings turn into an ordeal? A responsible single parent will offer you their expectations and issues from the beginning for your consideration, you should be able to do the same. Again, being a single parent is hard enough without Christmas turning into a bitchfest because the partner’s child was ignored in favor of all the “real” grandkids.

This doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker for you two, but again, knowing where the mines are keeps you from blowing off your leg before you make it to the finish line.


Single parents often get a lot of negative social perceptions. They are trying to do the role of at least two people in one body. Some single parents are complete deadbeats and those should be avoided like the plague. But for the quality one that has caught your eye, just do a little extra soul searching before you approach them. Make sure that you’re ready for that kind of investment because it is tough, but the returns can be awesome. As I said, single parents are a package deal. And who doesn’t love a bonus feature?

In this tight economy, people are encountering things they may not have before, such as unequal financial contributions in relationships.

I’m not talking about gender roles here, though such horrible things do influence this, I’m just focusing on the balance between two individuals trying to maintain a relationship when one or both are in economic straights.

The problem is that when money becomes an issue, it brings out all the other issues that wouldn’t have been such a big deal before. Such as one partner going out to a fast food place on their lunch break. Normally that’s not some horrible pressure, but if you’re in financial problems where every penny counts, it’s easy to get frustrated. Most people in financial problems are often working odd or conflicting hours at one or more jobs trying to make it work. Add in sleep deprivation, unbalanced diet, and a stressful environment and you’re in a fix. You’re going to be more edgy than had you not been in that situation. Things that you could probably just blow off previously or not even notice somehow become big deals.

Communication is key. Even if that communication is to say how unhappy you are or how close to breaking you are. It isn’t easy to sit there and bail your partner out continuously at the expense of your own household. And if you have children it becomes even more complicated and heartbreaking.

If you feel like your partner is taking more than you can handle, financially, emotionally, or in any capacity, that doesn’t always mean that the relationship is broken, it just means you need to have an honest talk. Now the results of that talk will tell if your relationship is broken or not. If your partner is hostile, superficial, or unresponsive to your concerns, this is a red flag that should not be taken lightly. If your partner is loving and sympathetic to your concerns, together you can work out a game plan such as they help at your house more even if you two don’t live together in exchange for you contributing a little bit to their phone bill.

A relationship is supposed to be the joining of two independent people working together for a common goal. Sometimes being independent isn’t always practical. But there is no reason why the relationship should become unbalanced because of that.

{July 22, 2013}   SHE LIVES!

Hello my dear friends! I have been away for too long, and for that I apologize. Things have been hectic around the bear cave for a while, but I assure you I have not forgotten and I am not going to neglect my work any longer! JOY! 

{December 18, 2012}   Saving your Sanity in the Holidays!

Gah. This is a stressful time of year isn’t it? All you’re supposed to do is give love and be thankful (while preparing special foods/hosting/intercepting family/giving gifts), blah blah blah.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to give presents. Really. I love to give gifts because it makes me happy to make people smile. Remember in my Awesome Gifts post I mentioned how I am known for giving great gifts? People anticipate my stuff. Makes me feel special. And if my friends and family are happy and feeling good, then it just makes a big rolly-polly-joy ball of happiness that keeps building.

But there are some things that can smack that ball of fun right out of the park and make you want to just strangle the first bad sweater, antler headband wearing carol singer that has been on your doorstep one too many times. So here are my tips in helping curb the conflict and get your happy place to stay happy:

Identify your priorities and don’t waver for anyone!

Do you want to give awesome gifts? Do you want to travel to see family? Do you want to just spend a quiet evening to yourself?  That’s okay. Whatever it is you want, that’s okay and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you have to cut on other areas to get what you want.

I refuse to leave my home for Christmas until after lunch time. Christmas morning, my son will open his presents in his home under his tree in his pajamas. Then we can go see whomever we need to. This is especially complicated as my family is big and this will be the first Christmas without my father anyway. So the obligation to see different family members isn’t as strong as it could be. So I am going to send cool presents to compensate for my lack of attendance to certain family functions.

Don’t let someone bully you into travelling farther than you have time for or buying a gift you can’t afford. You deserve to be respected. Your views deserve to be respected. And this is a big source of stress when you’re trying to smile through gritted teeth. It’s not worth it. If you stand up for yourself the first Christmas, it’s sets a better tradition of not being railroaded next holiday/special event.

Don’t eat yourself stupid.

Not only will it make you gain weight you probably don’t want, or if you are trying to gain weight it’s not going to be good weight most likely, but it won’t make you feel better. Take small helpings of everything. Little thank you bites, just enough to taste what you like and you can always have seconds if you’re still hungry. But leave space on your plate. Don’t feel obligated to eat portions that are going to hurt your stomach. Take your time in eating.

If you’re nervous there won’t be a second helping, fix two plates. Eat the first one calmly, then stick the second away. If you want, the second plate is there after an hour or so. But if you don’t eat it, no big deal! You have automatic left overs!

On a related note, be careful with the drinks, even the nonalcoholic ones. It’s easy to fill up on drinks and over stuff yourself on that fifth glass of iced tea, never mind the added sugar, calories, and other nutrients you could be saturated with already. If you’re drinking alcohol  this goes double. Your body can only process so much. Don’t overload yourself in the drink department. Drink a glass of water after you finish that eggnog before pouring yourself another. It’ll help you digest your food, stay full on a healthy level, and just keep you from stressing too much.

Don’t let the other people rain on your parade!

You have a relative totally bomb your present or your dish? Ignore them. They don’t get a present or they don’t get to try your next dish. Don’t let it bother you, but don’t let them take advantage of you again.

I have a grandfather who is a complete troll. He never has anything nice to say to me. He’s just a cranky old man. I know he’s always going to have something ugly or snarky to say about me or my son. I know this. He is not going to change. Magically, he never gets a present for me and I do not go out of my way to visit him for the holidays. It was a big deal at first, but as I stuck to my guns and now, after a few years, the family has backed off.

If you know your aunt is going to pinch your face or your brother is going to give you the same lame gag gift, don’t sweat it. Just before your aunt reaches for you, grab her hands, squeeze them gently and tell her how happy you are to see her. If your brother is giving you the same poor gift, give him a lame gift back. Don’t dwell on the little stuff. Yes it’s annoying. Yes it’s tedious if your family is plagued with little stuff like this. But that’s why you can stay home or just let it go. Is it going to ruin the excitement of giving your niece something she’s always wanted or make your mother’s favorite dessert taste any less delightful? No. And if it does, than that is a problem with you. Not with them. You can’t control other people completely but you can choose your attitude. It’s not worth it.

Don’t be afraid to schedule your holidays on your time.

You’re not going to help anyone staying too long and wearing yourself out or keeping your time schedules too jammed. It’s only going to keep you distracted from the event you are at because you’re trying to slam into the next event. Relax and pick something, nothing, or a little of everything.

This was something I learned as a child. My mother’s parents were divorced. So for Christmas Eve, we went to one grandparent. Christmas Day we went to another grandparent after spending time at our house. And either the weekend before or after Christmas, depending on what all was going on, we would go see the other grandparent we didn’t catch on the holiday days. We always rotated who got what days so that no one was left out. This also compensated if one of the grandparents was going to be travelling on that holiday. Time was allotted on a stress free term with no rushing. It doesn’t have to be December 25th to be Christmas. Christmas is a feeling, not a day.

If you want to plan time, and you’re not sure you’re going to have it the day of, plan a make up day before or after. If the party you’re trying to spend time with is offended or upset, just explain you rather have all day with them the weekend before than just a few hours the day of or whatever. Most of the time, the party will recognize your intent of quality and quantity, and get over it. (Especially if you make it clear you just can’t please everyone this year.)

But if you need to get somewhere, then duck out. If you need to cut out early because the kids are getting restless or you’re driving them to see the next event, or you just need to take a nap. It’s better to be firm for your health and stress level than stay in a situation where you are exhausted and just faking it.

I hope that this helps! Feel free to leave your suggestions on keeping the Jolly in the Holiday! I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

Shared with Titus Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Far Above Rubies, The Alabaster Jar

{December 11, 2012}   Kickin’ the Soda Bug!

I love Diet Pepsi. I can’t help it. I can’t stand non-diet drinks. I can’t handle the sugar. People laugh and tease me, “Gabrael, that stuff is just as bad for you! It’s just a different kind a syrup!”

Yes my loves, I know it’s just a different kinda bad. That’s why I am trying to quit. But Diet Pepsi, oh you vemon of the saccrine gods! Especially with my father passing as he did, I needed something of a crutch. But now it’s time to hack it out.

So, here is what I am trying to do to kick the habit:

1) Always have a water bottle on hand.

My boyfriend does this and it’s turned into a very healthy influence. His training has him drinking his own body weight equalivant in fluid ounces a day. I am not so strict. But it is a good model. I have several large (20+ ounce) water bottles I keep in my fridge. I just rotate between what I carry.

2) Flavor your life!

I found some really delightful teas that I drink without sugar. Kroger has some really great blends in their private selections brand. I love anything with pomegranate in it from them. They have good flavoring. Celestial Seasonings is another brand that has some good blends, no addititives needed.

Even simple fruit slices or actual fruit juices like lemon juice added in small doses can improve tastes and prevent boredom.

3) Is it a habit or a taste issue?

I like the taste of Diet Pepsi, but in some ways, it’s also a habit for me. So I can replace it with something different. If it’s a taste thing then that just narrows how you need to replace your exchanges.

4) Keep track of your victories!

Mark on your phone, drop marbles in a jar, keep track of how many glasses you drink or how many times you empty your water bottle. Give yourself a reward, so long as the reward is not the actually thing you’re trying to resist.

I am dropping coins in my kid’s piggy bank.

5) Admit your humanity.

I falter and buy a 20 oz. Every once and again. I don’t feel bad about it per se, I keep the bottles and will use them in other DIY projects. If anything, keeping the bottles also is my own little accountability measure to which I am evaluating if I need to try something different or not.

And that is how I am trying to ditch the Diet Pepsi. If you have any suggestions on where I can improve or other steps to try, feel free to leave your comments below! I’ll greatly appreciate it! Good luck!

{December 8, 2012}   I received my folded flag…

It’s something that any family member of an emergency personnel fears. That phone call, that car in the driveway, that fellow brother or sister in uniform standing before you, handing you a folded flag, and on behalf of their service thanking you because they cannot thank the one who was resting under that flag anymore. The flag is both a symbol of pride and of dread for every one who’s loved one serves on behalf of that flag.

I remember as a child memorizing the sound of my father’s keys in our deadbolt. Daddy soon picked up that I was listening for him and would even tell me goodnight. I got used to the two beepers on the charger in the bathroom counter. One was his patrol beeper; the other was his SWAT beeper. My father was a patrolman for 27 years, on SWAT for 12 years. He joined at 18 years and stayed in until his failing health forced him to retire at age 57.

The men and women on the force are people I grew up with. I never feared for my father because I knew his team, I knew his partners, I knew they would take care of each other in ways completely beyond most civilian comprehension. And they did. And they have. And they will continue for both myself and my son.

I was more afraid of what it would do to have these people whom I love hand me that flag, then to receive it for myself. But it’s not about us. It’s about my father. It’s about giving him the honor and thank you that he deserves. He earned it.

As the child of a police officer, probably much like the child of a solider, you eventually reach an age of awareness. Mine was when my father came home and had to put that black band on his badge for someone I knew. I was only 6 years old. But no matter how many times he didn’t come through the door, eventually he would. No matter how many runs with a drug bust or a standoff, even my dad’s chase,  he came home. Though I always carried the weight that he couldn’t come home.  But he  did. I was lucky.

It was cancer that took my father. But it was my Blue Family that helped me carry him home.

Thank you to the men and women of my father’s force. Words can never express. Words will never be enough. But the Blue Family knows this already. *hugs*

Shared with A Delightful Home, Frugally Sustainable, Cornerstone Confessions, Six Sisters’ Stuff, The Alabaster Jar, Far Above Rubies, We Are That Family, Growing Home

et cetera