Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

The last week has been quite an interesting one in my home. My husband, who was so supportive during my investigation of the church, has become unsupportive. Every chance he gets, he makes a little dig at me about the church. This is a man who was raised LDS and fell away from it when he was a teenager. I understand that these feelings are based on his experience, but I didn’t realize how deep his anger towards the church went.

He makes cracks if I go to the church to help. He makes cracks when he sees me reading scripture. He makes cracks if I only go to sacrament and not the full three hours. I understand that because I am the one he is with every day that it is easy for him to direct that anger towards me. But how do two people with different beliefs get past the differences and find common ground?

Part of the problem is we are broke. In our entire relationship, we have never been as poor as we are now. I won’t lie, money and I do not get along. Growing up, I was never taught to budget or to save my money. When I am upset, hurt, or depressed, a little retail therapy always helps. That being said, budgeting is something neither of us has done. While he was on the road the money came flowing in and we didn’t have to budget, we were always okay and we always had a cushion. Now, that cushion is completely deflated with a big gaping hole in its side. I have cut back everything that we can. I have removed all the unnecessary expenditures. I found a less expensive internet service so that my children can still do their school work. I have dumped everything from our phone plan that I possibly could. I have a Toyota Prius, so as far as petrol, I only have to fill the tank once every two to three weeks depending on how much I have been driving. I’m in the “process” of quitting smoking not only for my health, but to save money as well. I say “process” because it is freaking hard.

I see all these sacrifices I have made but the husband hasn’t made one. He said last night regarding the two things he spends money on daily, “If I don’t get these things it should be because I have chosen not to. Not because we are so broke I can’t afford them.” He’s right, he shouldn’t have to because we are financially strapped. We have a mountain of debt from medical bills when we weren’t insured. Recently, a garnishment was levied due to one of those bills. In his eyes, this is all my fault and he is paying for my mistake. In a way, he’s right. But he doesn’t see any money, from either one of us as ours. It’s his and mine. I pay the bills and he, well, he has his money. It’s funny, as I sit here and write this down, I realize that I am always putting myself in his place to try and understand where he is coming from. Not once however, has he done the same.

I don’t know what is going to happen. We only have a roof over our heads due to the Grace of God. Food in our bellies thanks to the Bishop and the Ward. I don’t know what the future holds or how all of this will turn out. But I know Heavenly Father is with me and as long as I keep my heart open I will receive the guidance I need. In the past, if these things had happened, because of my faltering faith, I would be cursing the universe. Now, all I feel is peace and know that what is supposed to happen, will happen.

It’s Almost Here

Baptism John 3 VS 3-7

 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Before I started this journey a little over a year ago, I didn’t really  understand the bible. I hadn’t read it since I was a little  girl, well not really read but was taught verses in religious school and my Catholic High School. Reading the Bible and the Scriptures has brought me a sense of peace that I have never felt before. I realized it was something I have been searching for all my life. I have always had faith, but I never really understood what it was.

On Saturday I will take my place in the baptismal font and commit myself to Christ. Commit myself to God and his Covenants and do my best to live his word every day. I am excited for this next chapter of my life, the final piece being fit into the puzzle of my life.

I’m Getting Baptized???

When I called my friend Becky and told her that I was being baptized, she laughed out loud. I asked her why she thought it was funny since she was the one who started me on this journey. She said she wasn’t laughing at me because of the baptism, but because she never thought it would happen.

Yes, I am getting baptized in a little under two weeks. I grew up in a Jewish and Catholic home, Fridays were spent in Synagogue and Sundays at Mass. When it came to God, I was a confused child. I remember being kicked out of Religious school at Synagogue because I asked my teacher why Jews didn’t believe in Jesus. You can understand my questioning this since I was going to be in Sunday school in just over a day. She didn’t know the answer, so Grandma, Grandpa and I were called into Rabbi Sam’s office and it was suggested that maybe I shouldn’t attend Religious school for awhile…I never went back.

I went to a Catholic High School. I loved it, because A: I had awesome friends who loved me for me and B: I got to argue with my Religious studies teacher, Mr. Yonko, every day. I spent a lot of time in the Principles office during that class. I miss Mr. Yonko, he was my favorite teacher.

So, back to the baptism. I live in Utah, I have lived here on and off since I was 6 years old. I lived in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley. There were no Jews where I lived, they all lived up along the east bench and in the avenues. There were no Catholics where I lived, they all lived Downtown and in Rose Park. But, as you may have already guessed, there were a lot of Mormons. I remember watching my Mom get irritated when the Missionaries came to our door. I once inadvertently caused a Missionary to pop a boner when I walked outside in my Daisy Dukes. Hey, it is a biological reaction. I didn’t bend over, or act suggestively, I just walked out the front door and across the street to my girlfriend’s house. My Grandmother would slam the door in the faces of the missionaries. And while I didn’t understand the church and its teachings, I always hated how people treated them. Fast forward 10+ years and I always welcomed the Missionaries into my home. Not to teach, but to hang out and to feed them. I would want someone to love and care for my children the same way if they were far away from home. My husband on the other hand who is LDS but inactive, HATES having the missionaries knock on the door. Basically, he’s a dick to them.

Now we come to a year ago. My friend Becky saw that I was having a difficult time and felt that I needed this in my life. She invited me over for movie night which actually turned out to be “Meet the Missionaries”. I was open to learning and to asking questions, I met with them twice before they were transferred to a different area. That is when Elder White and Elder Horn entered my life. They became like sons to me. They allowed me to speak freely and without filter. They answered my questions and didn’t make me feel silly for asking. After they were transferred, along came Sister Stewart and Sister Burrows. Sister Stewart is great, but I basically adopted Sister Burrows. She’s from England and being the anglophile that I am, we hit it off immediately. Again I was able to speak openly and honestly and ask the questions I needed to ask. Once they were transferred, Sister Cluff and Sister Kush showed up. Again, I have adopted them as well. Sister Kush is from the Ukraine and she is the sweetest soul you will ever meet. She also is the only Mormon in her family. Unfortunately, Sister Kush was transferred but now Sister Loveless is here. I know that God put each and every one of these amazing young men and women into my path for a reason. Usually, during the teaching process, Missionaries will ask over and over again if you are ready to be baptized in order to truly be a part of God’s plan. Believe me, they all asked me..every…single…week. But, as I mentioned before, they allowed me to be me.

And now, we have come full circle, a year after starting my investigation into the church, I felt the light and love of God and knew that this journey was the right one for me. I called Sister Cluff and Sister Loveless and told them I was ready to be baptized. It has happened when it was supposed to happen. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that God loves me and is with me every day. Do I need to go to Church every Sunday? No. Because whether I am in the house of the Lord or not, God is with me. But, I like going to church. It fills me with a spirit that I can’t quite describe. Sacrament isn’t much fun but Relief Society is a blast.

My children are not LDS and I have already been asked if they are going to be baptized. I politely tell people that as this was my journey, they have their own journey to follow. Whether it be the path of Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Wicka, it doesn’t matter. Are there things in the church that I don’t agree with? Yes. There always will be. But, I believe in the Gospel and I believe in God and that is good enough for me.

He Was Missing and I Didn’t Know

Today, I was cleaning my living room when the phone rang. It was my son’s seventh grade counselor. I have been speaking with her about the things that are going on with him, so I assumed that is why she was calling. I answered the phone to have her ask me why my son was not in school today. They had called him to the counseling center and that is how they discovered he wasn’t there.

First Emotion: Shock, Second Emotion: Disbelief, Third Emotion: Fear. I stopped her in mid-sentence and exclaimed that he had left for school at 6:30 this morning and what did she mean he wasn’t there. All sorts of thoughts started running through my mind. There was an accident, he had been kidnapped, he had been jumped. All of these the rational part of me said were bull, the irrational part of me however had complete control in that moment. She told me that she would send someone to his class to see if there had just been a mixup and then call me back.

While I waited for that phone call, I texted everyone that I could think of to try and track down my son. He wasn’t answering my call or my texts. I texted his friends even though I knew that they were actually in school. Finally, I called my niece. Within minutes he texted me. “I’m fine”, “No, I am not telling you where I am”, “I went to a friend’s house”, “No, I’m not telling you who it is”. Who is this entity that has taken over my child? I’m trying to understand, but he won’t talk to me. I remember being 12 and feeling the same way, but, I at least talked. Then again, I didn’t talk to my parents, I talked to my friends. How do I, as his Mother, get his friends to open up to me about what is going on in his life without them feeling like they are ratting him out?

Eventually, I was able to get him to tell me where he was and I went and picked him up. Now, for most parents, their first reaction would be to scream and freak out. I didn’t do that. I spoke quietly, I didn’t raise my voice, I focused the conversation on him. It didn’t matter what I was feeling, I needed to find out how he was feeling. When we got home, we sat down and talked. Our conversation isn’t over, but we have taken a small break to regroup.

I am in unchartered waters and even with all the advice from friends and books and online forums, this is my child. Each child is different, there experiences, while the same, are different from their perspective. I don’t know where this journey is going to take us or how it is going to turn out.

And the Hits Keep Coming

I woke up this morning excited to go to work as I do every day. I work for a Talent Agent. It is an exciting field to be in. You get to learn all about the casting process and the differences between auditioning for commercial, film, and television. My job is the development of the child talent. Helping with resumes, head shots, and of course, training. If you want to be an actor, you have to have training. Yes, some actors have lucked out and been plucked from obscurity to become famous over night. BUT, they all have training. If you train for theater, that’s great. But film and television are different from theater and the same techniques do not apply. I love my job, I love my office, I love the people I work with….and today, I was let go.

It had nothing to do with me, it’s business. My sales for the acting classes weren’t where they needed to be. I got it. It hurt, it hurt like hell, but I got it. I packed up my office and went to say goodbye to the owner. How fortuitous that decision would be. In a matter of an hour, I went from being unemployed, to being rehired by the same agency but in a different position. One that allows me to put my training and skills to good use.

It’s funny, when it first happened, I didn’t question it. I didn’t say poor me or why me. I didn’t curse God and ask him why I was being punished. I just cried, I cried because I was a part of a family. I cried because I love these people so much and the thought of not seeing them every day positively broke my heart. Then, in an instant, the tears of sadness turned into tears of joy. Never question the universe and what it has in store for you. Everything does indeed happen for a reason.

Three Steps Back Again

My niece is living with us for the third time. She has had a pretty rough life, I won’t lie. But then again, even after going through the loss of her mother at 6 years old, her life was not bad. Her Dad’s parents took her and her brothers in since no one in her Mother’s family wanted them. It was not easy for her Grandparent’s. Their children were grown and out of the house, well, at least one of them was out of the house. Unfortunately, this is where the problem started. She was the only girl and everyone worried about her. They gave in to her every whim and they never made her responsible for her actions. Now at 14 years old, she has had sex, done drugs, and drank. She has skipped school and run away. She has no respect for authority or anyone for that matter.

As I mentioned before, this is the third time that she has lived with us. The first two times were because she ran away and we thought we could help. This time is because she got kicked out. Did Grandma and Grandpa want too? No. Do I support her decision, yes. Why do I support the decision? Because Grandma and Grandpa are in their 60’s with no help aside from myself and Grandpa’s sister. The constant arguing, telling her Grandparents to F-off. Threatening, threatening, threatening all the time. So Grandma and Grandpa had enough and kicked her out. She hopped from couch to couch for about two weeks and then one night I received a phone call asking if she could spend the night because she had nowhere to go. What was I going to say, no? So she came over, and here she has stayed.

Every time she has lived with us, the friction becomes unbearable in the house. My kids fight with her, my husband fights with her, I fight with her, my husband and I fight with each other, my kids fight with my husband and vice versa. The entire time, she stands there, pretending like she didn’t instigate it. She will say or do something right in front of you and not even a split second later is screaming in your face that she didn’t do it. She is full of empty promises, empty promises, empty promises. I will go to school. She goes and hour and a half late. I will come right home from school. She shows up past curfew. I won’t smoke. She comes home smelling like ganja and cigarette smoke. I won’t have sex. Well, you know how that goes.

I love this child like she came from my own body. When she was born I was the first one to hold her (after her parents of course). I watched her grow and change as she blossomed from a baby, to a toddler, to a little girl. I remember when my her Mother died, it was quick, sudden, and unexpected. She wasn’t even 30 and like the breath that blows out a flame, she was gone. At the funeral, as my daughter and I were walking out to the car, her Father tried to get her to go with him. She wouldn’t. She tugged her hand out of his and came running up to me and then proceeded to yell across the parking lot that she was riding with us. That’s how she has always been, a mind of her own and damn anyone that tries to change it.

So here I sit, an hour past curfew, waiting to see if she comes in the door. I’m not her guardian so I have no legal leg to stand on. I can’t call the police if she doesn’t come home. I have to call Grandma, who then calls the police to report her. Even then we have to wait the obligatory 24 hours. She is bright, oh my lord, she…is…bright. So why do the bright ones make the dumbest decisions.

She is my child. Why? Because I love her. I will always love her. And by the grace of God we will get through this….with a few less hairs and a few more wrinkles.

Scared Sideways

Almost 13 years ago, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. He was everything I had hoped my son would be and more. He was funny, resilient, and fearless. He was also kind, generous, loving, compassionate, and empathetic. He could just look at you and know if you needed to be left alone or if you needed a cuddle. I was one of those Mothers who was blessed with a special bond with my son. We knew what each other was thinking, how they were feeling. We knew what to say, what to do, how to navigate the uncomfortable silences. But not anymore.

Today is day 3 of my son refusing to come home. Now, there is a lot to this back story that I won’t get into. The kid in me understands how he is feeling. The Mother in me wants to fix it all and make everything alright. As a Mother, it is my job to protect my children and keep them safe. It has been made blatantly obvious to me over the last few days that I have failed as a parent. I spoiled, coddled, cuddled, and protected him to much. He is screaming out to have a voice of his own, to stand on his own two feet and make his own decisions, consequences be damned! This morning I awoke to realize the relationship with my son will never again be the same.

This makes me sad. It makes me want to cry and scream and curse the world. How do I maneuver through this minefield with  new lines that have been drawn in the sand. I can no longer treat him like my little boy, but yet he is just barely being categorized as a teenager. How do I guide him to become the man he is meant to be, and not the man that society sees him becoming. The line he is walking is a thin one. One misstep, and it is a downward spiral into the seedy side of humanity.

It’s Saturday, my son should have walked into my room to see if he could go hang out with his friends. Then, later in the afternoon, he would call and ask if he could have a sleepover. None of that happened. The last two nights in my house have been eerily quiet. I have slept, dreamless yet fitful. I have awoken feeling like I went twelve rounds with Rhonda Rousey (which we all know I wouldn’t last two seconds with her) and going through my day like a zombie. The things that usually bring me joy when I am in a dark place don’t appeal to me. I don’t want to curl up under the covers and watch a movie. I don’t want to read a good book. I don’t want to take a long bath and unwind. I don’t…I don’t…I don’t.

How will this new chapter end, I am not sure. I am scared, the thought of tomorrow makes me terrified. Lyrics from a song that both Trisha Yearwood and Leann Rimes covered describe my feelings perfectly.

“How do I live without you, I want to know. How do I breathe without you, if you ever go.

How do I ever, ever survive? How do I, Oh how do I live.”