Today Is Not My Anniversary

As I opened my sleepy eyes to the bright sun shining through my curtains, I realized what the day was, November 23rd, and I was suddenly wide awake. I got out of bed and began scurrying about. I wanted to have enough time in my busy day to make sure every detail was taken care of and ready when he walked through the door.

First, I planned dinner. It had to be perfect. I put the meat out to thaw, he sure does love when I cook Mexican food.

Next, I tidied up the house and washed the dishes. I prefer to start my baking only in a clean kitchen. His favorite, Red Velvet Cake, was underway swirling around in my KitchenAid Mixer, and I was doing great on time.

I then wrapped his present. I never know what to buy for him because he has such expensive taste, but I like the challenge and I always strive to make each gift come from the heart. I listen to see which tv series he currently likes, I notice what new games he wants to play for his gaming unit, I find items related to his hobbies. I look for something that says it is unique and custom made for him.  I hoped he would see how much thought actually went into shopping for him.

Dinner is almost ready! I heard the tires screech on the asphalt as I reached to turn off the stove. I quickly checked my face in the photo app on my phone. As I heard his boots climbing up the stairs, I reached to open the door and I yelled, “Happy Anniversary!”

But not today. Today is not my anniversary. Oh sure, it is November 23 once again, but for the first time in 14 years it is just another ordinary day of the year. No, I cannot call it an ordinary day because it is a day scorched like fire has burned it to ashes. Today is not my anniversary, but it is not just another day, either.

When I woke up, the sun was not shining in my eyes. I was not in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything. The divorce has been final on paper for seven months, but it lingers on in my life even now. Issues seem to never end so that we can both move on, live our lives separately as if the past 13 1/2 years did not just happen to each of us, both of us…but there is no “us” so what do I say instead? He and I? No, there is no “and”.

Divorce is hard. It used to be illegal and some days I wish it still were, but then I would be married to someone who wanted a divorce and I would still be miserable as a result. Who is to say what is the best solution? I propose you love each other to the core of your being. Do not just say you love each other, show it. Find out what each person’s love language is and cater to that. Strive to be each other’s best friend and always have each other’s back. Trust is something you should both work to earn and return in kind, but be very careful about breaking trust, it is not easily repaired. Talk to each other more than you talk to people outside your marriage. If you find it uncomfortable to talk to each other, that might be the biggest sign it is time to start a conversation with each other. Affection is a wonderful thing so show it, give it and receive it openly, willingly and often. If you pray, pray for each other. Never give up on each other. You are now “as one”, unified, not just two people, but also one unit. So live as if you cannot be, will not be, refused to be: separated.

What makes me an expert? I am an no expert on marriage, but I am an expert on what does not work, so I am sharing with you what I have learned from my failures. I am sure you could add many more to the list to cater to your individual relationships.

May God Bless you on your Special Day, your Extraordinary Day, your Wedding Anniversary.


Little Tidbits of My Life!

Pre and Post Divorce


I have noticed a pattern in life. Whenever a traumatic event occurs, it becomes a marker in time.  When we lost our home in a house fire in 2004, my thoughts afterward became altered according to whether something had occurred before the fire, or afterward. Also, I would be cooking and look for an item and then recall the item was pre-house fire, that sort of thing.  The same thing happened after the death of my mother-in-law and then two years later when my father-in-law also passed away.  The traumatic events have impacted me in such a way as to permanently affect my thought patterns on everything in life.

Now I am in the midst of another traumatic event which I would like to think I am nearing the end of actually.  In May 2012, my husband and I separated and thus began the closing of a chapter in my life I never thought would end…marriage.  I had prayed for over 11 years, every day, for God to help me to be a Proverbs 31 kind of wife. For the most part, I felt this prayer was daily answered in spite of my short comings since I am only human.  With the separation, my purpose in life was pulled out from under me like a rug.  For over a year, I grieved the loss of my marriage and I felt hopeless in spite of overwhelming support from family, friends and God. However, as with all traumatic events, there comes a time when one simply must come out on the other side and continue with their life. I am entering the home stretch of the divorce. Papers will be signed any day now to finalize it after a nearly two long year separation.  I have to reevaluate what my purpose in life is and my challenge is to not let this traumatic event pull me down, but instead continue to live a purpose-driven life with many fulfilling goals both short-term and long-term.  I look forward to what the future holds. I am ready for the post side of this divorce because I have lived in limbo far too long waiting for the divorce to be finalized.

Having looked back at the impact the fire had on my life, then the tragic deaths of my in-laws, the last thing I wanted to go through next was divorce. God has been so faithful in helping me through the separation and I know He will be with me post-divorce as well as I begin a new chapter in life on my own, but I’m not alone really. I have such a great support system of family and friends and I am so very blessed!  I can do this!

Little Tidbits of My Life!

My Birthday Cake

Normally I would post a recipe on my recipe blog, but I am just going to post a link to the blogspot that the recipe originated instead.

For my birthday, I made MYSELF a 4 layer Chocolate Malt Chocolate Cake…all from scratch and WONDERFUL!!! I have wanted to try this cake for over a month and FINALLY my tastebuds were NOT disappointed! The only things I did different from the recipe were to bake in 10 inch pans and instead of using whoppers, I decorated with the leftover semi-sweet chocolate chips because I bought a 24 oz bag. By using the 10 inch pans, I was able to use ALL the frosting! It was JUST ENOUGH.

This is quite possibly the best chocolate cake I have ever made and I used to make cakes on a somewhat professional level! There is just something about the different chocolates…dutch cocoa…semi-sweet chocolate…all the rich chocolates that I LOVE!

ANYWAY, I obviously enjoyed my birthday cake. This year felt like I had several weeks of birthday celebration, as though I were a child again instead of a 37 year old. Life is getting back to normal, except with leftover cake! YUM

Little tidbits of my life!


The Lion in my house

As many of you who often read my blog know, I have indoor cats. One of my cats is a ragdoll cat named Buster. He has long hair and is hot ALL the time. He lays around on the stone in front of the fireplace or just hangs out on top of the air vents when the air conditioner is on. For awhile he has needed to be shaved. I have been very leery of this idea because one of my best friends and neighbor as a child had a chow who…well I guess you would call it…went into shock from the grooming and never was the same afterwards.

Well Buster, he is pitiful. He grooms himself constantly and leaves what looks like big cottonballs literally all over the house. I had to buy a special vacuum (the Bissell pet hair vacuum) just because of him. He often gets sick from the hairballs and he thinks I am the ENEMY when I give him hairball medicine, but it HAS to be done to keep him from choking….and I feel so helpless when he is trying to get rid of one…nothing I can do but just hope he doesnt get it on my carpet…seriously, it is scary to see a cat gagging and choking all the time.

On my facebook page this week, one of my friends had posted a pic of her mother’s Himalayan cat who looked a lot like my Buster, but was a lot lighter. When I asked her about the cat, I found out that the cat is shaved twice a year and she was lighter because it was her undercoat! She said the grooming changed this particular cat’s personality for the better because she felt so much better. She became more sociable and just LOVED the haircut. She gave me the info for the veterinary clinic who shaves her. I decided to make Buster an appointment.

That is the background for my story today. I want to tell this as a life lesson because Buster’s actions to the entire preparation process really hit me as how we act as God’s children a lot of times.

The instructions I was given seemed simple enough…no food after 6 pm and no water after 10 pm. Make sure Buster is at the clinic between 7 am and 8:30 am and pick him up any time after 3:30 pm. because he would have to be sedated for the procedure. He also needed his shots (just a side note…but he got those while sedated, so no trauma there!)

Of course everything looks simple written down, but for a cat like Buster, putting his food bowl up at 6 pm was a MAJOR EVENT! I feed Buster and Sassy with an automatic feeder, so they just take a nibble here and there, but mostly in the evening and night, then go to bed and do not usually eat again until suppertime because I also give them treats at designated times.  No sweat, not much to do… Put their automatic feeder in the large container that we keep the bag of cat food in…the water is in our master bathroom, so at 10 pm just close the door and we are all set!


Well at first Buster attempted the loving approach. He jumped up on the back of my recliner and just leaned his whole 18 lb body over on my head and purred, purred, purred. He did this literally for about 30 minutes. I feed them in the den, about 10 feet from my recliner. There is a little sink, refrigerator and bar in that area that is “their” domain. Sassy (gray tabby) just quietly sat on the edge of the bar, patiently waiting. I think she knew that I have never withheld food for very long, so she was just simply not too worried about it, just waiting. She is a wise and patient kitty. 

After Buster attempted the loving approach of nuzzling my head for 30 minutes or so, he finally gave up and huffed VERY LOUDLY and jumped down, then raced down the hall in a tantrum. He acted much like a very angry and spoiled child. He is a vocal cat, so he was fussing the whole time.

When he jumped down, it scared Sassy, so she ran, too. This was a bad idea because he took his frustrations out on her. I could hear them wrestling (they are both declawed on the front, so their fighting is usually pretty harmless) and Sassy started whining. This meant Buster was really mad because usually he does not get the best of Sassy. I told Buster to leave her alone. This got his attention long enough for Sassy to go hide. She is only about 8 lb soaking wet.

[X] Water Taken Away

Bedtime was pretty much a repeat of loving/anger/loving/anger. When I went to bed, Buster immediately jumped up beside me. I have a king size bed and Buster sleeps on the corner. Most of the time he starts out at the foot of the bed on top of the covers, and then by early morning, he is laying beside my head on the corner. I even lay a blanket out there for him. Well this night he went straight to his blanket purring and loving. He wanted a treat. I always give them a treat just before bedtime. When he realized I was not going to get up and get a treat, he huffed VERY LOUDLY AGAIN and then took a GIANT LEAP clear across the king size bed to the floor, never touching the end of the bed, and started chasing Sassy again. She finally got away and hid under the bed. He will not go under the bed, so she was safe there.

FINALLY, I fell asleep, so I have no idea what he did during my sleep.

I got up at 6 am and Buster was laying beside me asleep. I quickly got a bag of cat treats and although I felt guilty about it, I pretended to throw a treat into the cat carrier. He ran in and I closed the door. Then I got ready to go to town.  The ride to the vet that morning made me think of what I heard called Chinese water torture when I was in elementary school. I do not know if it is true. I think it is where just a drip of water falls intermittently nonstop for hours and drives one insane? I did not call it that to offend anyone reading this that may be Chinese. That is simply the name I heard it was called…ANYWAY, the noise Buster made all the way to town was like that…just an intermittent tone that sounded like a meow of the word “no” every few seconds. No matter what I did, he would not stop. He did not know what was going on. He was hungry and thirsty and MAD, MAD, MAD! SO he wanted to torture me.

I dropped him off and I filled out the necessary paperwork. when I looked in to the front of the cage to tell him bye, he curled himself up in a ball as far away as possible to really make me feel guilty for leaving him. Just seconds before, he had been at the front of the cage looking at the vet tech, so I know this was done “just for me”.

Several hours passed and I was back that evening ready to pick Buster up. I was so ready for him. I had thought about him ALL DAY. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. They brought him in to me and he looked like a lion! He was SO CUTE! He looked like he’d lost about 10 lbs, too! I was SHOCKED! Everyone there just kept gushing over how cute he looked. They left his mane and the hair on his feet and end of his tail. He is just adorable! SO I sat in the back seat and put a big towel in my lap and let him out of the carrier for most of the ride since he was still groggy. FORTUNATELY, he was glad to see me and let me hold him. He enjoyed watching the traffic on the interstate.

Sure enough, he HAS been like a different cat. He has never been a cat to sit in the den all evening or in my lap or even to let me pet him much. BUT now he curls up on the blanket right beside me on the couch and stays in the living room all evening. He LOVES for his back to be rubbed where the hair was shaved. He purrs every time I touch him (in a good way, does not run off). I have not seen him fight with Sassy even ONE time since he has been home. It has been 4 days now! His whole demeanor has changed. He did not hold a grudge toward me. He still follows me around the house like he used to. I have always called him my Butler, but now that he looks like a lion, I hate to give him a servant’s role! HAHA. In the summary below I will refer to myself as master only to make the lesson clear.

There are SO MANY LIFE LESSONS in this story of Buster. Buster did not know WHY his master was treating him this way. Buster tried many approaches to get his master to do things Buster’s way instead of his master’s way. Buster did not consider that the master knew best and was looking out for his good. Buster did not know how much better his life was going to be once the master’s plan was carried out. Buster fought and fought against the master’s plan. Buster’s anger hurt his master as his master had to show tough love and go against Buster’s wishes for his own good. It is too bad he did not enjoy the time with his master, that he did not simply be patient like Sassy. Buster put so much unneeded stress upon himself by NOT trusting his master. He also hurt those around him in the process (Sassy). But now look at how happy he is! He is cool, calm, his belly is full and he has all the water he could ever want…plus now he can enjoy closeness with us, which he could not do before because he was just simply too hot to sit with us! THE MASTER KNOWS BEST! TRUST THE MASTER!

Why do we so often want to do things OUR way instead of God’s way…why as Christians can we not see that God’s Plan is that we trust Him so much that our Will becomes the SAME as His will? My cat helped me really see just how much I have to learn about keeping with God’s Will and not following a different path. HE is not the enemy, so why in the world do we so often treat HIM like HE is? The song “Trust and obey, there is no other way”…sounds easy, but is so hard….oh but that sweet peace and joy we will find if we trust and obey our Lord! He DOES know best! His ways are not our ways, but HE is teaching us and guiding us….we must LISTEN and NOT RUN THE OTHER WAY, do not be a fickle Christian…be steadfast…it is all part of the process of maturing as a Christian.

I love this pic because he looks mad, but it is just because he has ice blue eyes. It is so hard to get a pic of his eyes! If I put it on the red eye reduction setting, he blinks, so instead I get a pic like this! He’s a cutie, though! He’s a gift from God and I am thankful for him!

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit from my life!

September 11, 2001 Remembrance

courtesy of

courtesy of

There are some things that happen in life that one never forgets.  For example, most who lived at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated can recall to this day every detail of the moment they heard the news.  The same goes for when Elvis died.  For me, two history events stand out in my mind that I will never forget.

The first event that I will always remember is when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart on January 28, 1986 and disintegrated before both before my eyes and the rest of my 7th grade class.  It was even more traumatic for our particular school because our science teacher was in the competition to go on that voyage and she was so excited to watch this ascent into space that day.  The shock of it all will never be forgotten in my mind.  It was as if life became a slow motion action the rest of the day and nothing seemed normal anymore for awhile.  We were all so sickened knowing the crew was just gone in an instant, just at the snap of a finger.  It was so hard to fathom such a thing, especially as a 7th grader.

The other event that stands out in my mind were the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.  At the time, I worked at Cigna Healthcare and I was getting ready for work and also waiting on my paramedic friend to come give me my allergy shot.  I had put on one earring when the first plane hit.  I never did put on my second earring that day, I just forgot about it.  I even remember the earring was green that I was wearing and I had on an emerald green shirt.  After the first plane hit, my friend arrived and I showed him on TV what was going on and we were about to walk out of the room thinking it was just a crazy accident, but then we overheard the broadcaster say that a second plane just hit.  We quickly went back into my parents’ living room and stood there in disbelieve as they replayed the video of the second plane hitting.  This is when it hit us both that this was no accident.  We were both in shock.  My sister then called me and she was nearly hysterical. She had a friend whose office was near one of the towers and she and her husband had recently visited there and even gotten their picture taken at the top of one of the towers as so many Americans have done through the years as part of the wonderful New York experience of touring that great city.  She kept saying she was just standing there weeks earlier and she wondered if her friend was okay.  After talking to her, it REALLY hit me how serious this was because now I pictured what I saw on TV with a person my sister knows being involved in the chaos of the smoke filling the streets as people ran in every direction trying to get away from the hideous monstrous cloud following them.

I went to work that day for my 10 hour shift as a customer service representative at an insurance company. It was the strangest day, the phones did not ring all day whereas normally they rang nonstop.  We all sat there with tiny radios at the desks to keep up with the latest happenings.  My muslim co-worker never returned to work after that day because of the danger of her driving to work by herself according to what our boss explained to us.  I think her husband had tried to take her to work, but that did not even work out.  She wore a headdress and it was very obvious she was muslim, so because of the events of the terrorists, she had become a victim of the hatred and outrage that was felt toward the terrorists as she went out in public. Incidentally, she was actually one of the nicest women I have ever met.  I realized there was a difference in terrorists and my coworker and I felt sad that she was not even able to go out in public anymore.  The terrorists needed to pay, not a customer service representative at my workplace.

Our day seemed to float by, as if we were living in a dream.  The news of the pentagon came over the radios and we were once again shocked by what was going on. We also heard the news of Flight 93 that crash landed in Pennsylvania and wondered if the news would ever calm down.  We barely spoke to each other that day, the entire call center was quieter than I had ever heard it.  It was as if we were all in a day of silence as opposed to a moment of silence for all who were being found and for the hope that survivors would come out of the tragedies.  I may have taken two calls the entire day.  This was an indication the entire nation, and all businesses, were being affected the same way our place of business was reacting.  We simply were stopped in our tracks that day from the shock and horror of the attack on American soil.

As the death tolls started coming in, the fear started building and speculation as to when and where another attack might occur.  Another concern was making sure the President responded swiftly and powerfully to bring the terrorists down.

As the days passed and the stories unfolded, many miracles were told and it was obvious God was present on that scene.  He was at work in the midst of the chaos and a special happening occurred through the tragedy, a very diverse nation came together as one, for justice.  The volunteers from all over the nation showed up on site to help with rescue and any help needed.  I was, and am, so proud of being an American as I saw the documentaries that were quickly put together to tell the personal stories of each of the almost 3,000 people who died that day, or later, as a result of the disaster and of the firefighters and policemen who also risked, and in some cases gave up, their lives for others that day.

As a proud American, I will never forget what happened that day.  I will never forget the wonderful volunteers that showed up in New York for weeks and months later.  The stories of courage from those on Flight 93 are enough to bring tears to the eyes even today.  I will never forget the malice behind the attacks and I am not sure if everyone involved have actually been brought to justice at this point for I feel this had to be planned on a large scale to have been coordinated so precisely and to have been so successful.

I am proud of our military, all branches, for how they selflessly serve our country daily.  Whether they believe in a cause or not, they do believe in America and that is the common denominator that holds this country together.  I am so thankful for the many people who protect and serve to make sure our soil is as safe as it is every day.  I can not even express how grateful I feel toward military families.

I pray God’s protection over our beautiful country and for God’s blessings and protection on this nation and for all the survivors as well as the families of the victims of that day.  I pray His guiding hand on our military branches no matter their mission that God’s Will be done above all else.  The nation was founded on “In God We Trust” so it would be nice if we do that every day.  Trusting in God will remove fear and help us to rely on God’s strength to face the enemy against our nation.

May we NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001.

Little Tidbits of Teresa’s Life

Dogwood in Bloom

Our little dogwood in the front yard is blooming again. This used to be my father-in-law’s place and when I see a dogwood, I am happy and sad at the same time. I am happy because the flowers were my father-in-law’s favorite. I’m also sad because it makes me miss him even more thinking about how excited he used to get when this season was here so he could see his favorite tree and flower in bloom.

My father-in-law and I became close friends after my mother-in-law passed away. At the time I was not driving because I had not been put on arthritis injections yet and did not discover the strength yet that they gave my joints. He drove me anywhere I needed to go and he enjoyed this task. I am now thankful I did not know about the injections yet because I would have likely missed out on becoming true friends with my father-in-law if I had been on the injections and more independent at the time.

When the dogwoods started blooming, we took back roads just to see more of them on our way to town. My father-in-law transplanted a near perfect little dogwood from our wooded property to our yard and it is also a gorgeous little dogwood, but smaller than the one pictured above. When my weeping cherry tree died he talked for months of getting me a pink dogwood to replace it. We never got that pink dogwood but I think I will get one in memory of him to grow in all its beauty in the yard he took such good care of for so many years.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2012 and sent home under Hospice care. We set his hospice bed up and from the window of that room I often walked to it and looked at this dogwood. Each day I told him the progress of the blooms because I wanted so bad for it to bloom for him. I remember it bloomed the last week before he passed away on April 15th last year. While we cared for him, I spent some of my time on the front porch in a rocking chair wishing he could see that tree one more time.

The good news in all this is the dogwood bloom has always carried with it the story of Jesus our Savior.

Although this is a legend, the message behind it of Jesus is what is the truth and important.

My father-in-law became a Christian while in the hospital just three and a half weeks before he passed away. I imagine him now no more in pain from the cancer and its effects, no longer mourning his wife, now reunited with her and his parents…and with our miscarried baby, his grandchild he never even got to know a thing about here on earth. Heaven holds many wonders but the best is our Lord, I can only imagine the moment he beheld his Savior, the one who cares for us more than anyone ever has and ever will, our Creator and His Son. Oh just imagine the love that emulated over him during that initial encounter and evermore, a place of no more sorrow, no more tears, no more dying.

The dogwood represents so much to me now and I just felt inspired to share this morning how its symbolism has touched our lives.

Little Tidbits of Teresa’s Life