Wednesday, May 30, 2007

God's Light

There have been certain times in my life where God has led me through a valley of darkness and back into the light. Most notably, when my mom died, when I was extremely depressed to the point of being suicidal in my mid-to-late twenties, when I thought I had cancer in my early thirties, when my husband and I almost lost everything after he was laid off from his job in December of 2001, when my oldest was diagnosed with lupus in 2004, and when my youngest went through what no child should have to go through at a school which wouldn't do anything to stop it from happening. And now, the last 18 months have been exceedingly difficult on me, and all I can say is - thank you, God.

Thank you for being next to me as I cried out in anguish and pain. Thank you for letting me privately lash out in anger when I talked to you - and thank you for accepting and understanding that anger. Thank you for holding me and comforting me in my hours of need, when the anxiety and fear overcame me. Thank you for helping me through this process so that I could come out of it realizing that your love is steadfast and that you will never abandon me.

There are reasons why these most recent events have happened. Some of the reasons are very obvious, and others I have difficulty grasping the "why's" - so all I can do is trust that it's all in God's plan. All in due time, this will all be for His glory. In the meantime, I just have to step back, let go of my need to control, and just watch as His plan for me (and others) unfolds. As time goes on, I am beginning to see how all of these little pieces fit into the larger puzzle - and I have a sense of peace that things will turn out as they are meant to be.

I am slowly coming out of despair, and back into hope. I have fought a long and hard battle, and I am weary, but I am beginning to feel strong again. I lost myself during the past year and a half, but God kept me safe in his graces so that I could be found once again.

I thank all of you for your prayers and concerns. I'll be back to my regular blogging soon!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering Mom on Memorial Day

Today is my mom's birthday - she would have been 95. I was an "oops" baby - my mom didn't anticipate she'd get pregnant again because she was already going through menopause. She and my father were in the process of adopting a baby girl when mom found out she was pregnant. In a way, I wish they would have continued on with the adoption process because I would have loved to have had another sister - I have four brothers and a sister, most of whom are considerably older than I am, so it would have been fun to have had a sister with whom I could have shared the good times and the bad.

Mom was a lovely woman - a very devout Catholic who was dedicated to her vocation of being a mom. I resemble her physically, and I hope that I am like her in other ways as well. She was the youngest of six (just like me!), and her mom was older when she was born, so she was actually raised by her older sister who was about 14 years older than she was. Her mom was quite ill throughout my mom's formative years and beyond - and mom became her caretaker until my grandmother died at around the age of 90, which was a couple of years before I was born.

I lost her at a young age - she was only 56 and I was 14 - and I miss her to this day. How I wish she could have been here throughout my life - I would have loved to share all of my ups and downs, I would have loved to have sought out her advice and comfort, I would have loved for her to have met my husband and children. I have a strong belief that she watches over me and prays for me.

So, happy birthday, dear mom! I shall always hold you in my heart.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rebekah and TP - Part Two

Well, TP and I met Rebekah and Sarah and Scott and Frances today. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so please meander over to to see a few neat pictures of our blogging friends. It was wonderful to watch TP and Rebekah interact - these two girls who've been through so much in their young lives, and who have so much to offer the world.

I hope the Adams' family have a nice time in Akron, and a safe trip back home. We hope to see you again someday!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rebekah Meets TP

Rebekah is at King's Island for her Make-A-Wish trip, and she and her family will be in Columbus on Saturday. So, at long last, TP and Rebekah will get to meet; and I will get to meet Scott and Frances and the girls. We're meeting at Chuck E. Cheese's - so this should be quite an adventure! I've been following Rebekah's story for quite some time now (; and she has touched many people's hearts and brought them to their knees in prayer as she has gone through her ordeal. I am very excited about meeting the Adams' family! And, I will post pictures when I can! If, by chance, you're in Columbus on Saturday, just let me know, OK?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Of No Value

My time away was wonderful. I spent most of my time with my mom's best friend, who has been like a second mother to me. Her wit and wisdom are true gifts from God, and I love her so much. She helped me through some of the difficulties I've been having recently - and just hearing her words that I was doing the right thing(s) in many areas of my life made me less anxious and less despairing. But it also opened up so many other areas of anguish.

I have been feeling useless lately. Utterly useless. My words don't seem to make a difference, and they fall on deaf ears. The only function I am performing is one of housekeeper, taskmaster, and bill-payor. My arms have been left empty with unreturned hugs, my tears have been shed without soothing comfort being offered. I feel invisible and alone and unloved.

Of what value am I anymore? This is the question that I keep on coming back to. My presence has no impact on others, other than just being the one in the background who is dispensable - I mean, ANYBODY can do the laundry, or remind others to pick up, or clean toilets - anybody can do these jobs right now. My jobs of being caretaker, comforter, counselor, mother, lover, wife - none of them are being recognized or valued right now. If anything, they are being thrown back in my face and ridiculed, or not appreciated, or met with derision. I feel beaten down and empty.

I'm sorry I'm depressing any of you, but this is where I am right now. I have much thinking to do, and many decisions to make about my future. This is my time of reflection, of prayer, of discernment - and hopefully, when I return to you, I shall have some answers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Place Like Home

Well, I decided to take a little vacation for a few days - I'm heading up to my home town on Wednesday morning. I'll be staying with my mom's best friend - she's been like a second mother to me, and I need her so much right now. My husband's mom just had hip replacement surgery, and I plan to spend some time helping her out as well. I will visit my folks' graves, and spend some time on the beach. I'm planning to have dinner with a childhood friend - the kind of friend where you can pick up where you left off and just feel comfortalbe with each other because you have a shared history.

There truly is no place like home. I would dearly love to move back there some day - to come full circle in my life.

Next weekend, I will be meeting Rebekah and her family here in Columbus for lunch on that Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Most of you know who Rebekah is (if not, please read her story over here at ) . I'm excited to finally be able to meet them in person. They are coming to Ohio thanks to Make A Wish - they will be going to King's Island for a couple of days. So, if any of you are in the area, please let me or Rebekah's parents know that you'd like to be included in our little get-together - I think it will probably be at Chuck E. Cheese's, although we haen't formalized plans yet.

There is a lot going on here - and I haven't posted about it yet. Suffice it to say that it's all in the good Lord's hands, and I'm trusting that everything will work out according to His plan.

So, I'm off for a few days - take care, and I'll see you soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Eight Things About Me

Paula has been a blogging buddy (and dear friend) for a long time, and because I love her so, I agreed to play along with being tagged with a meme that involves posting eight things which you probably don't know about me. Check out Paula's responses at .

Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. I noticed Paula already picked several of my favorite bloggers!!!

So, here are my 8 things (please keep in mind my 19 year old daughter reads my blog - so, it's a kid-friendly list):

1). My first name is actually Mary. The nuns in grade school insisted on calling me by my first name, even though my family called me Valerie. Hence, I still answer to "Mary", as I have friends from grade school who can't break the habit of calling me by that name.
2). My most favorite candy is anise.
3). I have an annoying habit of saying "like", "you know", "uh", "cool" - just like I was still a teenager. I still use the word "potty" - which is left over from when the kids were little.
4). My favorite movie is The Muppett's "Christmas Carol". The song "The Love is Gone" makes me cry every time.
5). I never wanted to be a mom until I was in my early thirties. In all honesty, I wouldn't have been a good mom, at all, up until the point where I finally accepted God back into my life.
6). I enjoy being in my 50's. I never thought I would because I thought it sounded so "old" - but this age brings so many opportunities and a certain level of respect. However, I'm still quite capable of carrying several grocery bags out of the store all by myself- much to the amazement of the young teenage baggers who insist on calling me "ma'am", followed by a worried "are you sure you can getall that"?
7). My biggest pet peeve is lying. Don't ever lie to me. It will take forever for me to trust you again. I may forgive - but I have a hard time forgetting. It has to do with being lied to all the time when I was a kid - and thus I have zero tolerance for it now. I can tell with 99% certainty when somebody is lying to me or making up a story so that I don't find out the truth about what they did - sometimes I confront them, sometimes I don't, sometimes I wait until they come clean. But don't ever think you're fooling me when you're lying or leaving things out of what you're telling me. Plus, my professional training has taught me how to trust my intuitions, and I'm usually right.
8). My favorite memory of my mother is dancing with her to the "Lawrence Welk" band when it was on television in the 60's. My dad wouldn't dance with her ever - so I was her reluctant partner. As much as I hated the dancing part, I loved seeing the laughter in her eyes and the smile on her upturned lips. It was such a gift to see her happy, if only for a short while.

Here are the bloggers I have tagged:

~Ann at

~Shawnda at

~Kevin at (come on, Kevin, you know you want to do this!)

~Barbara at

~Deb (Ukok) at

~Mrs. Diamond at

~Carol at

~Hey Jules at

Let's have some fun with this! And thanks, in advance, for humoring me with your participation AND your answers!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life
But in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of YOU!

Mother's Day is upcoming, and I just wanted to let my girls know how blessed I am to have them as my daughters. I love both of you SO much, and I can't imagine my life without either one of you. You've taught me how to laugh, how to be unselfish, how to be playful again, how to enjoy life in ways I would never have been able to even dream about! Most importantly, you've taught me how to LOVE. This love is everlasting - it will carry us into eternity.

God chose me to be your mom. There may be times you hate me, think I'm too strict, or even just wish I'd disappear - but I want you to know that even during those times of difficulty and pain and anger, I will never leave you. I will always love you.

May God bless you and keep you safe in His graces.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tomorrow I turn 35! And, just like Darlene at CWO, I'm also dyslexic. Hah. I'm also over the hill.

I thank God for my life, my husband, my beautiful girls, my extended family and friends, and all of you! Thank you for your presence in my life. Love, Val

Saturday, May 05, 2007

All Alone

I have always wondered what it would have been like to have a mom when I was going through my teenage years and on into adulthood. I can't begin to tell how many nights I cried myself to sleep after she died, aching for her touch, trying to hear her calm and loving voice take away my fears and hurts, and longing for her wisdom as I faced difficult decisions. That grief lasted for years and years.

I had to go it alone for so long. Stumbling, I bumped into brick walls, fell onto the pavement, got hit by words and fists - and alone, I picked myself back up again and nursed my own wounds. I built up a protective shield around me so that nobody could hurt me (or so I thought). The problem with that shield was that I didn't let anybody love me, either.

I never felt safe during those years. Only scared. And empty.

I filled the void with broken promises of others and fake laughter amid the noisy chaos of my life. When I touched someone, it was out of desperation rather than love. When I tried to love someone, I couldn't trust them or be vulnerable with them - so the feelings were based on a desperate longing rather than a healthy need.

How would my life be different if my mother had lived? I'm not sure.

How would my girls' lives be different if I left them now? Would they feel the pain I went through? I don't know.

I do know that my biggest fear right now is leaving them behind, to face what I have faced all these years.

Do they know how valuable a mother's love and presence is in their lives? Lately, it seems like all they want is for me to be gone. Totally out of their lives. Do they know how difficult it is for me when they push me aside, when they deliberately lie or withhold information from me, when they make decisions which go against God's will and against what is right for their future, and when they are just so rude and argumentative that it hurts? I know some of you will say that this is "normal" for a teenager - but I beg to differ. Somewhere along the line, my family got off track. And I've been trying to get it back on track for over a year now, but I'm not able to.

And I'm tired. And scared. And alone. And empty. And

My birthday is next week. I'm taking a little break from blogging during this time to do some soul-searching. I'll be back after Mother's Day with an announcement. Go give your moms a big hug and kiss, my friends - she deserves it! :-) And a Happy Mother's Day to all of my girlfriends out there!! I love you!