They’re Family, What Can I say?!

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” 
― George Burns

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more . . . secure.” 
― Jim ButcherPublicity and Advertising

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” 
― Anthony Brandt

It’s Christmas eve and at the last minute I decided to make the three and a half hour drive home to spend Christmas with my family. Normally I spend Christmas alone-don’t worry, it’s my choice. My children spend Christmas with their father and then visit my parents and I get to stay home and watch Christmas luv stories, bake cookies and eat whatever I want. It’s my own tradition that I have created for myself.

But my mother has been bugging asking  me to come home to spend Christmas with the family. Now I gotta tell you, my family is “special.” Not like holiday T.V show special but more like different or not normal kind of special. But I guess any of us can make this claim about our family and probably do. I typically can spend about, mmmmmmm, half hour with my family before I’ve had enough shenanigans and am ready to head home to sin city. Living here is actually not as bad as spending extended periods of time with my family.

It’s been a very long time since I have been home with my parents and siblings for Christmas and thinking about it brings up fond memories of Christmas’ past and gives me chills at the same time. Aaaahhh, Christmas with the fam! Yep, there is no place I’d rather be than listening to my mother share with me her latest health discovery by her doctor all while smoking a cigarette and then listen to her complain about how she is the only one who cooks and cleans and how she is tired of everyone coming to HER house to celebrate the holidays and expecting her to cook huge meals. This is the same woman who complains if no one comes to her house to celebrate the holidays and eat “all this food” that she took the time to cook.

My brothers? Well, lets just say that it’s a special treat to spend time in their presence. It’s quite fascinating actually. I have never seen such a colorful bunch of folks streaming in and out of my parents house as I do when my brothers are home. It’s not unusual to have extra “family” members and fiance’s whom we have never met before until they show up with my brothers for the holidays calling my parents mom and dad and me sis. My mother, with her complaining luving self, always has extra gifts to give these “children” and future daughters-in-law of hers. You see, there is rarely a day that goes by that the UPS delivery driver doesn’t show up at her door with multiple packages for her from one of the home shopping networks. From hedge trimmers (she doesn’t have any hedges) to watches to cookware to complete skincare sets, my mother has it all tucked away in boxes underneath her bed and in the closets in EVERY room of the house. Ask her “what’s in the box(s) mom” and she will tell you that she has no idea and you will have to open it to see. She’s retired what can I say. My children absolutely luv to go to granny’s house! They’ve come home plenty of times after visiting my parents and say “mom,  look what granny gave me!”  What the h*** does a kid need with hedge trimmers?!

My father? Well lets just say that he spends most of his time sitting on the back patio listening to country music and complaining about my mother and how much of HIS money she spends. To let him tell it he has no ides what she does with HER money and can’t understand why she’s always broke. Everyday he’s fed up with her and his grown sons (who keep moving back home to save money so they can launch their latest entrepreneurial endeavor) and moving to a senior citizens home. He claims that the only one who listens to him is my 8 year old son whom he has declared is his best friend. and when they’re together it’s country music, coffee (yes, he gives my son coffee…watered down hopefully of course. what can I say, he’s my dad) and sitting in the back yard telling stories. My son tells lies stories just as good as my 78 year old father can. Yes, poppi has taught him well!

And then there’s me. I swear I’m adopted sometimes. At least I’d like to think I am but the fact that, according to my mother, I look “just like my father” and according to my father I look “just like my mother” gives it away that I was actually born into this circus family. The birth certificate with my and my parent’s  names on it that my mother proudly displays doesn’t help either.  And you know what, I luv them with all my heart and  honestly, there is no place I’d rather be than with my family…sometimes.

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not you can always celebrate and cherish your family. Because when it’s all said and done, no one will talk about you luv you more with all of your faults and defects than your family will. No one will encourage or celebrate you more than your family. No one will be there to pick you up when you fall and push you to try again when you just want to give up more than your family will. No one!  So take time today to tell your family how much you luv and appreciate them. Then go and have some dessert! You’re gonna need it!




As I sit here and watch the sun rising I realize that at this moment, there is no place that I’d rather be! There is nothing that I’d rather be doing but sitting here in the stillness of the early morning marveling at the purplish, blue sky that is reminding me of the intelligence of the universe and that everything is as it should be because the Divine is as it should be. There is no place I’d rather be!

I haven’t always felt this way! There have been some days when I got off center and looked around me and saw my life and started to think that I should be much “farther along”‘ than where I am. A few days ago I was talking with the luv of my life and listening to him as he shared some of the disappointments that he has with himself. He expressed disappointment with some of the choices that he has made in his life and how he feels that these choices are responsible for his not being farther along in his life.

As I quietly listened to him express his thoughts my heart began to ache for him and for the countless numbers of people in the world who for whatever reason feel like they should be somewhere else in their lives; who feel like they should be doing something different than what they are doing.

I remembered feeling that way. I remembered the guilt and the sadness and even the embarrassment that came along with it. But what I remember the most about that place is coming to the realization that the choices and the decisions that I had made in my life up to that point were precisely the reason that I was who I was at that moment! I remember talking with God and expressing my own disappointment with some of the choices I had made and Him gently showing me that through all of those experiences that came along with those choices, I had become a better person! I had experienced growth from the pain of those decisions! I had evolved because of those decisions! I had learned from those experiences! Those “bad” decisions and choices had played a major part in shaping my character!!

Through the pain and suffering that came with some of the choices that I have made in my life, I have become more compassionate, more loving, more understanding and more tolerant of people and where they are in their lives. I have become a person of great character and I attribute it to the experiences of my life that those choices and decisions brought with them.

Perhaps you are looking at your life and thinking that you should be in a different job, have more money in your bank account, own your own home by now or are regretting a relationship that you had and if only you had not made THAT decision you would be much farther along in your life right now. But I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE RIGHT WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE!!

God doesn’t make mistakes! And if we begin to look at our life and at the “mistakes” that we have made along the way we will see that we have actually learned from them. How many times have you done something that has not turned out to be that great and you realized that it is something that you will never do again?! You learned from that “mistake” and therefore can’t call it a “mistake” at all! Its a life lesson! Even if you have found yourself doing the “same thing” over again there is still growth to be made from it.

Let me use the anology of lifting weights to drive my point home. Whether you are beginning a weight lifting routine or are experienced in the area, stay with me now, and are moving up to “heavier weight” there will be pain that comes with that heavy weight. Lifting weight actually tears your muscle fiber and anyone who has ever had any experience with working out for the first time or moving up to heavier weight than they are used to can tell you that major soreness sets in a couple of days later. The pain sometimes causes you to rethink and even regret the decision to exercise at all or to “go heavier.”

But it is in THIS pain that your muscles actually “grow”. It is the tearing of the muscle fibers that the weight causes that also causes the growth! How you ask? When your muscle fibers are torn your body begins the process of healing itself. Your body draws on the protein stores that is has to rebuild the muscle that has been torn from lifting the heavy weight. The result of the “healing” is that your muscles grow bigger because protein is being added to repair the torn muscle. That is why body builders are willing to go through the temporary pain they will experience from the heavier weight for they know that the growth they are going to have far outweighs the pain they feel in the ensuing moments.They know that the potential to be bigger and in their eyes, better, is there and they are willing to go through it to be bigger and better.

What does that have to do with you and where you are in your life? The “bad” decisions that you have made in your life, and will continue to make if you are human, are your weight! It will be these decisions that often bring pain and suffering with them that will also cause you to grow and to evolve. Does that mean you should just go around making bad decisions in order to grow? Of course not, but what it does mean is that on those occasions that you do make a decision or a choice that turns out to not be so good, understand that it will be from those decisions that you will also experience growth.

So instead of looking back on your life with regret, look back and marvel at how far you have come! look at the amazing person that you have grown to be! look at the character that has developed from those decisions! Look at the compassion that you now feel for others! Look at the wisdom that you now have! Look at the lessons that you have learned and the better choices that you will now make because of those lessons!

Hold your head up high, forgive yourself and flex the spiritual muscles that you have developed from the pain of the weight that you have lifted in your life. Know that at this moment everything in your life is as it should be and had it not been for those decisions you would not have grown into the person that stares back at you in the mirror of life. You are magnificent! You are marvelous! YOU ARE RIGHT WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE!