Tuesday, May 22, 2018

No Aplology

I'm a hopeless romantic. While logically I know there is no such thing as happily ever after, there is also very little true repentence, Prince Charming doesn't exist, and people don't often have existential moments where they apologize for being the assholes they are, and there are no best friends forever. Not in the real world. But that doesn't stop me from hoping, believing and wanting that Hallmark, Disney and Lifetime ending. I make no apology for that hope. I make no apology for believing humanity can be kind and love one another the way God says is possible. I know its true, because I exist and I have chosen that kind of love.

This world is so beautiful, so amazing. I can just watch the fish swim around my boyfriends saltwater tank and be overcome by its simplicity and complexity at the same time. Just trying to understand all the elements that have to come together in order to be the beautiful display is overwhelming. Jon has to work so much, so precise, and with such care to get it to that beautiful state. It takes lots of time, devotion, money, and care. Only in nature can the world produce such beauty, yet he's recreated it in a small tank.

But that beauty didn't happen overnight and with no effort. Its not magic. It takes dedication and sacrifice, it requires attention and priority.  Jon can stand back and be proud of his effort because he puts in what it takes to be successful.

The same kind of effort has to be put into raising our children. They don't wake up being lazy, disrespectful assholes. Those traits are developed over time, and it will take even more time to retrain their brains IF we want them to be kind, thoughtful and reaponsible adults. Isn't that ultimately our job as a parent?  Life isn't magical and people dont just wake up and decide to change who they are. It usually takes a tragedy or great loss to move people to change. Lazy parents expect adulthood will change their disrespectful children. It doesn't. It just produces lazy, disrespectful and neglectful adults. Lazy parents are abusive parents.

I've experienced true physical, mental and emotional abuse since before I was born. My drug addict mother was shot in a bad drug deal when she was 6 mos pregnant with me, and since being born I've died twice, been beat, raped, neglected, and abandoned by those who claimed to love me most. My soldier love and hero died and left me alone. I have fought cancer, obesity, and Southern religious condemnation. I was married for 20 years with love, but no passion, feeling unwanted every day of my life. I've had my children run away from me and lived in torture every day scared not knowing if they were safe, hurt, dead or alive, feeling hated and rejected, praying everyday for mercy and protection. I have to fight thoughts of giving up and killing myself on a regular basis. But I'm a fighter and survivor, and I love myself, and I love my family whether they love me back or not. I understand abuse. In my experience - the most damaging abuse isnt physical,
 ... its neglect, apathy and indifference.

In spite of all that I've endured, I'm a passionate person. I care. I love. Because I care and love ...I will scream, shout, cry, pitch a fit, apologize, talk it out, say the hard things, and then do the hard things again and again and again, even if it costs me everything. My relationships are like that fish tank. It takes a lot of work to gain the right balance, the right salinity, the right buoyancy, the right light, the right temperature, the right filtration, and the right maintenance to be something beautiful, or become a pool of ugliness and decay. I won't aplogize for that, even if it means I end up alone.

Want to abuse me - its easy, just ignore me, be indifferent, neglect me, be a coward, make excuses, push me out, unfriend me, put your fingers in your ears and act like a 5-year old spoiled brat, neglect or not provide for your children, see me hurting and not comfort me, take advantage of me, use me to pick up your responsibility, don't hug me, make me feel unwanted, ignore my needs and then break your neck helping others that use and abuse you, don't respect me, my time, or my space.

No, life isn't a Hallmark, Disney or Lifetime Movie. Meghan may have married a prince, but there is no happily ever after. There's pain and tears and lots of heartache, but ...I have hope that someday someone will care enough about me to help me create my beautiful aquarium. I dont apologize for having that hope. In fact, it breaks my heart because I know its possible, even in the middle of all the shit.

So, be an asshole all you want. I'm not going to apologize for caring and loving, even when I'm not loved back, and I lose friends or everything for it. I can stand in front of my mirror and know that I give and have given my best. Fuck everyone that can't or won't appreciate that about me. Just as other friends in my life ...keep abusing, neglecting, or ignoring me and I will walk away. If you dont care about that, then I've lost nothing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Integrity

It's hard to do the right thing, and then choose to do it on a daily basis over and over and over again. It's even harder to choose to do it after we make a mistake.

I'm not perfect. I'm human - full of mistakes, bad decisions, and pride. I'm no better than my fellow human. I get angry, hurt, jealous, and lazy. I have excuses and reasons for everything and every decision. What I also have is responsibility for those decisions - their actions AND their consequences.

I sometimes feel like Jonah, sitting on that hill looking down at a city, holding a warning in my heart of a coming judgement, and wanting to run and hide. Most don't have ears to hear and hate the harbingers of truth, especially in a society of victims full of excuses.

Sometimes I feel like Elijah beneath the shade of the tree and asking God how much longer will He remain silent as the world continues to create chaos with no regard for their part or the pain they cause others. We live in an entitled society that wants everything given, but doesn't want to do what is necessary to succeed. I watch parents bend over backwards to appease their spoiled children instead of doing the hard job of being a parent, therby equipping them with the tools necessary for success - tools like honesty, respect, responsibility, and drive. These blind parents believe their spoiled children will auto-magically become responsible, moral and GOOD adults. The result is a society of spoiled, lazy, disrespectful, neglectful, entitled brats as adults.

I sometimes feel like Jeremiah and Daniel, and Paul - hated, despised, feared, rejected, misunderstood, resented, unpopular, alienated, and often persecuted. I witness good parents doing the hard things, hated by their children and judged by their 'enlightened' fellow parents who say they're too hard and too demanding. Children believing their abused because they're made to be reaponsible. Yet, the world is also full of children neglected, abused, forgotten, hungry and not provided for by irresponsible parents - addicts, perverts, drunks, or selfish workaholics chasing pipe dreams, titles, or status who have no time for their children. In my opinion, the worse parent is one who puts their WANTS before their child's NEED, be it addicrikn, or co-dependency, or fear of discipline.

Fathers blame mothers. Children blame parents. Mothers blame daughters. Sons blame fathers. Everyone blames each other. All blame God. None blame themselves - look in the mirror and see the truth. Without truth, there is no repentance. Without repentence, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no transformation, just a continuous cycle of insanity.

How much longer, Oh, Lord?

"Mercy comes with the morning. I leave you with these three things - faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. Love your God, then love your neighbor as you love YOURSELF ...as I have loved you. I have NOT come to bring peace, but a sword."

My heart breaks for those parents who do the hard parts, especially during those teenaged years.  It's not easy for anyone. But don't give up, don't give in. Respect is earned, not easily given. Love is doing the hard parts. Cowards run and hide from the responsibility behind excuses or vices. Cowards blame everyone else for their failures. Even if you are hated or forgotten, do the hard parts because of love. That is being a parent. God is our Father.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Breaking Point

We all have a breaking point and sometimes I wonder if I don't teeter on the edge of that point all the time. I'm starting to fear my decisions the last couple years have been a form of underlying self-destruction - instead of cutting to see if I bleed, I make life choices that leave me constantly bleeding.

Though I'm surrounded by people who claim to love me, I am lonely. I don't feel loved. I feel neglected, unwanted, abused, used, and preyed upon. So, why are they here? Because they need me. Once their need is met, I know deep in my heart they will leave me - just as they have before and will again .This I am assured.

So, why don't I just walk away? Because, It's not for them, but for that little girl inside that was neglected, forgotten, abused and needing someone to care, someone to hear me silently screaming behind a friendly smile, praying and begging for someone to save me. No one saved me. I had to save myself. I never want anyone else to ever feel like no one cares and no one will help where and when it's needed. It's why I have given so much of my life taking care of other people, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, giving what I can. I don't want to be the pious priest blinded to the wounded. I want to be the Samaritan who stops.

But being the Samaritan isn't easy and I find quite painful. The moral stories always have a good ending, much like a Hallmark, Disney or Lifetime movie. But real life isn't like that. There is rarely a good outcome for the sacrifices we make for others. It cuts. It hurts. It is unappreciated. It is lonely, very, very lonely.

It's like lying next to the man you're madly in love with, your soul mate, your balance, your heart, and have them not want or love you back, not want to touch you, not want to hold you, not want to lift you up, encourage you, or let you know they want, respect, love and desire you. That's cruelty to the deepest cut. Who needs real blades when emotional ones are amply available?

 I'm a fool. I believe in fairy-tale love. I give the kind of love and devotion I want to receive. I give respect like I want to be respected. I hope for the best. I see with eyes of good potential, but judged for the smallest of weaknesses and failures.

I'm sick. Im hurting and I don't really think anyone cares. That little girl deep inside is screaming again. I hear her, but I don't know how to save her because I'm the one hurting her. I think I'm past my breaking point and I'm free-falling. It's no one else's fault, but mine.

I don't want to learn this lesson. I've prayed for help, but I feel those prayers are silenced. The cost is my heart. I feel it growing harder and colder every day and I keep waiting for the warrior in me to rise up and defend her, but I don't.  I'm too broken to fight back. I've gone too long stressed out. I'm so sick of crying. I'm tired of trying. My hope is all used. My faith is exhausted. So I lay next to my love and slowly die inside.

--.T. L. Gray





Friday, January 19, 2018

Back at the Gym

I can't express how much better I feel since starting back at the gym. I don't think it's just a result from physical activity. Working out has made me hurt in lots pain, waking up with Charlie's almost daily. It hurts to breathe and hurts to move. No, the physical activity has reminded me almost every second I'm not so young anymore. But, I can handle the pain because I can feel I'm getting stronger, my body's energy is increasing, I'm less winded, and once those torn muscles heal and adapt, they too will be fine.

No, I think the main reason I feel so much better is because I'm doing something for myself. I was drowning and getting lost in taking care of everyone else. I neglected the most important person in my life, the person I've spent the last five years falling in love with, healing, forgiving, and discovering, the one person I know without doubt loves me - me.

I know it sounds arrogant, but I can't express enough to anyone and everyone how important it is to love yourself - first and foremost. It's that self love inside that heals the wounds inflicted, both internal and external. You CAN'T love anyone else, not truly, without first being filled with love yourself. If we have no love inside, with what are we giving and loving to others? We're not. Being in a relationship (friends, family, lovers) with anyone when we have no love for ourselves makes us vampires, because we're not giving anything, only taking or feeding off the life and love of what others are giving to us. But it'll never be enough. It'll feel good at first because we're empty and hollow, and their affection will be like a soothing drug, but in time it can't fill the emptiness, the hole within our souls that can only be filled by us.

I've also learned the hard way that I can't depend on others to love me. People, humanity in general, fail. But I'm thankful for that failure because it's taught me to be strong, to survive, to learn to turn to myself, to be independent, and strong, and self-motivated, self-assured, and self-dependent. Nothing is more dangerous or weak than a co-dependent soul.

We are human beings and capable of failure, mistakes, and bad choices. Just look around. But within us all is the potential to learn from those failures, mistakes, and bad choices and discover success, integrity, and how to make good choices. Humanity is both ugly and beautiful, hateful and merciful, selfish and selfless.

So, here I am making a good choice, emotionally, physically, and spiritually for myself, because there's an ugly world out there that needs a little bit of light, a little bit of love, a little bit of encouragement, a little bit of mercy, and a little bit of hope and inspiration. If my example can just inspire ONE person to begin to love and do something good for themselves, then I call that success. Just one, even if that one is just me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017


Well, it's that time again.  Holidays have always been difficult for me in one way or another.  When I was younger, being the daughter of a blind international drug dealer and a handicapped mother with MS, I knew our family wasn't 'typical'.  Neither were our Thanksgivings.  Because of my father's line of work, our family was estranged from the rest of the family, so I didn't have cousins, uncles, grandparents, etc. to visit.  Also, With my mother in a wheelchair and my father blind, most of the cooking was left up to me, the only girl out of five brothers.  I did alright, I think. 

Then for two decades, I raised my own family, but that also didn't come without awkwardness for me during the holidays.  My ex-husband had a very big extended family.  While he had no brother's and sisters, he had parents, cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents and they made a big deal out of the holidays. I always wanted to just cook my own family meal, but every year we had to load up the car and go to his grandmother's. I always felt like an outcast.  I never heard from anyone, other than his parents, throughout the year, so the rest of the family were still strangers to me.  I knew their names, their faces, but nothing else about them. I never felt accepted or wanted, certain the family believed I had forced my ex into marrying me because I got pregnant.  While we didn't have a romantic relationship, I probably had one of the best marriages in the world. We communicated, we shared responsibilities, and we good partners. But, family... his family wasn't ever really my family. 

Now, for the last five years I've been single and on my own, and there have been some really tough and lonely holidays. I don't think the world realizes how hard it is for single, lonely people during these last few months. It's like a daily reminder they're not wanted, they're not normal, they're not living up to societal expectations.  We don't want to be a burden to others, yet we don't want to be alone either.  Last Thanksgiving I spent with my current boyfriend, but we happened to be broke up at that time.  But, even though we were not 'together', I considered him and his sons my family and couldn't imagine being with anyone else during that time other than my own children.

Well, here I am in 2017 and I'm looking forward to the holiday's this year because I am surrounded by my chosen family, with people that fill my heart with love.  My boyfriend and his sons are part of my soul.  I love those boys as much as my own birth children.  I love my boyfriend with a deepness of soul I've never experienced with anyone else before. My youngest daughter is now with me, and she's pregnant with my first grandchild. My best friend, though we fight often, is also with me. I love her like a sister, a chosen sister. 

I'm excited to cook the turkey and all the trimmings, to play the games, and to just 'be' with my family.  I'm so thankful for them. I thank God everyday for bringing them into my life. We are not typical. We are not a normal family.  We are not traditional.  We are not like anything that can be adequately explained. Sometimes I cry because I'm overcome with a sense of family I NEVER had, not with my childhood family, not with my married family, no one.  This is my chosen family and I love with them with everything I have in my heart and soul. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Beauitful Complexity

Hello words.  It’s been a while.  I’ve missed you. It’s good to be back.  There’s so many things I could say with my mouth, but there’s so much more that I am able to say with my fingertips, which are extension of my thoughts… thoughts that are only buried deep in my heart and mind.  My mouth can’t often express them, and most of the time comes out wrong when I try.  But, my fingers… ah, my fingers weave magic.  They’re like a silver-tongue, able to coax words out of their darkness to dance upon the page in beautiful black font. My mouth often fails me, but not my words.

When I speak, my feelings, emotions, prejudices, and expressions get in the way of what I truly want to say. My vocal self is a mess.  Humanity is complex.  I wonder if the rest of life on this planet, or even in this universe, is as complex as the human mind.  There are so many parts – some strong, some fragile, some hidden, some obvious.  Our epidermis is only our shell.  How deep do our minds really go? What of the spirit? What of the heart? Simple; yet complex.

I’m forty-six years old, my temporary life on this planet is already half over and I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of understanding what living means.  I’ve been living, but my appreciation for it has been clouded.  My heart sinks at the thought of how much of my short life I’ve wasted. Yet, I can say I don’t have much regret.  I have many failures and lots of mistakes, but very little regret. 

Existential questions plague me.  Not because I’ve got to know answers. Don’t get me wrong, I have a curious mind and searching for answers will always be one of my greatest quests. However, it’s not in answers I seek most, but in purpose.  I hope my fingers can weave the question clearly for you, pull out the bits and pieces among the multitude to make my meaning clear.

I’ve been feeling really stressed and frustrated lately.  Not because I’ve quickly, almost overnight, have gone from a nearly lonely existence of spending ninety-five percent of my time in solitude to a full house where I have NO time alone.  I ate alone, always slept alone, and most often had my own thoughts to keep me company.  I tried dating, but found no connection with the strangers staring across the table at me, often spending my time defending myself from being pawed or molested.  My roommate/best friend and I had become distant and I found myself avoiding contact as often as possible in an effort to keep peace and preserve a sisterhood that I had dreamed about my whole life. I was taking adventures on my own, exploring the coastline for lighthouses, learning history, working out, doing anything and everything to keep my mind occupied, but I was empty; void of purpose. 
In my loneliness there was also a LOT of confusion; still today.  I am in love with a man with relationship issues and who has hurt my heart deeply. I’ve tried to pull away from him, walk away on many opportunities, but I could never just let him go, not completely.  My pride, my mind, and my will was able to put up walls, even able to convince myself I was over  him and ready to move forward, but my heart never listened.  I couldn’t stop loving him. I still can’t stop loving him. I know 

I will always love him. It’s a strange relationship we have. I’ve never known such depth of a connection in two souls, but on the surface, there are so many conflicts, so many differences.  We are so different from each other, have different views on so many different levels, different values, different personalities, different life patterns; we are an Oscar and Felix.  Yet, like that odd couple, we are connected in a very deep way.  Our love is a deep love and lives in such a depth, it’s almost an unspoken.  I don’t doubt his love, real love, spiritual love, deep love, but everything else (wants, desires, expectations, etc., they swim in doubts.  I never know from one minute to the next where we stand, what we are, what we’ve been, or even what the future holds for us. I can’t label our relationship.  Yet it’s enough to know that it occupies my life, it owns my heart, and I can’t give that life or heart to another. It belongs to him and him alone.  So, I’m stuck… in a confusing, beautiful, messy, uncharacteristic chaos.  Sometimes I wonder what kind of crazy test God is putting me through.  It feels unfair, unwinnable, yet beautiful and complex.  Just because I can’t identify a thing doesn’t mean that thing is any less valuable or meaningful than what I can identify. 

 I desperately love two teenagers that are just as precious to me as my own children.  I fell madly in love with them from the moment I met them. Actually, I think I started loving them before I met them by listening to their father speak about them.  He spoke of a lot of things, but when the topic turned to his boys, it wasn’t just his lips that moved.  His eyes lit up, his face changed, his posture changed, and the tone of his voice changed.  Love exuded from him.  His sons are his life, his pride and joy, his opus.  I could only imagine the depth of love this man possessed because of the way he spoke about his sons.  Surely if he possessed such love for them, he could provide love like that for me too.  I couldn’t wait to meet them.  When I did, I also saw the love they had for their father too.  Oh, don’t think they’re a perfect family, no family is perfect and without issues. There are issues, there are needs, and wants, and complications just like every other family, and some of theirs are big issues too.  But the love they have for one another… that’s real; that’s deep, and I connected to that love; I craved it. It felt like a centerpiece to a puzzle snapped in place, like I had been the missing link and they had been the missing pieces around me.  I fell deeply in love with all three of them, the father and sons. I loved so hard it scared me. 

Again, there are no perfect stories, no perfect plans, only perfected chaos.  As with everything else in life, there were issues, there are still issues, and those issues force me often to have to love them from a distance.  I was constantly reminded they were not mine; he was not mine.  I had three beautiful souls tethered to my heart, with no way to hold them or keep them. In fact, I was often pushed away.  It was tortuous to my soul.  I wanted desperately to just walk away from them so the pain in my heart would allow me to simply breathe, but I could never manage to let them go, none of them – father or sons. 

My own children didn’t seem to need or want me.  They never called or visited, not on holidays, birthdays or any time.  I would send them ‘good morning’ prayers/wishes, but never got a response.  My youngest would sometimes text me, to hit me up for money. My son would messenger me sometimes to see if I had watched something or heard about a new game. My oldest just never messaged at all.  I was estranged from all my family, all of them.  My parents were dead, and even when they were alive I had a failed relationship with them. My brothers didn’t even seem to remember I existed unless they were stealing from me. I had moved away from all my friends in Georgia, and they seemed to have forgotten about me. Needless to say I felt a huge failure as a parent.  I had failed as a wife. I had failed as a daughter. I had failed as a sister. I seemed to be failing as a friend. I failed as a girlfriend, and I felt as if I had failed these two boys and I had failed God and my faith.  Of all my successes in education, business, career, civic duties, physical achievements, beating cancer, getting published, receiving promotions, having a stellar resume, etc.; I seemed perfect on paper, but I felt like a failure as a human being.

I was lost.  I was a piece of dust blowing in the wind, searching for purpose.  I was lonely.  I would put a smile on my face every day, tell myself how much I loved myself, take selfies so I could convince myself that I was happy, but inside I was lost.  I controlled nothing.  Sometimes I would close my eyes hoping I wouldn’t open them again.  I felt rejected, unloved, unwanted, and unneeded. I desperately looked for purpose, tried to keep myself busy with adventure, and constantly sought direction.  I couldn’t understand why I was so unlovable when my heart ached because I loved so many, so deeply.  What was so wrong with me that no one wanted to love me back? That has been the question that has plagued me my whole life, starting as a child wondering how my parents could hurt me like they did, and my brothers, and God must have hated me too – he took away the only man that had ever showed he loved me on a battlefield in Somalia, to my husband who couldn’t even tell me he loved me  for the twenty years we were married, to my children running away from me or forgetting I even existed, now to man who my soul loves telling me loves me but has relationship issues,  to two teenagers boys who are mine in my heart but I have no right in their lives.

See, complicated mess. Simple; yet complex.  Well, that was a couple months ago.  Almost overnight I went from that lonely existence to never having five seconds to myself because that man and his sons have moved in with me (we’re together, but not together) and our relationship is still unidentifiable. I can’t even describe it.  I have my family with me, yes they are my family, and my heart couldn’t be happier.  I have them, but I don’t. They’re mine, but they’re not. They’re with me, but not with me. My youngest daughter has also come home, and she’s pregnant with my first grandbaby.  She’s here, but she’s not.  My roommate is unpredictable now, with health issues and mental issues.  She’s also here, but she’s not.  I can’t even begin to express the stresses of having 6.5 people and three dogs living in a two-bedroom apartment create.  Everyone is stressed. Everyone is doing their best to work together and keep the peace.  It’s chaos, but a beautiful chaos.

I’m watching that man sleep right now. He’s the most beautiful thing in the world to me, not because he’s a handsome man, and that he is, but because I see his soul – his heart, his spirit.  He’s a mess, and somedays I want to strangle him because he’s often an arrogant asshole, but he’s one of the most helpful, giving, smart, and compassionate person I’ve ever met.  So, this brings me back to my original query – that existential question - what is the meaning to all this chaos?  My frustration isn’t from the cooking, cleaning, no privacy, no time for myself, being busy working and taking care of my family, including the dogs.  No, I LOVE taking care of my family. Taking care of them gives me purpose. Taking care of them is a way to express my love and appreciation for them.  My frustration comes in not knowing what tomorrow holds. They could all leave tomorrow and I would be alone again.  I have no control over them. I can’t make them stay. I can’t make them love me or appreciate me, or even want me. My frustration comes from fear – a history of those I love leaving me.  I love my family. I love this man. I love his sons – my sons. I love my daughter. I already love my grandbaby. I love my best friend. I even love the damned dogs.  I don’t want to lose them. But, I have no power or right to keep them. I can only love them as much as I can while I have them, and continue to love them even if they leave me.

Love – this is the essential key to purpose and our short existence on this planet. While my life has been riddled with one chaotic event after the next, love is the one thing I never regret.  Even if I fail, even if love is never returned to me, I will never regret loving.  It’s really the only thing in the world that truly matters.  While I may not be able to identify my relationships right now, and I can’t’ put any of them in any known or familiar box (girlfriend, friend, step-mom, Gigi (that’s the name I hope my grandbaby calls me), bestie, roommate, lover, etc., there is love in and around all of it.  I love Jon. I love Anthony. I love Nathan. I love Kelly. I love Little K. I love Jenna. I love Nova. I love Bella. I love Gizmo. I love Johnathan. I love Meagan. 

God is love.  Where there is love, God is there also.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Life Unexpected

Good Morning, World. It's been a while since I've greeted you. It's not because of a bad thing, but a good one. I've been a little busy with life. There's been some big changes going on, and while they're quite stressful, I couldn't be happier.

I'm going to be a grandma! My baby girl is having a baby. I can't believe it. I look at her face and she's still my baby, and then I look down at her growing belly and realize she's gonna be a mommie. My baby is having a baby. I'm happy and scared all at the same time. But I have much faith in her. She's strong and she's a survivor. She's kind and caring. She's made mistakes like the rest of us, and will continue to make more like we also continue to do, but I know her heart. She gives everything to what she loves, and I know without doubt she's going to be a good mother because she's going to give to her baby all that love and devotion. I love her even more today than the day I first held her in my arms almost twenty-three years ago.

I can remember a few months ago feeling very lonely and missing having a family. I was lost. I was trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted, and where I wanted to go and do in life. The world was my oyster and I had so many choices in front of me, yet I couldn't move and often couldn't breathe. I was trying to date and felt overwhelmed every time I sat across the table from one strange face to the next, all describing their boxes and what they wanted in life to fill those boxes. I started to lose hope because none of those boxes were what I wanted. The problem was, I already had what I wanted I just didn't recognize it, because it hadn't manifested yet and didn't look like an expected box. My impatience always gets the better of me. Like everything else in my life, nothing comes in a 'normal' box. Normal doesn't really exist. I have had a family for a while, one that I've prayed for, one that I've dreamed about, one that I love very much right in front of me the whole time, it just didn't come to me in a normal way. I have a man that I love and respect who is my best friend and soulmate, two teenage boys that I adore and cherish to the moon and back, a best friend that is closer than any sister I've never had, and three dogs that I love and love me unconditionally. Now my baby girl has returned, and I'm about to be grandma. Wow, so much can change in just a few short weeks. God is good. He sees the true desires of your heart, even if you don't know what they are, and those are the things He manifests. None of these relationships are without problems and issues, but in spite of all those issues there is LOVE, real, deep, devoted love.

I have a new job! With my new and rapidly growing family, I need better financial support. While my current job, Percepta/Ford, has provided for me this past year, it can't sustain the future. I'm sad to be leaving my co-workers because I truly adore most of them and consider many of them good friends. I don't think I've ever worked anywhere where I've been so close. I am going to miss them terribly, and this week is going to be bitter-sweet. I often cry thinking about leaving them. They've been there for me during my mother's death, my brother's recent brush with death, me meeting and falling in love and then the heart-break that followed, the moving, and the dating, the drama, the drama, and the drama that seems to surround my life. They made it a joy to come to work every day. Again, they are part of that family that had been right in front of my face that I didn't recognize. Tomorrow is my last day with them, and then Monday I start my new job as a buyer at Italian Terrazzo.

So, good morning, World. As my blog titled says, this is the whimsical world of T.L. Gray - you better hang on because it's going to be bumpy ride. So, throw your hands up in the air and ride it like a real daredevil. LOL!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray