MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT
I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.
- Name: kathi
- Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I Couldn't Come Home Alone
She's 6 weeks old, I don't really have a name yet but I'm leaning towards 'Butchie'. This is a picture of her on the stuffed dog the boys bought me for my birthday...she thinks it's 'mama'.
...and here she's playing with one of the cat toys.
Adorable, huh? She's so tiny, that toy is about a third of the size of my little finger.
I'm still thinking about names, if y'all got any suggestions. She's pretty feisty and brave, which why I thought of Butchie. Can't wait to show the boys when they come home. She's litter trained and been tested for feline leukemia and AID's (yeah, they test cats for it now too), but too young for her shots, which they'll give me for free in 2 weeks.
I know...small brain and all that...but I already love her.
Before I knew it, I was inside the room reading this cat's bio. About 7 years old, owners had moved to Michigan and couldn't take her with them. Her name, describing her perfectly, Itty Bitty. Somehow, this sweet cat ended up in my car and soon into our hearts.
This is a picture of Casey and Itty Bitty a couple of weeks ago.
After bringing her home we noticed that she didn't eat much. Then we started wondering if she was eating at all. I bought a few different foods trying to find one she'd eat. Silly me. We did find out that she would only drink cold water out of the fridge door, not out of the faucet. Little Princess. She didn't participate with any of the other cats shenanigans, but liked to stay by herself. She did like to sit on our laps and was people friendly. She didn't back down from my huge dogs either, and they've got a few scratches to prove it, lol.
I took Itty Bitty to the vet Monday, and found out she'd lost two lbs. in the few weeks we'd had her, down to 4 lbs., and she was extremely dehydrated so they hooked her up to give her some fluids, which she did not appreciate! They took blood and I brought her home.
The vet called me yesterday morning to tell me she has kidney disease and her kidneys are approximately 75% shut down. The best they can offer is to give her fluids a couple times a week and with that, they give her, at the most, 6 months. She hasn't ate, drank or moved in about a week. When we try to pick her up she cries. As much as it breaks my heart, I'm having her put down this morning.
It's not the first time I've had to do this, being as I've had animals (plural x infinity) around me since the day I was born, but it's never gotten easier. Sometimes love is doing what's most difficult, but what's best for the one you love.
Monday, August 28, 2006
It's Not The Same Thing.
I'm amazed at how people get forgiven and respect confused. I do not believe in holding anything against someone, whether they ask for forgiveness or not. Forgiving someone is as much for them as it is for me. I've explained before that I believe holding something against someone for something they have done wrong to you is the equivilant to inviting a cancer to grow inside of you. It will destroy you, it will consume your heart and your mind until your life revolves around that person that has wronged you. I refuse to give anyone that much control over me other than God, and God alone.
With that said, because I have forgiveness in my heart for someone who has wronged me in no way means that I have to remain friends with them, that I have to want them in my life any longer or that I have to respect them. Forgiveness does not equal respect.
Would I feed them if they were hungry? Yes. Would I clothe them if they were naked? Yes. Would I give my life to save them? I believe I would, yes.
Let's say I was raped and I knew my attacker. Would I forgive him? I believe that I would, yes. Would I pray for him? Yes. Because if I chose to hate him instead of forgive him, I would live 24/7 in torment and he would still have control over me. Would I want him arrested and held accountable for what he did? Without a doubt, yes. Would I ever invite him into my home? No. Would I consider him a friend? No. Would I respect the person that he is? No, I would not. But I do believe that 'hating' is a choice that is ours to make...and giving in to hate is refusing to forgive.
My boys and I have had many discussions about forgiveness, given our recent circumstances. I am proud of both of my boys, and especially of Casey, because it was hardest for him to forgive his father. But he has forgiven his dad, we pray together for his dad and for his dad's family. He (Casey) has, however, lost respect for his father. He chooses to avoid his dad when he visits us on Sundays. Casey is 17 years old, a senior in high school, an extremely responsible young man and one of the most generous and kind hearted people I've ever known. I am not going to force Casey to face a man who sneaked out of our house leaving behind his little brother with the responsibility of telling his mom and himself that his dad had packed his bags and moved out to live with another woman, even if that woman is a lesbian, he left his family to live with her. Our respect moved out with him that day.
As if that wasn't enough, when my boys and I asked if we could visit their grandmother, my mom-in-law, the next week, she told us no. She told me that she didn't feel like waiting on us. This stunned and hurt us, because the boys and I had always went to get groceries for her, did chores, even washed our bed sheets and re-made our beds with the clean sheets before leaving. The boys and I were devastated. The boys felt that not only did they lose thier dad, but the only grandparent they have left. But, my mom-in-law is battling cancer (which we believe and thank God for her healing) and so as much as it hurt, we tried to believe that she just didn't feel well enough for us to visit. That is until Mark told us that she wanted the boys to come visit, but only with him...not me. I've loved my mom-in-law for 22 years. I lost my mom nearly 15 years ago, and she has been my mom as much as my friend. My mom-in-law and I have vacationed alone together, we've been close and I've never had anything but respect for her. When I told the boys that it wasn't them, just me, that she didn't want to see...they were offended for me. I can't blame them for that. I'd have felt the same way. Do I want them to stay close to their grandmother? Of course I do. Will I force them to? No. Though she wouldn't see us, and has never called to see how we were doing or if we needed anything since Mark left, she did continue to send the boys Christian cards the first few weeks. And now, I'm being told by others in Marks family that I shouldn't let the boys know any of what's going on because they believe I'm poisoning their minds against Mark and his mother. I have never that first time said one bad word against the boys dad or their grandmother. I never will. I love Mark and I love my mom-in-law. Mark gave me two wonderful sons and my mom-in-law gave me Mark. How could I not love them and not be forever grateful to them? It isn't possible. But I've lost respect for them.
My first and foremost responsibilty in this life is to raise strong, responsible and loving young men. I teach them forgiveness by example. I teach them love by example. I teach them being a Christian isn't how you talk, but how you walk...by example. They're learning the hard way that someone can talk like a Christian for a lifetime, and yet not walk like one.
They're learning that respect is something that you earn and something that can be lost. Hard lessons to learn, at any age.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I bought a couple of new couches last week, and the delivery guy was a real jerk. Seriously, lazy and obnoxious. Now, I can take (and often enjoy) sarcasm, but you put together someone not wanting to do their job and taking it out on me...well, just doesn't sit well with me. First he told me that the couches wouldn't fit through my door, they did. Then he told me my entry way ceiling was too low, it wasn't. On and on... They did, however have to take them through the side gate and through the back door because of a T wall I have between the kitchen and living room, and then, I had to insist that he try the back door because he was convinced it would be too small in width. They fit in with no problems. Well, one of the couches legs hardware messed up and he lost it inside the couch and wanted to take the couch apart and asked if I had a staple gun so he could put it back together. Uh, no. So, he put the leg under the couch where it was suppose to go and wrote a note that I needed a new one asap on the receipt. When I took it into the store, as this delivery guy told me to do, they told me that was ridiculous, it was new and had a life time warranty, so they'd have the couch picked up and replaced. Today is the day and, yes, it's going to be the same delivery guy. He called me at 7 this morning asking why I was having the whole couch replaced for one leg. I explained what the store manager had told me and then the delivery guy is all huffy and said he'd be here between 2 and 6 today. So, yeah, I'm waiting anxiously.
Well, the delivery guys just left and he did everything but kiss my butt. Either the last time was a bad day, or the store manager I talked to about his last delivery had a talk with him.
So, now I have about an hour before Charlie gets home so I'm off to call my friend Lisa (who is recovering nicely from a small setback in health and could use your prayers, thank you very much) and take a nap. Who am I kidding, it's been a few days since we've talked, and whenever I talk to Lisa the phone becomes attached to my ear. Now, this is a person who has a handle on sarcasm!
Monday, August 21, 2006
...And Love Endures
Now, y'all know that I wasn't raised a Christian. Didn't set foot in a church growing up and admittingly, I studied the Satanic Bible for many years. Read this carefully, I am not ashamed of what I did before coming to know Christ when I was 26 years old. Because of who I was and what I did, I have full knowledge of what God is capable of bringing us out of and how endless His forgiveness is.
There had been times, when I first became a Christian, that I was envious of those who had come to know Christ as a child and had gotten to grow in His love their entire life. That is, until I realized that for all things (and people) there is a season, and a reason. I went through what I did for a reason, mainly because I am able to recognize that spirit of hopelessness and feeling lost in others because I lived it for so many years. I am able to witness from what I know of first hand.
Even when I was lost, God knew exactly where I was and He loved me. When I came to realize this, it was the best time of my life. Unless you've experienced that freedom from the chains that have bound you and to have honestly met God on the most personal level, of giving Him your heart, you'll not fully understand where I'm coming from. However, when I remember back to that exact moment, and the days...months and years that followed, I'm in awe of how much joy one's heart can actually contain.
Okay, so what's up with the witnessing? I'm telling you this, again and at this time, because I'm asked as late why I'm not more upset than I am, why I'm not falling apart, why I don't 'care' more about Mark having left us.
Why? Because I've walked through worse. Because I not only trust in my God who has proven to me over and over so many times that the stars above couldn't begin to measure the times He's seen me through hard times, but I choose to live in His joy rather than my sorrow. Because when I speak to Him, when I confide in Him, when I kneel before Him, I have peace in my soul.
I will never tell you (or anyone) 'you should', 'you have to' or try to direct you in a way that I believe you should go, because I am not God. I am of God, and I will pray for God's guidance of what to do for you, but what you 'should do' or what you 'have to do' is between you and God alone. Sometimes advice is given with the purest of heart, but it's still between you and God, and no one else knows what you should or shouldn't do.
There are times that even those with the purest of heart and best of intentions will try to steer you in a direction that may not be God's will for you. Some talk about a 'gut feeling'...I believe that we have our own personal protective fence around us, God's Holy Spirit. Though some may with the best of intentions give you what they believe to be great advice, let it be the Holy Spirit that guides you, that advises you. Sometimes He may whisper, sometimes He may put His hand upon your shoulder and sometimes He may convict you to tears, but He will direct you in the way you should go. Trust that God loves you in spite of whom you see in the mirror, trust His Holy Spirit to guide you forever in the right direction and trust that there isn't a pain or sorrow that Christ doesn't personally know first hand.
I've been asked as of late why I'm not more angry, why I don't resent Mark or others who have turned their backs on us, why I'm not vengeful, why I'm not afraid. Simple. I choose to love. I choose to forgive, I choose to pray for them instead and I choose to trust in God, as I've learned to do for the past 25 years. God has never forsaken me, even when I've forsaken myself, even when family has forsaken me, God will never forsake me.
I don't want anger in my home. Yes, we were hurt, but we layed that hurt, that disappointment and all anger at the foot of the cross. We left it there. How can we carry it with us when we've given it away?
My boys and I are happy. There is laughter in my home. There is peace in my home. There is joy and so much love in my home. My home is spiritually healthier than it has been in a very long time. We pray together, we praise and worship together and we give thanks together.
Like the life I lived before I came to Christ, the reason for the course of our lives is more often than not unknown to us. But there is a reason, have no doubt, and when God chooses to reveal it to you, He will. Trust. It's a learning experience.
We're trusting, and because we do, we are able to live without fear and all the downfalls that accompany fear.
Regardless of whether or not anyone understands the path you are walking, as long as you are walking with God, walk on. God is good, and His love truly does endure.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Young Bride In 1894
INSTRUCTION AND ADVICE
Conduct and Procedure of the
Intimate and Personal Relationships
of the Marriage State
Greater Spiritual Sanctity of this
Blessed Sacrament and the Glory of God
beloved wife of
The Reverend L.D. Smythers
Pastor of the Arcadian Methodist
Church of the Eastern Regional Conference
Published in the year
of our Lord 1894
Spiritual Guidance Press
New York City
INSTRUCTION AND ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG BRIDE
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
There is comfort outside the zone.
Most of the past 20 some years, I'd never have thought I'd be where I am today...in many areas, I suppose, but specifically divorcing with two teenage kids. However I got here, I'm honestly okay with it. Every day I'm finding parts of myself that had somehow gotten lost in whom I'd become. Not that I didn't appreciate the person I'd become, because that person had raised two great young men and had worshiped God with a thankful heart, but there were bits and pieces of a person that had once had her own dreams and inspirations that got lost along the way. I'm finding that person again, and it's a good experience for me.
Our house has a lot of laughter, and it's a good feeling. The boys and I talk openly about things and I'm thankful that they trust me with their hearts. I've changed, the home has changed and our lives have changed...but we are still trusting God with all things and I'm sure that has a lot to do with how we've not let fear steal our joy.
I'm not trying to say that I didn't enjoy my past 20 years with Mark, but I'm saying that I'm not unhappy that life has taken a different direction, and that at this point in time, I'm enjoying where life is taking me now. I was, without a doubt, comfortable with where I was...where we were, but there is another whole life outside that comfort zone I was in and I'm finding my own way in it, and finding a bit of myself that had gotten lost along the way.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Just a note...
I've been busy trying to set up a little store and don't feel obligated to check it out, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. Anyone can open one up, so check it out for yourselves.
I'm hoping to be able to post today, later. But, till then, big hugs to everyone and I'll be by to visit soon.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Here it is. This is it. When you truly think of it, there's really no getting around it. Use the brain that God gave you and all will reveal itself to you. Here we go.
I am not an advocate of letting people walk all over you. If you are wronged then you can wrong back until you are at peace. Do two wrongs make a right? No, but one wrong that goes unanswered is worse that than those 2 wrongs in many cases, (I'm thinking of the death penalty here, I don't push for it but I have not had any family members killed either.) It's ok to get angry. It's okay to exact revenge, retribution, restitution, or any other word that would help with my alliteration here. Just be ready for the system, the man, family and friends, even God to exact that pound of flesh when you are done getting yours. It's a cycle and one that only ends when it's judgment time. Paybacks or the like are not why I am writing this, I'm just trying to show that I believe in breaking even, getting square, full well knowing that I too will have be the brunt of the same treatment by someone or something.
Life should be about love. I live life thinking about the loves I have lost, don't have, or will never get. Most of the time I don't look around and see that love, true love, exists in everything and everywhere. I can remember one time that I acted like I knew this. It's a true story and I probably only thought this way because I was knocked unconscious, or because my senses were dulled due to alcohol and psychotropic drugs. It was my 30th birthday. I was in Law school at the time, and had also just found a room to rent so I was effectively not homeless any longer. It was my birthday, and because I needed to party I had taken out an emergency loan through the school for 500 bucks. I decided to go to the worst parts of the great city of San Diego. I was about ¾ of the way toward being passed out drunk when I felt the need to visit another bar on my "I am acting like a big shot, drunken idiot tour 1994." Anyway, a young man called me into an alley with a derogatory name about my sexuality. I always think I am a tough guy, but fuel it with a few dozen beers and I am friggin invincible. I walked down the alley and was met by a bat or pole to the back of the head. Bam, bip, bop, to use the lingo of the old Batman and Robin show. They played kickball with my head, I remember seeing around 5-6 pairs of shoes and boots. So far not a big deal, right? A drunk gets what was probably coming to him in an alley in a part of town that he had no business being in. Ho hum, this story has been told before and will be again by others. Here's the deal though. When I was knocked out I felt myself above the action. I didn't feel like I was floating, more like I was standing on something sturdy and watching the action. I was an observer to my own ass whupping. Did I feel anger? Nope. This is the kicker. I felt sadness for the guys kicking me for having to resort to such things. I found myself wondering where their lives had gone wrong to put themselves in such a situation. Strange huh?
This is how I know I should lead my life. Have some sympathy, empathy, and compassion for my fellow humans. Get rid of the anger, the fear, and lack of trust in humanity that has plagued me my short 41 years. How does one go about it? Church? I don't think so. How does one elevate themselves to a point where they see good and bad, appreciating the former and helping fix the latter? How do you make your life matter? These are the questions plaguing me this morning. I did learn a thing or two from my mugging, and also received a life long inability to smell, which has served me well on certain occasions. How do I take what I learned and raise it up a notch? How can I serve, and not be served? Ok, enough of the self-questioning…someone might take me for someone that cares….
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Always An Adventure
*Update 8/12 8:30 p.m. ~ Charlie had me take his braids out tonight. :)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Always There Doesn't Mean Every Second...
So, back to this friend of mine that totally ticked me off. For two days I was mad, and a few other emotions, but anger was the most dominant. This friend of mine has nearly became like a security blanket of sorts to me through all the ups and downs that this life of mine has been going through lately.
My life has been an episode of things newly discovered each and every day. It's gotten to the point that nothing really surprises me lately. All the things left undiscovered, just leave me wondering but not fearing anymore. I'm learning I'm stronger than I ever dreamed I could be. I've learned that I'm not capable of hating, that forgiveness is a choice but that forgetting will simply never happen.
It's no secret that I've been going through a lot of changes, and naturally those changes include my children, and there are a lot of raw emotions in this house of mine. But through it all, not only have the three of us (my boys and myself) drawn more close to each other than I'd ever imagined possible, but we've drawn closer to friends. Friends who've asked nothing from us but for us to let them be there for us. I actually think that letting friends get closer has been as hard for my kids as it has been for me, because we're all a little private.
Okay, so what does this have to do with the beginning of this post, the little story about my being angry with a friend of mine? This friend is a new friend, and one that I've found very easy to open up to. Now, I've made a couple of new friends since my family got gutted, for lack of a better word, and I actually sort of like that word, come to think about it, it's pretty accurate. One of these friends is a smart mouthed, sarcastic person that often says what I'm thinking and wish I could say if I wasn't....well...me.
The other friend is my stability, my voice of reason and is simply a great shoulder to lean on. What this friend recently taught me, was that regardless of the changes I have going on in my life right now, the world (mine, theirs...anyones) does not revolve around me. Actually, the way they put it was "not everything revolves around Texas", but I'm pretty sure they were talking about me. :) It was selfish of me to not consider there were things, besides me, going on in their life. And to this friend, I apologize. Truly, I am sorry. Thanks for listening to me rant and yell at you and not hanging up on me. Thanks for still having the guts to hang on to our friendship. Just to let you know, in case you don't know it already, I treasure you.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Casey after getting his 'cut' yesterday...but before the shave that took place this morning.
Charlie and his friend, Keith, having their 'last supper' before school starts.
Life is good at the Bratcher home.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Now They Tell Me
|Your Five Variable Love Profile|
Propensity for Monogamy:
Your propensity for monogamy is medium.
In general, you prefer to have only one love interest.
But it's hard for you to stay devoted for too long!
There's too much eye candy to keep you from wandering.
Your experience level is high.
You've loved, lost, and loved again.
You have had a wide range of love experiences.
And when the real thing comes along, you know it!
Your dominance is low.
This doesn't mean you're a doormat, just balanced.
You know a relationship is not about getting your way.
And you love to give your sweetie a lot of freedom.
Your cynicism is medium.
You'd like to believe in true and everlasting love...
But you've definitely been burned enough to know better.
You're still an optimist, but you also are a realist.
Your independence is high.
You don't need to be in love, and sometimes you don't even want love.
Having your own life is very important for you...
Even more important than having a relationship.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
When I was young, around that age where I thought anything was possible, whether I applied myself or not, I dreamed of working for National Geographic as a photojournalist. I wanted to be able to travel alone, writing my own stories and taking my own pictures. Even back then, I dreamed of a life where I could be alone, doing what I loved most (writing and photography) but doing it alone.
I never entertained the thought of getting married or having children. First of all, I couldn't imagine going to bed and waking up with the same person for the rest of my life. Secondly, I couldn't stand kids. I suppose that is why my dream job would be doing something that I could do by myself.
So, here I am. I've somehow managed to live a life doing what I thought I'd never want to do, living with one man and having children. However, I'm not sorry for the life I've lived, just a little sorry for the life I haven't. Instead of stories with photographs, I've given the world two amazing young men. Men whom, I have no doubt, will make this world better than anything the dreams of my youth could have.