My Two Cents

There are a couple of thoughts I have today:

 

Matthew 7:1-3

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

And:

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

When we die and stand before the throne of God, at His feet, with Him looking down upon our head, what will we say?

Will we say we cast out certain members of society due to the fact we judged them and did not love them as we love ourselves? Or will we say we did in fact love them and embraced them as our brothers and sisters?

I am a Christian woman; I refuse to not be friends with someone simply because the way they live their life is different from mine. I have sin in my life, plain and simple, I am not perfect, to be perfect is to be Jesus Christ. I am imperfect made perfect by the blood of Jesus, I choose to read the bible and I choose to accept the fact He came here to do away with the old laws. I choose to obey the commandment that all that is left is faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.

I have seen what inequality does to a people, it robs them of their dignity, of their ability to care of the person they love. I choose to abide by 1 Corinthians 1:13 and try and live my life that way.

Having said all of that, there is a couple of things I do judge, cheating men and women and bad parents. Not perfect, will never be perfect, however, will strive to live my life in a way that when I stand before the throne of God I can say I truly tried to live 1 Corinthians.

 

 

My Oklahoma Adventure

The Testerman Family Reunion has come and gone, and what an adventure it was. It all started with me waiting until the last minute to get a hotel room. None took dogs, none took dogs as big as Stormie, so I had the bright idea that we would camp with the rest of the clan.

I acquired a tent from my friend Matt, got some sleeping bags, cots, cooler and lights, we were ready for this. Off we go to Oklahoma, a hairy beast, a husky and me, quite a crew.

We get there, we visit, we set up the tent, thank you Zach and Cindy, we eat, we visit a lot more then it’s bed time.

The Husky goes down easily, the hairy beast not so much, lots of tossing, turning, mumbling and flat out complaining. Then, silence, all was asleep except for me, I could not go to sleep, there is something about the woods that invokes Deliverance for me. Anyway, about 5:30AM I decide I’ve had enough and get up to go to the restroom and get dressed. I also decide to take the Husky with me so she can stretch her legs and also use the bathroom. Hers being the great outdoors, mine being the great indoors.

Off we go, I have my clothes to change into in one hand, her leash in the other, we get to the restrooms and she refuses to go in, I can’t use both hands because one is full of my clothes. We battle it out and she manages to escape her halter! I look at her, she looks at me and with a grin she was off!

I immediately begin yelling for the Irishman, not caring who I woke, cousin Denny was already up and he began to help me. She would not come and in fact disappeared into the woods. There was nothing to do but get dressed and look for her, so that is what we did.

She was nowhere to be found, there is a fence surrounding the park, the Irishman and I take his truck and drive to the outer edges of the park, I spot her. I slowly get out of the truck and walk towards her slowly speaking nicely, not letting her know I was ready to strangle her. She grins, she takes off and just like that she is gone. We look everywhere in the woods for her, not a sighting, not a sound. Just gone.

We decide to drive into town just incase she went that way, nothing, everyone else was up by that time and we went back to camp. Dejected. We look some more, she is nowhere, literally just gone. We stop the park rangers and they spread the word and take my number, my thinking was she would get hungry and hear everyone stirring about and come back.

5 hours after she disappeared I hear a shout, I turn and there she is, she looks at me, I look at her, she grins and begins to back away and run through the camp. Everyone just stared I said grab her collar! My cousin Kaylie’s friend Courtney just reaches down and grabs it, she is stopped in her tracks.

We have her back, I get close and am almost knocked over by the stench, I will never know what that dog got into but she rolled in it. We gave her two baths while there and one more when we got back. I have to say I really thought we were coming back minus a Husky, next year she is going to a kennel and I will be in a hotel.

Happy Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, a day the day evokes such memories, I was fortunate to have two father figures in my life, first my grandfather, second my adoptive dad. Today I want to talk about one of those and the father of my children. These will be in the form of open letters to each of these men, first up my dad:

 

Dear Dad,

You didn’t have to be my dad, you were done raising children, in fact you had two grandchildren older than me, but you and your incredible wife decided to give a child a chance in life that she would not have had otherwise.

You taught me so much, you taught me laughter was the key to getting through the rough times, you taught me it was ok to laugh at myself. You gave me humor, courage and a work ethic that follows me to this day.

You weren’t easy on me, demanding that I give my best, that I live an honest life, that no matter what happens God has my back. You gave me a foundation of strength of character, always tell the truth, stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves and always, always educate yourself.

It’s ok to question things, as long as you do the research to answer the questions and don’t just take others answers at face value. You gave me freedom from a life filled with fear, anger and self-doubt. I will never forget all of the love that you and mom showed me, I will never forget the lessons, the laughter and above all the chance at a life that was beyond me before you and she stepped in.

You took me to church, even when I didn’t really want to go, in that I will be forever grateful, you were not heavy handed with God’s word, instead you lived a life that showed by example what God can truly do to change a persons’ heart.

I will forever cherish every single story you told me, not only about the family history, but your personal history of growing up in the country, during the depression and how the people of Oklahoma came through it and thrived.

Thank you for choosing to be my dad when you didn’t have to, I will forever love you and the example of how to be a parent you set for me to follow.

 

This next one is for the father of my children:

 

Dear Jeff,

 

Even though our married relationship did not work, I like to think our parenting one did, I fully believe I chose wisely when it came to choosing you as a father for our children.

When we divorced you didn’t become a “weekend” kind of dad, you took your responsibilities seriously. You were there for them always, coming to parent-teacher conferences and even being able to be there to take them to the doctor when I had to work and there was no way I could do it myself.

You were there to back up my parenting decisions as well, if the kids were on lock down at my house they were at yours as well. There was no playing us against the other, I will be forever grateful that you and I worked together in that area.

You taught them the value of hard work by example, you continue to do that, the example you set for hard work is amazing. You started with nothing but drive and fortitude and built a business and a life and you share that with them.

You continue to be there for them even as they have become adults themselves, you are and continue to be, simply their dad.

For all that you have done and continue to do, I say thank you, thank you for being the dad to our children that you have been and are. Happy Father’s Day, I hope that it is everything that you want it to be.

 

Random Thursday

You know that feeling that you get when someone, who not only believed lies told about you, but helped spread them, tells you they are truly sorry for their part in the whole affair? No? I didn’t before last week, now I do, let me tell you it is quite freeing indeed. More freeing was offering them forgiveness and meaning it.

This weekend is the Testerman family reunion in Oklahoma, I am so excited! More excited than usual, you see we are having a very special guest! I should digress here, all Testermans have the same story, if you ask anyone with that last name they will tell you the story of Thomas Testerman. The very first one that came here, fought for the colonist and settled in Virginia, had three sons and from there is where we all come from.

On Facebook (naturally) a Testerman set up a page for us all, we flocked to it, met each other, formed a commaraderie with them and we all call each other cousin. Well, one of them is coming to ours! He is flying in tomorrow morning and we get to meet him, this is so exciting.

I have other news, about the reunion, I will be camping, yes, camping, in a tent, can you believe it. I am so not a tent person, but I borrowed one from my friend Matt and I have sleeping bags, cots, cooler, lights and bug spray. So this should be completely interesting, as my idea of roughing it is a hotel without mints on the pillow.

One other thing, I will be eating my way through this weekend, my cousin Cindy can cook, like really cook and it’s good, like really good. There is no turning down good southern home cooking, especially hers.

The past few weeks at work have been rough, I am not going to lie, people are not nice, I have found that people treat voices on the phone with great disdain and complete rudeness. Sometimes beyond rude, it is shameful, the language, the volume, the tone and the complete disrespect. I truly understand that they are frustrated, however, we are there to help and that is what we want to do. It is nearly impossible to help when we get no cooperation from the person on the other end.

Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the kids being home from school, I don’t know, I do know that if you are out there and you have to call tech support, I sincerely hope you remember you are speaking to human beings. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, a really good rule to remember.

I try and remember it every day, in all walks of my life, I try never to do to others, speak to others as I would want them to do to me, speak to me, treat me and generally behave with me.

They say you teach by example, I am losing faith in that concept as I have treated some people the way I want them to treat me and it did not happen.

The thing is, it’s ingrained into my very core to behave that way and I can’t seem to change it, sometimes I wish I could, but I can’t.

I will leave you with this, I never lie, it is much easier to tell the truth, eventually you always get caught.

We Are All One

I have been watching the news lately, something I don’t enjoy doing anymore, as all the news is really bad, or one sided.

The news I have been watching is about the town I live in, McKinney, TX, the infamous pool “party”, I put party in quotation marks because it wasn’t a simple end of year party that was first being reported, but an event that was advertised to the hilt on social media.

But that is not what is on my mind, today, for the first time, I am seeing goodness come out of this mess. It was a news item regarding two men, one old, one young, one Caucasian, one African American. What did they do to cause them to get in the news? Were they employing fisticuffs, were they drawing weapons on one another? The media tells us this is the only way white and black people can react to each other. They are trying their level best to divide and conquer us, but we are not buying into it. The majority of us are not buying into it, I say that due to the fact you will always have people who do not do their due diligence and research what actually is going on. People who just go by what they are told, no thought process whatsoever.

These two men, different ages, different skin tones, hugged. Not only hugged, they prayed together, what a concept.

Here is the thing, this is for all skin tones, IF you are a Christian, then you must believe we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ. That He came here to unite us, not tear us apart, nowhere in the bible does Christ say, by the way, if you have a different skin tone or come from a different part of the world I need you all to fight and hate each other. Quite the opposite in fact, He said love one another as you love yourself. We have to overcome the past, we have to overcome the media, we have to stand side by side, hugging one another and praying with each other and for each other.

If you have never heard the show Conversations, I urge you to go to convosate.com, it is a show with an African American woman (Shanon Jay) and a Caucasian woman (me). We not only love one another as sisters in Christ, we show on every level that we are not different. We both are mothers, we both want the best for our families and we both have a deep love of God and Jesus Christ.

I am going to tell a story about my mother, this is not one she told me never to share, so I am comfortable doing so.

My mother grew up very sheltered, in a small county in Oklahoma, she got married and continued to live a sheltered life. She never had any opportunity to really meet anyone of a different ethnicity, until one day, when she went to visit one of her grandsons in a different state. He introduced her to an African American male, and she told me she instantly liked him, she called him grandson along with her own. She went on to tell me she had never met a black person on that personal of a level (her words, generational thing). I asked her what she thought, she expressed genuine fondness for this young man and went on to say she didn’t understand why the newspapers and television never portrayed people at that level. The humanness of it all, she then said that we all want the same things in life, betterment for our families, love and acceptance.

This young man found a set of praying hands and colored one of them his skin tone and the other one my mothers tone. He sent it to her and told her this was the two of them, it remained one of her prized possessions until the day she couldn’t remember anymore. Alzheimer’s robbed her of so much.

If we all could remember, take away the different skin color, we are all the same, we all have a beating heart, red blood, muscle, tissue and a burning need to care for our loved ones. Race is something one runs or drives or rides, we are all one, human, we might come from different parts of the country, parts of the world, but we are all one in the eyes of the Lord.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say ALL lives matter, no matter the skin color, no matter the neighborhood and no matter the economic situation of the individuals.

Music Memories

I was listening to the radio coming into work and Foreigner came on, what an awesome band, I have the best memories associated with Foreigner. Especially my senior year in high school, Tammi, Tonya, Pam and I would fly down 169 singing Urgent at the top of our lungs. So much fun, such good times, especially on Fridays, those were special days, those were pep assembly days. And, well, one must celebrate pep assembly day appropriately, oh wait, I can’t tell those stories!
So many stories I cannot tell, why you might ask, well, due to the fact that Elizabeth Anne reads every one of these posts. All of my musings are there for my children and later my grandchildren to find and there are some things I would rather they not know.

Which means I have so many stories in my head that cannot come out, EVER, I am in such big trouble if I ever get Alzheimer’s or dementia. Then all those things are going to come out, in a huge way, because they are right there at the surface, waiting to be told. I have no one to tell them to! Only the people that remember them as well, shared memories are really the best.

Fridays in Owasso, was the best, in the fall there were football games, the Skate Ranch and well pep assemblies. In the spring there were pep assemblies for basketball, wrestling and baseball, so much to tell and no one to tell it to. Such a sad state of affairs.

Music is such a great way to relive memories, just yesterday, my co-worker, Wylie, mentioned a singer and I named the song! Andrea True Connection, who could forget More, More, More. Best song ever, hands down, my ultimate favorite. Then I had to ruin it for him and tell him what the song was about, I was kinda sorry to do that, but not really.

Every Christmas, now, when I hear TSO I remember how I saw them in concert with the Irishman and he asked me to marry him after the concert. Those are good memories, but tellable, not like my Foreigner memories.

Mixed Emotions

I have such mixed emotions about the people searching for their birth families on Facebook, it is such a public forum and adoption remains a very private issue. I was adopted so I feel I have a valid view point on this. I have other things in my life which gives me another unique view of this issue as well. One I will not get into here.

My thought is this, the woman who gave you up did so for a reason, for most birth mothers this was not a selfish reason, it was indeed selfless in nature.

It was painful, hopefully you will never know the pain that went into the decision she made when she gave you up to be raised in what was hopefully a happy home.

A home that could afford to give you the things she could not, a home that could give you not only material things but love and stability.

It was painful and for some shameful, and here you are on Facebook telling the world of her pain and shame. There is no way I would want to come forward in this public manner to say hey everybody it was me that got knocked up and had to give their kid up.

This is such a private matter, and really needs to be handled delicately, allow this woman some dignity, some privacy. Do the research, in this day and age most adoptions are not closed and have not been since the 1980’s.

Do your due diligence, don’t post this on Facebook, research, find her in private and then if she wishes to announce to the world she has reconnected with her long lost child let it be her decision.

You will never understand the pain of what she went through, the difficulty, the sleepless nights. Every adoption went wrong movie on Lifetime will literally stab her in the heart. She will want to know what happened to you, she wants to know that you had a good life, she longs to know that.

Just know how painful it was for her to give you up, the decision was not done lightly, and I know I may take a lot of heat for this opinion. But it is just that, my opinion, and I stand by it.