Happy Almost Birthday Mom

As my mothers’ birthday approaches, July 30, she has been on my mind a lot lately. I didn’t get to have my mother as long as most people my age, I didn’t get her until I was 13, I was fortunate to have had her.

She was perfect, I know what you are thinking, everyone thinks that about their mothers, well, no, they don’t. I learned that in the world, people speak horribly about their mothers, not all, but a lot. Mine was perfect, she was one of those rare souls that you instantly felt at ease with, just being in her presence made you a better person. I miss her calm strength, her genuinely kind spirit, I miss hearing her whistle, I miss her sense of humor, but what I miss most is having that one person in your life that accepts you for who you are. I miss her prayers for me, no one prays for you like your mother, and I sorely miss that.

After my divorce, after my dad passed away, I was visiting her, sitting next to her, holding her hand and I was a failure. My life was in shambles, nothing was going my way and I seemed to make mistake after mistake. I asked her how she became so perfect, the question startled her, she looked at me and said “Angie, I am nowhere near perfect, we all sin, we all come short of the Glory of God, that is the beauty of Jesus, by accepting him we can be in God’s presence.” I sighed, not the answer I was looking for, so I pressed on. I told her that I didn’t believe she had ever made a mistake in her life.

She said she made mistakes all the time, I told her it would make me feel better if she told me one of these, she said ok. We sat there, sat there, and sat there, finally after about 5 minutes she said, well alright when I was 5 years old. I stopped her, I said you had to go back 75 years (she was 80 at the time) to find a mistake, a time you weren’t perfect? I can go back 75 minutes and tell you something. She looked at me and said do you want to hear this or not. Well, yes, of course I did!

So she told me, I wish I could tell you, it’s a great story, but she swore me to secrecy, she did something at the age of 5 that changed her life forever. She said that since what she did (and it was her actions) didn’t cause the catastrophe she thought it was going to and God answered her prayer; she decided right then and there to be as Christ like as she humanly could.

Can you imagine having something happen at the age of 5 that changes your entire trajectory in life? She was perfect, she was an amazing woman that took in an unruly child and gave her a chance at life, at a good life. She was my favorite mom (I can say this because she wasn’t my first mom), she was the one that truly gave me life.

 

Happy Birthday Alex!

I know, I missed it, I missed writing on Alex’s birthday, so I shall make up for it today, only 5 days later, but better late than never.

Dear Thomas Alexander Graham Bell (I shall leave off the last name),

The day you were born was a great day, you were the perfect addition to our family. We were so happy and excited to welcome you into the world the nurses in the delivery room thought you were our first baby. They said that they had never seen parents welcoming their third child into the world so excited. They said usually by that time they were almost blasé about the whole process.

We were not, you had to go through a lot of obstacles to get into the world and after the shock wore off that you were indeed going to be joining our family, we were incredibly joyous.

Believe it or not, even your sister was happy to have you in the family, she nicknamed you Mr. Sunshine face, due to the fact that you woke up happy every day. A definite first for someone born into our family!

Every accomplishment that you achieve, I want you to know how proud of you I truly am, you are an amazing human, a great son and I love you beyond words.

Anything I could put here pales in comparison to how I feel about having you as a son, you were the perfect one to stop with. You rounded out our family with your smile, your zest for life and your huge heart.

So, Happy Birthday son, I love you more than words can say!

 

Love,

Mom

 

Never Forget

People love to fight, that is what I have learned these past few months on Facebook. There is now a huge controversy about what people are calling the Confederate flag. It’s not actually the flag of the Confederacy, it is actually the battle flag of Tennessee. Not sure when it became the symbol of the whole Confederacy, I would have to look back into history and figure out that mystery.

My family fought on both sides, the Testermans were staunch Union supporters, the original Testerman came her to help form that Union. No way were they going to see it go down in flames. The Hammonds’, Finchers’ and Kemps’ were famously Confederate, even owning plantations and of course slaves. How these families managed to meet and marry is a story unto itself.

I can see both sides, I have both sides in my bloodline, taking away a symbol is not going to take away racism. But here’s the thing, there’s always a thing, there is no way I would fly what has become a symbol for the KKK in my yard. That battle flag belongs in history books and museums, the history of the Confederacy, the Civil War and everything that Southerners were trying to hold onto belongs in our history.

We must learn from our history, all of us, no matter the pigmentation of our skin, we have to look back and study it. So it can never happen again, we, as a country, have to come together and realize that none of us did the things our ancestors did.

I sincerely hope none of my friends judge me based on my family history, just as I do not judge them based on the history of their family. We all have things in our lineage we are not proud of, a crazy great-great-uncle who chopped up his wife (yes, that is in mine as well), that one relative who tells inappropriate stories to children at family gatherings. The one who drinks too much, the one that eats too much, the one that ends up in the penitentiary.

Let’s put this thing to rest and remember we are Americans, we are not our ancestors, we have to move forward. The media and the politicians want us divided, are we really going to allow them to do it over a flag? We have to take a stand, we have to remember that this is not the past and we have to stop blaming each other for the perceived failures of each other. The time is now, action is called for, stop burning flags, stop being disrespectful to each other. We are all human, we are all Americans, let’s send a message to the media and the politicians that we are standing together. Undivided, focused, on making this country great, on respecting our history, not repeating it, and we will no longer be easily distracted from their agenda.

Divide and conquer is their motto, ours should be a house divided is a house doomed to fall, together we stand, one for all and all for one. Clichéd sayings, this I know, however in this case incredibly apt.

Tessa

Yesterday was Tessa’s birthday; the years are flying by faster than when her dad was a little boy. She is such a funny, sweet, smart and all around awesome little girl, I feel so honored to get to be her Gigi. We went to the country to celebrate her birthday, with gifts, pizza and cake (of course).

I am always amazed at the people God gave me for a family, Tessa is so much like her dad at that age, she is also like her Aunt Elizabeth Anne and also has qualities reminding me of her Uncle Alex. She is funny, smart, loving and brave, I love spending time with her, she has a wicked sense of humor.

One day we were in the store and I had bought her a few toys along with groceries, the check out lady expressed surprise that I was her grandmother. Well, this irritates Tessa to no end, she used to pout, now she throws zingers. She looked at me and said hmmm aren’t you like 70? I looked at her and said I haven’t paid for those toys yet. She laughed and laughed, the check out lady started laughing, we agreed that her funny deserved the toys.

I get to spend a whole week with my girl the end of this month and I could not be happier, I know we are going to have fun. Days filled with swimming, roller skating, pancakes, cartoons and lots of laughter.

On another birthday note, the cake was amazing, it was a batman cake with girly colors, Jeffrey said she had asked for batman. So batman she got, and it was adorable! Batman adorable, who would have thought?

It was a beautiful evening, the weather was perfect, the atmosphere fun and the conversation entertaining. Although, it is always entertaining with my ex-in-laws. What? Ex? Why yes, I did say ex. I would like to know where it is written that one cannot get along with their other family after divorce. I still love my ex-in-laws; why would I want to change that? My ex-husband is still funny and his wife is a gracious hostess, why would one hate that?

The only one missing was Alex and his reason was valid, his birthday is in a few days and his girlfriend arranged a trip for him to celebrate his day. Oh, I like his girlfriend as well, and I like my son-in-law. The word in-law gets a bad rap, I don’t know why, although I do see it portrayed in television and movies as being the worst thing possible.

Monster-in-law comes to mind, Endora from Bewitched is another, they were funny, but totally buying into the in-laws are a bad thing. As for me, I will continue to like mine and have pleasant, fun conversations with them.

 

Happy 4th of July

Today is America’s birthday, a day we, as Americans, set aside to celebrate the beginnings of our country. As a child I always loved this holiday, it meant family, food, fireworks and lots of cousins. As I became older I love this holiday for completely different reasons, love of country, an understanding that the first Testerman that came here fought in the War if Independence.

Thomas Testerman, the name evokes great emotion within my family, he is our founder, our reason for being here, in this country. He fought for the freedom of this country from England, I am not only proud to be an American, I am proud to come from such a lineage.

I would love to go to Virginia and walk on the lands he walked on, to see the sunrise over the places he made his home. I think back, on my family line and I am in awe of the people I come from.

You see, they were fighters, they were settlers and they epitomized what it is to be an American. Since Thomas fought in the first war this country had, the birth of a nation, there has been a member of the Testerman family fighting for the continued freedom of this county. We are, as a collective, very proud to be American, we gladly serve, we happily fly the flag of our forefathers.

This land that we call home and have called home for over 200 years is very special to me, I was raised to give my loyalty to her. To take a stand, make a mark, to stand up for people who cannot stand for themselves. To pledge allegiance to the flag, the very symbol of our land, our freedoms we enjoy, that at times we take for granted.

I have seen on Facebook and other social media outlets where people are saying they want the old America back. I am confused by this, we have to continue to move forward, we have to continue to grow and build. Not go back.

To go back means certain people would not enjoy inalienable rights, I was speaking about this with my friend Wanda the other day. Please allow me to expound on the thought, not too long ago, in America, it would have been impossible for myself and Wanda to enjoy a friendship. It was in fact, illegal, as she is African American and I am Caucasian. In the 50’s and 60’s she would have been relegated to an all black community and I would have been a housewife, property of my husband. If I dared think about divorce he could keep the children, he had the right to beat me because I was his property. Not too long ago in America’s past…

I would not enjoy the job I have, the right to write these thoughts down, because I am a woman. Wanda would have had a double whammy, a woman, and a different skin color, the only jobs available to her would have been cleaning, cooking or caring for children. Not a lot of options.

The 1970’s saw a little reprieve, women were more in the workforce, still relegated to secretary, nurse, operator or childcare. But Wanda and I could be acquaintances, not really friends yet, because the neighborhoods were still very much segregated in parts of the country.

The 1980’s now that’s when it all began to blend, in a lot of the country, still not some, that’s when we could really venture out, we could rise in the ranks and we could have a community that was truly a community.

I have to admit, I first saw that in Texas, when we moved to Plano, in 1988, we moved to a neighborhood that had all kinds of people. We were almost all transplants from across the country and it was glorious. At that point I truly saw the melting pot, we were together and we were all Americans.

Today there is great conflict in this country and it is threatening to divide us again, I would ask, on this day, the birth of our Nation. Remember how far we have come, love one another as you love yourself, you cannot be a good neighbor to the person on one side and hate the other side.

Skin color is, well, skin deep, remember what we have fought for.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence  promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 

 

 

Jude Deveraux

I read, a lot, as a matter of fact I can’t remember a time I didn’t love words, I used to beg my grandpa to read to me. I asked so much that when I was four years old he taught me to read, after that we read together, me with my book, him with his. His was mostly the bible and study books on the bible. Have I ever mentioned how smart my grandpa was? He was so smart, kind, funny and present, I know I have said it before, but he really was my first hero, father figure and love of my life. I believe the term love of my life gets bandied about too much in the romantic realm. He was very literally my everything from birth till the day he died, he was my protector, my mentor and someone that told me daily I could be anything I wanted to be in this world.

Back to the reading thing, one of my favorite authors, Jude Deveraux, released a new book, one in a series, it is the Nantucket Bride series, this one is Ever After. Now, I know what you are all thinking, seriously, she loves a romance novel writer? Why yes I do, I have loved her for a long time, her books have gotten me through some of the roughest times in my life. They have provided a well needed escape when I felt I could not handle one more thing, I could lose myself in a world where my issues weren’t prevalent. I would come back, refreshed and ready to go, none of this takes away from reliance on God during these times. I feel I must add that, He gave this woman a gift with words and I took advantage of that gift and have read everything she has written over the years. I will continue to read everything she writes in the future.

The latest book, the last in this series, was particularly good, overall I highly enjoyed it, however, one sentence threw me for a loop. The main male character is asked by his father how he feels about the heroine of the story; he says “the first time I saw her I was dizzy with lust’. An honest answer, it wasn’t love at first sight, it was lust at first sight. Which is, if we are honest with ourselves, what comes first. Love is getting to know someone, accepting their strength along with their flaws.

The thing that threw me, was I have never had anyone feel that way about me, and it depressed me, for a day, then I was ok. But it was the day that I took a hard look at myself, physically, and looked back at myself over the years. There were times I know for a fact NO human would have looked at me like that. I gained so much weight it wasn’t even funny. But when I was younger I was pretty and physically fit. I find I am taken aback by the fact that I missed my opportunity to have someone look at me in that way.

At the age of 51 no man is ever going to look at me and become dizzy with lust, maybe when I was 19 and looked good, but now I am way too old. The thought saddens me in a way I cannot begin to explain, I wish I could go back and have a conversation with 19-year-old Angie and tell her to enjoy her youth. She was so pretty, funny, smart and, well mouthy, she spoke before she thought, but that was part of her charm and her curse. Sometimes I miss her, her boldness, her ability to rush forward without thinking of the consequences.

If you are young and reading this, enjoy your youth, be aware of your power, trust that God is going to put you on the path you should be on and enjoy that path. Take chances, try new things, take care of your body, exercise and eat well. Because let me tell you, all of the junk eating catches up to you, in one form or another.

I will still be sad that no one has ever looked at me the way the character in the book looked at the heroine. Nothing can change that, but I will do my best to enjoy my life right now, to take care of my body and try and undo some of the damage I have done to it over the years. Not with drugs, alcohol or tobacco, but with inactivity and poor eating choices.

 

 

Holly Madison 

I have a guilty secret, I loved the Girls Next Door when it was on. I was completely fascinated by the whole thing. What really fascinated me was how on earth could such beautiful , intelligent (well one exception in that area, Kendra was no brain trust) women agree to living with an octogenarian? I needed to know!

So watch I did, at times, I admit, I felt a moral superiority towards these women, at times I felt motherly towards them and at times I was horrified by these women. I didn’t want my daughter emulating them, I didn’t want her thinking this was an acceptable lifestyle choice, yet I still watched. 

I grew to care about these young women, I wanted them to break free of Hugh Hefner, when they all left one by one after the 5th season I breathed a sigh of relief. 

Reading Holly’s book lends insight into her world and how she came to make the decisions she did. It also shows how easy it is to get sucked into a lifestyle and have a hard time breaking away from it. I believe every word of that book, especially the way Hugh Heffner treated her and the others. I believe he likes to imagine those women are fighting over him and not what he can do for them. 

I recommend this book as a cautionary tale, every young woman who is thinking of getting involved with a man like this should be given this book. 

Now, having said that, what are these girls parents? I would have drug Elizabeth Anne out of that house. No way I would have allowed my 19 year old daughter to become involved in something like that. 

I understand why Kendra’s mother didn’t step in, she benefitted from the relationship financially. She whored her daughter out for plastic surgery. But Bridget’s parents? Why? Holly’s parents? Why?

These are unanswered questions, we may never know the answer to them. All I can say is mothers guard your daughters from the predators.