Friday, December 30, 2005


Sam was a beautiful boy who came to us when he was 3.5 years old.

By eleven months he'd already been seriously abused and neglected. He went to a "good" foster home, where he received numerous injuries including a few head injuries that required stitches. At 3.5 he sat on the toilet in my home, with an erection, while he slapped and screamed and cried "Bad penis!". Poor baby, there was no history of sexual abuse; the social worker said his foster home was "great".

We spent a fortune on treatments and therapy for Sam over the next five years. When our twins were born (IVF babies) we saw a change come over Sam. Not the change we expected - for we thought he might act out against them and resent them. We saw his heart melt, the sun shine in his eyes again. He would sit for ages with a small finger outstretched while a tiny fist gripped it. He would declare "they love me!" because he was the only one who could calm them when they cried. And they did. We all did.

But the love was maybe too little too late because when Sam started school we lost him to the anger and fear that reigned within his young heart. Three years later his violence was directed toward his younger brothers, who still idolized him, and his crimes against them were unforgiveable. Sam had to leave.

No parent cherishes the decision to say goodbye to their child, whether young or old, whether adopted or otherwise. We loved Sam, claimed him as our own, named him our own. But to protect him from the pain that was caused every time he hurt another, and to protect the younger ones from being hurt any more, he had to go.

We found a remarkable family for Sam who had experience raising difficult children, who could pull him into themselves and count him among their own. Sam has been with this family for almost three years now. His body hasn't grown a whole lot since then, but his heart has.

While I have a small stone heart hiding in a prayer box on my nightstand - my own intimate prayer that his heart of stone might one day be healed and can be released from that box a living thing, a beautiful, joyful thing - Sam's heart is stirring within his body and finally finding room within it for perhaps one or two other things. Maybe not people yet, but things. He loves a dog now, I'm told. Can care for his pet with love and concern where once he sought to kill such things. He can be trusted to keep himself and other safe, now. What a joy!

Sam is still young and still has a long way to go. But he is on the path that will take him there. He's picked himself up out of the dust, he's learning to hold his stoney heart out to others to see if they can crack the hard shell and find the joy within. I think they're making some progress, all of them together.

As for us, we are healing. We all remember Sam, but can remember him now with love and tenderness, with no more fear of the bad that was done, no more need to remember it. We all still love him, and can love him now with a pure love because there is no more hurt. We pray for Sam, we remember him - the shining boy.

The Stone Heart ~ a poem for Sam

Once there was a boy
of shining eyes and hair like the golden sun.
A treasure, a gift
he came endowed as one who has joy to bring.

But he was cut down
forced down, hewn down, down, down, down to the ground.

He couldn't look up
he could look down, and named himself there.

His eyes not shining, dead as a bone,
His heart not joyful, his heart turned to stone.

Then came on to lift him,
raise him high in the sky full of light.
A treasture, a gift
love came to renew the joyful spirit.

But it cut him down
forced down to the stoney heart within

He couldn't rise up
he could only lay low, low down, down on the ground.

And there his dead eyes found himself in the dust,
And with joy he raised it high ...
a heart made of stone his only reply.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A New Me

So, a little bird told me that she's been checking my blog and spank me but I haven't been writing anything! Who knew anyone was even reading this stuff! So just for her, and for my own sanity, here I sit with "pen to paper" ready to pour out my heart and soul to someone in particular.
I have entered the "working world". This is a very strange place to be. I feel like I've been divided up into too many ME's to properly manage.
There's the WIFE-me.The MOM-me.The PHOTOGRAPHER-me.The SINGER-me.The WRITER-me.and now (drum-roll please ....)The EMPLOYED-me.
How can I possibly wear all these hats?
I think I'm doing okay on the wife front. So check on that. But I know I have not been doing okay on the mommy front. I've been short with the boys, short fuse, no patience, not eager to spend much time with them. Poor babies. They need their mommy. I need to BE their Mommy. I miss it and I can't find the feelings.
I've been working like a crazy woman trying to update my photography site. A total revamp. It's not perfect, but it's ready to be published today but I'm moving it to a new url so it'll take a bit more time. I'm happy with it and while it's "fancier" than before, it will be easier to update I think. I have a couple jobs coming up but had to turn down a chance to shoot a wedding in Nauvoo which really bummed me out. The risk was terrifying (flying in the day before, scoping out photo-ops/vignettes, no assistant, few of my "tools of the trade" like lights and stuff), but the opportunity would have been amazing (rep in new place, this would have been a BIG wedding so lots of new connections for me, awesome for my portfolio to feature some "away" places). But alas I had to turn it down due to a family conflict (it was over the New Year holiday). Bummer :( At least I do have a few jobs coming down the pike to keep me busy and help me spread my wings more.
I am totally sucking at the WRITER job. I was feeling so excited and hopeful ... BEFORE. Before I got this new job, that is. I've finished the edits on my first draft so am ready to re-write/enter in the edits thereby making my SECOND draft. There were parts in the middle of my manuscript that I thougth "who wrote this crap? wow, I really do SUCK!!!", but then at the end of the book I was in tears and was just so touched and moved by what I'd written that I was thinking "holy cats this is GOOD! I wrote THIS??? yay for me!". But now I've done no writing whatsoever for a couple weeks. Sad. I have several other books waiting in the wings just waiting to be written ... I've GOT to get writing! But who can find the time!
And, and, and! I made some contacts in the music world last week! I was offered a chance to do a 45 minute recital next spring/summer up in Logan. And a chance to get connected with the opera people up in Logan and Ogden. Very cool. GOT to find the time for some practice and stuff though. Time? PAH!!!
I had envisioned back-to-school to be the mecca of personal expression. I would work on promoting my photography business. I would dedicate whole mornings to writing - I would BE a writer. I would practice my singing every day. I would be so personally fulfilled by the end of the morning I would have tons of love and attention to give to my sweet little boys when they got home from school.
But then nasty reality reared his ugly head and proved that I needed to go get a job. Thankfully an awesome job fell into my lap that will allow my to work from home, earn a decent pay, selling and servicing a product I can believe in and get behind. Only it means I have to throw all my balls into the air at once and see if I can snatch them all OUT of the air again, trying not to drop any. How can I do it? Somethings got to give but I'm not sure I can give up anything. How can I deny who I am? What IS me? I AM all these things. See, I didn't list scrapbooking or quilting or crocheting or whatever - all of which I love to do too - I only listed those things that are DEFINING. I AM ... things. I find I AM really fighting the WORKING definition.
I told David if I can't figure out a way to be a nice mom, then I'll be quitting this new job. Whatever else, the boys deserve a loving, good mom, not a stressed out mom. But I do hope I CAN make it work because money is stressful in a different sort of way. The lack of money makes me an unhappy girl which has it's only ripple effect. So, I do hope I can make it work.
Time to work on the second step in my Recovering Perfectionist program, which I think should be "SOMETHIN'S GOTTA GO". Trick is, what's gotta go? Thoughts to chew on till I can write again!

Twelve Step Program for Recovering Perfectionists

I just deleted a bunch of emails that have been sitting in my inbox for a while. They are all "welcome" emails for a yahoo group I belong to, or random group discussions. I like to add my voice to the welcoming group whenever new people join so I was saving up the emails so I could do it. But you know, I just couldn't do it. So I deleted them. All those perfectly nice women, new members to my group, have now all been "slighted" by me. I've neglected them, I've let them down. I've failed them!!!!
And they don't even know me!
This is where I want to grab myself by the hair, look myself in the eye and yell at myself, "Get over yourself girl! They don't even know you exist!! How could you have let them down!!??"
Still, while feeling mostly relieved at having my inbox now clean and manageable, I feel vaguely guilty.
So I'm thinking there needs to be a 12-step program for perfectionists. Especially perfectionists like me; for whom perfection isn't working. I AM a perfectionist (although it took my till only within the last year to really acknowlege that), however, I am an imperfect one, lol. I used to think being a perfectionist meant you always did everything ... well, perfectly, and so everyone else wanted to be you because you were ... well, so perfect. But now I realize that's probably more like obsessive compulsive or something. Being a perfectionist really (probably) means, desiring to do things perfect. Desiring everyone in your life to behave a certain way. Feeling let down when things don't go "right" (by your own definition, of course). And such things like that.
But what might our twelve steps be? Oprah talks about this one a lot - JUST SAY NO!!! So, okay, I did that tonight, basically, when I deleted all those emails saying "NO, I do not have the time or energy to happily welcome every single one of these strangers to the group". You might say NO to "shining your sink" tonight only because it feels good to rebel from something that's "expected" of you. (oh that's a whole different topic and I'm not sure but it might be connected to being a perfectionist or maybe it's what I am instead of a perfectionist? Whatever IT is. But IT is forever being concerned about what I'm supposed to do. What is expected of me. Though my DH would say no one expects anything except for me to be happy... yadda yadda yadda. Yeah right).
1) Just say No.
Steps 2-12 will take some thought though. I can't think what might be next. I'm being overcome by an overwhelming urge to make sure my dishes are put away and my sink is shined. Gotta go.

Who'd a Thunk it?

Sure as heck not me!
I've read some blogs and I always think "that's cool .... but I don't have enough to say". And maybe I don't; time will tell!
I guess I'll start out like all the others I've seen and introduce myself. Most of you who will come here will be my friends so I'm a little self-conscious about spilling the beans on how great I think I am, lol! No, really ... Anyway, here goes!
I'm Ali - a thirty-something Mom of two and wife to David. My two kids are CJ and Xander, twin boys who will turn five on September first! I can't believe they will be going off to Kindergarte; and at the same time, I can't believe they're not already going off to college! They seem both so grown up and still my little babies at the same time. David is a Software Development Manager for a small insurance claims processing company (try saying that ten times fast) out east, so he gets to work from home. I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom.
I'm not very good at my Mom-job. Well, let me amend that: I'm not a real hands-on mom. My boys are very independant and play with friends all day long. They are rarely home for me to "mother" them. I don't sit and read books with them for hours or play tons of games with them. When they ask me to, I try to accomodate them, but otherwise they entertain themselves. I have mixed feelings about this: On the one hand I think "I'm not their cruise director!" so I'm happy they can entertain themselves. While on the other hand I am fearful I really AM not a good mom, that I'm failing them somehow.
Then I think the 'proof is in the pudding', right? and I look at who these boys are. When I do that, I feel a lot better about myself. How can I be all wrong if they are turning out so well? They are happy, fun, imaginative. They are not afraid to talk to people or to try new things. We rarely have problems and when we do, I offer up a consequence and they take it and they try to do better next time. Life is good with these boys - THEY are good boys. So I can't be THAT bad as a mom, right? Right?????
But I don't see myself as "just a mom". I honestly don't see any woman as just a mom, but I know a LOT of us view ourselves that way. I think there is so much to me, so many facets, some even as yet undiscovered, that I could never be "just a mom". I encourage every woman who thinks that of herself to look deep within and discover her inner sanctum so to speak ... discover herself. (sounds like a load of psycho-babble, doesn't it?). I just truly believe that all of us are blessed with talents just waiting to be discovered if we'll only look.
I've discovered several talents, and many interests that I hope will become talents! I've been a professional opera singer, I am a professional photographer and I hope to be a professional writer too. Just don't judge my future books by my poor writing here. ;) I'll write more on my interests and my professional pursuits another time.
If I were to say what it is I think I'll be writing about here, it would probably be my thoughts and feelings of being a stay-at-home-mom whose kids are out at school. What do I do with myself now? What are my plans and how will I make with them? Will things turn out the way I hope? Or will life take me down a path as yet unanticipated?
I won't presume to ask you back again - I've probably bored you to tears - but just in case I haven't, feel free to leave me a note or just to come back again. I hope I'll inspire you to discover your own hidden talents, you're own reservoir of truth.

My Inaugural Post

I'm making the committment to official "bloghood" by joining this community. Plan is, I'll post more regularly here, hopefully meet some new people and start join in some interesting discussions.

I've had a blog elsewhere for a little while now and got my feet wet a bit. Time to be a bit more serious, I think.

So, please stay tuned for some thoughts I want to share: My Twelve-Step program for Recovering Perfectionists; my Philosophies on Life, and just general snapshots of what makes a mom like me tick.

Hope to see you again!