I have been so busy lately drawing the pictures that I am creating for my children’s book.  But even as I do that I am reflecting on my life and how I have grown and changed over the years.  I remember back in high school when I was bound and determined to strike out on my own.  I wasn’t going to stay in my little home town and not make anything of my life.  So in 1984, during my senior year, just before Thanksgiving, on a dare from a friend, I went up to the Air Force recruiter visiting our school and told him that I wanted to join.  He just looked at me and said “Okay, I will need to meet with your parents and get their permission.”

That young girl went through many changes over the years, at times I look back and wonder where that independent stubborn girl went to.  How can I be afraid of trying new things when I was so ready back then to just jump head first into an adventure. I had no clue then where life and a military adventure would take me.  I won’t say I was fearless, at least not all the time.  It was 1987 and I was striking out on my own to go overseas.  My heart was beating with both anticipation and anxiety.  I had to travel from a place of comfort one that I knew well to one that was totally foreign to me.  I had to choose between leaving my baby behind for a year so that I could make a new and better life for us or getting out of the military.  But Sicily Italy was calling my name, I knew that I needed to stay in the military as long as I could.  There was nothing left for me back home in my home town.  My family had moved away too and while I loved my grandparents, I would have had to live with them until I got on my feet.  Having been independent for several years, going back home was not an option I even considered.

In Sicily my world changed.  Shortly after I arrived I met a man that fell in love with me and my child.  He didn’t care that I had a child before him.  After looking at all my pictures, he fell in love with my son before ever meeting him.  He was the first person in my adult life that showed me what unconditional love looked like. He didn’t want anything from me but to love him in return. He became my best friend.  We were married less then three months after our first date.  This year will be our 28th anniversary.  I had to go all the way to Italy to find the man God intended for me.

28 years of ups and downs, of heartaches and happiness.  But through it all there was always love.  He showed me how to practice unconditional love too.  Together we have overcome so many things.  There are still things that are in the near and distant future that we will have to overcome too, but they are things that we will do and work on together.

There were three conditions that I put on our relationship way back then – no beating, no cheating, and no divorce. I am so glad in all of our unconditional love that those things were never a part of our life together. Even during our hardest times when things looked the bleakest and the d word became a part of our vocabulary, we as a team were determined to work things through.  Now looking back, on the other side of those times we are stronger and more committed to each other than before.

That stubborn girl from long ago that struck out on her own, she is still there.  She has learned how to fight for what she believes in.  I still have times of anticipation and anxiety, times when I wonder what I will do next or why is this happening now.  But I have grown too, I know that I don’t have to do it on my own.  I have my faith, my family, and my friends and one or the other will be there to prop me up when my knees feel like rubber.

This takes me back to the beginning of this post.  This children’s book I am working on.  I am drawing the pictures, working on the illustrations, but I have no words to go with them yet.  My husband told me the other day he was looking forward to reading the words that went along with the illustrations.  My response back to him was “Me too.”  I am just not quite ready to put words down on the paper.  I think when the time is right, the words will flow.  It’s just not their time yet.  They are floating around unorganized and disjointed in the back of my mind waiting on the right time.  I am looking forward to that adventure.  Right now my character has eaten a meal, played night music, gone ice skating, played with a friend at school, won a reading award, visited the beach, gone golfing, had a birthday party, and is decorating for Christmas.  She has a few more adventures to take before I am ready for the words to flow.

So while I have enjoyed sharing these reflections with you, it is once again time to hang up my Pen Scratches on the computer and add a few more Pen Scratches to my drawing pad.

Thank you for reading with me.


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