Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts on the Road

Thoughts from the Road

I don't talk much about what I do.. probably because a long time ago I came to the realization that it's what I do, it's not who I am. To summarize I am a site acquisition girl for a national retailer. Simply put: that means that when you see a store for the retailer I represent- I'm part of the team that found the site, negotiated the deal, the lease and managed the general transaction. If real estate were a circus, I'd be the clown juggling all the balls. The balls being the parties to a deal: Lawyers, brokers, clients, and landlords. I make sure everyone stays warm and fuzzy until we open a door and commence selling our product. Essentially, I'm an overpaid babysitter to grown men.
Most of my work is done from an office or I can day trip to cover my splendid territory that is Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. I wish I got to go cool places like Boston, San Francisco, or New York- but I get to figure out how to get to places like Natchitoches, Louisiana and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas..good times. Sometimes my travels are solo missions and sometimes I'm traveling with my team and find myself in the back of a TrailBlazer, a party to some interesting conversations. Here are some of my deep thoughts for the trip this week:
  1. It has been proven that on average men speak 15,000 words per day, while women speak 30,000 words per day. I think this theory is a load of crap. The guys I work with talk way more than I ever thought about talking. I respect the members of my team, but sometimes I wonder if their ego drives them to talk as much as they do and have told them I thought this...they usually laugh at me.
  2. I feel fortunate that the guys I work with find decent potty stops for me and don't make me use nasty gas station bathrooms, but if necessary I'll hang at the gas station with lots of anti bacterial goodness once I get to the car..
  3. Politics. Never talk politics in a car on a two lane highway in the middle of no where Texas. I'm not extremely conservative nor am I extremely liberal, but the conversation of my co-workers made my blood boil. I have some strong opinions about this election and sometimes I feel that uber conservative beliefs are nothing more than sticking your head in the sand and being resistant to change. Do your research and decide and respect every person's opinion and/or vote. Blanket "Liberals are idiots" statements aren't really necessary are they?
  4. Hunting and deep sea fishing - I've got nothing to contribute to this conversation.
  5. Women are crazy conversations. Have I really become so much of one of the guys that I get to be party to these conversations?
  6. Sports- I pay attention to sports so I can keep up with the conversation when necessary
  7. Cars- I can keep up with this conversation, but really, I'm starting to find some validation in the fact that men who drive sports cars are compensating for something...unless you're retired and it's all about the fun factor..then it's okay.

Perhaps the best conversation of the trip is the "good ole day" conversation. The 80s when Real Estate was booming. My client was a developer and living the good life. Big house. More money then he could spend. Leveraged to the hilt. The broker I work with, his Dad was a big developer..same story. Both of them lost it all in the real estate bust. They spoke of how it was really ridiculous, the life of excess.. the "things" and the "status" that consumed them. That is was really God intervening in their life bringing them back to center when they lost it all and had to start again...meaning that had to live a much more humble existence. My client is one of the most Godly men I know and now lives a very modest life. The broker I work with confessed that he just wants a simple life.

I reflected.. I'm so glad my family, my life, hasn't been about keeping up with the "image." I haven't had a life of ridiculous excess... I gave up apologizing for my working class roots a very long time ago and I've decided that it's usually the really insecure people in the world that need to boast about "things" or "money" or "status." My family taught me the value of hard work and gave me every opportunity, but really strived to focus on people rather than things. I'm glad I can sit quietly in the back seat of the TrailBlazer on mute and not get my 30,000 word quota in. You learn to be thankful for your simple existence.

Gifts from Cole

Cole missed me. Which is nice, but being a two year old he shows me he missed me by punishing me with tantrums and melodrama..I was still glad to see my little man after being stuck in what felt like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" on repeat. We ate dinner. We went outside to play..where Cole gave me several gifts. Two leaves and a handful of rocks that he was calling "cookies"

But the best gift from Cole was at bath time. I ran the bath and put Eucalyptus oil in my little man's bath because his allergies are bothering him.. and some bubbles. As we sat and talked he said "Mommy?" he then proceeded to grab his man part and make his own fountain... I had to duck to keep from feeling the spray. "Potty Mommy..." "Wow!!!"" I'm officially in boy overload..

After cleaning up and getting Cole to bed, I took my own bubble bath, did some laundry, and climbed into bed. I needed to refill my estrogen container after the last couple of I watched my TiVo'd Dancing with the Stars.. did some praying and found myself really looking forward to some shopping with my girlfriends..

Friday, September 19, 2008

Down to One

So "Down to One" is a good song by the great Melissa Etheridge. One of the best lines of the song is "sooner or later we all end up walking alone.." I've found myself thinking a lot about this. It's so true.

If, at some point, we're all alone.. I guess we better learn to love the one we're with. Right? I consider myself fairly lucky in that I enjoy my own company. I didn't always, but I'm thankful that after college and before I married.. I lived alone for nearly three years. It was during this time that I learned to tackle some ridiculous issues with doing things on my own. I lived alone with my dog "Sophie." I went to church alone. I went to movies alone. I went shopping alone. I worked out alone. The ultimate step in my "graduation" when I was a twenty something single girl was to sit at a table in a restaurant by myself and eat a meal...alone. I was reminded how far I've come this week, when between an appointment and a meeting, I pulled into my favorite salad dive and enjoyed my lunch on the patio, under the trees all by myself and loved every minute of it. I was thinking "I should have a date with myself more often.." This is nice. I read a chapter of a book. Turned off my Blackberry and just enjoyed the weather and my own company. I'm pretty decent company.

The point, I guess, is I'm so glad I had those years on my own. I think time like that gives us security that we can be alone, and if we chose not to be alone then that's huge. You can enter into relationship because you want to, not because you feel like you have to in order to avoid your own company.

When I first moved into my little apartment post college by myself. I HATED it. It was horrible. I'd just broken up with a long term boyfriend and here I was in this dumpy one bedroom apartment working my first real job, struggling to make ends meet. After a while I embraced it. I adopted Sophie. I decorated it. It was mine. I did what I wanted to, when I wanted to. I learned to do those things by myself. I learned to be good at my job. I made some great friends. I grew up. And when I got married and moved out of that dumpy apartment... I sort of grieved the loss of my single self. It happened on moving day. The family had gone ahead with the U-Haul to the house we were moving into. I'd stayed behind to clean up the apartment a little bit... my gal pal Rhonda had taken a load of the misc crap down to the car... I was alone in my little apartment. I just became sort of overcome. I started crying about the time my cell phone started ringing... it was my Dad.. "Ash where do you want me to put this..." He was calling to ask. He could tell I was crying. "What are you crying for?" He asked... " I don't know Daddy.." I replied. He said " I know what it is.. you don't want to leave that apartment because it's who you were before you got married..and it was yours.. now where am I putting this table?" That's so my Dad. He just throws the profound out there and moves on along before you have time to blink.. But he was right.

Time alone makes us who we are. So that we can be better when the right relationship does come along. It gives us perspective so we don't feel like we have to settle.

I have to give a shout out to one of my best girlfriends this week. One of the women who showed me how to embrace living alone. Because she's so comfortable in her own skin, she sent a seemingly nice (although a little aggressive) guy packing. You know who you are...I'm talking to you and I'm on your side. Glad you're not settling to avoid being alone. I'm proud of you.

OK that's all I've got. I'm done with my salad for lunch. I've typed this blog and it's time to get back to it. Holla!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cole James

I cannot believe that two years ago today I brought the most amazing little guy into the world. I was terrified, but the moment I held him my life changed. He looked at me with one eye open and my heart melted. I thanked God and realized that a life dream had come true. I'd always wanted a son and here he was. This perfect little creature that I had been entrusted to nurture through life.

I named him Cole because I felt it was a strong and timeless name. James because it's a family name on my Mom's side and one of the kindest, strongest, most compassionate men I ever knew was my grandfather James Thomas.

Those first few days I would hold Cole and openly sob because never could I have imagined loving someone so much. My ex was sure I was suffering from post partum depression, but I was really just overcome with joy. I felt so vulnerable. It was amazing.

I had every kind of sling imaginable. I wore Cole everywhere. I held him. I nursed him. I swaddled him, rocked him and soothed him. This precious little gift. When he was up in the middle of the night, that's when I would have some fairly serious conversations with God about the awesome responsibility He had given me with Cole. I'd pray. Pray for the wisdom to get it right. The patience to make the right decisions. The love to forgive all. The strength to be his Mom. The time to make an impression. These conversations with God led to a lot of raw emotion. It made me realize so many things about myself. It made me want to be a better person and I've sought to grow and become that person.
Leaving Cole to go back to work was so hard. I was able to be with him for 14 weeks and work from home quite a bit until he was 6 months old. The guilt was overwhelming, but really I had no choice. I am a working mother. I struggle with it often, but I'm hoping one day Cole will see that I manged to balance it. Sometimes not very well, but he's being raised by a strong, independent woman. Maybe that will help him learn to appreciate one in his adult life.

All of this before he ever even muttered Mommy. As the months have passed it has been amazing to watch Cole develop his own little personality. He's so tough and stubborn. Independent and feisty. He's smart and he's loving. He's funny. I hope I'm showing him how to be a Godly man. I'm hoping that he'll be compassionate and know how very much I love him. He's so chatty (I have no idea where he gets it from) He goes to sleep talking and wakes up talking. He's smiling most of the time. Running around most of the time. Such a joy for me. Especially when he says "Ok Mommy.." " Night Night Mommy.." "Love you Mommy.." when he says "No Mommy.." not so great...When he sits down on the ground and looks at me like "make me Mommy" again- not so great. When he finds and plays with Tobie's poo like yesterday...REALLY not so great...

I've blogged openly about my struggle with my divorce. The greatest weight in my decision was, of course, for Cole. I spent most of my life making decisions, staying out of trouble and away from boys because I didn't want to be a single Mom. Look how that turned out for me? God does have a sense of humor doesn't He? Someday, when he asks, I'll be honest with Cole about what happened between his father and I. I assure him constantly that his Dad loves him very much.

Two years. It has gone by so quickly. I can't believe it. What happens when I'm writing about his 18th birthday..What kind of man will my son be? Will I be able to give him every opportunity? Enough time? Will he hate me for the decisions I've made? These are the things that weigh on me. For the most part, I was able to keep it together while going through what I've been going through. Cole rarely saw me cry, but I cannot lie. There have been days in the past when it was too overwhelming. I'm embarrassed to admit this as we are to be strong for our kids. On one particular day (I'll call it my rock bottom) I just sat down on the kitchen floor..sobbing (quietly)..hoping Cole would pay attention to the Max and Ruby episode I'd just turned on and not me. Around the corner he toddled. "Mommy?" When he saw me, he put his arms around me and said "It's okay Mommy.." and then he sat down in front of me and smiled. How do you keep crying after that?

At almost two, Cole was right. It has been okay and it will continue to be okay. I find my greatest joy in being Cole's Mom. I've become stronger and wiser being Cole's Mom. I've known more sorrow and happiness being a Mom than I ever thought imaginable and it has been amazing. I've been changed by my son. I am thankful and grateful for the past two years. I cannot wait to watch him grow.

So Happy Birthday Cole James. I love you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Week In Review

I've had one of those weeks. I probably should have stayed in bed. Nothing catastrophic, but annoying all the same.

So last Friday I had a flat tire. If you know me well, you know that I don't know how to change a flat tire. I'm embarassed to admit it, but I just don't. I can negotiate real estate deals, support myself, fix a lot of stuff around the house, make dinner, take care of Cole, multi task like there's no tomorrow.. but my version of changing a flat tire has been to walk to a pay phone (before there were cell phones) or call from my cell phone (when I finally got one) "Daddy, I have a flat tire..." I'm a little better now. I'll call roadside or AAA. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on some fix a flat and drive to NTB..where they repaired the tire.

Tuesday I had the customer service experience from *ell at the store I affectionately call Worst Buy... never, ever do the in store pick up. The morons managed to get me the wrong darn cable. I won't go into the entire experiece, but good grief. So by the time I got home with the wrong darn cable and needed it to hook something up to my TV,well that involved me getting extremely agitated and going back to the store where on the way I got behind some crazy teenage driver on the main street out of my community and when I passed him that's when the HVPD clocked me and I got pulled over for speeding. Damn you Worst Buy!! On a positive note: I negotiated my way out of the ticket and drove away with a warning.

Wednesday right hand failed to communicate. My Blackberry 8703e died. Tragically. I was just getting the track wheel good and worn in. It only had a few scuff marks from Cole chucking it across the room. I had downloaded all of these cool ringtones from and then he (Blackberry) went and checked out on me. Damn you Blackberry!! When you represent a National Retailer who happens to be a wireless provider living without a pda/cell phone for 24 hours is similar to shipping off to Mars for the night or something. I'm expected to be dialed in.

After two hours at the wireless store, I left with the new Blackberry Curve. I'll let you know how our relationship progresses, but so far I'm digging the name: "Curve" I like anything that says curve. I'm a curvy girl. I've got some junk in the trunk so I think the Curve might just be the right PDA for me. I'll let you know.

When I departed the Wireless store I ran home and took Tobie to the PetsHotel for a play day/ grooming session. On our way in this nice guy with a German Shepard stopped to talk to us.. in the process Tobie yanked me across the green area and got about four inches of mud on my favorite peep toe, patent leather pumps, and because they are "peep toe" mud all up in my shoes and on my feet. Nice. We ran into the PetsHotel Manager (who loves Tobie) outside and she walked us in and witnessed the German Shepard exchange, gave a paper towel for my shoe and even helped me find some Bitter Apple so Togo will quit chewing on his paw. I dumped Tobie and headed back to the office...

By the time I landed at the office, the PetsHotel called to let me know that two fleas jumped off Tobie during playtime and she thought Tobie had picked them up from the German Shepard because he didn't have any flea dirt (what?) on him and no other signs that he'd been living with fleas. Damn you "man with the German Shepard!!" But she felt bad that Tobie had picked up the fleas under her watch and comp'd our day at the PetsHotel. Nice! I still felt the need to clean my house from top to bottom last night and crawled in bed just before midnight.

Finally today, I drop Cole off..drop my favorite teenagers at school on my way to the at my favorite Starbucks to stumble in for some coffee and my key won't come out of the ignition of my car. It's stuck. I wrestle with it for a few minutes...then decide the morning will look so much better with some coffee. So I grab my wallet, my curve (to call someone when my car gets stolen) and stumble into Starbucks...where inevitably in front of me is the chick who's looking at the menu and says " Umm like.. I usually get a carmel macchiotto..but I'm sort of over it..what do you think?" The Barista runs through some drink choices and the ding bat is just sitting there twirling her hair going.."umm no..I don't think so.." Finally she orders. Then she wants a pastry. The process starts over again... I very nearly screamed " I'm suffering from PMS, I need coffee before my car gets stolen...go audition for the new Legally Blonde sequel or something... and get outta the way." I refrained. It wouldn't have been very nice of me....

I get to the counter..order my tall drip in a grande cup and get the heck outta dodge before I body slam the ding bat.. luckily my faithful VW is still parked in the lot (running) with the key in the ignition. I drive straight to the VW dealership where they are able to solve my problem. My faithful VW is becoming unfaithful. What to do?

There you have it. My week in review. As I reflect, I'm painfully aware that, yes, all these things did happen. At least my cell phone didn't die on the same day I got my flat tire, with a key stuck in the ignition of the car? I did negotiate my way out of a ticket and make a new Curvy friend...Someone's looking out for me I suppose.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Choo Choo

So Cole's Granny G G in California sent the little man a box of goodies for his birthday which is Monday. I'd given her the memo that he is obsessed with trains right now so in the box was a Thomas the Train Choo Choo flash light/push train/ new annoying kid toy.

I only gave him the one prize. "WOW!" He prolaimed and he was obsessed. We proceeded on with bathtime, dinner and snuggles. I had plans last night so one of the girls in the neighborhood baby-sat for me and actually put Cole to bed.

I get home before 10... The usual routine : pack the bags for tomorrow, take a bath, crawl into bed and over the video monitor I keep hearing these crazy sounds. I'm thinking "what the heck?" I look at the monitor and realize that Cole has negotiated for the new annoying choo choo to go to bed with him.. he's got it wrapped in his arms and he's even managing to turn the flash light on in his sleep. I laughed out loud. Cole was just laying there sleeping with a smile on his face.

"Choo Choo"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


1faith Pronunciation: \ˈfāth\ Function: noun Date: 13th century
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person :
loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs
synonyms see
belief— on faith : without question

Faith. Where do I start? Talking about my Faith often makes me cry so getting through this blog will be a cleansing process I suppose.

What has amazed me about my walk of Faith is that no matter how many times I've tried to do it on my own... He finds a way to pull me back. Sometimes it's probably more of a He waits for me to fall flat on my face and then drags me along for a little while.... Wait, Jesus wouldn't drag me. He picks me up.

I think one of my first memories as a child is of my grandmother(Grandsam) piling on the bed with me, my brother and cousins every night before bed to say the Lord's prayer. She would make us all join hands and while we prayed if you opened your eyes you would see her watching all of us as we prayed. A gentle glow on her face.

So I was raised a good little Lutheran. Baptised and confirmed. Here's what Lutherans do really really well: we memorize creeds, books of the Bible, prayers, liturgy, confessions and hymns. We didn't actually read and discuss the bible at church (at least I don't remember doing so). Every Sunday we'd get dressed. My mom would do my hair, force my tom boy feet into some patent leather Mary Jane's and hand me my matching bag. Chris and I would usually fight in the back seat all the way to church where we'd go to Sunday school and sing our little hymns and do our Jesus related arts and crafts. Confirmation was two years of weekly meetings with the other kids my age and the Pastor. Here's where church got interesting for me- in my adolescence I was ridiculed CONSISTENTLY at church. The kids at church were obnoxious and little punks. It was more of a mating game than an actual learning experience. I began to hate church. When I approached the Pastor about what I was feeling, I was pretty much told I had to suck it up. It was the right advice, but I began to see organized religion as this place where I was more uncomfortable than anywhere else. In high school I drifted from the church, but not in my prayer and my faith. I did really began to grow frustrated with organized religion. I hated the bride of Jesus. How awful was I?

In college I bounced around between churches that had evening services . I prayed, but wasn't deliberate in my prayer. Life was just sort of happening to me and I didn't really talk with God about his plan for me. I think I was coasting along on the prayers of my Grandsam and my Mother. After college I landed a professional job and lived 20 minutes or so from the church I grew up in. So back I went. I was married in that church and later joined another Lutheran church on the other side of town close to where I bought my house. I didn't always attend regularly. My commitment to church and to God was not that strong if I am being truthful. I don't remember praying (other than with my Pastor) for my marriage. After I was married, I continued to pray, but I wasn't growing in Faith. I was stagnant. I was frustrated that I didn't think God was listening to me anymore. Really I was frustrated that He wasn't allowing me to tell Him how it should be. My brother, sensing my frustration, invited me to church with him. I went for several weeks and then decided not to go back because while I loved the church, I knew my Catholic ex-hubby would never appreciate the contemporary atmosphere. Something happened in my first weeks of visiting my brother's little church, but I wasn't quite ready for what would later be revealed to me.

Enter Cole and after he was born I knew I would need to attend some church regularly.. it was time to grow up. I was going to need help with the task at hand. I took Cole only one time to the Lutheran church where I was a semi regular member. I brought him by myself... and I just felt something was off. I knew I didn't want to raise my son in this type of church/political environment. I never went back. I told my ex that I would be taking Cole to my brother's church. I felt welcome there and I felt finally like I was ready to hear the message I would receive. I knew I would be challenged to grow in Faith. I knew the message would be real. I started opening my heart to Jesus and His bride (the Church).

So far it's been a beautiful partnership. I've laid it all out there for Him. I confessed that I turned away and made some fairly serious mistakes when I did so. I landed flat on my face and He met me where I was and pointed me in the right direction-Towards the little Church that I now call home to help me with my journey. There I felt His presence, enough so, that I began to expect it and look for it daily in my personal journey. What amazed me was that when I started really praying, I began to find clarity and began asking questions of the people in my life that I had been too weak to ask questions of in the past. I began to ask questions of myself. A lot of self forgiveness happened and I think some growth occurred along the way. Then I asked forgiveness from Him.

Now when I feel lost and helpless I don't forget where to turn. I stop. I pray. I try to wait and listen. I am exactly where I am suppose to be and I know if I trust - I will be okay. It's terrifying to be tasked with raising a son on your own. To be a single working mom and feel the weight of being the provider, the nurturer, the everything by yourself- every day. If I allowed myself to see it that way, I don't know that I'd have the courage to get out of bed everyday.

But I'm so not alone.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Pronunciation: \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\ Function: noun Date: 1824
1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress 2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

I blog today about resilience. It's something that lately I am trying to notice in people. Life is so hard and there are people who say "you know what? today was bad, but tomorrow will be better" and they channel the energy and make things happen. Then there are people who say "you know what? today was awful and tomorrow and the next day will be equally as awful.." until they are sucked down to become this piece of a person..defeated by life. A victim.

I realize I have had somewhat of a charmed life. My parents are still married and I have a good relationship with them. I consider my brother and my sister my friends. I have a great circle of friends, an amazing son and a lot of amazing people in my life. I have a good job that I don't hate and it pays the bills. I haven't had a life overwhelmed with sorrow, loss or uncertainty. I've lost people I cared about. I've tried to be the personal cheerleader for people wallowing in their victim mentality and failed miserably. I've had to work really hard and I don't always make great relationship choices (clearly) but even when I felt like life dealt me a big hand of crap I realize I have two choices:

  1. Get up, learn from it, own my mistake and move on

  2. Sit around being a victim asking "why"

I'm a "get up" kind of girl. I remember hearing ALL the time growing up "Can't never did anything.."

Where do you learn resilience?

Where do you learn to be resilient? I don't really know the answer to this. But I think you learn it by watching people in your life. It's always the people who are positive and say "I love life" that I feel drawn to be around. I think you learn it by spending a lot of time in prayer and trusting in God.

I think you learn to be resilient by picking yourself up a few times and when you feel compelled to ask "why" you already know that it's all part of God's plan and there was a lesson to be learned, a trial to endure or whatever because at the end of the day it has made you stronger, better, and more compassionate. There is always a reason.

I have blogged about Fear and Resilience because, well, I've been intrigued by a new parenting theory that teaches that the qualities we want for our kids are best learned by parents representing those qualities. No, I don't want Cole to have a fear based life.. I want him to know that his Mom had a lot of fears and I tried to face them. I want him to see that I've made mistakes but I've tried to be resilient in life. I want him to see my Faith. My loyalty to the people and things I care about. My compassion for the world. A work ethic. A love of life and a belief that something great is always just around the corner.

I'll worry about him cleaning his room later...


Friday, September 5, 2008

Mommy Juice

Here's one for Cole's memory book... I sort of hesitate to post about it, but what the heck right?

So the other night a friend was over for dinner and we were about to open a bottle of wine and Cole is toddling around being his usual spunky self and as my friend gets the bottle from the wine rack to open.. Cole points at the bottle, smiles and says "Mommy's Juice.."

You're probably thinking I'm a lush? Not really. I do enjoy a nice glass of wine, but I don't think that means I need to be seeking out the local AA chapter...right? Definitely NOT one of my finer moments, but then again I don't have a lot of great ones do I?

Here's where I think he got it from... For a while he was obsessed with trying to climb the piece of furniture that holds the wine rack... he kept pointing at the bottles saying "juice juice" and I would say "No Cole- that's Mommy's Juice.." At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Anyway, he is stuck with me and my Mommy Juice... but I love him so!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Would He Look Like?

So every week I am tasked with homework. I'm 31 and still have weekly homework. I have small group/bible study homework, prayer homework and therapy homework. I talk openly about seeking out counseling and I've come to realize that it makes me a stronger, better person to have a "professional advisor" Sherri. She has become this safe sounding board for me and weekly she challenges me to grow.. So here I grow again.

This past week during the context of our session I was asked what my ideal mate would look like. Sherri said "Ashley if the perfect guy showed up- I'd want you to know what you were looking for..." So I've contemplated this for a week and jotted down a note here or there when I had a second to think about it. It's scary to actually think about this, but I'm getting good at facing fears so here goes (in no particular order):

1. He will be a Godly man
2. He will be kind and generous
3. Must love dogs and kids
4. Will feel a need to participate in community...I want someone who will share my desire to give back through charities, church or volunteer work. I think you have to pay it forward.
5. He'll dream big and work hard
6. He'll accept Cole as a part of his life and love him
7. Non Couch Potato
8. Love to travel
9. He will get my sometimes crazy sense of humor
10. He will respect my need for alone time
11. He won't let me run over him...sometimes I need to be told I'm wrong
12. He will be my partner who won't run away or shut down when things get rough
13. He will develop hobbies with me
14. He'll know how to deal with my sometimes difficult personality
15. He'll understand that I'm always striving to be better or do better and feel the same
16. He will be a good male role model for Cole
17. It would be nice if sometimes he knew what I needed before I did.
18. He'll pray with me
19. Affectionate
20. Not a slob ppllleeeaaassee
21. He will blend in with my family and friends
22. He’ll go to church with me
23. Love music
24. He will fight comments that can't be taken back or are just hurtful for the sake of being hurtful
25. If I've done something wrong- he'll tell me and give me the opportunity to plead my case, apologize or say I was wrong. No silent treatments please.
26. He'll think I'm fabulous even when I've lost it, burned dinner, had a bad hair day or am a wreck
27. He'll let me cry and realize that sometimes I just need to cry
28. He will know that I'm really not that tough
29. He will be my best friend. The first person I want to talk to everyday and the last person I want to talk to at night. The person I want to talk to about something good or bad... He'll work with me constantly on renewing our relationship.
30. He will read to me... and read actual books in general
31. Didn't think I would ever actually admit this- but I want a man to take charge sometimes. I'm tired of being in charge...
32. Great sense of humor and a great laugh
33. He will appreciate me. I try really hard in a relationship
34. He will forgive me for being hard on myself and the people I love
35. He won't be critical of me
36. It will be a true partnership…not just a relationship. There’s a difference
37. He'll love to live life

So I guess that's a pretty tall order after a week of thinking about it? I could probably come up with 30+ more qualifications, but I think those are the big ones. I guess now the list goes down in history and as I muddle through life I'll know when I meet someone that has what I'm looking for.

There's a movie entitled Meet Joe Black that I really like. Most people thought it was lame.. and at times it was. But there's a line in it that I love.. that I think sort of sums up good relationships for me anyway. Joe is speaking to "Quince" the less than agressive son in law of Mr Bill Parish and Joe asks him about whether or not his wife loves him? Quince is confident of his wife's love and responds (choked up of course) with "Because she knows the worst thing about me and it's okay..."

No questions asked. Total and complete acceptance. Is that really possible?