Unconditional love…what a concept!

Hello dear reader.

It’s been a bit, I know.  Between headaches, CASA, and wedding plans, I’m sure you’ll excuse my absence.  Soooo, the day after tomorrow I will be a married woman.  I’m SO excited.  The last few weeks have been insane trying to make sure everything is set up and ready for Saturday.  I have worked my butt off!  Finally, everything is in place and ready and I can relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors.  I try to be  unpredictable when I write, but today I’m going to (predictably) talk about this man I’m going to marry and how much I love him.  

How do I know marrying him is the right thing to do, that it will work?  The really simple answer to that is that Tim and I have been to hell and back…a FEW times…and we still like each other.  Yes, I said LIKE.  I think like is even more important than love.  I have loved people that I didn’t like at all, and it was miserable.  We are best friends.  I look forward to spending time with him.  I laugh with him.  I tell him things I won’t tell most people, things you can only tell a very close friend.  Quick story – Not long ago, when Tim was between jobs, we were SO broke!  We were getting food from the church, were behind on ALL the bills, the bank account was overdrawn, and we didn’t know when any of that would change.  We were sitting together holding hands while watching the dogs playing and looking at a spectacular sunrise.  Both of us said, “I love our life!”  How crazy is that?  Logically we probably should have been completely stressed out.  But we both felt happy and contented just being together.  THAT’s how I know.

I’ve learned with Tim what love is supposed to be like.  He loves me simply for who I am.  He supports and encourages my dreams and aspirations.  He makes me feel smart and pretty.  He considers it his mission to make me laugh at  least once a day.  Okay, some of you are probably saying, “Okay, and the big deal is….?”  If so, you’re a very fortunate person. The big deal is I have never in my life had anyone love me like that, unconditionally and completely.  All the way back to my childhood, any love I got from anyone  was conditional.  I was loved if I did this or that and did it this way or that way.  I was loved only if I was willing to give up what I wanted and felt to do and feel what someone else wanted me to.  My dreams were to be a good mother or wife or daughter, to make someone else happy so that they would love me.  My aspirations were to do things well enough to earn someone’s love.  You know, I think that’s actually the core of it….I don’t have to earn Tim’s love.  He gives it to me…a gift, not as payment for something.  That is the big deal.  It’s something which was extremely difficult for me to learn to accept and trust.

I honestly think I’ve always tried to love that way, unconditionally.   I can’t say I’ve always been able to.  I’m not making excuses for that, but I have learned why I failed at it.  When two people give to each other freely and gladly, both of their hearts stay full because they’re being given at least as much as they are giving.  When one person is giving and the other is taking, the giver’s heart grows cold and empty eventually because there’s nothing to fill it up.  As I said, nobody ever gave me unconditional love, so there was nothing to keep my heart full and I eventually gave up. 

Don’t get me wrong…I’m nowhere near perfect,  I came into every relationship I’ve ever been in (besides the one with my parents) with a lot of my own baggage and misconceptions.  I had a horrible view of myself.  I thought I could never do or give enough to really deserve love from someone else.  I was only partially right.  I could never do enough to earn someone’s love.  All I can do is give my love freely and accept Tim’s love in return.  But I do deserve love.  It’s ironic when I think about it.  Only after I took the time to learn to love myself simply for who I was (am) was I able to trust and accept that anyone else could.

Okay, I’m getting mushy here.  But in less than 48 hours I will marry a wonderful, loving, compassionate, funny, giving, and VERY good looking man.  I think a little mushy is allowed,  :-}

Until next time…

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Please help

Hello dear reader.

Today I’m going to use my blog to ask for your help.  Any of you who know anything about me know how important the work CASA does is to me.  Children are given a voice they wouldn’t otherwise have, someone to be in their corner when he world as they know it has fallen off it’s axis, and someone to make sure they don’t simply fall through the cracks. In many cases, the CASA is the only stable thing in their lives during (and sometimes even after) the time their parents are getting treatment, therapy, or just trying to learn how to be a parent. The majority of work done by this incredible organization is done by volunteers, but there are still a lot of things that cost money, and that’s hard to come by in the best of times. I’m copying a letter I received today. It explains what’s happening and how you can help. Please. It’ll only take a moment of your time and it won’t cost you a dime. Children deserve to have someone on their side.

What’s Happening:

The CASA program has been called a model volunteer program for abused and neglected children. Volunteer advocates now work with over 230,000 children a year throughout the US. But this is only 35% of the children who need a volunteer. Federal funding has been the most significant source of support for reaching more children who urgently need our help.

Now, Federal funding for this crucial work is in serious jeopardy. Earlier this week the House of Representatives slashed millions of dollars from the authorized funding for CASA – recommending just $3.5 million for CASA advocacy in 2014. Next Tuesday, July 16, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to determine the 2014 funding level for the CASA program. This is our only chance to save funding for the CASA program. Thousands of abused and neglected children are at risk of losing the most trusted adult in their young lives. Your help is urgently needed!

What you can do:

First, see if your state, or the state of someone you know, is listed below:

State Senator to contact Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (Vice Chairman) Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski Arkansas Senator John Boozman and Senator Mark Pryor California Senator Dianne Feinstein Delaware Senator Chris Coons Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu Maine Senator Susan Collins Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (Chairwoman) New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy

Second, take these two easy steps immediately:

1. If your Senator is listed, email or call to urge him or her to appropriate the authorized funding level of $12 million for the CASA program. 2. Forward thisalert to your network of friends and colleagues in any of the states listed, and ask them to join you in taking immediate action for the children.

Here’s how to reach your senator:

Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/

Enter your zip code (only) and the site will take you directly to the contact information for your members of Congress. Click on the “Contact Form” for your senator, and it will link you directly to him/her, from where you can submit your request.

Here’s a Sample Message to send to Senate offices:

Please restore full funding of $12 million as authorized for the CASA program in the Violence Against Women Act.

In a Justice Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder on June 6, committee members noted that $6.9 billion— a full 25% of the Department of Justice budget proposal for FY 2014— is taken up for federal prisons. And the prison population is ever-increasing.

CASA advocacy is an important strategy in criminal prevention efforts. A study by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, has found that children who have been abused or neglected are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles. And foster youth are 30% more likely to become violent criminals as adults.

The Department of Justice has recognized the CASA model as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program. More than 400,000 children still need CASA advocates to protect their safety and bring stability into their futures.

With the continued rise in the prison population, and its impact upon society, restoring funding for the CASA program is neither controversial nor debatable. It is a proven solution to bring stability into vulnerable children’s lives, and to prevent far more costly consequences for their futures and that of society.

Thank you for your attention and support to this critical issue!

Your name Your Address Your City/State/Zip Your email

Thank you! If you have questions, contact carmelaw@casaforchildren.org

If you’re taking the time to do this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you’d like to know more about what CASA does, I have a post entitled “What is a CASA?” which will tell you from a volunteer’s perspective, or you can follow this link to the CASA organization itself… http://www.casaforchildren.org.

Thank you again.

Until next time…

About Me

Since we’re going to be spending quite a bit of time together, I believe it’s only fair for you to know a little bit about me.  I want to tell you about the person I am now. The story of how I got here will come later and in bite-sized pieces.

I am 48 years old and live in (I believe) the most beautiful place in the world.  It’s an old mining town in the Rocky Mountains with a population of around 1500.  I’ve lived here for about nine years now and I’m still constantly amazed at how incredible it is.  I have four children, two boys and two girls, who are all grown.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss them.  I also have five wonderful grandchildren.

I am engaged to the love of my life. I’ve had other loves, but nothing like this. We’re getting married the end of July, so look forward to lots of pictures!  The story of how he proposed to me is one that I promise to tell.

I have a fairly rare genetic disorder called Arnold Chiari Malformation.   You can follow this link to learn more about the disorder:  What is Chiari Malformation.
I’ve had five operations on my head so far.  The chronic pain, as well as other issues from the disorder, have left me disabled.  I was 40 years old when I was finally diagnosed.  I was told that I was crazy, that I was under too much stress, and that I should take peaceful walks and long baths and I would be fine for 40 years while my brain stem was being pinched off. 

Because of the Chiari, there are days that I simply can’t function.  That makes it impossible for me to hold a job.  That does not, however, keep me from doing fulfilling things with my life.  I do volunteer work.  I volunteer as a CASA .   You can follow this link to learn about that:   What is CASA .   The church I attend serves meals to the community five days a week and I cook there. We serve an average of 50 people a day.

I love to do “crafty” things like crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, and knitting.  I adore reading and listening to audio-books,  but I have to confess that writing is my true passion.   I’ve been writing ever since I can remember…stories, poems, and journals.

So there’s the brief version of who Lynnette is.  I’d love to know a little about you as well.  Feel free to tell me about yourself and/or ask any questions you’d like about me.

Until tomorrow-