It's official! At 4:30 this afternoon in a simple, lovely ceremony I became Mrs John Harris. Today is the first day of our new life together!

We are having a wonderful time! There will be pictures to share when we get home :-)

Please note that my email address/messenger address is changing. From now on you can reach me at

This is It!

Today's the day we leave on our trip to east Texas! In just a few more hours we'll both be off work and on the road. It's hard to say which of us is more excited, we both are! In just three more days we'll be getting married. WOW! It seems like we've been waiting such a long time to get to this point. It feels like we've already known each other forever, maybe on a spiritual plane we have.

Many years ago my mother once visited a fortune teller. One of the things she asked was if I would ever be happy. The fortune teller told her that I would, but not in a way that she (my mother) would understand. That prediction has remained in the back of my mind for years. Maybe at long last it is making sense. While there have been moments and periods of happiness in my life, they have been short-lived and overshadowed by times of great darkness and struggle. Those brief periods of happiness felt nothing like this. This is the real thing... a sense of contentment with life, and with the love of my life, that transcends the daily ups and downs. The joy of laughter shared, the warmth of closeness desired, someone to talk to and listen to and share with... someone who truly cares. My mother didn't have this kind of marriage, her life wasn't very happy, so maybe she wouldn't truly understand the sense of peace and belonging I have now, but I'm certain that she is also smiling down from heaven as at long last she sees my life going in a positive direction and that I am no longer struggling on my own.

I have no doubts about marrying John, not one, nor about my future with him. Our meeting was part of God's plan, we are right for each other and we belong together. As the saying goes... "No Fear", just total awe, total joy, and an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for how God has blessed me!

Our laptops are packed, and we'll be checking in from the road. Thank you all for your wonderful words of support. I appreciate you more than you know!

Miscellaneous Bits of Life

We are now a two-cat family! We rescued Sophie from the SPCA shelter two weeks ago, and she joins Emily that we adopted when I moved here. Sophie looks much like a smaller version of Emily who is a full blood Maine Coon cat. (Emily is with me in the sidebar photo.) Sophie is of mixed parentage - her fur is shorter, as are her legs and tail, but she has the beautiful Maine Coon markings, coloring, and round green eyes, and most definitely the gentle, affectionate personality they are known for. Emily and Sophie are the same age - almost 5, but Sophie is smaller so looks as if she is a younger sister. Both kittys are the sweetest furkids imaginable and they adore John. After spending a year in an apartment where pets were banned, it is a precious luxury for me to again have furry children... and furry furniture, carpeting and clothing to match! :-)
My job is going great. My supervisor and I are very similar in personality and work ethics, and she has been wonderfully supportive and flexible. The boss and other staff are all friendly and I am fitting in nicely. One evening last week as I was heading thru the parts warehouse on my way to the car at the end of day, one of the younger parts department men called out to me. When I turned, he handed me a a cold beer and an invitation to visit a bit with some of the others who were unwinding after a very busy day. It felt great to be included, and the beer was exactly what the day called for. I called John as I left, and by the time I got home he had ribeye steaks on the grill and corn in the microwave for our supper. It just doesn't get any better than that!
My allergies are under control, for the most part, these days. I am finding that I can indulge in the occasional beer or piece of chocolate, etc. without experiencing the hives and asthmatic reactions I was six months ago. There are still some triggers that I've yet to pin down, but overall I am feeling much better and not so restricted. My blood pressure also stays in the low/normal range without medication. I think that says it all about the level of stress I was experiencing before.
I really love living in Odessa! Being in a larger city that has all the amenities after living in a town that offered so few options in the way of shopping, restaurants, doctors, and entertainment is really fun. Odessa is easy to get around in, and much to John's humor I prefer to take the longer "loop" route around the city coming home from work at night, because the drive is more relaxing than playing bumper cars with the traffic and multiple stoplights on the more direct route. I actually get home just as fast, and I love flying down the Interstate enroute, letting the issues of the day dissolve in the music blasting from the stereo. :-)
All five of our grown children are doing really well in their lives, and are accepting and approving of our marriage plans, including the one who had some initial reservations. That really is a blessing, since we are marrying into each other's families and certainly neither of us wants to be the cause of friction between parent and child. My father is also approving of John, though being typically Dad had to state that he "hopes I know what I'm doing this time." Thanks for the vote of confidence Dad.
A final piece of the puzzle in the breakdown of my last marriage came to light recently. I learned that my ex was doing "ice" during that final year, which explains the extremely erratic behavior and large sums of disappearing money. It also explains the rapid weight loss after I left him. I guess deep down I knew that had to be the case, but even now it hurts my heart to know that he would do something so self-destructive. His fiance (though they don't intend to legally marry) is a good person and loves him very much. I hope that his choices and priorities don't drive her away too.
There is not a day that I don't reflect back on what life with my ex was like, and how very blessed I am to now be in a totally different environment and relationship... one which nurtures and comforts and brings joy instead of sorrow. If there was a purpose to experiencing the suffering and struggles that I thru the years, I can only believe that it was to help me realize and appreciate how very good I have it now. I know that I have mellowed thru the years, the rough edges having been worn down, and John says the same is true of him. Maybe it took all that we have gone thru to make us ready and right for each other, and in that case it was worth it.
Well, I know there are more things I want to share, and I'll probably remember them at about 2:30 AM as I am prone to do. I'll try to return more often with updates and tales of our lives here. Tonight my goal is to get to bed at a reasonable time so that I can enjoy Friday and the weekend ahead. It's county fair time here so a fun outing is definitely in the works. Don't laugh people, this is West Texas and it's a good way of life!

More To Come...

Once again I've run out of time for blogging. The evenings disappear too fast! I'll be back tomorrow night to update you on all the miscellaneous details of my new life in Texas. At the moment, there's a pair of beautiful blue Scottish/Irish eyes smiling at me, and it's time to go. :-)

Wedding Bells!

YES! It's really happening! On Tuesday, September 23rd at 1 PM in the afternoon I will officially become Mrs. John Harris in a simple, intimate ceremony for just the two of us at Delta Street Inn, a B&B in Jefferson, Texas. It's the perfect romantic setting for our wedding/honeymoon! You can check it out from the link, and also read all the great reviews.

We're both taking a week off from work with the blessings of our employers, and will leave on Saturday afternoon Sept. 20th. Jefferson, a charming historic town that John has visited in the past, is about 500 miles from here. Enroute we will stop to visit his daughter and two grandchildren who recently relocated in East Texas, and his older sister. On the way home we we'll spend a day with his 89 year old great aunt who is still independent, mentally sharp, and his number one fan. I can't wait to hear stories from his growing-up years! We'll also take a trip to nearby Caddo Lake, where we had originally planned to go fishing (and alligator watching) last spring, and spend a day and night in Shreveport, LA. It all sounds awesome!

Just 19 more days AND COUNTING DOWN! We are both excited beyond words to be officially getting married, and more than anything are looking forward to having a whole week of time together to relax and play without being surrounded by projects needing to be done!

I've known John for eight months now, and we've been engaged for most of that time. Amazingly, NOT ONCE have I questioned his love, the depth of his commitment, or my desire to join my life with his. He is everything I never had before, and everything I've always dreamed of. We've already weathered some scary times, such as John's heart attack, and it's brought us even closer together. We've also survived the adjustment period of merging lives and being together 24/7 at 50+ years of age with all the experience and baggage that comes with it. Strong-minded and strong-willed as we both are, we are also amazingly compatible. One of the many things I love about John is that he wants to spend his time with me. We always enjoy each other's company, have fun when we are together, and miss each other when we are apart. I cherish and respect everything about him, and I know that God has blessed me with one of His very best! I think John's ended up with a pretty good woman too, and so does he! :-)

Photos will be taken at our wedding and of course I'll be posting them so that you'll be able to share a bit of the joy this day is certain to hold. I believe in "Happily Ever After!" :-)

Free at Last!

On Friday noon, August 22nd, I placed a phone call to the US Bankruptcy Court after trying for over two weeks to get a status report on our case from my attorney's office. It had been a month since our last meeting with the bankruptcy trustee, and I was anxious to hear when the judge would rule on our case. I cannot begin to describe the feelings of relief and elation that washed over me when the bankruptcy clerk informed me that our case had been reviewed by the judge the previous day and was discharged under Chapter 7 as we had hoped and prayed for. After nineteen tortuous months of waiting, jumping thru hoops, and waiting some more... OVER, DONE, FREE AT LAST! My next phone call was to my ex, then I called John, and my father, all of whom rejoiced with me. Then I returned to work to share the good news with them as well.

That night the celebration continued as John and I travelled to Hobbs to attend the annual banquet from my former place of employment at the invitation of my ex-boss and the Board of Directors. Everyone was delighted to see me, and eager to meet John. I was so proud of him, amd loved this opportunity to show him off! It was a really fun time! My boss had kind words for me both during the program and talking with us, and a long-time Board Member and dear friend specifically told John how glad she was that he had come into my life. Several people noted how happy I looked, and at long last we were able to announce our pending marriage!

Finally I am free of the financial ties that bound me to my ex, and I can "cut the cord" and move on into this new chapter of my life... a life with John... a happy life... a life of peace and contentment! To those who listened patiently as I struggled, who encouraged me, and who prayed for me, I am forever grateful.

At times I really began to wonder if the nightmare would ever end, or if it would destroy my sanity in the process. I had nearly given up hope that it could be resolved as a Chapter 7, rather than the dreaded Chapter 13 with five years of payments and trustee supervision. But with God all things are indeed possible, and once again my prayers have been answered with amazing love!

I'm Back!

Well, kinda sorta anyway. It's been a couple months since I last posted here and I know that some of you are wondering what's happened to me. Life has been BUSY! While I do manage to fit in a little blog reading most days, I haven't had a whole lot of time to write out my thoughts.

What I have come to realize is that prior to meeting John, this blog and my blogging friends were a powerful source of support to me... the only place I felt safe to be myself. I seriously doubt that I would have survived last year without your caring and encouragement. John has now taken over the role of confidant and number one supporter in my life. There is nothing I can't share with him, and that's a wonderful new experience! We spend what limited free time we have together by choice. Thus, I won't promise to be regular in my posting here, but I will continue to update from time to time as the spirit moves me.

Three months have passed since I moved to Texas and I have plenty of happy news to share, but John is waking up now and we have several tasks to accomplish today. I'll try to write more within the next day or so. I think of each of you often and hope that good things are happening in your lives as well!

Sunday Update

Here we are, coming down to the end of my first month in Texas. What a crazy month it's been!

Getting things organized in our new home has proven to be a much slower process than we anticipated, partly due to John's hospitalization and a couple weeks of recovery, but also to us both working long hours with short evenings and weekends, and not enough energy remaining to accomplish a great deal. Yet little by little another box gets unpacked, another piece of furniture gets put in place, and with time we will find our way out of the chaos and into an organized living space.

My daughter and son-in-law visited for a few days this week and helped out a great deal, moving some heavy furniture from John's old house and even cleaning up our yard, removing a mountain of weeds and years of trash along the back fence, installing an outdoor faucet and planting a couple beautiful trees.

Work has been interesting. I love how easy my job is, and I am proud of how well I've adapted to a new place and new ways of doing things. Going from being in a supervisory/management position to worker bee at the bottom of the totem pole has been a great exercise in humility and accepting the lessons God has for us in life. I work much harder and steadier than I did before, but it is wonderful to not feel stressed out every day. It is nice to be valued. The people I work with are warm and friendly and I already feel comfortable there. The only drawback is a cold war between my supervisor and the A/P person both of whom share space with me in our large office. Their relationship ranges from heated to icy. Both have an intense dislike for each other with some validity on both sides, but largely due to the immaturity and lack of respect on the part of the A/P person. I find myself in the role as somewhat of a buffer between them but am not particularly happy about it, and intend to address that this coming week. The last thing I want to do is get sucked into office politics, there was way too much of that nonsense where I worked before. Both my workplace and John's will be closed on the 4th & 5th, so it will be a short work week with a nice three-day weekend to enjoy.

The next bankruptcy meeting, this time with the Chapter 7 Trustee that we started out with originally (who strongly dislikes both my ex and my attorney and is bitch with a capital B), is scheduled for Thursday, July 16th in Roswell. This one cannot be done by teleconference or video conference, so I will need to travel 200 miles both ways to attend what amounts to less than a 30 minute meeting. That is so damn frustrating, but if it will bring us one step closer to conclusion of this mess, it is good. At that time we may find out if our case can revert to Chapter 7 as petitioned by our attorney. The necessary paperwork has been filed, I think. You note I use the words "may" and "I think" because I've learned that nothing is certain when it comes to the trustee's office and my attorney's office. There is no option but to play their game, so I try not to stress about it in advance, but it is hard. Maybe, after 18 months, this thing might eventually move toward conclusion. That would be a tremendous relief in my life!

Last evening we sat watching a rented movie with the lights down and the window open, enjoying the wonderful sounds and smells of rain. The drought is severe here and rain is a real blessing after so many days of intense heat. This morning it is still cool and gray with the possibility of more showers throughout the day. We are loving it! We want to get some flowers planted in the boxes my daughter built for the new trees.

Yesterday my son-in-law's dad, who is an electrical engineer, was able to quickly resolve the electrical problems with our stove, so today it will get a good cleaning and finally be put into service. One gets tired of crockpot/fryingpan/microwave cooking, and we have eaten out more than we should. The ant invasion is also under control with very few now roaming across counters to be enticed by our ant bait. I've never had an infestation like that before - tiny dead ants everywhere!

This past week I became an official card-carrying Texan, as I transferred my car's title and registration (for the ridiculous cost of nearly $200), and obtained my Texas driver's license. Add to that a Sam's Club card and Blockbuster card and I am up and running here. :-) I really like Odessa and having close access to all the amenities that I didn't have the past twenty years in Hobbitville. Getting around the city is easy, and it is fun checking out new areas and trying out new places. Last Saturday we went to Osaka's Japanese restaurant and totally enjoyed ourselves and having our food cooked at our table with the full show. It was delicious!

Emily, our cat, is spoiled rotten! My daughter made a little window seat just for her, which she loves, and when we are home she is curled up in our laps, or next to us if she must, though she would prefer we get rid of our laptops. :-) She adores John and will lovingly place her head on his belly and reach up touch his face. It is too sweet for words. Of course she knows me as the food source and races to her bowl when I get home from work, as if I could forget that it's time for Fancy Feast. :-)

I apologize for not posting more often these days. Life keeps me busy and what free time there is I spend with John. The time when blogging was my life seems a distant memory now. The friends I made here got me thru that lonely, dark period and that means everything to me. Now is a time for living, for enjoying the blessings of companionship, the fun and adventure of new experiences, and the beauty of rain showers and full moon's shared. Life doesn't stand still, and if we get stuck in one place or way of doing things for two long we tend to stagnate. It is wonderful to be active again, to feel alive and loved and to have someone there to share both the happy times and the hard times with. I will check in now and then to let you know how things are going. I do keep up with your blogs and lives as much as time allows. Know that you are always in my prayers, and that I wish each of the sense of contentment that I have at long last found.

Weekend Come and Gone

It was a good weekend. I didn't think that I would like working on Saturday mornings, but as it turned out the shop is not very busy and everyone is laid back. I spent some time visiting with our General Manager who is probably around my age and grew up about 30 miles from Hobbs. He is super-friendly. One of his interesting questions was "What is your current battle?" As he noted, everyone has battles their are fighting in their lives. I told him my current battles are dealing with the ongoing bankruptcy nightmare and trying to get a hold on organizing the moving chaos of our house. Other than that, life is very good.

Speaking of stressful issues, something very interesting is happening. A few years ago I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and started on medication. Although various doctors have switched the medication from time to time since then, they have each worked very well for me and were able to keep my blood pressure under control despite the extreme stress I have endured the past couple years. But, since I've met John and moved to Odessa, changed jobs, and lost weight, I am down to taking one half of the prescribed medication and even that amount often puts my top bp number under 100, which is actually too low and makes me shaky and tired. After today, I will try taking that amount every other day and then weaning off it completely if my numbers stay down. I check them often, as does John, so I'm doing this carefully. Is it possible that the high blood pressure was primarily due to the incredible amount of stress in my life due to living with the ex and dealing with the politics at work? Maybe so!

After John got off work on Saturday we decided to eat at Cracker Barrel in Midland, then went to the movie "The Happening." It was surprisingly good. It is always refreshing when a story is based on some original and creative thinking. At a couple points the suspense and action were enough to make us jump in our seats, and there was enough romance to soften the plot. No over the top language or sex, though plenty of graphic horror. Anyway, we both liked it and felt that our "Senior ticket" dollars were well spent.

Yesterday we went to church. The brother of John's deceased wife preaches at a small Southern Baptist church north of town. We decided to go there. He was pleased to see us. Both he and his wife have been very welcoming regarding my relationship with John. So is his wife's mother. I know they are all glad to see him happy, no one who cares about him wanted him to be alone. It was a good service. I enjoy the simplicity compared to the ritual formality that I grew up with in the Lutheran church. Less pomp and circumstance, more down-to-earth substance. Brother Wayne did a great job on the sermon which was based on the story of the Prodigal Son. He explored some interesting related concepts that I haven't heard before. I love to listen to someone of intelligence and thought speak. I know they are doing a good job of communicating if my mind doesn't wonder off, cuz it does that easily. John had his arm around me during the entire service and sitting beside him I feel protected and loved. It's the best! So is his singing. He has an amazingly beautiful voice that is perfectly on key and I love to just close my eyes and listen. Church is a good way to start the week. I need to do it more. Since the service doesn't start until 10:45, there is plenty of time to sleep in if we stay up late on Saturday night, which we did.

After church we went to Texas Roadhouse for Sunday dinner, then came home to enjoy a nice nap, which was interrupted by three well meaning callers. Sigh. John is less sore daily and his energy level is returning. He has noticed that he can breathe much easier than before, and we realize the blocked artery has probably been creating problems for him for some time.

At suppertime we met John's daughter and the grandkids at the deli for a light Father's Day meal. It was totally enjoyable. Both kids are so friendly and affectionate and C. and I have become very close. It looks like they may soon be moving to Lancaster, Texas which makes us all sad, but will probably be good for their family, since her husband is a trucker and they would have much more time together as a family if they lived close to his terminal. Right now he only gets home once or twice a month 'cuz they need the money made by him staying on the road. I hope it works out for them, I will miss them.

By the time we got home there was only a few hours left before bedtime, got a little laundry done and things organized for today. Both of us had too much iced tea yesterday and were caffeined out, so that coupled with facing the stresses of Monday didn't make for great sleep. We started this day out tired.

I've already been out to the grocery store, and to John's old house to pick up a couple things he needed. I've got supper started in the crock pot and as soon as I get the dishes done I'll be on the road and headed to New Mexico to the blessed Bankruptcy video conference with the judge. Pray for me! I am not looking forward to this time with my ex. His stress and negativity are contagious and I don't need it. I am not looking forward to another trip to Hobbs and back. But... it has to be done, so it shall be. God willing, I will be back home by suppertime or shortly thereafter and will have something to report here. I am trying hard to "breathe" and stay in a positive frame of mind, Iknow this is essential for good things to happen. I see it working in my life. It is sad that I have spent so much of my past swallowed up by negativity. What is supposed to be, will be, and life will go forward. I am blessed, and I am reminded of that every morning when I look into John's beautiful smiling eyes!

A Good Friday

It's been a good day even if it is Friday the 13th. Actually, 13 has always been a good number for me. Several of the people at my new job pool their money to play the Texas lottery twice a week. Needless to say, I joined in 'cuz I would shoot myself if they won and I didn't participate!

Tomorrow I run the office alone from 8-12. Since that's overtime it's like working a half-day and getting paid for a full day. Lord knows I can use the money since my new salary is low. I am catching on to the people and the routines. Actually, the transition hasn't been nearly as stressful as I anticipated. With most job changes it takes a full month before you feel like you even have a clue about what you're doing.

Papa Bear is doing great, and his job is a tiring one that keeps him jumping all day. Living only a quarter mile from where he works now, he is able to come home and relax during lunch. It helps. On Saturdays' he works from 9-3. When he gets off we'll go out to eat and maybe to a movie or something. Saturday is our official "date night". :-)

I was very relieved to find out today that my attorney succeeded at getting the bankruptcy video conference relocated to Hobbs. I had complained loud and long about us all (including him) needing to drive the extra 100 miles to Roswell just to spend 20 minutes in front of a camera and tv talking with the judge in Albuquerque. He was able to get it set up at the college in Hobbs, which means I only have to drive 100 miles instead of 200. Hallelujah! It's also nice for the ex, since he will be coming in from work early that morning and has to go to work again that evening. I called him tonight to tell him about the change. He was grumpy. I definitely don't miss dealing with that on a daily basis. I so hope I won't have to deal with him in the bankruptcy for the next 4 1/2 years. His girlfriend/fiancee is much nicer and friendlier. As Papa Bear said after meeting her, "She deserves better", and she does. Living with him isn't easy.

Now I'm going to shut down and watch a little tv with Papa Bear and Emily. She is most happy when she is snuggled up in his lap or next to him on the sofa. We just couldn't have gotten a better cat. She is so affectionate and well-behaved! I will take pictures to post once I find my camera and we get settled in here.

I can't help but reflect daily on all the blessings in my life lately - wonderful man, adorable cat, good job, pretty home, and above all... a warm, loving relationship and home environment. It is PEACEFUL! We communicate, we laugh, we enjoy each other's company. Now if we could just get the wall outlet repaired so the range works, and the ant invasion under control, life will be really great! Hey, nothing is ever perfect, but I can handle these minor annoyances with grace. Living as I have in other chapters of my life, I deeply appreciate what I have!

Settling In

Papa Bear returned to work today and it went well, though he was tired by the end of day. From now on the young guys in the shop will do the heavy lifting. He's worked there for 27 years and has been General Manager for the last fifteen so he's earned the right to do a bit more directing from the counter and less hands-on hauling. He has nothing to prove. Thankfully, the owner of the business is totally supportive and insisting on this. The catheter site in his groin for the angio/stent placement is still sore and has a pretty good knot so we won't do too much walking for a few days yet, but he has definitely regained his spirit and has been downright feisty tonite, which is nice to see.

When we left work at 6 PM, it was over 105 degrees outside! It is supposed to remain over 100 for the whole week. My office is kept very cool, so it's like stepping out into an oven when I leave. I hate the heat, it's draining. Already I am looking forward to fall weather, which doesn't happen until the end of September. :-(

Today I had lunch with Papa Bear's youngest daughter (33) who lives here in Odessa and works at a dealership a few miles from where I do. We both enjoy our time together and always have more to share than we can fit into an hour. Her mom died suddenly seven years ago, and she has welcomed me into her life and her father's. Her daughter graduates from 6th grade next week, and we will have a dinner out to celebrate with her. I am totally enjoying having an adopted family. All six of Papa Bear's grandkids are awesome!

Work is rapidly becoming a comfortable environment as the other staff get to know me a little better and see past my "old woman" image. Several stopped by the office to visit a little today, especially from 5-6 when things are winding down. It was nice. Last night the three young women who work there went out partying with a couple of the guys in back. Needless to say, it got late and a little too much drinking took place resulting in four of them not making it into work today, which did not go over well with their supervisors. The clerk in my office showed up, but was obviously suffering after effects. Ahh, I remember being young and dumb like that. I partied hard with coworkers when I worked at a bottling company in El Paso 20 year ago. But I did manage to always make it to work, and most often our partying took place on the weekend. Now it's a rare night when I am up late and drinking is not on the agenda 'cuz alcohol makes me achy and I'm allergic to beer.

I am glad to report that the necessary changes in my diet to accommodate the allergy issues (like no daily chocolate), much less snacking, and being more active in preparing the new house and facilitating the move, has enabled me to loose a total of 35 pounds now and keep it off! Of course there is much more to go, but it's a great start and improves my morale. I haven't been down this far in over ten years. All my pants fit like baggy clown clothes, but I refuse to spend money on new ones until I'm down to a healthier size.

Time to get the sheets out of the dryer and on the bed. Yes, I am finally starting to work on the laundry mountain. Little by little, life is falling into place for us. I can't begin to tell you how nice it is to be living here and not doing the weekly commute between Hobbs and Odessa. This is home now, and I'm happy. I can't help but smile when I think about how my life has undergone such an amazing transformation in the last six months! I have MUCH to be thankful for!

The New Girl

Being a new employee is a strange experience. How often we went thru the process of training/adapting to new receptionists as my previous job. Now I'm the new girl who has to learn the ropes! I find myself enjoying the challenge of learning to do knew things, and in this job the learning is very much "hands on", meaning I've been doing it since day one with a very short learning curve. I am pleased with how well I've handled it so far.

WT Peterbilt is seven miles from home. The drive takes 15-20 minutes depending on traffic and the time of day. Once again I've been blessed... my supervisor asked me last week if I'd mind changing my work hours to 9-6. The big boss requested me to staff the office from 5-6 PM to handle phone calls, process credit card payments for the parts & service departments, etc. Ordinarily I would hate working that late in the evening BUT, John works 9-6 so it's perfect! We can stay up late and sleep in a little later in the AM. The last hour is pretty quiet since I'm alone in the office so it's a nice time to downwind from the very hectic pace of the day. I'll also be running the office alone from 8-12 on three Saturdays a month. That will help my paycheck since it's all overtime. My supervisor ok'd me taking off on the one Saturday a month that John has off, so we will have that too look forward to, and can plan something fun for that weekend.

The phone system has 13 lines, which keeps me really busy! Thankfully, they are rarely all going at once, and there are a couple other people who will answer them if too many are ringing at one time. Amazingly, I have not answered the phone with "LEADERS" one time! I have also been occupied this week sorting and filing a mountain of paperwork that goes back to February! We are talking stacks of invoices, etc. I can honestly say that keeping so busy makes the day go fast, and I find myself liking the simple production-oriented nature of the job - very low stress!

My lunch hour has also been changed. Now it's 1-2 PM to match John's, and it's so much nicer to get in somewhere to eat at that time instead of during the noon hour rush. It also makes the afternoon feel shorter.

Oh, for those of you who know are aware of my frequent potty trips due to my ever present bottle of water, the restroom is conveniently located one door down the hallway from our office. :-)

I work with approximately 20 men including the boss, sales people, service people, mechanics, etc. and five women, two of which are about my age (my supervisor and the new truck sales person). The other three are young, and pretty much still in the party stage of life. Thus, their work ethic and conduct leaves much to be desired, but thankfully it's not my problem. I remember being that way long, long ago too. Though I can honestly say that I was raised in a different time where doing the job and doing what the boss wanted was expected. If you didn't, you got fired. I think things were simpler and worked better that way!

I much prefer working in a predominantly male environment, as I also did when I worked for a bottling company in El Paso 2o years ago. Women, especially in larger numbers tend to create much drama in the workplace. Everyone at the new place, men and women alike, have been very welcoming and friendly. I have only worked there a total of five days and already feel comfortable. The casual dress code (pants and tops) also suits me well. I do not do the Barbie dress-up thing and would be miserable in a job that required it.

My supervisor and I clicked immediately when I came for my initial interview. It is the only job I interviewed for and she offered me the position ten minutes into it. Then we sat and talked for nearly an hour about everything else in life! Her background is somewhat similar to mine, especially in the realm of previous marriage experiences, and we see very much eye to eye on work ethics and how an office should be run. She is very pleased to have someone mature and responsible in the office and I'm delighted to be in a place where I am valued!

When the younger wild-child AP clerk is in the office my supervisor remains relatively quiet, but when the clerk goes to lunch, the gabfest begins! Today's topic of discussion was our previous relationships, finding someone new, and how hard it is to trust. She has met John briefly and was immediately impressed. Needless to say, she was very surprised when she learned we met online. Here experiences there are typical, and not good. I know how blessed I am to have found the "one-in-a-million" guy. I am just now beginning to believe that he IS real. I have no doubts about my decision to join him here, and no fears about our future together.

Speaking of which, next Monday I travel 200 miles to Roswell to listen to the bankruptcy judge tell via video conference if he is going to accept the Ch 13 Plan or return our case to Ch 7 court. So much rides on this decision, primarily whether I will be able to marry John soon or will have to wait 4 1/2 years to make it legal. I fear the outcome will be the latter, and I know I will cry if that happens, but I also believe in miracles and God could yet have one more in store for me. It feels so unfair to be punished more after enduring the punishment of the last ten years with my ex. Yes, I brought that on myself, I know that. I should have left much sooner. But I can say I gave it all I had. I would appreciate your prayers, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Time to shut down our respective laptops here. Going to make it an early night. John returns to work tomorrow, and it will be a tiring day for him. He is doing great though, has been out and around town running errands and such, and hey... he even helps with supper. That's a first in my life!! :-)

I know you'd all like to see pictures of my new life, house, cat, etc. but I have no idea which of the many boxes my digital camera is in. I promise they will come in time! I figure I should sort my way thru the mess by about 2010! :-)

The Best Laid Plans

Finally I have the time and energy to sit down and blog a bit about what's been happening in my life since the end of May. It is said that we are often "busy making plans while God has other plans" for our lives. That was certainly proven to be true this past week!

A week ago Saturday, May 31st, John came up to Hobbs to help me finish packing. We stayed there overnight and on Sunday he loaded the truck, fitting in boxes like a jigsaw puzzle, in the 110 degree heat while I cleaned and scrubbed the apartment. When we finally got to Odessa we were exhausted from the effort so we decided to leave everything in the truck, since there is a locking bed cover, planning to unload it in a day or two. Little did we know that a week would pass before that would actually happen.

I started my new job the following day and it really went very well, not nearly as scary or intimidating as I expected. There are 13 phone lines so it is BUSY, but other staff do pick up the phone if many calls are coming in at once, so I didn't feel overwhelmed and quickly began learning, names, faces, extensions, etc. My new supervisor and I see things very much alike and communicate on a good level, which makes it so much easier. She sits at a desk behind me in our large office and an A/P clerk sits at the long counter beside me. We are enclosed with glass windows and everything is shiny clean.

Tuesday I had been at work for just a short while when I received a call from John... You may remember me mentioning a bad shoulder injury he sustained while we were painting ceilings at the new house a couple months ago. The pain under his left shoulder blade had been so severe that he ended sitting up in a chair to sleep for nearly a week, but finally it improved. Shortly after that the index finger of his left hand became very cold (I mean like dead cold) and stayed that way for a couple weeks. It was eerie. He thought perhaps it might be arthritis cutting down the blood supply. Then the coldness left that finger and moved two fingers down, and finally into just his pinkie finger. A week ago Friday he noticed a little discoloration at the end of his pinkie and also that it wasn't filling up with blood properly, taking too long. So finally he agreed to make a doctor appointment.

He went to the appointment on Tuesday morning, dressed for work and expecting to head there shortly. Instead, the doctor looked at his finger, called a pulmonary specialist, and sent him straight to the hospital to be admitted for testing. He called me to tell me that he was being admitted and I was as shocked as he was. That afternoon they did an EKG and a echo cardiogram. The doctor finally came into his room at 11 PM and told him that the EKG was abnormal and indicated that he had suffered a heart attack!! They scheduled a CT Scan and an angiogram for the next day to check for blocked arteries.

I called my new boss on Wednesday morning to tell her about the EKG results and notify her that I would be absent from work, since I needed to be with John at the hospital. She couldn't have been nicer or more understanding.

John's daughter here in Odessa took off work and his daughter that lives in Plainview drove down fast, arriving in his room (running actually) just as they were loading him onto the gurney for the angiogram. The nurse told us the procedure would take about30 minutes if there were no blockages, and about an hour if they found a blockage and needed to insert a stent. An hour and a half later we started getting restless, and by the time two hours passed we were worried.

Finally, he was brought out to recovery, alert and doing ok. We learned that the doctor had found one main artery to be 99.1% blocked! He worked for all that time to get the catheter thru that tiny remaining opening, about the size of a straight pin, so they could insert stents and not have to do a bypass. They got it! John said the nurse and doctor actually laughed with relief when they finally got thru the blockage and were able to place two stents end to end and get the artery fully open. Praise God!!

John came home on Friday afternoon and is doing well, though the catheter insertion site in his groin is still quite sore and he tires easily. He is limited to lifting no more than ten pounds for two weeks and can return to work on Thursday. My boss was amazing and let me take off the rest of last week to be at the hospital with him. That is so unusual considering I had only worked there two days when this happened!

As it turns out, the shoulder pain John was feeling two months ago, that he thought was an injury or a pinched nerve, was actually a heart attack! At the time he had been painting ceilings overhead, and this position puts the greatest strain on the heart. He never felt any chest pain, shortness of breath, or any of the classic heart attack symptoms. In fact he would not have gone to the doctor at all if it hadn't been for the cold finger, which they say is most likely caused by a blood clot that broke off from the damaged heart. Had this blood clot gone instead to his brain, it would have caused a stroke, had it gone to his heart, it would have killed him. We are praising God for the miracle of his life, and that he was present to celebrate his 55th birthday on Saturday! The story could have so easily ended much differently!

The pinkie finger will be ok, other blood vessels will take over more of the blood supply to it. John will be ok, though will need to observe the low salt/low fat diet that is heart healthy, and good for me as well. I knew that heart disease runs in John's family. Both his mother and his grandfather died at the age of 64. We have no idea how long his artery has been blocked, or in the process of becoming blocked. When we think about all the strenuous, heavy lifting he's done, and in extreme heat, in the past two months it was very emotionally overwhelming. It so easily could have been his last activity. But, Praise God, it wasn't! Thankfully, one other artery is only 30% blocked and not of concern to the cardiac surgeon, and the other two are clean.

So, everything went onto the back burner last week, and the many unpacked boxes remain stacked in the house. Last night I finally got around to unloading the truck. Laundry is piled high, and a good house cleaning is in order. Do I care? NO! I feel, and John feels, amazingly blessed. We have each other, and the future still looks bright! We will take it slow and easy.

Some people were concerned that I moved so quickly to Odessa and into John's life after meeting him. We believe that God wanted me to be here for him, and I am grateful that I could be. I knew I loved him deeply, but I didn't realize just how deeply until I realized how easily I could have lost him. Everyday our love grows. We share what we think, feel, believe, and hope for. It continues to be the kind of relationship I never dreamed was possible and I am blessed!

Also out of this difficult experience came another blessing. As you know, John's oldest daughter was none too happy about my presence in her father's life. She and I got to spend a lot of time together at the hospital this week, talking and sharing, and she also witnessed how much John and I love each other and care for each other. By the time she left we had reached a very comfortable level of communication and understanding, and I am so thankful for that.

One more short note before I close and we head out to the store for a few groceries. Emily, our adopted cat, is AWESOME! From the first day I picked her up, she has been nothing but sweet, gentle, social, and totally in love with John! I will post pictures of her soon - she is soft and beautiful! We couldn't be happier with her and apparently she feels the same way.

Oh, and I used the VISA gift card I received toward the purchase of a laptop, something I have wanted for a long time! Now John and I sit happily side by side on the reclining sofa, watching TV and playing on our respective laptops with email and such. Life is good, life is VERY GOOD!

Once again comes the reminder to never take one day of your life or relationships for granted. We never know from one moment to the next how long we will have each other. If you love someone, tell them... show them... now!


My last day of work at LEADERS on May 30th couldn't have been any nicer. The staff held a potluck luncheon for me, complete with decorations and many balloons in purple and lime green - so pretty! I was given a HUGE plant for the new house and several staff contributed to a sizable VISA gift card. The day was filled with hugs, happy memories, and a few tears.

It took the entire day to empty out my office. One collects a lot of stuff in 19 years! Shortly before 5 pm I polished the furniture, swept the floor, burned a little sage, and closed the door for the last time. My boss released the balloons outside... free... like me! After so many ups and downs there thru the years, I left with positive feelings and a sense of of completion, ready to move forward into the next chapter of my life.

Following is an email I received from the President of the Board of Directors. He served on the Board the entire time I was at LEADERS and his kind words meant a great deal to me.

"Wendy – I am sorry I will miss the going-away party for you this week. We are leaving for Houston this afternoon to see grandson play in a baseball tournament this weekend.

I truly admire and respect the work you have done for Leaders. You will be missed greatly by those who appreciate a really fine job by a dedicated and loyal employee. As far as I am concerned, you have always gone above and beyond the call of duty. Your work is professional, always, and never needs to be checked for accuracy. If it is given to Wendy, then it can be taken to the bank and put to bed. Employees of your caliber are from the “old school” and are not replaceable, as far as I am concerned. Please do not hesitate to use me as a reference any time you need one for anything. I will give you the highest recommendation I can offer.

I will miss you as a loyal employee and also as a friend that I can call upon. I wish you the best of luck in your new life in Odessa. You deserve only happiness and the best life has to offer. God bless you in all that you do. You are very special! "

Very sincerely, Gary M Beal, CIC