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Heather in Neverland

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Everything posted by Heather in Neverland

  1. I have one that commemorates a special moment in my life. I love it. I have not really thought too much about getting another one but I would if and idea for one really hit me. I think they can be beautiful and I have seen really awful ones, too. But I don't have a problem with them in general.
  2. Yes. Absolutely and, in fact, I think you should. We ALL should. How will we ever get to know each other, to better understand our differences so we can find ways to build bridges, if we refuse to befriend anyone who might not like something about our lives? Isn't that what we should be aiming for? Understanding? Friendship? Love for all mankind? Well, you have to get to know and become friends with all types of humans if you ever want to understand them. Refusing to be friends with someone who doesn't understand you or that you don't understand is just going to further isolate us all. It keeps the anger and the mistrust cycle going between factions of different kinds of people. My best friend is an atheist and thinks my deeply held religious convictions are looney and has said that to me. She is still my best friend because there's a million other things we love about each other. It's ok if she disagrees on this one thing. There are people, even on this board, who think international adoption is wrong. I've even been accused of perpetuating child trafficking because I adopted internationally, twice. I am still friends with people like that if for no other reason than to educate them and help them better understand my family so they can better understand other families like mine. It won't always work, but gosh, shouldn't we keep trying?
  3. I understand what you are saying. I do. But I want to offer another viewpoint. Mental illness and suicide are such difficult topics. I know about all the blogs fighting it out, some saying suicide is a choice, others saying it isn't. Some saying one who commits suicide is brave, others say that person is a coward. The truth is it is both and neither. It defies definition. I'm not sure if this will make sense but I will try to explain. On November 19, 1994, the first man I ever loved killed himself. He was severely bipolar, off and on medication. Usually refused to get help. I tried. So. Hard. I did. I spent three years talking him off the ledge. I begged, cajoled, threatened. I tried everything. In the end, my own mental health was in such an awful state from all of it that I made the decision to walk away. I broke up with him and his response was to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. The sticky thickness of shame and guilt was like wading through molasses. His family blamed me and wouldn't allow me at the funeral. They sent me death threats. I'm pretty sure I was drunk for most of the first year after his death. It took me FIVE YEARS before I could speak his name. I was so, very angry at him...angry at myself... angry at the world. I wrote him long letters he would never read railing against him for being such a "coward". I hated him, I missed him, I loved him. There were days I was even relieved it was over. Then I would feel so guilty for that thought that I would spiral back down again and have to start healing all over again. That thing they say about how time heals all pain is a lie. You just get a higher tolerance for pain. It took about 15 years before I had lifted myself far enough out of the pit of my own grief and guilt to be able to see his side of it. Suicide was something that had been happening to him for a while. Suicide happened. Suicide is still "happening" to me. I have to live with his death. It's not a choice he made. Its not a non-choice either. He was not "brave" in committing suicide but he also wasn't a coward. I truly do not believe that he sat down and made a rational decision to end his life. It was just the inevitable conclusion to a very long, sad story of a man who was very sick and no one in his life knew how to cure him. No one's fault. It is not "fair" to anyone. His suffering ended and my suffering began. Would I rather it be the other way around? Seriously. Nobody wins. I don't think it is even helpful to discuss suicide in terms of courage or cowardice. That is just our very human need to assign blame in a situation where no one is to blame. That's what we do when we are hurt and confused and angry. It makes us feel in control to be able to point out who is to blame. I know because I spent a very long time blaming him and then myself and then his parents and then his friends and then society. And on it went until I realized it's no one's fault. And that's why suicide sucks so bad. It is the most wretched, helpless, hopeless feeling for all involved. Sorry I'm rambling. This is such a difficult topic for me.
  4. The Malaysian equivalent of gators are monitor lizards. They only grow to about 5 or 6 feet but they are vicious when cornered. We see them everywhere since we live between an ocean and a jungle. One year a huge monitor lizard wandered into our cafeteria right in the middle of lunch. The screams could be heard for miles. :) My dh and his assistant caught it and put the little cutie back in the jungle.
  5. My most favorite Robin Williams movie is "The Fisher King." One of my most favorite movies of all time actually (although "What Dreams May Come" is a close second). Both movies made me ugly-cry.
  6. It is very real. I was not bullied but my dh was. Thirty years later he still has self-image issues from it. Middle school kids can be vicious.
  7. Yes my children ask and I encourage them to talk to us about it. I didn't have that opportunity growing up. You were never allowed to doubt or question! My oldest and I have had lots of great conversations lately. I am honest about my personal journey of faith with him, about my doubts, about the things that make sense to me and things that I don't understand. I want my kids to know it is perfectly normal to question and the mere act of questioning does NOT mean you're not a Christian (in fact the bible TELLS us to test what we are being taught against the bible to see if it is true). At this point my kids have loads of access to outside counsel (they go to a Christian school) but they still ask their dad and I most of the time because we have a created an environment that it is safe to ask.
  8. Yes it makes lots of sense. For me it was both a process and an event. It started with me being old enough to think for myself and question for myself. Also, because this denomination was very "personal holiness" based it veered way too far into the works-based camp (you earn your salvation by following rules) rather than the grace-based camp (salvation is a gift from God that you don't "deserve" and you couldn't earn no matter how many rules you follow). The problem with the work-based holiness thing for me is that people do stupid, sinful things all the time. So my pastor would stand up and preach on things like don't drink, don't smoke, don't go to bowling alleys or movies, don't hang out with Catholics, women shouldn't wear pants, and what-not... And I always felt like such a horrid sinner because there was no way I could measure up to this huge standard. Plus I really wanted to wear pants. :) Then we all found out our pastor was having an affair. That was it for me. I spent so much time carrying a load of guilt with me because I sucked at being holy and then I find out my pastor was screwing his secretary? I stopped going to church and I didn't go back for about 15 years. I still believed and prayed every day but I would not step foot in a church except for weddings. It wasn't until my oldest was born that dh and I started talking about going back to church. At first we did it because we thought it was what we should do but it morphed into a longing. And it was through intense study of the bible that I realized I was brought up in legalism and not grace. All that study gave me the understanding I needed to figure out what I believed and where I belonged.
  9. How about if I give you a real life example as an explanation? I was born into a family that was part of a small, very legalistic, Pentecostal denomination. I was raised in it. I didn't choose it. It was all I knew and it really didn't occur to me when I was a child to question the doctrine of that denomination. I was just a kid. But when I became a teenager I started noticing things... Things that didn't ring true for me... Things that seemed to have been "added on" to the bible or taken out of context or interpreted in a strange fashion. For example, we were told that in order to be saved you had to "prove you were filled with the Holy Spirit" by speaking in tongues. But that's a load of nonsense. That's not what the bible says. That's what man has added on to the bible. I could give you many examples like that but the point is that I believed in the core ideas of Christianity with all my heart but I did NOT buy all the extras different denominations added on. This is what led me to the Reformed Faith. They believe in Sola Scriptura and that is what I believe. Others will find a denomination that they agree with. Think of it as a house. Sure, all houses are houses, but they all have different styles and you have to pick one that feels like home to you.
  10. My doctor said my body metabolizes sedation much faster than normal. I have come out of sedation several times during dental work and remembered and felt everything until they hit me with it again. When I had my epidural they had to crank it high before it would work. So it is definitely possible.
  11. We like the suburbs but near a large city for the amenities. Being at least somewhat near the ocean would be great. After fives years of living on the equator where temps are 95 degrees with 90% humidity every single day of the year and a monsoon season that's 6 months long, it's gonna be tough to scare me when it comes to hot weather. Snow OTOH... that's when I run. :) Definitely not. I've learned to live with cockroaches so big I can hear them breathing. :) Snakes don't bother me anymore either. But someone mentioned alligators and I admit that gave me pause.
  12. Now that we are planning our reentry into the states for next June, we are focusing our efforts on Florida. We love the weather, they will transfer my teaching certificate, they have lots of tennis academies to choose from for my kids, etc. Other than, we only know what we read on the Internet. We have been looking in the Tampa Bay Area simply because it seems appealing and we have friends in Sarasota and Bradenton. So all you current and former floridians, can you help a girl out? What are some great cities (and neighborhoods within those cities) to live in and why? Which areas should I stay away from? We are looking to rent at least in the beginning until we get settled before we buy. Any other advice?
  13. Interestingly, my dd has no problem using them but I cannot do it well. I always feel like I'm going to lose my balance and fall in. And my dh? Forget it. His knees are too bad to squat that low. I often wonder how very heavy people manage. It's also easier if you are wearing a dress or a skirt. Pants are much more challenging.
  14. You asked for it. :) http://whatmovesyou.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/p1040043-e1277387169715.jpg This is what a typical public toilet looks like. You basically stand on either side of the hole and squat all the way down to do your business.
  15. Thank you all so much for your kind responses. It is all so emotionally overwhelming right now. We do love our lives here in many ways, especially our school. It will be so hard to leave yet somehow we just know it is time. I don't want to get to a point where the stress of living in a developing country overshadows all the amazing experiences we have had. I want to leave on a high note. Does that make sense? I took a big step today and filled out the application to transfer my teaching license to Florida. We are still considering other states as well but I think Florida is our first choice for now.
  16. My mother stayed in a marriage with a husband who cheated on her repeatedly because she had three young children and no way to provide for them on her own. That's a sacrifice.
  17. We originally signed on for two years but we really enjoyed it so we stayed longer. Maybe we stayed too long?
  18. Prolly Whatevs Epic Any word that substitutes numbers for letters like: L8ter 4ever (or even better, 4evah) Can you tell I work with teenagers? ;)
  19. This part will be REALLY hard. She can't come with us because of visa issues and because this is her home. Her family is here. So will be leaving our nanny behind after 5.5 years of relationship and I haven't even begun to deal with how that will affect my little girl (and the rest of us!) :( It will be very, very hard.
  20. This is exactly how I feel right now. I know that when we leave Malaysia it will be for good. That is so sad to me. Leaving the US was not as a big a deal because we knew we would visit (and the school would pay for it) and eventually move back. We never thought Malaysia would be our forever home. But flying to Malaysia for a visit at $2000 per ticket is just not that feasible. So when we leave, that's it. :(
  21. We do not plan to move back to Michigan. We have changed in many ways while living here and one big way is that we all LOATHE cold weather. We love the weather here so we will move somewhere warm. We are looking at Florida, Texas and NC. We lived in NC for a year near Asheville and we both loved it. Much will depend on jobs. THIS IS SO SCARY. We will have to give our official notice by Christmas but I doubt either of us will be able to line up jobs back in the states that far in advance of our move so much of it will be walking by faith. Our ideal is that I can get a job teaching online and go back to homeschooling the kids (which I really miss) in a warm-weather state where my kids can play tennis year-round. My dh has been a facilities director for large properties for ages so we think Florida might be a good idea (all those tourist places, condos, retirement homes, etc.). And my teaching certificate will transfer easily from Michigan to Florida and Florida Virtual schools is huge and always hiring. NC and Texas are a little tougher because they want me to retest for my certification but I could do it. I need a break from being a principal, too. That's a whole other topic! I knew it was time when we went home for a visit this summer. Two years ago we went back and we couldn't wait to get back to Malaysia. This summer none of us wanted to go back and we are all terribly homesick for the US. But I don't know how I will live without all the fantastic food here. And my amah. God help me, I haven't cleaned a toilet in 5 years. :) Back to reality, I guess?
  22. We haven’t told anyone “officially†but I’m pretty sure our time in Malaysia is coming to an end. This will most likely be our 6th and final year and we will move back to the U.S. in June. I have so many mixed emotions right now and there is no one in my life I can talk to about this except my dh. I can’t talk to anyone here because they are going to freak out when they hear I am leaving and try to talk us into staying. I can’t talk about it with family/friends back home because they want us to move back desperately and therefore cannot give any unbiased feedback either. So instead I’m coming here. J I will warn you all in advance that I will probably talk too much about this but it is such a huge decision for our family and I need to process it and bounce it off people who don’t have a dog in this fight. So feel free to ignore my posts if it gets annoying but if you have any wisdom, advice, commiseration to offer, I’d love to hear it. There is no one, BIG reason why we want to leave…more like a thousand small reasons. But honestly, they all fall under “I’m burned out on living cross-culturally and in a third-world country.†I need a break from it. So many amazing and difficult things have happened to us here and we have grown so much but we are all exhausted. Some of my reasons seem borderline “pettyâ€â€¦ like I miss any form of customer service, and being able to go into a store and be reasonably assured that what I need is available, and American cars, and parking spots, and Target and Panera. I miss convenience, and things working properly, and stores being open most of the time, and public bathrooms that have something more than a hole in the ground, and hot water for my washing machine and for washing dishes… and so forth. We also want to establish residency so we can get in-state tuition for our ds who starts college in 2016. We want to find a good tennis program for our youngest two who are both quite gifted in that area and ready to get serious about it (there is very little room for tennis on our tiny island). I need my privacy back! This small, fish-bowl community I am a part of is starting to chafe. I am a private person and everyone knows my business here. I feel a bit suffocated. I want to be able to drive somewhere and not fear for my life from the time I leave home until I return. I want to live where people follow traffic laws and are at least somewhat polite while driving instead of being truly fearful that I will be in an accident every time I go somewhere (my dh broke his neck in an accident here so the fear is real). I want space. Living on an island means my whole life is in a 3 mile section of land. I don’t want to be completely surrounded by 40-story high-rise towers everywhere I go. I don’t want to wheeze from all the smog from the rice fields being burned. I just need a break. Someone tell me they understand and that I’m not making the worst decision of my life (although I have to admit that just writing this out and telling someone, anyone has made me feel a little better).
  23. Started reading: Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book About a Really Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung Still reading: The Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Finished reading: 1. The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan (AVERAGE) 2. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene (GOOD) 3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (EXCELLENT) 4. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (EXCELLENT) 5. The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (AMAZING) 6. Champion by Marie Lu (PRETTY GOOD) 7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (INCREDIBLE) 8. Cultivating Christian Character by Michael Zigarelli (HO-HUM) 9. Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff (um...WOW. So amazing and sad) 10. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church by JD Payne (SO-SO) 11. The Happiness Project: Or Why I spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. by Gretchen Rubin (GOOD) 12. Reading and Writing Across Content Areas by Roberta Sejnost (SO-SO) 13. Winter of the World by Ken Follet (PRETTY GOOD) 14. The School Revolution: A New Answer for our Broken Education System by Ron Paul (GREAT) 15. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (LOVED IT) 16. Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning by Sugata Mitra (GOOD) 17. Can Computers Keep Secrets? - How a Six-Year-Old's Curiosity Could Change the World by Tom Barrett (GOOD) 18. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself by David McRaney (GOOD) 19. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (OK) 20. Follow Me by David Platt (GOOD) 21. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (SO-SO) 22. Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman (OK) 23. A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos (GOOD) 24. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (DEPRESSING) 25. No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige (SO-SO) 26. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (DELIGHTFUL) 27. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman (WORST ENDING EVER) 28. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (SO-SO) 29. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (BRILLIANT) 30. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (WONDERFUL) 31. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (CAN'T-PUT-IT-DOWN-READ-IT-ALL-IN-ONE-SITTING BOOK) 32. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (SUPER CREEPY BUT REALLY GOOD) 33. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout (WONDERFUL) 34. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty (PRETTY GOOD) 35. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (HEART-BREAKING) 36. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper (REALLY, REALLY GOOD) 37. The Glory of Heaven by John MacArthur (INTERESTING)
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