Tag Archives: goodbyes

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And So It Ends

It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m writing this.

It IS a surprise to me.

I’ve been pondering about it for months now, trying to make time for everything, trying to hang on, trying not to say goodbye.

I’ve rationalized too long, finding comfort in my internet securities.

I’ve remembered that the hardest decisions are almost always the right ones.

I’ve realized that in order to keep growing, you must allow change.

And, wow, have I grown.

I’ve been in Germany for over a year now and I have moments where I don’t even recognize myself. And, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just….time to keep growing and make more changes in the hopes of reaching even bigger goals.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to this blog. I know people have found it helpful. I just received an email from someone the other day, thanking me, but I think this is the right decision for me.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I will delete it or leave it up, although I’m leaning towards deletion.

I can’t let go of this name though, or the cool idea that jolted me back into a lost dream. So, you’ll still be able to find From Casinos to Castles in social media.

As for me, I applied for almost 20 jobs today. The boy is in kindergarten now and I am hoping with all my heart that something works out. Anything.

I’m not giving up my dream of being a writer either, so, you can still find me over at Tipsy Lit. You may not know, but I’m Managing Editor over there now. I’m really excited about that opportunity and I think this year, I’m going to grow even more than the previous one. I have so many things in the works.

I’m working on a memoir as well as my first book of poetry.

I’m also working together with 7 other fabulous women on a new site we will be launching soon that is community oriented with a goal of helping and supporting women.

I’m working on finding myself again and figuring out who that is without all of the labels I had before.

I’m working on making one dream come true, while letting go of another.

I’ve loved getting to know all of you and I’ve appreciated you coming here and getting to know me. As I said, this is goodbye for the blog, but not for me. I wish you all the best and if you’d like to keep in touch you can find me at these places:

Facebook – Author Profile
Facebook Page – From Casinos To Castles
Twitter – Author Profile (C2C will be deleted)
Tipsy Lit

And the new site isn’t ready yet, but you can follow on twitter to stay up to date on the launch!

The Sisterwives

Thank you again and I hope to see you at one of my other online locations!

 

Oh 2013, You Hurt So Good

Every New Year’s Eve, I find myself thinking, wow, I can’t believe another year has come and gone. I used to believe in New Year’s Resolutions when I was a kid, but as I got older, I felt they were too predictable and only set you up for failure with unrealistic expectations.

Although it’s the end of 2013, I have been reflecting not just about this past year, but about the past couple of years. Every one has brought huge life changes. Take a little look for yourself….

2011

My love finally has his visa and comes "home" to the US. We are finally together after a year apart.

My love finally has his visa and comes “home” to the US. We are finally together after a year apart.

We get married that next week and spend a couple of nights in this isolated, romantic cabin.

We get married that next week and spend a couple of nights in this isolated, romantic cabin.

Several weeks later, we found out what happens when you spend a couple of nights alone in an isolated, romantic cabin.

Several weeks later, we found out what happens when you spend a couple of nights alone in an isolated, romantic cabin.

2012

9 months later, I had one more handsome boy in my home to love.

9 months later, I had one more handsome boy in my home to love.

2013

One year later, that handsome boy turned 1.

One year later, that handsome boy turned 1.

For almost the whole month of May, we were in Las Vegas where we said goodbye to family, friends and the US.

For almost the whole month of May, we were in Las Vegas where we said goodbye to family, friends and the US.

On May 22, 2013, we made this our new home, here in Germany.

On May 22, 2013, we made this our new home, here in Germany.

In case you forgot what we did to get here, you can read about our huge leap of faith here.

2013 has been full of huge ups, huge downs and everything in between. We started our life completely over, from scratch. We had almost nothing when we got here except for one another and M’s family. Starting your life over requires a lot of work and sacrifice. We both know it will be worth it in the end and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband.

These past years have given us so much. We have received amazing blessings with almost mind-blowing life changes. For 2014, I am even more hopeful. I am optimistic of what this next year has in store for this little family of mine. But….if I could ask for one thing, one wish it would be this….calm.

Dear 2014, please bring this family the sense of calm and peace that goes hand in hand with growth and stability. We are ready to be settled. We are hopeful to continue simply moving forward. 

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Frohes neues Jahr!
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There Aren’t Enough Words

Have you heard of Emily who is the author of the blog, The Waiting? If not, you have been missing out. She is witty, funny, down-to-earth and presents a style and charm through her online presence like no other. She is an excellent writer and has the credentials to prove it. 

Well, once a week she hosts a link-up called “Remember the Time” with each week having a different theme. I have never joined in and I’m not sure why since I am such a big admirer of hers. This week’s theme is last days and it really got me thinking so I decided to join in. 

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Once upon a time, in my pretty distant past, I had the blessing and opportunity to work with children who had both chronic and terminal illness. The diagnosis could range from behavior issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder to seizure disorders and cancer. I started on this path in 2007 before I knew I would move to Germany for the first time in the early part of 2008. Sadly, I was only able to work with these amazing children for approximately 9 months. It was the best 9 months of my social work career. Granted, I loved working in the hospital and that too was both hard and wonderful work, but working with these kids on a regular basis is inspiring and not just in the moment, but for a lifetime.

Hardly a day goes by where I don’t remember the children that I came to know, but most importantly, the ones that I lost. People are typically shocked when I say how much I love working with terminally ill children. I’m sure you are shocked just reading that statement. It couldn’t be more selfish or more true. And here’s why: those kids are AMAZING.

As adults, we tend to underestimate the strength in children. We see them as innocent, beautiful creatures who also lack the life experience to make big, bold decisions. It’s in our nature to want to protect them, to shield them from the nasty evil in the world. So what do you do when your child is diagnosed with a terminal illness? More importantly, what do you do when you know your child is dying? It’s an unfathomable question, I know. Having my own child, I can’t even begin to think about it without my stomach doing all sorts of flips and being on the brink of tears. But it happens and these poor families struck with this tragedy have to deal with it.

So you’re probably still wondering how in the world I could enjoy such heart-wrenching work? Well, like I said, these kids are amazing. They have a spirit like no other and if spirit alone could cure their disease, there wouldn’t be loss. They fight the hardest fight anyone could have and they do it with smiles. They are still children and show it through the hope in their eyes, but they become so wise in a short time. They understand their illness and they know when they are ready to stop fighting. But until then, they will make lemonade out of lemons.

They will decorate their hospital rooms for Christmas. They will go trick-or-treating in their hospital ward. They will play games and laugh. They will remind you how precious life is and how much is taken for granted.

Of course there are bad times when they wonder what it’s like to die. When they realize they will never get married or have children. When they know their disease is winning and they are just tired. When they cry the tears of a child who just wants to be a “normal kid”. Those days are brutal, sad, heart-wrenching.

There aren’t enough words to describe the pain.

There aren’t enough words to describe how inspiring they are to others.

No words can accurately describe their hope, their dreams, their love.

In the end, these children accept their fate and their only concern is their loved ones. They become the protectors. They become the strength as their family is brought to their knees in despair. They become their own voice in telling the doctors to stop treatment. They become empowered. In the end, they get to have that last bit of control over their beautiful short life. 

It’s like nothing I have ever experienced and I feel so privileged that I was ever allowed to share those moments in a child’s life. They are my heroes, my inspiration, my hope. They aren’t here anymore and I am not there, but they have never, never left my heart. They changed me just as I’m sure they changed everyone they met.

They are angels here on Earth.

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Goodbye, H

photo 2I feel it’s important to start off with the fact that I am not good at letting go or saying goodbye to anyone that has become a part of my life. I have tried to maintain friendships despite betrayals, through miles of distance, divorces, and usually without equal reciprocation. Why? I have no idea anymore. It is just not healthy and beyond that, it gives the impression I don’t respect myself. Maybe I didn’t, but I do now. M has helped open eyes to a lot of things about myself and what I really am capable of doing. Our relationship has shown me that people really do treat you, the way you allow them to. You really can hold people accountable and demand to be treated in a certain way.

Let me explain. When M and I first started dating, we were both just coming out of bad relationships. I was in a dark place and determined to stay there alone; not to be miserable, but to be numb. M fought to be with me. Being in that dark place allowed me to be brave because I didn’t want to care anymore (if that makes sense). That being said, it was the first time in my life that I set the standard for how someone would treat me. I didn’t chase him, but in fact tried to push him away. I told him everything about myself; the dark and the light and he did the same. But just when I almost pushed too hard forcing him to walk away, I stopped pushing. I allowed myself to love him. Now, I’m sure that doesn’t speak to healthy in any way but my point is that I set the bar for how I wanted to be treated. I was finally brave enough with someone (despite for the wrong reasons) to say “Hey, this is what I want and who I am. If you’re okay with that, than great. If not, there’s the door”.  I’m sure most of you are thinking, “don’t you always do that” and the answer was no. I was never brave enough to face the rejection of someone saying “thanks but no thanks”. And now, I have the best relationship of my life. He is my husband but he is my absolute best friend and we only grow closer and stronger.

photo 3I decided to learn from this and let go of the toxic people in my life which really boiled down to one person, H. She and I have been friends for almost 30 years. However, I think friends is a pretty loose term and would be better described as she is the puppet master and I the puppet. I have no idea where she ever got this control over me, but a few years ago, I noticed it was there….well, M noticed. She has always been capable of “persuading” me to do things I don’t want to do. She really isn’t a bad person and in fact, some would say she has a heart of gold. But, when it comes to me and her, she is a user and a manipulator. I truly don’t believe she had any malicious intent, but I do believe she is immature and selfish. Aside from the unhealthy issues in our relationship, we were growing apart. She is stuck in 1994 and I have grown up. I don’t want to relive all the crazy things I did every time we go out. I also don’t think our versions of reality are the same. I have goals and dreams and most do not include the local tavern every night of the week. I also despise hypocrisy. Go ahead H, make your life appear one way on Facebook, but I know what lies behind closed doors.

So, yesterday I said goodbye to her; I deleted her from my Facebook as well as her contact information. I originally thought I would hear about it, but I think she knew as well as I did that this was inevitable. We were only maintaining a dying friendship out of obligation to the past. Again, not healthy….and even as I sit here and write about the reasons to say goodbye, I still struggle with the decision. I know it is because I care, that I am compassionate and that I treasure my friendships. However, I need to treasure myself. I was brave enough to pack up my life and relocate to a whole new country, I should learn to be brave enough to love myself.

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Dear Rednecks….Oops, I Mean Hoosiers

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With only two more days to go, I thought it fitting I should bid you farewell. I would like to pay tribute to your fine state, by providing a list of expectations for all potential visitors. Now, keep in mind, I have only lived here for almost three years and I have only lived in two other states and one other country; therefore, my opinion is based on an outsider looking in. So, to all those looking to move here, let me share with you my top 5 favorites……

 No. 1   Customer Service, Work Ethic and Nonchalant Attitude

 Once you find a place to live you will most likely want to get set up with internet/TV. The fabulous locals here who work for these companies have the utmost desire to make your experience the best. They want you to feel like you just have a bunch of friends hanging out, so much so, that they will lay in your living room for over an hour talking on their cell phone as if they were at home. Now, they will most likely give you the wrong equipment, install it poorly and be several hours late, but they do it with a smile. And don’t worry, this excellent customer service is generally seen anywhere and everywhere and not just in relation to TV installation. Additionally, there is so much freedom in one’s work schedule here. The typical day is technically “8am – 5pm”, but what that really means is “when you get here – when you don’t feel like working anymore”. Everyone seems to be able to determine their own schedule!

 No. 2   Redneck Hoosier Pride

Rednecks Hoosiers take great pride in their vehicles and their individuality. They feel close to their automobiles and choose to cherish them forever by keeping them in their original state with little to no upkeep. As you can see, they also want to make sure you are fully aware of what kind of person they are, just by looking at their vehicle. I have also seen them go to such great lengths to keep their car that they have completely covered the rear end in duct tape to prevent any parts from falling off. Such dedication!

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 Also, many of the Rednecks Hoosiers have grown up here, gone to school here, their families are from here and also grew up here and so on. They have a culture of their own (literally) and adore their fine dining restaurants such as Denny’s, Chili’s, and Applebee’s. Nothing global or outside of the box here!

 No. 3   Animals and the Circle of Life

deadIndiana is farm country and with that comes wildlife. There are lots of animals running around such as foxes and opossums in addition to the standard house pets. People here abide by the laws of nature and allow for dead animals to continue to stay in the road so that the vultures, insects and other animals have food to eat. No need to at least move them to the side of road; where they die is where they lie.

 No. 4   Rules that Make Sense

signThe first one here that comes to mind would be the alcohol laws. In Indiana you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays, but you can go the bar and drink it. Another one I love is that Indiana has come together on the issue of gun control and publicly stated that they “will block any federal infringement on the Second Amendment”. This means that they are actively working on passing an ordinance (here) that would require law enforcement to ignore federal law. And finally, traffic laws….I don’t know about other places, but here in Indiana you better stop for children in the crosswalk!

 No. 5   Community & Togetherness

 In some cities there are zoning regulations imposed by the city which determines what types of developments can be constructed in certain areas. In these cities you will typically have single family residential areas separated from multi-family and trailer parks are usually in rural or industrial areas. Not here. In Indiana your multi-million dollar home can be just a few short blocks away from your friends in the trailer park. Everyone is one, big, happy family!

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