Tag Archives: love

Book Opinion: There’s More to Life Than This by Theresa Caputo

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Okie dokie friends, I told you that you never know what you’ll get here because I read lots of different things and this one is different.

The night after my father died, I was laying in bed in the dark trying to sleep. My eyes were closed and my mind was calming down, but I still couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, on the inside of my closed eyelids, I saw an old photograph. It was perfectly square with narrow white borders and the photo showed a sepia toned forest. There were no people, just the woods as they look in Ohio. Very suddenly, to the left of the photograph, a tall, slim, young man with short,thick, wavy black hair, wearing jeans with a rolled cuff at the ankles, an argyle sweater, and some kind of heavy dark shoes walked into the scene. He was carrying a shotgun. The butt of the gun was in his right hand, and the barrel was leaning on his shoulder. I could see him at about a 3/4 view, so I could see the pattern on his sweater, but only kind of the side of his face. He was about two thirds of the way back in the photo, so I could see his whole body. Just as suddenly, a large dog, a little shaggy, with a flag tail held straight up behind him, bounded into the picture, also from the left and ran up behind the young man. The dog was so happy. It was bounding around the man, obviously excited to see him. The man looked down, rubbed the top of the dog’s head, stood up straight, turned his face directly to me, and smiled a dazzling white smile directly into my eyes, turned and snapped his fingers at the dog and walked away into the woods, with his dog happily bounding around behind him. They disappeared into the trees and were gone. The photograph faded and I opened my eyes. The young man was my Father. He was in Heaven with Red, the dog he loved as a young man, and they were going hunting. He came to say goodbye to me because I didn’t get to see him before he left. It made me feel better and I can close my eyes and still see the scene, but tears are running down my face as I write this.

A couple of years ago, Theresa Caputo, better known as the Long Island Medium, caught my attention on her TV show. I watch it all the time and am fascinated by it. She seems legitimate to me and that’s saying something, because I am very suspicious of any flavor of psychic or medium because so many of them are charlatans, but Theresa seems to be the real thing. I like her. She seems normal. I think we could be really good friends, so my opinion of her and her book may be biased a little. Full disclosure here.

The book was written with ghost (lol) writer Kristina Grish. They obviously had a really good working relationship because Theresa’s voice is evident throughout. It sounds like her. I can almost picture her face and hear her talking through most of the book. She tells us about her life in addition to what goes on in Spirit. We learn that she had night terrors and terrible anxiety as a child and young woman, because she didn’t know what was happening. Eventually, she found a woman named Pat who was able to help and guide her and teach her how to protect herself from the Spirits who just wouldn’t stop communicating with her. Theresa talks about meeting and marrying her husband Larry and talks a lot about her children and her large extended Italian family. There is a lot of love there, and it was nice to hear about it.

Theresa also talks about God, angels, Heaven, guides and Jesus. She hits on what seems to be the major high points of the extensive knowledge of the whole deal that she has. There is no way it could all be laid out in one book, but what she gives us is very interesting and validates a lot of the thoughts I’ve had about God and Heaven and spirituality. She talks extensively about the lessons our souls are sent here by God to learn. She also acknowledges that it was very difficult for her to reconcile some of the things she now knows with the Catholicism she was raised in. I’m paraphrasing here, but she says that being raised Catholic, she was taught that you die, you go to heaven and you stay there with God; it took a little time for her to accept that there is so much more to it than we are taught.

I recommend this book for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it’s fascinating; the book really gives a lot of insight to a topic that not a lot of people know anything about. It’s also entertaining and a well written, quick read. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it is also very helpful and comforting. It validated for me, that the vision I had of my Dad after his death, was sent to me by him to let me know that he was healthy and whole, with his dog, hunting in Heaven. As Theresa would say, I know that at that exact moment his soul was with me. I’m also starting to suspect that when my son was about two years old and told me that he knew my daughter when they were in baby Heaven, he was probably right.

Have a great day and read a good book ūüôā

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Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Teacher Too? Probably Not…

I’m going to do a soapbox here and I generally don’t do that kind of post, so forgive me in advance.

I am a substitute teacher.¬† I have been teaching kids in some capacity pretty much constantly since I was about 20 years old.¬† I have taught everybody from preschoolers to college freshmen, and I feel the need to address a few “issues” regarding teachers.

Issue #1

Teachers don’t work during the summer.

Teachers DO work during the summer.¬† Planning for next year.¬† It takes the entire summer just about, to re-do lessons based on curriculum changes and beaurocrats¬†in the education system.¬† Nobody can leave well enough alone.¬† Ever.¬† So everything changes a lot from year to year.¬† The only time teachers can do this work is during the summer.¬† During our “break.”

Issue #2

All they do is teach kids, how hard can that be?

Yes, we teach your little darlings five days per week for about nine months of the year.¬† Roughly 30 of them at a time in elementary school, well over 100 different kids per day if you teach middle or high school where the kids change classes.¬† Please remember the feelings of relief all you non-teachers get when school starts again in the fall, or when you put little Jenny or Joey on the bus in the morning.¬† WE take your kids all day every day and teach them academics, social skills and control.¬† We hug them and tie their shoes and band-aid their owies.¬† We give them part of our lunch when you forget to feed them in the morning or forget to send lunch or money, or if the school lunch is gross and lets face it, school lunches definitely tend to have a gross factor.¬† We spend our own money to stock our rooms with things that will help your kid learn.¬† We often spend our own money when we have a student who needs a notebook or pencils and you can’t or don’t provide it for them.¬† We dry tears, cheer for them and cry our own tears for them at night when we think about the ones with hard home lives or if one of them is sick, or hurt, or bullied.

Teaching is incredibly hard, physically, emotionally, spiritually.¬† If I took home all the wounded ones I’ve seen over the years, they’d be stacked up like cord wood in my house and I’d have to change my last name to Duggar and/or get a couple of sister wives.

Issue #3

Teachers don’t care, they are only teachers so they get the summers off.

See issues 1 and 2 above for your answer.

These are only a few of the issues I’ve heard people talking about lately.¬† There are a million more.¬† I get irritated when I hear people talk about how teachers make too much money.¬† Again, the kids that so many of the parents out there can’t wait to send back to school, come to us in droves day after day.¬† We are expected to make sure they do well on standardized tests, make good grades and have friends and don’t pick on others.¬† We are expected to be sweet and kind and gentle.¬† We are expected to maintain a constant level of understanding and patience, for thirty kids at once, when SOME, not all but SOME of the parents we see regularly, can’t maintain those qualities at home with only a couple of kids who are related to them by blood.

We live in a culture where no one thinks a thing of someone like George Clooney making millions of dollars for pretending to be other people in largely crappy movies.  We live in a society where sports athletes who play GAMES for a living are paid millions of dollars, and on their off time, get into bar fights, DUI accidents and drug deals gone wrong, get their hands slapped and keep getting their big bucks.  We live in a culture where teachers and nurses make fifty thousand dollars a year and when all is said and done, pay about half of their salaries to taxes and union dues and fees, only to find out that the people who WORK FOR THEM (ostensibly), i.e. elected officials etc. earn four times more than their bosses (us) and then have the balls to tell us we need to do more because they have screwed up.  We live in a culture where vice and bad behavior makes you popular and well paid.  We live in a culture where a teacher can lose their career for something they do outside of work that has nothing to do with school, but a politician can embezzle money and hide it in their freezer for years and then get re-elected.  The world is upside down.

The next time you trash teachers as a whole, stop and think for a second that maybe the problem is the system, or parents who don’t take care of their kids.¬† Yes, there are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad people, but overall, we are not bad.¬† We try so hard to take care of your kids and teach them what they need to know.¬† We get attached to your kids, I dare say, we come to love them and it breaks our hearts when a child begs us not to tell you when they are in trouble because they are afraid of what you will do to them when they get home.¬† It breaks our hearts when first and second graders come to school and tell us all about the violent, sex-filled horror movie they watched last night with their parents.¬† We really do care, we really do work very hard and what we do really DOES matter.¬† I’m not complaining about the low pay, or the long hours or the heartache.¬† Every single one of us knew what we were getting into and all of us did it gladly.¬† We don’t ask for much in return, maybe just a little respect would be nice.

So, be kind to one another, including the teachers in your life.¬† You don’t need to give us a gift, we’d be happy with a smile,¬†we love it when a parent says thank-you, you’ve made a difference to my child.¬† Have a great night and the countdown to summer continues, eight more days. ūüôā

I Married The Easter Bunny Part X – We Actually, Finally, Get Married

The day after The Wedding That Wasn’t, we got together again and talked some more.¬† He had gone home and thought about everything that happened and he realized that I was right.¬† Nothing had gone the way it was supposed to, or the way WE wanted it to, and then with me sick, it was just all wrong.¬† That evening, he took me down to a beautiful spot in the hills above Cincinnati where we could see the city lights and re-proposed to me.¬† Properly this time.¬† No over excitement about a new ring, no rushing.¬† It was waaaay¬†better than the first time.¬† That afternoon, he had called the reverend and made arrangements for us to go to the church the NEXT day and get married by ourselves.¬† The day after THAT, he had to leave to go back to New Mexico and the USAF.¬† The funny thing about all of it, was that the day we finally ended up getting married is my mother’s birthday.¬† L-O-EFFING-L!!

While I cannot remember many details of the Wedding That Wasn’t, I CAN remember the Wedding That Was.¬† I wore a cream-colored¬†skirt and a pink sweater with a lace collar.¬† I wore the lace tights I was going to wear with my dress, my fancy blue feathery garter¬†and a pair of cream-colored flats.¬† I wore my great-grandmother’s cameo pinned on the middle of the collar and my hair was down with the sides pulled up the way I always wore it and still wear it frequently today.¬† Instead of the big, beautiful, fairy light accented bouquet I had made for myself, I carried the small one that I had planned to throw at the reception.¬† Mark wore dark dress pants and a white shirt, red tie and tweed jacket.¬† My brother-in-law came along and took pictures.¬† The rev married us in the little chapel instead of the big sanctuary.¬† It was quiet and kind of dark.¬† We spoke quietly.¬† It was just us and it turns out that was the way it was supposed to be.¬† Everything we’ve done since has been best when it was just us.¬† It was warm for January and we left the church with our coats over our arms.¬† There is an old wives’ tale that says “Happy is the Bride the sun shines on.”¬† When we walked out the door, the sun was shining brightly.

We drove over to his mom and dad’s house.¬† His mom was laying in bed throwing up.¬† His grandmother had also been sick.¬† I’d had a virus.¬† It wasn’t nerves, or cold feet, or lack of love.¬† I wasn’t being selfish or immature.¬† I hadn’t broken down from the stress I’d been under.¬† ¬†Although I don’t like anyone to be sick, knowing that I wasn’t the only one, was one of the great reliefs of my life.

We left his house and drove over to mine.  I got my little overnight bag and hugged my mother.  We got in my little car and drove to the Hilton for our wedding night.  We finally relaxed and had room service for dinner.  The next morning, I took him to the airport for the flight back to New Mexico.

I didn’t move right away because the moving arrangements with the Air Force had to be re-worked.¬† I missed him more than ever, but at the same time felt better because I knew that nothing and no one could step between us ever again.

Next time, the epilogue.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part VI

Once Mark left for the Air Force, I was pretty bereft.¬† I was lonely, I was bored, I was lonely.¬† During boot camp, he was allowed to call home in a pretty limited fashion.¬† Most of our communications were in the form of letters.¬† If I happened to be at work or the store when he DID call, my heart was sick because I never knew when he’d be able to call again.

Once he went to tech school, I was not only bored and lonely, I was insecure.¬† He was allowed to have a little bit of a social life and social life in tech school consisted of drinking, going to the beach, and bars and drinking some more.¬† I was sitting at home doing very little.¬† After my recent experience with cheating, my psyche was a wreck.¬† If he didn’t call or was late calling or if he wasn’t there when I called him, I was sure he was cheating on me.¬† He wasn’t, but I was afraid that he was.

Speaking of calling, my social life at the time consisted of talking to him on the phone.¬† We’d talk for hours.¬† My Dad worked for the phone company, so our long distance bills were free, but his weren’t.¬† He was using a huge chunk of his pay to pay for the calls.¬† I’d help him when I could, but I wasn’t doing much better in the money department.

After about three months of not seeing each other, he finally came home at Christmas.  I think he was home for two weeks and they were an awesome two weeks.  He bought me a little promise ring for Christmas that year.  I knew he bought it because he used my employee discount at the jewelry store were I was now working.  The very one that AH and B had tormented me in.  Anyway, the ring was beautiful.  I was a little heart with a fairly decent sized diamond in it.  I knew it was coming, so he decided to come up with a creative way to give it to me.

He hired a Santa Claus to deliver the ring to my house.¬† He came over for Christmas Eve dinner and just about the time we got done, someone knocked on the front door.¬† He started smiling and told me to go answer the door.¬† I had no idea who it was and felt a little apprehensive as I got up from the table.¬† I walked to the front door and very clearly could see Santa standing on the front porch.¬† Instead of opening the door, I turned around and ran back to the dining room.¬† Mark and my parents saw the look on my face and asked me what was wrong.¬† When I told them Santa was on the porch, Mark said “Well go answer the door!”¬† I have a weird shy streak and really didn’t want to open the door, so Mark came with me and we let him in.

Long story short, Santa made me sit on his lap and gave me my ring and a few other smaller gifts before he took his leave to finish his Christmas Eve duties.  When he left HO HO HOing and everything, I thought I was going to die.  But I loved it.  A few seconds after he left, we decided to look out to watch him go, but he was already gone.  The super weird thing that happened that night though was the way he left.  We have no idea where he went.  It was actually a snowy Christmas that year and when we looked out, there were no footprints in the snow.  None coming up the porch stairs pointing at the house for when he had arrived, and none going down the porch stairs pointing away, from where he left.  We actually opened the door all the way and looked to either side thinking maybe he walked to the side of the porch and jumped off into the yard to walk to a car or something, but there were no footprints.  None.  Santa had delivered my promise ring and disappeared without a trace.  I have no explanation other than it was really Santa and he sprinkled us with some kind of magical Santa dust that has protected us to this day and will hopefully continue to protect us for the remainder of our lives.

Next time, the actual engagement and the wedding that almost was.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part V

So after months of feeling like crap, I decided the time to move on was here at last.  I also realized that I needed some extra money.  Spring was beginning and this college girl needed new clothes, so I went to Sherry, the mall manager and asked her if I could work at the Easter Bunny booth during the season.  She said sure and that is when, oddly enough, the rest of my life began.

I worked the picture booth taking the pictures several times and it was just fine.¬† I was the bunny once and it sucked.¬† It was hot and smelly inside that stupid paper mache head.¬† It was not conducive to getting drinks of water or scratching your nose.¬† It was also confusing.¬† Does the bunny talk?¬† Does the bunny just pat the little ones on the head and send them away?¬† The bunny doesn’t have fingers, so the bunny helper gave the little kids a¬†lollipop and coloring book which took off some of the pressure.¬† Also, it seemed the stupid, stinky head harbored germs.¬† I did my stint as the bunny and came down with a horrific, snotty, sneazy cold.¬† I didn’t want to be the bunny on my next shift like I was scheduled to be.¬† I wouldn’t be able to breathe or wipe my nose or get drinks.¬† I knew there was a teenage boy working the booth with me, so I called him at home and asked him if he would don the stupid suit for me the next day.¬† Of course he said yes.¬† Initial contact had been made.

The next day, I went to work in a shortish blue and white striped dress, a red belt that was one of those super cool Limited slouch belts and red heels.¬† Popped collar and carefully curled hair accompanied the outfit.¬† I was 80’s hot and I felt great, in spite of the snot.¬† I walked into the mall office to get my bunny stuff and my savior was sitting there with his elbows on his knees staring at the floor.¬† His first glimpse of me was those red, red shoes.¬† In retrospect, it was like a silly scene from a movie.¬† He looked at the shoes and scanned up to my face, swallowed really hard, regained his 18-year-old¬†composure in the face of my 20-year-old¬†sophistication, cleared his throat and popped out a manly “HI!”¬† I knew exactly who he was and that he was there to save my butt, but of course I had to act like I was not sure who he was.¬† “Oh, are you Mark?”¬† When he responded in the affirmative, I helped him get in the stupid suit, picked up the cash box, grabbed our elderly mall-cop escort and headed out into center court for our shift.

It was a really slow night, so I stood over by the bunny and talked to him.¬† It was really nice.¬† He was a nice person.¬† He sympathized with my cold and told me that he would do bunny duty for the remainder of the season whenever we worked together.¬† I was appreciative, he was nice.¬† When we got our break, I stopped at the popcorn store on the way back to the office and bought us a couple of cokes while our elderly escort took him on back.¬† We had a half hour break because of the heat of the suit, and we sat in the empty mall office the entire time talking.¬† We talked about my school, his school, our friends, spring, the mall, Easter, the bunny suit, Kings Island, cars, food, the lake, our families, music and on and on.¬† Every time we worked together, we did the same thing.¬† We’d talk.¬† About everything.¬† We’d get bored at the booth because weeknights were slow, so I’d grab the basket of suckers, take my bunny friend by the arm and we’d walk around the mall looking for little kids.¬† We became friends.¬† Really good friends.

Finally toward the end of Easter Bunny season, we decided to go out and hang out after work that weekend.¬† We were buddies and we enjoyed each other’s company.¬† I was not interested in him in a boyfriend kind of way at all.¬† I was done with that remember?¬† He was cute.¬† Very, very blonde and he had nice legs, but I really didn’t care.¬† I also couldn’t imagine actually going out with a boy two years younger than me.¬† I had just never thought of such a thing.¬† So with that knowledge firmly stuck in my brain, we got off work Saturday night, left my car at the mall, got in his car and proceeded to cruise around for hours.¬† Talking.¬† We decided we didn’t want to actually go anywhere so we just drove.¬† It was a pattern what is still repeating itself to this day.¬† Drive and talk.¬† Stop for a snack and a potty break, drive and talk some more.¬† By the time he took me back to the mall for my car, it was obvious that our hanging out had evolved into a date.¬† We decided to do it again.

We went out every chance we had.  We did all the usual stuff, movies, hanging out with friends, eating out etc., but the thing we enjoyed more than anything else was either driving around alone, or sitting by the lake or the river someplace with a picnic and talking.  We talked more than I had ever talked to anyone else in my life.  We really got to know one another and like one another as human beings.  After about a month of this, he invited me to his prom.  I did not hesitate for even one second.  I had been out of high school for two years and my undying wish was to go to another dance.  So I got a beautiful white, full length halter dress, told none of my friends and went to prom.  We had a blast.

After prom, he graduated and we proceeded to spend the entire summer going to Kings Island Amusement Park.¬† He had worked there for several summers and I had been hanging out there for years.¬† We had our season passes and we wore them out.¬† Part-time work doesn’t provide lots of cash for dating, so KI was a great way to actually go somewhere and have fun.¬† We’d split sodas and snacks and stay there all day til it closed.¬† Then we’d drive back roads home and then sit on the porch swing at my house and talk.¬† We’d been talking all day and we could still talk half the night on that swing.¬† Sometime in June, he told me he was going into the Air Force in August.¬† THAT sucked.¬† I had previous experience with boys going in the service and it was awful and I didn’t want to go through it again.¬† For some reason though, I decided to put up with it.¬† I didn’t want to lose this boy who it seemed was the perfect person for me.¬† We were attracted to each other of course, but our emotional and mental connection was unparalleled.¬† We suited each other in every way but especially in the ways that count.¬† We were friends.¬† We were each in love with our best friend.¬† So we continued to spend each and every available moment together and at the end of August he left.¬† I went from being happy again to being sad again, but in a completely different way.