Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE (By Mrs. I Define Me)

Morning prayers - I'm grateful for
The blessings of my life
My children, grandchildren, & hubby
And the Gospel of Jesus Christ

"Please help me Lord - I'm muddling through
I need guidance & light from above
Please bless my family, neighbors, and friends
Help me feel and reflect thy love"

At least a little scripture reading each day
I've been doing this for years
I'm amazed at the difference it makes for me
I feel the spirit and often shed tears

If hubby is home I climb back in bed
"Do you want to go with me for my walk?"
Sometimes he will go... but mostly
He just wants to "cuddle" and talk

When he's working he's up at 4:30 am
Working long days and far from home
I miss him and he misses me
But we're used to this 'being alone'

If hubby is gone, which he quite often is
I'm up at the break of dawn
I wish I could sleep in but I'm just like my Dad
So I put my walking shoes on

Well, sometimes I don't - I just step out in my robe
I sit on my front porch and breathe
I love the fresh air, it's a great start to the day
Deep breathing is important to me

And so A Day in The Life begins
Good intentions - but I confess
There's always a list - but when hubby is home
We play it by ear and ignore the mess

There's the family, yard, bills, and all that
The same stuff I guess everyone's got
But we're not really strict and when hubby is home
We go to Costco and dine out a lot. 

Because my Mr. is a popular guy
Everyone wants to spend time with him
He's got fix it jobs for family and friends
Such a good guy, he spreads himself pretty thin

There's always some business and work on the side
But he somehow finds time to fish
Or hunt (in season of course), or camp in the hills
A professional sportsman would be his 1st wish

Oh, he likes me too - I know this for sure
We hang out, laugh, and have lots of fun
I tell him, "If I could choose again....
For me, he would still be The One"

Sometimes we have fights - well disagreements I'd say
But we mostly communicate well
We pray together alot and have common goals
That's how we made it through those years from hell

I think we appreciate what we have now
Mr. IDM's a strong and wonderful guy
We're surely not perfect, but I think we're great
We love our interesting life

As I already said - we like to dine out
But when we cook together it's fun
I do the veggies and fruits and healthy stuff
He does the meat and gravy for one

He's not into "clean eating", he thinks I am wierd
But someday he'll see the light
And give up his Coke, Mt. Dew, & treats
Then he won't suffer from heartburn at night

So here's a little bit of truth, I hope he'll forgive me
For telling on him just a bit
My side of the garage is organized and in totes
But if I clean up his side he'll throw a fit

Some days when he's away I get a whole lot done
It's my time and I usually work
But sometimes I really don't do much at all
Except prayer, scriptures, dishes, and facebook

My day often consists of running here and there
It seems I'm often just putting out fires
But I'm glad to take time to shop a little at Kohl's
Gotta use that Kohl's cash before it expires

I do some yoga, sometimes swim at the pool
I have big plans to get into this blog
I have projects piled up and I'm writing a book
But mostly I'm stuck in a fog

I read stuff online - mostly health and self help
I read blogs that I truly adore
It's seems I'm quite busy - I volunteer each week
and I plan to volunteer alot more

We have one still at home, and some married kids too
We have grandchildren that are such a joy
We had only granddaughters until last year
We were finally blessed with a boy

We get together for shows, for dinners, and such
Vacations, camping, boating and family fun
But mostly everyone is doing their thing
Work, school, and church keeps us all on the run

We are all faced with trials, we are probably like most
we think we have more than our fair share
We have been through alot, but we're surviving it all
2014 was difficult year

We are grateful to God for the tender mercies we've seen
Without prayer it would have been grim
We believe in the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ
We have truly been blessed by Him

Each Day In The Life of Mr. IDM and his wife
God is called upon through humble prayer
We testify that He is real
So grateful that He's always there

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Hi friends - Mrs. I Define Me here...

Hey - this is really, really hard.  I have no idea what to say but I know with all my heart that we need to get back to this blog.  I have had several dreams that have confirmed this feeling (and I believe in dreams) :)  We love our readers and we have missed you.

Actually, we're amazed that we continue to have readers (pageviews) and we truly appreciate those who have stuck with us and shared our blog with others even though we have not been writing for a year and a half.

I won't get into it much, but let me just say that we have had a whirlwind of a year and a half (2013-2014). Our family has faced some devastating trials, that, by the way, have had nothing to do with same sex attraction or marital issues (in that department - we're good), and we have needed to focus all of our energy on other things; some job related, and some devastating events.

Family comes first and, of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.   Our family is everything to us, they are our world and our reason for living, and with God as our Father and Jesus Christ as our Savior we continue to rely on the gospel of Jesus Christ and constant prayer for guidance, comfort, and love.  The time is NOW to return to our blog and I know Heavenly Father will show us the way.

We want to share, we want to help if we can, and we want to do The Lord's work.  We love the SSA community and will continue to share with our readers and will surely learn from you as well.  For a while, it will probably be a lot of me writing since Mr. I Define Me's job takes so much of his time (alot of time away from home), but I will make sure to keep him in the loop and I know he will have lots of input and will be involved in all of our posts.

So, we're back ~~~~~~~
now what?   -- Any ideas?  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Interactive blogging - as we answer another blogger's questions and decide to share the conversation on our blog as well.

In reading a fellow blogger's post entitled, "Straight questions" - I (Mrs. I Define Me) sorta got carried away (can you imagine that?! ;)  )  in responding to his questions, and I probably didn't really even exactly answer his question anyway, but Mr. I Define Me and I decided to share the thoughts that we shared on Who Me?'s blog, with our readers here, because we had been planning on eventually writing about the subject of attraction anyway.

Here's the link to Who Me?'s post.....

And here's my response....

These are good questions.  I hope a lot of people comment on this and share their feelings.

My husband and I have talked extensively about this very subject.  Some time ago, we watched a couple of documentaries on 'the science of attraction', (gotta love the learning channel), and then, we did a lot of reading about the subject when we were traveling recently.  So, we really opened up to each other, (which we are really good at anyway), and came to some interesting conclusions that may or may not be similar to the average individual, but seem to make much sense for us.  So I will share some of our thoughts on attraction, for what it's worth.

It was interesting as we compared exactly 'what types' of individuals we were each attracted to, and our unique reasons 'why'.  I realized that I am attracted to 'kinda big' guys who are tall, strong, (muscles are good but it's not about the muscles - no need to be 'buff' but just definitely NOT 'thin', some extra meat on the bones and/or even cuddly is good):), darker hair & mustache, hairy chest, strong jaw, loving eyes, and probably most important... a sense of humble confidence (but definitely NOT arrogance), with a 'gentleness' or 'sweet spirit' about them.

I know for myself that this attraction probably comes from my primal instincts to seek out 'the one' who would be 'best compatible' with me to produce strong healthy offspring. Which is pretty much exactly what the 'science' seems to say. And also, there is a real sense, for me, that I'm attracted to the type of guy that 'I LONG FOR THEM TO LOVE ME' as some sort of affirmation that 'I am lovable' to that 'type' of man, and there's a definite and strong sense of desire to 'be a team' with that person, or to 'share' with them, in 'spiritual' ways more so than just 'sexually'.  For me, the 'attraction' (although it ultimately stirs up sexual desire) is not really about SEX, but more about compatibility, emotional connection, and a desire to 'share' a life and 'develop' and ongoing love.  I have little to 'no' desire to have anything like a 'one night stand', 'affair', or 'anonymous sexual encounter'.  My desire is deeply rooted in wanting something REAL, and COMPLETE, and maybe, actually, even more EMOTIONALLY FULFILLING than sexually fulfilling.

My husband, however, realized as we talked, that he is attracted to a completely different type of individual and for some interestingly different reasons.

BTW - As we deeply talked about and pondered this subject, we were both so enlightened by our discoveries about ourselves and each other, and it was a really cool communication experience that totally brought us closer together and genuinely strengthened our love and relationship.

So, my husband recognized that he is actually attracted to 'smaller' guys, (not really small - or 'short'), but who are, at least, somewhat tall, but most important lean & trim, strong but definitely NOT 'BIG' at all. He's very attracted to guys with olive skin or a healthy tan (and frankly, for him, it's alot about the skin). Which makes it really good for 'us' because 'I may not be a guy,  ;)  but I definitely have skin. lol  (also, it just so happens, that I've always been a bit of a 'sun bunny' and I like to keep a healthy, I'm probably Bath & Body Works and Oil of Olay's best supporter - lol)  Oddly enough, the truth is, that I basically pay attention to my skin more for me than for him, and I always have.

Anyway, back to his attractions & desires.  Now, here's the interesting part...

He explained that his reason for the attraction is NOT like my reasons, ie: a desire to 'connect emotionally with' and 'be loved (affirmed/valued) by' and  'share a life with' my type of guy, etc. --but instead, his 'initial' attractions and desires are more rooted in a desire/wish to 'be like' his type of guy.

My husband is a big guy with some 'extra weight' (not alot), and he has gray hair (used to be sandy red), and he has extremely pale skin & some redness to his face that he seems to really dislike about himself.  He says that he 'wishes' he was smaller, leaner, and he especially longs for a different skin type and complexion.  He believes that his 'attraction' to 'his type' of man is mostly related to some deep desire that 'connecting with him', (this certain type of guy), will somehow 'make him like him', so to speak, or somehow 'include' him in that handsome guy's 'club'.  And, there doesn't seem to be any 'primal instinct' to procreate with any man that he's visually attracted to.

But, he remembers the fact that from our first meeting (and as we began to date), he was definitely attracted to me in a 'primal - desire to procreate' sort of way.  He says that, in looking back, although he was not all desperately, intensely, sexually attracted to me (like he is guys), he felt a strong and compelling attraction to my tall stature and lean build, and especially my shiny blonde hair, brown eyes, and tan skin.  He says that he literally had thoughts, right from the very start, of what handsome/beautiful children we would have. So, although the intensity of 'visual/sexual' attraction was lacking, compared to what he felt for other men, the 'primal/let's procreate' attraction & desire was absolutely there and actually very strong.

He also fully admits that his desire towards the men, (that he's attracted to), was/is almost  100% 'sexual desire', from the 'visual' (sexual) attraction - all the way to the 'completion of the sexual act',  it's pretty much 'all about SEX' and a deep desire to 'connect with the guy that seems to be what he (my husband) wishes he was'.  He literally says that, for him, it's an almost desperate need and desire to 'have' a sexual experience with the person, seeing that guy almost as a sexual object, with not much thought or regard for desires of ongoing caring, sharing, love developing, emotionally fulfilling of each others' needs, etc.

Now, certainly in sharing these deep feelings and insights about 'us', we are risking lots of negative feed back as I'm sure many (maybe most) are not 'like us'.  So please know that we ARE NOT assuming that any other individuals are like us, and we are not making any 'statements' here about 'the science of attraction' for anyone else but us.  But, I will say, that it is a really great thing to discuss and consider these things with your partner/spouse, as it is a wonderful experience and will probably promote some beautiful understanding and deepen your love.

As for answering your question (finally! lol) about how to deal with 'unwanted' attractions and desires.

My husband says that he chooses not to cultivate his attractions towards other men, so when he notices someone who he is sexually attracted to, he does not dwell on looking at or thinking about their facial features, physique, skin, hands, etc., but instead turns his thoughts to the individual, as a human being, (not a sexual object).  He looks at their eyes - not with 'gaydar' hoping to feel a sexual 'connection', but instead, as another child of God, a real person with a unique spirit and a heart and soul far greater, and more real than, just someone to rub up against, have a sexual experience with, or as someone to be selfishly 'used' for his personal fantasies in his mind over and over again.  (which is what, for many years, he 'used' to do)

He says that sometimes he has to say a little prayer for help and strength to keep it REAL, but he ultimately loves the comfort that comes as he controls his urges, thoughts, and desires, and he feels a great sense of peace and a 'different' sort of 'fulfillment' in choosing and cultivating this alternate path for his life.

He also points out that throughout the years when he was not managing and controlling his sexual urges, desires, and attractions, he was NEVER really happy, or content, or at peace.  And, no matter how many 'guys' he had sexual experiences with, he was NEVER completely fulfilled, and there was never anyone that he could ultimately see himself in an ongoing, loving, sharing, completely fulfilling relationship with.

Anyway, this is what works for him and us, for what it's worth, and we believe we have an amazingly awesome, loving relationship, a completely fulfilling sex life, and he says that our intimate life makes him feel most like a real man.  He also testifies of the absolute benefits to our sex life as he abstains from masturbation and 'controls' and 'manages' his homosexual thoughts, attractions, and desires.

PS - I also testify of the amazing and extremely wonderful impact that his choices and actions have on our marriage, relationship, and especially our intimate life.

In the end, (and from the beginning) my husband IS a big guy, who is loving, confident (especially more so in the past 7+ years), and although he doesn't have dark hair or a hairy chest, he does have a lot of the physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics that I am attracted to.  BTW - I absolutely LOVE the sexy gray hair that he has now, and as I read this all back to him, just now, he suggested that possible he could get  a 'rug' (toupee) for his chest! lol

And, although I don't have 'most' of the physical characteristics that the guys he's attracted to have, I AM tall, and I DO have the skin that he's attracted to (and loves to touch).  He loves my hair, he thinks (knows) I'm beautiful, likes my long legs, and is literally attracted to me, (although he is not attracted to woman in general, and he is also attracted to visually attracted to some men more than he is visually attracted to me).  He says that he loves my voice, and he loves having sex with me.  And, best of all - he did have a genuine and real desire to 'procreate' with me,  and he has a complete desire to share a life with me, and to grow old with me, and to spend eternity with me.

Also, and most important, after you get past the initial 'visual/sexual' attraction part, there's all kinds of great things that we love about each other, such as our shared love of music, all the 'fun' that we have doing the things we both love, our great communication, the joy we share in raising our family, our mutual beliefs and ultimate goals in life, our individual relationships with God, as well as our joint relationship with God as the center of our marriage and our lives.

The truth is, the less we each concentrate on the things that are difficult or 'not perfect' about our marriage, and the more we each concentrate on all the wonderful and positive and good, the better and better our marriage, friendship, and intimacy becomes.  Certainly we can't complain about any of that.  IT'S ALL GOOD! :D

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Testimonies of the Amazing Power of Prayer

We've been talking recently about some of our wonderful answers to prayers, and special prayer experiences, that we have each had throughout our lives.  So we decided to do a post about the amazing power of PRAYER.  Although their are actually countless stories we each could tell, we are going to keep it to just a few from us, and then we'd like to kindly ask you all, our readers, to share some of your spiritual experiences related to prayer as well - if you are willing to do so.   :)

(Mrs. IDM)
A few weeks after my husband came out to me, shortly after our 10th anniversary, and he told me of his years of infidelity ,etc., I found myself constantly struggling with a feeling that he somehow 'needed to pay' for his lies and deceit.  It seems that I was experiencing some sort of  'natural instinct', a normal and common human behavioral attitude and response, that such indiscretions COULD NOT and SHOULD NOT go unpunished.  Even though I felt a lot of love and compassion towards him, and I was completely committed to learn how to forgive him and try to work it out, the fact remained that I seemed to be stuck, even from the 'moving on' that I wished for myself (and for 'us').  I was stuck with a sort of thinking process that had me believing that I could not move forward and try to heal myself, or our marriage,.. until he was punished.   I guess that deep in my heart (maybe because it was broken) I thought that 'I' was the one who must impose the necessary 'punishment' upon him for what he'd done 'to me'.

So, as these feelings mounted, and although I absolutely didn't like the feelings, and although I sincerely wanted to just move on to forgiveness and progress,  I did not seem to be able to move on, and I was stuck.  Then I happened across a book (which I believe was divine intervention) called "The Worth of a Soul".  In the book, a woman who was terribly hurt by her husband's addiction to masturbation, (and the marital infidelity that resulted from it),  tells of her feelings, which were so much like mine,-- "he HAS to be punished for what he's done".  The book tells of how she eventually realized that it was 'NOT her place' to impose punishment, and that she should literally 'turn it over to God'.  So she did turn it over to God, through personal prayer, and she tells about what great relief she felt and how the experience helped her to move on.

Well, I loved this idea, it was very enlightening to my heart and soul, and I decided to give it a try for myself as well.  I'm not sure that I was completely convinced that it would work for me, because I was so completely consumed with hurt and pain, but somehow, I had a spark of  faith that it 'could' work, and I was anxious to 'give it a try'.  What happened next was an astonishing and complete surprise, and left me overwhelmed with such a great love for my husband, and an undeniable testimony of the power of God.

As I knelt down and began to pray, I was humbled and sorrowful, (but not crying at this point).  I thanked God for my blessings, which were many, and then I began to explain to my Heavenly Father all the hurt that my husband had caused.  As I expressed my anger, and my need to be free from the emotions that held me bound, I literally turned my husband's 'punishment' over to God.

No more had I said the words, than I was immediately filled with such great love and compassion for my husband, that, through my tears, I actually began to beg and plead with my Father in Heaven to have mercy on this wonderful man.  Surprisingly, I prayed that his punishment would be light.  I sincerely and lovingly prayed for my husband to be strong, and desperately I prayed that we could just move on.

As I ended my prayer, and since I was overcome with emotion and tears, I was basically unable to move.  I was extremely humbled by what had just transpired, and I was in aah of God's great majesty and redeeming love.  My previous desires to 'punish'  him were miraculously gone and I WAS able to move on.

(Mr. IDM) 
I remember one night, around age 18, I said a prayer in such a way, and with much more conviction, than I ever had before in my life.

Although I had often had a sort of  'prayer in my heart', and an ongoing hope that 'God' would set me free from the misery and confusion I experienced due to my same sex attraction, and, although I had occasionally said little prayers here and there, I had had very little experience with daily prayers, or the order of prayer (Address God, Thank Him, Ask Him, and Close in the Name of Jesus Christ).   But then, one night, because I had been so terribly distraught, and I seemed to be sinking into the depths of despair,  I called on God in such a real and honest way, unlike anything I had ever thought of doing before.

I drove myself  into the hills with one purpose, and that was to find a private, secluded place to pour my heart out to my Father in Heaven in prayer.  As I drove, thinking about where I was headed, and what I was planning to do, a real and heavy feeling of "evil" surrounded me, and I almost felt like the devil himself was sitting next to me in my truck.   I was so frightened that I did not dare to look, I just kept my eyes ahead, found a place to pull off the road, and left the engine running (with the headlights shining) as I jumped out of the truck and knelt on the ground in the head lights.

As I began to pray, with all my strength, that God would help me,  I almost immediately experienced an amazing calm and peace come over me. I felt so much comfort, and a real tangible feeling of hope that somehow everything was going to be ok.  I was surprised and overwhelmed by the great power I felt, and especially by the instantaneous(ness) of the relief as the calm miraculously washed over me.

That night I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that GOD WAS REAL, that He had heard my prayer, and that He was watching over me. I knew that God was Mighty and that His love was real and more powerful than anything else on earth.  

(Mrs. IDM)
One of the most wonderful experiences I had with prayer was a very 'subtle and fleeting' moment that actually had a HUGE impact on my life, and still does to this day.

After years of enduring my husband's  lies and deceit, his unfaithfulness, and his addictive sexual behavior, I was feeling extremely angry with him;  I was obsessively and constantly thinking about what a horrible person I believed my husband to be, and, I was trying to figure out a plan of action to divorce him.

One night, as these thoughts seemed to be all consuming and dragging me down to the depths of despair, I ended up doubled over on the floor, on my knees, crying my heart out to my Heavenly Father in prayer.  As I prayed, for some unknown reason, (almost like I had not thought of these words myself), I said these words to God,... "please help me to see my husband as Thou sees him".

Immediately, I was filled with a wonderful peaceful spiritual feeling, and I had a 'sense' of or an 'awareness' of my husband's true spirit, and the amazing reality and majesty of him, as a wonderful, beautiful, and exceptional Child Of God.

It was such a sweet and comforting sort of  moment that I wanted to hang on to it and enjoy it for as long as I could, but it was so very subtle and fleeting.   It was there... and then it was gone.  But I, however, could not forget the experience, the feelings, the enlightenment, and the overwhelming love.  My thoughts of my husband were absolutely changed, and my understanding and compassion, my patience and love were increased beyond explanation.  I consider this experience to be an absolute 'tender mercy' in my life and I am humbled by the power and love of my Savior, Jesus Christ and our Almighty God.

(Mr. IDM)
After a very special experience with prayer as a teenager I gained a greater testimony of the power of prayer.  My positive experiences with prayer continued as I served in the National Guard straight out of high school, and then, as I later served a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Throughout my life I have always been prayerful.   Even through years of acting out, desperate struggling, sexual addiction, and literally loosing hope to the point that I just wanted to die, I still had an undeniable knowledge of a Father in Heaven who loved me, and I never completely gave up on Him.   Amidst all my confusion and unhealthy behavior, I always remained somewhat prayerful, and I somehow held onto a glimmer of hope that God would come to my aide.

As I look back on my life, so far, I am completely certain that, because of constant prayer, God has truly carried me through to this wonderful and amazing place where I am now.  I know that it is because of my lifelong relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ, the simplicity of daily prayer, and an undying spark of faith, that I am currently enjoying the great peace and joy that comes from the past seven and a half years of sobriety from my sexual sins.

It was ultimately because of my prayers that I was eventually moved to repentance and blessed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.   And, because of the Atonement I have experienced a great change of heart that has brought me great comfort, peace, fulfillment, love, and joy.  Actually, I am at such a wonderful place in my life, that it literally seems like a miracle, since years ago, I could not have imagined that I would be where I am today or feel the way I feel now.

As my relationship with my Father in Heaven grows stronger, my faith in the power of prayer continues to grow,  and the miracles and blessings in my life multiply day by day.  I testify that, as we muddle through life, good things WILL happen if we just PRAY ALONG THE WAY.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


The Miracle of Forgiveness - by Mr. I Define Me

*Because I am sharing some very personal spiritual experiences which are very sacred to me - the comments and replies here will be moderated.

Daddy Daughter Date

We have previously written about the day my daughter (Jr. I Define Me) confronted me regarding the things she had been told by her friend, that her Dad is gay.  THAT NIGHT was amazing, and the absolute turning point in my life, as my eyes were opened to the reality of my choices and actions, and their great impact on my life, and ultimately on my family.  The very fact of my sweet and wonderful daughters knowing the truth about my sexual orientation (and a bit about my reckless behavior) gave me a new outlook, and took me mightily along with more strength to control my urges than I had ever had before.  (Prior to this night, I had not gone more than about 6 months without acting out in some form or another).  Although it was still extremely difficult, I was suddenly, somehow, able to withstand the bombardment of thoughts and temptations, and at least, to abstain from acting out with other men.

Abstinence & Anxiety

Although I had previously been active in Evergreen International, had also been through some counseling, and had read a lot to educate myself (from the limited information that was available 20 yrs ago) about homosexuality, still, I had drifted away from the help and comfort I had been getting.  As the years went by, I became extremely discouraged, and had almost lost hope for any happiness and peace in my life.  Although I never 'completely' lost faith in God, by the time my daughter found out about 'me', my life was spiraling out of control, and I felt helpless and hopeless. 

After the conversations with my daughters, I was determined to control my 'addiction' (although at the time I didn't even realize that my drive to act on my sexual attractions/desires/fantasies had turned into an addiction).  I was able to 'stay away' from encounters with other men, but I continued to indulge my homosexual thoughts and act out my fantasies in my mind in private. I was miserable, and confused, but inasmuch as I was successfully controlling my compelling urges for same sex liaisons,  I was slowly rebuilding my faith, and my hope did gradually increased.   I didn't even realize, at the time, that I was making 'progress' towards a better/happier life, but in looking back, I see that in many ways, although it was painstakingly slow  'baby steps', I was somehow returning to God.  I also can see that, in some other ways, (and all things considered), I was extremely blessed, and made 'great strides' towards improving my life.

And so I waited..... and suffered.... and hoped.... and (most important) PRAYED that 'something or someone' would rescue me from my hell.

The Unthinkable 

And then, just as my son was preparing to leave for an LDS mission, my whole world came crashing down around me as the unthinkable happened.  My brother was killed in an industrial accident.  Although I had often believed that my SSA caused my life to be a living hell, when my brother died, my personal definition of 'hell' was instantly changed to something I could never have imagined I would have to face.

Words cannot describe my devastation and heartbreak.  My brother was just one year older than me, we shared a room throughout our entire childhood, adolescents, and even during our teenage years, and, as adults, we had worked side by side at the same job for 10 years.  He was an amazing, genuine, kind, lovable, spiritual, faithful child of God.  He loved people, (especially babies), and he was the hardest working guy I have ever known.  He knew about my SSA, and he loved me unconditionally.  He was my friend, my confidant, my buddy, my strength, my hunting & fishing partner, my leader, my co-worker, my idol and the greatest example of everything good for me in my life.  I absolutely did not think I could live through the pain and loneliness I felt as I attempted to carry on without my wonderful brother in my life.

After my brother's death, the endless mornings of waking up to the reality that he was gone was like a reoccurring nightmare, and I would burst into tears as my heart broke over and over again.  This crushing devastation, along with the despair I felt over my unwanted same sex attraction, and my constant struggle with my thoughts and desires, was quickly becoming more than I could bare.

Hitting the bottom

As the years went by, and day by day I continued  to wait, and suffer, and hope, and pray,...  my heartache, anxiety and deep despair grew worse and was almost constant.  I felt as though it would consume me until I would break.

I believe I 'hit rock bottom' one day when several things in my life went wrong all at once. ( My problems were things that the average person should easily be able to handle, but I was literally unable to deal with my frustration and emotions over some work and domestic issues.)  I had a fight with my wife and then drove away to 'anywhere but here'.  As I drove aimlessly into the night, I felt angry, desperate, and confused.  My life seemed hopeless and I felt I just simply could not manage it anymore, and, frankly I didn't even want to  try.  I needed relief and I wanted out, but I didn't have the courage to end my life (and, I knew that taking my life would be the 'wrong' thing to do),  so I was trapped.

Eventually, in the wee morning hours, I reconciled my feelings and emotions enough to take myself home, but I slept in the garage.   Somewhere within those few hours of sleep that got that night I had a terrible dream.  It was probably the most horrific and upsetting dream that I have ever had.   It was a horrible and twisted experience of reliving my brother's death and his funeral all over again.   I awoke extremely upset, but I somehow managed to just get busy with my day, and I tried to put the dream out of my mind.

Faith precedes the Miracle

As I continued on through the day, I recognized how blessed I was to have made it through such a terrible night, and I realized that I must 'cowboy up' and figure out a way to take control of my life.  I knew that I wanted to live, and I had a glimmer of hope that God would guide me and bless me, and I prayed earnestly for a miracle in my life.  As the day continued, my anger faded into humility, my hate was softened with love, helplessness was replaced with hope, and my faith began to grow....... and then..... A MIRACLE  HAPPENED.

Divine Intervention - The Dream

The very next  night, after dreaming that horrible dream (while sleeping in the garage), I had another dream, a sacred dream, that was, for me, an absolute miracle, and I know and testify that it was Divine Intervention from God, and it HAS literally been life changing for me.

I dreamt that I was in extreme darkness, and that I was standing outside a large beautiful & bright building type thing which seemed to be made completely of sheer curtains, and, because of the light coming from within I could easily see right inside.  I was puzzled as to why I had not noticed this building before, as I seemed to know that it was always there, I had just been somewhat 'blind' to it before now.  I was curious to get a better look inside, and so I moved closer to an opening in the curtains.  As I peered through into the light and observed the beauty that was inside, I noticed a man and his wife standing inside.  I recognized the man as my brother (who had died about 10 months earlier), and I could overhear his words as he talked to another man who said, "Hello Brother 'Smith', what can I do for you?".  I heard my brother tell the man that he had been ill and that he was there for 'the formula' to heal him.  At this point, I was so thrilled to see my brother, and since I missed him desperately I wished to get his attention, so I repeated the same thing I had heard the man say to him, and  said, "Hello Brother 'Smith' ", (and then, in a teasing sort of way, I stepped back a bit as to hide myself from my brother).    He turned and stepped towards me, trying to see who was there and clearly wondering who had said his name.  I was aware that I could not go into the building where he was, but that he could come out to me.  He walked towards me, straining a bit to see who was there, and then he stepped through the sheer curtains and saw me standing there.  He scooped me up in his arms, firmly and lovingly hugged me and kissed my check, and was obviously as happy to see me as I was to see him.  He then told me that I was ill, and as he handed me a book, he said that in the book was 'the formula'.

At that very moment, I awoke with a start, and I remember the exact feelings I felt as I woke up from this dream.  The embrace with my brother seemed so completely real that I could still physically feel it in my heart and soul, even though I was now completely awake.  I was overwhelmed with a wonderful feeling of love, and I knew that the dream had significant meaning for me.  I burst into tears, just as I did almost every morning for days and weeks after my brother's death.  While crying, almost uncontrollably, I walked through the house to find my wife so I could tell her about the dream.  She was working at the computer in the office and when she saw me walking towards her, crying, she jumped right up and hugged me, immediately thinking that I was having another bad morning.  We walked to the family room and snuggled together on the couch.  Then I proceeded to tell her all about the amazing dream I had just experienced.

The Dream Whisperer

(By the way... my wife has been deeply interested in 'dreams' for many years as she has had several dreams that she knew and believed were very specific messages to her as a guide for her life.  She has literally done some research on 'analyzing dreams', and has shared her dreams and their meanings with me.  I remember her saying that when you have a dream that you feel has real meaning for you, you should immediately ponder the details of the dream, and pay special attention to the 'feelings' you were feeling subconsciously throughout the dream, and then correlate those same 'feelings' to your real, conscious, life.  Then, the connections to your real life, the meanings of the details of the dream, and the messages they hold for you, will be quickly revealed and understood.  She has also shared this with other members of our family, and has sometimes, jokingly/lovingly, been called 'The Dream Whisperer'.)

So, my wife carefully listened with great interest as I told her about my dream.  She did not interrupt me as I shared the complete dream, and I occasionally expressed my understanding of what I knew some of the details represented.  I told her that I believed the large, brilliantly lite building was 'the temple', and I was aware of the fact that I was outside of it (in darkness), and that I was not allowed to go in, but that my brother was 'worthily' inside, (and clearly happy & content there with his wife by his side).  I told her sincerely wanted to be worthy to go to the temple, although I had not held a temple recommend for 20 yrs.  When I said the part where my brother asked for the 'formula', my wife quietly began to cry, and the tears continued to roll down her face as I finished relating the rest of the dream.  I told her about how real was the embrace with my brother, and how I could 'still' feel his love in my heart, but that I was confused about the conversation with the other man and 'the formula'.   Without hesitation, and with great confidence in her understanding, she quietly said, "the 'formula' is REPENTANCE.

Understanding the Power of the Atonement

Because of my mission experiences, and seeing the power of repentance in action, I had a complete understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I knew that He was sent to this earth to be our Savior, that He paid the price and suffered intensely for all of our sins; and, in so doing, He prepared a way for each of us to repent of our sins, receive forgiveness from God, find relief from our anguish and our guilt, and feel peace.

I knew that "with God, nothing is impossible", but, for the record, I did not believe, or expect that I would be 'changed' from homosexual to heterosexual, nor was I hoping to be 'fixed'  (that my sexual attractions towards men would suddenly be towards woman).   I did not (and do not) believe that my homosexual orientation/attractions/desires were (are) a sin.  And, I knew for myself that my sins were specific to my homosexual 'actions', my addictive behavior, obsessive cultivation & entertaining of sexual thoughts,  acting out on fantasies alone and in my mind, and, of course, the lies, deceit, and infidelity that went along with it all.

In looking back now, I realize that, because of the conflict between my spiritual beliefs and my sexual orientation, I had developed a 'why me?' syndrome.   I realized that no matter what I did, the 'longing' was never fulfilled, and it became clear that I could 'never' get enough of the 'unhealthy' sexual behavior, as it always left me empty and only wanting more.  I would easily get caught up in desperate thoughts that I would never, ever overcome 'it'.  I was continuously being fooled, but my dream reminded me that  I actually knew the truth, and that the truth could set me free.

I knew that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I could find a sense of 'healing' from my addiction, and relief from my pain, suffering, and confusion, etc.  Especially, and most prominent in my mind, was a belief that I could be free from my sins and find peace from my guilt. 

I knew that if I could be forgiven for these sins that I would find peace.  I also 'hoped' to find real joy and happiness, but at this point, I didn't dare wish for too much.  I just wanted to be free, to feel peace, and mostly, to make things 'right' with God,

Complete Conviction

Immediately, when my wife mentioned 'Repentance', I knew that she was absolutely right, and the complete knowledge that I needed to repent of my sins and make amends with the Lord was instantly confirmed to my soul.  Really, I always knew that I needed to repent, and, I had actually attempted to repent about three times before; (met with my Bishops, tried to 'be good', etc).   But, in looking back, I realize that I was never really ready, and that I was always lacking in faith, (faith in God, yes, but mostly, I lacked faith in myself).  I admit that, prior to this day, I was not fully prepared and submissive enough to completely walk away from a life that was all I had ever known and seemed to be such a huge part of my being.

Now, this time was different.  My 'sacred' dream was so much more than just a dream.  It was a message from my Savior, my brother, Jesus Christ, through my earthly brother (who is now beyond the veil).  I felt it, I knew it, and I could not deny it.

I always knew that the answer, for me, was 'God'.  But I had learned that I couldn't pray 'it' away, and I had reconciled myself to the fact that 'it' was not going away.   Ultimately,  I knew that my only hope was to make peace with God (which meant to repent), and hope that, through Him, I could actually find relief.   So I asked my wife to call and get me an appointment with the Bishop, and I was committed to follow through.  Although I was worried, anxious, and literally afraid, I did not ever consider canceling the appointment.  I felt a great commitment and strength beyond anything I had ever felt before.

A Blurr

My appointment with the Bishop was only a few (3-4) days away,  but it seemed like an eternity and is now just a blurr.  I remember feeling so many different emotions; I was anxious, worried, nervous, and afraid, as I was sure I'd  be humiliated, ashamed, and embarrassed.  I was devastated and overwhelmed at the mere thought of all that I needed to confess.  I was extremely worried about what would happen next.  How would the Bishop react?  What would happen to my membership and standing in the church?   What if the 'truth' about me comes out to the world?


With much fasting and prayer, on the day of my appointment with the Bishop, I felt extremely humbled and close to my Father in Heaven.  I felt very good about the man who was our Bishop at that time.  In a way, I believe that he was the exact Bishop for me, at the exact time I was ready to repent.   I asked my wife to come to the appointment with me because I felt I needed her there for support, and, I knew that with her by my side I would find strength.

So I poured my heart out to my Bishop, and I told him EVERYTHING,.... and he didn't flinch.  He was (and is) such an amazingly wonderful, spiritual, kind, and caring man, and all I felt from him was compassion and caring and love.

Although the experience of confessing ALL my sins was humiliating,...  it was very humbling. It was so much more of a 'full' and 'fulfilling' experience than I had ever imagined it could be.  It was so much deeper than getting on my knees and asking the Lord's forgiveness on my own.  I was so very completely submissive, and I knew that somehow, this time, I would be able to truly forsake my sins.

Repentance, to me, felt like I was on a well trodden path, (that all of God's children must walk to make the Lords atonement effective in their lives), and any other way is unmarked, uneasy, counterfeit, or incomplete.   But this path was clearly marked, I understood the plan, and I believed in the process, and nothing had ever felt so 'right'.  The best way to describe my repentance experience is that, even though it was uncomfortable... it was comforting. 

Healing of the Sin Sick Soul

Upon leaving the Bishops office, I had a great feeling and strong confirmation that I had done the right thing, for the right reasons, and in the right way,  for the very first time.  I actually felt ministering angels attending to my soul, and I knew that I was being strengthened from on high.  My burdens were literally lifted at that time.    I had a wonderful and glorious sensation that I was immediately forgiven.  I had placed my sins before the Lord, He forgave me, and I knew that He would remember them no more.

I walked out of that office with such an amazing and indescribable feeling of relief and comfort and joy, that earthly words cannot express the magnitude and 'realness' of the experience.  It was absolutely NOT what I had expected.  I was really expecting to leave just as humiliated and worried as when I went in, and, I thought for sure that I would be completely embarrassed and ashamed.   Instead, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of peace and love and relief and hope.   When I went into the Bishop's office, my soul was heavy and full with anguish, frustration, and guilt, (like with mud and crud and poison) .... but, when I walked out, my soul was filled with 'light', and I felt acutely 'alive' and 'whole' for the very first time in my life.

 I had truly experienced the real  power of the Atonement, in 'my' life, and the Miracle of Forgiveness that could not be denied.  It was such a beautiful blessing and 'gift' from God.  Throughout my life, and literally since my childhood, I had been praying for God to 'Rescue' me, and finally, I knew that he had.

Change of Heart

Throughout the following days I experienced a most amazing transformation of my soul;  a 'Change of Heart' that encompassed every part of my being.   Although I was not 'changed' from a homosexual man to a heterosexual man (nor did I expect to be),  I was surprised, and consumed with gratitude, as the 'longing' to be 'normal' had fled.  And, I was freed from my heartache, anguish, guilt, and pain.

I was 'still' attracted to men, (and I still am to this day) but the compelling longing/desire to be 'sexual' with men was diminishing, and I was seeing other men as humans, (instead of sexual objects to be used to feed my personal fantasies).  I was humbled as I began to see the vulnerability in people, I saw men, (and women), as people who needed people..... in healthy ways.  I was, quite quickly, evolving into a 'new' man, as my previous characteristics of self pity, and of being selfish, irritable, guarded, longing, and lacking in spirituality, faith, hope and charity were all, for the most part, just melting away.

Consistently, my heart was being opened to be more sociable, more compassionate, and having more genuine interest in others.  My soul was really experiencing faith, hope and charity as I had never experienced or imagined before.

Repentance literally opened my eyes and cleared my head.  It was an actual psychological and physical awakening.  It was such an amazing gift.  After almost a lifetime of  misery and sin, my burdens were lifted and I was forgiven, my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ and God were immensely increased, and, I had hope that I could (and would) walk the higher road, because, although my sexual orientation had not 'changed',  my 'heart' was changed, and I truly was transformed into a 'new man' through the Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is Done.......(but there was/is still work to be done)

Soon I will tell the rest of the story....about the coming months, as I committed to some strict guidelines for my life (that my Bishop was inspired to ask me to follow), as I prepared myself to be worthy to enter the temple once again.  And, I am excited and anxious to tell about the monumental strength I was blessed with, (and continue to receive),  from my Father in Heaven, and,  about the surprising and amazing miracles that I continue to experience through Him and because of Him in my life.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Judge not...

One day, while I was listening to a group of women talking, I was saddened as their discussion turned to a subject that I believe was not very Christlike.  In the beginning, they were not talking about any particular person, but just about a certain group of people in general.  Frankly, they were being somewhat critical or judgmental of  'some people', who receive financial help from our church, in the form of money, food, meals, gas, medical care, etc.   One of the ladies revealed that she knew of a family who had received assistance from the church when they actually owned a very large, expensive boat, that was sitting in their driveway,... which she felt was a luxury item that should have been sold to help with the family's financial struggles.

This person's opinion and judgement of her neighbor's needs bothered me deeply.

It just happens that, through the years, we have always had a boat, of some sort or another,  parked in our driveway.   But, most of our neighbors would not know the truth, that all of 'our' boats have always been jointly owned between several family members, and, 'our house' just happens to be the designated parking place.  Our personal investment in 'the family boat' is always very minimal, and we are never in a position to sell the boat, as it is an important family tradition for my husband's siblings to always share ownership of a boat.   (And, by the way,  the biggest, fanciest one of all, was obtained for an extremely low price, as a favor to take it off the hands of a family who was no longer able to use it.)  

Since I know the 'inside story' about our boat,  it had never occurred to me that our neighbors might be 'judging' us unfairly because of the boat in our driveway.

I am also aware of a situation where a woman with several young sons lost her husband to cancer.  This little family owned a boat that provided much precious time together for the  father and his sons before he died.  After his death, the woman was struggling and doing all that she could to pay for the funeral expenses, and so she reluctantly put their boat up for sale to help with her financial difficulties.  When a special neighbor, and member of her church, heard about this,  he purchased the boat, paid her the money, and then gave the boat back to her and her boys as a gift.  He insisted that they keep the boat in their driveway just as it had always been, and reminded them that he would always be available to take the boys fishing and water skiing, etc.  

I assume that most people in that neighborhood don't know the 'inside story' about this struggling widow's family, so I hope that no one is judging them unfairly because of the boat in their driveway, 

We,  Mr. & Mrs. I Define Me, have a very serious and secret 'inside story', related to our marriage and family life, that only three of our neighbors know.  I'm sure it would be extremely surprising to most of our neighbors if they knew the truth about my husband's same sex attraction, our history of marital struggles, the private and personal heartaches that we each have endured, and the amazing strength that we have somehow managed to muster up to rise above these trials and establish the wonderful relationship of true love, complete fidelity, and genuine respect, that we now enjoy today.

I confess, there have been some times of serious dysfunction in our family, some of it might just be 'typical' American family ciaos and a lack of organization, but probably a good share of the time, the secret trials that we were facing did take a tole on our family and home.  

I remember a time when one of our daughter overheard a conversation as one of our neighbor's told someone that I was so "irresponsible".  Maybe this woman would have been more understanding and kind if she had known the 'inside story' about our trials.

On another occasion, I was made aware of the fact that a woman, who did not know me at the time, was being told a little about me as she was going to be working with me on a church project.  I don't know any of the details about what this woman was told about me, but her 'well meaning' comment about the conversation is quite telling,  she said, "well, they told me all about you, but I  LIKE YOU!".  (lol)   Although this could have been very hurtful to me, I actually just felt charitable towards those poor, uninformed women, who clearly don't know the 'inside story' of my life, and who I feel confident would be much more forgiving and kind towards me if they only knew the truth about what I was going through.

Also, there have been times when I felt so very inadequate as I have often found myself comparing myself to my amazing 'superwoman' sisters and sisters-in-law.  Sometimes it's quite discouraging to watch my family members (who I truly love so very much) as they accomplish great and wonderful things that are so impressive to their families, neighbors, and friends.   And since it seems that, so often, I personally struggle to just make it through the day, I can easily get caught up in my own pity party as I wish  my life was a little more like theirs, or that I was a little more like them.   

One day, as we were driving home from a family get together, I openly shared my feelings of inadequacies with my husband, as I ran down the list of what great qualities and talents each of these special woman in my life possess.  (I had no hard feelings towards any of them as I truly love each of them dearly - I just wished that I was more like them in some ways).  

Anyway, my husband jumped right in and insisted that no piano playing, scrap booking, calf roping, quilt making, school teaching, home decorating, marathon running, gun slinging, community volunteering, yoga instructing, gardener could ever compare to my patience, forgiveness, spirituality, and love as we have secretly walked through the fire together, have experienced things that could have caused others to crumble, and ultimately come to such an amazing and respectable  place of  deep commitment, joy, peace, and love.   Of course, I don't believe that any of my wonderful sisters and/or sisters-in-law ever size me up against them, or that any of them would judge me in any way (cause they are all extremely good and kind and loving).  But, my husband pointed out that if any of these woman knew the 'inside story' about my life they would be shocked and humbled and full of compassion and love.   Actually, I know that he is right and that it's true.

Maybe, the most important lesson here is that I  realize and understand that I don't know their 'inside stories', and that I should not be judging any of  them by the cleanliness of their houses, or the quilts on their beds, or the jars in their pantries, or the flexibility of their muscles, or the horses in their fields, or the boats in their driveways.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WHO HURTS WORSE? Another perspective of 'Hell'

PART III - the children (well, one of the children - now an adult)

(Jr. I Define Me here) -

“The GEM cannot be polished without friction” Chinese proverb.

I  think so many people look at this situation and feel sorry for my mom, and place blame on my dad. It was not that way for me at all. Actually before I found out, I feel I believed more that the dysfunction in our family was my mom’s fault. I love her dearly and now have a different view about her and the turmoil growing up. Here is a little about what I experienced before I found out my dad is gay and some of my perception I had of the turmoil.

For the first ten yrs of my life before he told my mom, it was a completely “normal” or balanced feel within our family. All I remember was love, laughter, fun, and family. He taught me so many things such as how to YELL and SCREAM if someone ever “grabbed me” or attempted to kidnap me and even made me practice by coming up and grabbing me and running trying to hold me down and I had to yell and bite and kick and scream “ HE”S NOT MY DADDY!! HE’S NOT MY DADDY!!”. He taught me how to punch a boy (bully) in the nose and that I do it HARD, so it bleeds. We went camping, fishing, and riding horses with family. We went to parks, festivals, and swimming. We had a many different boats throughout my young life and we used to go boating a lot in the summer. My dad taught me how to water ski when I was 7yrs old, and we (eldest and I) tubed behind the boat for so long we would lose our voices. We packed picnics and grew gardens, huge vegetable gardens, and my parents both held us accountable for our actions.

We were caught up in all the normal family things like school, homework, weekends, and movies, Christmas, church, moving from apartments to houses, dance and so many other things families do.  Dad was ALL the wonderful things a dad was supposed to be. He was loving, supportive, outgoing. He and my mom made a good team and I never felt scared or alone or wondered what was wrong with anyone.

When I turned 12 is when my world seemed to turn into something I was unsure of. I was untrusting of my mom and her emotions and I did not feel I could confide in my dad about anything. The dysfunction did seem to be an underlying thing, like a lava, we could not predict when an eruption would happen but we knew it was there. The true core of our family was more obvious and manifested through my parents definite perseverance to have a loving happy family. Much of the time throughout these “bad years” we were a happy, loving, family in my perception; then lava erupted and us kids felt separated from our parents, trying to understand what was happening, and why, but no real concrete answers ever presented itself. As these years went on the “eruptions” seemed more frequent, more powerful, and as kids we were feeling less confident in our parents relationship.

Before I found out, and especially throughout those 13 yrs when my dad was doing the “down low” activity, I personally felt more sympathy for my dad that he was “putting up with my mom” for so long.
When I stated before that sometimes I wished for divorce, it was because I felt my dad deserved better than my mom and her crazy tantrums and emotional outbursts. Without knowing the cause, I felt my mom was the problem within the marriage. I witness so much more dysfunction visibly from my mom, and watched my dad so often allow it, and he even seemed to humbly, and passively comply to these antics.

Now Dad got angry too. When he did HE WAS ANGRY! It was scary when my dad became angry at any of us. My main perception of the most dysfunction, was right before Eldest moved out and then maybe 5 years after that, from about age 13 till I turned 18 and moved out myself. During that time I feel my parents fought more often when we kids were not around, but my mom’s hurt could not help but BOIL OVER into the home and to us kids. She seemed to always be scowling and unhappy, and I felt for some of my teenage yrs she might have had schizophrenia. She was hot and cold, and up and down. She would come in from the grocery store and be fine, then walk in to the kitchen and if it was a mess she would go lock herself inside her room and cry for hours.  I thought she was crying over dirty dishes.

One time I remember she walked in and took a dirty plate from the sink and broke it over the sink and counter, and then walked into the bedroom and stayed in there the rest of the day. To a child this was internalized as a very visible problem with mom, not dad. She seemed angry at dad so much of the time and I mostly took my dad’s side. I saw my mom mad at my dad more often, and dad seemed only to defend himself against her. I had sympathy for them both but I often felt that if they divorced it was because my dad was finally DONE dealing with my crazy mom.  I even felt that I would go choose to live with dad.

Still, they always stayed together, and even when they were fighting, I knew they loved each other. I remember watching Ratatouille ( Disney movie with a rat chef) and there is a part in the beginning when the rat (Remi) is running through an apartment complex and he passes a French couple where the woman is pointing a gun to the man, and he cries,  “YOU WOULDN’T DARE!”,  then the gun goes off and Remi returns to see them both passionately kissing each other. I saw that and thought “THAT’S IT!! My parents are FRENCH!!” this was before I found out about my dad. 

My dad did always back up my mom, and when I would complain to him about her, he never allowed me to be disrespectful. I felt it was unfair in my immaturity, that my dad, who I thought would agree about my mom’s emotional outbursts, would not take my side but instead tell me to “honor my mother for all of my days.”

My dad was more disassociated with us kids during that time period. He hardly asked me how my day was, or how school was. He didn’t seem interested in my likes and dislikes, or extracurricular activities. After an accomplishment, or a recital he was proud, and giddy and loving and excited. These are some of my favorite memories of my dad, but it was mom who was the glue to my school life and everything else in between. I just couldn’t trust her emotions or mood. It was like a rollercoaster with her. With my dad, it was more obvious he was comfortable and free in the family and at home but disconnected in a way.

Even when they separated for a few weeks, I felt that it was all so confusing. I remember the tension but there did not seem to be any real reason, other than some fighting over bills and petty stuff like that. Then one morning my parents were getting ready for something and leaving me to babysit my 2 younger siblings (which I did OFTEN) and suddenly my mom came running in and shut herself into her bedroom, and dad came in and asked us kids to come listen to him. He told us he was leaving and he was not coming back. He was crying and looked so unhappy, but as I listened, I felt I was not surprised. I was maybe 14yrs old. When I told my neighbor friends about my dad leaving, they asked why, and what happened…….. I honestly thought long and hard about it and had no good answer. I said my mom had been acting crazy, and they fought about bills and money. My friends, especially the one with divorced parents were expecting something more than that as an explanation.

Then one day my dad came back, about 2 weeks later (could be wrong, I feel I misremember a lot as I blocked much of it.) and I do not remember any kind of reconciliation or them speaking to us about what happened. Maybe they can clear this one up within a post ;-)

There were very confusing and painful things going on between my parents as we grew up. I want to say one more time though, they always obviously LOVED OUR FAMILY and worked very very hard to do their best at shielding us from the problems, and teaching us how to be good, functioning, honest and contributing members of society. They went to great lengths to put aside the turmoil and work together for their children’s sake. They pushed through more hellfire and brimstone then I could ever imagine to define their lives the way they felt was best for them.

My mother especially deserves praise and high honor for the part she played within keeping our family and their marriage together. She fought through the tears and the torment and did her best to put on her “brave face” and be the glue needed to keep us together. I will always be grateful for the example she was in a situation she had full right to literally fall apart, and give up. Her strength is exemplary.
For me having a full understanding of this, and forgiveness for them both, I feel I am a stronger more aware person. I can withstand trials I have been faced with, and feel confident in my power to observe, decide and conquer any and all things in my life.  In finding out about my dad it gave me more understanding about my mom’s antics, and my dads role within that. I was so sorry I had blamed her for so many years. I also then felt compassion for my dad and his struggles.  I do not remember any anger.
In talking with my dad he was so humble and sorry about his actions and the toll they took on everyone. He still is. In deciding to do this blog and in writing much of the posts, I talk with my dad, and he weeps everytime. I have never seen a person who realizes the devastating things they have done, be more meek and humble about it. He understands fully that we may have never forgiven him for some of his actions and choices, and I know he still feels the deep regret of the risks he was taking and the pain and dysfunction he caused.  I look at my life, and I am thankful my dad asked my mom to marry him. I am thankful my mom stayed through the hurt and turmoil. I am thankful I have siblings to share my life with. I am thankful I have my own children who show me everyday how precious life is and teach me why my parents worked so hard to save their family.  No one is perfect. We are all children of God.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for our trials.
DISCLAIMER: This is solely MY perception of MY family and OUR personal story. I believe there are more roads to happiness then anyone could imagine. I hope every person may find happiness and contentment within whatever his or her definition of living is.