Stark Realizations

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Over the weekend I had to attend a memorial service for a member of my mother’s family. Her cousin passed away a couple months ago at the age of 67 and over the weekend we had the memorial service for her. It was quite sad that her daughter was supposed to get married three weeks after she had passed. The daughter ended up getting married but the mother obviously was not able to attend it. My parents and I and my mothers brother attended the memorial service together. The service was at the church in my mother’s cousin’s hometown. She had been cremated so this was a little service for putting her ashes into the memorial wall of the church. It was a very old church and unfortunately it had no air conditioning and it was so hot and humid on Saturday it was even worse inside the church. Luckily I had a summer dress on but I felt awful for all the guys who were wearing suits. I could see the sweat is dripping off of them.

After the service the church had a small social gathering outside to share memories and what not.  Unfortunately, it was raining and it was too late to call a tent rental company or anything so most people did not stick around.

Since not many people wanted to hang out in the rain, we all went to a restaurant to have lunch together.  More people showed up then anticipated and the restaurant had to throw three more tables together for all of us and cook more food, the restaurant was quite unprepared for the amount of people that showed up for the lunch. After lunch my parents took me back home and my uncle went back to my parents house. We’re all gonna relax a little bit because my cousin was in town and then we were all gonna go out to dinner together. So after a couple hours of just relaxing my husband and I met my parents my uncle and my cousin and my parents favorite restaurant so we could have dinner together.

My cousin lives in New York and we rarely get to see him so we had such a good time at dinner. I think we had maybe too good of a time. My cousin and I don’t drink but my husband, my parents and my uncle were throwing them back like there was no tomorrow. My husband does not really have a lot in common with my Uncle but since they were both drinking they were acting like best friends.  They even went over the the photo booth that the restaurant had set up and took some pretty hilarious photos.  I thought it was a bit strange that a restaurant/ bar had a picture booth but the waitress said that they do catering for a local photo booth rental company and they get a really good deal by trading services. But it was all in good fun it’s kind of sad that it is at funerals that we get to see relatives that we don’t normally get to see but I’m thankful that I do get to see my cousin and all of my mom’s family that I rarely get to see. Because as much as family annoys you we all would be lost without our families.  At least I know that I would.

Part 2 That one sibling

Last time I left off at a fairly inappropriate time but I had something that needed to be dealt with in an urgent manner so I again apologize for leaving you guys hanging.  So, back into the discussion…..

Living life thinking that you don’t have any control over what happens to you is quite depressing. Not to say that just believing something will make it so, there is much more to it than that.  It is not as if I magically become a plumber because I thought about a 40 gallon hot water heater with passionate intent.

I know that my brother is capable of being a good person, but I think that he has some very self defeating beliefs that he holds subconsciously.  He believes that all of his circumstances are the result of someone or something else but in actuality he has created the life that his beliefs line up with.  The other day he said that he can’t believe how out of control his life has become and my response was that he has complete control of his life and that no person, place, thing or event can bring him salvation.  I also told him that there is no salvation in the past or the future.  I explained that the only time that you can experience anything is in the now.  As simple as that sounds, it has been very life changing for me to use that point of view.  It is very calming to think about the fact that there is no future, there are only ever moments that we will experience in that very moment.  My brother is in the mindset that life just happens to you and you do not have a say about it.  I am trying to make him see that life happens because of us and we can create any kind of life that we desire but without nudging those negative beliefs up it becomes impossible to manifest our most important desires.


Something that would be unfair not to mention is that I was in exactly the same mindset just a few years ago.  I was absolutely miserable because I was creating an awful life and did not realize it was my own creation.  I have since then made some serious realizations that have drastically changed the direction that my life has taken.  I still have my bad days just like everyone else but the overall direction of my life is an exciting one with hope and peace.  I almost feel like a religious fanatic with some of the epiphanies that I have had.  I feel this way because I want other people to share in the wealth of well being.  Life can become quite hopeless when you allow the self defeating beliefs run your life.  Without the realization that nothing in and of itself is truly bad or good.  It is very easy to view yourself as a failure.  Things that we perceive as bad can create something good or even great. The same goes for quote unquote good things.  I believe that the most important thing in this life is to actually live it at this very moment.  I used to look to future events or things with the mind that once I do this or once I have that, only then can I be happy or be present in this moment.

I believe that society nowadays is set up to create sheep that follow the collective beliefs and the only people that now this little secret and how to properly implement it are the ones that live happy and full lives.  Just because there are a lot of people that believe something does not always mean that it is right.  I believe it is our job to question authority and the norms of society to help create a more aware population.  There are no boundaries on what we can create.  There are only the limits that we put upon ourselves.  I know that my brother can start creating a more pleasing life but that can only happen after he starts the very hard process of looking in the mirror and owning up to the life HE has created.

I know that my point of view is not going to go over well with everyone but I hope that it can reach the eyes of people that might need to see it.  We all have different perspectives and that is okay, it doesn’t mean that you are wrong and I am right.  It only means that we have a different perspective about something.  If you have something to add or would like to discuss something that I spoke about please use the comment section to do so.  I will do my best to respond to everyone but please do not be offended if I miss one here or there.  Get out there and create a kick ass life!

That one sibling

Throughout the years I have come across many different instances that a family has that one child that is more or less the trouble maker.  I know that we did!  For the sake of privacy I will not name him by name but instead we will call him Adam.  Growing up Adam was what my parents would refer to as “strong willed”.  What I would of called it was “just being a dick”  haha.

I was always the perfect little sheep.  I desperately wanted approval from my parents as I saw them as godlike.  They were the people I looked to most for my answers about the world.  The problems that this created later on in life will be left out of this article as they are too extensive to cover here.

Anyways, my brother Adam always seemed to be angry about something.  From my perspective he was only happy when there was some type of drama or fight.  He loved to pick on our younger brothers and was always the one to push the boundaries.  Adam and the next younger sibling always had a close bond, more so than I did as the oldest with any of the other siblings.  What that meant was that even when Adam was picking on Steve, Steve would defend Adam till the death.

I will give you an example.  One day when I was probably 12 or so Adam was messing with Steve and poking fun at something he was wearing.  That ended up turning into Adam hitting and punching Steve for defending himself verbally.  Playing the peace keeper, I went out and defended Steve because it seemed like the right thing to do.  After I pulled Adam off of Steve and pushed him to the ground. Steve stood up and started screaming at me to get off of Adam!  All of the sudden it became Adam & Steve vs me!  Things did not escalate any further but that instance shows the close bond that they had.  They were closer in age and did most everything together.

Now that I look back I can’t help but wish that I was more “strong willed” back then more so in the questioning of some of the things that our parents were presenting to us as fact.  As we both grew up I suppose Adam and I actually reversed rolls a bit because I became the rebel with tattoos and started questioning all of the dogma that our parents had fed us and Adam on the other hand is following in the same blind and ignorant path that my parents followed in way of religion.  Please do not take that previous comment the wrong way.  I have come a long way in seeing that there is some value in the belief of some type of higher power and that some people can get great value from religion.  That being said, I think that most religious groups have completely misconstrued the intention of what the religion was suppose to accomplish when it was initially started.

Today my brother is probably in the roughest position of his life.  He is now twice divorced with two children from his first wife.  He has been fired from two jobs in this last year.  One of which was a relatively high paying job with great benefits.  He has been caught scamming at his most recent job and has not found a new job since being fired from the latter.  The second job I mentioned is big in tree removal in Waterford, MI and he was writing up the bills as if the tree he removed was dozens of feet taller than they actual were. He has also been addicted to a very powerful pharmaceutical since he was prescribed it back it high school.  The list actually goes on but I do not want this to turn into a complete Bash-fest especially because I am hopeful that he will turn it around soon.

I do apologize for those of you following this blog but I have run out of time for today and will have to finish this post at a later date.  I know this is an abrupt ending but sometimes life happens.  Check back soon for the conclusion of this post.


Sibling Rivalry

If any family that has more than one child then they know about sibling rivalry quite intimately. Since I have four other siblings I believe the rivalry between siblings in families increases with each child that is born. Now don’t feel bad for my parents, they chose to have five kids, no sympathy for them please, they made their bed now they must lay in it! Honestly, I do feel bad for them every once in a while because I have realized that even though, we kids, are all grown up, some with our own families we still fight for our parents attention and to show the others that we are the favorite child. I am not sure any siblings ever grow out of that.

Just recently we had a party at my parents house for one of my nieces’s third birthday, it was a relatively small party, just family came, my brother had another party earlier for their her friends and their friends. I say relatively small party because just the family was invited but we have a lot of family, with the one great grand grandpa left, grand parents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all the little kids there were probably close to forty people there, it’s a good thing it was nice outside because that would have been one crowded house! So, we are all outside hanging out, we had tents and tables set up, when my oldest brother who’s daughter’s birthday it is happens to mention that she is the the favorite granddaughter. Now, I do not have children yet but a couple of my siblings do, this statement that my brother made gave pause to the conversation, my other brother and one of my sisters began to explain where his daughter was not the favorite and that their child was. I tried to be Switzerland here and stayed neutral by saying that all the grandchildren were equal in our parents eyes, it’s us “the siblings” that are more favorable to our parents, such as I’m the favorite because I’m in the middle. This remark was met with blank stares, than a friendly debate started with each of my siblings stating “facts” on why they are the favorite.

My father at this point had sauntered over to our table to mingle with us and realized what we were talking about, my parents never had said that they have a favorite child, I think we all believe in our hearts that they love us equally as they should but my parents do not discourage the fun they have watching us debate over silly issues like this. My younger sister asked my dad which one of us was his favorite, my dad replied that his favorite was sitting next to his least favorite,then walked away. With that we just stared at each other trying to figure out then who the least favorite was!

Thanks for sticking around, sorry I haven’t been here in a while, I’ll check back every couple months, stay tuned!


Put it behind you

Very few moments of childhood in a family of seven were quiet, poised, and peaceful. I remember

seeing families on better homes and gardens magazines as a child and wondering how they got the kids

to stay still long enough to smile for the birdy. Our neighbor actually had a home that was portrayed in

those magazines a few times, so we lived close to that dream, but always worlds away. My own two

brothers and two sisters and I were no exception to the universal concept of sibling rivalry. My brothers

normally got over stuff pretty quickly, having the box brains that most guys are blessed with. Living with

sisters always proved to be the more challenging adventure, as is often the case when more than one

woman exists in the same space at the same time. Up until my older sister and brother moved out of our

large and ancient childhood home, there was never a time when siblings in our family didn’t share a

room. There was a constant battle between my sisters and I for closet space, window access, and of

course, clothes. There are still days, now seven years after moving away, that I find a favorite dress or

shirt mixed in with my sister’s pile of laundry.

Based off of my family experiences growing up, I would definitely conclude that boys and girls

are very different at their core. My brothers, though easily forgiving, were far more ruthless in their

everyday play. Their favorite type of game consisted of pelting everyone else in the near vicinity with

projectiles. A personal favorite of my older brother was to have a walnut war against the rest of us,

using the bright green and very hard walnuts from our neighbor’s tree. More often than not, it would

end in my mother soundly scolding my brothers for causing welts on us girls from our epic and painful

battle. Our parents attempted to maintain peace between the five of us, but their efforts were a losing

battle from the start. One year my parents got us a bunch of plastic Easter Eggs, which quickly became

the new favorite indoor ammunition. Needless to say, that particular Easter tradition only lasted a year.

My younger brother was much more sensitive, but easily fell into the rough and tumble antics that my

older brother was so fond of.

The girls could be sneaky, conniving, and manipulative toward each other. We simply considered

these gestures to be part of our normal routine. It was not uncommon for one of us to lock another out

of the bathroom or hide treasured items in clever places. Barbies typically ended up being the victim of

choice in such endeavors. We frequently found the tall rubber dolls on rooftops, in trees, and

occasionally, even buried by our home. I remember on even ending up “dancing” on a hot skillet (though

that one may have been more of an experiment than anything). Most of these dolls belonged to my

older sister, but we all shared in the tormenting experiences. The worst part of female warfare always

seemed to be the unexpected and highly charged hormonal bursts that ran through our home like a

strong Fargo wind. There were of course some restful days of peace, but they were few and far

between. Usually the situation was far more hostile. One girl would make a nasty jab at another girl,

insult would be returned, and within a few short minutes, the entire household was in an uproar with a

crying girl in every corner of the house.

In spite of all this, I now share a wonderful friendship with all of my siblings. Something clicked

when we all moved away and suddenly realized how much we appreciated our family. Even now, we still

have little squabbles and tiffs, but have realized that few things are important enough to stir the waters

for. Our good memories of our childhood far outweigh our years of fighting and bickering. We’d never

make it into a magazine, but I don’t think we’d prefer it any other way.

Until next time.


Sibling adventures

Siblings. For those of us with them we likely have some pretty funny stories. Whenever I think of siblings ,I think of my husband- and his two brothers. The stories of adventure and rivalry these three kids from Oregon shared are adored in our family- and by most children wanting a good tale. All three boys- Levi (my husband and the oldest), Patrick (middle), and Matthew(youngest) have lived a life of adventure and overcoming the odds, mediocrity, and tragedy. These lives, these brothers- what they’ve lived is the stuff people write books  about- the kind of books that are eventually turned into movies. It all began the first year of the 80’s in a small logging town in Oregon. Eugene wasn’t known for the Ducks Football team back then- nor Phil Knight. Eugene wasn’t known yet for it’s hippies and progressive lifestyle. Eugene wasn’t quite what it is now- just like the boys that started life there. Once their Dad was put in prison for double homicide- they moved to where anyone that didn’t want to be found moved-a blink and you’ll miss it town named Lapine. This is where the boys became men, where they had unsupervised unlimited time to explore and make their mistakes. In the national forests that Oregon is famous for, these three boys lived a life only few dream of. Their day would usually start around 7am- as soon as their Mom would leave for one of her many jobs. Levi, the oldest, would make his oatmeal and pack his bag with his sticks, rocks, and a few granola bars. Matthew- the youngest and 5 at the time, desperately wanted to go with Levi so as any younger brother did he begged. “If you can be ready by the time I get my shoes on, and if you promise not to whine or slow us down you can come.” Matthew didn’t even finish his breakfast- he threw some snacks in a bag and had his shoes on before anyone else. They started their day climbing one of their many tree’s where they had hid some snacks and “ammo.” These tree’s weren’t some small Burch tree’s but your huge dark oaks that were older then the town they lived in. Climbing them was dangerous- and they loved it. However Matthew-always the slowest and most careful- was holding them back as they descended back down so Levi did what any older brother would- gave him some motivation with his boot. They aren’t sure how far Matthew fell but they do know it had to have been at least 12 feet. Not wanting to disappoint his older brothers- Matthew acted fine and they kept on their adventure (later they found that Matthew had landed on his shin and broke skin-so a huge chunk of skin was hanging off his leg the entire day). The boys knew those woods like the back of their hand and wouldn’t come home until the sun began to set. NO matter what kind of trouble they found themselves in- they always seemed to manage to get away with it. Like the time Patrick feel through the ice of a frozen lake in the winter- Levi somehow saving him and pulling him out. HE was smart enough to know to tear Patrick’s clothes off and to also not tell Mom- how they snuck him back home naked is beyond me- but they did. She learned about when I did- when they were reminiscing about it years later. OR there was that time they went white water rafting and Matthew fell in the mighty McKenzie River. Patrick dove in for him and as Patrick and Levi brought him back on the raft he yelled, ”I had that!! I didn’t need help! I so had that!!!” Or there was the time they were curious about what would happen if they put an old washing machine on rail road track right before the train came. They made the news that night, only they were the only ones that knew it was them. My favorite story is when they found antique smokeless powder- they made a pipe bomb except when they lit it- it didn’t work. Lighting it with matches didn’t work and everything they tried didn’t work. Levi and Patrick began to walk away when they heard, “boom!” When they turned around Matthew was showing his big, shit eating grin- his face was covered in soot and his white teeth were all you could see. Seems to be that the entire package of matches did the trick. Then there was the time my husband, a young 13 year old boy, put his step Dad in ICU after nearly beating him to death for hitting his Mom. When the police came the brothers stood behind Levi and supported him. Whatever they told the police worked- the police commended Levi. To this day the brothers will talk about that and make Levi the hero. They lived a childhood that was tragic from birth- but they managed to live it together and make it wonderful through adventure and the love that only brothers know. Levi eventually found peace in Jesus and turned his life around at the tender age of 13. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army and married his high school love (Me!). Patrick found his escape, and peace, in drugs and sex. And Matthew eventually found his final escape in 2016 when he took his own life. This past year without Matthew has been different. Though he never amounted to much in life he was everything to his son- and us. Sometimes we think we should have let him catch up more, or we should have told him he didn’t need to try so hard. We think about the what-ifs and look back to see a baby that was born fighting and that fight never really stopped until the day he died. But we take comfort in knowing that when he was with his brothers he felt like he was on top of the world. Though he had a difficult life, because of his brothers, it was also a wonderful life. We love miss you everyday Matthew. Save a place for us- we’ll see you when we get there.


Me in the middle

One of my husband’s favorite TV shows as a kid was Malcom in the Middle. I never watched it growingup, so my husband has taken it upon himself to introduce me to the show. On the surface the family is loud, boisterous, and entirely dysfunctional. There are aspects of the family that are incredibly relatable, however, and should be examined in closer detail, which can help us to better understand our own family dynamics. One such example of this is the relationship the four (three primary) brothers have with each other. The three main child characters, Reese, Malcom, and Dewey, seem to constantly be portraying the stereotypical American brotherly relationship. Through attempting to out-do one another with cleverness, strength, or stealth, much of the show revolves around their complex and intricate sibling rivalry. At first glance, this appeared to be an unhealthy model of comradery, but after watching several seasons, I have concluded that there is actually a good amount of togetherness displayed (albeit humorously) by the three boys. At least in the first season, Reese, is the physical muscles/bully in the family. He takes great delight in occasionally breaking down his two younger brothers and making their existence as miserable as possible. In addition to bullying his brothers, Reese is also well known for being the school bully. The interesting thing about this relationship, however, is that Malcom and Dewey always go back to Reese for physical protection from other people. In one episode, Reese actually “turns a new leaf”, and decides to stop being a bully to his brothers (along with everyone else), which ultimately backfires on him. Rather than get the occasional whopping from Reese, Malcom and Dewey daily are forced to face an entire world of bullies who had refrained from attacking the two brothers, simply because they knew Reese was there to protect them. Reese had essentially succeeded at maintaining the peace as the bully, because everyone else was too afraid to stand up to him. Once he stopped doing so, the entire school and family was thrown into utter chaos, as there was no longer any authority to maintain order. While Reese occasionally inflicts pain on his two younger brothers, they still know that he always has their backs when it comes to bigger bullies. Likewise, Malcom (who is a certifiable genius) plays a key balancing role to his brothers as well. Though often Malcom’s intelligence manifests in clever pranks towards his brothers, it also helps to get the family out of sticky situations. Malcom is often the one to get his brothers out of trouble or to find a clever way of completing a certain task that they’re all working on. Malcom essentially acts as a glue, holding his brothers together, as he enables them to pull off incredibly complex pranks toward an unsuspecting public. He unifies his brothers and usually is the one to help them to regain focus when they get distracted from their plan. Dewey. Though young and mostly annoying, also plays a role in the relationship his brothers have with each other. In spite of his child-like manipulation and general distractedness, Dewey still manages to be a common unifying member of his family. Though Reese and Malcom do sometimes use Dewey as a scape-goat, or even forget about him altogether, they also show hints of appreciate for him throughout the show. Both boys have an underlying protective nature towards Dewey, who contributes by often helping to manipulate their way out of trouble. Even though the three boys are constantly bothering one another, there is an underlying sense of comradery, teamwork, and friendship that creates a strong and powerful brotherly bond. I find this very relatable, as a sister to four siblings. It is through these ups and downs that one not only survives being a sibling, but builds a strong friendship that keeps siblings together throughout their lives.


See you next time,


Sibling Torment

Brothers and sisters are the very best people at finding and monopolizing on our fears.  One of the first memories I have is the time my brother pushed me down into a hole that was left behind from when my parents had a stump grinding company out and they left a large hole in our backyard.  He pushed me inside and slammed a piece of plywood over the hole and sat on it for what seemed like an eternity.  Needless to say, I have never forgiven him for that.  Carrying on, the home that I grew up in was about 140 years old, and had ages of history behind its large wooden doors. The cellar (or dungeon as I usually referred to it as) was one of the most terrifying places I had ever seen as a kid. Even in the daytime, I tried not to venture more than two or three feet into the damp, musty underworld that was our basement. The Limestone walls of the cellar were the kind that wept and emitted a strange concoction of smells every time a storm passed over head. After walking down the winding, spider-web

Family fights

This is my first real post and I need to make a shout out to my loving husband who works very hard as a plumber in canton, michigan. Without him I would never have the time to dedicate a personal blog.  I guess you might call him my sponsor. Haha. Anyways, thank you Jim for always being a supportive and loving husband.  On with the post.


Fighting in the family

There’s something very unnatural to me about families who don’t fight. There are a very few families I have met who pride themselves on having children who play perfectly with each other, and never get into fights. First of all, I believe this is a lie, but secondly, I believe fighting with siblings plays a major part in learning about life after childhood. While I am quite aware of the many different reasons that parent might have a single child in their lives, I find it hard to comprehend what live as an only child would look like. Furthermore, I can’t imagine being the person I am today if I hadn’t grown up fighting and learning with my two brothers and two sisters. It has become a huge part of who I am, and it is by God’s grace that I still have my family to go to now as an adult. I did not enjoy fighting with my siblings, per se. Of course, I enjoyed when I won arguments, but even then, the victory was never truly satisfactory. Therewas a lot of guilt associated with the battles with and against my siblings, but I do believe that I have learned very much from those as well. I used to think that fighting was all bad and never productive, but after having been married for a few years, I have come to view conflict as a necessary challenge. Conflict with my siblings helped me learn so many things. For starters, I am not frightened by challenge now as an adult. I have my insecurities, as most people do, but don’t have a crippling fear that any conflict will end a good relationship. I