|Bear with elephant slobber. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, South Africa|
1. Marrying Bear
I met Bear in 1999 while organizing a military conference. I was married at the time, but always admired him and his gentle spirit. In 2004 after my divorce I was on the Air Force base and who should walk into the office, Bear. We have been together ever since. He is my rock, my stability, my calm, my partner, my best friend and my everything.
|Benny Beaver and Me. I had to knock a few 5 year old kids out the way for this picture.|
2. Moving to Oregon
Having lived in Utah for a very long time, we made the decision to move to Oregon. Bear is a resident of Oregon and we didn't want him to lose residency, plus he needed to complete his degree at OSU. It was tough to leave my friends who were my adoptive family, but leaving Zion was very easy. My mantra is... I know I am going straight to heaven as I served my time in hell.
|T volunteered for 3 months at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane, Australia|
3. Cutting the umbilical cord and allowing T to take his gap year in Australia, South Africa and England.
For some parents they cut the cord a long time ago. For me, it took a while. When I was married to the ex for many years, it was T and I against the world. As a graduation gift from my mother, T was given the opportunity to take his gap year traveling. During the time he was gone I got to know me again and T got to grow up. We are both better for it.
|They always look so serious.|
4. Cleaning homes and taking care of 7 boys from Saudi Arabia.
After struggling to find a job in my profession I decided to clean homes. One thing my parents taught us growing up was that there is no job that is beneath you. Everything fell into place when I started cleaning for a few students from Saudi Arabia. I currently have seven that I not only clean for, but take care of. I am their American Mom and I love what I do.
|Harris Bridge, Corvallis, Oregon|
5. Divorcing negative friends and tightening my circle of positive ones.
After the death of a dear friend this year I learned the hard lesson of differentiating between a true friend and a fair weather friend. My heart still aches sometimes over the loss of these friendships, but also rejoices at having found the true ones.