Tiny Eden

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Making Our Dream a Reality in Cardinals Cove

Sam and I had many dreams.  Dreams that we wanted to carry out together.  Dreams for each other.  Dreams for Owen.  One of Sam's biggest fears in his last year of life was that if he died, I would not be able to go on.  I wouldn't be able to get out of bed, spending my days crying.  And I have wanted to do that on so many days.  More days than imaginable.  But I can't.  That would mean that Sam's biggest nitemare would come true.  How could I do that to him?  How can I do that to Owen?  With every decision I make, I always think about what would Sam want me to do?  This played such a big part in choice that I made recently.

This summer, my family and I went on a vacation to Hilton Head Island that my mother in law had planned for us before she joined Sam as one of my guardian angels.  As the day drew closer for us to go, I started to have major anxiety.  So much so that the nite before we were to leave, I called my family and told them to go without me.  There were several factors that were causing this anxiety, but the largest was the fact that I did not want to go on a vacation to the beach without Sam.  We had gone several years ago to Orange Beach and it was an amazing trip.  We vowed that we would make it a point to go to the beach every year and that we would retire to the beach one day.  That was our last trip to the beach together. 

On the first day we arrived, it was a little rough for me.  Dana and I were at the condo with the kids while my parents went shopping and I was feeling really anxious.  As we were talking, Dana looked out onto the balcony and told me to look out there.  Perched on the railing was a cardinal.  He was bright red and was just staring at me.  Every time I see a cardinal, I am always convinced that it is Sam coming for a visit.  She told me it must be a sign that I was supposed to be on this trip.  Fast forward through the week and we ran into cardinals everywhere, including on the beach.  I felt so much at ease knowing that I was not there alone and my love had been with me all along.  The trip that I had been anxious about going on ended up making me the happiest that I had been in a long time - and it was pure happiness, not just a smile to pretend that I am happy.

While we were in Hilton Head, I jokingly said that I wanted to get an apartment there so I can be able to feel that happiness anytime I wanted to.  The more and more I thought about it, the more and more I wanted to make it a reality.  Speaking of reality, my parents are realists.  They are not dash your hopes and dreams realists, but "we are going to break it to you gently" kind of realists.  Much to my surprise when I was at work one day, my parents got me a sign that had "Beach House Rules" on it.  When they handed it to me, they told me it was for my new beach house because I needed to follow my dream - actually Sam's and my dream. 

Wasting no time, I contacted a real estate agent to get a feel for being able to turn this dream into a reality.  To my surprise, it was a whole lot more feasible than I thought it would be.  It did not take long for me to find the perfect place.  My dad and I took a trip down there to check it out and I fell in love immediately.  The next day, I started to get that "you are insane" feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I wanted to get a feel for how long the walk to the beach would be, so my dad dropped Owie and I off at the parking lot of the condo and we took a stroll.  Just as I was starting to question my decision, a cardinal flew onto the sidewalk in front of me and just stood there staring.  He was about 5 feet away from us and he was not budging.  He just stared.  It was my sign from Sam that this is what was supposed to be happening. 

Through out the process, I hit some bumps.  Every time I felt like I wanted to give up, I would ask Sam for a sign and within minutes, everything would work itself out.  This is how I knew that I was making the right decision.  I found my peace and I found my happy place.  I was really lucky that I found very patient people to work with me:  my realtor, mortgage lender, and closing attorney.  They made the process run very smoothly and worked really hard to keep me calm.

Every beach house has to have a name.  It didn't take long to come up with the perfect one:  Cardinals Cove.  I closed this past Thursday and I have zero regrets.  I am looking forward to making memories there with friends and family, but mostly with Owen.  It is the most beautiful place and it is the perfect fit for us.  My bedroom overlooks the tennis courts - I know that Sam would have been hopping the fence so he could play!  He was my tennis superstar!

We are 0.3 miles from the beach, less than 1/2 a mile from Coligny Plaza, and the condo came fully furnished!  And yes, I am taking rentals......

All Smiles!

We got the KEYS!!!

The previous owners left us a bicycle!
 Living Area


My Bedroom

Owie's Room

Complex Swimming Pool


"There is not waiting for happiness.  It's now or never.  I choose NOW"
~Zia Holte

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The day I started to doubt my faith.......

I made the mistake the other day of commenting on how a person's religion should not be questioned based on their political views through a Facebook post. Their faithfulness and devotion should not be questioned because to me, that is a personal attack. I was given several lectures from people commenting, to basically sum it up, that I was not a real Catholic, I am surrounded by wolves in sheep's clothing, I obviously have something to atone for, and I, among others that I am close to are making a mockery of the Catholic religion due to my political views - a priest even chimed in with some comments. I stopped reading the comments because I could see where this was leading. I am still getting notifications that people are commenting, yet I am not checking them because they are only making me not want to claim myself as being a Catholic.  If that is what being a true Catholic is about, I don't know if I want any part of it.  I was raised by a Catholic school teacher who has dedicated more than 38 years to her students.  I spent WAY more time than the average child and teenager surrounded by those who were positive role models and had hearts full of love and respect from others.  If someone were to ask me what the best thing I got out of my Catholic school education, it would be that I was taught to love, care, support, and accept those around me.  I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the true, actual meaning of being a Catholic was.  Boy, was I wrong!
One of the topics that was brought up was the fact that the use of any contraceptives are a form of intrinsic evil.  I wanted to learn more so I did my research.  I found an article that laid out what is considered to be acceptable in the Catholic church and what isn't.  Here is what I found.  No form of contraception is acceptable because sex is supposed to be procreative.  A husband and wife are still, however, able to have sex if there are infertility issues or lack of fertility due to old age.  The pill can, however, be used if it is for health reasons, but the husband and wife are not to have any sort of physical relationship because this would be preventing the possibility of a woman becoming pregnant due to the use of the pill.  This is the part that I read that really made me wonder about the religion I belong to.  Because I am a widow, I am "allowed" to get married again (please keep in mind that this is not something that is happening).  When I had Owie, I suffered from post partum heart failure.  My cardiologist has told me that getting pregnant again is not an option because there is a rather significant possibility that it could kill me.  Point taken.  However, even if I got remarried and getting pregnant could kill me, no form of contraception is allowable - not even barrier methods - because that is an intrinsic evil.  Natural Family Planning would be my only option and is not always completely reliable, especially for someone who has never had regular cycles.  Therefore, I would have to risk getting pregnant in order to remain within the church's guidelines and follow through with the pregnancy because the life of the infant I am carrying is more important than mine.  The conclusion would be for Owie to be left without a mother AND a father.  Something that could be completely preventable, but yet the Catholic church doesn't see it that way.  I have already started to see the effects on Owie due to Sam's passing.  They are getting more and more prevalent as the days go by with him asking almost daily where his daddy is, when can he see him, when can he call him, etc.  It is heart wrenching.  Beyond heart wrenching.  Imagine your worst pain and multiply that.
Where does this leave me?  Doubting my religion and doubting the love that Jesus has for me and for others.  Why would the Catholic church want to see children left motherless?  What kind of God would want a child to be left an orphan because the use of an intrinsic evil is not allowed?  How would I ever be able to have that conversation with a possible spouse - Sorry, we cannot have a physical relationship because I might die if I get pregnant and the Catholic church says that I cannot use condoms.  Why do I want to be a part of a religion that seems to be so judgmental?  Is it that those who are making me feel badly have never been in this predicament?  Surely not or they would have some compassion.
I always thought I was a good Catholic until now.  I never realized how in the eyes of the church, I am simply a wolf.  When I see homeless people, I go to the drive thru and buy them a meal.  I give them restaurant leftovers provided that I have not already started to eat them.  When I have leftover fruit and granola bars or other snacks in my lunch bag, I give them to those who need it.  Sam had a love for animals and St. Francis so donating money and collecting items for animal shelters brings me great joy knowing that I am carrying out the wishes of Sam and the teachings of St. Francis.  Am I a sinner, though?  Absolutely.  We all are.  But I did not realize that my sins were enough to put me in a category of making a mockery out of the Catholic church.
I am not going to say that my faith was not shaken when my love gained his angel wings, however, I never once doubted the love that God has for me......until now.  My life is not as important in the eyes of the Catholic church and this makes me sad and want to pull away from my beliefs.  I have love and respect for my fellow creatures of the earth:  no matter your race, religion, sexuality, financial status, education.....whatever!  We all share this earth and deserve respect.  I don't care what goes on in other people's bedrooms as long as they are in a loving, consensual relationship.  Why should they care so much about what is going on in mine?   Apparently, because I don't speak out against what the Catholic church considers to be "intrinsic evils", I am just as guilty in their eyes as performing these "intrinsic evils". 
There is too much love in my heart for judgment.  If pointing out the flaws and sins of others is what being a Catholic is all about, then I can't justify being a sheep.  In an attempt to shame me and lecture me, my eyes have been opened.  My heart is hurting.