Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's July?

I totally skipped June.  I am failing miserably at this blogging thing.  It's now July...the MIDDLE of July and I still don't have anything brilliant to write about.  How do people do this?!  Where does their inspiration come from?!  I have to think about this.  Pardon me while I go sit on the toilet.

... to be continued ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Beginning of "Us"

Note:  I had this as a draft saved from March 9th.  I didn't realize I never 'published' it until now, so that's why the dates seem screwy. 

My wedding anniversary is coming up in 11 days - Our 13th is on March 20th.  I concider it to be lucky because we've actually made it to 13.  Marriage seems to be so relaxed and taken so lightly these days.  Shawn and I had a quick "courtship" in the beginning.  We met at the bowling alley in the fall of 1997.  That summer, I had left a rotten relationship, moved back home and was just... lost.  I tried to find me in a trip to California, but when you go looking for things you tend to go back to the same crappy situations you just managed to wiggle out of.  Depression hit.  I couldn't see that, but everybody around me could.  Bowling with the family on Sunday nights seemed stupid and pointless to me then, but it was mom and dad's last attempt to try and bring me back from the where ever I was.  I wasn't looking for anything, anybody - I only wanted to wake up the next morning, get through the day and go to bed.  But no.  I had to go bowling with my parents and my little brother.

I suck at bowling.  Still to this day, I suck at bowling.  I've been sucking at bowling for the last 14 years.  You would think that after that long, one would tend to improve.  Nope.  Anyway, getting back to 1997... I needed bowling lessons.  I had asked a friend (borderline bowling pro) to help me figure this crap out.  At my first lesson, Shawn decided to help out.  I decided to flirt.  I was pretty cute then.  The only good thing I got from being depressed was a smaller figure.  I looked good probably for the 1st time ever.  When there weren't any expectations, flirting was fun!!  By the end of December, I was taking quite a liking to my future husband.  He was kind, he was funny and he was absolutely NOTHING like any guy I ever dated.  He was older and I liked who I was when I was around him - I had found my 'happy' inside his company, and I hadn't been happy like that for a long time.  Talk of a date popped up during a friendly competition on New Years Eve.  My aunt got married that night and me and my cousin went bowling - Shawn was working and it was slow enough that he joined us. The bet was if he won the game, we were going out for dinner.  If I won he had to help me with my 'plan'.  He, of course, won....because I suck.  I think he knew that, but he said he would help with what I wanted to do anyway.

The Sunday Night Mixed Bowling people (mixed meaning there was 2 men and 2 women on a team) scheduled their Christmas party on.... My 21st Birthday!!  yay!  I could drink - legally!  Shawn bought me my 1st legal beer. My dad bought me my 2nd. Others bought me the 3rd, 4th and 5th and after those I had dove into the Poor Man's Champagne which was a mixture of pink lemonade, beer and vodka...let me also add that that was free, so for finally being able to buy alcohol - I didn't get to.  I'd like to say that being under the influence improved my bowling, but that didn't happen either.  I threw my bowling ball backwards a couple of times and also in the next lane over.  That, my friends, takes only the skill of a trashed 21 year old....who sucks at bowling.  Back to me and Shawn.  The week prior to that Christmas Party, I was plotting a bowling farewell to my dad.  The Christmas party was going to be his last night of bowling for awhile because he was scheduled for knee surgery a couple weeks after that.  I needed a partner in crime and Shawn was guy.  Since I was employed at the hospital back then, it was easy for me to 'borrow' a wheelchair and Shawn got it rigged and ready for party - long story short it was an excuse to spend time with him.  By the time the party rolled around I liked him alot.  I don't know how I remember all the details of that night because I was trashed - I really was.  Shawn offered to drive me home and as he rolled into my parents drive way he took my hand and asked if he could give me a birthday kiss and from there we said goodnight.  You don't ever really know if something is for real or special until that moment it's actually there.  Sure there was flirting before then, but knowing how much older he was than I and him having a completely toasted 21 year old girl in a truck, alone, and all he wants is a simple kiss goodnight?  A gentlman. I didn't know they still existed.

After my birthday we saw each other everyday after that.  It was mostly at the bowling alley.  I'd pop in to say 'hi' and we'd stay there well after everyone else went home and would talk til 2 or 3 in the morning.  I wasn't surprised by how fast I loved him and I remember the exact moment I knew this was the one I would marry.  We were driving on down 23rd street, I looked over at him driving and I flashed forward in my head and saw us doing exactly the same thing all old and grey.  Him more grey than me of course, but I didn't mind it.  I felt safe.  I felt important.  I felt very loved.  He felt the same way just as fast because on January 27th, 1998 Shawn proposed.  I said yes.  A year and about a month and a half later we were married - 13 years later, I write this story with more love for that man than he will ever know.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


We've had some turmoil here in the last few days - among some kids in high school, acting out, making bad decisions and etc.  It's made me think back to when I was a freshman, stuggling with finding out who I was, trying to find acceptance among my peers, and ultimately failing at both of them. I was a chunky girl and I didn't have many friends. No one close enough to confide in, anyway. I wanted to fit in somewhere, anywhere. I wanted to run with the popular kids, I wanted to be pretty and liked by boys, and I just couldn't. I was too awkward. I didn't like who I was so I wanted to be like someone else...the pretty, thin girls who had boyfriends. I got made fun of alot. I was made fun of for being heavy. I was made fun of for following around the popular girls and then eventually I was just made fun of for the sake of being made fun of. I was weak and an easy target for those people who needed to feel superior by pushing me down all the time...not physically, but emotionally. Practial jokes and pranks followed as my year went on, but then the upper classmen wanted in on the "fun"...and it got alot worse.  I don't want to go into detail about what I had intended to do to myself that year, but I've been thinking back to that time alot these past few days when I wonder why these kids act the way they do.  Is what they're doing a cry for help?  Similar to my own?  Granted, it's not the same deal or situation, but the feeling of isolation, despair, misguided and lost - they're the same.

There was a particular Senior girl who out of the blue walked up to me and said, "Lets get some icecream after school today." It was one of those moments when even though she was standing right in front of me, staring me in the eye I still looked over my shoulder to be sure she was talking to me and not somebody else.  I believe, still to this day God intervened and sent her to me. Sara saved my life that day.  I was in so much pain.  I wanted all those who ever hurt me to know that what they did to me, all their ugly and menacing actions towards me pushed me to death.  I wanted them to have to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives. I'm not kidding - that was my frame of mind.  Stupid, selfish, tormented.  Is that what these kids are feeling?  They might not be throwing their lives in front of a semi, but they're wanting to throw it away all for what?  Revenge and a quick escape.

Sara, my angel, said there would come times in my life that would define who I was and give me a brief look at the person I was to become. She said if treated those around me the way I wanted to be treated I would never be alone or left without. She said God wasn't finished with me...that I was to become something greater than I ever imagined I'd be and to just have faith and give Him some time to work. How she knew that I needed to hear that, outloud, on that particular day I can only give credit to God because thats really the only logical explanation for it. I think about Sara every day. My life from that moment on was took some work and 're-wiring' of the brain, but every year of high school got better than the last. I created my own version of popular. The kind where it was cool to embrace those who were struggling just as I had been, needing a safe group of people to surround themselves with until they found who they were. I was my own version of what Sara had been to me. I wish I could reach out to those kids now who are going through all that torment and pain...I wish I could reach out and let them know what I've come to realize over the past 20 years since that day.  I learned that the most heavily trodded path most generally led to becoming like those ugly people. I learned to want my own path, make my own friends along the way, set my own rules, to let go and let God lead.

Sara was right. She was right about everything...I'm a wife, a mother, I'm making a place and a name for myself as a professional photographer, and I'm more greater than I ever thought I would be 20 years ago.  I need to keep that in mind, still, even now when I feel down and depressed about how little everyday things...the things that overwhelm me like laundry and dishes, the work of being a wife and a mom consume my every waking thought. Where am I going to be 20 years from now?   It's a good question.  I'm still walking my own God given path, making my own rules as I go. Sure, it's alittle scary, and sometimes there's going to be pot holes and bumps along the way, but Gods still not done with me... God's still not done with those kids either.   I pray for them...that they can find the light.  I pray that God will send them a Sara, a lifeline, a second chance to be more than what they are and become better because of it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Yesterday I read an article about how a certain airline (JetBlue) kicked off a crying 2 year old from a flight because he was scared and didn't want to sit in his seat with his seat belt on.  The article further wrote on about an autistic child being kicked off a flight because he was inconsolable and making the other passengers uncomfortable.  While that had me so angry and terrified (we're flying to Georgia this summer) the comments below the article had my panties twisted so far up my backside I couldn't think straight.  What is wrong with those people?!  I tried to post a comment several different time, but it wouldn't take - I am assuming the moderators didn't like my choice of words like "bastards", "heartless sons of bitches", "assholes", but they didn't have a problem with people posting such comments as "I wish they'd kick off those brats and their mothers at 30,000 feet."  That's all I'm going to write about that.  It's too pretty of day to be spent dwelling over Satan's spawns.  They can take their perfect and quiet little flights back to Hell - there well be no children on that flight, so have fun.

It's time I post Madison's Story on this blog.  I wrote it when she was about 2 or 3 (she's now 11) when I questioned God almost constantly.  Why? Why her?  Why me?  I believe he answered me through the writing of this story.  I tucked it away for her - something she can hopefully read someday to understand that God knows what He's doing.  I tucked it away for myself - something for days and nights like I had yesterday to remind me that I have a job to do and big shoes to fill as her mother.  If anyone other than my two subscribers should happen to read this I hope you know someone who might benefit from it the way I have.  Please share it with them.

To my daughter, Madison:
Your words may be silently tucked away in your mind for now,
but through your eyes God allows Mommy to hear you.
I love you…more than you will ever know.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” ~ Jeremiah 1:5
From Heaven to My Mother
By Ami Cooper Price

Before you were born, you were created in Heaven through the eyes of God as a perfect being. Ten fingers, ten toes, and two eyes that reflected Heaven’s light. Pure and untainted innocence illuminated you, and God’s grace encircled your every move.

One special day, God said to you, “My child, it is time for you to choose your mother.”
“What’s a mother?” you asked.
“A mother is a woman of unlimited love,” God replied. “The one you choose will carry you to life on earth, nurture you, care for you, and love you with every breath she takes. The one you choose would starve to feed you and would die to save you.”

You and God walked hand in hand to an opening in the clouds where the rays of Heaven beamed down on earth. The rays encompassed every heart worthy of a child, making all the women glimmer from head to toe like gold. There were so many mothers to choose from.

“They are all so beautiful!” you exclaimed. “How do I decide?”
“Your innocent curiosity pleases me,” God said. “Before you decide, you must know that I created you here in Heaven as a perfect child, but on earth, you will face many difficulties as you grow. Some may see you as different. The path I have set for you will not be an easy one.”
“What will make my journey difficult? Why can’t I be like everyone else?” you asked. “How is this going to help me pick my mother?”

God could sense a growing panic within your voice, but instantly washed all fear away with the warmth of his smile and said, “My child, you will grow and develop, and you will learn and be wise, but just not as quickly as other children your age. There will be limits to your abilities, and you will struggle to find your voice and your path. On earth no one is perfect. I have given each life on earth a path of its own, full of challenges and triumphs much like yours will be, but your challenges will be harder making your victories more glorious. Have faith in me, little one, for I have plans for you. Do not be afraid for I did not create you without a purpose. As for your decision,” God continued, “it takes an extraordinary woman to care for such a unique and sacred child like yourself. You must find a mother who will see beyond your earthly imperfections, and see you as perfectly as I do now.”

God placed you on His lap as your mind attempted to grasp the enormity of this task. Together, peering down from the heavens you made a list of everything you found and desired in a mother. You discovered a woman who can heal wounds with a single kiss and releases warmth in a single embrace. You found patience and understanding, courage and wisdom as well as guidance, security, strength and gentleness. You desired faith and determination and most importantly, love, pure and unconditional. This mother would see you as God’s original creation and love you as nothing less.

"I think I have found her! She's right down there!" you cried out, pointing through the clouds. "Do you see her, God? Do you see her?" you squealed with unsuppressed excitement.

There, wrapped up in one single life, was a mother just for you but shyly questioned, "With all I will not be able to do, will she truly love me as I am? Will she really see me the way you do?"
“Yes,” God replied. “She will see you as more than perfect. She will see your birth as a miracle. She will see the rising and the setting sun in your smile. Through your eyes, she will see My Grace and know your thoughts. Your mother’s favorite scent will be your breath as she cradles you to sleep, and her favorite sound will be your enchanted laughter.”

With boundless love bursting from head to toe, tears began to swell and your heart began to pound. You turned to God and asked through a gentle whisper, “When can I have her?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, God held you tight, closed His eyes and whispered, “I will always be with you. Where ever you are, I will be. My love and My presence will surround you for all eternity. Now go, my beautiful child. Your mother is expecting you.”

Wrapped within God’s holy embrace, cradled with warmth you could feel the rhythm of His heart beating. Mesmerized by the sound of your hearts beating together in unison, your eyes fell heavy, and you drifted down from Heaven to your mother.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can I Do This?

I don't know where to start, so I'm just gonna jump off the deep end.  <deep breath>  I am running for City Council.  Big job, bigger responsibility, huge side effects, and it has the possibility for monumental backlash if I should get elected.  But... the opportunity to have a chance at making a small ripple in a big pond... The risks are worth the effort.

"Why, Ami?  You are a nut!!  Why run for City Council?"  This first question and the several answers that follow are the catalyst to the bumper car thoughts whipping about in my head.

The biggest reason why I am stepping away from my little comfort zone of home,
out of my comfy sweats and slippers is probably the most simple explanation:
I need to set an example by being the example.

I tell my kids ALL the time, "Do something!! Don't just sit there and whine about it!!"  Sound familiar to you?   I thought so!  I don't know many parents who haven't uttered those words, aloud or under their breath at least once.  I can't tell my kids to take action concerning who took away whatever toy when I'm not willing to do the same in regards to the town I've lived in my whole life.  And it isn't just about setting an example for my kids, either.  There are dozens more, like me, who want to have a say in what happens here.  However, they may feel or have been made to feel like they stand no chance at winning, or have been told not to try.  The reasons may be due to their 'social standing' or small bank account; or due to a fear of public backlash; or maybe fear of lost business; or even the fear of putting their only source of income at risk ...  I need to be the example.  If I can find the courage to do this, then others, who aren't so different from myself, can find their courage too when they're ready.  And I can't say that I blame them for being hesitant, either. There are cruel, vindictive, and ugly people who find pleasure in wickedness.  They are adult bullies who will stop at nothing to make life practically unbearable and down right miserable for those who would stand against them.  They can do that to someone who just stands! Not necessarily standing against or for anything, but for just standing in the way of an 'agenda'.  I've seen that sort of ugliness happen to my father, and I've experienced that kind of spitefulness to some level on my own accord with events I had charge of.  It's the reality in which we all live in, but, I find reassurance in quoting Ecclesiastes 3:17.  Look it up.

So the next question is, "Can I handle it?"
I am the grand-daughter of Denis Cooper.  I am the grand-daughter of Margie Tallent.  If you ever knew these people when they were alive, then you already know the answer to that question. 
If you have never had the privilege of knowing them, allow me to quote both side of my family tree:
"How bad do you want to find out?" 
(Let me also add that this would be said as more of a threat-like statement than an actual question.) 
So the nut doesn't fall far...  In other (very confident) words,
"You bet I can."

"Am I nervous? Scared?"
I once thought that admitting fear would show weakness and showing weakness painted a target on my back. I thought that being nervous was my que to turn around and run away, but that was before I had children. What they have taught me about fear is this:
If you're not scared, you're not doing it for the right reasons. If you're not nervous, you're doing something wrong.

"What do I have to offer?"
That's the other big question I've been asking myself. The first thought that pops into my head is 'absolutely nothing'.   I don't know the first thing about city government other than what I recall from a week at Girls State, and that was... many, many years ago. I can remember my campaigne slogan back then as it was quite catchy! "Cooperation Begins With Cooper". <sigh> I was 17, we had to do it, and you work with what ya got, so...there ya go!  lol.  I may not have the experience that seasoned incombunts have, but that doesn't mean I can't aquire it.  What I have to offer is all that I am.
I know what I am and I know what I'm not:
I am smart; I am a fast learner; I am observant;
I am curious; I am kind; I am a Christian; I am patient; I am a listener; I am a truth seeker;
I am a voice; I am loyal; I am ambitious; I am creative; I am open minded; I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, a neice, a cousin, a friend...
and... I am a little crazy.
I am not stupid; I am not blind;
I am not afraid to ask questions; I am not afraid to pray; I am not judgmental;
I am not above anyone; I am not below them, either; I am not dishonest;
and I am not as quiet as I seem.

I believe in alot of things.  I believe in God, and I believe we are all chosen for a specific purpose.  I believe that on our way to discovering whatever devine purpose that may be we are given opportunities to learn a skill, or a trade, or a lesson that will aide us in deciding which way to go next.  I believe one of my opportunities is to be a specifically set before me to mother a 'differently abled' child.  Does that qualify me to be a City Council member?  Not entirely.  But I do believe the lessons I've picked up along that road has made me more compassionate, more patient, more accepting, more determined and committed than if I had never been given this path.  We are all given certain paths that lead to other paths, and along each one...between this road and the next...we learn alittle bit more about ourselves and just what we are capable of.  Our character is strengthened and defined with every step forward, thru this rut, around those bumps, up hill, down hill...whatever it is, we keep moving forward knowing more lies ahead - good, bad, or indifferent.  Belief is the fuel that keeps us moving...pushing us past all the crap.  Faith is our guide, and it is as strong as what you allow it to be.  Knowledge is what we gain, it's one of the many gifts we're given in the process to becoming what God intended.  My desire to be part of this Council is what I've been led to, and I'm eager to learn just what that opportunity can teach me on my way to the next one.  If it doesn't happen this year, then it wasn't meant to be... I guess that's just part of the lesson intended for me to learn, but I can safely say I don't give up easily.

If you are reading this and happen to live in the 1st Ward of Belleville, I would really appreciate your support and your vote on April 3rd.  My thanks goes out to all that have already.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My 35th Birthday

The first 24 hours of my 35 years on this planet has produced a massive sinus infection and the prompt usage of a humidifier and antibiotics.  My birthday was yesterday.  I am 35 years old and old enough to officially run this country.  Scary to think that everyone I grew up with is now that 'age' deemed responsible enough to screw millions of people. 

My birthday was a peaceful success... to a point.  I had one kid home from school sick and another kid just home...and also sick, so it really is no surprise that I find myself in their snot filled company. 
A game of high-low to recap the last 24 hours 
High - I only had to get one child ready for school. 
 Low - discovering I need to do laundry on my birthday. 
High - my mother taking him to school for me. 
High - getting to stay in my pajamas, fuzzy robe, and new slippers until noon. 
High - Fed Ex guy showing up with Madison's ipad replacement.  
Low - did not have a bra on when he showed up. 
High - watching a movie I had never watched before "Time Traveler's Wife. 
Low - bawling like a baby. 
High - nearly 60 degrees outside. 
High - opening my windows. 
Low - feeling a bit unsettled doing such on the 4th day of January. 
High - being wished "Happy Birthday" 163 times on my facebook wall. 
Low - realizing it doesn't take much effort to do that since Facebook
has a quicker feature to write on everyone's wall within seconds for such occassions.
High - Bowling with my mama. 
High - having 3 margaritas bought for me. 
Low - a score of 63. 
High - not giving a shit. 
High - coming home to 4 excited faces and 5 beautifully wrapped gifts. 
Low - not really getting to unwrap any of them by myself. 
High - a card perfectly sought after with long thought and 
hand picked from my husband reminding me just how much he loves me. 
High - Kansas Jayhawks beating Kansas Wildcats.
High - getting to talk some smack about it. 
High - getting to bed before 10pm. 
Low - waking up at 5am with a nose full of unblowable snot and an expired drivers license.  oops.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution Time

Resolution #256 - To not be glued to the computer all day and to actually try and get something productive done.  Laundry Day.  Not only are we in a severe underwear crisis, but we are leaving town for the weekend and I prefer to pack clean clothes.  My washer and dryer are downstairs and it's a real motivation buster.  Hauling 40lb baskets down (without falling), hauling 40lb baskets back up (without tripping).  I'm sure it is some form of exercise, which leads me to the fact I should be doing that more. 

Resolution #257 - Exercise.

Resolution #258 - Smile. This is a hard one, but I will be triumphant. I have bad teeth. I hate smiling - HATE IT!  Well, that's not entirely true... I love to smile, I love to laugh, but I hate my teeth.  They are the one thing I would love to change about myself, I mean REALLY, really change.  Five years ago, it would have been a matter of it's a health matter.  Constant headaches...constant pain and sensitivity. I have no insurance, medical or dental.  There's nothing I can do about this myself.  Right now, I can't eat - nothing healthy anyway - great excuse, right?  Never knew how much I would miss cold, crisp lettuce.  My diet consists of muffins, twinkies and room temperature water.  I do have a plan now though thanks to one of God's many, many Angels on Earth.  You know who you are if you're reading this...I can't begin to express what your encouragement and help with all this means to me. I love you, my friend.  So...

Resolution #259 - Begin quest to find a dentist. ugh. They scare the shit out of me....hence the bad rotting teeth.  I need to be sedated or heavily drugged.  I need to find one who is skilled and will be able to work with me finacially.  Did you know, out of all medical professionals, the field of dentistry has the highest rate of suicides?  I didn't either.  Not the most reassurring fun fact, so I need to find one who is mentally stable.

Resolution #260 - Quit smoking. This one makes the list every year.  Maybe 2012 will be my lucky year to just up and quit, cold turkey.  I will try.  For my kids, I will try.

Resolutio #261 - To take myself more seriously as a photographer.  I know I have a knack and an eye for the art, but the one thing that always makes me second guess myself as a professional is the fact that I didn't go to school for this, I don't have a fancy $5000 camera, I just have my love for it.  That should be enough, so I'm going to start remembering that on a daily basis.

Resolution #262 - Keep blogging. I will. Can't promise it will be every day, can't promise I will have anything brilliant or useful for whoever decides to read anything I write in the future, but I can promise to try.