Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 297 ~ My Fight Continues V

Continued from Days 6263295 & 296...

As time went on, there were more and more times that I was put aside.  As the dust began to settle, my sons began to live.  My sons began to grow.  They were finally able to live their lives, and that they did.  They started going to sleepovers and parties.. conveniently they it would happen during their time with me.  What was I supposed to do?  Take their complete childhood away?  Hindsight.. I should have put myself first a little more.  Because, as time went on, my sons learned to put their friends first, before their mother.  Again, what was I supposed to do?  Keep them from having friends?  I wanted for them to have a happy healthy life.

More time went by, I found myself alone more without my boys.  The alienation continued.  The     passive aggressive behavior towards me continued.  The bullying continued.  My car had been vandalized at an event that was a last minute outing with my sons, and only their father knew it.  He own his own auto repair shop.  Very easy for him to have one of his flunkies do it for him.  I ended up being stranded for two hours that night, having to call "him" to come get the boys. 

After a couple of more years of the same, and with my sons growing older and older... I made a decision... I moved back home, back to Los Angeles.  Their father agreed to continue vacations and  major holiday trips at my expense... which never transpired.  He renigged on it all.  I was able to have my younger son visit me once, and even then his father called and cut his trip short by a day ("he" wanted my son home one day early, ONE DAY!) ... which caused major heartache on my part and I was out an additional $100 for changing the ticket.  Which he never paid me back.

My eldest son was allowed to come see me once, with my youngest son... it was for my father's funeral..  My sons' father would not allow my sons to be with their (my) family for more than six hours.  I actually paid $800 for my sons to fly down from the Northwest for six hours.  We had to pick them up at the airport at eleven in the morning, and then back at the airport by five that same evening.  They were not allowed to grieve for their grandfather.  The only grandfather they had ever known.

One would think that after twelve years (at the time) the dust would be settled.  I longed for the day that each of my sons would turn 18... hoping that they would have their own voice to finally speak up.  But... The dust never really settled... even after being divorced for nearly nineteen years.  

Y O U   S E E . . .  all this time I have been alienated from my sons.  I have been lied to, as have my sons.  With that said, I have put it all behind me- except for having to relive it all now with these posts, so that I may share my story.  Hold on a moment!  How can anyone ever put this behind them?  Honestly, time only helps to not think about it as much.

As each day passes, I struggle a little less.  I have good days.  I have bad days.  The loss of my sons will forever live inside of me.  Their lack of effort made to be a part of my life will change one day.

T O D A Y . . .  I have Calley.  I thank God for Calley everyday.  I feel so blessed to have been given a second chance at being a mommy.  Although, I must admit that because of the loss of my boys I sometimes catch myself being a little too overprotective over her.  I guess that can't be all bad.  I cherish each moment I have with my daughter, and strive to do right by her.

I have been telling Calley about her brothers from the day she was born, and has met them once (her older brother twice).  The last time she was with her brothers was three and a half years ago, she just had her second birthday before our visit.  

Whenever given a chance, Calley loves to tell people that she has brothers.  Also, there are all the pictures of them on our family walls.  Calley's too cute too, she is always asking about them.  She asks me to tell her stories of when they were little.  She continuously asks me what they like to eat and then will ask for me to make it for her.  At the end of each day, we finish with a prayer for her brothers, to keep them safe and close to God.

Funny thing... recently Calley one day started talking to me about her brothers.  Somewhere in the conversation she innocently assume that her daddy, was their daddy too.  Boy, talk about being put on the spot!  Well I proceeded to tell her that they had a different daddy, and that we had stopped being married.  Somehow as simply as I had put it, she understood.  And then proceeded to ask me if their daddy was part of our family.  OH BOY!  I had to contain myself,  and managed to do so.  I told her that her brothers are part of our family, and their father is part of their family... and since that was the case, we could all be considered an extended family.

I know one day my daughter will know the truth, but until then I will be as honest as I can, without taking her innocence away from her before its time.

I adore my sons, there's no question about it.  But until they are ready to be a part of my life, I will continue to hope for the day we will finally be able really put it behind us and be a family.  I will pray for myself.  I will pray for their safety.  Above all, I will pray for them to one day meet, fall in love with and marry wonderful Christian girls.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone
Continued with my final thoughts on Day 298.

Blessings to all!!

68 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 296 ~ My Fight Continues IV

Continued from Days 6263 & 295...

After that day at McDonald's, there were what seemed to be an eternity of court dates, weekly appointments with the G.A.L, and then at least two appointments per week with a family psychologist.  For nearly one year, my sons gave up their childhood... and for what?  Just so a man can get his vengeance.

Oh how I hated showing up at the court house.  Then finally, "my day" in court came.  I gave my attorney a document (I got a hold of) that proved that my sons' step-mother had committed pergury.   All of a sudden the other side wanted to settle.  To this day I am still bothered that my attorney did not go directly to the judge with it (or is that done only in the movies?), instead he went to the other side with it.    

At that moment, all I could think of was putting it ALL behind me.. having my life back with my sons... giving my sons back their childhood...  I knew at that moment that either I could continue fighting my sons' father, or end it all amicably (for whatever that means)... I thought of my boys.  

We had settled on shared custody, with the boys staying with their dad ("he") the majority of the school year-  I would get my sons Thursday through Monday one week, and Friday through Sunday the next.  During the summertime, it would flip.  However vacation time would come into play, as well as these cockamamie "free" days that I or he could use with a 48 hour notice.  But somehow my sons dad would screw me over each summer, where I would barely end up with a month with my sons.  I always was somehow taken advantage of.  I was always thinking of my sons, and "he" knew it... and "he" would always be thinking of how he could stick it to me, instead of just letting go and let live.  There were also holidays, birthdays and so on that were split and alternated each year.

Even at that moment . . . when I was signing the settlement papers in front of the judge, all the while he was saying that we better be sure of what we were agreeing to, I was unsure of it all but did not want my sons to suffer any more.  Years later, my youngest son asked me why I hadn't fought harder.  O U C H !  All I know is that I did the best I could at the time, especially when I did it all alone.

As I look back, I see myself as being weak.  I had been intimidated and bullied for so long.  My sons' father and his wife would gang up on me.  They would ridicule me.  So many times I would show up at my sons' athletic events and I would be shunned upon.  My sons were not even allowed to come over and say hello to me when they saw me... they would have to ask for permission to come over to me, yet allowed to go anywhere else without a problem.

I remember once at my son's baseball game, I was enjoying the game.  I was watching the game comfortably in a lawn chair, in front of my car... when another mom approached me.  She had asked me who's mom I was, knowing the answer already.  She proceeded to warn me about my son's step-mother.  She told me that the step-mother had been bad mouthing me to several of the mom's there.  "Don't worry honey, I too deal with an evil step-mother and recognized her actions right away.  I want you to know that we would love it for you to sit with us anytime you want."  WOW!  I could not believe what I was hearing.  Someone actually coming to my defense, someone actually "having my back."  I thanked her and continued watching the game from where I was sitting.

to be continued...

Recently, I keep hearing these words said over and over, yet worded a little different each time.  I would like to share my friend's quote with you... 
Surround yourself with people who celebrate who you are, not those who choose to pick you apart.  They don't appreciate the gift you really are, and aren't worthy of your presence anyway.   ~ Denise Matthews Bickers 

Blessings to all!!

69 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 295 ~ My Fight Continues III

Continued from Days 62 & 63...

Ronique "Pepper" Smith and her birth
mom reunited at last   June-2011
Just finished watching this heart wrenching, anything is possible kind of story on Dateline ID, titled Lost and Found.  

This episode was about a woman who had been kidnapped at the age of four and raised by her kidnapper.  Click here for the story on YouTube.  This episode is in a total of six parts on YouTube, this being the first of six. The other five are on YouTube as well.  

Every parent's nightmare, mine including, is the fear of your child being abducted, taken away from you.

I remember the first time my father took my eldest son to his first Los Angles Kings game, he was about 3 or so.  The entire time he was with my father, I prayed that my father would keep an eye on him and not let him out of his sight.  Talk about anxious!  I could not wait for the game to end so I could pick up my baby.

It doesn't matter how old your children are, the concern and worry will always be there.

Today, in a split second, when Calley (5) steps away from me at the market...I become a wreck!!!  Yes, I freak out each time; and each time I kneel down to Calley and praise God and then scold her.  I try to put the fear of God in her.  Tell her that there are bad bad people out there.  I just realized that I always tell her about BAD MEN... I should also tell her that there are BAD WOMEN too. Calley always responds to me so innocently, "Mommy... I was just right there" (pointing to only steps away.)  

Now, even though my boys were not taken away from me in the same way by being abducted, I can sincerely empathize with parents who have had their children taken from them.  

Some may even say, your sons were with their father... you knew where they were.  

Yes.  They are right.  I did know where they were.  However... their father went to unorthodox, evil measures and made up that I had inappropriately touch my younger son (who was three at the time).... Which then caused a horrible domino affect in my life!  A restraining order was put on me to stay away from my children.   To read more about this see Days 62 and 63 for more details.

H O W E V E R. . .  I suffered a loss.  My "mommy" strings were cut... my children gone.  

to be continued...

I never knew how much love my heart could hold until someone called me "mommy."  ~author unknown

Blessings to all!!

70 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 294 ~ Dean & Carla...Through the Years II

Tonight I am posting part two of a Wordless Wednesday two-parter... 
a tribute to Dean and I for our anniversary. 

Happy Anniversary!  I wouldn't change a thing.  Loving you always.

Dean & I

Through the years...

Recent pictures...

 Calley and I enjoying lunch out...our favorite thing to do, next to shopping that is.

Calley and her Daddy constantly practice UFC moves... here you see Daddy tapping out!  watch out boys!

Looking forward to future memories we will make together.  I want to say that I can't hardly wait, but truth be told I want to savor each moment as it comes.

Together we are a family. 
 You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu
A family is a little world created by love.  ~ author unknown 
Blessings to all!!

71 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 293 ~ Dean & Carla...Through the Years I

In the spirit of my last two posts about Dean and I... our wedding... our anniversary... our love... 

Tonight I am posting part one of a Wordless Wednesday two-parter... a tribute to Dean and I for our anniversary. 

Happy Anniversary!  I wouldn't change a thing.  Loving you always.

Dean & I

Through the years...


We love because he first loved us.  ~ 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Blessings to all!!

72 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 292 ~ I Married My Best Friend ... Part Deux

As our BIG day approached, all I kept hearing from Dean was ... don't forget we need to keep it small.  For ten months I heard... don't forget we need to keep it small.

All the usual things for a wedding, but with a relaxed twist.  The venue was easy, we were getting married by a long time family friend in Malibu.  What a great place to get married, after all we met near the beach, most of our relationship was spent at the beach, and we grew up near the beach... why not get married near the beach.  We were married at the Malibu Phoenix.

As far as the preparations went...I put all my talents to work with this wedding.  I designed and made the invitations.  The party favors, shoes, and our Titanium wedding bands (the strongest metal to represent how strong our love is for one another)... all purchased on eBay.  Table arrangements, and other decorations including paper goods, glasses and utensils purchased downtown Los Angeles from wholesale merchants.  Then a little of this here and a little of that there... and VIOLA!  Oh, my dress, it was given to me.  Finally, all the delicious Persian food was provided by my father-in-law's Persian friends.  Nummy!!  

Our photographer was perfect, and the flowers just right (I just had to have gardenias! ~ my favorite!)
When it came to the guest list... this was funny.  Yes, I still kept hearing ... don't forget we need to keep it small ...  However, Dean's mom was somehow oblivious to this.  I will say this... even though Dean's mother Sally had been divorced from Dean's father for well over thirty years, she had all the family addresses correct.  More announcements went out than invitations, by far. 

As we got closer, and closer, every so often Sally would call me up with some little story of bumping into a friend who we must add to the guest list.  or Better yet... Dean would tell me that he had bumped into an old friend, and that we needed to send them invite.  Then ten minutes later.. yes you got it... don't forget we need to keep it small.  

This would happen up until days before the wedding.

Now, that I think about this.  I feel so blessed to have had Sally help Dean and I with our wedding.  She was a major help!  We feel so blessed that she was a big part of our day... thank God she handled the food... truth be told, it wasn't until Sally told me that her husband and his friends were bringing (scrumptious) Persian food as their gift to us that I realized that I had forgotten all about food!  Big smile!  That was a close one!!

When our BIG day finally arrived, Dean's mother and father, and their respective families, as well as my uncle Jose Luis, aunt Graciela and cousin Alejandra, and my brother all scurried and helped put together a fabulous day for us with all the last minute preparations!

My family?  My mother was late, as usual.  We even held the wedding for nearly an hour and a half.  Finally, the rest of our guests were getting restless, and I had to make the call to start the wedding,  Oh, and my father was far too busy with his wife's grand-daughter.  Boy was that a slap in the face.  He barely put her down long enough to walk me down the aisle!  I was so embarrassed by my family's actions.  Here, Dean's family barely sat down... and my family...             ...     ...  exactly... par for the course.  

Had to get that last paragraph out of my system... and now that it's out... YES!  You got it!  It's in a balloon, tied tight and off it went!  To know more about this awesome reference in my Day 7 post, click here.  A must read.  wink, wink.

As our day went on, Dean kept on wanting to get and do last minute festivities.  He even wanted to go get a keg!  I could have strangled him... after all, what happened with... "don't forget we need to keep it small" ?   

 And they...LIVED!  Life isn't always ‘Happily Ever After’, rather, loving FOREVER, regardless.   ― Carmen DeSousaShe Belongs To Me

Blessings to all!!

73 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are property of Dean Karam, Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Taking Back My Life ~ Making It My Own.  U.S Copyright laws apply.  ©

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 291 ~ I Married My Best Friend

Nine years ago, on my 40th birthday, my best friend and I were married!

The more I analyze my life and the things I do, I have learned that I like to do things my way. It isn't that I go out of my way to be different than most, if it happens, it happens.  What I am saying is that I do things that I like, and not because others are doing so or to be like them.  

It isn't that I, or Dean for that matter, didn't want a traditional wedding.  Dean wanted a small, intimate wedding, HA [will explain later], and I had my traditional wedding with my sons' father.  So, as far as I was concerned, this was more for Dean since it was his one and only time down the aisle.

My 40th was about ten months away (which I had been planning a celebration for years,) when we decided to get married.  

Let me explain a little here.  chuckle, chuckle.  My wonderful husband, before I married him, and when I first started dating him. was a bachelor in every sense of the word.  

Sure Dean dated, but he wasn't a player and he didn't have a "need" to constantly have a girlfriend.  He was into playing ice hockey, league and pick up games, as well as his street hockey at Santa Monica beach every weekend; he was a man's man and hung out with his friends; friends of which he has had since childhood, junior high and high school combined; he spent most Christmases with his father and his family in El Paso, and other special holidays and family vacations with his mother and her family; at the age of thirty-seven, Dean brought his first girlfriend home for Christmas, to El Paso, to meet his family- that was me.

As we dated, and time went on, we were approaching my birthday.  Now, here are some reasons why Dean and I are good together.  I am a planner, for example I planned for years that when I turned forty I was going to have a party.  Dean on the other hand, God love him, doesn't think to think ahead on whether or not he should have a jacket for later in the day.  If that makes any sense to you.  So... since we started dating, it's become my job to remind him to take a jacket with him if he needs to.  

The subject of marriage came up soon there after... to this day Dean and I can't agree on how the subject came up... however as we got deeper and deeper into the subject... I proposed!  Well, I saw that Dean was going to take forever and ... well... my biological clock was ticking!!  

I did put a lot of thought into this beforehand.  I even asked for his mom's blessing, and went as far as getting my father's blessing as well (for whatever that's worth- okay, I'll be nice.)  I learned early on that if I wanted romance in mine and Dean's relationship... well I was going to have to be the one to orchestrate it.  That's okay.  Dean would not be my Dean, if he was a mushy romantic guy.

Soooooo... after a nice dinner one night, somehow "marriage" came up, I don't know how, but it did... wink, wink.  Then, my 40th birthday came up... and then before I knew it, forget all the laid out plans I had- they all went out the window when my nerves showed up!  Most importantly, when the thought of saving money and throwing "one" grand celebration came up, it was very appealing to the both of us... it was cool... it was different... plus Dean would only have ONE date to remember... so we decided to get married on my 40th!
1 Corinthians 13:4-13  (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Blessings to all!!

74 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Some images courtesy of google and bing images.  U.S Copyright laws may apply.  ©

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 290 ~ The Golden Rule

Why does it always happen this way?  Just as you think you are getting ahead... a pin drops... and  you plunge backwards!  Like taking two steps forward and one back.

Literally... that's what happened today.  

It wasn't a pin Calley decided to balance on her forearm (yes, forearm), more like a dog bowl.  A ceramic dog bowl.  Needless to say, it ended up in a million pieces.  And that's all it took...

That's all it took for all my hard work from the last couple of days to go to pot!  It was definitely the straw that broke the camel's back.  Then the proverbial "why me?" question came up a few times. 

It is said that if someone does something to you, to not give them the power to "get to you".  Do not allow them to "get to you".  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."

It's not so much about feeling inferior, or is it?  Tell me... along those same lines... could some hurt you without your permission?  I think so. Yes.  Now let's look at this.  When someone hurts me, is it that I have allowed them to?  Have I given them permission to do so when I they have hurt me?

I have read that even though my feelings are normal, it's what I do with them and how I process them that reconnect me to my power.

Well I'll tell you one thing that's certain...  I allowed the one who hurt me, not only to hurt me, but I also allowed them to mess up my day... which took my happiness away from my family.  

I am not saying that I am not a sensitive person.  I may be a little more sensitive than the "normal" person may be.. whatever "normal" is... and Lord knows that I do not have "thick skin" by any means... Soo I do get affected by the actions, or rather non-actions of others and especially so if my sons are involved... you know, I am definitely not a robot without feelings or heart... so tell me... how do I let it roll off my back like water off of a duck's back?  How do I not allow others to hurt me?  Do I shut them out of my life? 

Hmmm... I really think these are all very good questions.  Answers to them, would be even better.     

I really try [very hard] to not let things affect me, however I am human, a mother at that... and with that said...  even though I may have calloused from life's trials and tribulations that have crossed my path... I still have a very sensitive side to me... I tend to hold things in... until the dog bowl breaks. 
Do to others as you would have them do to you.   ~ Luke 6:31 (NIV)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.  ~ Matthew 7:12 (NIV) 

Blessings to all!!

75 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Some images courtesy of google and bing images.  U.S Copyright laws may apply.  ©

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 289 ~ I Choose Happiness

My lesson today was how to rise above it all!  

Let me see... "my point" at the end of last night's post was, "how we choose to handle situations that come at us is what can make or break our day."  

So today I had a few choices... 
  1. cry at the sight of my new hair cut, 
  2. go to another hair salon and have my hair reshaped, +number (1), 
  3. spend all day trying to curl my hair, roll it and twist it until something made sense, +number (1), or 
  4. as my husband suggested, be patient, hang in there, wait a couple of weeks and revisit the situation, "your hair really looks cute, besides I never told you I liked short hair...", my husband continued,  +number (1) and (3)

There were times today that number (1) felt like the only thing I could do, although at one point today I jokingly contemplated covering ALL the mirrors in the house!  As funny as that sounds, I actually entertained the idea.  However, I finally decided to play around with my hair more and take the wait and see approach, which was (3) and (4), with a touch of (1) and being very grateful for hair growing fast!... 

A few times today, I caught myself missing my hair.  It was a little bitter sweet... but I guess I must admit no regrets in my deciding to take the high road, once again.

I'll share pictures down the road... right now, it's still a little too painful to share.  lol.

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.   ~Ayn Rand  
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.   ~Norman Vincent Peale  

Blessings to all!!

76 days to go...

PS... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Some images courtesy of google and bing images.  U.S Copyright laws may apply.  ©