Jan 30, 2016

Remembering Mikey Today

Today my little grandson Mikey aka Michael Aydan Jude Zelsnack would have been 8 years old. He was stillborn. A day does not go by that I don't think about him. Everytime I see a little boy his age I wonder what he'd be like. I love you Mikey you're always in my heart and never forgotten... Fly with the Angels my sweet little grandson!!

I wrote this for him a long time ago:

Ode to Mikey

by Andrea Tadpole

Born on a stormy sea of silence
His tiny life beyond my grasp
His spirit carried away on angel's wings
With all my hopes and dreams

I never got to see him smile
I never saw his eyes
I never felt his tender touch
Or listened to his cries

Waves of sorrow pulled me down
To horrid depths of grief
I feared I'd never reach the top
Breathe free or find relief

What was his purpose
Why was he here
Why was he meant to be
There had to be a lesson
If I could only see

Then I heard him in the silence
Calling out my name
Rise up, go home and live your life
Walk on amidst the pain

Take care of those I've left behind
Never let them go
Forgive them even if it hurts
And when your pride says no

Hold tight to God
Keep the faith
And then you'll see
That I am always with you
I am happy
I am free

Jan 26, 2016

Fwd: Writing for Zoey

I found this today....Zoey 

-------- Original message --------
From: Andrea Tadpole <atadpole@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 24/12/2006 4:09 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: seddysbride@aol.com, Elmer Tadpole <elmer.tadpole@nielsenmedia.com>, Elmer Tadpole <tadpolesplace@cox.net>, Bubba Tadpole <etadpole@cox.net>, Valeri Honafius <itsbreezyintexas@yahoo.com>, vtarrant@sbcglobal.net
Subject: Writing for Zoey

Hi All:
Apparently there was technical difficulties in the album I sent for Zoey. Here is the message I wrote to go with it. The album link was sent separate:
This last album contains pictures of the life of my beautiful granddaughter Zoey Ellen Zelsnack. She was born on 2/28/06 and lived for 11 minutes. Please use caution in opening this album around little ones as some of the photos are graphic in nature.
I would like to share my thoughts on Zoey so please indulge me for a moment – its my way of grieving:
At Thanksgiving dinner in 2005 Kiley and Sedrick announced to us all that they were pregnant. Over the course of the next few months our excitement grew. We were not only expecting Sedrick and Kiley's new baby, but Alicia was pregnant too. I was the proudest grandma you would know. Kiley sent me ultrasound pics as she got them and every day at work I would look at the latest one on my computer monitor. I imagined how the baby would look and was so excited, we all were. I prayed for what I called "my little peanut" and my other grandchildren every day as I always do.
Looking back, the day before Zoey was born was rather surreal. Kiley hung out with me all day, which was unusual, but I was thrilled since I love Kiley like my own. I remember I kept looking at Kiley and thinking how beautiful she was and how blessed Sedrick was to have her. What an exciting time this was going to be in our lives! Two newborns in our lives at once! We talked about the upcoming baby showers and planned and dreamed that day. Little did we know what was about to transpire.
The next morning I got the call to rush to the hospital. This day is now known to me as "the most horribly beautiful day of my life (I'll explain why I call it this eventually). As the day wore on family began to arrive and we embarked on this journey. We all prayed that God would intervene and save our little baby. I know that Kiley was terrified. Sedrick was such a wonderful, tender loving man with Kiley all the way through. He never left her side. Held her, whispered words of encouragement to her, cried with her, wiped her tears. I was in total awe of the love between the two of them, love that I rarely see these days. Love that I know will last forever.
Time seemed to stand still. The night seemed to last 100 years. We all held out hope that things would change.  Then God sent an angel in the form of a nurse to give Kiley the devastating news. Her baby would be coming and to prepare for the worst. I call this nurse an angel because she handled Kiley and all of us in an honest yet loving way. She has walked this road many years ago and knew exactly the words to say to Kiley and Sedrick. The kids asked me to takes the pictures when Zoey was born. Even though I knew what a daunting task this was, I considered it an honor to do so. I also know that it was God who took the pictures because I could barely see through all the tears.
I personally see these pictures as a celebration of the life of the tiniest little Angel I have ever known who etched her spirit in my heart forever. When she was born, the doctors stood there in amazement that she was even alive when she came out. The images are forever seared in my mind's eye. Her heartbeat was so strong and I know if she could have, she would have stayed here with us. Yet, that was not in God's plan. These photographs also represent the love of a family and its ability to pull together and hold each other up when a tragedy such as this strikes. So, please know that these photos were taken out of desperate love for Zoey so her memory would survive.
I am humbled by the memories I have of the two strongest and most beautiful young adults I have ever know....Sedrick and Kiley. The loss they have endured has been worse that any nightmare I have ever had, yet I have watched them keep trudging forward, sometimes gracefully and sometimes screaming and crying all the way. That's okay with me. Who wouldn't be devastated? No one ever said you had to live gracefully through tragedy; you just have to live in spite of it.
My favorite photos are two....one is of Kiley and Sedrick singing Jesus Loves Me to Zoey at her last moment of life. The other is of Zoey grabbing her mommy's finger with her little hand. Tell me there is no life at conception?? I am not buying it. The most beautiful picture of love was given to me in that moment. Someday when my heart can bare it I will paint this picture. For now, the tears are too heavy to even try.
The saddest thing for me this Christmas is not being able to hold Zoey. I miss her more than I know how to say. I can only imagine how Kiley and Sedrick must feel. If I could I would switch places with Zoey so they wouldn't hurt. We all grieve in our own way, and mine has been in silence with a void deeper than the Grand Canyon. I do not have the ability to "suck it up and move on" nor do I ever desire to be that callous. One cannot walk through this kind of event without being forever changed. I say this because I beg you all to please just love Kiley and Sedrick where they are at and help them ride the waves of emotion when they hit. If we keep pulling together and grieve together, the load we have to bare won't be as heavy.
I myself believe that I will never "get over" Zoey, nor do I want to. In her brief moments Zoey taught me about the most important things in life…..love and family. Zoey declared her love for us all by reaching out and grabbing Kiley's finger; by hearing her daddy sing and by fighting to live 11 minutes. This little teeny tiny girl manages to make us all stop our chaotic lives and gather together in a hospital room to witness the miracle that she was. Zoey taught me not to take people for granted and to cherish each moment because we don't know when it will be my last. I believe that Zoey is still among us in Spirit. She shows herself to me in the twinkle in Bella's eye, in Kaylee's infectious laughter and in Destiny's tenderness.
As I said before, the day Zoey was born was the most horribly beautiful day of my life. Horrible because I could not fix it, I could not switch places and give her life. Horrible because of the sorrow and pain I have seen Kiley and Sedrick walk through. Beautiful because I have watched a family lift each other up and weather this storm together. Beautiful because I was blessed to know Zoey and see her mighty spirit in that hospital room that day. Beautiful because Zoey will be in our hearts forever.
GeGe will never forget you Zoey. I will always love you until the end of time.
So, thanks for hearing me out and Merry Christmas everyone.
P.S. Kiley, please forward to everyone you want and Sedrick's new email address as well...I don' know it.

Jan 11, 2016


by Andrea Tadpole Broussard

Please indulge while I pour my heart out in words. It seems that's the only way I know how to release my emotions.

Today is January 11, 2016. January is a happy - sad month for me. Happy because my son's birthday is the 6th and one of my granddaughter's is the 23rd. Sad because my grandson Mikey died January 30th, he would've been 8 this year. My sister-in-law Rhonda died January 9th, 2 years ago. This year is even more sad because my ex father-in-law Mike Zelsnack whom I dearly loved died on January 7th and I just found out another friend in my recovery life died unexpectedly today. He was my age. I am stunned.

As I sit here I wipe the tears so I can see to write. My mind flips through all the family and friends who have made their transition to Gloryland. There's Dewina, Stella, Mike Z, Gina, my 2 grandbabies, my grandparents, George Gibbs, Harold Inman, today Mike B....the list goes on and on.

Mike B was a friend who I always saw at meetings. I remember his first meeting when his dad Delbert introduced us. I got the rare opportunity to watch the metamorphosis of recovery happen in him over the years. What a beautiful gift! He was a kind man with a gentle spirit who loved his wife Melody truly, madly and deeply. My life was blessed for knowing him. He will be greatly missed.

It's times like this that Heaven feels a million light years away. Yet, I know when I sit real still in the quiet I get a glimpse of Heaven in my midst and I realize it's only a breath away. Once in a while I feel the presence of a loved one who has gone on before me and I know they are okay. Then I can breathe and keep living for today.

I'm not a religious nut but I do read and know the Bible. When I heard of Mike B's passing today this scripture popped in my mind and I was reminded that my hope lies in Jesus:

1 Corinthians 15: 50-58
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

To Mike B, his family, to all my family who have lost loved ones, to our loved ones in Heaven...my prayers are with you all. Death is not the end, it's a transition. Those who've gone on are the truly blessed ones because they're at God's throne. May they dance at God's feet until we meet again.

Jan 9, 2016

Tired of Being Belittled for Hearing Loss

Today I had to go meet a friend of ours at the local AT&T store to switch out a phone number for my husband. I arrived about 10 minutes before them. It wasn't too busy. I got signed in and the door greeter directed me to another young man at the counter on the other side of the store. The music was blaring really loud, so loud that I couldn't hear myself talk. So, I smiled and told the young man that I was sorry, I'm hearing impaired and I wear hearing aids. I pulled my hair away and pointed to them. I told him that I knew that the tone of my voice was off and I was probably talking too loud and that I was sorry but I couldn't hear myself talk over the music. He rolled his eyes at me and started trying to conduct business with me anyway. I again explained that the music was drowning my ability to communicate with him out and I kindly asked if he'd turn it down so I could hear myself talk. Again I reminded him that I knew my voice was off because I couldn't hear myself talk. He got angry with me and started yelling real loud at me that I didn't have to be rude. By then other customers were  watching this. I stood there embarrassed and fighting back tears. About that time a manager came out of the back and turned off the music and apologized. I asked if someone else could help me instead of the young man who had just publically humiliated me. He agreed and another young man came over. I observed the manager making the one that was so mean to me leave the sales floor altogether. All of this happened in a span of 5 minutes. I pulled myself together before my husband's friend got there so I didn't embarass him and we were able to get the business done.

No problem, right? After all I was able to get on with my task at hand. WRONG. I should be use to this and just shake it off, right? WRONG. I know I deal with things like this every day. People treat me horrible and are quick to ridicule and humiliate me all the time. They treat me like I'm stupid. All because they can hear and do not care about understanding hearing loss. Most days I do shake it off but today I don't have it in me.

For most people with hearing loss there is no one that understands at home to turn to. Most loved ones can hear and just don't understand why these types of things upset us. They think we should just cow tow and take this kind of treatment from people. It's that way for me too. I live in a hearing world and everyone thinks I'm the one that should adjust my behavior and just take it and be polite. Well, today I did do that and my heart is broke but there's nowhere to turn that someone just says I understand and it's ok.

I don't need to be told what I should've done or what I didn't do right or how it was my fault. I just need someone to hold me and let me cry because it's a selfish cruel world out there.

Rant over :'(

Jan 3, 2016

New Years Thoughts - Jan 1, 2016

by Andrea Tadpole Broussard

WARNING: Do not read this wrong, I'm NOT suicidal. I am very happy with my life in spite of the daily struggles of life. Having said that, sometimes when I think about all the loved ones I have in Heaven I often think that they are the lucky ones. They are at God's throne with no cares or worries. Sickness and sorrow is gone for them. Yet, I'm still here in the crazy messed up world trying to eek out a living and hang on to whatever job I currently have, deal with physical problems with me and family still living, whatever life throws at me, etc ad nauseum. I get all wrapped up in focusing on all the problems and lose my focus. When I get like this I have to make myself stop and breathe. I have to force myself to focus on the small joys (which are actually huge ones) like my grandchildren and their laughter, the unconditional love of my dog and cat, the awesome man I call my husband, the fact that I'm one day at a time headed to 30 years sober this summer, coffee with a good friend, and the list goes on in my mind. When I shift my focus to this I start to remember that God is still here and taking care of me and my loved ones. Even in spite of a more often than not cruel world God has and still does carry us all through.

As my sponsor and dear friend Gail Langston always tells me, "Turn the magnifying glass around and magnify God instead of the problem. Make God one inch bigger than your problem." I struggle to do this daily but when I do I get glimpse of Heaven right before me in the eyes of angels who appear out of nowhere to help. I always say that God is so slow yet somehow always right on time. I just have to trust Him and never stop praying.

I have family and friends who are dealing with heavy issues and problems right now. These things are out of my control. They weigh heavy on my mind and heart. All I can do is pray, the reality is that prayer is the best thing I can do. Believe me when I tell you I'm praying...I AM PRAYING. It's not just a nice post, I mean it. So, I've rambled here in this post but I hope those in my inner circle understand that I have not forgotten you. I'm still praying. God has not forgotten you. Magnify Him and not the problem. Trust Him. I love you guys!!

Dec 10, 2015


53...WOW!!! I never thought I'd live past 23 and here I am 30 years later. What a wild ride it has been. My sweet friend and confidante Gail Langston always tells me to let the path unfold before me and trust God. Today I'm doing better at that and I am grateful more than anyone knows for the life I have. There have been good days, downright horrible gut-wrenching days and everything in between. Through it all God has continued to love me in spite of my craziness. He has blessed me with an incredible husband whom I love with all my heart. I have 2 awesome kids and 4 granddaughters who are the lights of my life. God restored my relationship with my parents years ago and my father is my rock. I have good friends, old and new who are my treasures. Life is good. :-)

Dec 2, 2015

Married or Not You Should Read This

I stumbled on this story online. I did not write it. I didn't want to lose it so I'm posting it on my blog. Such an important story....

Here's the story:

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed -dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up…..

Nov 30, 2015

Harold & George

Written 11/30/2013

by Andrea Tadpole

Gratitude Day 30: Wow!! This is the first year I've made it through the whole month of November doing the daily gratitude. So, I was thinking about something today that I'm grateful for. I included this in a post in a group I'm a part of. It's a story about 2 people God blessed me with in my life years ago. Gratitude isn't a big enough word for them. Here goes:

When I got sober I was 23 years old. I was stuck most of the time going to meetings with what I called old farts. You know 50 to 70 year old men who sat around and shot the shit about the old days and tried to one up each other on their war stories. They would tell me that I was too young, that I had not had enough to drink and to get back out there and do some more and come back in a few years. Then maybe I'd be ready to stay sober. They didn't think my bottom was low enough. But they did not understand one thing about me. I was convinced like I am today that if I took another drink I would surely die. I also knew that if I could not find recovery in AA I would commit suicide or relapse and be a walking dead person for many years till alcoholism killed me. AA was the only option I had left.

Just about the time that I was fed up with these old men who mouthed off at me all the time and I was ready to quit AA, God put two angels into my life. One was a big tall white guy named Harold. He was probably in his 60's and he had been through hell and back. He'd been to prison and all kinds of things I could never imagine. The other was a little black man named George. He was about the same age as Harold. He'd never been to prison, owned his own company and worked hard all his life. Harold and George had been friends for many years in the program. For some reason they sat one on each side of me at meetings. They would lean over and whisper in my ear and tell me not to listen to those idiots. That everyone has to hit their own bottom. That just because one person's bottom "looks" lower doesn't mean it is. They told me the only requirement is the desire to stay sober. They said alcoholism is no respector of age, race, gender, social or economic status. The most important thing they told me is no one can take my seat in AA but me. I owe my life and much of my sobriety to these two old men. They are dead now but what I wouldn't give to sit in a meeting with them today.

Nov 21, 2015

Gratitude Day 21

Gratitude Day 21

November 21, 2015

Today I am grateful my husband Andre. He takes good care of me. He does things for me that no one else notices. He is one hell of a good cook...me not so much. He always keeps me from falling into the bah humbug mood during the holidays by insisting on decorating. He has learned to live with my hearing loss and is so sweet and patient with me about it. Every night he holds me. That may seem silly to some people but for me it's the glue that holds me together in this crazy world. He tolerates my weirdness and believe me it takes a special person to do that. I am one blessed woman!!!

Sep 24, 2015

Random Thoughts On 8-17-12

by Andrea Tadpole

I have a lot of things on my mind these days. Too many thoughts run through my head and I cannot focus on one. I am so lonely most of the time, even when I'm in a crowd. I see people around me but I peer at them as if through a crack in my door. Inside, everyone is held at bay. They only get in so far and I choke. I don't know why. I am not REALLY talking to anyone. I find myself smiling and nodding a lot but never really saying where I am at. I feel myself slipping away but I don't know where I am going.

I went to a funeral for a friend's baby boy the other day. During the eulogy I stood there and thought about all the deaths I have been through. Since 2004 I have buried at least 10 family members and friends. The very thought of it sickens me. The sorrow is at depths I have never known and there are no words to describe it.

My mind went back to my granddaughter Zoey's birth, her 11 minute fight to live and her death. Her funeral is a blur now. All I remember is begging God over and over to let me switch places with her. A couple of years later we buried her brother Mikey, a few spots over from her.

Mikey was my only grandson. There is no way to describe the torment I went through when Mikey died. I was not allowed at the viewing. I was banned from the funeral and not allowed to stand under the same pavilion I was sitting at today. I wasn't allowed to say goodbye to him; all because of some asinine misunderstanding. It crushed me to the very depths of my soul. I sat on my granddaughter's bench and sobbed during the service. The evil ones running the show, my son's mother-in-law and father-in-law tried to have me removed from the grounds. It didn't work. I was allowed to drop a single handful of dirt on my grandson's tiny coffin and that was all. There was no one to really console me. The one's that were there expected me to just shake it off and move on.

Since that horrible day my son and I have rebuilt our relationship. His sorry excuse for a wife is now an ex and her evil spirited family is gone. All that's left are the two graves of my two grandchildren whom I would gladly give my life up for still today. The relationship I was in is over. I was laid off from my job. Everything in my life has fallen apart. It's all dead and gone.

While I was thinking about these things I was gazing at the crowd and I saw my friend Donnie in the background. For a brief moment my heart leapt inside me. I have missed him so much. He was smiling his ornery smile that always made me laugh. I chuckled in the midst of my tears. Then I remembered; Donnie was killed in a head on collision a couple of months ago. I didn't go to his funeral because I could not bear it.

At that moment I knew Donny's spirit was there to tell me goodbye and that he was okay. I am grateful for that gift, yet it does not make reality any better. It does not make the gnawing ache in my heart go away. I am afraid the knot in my throat is permanent and I will choke back tears for the rest of my life.

Over the past few years I have had to pull myself from the ashes and try to move on; I just don't do it very gracefully. How can one recover from such annihilation with any dignity left? How does one do it? Tell me, because I haven't found a way. The best I can do is just make it through each day, one day at a time.

There are days the ache in my heart is suffocating and it is a fight to get out of bed and go to work. At times I have no ability to really connect with anyone. I am just there. That's all. I am an artist. I love to create whether its a painting, drawing, stained glass, photography; yet I have hit a block in many of my creative outlets. I have not painted or drawn anything since Zoey died. I started a painting of her. The sorrow was so heavy I could not finish it. It's still in my closet unfinished. I keep thinking some day I will get back to it.

The one thing I have done continually is writing. I love writing my thoughts and feelings. Like writing stories about my life and I love to write poetry. It is very healing. I don't think I am a good writer but it helps to put it out there. I have a blog where I keep it all. I secretly hope I get thousands of followers some day but know in reality that will probably not happen.

Today I have a job. It's not a permanent job, but nothing in this life is permanent anyway, is it? I honestly have no idea where I am going. I just want to find peace inside myself again. I want to quiet the gnawing ache in my heart or at least learn to live in spite of it. I want to paint and draw again. I want to find the courage to write the book I see in my heart. The pages are blank and that terrifies me. I suspect though that if I just start writing the words will come and the pages will be filled.

I find the greatest joy still lies in spending time with my granddaughters when I allow myself to do it. They are like soothing balm to my weary soul. True gifts of beauty, light, fire and joy from above. I am blessed to be there grandmother. They give me so much more than I could ever give them.

I am not sure where my life's journey will take me, but I hope it is somewhere good. I've had all the sorrow I can take for a lifetime.

Jul 6, 2015

My 29th Sobriety Birthday Surprise

I just had the most awesome thing happen today and I have to share it! As most of you know from my previous post, I'm celebrating 29 years of sobriety today. I don't tell you this because I'm such a great person, because I'm not. I tell you this because I understand how awesome God is and how wonderful His grace is. He's the one that has kept me sober one day at a time.

The greatest treasure that I have in my life is my family and friends. If I call you my friend it means a lot to me because I only have a few, yet my friends are as close as family to me. On Valentine's Day this year I married my best friend Andre and well, there just aren't enough words in the world to tell you how much I love him.

Today Andre went to work and I went to my dad's. He had called and invited me out for early lunch for my sobriety birthday. Now, you have to understand something, my father never goes shopping. He goes in the store on a mission gets what he needs and leaves as fast as he can. Yet today, he and my stepmom (my other mother) Linda, had me go all over Owasso shopping for this and that after lunch. I thought it was a little strange but I went along with it because I enjoy spending time with them. When I took them home my dad announced that he was going to follow me to my house to work on a car he had there. I tried to talk him out of it because it was too hot and I didn't want him to get sick but he insisted. On the way home I spoke to Andre who asked me to stop at the store to pick up something for him before I got home that he needed when he got home from work. He insisted that I stop before I got home. I thought that was weird but agreed. When I turned off to go to the store my dad sped on by me. Again, I thought that was a little odd but I hurried and got what I needed and headed home.

Long story short, as I rounded the corner of my house I saw all of my family and friend's cars there. I knew  something was up. When I entered the house they all yelled surprise! Andre had orchestrated a surprise party for my sobriety birthday. We had a day of joy and celebration. It was better than I could ever have imagined. There stood all the ones I love. My awesome husband, my son and daughter, my granddaughters, my dad and stepmom, our friends Chris and Kristi and their son Josh and my friend Lindsey. The only thing that would have made it better would be if my mom, my friend Elaine and my sponsor Gail had been there, but I know they were there in spirit.

Last year, I was busy working and the chaos of life crept in and I didn't get a chip or celebrate my sobriety birthday. I said a prayer and thanked God and kept going. It bugged me inside that I hadn't taken the time to celebrate it but I just kept moving. This year I made a secret promise to myself and God that I would buy my medallion and celebrate my sobriety some way before the end of July. He obviously already had it figured out. Not only did my family and friends throw me a party, but they gave me my 29 year chip!!

God never ceases to amaze me with the plans He has for my life. Not only has He continued to bless me with the gift of sobriety one day at a time, but He's given me a beautiful life. I have a husband who loves and supports me and I have family and friends...all whom I love deeply. We are not perfect but we manage to weather the ups and downs of life together.

Thank you to everyone for giving me such a beautiful day today! Most especially, thank you to my sweet Andre for taking time out to stop for a day and give me an amazing party...today I will let you win the fight over who loves who more! ;-)

Above all...thank you God for my sobriety. Without it, I would not have the awesome life I have today.

Feb 25, 2015

Its Hard To Be Deaf In A Hearing World

Today was a really bad day for me. As most of you know, I'm hearing impaired. I do not use sign language, I read lips and I have a good voice because I lost my hearing in my early 20s. I have never let my hearing loss stop me from living life the way I want. I have learned to deal with it the best I can and feel that I've done a damned good job so far. I don't expect people to powder my ass just because I have a disability. In fact I'm opposite. I just want the freedom to live and be myself. The people that know and love me have learned to deal with my hearing loss and they all treat me with respect. I don't allow people who don't treat me with respect to be in my world long. Living in a hearing world is hard enough. I don't have room for people who put me down.

Most days I do pretty good but today was horrible. I was out in the public lobby where I work today trying to talk on the phone. I can talk on the phone fine but I have to turn the hearing aid on my ear I'm not using off so I can hear the person talking on the phone. This makes hearing my own voice impossible. I end up talking loud and don't realize it.

Right when I ended my call a security lady marched over and towered over me sitting in a chair. She griped me out for talking too loud. I tried to explain that I'm hearing impaired and I cant hear my own voice especially in areas that echo like the lobby but she kept ridiculing me. She embarrassed me in front of everyone. She made me feel like I must be some kind of freak.

She kept asking me questions and when I answered too loud she would tell me to stop talking too loud. I told her I was sorry but I can't make myself hear and as long as she detained me and forced me to converse with her in an area that I have difficulty hearing in I would talk loud because I CANNOT HEAR MY OWN VOICE. She said I was making up my hearing loss so I showed her my hearing aids. She just kept on me.

I finally asked her if she was enjoying discriminating against me and publically humiliating me. I told her I didn't appreciate it and I needed to go back to work. She then yanked at my badge to read my name out loud and said she was reporting me. I told her I would've gladly given her my name and grabbing my badge wasn't necessary. She got mad and stomped off.

I don't know what I did wrong. I wasn't rude to anybody I just was talking on the phone in the lobby like everyone else does. I'm sorry I have an invisible disability. It doesn't mean its not true even though you can't see it!

Once someone is told that a person is hearing impaired that should be the end of it. This woman didn't have to continue to embarrass me in front of everybody in the lobby.

I cried all the way home from work and off and on all evening. I'm real tired of being treated like crap by uneducated, callous people who don't even know me. I'm really a nice person. One just has to take the time to get to know me to realize that.

I'm tired of all the judgements and assumptions made about me when people find out I'm hearing impaired. I'm NOT STUPID. I'm very intelligent. I graduated summa cum laude from TU and I got a 4.0 GPA when I earned my MBA. I did better than most HEARING PEOPLE with no special treatment. I read people's body language better than any hearing person because I have to.

I guess I just feel like I'm out here all alone trying to deal with an invisible disability that very few people understand and most refuse to learn about.

Tonight my heart is broke. :'(

Feb 19, 2015

Our Wedding Ceremony - February 14, 2015

This was written by André and I and the minister Chaz Wesley who married us:

A Ceremony of Marriage

Prepared Especially For

Andrea & Andre’

(Andrea Tadpole & Andre Broussard)

OKAPI Center – 2550 W. Edison

February 14, 2015 - - 1pm

Music begins

2 Moms (or sister) light individual candles

2 Candle Lighters

Andre & Best Man

2 flower girls

2 bridesmaids

Banner - Joshua

<’You & I’ - - bridal march>

Bride and Father

CHAZ:  Who gives this bride away?  Father (Elmer): her mother/family and I.

CHAZ:  Dear friends and family, - We are here tonight to celebrate the love that Andrea and Andre’ have for each other, and to witness and bless their union in marriage.  We join them to recognize their relationship, show our support, and honor their path.  We as their community, friends and family join with them in celebrating their commitment to each other. 

If any person now present can show just cause why these two persons should not enter into the agreement of marriage let them now speak or forever hold their peace.  

(Everyone holds their breath and) Silence follows.

Before we begin this wedding ceremony Andre and Andrea have asked that we stop for a moment and honor and welcome the presence of the spirits of all those who have gone before them today. Among them are Andre's Sisters Rhonda & Carolyn and Grandmother Mattie Bradley; Andrea's grandchildren Zoey & Mikey Zelsnack & baby Bogle, their grandparents and many other family and friends who have gone before them. We honor them today with a moment of silence.

SONG:  The Prayer

CHAZ:  From 1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  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.  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.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”


In honor of heritage and tradition, please join me in a moment of silence as I recite:

A Cherokee Prayer:

God in heaven above please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together.
We honor mother-earth - and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire - and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind - and ask we sail through life safe and calm as in our father's arms;
We honor water - to clean and soothe our relationship - that it may never thirst for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created, We pray for harmony and true happiness as We forever grow young together. Amen.

CHAZ (to audience):  Andre’ and Andrea have come to perform today, in the presence of family and friends, an expression that is, indeed, heavenly and harmonious – an act of courage in each other and themselves, giving voice to a story of honor and love. The heart of this marriage will be the relationship created moment by moment.  --- In a world where trust often falls short of expectation, it is a tribute to these two who now join hearts in perfect faith . . . 

<<<Bouquet to attendant>>>

CHAZ - VOWS:  Andrea and Andre’ have each prepared their own, personal vows to express to one another . . . . and so I invite you to witness their heartfelt promises of Love and commitment . . . . . these are their words:

From Andrea to Andre:  “I give myself to you unreservedly. I leave my old life behind and cleave unto a new life with you. As I embark on this journey with you I promise always to keep you in the forefront of my mind. I promise always to be loyal to you, even if that means personal sacrifice.

I will treat you with respect, dignity and gentleness. I will be there for you no matter what. When it looks like the world has walked out on you, I will be there right by your side. I will love you, encourage you, and support you in all that you do. I promise never to abandon you.

You do not always have to be strong and you do not have to do life alone anymore. You can rely on me. I will be a source of strength to you when you are weak.

I promise always to conduct myself in an honest and trustworthy manner, not only with you, but others. I promise to set special time aside to spend with you regularly. I promise to be attentive to your needs and feelings, I promise to listen to you even when we don’t agree. When we do disagree I promise to ‘not let the sun go down on my wrath’ - - I promise to endeavor to live in a spirit of unity and compromise with you - - I give you my heart and all my love.

From Andre to Andrea:  “If I had my way, we would have these past three years stand still. I have learned to love you more each and every day that goes by. As I look at the world around us and see war, poverty and injustice – I need only look into your eyes and see Peace, Abundance, and Light . . . . a place that we go from time to time called “our world.” In this world lives strength, music, magic, joy and love. But the greatest of these is love. Our family and friends here today completes this world – and knowing this kind of peace is the greatest joy of my life. We aren’t promised tomorrow but I have the joy of loving you today.”

VOWS:  CHAZ:   Will you please, now join hands, and face me.

Will you, Andre’, give yourself completely and joyfully, as you choose Andrea to be your wife; to live and share your life together in the covenant of marriage . . . . Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in laughter and in sorrow, in conflict and peace, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

ANDRE’:  “I will/do.”

Will you, Andrea, give yourself completely and joyfully, as you choose Andre to be your husband; to live and share your life together in the covenant of marriage . . . . Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in laughter and in sorrow, in conflict and peace, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

ANDREA:   “I will/do.”

CHAZ:  Friends, Andrea and Andre’ are absolutely delighted that all of you, their dearest family and friends, could be here tonight to share this special moment with them. They have asked me to thank each of you for your love, appreciation and support … and for sharing this most special and intimate of moments with them, their wedding day.

And so, in your best voices, and with the words, “We Will,” I now ask all of you, family and friends, if you are willing now and always to sustain and strengthen this marriage by upholding both Andrea and Andre’ with your love and support and your faith in whom they will be together?

Response:  “We Will.”

<RINGS: take rings from BEST MAN> CHAZ:  So we come, Andrea and Andre’, to the presentation of the rings by which you affirm and bind your love for each other  -  

These rings, fashioned to have neither a beginning nor an end will sit quietly on your fingers, reminding you of the power of your vows and the pledge of your partnership. Your wedding rings are an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual bond which you share.

These rings are the symbols of vows taken, a circle of wholeness. These rings mark the beginning of a journey filled with wonder, surprises, tears, laughter, celebrations, grief and joy. May these rings glow with the warmth and love that flows through you today – and remind you of the growing relationship you have come to celebrate and confirm.

Andrea will you take this ring and place it upon Andre’s finger, and as you do, repeat after me:

I give you my heart and my faithfulness

From this day forward  ~ you shall not walk alone ~ My heart is your shelter

And my arms are your home – with this ring, I thee wed.

Andre will you take this ring and place it upon Andrea’s finger, and as you do, repeat after me:

I give you my heart and my faithfulness ~

From this day forward  ~ you shall not walk alone ~ My heart is your shelter

And my arms are your home – with this ring, I thee wed

CHAZ – Minister’s Message:  And now, a few words of blessing:

Andre’ & Andrea - May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding in the moments it doesn’t seem to be happening.

May you always need one another - not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with both of you.

Before us today you’ve created a rainbow of décor, color, creed, faith, equality, and harmony. For the rainbow experience to happen, three things are needed:  sunshine, raindrops, and a spectator. It is not that the sun and the raindrops cease to exist if there is no one there to see them . . . but unless someone is present at a particular point in which to witness the occurrence, no arch of blended colors can be seen – and thereby shared with another. When the causes and conditions come together to create the rainbow, it appears to be there because it is witnessed through another’s eyes.

Today, in this place, there exists an environment in which all three parts come together:

· The radiance expressed through the eyes, smiles, and hearts of those around you – as well as through the two of you (representing the sun)

· Tears of joy (the moisture)

· Those who support you and stand with you on this wondrous occasion (these friends/ family/witnesses/spectators)

May this be a union witnessed through the eyes of many – and may it be a rainbow so brilliant, so unique, and so vivid, that the world stops for a moment to observe it, honor its beauty, and stand in awe….

Unity Candle Ceremony

Today Andre and Andrea come here from two different families and heritages. We are especially grateful for the values which have flowed into them from those who have loved and nurtured them and pointed them along life’s way.

The values and heritage each brings to this marriage will continue to be an important element in their lives, but now will be shared between them. Out of these two families, a new family will be created.

At the beginning of the ceremony today, members from each of Andre and Andrea’s families lit the individual candles which represent the two separate families.

When the two individual flames merge as one, it will symbolize the union of their two families in this marriage and the rich heritage each brings to it.

To Andrea and Andrea:

Today you have decided to share the rest of your lives with each other.

This beautiful union is now symbolized by the lighting of the Unity Candle.

The individual candles represent all that you are and all that you have been until this moment

It is a candle of Unity because both candles must come together to create the new light.

Its fire is miraculous because it represents the light of two people in love.

This candle is also a candle of Commitment because it takes two people working together to keep it ablaze. - - Love is like a flame; it has the heat of passion, it is constantly changing, its radiance is there for all to see and together you must protect it from being extinguished. - -Andre and Andrea please light the center candle to symbolize the union of your lives.

After center candle is lit:

Today, as you have lit this candle, may the brightness of these flames shine throughout your lives…

May it be known from this moment forth, that you enter this commitment and partnership with one another, never forgetting you are first an individual –unique and divine, completely whole as you are . . . . And may you remember this day as a day of choosing the courage and reassurance of a greater Light – a Light of Oneness that comes from each of you – where you will find you way in darkness; warmth and safety in the cold; and grace and joy in your family and friends; and peace and strength in your bodies, minds, and spirit.


As I read earlier from the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians; what I believe to be the one message demonstrated by every master-teacher that has shared their truth with the masses; and what each generation gathered in this place today most appreciate from any great love song ever proclaimed – they have all said the same thing:  “All you need is love.”   

Love is the unifying, harmonizing power of the Divine – the single greatest treasure that we have the ability to share with another.  May you have that love, may you know that love, and may you honor it over and over again by loving one another.

Andre’ and Andrea, in this company of friends and family, you begin a new life today, joined together in holy matrimony.  May the commitment and devotion that you feel for one another grow stronger every day of this union.

By the love that has brought you here, by the vows you have exchanged and by the integrity of your commitment… in the presence of your dearest family and friends, and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of Oklahoma, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.

Andre’, you may kiss your most beautiful bride.

<The Kiss>

Ladies and gentleman, with honor and privilege, I proudly announce for the first time:

Mr. and Mrs. Andre’ & Andrea Broussard

Dec 15, 2014



I wrote this in 2010 after a bad day dealing with hearing loss...

Rantings of A Hearing Impaired Person

by Andrea Tadpole

I have severe hearing loss in my left ear and moderate in my right. I have a voice because I didn’t lose my hearing until I was in my 20s. I don’t sign, I read lips. When I was 24 I had surgery on my left ear to fix it and it went bad. I lost even more hearing in it. From 23 years ago when I woke up from surgery until today my left ear has rang 24/7 sometimes so loud I cannot hear or understand anything, much less hear my own voice. My heart has beat in my ears really loud most of the time all my life because the artery that runs in my neck is unusually close to my middle ear. Surgery to fix it would kill me. I usually don't gripe about it, I just try to do the best I can to live with it.

Yet, today, I am complaining. I am sick and tired of people expecting me to be able to hear like a “normal” person. I CANNOT MAKE MYSELF hear any better than I do. If I could I would. I cannot help it that I cannot hear MY OWN VOICE very good at times. I cannot explain why one minute I can sit and talk to someone and the next I can't understand a word they are saying because the background noise drowns everything out. It’s not personal; I have hearing loss that's all. Hearing aids don't make me hear "normal" they make me hear EVERYTHING and my brain doesn't know how to filter sounds anymore. Sometimes the “NOISE” from wearing hearing aids overwhelms me to the point that I can’t think. Is that my fault? Is it something that gives you the right to be pissed off at me about it? I can't fix it. I can only live with it.

When the one's I love get mad at me and give me the silent treatment because I couldn't understand or spoke too loud or whatever it is that I did that day to "embarrass" them again because I can't hear it breaks my heart. My heart is broken today.

DO NOT EVEN TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND if you CAN HEAR because YOU DON'T. Try walking in my shoes before you are so quick to kick me when I'm down. Try a little bit of compassion for me instead of shutting me out. IT HURTS.

Nov 27, 2014

My Response to Ferguson

I'm fed up with all the racial slurs, bullshit posts and name calling from EVERY RACE right now concerning Ferguson and the whole issue surrounding races in the US today. So, I'm going to say my peace and if you don't like it, feel free to unfriend me. I don't really care anymore. Part of this is from a comment I just made on another post so here goes:

I agree that there have been MANY horrific atrocities done in the past in this country. Native Americans were systematically exterminated. I have ancestors in my family line of Cherokees who died on the Trail of Tears. African Americans were enslaved and treated inhumanely. It was horrible. There are other races who've been persecuted too. I agree IT WAS WRONG. It breaks my heart that anyone of ANY COLOR has been treated like that. ALL LIVES MATTER. However, I cannot change the PAST. I can only live in the present and make choices TODAY that will hopefully  change the future.

I read post after post, some of my friends, shouting down with whites and others yelling down with blacks. All this does is feed the evil corroding thread of violence in our nation today. Some people scream stop racism and apologize for the race they are all in the same breath. So how does that stop racism?  To me, it just keeps the hatred going.

I REFUSE to apologize for the color of my skin. I don't expect anyone else to apologize for theirs either. I "look" white but I have Native American ancestors and I'm Irish, Scottish, Dutch and German that I know of. Just because I might look one color or the other should not matter in this world.

If everyone would stop whining about and wallowing around in the past and move on things would get better. I'm sick of people saying how bad one race or the other is. Enough is enough. Let it go. Instead of sowing into the hatred, maybe try sowing into unity and harmony. Instead of rioting and protesting why not start in your OWN home and every day lives to embrace our differences instead of apologizing for them? Enough is enough.

In the words of the late Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?!"

Nov 22, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 21

Gratitude November 2014 Day 21

by Andrea Tadpole

I am tired today. Long day at work. I'm grateful simply for another day above ground :-)

Nov 20, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 20

by Andrea Tadpole

Today I am grateful that I actually love myself today. For the longest time I hated myself and as a result I allowed people into my life who tore me down. Today I don't have many friends, but the ones I have build me up and I do the same for them. If I had not learned to love me first those friendships would of been impossible.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 19

by Andrea Tadpole

Today I am grateful for the gift of writing.  Having the ability to put my feelings and thoughts into words has saved my sanity and life many times over in my life. It's given me a way to paint pictures with words. Some beautiful,  some not so pretty. All in all though, when I look back in my writings I am reminded of where I've been and what I've lived through. It allows me to see the hand of God ever present in my life and in the lives of those I love.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 18

Today, November 18th is my mother's birthday. I know it's selfish, but I'm grateful my mom is still alive. I hope and pray the doctors can relieve her pain and get her back well in the upcoming surgery. I hope I can see her soon. I miss her deeply.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 17

Today I am grateful for the gift God has given me of having a sense of humor. Laughter and the ability to see the hilarity and absurdity in life has carried me through the tough times.

Nov 16, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 16

With the cold weather outside today I am grateful for a home with a warm bed, warm clothes and shoes,  a decent car, good food to eat, and a man and family and friends who love me and I them. There are many people alone on the streets and cold today. I've been there. It's a tough and hard road. So grateful for the life I have today.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 15

I was not feeling well Friday and Saturday so I didn't write my Gratitude for day 15. Here it is, I wrote it to my sweet Andre:

I'm laying here remembering a time when I had the flu and I was all alone. I didn't have anybody that cared enough to check on me or sit with me. It was one of the worst times in my life. I felt like an insignificant speck in the vast universe. Today you and I have each other. It is so comforting to know that you're the one person in the world who will always be there for me just like I will always be there for you. I'm still feeling a little bad. Fever comes and goes. I read and think it's from the pneumonia vaccine. It makes me feel better to know that you'll be home soon and I'm not alone anymore. I love you more than I have words to say! <3

Now that's what I am grateful for!!

Nov 14, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 14

by Andrea Tadpole

I'm not into country music but this song touched me like no other. It made me think of my own mom, Alice Tarrant. She not well right now and in Florida way too fat away from me. I love her so much. Her birthday is this Tuesday and I wish I could be there. I miss her deeply.

I thought of my daughter, Alicia Zelsnack too. She became a mom at barely 16. She chose life for her daughter Destiny when she didn't have to. Now she's the mother of three beautiful girls. She is the most awesome loving and compassionate mother and woman. I admire her. She has no idea how beautiful she is. That makes her radiate beauty even more.

Last but not least, I though about my "other mom, my step mom Linda Tadpole. We are kindred spirits. We are both artists. From the moment I met her I knew we met in another lifetime somewhere. I love her deeply.

So, tonight day 14 of my Gratitude list, I am greatful for all the strong, compassionate,  loving women God has blessed me with along life's journey. My life would so incomplete without them.

Garth Brooks - Mom - Live on Good Morning Americ…: http://youtu.be/cRduDpZ52UA

Nov 13, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 13

People might think I'm crazy but the one thing I'm grateful for today is Google. I have a new job and this job has stretched me beyond belief. The things that I've been asked to do on the computer with different software packages were daunting. Some of it I had no clue how to do. But, like I always do when I'm faced with a challenge, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do. Then I consulted the Oracle aka Google. One search led to another and then there it was the answer to a problem that I had. I'm so grateful because I was able to impress my boss and feel a little more secure about my new job. I'm praying that I get to keep it for a long time.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 12

Today I am grateful for peace of mind. When I was young my mind raced nonstop and I worried about things continually. I was thinking that it's been a long time since my mind raced and what a blessing that is.

Nov 11, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 11

Today I am grateful for a warm, comfy bed to sleep in. There was a time in my life when I didn't have one. The streets are hard, especially when it's cold.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 10

When the economy went belly up a few years ago I was without a job for 4 years despite having a college education. I pretty much lost everything material. The only thing left was the love of family and friends...the thing that really counts. Those were scary times for me. I've always worked since I was 14 years old. When I couldn't find a job I didn't know what I was going to do. Yet God carried me through. Today I am so grateful for a good job!

Gratitude November 2014 Day 9

Today I am grateful for my sobriety.  Without it I would have been dead long ago. I would've missed out on so much. Today my life is better than I could've ever imagined it.

Nov 8, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 8

Finally! I'm caught up with my Gratitude list. I have had this one on my mind all morning.

Today I am grateful for my son, Sedrick Zelsnack. For a couple of years Sedrick and I were estranged. I missed him deeply and prayed every day that God would bring him back to me. In April he came home. I have no words to describe the joy it gave me to have him back in my life! Life has not been perfect since then. We have faced some tough problems together and not always agreed but we did it TOGETHER. Life is too short to spend it no talking to ones you love so much. Before you know it, you turn around and they're gone. I thank God every day now that I have my son back. I love you Seddy!

Gratitude November 2014 Day 7

I was driving home from work today and stuck at a stoplight. I looked over and there was 3 women standing on the sidewalk in a circle holding hands and praying. It occurred to me that there are places in this world where a person will be imprisoned or killed for doing that. I am so grateful that I live in a country where I have the freedom to pray in public like that. Don't get me wrong I'm not a "religious" nut but I am a spiritual person and I believe in the power of prayer. Most of us take our freedom for granted here in this country. I'm grateful for that today.

Nov 7, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 6

Wow I just realized I missed day 6 on the gratitude list so I'm going to do that one now.

Today I am grateful for my daughter Alicia. She is the light of my life. She's the mother of three beautiful girls who I love deeply too. Alicia works hard and loves deeply. She's an awesome mother and daughter. In her adult years she has become my best friend and I thank God for the beautiful gift that she is to me.

Nov 5, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 5

Today has been a tough day for me. My anxiety level was skyrocketing. I've had lots of things on my mind. Some bad, some scary and some good. Change, any kind of change good or bad is always difficult for me. It gets me spun up inside. When I get like this its hard. I want to shut down and not breathe till it passes. Yet I know the best thing to do is reach out to ones who understand. So that's what I did.

I am so very grateful to two friends (you know who you are) for talking to me today. I'm also grateful for the love and understanding my man Andre gave me. I went and hung out at my dad's for a little while tonight. It felt so good. We didn't have to say a lot just watched TV.

Just knowing that I have family that loves me,  a man (soon to be my husband) that cares for me in spite of me and friends who willingly walk this sometimes crazy journey with me are more precious to me than anything money could buy. I am forever grateful for all of them.

Nov 4, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 4

Sometimes I surprise myself. I found this writing I did last year on November 23. It made me stop in my tracks. It seems apropos to repost it for my Gratitude writing today:

Gratitude Day 23: Tonight I need to purge my mind for a few so please allow me to do so here. Sit back, relax and read. Hopefully it won't be too out there ;)

Anyway...I had an odd day today. In my mind I had it all planned out: go help Andre clean his restaurant; eat lunch; get my granddaughter Destiny; go to the mall; get nails done and shop around a little and go home. All went as planned till I got done with my nails. Then an unexpected opportunity arose to go to far south Broken Arrow to get a surprise for my daughter and granddaughters. Did that and on the way back got a call from Andre at the restaurant to run to the store for him to get some last minute items for tomorrow's Route 66 marathon breakfast downtown where he works. So I hauled ass back to Tulsa got his stuff and ran to Sapulpa and gave my daughter and granddaughters the Wii game system I got for a steal. They were thrilled with it! Then I took me and Destiny out to eat. Whew!! What a long crazy day!

I finally got home a little while ago and I realized I hadn't written my Gratitude thing today. Those of you who know me realize that I don't like the word gratitude. I especially hate meetings that have the topic of gratitude for discussion. The main reason is because most of the crap people say they are grateful for (me included) has nothing to do with gratitude. I mean who isn't grateful for material success? Anyway like I said, I was thinking about what to write on my list today because I made a commitment to myself to do the Gratitude thing every day this November whether I liked it or not.

So, I was soaking in a hot bath thinking about my day. It occurred to me that even though my day was different from what I had planned, it was ok. That's not normal for me so I realized something good has happened inside of me. Maybe a little bit of selfishness has died...well one can hope.

Then my mind went back to thinking about about gratitude. I drifted back to a meeting I was at one day years ago. The topic was gratitude. I was sitting across the table from a friend of mine named Dewina. I will use her name now because she's in heaven with the angels. She was blind and she had a leg amputated, all from diabetes. I remember sitting here trying to think about what I could say I was grateful for. I heard myself think, "Boy I'm grateful I'm not in her place! At least I have two legs and I can see." Then a voice as loud as a megaphone went off in my head (I assume it was God). It said to me, "WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH GRATITUDE?!" It stopped my thinking in its tracks. I realized being "grateful" I didn't relapse like that person or have cancer or some other crisis like someone else was nothing more than being selfish and judgemental. If I'm truly grateful then my actions will show that. Gratitude is not a feeling it's an action, a verb.

I sat there that day and I watched my friend Dewina laugh and share joy and love with everyone. I remembered when I met her the first time at a meeting with my best friend whom I sponsored at the time. It was one of her first meetings. She was one of those women that I thought was hopeless and could never make it. Yet here she sat all these years later; still sober in spite of all the physical hell she was going through. Still doing all she could to bring joy to people. And I realized what a blessing it was to know her. She died a few months later.

I wrote a poem after that about gratitude. It was inspired by Dewina. I have been so blessed to sit in meetings day in and day out for years with the most beautiful spiritual giants I have ever known. Dewina was one of them. So tonight I am posting the poem at the end of my diatribe that I wrote, in honor of Dewina and countless others that God has blessed me with on my path. I am forever indebted to them for my sobriety.


by Andrea Tadpole

Gratitude is not all the flowery words we say
Or how good we look on the outside
It's found in the silent places
In the stillness of our hearts
It's seen in the small unnoticed things we do for those in need
It's in the art of listening
In shouldering someone's burdens without reward or accolades
True gratitude is not a nostalgic feeling we have when we look to our past
Its a choice we make to love the unloveable
Those we meet along God's path before us
Gratitude is an action
A response to the grace God has given us
And evidence of the miracle
He has wrought within our hearts

Nov 3, 2014

Gratitude November 2014 Day 3

Before the day gets away from me I will give my Gratitude for the day. Today I'm grateful for phones. If it weren't for phones I wouldn't be able to talk to my mom and hear her voice. She's not well right now and it weighs heavy on my heart. She lives in Florida and I'm not in a position to be able to go see her. If she were here I'd take care of her. At least we have the phone and can connect that way. Please pray for her healing.

Nov 2, 2014

A Grandmother's Lament

by Andrea Tadpole

I transcribed this on November 5, 2010 at 12:53am from a recording I found that I did on January 31, 2008 at about 1:45am after my grandson, Michael Aidyn Jude Zelsnack went to be with the Lord. I do not remember recording this and in the recording I was obviously completely emotionally distraught. The words are not edited in any way. They are raw, like the pain I felt that day. I hope you understand. ~Andrea~

Well, my little Mikey died today
I don’t even know what day it is
I think its like the 3oth, 29th, whatever
I’ll look on the calendar
Anyway, it’s 1:45 in the morning
It was actually yesterday

You know, I look at life some times
And I just don’t understand
I don’t
Everything’s just so fucked up

How do I tell Sedrick and Kiley to not lose hope
When they’re working so hard and being so good
And then everything bad happens
Their good people God

I got to find a place in my heart
To write about this little boy

I mess up and I get attached
I get attached so fast
Because I believe life begins at conception
And I believe that life is viable
The minute that little child is there and there’s a heartbeat
I don’t understand how people can say
That at this week or that week you’re not viable
I hate that fucking word
What does VIABLE mean anyways

How do you keep from losing hope
When everything looks so hopeless

How do you pick your foot up
And put it in front of you
And take the next step
When all your energy is gone

How do you smile
When your heart's broken in a million pieces

How do you have faith
When your faith hasn’t worked

There was this little boy named Mikey
I felt him kick once
I saw him in his mother’s womb
He moved around
He was lively
I saw a 3D ultrasound of him
And he looked just like his daddy
He did

How can he be alive one hour
And gone the next

How can you
How do you get past all the pain

I’m tired
I’m just so tired

I went today and I held my little Courtney
Cuz it gave me peace
I rocked her
And I listened to her snore
Cuz it gave me peace

I thought I would die when Zoey died
I watched her heart beating out of her chest
And I couldn’t make her live

Little Mikey didn’t even have a chance
I don’t know how to reconcile that in my mind
I don’t understand it

I don’t understand
I don’t have answers anymore
For anything

I’m broken hearted
I’m tired of going to see my grandchildren in a grave
When I should be the one in the grave
Not them
I can’t make anybody understand that

I don’t have any answers anymore
About anything
And I don’t even know if it matters

I gotta pick one foot up
And put it in front of the other
And keep moving
And I don’t know how
God I don’t know how

It’s like I’m playing the same song again
Only a different verse
And I can’t get out of it

God, this is just too hard
I don’t have no answers
And I hate it

Maybe I can find some words
Come on, think about it


I’m sitting here watching the minutes
Click on the clock

No,  try again

Sitting in the cold silence
Watching the clock tick
Minute by minute goes by

Dreading this job
That I know I have to do

Holding the camera
Knowing that I have to take pictures
Of the birth of my stillborn grandson
Dreading it with all my heart

Begging God to let me switch places
Begging God to bring his heartbeat back
Begging God to make my son stop hurting
And my daughter-in-law okay and whole

And yet I have no choice
And I have no control
And I feel like my prayers bounce back
And smack me in the face

How do I go on
How do I surmount this mountain of pain once again

I tell myself that he’s in Heaven with Zoey playing
Up there somewhere
But what exactly does up there somewhere mean

I’m so confused in my mind
And grasping at straws desperately

Maybe if we did this
Maybe if we did that

Thumbed through the Bible
Trying to think of that verse that says
Whatever is perfect and pure
And all that
To focus on that
I don’t even know how

The only little grandson 
I’ll probably ever have
I didn’t get to see him laugh
I didn’t get to feel him
Warm and cuddly next to me

Somehow being up there in Heaven
Just ain’t enough right now

And yet I find myself
Clicking the camera
One picture after another

Desperately hoping that it’s not what it is
Hoping that the nightmare ends

And yet it still keeps coming
There’s no way out of it
Except through

I know I’ll make it
I just don’t want to

I’m tired
I want the trouble to end
I just want to have peace
I just want my family to be healthy and whole

I want Kiley and Sedrick to be happy
They deserve another child

I don’t know
I just don’t have the answers

Now I hear in my mind
Put your trust in Jesus
Rest in Him
God knows every little sparrow that falls
I know all that stuff
But somehow it just ain’t enough right now

I don’t have the answers
I’m lost and I’m tired
I just need some rest

I hear in my mind
Let the dead bury the dead
I don’t know what that means

Cuz my little grandson
He was a part of me
And I don’t know how to get past the hurt

I don’t have a poem left in me
I just don’t know
Maybe poems don’t have to rhyme anymore

Gratitude November 2014 Day 2

Today I am most grateful for my father, Elmer Tadpole,  Jr. While he and I started out rough and locked horns early in life, as an adult he has become my best friend. He is my hero in so many ways. He has taught me a lot in life, especially to love and help those that are less fortunate than myself. He has always been the one that fought for the underdog even when people didn't understand why he did it. Today I understand. My father is also a veteran. He served in the US Navy. That makes me very proud. I love you daddy!!

Nov 1, 2014

Taken By Surprise

Once in awhile, right in the middle of the chaos of my life, God takes me by surprise. Right when I least expect it, He allows me to witness the most beautiful metamorphosis. It's always happens on the day that I am wound up all inside about my problems and my pain. It's always on a day when I feel depleted and as if I have nothing left inside of me to give. I think God does that to remind me that it is His work, not mine and I'm a mere spectator in the miracle He's about to perform. When it happens it always brings my life to a screeching halt for a few sacred and holy moments.

I had such an occurrence today. In honor of the tradition in AA of anonymity I will not use the person's name. She knows who she is. I will tell you though, that I witnessed a beautiful, young woman embrace Step 3 today. Both of us had our days planned out, yet God had another agenda. I sat and watched her spirit unfold like a beautiful flower and I saw God touch her face. It took me back to the first time I did Step 3 so many years ago. It reminded me of what a miracle each of us are and what a sacred gift our recovery is.

Today will be forever etched in my heart. I am humbled that God allowed me to be the one to pray the 3rd Step Prayer with her. Once again, I stand in awe of the Creator and His deep love for us all.

Gratitude November 2014 Day 1

Last year I made it a point to write something I was grateful for every day in November in honor of Thanksgiving. I have decided to do it again this year. Since it is November 1st today this my first day to write.

I will start off with the one thing I am most grateful for in my life today. It is not really a thing it as a person and that person is my fiancé Andre Broussard. We are going to get married on Valentine's Day next year. I am the happiest girl in the world.

I don't see marriage as the final destination, I see it as a public declaration of something that has happened between our two hearts in private. I only hope our wedding is a celebration of the love we have found in each other and the life we build with together day by day.

I don't think that life is supposed to be perfect. If it were it would be boring. I don't believe that people are perfect either, especially when they're in a relationship together. However, Andre is the perfect man for me. We have been through good times, bad times and very devastating times together in the last 2 years. Yet we have always stood together through it all.

Andre is man of character and he is intelligent beyond anything that I could ever be. He is wise beyond his years and he has taught me to look at life in a positive way. I don't know why but for some reason he loves me in spite of all my insecurities, warts and bruises. See, to the outside world I look strong, but Andre is the only one that sees my weakness. Even then, he picks me up when I am down and carries me if needed. I always try to do the same for him. Like we always say to each other....TEAM WINS!

Andre has instilled a sense of hope in me again. He has brought back my smile.

I am so grateful to God for giving me Andre. He is a rare and precious jewel to me. I am proud beyond words to be his woman and someday soon his wife. I only hope that I can make him feel as proud to be my husband.

I love you more Andre!  <3