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The Speech Continued: ‘A’ is for Integrity

A: ALWAYS Integrity

I believe integrity will see you through anything. Be who you are, be true to yourself, be honest with yourself and others in whatever situation you may be.

Ironically, if I’d had to describe myself or the person my parents had taught me to be prior to 2009, it would have been that I was a person of integrity. Yet there I was, my entire life, family, past, future, reputation, destroyed by a man the complete opposite of that. And I’d never known that or seen that.

I never, in my life, thought integrity would be a challenge for me. However, I was shocked at some of the thoughts that came to me, to abandon my integrity, out of sheer desperation for my circumstances.

The day the U.S. Marshalls came to inventory my possessions for seizure was one of those days. While waiting for them to arrive, I actually had the thought to hide some of my jewelry. (Not that I’m a big fan of jewels. I saw my jewels simply as an asset that could be sold to help me feed my children in my desperate circumstances.) I was shocked at the thought! I was an honest person, I couldn’t believe that thought had even crossed my mind.

I dismissed it, briefly waged a silent battle within my own mind, and quickly came to the determination that I was not going to let someone else’s lack of integrity cause me to lose mine! I’d rather starve to death! (Which at the time I didn’t consider a remote possibility–I thought that’s where I was headed.) I’d also love to say that’s the only time I had that thought to be dishonest, but interestingly, I was presented with another opportunity to choose integrity regarding my jewelry within a few weeks of that initial challenge, and I had to decide, AGAIN, to choose to have integrity! Once again, I decided my integrity was worth more than anything to me.

I decided, as did the mother of Cornelius in ancient Greece, that my children were to be my jewels! My ONLY jewels. And I’m ok with that.


Bachelors #22-26: The International Set

My dad loved Hawaii.

And he did his best to instill the same passion for Polynesia in me. I absolutely loved the time I spent in the South Pacific growing up. I loved it so much, my heart literally hurt every time we had to leave and return to our home in Colorado.

Eventually, I was offered a piano scholarship to BYU-Hawaii and my dad’s only hesitation about letting me accept it was his fear that I would fall in love with an islander and my family would never see or hear from me again! He knew me well. I may well have done that, given the chance.

So it was kind of ironic that I married a man who hated the sun, Hawaii, the beach, the feeling of sand between his toes, and every other “island” thing that I loved. After I divorced it hit me. Although I would never have chosen divorce and never thought it would happen to me, what if I actually found a Polynesian man to love the second time around? (And then I realized the following, too: it may take someone from that far away to have not heard about me or the drama-filled ending of my marriage and previous life thanks to the criminal actions of my former spouse!)

Hmm. It was something to consider. So I had to laugh when I actually got asked out by what I’ll call “The International Set” of bachelors. Bachelors #22-26. Each hailed from some place far removed from Colorado and the fall out of the Ponzi scheme my former spouse perpetrated. I had a chance at the anonymity I had hoped for!

Unfortunately, Bachelor #22 was very nice, but not my type at all. Nothing serious ever developed. He was just a fun friend, from a foreign country, kind, who enjoyed hearing about my kids and dancing. I’ll remember him most for his constant smile. Adios, Bachelor #22!

Bachelor #23 was nice, but too short for me. (And I’m not talking he was less than my dream height of 6’2″. He was literally quite a bit shorter than me!) He was a widower with one arm and several children. He spoke Samoan fluently, but English…not so much! That was NEVER going anywhere. Tofa, Bachelor #23!

Bachelor #24 was a nice, older Samoan gentleman who loved young people and helping them achieve their dreams. He ran a foundation for troubled youth, and had a heart that was big enough to love the entire world, it seemed. (A very good quality.) Every time he asked me out on a date, he invited me to bring my children, too, even though he had never met them. (I didn’t bring my children, though. I wasn’t comfortable letting my children meet many of the men I dated.) A very nice man. However, in my eyes he was more like a father or a grandfather, not a man I had romantic interest in. That frustrated him and he quit asking me out as soon as he realized that. Tofa, Bachelor #24!

Bachlor #25 was another “senior” citizen…from Greece. He was nice, but it was clear to me from the moment I met him that there was never going to be a Big Fat Greek Wedding in my future. Ta leme, Bachelor #25!

Bachelor #26 was a genuine Kiwi–VERY handsome, tan, VERY cool, laid back, outdoorsy, loved to hike and walk (the muddier the better!) and had an accent to die for! Too bad we had very different goals and values. He was a fun and nice man but it finally came down to hei kona ra, Bachelor #26!

So the international set didn’t work out for me. But I haven’t given up.

“I’m a hopeless romantic. It’s disgusting. It really is. I’ve seen ‘While You Were Sleeping’, like, twenty times, and I still believe in the whole Prince Charming thing.” (Jennifer Love Hewitt)

I’m with her.