Sunday, November 20, 2011

too much caffeine = you need to hear about my weekend!

What a weekend. We traveled south for the husband's 10 year high school reunion. We had planned to break an 11 hour trip in half, and find a hotel in virginia. Evidently every major university along route 81 was preparing for their last football game of the season because a 5 hour hunt for a vacant room ended in us reaching our final destination at 6:15am the next morning. There was no room in the inn.....or in any inn, for that matter. We stopped at every Marriott from the top of Virginia to the bottom of North Carolina without any luck. If college football is this big of a deal, I think I'd better jump on the band wagon. Who knew!? We stumbled into "grandma's" house at 6:15am and went straight to bed. Ohhhhh how I love being there! Between the built-in babysitters and the 2 minute drive to Starbucks and Hobby Lobby, it's truly heaven on earth. I had been informed of the 10 year reunion back in July. In true female fashion I had a strategic plan to lose 20 pounds. Instead, I think I gained 7. As if a 10 year reunion isn't bad enough, try filling a room with pencil-thin southern belles. We came in 2nd place as the couple who had been married the longest, and tied for 1st as the couple who had birthed the most children since high school! I think that deserved a reward, no? Instead I sulked to the car and vented "I was the chubby wife with the mom hair cut who looked exhausted!" My adoring husband knew that laughing at me, rather than with me, at that moment was his best option. He treated me to a nice restaurant and we ordered dessert to go so I could eat it in privacy with my sweatpants on. ;) ANYHOO..... this was not the point of this post!
What's up with all these single, God-fearing, successful young men???? We know multiple here at home and I had the privilege of meeting two at the reunion. All holding steady jobs..... involved in their churches..... sincere...... good looking. I was brainstorming (during our romantic dinner) and came to a conclusion. My opinions are controversial, I realize that. And most of you will not agree. BUT..... My first reaction was "there must be something inferior about these guys". It's always the man's fault, isn't it? Culture screams it. But as I thought more, I turned the tables on myself. Could it be that there was a generation of girls raised to believe that they could be independent? Successful? And that motherhood was in no way as fulfilling? Who wants to stay at home? Scrubbing yellow poop out of sleepers and going without a shower? There must be something better. There is, actually! You can dress nice, and stay clean, and earn MONEY, and make your own decisions! As shocking as it may sound, I don't believe that this is always wrong. God certainly doesn't call everyone to the same lifestyle. But it does make me sad when I see so many amazing husband-material men, without a woman willing to follow their leadership. I, for one, have never regretted my lack of career. And I won't say I didn't warn you if my own daughter lacks a desire for one as well. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sweet Promises

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

Lyrics brought to you by my sheer adoration with old hymns. And because sometimes reading them means more than singing them :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Eight years ago tonight, I was running wild with my campers through the grass. We had a late night in the pavilion and were headed to our cabin for pizza. I had survived a few crazy teen weeks and was enjoying this week of younger, sweeter girls. I had been sharing a cabin with another counselor for the summer, but that was the day she went home. My campers were busy in a hot afternoon sun when I ran to grab my phone and make a quick call home. Those were very unusual for me.....for that summer. I wasn't homesick. I wasn't lonely. But for a providential reason, I called home. We talked about my week....their day. I heard everyone's voice. But unknowingly, it was the last moment on this earth that I was able to hear his. I debated blogging about this. Afraid I was sharing someone else's tragedy. Something private. But it's my story, too. Words help to heal my wounds. And so I write. The glass globe in which I lived had only suffered small scratches thus far. I remember telling my mother at the age of 14 that she was ruining my life by teaching me at home. :) There were the phone calls to boys to end relationships. The most severe thing that had wrecked my existence up until this point was the death of my grandmother. I had never experienced death before. I was only 9 years old and I remember crying night after night.... for months. That phone conversation on August 7th, 2003 wasn't exceedingly long. Looking back I wish that I had never hung up the phone. Or that I hadn't been so embarrassed of my unusually strong relationship that I shared with my parents. I may have called home more often.... But who does that? What 19 year old genuinely enjoys the company of her father? Or desires to be with him just as much as anyone else on the face of the planet? I knew that wasn't normal. The life of my friends and peers confirmed it. Isn't God's mercy incredible? That I could endure an entire summer void of middle-of-the-week calls home..... but not this day? This was the day I called home. I slept well that night. August 8th was hot. So much so that they decided to completely arrange a new camp schedule and include a morning swim! I swam with my girls early, and was standing in the pavilion waiting for the change of events when he found me. One of the camp directors. He looked quiet, but not at all emotional. He told me that my grandfather was in the camp office and needed to see me. He must've motioned the counselor that I was talking with to follow me, because I could sense her presence not too far off during that long walk back down the road. Have eight years truly come and gone? Eight years since I've heard his voice. Eight years from the day I heard those words and collapsed in that chair. It's been eight years, and I have never once stepped foot into that camp office again. Eight years since I sat quietly as a passenger in my grandfather's car as he took me home to face my new reality? Eight years since I cried in the arms of my new love until four in the morning just muttering the words "my heart hurts. my heart literally hurts. I just want it to stop hurting....." If I could express to you my love for him, or my perception of his perfection, I would. Oh trust me I would. Never has a daughter loved her father more. Never has a young woman held another man in such high esteem. By God's mercy He allowed me to have 19 years with him. By God's mercy I know without a shadow of a doubt that because of a decision he made at the age of 18 to trust in God ALONE for his salvation, he is in the tender care of my Heavenly Father at this very moment. And by God's mercy He allowed us to share a very unique relationship. One of father-daughter, but also one of best friend and confidant. I cannot express my deep pain. But I also lack the words to express my deep gratitude to Him.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Broken Bones

Psalm 51 was read during the Sunday morning service. My eyes have seen those words before....many times....but they were never felt. It was never personal. Until Sunday. A lump formed in my throat when we read verse 8. "Make me to hear the joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice." Eight years ago my Father allowed my bones to be broken. I still don't understand why. I still don't accept it. I've taken these eight years to harbor anger and bitterness, and I've slowly watched as my faith has slipped away. Willingly. "Sorry God. You had Your chance to prove Yourself. If only You had come through for me..." My broken bones have not rejoiced. May this, dear Lord, be my heart-felt prayer for the next eight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Using Pennies

In the first year that my husband and I were married, he taught in a small Christian school. Take-home pay was roughly $13,000. :) We had just finished paying for his last semester of college, used wedding money to buy a Mac, moved 12 hours north and bought a house. Many lessons were learned that year, and many mistakes were made. I was pregnant with our first-born and craved water and fruit the entire 9 months. When winter rolled around and my belly was getting bigger, one memory sticks out in my mind more than some of the others. It was a cold quiet evening at home and we were busy paying bills and looking over the budget. I mentioned to my husband how badly I wanted an orange. It was probably about 9pm, and this pregnant woman was bound and determined to leave the house for an orange! After scanning the budget with a fine-toothed comb, I was told we couldn't afford an orange. What? You've got to be kidding me. I was fuming. And hormonal. But he was right. We didn't have the money to purchase an orange. Our grocery budget that year was $35 a week. He didn't receive any meals at work through the school, so this had to last us breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 7 days. We ate a lot of Ramen.....and those teeny tiny frozen pizzas at Aldi's that taste like cardboard. I steered clear of larger chain stores like Giant. Through-out our 6 1/2 years of marriage we've received multiple levels of paychecks. There are always seasons of bounty and seasons of want. My husband asked me to blog about my cheap meals. :) So, without any further explanation, here are my favorite top tips:

1. Research meat-less meals. This sounds so obvious, but it really does make a huge difference. Look on the bright side. You really don't need all those gross hormones and antibiotics they pumped that animal with anyway. :)

2. Learn how to make rice! And I don't mean the instant kind. You don't need a rice cooker, either. A little oil, a little water, and a little rice can go a long way in making you feel full for pennies. My husband has perfected it. My kids have learned to love it. And we can use it every night if we're in a pinch.

3. Eliminate all animal products. If you have to add milk to the muffins, or cheese to the top, or an egg to the meatloaf, don't make it! Animal products ( along with processed/packaged crap) add in most of the expense of the meal.

4. Don't ever run out of onions or garlic. :) You can eat rice and veggies or potatoes and veggies every.single.night as long as you have these two secrets ingredients. But please purchase the actual garlic....not the minced variety in the jar. If you only use one clove a day, it really lasts a long time.

5. Water down all of your drinks. My kids (ages 5, 3, and 2) still have their cups filled 3/4 with water and 1/4 with juice. They're so used to it that they don't notice the difference. When I make KoolAid as a special treat or when friends are coming to play, I use the "two quart" recipe, but actually mix it up in a gallon pitcher. It's a little weaker, but you still get the fun color and the sweet taste.

6. I'm afraid I've lost all of my readers by now. :)

7. Make it yourself. Everything. Duh.

8. Make snack plates for lunch. Set out the number of plates you need for you and your kids, and then hunt the pantry or the back of the fridge for whatever is going bad. Carrot sticks, half a handful of raisins, the bottom crumbs of the pretzel bag, 4 pieces of cereal, a few pickles, and some apple slices can go a LONG way.

9. Don't plan your meals or impulse buy. I always spend more when my meals are planned because I have to get a million different ingredients for 7 different meals. Instead, take your grocery budget in CASH form to a discount outlet and just stock up. Every night I just "create" meals by what I have, instead of planning to make a recipe that I've forgotten an ingredient for.

10. Our favorite way to eat for pennies: Sautee half of an onion and one clove of garlic in a small amount of oil in a large pot on your stovetop. Take whatever leftover potatoes you find covered in dust or spuds on the floor of your pantry and cut them up into inch-long cubes. Seal the pot with a big heavy lid and just wait. When you expect your potatoes to be about halfway done, throw a large bag of frozen broccoli on top and seal again with the lid. Your potatoes are cooking and your broccoli is steaming. :) Serve with salt and pepper. It's DIVINE!

I hope I haven't a) grossed anyone out by the fact that I water down KoolAid and b) made myself sound discontent. I've learned to eat on a budget and find it rather thrilling. :) God has promised to provide for our needs, but I think all too often we expect to find bags of groceries sitting by the front door thanks to a generous anonymous old lady from church. Sometimes God provides the determination and creativity, instead.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our First Year

2010 - 2011 was our first full year homeschooling. I went into it with a million ideas and expectations. I had my books, and my schedule, and my clock. :) God did a great job keeping me flexible because we changed curriculum after only the first few weeks. :) Preschool, to me, wasn't so much about the education as it was about preparing for kindergarten. I wanted my children to be aware that they would, in fact, be required to sit and listen and heed instruction from time to time. :) It was time to know how to learn things from a book, rather than just hands on. The year was fantastic. Studies were only focused for my then-4-year-old. Everyone else was invited to join in, but just had less of a work load. I learned so much, as did he. He completed the Brain Quest Kindergarten book, started violin and piano lessons, learned how to read and how to count to 100. All of this coming from the child who never took his first steps until 17 months and reacted badly to his MMR, which resulted in not talking until 2 1/2 years old. I'm not being boastful. I know there are other 4 years old who have accomplished so much more. But for my child who would rather vaccuum than do a worksheet, and has overcome many developmental obstacles, I was so proud.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Funny Facts

I have so much to blog about and cute pictures to share with you, but tonight all of these random memories flooded my mind and I wanted to jot them down before I forgot. :)

- My every dream and intention was to be the next Michelle Duggar.

- When I was a child my bedroom bookcase was adorned with old squirrel tails and turkey feet. The leftover remains of the most recent animal my dad filled our freezer with. :)

- Letters A thru G have an accompanying color in my mind. For example: F is always green. E is always a purpley/blue. Etc....

- I am very proud of my c-section scar and hope that it never goes away.

- I am probably the least competitive person on the planet. Don't feel the need to beat you in anything :)

- My ankles are my favorite body part.

- It's been two years since my husband had a vasectomy, and there hasn't been a day that goes by without me hoping it didn't work.

- Thinks ignorance is immature.

- Loves to hear stories of a family "doing without" so the mom can stay home full time.

- Has no respect for "yes men". If you are not capable of making a decision without asking your wife's permission, or are under the mentality of "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", then there is a serious problem in your house.

- Lays in bed scared to death, each and every night, that someone will break in.

- Sleeps in the middle of the bed.

- Wishing that there were more people I could tolerate. :)

- Wants my kids to stay this age for a very long time.

- Lives in fear that I will lose another loved one someday.

- Would much rather spend every day in sweats.

- Wonders if I'll ever reach my goal weight.

- Feels sensitive towards people who take their pregnancies for granted.

- Has been through two different counseling experiences, both of which completely transformed my life.

- Loves venting to my husband.

- My ideal alone time is sitting in a quiet car with a starbucks.

- My husband and I have an agreement: he gets the remote if I get a foot rub. :)

- Would love it if people were more honest.

- Has some really good groups of friends right now.

- Is trying to wrap my brain around the concept that God is more concerned with my heart than my to-do list.

- Loves staying at home.... all day, every day.

- Wants at least 5 more babies. Willing to travel across the world to bring them home.

- Always wished that God called me to missions, but scared to death to talk to my neighbors about Him.

- If I was forced to redecorate my entire house tomorrow, I'd paint everything bright-cultural colors and fill every room with modern furniture.

- Thinks that every boy NEEDS to feel respected by his father.

- Doesn't enjoy sweeping things under the rug and would much rather just have an all-out war until things are settled.

- Cries every time I try to sing "Does Jesus Care", "It Is Well", and "Be Still My Soul".

- Times doesn't heal wounds. Only God heals wounds....if you let Him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Men are just happier people.

(received this from my ______ this morning. she may want to remain anonymous. hehe...)

Men are just happier people.

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be President.

You can never be pregnant.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental, $100.

People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life.

One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24th in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

I thought I was due for a light-hearted, non-controversial post. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grace, anyone?

I'm not a grace-giver. Don't think I ever have been. I am highly self motivated (although you'd never guess by the state of my home right now) and very opinionated. One of my favorite things I've been learning by this counseling process is grace. My hubby summed it up perfectly the other day. "You've gotten to the point where every time you meet someone who doesn't do things exactly the way you think they need to be done, you say to yourself 'that's okay that you don't agree with me. we really don't have to be friends anyway!'" Ugh. The truth hurts! :) My daily goal in life was to be a better classical pianist and a better classical equestrian. I'd go from lesson to lesson....from competition to competition.....always hearing the same thing. If I cut corners (literally) too often in my riding lessons, my instructor would make me ride the corners deeply enough that my knees would scrape the walls of the indoor arena. After enough bruises you learn very quickly to NOT cut corners! :) My piano teacher (not my mother) would tell me that classical music was harder than brain surgery because at least surgeons had a moment to pause and think about what they were about to do. Musicians weren't allowed to change the timing of the music! And to top it off, I had a father who rose at 4:30am, hiked 5 miles, memorized half the Bible, and was out the door for work by 7. :) For years I made myself live by a set of rules. I just wanted to be better, and succeed. My favorite books of the Bible have always been Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Proverbs. I LOVED the list of rules! Just tell me what to do, or who to be, or how to live....I can just follow the rules! Because of this, I also think every one else should have to live by my set of rules as well. What? You don't make your own bread? You let your children eat store-bought-processed-white-flour-crap? Hm. Guess I'll just cross you off my list. What was that? You have given your child an antibiotic? Um...I had no idea you were such an idiot. Well, there goes our friendship! This is somewhat deeply rooted in my view of God. He's a rule-maker. He's a task master. He'll ruin your life if you screw this one up! I can remember begging and pleading on my knees every Saturday night. I had kissed my boyfriend one too many times. I let him get a little too involved. AND I was scheduled to play the piano Sunday morning! AHHH! I was terrified! I had "screwed up", once again, and God was going to make me "pay" by letting my book fall to the floor or my fingers would slip off the keys and I'd make a total embarrassment of myself. After hearing the words "Meg, your daddy was killed this morning. The plane went down." do you know what my very first thought was? It was my fault. I had no idea he was getting on a plane. If I had known, I could have prayed, and then he would've been fine! My life was a list of do's and don'ts. DO IT ALL - have the perfect life. SCREW IT UP - say goodbye to blessings! During our last counseling session he asked me when was the last time I read any of the gospels....Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Ummmm, are you crazy?!? Why would anyone want to read a story? I never thumbed those pages. They didn't consist of rules. But because I'm a good girl who likes to follow the book, I agreed to start with John. God showed me that in John 1:14 it says "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." I took a double take. And a third. Grace and truth. I was reminded earlier that day that God embraced the prostitute but hated the religious people. I don't know about you, but the "religious" people I grew up around said that your skirt had to touch your ankles, and you had to wear pantyhose, and you had to sing out of a hymnal, and you had to attend every service, and you had to get 10 people saved so those 10 people could get 10 more people saved, and those 10 people.... I'd never considered grace and truth. It had only ever been a list of rules. My relationship with my Savior was "religious". Now I could see how that clearly defined all of my relationships. Religious people suck. They use flannel graph lessons of demons and fire and lions to show you what will happen if you don't obey. Religious evangelists suck. You know the ones. The nights that you sit in your pew trembling because you know you trusted Jesus as your Savior when you were 5, but the man behind the pulpit will make you question the validity of that decision because you took a sip of alcohol when you were 17, or because you weren't doing enough to "save your 10 people" yet. Where was God? I, for one, didn't grow up with the knowledge of a God full of grace and truth. I do need to make clear, though, that I really don't see it as anyones fault. My parents certainly weren't the ones preaching hell, fire and brimstone at home. My parents were FULL of grace. I don't think it was my church, either. Although I can still see very clearly that group of church members who definitely aided in my distortion. They were grumpy. And never paid attention to the kids. And wore panty-hose. :) I'm not totally a "every thing is grace..." person, and we're not into the whole "Grace Based Parenting" thing. I think consequences must be had when you or your child is in sin. But my oh my how my eyes have been opened just a little bit more as to who He is and what He is about. Grace, anyone?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Raising Real Men

I am praying now that my boys never meet girls like me. I was catty, manipulative, and easy. I threw my jeans in the dryer 20 minutes before leaving for youth group so they'd be as tight as I could get them. Literally. Seth and I joke around constantly about how thankful we are that we didn't grow up together. I would've thought he was a pleated-pants-comb-over dork. His parents would've put me on the "don't ever get near that girl" list. :) What I once considered "sheltering" I now greatly desire for my sons. Boys will be boys, and God designed them to be visual, but I want to make sure I'm raising men that will one day be good husbands....not good boyfriends. I purchased this BOOK a while ago but didn't think the authors looked "up to date", so it sat on the shelf. :) I picked it up a few weeks back after my oldest son proclaimed that only girls with very long blonde hair could be pretty. Ugh. What have I created, and how could I have done so much damage in only 5 years!?! The book was totally from the Lord and has given me a new perspective. I now know that my boys have a love for fighting, and guns, and adventure because God created them with the attributes needed to defend and fight for their families some day! It's the over abundance of super-heroes and violent video games that turn those wonderful God-given desires into violent acts that seem so disruptive and immature. I'm not quite finished the book. My dear husband stole it to read on his long flight to Hawaii. But it has already produced a change in the way I parent. I always thought I wanted to be the parent of the "cool kids". Now I'm not so sure. I think I'd rather be the parent of the "will know how to lead and provide for his family" kid.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Part Three - the finale

God created Seth and I for each other. He orchestrated my up-bringing, my lifestyle, my likes and dislikes, my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses, my goals and my dreams to prepare me for this moment in time. I will not apologize for the way I was raised, or the fact that I lost my dad, or where I hope to be in 10 years. I was not created to be you. I was not meant to have the husband that you have. I was not meant to have the amount of patience, or knowledge, or opinions that you possess. I am a rather out-spoken person, but I do not use my blog to vent. I stated in Part One that it took me two months to decide whether or not I wanted to share the reality of what was going on in our home. Seth has approved of every word that I have written. I haven't said a bad word about him, or what church we go to, or our childhood memories, or where he works. But I have been honest. Circumstances are not what brought us to our breaking point. It wouldn't've mattered where we lived, or how quickly we started a family, or how my husband made a living. If you took offense to what I have written, I am sorry. If the way I choose to blog doesn't seem appropriate to you, feel free to stop reading. :) The reality is, we are two sinful people. I got married with a lot of baggage. But guess what? He did too. I will never share what happened. Therefore, I don't necessarily think it should be your job to assume you know who was at fault and what would make it all better.
TO THE REST OF YOU (wink wink):
My oh my how nice it has been to know that YOU have also walked this path of darkness! Christians can make mistakes, huh!? :) WHO KNEW??? I am so tired of legalism, and status. Never knew there were so many people out there who felt it was their Christian duty to hide what they were struggling with. Some people are really private. I get that. I don't think it's wrong. I don't think everybody has to know your "business". But it sure is neat to shed a little bit of light on reality, and to stop pretending that you're perfect. :) Thank you for assuring me that we are not alone, and for also giving really good advice on how to keep growing!
Whew. What a whirlwind of blog posts! To recap in short.... We were considering divorce in January and February. Not last week. At this present moment we are deeply in love and fighting hard to make the "wrongs", "rights". He did not quit his job because I couldn't handle his traveling schedule. He quit his job because a) he knew it wasn't what God had created him to do, b) he felt he couldn't be the influential father that he desired to be, while living life on the road every other week of the year c) the unique set of circumstances that we found ourselves in made it impossible for us to work on the weak areas of our marriage without him actually being at home. I do not think that a man traveling for business is wrong. There are plenty of men "bringing home the bacon" and still thriving with a wife and kids. Let's not forget the amount of men serving our country, and therefore being absent from their families. But what is right for one family is not always right for another.
Sooooo very glad all of this is OVER! :) I have a million other things I want to blog about. Our preschool homeschooling year is coming to a close, we've completely changed the direction we were heading in for kindergarten, I've started reading an amazing book about raising sons, and I have a whole new respect for all those moms of the piano students I used to have. Silas is in piano lessons and violin lessons now, and the fate of his next lesson is completely dependent on ME! Ugh. I now know why some of those kids failed, and some flourished. FYI for those of you sweating right now....the kids who "failed" don't have moms who read this blog, so you and your reputation are very safe. :)
I am Megan. I was homeschooled and my father was killed tragically when I was 19 years old. I gave birth to 3 babies within the span of 2 1/2 years. My husband and I have been through a really rough time and have come out of it better people. I type my opinions freely and my struggles unashamedly. If you don't like it, find another blog to follow! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Part Two

Well I wasn't proven wrong! I thought I'd better jump on here real quick and share some more before I continued to be bombarded with emails! #1: we are still married! #2: we have NO plans on divorcing. #3: thanks for caring enough to check in on me and write your own words of wisdom. :) I am not ready to share the personal details of what happened. Another thing I haven't decided on yet is how much I want to share about what we've learned in counseling. It sounds like such a wonderful, sincere effort to make, but I need to be cautious that no one else is hurt by what I share here. One thing I have learned is that you forgive, and forgive, and forgive, and forgive, and forgive. And forgive again. Another very interesting fact. Did you know that you can both be raised in loving, Christ-centered homes and yet grow into adulthood, get married, and still serve a very different God than your spouse? NEWS FLASH! That one just about blew me out of the water. One of us has "accepted the God of our earthly father", and yet one has not. Can you guess who is who??? Hehe... :) We both serve the same Creator, but our idea of that Creator is sooooo completely different. Who knew!? Not us! You know what else I realized? I am so.utterly.sick. of husband bashers. And competitive momma's! We started out on such a good foot. No tv, we prayed together every night, we even (please don't gag) made it a point to brush our teeth together every single night. And then you buy a house, and worry about what the other young wife is going to think about your decorating ability. And then you get cable tv, and stay up late watching shows that convince you every man on earth is a rich, sexy jerk and every woman needs to be able to fill a D cup. You become dissatisfied. The babies start coming and now you're wondering if yours are wearing the right thing, if you're nursing the right way, if you're reading enough books, if they're memorizing enough scripture, if they wipe their own bum after they poop. Then you get a promotion, and a nicer car, and start shopping for bigger houses. We both say we were the happiest when we had no money and no internet and no car bill and no freakin' cable tv. Do you know why? There was less temptation, and less stress, and less distraction. I seriously don't think the phrase "the honeymoon is over" has anything to do with the amount of years you've been married. I think it has everything to do with the other things you let into your marriage. I loved my house and my furniture until I started reading blogs. He loved his old job until he found out that there's more money to be made elsewhere. I "needed" to redecorate so I was a worthy blog to read, and he "needed" to work more to pay for the motorcycle and bigger house. which, by the way, never ended up happening because we started the stupid dave ramsey program. :) What would happen if you were handed an older car and moved into a smaller home without magazines, tv, or internet. And you couldn't go to target. :) My life would change. Drastically. And what about freakin' facebook!? Do you know how many times a day I check to see what you're wearing, how much weight your husband has gained, if you sat your kid in front of the tv at all, and what color you just painted your bedroom? I'm just sick of it all. I want my kids to be smart and advanced and mature. Do you know what that has resulted in? I can't even look at them without seeing a booger, or fingernails that need to be trimmed, or an outfit that doesn't match. We live our lives trying to impress people we don't even like! And look where it has gotten us. I took a week off of facebook, just to see if it would effect me. No blogs, no facebook, and no (my guilty pleasure of being freaked out that the world is coming to an end by 5pm because of all the "record storm outbreaks!" notifications flashing at the top of the screen) for a week. I was calmer, enjoyed every moment more, and learned how desperately I need to LIVE my life instead of wasting time watching you live yours. Our husbands need wives who aren't so keenly aware that the guy down the road is pulling in three figures and just completed P90x. We need husbands who put God and family first, not their job....or their paycheck....or their hobby....or their very real desire for skin and boobs and long legs. :) My husband once traveled with a man in the same business. They were discussing how much time they had spent away from their families. My hubby hadn't been home in three weeks, but the other man "won" because he had been gone for six. Seriously? You're okay with that? You men out there that are so desperate to climb the ladder and provide for your families....what are you providing other than a paycheck? Money is not everything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Do you know how many families out there are losing the hearts of their children because they're too busy with "the ministry"? And do you know how many very wealthy, successful men have pulled my hubby aside and quietly said that it wasn't worth it? They now have kids who are grown and too involved in their own lives to care to keep a relationship with their father, and a wife who got too used to her independence and money to need her man for anything.
We are going to attempt a retracing of our steps. When did we get lazy? And let distractions in? And stop caring? Our priorities are so out of line. All because we care about what you think. :) Because it's cooler to say that you were at the gym for an hour today, instead of saying you read your Bible for an hour today. A marriage has suffered. Badly. By God's grace we have started the healing process. I LOVED the text I got last night from a friend that reminded me that I CAN'T make this marriage work, but He can. For us, it's now a matter of eliminating the distractions, one by one, so we can see Him clearly. The road ahead seems so long. But we made a promise. My life is not my own.

To be continued, yet again....yes, there's more...

Friday, April 22, 2011

My life is not my own...

This has been my ever present motto for the past three weeks. It took me two months to figure out if I wanted to open myself up and share with the blog world what's been going on. Still not sure that I want to. But, the last time I was real with all of you, I had an overwhelming response of emails stating you had walked that same road. Why is it that you don't know what's really going on in lives until those lives have ended? What's the harm in being honest? Would it be encouraging if you knew I was going through the same thing that you're afraid to admit is happening in your own life? I would take ANYONE like that, right now. The past year has been rough. I told my hubby last night that I really truly believed that our hardest years would be while we were adding more babies into our family. Ha! How can you go from such a like-minded, passionate love, to phone conversations that end with the certainty that things will never be the same. Funny thing is, we've had the same problems since the second week of marriage. You'd think we'd learn! Now after 6 1/2 years of thinking you can work it out "one more time...", you crash. Fall. Afraid at any moment the emotions will make you literally sick. I remember saying "I have to get off the phone. I think I'm going to throw up." Why do we always think we can handle things on our own strength? Lest you be deceived, Seth and I brought a pretty equal amount of baggage into this marriage. One is definitely not more at fault than the other. It takes two. I guess I was just surprised at how much WORK all of this is. The best words of advice I was given before our wedding day was "Everyone takes months to prepare for the wedding, but no one prepares for the marriage." Indeed! Quitting is so tempting. I am not strong enough to fight. I used to be, but I think I lost it the day my dad was killed. I'm not competitive, or strong, or in the mood to fight for what I know is right. And that's wrong. I know it. And then the voices in your head start emerging. "You know what the Bible says, but that's not what you're capable of, humanly speaking." I couldn't wait for him to leave for another business trip. He dreaded coming home. One night we quietly agreed that he should just stay there. But the images of three little children growing up without a father were too overwhelming....for both of us. So....we have sought counsel. He has quit his job. And we are probably relocating. You wouldn't say that's too drastic, would you? :) We have three children who need a godly example of what marriage should be, and we have to keep the covenant that we made before God on our wedding day. My life is not my own.

To be continued....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"6 dangerous comments....

a homeschool mom can make." I'm not sure how many of you will appreciate these, but I know my mom will get a kick out of them. If you are not a homeschool mom, you will probably nod your head in agreement or roll your eyes because you have heard these before. But coming from someone who was homeschooled K-12, and sharing them with the mom who homeschooled K-12, these are a riot. :) I found them in the book "A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling".

#1: "As a Christian, I could never send my children to public school!"
#2: "God has only given parents the job of teaching their children."
#3: "I plan to home school clear through high school."
#4: "I don't want my children with all those other kids."
#5: (to your parents) "I don't want my kids to go through what I went through."
#6: "College isn't important. I want her to be a good wife and mother."

The book also states "even if it is how you really feel, refrain from saying so and avoid the strife and misunderstanding which would follow...." Very wise words!!!! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 2nd at 8:20am

Wednesday changed my life. We were in the middle of the worst ice storm I could remember. I woke to the sound of our home becoming strangely silent at 3:30am. We lost electricity and could hear branches snapping and hitting the snow covered ground outside. I jumped out of bed to grab a candle and matches in the case that the kids would wake up scared. Thankfully the three little ones stayed asleep. We eventually dozed off again, discussing ways to keep them warm and occupied when the sun came up. The lights were on again by dawn, and I walked downstairs to see what coverage the TV was sharing about the weather. Instead of ice, all major news channels were covering the crisis in Egypt. When I turned it off to prepare breakfast I was a little freaked out. Countries in turmoil can do that to a girl. :) My "oldest" sensed my stress and questioned me about it. In a very sarcastic tone I answered "it's just the end times". :) The poor kid was so confused and looked at me concerned and puzzled. I said "it's okay. Jesus is going to come to take us all to heaven". What happened next was the very last thing I expected. He let his head hang low and said quietly "but I don't have Jesus in my heart". Ugh. Wow. Talk about a heavy heart. He had been asking pointed questions about heaven for about a year. In an effort to allow him to have a better understanding and to ensure that we were never placing our own convictions onto our children, we kept skirting the issue. Answering his questions, but never asking him any of our own. We told him that God was preparing a place in heaven for all those that put their trust in Him, and that we believed it because it's what the Bible says. He had heard it a dozen times before, but that day was different. There was an urgency in his voice. I said "You're right, bud. You don't have Jesus in your heart". Talk about pouring salt on a wound. His daddy chimed in with so many more truths that we have each known since our own childhood. "Jesus loves you", "He wants you to live for Him", "He sent His very own Son to die on a cross so that you wouldn't have to pay the penalty that you deserve for your sin". Okay, so maybe that last truth was the adult version of what he was told that day. :) And then we told him about hell. The alternative. The only other place that he could go when he dies. We said that whoever doesn't have Jesus in their hearts will go there when they die. That's when he lost it. He put his head in his hands and just sobbed. Not "I'm 4 and having an emotional moment" cry, or a "if I lay it on thick they will give me candy" cry. They were very sincere, burdened tears. He said "Is Jesus coming today?" I said "I don't know, bud. Maybe." He felt like he had no hope. He knew the truth. Jesus is in your heart and you have the gift of spending eternity with Him, or you can rely on your own "good works" or other gods and have eternity in a lake of fire. He looked so defeated. It was hard for a mom to watch. I got teary. Thankfully his daddy stepped in with an enthusiastic "But you can ask Him! All you have to do is ASK!!!! Jesus will hear you! He can come into your heart right now, and then you get to go to heaven!" He was quickly trying to wipe his tears away as a smile spread across his face. We all huddled together right there at the table, half eaten bowls of granola and all. :) We weren't quite sure what to do next. I'll be honest. So many people use the "repeat after me" evangelism. And yet you want to be sooooo sure that it's ONLY his child-like faith and his simple understanding of what the Bible says, and not our own words that save him. He got shy, and wasn't sure what to do either. I said "daddy can help you". :) He liked that idea. But he must've gotten a burst of bravery because he immediately broke out into his own, tearful prayer. It was the sweetest thing I had ever heard. I couldn't hold back the emotion. And to tell you how thankful I am that it happened at a time when all 5 of us were together is an understatement. We got to experience that, AS A FAMILY. What a gift. When it was all over I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. We now have so much responsibility. To make sure that he remembers, and that his understanding grows, and that he continues to learn, and ask questions, and fuel this fire that was lit! No one prepares you for this moment in parenting. People have plenty of advice for potty training, or breast feeding, or which stroller to buy. But how to disciple your child???? To make sure that this God that he has just put his trust in becomes more real to him each and every day? My life is a living testimony. It has to be. He might show up for a play date with a booger, or he might not be a violinist or the best reader in his class, but it's funny how in one instance everything else falls by the way-side. Your life now has a new perspective and purpose. What a terrifying responsibility. And it all happened on February 2nd at 8:20am. :) His joy in sharing what he did is contagious. He's not afraid of what people will think. I know that will change, but for now it's very refreshing. He was visiting with my grandparents this morning when my grandfather said "I heard angels singing". Evidently he was majorly confused, so my grandfather had to explain further. "When someone asks Jesus to come into their heart, the angels sing." His face lit up. "Gramps! That was me! I was the one who asked Jesus to come into my heart!!!" What a precious moment. My own grandfather can share in the joy that my own son isn't trusting in his own strength to get him to heaven, but in the one true God. Joy. Unspeakable joy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My long awaited project, finally completed.

About a year ago I had been reading a blog by a woman who was obsessed with teacher supply products. I thought, "well HELLO!? I'm a homeschool mom now (minus the denim jumper...), I think I need something teacher-y". So we measured, took the trip to Lowe's, started up the saw, painted, painted, and painted. It was finished! But we had no way to hang it up. Hm. Hadn't thought about that. So while the hubby was away, I dug around in the garage until I found two teeny tiny brackets, and two teeny tiny nails. Up it went. Done! I was so impressed with myself. I was quietly putting my boys to bed one night when I heard the crash. It damaged a wall....and some trim work. :( I waited about 7 months before begging and pleading for him to take over and finish the project. The snow came. We were stuck inside. My project finally saw completion! We do most of our school work in the kitchen. No matter how cute I thought my very official "school room" was, it's always more convenient to just do school where all the action is. Introducing my kitchen/school room chalk board!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back...with a purpose.

I took the month of December to contemplate myself. My life. My family. My God. Not sure I'm ready to write again, but we're snowed in with nothing else to do. :) Blogging is a dangerous thing. A few weeks ago I tried to explain to my friend's daughter what a blog was. I said "Well, it's kind of like a diary that the whole world can read". She wrinkled up her nose and said "why would anyone want to do that!?" Hm. Never thought of it that way. When you blog consistently for a while you start convincing yourself that your blog matters. That it's making a difference. That people can't go on without you. The riskiest thing is how it makes you believe that everyone else's blog is the same way. They matter. They are making a difference. That you can't go on without them. I needed to step away. I've made New Year's Goals for myself from the age of 11. I'm a go-getter. A self-motivator. A high-achiever. I like to do as much as I can, in as little amount of time as possible. That is both a strength and a weakness. Instead of compiling a list of 20 things "to do" this year, I tried to think about what was really important. I'd rather do 5 things REALLY well, then feel like a failure from not accomplishing 20. Blogging didn't make the list. :) I've had some amazing things happen in the past month. God put a dear friend in my path to teach me sooooo much about myself and my marriage. I normally don't get along with girls, so this was huge. :) I registered to do a half marathon in May. This just seems insane to me, but I'm training hard and already paid the $$, so the damage is done. Trying to care less about my little life online and take more time to nurture my "real" life here at home. I realized I cannot attend every church service, or every Bible study, and still be a good Godly wife and mom. It's impossible for me. And I refuse to put my church and my "ministries" above my husband and kids. So I'm letting some things go. In 10 years from now, what will matter? My personal relationship with God. The level of emotional intimacy with my husband. Whether or not we have our kid's hearts and if my children are well educated. If we handled our finances well. And whether or not I'm still running on the treadmill. :) Friends are a bonus. Bible study with the girls is a bonus. Making hair bows is a bonus. I had been doing it all wrong. The fun stuff, the bonuses, were coming first. My family has suffered, my weight has suffered, my house has suffered. Trying to reorganize and switch some things around. I caught myself a few weeks ago. It was a quiet morning at home and I was youtube-ing Beth Moore. I kept yelling at the kids "go watch a movie! here's a snack! let mommy watch this!" because I thought it would make me a better woman. Who am I kidding? Of all of my memories growing up, did you know that I don't have a single memory of leaving for church on a Sunday morning with the house in shambles? Or my mom stressed about what she was wearing or how her hair was done? Or going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink? Or her not being showered and dressed in time to start school after breakfast? Not a single memory! Why can't I just get it together!? Maybe because I keep taking in all the free, unwanted furniture on craigslist before it dawns on me I have no room for the stuff. Or MAYBE because of all the time I spend on BLOGS! :) I've stated my point. Now I qualify for neglecting my family....again. ;)