Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Conversations with E

My son has been quite the little conversationalist lately. Most of the time it's too stinkin' cute. Like this one:

Setting the stage: On our way to a bounce house for him to celebrate his birthday with a friend who was also having a birthday. The bounce house is in the same general direction as the place where we got his halloween costume. We had just pulled off the exit when the conversation started:

E: Mommy...are we getting costume?

Me: Not today, Buddy...we're going to a bouncy house for you to play!

E: Will there be costumes there?

Me: No baby...we only wear costumes for halloween...now it's time for your birthday, so we're going to play!

E: My dirfday? I will be shree on my dirfday!

Me: I know! You're such a big boy!

E: After my dirfday will there be costumes?

Me: No...after your dirf...BIRTHday...there will be Christmas!

E: What's Christmas?

Me: Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday! It will be fun. You will get presents and we'll read stories about Jesus!

E: How old is Jesus going to be?

Me: Ummm....I don't know...but it's going to be fun!

E: What costume will Jesus wear?

Me: Jesus doesn't have a costume...costumes are just for Halloween.

E: Jesus is going to be a bat.

Me: A bat, huh?

E: yeah (nodding head enthusiastically). A bat. And he'll say "tricky-tricky" and we'll give him candy for his dirfday. And, and, and, and, Jesus will be "shree" too.

Me: (unable to figure out how to diffuse the confusion at this point) sounds good to me baby!

E: yeah.


And then there are conversations like this one that are just downright exhausting:

Setting the stage: I'm folding laundry. And then the fun began.

E: Mommy, whatcha doin?

Me: folding clothes.

E: why?

Me: So we'll have clean clothes to wear.

E: why?

Me: because we like to wear clean clothes.

E: why do we like cwean cwothes?

Me: we just do. (walking into the laundry room)

E: Now whatcha doin?

Me: washing some more clothes for us.

E: why?

Me: (because I said so!) we just have a lot of laundry

E: why?

Me: (Oh dear Lord...we just do!) we just do, baby.

E: but why?

Me: (OH MY GOD!) we just wear a lot of clothes.

E: Why we wear a wot of cwothes?

Me: I think Tom and Jerry is on! Want to watch it?

E: Tom and Jerry?! Why is Tom and Jerry on?

Me: come on! I'll turn it on for you!

After turning on the tv, I begin to walk out of the room...

E: whatcha doin mommy?

Me: going to finish laundry.

E: why?

Me: (because you're driving me crazy!) because you're driving me crazy!

E: I'm dwiving you cwazy?

Me: yes (feeling guilty)

E: why?

and it continued until bedtime.

I love this kid. Just don't ask why.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

These Boots Were Made For Walkin

I had a few hours to kill yesterday since E's dad wanted to take him around to his family to show off his dalmation costume for Halloween, and since OS was at work, I made plans to meet up with my friend, The Musicmaker, at the mall. She was in search of boots and a white chocolate mocha although not necessarily in that order. We stopped by the coffee shop in the mall. She got the mocha beverage and I, since I don't like coffee, got some java chiller thing that had enough chocolate and cookie bits in it to cover up the coffee taste. These things should be illegal, by the way, because I could develop an addiction to them that may result in my appearance on that A&E show, Intervention.

Anyway, we strolled through the mall, beverages in hand, and laughed and joked, and made sideways glances at people who may or may not have been dressed up in piss poor excuses for halloween costumes. There were several people that the verdict is still out on. We wove ourselves in and out of shoe stores and she found several pairs of boots that were "almost it, but _____ is wrong." She knew exactly what she was looking for. I, also had a pair of boots in mind that I figured I would never find....a calf high, kitten healed, casual/dressy boot in a neutral shade of brown. The impossible search.

We made our way into Rack Room Shoes, and she grabbed a pair to try on. And then I spotted the perfect boot....a calf high, kitten healed, casual/dressy boot in "cognac." Impossible search over. I tried it on and it fit perfectly, and I checked the price....only $40! The store was having a "buy one get one 50% off" sale, so we tried really hard to find a pair of boots that would work for The Musicmaker, but still, nothing was quite what she wanted. So we made our way up to the counter with my perfect boots in hand, and while we waited in line behind another customer, I began to tell her the story of E's dalmation costume, complete with the sound effects of me barking like a dog.

Then something weird happened.

The guy in front of us in line turned around and said, "That was a great dog impression. I actually looked around for a dog." I responded with something casual like "yeah, I have a two year old...I do stuff like that a lot." He turned back around to finish his purchase and I went on with my story to my friend.

Then the guy turned back around and noticed the box of boots in my hand. "What are those," he asked. I was a little confused at this point about why he cared, so I said, "Boots," with a question mark on my face. He kind of nodded and then said, "Can I see them?" Again with the confusion. But I handed him the box and he took them and turned toward the counter.

At this point I look over at my friend, who looks just as confused as I do. I think I actually said out loud, "what just happened?" She shrugged and glanced around the guy to see what was taking place at the counter. "Maybe he's using your boots to get the half off thing?" she asked. I shrugged back. Then the guy turned toward me, gathered up his bags, and said "Pay it forward. Have a great day!" Then he quickly walked out of the store and disappeared.

We stood there shocked for a minute and the clerk asked, "Did you know that man?"

"No...not at all!" I said back. The clerk handed me a bag with my boots in them. "He paid for your boots." We walked out of the store, looking around for the man, but he was gone. Now I, thanks to OS, think I may have watched way too many episodes of Criminal Minds lately, because I immediately thought, "What if he's a serial killer and this is his M.O.!" But I think I just happened to encounter someone who wanted to make someones day better. And he did...with a pair of calf high, kitten healed, dressy/casual boots in the "goes with almost anything shade" of cognac and the simple request to pay it forward.

Something else happened to my while I was walking through the mall. This same time of year just a couple of years ago, I walked through the mall with the same friend. But I was a very different girl. My marriage had fallen apart literally just days before. Together, we walked, me with a broken spirit and a face still puffy from a lot of crying. I kept switching my wedding ring from finger to finger, trying to find it a new home. (It's weird how when you are faced with divorce one of the biggest dilemmas presented to you is what to do with your wedding ring. You'd think the focus would be elsewhere...but it's just there staring you in the face.) I was pretty much a zombie walking through the mall, trying to let go of the life I had been living and grasping at tiny little straws of the possibilities in front of me. I couldn't see that it would ever be better. I couldn't see that it would ever stop hurting. I couldn't see that I deserved a better life.

But she could. So she did the thing that God made best friends for, and she just walked with me that day.

And yesterday, while we walked through the mall, it hit me like a ton of bricks that we had been there before, only life looked so different then. So while we walked, her chit-chatting about work and boots and life, completely oblivious that I was having a moment, I silently thanked God for giving me a friend like her to walk with.

To the guy who asked me to pay it forward....thank you...and I will.

And to my friend, who has walked with me through the mall in the best of times and the worst of times,

I love you. Let's walk again soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Son Says...

In the past few months E's conversational skills have revved up quite a bit. He can now engage in an intellectual exchange on the phone with Mimi or Papa regarding what he's doing or what he ate for lunch that day. Granted, this is a conversation that is only riveting to a grandparent, but they must be fascinated with it, because they call my phone specifically to talk to him. I have officially been downgraded from "daughter" to "receptionist."

He's also much more excited about the world going on around him. He's learned to spell his name, and when he mastered that one I taught him that the red sign at the end of the street spells S-T-O-P, Stop! So I guess he's put two and two together (which he does a lot more than I realized) and now understands that when letters are strung together it "thpellths" things. Now he constantly asks stuff like, "Mama, what thpellths car? What thpellths truck? What thpellths BIG truck?" It makes me smile. And then, after about twenty words, it gets a little old. The spelling bees are usually interrupted by me turning up the radio and saying "Ooh...this is a good song, E! Let's sing!" (Just being honest!) But then he starts humming or singing in the backseat. And that makes me smile too. (Until I realize that my toddler is singing all the words to an extremely inappropriate Flo-Rida song...then I just feel like a terrible mother. Again with the honesty.)

The newest development in my sons language is a very pronounced stutter. I started noticing it out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. At first it was just a sentence here or there. Now it's pretty much the first word of every sentence out of his mouth. The Village has noticed it as well. Everyone who keeps my son at some point during the week has commented on it. "Did you notice he's stuttering?" they ask. You mean did I notice my son going, "Wha-Wha-Wha-What-What-What-What's that dog doing?" Yeah...I may have picked up on it once or twice. Maybe.

At first I kind of brushed it off as something that kids just do when they are developing. No big deal, right? But as everyone else commented on it, I began to think, "maybe this isn't a normal toddler thing. Maybe I should look into this a little more."

So I did the DUMBEST thing any mother could possibly do. I googled it.
And as it turns out, my child is either experiencing a perfectly normal part of language development that a kid here and there goes through.....OR he has an incurable neurological defect that will haunt him for life and cause him much pain and suffering on the playground. As luck would have it either way, only time will tell. And here I thought the next couple of months would be stress free days of holiday fun and good eats.
Damn you, Google! Damn you AND your easily accessed, overly informing website of terror!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brace Yourself Limb, I'm Coming Out There...

The winds of change have blown in my direction again, and this time they are taking me out on my very own limb. My very own shaky, scary limb.

I'm starting my own business. Enough of this "working for everyone else, making everyone else all the money crap." If other people can go out on a limb and manage to dilly dally around out there without crashing to the ground, then by God, so can I.

This was the thought process at least when I filled out official forms at the courthouse this week and then proceeded to leave with my very own business license in hand. I'm currently in grad school to become a therapist...and I still intend to finish that journey and see where God takes me. But in the meantime....I had an idea. And what good is it to have an idea that you don't pursue? No good at all, I say. So I'm in red hot pursuit of this crazy, wacky, hair brained idea that begins with me getting a business license and ends with me being one of those women on Oprah talking about how she made millions by going out on her very own shaky, scary, limb.

Ok....so the last part's a stretch. But I'm in pursuit just the same.

I won't go into details just yet...there's still lots to be done. But if you'd like you can go visit my website. There's nothing there yet...just a little sign that proclaims that something is "coming soon"....but it's the beginning. And most of you have been around for all of the other beginnings I've blogged about...so why not this one? Check it out. http://www.shoptowntn.com.

I shared my crazy, wacky, hair brained idea with OS and asked if I had his support. His reply was simply, "Baby, with as many crazy ideas as you come up with, you're bound to hit on something sooner or later." : )

With support like that, how can I not go for it?

Stay Tuned...Something's Coming!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Worship, Interrupted

We've been looking for a church lately, and the past two weeks have attended one that I think we'll probably set up camp in. It's definitely not the church I would have picked if I was the only one to please, but for now, it seems to meet all of the immediate church related needs of our little family. The style is one that OS is comfortable with, the people are incredibly warm and friendly, the average age in the congregation is well under 75, and there are a lot of kids running around that look every bit as sweet and sour as E. All in all...I think we hit a home freakin' run! AND...the church is only a couple of years old...so it meets in a local elementary school...in the gymacafetorium.


So Sunday, when the words to a worship song that I knew popped up on the overhead projector, I allowed myself a moment to worship...something I don't think I've wholeheartedly done in ages. I closed my eyes, tilted my head up toward God, and allowed myself a moment to briefly be carried away in the thick harmonies of the congregation. And very quickly I remembered why I love worship. For a split second, it was just me and God in that room staring one another in the face. I was right there in the moment with Him...and He was right there in the moment with me. We were on the same page....breathing the same air...and once again He was a very real presence, one that I didn't have to try my hardest to have faith in because I just know it to be true....this time, I could FEEL it. I began to sink deeper into this warm hollow with God...just me and him....and


tap, tap tap....


Huh? Was someone tapping me on the shoulder....no, surely not. I'm just imagining things. Ok...back to the warm hollow....


TAP, TAP, TAP...


I turned around to see the lady in the row behind me tapping me on my right shoulder. "Excuse me," she said. "I have to holler at my daughter." She then proceeded to lean forward...right into the midst of my warm hollow....and hissed with sheer venom in the direction of the red headed tweenager in the row in front of me, "DELIA, STAND UP!" and she made an "up" motion with her arm that would have sliced through my face had I not done a bouncy little hop to the side.


And just like that my warm little hollow dissipated into the far corners of the gymacafetorium.

The rest of the congregation went on singing...and for a few seconds I flipped the coin of what had just happened in my mind. Did someone really just interrupt my worship to snarl at her daughter that she should be standing up to worship? Really? And then it struck me as funny, so I began to laugh. And I laughed. The kind of laugh where you can't let yourself make any noise, so your shoulders twitch and you appear to be a Touret's patient. And I laughed, and laughed. So much for the warm hollow of worship.

But I felt light hearted just the same. Maybe I needed to be reminded that worshipping God isn't always a warm hollow. Sometimes it's shoulder twitching laughter. Maybe I just needed a good hard laugh.

And maybe...just maybe, God knew that before I did.

Monday, September 21, 2009

That Woman

God has been relentlessly poking me on the shoulder lately in an attempt to get my attention about sin in my life. I always hate when God does this. I'd almost always rather just curl up in the corner with my sin and have a private little moment. But alas, God wants to go and better me in the name of Jesus. I have fought it as long as I can...and I dare say it was a valiant effort on my part. But here I am anyway...typing away about the things I need to give over to the Lord...so I can be a better version of myself...or something to that general effect.

Ugh. Personal growth. It's so much less exhausting to just be content to wallow in your own personal imperfections of character. Lord, I mean really....what do we have to do to catch a break down here?!?!

Ok...all dramasm (a little hot toddy of drama and sarcasm if you will) aside. God has been trying to get my attention. As I have put so much effort lately into the discipline of my child, God has revealed to me that He wouldn't mind seeing a little more structure in my life as well. This time, I'm the one who needs to be plopped down in a good solid time out. It's my turn to taste the bitter medicine of structure and boundaries, and EW! DISCIPLINE. It's not that I'm a horrible mess or anything. I'm not bankrupt...I'm not obese...I'm not living in squalor like those pitiful people on that show 'Hoarders' that find 35 cat skeletons in their garage upon cleaning it out (true story!). It's just that a lot of little "slackeryness" in my life has added up to me being much less neat and organized and motivated than I'd like to be. It's the sick, sad combination of not matching the tupperware tops to the tupperware bottoms and my unrelenting inability to actually throw out the lint that I scrape from the dryer's lint trap that have melded together to form a woman who is just a little less than the woman I think God would like for me to be.

It's become very clear to me that God wants me to start tidying up my life...and all the things that go with it. However, as simple as this sounds, it's not all that easy for me to do. It's just not natural for me to be one of those people that has it all together. Case in point: It's taken me a solid week to actually finish this post and hit the publish button...A WHOLE SOLID WEEK. So as fall hangs delicately outside my window, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm putting the tupperware tops with the tupperware bottoms. I haven't left a pile of dryer lint in the laundry room in days now. DAYS! And...get this....as I type this the laundry is going, the dishes are clean, the bed is made, the checkbook is balanced, the crock pot is slow cooking, and the dog is fed. Miracles really do exist!

I know this stuff really doesn't matter and that God loves me in spite of me being a slacker on the homemaking front. But my desire is to be the best partner I can be to OS, and the best mom I can be to E. Lately, I feel like my haphazard approach to living life often serves as a toxin to that desire. I feel like God is poking and prodding me to take care of the little, mundane details so that the big, important things that actually matter.....my husband and my son....can have the wife and mother that they deserve. And it's not just for them. I want to be that woman...the one who has her shit together and whose tupperware doesn't fall out onto her head when she opens up the cabinet. I imagine that life is just a little bit easier on that woman. Maybe.

So here's to turning over a new leaf. Here's to accepting the challenges that God presents to you. Here's to turning around when He pokes and prods and relentlessly tries to get your attention and saying "I will" with a triumphant fist pump in the air instead of a sideways glance and a "Dude! What the hell?!?!"

Here's to being That Woman. That tupperware matching, lint throwing away, checkbook balancing woman.

And publish.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Parenting 101

Whoever said "It takes a village to raise a child" must have been talking about my family.
On any given week, my son spends time at 4 different homes with 4 different sets of people that love him...and 4 very different sets of rules and expectations. These rules vary from the extremes of "Eat what is cooked for dinner and when I say no, I mean no," to "King E is here...roll out the red carpet and lets all sniff his bottom...it smells like roses!" (Ok...maybe that last part was a bit much...but it's not unfair to say that often times, he rules the roost.)
As E gets older, this is a more difficult set up to not get frustrated with. It's hard enough that he gets shuffled back and forth between Mommy's house and Daddy's house. For the most part, Ex and I have done a good job at staying on the same page. But I have a lot of guilt...questions...worry...and what ifs over all the stuff that E's life will be sprinkled with as a result of our situation. And as he gets older and does more and understands more, differences in parenting are becoming more common.
I think any mom who is half a mother sometimes travels through the valley of the shadow of "Hi, my name is Mom, and I have failed my child." I think it's probably just part of the package...like stretch marks or the inability to hold all of your urine when you sneeze. It's just par for the course. But add divorce to that equation (or any situation that compromises your ability to be there for your child 100% of the time for that matter) and the sickness gets so much worse.
Obviously I'm struggling at the moment. "Hi, I'm the Village Idiot, and I have failed my child."
Everyone: Hi Village Idiot!
I feel like nothing I do is good enough...and lately it seems that everyone in this little village has a strong opinion about that. Maybe they've had these opinions all along...but blame it on the full moon...this week they are sharing.
"You're too easy on him."
"You're too hard on him."
"You correct him too much."
"You let him get away with too much."
"You don't have enough fun with him."
"He needs to know you love him."
"He needs you to be more firm."
Apparently I didn't get the memo...but it seems like everyone else was notified of all of the answers, and I know none of them. What I do know...what I happen to know for sure...is that I love my son with every breath I take. I have visions of a perfect life for him that he will never have, and hopes that upon his realization that life isn't perfect that he will respect me for being a source of love and consistency in his life. My desire is that when he is 28 and leading a life of his own that he will look back and associate me with plenty of "I love you's" and "she was always there for me's." Dear God, please and thank you.
I guess no mother ever feels like she's doing it exactly right. There's probably always going to be "I wish I had..." and "It would have been better if..." and a lot of "In hindsight..." And in my situation there will probably always be the rest of the village with an opinion of what I'm doing wrong and hopefully sometimes what I'm doing right. So in that case.....
Dear Lord, If it's not too much trouble, could you please speak up? It's noisy around here. Amen.
And now, if you will excuse me, nap time is over and this particular Village Idiot promised someone a play doh date. I may not have a clue about how to raise a child...
but I make a damn fine play doh pancake.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Discipline

There have been a lot of changes in my home lately, and discipline seems to be a major point of discussion. E is rapidly changing lanes from "toddler" to "kid," and the change feels like it has hit me without warning....little booger didn't even throw on a blinker or anything before he went and morphed into a big boy! It seems every week I send a certain baby boy back to his daddy's house for a few days, and without fail I get back someone who is bigger, taller, more smart-mouthed, filled with childisms, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, has smellier feet. True story.

Lately, I've noticed a lot of changes in the way E responds to discipline. I think a lot of this is due to OS's presence in E's life. OS is a former marine. Need I say more? (Like I'd stop here...)

OS is one of the first people to offer a consistent presence in E's life who doesn't talk to him like he's still a baby. E gets pretty much whatever he wants whenever he wants it...and while Ex and I have done a pretty good job at not raising a rotten brat, we have both (I think...I guess I can only speak for myself) fallen into the trap of "not wanting to a be a mean parent" and probably let him get by with more "little stuff" than we should have. Now that E is older, he's ready for some more structure. OS is offering that in fairly healthy measure. He doesn't look at E and see a baby. He looks at E and sees a smart kid who, and I quote, "if he can sit there and count to 200 then he's old enough to answer me about why he's in time out." Good point, dear. Good point.

Since I've come to the realization that E is old enough to understand and benefit from more strict discipline, I've been enforcing the "little stuff" more...kind of as a "for shits and giggles" kind of experiment and, in turn, have been getting a pretty interesting response from my kid. For example...the other day we were winding down for the evening and we were approaching E's bedtime. He was still pretty wired, so I handed him a book, we all curled up in the "tv room" and I told E there was no talking. He could look at his book, or play with a toy, but NO TALKING. E is a M-O-T-O-R-M-O-U-T-H...so I figured this would last all of two seconds. Within the first minute he began chattering. I quickly told him to go to time out because he hadn't listened to my instructions (something I would have overlooked before this.) He sat quietly in time out for about two minutes until I called him to come back into the tv room with us.

ME: "Why did you have to go to timeout?"

E: "I talked and you said no talking."

ME: "When I tell you to do something you have to listen. We are going to sit here and read without talking. Ok?"

E: "Yes ma'am."

And then what do you think happened? My two year old sat with me on the couch for 30 minutes with a Dr. Seuss book...and didn't utter another word! He pointed at pictures....looked at me to get me to notice the book...cuddled....and MINDED! I was utterly floored.

Maybe the United States Marine Corps is onto something with this discipline mumbo jumbo. Heck...for 30 minutes of peace and quiet and my smelly footed little boy cuddled up on the couch with me...I say Semper Fi baby!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Well...I'm married!


I haven't blogged in forever, because this thing called life kept getting all in the way and everything. However, things seem to be settling down to a new version of normal...and I'm absolutely loving it!


The weeks leading up to the wedding were pretty emotional. There was a lot going on in my head, and I think it's fair to say OS's head was pretty swamped with "Oh my God!" also. While we weren't the best versions of ourselves every moment during this time, I think it's pretty accurate to say we did some of our best talking and listening, and the result was a bride and groom who stood up on their wedding day and said their vows with complete and total peace.


I will post pictures of the wedding day as soon as I get them back from our photographer, but I couldn't wait to go ahead and write about how perfect the day was! It was everything we wanted it to be and absolutely nothing that we didn't.


We were married on a hillside at the back of his grandfather's farm. The weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor wedding! The two most amazing girls ever met me at the farm at 10 that morning to do some last minute reception organizing and errand running, then we grabbed lunch at Chili's and headed to get our hair and make up done. With curls in place we headed back to the farm.


At this point E came bounding in with a dinosaur in one hand and a sandwich, courtesy of Mimi, in the other. With crumbs on his face we began draping him in his wedding outfit...he was about as adorable as you can possibly get...and I threw on my wedding dress. Then, my girls went to work again!

"We can see your underwear. Try these..." Ok. Check.

"Do you have your flowers?" NO? "Ok...we're going to find them."

"Here's your garter...(Marines camo garter as a surprise for OS.)...leg up and I'll put it on you."

"Something old, new, borrowed, blue?" Check.



Then, the photographer grabbed OS and sequestered him in the sun room so he could get his first look at his bride. I walked in, pictures snapping away, and he teared up. (Let's all assume it was joy and not overwhelming, mind numbing fear. Let's just assume.)


After that, we all headed out to the yard for family pictures...the only part during all of this wedded bliss that Bridezilla even remotely reared her ugly head! Kudos to me. Then, it was time to caravan up to the top of the hill. We bumped over the lake road, rounded a few corners, climbed the grassy hillside...and there it was. The clearing, overlooking rolling hills and tree lined valleys, was warm and inviting, a hint of shade and several well placed pockets of sunshine.


We organized ourselves, spoke with the preacher, and laughed as E gathered up wild turkey feathers, each time hollering "I FOUND A FEATHER!"


Within minutes we heard the rumble of cars climbing the hill, and we knew our guests were on their way...just on the far side of wedded bliss. They began piling out of their cars and making their way to the edge of the hill where we were standing. We milled around with our guests, greeting each of them and introducing them to each other. There were hugs and handshakes, and a lot of "Wow, this is gorgeous!" Which it was! The preacher gathered us together, and I stood across from OS who teared up as soon as the ceremony started. We listened as my father spoke about the blessings of marriage, and then we each shared a personal message to the other one. OS's message blew me away! He had been extremely stressed, because he wanted the vows to be perfect. I guess he felt like they weren't quite right, but OH MY GOD, they were IMPECCABLE! He had all of our guests tearing up, and by the time he was finished telling me exactly how and exactly why he loves me, there was a trail of snot running down my face and my Kleenex was rendered powerless.

We exchanged rings and made promises, and before I knew it, we were husband and wife! Our guests made their way back down the hill to the house for the reception, and OS and I lagged behind for some scenic photos. We joined our guests, shoved cake in each other's faces, tossed the marines garter, and then made our getaway in a Shelby 500 Mustang GT, imprinted in shoe polish with the words "Honk for Sex," courtesy of my new father in law!

It was the best day.

The past couple of years have been quite a journey, and I'm so thankful for that time of growth. I'm looking forward to the rest of the walk, now with my new partner. I am married to a man that I honestly believe loves me from the depths of his toes. He's experienced his own measure of growth over the past 2 years, and he continues to welcome transformation in his life as God works on him. I appreciate his dedication to a better life, and I accept him exactly as he is...along with all of the wonderful, terrible, funny, icky, and crazy things that come with it. He was my best friend when we were 7, and he's my best friend today. I'm blessed to have found him again, and I am so excited to walk this journey with him....perfectly imperfect, and perfectly in love.

I am, in a word, happy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You're Invited...

Hello Stress...

Let me just start out by saying that rarely do things in my life ever go according to plan. Period.

This weekend we found out that OS's brother is getting deployed in early October, and since he and OS are pretty tight, we really didn't want him and his new wife to miss the wedding, which was originally scheduled for October 10th.

We chose the date of October 10th for several reasons. First and foremost, 10/10 is easy to remember, and I figured it upped my chances of getting anniversary presents in the future. It IS all about me, after all. Also, that weekend was the break in between my two fall sessions of class, (again...me, me, me) and the weather here in October is usually pretty mild. OS has always wanted to get married on his grandfather's farm (Oh, score one for OS!), and we figured the fall foliage would be a beautiful setting....so 10/10 it was!

However, after we realized that his brother wouldn't be able to come we quickly threw the date out the window and decided to move things up a couple of weeks, so he could come. This is what happened when that ball started rolling....


OS on the phone to his mom: How about September 26th?


Mommy In Law: That sounds good. He can come then.


OS on the phone to the photographer (Who we have paid and signed a contract with.): We need to change the date for the wedding.


Photographer: No problem! When?


OS: the 26th.


Photographer: Problem. I'm booked that day. I'm also not available the 12th. Any other date is good though.


OS on the phone to MIL: 26th is a no go. How about the 19th?


MIL: The 19th is fine here. Check with your grandfather about the farm.


OS on the phone to Grandfather: We can't do the 10th...how about the 19th?


Grandfather: We can't have it here on the 19th...we're having our 50th high school reunion...been planned for months. Any other date is fine.


OS to me: Ok...October is out. The 26th, 19th, and 12th of September are out. How about the 5th?

Me: That's a month from now! And it's Labor Day....but I'll check with the photographer.


Me on the phone to the Photographer: Can you do the wedding on the 5th (crossing fingers) even though it's Labor Day?


Photographer: Sure! I'm happy to! (I love her by the way.)


Me to OS: We can do the 5th...everyone is free....RING RING RING (this is OS's phone ringing...)


MIL on the phone to OS: We can't do the 5th....that's when we're going to Florida to see the new grandbaby....


OS to me: Courthouse???

Me: That's sounding better all the time!

Sleep....Sleep....Sleep

OS the next day: Want to marry me in three weeks? On August 29th? In the sweltering heat....outside....on the farm....with my brother and the photographer there....and a bunch of bugs probably???? Wanna????

Me: HELL YES!

SO......we're getting married in less than three weeks!!!! The rest of the weekend was a blur...there was a phone call to a friend that sounded something like, "Hey...how are you...oh that's good...listen, I need about 60 wedding invitations...don't care what they look like...and by the way I need them done tonight so I can come get them and mail them out this week." And in true friend for life fashion she said, "You got it, sister!" Invitations are in the mail. Then I called the friend that is doing alterations to my dress and said, "Listen, no pressure, but the wedding is in three weeks...can you rush my dress?" And she said, "No problem. Want to come for a final fitting next weekend?" Dress, CHECK. Then, OS and I ran through Target with a scanner gun and registered. I had to restrain my future husband as we walked past the big screen tv's...."No honey, no one loves us enough to buy us a big screen for a wedding present....PUT. THE. GUN. DOWN. Towels.....Towels and tupperware...that's what people buy." And we even drove up to the farm last night at 5:30...the same time the wedding will be...and realized we'll have a nice shady spot to get married in.

We're taking bets on the number of people that suspect a pregnancy is the reason for the quick nuptials...but it's not. We just want those that we love to be around us as we begin this journey together. I honestly couldn't be happier!

And if any of you are in the Nashville area on August 29th, grab your bug spray and head to the big hill on the farm....there will be love there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Core

There's an exercise I do with patients at work that involves "pulling your core to the floor." And yesterday at the gym, while reading an issue of "Natural Health" and kicking ass on the elliptical machine, there was an article on core exercise with pictures of petite, toned, tanned women perfectly balancing on their tailbones with their arms pointed up beyond their heads and their toes extended towards "the healthy person's heaven"...or something.


In light of my impending wedding I've gotten back into diet and exercise mode. I'm counting carbs, watching portions, and (GASP) even went back to the gym from which OS and I had taken a month long "we're in love so who gives a f**k what we look like" hiatus. While I will admit that my major motivation right now is the fact that I just dropped a lot of money on a photographer that will be taking pictures to be posted on the walls of at least 3 different living rooms that I know of...I am motivated right now to turn my health around. So I've been making changes in the diet, working the gym back into my routine, and popping vitamins and other little pellets of herbally goodness. I even sifted through the On Demand exercises to find a core workout. Apparently, it's all about "the core."


But there is a different core that I need to be paying attention to. Lately, I have been so overwhelmed with life and marriage and school and mommyhood and finances and...well you get the drift...that in all this wonderful mess of good and plenty that I have been blessed with, I have paid absolutely no attention to me...the me that God speaks to and works on and nourishes....the place where He goes to get to the bottom of things....my gut....my spirit...my core. My being over the past month or so has made quite a comfy little home being dependant on all of my surrounding circumstances for sustenance.


As long as OS and I are thriving...then I am good.
As long as E is happy...then I am good.
As long as money is plentiful...then I am good.
As long as school is manageable...then I am good.
As long as THINGS are good...then I am good.

But somewhere in the midst of all of this, I wasn't good anymore. And I have gotten frustrated with myself for it....for not feeling as good as I SHOULD....because look at all of my blessings! I should be walking on sunshine...and instead I have felt a dark cloud hanging overhead.

Over the past few days of focusing on getting my physical health in balance, I have come to realize that my spiritual health is in need of an overhaul. Very quickly and very easily, I began to rely on the wrong things to bring health and balance to my spirit. This is a dangerous place for me to stagnate, because right on the heels of the superficial happiness that is dependant on other people and other things is a mighty paralyzing depression that I know all too well. It's a sickness that creeps it's way into my head and then into my spirit. It packs hopelessness as its ammunition, and it uses lies as its fuel. In a word, it blows, and when I am not on top of my game spiritually, it blows any measure of happiness and blessing in my life right out of the water.
So today I am feeding myself a decent dose of truth. My relationships with the people that I love can bring blessing and joy into my life, but they cannot make me happy. School can bring direction and purpose into my life, but it cannot make me happy. Money can bring me more headaches and more things, but it cannot make me happy. Other people...other places...other things....can change my circumstances, but they cannot make me happy. The spiritual truth is that my happiness must rest in the voice and the Spirit of God. His call on my spirit is often quiet and gentle, because His desire is that I will seek Him in full knowledge that I will find Him when I do. His plan offers me wisdom, because there is a purpose that He intends for me to pursue. His fulfillment is not based on circumstances, but on the truth of knowing that when I dig into the meat of His promises, that I will be satisfied with a feast of His understanding.
My focus has been situated on the outward scene. I love the outward scene and the people that occupy it. I love the direction that my life is going, and the people that are going there with me. I am abundantly blessed with a wealth beyond monetary value. But all of this is nothing, if I don't stay in clear communication with The One who directs this path. So today I am adjusting my focus with an inward lens in order to better see The Source. If I seek Him, I will find Him. When I find Him, He will speak. When He speaks, I will listen. When I listen, I find peace.
This, I believe...to my very core.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog Slug

I know....I suck.

Lately I've had everything in the world to blog about, and for some reason, absolutely nothing to say! I've tried several times to sort through all the thoughts I'm having...dealing with....loving...hating...and none of them seem to come out as quite blog worthy. This is strange to me considering my life is happening at warp speed these days and I should be spewing blog worthy thoughts out my ears...but oh well. See...I can't even justify my lameness in a creative way. Ugh.

So in the interest of keeping updated the handful of you who still check this thing...here's what's been going on in my neck of the woods:

*officially finished my first year of grad school....onto year two! I can practically taste my degree.
*have received parental approval of my fiance...along with comments like, and I quote, "You two are a good fit" and "You seem more comfortable with him than anyone I've ever seen you with!" Color me happy.
*Gearing up for my first flea market vendor booth...half painted furniture is ALL OVER MY HOUSE. Lots to do....very little time....oh, Lord help me.
*Made major strides in potty training E. He still won't tell you when he needs to go...and there was that one time he forgot to point the Mr. down and peed on the dog...but progress is being made just the same.
*dropped my wedding dress off to have alterations made.
*booked the photographer and have a general idea of all wedding details.
*have opened a joint checking account. And paid joint bills.
*converted E's playroom into a den and organized E's bedroom so he can play in there now.
*and the list just keeps going....

I realize this isn't very exciting. But it made me sad to think of my blog being all....quiet.

I'll try to come up with something a little more interesting for the next post. I get that it's very unfair to subject you people to this. Please accept my heartfelt apologies and rest in the fact that I'm sure I'll be back in no time just blogging away about issues that would be better left to therapy. Lucky you!

LUCKY. YOU.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh Brother

E is becoming a big brother AS WE SPEAK.

Ex called around 4:30 this morning to let me know they were heading to the hospital and he would be dropping E off at the house. I was actually the most convenient drop off point for them, because our house is within spitting distance of the hospital that Sasha is delivering at. When Ex told me this a few weeks back, it seemed like the most logical solution to "What to do with E should she go into labor in the middle of the night while E is at their house."

Mind you, I never actually expected all of those variables to fall into place. But low and behold my phone started chiming it's annoying belly dance ring tone at an hour when only shift workers and pedophiles are still awake.

I have to say...it's weird that Ex is becoming a dad again. Not sad weird, not mad weird, not good weird, or even bad weird. Just the kind of weird that words don't really cover.

So anyway, I'm guessing that all of the potty training progress that we've been making with E lately might regress. Oh well...that's life...and apparently there's more of that going around today. Congrats to Ex and Sasha on the arrival of C.J.

And congrats to the little boy that has my heart...you're officially on duty Big Brother! I have a feeling that you'll kick the asses of big brothers that have gone before you....you're just that kind of special.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Before and After





My garage is still full of Goodwill finds....more to come!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Add Water

A few months back I took E to the zoo in Cincinnati. While I had a great trip, and E enjoyed seeing all of the animals, I couldn't help but wander around the zoo and be a little sad. All around me, couples were holding hands and pushing strollers...enjoying family time. I was, in a word, bummed. My whole life, I dreamed of family outings like this. Never once in that dream was I pushing the stroller alone. And never once, since I had given birth to my precious son, had I enjoyed a family outing like this. In the midst of my bummed mood, I stopped the stroller in front of a handful of baby cheetahs, watched my son ooh and aah, and turned my eyes toward God with a silent prayer that one day I would get to have the family life that I had always wanted.

Then, THE VERY NEXT WEEK, Old School turned back up in my life....and you know the rest of the story.

This past weekend was our longer weekend with E. He's been to the zoo a handful of times, and without fail, talks about it for weeks afterwards. When we realized how cool the weather was and that we had the whole day to ourselves with no projects that had to be done, we loaded up in the car, filled up on a country fried breakfast, (got a speeding ticket on the way), and headed out to enjoy the day together. E was so excited that on the way out of the restaurant he waved goodbye to the waiter and hollered across the dining room "We're going to the zoo to see the ANIMALS!"
Like true losers, we forgot the camera. Thank God for camera phones! The pictures aren't that great...but the memories are.
A few months ago, as I walked around the zoo feeling kind of sorry for myself, I had no idea that God was preparing for me an instant family.
Just add water.
Dear Lord,
Thanks for listening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dear Fear, Worry, and What If...

Part of last week, leading into this week, was emotionally heavy. I mainly blame it on PMS...but credit is also due to three little friends of mine.....


Dear Fear, Worry, and What If:


You suck. In fact, not only do you suck....you suck turkey turds. And in case you weren't aware...that's gross. Please desist immediately, so that I may swiftly return to a state of cheerfulness so annoying that people walking by me on the street would swear up and down that I shit sunshine.


Sincerely,

Me.


Here's the deal. As much as I would love to pretend that people close to me frolicked and did back flips when I announced my engagement, the opposite is true. My parents were congratulatory only through clinched teeth...and the FAS sent me a text stating, and I quote, "I want to be happy for you, but I won't disrespect you by faking it."

And although my precious family members are simply fearful of having to scrape pieces of my heart off of the concrete again, it hurt me that they couldn't simply see how happy I am and rejoice with me. They have since loosened up to the point of agreeing to come to the wedding with pinky swears that they won't lay down in the aisle and throw screaming hissy fits. If any of you reading happen to be either the FAS or one of my loving parental units, you have my deepest thanks.

I know that this engagement has happened quickly. OS and I talk about it all the time. But the truth is, that we've been talking about marriage since about day 3 of our courtship, and I firmly believe that when you know, you just bloody well know. Period.

BUT...everyone's concerns coupled with PMS and a couple of emotionally heavy conversations led me to an alarming encounter with my friends fear, worry, and what if. And for about 3 days last week I spent way too much time with each of them...intimately letting them molest my spirit until I lost sight of the reason that I KNEW THAT I KNEW in the first place, and leaving me with nothing but panic and despair. Could I really get married again? What if he turns into something resembling my first husband? What if this marriage, like the first one, is a complete disappointment? What if I wake up one day and find myself stuck with someone that refuses to meet me halfway? What if things aren't perfect and instead are horribly miserable? What if, what if what if?

So I talked to the only One that would understand. I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And pretty quickly, right there on the front steps of my home, God met me where I was at and spoke truth to me like He always does. His message was brief, but crystal clear. "Perfection is a process." And then, as quickly as the voice breezed by, it was gone and I was left with something other than fear, worry, and what if. I was left, once again, with complete peace.

I've learned something since Sara Getting Married, volume 1. I've learned that it's not what's said on the wedding day that matters. It's what is said during the fight, during the making up, during the laughter, during the tears, during the love....that will make this marriage work. So that night, OS and I curled up on the couch and laid our fears out on the newly painted coffee table. They were plentiful, but not powerful. And as our conversation progressed, tears flowed. Tears of fear, worry, and what if...tears that had been waiting to creep out for days....tears that needed to be cried...and caught by his hand.

OS can marry me....but he has no way of knowing what the future holds. When I asked him to promise me happiness, he said he couldn't. When I asked him to promise me forever, he said he'd like to. When I asked him to promise that tomorrow wouldn't hurt, he only said he hoped it wouldn't. But when I asked him to promise that he loved me, he wiped away fear, worry, and what if when he looked me in the eye and said, "I do."

The only guarantee with love is that the feelings that come with it will make you laugh harder, hurt deeper, miss more, desire unceasingly, and live memorably. So the second time around, I'm casting fear, worry, and what if into the wasteland, and hanging on to the One who CAN make me a promise...a promise that perfection is a process.

Dear Fear, Worry, And What If:

I'm marrying my best friend. He will probably hurt me at some point. He will likely disappoint me at some point. He may even break my heart at some point. But that remains to be seen. Today, we laugh together.....cry together....and love together.

The three of you have NOTHING on that.

Dear Old School,

Tomorrow's looking good too. ; )

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What's In a Name?

***I have to preface this blog with the following:***
I was at the gas station yesterday, blogging in my head...this blog to be exact. And I got so into the head blogging that I got back into my car, turned the key in the ignition, and drove off...with the gas pump still firmly attached to my vehicle.
I blame Blogger.
So anyway...What's In A Name?
The wedding date has been set. The exciting (smallish...I think) event is going to be held on October 10th on OS's grandfather's farm. That's exactly 3 months and 5 days to do a whole lot of (in Old School's EXACT words) "wedding shit." He expressed this particular opinion of the planning while riding in the car back from the gym one night, when I politely turned toward my adorable fiance and asked him to please refrain from referring our nuptial event as "wedding shit." He obliged. He now calls it "wedding poop." See....compromise already.
Anyway, while I'm trying not to stress out about the big day and I'm moving very quickly on the planning, I do have to admit that this day can't really come quickly enough. Not only will I be marrying my best friend who I laugh with even in the midst of scolding him for saying snarky comments about the amount of wedding planning taking place, but I get to shed something that I have wanted to shed so badly since April of 2008 that I can't even begin to put it into words.
I get a new last name.
Several people have been curious why I didn't take my maiden name back when I got divorced, but it never really occurred to me to do so. I had a child with that last name, and I had high hopes that one day I would remarry and get a brand spankin' new last name. But I have to admit that on more than one occasion I have regretted keeping ex's name and thought about just randomly picking my maiden name back up.
Maybe it's because Ex's last name is kind of different, and every time I say it to someone on the phone the following conversation takes place:
Me: Hi, my name is Sara L*******. That's L-E-F as in Frank, so on and so forth.
and the person on the other end of the phone ALWAYS...did I capitalize ALWAYS? Because they ALWAYS say:
Person on the other end of the phone : L-E-S.....
Me: No, L-E-F as in Frank....
Person on the other end of the phone: So it's not L-E-S?
Me: L-E-F as in Frank...FRANK....or Frustrated.
And after 5 years it has gotten old. I miss the days when saying my last name wasn't followed by a brief, make me want to slit my wrists spelling bee.
Or maybe it's the fact that taking on Ex's last name brought a lot of emotion into my life that wasn't always positive. Pretty much everything associated with that last name, with the exception of E...the one good thing that happened during that union....brings up feelings of disappointment and regret. And while I've done my part to work through the emotions....I'd like to get rid of the name.
So for more reasons than just the obvious marrying my best friend, love of my life, finally got it right stuff....I can't wait for 3 months and 5 days to get here. Because on October 10th, 2009 I will become Sara H***. Short, sweet, and only one way to spell it. So not only do I get a fresh start with someone that God began knitting me to 20 years ago....not only do we laugh a lot...not only can I be myself and do the kind of head in the clouds stuff like drive off with a gas pump still in my vehicle and him still love me....not only is life full of endless possibilities with my teammate firmly planted beside me....but I get a new name....a clean slate.
Trust me when I say that love has never felt so
G-O-O-D.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Table Transformation



This is a table that I found at Goodwill for $7! I loved the shape of it and it was in good condition structurally, so I pounced. It has been sitting in my garage for about a week now, and since I started my part time schedule I threw some paint on it this week and it's now up for grabs on craigslist!


I think I managed to impress OS again. In the middle of a very serious marriage conversation while I was glazing away on this thing he stopped mid sentence and said, "Wow, Baby....you can paint some tables!"
I may have blushed a little bit. : )

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm Engaged!!!!

The heading of my blog, just under Grace. Gets. Greater, reads "where second chances and God's Grace collide, there you will find me."

What it doesn't say, is "there" you will also find him....but it should. Because now, we are officially doing life together....the kind of together that involves a ring, big day discussions, and the dream of pissing each other off when we're old and gray!

OS asked me to marry him...to be his wife....to be his teammate...and I said yes through the happiest tears I've ever had ooze from my face. There will be a blog coming up with all of the details and sappiness....but for now....

Dear Lord,
When you said You knew the plans you had for me, you never mentioned that they would be the flavor of amazing that I wasn't even sure it was ok to dream about. When you told me that everything would be ok, you never mentioned that it would be SO.MUCH.BETTER than ok. When you said that the valley of weeping would turn into pools of blessing, you never mentioned that it would quench my thirst in this all consuming way that it has. When you said you loved me....I didn't quite understand that it meant you wanted to see me happy.

Thank you, Lord, for answering prayers that I have prayed since I was a little girl. Your perfect timing, until now, seemed like it was taking forever...but now I know why. When everything seemed so chaotic and out of control, I had no idea where you were taking me. But Lord, I'd do it all again to be in the midst of this blessing that I'm in right now.

Thank you for the most perfectly imperfect man that I could ever have dreamed up for myself. Thank you for his laugh, for his humor, for his wit. Thank you for his charm, his affection, and his depth. Thank you for his passion for doing life better, his zeal for making things matter, and his heart with all of its hopes and scars.

Thank you for bringing him back into my life at THE PERFECT TIME, in THE PERFECT WAY, so that the only thing we could know for sure is that we had NOTHING to do with it, and you...EVERYTHING. Thank you, Lord, for the delicate, merciful intersection between grace and second chances....because that is where we found each other.

And for that, I praise you.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

And the Winner Is....

My last blog was about naming my new side business. I'm buying used furniture and "sprucing it up" to resell. So far, my success equals one sale and a lot of big dreaming. But I'm excited about this opportunity to do something that I love, and since it's something that relaxes me and makes me happy that's just icing on the cake.

I needed a business name and was really leaning toward Graced Seconds. However, several of you mentioned that you didn't like using "seconds" in the name, because it might have an association with cheap that I'm not so much going for. I appreciate the input, because I never really thought about it like that, and have decided against using "seconds" in the business name.

However, I really wanted to come up with something that involved grace. Over the past couple of years, God has been consistently offering up bits of His grace into my life. I think prior to a couple of years ago, I really had no understanding of what His grace really was, and now it has become my mantra. It's the reason that I'm where I'm at, and ultimately it's the reason for this blog! So it was very important to me that the business name continue that theme and bring some sort of honor to God.

My life is SO. INCREDIBLY. DIFFERENT than it was two years ago, and in the car on the way home from school today I was overcome with emotion over the dramatic turn that I have taken. Two years ago I was broken, directionless, and doing good just to breathe in and out. There was so little light in my life, and at the time I didn't even realize it. I was treading water and getting ready to drown. Today, I have a glimpse of what God wants to do with my life, a path for getting there, a spirit of survival, and the passion to make each day count. Not too awful long ago, God threw me a piece of grace, and it was all I needed to stop just breathing in and out and start LIVING.

And because my new business is all about transformation, I've decided to name it....



Pieces of Grace
A piece of furniture will change your living room...a Piece of Grace will change your life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Ends Meet...YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

A few blogs ago I mentioned that I was going part time at work. This transition is kind of taking place this week and will officially start next week. This was brought on by a little scuffle with my boss over me going to school...but God really used the experience to allow me to see that I could operate in a less stressful way over the next year and a half while I finish my degree. The new schedule at work (Monday-Thursday 8-1) will allow me to spend SO much more time with my baby boy, and give me time to get some things done around the house. There are actual domestic things that I'd like to do that always fall to the bottom of my list of priorities when I feel myself running around too crazy. Now, I can meet OS at the gym on his days off, cook dinner, try and keep the laundry caught up, and maybe even get my house organized! I have goals people....real goals that result in a house that smells like febreeze on a daily basis!





And in order to make ends meet I'm pursuing a passion of mine that has, up til now, gone largely untapped. I'm starting a side business of painting and refinishing furniture. The business officially got underway last night when I made my first sale. I painted my dining room table (a craigslist purchase during the divorce) a deep red color with antique black underneath. It turned out really well....so well in fact that Old School didn't want me to sell it because he liked it so much. (I think I surprised him....he was expecting disaster. And honestly...it's me....disaster seems to follow wherever I go...so I can't blame him! But when the finishing touches were done I believe his exact words were "Maybe you shouldn't sell it.....I like it....I think we should keep it and find another damn table for you to sell.")

Before After

This is the antiquing. Kind of hard to see....


So anyway, I need your help. Since the first sale was a success, I'm going all in and making a business out of this little venture. In August I plan to participate in our local flea market with several pieces (and maybe some homemade soap...who knows...I'm full of surprises) and I need a business name. All of the furniture will be used and either handpainted or refinished. So far I'm debating between....

Graced Seconds
Seconds by Sara
Second Chance Chest
Feel free to throw another name in the hat. I'm open to pretty much anything! But since you guys have been so faithful to follow me through this crazy life over the past several months, I wanted your most valuable input. Cast your vote and the winner takes it all! Thanks for playing!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life Back Guarantee

I'm sitting on my couch with the tv tuned to Jon and Kate Plus 8. They are announcing (on the show no less) their future plans for their relationship and family. I go back and forth between being heartbroken for them and wondering whether or not this is, in fact, the greatest publicity stunt of all time.

But I don't think it is.

I met Jon and Kate in 2007, before their show was a People Magazine focus and their kids were officially potty trained. They spoke at a local church, and I had a few minutes with each of them. They were precious people, and it breaks my heart (and angers me beyond belief!) that they are facing the challenges that they are with their marriage. While I agree with others that they should shut down the show and focus on their family, I still can't drag myself away from this window into their stormy world.

Less than a month after my encounter with Jon and Kate, my marriage ended and life took an unexpected turn towards pain, anger, disappointment, rebirth, direction, and fulfillment. I had no idea at the time that the most painful night of my life would turn into the most enriching and rewarding experience I have had thus far.

Fast Forward.

Today I went to work. My boss is out of town on vacation, so he invited another chiropractor to stand in for him. She is in her mid to late 30's and was extremely pleasant. I would never have known that she was in the midst of the most horrible pain one can imagine. However, during the course of the day and the conversation, she let me in on her experience of watching her little girl pass away just a few short months ago. She was 4 years old, sick with a chromosomal abnormality, and she died of pneumonia. As Dr. L briefly told me the story, her eyes welled up with tears and she excused herself to the bathroom.

Lately, it seems that God is speaking to my spirit through many loud, clanging, signs that there are no guarantees. Life doesn't make many promises, and I've spent too much of mine planning for and worrying about things that either never happened...or made me stronger when they did.

OS and I are talking about "the future." They are the kind of talks that make me well up on the inside with gratefulness to God for his grace and faithfulness....and they are the kinds of talks that cause each of us to gather the fear from the depths of our toenails, hold it in our hands, and ask "is this going to hurt me?" It's next to impossible for either of us to have these talks without either the gratefulness or the gathering.

But there are no guarantees. And as God gently urges my spirit toward that mantra, I'm seeing over and over the importance of living today. Enjoying today. Singing our song today. Loving today. Embracing today.

We aren't promised tomorrow...and when tomorrow works its way into today, we aren't necessarily promised a pretty package. We ARE promised a God who will never leave us or forsake us. We ARE promised the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We ARE promised to be lifted out of the mud and mire and our feet set on a firm foundation. We ARE promised that no matter what hand we are dealt, we don't have to play the game alone.

I hear God's gentle whispers to love in abundance today, because the only thing I know to be true is that when tomorrow comes, it will be different...a kind of different that I can only affect with today's choices.

So today I will choose to love.

Thirty minutes have passed since I tuned in to see Jon and Kate face tomorrow. But now there is a storm blowing outside. My power went out long ago. Sirens are screaming to the scene of a nearby accident....and I am curled up on the couch with only the glow of my computer screen and a bit of battery left.

I'm lost in thought over what Jon and Kate might do. Will they work it out. Will they give up? Will they choose to love? And I'm lost in thought over Dr. L...who smiles over so much pain...pain that she didn't ask for or deserve....but pain that she is wearing daily. And I'm lost in thought over this man that I have fallen in love with. Will it be forever? Will we have the kind of happiness that I dream for us? Will we continue to sing to each other as the new wears off?

And I realize that none of that matters. Be it joy or pain, whatever we have today, we may lose tomorrow or gain tenfold. There is no such thing as a Life Back Guarantee....we get today once... and the memory for a lifetime.


So today I choose to love.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Live and Learn...or something like that...

Everyone stand back....I've been learning things about myself. Unfortunately for me, and anyone who chooses to keep coming back to my blog, most of the things I've learned lately I haven't really liked.

Don't you just hate when that happens?!?!

I miss 6 months ago when I was in my "Screw the world, I'm the most awesome thing God ever created" phase and I felt like anyone who didn't agree with me was either

a. stupid

or

b. yet uninformed of my greatness.

Shame on them.

However, my delusions of grandeur have ceased, and lately I seem to be noticing all the "not so awesome" things about me. Lucky for you, I'm about to share. All you haters out there...this is the blog you've been waiting for.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

I have problems with authority.
I don't have problems with legal authority like police or the law in general. But I have a real problem working for a big donkey patooty that only says negative things and expects everything to be perfect. EXCUSE ME FOR THAT LAST SET OF PAPERS BEING STAPLED SLIGHTLY AMISS....I WILL NOW IMPALE MYSELF ON THE MODEL OF THE PERFECT SPINE YOU HAVE IN YOUR OFFICE...YOU KNOW...THE ONE THAT YOU LIKE TO BEND AND TWIST AROUND WHILE YOU ARE ON THE PHONE...CONSIDER IT MY VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT THAT I DO, IN FACT, SUCK! Ok...but here's the deal....I have always had problems with my employers. It's not that I've been bad at my jobs or insubordinate or anything like that. But I always manage to end up feeling like I'm working for an idiot...and then I begin to resent working for said idiot...and then I look for another job. The light at the end of this dismal tunnel is that I'm in school so I can eventually work for myself....an achievement that can't come quick enough. Both of my parents, in essence, work for themselves. They have always pretty much set their own schedules and managed their own time. This lifestyle is appealing to me, and I can't really see myself being happy any other way. I just don't think I have it in me. Or maybe I'm just a spoiled brat. My guess, if I'm being honest, is that it's a pretty healthy balance of the two. I don't think I'll ever like working for someone else....and...in my best whiny voice....I just don't wanna. And the arrogant stuck up part of me thinks I'm smart enough to figure out a way not to have to do this. (I might have to come back and eat crow on this one some day...but if I don't try I'll never know.)

I'm strong until I'm in a relationship.
THIS....let me tell you, has been a hard pill to swallow. I still haven't fully realized the reasons for it, but I'm sure it goes WAY back and would require a lot of conversations with "Little Sara" in order to fix it. Here's the scoop. Things with OS are great. He's good to me, and we have a great time. There is a lot of laughter, usually over absolutely nothing, and I'm loving life. I really couldn't ask for things to be better. But during the course of our relationship, we've both hit small pockets of "down in the dumps" and we're becoming more comfortable letting our true colors show. This is all well and good, because as the true colors have come out, we've both stayed put. But I've noticed something about myself because of this natural progression in the relationship that I really don't like about me. I tend to lose my strength when I'm in love. When I was dating before I had no fear being a "speak my mind, tell it like it is, take no prisoners" hard ass in the relationship. I was not going to settle again, and I was going to make damn sure that whoever the flavor of the month was at that point knew it. But with OS it's different. When there is conflict of any sort, major or minor, I lose all of my hard ass qualities in order to get past the conflict and retain harmony. And in doing this, sometimes I don't say everything I think I should have said, or I lose my ability to truly speak my mind. I think it's because I've opened myself up to a very vulnerable place in this relationship, and when I see bumps in the road coming, my natural reaction is to brace for impact. I'm scared of losing this happiness. I'm scared of getting hurt. I'm scared of having the bottom fall out...because the last time I was this vulnerable the happiness melted away, the hurt came with a vengeance and the bottom fell out...over and over again. And that's not just the story with Ex....that's the story with my experience with men in general going back again to when I was "Little Sara." I've gotten very used to expecting the worst....so that when the bump in the road gets here, I feel absolutely no strength in my bones to handle the impact of it all. So I turn to mush and hope for the best.

There's really no reason for me to be doing this with OS, because I think there is safety with him, and it's one of the reasons that I love him. I'll probably never be a complete hard ass...because I think being in love with someone tends to soften those edges anyway...but I'm going to work on finding the strength to speak my mind when I feel I need to. I think life and love are just too short to be afraid of what may come. New leaf....turned over.

I have absolutely no sense of style.
This probably doesn't come as much of a shock to anyone who actually knows me, but I'm a dork. I often act like a dork, talk like a dork, and dress like a dork. I wish this wasn't the case, but I grew up with no focus on being "in", and I never really got the hang of putting outfits together, accessorizing, or looking cool. And I didn't really realize how bad it actually was....but 3 guys that I have dated now have either subtly or not so subtly pointed it out to me. And while I've always thought I at least looked presentable....now I'm constantly concerned about JUST HOW BIG OF A DORK DO I APPEAR TO BE TODAY? And I

a. Hate that I even care

and

b. care way more than I should.

The dilemma here is that I wouldn't know what to buy if it jumped up and bit me in my dorky jeans attired ass and it doesn't really matter anyway, because I'm about to step out into this "I have a problem with authority" part time job, new world thing and won't have the money to buy cool clothes even if I did recognize them when they bit me. Problems, problems everywhere.

I realize that this really isn't all that big of an issue...I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'm a dork....but it's bringing up some insecurities that I forgot I had....the need for other people's approval....caring too much what other people think....worrying that I'm not good enough. Old, old crap that I can't seem to flush away.

And I think I'll stop there for the day. I mean really...there are starving children in countries that Madonna and Angelina haven't even gotten around to adopting from yet, so do any of my piddly little issues actually matter? Probably not.

But for some reason that I may never understand, they seem less like a big deal on my blog than they do in my head. Call me thankful for a corner of the internet into which I can sweep my issues and name them done.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Breaking Down Boxes

Laney (aka The Dog Who Shits In The Playroom) has been sleeping in a crate at night. Actually...I should probably say that Laney, aka TDWSITP, has been hollering and yelping in the crate at night. As of yet there has been very little actual sleeping. I've read before that crate training is the best way to housebreak...and OS googled it...so it must be true.

But TDWSITP absolutely, positively HATES being boxed in. Really, I can't blame her. I mean, if someone locked me inside a wire box that was barely big enough for me to turn around in, and then left me in there for 4 hours at a time expecting me not to at least piddle on myself a little bit....well....then....I feel safe in saying that I'd have some yelping of my own to do.

While I was in class today supposedly listening to final presentations on counseling diverse populations, I spent a lot of time thinking about Laney and her crate...and somehow that ended up with me thinking over all the ways that it's easy to get boxed in by life.

I think I have spent the better part of my life trapped in boxes that either others put me in, or I ignorantly climbed into on my own. For the longest time I was a Christian, but I couldn't for the life of me discern what was going on in my spirit, let alone listen to it. For a while, I was a wife...but the title really didn't matter, because for the most part I was still doing life alone. I am an employee....but I pass the hours by dreaming of doing life differently. All of this leads me to think that there must be a better way.

There seems to be a new theme developing in my life.....breaking down boxes. I've come to the realization over the last year or so that life doesn't ever turn out the way you expect it to....and planning for the future can very often lead to disappointment. But LIVING today, will never fail you. And I have spent so much time planning for the future and hoping for the best, that I haven't done much LIVING for today. However, I'm turning over a new leaf.

I've decided to change my work schedule so that I can enjoy TODAY....if I choose it.
I've decided to stop worrying about what MIGHT happen with OS so that I can enjoy TODAY....if I choose it.
I've decided to give up trying to be the Christian that everyone thinks I should be, so that I can hear God TODAY...if I choose it.
I've decided that it doesn't matter what life SHOULD look like...but what it COULD look like...if I choose it.
I've decided that being the best version of myself doesn't have to wait until I'm remarried, finished with school, thinner, smarter, or financially stable....it can happen TODAY...if I choose it.

And I'm tired of being boxed in in such a way that makes me choose something else. So I'm breaking down boxes...and choosing to do life differently. I only get one life....and I've finally REALLY realized that I can make it be whatever I want....no rules....no expectations

and it just so happens that I want it to be fulfilling....TODAY.....so I choose it.

Now that I know I actually have that option, doing anything else makes me want to curl up in my little box....holler, yelp, and piddle on myself. So much so that I almost don't want to make Laney sleep in the crate.

Almost.....but I'd rather her piddle in the crate than shit in the playroom.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Slacker.....sorry little slacker.

Yep, that's me. I'm a slacker.

This week I made a somewhat crazy decision to transition to part-time at work. To a lot of people, this is going to seem crazy and irresponsible. And in all honesty, I can understand that perspective. I mean...I have full time bills and tuition payments....so it makes sense that I would have a full time job. Really....it seems like a no brainer.

But I'm tired. For the past 11 months I have gone NON STOP. If I'm not at work, I'm at school. If I'm not at school, I'm at home writing a paper for school. If I'm not at home writing a paper for school, I'm trying to be a good mommy...and let's call a spade a spade...when you have zero energy after all the things that you HAVE to do....being a good mommy is a lot harder than it should be. My relationship with my child is fine. He knows I'm his mommy, and I know his habits, sayings, favorite blankets, and what to buy for him at the grocery store. But the energy that I have to give him is FAR LESS than he deserves. He deserves

so. much. more.
Then last week, I told my boss I was in school and that in August I would need to leave an hour early from work twice a week. And he told me I had disappointed him and betrayed him. And then he threatened to write me up...to make me sign a piece of paper stating that I was a disappointment and a betrayer. I politely refused and strangled the urge to tell him what he could do with his little piece of paper and instead offered up a couple of workable solutions for all parties involved. (See....all this learning that I've been doing about counseling is paying off!) One of the options was to cut my hours...and the more I thought about doing it...the lighter I felt. So I prayed about it for a couple of days, and yesterday I told him that at the end of the month I would be changing my schedule to work only 20 hours a week.
While this DOES tend to beg the question "how will you pay your bills," the question that I'd rather answer is "what are you going to do with those other 20 hours?" The answer goes something like this....
drop off and pick E up from pre school
take E to the park
take E to the pool
read stories to my baby boy some other time besides just before bed
play in the backyard
cook dinner for my two special guys
take The Dog Who Shits In The Playroom for walks to show her other places to shit
get my house in some kind of order
clean stuff
go to the gym
and basically keep what's left of my sanity. And during those other 20 hours there will be some projects going on that will hopefully supplement my bills. The thing is, I was just too tired to keep going the way I was. And I can't quit being a mom, because God blessed me with that little booger. And I can't quit school, because God specifically told me to go back.
But I can reduce the stress due to my job, and trust that God will provide for the difference. I have peace about it, and as long as that's the case, I can handle pretty much anything. (I'm sure a couple of months from now I'll be blogging about financial stress....and I give all you naysayers the right to say "I told you so" when that happens.
And here's the thing. I know I'm not the only one who's tired and feels like they just can't keep going like they've been going. I know there are tons of stay at home moms who desperately need a break. I know there are tons of people out there who would rather scrape their eyeballs with a paper clip than go to work for another day. I get that you people are out there.
Which leaves me to beg the question...
why don't you do something about it?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Family Addition

Today, OS and I made our first investment together as a couple.

Everyone, meet Laney.



Laney is a purebred German Shepherd and the byproduct of the combined impulsivity of both my boyfriend and myself. I was famous for it on my own...but I think I may have met my match!


We've been saying for a couple of weeks that we'd like to get a dog together. And then we rationalized this by saying that E really needed a dog to wrestle around with....I mean, what kind of life can a little boy have without a dog to grow up with?!?! A darn sad life....that's what kind.


I honestly thought that getting the dog would take a little longer...until OS started talking about it more consistently. Then, last night, he spent the better part of the evening googling dog breeds and saying things like, "Well...if we get a bull mastiff it will shed less...but a German Shepherd is really smart." I knew a statement like this was trouble. Old School didn't realize it at the time, but the gateway to my impulsivity also just happens to rest in the depths of Google... just past the enter button and in the evil clutches of the Point of No Return. Once the obsession hits, there's just no turning back. And look out world, because now there's two of us and we're collaborating as a team.


Go ahead...take a moment to shudder at the thought.


So today, when Old School, who was apparently awakened by dog breed researching withdrawals, began asking what E and I wanted to do today, I had a feeling that by the end of the day we'd be dog owners. He was just. so. excited. about. it. And sure enough, as the day progressed, phone calls to breeders were made, addresses written down, and after a quick lunch and lots of dog name conversation, we were well on our way to expanding the size of our family.


We went into the breeders home planning to choose a male pup with mostly tan markings. We were also prepared to wait 3 weeks for that particular litter of pups to be ready to leave their mom. But upon our arrival, IMPULSIVITY kicked in again, and we instead chose a female pup from an older litter with mostly black markings...you know...because we could have her TODAY instead of 3 weeks from now. Apparently patience does not fit well on either of us. Oh the trouble we can get into because of that.....


Anyway, we piled into the car with one more living, breathing, pooping, being than we left home with...and now there's a black faced, female German Shepherd puppy curled up on my couch...


and the love in the house keeps growing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Awards!

This week I got two blog awards from two girls that I really really like and have never even met!


B over at HappyascanB gave me this:and Krystyna Lizabeth gave me this:

Thanks to both of you for thinking enough of my random ramblings to give me the awards! I'm supposed to pass them along to 5 of my favorite blogs. It's hard to pick just 5, but I'm going to send both awards to the following....mainly because I'm short on time and don't have time to link to 10 people....so happy day for:

Jaycee at Married Without Children who just rocks in every possible way...
S at A Little To The Left because she needs to blog more...and she's my FAS....
Amy at The Soundtrack of My Dreams....because she really shouldn't love me, but she does...
JPP at Just Playing Pretend....because she is just SO GOOD. And she has an adorable puppy you just really need to go look at...
Lora at Take Me The Way I Am...because she's one of God's best...and I still owe her a hike...


Go check out these fine ladies along with HappyascanB and Krystyna. They all just make blogging more fun! Love you ladies!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Bits of Life

I realize that I've been somewhat of a horrid slacker on the blogging as of late. There are several reasons for this.



A. My new job doesn't allow me time to hop on the computer that often to vent my various thoughts and feelings...the only thing I miss about my old desk job....



B. I've had a wee bit o' writer's block lately. I absolutely hate when this happens. But it might have to do with the general fog I've been living under lately due to the fact that....



C. I'm in love. And when you combine the general fog of love with the fact that I'd rather be DOING stuff with OS rather than just WRITING about it you get...





A PRETTY BORING BLOG.


The silver lining in all of this is that for me, a pretty boring blog = a pretty happy life.


Here are some little bits of life that have been going on as of late....
E has peed in the potty a lot more lately. He goes through spurts of liking the potty and then hating it again. This week, he's been fully on board and even narrated as he was going..."Mommy...I peein in the potty....Mommy, I pooted.....Mommy....I peed in floor a wittle bit." Progress comes in all shapes and sizes people....don't judge.
I got an email from Sasha. And wrote one back. And got another email from her. And wrote another one back. I wouldn't call us BFF, but I think we're well on our way to making my son's life much more peaceful and much less dramatic, which is the ultimate goal. I really can't even begin to describe to you what a huge step this is. Admittedly, all of our emails started with some flavor of "I know this is a really strange situation, but..." but all in all it has been a very positive experience.
OS and I joined a gym together.... a family membership....with a contract. Yikes. This means two things.....
A. We're in this together
and
2. I have to go to the gym.
Both are incredibly good things in my life...and both tend to scare the shit out of me. Gyms in general just intimidate me. I feel like I walk in with a giant neon arrow pointing at my head that says, "DOES NOT BELONG, DOES NOT BELONG....SHUUUUUNNNNN THE CHUNKY GIRL...SHUUUNNNN." It's not a good feeling.
But I will do it. I will put forth the effort. I will commit. I will do what I have to do to get the results that I long for.
And in case you haven't caught on yet...being in love scares me. And I think it's safe to say that I am GOOD AND WELL IN LOVE. It's also safe to say that I am GOOD AND WELL SCARED SHITLESS. I've spent a lot of time in the last few days praying through a kind of fear that I haven't experienced in a very long time....the fear of an ending that I just don't ever want to come. Love scares me, because once you've experienced a feeling like this....the thought of not having it anymore is a kind of unbearable that there are no words for. And I don't ever want to find myself in that place. And loving someone means putting yourself in the position for loss...it's scary....it's a thick, choking, kind of scary that is just almost overwhelming enough to make you not want to take that chance....
But I will do it. I will put forth the effort. I will commit. I will do what I have to do to get the results that I long for.
Once this kind of love has hit your lips, there is really no other choice but to put one foot in front of the other...
in the same direction as him.