Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Honestly, even *I* can't take that much whining and moping in one week. So let's get back to some happy stuff ok?

My beautiful friend Kristen posted some amazing thoughts on unanswered prayer. I'll write more about why it hit home but first I'll tell you a bit about why I love Kristen.

Why I Love Kristen And Am Amazed She Ever Put Up With Me:
I've been lucky enough to be her friend since she started dating a friend back in 1996. I feel like she's been in my life much longer than that. We are very different but have some interesting parallels in life. When we met, I felt like a retarded puppy on acid compared to her calm poise. Her quiet shy nature would make me panic. I would respond to this panic by talking more - must...fill...empty...space. I would just start babbling nonsense and would just keep going. It was like, the intelligent me would stand outside my body, watching in horror as I nervously vomited my verbal diarrhea. My intelligent outside self would silently yell, "Shut UP! Stop talking! Seriously just stop talking!!!" Which would make the retarded puppy on acid self start yammering more. Maybe to Kristen it wasn't all that bad. Maybe she recalls these same interludes as, "Wow that girl sure can talk!" But to me, it's horrifying. It's how I react to most shy quiet people. I panic. I'm so afraid that my silly outgoing personality will put them off, I think I overdo it by trying to be overly friendly and it just comes out like something from a really bad Seinfeld episode.

For some reason, the retarded puppy on acid (R.P.O.A.) never put Kristen totally off. She'd still come hang out with our group of friends - even knowing the R.P.O.A. would be there. I never noticed her suddenly remembering she left something in the other room when I'd come near. She befriended the R.P.O.A. and tamed me. I finally became comfortable enough with her to bring it down a notch to just a retarded puppy.

Kristen and our other friend Alicia (the one who braved church with me in 2005) were some of the only friends in my life who supported me when I tried to better myself. When I quit smoking, they were there cheering me on and encouraging our other friends not to smoke around me. When I had to radically change my nutrition for 2 years, they would make sure to prepare dishes I could eat. And that was no easy feat. They, along with my other pal Sooz, organized and threw a giant baby shower for me when I was preggo with The Boy. They both chauffeured a no-car, pregnant me around to all my appointments. They both drove our new expanded family to all the post-partum & pediatric appointments. They babysat The Boy & Lil Bro for no pay. They babysat The Boy while we did the hard-core (and misguided) sleep training. Then when I started getting my path straightened back toward God, neither of them poo-poo'd me or teased me or anything. They both supported me. And all three of us found our separate paths back to God - at differing times. And even though I moved across the country, those two are still two of my spiritual pillars.

So that's a bit about Kristen. And why I love her and wish I could win a lottery and give her a huge chunk of it. Plus, her little boy R was born a few months after Lil Bro and they're ridiculously adorable together. And she makes amazing blueberry buckle. And she's pretty. And sweet. And I love her.

Yah...ok, now she'll probably punch me for all of that.

But her post was so cool. Like most things lately, it hit home. My whole survival in this current divorce thing, the dealing with Tourette's, everything...it has all been one giant study in praying and waiting well. I have been demanding of and begging God lately. I have thrown myself on the floor, crying for God to save me. My mouth always says, "In your time, God," but my mind wants it NOW. And wants it the way I'm picturing it. And God keeps teaching me all about his timing and his plan.

So having read her post and felt how it just spoke to my current situation, I thought I'd post a little praise report on answered prayer where the answer is yes and where I had totally resolved myself to God having other plans.

God Has A Sense Of Humor And Perfect Comedic Timing:
My parents have been planning to move here since my little family imploded. A couple of months ago, when mom was here, I needed some serious rescuing. So dad told mom that they needed to move out here to help me. Normally, I would never allow such a magnanimous rescue mission. But I needed some big time help and I was SO grateful.

Mom left a few weeks ago to help dad pack up their other house. They contracted to build a house in my development, albeit a 7 minute drive away. Well, things were going along but last week, it became clear that the housing market in their area came to a screeching halt. Nothing was selling. And they have a great house. But nothing. Most people couldn't buy because they had to sell their own house first. It was awful. So this past Sunday, mom called to tell me that it was on hold. They'd have to pass on this house we just finished and wait until their house sold. Then they'd come out and find a new one. I was really bummed. But I said, "Ok God, you obviously have another plan." Maybe there's a house in my neighborhood that will free up just as their current house sold. I figured God had a better plan and I was like, ok, I'll wait for it. So I resolved to wait and see. But as a little aside - almost a joke - I said to God, "Well...if you want to send them a buyer tomorrow, that would be cool..." but I immediately thought, no no no...I'll have faith and see what God has in store. So that house was out and we were fine with waiting.

On Monday, mom called. "We have a buyer!!" I nearly fell over laughing. Who says God doesn't have a good sense of humor! So they're working with the builder here to see when they can close on their house. And they'll be here NEXT MONTH!!! WOOOOO-HOOOOO!!!

For months, God has been teaching me to wait. And to accept different answers than the ones I want. It's been good learning. I'm getting very used to it. So I found this just seriously funny. That I would toss a half-joke at God and he instantly says, "Um...ok."

I love God. He totally rocks.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Promised Confessional

Why can't this all just be poofed away??? The week that future ex returned, we started out fighting. Then reached a place of calm friendliness. And that just got my hopes up for reconciliation. Not immediate. But thinking things like, well, maybe God is bringing him around slowly and some day we'll have another wedding but with the KIDS in it this time! All sorts of gooby flowery thoughts like that. I thought, well, l've been asking God to prepare me for that wonderful Christian man he's got in store for me. Maybe future ex will be that wonderful Christian man!!! If I can just hold on and wait long enough... But in the holding on and waiting, there is false hope. And also, there is a holding on to the old him and the old me. Once again, I've stopped looking to God for my happiness but back to future ex. And right now? He will ALWAYS fail me.

I just wish I didn't love him any more. Having him back here and in my face just reminded me - initially - of how much I want to beat him senseless. So I begged God to take the anger away and help me reach a place of forgiveness and friendship. And he did. He calmed me down. Future ex and I got along. Then I lost perspective. It felt so good to have him back and being nice to me. And he wasn't with HER. And he was helping me out with the boys. It was such a relief. It was so familiar. It made me so happy. And I translated that into feelings of love again. I was ready to do anything to help him - short of funding him. I offered help I could give - come use my computer, I'll buy you a few meals, come swim at the pool, etc. But it turned into feeling like we were a family again. And I thought, hmmm...maybe we WILL be a family again. And then a little bird sat on my finger and we whistled a duet while deer, bunnies and squirrels came in and did my laundry.

Then he took a trip back to Boston. Two things just punched me in the stomach and brought me back to square one. First thing: he's going back to finish up some business with HER. Rip the scab off. Run back to her. More sacrifice for her. A reminder that, oh yah, I was abandonded for another woman and he thinks it's ok. A reminder that she is the "love of his life" - his words. It just killed me with rejection and jealousy all over again. Second thing: his business with her should take 3 days, max. But he went back for 8 full days, plus 2 days of flying. So 10 days total he left. So he gets YET ANOTHER little vacation. He's going back early to satisfy his selfishness. He wants to hang with friends. Really? SO DO I! BUT I HAVE NO TIME!!! He just barely has a job down here - he has a conditional offer. So it's not in stone. He has no apartment. He has no car. So yes, by all means, go have a few days off in Boston. Whew! You need a break, you poor hard-working thing! [...not that I'm bitter...]

So this weekend, when I spent Saturday trying to clean my house, getting angry with my boys, listening to them complain because they've had no fun mom-time. It hit me. I am PISSED. I am so tired of carrying all this weight that this selfish man put on me. I didn't ask for any of this but I'm carrying it. Not perfectly. But I am. And he just runs off for a vacation - oh, and to take care of "business". Whatever.

Now, I'm having to deal with my anger. And most of it is really just anger at myself that I'm directing at him. I'm angry at myself for allowing those stupid feelings back in. I'm angry for letting him back into my mind and heart. I'm so mad at opening my heart to someone who just spent the last 7 months crushing the love out of me.

I've had people ask me why I would love someone who could do all of that to me. BUT I DO. It's 16 years of someone that I gave my LIFE to. How do you just shut that off, even when you're angry? It's like, everyone thinks that, well, since he cheated, that just automatically shuts off the love switch in me. But think about it - if your husband went and did hard drugs for 7 months and then stopped...you'd totally leave him? You'd just shut him off? Some would. Sure. And obviously, there are cases where that should be a deal-breaker. But most Christian wives I know would stand by a first time offender - maybe keep him distant for a while but they'd help him and work with him and intend on getting the good man back they loved. But cheating seems to be this item for most people that eliminates the "stand by your man" endurance. I can’t blame anyone for that. Cheating makes me see red. But why am I seen as crazy for still loving him? Just shows me that we humans put ratings on our actions. Bad has many levels. Stand by the drunk driver who loses his license but kick the cheater to the curb. I get it. It’s just that my love isn’t easily shut off. It’s taking some time. And effort. (sigh)

When we were getting along, I heard just enough talk of how he's starting to realize just how horrible he was to me. He can't believe he trashed someone so wonderful. He sees just what a great person I am and how I should never have been treated this way. Enough stuff like that - made me think maybe he still had love for me in there somewhere. I think he does. But it's not enough. It never was. Sure he loved me. But never the amount of love most people have for their spouse. I was never a high priority. Never. So that's what I want to hold on to??? The weak part of me cries out YES!!! Because I don't want to be abandoned. I don't want to feel rejected. I want to feel worth a sacrifice. But the smart part of me says, HELL NO. Why would I hang on to a love that wasn't complete in the first place. I already wasted 16 yrs on that partial love. Of being second place to his drums, his pot, his friends and himself. Why would I want to hang on to that? Just so I could avoid feeling rejected?

Aligning your heart and your head is tough. It's what I'm working on. With him in Boston, it's easier. I told him that, when he returns, he will have NO help from me from now on. Nothing. I will make the boys available to him. That's it. He can't come over and hang. He can't come by to watch the boys unless I'm leaving to go somewhere else. Not yet. And yah - I know - I should have started out that way. But having him near me and wanting to be with me - it felt good. And I'll admit it - it felt like I won in a way. He wanted to be with ME. And he was starting to see holes in his perfect "true love". It's all my own damned fault. He didn't play me. I let myself get played. And I'm kicking myself for it now.

I know you're all praying for me. Thank you for that. I know God is honoring a lot of prayers that people are sending up for me. I'm sure glad you're part of that.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Random Thoughts on Divorce...

A full throttle confessional is coming. But I'm too tired at the moment. I just verbally expressed said confessional to my sister & parents. Nothing horrid. I'm so transparent, I'm sure most of you have already figured a lot of it out and are kindly holding your tongue until I am able to stop fooling myself. That's for tomorrow, perhaps.

So here are some random thoughts I just had on the subject of divorce. Thought I'd share them with you.

  1. I'm tired of hearing "...well, they were having trouble [in their marriage]..." as this kind of all encompassing excuse for why someone might cheat or just bail out of a marriage. Like it's supposed to make me go, "Ooooh...trouble! Why didn't you SAY so?!" Your marriage is a little difficult, is it? By all means, walk away. Wouldn't want you to have to exert any kind of effort or anything. Wouldn't want you to actually live up to that whole "in good times and bad" part of your vows. It's like a "Get out of jail" card for cowards. Or maybe that's just me.
  2. I think less people would get divorced if you had to have a whole unwedding ceremony. You'd have to fly everyone in that had been at the wedding. And all of the kids that have entered the world since then. You'd have to recant your vows in front of all of them. You bet your bippy you'd have to feed them all - and well! AND - here's the clincher - you'd have to return all the wedding gifts...or cash of equal value. Yah, I'm thinking that might make a few people think twice.
  3. I think I've said this before - and recently. But marriage vows for the faint hearted should change the "...until death do us part" part to "...until I find this union inconvenient."
  4. Contrary to the above ravings, I don't think every marriage should stay together. I don't believe in staying in a marriage if one party has broken the marriage covenant. I guess I'm just surprised at how many people refuse to fight to save their marriage. Goodness, why bother getting married in the first place? I really honestly wonder that.
  5. And along those lines, I think too many people treat marriage like some kind of extended dating. If it doesn't work out, we'll just divorce. No biggie. I mean, are you just getting married so your mom will stop making cracks about "not buying the cow if they can get the milk for free"?
But what do I know. Don't worry - I'm not becoming bitter. I'm just enjoying a little sarcastic observational humor at the moment.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Am So SICK of Being Angry

I sat down to write a confessional of how I've let anger get the best of me. As I sit here beginning this, I hear The Boy upstairs yelling demands at his little brother. They are supposed to be cleaning up a toy mess they made together. As I listen to The Boy's demanding tone, it's an auditory mirror.


All the benevolent feelings of hope and goodness I had last week toward future ex are out the window. Well, not all. But it seems like every time he shows just one sign of becoming a responsible man, he undoes it all with a giant self-centered act. His current trip to Boston to "tie up some loose business" - with an open ended return date? Yah, that rather did it for me.

He'll be up there a week at least. And I can tell you that there is no business he has up there that would take more than 3 days, tops. I shouldn't even care. I mean, I've been doing this alone since he ran off in April. I'm a fully functioning single parent now. I can totally hack it. If I can just nail down a part time housekeeper, I will have it 100% rockin'. It's the principle that gets me. You return to "be a real father". He then takes this extended "wrapping up business" trip and stretches it out to beyond a week. Does he talk to me about how this might affect me? Does he discuss the dates and how they might affect anything the boys or I need? He just barely got a job - and even that's still not fully solidified until they do the background check get the pee test back. He has no apartment. No car. No income. Yet he can spend the money on this trip. And he can turn it into a nice little vacation. Which drives me nuts seeing as how he just had a nice 3 month vacation from any responsibilities of parenting. The man wouldn't know the pressure of juggling your own schedule and your children's if it jumped up and bit him in the arse. And he just doesn't get why I'm so angry. By all means, yes, please go take another vacation - the length of which he attributes to needing to say goodbye to people? Um...let's see...you were up there from April until a week or so ago. But you need another week to say goodbye to all your friends? Whatever.

I don't usually vent this specifically about future ex. I tend to keep the idiotic details out of here. But I'm just annoyed today. I have just spent a week giving my job about 80% because of doctor's appointments and counseling appointments. And today, I woke up, had a couple of relaxing hours with my boys and then have been kicking butt trying to clean a house that hasn't been properly cleaned since my mom left. I'm feeling that overwhelming feeling you get when things look way too big. And I'm thinking, gee, hope future ex is having a nice time hanging with his friends in Boston. Gee, hope he's having fun staying up late and sleeping in. Hope he's having fun spending money he doesn't have.

So I'm mad. And pissy. And not coping well. I'm feeling angry in a sorry-for-myself kind of way today. I just want to have a handle on my household, my job, my emotions. I want to be stable and normal and have a routine and budget that feels solid and under my control. I don't want to be wondering when and IF future ex will return. I'm so tired of telling my kids, sorry, we can't do anything fun today because I have to work/clean/etc. I'm so tired of feeling 3 inches from a full blown raging tantrum. I'm so tired of unfairly snapping at my boys. I'm so tired of not having time to exercise so that 10 of those wonderfully gone 25 pounds have returned.

And last night, I felt I could lean on God. Last night I wanted to lean on God. Today, I just want to be angry. I've sent up a few half-assed prayers. But I'm too mad to really mean anything.

GAH! Grrrrrrrr.

My kids deserve better than they're getting right now. So I have to go get a grip. And keep moving on as if future ex weren't here - just as if he never returned. Because that way, if he comes back and is actually any help to me, then bonus. And if not, well, status quo.

Sorry. I'm just so sick of being angry. But I thought I should show you guys the yicky side, too. Sometimes I only blog after gaining some clarity and I think I come off much more together than I am.

Any prayers you want to toss up for me and my gorgeous boys are always welcomed.

I know you guys will lift me up like you always do.

Love you guy...

The Boy's Prayer

My sister's mother-in-law is dying. She's in what seems to me to be the last stages. It's very rough on their whole family. I've watched my own mother-in-law die from cancer. I've watched my birth-father die from cancer. There are similarities in all cancer deaths but no two are the same. I know the helplessness and other feelings that wrack you in these end times. And the feelings that hit you afterwards.

Anyway, I told The Boy that his uncle's mother was dying. He said we should pray to God about it. I knew he meant to ask for total healing while I thought of just praying for her release from the pain and fear. I like his unblemished faith.

So last night, as I tucked him in bed and prayed over him, I didn't think to mention it in the prayers in case it upset him. When The Boy realized I wasn't going to mention it, he rolled over onto his back (which is what he does when he needs to address God) and said, "...and God, please make [uncle's] mom better soon. But if she dies, please take care of her when she gets to heaven."

Love that kid.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Crying Out to God - Need Prayer

If you are a praying person, please read this and please send your prayer coverage to surround William Petit.

This is not about my family. But it just broke my heart to read it. I received an email from one of my wonderful and dear friends Alicia (if you recall, she braved the Cambridge Vineyard with me back in 2005). This is an excerpt from her email:

Today seems to be a bad day and I have two prayer requests.
. . .
The second is for my parents primary care physician, Dr. William Petit. Dr. Petit is my Mom and Dad's doctor, my sister's doctor, and was my Meme and her sister's doctor. He is a wonderful person, very caring, and a great doctor. He has been incredibly supportive during my Dad's illness hand picking the surgeon, who turned out to be one of the best in the country, and has sent two prayer cards from his Church to my Dad. You can read in this article that Dr. Petit has suffered an unimaginable tragedy today:

This link will take you to a local newspaper coverage of the horror.

I have the most wonderful prayer warriors. You have all carried me through my relatively tiny horror show. Please help me stand in the gap for William and his extended family.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Not In My Time, But God's

I really would like to know why I have so much struggle with issues of faith. Especially concerning things I pray for. Oh wait...I'm HUMAN.

No honestly. You need to know my life better. Don't worry. I won't regale you with it here. That's a series of novels Trish needs to help me write. To condense it for you, my whole life is a giant study in God answering my prayer. Not in my time, but His.

So when I start attacking something in prayer that is big or important, my faith is wobbly. I think it's very normal. But when you have a whole history of God coming through for you, why do you doubt? I take solace in pretty much every story in the bible. The Israelites saw all the plagues, were delivered from slavery, had the sea parted for them, even heard God's voice but they still screwed up by doubting. So I'm in pretty good company.

I figure it has to do with a few things.

God is not a vending machine. I can ask in faith like the bible says. But ultimately, it is God's plan that is done. So often times, when I pray for something, I sit there thinking doubtful thoughts under this umbrella - maybe it's not in God's plan for my son to be safely delivered from his surgery. Maybe God has other plans for me than my marriage staying whole. You know? That kind of thing. I think my problem here is, I should ask in faith and then let it go. And trust that God's plan is ultimately better than anything I could come up with. But I tend to ask in faith and then worry and attempt controlling my fate. Like I said, I doubt I'm alone in this.

God's miracles are for other people - not me. For some reason, I can pray with so much faith and absolute certainty when I'm praying for others. When I pray for me, I'm wracked with doubt. I tend to forget my whole history of God coming through for me. My doubt-filled selective memory seems to tell me that other people get miracles. Not me. This has happened less and less over the last 2 years. As I press more into God and talk to him more often, this has gotten less. It would be nice if it disappears altogether.

Satan blows big chunks. I'm not one to blame everything on 'the enemy', 'satan', 'the unnamed one', 'the big dirt-bag below'. I have free will and I exercise it badly quite often. But I do believe that much doubt is planted in our minds by 'the big bone-head of darkness'. I have also noticed less and less doubt in my mind over the last two years. I believe this is due to my constant chats with God. I don't wait for meal time or bed time or church. I talk to God all the time. Especially when I see anything that upsets me on any level. But sometimes it's just when I see something that makes me happy. I thank God for beautiful things I encounter. I ask God to bless people I see that do good things. I ask him to help that box turtle make it off the busy road safely. But at night and in the morning, I do serious business with God. And I think this relatively new discipline in my life has been keeping more doubt at bay.

So yah, I'm human. I'm like all of you. I ask God for things and I have a picture in my mind of how it will look. And I would like to see that picture manifest sooner rather than later. My intellect knows better. But my human side tends to hang on to that impatience. I'm getting better at turning things over to God and saying, "Your plan, God. Your plan. I'm ok with however you need to get things done." But I also believe God wants to know exactly what I want. So I tend to also say things like, "...and if you could let it happen soon - or let it happen where I can know it happened...that would be great." I like to think God is ok with that. His answer might be 10 years down the line. But I think he's ok with us asking.

Now that I've done all of that set up, let me tell you how this has recently played out in my life.

When future ex informed me that he didn't love me any more and was in love with an ex girl thing of his from 21 yrs ago, I was devastated. I don't even know if there are words in our language to describe the pain, jealousy and betrayal. The level to which my spirit was crushed doesn't even compare to my father dying when I was 11. If I was a different person, I would have turned to drugs or hurting myself. But I've got God. Or more correctly, God has ME. I spent pretty much all of January through April begging God to save my marriage. I know God's not a fan of divorce - meaning it's not his plan. I don't mean he thinks divorced people suck. So I figured I'm praying for my marriage to remain whole. Of course it's God's plan. Of course he'll come through. I really really believed this. So in late April, when future ex left, moved back to Boston and starting playing house with his girl thing, oh man. I was shaken. But I kept praying. I just changed it from "save my marriage" to "God, whatever your plan is, help me deal with it. Help me get through this." But I did also pray that God totally open the eyes of future ex and his girl thing. That they see the full truth of what they've done. I wasn't sure what that would look like. But I prayed it with all my heart. I also prayed that God would let them reap what they have sown. This was hard not to pray as a curse. I prayed it as earnestly as I could. I refused to curse them. I refused to ask God to smite them or any such nonsense. So many times I would just repeat over and over, "Vengeance is yours, God. Not mine. I leave that to you." It was hard because my anger was valid and totally understandable. But I also knew that God's would know the best way to make this request manifest. I have no idea if that's even proper grammar. Sue me.

So future ex has been back for over a week now. And by "back", I mean in the area. We had a rough start but have been trying very hard to be friendly. I have felt God's prompting to be generous but not stupidly so. I have been asking for his guidance in this. God, tell me when to help him and when to stand back. And I really think he has been doing this.

What I have been watching this past week is future ex reaping what he sowed. And also his girl thing. Without divulging personal things about them, I can't really explain much. But I can tell you I have never had to say anything like, "I told you so," or "See? You really DO suck!" because God has been showing him these things through the consequences of his actions. I wish I could share them with you because it is truly mind numbing how absolutely God has answered my reap/sow prayer. And it was not in the time I wanted (ie - immediately). But I have to tell you, after he had been with girl thing for a while, I just asked God to answer this prayer - even if it was decades later and I never know about it. I just wanted justice. And here God is, allowing me to witness first hand the struggles and hell that future ex is in. I've heard him say stuff like, "I know I made this bed and have to lie in it," and "I know this is all my doing but it's so hard." At times like that I beg God to keep my mouth shut. Pointing and laughing would sink me down. So I just stand there.

One thing future ex said this week was after he really pissed me off. I don't remember how. But he had been talking like oh things are so hard for me and I got the sense he thought I was just coasting through this like it was no big deal. So I indignantly - and totally without meaning to - witnessed to him. If you can picture the attitude that accompanies the hand on hip, waggling finger and a "oh no you di-int" head bobbing, that's what he got. I just started spouting, "The ONLY reason I'm standing here so strong and with such kindness is by the GRACE OF GOD!" and I proceeded to tell him how he hadn't had the guts to stick around to see the absolute hell I went through. I told him how I had to break down every wall I had between me and God and beg him to save me. I told him how God didn't just poof me out of the giant cesspool of destructive emotions. But he stood in it with me. And told me he'd never leave me. But we'd get through it together. And I just kept spouting indignantly to show him that I had been SO low that I needed the Creator of the Universe to save me. So don't tell ME about hard! Don't cry to ME about surviving hell! My God got me through it. And I stood there fuming all "snap snap SNAP!" and stuff. I thought he'd be rolling his eyes at yet another outburst that proves I had become "too Christian." But in stead, he said, "You know, I wish I had a faith like that to help me through this." It deflated my anger. And in that moment, God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Uh hello? I set this up for you. Get in there!" I suddenly recalled my old Alpha class and our talk on prayer. The whole, so what if you don't know how to pray. So what if you're not sure you believe in prayer or in God or in anything. Try it. Just give it a shot. Tell God you're not sure you believe. Tell him you're scared. Tell him you think it's silly. But ask him to show you that he's real. Ask him to help you. I think you'll be surprised. And that's basically what I told future ex. He said, "But I don't have enough faith to pray." That's the beauty of it! You don't NEED to. Just the act of turning toward God and talking - that's all God is looking for. One on one relationship. Just your attempt will mean so much to God. He will honor it. I told future ex, look, God is just standing here right now just going, "Come on! Just turn toward me!!! Try it!" and he's so excited. He thinks you're the most precious thing in the world!!! Future ex just couldn't fathom that. I said, look, just try it as an experiment. Just ask God to show you he's real. He said he would. He hasn't yet. But he talks about it often. I know he's wrestling with how stupid it feels. So I don't push. I keep praying.

Future ex knows he's screwed up so big. He knew most humans around me wanted to pummel him. He's gotten a few icy receptions from people around here. So another day, we had this big talk about forgiveness. He was annoyed thinking that there are people who claim to follow God that aren't forgiving him. So I explained, hey, we're humans down here. The only one I know of that can instantaneously forgive? That's God. Not me. Not my parents. Not my friends. Not anyone I know of down here. I told him, all you have to do is tell God you're sorry and turn away from the bad that you were doing (ie - repent = turn away from the sin). It's much simpler than most religions make it sound. Repenting just means turn away from the sin. And turn toward God. If you're focused on God, you'll most likely find yourself it right-thinking situations. So I said, God will forgive you immediately. Us humans you have to give some time to align with God on that one.

I have been jokingly inviting future ex to church. And both times I did, he considered it. Which shocked me. He knows that I have leaned heavily on my church friends. Which means many of them know a lot of the details. And a lot of them are mad and feel protective of me. So last Sunday, he didn't go. I kind of figured he wouldn't. And today, he went. He came with me and the boys to church. I was scared! What if my church family lived up to his cynical view of Christians! So I prayed a lot last night. I told future ex, this will be a good test of us Christians putting our money where our mouths are. Let me tell you, my church almost had me in tears today. My church friends are freaking AMAZING. When he walked in (very early) with us, my pastor saw him and came running over to him. I heard something like, "Hey there friend!" and he had future ex in a HUGE bear hug. The music director and his wife greeted him warmly and I saw her talking to future ex for a while. Our other friends who were very close to future ex had already hung out with us earlier this weekend. So when Wyatt got there, he was looking for future ex. And was sincerely glad to see him walk in to the room. Future ex got one chilly reception but not rude. And it was someone I haven't been able to chat with lately so she has no clue how I'm feeling about things and I imagine she was being cautious.

But what a testimony it was to God's imperfect followers. I was SO proud of my church family. I was also very impressed with future ex - he didn't slink away to hide in a corner. He knew he might face some people and their opinions of what he had done to me. But no one did that. Everyone just made him welcome. I have no idea what struggles might or might not have happened for people today. But I was swelling with pride in my friends. And it deeply affected future ex.

So, on the way to church, I had been asking God to just reveal himself to future ex today. I wish I had a tape of the sermon. It was almost comical. We're in a series on Joseph. Today's sermon talked about the part of the story where Joseph is now 2nd in command of Egypt. After being sold into slavery by most of his brothers and then passed off for dead by all of them. They had to come to Egypt to bow down before him and beg for grain. Joseph dealt with them with forgiveness and generosity. SO the whole sermon revolved around the concept of you will reap what you sow. And how we must forgive. He discussed how mercy and grace play into our forgiveness. I mean, future ex and I exchanged a few amused glances. And I know my pastor was thinking, "Oh man, of all the days he chose to come to church!" Afterwards, future ex jokingly asked me if I had called the pastor to have him preach all that. HA! His comments showed me it had all sunk in. And I think he saw the two sides of it. Not just us pointing at him saying, "Ha ha! You're reaping what you sowed, bone head!" But that we are commanded to forgive and to be loving and generous. In the car later, he even said to me, "You've been acting like Joseph. You're being so good to me since I returned." That was amazing to hear. Because it's been a lot of work to not be a shrew.

Anyway, this is going on way too long. But do you see some amazing answer to prayer here? I honestly never thought I'd see future ex reap his sowing. And here I am watching it. And then to have him come to church and God to speak directly to both of us like that? Yah, just TRY to tell me God doesn't answer prayer!

Friday, July 20, 2007

More Parent Induced Tics

Many imperfections of the parent can be measured by observing their children. I'll give you a few examples from my house.

  1. Lil Bro is three. He can answer almost any trivia question you throw at him regarding Sponge Bob Square Pants. About three months ago, he didn't really know that show.
  2. I just listened to an exchange between my boys where reason never even entered the room. It escalated immediately to anger, impatience and annoyance.
  3. I've been seeing tics reduce in The Boy for the last three months. Yesterday, his play therapist said he noticed more than he's ever noticed before.

I know I'm in "special circumstances", what with being left by my husband who was the stay at home care giver and home maker (or maintainer would be more accurate). I survived the first few hellish weeks - my mother scraping me off the floor every morning and doing everything for me. My mother gave the boys amazing one-on-one care. When she left, I was still very not OK. It took me a while to get day care figured out. So Lil Bro, unfortunately, became fast and steady friends with the giant toddler drug - our TV. I had to work so I wouldn't get fired. And I couldn't get him day care until this week. Thus his knowledge of all things Sponge Bob. And his being able to quote all sorts of commercials. And his insistence that he needs all sorts of products I would never bring into this house.

So when I write it like that, people can see how it might happen and what could I really do. I get that. But it still makes me feel like such a sub-par mom. To see my kid so absolutely addicted to TV. Throwing fits when he can't watch it any more.

And then with #2 and #3 above, I chalk both of those up to the reappearance of their father on the scene. And I don't mean that in the sense that future ex is being an ass or solely responsible for this. I mean it in the sense that he's back in the area and interacting with me on a regular basis. I have to say we've had mostly good days and we are working VERY hard at being friendly and civil for the boys. But there are those moments where all sanity goes out the window. Maybe it's a passing comment from him that shows he has no clue exactly how flat my soul was made by the steam roller of his stupidity (oh yah - gotta love my nutty analogies). Maybe it's him asking the name of something he gave me years ago so he can send one to his girlfriend. Maybe it's watching him pine for someone that I see as the icon of destruction of all I loved. Maybe it's him flipping his mouth off about my beliefs and me trying to physically throw him out of the house. There have been about 3 big negative interactions with us since his return last Thursday. And while I look at that like, "Wow, only 3 bad moments in a whole week," The Boy and Lil Bro obviously internalize it or react very differently.

Their impatience with each other probably comes from listening to a stressed out mommy having a bit of an edge to her otherwise mostly patient and loving voice. I've snapped at them more since future ex left. Nothing horrible. But enough to teach them to just chuck the niceties and get straight to the attack.

And The Boy's tics, I feel so awful that I didn't notice an increase. I do notice he has to make a few tries to complete sentences lately. It's not stuttering. And it's not quite stammering. It's like, he's got 942 things he wants to say and trying to get #47 out is hard because all of the other thoughts are trying to rush out at the same time. So he'll make it almost to the last word of a sentence and get flustered. So in stead of taking a second to think of the last two words, he'll start the whole sentence over. And this might happen 3 or 4 times until he finally gets the sentence out. When I'm stressed or tired (which is...oh....always!), I find the insane me screaming the end of his sentence in my head. In my head I hear things like, "JUICE!! It's JUICE!!! You want some apple JUICE!!! I GET IT!!!!" But outside I have to just go, "Take it slow bud. Just take a breath and then tell me what you want."

His excessive blinking seems to be the one tic that has been a constant throughout his last year (next month will mark a year since he was diagnose with Tourette's). Lately, his little close-mouthed dog whine has returned. Such a weird description. But without being able to put a sound clip here, that's the best I can do. It's a short punctuated little noise that sounds like a dog whining. But short.

Yesterday, he was painting at our table with a friend. She's a year older than him. At one point, he put down the paint brush and just clapped his hands really quickly - his hands about neck level and very close to his body. And he looked up and rocked a bit when he did it. It totally reminded me of actions some of my mentally retarded adults used to do when I was teaching. His little friend just calmly asked him, "Why did you do that?" to which he replied, "Do what?" He didn't even know he had done it. She showed him what he did and he just went, "Oh. I don't know." So I just said, "He just did it for fun." And she just said, "Oh," and kept painting.

Anyway. Today, I'm very aware that I have to get over myself and start working my butt off for my kids. I've been giving myself a lot of slack - allowing myself time to be flustered or zombied or whatever. But seeing how things are affecting my beautiful boys...it's time to put aside anything selfish. Time to take on the hard tasks even though I still feel like giving myself breaks or slacking off. Time to knuckle down and be the uber mom again.

So today, I have KLOVE blasting. I'm constantly asking God to lift me up and let me do it. And to hold me to task. I have to start sleeping. I have to start being Johnny-on-the-spot again. I have to be present and there for them. I have to put away the hurt me. God's got her. Now I just need God's strength. I need it because the hurt and wallowing can still overwhelm me. And the whole doing this all by myself thing is constantly overwhelming. The whiny girl who just wants a winning lottery ticket threatens to pop up all the time.

I want my boys to be happy and healthy and not know every word to every episode of every Nickelodeon or Disney show.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I May Be Weak But I Ain't Stupid

There seem to be a few people that are afraid I'm going to cave now that future ex is back in town and that I'll just take him back. I can see why people worry about that. I'm riding that emotional pendulum. And it doesn't just have two directions. This thing is wildly swinging all over the place.

But as I swing at the bottom of that pendulum (and I must say it's usually me that keeps it swinging), I keep in mind that the pendulum is tethered to my God. I like that image. I also think that God is usually the one that's trying to stop the swinging. He's the one that gets things calmed down. And then I get stupid and start the swinging again.

Oh I'm just chock full of bad analogies. As a service to humanity, I will refrain from sharing any more.

So I was thinking...what would it take for me to take him back? I thought if I listed my criteria, maybe this would lay to rest your fears. But mostly, I thought it might just make me laugh.

Things future ex would have to do in order to be considered as worthy:
  1. Stop being stupid. Good luck with this one. I'm not holding my breath.
  2. Get to know God in a real and tangible way. I'm still praying for this one no matter who he ends up with. And I have more hope for this one that for #1 above.
  3. Shift his priorities from shallow worldly concerns to almost anything higher than that. But shifting to Godly priorities would seal the deal. Not to mention, make him happier.
  4. Stop pining for his girl-thing. Or better yet...
  5. Cut girl-thing out of his life completely.
  6. Stop whining about responsibility. I'd love to see him embrace his job and all the other chores of life with the attitude of, I'm doing this because I love my family.
  7. Grow up and join the rest of us adults. You can't stay irresponsible and self-centered like we were in our 20s forever. That's what your 20s are FOR, dude. Time to move on.
  8. Learn what self-sacrifice is about. I'd like to go a week without having to hear about how his happiness is at risk. I'm thinking #2 & #3 would take care of this.
  9. Understand what God meant when he made the man the head of the family. God didn't give them free reign to be idiots. The original language has been interpreted by many learned scholars as saying, the head of the family has the responsibility to assure his family flourishes. Put THAT spin on it, boys! When you wake up, your first thought should be, what can I do today to make sure that [insert family members' names here] is/are happy? What does my wife need to flourish? What do my kids need to flourish?
  10. Stop talking about whether he thinks his sideburns are even or not. Honestly, if I have to hear about his sideburns or how small his waist is or guess how much he weighs now, I think I might just lose that Godly patience and shave his whole head. Eyebrows, sideburns, the whole bit.
  11. Adore me. Since this never occurred during our entire 16 yr history, yah, time to step up and treat me like the precious gem I am. Because let me tell you mister, I was custom made by the creator of the universe. And you should be...
  12. Be proud to be with me. And if anyone slanders me, you should be the first to jump in there with righteous indignation and a big can of whoop-ass!!
  13. Have patience with my kids when they're silly and loud and it doesn't quite fit his mood. Do fathers not read the fine print of the noisy kid contract?
  14. Think about the happiness of his family and its members before his own. See #9.
  15. Get a clue. Very broad. But very applicable.
  16. Be able to make decisions and have confidence in them. Just pick a side. Make a decision. Have some confidence in your own abilities. I'll back you.
  17. Never touch pot again. He's actually trying to do this. But I think he needs help.

It's not a nice rounded number divisible by 5 or 10. But those are what came to mind. Of course, I wanted to add things like, "Have surgery to look like Johnny Depp or Matt Damon," or "Attain perfect 6-pack abs." But let's not get silly.

So dad, Big Sis, Brenda? As you can see, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

I may be weak, but I ain't stupid!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

An Update and The World Domination Meme from Stacy

First a quick update:
Future ex returned to my idiot-free territory today. It started out very awful and very stereotypically - if you've ever heard of cliche divorce moments, we had it today. After he came to pick up the boys (late, I might add), I was just so wound up and pissed off. I called baby sis Brooke and vented to her. Unfortunately, she's been where I've been but her divorce makes mine look like a cake walk. She was sweetly understanding and didn't say things like, "Oh please, girl, that's NOTHING!"

After talking to baby sis, I thought I'd take my own oft-given advice. I prayed. Half-assed prayers work, by the way. I prayed, "OK God, you have to take this anger away. I'm just so mad at him and I have every right to be. But I can't live like this. I can't live in constant conflict," or something to that effect.

God is good. When future ex dropped the boys off (on time, I might add), I felt very calm. And we had a nice talk. I took The Boy to counseling and he took Lil Bro to hang out. We all met back at my house and took the boys for pizza. When we came back, we put them to bed. Then future ex and I had a very long and cathartic talk. I am hoping it is just one of many to come. I know the pendulum will swing wild again. And I warned him not to expect a totally nice zen me all the time. But as he drove off to the hotel, I asked God to help us reach a place of understanding and some kind of friendship. Whether that is this year or a few years from now, I know God will work this miracle.

The World Domination Meme:
Now, on to more fun things. I got this meme from Stacy. She made this one up which makes it way more fun than any other ones I've stolen from her. Stacy is ever so wonderful and clever. I want to be her when I grow up.

You are offered one superhero power to help you take over the world (or the country of your choice). What would your superpower be and why?
Well, first off, let me say I do NOT want to be the ruler of anything. I am not Kirk or Picard. I am more like Spock or Riker. Except not as logical or slutty, respectively. So I'll answer in the context of what power would help me be the right hand man of the ruler (oh say, Stacy or Sarakastic). My superpower would have to be invisibility. I would need stealth to reconnoiter and protect my sovereign. It just seems like an extremely useful talent to have. Although, being able to completely disable a weapon from a distance seems much more useful in my supporting role. How cool would that be. Just standing there next to my leader while confronting some enemy or threat. My leader would stand completely fearless - which would confound and confuse said enemy. In their frustration, they would raise a weapon. I would, with a tiny flicker of a finger, render it completely useless. Which would put the fear of God in them. Well, one would hope.

Where will you establish your capital and why?
I will establish my capital wherever my supreme leader tells me to. They will say, "We believe we would like to build our luxurious villa in [insert name of city/province/country/plant here]. And I would make it so.

What would be your first official decree as a brand new dictator? Why?
Mine is not to decree but to enforce the decree.

As a Great and Fearsome Leader, you will need to have the best people working for you. Who would work for you? (Feel free to use famous people, fictional characters, friends and family, or other people from the blogosphere in your answer.) What would their jobs be?
Well, as a somewhat great and very fearsome leader of many people whose job it is to secure, maintain and move forward my leader's realm...let me think. I would definitely have Jason Bourne working for me. But he wouldn't be an amnesiac drone. He'd have full charge of his faculties. And he would be my metaphoric long arm. I would also have Severus Snape on my staff. Very powerful. Very discreet. Very good to have on your side. Plus, I love his fashion sense. I would also want Wolverine or The Punisher. They are just cool, sexy and powerful. I need eye candy surrounding me but they have to be talented.

If you could make one annoying habit illegal in your empire, what would it be?
Being stupid (can I hear an 'Amen!'?!). This should be illegal yet it plagues our country. It's a veritable epidemic. Goodness, if I was given the task of ridding the supreme dynasty of stupid people, I would have a lifetime of job security. And we'd be left with mostly women. Which is fine with me.

Like Stacy, I tag anyone who would like to take this tag. I'd love to see all my blogger pals' answers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Origins of Lord & Taylor Lady

Stacy is curious how I met Trish. It's a funny enough story, I thought I'd share. I should probably have checked with Trish first before writing this missive. But I didn't. She can fly her butt down here and kick me in person. Then I'll take her out for some amazing TexMex.

I'm gonna throw in some background here because it's significant to the story in my mind. And this'll be a long one. I imagine Stacy & Trish are the only ones that will finish it!

I grew up very dogmatic in a rather messed up church. The people were like my extended family. I'll leave the "messed up" label pretty much squarely on the shoulders of our preacher. But I was saddled with a lot of theology I couldn't reconcile to a loving God. When my parents left that church, there were some rather well-meaning but screwed up attempts to keep me and some of my siblings there. I then went to a Christian college that was actually really great. But I had a life crisis or two, made some bad decisions and quit that school with a bad taste in my mouth due to what I perceived as the hypocrisy of Christians.

Add to that the general stupidity of most humans. So of course, when I ran across an idiot who just happened to be a Christian, I added it to the mental box labeled "Yet another bone-headed Christian that solidifies my feeling that I will never participate in organized religion again."

So with chip firmly on shoulder, I decided I would tackle the world with just God. Those fallible humans continually pissed me off. So I would tolerate them and just deal with God directly.

I walked a very precarious line for many years. I am convinced I survived my own stupidity due to the sheer volume of prayers that went up on my behalf from my mom, her sisters, our church friends, people who knew me and actually had a clue about God, etc. I now know there were tons of people praying for me my whole life.

I worked in night clubs in Boston as a coat girl, waitress and eventually bouncer. I sang in bands and rock theater in Boston. I did professional photography for bands in Boston. I basically lived in clubs and embraced a large part of the culture therein. I had no self esteem but pretended to be the most amazingly kick-ass strong woman. As a bouncer, I acted my way into being a well known persona in the Boston club scene. People believed the bravado and some were actually afraid of me. I never let go of God - talked to him constantly. But I was going to do things MY way. I tried to embrace all beliefs. I was going to be the tolerant cool Christian. I was going to be the open minded Christian. On the way, my faith got rather muddy and confused.

When my kids were born, I wanted to give them a Godly foundation but hated the thought of going to a church where they would be turned into little dogma-spewing idiots. So I always told people how I wanted to find a church for my kids but I never EVER thought of actually doing anything about it.

Enter my cousin Lorraine. And by cousin, I mean step second cousin. If there is such a thing. She's the daughter of my step-dad's cousin. And we didn't know each other. We knew OF each other. But I moved into her town. And our parents lived near each other in Florida. And I'm sure there were conversations between them that gently suggested that maybe my cousin could invite me to church. Well, after living in her town for almost 2 years, she called me one day - out of the blue. Did I want to visit her church with her. Um...hold on while I get my mental tome of reasons why I couldn't go. But God thumped me in the back of the head and said, oh just GO already. And I surprised Lorraine and myself by saying yes.

I told my friend Alicia that I was going to this wacky church we all heard about in Boston. They advertise on the subway and buses. They have signs that say things like "Come have coffee and bagels with us" or something like that. I mean, I was like who serves coffee and bagels at church? This church must not be very good if they have to lure people with food. But my former college roommate, KimmyJo, used to go there. And she's not nuts. Well, she loves me so she just might be nuts. But I digress. Anyway, Alicia agreed to go with me. Which made me nervous. Alicia is used to Catholic mass. Nice predictable sleepy mass. I didn't know if this church was charismatic or what. I didn't know if they'd be swinging from chandeliers or what. So told her, we'll sit in the back and if it gets weird, we're OUTTA there!

We went around the beginning of the Lenten season. Which I don't keep track of. But the Cambridge Vineyard was just starting that year's 40 Days of Faith. I had never heard of it and didn't really pay much attention to the announcements about it. But the pastor (who I didn't know was the pastor because he was just so laid back I figured he was just the guy doing announcements) announced they were bringing up someone to give a testimony about the 40 Days of Faith.

Enter Trish. Now, in my last post, I confessed that I give instant snap judgements in my head. All the time. And Trish was just fodder for my cynical attitude. She just looked the part of the perfect Christian woman - a person to whom I would never relate or to whom I would have nothing to say. I had this warped idea that all women who claim to be "true Christians" were wimpy little lemmings who are just vapid yes-men to their boyfriends or husbands. It's awful. But that's where my head was at as perfect Trish took the stage. And she was just adorable. And I mean that in a way that made the cynical I'm-too-cool-for-anything me roll her eyes. And I'm sure I did.

Trish was well put together. In my mind, she looked like a model out of the LL Bean women's catalog. Or someone who shops at (shudder) Talbot's. Or even worse - Lord & Taylor. So I dubbed her "Lord & Taylor Lady" in my mind. Ain't I just a loving little God girl!

So Lord & Taylor Lady proceeds to give her testimony. Which fell on my cynical ears like so much drivel. I heard her say something about how she had wanted a husband. At that point, Alicia and I shared a rolling eye look. Granted, both of us had always wanted a wonderful Christian husband. But we knew that wasn't a cool thing to admit so we sneered away. Trish basically gave a great testimony and I imagine it was just a teaser for her book that's coming. But at the time, I didn't know that and I was a snotty little piece of crap and just rolled my eyes thinking, if I ran into this woman at the bagel table, she'd ignore me. We'd have NOTHING to say to each other.

I figure that's when God laughed and made other plans.

Alicia and I never stopped going to that church. We loved it. It's a freaking amazing church. In spite of the Lord & Taylor Lady and all the well put together people that attend along with her.

At that time in 2005, that Vineyard offered a class called Alpha (now called SEEK). It was for those "on the cutting edge of faith". Not meaning your faith is totally cool and alternative. Meaning you're not quite sure what all you believe or whether you believe anything at all. But you're coming to church so that's something. This class was there to address those people. I was those people. I was always cool with God. But I had serious doubts about almost every other aspect of Christianity. Was Jesus divine or just a great prophet? Was the bible inspired word or just a political collection of writings? Were there actually some real Christians that might not make me want to punch them collectively in the heads?

I decided to go to Alpha. I mean, hey, they fed you dinner and it was only once a week. What's not to like?

The first night, I show up feeling like a total dork. I had laughed with my coworkers going, "I can't stay late tonight. Because I'm going to... a BIBLE class!!!" They know me. They've known me during all my various fads and stages. So this was rather interesting to them as well. But off I went for my free meal.

When I walked in, the first person I saw was this well put together guy. Young dude, probably in his 30s. Extremely good looking and very happy. Great. Just what I need. A Happy Handsome Guy to not be able to relate to. And then what to my wondering eyes should appear? But a Lord & Taylor Lady. Yah. Doesn't it just figure that the woman I sat judging and rolling my eyes at - she was one of the leaders. So was Happy Handsome Guy. The other two leaders were equally not in my universe. There was the Cerebral Writer Guy who used way too many $7 words. And then there was Cute Perky Preppy girl. I'm sure they'd all laugh at my generalized snap judgements of them. But honestly, I sized them all up as people I would have NOTHING in common with. Along with the 25 or so other people that showed up looking all "What am I doing here?" with me.

That group of people spent the next...how many weeks did we spend together? Ten? I have no idea. Trish, how many weeks was that? Every week, a few people would drop out. But eventually, we got a solid group of committed dorks. And we hashed it all out together. We'd talk, question, sneer, confess, accuse, talk more, question more. It was unbelievable. That class opened my eyes in amazing ways. And one of the first things God did was show me that Lord & Taylor Lady was just a shmoe like me. With nicer clothes. And smoother hair. And a really cool husband who laughed at my Lord & Taylor description. He assured me that, at home, she rarely gets out of her pajamas and, when she does, she dresses like a normal person.

During that class, God used Lord & Taylor Lady...now Trish...as his conduit. He used all the leaders. But especially her. I opened up about things with her that I never told anyone. God gave her huge insight into how I worked.

A small group of people from that class begged the leaders if they would start a new small group with us. We dubbed it Beta (ain't we clevah!). It was the best small group I've ever been part of. We were still all newly renewed in God. So it was so easy for us to share openly and honestly. No one faking anything. I'm still very close with the Fabulously Tall Rowing Couple from that class (another couple I figured I'd have nothing in common with and now I adore them).

That group prayed with and for me as I agonized over whether to move to Austin. I mean, God just found me the perfect church!! Should I leave it??? And when I decided to go, they all encouraged me. Trish has been one of my loudest and most steady cheerleaders.

When I discovered my husband didn't love me and he loved someone else, I called Trish first. I was terrified of doing the wrong thing. I called her and she told me about how That Dog had dental surgery and all sorts of stuff before I finally had the guts to blurt out my new horror show. Once again, God used Trish as his messenger. She gave me ways to pray about it that I never would have thought of. She told me to fight for my marriage and not stand timidly by in the name of being polite or politically correct. She taught me how to put in my shark teeth while still holding on to God. And she has never left my side or told me I suck or anything.

Trish means more to me than she knows. I love her humor. I love her intelligence. I love her fashion sense. I can't wait to read her book because I just KNOW she has dedicated at least 3 chapters that are all about ME! (I kid) She is one of my strongest and most trusted God friends.

God - thank you for giving Lorraine courage to invite me to that wacky bagel church. Thank you for letting Alicia be open enough to go with me. And thank you for putting that nutty Lord & Taylor Lady on the stage that Sunday! Amen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

More Stuff You Don't Need To Know About Me

You can blame JenKneeBee for this one. Although, I love tags like this. So sue me.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Um...I was almost married a full year. I was probably just wasting a lot of money on other people and working. Doing musical theater in Boston, too, I believe.

What were you doing 5 years ago?
I was loving having a beautiful little 2 yr old. And working too much. Seriously, look at that face! I was having so much freaking fun with that kid. What a punk. Just like his mother.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Enjoying my first year in Texas. And wondering if I had wrecked my marriage by moving my family all the way down here. Funny how it wasn't THAT that did it.

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
Only five? Have you seen my weight?
- Most cereals.
- Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.
- Pop corn.
- Blue corn chips & salsa.

- Almost any cookie invented.

What are 5 songs that you know the lyrics to by heart?
Oh goodness...do I know the real lyrics to anything? I tend to make them up when I don't know them. Even my own songs.
- Amazing Grace - John Newton

- It Is Well - Horatio Spafford
- Chuck E's In Love - Rickie
Lee Jones
- Almost any song on Journey's 'Escape' album.
- Let It Rise - Big Daddy Weave

What are 5 things you would do if you were a millionaire?
Millionaire? Uh...buy half a house in California? Let's say multimillionaire. Then you can do some REAL spending.
- Pay for air conditioning for the Cambridge Vineyard (if they don't have it by then).
- Donate a huge chunk of it to my own church.
- Start a trust fund that will pay for people to spay/neuter their pets.
- Open a bed & breakfast that has a kick
-ass restaurant that people come to even if they don't want to stay in the B&B. And it would have a theater in the restaurant. Think of the Vermont inn they go to in 'White Christmas' - that's what I want!
- Buy every sibling and parent I have (and I have 10 sibs and 2 sets of parents) their houses and at least one car & set up a college fund for every niece & nephew - and I have like 752 of them. Well...ok...only (hold on while I take off my shoes to count...) sixteen...no...seventeen. If I do this one first, I will have about $3 left for me.

What are 5 bad habits?
Oh I won't tell you the really bad ones. Those are for me to know and not to share. But I'll confess a few safe ones.
- Being lazy. If I could get away with it, I'd only do fun things for the rest of my life.
- Staying up way too late on the computer and then wondering why I'm so tired the whole next day.
- Thinking very judgmental thoughts in all sorts of situations. But God tends to smack me upside the head when I do. I mean, t
hat's how I became friends with Trish! I judged. God plopped her square in the middle of my life.
- Giving in to the lure of evil food.
- Obsessing over and staying with very stupid men. But that habit is OVAH.

What are 5 things you like doing?
- Hanging with my boys. They are insanely fun!
- Singing. Especially at church.
- Cooking for people. I love making huge dinners for friends.
- Watching TV.
- Blogging.

What are 5 things you would never wear again?

- Insanely high heels.
- Panty hose.
- Pretty much anything I wore in the early 80's.
- Boy-short hair. It worked in
my 20's. It won't work in my 40's.
- The combination of a sports bra, a vest, boot-cut jeans & cowboy boots. That only worked in 1992.

What are 5 favorite toys?
- Sudoku puzzle books.
- Computer.
- TV.
- MP3 player.
- My Honda CR-V. I love driving.

Who are you going to tag?
Oh goodness. Whoever wants to share superfluous trivia about themselves. Let's have it, ladies!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hair Color by The Boy

A few people have asked to see the new hair color. It's nothing shocking. But I'm loving it. So here it is. Keep in mind that The Boy steered me away from some shocking reds I was considering. Good boy.

This is me on the phone w/ my baby sister, Brooke.

This is the side view of my hair. I want it shorter. But I keep being told it looks great.

This is the top view of my hair today. I always feel fun and happy when I put in 4 little pig-tails on top.
So there you go. The new color. Thank you The Boy for picking a good one. You can't tell but I'm also wearing the new Bare Minerals makeup my neighbor gave me. I went and bought blush & eyeshadow today (GASP!). I'm not ready for mascara yet. That's too much of a commitment. I told my sister that I'll probably look like a $2 hooker the first time I try eyeshadow and blush. Won't that be lovely at church tomorrow! HA!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday to The Boy!!!

With all my self-absorbed drama lately, I haven't posted much to do with the title of my blog. So let me get back to the original intent for a minute here.

Yesterday was The Boy's 7th birthday. Amazing to me that I have a seven year old. I remember when he was a teeny peanut of a baby, I couldn't imagine what he might be as a speaking toddler. What would his voice sound like. I couldn't wait until he could hug. And he honestly gave the best little hugs - still does. I just can't imagine how I got this wonderful seven year old.

The Boy is so beautiful. So incredibly wonderful. Smart, funny, sensitive, loving...the list goes on. We had a fun fun birthday yesterday. He woke up with a huge smile on his face because it was finally HIS DAY. He had received a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble from our friends in Boston and he couldn't WAIT to get there. We spent a nice long time there while Lil Bro played with the train table and The Boy picked out every dinosaur item he could find. Five books and two stuffed dinos later, we left. We headed to Walmart to find dino-themed party decorations. Found none. So we headed to Party City and found all the dino loot we needed for his "real" party which is next weekend - when everyone gets home from vacation. Then we went to eat at our favorite burger joint, Whataburger. Then off to Target to spend more birthday money. The Boy had a great day. And so did I. I love nothing better than spending a whole day with my boys.

Last night, The Boy informed me that he thinks his Tourette's might be back. His excessive blinking was back a lot yesterday and today. Not sure why. Yesterday, I could guess that it might have to do with me and the future ex. We started the morning with a huge phone fight. I had gone into my room and shut the door. I hoped the boys were sufficiently distracted by the TV but I was wrong. Well into one of my yelling sessions, The Boy walked in and informed me that he didn't want to hear this on his birthday. Score one for bad parenting!

I don't know if that is what triggered the blinking regression. But he told me he feels he can control it. We'll see.

Today, The Boy stayed home from camp again. I had to work but it was nice to have both boys around. I love having them near me.

I have nothing more to report. Pretty dull & boring. My neighbor is coming over tonight once The Boy is in bed. She's going to show me how to use some of that new Bare Minerals or whatever it is makeup. And last night, I dyed my hair a color that The Boy picked out for me (he picked Loreal, too - good taste). So now my hair is a bit darker than normal and minus the plethora of gray. It was fun and made me feel happy. The Boy likes long black hair. So he picked Natural Black. I have a good stylist.

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Oh, For the Love of PETE!

You know, I don't even know what to think of THIS little development. I have been trying to focus on my kids and getting my feet solidly underneath my life. I've been working on getting used to doing this all alone. I've been trying to get my mind around the reality of long-distance custody (which still makes me nauseated when I think of it). I've been getting me ok with me. I've been enjoying the new weight loss thanks to the horrid divorce diet. I've been working SO hard to adjust to all of this crap and let go of the anger, etc.

Today, future ex called during the day. I was so busy at work I almost didn't pick it up. But I did. Future ex then dropped a bomb on me. And I'm still not sure how I feel about it. He is coming here next week for TheBoy's birthday party. I've been dreading that. I don't want to see him. Ever again, if possible. But that's not a reality. Then I've been thinking how fun it will be to have to pick up the emotional pieces (again) when daddy leaves and the boys have to adjust. So he told me...I still don't believe this...when he comes here next week, he's not leaving. He's going to make a go of living down here because he needs to be near his kids. He can't sacrifice being a father for the sake of the love of girl thing. Of course, this conversation was peppered with rather noncommittal verbiage. So I'm still in the I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it mode.

So here are my thoughts. And I'll be very honest with you here.
  1. I have been praying for this. I never thought it possible. But I have been asking God that, if there is some way that future ex could get over his hatred of this area, to bring him back down here. His kids need him. I still want to punch him but his boys need their dad.
  2. Selfishly, having him nearby will help me. If I have to travel for work, I don't want to leave the boys with paid nannies. I don't want to impose on my friends and family in the area all the time, either. Also, on those days that the boys are crying for him, I could call him and say, dude, they need you. Get your butt over here and pick them up.
  3. I'm scared because I'm afraid he'll call tomorrow and say oh sorry, I can't do it. I told girl thing and she broke down and cried and you know how I can't take crying. So I'm staying up here. I will seriously have trouble with him if that happens. As will his sister. So I'll get in line behind her to whoop his ass if that happens.
  4. I'm scared because I was getting used to this being "my" territory. My idiot-free zone. The place where I feel free to be whatever me I want to be. And that's been rather fun discovering who the unlimited me really is.
  5. I don't really want to have to see him. Having him 1600 miles away gave a certain buffer zone against what constantly seeing him would do to my speedy recovery process.
  6. I'm suspicious of his motives for this move but don't really want to care about them. It's best for my kids so I'm trying hard to just accept what God is doing. But I found out after our phone conversation that he and girl thing are "on a break" right now where they aren't supposed to see each other. How very interesting. I'd like to think this is totally for his kids. But I wonder how much of this is, hey, this isn't quite working out the way I had planned so I better start trying to salvage that whole dad thing before the kids totally forget who I am. That's the cynic and mean part of me talking.
  7. I hope this happens. And I hope he can figure out just how awesome this area is and really find some happiness here.
  8. I've asked God to help him find an apartment and job and to surround him with God's people. Not the scary ones. The real ones.
  9. I'm terrified to tell my mom & dad and my sister. They (along with quite a few other friends and family) are not exactly huge fans of his right now. I don't want to tell them until I know whether he's playing for real here. But I mean, my parents are moving across the country to come help my little family. And now he's going to return? I have no idea how they'll react. But at the same time, I wish this was for sure because I'd like to tell my parents in case they're stressing over this move and his return would give them the freedom to stay put or do something else. I have no idea. Mostly, I'm just afraid of how much they'll resent him returning to our idiot-free-zone part of the country.
  10. I just don't even know how to react to this. I've got my hopes up for my boys already. I haven't told them. But man, if he bails on this idea...he will have even fewer fans than he currently does.

So those of you that frequent my site...if you're praying people, send them up! I don't even know what to pray for. Just pray for emotional protection for my boys. And that if this is God's plan, that we all adjust ok. I don't know why I'm freaking out so much. I just told a friend on the phone that this feels like a step backward. I've been struggling to take each step forward. Working my butt off to move forward. And this just feels backward.

My mantra lately has been, "Your plan, God. Your plan because it's got to be WAY better than anything I can come up with." I have surrendered to whatever God has planned. I told him that I'm fine with whatever he has planned. I was assuming it was a plan where future ex and girl thing live happily ever after and I need to just deal with that. I also assumed that God will bring me that fabulous man when I'm ready. And that might be this year. It might be 10 years. Who knows. But I was all ready to accept this whole 1600 miles apart thing with its awful long distance shared custody. I was ready to make it on my own. I was going to find some tall building down in the city to twirl around in front of and toss my hat in the air - much to the amusement and annoyance of people trying to walk/drive past me.

Your plan, God. I can take it. Just help me deal.